Missing the daily wird

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A seeker wrote, ‘For the previous few days I am unable to complete my daily routine recitations (wird)’.

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘If there is a genuine excuse (for missing them) then it is not a problem. However, if there is no excuse then use your determination to over come this (laziness).’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 2, page 870

This is a common complain from seekers.
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) has repeatedly mentioned that this laziness is due to the lack of importance of the daily wird. There is no supplication, amulet, charm or medicine that can make a seeker diligent regarding this. One has to use his will power and over come the laziness. This is the mujahiddah: the spiritual struggle of the path.

Need for a Shaikh

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A seeker wrote,
“I am presently (a student) in Dawrah-e-Hadith (the final year in the Alim Fadhil course). For quite a while I had intended to write, but a certain aspect prevented me from doing so. I am a voracious reader and lover of your writings and have been engaged in reading your books since my childhood days. By the grace of Allah I have benefited much.

I have learnt one particular thing from your writings, that is, the commands of the Shariat are all done deliberately (ikhtiyariyyah). Since the commands are ikhtiyariyyah it follows that the commands to abstain are likewise deliberate. Thus the remedy for all spiritual ailments is to refrain (intentionally). I have always adopted this method for myself. The question that troubles me is this: Now that this principle has been learnt from the Masters of the Path does the need still remain to refer to the Shaikh and obtain remedies from him? I do not understand this.

I have ruminated for quite a while regarding this matter. I trust that you will advise me so that I may practice accordingly. After realizing this general principle, what is the need for obtaining the diagnosis and prescription from a Shaikh? I hope that if I have erred, I will be informed.”

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

“The commands and the prohibitions are all deliberate.

However, errors do happen in this regard. At times what has already been acquired is considered as not having been attained yet and sometimes vice versa.

For example, a person intend to attain khushu’ (concentration based on humility) in Salah and in reality he then attains khushu’. But, while having attained khushu’ he is simultaneously afflicted by an abundance of stray thoughts (wasawis). This person then regards the presence of such wasawis as contradictory and negatory of khushu’. He thus considers that he has not attained khushu’. In the initial stages of worship, random thoughts (wasawis) are unintentional (ghair-ikhtiyari) – coming of their own accord – however, later the worshiper is diverted towards intentional (ikhtiyari) thoughts wasawis and he is deceived into believing that such wasawis are yet of the unintentional kind of the initial stages. He thus considers himself to have khushu’ while in actual fact khushu has been eliminated .

At times he considers what is not firmly established (ghair rasikh) to be firmly established (rasikh). For example, in a few minor mishaps he considers himself to have attained the state of radha bil qadha (satisfied with what has been divinely decreed). His contentment in the face of some minor misfortunes leads him to believe that he has attained advanced capability in firmness and steadfastness. But, if some major calamity overtakes him and he fails to be content then too he labours under the deception that he has attained the desired degree and goal of rusukh (firmness).

The consequence of regarding the attained as unattained is frustration and depression. This in turn causes one to become careless and neglectful. Thus, the attained becomes truly eliminated. The harm of the opposite condition (i.e. considering the unattained as attained is a (great) loss (to). Since one labours under the false notion that one has already achieved the goal, one does not make any effort in this direction.

The same danger lurks in considering un established (ghair-rasikh) as established rasikh), viz., one remains careless, not making any effort or arrangement to attain the desired goal of firmness and steadfastness. Sometimes one commits the error of believing that the state of rusukh has not been attained despite it having been attained. For example, one combated unlawful lust during a time when the effect of remembrance of Allah (dhikr) was overwhelming. As a result, the desire of unlawful lust was suppressed to the extent that one’s attention was totally diverted from it. Later when the effect of the thikr decreases and the natural propensities assert themselves even if in slight degree one is misled to believe that one’s mujahadah (striving against the nafs) has gone wasted, and the the evil propensities have returned. The consequence of this feeling is that one loses hope and is overtaken by stagnation and retrogression.

The above are merely some examples of errors and the resultant harm. A qualified Shaikh (of Tareeqat) by virtue of his insight and experience discerns the reality. And the one who is connected to such a Shaikh, he informs him of the errors and pitfalls. The disciple is thus saved from these dangers.

Even if it assumed that an intelligent and knowledgeable seeker discerns the pitfalls, then too, he will not attain tranquillity and peace of mind because of his inexperience. He will remain perplexed. And, perplexity impedes the attainment of the goal.

This is the duty of the Shaikh. More than this is not his responsibility.

However, in kindness he performs another function as well.
In his struggle to recognize and attain an objective or to eliminate a blameworthy attribute, the seeker of the truth undergoes great stress and difficulty. Although repeated subjection to such difficulty is eventually transformed into ease. The Shaikh sometimes as a favour devises such a scheme that the difficulty disappears from the very inception.

This is a brief exposition for understanding. The need for a Shaikh is felt and understood once one commences in the Path and systematically informs the Shaikh of one’s particular conditions and at the same time following his advice and instructions. Furthermore, such total obedience is possible only if one has full trust and confidence in the Shaikh, fully submitting to him. At that time one will actually feel and realize that it is not possible to attain the goal normally without a Shaikh.’

Shariat wa Tasawwuf

Treatment for back biting

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A seeker wrote, ‘I have the (spiritual) illness of doing and listening back biting. Please, prescribe a treatment.’

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

’1. Reflect on the consequences of back biting (especially in Here-after) at that moment.

2. Pause and contemplate prior to talking

3. Ask forgiveness (from the individual) if back biting happens

4. Fix a penalty on yourself, either cash donation or offering optional salah (nafil) (in case if you slip).

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 124

Acceptance of supplication

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Musleh al Ummat Maulana Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘When an individual makes supplications (dua) his relationship with and proximity to Allah increases.
The higher optimism (raja) he has while making supplication the greater the acceptance rate.’

Ma’arif Musleh al Ummat ra, volume 1, page 107

Criteria for pious company

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Imam Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) wrote in his book Ihya al Uloom ad Deen,

‘To benefit from the company of an individual it is essential that he has the following five characteristics,
1. Being Intelligent
2. Having exemplary morals (husnekhuluq)
3. Does not openly violates the Islamic laws (fasiq)
4. Is not an innovator (bida’ti)
5. Is not greedy of the the worldly (possessions).’

Ma’arif Muslih al Ummat ra, volume 1, page 131-2

Mufti Hanif Jonpuri رحمة الله عليه

innalil

 

Shaykh Mufti Hanif Jonpuri (Allah have mercy on him) . A student and senior khalifa of Shah Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah ahve mercy on him) passed away on 28th March 2014. He was 103 years old.

May Allah make his magfirat and give sabr e jameel to all of us. Amin!

He visited Jeddah in April 2009. In an informal talk  he informed us about himself. Some excerpts were posted from it here. May Allah make it beneficial for us. Amin.

Please, make esal-e-thawab for him. Jazak Allah!

Tip for acquiring humility

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Replying to a seeker’s inquiries about treatment of arrogance Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah mercy on him) said,

‘In the end I mention a protracted regimen for treatment (of arrogance). The other ones mentioned (earlier) are time limited (to the moment when the thought of arrogance comes to mind). Due to this reason their effect is not ingrained (in one’s morals). Except in rare cases.

The novice needs this treatment regimen for a protracted period of time. Until humility is well ingrained (in his morals).

It is to deliberately adopt the culture, style and conduct of the less privileged individuals (of the society).

However, be careful not to adopt the lowest level of these things in order to avoid becoming famous for (extreme) humility.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 110.

Suspicion of arrogance

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A seeker wrote, ‘An individual was prescribed by you, as treatment of arrogance (kibr), to announce in the mosque after every salah that I have the (spiritual) illness of arrogance, please, all of you make supplication (dua) that I am cured of this disease.

On this a thought came to my mind, that is, what would I do if I am asked to do this?

Reflecting on it neither do I find the courage to do so nor does my mind accept this happily. This displays that maybe I suffer from arrogance. At other times thought comes to mind that this is due to modesty (hiya).

Sir, I request you that if this is due to arrogance than, please, prescribe a treatment for it. It will be be a generous gift indeed.’

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

‘Having the thought of this possibility (of arrogance in one’s self) is proof of fear (of Allah’s displeasure).

Congratulation!

For the diagnosis of arrogance this symptom alone is not sufficient. As this reluctance maybe sometimes due to the absence of illness itself and hence no need for treatment.

Sometimes arrogance is also the cause of this. There are two criteria for this (differentiation).

Firstly, are there any other signs and symptoms (of arrogance) present?

Secondly, even on possibility (of arrogance) if the spiritual mentor prescribes this form of treatment should it be followed or not, even if one finds natural repugnance to it? (The scenario is) Similar to the repugnance of a bad tasting medicine. If the patient desires a cure and has trust in the physician he will follow it.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 112

The desire of being Imam

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A seeker wrote, ‘From few days now my condition is that I feel a desire to lead (in salah:imamet). I wish that others will request me to lead. Even if they are kidding I actually step forward to lead.

The reason for this desire seems to be showing my excellent abilities of recitation (of the Holy Quran).

I understand that this is a fatal spiritual illness. In other words it is the sibling of arrogance (kibr).
For Allah, please, help me.

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘Do not lead (the salah) even if they ask you to do so’.

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 112

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Remedy for suspicion

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A seeker wrote, ‘The condition of this lowly writer is that the (spiritual) ailment of suspicion (bud-gumani/soo-e-dhan) is deeply rooted in my heart for a long duration. I become suspicious of fellow brothers and sisters on very minute things. I have tried many remedies according to my sub-standard intelligience. However, this ailment did not go away.

Please, recommend a remedy to cure this destructive (spiritual) disease.

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

‘Whenever, thoughts of suspicion come to mind (qalb)

1. Firstly, sit alone and remind yourself that Allah has forbidden suspicion. A sin has been committed. There are (fair) chances of getting punishment for sinful actions. O nafs! How are you going to endure this punishment?

2. After this reflection repent.

3. Make supplication (dua). O Allah ! Cleanse my heart (and mind).

4. Make supplication for the individual you had suspicions. O Allah! Bestow him with the blessings of both the worlds.

Do this three times daily. If the affects (of suspicious thoughts) remains then repeat it for 2 or 3 days. If it persist even after this, then approach this individual and tell him that I had baseless suspicion about you. Please, forgive me and make supplication for me that this (spiritual ailment) is cured.’

Tarbiyet us Salik
volume 3, page 111

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