Q. What is the ruling on tariqahs (Sufi orders; lit. paths or ways) in Islam? Please note that I asked some of my teachers and one said that it is haraam, whilst another said that it is neither obligatory nor haraam. I hope that you can give a clear answer, may Allah bless you.
Praise be to Allah.
This question about Sufi tariqahs is asked in general terms. If what the questioner is referring to is Sufi tariqahs, then they are reprehensible; some of them are kufr (disbelief) and some of them are bid‘ah (innovation) and not kufr, because the path (tareeq) they follow is not the path of our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it”
[al-An ‘aam 6:153]
“And this is a blessed Book (the Quran) which We have sent down, so follow it”
[al-An ‘aam 6:155]
“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)”
So what the Muslims are obliged to do is to follow the way of Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and adhere to his path and his religion. Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say (O Muhammad blessings and peace of Allah be upon him to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins”
[Aal Imraan 3:31].
The straight path of Allah is that which was brought by our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), which is the path of those on whom Allah has bestowed His grace, who are mentioned in the words of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted (interpretation of the meaning):
“Guide us to the Straight Way,
The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace”
They are the Prophets, the siddeeqs, the martyrs and the righteous, who are mentioned in the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddeeqoon (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq ), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!”
This is the straight path. As for the Sufi tariqahs of the Sufis, they involve shirk (association of others with Allah), such as the worship of some of their shaykhs and seeking help from some of their shaykhs; forsaking knowledge of the Sunnah on the part of some of them who say “My heart told me from my Lord”; and failure to acknowledge the laws brought by Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); and many other bid ‘ahs (innovations).
Moreover, some of the mureeds (followers) says “You must submit to the shaykh and accept the way he is and what he likes, and not object to him, and you must be with him like the dead person in the hands of the one who is washing him in preparation for burial.” All of these are corrupt and misguided paths.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him).
Fataawa Noor ‘ala ad-Darb (1/21, 22)
We have discussed a number of the innovations and mistakes that the Sufis have fallen into in a number of questions under the category Schools of Thought and Religions. Please read them as they are important.
And Allah knows best.