Category Archives: F. Zikir & fikr

Remembrance, comtemplation and spiritual excersises

Heart-burn

burning-heart

A seeker wrote,’For a while I am feeling  a soreness or a burning sensation over the heart (qalb). All the time I feel like something is creeping (there). Till now I thought it might be a medical ailment. However, now I inform you and inquire that is it something detrimental or beneficial for me. 

Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

‘Sometimes this burning sensation is due to the effects of (excessive) remembrance (dhikr). And at other times it is due to (physical) disease.

Firstly, consult a physician. If he rules out medical condition then use the following regimen,

1. Abandon jahar (hearable voice) and zarb (the imaginary drub) in dhikr .

2. On completion of the (daily) dhikr recite يا باسط one thousand times.

3. After every salah recite durood 11 times, blow on water and drink it. 

4. Read about the mercy of Allah. Especially, reading the chapter ‘On having hope’ (ar-raja) from [Imam Ghazali's (Allah have mercy on him)] Keymiya e Sa’adet will be appropriate.

5. (In diet) Use things that revitalize and invigorate the heart (qalb).

 Inform again (about the condition) in a week.’

Tarbiyat us Salik, volume 1, page 545

Dhikr

20140207-180058.jpg

A seeker wrote,
‘My routine is to shut the eyes and contemplating about the Entity being named in the form of light, sometimes being attentive towards the qalb, imagine the voice emanating from it of the Supreme Name: ALLAH. Mostly it is audible (with jahar) especially when ecstatic. At that time it is audible without my volition.

Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
همجنين ميرو كه زيبا مي روي
Indeed, confining (The Entity being remembered) intentionally in the form of light though without belief (‘eiteqad) is detrimental.

The seeker continued,
‘The count (of dhikr) twelve thousand is completed every day.

Sometimes a ecstatic state is felt in various parts of the body and I feel like letting out a loud noise. Occasionally this happens during salah.

At other times there is no (unusual) state felt.

Often the remembrance of Allah is replacing the mental speech (hadith e nafs) until I sleep. However, this vanishes while talking and interacting with others.

In remembrance (of Allah) the perfect imagination does not stay for long at one level. The desire (for perfect, sustained and prolonged imagination) remains.

Hakim al-Umma replied,
‘These changes of states are from the norms. Do not pay attention to them. However, it is essential to inform your mentor about them regularly.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 92

Muraqaba

20140202-213158.jpg

Shaikh al Mashaikh Haji Imdadullah mohajir Makki (Allah have mercy on him) instructed,

‘Sit as you sit in the jalsa of salah.
Bow your head forwards towards the knees.

Cleanse your heart (& imagination) from all other than Allah.

Be in the presence of Allah.

Recite أعوذ بالله و بسم الله and three time الله حاضري، الله ناظري، الله معي.
Then contemplate on its meaning.
That Allah is present, watching and is with me.

Put significant effort in this imagination until no awareness remains of other-than-Allah. Even the awareness of his/her own self vanishes.

If this contemplation and knowledge disappears very rapidly (after a session) then muraqaba is deficient.

(It must be acknowledged that) Initially one has to force one’s self to do the muraqaba. Then with persistent effort a time comes when returning back (to being neglectful of this imagination) becomes impossible.
However, one reaches this state gradually. Therefore, one should not abandon the effort due to initial hardship.’

Dhiya al Quloob, page 35
1st Rabi II 1435/1st February 2014

Stages of remembrances & lataif

fazkuri

 

Hakim al Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘As there are different levels of imagination (when making remembrance of Allah) therefore, to make it concise, clear and to classify them into five stages I use an example;

1. Remembrance is made of a Beloved who is neither present (in front of the the one making dhikr) nor he is aware(that he is being watched). He is absent (from his imagination) and (he is) unaware (of it).

2. Remembrance is made of Him who is in front but faraway and can not be visualized clearly.

3. Remembrance is made of Him who is in front and closer. He can be visualized clearly.

4. He is very close. Observing Him is engrossing. To extent that due to overwhelming love one becomes unaware on himself.

5. This engrossment progress to the stage that one becomes oblivious of this unawareness.

Now I apply the technical known names for theses stages;

1. This is ‘dhikr’. This is because there is only remembrance (of the name) in it.

2. This is ‘hudur‘ (being in presence). This is because the One being imagined is in front and present.

3. This is ‘mukashafah‘ (unveiling). The close proximity of the One being imagined leads to perfect sense of being in the presence and complete unveiling of the details.

4.This is ‘shuhood‘ or ‘mushahidah‘ (witnessing). Technically witnessing is the epitome of hudhur. This leads to overwhelming affection, infatuation and rapture. It is also known as ‘fana‘ (annihilation) because of these engrossing emotions one in unaware of himself.

5. This is ‘mu’ainiah‘ (viewing). This is because it is a hudur that exceeds the technical limits of shuhud. One is oblivious of his unawareness and therefore it is also known as ‘fana ul fana’.

(Applying this further on the schema of ‘lataif‘)

1. The action of latifa al qalb is dhikr (remembrance)

2. The action of latifa al ruh is hudur.

3. The action of latifa al sirr is mukashafah.

4. The action of latifa al khafi is shuhud, mushahida and fana.

5. The action of latifa al akhfa is mu’ainah and fana ul fana.

lataif ashrafiya

Some of the spiritual masters are of the opinion that remembrance (of Allah) must be done in the specified manner to the extent that these five lataif become active individually. That is they perform their actions.

Other (spiritual) masters opine that remembrance (of Allah) should be done only with (latifa)  al qalb to the extent that all the actions (of other lataif) happen. There is no need at all to talk about the specific actions of lataif. They consider focusing on lataif  in detail to be a veil. Also, in the Prophetic saying only qalb has been mentioned in this context.  Moreover, even those who engage in activating these lataif (individually)  acknowledge that there is a interconnection between these lataif. Therefore, making remembrance via al qalb eventually affects and activates the other lataif. This is because these lataif are like mirrors that reflect into each other.’

Bawadir al Nawadir, page 565-6

Who is a disciple?

20140121-194650.jpg

Shaikh Sharafuddin Yahya al Maneri (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘A disciple is a person who submits himself to his guide in word, deed, heart and body.’

He went on to explain:
” ‘In words’ means that his speech is in conformity with what his guide says regarding the essential principles and derived teaching of religion.

‘In deeds’ means that he does nothing, whether in a religious or worldly matter, contrary to what has been sanctioned by his guide, even if it be an act of devotion!

‘In heart’ means keeping his heart unstained by any blameworthy quality, just as his guide does.

‘In body’ means keeping his senses and bodily members pure and without any stain of sin, just as his guide has done.

When he has conformed himself in all these ways, then he can be called a disciple.”

A Mine of Meaning (Ma’din ul-Ma’ani), page 165

The objective

20131217-171502.jpg

A seeker wrote: These days due to the illness of my wife, being busy with taking care of her and because of the the disruption of the household affairs most of the (routine virtuous) actions (wird) are missed. Only prayers (salah) is done. In this situation a thought troubles me that why did this happen to me and my routine works have been disrupted? This is adding to my distress.

Hakim al Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘There is no reason to be distressed.
The real objective is the reward (thawab). Allah bestows this sometimes via (voluntary virtuous) actions and on other occasions through hardships and sufferings. (Thus) the objective is achieved in both the situations.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 57

#2: Turn to Allah

20131129-223846.jpg

Sayyidi wa sanadi Shaikh Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah bless him with a long, healthy and productive life, Amin!) continued,

The second thing is to be vigilant in turning to Allah (asking for assistance) all the time. That is, while walking or being busy in something or resting, in short whenever there is any need one should turn towards Allah and ask for assistance. One has to develop this habit.

For example, right now when we depart the masjid we should ask Allah for an appropriate ride. Once in the ride we should ask Allah that we reach our destination safely without any traffic problems. If feeling hot we should ask Allah to alleviate it. If feeling cold we should ask Allah to provide warmth. On entering our home we should ask Allah that we find all the family members safe and sound. In summary we should persist in turning towards Allah asking for assistance in all our activities.

Be vigilant in being thankful to Allah for all the blessings you have, however, small they might be. Repeat it verbally, ‘all praise is for Allah’ (Alhumdulillah).

If one does these things then every moment of his time is accounted as being in the remembrance of Allah.
May Allah facilitate this for all of us by His mercy and benevolence. Amin!

Attending Fiqh Academy session, Riyadh, KSA after Friday prayers, 11/22/2013

Utilize time effectively

time-managementA group of seekers requested for some advice.

Sayyidi wa sanadi Shaikh Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah bless him with a long, healthy and productive life, Amin!) said,

‘Firstly, try to utilize the time effectively.

Each and every moment must be spent in actions that lead to Allah’s pleasure. These  include in addition to the acts of worships, the mutual dealings (muamlaat), social etiquette (adaab ul ma’asheret), fulfilling the rights of one’s own self (nafs), the rights of the children, spouses and parents. etc.

Not a single moment of a believer’s life should be in anything that displeases Allah.

In fact a believer can make all his activities a form of worship, like eating and drinking. That is by performing it with the pure intention and correct method as per the commandments of Allah.

Therefore, it must be ensured that the time is not wasted at all. One should be involved in any of the good actions as mentioned above.’

Attending Fiqh Academy session, Riyadh, KSA after Friday prayers

Abundant remembrance of Allah

dhikr e kathir

O you who believe, remember Allah abundantly[33:41]
and proclaim His purity at morn and eve.
[33:42]

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah bless him with a long, healthy and productive life with ‘afiyet, Amin!) said,

‘It must be remembered that if the tongue is not immersed in vocalization of remembrance of Allah the heart (qalb) will never be habitable (to the remembrance of Allah).

This is because the remembrance of Allah by vocalization via tongue is like the first step. If an individual does not climb it, then how can he reach the (real) remembrance, (that is) with the heart.

Therefore, the first step in developing a sustainable relationship with Allah is the remembrance with tongue (dhikr e lisani). This must never be abandoned.

Dhikrullah kay fadhail, page 11

In this discourse Shaikh mentions the various methods of remembrance prescribed by the Sufis, including the dowazdah tasbih that is staple dhikr of Ashrafiya path.

It usually takes 30 plus minus 5 minutes . It is preferably done after tahajjud or fajr salah in solitude with as much concentration as possible.

This is the kickoff.

Sparing time for islah

20131110-212336.jpg

In the booklet ‘Manual for those seeking islah‘, sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah grant him a long, healthy and productive life with ‘afiyet, Amin!) wrote,

‘For the above mentioned tasks one will have to spare at least an hour daily, though it may be in multiple sittings. If one feels mentally ready for them and can ensure that insha Allah I will do them then only request should be made to this lowly writer for service (of guidance in islah). Otherwise, please excuse me.’ Page 4

It is common practice nowadays that individuals attend the spiritual discourses of a Shaikh and read his books or those recommended by him.They improve somewhat in their outwardly actions and following of Sunna. They consider themselves seekers (talibeen e islah) and pride themselves to be associated with a particular Shaikh.

However, they rarely ask the Shaikh individualized spiritual advice for betterment of their morals and remembrance of Allah. Even if they do this than it is mostly random, disorganized and poorly abided with. Similarly those who are associated with a Shaikh for years are content with the initial tasbihats for remembrance of Allah. They do not yearn for more. As a result they do not progress spiritually. That is, they lack good moral characteristics, persist with the blame worthy ones and do not achieve the state of perpetual remembrance of Allah.

As instructed above one has to take islah seriously and spare time for it. The above mentioned hour is for a beginner, a novice. So what about the intermediate and advanced salik?

Importance of daily recitations

13392370802

 

Shaikh Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘The pious elders have said, تارك الورد ملعون

It means that the individual who (intentionally) leaves his daily recitations (wird) is  accursed.

This is because offering extra (nafil) salah or recitations (awrad) in the beginning (of sulook) is not as detrimental than to initiate and then stop them. 

This is extremely bad. Allah’s alienation is for such an individual. This results in the individual becoming absolutely incompetent. He can neither follow the Deen properly nor achieve any worldly success.

Therefore, one should not initiate extra (routine) pious actions, like tahajjud or recitations. If he does initiate them then he should have a firm intention of doing them all his life. Otherwise misfortune will engulf him.

It is mentioned in Tabqat e Kubra (page 142) that on the day the murid leaves his wird the Divine help is cut off from him.’

Wasiyet ul ehsan, Talifat e Musleh al Ummat ra, volume 5, page 56-7

Shara’iah,near Jara’nah, Makkah al mukarramah

 

Passing on rewards of good deeds to pious

20131007-081809.jpg

An individual wrote about his daily routine of reciting some verses of Holy Quran and passing on the reward (esal e thawab) to pious predecessors.

Hakim al Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) appreciated the practice but made it clear that this must not be with the expectation that in return there will be spiritual benefit from their souls. This would be against sincerity. The passing on of rewards must be solely for Allah’s pleasure in appreciation of the services they provided in spreading the Deen.

Paraphrased from Tarbiyet us Salik,

Moreover, some people who do esal e thawab routinely are afraid that if they stop it, even for a genuine reason (poor health or lack of finances, etc.) there will wrath of these pious predecessors and some disaster will strike them. This is shirk. May Allah protect us all from this. Amin!

Vallejo, CA

The ‘elite’ Sufis

20131004-124816.jpg

The second result of introduction of aristocratic class in Tasawwuf was to consider the non-goals to be the objectives (of the path) and absolute negligence of the goals. As a result, ‘the perfected sates’ (kamalat) that were the secondary offsprings of successful achievement of the objective were considered to be the goals themself. Spiritual pleasures and states, material unveiling, powers to do supernatural feats and perform miracles, spiritual ecstasy, true dreams, etc. became the sole objective of a spiritual seeker. They were considered to the salient features of piety (taqwa) and being a pious individual (buzurg).

In order to achieve these ‘perfected states’ means and methods that are not prescribed by Sunna were adopted. In doing so instructions were taken from (non-Muslim) ascetics and philosophers. As a result a complex potpourri of Indian customs and Greek philosophy was born. It was named the Islamic Tasawwuf.

The objective of this was to be an individual with spiritual powers and be able to perform super natural feats.

The purpose of having these superhuman powers could not be anything else other than to establish one’s superiority over other fellow men in order to influence and control their hearts (& minds).

How can the real Islamic Tasawwuf (as has been explained earlier), that teaches deliverance from the trap of lower self (nafs), establishing the vision of Truth (shuhood e Haqq) [ihsan], annihilation (fana) from the creation and being existent (baqa) with the Truth be compared to this pseudo Islamic Tasawwuf?’

Quran aur Tasawwuf, page 23-4

IDSA 2013, San Francisco, CA