Category Archives: A. Reality of Tasawwuf

The nature, definition, goals and principles of Tasawwuf

Shaikh: Flattery doesn’t count

A spiritual seeker wrote that when he received the Shaikh’s reply he was overwhelmed with joy. An electric current ran through his body making him cry profusely. In this state of ecstasy he composed a poem praising the Shaikh. 

Shaikh Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

I was extremely happy to read your letter. May Allah make me as per the assumptions of people. Ameen!

From your letter I understood that maybe you have recognized (marifet) me (i.e. as a spiritual mentor). However, let me know wether you have achieved the marifet (gnosis) of the things I tell about this path (tareeq). This is because it is this that really counts. There are numerous individuals who display love (of Shaikh) but very few are cognizant (a’arif of the path). May Allah give you a generous share of this marifet. Ameen!

—————–—

The editor commented that this displays Shaikh’s approach to Islah.  The spiritual seeker is not reassured to be content that with verbose praise and flattering speech he may have fulfilled his obligations towards his spiritual mentor and the tareeq. Because most of the time this is  naf’s (lower self’s) snare and deception.  By involving the seeker in play of words it distracts him from real marifet

—————-

This a very common mistake. Sometimes it leads to disaster for both Shaikh and the mureed. Shaikh develops ujub and mureed remains entangled in this poetry and praise, neglecting the real marifet

Moreover, in praising the Shaikh is a very big claim. It means that one himself is of such a great stature that he has recognized the qualities of the Shaikh. 

Prescription for success 

In reply to a seeker who lamented about his assumed bad condition, Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied:
Son! 

معشوق من ست آنکہ بہ نزدیک تو زشت ست

You have despair over your condition while I feel elated. Your condition is a proof of two things which are from the highest objectives (of the path). 

Firstly, recognition of one’s bad condition. 

Secondly, concern to improve one’s condition.

Make four things your habit then I take responsibility that you will not be left deprived:

Firstly, complete your daily dhikr (routine) even if it small in amount, irrespective of finding it interesting.

Secondly, abstain from all sinful involvement with (firm) determination. And repent immediately if you fail (in doing so). 

Thirdly, neither think about past (mistakes) nor future (apprehensions) nor anticipate success (in your spiritual quest) 

Fourthly, keep in regular correspondence (with your spiritual mentor) about your condition, even if there is nothing worth mentioning.

In addition to these, in my opinion (as per ayurdeic medicine) there is affect of  incalescence on your brains. Medical treatment is essential. This has also played a role in this state (Hal). 

After implementing this prescription be carefree. 

من غم تو میخوارم تو غم مخور

برتو من مشفق ترم از صد پدر 

Your considerate well wisher 

Ashraf Ali’

Tarbiyyatus Salik Volume 1, Chapter 5, page 725

Intekhab e Qaiseri

Greater Jihad?

Spiritual struggle, doing good and leaving the sinful esoteric and exoteric actions, has been alluded to as greater jihad (jihad e akbar) in classical Sufi texts. 

Irrespective of the debate of it being a Prophetic quote (Hadith).  Recently I came across a beautiful explanation. 

Shaikh Sayyid Shabbir Kakakhel (Allah preserve him) said that the greatness here is due to the time involved in it. The jihad (armed struggle) with an enemy is for a restricted period of time and eventually ends. Whereas, the spiritual struggle is a lifelong, daily constant squabble. It ends only with death.  

اندریں راہ می تراش و می خراش

تا دم آخر دمےفارغ مباش

JazakAllah 

Question 

Shaikh Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) wrote to a disciple ,

‘You are coming (to me) for so many days now, however, neither have you become involved in (religious) work as required nor have you developed the understanding as per my standards. The reason for this is not reading the essential books of Maulana (Ashraf Ali) Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him). Why is this so? This coming (to me) is just in vain or for religious betterment (Islah). 

The (religious/Islah) work starts after acquiring knowledge. What will an individual without knowledge do?

If you have understood something from this write it (back) to me’

Maktubaat e Islahi , wasiyet al Irfan, May 1995, page 19-20

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

Intekhab e Kaiseri 

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