Al-Aqtaab is the plural form of qutb, which means axis or pivot: the highest station in the Sufi hierarchy of saints. Sufis believe that the universe has a master pivot, which they call al-Qutb, which is to the universe as the sould is to the body; one the qutb departs, the universe can no longer exist. The secret of the power of the qutb, they allege, is kept by the one who keeps the greates name of Allah.
They also claim that his person reaches the state of "qutbhood" by acquiring the perfection of knowledge, observation and mushahadah,(75) which includes witnessing the Divine essence. He who does this is, according to Sufis, the hierarch of the Sufi leaders of his generation. He is called al-Gowth, or the aid, and is alleged to be preeminently endowed with sanctity and miraculous powers.
The identity of al-Ghowth is known only to his agents, unless he chooses to reveal himself. At his death, Sufis believe that his place will be filled with another, who will attain verification from Allah in each stage he passes through, until he becomes al-Qutb and the new al-Gowth.
The following points can be deduced from the above:
- The Sufis’ beliefs are not based on the Qur’an or the Sunnah. Reference to the qutb and his qualifications can be found only outside the Qur’an and the Sunnah, in the literature of theBatini, or clandestine religions.
- If all the universe is sustained by the spirituality of the qutb, then what is left for Allah to sustain? And what would be the meaning of the Qur’anic verse:
“Allah: there is no god but He, the Living, the Sustaining.”(2.255)
“Say, ‘Who provides sustenance for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who is that has power over (the faculties of) hearing and seeing? and who brings forth the living from the dead, and brings the dead from the living? And who governs all affairs? They will say, ‘Allah.'”(10.31) or
“Surely, Allah holds the heavens and the earth lest they turn away from their place. And if they did deviate, none can hold them after Him. Verily, He is Forbearing, Most Forgiving.”(35.41)
Another question poses itself here: how did the Sufi aqtaab, out of all the slaves of Allah, know His greates name? The authentic Prophetic traditions indicate clearly that the name “Allah” is the greatest name, greater than His other names, such as al-Hayy (the Evrelasting) or al-Qayyum (the Sustainer). Familiarity with this great name does not authorize one to manage the affairs of the universe. Rather, it is a name by which the slave of Allah asks Him to respond to his supplications for things which He may already have decreed. Allah the Glorious may respond, provided the slave does not ask Him for unlawful things.