Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyya Ansari was known as the Shaykh of Shaykhs. He was a hadith master, judge, and exegete of Qur'an. He was Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami's teacher and authored many books on tasawwuf, including a commentary on Qushayri's Risala which received several editions.
In his commentary on Qusayri Ansari gives the following definitions for tasawwuf:Tasawwuf is the abandonment of deliberation. It is also said: It is the guarding of your senses and the mindfulness of your every breath; also: it is complete earnestness in the progression towards the King of all kings; also: it is the devotion to works of good and the avoidance of defects; and other explanations... The sufiyya or Sufis are called thus because the Truth -- Allah -- has made them pure (safahum) and has favored them unreservedly (akhlasa lahum al-ni`am) through what He has allowed them to look upon.1
1 Zakariyya al-Ansari, Sharh al-risala al-qushayriyya (Cairo: dar al-kutub al-`arabiyya al-kubra, 1330/1912) p. 126.
Reproduced with permission from
Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani's
The Repudiation of "Salafi" Innovations_ (Kazi, 1996) p. 386-387
Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions