Giving preference to zikr-e-jahri (audible zikr) over zikr-e-Sirri (silent zikr)
Someone had written to Moulana Thanwi Rahmatullah Alay:
I make zikr silently. I do this for two reasons: (1) I fear that if I make zikr audibly I will disturb those who are asleep. (2) People will begin to think of me as a buzurg and this will create pride within me.
Hadhrat Thanwi Rahmatullah Alay replied: Continue making zikr aloud. The solution to the first problem is that you should make zikr in a place where there isn’t anybody sleeping e.g. the Musjid. However, do not make zikr so loudly that the people of the area will be disturbed.
As far as the second problem, then ponder over the fact that when you will begin to sway your head whilst making zikr people will not think you to be a buzurg but an insane person. Your nafs has advised you that people should not think you to be a buzurg. However, it has in fact devised a plan whereby people would begin to think of you as a buzurg. The reason for this is that when you will lower your head and engage in zikr-e-Sirri people will think that you have now reached the level of the angels. The nuktah (subtle point) in this is that it is difficult to remain punctual and constant on a devotional practice.
If you will make zikr-e-jahri a few people will come to know that you wake up in the latter portion of the night to make zikr, such as the muazzin of the musjid. At times you will be overcome by sleep and laziness and perhaps miss out making zikr on that day. The muazzin will come to know that today Mr so and so did not wake up. However, if you make zikr-e-Sirri nobody will know whether you got up or not and in this way your laziness and weakness will remain concealed.
The Preservation of One’s Deen Depends on Remaining in the Company of the Ahlullah
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullah alayh once mentioned:
This era is one of great corruption and vice. One is faced with trials and tribulations from all sides and one‟s Imaan is being constantly attacked. Therefore I regard it compulsory for the preservation of one‟s Deen that one aligns himself with the pious and righteous servants of Allah Ta‟ala and remains in their company.
I even issue the fatwa of it being fardh to remain in the company of the Ahlullah in these trying times. What doubt can there be in this? When the preservation of one‟s Imaan depends on the protection of one‟s Deen and with experience it is proven that one‟s Deen will only be safeguarded and protected through remaining in the company of the Ahlullah, then what doubt can one have in it being fardh? (Malfoozaat of Hakeemul Ummah The Preservation of One’s Deen Depends on Remaining in the Company of the Ahlullah 7/107)
Acquiring the True Love of Allah Ta’ala in the Company of the Ahlullah
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullah alayh once mentioned: The path of Deen and the path leading to the true love of Allah Ta‟ala will only be understood in the company of the Ahlullah (i.e. those who have the true love of Allah Ta‟ala and the correct understanding of Deen).
Though the kitaabs of Deen contain the laws and aadaab (etiquettes) of Islam, however through merely studying the kitaabs one will not succeed in acquiring the true understanding and essence of Deen. One will be in need of the guidance of a spiritual guide who will demonstrate the practical application of Deen to him. This principle is not confined to Deen and the matters of Deen. Instead it also applies to worldly matters. One fully understands that by merely studying medical journals and textbooks one will not succeed in acquiring sound health, rather one is in need of the guidance of a qualified, expert physician to guide him in acquiring good health. (Malfoozaat of Hakeemul Ummah Rahmatullah alayh 4/100)
Do Not Despise The Sinners
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “That person who taunts and ridicules his Muslim brother over a sin from which he has repented, will not die until he himself commits that same sin.” For example, you come to know that a certain person committed or was involved in a particular sin and you also know that this person has repented from it. To think low of him or to taunt or ridicule him because of that sin, by saying something like: “You are the one who was involved in certain evil actions”, is in itself a sin.
Through repentance a person has corrected his relationship with Allah Most High. Through repentance not only has the sin been forgiven, it has also been erased from his book of deeds! Allah Most High has erased it from his book of deeds but you, because of that sin, are thinking low of him and treating him with contempt. You are taunting and ridiculing him. This action is extremely despised by Allah Most High.
This is regarding a person whom you know has repented. If you don’t know whether he has repented or not, then there is always this possibility that he, being a mu’min (believer), has repented or will repent in the future. Therefore, if someone has committed a sin and you do not know whether he has repented or not, you still do not have the right to hold him in contempt. It is possible that he has repented. Remember! Abhorrence should be for the sin and not the sinner! Hatred should be for sins. Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not teach us to despise those who sin.
On the other hand, the sinner is worthy of pity and compassion, for this distressed person has been overtaken by a sickness. If a person is overtaken by a physical sickness, do you abhor his sickness or the person who is sick? Does the sick person become the target of your hatred? Obviously, the sick person is not deserving of your hatred. Yes, despise his sickness. Concern yourself with removing his sickness, so make du’a. The sick person should not be the target of hatred. He should be pitied for the reason that this poor person is caught up in a difficulty.
If someone is a kafir (disbeliever) then despise his kufr (disbelief), do not despise him. Make du’a for him that Allah Most High grants him guidance. Amin. How much did the kuffar (disbelievers) not persecute the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)? They shot at him with arrows, they pelted stones at him, and his body bled from various places, but the words that flowed from his mouth were the following: “O Allah! Grant my people guidance, for they do not know the reality” (of this din).
Take note that that he did not despise them because of their kufr, shirk (associating partners with Allah), oppression and transgressions. Rather, while expressing pity and affection, he made du’a for them that ‘O Allah! These people are ignorant. They are unaware of the reality; therefore they are treating me in this manner. O Allah! Grant them guidance’.
So when seeing someone involved in sin, have pity on him and make du’a for him and try to steer him away from sin. Advise and counsel him but do not think low of him. Perhaps Allah accepts his repentance and he surpasses you in the sight of Allah.
I have heard the following words of advice of Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi from my respected father, Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ and ‘Arif Billah Dr. Abdul Hayy ‘Arifi (may Allah have mercy on them): “I consider every current Muslim and every non Muslim, as far as the future is concerned to be superior to me.” “As far as the future is concerned” means that although the person is presently in the condition of kufr, maybe Allah Most High grants him the tawfiq (guidance) of repenting and he is freed from the burden of kufr. Thereafter, Allah Most High raises his status so high that he surpasses me!
“Every current Muslim” means that a person who is a Muslim, a person of iman (true faith), one whom Allah Most High has granted the wealth of iman. What do I know regarding his connection and status with Allah Most High? Every person’s relationship with Allah Most High is unique. How can we judge anyone? Therefore, I consider every Muslim to be superior to me.
In this statement of Hakim al-Ummah, “I consider every Muslim to be superior to me”, there is obviously no possibility of lies and deception, or that he just said it out of moral courtesy. He said it because he firmly believed it. Anyway, to think low of someone, even though it is due to his committing of sin, is not permissible.