Teachings of Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf 'Ali Thanawi & his spiritual successors, particularly 'Arifbillah Dr 'Abdul Hayy 'Arifi (may Allah bless them) and Sayyidi Mawlana Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) regarding Tasawwuf
Somebody asked regarding getting random thoughts (wasawis) of riya (showing off).
SayyidiwasanadiMufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani ( Allahpreserve & protect him) replied that riya is a volitional act. It is done, it does not happen by itself.
So one should not be too worried about getting such stray random thoughts. However, there is a chance that these random thoughts may develop into actual riya. So one should remain cautious at all times and vigilantly take note of what thoughts make one happy. At the same time, one should inform Allah Ta’ala about these stray thoughts and seek His protection (i.e. do rujuilallah).
Look! I have already told you that ruju ilallahis the key to Tareeqat! Just take this one thing with yourself! Adopt it as your way of life!”
SayyidiwasanadiMufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani ( Allahpreserve & protect him) advised,
“Do everything with Ikhlas (sincerity) and supplicating to Allah (rujuilallah). Before starting any work, make dua: “Oh Allah! Give me the ability to do this work with sincerity and in a manner which is according to Your Pleasure.”
Replying to a letter from a seeker, sayyidi wa sanadiMufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allahprotect & preserve him) commented:
“This person was involved in sins of the eyes. A solution was given which Alhamdulillah proved effective. He read the words of a pious elder to whom people complained: “Sir, immodesty has become widespread nowadays.” The pious elder replied: “Where is it? I haven’t noticed any immodesty. When I’m walk in the streets, my gaze does not shift from the path I’m walking on.”
Sayyidi continued: “This person got Tawfeeq to act on this advice. He was also involved in seeing immodest content on his smart phone. He was told to remove the means of this sin if he was not able to control himself otherwise. He removed Wifi from his home to avoid this sin. Spiritual struggle(mujahidda) and sinceredua are needed to avoid sins. As Allah Ta’ala says:
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve & protect him) said,
Ṭarīqah is part of Sharīʿah.
My Shaykh’s Shaykh Ḥakīm al-Ummah Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī Thānawī (d. 1362/1943) revived taṣawwuf and purified it from many innovations that had crept into it. He also prescribed an easy solution for people nowadays who are unable to undertake the sacrifices undertaken by the saints of the past. He prescribed two easy things to keep a firm relationship with Allah Almighty. The first is making abundant Shukr (gratitude) and the second is making abundant supplications.
The first half of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah indicates upon the first whilst the second half indicates upon the second. Hold on to the maʾthūr (transmitted/Sunnah) supplications and establish a firm relationship with Allah. This is an easy prescription.”
Sayyidiwa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allahpreserve & protect him) is asked regarding the recitation of the Qurʾān at graves, whether it should be audible or not. The Salām should be audible and the Qurʾān should be read silently, he says.
I ask Mufti Ṣāḥib regarding conveying Salām at graves on behalf of other people. He answers that this practice is established for the Prophet ﷺ, and suggests that perhaps qiyas can be done upon this for others.
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allahpreserve & protect him) explains that the reason for Imam Bukhārī’s (Allahhave mercy on him) success is not his profound knowledge alone, rather his piety and abstinence are central to this. He performed at least 14,000 rakʿat Ṣalāh whilst authoring his Ṣāḥīḥ. Acceptance is from Allah Almighty. The congregation is advised to keep this third point in mind when studying the Ṣaḥīḥ.
Sayyidiwa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allahpreserve & protect him) said, “Knowledge on its own does not benefit. My father Mufti Muḥammad Shafīʿ [Allah have mercy on him, d. 1396/1976] would say, ‘if knowledge was the criterion for a person’s virtue, then Satan was the most knowledgeable, however, his knowledge did not benefit him, because he disobeyed Allah.’
Therefore, knowledge alone is not in itself the primary objective. The primary objective is the obedience of Allah and his Messengers (i.e. acting as the knowledge states).
A student asks regarding the lack of experiencing ḥalāwat (sweetness) when reciting the Qurʾān.
Sayyidi wa sanadiMufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allahpreserve & protect him) advises to continue with the recitation, as experiencing sweetness is in itself not an objective, the objective is to please Allah Almighty. If sweetness is experienced then it is welcome, otherwise, it should not deter a person from continuing to recite.
Sayyidiwa sanadi Mufti MohammedTaqi Usmani (Allahpreserve & protect him) addressed the question of tabarruk (taking blessings from the pious or things associated with them) explaining that there are two extremes in this regard. Some people reject it altogether and suggest it is shirk. This is wrong because there are several ḥadīths that affirm tabarruk. On the other hand, some people have total reliance on tabarruk and do not perform good deeds. Citing the example of the hypocrite ʿAbdullāh ibn Ubayy ibn Salūl (d. 9/631), he emphasises that tabarruk is of no benefit to he who performs no good deeds.
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allahhave mercy on him) once mentioned:
When a person takes someone as his Shaykh or religious guide, then in order for him to benefit from the Shaykh, he will have to fulfil three essential requirements. These three requirements are among the rights which he owes to the Shaykh and should be borne in mind at all times. These requirements are:
He should have faith (I’tiqaad) in him i.e. he should have love and respect for him and accept him to be a pious, rightly guided person who follows the sunnah.
He should have trust (I’timaad) in him i.e. he should have confidence in the guidance and knowledge he imparts and regard him capable of guiding him correctly in Deeni matters.
He should submit (Inqiyaad) to him i.e. he should follow the advices and teachings of the Shaykh diligently with complete commitment and dedication.