Category Archives: N. Advice

Madrassa for girls


Addressing an administrator of a girls madrassa Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve and protect him) said,

‘The number of madrassa (traditional Islamic teaching institution) for girls is now exceeding that for boys (in Pakistan).   I fail to understand the emphasis been given to this phenomenon. 

Are there any precedents for this from our earlier pious predecessors, the Blessed Companions, the Ta’baeen, the one who came after them or even our elders of Deoband?

I fear these institutions, especially those with residential hostels for possible inappropriate mishaps. 

The admintrator replied that even at Dar ul Uloom Karachi there is a girls madrassa. 

Sayyidi wa sanadi clarified, ‘This was started in an era when there were no such institutions. Moreover, we try our best that all teaching is via female instructors.’

Another scholar commented that the duration of the course for females has now been extended to 8 years. 

Sayyidi replied,

‘It is 6 years for the expedited track. I agree with this. Previously the 4 years course was severely deficient.  The graduates were deemed alimah (scholars) whereas in fact they remained jahilah (grossly ignorant). ‘

Office, Darul Uloom Karachi 

21 Ramadan 1437/ 27 June 2017 post zuhar

Refuge from calamities 


Shaykh MansurAli Khansb Ali Khan (Allah protect & preserve him) said,

‘In this day and age where there are colossal calamities even in religious affairs around us we should ask Allah excessively for refuge. 

Now I appreciate Arif billah Dr Abdul Hayy’s (Allah have mercy on him) inclusion of asking refuge (istea’za) in the four priceless spiritual actions (char beshbaha mahasen) he so often recommended. This is something outstanding. 

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) included a section of Prophetic supplications of asking refuge in every day recitation of Munajat e Maqbool

Once Mufti Mohammed Shafi (Allah have mercy on him) instructed me that if you are unable to ask Allah by reciting all the supplications in Munajat e Maqbool in lail al-qadr (the night of Power) then select the sections of asking Allah’s refuge. ‘

Jeddah 28 Sha’baan 1437/4 June 2016

Shaykh’s job


Musleh al Umma Maulana Shah Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘A genuine (muhaqqiq) Spiritual mentor’s  (Shaykh) job is to inform the disciple of his shortcomings.

That is what I (personally) practice.  And then I evaluate how much sinful involvement has he (the disciple) abandoned.

I do not inquire about the litanies (wird) recited.  Brother! If you recite the wird you will for sure get inspiration (warid). This is an affair between you and Allah. Your reward will be according to the effort you put in. ‘

Majales Musleh al Umma ra, volume 6, page 129

Nafl: pray at home

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Mufti Rashid Ahmad al-Ludhyanwi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

—————-it is more meritorious and rewarding to perform nafl salat (supererogatory prayers) and recitation of Holy Quran (tilawah) at home.

In fact, there is even more reward to perform these acts of worship at home than in the Masjid Haram (Makkah Mukarramah) and in the Masjid Nabawi (upon him blessings and peace).

In this regard, it is stated in a hadith from Zayd bin Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) said, ‘The (nafl) salat of a person in his home is more rewarding than his salat in my (this) masjid, except the obligatory prayers.’” (Abu Dawud)

Gathering in the Masjids on Auspicious Nights (A Hanafi Viewpoint)

Tasawwur e Shaikh: Ashrafiya Approach 1

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Mufti of Kazakhstan  inquired, ‘The inclination towards purification (tazkiya) of soul and moral characteristics (ikhlaq) is arising in our youth. However, the mentors they approach (for this) instruct them  ‘tasawwur e Shaikh‘ with much emphasis. This is to the extent that they are told to contemplate all the time that I am seeing the Shaikh. Please, guide us on this. Isn’t this  an  overstatement (gulu)?’

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

‘Tasawwur e Shaikh’ was a form of (spiritual) treatment used by some of the ancient master of Tasawwuf. Its was for the the individual’s who found it difficult to keep the contemplation of Allah (‘s presence, especially) initially. For them some masters prescribed as a form of treatment (of this difficulty) to contemplate about their mentor (Shaikh). This is because the relationship, love and reverence for Shaikh is solely to gain Allah’s pleasure and it easier to imagine an entity one has seen than what he has not seen. Then gradually the masters will guide him to the real objective, that is, contemplation of Allah. Hence, tasawwur e shaikh is not an objective in itself. (It is a stepping stone to the real objective.)

The pious righteously-guided masters (ahle-haqq) who did use this did not make it an integral part of their path. They instructed it individually as needed for a disciple for whom it was suitable paying due considerations to its  conditions and limitations.

Even so, the masters of our path, the pious-predecessors of Deoband did not encourage ‘tasawwur e Shaikh’. This is because sometimes its limits are not maintained and it leads to shirk (associating partners with Allah). However, at the same time they do not castigate the rightly guided masters who did instruct it with its conditions and limitations.

Once Sayyid Ahmed shaheed prescribed ‘tasawwur e shaikh’ for Shah Ismaeel shaheed (Allah have mercy on them).  Shah Ismaeel apologized saying that if I was ordered to do something  even inappropriate (sinful) I would have done it and then repented. But in ‘tasawwur e shaikh‘ I smell shirk. Therefore, I will not do this.

The way of our pious predecessors of Deoband (akabir e Deoband) was that the contemplation of Allah that develops by observing the Sunna practices is sufficient (for a seeker). This is because following the Sunna is the most effective way of gaining Allah’s proximity (acceptance & pleasure).

These days the problem has developed that some mentors consider ‘tasawwur e shaikh’ an essential part of their path (tareeq). They instruct this to all the disciples uniformly even if there is no need for it.  Similar is the story in all of the Tasawwuf. In some quarters the method of treatment (of spiritual maladies) has  been made a goal in itself.

This is the case of gathering of remembrance (ijtemai majalis e dhikr bil jaher)………..’

to be continued

Albalagh,Urdu, volume 51, publication 6-7, (April 2017) page 70-1

Tasawwuf: very basic texts

 
Mufti Maqsid of Kazakistan inquired that in regards to Tasawwuf there are misunderstanding in people here, the younger generation aspires for spiritual betterment (islah). Some approach us for understanding Tasawwuf. Moreover we want to teach our students tasawwuf. What books will be beneficial to do so?

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

For this purpose in my opinion start with my respected father’s (Mufti Mohammad Shafi, Allah have mercy on him) book ‘Dil ki dunya‘. This is concise text and will be an easy to comprehend introduction of Tasawwuf. This text can be covered in a week or even less.

After that select from Imam Ghazali’s (Allah have mercy on him) books ‘Bidayat al Hidaya‘ or ‘al Arba’een’. The later’s Urdu translation has been published as ‘Tabligh e Deen‘.

Then teach ‘Taleem ud Deen‘ of Hakim al Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him).

Teaching these text will lead to the understanding of reality of Tasawwuf in a short period of time. It is expected to be achieved in one or two semesters, in-sha-Allah. ‘

Albalagh, volume 51, publication 6-7, (April 2017) page 72

Truthfulness & sincerity

  
“Do not be very strict on yourselves for then Allah will be strict upon you. Verily, a group of people were strict upon themselves so Allah was strict upon them. Their remnants are the (ascetic) people living in the hermitages and monasteries. [Then he quoted the verse,] ‘But the monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them.”‘ Abu Dawud

In explaining this Prophetic saying Shaykh Abdul Haqq Muhadith Dehlawi (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned that Shaykh Ahmed bin Abilhawari approached his teacher Shaykh Suleman Darani (Allah have mercy on them) and inquired that the people of Bani Israel strived with such (physical) endeavors and struggles that their skin became like old worn out leather whereas we eat, drink, clothe ourselves and live with comforts and luxuries. My heart is burdened by this luxurious lifestyle and I worry what will be its end result. 

Shaykh Suleman Darani (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

‘O Ahmed! What is demanded from us (by Allah) is truthfulness (sidiq) and sincerity (ikhlas) (in our intentions and actions)

Burning and melting (with strenuous endeavors and struggles) is not demanded from us. 

Good deeds performed with sincerity for ten days are better than 10 years of (physical) struggle that burns and melts (the skin). 

The real objective and goal is the pleasure of and acceptance by (radha) Allah. (This can only be achieved with sidiq and ikhlaas.)

As the poet says

من لم یکن للوصال اہلا فکل احسانہ ذنوب ‘

Ashaat alelmaat volume 1, page 473 via Basariyet ki rah say taraqqi 

Ijazet: Who is worthy of it?

 

Murideen used to come to Shaykh al Hadith Maulana Zakariyah (Allah have mercy on him) during Ramadan. During his initial years he used to send them to Hazrat Abdul Qadirahmer Raipuri (Allah have mercy on him)(for them to stay in his blessed company). Regarding this Shaykh al Hadith writes:

“The condition of some of them improved greatly and with the spiritual blessings (tawajjuhaat) of Hazrat Raipuri (Allah have mercy on him) it became even better but some of the residents there said to my guests (i.e. Murideen): “Why hasn’t Shaykh given you permission (of Ba’yat) until now?” This thing became a poison for them as they began to consider themselves something. 

It is a well-established principle in this field (of Tasawwuf) that as long as one considers himself to be incompetent and unworthy then he is successful; but as soon as he considers himself as competent and worthy then he becomes unsuccessful.I have experienced this in many of the friends and close senior murideen (khuddam) of my pious elders.

This incompetent writer was given permission (of Ba’yat) by my Shaykh (Allah have mercy on him) in Dhi Qa’dah 1345H in Madinah Munawwarh. This incompetent writer remembers it clearly that without any exaggeration I held the feet of Hazrat Raipuri (Allah have mercy on him) that please don’t mention it to anyone in India. But Hazrat insisted that he would definitely inform them and began writing to people in India from there (i.e. Madinah Munawwarah).

After coming back to india I did not get the courage to accept anyone’s Ba’yat for a long time. Perhaps it is mentioned somewhere in Aap Beeti that I started accepting for Ba’yat after being scolded by my Uncle (Maulana Ilyas May Allah have mercy on him). Thereafter I went to Hazrat Shaykhul Islam (Hussan Ahamd Madni)and Hazrat Raipuri (May Allah have mercy on them both) several times that if they take consideration of my inability and thus order me to stop accepting anyone for Ba’yat then I will get a way out. But each time they in return scolded me. I remember a saying of Shaykhul Islam (Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni, Allah have mercy on him) that on my request he angrily replied “Who accepts anyone for Ba’yat considering himself to be worthy and competent? The one who does that is himself unworthy and incompetent. The successful one is he who considers himself incompetent at all times”.

Source: Aap Beeti of Hazrat Shaykh-ul-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyyah Kandhlawi, Volume 2, Page 441-442

Intekhab e Kaiseri

 

Leaving the Shaykh: The proper way to do so

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A individual from Bengal wrote a letter,

I am an illiterate sinful person. I am one of your admirers. Once I requested from you permission to see (listen) Qasd us Sabeel (Hakim al Umma’s  primer on Tasawwuf). However, I could not decide what to select for myself and do (from the instruction given in it) and consultation with you to express my desire was not possible. Due to these reasons I became a mureed of (visiting) Shaykh from Lucknow. He instructed various litanies to me. He is very sweet and soft spoken. Majority of his disciples are from the affluent class, police and security professionals. He visits them with pomp and grandeur and eats freely from their income (irrespective of it being contaminated with impermissible). He instructs the wives and household members of these people directly without any barrier (pardah) in between. He recites over them (for protection or treatment) and touches them for blessings.

In an interpretation of one of my dreams he instructed me to arrange for an individual to go for Hajj in my place as my medical condition does not permit me to do so. When I arranged for the funds he himself volunteered to go. I was happy. Few days later he wrote to me that these funds are insufficient and more money is required. I paid the excess amount. Prior to departure for Hajj he instructed me to pay for his household expenses in his absence. After a long duration (after returning from Hajj) he wrote to me that all the blessed gifts he had brought from Haramain were stolen.

Few months later he visited our town. In private he demanded significant amount of  money from me. I had a genuine excuse and postponed it by a future promise.

Later he wrote that because of travelling to the blessed Makkah for my sake he became sick on returning and had to spend a lot on treatment. He demanded that I pay that amount. After much struggle I paid a small amount. He was furious.

I shared all these details with a religious friend and he advised that I consult you. It for this reason I am dictating this letter. Please, tell me what to do.

(Letter is edited. The answer is not.)

  Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

‘All of this results from ignorance (of reality of this path), overconfidence in one’s own opinion (khud raiy), haste and lack of understanding.

Utmost caution is essential in developing a spiritual relationship (with a Shaykh).

As per the principles of Shariah and Tasawwuf it is obligatory (wajib) to break off relationship with this individual.

However, confronting him harshly or criticizing him in the presence of his disciples will lead to commotion and confusion. In this path (Tasawwuf) commotion and confusion are (spiritually) detrimental.

Therefore, with quietness and calm break off relationship with him in your heart. Then seek a pious and accomplished (muhaqiq) spiritual mentor (Shaykh). Do not hurry to become his disciple. You had a (bad) experience (already). Inform him of your condition and follow his instructions. If after doing this (you observe the benefit and) you wholeheartedly desire to do so then there is no objection in becoming his disciple. Though it is not necessary.

I make supplication (duaa) for you. You should also continue making supplication (in this regards).

Tarbiyet us Slaik, volume 3, page 177-80

 

Sexual desires: control them

 

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Musleh al Umma Maulana Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned that these days we are shy to mention the topic of sexual desires. It is thought to be something vulgar and beyond the limits of religious decorum. Whereas, our Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) explicitly mentions this topic high lighting the importance of controlling these desires, availing them within the permissible means and warning us about the destruction if they are left unchecked.

Moreover, as quoted above there are many Prophetic supplications asking Allah for assistance in this regards. In spite of being the best of mankind and infallible Prophet  (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) he asked Allah for help. Most likely  he did this to instruct us to be vigilant in this regards and  not to take these desires lightly. Many have fallen into destruction due to them.

Also, we learn from these Prophetic instructions that these desires are powerful, persuasive and difficult to remove with our efforts alone. Divine assistance is required to control them effectively.  For this reason we should make it a habit to ask Allah for help in this regards.

The tip to remember is that Divine assistance comes only to those who keep on trying their best to control these desires.

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi was aware of the importance of instructing his associates (mureedeen) regarding this topic. He would often recite the following verses,

Save your semen! Don’t let it flow to waste

For it is the (precious) water that creates life when poured in the right place

Majalis e Musleh al Ummat Ra, volume 5, second majlis paraphrased

We have to tackle this issue with more vigilance. The opportunities for fulfilling sexual desires are plentiful and readily available. The newer technologies are developed to guarantee confidentiality and secrecy. The exposure to immoral sexual imagery is abundant. Especially affected are the naïve, curious and immature adolescents. Their developing minds are corrupted and it becomes a lifelong struggle to remove these thoughts or succumb to them.

The only cure for this is by sincere persistent effort and asking Allah for help. These two components result in a vigilant awareness of accountability in front of Allah and this stops an individual from all that is immoral.

May Allah facilitate this for us. Amin!

Dhikr or muraqaba

A seeker requested for a meditation (muraqaba).
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

‘Meditations (muraqabaat) are less beneficial these days. Remembrance with contemplation,  either verbally or by reading books is more suitable for the nature of people these days.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 1, page 473

Suhba: One of the benefits 

 
An individual wrote, As per your respected perspective (maslak) I don’t consider feelings or overwhelming states (kayfiyaat) to be the goal. However, sometimes this random thought (waswasa) comes that my deeds and the way I do them is indeed deficient and it would not be rectified without being in the company of my mentor (murshid).

Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,

‘This thought (of actions being deficient) is most desired. That day will be inauspicious (na-mubarak) when we assume that our deeds are free of deficiencies.

Therefore, do not aspire for suhba for this purpose (that is, to get rid of it).

However, there are many other benefits of suhba including the immense benefit of this thought of being deficient becoming more stronger and quite obvious.’

Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 1, page 439

Sunna: Criterion for Allah’s proximity 

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Quoting 29 verses of Holy Quran Arif-billah Dr. Abdul-Hayy Arifi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘It is distinctly evident from these specifications of Allah that an individual who is closest to the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) (by emulating his actions and orders) will come closest to Allah and will be from His beloved servant (abd).

Evidently following the Sunna (etiba e sunnat) is the soul of worshiping and climax of absolute servant-hood (abdiyet).   

An action in opposition to Sunna is not an act of worship, but it is pure deviation.’

Uswa-e-Rasool-e-akram sallallaho alehey wa alihi wa salam, page 38