|Sufism and the Perennial Conflict of Good and Evil|
|What the Prophet Brought|
|Umm ul-Ahadith, The Hadith of Jibril|
|The Relationship between Shari‘ah and Haqiqat|
The Relationship between Shari‘ah and Haqiqat
Understanding the distinctions that separate these three components of religion, we can then turn to the relationship between Fiqh, the science of jurisprudence, and Tašawwuf, the science of Iħsān. To understand this relationship, it is useful to consider the example of prayer.
The science of fiqh teaches us that we must perform our prayer in full accordance with the rules of the Shari'ah, including all of the prescribed actions, invocations and intentions. This is known as jassad aš-šalāt, the body of the prayer. Included in these is the requirement to keep the heart in Allah’s Divine Presence and to know that Allah is observing you during the entire prayer. The external form of the šalāt is its body, and the humility and self-effacement, khushu, is its soul, or rūħ. This is the essence of the prayer, but we know from our own experience that people sometimes perform the outward actions of šalāt without this inner awareness in their hearts. The one who performs the outward actions of šalāt without maintaining this awareness of the Divine Presence is like a zombie.
As the soul needs the body in which to live, so too does the body need the soul to give it life. The proper relationship between Shari'ah and Haqīqat is like the relationship between body and soul. The perfect believer who has reached the state of Iħsān is the one who can conjoin Shariah and Haqīqat.
That is why Imān came directly after the five pillars of Islam in Umm al-ħadīth which defined al-aqāid — the doctrine of Islam. If Imān is strong, then one can ascend to the third level, which is moral excellence — the state of Iħsān. Imān is the mindset of belief, itiqād fikrī. Imān is a theoretical belief that requires strong character to accept. Imān needs a booster. That booster is the spiritual dimension of the self. Returning to the story of Cain and Abel, we see now that Cain was arrogant and his faith was weak. These diseases of the heart led him to kill his brother and lie to his Lord. He fulfilled Allah’s Order to make a sacrifice, but his intention was impure. His story is important, for it shows us that one can perform the outward acts required by the religion and still fail to fulfill the attending obligations because those actions lack sincerity and are, therefore, not accepted.
Consider the case of one who performs his obligatory prayers, but while doing so conspires in his mind against his brother or sister. Will his prayer be accepted? A Muslim who prays and fasts but does not have a purified soul and does not have a qalbun dhākiran, a heart that remembers Allah, but instead gives himself over to all kinds of pleasures and desires - one who never knew humbleness, or sincerity, or struggles in the Way of Allah – his heart is dead, although he performs his prayers. He is a Muslim in appearance, but not in reality. What is the benefit of a dry prayer that has no soul in it and no life? In such a person Islam becomes weak and faith becomes weak because there is no warmth, no shawk, no love, no yearning, no emotion, no fear, no compassion. That one is no different from someone who is not a Muslim.
وعن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ( آية المنافق ثلاث . إذا حدث كذب وإذا وعد أخلف وإذا اؤتمن خان وإن صام وصلى وزعم أنه مسلم . (مسلم
Abū Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said, “A hypocrite has three distinguishing signs; first when he talks he lies; when he makes a promise he breaks it; and when something is entrusted to him he misappropriates it. And [this is the case] even if he prays and fasts and considers himself a Muslim.”
How many Muslims today observe all five pillars, yet when they speak they lie; when they make business deals they cheat and when they enter politics they are deceitful. Such people make promises they do not keep, and they feel no remorse in eating the money of other Muslims. Such a person, even if he offers the prayers and keeps the fast, and considers himself a pious mosque-attendee, is still a hypocrite.
عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ السَّاعِدِيِّ، اَنَّهُ قَالَ مَرَّ رَجُلٌ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ لِرَجُلٍ عِنْدَهُ جَالِسٍ " مَا رَاْيُكَ فِي هَذَا ". فَقَالَ رَجُلٌ مِنْ اَشْرَافِ النَّاسِ، هَذَا وَاللَّهِ
حَرِيٌّ اِنْ خَطَبَ اَنيُنْكَحوَاِنشَفَعاَنيُشَفَّعَ. قَالَ فَسَكَتَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ثُمَّ مَرَّ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " مَا رَاْيُكَ فِي هَذَا ". فَقَالَ يَا
رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَذَا رَجُلٌ مِنْ فُقَرَاءِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ، هَذَا حَرِيٌّ اِنْ خَطَبَ اَنْ لاَ يُنْكَحَ، وَاِنْ شَفَعَ اَنْ لاَ يُشَفَّعَ، وَاِنْ قَالَ اَنْ لاَ يُسْمَعَ لِقَوْلِهِ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " هَذَا
خَيْرٌ مِنْ مِلْءِ الاَرْضِ مِثْلَ هَذَا ". (البخاري
Abūl-Abbās Sahl ibn Sa'ad as-Sa'adī relates that a person passed by the Holy Prophet and the Prophet asked one of the Companions that was sitting with him: “what do you think of this man, who has just passed this way?” The companion replied, “He is one of the noblest (or gentlest) of men, and by Allah, if he proposes marriage with any woman, his proposal should be accepted, and if he should recommend, his recommendations should prove effective.” And the Holy Prophet kept quiet. Then another man passed by and the Prophet asked, “What is your opinion of this man.” The companion replied, “He belongs to the class of poor Muslims. If he goes for marriage his proposal will be turned down; if he were to intercede on behalf of any person, his intercession would be rejected; and if he were to speak nobody would listen to him.” The Holy Prophet said, “If everyone in the world were like the first man, this man would be better than them all.”
The first person described is someone highly respected in the community. The second person described is an indigent of no apparent consequence. But the first is proud and arrogant, and full of all sorts of bad manners, while the second is humble and sincere. Although both pray, fast, give charity and do hajj, their actions will be weighed in accordance with what is in their hearts. Again, we find the same dichotomy that separated Cain and Abel.
These ahādīth of the Prophet , narrated by authentic sources, demonstrate that Islam requires more than just outward adherence to its five pillars. It also requires us to overcome the diseases of the ego and approach those acts of worship with sincerity and purity of heart. If we do not, all that we have done in the way of worship may come to naught and we may face disaster of Judgment Day, for Allah said:
وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَى مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاء مَّنثُورًا
And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in this life), and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about.