An appreciation of the life and teachings of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi

Assalamu ‘alaikum. At this difficult time I would like to share with the fuqara and faqirat some of what I learnt from our beloved Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi.

With the pain of longing for Allah we came to Shaykh Abdalqadir and he healed our hearts by showing us how we can get near to Him. Distressed and confused at the injustices in the world we came to our Shaykh and his analyses cleared our confusion and gave us hope. He was a light that illuminated the world. Whilst others who diagnosed the problems of the modern world painted pictures of doom and gloom Shaykh Abdalqadir provided solutions to the problems. He lifted us out of the abyss of despair and energised us, calling us to action and bringing out from within us nobility, dignity, courage and strength that we didn’t know we possessed.    

From all the things that he said to me and from his books and articles that I read and from his discourses that I heard, the following statement stands out for me: “The revival of Islam is dependent on step by step turning away from kufr [disbelief] and finally, submitting to the natural religion.” The face of modern kufr is capitalism and its public relations interface is either democracy or communism. In China it is state capitalism and in the rest of the world oligarchy masquerades as democracy. Oligarchy is the rule of the financial, commodities and media elites over governments and countries. Capitalism is the religion of the modern world with its priesthood, temples and worshippers. Shaykh Abdalqadir’s critique of capitalism and its relation to the modern state comes from an Islamic perspective. He taught that Islamic trade and commerce, that is, mu‘amalat al-tijariyya must replace capitalist practices. Any success at re-establishing Islamic trade and commerce would require not only a critique of the dominant global system of capitalism but also an understanding of the basis of trade and commerce in the Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, its practice and history. 

Shaykh Abdalqadir has taught us that capitalism is not a system, it is a psychosis. Psychosis means to lose touch with reality, that is, to perceive the world and how it works in a way that is false. Mediating between ourselves and the reality of the world around us is our brain, that is, our intellect. The intellect creates a series of structured pictures by which we understand the world around us. We view ourselves and the world around us through the prism of capitalism. The capitalist worldview that is ingrained into our subjective consciousness is based on economics, scientific materialism, statism, Bernaysian psychology and the nuclear family. (Please refer to my other writings for an explanation of these terms) The defining aspects of capitalism are fractional reserve banking, interest and derivative transactions. As such it is a fraud, a scam, and theft with an elaborate ideology and institutions. The institutions of capitalism do exactly the opposite of what they claim to be doing. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation look after the interests of the oligarchy. The national state is a façade that allows the oligarchs to have legislation passed in their favour and the United Nations Organisation does not even try to conceal the farce that it is. The damage caused by capitalism is evident in widespread hunger, poverty, the deteriorating health of people and the devastation of the environment. 

Shaykh Abdalqadir said that true religion is deen al-fitra, the natural way of being upon which Allah created human beings. Allah has called this religion Islam and for the human being there is no split between the physical, psychological and spiritual. We in turn are connected to the social, which is connected to the economic, political, and environmental. And all of these are connected to the Hereafter. The obligatory acts of Islam, that is the shahada, salat, zakat, sawm and hajj unite the physical, psychological and the spiritual to the social, economic, political, the environment and to the Hereafter. This unification is called tawhid.  The establishment of Islam as a socio-economic and political reality requires a jihad (struggle) and the terrain for this jihad is the marketplace. To engage the enemy it is necessary to enter the market in order to conduct trade and commerce, with one’s own capital or with capital raised in commercial contracts such as qirad (partnership) etc.  This is the way of, step by step, ridding ourselves of the oligarchic yoke that is around our necks. The other steps must entail guilds, awqaf (charitable endowments), markets and the extension of trade nationally and internationally. Simultaneously the institutions of politics, law, education, media, healthcare, recreation and security have to be replaced to serve humanity and not the oligarchic elites. Re-establishment of mu‘amalat al-tijariyya and the restoration of the fallen pillar of zakat will lead to the demise of the ideology and institutions of the dominant religion of capitalism. 

In order to embark on this difficult task we will have to break out of our collective and individual psychosis. The psychosis is not only externally imposed on us through economics, politics, education, media, entertainment and police and military coercion.  It is internal as well because we are umbilically connected to the capitalist system, depending on it for our livelihoods. Shaykh Abdalqadir has indicated that whilst we may appeal to the minds and hearts of people the psychotic spell can only be broken through action in accordance with the deen al-fitra – Islam. He has taught us that knowledge of Islam is comprised of three sciences, namely, fiqh (science for the application of the Shari‘a, the law), aqida and tasawwuf. In fiqh Shaykh Abdalqadir had taken Imam Malik as his imam, in aqida Iman al-Ashari and in tasawwuf Imam Junayd.

Correct action is to submit, as a pure natural believer, to Allah’s natural pattern on which He created mankind, that is literally what Islam means. The submitted one, that is the one who has submitted to the will of Allah, knows that Allah is the true Actor in every situation. (Quran 37: 96) This is made clear in the aqida (creed) as taught by Imam al-Ashari. One has to be cured from the illusion of power because life, power, will, knowledge, hearing, seeing and speech belong to Allah. These attributes have been lent to us by Allah. In addition to that everything in the heavens and everything on and in the earth belongs to Allah. (Qur’an 2: 283) The Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was a true witness to the reality of deen al-fitra. (Qur’an 8: 17 and Qur’an 9: 14)

For Shaykh Abdalqadir the means for resolving the key problems facing contemporary society can be found in the Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas. For Imam Malik, practice or behaviour is evidence of knowledge, or to put it differently, the ‘amal ahl al-Madina (the practice of the first three generations of Muslims in Madina) guarantees that theory and practice are inseparable. The deen of Islam in Imam Malik’s view was not something people thought but something they did and the truth of the deen was acquired through practical action, which in turn led to the knowledge of deeper levels of being (ma‘rifa).

These deeper levels of being are the ruh (soul) and sirr (innermost consciousness). After these other more profound levels of knowledge are attained through fana (annihilation in Allah) and baqa (subsistence in Allah). The methodology whereby unveiling (kashf) of these levels of being and knowledge are attained in classical Sufism (Tasawwuf), is outlined by its leading theoretician Imam Junayd. This methodology had been absorbed by Shaykh Abdalqadir and used by him in his tariqa (Sufi Order).

Shaykh Abdalqadir showed how all three sciences of Islam (fiqh, aqida and tasawwuf) are integrated in the one who establishes the ‘amal ahl al-Madina. The ‘amal ahl al-Madina (i) eliminates the split between the inner and outer aspects of human personality; (ii) possesses the methodology for determining correct behaviour (usul al-fiqh); and (iii) affirms the relationship between political power and belief. 

I would like to end this short reflection with the words of the Shaykh:

“What are the first steps to Islamic revival?

Firstly, the jamat must form itself into a legal entity like the rebel humans did with trade unions, but this is step one to a new life.

Secondly, the local leaders, by their wealth and influence in the land, have to be taken, enjoining them to right action. Islam has no priesthood, imams take prayer, governance is a social capacity.

Thirdly, move constructively away from capitalist modalities … to free exchanges between men and groups.

Fourthly, remember physical and military opposition are the lifeblood of capitalist atheism. The revival of Islam is dependent on step by step turning away from kufr and finally, submitting to the natural religion.”

With gratitude to our Shaykh who left us with Shuyukh enabling us to continue our suluk (journey) in Tasawwuf and united all of us through futuwwa (fraternity) in the Murabitun World Movement which he founded.1

May Allah bless Shaykh Abdalqadir and grant him the company of His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the Highest Paradise.

With love and best regards,

Riyad Asvat.

Footnotes

1  ‘Murabitun’ is a noble name which has regrettably been tainted by its adoption by terrorist movements that are completely contrary to the Shaykh’s teaching.

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Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics, and in Cairo in Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s imam khatib of the Norwich Mosque, where he is currently an imam and teacher. He has translated the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (jointly with Muhammad Abdarrahman), which was published by Turath Publishing at the end of July 2004 and a number of other works from Arabic: al-Qawl al-mu'tamad fi mashru'iyyat adh-dhikr bi'l-ism al-mufrad by Shaykh al-Alawi on the standing in Shari’ah of using the divine name in dhikr, which was published by Diwan Press as first part of The Two Invocations and since republished by Madinah Press, The History of the Khalifahs (the chapters on the Khulafa ar-Rashidun from as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa), the Complete Forty Hadith (translation of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith along with the Imam’s explanation of their fiqh and linquistic usages) and Kitab al-Jami’ by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (published as A Madinan View), Rijal – narrators of the Muwatta of Imam Muhammad, all published by Ta-Ha Publishers of London, Kitab al-athar by Imam Abu Hanifah and transmitted by Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ash-Shaybani (Turath Publishing 2006), The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom (a translation of Jami' al-'ulum wa'l-hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, published by Turath Publishing 2007). In addition he has edited Aisha Bewley's translation of Ibn Hajar's abridgement of at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, Ibn Taymiyyah's al-Kalim at-Tayyib both published by the UK Islamic Academy, Dr Asadullah Yate's translation of al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, published by Ta-Ha Publishing and a number of other works. He is currently engaged with Suád Østergaard on a translation of the Qur’an into Danish, the first volume of which translated in collaboration with Jakob Werdelin, comprising Surat al-Fatihah, Surat al-Baqarah and Surah Ali ‘Imran, was recently published as Den gavmilde Qur’an: en fremlægning of de tre første suraer by Havens Forlag of Copenhagen. Translations yet to be published include Traditions of the Sunnah (Athar as-sunan) by Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali an-Nimawi (jointly with Mawlana In'amuddin), to be published by Turath Publishing Ltd. Among his unpublished translations are the Sciences of Tafsir comprising portions of Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Qur’anic commentary at-Tashil li ‘ulum at-tanzil, in particular his introductory sections on the essential elements of the sciences necessary for tafsir. He is author of a number of children’s books, The Year of the Elephant, The Great Victory and The Last Battle all of which are on the sirah of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as The Story of Stories about the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, in which he drew a great deal on the commentary of Ibn Juzayy, may Allah be merciful to him. He has also a poem God is Dead published in the Minaret journal of Stockholm, Sweden, and an as-yet unpublished collection of short stories called Tales Are Like That, and a novel called The Wings of the Butterfly. Abdassamad is a teacher of both adults and children in Qur’an recitation (tajwid) and meanings, Arabic language and the deen in general, most recently having organised and taken part in a conference under the auspices of Islamic Events of London on the History of the Islamic Khalifate, and having given discourses in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Jena, Weimar, Copenhagen and the Midlands. 18 April, 2007 0:03

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2 Comments

  1. Subhan’Allah – beautiful- very enlightening. May Allah grant Shaykh Abdalqadir As-Sufi-( Raheem ul Allah ) Janaat-el-Firdous . Ameen

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