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 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.’
Shaikh Mufti Mohammad Rafi’ Usmani (Allah preserve him) said,
‘I received a letter from a medical student regarding the fiqhi ruling of a dilemma he was facing.
He wrote that previously he had been a carefree youth, however, in medical college he met some individuals active in the work of Dawah & Tabligh. He benefited a lot from their company and became very active in the work himself. For the previous few years he participated in the taleem everyday, made the weekly gasht, spend the Friday night at the markaz, went out for 3 days each month and forty days a year meticulously. However, the schedule, curriculum and activities at the medical college were always an obstacle in doing all these works in the path of Allah. He had been using excuses to be absent from the college to do all these activities and his learning was being neglected. He wanted to know if it was permissible as per Shariah rulings to do so.
It was explained to him that lies and fraud are impermissible in Islamic Shariah.
It is to be understood that the working on a path to Allah in not restricted to the work of Dawah & Tabligh per se. The studying to adopt a profession with an intention to earn lawful income, sustain a family and help the needy in also working on a path to Allah. With this intention your medical studies will also become an act of worship.
On admission to the medical college you made a contract that you will abide by the rules and regulations of the institute. They included that sufficient attendance to learning activities is essential. This contract is morally and legally (as per Shariah) binding. Breaching it will be sinful. The lies and deception to do so will further increase the severity of sin.
Moreover, without thorough knowledge, supervised training and extensive practice of medical sciences it will be impermissible for you to treat patients. It will be tantamount to playing with an individual’s life.
(Addressing the audience Mufti sahib added:)
We must not restrict Deen to certain activities according to our perceptions.
Also, it must be clear that I am not against the movement of Dawah & Tabligh. None can depreciate the significant work being done by this movement worldwide.
It is necessary that we have clear understanding: How to practice and implement the Deen in our life?
The pious expert tell us that the most effective way of doing this is to have a islahi relationship with a pious Shaikh. One has to consult him for all his religious issues, ask for guidance and supplications and do what he prescribes. Only then true Deen comes into one’s life. ‘
Qari Rafeeq’s residence, Safa distt, Jeddah, bayan after maghrib, 20th January 2012
Shaikh Mufti Mohammad Rafi’ Usmani (Allah preserve him) said,
‘It must be explicitly clear that Islam is not merely a religion.
This is especially so as the religion is defined as a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.
Islam is a Dīn. That is, religion PLUS a complete way of life. It provides guidance for each and every aspect of human life.
The Holy Quran and the blessed sayings of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) repeatedly mention that Islam is a Dīn and not merely a religion (madhab).
‘Today, I have perfected your Dīn (religion and a way of life) for you, and have completed My blessing upon you, and chosen Islam as Dīn (religion and a way of life) for you.[5:3]
‘Whoever seeks a Dīn (religion and a way of life) other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers. [3:85]
Struggle for (seeking the pleasure of) Allah, a struggle that is owed to Him. He has chosen you and did not impose any hardship on you in the Dīn, the faith (religion and a way) of life of your father Ibrāhīm. He (Allah) named you as Muslims earlier and also in this (Qur’ān), so that the Messenger becomes a witness to you, and you become witnesses to (other) people. So establish Salāh, pay Zakāh and hold fast to Allah. He is your patron. So, how excellent He is as a patron, and how excellent as a supporter![22:78]
Dīn is the exact correlate of Shari’a.
Therefore we as a Muslim have to live a life following the ways prescribed by Shari’a.
Shari’a rulings have been categorized in five subsections,
1. The article of belief (‘aqaid),
2. The methods of worship (‘ibadaat),
3. The social dealings (ma’asherat),
4. The financial & business dealings (ma’amlaat) and
5. The moral values (‘ikhlaqiyat, including siyasah).
To be a true Muslim we have to follow all these rulings in our life.’
Qari Rafeeq’s residence, Safa distt, Jeddah, bayan after maghrib, 20th January 2012
The Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) was the most generous person, and he used to become more so (generous) particularly in the month of ramadan because Gabriel used to meet him every night of the month of ramadan till it elapsed. Allah’s Apostle used to recite the Qur’an for him. When Gabriel met him, he used to become more generous than the fast wind in doing good.
Financial dealings are the real test of one’s awareness of Allah (taqwa).
The corrupt financial dealings and bad attitudes of a murid in addition to being major sin for himself lead to negative reputation of the Shaikh and Tasawwuf in public.
It is essential to educate the disciples regarding these issues. It is impossible to step on the pristine grounds of Allah’s pleasure and approval while being soiled in sins.
Taking loan is highly discouraged. However, if due to necessity loan has to be taken then one should keep an intention of paying it back as soon as possible and work for it deligently.
The following Prophetic tradition should be an eye-opener for all of us.
Sayedna Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Beloved Prophet (Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him),
‘The Prophet (Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him) said, ‘An individual who takes from the wealth of another (as a loan) and his intention is to repay it then Allah will (facilitate & make arrangements for its) recompense for this individual. However, if an individual takes the wealth (loan) with the intention of not returning then Allah will destroy him.’
Shaikh Ahmad Kabir al-Rifa’i (Allah have mercy on him) said,
‘Giving money in charity is superior to physical worship and other supererogatory acts of devotion.’
Hakim al-Umma Shaikh Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) commented that this superiority is because charity benefits many individuals (whereas physical worship is beneficial to the doer alone) and also giving money is vexatious for nafs.