The Shadhili Path
The path of Tasawwuf is generally understood to be the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. It is a complex entity which have broken down into digestible chunks so you may reap the rewards of following The Shariah and the Sunnah of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him :
What Is Tasawwuf
Tasawwuf is a branch of Islamic knowledge which focuses on the spiritual development of the Muslim.
Allah sent His final messenger, Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him, as a source of knowledge for the entire ummah. He was the fountain of Quran, Hadith, tafsir, rhetoric, fiqh, and so on. After the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, the scholars of this ummah carried and propagated each of these branches of knowledge. Because no one person can attain the perfection of the Prophet (S.A.W), who single handedly assumed all of these roles, various branches of the Islamic sciences developed. For example, Imam Abu Hanifah preserved the science of fiqh and after him thousands of scholars continued in his footsteps. Hence these scholars preserved the fiqh of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him. Similarly Imam Bukhari and the other famous scholars of Hadith, preserved the words of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him. The scholars of tajweed preserved the recitation of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him . And, the scholars of Arabic grammar preserved the language of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him.
Along these lines, the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him was the model of spirituality for the world. His God-consciousness, deep spirituality, acts of worship, and love for Allah were preserved and propagated by an Islamic science called Tasawwuf. The aim of the scholars of this science was purification of the heart, and development of consciousness of Allah through submission to the Shariah and Sunnah.
How is Tasawwuf Related to Sufism?
Studying the life of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, the scholars who propagated the science of tasawwuf understood that a requisite for approaching Allah was abandonment of the common pursuits of the world. They often wore wool because of its simplicity and low cost. In Arabic the word for wool is suf and thus, those who wore it became known as the Sufis. Another possible derivation of the word comes from the root word safa, which means “to clean.” Because the scholars of tasawwuf focused on cleansing the heart, they later became known as the Sufis.
I Thought That All One Needs Is The Quran And The Sunnah?
It is true that the Quran and the Sunnah are sufficient. However, at the same time it is also true that a teacher is required to master any subject. If the Quran was sufficient, then Allah could have easily sent the book without a messenger. However, he sent the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him as a model of the Quran so that people could directly learn from his example. This then became the method of learning for each of the Islamic sciences. For example, each hadith that Imam Bukhari compiled in his collection of hadith is directly linked to the Prophet through a continuous chain of narrators. Thus, each person in the chain must have learned from someone and must be able to state who that person was. Similar requirements are present in other branches of Islamic science as well. The science of tasawwuf is no exception.
The Shadhili Tariqa
The Shadhili Tariqa is one of the many branches of Sufism, founded by Abu-l-Hassan ash-Shadhili. The main emphasis of the tariqa may be characterised as attachment of the heart to Allah Most High.
Sufism is an in-depth, spiritual science that involves itself with direct knowledge of Allah. This science can lead you from the limits of your egoic self (or the nafs) to the limitless secrets of Truth (al-Haqq) that exist inside you – leading to the Truth of who you are.
The Shadhili Sufi Way supports you to live your Truth as the path as a part of the world; with your family, in your job, through acts of kindness and caring, and through the helping of anyone who needs help; to see the Truth (al-Haqq) inside everything. As Allah has said, “if you love Me and wish to do right by Me, then love your brothers and sisters and do right by them”. In this way, everything becomes a prayer, whether taking out the rubbish, playing football with your son, kissing your spouse, closing the business deal, eating dinner, or sitting quietly in contemplation.
What Is The Goal Of The Student The Shadhili Tariqa?
The goal is complete submission to the Shariah and Sunnah in order to attain purification of the heart and soul and to develop a true, deep, and lasting connection with Allah.
Is It Mandatory That I Learn And Develop My Spirituality Under A Shaykh?
A Shaykh of tasawwuf spends years in training in order to develop his character, mannerisms, daily schedule, outer being, acts of worship, and knowledge under the guidance of a spiritual master. They learn the essence of worship and practical implications of abandonment of the mundane life of this world from those who are models of god-consciousness. Further, they often spend years mastering the Islamic sciences of Hadith, Quran, tafsir, fiqh, etc. Each aspect of their training further connects them through chains of scholars to the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him who, of course, was sent to connect creation to their Lord.
When you enter the company of such a Shaykh, their knowledge and extensive experience allows them to assess your spiritual state and hence, advise you on the best “medicine” to cure the diseases of your heart. Just as a doctor is trained to cure physical ailments, so the scholars of tasawwuf treat the maladies of the diseased heart.