Disputations are nafsani

 

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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)?

Reply:

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

Islah: What, Why & How?

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Islah translates as betterment, repair, rectification, reformation, improvement, renovation, optimization  and restoration.

Islah e nafs is the main topic of Tasawwuf.

It is a synonym of tazkia e nafs. That is, purification of nafs.  That is, one of the four basic Prophetic tasks as stated in Al-Jum’a : 2, “He is the One who raised amidst the unlettered people a messenger from among themselves who recites to them His verses, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the wisdom, while they were earlier in open error.”

It means improvement and purification of the moral characteristics of an individual. It includes development of good morals (fadhail), like repentance  (tawbah), patience  (sabr), gratitude (shukr), hopefulness (raja), fear of Allah (khauf), asceticism (zuhd), Oneness of Allah  (tawheed), love Allah and Prophet (muhabba), yearning (shauq), (uns), acceptance (raza), sincerity (ikhlas), felicity (sidq), contemplation (muraqaba), humility (raw ashy), accountability (muhasabah), (fikr) and riddance of bad moral characteristics (razail) like lust (shahwut), afflictions of speech  (afaat e lisan), anger (ghasb), hatred (keyna), envy (hasad), love of the worldly (hubb e dunya), stinginess (bukhul),greed (hirs), love of status (hubb e jah), showing off (riya), arrogance  (takabbur), narcissism (ujub), looking at the prohibited (bud-nazri), illicit love affairs  (dunyawi eshq).

It must be clear that these moral characteristics are the driving force for an individual’s action. If they have not been purified and rectified  following of the Shariah rules is not effectively possible. Moreover, even if one forces himself to act, the external forms of worship done remains deficient.

These unrefined morals lead one to get involved in the prohibited actions and omit the good actions.

Praying salah hastily is an example from our daily activities. It shows the lack of muhabba, shauq, uns, ikhlas, sidq, muraqaba, fikr and presence of hubb e dunya.

Seeing what is prohibited is due to presence of shahwut and lack of khauf, muraqaba, muhabba.

Discord, quarrelling and sarcasm, even within spouses is due to arrogance, envy, affliction of speech and lack of muhabba and self sacrifice.

In this same manner the reason of all sinful activities can be traced to the non purified morals.

The method of achieving  islah is via

1. Knowledge of these morals,

2. Consultation with a mentor to correctly diagnose their lack or presence in one’s self,

3.  Following the treatment prescribed and

4. Re-consultation to confirm effective cure or failure of therapy.

 These steps are repeated until a stable state is achieved. In this the seeker is constantly cognizant of his deficiencies and effectively strives to improve on them.

Wa ma tawfeeqi illa billah

Tasawwuf: Beware of pretenders and astray

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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

Visiting various shuyukh

IMG_0053.PNGShaikh Abu Abdur Rahman al-Sulami (Allah have mercy on him) pointed out an error of those on this path ,

‘It was a common practice for Sufis to travel great distances to meet various shaykhs  to learn from them. This too became a source of error for some Sufis.
The correct intention for traveling to meet the shayks is to learn propriety, take knowledge from them, obey their commands and preserve their honour.

The mistake that was made occurred when a group of Sufis wanted to meet the shayks for the sole purpose of bragging to others that they had met such-and-such who said  such-and-such, making their travels and visiting with shaykhs a source of pride, arrogance and ostentation instead of source of humility and knowledge.

Worse still is the traveler that seeks the acceptance of the shaykh or wants the shaykh to honor him. Such a persons journey amounts to “a travel from knowledge to ignorance and he will never benefit from (this travel) ever.”

Kitab al-Aghalit, The book of errors: A critical edition & study by Jawad Qureshi, page 27

Advise

 
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.’

Wahadat al wujud:Trying to understand it

   

   
Sultan Aurangzeb Alamgir firmly asked Shaikh Mohammadi that you are a murid of Shaikh Muhib-Allah Allahabi (Allah have mercy on them) so provide an explanation of his treatise (al Taswiya) being in accordance to the Shariah. And if you are not able do so then you should repent from being his disciple and burn this treatise. 

Shaikh Mohammadi (Allah have mercy on him) replied, 

I do not need to repent from being his murid.

The (spiritual) station from where the respected Shaikh wrote this is beyond my reach. When I will achieve that station I will comply with your request and write an explanation.

And if you have decided to burn it anyway then the fire in the royal kitchen exceeds that in my humble house.

Sultan did not further pursue this issue.’

Maasir al Umara, v3, p606-7, Aqwal e Salaf, v5, p200

Acceptance of deeds: The sign

Our master Ali ibn al-Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) said,

‘If you are aware of any of your actions, that is a proof that it has not been accepted (by Allah). For that which is accepted is elevated  and hidden from you; your not noticing it is the sign of its acceptance.’

The stumbling of those aspiring, page 136

Trials: sabr o radha

  *ma parwarem dushman

Tragic accidents are trials.

They gauge our attitude and behavior evident as a reaction to these incidents.

Patience (sabr) here is not complaining at the decree of Allah.

Feeling sorrow, crying and being emotionally upset is not against this sabr.

*(I (may) nurture My enemy and kill My friend!

None can dare to question My decree)

Faqr’s wrap & weft

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Shaikh Abu ‘Abd al-Rehman al-Sulami (Allah ahve mercy on him) said,

Faqr: utter need, is one of the traits of servanthood (abdiyet).

In servitude there is neither arrogance nor pride, but rather humble submission and compliance.

Faqr is a fabric, the wrap of which is contentment with Allah (qana’a) and and the weft of which is humble submission (al-tawadhu).

The stumbling of those aspiring, page 129

Purity of heart

 

 Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve, protect him, facilitate and accept his Hajj with afiyet! Amin) said,

‘For sacred knowledge a pure heart is needed more than a genius mind. 

The purity of heart is achieved by remembrance of Allah and having a strong relationship with Him.’

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Impermissible request

 

In Ramadan sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve & protect him) follows the Sunna of giving financial gifts to the deserving individuals. It is like a blowing breeze. Masha-Allah. Computerized lists of recipients are made. There are separate categories for the zakat, sadaqat and hadiya. Many individuals visit or send letters requesting aid. Inqueries are made actively to acertain zakat recipients.

This Ramadan a  letter from a student was presented. He requested for a laptop. However, he made it clear that he could not be a recipient of Zakat. 

Sayyidi wa sanadi replied,

‘Please, let me know if it is permissible for you to make such a request.’

Ramadan 1436, darul uloom Karachi office