Category Archives: N. Advice

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!

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 


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



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

Mujahida: annoying spouse

A seeker wrote,

Please, pray for my wife. She gives me to much trouble.

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

‘Do not be distressed by the troubles from your wife. This is also a (form of) spiritual struggle. You receive reward on it (from Allah if you are patient, neither display anger nor act inappropriately). Let her annoy you more.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 1, page 432

Mujahida e thania: The subsequent struggle

A spiritual aspirant wrote,

In the previous condition the attention towards Allah was increased and desire to commit sinful was very subdued. Moreover, a sort of spiritual serenity,  calmness and attentiveness was present. However, the condition is not like this anymore. The desire to commit sinful activities becomes very strong sometimes. And the previous serenity is no more.

In this condition I feel miserable, please, pray for me to be steadfast on the right path.

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

‘This is the time of subsequent struggle (against desires of nafs) (mujahida e thania) after the completion of the initial struggle (at the onset of this path). The accomplished seeker (wasil) who in unaware of this suspects returning (to previous heedless state) (rij’at). Sometimes he is so dejected that he gives up (the good deeds and abandons the struggle to resist sinful). In reality, this is an regular essential stage of completion of this path (sulook).

The explanation of this is that in the initial (part of this path) there is excessive enthusiasm and the natural desires are subdued. Towards the middle or the end (of this path) the enthusiasm wanes and the desires resurface. This is because the (sinful) desires are not eradicated (by spiritual struggle) they are only subdued. At this resurfacing spiritual struggle is again required. However, the hardship and effort in this (subsequent) struggle is to a lesser extent. لرسوخ التھذیب فی النفس۔ ., but determination, diligence, willpower and self control are required (to do so).

Based on the signs a sort of perfection is felt in (your) nisbet. Relying on Allah, I give you permission to take allegiance (from spiritual aspirants) (ijazet e bia’yet) and expect from Allah that it will be beneficial for the people. 

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 1, page 467-8

Remedy for missing the daily wird

Maulana Qamaruz Zaman Allahabadi (Allah preserve and protect him) narrates,

‘The disciples use to report that they are not being consistent with the daily recitations (wird). These were usually three tasbihaat (3 formulas to be recited 100 times each). They asked for a remedy.

Shaikh Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) replied how will you do something more (as a remedy) when you are not even doing the very basic things instructed to you.’

Ramadan bayan 16/07/2015

Mujahida: Spiritual struggle is everlasting!

wal ladhina jahadu

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

‘The seekers must understand it upfront that the spiritual struggle (mujahida) is always needed (to abstain from sinful).  It is not that you do it for few days (in the beginning of the path). It is lifelong endeavor.

Understand it by an example. In sickness medicine and precautionary efforts are essential. After recovery precautionary methods are still needed. Moreover they are even more required in healthy state. This is because in sickness the body system is impaired, the sense of taste is changed and desire for different kinds of foods is itself diminished. In addition if the patient indulges in any food harmful he quickly feels their  side effects. Whereas in healthy state the body systems are stronger and therefore the side effects of indulgence in harmful is not immediately felt. Also there is a desire to eat. Therefore, more care has to be taken in healthy state to prevent a relapse.

The physician have stated that relapse of an illness is more severe than the original illness.’

Khutbaat e Hakeemul Ummat ra, volume 23, page 274

Ma’mulaat: The daily practices

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve & protect him) stresses the need for being consistent with the daily recitations (wird) as instructed. To do so effectively, he advises that one should have a practical daily schedule. The time and place for routine practices should be fixed. Both of these have spiritual benefit (barakah) of their own.

The failure do so results in missing the wird. This is unacceptable for a seeker.

It must be remembered that consistency in daily practices is the path to spiritual progress.

May Allah grant us the tawfeeq. Amin!

Islah: Intention & action 

An individual inquired, ‘I’m being told that going out in the path of Allah (with Tablighi jamat) is sufficient for islah. There is no need for contacting a musleh (Shaikh). Is this correct?’

Another individual told that many years back he made bayiah to a Shaikh. At that time he was instructed to make daily dhikr which he is still doing. However, he never consulted the  respected Shaykh for any islah related issue. Is dhikr sufficient for islah?

As explained before islah and tazkiya are active processes. How can they be expected to occur passively?

Steps required for them are,

1. Intention,

2. Awareness of one’s deficiencies,

3. Consulting a spiritual physician,

4. Concurring with his diagnosis,

5. Meticulously following his instructions and then

6. Providing feedback on improvement of the condition

7. Being watchful for relapse

Accepted good actions, like going out in the path of Allah and remembering Allah (dhikr), provide illumination (nur). This illumination must reveal to us the real inner condition  of ourselves. This should provide us the insight to correct our deficiencies : Islah. However, if this is not happening then we should be very much concerned and look for the reason behind it.

Disputations are nafsani



Shaykh Sayf ad-Dīn father of Shaykh ‛Abd al-Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dihlawī (Allah have mercy on them) said,

‘The (polemic) wars which take place on academic issues (differed upon) are solely for the pacification of the self (nafs). They are futile. They result in mutual enmity and hostility. There must be an exchange of views with love and kindness on academic issues (differed upon) . This is because: ‘It is a matter of love. When there is no love, no work can be accomplished.’

From: Shaykh ‛Abd al-Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dihlawī: By Mawlānā Muḥammad Qamruz ZamānʾIlāhābādī Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

Islah: Explained further

An intelligent question was put foward by a reader,

Dear Sir, as salamu alaykum

I’m a middle class working male. I’m married and have 3 beautiful children. My life revolves around my work and family. All praise is for Allah! I stay away from the major sins. I pray puntually, mostly in mosque with congregation (jamah). I recite Quran, Hadith and Sunna adhkar daily. Also, I often fast the Sunna fasting days. I attend a dars regarding tazkia weekly.

Is this all not enough for my islah? Why do I need to consult a spiritual mentor (Shaykh)?


Yes! For a spiritually healthy Muslim this is quite enough. However, for a spiritually ill Muslim  specific interventions are required.

For example, an individual can not keep his thoughts focused on the worship being done. Mentally he is absent from the physical effort being performed. The state that he is seeing Allah or Allah is seeing him is a brief intellectual thought. It is not long lasting and does not affect his demeanor. This is a form of  heedlessness (gaflah) and also lack of khushu. Both are spiritual maladies. They requires treatment. Or maybe there is a change in quantity  or quality of worship being done depending on the awareness that others are observing me. This is show-off (riya). Another spiritual malady. Or when upset one crosses the limits of permissibility in speech and action. Similarly there are many other things that require seeking help from an expert.

Once spiritual health is restored the actions you mentioned will be more beneficial.

An example maybe helpful in understanding this concept. For a healthy normal individual a well balanced daily diet, moderate amount physical exercise and daily multivitamin dose is enough for general well being.

However, for a diabetic or hypertensive person specific treatment will needed in addition to modification in diet and exercise. Similar is the case of psychological diseases, quite common these days. Mere, restoration of normal well balanced diet, sleeping habits and exercise is not sufficient. Psychological counselling or medication maybe necessary in addition to these things.

The general observation is that spiritual illnesses are quite rampant. Moreover, most of these individuals are themselves unaware of these afflictions.

A sick person who is unaware or does not acknowledge his illness is in great danger.

In addition, all of us have outstanding opinion about ourselves. We all consider ourselves to be better than others. This is the most severe spiritual malady, the source of multiple other blame-worthy morals (razail): Arrogance (takabbur). Consulting a spiritual physician is the first step towards its diagnosis and treatment.

I pray and hope that this is sufficient clarification of the issue. Please, do not hesitate to ask if there are further queries.

Take care.

Muhtaj e dua

Tasawwuf: Beware of pretenders and astray


Shaykh Aḥmed al-Zarrūq (Allah have mercy on him) (d.899/1493) said,

There are many pretenders on this path because of its strangeness, and there is a lack of understanding because of its subtleties. There is a great deal of rejection of its followers because of its purity.

People giving advice have cautioned against pursuing the path due to the numerous errors therein.

Religious leaders compiled works to refute its followers because of what heretics have done to it and because of erroneous things attributed to people on the path.

Even ibn ‘Arabī al-Ḥātimī (God have mercy on him!) said, “Beware of this path, for most of those who deviate from it are of it. It is but a path of doom and a path of this world. He who actualized his knowledge, action, and spiritual state will gain the glory of eternity. He who abandons realization in the Path will be doomed and will come to an end.”

We ask God for well-being through His grace and generosity!

“The Principles of Sufism (Qawā‘id al-Taṣawwuf): An Annotated Translation with Introduction.” p. 203


Instructing a mujaz who had settled in a new city with active Muslim community sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve and protect him) said,

‘It will be most appropriate to start the (weekly) session (majlis). However, select a day and time that does not conflict with any of the other ongoing activities.

May Allah make it beneficial and bestow veracity (sidq) and sincerity (ikhlas). (Amin!)

(In doing so) keep intention of your own benefit foremost.’