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Sufi Khirqa (cloak): Hafidh Ibn Taymiyya, Hafidh as-Sakhawi, Hanbali Sufis

Posted by muhammedm on January 16, 2010

أبدأُ بالحمدِ مُصَلِّياً على مُحمَّدٍ خَيِر نبيْ أُرســـــِلا

This post is concerning a particular aspect of the issue on Khirqa (the cloak of the Sufis). Salafis are known to speak out against almost everything that is done by Sufis. I thought I would write a little bit about the Khirqa from the writings of ‘Allama Ibn Taymiyya, and while I was reading Maqasid al-Hasanah, I came upon the narration of Sayyidina ‘Ali dawning the cloak on Sayyidina Hasan al-Basri, and so I thought that would be good addition to the post. And then I thought of how much todays salafis have a great dislike for the sufis, but great respect for the Hanbalis, and rightfully so, since the Hanabilah have produced great Ulema, that being said, I took notice of the fact that many Hanabilah took the sufi path, and wore the cloak, as this post will make clear. It should be kept in mind that these Hanabilah listed below aren’t just regular Hanbali Ulema, but they are referred to as Shaykh ul Hanabilah, or Shaykhul Islam. And salafis have taken recourse to their works, and called themselves Hanbalis, which I believe is a great lie when it comes to the issue of tasawwuf, and so here it is:

‘Allama Ibn Taymiyya on the Khirqa:
“As for the wearing of Khirqa which some of the Mashayikh garb the spiritual students (Muridin), it doesn’t have a basis with relied upon evidence from the Kitab and Sunnah. The olden Mashayikh and most of the later ones didn’t clothe the spiritual students; however a group from the later ones considered it and liked it.
Some of them sought evidence from the fact that the Prophet, peace be upon him, gave Umm Khalid bin Sa’id bin al-‘As a clothing, and said to her, Sana?”, and al-Sana in the language of al-Habasha is goodness/excellence. She was born in the land of Habasha, that’s why he addressed her in that language. They also seek evidence with the hadith of the Burda which was knitted by a woman for the Prophet, peace be upon him. One of the Sahaba asked him for it, and he gave it to him, and (the Sahabi) said, “I wanted it to be my kafan”.
In these two ahadith there’s no evidence for the manner in which they use it, for the giving of a man to someone else which he will wear is like giving him that which will benefit him, and the taking of the clothing from the Prophet, peace be upon him, concerned (to obtain) blessing (barakah) like the taking of his hair for blessing. This is not like wearing a piece of clothing or a hat in a manner of following and imitating, however it resembles from another angle renouncing the king which they renounce from the one who befriends them, as if it’s a hallmark and a sign for Wilayah and Karamat.
This is why they deem it as noble. The purpose of this and other things like it is to be put under the category of permissible acts (Mubahat), and if it’s combined with a righteous intention, it would be excellent/good (hasan) from this angle, as for deeming it a Sunnah and a path to Allah ta’ala then the matter is not like it.
As for ascription of the group (Sufis) to a particular Shaykh, then there’s no doubt that people are in need of those who teach them al-Iman and Quran, just as how the Sahaba learned from the Prophet, peace be upon him. And the Tabi’in learnt from them, and through this is the obtainment of following the foremost in goodness. Just as a man learns Quran from someone, and things like it (the Shariah), it is likewise that he learn the Inner (Batin) and the outward (Thahir) Din.
Source: Majmu’ al-Fatawa

‘Allama as-Sakhawi in Maqasid al-Hasanah:
In the hadith of Hasan al-Basri receiving the khirqa from Sayyidina ‘Ali, which is fabricated as many of Huffadh have said, including Ibn as-Salah, Ibn Dihya, Hafidh ibn Hajar, ‘Allama Sakhawi writes, “(the position) was held by a group of scholars, even those who wore it and gowned others, such as Ad-Dimyati, Ad-Dhahabi, al-Hakkari, Abi Hayyan, al-’Alai, Mughlataya, al-Iraqi, Ibn al-Mulaqqin, al-Abnasi, al-Burhan al-Halabi, Ibn Nasir ud Din…I have discussed this in a separate treatise as well as in other of my works, while taking this position (of Hasan not wearing the claok from Sayyidina ‘Ali), I’ve gowned the khirqa to a group of Sufis, by way of imitation of their concern regarding the khirqa, even in front of the honored ka’aba, by way of seeking blessing with the mentioning of the righteous and following the ones who have established (this) from the relied upon Huffadh.
Hafidh Sakhawi wore the khirqa from: al-Mahyuwi, Abi Madyan al-Ashmumi, Abi al-Fath al-Fawi, Umar an-Nabtiti and others.

From Dhayl Tabaqat al-Hanabilah by Ibn Rajab
1. Muhammed bin Ahmed bin Umar bin al-Husayn bin Khalaf al-Baghdadi al-Qati’I al-Azji al-Hanbali born in the year 546 Hijri, he received the khirqa from Abi an-Najib as-Suhrawardi, and gave him Ijaza.
2. Muhammed bin Ahmed bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Isa bin Abi ar-Rijal, as-Shaykh, al-Faqih al-Muhaddith, az-Zahid, born 572 Hijri, he wore the khirqa of tassawuf from Shaykh Abdillah al-Batayihi, the companion of Shaykh Abdul Qadir,.
3. Muhammed bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar al-Muhaddith as-Sufi al-Katib, born in the year 623 Hijri, wore the Khirqa of Tassawuf from as-Suhrawardi.

From the Thabat of ‘Allama as-Saffarini al-Khalwati
1- ‘Allama As-Shaykh Abu at-Taqi ‘Abdul Qadir bin Shaykh ‘Umar bin Shaykh Abi Taghlab al-Hanbali as-Sufi al-Qadiri Mufti As-Sadat al-Hanabilah fi Dimishq.
2- Mustafa bin as-Sayyid Kamalluddin al-Bakri al-Khalwati (a Sufi Tariqa), after praising his shaykh with wonderful words he (as-Saffarini) says, “He gave me permision (to narrate, teach, etc) all of them (the works he lists which includes al-Mawlid), and (he gave me permision) in the al-Khalwatiyya Tariqa, and that I give authority and permision whomever I deem approriate for it (in the Tariqa).” (sadly the salafi editor has a problem with the Sufi as-Saffarini, as well as with Shaykh ‘Abdul Ghani an-Nabulusi, who was one of ‘Allama as-Saffarini’s biggest Shayukh as is apparent).
3- He says about himself, “I’m Ahmed bin Salim as-Saffarini, of HanbalI Madhab, Athari in regards to ‘Aqidah, and Qadiri in regards to method/way (of Tassawuf). Page 268

From Mashikha of Abu al-Mawahib ‘Abdul Baqi al-HanbalI (practically all of the Shuyukh were Sufis, though I restricted myself to HanbalI Sufis from his work.)
1- ‘Abdul Baqi Taqi ud Din bin ‘Abdul Baqi al-HanbalI, known as ibn Badr, the father of the author of the work Mashikha, writes quoting his father, “I took the Sufi Tariqa from the son of my uncle, Shaykh Nurud Din the Khalifa of Muhammed al-’Alami, he encouraged me to seek ‘ilm. Shaykh Muhammed al-’Alami gave me Ijazah (permision) in al-Quds to initiate in awrad, dhikr, etc.”
2- Regarding Shaykh Ayuub bin Ahmed al-Khalwati he (the author) says, “and from them our shaykh and teacher in the Khalwatiya Tariqah, and in Shariah Shaykh Ayyub…”
3- Shaykh ‘Isa bin Muhammed al-Maghribi ath’alabi, “Imam of the two Harams, the scholar of the two west and east” He took from Shaykh Sa’id bin Ibrahim al-Jazairi, “dhikr and wore the Khirqa” from him. Even though the shaykh is Maliki, I’ve brought him to show how the Imams of the two Haram were sufis.
4- Muhammed bin Ahmed al-Khalwati al-Hanbali

For more on Sufi Hanbalis who took the Tariqa you can refer to As-Suhb al-Wabilah ‘ala Daraih al-Hanabilah by Ibn Humayd an-Najdi al-Hanbali, a Hanbali biographical work, the author was born after Shaykh AbdulWahhab and before the recent Salafi movement. As an added bonus, the readers can see the difference between salafis and hanbalis, as the muhaqqiq is vocal on his stance. So for those who want to label anyone and everyone who dawns the sufi cloak and are judgmental on anyone who takes the sufi path, are they ready to label these Hanabilah, whom I’ve restricted to the sufi path for were I to list those who were known as ‘sufis’ the list would end in pages, as deviant or misguided they so easily label others as such?

Ma’ Salama

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