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::Assalamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatu:::Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings::

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hasan al Basri- His knowledge on Tasawwuf

Assalamualaykum warahmatullah wabarakatu,
Bismillah Hirah'manir Raheem.
Allahuma Sali'ala sayidina Muhammadin nabiyil ummi wa 'Ala ali wa sahbihi wa salim.

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Taken from part of the article on Hasan al Basri Rahmatullah Alayh found on
His Knowledge of Tassawuf

Of all his mastery in the Islamic sciences, Hassan al Bisri rahmatullahi alayh was particularly known for his knowledge in 'Ilm ut Tassawuf', (science of purifying the heart). This science deals with the inner spiritual state of individuals, and so it is also the most difficult.

The concept of Tassawuf seems strange nowadays too many people because it is seen with so many changes and corruptions attached to it. As written in the earlier article, labels can be misleading. People flee due to misconceptions and lack of understanding. And naturally, if people observe a phenomenon that is forbidden according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, then indeed that particular practice should be rejected.

Unfortunately, people reject the entire concept of Tassawuf based on a few deviant individuals or sects. It is just like how some people may look at us and see our ill behaviors. Upon this, they exclaim, "You are a Muslim! If that is Islam, then I want nothing to do it" and then they turn away from Islam. Looking at our mistakes, they think Islam is awful and reject the whole concept of Islam based on our actions. Of course, this is incorrect.

Tassawuf is referred to in the Qur'an as "Tazkiya" (purification of the heart). Allah (swt) mentions this in the Qur'an as one of the four responsibilities of Rasulullah (saw): "And purify them! (Wa you Zaki him)" The study of this field is called "'Ilm ut Tazkiya" and in hadith, it has been called "Ihsaan."

Let me present a simple example regarding Tassawuf. Imagine that you love sweets and have heard people speak highly about a particular dessert. One day, this irresistible dessert is presented before you. You are ecstatic and get up to quickly wash your hands to eat. However, upon returning you are surprised to find many flies sitting on the dessert trying to taste its sweetness. Now you've lost your appetite. You don't even want to look at this sweet anymore because all the flies around it have ruined it.

Finally, one day you see the same dessert in a bakery, preserved from all the filth and flies. You quickly run inside the store, purchase the dessert, thank Allah (swt) for the blessing, and start enjoying its sweetness. So, seeing the dessert with flies made you turn away from it, and seeing it pure and clean, made you love it. And this is exactly what happens today in the field of Tassawuf.

Ilm ul ihsaan is a necessary part of our deen and discussed in hadith. In a hadith narrated in Sahih al Bukhari, Rasulullah (saw) was once asked by Jibreel (al) different questions about Islam. One of those questions was, "What is Ihsaan?" Rasulullah (saw) responded, "Worship Allah as if you see Him."

Subhanallah; imagine the dedication and focus it takes for a person to reach that level of Imaan where he feels he is in the presence of Allah (swt), looking at Him directly.

Rasulullah (saw) further went on to say, "And if you can't do that, then at least be aware that he is watching you." Even arriving at this realization, which is of the lesser degree than the former is a difficult task for many of us. Most of the time, we forget that Allah (swt) is watching us and we go on to commit great mistakes. Developing this feeling is the main goal of Tassawuf. Hassan al Bisri rahmatullahi alayh was on the true and correct path (Sulook). And he specialized in the true Ilm ut Tassawuf. He wasn't, nauzhobillah, committing bida'ah or going away from deen. This is why many of the greatest people of their time (who even knew more hadith than him) were sitting around him, benefiting from his company (sohba).
Wassalamualaykum warahmatullah