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?!
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).]