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al-ʾImām al-Ṣādiq (عليه السلام) was asked about the sufis, he replied: "They are one of our enemies. Whoever is inclined to them is one of them, and will be gathered with them on the Day of The Judgement. There will be people who claim to love us (Ahl al-Baīt), but will be inclined to the sufis, they will resemble them, they will use their titles. They will replicate their words. Whoever is inclined to them isn't of us. We reject those ones; whoever denies them and responds them will be granted with the status of perfoming Jihād with Rasūl Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله) and his family.

References: Safīnat al-Bihār volume 2, page 57. Mustadrak al-Wasāʾil volume 12, page 323.

  • I wonder if these kinds of statements have any basis as at the time of Ja'far as-Sadiq the term Sufi was rather unknown AFAIK. – Medi1Saif Mar 2 at 17:47
  • I do recall the formal word of tasawwuf and Al-Souf being used at that time to refer to the Sufis and Abu Hashim was referred to as a Sufi in literature. The Sufi movement started prior to the end of the Ummayad caliphate during the translation movement. Both instances seem to be within the time frame of Jafar Sadiq, 150AH as the date of death for Abu Hashim and 132AH as the end of the Ummayad dynasty – ZAli9 Mar 3 at 16:10
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    The first time in which it was reported that a person was referred to as Sufi was at the time of al-Mamun 30 years or more after the death of Ja'far as-Sadiq. Sufism was practiced since the earliest days of Islam and in other religions. But none would call such a person Sufi rather than Zahid زاهد or 'Abid عابد or in equal terms. At least at the time of imam Malik it still was not a common term and he died 179 a. H.. – Medi1Saif Mar 4 at 18:07
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No! Each and every hadith attributed to the Shia Imams (علیهم السلام) condemning Sufism are proven forgeries.

The origin of all these hadiths is an apocryphal work, named Hadiqatu sh-Shia attributed to Muqddas Ardabili, a 10th century hijri Shia scholar. There is a big controversy about this attribution. Some say the book has been originally the book Kashifu l-Haq written by Mulla Mu'iz Ardastani but later published as Hadiqatu sh-Shia after the fake hadiths condemning Sufis had been appended to it. These hadiths fake accepted chains of narrations but the wording and content of the hadiths as well as lack of precedence of the hadiths in any earlier hadith works prove their forgery.

The fabricator of the hadiths has also been identified as Seyyed Muhammad Lawhi, famous as Mir Lawhi, a 11th century mediocre scholar who was a staunch enemy of Sufis with a hostile attitude towards the first and the second Majlisis, two prominent scholars of the Safavid period with mystical tendencies.

A book published very recently in Iran titled, Tathir-u sh-Sharia ani l-Hadiqati sh-Shia (Purging Sharia from Hadigatu sh-Shia) extensively analyzes the work and exhibits various problems with the content of the book and its attribution, and establishes its forgery. Later works that cite these hadiths all quote this apocryphal forgery.

In sum, there's nothing in Shia hadiths condemning Sufism. To the contrary there are very compelling parallels between Sufi doctrines and the esoteric doctrines of the Shia Imams. Many prominent Shia scholars throughout history have also had Sufi tendencies, e.g. Shams ud-Din Muhammad (the First Martyr), Khaji Nasiru d-Din at-Tusi, Muhammad-Taqi Majlisi, Seyyed Bahr ul-Uloom, Allama Muhammad-Hussain Tabataba'i, Ruhollah Khomeini, etc.

The anti-Sufi tendencies among Shia is only a late phenomenon starting since the Safavid period when these anti-Sufi hadiths were also forged.

In the postscript, however, I must note that not all forms of Sufism are accepted by Shia Islam. On the level of practice, Shia mystic-scholars are of the opinion that one doesn't need anything beyond the obligatory and optional prayers and deeds for developing the spiritual goal of Sufism which is fana in Allah. Dervish dances and musics and in general any practice outside Sharia are frowned upon. Access to a master is deemed necessary by some. As for the ontological doctrines of the Sufis such as Wahdat ul-Wujud, it must be properly understood to avoid pantheistic misinterpretations of the doctrine.

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  • Could you identify if this Hadith as well leads to these false hadith, through forms of transmission or relation? And could you guide me to resources on the Imams and their views on Sufism? – ZAli9 Mar 3 at 16:05
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    @ZAli9, Yes. Like I said all of the hadiths that denounce Sufism originate from Mir Lawhi's fabricated work Hadiqatu sh-Shia. But some later Shia scholars have unfortunately trusted this work because of its attribution to Muqaddas Ardbili. So I could easily locate the above hadith in Hadiqatu sh-Shia in this online library: noorlib.ir/View/ar/Book/BookView/Image/2156/1/747 There's no hadith on Sufism from the Shia Imams but we know some of the companions of the Imams were Sufis such as Hasan al-Basri who was a companion of Imam Sadiq (as). – infatuated Mar 3 at 17:17
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    But you may post a separate question to the site about the Shia view of Sufism and I may answer later. – infatuated Mar 3 at 17:18
  • Sure, I'll ask one right now, I'm keen on understanding the Shia perspective – ZAli9 Mar 5 at 18:04

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