The Deviated Concepts and Practices of Soofism in Reference to Tawheed of Allaah – Dr. Saleh as Saleh

Third Part-Concepts and Practices of Soofism

(A) In Reference to Tawheed of Allaah, the Most High.

The belief in the Oneness of Allaah (Tawheed) means to single out Allaah with creation, sovereignty and control of affairs, with all worship, and with whatever names and attributes He has affirmed for Himself or upon the tongue of His Messenger and as they befit His Magnificence. The proof of this is in many texts from the Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah. One of them is the saying of Allaah, the Most High:

[Allaah is] the Rabb of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, Ar-Rahmaan (the one whose Mercy encompasses everything), so worship him alone and be patient and firm on his worship, do you know of any who is similar to Him? [Qur’aan, Soorat Maryam, 19:65]

So Tawheed centers upon three types:

1-Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah (Tawheed of Lordship): Singling out Allaah with creation, sovereignty and control of Affairs.

2-Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah (Tawheed of Worship): Singling out Allaah with all worship such that no kind of worship could be offered to anyone or anything besides Allaah.

3-Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat: Singling out Allaah with whatever names and attributes He has affirmed for Himself in His Book, or upon the tongue of His Messenger. So the believer affirms what Allaah has affirmed for Himself, and denying whatever He has denied from Himself, without Tahreef (changing and distorting their meanings), without Ta’teel (denying or divesting Allaah of His Attributes), without Takyeef (describing how they are), and without Tamtheel (likening them to those of His creation).

This true belief in Tawheed is not the “Tawheed” of the foremost Soofis. Their Tawheed reflects different creeds and is considered by many as “hidden knowledge” which may be only attained by the elite:

01 – Al-Hulool:[13] In mystic Soofism it refers to the Divine incarnation in the so-called Soofee saints.

Imaam ibn Taymeeyah classified the Hulool into two kinds. The first is the specific hulool like the claim of the Christians that Allaah is incarnated in ‘Eessa (alayhi assaalm) and like that of the extremist Shee’ah and Soofee mystics who claim that Allaah is incarnated in ‘Ali ibn Abee Taalib (radhi Allahu anhu) and in special Soofee saints, respectively. The second kind is the general Hulool and it is the saying that “Allaah, in His Essence, is everywhere.” [14] 

Amongst the most daring Soofis who held to the concept of incarnation was Al-Hallaaj [15] who was tried for his heresy and put to death by the ‘Abbaasid authorities. Ibn ‘Ajeebah (1224 AH/1809 C.E.), one of the leading Soofis who explained the Hikam of the mystic Ibn ‘Ataa (d. 709AH/1309 C.E.) related that Al-Hallaj said: “I am You without doubt Subhaanak is Subhaanee. Your Tawheed is my Tawheed and disobeying You is disobeying me. Glorified be He whom his Naassoot (creation, human qualities) made manifest the secret of His shining and piercing Laahoot (the Divine).[16] He then appeared in His creation manifested in the image of the one who eats and drinks. Even His creation was able to see Him with their own eyes like the moment an eyebrow sees an eyebrow [emphasizing certitude].” [17] Ibn ‘Ajeebah added, “And because of the unraveling of such matters and other similar ones, Al-Hallaaj, may Allaah be pleased with him! -was killed.”[18] These matters according to Ibn ‘Ajeebah and other mystics should not be disclosed. They are the secrets of their Tawheed.

02 – Some see Allaah as the only existing being.

This is stressed by Al-Ghazaalee, may Allaah forgive him, in his book Ihyaa ‘Ulum ad-Deen. He said: “Anyone who does not see Allaah in everything, then he sees ‘other’ than Him,” and that “The pure Tawheed is to see in everything nothing but Allaah subhanahu wa ta’aala.” [19]

The meaning of such “Tawheed” is that there is one existing being and that is Allaah. The one who sees an existence other than that of Allaah is the Mushrik (who commits Shirk). Al-Ghazaalee explained the perfect understanding of la ilaaha illa Allaah as: “To see none except the One, the Truth,” and that this represents the “perfect state of Tawheed!” He referred to a state of “Tawheed,” “witnessed by the sincere ones and which the Soofis call Al-Fanaa’ (annihilation) in Tawheed” as the one in which, “Only One (i.e. Allaah) is seen in the entire existence.” Al- Ghazaalee stresses that the utmost objective of Tawheed is to see, “Al-Kull (everything) not as Katheer (many), but as one,” and that this “represents the objective of the (Soofee) knowledge known as Kashf,” and that, “The secrets of this knowledge should not be recorded in a book.” He defined the Mushrik as the one, “Who affirms the existence of ‘an existence’ besides that of Allaah” and that Allaah is, “The witness and the Witnessed, the one loving dearly and the Beloved, and He is the Shaakir (the one who is thankful) and the Mashkoor (The One Who deserves acknowledgment and recognition)…”[20] This is not true Tawheed in which the believer knows well that Allaah is distinct and separate from His creation, rather this is “Wahdah” (unity).

The Doctrine of Wahdat Al-Wujud. This is neither Hulool (indwelling of Allaah in creation) nor Ittihaad (union between Allaah and the created), rather it means that every creature that the eye sees is Allaah in essence. This concept of the Unity of Existence is held by many of the so-called Soofee saints (Awliyaa’) like Ibn Al-Faarid (d. 632AH/1235 C.E.), Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 638AH/1240 C.E.), Ibn ‘Sab’een (d. 669 AH/1270 C.E.), Al-‘Afeef At-Tilmisaani (d. 690 AH/1291C.E.), Ibn Masheesh (d. 622 AH/1225 C.E.), An- Nabulusi (d. 1143 AH/1731 C.E.), and others. Under such concept, the presence of creation is an illusion or an imagination. Many Soofis consider Ibn ‘Arabi the Greatest sheikh and the symbol of the concept of Wahdat Al-Wujud. He considers the Soofee who knows of Allaah (‘Aarif billaah) as the one who “Sees Allaah in everything, rather he sees Him the essence of Everything,” [21] and that “He (Allaah) is the Essence of Existence” [22] Ibn ‘Arabi considered all kinds creeds to be true and he believed in them all. This is his “Unity of Worship”: Creatures have held [certain] tenets regarding the Ilaah And I have believed in all of what they have believed in.[23]

He also said: “Be careful not to restrict yourself to a particular (or distinct) creed and deny everything else otherwise you would miss a great deal of good. Rather you would miss knowing the matter as it is. So, be within yourself an HexhqKy (Hayouli: A substance) for all the forms of creeds, for Allaah is Greater than being limited by one creed and excluding another.” [24]

The books of Ibn ‘Arabi contain many statements in which he considers everything worshipped on earth is Allaah [25] and that his heart “turned to accept every image”; it became “a monastery for monks, a home for idols, the Ka’bah of the Taa’if (the one in Tawaaf), the Tablets of the Torah, and the book of the Qur’aan…” [26]

This is only a very brief presentation on the position of mystic Soofism regarding the belief in Allaah Who is High above what they attribute to Him. Imaam Ath-Thahabee rahimahullah said regarding the book of Fusoos Al-Hikam of Ibn ‘Arabi: “If there is no Kufr in it [Fusoos], then there is no Kufr in this world!” [27]


[13] Hulool: lit. “settling,” “alighting,” “lodging,” “descent,” and by extension “incarnation”. The most common definition is that it refers to the doctrine of Divine incarnation in the human form.

[14] See Al-Fataawaa, vol. 2, pp. 171-172.

[15] Al-Hussein bin Mansoor Al-Hallaaj (d.309 AH/922 CE).

[16] Laahoot and Naasoot are terms of Christian origin referring to the dwelling of the Laahoot (God) in the Naasoot (i.e. ‘Eesaa alayhissalam)!!!

[17] Ibn ‘Ajeebah in Eeqaath Al-Himam fee Sharhil Hikam [Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Al-Ma’rifah], p. 156.

[18] Ibid, p. 156.

[19] See Ihyaa’, V. 1, p. 288.

[20] Ihyaa’, V. 1, 288, V. 4, pp. 86-87 and pp. 245-247.

[21] Ibn ‘Arabi’s Fusoos al-Hikam [Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Al-Kitaab Al- ‘Arabi, 1400 AH/1980 C.E.], p. 192. He claimed that his Fusoos was recommended by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) for the people to benefit from it!

[22] Ibid, p. 109.

[23] Imaam Ath-Thahabee’s Taareekh al-Islam, p. 354.

[24] Ibn ‘Arabi’s Fusoos, p. 113.

[25] Ibn ‘Arabi’s Al-Futoohaat Al-Makkiyyah, 3:248. Ibn ‘Arabi claimed that Al-Futoohaat Al-Makkiyyah was “Divinely dictated” to him. [See Masaadir At-Talaqee, p. 277 quoting from Ibn ‘Arabi’s Al-Futoohaat Al-Makkiyyah 3:456.]

[26] From Ibn ‘Arabi’s Deewaan Turjumaan Al-Ashwaaq wa Muhaadarat Al-Abraar, p. 402, quoting from Kashf Haqeeqat As- Soofeeyyah by Mahmood ‘Abd Ar-Ra’uf Al-Qaasim [Ammaan, Jordan: Al-Maktabah Al-Islamiyyah (2nd. edition), 1413 AH/1992 C.E.], p. 152. Masaadir At-Talaqee ‘Inda As-Soofeeyyah, by Saadiq Saleem Saadiq (Riyaadh, KSA: Daar Ar-Rushd, 1415 AH/1994 C.E.), pp. 35-37 and 62-94.

[27] Siyar ‘Alaam An-Nubalaa’, 23:48.

Posted from :  Sufism : Origin and Development – Dr. Saleh As-Saleh

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