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
Category Archives: T. Tarbiyet
Contains principle and guidelines on training and disciplining of the morals (ikhlaq) of murid
Sayyidiwa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) said as he was replying to a spiritual seeker’s letter,
‘One of my friends was experiencing severe qabd (spiritual constriction).
This is a spiritual state. It is an exacting severe condition that may sometimes result in suicide attempts. And if dealt with successfully it leads to extreme proximity (qurb) of Allah.
It is not the laziness people ordinarily feel in doing good works.
I advised him to visit and stay in the company (suhba) of the pious (Ahl al-Allah). This is extremely beneficial in treating this condition. He resides in another city faraway and is adamant that he will take bayah nowhere else. However, when instructed firmly he started visiting someone pious (ahl al-Allah) in his vicinity. In the current letter he reports significant improvement in his condition.’
Addressing the audience in the office sayyidi reiterated the importance of pious company even without any oral communication, for the treatment of spiritual ailments.
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) once mentioned the following:
Expressing gratitude over a favour and being pleased with it, considering it to be purely the grace and mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, is the right which the one enjoying the favour owes to the One who bestowed him with the favour – Allah Ta‘ala. It is in reference to this that Allah Ta‘ala says in the Qur’aan Majeed:
Say, “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice.” (Surah Yunus v. 58)
This form of happiness and joy is actually a form of shukr to Allah Ta‘ala and hence it is praiseworthy and desirable in deen.
However, contrary to this, there is another form of happiness that equates to pride. This is where a person becomes boastful and happy over the bounty, attributing it to his own effort and achievement, and not to Allah Ta‘ala, and this is ingratitude to the One who bestowed the favour. The root cause of this ingratitude is that a person forgets and loses sight of the fact that this bounty and favour can be taken away from him at any moment. It is in reference to this boastful attitude that Allah Ta‘ala mentions in the Qur’aan Majeed:
When his people (the people of Qaaroon) said to him, “Do not be filled with boastfulness (in your happiness), indeed Allah does not like those who are filled with boastfulness (in their happiness).” (Surah Qasas v. 76)
In the case of Qaaroon, he was happy over the wealth itself (not the bounty of Allah Ta‘ala), so look at what an evil end and outcome he met!
When one receives the bounty and blessing, and then reflects that it belongs to Allah Ta‘ala and He may take it away at any time, then the feeling of gratitude that he experiences in his heart at that time is regarded as shukr to Allah Ta‘ala.
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) said,
The treatment of spiritual ailments (blameworthy moral characteristics) is not possible without disclosing information about them. Some of them are so hidden and complicated that the one who is seeking the remedy is unaware of them. This is can be seen in books about the path (Sulook) and Moral reformation.
Therefore’ an individual is needed to diagnose and discern about these spiritual ailments. He is the Perfect Spiritual mentor (Shakyh e kamil). Most of the time for a Shaykh e kamil to make a diagnosis it is required that the patient himself informs him about the illness as much as possible and does not hide any information.
This is exactly like the medical Doctor (-patient encounter). Some information for diagnosing the illness he gets from pulse, appearance (physical examination), urine (laboratory test) and for the rest it is necessary that the patient himself gives him information (history).
In this special situation sometimes the (patient’s) nafs dislikes disclosing his spiritual illness to the (spiritual doctor). ………..
However, one should not be ashamed of telling him.
In this world this disclosure is to a single individual, in Here-after everyone will know it.
Here this single disclosure is beneficial in all aspects that it will lead to a cure, whereas the public disclosure in Hereafter will be nothing but explicit humility.
Someone asked him: “How can the Orientalists be refuted?”
Shaykh Mustafa Azami (Allah have mercy on him) advised us not to spend our time refuting the Orientalists.
He said that he had spent all his life refuting them, but their objective was not to find the truth, rather to create wrong comments. After you work on displacing the doubts created by them, they’re not going to apologize and mend their ways. Rather, they’ll manufacture a new falsehood. And so, your life will pass in cleaning up the dirt created by them. You should instead work on putting forward the truth. This was the advice he gave us.
While speaking to us, Hoca (Shaykh Mustafa Azami, Allah have mercy on him) told us that when he was student at Al-Azhar, he once went to get some milk. On the wall of the milk seller’s shop, it was written with calligraphy: “The one who cheats, he is not from one of us.” This is taken from a hadith. But the milk seller was adding water to the milk in front of this hadith on his wall.
Everyone laughed upon hearing this.
But Hoca added, “You all too, when you reach the class five minutes late, when you do not prepare well, when you waste time in empty talk during the class, you too fall to the level of the man adulterating milk with water.” Everyone was taken back upon hearing this. A pin drop silence followed.
Till today, I’ve not forgotten those words. I try to fulfill the rights of the class lesson in its true sense. I remind myself that whenever I go late to class, or if I don’t prepare myself well, I fall to the level of the man mixing milk with water.
Shaikh Ahmed Arqam Balkhi (Allah have mercy on him) narrates that once my inner-self (nafs) insisted that I go and join the battle (jihad). I was surprised. In Quran Allah says that nafs commands to do evil and my nafs was telling me to do something virtuous. How can this be possible?
I confronted the nafs and said that most probably you are sick of staying in solitude and want that I go in the army where people will pay respect to me. However, I am going to fight alone (not join the army). Nafs agreed. I became more suspicious. I told him that I will fight without ammunition and die first. He agreed to it also. I told him many similar things and he agreed to all.
I was perplexed.
I prayed fervently to Allah to show me nafs’ deception.
In a vision (mukashafa) I saw my nafs.
He said that every day you kill me several times by not doing what I command, so if you go for Jihad and are killed instantaneously then it will be easier.
Moreover, no one knows about this daily struggle. It is hidden from all. But if you are killed in battlefield everyone will speak highly about you. All will say Ahmed is a martyr (shaheed).
The deception of nafs are complex and deep. They requires consultation with a mentor (murshid).
Tanveer ul Afaq: Shah Turab Ali Qalandar (Allah have mercy on him)
Qutub Alam Shaikh Abdul Qudoos Al Gangohi (d:1537CE. Allah have mercy on him) said,
O Seeker of Truth! If the path of Islam was as easy (as you think) then everyone would become Shibli and Ibrahim bin Adham (Allah have mercy on them). (In reality) Until and unless you are a (true) Muslim from within you can never be a (real) Muslim from outside.
It is grieving and mournful to see these days that world is full of spiritual mentors (pir) and seekers (mureed) but no one can find a (true) Muslim.
What is mentor-seeker (piri-mureedi) relationship nowadays?
It is all idolatry and self-worship!
May Allah save us all from it. Ameen!
This is in reality my own mournful predicament. I tell it so others can learn from it.
Maktubaat e Qudoosiya, letter #111, page 480 (from Urdu translation by Shaikh Capt. Wahid Baksh Siyal rehmatullah aleh)