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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What is kibr?

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

Arrogance (kibr) is to deliberately consider one’s self superior to others in religious or worldly achievements in a manner that reflects that others are inferior.

Hence, it has two components, (1) to consider one’s self superior and (2) to look down upon others.

This is its reality. It is impermissible (haram) and sinful.

Then there is form of it where all components are presents except one component. That is it is not deliberate. It is an involuntary thought. Till this point it is not sinful. However, if one deliberately considers this thought to be fine or even without agreeing to it deliberately keeps (it in his mind), it will become the reality of arrogance and sinful (activity).

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 108

Shyness and humility

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A seeker wrote, ‘Is it fine not to do the acts of notoriety due to shyness (hiya)? Especially, if a senior orders, like wearing a cloak (bisht) on Eid. My father and aunt force me to do so and become upset (if I do not). Whereas, for me due to shyness this is burdensome. I can not raise my eyes (if I do this).

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) relied,
‘Leave them when there is constriction in the heart (qalb).
If seniors order then excuse yourself politely.
If they insist then act as they say. It will be a spiritual struggle (mujahida).

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Seeker continued, ‘Should the wearing of a turban, especially on Jumma and Eid be abandoned due to shyness? Now I do find the courage to give preference to shyness and abandon a Sunna.

Hakim al Umma (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘This is not a a intended (maqsuda) Sunna.
When on the other hand is Sunna of humility (tawadhu). Some of its (humility’s) components are obligatory (wajib). Therefore, the quality of being intended (maqsudiyet) is more in humility then in wearing a turban.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 103

Dealing with absurd stuff

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An individual from another city had reserved an appointment to meet sayyidi wa sanadi Shaikh Mohammad Taqi Usmani ( Allah preserve him).

After the initial greetings the Shaikh inquired him regarding the purpose of the visit.
The gentlemen replied that a crucial, overwhelming and repeated thought was the reason. ‘That is, the crisis of lack of electricity in the country does not need an elaboration. I am getting this idea of creating electricity by the rotation of the Earth. You are aware that Earth is rotating approximately 1,6000 km/hr. This is not a useless movement. Allah has done this for a reason. The idea of harnessing this energy to make electricity is coming to me repeatedly. I have discussed this with many individuals. I was told to approach you in this regards. I am seeking your assistance in this.’

Without a faintest change in his demeanor, Shaikh inquired,
‘Do you have a strategy on how this can be done?’

The gentlemen replied,
‘No!
Actually it is this very reason to come to you. Please guide me. How can I do this?’

Still, without any signs of anger or frustration Shaikh replied,
‘Pray salatul hajat and make dua. It is from the teachings of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to do so when faced with a dilemma.

Is there any things else to discuss, as I have other things to attend now?’

The gentlemen requested for dua and left.
Even after his departure Shaikh did not comment on the absurd question put to him and became busy with his work.

Office, Darul uloom Karachi, January 2014.

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

Treatment for complaining

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A seeker wrote,
Respected Sir, In addition to other spiritual diseases I have is this ailment that I can not endure anything against my desires. Whenever this happens I complain verbally. I try delegating the affairs to Allah (tafweez), however, not having the the determination to control and endure I complain about the perpetrator.

I have firm belief (yaqeen) that whatever happens is from Allah. Moreover, I have conviction that it is futile to be sad and complain about things that are beyond one’s control. However, due to lack of determination I can not resist.

In principle, I am patient and thankful in heart on the decree of Allah. Although there is a tiny bit of feeling that what harm would have occurred if this happened the other way (i.e. according to my desires). All praise is to Allah, criticism never develops in my heart on the matters decreed (muqadderat).

I try not to complain verbally but am unable to achieve this. Sir, please recommend treatment for this.

Hakim al Umma Maualan Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘Whenever you complain verbally about someone then you must mention his/her praiseworthy attributes in public. Eventually there will be some thing to praise (in every individual).’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 100

Dealing with Show off

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A knowledgeable seeker wrote,
‘Showing off (riya) is a deliberate (ikhteyari) action. Therefore, it’s treatment will also be a conscious effort. For example, if in an action there is intention to show off, I will (deliberately) change my intention and make it for pleasing Allah.

If this is enough for getting rid of show off and acquiring sincerity (ikhlas) then there is no need of any further treatment.

Please, let me know if this approach is correct or not.’

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘This approach is correct and sufficient.
However, it is not enough to merely know this and be able to implement it. Most of the people of this path (sulook) are deceived in this regards.

In fact, it is essential to be consciously aware (of suspicion of show off) and be able to practice this approach for a prolonged duration until it is ingrained (in one’s morals) and a stable state (tamkeen) is achieved. And (in this state the notion of) showing off (riya) does not exist even at the level of the whispering of the lower self (Hadith-e-nafs).

This (understanding) is derived from the saying of Allah in regards to spending (in His way),”The example of those who spend their wealth to seek the pleasure of Allah and to make firm (their faith) from (the depths of) their souls is……..[2:265].” Know that the desired التثبيت is with genuine sincerity of intention.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 99-100

Treatment of arrogance in belief & practice.

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A seeker wrote, ‘In addition to other blameworthy moral traits I have this one also, that is, I consider, individuals who are either secularly educated, or are scholars (ulema) that are not into (Sufi ways of) remembrance (dhikr o shugal), or are associated with innovator (bidati) Shaikh, or are associated with a Sunna following Shaikh who does not know the ways of treating (spiritual diseases) and does not instruct his disciple like you, to be deficient.
I do not have any reverence for them in my heart.
This conveys in a sense an idea of my superiority and perfection and their inferiority.

However, on reflection I find this thought without any proof in my heart that what do we know about the status of anyone’s proximity to Allah? I keep in sight my own deficiencies and contemplate about the virtuous actions they perform. Moreover, (I contemplate that) they might have qualities that I am unaware and Allah is pleased with them. And I have deficiencies that I may be questioned about.

After these reflections it can not be ascertained (about myself) that I am superior or accepted (by Allah). However, even then their reverence does not develop in my heart.

Similarly, regarding tutorials and discourses, I like my own. Those delivered by others, especially of few individuals, I find them extremely deficient.

In summary, is this arrogance (kibr)?

Please, help me in getting rid of it.’

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘This is not arrogance (kibr).

The reflection of all the possibilities (as mentioned) is enough in getting rid of arrogance. However, this is the treatment of belief (‘etiqad) of arrogance. There remains a need of treatment of practice of arrogance in addition.

The practice of arrogance is to deal with them in a derogatory manner.
It’s treatment is that, from these individuals
(1) for the people of truth (ahl-e-haqq) praise them verbally and deal with them with respect.
(2) for the people of fallacy (ahl-e-batil) do not backbite them etc. (or sabotage their other rights as fellow human being) at all, as a pastime , (or) without a genuine reason.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 98

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

Distraction

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Hakim al Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) said: If a person (who can afford better) wears cheap and low quality clothing, he … will become preoccupied with his clothes by either (continuously) thinking how low and humble he is or by thinking that his nafs (lower self) is so annihilated, he doesn’t care about dignity and honor. This is also preoccupation in thoughts (which should be avoided).

Maulana Hamood Aleem sahib db