Category Archives: True Sufism/ Tasawwuf

Qalb-e-Saleem – A Sound Heart

– Mufti Ebrahim Desai Saheb

When a person undertakes a long journey, he ensures his mode of transport is safe. If he is traveling by motor vehicle, he will have it serviced. The oil will be replaced with new oil. The plugs will be changed. The lifespan of the brake pads and discs will be assessed. These are some of the very few things that need to be checked in a service of a motor vehicle. If a person does not service his motor vehicle, in all probability he will have a break down and suffer the consequences of his negligence.

We all are travelling to the hereafter. This is a long and arduous journey. The mode of our journey in the hereafter is qalb-e-saleem.

Ibrahim (Alayhis Salaam) made du`ā to Allāh Ta`ālā as follows:

وَلَا تُخْزِنِي يَوْمَ يُبْعَثُونَ، يَوْمَ لَا يَنْفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ، إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

And do not disgrace me on the Day they are [all] resurrected. The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who comes to Allāh with a sound heart. [Al-Shu`arā’, 26: 87-89]

Qalb-e-Saleem is inculcated by servicing the heart with the following five qualities :

1. الذي لا يكون في قلبه عقائد باطلة

Remove incorrect beliefs and adopt correct beliefs.

2. الذي لا يكون في قلبه غلبة الشهوات:

Control the overpowering of carnal desires.

3. الذي ينفق ماله الي البر:

Spend one’s wealth in places of virtue.

4. الذي يرشد بنيه الي الحق:

Guide one’s children towards haq.

5. الذي لا يكون في قلبه غير الله:

Remove everything else from the heart besides Allāh.

Just as a car has to be serviced for a smooth and safe journey, the heart has to be serviced for a smooth and safe journey to the hereafter.

If we are stranded in our worldly journey, we could seek help through our worldly means: wealth, children, friends, AA, credit card, etc.

All these means will not be available in the journey to the hereafter. Everyone will have to fend for himself/herself. The only security is to create a sound heart in this world for the journey to the hereafter.

To service one’s car, one will refer to a mechanic. To service one’s heart, refer to the Ahlullāh and spiritual guides.


By Mujlisul Ulama

Once Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (Rahmatullah alayh) said: “No other sect/group has caused so much harm to the Deen as have the sufis (i.e. the jaahil, fake/fraud ‘sufis’). They have harmed the Deen by means of narration, beliefs, practices and concepts.

The spiritual power of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was of such a lofty calibre that even the greatest kaafir who recited Laa ilaha il lallaah would attain the rank of Ihsaan (this is an extremely lofty state of Divine Proximity). In the next era of the Taabi-een, there was a reduction in the spiritual power, and in the following age there was a further reduction. 

Therefore, for achieving the elevated stage of spirituality, the   Auliya in the later eras introduced Mujaahadaat and Riyaadhaat practices which were regarded as mere ways and means of achieving the objective (Maqsood), which is Ihsaan. However, the further the early eras receded, the more practices were increased, and ultimately began to be considered as Maqaasid (objectives) whilst in reality these spiritual exercises were only the means for attaining the Maqsood.

The consequence of this development was the innovation of innumerable bid’aat (innovations) in the Deen pertaining to beliefs, practices and concepts. Although the   genuine Sufiya had combatted and reformed these innovations, the result was only a reduction in the bid’aat, not total eradication. Among the Muhaqqiqeen Sufiya who had been reformers were Shaikh Abdul Qaadir Jilaani, Shaikh Shuhaabuddin Suharwardi, Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani and Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed (Rahmatullaah alayhim). Although these illustrious Sufiya had effected considerable reformation, total elimination of all the bid’aat was not achieved.

Allah Ta’ala had revealed to these illustrious Sufiya the Tareeq of the Sunnah. Alhamdulillaah, Allah Ta’ala has also opened up this Tareeq for me. A great barkat of the Sunnah Tareeq is that shaitaan finds extremely little scope for perpetrating dacoity.  While according to Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the Maqsood is Ihsaan (Divine Proximity), the ignorant sufis considered Istighraaq (absorption in contemplation) to be the Maqsood.”

The Difference Between the Claim of divinity of Fir`awn & Mansoor ﺭﺣﻤﺔ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ

To combine two different matters is known as haml. For example, to combine Zaid (a person) and the word “standing”. Both are completely different from each another. The manner of combining both is that the action of standing is transferred into the existence of Zaid. In this way, both would be one and the same. The person standing would be Zaid and Zaid would be the one standing.

( ﺭَﺑُّﻜُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﺄَﻋْﻠَﻰٰ ) [Am (Your Rabb, the most high)] is a separate entity and ﺃﻧﺎ [I] is a separate entity. Fir`awn had combined both by making ﺭَﺑُّﻜُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﺄَﻋْﻠَﻰٰ part and parcel of ﺃَﻧَﺎ (himself), whereas this was absolutely incorrect. Therefore, Allah Ta`ala had punished him. Mansoor ﺭﺣﻤﺔ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ had also said ﺃﻧﺎ ﺍﻟﺤﻖ (I am Haqq i.e. Allah). However, this was totally different to what Fir`oun had said.

Fir`oun had completely incorporated ﺭَﺑُّﻜُﻢُ ﺍﻟْﺄَﻋْﻠَﻰٰ into ﺃﻧﺎ claiming divinity for himself, and Mansoor had annihilated ﺃﻧﺎ into ﺍﻟﺤﻖ regarding himself to be a nonentity and Allah Ta`ala to be everything. Therefore, he will not be taken to task.

[Statements & Anecdotes of Mufti Mahmud Hasan Gangohi ﺭﺣﻤﺔ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ, Malfudhat Faqih ul-Ummat, Vol. 1 pages 367]

Muhiyuddin ibn al-Arabi (rahimahullah) and his Aqeedah

Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 638)

Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn al-‘Arabi, Abu Bakr Muhyi al-Din al-Hatimi al-Ta’i al-Andalusi al-Mursi al-Dimashqi, known as Ibn ‘Arabi to differentiate him from Qadhi Abu Bakr Ibn al-‘Arabi the Maliki jurist. A scholar of Arabic let­ters at first, then tafsîr and tasawwuf, nicknamed al-Qushayri and Sultan al-‘Arifin in his time for his pre-eminence in tasawwuf, known in his lifetime for his de­voutness to worship, asceticism, and generosity, Ibn ‘Arabi was praised by al-Munawi as “a righteous friend of Allah and a faithful scholar of knowledge” (waliyyun sâlihun wa ‘âli­mun nâsih), by Ibn ‘Imad al-Hanbali as “the absolute mujta­hid without doubt,” and by al-Fayruzabadi as “the Imam of the People of Shari‘a  both in knowledge and in legacy, the educator of the People of the Way in practice and in knowl­edge, and the shaykh of the shaykhs of the People of Truth through spiritual experience (dhawq) and understand­ing.”

His Teachers

He travelled East and West in the study of hadith, taking knowledge from over a thousand shaykhs, among them Abu al-Hasan ibn Hudhayl, Muhammad ibn Khalaf al-Lakhmi, Ibn Zarqun, Abu al-Walid al-Hadrami, al-Silafi, ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Ishbili, Ibn ‘Asakir, Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Bushku­wal. His principal shaykhs in tasawwuf  were Abu Madyan al-Maghribi, Jamal al-Din Yunus ibn Yahya al-Qassar, Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Tamimi al-Fasi, Abu al-Hasan ibn Jami‘, and al-Khidr (alayhis salaam).[2]  He became known first as al-Shaykh al-Kabir (“The Great Shaykh”) then al-Shaykh al-Akbar (“The Great­est Shaykh”) with specific reference to the sciences of tasaw­wuf in which he authored hun­dreds of books.[3]

His Doctrine (‘Aqîda)

His greatest and best-known work is his last, al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (“The Meccan Conquests”) which begins with a statement of doctrine – translated in the present volume – about which al-Safadi said: “I saw that from beginning to end it consists in the doctrine of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ari without any difference whatso­ever.”[4]

His Rank of Mujtahid Mutlaq

In jurisprudence Ibn ‘Arabi is often said to follow the Zahiri school, but this is incorrect since he himself denies it, as quoted by Ibn ‘Imad from Ibn ‘Arabi’s two poems al-Ra’iyya and al-Nuniyya, which state respectively:

        Laqad harrama al-Rahmânu taqlîda Mâlikin

            wa Ahmada wa al-Nu‘mani wa al-kulli fa‘dhurû

    The Merciful forbade me to imitate Malik, Ahmad,

Al-Nu‘man [Abu Hanifa] and others, therefore pardon me.

 Lastu mimman yaqûlu qâla Ibnu Hazmin

lâ wa lâ Ahmadu wa la al-Nu‘mânu

I am not of those who say: “Ibn Hazm said”—

Certainly not! Nor “Ahmad said” nor “al-Nu‘man said.”[5]

The Controversy Surrounding Him

The name of Ibn ‘Arabi remains associated with contro­versy because of those who criticized him severely for the work attributed to him under the title Fusûs al-Hikam (“The Pre­cious Stones of the Wisdoms”). The attribution of this work in its present form to Ibn ‘Arabi is undoubtedly incor­rect as the Fusûs contradicts some of the most basic tenets of Islam expounded by Ibn ‘Arabi himself in his authen­tic works, such as the finality of Prophethood, the primacy of Prophets over non-Prophets, the abrogation of all religious creeds other than Islam, the everlastingness of the punish­ment of Hellfire and its dwellers, the abiding therein of anyone that does not accept the Prophet after his coming, Pharaoh’s damna­tion, etc. Nevertheless the Fusûs have re­ceived commen­taries by the following scholars among others: Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi (d. 671), ‘Afif al-Din al-Tilim­sani (d. 690), Mu’ayyid al-Din al-Jundi (d. 700), Sa‘d al-Din al-Farghani (d. 700), Kamal al-Din al-Zamalkani (d. 727), Dawud al-Qaysari (d. 751), Kamal al-Din al-Qashani (d. 751), Sayyid ‘Ali al-Hamadani (d. 766), Khwaja Muham­mad Parsa (d. 822) the intimate friend of Shah Naqshband, Mawlana Jami (d. 898), Isma‘il al-Anqa­rawi (d. 1042), ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (d. 1144), and others.

Al-Suyuti’s Response to al-Biqa‘i

In response to an attack by Burhan al-Din al-Biqa‘i (d. 885) entitled Tanbih al-Ghabi ila Takfir Ibn ‘Arabi wa Tahdhir al-‘Ibad min Ahl al-‘Inad (“Warning to the Ignoramus Concerning the Declaration of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Disbelief, and Cautioning the Servants of Allah Against Stub­born People”) Sayyid ‘Ali ibn Maymun al-Maghribi (d. 917) wrote a fatwa entitledTanbih al-Ghabi fi Tanzih Ibn ‘Arabi (“Warning to the Ignoramus Concerning Ibn ‘Arabi’s Vindication”). Al-Suyuti wrote a fatwa with the same title, in which he stated:

The scholars past and present have differed concerning Ibn ‘Arabi, one group considering him a friend of Allah (walî) – and they are correct – such as Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah al-Sakandari and ‘Afif al-Din al-Yafi‘i, another considering him a heretic – such as a large number of the jurists – while others expressed doubts concerning him, among them al-Dhahabi in al-Mizan. Two opposed verdicts are reported from Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, one attacking him, and one describing him as the Spiritual Pole (al-qutb). What reconciles them is indicated by Shaykh Taj al-Din ibn ‘Ata’ Allah in Lata’if al-Minan [fi Manaqib Abi al-‘Abbas al-Mursi wa Shaykhihi Abi al-Hasan al-Shadhili], namely, that Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din at the beginning acted in the fashion of jurists in passing quick judgment on the Sufis. When Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili went to pilgrimage and returned, he came to Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din before entering his own house and con­veyed to him the Prophet’s (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) greeting. After that, Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din humbled himself and began to sit in al-Shadhili’s gatherings….[6] Our shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam, the last remnant of the mujtahids, Sharaf al-Din al-Munawi replied, concerning Ibn ‘Arabi, that silence was safest. And this is the stance that befits every truly God­-wary person who fears for himself. For me, the last word concerning Ibn ‘Arabi – and this is accepted neither by his contemporary admirers nor by his detractors – is that he be considered a walî, but reading his books is forbidden.[7]

Whatever is transmitted and attributed to the [Sufi] Shaykhs – may Allah be well pleased with them – if it contradicts external knowl­edge, bears various possibili­ties:

First, we do not concede its attribu­tion to them until it is estab­lished as authentic.

Second, after authentic­ity is established, it may have a figurative meaning; if not, then one should say: “Perhaps it has a figurative meaning for the people of internal knowledge and the knowers of Allah Almighty.”

Third, this may have come from them in a state of intoxication and distraction, and the lawfully intoxicated person is not taken to task as he is not held responsible in such a state.

Holding a bad opinion about them after all these resolutions is a sign of deprivement of success. We seek refuge in Allah from failure and a terrible verdict, and from all evils![8]

Ibn ‘Arabi’s Admirers

Al-Suyuti’s attitude and what he reports from al-Munawi is echoed by Imam al-Safadi who said of Ibn ‘Arabi: “He was a very great man, and whatever can be under­stood from his words is excellent and upright; as for what we find difficult, we leave its matter to Allah, for we were not tasked with following him nor with doing all that he said.”[9] Similarly al-Qari admitted in one of his fatwas against Ibn ‘Arabi and his works: “The safest course in Religion concerning the person of Ibn ‘Arabi is silence, as the scholars differed about him.”[10]

The hadith master Ibn al-Najjar (d. 643) wrote a long notice on him in his biographical history in which he said: “I met him in Damascus and copied some of his poetry. What a wonderful shaykh he was!”[11] Among the famous authorities who held a good opinion of Ibn ‘Arabi are the following:

· The Qur’anic commentator and jurist Imam al-Baydawi who called him “the Imam of Verification in reality and outwardly”;

· The Qur’anic commentator Abu al-Su‘ud;

· Imam al-Safadi, the author of al-Wafi bi al-Wafayat;[12]

· Zayn al-Din al-Khafi al-Akbar Abadi;[13]

· The hadith master al-Sakhawi who chronicled al-Biqa‘i’s fitna in his Ahsan al-Masa‘i fi Idah Hawadith al-Biqa‘i and went on to write al-Qawl al-Munabbi ‘an Tarjima Ibn ‘Arabi which he summarized in al-Kifaya fi Tariq al-Hidaya. He also authored another book titled Tajrid Asma’ al-Akhidhin ‘an Ibn ‘Arabi in which he listed all the scholars who borrowed material from the Shaykh.[14]

· Al-Adnahwi (11th c.) who called him in his Tabaqat al-Mufassirin “the Peerless Shaykh in his Time.”a

· Ibn ‘Imad al-Hanbali who called him “the Great Knower of Allah” (al-‘ârif al-kabîr);[15]

· Kamal al-Din ‘Abd al-Wahid ibn ‘Abd al-Karim Ibn al-Zamalkani al-Dimashqi (d. 651) who called him “the Ocean re­plete with all kinds of divine knowledges”;

· Safi al-Din al-Azdi al-Ansari in his epistle on the scholars of his time;

· Shaykh Jalal al-Din al-Dawani (d. 907);[16]

· Majd al-Din al-Shirazi al-Siddiqi in his fatwa entitled al-Ightibat bi Mu‘alaja Ibn al-Khayyat;[17]

· Al-Sayyid al-Jurjani whose Ta‘rifat in­cludes Ibn ‘Arabi’s termino­logies;

· The renowned lexicographer, hadith scholar and jurist al-Fayruzabadi who in his commentary on al-Bukhari’s Sahih often quotes Ibn ‘Arabi’s ex­planations;

· Imam al-Yafi‘i who called him in his Tarikh “the Paragon of the Friends of Allah in knowledge and fiqh out­wardly and inwardly”;

· The lexicographer and hadith master Murtada al-Zabidi who often cites Ibn ‘Arabi in his commentary on al-Ghazzali’s  Ihya’ entitled Ithaf al-Sada al-Muttaqin.

· Qadi al-Qudat Shams al-Din al-Bisati al-Maliki who opposed before the Sultan – in Ibn Hajar’s presence – ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari’s verdict of takfîr of Ibn ‘Arabi and whoever accepted him;[18]

· Shaykh al-Islam Siraj al-Din al-Makhzumi who said: “Our shaykh,Shaykh al-Islam Siraj al-Din al-Bulqini and likewise Shaykh Taqi al-Din al-Subki used to criti­cize the Shaykh in the beginning, then they changed their position after they realized what he was saying and the explanation of his intent.”[19]

· Al-Bulqini who was reported by his student al-Makhzumi as saying: “We seek refuge in Allah from say­ing that he [Ibn ‘Arabi] asserts indwelling (hulûl) or communion-with-the-divine (ittihâd)! He is far above that. Rather, he is one of the greatest imams and among those who have probed the oceans of the sciences of the Book and the Sunna.”[20]

· Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari in the chapter on apostasy in his book Sharh Kitab al-Rawd fi al-Fiqh wa al-Fatwa;[21]

· Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his Fatawa Hadithiyya;

· Imam Shams al-Din Muhammad al-Bakri;

· The hadith master and Qur’anic commentator Shaykh Isma‘il Haqqi in his book al-Khitab;

· Imam Muhammad Ibn ‘Abidin, the foremost authority in the late Hanafi school;[22]

· The Ottoman writer Katib Çelebi who devoted a chapter on Ibn ‘Arabi in his book Mizan al-Haqq fi Ikhtyar al-Ahaqq;

· Shaykh Mulla al-Jami in Nafahat al-Uns;

· The hadith master of Damascus and Renewer of the Fourteenth Islamic century, Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani;[23]

· The Wahhabi supporter, student of al-Shawkani, scho­larly nawab of Bhopal and author of Abjad al-‘Ulum Siddiq Hasan Khan al-Qinnawji in the third chapter of his Takhrij al-Wasaya which he titled: “Concerning the Instructions of One of the Pure People of Excel­lence Com­monly Named ‘Sufis’ – Allah Grant Us and All of Them Mercy Through the Immense Honor of the Master of Messengers e (bijâh sayyid al-mursalîn)” The chapter then begins: “The most sublime shaykh and knower of Allah (al-shaykh al-ajall al-‘ârif billâhi ta‘âlâ) said in al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya…” Al-Qinnawji then goes on to cite Ibn ‘Arabi for over forty pages.[24]

· Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi in his Qawa‘id al-Tahdith;[25]

· Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari in his Maqalat.[26]

· Muhammad ‘Abduh calls him al-Shaykh al-Akbar;b

 · Shaykh al-Islam al-Munawi who cited him over two hundred times inFayd al-Qadir and elsewhere declared:

A group of scholars professed suspension of judgment and benefit of good opinion (al-taslîm)… their Imam being Shaykh al-Islam al-Nawawi who replied, when asked about Ibn ‘Arabi: (Those are a people who have passed away. Theirs is that which they earned, and yours is that which you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do) (2:134). [Ahmad] Zarruq reported from his shaykh al-Nuri the words: “They differed about him from the verdict of disbelief to that of spiritual primacy (qutbâniyya); giving the benefit of good opin­ion is therefore an obligation.”[27]

Wahda al-Wujûd or Oneness of Being

Perhaps the most famous misrepresentation of the Shaykh that resulted from the Fusûs is the attribution to him of the doctrine of “one­ness of being” (wahda al-wujûd) in the pan­the­istic sense of the im­manence of the Deity in everything that exists. Al-Qari cites, for example, a verse of poetry which he references to the Fusûs, stating:

Subhâna man azhara al-ashyâ’a wa huwa ‘aynuhâ

Glory to Him Who caused things to appear

and is those very things![28]

This attribution and others of its type are evidently spurious and Ibn ‘Arabi’s ‘Aqida flatly contradicts them. Fur­thermore, verifying scholars such as Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi in his epistles, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi in al-Radd al-Matin ‘ala Muntaqid al-‘Arif Billah Muhyi al-Din and Idah al-Maqsud min Wahda al-Wujud, and al-Sha‘rani in al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir and Tanbih al-Aghbiya’ ‘ala Qatratin min Bahri ‘Ulum al-Awliya have re­phrased Ibn ‘Arabi’s ex­pression of “one­ness of being”(wahda al-wujûd) as “one­ness of per­ception” (wahda al-shuhûd) in the sense in which the Prophet  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) defined excel­lence (ihsân) as “worshipping Allah as if you see Him.”[29] And to see Him is to see nothing else. This is what is meant in such ex­pressions as the question uttered again and again by the late Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hamid Kishk: “Allah is my Lord! Is there in all existence any but He?”  (Allâhu rabbî! Hal fi al-wujûdi siwâh?) or apho­rism 133 of Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah: “The universes are affirmed by His affirmation of them and they are erased by the unicity of His Essence” (al-akwânu thâbitatun bi ithbâtihi wa mamhuw­watun bi ahadiyyati dhâtihi). Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hadi Kharsa explained:

Those who have come to know Allah Ithrough His own self-disclosure to them(ta‘rîf Allâhi lahum) – they did not come to know Him via their minds – have known him with the light which Allah I imparted to their hearts and minds. This light then reflected itself upon all things. Then they saw that all things subsist in Allah, and they wit­nessed the Onenesse of Allah I in all those created aspects despite their multiplicity. For these aspects have no autonomy of existence. Their subsistence is only through the divine Sustainment (qayyûmiyya) and their affirmation is through the Support (imdâd) of Allah. [Allah chooses for Himself whom He will, and guides unto Himself him who turns (toward Him)] (42:13). The people of turning to Allah (ahl al-inâba) Allah guides unto Himself. The people of His choice (ahl al-ijtibâ’) are those whom He especially purifies (istafâhum). [And peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen]  (27:59). O Allah, let us be of them and with them! Aamin.[30]

Al-Nabulusi said in his Diwan:

Beware of witnessing any other [Causator] than Him!

[Of this] cease your concern.

There is neither “you” nor “I” in this existence.

Verily, Existence is the True through Whom we appear

And through Whom we return to extinction.

When we return through Him, it is as if we never were

And when we appear through Him, yet He appears without our help.

O child of contingencies! Do not think yourself

—for you certainly are not—the One without beginning

Even if He caused you to appear and took care of you!

Truly, indwelling is the delusion of the ignoramus

Whose favorite occupation is finding fault

With the discourse of the people of Allah.

I never heard nor shall I ever hear a sane and reasonable person

Declare that the Real inhabits a contingent being!

Now, if some texts actually said this, they said it

Only on the firmly-established basis of the Prophet’s pact.[31]

Dr. Sa‘id al-Buti said:

What is the meaning of the expression “one­ness of perception”? When I interact with causes with full respect to the ways of Allah, His orders, and His Law, knowing that the sustenance that comes to me is from Allah; the felicity that enters my home is from Allah Almighty; my food is readied for me by Allah – I mean even the smallest details; the wealth with which I have been graced, comes from Allah; the ill­ness that has been put in my being or that of a relative of mine comes from Allah Almighty; the cure that followed it is from Allah Almighty; my success in my studies is by Allah Almighty’s grant; the results which I have attained after obtaining my degrees and so forth, are from Allah Almighty’s grant – when the effi­cacy of causes melts away in my sight and I no longer see, behind them, other than the Causator Who is Allah Almighty: at that time, when you look right, you do not see except the Attributes of Allah, and when you look left, you do not see other than the Attributes of Allah. As much as you evolve in the world of causes, you do not see, through them, other than the Causator, Who is Allah. At that time you have become raised to what the spiritual masters have called oneness of perception. And this oneness of percep­tion is what the Messenger of Allah rexpressed by the word ihsân [which he defined to mean]: “That you worship Allah as if you see him.” You do not see the causes as a bar­rier between you and Allah. Rather, you see causes, in the context of this doctrine, very much like pure, trans­parent glass: the glass pane is present – no one denies it – but as much as you stare at it, you do not see anything except what is behind it. Is it not so? You only see what is behind it. The world is entirely made of glass panes in this fashion. You see in them the efficacy of Allah in perma­nence, so you are always with Allah Al­mighty. None has tasted the sweetness of belief unless he has reached that level of perception.[32]

Ibn Taymiyya’s Unreliability

Ibn Taymiyya is quoted in his Fatawa as being asked re­peatedly about “the verdict of Islam concerning Ibn ‘Arabi who asserted Oneness of Being,” and other similar questions. However, it seems that Ibn Taymiyya did not review the Shaykh’s huge  Futuhat in its totality when he answered these questions. At times, his discussions about Ibn ‘Arabi depend, as he puts it, on “whether these are his actual words” while at other times he attacks him outright on the basis of these unverified assumptions, or himself levels specific accusations against the Shaykh. Muhammad Ghurab – a contemporary autho­rity on Ibn ‘Arabi’s works – in a book pub­lished in the 1980s by Dar al-Fikr in Damascus, states having read the Futuhatseveral times from cover to cover without finding the expressions for which Ibn Taymiyya took the Shaykh to task while citing this work. The late scholar of Damascus Shaykh Mahmud al-Rankusi similarly affirmed that Ibn Taymiyya an­swered questions about Ibn ‘Arabi without con­firming them against his actual writings, and that the sharp temper of the former further complicated his attitude towards the Shaykh. On the basis of these opinions and in the light of Ibn Taymiyya’s occasional reservations and his otherwise apparently correct approach to ambiguous expres­sions, it seems that the misquotations of Ibn ‘Arabi became so numerous in Ibn Taymiyya’s time that it became incon­ceivable to him that they were all incorrect, whereupon he treated them as facts. The errors causing these misquota­tions can also be inferred from the fact that since the misquota­tions revolved around issues of doctrine – in which misunderstand­ings are fraught with grave dangers – and in light of the Shaykh’s complex style and obscure expressions, queries would be commonly sent to muftis con­cer­ning what some people thought they had read, without actually citing nor understanding the expressions in ques­tion. All this could have been avoided by the due observance of faithfulness (amâna) in textual citation, as the early scholars insisted with reference to hadith transmission. Yet many later scholars, be­ginning with Ibn Taymiyya and after him, relied on second and third-hand paraphrases and attributions, endorsing the accusa­tions against Ibn ‘Arabi and even generalizing them so as to target all tasawwuf. Finally, Ibn Taymiyya in his letter to al-Munayji actually states his admiration for the Futuhat and reserves his criticism only for the Fusûs![33]

Other Critics of Ibn ‘Arabi

Among the scholars claimed by al-Qari as condemning Ibn ‘Arabi as an innovator or even an outright heretic (zindîq) and disbeliever because of Fusûs al-Hikam: Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, al-Jazari, Sharaf al-Din ibn al-Muqri, Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, Sa‘d al-Din al-Taftazani,[34] Jamal al-Din Muham­mad ibn Nur al-Din,[35] Siraj al-Din al-Bulqini who suppos­edly ordered his books burnt,[36] Burhan al-Din al-Biqa‘i, Ibn Taymiyya,[37] and his student al-Dhahabi who said:

He may well have been one of the Friends of Allah Whom He strongly attracted to Himself upon death and for whom He sealed a good ending. As for his words, who­ever understands them, recognizes them to be based on communion-with-the-divine (ittihâdiyya), knowing the deviation of those people and comprehending theirs ex­pressions: the truth will be apparent to him as against what they say.[38]

The Hanafi shaykh ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari, like Ibn al-Muqri, went so far as to declare anyone who did not declare Ibn ‘Arabi a disbeliever to be himself a disbeliever. This is the same ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari who said that anyone that gives Ibn Taymiyya the title Shaykh al-Islam is a disbe­liever.

Al-Haytami’s Response

Al-Haytami said in his Fatawa Hadithiyya:

Our shaykh [Zakariyya al-Ansari] said in Sharh al-Rawd… in response to Ibn al-Muqri’s statement: “Whoever doubts in the disbelief (kufr) of Ibn ‘Arabi’s group, he himself is a disbeliever”:

The truth is that Ibn ‘Arabi and his group are the elite of the Umma. Al-Yafi‘i, Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah and others have declared that they considered Ibn ‘Arabi a walî, noting that the language which Sufis use is appropri­ate among the experts in its usage and that the knower of Allah (‘ârif), when he becomes completely ab­sorbed in the oceans of Unity, might make some statements that are liable to be misconstrued as indwelling (hulûl) and union (ittihâd), while in reality there is neither indwelling nor union.

It has been clearly stated by our Imams, such as al-Rafi‘i in his book al-‘Aziz, al-Nawawi in al-Rawda and al-Majmu‘, and others:

When a mufti is asked about a certain phrase that could be construed as disbelief, he should not immediately say that the speaker should be put to death nor immediately make permissible the shed­ding of his blood. Rather, let him say: The speaker must be asked about what he meant by his statement, and he should hear his explanation, then act accordingly.[39]

Look at these guidelines – may Allah guide you! – and you will find that the deniers who assault this great man (Ibn ‘Arabi) and posi­tively assert his disbelief, are riding upon blind mounts, and stumbling about like a camel affected with troubled vision. Verily Allah has blocked their sight and hearing from perceiving this, until they fell into whatever they fell into, which caused them to be despised, and made their knowledge of no benefit. The great knowledge of the Sufis and their utter renunciation of this world and of everything other than Allah testify to their inno­cence from these terrible accusations, therefore we prefer to dismiss such accusa­tions and consider that their statements are true realities in the way they expressed them. Their way cannot be denied without knowing the meaning of their statements and the expressions they use, and then turning to apply the expression to the meaning and see if they match or not. We thank Allah that all of their deniers are ignorant in that kind of knowledge, as not one of them has mastered the sciences of unveilings (mukâshafât), nor even smelled them from a distance! Nor has anyone of them sincerely fol­lowed any of the awliyâ’ so as to master their terminol­ogy.

You may object: “I disagree that their expressions refer to a reality rather than being metaphorical phrases, therefore show me something clearer than the explana­tions that have been given.” I say: Rejection is stubbor­ness. Let us assume that you disagree with what I have mentioned, but the correct way of stating the objection is to say: “This statement could be interpreted in several ways,” and proceed to explain them. You should not say: “If it meant this, then… and if it meant that, then…” while stating from the start “This is kufr”! That is ignorance and goes beyond the scope of sincere faithfulness  (nasîha) claimed by the critic.

Do you not see that if Ibn al-Muqri’s real motivation were good advice, he would not have exagger­ated by saying: “Whoever has a doubt in the disbelief of the group of Ibn ‘Arabi, he himself is a disbeliever”? So he extended his judgment that Ibn ‘Arabi’s followers were disbelievers,  to everyone who had a doubt as to their dis­belief. Look at this fanaticism that exceeds all bounds and departs from the consensus of the Imams, and goes so far as to accuse anyone who doubts their disbelief.  (Glori­fied are You, this is awful calumny!) (24:16) (When you welcomed it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a trifle. In the sight of Allah, it is very great) (24:15).

Notice also that his statement suggests that it is an obligation on the whole Community to believe that Ibn ‘Arabi and his followers are disbelievers, otherwise they will all be declared disbelievers – and no one thinks likes this. As a matter of fact, it might well lead into something forbidden which he himself has stated clearly in his book al-Rawd when he said: “Whoever accuses a Muslim of being a disbeliever based on a sin committed by him, and without an attempt to interpret it favorably, he himself commits disbelief.” Yet here he is accusing an entire group of Muslims of disbelief.[40] Moreover, no con­si­deration should be paid to his interpretation, because he only gives the kind of interpretation that is detrimental to those he is criti­cizing, for that is all that their words have impressed upon him.

As for those who do not think of Ibn ‘Arabi and the Sufis except as a pure light in front of them, and believe in their sainthood – how can a Muslim attack them by accus­ing them of disbe­lief? No one would dare do so un­less he is accepting the possibility to be himself called a disbe­liever. This judgment reflects a great deal of fanati­cism, and an assault on most of the Muslims. We ask Allah, through His Mercy, to forgive the one who uttered it.

It has been narrated through more than one source and has be­come well-known to everyone that whoever opposes the Sufis, Allah will not make His Knowledge be­ne­ficial, and he will be inflicted with the worst and ugliest diseases. We have witnessed this taking place with many naysayers. For example, al-Biqa‘i – may Allah for­give him! – used to be one of the most distinguished scholars, blessed with many meritorious acts of worship, an excep­tional intelligence, and an excel­lent memory in all kinds of knowledge, especially in the sciences of tafsîr and hadith, and he wrote numerous books, but Allah did not allow them to be of any kind of benefit to anyone. He also authored a book called  Munasabat al-Qur’an in about ten volumes, about which no-one knows except the elite, and as for the rest, they never heard about it. If this book had been written by our Shaykh Zakariyya [al-Ansari], or by anyone who believes [in awliyâ’], it would have been copied with gold because, as a matter of fact, it has no equal: for (Of the bounties of thy Lord We bestow freely on all, these as well as those: the bounties of thy Lord are not closed to anyone) (17:20).

Al-Biqa‘i went to extremes in his denial and wrote books about the subject, all of them clearly and excessively fanatical and deviating from the straight path. But then he paid for it fully and even more than that, for he was caught in the act on several occasions and was judged a disbeliever. It was ruled that his blood be shed and he was about to get killed, but he asked the help and protection of some influential people who rescued him, and he was made to repent in Salihiyya, Egypt, and renew his Islam.[41]

Al-Dhahabi’s Warning to Critics of Sufis

Al-Dhahabi voiced something similar to al-Haytami’s warnings against those inclined to attack Sufis:

Our Shaykh Ibn Wahb [= Ibn Daqiq al-‘Id] said – may Allah have mercy on him: ‘Among the predica­ments that mar the discipline of narrator-discreditation are the divergences that take place between the follow­ers of tasawwuf (al-mutasawwifa) and the people of ex­ternal knowledge (ahl al-‘ilm al-zâhir); animosity there­fore arose between these two groups and necessi­tated mutual criticism.’

Now this [animosity against Sufis] is a plunge from which none escapes unscathed except one thor­oughly knowledgeable with all the evidentiary proofs of the Law. Note that I do not limit such knowledge to the branches [of the Law]. For, concerning many of the states de­scribed by the people of truth (al-muhiqqîn)  among the Sufis, right can­not be told from wrong on the mere basis of knowledge of the bran­ches. One must also possess firm knowledge of the principles of the Law and be able to tell apart the obligatory from the possible, as well as the rationally impossible from the customarily impossible.

It is, indeed, a position fraught with danger! For the critic of a true Sufi (muhiqq al-sûfiyya)  enters into the hadith: “Whosoever shows enmity to one of My Friends, I shall declare war upon him.”[42] While one that abandons all condemnation for what is clearly wrong in what he hears from some of them, abandons the commanding of good and the forbidding of evil.[43]

Some of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Sayings

It is remarkable that there were very few contemporaries of Ibn ‘Arabi among his accusers, although he travelled and taught all over the Islamic world and, as Ibn Hajar stated, “he made his mark in every country that he entered”[44] while his admirers among the authorities of Islam lived both in his own lifetime and later.

Among the Shaykh’s sayings:

· “Whoever is truthful in something and pursues it diligently will obtain it sooner or later; if he does not obtain it in this world, he will obtain it in the next; and whoever dies before victory shall be elevated to the level of his diligence.”

· “The knower of Allah knows through eyesight (basar) what others know through insight (basîra), and he knows through insight what virtually no-one knows. De­spite this, he does not feel secure from the harm of his ego towards himself; how then could he ever feel secure from what His Lord has foreordained for him?”

· “The knower’s declaration to his student: ‘Take from me this science which you can find nowhere else,’ does not detract from the knower’s level, nor do other similar declarations that appear to be self-eulogy, because his intention is only to encourage the student to receive it.”

· “The discourse of the knower is in the image of the lis­tener accor­ding to the latter’s powers, readiness, weak­ness, and inner reserva­tions.”

· “If you find it complicated to answer someone’s question, do not answer it, for his container is already full and does not have room for the answer.”

· “The ignorant one does not see his ignorance as he basks in its dark­ness; nor does the knowledgeable one see his own knowledge, for he basks in its light.”

· “Whoever asks for a proof for the oneness of Allah, a donkey knows more than him.”

Ibn ‘Arabi’s short book of poetry Tarjuman al-Ashwaq (“The Inter­preter of Desires”) is considered one of the mas­terpieces of classical Arabic poetry and has been translated in several languages. The Futuhat al-Makkiyya also contains some outstanding samples of the Shaykh’s poetry. Following is a poem he addresses to the Ka‘ba:

1. In the Place of refuge my heart sought refuge,

      shot with enmity’s arrows.

2. O Mercy of Allah for His slaves, Allah placed His trust

 in you among all inanimate forms.

3. O House of my Lord, O light of my heart,

      O coolness of my eyes,[45] O my heart within,

4. O true secret of the heart of existence,

      my sacred trust, my purest love!

5. O direction from which I turn from every quarter and


6. From subsistence in the Real, then from the height,

      from self-extinction, then from the depths!

7. O Ka‘ba of Allah, O my life,

      O path of good fortune, O my guidance,

8. In you has Allah placed every safety

      from the fear of disaster upon the Return.

9. In you does the noble Station flourish,

      in you are found the fortunes of the slaves of Allah.

10. In you is the Right Hand that my sin has draped

      in the robe of blackness.[46]

11. Multazam is in you – he who clings to love for it,

      will be saved on the Day of Mutual Cries.[47]

12. Souls passed away longing for Her,

      in the pain of longing and distant separation.

13. In sorrow at their news she has put on

      the garment of mourning.[48]

14. Allah sheds His light on her court,

      and something of His light appears in the heart.

15. None sees it but the sorrowful

      whose eyes are dark from lack of sleep.

16. He circumambulates seven times after seven,

      from the beginning of night until the call to prayer.

17. Hostage to endless sadness, he is never seen

      but bound to effort.

18. I heard him call upon Allah and say, beside the Black

   Stone: “O my heart!

19. Our night has quickly passed,

      but the goal of my love has not passed!”[49]

Ibn ‘Imad said: “He died – may Allah have mercy on him! – in the house of the Qadi Muhyi al-Din ibn al-Zaki and was taken to Qasyûn [Damascus] and buried in the noble mound, one of the groves of Paradise, and Allah knows best.”[50]

Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi

Islamic Doctrine


The Blessings and Peace of Allah Upon the Messenger of Allah and Upon his Family and All his Companions

[Al-Futuhat §130] My faithful brethren – may Allah seal your lives and mine with goodness! – when I heard the saying of Allah I about His Prophet Hûd u, as the latter told his folk who had belied him and his apostleship: (I call Allah to wit­ness, and do you (too) bear witness, that I am inno­cent of (all) that you ascribe as partners (to Allah)) (11:54), [I saw that] he called his folk to witness in his regard – although they belied him – that he was innocent of associating any partners to Allah, and that he positively con­firmed His Oneness; and since he knew that Allah Iwill sum­mon human beings before Him and ask them about what he himself knew, either to exon­er­ate or convict them, until every single witness bears witness;

[131] And since it was related that the caller to prayer  (mu’adhdhin) is wit­nessed to by every living and non-living thing as far as his voice can reach, and by everything and every­one that hears him; hence “The devil flees at the call to prayer, pas­sing wind”[52] so that he will not hear the caller’s call to prayer and then have to witness on the latter’s behalf, thereby becoming one of those who contribute to the felicity of the one being wit­nessed to, whereas he is the absolute enemy and does not bear for us an iota of good – may Allah curse him!

[132] Now, if the enemy himself is obliged to testify on your behalf to what­ever you call him to witness regarding your own person, it is even more cer­tain that your friend and beloved should testify on your behalf – for the latter shares your religion and belongs to your religious community – and it is more certain that you yourself should testify, in this world, for yourself, to Oneness (al-wahdâniyya)  and Belief (al-îmân).

The First Testimony of Faith

[133] Therefore, O my brethren, O my beloved – may Allah be well pleased with you! – a weak slave calls upon you to wit­ness, a poor one utterly depen­dent on His Lord in every glimpse of the eye, the author and maker of this book [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (“The Meccan Conquests”)]; he calls you to testify in his regard, after calling Allah I to witness, His angels, and who­ever is present with him and hears him among the believers, that he bears wit­ness in word and in full conviction (qawlan wa ‘aqdan) that:

[134] Allah the Exalted is One God, without second in His divinity;

[135] Transcendent above possessing a mate or a son;

[136] Absolute owner [of all] (mâlik) without partner; absolute king (malik) without minister;

[137] Creator (sâni‘) without any disposer of affairs (mudab­bir)  with Him;

[138] Existing in Himself  (mawjûdun bî dhâtihi), without any dependence on, or need for an originator (mûjid) to originate Him. Rather, every existing thing other than Him, depends on Him and needs Him to exist. The whole universe exists through Him, and He alone can be said to exist in Himself.

[139] There is no outset (iftitâh)  to His existence nor end to His permanence. His existence is absolute and unconditioned.

[140] He is subsistent in Himself (qâ’imun binafsih): not as a spatially boun­ded substance (jawhar mutahayyiz) – for then place would be assigned to Him; nor as an accident (‘arad) – for then permanence would be impossi­ble for Him; nor as a body (jism) – for then He would have a direction (jiha) and a front (tilqâ’).

[141] He is transcendent (muqaddasun) above possessing directions (jihât) and regions  (aqtâr).

[142] He can be seen with the hearts and the eyes, if He so wills.

[143] He established Himself over His Throne just as He said and in the mean­ing that He intended; also, the Throne and every­thing else was estab­lished by Him (bihi istawâ),[53] and (unto Him belong the after (life), and the former) (53:25).

[144] He has no conceivable equivalent whatsoever (laysa lahu mithlun ma‘qûl), nor can minds represent Him. Time does not confine Him, nor place lift nor transport Him. Rather, He was when there was no place, and He is now as He ever was.[54]

[145] He created fixity (al-mutamakkin) and place (al-makân),[55] brought time into existence, and said: “I am the One, the Ever-Living” (anâ al-Wâhid al-Hayy).[56] Preserving His creations in no way tires Him. Attributes which do not describe Him and are devised by creatures do not apply to Him.[57]

[146] Exalted is He far above being in­dwelt by originated matters, or indwel­ling them, or that they be “after Him” or that He be “before them”! Rather, we say: “He was and there was nothing with him.” For the words ‘before’ and ‘after’ are among the locutions of Time, which He invented.[58]

[147] He is the Self-Sustaining Sustainer of All (al-Qayyûm) Who sleeps not, the All-Compelling Subduer (al-Qahhâr) Whom one resists not. (There is noth­ing whatsoever like unto Him) (42:11).

[148] He created the Throne (al-‘arsh) and made it the boundary  (hadd) of istiwâ’, and He created the Footstool (al-kursî) and made it encompass the earth and the heavens.

[149] The Sublimely Exalted (al-‘Alî)contrived the Tablet and the Sublime Pen, making them bring about the inscription of His Knowledge concerning His creation until the Day of Determina­tion and Verdict.

[150] He contrived the entire universe without precedent. He created crea­tion then caused what He created to wither.

[151] He sent down the souls (al-arwâh) into the specters (al-ashbâh) as cus­to­dians, and made those soul-endowed specters deputies on earth.

[152] He made subservient to us all that is in the heavens and the earth from Him, whereof not one atom moves except back to Him and because of Him.

[153] He created everything without need for it, and no neces­sity drove Him to do so, but with His foreknowledge that He would create whatever He created.

[154] (He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Hidden) (57:3), (and He is able to do all things) (5:120, 11:4, 30:50, 42:9, 57:2, 64:1, 67:1).

[155] (He surrounds all things in knowledge) (65:12) (and He keeps count of all things) (72:28), (He knows the traitor of the eyes and that which the bosoms hide) (40:19). (Should He not know what He created? And He is the Subtle, the Aware) (67:14).

[156] He knew all things before they came into existence, then He brought them into existence exactly as He knew them. He has known them without beginning to His knowledge, and such knowledge in no way becomes newer upon the renewal of origination (tajaddud al-inshâ’). He brought all things to perfec­tion in His knowledge, then He established them firmly (bi ‘ilmihi atqana al-ashyâ’a fa ahkamahâ). Likewise, He has full knowledge of their smallest details (juz’iyyât) according to the consensus and complete agree­ment of the people of sound scru­tiny.[59] (Knower of the invisible and the visible! and exalted be He over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)) (23:92).

[156—A]  (Doer of what He will) (85:16), He is therefore willing (murîd) for existent entities in the earthly and heavenly worlds. However, His power is without link to anything (lam tata‘allaq bi shay’) until He wills it.[60] Like­wise, He does not will anything until He knows it. For it is impossible in the mind that He wills something of which He knows not, or that one who is endowed with the choice of not doing, should do what He does not want to do. Likewise, it is impossible that all these realities be attributed to one who is not living, and it is impossible that the Attributes subsist in other than an Entity described by them.

[157] There is not in all existence any observance nor sin, any gain nor loss, any slave nor free man, any cold nor hot, any life nor death, any happening nor elapsing, any day nor night, any moderation nor inclination, any land nor sea, any even nor odd, any substance nor accident, any health nor sickness, any joy nor sadness, any soul nor specter, any darkness nor light, any earth nor heaven, any assembling nor disjoining, any plenty nor scarcity, any morn­ing nor evening, any white nor black, any sleep nor wakefulness, any visible nor hidden, any moving nor still, any dry nor moist, any shell nor core, or any of all such mutually contrasting, variegated, or similar entities, except it is so willed by the Real – Exalted is He!

[158] How could He not will it when it is He Who brought it into existence? And how could the one endowed with free will, bring into existence what He does not want? None can turn down His command, and none can dispute His decision.

[159] ([He] gives sovereignty unto whom [He] will, and [He] withdraws sovereignty from whom [He] will. [He] exalts whom [He] will and [He] abases whom [He] will) (3:26). ([He] sends whom [He] will astray and guides whom [He] will) (7:155). What­ever Allah wants, comes into exis­tence (mâ shâ’a Allahu kân), and whatever He does not wish to be, does not come into existence (mâ lam yasha’ an yakûna lam yakun).

[160] If all creatures convened to want something which Allah does not want them to want, they cannot want it. Or, if they convened to do something which Allah does not want to bring into existence – although they willed it whenever He wanted them to will it – they cannot do it; nor can they even be capable of doing it; nor does He enable them to.

[161] Therefore, disbelief and belief, observance and sin, are all according to His desire (mashî’a), His wisdom (hikma), and His will (irâda). And He – Glorified is He! – is described as pos­sessing such will without beginning.

[162] The universe is in oblivion and nonexistence, although firmly estab­lished in itself in [the divine] knowledge. Then He brought the universe into existence without reflection (tafakkur) nor deliberation(tadabbur) such as accompany ignorance or un­awareness and would then presumably provide Him the know­ledge of what He knew not – greatly exalted and elevated is He above that! Rather, He brought it into existence on the basis of foreknowl­edge(al-‘ilm al-sâbiq), and the exact specification (ta‘yîn) of transcendent, pre-existent will(al-irâda al-munaz­zaha al-azaliyya) determining just how it brought the universe into being with respect to time, place, forms, masses, and color. None exists exerting will, in reality, other than He. For He says: (And you will not, unless Allah wills) (76:30, 81:29).

[163] Just as He knows, He determines(kamâ ‘alima fa ahkama); just as He wills, He details (arâda fa khassasa); just as He foreordains, He brings into existence (qaddara fa awjada). Likewise, He hears and sees what­ever moves or stands still and whatever utters a sound in all creation, whether in the low­est world or the highest. Distance (al-bu‘d) does not in any way hamper His hearing, for He is the Near (al-Qarîb). Nor does nearness (al-qurb) veil His sight, for He is the Far (al-Ba‘îd).[61] He hears the discourse of the self in itself (kalâm al-nafs fi al-nafs), and the sound of the hidden contact upon its touch. He sees the very blackness in darkness, and water inside water. Neither admixture (imtizâj), nor darkness, nor light veils Him,[62] (and He is the Hearer, the Seer) (42:11).

[164] He speaks, not after being previously silent nor fol­lowing pre­sumed tacitness, with a speech pre-eternal and begin­ningless like the rest of His attributes, whether His knowledge, will, or power. He spoke to Musa u. He named it [His speech] the divine Bestowal (al-tanzîl), the Book of Psalms (al-zabûr), the Torah, and the Evangel. [All this] without letters (hurûf), sounds (aswât), tones (nagham), nor languages (lughât). Rather, He is the Creator of sounds, letters, and languages.[63]

[165] His speech is [spoken] without [the organs of] uvula and tongue, just as His hearing is without auditory meatus nor ears, His sight is without pupil nor eyelids, His will is without cogitation (qalb) nor inner reflection (janân), His knowledge is without compulsion (idtirâr) nor examination of any proof, His life is without the vapor which is caused in the cavity of the heart by the admixture of the elements. His Entity accepts neither increase nor decrease.

[166] Glorified, most glorified is He Who, from afar, comes near! To Him belongs tremendous majesty, surpassing goodness, magnificent generosity! Everything that is other than Him is but an outpouring of His munificence. His grace unfolds it and His justice folds it up again.

[167] He perfected the making of the universe and made it uniquely excellent(akmala san‘a al-‘âlami wa abda‘ahu) when He brought it into existence and invented it. He has no partner in His domain (milk) nor joint disposer of affairs (mudabbir) in His dominion (mulk).

[168] Whenever He shows favor He sends comfort and ease; and this is His kindness. Whenever He sends adversity He pun­ishes; and this is His justice. In no way does He intrude upon another’s domain so as to be attributed tyranny and injustice. Nor is anyone besides Him entitled to pass judgment on Him so that He could be attributed apprehension or fear from such. Eve­rything other than Him is under the authority of His subjugation  (qahr) and subject to the disposal of His will and His command.

[169] It is He that inspires with Godwariness or rebelliousness the souls of those who are legally responsible. It is He that disre­gards the transgressions of whomever He will, and holds to task whomever He will, both here and on the Day of Resurrection. His justice does not hold sway (yahkum) over His kindness nor does His kindness hold sway over His justice.

[170] He brought forth the world as two handfuls (qabdatayn) to which He gave two levels  (manzilatayn), saying: “These are for Paradise, and I care not (lâ ubâlî)![64] Those are for Hellfire, and I care not!”[65] No-one raised the least objection at that time. One handful stands under the Names of His adversity (balâ’), and one stands under the Names of His favors (âlâ’).

[171] If He wished that the whole universe be in felicity, it would be so; and [if He wished that it be] in misery, it would not have obtained the slightest degree of felicity. However, He did not wish it so, and it was exactly as He wished. Consequently, people are either miserable or happy, here and on the Day of Return. There is no possibility to change whatever the Pre-eternal One has decided. He has said, concerning prayer: “It is five al­though it counts as fifty.”[66] (The sentence that comes from Me can­not be changed, and I am in no wise a tyrant unto the slaves)(50:29) for My authority over the disposal of affairs in My domain and the accomplishment of My volition in My dominion.

[172] All this is because of a reality that sights and insights  (al-absâr wa al-basâ’ir) are utterly unable to see, nor can mental powers and minds stumble upon its knowledge except through a divine bestowal and token of the All-Merciful’s generosity towards him whom He nourishes among His servants, and who was fore-chosen for this at the time he was summoned to witness. He then came to know – when He was given to know – that the Godhead (al-ulûha) devised this allotment and that it is one of the refinements of the One Who is without beginning.

[173] Glory to Him besides Whom there is no effecter (fâ‘il), nor any self-existent being (mawjûd li nafsih)! (And Allah has created you and what you make) (37:95), (He will not be questioned as to what He does, but they will be questioned) (21:23), (Say—For to Allah belongs the final argu­ment — Had He willed He could indeed have guided all of you) (6:149). [67]

The Second Testimony of Faith

[174] Just as I have called upon Allah and His angels, as well as all His creation and yourselves, to testify in my regard to my declaration of His oneness, likewise, I call upon Him – glorified is He! – and His angels, as well as all His creation and your­selves, to testify in my regard to my firm belief in the one He elected and chose from the very time he existed. That is: our master Muhammad r whom He sent to all people without exception, (a bearer of glad tidings and a warner) (2:119, 34:28, 35:24, 41:4) (And as a summoner unto Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving lamp) (33:46).

[175] The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) thus conveyed fully all that was revealed to him from his Lord, discharged His trust, and acted faithfully (nasaha) toward his Com­mu­nity. He stood, in his farewell Pil­grimage, before all those present among his followers, address­ing and reminding them, deterring and caution­ing them, giving them glad tidings and warning them, promising and threat­ening them. He showered them with rain and made them tremble with thun­der. He did not address anyone specifically at the exclusion of others in his ad­mo­nition. He did all this after permission from the One, the Everlasting I. Then he said: “Lo! Have I conveyed the message?” They replied: “You have conveyed the message, O Messenger of Allah!” So he said: “O Allah! Bear witness.”[68]

[176] Likewise, [I call upon all] to testify that I firmly believe in everything that the Prophet  (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) brought – that which I know and that which I know not. Among the things which he brought is the decree that death comes at a time specified in the presence of Allah I and that, come that time, it is not delayed. I, for my part, firmly believe this, without the slightest reservation nor doubt.

[177] Just as I firmly believe and declare that the interrogation of the two examiners in the grave is true; the punishment in the grave and the rais­ing of the bodies from the grave are both true; the review in the presence of Allah I is true; the Basin is true; the Balance is true; the flying (tatâyur) of individual Records in every direction is true;[69] the Bridge is true; Paradise is true; Hell­fire is true; (A host will be in the Garden, and a host of them in the Flame) (42:7) truly; the agony of that day is true for one group; as for an­other group, (the Supreme Horror will not grieve them) (21:103);[70]

[178] The intercession of the angels, the Prophets, and the Believers, followed by the taking out of the Fire, by the most Merciful of those who show mercy, of anyone He wishes, is true; a group of the grave sinners among the Believers shall enter Hellfire and then exit it through intercession and gratification truly; eternal and everlasting world-without-end (al-ta’bîd) in the midst of the pleasures of Paradise is true for the Believers and those who affirm Oneness; eternal and everlasting world-without-end in the Fire for the dwellers of the Fire is true; and all that was announced by the Books and Messengers that came from Allah – whether one came to know it or not – is true.

[179] This is my witness in my own regard, and it is the responsibility of each and every person that it reaches, to bring it forward if asked about it, whenever and wherever he may be.

Final Supplication

[180] May Allah grant us and grant you the greatest benefit with this faith. May He make us adhere to it firmly at the time of journeying from this abode to the abode of true life. May He replace for us this abode with the abode of munificence and good pleasure. May He intervene between us and a dwelling with (raiments of pitch) (14:50). May He count us in the troop that take their record with the right hand and return from the Pond fully sated, those in whose favor the Balance weighs down and whose feet stand firm on the Bridge. Truly He is the Munifi­cent (al-Mun‘im), the Giver of All Good (al-Mihsân)!

[181] (All praise to Allah, Who has guided us to this. We could not truly have been led aright if Allah had not guided us. Verily the messengers of our Lord did bring the Truth!) (7:43).


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[1] In al-Qari, Firr al-‘Awn (p. 141-142).

[2] Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah in Lata’if al-Minan (1:84-98) states that there is con­sensus among the Sufis that al-Khidr is alive. Ibn al-Jawzi in his book‘Ujala al-Muntazir fi Sharh Hal al-Khadir (cf. Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-Zunun [2:1125] and Abu Ghudda infra) voices the extreme view that to suggest that al-Khidr is alive contradicts the Shari‘a, yet in his Mana­qib al-Imam Ahmad (p. 144) he himself narrates the report of a meeting of Bilal al-Khawass with al-Khidr! Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Manar al-Munif (p. 67-76) and his editor, ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, also claim that al-Khidr is not alive. Among the strongest transmitted proofs to the contrary are two reports, one narrated by Imam Ahmad in al-Zuhd whereby the Prophet e said that Ilyas and al-Khidr meet every year and spend the month of Ramadan in al-Qudus, and the other narrated by Ya‘qub ibn Sufyan from ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz whereby a man he was seen walking with was actually al-Khidr. Ibn Hajar declared the chain of the first fair and that of the second sound in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 6:435). He goes on to cite another sound report narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir from Abu Zur‘a al-Razi where­by the latter met al-Khidr twice, once in his young age, the other in his old age, but al-Khidr him­self had not changed.

Al-Qadi ‘Iyad in his notice on Ibn Abi Zayd inTartib al-Madarik  narrates from al-Ajdabi: “I was sitting with Abu Muhammad [Ibn Abi Zayd] when Abu al-Qasim ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abd al-Mu’min the mutakallim was with him. A man asked them about al-Khidr and whether it could he said that he was still in this world in spite of all this time and would not die until the Final Hour comes and whether this is refuted by the words of the Almighty,[We did not give any human being before you immortality] (21:34). They both replied to him that that was possible and per­mitted and al-Khidr could live until the Final Trumpet was blown. For immortality is connected to remaining as long as the Next World remains, while remaining until the Trumpet is blown is not immortality. Do you not see that Iblis – may Allah curse him – is not immortal, but he is one of those deferred until the Day of a Known Time?”

The hadith master al-Sakhawi stated: “It is well-known that al-Nawawi used to meet with al-Khidr and converse with him among many other unveilings (mukâ­shafât).” Al-Sakhawi, Tarjima Shaykh al-Islam Qutb al-Awliya’ al-Kiram wa Faqih al-Anam Muhyi al-Sunna wa Mumit al-Bid‘a Abi Zakariyya Muhyi al-Din al-Nawawi  (“Biogra­phy of the Shaykh of Islam, the Pole of the Noble Saints and Jurist of Mankind, the Reviver of the Sunna and Slayer of Innovation Abu Zakariyya Muhyiddin al-Nawawi”) (Cairo: Jam‘iyya al-Nashr wa al-Ta’lif al-Azhariyya, 1354/1935 p. 33).

Al-Barzanji in his book al-Isha‘a li Ashrat al-Sa‘a (1997 ed. p. 279-281; 1995 ed. p. 204-205) lists proofs to the effect that al-Khidr u is alive and shall face and belie the Antichrist (al-Dajjâl), as he is the one meant in the hadith whereby a man faces the Antichrist and belies him, whereupon the latter saws him in half then revives him only to be belied again. Narrated from Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri by Abu Ya‘la in his Musnad (2:332) and al-Hakim (1984 ed. 4:581=orig. ed. 4:537), both with a chain containing ‘Atiyya ibn Sa‘d who is weak, and with another chain (by Abu Ya‘la 2:535) containing Sufyan ibn Waki‘ who is weak; also narrated from Abu Umama al-Bahili by Ibn Majah in his Sunan (book of Fitan) with a chain containing Isma‘il ibn Rafi‘, who is weak in his memorization; also narrated by Nu‘aym ibn Hammad (d. 288) in Kitab al-Fitan (2:551) who said: al-Zuhri said: ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Abd Allah [ibn] ‘Utba narrated to us that Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri said… The latter is a sound chain but there are several unnamed links between Nu‘aym and al-Zuhri. Also narrated by al-Dani (d. 444) in his book al-Sunan fi al-Fitan  (6:1178) but with a chain that stops at the Tabi‘i Abu Mijlaz. None of the weakness mentioned above in the chains raised to the Prophet e is grave. If the weak links are at the same levels of the narrators’ biographical layers and are judged to strengthen each other, it would raise the grade of the hadith to “fair due to corroborative/witness chains”  (hasan li ghayrih). It is confirmed by the hadith related from Abu ‘Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah whereby the Prophet (sall said: “It may be that one of those who saw me and heard my speech shall meet the Dajjal.” Narrated by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (15:181) with a weak chain according to Shaykh Shu‘ayb al-Arna’ut, however, Imam al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan said it is also narrated from three other Companions and thus graded the hadith itself “fair and single-chained (hasan gharîb) as narrated from Abu ‘Ubayda,” and Allah knows best.

[3] See Hilmi’s 284-entry bibliography in al-Burhan al-Azhar as well as the books of Prof. Michel Chodkiewicz (The Seal of Saints and An Ocean Without Shore) and his daughter Prof. Claude Addas (Quest for the Red Sulphur).

[4]In al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 71).

[5]In Ibn ‘Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:200).

[6]Cf. al-Suyuti’s Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 52-54).

[7]Al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi fi Takhti’a Ibn ‘Arabi (p. 17-21). The correct title has tanzihinstead of takhti’a as in Hajji Khalifa’s Kashf al-Zunun (1:488) and al-Qari’s works.

[8]Al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 59-60).

[9]In al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 70).

[10]Al-Qari, Risala fi Wahda al-Shuhud (p. 62).

[11]Ibn al-Najjar, Dhayl Tarikh Baghdad as quoted in al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 64-66) and in Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan (5:311 #1038).

[12] As related from al-Biqa‘i by al-Suyuti in Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 40-41).

[13] As related from al-Biqa‘i by al-Suyuti inTanbih al-Ghabi (p. 42-43).

[14] See al-Sakhawi, al-Daw’ al-Lami‘ (8:17) and al-Kawthari’s Maqalat (p. 412-413).

aAl-Adnahwi, Tabaqat al-Mufassirin (p. 230 #276).

[15] In Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:190).

[16] Al-Qari wrote Firr al-‘Awn in reply to him.

[17] Al-Qari addresses it towards the end of Firr al-‘Awn (p. 142f.).

[18] See Ibn Hajar, Inba’ al-Ghumr bi A‘mar al-‘Umr (3:403-404), year 831.

[19] In Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 32-33).

[20] Ibid. (p. 34).

[21] As stated by his student al-Haytami, Fatawa Hadithiyya (p. 331).

[22] See his Majmu‘a Rasa’il Ibn ‘Abidin (2:271).

[23] On the hadith master Imam Badr al-Din al-Hasani see the biography by his student Shaykh Mahmud al-Rankusi entitled al-Durar al-Lu’lu’iyya fi al-Nu‘ut al-Badriyya (Damas­cus, 1951). Dr. Wahbe al-Zuhayli told us that Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani fasted every day of the year except the two days of ‘Id, including on the Day of ‘Arafa during pilgrimage.

[24] Al-Qinnawji, Takhrij al-Wasaya (p. 119).

[25] Al-Qasimi, Qawa‘id al-Tahdith (p. 348-351).

[26] Al-Kawthari, Maqalat (p. 412-413).

b Muhammad ‘Abduh, Tafsir al-Manar (1:18).

[27] In Ibn ‘Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:192).

[28] In al-Qari, Risala fi Wahda al-Shuhud (p. 55).

[29] Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, al-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah; from ‘Umar by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and al-Nasa’i; and from Abu Dharr by al-Nasa’i, all as part of a longer hadith.

[30] From his Damascus lessons on the Munajat of Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah, 21 September 1997.

[31] i.e. if some texts seem to affirm indwelling, they do so metaphorically, as the literal given of divine Transcendence is not open to question.

[32] From Dr. Sa‘id al-Buti’s unpublished commentary on the Hikam of Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah.

[33] “I was one of those who, previously, used to hold the best opinion of Ibn ‘Arabi and extol his praise, because of the benefits I saw in his books, such as al-Futuhat, al-Kanh, al-Muhkam al-Marbut, al-Durra al-Fakhira, Matali‘ al-Nujum, and other such works.” Ibn Taymiyya,Tawhid al-Rububiyya in Majmu‘a al-Fatawa (2:464-465).

[34] In the epistle attributed to him and entitled Fadiha al-Mulhidin or Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud, a title also used by al-Qari. Al-Kawthari revelad in his Maqalat (p. 413) that the real author of al-Taftazani’s supposed epistle was ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari. The Hanafi jurist Isma‘il Kalnabawi responded to that epistle in a fatwa cited in full in al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 18-22).

[35] As named by al-Qari in his Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud (p. 61).

[36] In al-Qari, Firr al-‘Awn (p. 144). Al-Fayruzabadi said: “If the report whereby Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam and our shaykh al-Bulqini ordered Ibn ‘Arabi’s books burnt were true, not one of his books would have re­mained today in Egypt or Sham, and no-one would have dared copy them again after the words of these two shaykhs.” In Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 32). Al-Hilmi adds (p. 34) that a further proof that al-Subki changed his position concerning Ibn ‘Arabi is that he wrote many refutations against the heresies of his time but never wrote against Ibn ‘Arabi, although his books were widely read in Damascus and elsewhere.

[37] He wrote al-Radd al-Aqwam ‘ala ma fi Fusûs al-Hikam but is on record as not objecting to Ibn ‘Arabi’s other works, as noted.

[38] Mizan al-I‘tidal (3:660). Al-Dhahabi in the same chapter makes derogatory com­ments and reports a strange story which Ibn Hajar cited in Lisan al-Mizan. Al-Qari also attributes negative comments on Ibn ‘Arabi to al-Suyuti in the latter’s al-Tahbir li ‘Ilm al-Tafsir and Itmam al-Diraya Sharh al-Niqaya.

[39] Al-Khadimi wrote in the introduction to hisSharh Ma‘ani al-Basmala: “It was stated in al-Bazaziyya that if a certain question has a hundred aspects, ninety-nine of which entail disbelief and one precludes it, the scholar must lean towards the latter and not give a fatwa to the apostasy of a Muslim as long as he can give his words a good interpretation. Also, in al-Usul: No preference is given in the face of abundant evidence to the contrary.” As cited in al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 17-18). In Bustan al-‘Arifin al-Nawawi states, after reporting Abu al-Khayr al-Tibyani’s apparent breach of the Shari‘a: “Someone that imitates jurists without understanding may imagine wrong and object to this, out of ignorance and stupidity. To imagine wrong here is plain recklessness in giving vent to suspicions against the Friends of the All-Merciful.  The wise person must beware from such behavior! On the contrary, if one did not understand the wisdoms from which they benefited and their fine subtleties, it is his duty is to understand them from one who does. You may witness such occurrences about which the superficial person gets the illusion of deviation, but which are actually not deviant. On the contrary, it is obligatory to interpret figuratively the actions of the friends of Allah.” As cited in al-Suyuti’s Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 45-46) and Ibn ‘Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:194). The rules spelled out by al-Nawawi, al-Haytami, and al-Khadimi refute the presumption that only the statements of the Prophet r may be interpreted figuratively (cf. al-Qunawi in al-Qari’s Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud p. 110 and al-Suyuti’s Tanbih al-Ghabi p. 44-45, as against ‘Ala’ al-Din al-Bukhari in al-Qari’s Firr al-‘Awnp. 153; cf. al-Munawi in Ibn ‘Imad, Shadharat 5:194) or that “every truth that contravenes the outward rule of the Law consists in disguised disbelief (zandaqa)” (al-Qari, Firr al-‘Awn p. 152). The most shining refutation of the latter claim lies in the Prophet’s r hadith of the straying desert traveller who, finding his mount and provisions after having lost them, is so over­whelmed by joy that he exclaims: “O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your master!” Narrated from Anas by Muslim in his Sahih.

[40] Al-Sakhawi in al-Daw’ al-Lami‘ similarly points out this contradic­tion between al-Biqa‘i’s expressed principles and his actual practices.

[41] Al-Haytami, Fatawa Hadithiyya (p. 331). For the account of the condemnation of al-Biqa‘i himself as a kâfir see al-Sakhawi’s al-Daw’ al-Lami‘ and al-Shawkani’s al-Badr al-Tali‘.

[42] The complete hadith states: “Whosoever shows enmity to one of My Friends, I shall declare war upon him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have en­joined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with su­per­erogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask something of Me, I would surely give it to him. Were he to seek refuge in Me, I would surely grant him it.Nor do I hesitate to do any­thing as I hesi­tate to take back the believer’s soul, for he hates death and I hate to hurt him.” Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari. Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam in al-Ishara ila al-Ijaz (p. 108) said: “The ‘hesi­tancy’ of Allah I in this hadith is a meta­phor of the believer’s superlative rank in the presence of Allah and connotes a lesser hurt to prevent a greater harm, as in the case of a father’s severance of his son’s gangrened hand so as to save his life.”

[43] Al-Dhahabi, al-Muqiza (p. 88-90).

[44] Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan  (5:311 #1038). See also his words in al-Intisar li A’imma al-Amsarand in al-Qari’s Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud (p. 113).

[45] The mere sight of Ka‘ba is considered worship.

[46] The hadith “The Black Stone is the right hand of Allah” is narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, Jabir, Anas, and others by Ibn Abi ‘Umar al-Ma‘dani in his Musnad, al-Tabarani, al-Suyuti in al-Jami‘ al-Saghir (1:516), Ibn ‘Asakir in hisTarikh (15:90-92), al-Khatib in his (6:328), and others. Al-‘Ajluni stated that it is sahîh as a halted report from Ibn ‘Abbas as narrated by al-Quda‘i in the wording: “The Corner is the Right Hand of Allah on earth…,” and declared it hasanas a hadith of the Prophet r. Ibn Qu­tayba in Mukhtalaf al-Hadith (1972 ed. p. 215) attributes it to Ibn ‘Abbas and relates a saying of ‘A’isha that the Stone is the deposi­tory of the covenant of souls with Allah. Its mention in the Reliance of the Traveller (p. 853b) as “narrated by al-Hakim, who declared it sahîh, from ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr,” is incorrect.

[47] Multazam is the space between the Black Stone and the Ka‘ba’s door (including the two) where prayers are answered.

[48] An allusion to the kiswa or black cloth covering the Ka‘ba.

[49] Ibn ‘Arabi, Futuhat (original ed. 1:701).

[50] Main sources: Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar; Ibn ‘Imad,  Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:190-202); al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi.

[51] From ‘Uthman Yahya’s edition of al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya  (1:162-172), Part Three of “The Meccan Conquest,” chapter entitled “Attach­ment Comprising the Essential Creed of All, Which is the Doctrine of the People of Islam Agreed To Without Examining the Proof Nor the Pre­s­en­tation of Evidence” (Waslun Yatadammanu Mâ Yanbaghî an Yu‘taqad ‘alâ al-‘Umûm wa Hiya ‘Aqîdatu Ahl al-Islâmi Musallama­tan min Ghayri Nazarin ilâ Dalilin wa lâ ilâ Burhân). Also quoted in full in Hilmi’s al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 69-77).

[52] Part of a hadith of the Prophet r narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari and Muslim.

[53] Cf. al-Shibli in Ibn Jahbal’s Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya §27 (published in full separately): “The Merciful exists from pre-eternity while the Throne was brought into being, and the Throne was established and made firm (istawâ) by the Merciful.”

[54] See Appendix entitled “Allah is Now As He Ever Was” in our translation of Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam’s al-Mulha fi I‘tiqad Ahl al-Haqq, published separately under the title The Belief of the People of Truth.

[55] Or: “He created place and all that takes place.”

[56] i.e. I am in no need of any of you.

[57] Lâ tarji‘u ilayhi sifatun lam yakun ‘alayhâ min sun‘ati al-masnû‘ât. Ibn ‘Arabi apparently allows inferred attributes which do describe Him, such as “The Far” (see §163 below and note) in contradiction of the general principle that the divine Names and Attributes are ordained and non-inferable (cf. Appendix entitled “The Names and Attributes of Allah Are Ordained and Non-Inferable” in our translation of Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam’s The Belief of the People of Truth).

[58] See our translation of Ibn Khafif’s Correct Islamic Doctrine (pub­lished in full separately) §10: “In no way does He subsist in originated matters (laysa bi mahall al-hawâdith) nor they in Him.” This is due to the mutually exclusive nature of contingency (hudûth) and incontin­gency (qidam). The former refer to whatever is created, the latter to the be­ginningless and uncreated, “and the twain never meet.”

[59] This is directed against the Mu‘tazila and those affiliated with them.

[60] The notion of “linkage”  (ta‘alluq) between the pre-eternal Attributes of Act and the acts pertaining to creation was expressed by some scholars as a distinction between two types of linkage (ta‘alluq) to the act: “beginninglessly potential” (salûhî qadîm) and “actualized in time” (tanjîzî hâdith).

[61] No such Attribute is established in the texts, but Ibn ‘Arabi here states it without contra­diction of his own precept (§145, cf. §180) that “Attributes which do not describe Him and are devised by creatures do not apply to Him” since He uses “the Far” in the same way that some have used the indefinite qualificative “Separate” (bâ’in) – like­wise not found in the Qur’an and Sunna – meaning “far and separate from crea­tion,” so that nearness in no way affects Him as it affects creatures. Al-Tabari (in his Tafsir on verse 17:79) relates from some of the Salaf a contrary position which states that Allah is not said to be “in contact with,” nor “separate from” anything. The latter is reminiscent of Abu Nu‘aym’s narration from ‘Ali in Hilya al-Awliya’ (1997 ed. 1:114 #227): “How can even the most eloquent tongues describe Him Who did not exist among things so that He could be said to be ‘separate from them’ (bâ’in)? Rather, He is described without modality, and He is (nearer to [man] than his jugular vein) (50:16).” Al-Bayhaqi reports the Ash‘ari position on the issue from Ibn Mahdi al-Tabari: The Pre-eternal One (al-Qadîm) is elevated over His Throne but nei­ther sitting on(qâ‘id) nor standing on (qâ’im) nor in contact with (mu­mâss), nor separate from (mubâyin)the Throne – meaning separate in His Es­sence in the sense of physical separation or distance. For ‘contact’ and its opposite ‘separation,’ ‘standing’ and its opposite ‘sit­ting’ are all the char­ac­ter­istics of bodies (ajsâm), whereas (Allah is One, Everlast­ing, neither begetting nor begotten, and there is none like Him.) (112:1-4) Therefore what is allowed for bodies is impermissible for Him.” Al-Bayhaqi, al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 410-411; Hashidi ed. 2:308-309). This shows with remarkable clarity that those who made it a categorical imperative to declare that “Allah is separate from creation” went to excess, although their intention was to preclude notions of indwelling. Examples of these well-founded excesses are given by Ibn Khuzayma: “Whoever does not defi­nitely confirm that Allah established Himself over His Throne above His seven heavens, separate (bâ’in) from His creation, he is a disbeliever who must be sum­moned to repent” [in al-Dhahabi’s Mukhtasar al-‘Uluw (p. 225-226)] and Sulayman ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab: “It is obligatory to declare that Allah is separate  (bâ’in) from His creation, established over His throne with­out modality or likeness or examplarity” [in al-Tawdih ‘an Tawhid al-Khallaq fi Jawab Ahl al-‘Iraq (1319/1901, p. 34, and new ed. al-Riyad: Dar Tibah, 1984)].

[62] The Prophet r said: “His veil is light, and if He removed it, the glorifications (subuhât) of His face would burn everything His eyesight fell upon.” Narrated from Abu Musa by Muslim, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Abu ‘Awana, Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi, Ibn Abi ‘Asim, al-Ajurri, and al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 180-181; Hashidi ed. 1:465-466 #392-394). Al-Bayhaqi said: “The veil mentioned in this and other reports refers to creatures for they are the ones who are veiled from Him by a veil He created in them. Allah said of the disbe­lievers: (Nay, but surely on that day they will be covered from (the mercy of) their Lord) (83:15). His saying: ‘if He removed it’ means if He lifted the veil from their eyes without empowering them to see Him, they would have been burnt and would have been unable to bear it.” Al-Qurtubi in al-Asna (2:92) said: “If he had removed from them the veil, His majesty (jalâl), awe (hayba), and subjugation (qahr) would have caused everything His sight fell upon to disappear – from the Throne to the undersoil, for there is no end to His sight, and Allah knows best.” Cf. Ibn Khafif’s ‘Aqida §12: “Nor does He hide Himself(istatara) with anything created.”

[63] See Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam’s refutation of those who claimed the pre-eternality of letters and sounds in various passages of his Mulha.

[64] In al-Nihaya, entry b-l-â: “Al-Azhari said that a number of scholars glossed ubâlî as ‘loathe’ (akrah).” Meaning: “It adds nor subtracts nothing from My greatness.”

[65] Narrated from Anas by Abu Ya‘la with a chain of trustworthy narrators except for al-Hakam ibn Sinan al-Bahili who is weak, and by Ibn Marduyah; from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Qatada al-Sulami by Ahmad and al-Hakim who declared it sahîh, and al-Dhahabi concurred; from Mu‘adh ibn Jabal by Ahmad with amunqati‘ chain missing the Successor-link; from Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri by al-Bazzar and Ibn Marduyah; from Ibn ‘Umar by al-Bazzar and al-Tabarani; from a Companion named Abu ‘Abd Allah by Ahmad in his Musnad  with a sound chain according to Ibn Hajar in al-Isaba (7:258 #10198); from Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir; from Abu al-Darda’ by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and Ahmad with a sound chain in the Musnad  according to al-Kattani. Also narrated, but without the words lâ ubâlî, from Abu Hurayra by al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi in Nawa­dir al-Usul; without mention of the handfuls, from ‘Umar by Malik in al-Muwatta’, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi (hasan), al-Nasa’i, and others. Al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur under the verse (And remem­ber when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their reins, their seed) (7:172) cited other narrations to that effect from Abu Umama, Hisham ibn Hakim, and other Companions. Al-Fattani in Tadhkira al-Mawdu‘at said its chain was “muddled”(mudtarib al-isnâd)  because of great varia­tions in it, which makes the narration  mutawâtir al-ma‘na or mass-narrated in its import – as opposed to its precise wording – as indicated by al-Kattani in Nazm al-Mutanathir, due to the great number of Companions that relate it.

[66] Hadith qudsi within the narration of the Prophet’s r  ascension: “The day I created the heavens and the earth I made obligatory upon you and upon your Commu­nity fifty prayers: therefore establish them, you and your Community…. Let them be five prayers every day and night, and let every prayer count as ten. That makes fifty prayers. This word of Mine shall not be changed nor shall My Book be abrogated.” See the translation of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki’s his collated text of the sound narrations of the Prophet’s risra’ and mi‘raj entitled al-Anwar al-Bahiyya min Isra’ wa Mi‘raj Khayr al-Bariyya translated in full in Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’sEncyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine.

[67] For §168-173 see also Ibn Khafif, al-‘Aqida al-Sahiha §32-37: “[32] Allah is doer of what He will: [33] Injustice is not attributed to Him, [34] And He rules over His dominion as He will, without [anyone’s entitlement to] objection whatso­ever. [35] His decree is not revoked nor His judgment amended. [36] He brings near Him whomever He will without [need for] cause and He removes far from Him whomever He will without [need for] cause. [37] His will for His servants is the exact state they are in.”The Ash‘ari position is that Allah rewards and punishes without being obliged to do so by the actions of His servants (“Allah is doer of what He will”). He is free to place the disbeliever in Paradise and the believer in Hellfire without any injustice on His part (“Injustice is not attributed to Him”), since He owns all sovereignty over the heavens and the earth, and no one received any share or authority from Him to ob­ject to what He does.

The evidence for this is in the verses: (Know you not that unto Allah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth? He punishes whom He will, and forgives whom He will. Allah is Able to do all things) (5:40);(Say : Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to de­stroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? To Allah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He creates what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things) (5:17); (The sentence that comes from Me cannot be changed, and I am in no wise a tyrant unto the slaves) (50:29). At the same time it is obligatorily known that Allah does not take back His promise to reward those who believe and do good and punish evil-doers: (But as for those who believe and do good works We shall bring them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide for ever. It is a promise from Allah in truth; and who can be more truthful than Allah in utterance?) (4:122). The scholars have described the former evidence as “based on reason” (dalîl ‘aqlî) and the latter as “based on law” (dalîl shar‘i), noting that it is the latter which takes precedence over the former. Cf. al-Buti, Kubra al-Yaqinat (p. 149).

[68] Narrated from Abu Bakrah al-Thaqafi, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn Mas‘ud, and Jabir by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and al-Darimi.

[69] The Prophet r was asked by ‘A’isha – may Allah be well-pleased with her: “Will the beloved remember his beloved on the Day of Resurrection?” He replied: “On three occasions he will not: At the Balance until it either weighs for or against him; at the time the individual Records fly in every direction, so that he should be given his record either with the right hand or the left; and at the time a long neck comes out of the Fire, winding itself around them [at the Bridge over Hellfire]…” Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad with a fair chain, ‘Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Abi Shayba, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Hakim who stated it is sahîh, al-Ajurri in al-Shari‘a, and ‘Abd ibn Humayd in his Musnad as stated by al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur. Abu Dawud narrates it in his Sunan without mention oftatâyur.

[70] Another possible translation is: “the interrogation of the two examiners in the grave is real; the punishment in the grave and the rais­ing of the bodies from the grave are both real; the review in the presence of Allah is real; the Basin is real; the Balance is real; the flying(tatâyur) of individual Records in every direction is real; the Bridge is real; Paradise is real; Hell­fire is real; (A host will be in the Garden, and a host of them in the Flame)(42:7) really; the agony of that day is real for one group; as for an­other group, (the Supreme Horror will not grieve them) (21:103).” Cf. Ibn Khafif’s Aqida §83: “Paradise is true; Hellfire is true; Resurrection is true; the Rendering of Accounts is true; the Balance of Deeds is true; the Bridge [over the Fire] is true; the punishment of the grave is true; and the questioning of the angels Munkar and Nakîr is true.”

The Reality and Mystery of Waswasah

By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng

A stray thought crossing the mind is not nugatory of veneration for the Ahkaam (Commandments of the Shariah). In fact, that is a sign of perfection in Imaan and hence the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum) experienced such waswasah. When they submitted this problem to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) saying: “Yaa Rasoolallah, we are experiencing such stray thoughts that it is better for us to burn to ashes than express these waswasah,” Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) queried and stated: “Do you really experience such thoughts? That is clear sign of your Imaan.”

He furthermore said: “Alhamdulillah, Allah Ta’ala has diverted the plot of Shaitaan to waswasah.” His reach fell short of your Aqaaid and A’maal (Beliefs and Practices).

The mystery and rationale behind these waswasah is that when a Saalik sets out on the path to Allah then Shaitaan becomes extremely vexed. Shaitaan then desires to harm this Saalik. He firstly embarks on a campaign of stopping the Saalik from Namaaz, Roza, Faraaiz and Waajibaat. In this way he schemes to harm the Deen of the Saalik. When he realizes that he has failed in this nefarious plot he plans another strategy. He then satisfies himself with inflicting physical harm and worries. Towards this end he whispers evil and obscene thoughts into the heart of the Saalik.

The Saalik becomes horrified at these stray thoughts and he grieves thinking that his Imaan is deficient. He cannot understand why these thoughts are plaguing him, whereas these thoughts are not at all harmful to his Imaan, yes they are unsettling.

Being unsettled by these thoughts also has an underlying reason to it; a misunderstanding. The Saalik thinks that these wasaawis are produced by his heart; that they stem from his heart, whereas this is wrong. These are the production of Shaitaan. Shaitaan blows these evil thoughts into the heart and mind. The heart is merely the locus and thoroughfare of these stray thoughts.

After understanding and remembering this mystery, Insha-Allah one will find no reason to become unsettled at all. In fact, waswasah will be uprooted because Shaitaan flings waswasah at a person to trouble a person. When this person doesn’t become troubled and unsettled then Shaitaan will give up his waswasah-strike.

Practical Remedy for Waswasah

So the practical thing to do when troubled by waswasah is to recite “A’uthubillahi minash Shaitaanir Rajeem”, for it is proven that these wasaawis are by the meddling of Shaitaan, and with Ta’ awwuth (reciting, A’uthu…), in fact with any Zikr, Shaitaan is repulsed.

Furthermore, when one engrosses oneself in Zikr, and complete engrossment in two things at the same time is not possible, then one will not be disturbed by the waswasah. Assuming for a moment that waswasah does not cease even in this case and one is overwhelmed then this is also a type of Mujaahadah (spiritual discipline). There is pure benefit then too. One should, therefore, not become grieved.

A person who concerns himself with repelling waswasah and gaining pleasure from his Ibaadat and Zikr –which is the case with most Saalikeen today –such a person makes Ibaadat and Zikr for personal pleasure. Such a person is not offering his Ibaadat and Zikr for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.

The second remedy for waswasah is Zikr in general, as mentioned above. When under a waswasah-attack, engage in Zikr. The Hadeeth says: “When he (the Mu-min) engages in Zikr then Shaitaan retreats. And when he (the Mu-min) becomes forgetful (of the Zikr of Allah Ta’ala) then Shaitaan throws waswasah.”

A Test by Allah Ta’ala

Another hikmat (underlying reason) of waswasah is that it is a test by Allah Ta’ala of the Saalik. The test is to see whether the Saalik’s Ibaadat was for carnal pleasure or steadfastness even under the duress of waswasah; where does his gaze go to when afflicted by waswasah? Therefore, do not become troubled at all with these wasaawis, and continue with your work.

These wasaawis are not nugatory of one’s closeness to Allah Ta’ala. Such a person is close unto Allah.

As matter of fact, these wasaawis are not even in the heart, although they may appear to be so. In actual fact, they are out of the heart. It is like a fly sitting on a mirror. The onlooker may perceive the fly to be in the mirror, whereas it is outside the mirror. Similarly, the waswasah is outside the heart. Where there is Zikrullah in the heart there is no scope for waswasah there. Such a Mu-min’s heart is practically sealed and protected from waswasah.

Similarly, waswasah does not pass through the heart of a Zaakir (one who observes Zikr dutifully). Whatever feeling he gets of waswasah is the reflection of waswasah.

Another Strategy

One Buzrug says that as treatment of this malady one should become very happy because this is a sign of Imaan, for Nabi (Alaihis Salaam) said: “That is a clear sign of Imaan.”

A thief breaks into a home when there is some wealth there and hence waswasah is experienced by Saaliheen (pious people). Those who are caught in fisq and fujoor (transgression and shameless acts) are not bothered by waswasah.

The rationale behind becoming happy at the waswasah is that it severs the waswasah. Shaitaan’ s desire by striking a person with waswasah is to make the person sad and dejected. So, if instead of that he (the one who experiences waswasah) becomes happy then Shaitaan will give up.

Subhaanallah! What a remedy! You can understand from this the level of perfection in the Ilm of the illustrious Fuqaha and Soofiyah.

(From Al-Ikhlaas Part One of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullahi Alaih)


BY Hadhrat Maseehul Ummat, Maulana Muhammed Maseehulah Khan Sherwani (Rahmatullah Alayh)

ZIKR-E-ILAHI or Remembrance of Allah is one of the many lectures of Maseehul Ummat Hadhrat Maulana Shah Muhammad Maseehulláh Khan Sherwáni (May Allah Ta’ala maintain his shadow of barkat over us for many more years). In this lecture Hadhrat Maseehullah Saheb diagnoses the spiritual degeneration in which the Ummah is caught up today. Not only does he diagnose the malady, but he provides the cure for this spiritual affliction of ours.

Organizations and movements, luminaries and dignataries of the world, time and again, come up with their self invented theories for the solution of the ills with which mankind is suffering. All such theories and solutions offered by modern man fail and will always fail to solve the miserable condition of moral and spiritual degeneration in which the Ummah is floundering today. They all fail for the simple reason that they have hopelessly failed in  pin-pointing the malady. Their diagnosis is far off the mark and their prescriptions have no Divine flavour.

The prescription offered by Hadhrat Maseehullah Sáheb is the prescription enshrined in the Qurán Sháreef — — the prescription of Allah Ta’al a — — the only sure remedy for the elimination of our degeneration. This booklet will, therefore, serve the purpose of the earnest and sincere seeker of the Truth in his journey towards Allah Ta’ala.

Hadhrat Maseehullah Saheb is well-known to many thousands of Muslims of South Africa and he requires no introduction as far as they are concerned. Those who do not know this great Sufi and Saint of our time may write to the Mujlisul Ulama for the booklet which sets out in brief the history of Hadhrat Maseehul Ummat. Was-Salaam.

P.O. BOX 3393, 
Muharram, 1401 November, 1980 SOUTH AFRICA.

“(O Believers!) Do not become like those who became forgetful about Allah (by abstaining from practising in accordance with the Law of Allah – they opposed the commands of Allah and indulged in His prohibitions.) In consequence Allah caused them to become neglectful of their own souls (in such a way that they could not discern what is truly beneficial for themselves.) Indeed these are the transgressors (who will suffer the chastisement of transgression).” (Bayanul Qur’an)

This is a short ayat at the end of Surah Hashr. In this ayat, like in other ayat, is contained a very important topic.

Every part of the Qur’an Shareef is of the greatest importance. No part of it is redundant or of no value. Those verses which do not discuss Faraidh and Wajibat (compulsory laws) but mention only the Mustahab aspects are also of tremendous significance. Nowadays Mustahabbat are not regarded as of any importance. It is correct that in so far as practise is concerned, Mustahabbat are not on the same level as Faraidh and Wajibat, however, to be educated in the Mustahabbat is essential for two reasons:

(1) Knowledge will rectify any misconception regarding the category which Mustahab practices occupy in the Shariah. By being educated in the Mustahabbat one will not regard such practices as unlawful, fardh or wajib. This knowledge is of utmost importance in regard of the rectification of I’tiqad (belief).
(2) The barakat (spiritual lustre and effulgence) and beneficial results are innumerable. Ignorance of these many benefits and significances of Mustahab practices will not engender in any inclination towards these valuable practices.

Knowledge of the many and great benefits which can be obtained from such Mustahab acts which are regarded as most insignificant, will create in one the realization of the great loss which is suffered by abstaining from such valuable acts which in reality are priceless jewels. The need of Mustahabbat is for the perfection of deeds. Righteous deeds attain their full perfection and efficiency by means of the Mustahab etiquettes linked to them. Thus, the mention of Mustahabbat in the Qur’an Shareef is not unnecessary. Such practices have been mentioned because of tremendous importance and significance attached to them. If one possesses love for Allah, one will value and honour these Mustahabbat. The Ashiq-e-Sadiq (true lover of Allah) possesses an unique temperament. He constantly searches for every   aspect which will please the Mahboob (beloved Allah Ta’ala). When the true ashiq realizes that the Beloved is pleased with a certain thing then he hastens towards it and endeavours to fulfil it, ever striving to please Him by not omitting anything which is pleasing to Him. If our temperament becomes imbued with love, then we will realise the value of Mustahabbat, and will regard its narration as the Rahmat of Allah and the Shafqat   (affection) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). This realization will dawn upon one when one discovers the detailed explanation of these rules and importance accorded them by Allah Ta’ala.


If in the Shariah was only the order for Faraaidh and Wajibat, the ashiq of Allah would have been overtaken by great distress and restlessness because the ashiq is not satisfied by only that which is necessary, for that which is necessary is regarded by the ashiq as a mere duty and obligation. Besides duty, the ashiq’s quest is for that which will direct the attention of the Mahboob to him, more and more.

We entertain the misconception that our relationship with Allah Ta’ala is merely constitutional, i.e. we are legally obliged to obey Him. It is because of this misconception that we regard as sufficient the discharge of Faraaidh and Wajibat, and neglect the Mustahabbat, regarding them as unimportant. If our link with Allah Ta’ala was a bond of Muhabbat (love) and devotion, then we would have never obtained contentment from only the Faraaidh and the Wajibat, but would have been in the constant search of Mustahabbat. We would then have hastened to everything which Allah Ta’ala loves and which is pleasing to him. And, on the other hand we would have remained miles away from acts which are displeasing to Him. If our relationship with Allah Ta’ala was a bond of love and devotion we would not have investigated whether an act is detestable in a higher or lower degree (as people are in the habit of  asking ‘is such an act haram or ‘only’ makruh?’, the motive underlying the enquiry being the desire to indulge in it if it is makruh — a lesser detestation than haraam). For the ashiq it suffices that he knows the things and acts which displease his Mahboob. This knowledge is sufficient as a deterrent against the commission of acts displeasing to Allah Ta’ala. The ashiq does not probe the degree of displeasure, i.e. whether an act is greatly displeasing or slightly displeasing. His disposition is to refrain totally from all factors of displeasure, be these slight or great. To the ashiq all cases of displeasure are grave regardless of whether such displeasure results in slight annoyance or severe punishment.


Our condition now has degenerated to the degree of indifference where we enquire into the nature of the sin in view to practise it. Once it is known that a certain act is sinful, we pose the question: Is it a kabeerah sin or a sagheerah sin? This attitude is a clear indication that our relationship with Allah Ta’ala has weakened considerably, although not totally, for even this question (viz., probing the degree of gravity of a sin) is proof of the bond with Allah Ta’ala. At least that much connection with Allah Ta’ala remains that the perpertrator of the sin is not prepared to court the greater displeasure of Allah. If even this (weakened) bond was non-existent, then this question would have not occurred… the question of minor and major sin. It is therefore plain that there is yet fear for the major sins in view of considerable Divine displeasure  ensuing in the wake of its commission. However, because of the weakness of our bond with Allah Ta’ala, displeasure of a lesser degree is countenanced and agreeable.

The question: Is it a major or minor sin?, is evidence of the bond with Allah Ta’ala as well as evidence of the weakness of that bond. Those who are in this habit of posing this question will be delighted from the aforegoing explanation that their relationship with Allah Ta’ala has been accorded a firm footing. To a degree this delight is justified.


One should understand, reflect and remember that one should not be satisfied with mere relationship. Social ties exist among ourselves, but we do not content ourselves with the mere existence of such ties. On the contrary, the desire is there to perfect each bond of relationship. Thus, it will be realised that the mere concept of relationship with the wife is extremely weak. It is given force by only two statements (of ijaab and qubool proposal and acceptance), and the same bond of marriage is rent asunder by a single word, viz., talaq. Notwithstanding this, no man contents himself with the mere relationship he has with the wife. Every man desires that his relationship with his wife attains perfection. Precisely for this reason no one stops at only the discharge of the obligatory rights, but in order to strengthen the bond and gain the pleasure of the wife, the husband by far exceeds the obligatory demands and rights of the wife and provides a variety of comforts and luxuries out of his own free will and accord. This attitude of the husband is clearly motivated to strengthen and perfect the bond which exists between the wife and himself. Should the husband regard his wife with a consitutional (or legal) attitude and provide nothing more than her obligatory rights, then inspite of the existence of the legal bond between them, the relationship will be devoid of pleasure and love. In fact, in this attitude lies the danger of renting asunder the relationship.

A relationship will endure only if ways and means are devised to strengthen and perfect it. Although the marriage bond (i.e. the mere legal connection) is extremely weak, every man finds unbearable and peace-shattering its severance. Great pains are undertaken and many a scheme is devised to maintain the endurance of this marriage relationship. When this is the attitude to wards a weak relationship, then indeed, it is most astonishing that we remain satisfied with the mere relationship which we have with Allah Ta’ala. The bond with Allah Ta’ala  is the strongest of all relationship. No relationship is comparable with man’s relationship with Allah Ta’ala. What then is the reason for our indifference? Why do we have no fikr (concern and desire) to strengthen the greatest of all bonds? Why are we contented with the mere relationship? And, why do we not regard the perpetuation of this bond to be based upon strengthening it like we do in regard to our mundane relationships? The mere existence of a relationship is not sufficient for its perpetual endurance. In fact the danger of destroying and eliminating this bond is ever present. Is the elimination of the Divine bond existing between man and his Rabb bearable to anyone? Never! Why then is no concern shown in the direction of strengthening and perfecting this bond? Maulana Rumi (rahmatullahi alayhi) says:

“O you who are perpetually engaged in pleasing the wife and children! How is it possible that you never have time to please your greatest Benefactor and Creator?”

And, again he says:

“In developing this contemptible world you have no moment to spare. But, how unconcerned are you of the pleasure of that Creator Who has arranged and assembled all these bounties?”

Alas! In worldly affairs we cannot bear nor countenance the slightest indifference and imperfection. We are unable to bear the slackening of weak and despicable ties, but in weakening our bond with Allah Ta’ala we do not feel the slightest pang of regret and pain of heart. Although even the mere relationship with Allah Ta’ala is a great favour, nevertheless to be contented with a weak bond is grave injustice. Certain people are even satisfied with the non-existence of relationship with Allah Ta’ala. But they are the kuffaar who are not our audience on this occasion. Some others again are contented with a weak relationship with Allah Ta’ala. This group is represented by us, Muslims of today. The effect of this is that we do not value the Mustahabbat. Once Hazrat Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayi) observed:

“In childhood I was once in the habit of performing Nafl Salaat in abundance. Upon studying Muniyatul Musalli I learnt that non-observance of Mustahabbat is not sinful. Upon realising this, I discontinued the performance of Nafl. At that time I did not realise what I was doing. But, now I have realised that evil condition, for it implied the desire to maintain only a legal relationship with Allah Ta’ala, hence the attitude to only discharge the compulsory duties and neglect those factors which are pleasing to Allah Ta’ala.”

It is entirely a different issue to omit Mustahab on Shar’i grounds. For example: Omitting the Mustahab in order to indicate to others that the act is not Wajib (compulsory); in a journey to omit the performance of Nafl Salat in consideration of one’s travelling companions; or because of any difficulty occurring in some essential work; or due to much tiredness, the Mustahabs are omitted. Such omission of Mustahabbat is not reprimandable. Even the hadith says:

“Verily, your soul too has a right over you.”

But the hadith orders us to seek protection against abstention from Mustahabbat due to indolence.

“O Allah! Verily, I seek refuge with You from weakness and indolence.” (Hadith)

It should be well remembered that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) exhorted us to seek comfort and in its pursuit, he (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) exhorted certain Sahabah to abstain from even some Mustahabbat and reduce the performance of Nafl Salaat. On the contrary he exhorted the seeking of protection from indolence. There is a difference in these two occasions of abstention from Mustahabbat. The quest for comfort is after one has made full effort and laboured fully in accordance with one’s capability. When one has done so, the Shar’i command is that one should not labour and toil more than could be borne by one’s ability and strength. The order is then to take rest and comfort. If, on the other-hand, one labours a bit and not to one’s full capacity, and then refrains from the work, then it will be said that the cause is indolence. It is of such indolence that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered the seeking of protection.

THE BARKAT OF MUSTAHABBAT Since our relationship with Allah Ta’ala is solemn, great and vital, the execution of Mustahabbat too is vital. This discussion was initiated by the assertion that every part of the Quran of Allah Ta’ala is of importance. It was said in this regard that in the Quran Kareem is the mention of Mustahabbat, but inspite of this, these Mustahabbat are considered to be unimportant; it is necessary to educate and instruct in these; their benefits and significance are innumerable. One such benefit is that at times Mustahabbat act as a prevention against sin. One who is constant in Tahajjud, Ishraq, Chasht and Awwabeen will abstain from sin to a greater degree than one who performs only the five Fardh Salat. Furthermore, a regular performer of Tahajjud, etc. is considered a pious person by others. This consideration in itself acts as an impediment to sin since such a person will feel ashamed to perpetrate sins.

Another benefit of Mustahabbat is that sometimes Allah Ta’ala is pleased so much with a certain Mustahab act that najat (salvation) is obtained by virtue of it.

An interesting episode is related here to indicate this importance. Someone saw in a dream, Seebaway, the expert of Arabic grammar, and enquired of him as to how he fared by Allah. Seebaway by belief belonged to the Mu’tazili sect. he replied: “Allah forgave me.’ When asked: “On what basis did Allah forgive you?” he replied: “On the basis of a question in grammar.” He outlined the question as follows:

“The experts of grammar have differed in regard to the question of Ma’rifah (proper noun). Among the Dhamais A’raful Mair (pronouns which are a class of Ma’rifah) which Dhameer arif? Some said that A’raful Ma’ar (1st  person — if is the Dhameer of the Mutakallim the speaker); others said the Mukhátab (second person — — the one who is being addressed). And I said that the word Allah is A’raful Ma’arif; that there is no Ma’rifah superior to it, because the word Allah refers to the Being of Allah exclusively, there being no other possibility. This was pleasing to Allah Ta’ala Who said: ‘You have honoured MY NAME well. Go you are forgiven.’”

Thus it will be realized that the forgiveness and salvation of this grammarian were attained on something which he said without even having had the intention of gaining reward, but he obtained victory on its basis.

A saint was walking once at night time in severe cold. In the dark he saw a kitten shivering in the cold. He took pity on the kitten and brought it home where it was warmed. After the saint died, Allah Ta’ala asked him: “What have you brought for Me?”

He ruminated: “My deeds are not worthy of presentation, but by grace of Allah, I possess the treasure of Imán in which there could not have been any trait of ostentation (riyá). I should present this to Allah Ta’ala.”
He then stated: “I have brought Tauheed.”

He was then reminded: “Do you remember the night of the milk? The night when you drank milk and attributed the ensuing stomach-pain to the milk, saying that: “the milk caused the pain’. What! Is this Tauheed? You overlooked Me and attributed the act to the milk whereas I am the true Cause.”

Upon this revelation, the saint trembled in fear. 

Allah Ta’ala exclaimed: “You have now realized the reality of your claim? Now, I will forgive you because of an act which you never dreamt would be the medium of salvation. One night you took pity on a kitten shivering in the cold and gave it succour. You were merciful to My creature. It is a greater requirement that I be merciful to you. Go, you have been forgiven.” 

Such is the grace, barakat and favour of Mustahabbát. The ahádith are replete with such instances — — such insignificant occurrences which countenanced salvation.

Another illustration is the episode of a prostitute which has been narrated in the hadith. Once she saw a dog in the intense heat licking the ground due to thirst. She took pity on the dog. Nearby was a well, but there was no rope and bucket with which to draw the water. She used her scarf as a rope and her leather sock as a container. With these she managed to draw sufficient water to quench the thirst of the almost dying dog. After a while this woman died. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that she was forgiven and attained salvation because of this merciful act shown to the dog. It has been well said:

‘The Rahmat of Allah is in search of some excuse so as to forgive (people their sins). It does not search for any price.”

My friends! Never regard any good act as insignificant or despicable. It is not known which act appeals to Allah Ta’ala. Nowadays there are people who are disposed to abstain from practicing righteous deeds upon hearing episodes of Allah’s bountless mercy.

The similitude of these episodes is like the rain. Not only these  episodes, but even Nusoos (Quranic verses and Ahadith) bear the same similitude. Rain in itself is highly beneficial and life-giving. However, its effect on different substrata varies. If the ground is fertile, the beneficial effect is manifested in the luxurious growth. If the ground is arid and barren, then the more the rainfall, the more thorn-trees, brambles and shrubbery. Shaikh Sa’di (rahmatullah alayhi) says:

“There is no doubt in the beneficial effect of rain. If it rains in a garden, tulips grow; if it rains in arid ground, thorns and brambles grow.”

Similar is the effect of episodes of Rahmat on different persons. People of different dispositions are affected differently by these stories of mercy. Those of a sick disposition and unhealthy temperament interpret these incidents of mercy in a grossly distorted manner. They say if Allah Ta’ala forgives on the basis of such trivial acts, then there is no real need for righteous deeds. On the other hand, those of a healthy disposition and who are straight-thinking, upon hearing such incidents of Rahmat increase their acts of obedience. In fact, at times, if forgiveness is obtained without punishment, those whose hearts are imbued with Divine Recognition are smitten with shame far greater than the shame which they would have suffered if they had received some punishment. Only those who have suffered this state know its reality.


Whoever has understood this condition (of extreme shame for obtaining forgiveness without being punished) will understand without the slightest difficulty the tafseer of the âyat:

‘Thus, (Allah Ta’ala) awarded you with grief as a recompense for grief so that you may not (again) grieve.”

The reference in this verse is to an incident which occurred during the battle of Uhud. Prior to the commencing of the battle, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) posted fifty Sahabah to guard the mountain pass — — to thwart any attack from the rear. They were instructed not to leave their posts without Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) permission, no matter what the condition of the main army may be. After this arrangement Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered the Muslims to attack. By the fadhl of Allah the Muslims gained victory within a very short while. The kuffár were decisively routed. Abu Sufyan lbn Harb who at that time was the commander of the kuffár army, fled with his army. The flag which he was holding fell down. The Muslims pursued the fleeing enemy. On observing this total route of the kuffar, a difference arose among the Muslims guarding the mountain-pass. Some were of the opinion that since victory has been achieved there no longer remained the need to guard the pass as the purpose for this duty no longer existed. In their opinion they would not be disobeying the order of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) if they now left their position. They argued that thus far they had not actively participated in the battle and they now felt the need to join in the pursuit of the kuffar. However, some others opposed this view, saying that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) issued strict instructions not to leave the post under any circumstances and without his express consent. But, the first group rejected this advice and forty men left the position which they were guarding and became engaged in the gathering of booty. This was an error of judgement on their part.

Khálid Bin Walid who at that stage had not yet embraced Islam and who was in the army of the kuffar observed this move. He had left some spies at the mountain to keep him informed of the position at the mountain- pass. While he was on the run with the army of the kuffar his spies informed him that the fortification at the mountain was abandoned. Khalid Bin Walid who was well-experienced in military tactics and a seasoned officer immediately retrenched his steps with five hundred soldiers and soon reached the post now guarded by only eleven Sahabah. The Sahabah defended valiantly but were overwhelmed and martyred. Khalid Bin Waleed then commenced his attack on the Muslims from the rear. Seeing the tables being turned, the rest of the kuffar army joined in the attack on the Muslims who were now encircled. The danger which caused Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to fortify the mountain pass now materialised. Seventy Muslims were martyred in the ensuing engagement.

Hearing the false cry of the shaitan that Muhammad is slain, the feet of many Sahabah were uprooted and the tables were completely turned on the Muslims. Inspite of this severe setback the Muslims were not defeated. Sayyiduna Muhammadur Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with a handful of devotees held their ground, never turning their backs. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) ordered the Sahaabi to regroup. With one call all the Muslims regrouped.

Allah Ta’ala attributes the calamity upon the Muslims to the error in judgement which they made when they abandoned their position without the permission of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), The Quraan, therefore says:

“And, you disobeyed (the order of Rasulullah) after He (Allah) showed you that which you loved (i.e. the victory of the Muslims).”

They are then reprimanded by Allah Ta’ala:

“Thus He awarded you with grief as a recompense for the grief (which you caused Rasulullah by departing from his command) so that you may not grieve over that which has slipped by you.

The wisdom underlying this retribution is stated: “So that you do not grieve over that which has slipped by you.”

This disgression was necessitated by the assertion that some persons of noble disposition undergo greater shame and regret if no retribution is taken, hence the purport of the áyat (mentioned above) is:

We recompensed you with a little hardship so that you may not grieve much if forgiven without retribution having being taken.

The Sahabah were the beloved devotees of Allah and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), If their error was forgiven without any recompense being meted out, they would not have been able to raise their heads all their life because of regret and shame. Thus they were given a slight punishment so as to save them from great grief. It will now be realised that punishment is not always to inflict grief. On the contrary, it is meted out sometimes to reduce grief.

This explanation was necessary because some people upon hearing narratives of Rahmat become audacious and neglect righteousness. In this regard one should reflect: Will one who remains restless if not punished for error, become audacious in the commission of sin upon hearing narratives of mercy? Certainly, those who possess a healthy disposition and have a bond of love with Allah Ta’ala, will increase their obedience upon hearing episodes of Allah’s Rahmat. The slave whose folly is overlooked without punishment and inspite of this, he becomes audacious in his disobedience is indeed a person of great degeneration.

The slave who, inspite of being forgiven his folly without being punished and is audacious in disobeying his master, is of the lowest calibre and most contemptible. A noble man is he who observing a favour of his master submits himself lifelong. It is for this reason that it was said that those who become audacious in neglecting good acts upon hearing narratives of Rahmat are people of an unhealthy disposition. They should be concerned with the rectification of their condition and endeavour to create a bond of love with Allah Ta’ala. The method of attaining this goal is for a while to remain in the company of the pious saints. They will then not misconstrue the narratives of Rahmat and will acquire the true benefits of the Mustahab acts. Thus a lifetime of misfortune will be obliterated. Indeed instructing us in the Mustahabbát is a great favour and mercy of Allah Ta’ala upon us.

REVERTING TO THE MAIN TOPIC It will now be realised that every part of the Quran Kareem is of importance, and the Mustahabbát in so far as instruction and education are concerned too are of great importance. Regarding ‘aml’ (righteous deeds) Mustahabbát are of great efficiency in producing results. The claim that every statement of Allah and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is essential, is therefore correct. It is also correct to claim that in the áyát under discussion is a very important subject similar in importance to subjects of other áyat. In this áyat Allah Ta’ala informs us of a very simple remedy for our evil plight and condition. There is no doubt in the fact that our plight is evil. No one is free from this vile condition. However, although the evil condition is common in us all, there exist differences in the degree of degeneration. In some the degeneration and destruction are of a greater degree and in others, of a lesser degree.

The one whose condition is of a lesser degree of degeneration will be more distressed than those whose condition is degenerated to a much higher degree. This discussion, therefore, is applicable to people of all degrees of degeneration. In fact, those whose degeneration is of a lesser degree stand in greater need of this discussion because they are overtaken by distress. This could be better understood by means of an analogy. It has been observed that those who are in great debt are worried to a lesser degree than those who have lesser debt. The reason for this being that the one with great debt has already become addicted to debt and feel the strain much less than the one who is not in the habit of accruing debt. The one who is not habituated to debt suffers much although he has hope of liquidating his debt. He remains restless all night, and he wonders at those who can sleep peacefully in spite of being drowned in debt.

CONCERN OVER HARDSHIPS When there is hope of overcoming the difficulty then there is concern and worry about it. When this hope vanishes then concern too disappears. One then ceases to be worried about the difficulty since it assumes one’s second nature. One becomes like a permanent invalid. Likewise, those who do not sin much, remain worried and full of regret, and those who commit sin in abundance, are not concerned much. Constant commission of sin has desensitized them. At times abundance of sin induces in one the condition of hopelessness, i.e. one loses all hope in the mercy of Allah Ta’ala, labouring under the impression that forgiveness is no longer possible. When this state of degeneration is reached, man sins and derives full pleasure. He now opens his heart and sins most audaciously until when maut arrives, then too, he does not incline towards lstighfár and Taubah. Should he be instructed at this stage to resort to lstighfár and Taubah, he will vehemently refuse. In this regard Imam lbn  Qayyim (rahmatullah alayhi) said:

“While a man was dying those present instructed him to recite the Kalimah, but he refused saying: ‘Of what benefit is a single statement? My sins are so numerous that a thousand Kalimahs too will not be able to obliterate them.”

This was the state of hopelessness which had been reached. This state of hopelessness is kufr. May Allah Ta’ala protect every Muslim, Ameen.

AT TIMES EVEN OBEDIENCE HAVE DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS The detrimental effects of abundant sin are manifest. It is astonishing that at times such  harmful effects flow in the wake of obedience as well. This could not have been understood by anyone other than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who was educated by Allah Ta’ala, Himself. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“My Rabb educated me; He gave me the best of education, My Rabb schooled me in etiquette: He gave me the best of etiquette.”

Since, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was taught in this gracious manner by Allah Ta’ala his far-sightedness and insight can never be overemphasised. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) explained that at times even obedience produces harmful results. His far-sightedness could be gauged from this instruction. Superficially it seems that obedience in any amount is meritorious. The more the obedience the better, hence there should not be limits prescribed for obedience. But Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) understood this mystery well. He therefore explained that obedience too has a limit. A sick person requires medicine, but inspite of the medicine being beneficial, it has prescribed limits. If given in excess, the harmful result will be understandable. The same applies to obedience. Although in itself, obedience is meritorious and beneficial, but the physicians of the Rooh, the Ambiya (alayhimus salam) and their heirs have informed us that obedience too is like a remedy which has prescribed limits.

Khauf (Fear) of Allah Ta’ala is a state of great obedience. The Quran and Ahádith, over and over, instructs us to inculcate this Khauf. But, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) prescribed a limit for this Fear. Hence, in one dua he says:

“O Allah! Verily, I ask You that amount of Your Fear which will act as a barrier between us and disobeying You.”

In this dua it has been shown that fear without any limit is not the goal. That much of fear is desired which will prevent us from disobedience.


Experience has proven that an excess of innate fear is harmful. A person afflicted with excess fear perpetually fixes his gaze on the Wrath of Allah Ta’ala. He does not consider any evil act worthy of forgiveness nor does he consider any of his deeds worthy of acceptance in the Court of Grandeur of Allah Ta’ala. Thus he does not entertain the hope of salvation. The end result will be that such a person will lose all hope in the mercy of Allah Ta’ala, and such hopelessness is kufr. Who other than Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) could prescribe that excess of obedience too could be detrimental? Allah Ta’ala says:

“Verily, none loses hope in the mercy of Allah, but a nation of unbelievers.”  

Precisely for this reason did Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) say:

“… so much fear which will act as a barrier between us and disobeying You (i.e. sin).”

THE PHILOSOPHERS AND THE AMBIYA (ALAYHIMUS SALAM) The ancient philosophers on observing the eternal truths propounded by the Ambiyá (alayhimus salam) were stunned. In their books they were constrained to attest to the reality of Nubuwwat. In this regard they claimed that it is possible that from the First Cause of Grace  (a crude reference to the  Creator — conception of the All-Powerful Allah Azza wa jal — — — the philosophers had no clear translator) knowledge could be transmitted directly to certain persons. Because of this view, no philosopher denied the Nubuwwat of any Nabi during his time. They even went to the extent of saying that the lofty knowledge possessed by the Ambiya cannot be gained by means of spiritual exercises. Inspite of this acknowledgement, the philosophers committed the fatal blunder of claiming that the Ambiyá (alayhimus salam) were sent for the masses for the ignorant and the illiterate. They, therefore, did not feel obliged to follow the Ambiyá (alayhimus salam), claiming that they could purify their own souls by means of knowledge and spiritual exercises. Hence, in their opinion they stood in no need of a spiritual guide. Certain Mufassireen have said that in regard to such philosophers Allah Ta’ala says in the Qurán Kareem:

“And, when the Rusul (Ambiya) came to them (philosophers) with clear signs, they became boastful because of the (worldly) knowledge they possessed. And, they were hemmed in by that which they mocked.”

They regarded this mundane life as the goal and were proud with the ability they possessed in this regard. They rejected the Akhirah, dubbed the quest for the Akhirah insanity and treated the warnings for rejection with mockery. Allah’s atháb (punishment) finally overtook them.

The attitude of these philosophers was the same as that of those Jews who while acknowledging the Nubuwwat of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was indeed a Nabi, but a Nabi for only the Arabs. They denied that he was a Nabi for them since they asserted that they possessed a Scripture. The folly of their thinking is manifest. They acknowledged that he was a Nabi. A requisite of a Nabi is that he is truthful. That very person whom they acknowledged as a Nabi, albeit for only the Arabs; declared:

“I am the Nabi unto all mankind. Obedience to me is obligatory. There is no salvation without following me.”

Their rejection of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is, therefore, in own claims and understanding, illogic and irrational.


The ancient philosophers were unlike the so-called philosophers and scientists of today. These so-called philosophers of today reject the very reality of Nubuwwat. In fact those of today are not philosophers. On the contrary they are technologists. Technology will remain beneficial as long as it is not misused. But technology does not qualify one as a wise man. Hikmat (wisdom) is acquired through spiritual and metaphysical knowledge.

But, the so-called philosophers (the scientists, theosophists, evolutioners, etc.) are absolutely devoid of any spiritual knowledge. It is because of the total lack of this form of knowledge that they reject outrightly Nubuwwat.


This digression followed in explanation of the assertion that at times harmful effects ensue in the wake of  righteousness as well. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) made this abundantly clear. And, this was presented in explaining that sometimes abundance of sin causes one to lose hope in the mercy of Allah; and when such a condition is reached, one indulges in sin shamelessly and audaciously. Sin then ceases to bother or worry such a perpertrator. But one who has sinned slightly does not lose hope in Maghfirat and Rahmat. He always entertains hope and is concerned with his condition. He strives to abstain from sin. For this reason was it said earlier that those whose spiritual condition is on a lesser degree of degeneration, stand in greater need of this discourse.


Among those of lesser degeneration, the condition of the khawás (special devotees of Allah Ta’ala) is more acute. Their state is aptly summed up in the couplet:

“If from the garden of the Salik (the devotee journeying in the quest of Allah) a single blade of grass is reduced
Thousands of pangs of grief smite his heart.

In other words: leave alone sin; if even a slight change undergoes his heart, a mountain of grief breaks down upon him, If at that juncture of grief a qualified spiritual guide is at hand, the devotee is consoled and saved from destruction, for at times the devotee is utterly annihilated by the unbearable grief. (This condition of extreme grief is called “Qabdh” in the terminology of Tasawwuf). About this condition Maulana Rumi (rahmatullah alayhi) says:

“When the condition of qabdh appears, contemplate the condition of bast (bast is the opposite condition of qabdh), remain happy and display no sign of grief. This is indeed a statement of great wisdom and experience.”

Although it is quite natural to be worried during the condition of qabdh, but to remain intelectually perturbed even after being consoled and comforted by a Shaikh Kaamil (a qualified spiritual mentor) is regrettable. This consolation of the Shaikh Kaamil is based on the benefits which are given effect by the condition of qabdh. The state of qabdh is not to be interpreted as the negation of kamal (perfection).

Leave aside ordinary mortals, even Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on the first occasion of Wahi, was overwhelmed by the heaviness of Wahi or by the grandeur and splendour of Allah Ta’ala, so much so that he was gripped by uncontrolable shivering. In fear Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) returned home from the Cave of Hira, wrapped himself in a blanket and went to sleep. After having rested, Hadhrat Khadeejah (radiallahu anha) went with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to Warqah Bin Naufal who was a great AIim of the Taurah and Injeel. After listening to the episode of Nabi (sallallahu  alayhi  wasallam) — the incident of Wahi — Warqah gave Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) the glad tidings of Nubuwwat. He then observed:

“Alas! One day your community will expel you from Makkah. If I remain alive, I will aid you wholeheartedly.” 

After this first incidence of Wahi, the Revelation ceased for a period of three years. These three years — the period of Wahi-cessation — — were of unbearable grief to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The grief and sadness increased to such an extent that at times Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) climbed the mountain and decided to throw himself from it ending his misery. What was this state of extreme grief and sorrow? It was nothing but the state of qabdh. This condition of qabdh is not a state in contradiction to the Shariah. If it was, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would not have experienced it. It was the love for Wahi which brought about this condition of grief in Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). In this state of extreme restlessness, Jibraeel (alayhis salam) would appear and comfort and console Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He would say:

“O Muhammad! You are the Nabi of this Ummat. Allah Ta‘ala has raised you as the Nabi, Do not fear nor grieve.”

If this then was the state of even Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then who else can there be who will not be overtaken by grief during the condition of qabdh?

By being conscious of the beneficial effects of qabdh, the heart experiences pleasure to a certain degree. At times one has an awareness of these beneficial effects although only in brief. In this regard Maulana Rumi (rahmatullah alayhi) says:

“O Salik! When qabdh alights upon you then do not be overwhelmed by grief, for it is the medium of your reformation,”

Thus it is clear that qabdh too has its benefits and that it is not an evil condition. The sálik should, therefore, not consider himself to be accursed when this condition overtakes him. Says Maulana Rumi:

“When qabdh alights then contemplate the condition of bast (which is the opposite of qabdh). Remain cheerful and happy and display no sign of grief.”

Maulana Rumi shows here that there is a strong likelihood of bast following the condition of qabdh. Like it is said:

“After every difficulty is ease. (Quraan), so too, after every qabdh is bast.”

Sometimes one acquires detailed knowledge of the beneficial results of qabdh. In that case the sálik becomes fully consoled and comforted by this awareness. Sometimes the purpose of qabdh is to eliminate the destructive force of riya (ostentation) and kibr (pride which had developed in the salik during the state of bast. Sometimes during the state of qabdh a new condition of spiritual elevation is awarded to the sálik. This results in some pride which leads the sálik to consider himself a great man of piety. If at that critical juncture Allah’s protection is not forthcoming, then the sálik will be utterly destroyed in pride and vanity. Allah Ta’ala protects the sálik in a variety of ways from these maladies and destructive forces. Sometimes Allah Ta’ala produces the state of qabdh and eliminates the pleasure and delight of the bast which had produced the harmful effects. The sálik then, instead of regarding himself as superior and with vanity, considers himself to be the most despicable and contemptible in the whole world. Truly, in that condition of qabdh, the sálik sees no one on earth as contemptible as himself. And, the true purpose of Tasawwuf is precisely this, that one considers one’self as the meanest and most despicable.


These states of spiritualism described will only be understood if experienced. Until such experiences have been attained, the words of the Ahle Dil (the People of the Heart. i.e. ,the Auliyá) cannot be understood. It has been aptly observed:

“Someone enquired from me the nature of love I said: When you become like me you will understand the nature of love.”

Hadhrat Mujaddid Alfe Thani (rahmatullah alayhi) said:

“One cannot be an árif until one considers one’self more contemptuous than a káfir.”

If this condition has not passed over one, one will not be able to understand it. Nevertheless, it may be understood by reflecting on the end of one’s life. What will be my end? Perhaps the end of a kâfir may be better. (One may possess lmam today, but at death kufr manifests itself or a káfir may just before death be blessed with the wealth of Iman). Every person should always think along the line of the final result, and school one’s nafs with the lesson: When I am not aware of my own end, what right do I possess to consider myself superior or nobler to others? What right have I to regard others as inferior?

Although there is no certainty that one is the most despicable of all, nevertheless the possibility exists. In the face of this possibility it is not intelligent to consider one superior to others. The safest course, therefore, is to consider one’self to be the most contemptible. However, care should be exercised that this feeling does not degenerate to the level of “yás” (losing all hope in the mercy of Allah), because this condition of yás is kufr. Someone said excellently:

“Despair not of the mercy of Allah Ta’ala. At times those drowned in immorality suddenly reach the destination by a single call”

Thus when during the state of bast there results the manifestation of spiritually elevated experiences, a condition similar to pride sets in. At that stage Allah Ta’ala produces the condition of qabdh so that the sálik beholds in him the impressions of servitude and insignificance. He then regards himself as the most contemptible. This in reality is a condition of great Rahmat for the sálik, for it has become a medium of a wonderful blessing. If the state of qabdh did not settle over the sálik, he would have been destroyed in the condition of bast.

Besides this benefit, another advantage of qabdh is the removal of the hijáb (veil) which sometimes is created for the sálik by anwár and tajalliyát (spiritual illumination and effulgence). Such spiritual illumination is the result of Zikrullah (Remembrance of Allah). The sâlik becomes lost in ecstacy in the resultant tajalliyát. His attention is thus diverted from Allah Ta’ala Who is the true Purpose and Motive for the striving of the spiritual traveller (salik).

Hadhrat Haji lmdadullah Muhajir Makki (rahmatullah alayhi) said:

“There are two types of hijab (spiritual veils or impediments), viz. Zulmáni (of spiritual darkness) and Nuráni (of spiritual illumination). Hijab Zulmáni comprises evil whisperings (waswás) and suspicions (khatrat). Such factors enter the heart at the time of Zikrullah and they pertain to mundane affairs. Directing one’s attention towards these factors of spiritual darkness is detrimental. Hijáb Nuráni is the revelation of the tajalliyát and anwar of Alame Malakut or the realm of the angels. Since Alame Malakut is also an existence apart from Allah Ta’ala, the attention should not be focussed on it. Attention on anything besides Allah is diversion from Allah Ta’ala. Such diversion has to be shunned.”

Hijáb Nurani is a graver condition than Hijab Zulmáni because it retains the attention more by virtue of its spiritual effulgence. Another diversionary aspect of Nurani Hijáb is the revelation of new and amazing phenomena. Observing these super-natural phenomena the sálik considers himself spiritually perfect whereas the truth is that he is as yet involved with ghair-Haqq (that which is besides Allah). Thus such spiritual illumination constitutes an obstacle for the sálik in his spiritual sojourn towards Allah Ta’ala. Furthermore, the sálik experiences a state of ecstacy during the flow of such spiritual illumination and effulgence, hence, he is overcome with immense grief if such illumination ceases. At this juncture Allah Ta’ala overtakes the sálik with the state of qabdh and eliminates the tajalliyát which were previously experienced. In this manner the sálik is awakened from his ecstacy; his attention is diverted from ghair-Haqq and rivetted to Allah Ta’ala Who is the true and original Purpose of the sálik.

There are other wisdoms and advantages of the state of qabdh. If it was not for this condition, the salik’s attention will be diverted from his true purpose. Therefore, if any zákir and shághil (one engaged in the Zikr of Allah and in spiritual exercises) at any time experiences this condition of qabdh he should not fear, but should consider it the Rahmat of Allah Ta’ala. In it is betterment. The sálik, himself, on most occasions will discover the wisdoms underlying the state of qabdh. By being conscious of these benefits and advantages of qabdh, the heart derives peace and consolation which results in pleasure. The qabdh in itself is not something of comfort or consolation. On the contrary it is an aspect of worry and concern. The consolation is derived by being conscious of the advantages ensuing in its wake.


It is obvious that in worldly setbacks, loss and hardship, the result is grief and sorrow. Although the loss in itself is something painful and of concern, the heart could be solaced by thinking about the sawáb in the Akhirat resulting from the loss or by instituting measures of safety to prevent a recurrence of the loss which was due perhaps to negligence. Inspite of the consoling factors in such cases, one does not become pleased with the actual loss or hardship. The similitude of qabdh is the same. It is a spiritual loss which in the analogy is comparable with material loss occassioning natural grief. Like the mundane loss is not something of consolation, so too, the qabdh in itself is not a phenomenon of comfort and consolation. It is a different matter that meditation on the advantages of qabdh produces consolation. Like in mundane affairs, a new and increased income daily is a cause of comfort, so too, is the condition of bast which is the actual state of happiness and comfort. The continuous inspiring of the heart with spiritual illumination is the actual state of delight and pleasure. The esoteric self (bátin) steadily and continuously progresses in such states of Tajalliyát-e-Haqq.

This discussion was initiated upon the assertion that among those who sin less, the khás (special devotees) are smitten with extreme grief and restlessness by even the loss of a spiritual state or experience, leave alone the commission of sin. The grief suffered by the sálik by the slightest loss of a spiritual rank is far greater than the loss which a king suffers by losing his kingdom. It should now be clear that one who sins less is smitten by greater concern and grief than one who sins much. His example is like one who has never borrowed from anyone. He always possessed and gave to others. If at anytime his funds are depleted — — leave alone borrowing – he is overtaken with extreme worry. The thought of incurring debt is  repulsive to one who has never borrowed.


Leave alone sinning, the Ahlulláh (Saints of Allah) shudder at the mere possibility and thought of sin. They are terrified by even a reduction in their spiritually illumined experiences and inspirations, because such a reduction creates the suspicion or fear of demotion and being distanced from the Proximity of Allah Ta’ala.

They suffer and grieve more than others in the event of having committed a sin because they are pained and wounded severely by the spear of sin. On the contrary those who have been dessensitized by abundance of sin do not refrain from sin even after repenting. It is reported in the Hadith that the commission of a sin results in a black spot forming on the heart. With each sin a new black spot forms until finally the whole heart is engulfed by the blackness of abundance of sin.

The feeling of concern over committing sin is common to all although in various degrees of perception. Some perceive it more, some less. One who is not at all pained by sin is indeed on an extremely low ebb of degeneration. His very condition of indifference is a cause for extreme pity. Firstly, we (as Mu’min) should be reduced to tears by merely gazing on sin, and if this is not our condition then we should lament and be grieved for not being in the position to shed tears when gazing on sin. Such a condition of hard-heartedness is indeed lamentable. My friends! If one cannot shed tears then at least assume the form of shedding tears. In this regard the Hadith states:

“And, if you do not cry then assume the form of crying.”

In this Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) substituted ‘tabáki’ (assuming the form of crying) for ‘buka’ (actual crying) because shedding actual tears is not the motive or purpose. The true purpose is the crying of the heart. Therefore, although in ‘tabaki’ actual crying does not occur, the crying of the heart does take place. The nature and reality of the heart crying is concern and grief, sorrow and regret. It has been well said:

“Noble is the eye which sheds tears in the remembrance of the Beloved (Allah Ta’ala)
Noble is the heart which is scorched in the fire of separation (separated from its Beloved Allah Ta’ala),”

Once Hadhrat Isa (alayhis salám) delivered a discourse, The effect of the talk was so profound that the audience started to tear their clothing. Hadhrat Isa (alayhis salám) said: “Tear not your garments, tear your hearts.”

It should not be inferred from this that those who had torn their garments by being overwhelmed in grief are to be criticized. The statement merely means that the ‘asl maqsood’ (true and actual purpose) is the ‘tearing’ of the heart. One should endeavour in this direction and not criticize those who tear their garments in a state of uncontrollable grief and sorrow. Shaikh Sa’di (rahmatullah alayhi) says:

“Do not be amazed at the superficial errors of the Saints, for they are drowned in the ocean of Allah’s Love.”

In this statement of Shaikh Sa’di is counsel for us not to criticize and find fault with the Auliyá. 

Vindicating the Auliya, Shaikh Sa’di (rahmatullah alayhi) says:

“ln the effort to obtain the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala they droop their heads in their garments. When the grief becomes unbearable they rent their garments.”


The kámil (a saint who has attained spiritual perfection) superficially seems to be sákin (dormant) whereas in actual fact he is progressing at an extremely swift pace. He takes immense strides (in the spiritual realm) in the shortest of time. However, occasional states of ecstacy, e.g. tearing of garments, unconsciousness and uncontrollabl  shedding of tears are not negatory of his kamál (perfection). Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) once fell into a swoon upon mentioning the name of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Who could be on a higher pedestal of spiritual perfection and illumination than the Sahábah Kirám?

The Sahábah Kirám were the strongest and possessed the most independent dispositions. The demise of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was an event of the greatest and gravest occurrence to the Muslims. However, besides shedding tears and crying they did nothing else. If they had to wail and tear their garments as much as they could, all would be slight in the face of this momentuous event. Nevertheless, they all showed superb restraint and control. Some change which had undergone certain among the sahábah was quickly rectified by the wise counsel of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (radiallahu anhu). Despite their extreme grief and sorrow, the Sahábah immediately involved themselves in the activities of the Deen. The ability to exercise control and restraint in conditions of extreme grief and sorrow was common to all the Sahábah Kirám. Their ability of control during spiritual states and experiences was of such a high degree that they never were overwhelmed. They neither danced in ecstacy nor tore their  garments. They had full control of themselves during the states of kayfiyat. Hadhrat Shaikh Abdul Haq Radwali (rahmatullah alayhi) said:

“Hadhrat Mansur (rahmatullah alayhi) was an ‘infant’ (i.e. not having attained, perfection in this Path), hence he screamed in a mere drop (of that Eternal and Divine Love) which overwhelmed him. But here (referring to, the Sahábah) were men (a reference to their great courage and capacity to bear themselves during spiritual experiences of elevation). They (were such men) who consumed oceans of Divine Love without even a sign showing.”

The ocean (of Divine Love) of the Sahábah Kirám did not take the route of wajd (ecstacy), raqs (spiritual dances) and shath (statements uttered during ecstacy, having meanings other than that conveyed by the words). Their ocean took another   direction, viz, benefit and service to Allah’s creation. Their enthusiasm and their clamour were directed and chanelled into the service of the seekers of the Truth. In consequence, thousands of people attained the rank of wilayat (sainthood). If at times their ocean of love was beyond enduring then it found an outlet in tears. It is said:

“O Rabb! What kind of fountain is the Fount of Love? I drank a drop and an ocean of tears flowed.”

The shedding of tears when overwhelmed by such grief is not a deficiency. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also at times shed tears during Salát, and a sound like a boiling cauldron would emerge from his breast.

THE OVERWHELMED IS EXCUSED Screaming, tearing garments and spiritual dancing are not acts of kamál (perfection). These are mere conditions which are neither desirable nor reprehensible. The desirable conditions are those which bear likeness to the states of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The greater the resemblance to the conditions of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the greater the degree of perfection. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has, therefore, said that the true (and desired) crying is the crying of the heart, not mere shedding of tears. But, assuming the form of crying is not without advantage. In it is obedience to the order of Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Thus, at times when shedding tears is not forthcoming, then by imitating this advice of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the desired goal is attained.


Indeed, our condition stands in dire need of reformation. Those who are involved in even less sin should also regret. Those who do not regret should indeed regret because of their impervious and hard condition. This condition of indifference to sin — — the  condition in  which there is no regret — — is a more dangerous situation. It is graver if it remains static even after being reminded. Sometimes, one fails to regret one’s deplorable state of degeneration, but upon being reminded, one is induced to reflect. Such reflection too is an opportunity. Those who have no regret for their sorrowful state of sin do, however, acknowledge that they are sinful, for every person is constrained to confess that he is sinful. Thus everyone realises the malady, but the deficiency is in respect of remedying the disease. There is no concern shown in this direction. Abstaining from treating the disease is highly dangerous. This is quite obvious. It is therefore imperative that attention be paid to treating the spiritual maladies.


The áyat which I had recited contains the remedy for this common disease. Allah Ta’ala says:

“And, do not become like those who forgot Allah. Thus Allah caused them to become forgetful of their own souls. Indeed, these are the transgressors.”

Subhánallah! Indeed, Allah Ta’ala has honoured his servants in this áyat by refraining from saying: Do not become of those people who have forgotten Allah. Since the áyat is directed to Muslims and it is indeed remote from the dignity of a Mumin to forget Allah, it has been said:

Do not become like those who have forgotten Allah.

The affection, love and honour in this style of address are manifest. The purport of this manner of address is:

Forgetting Allah is remote and not expected of your love, but it is possible that you may become like those who have forgotten. You should not be like them.

Another implication of this style of address is that one who totally forgets Allah is a kafir whereas the audience of the áyat is Muslim, and it is not possible for Muslims to be káfir. For this reason it has not been said:


Instead it has been said: Do not become like those who have forgotten.

Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Ya’qub (rahmatullah alayhi) said that it is not conceivable that a person who has been a Muslim becoming a renegade. Cases of certain “Muslims” having reneged from Islam and adopted some other religion are not at all surprising, for such people never were Muslims at heart. Their claim to Islam was confined to lip-service. Their hearts were devoid of lmán. At times the condition (kayfiyat) of the heart and the statement of the tongue become factors for the negation  of  lmán.  In such cases where Imán has already been negated people consider themselves to be Muslims whereas in actual fact their Iman has been annihilated. By Allah they are not Believers.

I shall relate an amazing and awful incident in which there is great admonition and lesson. I have personally heard this incident from Hadhrat Thanvi (rahamátullah alayhi) who said that Shaikh Dahhán, a senior AIim of Makkah Muazzamah narrated:

“A certain AIim in Makkah Muazzamah passed away and was buried there;  After sometime another man also died there. The heirs of the deceased desired that he be buried in the same grave as that of the AIim. In accordance with their wishes the grave of the AIim was opened. To their utter shock and astonishment they discovered that instead of the AIim, there laid the body of a beautiful young girl. On closer examination it was found that the body was of a European girl. All stood in astonishment. Co-incidentally, a man from the gathering recognized the girl since he had previously seen her. He informed the people that the body was that of a French girl. She was the daughter of Christian parents, and she had studied Urdu by him. In secrecy she had embraced Islam and that he had taught her some Deeni books. The reason for the miraculous transfer of her body after death was now obvious. She was a Muslim and pious as well, hence the transfer to holy ground. But, the question remained: What has happened to the body of the AIim who was buried in that grave? It was then suggested to the instructor of the girl that upon his return to Europe after Hajj he should investigate the grave of the girl. The grave should be opened to see if the body of the AIim was perhaps transferred into her grave. This was agreed upon. A man who knew the AIim well accompanied the girl’s teacher to Europe.

On reaching Europe, the girl’s teacher narrated the episode of the girl and her grave in Makkah to her parents, They were greatly perturbed when hearing this astonishing story. They finally agreed to the request to have her grave in France dug open. When the coffin was opened its contents were amazing, for it was the body of that AIim who had died and was buried in Makkah Muazzamah,”

This news caused much concern to the people of Makkah Muazzamah, What was the reason for the transference of this AIim’s body to a place of kufr? It was decided to ask his wife for some clue to the mystery. There surely must have been some vile deed of his which was the cause of this miraculous transfer from an abode of holiness to a place of kufr. A deputation went to the home of the AIim and requested his wife: “Was there anything contrary to Islam in your husband?” She replied:

“He was a constant and concientious reciter of the Qurán, steadfast on Salát and performer of Tahajjud.”

People asked her to ponder and reply, for his body after burial in Makkah Muazzamah has been transferred to a place of kufr. There must certainly be something in him which was in opposition to Islam, His wife then said:

“The only thing that I can think of is that after sexual relations  when  he prepared for ghusal he would always say:

A nice thing of the Christian religion is that ghusal janaabat is not Fardh,’”

It was then said to her:

“Indeed this is most assuredly the cause of the transference,”

This was then the reason for Allah Ta’ala having dumped his body among the Nasárá whose way he preferred.”

This episode will illustrate that although externally this man was a complete and perfect Muslim, but investigation established that he contained an aspect of kufr, viz., preference for a custom of the kuffár. Since preference for kufr is in fact kufr, it is manifest that this man was not a believer from the very inception. It should not, however, be inferred that in such cases bodies will always be transferred. Such rare incidents take place by the command of Allah to act as direction and admonition for us. In this regard, the Qurán says about Shaitán: “And, he was of the káfireen.”

In other words, from the very beginning, he was a káfir. It is not that he was a believer in the beginning and later became a kafir. This is an erroneous notion which people entertain. On the contrary, he was always a káfir, but his kufr lay dormant and hidden, and only became manifest with his refusal to make sajdah for Hadhrat Adam (alayhis salam). Shaitan had already learnt from the Luh Mahfooz that a being will become káfir, but because of his external piety he became unconcerned and negligent of himself. He could not conceive that being such a great worshipper, he could become káfir, Shaitan thus was utterly destroyed by his takabbur (pride) and indifference. On the contrary, all the Maláikah were extremely perturbed when they learnt that a being will become a kafir. They prayed that this misfortune should not be the lot of any among them. As a result of their fikr (concern) and tawadhu’ (humility) they remained in the Court of Divine Acceptance, and Shaitán was rejected and cursed because he never was within Divine Acceptance. Once a person is accepted by Allah Ta’ala, he never is rejected, just like one who has attained buloogh (physical maturity) never returns to the state of physical immaturity (nabáligh). Similarly, once a man has accepted Islam with sincerity of heart, he never becomes káfir.

A mature person is one who after having accepted Islam submits his whims and desires to the Command of Allah. Not only does he submit himself, he totally annihilates himself in the obedience of the Divine Command. And, an immature person is one whose lowly desires dominate him. Maulana Rumi (rahmatullah alayhi) says:

“All creation are like children (immature and inexperienced), save the one who is engrossed with Allah Ta’ala. Only he is mature (and developed) who has obtained freedom from lowly desire.”

Truly, once Imán has settled in the heart, its expulsion is not possible even if attempted. It is recorded in Bukhari Shareef that Hadhrat Sufyán lbn Harb (radiallahu anhu) prior to embracing Islam was questioned by the emperor, Heracleus:

“Has anyone after embracing this religion of Islam reneged from it in detestation (i.e. disliking anything of it?)”

When Abu Sufyàn (radiallahu anhu) replied in the negative, Heracleus exclaimed:

“Indeed, such is Iman after having settled in the recesses of the heart.”

Iman is synonomous with love, hence the Qurán states:

“Those who have accepted Imán are strongest in the love for Allah.”  

In this áyat, lmán is defined as love. If the love is true it will never leave the heart. This is exactly the case of lmán. It is for this reason that the devotees of Allah (the Auliya) do not accord place in their heart for even a love which is lawful so that at the time of maut their attention is not taken towards the love which is transitory and perishable. At the time of departure from this ephemeral abode they do not wish to have any love in their hearts besides the love of Allah and His Rasul (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Should we (ordinary mortals) not be able to abstain from excess of lawful love then at least we should abstain from unlawful love. This is imperative.

If we desire a life and death like the chosen one’s of Allah, then we should link up with them. Insha’Allah, then one day we too will be bestowed with this treasure which they possess.

Reverting back to our original topic, the audience of the áyat:

“Do not become like those who have forgotten Allah.”

cannot be the kuffár. It applies to only the Believers. Further, the ayat says:

“.. thus, He caused them to become forgetful…”

This statement indicates a significant point. However, before understanding this point it is necessary to explain something. Allah Ta’ala states:

“We are closer to man than his jugular vein,”

If after knowing this, man still becomes forgetful of Allah Who is closer to him than his jugular vein, then it is inconceivable that he will remember himself. It should now be obvious that the one who has forgotten Allah Ta’ala, has, in fact, forgotten himself. He who remembers Allah Ta’ala, will remember himself, albeit not directly and independently, but as a creature of Allah, He will remember himself by virtue of his bond of love with Allah; by virtue of the bounties of Allah Ta’ala; by virtue of the possessions which he holds as an amánat (Trust) of Allah Ta’ala. Such a person remembers and thinks of everything through the Medium of Allah Ta’ala, just like an ashiq thinks of the things of his beloved. Thinking of things associated with the beloved is in fact remembering the beloved.


The Ahlulláh (AuIiyá of Allah) care for themselves and all their connections and associates in the manner of a servant. They do not behave like employers. We (Ahle Dunyá – the people of the world) eat merely to fill our stomach whereas they eat to care for the machine awarded by the Owner (Allah Ta’ala). It should now be simple to understand the wisdom underlying the Divine prohibition of suicide. Allah Ta’ala states:
“Do not kill yourself.”

Suicide is forbidden because life does not belong to man. Since it is not man’s property, he is not at liberty to use and misuse it as he pleases. Life too is Allah’s property and He has not permitted us to employ it without His Consent. In the same way, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“Verily, your body has a right over you; your soul has a right over you,’ verily, your eye has a right over you.”

Because of the natural rights which all parts of the human body has over man, it is not permissible for man to sterilize or destroy his sexual ability or to deliberately eliminate his sight. The Arifeen — — the Auliyá of Allah — — thus regard their bodies as the property of Allah Ta’ala, hence they nourish and care for it with this intention. In material needs end fulfilment we sometimes consider the Auliyá to be like us, whereas in actual fact there is no resemblance. About the Auliyá it has been wisely said:

“The ignorant are unaware of the condition of the Arifeen; it is best, therefore, to be brief in talk in their regard.”

The AhIe Dunyá drink cold water for pleasure and to quench thirst. But, the árif drinks water so that he fulfils the shukr of Allah on every gulp. Truly speaking, we do not belong to ourselves. We are the property of Allah Ta’ala. Whoever remembers Allah, will remember himself. In remembering himself, he will firstly remember Allah Ta’ala and then himself. Such indirect remembrance of the self is not tawajjuh ilal ghair (attention on others besides Allah) which is forbidden. The gaze of the Ahlulláh is firstly on Allah Ta’ala. The gaze of creation is secondary, resulting from the gaze and attention on Allah because such creation belongs to Allah. On the contrary, our gaze is firstly on creation and secondly on Allah Ta’ala as the Creator and Fashioner.


It is established that the gaze of the Ahlulláh falls first on Allah Ta’ala and thereafter upon themselves. Thus, to them Allah Ta’ala is closer than their own nafs. If Allah Ta’ala was not closer, no person’s gaze would be directed firstly to Him. Hence, whoever forgets Allah Ta’ala has forgotten himself. This is what is conveyed by the Quranic statement:

“… thus, He (Allah) caused them to forget their own selves.”

Such people are then classified by Allah Ta’ala:

“Indeed, they are the faasiqoon (transgressors).”  

This portion of the áyat is presently under discussion since the purpose of the discussion is to explain the remedy for the degenerate condition stated in the áyat. The word, uláikah in this portion of the áyat is a demonstrative pronoun (Ism ishárah). It indicates the word fásiqoon (the transgressors), hence the meaning of fàsiqoon is applicable to uláikah. According to the rule of Ilm-e-Balághat (Rhetoric and Eloquence) the demonstrative pronoun is reiterated in the ism ishárah (i.e. the demonstrative pronoun) and the order or conclusion of the musharun ilayhi is based upon the qualities of the mushárun ilayhi stated previously. It is on the basis of this rule of rhetoric that the Ulama of Tafseer have said in the tafseer of the verse:

“These people (ulá-ikah) are on guidance of their Rabb; and these people (uláikah) are the ones who are successful.”  

that the ism ishárah here establishes that the order of guidance and success is based and dependant upon the qualities stated prior to the ism ishárah, viz. Imán bil ghaib, Iqamate Salát, Acceptance of the Divine Books, Spending wealth, etc. In the same way, here in

“These are the people who are the transgressors.”,

the quality of nisyán (forgetfulness) is repeated. This quality of nisqán has been stated previously in:

“Those who have forgotten Allah.”
Thus the conclusion of fisq (transgression) is based upon this quality of forgetfulness. The result, therefore, is that transgression is the consequence of being forgetful of Allah Ta’ala. In actual fact, a fásiq and a transgressor is one who has forgotten Allah Ta’ala.


The meaning of fisq is to transgress commands, and this is the reality of sin in which we are involved. Alhamdulillah! This ayat quite clearly informs us of the original cause of the malady. The cause of our degenerate condition is our forgetting Allah Ta’ala. According to the principle, cure by opposite’ (aliláj bidh-dhid), the remedy for our forgetfulness should be by its opposite, viz, remembrance. Since the cause of the degeneration is forgetfulness, the remedy should be remembrance. Thus the true and proper remedy for sins is the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. In other words, the curing of the disease will follow the elimination of the cause of the disease. Here the cause is nisyán, the elimination of which is necessary. And, this elimination of nisyán, stands in need of Zikrulláh. Remembrance of Allah will result in the elimination of forgetfullness. Since these two are opposites, their co-existence is a logical impossibility. In the same way, the elimination of both is logical impossibility. The conclusion, therefore is: the cure for sin is remembrance of Allah.


How is Allah Ta’ala to be remembered? A variety of mediums of remembering Allah Ta’ala exists. For example: Remembrance by means of love; remembrance by means of fear; remembrance by means of shame. These mediums of remembrance are then divided into different types. Take, for example, remembrance by means of love. This love for Allah may be motivated by love for His being (Zát) or it may be the result of the motive of sawáb for good acts. Similarly is the case of fear. Fear may be for the Being of Allah or it may be induced by His punishment. Likewise, shame (hayá) which may be hayá for His Zát or for His lhasánát (bounties and blessings). With regard to the medium and form of remembrance, the dispositions of people vary. In some people the Muhabbat (love) for Zát is dominant. In other words, their disposition is so much overwhelmed by the grandeur and splendour of Allah Ta’ala that they are compelled into the muhabbat of Zat. They are engrossed in Zikrulláh neither for the acquisition of Jannat nor for salvation from Jahannum. They are motivated in their Zikr solely by the consideration of pure muhabbat for Allah Ta’ala.

Others again are motivated by the desire to acquire Jannat in their Zikrullah, as well as the motive of being saved from Jahannum. There is no wrong in this motive since the actual purpose is Zikrullah, and this motive or medium is lawful in its attainment. Should one commence one’s Zikr even with this intention — — viz.,  acquisition of Jannat and salvation from Jahannum — — then, lnsha’Allah, a day will dawn when one’s Zikr will be by the motive of the higher degree. One’s Zikr will then be solely as a result of true and pure muhabbat for Allah Ta’ala. On that stage of Zikr one will be concerned with nothing but the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.

The motives of Zikrullah could be better understood by means of an analogy. Consider two students engaged in acquisition of knowledge. One studies solely for the sake of acquiring knowledge, deriving pleasure out of his studies, and the other studies for the acquisition of some material gain which will be the ultimate consequence of him qualifying in his branch of study. Undoubtedly, the condition of the former student is superior since he has not been motivated by any greed or base desire. Although the second student is of a lower calibre, nevertheless, no intelligent person will advise him to discontinue his studies because of his lower motive. Any such advice will culminate in only being deprived of knowledge.


The actual object is Zikrulláh, and not the medium of its attainment. It is therefore wrong for certain people of shallow insight to criticize those who engage in Zikrulláh because of their desire for Jannat and salvation from Jahannum. Such criticism is reprehensible since Allah Ta’ala, Himself, encourages us towards Jannat:

“Hasten towards the maghfirat (forgiveness) of your Rabb and towards Jannat, the vastness of which is like the vastness of the heaven and earth.”

Some critics have concluded that the motive of Jannat in Zikrulláh is contemptible. In fact, they are levelling their criticism against Allah Ta’ala, for He, Himself exhorts this motive for Zikrulláh. All means and methods instructed by Allah Ta’ala are of a superb quality and highly meritorious although one method is superior to another, nevertheless, all mediums instructed by Him are magnificent and worthy of acquisition. Zikrullah for the sake of only Divine Pleasure is the highest degree, but the motivation of Jannat is also a motive of a high degree. The motive of Jannat in Zikrulláh should be that Jannat is the bounty of Allah Ta’ala; its acquisition will be the consequence of His Pleasure and that He has commanded us to request it. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also asked Jannat, hence viewing the motive from his angle, it is likewise of the highest degree. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“O Allah! I ask You for Jannat and such acts and words which draw towards Jannat.”  

This Hadith establishes that petitioning for Jannat is not an inferior motive or method of Zikrulláh. If it was not a worthy motive,Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) would not have made this duá. It was said earlier that to the ashiq, everything of the Mahboob is beloved, hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) supplicated for Jannat. Further, the Mahboob has instructed to ask of Him, hence supplicating in obedience to His Command is the cause of His Pleasure. When Allah Ta’ala, Himself expresses a Desire for us to fulfil, then contentment and abstinence (qana’at) are to be confounded. The árif kámil (perfect saint of Allah) is one who does not display independence from the slightest blessings of Allah Ta’ala, not to speak of such a lofty ni’mat as Jannat.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) requested Jannat also because it will be the abode where man will see the Vision of Allah. Thus in reality, Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) request was a supplication for the Vision of Allah Ta’ala. Someone observed:

“Those who are áshiq, desire Jannat because it will be the meeting place of friends.”

For this reason one saint said that since he discovered that friends will meet one another in Jannat, he became eager for Jannat. Jannat and all factors leading and encouraging towards it constituting the motive for Zikrulláh, are therefore, among the highest of methods. Another subtle point in the request for Jannat is at times the request is not motivated by only the Vision of Allah Ta’ala, which will occur in Jannat, but by the thought that one is not worthy of asking for something as lofty as the Divine Vision; at least it will be a great blessing if the abode of Vision is visited. This intention too is worthy of merit. Hadhrat Hajee lmdádullah (rahmatullah alayhi) said: “Those who wish for the vision of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) are indeed fortunate. I do not regard myself worthy of even glancing at the green dome (of Musjid Nabawi).”

It has been aptly said:

“A hair of your lock is sufficient for me (O heart!) Yearn not in greed, for even the fragrance is a blessing.”

Sometimes the request for Jannat is the result of tawadhu’ (humility) becoming dominant in one. The áshiq does not consider himself worthy of his Mahboob. He therefore desires to be at least in an abode of proximity to the Mahboob. Sometimes in order to exhibit dependence and need, Jannat is wished for. In short, different persons have different intentions in asking for Jannat, and effort is made in its attainment. The purpose of all is finally obtain the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. The difference is only in the difference of means and methods. It does not matter if the goal is attained by a direct method or an indirect one; whether we advance towards Him or He draws us towards Him.

Like muhabbat has various forms, so too has khauf. Some have the fear of the Zát (the Being of Allah, Himself). The fear is induced by the grandeur and splendour of Allah Ta’ala. Others again have fear of reprimand and punishment in the Akhirah. Both these forms are good in their appropriate places. The grandeur and splendour of Allah Ta’ala do not manifest to some, hence fear of punishment acts as their protection against sin. Therefore, there is no criticism to be levelled against those who practice righteousness because of the fear for Divine Punishment. This condition of fear is not inferior, but on the Contrary it is a lofty status, although the manifestation of Divine Splendour acting as the protection against sin is Superior.

So far the kinds of Divine Remembrance have been explained. There are two such kinds, viz, through the medium of muhabbat and through the medium of khauf.


A third form of Divine Remembrance is called ‘remembrance of hayá’ or remembrance via the agency of shame. This agency is utilized by those in whose disposition hayá (shame) is dominant. They practice righteousness and engage in Zikrulláh as a result of this dominant trait of hayá in them. They are ashamed of being forgetful of their Creator. Khauf and muhabbat are not their motivating force in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. Although such persons are not devoid of muhabbat, nevertheless, it (muhabbat) is not a dominant feature in them. Haya is their dominant disposition, and such hayá is sometimes because of Zát and sometimes because of In’ámát (blessings and bounties).

Thus, in some, muhabbat is dominant, in some, khauf and in some, hayá. The dominant feature in each person is the cause for that person’s obedience and remembrance of Allah.


It has been seen that there are many forms of Zikr and the purpose of these various forms is th  same, viz., attainment of the goal., which is the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. The one who engages in zikr should, therefore not aspire for the acquisition of states of ecstacy or some kayfiyat, for these are not attainable by one’s volition. The bandah (servant of Allah) is not required to strive after acts and affairs beyond the scope of his volition. It is because of the misconception (i.e. striving to attain states not within one’s  ability) that regret and frustration set in when the zákir (one who is engrossed in zikr) after having made zikr for a considerable time fails to realize any spiritual state or kayfiyat. Yet no one knows which kayfiyat is beneficial for him, and which is detrimental. Allah Ta’ala brings about His Recognition sometimes by causing laughter, sometimes by inducing tears and sometimes by regret and worry. It has been well said:

“What have you said to the flower that it is ever laughing and what have you said to the nightingale that it is ever crying?”

What is obtained from the Mahboob, should be regarded as best and one should be pleased with it. Those who have understood this mystery are happy and pleased in all states and circumstances. If khauf dominates them, they do not search for muhabbat; if hayà is dominating in them, they do not search for muhabbat or khauf. In all states they are resigned in pleasure.


This what has been said is of special benefit to the sálikeen because they entertain great spiritual ambitions. The disease of desiring kayfiyat and lofty ranks is marked among them. They should know that such ambitions are contrary to the abdiyat (being a slave). Abdiyate Kámilah (true and perfect state of subjection and submission to Allah) consists of annihilating all desires and yearnings in the Desire of Allah Ta’ala. Some zákireen, after having made Zikr, complain that they experienced no pleasure in the Zikr. Alas! Life has been squandered in the pleasures of the nafs. When will you turn towards the Mahboob? Remember that the mathhab (the  way) of the áshiq is:

“Love is the fire which when it blazes consumes everything besides the beloved.”

It is also said:

“When the sword of Là (i.e. Là in Là iláha il ghair– laIláh) is brandished in the annihilation of Haqq (all that is other than Allah) then see what remains after Là”

Once Là iláha iIlallah has been said, everything besides Allah is negated, thus it is obvious that after this will remain only illallàh (but Allah only). Everything else besides Him will be annihilated. Such love which devours and destroys partnership in the Divine Love is to be congratulated. Now do not hanker after any special kayfiyat or special rank. Remain only in the quest of Allah Ta’ala. Be pleased even if nothing is obtained. It is accepted that your desire is noble, but ponder! The desire of your Mahboob is that you remain with desire unfulfilled. Is your desire then superior to the desire of the Mahboob? If you do not realise your desires, then too nothing is lost, for you will attain to Him., and once He has been attained, everything is attained.


My bretheren! The duty of the servant is only to engage in the zikr of Allah Ta’ala. He should regard as the aim and object, remembrance of Allah and constant reflection. The gaze should not be on the attainment of any kayfiyat (spiritual experience). Allah Ta’ala has addressed us:

“Do not become like those who have forgotten Allah. Then, Allah caused them to forget themselves.”  

We should not become among those who are guilty of such forgetfulness, for then the Divine Decree:

“Indeed these people are the fasiqoon”, will be applicable to us as well.

The cause of degeneration as pointed out is nisyán (forgetting Allah), and the remedy for this nisyán is zikr and fikr. There is now a simple method of eliminating our degenerate condition and abstaining from sin. That simple but most efficacious method consists of appointing a time for zikrullah in solitude. The zikr which is to be carried out in the appointed time of solitude should be by both tongue and heart, otherwise it will be:

“Tasbeeh in hand; taubah on the lips and heart filled with the taste of sin. Sins too are ashamed of our taubah”

Remembrance by the mere lips produces no quick and effective result. The remembrance by both tongue and heart brings about the desired effect swiftly. When sitting in remembrance of Allah, then do not deliberately introduce thoughts other than Allah into your heart. Stray thoughts which enter the mind involuntarily will be of no harm. A sentry standing guard will be a criminal if he deliberately permits unauthorised persons to enter, but if entry is gained by overpowering the sentry, he will not be considered a criminal. Similar is the case of thoughts entering the mind during Salát and Zikr. Deliberate introduction of thoughts is sinful and harmful whereas stray thoughts assaulting the mind are of no substance.

In the twenty four hours of night and day, fix at least one hour for this specific remembrance of Allah. During this hour of solitude engage in the zikr of either La ilâha il alláh or Allahu Allah. This must be a daily practice. I am showing you a wonderful prescription. By Allah! Constancy in zikr will firstly divest you of sin. You will not approach sin. Involvement in this spiritual degeneration will be brought to an end. Then, even if sometimes one is overpowered by the nafs and shaitan, the Noor in the heart will immediately react. Immediately it will seem as if a spear has pierced the heart. Peace of heart will be utterly shattered. The servant will then hasten towards taubah. You will be constrained towards taubah.

Insha’Allah, in this way you will be freed from all sin. Indeed, this is an extremely simple prescription for curing our degeneration and abstaining from sin.

The summary of this wa’z (lecture) is:

In the áyat (recited in the beginning), the sentence

“They are indeed the people who are the fásiqoon.”. is the effect of (forgetting Allah). This establishes that the cause of the degeneration and transgression is nisyân (forgetfulness). To be cured of this condition Zikrullah is imperative. This is precisely what Allah Ta’ala indicates to His servants in this áyat. He addresses the Muslims in loving tones and with love. In other words, Allah Ta’ala is saying in this áyat:

O Muslims! You should not be deceived into indifference and forgetfulness — forgetting the remembrance of Allah. You  should not behave like the kuffár who have forgotten Allah. There is no resemblance between them and you.”

O my brothers! After having heard this Call of Allah, it is essential that we regard the remembrance of Allah as an obligation of life. We should be constant in making dua for taufeeq, the inclination and ability to engross ourselves in zikrullah.  Finally, we will come within the purview of the áyat.

“Remember me and I shall remember you.”

I now conclude with the duá that Allah Ta’ala grant us all the taufeeq of zikr and obedience. Aameen.

Allaamah Abdul Wahhaab Sha’raani (Rahmatullah Alayh)’s Advice for the Crank Sufis

[By Allaamah Abdul Wahhaab Sha’raani (rahmatullah alayh)] 

Presenting his “affectionate naseehat” to the shaikhs of his age (the 10th Islamic century), Allaamah Abdul Wahhaab Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) states: “Verily, affectionate naseehat for a group among the fuqara has constrained me to proffer this advice:

“Beware of your claim of    following the Tareeqah of the Fuqara (i.e. Tasawwuf) when you discern within yourself a dislike for those who do not honour you nor address you with the lofty titles of leadership and masheekhat (i.e. titles such as Hadhrat, and appellations to your customary accolades such ‘daamat barakatuhum’, madda zilluhu, and the many other customary superfluities which bloat the nafs of the quack and crank hadhrats and shaikhs of the desolate and spiritually bankrupt khaanqas). In fact, even Islam (i.e. you are offended if someone does not recognize you as a righteous Muslim).

In this age (i.e. the 10th Islamic century), a perfect Muslim is more honourable than rare precious stones. A Muslim will not become kaamil (i.e. morally and spiritually perfect) as long as he does not guard his tongue, ears, eyes, heart and his body from all acts which Allah Ta’ala has forbidden, zaahiran (external/ physical acts) and baatinan (moral and spiritual – the evils of the heart). Where are those who can claim to have attained this rank of (a kaamil Muslim) whilst they have repeatedly sinned against Allah?

Now when this is the state pertaining to Islam (i.e. one cannot claim to be even a perfect Muslim), then how can it be accepted that he (the one who claims to be a Shaikh) has attained the lofty rank of Imaan? Leave alone the stage of Ihsaan and Wilaayat……

I take oath and say that Iblees has more humility than these claimants (i.e. the crank and quack shaikhs who pretend to be sufis). Iblees has more  recognition of the Path of Allah than these (false) claimants (of Tasawwuf). Verily, I met him (Iblees), and he said to me:

“How can you ever think that you are the Auliya of Allah, while you love that you have (in your imagination) perfection such as Allah’s perfection? You love that people should honour you and regard you as being holy. Wallaah! I dislike that people honour me in anything or attribute to me any (pious) act or statement. I love that they should attribute to me   all defects and sins in existence, and that they should totally despise me so that Haqq could be differentiated with Kamaal-e-Mutlaq (total perfection), and so that I could be differentiated (from the Haqq) by means of Nuqs-e-Mutlaq (total deficiency/corruption).

This is so because, verily, their deprecation of me is to refer me to my original constitution (of evil). On the contrary, their honouring me is a departure from it (i.e. my evil nature) towards the attributes of my Master (i.e. Allah Azza Wa Jal).

Now ponder on the adab of Iblees. How far are you (O you crank sufi!) from even Iblees? In reality, if the people do not honour you nor have confidence in you, it will appear to you as if the earth has become restricted on you (preventing you from   finding any avenue for escaping with your baselessly assumed greatness). 

Understand this well, and do not labour in self-deception (about your greatness). Indeed you cannot in reality deceive yourself because (the Qur’aan Majeed states): “Verily, man has insight (and awareness) of his nafs.” (i.e. He knows the crookedness of his heart and the fraud that he is with his claims of masheekhat).