Reviewed by Syed Nooruzzaman

There is no dearth of people who show considerable interest in what Sufism (Tasawwuf) stands for despite the controversies associated with it. While Sufis yearn for closeness to Allah, they mostly talk in the common man’s language which can easily impress anyone who comes into contact with them.

What exactly is Sufism and how far does it fit in with the scheme of things as outlined in the Quran and Hadees (sayings of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ)? Where and how does it enter the territory of controversy so far as the Islamic Shariah is concerned?

In any case, the Sufi thought has produced many stalwarts whose contribution to the causes dear to Islam like promoting human brotherhood can never be ignored. They have played a major role in expanding the influence of Islam in a peaceful way. Answers to the questions raised here and a lot more are available in the book authored by Dr Waquar Anwar, well-versed in Islam and Sufism.

The usefulness of the book, Understanding Sufism, lies in the fact that it provides a complete picture of the Sufi thought and details about the lives and deeds of its prominent practitioners despite being not a bulky one. Among these stalwarts were Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Khwaja Muhammad Nizamuddin Aulia and Makhdoom Sharfuddin Ahmad Yahya Maneri.
It can be easily gone through in only a few sittings. Yet anyone who reads it will feel satiated if he or she wishes to acquire quickly the basic understanding of Sufism and Sufis.
The book says, “… many learned persons have expressed the opinion that Sufism is simply a name for ‘ihsan’. Both (Sufism and ‘Ihsan’) imply the same thing of the highest possible ‘qurb’ (nearness and relationship) with Allah.”In the words of the author, “If ‘taqwa’ is to avoid the displeasure of Allah, ‘ihsan’ implies pleasing Him.”
The book is spread into six chapters and appears to have been written after considerable research done. It can prove to be a very useful source of knowledge about Sufism for all kinds of people seriously looking for a dependable book written with utmost care.

Understanding Sufism
Author: Dr Waquar Anwar
Published by The Board of Islamic Publications
Pages: 80
Price: Rs 110

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