Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Saffarini al-Hanbali (d. 1188) relates in his Ghidha' al-albab li-sharh manzumat al-adab from Ibrahim ibn `Abd Allah al-Qalanasi that Imam Ahmad said about the Sufis: "I don't know people better than them." Someone said to him: "They listen to music and they reach states of ecstasy." He said: "Do you prevent them from enjoying an hour with Allah?"1
Imam Ahmad's admiration of Sufis is borne out by the reports of his awe before al-Harith al-Muhasibi, although he expressed caution about the difficulty of the Sufi path for those unprepared to follow it, as it may not be for all people to follow the way of those about whom Allah instructed His Prophet: "And keep yourself content with those who call their Lord early morning and evening, seeking His Countenance..." (18:28).
1 al-Saffarini, Ghidha' al-albab li-sharh manzumat al-adab (Cairo: Matba`at al-Najah, 1324/1906) 1:120.
Reproduced with permission from Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani's
The Repudiation of "Salafi" Innovations (Kazi, 1996) p. 280-281.
Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions