Shaykh al-Alawî - A kind word in response to those who reject sufism - CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
English - Articles written
Écrit par Ahmad al-Alawî   
Mercredi, 14 Septembre 1921 13:40
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In the name of Allāh, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

All praise is due to Allāh, who has protected us from the trials that He has placed on many of His creation and may the blessings and peace be upon the Prophet and his family. What follows is from this writer, full of sins, the humble servant of his Lord, Ahmad ibn Mustafā al-`Alāwī , may Allāh confer upon him success and may Allāh inspire him and the believers to the perfect path.


To the jurist Shaykh Sidi `Uthmān ibn al-Makkī, a lecturer at the main university in Tunis, may Allāh increase the university in prosperity and purify it from every rebellious fiend and may Allāh's peace be upon you, as long as you respect the people who are attached to Allāh, 17 ‘Whoever honours the sacred rites of God, for him it is good in the sight of his Lord.’ [22:30].


Reasons for writing this book

I came across a treatise which you so elegantly titled ‘The Mirror Revealing All Errors’, which I respectfully took, hoping we could benefit from its knowledge and thanking Allāh for those who still remained strong in the religion and who, for the sake of Allāh, did not fear censor from anyone. However, I found the title very overpowering, as it contained the word 'errors', little knowing that its content was even more overwhelming.


As soon as I became familiar with some of its content I was, at the very least, overcome by a deep sense of disappointment and despondency, and my initial elation was replaced by extreme sadness. This state of affliction almost led me to say that it was not permissible to look into any mirror at all, be it to reveal errors or images, because of the evil contained in your ‘Mirror’, and its desecration of honour ‘ Almost bursting with fury’ [67:8] and ‘indeed it throws about sparks (huge) as Forts,’ [77:32] at those who invoke Allāh, openly shattering the majority of the believers. Whenever I try to absolve the author from [8] what has been written, the tongue of reality would say that the pen can only express the imagery of the writer and likewise the vessel will only pour forth what it contains.


Your 'Mirror' was replete with untruths and you committed the vile act of dishonouring the people of Allāh with false accusations and slander. Hence, it was my Godly duty as a Muslim, concerned for the honour of those aspirants you demeaned, that motivated this written response. Thereby acting on his saying (blessings and peace be upon him) ‘whoever witnesses a believer degraded and does not come to his aid whilst he is able to, Allāh will degrade him publicly on the day of resurrection’ 18 . He also said, (blessings and peace be upon him) as transmitted by Abū 'Umāmah in Sah īh [al-Bukhārī] , that ‘the person who defends the honour of his brother, Allāh will protect his face from the hellfire on the Day of Judgement’ 19 . It is further related from Abū Dardā' that ‘the person who defends the honour of his brother, it will be a protection for him from the hellfire’ 20 .


These narrations relate to those upholding the honour of believers in general, but as for those who invoke, Allāh 21 has taken it upon Himself to protect them. The most Truthful of speakers says, ‘And He will choose and befriend the righteous’ [7:196], so whoever contends with them, contends with Allāh and whoever aids them aids Allāh.


People of excellence will, at all times defend those attached to Allāh because the Sufis, may Allāh be pleased with them, always find themselves either being criticised or supported, ‘(Such was) the practice (approved) of God among those who lived aforetime: No change wilt thy find in the practice (approved) of God’ [33:62].


It is typical that the devotee will praise and the envious disapprove. Both defamation and criticism appear in those lacking in religion and those who are overzealous. What he openly proclaims as false could possibly be the opposite of what he actually believes. Your general criticism, O Shaykh, against the respected people of Allāh and your open rejection of their doctrine, judging it to be false, ignorant and misleading, is something which none of the other learned scholars of religion have done, except those marginal groups who deny the existence of the distinguished 22 , as they are not found in their midst.


People who follow the established way 23 , however, would never criticise, except for those individuals whose credentials are questionable. Their view and perception of the doctrine of Sufism is such that they respect and deem high its status and their speeches offer the most balanced evidence, which have filled many books. In general, the hearts of the people of the Sunnah are naturally disposed to love Sufism and its people.


You will find that those who attempt to denigrate their path will drop in the estimation of the distinguished and general people, and that is nothing but a sign of their drop in Allāh's estimation, may Allāh preserve us. Hence, it is said that whoever opposes the dhākirūn unjustly and wilfully, Allāh will cause him to be loathed amongst His servants.


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