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
For development and maintenance of reverence of God (taqwa) in our post-Ramadan life sayyidi wa sanadi Shaikh Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) said,
1.Leave sinful activities:
Be strict on holding your lower (nafsani) desires. Make a firm determination. Do not yield to these sinful desires easily. These desires and Satan are our two arch enemies.
2. Change the thought pattern.
The mind is constantly occupied with thoughts. There is no gap or vacuum in this process. These thoughts are either of worldly matters or useless issues or sinful activities. It is essential to intervene and develop a spiritually healthy though pattern. We have to actively think about hereafter, heavens, thankfulness of Allah for the innumerable bounties and blessings bestowed upon us, asking refuge for anticipated calamities, repenting from sinful activities, etc.
3. Adopt pious company
This is the most effective way to achieve the change of thought pattern. It leads to absorption, assimilation and implementation of the Divine teachings in our life. Without the company of the the pious the Deen remains limited to superficial level.
4. Make remembrance of Allah
Set up a daily routine of making remembrance of Allah. There are three categories of remembrance of Allah. First is that it is done with the tongue without presence of mind. Second is when tongue is silent and there is mindfulness. Finally, when both tongue and mind are making the remembrance together. Do not under evaluate even the first category. It is a stepping stone for the rest of the categories. Moreover, with consistency it eventually engulfs the mind also.
Make a daily time table for this. The daily activities done in an organised method creates barakah in time. More things are done in the same period of time. Include in it these four things, recitation of Holy Quran atleast two pages daily, durood, third kalima and istegfar. Fix a specific time for them. In other times recite whatever form of remembrance comes to mind.
The remembrance of Allah (dhikr) is a form of energy and power. It assists in development of determination to fight the lower desires.
5. Make supplication (dua)
Set a specific time for this. Like prior to sleeping, after esha. For few minutes sit and supplicate.
Say, ‘O Allah I want to follow the path You are pleased with. I want to control my thoughts, aspirations and desires as per Your desires. You have repeatedly instructed us in the Holy Quran to do so. How can I do it? I am weak. My determination and effort are feeble. Provide from Your benevolence and mercy the determination, power and motivation so I can control my desires and make them totally subservient to Your commands.’
Make this supplication daily without any gap. It is impossible that Allah will reject this supplication indeed.
29th Ramadan 1432/30th August 2011, Darul Uloom masjid, after duhur bayan.
Hazrat, what would you say about the subtle feeling of being some sort of unproductive during acts of worship or of spirituality?
Could it be a modern disease or at least weakness or mistuning of the heart, which needs rectification? As when the feeling grows, one becomes even lazy towards faraidh.
Or is it more of a غير اختیاری feeling like جی نہیں لگنا and thus should simply be ignored?
Or is it even helpful in order to save oneself in his youth from excessive ibaadah and nawafil and put effort into learning and earning? It might be protect from premature buzurgi.
Some guidance regarding this would be appreciated. JazakAllahu khayran.
This is reflective of poor understanding of Deen. Works of extra worship and spirituality are done to subdue the nafs, develop a perpetual state of being cognizant that Allah is aware of what I am doing/thinking etc. and become a true Muslim up to the standard required. It has nothing to do with buzurgi.
This is one of the most common prevalent misconceptions.
It’s cause is neglecting the suhba of the pious.
It requires rectification. This is by setting a regular schedule of pious company (where the intention is nothing but self islah. No waaz, knowledge or nasihat is the objective) and a daily routine of ma’mulaat that include recitation of Quran kareem, tasbihat, adiya e masnonah and few nawafil.
A seeker wrote, I used to listen to a lot of bayans by arab sufis and Baraelwi’s but I found no good actions (amal) resulting so there must be a problem there There was a lot of show of love (izhaar of hubb and ishq) and ecstasy(wajd) but no change to the state of heart (haal of the qalb) as I found in the classic books like Ihya al Uloom ad Deen, etc.
So I would like to try the deobandi path which seems mature and well-balanced (mutadil) and closer to the teachings of Quran and Sunna (qareeb to the nusus) but there is still the fire of fervent love (ishq) running through it.
How do I do dowazdah?
Dowazdahtasbih is like medicine. It is neither masnoon nor mustaheb. Therefore, no basis other than experience of effectiveness in achieving the cure of heedlessness is required.
Sometimes I would look at non-Muslims, or non-practising-Muslims, and the thought of Hell would cause me grief and anxiety. I would get this feeling of helplessness, that I’m not helping them despite knowing.
The best help is to make dua for them and be a role model Muslim. Set 2 or 3 minutes daily to make dua specifically for all of them.
The daily ma’moolat were going OK for some time until I got the thought that Qada salah has priority over Quran recitation, so I tried to give more time to Qada salah. But I was not able to keep up with this change in routine beyond a few days. This change in routine, which was done without seeking your permission, caused me distress, as I was not abe to fulfill this routine. I have now reverted back to 8 rakat per day, as were your instructions, and will increase it on a day-to-day basis, without increasing the daily minimum. Please advise regarding this.
Keep the daily routine as usual.
Drastic and quick changes are usually difficult to maintain.
Do not be in a rush. Alhumdulillah you have a sincere intention of qada, inshaAllah you will be able to do so eventually.
Be aware that the tricks of nafs and shaitan are not limited to sinful activities. Sometimes it creates fitna in permissible and rewardable activities. Be cautious.
A few days after my last email, thanks to your duas, Allah gave me Tawfeeq to pray Tahajjud Salah. I pray Qada Salah at that time, as well as recite the portion of the Quran revised the day before. For about two weeks, I read 1 Hizb of Munajat-e-Maqbool at that time, but owing to shortage of time, I now sometimes make my own dua, and sometimes read from Munajat. Please instruct how I should best utilize that blessed time. I normally get about 30 minutes. Sometimes, perhaps due to my sins, I wake up only for Fajr.
Please, be gentle on yourself.
Evaluate and see if your daily activities allow you to spare 30-45 minutes for tahajjud, with a minimum of 6 hours (preferrably 8 hours) of good sleep.
Please, remember tahajjud in spite of all its virtues is supererogatory (nafil), whereas, taking care of your health and family sustenance (by work/education/job), etc. is wajib. We have to balance them.
InshaAllah, eventually a time comes on the path when this becomes easier for us.
The akabir stress on making dua in this time. InshaAllah, a time comes on the path when this becomes easier for us.
The pious predecessors (akabir) stress on making dua in this time.
At the movement i am suffering from FOCUS problem during my study and Office work. Its happening with me since 1 year. When I try to FOCUS on the book , different kinds of negative thoughts hold my mind , therefore I cant understand a easy paragraph. And sometimes when this problem increases, I face problems in my official work also.
Do not worry. InshAllah this will improve with time. For now do the following, Organize your time. Keep things simple. Do one task at a time.
For now just read the books of Hakim al Umma Maulana Thanvi (Allah have mercy on him).
Next ~3 days: Suddenly I began feeling the daily routine as a burden. I did not feel like doing Zikr, or reading Quran, or praying any Salaah beyond the Fard, and I was getting increasing ‘khayaals’ to do Gunaah. This has always happened to me as long as I can think back. I would be doing good A’amaal for some time, and then I would face this condition. Please give some explanation of this state, and also suggest what I should do to avoid this, or if it cannot be avoided, what should I do if this happens again.
This is quite normal.
The initial enthusiasm waxes away for everything.
This is the moment of test. Ego-centric self (Nafs) and Shaitan will try their best to derail and demotivate you.
Being persistent in these circumstances is the key to success.
Ignore the negative feelings and thoughts. Just complete the routine you have fixed.
It is just like eating or going to work in spite of a strong desire not to do so. But the essential activities are to be done., otherwise health will deteriorate or job will be lost. Similar is the case here. If you become lax and start being negligent, then this Divine-calling (warid) for good actions may go away (Allahumahafizna).
In response to a seeker’s question regarding giving up all the permissible activities Ashrafiya replied
InshaAllah, travelling on this path attaches the heart of the aspirant to Allah in such a manner that eventually all other things become petty. Outwardly he may appear to be involved in all the usual day to day activity but inwardly his condition is of perpetual awareness and attachment. May Allah give this to both of us.
Our akabir advice not to give up the permissible worldly (dunyawi) stuff outright. This is because it will create a vaccum and if that vaccum is not filled with something beneficial it will be filled with impermissible stuff. Allah save us from this.
However, when the attachement and awareness of Allah increases it automatically drives away all other useless things even though they are permissible.
It is a principle of Tasawwuf: There must be NO haste in making bayiat.
Firstly you have to understand why do you want it in first place?
What expectations do you have?
Then you have to look for an appropriate Shaykh with whom you have munasibet (congeniality). That is, you feel comfortable taking instructions from him and do not feel negatively about his method, instruction etc. Then Shaykh also needs to have munasbet with you. You have to make consultation with scholars and other shuykh about this shaykh in particular. Only after all this you make istekhara and then make the pledge.
However, bayiat is neither essential prerequisite nor a condition to make effort for islah (reformation). This is wajib all the time. Start this right away.
The best things do now will be,
Make special dua for finding a Shaykh. Especially after each esha salat for at least 5 mins.
Try your best to abstain from all sinful activities. Especially those related to eyes, ears and tongue. Internet misuse is a big issue. Be careful. Bad habits once developed are very hard to rectify.
Get organized. Have a daily time table. Set time for recitation of Quran sharif, few azkar and reading from a Islamic text, even a single page daily is enough.
Keep good company. In people, books, websites, etc. Avoid corrupt company.
Focus on your studies seriously. They are like a wajib for you.
Keep looking for a Shaykh. InshaAllah, you will be successful. Till then please, feel free to contact this lowly writer for any questions. The benefit is mutual. JazakAllah
I think I have quite clear in my mind – from the theorical point of view – the status of Kashf, Tawajjuh, Karamat and so on in relation to the true objective of the Tariqah, their not being the goal, and even more, their being a potential fitnah and trap for the murid. But this quote I’ve read on a forum:
“The line of the chisti imdadiyah stopped doing these  because they became more of scholars. The elders were very high accomplished scholars and sufis. Unfortunately, the 2nd and 3rd generations lost this and the condition is even worse these days amongst the present day mashaikh of the tariqa”. [ The reference is to certain “particular” practices and ashghal adopted in the past in the Chishti Tariqah].
..raised some doubts in my mind, as I got the impression that some of today’s other Shuyukh propose a “dry”, simplified and just “moral” brand of Tasawwuf, with just its “ethical” part, leaving “metaphysics”, “spiritual stages” and more “deep”, “ruhani” stuff aside. I’d appreciate to read what would you reply to such allegations, so to put clarity and tranquility in my heart.
It is essential to have a vivid understanding of the reality of Tasawwuf upstart.
Please, review all the post on the site regarding this.
The greatest sufi having the highest level of marifah possible is our master Prophet Mohammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). His blessed life and ways are a role model for us.
Tasawwuf is to make this happen. It is always subservient to Shariah. The level of awareness of Allah needed to bring this is relative to the ghaflah (heedlessness) and involvement in worldly affairs of an individual.
The ashgal and azkar used by sufis to do so are therefore adjusted accordingly. They are neither a goal in themselves nor a superior form of worship or supposed to create a state other than required by Shariah.
The khashaf, karamat, etc are just some of the spiritual benefits of the moral purification. The best spiritual thing is a very strong and perpetual connection with Allah. A yearning and overwhelming desire to please Him and abstain from everything that displeases Him. This leads one to follow the teachings of Shariah meticulously.
I have persoanlly met sincere sufis that promise bayiat to the Prophet Prophet Mohammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) in a wakeful state. However, when measured in the scale of Sunnah and Shariah they failed terribly.
Alhumdullilah Ashrafi silaila is blessed with its portion of spiritual blessings. It is seldom mentioned due to their overwhelming state of humility. But you can have a glimpse of it in their poetic expressions. Most of our Mashaikh have dewans of poetry.
I hope I have made some sense. Please, do not hesitate to ask if there remains something unclear.