Category Archives: F. Zikir & fikr

Remembrance, comtemplation and spiritual excersises

Remedy for suspicion

20140324-200413.jpg

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

20140321-194412.jpg

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
>

Treatment for useless speech

20140313-220727.jpg

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

chandelier

 

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

 

dhikr-beads

 

 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 

How much dhikr?

20140215-174827.jpg

A seeker wrote,’ I have not fixed the number of times I make remembrance (dhikr) (of Allah). When I get disinterested I stop. Counting puts a pressure on my mind to complete what is remaining.’

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘This is a grave mistake.
Either fix a count or time period.
Leaving it on your own interest is opening the way for procrastination.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 2, page 896

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