Who or what is a sufi?

Many definitions can be given of who is a sufi but in essence it comes down to the following definition. “A sufi is he who is ‘Alimun ‘Amilun.” Subhanallah, isn’t the Arabic language amazing? In plain English a sufi is the one who practices what he knows. One could argue this counts for all muslims and that is true too of course. It is said that a true sufi is simultaneously a muslim, mu’min and muhsin. (Source: imam ‘Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sha’rani, Tanbih ul-Mukhtarin) Also remember the saying of imam al-Shafi’i, may Allah have mercy upon him: “faqīhan wa-sufiyyan fa-kun laysa wāhidan, fa-inni wa-haqqillāhi iyyaka ansahu“: (Be both) a faqih and a sufi: do not be only one of them, Verily, by Allah’s truth, I am advising you sincerely. (Source: al-Shafi`i, Diwan, Beirut and Damascus: Dar al-Fikr, pag. 47).


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