Mawqif A’immat al-Harakat al-Salafiyyah min al-Tasawwuf wa ‘l-Sufiyyah by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz al-Makki: Book Review

mawqifIntroduction by Bilal Ali Ansari

The great Imam Nu’man ibn Thabit Abu Hanifah, or al-Imam al-A’zam (or the Grand Imam), divided fiqh into three categories. According to his definition of fiqh, which meant simply “understanding one’s rights and responsibilities”, the highest level of fiqh consisted of a sound comprehension of authentic creed. This level of fiqh he termed al-Fiqh al-Akbar, or Major Fiqh.

According to the Imam, the lowest level of these three categories, al-Fiqh al-Asghar (Minor Fiqh), covered legal rulings, or ahkam. In other words, in relation to rank of importance, creed held the first position while legal rulings, or what we call fiqh today, held the last.

Above this last category of fiqh, Imam Abu Hanifah positioned al-Fiqh al-Awsat. This medium level of fiqh was defined by the science of perfecting one’s character and esoteric attributes, in other words: purification of the soul.

This level of fiqh, preceded only by the science of ‘aqidah (creed) in importance, has enjoyed many labels over the centuries. Some people called this Middle Fiqh tazkiyah or taziyat al-nafs. Others called it fiqh al-batin. Still others called it tasawwuf. Whatever the label happened to be, however, the goal and purpose remained the same.

Unfortunately, however, as certain labels began to share association with the troubling actions of some who claimed adherence to them, the word tasawwuf began to suffer the same collective guilt syndrome that Islam is now afflicted with today.

It is due to this unfortunate association that today tasawwuf and sufis have a bad name. In particular, many Muslims who attribute their creed and fiqh to the pious Salaf – and then label themselves therefore “Salafi” – have an allergy, as one of my teachers would call it, for tasawwuf.

This book tackles the issue of tasawwuf from the angle of those who are considered the “Imams of the Salafi movement”. The author, a respected student and deputy of the great hadith master, Shaykh al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandhalawi (may Allah have mercy on him), has collected a large number of quotations from the books of Imams Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, and Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab (may Allah have mercy on them) and proved through their own sayings that they supported tasawwuf and sufis, if even only in concept.

Over three hundred pages, the book is a must for every student of the science of tasawwuf, especially for those seekers who are faced daily with a barrage of objections from shallow-minded literalists who attribute themselves to the Salaf.

Online PDF version of Mawqif A’immat al-Harakat al-Salafiyyah min al-Tasawwuf wa ‘l-Sufiyyah

11 thoughts on “Mawqif A’immat al-Harakat al-Salafiyyah min al-Tasawwuf wa ‘l-Sufiyyah by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafiz al-Makki: Book Review

  1. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    Just thought I’d point out that the PDF is not complete. The final page is not included. The final page mentions where the book was completed and a few other bits of information.

    Ismaeel

  2. Jazakumullahu Khairan for the great introduction, Maulana Bilal.

    I hope this kitaab can be translated into English for a wider readership, so that the layman can grasp the importance of this al-Fiqh al-Aswat.

  3. Assalamualikum Warahmatullah Brother Musa,

    I hope you are in the best of spiritual states and Iman. Your comment about Dr. Akram An Nadwi being Salafi/Athari is very misleading and misinformed. To absolve Dr. Akram Nadwi from such a charge I have copied and pasted his bio from the Turath publishing site ( http://www.turath.co.uk/tp/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=67&Itemid=28 ).

    “Dr Mohammed Akram An-Nadwi

    From the Indian city of Jaunpur, Shaykh Akram began is pursuit of knowledge at the prestigious Nadwatul ‘Ulama (Lucknow, India), under the tutorship of Shaykh Abul Hasan Nadwi, specializing in hadith and fiqh, subjects that he also taught at the same institute. He has a doctorate in Arabic Language from Lucknow University, India.

    As a leading scholar steeped in traditional Islamic learning and in modern academia, Dr Akram is currently a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford.

    He is a Muhaddith (Scholar of Hadith) who specialises in ‘Ilm ul Rijal or the study of the narrators of Hadith. He has Ijaza (licenses) from numerous scholars including Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Shaykh Abdul-Fattah Abu Ghuddah and Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.

    He has written over 25 books, in Arabic, in the fields of hadith, fiqh, Islamic biography, and Arabic grammar and syntax. He has recently completed a 40-volume biographical dictionary of the Muhaddithat, the women scholars of hadith. The muqaddimah (Introduction) of this work has been translated into English under the title al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam .

    Turath Publishing are very fortunate to have Dr Akram working closely with us on many of our publications, including the Kitab al Athar of Imam Abu Hanifah and The Garden of the Hadith Scholars . We are also very fortunate to have translated into English Madrasah Life a personal memoir of his days as a student at Nadwat al-Ulama.”

  4. Assalamu Alaikum

    Actually I’ve heard from many people that Dr. Akram Nadwi is Athari in Aqeedah. Note that an Athari is a legitimate school of aqidah, as Al-’Allaamah Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Saffarani says, and Maulana Palanpuri says in his commentary on Shah Waliullah’s Hajjutallah al baligha, the aqeedah of ahlas sunnah wal-jama’a are three–the Ash’aris, Maturidis, and Atharis.

    The Atharis should NOT be confused with the salafis, who are mujassimin. For example, the Psudo Salafi, Ibn Uthaymin states that Allah sits on his throne with his essence (bi dhatihi). He and his predecessors Ibn Taymiyyah, ibn al Qayyim, and their modern Wahhabi cohorts such as ibn Baz, Albani, etc were steeped anthropomorphism, where they actually explained Allah’s attributes literally, even though they denied explaining them. The Atharis were the ones who actually practiced what they preached, as they refused to explain the Attributes of Allah. Thus, Atharis such as Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn Aqil, Ibn Qudamah, and others were part of Ahl as Sunnah wal-Jama’ah as understood by our a’immah. So if Nadwi is an Athari, that should not matter much.

    Wallahu A’lam

    • Assalamualikum Warahmatullah,

      Jazaka’Allah brother for your concise reply. Yeah, I should have clarified that. I took bro Musa’s comment to be a reference to the modern day pseudo salafis, when Athari was concurrently used with Salafi. I was wondering, if Nadwatul Ulama were Athari as well? I heard some one telling me that Nadwa is Athari.

      Anyways, from what I have read so far from Al Fiqh et al. is it safe to say: Athari school is a subset of Ashari/Maturidi schools, aka the standard schools of aqeedah minus the Kalam?

      Also, as far as attributes of action are concerned, since Imam Al Atham defines the attributes in two, do Asharis and Maturidis hold the same opinion as the Atharis that these words in the ambiguous verses refer to attributes of action?or, is it only the Atharis hold them to be Attributes of Action?

  5. Ask Sh. Nadwi if he thinks the Salafis are ‘mujassimin’. He considers himself an Athari in a long line of atharis including the four imams and later scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah.

    Okay, so the word ‘salafi’ has other connotations, e.g. the staunch opposition of (some of) them towards madhhabis/tasawwuf. However, the Hanbalis have always been atharis, since the time of Imam Ahmad, through to Saffarini, Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani, Ibn Qudamah, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Abdil-Wahhab, Ibn Baz and al-‘Uthaimin. The only significant exception to this seems to be Ibn al-Jawzi, who was an anomaly among the Hanabilah.

    Regardless, Sh. Akram Nadwi, as far as I know, is of the same ‘aqidah.

    Atharis are not a subset of kalam schools, since the latter came afterwards, whilst athariyyah, by definition, was taken from the statements of the salaf.

    P.S. Uthaymin never said Allah ‘sits’. I heard this from a Habashi (a takfiri sufi), whose logic concluded that since the English translation contained the word ‘sit’ whilst the original Arabic did not, surely the translation explains Uthaimin’s true intent. The mind boggles…

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