A common pitfall in islah is being over zealous. Taking matters into one’s own hand and acting without consulting the Shaikh.
This is dangerous. The email exchange below in an example to learn from.
Seeker:My family background is not very religious particularly my wife and parents and I have faced some resistance from them when I spend my last two years with a shaikh who is Mujaz of Shaikh……………rahmullah. The scenarios should hve been dealt by me more calmly but at times I also had lost control over my temper which ultimately hurt my cause and had put me now in a confusing situation that should I carry on with my existing shaikh or should I quit?
I am in a very confused state of mind these days.
Your experienced thoughts will be highly appreciated.
Reply: It is the job of the Shaikh to maintain the balance in islah of the salik, avoiding the extremes. This is possible only if the murid or Seeker is genuinely telling him all the details, asking his advice and doing as instructed. If this was not done then it will be inappropriate to seek another Shaikh. If this was done then it has to be assessed in detail what went wrong. It will best to have a very open and direct discussion about these issues with the present Shaikh and see what does he say. A genuine Shaikh will not become upset at this.
Please, remember the following principles,
1. It is essential to have an healthy, serene and friendly home environment to practice deen effectively.
2. You are responsible for your own islah and spiritual betterment
3. Your only duty is to be husband/father/son/etc. at home. Your wife is your best friend. You have to provide for her what no one else in the whole world can provide her. Security, intimate care and respect.
4.You are not there to do her islah. She is a responsible adult.
5. Lots of Patience, planning and dua are needed to change others. Sometimes you have to wait years to say the appropriate thing at the appropriate timings in an appropriate manner with a correct intention.
6. Anger is a blame worthy moral (razila). It is haram, especially for a novice (mubtadi) like me and you. It will only result in more darkness and worsening of affairs.
7. Validity of islah is only genuine when approved by one’s spouse. She knows you from inside and outside like no one else.
Moreover, it remains unclear that was there any khud raiy by yourself? That is, you did things on your own without asking for guidance from the Shaikh or did not follow his advice precisely. This is a disease. If it is not diagnosed and treated appropriately till will recur even if you go to the best Shaikh in the universe.
Seeker:Yes there was a habit of Khud raiy in me. For Example my shaikh in the very begining asked me to keep a lower gaze when going to your in laws where your wife sisters are also present. But on the contrary in order to gain Taqwa I forced my wife to make a separate arrangement for Gents and Ladies and which they had to do bcs of my pressure.Later I disclose it to my shaikh he did not notice this marz of mine.
Same thing occurred when there was a gathering organized by my parents where my brothers wives are present and just for Taqwa I did not go.
Keeping adab of the shaikh in my mind or to create my good impression in his mind I did not ask many question with my shaikh and just tried to follow what was being said in the majalis by him or his khulafa.
1. My parents wanted me to also wear a trouser and a shirt in office or in weddings instead of shalwar Kameez but on my own I quit wearing them without seeking any advice from a shaikh.This was also because just to keep my ankles uncovered
2. Similarly they wanted me sometimes to also give time to my family on Sundays (weekly holidays) by taking them for outing instead of going to majalis as the timing were of Sunday evenings but I did not pay heed to it and took decision on my own.
I tried to contact my shaikh again (regarding this confusion) but there was no response.
Reply:If it is difficult to communicate with the Shaikh then it is allowed to take another Shaikh with whom easy and open communication is possible. It must be remembered Shaikh is a consultant, with out proper communication he wont be able to give appropriate advice.
However, the adab of the initial Shaikh must be continued with extreme care.
The most feared scenario in cases similar to yours is that lower self (nafs) and Shaytan will try to derail you from this islah process altogether. They will tell you that this path is hopeless, you got into marital trouble because of it, just be a ‘cool Muslim’, taking deen & dunya together.It will be fatal spiritually to listen to them. Make lot of dua, especially at tahajjud for safeguard against their deception.
Karachi, Ramadan 1434