Malik asked him, ‘Are they children?

 

Qadi Iyad said about Imam Malik on the authority of al-Tinnisi:

“We were with Malik while he was surrounded by his companions, when a man belonging to the people of Nasibin said, ‘There is a group of people among us called Sufis. They eat excessively, then they begin to sing, and then they get up and dance.’ Malik asked him, ‘Are they children?’ The man replied, ‘No.’ Malik asked, ‘Are they insane?’ The man replied, ‘No. They are a group of mashayikh [religious scholars] and other intelligent people.’ Malik replied, ‘I have never heard of anyone from the people of Islam doing such a thing.’
The man said, ‘But these people eat, and then get up and dance tirelessly, some of them striking their heads, and some striking their faces.’ Hearing this, Malik laughed, then rose and went inside his house. The companions of Malik said to the man, ‘Verily you have brought bad omen to our companion. We have been in his company for more than thirty years, and we never saw him laugh until this day.'”

[Qadi `Iyad, Tartib al-Madarik, 2:54]

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