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Translation from the Works of the Reviver of this Century

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The Extremist Sufi Saying, ‘Allaah is a monk in a church …’ The Disbelief of Those Who believe in the Unity of Being [Wahdatul-Wujood] | 1

Translated by Ahmed Abu Turaab

Questioner: The Sufis have recently come to our city, what advice can you give us?

Al-Albani: There is an old difference between the Muslims about the Sufis. The reality is that this name, Sufism [tasawwuf], and those who affiliate themselves to it, the Sufis, have many different meanings.

We know from our interaction with many of them that when the proof is established against them they say, ‘Sufism is nothing except clinging to the manners of Allaah’s Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, like abstaining from the world and desiring the Hereafter,’ this is what they say when the proof is established against them.

Thus we say that if this is what Sufism is in your opinion, then the difference between us and you regarding the word remains. Remove this word, ‘tasawwuf,’ because it has become a word having a great many meanings. One of which we mentioned just now, [i.e.,] sticking to noble manners and abstaining from the world and turning to the Hereafter. There is no need for us to use this name whose meaning is dubious when referring to that affair which [the Muslims] are united upon, i.e., sticking to the manners of Allaah’s Prophet عليه السلام and abstaining from the world and devoting oneself to the Hereafter.

But the reality is that [the word] tasawwuf [Sufism] has meanings far removed from this correct meaning [mentioned above]. And sometimes this distance [from the Truth] takes the one who is upon it out of the fold of Islaam, and sometimes it will place him among one of the misguided groups.

As for the first group [i.e., the people who have left the fold of Islaam], then it refers to those who believe in what the people of knowledge refer to as the creed of unity, or The Unity of Being/Existence [Wahdatul-Wujood] to be more precise. The Unity of Being, which is pure denial [of Allaah, ilhaad], means Nature, as expressed by naturalists (believers in naturalism), i.e. there is nothing but matter.

One of them says, ‘Everything that you see with your very eye is Allaah.’ So it’s nature, everything that you see with your eye is Allaah!

A second says:

And the dog and the pig are nothing but our God.
And Allaah is nothing but a monk in a church.

A third [Ibn Arabi, the Sufi] says:

God [Rabb] is man and man is God
How I wish to know who the one ordered (to perform worship) is

If you say man (is the one ordered), then that is a denial (of the presence of a God, based on the concept that God is man and man is God!)
And if you say God, how can He be obligated?!

A fourth:

When the Magians worshipped the fire
They worshipped nothing but the One, the Irresistible Subduer
[i.e., Al-Qahhaar, Allaah]

All of these are statements written down in their books through which they seek blessings. A belief [aqidah] such as this takes one outside the fold of Islaam, for it is a creed greater in disbelief than that of the Jews and Christians.

This reminds me of the saying of one their extremists, ‘The Jews and Christians only disbelieved because the Jews restricted Allaah to being in Uzair, and the Christians confined Him to being in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit–but as for us, we have generalized Him to be in all things.’

For this reason from their words of remembrance [dhikr]–and their dhikr is not from that of the Muslims, that which the Prophet mentioned [when he said], ‘The best form of remembrance is, ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah,’–their remembrance is, ‘He, He …’

And they [also] say other phrases which, regretfully, some of the general masses with us in Syria have latched on to. You’ll find one of them sitting, wanting to remember Allaah, and so he will say, ‘There is nothing other than Him.’ What does, ‘There is nothing other than Him,’ mean? [This is incorrect because] there is a Creator and then there is the creation.

So this is the creed of The Unity of Being [Wahdatul-Wujood], wording which is mentioned by some people, but they have not paid attention to the misguidance found therein.

Like these phrases totally is the saying of many of the common folk and their scholars, ‘Allaah is present in all that exists, Allaah is everywhere …’ [this is] the creed of The Unity of Being [Wahdatul-Wujood], but along with that it is the creed [aqidah] of the Ash’aris and Maturidis of the end of time.

[They say], ‘Allaah is in all places,’ this [i.e., where we are sitting right now] is a place, is Allaah here?  What is here?  Zaid, Bakr, Amr, matter, a wall, air and so on–is Allaah here?!

‘The Most Gracious rose over the [Mighty] Throne [in a manner that suits His Majesty],’ [Taa Haa 20:5]  This is the creed of the Salaf as-Saalih.

So this type of Sufism is the severest of the most severe forms of disbelief found on the face of the earth.

[Translator’s note: The following is another example of the extremists amongst them: ‘Sulaimaan bin Ali bin Abdullah al-Tilmisaani d. 690AH.  He is highly revered among Sufis.  The Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said about him, “He used to make all forbidden things lawful.  To such an extent that some of the reliable people reported that he said:

‘The daughter, the mother, all (foreign) women–all of them are one and the same–there is nothing forbidden in that for us.  It is only the ones who are veiled that say that that is haraam.  So we in reply say to them: ‘It is haraam for you (not us).”  (Majmoo’atur-Rasaa’il (1/184).

This Sufi Tilmisani once passed by a mangy, scabby dead dog on the street whilst he was talking to his companion about Wahdatul-Wujood (the Unity of Being/Existence).  So his companion said to him, “Is this also the Essence (Dhaat) of Allaah?” pointing to the dead dog.  So Al-Tilmisani replied:

“Yes.  Everything is His Essence.  There is nothing that is outside His Essence (Dhaat).”

High is Allaah above what the Sufis ascribe to Him!’

(Majmoo’atur-Rasaa’il (145) of Ibn Taymiyyah).]

The Extremist Sufis and the Unity of Being [Wahdatul-Wujood] | 1

Al-Albani: All of you must have heard of a group called the Sufis, and of a [type of] knowledge, or Sufi spiritual path [sulook] known as tasawwuf.

The people who ascribe themselves to this tasawwuf are of differing ranks, some of them have overstepped all limits and left Islaam in the name of Islamic Sufism, left Islaam just as a strand of hair is pulled out of dough [i.e., totally].  Why?

Because their interpretation of aayahs from the noble Quraan [is so incorrect that it] and philosophy and apostasy are one and the same. In the eyes of the scholars of the Muslims they are known as the people who believe in Wahdatul-Wujood [lit: the unity of existence], the ones who say the same thing as the atheists, but their wording differs from that of the atheists, they say, ‘There is nothing except one.’ So [according to them] the universe that we see is Allaah. For this reason they are called people who believe in Wahdatul-Wujood.

The Muslims say that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah [Laa ilaaha illallaah], in this sentence there is an affirmation and a negation. There is a negation of whoever might interpret falsely (the presence of another god), then the affirmation that Allaah is the one and only God, the Most High.

As for those Sufis, then they say, ‘There is no He but He.’ They then paraphrase it and make it a form of remembrance which they repeat for themselves, [saying], ‘He, He …’ This is a dangerous deviation as you can see, i.e., a denial of the true existence of Allaah, and following on from that, a denial of the legislation, no Islaam … no Judaism, no Christianity–because there is no [differentiation between the] slave and the Lord, a Lord who obligates others to worship Him and a slave who is obligated to worship. For this reason one of them said:

God [Rabb] is man and man is God
How I wish to know who the one ordered (to perform worship) is

If you say man (is the one ordered), then that is a denial (of the presence of a God, based on the concept that God is man and man is God!)
And if you say God, how can He be obligated?!

[According to them] there is no He but He. So in the end: He is He!

There are words that emanate from Muslims who bear witness [by saying] Laa ilaaha illallaah Muhammad Rasulullaah, these people are not atheists but they will sometimes utter words which lead them to that false aqidah. This is something very dangerous and hardly any but a few are safe from it.

Now in our normal gatherings [you will hear] one of them say whether on a particular occasion or not, ‘Allaah is present in all that exists,’ [this statement of theirs] equals, ‘There is no He but He.’

You will hear [this statement] many times, ‘Allaah is present in all that exists,’ and after close scrutiny of its meaning and purport and what it entails one can see that it equates to the saying of the Sufis–the extremists amongst them obviously–who openly declare that, ‘There is no He but He.’

There are Two Existents Not One

Because if we were to ponder over the declaration of truth which is when a believer truly says, ‘None has the right to be worshiped except Allaah,’ [then we will find] that it establishes two existences.

‘None has the right to be worshiped except Allaah,’ negates the false deities which are worshipped other than Allaah, and they are present [as is mentioned, for example,] in the Quraan in the statement of Noah to his people, “And they have said, ‘You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwa’, nor Yaghuth, nor Ya’uq, nor Nasr.’” [Nooh 71:23] These were idols worshipped instead of Allaah, for that reason when Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, sent Noah عليه السلام to his people he ordered them to worship Allaah alone.

So, ‘None has the right to be worshiped …’ is a negation of the false deities which are present. ‘… except Allaah,’ is an affirmation of the existence of the Truth, i.e., Allaah the Blessed and Most High.

So there are two existences.  It is not possible for a Muslim who, firstly, understands his Islaam and who, secondly, believes that Allaah created him, not to affirm two [separate] existents.

The scholars of tawheed refer to the First Existent, i.e., that of the Creator the Most High, He exists in His Essence, i.e., is eternal, having no beginning. So His existence is termed as being the necessarily existent [Waajibul-Wujood].

As for the other existent then it is [called] the contingent or possible existent which is mankind and all creation. Allaah the Mighty and Majestic said to it, ‘Be!’ And it was. So it was preceded by nonexistence in contrast to the existence of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic–for He is the First having no beginning, as you all know.

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