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Reforming the Esoteric Self (Baatin)

Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi

Man should search his inner self while he tries to mind his external appearances. The aim should be to ensure that both his outward and inward self is pure and good. Like the Sufis, spoiling one’s outward appearance in consonance with the condition of the esoteric self is haram or taboo. Commiting a sin in the open is worse than doing it in private.Confronting a superior will bring more of his displeasure than privately planning against him and talking ill of him at his back. The Islamic Shariah doesn’t permit such acts. It is said that Allah doesn’t like criticizing anyone on his face or in the open. But the oppressed can criticize the oppressor.”

Wearing the Woolen Blankets
Using wollen blankets as raiment has received lots of praise in the Sunni literature. In certain Shi’a traditions this practice is condemned and in certain others it has been praised. Perhaps the traditions praising this practice has an element of Taqiyyah. If the raiment of woolen blanket is worn at the time of prayer, or to manifest one’s humility, or to prevent oneself from the effect of the cold weather, then there is no problem. But always wearing such dress as a personal mark of identification is not proper.
It is narrated from Amir’ul-Mu’mineen (as) that one should wear dress made out of cotton. This was the preference of the Prophet of Allah (S) and the Ahl-ul-Bayt (as). The Prophet (S) never wore leather headgear unless it was absolutely necessary due to the weather conditions.
The Prophet of Islam (S) has said, “I shall not abandon five things till the time of my death that they remain as part of my Sunna: 1. Sitting on the floor and eating my meals with the slaves. 2. Riding on the long eared mules with stirrup and halter. 3. Milking the goats with my own hands. 4. Wearing the raiment made of wool. 5. Taking precedence in wishing the children.”
“O Abu Dharr! In the last days of this world people will wear wollen raiment both during the warm and cool seasons as a mark of status. However, the angels on the land and in the Heaven will curse them for doing this. The people deserving of the Heaven will be in dusty dresses, disheveled hair and getting scant attention from those around them. If these persons pray to Allah for anything, Allah shall grant their wish.”
The Prophet of Allah (S), being in the know of the hidden things said that after him there will be people who will adopt stealth and deceit and involve others in hypocricy and waywardness. Therefore the Prophet (S) said, “People who adopt that garb are the accursed. Don’t be misled by their subterfuge!” This is also one of the miracles of the Prophet that he had forecast the doings of the group before it appeared on the scene and condemned it. One who denies the fact of the group of Sufia being wayward, will deserve the curse of Allah and his Prophet (S). It is not only the wearing of the blanket that is a curse for them, but the main cause is their interference with the Shariah. Their wont is to adopt the ways of infidels and heretics (Zanadeeq) and abandoning the Shariah. With their innovations they divert the people from the right path.
There are several other traditions that condemn the group of Sufia. The Shi’a scholars have always condemned the sufi cult. Some have even written treatises on the condemnation of these sects. For example, ‘Ali bin Babawiyah, whose letters on the matters of Shariah used to reach Saheb al Asr (a.j.) and he used to receive prompt replies too. Also his son, Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Babawiyah, who is the doyen of Shi’a traditionists, has received the commendation of Saheb-ul-Asr (a.j.). He has written a voluminous book reproving the Sufi cult.
Sheik Toosi, Mulla Hilli and Sheik Shaheed too have written tomes in condemnation of the cult. Sheik ‘Ali has written a book, Mataan Mujramiah, condemning the Sufi cult. His son Hasan too wrote his book, Umdat al Miqaal, on the same subject. Jaffar bin Muhammad Dooresti in his book, Aeteqaad, has convincingly dealt with the Sufi cult. Bin Hamza and Sayed Murtada Raazi too have written extensively on the subject. Maulana Ahmed Ardbeel has condemned the sect very convincingly in his writings.
Friends! Why do you rate this sect well? This, despite the Prophet (S) and the Ahl-ul-Bayt having condemned them in very clear terms. Will you claim that you are a follower of Hasan Basri? He was a person who has been the butt of many an authentic tradition! Or you will term yourself the follower of Sufian Suri who was a mortal enemy of Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as). Or will you toe the line of Ghazali who was an outright naasibi. He writes in his book that the way in which ‘Ali Murtada (as) is an Imam, he too is one in his own right! He writes that whoever curses Yazid is a sinner. He has written several books against the Shi’as in the genre of ‘Al Mutaqaddameen az Zalaal. Or will you project his brother, Ahmed Ghazali, as proof that he believes the accursed Satan is amongst the chiefs of the pious (the aulia)! Or will you adopt maulana Rumi as your intercessor that he says Amir’ul-Mu’mineen Amir’ul-Mu’mineen (as) will intercede on behalf of the accursed Ibn al-Muljim and guide him into the Heaven? He says that Bin Mulji has not committed any sin and that what he had done was the destiny!
There is no page of the mathnavi of Maulana Rumi on which he has not written about the futility of prayer and the depraved beliefs. His followers believe that hearing to tambourine, harmonica and fiddle is a type of prayer.
Will you make Mohiuddin Arabi your symbol that who has given pride of place to meaningless beliefs in his book. He says that the saints (Aulia) are a group of people to whom the Rafizis look like pigs. He also says that when he went for the Meraj he found that the status of ‘Ali (as) on the Firmament was lesser than that of Othman, Omer and Abu Bakra! He says that when he came back, he told to ‘Ali (as) that he claimed in the world that he was better than the other three then how is it that his status in the Firmament was lesser than the three of them!
There are several other such canards, writing about them will unnecessarily lengthen the narrative. Therefore, one should not be misled by their talk. What all they have done is to get worldly benefits. These people claimed that they visit the Firmament ten times in a night but are incapable of throwing light on simple questions of fiqh!
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) that the sign of an imposter is that he will give you news about the frmament, the east and the west lucidly. But when asked about the legitimate (Halal) and taboo (Haram) he will draw a blank! He claims that he has understood the intricacies of Wahdat al Wajood (the Unity of God) that other erudite scholars have not been able to! But he has not understood a simple fact that has been explained to him umpteen times. These people say that kashf (manifestation) and kufr (infidelity) are not antithetical and can be always clubbed together! They believe that there have been practitioners of Kashf amongst the non-believers in India. Suppose their kashf is a reality and not a hypocrisy, then what superiority they have achieved by adopting it!. They have remained infidels and shall be infidels till the Day of Reckoning!
It is written in the Ehtejaaj of Tabrisi that once Amir’ul-Mu’mineen (as) passed through the place of Hasan Basri. The person was performing the ablution. Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) said, “O Hasan! Do the ablution properly!” He said, “Ya Ameer al Mimineen! Yesterday you have killed the persons who used to do the ablution thoroughly! Today you are asking me to do the ablution properly!” The Imam asked him, “Why didn’t you turn up to help them?” He replied, “By Allah! In the morning I took bath. Rubbed camphor on my body and took my arms that I hadn’t the slightest doubt about opposition to Ayesha is infidelity.
On the way I heard a sound saying,’ Where are you going! Return back! Those who kill and get killed will all go to the Hell!’ I was scared of that herald and returned home. The next day again I got ready to go to the help of Ayesha. I again heard the same voice and returned home!” The Imam (as) said, “You are telling the truth! Do you know who the person was who called you?” Hasan said, “No! I don’t know!” The Imam (as) said, “He was your brother, the Satan! He has told you the truth that the those who kill and also those who get killed from the troops of Ayesha will go tto the Hell!”
In another tradition it is narrated from Amir’ul-Mu’mineen Amir’ul-Mu’mineen that he said to Hasan Basri, “Every time there is a Samiri (magician) and you are the Samiri of your time!”
Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as) has said: O Hasan Basri! Whether you go the East or to the West, you will not acquire any knowledge! The only source of knowledge are we the Ahl-ul-Bayt! “Remember, this Hasan Basri is the same person who is the chief of the Sufis. The Sufis associate themselves with him very ardently. They mostly quote from him. They narrate that one big sheik was Ibad Basri. He used to ridicule Imam Zain-ul-’Abidin (as) and used to criticize him in the matter of Jehad.
Once a group consisting of Ayub Sajistani, Saleh Marni, Utba, Habib Farsi, Malik bin Dinar, Abu Saleh aami, Ja’far bin Suleiman Rabia and Saadana started from Basra for the Haj. Those days there was scarcity of water in Mecca. The entire gathering in Khana al-Kaaba prayed for rains. But the prayers were not answered. In the meantime, Imam Zain-ul-’Abidin arrived there with a sad mein. After circumambulating the Kaaba he asked everyone assembled there to move away from the Kaaba. Then he prostrated near the Kaaba and prayed. Before his prayer was over, the clouds gathered and rained so hard that the scarcity turned into plenty! Remember, the names of the persons from the group of Basrans are all the chiefs of the Sufi cult! They were not the adherents of the Imam (as) of the time! One of the group was Tawoos Yamani whose debates with Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as) are well known!
Sheik Toosi writes in his book, Ghaibat, that some people falsely claimed the vicegerency of Saheb al Asr (a.j.). They were discredited and ridiculed. If they were really the vicegerents of the Imam (as) then they could have shown miracles as did the Saheb al Asr (a.j.). The first such imposter was Shariyi who got ridicule after making the claim. Saheb al Asr issued an edict refuting his claim. The Sheik says that Talakbari said that it became evident to people that the imposter was an infidel. First he used to spread canard about the Imam (as) to attract the ignorant people. Progressing in his foul acts in this manner he progressed into believing in the Hallajia cult in the manner of persons like Abu Jaffer Shalmafani.The Sheik adds that besides other imposters, Husayn bin Mansoor too was prominent amongst them.
It is narrated from Hibtullah bin Muhammad Katib that Sahl bin Ismail Naubhakti, who was an ardent Shi’a, sent word to Mansoor Hallaj that he would become his follower on condition that he should show a miracle by making his hair permanently black. He said that he had to perforce dye his hair every Friday for the purpose of visiting his slave girls and the exercise was very tedious for him. When Hallaj heard this, he said that Sahl has made a mistake asking him to perform such a miracle. Sahl used to repeat the story everywhere and make people laugh at Hallaj!
It is mentioned in Ehtejaj of Tabrisi that the edict of Saheb al Asr was issued through Husayn bin Rooh condemning the group that was headed by Husain bin Mansoor Hallaj. Such people were always adversarial to the Ahl-ul-Bayt. The Shi’a chroniclers in that period, and the period following immediately after that, always expressed dislike of the group and gave sufficient proof of their infidelity. Even then if some people abandoned the rightful path of the Ahl-ul-Bayt, the sin definitely goes to their account!

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