Imam Shah Ahmad Raza Khan Qadiri (may Allah be pleased with him) wrote [Irshadaat e-Alahzarat] that the Saints of Almighty Allah state that an ignorant Sufi is a tool of the Devil. For the same reason, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "A Faqhi (Aalim) is heavier than a thousand Aabids (Worshippers) upon Shaitaan". When an ignorant person worships or tries to tread on the path of Sufism, the Devil makes him dance on his finger tips by putting his reins in his mouth, the bridle in the nose and drags him to wherever he desires. The ignorant Sufi thinks that whatever he is doing is correct and excellent. Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi (may Allah be pleased with him) states that his Spiritual Master, Shaikh Sari Saqti (may Allah be pleased with him) prayed in the following words: "May Allah first make you a Muhaddith (Scholar of Hadith) then a Sufi and not firstly a Sufi then a Muhaddith."
Ilm-e Hadith is knowledge of the Holy Prophet's (Allah's grace and peace be upon him) sayings. These sayings [Ahadeeth] are the great source, after Quran, of comments. A person has to prove his ability of memorizing the Ahadeeth and narrating them with all the sources. It is examined, tallied and certified by the authorities having such authorities in Ahadeeth. Shaikh Ahmed bin Zain bin Dahlan Makki, Shaikh Abdur Rehman Siraj and Imam Kaaba Shaikh Hussain bin Swaleh Jamallul Lail Makki were three sources of Ilm-e Hadeeth at that time.
Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadiri (may Allah be pleased with him) who in 1906 passed a judgment of kufr [Husam al-Haramain] against Maulana Qasim Nanautawi [1833-79], who was a leading Sufi and founder of the Dar al-Ulum at Deoband is a typical example showing 'ignorant sufi (s)' as a tool of the Devil.
Imam Ghazzali (may Allah be pleased with him), commenting on this dua said, "The meaning of Hazrat Sari Saqti's dua (prayer) is that the one who first studies Hadith and Knowledge, then sets foot into Sufism, has indeed succeeded. But, he who wishes to become a Sufi before obtaining knowledge, has certainly put himself into total destruction."
Sayyidi Abul Qasim Junaid Baghdadi (may Allah be pleased with him) states: "One who has not learnt the Quran and written the Hadith, that is, one who is ignorant about the Laws of Shariah, never follow him in anything pertaining to Tariqa and do not take him as your Pir because our knowledge of Tariqa is strictly in accordance with the Quran and Hadith (Shariah)."
Hazrat Shaikh Sayyid as-Sari as-Saqati (may Allah be pleased with him) states: "Tassawuf is the name of three qualities:
1. His Nur of Marifah (Knowledge of Allah) must not extinguish his Nur of Wara (Piety).
2. Never speak from the knowledge of Batin (Interior) that may contradict the Zahir (Exterior) Quran and Hadith.
3. Do not let Karaamats (Miracles) caste a veil on those things which Allah has made Haraam."
Sheikh Shihabaddin Umar as-Suhrawardi (may Allah be pleased with him) who was taken by his uncle to visit Shaikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Haqiqa which is rejected by Shariah is not Haqiqa but irreligiousness."
The exoteric religious sciences of Islam (religious law and jurisprudence, references to the Quran and Hadith, theology, etc) began simultaneously with the esoteric sciences of Sufism (self-purification, asceticism, and mysticism). There is no logical division between outer formal Islam and the inner school of Sufism. With the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) command of "seek knowledge even if it be in China"; the value of learning was given a divine status and great historic centers of learning were established. The wise and knowledgeable Pirs were attached to Tariqas (spiritual path leading to Almighty Allah), international 'brotherhoods' that disseminated both the exoteric and esoteric Islamic sciences throughout the Muslim world. The teaching of each Tariqa would be traceable through a Silsila, the line of succession that connected members, through their Pir, with his master and in turn with their Masters. Ultimately this reached the Companions of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the noble Prophet himself.