Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi on Tasawwuf

The great ‘allama and famous Qur’anic exegete, Imam Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi (تعالى رحمه الله), said in his book, “Itiqadat Firaq al-Muslimin wal-Mushrikin” (The Belief of the Muslim and Pagan Groups):

“The eighth section regarding the states (أحوال) of the Sufis: Know, that most of those who enumerated the groups within the umma, did not mention the Sufis, and this is a mistake, because the sum statement of the sufis is that the way to gnosis of Allah ta’ala is purity and divestment from bodily attachments. This is a good path (طريق)…he also said: the Sufis are a folk who occupy themselves with meditation (فكر) and divestment from the physical attachments. They strive to ensure that their inner selves are not free of Allah’s remembrance in their remaining day-to-day movements and works. By their nature, they observe complete etiquette (الأدب) with Allah ‘azza wa jal, and they are the best groups of humans.” (1)

Sources: (1) Itiqadat Firaq al-Muslimin wal-Mushrikin: p. 82-83. The editor of this book, Sami al-Nashhar said:
In the end of his days, after he reached the peak of his knowledge, there occurred within him the same that occurred with Abu Hamid al-Ghazali before him. His reliance upon human intellect diminished and he sensed his inability. He realized that he was unable to have comprehensive knowledge of even his own existence. This led to a Sufi state overcoming him that he would occasionally disclose in his gatherings of exhortation, leading him to cry out for help. He once delivered an exhortation in the presence of the Sultan, Shihab al-Din al-Ghawri and was overcome by a spiritual state. He cried out: “Oh Sultan of the world! Neither your Sultanate nor my deception shall remain!” He composed some lines of poetry that contain Sufi overtones:

The daring of minds end in shackles
And most of mankind’s efforts are in misguidance
Our souls are completely lonely within our bodies
And the sum of our lives is affliction and harm
We did not benefit from our life-long search
Save collecting statements of “it was said” and “they said” (قيل و قالوا)

Imam ar-Razi had a strong personal connection with al-Shaykh al-Akbar, Muhyi al-Din ibn Arabi. The latter sent him a letter in which he explained the value of the Divinely vouchsafed mystic sciences and helepd create within him a longing for them. This letter is published by al-Matba’a al-Salafiyya in Egypt with the title: “A Letter from the Shaykh of the Path, Muhyi al-Din ibn Arabi, to imam ibn al-Khatib, Better Knnown as Fakhr Ar-Razi.” It was published and corrected by Abd al-Aziz al-Mimi al-Rajquti al-Athari al-Muqri, in the Islamic University of Aligarh India (1334 H.).

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