Category Archives: F. Zikir & fikr

Remembrance, comtemplation and spiritual excersises

Levels of khushu’ in salah

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Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) said,

‘It has to be acknowledged here that the required khushu‘ (reverence, serenity and presence of mind) has multiple levels.

The first level is essential (fardh). That is, at least at the moment of opening takbeer (tehrimah) an individual brings to his mind (actively) that he/she is praying. Absence of this will make the salah void.

The best and highest level (of khushu‘) is that during the entire salah nothing transpires except the thought of Allah. (As is mentioned in the Prophetic saying)

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The middle level (in between these two) is the one each Individual must strive to attain. That is, one should be aware and attentive of the words that are being recited during salah.
One should be cognizant of what is being recited. On reciting الحمد لله رب العالمين he should have knowledge that he said الحمد لله رب العالمين. On saying الرحمن الرحيم he should know he recited الرحمن الرحيم. One should strive for this level of khushu.
Salah should not be (offered) like switching on a machine (that runs on its own) and comes to culmination (automatically). (That is without attention and awareness.)

Even if some involuntarily thoughts come during salah they will in-sha-Allah be forgiven provided that on becoming aware of this derailment one returns to being attentive of the words being recited.

Initially one has to be be attentive towards the words being recited, than gradually the attention will turn towards Allah.’

Inam ul Bari, volume 3, page 472

Seeking knowledge

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A seeker, who was studying medicine said, ‘I do not feel like studying (medicine) and my heart desires to do remembrance (dhikr) of Allah.’

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) replied,
‘If acquired with correct intention your study (of medicine) is also (a form of ) remembrance of Allah.’

Kibriyet e Ahmer, malfuzat (#24) complied by Dr Syed Abdul Qadir Ahmer sahib, page 4

Missing the daily wird

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A seeker wrote, ‘For the previous few days I am unable to complete my daily routine recitations (wird)’.

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘If there is a genuine excuse (for missing them) then it is not a problem. However, if there is no excuse then use your determination to over come this (laziness).’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 2, page 870

This is a common complain from seekers.
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) has repeatedly mentioned that this laziness is due to the lack of importance of the daily wird. There is no supplication, amulet, charm or medicine that can make a seeker diligent regarding this. One has to use his will power and over come the laziness. This is the mujahiddah: the spiritual struggle of the path.

Suspicion of arrogance

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A seeker wrote, ‘An individual was prescribed by you, as treatment of arrogance (kibr), to announce in the mosque after every salah that I have the (spiritual) illness of arrogance, please, all of you make supplication (dua) that I am cured of this disease.

On this a thought came to my mind, that is, what would I do if I am asked to do this?

Reflecting on it neither do I find the courage to do so nor does my mind accept this happily. This displays that maybe I suffer from arrogance. At other times thought comes to mind that this is due to modesty (hiya).

Sir, I request you that if this is due to arrogance than, please, prescribe a treatment for it. It will be be a generous gift indeed.’

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

‘Having the thought of this possibility (of arrogance in one’s self) is proof of fear (of Allah’s displeasure).

Congratulation!

For the diagnosis of arrogance this symptom alone is not sufficient. As this reluctance maybe sometimes due to the absence of illness itself and hence no need for treatment.

Sometimes arrogance is also the cause of this. There are two criteria for this (differentiation).

Firstly, are there any other signs and symptoms (of arrogance) present?

Secondly, even on possibility (of arrogance) if the spiritual mentor prescribes this form of treatment should it be followed or not, even if one finds natural repugnance to it? (The scenario is) Similar to the repugnance of a bad tasting medicine. If the patient desires a cure and has trust in the physician he will follow it.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 112

Remedy for suspicion

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A seeker wrote, ‘The condition of this lowly writer is that the (spiritual) ailment of suspicion (bud-gumani/soo-e-dhan) is deeply rooted in my heart for a long duration. I become suspicious of fellow brothers and sisters on very minute things. I have tried many remedies according to my sub-standard intelligience. However, this ailment did not go away.

Please, recommend a remedy to cure this destructive (spiritual) disease.

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

‘Whenever, thoughts of suspicion come to mind (qalb)

1. Firstly, sit alone and remind yourself that Allah has forbidden suspicion. A sin has been committed. There are (fair) chances of getting punishment for sinful actions. O nafs! How are you going to endure this punishment?

2. After this reflection repent.

3. Make supplication (dua). O Allah ! Cleanse my heart (and mind).

4. Make supplication for the individual you had suspicions. O Allah! Bestow him with the blessings of both the worlds.

Do this three times daily. If the affects (of suspicious thoughts) remains then repeat it for 2 or 3 days. If it persist even after this, then approach this individual and tell him that I had baseless suspicion about you. Please, forgive me and make supplication for me that this (spiritual ailment) is cured.’

Tarbiyet us Salik
volume 3, page 111

Anti-kibr therapy

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Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) prescribed the following to a seeker,

‘The therapy for the reality of arrogance is a special form of contemplation (muraqaba). It must be renewed and repeated at all the times when the thought of arrogance passes (in the mind).

This muraqaba includes,
1. Although I have this achievement, it is not my own creation. It has been bestowed by Allah.

2. This bestowal is without my being deserving of it. It is Allah’s mercy and benevolence.

3. After bestowal preserving it is beyond my control. Allah has the power to take it away anytime.

4. Although the other individual does not possess this achievement as yet. It is possible that eventually he will achieve more than me and I will be looking up to him for assistance in this regards.

5. Even if eventually he does not achieve this, as it sometimes evident by the apparent (lack of) means. It is possible that right now he has some other achievement that is hidden from me but evident to others or hidden from all. It is known to Allah alone. By the virtue of this his overall achievements are better than mine.

If none of his achievement come to mind than bring to mind the possibility that as per the knowledge of Allah he is accepted (maqbool) and I am not. And if I am accepted to than he is more accepted than me. Hence, how can I think of him to be inferior to me?

6. Think that even in case he is lower than me in all regards than he has a right on me. As the deficient individual has on the perfect one. Like the sick person has on a well individual, a weak on the strong, and a poor on the wealthy. Hence, I should be kind and have empathy for him. Moreover, I should try to assist him in achieving them successfully. If I do not have any means or power or time even than by making supplication (dua) for his success. Then start effort in regards to successful accomplishment of his achievements. This will create a bond of kindness with this individual. And it is a natural phenomenon that working for an individual’s development and success leads to loving him. After (feeling of) love there is no thought of considering him inferior.

7. If this (#6) can not be done than occasionally talk to him gently and politely. Inquire about his well being. This will create a mutual bond. And after this bond thought of considering him inferior will dissipate.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 108-9
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Treatment for useless speech

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A seeker wrote, ‘I have an ailment of useless talking. According to my deficient understanding the reason for this is happiness. That is, whenever I am happy and there are no worries a sort of overwhelming euphoric emotional state develops. In it I speak a lot. Doing so gives me peace. Remaining quite is not possible for me. If I force myself to keep quite I get agitated soon. It is only with talking that agitation is removed, otherwise it stays.

This (useless) talking extends to the mentioning of obscene and back-biting. Until I do this my euphoric state does not normalize.’

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘The principle of treatment is to remove the cause of illness.

For this ailment the cause is euphoric emotional state. The removal of this is the treatment. This euphoria has to be subdued by its opposite. That is, contemplation and melancholy.

The thing that leads to the strongest level of contemplation and melancholy is death and what happens after it, like events in Barzakh, Day of Judgement, The Bridge (sirat) and the punishments for sinful activities.

Therefore, at the time of emotional frenzy contemplate about these events. If (you find) this contemplation is weak then read from a book on this subject. It is preferable that (in that state) you immediately withdraw yourself into solitude and reflect (muraqaba) or read (muta’la). This will treat the condition promptly.

If due to (general) emotional weakness reflecting or reading become painful secondary to overwhelming dread then reflect on the Prophetic sayings regarding mercy and optimism. This will maintain the balance. The real happiness, which is required as per (قل بفضل الله و برحمة فبذلك فليفرحوا ) will stay and the excessive euphoria, which has to be shunned (لا تفرح ان الله لا يحب الفرحين( will be eliminated.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 100-1

Observing effulgence

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A seeker wrote, ‘One night when I was offering the tahajjud salah, as I turned (my head) to say (the exit) salam I saw a light, like a chandelier, near my home’s restroom. I expeienced heartfelt delighted at seeing it.

What was this that I saw? Was it my imagination?

Most of the time it is with (excessive) remembrance and (spiritual) exercises (shugal) that effulgence are observed. I have not started any of these activities as yet.’

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

‘Sometimes (observing) effulgence like these are due to one’s imagination. At other times they may be Angelic effulgence.

The first type is most common. However, they are also beneficial for the seeker as they make him serene (yaksu). And if he utilizes this (serenity) in remembrance (of Allah) it will be more beneficial (form of remembrance) dhikr.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, voulme 1, page 552

Treatment of anger and boredom

 

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 A seeker wrote, ‘There have been two new developments in my behavior. The first is that I get angry quickly. This leads to humiliating consequences. The other is that I feel a sort of bored (all the time) without any sustainable serenity in my demeanor. Please, make dua for me, that Allah removes these traits from me.’

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

The treatment for anger is to reflect on the wrath of Allah and your sinful activities (at the time of anger).

The remedy for boredom is mindful excessive remembrance of Allah (dhikr).

With these (measures your) anxiety will subside. I also make dua (as requested).

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 1, page 545