Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 1 year ago

It really depends who you ask. People who are against irfan and Sufism will say no, and cite their arguments. Some other people will say yes and cite their arguments.

My personal view is that the general ideas and goals behind irfan and Sufism are in concordance with the teachings of the Prophet (S). For instance, many people who practice the mystical traditions emphasize compassion, forgiveness, humility, self-purification, awareness of God, service, and spiritual development. (If they aren't focusing on these things, they aren't doing a very good job at being mystics!)

(This is not to say I agree with everything said or done by everyone who practices Sufism and irfan, only that I feel that some of what is said matches what I believe to be the core values of Islam.)

However, in my view, some of what is said by people who practice Sufism is not really directly from the Prophet. It may have truth and it is possible for something to be true and beneficial even if does not come directly from the Prophet, I am just saying that attributing it to the Prophet seems to be historically unsourced. However this is a very broad subject since there are so many varieties of Sufism and mystical traditions in Islam.

The same thing could be said about practices, one can evaluate them individually to see whether or not they seem to be reflective of the intent of the Prophet.

From a broader perspective, historically, the mystical and literal approaches to Islam have tended to balance each other out and provide balance in society, and I think it is worth appreciating this. Some Muslims go to the extreme of promoting a heavily literal and harsh interpretation of Islam (for instance, putting all their focus into checking how other people do their wudu and instructing them if they see something they personaly think is incorrect) and this is also not, in my view, the ethos of the Prophet. So I think the mystical traditions of Islam have provided a good contribution to Islamic civilization. 

EDIT: From the perspective of maraji', some maraji' have supported 'irfan, and others have not. For instance, Imam Khomeini was a strong advocate of 'irfan. I have heard that in his younger years, Ayatollah Khoei also practised some 'irfani practices. 

Sufism is a more complicated question because most Sufi orders are more associated with Sunnism, and have their own authority structures.

However, it doesn't need to be an either-or question. That is, one might go to a marja' to get a fatwa or judgment or even political advice, and go to an 'irfani or Sufi shaykh to ask for personal spiritual guidance.

My experience is that when practising Shi'is wish to explore 'irfan or Sufism, it is usually because they want something that is not available locally to them in their religious communities. It could be a stronger spiritual experience, fellowship, or something else.

However I feel that the main conflict that can arise with non-Shi'i Sufi orders is a difference in worldview and theology - that is, at some point, there may be teachings that conflict with a Shi'i worldview, In that case, one has to decide what to follow. 

Also, different people are receptive to different types of spiritual practice. For instance, for some people, reciting a du'a text will be a very strong experience; for others, they might gain more spiritually from actions, such as helping people. Sometimes, also, after reciting the same du'a repeatedly for years and years, they may integrate it into themself and, while continuing to recite the du'a because it is mustahhab, they may wish to explore other approaches to spiritual growth. I do not personally see anything wrong with this, but again we are getting back to my personal view!

(I am also qualifying it as my personal view to take full responsibility for it, and to make any errors my own)

Also, some Sufis recite the same du'as as Shi'is, for instance, Jawshan al-Kabir or Nad-e-Ali

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