not. There are, because some of the highest saints were executed by the sword of the Shari‘a. And there are not, because the authoritative scholars among the saints have agreed on this rule of Sa‘di-i Shirazi: “It is impossible, Sa‘di, to be victorious on the way of felicity, except by following the Chosen One.” That is, it is impossible for one outside the highway of God’s Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace), who does not follow him, to attain the true lights of reality. The meaning of this is as follows:
God’s Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) was the Seal of the Prophets and the addressee of God in the name of all mankind; mankind, therefore, cannot advance outside his highway; it is essential to be under his banner. But since ecstatics and those immersed in divine contemplation are not responsible for their opposition; and since man possesses certain subtle faculties that are not held accountable, and when such faculties dominate a person, he cannot be held responsible for opposing the obligations of the Shari‘a; and since man possesses subtle faculties that just as they are not accountable, so they are not under the jurisdiction of the will and cannot be controlled by the mind, for they do not heed the heart or the mind; certainly, when those faculties dominate in a person, – but only at that time – he does not fall from the rank of sainthood by opposing the Shari‘a, he is held excused. On condition, however, that he does not deny or insult the truths of the Shari‘a and rules of belief, or display contempt towards them. Even if he does not carry out the injunctions, he has to acknowledge that they are right. But if he is overcome by that state and assumes a position, I seek refuge with God, which infers denial and giving the lie to those incontestible truths, it is the sign that he has deviated from the path!
I n S h o r t : There are two groups that follow the Sufi path outside the bounds of the Shari‘a.
One group: As described above, these people are either overwhelmed by their mental state, immersion, or ecstasy or intoxication, or they are dominated by some of their subtle faculties that do not heed the injunctions of religion nor listen to the will; they therefore transgress the bounds of the Shari‘a. But this is not due to their disliking its rulings or not wanting to follow them; they are rather compelled to, involuntarily. Among this group are people of sainthood some of whom have even been temporary saints of high rank. But the authoritative scholars from among the saints have ruled that of these some have been not only outside the bounds of the Shari‘a, but outside the bounds of Islam. But they are considered to be people of sainthood on condition they have not denied any of the injunctions brought by Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). It is that they do not think