THE NATURE OF TASAWWUF
The department of the Shari’at relating to A’maal-e Baatini (esoteric acts or states of the heart) is called Tasawwuf and Sulook; and, the department of the Shari’at relating to A’maal-e Zaahiri (exoteric acts or physical acts) is called Fiqh.
The subject matter dealt with by Tasawwuf is Tahzeeb-e Akhlaaq or the adornment of character while the motive of this branch of the Shari’at is the attainment of Divine Pleasure. The method of acquisition of this Divine Pleasure is total obedience to the commands of the Shari’at.
Tasawwuf in fact is the rooh (soul) and state of perfection of the Deen. Its function is to purify the Baatin (the heart) of man from the lowly bestial attributes of lust, calamities of the tongue, anger, malice, jealousy, love of the world, love for fame, niggardliness, greed, ostentation, vanity, deception, etc.
At the same time it (Tasawwuf) aims at the adornment of the heart with the lofty attributes of repentance, perseverance, gratefulness, fear of Allah, hope, abstention, Tauheed, trust, love sincerity, truth, meditation, reckoning, contemplation, etc. In this way, attention towards Allah Ta’ala is inculcated in man. This is in fact the purpose of life.
Tasawwuf or Tareeqat is therefore not at all negatory of the Deen and Shari’at. On the contrary it is incumbent for every Muslim to become a Sufi (one who follows the path of Tasawwuf). Minus Tasawwuf, a Muslim cannot truly be described as a perfect Muslim.