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
Hakim al Umma Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) once mentioned the following:
If a person is involved in sins, then one method for him to reform himself is that together with sincerely engaging in istighfaar and towbah, he should also impose some penalty upon himself so that this becomes a cause for him to refrain from falling into the sin in the future. This penalty can either be a physical penalty (e.g. fasting for a period of time) or a monetary penalty (i.e. giving a certain amount of money in sadaqah to the poor).
Our Prophet (Allah’s blessing & peace be upon him) mentioned in the Hadith that if a person says to someone (inviting him towards gambling), “Come, let me gamble with you,” then he should give some sadaqah.
In this Hadith, we see that Prophet (Allah’s blessing & peace be upon him) looked at the cause for one wishing to enter into the sin of gambling. The cause for this is the love for wealth. Therefore, he prescribed giving some sadaqah as a penalty, as this will cause the love for wealth to leave one’s heart (and this will also prevent him from falling into the sin in the future).
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.
The book (Imam Ghazali’s Tabligh e Deen/Arbain) has criticised saving money too. The point against is very weighty that if a calamity is destined to come, it will come. Saving money can’t change destiny. And that we should expect the best from Allah SWT. So should we not save anything at all?
Ashrafiya replied, This has also changed a little bit since Imam sahib ra’s times. As was the eating issue.
In these days and times it is necessary to have some savings after paying the zakah and some voluntary charity (naflisadqa). Otherwise, in face of a clamity the first thing a person will let go is his deen.
Reviewed and approved by sanadi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him)
Once you have earned a livelihood the next step is how to spend it. A portion is basic necessities. One should definitely make sure that no portion is spent on any outright haram activity.What portion of the leftover (after necessities and the not so necessary expenditures like better clothes, A/C, trip to Pakistan) should one donate? (Besides Zakat)
Depends on your financial condition. 1/10th or 1/20th of the income should be allocated for good word (masaref e khair) and kept aside. Whenever there is an opportunity for good it can be spend.
Presents for the family, relatives, donations. etc. can be made from it.
Reviewed and approved by sanadi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him)
The COVID-19 Pandemic is taking a major emotional toll on us.
The lockdown and the continuous barrage of negative news is creating uncertainty about one’s own and loved ones’ well being, future, job and financial securities.
This is draining us emotionally and is creating anticipatory grief and depression.
This is spiritually dangerous.
If not dealt appropriately it will lead to loneliness, lassitude, trouble focusing, feelings of sadness & hopelessness, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, irritability, restlessness, sleeping difficulties and eventually exhaustion. The daily prayers, recitations, readings and supererogatory (nafil) actions and khushu (concentration & reflection) in them will gradually fade away.
This will be a disaster indeed.
The lifelong mujahidda (struggle) wasted.
We all have to be proactive in this regards.
Following points have helped me and InshaAllah will be helpful for you as well.
1. Keep focused. Our goal is achieving Allah’s pleasure and acceptance. All sinful activities are a barrier to it. Leave them now.
2. Remind ourselves that Allah, Most High being the Sovereign authority in charge (al-Hakim) has all the right to do with us as He wants. No one can question it. We being His slaves have to accept it. However, at the same time we must remember that He is Wise (al-Hakeem) and whatever He does certainly has something beneficial for us. We may not be able to acknowledge this right away but this is for sure.
3. Disconnect with news and social media to a greater extent. Set limits. Check these twice per day just to keep updated and motivated.
4. Connect with Allah. Make dua. Ask Allah for safeguard from all our apprehensions. This can even be non-verbal in mind & heart.
5. Keep up with our daily ma’moolaat (routine). The dhikr, recitations of Holy Quran, Munajat e Maqbool, tasbihat, recommended books. Even under normal circumstances one has to force him/herself to do these. Please remember that this is not easy. This is the daily mujahidda (spiritual struggle) required.
6. Make excessive shukr (gratitude) of Allah. Remind ourselves of all the blessings we have right now, like physical & mental health, food, water, shelter, family & loved ones, accessibility to healthcare etc. and make shukr for each and every of them individually. Allah has promised that gratitude insures and increases the blessing.
7. Use our time wisely. Each moment of our life is priceless. Do not let it waste in useless activities. Do your job. Learn. Read. Write. Cook. Workout. Be busy.
May Allah protect us all and keep us steadfast in these challenging time.
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) once mentioned:
The Deen of Islam places great emphasis on assisting those in need and those undergoing difficulties. However, it is unfortunate that in today’s times, many people are totally unconcerned about assisting those in difficulty.
Some people are so miserly and self-centred that they make every arrangement for their own comfort – shoes, food, clothing, etc. – yet they have no worry or concern for whether others are dying or undergoing distress.
Some people argue and say, “How many people must we help? There are thousands of people in need and difficulty!” The answer to such people is, “Very well, you are right in saying that there are thousands of people in need and difficulty. However, if you are unable to assist all, it does not mean that you should not assist the few people you are able to assist! At least assist ten people among them!”
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) then mentioned, “Generally, these types of excuses are made by people who do not wish to do anything.”
Sayyidi wa sanadi Shaikh Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve & protect him). mentioned that scholars should have complete independence from people, especially the wealth of people.
However, this independence (Ghina) should not be from Allah Ta’ala; rather even after Allah Ta’ala gives sufficient wealth we should still show our neediness to Him.
Thereafter Shaikh quoted the following Hadith:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “While Prophet Ayyub (peace be upon him) was taking a bath, naked, a large number of gold locusts fell on him. He tried to collect them in a piece of cloth, when he heard his Lord (Allah) calling him: ‘O Ayyub ! Have I not sufficed you to care for what you see (the worldly possessions)?’ Ayyub said: ‘Indeed by Your Power, but I can never do away with Your Blessings.”‘
Ramadan 1439, malfuzaat collated by Br KaiserNizamani #10
Generosity is a sign of zuhd, since the one who loves a thing holds on to it, and doesn’t share it. No one is willing to part with wealth except the one for whom the world is small in his eyes-and this is the essence of zuhd.
Our master Amr ibn Awf (Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“By Allah, it is not poverty I fear for you, but rather I fear you will be given the wealth of the world just as it was given to those before you. You will compete for it just as they competed for it and it will destroy you just as it destroyed them.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2988, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2961
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).
Not having the knowledge about the basic fiqh (rulings) of Hajj.
This leads to confusion and major blunders. Some of them if not corrected via consultation with a qualified scholar may lead to Hajj being void.
2. Not asking qualified scholars (mufti) if a mistake is suspected.
Mobile contact of a pious and reliable mufti who is well aware of the rulings of Hajj is essential.
3. Fear of dum (penalty).
Due to the financial burden individuals are afraid to ask a mufti if a mistake is suspected.
It must be clear that dum is there to rectify the mistake and make Hajj acceptable. Compared to the cost of repeating the Hajj next year its cost is minimal.
4. A very commonly observed gaffe is that individuals label themselves as travelers (musafir) and then leave all the Sunna and nafil worships (‘ibadah). In fact, in this once a lifetime journey, one should try to reap maximum benefit of the stay in the boundaries of Haram al sharif, where one good action is rewarded hundred thousand times.
This does not mean that if they are technically musafir they are exempted from qasr of fardh salah.
Sheikh Dr Hafeezullah Sukkharwi (Allah have mercy on him) recommended that one performs extra recitations (in addition to his routine wird) and salah tu Tasbih everyday in the five days of Hajj.
5. Wasting time in useless activities.
Some are busy shopping for the gifts for their loved ones back home.
Yuppies are busy posting selfies of each and every movement on twitter or Facebook.
Others are searching for their next door neighbor from back home or close relative.
The religious minded are arguing the issues of following a madhab or not.
Those associated with Tasawwuf & islah are rushing to visit the lectures and halqa e dhikr of each and every sheikh and scholar present.
A seeker living abroad for his medical training wrote,
The travelling expenses for visiting home will be around three thousand dollars (a substantial amount for a foreign trainee in mid 1990’s). Would it be appropriate to spend so much money on myself?
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah protect him) replied,
‘Assess your financial capacity (for spending). If no major necessity is affected and you do not have to draw loan then (be aware that) money is for providing happiness and comfort to one’s self and family. Moreover, making parents happy (by visiting them) is a reward-able action.’
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah mercy on him) said,
‘I do not issue a verdict (fatwa) but strongly suggest that the household financial administration should be in the hands of one’s wife or himself. It should not be in the hands of others, regardless of them being brother, sister, mother or father. This is because doing so will extremely dishearten the wife.
Therefore, either the husbands should keep the household financial affairs in his own hand or delegate them to the most deserving from his relatives, that is his wife.
The rights of one’s wife not only include providing food and clothing (etc.), but it also includes to raise her spirits.
Please, note that the scholars (fuqaha) have considered heartening one’s wife to be so important that they have ruled lying to be permissible for this purpose. This proves the enormity and significance of her rights, that Allah condones one of His rights to hearten her.’
Shaikh Shah Wasiullah Allahabadi (Allah have mercy on him) mentioned few principles regarding effectively balancing the personal finance,
Save some amount from your income irrespective of how low your earnings may be. The individual who spends more than his earning is stupid.
Buy the essential goods in cash. Do not stay in debt.
Do not spend the entire cash in hand on expectation of future earnings. This is because of futility of relying on something that is not present or guaranteed. The person who spends on expectations of future earnings becomes involved in debt and poverty.
Protect your earnings from being wasted. It will neither benefit you nor others.
Be responsible for your (financial) affairs yourself. (That is, do not delegate it to others).
Do not buy anything you do not need even if you are getting it at low price. This is because, a useless thing even if it is free is a liability.
Plan for the future. Make sure you are prepared financially if there was any crisis.’