Learning by association

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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.’

Ijaza for recital of Munajat e maqbool

 

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An individual wrote,’ I recite Munajat e Mabool*. However, I have not taken permission (ijaza) from you for this recital. Therefore, please, grant me the permission and inform me of the (specific) procedure of its recital.’

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

‘If the permission is sought with the belief that without (explicit) permission it will not be effective than this belief is wrong.

However, if the permission is asked as per the principles of the Path (tariqat) that is, is it  appropriate according to my (specific) condition (to be included in my routine recitations) then the instructor has to utilize his insight (according to his knowledge of your individual condition). Therefore, write to me in detail your condition and routine practices, subsequently I will counsel you as would be appropriate.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume  via Ahkam amaliyat wa tawizat, page 67

*A collection of over 200 du’as from the Qur’an and Hadith. Divided into seven parts to facilitate daily recital. Adapted from Mulla Ali Qari’s (Allah have mercy on him) Hizb al Azam.

Air conditioning with windows open

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

‘Leaving sinful activities is an absolute essential (fardh).

Vigilance is required for this. We do supererogatory (nafil) acts of worship with zeal and passion, but are lax in abstaining from sinful.

Our similitude is like a person trying to cool a room with air conditioning but has left the windows open. All the cool air is swept away via the windows. Moreover, hot air is entering the room from outside. How can coolness be achieved? Only when we shut the windows close air conditioning will have its effect in cooling the room.

Our windows are sight, hearing, speech and imagination abilities. Not restricting them from sinful is like keeping them open. Shut them up from all that is sinful.

Genuine effort is required in this regards.’

Weekly waaz 10/5/2014

Dealing with doubts

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A learned scholar complained that he had serious doubts about the belief of predestination (taqdeer). He had read extensively on this subject and spoken to top notch scholars of the field. However, his doubts had persisted. Now he wanted to ask some questions from Hakim al Ummah about these doubts.

Hakim al Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘My answers to your questions may suppress your doubts for a while. However, new doubts will arise soon and bother you. Eventually this will become a pernicious cycle of questions and answers.

The way to deal with doubts is not to stop (iskat) or silence them by providing their logical answers. It is by aborting (isqat) the over inquisitive unrestrained intellectual trait raising these doubts. This is achieved by acquisition of love and awe of Allah as taught by the pious Masters of the path.’

Malfuzat, (PS. quoted in meaning, not exact wording.)

Not to punish when angry

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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

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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)

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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

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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

 

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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*

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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.

Contemporary Turkish Muslims’ plight

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‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-’As (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (Allah’s blessings and  peace be upon him) as saying:

‘Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people turn to ignorant as their, leaders; then they are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.’

Sahih Muslim

Ankara, Turkey
17-19 Nisan 2014

Seeking knowledge

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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