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Islamic Society ( 24 Jul 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Spiritual Abuse among Sufis

By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam

25 July 2022

Sufism Is Derived From the Islamic Concept of Ihsaan

Main Points:

1.    Many Sufi sects operate as cults

2.    The grey areas of abuse and sexploitation by many Sufis is under reported

3.    Sufism too is not a monolith, and there are hierarchies and structures that divide people

4.    Instead of being rational Sufis tend to render their disciples blind with superstitions

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Sufism is an important school of thought among Muslims. The Muslims who focus more on the purification of their soul from the baser instincts of self are quite attracted to it. There are numerous reasons about the development of Sufism among Muslims and for some it was because the fighting against the monarchial tyrant rulers had proved futile, so concentration was emphasized more on the inner purification of Muslims that would render them as better and pious Muslims who will find salvation in the Hereafter. For most Sufis, associating with kings and rich elite was abhorrent. Few Sufis certainly did try to influence politics and courts but it certainly was not for their own benefit or availing perks but just to secure the cause of Islam. Some kings who were openly violating Islamic injunctions needed to be purged or dethroned so that was the reason for their involvement in politics. Also Sufism certainly is derived from the Islamic concept of Ihsaan. It entails that a believer should always be conscious of the presence of the Divine. The highest form of Ihsaan is to be experienced through prayers where the praying Muslim is supposed to feel that he is witnessing God and vice versa. But if this state is difficult to attain then it must be kept in mind that God is watching him. So this omnipresent eye of God definitely renders Sufi conscious of the God keeping tally on all activities. This omnipresence is regularly reinforced through Dhikr. The spiritual aspect of Islam is best manifested through Sufism.

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Also Read:   Deepening Signs of a Civil War in Islam: Massacres of Sufis in Pakistan In The Name Of Pure Islam Reveals a Worsening Global Crisis

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Over the centuries, Sufism developed many indigenous practices, some derived from Islam and others due to influence of local traditions and other religions. Sufism for many of its ideologues appears to be something as parallel to Islam. Islam was constructed as violent and Sufism as pacifist. Further both of them were constructed in the popular media and culture as monolith. Although Sufism has various strands, schools of thought and philosophies and some are violent too, because Sufis were Islamic scholars too so they understood the nuances and complexities of various injunctions. Over the centuries, Sufism developed its own politics that added ammunition to the arsenal of its critics. The patronage of Sufism and Sufis by various violent states tarnished the image of Sufism in the eyes of common masses. Also various people with criminal and corrupt past began to appropriate Sufism to hide their evil practices behind the cloak of Sufism. Hence Sufism was rendered suspicious like Islam because that is what is reflected in the practices of Muslims. If Muslims are indulging in corruption, violence, terrorism and casteism then certainly for non-Muslims and many Muslims it will be Islam that will be held accountable for not Muslims alone particularly if they proclaim that they are acting in the name of Islam. Similar is the case with Sufism.

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Also Read:   Political Ambitions Turn Sufis into Militants As Is Evident From the Behaviour of the Sufi Groups and Individuals of Middle East and Indian Subcontinent

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Without falling prey to the academic jargon about Sufism, many aspects that are problematic and unIslamic are least talked and criticized about Sufism. One fact that Sufis like Shias, take huge pride in claiming descent from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Most of their family trees run up to the Prophet (pbuh). Although the Quran has put an end to this discourse about being descendant of Prophet (pbuh) by observing that he is father of no male (Al Quran 33:40). But Sufi masters take pride in such a relationship, whereas belonging to a certain family is not a ticket to Paradise. Every Muslim is supposed to strive for his/her own salvation. Otherwise it will be following the Jews and Christians of Prophetic times who believed that they are the inheritors of Paradise (Al Quran 5:18). So taking pride in a family lineage and boasting about it is detestable in the eyes of God. God forgives anything but he does not forgive arrogance. So a person even with a pride as small as a mustard seed in his/her heart will not enter paradise. So Sufis should take note of this shortcoming.

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Also Read:   Real Sufis vs. Fake ‘Sufis': Sufism Once Known For Intellectual Progress, Self-Sacrifice and Spiritual Training Is Missing

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Even in India, Sufis and scholars like Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Ali Miyan) took pride in staking claim about belonging to the family of Syed Ahmad Shaheed, the founder of the Mujahideen movement in India. Ali Miya’s biography of Syed Ahmad Shaheed and his own autobiography running into multiple volumes makes it stark clear that he took pride in being descendant of Syed Ahmad Shaheed’s family, although for some that was not the case and Ali Miya just tried to appropriate the same.

Then we have the coercive and controlling behavior of Sufi Murshid or Pir who wants people to become his disciples not students, Murids not Muslims. The disciples are supposed to blindly follow the Sufi master without questioning something that Prophet Moses was supposed to do as he met Khizr. This blind following does not have a basis in Islam, even Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was not blindly followed by the first generation of Muslims known as Suhaba or companions of the Prophet. This surrender to God has been replaced by Pir in most Sufi Silsilas. Also questioning is abhorred, as he is supposed to be the embodiment of all knowledge and spiritual prowess. So anyone who dares to question, is shunted out and declared unfit for further training.

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Also Read:   Spiritual Proximity with Allah through Remembrance and Acceptance is Sufism

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Along with spiritual abuse, there can be physical or sexual abuse of boys, girls and women in a Sufi order. Many Sufi orders have retrograded to personality cults, so the disciples function in an institutional manner. They intermarry and are involved in various projects. With power, fame and money the sexual exploits of the Sufi cults get brushed under the carpet. If anyone dares to speak up they are thrown out and even declared as apostates.

Few years back a petty criminal adorned the garb of Sufism, started a cult and the Kashmiri masses respected him and attend to his sermons particularly in the Sufi and Rishi shrines of Kashmir valley. He was known to his followers as Gulzar Pir. Later it came to the fore that Gulzar Pir was involved in the sexual exploitation of his female students and disciples. When this sexploitation scandal got exposed he was arrested and later on released as the witnesses failed to prove a case against him. Now he is back in business of sermonizing and people do follow and listen to him. So the curious case of Gulzar Pir depicts that Sufi cult like any other cult is run on blind emotions and obedience. Hence they want to have followers who are mute, deaf and blind.

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Also Read:    The Politicisation Of Indian Sufism: What Has Created A Void Which Is Being Exploited By Radical Islamists?

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The construction of Sufism as something based on love only needs a further probe because there are internecine tussles among Pirs belonging to different Silsilas. They may not talk to others for decades and indulge in Takfir too. Then hatred is transferred among disciples and they hate each other. The tussles among Pirs and Murshids are as true as between mullahs and Maulvis. This too is an overlooked aspect about Sufism. So it certainly points out the fact that the Murshid who claims to be involved in the Tazkiya e Nafs of disciples is himself in need of purification to help him overcome the vices like anger, greed and Takfir. I am aware about the tussle between Sufi cults one who revere Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the greatest and other one who uphold Owais Qarni (R.A) as being the greatest lover of God, exaggerating his stature to that and beyond Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

So next time someone tries to paint Sufism as something parallel to Islam, stop and portray some grey areas too. This article is not meant to demean the role and contribution of Sufism as Sufism has helped Islam to spread, connect Muslims to God, taught humans to love each other and immensely helped societies develop better. But these dark and grey areas that crept within Sufism need to be identified too and that is the motive of this article.

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Also Read:    The Alternative to Violent Political Islam Is Pacifist Sufism That Brings Out and Implements the Real Values Of Islam

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A New Age Islam columnist, M.H.A. Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir


URL:    https://newageislam.com/islamic-society/spiritual-abuse-sufis/d/127561


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