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
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.
At the movement i am suffering from FOCUS problem during my study and Office work. Its happening with me since 1 year. When I try to FOCUS on the book , different kinds of negative thoughts hold my mind , therefore I cant understand a easy paragraph. And sometimes when this problem increases, I face problems in my official work also.
Do not worry. InshAllah this will improve with time. For now do the following, Organize your time. Keep things simple. Do one task at a time.
For now just read the books of Hakim al Umma Maulana Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him).
Hakim al Umma Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) once mentioned:
Mr. Ilaahi Bakhsh was an influential prominent person from Meerut who was blessed with wisdom. He once made a very beneficial statement. He said,
“In order to alleviate financial difficulty, people make an effort to increase their income, whereas this is not generally within a person’s control. However, they do not consider or make an effort to decrease their expenditure – especially unessential expenditure which can be greatly decreased, whereas this is something within the control of every person.”
When any opportunity of leading Salah (or any other opportunity which may put in prominence) comes up, I can almost “feel” my Nafs getting pleasure as if I’ve already taken that opportunity. But I make sure I run away from that opportunity, by either leaving that place, or distracting myself by doing some Zikr, or reading some book, or thinking about something. I conclude from these feelings that Hubb e jah has not left me, but Inshallah I’m trying to suppress it as much as I can.
One has to differnetiate between the random thoughts (wasawes) and the real spiritual disease. Wasawes are created by nafs and Shaitan to bother us and keep us occupied in them instead of the the real issues.
Whereas, the spiritual diseases are all ikhteyari. That is volitional, within your own control. You consciously decide to do this to get pleasure.
In my lowly opinion you are having wasawes. Just ignore them and keep yourself busy in what needs to be done.
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.
A seeker from India requested to join the Ashrafiya silsila,
I’m from Maharashtra state India…After studying and researching on Islam and tassawuf I came to conclusion that ” Silsila of Hazrat Thanvi” has the perfect balance of tariqat and shariat….And I am amazingly impressed by Hakeemul ummats book, dr Abdul Hai arifi and Mufti Taqi Usmani…..I want to practically join this silsila for the purpose of attaining the riza e elahi….so that i could have the communications with shaikh and undertake the process of islah…..Please guide me what should i do for this need….
MashaAllah your email is reflective of your intelligence, correct understanding of deen and desire for gaining Allah’s pleasure. These are magnanimous blessings of Allah. May Allah increase them more with ‘afiyet and give you their rewards. Amin!
Please, do not rush to commit.
Physical nearness is highly recommended for this relationship.
Take your time.
Visit 2 or 3 pious Shuyukh of Ashrafiya silsila in your vicinity.
Do research about them.
See the condition of their murideen. Have they progressed to be better practicing Muslims?
Do consultation (mashwera) with pious individuals and istekhara and then only commit.
In the blogroll there are links to various Shuyukh in India.
Personally I recommend contacting Hazrat Mawlana Qamaruz Zaman sahib Allahabadi db. He is one of the senior most mashaikh of our silsila. Take his guidance on this matter.
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.
Go slow and easy initially. Do not exhaust yourself by fixing a routine that is beyond your limits. Make lot of dua for ease, guidance and acceptance from Allah in this regards.
Also, it must be remembered that all these things are supererogatory (nafil) to provide assistance in fulfilling the essentials (wajibat) to gain Allah’s pleasure. The most important of which is to abstain from all that is impermissible (sins). Also, your duties as a son, brother, husband, father, being a employee at work, or as a student in college have priority over all these nafil activities.
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 (duaiyakalimat), 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.
The sulook is individualized and tailored to each and every seeker’s (talib’s) condition.
Also, Shuyukh have various personal temperament (zauq) in implementing their sulook.
This is reason for one-to-one: Shaykh-murid relationship.
This also highlights the importance of being on the same mental wave length (munasbet) with the Shaykh prior to becoming a murid.
To really achieve this it is essential to visit and correspond with the Shaykh for a considerable period of time before committing yourself.
It is vital to remember all that has been said before in this regards and visit/revisit/correspond with these individuals, do istikhara & istishara (consultation with the Allah & wise men) before making the final desicion.
Jazakallahukhair Hazrat Ali Mian (Allah have mercy on him) told us to do the 3 tasbeehat of durood,astaghfar and 3rd kalima.
Unfortunately i dont do them regularly.I just do some zikr of durood and istaghfar randomly or while doing some household work.
Maybe i should try to be punctual in those before taking bayat from someoneelse?
JazakAllah for the kind email. It is very much reflective of your ture yearning (talub). MashaAllah. May Allah increase it with afiyet. Amin.
Yes continue with what Hadhrat instructed.
If due to work, etc you cannot do 100 times, do 33 or 11 times daily. However, fix a time for them, for example after asr salah.
Also, make daily esal e sawab for him, atleast surah ikhlas 3 times.
In the meantime look for a Shaykh with whom you can easily communicate. The reality of bayat is to get instructions (to lead a true Islamic life). These are individualized to your circumstances and therefore, more beneficial then other good advice.