Category Archives: True Sufism/ Tasawwuf

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).

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Derivation of the term ‘Sufi’ – How The Sufis Account For Their Being Called Sufis

[By Abu Bakr al-Kalabadhi]

HOW THE SUFIS ACCOUNT FOR THEIR BEING CALLED SUFIS

Some say, “The Sufis were named Sufis because of the purity (safa’) of their hearts and the cleanliness of their acts (athar).”

Bishr bin al-Harith said, “The Sufi is he whose heart is sincere (safa’) towards God.”

Another said, “The Sufi is he whose conduct towards God is sincere, and towards whom God’s blessings is sincere.”

Certain of them have said: “They were only called Sufis because they are in the first rank (saff’) before God, the turning of their hearts unto Him, and the staying of their secrets parts before Him.”
Others have said: “They were only called Sufis because their qualities resembled those of the people of the Bench (suffah), who lived in the time of God’s Prophet.”

Others have said: “They were only named Sufis because of their habit of wearing wool (suff).”

Those who relate them to the Bench and to wearing wool express the outward aspect of their conditions: for they were people who had left this world, departed from this homes, fled from their companions. They wandered about the land, mortifying the carnal desires, and making naked the body: they took of this world’s goods only so much as is indispensible for covering the nakedness and allaying hunger. For departing from their homes they were called “strangers”; for their many joirneyings they were called “travellers”; for their travelling in deserts, and taking refuge in caves at times of necessity, certain people of the country (diyar) called them “shikaftis”, for the word “shikaft” in their language means “cavern” or “cave” (in Persian).

The Syrians called them “starvers”, because they only took as much food as would keep up their strength in time of necessity. So the Prophet ﷺ said: “Sufficient for the son of Adam are such morsels as will keep up his strength.”

Sari al-Saqati described them thus: “Their food is the food of the sick, their sleep is the sleep of the drowned, their speech is the speech of the fools.”

Because they were devoid of possessions they were called “Paupers”.

One of them was asked: “Who is a Sufi?” He replied: “He who neither possess nor is possessed.” By this he meant that he is not the slave of desire.

Another said: “(The Sufi is) he who possess nothing, or, if he possess anything, spends it.”

Because of their clothes and manner of dressing they were called Sufis: for they did not put on raiment soft to touch or beautiful to behold, to give delight to the soul; they only clothed themselves in order to hide their nakedness, contenting themselves with rough haircloth and coarse wool.

Now these were in fact the conditions under which the people of the Bench lived, in the time of the Prophet ﷺ: for they were strangers, poor, exiles, having been driven out of their abodes and possessions. Abu Hurayrah and Fudalah Ibn ‘Ubayd described them as follows: “They faint of hunger, so that the Bedouins suppose them to be mad.” Their clothing was of wool, so that when any one of them sweated, they gave off an odour like that of a sheep caught in the rain. This, indeed, is how they are described by some.

‘Uyaynah Ibn Hisn (radhiyallahu anhu) said to the Prophet ﷺ: “The smell of these men distresses me. Does it not distress thee?”

Wool is also a dress of the Prophets and the garb of the saints. Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (radhiyallahu anhu) related the following of the Prophet: “There passed by the rock at Rawha seventy Prophets bare of foot, clad in the ‘aba (A woollen garment) repairing to the Ancient House (the Ka’bah).”

Al-Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) says: ‘Eesa (alayhissalaam) used to wear haircloth, eat the fruit of the trees, and spend the night wherever he happened to find himself.”

Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (radhiyallahu anhu): “The Prophet ﷺ used to wear wool, ride asses and accept the invitation of the insignificant (to eat with them).”

Al-Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullah) said: “I have known of seventy of those who fought at Badr, whose clothes were only of wool.”

Now as this group had the same qualities as the people of the Bench, as we have described, being clothed and apparelled like them, they were called suffiyah.

Those who relate them to the Bench and the First Rank indicate their secret hearts and inward parts: for when a man abandons this world, and is abstentious therein, and turns aside therefrom, God purifies (saffa) his conscience (sirr) and illuminates his heart. The Prophet ﷺ has said: “When light enters into the heart it is expanded and dilated.” They said, “And what is the sign of that, O Messenger of God?” He replied, “Shunning the abode of deceit, turning to the abode of eternity, and making ready for death before death descends.”  

So the Prophet ﷺ stated that, if a man shuns this world, God will illuminate his heart.

The Prophet ﷺ asked Harithah (radhiyallahu anhu), “What is the reality of thy faith?” He answered: “I have inclined my soul away from this world, I have fasted by day, and kept vigil by night: and it is as though I behold the Throne of my Lord coming forth, and as if I behold the people of Paradise visiting one another, and the people of Hell at enemity with one another.”

Thus, he informs us that, when he inclined away from this world, God illuminated his heart, so that what was (normally) unseen to him assumed a place in his vision.

The Prophet ﷺ also said, “If any man wishes to behold a servant whose heart God has illuminated, let him look upon Harithah.”

Because of these qualities, these group has also been called “illuminated” (nuriyah). This description also befits the people of the Bench; God Most High says: “Therein are men who love to be clean.” [Qur’an xi:109]

This means, the outward parts are clean of defilments, and the inward parts of wicked thoughts.

God Most High also says: “Men whom neither merchandise nor selling divert from the rememberance of God.” [S. XXiV: 37]

Moreover, because of the purity of their consciences, their intuition (firasah) is true.

Abu Umamah (radhiyallahu anhu) relates that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Fear the intuition of the believer, for he beholds with the light of God.”

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “It was put into my heart that I will have my off spring from Kharijah’s daughter.” and it was so. (Abu Bakr married the daughter of Kharijah), with whom he was joined in brotherhood.”

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Truth speaks on the tongue of ‘Umar.”

Uways al-Qarni (rahimahullah) to Hareem Ibn Hayyan, when the latter greeted him, “And on thee be peace, O Harim son of Hayyan!” – and yet he had never seen him before that moment. Then he added: “My spirit recognized thy spirit.”

Abu Abdullah al-Antaki said: “When ye associate with the people of sincerity, associate with them in sincerity: for they are the spies of the hearts, entering into your consciences, and emerging from your inward desires.”

Now, if a man is of this description, if his conscience is pure, his heart is clean, his breast illuminated, then certainly he is in the first rank: for these are the qualities of the leaders (Sabiq, the term here used, refers to the earliest converts to Islam).

The Prophet ﷺ said: “There will enter Paradise of my community seventy thousand without reckoning.” Then he went on and described them: “Men who neither practise magic nor seek to be charmed, who neither brand nor are branded, but put their trust in their Lord.”

Further, because of the purity of their consciences, and the dilation of their breasts, and the brightness of their hearts, they had a perfect gnosis of God, and they did not have recourse to secondary causes (asbab): they put their faith in God Most High, and trusted Him, being satisfied with His decree. All these qualities, and all the meanings contained in these terms, are united in the names and nicknames given to this people: these expressions are exact, and these deriviations come near to the truth. Even though these words vary in outward appearance, yet the meanings behind them are identical. If the term (sufi) was derived from safa (purity) or safwah (choice), the correct form would be safawiyah; while if it were referred to Saff (rank) or suffah (bench), it would be saffiyah or suffiyah. It is, of course, possible (in the former case) that the waw has been transferred to come before the fa, so giving suffiyah; or (if the latter deriviation be accepted), that it is simply redundant, being inserted into the word through common practice (lit. from being passed from tongue to tongue). If, however, the deriviation from suf (wool) be accepted, the word is correct and the expression sound from the grammatical point of view, while at the same time it has all the (necessary) meanings, such as withdrawal from the world, inclining the soul away from it, leaving all settled abodes, keeping constantly to travel, denying the carnal soul its pleasures, purifying the conduct, cleansing the conscience, dilation of the breast, and the quality of leadership.

Bundar ibn al-Husayn said: “The Sufi is the man whom God has chosen for Himself, rendering him a sincere affection (safa’), and setting him free from his carnal soul, and not allowing him any more to labour to undue fatigue under any pretext (in affairs not concerned with the Path of God). So he is befriended (sufi) as parallels one may cite ‘ufi ( he is preserved), that is, God has preserved him and therefore he is preserved, kufi (he is recompensed), that is, God has recompensed him so therefore he is recompensed; and juzi (he is rewarded), that is, God has rewarded him (and therefore he is rewarded) (A laboured attempt to construe the term sufi as a passive of the verb safa). What God has done to him is manifest in his name, although God is entirely independent of him.

Abu Ali al-Rudhabari, being asked what a Sufi is, replied: “One who wears wool over (his) purity, gives his lust the taste of tyranny, and, having overthrown the world, journeys in the pathway of the Chosen One.”

Sahl ibn ‘Abdullah al-Tustari gave the following answer to the same question: “One who is clean of impurity, and full of meditation; who is cut off from humanity for God’s sake, and in whose eyes Gold and Mud are equal.”

Abu’l-Husayn al-Nuri, being asked what sufism is, replied: “Abandoning all the portion of the carnal soul.”

Al-Junayd (rahimahullah) was asked the same question, and said: “It is the purification of the heart from associating with created beings, separation from natural characteristics, suppression of human qualities, avoiding the temptations of the carnal souls, taking up the qualities of the spirit, attachment to the sciences of reality, using what is more proper to the eternal, counselling all the community, being truly faithful to God, and following the Prophet according to the Law.”

Yusuf ibn al-Husayn said: “There is in every community achosen band, and they are the agents of God, concealed by Him from His creation: of there be any such in this community, they are the Sufis.”

A certain man said to Sahl ibn ‘Abdullah al-Tustari: “With whom shall I associate of the various sects of mankind?” He replied: “Occupy thyself with the Sufis, for they find nothing objectionable, but provide a spiritual interpretation (ta’wil) for every act, and will make excuses for thee whatever thy state (haal) may be (This borders on the excesses of the extremists, which the enemies of sufism were not slow to fasten upon)”.

Yusuf ibn al-Husayn tells us that he asked Dhu’l-Nun: “With whom shall I associate?” He answered: “With him who possesses nothing, and does not disapprove of any state you happen to be in; who does not change when you change, even though that change be great: for the more violently thou change, the greater is thy need for him.”

The neophyte needs the guidance of a spiritual director to help him through the troublesome difficulties of the first part of his journey: having travelled that way myself, he is well aware of the pitfalls and dangers.

Dhu’l-Nun (rahimahullah) also said, “I saw a woman in one of the coasts of Syria, and said to her, “Whence comest thou?” She replied, “From people whose flanks shrink from bed.” I said: “And Wither intendest thou?” She answered, “Unto men whom neither merchandise, nor selling diverts from the remembrance of God.” I said, “Describe them.” Then she began to recite:

“There every purpose is with God united,
Their high ambitions mount to Him alone:
Their troth is to the Lord and Master plighted-
O noble quest for the Eternal One!

They do not quarrel over this World’s pleasure-
Honours, and children, rich and costly gowns,
All greed and appetite! They do not treasure
The life of ease and joy that dwells in towns.

Facing the far and faint horizon yonder
They seek the infinite, with purpose strong:
They ever thread where desert runnels wander,
And high on towering mountain-tops they throng!”

(Adopted from the Book: Kitab al-Ta’aruf li-Madh-hab Ahl-al-Tasawwuf)

Allaamah Abdul Wahhab Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh)’s View on Fake “Sufis”

[By Mujlisul Ulama]

ALLAAMAH ABDUL WAHHAAB Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh), of the 10th Islamic century, says:

“A group (i.e. a fake group) among the Fuqara have predicated themselves with Sufeeyat (i.e.  that they are Sufis/Auliya). They have claimed the stage of Wilaayat-e-Kubra, whilst in reality they are more astray than cattle. Thus it is seen that every one who has been given permission by his crank sheikh (shaikhul qaasir) will initiate thikr in group form (such as the prevalent halqah thikr sessions in  our age).

Any one of them (i.e. from the masses) who is granted permission (by the sheikh-e-qaasir) will begin to instruct people in (forms of) thikr. Sometimes the one who has been predicated with masheekhat may hear in his place of solitude a voice from a jinn or a shaitaan.

He thus considers himself to be a wali of Allah Ta’ala. Then he assembles around him workers/ labourers from the masses (i.e. juhhaal). Sometimes he conducts majlis in his city, and some-times he trots  from city to city imposing on  the people of this evil and immoral age. Despite this (i.e. his fraud and deception) he claims that he is the representative of the Nabi  (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). This claim is adequate for kufr, jahl and gross disrespect (for Rasulullah – Sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

How is it possible (for the crank) to have any rank among the lofty stages (of Wilaayat), and how is it possible for there to be Malaaikah among the shayaateen?

I take oath and say that  the peasants and  labourers  have a better stage of divine proximity than these (fraudulent) claimants because they have devoted their  entire lives in strenuous mundane occupations for the benefit of mankind. On the contrary, these  (false) claimants (of Tasawwuf)  spend their entire lives in harming  creation because they in-tend with their seclusion, penances and occasional thikr to deceive the people and to prepare the ground for them to be attracted  to their path (i.e. the path of the fake sufis).”

THE CRANKS OF OUR AGE

The description of the fraud, crank and quack sufis presented by Allaamah Sha’raani (Rahmatullah alayh) adequately depicts the so-called ‘sufi’ scenarios, bogus peers and spiritually and morally barren and bankrupt ‘khaanqas’ of our present age. The shaikhs of so-called tasawwuf of this age ruin the morality and extinguish the Imaani spirituality of those whom they succeed to rope in as mureedeen

As a cover for their gross jahaalat of Tasawwuf, the crank shaikhs of our time initiate congregational forms of thikr in the Musaajid and in their ‘khaanqas’ which in reality are not even shadows of genuine khaanqas. It is essential to  beware of them. The safest for  one’s Imaan  is to stay far – very far – from these cranks and quacks. They are bogus ‘sufis’.  Examine their life-style. They will be found to be exceedingly far from the Sunnah and negligent  in  observance of  Shar’i masaa-il. They resort to corrupt interpretations to soothe the palates of the masses with the objective of expanding their circle of followers. 

The more mureeds they are able to lure, the greater will be the fulfilment of their nafsaani and mundane objectives of wealth, name and fame. They are the very antithesis of Tasawwuf/Sufism. 

The Meaning Of Tasawwuf

[Mujlisul Ulama]

TASAWWUF,  also  termed  Sufi’ism,  is  not  a  mystical  cult  of  rituals.  Tasawwuf  has  no  rituals.  The  Shariah  has  its  rituals  such  as  Salaat,  Saum,  Hajj,  Qur’baani,  etc.,  but  Tasawwuf  is  an  integral  component  of  the  Shariah,  and  it  has  no  rituals.

The  various  forms  of  athkaar  and  spiritual  practices prescribed  by  the  Auliya,  are not  part  of  Tasawwuf.  These  are  all  spiritual  remedies  for spiritual  ailments  which  the Mashaaikh  diagnose  in  their mureedeen. 

Tasawwuf  deals  only  with  moral  character.  Its  objective  is  moral  reformation  and  spiritual progress  for  the  sake  of  Divine Proximity  which  is  the  only objective  of  the  Mu’min  for  his presence  on  earth.

There  is  Ijma’  (Consensus)  of  all  the  Mashaaikh  of  Tasawwuf  of  all  Sufi  Math-habs  that  any  brand  of  tasawwuf  which  is  bereft  of  the  Shariah  and  Sunnah  or  in  conflict  thereof,  is  in  reality  satanism.

Describing  Tasawwuf,  Hadhrat  Abdullah  Khafeef  (Rahmatullah  alayh)  –  a  renowned  Wali  of  bygone  ages  said: 

“Tasawwuf  is  to  accept  whatever  is  recorded  in  the  Tablet  of  Taqdeer;  to  ask  from  only  the  Great  and  Glorious  King  (Allah  Azza  Wa  Jal),  and  to  traverse  wildernesses  and  mountains.”

The  Tablet  of  Taqdeer:  Whilst  employing  the  ways  and  means  permitted  by  the  Shariah  for  the  acquisition  of  needs,  the  Mu’min  has  to  be  satisfied  with  the  end  result  of  his  lawful  efforts.  Whether  he  succeeds  or  fails  in  his  lawful  pursuit  of  the  dunya,  his  focus  must  at  all  times  be  on  Allah  Ta’ala.  If  he  fails,  he  is  not  expected  to  become  despondent  and frustrated. 

He  is  not  permitted  to  complain.  He  has  to  understand  that  the  ultimate  result  is  Allah’s  ordainment.

Asking  from  only  Allah  Azza  Wa  Jal: This  precept  does  not  negate  employment  of  the  lawful  means  and  ways  created  by  Allah  Ta’ala  for  acquiring  lawful  objectives.  But,  it  demands  implicit  faith  (yaqeen)  that  needs  are  fulfilled  by  only  Allah  Ta’ala,  not  by  the  means and  agencies  via  which  the needs  are  fulfilled.  Thus,  when someone  denies  the  assistance sought,  one  will  not  feel  the slightest  annoyance.  One  will understand  by  the  refusal  that Allah  Ta’ala  has  not  inspired  the  person  to  render  the  assistance  sought.  If  this  is  one’s  is  asking  only  from  Allah  Ta’ala.  On  the  contrary,    annoyance  is  proof  of  great Imaani  deficiency.  It  will  mean that  one  lacks  belief  in  the Providence  of  Allah  Ta’ala,  and  in  the  fact  that  it  is  only  He Who  ordains.

Traversing  wildernesses  and mountains:  For  the  select  Auliya  of  former  ages,  this  had literal  application.  They  would physically  renounce  the  world and  journey  on  foot  through deserts,  wildernesses  and  over mountains  in  their  quest  for Divine  Proximity.  Their  journeys  were  not  sight-seeing  tours  and  holidaying.  On  the  contrary,  they  underwent  great trials  and  hardships.  The  rigours  of  travelling  on  foot  through  wild  wildernesses  and  deserts  without  provisions  could  be  borne  by  only  those  who  were  lost  in  Divine  Love.  Among  the  Ambiya  (Alayhimus  salaam),  Nabi  Isaa  (Alayhis  salaam)  was  famous  for  such  sojourns.

As  far  as  the  masses  are  concerned,  the  Waajib  degree  of  ‘journeying  through  the  wilderness’  is  to  migrate  from  sin  and  transgression;  to  adopt  solitude  and  seclusion  daily  for  a  short  while  to  contemplate  on  Maut,  the  Qabr  and  the  Aakhirah;  to  drastically  reduce  contact  with  people,  mingling  with  them  only  for  one’s  needs;  to  speak  less,  and  to  cultivate  Taqwa.  And  this  is  possible  only  by  complete  submission  to  the  Shariah  and    adoption  of  the  Sunnah  in  all  aspects  of  daily  life.

“Be with the Saadiqeen” – [Qur’an]

[Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng]

Attaining Divine Proximity

The normal Sunnah of Allah Ta’ala for His servants regarding the attainment of Qurb-e-Ilaahi (Divine Proximity – Nearness to Allah Ta’ala) is to join the ranks of the Saadiqeen. The Saadiqeen are the elite Auliya of Allah Ta’ala. The rule is that it is impossible to travel along the Path leading to Allah Azza Wa Jal without being in the company of the Saadiqeen. While every rule has exceptions, the exception is not the norm. Although the True spiritual guide is Allah Azza Wa Jal, He has created the institution of the Saadiqeen to lead His servants unto Him. It is for this reason that the Qur’aan Majeed commands in several Aayaat cultivation of the companionship with the Saadiqeen.

Allah Ta’ala says:

“O People of Imaan! Fear Allah (adopt Taqwa), and be with the Saadiqeen.” (At-Taubah, Aayat 119)

In this Aayat, Allah Ta’ala informs us that the way of acquiring Taqwa is in the company of the Saadiqeen and Saaliheen. With the march of time, the dearth of Saadiqeen is incremental. The further we move from the age of Nubuwwat, the fewer become the Saadiqeen. The current era in which we find ourselves is practically barren of Saadiqeen. They all have departed and are to be found only in the graves.

Regarding the disappearance of the Saadiqeen and Saaliheen, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“The Saaliheen are departing one after the other (in quick succession) until there will remain only the scum such as the chaff of dates or barley. Allah Ta’ala will have no care whatsoever for them.”

How to be with the Saadiqeen
In this era, we are deprived of the Saadiqeen. When the physical companionship of the Saadiqeen is not available, all the Mashaaikh have advised and emphasized the imperative importance of reading daily many pages from the life episodes, advices and admonition of the Auliya. Insha-Allah, this will become an adequate substitute for the sincere seeker of Islaah – moral reformation and spiritual elevation. Hadhrat Junaid Baghdadi (Rahmatullah alayh) said that the Waaqiaat (Anecdotes) of the Auliya are among the armies of Allah Azza Wa Jal. They morally purify and spiritually fortify the Traveler along the Path of Rectitude leading to Allah Ta’ala.

Confirming this truth, the Qur’aan Majeed says:

“And, whatever We narrate to you of the stories of the Rusul (Messengers of bygone times and of the Auliya), is to fortify your heart.” (Hud, Aayat 120)

This Aayat is in the first instance for Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The address is directed at him. When the Waaqiaat of the bygone Ambiya and Saadiqeen are a means for fortifying the purified heart of even Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then we can understand the need for us to adopt this method prescribed by the Qur’aan Majeed.

The importance of their companionship

The imperative importance of companionship with the Saadiqeen is highlighted and emphasized in the following Qur’aanic Aayat:

“And, keep yourself (O Muhammad!) resolutely with those who call unto their Rabb morning and evening for the Sake of His Face (His Pleasure), and do not divert your eyes from them. Do you desire the adornment of the dunya? And, do not follow him whose heart is ghaafil (oblivious) of Our Thikr and he follows his vain desires, and his affairs are in transgression of the limits.” (Kahaf, Aayat 28)

Someone asked Hadhrat Shaikh Bu Ali Daqqaaq (Rahmatullah alayh) if there was any benefit in listening to the episodes of the Auliya if one does not practice accordingly. He said that there are two benefits.

(1) If the person is a seeker of the Truth, his resolution will increase. His search will increase.

(2) If a person suffers from pride, then his pride will diminish, and he will abstain from making claims of deception. He will view his virtues as deficiencies.

It is accepted that, especially in this era of abject Imaani weakness, it is not possible to follow in exactitude the austere ways of Taqwa and Wara’ of the illustrious Auliya of bygone times. The objective of reading and reflecting on the anecdotes of the Auliya is to view oneself in the mirror of these Auliya. In this Mirror one will observe with clarity one’s own deficiencies, and how far one has drifted from Siraatul Mustaqeem. When this realization dawns on a person, he will make endeavours to reform himself and at least conduct his life within the parameters of the Shariah. And, this is the very minimum obligatory requisite for immediate salvation in the Aakhirah, i.e. salvation from the Fire and entry into Jannat without first having to be purified in Jahannam.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the Rahmat of Allah Ta’ala descends when the stories of the Auliya are narrated. The Faidh (spiritual effulgence) of the Auliya whose life episodes are narrated exercises an effect on the audiences and becomes a wealth of fortune for them before Maut.

Some people asked Shaikh Abu Yusuf Hamdaani (Rahmatullah alayh): “When the Auliya disappear – when they are hidden, then what should we do to remain safe from the moral and spiritual ravages of the world?” The Shaikh said: “Daily read 16 pages of their advices and admonition.”

Hadhrat Shaikh Fareeduddeen Attaar (Rahmatullah alayh) said: “This kalaam (i.e. the advices of the Auliya) is the best speech. It creates an aversion in the heart for the dunya. It reminds of the Aakhirat. It cultivates friendship for Allah Ta’ala in the heart. It impels a person to make preparations for the Aakhirat. The kalaam of the Auliya is the commentary of the Qur’aan and Ahaadith.”

Although we are not of the Saaliheen and Saadiqeen, we do love them. Perhaps Allah Ta’ala will bestow to us reformation by virtue of this love, and perhaps he resurrects us in the assembly of those whom we love.

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The Fuqaha, Fiqah & Tasawwuf

[Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng]

Imam Abu Haneefah’s insight is remarkable. Consider the view of Imam Abu Haneefah that it is not permissible for a waa’iz (public-speaker) or anyone else to break musical instruments otherwise compensation will be liable. This is the prerogative of the ruler. He can investigate and break these instruments. He can mete out appropriate punishment for the use of such haraam items.

Consider how much peace there is in this ruling. Such forceful action taken by any one besides the ruler does not stop the actions of the guilty party; it only serves to inflame the situation and cause strife. The resultant friction and anarchy have wide-reaching consequences. Similarly, enacting penal punishments is the exclusive right of the Sultaan.

Fiqah is a difficult subject. The Faqeeh should be an all-rounder. He should be a mufassir, muhaddith, faqeeh and mutakallim. (In other words, he should be a specialist in the fields of Tafseer, Hadeeth, Fiqah and Ilmul Kalaam which is the science of Islamic Scholasticism.)  He should have an understanding of politics. In fact, there is a need for being aware of Tibb here and there. Even awareness of physiology is required for certain issues.

Fiqah is not an easy subject, yet in some quarters the gratitude shown to the Fuqaha is by reviling them. These revilers are extreme anarchists. They wilfully cause anarchy and fuel fires of trouble.

The ghair muqallids (those who make taqleed of their nafs instead of Taqleed of the Aimmah Mujtahideen) frequently call themselves ‘Ahlul Hadeeth’ whereas they have no clue what is Hadeeth. They only confine themselves to words. What is to be understood by the Hadeeth, alluded to in the narration:  “Whoever Allah wishes well for (khair), He makes that person a Faqeeh of the Deen,” that is something else. If it was only a matter of understanding words, the kuffaar of Makkah understood the words and thus they would have been Faqeeh and among the Ahlul Khair.

Being a Faqeeh in Deen is to have acumen in the Deen together with the understanding of words of the Qur’aan and Hadeeth. Such persons are found in abundance among the Hanafiyyah.

Hazrat Haji Imdaadullah Saheb was a Shaikh of Tasawwuf. He wasn’t a complete textual Aalim, but listen to his philosophy of the truth. A person from Bhopal came for Haj. He became bai’t to Haji Saheb. This person was accompanied by another person also from Bhopal who was an extreme ghair muqallid and who took his companion also to be a ghair muqallid. By his companion being accepted into bai’t the ghair muqallid assumed that there were no restrictions on ghair muqallideen being taking into bai’t by Haji Saheb and he therefore requested via his companion for bai’t stipulating however that he will remain ghair muqallid.

Hazrat accepted the condition. He then came personally and asked. Hazrat replied that there was no problem and he was accepted into bai’t. Allah Ta’ala alone knows what effect this bai’thad upon him that the first Namaaz thereafter he did not say Aameen aloud and nor did he make Rafa’ Yadain (raise his hands before and after Ruku’). Hazrat came to know of this. Hazrat was startled. Hazrat called him and said: “If your findings have changed then, fine. But if it is for my sake that you did so then I do not wish to bear the consequences of you forsaking the Sunnah.” Just consider this philosophy of the truth.

[The ghair muqallid believed Aameen bil jahr and Rafa’ Yadain to be Sunnat. It was, therefore, not permissible for him to forsake something which he believed to be Sunnah merely for the sake of being bai’t to a Shaikh.]

Our august elders and in particular Hazrat Haji Saheb were obsessed with the Sunnah. Isn’t it then absolute zulm (injustice) to brand such personages of being muta’assib (bigoted)? Yes, they were mutasallib (rigid), not muta’assib.Tasallub is one thing and ta’assub is something else. Mutasallib Fid Deen is he who is rigid in the Deen whilst a mut’assib is he who clings to wrong intransigently.

Imam Shaafi’ (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: “I desired Jannat when I learnt that it is the meeting place of friends.” This was a Faqeeh and a Sufi. Now people have distorted the meaning of Fiqah and Tasawwuf. They have declared the two to be opposites, whereas there is nothing contradictory between the two. Tasawwuf means: to build oneself externally and internally; externally with A’maal and internally with Akhlaaq.

Imam Abu Haneefah (Rahmatullahi alaih) has defined Fiqah as: “Understanding what is beneficial for one and what is harmful.” This definition is wide-ranging and covers external acts and internal traits. Thus, how can Tasawwuf and Fiqah be opposites?

Muslims of former times were endowed equally with Fiqah and Tasawwuf. This curse has spread only in these times where both are considered to be separate and the two have been corrupted, whereas both are harmonious.

Shah Waliyyullah (Rahmatullahi alaih) writes that one should keep the company of a person who is a muhaddith, a faqeeh and also a soofi. Equilibrium is in this. He stated this in Qaulul Jameel. The family of Shah Abdul Azeez Saheb, Masha-Allah, were paragons of this comprehensiveness.  Among them was Shah Isma’eel Shaheed Saheb.

Some people think Shah Isma’eel Saheb was a ghair muqallid. This is absolutely false. An Ustaad of mine used to say that he met a person who was in the army of Hazrat Sayyid Saheb and asked him whether Moulana Isma’eel Saheb was a ghair muqallid. He replied: “I don’t know, but what I can tell you is that in the army of Sayyid Saheb it was common word that ghair muqallids are Little Raafzis (Shiahs).” From this you can judge whether there was any ghair muqallid in that army.

Once, someone asked Moulana Shaheed Saheb a mas-alah. Moulana replied that according to Imam Abu Haneefah the ruling was this… The person posing the question said: “Tell me what is your view?” Moulana responded: “What can I say in front of Imam Saheb?”

(Extracts from Adabul I’laam and Adabul I’tidaal of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Quddisa Sirruhu)

HUBB-E-DUNYA (LOVE OF THE WORLD)

Allah Ta’ala says:

“The worldly life is nothing but substance of deception.” 

Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam  said: “The world is the prison of the Mu’min and the paradise of the Kaafir.”

All things which give pleasure here to the nafs without being of any merit in the Aakhirah is termed dunya. We are afflicted with a number of spiritual ailments all having their origin in the love of the world. About this disease, hubb-e-dunya, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam  said:

“Love of the world is the root of all evil.”

If this root ailment is treated and cured, all other maladies flowing from it will also disappear. A man overwhelmed by hubb-e-dunya has no concern and time for the Aakhirah. Such a person having no care for the Aakhirah will not be bothered about righteous deeds nor will he abstain from evil. The one in whom there is hubb-e-dunya has very little fikr for the Deen. Increase in the degree of hubb-e-dunya brings about a corresponding decrease in fikr (concern) for the Deen. Total hubb-e-dunya entails total lack of fikr for the Deen. This is manifest in the kuffaar.

Dunya does not mean wealth and family.

Dunya is the intentional and voluntary adoption of anything evil which causes one to become forgetful of Allah Ta’ala irrespective of what that thing may be. Thus, acquisition of wealth and other material means is not evil, but hubb-e-dunya (love for such material objects) is evil. Wealth is like the water in the ocean and the heart of man is like the ship sailing in the ocean. Water, while it facilitates the movement of the ship can also bring about its sinking. As long as the water remains outside the ship, it aids its sailing. But entry of the water into the ship causes it to sink. Similar is the case of wealth. Wealth aids man as long as it remains outside his heart. However, if its love enters the heart it will bring about his destruction.

The Hadith Shareef states: “Halaal wealth is a benefit to a pious man.”

He benefits because he (a pious man) spends his wealth in meritorious ways. On the contrary, if love of wealth captures the heart of man, he suppresses the rights of others. When the treasures of the Persian Empire were ushered into the presence of Hadhrat ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), he recited the Qur’aanic aayat:

“The love of pleasures has been adorned for mankind.”

He then commented: “O Allah! It is evident that the desire for pleasure is inherent in us. Its total elimination is not the aim. But, we supplicate that wealth aids us in the attainment of Your Love.”

The dunya (or the world) which has been criticized is like a serpent whose skin is colourful and most beautiful. But its poison is fatal. Intelligent people maintain a distance from such danger and are not lured by the externally adorned skin. But a little child unaware of the danger of a snake is attracted by the external beauty and is prepared to grab hold of the snake. We are comparable to the little child. We are attracted to the world by its external beauty and adornment without being aware of its dangers. Men of intelligence and experience do not incline towards the world.

People are generally deceived and overwhelmed by the glitter of the world because they are not aware of its reality. Should the reality of the world be revealed, they would become utterly disillusioned and detest it. The Hadith Shareef states:

“If the value of the world was equal to that of the wing of a mosquito by Allah, He would not have allowed any kaafir even a drink of water from it.”

In the Eyes of Allah Ta’ala the world has no value. It is a detestable object. He therefore prefers it for His enemies. A man aware of the realities if fearful of an object detested by Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam described the world in the following similitude: 

“What relationship with the world have I? My similitude is like a traveller on a mount, halting in the shade of a tree (for a short while only to leave it again, and proceed along the sojourn).”

The traveller rests a while in the shade and then moves on again.

THE REMEDY 

Remember maut (death) in abundance and do not involve yourself in distant and remote hopes. The pursuit of distant schemes and material enterprises should be shunned. In this way the love of the world will be eliminated from the heart.

This elimination is in fact the stage at the end of Sulook (the Path along which the Mureed travels in his spiritual journey). One has, in fact, to become imbued with the spirit and quality spoken of in the following Hadith:

“Die before your death.”

This Hadith means that one has to inculcate the attribute of the dead in one even before death, and that attribute is the lack of worldly love. There are three ways by which one can attain proximity with Allah Ta’ala, These are explained in detail as follows.

1. Atwal (the longest way).

2. Ausat (the middle way).

3. Aqal wa Aqrab (the shortest and nearest way).

THE ATWAL WAY 
This consists of observing in abundance Saum, Salaat, Qiraa’t, Hajj, Jihaad’ etc. This is the way of a class of Auliyaa known as the Akhyaar.

THE AUSAT WAY 
In addition to the above acts of Ibaadat is engagement in Mujaahadah, Riyaadhat, elimination of Akhlaaq-e-Zameemah and the acquisition of Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah, The majority of men travelling along the Path of Sulook become Waasil (attain the goal of Divine Proximity) via this second way.

THE AQAL WA AQRAB WAY 
This is the way of Ishq (Love). Riyaadhat (spiritual exercises) and mingling with people are suffocating to the Saalik (spiritual traveller) along this path. Thikr, Fikr, Shukr and Shauq are the intellectual occupations of the traveller plodding along the Path of Ishq. The traveller along this Road become Waasil by this method. Purification of the nafs and adornment of the heart and soul are realized by the method of Love. They have no interest in kashf (inspirational revelation of the Auliyaa) and karaamat (miracles of the Auliyaa). They are totally immersed in:

“Die before your death.”

This third way is the way of the class of Auliyaa known as the Shataariyah.

DYING BEFORE DEATH 
At the time of death, the dying man possesses certain attributes, the inculcation of which is exhorted by the Hadith: “Die before your death.” These attributes which are in the perfect state in the dying man are:

Taubah (repentance), zuhd, (abstention), qanaa’at (contentment), tawakkul (trust in Allah), azlat (solitude), tawajjuh ilal-laah (attention directed to Allah Ta’ala), sabr (patience), ridhaa (pleased with Allah), thikr (remembrance of Allah) and muraaqabah (meditation).

Among the Shataariyah the salient feature is Muraaqabah.

One has to inculcate the above qualities which overtake a dying person to a high degree. Taubah, i.e. repentance to emerge from all evil as is the position at the time of maut; Zuhd, i.e. to shun the world and everything in it as is the case at maut; Tawakkul, i.e. to shun all abnormal worldly agencies as is the case at maut; Azlat, i.e. to sever all ties with creation as is the case at maut; Qanaa’at, i.e. abstention from lowly desires–to be contented–as is the case at maut; Tawajjuh ilal-laah, i.e. to rivet one’s attention towards only Allah Ta’ala as is the case at maut; Sabr, i.e. to shun pleasures as is the case at maut; Ridhaa, i.e. to abstain from pleasing the nafs, and to be pleased with Allah and to submit in entirety to Allah Ta’ala as is the case at maut. This is the conception of “Die before your death.”

One has to transform one’s condition so as to be imbued with the conception of “death before death”. In this earthly life, the body is on earth, but the rooh should be directed to the Aakhirah, and be in communion with Allah Ta’ala. Possession of even the kingdom of the earth should not affect one’s heart. The heart at all times should be empty of the world. The sign of this lofty state having settled over one is total abstention from everything branded as evil by the Shariah. The mind, tongue and the whole body have to be sealed from evil. The heart is to be emptied of all things other than Allah Ta’ala. It has to be adorned with Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah.

A man dwelling in this lofty state of purity and communion with Allah Ta’ala is always aloof from gatherings of futility. Whatever diverts the mind of the Seeker of Allah from the remembrance of Allah is futility and nonsensical. The Seeker refrains from association with men of baatil (falsehood and corruption). One who does not pursue the Path in quest of Allah, is in fact a man of baatil.

O beloved one! This then is the meaning of “die before your death” stated by Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. This is the way of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. This is the life which Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam desired for his Ummah.