After Fiqh another important aspect of Deen exists viz. Tasawwuf, which could be regarded as the very spirit of Deen and it has been called Ihsaan in the Hadith of Hadhrat Jibraeel (alaihi salaam).
Three responsibilities or aims of Rasulullaah‟s (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) duty have been explicitly mentioned in the Qur`aan:
(1) Recitation of the Qur`aanic verses.
(2) Educating by means of the Qur`aan and Hadith.
(3) Spiritual Purification.
All three obligatory acts are of paramount importance, but there exists a sequence regarding their accomplishment. Consequently recitation of the verses is an introduction to education, which in turn is a prologue to purification. Thus the work of prophethood is initiated at the recital of the verses and concludes at spiritual purification. Hence Tazkiyah-e-Naffs (spiritual purification) is the ultimate aim of prophethood. It can be conceived as the building of character or the making of a person.
Undoubtedly recitation of the verses is an important aim, and the teaching of the Qur`aan and Hadith is a most lofty stage, but both these aspects, although being important individually are pre-requisites for spiritual purification. Perhaps that is why the Qur`aan mentions these three aspects by beginning with recitation and concluding with Tazkiyah, to emphasize the sequence of importance. In another verse of the Qur`aan, Tazkiyah is mentioned first, then recital of the verses and then education. This is an indication that Tazkiyah is the first and final aim. And Allaah Knows Best.
Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) was responsible for all three obligations at one time. He used to recite the words of the Qur`aan to the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum), teach them its meaning, implications and laws and he used to and reform them spiritually as well. Subsequent to his demise when the Ummat inherited the responsibility of this obligation, work was done separately on each faculty. Even though such personalities who embodied all three aspects did exist, generally an independent group handled the faculty of recitation, separate individuals took on the responsibility of handling the different faculties of education and one group involved itself in discipline and reformation. Those elders who sacrificed themselves for this third field became known as Sufis and Peers and their faculty was called ¡°Sulook¡± and ¡°Tasawwuf.. From this brief clarification it can be deduced that Tasawwuf is by no means a separate entity from Shariah and neither are the Sufis an obsolete creation of another planet.
They are in reality the servants and upholders of this noble faculty handed down by Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). This faculty is of such importance that the aims of prophethood cannot be completed nor can this Ummat fulfil its obligations without it. The Sufis should most deservedly receive our gratitude for having upheld this delicate obligation. They fulfilled their duty of reformation with extreme silence and solitude. Had this not been the case, this Ummat would have been deprived of this most important faculty and it would have consisted of a flock of ignorant persons.
If it could be said that the Ummat requires brave soldiers on the battlefield, experienced teachers in the educational institutions, just judges in the courts of law, researchers in the field of science and technology and similarly specialists in all fields, then definitely the Ummat also requires the services of people who can reform human beings. The human reformation centres are the Khaanqah and these spiritual reformers therein are the Sufis. It is indeed a great tragedy that in our environment a man only sees the need for material commodities but he fails to realize the importance of having true qualities of a human being.
Consequently the common minds regard the Sufis and their Khaanqah as obsolete. Maududi himself has also been affected by the environment and consequently has become dissatisfied with the Sufis. He mocks Tasawwuf in a manner unworthy of a learned person. He believes that if a person reads the Qur`aan and Hadith, he can reform himself without sitting at the feet of any teacher. Had the mere learning of the Qur`aanic words constituted knowledge, Imaam Ghazaali would not have left Nizamia University and recalled his experiences in his book ¡°Al Munqiz minad Dalal.. Had mere knowing been knowledge, the Orientalists would have been more entitled than Maududi to be labelled a learned man.
Maududi regarded the whole Ummat as unworthy and as a result he had to rely solely on his knowledge and interpretation to understand Deen.
He writes: “I am not in need of any Aalim, small or big, to understand my Deen, for I can always consult the Qur`aan and Hadith to understand the principles. I am also able to determine whether the learned people of this country have adopted the correct or incorrect school of thought concerning a particular Mas`alah. Accordingly, I am obligated to proclaim whatever I find in the Qur`aan and Sunnah as true, as the actual truth.¡± [Roadaad Jamaat Islaami, page 43]
“I have always endeavoured to understand Deen from the Qur`aan and Sunnah instead of relying on past or present personalities. Therefore, in order to recognise what the Deen of Allaah requires of me, I have never deemed it necessary to observe what a certain buzrug (saint) says and does. On the contrary, I have always attempted to see what the Qur`aan and Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) say.” [Ibid, part 3, page 102]
Trying to understand the Deen without the means of the predecessors is the root of all corruption that prevails today. We are expected to believe that they are learning Deen from the Qur`aan and Sunnah, but on the contrary, by making one.s own interpretation of the standard for judging the truth and disassociating from the predecessors, the people create their own standards for judging the truth and deviate from the reality of truth found in the Qur`aan and Hadith e.g. Mr. Ghulaam Ahmad Parwez claims that all his ideologies are based solely on the Qur`aan and Sunnah (Parwez does not believe in the Hadith but claims to practise on the Sunnah). The Qadianis also claim to follow the Book of Allaah and his Messenger, whilst Maududi makes the same claim. All three groups claim to have their sources in the Qur`aan and Sunnah, but the question remains as to whether whatever is presented to us is in fact correct or incorrect? What standard do we use for judging this? On what basis can we ascertain that Mr. Parwez and the Qadiyanis are false and Maududi is correct. The standard lies in recognizing the interpretation of understanding the predecessors i.e. whatever the pious predecessors have understood of the Qur`aan and Hadith is in fact correct, and whatever contradicts that is wrong. Contrary to this Parwez, Qadiani and Maududi reject this standard and regard whatever they understand from the Qur`aan as Deen.
This is the point on which I differ with Maududi. In my opinion, the standard of truth is the understanding which the Sahaabah had of the Qur`aan and Sunnah and which was passed on from generation to generation. According to Maududi to make a connection between the past and present is erroneous, hence according to him, his intelligence is the determining factor of the truth, which he has attained via the Qur`aan and Sunnah.