Esoteric Movements and Islam
Historians differ in talking about esoteric movements’ intellectual origins. Some of them believed that these movements were attributed to the Sabeans in Harran, while some others believed Magus impacted that origin.
The truth is that these Persian mystical movements claimed affiliation with Islam, but, in reality, it, unfortunately, used Islam as a cloak to hide in order to sow strife and try to destroy it from within, using Magian and Jewish ideas and some Greek philosophy.
Hence, we can describe Persian esoteric movements in Islamic history as a “Fifth Column”, which is a key term in historical and strategic studies. This term appeared for the first time during the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 firstly by General Emilio Mola, the Commander of the Spanish national forces that were advancing to Madrid. Those military forces were four columns, then Mola said that there was a fifth column inside Madrid itself, of its people, working with him, reflecting that the most difficult fall was from within. The term spread thereafter to express betrayal from within and to work to overthrow the state.
We can actually and safely call these Persian esoteric movements as a “fifth column” because their real goal was to destroy Islam from within. We can see this clearly if we realize that these movements have unfortunately concealed behind the slogan of love for the Prophet’s family. It was from behind that slogan that those movements set out to attempt to distort the correct Islamic beliefs by introducing a concept alien to Islam, which is the concept of “Esotericism”, rejecting the interpretation of religious texts on the pretext of being external interpretation, claiming that there is an esoteric approach to interpreting these texts, in a way that ultimately seeks to abolish Sharia in favor of promoting their own esoteric thought, which adopts interpretation that is based on a strange mixture of ancient Persians religions, Judaism and Greek philosophy when necessary.
These esoteric movements, of extremist Shiites, called for the guardianship of the jurist, where the jurist is solely authorized to interpret religious texts. Thus, these movements departed from the concept of the Sunnah and Jamaa’h, rendering them a manifestation of deviation from the inclusive Islamic state, as it is against the concept of succession. Some of these movements reached the point of claiming the divinity of their imams, as some Ismaili sect Persian advocates declared the divinity of Fatimid al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.
These esoteric movements claim to be affiliated with Islam, yet they present some ideas that are contrary to Islamic faith; some of them rejected the idea of “resurrection”, while some others promoted the idea of “reincarnation”, i.e., the transmigration of souls, whether between man and man, as claimed by Ismaili and Druze sects, or even between man and animal, as claimed by Nusayri sect.
In confirmation of the fifth column concept, by which we classified esoteric movements because they work from within Islam to destroy it, trustworthy Arab historians unanimously agree on the extremist racist Persian impact on the emergence of these esoteric movements and that although they pretended an affiliation to Islam, yet their hidden goal is actually to destruct the Arab Islamic authority and demolish Islam from within”.