As for the common mistake of the second group…
Some call themselves people of ‘shariah’ and some people of this or that ‘tariqah’…
But the truth is they have neither rightly comprehended shariah nor tariqah…
Generally, their ‘leader’ knows nothing about Sufism!
They gather pure hearted people with good intentions and spend their days relating stories from the past to them, in the name of giving morality lessons (!) in fact some are even possessed by the jinn! Not to mention, anyone that refuses or questions their ideas is directly labelled an “unbeliever”!
“He who calls one with faith an ‘unbeliever’ kills him.” (Tirmidhi)
Hence, they continually fall into faithlessness without even being aware of it because of their ignorance.
Such people neglect spirituality and contemplation, and only focus on appearance, falling into a great loss.
For them belief equals a scarf, a cap, a robe, and a beard!
The ignorant who believe them, devoid of true religious knowledge, view everything from a very flawed lens, and live in a world far from the reality.
No matter how big their mistakes may be, someone who declares the word of unity, performs their daily salat, fasts, goes to pilgrimage, and gives alms, cannot be called a nonbeliever! Nobody can know whether this person will go to heaven or hell.
None has the discretion to make claims about whether one will go to heaven or hell. But based on their actions, one may deduce that this action will cause suffering or may take him to hell, but nobody can make an absolute claim about it.
One who makes such claims proves he knows nothing about religion and reduces himself to a pitiful situation in the sight of the learned ones.
The religious requirements are clear.
Women, according to the Quran, should cover their ornaments. If they accept that this is the law of Allah yet admit their inability to comply by it, Allah may or may not forgive them. But this, in no way, means they are non-believers, should they fail to comply with this law.
To refuse and deny a single verse in the Quran is equivalent to denying the whole of religion, because it is package, it is either accepted wholly, or denied altogether.
So, what is the whole package that we need to accept?
The Quran and the hadith of the Rasul of Allah (saw)!
Refusing the interpretations of those who came later does not make one a non-believer!
If someone says “I accept the laws in the Quran and the teachings of the Rasul of Allah (saw) but I am unable to follow them” this also does not take one out of religion.
But to say, “These laws and teachings are inapplicable today, they are invalid and irrelevant to our time” takes one out of religion, as this goes into denial!
My intent is to show that religion is an integral system of laws (entirely based on physics, chemistry, and electromagnetic laws) aimed at enabling man to know himself, his origin, his essential reality, rather than a collection of imaginary rules and regulations for the purpose of uniformity.
I’m open to debating this both from the perspective of Sufism and modern science. Everyone is free to write a book and disclose their proof, should they be inclined to believe I am mistaken.
In today’s world everything is debatable. Every religious law and regulation is scientifically explicable.
This being the case, to remain trapped within the inadequacy of the past centuries and instilling fear into people serves no benefit to mankind.
To sum up, one who accepts all of the laws of the Quran and the Rasul of Allah (saw) but fails to comply with them, commits a sin (i.e. becomes loaded with negative charge). However, religion shows ways to neutralize this negative charge and turn it into a positive one. In no way does he become an unbeliever for not complying with the laws. He who claims otherwise admits his ignorance.
Religion is not about a cap, a robe, and a beard! Nowhere among the pillars of faith can you see the requirement of a beard! To claim one without beard in not a Muslim is nothing other than blind ignorance. To duly evaluate this one needs an intellect!
You can record the Quran and the entire collection of hadith on your computer today and make it play over and over again.
To carry and relay information that was also carried and relayed to him does not make one a scholar of religion.
One must comprehend that knowledge, and explain it according to the time he is living in.
One who cannot explain in modern terms the purpose of religion, why it offers what it does and what the consequences of not complying with it are, is not a religious scholar but a carrier!
The judgment is up to the listener!
The duty of religious figures is not to copy and paste information in the format of the past but to update this knowledge according to the needs and the language of the present day to enable others to understand the benefits of complying with it and the cost of not complying with it.
People have gained immunity to the expressions used in the past, such as, “If you do this you will go to heaven, if you don’t do this you will go to hell” Such wording is extremely outdated and ineffective!
Also, I feel it’s important that we understand that the principle point of Sufism is the reality of “Unity”!
Tariqah is a path that takes one to the Reality (haqiqah).
A path that does not lead one to the reality is either an institution of good morals or a conference on the external laws of religion.
A path that does not illuminate your essential reality to you can only be a group that is involved in the surface values concerned only about avoiding certain dangers.
To go and submit yourself to some guru without knowing the external laws of religion and a certain level of Sufi culture, is a great risk, for there is no compensation for years spent in vain.
Moreover, to correct the incorrect beliefs and cleanse yourself from the damage it gave you requires a long time and strenuous effort.
You can check the level of your knowledge by comparing everything you’ve learnt until today, to what you take away from this book, in addition to answering the questions below:
What is you relation to the meaning of the name “Allah?”
Which of your actions belong to you and which pertain to Allah?
Who is the being you refer to as “I” and what qualities does it have?
How will life after death be?
How is the life of the grave, where is it, and how many types of it are there?