EXTREME CAUTION REQUIRED WHEN SELECTING A SHAYKH
DO NOT BE HASTY WHEN CHOOSING A SPIRITUAL GUIDE
Do not be hasty in accepting a man as your Shaikh (Spiritual Guide). Study him well. When you are thoroughly satisfied with his credentials and credibility then only enter into the oath of allegiance (Ba’yt) with him.
TAQWA AND ITTIBAA-E-SUNNAT (FIRM ADHERENCE TO SUNNAH) ARE THE CRITERIA
I have read the stories of the Auliya of former times. It is apparent that their condition and style were not like that of the majority of Masha-ikh of today. These (present-day) Masha-ikh do not consider obedience to the Shariah a requisite for Wusool ilallaah (Attainment of Divine Proximity). In fact, they believe Shariat and Tariqat to be two separate entities.
On the contrary, the state of Taqwa, tahaarah and ittibaa-e-Sunnat (obedience to the Sunnah) of the former Masha-ikh resembles that of the Sahaabah. It is narrated that once Hadhrat Khwajah Muinud Deen Chishti (rahmatullah alayh) while making wudhu forgot to make khilaal of his fingers. A voice from the Ghaib (Unseen Realm) reprimanded:
“You claim love for the Rasool, but abandon the Sunnat of the Rasool!”
He immediately repented. Whenever he saw a fire, he would shiver with fear because of the feeling that on the day of Qiyaamah he may be punished for having omitted the Sunnat (of Khilaal). Thus, the condition of those Masha-ikh regarding obedience to the Sunnah was similar to the state of the Sahaabah.
A KAAMIL (PERFECT UPRIGHTEOUS) SHAIKH
The features of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil (a perfect uprighteous spiritual guide) are: He is a staunch and perfect follower of the Shariah; total abstention from bid’ah and shirk; abstention from futile and silly talk; the effect of his companionship is reduction in worldly love and increase in Divine Love; he pays attention to the spiritual ailments of the mureed and he provides prescriptions; benefit is perceived in his prescriptions by an obedient mureed; incremental progress is perceived in moral reformation by the mureed who follows the Shaikh’s instructions.
LEVEL OF ADHERENCE TO SUNNAH IS THE BAROMETER
The thing to look for in a Shaykh is the proportion of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) he has integrated into his actions. Unveiling of your secrets (makashafat) etc. can be an act of mesmerism. These are under the control of one’s thoughts. (So do not rely on this sign alone.) The real and major thing to look for is the level of congeniality (munasbat) with Holy Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him). And this congeniality should be spontaneous and consistent.
A DECEIT WILL NOT BE ABLE TO IMITATE ALL THE SUNNAH
A deceit cannot imitate the Sunnah. The effect of Sunnah is spiritual reality which the deceit can never acquire. The difference between a deceit and a true follower of the Sunnah will become manifest by observation.
DAJJAL – UNABLE TO FOLLOW SUNNAH DESPITE SUPERNATURAL POWERS
People who are much enamoured by supernatural displays, will be with Dajjal in greater number. I have heard this from my seniors. I have also heard that Dajjal will have the appearance of a Majzoob. (Majzoob is a saint whose mind appears to be deranged as a result of his total engrossment with Allah’s remembrance and love.) This indicates that haal (a spiritual state) is not sufficient. The vital need (for rectitude) is obedience to the Sunnah.
Those people whose attention is focused only on spiritual/supernatural states while not accepting the Deen as the requisite for Tasawwuf, will find it very difficult to be saved from the traps of Dajjal. Dajjal will do everything, but he will not be able to act in accordance with the Sunnah. Only the followers of the Sunnah will be safe from Dajjal’s trap.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MUTTAQI AND ONE DEVOID OF TAQWA
Visit two Alims. One who is mutaqqi (pious) and one who is simply an alim devoid of piety. I take oath and say that you will find the pious Alim to be very intelligent and wise. On the other hand the one lacking in piety will be extremely shallow (in his grasp) and devoid of understanding. In fact, I further say that even an illiterate man who happens to be pious will have such intelligence and understanding which will not be found in an Alim lacking in piety. The majority of the Sahabah (radhiallahu anhum) could neither read nor write. However, when they addressed kings and emperors inviting them to Islam, they (kings) were astonished by their talks.
Once in the court of the emperor Heraclius, when the emperor addressing the Muslim delegation asked for a description of the character.of the Khalifah Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), an illiterate member of the delegation, dressed in simple garments, replied: “He neither deceives nor can be deceived.” In a single statement did he sum up the character of the Khalifah. The emperor was left speechless and amazed. This was the barkat (blessing) of obedience).
By virtue of obedience, divine understanding was acquired. Allah Ta’ala was their supporter and helper. The emperor addressing his courtiers and noblemen said: “These two qualities in their Khalifah are such that the entire world cannot oppose a man in whom these exist. It is clear from the statement, ‘He does not deceive’, that he is a man of piety, and piety is the head of kingship. The statement, ‘He cannot deceived,’ indicates that he is a man of great intelligence. A man in whom piety and intelligence unite, will dominate all.”
SIGNS OF AN EXPERT, QUALIFIED SHAYKH
Experience has proven that the following ways are highly efficacious in strengthening one’s resolve and in overcoming weakness and lack of courage.
1. Association with a Kaamil (expert and qualified) Shaikh of Tasawwuf (Spiritual Mentor or Guide). The following are the signs of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil, a. He possesses sufficient knowledge of the Deen. b. He is a firm adherent of the beliefs, practices and morals of the Shariah. c. He is devoid of worldly greed. d. He lays no claim to perfection and excellence. e. He had lived a while in the company of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil. f. The contemporary uprighteous Ulama and Mashaa-ikh hold him in esteem . g. Comparatively, more intelligent persons than ignorant ones incline towards him. h. The condition of the majority of his mureeds in relation to obedience to the Shariah and reduction in worldly greed, is good. i. He is alert and is concerned about the conditions of his mureeds. He reprimands and admonishes them for their wrongs and defects. He does to permit his mureeds to be the slaves of their desires. j. After having been in his company several times, one feels a reduction in worldly love while at the same time discerns progress in the love for Allah Ta’ala. k. He engages in Thikr and Shaghl (spiritual exercises). Without such practice there is no barkat in ta’leem (instruction and teaching).
Kashf (a form of revelation which comes to the Auliya), karaamat (miracles), istijabat-e-dua (acceptance of dua) and tasarrufaat (metaphysical acts) are not requirements of a Shaikh. The companionship of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil is wonderfully efficacious. However, for achieving the benefits of a Shaikh, the mureed’s intention must be sincere.
The mureed, himself must desire spiritual progress and obedience. He must desire to be imbued with a detestation for sin. It is essential that the mureed keep his Shaikh informed of the changing conditions of his heart. Whatever the Shaikh prescribes, the mureed should accept and practise accordingly.
2. The second way will apply when the company of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil is not available. In this case, read and study the life-conditions and spiritual strivings of the Ahlullah (the Saints of Allah). But, never engage in the mystical practices of Tasawwuf which are written in relation to the lives of the Sufis. Yes, readily follow their advices and statements regarding spiritual purification.
3. The third way in which to eliminate weakness of heart and lack of courage is Muraaqabah (meditation) of Maut and Muraaqabah of the period which will follow Maut. This form of meditation consists of setting aside at least twenty minutes daily. Meditate in solitude about the events which will occur from the time of Sakaraat (pangs of death) until entry into Jannat or Jahannum. Think about these future events, e.g. the questioning in the grave by the two Angels, the punishment and comforts of the grave, resurrection, the scaling of deeds, reward, crossing the Siraat, etc.
The attributes of excellence, e.g. zuhd (being abstemious of the world), khashiyat (fear of Allah), etc., which are influenced by the development of courage, will attain perfection by means of this form of Muraaqabah.
THE SHARIAH IS THE STANDARD
Rectification of the false belief that following the Shari’ah is not important for becoming a Sufi is originally from the book Futuhat Makkia [by Ibn al-Arabi] in which it also says, “Anything that opposes the reality of the Shariah is falsehood.” It says in another place, ‘Whosoever says there is another path to Allah besides the Shari‘ah is a liar. Therefore, such a person should not be chosen to be one’s spiritual mentor who does not have propriety.” It also says, “There is no way for us except the Shari‘a and that which He has taught us in the Shari‘a.”
Shaikh Bayazid Bustami says, “Do not be fooled if you observe a person bestowed with supernatural wonders [karaamat] even if he flies in the sky, unless you see him strict upon the laws of the Shari‘a, upon avoiding the forbidden acts, and vigilant about staying within the boundaries of the Shari‘a.” Shaikh Junaid says, “All the different avenues are closed to the world except the one which follows the Blessed Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) every step of the way.” In another place in Futoohat it says, “He has no worth in the eyes of Allah who does not know His rule [the Shari‘a] because Allah has never made any ignorant person a friend…”
NO HOPE FOR SPIRITUAL REFORMATION WITH A DISEASED SPIRITUAL GUIDES
Speaking about spiritual guides who themselves suffer from spiritual maladies, Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Nowadays, there remain only policies (of personal and worldly motives). Imam Ghazali said: ‘O honourable friend! What hope have you for your spiritual reformation when your mentor himself is afflicted with (spiritual) maladies?’”
VERY DIFFICULT TO FREE ONESELF FROM A BID’ATI SHAYKH
If one has a bid’ati mentor (spiritual guide), it is firstly difficult to extricate oneself form him. Even if one somehow succeeds in withdrawing from him, then too, in most cases his influence endures.
FOCUSED ON CALLING ON OTHERS APART FROM ALLAH
“When Allah, the One and Only, is mentioned, the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter are filled with disgust and horror; but when [gods] other than He are mentioned, behold, they are filled with joy!” [Quran]
Similar to it is the condition of some ignorant claimants of tasawwuf. That is, at the mention of pure tawheed they are sickened. And [are delighted to] do istighatha [calling for help] with awliya. Tawheed is one of the essential muqamat [stations] in Tasawwuf.
IGNORANCE OF THE TAREEQ PREVALENT AMONGST EVEN THE MASHAIKH
(The Path of moral purification, reformation and spiritual elevation is called Tareeq) Ignorance of the Tareeq has degenerated to such a low ebb that even the so-called mashaaikh, leave alone the Ulama (of book knowledge), are ignorant of the Path. The Tareeq is an independent subject. Without expertise and accomplishment in this field, one will always stumble and fall over impediments strewn in this Path. The Road will not be visible. Once a senior Aalim said to someone: “Do you engage in thikr and shaghl (devotional exercises)?” The person said: “Yes”. The Aalim asked: “Do you see anything (i.e. any spiritual revelations)?” The response was in the negative The Aalim dejectedly commented: “Anyhow, at least you will obtain thawaab. Other than this, you did not derive any benefit.”
(When this episode was reported to Hadhrat Thaanvi, he commented): I was dumbstruck on hearing this. Despite being an Aalim he made such a (ludicrous) comment. The objective of alla’maal (virtuous deeds) is thawaab and the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala to gain His Proximity—nothing else. What else is there besides this on which the devotee has to focus his gaze, and which the Aalim described as ‘benefit’? The Aalim’s comment is the consequence of ignorance of the Tareeq which is an extremely delicate. The need is to tread warily.
THE INDISPENSABILITY OF A QUALIFIED KAAMIL SHAYKH
If someone asks: “What is the need for a shaikh when the prescriptions for moral reformation are recorded in the books of tasawwuf?” the answer will be: Prescriptions, remedies and treatments for physical illness are also recorded in medical books. What is the need for doctors? Why then do people consider it necessary to consult doctors? The need which necessitates consulting a doctor also necessitates consulting a shaikh (who is a doctor of spiritual ailments).
The sick person is able to perceive his physical ailments, hence he sets out in search of a physician whose function it is to diagnose the illness and prescribe remedies. On the other hand, the spiritual diseases known as Razaail, e.g. ujub (vanity), ghuroor (haughtiness), takabbur (pride), riyaa (show), hirs (greed), hasad (jealousy), etc. on account of their subtlety remain hidden. In most cases the ailing person does not even perceive the existence of these ailments. When he is unaware of his ailments, he is not concerned with diagnosis and treatment.
It is the Shaikh-e-Kaamil who is the expert in detecting spiritual ailments, who informs the ailing mureed of his spiritual ills even though the latter considers himself to be spiritually healthy. Nowadays most people are unaware of their spiritual and moral diseases because of the abundance of books and the preponderance of diversionary factors producing ghaflat(carelessness, inertia and neglect). Leave alone the masses. The Ulama too are caught up in this malady. One becomes aware of one’s moral and spiritual ailments only by the suhbat (association, companionship) of the Auliya or by studying the books of the Mashaa’ikh or by the admonition of one’s Murshid (spiritual guide).
ASTRAY SHAYKHS WHO LEAD OTHERS ASTRAY
Alas! Nowadays people are unaware of even the maqsood. (Maqsood or goal in this context refers to the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala attained by means of obedience to the Shariah which is possible only by way of islaah of the nafs. ‘People’ here means the mashaaikh or spiritual guides). Nowadays khilaafat no longer needs a standard. What service (i.e. the sphere of guiding mureeds) can they (the khalifas) render? In fact they come within the scope of the hadith:“They are astray and they lead others astray.” Furthermore, the understanding of people has become so fossilized that they lack discernment. (This deficiency is widely prevalent in the khalifahs of this age. They cannot be termed Shaikhs of Tasawwuf when they are blissfully ignorant of the meaning, purpose and goals of Tasawwuf. Islaah of the Nafs is foreign to them—Mujlisul Ulama)
RELEVANCE OF HUSN-E-ZANN WHEN SELECTING A SHAYKH
Husn-e-zann means to think good of others; to interpret their faults and to refrain from criticizing. Iqtidaa means to follow another. In Husn-e-zann there is considerable latitude in me. However in the matter of Iqtidaa I am extremely rigid. In fact, it should be so. It is highly dangerous to exercise latitude in this respect (i.e. one should not easily become the mureed of someone). The road (of tasawwuf) is nowadays cluttered with (spiritual) bandits and dacoits. May Allah save us! The essential need is to institute proper inquiry and investigation (to establish the authenticity and ability of a prospective shaikh—spiritual guide). As long as one is not fully satisfied, never become a man’s mureed no matter how well-known and famous a shaikh may be. Complete confidence is necessary.
SEVER TIES WITH A UNRELIABLE SHAYKH
If after having become a mureed a man discovers that he is trapped in the company of an unreliable shaikh (or he lacks confidence in his shaikh), the mureed should refrain from acquiring ta’leem from the shaikh even if the latter takes offence. In this instance the displeasure of the shaikh is baseless, hence not harmful.
However, the mureed should not oppose the shaikh nor be disrespectful towards him. (He should honourably sever his ties with the shaikh). It is futile to acquire ta’leem from a man on whom the mureed has no confidence. Confidence is conditional for gaining benefit from the shaikh. If one lacks confidence in the shaikh, his ta’leem will not have a beneficial effect on the heart. It is for this reason that I refer mureeds to other Mashaaikh. When I observe that they lack confidence in me, I send them to others (i.e. to other Mashaaikh).
A TRUE SHAYKH WILL TERMINATE RELATIONSHIP WHEN REQUIRED
It should be well-remembered that when the shaikh realises that the mureed lacks compatibility with him, then he (the shaikh) should certainly expel the mureed from his company. If the shaikh is a true shaikh, he will do so. However, if he is a ‘trader’ (i.e. earning his living from the gifts of mureeds) then obviously he will see no reason for terminating the relationship. He will then prevent the mureed from going elsewhere. Another reason why Mashaaikh do not expel mureeds, is their extreme concern and affection for the mureed. In this class was our Hadhrat (i.e. Haaji Imdaadullah). He left no stone unturned in serving his mureeds. When people come to me, I always bear in mind their welfare. I desire to make them the servants of Allah, not my servants. If someone does not gain benefit from my company, I ask him to leave, whether before or after bay’t.
INITIATING MUREEDS TO ENLARGE ONE’S CIRCLE BETRAYS FASLSEHOOD
He is not among the Ahl-e-Haqq who initiates mureeds in order to increase and strengthen his circle. A man whose gaze is on others cannever be a person of the Haqq. Confound such ideas. The power of Haqq is such that if in the entire world there is only one man who is on the Haqq and all others are people of Baatil, then too, the man of Haqq dismisses them as insignificant. He understands that by virtue of the Haqq he will overwhelm them. If a man lacks in this perception then he is not among the Ahl-e-Haqq.
CANVASSING FOR MUREEDS
* A mureed should not exhort others to become the mureeds of his Shaikh. Such canvassing creates a bad impression of the Shaikh in the minds of people. People will entertain the notion of the Shaikh having let loose his underlings to canvass on his behalf and to apprehend and drag people to him. Suspicion about the Auliya can lead to grave moral and spiritual consequences.” (In the present era, the sheikhs in fact appoint canvassers. His ‘khaas’ (special and close) mureeds roam about canvassing and trying to rope in mureeds for the sheikh. This conduct is most despicable and is motivated by base nafsaani desires.—Mujlisul Ulama)
* In this age there exists the disease of canvassing for mureeds. A mureed strives to rope in others to become the mureeds of his Shaikh. I am so averse to this, that if I slightly suspect that a man has been brought by someone, I will not initiate him as a mureed. If a man is in the quest for the truth, he does not need anyone to intercede for him.
DISPLAYS OF OSTENTATION BY PRESENT DAY MASHAIKH
Munaasabat (compatibility) with the Shaikh is the most important requisite for the acquisition of benefit in the spiritual Path of reformation. Ittiba’ (obedience) is another vital requirement along withMunaasabat. This is necessary for attainment of the goal (Divine Proximity). It is a grave error to believe that a buzrug’s companionship without the mureed practising the teachings of the buzrug is adequate for moral reformation. One with this attitude is merely spending a holiday in the khaanqah.
Cause for lamenting is also the attitude of most of the present-day mashaaikh who are desirous of decorative gatherings—displays of ostentation—to convey the impression that the shaikh has a large following. The achievement of such ostentatious displays is nothing other the ruin of time. Alhamdulillah! I do not have any of these functions of ostentation. This brings about the annoyance of people since they desire such functions of show. It is indeed dishonourable for the shaikh to pursue the mureed by fulfilling his desires. In this inversion the searcher becomes the object of search. It is utterly ridiculous that while the Taalib (the searcher—the mureed) is in need, the Shaikh has to flatter and pamper him.
THE NEED FOR CIRCUMSPECTION
It is related on the authority of Nafi’ that he heard Aslam say to Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) that ‘Umar (radhiyallah anhu) once saw Talhah (radhiyallahu anhu) wearing a dyed garment as ihram, so Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) asked him about it. Talhah (radhiyallahu anhu) replied, “It’s brick-dust dye.” ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) then replied, “You are looked upon as a leader, and people follow your example. Now, if an ignorant person were to see you in these clothes, he might go around telling people that Talhah ibn Ubaydullah (radhiyallahu anhu) wears a dyed garment for ihram. Therefore, Talhah, do not wear any sort of dyed garments [as ihram]. This hadith was related by Malik in his Muwatta.
From this hadith it is evident that the people who are looked up to as leaders in Islam have more need for prudence and piety than do the majority of Muslims. Since the Sufis are looked up to by most Muslims, it is clear that they need to be extra careful in their practice of Islam. Unfortunately, however, in our own times the reverse has become the norm. Indeed, it is negligence and unconcern which characterise most of our present day Sufis. Some have even gone so far as to deny the necessity of the Shariah and its emphasis on externals. May Allah deliver us from their ignorance!” [Haqiqat al-Tariqa min as-Sunnah al-Aniqa]
AVOIDING WHAT GIVES RISE TO SUSPICION
Ali ibn al-husayn related that Safiyyah said: “The Messenger of Allah was in seclusion (itikaf) so I went to visit him one night. I spoke to him for some time and then got up to leave. He accompanied me until, when he reached the door of the masjid, two men from the Ansar passed by. When they saw the Messenger of Allah a they hastened [so that they may leave the precinct of the masjid quickly because they saw Safiyyah with him, and etiquette demanded that they do this]. The Messenger of Allah said to them: ‘Walk slowly [there is no need to hurry]. This is Safiyyah bint Huyayy [my wife. Do not have any other thoughts].’ They said: ‘Glory to Allah, O Messenger of Allah! [Can we have any evil thoughts about you that some strange woman is in solitude with you?!]’ He a said: ‘Satan flows in man as blood flows through his veins. I feared he might cast some evil in your hearts’, or he said: ‘some evil thoughts in your hearts.’”
Some Sufis are extremely imprudent. Despite their adherence to the Shariah, they make careless statements or perform acts which cause not only the masses, but also their close associates to have negative thoughts about them. Such Sufis should ponder the lesson of this hadith, how cautious the Messenger of Allah was! As for those Sufis who really do not consider it essential to follow the Shari‘ah, what can be said about them?! These days, most aspirants are like this [not bothered about following the Shari’ah], and so are their masters.
The Auliya are of a variety of dispositions. On some Tawaadhu’ (Humility) is overwhelming; on some Shafqat(Affection); on some Rahmat (Mercy); on some Jamaal (Tenderness), and on someJalaal (Awe-inducing). None may be criticized. These dispositions are not voluntary acquisitions. (These are the natural dispositions which are inherent in the Auliya).
THE TRUE MASHAIKH POSSESS ANGER FOR THE SAKE OF DEEN
When the Haq was trampled upon then the anger of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was unstoppable until he restored the Haq to its position of dominance. He would, however, neither become angry out of self-interest and nor would he avenge on account of a personal matter.
WHY ARE THE AHLULLAH BRANDED MAJNOON??
When a person reaches the lofty ranks of Divine Love, then his actions, intelligence and lifestyle are in conflict with worldly objectives. The people of the world then describe him as Majnoon (insane). Thus, the kuffaar of Makkah had labelled the Sahaaba with the term ‘As-Sufaha’ (ignoramuses), for they had abandoned their families and wealth for the sake of Imaan.
BARAKAT IN THE TIME OF THE AULIYAA
It is well-established that there is considerable barkat in the time of the Auliya. According to Hadhrat Maulana Qaasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) in time there is a length duration which everyone is aware of. This consists of minutes and hours, etc. In addition, time also has a breadth which is unknown to most people. The Auliya accomplish great feats during the breadth of time.
THE UNFIT GUIDE DESTROYS THE IMAAN OF OTHERS
Those who expound spiritual mysteries and the masaa-il of Tasawwuf on the basis of what they read in the kitaabs of Tasawwuf destroy their own Imaan and the Imaan of others. Only a man who is in possession of a ship (i.e. true Ilm) or is able to swim (i.e. he is a Saahib-e-Haal) is permitted to venture into this ocean (of spirituality).
THE YAQEEN OF THE ARIFEEN
If someone raised on objection or expressed a doubt when Hadhrat Haji Saheb had given a discourse on any subject, he would comment:
“This is not a Madrasah. This (what has been explained) is for practicing. Give practical expression to it and then observe the result.”
Madrasah Ustads have the practice of disputing and entertaining objections. On the other hand, the Arifeen feel suffocated by such questions and answering. Those who are engrossed action, discern the reality and truth. Their condition is unlike that of general public. They (the Arifeen) are in peace and contentment. Hadhrat Haji Saheb (i..e. Haji Imdadullah) detested questioning and answering. Since the truths and unveiled realities (of the Deen) were in front of him, there remained no doubt and uncertainly. If it is said to a person that the sun has and he, instead of conceding, initiates an argument seeking proof for the rising of the sun, the repugnance and frustration which such disputation will cause are quite apparent.
The degree of certainly and conviction which the people of insight (the Arifeen, the Auliya) have regarding haqa-iq (realities and transcendental truths) is like the certainty which a man has regarding the identity of his father in which he has no doubt. In fact, the degree of certitude of the Arifeen is higher because there exists the possibility of doubt in a certain man being one’s father. Indeed, such a higher degree of certainty and clarity is a wonderful ni’mat (favor of Allah).
THE QUALITY OF THE SALAAT OF THE AARIF IMMEASURABLE
Hadhrat Haaji Imdaadullah (rahmatullah alayh) said that two raka’ats performed by an Aarif is superior to two hundred thousand rak’ats of a non- Aarif. This is on account of the ikhlaas and baseerat of the Aarif. These attributes exercise a special influence on the excellence of deeds.
THE MUNTAHI – THE ONE WHO HAS REACHED THE GOAL
The meaning of a Muntahi is a person who has gained such excellence and control that he has the ability to keep his nafs in subservience and shaitaan is unable to deceive him. He also does not labour in vainglory.
INTERFERING WITH THE AULIYA SPELLS DESTRUCTION
In a Hadith Qudsi Allah Ta’ala says: “When My beloved servants (the Auliya) are interfered with, I become as wrathful as a lioness when her cubs are interfered with.” Entire cities were destroyed by Divine Punishment because its inhabitants had hurt and grieved a Saint of Allah.
THE ZUHD OF THE AARIFEEN
(Zuhd means renunciation of the world) Gold and silver, in fact the whole world with all its possessions, have no attraction for the Aarifeen whose gaze is on Allah Ta’ala and His treasures. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not prefer the world for himself and his beloved family members. He did not tolerate them keeping even a single dinaar.
DO NOT JUDGE THE STATEMENTS OF SAINTS PREMATURELY
The talks and terminology of the Auliya cannot be comprehended without staying in their company. In Delhi there was a buzroog (a saint) who was heard saying: “I am not your servant and you are not my god. Why then should I obey you?” On hearing this expression, the people proclaimed the verdict of kufr against the buzroog. He was apprehended and brought to the Qaadhi who asked: “Hadhrat ! To whom were you speaking?” Smiling the buzroog commented: “Alhamdulillah! In Delhi at least there is one intelligent man, hence he has asked me for an explanation. My nafs is demanding that I feel it a certain delicacy. In answer to its demand I was saying: “I am not your servant and you are not my god. Why then, should I obey you?” (When people refrain from associating with saintly persons, they (the buzroogs) suffer no harm. On the contrary, people harm themselves (by depriving themselves of the benefits of holy company).
REMAINING UNMARRIED DOES NOT DETRACT FROM THE SHAYKH’S PIETY
“It is related on the authority of Awf ibn Malik that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “I and a woman with parched cheeks [one who has had to toil and suffer] will be like these two [i.e. as close as the index finger is to the middle finger] on the Day of Judgement; a woman whose husband died and left her a widow, a woman who, despite social pressures and her own beauty, refused to remarry for the sake of her children [in order to devote herself to them more completely], until finally they grew up and set out on their own, or died.” (Abu Dawud, 5149)
In order to keep their worldly ties to a minimum, or in order to avoid any kind of real or imagined interference in their relationship with the Almighty, some Sufis never marry. As a result, certain narrow-minded individuals have accused the Sufis of not adhering to the Sunnah or way of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). In the above hadith not only do we find permission for remaining single, we also find that wherever there is a possibility of a child’s being neglected, it is better to abstain from marriage. This is, of course, on the condition that one’s practice of Islam will not be adversely affected. So, when the possibility that a child will be neglected is a legitimate excuse for not marrying, what then of the possibility that Allah will be neglected?
THE UNFIT SPIRITUAL GUIDE AVOIDS RECTIFYING HIS STUDENTS
1. People write to me complaining of my strict manner of admonishing them. However, I say that a doctor who does not admonish a patient who neglects the prescription is an abuser of trust. Such a doctor is unfit to treat patients.
2. If a Shaikh (spiritual guide), in spite of being aware of his mureed’s action which the Shari’ah, refrains from rectifying him, then I believe him (the Shaikh) to be a kha-in (abuser of trust). Such a person should not be appointed as one’s spiritual guide. When they (such guides) lack the ability to cure, why do they mislead people? For which sickness are they a remedy? When they refrain from treating the (spiritual) ailments of people, then why do they lead people into deviation?
People think that the meaning of amanat (trust) is only to keep in safe custody the valuables of others. The talibeen (those who are desirous of reformation) and the thakireen (those who are engaging in abundant Thikr) have submitted themselves to us (spiritual guides). If then, we fail to discharge the duty of tarbiyat (spiritual guidance and treatment), will we not be guilty of abuse of trust? When they have submitted their Deen and Iman to you, then why do you not concern yourselves with their islah (reformation). What reliance could be put on a man who abuses Iman? He is capable of doing anything. Whoever is careless of Imani matters, cannot be trusted in financial affairs.
3. Those who hanker after jaah (i.e. name and fame) are perpetually imprisoned by fears of the opinions others have of them. They are always concerned about losing any of their followers. They fear criticism. They fear doing something which will displease others. This applies especially to the mashaaikh (spiritual mentors) of the present age. They do not want any of their mu’taqideen (followers / mureeds or those who have confidence in them) to become the mu’taqid(follower) of someone else. (That is, they are offended if any of their mureeds initiate an islaahi relationship with another shaikh. A true shaikh will not take offence if any of his mureeds terminate his relationship and accepts another shaikh as his guide).
IMPORTANCE OF PRACTICAL TRAINING
A man entered the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) without permission. Rasulullah (sallallahu alyhi wasallam) ordered him out and instructed another man to teach him the manner of entering so that he may return observing the correct etiquette. This incident indicates that practical training is also sunnat. Without such training people with dense minds do not remember.
EXPELLING THOSE WITH HUBB-E-JAH
The senior Ulama of former times would expel from their circle of dars (teaching) a person in whom they detected the ailment of hubb-e-jah. Nowadays no measures are adopted against this disease.
THE SHAIKH’S STERNNESS
Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Qaasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) frequently said: “If the Shaikh is not stern and reprimanding, reformation of the mureed will not be accomplished.”
TENDERNESS AT THE WRONG TIME IS INJUSTICE
Justice does not mean tenderness. When severity is necessary, it should be adopted. If tenderness is adopted when the demand is for severity then such tenderness is injustice.
FOR ISLAAH THERE IS NO NEED TO PLEASE PEOPLE
Reprimanding a person, Hadhrat Thaanvi said: “Elsewhere buzrugi (sainthood) is doled out. But here by me, insaaniyat(humanity) is distributed. I teach the elementary rules. There are seniors present to teach the advanced subjects. In fact, I tell my friends to refrain from encouraging people to visit me. I am unable to please people. In fact, for islaah there is no need to please people. The need is to purify the hearts. In former days this was achieved by pleasing the hearts. The searchers of reformation were intelligent people. Their obedience would increase by the Shaikh’s concession (and showing favouritism).
The present time is an age of corrupt intelligence. If in this age the Shaikh should adopt the policy of pleasing mureeds, they will gain the impression that he has some worldly motive. It is therefore inappropriate in the present time to please mureeds (in the process oftarbiyat). The Shaikh should conduct himself with istighna (independence) without having contempt for anyone. While istighna is a virtue, despising others is evil.” (Refraining from pleasing the whims and fancies of mureeds is not motivated by contempt for them nor by indifference towards them. Istighna of the Shaikh is incumbent for the reformation of the mureed, especially in this era of corrupt ideas, motives and self-esteem—Mujlisul Ulama)
BALANCED ATTITUDE WITH THE WEALTHY
If wealthy people come to a buzrug, he should treat them with consideration and concession. He should attend to their comfort without clinging to them. Neither should he be extravagant in entertaining them nor despise them. There is neither pride nor disgrace in this balanced attitude. (Rasulullah—sallallahu alayhi wasallam—said: “Treat people according to their status.”—Mujlisul Ulama)
99 EXCUSES – BUT NOT FOR MUREEDS
1. If I observe in members of the general public who have no spiritual ties with me, ninety faults and virtue, my gaze goes to the virtue. In contrast, regarding those who have submitted themselves to me for self-reformation, if I observe in them ninety nine excellences and one fault, my gaze goes to the fault. It is the duty of the Shaikh to remedy the fault.
2. Suspicion and probing are not good in every place. However, if the moral reformation of a person is one’s responsibility, then making investigation will be appropriate, in fact, necessary some times.
THE FASTEST WAY TO PROGRESS
WHATEVER THE SAHABAHS (RADHIYALLAHU ANHUM) GAINED WAS FROM SUHBAH
The main object is islah (reformation). Having knowledge is not a requirement for islah. In fact, knowledge without suhba (company of the pious) is worthless. The islah of a person without knowledge but who adopts the company of the pious is easier. I usually advise people to send their secularly educated offspring to the pious, for they will benefit greatly from this. We promise that we will not question the length of their trousers nor their beards. We will not punish them regarding their salat. Just by sitting together we will develop an attachment and affection for each other. The result is that an affinity with din will be formed. This affinity is the root and foundation. ͑Ilm (knowledge) and ͑amal (practice) are the branches. All the Sahaba (Companions) were not ͑alims (scholars). Whatever they gained, they gained through suhba. The Ahlullah have always taken great care regarding suhba. They concentrated more on suhba than on knowledge.
SUHBAT IS NO GUARANTEE OF ISLAAH
*Sometimes, when sincere and conscious efforts are not made in the direction of self-reformation then a degeneration of moral character occurs despite begin in the close association of saints. One Molvi sahib who happens to be the right- hand man of a certain buzroog wrote a letter of intercession to me on behalf of a man. In his letter he described the man as prominent businessman, hence special attention should be paid to him. I severely reprimanded him (the Molvi Sahib) telling him that he sought to impress and awe me with the business and prominence of the man “You attempt to dangle a bait in front of me.”
* As long as a person himself is not concerned about his islah (moral reformation), nothing will be gained by simply staying with a pious man.
SINCERE DESIRE REQUIRED ALONGSIDE SUHBAT
Whoever desires hidaayat (guidance), Allah Ta’ala will assuredly guide him. The Qur’aan states: “Those who strive in Our (Path), most assuredly, We shall guide them to the Paths (of Rectitude).” The Shaikh cannot reform a person who does not desire to be reformed. (This principle applies to even sincere non-Muslims who are in search of the Truth. Allah Ta’ala ultimately guides them to the Path of Imaan—Mujlisul Ulama).
NO GUIDANCE WITHOUT CORRECT INTENTION
* As long as a person has no intention of reforming himself, the teaching and training of a murshid (guide) will be of no benefit nor will anyone’s dua normally be of benefit. Who can be a greater guide and teacher than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and whose dua can be more acceptable than Rasulullah’s dua? His uncle, Abu Talib had profound love for him. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) constantly made endeavours in the hope that Abu Talib would accept Imaan. However, since Abu Talib himself had no intention of reforming, all endeavours were of no avail.
NIYYAT OF BENEFIT WHEN SITTING WITH PIOUS
A Molvi Saheb asked: “When sitting in the company of a buzrug, what niyyat should one have??” Hadhrat replied: “Simply intend the obtainal of benefit. This benefit is of a general kind which includes Ilm, Amali and Haali benefit. In the company of pious there is nothing but benefit. Alhamdulillah, there is never any vestige of harm.” (Ilmi, i.e. that which pertains to knowledge. Amali, i.e. that which pertains to practical deeds. Haali i.e. that which pertains to emotional states.)
LOOKING AT THE PIOUS – A MEANS OF SHEDDING SINS?
A man wanted proof for the popular claim that sins are forgiven simply by looking at a buzrug. Hadhrat said: “Apparently there is no proof for this claim. Perhaps this has been inferred from the Hadith: “The best servants of Allah are those who, when they are seen, remind of Allah’s thikr.” The thikr of Allah is ibaadat and ibaadat eliminates sins. Thus, the buzrug becomes the medium for forgiveness of sins. It is therefore commonly said that by looking at a buzrug sins are forgiven.
EVIL ATTRIBUTES STEMS FROM LACK OF SUHBAT
Nowadays every person is the victim of Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah (evil attributes of the nafs). The primary cause for this is that people are deprived of the suhbat (companionship) of the devotees of Allah.suhbat is an essential need. People do not appreciate it because they are bereft of concern for the Aakhirah. One who has the fikr (concern) of the Aakhirah will never think that he is independent of suhbat. In fact, I say that in this age suhbat with the Saaliheen is Fardh-e-Ain. This age is extremely delicate. Besides other things, Imaan itself is under grave threat. The safety of Imaan in this age is ensured only by companionship with these pious men. What doubt can there be in something being Fardh-e-Ain when the safety of Imaan is dependent on it?
The impression of the heart becomes conspicuous in the speech andon even the garments of a person. It is precisely for this reason thatthere are good effects in the Tabarrukaat of the Ahlullaah.(Tabarrukaat refers to the memorabilia which the pious ones give)
SECLUSION ACHIEVED BY COMPANY OF THE PIOUS
The meaning of Khalwat (seclusion) is that the heart should be perpetually attached to Allah Ta’ala. Remain in seclusion while the heart remains attached to Allah Ta’ala. When the heart is overtaken by disturbance and abundance of distracting thoughts, then remain in the company of people. But it should be the company of the pious. The avalanche of disturbing thoughts will then dissipate. At such a time the jalwat (being in public) will be classified as khalwat because the Maqsood (aim) is that the heart should be attached to Allah Ta’ala, and when this has been achieved even in company, then such jalwat is like khalwat.
MEANING OF KHALWAT
The meaning of khalwat (seclusion/solitude) is that the heart should not have any relationship other than with Allah Ta’ala. This is the state of peace. However, nowadays, people have converted the heart into a railway station (or airport) where all and sundry mingle whereas the heart is the abode of only One Being (Allah Ta’ala). When the Divine Being has settled in the heart, then every displeasing development appears pleasing.
EVEN THE PERFECTED SHAYKH SHOULD ADOPT KHALWAT (SECLUSION)
People of Ma‛rifah are shown many effects of one’s statements and actions. They are shown that an advice to do something by a person who himself is void of its practice does not take effect. Similarly they are also shown that the advices given by someone who also practices them take fruitful effect. This is why the Shuyūkh of Sulūk advice that even an ‛Arif should adopt seclusion (khalwah), just like the laity. He is in need of seclusion just like a beginner in the Sulūk needs it. This seclusion will be of benefit for other Sālikīn who are following this Sheikh. He can gather newer ulūm and bounties in seclusion (khalwah) aside from the bounties which he has already dispensed to the muridīn in open (jalwah). This way the stream will continue to flow.
THE EFFECT OF PIOUS COMPANY IS DISCERNMENT OF ONE’S FAULTS
Even if complete reformation is not achieved from the company of the pious, one will at least gain the ability to discern one’s own faults. This too is a substantial gain and it is the key to the Tareeq (Path of Reformation).
BARKAT IN THE COMPANY OF THE AULIYA
An Aalim who is a lover of the world and does no practise according to his knowledge is a jaahil (ignoramus). There is a special barkat in the hearts of the Ahullaah (Men of Allah). If this barkat is focussed on someone, Allah Ta’ala by its virtue bestows His fadhl (grace and kindness). When the hearts of the Auliya incline to someone, Allah Ta’ala bestows His fadhl on that person. (This is one of the important benefits for being in the suhbat- company- of the pious Mashaaikh).
COMPANY, BAD OR GOOD, HAS A HUGE EFFECT
Companionship of the pious produce noor (spiritual light) in the heart. On the contrary, evil company creates zulmat (spiritual darkness) in the heart. The consequence of companionship of the evil is the reflection of the darkness of their hearts on one’s heart.
ASSOCIATION WITH KUFFAAR AND FUJJAAR
Nooraaniyat (i.e. the Noor of Imaan) is extinguished by association with kuffaar and fujjaar (immoral persons). Zulmat (spiritual darkness) then develops. The knowledge which emanates from the niches of Nubuwwat contain Noor, and what emerges from the heart of a faasiq is zulmat.
WORLDLY TALK OF PIOUS PERSON MORE BENEFICIAL THAN DEENI TALK OF AN IRRELIGIOUS PERSON
Zulmat (spiritual darkness) accompanies even the Deeni talks of an irreligious person. Even the words he writes are enwrapped in a measure of darkness. In contrast, there is Noor in even the worldly talk of a pious person. Speech in reality springs from the heart. Therefore, the state of the heart will most certainly exercise its effect in a man’s speech and writing. Since the impression of the speaker’s heart is in his speech and in his writing, one should not be in the company of irreligious persons nor study their books.
THE ZULMAT OF EVEN BOOKS
Once when several persons visited Hadhrat Mirza Jaan Jaanaan (rahmatullah alayh), he perceived a veil of spiritual darkness (zulmat) emanating from them. Hadhrat commented: “They have kitaabs of zulmat with them”. It was then discovered that they had Ibn Sina’s (Avicenna’s) kitaabs, AshShifa’.
TOTAL DEVOTION TO AND CONFIDENCE IN THE SHAYKH
TOTAL OBEDIENCE RELATES ONLY TO SPIRITUAL MATTERS
Obedience to the Shaikh (one’s spiritual guide) is not absolute nor in everything. For example, if the Shaikh requests that his mureed should give his daughter in marriage to his (the Shaikh’s) son or to someone else, then accepting this request is not incumbent. Obedience to the Shaikh is only in the matter of Islaah of the nafs. Furthermore, obedience even in this sphere is incumbent only if the Shaikh’s prescription is permissible in the Shariah.
However, it is improper to debate with the Shaikh. At the same time it is not permissible to violate the Shariah. In such a state of conflict, maintain respect and seek a fatwa from the Ulama. Then inform the Shaikh that a certain act in the Silsilah is not permissible. Thereafter if the Shaikh still insists on his instruction, then abandon the Shaikh and terminate the relationship. This is the meaning of perfect obedience.
THE MEANING OF ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE
This following is neither in beliefs (aqaid) nor in unveiling (kashafiyat), other collective issues (masail) and economic matters. It is only in methods of approach, diagnosis, instructions and treatment of spiritual diseases and issues related to spiritual reformation. Moreover,this following is further restricted to the mutual agreement of murid and the Shaykh on the permissibility of the issue. If there is a difference of opinion then it is against the way of people of the path (tareeq) to indulge in a debate with the Shaykh, when following his advice will be against the Shariah ruling. In this situation the best etiquette (adab) between the two proprieties (adab of Shariah and Shaykh) is to consult the scholars or do research of his own (if he is capable of it) and establish a ruling. He should then inform the Shaykh that I do not consider this particular action to be permissible and it is from the teaching of our path (silsila), what should I do? If the Shaykh still instructs him to do the same then it is best to abandon this Shaykh. However, if he gives the permission to forgo this action then this is also following his instruction in proxy.
This is the meaning of absolute following (itiba’ e kamil).
That is, complete following (of the Shaykh) must be done in whatever diseases of the lower self (nafs) he has diagnosed, the prescription he has provided and the permissible actions he has instructed to carry out, the permissibility of which Shaykh and murid agree mutually upon. Murid should not interfere in these issues at all with his opinions. It does not entail following in matters beside these issues.
THE BASIS OF PIETY
The basis of piety of a person is on the confidence one has on a Buzrug and following him. But, there is an imperative need to first investigate the Buzrug whom one intends appointing as one’s guide otherwise one will be deviated from the Path.
DISRESPECT IS DESTRUCTIVE IN THIS PATH
By showing disrespect to the Shaikh (Spiritual Guide), the Mureed is deprived of batini (inner, spiritual relationship) with the Shaikh becomes severed. Disrespect is highly dangerous in the spiritual path. Its peculiar effect is worse than the effect of sin. In this Path (of spiritual reformation) all defects are tolerated, but criticism and disrespect. Total devotion and confidence in the Shaikh are essential in this Path.
IN THE HANDS OF A QUALIFIED PHYSICIAN ABANDON PERSONAL IDEAS
Two things are very beneficial. If a person adopts them, he will not go astray. One: He should annihilate his personal opinion. Two: He should not hanker after results. He should act according to the instructions of his Shaikh (Spiritual Guide). Hadhrat Hajee Imdadullah (rahmatullah alayh) usually commented: “The Taufeeq (inclination) to do good, in itself is a great wealth.” [The above advice pertains to spiritual and moral reformation where one is following the guidance of a qualified Shaikh who is an expert in the field of spiritual reformation. The mureed (disciple) should submit to his Shaikh’s instructions and abandon his personal ideas.]
SELF-OPINION AFTER HAVING REPOSED TRUST
Self-opinion in this path is a notorious bandit and a fatal poison. A man in whom this exists will be totally deprived of benefit. He will not gain any benefit in this Path. The very first step in this path (of moral reformation) is self-annihilation.
THE DISEASED SHOULD SUBMIT TO THE PHYSICIAN, NOT VICE VERSA
If the Ulama join the ranks of the ignorant, what benefit will there be? Yes, if the ignorant submit to Ulama, then will they gain benefit (Deeni and spiritual benefit). This is a simple and self-evident fact. If a medical doctor submits to the whims of the sick, they (the sick) will not derive any benefit. The sick will benefit only if they remain subservient to the physicians. This subservience will be laudable and wise because the patient has submitted himself to a wise and qualified person. A doctor who submits to the whims of igno rant patients, displays gross ignorance.
IKHTILAAF SHOULD NOT GIVE RISE TO KHILAAF
If one has affection and confidence in a person, then even if some ikhtilaaf(difference of opinion) develops, there should not be any khilaaf (ill—feeling / enmity).
EMOTIONAL LOVE IS INSUFFICIENT
Muhabbat-e-Tab’i (emotional love) with the Shaikh (Spiritual Guide) is insufficient (for the acquisition of moral and spiritual benefit). For the acquisition of moral and spiritual benefit from the Shaikh,Muhabbat-e-Aqli (rational/intellectual love) is necessary. Abu Taalib, Rasulullah’s uncle, had a profound emotional love for Nabi-e- Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). But this love did not benefit him. If he had Muhabbat-e-Aqli as well, he would have been the first person to have benefited and accept Imaan. (Muhabbat-e-Aqli is a intellectual harmony and confidence which the mureed has in the ta’leem and tarbiyat of his Shaikh. He has no doubt whatever in the correctness of the teachings of the Shaikh.)
ATTACHMENT WITH THE SHAYKH HAS LIMITS
The Mashaaikh advise that a mureed should not be perpetually attached to his Shaikh (i.e. following him all over the show and in all conditions being with him). The reason for this is that no person is devoid of human frailties. When the focus of the mureed falls on such human frailties of his Shaikh, the honour of his Shaikh in his estimate will be diminished, and this will prove morally and spiritually fatal for the mureed. The diminished attitude of the mureed will constitute a formidable barrier between himself and his Shaikh and the door of spiritual benefit will close.
But this should not be misconstrued. It never means that the mureed should labour in deception regarding his Shaikh’s supposed greatness if he (the mureed) observes the Shaikh persisting in the indulgence of haraam and major sins. In such a state it is haraam for the mureed to entertain the idea of the piety of the Shaikh. It becomes incumbent on the mureed to cancel his bay’t to the Shaikh. At the same time, the mureed should not become insolent towards the Shaikh (with whom he has terminated the bay’t relationship).
ALLAH CAN BRING RESULTS TO THE SINCERE SEEKER WHO HAS BEEN DECEIVED
Once a robber, abandoning his profession, took up residence in a hut along the river banks. He involved himself in Thikrullah. People started to visit him, labouring under the impression that he was a saint. Some even became his mureeds and become involved in Thikr. By the qudrat (power) of Allah Ta’ala some of these mureeds attained high ranks of spiritual elevation.
One day some of his spiritual elevated mureeds by means of Muraqabah several times, they could not discern any elevated spiritual rank for their spiritual guide. Finally, they reported their discovery to their Shaikh who truthfully revealed.to them his story and told them very clearly that he was, in fact, a non-entity. All the mureeds together made dua to Allah Ta’ala for the elevation of their Shaikh. As a result, Allah Ta’ala elevated the shaikh to a high spiritual rank. In this episode the determining factor was nothing but aqeedat (implicit faith and devotion). Such faith cleared the road.
THE STATUS OF BAY’T
Bay’t (the mureed placing his hand in the hands of the Shaikh to denote his allegiance) is not of imperative importance. Of great importance is Ittiba’ (obedience) and muhabbat (love). Placing hand in hand is merely for the solace of the seeker. It contents him to know that he has pledged allegiance to a particular guide. Besides this, bay’t has no share in the acquisition of spiritual benefit. I give the assurance that even without the ceremony of bay’t there will be not an iota of reduction in the benefit. Bay’t is a burden on me. In fact I desire that no one becomes bay’t to me, but they should extract Deeni service from me.
TA’LEEM IS NOT DEPEDENT ON BAY’T|
* The basis (of Islaah-e-Nafs) is Ta’leem(teaching of the Shaikh). Bay’t is not essential. However, it (Bay’t) strengthens the relationship. The Shaikh by virtue ofbay’t regards the reformation of the mureed an incumbent duty on himself. He therefore, pays greater attention to him.
*When a man insisted to be initiated as a mureed, Hadhrat said: “As long as the hearts of both parties (i.e. Shaikh and Mureed) have not united (in compatibility), this relationship is not beneficial. In fact, it is harmful. Haste produces regret. The feeling of being trapped develops (in the Shaikh and Mureed if there is no mutual compatibility). The relationship of Bay’t confines both parties into a life-long prison. Never fall into this prison without the pleasure of both parties. Besides this, I am always at the service of all Muslims with dua. Some people think that ta’leem (imparting moral instructions) and spiritual benefit are dependent on bay’t or without bay’t there will be no benefit. I believe a man (i.e. spiritual guide / shaikh) is a highway robber and dacoit if he hesitates to impart ta’leem without bay’t. Honestly, I do not hesitate in imparting ta’leem to any taalib (searcher of moral reformation).”
BAY’T IS NOT NECESSARY
*Bay’t is not necessary. The imperative demand is ta’leem and i’tiqaad (confidence on the Shaikh). It is also necessary that the Shaikh belongs to an authentic Silsilah. Confidence alone is of no value if the sheikh does no belong to an authentic Order of Tasawwuf.
*For islaah (reformation) of the nafs, bay’t is not imperative. The belief that bay’t is necessary for islaah is a bid’at. The first obligation of the Shaikh is the islaah of the mureed. He should not conceal anything in consideration of others.
BAY’T— A MUSTAHAB ACT CAN TRANSFORM INTO BID’AH
Bay’t is not bid’ah. However, to believe that it is Waajib is bid’ah. The benefit which is obtainable from bay’t could be acquired even without bay’t. The acquisition of moral and spiritual benefits are not dependent on bay’t. Bay’t is certainly a Mustahab Sunnah. (But when a Mustahab is assigned the status of Wujoob or excesses are committed regarding the practice, then it becomes bid’ah).
BAY’T IS MERELY A CUSTOM TODAY
What will be achieved only from bay’t if the instruction (ta’leem) is not obeyed? Nowadays the practice of bay’t is merely a custom devoid of reality. Similarly, staying with a buzrug will not benefit if there is no obedience to his teaching.
INSTANT INITIATION OF MUREEDS
Some people say that whoever comes should simply be accepted in bay’t (i.e. made a mureed) otherwise he may become trapped at the hands of some bid’ati peer (one who initiates mureeds). In response to this argument I say that on the contrary, I have saved him (the one who was refused) from the clutches of a bid’ati. The reason for my procrastination (i.e. not immediately making bay’t) is to convey that there should not be haste in this relationship. This relationship should be cultivated only after considerable reflection. Assuming a particular man who was refused does become the mureed of a bid’ati, another 50 will be saved from falling into the clutches of bid’atis. They will understand that they should refrain from haste and think before making their decision. Thus, my attitude prevents people from bid’ati’s. If anyone does fall into a bid’ati’s trap, he does so out of his own free will. He, himself, is responsible for this action.
BAY’T IS USELESS WITHOUT OBEDIENCE
Of what use is mere bay’t when the mureed does not obey the ta’leem? Nowadays bay’t has become a mere custom. Similarly, there is no benefit staying in the company of a buzrug without obedience to his ta’leem. Staying minus obedience is like a pawned object. The pawnee does not derive any benefit from the pawned item. However, if the item is sold, there will be benefit. The pawned item remains idle in the custody of the pawnee and will be reclaimed by its owner. The one who desires to gain the benefit of the Tareeq, should ‘sell’ himself to the Guide (i.e. he should not remain redundant like a pawned item).
COMMERCIAL PEERS AND BAY’T
The commercial peers (spiritual guides) say that they will not divulge the special mysteries without one becoming bay’t to them. This is nothing but their fabrication. Indeed, what are the special mysteries which they will not divulge? Most certainly, whatever mysteries were essential (for Muslims) were delivered to the world by Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) from the hilltops, from the mimbars and in public. In fact, whatever ‘special mysteries’ they (the commercial mentors) claim to know of — mysteries which are apart from what Rasulullah ( sallallaahu alayhi wasallam ) had divulged — are evils. By means of such evils they are desirous of trapping people in their pernicious nets of deception. Most assuredly, they are unable to publicly divulge such evils. Indeed, their ‘special mysteries’ are such evils which they can not divulge even after one has become bay’t to them, for no one will divulge his own faults and evils.
THE MUREED’S NIYYAT (INTENTION)
* The mureed’s intention should not be to become a guide. The niyyat should be only to be able to see the Path (i.e. become morally reformed and gain the ability to be saved from the deception of the nafs and shaitaan.)
* Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (rahimahullah) received a letter from a person requesting spiritual advice. In reply Imam Hakim al-Ummah Thanwi wrote: “Read the transcripts of twenty of my spiritual discourses and practice upon them. Once you have done that, inform me of your condition.” That is, let me know whether or not you feel some spiritual elevation and change within you.
After reading the transcripts of twenty lectures the person replied: “Unfortunately, I do not feel any change within myself at all.” Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi wrote back: “Either you have not read those lectures with the intention of spiritual rectification or the subject matter was not related to spirituality. If that is not so, it could be that there is nothing within you which needs rectification. The person wrote back admitting that he had not read the lectures with the intention of spiritual rectification, to which Imam Hakim al-Ummah Thanwi replied advising him to read them once again, but with the proper intention of rectification. Once again the person wrote saying: “Al-Hamdu lillah, I have acquired enormous spiritual elevation and benefit from the lectures. An amazing change has now taken place within me.”
Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (rahimahullah) comments: “If I had merely prescribed some dhikr, he would not have benefited so much. Truly, if a person does something the right way, fulfilling its rights and conditions, Allah, Most High, will definitely put benefit in that thing. But our problem is that we do things according to our own understanding and deficient conjectures. Due to this we end up frustrated and confused. Today’s fake pirs and money-making sufi shaykhs have cheated the people, taking money from them and giving them wazífas to read. Is it ever possible to spiritually rectify oneself through wazífas and awrad? Spiritual rectification and elevation can only be acquired through [the proper procedures of] spiritual rectification.”
WHEN UNDERGOING ISLAAH DO NOT GET DISTRACTED
A Shaikh ordered one of his mureeds to go for a while to a certain place and apply himself to Thikr and Shaghul (spiritual exercise). After sometime the mureed wrote informing his Shaikh of disunity and animosity prevailing between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities of that place. Hence, he requested the Shaikh for dua. The Shaikh wrote reprimanding the mureed: “Have I sent you to dispatch news reports or for working (i.e. engrossing yourself in Thikr)?” Someone asked: “Dua is Sunnat. Why the reprimand?” Hadhrat Thanvi replied: “If a Sunnat act prevents a person from a Fardh act, he will be instructed to forgo the Sunnat act. Islah of the Nafs (i.e. self-reformation) is Fardh. (Involvement in the affairs of the community impeded the spiritual progress of the mureed, hence the reprimand).”
DEBATING IS HIGHLY DETRIMENTAL IN THE PATH OF SELF-RECTIFICATION
One should not ask one’s Shaikh (one’s Spiritual Guide) such Fiqhi Masa- il (rules of Fiqh) which entail debate and discussion. Debate and objection are highly detrimental in this Path of Tasawwuf.
MAJZOOB ARE THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR SENSES
1. With regard to the earthly existence, Majzubs are devoid of understanding. They are not in need of this understanding. They require another kind of understanding which they do possess. In this group, there is no intelligence (aql) although their physical senses or a child lacking intelligence before buloogh (puberty) even though the senses are fully functional. The presence of the physical senses does not negate the state of mujzubiyat nor do the laws of the Shari’ah, e.g. Salat, become obligatory simply because of the physical sense being fully functional. For the incumbency (fardhiat) to these laws, aql is the requisite.
Hence, both the majnoon and the majzub are absolved of the Shar’i laws on account of the lack of aql in them. However, it is difficult to differentiate between these two groups. This is a delicate task. A probable criterion for this differentiation is the relationship or treatment which the sulaha and atqiya (i.e. the Auliya) have for the majzub/majnoon. If the Auliya honour or ignore the person, others too, should behave in this manner. The general public should not act according to their opinion.
ALLAH USES THE MAJZOOB FOR SOME TASKS
A Molvi Saheb said: “Hadhrat, it is difficult nowadays to differentiate between a majzub and a majnoon.” (Majzub: A person who lost his worldly sense in the pursuit of Divine Love. Majnoon: An insane person.-Translator) Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi) commented: “Absolutely correct. Someone may be a majzub and another one may be a majnoon. Saintly people are able to recognize them.” I have heard from buzroogs that in Deoband Hadhrat Maulana Yaqub (rahmatullah alayhi) was the chief of the jamaat (group) of majzubs. An episode confirms this.
A majzub who was a foreigner came to live in Deoband. He took up residence in the Chattah Musjid. But prior to taking up residence he sought permission from Maulana Yaqub Saheb (rahmatullah alayhi). We, the students would pester the majzub to curse certain kuffar. But, he would never respond other than say: “Alright, alright!” After his death it was learnt from some of our buzroogs that he was the supporter of certain kuffar (whom we had asked him to curse). Regarding this support, Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi) said: “Majzubs are like the Mala-ikah. Among the Malaikah are those who are responsible for also the training (and maintenance) of the kuffar.”
KEEP ALOOF FROM MAJZOOBS
One should not expect any benefit from this jamaat (the majzubs). As far as possible keep aloof from them. Since they lack aql, there is the danger of them causing harm.
VERY STRONG SPIRITUAL STATE CAN SNATCH AWAY SENSES
A Molvi Saheb asked: “What is the reality of majzub? How does one become a majzub?” Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi) replied: “Sometimes a very strong warid snatches away the aql. (Warid is a spiritual inspiration). This rank of majzubiyat is acquired by way of majahadah (striving against the desires of the nafs). The various affairs of this world are entrusted of these majzubs. They are responsible for the systems which operate in the world. On the other hand the Ahl-e- Irshad (those Auliya who are actively involved in the moral reformation of the Ummah) are the Representatives of the Rasool. Their rank is far superior.
The actual thing is obedience (to Allah and His Rasool) Kashf and Karamat are not excellences. Similar (seemily miraculous) wonderful feats are demonstrated even by the Ahl-e-Batil (kuffar, magicians, sorcerers, etc). Once the wife of a man in either America or Germany, who was deeply in love with her, died. The husband took a photograph of her dead body. When he developed the film, to his surprise, five photographs emerged.
Of these five, one was of his wife and four other people. He recognised two of the photographs. The other two were the pictures of strangers whom he did not recognize. The man concluded that the only explanation is that at the time of taking the photos, the souls of the other four deceased must have been present, hence the five photographs. However, what is amazing is the photographing of invisible entities. How did this happen? (Also, how did five different photos emerge from the single photograph taken by the man?-Translator) Look! Such amazing feats are manifested on the hands of even Ahl-e- Batil. It is precisely for this reason that the Ahl-e-Haq (Ulama-e-Haq) say that the criterion is obedience to Allah and the Rasool.”
INFORMATION BY A MAJZOOB
(A Majzoob is a saintly person who has become mentally deranged in his quest for Divine Love. Sometimes he makes future predictions which materialize. Commenting on this, Hadhrat said): “The predictions of a Majzoob pertaining to future events materialize in accordance with what has already been ordained. Even if the Majzoob did not predict an event, it would still most certainly materialize. There is no new dimension to the prediction. People consider such predictions to be an attribute of excellence (in the Majzoob). They also labour under the erroneous notion that events materialize as a consequence of the statements made by the Majzoobs, whereas this is not so. The only thing is that people are made aware of an event prior to its occurrence. Besides this, there is no new dimension. This pertains to worldly events. As far as Deeni benefit is concerned, the Muhaqqiqeen say that there is no Deeni benefit in the company of a Majzoob. Benefit is acquired from the companionship of a Saalik.”
INSANE PEOPLE WHO SPEAK WORDS OF WISDOM
Someone asked a Buzrug regarding the Majzoobs: “These people are insane, yet they speak words of hikmat (wisdom) and ma’rifat (divine knowledge). What is the underlying mystery?’ The Buzrug explained: ‘Initially these people had possessed two things: Aql and Fadhl. Allah Ta’ala eliminated their Aql, leaving them with Fadhl, hence they speak words of hikmat and ma’rifat.’ (Fadhl refers to the special grace of Allah Ta’ala.)
QUALITY OF IBAADAH
DESIRE FOR RESULTS
Nowadays there is a great calamity — while there is indifference towards effort and struggle, the desire is to obtain the results and fruits of effort. Is the taufeeq of engagement in the effort an insignificant result? A person complained to Hadhrat Haaji Imdaadullah (rahmatullah alayh): “I engage in thikr, but do not discern any benefit.” Hadhrat said: “Is your engagement in thikr an insignificant benefit?” A person said to me: “I do not derive pleasure in thikr.” I said: “What pleasure do you expect in thikr? Where are you searching for pleasure?” People understand such issues as the goal when in reality these things are not the goal. This attitude is proof for a person’s unawareness of the Path. People have become total strangers of this Path. Leave alone the poor masses. Even the Ulama are trapped in such misconceptions.
TRUE PEACE ONLY IN ZIKRULLAH
True peace is not attainable without Thikrullaah. I can take an oath and say that no one enjoys the peace of the Ahlullaah although it may appear that there is no difference between them and others in relation to physical difficulties and hardships. Notwithstanding the physical difficulties and discomforts, their hearts are at peace on account of their engrossment with Thikrullaah. “Hark! With the Thikr of Allah to hearts find peace.”—Qur’aan
CONSTANCY IN ZIKR WILL EVENTUALLY PRODUCE RESULTS
Be constant in dhikr even if the heart and mind is not present and there is no enjoyment. In due course the dhikr will develop into such a habit, there will be no repose without it. For example, initially when a person smokes a huqqa (smoking pipe), he experiences giddiness, nausea and vomiting. By regularly smoking, this condition changes and now he cannot do without it, so much so that even if he doesn’t have food, he must have a few drags on the huqqa.
On another occasion Hadrat said (on the same subject):
Although not felt, benefit (from dhikr) is achieved from the very beginning. A child grows daily, but it can never be determined how much the child has grown for a particular day. One can gauge the growth of the child only after a considerable amount of time has passed by comparing his present condition to the previous. A major difference will be noted. In the same way, dhikr, in the initial stages seems to be devoid of benefit, but actually he is receiving benefit all the time (without realizing it).
Once Hadrat said:
Drops of water continuously fall on a stone resulting in eventually a hole being formed. Can it be said that the last drop formed the hole on the stone? Never! The first drop was just as effective as the last drop in forming the hole. Never consider the first drop to be useless. In the same way, the first day’s dhikr that one considered to be without benefit is undoubtedly beneficial! The special (spiritual) condition that has been achieved is the result of the first dhikr just as the latter dhikrs.
THE IMMEDIATE BENEFIT OF ZIKR
Be constant in Thikr regardless of lack of spiritual enthusiasm. Gradually the thaakir will become so much addicted to Thikr that he will have no peace without it. The benefit of Thikr begins from the very first day although this is not perceived. After a considerable period of time, if the thaakir’s present state is compared with his previous condition, the difference will be discerned. In the beginning it appears that there is no benefit whilst in reality the benefit is constant.
Water constantly dropping on rock ultimately creates a deep impression in the rock. The deep impression is not the effect of the final drop. The very first drop has the same effect as the last drop. It is therefore improper to negate the efficacy of the first drop. The Thikr of the first day has the same effect as the Thikr of the last day has on the ultimate spiritual state of the thaakir (the one who engages in thikr).
DO NOT OVER-EXERT YOURSELF IN CONCENTRATION
A cursory concentration suffices in salat, dhikr, etc. Do not exert yourself otherwise the heart and mind will be harmed. Exertion in concentration also causes tiredness and distress, resulting in the disruption of benefit. Proficiency in concentration will gradually, step by step be achieved through cursory concentration.
Also, do not exert yourself to preserve a certain [spiritual] condition, nor hanker after such a condition. Extremism is harmful. Do what you are required to do. Ability and conditions will form on its own. Don’t agitate yourself nor concern yourself with results and conditions. The main objective is to keep oneself engaged and occupied.
THE OBJECTIVE IS AMAL NOT SPIRITUAL BLISS
The objective of enthusiasm is amal (i.e. to practise the ahkaam of the Deen). The objective of amal is not attainment of enthusiasm (or some spiritual state –Kaifiyat). As long as there is constancy in amal, the Maqsood (objective) has been achieved even if the amal is not accompanied by enthusiasm (or by some spiritual condition such as pleasure, elation, etc.). One should not become grieved for failure to attain any spiritual condition (kaifiyat). Of importance is to ensure that there is no deficiency in amal.
WAITING FOR PERFECT SENERITY IS FUTILE
To wait for total settling of the mind (i.e. complete devotion to Allah) is futile. This is not possible while one is caught up in this world (with its responsibilities and duties). To achieve this, even in a troubled and perplexed condition, start the connection with Allah Most High. Gradually such single-minded devotion will follow. Otherwise life will come to an end (waiting) and complete devotion will not be achieved.
NO HARDSHIP IN IBAADAH
Nowadays, people regard Ibadat to hardship. Wallah! There is no hardship in Ibadat. Ibadat is like varieties of delicious foods. There is no hardship in participating in such varieties of delicacies. If this is branded as hardship, it will be tantamount to denying the quality of nourishment of food. I take oath by Allah! These virtuous deeds of the shari’ah are like bread. Initially the baby finds difficulty in eating bread and seeks to abstain from it. However, once the realization has dawned on the child, he will understand the bread to be a mercy. Similarly, the worshipper experiences some difficulty initially in Ibadat. But later, when experiences the pleasure of Ibadat, he will engross himself wholeheartedly therein.
WE FLEE FROM IBAADAT
Alas! We are increasingly becoming the enemies of such things which create the love of Allah. We flee from the Ibadat of Allah. On the other hand, we adopt the things which distance us from Allah.
COMPLETE SUBMISSION WILL RESULT IN BARKAT
I claim with emphasis that if a person submits fully (to the Shari’ah), the result will be barakat (blessings) in abundance. But one should be steadfast. In the beginning one will not discern benefit. However, later such noor (spiritual light) will be perceived that peace of mind without obedience will not be possible. In fact, the effect of such obedience will extend to others.
COMFORT AND PLEASURE COMES AFTER ACCOMPLISHMENT OF WORK
People search for comfort (and pleasure) in the works of the Deen. While such comfort does occur, it is only after accomplishment of the work. But people desire to attain this comfort first. Their similitude is that of a sick man who complains of his ill- health. While he wishes for good health, he abstains from medicine. Health without eliminating the sickness is not possible. The eliminating of sickness cannot be effected without medical treatment. However in the affairs of the Deen the intelligence of people has become deranged (because they are reluctant or refuse to adopt correct methods for spiritual reformation and benefit).
WE CAN ATTAIN GOAL ONLY BY ALLAH’S (AZZA WA JAL) FADHL
Although we lack the ability to reach the goal of Divine Proximity, we can attain it by means of His Fadhl (Kindness), not by our efforts. Even if our efforts are useless, He is such a Gracious One Who ensures that we attain the Goal. At least we are expected to get up and walk. Then His Rahmat will take us into His Merciful Lap. It is however necessary that we be constant in our effort.
RESTLESSNESS IS ALSO A BLESSING
In reply to a Molvi Saheb who had complained about his feeling of restlessness, Hadhrat commented: “What really is the incumbency for tranquillity (sukoon)?? Even if one does not achieve sukoon throughout life, there is no harm? Restlessness (Idhtirab) is also a great ni`mat (bounty) of Allah Ta’ala. There is also much wisdom for this state.”
CONSTANCY IN ZIKR IS THE AIM
Hadhrat Haji Saheb was in Tareeqat, the Imaam and Mujtahid of his time. In this field he was a Muhaqqiq and a Mujaddid. Once a man complained to Hadhrat Haji Saheb, “I engage in thikr, but do not discern any benefit.” Haji Saheb said, “What! Is your constancy in thikr and the taufeeq to engage in thikr not a benefit?” Nowadays, people are averse to striving. They want to attain the ranks of wilaayat andqutubiyyat in a day. This is the path in which you even spend your entire life without realizing if you have achieved anything or not. Even if you discern that you have achieved nothing, the reality is that you have attained success. Everything has been achieved. The condition of constancy is very blessed. The aim is to achieve this condition.
PERPETUAL THIKR IS NOT POSSIBLE WITHOUT ISLAAH
It is possible to sit for a day and engage in Thikr for some time. But, perpetual Thikr is not possible without Islaah (self-reformation) and seclusion. The focus on perpetual Thikr is the effect of Divine Focus on a person. It is a bestowal of Allah Ta’ala. If Allah’s Focus is not directed to a man, he will never acquire the taufeeq for perpetual Thikr. Awaariful Ma-aarif is a kitaab of Hadhrat Shaikh Shuhaabuddin Suharwardi (rahmatullah alayh). He narrates therein the episode of a Buzrug who one day found that he was unable to move his tongue with Thikr. He had the intention and the sanity, but his tongue refused to co-operate. Greatly distressed, he supplicated to Allah Ta’ala to apprize him of his sin to enable him to repent. By way of Ilhaam (divine inspiration) he was informed that on a certain day an evil word had slipped from his mouth. He was now suffering its punishment. After considerable supplication, remorse and shedding tears, he was forgiven and his tongue regained the ability of Thikr.
THE REWARD FOR HAVING SINCERE INTENTION FOR ZIKRULLAH
After Hadhrat Ibraaheem Bin Adham (rahmatullah alayh) had passed away, a Buzrug saw him in a dream and asked how he had fared by Allah Ta’ala. Hadhrat Ibn Adham said: ‘Alhamdulillah! Allah Ta’ala bestowed His fadhl (grace and favour) and lofty ranks. However, near to my home lived a poor man. He always yearned to devote all his time for the Thikr of Allah, but he never gained the opportunity. I did not receive the lofty ranks which Allah Ta’ala had bestowed to him.’
PLEASURE IN OBEDIENCE
The accepted servants of Allah who derive pleasure in obedience of Allah Ta’ala have neither need nor desire for worldly kingdoms and political power. Even if these should be bestowed to them, they yearn for the pleasure which is the effect of the obedience. They have no desire for the pomp and pleasure of the world.
PLEASUREABLE STATES DEPENDENT ON STEADFASTNESS
* “Pleasurable spiritual states (ahwaal) are dependent on istiqaamat (steadfastness) and A’maal-e-Saalihaat (pious deeds).”
* “Nisbat (a special relationship) with Allah Ta’ala is the effect of Allah’s Ridha’(Pleasure), and this is attainable only by way of obedience.”
* “On some the effects of Love for Allah are dominant, while on others the effects of Love for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) appear dominant. There is no conflict between the two. Both are the same. It is only a difference of colour.”(Love for Rasulullah – (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is the effect of Love for Allah Ta’ala. The Qur’aan says: “Whoever obeys the Rasool, verily, he has obeyed Allah.”)
COMFORT IN SALAAT COMES WITH EFFORT AND MORAL REFORMATION
The reality of success is comfort. The comfort which the heart derives from Salaat cannot be gained from even a thousand varieties of delicious food. However, the perception of this comfort is attained after a specific time period which varies for different persons (depending on their effort and moral reformation).
THE REWARD FOR OBEDIENCE IS IN THIS WORLD TOO
The great and primary reward of Taa-at (obedience to Allah Ta’ala) is thawaab (reward) in the Aakhirat. This reward is attainable if the act of obedience is executed correctly by observing its conditions and etiquettes (aadaab). Another benefit is the special barakaat of the good deed which is manifested even in this world. However for this achievement it is necessary to have the intention of it at the time of rendering the deed. For example, one of the benefits of Namaaz according to the Qur’aan is the taufeeq to abstain from sins. This benefit will be obtained only if Namaaz is correctly performed with its conditions and etiquettes and also the intention of gaining the taufeeq to abstain from sins.
THIKR WITHOUT PLEASURE
By means of constancy in even Thikr without experiencing pleasure (sweetness), divine proximity and spiritual health are achieved. This achievement overshadows all kinds of pleasure.
MAKE THIKR AND FIKR INCUMBENT
Make thikr and fikr incumbent on yourself. (Fikr is to ponder, reflect and derive lesson). Allah’s remembrances becomes embedded in the heart by means of fikr. Then Allah’s remembrance becomes simple at all times. The remembrance of Allah produces peace in the heart. The effect of thikr is the flight of shaitaan whereas the effect of ghaflat (obliviousness) is shaitaani wasaawis.
Keep the tongue moist at all times with the thikr of Allah whether you are able to concentrate or not. The gain of thikr is virtue. The tongue is the organ involved the most in sin. Thikr prevents the tongue from indulgence in sin. The cause of sin is forgetfulness. Its remedy is Thikrullaah.
ENGROSS YOUR EVERY MOMENT WITH ZIKRULLAH
Even if reciting continuously, ‘Allaahu, Allaahu’ is not accompanied by sincerity, it is not futile. However, as a result of continuous repetition the ability (for Thikr) will be cultivated. The very initiation of this act will be an aid for future endurance. Therefore, do not consider even a little effort to be futile. Not a single moment should be devoid of some activity. (Every moment of the Mu`min’s life should be occupied with something beneficial).
* If while engaged in Thikr/Tilaawat (or one’s daily quota of auraad), sleep overwhelms you, take a rest. Go to sleep. Do not combat the overwhelming sleep. This could lead to a dryness in the brains. The consequence of this is the development of corrupt thoughts. Sometimes the zaakir gains the impression that such thoughts are ilhaam (divine inspirations) and he begins to think of himself as a buzrug. Such a person ultimately becomes insane. It is for this reason that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “There should be no extremes in sleeping.” (Sleep should neither be excessive nor too little.)
* Once a Zakir told Hadhrat Maulana [Rasheed Ahmed]Gangohi (Rahmatullah alayh), that at the time of Zikr he gets tired. He replied, “Either take a pillow and sleep or do your Zikr. There’s no cure of tiredness except sleeping.
ISTIQAAMAT (FIRMNESS) GREATER THAN KARAAMAT (MIRACLES)
Firmness in the perpetuity of one’s ma’mulaat (programme of daily ibaadat) is an elevated, wonderful acquisition. With this acquisition, the lack of any new spiritual experience is not disadvantageous. Firmness is termed Istiqaamat. The Akaabir (senior Mashaaikh) aver that Istiqaamat surpasses Karaamat (miracles).
PERSISTENCY IS THE WAY TO IMPROVE DEFECTIVE DEEDS
Continue practising deeds as best as you can. Never abandon deeds because of deficiencies. By constancy the defects are removed and perfection attained. This is the way to improve and perfect deeds.
SWEETNESS OF IBAADAT MISSING DUE TO SPIRITUAL ILLNESSES
In our times people are not geared up to focus on actions. Leave aside the laity, even the distinguished ones mostly run after secrets (asrarāt) and pleasures (dhaukiyāt) of sulūk. Hence this topic has become very necessary to tackle. The reason why some Sālikīn may not be inclined towards actions (a’maal) is because there is not much leisure or delight in a’maal in the beginning, while the dhaukiyāt are filled with delight.
An example of action is that of a medication. It is not pleasant to one’s taste in the beginning, but once it becomes an addiction then it starts to give delight like food. This is why those who have reached higher levels in sulūk find more delight in actions. This has been mentioned in Hadīth, “Coolness of my eyes has been placed in the Salah”.
Those seekers who complain that they do not get any pleasure in dhikr, salah or fasting, make me laugh. Has anyone ever complained to a doctor that the medicine does not have a good taste? Then what is the meaning of such a complaint in this case? The dhikr and salah has been given as a medication for the seeker, so should a seeker be worried if there is any delight or taste in this medication? Indeed, once one has made these actions as their habit, the actions start giving pleasures like food as well.
Just like opium and tobacco are medications in essence, once a person’s body makes a habit of it, it becomes pleasurable items. Moreover, if the sheikh gives a way which brings ease in action then that was never his duty, rather it is a good gesture on his part. Hence a doctor is only liable to gives a prescription. The patient does not have the right to demand additional cardamom and pān (beetle leaf delight). If the doctor gives a prescribed medicine as well as some delight thereafter, then that is his generosity.
Some doctors in the past used to have this habit that they would give the medication as well as relaxation in diet. It is known about Maulana Hakeem Mu‛īn ad-dīn rahmatullah alayh that he would allow his patients to eat whatever they wish in front of him but not afterwards. This was because whatever the patient would eat in his presence, he would be considerate of it in the prescription. This is only due to his compassion otherwise the patient has no right to demand such treatment.