This is a lecture on the History of Sufism and the Biography of Junaid Baghdadi by Muhammad Musa Al-Shareef. Sufism is a topic that often sparks off heated debates in Muslim circles, Sheikh Muhammad Musa Al-Shareef tries to keep to a middle path in this lecture to avoid such arguments. And hence delivers an unbiased narration on the history of Sufism, its evolution, and the influence of the Sultan of Sufism, Imam Junaid ibn Muhammad Abu al-Qasim al-Khazzaz al-Baghdadi.
The Sufism movement had three main phases, The first phase in which Junaid played a role took place in the 2nd to 4th centuries AH, and adhered to the true Islamic tenets. Their was no opposition to Sufism from the scholars of the time, they even praised it, since it was in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah.
It was during the 2nd phase that Sufis started to break away from true Islam, the situation got even more dire during the 3rd phase, with Sufis introducing new innovations which totally contradicted the teachings and beliefs of Islam. Some of these were Pantheism, divine unity and incarnation. Others also introduced practices such as swallowing swords and fire and eating snakes.
Junaid was a notable scholar of his time, and was issuing fatwas when he was as young as 20 years old. He used to sell fine cloths for work, and was a devout worshiper and a true ascetic. It is reported that he used to offer nafl salah while waiting for customers, which would add up to over 300 rakats a day. He would also spend long periods in reciting the Quran. His greatest achievement was probably the setting of rules for religious practices.
He was very outspoken against the innovations of the Batiniyya sect. The Batiniyyas believed they were exempt from observing religious duties since they were so close to God. Junaid would not introduce any ideas unless he could find 2 proofs from the Quran and Sunnah to support them. This was a practice that was unfortunately dropped by latter day Sufis, and they also overlooked his warnings about introducing Batiniyya doctrines into Sufism.
The overall message of Sheikh Al-Shareef is that we need to adopt a moderate view on Sufism. He says that some Muslims consider all Sufis to be ignorant and innovators, while others consider them true Muslims and authorities in Islam. According to him and scholars of the present and past this is an extreme view. We should accept the views of Sufism that adhere to the Islamic faith and reject those that are not in line with the Quran and Sunnah.
Please note this lecture is given in Arabic, and contains English subtitles. The subtitle standard is not of a top-class level of English, however it does give a translation which is accurate enough to understand.
Check out this History of Sufism video
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