Category Archives: B. Praise worthy morals

The good moral characteristics that are to be developed within one’s self

Islah: Intention & action 

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An individual inquired, ‘I’m being told that going out in the path of Allah (with Tablighi jamat) is sufficient for islah. There is no need for contacting a musleh (Shaikh). Is this correct?’

Another individual told that many years back he made bayiah to a Shaikh. At that time he was instructed to make daily dhikr which he is still doing. However, he never consulted the  respected Shaykh for any islah related issue. Is dhikr sufficient for islah?
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As explained before islah and tazkiya are active processes. How can they be expected to occur passively?

Steps required for them are,

1. Intention,

2. Awareness of one’s deficiencies,

3. Consulting a spiritual physician,

4. Concurring with his diagnosis,

5. Meticulously following his instructions and then

6. Providing feedback on improvement of the condition

7. Being watchful for relapse

Accepted good actions, like going out in the path of Allah and remembering Allah (dhikr), provide illumination (nur). This illumination must reveal to us the real inner condition  of ourselves. This should provide us the insight to correct our deficiencies : Islah. However, if this is not happening then we should be very much concerned and look for the reason behind it.

Disputations are nafsani

 

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Shaykh Sayf ad-Dīn father of Shaykh ‛Abd al-Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dihlawī (Allah have mercy on them) said,

‘The (polemic) wars which take place on academic issues (differed upon) are solely for the pacification of the self (nafs). They are futile. They result in mutual enmity and hostility. There must be an exchange of views with love and kindness on academic issues (differed upon) . This is because: ‘It is a matter of love. When there is no love, no work can be accomplished.’

From: Shaykh ‛Abd al-Ḥaqq Muḥaddith Dihlawī: By Mawlānā Muḥammad Qamruz ZamānʾIlāhābādī Translated by Mawlānā Mahomed Mahomedy

Islah: Explained further

An intelligent question was put foward by a reader,

Dear Sir, as salamu alaykum

I’m a middle class working male. I’m married and have 3 beautiful children. My life revolves around my work and family. All praise is for Allah! I stay away from the major sins. I pray puntually, mostly in mosque with congregation (jamah). I recite Quran, Hadith and Sunna adhkar daily. Also, I often fast the Sunna fasting days. I attend a dars regarding tazkia weekly.

Is this all not enough for my islah? Why do I need to consult a spiritual mentor (Shaykh)?

Reply:

Yes! For a spiritually healthy Muslim this is quite enough. However, for a spiritually ill Muslim  specific interventions are required.

For example, an individual can not keep his thoughts focused on the worship being done. Mentally he is absent from the physical effort being performed. The state that he is seeing Allah or Allah is seeing him is a brief intellectual thought. It is not long lasting and does not affect his demeanor. This is a form of  heedlessness (gaflah) and also lack of khushu. Both are spiritual maladies. They requires treatment. Or maybe there is a change in quantity  or quality of worship being done depending on the awareness that others are observing me. This is show-off (riya). Another spiritual malady. Or when upset one crosses the limits of permissibility in speech and action. Similarly there are many other things that require seeking help from an expert.

Once spiritual health is restored the actions you mentioned will be more beneficial.

An example maybe helpful in understanding this concept. For a healthy normal individual a well balanced daily diet, moderate amount physical exercise and daily multivitamin dose is enough for general well being.

However, for a diabetic or hypertensive person specific treatment will needed in addition to modification in diet and exercise. Similar is the case of psychological diseases, quite common these days. Mere, restoration of normal well balanced diet, sleeping habits and exercise is not sufficient. Psychological counselling or medication maybe necessary in addition to these things.

The general observation is that spiritual illnesses are quite rampant. Moreover, most of these individuals are themselves unaware of these afflictions.

A sick person who is unaware or does not acknowledge his illness is in great danger.

In addition, all of us have outstanding opinion about ourselves. We all consider ourselves to be better than others. This is the most severe spiritual malady, the source of multiple other blame-worthy morals (razail): Arrogance (takabbur). Consulting a spiritual physician is the first step towards its diagnosis and treatment.

I pray and hope that this is sufficient clarification of the issue. Please, do not hesitate to ask if there are further queries.

Take care.

Muhtaj e dua

Islah: What, Why & How?

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Islah translates as betterment, repair, rectification, reformation, improvement, renovation, optimization  and restoration.

Islah e nafs is the main topic of Tasawwuf.

It is a synonym of tazkia e nafs. That is, purification of nafs.  That is, one of the four basic Prophetic tasks as stated in Al-Jum’a : 2, “He is the One who raised amidst the unlettered people a messenger from among themselves who recites to them His verses, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the wisdom, while they were earlier in open error.”

It means improvement and purification of the moral characteristics of an individual. It includes development of good morals (fadhail), like repentance  (tawbah), patience  (sabr), gratitude (shukr), hopefulness (raja), fear of Allah (khauf), asceticism (zuhd), Oneness of Allah  (tawheed), love Allah and Prophet (muhabba), yearning (shauq), (uns), acceptance (raza), sincerity (ikhlas), felicity (sidq), contemplation (muraqaba), humility (raw ashy), accountability (muhasabah), (fikr) and riddance of bad moral characteristics (razail) like lust (shahwut), afflictions of speech  (afaat e lisan), anger (ghasb), hatred (keyna), envy (hasad), love of the worldly (hubb e dunya), stinginess (bukhul),greed (hirs), love of status (hubb e jah), showing off (riya), arrogance  (takabbur), narcissism (ujub), looking at the prohibited (bud-nazri), illicit love affairs  (dunyawi eshq).

It must be clear that these moral characteristics are the driving force for an individual’s action. If they have not been purified and rectified  following of the Shariah rules is not effectively possible. Moreover, even if one forces himself to act, the external forms of worship done remains deficient.

These unrefined morals lead one to get involved in the prohibited actions and omit the good actions.

Praying salah hastily is an example from our daily activities. It shows the lack of muhabba, shauq, uns, ikhlas, sidq, muraqaba, fikr and presence of hubb e dunya.

Seeing what is prohibited is due to presence of shahwut and lack of khauf, muraqaba, muhabba.

Discord, quarrelling and sarcasm, even within spouses is due to arrogance, envy, affliction of speech and lack of muhabba and self sacrifice.

In this same manner the reason of all sinful activities can be traced to the non purified morals.

The method of achieving  islah is via

1. Knowledge of these morals,

2. Consultation with a mentor to correctly diagnose their lack or presence in one’s self,

3.  Following the treatment prescribed and

4. Re-consultation to confirm effective cure or failure of therapy.

 These steps are repeated until a stable state is achieved. In this the seeker is constantly cognizant of his deficiencies and effectively strives to improve on them.

Wa ma tawfeeqi illa billah

Acceptance of deeds: The sign

Our master Ali ibn al-Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) said,

‘If you are aware of any of your actions, that is a proof that it has not been accepted (by Allah). For that which is accepted is elevated  and hidden from you; your not noticing it is the sign of its acceptance.’

The stumbling of those aspiring, page 136

Trials: sabr o radha

  *ma parwarem dushman

Tragic accidents are trials.

They gauge our attitude and behavior evident as a reaction to these incidents.

Patience (sabr) here is not complaining at the decree of Allah.

Feeling sorrow, crying and being emotionally upset is not against this sabr.

*(I (may) nurture My enemy and kill My friend!

None can dare to question My decree)

Faqr’s wrap & weft

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Shaikh Abu ‘Abd al-Rehman al-Sulami (Allah ahve mercy on him) said,

Faqr: utter need, is one of the traits of servanthood (abdiyet).

In servitude there is neither arrogance nor pride, but rather humble submission and compliance.

Faqr is a fabric, the wrap of which is contentment with Allah (qana’a) and and the weft of which is humble submission (al-tawadhu).

The stumbling of those aspiring, page 129

Purity of heart

 

 Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve, protect him, facilitate and accept his Hajj with afiyet! Amin) said,

‘For sacred knowledge a pure heart is needed more than a genius mind. 

The purity of heart is achieved by remembrance of Allah and having a strong relationship with Him.’

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Piri – muridi: The reality of Tasawwuf Part 1

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Shah Wasiullah Allahabadi writes in the preface of ‘Tarbiyet us Salik‘ of Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on them) ,

‘The task of being a Shaykh is a lofty responsibility.

This is, because calling people towards Allah is the Prophetic job and the Shaykh is delegated to do it. Therefore, there can not be any doubt in its immense significance.

It is for this reason the quote of pious predecessors is famous,
الشيخ فى قومه كاالنبى فى أمته

A Shaykh in a community is like a Prophet in his Ummah.

Respected (poet) Hafiz Shirazi (Allah have mercy on him) pointed towards this in,

na har

(Not anyone with a glowing face knows how to flirt

Not anyone who makes a mirror act like Alexander

There are thousands of points thinner than a hair in this way

Not anyone who shaves his head can be a qalander)

ٖFrom the essentials of performing this task are two things that differentiate between a righteous and charlatan Shaykh.

First is his expertise in recognizing the aptitude and specific characteristics of the seeker’s temperament.

Secondly, his technique of instruction and training (the seekers accordingly) is at its most perfect level.

The greatness of the (Sufi) Masters is determined by their exceptional level of instruction and training. And this is the cause of their popularity in the (religious) elite.

In an era the Shaykh who is superior to all the contemporary Shuyukh in this field is known as ‘Qutub ul Irshad‘. Like Leader of the group Junaid al Baghdadi and Shaykh Ghuas e azam (Abdul Qadit al Jilani, may Allah sanctify their secret) etc. etc..

To be contd.

 Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 1, page 2

Baiyah: Types & instruction

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Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve and protect him) accepted a seeker’s request for baiyah. This individual has a islahi relationship with one of the mojazeen of sayyidi for the previous few and was proceeding for Hajj this year.

Prior to the ceremony sayyidi wa sanadi clarified,

‘There are two types of baiyah. First is that in which an individual pledges to do his islah (under the supervision of this specific Shaykh). It is baiyah as sulook. The other is for barakah and blessing (of being included into the Sufi silsila/order). It is baiyah tabarruk. This is the one we are doing.’

After the spiritual ceremony sayyidi instructed,

‘Continue with the recitations (ma’moolat) as recommended by your mentor. However, it must be clear that the main task is rectification of morals (islah ikhlaq). Read about them and ask your mentor whenever there is a suspicion.’

Baiyet e Kaiser,  Study, Residence, Darul uloom Karachi, 23 Shawwal 1436/9 August 2015

Repentance: The first step!

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A sincere reader wrote,

Assalam o alaikum…

My name is XYZ…. I’m a student of college… Basically I am from Town C.

I stumbled upon your site. Thanks for such an outstanding work for us. May Allah bless you and give you what you want in this life and after death.

I think I should come to the main point, Sir, I am only a Muslim by name. I do not say my prayers regularly, don’t recite Kitab ul Allah, although I’m a hafiz. But i think I forgot most of it. I cut my beard. And many things I am not able to say in front of you.

Sir! I’m very much worried about my emaan. I have been lost in this life. Totally forgot my mission in this life for which I have been sent.

Please tell me what can I do now to save my emaan?  How can i come back to a life of Muslim?How can i do what I’m suppose to do…?
Can you please tell me
JazakaALLAH

The reply sent,

Respected brother Hafiz XYZ sahib

as salamu alaykum wrwb

Jazak Allah

It is great to know about you.

Your email is reflective that, masha-Allah, you have importance and azmet of Deen in your heart. May Allah increase it more with ‘afiyet. Amin!

Please, be reminded that we are all humans. Weak in determination and lazy in action. It is in our nature to slip and fall down. However, it is abnormal to slip and not stand up, rub off the dirt, clean our-self and start walking again.

Please, do the same.

At the first opportunity take a bath (ghusul0, wear clean clothes, put some perfume (‘itr) and pray two rakat of salat e tauba. After salam raise hands and make heartfelt dua.

Tell Allah swt everything.

Tell Him that the disobedient slave has returned back to Your mercy.

Please, protect me and save me from my nafs and shaytan.

I am weak.

I repent from all that has been done.

I make firm determination that I will not do it again.

But what am I and what is my determination?

Ya Allah! only Your mercy will save me from committing sins again.

O Merciful have mercy on me. I have no other place to take refuge.

Like this pour out your heart. Take your time doing this.

After this, please, try your best to follow the basics of Islam on-wards. Especially, the 5 daily prayers on time.

Insha Allah gradually other things will be included. But do not rush now.

Remember, old bad habits die with difficulty. So do not expect miracles. There will be a struggle with nafs and shaytan. You have to have determination, high spirits and faith in Allah. Please, keep in contact with this lowly writer whatever your condition is on weekly basis. Insha Allah we will travel together on this path to Allah’s pleasure.

Avoid bad company. This includes friends, internet, books and magazines, etc.

Take care.

Do not worry a lot. Allah is most merciful.

Insha Allah, you will be successful.

muhtaj e dua

Hanif

(Edited for posting)

Shukr: appreciate the blessings & be thankful

  
On the day of Eid Al Fitr 1436 Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve and protect him) instructed,

‘Appreciate the blessings of Allah and be thankful excessively.

When I contemplate on the blessings of Allah that are being bestowed on me, it feels like like a torrential rainfall. Sometimes I fear that this might be istedraj. (May Allah save us all from it.) 

Recite abundantly (with contemplation of meanings)

اللهم اجعلنا شاكرين لنعمك مثنين بها قابليها وأتمها علينا

O Lord! make us thankful for the blessings You have bestowed on us, allowing us to appreciate them, making us competent of (utilizing) them (appropriately) and making them perfect for us.

Allah will bestow more blessings and facilitate further progress.’

Residence, Dar ul Uloom Karachi, 18/7/2015

Humility: the first lesson

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A sincere brother who had been murid of Arif billah Shaikh Hakeem Akhtar and is a mojaz of Shaikh Sayyid Eshrat Jameel Meer (Allah have mercy on them) requested for islahi relationship.

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve and protect him) had previously instructed him to contact the senior khulafa of his shuyukh. However, he insisted.

Sayyidi was sanadi replied,

‘Even previously I was inept ( at doing islah of others), however, recently I have become more so. Please, excuse me. It is not possible for me to reply to islahi letters anymore (due to health, large volume of letters and increased commitments).’

The brother insisted mentioning his istekhara and heartfelt attraction.

Sayyidi wa sanadi instructed him,

‘Remember that in this path one has to strive (to effectively do his/her islah). (That is, taking the path is not something ceremonial.)

Let me know in writing what had been instructed to you by your previous shuyukh and how much of it you are following (consistently).

Excuse me from replying to letters. Ask verbally whatever is required.’

Office, Darul Uloom Karachi, 10 Ramadan 1436/28 June 2015

Dhikr in salah

A seeker wrote,

In salah that are offered silently (in congregation) previously I used to recite Surah al Fatiha  in my mind to maintain concentration. However, now I do not find this interesting and want to do the dhikr Allah Allah in my mind. Is this appropriate?

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

‘No.

Contemplating about Surah al Fatiha is more appropriate.

However, (it is okay) if the dhikr Allah Allah flows out (in your mind) without your control (ikhteyar).’

Islahi Khatoot