Category Archives: N. Advice

A Ramadan routine

20140618-184321-67401655.jpg

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

‘In this month (Ramadan) the learned and lay Muslims should spare some time trying to understand from a reliable translation and exegesis (tafsir) of the blessed Quran. This is in addition to its recitation.

This is because, Quran is such a (phenomenal) thing that reading it in an appropriate manner becomes a source of special relationship and increasing proximity with Allah. ‘

Khutbaat e Ramadan, page 49

Riya in Prayers at Mosque

A

A spiritual aspirant wrote:
When I perform prayer at mosque, I feel more inclined and khushu‘ (reverence, serenity and presence of mind) in prayers than I have in my prayers I perform at home. Some time a thought comes to mind that it happens due to the people in mosque as I do it for show off. This makes me worried. Please tell me how to tackle this issue? Jazaak Allah

Sayyidi wa sanadi Hazrat Moulana Mohammad Taqi Usmani sahib (Allah SWT preserve him and allow us to benefit from him abundantly. Ameen) replied:
“Not every time it is due to riya (ostentation). The environment of mosque is also a reason for this and it changes the way one performs salah.”

Meraj us Salikeen: Islahi Khutoot #21

Missing Daily Tasbihat

20140604-220529-79529358.jpg

Comment: “I have been regular with tilawat, monjat e maqbool and other tasbeehat but was not doing the dwazdah tasbihat. When missed during the day, I try to recite a few of that tasbihat but not complete. In this regard please advise if I miss dwazdah tasbihat, should I impose a penalty on myself as now it is almost making a habit?”

Response: “If this happens regularly then look for the reason. Reschedule it at a different time. If that does not work then fix a penalty, like no internet use for personal use that day.”

Meraj us Salikeen: Islahi makateeb #8

How to use spare time?

20140604-220134-79294206.jpg

Comment: “How do I manage this time? Please advise as this is one of the biggest challenge I am facing now a days. With every passing day, it feels bad when a time is wasted in useless or in a sinful activity.”

Response: “It is indeed a challenge to use spare time effectively.
Try to take up somethings that will be useful in Deen or dunya. Like Reading a tafseer thoroughly, or translating some article or passages that you feel beneficial into English or Pashto or making hifz of sura Yaseen or Yusuf, or completing a nisab (70,000) kalima for a deceased, helping in household chores or art n craft activities with children etc.”

Meraj us Salikeen: Islahi Makateeb #22

Learning by association

20140520-160953-58193881.jpg

An individual who has been associated with sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) for more than two decades said, ‘Praying salah with respected Mufti sahib is a lesson itself. The khushu and khudhu is exemplary. I have tried numerous times to emulate his ruku and sujood, however, even if I recite the tasbihat very meticulously with tajweed more than 7 times I can not catch his serene pace.

It is a lesson for us to learn from his example.

Most likely this is also from the benefits of companionship (suhba) of the pious.’

Not to punish when angry

20140430-194221.jpg

A seeker who was a school teacher inquired regarding punishing the students who were disobedient or neglectful of their home work. He wrote,
‘Some of the students are extremely careless and adamant. This to the extent that without significant corporeal punishment they do not do the required tasks. I punish them ( for this) and also on their mischieves. Usually I hit them on their hands with stick according to the situation from one to six strikes. Occasionally it exceeds this (on extreme mischief).

During implementation of punishment I contemplate (on the pros and cons). Most of the times I am not angry at that time. However, infrequently I do become angry. It is felt that I make mistake in both the states. This is because of the doubt that arises in me that I punished them in excess of what they deserved and committed brutality and injustice.

I try to do full justice, however, after punishment I have a heavy feeling.
Sir, please, tell me a guiding principle (in this regards) so that I can follow it. It saves me from committing sinful and the students do their work.’

Hakim al-Umma Maualan Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘Contemplate when you are no more angry that how much punishment does he deserve. Do not exceed it, even if you get angry while administering it.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 129

This is a guiding principle for parents, in addition to teachers and all those responsible for taking care of children.

Levels of khushu’ in salah

20140429-201113.jpg

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)

20140429-212239.jpg

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

Understanding of Deen

20140427-195056.jpg

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

‘My respected father (Mufti Mohammad Shafi, Allah sanctify his secret) use to say this sentence and it must be memorized,
“Censuring on a non-objectionable thing is reprehensible itself.”

غير منكر پر نكير خود منكر هے.

It is inappropriate to do so. This is because when Shariah has not ruled that a thing is impermissible then how can you acting as a (pseudo-) officer (of Shariah) claim that it is haram.

In reality these things are based on understanding the demeanor of Shariah. This is called thorough understanding of religion (تفقه في الدين).

The understanding of the demeanor of Shariah is not solely by reading the (religious) texts. It requires being in the company (suhba, of those who have already acquired this characteristic). It is by this accompanying one ascertains what stand he must take, where to be firm and where to be lenient.’

Inamul Bari, volume 3, page 82-3

Steps to selecting a Shaikh

 

Hadith-Al-Nawafil-2-940x1912
The best way to select a Shaikh includes,
 
1. Initially visit many shuyukh with a sincere intention of islah
2. Having good opinion for all Muslims is essential. Especially those referred to as shuyukh. So do not judge them in your mind & heart in haste.
3. If something troubles you that they do or tolerate or prescribe then move to someone else
4. Keep making sincere dua in finding a Shaikh. Each day after esha make dua for at least 3 minutes in this regards.
5. If you find someone suitable the company of whom benefits you (i.e. you become aware of your short comings and try to improve on them). Moreover it does not raise objections in your heart then stick to him.
6. However do not rush to make bayiat.
7. Sit in his company or communicate with him for at least 40 times.
8. Then make consultation (mashwara)  with the knowledgeable and pious individuals.
9. If they recommend him then make istekhara for 3 to 7 days.
10. Only after you are completely at ease in your heart with this decision then commit and make bayiat.
 
MOST important is NOT to rush through these steps!

Learn the lesson / Darse Ebrat*

20140421-071733.jpg

For the intelligent, an indication is sufficient…Subhanallah, this story is filled with so many lessons for everyone. Please read it with the intention to learn the lessons from the life of Shaikh Abu Abdullah Al-Andalusi (RA), and also the character of his devoted and loyal students. I pray that Allah grants every reader the tawfeeq to benefit from this and to protect us all from any tests of this sort. Aameen.

Note: Since this is not a formal Arabic written entry, the rules of Arabic have not been enforced such as in the name of the Shaykh, etc.

In Baghdad, the seat of the Islamic State, was a pious saint by the name of Abu Abdullah Al-Andalusi. He was a well-known scholar and muhaddith and twelve thousand disciples sat at his feet. He knew thirty thousand ahadith by heart, and could recite the Quran in all the various modes of Qiraat.

On a certain occasion he was going on a journey and was accompanied with a large crowd of attendants among whom were the well-known Junayd Baghdadi and Shaikh Shibli Rahimahumullah.

Shaikh Shibli continues the story: Our caravan was travelling along safely and comfortably with the grace of Allah, until we passed by an area where Christians were residing. When we reached the Christian village, we searched for water but could not find any. We went about the village and discovered that there were many churches, temples of sun-worship and synagogues. Some of the people worshipped idols and others prayed to the cross. We were amazed at their condition.

We passed all this and reached the outskirts of the village where we found a well and a few girls drawing water for people to drink. Amongst these girls was one who was exceedingly beautiful. She wore a gold necklace around her neck. When Shaikh Abu Abdullah saw her the colour of his face changed. The Shaikh asked the other girls who she was.

They replied: “This is the daughter of the ruler of this village.”
The Shaikh replied: “But, why has her father dishonoured her by leaving her to give people water to drink?”
The girls replied: “Her father has done this so that when she marries she will be able to honour and serve her husband. He does not want her to become boastful of her status.”

The Shaikh sat down with his head bent forward and remained silent. For three days he did not eat or drink. He would only perform his Salaah. His disciples and companions did not know what to do or say.

Shaikh Shibli says : ‘I decided to speak to him. I approached him and said, “O Shaikh, your disciples and companions are perplexed with your silence for the last three days. Please speak to us.”

The Shaikh replied: “O people, know that my heart has become filled with love for the girl I saw the other day. It is not possible for me under any circumstances to leave from here.”

Shaikh Shibli replied: “Our leader! You are the spiritual guide of Iraq. Your piety is well-known far and wide. Your disciples number over twelve thousand. By the sanctity of the Noble Quran do not bring disgrace to us and them.”

The Shaikh replied: “O people, my lot has already been sealed by fate. I am nothing. The cloak of sainthood has been removed from me and the signs of guidance have been taken away from me.”

Saying this the Shaikh began weeping bitterly. “Proceed and leave me alone. My fate has been sealed,” he told them.

We were astonished. We begged Allah for His protection and we cried until the land beneath our feet became wet with our tears.

We returned to Baghdad. When the people heard of our return, they arrived in large numbers at the outskirts of the city to meet the Shaikh. They saw that he was not with us and asked where he was. We told them the entire story. Many of his disciples died out of grief when they heard of his condition. Others cried in sorrow and disbelief. Many begged Allah to guide the Shaikh to the right path and return him to them. All his places of instruction and preaching were closed down.

We remained in this sad condition for one full year. Finally, I, together with a few companions decided to visit the village again and find out how our Shaikh was doing. When we reached the village we asked regarding him and were told that he was in the woods looking after pigs. We asked: “What has happened?” We were told that he had proposed for the girl in marriage. But, the girl’s father had refused saying that her suitor had to meet certain conditions : he had to follow the same religion as her, he had to become a servant in the church and he had to look after the pigs. The Shaikh had fulfilled all these conditions and was currently seeing to the pigs.

“With broken hearts and tears streaming down our eyes, we went to the woods to find him. He was standing amongst the pigs. Around his waist was a string of beads. On his head was the traditional Christian hat. He stood leaning on the staff that he once used to lean on when delivering the sermon in the mihraab!

When he saw us he bowed his head in shame. We came nearer and said, “Assalaamu Alaikum.” He replied: “Wa Alaikumus salaam”.

Shaikh Shibli then asked: “O Shaikh, what is all this? What has happened to you? What has happened to all your knowledge and virtue?”

The Shaikh replied: “My dear friend and brothers, I am now no longer in control. Whatever Allah has desired for me, has come to pass. I was once amongst His beloved ones. Now He has thrown me very far away from His door. O Beloved ones of Allah, beware of being rejected and distanced from Allah. O Beloved ones of Allah, beware of Allah’s anger and being cut off from Him.”

Then turning towards the heavens he said: “O my Lord, I never expected such treatment from You.” Then he began crying bitterly and appealing to Allah.

Shaikh Shibli also begged Allah in a loud voice : “Only from you do we seek help. Upon You only do we rely. By Your grace, remove this difficulty from us! We have been overcome. Only you can save us!”

When the pigs heard our crying they began to rub their heads in the sand and began to yell so loudly that the mountains appeared to wail. Shaikh Shibli says : “I thought Qiyaamah had come.” The Shaikh continued to cry uncontrollably.

Shaikh Shibli continues: We said to him : “Shaikh, why don*t you return with us to Baghdad?” The Shaikh replied : “How can I? I have to see to the pigs, although I once saw to the hearts of men!”

I asked the Shaikh : “You were a Haafiz of Quraan and you could recite the seven modes of Qiraat. Do you remember anything of the Quraan?”

The Shaikh answered : “I have forgotten everything except two verses of the Quraan: ‘He who Allah disgraces, none can grant him honour. Allah does as He wishes.’ And, secondly, the verse, ‘He who chooses kufr (disbelief) over Imaan (faith) he has certainly gone astray.’

I asked : “You knew thirty thousand ahadith of Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Do you still remember any?”

He answered : “Only one: ‘One who leaves his faith, kill him!’ ”

Amazed at his condition, we left the Shaikh and headed for Baghdad. However, after we had walked for three days we suddenly saw the Shaikh in front of us. He was coming out of a river, where he had just performed a bath. In a loud voice he proclaimed the shahaadah: “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam is His messenger.”

We could not control our joy and happiness when we saw him. He asked us for some pure clothing which he then wore. He then performed Salaah. We expressed our gratitude to Allah for returning him to us and we asked him what had happened to him.

He replied : “When you left me, I turned to Allah with my former love and affection for Him : ‘O my Protector, I am a sinner and a transgressor.’ Allah forgave me and covered me in His mercy.”

We asked him : “But, why were you put through such an intense trial?”

The Shaikh replied: “When we arrived in the village and saw the temples, synagogues and churches I thought to myself: ‘These people are nothing compared to me. I believe and worship one Allah.’ At that moment I heard a voice from within me saying: ‘This Iman that you have, is not due to your goodness in any way. If you so wish, We will show you right now.’ Immediately I felt as if something left my heart and flew away. That was my Imaan leaving me.”

Shaikh Shibli says: “We were overjoyed. Our caravan arrived in Baghdad with great joy. The Shaikh’s places of teaching and preaching were reopened. In a short while his students numbered over forty thousand. Allah again returned to him his knowledge of Quraan and Hadith and blessed him with further knowledge.” (Al-Mustatraf Fi Kulli Fann An-Mustadhraf)

From: an Noor

*Mufti Mohammad Shafi (Allah have mercy on him) published the story in Urdu with this tittle.

Seeking knowledge

20140415-195106.jpg

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

Need for a Shaikh

20140407-195620.jpg

A seeker wrote,
“I am presently (a student) in Dawrah-e-Hadith (the final year in the Alim Fadhil course). For quite a while I had intended to write, but a certain aspect prevented me from doing so. I am a voracious reader and lover of your writings and have been engaged in reading your books since my childhood days. By the grace of Allah I have benefited much.

I have learnt one particular thing from your writings, that is, the commands of the Shariat are all done deliberately (ikhtiyariyyah). Since the commands are ikhtiyariyyah it follows that the commands to abstain are likewise deliberate. Thus the remedy for all spiritual ailments is to refrain (intentionally). I have always adopted this method for myself. The question that troubles me is this: Now that this principle has been learnt from the Masters of the Path does the need still remain to refer to the Shaikh and obtain remedies from him? I do not understand this.

I have ruminated for quite a while regarding this matter. I trust that you will advise me so that I may practice accordingly. After realizing this general principle, what is the need for obtaining the diagnosis and prescription from a Shaikh? I hope that if I have erred, I will be informed.”

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

“The commands and the prohibitions are all deliberate.

However, errors do happen in this regard. At times what has already been acquired is considered as not having been attained yet and sometimes vice versa.

For example, a person intend to attain khushu’ (concentration based on humility) in Salah and in reality he then attains khushu’. But, while having attained khushu’ he is simultaneously afflicted by an abundance of stray thoughts (wasawis). This person then regards the presence of such wasawis as contradictory and negatory of khushu’. He thus considers that he has not attained khushu’. In the initial stages of worship, random thoughts (wasawis) are unintentional (ghair-ikhtiyari) – coming of their own accord – however, later the worshiper is diverted towards intentional (ikhtiyari) thoughts wasawis and he is deceived into believing that such wasawis are yet of the unintentional kind of the initial stages. He thus considers himself to have khushu’ while in actual fact khushu has been eliminated .

At times he considers what is not firmly established (ghair rasikh) to be firmly established (rasikh). For example, in a few minor mishaps he considers himself to have attained the state of radha bil qadha (satisfied with what has been divinely decreed). His contentment in the face of some minor misfortunes leads him to believe that he has attained advanced capability in firmness and steadfastness. But, if some major calamity overtakes him and he fails to be content then too he labours under the deception that he has attained the desired degree and goal of rusukh (firmness).

The consequence of regarding the attained as unattained is frustration and depression. This in turn causes one to become careless and neglectful. Thus, the attained becomes truly eliminated. The harm of the opposite condition (i.e. considering the unattained as attained is a (great) loss (to). Since one labours under the false notion that one has already achieved the goal, one does not make any effort in this direction.

The same danger lurks in considering un established (ghair-rasikh) as established rasikh), viz., one remains careless, not making any effort or arrangement to attain the desired goal of firmness and steadfastness. Sometimes one commits the error of believing that the state of rusukh has not been attained despite it having been attained. For example, one combated unlawful lust during a time when the effect of remembrance of Allah (dhikr) was overwhelming. As a result, the desire of unlawful lust was suppressed to the extent that one’s attention was totally diverted from it. Later when the effect of the thikr decreases and the natural propensities assert themselves even if in slight degree one is misled to believe that one’s mujahadah (striving against the nafs) has gone wasted, and the the evil propensities have returned. The consequence of this feeling is that one loses hope and is overtaken by stagnation and retrogression.

The above are merely some examples of errors and the resultant harm. A qualified Shaikh (of Tareeqat) by virtue of his insight and experience discerns the reality. And the one who is connected to such a Shaikh, he informs him of the errors and pitfalls. The disciple is thus saved from these dangers.

Even if it assumed that an intelligent and knowledgeable seeker discerns the pitfalls, then too, he will not attain tranquillity and peace of mind because of his inexperience. He will remain perplexed. And, perplexity impedes the attainment of the goal.

This is the duty of the Shaikh. More than this is not his responsibility.

However, in kindness he performs another function as well.
In his struggle to recognize and attain an objective or to eliminate a blameworthy attribute, the seeker of the truth undergoes great stress and difficulty. Although repeated subjection to such difficulty is eventually transformed into ease. The Shaikh sometimes as a favour devises such a scheme that the difficulty disappears from the very inception.

This is a brief exposition for understanding. The need for a Shaikh is felt and understood once one commences in the Path and systematically informs the Shaikh of one’s particular conditions and at the same time following his advice and instructions. Furthermore, such total obedience is possible only if one has full trust and confidence in the Shaikh, fully submitting to him. At that time one will actually feel and realize that it is not possible to attain the goal normally without a Shaikh.’

Shariat wa Tasawwuf

Treatment for back biting

20140405-122504.jpg

A seeker wrote, ‘I have the (spiritual) illness of doing and listening back biting. Please, prescribe a treatment.’

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

‘1. Reflect on the consequences of back biting (especially in Here-after) at that moment.

2. Pause and contemplate prior to talking

3. Ask forgiveness (from the individual) if back biting happens

4. Fix a penalty on yourself, either cash donation or offering optional salah (nafil) (in case if you slip).

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 124

Acceptance of supplication

20140403-200903.jpg

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

‘When an individual makes supplications (dua) his relationship with and proximity to Allah increases.
The higher optimism (raja) he has while making supplication the greater the acceptance rate.’

Ma’arif Musleh al Ummat ra, volume 1, page 107