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
Category Archives: A. Reality of Tasawwuf
The nature, definition, goals and principles of Tasawwuf
A novice seeker wrote, I noticed a new link being added to Ashrafiya website. Would it be recommended for me to listen to these lectures?
Ashrafiya replied, No. Each Shaykh has his own disposition and style of approaching islah. Mixing to many styles leads to confusion. The mawaiz of Hazrat Hakim Akhtar (Allah have mercy on him) and our Shaikh Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) are quite enough and beneficial, inshaAllah.
Islahi emails: TA
Reviewed and approved by sanadi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him)
My close friends and family members (whom I consult for my major decisions) are aware of my pursuing this path. I get a feeling that they expect more as if I am going to change overnight (perhaps it was a mistake to let some people know about this effort). Subsequently I get a feeling that I am trying to improve myself to show off in front of others. And it makes me really doubt the ikhlas that is a pre-requisite for all a’mal to be accepted i.e. they should be solely for pleasing Allah SWT. Please advise.
1. The details of the islah are individualized. They are personal and private. It is inappropriate to share the details with others. Even if they were to ask the details answer very humbly that I have been asked not to tell others. I am doing whatever is being instructed.
2. There is no problem in informing them in general that you are trying to establish a islahi ta’luq.
3. Be aware that islah is a life long process. The change is gradual. Our akabir compare it to the growing of a child.
4. The blame-worthy moral trait of show-off or riya is a ikhteyari action. That is, you have to have an intention and then do it. It does not happen by itself without your control.
5. Also, as a established principle it is stated that the real show-off never ever doubts his own ikhlas and mukhlis is always in doubt. So do not worry. Continue what you are doing. MashaAllah, you are travelling and distance is being covered.
Reviewed and approved by sanadi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him)
A sincere brother emailed regarding the quest for a spiritual mentor (Shaykh) in United Kingdom.
Following reply was sent.
It was a pleasure to read your email. MashaAllah. Allah has granted you with balanced understanding, a true yearning (talub) And desire to progress in Deen. May Allah increase them with afiyet. Ameen!
The first thing is to not to make any hasty decisions. Make Dua a lot, mashwara (consultation) with pious repeatedly and istekhara before making any decisions in this regards.
The basic principle is to find a Shaykh you have munasbet (spiritual congeniality).
That is, on hearing Sheikh’s advice the aspirant readily accepts it and feels as though the words are pouring directly into his heart. The advice seems to be aimed directly at him. It appears to address his own spiritual ailments. Most importantly it does not stir any significant negative thoughts and criticism.
Below I’m mentioning few names of reliable and pious Shuyukh. It will be best to contact them, visit them repeatedly and comfortably detect the Munasbet.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is taking a major emotional toll on us.
The lockdown and the continuous barrage of negative news is creating uncertainty about one’s own and loved ones’ well being, future, job and financial securities.
This is draining us emotionally and is creating anticipatory grief and depression.
This is spiritually dangerous.
If not dealt appropriately it will lead to loneliness, lassitude, trouble focusing, feelings of sadness & hopelessness, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, irritability, restlessness, sleeping difficulties and eventually exhaustion. The daily prayers, recitations, readings and supererogatory (nafil) actions and khushu (concentration & reflection) in them will gradually fade away.
This will be a disaster indeed.
The lifelong mujahidda (struggle) wasted.
We all have to be proactive in this regards.
Following points have helped me and InshaAllah will be helpful for you as well.
1. Keep focused. Our goal is achieving Allah’s pleasure and acceptance. All sinful activities are a barrier to it. Leave them now.
2. Remind ourselves that Allah, Most High being the Sovereign authority in charge (al-Hakim) has all the right to do with us as He wants. No one can question it. We being His slaves have to accept it. However, at the same time we must remember that He is Wise (al-Hakeem) and whatever He does certainly has something beneficial for us. We may not be able to acknowledge this right away but this is for sure.
3. Disconnect with news and social media to a greater extent. Set limits. Check these twice per day just to keep updated and motivated.
4. Connect with Allah. Make dua. Ask Allah for safeguard from all our apprehensions. This can even be non-verbal in mind & heart.
5. Keep up with our daily ma’moolaat (routine). The dhikr, recitations of Holy Quran, Munajat e Maqbool, tasbihat, recommended books. Even under normal circumstances one has to force him/herself to do these. Please remember that this is not easy. This is the daily mujahidda (spiritual struggle) required.
6. Make excessive shukr (gratitude) of Allah. Remind ourselves of all the blessings we have right now, like physical & mental health, food, water, shelter, family & loved ones, accessibility to healthcare etc. and make shukr for each and every of them individually. Allah has promised that gratitude insures and increases the blessing.
7. Use our time wisely. Each moment of our life is priceless. Do not let it waste in useless activities. Do your job. Learn. Read. Write. Cook. Workout. Be busy.
May Allah protect us all and keep us steadfast in these challenging time.
To develop in a seeker the concern for establishment of Deen (in one’s life) and regard of permissible & impermissible is the real karamah of the Shaykh and explicit proof of his spiritual blessings and benefits.
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) said,
‘After bayiah (spiritual allegiance) the things that need to be rectified upfront include, arrogance, negligence in fulfilling the rights of others (huqooqal ‘ebad), envy, hatred, creating adversity (fitna) between people, etc. However, nowadays no restrictions are instructed for these things. Whereas, previous pious elders (Mashāyikh) used to give priority to these things from first day.
The litanies & recitations (wazaif) were instructed after many years.
Moreover, these restrictions were not merely verbal instructions, they recommended various practices to uproot these spiritual ailments from the heart.
Like, if they saw an individual afflicted with self adoration (زینت پرستی) he was instructed to sweep and tidy up the spiritual lodge (khanqah) or streets. Similarly, if they saw arrogance in an individual, he was instructed to tidy up the shoes of people coming to pray. These acts of humility have the ability to create humbleness in heart. ‘
“Our Lord, do not hold us accountable, if we forget or make a mistake, and, Our Lord, do not place on us such a burden as You have placed on those before us, and, Our Lord, do not make us bear a burden for which we have no strength. And pardon us, and grant us forgiveness, and have mercy on us. You are our Lord. So then help us against the disbelieving people.”
Sayyid wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve & protect him) explained, among other things:
There are three things being asked at the end of this supplication:
a) وَاعۡفُ عَنَّا “And pardon our sins”.
b) وَاغۡفِرۡ لَنَا “And forgive us”. It is possible that a mistake is pardoned, i.e. Allah is no longer displeased for committing that mistake, but a punishment may still be given as compensation. Here we are commanded by Allah to say: “Oh Allah. Pardon our mistakes and also forgive us and don’t give us any punishment for them.”
c) وَارۡحَمۡنَا “And have mercy on us”. Here we are asking Allah: “Oh Allah! Not only pardon us for our mistakes and not punish us for them, please also give us something from Your Mercy”.
Hazrat explained that a “waqaf” sign is stated in the (Indo-Pak) Mushafs after each of these supplications. While reading a verse after which there is a “waqaf” a pause which is longer than a “saktah” should be made without releasing the breath. This waqaf is for pondering over the meanings of these three supplications. They should not be read without pausing, in which case they would be read without pondering over the meanings of these supplications.
These supplications also teach us that a slave of Allah is required to try his utmost to live his life according to the commandments of Allah. At the same time, he should fear for any mistakes or shortcomings in his efforts and ask Allah for forgiveness over them.
Intekhab e Kaiseri
Ramadan 1440: Post-Zuhr Discourses- Explanation of supplications from Munajat-e-Maqbool
Sayyidiwasanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani ( Allah preserve & protect him) advised,
“Do everything with Ikhlas (sincerity) and supplicating to Allah (rujuilallah). Before starting any work, make dua: “Oh Allah! Give me the ability to do this work with sincerity and in a manner which is according to Your Pleasure.”
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve & protect him) said,
Ṭarīqah is part of Sharīʿah.
My Shaykh’s Shaykh Ḥakīm al-Ummah Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī Thānawī (d. 1362/1943) revived taṣawwuf and purified it from many innovations that had crept into it. He also prescribed an easy solution for people nowadays who are unable to undertake the sacrifices undertaken by the saints of the past. He prescribed two easy things to keep a firm relationship with Allah Almighty. The first is making abundant Shukr (gratitude) and the second is making abundant supplications.
The first half of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah indicates upon the first whilst the second half indicates upon the second. Hold on to the maʾthūr (transmitted/Sunnah) supplications and establish a firm relationship with Allah. This is an easy prescription.”