Category Archives: C. Blame worthy Morals

The bad moral characteristics that have to be removed from within ourselves

How to write a Islahi letter?

Following is a communication between a seeker requesting guidance on writing a letter to his spiritual mentor and the Ashrafiya reply.

1) How does one begin and end a letter? a. Does one write I hope you are well or ask How are you, etc.
b.or should one proceed directly?

a. It is quite appropriate to do so.
b. Sometimes I write some sentences of supplications (duaiya kalimat), like may Allah keep your blessed presence guiding us for long with afiyet or some times express gratitude to Allah for being able to communicate for islah, etc.

Best is to make a dua for facilitation in writing what is best for my own islah prior to writing the letter and then proceed with whatever comes to mind.

Is it appropriate to say Jazakumullahu khairan at the end? If not, what should be said as an expression of gratitude?

It is fine.
Also humbly request for special dua.

2) a.What is included in the ma’moolaat?
b.Does one write his daily routine to th shaikh?
c.What about the adhkaar, does one repeat his adhkaar in every letter?

a.The daily tasbihat, tilawet, munajet maqbool, qaza namaz wa roza and recommended reading.
b. Not all the time. Once is enough and if there is major change then report it to him again.
c. No. Just inform that whether you are consistent on the adhkar that were instructed to you or not.

3) Should one analyze his condition himself and report it to the shaikh, or should one merely report the circumstances?

In issues dealing with blameworthy characteristics (razail) one should tell the whole scenario and let Shaykh diagnose and treat.
In issues felt within (halaat) one should tell directly whatever that feeling/emotion is. If there is none then report that there is no new halat.

Islahi emails:IK

How to develop Determination?

The touchstone (kimiya) for islah is determination (himmat).

It is developed by

  1. Increasing one’s knowledge about the importance of the actions being neglected.
  2. Being in the company of people who already have determination, the pious (buzurgan e deen).
  3. Reading about the predecessor pious (akabir and ahl-e-himmat o muhabbat). Book Nuzhatul Basateen is best compilation about this.
  4. Making dua regularly. Asking Allah for determination everyday.
  5. Keeping in contact with the Shaykh irrespective of one’s condition (bad or good).

Islahi emails::MRK

Levels of beautification

A seeker wrote,

The aspect of show off (riya kari). How do I figure out if we are spending money to beautify the house for ourselves or so that it looks nice for guests?

Is decorating so that it looks nice to the guests riya kari?


Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) reminds us of the 4 levels of beatification as told by Hakim al-Ummat ra,

Bare minimum for residence (Rehaish)

Comfortable living (aasaish)

Decorating it (araaish) for ones own liking and

Decorating it to show off (numaish).

First 3 are permissible and the last is impermissible.

Islahi emails:TA

Extravagant spending

A seeker wrote,

In the last month I spent a lot of time along with my family members on picking up the interior materials like carpet, hardwood, cabinets, counters etc. We also got a lot of stuff that we really liked it e.g. best quality hardwood flooring, better appliances etc. For a lot of the things we could have gone with much cheaper stuff but we spent money on what we liked in a reasonable limit. At the same time I feel we didn’t stretch our selves beyond our means. A few points that I wanted to mention InshaAllah the aspect of ‘fuzool kharchi’ Although I spent the money, I am thinking that may be the $20,000 spent on the upgrades should have been given to the poor (for the size of our house I have normally seen people spending around 60000 – 80000 in upgrades, as the builders give really cheap stuff by default).

Ashrafiya replied,

This is not extravagant spending (fuzool kharchi).

The money spend for the comfort of family, friend and other Muslims is also rewarding.

Also, it will make your thankfulness (shukur) more heartfelt.

Islahi emails:TA

Feeling Gifted

A seeker wrote, I wanted to explain one behaviour in this regard. Whenever I see people who have been blessed a little less in one department e.g. Appearance or intelligence, a thought comes to my mind like feeling sorry for the person. I try my best not to be judgemental about the person based on that or comment in front of anyone else. I feel guilt about this reaction.
I wanted to add that I don’t feel this way when the person leading the
salah is older than me or has a more shari appearance or demonstrably
more knowledgeable in Islam.
Which may mean that I consider myself superior to someone who does not fit in one of the above mentioned groups, astaghfirullah. Although I do try my best to think and negate this false feeling of superiority when I remember.

Ashrafiya replied,

It is natural to feel gifted compared to others.

However, we must be excessively thanful to Allah for this benovence for selecting us and not placing us in the deprived category.

Also, we should remind ourself that these blessings are purely a gift of Allah and my own effort or capabilities or virtues having nothing whatsoever to do with them. Allah who has given this has full control to take away whenever He so decides.

Combining these thoughts actively will inshaAllah lead to more humbleness and gratitude.

Islahi emails:TA

Humility

A seeker wrote,

This question is about an issue that I feel seriously effects me. Its about considering myself better than others. I am not sure how to explain it properly but I feel that I think this way. I feel there is a sense of ‘kibr’ in me, the humility that should be the defining characteristic of a good muslim just seems to be absent. I feel I have to fake the humility constantly.
I constantly try to focus on the good qualities of other people and ponder upon the humility of our pious predecessors. But I feel my natural instinct is a feeling of superiority which I know has no basis.

Ashrafiya replied,
InshaAllah, with increasing marifet this humility will become more evident.

For the present make it a practice to recall whenever you see someone that he is superior to me and I am the most inferior (haqeer) of all.

Islahi emails

Doubt of Show off

A seeker wrote,

When I am asked to lead a salat I notice that I tend to offer it more properly. I feel that I have the responsibility of others. Is this show off (riyakari)?

Ashrafiya replied,
No. It is natural to do so under pressure. However, there should not be any drastic changes. Also, Imam’s salah should be very concise and light.

Islahi emails

Living in joint family

In response to a question regarding living in joint family Ashrafiya replied,

It is highly discouraged these days.

However, you have to be very gentle, humble and diplomatic in conveying this to your parents.

Do it slowly. Be open. Prepare well before the discussion. Show extreme empathy and understanding. Stress that you are totally committed for close family ties and it is only to maintain these it is in the best interest of all to live separately. It can be upper lower level or adjacent or same neighborhood residence.

Make lot of dua regarding this. InshaAllah best will happen.

Islahi emails:TA

Treatment for Pornography Addiction

A seeker wrote,

I am writing in regards to a very serious problem that I reported earlier too. I am feel extremely ashamed to write about this but I have to disclose the gravity of the issue in detail.

Ashrafiya replied,
This feeling, discussion and attempt to improve a destructive condition is in itself a huge blessing of Allah. This is what they call ‘kibreyet-e-ahmar‘ the red sulphur. That is the alchemy compound that changes wrought iron to pure gold. MashaAllah.

The seeker continued,

I got seriously addicted to pornography and masturbation a long time back (~10 years). I can’t even count the hours, days, months of valuable time that I have wasted to this ugly habit. So many qada salats as a result. So many missed classes at university. It won’t be exagerration to say that my university grades badly suffered, but Allah was immensly Kareem that He still granted me enough grades to survive and a good job thereafter. I even watched it at work, despite the fear that I might get caught and expelled. It was literally my drug of choice to escape the world’s challenges. A report that I don’t want to write at school, a problem stuck at work, anger at someone. Always found temporary escape in this habit, only to face the realities in tougher circumstances later on. I am extremely ashameful to write this, but even during some fasts in Ramadan, I just gave up to the urge and acted out. I can’t even remember the number of times that I repented. Allah has been immensly kareem that He kept my honour and dignity despite years of being a very bad slave, astahgfirullah. I was and still am deeply shackled. But I must thank Allah that despite extreme desire and abundant opportunities I refrained from any further steps.
But even at that time I wasn’t very willingly doing it. Part of me always wanted to get rid of this habit. I used to give myself this false hope that marriage will end this misery, rather than doing something about it then. And then I got married to a very beautiful lady by the grace of Allah. Of course each person has plus and minuses but she was honestly crafted to my liking Alhamdulillah. But it seems it was too late until then, I was so used to pleasing myself in a certain way that I could not find proper pleasure in married sexual life. In my mind I used to blame her for not being cooperative enough. Even after Alhamdulillah the cutest baby girl was born she was sick for a few months and then ofcourse the new child brought new challenges like lack of sleep which deeply affected intimacy. All in all my sexual life has been in complete disarray. To be honest even during our intercourses I was always thinking about other women. I must also mention that I was also indulged in a greater evil of reading erotic stories. That honestly was 100 times worse than watching porn (which by the grace of Allah SWT I have given up for a long time now). That really made my mentality a lot uglier and I still feel the effect to this date. I can’t even write but the worst kinds of thoughts would be in mind all the time like swinging etc. I always had in my mind the strict Islamic penalties of doing something physical so I just chose to remain in a virtual world.
Alhamdulillah especially since my islahi talluq I have worked on many things and noticed significant improvements, for example controlling my gaze and back biting. One difference I feel between this and the other issues is that despite looking at other ladies or talking about other behind their back being source of temporary pleasure, there is not a strong inherent urge for me to do it. But this to me is like hunger, I just get an extremely strong urge to act out. I will feel pain and weird tingling feelings in my lower abdomen. My heart rate will start elevating and dropping. Sometimes I fight the urges for a few days but then give in. And to be honest its like one of things where you want to give up but at the same time you don’t want to give up. When I tell myself I have to give it up for good, I can’t answer how will I satisfy my sexual urges then.
For a while I did the 8 raka’ats to make up for every time I acted out but then got lazy and stopped doing it properly, or may be it just became a routine. Sometimes I stop doing sincere repentance, as my inner voice says to me, what’s the point when you know will return.
Even during my morning daily routine (zikr, Quran or dua) I just feel the strong urges.

I am so sorry for such a long write-up but I am really writing with a lot of hope inshaAllah. I feel really frustrated. I have felt like a prisoner in my own body for so many years now.

Ashrafiya replied,

JazakAllah for this open and honest report.
May Allah make it easier for both of us to gain His pleasure. Ameen!

InshaAllah, we will work on it together to improve the conditions.

1.Keep a strong hope that by Allah’s support you will build up powerful determination to get rid of this evil from your life. Mayosi haram hay.

  1. Make sincere repentance after reading this letter. Pray two rakats salatul tawbah and sit infront of Allah. Acknowledge all the blessings Allah has bestowed on you, like being, body, mental capacities, health, welath, family, job, etc etc. Then acknowledge your short commings. Tell Him that you have no place to go. Tell Him that you are weak and shackled by your desires. You want to give up this and be a obidient servant. Ask Allah for help and support in doing so. Try to cry or make your facial expression like it. Do this is detail. Do it whenever you fail. Never give up hope.
  2. Then onwards make a fresh start with a renewed determination.
  3. After every salat ask Allah for help in this matter in particular. Also pray that you develop nafrat-e-tabi’i from pornogrphy (i.e. aversion like that from urine and feces).
  4. Try your best to keep yourself busy.
  5. Limit your time on internet.
  6. Make sure your diet does not have any dubious or haram in it.
  7. Take your spouse in confidence. Be open with her and tell her that what you are going through and it will be unhealthy for both of you and the marriage and the children if this continues. This will need courage. However, it is essential.
  8. Talk to yourself daily for 3 minutes about how destructive this is for yourself. In addition to being sinful and displeasing to Allah it is violation of the rights of your wife, your obligations of being a son, husband and a father. It is waste of the bodily resources, valueable time and money. The pleasure it gives is short lived and followed by guilt and shame, etc. etc
  9. Please, keep me informed whenever you fail. Do not feel ashamed. InshaAllah together we will do it. I am making dua in this regards. Amy Allah SWT help us. Amin!

Islahi emails:TA

The struggle

A seeker wrote,

This is something that I wanted to write about for a while. I am continuing to struggle with dirty thoughts. Many thanks to Allah SWT that controlling the gaze has improved a lot.

Ashrafiya replied,
MashaAllah. May Allah give strength in your determination and make it practical for you to use your will power to stop this activity.

Make dua a lot for Allah SWT’s help in this regards.

Fix penalty for each mistake. Like 4 nafil rakat or skipping a meal.

After each namaz for one minute close your eyes and imagine ,”I’m in front of Allah and He is watching me.” A pratical way is to recite this sentence 33 times in your imagination. It will be approximately 1 minute duration.

I am also making dua especially in this regards.

Also, it will be advisable to increase the intimacy with your spouse.

Islahi emails:TA

Involvement in Islamic Associations

A seeker wrote,

I wish to inquire about involvement in the local Islamic association. As I mentioned earlier the local association in our split into two groups due to internal differences. Unfortunately egos were flying high on both sides and a lot of actions were done in the ‘zid’ of the other party. e.g. One side opened up a musalla and the other bought a house for mosque purpose 1km away. The two sides were also planning to conduct taraweeh literally across the street from each other (which is sad since the resources could have been allocated to help out muslims on other parts of the city). Alhamdulillah a member of our community worked very hard to unite them and convince for one taraweeh salat during this blessed month. I was helping him out too.

I have noticed that in these situations, conflicts, politics, argumentation and other negative characters do arise (even if you try your best to steer away, people will oppose). But on the other hand I feel that if one leaves this completely either things won’t be done or others will get things done their way.

Please suggest a course of action.

Ashrafiya replied,

It is best to keep a low profile.

This does not mean to be totally passive. The correct view/truth should be stated in a firm and explicit way. One should personally stick to it. If people ask his opinion specifically he should tell it point blank.

However, this should not become an agitation movement. This ruins ones spirituality. Instead one should make lot of dua, salat hajjat, etc. for haqq to prevail.

Continue with your present way. Make lot of dua asking Allah for guidance at each and every step. (A concise istekhara dua is: Allahahuma khirli wakhtarli).

However, whenever you feel that this involvement is damaging your spirituality withdraw and help by dua only.

Islahi emails:TA