Category Archives: A. Reality of Tasawwuf

The nature, definition, goals and principles of Tasawwuf

Easy Good Deeds: Book of Sulook

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) gave this book to an individual who had islahi relationship with him and said, 

‘This compilation is for my friends who seek islah (betterment of their religious condition). 

It summarizes the spiritual path (sulook).

Read it thoroughly and try to incorporate it into your daily life.’

Office, Darul Uloom Karachi 1991

———–

Houston, TX

Islah

lamalja

An aspirant wrote inquiring about the rectification of sinful acts, like not keeping a proper beard or wearing Islamic clothing, etc. prior to commiting to islah.

The mentor replied, ‘In islah the very basic morals are rectified that lead one to commit  sinful acts like the ones you have mentioned. Therefore, do not delay islah. Start as soon as possible. In-sha-Allah things will improve as progress is made.’

Islahi correspondence (reviewed by sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve & protect him)

Intention for islah

“Shaykh Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned another (incident of a) pious sage.

 That a person stayed with him for a very long time and then complained that the state of his heart was not corrected. 

The Shaikh inquired “What do you mean by correction of the heart?” He replied, “Sir, the blessing (of nisbet) that I will receive from you, I will take it and spread it amongst the people”. 

The Shaikh said that this intention is the cause of your loss. That is, that from the start (your) intention is to become a Mentor/Shaykh. Remove this disgusting idea from your heart, and make (sincere) intention (of pleasing Allah). 

There are innumerable blessings that Allah has bestowed on us, being thankful for them and being a slave of Allah is obligatory on us. 

Thus those people who do Allah’s remembrance (dhikr) and spiritual exercises (Shughal) or offer Salah with the intention to get benefit through them, this is their foolishness, their intention is wrong (faasid). What kind of benefit, what kind of reward? This being, this body, these eyes, this nose, these ears, this tongue, these senses that Allah has given us, first we should complete our thankfulness (Shukr) for them, only later can we think of benefits or rewards. ”

Source: Tazkiratur Rasheed by Maulana Aashiq Ilahi Meerathi, Volume 2, page 31

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Islahi correspondence 


Maulana Sher Mohammed Sindhi (later a khalifa) was corresponding with Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on them).  He had written almost 30 letters.

On a visit of stay at khanqah Hakim al Umma reviewed them all. He disapproved of the manner it was done.  He instructed him to start over the islahi correspondence again. 

Karwan e Mujaddid Thanvi, volume, page 

            ————-

This shows that islahi correspondence has to be done in a proper systematic manner.

 This is the reason for encouraging the seekers to read the book ‘Tarbiyet us Salik’. 
Writing in a haphazard way with pointless details and random thoughts is a total waste of time. Both for the seeker and the mentor. 

If one does not know how to do this islahi correspondence then he/she should ask. 

Janglot, KKH

Shaikh: image problem 


Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve and protect him) said,

‘Adopting a life style and promoting an air of being a Sufi Shaikh is wrong (for those who have permission to initiate mureed). 

None of our pious predecessors (akabir) did this. They lived a simple life style (as is the Sunna of our beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace). Their hallmark is the extreme humility (tawadhu). 

Moreover, it is dangerous as it leads to extreme attitudes of reverence by their followers.  (Sometimes excuses are made for noncompliance to Shariah.)’

1st Shawwal 1437/6 July 2016 Wednesday, residence, Darul Uloom Karachi, pre-zuhar 

In his instructions to whom he gave permission to initiate mureed (mojaaz) Sayyidi wa sanadi said,

۔ کبھی مخدومیت، یا مروجہ پیری مریدی کی شان بنانے کی کوشش نہ کریں، بلکہ اس کو اپنے لیۓ زھر قاتل سمجھیں

Never try to adopt the lifestyle of being someone senior and superior or that of contemporary Sufi Shuyukh.  In fact, consider this to be the most potent poison (for your spirituality). 

Islahi khutoot (qalmi)

Reminder: red flag!

Shaykh’s job


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

‘A genuine (muhaqqiq) Spiritual mentor’s  (Shaykh) job is to inform the disciple of his shortcomings.

That is what I (personally) practice.  And then I evaluate how much sinful involvement has he (the disciple) abandoned.

I do not inquire about the litanies (wird) recited.  Brother! If you recite the wird you will for sure get inspiration (warid). This is an affair between you and Allah. Your reward will be according to the effort you put in. ‘

Majales Musleh al Umma ra, volume 6, page 129

Ijazet & khilafet aren’t permanent


Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) use to update and publish the list of his khulafa (appointed representatives) almost every year. This was to facilitate the search for spiritual mentors by seekers. 
Many new names were included for those who accomplished the required criteria to be a Shaikh. 

Few names were deleted. They included the dead and those who did not follow up regularly to ensure that they continued to stay and progress on the path. Some exclusions were for those who became distracted and fell into the traps of nafs and Shaytan. These points were explicitly mentioned in the updated list. 

Ma’asir e Hakeemul Ummat ra, 

Therefore, mere certificate of ijazet or khilafet is not enough. Continuous steadfastness on Shariah and spiritual progress is required. 

Spiritual progress is not by listening & reading about Tasawwuf

  
It is very common phenomenon these days that many of us are ravenously in search of material about Tasawwuf, both audio lectures and written information. We devour whatever we find. However, this is not accompanied by initiation or substantial increase in actions (a’amaal), both physical (zahiri) and internal morals (ikhlaq e batini).

The path to progress in Tasawwuf is performance of actions (a’amaal). 

Knowledge (ilm) alone is not sufficient for salvation. Acting on the knowledge with sincerity in accordance with the Sunnah in persistent manner is required. 

This is not possible practically without selecting an individual spiritual mentor.  Seeking advice from him in all religious matters, trying to act on it and if there is difficulty in doing so letting him know is essential for islah. 

May Allah facilitate this for us. Amin!

Medinah al munawwarah 

Tasawwuf

Tasawwuf1

Maulana Professor Sayyid Suleman Ashraf Bihari (Allah have mercy on him) said,

Tasawwuf has two sections,

  1. Knowledge of spiritual endeavor (ilm e ma’amlah)
  2. Knowledge of revelation (of spiritual secrets) (ilm e mkashafa)

The  knowledge of spiritual endeavor fulfills the purpose of scared law (Shariah). It entails that an individual develops within his soul a faculty that if he commits something sinful or is lax in performing a pious deed he feels a subjective pain similar to the one he experiences in physical sickness or with monetary loss.  It is like the extreme (mental) suffering a noble, respectable and well known person feels if he has to beg for money.

After developing this ability even the thought of committing something inappropriate is spiritually distressing to this individual.

The second section, knowledge of revelations, consists of performance of specific pious actions and bearing hardships on one’s self (nafs) to develop in one’s spirituality special (malakuti) powers . This is to become worthy of receiving the hidden secrets of the sacred law (Shariah).

Al Sabeel 33-4


It is the first section that is the most important for novices like me and you.

The way to develop it is the islah (betterment) training done under the supervision of a spiritual mentor.

 

Tasawwuf: Ashrafiya Approach 2

Tasawwuf-Aur-Nisbat-e-Sufia-250x384

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) continued,

‘Similar is the story in all of the Tasawwuf. In some quarters the method of treatment (of spiritual maladies) has  been made a goal in itself.

This is the case of gathering of remembrance done aloud (ijtemai majalis e dhikr bil jaher).  Remembrance (of Allah) done aloud and in a gathering are both per se permissible. However, these days in some (sufi) paths it is considered to be an essential part and without it remembrance is considered to be deficient and less rewarding.

Similarly, as an example is the case of  supplicating in front of the graves facing the qibla. It is permissible per se. Moreover it is proven by Sunna of our master prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). However, when our pious-predecessors saw that grave-worshipers can misuse it for their benefit then they discouraged doing so

We consider our master Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) to be the mujaddid (one who revives) of this era.  In Tasawwuf lots of things were done as a means of treatment prescribed by masters, however, gradually (with passage of time) they became an objective in them-self. The revival of Tasawwuf that Hakim al Umma did was to state that the real objective (of Tasawwuf) is the acquisition of praise worthy moral characteristics (fadhail) and riddance of blame worthy moral characteristics (razail) from one’s self.

In reality there are various degrees of crossing the limits in Tasawwuf. Some elders prescribed as a form of treatment something for their disciples, others selected something else to be more beneficial. Then some considered this treatment to be essential (for all), others promoted them to the level of things highly desired (mustaheb) or Prophetic practice (Sunna). The problem starts from here (with this meddling in the fiqhi hierarchy of status of actions) onwards. ’

Albalagh,Urdu, volume 51, publication 6-7, (April 2017) page 71-2

Tasawwur e Shaikh: Ashrafiya Approach 1

Tasawwur001

Mufti of Kazakhstan  inquired, ‘The inclination towards purification (tazkiya) of soul and moral characteristics (ikhlaq) is arising in our youth. However, the mentors they approach (for this) instruct them  ‘tasawwur e Shaikh‘ with much emphasis. This is to the extent that they are told to contemplate all the time that I am seeing the Shaikh. Please, guide us on this. Isn’t this  an  overstatement (gulu)?’

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) replied,

‘Tasawwur e Shaikh’ was a form of (spiritual) treatment used by some of the ancient master of Tasawwuf. Its was for the the individual’s who found it difficult to keep the contemplation of Allah (‘s presence, especially) initially. For them some masters prescribed as a form of treatment (of this difficulty) to contemplate about their mentor (Shaikh). This is because the relationship, love and reverence for Shaikh is solely to gain Allah’s pleasure and it easier to imagine an entity one has seen than what he has not seen. Then gradually the masters will guide him to the real objective, that is, contemplation of Allah. Hence, tasawwur e shaikh is not an objective in itself. (It is a stepping stone to the real objective.)

The pious righteously-guided masters (ahle-haqq) who did use this did not make it an integral part of their path. They instructed it individually as needed for a disciple for whom it was suitable paying due considerations to its  conditions and limitations.

Even so, the masters of our path, the pious-predecessors of Deoband did not encourage ‘tasawwur e Shaikh’. This is because sometimes its limits are not maintained and it leads to shirk (associating partners with Allah). However, at the same time they do not castigate the rightly guided masters who did instruct it with its conditions and limitations.

Once Sayyid Ahmed shaheed prescribed ‘tasawwur e shaikh’ for Shah Ismaeel shaheed (Allah have mercy on them).  Shah Ismaeel apologized saying that if I was ordered to do something  even inappropriate (sinful) I would have done it and then repented. But in ‘tasawwur e shaikh‘ I smell shirk. Therefore, I will not do this.

The way of our pious predecessors of Deoband (akabir e Deoband) was that the contemplation of Allah that develops by observing the Sunna practices is sufficient (for a seeker). This is because following the Sunna is the most effective way of gaining Allah’s proximity (acceptance & pleasure).

These days the problem has developed that some mentors consider ‘tasawwur e shaikh’ an essential part of their path (tareeq). They instruct this to all the disciples uniformly even if there is no need for it.  Similar is the story in all of the Tasawwuf. In some quarters the method of treatment (of spiritual maladies) has  been made a goal in itself.

This is the case of gathering of remembrance (ijtemai majalis e dhikr bil jaher)………..’

to be continued

Albalagh,Urdu, volume 51, publication 6-7, (April 2017) page 70-1

Tasawwuf: very basic texts

 
Mufti Maqsid of Kazakistan inquired that in regards to Tasawwuf there are misunderstanding in people here, the younger generation aspires for spiritual betterment (islah). Some approach us for understanding Tasawwuf. Moreover we want to teach our students tasawwuf. What books will be beneficial to do so?

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) replied,

For this purpose in my opinion start with my respected father’s (Mufti Mohammad Shafi, Allah have mercy on him) book ‘Dil ki dunya‘. This is concise text and will be an easy to comprehend introduction of Tasawwuf. This text can be covered in a week or even less.

After that select from Imam Ghazali’s (Allah have mercy on him) books ‘Bidayat al Hidaya‘ or ‘al Arba’een’. The later’s Urdu translation has been published as ‘Tabligh e Deen‘.

Then teach ‘Taleem ud Deen‘ of Hakim al Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him).

Teaching these text will lead to the understanding of reality of Tasawwuf in a short period of time. It is expected to be achieved in one or two semesters, in-sha-Allah. ‘

Albalagh, volume 51, publication 6-7, (April 2017) page 72

Truthfulness & sincerity

  
“Do not be very strict on yourselves for then Allah will be strict upon you. Verily, a group of people were strict upon themselves so Allah was strict upon them. Their remnants are the (ascetic) people living in the hermitages and monasteries. [Then he quoted the verse,] ‘But the monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them.”‘ Abu Dawud

In explaining this Prophetic saying Shaykh Abdul Haqq Muhadith Dehlawi (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned that Shaykh Ahmed bin Abilhawari approached his teacher Shaykh Suleman Darani (Allah have mercy on them) and inquired that the people of Bani Israel strived with such (physical) endeavors and struggles that their skin became like old worn out leather whereas we eat, drink, clothe ourselves and live with comforts and luxuries. My heart is burdened by this luxurious lifestyle and I worry what will be its end result. 

Shaykh Suleman Darani (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

‘O Ahmed! What is demanded from us (by Allah) is truthfulness (sidiq) and sincerity (ikhlas) (in our intentions and actions)

Burning and melting (with strenuous endeavors and struggles) is not demanded from us. 

Good deeds performed with sincerity for ten days are better than 10 years of (physical) struggle that burns and melts (the skin). 

The real objective and goal is the pleasure of and acceptance by (radha) Allah. (This can only be achieved with sidiq and ikhlaas.)

As the poet says

من لم یکن للوصال اہلا فکل احسانہ ذنوب ‘

Ashaat alelmaat volume 1, page 473 via Basariyet ki rah say taraqqi 

Ijazet: Who is worthy of it?

 

Murideen used to come to Shaykh al Hadith Maulana Zakariyah (Allah have mercy on him) during Ramadan. During his initial years he used to send them to Hazrat Abdul Qadirahmer Raipuri (Allah have mercy on him)(for them to stay in his blessed company). Regarding this Shaykh al Hadith writes:

“The condition of some of them improved greatly and with the spiritual blessings (tawajjuhaat) of Hazrat Raipuri (Allah have mercy on him) it became even better but some of the residents there said to my guests (i.e. Murideen): “Why hasn’t Shaykh given you permission (of Ba’yat) until now?” This thing became a poison for them as they began to consider themselves something. 

It is a well-established principle in this field (of Tasawwuf) that as long as one considers himself to be incompetent and unworthy then he is successful; but as soon as he considers himself as competent and worthy then he becomes unsuccessful.I have experienced this in many of the friends and close senior murideen (khuddam) of my pious elders.

This incompetent writer was given permission (of Ba’yat) by my Shaykh (Allah have mercy on him) in Dhi Qa’dah 1345H in Madinah Munawwarh. This incompetent writer remembers it clearly that without any exaggeration I held the feet of Hazrat Raipuri (Allah have mercy on him) that please don’t mention it to anyone in India. But Hazrat insisted that he would definitely inform them and began writing to people in India from there (i.e. Madinah Munawwarah).

After coming back to india I did not get the courage to accept anyone’s Ba’yat for a long time. Perhaps it is mentioned somewhere in Aap Beeti that I started accepting for Ba’yat after being scolded by my Uncle (Maulana Ilyas May Allah have mercy on him). Thereafter I went to Hazrat Shaykhul Islam (Hussan Ahamd Madni)and Hazrat Raipuri (May Allah have mercy on them both) several times that if they take consideration of my inability and thus order me to stop accepting anyone for Ba’yat then I will get a way out. But each time they in return scolded me. I remember a saying of Shaykhul Islam (Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni, Allah have mercy on him) that on my request he angrily replied “Who accepts anyone for Ba’yat considering himself to be worthy and competent? The one who does that is himself unworthy and incompetent. The successful one is he who considers himself incompetent at all times”.

Source: Aap Beeti of Hazrat Shaykh-ul-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyyah Kandhlawi, Volume 2, Page 441-442

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