‘Join XYZ-Jamat or PQRS-Tariqa!’
A common advice we all often get. Directly or indirectly by our well-wishers. Most of us are offended and become defensive. We retaliate with our own suggestions. A few become confused. A smaller number becomes disillusioned by these rivalries and schisms. May Allah save us all from these disasters. Amin!
The sincerity of these well-wishers can not be questioned at all.
However, it should be a wake up alarm to us. Following questions must pop-up in our mind. Why did this person suggest this to me in particular? Am I following correctly and progressing in my religious effort? Or there is something that made this person feel that I need to improve?
Thinking on these lines this lowly writer came up with a random quick checklist for myself. InshaAllah, it will be beneficial for others.
I need to have explicit answers to the following statements from the time I joined this specific group, jamat, tariqa or started on my own to be more religious ,
1. I thoroughly studied the fiqh of everyday worship and apply it meticulously.
2. Made record of my missed salah, fasts, zikah, hajj and financial dues. I am trying to compensate for them.
3. I have improved my tajweed.
4. My actions on Sunna has increased. That is, appearance, manners, actions and supplications for different occasions like waking up, eating, sleeping, wearing clothes, etc.
5. My salah is more organized, on time, in congregation (if masjid is close by) with better concentration.
6. I deal with humility when interacting with my family members (especially parents and spouse) and others.
7. I can better control my anger.
8. My school/college/work performance has increased or at least not deteriorated.
9. My involvement in useless (TV, Internet, news, magazines, novels, etc.) has decreased substantially.
10. I am worried about causing discomfort and harm to others and try my best to avoid it.
11. The sins I used to commit previously have decreased substantially in frequency and intensity.
12. My day is better organized with time allocations for recitation of Holy Quran, dhikr and religious reading.
13. I do not look down upon fellow Muslims.
If answers to most (>11) of the above questions is affirmative then we need to be thankful to Allah and continue on our path to perform even better.
However, if this is not the case then there are two possibilities.
Firstly, either we are not following the teachings of that group, jamat or tariqa correctly.
Or if we are doing all the things as per instruction then that group, jamat or tariqa is invalid. At least this is true for us, maybe secondary to our circumstances and environment. It is only in this case that we need to pay heed to the advice of that well-wisher and look into the XYZ & PQRS option.
Sayyidi wa sanadi Shaykh Mawlana Mohammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) said,
‘In a Prophetic tradition (hadith) it is narrated that; the person whose two days are the same is in big loss.
This means that his today was spent in the same manner as yesterday and no progress occurred.
That is, progress in being more religious, in spiritual evolution, increase in worship and improvement in obedience, following of Sunna and abundance in Allah’s remembrance.’