Before you read: Remember, you don’t need to be a zealous ‘Salafi’ (of the Hizbi type) to oppose and call out the falsehood and heresies of deviants who masquerade as traditionalists. Salafi-burnout has caused some to fall into other extremes. Be aware and don’t become a tool.
Many if not most forms of Sufism (pseudo-Sufism really) today have nothing in common with the Sunni ‘Tasawwuf’ of the Salaf and no learned Muslims – including myself – let alone the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wa al-Athar deny the Sunni type of ‘Tasawwuf’.
‘Tasawwuf’ of the Salaf: Purification of the self (Tazkiyah al-Nafs) from all that is other than the remembrance and obedience of Allah; the realisation of Ihsan (spiritual excellence) and Zuhd (asceticism) based on the Qur’an and the Prophet guidance of the Sunnah.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah explained the practices and customs of Sufism in multiple Fatwas. He gathered all these Fatwas in one volume entitled Kitab al-Tasawwuf (the book of Sufism). In his fair and balanced approach, he praised the Sufis for their good and critiqued their deviancies.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
With regard to the word Sufiyyah/Tasawwuf (Sufism), it was not known during the first three generations, rather it became known after that. [Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 11/5]
This is why many – if not most – Salafi/Athari scholars reject the term, however, nobody rejects its correct and intended meaning.
Tasawwuf’s/Sufism’s evolution (to the worse) resembles that of Rafidism (Tashayyu’/Shiism). Shiism, like Sufism, started innocent (political alliance to ‘Ali/Bani Hashim), however into devolved into a cocktail of heresies of the worst kind, a separate religion really like in the case of Imamism (‘Ja’fari Madhhab/school of Ahlul-Bayt/Twelverism that is nothing but paganism with a thin guise of Islam).
Heretical forms of Tasawwuf are anything but rare, from Morocco to Indonesia you can find Batini (esoteric) grave/tomb/shrine obsessed pseudo-Sufi indulging in all forms of ridiculous and foolish rituals under the pretext of ‘traditional Islam’, ‘spirituality’, and of course anti-Wahhabism.
I could tell you hours of stories of my life when I used to be a Rafidi and how the Rafidah – with all their opposition towards the Sufis – always championed them and paraded them as ‘true and real Sunnis’. You can guess why they are after all united in their excessive glorification of the Ahlul-Bayt/Awliya and the graves and shrines and from personal experience I can tell you that many (if not most) ‘ex-Sunnis’ who accepted Rafidism are of a Batini-Quburi (grave-venerating) Sufi background and this is why the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah state:
Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki (died in 2004) was a Sufi or Moroccan descent and was one of the remaining callers to Shirk in Hijaz, Saudi Arabia. He is highly revered by the extremist anti-Salafi Barelvi Quburi Sufis of the Indian subcontinent and he himself has highly praised them and their founder (which is quite telling for any person of who has been gifted with Basirah).
Al-Jifri is just one of the many rotten fruits of Ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki who is regarded as one of the top scholars of the Sufis of the 20th century. From among the teachings of Ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki are:
The belief in the obligation of Mawlid al-Nabi (celebration of the Prophet’s birthday).
The belief that Allah created mankind, the heavens, and earth solely for the Prophet (ﷺ). Similar anti-Quranic beliefs (that are justified with mental gymnastics and were hold by some of the Khalaf) are of course found amongst the Rawafid who of course add a dozen Imams to it.
The belief that the soul of the Prophet (ﷺ) attends the gatherings (majalis) of the Sufis, like in Mawlid.
The belief that the Awliya can be called upon for madad (help) just as done in the Church and in Rafidism (who also add the cop-out, clause, ‘with the permission of Allah’ i.e. the saints are not acting independently/with Istiqlal).
Ibn Arabi the extremist Sufi and pantheist is great scholar and Muslim.
Of course, like many Sufis, he propagated numerous flimsy and weak narrations (a hallmark of Sufis) in order to justify seeking help from the Prophet (ﷺ), Ahlul-Bayt, and Sufi saints.
He was refuted by many scholars, among them al-Allamah Shaykh Abu Bakr Al-Jaza’iri (lecturer in Masjid al-Nabawi in Madinah), Shaykh Safar al-Hawali, and others than them.
Sameer bin Khaleel Al-Maliki, one of his very own family members who refuted one of Ibn ‘Alawi Maliki’s Shirki books
جلاء البصائر في الرد على كتابي شفاء الفؤاد والذخائر” لـ سمير ابن خليل المالكي وهو أحد أقرباء محمد بن علوي المالكي
Hatim al-‘Awni – The ideological descendant of the defeated Sufis of Hijaz
Hatim al-‘Awni teaches at the Saudi university of Umm al-Qura and is undoubtedly a man of knowledge and it would be unfair to put him in the same category of extremist Quburis.
From his calamities (other than his Istiqlali-‘Aqidah) are his alliance with oppressors and criminals of our time.
A beautiful Arab proverb says:
الطيور على أشكالها تقع
Which can be translated as Like attracts like.
It wasn’t too long ago (2016) when the ‘Sharif’ al-‘Awni attended the ‘Sunni unity conferences’ under the shade of the lapdog of Putin, also known as Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, an extremist Sufi and a rabid anti-Salafi pawn of Russia.
While Hatim al-‘Awni was chilling with his Sufi friends under the shade of a conference that was organised by Putin’s lapdog, the Russian army was waging one of its heaviest campaigns on Syria.
Did I mention that at this conference, it was agreed (Iran and Russia were happy) that only the Ash’aris and Maturidis are Ahlus-Sunnah? Well, that’s what Hatim al-‘Awni supports and this man is whom the likes of Yasir Qadhi look up to as great scholars.
The aforementioned is not really what the opponents of al-‘Awni have an issue with. The problem is that in their view Hatim al-‘Awni is the reviver of the essence of the Murji`i Sufi Da’wah of his people i.e. the issue of Istiqlal.
Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki himself propagated that major Shirk has ceased to exist in the Ummah of Muhammad (ﷺ), an erroneous belief based on a Hadith that even the opponents of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab (like his own brothers, Sulayman) have misused to this very day.
Now it should be no surprise why Yasir Qadhi utters what he has been uttering recently:
And there is much more to say and to write about the Awnists and their spiritual fathers, the Quburi Batini Sufis of Hijaz and those upon their creed like many Asha’irah Sufis and the disturbed London-based Saudi al-Mis’ari who instead of fighting the excessive veneration of the graves and Awliya/Ahlul-Bayt by the Quburiyyah, claims that Quburism itself is a khurafah (!) and hallucination of the ‘Wahhabis’.
I’d love to take this deluded man one day on a Rafidi tomb/shrine pilgrimage tour and see if he’d still have the audacity to claim such nonsense that is far from reality and can be debunked by every person who once lived the Quburi life (like myself). but that’s another story for another time.
For those who understand Arabic, I recommend watching the following refutations of Hatim al-‘Awni and more refutations in the English language are apparently in progress by some brothers.
And here a recently released refutation in English of Yasir Qadhi (who is upon the ‘Aqidah of al-‘Awni) by Shaykh Abdul-Rahman Dimashqia: