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
رسول اللہ صلی اللہ علیہ واہ وسلم نے ارشاد فرمایا، جب عید کا دن ہوتا ہے تو اللہ تعالی ان (روزہ دار مسلمانوں) کی وجہ سے فرشتوں پر فخر کرتا ہے پس فرماتا ہے اے میرے فرشتوں کیا بدلہ ہے اس شخص کا جس نے اپنا کام پورا کر لیا ہو،
وہ عرض کرتے ہیں اے ہمارے رب ان کا بدلہ یہ ہے کے ان کا ثواب پورا دیا جاۓ۔
اللہ تعالی فرماتا ہے میرے بندے اور بندیوں نے میرے فرض کو پورا کردیا جو ان پر (ضروری)ہے پھر نکلے فریاد کرتے ہوۓ(مجھے) قسمہےاپنیعزتوجلالکیاوراپنےکرمکیاورعلو (شان) کیاوراپنےمرتبہکےبلندہونےکیمیںضرورانکیدعاقبولکرونگا۔
پھر اپنے بندوں سے خطاب فرماتا ہے تم لوٹ جاؤ! بےشکمیںنےتمکوبخشدیااوربدلدیاتمہاریبرائیوںکونیکیوںسے۔ (آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ والہ وسلم نے ارشاد فرمایا) پس وہ (عیدکی) نمازکےبعدبخشےہوۓلوٹتےہیں۔
Sayyidiwa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) said as he was replying to a spiritual seeker’s letter,
‘One of my friends was experiencing severe qabd (spiritual constriction).
This is a spiritual state. It is an exacting severe condition that may sometimes result in suicide attempts. And if dealt with successfully it leads to extreme proximity (qurb) of Allah.
It is not the laziness people ordinarily feel in doing good works.
I advised him to visit and stay in the company (suhba) of the pious (Ahl al-Allah). This is extremely beneficial in treating this condition. He resides in another city faraway and is adamant that he will take bayah nowhere else. However, when instructed firmly he started visiting someone pious (ahl al-Allah) in his vicinity. In the current letter he reports significant improvement in his condition.’
Addressing the audience in the office sayyidi reiterated the importance of pious company even without any oral communication, for the treatment of spiritual ailments.
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) once mentioned the following:
Expressing gratitude over a favour and being pleased with it, considering it to be purely the grace and mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, is the right which the one enjoying the favour owes to the One who bestowed him with the favour – Allah Ta‘ala. It is in reference to this that Allah Ta‘ala says in the Qur’aan Majeed:
Say, “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice.” (Surah Yunus v. 58)
This form of happiness and joy is actually a form of shukr to Allah Ta‘ala and hence it is praiseworthy and desirable in deen.
However, contrary to this, there is another form of happiness that equates to pride. This is where a person becomes boastful and happy over the bounty, attributing it to his own effort and achievement, and not to Allah Ta‘ala, and this is ingratitude to the One who bestowed the favour. The root cause of this ingratitude is that a person forgets and loses sight of the fact that this bounty and favour can be taken away from him at any moment. It is in reference to this boastful attitude that Allah Ta‘ala mentions in the Qur’aan Majeed:
When his people (the people of Qaaroon) said to him, “Do not be filled with boastfulness (in your happiness), indeed Allah does not like those who are filled with boastfulness (in their happiness).” (Surah Qasas v. 76)
In the case of Qaaroon, he was happy over the wealth itself (not the bounty of Allah Ta‘ala), so look at what an evil end and outcome he met!
When one receives the bounty and blessing, and then reflects that it belongs to Allah Ta‘ala and He may take it away at any time, then the feeling of gratitude that he experiences in his heart at that time is regarded as shukr to Allah Ta‘ala.
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)
Qutub Alam Shaikh Abdul Qudoos Al Gangohi (d:1537CE. Allah have mercy on him) said,
O Seeker of Truth! If the path of Islam was as easy (as you think) then everyone would become Shibli and Ibrahim bin Adham (Allah have mercy on them). (In reality) Until and unless you are a (true) Muslim from within you can never be a (real) Muslim from outside.
It is grieving and mournful to see these days that world is full of spiritual mentors (pir) and seekers (mureed) but no one can find a (true) Muslim.
What is mentor-seeker (piri-mureedi) relationship nowadays?
It is all idolatry and self-worship!
May Allah save us all from it. Ameen!
This is in reality my own mournful predicament. I tell it so others can learn from it.
Maktubaat e Qudoosiya, letter #111, page 480 (from Urdu translation by Shaikh Capt. Wahid Baksh Siyal rehmatullah aleh)
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.
A seeker wrote, I used to listen to a lot of bayans by arab sufis and Baraelwi’s but I found no good actions (amal) resulting so there must be a problem there There was a lot of show of love (izhaar of hubb and ishq) and ecstasy(wajd) but no change to the state of heart (haal of the qalb) as I found in the classic books like Ihya al Uloom ad Deen, etc.
So I would like to try the deobandi path which seems mature and well-balanced (mutadil) and closer to the teachings of Quran and Sunna (qareeb to the nusus) but there is still the fire of fervent love (ishq) running through it.
How do I do dowazdah?
Dowazdahtasbih is like medicine. It is neither masnoon nor mustaheb. Therefore, no basis other than experience of effectiveness in achieving the cure of heedlessness is required.
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
I think I have quite clear in my mind – from the theorical point of view – the status of Kashf, Tawajjuh, Karamat and so on in relation to the true objective of the Tariqah, their not being the goal, and even more, their being a potential fitnah and trap for the murid. But this quote I’ve read on a forum:
“The line of the chisti imdadiyah stopped doing these  because they became more of scholars. The elders were very high accomplished scholars and sufis. Unfortunately, the 2nd and 3rd generations lost this and the condition is even worse these days amongst the present day mashaikh of the tariqa”. [ The reference is to certain “particular” practices and ashghal adopted in the past in the Chishti Tariqah].
..raised some doubts in my mind, as I got the impression that some of today’s other Shuyukh propose a “dry”, simplified and just “moral” brand of Tasawwuf, with just its “ethical” part, leaving “metaphysics”, “spiritual stages” and more “deep”, “ruhani” stuff aside. I’d appreciate to read what would you reply to such allegations, so to put clarity and tranquility in my heart.
It is essential to have a vivid understanding of the reality of Tasawwuf upstart.
Please, review all the post on the site regarding this.
The greatest sufi having the highest level of marifah possible is our master Prophet Mohammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). His blessed life and ways are a role model for us.
Tasawwuf is to make this happen. It is always subservient to Shariah. The level of awareness of Allah needed to bring this is relative to the ghaflah (heedlessness) and involvement in worldly affairs of an individual.
The ashgal and azkar used by sufis to do so are therefore adjusted accordingly. They are neither a goal in themselves nor a superior form of worship or supposed to create a state other than required by Shariah.
The khashaf, karamat, etc are just some of the spiritual benefits of the moral purification. The best spiritual thing is a very strong and perpetual connection with Allah. A yearning and overwhelming desire to please Him and abstain from everything that displeases Him. This leads one to follow the teachings of Shariah meticulously.
I have persoanlly met sincere sufis that promise bayiat to the Prophet Prophet Mohammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) in a wakeful state. However, when measured in the scale of Sunnah and Shariah they failed terribly.
Alhumdullilah Ashrafi silaila is blessed with its portion of spiritual blessings. It is seldom mentioned due to their overwhelming state of humility. But you can have a glimpse of it in their poetic expressions. Most of our Mashaikh have dewans of poetry.
I hope I have made some sense. Please, do not hesitate to ask if there remains something unclear.