Category Archives: True Sufism/ Tasawwuf

Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim on the Wahdatul Wujood concept of Fana (Annihilation) and Sukr (Spiritual Intoxication)

Why Hafiz Ibnul Qayyim?

Although the true Sufis have always gone to great lengths in condemning the charlatans who masquerade as Sufis, and have elaborated sufficiently on how the various spiritual concepts and states associated with the spiritual path conform with the Shariah, the writings of Hafiz Ibnul Qayyim are used here since he is unlikely to be branded a deviant, bidati, zindeeq, or labelled with some other epithet that is usually hurled indiscriminately at the Auliya by the members of the Salafi Sect.

Hafiz Ibnul Qayyim has written enough on the topic of fanaa to dispel much of the misconceptions associated with this particular spiritual state, which the Ulama-e-Soo utilise in order to denigrate the Auliya. These excerpts are just a few taken from his book Madarij al-Salikin, which shed much light on this matter:

The True Sufis Do Not Mean Annihilation of Existence of Everything Apart from Allah

Ibn al-Qayyim states in Madarij al-Salikin (vol. 1, p.154) that the true Sufis do not mean the annihilation of the existence of everything apart from Allah. They only mean the obliteration of the self from seeing and feeling everything apart from Allah:

“As to annihilation (fana) from seeing anything apart from He, this is a concept that the majority of the latter Sufis have called towards and which they consider the goal, and it is that on which Abu Isma‘il al-Ansari has based his book and made the third stage in each of his chapters.

They do not mean the annihilation of the existence of everything apart from Allah on the outward, but the obliteration of the self from seeing and feeling everything apart from Allah. Its true nature is the absence of one of them from everything apart from what he is witnessing, rather also his absence from seeing himself and his being. This is because he becomes absent from his worship on account of He who is worshiped, absent from his dhikr on account of He who he is remembering, absent from his love on account of his beloved, and absent from seeing himself on account of He who is being seen.”

Two Reasons for Fanaa Occurring

Ibnul Qayyim states that Fanaa occurs when the strength of the inspirations (warid) supersedes the capacity of the Saalik to withstand them:

“There are two reasons for this fana: one is the strength of the inspirations (warid) and weakness of the one receiving, and this is not criticism of the person [who is experiencing this]”

The True Sufi is Not Held Blameworthy for Words Uttered in a State of Spiritual Intoxication (Sukr )

Ibnul Qayyim continues to state that being overcome by a high spiritual state is due to the Saalik not being strong enough to be able to withstand such a state. However, the true Sufi cannot be held blameworthy for words uttered in that state:

“At times, a spiritual state such as this is called intoxication (sukr), annihilation (istilam), obliteration (muhw) and being in the state of union (jam‘a). They sometimes differentiate between the meanings of these terms and, at times, the prevalent meaning is the seeing of the heart its Beloved and the One it is remembering until he disappears into Him and becomes annihilated in Him and thinks he is in union with Him and that he has joined Him, rather he thinks he is He. This is similar to the story in which a man saw his beloved throw herself into water and so the lover threw himself behind her. The beloved said, “What made you throw yourself into the water?” The lover replied, “I lost myself in you and thought surely you were I.”

When his sense returns, he understands he was mistaken in that and that the realities are distinguished in themselves. Hence, the Cherisher (Rabb) is the Cherisher, the slave is the slave, and the Creator is separate from the creation, there is nothing from Himself in His creation, and nothing in Him from His creation.

However, at the time of sukr, muhw, istilam, fana and jam‘a this difference becomes absent, and at this time, those involved may say such things as have been narrated from Abu Yazid who said, “Glory be to myself,” or, “There is nothing in this jubbah except Allah.” Speech such as this would render the speaker a kafir if his mind were with him. However, on account of the absence of the faculty of differentiating and feeling, he is not held blameworthy…

Rather, the final outcome of such a person is to be excused — on account of his inability and weakness of heart and mind — from distinguishing and differentiating”

Only Some Were Afflicted By Shatahat (Words Uttered in Ecstasy)

In comparing the capacities of different people to absorb spiritual states, he draws attention to the fact that only some were overcome completely, and that the most perfect ones never lost control. These included the the Sahabahs (radhiyallahu anhum) who received the greatest spiritual effulgence through being in the presence of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) – yet they were never reported to have lost their senses, swooned, died, etc. as a result of spiritual emotions – the most that occurred to them was physically shaking with fear or shedding tears in abundance:

“This situation is also not necessarily that of all saliks but it comes to some of them. Those who have been afflicted include Abu Yazid and others like him. There are some who are not afflicted by it. Their situation is more perfect and strong. Indeed, the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) are the leaders of the ‘arifs, the imams of those who have reached [Allah] and are close [to Him], and the exemplars of the saliks. There was none among them who was afflicted by this in spite of the strength of their iradah, their passing of so many stages, and their seeing that which others did not see. They did not even have a whiff of its smell and nor did it pass their hearts. If this fana was perfect then they were more deserving of it and would have been the people of it, and they would have had from it that which others have not.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) – The Greatest Spiritual Strength

In order to draw attention to differing capacities of people, Ibnul Qayyim compares the reaction of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) with that of Hadhrat Musa (alayhi wasallam) when both beheld the presence of Allah (azza wa jal):

“This was also not the case with our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), and nor was his state. It is on account of this that on the night of Mi‘raj when he was taken and he saw that which he saw from that which Allah showed him from His great signs, this state did not come to him. Rather, he was as Allah Most High has described him in the verse, “The eye neither went wrong, nor did exceed the limit. He has indeed seen a part of the biggest signs of your Lord.” (53:17-18) He also said, “And We did not make the vision We showed to you, but a test for the people.” (17:60) Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “This is the vision that He showed the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) on the night he was taken…”

In spite of this, he came amongst them in the morn and his condition did not change, nor was he left senseless or unconscious, he informed them of the details of what he saw, he was not annihilated from his self and nor from seeing it. It is because of this that his situation was more perfect than Musa ibn ‘Imran (may Allah bless them both and grant them peace) when he fell senseless when his Cherisher revealed Himself to the mountain, turning it into rubble.”

Two extremes When Dealing with Shatahat of the Righteous

Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah accepts what has to be accepted, and rejects what has to rejected, using the Shariah as the standard, WITHOUT denigrating the Auliyah who uttered such statements.

There are two extreme groups when it comes to dealing with Shatahat  – those who denigrate and belittle the Auliyah on account of such statements, and those who latch onto the corrupt meanings of such statements in order to justify their deviant beliefs.

Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim in Madarij al-Salikin (vol. 2, p.39) refers to these two groups of fitnah:

“It is said that this and other words of ecstasy (shatahat) — the forgiveness of which is hoped through an abundance of good deeds, and which one is drawn deeply into due to perfect truthfulness (sidq), correct dealing, utmost sincerity and pure monotheism, and no human after the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is guaranteed fallibility — has forced two groups of people into fitnah:

The first group has been blinded from the goodness of this group, the gracefulness of their souls and the truthfulness of their dealings on account of these words of ecstasy. They consider them (the Sufis) invalid on account of these shatahat; they severely reject them and view them poorly in an absolute fashion. This is enmity and excessiveness.

If everyone who commits a mistake or errs were to be abandoned indiscriminately, and all of his good points were to be considered invalid, then all knowledge, crafts and wisdoms would be ruined and those who are distinguished for their knowledge in these matters would be without work.

The second group has been blinded by the goodness of the Community, the purity of their hearts, the correctness of their intentions and their good dealings from seeing the defects of their shatahat and their shortcomings; they have praised the shatahat and give them their approval. These people have also exceeded the limit and are extreme.

The third group are the people of justice and equity who give every man their due and treat people according to their ranks. They do not adjudicate he who is healthy as being ill and poorly, and nor consider healthy he who is ill and poorly. They, rather, accept that which should be accepted and refute that which should be refuted.”

At Times the Intended Meaning is Without Corruption

And again Ibn al-Qayyim writes in Madarij al-Salikin (vol. 3, p.330):

“At times they use a phrase used by a heretic and intend a meaning in which there is no corruption. This becomes a means of fitnah for two groups: the group that attributes the exoteric meaning of texts to them and then considers them to be innovators and astray; and the group that looks at what they aim and intend, and approves those texts and considers correct those alluded meanings. The seeker of truth accepts it from whoever has it and rejects that which opposes it regardless of who it is.”

When the Arifs Use Such Words, They Intend the Correct Meaning

Ibn al-Qayyim writes in Madarij al-Salikin (vol. 3, p.151):

“Be completely aware of ambiguous, obscure words that are in the nomenclature of the Community. They are indeed the root of difficulties, and the source of both the siddiq and the heretic. When a person who is weak in recognising and knowing Allah Most High hears the words ittisal (union), infisal (separation), musamarah (conversing), mukalamah (communion), and that nothing is in existence in reality except Allah, and that the existence of the worlds are thoughts and illusions like a shadow which exists on account of another, then he hears that which fills the ears with hulul (incarnationism), ittihad (unification) and shatahat (words of ecstasy).

When the ‘arifs, on the other hand, use these words and others like them, they intend the correct inherent meaning. But some err in understanding what they mean and attribute heresy and kufr to them.”


by Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid

The path of Sufi is not made up of learning folk medicine (tibb sha`biy), physiognomy (hay’at), arithmetic (hisaab), the astronomical wisdom of the stars (hikmat ‘n-nujuum), cosmology (`ilm ‘l-kawniyya) and physics (tabaa’i`iy). It is not mastery of the science of paranormal squares (awfaaq) and the intrinsic effects of letters (tabi`iy ‘l-huruuf) and their numerical values. Sufism is not dallying with geomancy (`ilm ‘r-raml), onomatomancy (`ilm al-ajfaar) and circular divinatory tables (`ilm ‘z-ziyaarij) or the science of demarcation (`ilm ‘s-seemiyya). Nor is the noble science of Sufism concerned with any of the baseless occult arts concerned with and shackled to this world’s life.

These above occult sciences are not the sciences of asraar (secrets) discussed in the assembly of the Sufis and the awliyya. The science of asraar with the People of Allah are those sciences which concern what is hidden and concealed within the hearts and the secret spirits of humanity. Allah ta`ala said on the tongue of His infallible Prophet: “Neither My heavens or My earth can contain Me, but I am contained in the heart of the true believer.”

This is the true genuine Sufi and he/she has fifteen fundamental traits of uprightness by which they are distinguished from the rest of creatures.

True sufism is first seeking beneficial knowledge (`ilm), which includes what has been made incumbent upon us to know from the science of the foundation of the deen, jurisprudence, and tasawwuf.

Secondly genuine Sufism is to have absolute resolve in repentance (tawba) from every sin between you and your Lord and the sins between you and His creatures.

Thirdly the pure Path of the Sufi is steeped in austerity (zuhd) in this world except with what is necessary to take care of your needs and those of your family.

Fourthly authentic Sufism is withdrawing (`uzla) from creatures except during times of prayer, times of study or other than these from the times of religious benefit.

Fifthly the Sufi is trained and committed to making war (muhariba) with Satan by means of seeking refuge with Allah from him, knowing his schemes and being on the defensive from him.

Sixthly primal Sufism is diligently struggling (mujahida) against the soul and bridling it (iljamuhaa) with the bridle of fearful awareness (lijaam at-taqwa).

Seventhly the sincere Sufi is completely reliant (tawakkul) upon Allah concerning the matter of daily provision and wealth and is strives to be independent of everything besides Allah.

Eighthly the astute Sufi is resigning of matters (tafweed al-amr) over to Allah ta`ala during times of danger, affliction, hardships and those matters which you have no power to change..

Ninthly the awakened Sufi is always imbued with contentment with the decrees (ridaa bi qadaa) of Allah and never dissatisfied with His judgment.

Tenthly the lucid Sufli is patient (sabr) in the face of affliction; patient against disobedience and disbelief; and patient in all acts of obedience, worship and drawing near to Allah..

Eleventhly the path of the Sufi comprises of being persistent in fear (iltidhaam ‘l-khawf) of the punishment of Allah at all times; and not fearing anything besides Him.

Twelfthly it also comprises of being persistent in hope (iltidhaam ‘r-rajaa’) of Allah at all times; and not hoping from anything besides Him..

Thirteenthly the Sufi at the level of the unseen negates showing-off (nafyi ‘r-riyaa’) and pretension by means of the sincerity of actions and behavior (ikhlaas ‘l-`amaal); being solely concerned with the vision and awareness of Allah..

Fourteenthly also at the level of the unseen, the Sufi, negates conceit (nafyi’l-`ujub) by means of remembrance of the favors (tadhkirat ‘n-ni`amaat) of Allah ta`ala.

And finally fifteenthly the genuine Sufi is persistent and constant in giving praise to Allah and showing gratitude for the blessings of Allah the Mighty the Majestic.

These are the fifteen fundamental traits of the genuine Sufi. Whoever succeeds in mastering these fifteen fundamental traits of uprightness, then he/she is a true and genuine Sufi. If not, then not!
If Allah blesses you to be successful at traveling this path, and taking on these fifteen traits up uprightness then there will be subjected to you forty blessings – twenty in this life and twenty in the next life.

As for the twenty in this life, they are:

[1] Allah will remember you with His praises;
[2] He will be grateful to you;
[3] He will love you;
[4] He will be your guardian;
[5] He will be the guarantor of your means of subsistence;
[6] He will be your helper;
[7] He will be your intimate friend;
[8] He will give honor to your soul and you will not be afflicted by humiliation;
[9] He will raise your spiritual zeal and resolution;
[10] He will enrich your heart;
[11] He will guide your heart by means of His light to sciences and secrets;
[12] He will expand your breasts until it will not become constricted by anything from the tribulations of this world;
[13] He will give you prestige;
[14] He will place love for you in the hearts of people;
[15] He will give you universal baraka by which the earth which you walk upon, the place where you sit and the people who accompany you will receive baraka;
[16] He will subject to you everything from the sea to the dryland of the earth, until if you desired you could fly in the air, walk upon water, or cut across the vast earth in a moment;
[17] He will subject to you all the animals – like wild beast and beast of prey;
[18] you will not ask Allah for anything, except that He will give it to you;
[19] you will receive leadership and influence at the door of the Lord of Might, which will cause creation to take you as a means to Allah ta`ala, due to your service to Him, they will succeed in their needs to Allah because of your esteem and baraka; and
[20] your supplications will be answered from Allah ta`ala, and even if you were to think of something you would find it in front of you.These will be your miracles in this life.

As for the twenty miracles in the next life, they are:

[1] the torment of death will be made easy for you;
[2] your imaan will be established for you;
[3] your spirit will be brought out with good news and joy;
[4] the announcement of eternity in the Paradise;
[5] life in the secret for your spirit and body because of the splendor of your death;
[6] safety from the questioning of the grave and being given the answers;
[7] the widening and illumination of your grave;
[8] the entertainment and honoring of your spirit and soul and your being among the company of the brethren of righteousness;
[9] your being gathered with honor and nobility when being brought out of your grave, while the Angels will greet you with vestments and crowns of honor;
[10] the illumination of your face;
[11] safety from the terror of the Day of Standing;
[12] the taking of your book of deeds in your right hand;
[13] the reckoning will be made easy for you;
[14] the Scale will be made heavy for you;
[15] your being brought to the Fount of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace;
[16] allowance to cross the Bridge (as-siraat) over Hell;
[17] receiving the intercession of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace;
[18] an eternal kingdom in Paradise;
[19] the greatest satisfaction; and
[20] the meeting without howness of the Lord of the Worlds, the Sole Deity of the Worlds of the First and the Last, jalla jalaaluhu.

These will be your miracles in the Next Life if you master the fifteen fundamental traits of uprightness; which is the Path of the Sufis. If the Sufi is to strive for anything other than the Face of Allah and His Gnosis; then let these forty blessings be what those who compete with one another compete for.

Not the rubble and trash of baseless occult arts that have no basis in the Infallible shari`a of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace..

Muraqbah: A Tool For Purification of Souls

By Maulana Sahid Mahmood Muslim


The word Muraqbah is an Arabic construction, that is derived from three lettered root ر ق ب (rqb). This root renders to the meaning of watching something. The word Muraqbah is constructed on the standard scale of Mufa’alah مفاعلہ that renders to interaction. Hence the literal meaning of Muraqbah is watching each other.


This term has been coined based on the agreed upon authentic Hadith, that is known as Hadith of Jibreel.

Umar bin Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that: One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), there came before us a man with extremely white clothing and extremely black hair. There were no signs of travel on him and none of us knew him. He [came and] sat next to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He supported his knees up against the knees of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and put his hand on his thighs. He said, ‘O Muhammad, tell me about Islam.’  The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Islam is to testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast [the month of] Ramadan, and to make pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so.’ He said, ‘You have spoken truthfully [or correctly].’ We were amazed that he asks the question and then says that he had spoken truthfully. He said, ‘Tell me about Imaan (faith).’ He [the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)] responded, ‘It is to believe in Allah, His angles, His books, His Messengers, the Last Day and to believe in the divine decree, [both] the good and the evil thereof.’ He said, ‘You have spoken truthfully.’ He said, ‘Tell me about al-Ihsaan (goodness).’ He [the Prophet (s)] answered, ‘It is that you worship Allah as if you see Him. And even though you do not see Him, 

He sees you.’ He said, ‘Tell me about [the time of] the Hour,’ He [the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)] answered, ‘The one being asked does not know more than the one asking.’ He said, ‘Tell me about it’s signs.’ He answered, ‘The slave-girl shall give birth to her master, and you will see the barefooted, scantily-clothed, destitute shepherds competing in constructing lofty buildings.’ Then he went away. I stayed for a long time. Then he [the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)] said, ‘O Umar, do you know who the questioner was?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘It was [the angel] Jibreel who came to teach you your religion.’

[Sahih Muslim #5; Aboo Daawood #4695; at-Tirmidhee #2610; Ibn Maajah #63]

Namely, the endurance of the servant’s knowledge and his conviction and certainty that Allah is watching over his internal and external affairs. To have this knowledge and certainty at all times is called Muraqabah. It is the fruit of the servant’s knowledge that Allah is his Watcher, Over-seeing him, Hearing his utterances, and Observing all of his deeds at all times.

So the terminological meaning of Muraqbah is to believe that Allah Almighty is watching you and imagine that you are watching your Lord Allah Almighty.


The foremost objective of Moraqbah is to enhance the love for Allah Almighty. However there are some other objectives of Moraqbah:

  1. Concentrate on the Divine Attributes, His signs in your-self and the cosmos.
  2. Appreciate His endless mercy and love for you.
  3. Evaluate your actions, whether these conform with His pleasure or not.
  4. Enlighten your mind, heart and soul.
  5. Purify your soul and get rid of evil thoughts and desires.

Allah Almighty says:

“The time of their account has approached for the people, while they are in heedlessness turning away. No mention comes to them anew from their Lord except that they listen to it while they are at play. With their hearts distracted. And those who do wrong conceal their private conversation,

, “Is this [Prophet] except a human being like you? So would you approach magic while you are aware [of it]?”[21:1-3]

The state of heedlessness is blameworthy and disliked as it is the characteristic of disbelievers, so paying heed to His commands, attributes and signs is required. Muraqbah is headed for this God-consciousness.

It is the characteristic of the believers that they ponder over the sings of His Will and Power scattered throughout the universe. As Allah Almighty says:

“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire. Our Lord, indeed whoever You admit to the Fire – You have disgraced him, and for the wrongdoers there are no helpers. Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous. Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise.” [3:190-194]


The best time of Muraqbah is at night, when your mind is free of worldly worries and feels comfortable as compared to day time. Though you can do it, whenever, you are free in seclusion. The preferred time for Muraqbah is after Maghrib or Isha and Tahajjud before dawn.


Your intention is most important, whenever, you perform a good deed. Muraqbah needs the purest intention for purification of your heart. You should intend to attain all the objectives mentioned above, though, your utmost goal should be pleasure of your Lord Allah Almighty. Some misguided people have evil intentions with Muraqbah like attaining the status of an apostle, gaining supernatural powers or worldly fame. Your intention makes your Muraqbah different than the meditations of Hindu or Buddhist yoga exercises.


As Muraqbah is a method to get enlightened, you should make ablution and recite the following Kalimat, to protect you from evil thoughts.

1. Al-Fatihah (Once)

2. Ayatul Kursi (Al-Baqarah:255-257] (Once)

3. Surah Al-Ikhlas (Thrice)

4. Surah Al-Falaq (Thrice)

5. Surah An-Naas (Thrice)

6.  اَللّٰھُمَّ صَلِ عَلیٰ سَیِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدِ نِ النَّبِیِّ الاُمِّیِّ وَعَلیٰ آلِہِ وَ اَصۡحَابِہِ وَسَلِّم (10 times)

7. سُبۡحَانَ اللہِ وَبِحَمۡدِہِ سُبۡحَانَ اللہِ الۡعَظِیۡمِ  (100 times)


1. Sit on your buttocks, crossed legs, facing Qiblah, on a mat/carpet preferably.

2. Imagine that there is a large ocean of Noor (light) and you are swimming in this ocean in a slow motion.

3. When you have fully concentrated on this imagination, you will feel weightlessness, as you are really swimming in the water.

4. You will feel that Noor is penetrating in your soul, filling your heart and mind with that Noor.

5. Enjoy this swimming and enlightenment as long as you can comfortably.

6. Finish your Muraqbah when you have lost your concentration.

7. Say these Kalimat after Muraqbah:

اَسۡتَغۡفِرُ اللہَ رَبِّی مِنۡ کُلِّ ذَنۡبٍ وَّ اَتُوۡبُ اِلَیۡہِ


1.    Don’t bother about time elapsed during Muraqbah.

2.    You can change your posture, if you feel uncomfortable, after a reasonable resistance.

3.    Muraqbah requires an empty stomach, so don’t do it after meal immediately.

4.    Don’t worry if you fail to concentrate on the said imagination. Either try again or postpone it till next day.

5.    Your sitting place should be comfortable as required by the local atmosphere.

Note: The method mentioned above, is for beginners.


[By Shaykh Sharif ibn Farid]

The Roots of African Martial Arts in the `Amal of Medina

In his Sawq al-Umma Ila Ittiba` as-Sunna, Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio narrated two prophetic traditions which establish the lawfulness of practicing martial arts; combining it with the drums, poetry and entertainment; similar to the Caporeira system the Africans developed in Brazil; but in addition to the formation of a system of martial arts the two prophetic traditions establish that this martial tradition was connected with the `amal of Medina among the Africans of the city.

The first narration by the Shehu cited with his chain to the Saheeh of al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Hurayra who stated:

“We were present when some Abyssinians were making entertainment in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with their lances when Umar entered. He (Umar) then reached for some pebbles and began to stone them with them. He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Let them alone O Umar!”

The meaning of the words of Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him: “We were present when some Abyssinians”; it is said that this cognomen is a reference to the descendants of Habash ibn Kush ibn Haam ibn Nuuh, who are the traditional neighbors to the people of Yemen, and are only cut off from them by the Red Sea.

Historically, the Abyssinians conquered Yemen before the time of Islam and took sovereignty over its land. Also Abraha made the well-known military engagement from their kingdom against the Ka`aba and its people accompanied with his elephants, and were known as ‘the Companions of the Elephant’.

This event occurred in the year in which our master Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was born. Allah ta`ala says about them:

“Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the Companions of the Elephants? Did He not bring their stratagem to nil; and sent against them swarms of flying creatures, which pelted them with stones of baked clay; and made them like green crops devoured.”

This is evidence that the lands of Yemen and parts of the lands south of the Hijaz were under the sovereignty of Abyssinia until the event of the Elephant.

Ibn Hajr al-`Asqalani said: “The kingdom of Abyssinia lay in the direction of the west of the land of Yemen, and its distance is extremely vast, and they are divided into many ethnic types. All of the divisions of the Blacks fall under the sovereignty of the ruler of Abyssinia.”

This statement is proof that any mention of the name Abyssinia in the prophetic traditions is a designation for all Blacks in general. The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…were making entertainment”; is that the entertainment of the Abyssinians with their lances, was actually their convention and custom by which they trained in the art of war; and this should not be assumed that they were performing some kind of dancing for amusement.

It was called ‘entertainment’ (la`b) although it was primarily a form of practice in martial arts, and it was performed with gravity although it resembled entertainment, because of what was in it of mock jabbing and stabbing, even though this was not actually done. And those participating would give the false impression that the fighting was real, even when they were fathers and sons; and Allah knows best. In this is evidence for it being highly recommended to train and practice boxing, swordsmanship and other than these from the sciences of martial arts.
The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with their lances”; is intrinsically connected to the reality that this practice was their custom during every `Eid celebration. It also indicates that this was an authorization that they were accustomed to with the advent of the `Eid.

There was no contradiction between their actions and the religion in that their arrival to perform coincided with the day of the `Eid. This is because it was among their custom prior to Islam to entertain themselves in this fashion during all their holiday festivals. Thus, they did that as a convention, and then eventually they made this form of entertainment on the day of every `Eid.
This was corroborated by what was related by Abu Dawud on the authority of Anas who said:

“When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace arrived in al-Medina the Abyssinians made entertainment out of joy for that by making amusement with their lances.”

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…when Umar entered”; is based upon what Ibn at-Teen said: “It is conceivable that Umar did not actually see the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and was not aware that he was actually observing them. Or perhaps he assumed that he saw them but was too modest to prevent them from doing it.”

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “He (Umar) then reached”; is that he made the obvious objective with his hands for reaching for the stones.

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “…for some pebbles”; is that the expression ‘hasaa’ (pebbles) is the plural of ‘hisaat’, and are pebbles small enough not to cause injury if thrown at someone. It was not Umar’s intention to punish them, but to deter them.

The meaning of his words, may Allah be pleased with him: “and began to stone them with them”; is that he threw the pebbles at them as an objection to what they were doing. Umar did this based upon his own ‘ijtihaad’ (independent judgment) considering that their behavior was not appropriate for the masjid, because it resembled the behavior of the words of Allah ta`ala: “…and their prayer in the House is nothing but shouting and the clapping of hands.”

Thus, Umar objected to their making entertainment based upon the apparent meaning of the words of Allah ta`ala: “The life of this world in nothing but entertainment and amusement, while the Abode of the Hereafter is better for those who are fearfully aware”; assuming that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace was unaware of what they were doing.

Umar held the view that making amusement and entertainment in any way was not appropriate for the masaajid, because Allah ta`ala says: “And the masaajid are solely for Allah.” And Allah knows best.

The meaning of his words, upon him be blessings and peace: “Let them alone O Umar!”; is leave them alone because their behavior is permitted or highly recommended, and consistent with the Sunna. That is to say, that demonstrating adroitness and dexterity with weapons in mark combat is not reprehensible, especially when it is done to entertain the Muslims during their holidays.

It is clear that Umar did know this ruling when he was throwing the pebbles at them until it was said to him: ‘Let them alone.’ That is to say, let them alone because they are not doing something which is displeasing to Allah and His messenger.

If Umar knew of the presence of the Messenger of Allah and yet he made his decision to deter the Abyssinians from making entertainment in the masaajid, is evidence for the permissibility of the Companions making independent judgment in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

What the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said to Umar was not an objection to his independent judgment, or his duty to command the good and forbid evil. On the contrary, the Messenger of Allah commended the ijtihaad of a mujtahid even when he errs, by his words, upon him be peace:

“When a jurist gives a judgment based upon his independent judgment and he gets it correct, then he will have two rewards. And if he gives a judgment based upon his independent judgment and he makes an error, then he will have a single reward.”

Thus, with respect to giving ijtihaad, every single mujtahid is correct in his judgment. Thus, Umar was correct from one perspective and incorrect from another. The silence of the Prophet, upon him be peace during the entertainment of the Abyssinians in the masjid is evidence for its permissibility according to the shari`a, since the sunnan were established by his words and actions and sometimes by his silent approval of what he saw from the Companions.

The silence of the Messenger of Allah, of the Abyssinians and his censure of the actions of Umar, corroborates the lawfulness of martial games or demonstrations the Africans were doing. For this reason it states in the at-Tawdeeh:

“The playing at martial arts games is a Sunnah because it is a preparation for encountering the enemies, and disciplining of the people for that.” It should be noted that no mention was made in the prophetic tradition of singing and dancing.

However, there are many of those who are associated with the Sufis who utilize this prophetic tradition and the one regarding the two Abyssinian girls singing as evidence for the permissibility for singing and dancing as a form of worship. It is sufficient to refute them with the fact that the entertainment of the Abyssinians was a form of exercise and training with shields and lances, and this was a custom of theirs for recreation, and not a type of worship.

The scholars differ regarding the permissibility of singing. A large group from the people of the Hijaz allowed it, based upon a narration on the authority of Malik, however, Abu Hanifa and the people of `Iraq said that it was prohibited. The view of as-Shafi` considered it reprehensible, which is also the most famous view of Malik.
Those who consider singing permissible take reliance upon the above cited prophetic tradition, while others refute them by citing that the kind of singing that the Abyssinians performed was that regarding bravery, fighting, adroitness in fighting and the like, which has no corruption in it. This is in contrast to the kind of singing which comprises provoking the lower souls towards evil and inducing them to that which is false and obscene.

Whatever the case, the above cited prophetic tradition establishes the fact that it was a sunnan for the Africans, the Blacks (Sudaniyuun), the Abyssinians, etc of the city of Medina, to train in martial arts, and to give entertainment in the form of weapons demonstrations in the presence of the Prophet inside the masaajid. We can see that is far easier for a Sufi Zawiyya to be a place for the purification of the soul accompanied with martial training; than let’s say a zawiyya where the Sufis sing and dance.

The second prophetic tradition which Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio cites with his chain of authority going back to the Saheeh of al-Bukhari which establish the fact that the Africans of the city of Medina formally practiced a form of martial arts and gave regular demonstrations before the people of Medina during their Eids; is what was related on the authority of A`isha, may Allah be pleased with her who said:

“On the day of the `Eid, the Blacks were playing with leather shields and lances.”
The meaning of the words, of A`isha may Allah be pleased with her: “On the day of the `Eid, the Blacks were playing”; is a reference to the Abyssinians. This is proof that the names Abyssinian and Blacks were interchangeable, and that the name Abyssinian is a cognomen designating all Blacks, as we mentioned previously.
They were playing in the masjid as it was stated explicitly in the narration of az-Zuhri: “…and the Abyssinians were playing in the masjid.” In the narration of Mu`aliqa it added: “…with their lances.”

Muslim related from the narration of Hisham on the authority of his father: “The Abyssinians came and began to play in the masjid”; in that it was their custom to do so during every `Eid, as we mentioned.

In the narration of Ibn Hibban it stated: “When he arrived, the Abyssinians assembled and stood and played in the masjid.”

The meaning of her words, may Allah be pleased with her: “…with leather shields”; is that ‘the leather shield’ is among the instruments of war which are necessary for the people of this art to take up as a defensive implement against the weapons of the enemies.
It is said that the leather shield is a type of shield made from leather and contains wood without a stump at its end. It is well known that the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace used to utilize them for defensive purposes.
The meaning of her words, may Allah be pleased with her: “…and lances” is that the expression ‘hiraab’ is the plural of ‘harba’, which is weapon shorter than a spear, as Ibn al-`Arabi said: “The lance is not to be included among the types of spears.” This means that the lance was categorized as a close quarter combat weapon; while the spear is for long distance and keeping the enemies at a distance.

This prophetic tradition gives evidence of the permissibility of playing with weapons by way of exuberant movements for the purpose of practicing for war and vitalizing oneself for it. It is what the people of China call ‘chuan’ (organized martial movement) and the people of Japan call ‘kaataa’ (a martial arts form).

Further, what can be extracted from it is the permissibility of fencing and swordsmanship and what it comprises of training the hands in the art of war. These kinds of exercises also invigorate the metabolism and make the body healthy in order to worship Allah.
The fact that A`isha, may Allah be pleased with her was the one who transmitted this prophetic tradition through eye witnessing indicates the permissibility for women observing the actions of men, even though it is reprehensible for them to gaze upon their attractiveness with the objective of taking pleasure from that, as Qadi `Iyad mentioned in his as-Shifa.

In these times when Muslim national minorities all around the globe are the targets of summary attacks by bullies, thugs and xenophobes; it is time that we revive the dead Sunnah of martial training for our men women and children.


by Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid

Allah Ta`ala says on the tongues of His prophets:

ﻭَﻣَﺎ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻨَﺎ ﺇِﻟَّﺎ ﺑَﻠَﺎﻍٌ ﻣُﺒِﻴْﻦٌ

“…and the only obligation upon us is to deliver a clear message.”

It has been related by at-Tirmidhi, and al-Haakim verified its soundness that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said:

“Whoever is asked about some knowledge and he conceals it, Allah will bridle him with a bridle of fire on the Day of Judgment.”

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abd’r-Rahman said in his Tuhfat’l-Ahwadhi about the meaning of the above tradition:

“His saying: ‘Whoever is asked about some knowledge’, means knowledge which the one questioning is in need of in the affairs of his religion. This includes all of the sciences of the individual obligations, such as: determining pure water, purification, prayer, alms, fasting, pilgrimage, marriage, etc, as well as the prohibitions.

His saying: ‘and he conceals it’, means by failing to answer, or by neglecting to put it in writing. This supports the idea that recording religious knowledge using diverse media is a collective obligation for the Umma and an individual obligation for the scholars.

His saying: ‘Allah will bridle him’, means a bridle will be entered into his mouth because the mouth is the conduit of knowledge and speech.”

Thus, the punishment is not only physical and corporeal, it is also symbolic. However the punishment in the Hereafter will be horrendous because this individual would have spent his/her entire life learning knowledge; and on the Day of Judgment when their knowledge will best benefit them; their mouths will be sealed and shut with a bridle of fire.

Imam at-Taybi said:
“The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace makes that which is placed in the mouth from fire to resemble a bridle placed in the mouth of a beast of burden. This meaning suffices since the scholar was content to bridle himself with silence. He also makes the person resemble an animal that has been subjugated and prevented from reaching his objectives in what he desires. The reason for this is that the affair of the scholars is to invite humanity to the truth.”

This is the profession of the scholar and religious jurists who inherit this role from the Prophets, upon them be peace. When professionals abandon their professions then the harmony and well-being of society is thrown off balance. In western societies learning is associated with something marketable. In the learned circles of Islamic Africa, learning was an act of worship, and service to Allah, humanity and existence.

Ibn Hajr said: “One of the objectives in learning knowledge is in order to disseminate it and bring advantage to humanity. However, concealing knowledge negates this pure purpose and makes the person cut off from the appearance of the scholars and wise men.”

In a sense, this is an argument that education in a society should be free from elementary, secondary to tertiary. By unfettering learning from the markets, it allows those who have received learning to research, discover, develop and teach others for the benefit and advantage of humanity and the environment and not as if knowledge were a commodity. In another sense, making learning a marketable commodity where it can only be attained by those who can afford it, can be considered a form of concealment of knowledge as well.

The legal judgments that can be extracted from this prophetic tradition are both restricted
(muqayyid) and general (`aam) and allow for the emergence of legal differences among the jurists. These differences emerge around the meaning of the key word in the above prophetic tradition – KNOWLEDGE.

The meaning of the prophetic tradition is general if you define knowledge as those sciences which are an obligation upon every individual to learn. In that case whoever conceals this knowledge when asked has acted unjustly with his/her learning and has acted unjustly towards those from whom he/she concealed this knowledge.

This was corroborated by Imam as-Sayyid who said:
“This prophetic tradition refers to the knowledge that is necessary to learn, like teaching the disbelievers the reality of Islam, the methodology of the prayer; as well as giving legal decisions in what is permissible and prohibited. Thus, in these affairs it is incumbent to give an answer, but not in the science considered superogatory and those sciences not essentially necessary.”

As-Sayyid clearly shows that there is a level of knowledge which should be concealed, at least from those undeserving of it, in intellectual capacity or in moral/ethical capacity. It is for this reason that one of my teachers in Martial Arts informed me at the outset, as he was informed by his teacher before him:

“If you use this art to harm another, act unjustly or oppress others, then I will kill you.”

It is the same principle that I apply when taking new MARTIAL ARTS students as well. That is an extreme example, nevertheless, it indicates that there are some sciences and levels of knowledge which must be concealed and only transmitted to those who are deserving of it intellectually, morally or spiritually.

However, all sciences which are of general benefit to the whole of humanity and the environments in which we live, then those sciences should never be concealed from the people. In fact, soe Muslim jurists believe that it becomes an obligation for the society as a whole, a collective to archive, preserve, conserve and inter-generationally transmit certain sciences to the people.

This is verified by what was related in the Saheeh of al-Bukhari, that Umar ibn Abd’l-`Azeez wrote to Abu Bakr ibn Hizaam:

“Examine what is with you from the prophetic traditions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and transcribe them; for I fear the elimination of knowledge and the loss of the scholars.”

The elimination of knowledge and the loss of the scholars, if you will recall, are both among the seventy-two signs of the End of Time. Yet, we have an Amir al-Mu’mineen, legislating or giving an executive order for his officials to develop the industry designed to protect the society from these Signs.

Clearly, the transmission of the prophetic traditions and their recordings were seen as a societal obligation, and not to do so could be seen as a form of concealing a necessary message.

Like the Martial Arts, which should never be taught to brigands, rogues, or criminals, there are many other sciences which should be concealed and only taught to those who have the intellectual and moral capacity to understand and use them. Some of these sciences are elemental such as medicine, the science of disposal, astronomy, engineering; while others are spiritual and can only be given to those who are spiritually prepared.
An example of this is what Shaykh Abd’l-Qaadir Dan Tafa said in his al-`Uhuud wa’l-Mawaathiq:

“I have taken and oath and covenant not to invite anyone from the people to what I have learned from the philosophical and elemental sciences; even though I took these sciences in a sound manner, rejecting from that what is in these sciences of errors. Along with that, I will not teach these sciences to anyone in order that they may not be led astray; and errors will thus revert back to me, may Allah protect me. On the contrary, I will invite them to sound legitimate knowledge, the Qur’an, the Sunna, jurisprudence and spiritual purification.”

Later in the same text Shaykh Dan Tafa said:
“I have taken an oath and covenant to keep secret what is with me from the sciences of the spiritual realities and secrets and to conceal my works regarding these. This is because these sciences are an exalted class of sciences for the spiritually elite and are only designated for those who are spiritually prepared from among the People of Allah.”

This form of concealment of knowledge is obligatory in one sense, highly recommended in one sense, reprehensible in one sense, and forbidden in another. It is obligatory to conceal this knowledge from those who are diametrically opposed to it. It is highly recommended to conceal it from those are not of its People. It is reprehensible to conceal it from its People. It is forbidden to conceal it from those sages and believers who deserve it.

al-Uhuud wa ‘l-Mawaatheeq – the Book of Oaths and Covenants by Shaykh Abd’l-Qaadir Dan Tafa


[By Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid]

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful, may Allah send blessing upon our master Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) his family and Companions and grant them abundant peace.

Among the most pervasive evils which Satan has caused to emerge on the tongues of those associated with Sufism in this post-modernist era is the false claim that a person can see Allah with the physical eyes. This pernicious claim is a denial of the Infallible Book of Allah and the Sunna of His infallible Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. It is also a denial of the consensus opinion of the scholars of Islam from the earliest times to the present.

You hear on the tongue of rank amateurs in the Path to Allah, and by those who have not even smelt the scent of the sound faith and knowledge, that Allah is the Manifest (Dhaahir) and the Hidden (Baatin) and that everything you see is none other than Him. We seek refuge with Allah Ta`ala from inventing lies against Him without authority (sultan) and from compounded ignorance.

These are ideas which these novices misread and extracted from the pages of the spiritually unveiled sages and incorrectly repeated them without having the least understanding of the true import of their words and wisdom. It is for this reason that prior to the age of the European Christians (zaman ‘n-nasaara), it was forbidden to induct into the Tareeqa anyone who had no completed the mastery of their individual obligations in knowledge (fard’l-ayyaan fee ‘l-`ilm).

Today, charlatan murshids & shaykhs and their charlatan mureeds induct any ignoramus into the Sufi path and expose them to advanced ideas on Divine Unity; who then speak on things about Allah which they have no true knowledge or guidance.

This false idea that claims that a person can see Allah Ta`ala with physical sight is categorically denied by the Book and the Sunna. Allah Ta`ala says:

ﻻَّ ﺗُﺪْﺭِﻛُﻪُ ﺍﻷَﺑْﺼَﺎﺭُ ﻭَﻫُﻮَ ﻳُﺪْﺭِﻙُ ﺍﻷَﺑْﺼَﺎﺭَ ﻭَﻫُﻮَ ﺍﻟﻠَّﻄِﻴﻒُ ﺍﻟْﺨَﺒِﻴﺮُ * ﻗَﺪْ ﺟَﺎﺀَﻛُﻢْ ﺑَﺼَﺎﺋِﺮٌ ﻣِﻦْ ﺭَّﺑِّﻜُﻢْ ﻓَﻤَﻦْ ﺃَﺑْﺼَﺮَ ﻓَﻠِﻨَﻔْﺴِﻪِ ﻭَﻣَﻦْ ﻋَﻤِﻲَ ﻓَﻌَﻠَﻴْﻬَﺎ ﻭَﻣَﺎ ﺃَﻧَﺎ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻜُﻢْ ﺑِﺤَﻔِﻴْﻆٍ

“He cannot be seen by vision, and He sees (all) vision; and He is the Subtlety Kind, the Aware. Indeed there have come to you clear insight from your Lord; whoever will therefore have insight, it will be for their own souls and whoever will be blind, it shall be against themselves; for I am not over you as a protector.” [6:103-104]

Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodio said in his Diya ‘t-Ta`weel fee Ma`ana ‘t-Tanzeel about the meaning of the above two verses: “He cannot be seen by vision’, means you cannot encompass Him in vision. This is the interpolation of the large majority of the scholars of the exegesis of the Quran (tafsir ‘l-jamhuur).

Or a second interpolation is that it means, that you cannot physically see Him in this life, because seeing Him is specific for the visions which the believers will have of Him in the Hereafter. This is based upon His words:

ﻭُﺟُﻮﻩٌ ﻳَﻮْﻣَﺌِﺬٍ ﻧَﺎﺿِﺮَﺓٌ ﺇَﻟَﻰ ﺭَﺑِّﻬِﺎَ ﻧَﺎﻇِﺮَﺓً

‘Faces on that Day will be gazing on their Lord in amazement’.

It has been related by the two Shaykhs, al-Bukhari and Muslim, that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said:

ﺇِﻧَّﻜُﻢْ ﺳَﺘَﺮَﻭْﻥَ ﺭَﺑَّﻜُﻢْ ﻛَﻤَﺎ ﺗَﺮَﻭْﻥَ ﺍَﻟْﻘَﻤَﺮَ ﻟَﻴْﻠَﺔَ ﺍَﻟْﺒَﺪْﺭِ

“Indeed you will see your Lord, just as you see the moon on the night of the full moon.”

The phrase vision (absaar) is plural for sight (basar); which is a light lodged in the organ with which things are seen.

The concept of vision is applied unrestrictedly to the eyes, since it is the locus of sight.

The first interpolation is foremost and is what is intended based upon His words: ‘and He sees (all) vision‘; and means that His knowledge encompasses all visions, since He is the One who singled them out with vision. This means that He encompasses and sees the vision of the eyes; and not just the organ of sight.

This is explicit denial of anything besides Allah seeing or comprehending Him with physical or sensory vision.
Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodio said that the meaning of His words: ‘and He is the Subtle the Kind’, i.e., the Intimately Compassionate to His awliyya. This Divine Name ‘Lateef’ is from the etymological root ‘lutf’ (kindness) and follows the conjugation of the word ‘nusr’ (assistance).

The meaning of His words: ‘the Aware’, is that He is acutely aware of them. That is to say, that He, Allah cannot be seen by ocular vision because He is the Subtle the Kind; and yet He sees and encompasses all visions because He is the Acutely Aware.

The One who is Subtle, Kind (Lateef) is an indication that He can only be comprehended through spiritual unveiling (kashif), since He cannot be comprehended via sensory perception because there is no likeness to Him in the sensory. The sensory creation is not Allah Ta`ala.

It is other than Him and everything other than Him is in a constant state of fluctuation and annihilation. However, creation’s state of atrophy is an indication of its Creator who is Ever Living, Pre-Eternal and Eternally Continuous. This means that while creation cannot comprehend or see Allah via sensory perception, He can be comprehended through the inner vision and insight of the heart.

That is what the exalted Creator meant when He said on the tongue of our beloved Prophet: “Neither My heavens or My earth can encompass Me, but I am encompassed in the heart of the true believer.”

This truth was confirmed by Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodio when he said continuing his exegesis of the verses: “Then Allah Ta`ala: ‘say to them: ‘Indeed there have come to you clear insight from your Lord’, where the phrase ‘clear insight’ (basaa’ir) is plural for ‘baseera’, which is the vision given to the heart (qalb), like the sensory sight (basar) is given to the eyes (`ayn).

What this means is that Allah has made decisive evidences (dalaa’l qaati`a) as insight to the hearts giving evidence of the utmost extent of His Self-disclosure (jalaa’).”

His words: ‘whoever will therefore have insight’, means whoever will have inner insight of these evidences of His Self-disclosure, will come to truly believe in Him.

His words: ‘it will be for their own souls’, means that this Divine insight will increase them in insight, since its reward is increased insight of Him.
His words: ‘and whoever will be blind’, in his heart from comprehending the evidences in creation which indicate His existence; then ‘it shall be against themselves’, meaning that their error will return to them.

His words: ‘for I am not over you as a protector’, means that the Prophet, upon him be peace was not sent as a guardian of your deeds and actions. He is merely a warner. It is Allah who is the Protector (Hafeedh) of you through His preservation of your actions and deeds, and His sanctioning of them. Or it means that he, the Prophet, is unable to defend you from what Allah desires with you.”

The gnostic sage Imam al-Alusi, may Allah be merciful to him, said in his monumental exegesis of the Quran regarding His words:

“He cannot be seen by vision’ where the phrase ‘absaar’ is plural for ‘basar’ (sight); and is used unrestrictedly to refer to the organ of sight (jaarihat naadhira) and refers to the strength of vision that is in the eyes; as well inner vision itself, since it is the strength of comprehension of the heart (quwwat ‘l-qalb). Comprehension (idraak) of a thing means attaining understanding of its fullest extent and having encompassment of that thing.

The majority of the scholars of scholastic theology assert that the meaning of sight (basar) in this Quranic verse refers to the sensory organ of sight since it is the locus for the strength of vision. It is said that this reference is an indication of that and of the illusions and understanding; as Amir ‘l-Mu’mineen Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah ennoble his face said:
“Genuine Divine Unity is that you not have any false illusions about Him.” He also said: “Everything that can be comprehended and understood, by the senses, He is other than that.”

It has been related by Ibn Jareer on the authority of Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him who said that the words of Allah:

“He cannot be seen by vision” means that the sensory vision of nothing or no-one can encompass Allah Ta`ala.”

Some of the scholars assert that even in the Hereafter, Allah will not be seen by sensory perception but through a new form of ‘seeing’ which Allah Ta`ala will create as a sense perception for the believers in the hereafter.

This is confirmed by what, the Imam of the Taabi`, Daraar ibn `Amr al-Kufi said: “Indeed Allah will not be seen with the sensory eyes, but He will be seen by a sixth sense which He Subhannahu will create for them on the Day of Judgement.”

These are the illuminated ideas regarding this subject from the words of the best of early communities of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This is evidence that any Muslim, especially, a Sufi who claims that Allah can be seen by the eyes in the outward and that Allah is everything witnessed in existence, has strayed far from the Straight Path.
This is the same for those who claim that Allah is “all-in-all”, or that Allah is all Black people; and other than these from fallacious ideas which emerge from this central falsehood of the sensory vision of Allah in this existence.
As for the ideas of the masters of the Sufis regarding the sensory vision of Allah in this life and in apparent existence; they too, categorically deny this claim in the most eloquent elucidations after whose words nothing else need be said.

The SULTAN of the AWLIYYA our spiritual master, Muyh’d-Deen Abd’l-Qaadir al-Jaylani said about the meaning of these words of Allah:

“He cannot be seen by vision, and He sees (all) vision; and He is the Subtlety Kind, the Aware. Indeed there have come to you clear insight from your Lord; whoever will therefore have insight, it will be for their own souls and whoever will be blind, it shall be against themselves; for I am not over you as a protector.”

“Indeed it is so, that ‘He cannot be seen,’ due to the extreme degree of His Self-manifestation (dhuhuur) and the Self disclosure (jalaa’). He cannot be seen: ‘by vision’, due solely to the deficiency in ocular sensory vision perceiving His Immense Light; ‘and’, further, how can physical sensory vision see Him; when, ‘He, with His Essence, ‘sees’, i.e. perceives. ‘(all) vision’?

For the One that sees all vision cannot be seen by physical ocular vision; ‘and’, even further, how can He be seen, when ‘He is the Subtlety Kind’, Imperceptibly Transcendent above all forms of imagery (mujaazaat), semblance (muqaabila), natural simulation (inttibaa`) or likeness (muhaaka).”

This is emphatic denial of any false claimant who declares that Allah Ta`ala can be seen outwardly in creation; or those who fall into to open disbelief by claiming that the apparent creation that we witness (mushaahadaat) is none other than Allah because He is the Manifest (Dhaahir).

Or that Allah infuses Himself in creation; or that He impersonates Creation; or that He incarnates or “comes in the person” or locus of some created being, such as Jesus, the son of Mary, Fard Muhammad, Ogun, Horus, or any other physical incarnation inspired by Satan into the hearts of his friends.

This false ideology leads to open shirk and association of Allah with His creation; and identifying creation as a deity. We seek refuge with Allah from open disbelief after being guided!

Shaykh Muyh’d-Deen Abd’l-Qaadir al-Jaylani continues:

“Since He, Allah is: ‘the Aware”, so how can anything besides Himself be truly aware of Him? In summation, nothing sees Allah except Allah, nothing is innately aware of Allah except Him; for everything is in an innate state of atrophy and destruction except His countenance. To Him belongs the judgment, and it is to Him that you all will return, just as a shadow returns back to what caste the shadow.”

Our master, Abu Bakr as-Sideeq, may Allah be pleased with him said corroborating the above principle: “The acknowledgement of the inability to comprehend (`adamu’l-istidraak) Him is comprehension of Him.”

However, Allah Ta`ala does disclose Himself, His Names and Attributes as well as His Actions in creation to His close intimate friends (awliyya) when He says: ‘Indeed there have come to you clear insight from your Lord.’

Shaykh Abdl-Qaadir al-Jaylani said about these words:

‘Indeed there have come to you’, i.e., there has occurred among some of you, who have a propensity (majbuul) for the original lucid state of Divine Unity (fitra ‘t-tawheed), ‘clear insight’, that is to say, there has come to you clear evidences (shawaahid) and dialectical moments of spiritual unveiling (kawaashif), ‘from your Lord’, who brought you into existence and disclosed these to you.
‘Whoever will therefore have insight’, that is to say, the one who actually witnesses these evidences of His Self-disclosure and those who experience genuine unveiling with them, ‘it will be for their own souls’.

This means that the advantage will naturally recur to them; ‘and whoever will be blind’, i.e., veiled from it; ‘it shall be against themselves’. This means that the harm of being blinded and veiled to these realities returns back to them.
‘For I am not over you as a protector’; that is to say, I am not your overseer responsible for managing you. I am only a deliverer of prophetic news. Your preservation and that of all things besides Him is in the Hand of Allah. For, management is by His omnipotent power. He alone guides whom he wills and leads astray whomever He wills.”
How did this pernicious idea permeate some of those who claim association with the Path of the Sufis? It came from a prevalent heretical innovation which emerged with those charlatan Sufi shaykhs who were more concerned with garnering large numbers of mureeds, so out of lust for this world’s life and its rubble; these business tycoons posing as shaykhs; threw away the basic principle in inducting people into the Tareeqa.

The basic rule for inducting a person, man, or woman, into the Path of the Sufis was that the person had to, as a prerequisite, have completed the attainment, and understanding of the rules (ahkaam) of the individual obligations (`ilm fard al-`ayyaan).
However, with the emergence of the Hour of the European Christian imperial control of globe, there also emerged avaricious marabous, shaykhs, murshids whose only aim was to increase in followers, fame and to assure a constant flow of wealth into their coffers.

Thus, the doors of the spiritual guilds were flung open to every kind of wanton spirit, desirous for power, rank, and wealth. In the past a student of knowledge who had exerted themselves in the pursuit of sacred knowledge by completion of the sciences which are obligatory upon every Muslim to know and act upon; would then seek out a Shaykh murrabi (a teaching guide) who could then instruct them in the deeper aspects of faith, and gnosis of Allah.

Or, sometimes the Shaykh murrabi would have students of knowledge studying the basic usuul whose characters, enthusiasm, uprightness and resolve were signals for the teacher to introduce them to the ancient Way or Tareeqa of direct gnosis of Allah ta`ala based upon sound sanad (corroborated chain) going back to the Beloved Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

Alas, those days are long gone! It has become like Imam Ibn Mubaarak said: “The chains of authority are from the deen. If there are no chains of authority, then whoever likes can say whatever he likes.”

Today, everyone is a shaykh! Every knows the asraar! Everyone has an opinion and most of what they say about Allah and His Path is pure nonsense!

Today, people whose nafs is like that of donkeys have put on the glorious saddle of stallions (maqarrabuun) of the Path and without the bridal of taqwa to reign them in or a general of the path guide them; they now trample over the Garden of the Knowers Allah, utilizing the language of the People; whose Path, they have never truly followed nor have they a sound chain of authority connecting them.

These people claim to have reached the Pleiades of gnosis of Allah when they have never left the suffocating bowels of their own souls which command to evil (nafs al-amaara bi’s-suu).

Imam Ibn al-Mubarak said about them: “The likeness of one who seeks an issue of his deen without a chain of authority is like the one who desires to climb to the roof without a ladder.”

Many of these charlatans, peruse the books of the People of spiritual insight and unveiling (tabassur wa inkishaaf) and with lack of training or discipline repeat what they misread and misunderstand from these noble texts. They end up deceiving themselves and deceiving whoever had the misfortune of listening to them.

It is about these kinds of spiritual charlatans this reason that the Imam of the Sufis, Shaykh Abu’l-Qaasim Junayd al-Baghdadi:

“There is nothing worse than the ignorant sufi!”

Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio said in his renown Ihya as-Sunna:

“Among the heretical innovations in the Path of the Sufis is searching in the books of the people of spiritual unveiling (ahl’l-kashf) by those who cannot tell the difference between a gnat and an elephant in knowledge. This is a forbidden innovation.

Searching and examining the books of the people of spiritual unveiling is not permissible except for the scholar who knows the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He should take from these books that which clarify guidance for him and he should leave what it is not clear. He should accept the validity of what is not clear, but not act in accordance with it.

This should be done not because of any deficiency in its words, but because his own knowledge has not reached to the level of comprehending it. This is because no person is held responsible for that which his knowledge does not encompass. On the contrary, it is not permissible for him to follow it,

ﻭَﻻَ ﺗَﻘْﻒُ ﻣَﺎ ﻟَﻴْﺲَ ﻟَﻚَ ﺑِﻪِ ﻋِﻠْﻢٌ

“Do not follow that which you have no knowledge.” [17:36]

So, people who lack the training to understand the immense depth of the wisdom of the sages; will swear that the falsehoods that they espouse were the words of their Shaykh, who is the Qutb of this and the Qutb of that; without knowing the import of their Shaykhs words and how their words spring from the Two Sacred Infallible sources, the Quran, Sunna and the fundamental principles of the early community (as-salaf).

Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodio said in his Diya’u ‘s-Siyaasa:

“When the Knower of Allah speaks from knowledge, his words should be viewed from the perspective of its source from the Book of Allah, the Sunna of His Messenger and the traditions of the Salaf; because knowledge is interpreted based upon its foundation.

When the Knower of Allah speaks from his spiritual states (ahwaal), its meaning should be surrendered to the understanding of the one who has had the same experience. However, he is not to be followed because of the lack of universal application of his judgment except by the one who has attained the same spiritual experience. The one who possesses spiritual states (ahwaal) is not to be followed in that.”

Similarly words uttered by the shuyuukh and the sages of this sacred Path should not be repeated just because they sound profound, deep and makes a person appear wise. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said: “Address people according to their intelligence.” Not every word of wisdom should be spoken. There are certain spiritual states, spiritual ideas and knowledge which should be experienced and tasted…and not talked about.
Allah is a Witness for what I say.

Tawajjuh and Tasarruf – An Explanation of the Science of Sufis

Question: The following outrageous claim is made among Sufi circles: The Ahlullāh make an impression on the hearts of their murīds through focus and affectionate gaze. The blessings of this focus results in the rectification of the hearts of the murīds. In fact, there are times when this focus of the shaykh results in outsiders getting the inspiration for guidance and īmān. If this is correct in the Sharī‛at, why could the Chief of all past and future generations Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam not instil guidance in the heart of his beloved uncle, Abū Tālib? Allāh forbid, was he deprived of such focus from Allāh ta‛ālā? We seek refuge in saying such a thing and from showing disrespect.

Answer: Focus is a type of influence which is not within man’s choice. Let alone piety, focus does not even require īmān. The focus of non-Muslims can also be effective for certain periods of time. Nevertheless, focus is proven from the Qur’ān, Hadīth and countless incidents of the righteous. Observe the following:

The Origin of Focus

Hadrat Shāh ‛Abd al-‛Azīz Muhaddith Dehlawī rahimahullāh writes in Tafsīr ‛Azīzī:

The first sign and effect of divine revelation coming to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam was in the form of true dreams. Whatever he saw in his dreams would be experienced by him exactly like that while in a state of wakefulness. He was then made to become attracted to solitude. Subsequently, he would go alone to the cave of Hirā’ and engage in Allāh’s remembrance. He used to take as much as one week’s food and provisions for himself. When the food and drink were finished, he would return home, get more food and drink, and go back to the cave. In most cases, his stay used to be for less than a month. Occasionally he even stayed over for a full month.

One day he was standing out of the cave to wash his mouth when Jibra’īl ‛alayhis salām suddenly called out: “O Muhammad!” He looked up but did not see anything. He heard this voice a second and third time, and began looking around in confusion. Suddenly a face which was glittering like the sun, in the form of a human, decorated with a crown of light on his head and wearing green clothes appeared before Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam and began saying: “Read!” Some narrations state that he had a green silken cloth in his hand. Something was written on it. He presented it to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam and said: “Read.” Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam said: “I cannot read.” The person said: “Read!” He embraced Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam and squeezed him so tightly that he felt constricted and began perspiring. This happened three times. On the fourth occasion he said:

Read in the name of your Sustainer who is the creator of all. He created man from a clot of blood. Read, and your Sustainer is the most bountiful. Who taught by the pen. He taught man what he did not know. [Sūrah al-‛Alaq, 96: 1-5]

These five verses settled in Rasūlullāh’s mind and were memorised by him. He writes further on:

The circumstances surrounding this initial revelation to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam contains a few points which must be borne in mind.

Shāh Sāhib rahimahullāh then writes four points. He writes under the third point:

Jibra’īl ‛alayhis salām was ordered to squeeze Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam so that the effect of Jibra’īl may become firmly embedded – to the point of perfection – in the blessed soul of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam. The effect of the perfect servants of Allāh ta‛ālā, which the people of the Tarīqat refer to as tawajjuh (focus) is divided into four categories.

Types of tawajjuh

1. Ta’thīr In‛ikāsī: The example of this is of a person who applies a lot of perfume and comes into an assembly. The fragrance of his perfume perfumes the mind of every person sitting in that assembly. This is the weakest type of tawajjuh because its effect only remains for as long as the person is in the company of a Walī. Once he leaves, the effect does not remain with him.

2. Ta’thīr Ilqā’ī: The example of this is of a person who pours oil into a container and places a wick into it. He then comes to a person who has a fire. He touches the wick to the fire, it takes light and becomes a lamp. This effect and focus is stronger than the first type because its effect continues even after the assembly. However, if any calamity or impediment comes upon it, it will leave. In this case, although the lamp was lit, a sudden gush of wind or rain came upon it and extinguished it. This effect cannot culture and rectify the self and the senses.

3. Ta’thīr Islāhī: Through his spiritual power, the mentor rectifies the inner self of the murīd and the senses are put into motion. The example of this is of a person who brings water from a river or well and stores it in one place. He makes canals which connect this water to a pond which has a fountain. He clears the canals of all dirt and grime, and releases the water with full pressure so that the water now gushes forth from the fountain.

This type of effect is stronger than the first two. The self is rectified and the senses are cultured. However, its effect is dependent on the amount of water which is stored, and the extent and cleanliness of the canals. It is not according to the capability of the river or well. However, despite this, if any calamity or weakness befalls the treasure [of water], there will be a drop in the effect.

4. Ta’thīr Ittihādī: Through his spiritual power, the Sufi master takes the murīd under his wing and joins his soul to his murīd’s soul in such a way that the excellences of his soul are transferred into the soul of the murīd. This is the strongest type of effect.

Once this is realized, there is no need for going repeatedly to the shaykh to derive benefit from him. [Tafsīr ‛Azīzī, pp. 559-563, Kutub Khānah Fayd-e-Abrār]

Hadrat Thānwī rahimahullāh writes the following points after relating the incident at the cave of Hirā’:

The angel who came to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam was Jibra’īl ‛alayhis salām. When he asked Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam to read, it was not required of him to read something which he had learnt before. Rather, it was similar to a teacher displaying the letters a, b, c to a child and asking him to read. In other words, you must read what I show you. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam replied: “I cannot read.” This could be in the sense that his blessed mind did not go to the meaning of Iqra’. Alternatively, he assumed from the circumstances that Jibra’īl ‛alayhis salām will make him read something which – in order for him to grasp and understand it – required him to be able to read and write from before hand. No matter what, in order to receive and accept what he has been ordered to read, there was a need to strengthen and perfect his capability. It was for this reason that the angel squeezed him several times. In this way, the strength which he receives will enable his heart to focus and gain courage. The action of tawajjuh is proven from this Hadīth.

The reality of tasarruf

Imdād al-Fatāwā volume five contains a booklet of Hadrat Thānwī rahimahullāh titled at-Ta‛arruf fī Tahqīq at-Tasarruf. It has been translated by Hadrat Muftī Muhammad Shafī‛ Sāhib rahimahullāh. A few quotations from it are presented here.

The reality of tasarruf: The reality of it is for special praiseworthy feelings to be conferred on another person. This results in special effects on him. Due to the various objectives and purposes of these effects, they take on different categories and colours. In the terminology of the Sufis, it is known as tasarruf (influence), tawajjuh (focus), himmat (courage) and jam‛e khawātir (gathering of thoughts).

Further on, he writes under the heading Tanbīhāt (cautions):

First caution: Is this tasarruf which the Sufis resort to a Sunnat of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam? Whatever I have been able to gather in this regard has been explained in part two of my booklet, at-Tarā’if wa az-Zarā’if. I feel it will suffice to quote it verbatim here. It is: It is narrated from authentic Ahādīth that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam struck his hand on the chests of certain people resulting in their whisperings leaving them. He placed his blessed hand on certain sick people and their illness left them. Some people may assume that he resorted to tasarruf here. It is also not farfetched for a person to furnish these narrations as proof that resorting to tasarruf is Sunnat. However, if we ponder over this, we can conclude that this proof is incomplete. The reason for this is that in order for his action to be a tasarruf, it will have to be proven through an authentic narration that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam accumulated his spiritual powers in order to produce these results [e.g. removing whisperings, getting rid of an illness]. And this is not proven. In fact, it is possible that he resorted to these actions because he was informed via divine revelation that they will be beneficial to them without having to resort to gathering of his thoughts (concentration) and applying his tasarruf. Based on this possibility, these actions are most certainly not included in the tasarruf as defined by the Sufis. This is why all the ‛ulamā’ of the ummat list these incidents among Rasūlullāh’s miracles which are totally different from tasarruf. The most clear indication that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam never resorted to tasarruf is that he did not resort to it on the heart of Abū Tālib despite his extreme desire and wish for him to embrace Islam. Instead, he sufficed on making du‛ā’ for his īmān and inviting him to Islam. Even if the performance of tasarruf is at any time accepted with regard to him, it will not prove that it is Sunnat in the definition of the Sharī‛at. The reason for this is that for an act to be Sunnat in the definition of the Sharī‛at, it has to be practised. This is why wrestling is not referred to as Sunnat. This, notwithstanding the fact that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam wrestled against Rukānah radiyallāhu ‛anhu on one occasion. In fact, even if it is proven to be his habit, it will not be termed a Sunnat-e-Maqsūdah because it is not necessary for a habitual Sunnat to be an act of worship.

Second caution: Is tasarruf a sign of wilāyat, piety and acceptance in the sight of Allāh ta‛ālā? The answer to this is that it is definitely not. Just as other bodily powers, hands, feet, etc. are used, so is the case with tasarruf. This was explained previously. [Imdād al-Fatāwā, vol. 5, pp. 231-233]

Hadrat Thānwī’s book, Sharī‛at Aur Tarīqat contains the following:

A lengthy Hadīth of Hadrat Ubayy ibn Ka‛b radiyallāhu ‛anhu contains the following:

When Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam saw me in the condition which had overcome me, he struck my chest causing me to break out into a sweat. It was as though I was looking at Allāh ta‛ālā out of fear.

The striking of the hand which resulted in this condition is known as tasarruf. Some people are naturally qualified for tasarruf even though they may not enjoy affinity with Allāh ta‛ālā. All it requires is expending one’s courage and will. If others also have a strong courage, they can stop it. The different ways of tasarruf are dependent solely on practice.

Diyā’ al-Qulūb states:

Strange and unique forms of tasarruf are not acquired without first acquiring the bond of self-obliteration and continuity. At the same time, practice or one’s innate power is also a prerequisite for it to be beneficial in Dīn. This is because the fundamental goal of a seeker is benefit in Dīn. The strange and unique forms of tasarruf referred to are those which are connected to sulūk.

Two levels of tawajjuh and tasarruf

There are two types of tasarruf and having an effect. One is to have an effect on a murīd’s inner self through which he develops a pull towards Allāh ta‛ālā. The other is to have an effect on other things of this world, either through courage or supplication.

There are two levels of tasarruf. One is involuntary in the sense that the heart desires for enthusiasm, love for Allāh ta‛ālā, fear of Him and so on to be developed in a certain person. He must make du‛ā’ for the person. There is no harm in it. The second level is the well-known one in the terminology of the Sufis. It entails the shaykh emptying his heart of all dangers and focuses on something specific. He works his imagination with the intention of having an effect or influence. Although this is permissible it is temperamentally disliked. The doer in such a situation is the force of lightening which is placed within man. This force is also found to a large extent in the ground. The falling of a person’s gaze one someone has an effect on the person. The source of mesmerism and tawajjuh which is known to us is the same. The only difference between the two is that one is utilized for a bad purpose and the other for a good one. It is dependent on practice. This is why they practise instilling affinity into others. Some mashā’ikh resort to this practice a lot. However, its benefit does not remain. The one who seeks spiritual feeling, considers it to be beneficial and therefore feels it is enough. This is why he gives up doing good.

There are a few doubts about it: (1) It is not related in the Sunnat. (2) Most people become lazy in carrying out good works. While there is no harm in having an effect on others, the person who practises tawajjuh has no tawajjuh whatsoever towards Allāh ta‛ālā at the time when he is practising it. If someone objects and says that there is no tawajjuh towards Allāh ta‛ālā even in normal ordinary conversations, the answer to him is that this is more serious because the heart has been wilfully emptied [in order to focus on the person]. It seems shameful to have one’s tawajjuh shifted away from Allāh ta‛ālā. This is what normally happens in the circles of tawajjuh.

The prescribed method of rectification is lecturing, advising and du‛ā’. Total tawajjuh is the right of Allāh ta‛ālā. However, it has certain etiquette. (1) One is that the objective and method must be permissible. (2) There must be no external or internal ostentation. A good way of ensuring this is to accompany it with du‛ā’, as we are taught du‛ā’ in the Hadīth. (3) One must not practise it too much for it could be a  tribulation for the doer and the one on whom it is practised. This is why we do not find excessive mention of it with regard to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam. Some people have committed excesses in this regard and the resulting tribulations bear testimony to it. The worst tribulation in this regard is that it is generally considered to be a feat of perfection, whereas this practice is solely out of necessity.

A necessity is calculated according to the level of necessity and suffice with what is necessary.

Some elders clearly stated that when dhikr does not have any effect on a murīd, the shaykh could resort to tawajjuh. The reason is the same:

Suffice with what is necessary.

Some ignorant people incorrectly assume that the conveying of blessings and benefit is in the control of the shaykh. Muslim Sharīf contains a Hadīth of Hadrat Abū Hurayrah radiyallāhu ‛anhu with reference to the verse:

You cannot guide whom you will. Rather, it is Allāh who guides whomever He wills. [Sūrah al-Qasas, 28: 56]

He says: This verse was revealed with reference to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam. He was encouraging his uncle, Abū Tālib, towards Islam (and he was not paying heed).

This Hadīth rectifies this wrong assumption completely, viz. when Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam does not have such a power, how can it ever be possible for others!?

Bearing in mind that Dīnī benefit – which is the fundamental task of a shaykh – is totally out of his control, conveying worldly benefit will be even more out of his control. Many ignorant people are caught up in this misunderstanding. We seek refuge in Allāh ta‛ālā. They believe that the Ahlullāh have all divine powers. This belief has also been rectified by the above text of the Qur’ān. [Sharī‛at Aur Tarīqat, pp. 361-364]

Tawajjuh has a temporary effect

Another point which has to be understood is that the effect which results from tawajjuh is temporary. It is not lasting.

The following is contained in the Malfūzāt of Hadrat Thānwī rahimahullāh:

If someone thinks that notorious evil people were automatically rectified by the tawajjuh of certain Sufis, it should be understood that this is a type of tasarruf which is neither within one’s choice nor is it essential for piety. Many Sufis have no power of tasarruf whatsoever. Furthermore, tasarruf has no permanency. It is similar to a person sitting near an oven. As long as he remains there, his entire body will experience warmth. The moment he moves away from it, his body will turn cold. On the other hand, the effect which results from determination and good deeds is long lasting. It is similar to a person who consumes Kushta-e-Tilā in order to create heat within his body. Even if he were to go to the Shimlah mountain, the heat within himself will remain as it was. [Anfās-e-‛Īsā, vol. 1, pp. 14-15]

We learn from the above statement that it is not within a person’s control to bring a person onto the straight path through tawajjuh, just as it is not in the control of any person to guide someone. Tawajjuh is beneficial and effective only if Allāh ta‛ālā wills.

You cannot guide whom you will. Rather, it is Allāh who guides whomever He wills. He knows best those who are guided. [Sūrah al-Qasas, 28: 56]

Therefore, your objection that “if the tawajjuh of a shaykh is a means for rectitude and guidance, how is it that Rasūlullāh’s tawajjuh in respect of his beloved uncle, Abū Tālib, could not result in his guidance?” is baseless. If, according to you, every tawajjuh of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam is accepted as beneficial for guidance, it would mean that on whoever he applied his tawajjuh, that person most definitely ought to become a Muslim. After all, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam was commissioned for the guidance of all humanity. It was Rasūlullāh’s earnest desire for every person to be endowed with the wealth of īmān. So much so that Allāh ta‛ālā had to tell him not to be too saddened by the unbelievers’ abstention from īmān:

Would you, perhaps, destroy yourself with grief over them if they do not believe in this message? [Sūrah al-Kahf, 18: 6]

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam had taken the names of certain unbelievers (like Abū Jahal) and made du‛ā’ for their guidance. Despite this, they were not blessed with guidance. It is obvious that to take the name of a person and make du‛ā’ for him entails focussing totally on that person (tawajjuh).

Refusal – one of the reasons for the ineffectiveness of tawajjuh

Sometimes the shaykh who is practising tawajjuh is an expert, but the murīd has no determination and confidence in the shaykh. In fact, he is refusing him. In such a case, the tawajjuh of even an expert shaykh is ineffective. Hadrat Maulānā Shāh Wasīyyullāh Sāhib Allāhābādī rahimahullāh has written two articles on this subject, ‛Āqibah al-Inkār and I‛tiqād Wa Inkār. These are contained in Ta’līfāt Muslihul Ummat. We present a quotation from it:

Bahjah an-Nufūs, a commentary of Bukhārī Sharīf relates the following incident from an erudite scholar:

A person came to an erudite shaykh with the intention of sulūk. The shaykh instructed him to remain in solitude and left him there for a few days. The shaykh then went to him and asked: “What do you make of my appearance?” The person replied: “You look like a pig.” The shaykh said: “You are right.” The shaykh left him in his solitude for a few days and went back to him and asked him the same question. The person said: “You look like a dog.” The shaykh left him and this continued until one day the person said: “You look like the full moon.” The shaykh said: “Your condition has been set right now.” He then asked him to come out of seclusion.

Look! We learn from this incident that a murīd sees his own self in the shaykh’s mirror. The shaykh was already a full moon from the first day; it is the murīd who went through changes but was attributing them to the shaykh. As his rectification was progressing, he began getting closer to the reality.

Nowadays, in addition to the mashā’ikh, there are many senior ‛ulamā’, scholars, jurists and Hadīth experts. Does every person who remains in their company come out as an expert? It is observed that the majority of those who qualify under them not only possess very little capabilities, they are in fact defective in their capabilities. In fact, they possess no capabilities. We can go to the point of saying that the ignoramuses have taken the place of the ‛ulamā’. Just one or two are worthy of doing some work. If this situation is witnessed in the external sciences, can it be said that it is actually the experts and the Hadīth specialists who are defective? Or can it be said that although their knowledge is accepted in its place, the defect and shortcomings are in the students in the sense that although they studied under such experts, they learnt nothing. When this is the case here, and everyone accepts that it is certainly not the fault of the ‛ulamā’, why is it that when it comes to the spiritual side, only the mashā’ikh are blamed? Why is it not assumed that the fault could be with the murīds, due to which they are not benefiting, and that the shaykh is an expert in his place!!

From among the prerequisites for a shaykh to be an expert, is it also a prerequisite for every murīd of his to be an expert? This is totally against the reality because it could be that the shaykh is an expert but those who frequent him are deprived of his teachings because of their own shortcomings and wrongs. Look at the most perfect of all humans – Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam and his blessed era. Despite living in his era and being in his company, people like Abū Jahal and Abū Lahab remained deprived. Similar was the case with the hypocrites. We learn from this that there are certain prerequisites in order to derive benefit from a person. Prerequisites have to be fulfilled by both – the mentor and the mentee. As for the internal self, it is much more intricate. Thus, its prerequisites are also more intricate. In order to derive internal benefit, it is essential for a person to first fulfil those prerequisites and to remove whatever obstacles he has in its path. If the shaykh alone is an expert, what can he achieve? The seeker too has to be genuine and devoted. Now if a person did not learn under these personalities according to the prerequisites laid down, how can it be the fault of the personalities? [Ta’līfāt Muslihul Ummat, vol. 1, pp. 39-41]

The Maktūbāt of Khwājah Muhammad Ma‛sūm rahimahullāh contains the following:

The tawajjuh of a shaykh-e-kāmil is such that even if mountains of darkness and filth appear from all sides, he can repulse them from a genuine murīd and purify his internal self. This tawajjuh of a shaykh is also beneficial to a seeker when he is in a state of retraction. The shaykh can create expansion very quickly in him and open the path of progress for him.

In short, the basis for success is that companionship and tawajjuh which is accompanied by faith [in the shaykh] and complete submission. In other words, there must be love and handing over one’s self completely from the seeker, and tawajjuh from the shaykh. Love alone – without the tawajjuh of a shaykh – can be a guide. In other words, it can be beneficial and can provide progress. However, tawajjuh of the shaykh alone and no love at all from the seeker cannot be of much benefit. [Ta’līfāt Muslihul Ummat, vol. 4, pp. 153-154]

The Maktūbāt of Khwājah Muhammad Ma‛sūm states:

I received your letter. It arrived at a most opportune time. You requested tawajjuh for yourself and your murīds. We occasionally practice tawajjuh. Allāh willing, we will practise it more. However, it is essential for you to know that the basis for success is “spiritual bond”. It can also be expressed by the words love, conviction and submission. The stronger this bond with one’s mentor, the more the seeker will derive from the blessings of the shaykh’s internal self. The presence of pure love and spiritual bond is sufficient to draw blessings from an expert shaykh, even if there is no tawajjuh from him. Tawajjuh alone, without any love and spiritual bond, is not effective at all. For tawajjuh to be effective, there has to be a suitable recipient for it. Obviously, when tawajjuh is combined with the abovementioned spiritual bond, it will become most splendorous. In short, the basis is a strong spiritual bond and following the Sunnat of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam. If a person is firmly embedded in these two things, he has nothing to worry about. He will eventually succeed and he will not be deprived of the excellent qualities of the elders. But if there is a defect in either of these two, there is nothing but danger no matter how much the person may exert himself. [Maktūbāt Khwājah Ma‛sūm, p. 102]

From the above text we learn that the reason why Rasūlullāh’s perfect tawajjuh on his beloved uncle, Abū Tālib was not effective was the latter’s refusal. His refusal was not only from the heart but from the tongue as well. The Musnad Ahmad, Bukhārī, Muslim and Nasa’ī state: When Abū Tālib was on his death bed, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam came to him. Abū Jahal and ‛Abdullāh ibn Umayyah were also present. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam said: “O uncle! Say Lā Ilāha Illallāh just once so that I will have one proof with which I could intercede on your behalf in front of Allāh ta‛ālā.” Abū Jahal and ‛Abdullāh ibn Umayyah said: “O Abū Tālib! Are you going to leave the religion of ‛Abd al-Muttalib?” Abū Tālib refused to say the kalimah. The last words which emanated from his tongue were: “On the religion of ‛Abd al-Muttalib.” [Sīratul Mustafā, vol. 1, pp. 280-281]

Why tawajjuh is not effective on a rejecter

The reason for tawajjuh not being effective on a rejecter is that he does not demonstrate any need. His condition reflects his claim to perfection. Hadrat Thānwī rahimahullāh writes:

The effect of tawajjuh falls on a person who considers himself in need of it and does not make any claims to his own perfection. Tawajjuh is effective on the masses but not on the elite because the latter display no need and desire for it. They claim that others are in need of them. [Anfās-e-‛Īsā, vol. 1, p. 49]


Hadhrat Junaid Baghdaadi (Rahmatullah alayh) was asked about the difference between the Blood of Hadhrat Husain (Radhiyallahu anhu) and Hadhrat Mansoor Hallaaj (Rahmatullah alayh).

Background information: Hadhrat Mansoor Hallaaj Rahmatullah alayh – was among the great Auliya. In an extremely lofty spiritual state of ecstasy, he repeatedly uttered: ‘Anal Haq!’ (I am Allah!’) which of course was blasphemy (kufr) in terms of the Shariah. The punishment for such blasphemy is execution if the blasphemer refuses to repent. Hadhrat Mansoor Rahmatullah alayh – refused to retract and repent. On the contrary, he persisted with his proclamation of ‘Anal Haq’. 

He was sentenced to death. On the occasion of his execution, he continued with his utterance. His hands and feet were first cut off, and finally he was killed. Every drop of his Blood which fell to the ground exclaimed loudly: ‘Anal Haq!’and on the ground the Blood wrote: ‘Allaahu Allaahu’. His body was incinerated, and from the ashes the sound of ‘Anal Haq’ continued vociferously and vehemently……….. This is a brief introduction to the question posed to Hadhrat Junaid Bagdhaadi –Rahmatullah alayhi – who had signed the death warrant for Hadhrat Mansoor’s execution.)

The Question:

“The Blood of Al-Hallaaj, as it fell to the ground inscribed on the ground: ‘Allaahu Allaahu’. But this was not the case with the Blood of Hadhrat Husain (Radhiyallahu anhu). What was the Hikmat (wisdom) underlying the mystery?

The Answer:

Hadhrat Junaid (Rahmatullah alayh) responded:

“The accused (Al-Hallaaj in this case) required exculpation (i.e. his innocence had to be proved). He was accused of zandaqah (blasphemy/kufr) in a matter of the Deen. Thus the inscription by his Blood exculpated him from the charge of zandaqah. On the contrary, Husain Bin Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) was not in need to be exculpated from any charge of blasphemy. Know and understand this (difference).”


[By Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng]

Maulana Rumi (Rahmatullah Alaih) states:

“It is a well known fact that the fox is noted for its cowardice.”

However, the fox that has a lion as a support behind its back saying to him: “Fear not, my hand is upon your back”, in spite of lacking courage, becomes very brave indeed. His new-found bravery is of such a nature that he will not hesitate to attack a leopard. He now has the support of a lion at his side, he will show no fear for a leopard. Similarly, is the case of the chosen servants of Allah Ta’ala. In spite of their apparent weakness and distressed position, they show no fear in the face of a multitude of evil forces. These saintly ones do experience some natural fear of physical hurt or injury, but at heart, they have no fear of anyone besides Allah Ta’ala. A Sufi says:

“O people! Look not upon my weakly countenance for I have legs of iron. Do you know that within my heart I am connected to the King of kings.”

In this regard, Maulana Rumi (Rahmatullah Alaihe) tells the story of Hazrat Jaafar. Once Hazrat Jaafar (Radhiallahu Anhu) attacked a fortress all by himself. His attack was so fierce that it seemed that the fortress would soon become a prey to the hoofs of his horse. The inmates of the fortress were so struck by awe that they closed the gates of the fortress and no one dared to come out to engage in battle with him. The king discussed with his Wazir as to what line of action to adopt. The Wazir advised him thus:

“The best line of action is to cancel all plans of making war against the man. It is best to take your shroud and your sword, go to him and lay down your weapons”. The king replied: “But this man is all alone. How is it that you give me such advice?” The Wazir informed him: “Do not underestimate his being one man only. Open your eyes and look at the fortress and see how it trembles like quicksilver. Look at the inmates of the fortress, and see how their heads are bent downwards like sheep. Even though the man is alone, the heart that he has in his bosom is not like the hearts of ordinary men. Look at his courage. In the face of a vast multitude of opponents, he challenges them into battle with a naked sword in his hand and in a confident and victorious manner, calls them to fight. It seems that all the battle forces of the East and West are with him. One man alone, but he appears like hundreds of thousands.

Do you not see that whichever soldiers are sent out to fight him are soon seen lying under the hoofs of his horse? After seeing the valor of this solitary man, O king, I have realized that the multitude of soldiers, which are with you, will not be able to do anything against him.

Do not rely upon numbers. The main thing is the unity of the heart and this is actually what is so striking about the heart of this man. In this respect, he has been endowed endlessly with it. This is a gift from Allah Ta’ala, which is attained through the acquisition of contact with Him and through rigorous spiritual exercises. This connection you will not be able to attain while you are in this state of Kufr. Hence, it is best for you to throw down your weapons in defeat before the courageous believer and to open the gates of the fortress, because your numerous soldiers are of no use.”

Then Maulana Rumi (Rahmatullah Alaihe) gives examples in which the majority becomes useless in front of minority:


Millions of stars are shining and produce light, but at the rising of the sun, their light becomes non-existent.


If a thousand mice were to attack a weak and sickly cat, it would appear that they would be victorious in their endeavor. A few of them can grab him by the neck. One or two of them can then take his eyes out. One or two of them can tear off his ears with their teeth. One or two of them can make an opening at his side, enter and begin chewing the internal organs. It would appear to be a reasonable plan. However, experience proves otherwise. As soon as the weak and sickly cat utters one “meow” the whole multitude of mice become awestruck and one by one, they flee to safety. The moment they hear the “meow” they become convinced of being vanquished and visualizing the actions of the cat’s teeth and paws makes them flee.

The main reason for this is the difference between the hearts in the breast of the mice and the heart in the breast of the cat. The unity of the heart in the cat and the courage lying in it, is not found in the mice. Hence, the mice becoming confounded and defeated in the presence of the cat, is proof thereof that the cat possesses unity of heart and courage. Otherwise, it would appear that if a large number of mice should attack the cat, it will be impossible for the cat to escape. Hence, we conclude that even if the number of mice were a hundred thousand, still, seeing a weak and sickly cat will cause all of them to run away. This proves that numbers mean nothing. The main thing is unity of the heart and courage.


Sheep and goats may be numerous in number but in the face of the knife of the butcher, that number is of no consequence.


Sleep comes along and causes many thoughts and imaginations to vanish.


The lion in the forest courageously attacks a multitude of animals with horns and he alone gets the upper hand over them. Furthermore, whichever animal he chooses from among them, he eats.


Allah Ta’ala, the King of kings, is the One who grants this unity of heart and such courage. This unity of the heart is of two kinds. One is natural, or common possessed by the non believers, polytheists, and even animals. The other form is that which is granted by Allah Ta’ala and comes about through the blessings of close contact with Allah Ta’ala. This is what the Sufis term as “Nisbat”, for which one has to strive. It is a great favor from Allah Ta’ala to have contact with Him. And there is only one way of attaining this contact and that is by following the Shari’at.

Source: Ma’aarif- e -Mathnawi


Shaikh al-Akbar, Mohiuddin ibn Arabi Rahmatullah Alaihi, in his book “FUTOOHAT AL MAKKIYA”, writes about “Rijaal ullah” (The MEN of ALLAH), and confidently states that there are only three types of them and no fourth! After detailed description of the first two types, he turns his attention to the third type, and praises them with such glorious words “Lahum tabqatul ulya” (these are the best of all). Please note that this praise is coming from Imam ul Auliya, and no less than a person who is known as “SHAIKH AKBAR” amongst sufis.

Now let us see how Shaikh al Akbar describes these people:  

1) As far as salaat is concerned, they do no more the FARA’IZ and RAWATEB (i.e. sunan-e-muakkada after farz salat). One will never find them involved in nawafil.

2) Not only salat, but even in the rest of Deeni requirements, and the rest of the Fara’iz they keep to the bare essentials, and no more.

3) The way they do these Fara’iz they try to do as the common people, no distinction can be found between them and a common Mu`min.

4) They wander in bazaars like common people, and involved in small talks common to the rest of the people, one will never find any “Arifaana Rumooz” in their discussions.

5) They deliberately try to be seen as commoners and no different than Awaam (general public)

6) Their clothing is similar to the tradition of the common working class people of the area they live in.

7) They never specify a place for themselves in the masjid, they keep themselves along with the crowd.

8) They are never known for karamat, people consider them no more than ordinary people, sometimes not even up to the level of ordinary Saliheen.


1) In the depths of their hearts they are connected to Allah Ta’ala in such a way, as if there is nothing except ALLAH in their Batin

2) In this particular Sifat, i.e. their inner connection to Allah Ta’ala, they are so firm, so concentrated and so determined, that nothing can move their attention away from Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala.

3) Their constant effort remains to keep their relation of “’Uboodiyat” with their creator fresh, evergreen, and never out of their sight.

4) They are always under the intense realization (Istihzaar) of the grandeur of Allah Ta’ala; their extreme helplessness, total dependency, complete misery in front of their creator is always in front of their eyes, resulting in utter lack of pride, a feeling of absolute nothingness and total annihilation of ego.

5) Their eyes are always on the Creator even for the smallest of their needs, despite that, they obey all the rules of “alam e asbab” without fail; the reality that everything been done by Allah Rabbul ‘Izzat is never hidden from their eyes

Shaikh Akbar thinks —


Hakeem-ul-Ummat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullah Alaih writes;

“In the terminology of Sufis a group whose physical deeds are limited only to faraez, but their “Deeds of the Heart” (A’maale qalbiya) are more, are called QALANDAR. And the deeds of the heart are those in which Qalb is constantly kept attentive to Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala,keep love of Muslims in heart, most of the time keep one’s heart busy in remembrance of Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala, for example SABAR is a batini amal, similarly SHUKR is a batini amal, RAZA BIL QAZA is a Batini amal. These are not visible, but those who practice these and other such amaal, are constantly becoming closer and more closer to Allah. Subhana wa Ta’ala”.

Similarly Niyyat (intention) is a batini amal, when one practices it his whole life become Ibadah, for example, early in the morning going to office for his duty, if one makes an intention of “Rizqe halal” plus “earning for his family” plus “service to humanity”….his whole day is spend in Ibadah, even if one is apparently involved in worldly things.

Care in observing Sunnah in daily routines with correct intention is highest Ibadah, for example, we have to wear shirt anyway, why not put right sleeve first and left sleeve second, and same with shoes; but remove the left shoe first and right second. We have to wear shoes anyway. 

These are just 2 examples. (A good reference book for similar Sunnah is Uswa-e-Rasool-e-Akram by Dr. Abdul Hayy Al Aarefi (Rahmatullah Alaih)

The purpose of writing this post is this: “If someone thinks that he is so busy that he cannot spare time for Roohani mujahidaat, the way of Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala is open to all”


[It will infuse the essence in our Ibaadaat!]