Q: What is your opinion of Shaykh Nizam Naqshbandi from Cyprus and his beliefs?
A: Instead of venturing an opinion on one particular individual, let me rather provide general Shar’ee principles in the light of which we can understand what tasowwuf and rectification of our souls is all about, for it is this field in which Shaikh Naazim and his followers are engaged. This will give you an insight into the modern day Sufi orders.
1) Tasowwuf (called Sufism) is a system of reforming one soul by developing good characteristics and noble character, and subjugating the lower self and the lowly base desires of human nature. This must be done within the confines of Quran and Sunnah. This form of taswowwuf was practice by the great auliya of the past in its proper manner. These pious Ulema of the past have made it very clear in many of their writings, that Taswowwuf that is not subject to Quran and Sunnah is false and misleading.
2) Most of the modern-day Sufi orders, especially those emanating in Europe and Western Countries, have shifted from the Sunnah path and the path of our pious predecessors. These movements have been infiltrated by a number of bid’ah customs and acts that are contrary to Quran and Sunnah, such as dancing when making zhikr, beating the drum at the time of zhikr, celebrating moulood, intermingling of men and women, womenfolk coming into physical contact with the Shaikh, having special programs by graves, etc.
3) What is worse than the above in relation to these new trending Sufi groups is that their followers will elevate the status of the Shaikh to a level even greater than that of the Sahaaba! They maintain beliefs about the Shaikh that are kufr itself, or that border on Kufr, such as the Shaikh being present with them when they are thousands of miles away, that the Shaikh is on the same level as the Holy Prophet (alayhis-salaam), that the “grand” shaikh has got super-natural powers, etc. It has been reliably reported that in some of their gatherings the Shaikh produced a photograph which was purported to be a picture of Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)! Allah save us from such blasphemy.
4) Photography and videoing are common among these Sufi orders.
5) There is no emphasis on the sunnah among these groups. That is why we find the mureeds of these Shaikhs clean shaven or with designer beards and no sunnah dress.
The above is, in a nutshell, what the modern Sufi groups consist of. We should not join or align ourselves to such groups. They themselves are mislead, and they mislead others, too.
Allah Ta’ala knows best
Mufti Siraj Desai