Stations and states

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A seeker wrote, ‘In spite of the knowledge that Allah is the Supreme-Sovereign (al Hakim) and the Most-Wise (al Hakeem) this does not become my state (haal).

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘The (acquisition of) stations (maqamat) is volitional (ikhteyari). Whereas, the attainment of states (haal) is non volitional.

Hence, it is not a deficiency that an objective (station) does not became a state (haal) even after it’s acquisition with one’s effort.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 92

A check list for selecting a Shaikh

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Shaikh Shah Kamal ur Rehman Qasimi (Allah preserve him) said,

My father (Shah Sufi Ghulam Mohammad Hyderabadi, Allah have mercy on him) use to say that there seems to be a connection in the worldly matter of marriage and the religious issue of baiyah. They share the important issue of selection (of the right individual).

In worldly matters the criteria for selection (of a groom or bride) include piety, financial status, (physical) beauty and perfection (of manners & behavior).

Similarly, in religion the ideal criteria for selecting (a Shaikh for baiyah) must include,
1. His state (halaat)
2. His time management (awqat)
3. The blessings (barkat) (of being associated with him)

1. His state (details include)
A. What are his instructions?
B. How close are they to the teachings of Quran and Hadith?
C. What is the state of adherence to the teaching of Quran and Hadith in principle (usooli) and peripheral issues (farui)?
D. How close is he in following the morals and practices of Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)?
E. From what silsilah did he receive the authorization?
F. What is the state of the freshly authorized individuals of this silsilah?
G. What was the state of the recent predecessors of this silsilah?
H. Was the authorization given after formal completion of receiving instruction and training or was it inherited in family tradition?

2. Time management
A. How does he spend his day and night?
B. Has he mastered time management?
C. Is he ibnul-waqt or abul-waqt? That is, if there is time he does remembrance and reflection (zikr o fikr) or when he wants to do zikr o fikr he can find time to do so.
D. How conscientious is he of offering the faraidh on time?
E. Does he have a practical schedule for propagating the truth (in his circle of influence)?
F. What is his state in regards to (tahajjud and other) involvement at the end of night timings?

The blessings (barkaat)
This criteria is being mentioned thirdly, however, a seeker must give priority to it.
A. What are the general blessings of his silsilah?
B. What is the state of individuals attached to him?
C. What are the blessings of Shaikh in particular?
D. Is he genuinely authorized? 

E. Is the training in this silsilah quick or slow?
F. What are the particular manifestation of (Divinely) love (in those attached to this Shaikh)?

These clear criteria are presented to make the selection (correctly).

A important reminder is that the real thing that facilitates receiving spiritual benefit from Shaikh is our congeniality (munasbet) with him.

If there are two flowers with similar color and fragrance pick the one closest to you.

Moreover, never forget that main thing is to receive instruction and be trained.

To recieve this instruction and training baiyah is not an essential enrollment criteria.’

Baiyat, page 30-1

Taqwa leads to increasing love of spouse

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A seeker wrote, ‘Please, inform me whatever is most beneficial for myself. For a while now,  my love for my wife has increased much. Is this something detrimental for me (in my path (sulook)?

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

‘This is in exact accordance to the Prophet’s way (Sunna) (Allah bless him and give him peace).

May Allah bestow the blessed fruits of this on you two.

The increased awareness of accountability to Allah (taqwa) leads to increasing love of one’s wife.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 1, page 552

Treatment of anger and boredom

 

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 A seeker wrote, ‘There have been two new developments in my behavior. The first is that I get angry quickly. This leads to humiliating consequences. The other is that I feel a sort of bored (all the time) without any sustainable serenity in my demeanor. Please, make dua for me, that Allah removes these traits from me.’

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

The treatment for anger is to reflect on the wrath of Allah and your sinful activities (at the time of anger).

The remedy for boredom is mindful excessive remembrance of Allah (dhikr).

With these (measures your) anxiety will subside. I also make dua (as requested).

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 1, page 545 

How much dhikr?

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A seeker wrote,’ I have not fixed the number of times I make remembrance (dhikr) (of Allah). When I get disinterested I stop. Counting puts a pressure on my mind to complete what is remaining.’

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘This is a grave mistake.
Either fix a count or time period.
Leaving it on your own interest is opening the way for procrastination.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 2, page 896

Heart-burn

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A seeker wrote,’For a while I am feeling  a soreness or a burning sensation over the heart (qalb). All the time I feel like something is creeping (there). Till now I thought it might be a medical ailment. However, now I inform you and inquire that is it something detrimental or beneficial for me. 

Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

‘Sometimes this burning sensation is due to the effects of (excessive) remembrance (dhikr). And at other times it is due to (physical) disease.

Firstly, consult a physician. If he rules out medical condition then use the following regimen,

1. Abandon jahar (hearable voice) and zarb (the imaginary drub) in dhikr .

2. On completion of the (daily) dhikr recite يا باسط one thousand times.

3. After every salah recite durood 11 times, blow on water and drink it. 

4. Read about the mercy of Allah. Especially, reading the chapter ‘On having hope’ (ar-raja) from [Imam Ghazali's (Allah have mercy on him)] Keymiya e Sa’adet will be appropriate.

5. (In diet) Use things that revitalize and invigorate the heart (qalb).

 Inform again (about the condition) in a week.’

Tarbiyat us Salik, volume 1, page 545

How to deal with worries?

 

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A seeker wrote, ‘I am very worried these days. In spite that I do not want to discuss worldly issues with you, I mention this because it is being felt that this worrying is affecting my religious activities. Neither the daily recitations (wird) are done regularly nor I am being able to get up for tahajjud on time. Often I wake up late. These are adding to my worries.’

Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

‘Paying attention to the worrisome state leads to increased apprehension.

When worried instead of paying attention to it, one should become attentive of Allah. This must be with the thinking that Allah is sufficient for me in these conditions and strengthening relationship with Him is the solution to all the troubles. 

By using this strategy the effect of the worries will diminish and eventually vanish completely.

Try it and be at peace.’

Tarbiyat us Salik, volume 1, page 544

Legacy

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4. My legacy (wasiyyat) for myself, family members, and close associates is that every moment of one’s life should be sacrificed in pleasing Allah. One should not displease Allah for a single moment by indulging in any form of impermissible (haram) activity. If a mistake is committed, then one should please Allah by repenting, seeking forgiveness and crying in front of Allah.

5. Always remain in the company of the pious, and keep yourself under the guidance of a Sheikh with whom you have congeniality (munasbet).

6. Adopt extreme piety in financial matters. Always refer to the scholars (Muftis) in issues pertaining to the (questionable) rulings of Shariah.

Wasiyyat of Hazrat rehmatullah aleh

Dhikr

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A seeker wrote,
‘My routine is to shut the eyes and contemplating about the Entity being named in the form of light, sometimes being attentive towards the qalb, imagine the voice emanating from it of the Supreme Name: ALLAH. Mostly it is audible (with jahar) especially when ecstatic. At that time it is audible without my volition.

Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
همجنين ميرو كه زيبا مي روي
Indeed, confining (The Entity being remembered) intentionally in the form of light though without belief (‘eiteqad) is detrimental.

The seeker continued,
‘The count (of dhikr) twelve thousand is completed every day.

Sometimes a ecstatic state is felt in various parts of the body and I feel like letting out a loud noise. Occasionally this happens during salah.

At other times there is no (unusual) state felt.

Often the remembrance of Allah is replacing the mental speech (hadith e nafs) until I sleep. However, this vanishes while talking and interacting with others.

In remembrance (of Allah) the perfect imagination does not stay for long at one level. The desire (for perfect, sustained and prolonged imagination) remains.

Hakim al-Umma replied,
‘These changes of states are from the norms. Do not pay attention to them. However, it is essential to inform your mentor about them regularly.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 92

Muraqaba

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Shaikh al Mashaikh Haji Imdadullah mohajir Makki (Allah have mercy on him) instructed,

‘Sit as you sit in the jalsa of salah.
Bow your head forwards towards the knees.

Cleanse your heart (& imagination) from all other than Allah.

Be in the presence of Allah.

Recite أعوذ بالله و بسم الله and three time الله حاضري، الله ناظري، الله معي.
Then contemplate on its meaning.
That Allah is present, watching and is with me.

Put significant effort in this imagination until no awareness remains of other-than-Allah. Even the awareness of his/her own self vanishes.

If this contemplation and knowledge disappears very rapidly (after a session) then muraqaba is deficient.

(It must be acknowledged that) Initially one has to force one’s self to do the muraqaba. Then with persistent effort a time comes when returning back (to being neglectful of this imagination) becomes impossible.
However, one reaches this state gradually. Therefore, one should not abandon the effort due to initial hardship.’

Dhiya al Quloob, page 35
1st Rabi II 1435/1st February 2014

Stages of remembrances & lataif

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

‘As there are different levels of imagination (when making remembrance of Allah) therefore, to make it concise, clear and to classify them into five stages I use an example;

1. Remembrance is made of a Beloved who is neither present (in front of the the one making dhikr) nor he is aware(that he is being watched). He is absent (from his imagination) and (he is) unaware (of it).

2. Remembrance is made of Him who is in front but faraway and can not be visualized clearly.

3. Remembrance is made of Him who is in front and closer. He can be visualized clearly.

4. He is very close. Observing Him is engrossing. To extent that due to overwhelming love one becomes unaware on himself.

5. This engrossment progress to the stage that one becomes oblivious of this unawareness.

Now I apply the technical known names for theses stages;

1. This is ‘dhikr’. This is because there is only remembrance (of the name) in it.

2. This is ‘hudur‘ (being in presence). This is because the One being imagined is in front and present.

3. This is ‘mukashafah‘ (unveiling). The close proximity of the One being imagined leads to perfect sense of being in the presence and complete unveiling of the details.

4.This is ‘shuhood‘ or ‘mushahidah‘ (witnessing). Technically witnessing is the epitome of hudhur. This leads to overwhelming affection, infatuation and rapture. It is also known as ‘fana‘ (annihilation) because of these engrossing emotions one in unaware of himself.

5. This is ‘mu’ainiah‘ (viewing). This is because it is a hudur that exceeds the technical limits of shuhud. One is oblivious of his unawareness and therefore it is also known as ‘fana ul fana’.

(Applying this further on the schema of ‘lataif‘)

1. The action of latifa al qalb is dhikr (remembrance)

2. The action of latifa al ruh is hudur.

3. The action of latifa al sirr is mukashafah.

4. The action of latifa al khafi is shuhud, mushahida and fana.

5. The action of latifa al akhfa is mu’ainah and fana ul fana.

lataif ashrafiya

Some of the spiritual masters are of the opinion that remembrance (of Allah) must be done in the specified manner to the extent that these five lataif become active individually. That is they perform their actions.

Other (spiritual) masters opine that remembrance (of Allah) should be done only with (latifa)  al qalb to the extent that all the actions (of other lataif) happen. There is no need at all to talk about the specific actions of lataif. They consider focusing on lataif  in detail to be a veil. Also, in the Prophetic saying only qalb has been mentioned in this context.  Moreover, even those who engage in activating these lataif (individually)  acknowledge that there is a interconnection between these lataif. Therefore, making remembrance via al qalb eventually affects and activates the other lataif. This is because these lataif are like mirrors that reflect into each other.’

Bawadir al Nawadir, page 565-6