Hafiz Ibn al Qayyim (ra) is a  favourite “authority” of latter-day opponents of  Tasaawuf, however anyone who takes the trouble to read his works directly will find the statement of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali that, ” Ibn Qayyim has a high rank in tasawwuf and he received a generous share of true adhwaq (tastings) and mawajid (findings) and his books are a testimony to this”, is indeed correct. At present I just wanted to share a passage of his about the “shathiyat” (meaning the mystical and problematic utterances of some sufis). Opponents of tasawwuf have often seized on these utterances/statements and cited them as proof that tasawwuf is opposed to the Shariah and thus outside the pale of Islam.

Having explained the deep states from which these shathiyat arise and having validated that these are praiseworthy states and explained how some seekers can become overwhelmed and how this state of absorption leads them to utter words that seem subjectively true but are not so objectively, Hafiz Ibn al Qayyim, rahimahullah says:

“Two tribulations have ensued from these shathiyat, the first is that a group of people has been lead to have a bad opinion of these shaykhs because of these utterances; and the purity of their (i.e. the sufis) natures, the sincerity of their dealings (with Allah) and their many virtues have become veiled to them and so they have ended up rejecting them completely. This is a grave error for if we were to deny or reject the good qualities/attainments of people who had committed a mistake, this would nullify all knowledges and arts and would cause even their traces to be erased.

The second tribulation is that some shaykhs, having seen the purity of heart, virtues and beautiful conduct of these shaykhs (i.e. people of shath) accepted this (i.e. shath) from them wholesale. In fact the people most correct out of all these are those that place everything in its proper place accepting what is correct and setting aside that which is not.”

Madarij as-Salikeen, Vol 2.

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