The Lost Art of Dying 



All of us are living to die.

How well prepared are we for this?

How well have we prepared our spouse, children and family to handle it?

Is our state of affairs and a legal will ready ?

Have we made it clear to our physician and next of kin that no heroic measures are to be used in my care? (This is especially so for the elderly >70 years and those diagnosed with a terminal disease.)

A Westerner writes, ‘Dying used to be accompanied by a prescribed set of customs.

Reaffirming one’s faith, repenting one’s sins, and letting go of one’s worldly possessions and desires were crucial, and the guides provided families with prayers and questions for the dying in order to put them in the right frame of mind during their final hours. Last words came to hold a particular place of reverence.’

Sounds Muslim.

Muslims are to be prepared for death all the time.

Our master Prophet Mohammed (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) instructed us to remember often -the destroyer of all pleasures :death. (Tirmidhi, Ahmed, Ibn e Majah)

Most of us are not prepared and in the right frame of mind to handle death. In facing, it especially for the elderly and those diagnosed with a terminal disease, all our effort is to prolong life. This is done at at all measures, irrespective of the pain, suffering and financial burden to the afflicted and those around.

We pay no attention at all to a peaceful departure, accepting the decree of Allah wholeheartedly, a farewell as a believer (khatima bil khair), forgiving others and asking forgiveness from Allah and fellow Muslims, recitation of kalima (There is no God except Allah, Mohammed [Allah’s blessings ans peace be upon him] is His messenger) as their last words by the dying and the chapter of  Yasin from Quran by those around.

This is also a an issue we have to improve upon.

 

Respect for the ‘other side’


Differences of opinion within madhahib (fiqhi schools) is well established reality.

Scholars (fiqaha)have emphatically stated that that there is no proselytizing or censoring of a follower of a different fiqh for doing whatever his fiqh permits (and is impermissible or disliked in our fiqh). These are in the category of wajib and Sunna.

Moreover, differences in peripheral issues (furu) is even more common. These are all in the category of permissible.

In dealing with differences of opinion among scholars the lay individuals do not differentiate between the hierarchy of the categories involved. In addition they start assuming that the ‘other-side’ is ignorant, arrogant or morally corrupt. This is totally wrong.

The habit of forming unsubstantiated assumptions (su-e-dhan) is a spiritual illness.

We have to respect all scholars and fellow Muslims irrespective of our differences. All of them are trying their best to please Allah. They have the best intentions and are trying to the best of their capabilities. Allah will reward them all.

However, in practice we follow the pious ones we love, trust and benefit from.

For a seeker (salik) the involvement in religious polemics is spiritually devastating. It is imperative for his success on this path to consider all others to be superior to himself. And leave all that does not concern him.

May Allah give us the tawfeeq. Amin!

Reality of Deen: Concern for Hereafter

لامخل

Musleh-al-Umma Maulana Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

Deen (religiosity) in reality is the name given to the life of the heart.

This life sprouts by having concern for the hereafter (akhira).

These days in spite of increasing outward acts of religiosity like prayers (salah), fasting,  religious gatherings and discourses, religious teachers and students, even more than before, the (religiously cognizant and) savvy (ahle ahsas) individuals realize that all these activities are lifeless.

Now only the (outer) form of Deen exists. The (inner form, the) spirit has become extinct.

The reason for this (calamity) is that in places where there are no spiritually cognizant and capable mentors then how would the people of that locality know about the spiritual and esoteric matters. If they are unaware of these matters then it will be impossible for them to practice them. Without practice a (spiritual) state (that is, concern for the hereafter) will not develop. In these areas only the outward form of (religious activities like) prayers and fasting will exist and the reality and spirit (of Deen) will be corrupted. This will lead to spread of (religious) deviance and corruption in that locality.’

Majalis e Musleh al ummatWasiyet al Irfan Aug/Sept 2008 issue, page 18 (Translated originally by Shaikh Dr. Danish Ahmed sahib db UAE. Edited)

Sign of spiritual benefit 


Imam Abdul Wahab al Sha’arani (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘The Masters of this path have stated that the signs that a disciple is benefiting from his Shaikh are,

– He keeps a good opinion about all the people except for himself.

– He does not see the deficiencies of others.

-Moreover, he is not perturbed at all by anyone saying bad things about him and considers it to be correct.

Imam adds that it is imperative (wajib) for whoever reads quotes of Sufis like this that demand action to look into their own self.

If he finds himself acting accordingly then he must thank Allah. And if he lacks it then he should repent and strive to incorporate it into his life.’

Lataif al minan, page 44

Focusing the wandering mind

  

Shaikh Jalal ud Deen Thanesari (Allah have mercy on him d. 989 Hijri) said, 

‘The (spiritual) ailments of heart (mind) are from three sources.

1. (Useless) Self talking (hadith e nafs). It is the thinking that is both with intention and volition. 

2. The (potentially) threatening (khatra) thinking. These are the unintentional random thoughts. (If one actively gets involved in them.)

3. The focus of heart on things other-than-Allah (ghair)’

Irshad at Talibeen, page 14

The excessive mindful remembrance of Allah done as instructed by spiritual masters is to fix these issues.

Islah: Betterment

  
Islah is a life long journey.

I  need to assess my condition frequently to determine how am I progressing.

Have I abandoned the sinful activities I was into previously?

Has my involvement in useless decreased?

Are the  good actions being performed according to Sunna with sincerity, concentration and humility.

If yes then, are these increasing effectively?

Are my interaction with others as per the praise worthy morals and manners (sabr, shukr, tawadhu, etc)? 

If I am not able to answer these questions positively then I need to worry. 

I have to ask Allah for assistance in this matter, solemnly reaffirm my determination of islah, chalk out a plan to do so in consultation with my spiritual mentor and effectively implementing it.

A self reminder: I can fool others by sham piety. But if I fool myself with it then I am the most stupid individual indeed.

May Allah save me from this. Amin!

Serving: The 3 conditions

  
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘There are three conditions for effectively serving others and gaining reward in hereafter.  They are,

1. Sincerity . That is seeking Allah’s pleasure in doing it. 

2. Having a close relationship. That is, who is being served does not feel burdened by it.

3. Knowing the task being done.’

Sayyidi wa sanadi’s Weekly dars 10 January 2016

Shajara: a special benefit of its recitation 

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Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned,

‘It has been an experience of an individual that when disturbing and worldly thoughts plagued his mind and no remedy seemed to be effective, the recitation of Shajara (the spiritual chain listing all the masters of this path) was beneficial. (Immediately) An aversion was felt for the worldly.’

Khutbaat e Hakimul Ummat

Ghaflah:heedlessness

ghafil

Shaikh Umar Birbalwi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘Be watchful of development of heedlessness (ghafalh).

Being free from heedlessness (per se) does not mean that a person abstains from all sinful activity (for ever). Humans have their limitation and intentionally or unintentionally sinful acts are committed (occasionally).

Heedlessness is that when an individual loses his/her ability to decipher whether a sinful activity has been committed (hence he acknowledges, amends and repents). It is like developing an internal (spiritual) weighing-scale needle. A minuscule of addition or subtraction is quickly acknowledged by the spiritual aspirant on whether he is receding backwards or progressing forwards.’

Anwar e Umar ra, malfuz 14

Shaikh & murid:Perfectness

arabic_calligrapher_by_fouadhoussin-d49w2ex

Shaikh Umar Birbalwi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘The perfect spiritual mentor (pir-e-kamil) is one who does not let the disciple to burnout ( tire or give up on this path due to his short comings).

Similarly, an adept disciple (kamil murid) never tires out (and gives away hope of achieving success. He is persistent in his effort to please Allah.)’

Anwar e Umar ra, malfuz 22

 

Smypathy & kindness for sinful

 Imam Abdul Wahab al Sha’rani ( Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘It is from the morals of the pious that they have sympathy for those involved in sinful activities. They do not look down upon them. They are ready to sacrifice their own life for them.  Some of them in their kindness, desired that their skin be peeled off with scissors but the sinful stop their indulgence in disobeying Allah. Moreover they prefer being kind for them instead of making supplications (dua) against them.’

Ahwal us Sadiqeen, page 207