Both external (zahiri) and internal (batini) acts and duties are commanded in the Qur’aan. Thus the Qur’aan while commanding Salaat and Zakaat:

“O People of Imaan! Establish Salaat and give Zakaat “,

also commands shukr (gratefulness):

“And be grateful unto Allah”.
At one place is to be found:

“Fasting has been decreed upon you.” and

“Upon mankind is the Hajj of the Bait for Allah.”,
while at another place is to be found:

“He (Allah) loves them (Mu’mineen) and they love Him.”,

“Those who have adopted Imaan are most ardent in the love of Allah.”

Similarly, along with:

“When they stand for Salaat, they stand half-heartedly”,
is to be found:

“They show people (i.e. they perform Salaat in riya).”

The Qur’aan, like it reprimands and condemns the defaulter of Salaat and Zakaat, also states the evil of pride and vanity (takabbur and ujub).

The Same applies to the Ahadith. Like the chapters of Salaat, Saum, Ba’y (trade and commerce), Nikah (marriage), Talaaq (divorce) are to be found, so too do the chapters of riya takabbur, etc, exist. No Muslim can refute the fact that like the a’male zahirah are Divine Commands so too are the a’male batinah.”(Establish Salaat and pay Zakaat)”are positive commands just as (Adopt sabr and shukr)”are positive commands. Like the aayat: “Fasting has been decreed upon you”, establishes the Shar’i nature of Fasting, the aayat: “Those who have Imaan are the most ardent in the love of Allah”, establishes the Shar’i nature of Love for Allah. On closer examination and reflection it will be realized that all the a’male zahirah are designed for the reformation of the a’male batinah. The purification of the batin (the heart and soul of man) is the aim and the basis of najat (salvation in the Akhirat) while the despoiling of the batin is the cause of destruction.

Allah Ta’ala declares:

“Verily, he who has purified the nafs has attained victory, and he who has despoiled it has lost.”

“That Day (of Qiyamat) neither wealth nor sons will benefit (anyone), but that person who comes to Allah with a reformed heart.”

The first aayat asserts victory as being the consequence of the purification of the batin while the second aayat negates the utility of wealth and sons in the absence of a reformed heart. wealth and sons in the absence of a reformed heart. Imaan and Aqa-id (Articles of Faith) on which pivots the acceptance of all a’mal (actions), are conditions of the heart (i.e. the batin). It is manifest that a’mal are designed for the perfection of Imaan. It is therefore clear that the original purpose is the reformation (islah) of the heart by virtue of which man is ushered into the Divine Court of Acceptance and attains the lofty spiritual ranks. This is precisely what is known technically as Tasawwuf.

In this regard Bayazid Bistami (rahmatullah alayh) says:

“Do not be deceived if you see a performer of supernatural fears flying in the air. Measure him on the Standard of the Shariat – how he adheres to the limits of the Commands of the Shariat.”

Hadhrat Junaid (rahmatullah alayh) says:

“All avenues besides the strict following of Rasulullah (saws) are closed to mankind.”

Hadhrat Nuri (rahmatullah alayh) says:

“Do not venture near to one who lays claim to a condition which brings about transgression of the limits of the Shariat.”

Hadhrat Khwajah Naseeruddin Chiraghe Dehlawi (rahmatullah alayh) says:

“Obedience to Rasulullah (saws) is imperative. Such obedience is essential in word, act and intention because Love for Allah Ta’ala is not possible without obedience to Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa (saws).”

Khwajah Mueenuddin Chishti (rahmatullah alayh) says:

“He who adheres to the Shariat, executing its commands and refrains from transgression, progresses in spiritual rank, i.e. all progress is dependant on adherence to the Shariat.”

Hadhrat Hakimul Ummat (rahmatullah alayh) says in Ta’limuddin:

“Whoever acquires the wealth of Wusul (Attainment, having attained the Love of Allah) has acquired it by virtue of following the Sunnat.”

The fountain of all Islamic teaching is the Qur’aan and the Sunnat. The inception of this teaching was in the Majlis (gathering) of Nabi (saws). It was the initial stage of Islam which was present in its headquarters. It had a confined number of adherents, hence all branches of Islamic instruction – Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqh and Tasawwuf – were imparted at one venue, the Madressah of Nabi (saws). Separate departments did not exist. However, in this Madrasah of Nabi (saws) there was a permanent group of lovers of Allah and devotees of Rasulullah (saws) who were at all times engaged in the purification of the nafs, and the reformation of the batin by means of practical education. This group is called Ashab-e-Suffah.

Later when Islam acquired an universal status, the Ulama of the Deen formulated the teachings of Islam into separate departments. Those who rendered service to the Knowledge of Hadith are called the Muhadditheen; those who undertook the responsibility of Tafseer are called the Mufassireen; those who specialized in Fiqh are called the Fuqaha while those who took custody of the department of Islah Batin (purification of the nafs) became known as the Masha-ikh Sufiya. Hence, not a single one among the great authorities of former times ever divorced the Shariat from Tareeqat. On the contrary they also held Tareeqat in subservience to the Shariat.