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
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) was replying to the letters of spiritual aspirants.
After reading a letter he addressed those sitting in his office,
One of my friends (Shaikh usually uses this title for those seeking spiritual reformation (islah) under his supervision) is blessed with witnessing of the Holy Prophet (Allah’s blessings & peace be upon him) frequently. Sometimes it is in sleep (dream), other times in a state between sleep and wakefulness and also in wakeful state.
A great blessing indeed!
However, few things must be clear about this phenomenon.
Firstly, it is something beyond one’s volition. It is ghairikhteyari. It is a blessing and one should be excessively thankful to Allah for it. However, it is not a sign of spiritual proximity. One should not consider him/herself spiritually superior to others because of it.
Secondly, if one is blessed with this for a while and then it ceases to exist than also it is not a sign of spiritual decadence.
The only thing that matters in spiritual proximity are an individual’s actions. That is doing good and abstaining from sinful.
This must be explicitly clear.’
Ramadan 1442, post zohar, office, Darul Uloom Karachi
For development and maintenance of reverence of God (taqwa) in our post-Ramadan life sayyidi wa sanadi Shaikh Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) said,
1.Leave sinful activities:
Be strict on holding your lower (nafsani) desires. Make a firm determination. Do not yield to these sinful desires easily. These desires and Satan are our two arch enemies.
2. Change the thought pattern.
The mind is constantly occupied with thoughts. There is no gap or vacuum in this process. These thoughts are either of worldly matters or useless issues or sinful activities. It is essential to intervene and develop a spiritually healthy though pattern. We have to actively think about hereafter, heavens, thankfulness of Allah for the innumerable bounties and blessings bestowed upon us, asking refuge for anticipated calamities, repenting from sinful activities, etc.
3. Adopt pious company
This is the most effective way to achieve the change of thought pattern. It leads to absorption, assimilation and implementation of the Divine teachings in our life. Without the company of the the pious the Deen remains limited to superficial level.
4. Make remembrance of Allah
Set up a daily routine of making remembrance of Allah. There are three categories of remembrance of Allah. First is that it is done with the tongue without presence of mind. Second is when tongue is silent and there is mindfulness. Finally, when both tongue and mind are making the remembrance together. Do not under evaluate even the first category. It is a stepping stone for the rest of the categories. Moreover, with consistency it eventually engulfs the mind also.
Make a daily time table for this. The daily activities done in an organised method creates barakah in time. More things are done in the same period of time. Include in it these four things, recitation of Holy Quran atleast two pages daily, durood, third kalima and istegfar. Fix a specific time for them. In other times recite whatever form of remembrance comes to mind.
The remembrance of Allah (dhikr) is a form of energy and power. It assists in development of determination to fight the lower desires.
5. Make supplication (dua)
Set a specific time for this. Like prior to sleeping, after esha. For few minutes sit and supplicate.
Say, ‘O Allah I want to follow the path You are pleased with. I want to control my thoughts, aspirations and desires as per Your desires. You have repeatedly instructed us in the Holy Quran to do so. How can I do it? I am weak. My determination and effort are feeble. Provide from Your benevolence and mercy the determination, power and motivation so I can control my desires and make them totally subservient to Your commands.’
Make this supplication daily without any gap. It is impossible that Allah will reject this supplication indeed.
29th Ramadan 1432/30th August 2011, Darul Uloom masjid, after duhur bayan.
Hazrat, what would you say about the subtle feeling of being some sort of unproductive during acts of worship or of spirituality?
Could it be a modern disease or at least weakness or mistuning of the heart, which needs rectification? As when the feeling grows, one becomes even lazy towards faraidh.
Or is it more of a غير اختیاری feeling like جی نہیں لگنا and thus should simply be ignored?
Or is it even helpful in order to save oneself in his youth from excessive ibaadah and nawafil and put effort into learning and earning? It might be protect from premature buzurgi.
Some guidance regarding this would be appreciated. JazakAllahu khayran.
This is reflective of poor understanding of Deen. Works of extra worship and spirituality are done to subdue the nafs, develop a perpetual state of being cognizant that Allah is aware of what I am doing/thinking etc. and become a true Muslim up to the standard required. It has nothing to do with buzurgi.
This is one of the most common prevalent misconceptions.
It’s cause is neglecting the suhba of the pious.
It requires rectification. This is by setting a regular schedule of pious company (where the intention is nothing but self islah. No waaz, knowledge or nasihat is the objective) and a daily routine of ma’mulaat that include recitation of Quran kareem, tasbihat, adiya e masnonah and few nawafil.
Shaikh Ahmed Arqam Balkhi (Allah have mercy on him) narrates that once my inner-self (nafs) insisted that I go and join the battle (jihad). I was surprised. In Quran Allah says that nafs commands to do evil and my nafs was telling me to do something virtuous. How can this be possible?
I confronted the nafs and said that most probably you are sick of staying in solitude and want that I go in the army where people will pay respect to me. However, I am going to fight alone (not join the army). Nafs agreed. I became more suspicious. I told him that I will fight without ammunition and die first. He agreed to it also. I told him many similar things and he agreed to all.
I was perplexed.
I prayed fervently to Allah to show me nafs’ deception.
In a vision (mukashafa) I saw my nafs.
He said that every day you kill me several times by not doing what I command, so if you go for Jihad and are killed instantaneously then it will be easier.
Moreover, no one knows about this daily struggle. It is hidden from all. But if you are killed in battlefield everyone will speak highly about you. All will say Ahmed is a martyr (shaheed).
The deception of nafs are complex and deep. They requires consultation with a mentor (murshid).
Tanveer ul Afaq: Shah Turab Ali Qalandar (Allah have mercy on him)
In general it is about the importance paid by the Chishti mashaikh on following the Sunnah.
There is a detailed communication of Hakim al Umma rehmatullah aleh on the maslak of Hazrat Haji Imdadullah sahib rehmatullah aleh and that of his deobandi khulafa. It is included in the book Bawader al nawadir, page194 – 204 the book can be downloaded on read online from the following link,
The concept of bidah as understood and implemented in practice by the scholars of Deoband must be very clear upfront. Most of the practices which we identify as bidah these days are rusoom that were mubah/permissible activities. In previous generation the over all religiosity was better than nowadays and people knew that these are cultural and customary practices. They indulged in them with a good intention. Most importantly they knew definitely that these are neither Sunna or wajib practices. However, in later generations the over all religiosity decreased (see for yourself nowadays) and especially the lay people (most of whom are negligent in observance of Sunna and wajibat) started to regard these activities essential. They criticized those who did not do so or said that one can be a Sunni Sufi without them. That was the point when scholars o Deoband took the bold stand.
Hazrat Haji Imdadullah sahib mohajir Makki rehmatullah aleh was well aware of the stance of his deobandi khulafa. However, he was also aware that these practices are cultural/customary rituals, they are neither from aqaid or ebadaat. Thay are zauqi umoor. The book Faisala hafta masala explicitly documents this.That is the reason he did not cancel their khilafet or forced them to do what they considered bidah. He tried his best that the two parties understand each others view point. He endorsed the book written by both of them.
Sayyidiwasanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) said while consoling a gentleman who lost his son,
‘I remind people who have lost their dear ones to imagine how you manage when you have a child living abroad. You don’t meet him for years. But you are content that he is living happily. You don’t see him all the time or talk to him often but you are satisfied about his well being. Similarly a believer (momin) feels the same about his departed loved ones. Moreover, this separation is temporary. It is not permanent. One day you are going to meet him. This is the meaning of
انا للّٰہ و انا الیہ راجعون۔
We certainly belong to Allah, and to Him we are bound to return. 2:156
When this meeting will happen no one knows. But it will, for sure, occur.
Till that time you can send him gifts 🎁 in form of forwarding the reward of good deeds (esal-e-thawab) as much as you wish. This will certainly benefit him as has been reported in authentic sayings of Prophet of Allah (Allah’s blessing & peace be upon him).
This thinking gives much consolation to the bereaved family members.’
Saturday 2 January 2021, post-zohar, Hazrat residence, Darul Uloom Karachi
Sometimes I would look at non-Muslims, or non-practising-Muslims, and the thought of Hell would cause me grief and anxiety. I would get this feeling of helplessness, that I’m not helping them despite knowing.
The best help is to make dua for them and be a role model Muslim. Set 2 or 3 minutes daily to make dua specifically for all of them.
The daily ma’moolat were going OK for some time until I got the thought that Qada salah has priority over Quran recitation, so I tried to give more time to Qada salah. But I was not able to keep up with this change in routine beyond a few days. This change in routine, which was done without seeking your permission, caused me distress, as I was not abe to fulfill this routine. I have now reverted back to 8 rakat per day, as were your instructions, and will increase it on a day-to-day basis, without increasing the daily minimum. Please advise regarding this.
Keep the daily routine as usual.
Drastic and quick changes are usually difficult to maintain.
Do not be in a rush. Alhumdulillah you have a sincere intention of qada, inshaAllah you will be able to do so eventually.
Be aware that the tricks of nafs and shaitan are not limited to sinful activities. Sometimes it creates fitna in permissible and rewardable activities. Be cautious.
A few days after my last email, thanks to your duas, Allah gave me Tawfeeq to pray Tahajjud Salah. I pray Qada Salah at that time, as well as recite the portion of the Quran revised the day before. For about two weeks, I read 1 Hizb of Munajat-e-Maqbool at that time, but owing to shortage of time, I now sometimes make my own dua, and sometimes read from Munajat. Please instruct how I should best utilize that blessed time. I normally get about 30 minutes. Sometimes, perhaps due to my sins, I wake up only for Fajr.
Please, be gentle on yourself.
Evaluate and see if your daily activities allow you to spare 30-45 minutes for tahajjud, with a minimum of 6 hours (preferrably 8 hours) of good sleep.
Please, remember tahajjud in spite of all its virtues is supererogatory (nafil), whereas, taking care of your health and family sustenance (by work/education/job), etc. is wajib. We have to balance them.
InshaAllah, eventually a time comes on the path when this becomes easier for us.
The akabir stress on making dua in this time. InshaAllah, a time comes on the path when this becomes easier for us.
The pious predecessors (akabir) stress on making dua in this time.
Next ~3 days: Suddenly I began feeling the daily routine as a burden. I did not feel like doing Zikr, or reading Quran, or praying any Salaah beyond the Fard, and I was getting increasing ‘khayaals’ to do Gunaah. This has always happened to me as long as I can think back. I would be doing good A’amaal for some time, and then I would face this condition. Please give some explanation of this state, and also suggest what I should do to avoid this, or if it cannot be avoided, what should I do if this happens again.
This is quite normal.
The initial enthusiasm waxes away for everything.
This is the moment of test. Ego-centric self (Nafs) and Shaitan will try their best to derail and demotivate you.
Being persistent in these circumstances is the key to success.
Ignore the negative feelings and thoughts. Just complete the routine you have fixed.
It is just like eating or going to work in spite of a strong desire not to do so. But the essential activities are to be done., otherwise health will deteriorate or job will be lost. Similar is the case here. If you become lax and start being negligent, then this Divine-calling (warid) for good actions may go away (Allahumahafizna).
In response to a seeker’s question regarding giving up all the permissible activities Ashrafiya replied
InshaAllah, travelling on this path attaches the heart of the aspirant to Allah in such a manner that eventually all other things become petty. Outwardly he may appear to be involved in all the usual day to day activity but inwardly his condition is of perpetual awareness and attachment. May Allah give this to both of us.
Our akabir advice not to give up the permissible worldly (dunyawi) stuff outright. This is because it will create a vaccum and if that vaccum is not filled with something beneficial it will be filled with impermissible stuff. Allah save us from this.
However, when the attachement and awareness of Allah increases it automatically drives away all other useless things even though they are permissible.
It is a principle of Tasawwuf: There must be NO haste in making bayiat.
Firstly you have to understand why do you want it in first place?
What expectations do you have?
Then you have to look for an appropriate Shaykh with whom you have munasibet (congeniality). That is, you feel comfortable taking instructions from him and do not feel negatively about his method, instruction etc. Then Shaykh also needs to have munasbet with you. You have to make consultation with scholars and other shuykh about this shaykh in particular. Only after all this you make istekhara and then make the pledge.
However, bayiat is neither essential prerequisite nor a condition to make effort for islah (reformation). This is wajib all the time. Start this right away.
The best things do now will be,
Make special dua for finding a Shaykh. Especially after each esha salat for at least 5 mins.
Try your best to abstain from all sinful activities. Especially those related to eyes, ears and tongue. Internet misuse is a big issue. Be careful. Bad habits once developed are very hard to rectify.
Get organized. Have a daily time table. Set time for recitation of Quran sharif, few azkar and reading from a Islamic text, even a single page daily is enough.
Keep good company. In people, books, websites, etc. Avoid corrupt company.
Focus on your studies seriously. They are like a wajib for you.
Keep looking for a Shaykh. InshaAllah, you will be successful. Till then please, feel free to contact this lowly writer for any questions. The benefit is mutual. JazakAllah
Hakim al Umma Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) once mentioned:
Every action of a person, whether relating to deen or dunya, if analyzed on the surface, can be divided into one of three categories. The first category of actions are those actions which bring benefit to a person, the second category of actions are those actions which bring harm and loss to a person, and the third category of actions are those actions that neither bring benefit nor harm to a person.
However, if one has to carefully ponder over these three categories of actions, one will realize that the third category of actions also falls under the second category (the category of harmful actions). The reason is that had one utilized the time and energy that he spent in the futile action for some beneficial action, then he would have certainly reaped some benefit. Thus, one not utilizing the time and energy correctly causes one to be deprived of the benefit that he could have acquired. This in itself is a great loss.
This can be easily understood through the example of a businessman who invests his capital in a business venture through which he neither yields profit nor incurs a loss. Even though he did not lose any money through such an investment, on account of him not acquiring the profit that he had anticipated and hoped for, he considers such an investment as a loss.