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TASAWWUF: ITS CONCEPT

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdul Salam Muhamad Shukri

THE CONCEPT OF TASAWWUF

Scope

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Origin

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Definition

BACKGROUND: THE TERM


TASAWWUF
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Not exist during the time of the Prophet and


Companions.
Became an established term only in the 2nd
century of Hijrah.
1. Al-Hasan al-Basri (d.110/728) used it when he
referred to a man in front of the Kabah:
:

saw a Suf at the place of Tawaf. I gave something to


him, but he refused to accept it. He said: I have four
dawaniq. It is sufficient to what I need.

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Abu Hashim Uthman ibn Sharik


al-Kufi al-Sufi (d.150/761).
:

3. Name given to Jabir ibn Hayyan


or Geber (d. c. 815), often given the
nisbahs al-Bariqi, al-Azdi, al-Kufi,
al-Tusi or al-Sufi.

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2.

WHY THE TERM DID NOT EXIST DURING


PROPHET AND COMPANIONS TIME?

term Sunnah as all encompassing concept


covering akhlaq, spiritual, physical, intellectual
etc.
The concept of Sahabah is good enough indicating
the spiritual theory like zuhd, tawakkal, wara,
taqwa, shukr, tawbah and others.
The Companions understand most the Sunnah as
they live together with the Prophet. After their
death, no more model to be exemplified.
The term Tasawwuf emerged to connote the same
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meaning.

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The

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WAS THERE ANY TERM OR PRACTICE WHICH


IS SIMILAR TO TASAWWUF BEFORE THE
COMING OF ISLAM?

The term al-hanif.


Referring to a group of people who worship
Allah alone before the coming of Islam.
They are the descendent of Prophet Ibrahim
including
Waraqah ibn Nawfal
Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib (c. 545-570)
Aminah bint Wahb (d. 577)
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (c. 555-620) and
others.

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Yes.

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DERIVATIONS OF TASAWWUF

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()
Al-Saf ()
Bani Sufah
()
Sufat al-qafa
()

( )or
Safw ()
Sophos
(Greek: )
Al-Sufah
()
Al-Suf ()
Safa

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Al-Sufanah

TECHNICAL TERMS FOR TASAWWUF

( ) Internalization of
characteristics of Allah by means of:

Takhalli (Abandoning
)
o Tahalli
(Decorating)
o Tajalli (Manifesting
)
o

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()
o Al-Ikhlas
()
o Al-Taqwa
()

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o Al-Ihsan

DEFINITIONS CITED IN AL-LUMA


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asked about Sufism, Muhammad ibn


'Ali al-Qassab--the master of Junayd--said,
"Sufism consists of noble behavior that is made
manifest at a noble time on the part of a noble
person in the presence of a noble people.
[
]
When he was asked about Sufism, Junayd
said, "Sufism is that you should be with God-without any attachment." [
9
]
When

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regard to Sufism, Ruwaym ibn


Ahmad said, "Sufism consists of
abandoning oneself to God in
accordance with what God wills."
[
]
On one occasion when he was asked
about Sufism, Samnun said, "Sufism
is that you should not possess
anything nor should anything possess
you."
[]

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With

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Sufism, Abu Muhammad al-Jariri said,


"Sufism consists of entering every exalted quality
and leaving behind every despicable quality.
[]
When he was asked about Sufism, 'Amr ibn
'Uthman al-Makki said, "Sufism is that at each
moment the servant should be in accord with what
is most appropriate at that moment."
[]
Regarding Sufism, 'Ali ibn 'Abd al-Rahim alQannad said, "Sufism consists of extending a
'spiritual station' and being in constant union."
[]
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Concerning

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NOTES
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Definitions by Sufis who lived in the 9th and 10th


centuries (CE) in al-Sarraj (d. 378 AH/ 988 CE)
as the earliest comprehensive book on Sufism, the
Kitab al-Luma' (The Book of Flashes) (ed. by R.
Nicholson, pp. 34-35).
These definitions of Sufism, however, are mere
signposts pointing one.
(See, Professor Alan Godlas, University of
Georgia, " What is Sufism?: Early Definitions,
http://www.uga.edu/islam/sufism/sufismlumdef
.html
, retrieved 19/4/2008)

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TASAWWUF AS ILM
)(SCIENCE, DISCIPLINE

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:
"


"

TRANSLATION

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is a science which
explains about methods of purifying
a soul, improvement morality and
creation of spiritual and physical
well-being with the ultimate aim of
attaining eternal bliss.

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Tasawwuf

[Shaykh

al-Islam Zakariya al-Ansari as cited by


Arberry, see Pauzi Hj Awang, 11; al-Qushayri, 10, n.
4]
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ORIGIN
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The Prophet
Companions
Successors and
Successor of the Successors
Sufi Masters

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SCOPE OF TASAWWUF

Also known as al-Tasawwuf al-Sunni

Philosophical:
philosophy.

2.

Philosophical

Sufism

as

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Practical/Moral: Aspects of tazkiyah al-nafs


(purification of the soul), tasfyah (cleansing of the self from
diseases of the heart) and inward character building
(akhlaq)

1.

Sufi

Purpose: Transfer and explain the Sufi idea which is spiritual,


actual and emotional as well as mystic facts by means of
rational methods and add a philosophical dimension in it.
The leading scholar is Ibn Arabi and his school

(http://www.questionsonislam.com/question/what-philosophical-sufism-and-what-did-hallaj16
mansur-contribute-science)

WHAT TASAWWUF IS NOT


The

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teacher being
a proxy for the
seeker
Suluk without
striving and
following the
Sunnah
A name for tranced
dancing and music.

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or Kashf
Gaining success in
the business of the
world
Physical and
spiritual healing
Graveyard visitation
Prophesy
Calling wali for help
or invoking his name
Karamat

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