The Quran's Eternal Truths and Sufism: The Difference

All the books written and all of the writings are the result of human personal thoughts, except for the Holy Book of the Qur'an. It was the revelation (وحی) of knowledge by Allah to mankind. As Muslims, it is our Faith (Iman) that there is no other book or knowledge that can be achieved or written by humans and be accepted as the word of Allah (God).

All human thoughts come from inside of them, and therefore these are subjective knowledge. The Revelation by Allah is unique and distinctive knowledge that comes from outside to inside. The Quran has mentioned the word تَنْزِیْلٌ (tanzeel); and it is meant to convey that the Revelation, which has been revealed to the Messenger ﷺ, is not a figment of his imagination, i.e. it is not a subjective thing but an objective thing.

Therefore, Revelation can not be obtained with one’s own effort. This can only be granted by Allah. In the material world, man reveals things by discovering them with his own effort, but in Revelation, the truth reveals itself to the Messenger. Therefore, the word اِنْزَالٌ (inzaal) has been used for it, i.e. man himself does not rise to the truth and unveils it; but the truth itself descends and reveals itself to him. This is a particular characteristic of the Revelation.

How to understand the Quran?

The entire Quran can be understood with knowledge and reason:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ ٱللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا۟ فِيهِ ٱخْتِلَـٰفًا كَثِيرًا

(4:82) – Will they not, then, try to understand this Qur’an? Had it issued from any but God, they would surely have found in it many an inner contradiction!

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَآ

(47:24) – Will they not, then, ponder over this Qur’an? - or are there locks upon their hearts?

This is where human intellectual effort comes into the process of understanding the Revelation from Allah. How the Revelation comes down to the Messenger is beyond human understanding. A finite mind cannot understand the workings of an infinite mind.

Only the Revelation sent down by the infinite mind can be understood by the finite mind. The Final Revelation sent down by Allah on the Last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ , is now contained and preserved until eternity in the Quran.

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

(15:9) – Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).

This is our Iman. Those who don’t have Iman on this fact, should test the Quran on merit. Then everyone (whether Muslim or non-Muslim) will reach the conclusion that this is not a product of human effort as Dr. Maurice Bucaille has scientifically proven in his book entitled, “The Bible, The Quran, and Science”.

Sufism and Quran

This open proclamation cuts the very root of Sufism. Sufis do solitary meditation and exercise to gain individual, personal, and subjective experience, which they call Kashf and Ilham. They remain confined to their monasteries and they have nothing to do with the world at-large; they have nothing to do with the affairs of the world; they have nothing to do with suffering humanity.

If Sufis are asked to explain their experience they reply that it can’t be explained; that one has to taste it oneself; that one has to go through it oneself to experience it.

Allah has used the word تَنزِيلٌ which means it comes down from on high. This is the objectivity of Divine Revelation. There is no trace of the recipient’s thoughts or emotions in it:

وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ

(53:3) – and neither does he speak out of his own desire.

Whatever he tells humans in his capacity as a divine Messenger, he does not say it on his own. He only narrates the Revelation revealed to him from the Almighty Allah. The Quran contains Divine Revelation and the feelings or personal opinion of the Messenger have no share in it.

The Objectivity of Divine Revelation

Human emotions and opinions are a result of personality and reflect a person’s exposure in society. However, the Revelation that comes down from Allah is from outside and is objective and is unchangeable and cannot be affected by recipient’s, efforts, emotions, thoughts, or opinions.

Apart from this, there is no knowledge that could come to humans from outside in. Human knowledge is solely the product of human’s own effort and thoughts. It is from inside of humans that comes outside.

Therefore, the claims of Sufis that they get knowledge from God is completely wrong and against the Quran. This amounts to breaking the finality of Prophet-hood. The Quran’s every word is 100% a Revelation from Allah. Nothing from Allah can come to humans now, no matter which words they use to describe it: inspiration, kashf or ilham.

The Quran says:

وَّمَا هُوَ بِقَوْلِ شَاعِرٍ قَلِيْلًا مَّا تُؤْمِنُوْنَ

(69:41) – and is not – however little you may [be prepared to] believe it - the word of a poet.

The Prophet ﷺ conveyed commands of Allah to humanity. These are not the sayings of a poet or a soothsayer's guesswork. This certainly is the Revelation by Allah. There are however, very few who use their intellect and logic to ponder it; and believe in the truthfulness of these sayings and adopt them as a Divine Code of life.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَ

(47:24) – Will they not, then, ponder over this Qur’an? - or are there locks upon their hearts?

The Prophet ﷺ faithfully and truthfully conveyed the Revelation as the Messenger of Allah. He didn’t add or subtract anything from his own side. The religionists or spiritualists have propagated the idea that whatever that Prophet ﷺ said was revelation from Allah. This is totally against the Quran.

Quran-The Final Book!

All revelation that Allah sent to the final Prophet ﷺ is now preserved only in the Quran. And Allah has taken the responsibility to fully protect it until eternity (15:9). And no one can receive any message from Allah ever.

Therefore, the Sufis who claim to receive “Kashf” and “Ilham” from Allah is totally false. It is their own concoction. And the religionists’ concoction that there are two kinds of revelation from Allah: one which is recited and the other one that is un-recited is creation of their own mindset to maintain their religious business based totally on falsehood, i.e., anti-Quran.

No wonder Allah declares the religionists and spiritualists as the greatest barrier in the path of Allah (9:34); that they are the enemies of Allah which brainwash and tranquilize people in the name of Allah and the Prophet ﷺ to maintain the status quo.

The Quran says:

تَنْزِيْلُ الْكِتٰبِ مِنَ اللّٰهِ الْعَزِيْزِ الْحَكِيْمِ

(39:1) – THE BESTOWAL from on high of this divine writ issues from God, the Almighty, the Wise.

This Divine Code is revealed from Allah who exercises Sovereignty over everything including the human world; and runs the entire Universe according to His divine mission and vision. Please note that how powerful Arabic language is. We normally take the meaning عَزِيْزِ only for respect and we don’t take it meaning power. But in Arabic language, it means both: Power – with justifiable reason – as well as Respect. When there is no power with just reason, there is no respect.

The Word of Allah

Human dictators never explain their laws and commands to their people. Allah explains why His laws and commands for establishing and running the human society are beneficial to humans. That is, Allah explains the “why of it” of His every law or command. All aspects of life are covered by these laws – be they political, economic, social, judicial, cultural, etc. Allah forbids human rule over humans.

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

(5:44) – for they who do not judge in accordance with what God has bestowed from on high are, indeed, deniers of the truth!

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

(5:45) – And they who do not judge in accordance with what God has revealed - they, they are the evildoers!

وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

(5:47) – for they who do not judge in the light of what God has bestowed from on high-it is they, they who are truly iniquitous!

The Quran explains to humans why they should obey Allah’s commands. But He leaves it up to them to obey or not to obey them (76:3). If they obey the commands, then they will get the benefits; and if they don't then they will suffer the consequences thereof.

The Quran says:

وَاُمِرْتُ اَنْ اُسْلِمَ لِرَبِّ الْعٰلَمِيْنَ

(40:66) – and I am bidden to surrender myself to the Sustainer of all the worlds.

Tell them: that I have been ordered obedience with complete sincerity to the Divine Laws which undertake the responsibility of universal Sustenance. Furthermore, tell them that you have been forbidden to obey any other beings who wield power and authority (5:44, 5:45, 5:47).

All words of the Quran are Allah’s words and they synchronize in perfect harmony This is the miracle of the Quran that there is perfect harmony not only in verses and Surahs but also in word sequences.

The Quran says:

اِنَّآ اَنْزَلْنَآ اِلَيْكَ الْكِتٰبَ بِالْحَقِّ فَاعْبُدِ اللّٰهَ مُخْلِصًا لَّهُ الدِّيْنَ

(39:2) – Verily it is We Who have revealed the Book to thee in Truth: so serve Allah, offering Him sincere devotion.

Significance of Al-Haq

O Messenger: We have revealed to you this Code of Laws in a perfect harmonious manner. This is the Al-Haq that will bring about positive, constructive, and perceptible results in real life established on the foundation of universal permanent values. The thing to do now is to leave everything aside, and follow it with complete devotion and conviction.

This is not just a mental and imaginary thing that religionists and spiritualists keep on promoting as a shortcut to heaven. All the claims by the Quran are bound to come true in the real world in concrete tangible and perceptible form. This is Al-Haq. This is an extremely important aspect of the Quran.

One should always keep in mind that Al-Haq is the practical and positive outcome in the life of humans, if the human society is established in the human world based on the foundation Al-Haq. Al-Haq means that it is based on divine universal permanent values and leads to positive development and growth of human society.

Related Suggestions

The opinions expressed herein, through this post or comments, contain positions and viewpoints that are not necessarily those of IslamiCity. These are offered as a means for IslamiCity to stimulate dialogue and discussion in our continuing mission of being an educational organization. The IslamiCity site may occasionally contain copyrighted material the use of which may not always have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. IslamiCity is making such material available in its effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, and such (and all) material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.