Tassawuf

Refraining from Giving Preference to One Effort of Deen Over the Other

An Aalim once wrote a letter to Hazrat Shaikh Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya Rahmatullah Alayhi in which he asked the following question:
I was recently pondering over the thought that if Rasulullah Sallalahu alayhi wasalam had to be present in the world at this time, which work of Deen would he turn his attention to? Would he engage in the work of dawat and tabligh or would he be involved in the work of teaching and imparting the knowledge of Deen as is done by Ulama in the madrasahs? Would Rasulullah Sallalahu alayhi wasalam author kitaabs and compile Deeni literature for the masses to benefit from or would he establish khanqahs and encourage people to join in its effort?

After pondering over this, I felt convinced that Rasulullah Sallalahu alayhi wasalam would undoubtedly isolate himself from all other works of Deen and turn his attention to dawat and tabligh whereby he would repair the damaged structure of Deen and reform the condition of the Muslims. He would not merely turn his attention to this work. Rather, he would sacrifice his blessed life in fulfilling this goal. The reason for this is that every person who has the true value for Islam knows the great amount of sacrifice that was given for the establishment of the structures of this Deen. When Rasulullah Sallalahu alayhi wasalam would experience so much of anxiety and pain over the state of the disbelievers in his Mubaarak era, then one can well imagine the pain and concern he would feel over the degeneration of the Muslims had he been present today. Had he witnessed the decline in the Ummah today, the extent of his anguish and pain would certainly be inconceivable.

Read more: Refraining from Giving Preference to One Effort of Deen Over the Other

Sitting Cross Legged

Jabir ibn Samurah Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that when Nabi Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam offered Salat-ul-Fajr, he would sit cross-legged where he was till the sun had come well up. (Abu Dawood)

Anas ibn Malik Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates that Rasullullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: To sit with people who are doing the Dhikr of Allah after Salat-uli-Fajr till the sun rises is more pleasing to me than setting free four slaves from the progeny of Isma'il 'Alaihis Salam. And to sit with people who are doing the Dhikr of Allah after Salat-ul-'Asr till the sun sets is more pleasing to me than setting tree four slaves from the progeny of Isma'il 'Alaihis Salam. (Abu Dawood)
Note: The slaves from the progeny of Isma'il 'Alaihis Salam are mentioned in this hadith as they were considered the most noble amongst the Arabs, and so more valuable.

Q&A: I can't see results and I'm becoming despondent

Question: I'm punctual and consistent in my mamools (daily devotions) for some time now. I am feeling kind of despondent now because I have not been overcome by any special feeling or "sweetness" in my devotions. I also do not experience any special dreams and I sometimes wonder if my mamools are accepted. Please advise.

Answer: Your punctuality and consistency in mamools is a sure sign of progress. Now that you are punctual you will be a special target of Shaitan. So beware.

What was your intention when starting any of your mamools? Was it for a special feeling, dream or the pleasure of Allah? All devotions must be done exclusively for the pleasure of Allah. If Allah grants you a special feeling, sweetness, dream, etc. then it is Allah's favour. And if He does not, then too be content.

The sign of acceptance is that Allah granted you the taufique (ability) to remember Him the next day. Make shukr for that daily.

Please do study the book, "99 Golden advices for all Saalikeen" as this will assist you in overcoming your feelings.

Confused! Silent or Loud Zikr

Q: I recently sat in the majlis of an overseas Sheikh (not in our silsilah) who mentioned that silent zikr is better than loud zikr. His explantion was very good. My Sheikh has taught me to make loud zikr. I am now confused and my mind is uneasy. Please advise.

A: In order to enjoy the benefit of any game or sport one needs to know the rules or one will fall foul of the rules and spoil his game.

So too, in the line of Tassawuf, one needs to learn the rules. Sadly, many people today take bay'at without studying the rules. We recommened that books such as "99 Golden Advices for All Saalikeen" and "Polisher of the Hearts" be read by mureeds. These are simple books to understand.

One rule to be observed is Tauhid-e-Matlab. One should feel that his Sheikh is the best person in the world for his reformation. As far as Islahi majaalis are concerned he should sit only in the talks of his Sheikh and his Sheikh's khulufa or in the talks of those closely linked to his Sheikh and who are in the same silsilah.

This would help prevent the confusion and uneasiness you are experiencing.

Now, as far as loud and silent dhikr is concerned both are acceptable in the Shariah. As to which is better, we now quote a few Ahadith and explanations from Faza'il Zikr by Hazrat Sheikh Zakariyya (Rahmatullahi alayh).

Read more: Confused! Silent or Loud Zikr

Q&A: Sheikh should simply make dua for my Islah!

Q: The duas of the wali's are powerful. I have also read stories how some Sheikh's used to cast their tawajjuh (spiritual attention) on a person and how that person made a very quick change in their life. Why doesn't my Sheikh simply make dua or cast his tawajjuh on me?
 
A: Without doubt the duas of the walis are powerful and some have cast their tawajjuh on people. However, it should be noted that this is not a general method employed by the masha'ikh. Even if employed, the effect of the tawajjuh is usually short lived unless the person himself makes an effort.
 
Now, listen to this question posed to Ml Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi): (extracted from As-Salsabeel Li Aaabiris Sabeel)
Someone said: “The duaa and barkat of the Shaikh also play a prominent role in Islaah (moral reformation).” Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) said:
 
Barkat is not denied. However, its capacity should be understood. It serves as an aid. It is not the actual remedy. Nothing will be achieved (in the matter of Islaah) with only duaa and barkat as long as one does not employ one's own freewill. No one is superior than Rasulullah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasalam) with regard to barkat and acceptability of duaa. The devotion and sacrifice of his uncle Abu Talib were profound. Rasulullah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wasalam) further supplicated fervently and wholeheatedly for him to enter the fold of Islam, and in his endeavour he persisted. But, since Abu Talib himself had not desired Imaan, he was not blessed with this wealth.
 
This matter is comparable to a physician and a patient. If the patient refuses to submit to the treatment, will the physician's affection and attention suffice for curing? Health will be gained from his prescription. Similarly, if the pupil refuses to learn his lesson, how will he know it. The lesson cannot be remembered by only the teacher's affection and attention. Effort is essential. While barkat is an aid, it is not sufficient. But employment of ikhtiyaar (one's own free will and effort) can be sufficient even without the duaa of the Shaikh.
 
I publicly announce these things. I do not wish to unnecessarily fetter my associates to me. The Shaikh simply guides the mureed along the road. He does not drag the mureed along the road. The person with sight indicates the path to the blind. He does not carry the blind on his lap. The blind will have to do the walking themselves. Undoubtedly, it is the function of the Shaikh to show the path. But, it is the responsibility of the mureedeen to strive along the path.

What Is The Work Of A Sufi?

A Sufi reminds others of their original abode. Man forgets his original abode and becomes occupied in this material world whilst his Ruh (soul) is overpowered by love for his physical body. He is constantly concerned about restoring it. If he falls slightly ill, he will take medication. If he is tired, he will rest. Whenever he is hungry, he eats. When he is thirsty, he quenches his thirst. If it is cold, he will wear a shawl. If it is hot, he will switch on the fan. He is relentlessly endeavouring to bring ease and comfort to his body. In order to beautify himself, he will apply lotion to his face, apply kajal to his eyes, apply perfume and adorn himself with beautiful clothing.

However, in this entire effort, he has forgotten his original purpose. This is a temporary abode. In reality, his actual abode is the place to which he is heading. This is only the pathway, and he has stopped in the middle of his journey. The Sufiya therefore remind people of their original abode.

When a person gains recognition of his soul, he gains recognition of Allah Ta’ala also. He will ponder over the favours of Allah and express his gratitude to Him. However, we fail to express our gratitude to Allah, yet we utilise the bounties of Allah Ta’ala day and night. The thought that we will have to give account for these bounties someday never crosses our minds.

In essence Tasawwuf imparts this lesson that we should conduct our lives as humans and not as animals. Furthermore, we should reflect over the Day of Qiyaamah when we will have to stand in front of Allah Ta’ala and render an account of our actions. This is what the Sufis remind others of.

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.

Read more: Do Not Despise The Sinners

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