Category Archives: P. Financial issues

Checklist: Am I progressing in my Deen?

‘Join XYZ-Jamat or PQRS-Tariqa!’

A common advice we all often get. Directly or indirectly by our well-wishers. Most of us are offended and become defensive. We retaliate with our own suggestions. A few become confused. A smaller number becomes disillusioned by these rivalries and schisms.  May Allah save us all from these disasters. Amin!

The sincerity of these well-wishers can not be questioned at all.

However, it should be a wake up alarm to us. Following questions must pop-up in our mind. Why did this person suggest this to me in particular? Am I following  correctly and progressing in my religious effort? Or there is something that made this person feel that I need to improve?

Thinking on these lines this lowly writer came up with a random quick checklist for myself. InshaAllah, it will be beneficial for others.

The Checklist:

I need to have explicit answers to the following statements from the time I joined this specific group, jamat, tariqa or started on my own to be more religious ,

1. I thoroughly studied the fiqh of everyday worship and apply it meticulously.

2. Made record of my missed salah, fasts, zikah, hajj and financial dues. I am trying to compensate for them.

3. I have improved my tajweed.

4. My actions on Sunna has increased. That is, appearance, manners, actions and supplications for different occasions like waking up, eating, sleeping, wearing clothes, etc.

5. My salah is more organized, on time, in congregation (if masjid is close by) with better concentration.

6. I deal with humility when interacting with my family members (especially parents and spouse) and others.

7. I can better control my anger.

8. My school/college/work performance has increased or at least not deteriorated.

9. My involvement in useless (TV, Internet, news, magazines, novels, etc.) has decreased substantially.

10. I am worried about causing discomfort and harm to others and try my best to avoid it.

11. The sins I used to commit previously have decreased substantially in frequency and intensity.

12. My day is better organized with time allocations for recitation of Holy Quran, dhikr and religious reading.

13. I do not look down upon fellow Muslims.

If answers to most (>11) of the above questions is affirmative then we need to be thankful to Allah and continue on our path to perform even better.

However, if this is not the case then there are two possibilities.

Firstly, either we are not following the teachings of that group, jamat or tariqa correctly.

Or if we are doing all the things as per instruction then that group, jamat or tariqa is invalid. At least this is true for us, maybe secondary to our circumstances and environment. It is only in this case that we need to pay heed to the advice of that well-wisher and look into the XYZ & PQRS option.

Sayyidi wa sanadi Shaykh Mawlana Mohammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) said,

‘In a Prophetic tradition (hadith) it is narrated that; the person whose two days are the same is in big loss.

This means that his today was spent in the same manner as yesterday and no progress occurred.

That is,  progress in being more religious, in spiritual evolution, increase in worship and improvement in obedience, following of Sunna and abundance in Allah’s remembrance.’

What to ask Shaykh?

Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘One should keep the Shaykh constantly informed about his spiritual diseases & states and follow whatever he recommends. Just continue with these two things for your whole life.

Inform Shaykh explicitly about your condition. People hide their ailments from the Shaykh. How is it possible that without telling the he will be informed of your condition?

Even if you intend initiating a new worldly endeavor ask the Shaykh would it be detrimental for your spirituality. For example, I intend doing this trade, is it appropriate for me to indulge in it. However, this should not be with the intention that by doing so the trade will be profitable. As though the Shaykh will consult Allah and confirm the success. This should not be the intention at all. This is an extremely corrupt intention.

The method should be like this; I intend to do this business, or I want to be transfered to such a position or I want to study English or medicine would it be detrimental for my spirituality.

These are the things to be asked from the Shaykh.

Nowadays people do whatever they desire. They do not inform the Shaykh. Hence, they corrupt their spirituality. They make excuse that these are worldly issue and it is not essential to inform the Shaykh about them. Whereas in reality these things have major effect on one’s spirituality.

Therefore, whenever you intend to initiate a new worldly endeavor inform the Shaykh in advance and get his advice regrading it.’

Waaz Rahat al-Quloob, page 263-4

The Rights of fellow humans!

Shaykh Mufti Ashiq Illahi Bulandshahri mohajir Madani (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘The issue of the rights of the fellow human beings (huqooq al-‘ibad) is of great enormity.  Commonly people are negligent about them. For them religiosity is limited to salah, (long) shirt and beard.

Shaykh Sufyan Thawri (Allah have mercy on him) used to say,

‘If an individual comes on the day of Judgment with seventy disobediences of Allah it is lighter sin than arriving there with a single obligation pending for a fellow human being.’

This is because Allah is self-sufficient (as-Samad) one can expect forgiveness from Him, whereas humans are needy. Therefore, it is essential to be vigilant about these rights. It is of immense importance that one clears these dues before death. It is a stupid idea to expect forgiveness from fellow humans on that day (of Judgment). They will be in need there in a a very tight situation. They will be looking for minute gains and all will try to claim their pending dues in full.

The situation in distribution of inheritance (merath) is sinful for almost all religious individuals, self-proclaimed pirs, scholars, and  lay public. The wealth (and property) of the deceased person is not distributed as per the Shariah rulings among the inheritors. The share of the widow and orphans is engulfed by others.’

Yadgar e Saliheen, Halaat e zindagi, page 104-5

Paying financial dues: A priority!

 

Sayyidi wa sanadi Mawlana Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) instructs those approaching him for reformation (islah), 

‘If there are pending financial obligations prompt arrangement must be made to pay these  dues.

If the payment is not possible immediately then one should inform the owner and request for a grace period.

Then one should really strive meticulously to repay. This must be considered the topmost priority.’

Dastur al-amal baraay talibeen e islah, page 5-6

Fundraising!

fundraising

Commenting on verse 29 of surah al-Hud (And, O my people, I do not demand from you any wealth for it) Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) said:

Spiritual leaders (Shuyukh) should adopt the same demeanor.

Seeking monetary gain is one of the strongest impediments in imparting religious instructions. In my opinion, it is grossly inappropriate for the Shuyukh to raise charitable funds by asking for donations.

(In general) intelligence is scarce (among people). Stinginess and greed overwhelms (most individuals). They become distrustful (of the individual raising funds) of love of the worldly (hubb-e-duniya) by slightest suspicion. And (it must be remembered that) Allah is the sponsor of (all) charities (in reality). They are not dependent on our appeals of donation and fund raising.”

Masail e sulook min Kalam Malik ul mulook, page 259, Idara-e-Islamiyat, Lahore

Concern for others

alaikum

An individual wrote:

Now the only source of misery at home is the condition of younger brother.  It is the same as it was previously.  I pray for him daily, asking Allah that he gives up the habit of lying and embezzlement. These two problems are usually the cause of most of the suffering.  He is destroying both, his religion and worldly life. I request you to pray (make dua) for him and advice any practical solution to achieve this.

Hakim al-UmmatMawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi(Allah have mercy on him)  replied:

‘I have no hesitation in making dua for him.

However, as far as the request for practical solution is concerned, for inept like us it is best to be concerned with our self rather than for others.

That is,
“فکر خود کن، فکر بیگانہ مکن “
(Be worried about yourself; do not be anxious regarding others’ condition.)

Moreover, there comes a time when even for the best and perfect individuals (kamileen) it is advisable:

عليكم انفسكم لا يضركم من ضل اذا اهتديتم

And that happens when even after substantial efforts other do not pay heed.”

Tarbiyatus Salik, volume 3 page 190

Clearing financial matters first!

Hadhrat Mawlana Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) told a disciple, who had taken multiple loans (non-interest bearing) and was unable to pay them back, to write in detail regarding the payment of these debts in every letter written to him (usually fortnightly or monthly).

He was instructed to write these financial matters first and then mention issues realted to tareeq (that is consistency on wird, manifestation of blameworthy or lack of praise worthy morals, etc).

Hadhrat has on multiple occassions instructed to write down all such issues clearly in a diary, accessible to very close relatives, in case of sudden emergency or death. That is for the arrangement for posthumous clearance of these debts. This is essential.

It is an outstanding feature of Ashrafiya tariqa to have crystal clear financial dealings. Any mureed who does not recognize the importance of these issues is for sure not going to progress much in this spiritual path.