The Awliya Allah state that an Ignorant Sufi is a tool of Shaytan. For the same reason, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam said, “A Faqeeh (‘Alim or Doctor of Islamic law) is heavier than a thousand ‘Aabids (Worshippers) upon Shaitan”. When an ignorant person worships or tries to tread on the path of Sufism, the Shaitan makes him dance on his finger tips by putting his reins in his mouth, the bridle in the nose and drags him to wherever he desires. The ignorant Sufi thinks that whatever he is doing is correct and excellent.
False Sufis steal the words of the Sufis and present them as their own, and thus trick people with the beautiful teachings, which they are merely imitators of. They do not have true knowledge of that which they are speaking. Many of the great Sufi Shuyookh speak of deceptive false Sufis. These people take the title of “Sufi” because it gives them a certain amount of prestige and power, and they take advantage of those who cannot tell false Sufism from the real thing.
Sayyiduna Junaid Baghdadi Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho states that his Spiritual Master or Peer-o-Murshid, Sayyiduna Sirri Saqti Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho prayed in the following words:
جعلك اﷲ صاحب حديث صوفيا و لاجعلك صوفيا صاحب حديث
May Allah first make you a Muhaddith (Scholar of Ahadith) then a Sufi and not firstly a Sufi then a Muhaddith. [Ihya al Uloom, Vol, Page 22]
Imam Ghazali Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho, commenting on this Dua said,
اشار الى ان من حصل الحديث والعلم ثم تصوف افلح ومن تصوف قبل العلم خاطر بنفسه
The meaning of Hazrat Sirri Saqti’s Dua is that the one who first studies Hadith and Knowledge, then sets foot into Sufism, has indeed succeeded. But, he who wishes to become a Sufi before obtaining knowledge has certainly put himself into total destruction. [Ihya al Uloom, Vol, Page 22]
Sayyiduna Sayyidi Abul Qasim Junaid Baghdadi Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho states:
من لم يحفظ القراٰن ولم يكتب الحديث لايقتدٰى به في هذا الامر لان علمنا ھذا مقيد بالكتاب والسنة
“One who has not learnt the Quran and written the Hadith, that is, one who is ignorant about the Laws of Shariah, never follow him in anything pertaining to Tariqah and do not take him as your Peer because our knowledge of Tariqah is strictly in accordance with the Quran and Hadith (ie. Shariah).” [Risaalah al-Qushayriya, Page 20]
Sayyiduna Sirri Saqti Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho states:
التصوف اسم لثلاث معان وھوالذي لايطفى نور معرفته نور ورعه ولايتكلم بباطن في علم ينقضه ظاھر الكتب او السنة ولاتحمله الكرامات على ھتك استار محارم اﷲ عالٰى
Tassawuf is the name of three qualities:
1. His Noor of Ma’rifah (Knowledge of Allah) must not extinguish his Noor of Daragh (Falsehood).
2. Never speak from the knowledge of Batin (Interior) which may contradict the Zahir (Exterior) Quran and Hadith.
3. Do not let Karamats (Miracles) caste a veil on those things which Allah has made Haram.
Sayyiduna Shaykh Shabuddin Suhrawardi Radi ALLAHu Ta’ala Anho who was taken by his uncle to visit Sayyiduna al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani said,
حقيقة ردتها الشريعة فھي زندقة
“The Haqiqah which is rejected by Shariah is not Haqiqah but irreligiousness.” [Awarif al Ma’arif, Page 72]
The exoteric religious sciences of Islam (religious law and jurisprudence, references to the Qur’an and Hadith, theology, etc) began simultaneously with the esoteric sciences of Sufism (self-purification, asceticism, and mysticism). There is no logical division between outer formal Islam and the inner school of Sufism. With the beloved Prophet Muhammad SallaAllahu Ta’ala ‘Alayhi wa Sallam command of “seek knowledge even if it be in China”; the value of learning was given a divine status and great historic centers of learning were established. The wise and knowledgeable Peers were attached to Tariqas (spiritual path leading to Almighty Allah), international ‘brotherhoods’ that disseminated both the exoteric and esoteric Islamic sciences throughout the Muslim world. The teaching of each Tariqa would be traceable through a Silsila, the line of succession that connected members, through their Peer, with his master and in turn with their Masters. Ultimately this reached the Noble Companions of the beloved Prophet Salla Allahu Ta’ala ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and the beloved Prophet SallaAllahu Ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam himself.
Sheikh Bayazid Bustaami (Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu) cautions us:
لونظر تم الي رجل اعطي من الكرامات حتى يرتقي (وفي نسخة يتربع) في الهواء فلا تغتروا به حتى تنظروا كيف تجدونه عندالامر والنھي وحفظ الحدود و آداب الشريعة
“If you see a person sitting cross-legged in the air, don’t be fooled by his act! Observe his approach and attitude towards the compulsory acts (Fardh, Waajib) and prohibited acts (Haraam, Makruh Tahreemi) and detestable acts (Makrooh) and other restrictions and etiquette’s of the Shari’ah”. [Risaalah al-Qushayriya, Page 15]
The miracle of a Wali is his complete compliance to the teachings of Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam). The steadfast adherence to the Shari’ah is the best Karaamat. A true Saint is righteous and follows the path laid down by the Holy Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam).
Hadrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hujweri writes: “A group of heretics have joined the Sufis. They preach that once obedience to Shari’ah is intensified to such an extent that Wilayah (Sainthood) is achieved, Ta’at (obedience to the Laws of Sharee’ah) is no longer necessary. This is an incorrect and false claim. In the path of truth, there is absolutely no stage where Ta’at becomes redundant”. [Kashf al Mahjoob, Page 312]
Hadrat Data Saahib emphasizes,“To achieve Wilaayat, the compliance to the Sunnah of Nabi Kareem is definitely required.” [Kashf al Mahjoob, Page 455]
Hadrat Data Ganj Bakhsh explains the relationship of Haqiqah and Shari’ah as follows: “Shari’ah without Haqeeqah is a farce and show and Haqiqah without Shari’ah is hypocrisy. Pretence and hypocrisy are both the ruination of Imaan. Almighty Allah says: ‘Whoever exhibits Mujahidah (continuous striving) towards us, We will show them Our path’. Mujahidah is Shari’ah and guidance towards the path of Almighty Allah is Haqeeqah. Shari’ah functions to protect the outward and Haqeeqah guards the inner conditions of the Believer”. [Kashf al Mahjoob, Page 526]
Hadrat Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu says: “A disciple who is trained by a man of ALLAH will have a pure and purified spirit. But he who is trained by an impostor and hypocrite and who learns theory from him will be just like him: despicable, weak, incapable, morose, without any exit from uncertainties, and deficient in all his senses.” [Fihi ma fihi, Page 145]
Furthermore, on the topic of false Sufis and the harm they do, Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi says:
You are the disciple and guest of someone who in his vileness will steal away all your attainments. He is not victorious, how will he make you victorious? He will not give you light, he will make you dark. Since he has no light, how can others receive light through associating with him? Like a blind man who cures eyes: With what will he anoint your eyes other than wool? He has no scent or trace of God, but his claims are greater than those of Seth or Adam. The devil himself is embarrassed to appear before him; he keeps on saying, “We are of the saints and even greater.” He steals many of the words of the dervishes, so that people may think he really is someone. In his talks he even cavils at Bayazid; Yazid himself is ashamed of him. He is destitute of the bread and provisions of heaven: Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta’ala has not thrown him a single bone. [Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi, Book I, Page 76]
Therefore we see that a great Shaykh such as Jalal al-Din Rumi Alaihir raHma warns us of the false Sufis. False Sufis may even be more prevalent today than they were in the past. We must distinguish between true Sufis, who follow the Shari’ah, and false Sufis, who often do not.
Syyeduna Ala’Hadrat Imam Ahmad Rida al-Qadiri in his Malfuz Shareef while answering a question said, “A Murshid who does not respect and follow the Shari’ah is himself in darkness and totally incapable of illuminating (rating someone else’s path or guiding them). Such people are disciples of Shaytan and the enemies of Islam. To follow any path other than that of the Shari’ah is the path of the Cursed Shaytan. The evil jesters who mock the Ulama and jeer at the teachings of the Shari’ah, They (falsely) claim that the Ulama and the Fuqara have always been at odds with each other. These ignorant idiots cast doubts over the most eminent Ulama and question their integrity.” [Al Malfuz Sharif, Vol2]
It is to be noted that Shari’ah is established on the firm foundation of Quran, Sunnah, Consensus and analogy of the Jurists. If a person disputes any particular analogical problem and is equipped with substantiating evidence, then the matter is not so serious. However, when a person openly defies the Quran, Hadith and Ijma (consensus), he not only gives up any claim to being a Sufi or a Murshid, but more then this… Surely, A donkey with a load of Holy Books is still a donkey!!