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
“Do not insult one another by (offensive) nicknames” (Qurʾān, 49: 11)
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
The great Shāfiʿī scholar Shaykh Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī (d. 771/1370) writes in al-Tarshīḥ:
“One day, I was with a group of people in the courtyard of our house. A dog passed us with water dripping from him which was about to touch our clothes. So I rebuked him and said, “O dog, the son of a dog.” The Shaykh Imam [referring to his father Shaykh al-Islam Taqī al-Dīn al-Subkī, d. 756/1355] was listening to us from the inside. When he came out, he said: “Why did you humiliate him?” So I said, “I did not say but the truth. Is he not a dog the son of a dog?” He replied, “He is for sure, except that you uttered the words as an insult and to humiliate, and this is not appropriate.” So I said, herein is a beneficial point: Any creation [of Allah] should not be addressed by their inherent characteristics, unless the words are uttered in a non-demeaning manner.
Hakim al Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) instructed,
The biayah (spiritual convent or pact) with the women must not be done by holding their hands in one’s hand. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) never ever touched a woman while taking biayah. It is impermissible (haram) to touch a non-mehram female. The author of ‘Mehboob us Salikeen’ writes, ‘the biayah of female is as follows, if they are not (physically) present there then they should be inducted via a (mehram) relative and the instructions regarding the biayah conveyed to them by this representative. Moreover, the Shaykh may gift them a piece of his clothing (as reminder). However, if the woman is present then their biayah must be from behind a veil, and not by holding their hands.
It is related that when the sinner shuts the door, lowers the curtain, closes the window, and gets down to sin, the earth will say, “O Lord, allow me to swallow him up!” and the sky will say, “Allow me to fall upon him!”
The glorious and exalted Lord will reply, “If the servant is your servant, then do with him what you will. But if he is My servant, then leave him alone. For if he comes to Me in the darkest of night, I will accept him, and if he comes to Me in the brightest of day, I will accept him. There is no gatekeeper or warden blocking My door, and whenever he comes to Me, he will find a path. when- ever he calls, ‘My Lord?’ I answer, ‘My servant!’ and whenever he says, ‘I have sinned, O, Lord!’ I reply, ‘I have forgiven you, My servant!”
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) said,
‘After bayiah (spiritual allegiance) the things that need to be rectified upfront include, arrogance, negligence in fulfilling the rights of others (huqooqal ‘ebad), envy, hatred, creating adversity (fitna) between people, etc. However, nowadays no restrictions are instructed for these things. Whereas, previous pious elders (Mashāyikh) used to give priority to these things from first day.
The litanies & recitations (wazaif) were instructed after many years.
Moreover, these restrictions were not merely verbal instructions, they recommended various practices to uproot these spiritual ailments from the heart.
Like, if they saw an individual afflicted with self adoration (زینت پرستی) he was instructed to sweep and tidy up the spiritual lodge (khanqah) or streets. Similarly, if they saw arrogance in an individual, he was instructed to tidy up the shoes of people coming to pray. These acts of humility have the ability to create humbleness in heart. ‘
Somebody asked regarding getting random thoughts (wasawis) of riya (showing off).
Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani ( Allah preserve & protect him) replied that riya is a volitional act. It is done, it does not happen by itself.
So one should not be too worried about getting such stray random thoughts. However, there is a chance that these random thoughts may develop into actual riya. So one should remain cautious at all times and vigilantly take note of what thoughts make one happy. At the same time, one should inform Allah Ta’ala about these stray thoughts and seek His protection (i.e. do ruju ilallah).
Look! I have already told you that ruju ilallahis the key to Tareeqat! Just take this one thing with yourself! Adopt it as your way of life!”
A seeker inquired regarding migrating to the blessed city of Makkah from India.
Leader of the Pious, Haji Imdadullah mohajir Makki (Allah sanctify his secret) replied,
May Allah bless this intention. However, it is sad and disheartening to see the conditions of those who have migrated here. In majority of them there is significant decrease in their capabilities and religiosity ‘here’ as compared to when they were in India. This is especially so in acts of worship and remembrance of Allah. Their only concern is to earn money and reproduce.
My dear! The first migration must be from blameworthy morals to praiseworthy morals. Like reliance on Allah, being content, accepting and submitting to the decrees of Allah, etc. These are perpetual obligations. They are essential for the physical migration to be effective. Without this migration the other is not beneficial.
So in this delicate issue this lowly writer does not recommend anything, neither do I discourage you nor do I give you permission. Most appropriate thing will be to do istekhara.
Shaikh Ibraheem bin Adham (Allah have mercy on him) said,
There are three veils covering our hearts. Certitude (Yaqeen) does not develop until they are removed. They are,
1. Being happy with what we have.
2. Being sad for that which we do not have
3. Being happy when we are praised
(The reason is that) being happy with what we have is due to greed ( a blameworthy-trait) . Being sad for what we do not have is because of anger. Anger (is also a blame worthy trait that) results in punishment (from Allah). Whereas, being happy when we are praised is due to sense of high self regard (ujub). This ujub destroys the good actions.
The second (spiritual) ailment is of ogling. I stealthy stare at beardless boys (امراد) and women. I feel a form of (lustful) pleasure in this. Occasionally, if I try using determination to look away it is very arduous for me and I feel tormented for a long duration. I have asked (others) many times (for measures to give up this habit) but have been unsuccessful. Please, let me know of a way that I develop an innate disgust for this hideous action.
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘Besides diligent (repeated) use of determination and self control there is no way (of giving up this sinful action).
Furthermore, two things help in facilitating it,
1. Keeping one’s self cognizant of its retributions (here & in hereafter), and