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
The following is in response to a novice seeker’s many religious daily activities.
It is great to know about your activities. They are all fine.
However, I want to stress the importance of giving daily quality time to your spouse, daughter, parents and other very close relatives. This is essential and more beneficial then all other nafil activities.
Also, it must be clear that the knowledge of religion that you require for daily practice is essential and a must. Beyond this religious education is not for all. It is for scholars. For lay people like me it is more necessary to be involved in my own islah.
Also, a general advice akabir give to novice in religion is that,
“Walk slow and steady. Do not rush and run.”
Otherwise soon the enthusiasm will be over and a ‘burnt out state’ will come. It is for this reason having a Shaykh is essential. He directs and tells how much to do
Abū Bakr al-Kattānī (Allah have mercy on him) said, “were it not that recollection of Him was required of me as a religious duty, I could not mention Him out of awe for Him. How can one like me recollect Him without washing out his mouth a thousand times as a required penance, so great is His recollection and so awesome His name!
I read about the zikr of the chishti tareeqa i.e. the dowazdah tasbeeh. I have doubts in my mind regarding this. The thought comes to my mind that this is not established by sunnah. I have tried to read many books to clarify this but am not satisfied yet. Although I am ashamed to even think about the likes of Hakeem ul ummah RA or Mufti Taqi Usmani DB involved in any bidah. But I guess the very non-sufi environment that I have been in, gives me these doubts. Any clarification regarding this would be sincerely appreciated. Please forgive me if I offended with this question.
There is no offence at all in asking this question.
However, there is a misunderstanding that needs to be clarified.
That is, every one acknowledges that dowazadeh tashib is not a masnun zikr, but it is a prelude or an excercise to develop interest, concentration and sincerity in the real zikr. This is by experience of the past mashaykh. Just like the physicians treating with different medicine. Sayyidi wa sanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) tells us that, ‘is is medicine’, ‘you do not need a proof from Quran and hadith to use Tylenol for headche’,.
Similarly the sufic zikr is a medicine.This is clarified to each and every murid at the time of instruction of this tasbih. Not all murid or talibs are instructed to do it.
Also, the daily masnun tasbihat are in addition to this zikr.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is taking a major emotional toll on us.
The lockdown and the continuous barrage of negative news is creating uncertainty about one’s own and loved ones’ well being, future, job and financial securities.
This is draining us emotionally and is creating anticipatory grief and depression.
This is spiritually dangerous.
If not dealt appropriately it will lead to loneliness, lassitude, trouble focusing, feelings of sadness & hopelessness, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, irritability, restlessness, sleeping difficulties and eventually exhaustion. The daily prayers, recitations, readings and supererogatory (nafil) actions and khushu (concentration & reflection) in them will gradually fade away.
This will be a disaster indeed.
The lifelong mujahidda (struggle) wasted.
We all have to be proactive in this regards.
Following points have helped me and InshaAllah will be helpful for you as well.
1. Keep focused. Our goal is achieving Allah’s pleasure and acceptance. All sinful activities are a barrier to it. Leave them now.
2. Remind ourselves that Allah, Most High being the Sovereign authority in charge (al-Hakim) has all the right to do with us as He wants. No one can question it. We being His slaves have to accept it. However, at the same time we must remember that He is Wise (al-Hakeem) and whatever He does certainly has something beneficial for us. We may not be able to acknowledge this right away but this is for sure.
3. Disconnect with news and social media to a greater extent. Set limits. Check these twice per day just to keep updated and motivated.
4. Connect with Allah. Make dua. Ask Allah for safeguard from all our apprehensions. This can even be non-verbal in mind & heart.
5. Keep up with our daily ma’moolaat (routine). The dhikr, recitations of Holy Quran, Munajat e Maqbool, tasbihat, recommended books. Even under normal circumstances one has to force him/herself to do these. Please remember that this is not easy. This is the daily mujahidda (spiritual struggle) required.
6. Make excessive shukr (gratitude) of Allah. Remind ourselves of all the blessings we have right now, like physical & mental health, food, water, shelter, family & loved ones, accessibility to healthcare etc. and make shukr for each and every of them individually. Allah has promised that gratitude insures and increases the blessing.
7. Use our time wisely. Each moment of our life is priceless. Do not let it waste in useless activities. Do your job. Learn. Read. Write. Cook. Workout. Be busy.
May Allah protect us all and keep us steadfast in these challenging time.
A student complained of annoying recurrent thoughts (وساوس) regarding ritual purity۔ He added that he was spending to much time in restroom and wasting lots of water. Moreover it was giving him headaches and anxiety.
Sayyidiwasanadi Mufti Mohammed Taqi Usmani (Allah protect & preserve him) replied,
‘Its treatment is to firmly do the opposite of these thoughts. Do not give importance to them. Otherwise they will continue to annoy.
The student requested for a recitation (wazifa) to help him.
Sayyidi instructed him to recite the Prophetic prayer
اللھم اجعل وساوس قلبی خشیتک و ذکرک
And recite surah an naas (Quran chapter 114) often and blow over himself. ‘
Darul Uloom Karachi, office. 26 October 2019. After zuhar.