We supplicate to Allaah The Almighty to save us from the trial of the Antichrist. What is the “Knowledge of Truth”?
All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.
There is no such thing as the “Knowledge of Truth” in the Islamic sciences. This expression is used by Sufis who divide religious sciences into two types: knowledge of the Sharee‘ah, which is “apparent knowledge,” and knowledge of truth, which is “esoteric knowledge.”
Some Sufis claim that they possess this knowledge of truth, while the rest of the Muslims only possess knowledge of the Sharee‘ah. They also claim that the knowledge of truth is that of Al-Khidhr while knowledge of the Sharee‘ah is that of Moosaa (Moses) . In addition, they claim that they receive esoteric knowledge directly from Allaah The Almighty in their hearts, saying “our hearts told us that Allaah Says …” Scholars judge anyone saying this to be a heretic and disbeliever.
Ibn Al-Jawzi mentioned that many Sufis ignorantly make a distinction between the Sharee‘ah and truth, while the entire Sharee’ah is in fact the truth. If they mean, for instance, the distinction between concessions, such as permissibility of breaking fast during daytime in Ramadan for the traveler, and the observance of the fundamental ruling, such as the traveler’s choice to fast despite the permissibility to break fast, then both cases are classified under the Sharee‘ah anyway and there is no need to refer to the “truth”!
It should noted here that some of the early Sufis disapproved of other Sufis’ blatant renouncement of some outwardly aspects of Sharee‘ah. Ibn Al-Jawzi quoted Sahl At-Tustari who judged anyone who abandons these apparent aspects under the pretext that they contradict esoteric knowledge to be a heretic. Al-Ghazzaali said that anyone who claims that truth contradicts the Sharee‘ah or that the esoteric contradicts the apparent is closer to disbelief than to faith.
Ibn ‘Aqeel said that Sufis consider “Sharee‘ah” to be a noun that means “truth.” This is not true because Allaah The Almighty ordained the Sharee‘ah to outline the interests and acts of worship for His servants. Any truth beyond the Sharee‘ah is nothing but Satanic whispers that may strike a person’s mind. Anyone who claims to find truth in other than the Sharee‘ah is deceived and self-conceited.
Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah considered a disbeliever anyone who believes in any way of bringing a person closer to Allaah other than the way of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; or claims that a person need not follow the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; or says that a person needs to follow the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in apparent knowledge but not in esoteric knowledge, or in knowledge of the Sharee‘ah but not in knowledge of the truth; or says that some scholars are permitted to hold opinions beyond the Sharee‘ah, as Al-Khidhr held opinions beyond the Sharee‘ah of Moosaa .
And Allaah Knows best.
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