faqihan wa sufiyyan fa kun laysa wahidan
fa inni wa haqqillahi iyyaka ansahu
(Be both) a faqih and a sufi: do not be only one of them,
Verily, by Allah's truth, I am advising you sincerely.
Three things in this world have been made lovely to me: avoiding affectation, treating people kindly, and following the way of tasawwuf.
I accompanied the Sufis and received from them but three words: their statement that time is a sword: if you do not cut it, it cuts you; their statement that if you do not keep your ego busy with truth it will keep you busy with falsehood; their statement that deprivation is immunity.
Religion consists entirely of good character (al-dinu kulluhu khuluq). Whoever surpasses you in good character surpasses you in religion, and the same is true of tasawwuf. al-Kattani said: "Tasawwuf is good character (al-tasawwuf khuluq). Whoever surpasses you in good character surpasses you in tasawwuf."
Know -- may Allah guide you -- that Allah Almighty has sent Muhammad, blessings and peace upon him, with right guidance, consisting in beneficial knowledge, and with true religion consisting in righteous action. The adherents of religion are as follows: among them are those who concern themselves with learning and fiqh, and discourse about it, such as the jurists; and among them are those who concern themselves with worship and the pursuit of the Hereafter, such as the Sufis. Allah has sent His Prophet with this religion which encompasses both kinds, that is: fiqh and tasawwuf.
Our reliance is on Allah! Ibn al-Jawzi composed a great big book on hadith forgeries so that jurists, preachers, and others may avoid them, then you will see him cite in his exhortative works forged hadiths and rejected stories without head nor tail, without shame or second thought. In the end one feels that "Ibn al-Jawzi" is two people and not one!... For this reason Ibn al-Athir blamed him in his history entitled al-Kamil (10:228), with the words: "Ibn al- Jawzi blamed him [Ghazali] for many things, among them his narration of unsound hadiths in his exhortations. O wonder that Ibn al-Jawzi should criticize him for that! For his own books and exhortative works are crammed full with them (mahshuw bihi wa mamlu' minh)!" And the hadith master al-Sakhawi said in Sharh al-alfiyya (p. 107): "Ibn al-Jawzi cited forgeries and their likes in high abundance in his exhortative works"!
Beware of listening to what happened between... Ahmad ibn Hanbal and al-Harith al-Muhasibi. If you become busy with this I fear death for you. These are notable leaders in religion and their utterances have various explanations which some, perhaps, have misunderstood. As for us, we have no other course but to approve of them and keep quiet concerning what took place between them, just as what is done concerning what took place between the Companions, may Allah be well pleased with them... O you who are seeking guidance!... leave aside what took place between them, and busy yourself with what concerns you, and leave what does not concern you!
Where are the likes of al-Harith al-Muhasibi! How then if Abu Zur`a saw the books of the later [Sufis], such as the Qut al-qulub of Abu Talib [al-Makki], and where are the likes of the Qut? How then if he saw Bahjat al-asrar of Abu Jahdam, and Haqa'iq al-tafsir of al-Sulami, then he
would jump to the ceiling! How then if he saw the books of Abu Hamid al-Tusi [Imam Ghazali]....? the Ghunya of shaykh `Abd al-Qadir [Gilani]... Fusus al-hikam and al- Futuhat al-makiyya [of Ibn `Arabi]?
Don't let Dhahabi's mumbling deceive you, for he went so far as to mumble against Imam Fakhr al-Din ibn al-Khatib [al-Razi], and against one who is greater than the Imam, namely: Abu Talib al-Makki the author of Qut al-qulub, and against one who is greater than Abu Talib, namely: Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari, whose fame has filled the firmaments! And Dhahabi's books are filled with that: al- Mizan, al-Tarikh, and Siyar al-nubala'. Are you going to accept his words against such as these? Never, by Allah! His word is not accepted concerning them; rather, we fulfill their right over us, and we render it to them in full.