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Common Misconceptions in Sufism: “Allah is independent, Good Deeds are Compensation of Sins, Allah do Whatever he desires” By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi

Common Misconceptions in Sufism

Translated By: Maulana Yusuf Talal Ali Delorenzo

Doubt: “Almighty Allah is  totally independent of our good deeds”

1) Another such uncertainty is as follows: “What does it matter to the Almighty if we are obedient and do good deeds”.

It is true that our obedience and deeds matter not in the least to Allah most high. Certainly, these things are of no benefit to Him whatsoever. But, tell me, do the benefits that come of obedience and good deeds matter to you? Or would they not be of any use to you?

In short, works have been appointed for your benefit, not for Allah’s. Allah most High is self-sufficient. and you are not.

Take the example of the compassionate doctor who prescribes a certain medicine for one of his patients. and the stupidity of that patient. his own worst enemy, when he abstains from taking the medicine saying, “Of what benefit is it to the doctor if I take this medicine”?

What do you mean, the doctor’s benefit? This is for your benefit. You are the one in need of good health .

Doubt: “The abundance of our remembrance (Zikar, Azkar) and good deeds will compensate for our sins”.

2) A misconception common to that sort of Sufis and Ulema who might best he described as barren is: ”Since we are the ones who give knowledge and advice to the people, therefore. we share in the reward (of what good we have inspired the people to do). And the accumulated rewards are so great that they more than outweigh our own wrongdoings”. Or they say, “We have knowledge of certain deeds whose performance will ensure our forgiveness for thousands of years of wrongdoing. like daily repeating “Subhan Allah” and “Al-Hamdu lillah” one hundred times or fasting on the Day of Arafat, or during Ashura, etc.,”

The important thing to understand in all of this is that if these deeds were enough in themselves for your salvation, then the entire body of commandments and prohibitions would be for nothing. Rather, you will find that the Hadith that promise such rewards are qualified by the condition that one avoids all major wrongdoing (Kabair): اذا اجتنب الكبائر

 In other words, these particular deeds will act to cancel out your misdeeds only as long as you abstain from the Kabair.

As for your giving knowledge and sermonizing (Waz), friends, you should know that the person who himself does wrong, in spite of all that, faces an even greater punishment. The Hadith which has come to us concerning the punishment of the sermonizer who is himself a wrongdoer are well known.

Doubt: We are nothing (unmarked), now He (Allah) is doing whatever he desires

3) An objection of many ignorant Sufis is “We have reached the state of annihilation (Fana) through our spiritual disciplines (Riyadat) and self-mortification (Mujahada). Nothing remains of our selves, and whatever we do is done by Divine will”.

These people make such ill-founded and ruinous statements that they sometimes reach the points of Kufr. They say:

“We ourselves are Allah, then who is there to be worshipped? And who to be sinned against”. Or they say: “The fundamental object is remembrance. Outward practices like prayer, fasting. etc … are utterly meaningless, and are there in the interests of organization only, being mere formalities”.

The root cause of all this nonsense is ignorance. These people do not understand even the first thing about spiritual stations (Muqamaat), so what can they possibly know of Suluk (treading the mystic path) and Wusul (Union)? Actually, these sayings of theirs are the first of their excesses in interpreting the meaning of Tawheed (the unity of Allah). In Sha Allah, I will deal with this subject in another book in more detail.

It should be enough at this point for you to understand that there has never been a greater Wasil (one who has achieved union) or Muwahhid (one who has realized the truth of Tawheed) than the Prophet of Allah. Then look at the Prophet’s (PBUH) and the Sahaba’s fear, awe, repentance, seeking of forgiveness, striving and diligence in performing good deeds, and efforts in the direction of self-mortification and penitence. Only a brief look should suffice to quell whatever doubts you may have.

ربنا تقبل منا انك انت السميع العليم وتب علينا انك انت التواب الرحيم

In conclusion, I pray that Allah accept our efforts and grant us forgiveness. Surely He is Merciful, Forgiving.

[Jaza ul Aa’mal, By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi]

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