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
Hakim al Umma Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) once mentioned the following:
In order for one to inculcate the quality of zuhd (abstinence from worldly pleasures), it does not mean that one completely renounces and gives up all worldly pleasures. Rather, if one reduces his worldly pleasures, this is sufficient for him to acquire the quality of zuhd.
In other words, one should not remain engrossed in the acquisition of worldly pleasures where day and night, one’s concern only revolves around acquiring worldly pleasures, e.g. “I need to prepare such and such delicious meal”, “I need to purchase such and such item from such and such place”, “The rice in a certain place is delicious so it must be brought from there”, or a certain place is renowned and famous for their cream, so one says to people, “Please bring some cream for me from that place.”
In essence, for one to remain engrossed in acquiring delicious food and smart clothing is against the demands of zuhd (abstinence from worldly pleasures). However, if these worldly pleasures and enjoyments come to one on their own, without one making any special effort to acquire them, then in this case, these bounties and worldly pleasures should be regarded as the favour of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, one should express gratitude to Allah Ta‘ala for receiving this favour.
Similarly, zuhd does not mean that one should eat very little food. In fact, this is not something that is desired in Shari’ah. The reason is that through eating less, one will not be looking after the treasures of Allah Ta‘ala and allowing it to remain full. Similarly, it will not be viewed in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala as it is viewed in the world, that if an employer has to offer a full salary to his employee, and he only takes half, it will be viewed as though he is doing a favour to his employer by taking half. However, in regard to Allah Ta‘ala, this is not the case (i.e. in regard to the limitless treasures of Allah Ta‘ala, one is not doing Allah Ta‘ala a favour by taking less or eating less, rather, Allah Ta‘ala wants us to enjoy what He bestows us with and express gratitude to Him).
At the same time, one should not over-indulge in eating to such an extent that one’s stomach begins to pain and one’s health suffers, due to which one finds difficulty in fulfilling his ibaadaat. Our Hazrat Haaji Saheb (rahimahullah) would often say, in a lighthearted manner, “Look after your body well, but also ensure that you take good work from your body.” In order words, use your body to engage in ibaadaat to the best of your ability.
Shaikh Ahmed Arqam Balkhi (Allah have mercy on him) narrates that once my inner-self (nafs) insisted that I go and join the battle (jihad). I was surprised. In Quran Allah says that nafs commands to do evil and my nafs was telling me to do something virtuous. How can this be possible?
I confronted the nafs and said that most probably you are sick of staying in solitude and want that I go in the army where people will pay respect to me. However, I am going to fight alone (not join the army). Nafs agreed. I became more suspicious. I told him that I will fight without ammunition and die first. He agreed to it also. I told him many similar things and he agreed to all.
I was perplexed.
I prayed fervently to Allah to show me nafs’ deception.
In a vision (mukashafa) I saw my nafs.
He said that every day you kill me several times by not doing what I command, so if you go for Jihad and are killed instantaneously then it will be easier.
Moreover, no one knows about this daily struggle. It is hidden from all. But if you are killed in battlefield everyone will speak highly about you. All will say Ahmed is a martyr (shaheed).
The deception of nafs are complex and deep. They requires consultation with a mentor (murshid).
Tanveer ul Afaq: Shah Turab Ali Qalandar (Allah have mercy on him)
Qutub Alam Shaikh Abdul Qudoos Al Gangohi (d:1537CE. Allah have mercy on him) said,
O Seeker of Truth! If the path of Islam was as easy (as you think) then everyone would become Shibli and Ibrahim bin Adham (Allah have mercy on them). (In reality) Until and unless you are a (true) Muslim from within you can never be a (real) Muslim from outside.
It is grieving and mournful to see these days that world is full of spiritual mentors (pir) and seekers (mureed) but no one can find a (true) Muslim.
What is mentor-seeker (piri-mureedi) relationship nowadays?
It is all idolatry and self-worship!
May Allah save us all from it. Ameen!
This is in reality my own mournful predicament. I tell it so others can learn from it.
Maktubaat e Qudoosiya, letter #111, page 480 (from Urdu translation by Shaikh Capt. Wahid Baksh Siyal rehmatullah aleh)
Khawaja Azizan Ali Ramitani (Allah have mercy on him) said,
Remember any companion who makes you forget Allah (& His commandments: i.e. what is permissible and what is forbidden?) is your Devil (Shaitan) in human (or gadget etc.) form. He/it works on you openly and is therefore, worst then the (real) Devil who whispers clandestinely.
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) was replying to the letters of spiritual aspirants.
After reading a letter he addressed those sitting in his office,
One of my friends (Shaikh usually uses this title for those seeking spiritual reformation (islah) under his supervision) is blessed with witnessing of the Holy Prophet (Allah’s blessings & peace be upon him) frequently. Sometimes it is in sleep (dream), other times in a state between sleep and wakefulness and also in wakeful state.
A great blessing indeed!
However, few things must be clear about this phenomenon.
Firstly, it is something beyond one’s volition. It is ghairikhteyari. It is a blessing and one should be excessively thankful to Allah for it. However, it is not a sign of spiritual proximity. One should not consider him/herself spiritually superior to others because of it.
Secondly, if one is blessed with this for a while and then it ceases to exist than also it is not a sign of spiritual decadence.
The only thing that matters in spiritual proximity are an individual’s actions. That is doing good and abstaining from sinful.
This must be explicitly clear.’
Ramadan 1442, post zohar, office, Darul Uloom Karachi