From On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam (Faysal Al-Tafriqa Bayn Al-Islam wal Zandaqa) by Al-Ghazali (translation: pdf) writes:

Included among such matters would be the claims of some who style themselves Sufis to the effect that they have reached a state between themselves and God wherein they are no longer obligated to pray, and that drinking wine, devouring state funds, and other forms of disobedience are rendered licit to them. Such people, without doubt, must be executed...

This passage took me quite by surprise. The text is nearly 1000 years old and might be obsolete. Moreover, even back then, it might only be referring to a very small proportion of the Sufi population. Hence my question:

Question: Is it common among Sufis to not feel obligated to pray, drink wine, etc.?

I'm guessing it's not common, but I don't have anything to back up that guess. And there's plenty of Muslims around who don't pray, drink wine, and so on.

  • Id be very interested to hear about the response to this also! Oct 4 '16 at 4:53
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    Al-Ghazali himself is considered a sufi by most. Not having had any personal contact with sufis, I'm only aware of the way that tariqat (literally "paths", meaning different schools of spirituality; very losely comparable to the christian concept of orders) present themselves. The most influential ones - e.g. the Naqshibandis or the Shadhilis - propagate a strict adherence to shariah (and by strict I don't mean harsh, I mean dutiful). I can't speak to the prevalence of what al-Ghazali refers to here, but it's certainly not authoritative. Note also that sufism is not necessarily islamic.
    – G. Bach
    Oct 4 '16 at 8:11
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    This is one of the major and IMO correct objections of salafis to sufism. As I only heard or read about it and have no idea how sufism works, even if I'm from a family which is widely conected to sufi turuq (plural of tariqah) I've never experienced or heard of it from any person I personally know. Of course amoung sufis there might be some charlatans.
    – Medi1Saif
    Oct 4 '16 at 10:22
  • A Sufi is one who has killed his or her ego. You need to understand the core of killing ego because there is no I in this. Meaning, all concepts, including one's own identification comes to end and a rebirth takes place. Now, in response to your question, if every concept comes to end, what value does any obligation hold?
    – Kamran
    May 14 '19 at 5:37

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