Resources / Seniors of Islam

Al Imam Al-A’zam And Sufism*

We will discuss “Al- Imam al-A’zam and Sufism” but there are few unsolved issues here. One of the issues is what is Sufism? There are different kinds of Sufism. There are practices that over time spread over continents throughout history. This is one issue. Even if this community agrees that they are Sunnis the second issue is that Sufism is a matter concerning a person’s personal life. Personal lives are confidential, and may not be known entirely. Because Sufism is a path of piety that includes their worship, and because they were taught to abstain from ostentation, hypocrisy and conceit in their worship, the elders always wanted to conceal their spirituality. In fact such Sufis, arifs have emerged that they intentionally portrayed themselves as exiled. They deliberately portrayed themselves as worthless so that they wouldn’t be popular among the people. They concealed themselves behind screens. Far from praise, they began to like being criticized, and behaved in a way that would invite criticism. They concealed themselves until the end of their lives, they tried not to reveal, expose or declare their spirituality so that the virtue of prayers wouldn’t diminish, and there would be no decrease in their good deeds.

Translations in other Languages

Prof. Dr. M. Es’ad Coşan (Rh.a)

I have been asked to discuss “Al- Imam al-A’zam (The great Imam) and Sufism.” Suddenly I found myself confronted with the task of explaining about Al- Imam al–A’zam (May ALLAH be pleased with him) and Sufism. This is quite a difficult task. Only the jeweler can know the true value of jewelry. How can we duly describe this blessed man?

We will discuss “Al- Imam al-A’zam and Sufism” but there are few unsolved issues here. One of the issues is what is Sufism? There are different kinds of Sufism. There are practices that over time spread over continents throughout history. This is one issue. Even if this community agrees that they are Sunnis the second issue is that Sufism is a matter concerning a person’s personal life. Personal lives are confidential, and may not be known entirely. Because Sufism is a path of piety that includes their worship, and because they were taught to abstain from ostentation, hypocrisy and conceit in their worship, the elders always wanted to conceal their spirituality. In fact such Sufis, arifs have emerged that they intentionally portrayed themselves as exiled. They deliberately portrayed themselves as worthless so that they wouldn’t be popular among the people. They concealed themselves behind screens. Far from praise, they began to like being criticized, and behaved in a way that would invite criticism. They concealed themselves until the end of their lives, they tried not to reveal, expose or declare their spirituality so that the virtue of prayers wouldn’t diminish, and there would be no decrease in their good deeds.

For example, everybody knows that Omer Nasuhi Bilmen (rahmatullah alaihi) Efendi was the Mufti of Istanbul and the President of Religious Affairs but who knew that he was also a member of the Sufi order?! A few people know, but generally it was unknown. Why? Because this blessed man concealed it. Did he conceal this because he was afraid? No. Maybe he was afraid but only of Allah, only of hypocrisy. That’s why he concealed this. “This is an intimate act, this concerns an individual’s personal life, it’s between the servant and Allah.” That’s why he concealed this. I also didn’t know, when I heard from my elders I was surprised. While he was serving beside the Mufti of Istanbul who was also a khalif, one of our Sheikhs, he began to follow him but nobody knew this. I am explaining this now because he passed away. May his soul rest in peace.

When explaining about “Al- imam al- A’zam and Sufism” we must consider what we are going to say, and how we should portray this. We will explain Sufism, then we will reveal the information written in the books about his personal life, qualities and appearance. Then everybody can judge the results for themselves. Of course, we may also say the context of this judgement is so and so.

What is Sufism? Sufism is the most honorable of Islamic sciences. The honor of this science is related to its content and subject. As the aim of Sufism is the knowledge of Allah, to know Allah, then Sufism is the most honorable of Islamic sciences.

Scholars gave various descriptions of Sufism. In a book on Sufism it is stated that “honorable so and so compiled about two thousand descriptions on Sufism in his book.” I haven’t seen the book, but I read that narrative. I am curious about that book, I want to see what these descriptions are. He compiled two thousand descriptions. Who knows, maybe each one of them mentions favorable, appealing points. Certainly, every scholar’s description and opinion is valuable.

Sufism is disciplining both the soul and desires; this means having good morals; performing good deeds (amal-i saliha) according to the apparent and hidden conditions.

Sufism is the essence of Islam, the necessity, the result and manifest of Iman. It is the apparent aspect of Islam.

Of course, it’s been 14 centuries since the time of our Prophet (pbuh) and the present, and as Islam spread over the four or five continents of the world, people of every city have different tastes, enjoyments, traditions and cultural levels so the practices of Sufism can have a difference in views from Egypt to Khorasan, from Yemen to Anatolia or in Balkans, Algeria or in Tunis. Then if we ask, “What is the basis, the essence of this?” Essentially Sufism is a discipline of state not a discipline of words. Sufism is not words it is action. It is not a theory, it is a lifestyle, an application in every aspect of life. It is not just discipline, it is the application of knowledge and actions through knowledge.

Man must act according to what the Qur’an commands; adopt the morals of our Prophet.

كَانَ خُلُقُهُ الْقُرْآنَ

Kaana khuluquh al-Qur’an.

“His character was the Qur’an.” [1]

Sufism is being Ahl al Quran (People of the Qur’an), being a Muslim who totally complies with the Sunnah; being a perfect Muslim. Of course, when being a perfect Muslim, complying with the practices of the Messenger of Allah it is essential to be totally absorbed in the knowledge of both the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet. When we study the lives and the biographies of the Muslim saints and the great Sufis we see that they all made great efforts in the fields of hadith, Quran, fiqh, tafsir and not only understood but also grasped and absorbed the essence, nature and mystery of Islam.

For this reason a friend of Allah once said “Mattahazallahu waliyyan jâhilâ wa lattahaza la!allemahû” “ Allah does not assign ignorant guides. Allah never adopts ignorant friends and makes him His representative. If Allah wants him to become His friend (awliyauallah). Allah teaches him.” He becomes an Arif, learns the essence of Islam, follows the Quran , the Prophet (pbuh) and his sunnah and performs these practices perfectly. Therefore, Sufism is actually the path of Quran and the Prophet (pbuh).

If Sufism is the path of Quran where does this originate? When study this, the main subjects of Sufism are Marifetullah (knowledge of Allah), Askhullah (loving Allah) and Muhabbetullah (love of Allah). Look at Yunus Emre’ s poetry, Mawlana’s works, they are all about the love of Allah. What did Eshrefoglu say?

The fish is alive only in water

O God, don’t expel it from the lake[2]

If the fish leaves water it dies, it cannot live. Never allow me to deviate from loving You, from Your path. Just like the fish suffocates out of water, if I am ever deprived of You or loving You, I will be destroyed.

We began to read about the life, the works and words of Sari al-Saqati in Tabaqat al-Sufiyya. In the work he supplicated;

“O God! O God! Whatever punishment You may inflict upon me, do not punish me with being veiled from You.” [3] One of the common characteristics of all Sufis is knowledge of Allah and being overwhelmed with the love and affection for Allah in accordance with that knowledge; living with love and affection for Allah. So what is the evidence of this?

It is stated in this verse of the Qur’an in reference to the battle of Badr.

مِنْكُمْ مَنْ يُرِيدُ الدُّنْيَا وَمِنْكُمْ مَنْ يُرِيدُ الْآخِرَةَ

Minkum man yureedu addunya waminkum man yureedual-akhirata.[4]

Ye companions of Prophet Muhammad! Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter.” Some of them said “Let’s attack and capture the Quraysh’s caravan, block their path, seize their goods as booty. The property of disbelievers is booty for the Muslims, let’s seize it.” But some didn’t desire worldly goods and property. They thought “We should do what Allah approves. If we have been ordered to fight, then we will fight. The disbelievers will be defeated, and disbelief will be eliminated.”

In another verse revealed in reference to Hajj:

فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ

Famina annasi manyaqoolu rabbana atina fee addunyawama lahu fee al-akhirati min khalaq .

And among the people is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world,” and he will have in the Hereafter no share. [5] They are only after this world. And it continues, those who supplicate:

وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

“Rabbana atinafee addunya hasanatan wafee al-akhiratihasanatan waqina AAathaba annar.”[6]

“But among them is he who says, "Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter (that which is) good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.")

According to the verses, there are believers and disbelievers among the people. The hypocrites are also mentioned in verses of the Qur’an. They are essentially between the two, according to the circumstances they take a stance where they can be on one side or the other. Bu there are some referred to as: Yureedoona wajhahu “those who call upon their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His countenance.” [7]

For example, in Surah Al- Kahf it reveals:

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا

Wasbir nafsaka maAAa allatheenayadAAoona rabbahum bilghadati walAAashiyyiyureedoona wajhahu wala taAAdu AAaynaka AAanhumtureedu zeenata alhayati addunya walatutiAA man aghfalna qalbahu AAan thikrinawattabaAAa hawahu wakana amruhu furuta.[8]

Allah advises our Prophet (pbuh) not to compliment those who seek only worldly benefits, those who are arrogant and conceited, to ignore their proposals, but only be among those who supplicate night and day to their Lord; those who seek His countenance, and be persistently patient in worship and obedience on the path of Allah. There is clearly also a group that Allah loves because they prayed and beseeched night and day with their devotion, their love and affection for Allah. In which case the Ashab al-Suffa and prominent of Ashab al-Qiram are from this group. As the Prophet was told “Be among them, be in their company, don’t pay attention to proposals from the others, they want other kinds of gatherings, they despise and contempt the poor but actually the poor are the sincere ones , they are Allah’s beloved servants, the proposals of the other is meaningless and unfounded, do not comply with them”, these are obviously the most superior.

Knowing and loving Allah; this is one of the themes in Sufism.

Purifying nafs (Tazkiya-i nafs): there is an entity in mankind called nafs (soul). This entity,

إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي

Wama ubarri-u nafsi inna l-nafsa la-ammaratun bil-sui illa ma raḥima rabbi .

“Indeed, the soul is a persistent enjoiner of evil, except those upon which my Lord has mercy..” [9] According to this verse this state of nafs is known as “nafs al ammarah” (the inciting nafs). It persistently commands evilness, it constantly compels the heart saying “do this, do this, do this” with delusions and instigation, continuously oppressing the person.

They call the nafs “ego”, “I” and “self” … Allah (swt) commanded that the nafs must be disciplined, and indicated this in the Quran.

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا

Qad aflaha man zakkaha. (He has succeeded who purifies it) [10]

It was commanded in this verse and other verses of the Qur’an. Purifying, disciplining and restraining the nafs from evil and sin is obligatory. This is a duty incumbent on every human. Ibn Abidin clearly stated this in his book. But this is common knowledge. This is something that is clear, and there is no need for any debate on the subject. This is one of the duties in Sufism.

Purifying the heart (tasfiya-i qalb): The heart is not simply a piece of flesh, it is the essence of spirituality. We call it the soul, a human must also purify his soul. A poet once said;

Purify the heart from everything until it attains the manifest of Allah

The Sultan will never visit the palace of the heart until it attains prosperity

Sür gider ağyârı dilden tâ tecellî ede hak.

Padişah konmaz saraya, hâne ma‘mûr olmadan. [11]

This is an excellent couplet. Our elders always attested and related this. We also like this couplet.

Eliminate the strangers, idle thoughts, ambitions and everything mortal from your heart and leave nothing but Allah. Do not keep these in the palace of your heart. If the palace is not beautiful, prosperous then the Sultan will not visit the palace of ruins.” In the same way that when the padishah of the time traveled from one place to another, if he visited a town, if he was to be welcomed in the most beautiful mansions, palaces or even be a guest at someone’s house, then it would have been swept, dusted and cleaned, if you want the manifestation of Allah in your heart, you must first purify your heart. The heart also needs to be cleaned and purified. The heart must be purified from worldly ambitions, worldly thoughts, worldly ideas and insignificant pleasures of the mortal realm. A person’s heart is must be purified, cleaned.

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said;

“When a believer commits a sin, a black spot appears in his heart. If he commits another sin then another black spot appears. Every time he commits sin the black spots increase. And eventually the heart blackens.” [12] If we imagine this as a mirror, a mirror full of stains cannot give a reflection. It needs cleaning. Sometimes these stains increase to the extent that the heart suffocates, it becomes as hard as a rock, sometimes even harder than a rock. Even a rock can be beautiful, but a heart of such is even worse than a rock. Its owner;

أُولَئِكَ كَالْأَنْعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ

Ulaika kal-anʿami bal hum aḍallu. “… are like livestock; rather, they are more astray.” [13] Hearts of such must be cleaned, polished, the rust must be erased. This is also one of the duties in Sufism.

Tahzib al-akhlaq: Correcting morals, expelling bad habits/morals, acquiring good morals is a necessity. Good morals are what make humans beneficial within the society. Bad morals are what make humans harmful members of the society.

أَكْثَرُ مَا يُدْخِلُ النَّاسَ الْجَنَّةَ تَقْوَى اللَّهِ وَحُسْنُ الْخُلُقِ

Aksaru ma yudhilu’n-nasa’l-jannah taqwa’llâhi wa husnu al-khuluq.

 “Righteousness and good character is what enters most people into paradise.” [14] Bad morals are the cause of most people entering the hellfire. Of course, even if people have faith and proclaim Lâ ilaha illallah, they will still enter hell for a while to suffer the punishment of their bad manners and evil actions. In which case, a person can go to hell and waste all their deeds due to bad manners.

إِنَّ الْحَسَدَ يَأْكُلُ الْحَسَنَاتِ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ النَّارُ الْحَطَبَ

The hadith Inna’l-hasada wa’kulu al-hasanat kama ta’kulu’n-nar al-khataba [15] is an example of this. The sense of jealousy can be the means of a human wiping out his good deeds; can lead to the extinguishment of deeds. This is why it is necessary to correct, improve our morals.

We know that humans have a zahir (apparent) and batin (hidden) form; he has an interior and exterior aspect. We do not take into consideration a person’s outer appearance. Our Prophet also said:

“Allah does not look at your bodies or your forms but He looks at your hearts and your actions.” [16] According to our traditions no matter how well-dressed a man is, for example if he comes and asks for our daughter in marriage, of course he is going to be well-dressed, he is a prospective groom, he must be well-groomed and well-dressed. But we do not take his outer appearance into consideration, we make inquiries. “Who is this guy? Where did he graduate? What kind of person is he? What about his friends? His morals/character? Does he come from decent, trustworthy family?” We inquire into his inner world, whether he has a good character or not. It is the same while searching for a bride, we do not marry immediately because someone says “so and so girl is very pretty.”

 In fact the Prophet gave advice on this topic:

“A woman is married for four things, her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So try to marry the religious.”[17] Is she religious, is she pious? This is what should be taken into consideration.

While Umar ibn al-Khattab was patrolling at night he was passing by a house and heard a mother telling her daughter.

“O my daughter, get up and mix that milk with some water.”

The girl said, “But mother, did you not hear the Commander of the Believers forbidding mixing water with milk?” The mother replied:

“Go and mix the milk with water; you are in a place where `Umar cannot see you.” The girl responded saying:

“Umar (ra) cannot see us but Allah surely sees us”

Allah destined Umar (ra) to be there at that moment so he heard the conversation. Then Umar (ra) confirms the location of the house, this house in so and so street. The next day he went to the house and asked for the girl in marriage for his son. [18] Why? Because he saw that the girl was pious, she feared Allah. He didn’t see her face, her features; whether she is crippled, blind, ugly, tall, dark, slim, short, blond, brunet or blue eyed? He had no idea, but because she was aware of the fact that Allah could see her, he wanted her to be his daughter-in-law. Then they would bare righteous children. This is the grandmother of Umar ibn Abdulaziz. [19] Certainly, if a child is raised properly in a decent family, his lineage would be decent too. We don’t look just the appearance of a person then put him in charge of cash register. We inquire about his character. Is he a thief, indecent, shameless, immoral or ill mannered? No matter how handsome or how well-dressed he is, if he is a rogue, a drunkard and bad mannered then we won’t trust him, we would not marry our daughters to him and would severe our friendship. Is this not true? Undoubtedly, everything has its apparent and hidden aspects. In terms of external appearance, even the prayers Allah commanded has apparent and hidden aspects.

There are fard(obligatory) duties both outside and during prayer. Wudhu (ablutions), Satr al-Awrah (covering necessary parts of the body), Al-Taharah min Al-Hadath (purification from spiritual impurity), Al-Taharah min Al-Najasah (purification of visible impurity) etc. the fard outside the prayers must be performed but Allah (swt) commands in Quran

إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ

Innama yataqabbalu l-lahu mina l-mutaqina- Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous (who fear Him).[20]

Which means Allah doesn’t accept the worship of everybody. He only the worships of the righteous. Piety is not an external condition, but an internal condition. It is not apparent externally, it is a matter concerning the heart. This means that in order for worship to be accepted it is also necessary to fulfill internal conditions.

It is stated in a hadith by our Prophet, “Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst.” [21] Why? They failed to maintain the spiritual conditions of fasting, they disobeyed these; they gossiped, looked at what is prohibited, lied, slandered… They failed to gain the reward of fasting. There is no benefit for them except being hungry and thirsty till the night. “There are some who pray at night and get nothing from it except a sleepless night.” [22]

Why? He prayed but he failed to comply with the spiritual conditions. These are hadiths. “And they would recite the Qur'an which would not go beyond their throats.” [23] He recites Qur’an, Qur’an curses him.

رُبَّ تَالٍ (قَارِيءٍ) لِلْقُرْآنِ وَالْقُرْآنُ يَلْعَنُهُ

Rubba talin li’l-Qur’âni wa al-Qur’anu wa al-anuhu. [24]

The Qur’an curses “May Allah punish you.” A person can deserve being cursed by the Qur’an. It is same for the fasting, prayers and Hajj. If a Muslim performs the hajj while not abstaining from immoral acts, fighting and disobedience, that is, with bad morals; disputing, conflict and quarrelling then his hajj is not accepted.

So worships have both internal and external conditions. This is what I am trying to explain. The point I am coming to: in this aspect there are also two types of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh).

  1. Fiqh al-Zahir (apparent) fıqh. The section pertaining to apparent judgements of fıqh.
  2. Fiqh al-Batin (hidden) fıqh. The section which explains the hidden conditions of the science of fiqh.

In the same way that a person performs ablutions (wudu) before the prayers, he must be careful to perform the prayer with total submission.

In the same way that a person abstains from eating and drinking while fasting, he must also avoid gossiping, spreading rumors and other bad habits. One must pay attention to abstaining from things mentioned in verses of the Qur’an such as lust, violence, anger as soon as he arrives for the hajj, even if he made the journey with lawful means. That is, he must know the spiritual conditions of every action and try to fulfil both the apparent and hidden conditions.

 Now we will talk about Al-Imam al-A’zam.

Of course, a person strives to be a perfect, sincere Muslim on the path depicted in the science of Sufism, he paid great attention to both the apparent (zahir) and hidden (batin) aspects of his actions, gave importance to his heart and appearance, purified his soul, beautified his thoughts, morals. So what would the result of this be? The result is attaining the level of being a servant loved by Allah. This is reaching the highest level of being the beloved servant of Allah. When Allah loves a person, He makes him loved by all His creatures. [25] Even the birds love him, the insects, camels and sheep love him. Only disbelievers don’t love him. Disbelievers do not like true believers due to their own spiritual incompetence, incapacity, the weak and the hypocrites do not love them. This is a law of nature. Since the time of Adam (pbuh) all the prophets had adversaries, enemies. In fact, there were some who murdered or stoned them. Some afflicted torture and hardships on them. It is obvious that they are the beloved servants of Allah, but the disbelievers were not privileged with this love. They are incapable of loving others, only believers, arifs and good people are capable of loving others. Because a jeweler knows the true value of jewelry, he only loves the good ones. The unfortunate, the miserable may not love believers. In view of this, in the same way that it is normal for a person to have many friends, it is quite normal, or in fact inevitable for believers to have enemies.

While some people were with a friend of Allah;

Pointing to a man, they said “He has no enemy.” He frowned and said;

“Then he is hypocrite.” A person without an enemy is a hypocrite. Because that means he flatters anyone; he agrees with both the good and bad.

A good person would stand up against evil. I underline this. What kind of a person are people with good morals? They may transgress, or be transgressed but they employ justice. They stand for the truth. They support the truth. They can even become enemies of all the people in the whole world to gain the pleasure of their Creator. Am I going too far? No. Was there a single person who loved prophet Abraham (pbuh) in his city? On the contrary they were worshipping idols, they didn’t like him. But he stood up against them all. He said bravely, courageously and openly “I will surely plan against your idols, I will destroy them all” [26], and he did. He destroyed their idols. What did they do? They become his enemy, they tried to kill and burn him.

It is natural for a human to have both friends and enemies. Especially when the person in question is Al Imam al-A’zam, and this is more important, so I will underline this three times, five times. A human can have enemies. Al Imam al-A’zam (ra) is our one of our greatest imams, yet despite his greatness he had many enemies. And this is quite natural. When a person speaks the truth, of course he would not be welcomed. He has nowhere to go. There are some Sufis who were even stoned. They were unable to stay their own towns and were forced to move. What is important, is to be loved by Allah, his angels and the righteous, the others are simply a trial. Even the prophets were subjected to such trials. When a person is beneficial to the society he becomes the beloved servant of Allah.

There is a hadith known as “Qurb al-Nawafil” (nearness by supererogatory worship). “My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him.

لاَ يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ

Lâ yezâlu abdî yetekarrebu ileyye bi’n-nevâfil. Allah (the almighty and sublime) said: “And My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his ear with which he hears, his eyes with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes and his foot with which he walks.” [27] Allah brings him to this point. Then He will grant him provisions in the desert, he will make him fly (ascend). He grants him Tay al-Makan (traversing the earth), Kashf al-Qulub(unveiling of the heart). Various miracles ((karamat) were manifested but they did not pay much regard to these. Miracles are a favor of Allah but it was never their objective. Their objective was gaining the pleasure of Allah. Miracles are a gift. These are a gift from Allah. As they received these favors the more they feared of Allah and his wrath, and displayed humility saying “Astagfirullah (I seek forgiveness in Allah),I am just a humble servant.”

In fact, Sari al-Saqati (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“I compare myself with all human beings. And I see that I am not superior to any of them, I see myself below them.”

They asked, “Even from the lowest and vilest?” He replied:

“Even from them.” [28]

Imam Rabbani also said, “I consider myself inferior to anyone.” He displayed humbleness. They believed “My worship is not worthy of Allah.” They say this with modesty, but they are blessed individuals. I am telling you this because when the time comes I will use this example in order to explain Al Imam al-A’zam. The favors granted to them by Allah will become apparent. Allah provided them support without armies. Allah provided them with daily sustenance even if they didn’t work in the marketplace. In the same way that Mary was provided with fruits and sustenance that were impossible to grow in that season. This is also revealed in the Qur’an.

كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِنْدَهَا رِزْقًا قَالَ يَامَرْيَمُ أَنَّى لَكِ هَذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Kullama dakhala alayha zakariyya l-miḥraba wajada indaha rizqan qala ya-maryamu anna laki hadha qalat huwa min indi llahi inna llaha yarzuqu man yashaʾu bi-ghayri ḥisab.

 “Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account.” [29] When a person is the beloved of Allah this is what happens. They become the caliph of Allah on earth. They are granted the greatest caliphate. Of course, not everybody knows this, but it was necessary to mention this even it was short and in only a few words. Undoubtedly, to be loved by Allah is the highest honor. They live as honorable servants, noble servants, as perfect humans. They are the pillars of the ummah of Muhammad (pbuh). As long as they live the Day of Judgement will not occur. As long as there are true servants of Allah proclaiming “Allah, Allah...” the world will not come to an end. Both they are at ease and the ummah can benefit from their knowledge, wisdom and existence. They become good people in every aspect. Such individuals become the source of light, prosperity, goodness and benefit from top to toe.

So let’s discuss Al Imam al-A’zam (ra):

We must become familiar with Al Imam al-A’zam according to the period in which he lived and his surroundings. In order to understand a person well, it is a necessity to know his environment, town and the conditions of that time. The essence of Sufism is to perform the most beneficial deeds for those within the society. Some of the Sufis even abandoned their voluntary worships in order to help those in need. As they were aware of what is more favorable in the eyes of Allah, they did what was required.

There is no ostentation or pretention on the path of true Sufism which is the path of those who seek knowledge. Those who observed from the outside immediately realize that there is no delusion and no deception. They don’t even like karamah (spiritual inspiration). Thus, a Muslim saint said “Men azhara keramâtihî fehüve müddein. Ve men zahara aleyhi’l-keramâtü fehüve veliyyün.” “Whoever strives to exhibit a miracle he is a liar. If a miracle is manifested through someone by the grace of Allah, he is a true saint.” [30]* Where he steps prospers, where he goes there is a pleasant environment, his words are influential, his glance is chemistry, and sometimes he can lead a person to the right path with just one word.

If miracles are apparent through him by the favor of Allah, then yes he is a true saint. When someone claims to be a miracle worker, this is wrong. Our elders made it a principle not to be alone but to be among people, to serve them, to be humble and conceal their spiritual status. Therefore, what are the points you have heard, and what we have learned from our elders on our path? A human can perform worship on a mountain top, in a cave, in a dervish lodge or in a cell. What is essential is being able to maintain, preserve one’s faith when we are among the society, when we are mixing with the community. That’s why they call this “Being with Allah among the people.”

رِجَالٌ لَا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ

Rijalun la tul'hihim tijaratun wala bayʿun ʿan dhik'ri l-lahi wa-iqami l-ṣalati waitai l-zakati yakhafuna yawman tataqallabu fihi l-qulubu wal-abṣaru.[31]

As signified in this verse, a person is among people, but his heart is with Allah. Even if he works, his heart is aware, that is, it is always with Allah. Even if he is earning money his heart is with his beloved, Allah. They avoid ostentation.

For example, as it was narrated about our elders “They never desired any special clothing or uniform, they wore what others did. They wandered around wearing clothing worn by madrasa students.” In tariqa this is a disposition, a source of joy, pleasure, it is a stance. I want to draw attention to this. Sometimes you cannot notice a Sufi from his appearance. He doesn’t want to be noticed, he makes no distinction in his clothing. They wander around reserved and calm as if to say “Allah knows, there no need for anybody else to know.” The principle of “being with Allah while among the people” is actually appearing like a common man but being with Allah by heart.

In addition, as earning halal money is extremely important, and the worship of those who earn money by haram means is not accepted, many Sufis made it a principle to earn a living from their own craftsmanship, many of the friends of Allah acquired a profession.. Some were manufacturers, some were butchers, some were herbalist and hardware merchants like Sari al-Saqati, he sold hardware; he sold old and maybe even invaluable things. Why did each of them acquire a profession? They didn’t want to be a burden on anyone, they wanted to earn a living and earn halal means. That’s why one of descriptions in Sufism description is “to be a lover not a burden.”

`Tasavvuf yâr olup bâr olmamaktır

Gül-i gülzâr olup hâr olmamaktır.[32] `

Sufism is being a lover, being friends and getting along with people. [33]

Sufism is “To be a lover not a burden.” It is helping people, not burdening them, not clinging to them like a leech. It is not trying to take advantage, not considering your own interests. He will be a friend, but never a burden. He will be like the rose in a rose garden but never a thorn. He will never trouble those around him. This is how Sufism is described.

This is the highest level, grade, the reality of Sufism. They avoided hypocrisy, adopted sincerity as a principle, avoided ostentation, made a point of earning a halal living, disciplined their nafs, improved their manners and attained knowledge of Allah. They spent their lives in a state of worship and obedience, they attained the grace of Allah. This is Sufism.

So when did Sufism begin?

Sufism began from prophet Adam (pbuh). All prophets conveyed Sufism, sincerity, true Islam. Of course, our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) conveyed Sufism with the most suitable provisions and in the most perfect way. Sufism is our Prophet. His way of life, his self-denial, concerns, piety, generosity and good manners.

That is why Sufi’s took Prophet Muhammad as a role model, they tried to imitate him. Whoever resembles him the most is the best Sufi. Whoever resembles him the least, abandoned the Sunnah, he is the most distant person from Sufism. Most of today’s Muslims are distant from the Sunnah; they are absorbed in innovations and distant from Sufism. The greatest examples of Sufism are in the life of our Prophet, then in the lives of the Sahaba and Ashab al-Suffa.

We know that our Prophet tied a stone on his stomach for days. We know that no food was cooked in his home and he spent a great deal of his time fasting. This was not because he was poor but because he was generous; he distributed whatever money, sustenance that came to him before the evening; even if it came in heaps, if they spread a cover and filled it with gold; he distributed the booty of war immediately; because he never kept anything for the next day, this is due to his good morals. Our Prophets faith in Allah; his total obedience in Allah’s commands are perfect examples in terms of sincerity. Sahaba al-Qiram is an example. Then after the Sahaba al-Qiram, is the order of Al Imam al-A’zam, then the group who saw the Sahaba. Most of them are the people whose conduct and lives are an example for Sufism, for the Sufis.

Sufism does not operate contrary to history. Sufis that lived in the seventh, eighth centuries were not going to comply with the others.

So who does everybody follow?

They follow the Messenger of Allah, the Qur’an and people who followed on the path of the Messenger of Allah. Therefore, the course of Sufism originates from the time of the Prophet to the century in which we live. Not from this century to the time of the Prophet. The aim is not to attempt to change the people of this period, make them adapt. We should understand this. Then we will understand what Sufism is.

One of Ali (ra) sayings is narrated as follows;

إن الحق لا يعرف بالرجال، أعرف الحق تعرف أهله

İnna al haqqa ta yu’rafu bi’rrijal, a’rifi’lhaqqa ta’rif ahlahu.

 “Do not try to learn about al Haqq by following others.” Someone said this, another person said this. This is not the right approach. “First learn about al- Haqq, then you will understand who is righteous, who is one of truth.” Then you will understand who is good or bad. “Such and such man wears a large turban; has a long beard, this imam wears a cloak, he is tall, he has many followers, he said this, he said that” this is totally wrong First, you learn the truth and see if what he says is correct, if he is telling the truth. Only then should you follow him.

Sufis are not an example of Sahaba, that’s what I am trying to say. The Messenger of Allah is the example for Sufis, the Sofi and the Sofi class. He is an example for all of us. After the Prophet, the Sahaba al-Qiram is an example for us. They were blessed students of the madrasas of the Prophet (pbuh). They are the most familiar with Islam. We should read and learn about their lives.

Then summallathina yalunahum (the generation after Sahaba al-Qiram), then Taba al-Tabi’in (the generation after). These are the generation of Al Imam al-A’zam. In centuries that followed, and in our period of course righteous servants of Allah will exist until the Day of Judgement.

لَا تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي عَلَى الْحَقِّ ظَاهِرِينَ

La tezâlü tâifetün min ümmeti ale’l-hakki zâhirine.

“Until the Day of Judgement, righteous servants who serve and protect this religion will always exist.” In every century there will be saints. People who speak the truth, stand on the side of the truth and support the truth. May Allah make us one of them. May Allah allow us to be among them. Allah always sends a saint as an example among the disbelievers. Allah also sends hypocrites among the Muslims as a trial. In the same way that Abu Jahl opposed our Prophet, in every era, every century the good and he bad will be together. In these trials, people must understand the good, be with the good, identify the evil and distance themselves from the evil.

So after these descriptions we can discuss the status of Al Imam al-A’zam!

If we gain insight into the matter, look deep into his importance, his soul then according to these descriptions we will see that Al Imam al-A’zam (ra) is one of the greatest Sufis.

Zuljanahayn fi zahiri wa al-batın, he was one of the most advanced scholars in both the apparent (zahir) and hidden (batin) sceinces. He was both knowledgeable and pious. He had knowledge and conveyed this knowledge. He taught during the day, and he would perform the morning prayer (fajr) with the ablution he performed for the previous night prayer (isha); he spent many years like this.

He is said to have performed hajj 55 times in his life. He spent his time in the most beneficial way.

So why was he occupied in trade? What if he wasn’t occupied in trade?

Being occupied in trade is a part of the spirit, the pleasure and the choice of a saint. Because there is a hadith that states;

التَّاجِرُ الصَّدُوقُ الْأَمِينُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ

al-Taiiru al-sadaqu al-amn ma’a -nabiyyina wa al-siddiqina wa-shuhada. “A trustworthy and truthful merchant will be raised up with prophets, the truthful, and martyrs on the Day of Resurrection.” Trade is important. There also other hadith:

الكاسب حبيب الله

al-Kasibu habibullah. “Whoever earns a living with his own hands is the beloved servant of Allah.” There are supplications about people who bring goods from one place and sell it in another place in need. These great Sufis choose trade as an occupation because they considered this as the means of being shaded under the shade of the divine throne (arş-ı ala) and becoming the beloved servant of Allah. They didn’t choose the worldly pleasures. Well, when we study the life of Abdullah ibn Mubarak (ra) who met Al Imam al-A’zam and can be classified as one of his students, we see that this blessed figure divided his time into three; he would go to hajj one year– he would set out from Khorasan, go to hajj then return, resting on the journey, stage by stage he would go for hajj then return; one year he spent on performing the hajj. One year he would go for jihad. He would travel to Anatolia, Tarsus etc. These saints strived to conquer these lands. And one year he would be occupied in trade. One; hajj a good deed, two; jihad a good deed, three; trading another good deed. That’s why he was occupied with trade but while he was doing all these, if he went for jihad or hajj he was always occupied with spreading knowledge, with education. In other words, he never wasted any of his time.

I will relate one of his epics. There was an encounter between the army of Islam and the army of non-Muslims, they want a combat. One of the armored non- Muslim soldiers steps forward and says “Is there anyone who has the courage to challenge me?” He defeats some of the Muslim soldiers. Finally, a veiled man stepped forward to challenge him. They fight. It is obvious that the man with the veil is a skilled fighter, but nobody knows who he is because his face is veiled, he kills the non-Muslim. Then another huge soldier comes before him. They fight, and the veiled man also kills him. The army is in uproar. Both sides are excited, they stand watching. They are standing in a line, the soldiers are watching the combat. Another soldier comes, the veiled man kills him also. Then another soldier comes… None of the others can challenge him because they could see he was a skilled fighter, he killed whoever came in front of him. Everybody gathered around him. They asked “Who are you?” No answer. One of them can’t resist anymore, he reached out and lifted the veil, they see it is Abdullah b. Mubarak (ra). He is a great scholar of hadith. He is a companion, a student of Al Imam al-A’zam, a great Sufi. At the same time he was a blessed man who was occupied in trade.

I would like to mention some of the aspects I’ve come across regarding the life and morals of Al Imam al-A’zam and his connection with Sufism. Al Imam al-A’zam was a brave man; he never hesitated to tell the truth. He showed great respect to the family (ahl al beyt) of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Because in that period the family of the Prophet suffered great injustices.

 After killing Abdullah ibn. Zubyr, the Umayyads bombarded Mecca, stoned the Ka’ba with catapults. Abdullah ibn Zubyr is also the nephew of Aisha (ra). Like himself, his father was also a Sahaba. They martyred him, they martyred Imams Hasan and Hussain (ra), the blessed children, grandchildren of our Prophet (peace be upon him).

They martyred them out of ambition for power, just because the people favored them for being the children, grandchildren of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the Umayyads killed them, their wives and children, and even the babies in the cradle. The tragedy of Karbala occurred. They bombarded Mecca, stoned the Ka’ba with catapults. The Umayyads did this. Then they got what they deserved. The Abbasids, that gained the rule by revolution to bring the Umayyads to account for their actions persecuted them in the same way. The Abbasids also didn’t want to lose power. They carried out the same persecution, and oppressed them. Al Imam al-A’zam always showed respect to the family of Prophet Muhammad. Once, when Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr (ra) was asked a question he said, “Go ahead, sit here, I will sit here, my respect towards you is how the Sahaba al-Qiram respected Prophet Muhammad.” “Sit down, what is said about me is not true, let me explain.”

Al Imam al-A’zam lived in the period of the Umayyads for 52 years and during the Abbasid rule for 18 years. The Ahlullah (chosen ones of Allah), Ahl al-Bayt were under the oppression of the tyrants, the governors. The rulers were aware of his devotion to the Ahl al-Bayt. On one occasion he was whipped, persecuted. So he was forced to move to Hijaz. Under the rule of the Abbasids, he was whipped, poisoned and martyrized. This is how he died.

They told him “We will make you the chief qadi (muslim judge), make you the head of the Supreme Court, we will give you the highest position”, but he refused.

Why did he refuse?

 He didn’t believe in the legitimacy of the other side. Because he believed that his reputation would increase their support, because he believed that he would be sinning by accepting this duty he refused and took the risk of persecution and torture. This shows his courage. He never negotiated on his moral beliefs.

Al Imam al-A’zam (ra) is an example for us. He never bowed to anyone. He ignored the persecution from the rulers. He was totally devoted to Allah and His Messenger. Although his love and devotion for the Prophet and his family caused him many hardships -this was related in a hadith; “hardship rushes more rapidly towards a person who loves me”- he continued on this path for the rest of his life. He was mutually acquainted with Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq. He was a follower of the imam.

In fact, it was narrated;- I, myself couldn’t verify this, when a person is professor in university you ought to deeply investigate, verify the main sources, search but one cannot find the time to do it all the time.- “if it wasn’t for the lost two years, Numan would have been perished.” In other words, he learned so much from the sermons of Ja’far al-Sadıq, he gained such satisfaction that he described these two years of sermons in this way, this is narrated in some books.

He sought the truth in everything, when he found the truth he committed himself. Once he was asked a question, he answered. But one man present said “No, in the time of Sahaba al-Qiram Umar (ra) gave this judgement on the issue” narrating the words of the Sahaba.

Then after a while, he asks the same question deliberately “I wonder if he is going to insist on his own opinion?” But he didn’t, he answered according to the report he was given.. When he heard the words of the Sahaba al-Qiram, he changed his own words…he never avoided committing to truth.

He was an extremely contented person. He engaged in trade, but he wasn’t an ambitious trader, his manner of trading was an example. He had a trade conception that totally avoided haram and anything doubtful.

A woman brought him a silk dress. And said:

“I am in need, I want to sell this, I will sell it for a hundred dirhams.” He looked at the dress and the woman.

He said: “Well madam, this is worth more than hundred dirhams, this is more valuable.”

He is going to buy it, but the woman gave a high price. He said “No! This worth much more.”

The woman said;

“Then give me 200 dirhams.”

“Madam, it’s worth more.”

“Well, then pay me 300 dirhams.”

“It is worth more.”

“Then, give me 400 dirhams.”

“Madam it is worth more.”

Eventually the woman said, “Are you teasing me?”

She was willing to sell the silk dress for 100 dirhams, now it worth 400 dirhams.

He said, “I am not teasing you, let’s call an expert, someone who knows its value.” So they called an expert and showed him the dress.

“How much is this worth”

The expert measured and examined the dress and said:

“It is worth 500 dirhams.”

So Al Imam al-A’zam paid the 500 dirhams and purchased the dress from the women.

Once he purchased two dresses for 21 dirhams. Or whatever the money was at the time… then sold one of them for 20 dirhams. Then a friend came.

He said, “That’s a nice dress, I’ll take this.”

Al Imam al-A’zam said “One dirham.”

“Are you teasing me? How can this dress can be one dirham?”

He said, “I bought the two dresses for 21 dirhams, I sold the other one for 20 dirham, and you are my friend I am not going to take profit from my friend, now take it for one dirham.”

He wasn’t a greedy man.

He gave great importance to entrustments.

He was extremely generous. He gave sadaqah for his mother and father every Friday. He always gave sadaqah to scholars and scholars of fiqh. It is reported that when there was a doubtful sale in the selling of goods, he gave all goods in that party as charity.

Once, 10, 20, 50 or whatever the number of woolen dresses had to be sold together. One of them was faulty. He told the salesman “There is a faulty dress among these, tell them and give it cheaper.” Later he asked about the dress. When the salesman told him “I forgot and sold them with the others.” He gave all the money he earned from that batch as charity.

Once he heard that some sheep had been abducted and brought to Baghdad. He asked those around him “How many years does a sheep normally live?” They said, “They live around six, seven years.” He never ate sheep meat for seven years, thinking maybe it was one of the stolen sheep. He had such taqwa.

He had a very religious life. He memorized entire Qur’an while he was a boy.

When he was asked a question, he searched the Qur’an in his mind and answered accordingly.

He read the Qur’an from beginning to end every day.

He fasted during the day and prayed during the night.

It was reported that he read the whole Qur’an sixty times during Ramadan.

He had great respect for knowledge and scholars.

He gathered his students, brought up an issue, listened to everyone’s opinion, evidence and he intervened where necessary. Thus, he confirmed tens of thousands of fiqh issues like an academy without being dependent on one person and these were written down by his students.

These became the sources of the Hanafi school of thought.

He was an extremely clever person. There are many reports regarding the alertness of his intelligence.

He reinforced his knowledge from the reports narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, Umar ibn al Khattab and Abdullah ibn Abbas.

He benefited from the great scholars when he went to Hajj, Medina Munawara and Makkah Mukarramah. He solved all the issues by consulting with his students in those classes and then he would come to a conclusion.

His morals were extremely appealing in every aspect.

After all this, we come to the conclusion that his knowledge wasn’t only professed, but that he was a perfect Muslim in his conduct, this was not only in his words but in his actions.

He was competent both in the apparent and hidden aspects of judgements and complied with the conditions of these judgements. He would comply with ihklas, sincerity and belief in the oneness of Allah, one of the pillars of Islam. He had piety (taqwa), according to imams of the order, more importantly he had abstinence (wara). According to Ahmad ibn Hanbal and some others he was unprecedented in terms of abstinence and piety. His generosity and excellence of morals was narrated. He was reputed for his submission to Allah and modesty. We know that when he went to door of claimant, he didn’t stand on the shadow of the door, but stood in the sun. They ask “Why?”

Because this man was indebted to him, even benefitting from his shadow would be a form of interest; it was said that he acted this way so that he wouldn’t benefit from his debtor in any way.

In the Naqshi order Qasım ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Siddiq is in our chain of successors. Then Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq is the next in the chain, followed by Abu al-Hassan al-Kharaqani, Bistami… Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, who was mentioned in the chain, was the grandson of the renowned Abu Bakr (ra) who was unprecedented in his piety, knowledge and abstinence. He met him.

He met Muhammad Baqi and Ja’far as-Sadiq. Ja’far as-Sadıq is also in the chain.

According to a report, while he was sitting with his students, Ibrahim ibn Adham passed by. He said; “Welcome o Sayyid (sir)!” to Ibrahim ibn Adham. The Arabs don’t use the word Sayyid for everyone. They only use the word Sayyid for the people of nobility, the honorable. Its meaning is similar to “Sir, highness”. He said words to the effect of “O Master, o esteemed sir welcome.” Ibrahim ibn Adham greeted him, thanked him and carried on walking. When he has gone;

His students asked “Why did you call such a dowdy man Sir?

His reply was recorded in famous books. It says he praised Ibrahim ibn Adham saying:

“We are occupied with the verses of Allah (swt) and the Hadiths of Rasulallah. He is only occupied with gaining the pleasure of Allah and Marifatullah (knowing, understanding Allah).”

Ibrahim ibn Adham (ra) is one of the great figures who abandoned his position and worldly desires and chose this path of piety with the spiritual signs. He worked during the day and gave the remainder of his earnings to his students and friends in the evening. There are many stories. May Allah grant him His intercession!

In conclusion, we can say that over the centuries all the Islamic sciences have evolved every form of knowledge has developed. For instance, hadith sciences, first they listened to the Messenger of Allah then these reports were recorded. There are reports that “Some of the companions of Prophet wrote down the hadiths.” Then these hadiths were taken from these companions (ra). Books were written and musnads (hadiths book named after the person transmitting them) were compiled according to the person who transmitted the hadiths..

Then they were divided according to the branches of fiqh. Certain topics were compiled together irrelevant of which Sahabi transmitted it. Then the famous hadith books emerged; Imam al-Malik’s, Imam al-Bukhari’s works were written.

There were also developments of this kind in tafsir, fiqh and other sciences. All these sciences were already known by the Messenger of Allah. Prophet Muhammad was the most excellent commentator of the Qur’an, the most excellent scholar of hadith, the greatest Islamic jurist, the most excellent worshipper, the greatest Sufi in all aspects, irrelevant of whatever Islamic science or knowledge it was he was the greatest.

Over the centuries, these sciences were divided into specialize branches. They were divided and spread out in the same way a tree grows from the roots and branches of a tree spread out and divide. Because it was becoming more difficult to learn all of the sciences, each person selected a specific branch in Islamic sciences and specialized in that particular subject..

For instance, today we know a person is a doctor, so we go to the doctor saying “My stomach is hurting, please give me some kind of treatment, a remedy.” He says, “I am sorry, I am not specialized to give you a cure, I am a cardiologist.” He doesn’t know about the stomach. Or you say, “I am itching here.” The doctor says “I am not a dermatologist.” This is normal to us; we are even pleased about this because each branch of science has a specialist. Our Prophet was a specialist in every science, Sahaba al-Qiram learned these sciences and knowledge from him.

After Sahaba al-Qiram, during the period of the Tabi’in (generation after Sahaba al-Qiram) these sciences began to divide into different branches. Al Imam al-A’zam learned Ilm al-Kalam (science of theology) and wrote a book. He studied Adilla al-Shariyya regarding marifatullah (knowledge of Allah) and wrote the conclusions of this in the book.

As a result, these books are the fruits of long studies; of culture, of science and a great effort. He had deep knowledge of Ilm al-Kalam in other word marifatullah and theology (aqida). Then he was fond of fiqh. As he learned that this is the most beneficial science for people, he focused more on this. He reached a position where he was advanced in explaining the reasons why deeds may not be accepted in both the apparent and hidden aspects of fiqh.

This means that, fiqh-i zahir/apparent fiqh, and fiqh-i batin/inner fiqh includes both being a scholar and Sufism. He received guidance, knowledge and benefitted greatly from the great scholars mentioned in our chain. Again, he also conveyed knowledge and guidance to the great figures mentioned in our chain. They followed him. There were Sufis who followed him. This means we can see he was occupied with all the sciences because he lived in the time when these sciences began to be divided into specific branches. In the meantime, he absorbed Sufism, the subjects of Sufism in depth in every aspect, exalted his morals to the most excellent level, disciplined his nafs in the most favorable way and reached the highest degree of marifatullah.

He also had karamah (spiritual abilities). A child was attending the majlis of Al Imam al-A’zam and learning knowledge there so he was unable to work and earn money. His mother came to Al-Imam al-A’zam and said;

“Leave my child. I am a widow, there is no one else to earn money. Leave him so he can go to work and earn money.” Al Imam al-A’zam said “Madam don’t try to take your child away, I will cover all your needs. The child is learning how to eat butter, honey with peanuts here.”

Many years pass. After a while that child, now Imam Abu Yusuf was sitting in the majlis of Harun-u Rashid, the caliph orders food and it comes before them. He sees there is butter, honey and peanuts.

When Harun-u Rashid said to him “Please help yourself, eat, even I don’t get to eat these all the time.” He laughed. When Harun-u Rashid asked him, “Imam Abu Yusuf, why are you laughing?” he replied

“My teacher told my mother this when I was still his student, that’s why I laughed.”

It proves that was inspired and could foresee what would happen in the future.

Thus, he saw a person who was performing ablutions and watched him, he never told him there was a defect in his ablutions;

He said, “Son, respect your mother and father, please them.”

To everyone’s surprise, he was rebellious towards his parents. He had spiritual inspiration.

He dreamt of Allah (swt) on many occasions. It may be asked “Did he really see Allah or not?” I don’t want to go in detail, but I want to continue by giving sound reports and evidence that nobody can reject. He saw the Messenger of Allah many times in his dreams.

He is one of our highly respected elders who had the honor of seeing Allah (swt) in his dreams many times and who was granted many great favors.

May Allah grant us his intercession! May Allah make us steadfast on his path, make us duly appreciate him; grant us the favor of being his neighbor in the gardens of paradise. May Allah grant us the known and unknown favors of this world and the hereafter. May Allah protect us from evil both in this life and the afterlife; grant us knowledge of religion. May He grant us the ability to perceive the truth as the truth and falsehoods as false and protect us from falsehoods. May He grant us the strength to ignore oppression; not to be deviated from the true path because of the oppression of the disbelievers and hypocrites; adherence on the path of Allah, and to live and go before Him as His beloved servant.

May Allah make us His beloved servants! May He grant us the favor of being people of the Qur’an and Sunnah! May Allah grant us with the intercession of His Messenger. May Allah grant us the favor of serving the ummah of the Prophet in the most excellent way; include us among the group of the fortunate with the intercession of the Qur’an and the Prophet in the hereafter. May He protect us from His wrath, suffering and punishments. May He protect us from entering hell; allow us to pass as Sirat like lightening, protect us from the daily hardships. May He grant us the favor of being among those shadowed by His throne.

May He grant us the blessing of learning and abiding by the Qur’anic laws. May the Qur’an be our guide in life, our companion in the grave, intercession in afterlife, our light across the Sirat and our means of entering paradise. May Allah grant us with prosperity in this world and the hereafter in all which is both known and unknown to us. May Allah protect us from the known and unknown evils of this world and the hereafter. May Allah have mercy on us and our elders, and grant us light in our graves. May Allah exalt them in position. May Allah accept our prayers with His grace and favor like we are His most beloved servants praying at the most favorable times and in the most blessed places!

*Tarihî ve Tasavvufî Şahsiyetler: İstanbul: Server Publishing, 2015, 4. Edition, p. 81-112.

[1] Ahmed b. Hanbel, Müsned, VI, 91, 163, 216, hadith no: 24645, 25341, 25855; Buhârî, el-Edebü’l-müfred, s. 115, hadith no: 308; Taberânî, el-Mu’cemü’l-evsat, I, 30, hadith no: 72; Beyhakî, Şuabü’l-îmân, II, 154, hadith no: 1428.

[2] Eşrefoğlu Rûmî Dîvânı, p. 374.

[3] Sülemî, Tabakâtü’s-sûfiyye, p. 51.

[4] 3/Âl-i İmrân, 152.

[5] 2/Baqara, 200.

[6] 2/Baqara, 200.

[7] 6/En’âm, 52; 18/Kahf, 28.

[8] 18/Kahf, 28. “And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect”

[9] 12/Yusuf, 53.

[10] 91/Ash Shams, 9. “He has succeeded who purifies it.”

[11] Fort he poem of Şemseddîn-i Sivâsî look. Sivas Şehri, p. 132.

[12] An anecdote proving that that this belongs to our Prophet couldn’t be found. But this is belongs to Ibn Mes’ud. For the statement narrated from Ibn Mes’ud look . İbni Ebî Şeybe, VI, 159, hadith no: 30322; Beyhakî, Şuabü’l-îmân, V, 400, hadith no: 7204.

[13] 7/A’râf, 179.

[14] For the hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah (ra) look . Tirmizî, “Birr”, 62, hadith no: 2004; Ahmed b. Hanbel, Müsned, II, 442, hadith no: 9694.

[15] For the hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah (ra) look. Ebû Dâvûd, “Edeb”, 52, hadith no: 4903.

[16] For the hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah (ra) look. Muslim, “Birr”, 33-34; Ahmed b. Hanbel, Müsned, II, 284, 539, hadith no: 7814, 10973.

[17] For the hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah (ra) look. Buhârî, “Nikâh”, 16; Müslim, “Radâ’”, 53.

[18] Umar (ra) married his son Asım. They had a daughter named Ummu Asım. Ummu Asım married Abdulaziz b. Mervan. Umar b. Abdulaziz born to world from their marriage. look. İbni Asâkir, Târîhu Dımaşk, 70, 252-254; İbnü’l-Cevzî, Sıfetü’s-safve, II, 203-204; IV, 441.

[19] İbni Asâkir, Târîhu Dımaşk, 70, 252-254; İbnü’l-Cevzî, Sıfetü’s-safve, II, 203-204.

[20] 5/Mâide, 27. “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him].”

[21] For the hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah (ra) look. İbni Mâce, “Sıyâm”, 21, hadith no: 1690; Ahmed b. Hanbel, Müsned, II, 373, 441, hadith no: 8843, 9683; Dârimî, “Rikâk”, 12, hadith no: 2720; Nesâî, es-Sünenü’l-kübrâ, II, 239, 256, hadith no: 3249, 3333; İbni Huzeyme, III, 242, hadith no: 1997; Ebû Ya’lâ, el-Müsned, XI, 429, hadith no: 6551; İbni Hibbân, VIII, 257, hadith no: 3481; Hâkim, I, 596, hadith no: 1571. The translation of the hadith: “Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except wakefulness.”

[22] Look at the previous footnote.

[23] For the hadith narrated from Abu Said al Hudri look. Buhârî, “Enbiyâ”, 9; “Tevhîd”, 23; Müslim, “Zekât”, 143.

[24] It is been stated that this narration is belongs to Enes b. Malik. But it couldn’t be found in the hadith sources. Âlûsî, Rûhu’l-meânî, III, 79; Gazâlî, İhyâ, I, 274; Kuraşî, Abdurrahman b. Ali, et-Tezkira fi’l-va’z, s. 81.

[25] For the hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah (ra) look. Buhârî, “Bed’ü’l-halk”, 6; “Edeb”, 41; “Tevhîd”, 33; Müslim, “Birr”, 157; Ahmed b. Hanbel, Müsned, II, 267, 341, 413, hadith no: 7614, 8481, 9341.

[26] 21/Anbiyâ, 57. For the verses about Prophet Abraham look. 2/Baqara, 124-136; 6/En’âm, 74-83; 21/Anbiyâ, 51-69; 37/Sâffât, 83-109.

[27] For the heresay narrated from Abu Hurairah (ra) look. Buhârî, “Rikâk”, 38; İbni Hibbân, II, 58, hadith no: 347.

[28] Sülemî, Tabakâtü’s-sûfiyye, s. 49-50.

[29] 3/All İmrân, 37. “Every time Zechariah entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, "O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you?" She said, "It is from Allah . Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account.”

[30] Fort he statement belongs to Muhammed b. Ulyân en-Nesevî look. Sülemî, Tabakâtü’s-sûfiyye, s. 418.

[31] 24/An Nur, 37. [Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turn about -.”

[32] For seeing the whole text with explanation look. Eraydın, Tasavvuf ve Tarîkatler, p. 568-573.

[33] The speech is longer, but the recordings possess this much.

Article “İmâm-ı Âzam ve Tasavvuf” Prof. Dr. M. Es'ad Coşan (Rh.a.)