TASAWUF and SOHARWARDIA FOUNDATION

Syed Soharwardy

Islam is not a myth nor it is a religion with some rituals. It is a complete way of life. The main source for the knowledge of Islam is the Glorious Qur'an and then the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In order to preserve and organize the knowledge of Islam so that people can understand better, the scholars of Islam developed the knowledge areas (sciences) of Islam such as science of Fiqqah, science of Sarf wa Nahve, science of Hadith, science of Tafseer, etc.. In all Islamic Universities and Dar-ul-Ulooms the students acquire the knowledge of Islam by learning these sciences. One of the most important science of Islam is the science of TAZKIYAH which is commonly known as TASAWUF. In the Western world people call it SUFISM. Personally, I do not like to use the term of Sufism because it gives me some analogy with Socialism, Communism, Ahmedism, etc.. There is no place for any "ISM" in Islam. Islam is complete and all "ISMs" are foreign to Islam. However, Tasawuf is not a foreign knowledge. It is the part of Qur'an and Islam. The science of Tasawuf in Quranic language is called TAZKIYAH which means purification of heart, mind, thoughts, body and soul. People, might have different understandings of Tasawuf (Sufism) but what I am referring to you is the knowledge and understanding of Tasawuf which MUST obey the Shari'a of Islam. It must be based upon Allah's commandments. As Almighty Allah describes in Qur'an, "QAD AFLAHA MAN ZAKKAHA. WAQAD KHABA MAN DASSAHA". Translation; Truly he succeeds That purifies it (self). And he fails That corrupts it (self)( verses 9 & 10, Surah Al Shams). Similarly, in Suratul Al A'la, Allah says, "But those will prosper who purify themselves", (verse 14).

One of the main responsibilities (characteristics) which Allah assigned to His Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was to Purify people. As Qur'an says, " It is He Who has sent Amongst the Unlettered A messenger from amongst Themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify (purify) them, and to instruct them in scripture and wisdom - although they had been before in manifest error." (verse 2, Al Jumu'ah). Therefore, the science of Tazkiyah (Tasawuf) is a very Islamic knowledge and is required by Allah in order to be successful in this world and in the Hereafter.

Nowadays, some ignorant people have created a NEW kind of Tasawuf in the name of Sufism. Any practice in the name of Tasawuf which does not follow the Qur'an and the tradition of Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) is NOT TASAWUF. It can be any thing but Tasawuf. Especially in the western world, people are trying to create a new religion in the name of Sufism. This is absolutely deplorable and false. Some of our Muslim brothers and sister oppose the science of Tasawuf because of these new ideas practiced by some ignorant people in the name of Tasawuf. WE MUST NOT IGNORE THE SCIENCE OF TASAWUF BECAUSE SOMEONE IS ABUSING IT. WE, ALL MUSLIMS, MUST WORK HARD AND DEFEND THIS IMPORTANT SCIENCE OF ISLAM BECAUSE IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION. Tasawuf means purification of heart, thoughts, mind and soul. Who does not need this?

If we go on the Internet, there are many misleading websites which claim that they are spreading Sufism. The literature on these websites is absolutely "unIslamic" and has nothing to do with Tasawuf (Sufism). These people are spreading their own beliefs in the name of Tasawuf (Sufism) and many people are getting caught into their trap. Especially, the western non Muslims who are seeking the satisfaction of heart and soul get trapped by these so called Sufis and do not reach to the path of Salvation and satisfaction of heart and soul. As well as in Muslim countries many ignorant people have claimed the status of Sufis and are misleading people. These so called Sufis themselves do not fulfill the basic requirements of Shari'a such as prayer (Salaat), Zakat (poordue), Fasting, Hajj, etc.. They do not ask their Mureedeen (followers) to perform SALAAT and carry out the basic Islamic duties. These Sufis are dangerous and they are thieves of FAITH (EIMAN). Therefore, the Muslims who understand the value and importance of Tasawuf must protect this Islamic science from being hijacked by non-Muslims or get corrupted by the ignorant people.

Most of his life, our Murshad, Hazrat Allama Syed Muhammad Riazuddin Soharwardy (May Allah bless him) practiced and preached this important science of Islam -Tasawuf. As many of you may know that Hazrat Allama Soharwardy passed away last month in Pakistan and we, his mureedeen and students, feel obligated to continue his mission. Therefore, Soharwardia Foundation has been established with the objective to promote the Qur'anic Teachings of inner and self cleaning called TAZKIYAH which is described by many Islamic Scholars as Science of Tasawuf. Presently, there are several definitions of Tasawuf but the correct definition of Tasawuf is the one which is given to us by the Ahlebait and the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon them). This is the Tasawuf which was practiced by Sayyidna Abubakr Al Siddiq, Sayyidna Imam Ali (May Allah be pleased with them), Imam Jafar Al Sadiq, Hazrat Hasan Al Basri, Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi, Imam Ghazali, Imam Jalaluddin Suyyuti, Hazrat Abdula Qadir Jilani, Shaikh Shahabuddin Umar Soharwardy Al Baghdadi ( May Allah be pleased with them) and many other Sufis of Islam.

Soharwardia Foundation will be establishing its website soon which will provide the authentic literature on Tasawuf (Sufism). the website will be ready for access by the end of May 2001. Meanwhile, we will be using this distribution list to communicate with those who are interested in learning the science of Tasawuf or sharing their thoughts and perspectives about Tasawuf. Since, the students and mureedeen of Allama Soharwardy live around the world, Soharwardia Foundation will be starting the HALAQAH-E-ZIKR wherever possible. Please let me know if you are interested in organizing the ZIKR program and need any assistance in your area. Soharwardia Foundation will also be arranging Mahafil-e-Naat on worldwide basis. Famous Naat Khawn from Pakistan Qari Syed Fasihuddin Soharwardy and Qari Syed Ejazuddin Soharwardy will be participating in those Mahafil-e-Naat. Starting year 2002 Soharwardia Foundation will be starting the sponsorship scheme for the education of needy students around the world. Twenty scholarships for the post secondary education in the developing countries will be given in 2002. Details of these scholarships will be announced in October 2001.

Thanks and Jazakallah.

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Head Office: Jamia Bughdadi Masjid, Martin Road, Karachi, Pakistan, Phone: +92-21-412-0693

North American Office: 28 Crowfoot Terrace NW, P.O. Box 68142, Calgary, Alberta T3G 3N8, Canada; phone: (403)-208-7148