For Friends - Part 14
Book: Discourses of Maulana Maseehullah Khan Sahib (RA)
Chapter No.: 16
Tazkiyah and Tazakki
Nifaq and Ikhlas
Three Activities Required For Tazkiyah
Iman and Its Demands
Reality of Taqwa
Zikr - Direct and Indirect
Zikr - Setting Priorities
Zikr - Little Equated to a Lot
Consultation: A Rule of Tariqat
Loving One's Wife and Wilaayet
Increase in Iman
Importance of Asking: Two Examples
Masa'il of Suluk
Conclusion And Du'a
Al-hamdulillah, this fourteenth booklet is ready for publication. This, again, is solely through the fadhl of Allah Ta'ala and the barkat of our Sheikh, Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Masihullah Khan Sahib (Hadhratji) (RA).
While preparing this translation, the thought came to mind as to the correctness and appropriateness of choosing this particular majlis (discourse) for publication. In other words, the past issues had covered most of the basic concepts dealing with islah (self-rectification), and the chances are that, from now onwards, many aspects may be repeated and duplicated. It so happened that we came across some statements of Hadhratji (RA), noted down by Mufti Rashid Ahmed Mewati sahib in his recent compilation, "Waqiyat Masihul-Ummat", which are worth repeating here. Hadhratji (RA) stated, "Many discourses have taken place (and) many talks have been listened to. Now it only remains for Nafs and Shaytan to be given a kick! Are you listening? With the fadhl of Allah Ta'ala and the barkat of my Hadhrat, various topics have been discussed Al-hamdulillah, and have reached your ears. Now it is necessary to merely boot out Nafs and Shaytan. Nafs is the King of Evil, and Shaytan is his Prime Minister. Is this (advice) not sufficient as a discourse, or not yet?" In these few words Hadhratji (RA) has given us the crux of the whole discourse. Whatever else follows is merely to guide us and strengthen us in pursuing these objectives.
In this majlis that has been translated, Hadhratji (RA) discusses some important aspects of Suluk that the serious talib needs to be acquainted with. May Allah Ta'ala give us all the tawfiq arzani to do this.
TAZKIYAH AND TAZAKKI
In grammar and syntax there are two chapters: One is taf'il and the other is tafa'ul. After taf'il comes tafa'ul. The difference is in the root word. In a similar manner one finds tazkiyah and tazakki. Tazkiyah is in the category of taf'il, and tazakki is in the category of tafa'ul. Allah Ta'ala states at one place in the Qur'an Sharif:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا
Successful are those who have made tazkiyah of their nafs. (91:9)
At another place Allah Ta'ala has stated:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكَّى () وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّى ()
Successful are those whose tazkiyah has taken place and has made the zikr of the name of their Rabb, and have then made salat. (87:14-15)
From this it is apparent that tazkiyah takes place by making zikr and performing namaz (salat). Allah Ta'ala has mentioned both zikr and namaz together and has mentioned both after tazakki: وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّى.
And if a person is making zikr and performing namaz as well, but his tazkiyah is not taking place, then these actions have as their bases the coveting of dunya (materialism) - the effects of these are part of the love of dunya:
بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
But you are desiring dunya. (87:16)
NIFAQ AND IKHLAS
People come and just sit here, but one should assess one's niyyet (intention) as well. It is based on this niyyet that - from the side of Allah Ta'ala - results will accrue. Otherwise, one will remain where one is. It is even possible that one may retrogress: Initially, there was sincerity (ikhlas); now there is hypocrisy (nifaq). Initially, he had good aqidah (faith and confidence); now he has become bid-aqidah (mistrustful). So, why should such a person come and sit here? Most probably there is some expediency. Remember: If this nifaq is not turned (into ikhlas) this nifaq will be openly revealed finally.
Some are C.I.Ds as well. Do C.I.Ds exist or don't they exist? Yes, they are to be found all over. To recognise them is difficult. One also finds such C.I.Ds who are not appointed by the government, but they are C.I.Ds. Just see: those munafiqin (hypocrites) who attended the gatherings of Huzur Akram (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)--were they appointed by the government? Of course not! They became C.I.Ds by their own will. If they noticed what, in their opinion, were any shortcomings in anybody, they would tell others. They would publicise these. The shortcomings that these C.I.Ds used to narrate to others, in reality, were not shortcomings. In their eyes, however, these were shortcomings because they were munafiqin. The reason is that they had no i'tiqad and aqidah in their temperaments. They used to publicise such matters which, superficially, were apparently contrary to justice, whereas, viewing the matter in-depth, there were many considerations and also wisdom in them. There were many such incidents.
One such incident is narrated:
Huzur Akram's (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) majlis was in progress. The place was full. The majlis was fully attended. Just then the Ashabe-Badarin came. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), out of consideration for the Ashabe-Badarin, requested some of the Sahabah (RA) to sit closer together. Some he told, "You have listened to quite a few talks. Now give the veterans of Badr an opportunity." The devoted Sahabah (RA) immediately obeyed and stood up and went away. The munafiqin found an ideal opportunity to criticise this action. "What justice is this that those who were seated from beforehand are removed and newcomers are given their places?" At this, Allah Ta'ala revealed the following ayet:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قِيلَ لَكُمْ تَفَسَّحُوا فِي الْمَجَالِسِ فَافْسَحُوا يَفْسَحِ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَإِذَا قِيلَ انْشُزُوا فَانْشُزُوا يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
O ye who believe! When it is said unto you: ‘Make room in your assemblies', then make room; Allah will make room for you. And when it is said: ‘Rise up', then rise up; Allah will exalt those who believe among you and those who are vouchsafed knowledge, in degrees. And Allah is aware of whatsoever ye work. (58:11)
In this incident Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had displayed the utmost wisdom and discretion for the following reasons: It is a rational rule that in a situation where there is no room in a gathering, the rule of "sunawib-fil-istfadah" - taking turns in attaining benefit - will be applied, that the first gathering is terminated so that a second gathering be given an opportunity to benefit. Thus, there was no fault in this action, but because of the hypocrisy (nifaq), this very wise action appeared to be unjust to the munafiqin who publicised it to others. So, had they become C.I.Ds or not?
We come to understand from this that there are also C.I.Ds attending a majlis. They will tell others that today's majlis had such and such a deficiency in it, whereas this is not the case. However, people accept the superficial very quickly, because they do not know the reality behind it. Take this example: A particular incident has been related from two different angles. The Sheikh narrates it from one aspect. Somebody else has heard the other version and he feels that the Sheikh has made a mistake in his description of the incident, whereas this is not the case. The Sheikh is relating the incident based on his knowledge.
Now, there may be this other person who may have heard the other version, or may have read another version in some kitab, so he goes around telling people that the story is not the way that the Sheikh had related it, but is different, and even shows the kitab. But this is no proof of the falsity of the Sheikh's statements, because the incident has been related in several ways.
In the same way, a portion of an ayet comes to the lips and not the full ayet. This C.I.D then goes around saying that the full ayet is thus. This person is an element of the C.I.D. He is a C.I.D in himself, but not appointed on behalf of the government. (This is a new perspective.) Even then, I speak with caution. I do not speak on mere conjectures. At times, I am convinced of something, but then too I exercise caution, because my memory is much weaker, whereas my memory used to be excellent. When I was studying at Darul 'Uloom (Deoband) I used to do revision of the kitabs in this manner: I used to close my eyes and then visualise that this particular subject runs from this page to this particular page; that this other subject extends from this page to this particular page; that such-and-such scholar has this to say; the other scholar has that to say; the school of thought of this person is this; and the school of thought of that person is that, etc. Now my retentive memory has weakened, and that is why I speak haltingly and hesitatingly.
THREE ACTIVITIES REQUIRED FOR TAZKIYAH: TILAWAT, ZIKR & SALAT
To continue on the topic of tazkiyah:
Shah Abdul Aziz sahib (RA) saw Hadhrat Ali (RA) in a dream and asked, "What was the method of Suluk and tazkiyah in your era?" Hadhrat Ali (RA) replied, "In our age Suluk and tazkiyah took place by means of three activities: tilawat (recitation of the Qur'an Sharif), zikr and salat."
Now we see only zikr - there is an abundance of zikr - whereas the following ayet mentions all three:
اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ
Recite that which hath been inspired in thee of the Scripture, and establish worship. Lo! worship preserveth from lewdness and iniquity, but verily remembrance of Allah is more important. (29:45)
Thus, for tazkiyah, all three are necessary. Now there is an abundance of zikr, but there are shortcomings in tilawat and iqamatis-salat. In essence, for Suluk - i.e. to develop qurbe-Ilaha (closeness to Allah Ta'ala) - there is need for two things: continuous obedience (dawame-ta'at) [to the Shariat] and an abundance of zikr (kathrate-zikr). Now, in obedience (ta'at) there should be continuity, but as far as zikr is concerned, there should be abundance, but continuity is not a necessity. The reason is that there is just no question of one being outside the scope of ta'at (obedience to the Shariat) at any time, on any occasion and under any circumstances: when engaged in conversation there is ta'at; when looking at somebody there is ta'at; when silent there is ta'at. In activity there is ta'at and in tranquillity there is also ta'at. There is just no question of being free of ta'at. So, as far as ta'at is concerned, there is continuity.
However, in zikr there is no continuity. Under normal circumstances, continuity is impossible. When one is occupied in some activity and absorbed in it, then normally the zikr will terminate - but zikr will be embedded in the heart. The continuity of obedience (dawame-ta'at) mentioned above is the effect of this zikr embedded in the heart, termed zikre-qalbi. Yes, what is embedded in the heart is the basic remembrance.
IMAN AND ITS DEMANDS
Take Iman: Basically, Iman is composed of tasdiqe-qalbi and the iqrar-billisan - conviction and confirmation in the heart, and attesting verbally the Kalimah Tayyibah. The verbalising (iqrar-billisan) is the interpretation of the conviction and confirmation of what is in the heart (tasdiqe-qalbi). This verbal attestation is not a continuous process. Only when somebody asks, will the person recite لا اله الا الله معمد رسول الله, but Iman is embedded in the heart all the time.
The "eradication" of the Akhlaqe-razilah is, in actual fact, a lessening and subjugation, which is close to elimination. (For example, if we take the recitation of the Qur'an Sharif, and we take the word "majraha" when a similar type of diminution takes place, it is recited as "mahreha", the original vowel - a - changes but some slight hint of the original still remains.) However, the objective as far as the a'male batinah is concerned, is attaining the Akhlaqe-hamidah on an established and permanent basis.
ZIKR - DIRECT AND INDIRECT
In the category of zikr are included tilawat of the Qur'an Sharif, and all those azkar [pl. of zikr] besides tilawat. At times this zikr is direct and at times it is indirect. If we were to include the indirect forms of zikr also as zikr itself, then we can say that there should be permanence (dawam) in zikr as well. The basis for saying this is the Hadath Sharif that says:
كل مطيع لله فهو ذامر
Every obedient servant is one making zikr.
On the general, wider meaning of this Hadath Sharif, one can state that permanent zikr is also an objective.
What is meant by indirect zikr? It is the following: Whichever act or deed at whichever time, that Allah Ta'ala has commanded us to carry out, to stick to it within the boundaries and rules, with sincerity (ikhlas). To adhere to this is also an objective. Thus, when both direct and indirect zikr are generally applicable, then it is apparent that dawame-zikr is also an objective. So, both dawame-zikr and dawame-ta'at are objectives. However, there is this difference that dawame-ta'at is an objective in its direct form, whereas dawame-zikr is an overall objective, whether it is in its direct form or indirect form.
ZIKR - SETTING PRIORITIES
When one is involved in some ta'at - when in that condition where one is occupied by that particular deed - there will occur a lessening of one's attention towards Allah Ta'ala in one's heart. On such occasions precedence will be given to concentration on the performance of the deed (ta'at). The reason for this is the following rule: When two tasks present themselves at the same time, and one is unable to delay either one of the two, then the more important task will be given preference. Proof of this is to be found in the statement of Hadhrat 'Umar (RA): "Ajhar jaishi wa ana fis-salaat. - I work out the strategy of my army and I am in namaz." Two ibadat confront Hadhrat 'Umar Faruq (RA): Firstly, to perform namaz with full concentration - there can be no doubt that this is ibadat - and, secondly, to work out a strategy for the army. This is also ibadat because a'laa' kalimatullah (elevating the Kalimah of Allah Ta'ala), when confronting the kuffar, is dependent on being victorious, and is normally dependent on giving the army a strategy for battle. Thus, working out a battle strategy is also ibadat. As the army had already been dispatched to fight, now in namaz, his mind drifted to this task. So, two ibadats presented themselves simultaneously - performance of namaz with full concentration and working out a military strategy - with the latter being more important at that moment in time. In carrying out the official duties of running the state, Hadhrat 'Umar (RA) did not find the time to work out his military strategy, which task required tranquillity and peace of mind. This he attained while performing namaz, which was necessary and important. This is the reason for him giving priority to this task.
In a similar manner, zikre-qalbi and concentration in ta'at, are both ibadat, but at the time of performing the task at hand, the concentration in one's zikre-qalbi becomes diminished. It is now over-shadowed and the concentration on the ta'at becomes dominant.
In the same way once Hadhrat 'Umar (RA) was reciting a Khutbah [i.e. delivering a sermon]. During the course of the recital something unrelated to the topic in the Khutbah, was said by him. Those listening were surprised and perplexed that, while reciting the Khutbah, he was saying, "O Sariyah! (Guard yourself at) the mountain! O Sariyah! ( Guard yourself at) the mountain!" What had actually happened was the following: Hadhrat Sariyah (RA) had been dispatched for jihad. At that particular moment in time Hadhrat 'Umar (RA) became aware, through kashf (whereby an unseen event becomes known) that the enemy was about to overwhelm him. Hadhrat 'Umar (RA) called out that he should take a position so that the mountain would protect him from the rear. Hadhrat 'Umar's (RA) voice reached the ears of the Muslim army by way of a miracle (karamat). The army immediately did this and the enemy was repulsed.
Just see, the Khutbah was an act of ta'at, such an act of obedience that without the Khutbah the Jumu'ah namaz is not valid. Even if the Khutbah is read, but is read after the Jumu'ah namaz, then too, the Jumu'ah namaz is still not valid. In this instance Hadhrat 'Umar (RA) inserted an important ta'at into another act of ta'at and did not delay till the completion of the namaz because it was of utmost urgency and importance.
In any case, zikr is generally and in common language, associated with verbal zikr, just as when the Kalimah is mentioned one normally takes it to refer to the Kalimah Tayyibah. Similarly, when one mentions zikr, generally and in the eyes of ordinary people, it is considered to be zikre-lisana (verbal or vocalised zikr). And zikre-qalbi is that zikr that is embedded in the heart. The next person is not aware of this condition, but this is the basic zikr. However, at the time of ta'at even zikre-qalbi is diminished. This means that concentration towards it is not maintained. One should not be concerned about this and one should maintain one's concentration towards the ta'at, as has been mentioned كل مطيع لله فهو ذامر.
ZIKR - LITTLE EQUATED TO A LOT
From here I wish to state something else: Some people, because of their involvement in necessary Deeni duties or necessary personal duties, are deprived of making an abundance of zikr. They then feel grieved and frustrated that they are unable to make zikr in abundance. To them I convey the good news that their minimal zikr is equivalent to an abundance of zikr of others. This is on the basis of what has been said now that dawame-ta'at is an indirect form of dawame-zikr. Similarly, that person involved in necessary Deeni and personal duties, who has time for only a minimal amount of zikr, would fall in the category of one making an abundance of zikr.
In case anybody has a doubt as to how a little zikr can be equated with an abundance of zikr, the answer is as follows: When anything is done on a daily basis in a small quantity, over a period of time it accumulates into a big amount. So that little zikr that is made punctually and daily must accumulate into a large amount as well. Can there be any other the result?
Some may have the thought that rather than making a little zikr daily, it is better to sit somewhere for a few days and make an abundance of zikr and then stop. But how can this be termed an abundance? This is the same as sitting down to eat a great amount of food for a few days and then to stop eating for the next three to four days! Will this be eating in abundance? Nothing of the sort! Take another person who eats a little food everyday - will this amount eventually to a little or a great amount? Obviously, it will be a great amount. He will remain healthy.
Hadhrat Abdur-Rahman bin Auf (RA) was a wealthy Sahabi. Someone asked him, "How did you become so wealthy?" He replied, "In my business I take care that I do not give on credit but I take cash, and I take minimal profits. Which kind of business is it that it shows no profit? However, compared to other businessmen, I take a smaller profit and that is why my business flourishes." So, this small profit, on account of the larger business, becomes great. This is how he became wealthy. What appeared small became big. Take somebody else who is taking big profits. Soon the customers come to realise this. They tell themselves, "Why should we not buy from where the owner is taking small profits? Why pay six paisa when we can buy the same item for four paisa?"
Have you understood this illustration? In the same way the meagre verbal zikr of the occupied talibe-tazkiyah - the seeker of self-rectification who is very busy with necessary duties - is no less in his thawab (reward) and qurb (closeness to Allah Ta'ala) than that person who is making zikr in abundance. If the rewards are not less then why be grieved? Why have you brought this illness on yourself? There is a saying: What remedy can there be for the grief brought on by yourself? One should have faith and confidence (i'timad and i'tiqad) on somebody. When one comes to sit in a majlis then the proper and correct manner of sitting is that in which there is complete and full i'timad and i'tiqad. With the tawfiq of Allah Ta'ala and the barkat of my Sheikh [Hadhratwala (RA)], if one has proper i'timad and i'tiqad on what I have just narrated, then there will be serenity and tranquillity, otherwise it will be the very same situation: What remedy can there be for the grief brought on by yourself? The illness has been self-inflicted.
Do you understand?
As I was saying: Just as is the case with dawame-ta'at, that the Mu'min bandah (believing bondsman) is at all times in some ibadat, it is the same with dawame-zikr - he is always in zikr, sometimes directly, at other times indirectly. This discourse is for those salikin who are sincere (mukhlis) and truthful (sadiq), who are involved in their tazkiyah with ikhlas and sidq. These individuals become despondent very quickly: "Today I only made zikr one thousand times instead of three thousand times." They continuously ponder over this and become despondent. Of course the proviso is that - seeing you are a talib - the obstacle is not laziness. It should not be that only laziness prevents you. If that is the case - that laziness is not a factor - then how can there be any question of ‘a little' or ‘a lot'? There is no question of ‘meagre' and ‘abundance'. Sometimes it is diminished and at other times it is abundant, and the amount that is meagre is actually an abundant amount. If this is the case, then, in reality, the qurb and thawab that is attained by abundance, the same qurb and thawab will be attained by the small amount of zikr.
Do you understand? Maybe not. Here is an example:
On a particular day a person makes tilawat to the amount of four chapters of the Qur'an Sharif. On another occasion he manages only one chapter - he is greatly troubled by flatulence and passing of wind; or he is rundown; or he is unable to stand or sit (due to illness, etc.); at times his mouth is dry, even when he lies down. Yet, he is a talib. He has a tremendous passion. Now, who is going to console him? For him to console himself is difficult. It is essential for such a person to appoint a dependable person - one on whom he has i'timad and i'tiqad - to advise him, otherwise life is going to become difficult for him. Just see: If a person wishes to travel somewhere, and he is not fully aware and absolutely certain of the route to take, but only has some vague idea, then it is absolutely essential for this traveller to ascertain the correct directions along the route, even though he does not appoint a guide. The person he should ask should be somebody who is well-acquainted with the route and is travelling there. Our traveller should have full confidence in him and ask him from time to time. It is not necessary to appoint him as a guide - that is that one should formally make somebody one's sheikh - but one should have i'timad on somebody and consult him.
CONSULTATION: A RULE OF TARIQAT
That is why it is a mas'alah (rule) of taraqat (Tasawwuf) that, if one's sheikh has passed away, and one is a Khalifah or Sheikh himself - that is, he has been given permission by the deceased Sheikh to make others bay't - if this Khalifah now comes across some problem that causes him anxiety or uneasiness, then he should seek a solution from whatever advice his Sheikh may have given (in his lifetime). Despite this, if his problem is not solved, and in order to obtain greater reassurance on the matter by consulting somebody, he should consult one of his own Khalifas - one with whom he has some degree of informality and with whom he is comfortable - and sort out his problem. Or he should consult one of his fellow-murids (pirbhais). And if he does not find anyone from among these two groups, then he should consult with a Mufti - one who has the same fervour (zouq) - in that particular worrying affair. This is the mas'alah. And there should be no hindrance in seeking such a consultation, because hindrances are due to jah (sense of self-importance; status; conceit), whereas this Khalifah has blown jah away - he has annihilated jah. If he does feel a constraint and reluctance, then how did he manage to become a Khalifah and a Sheikh?
Just as there may be a hindrance presenting itself in 'ulume batinah (knowledge of the batin), similar problems may also arise in 'ulume zahirah, as was the case with Maulana Muhammed Ya'qab sahib (RA). He was delivering a lesson in Bukhari Sharif. While giving the lesson, he got stuck at a particular point. Maulana was the principal of the institute. He took the kitab, got up and went to one of the ustads (teacher) under him, and said, "Maulana, just have a look at this passage. I seem to have become a bit stuck. Just give me an explanation on it." The Maulana complied, had a look and gave his dissertation. Maulana Ya'qab sahib (RA) went back to his class and told the students, "I went to this Maulana sahib for him to explain this passage to me. He has fulfilled the haq of this passage very well and his explanation is as follows..." This incident Maulana Ya'qab sahib (RA) himself repeated often. I heard this incident being related by Hadhratwala (RA). How did Maulana Ya'qab sahib (RA) bring himself to seek the assistance of a junior ustad? The reason is that full and complete tazkiyah had taken place. Nowadays there is no such tazkiyah.
The basic root has been eradicated. The basic root and fundamental ill is Hubbe-Dunya - love of materialism.
حب دنيا رأس كل خطيئة
Love of dunya is the root of all sins.
This root has been extirpated - it has been taken out completely. And when the root has been taken out, how can there be a trunk? Branches emerge from the trunk. If the root is not there and there is no trunk, how can there be any branches? So, Hubbe-dunya is the root, and the root has been eradicated - eradicated in such a way that it does not sprout again. This is termed zawaale akhlaaqe razilah bimalkah taamah. A root will sprout a little shoot; the shoot develops into a trunk; the trunk will give off branches; and the branches will have smaller branches coming off them. Seeing there is no root, where will the impure, evil and disgraceful branches spring out from? Where will takabbur (arrogance) come from? Where will tama' (avarice) spring from? Where will hirs (greed) show itself? Where will bukhl (stinginess) show itself? From where will gussah (anger) poke its head? The root is non-existent. The root of all the akhlaaqe-razilah is hubbe-dunya. The Eternal Being is so embedded in the heart that there is just no place for finite beings. This is because what is Eternal and what is finite are two opposites, and two opposites cannot occupy the same position at the same time.
LOVING ONE'S WIFE AND WILAAYET
That is why Hadhratwala (RA) used to say, "That person who has love for his wife - what is real and true 'ishq - what doubt can there be in his being a wali of Allah Ta'ala?" This is what Hadhratwala (RA) said. Its explanation is as follows: The apron of wilaayet (saintliness) demands an extremely exquisite and fantastic degree of chastity. (This means that, in order to aspire to the high state of being a saint - a wali of Allah Ta'ala - an extremely high degree of modesty and chastity are absolutely essential). So, upon having true 'ishq for one's wife, it follows that one will not gaze lustfully at others. Thus, this person will have an extreme degree of chastity and, therefore, what doubt can there be that this is the degree of chastity required for wilaayet and, therefore, of this person being a wali?
To love one's wife - to have 'ishq for her - is not 'ishq for gairullah (love for somebody other than Allah Ta'ala). This 'ishq is for the sake of Allah Ta'ala. Huzur's (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) du'a was:
أللهم الزقني حبك و حب من ينفعني حبه عندك
O Allah! I am asking for the rizq of Your muhabbat (love) and the muhabbat of that person whose muhabbat will be an aid to Your muhabbat.
Therefore, such muhabbat for one's wife will be an aid and reinforcement of one's muhabbat of Zate Bari Ta'ala. This can, therefore, not be considered to be 'ishq of gairullah. Such a person will be an embodiment of chastity. The proof of this is the following: To what a high degree did Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) not have 'ishq for Allah Ta'ala! Yet, despite this, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) also had 'ishq for Hadhrat A'ashah (RA). Despite this 'ishq for her, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) fulfilled the rights of equality with regard to his other wives. Even in his terminal illness Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) observed the finer points of fulfilling their rights, but nevertheless, he eagerly waited for the turn of Hadhrat A'ashah (RA). When the other wives came to know of his feelings, that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) anxiously awaited the turn of Hadhrat A'ashah (RA), and that he experienced difficulty in going to each one in turn, all the other wives unanimously said, "Stay with A'ashah from now onwards." The point is that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had 'ishq for Hadhrat A'ashah (RA). So, to have 'ishq for one's wife is not contrary to dawame-ta'at - nay, to the contrary, it is included in dawame-ta'at.
To recapitulate: This digression occurred when we were discussing zikr: We had said that zikr is of two types, direct zikr or indirect zikr; we had also stated that zikr could also fall into the category of dawame-zikr; and then we had discussed small amounts of zikr and abundant zikr. Included was a discussion on the interlocking of two ibadat.
INCREASE IN IMAN
Originally, we were saying that in ‘wa alzamahum kalimatut taqwa' the possessive case of the Kalimah is towards taqwa, and by Kalimah is meant Kalimah Tayyibah, which is a zikr. And then its demand is taqwa. Taqwa, in turn, is the name of the wajib duty of dawame-ta'at. The demand of the Kalimah is kathrate-zikr. This Kalimah is also the basic fundamental of Iman. So, if the demand of the Kalimah is taqwa, to which is attached Iman, Haq Ta'ala causes an increase in the Iman.
[This paragraph appears rather complicated. In simple terms Hadhratji (RA) is demonstrating the interconnection of the Kalimah, zikr, taqwa and Iman. This being so, by abundant zikr, one's Iman will also increase, as is proven by the ayet that follows. Tr.]
ُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ السَّكِينَةَ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوا إِيمَانًا مَعَ إِيمَانِهِمْ
He (Allah) is such, Who has created forbearance (tahammul) in the hearts of the Muslims so that the their Iman can increase with the initial Iman that they had. (Bayanul Qur'an) (48:4)
One may put it forward as follows: "Take this Iman, and then take some more Iman!" That is, Allah Ta'ala is saying that the purpose of developing tahammul (forbearance) is to increase one's Iman. From the grammatical analysis of this verse, the meaning we arrive at is that, by being given the tahammul in the original Iman, their Iman was increased. We can deduce that there is a continual increase in Iman, and that this increase in Iman accrues by means of having taqwa with the Iman.
Who does not desire an increase in matters that are good? The farmer desires an increase in his cultivation; the landowner desires an increase in his properties; the trader desires an increase in his business. So, everybody wishes to have an increase in what is good. So, O Mu'mineen! What can be better and greater than Iman? So, why is there not a quest for an increase in Iman?
And, if the desire is there, there is a means and methodology for increasing everything. If the farmer wishes an increase in his produce, he ploughs the land thoroughly, he sows the best quality seeds at the proper time, he waters it when necessary and he protects the plants - as far as is possible - from storms and hail. In the same way the landowner will accumulate money to buy more land. In the same way the trader buys good quality merchandise at the right time at a cheap price and then sells the merchandise at the appropriate time at a good profit. Is this not so, or do you think that an increase will accrue by itself? In the same way, O Mu'mineen, the Iman that you have and the increase that you desire in it, the procedure - besides which there is no other procedure - is that you occupy yourself in ta'at and zikr. The basic concept behind zikr is to seat that Being in the heart and the mention (zikr) of this Being flowing from the lips continually. What is in the heart is on the lookout for any excuse to stream out of the lips. What is normally seated in the heart? The answer is: that for which one has an extremely high degree of love (muhabbat); and there is no other being who is worthy of such extreme love except Zat Bari Ta'ala! Therefore, there is absolutely no reason why His Name should not keep coming to one's lips. Haq Ta'ala has made this such a general activity that even taharat (ceremonial purity of the body) is not even necessary. Taharat has not been made a precondition (unlike other acts of ibadat) for making zikr. Allah Ta'ala desires dawame-zikr; and dawame-ta'at involves zikr, as has been explained above in the Hadath Sharif, that every obedient bondsman is a zakir, at times directly and at times indirectly.
So, that mudarris (lecturer) who, with ikhlas (sincerity) and qana'at (contentment), without hirs-o-tama' (greed and avarice) and acquisitiveness (lalach) for wealth, is giving Dana ta'lam - even though he is teaching kitabs preparatory to the study of Bukhara Sharif - he is in ta'at and directing himself to Allah Ta'ala. This is so even though he may be reciting the grammatical declensions of "fa'ala, yaf'alu", or listening to the students, and he is listening with full concentration. If he does not listen with full concentration, then some student may be repeating the declensions incorrectly, and this will be contrary to his responsibility to his profession of teaching. Therefore, he most definitely has to listen with full attention to the student. On such occasions his zikr will diminish, because the mind cannot concentrate on two things at the same time. But this diminishing is not a real diminution. Take it that somebody sneezes involuntarily or coughs involuntarily - for that short while, temporarily, there will be some diminution perceived, but this is not real diminution. In the real sense of the word diminution would mean a lessening evident all the time - when he is sitting, when he is standing, when he is walking, when he is eating, when he is making wudha, when he is tired, when he is weak. This is real diminution. The incidental diminution that comes at the time of sneezing or coughing would not be referred to as real diminution. Similarly, the lessening that comes in one's zikr or tawajjuh-illallah (attention towards Allah Ta'ala) when involved in some other ta'at, will not be termed a diminution. Real diminution is that situation in which the thought of Allah Ta'ala, the consciousness of Allah Ta'ala, the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala in one's heart is not there most of the time. Most of the time the Name of Allah Ta'ala is not on the tongue.
These are masa'il (rules) of Suluk. That person, who is a real and serious salik, has a dire need for these masa'il. Just as there are masa'il of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), so there are masa'il of Suluk as well. Those who perform namaz have a extreme need to know the masa'il of namaz. Similarly, those involved in the ibadat and ta'at of purification of the inner self, have a need of these masa'il - and the need is extremely important. Whereas those not performing their namaz or not performing their qadha, what need have they of the masa'il of namaz? Similarly, those who are not pursuing the path leading to islah, which entails spiritual cleansing (tazkiyah), purification (tasfayah), detoxification (takhlayah), and adornment (tajlayah) - what need have they of the masa'il of Suluk? So, just as the talib of salat has need of the masa'il of salat, in the same manner the true and sincere talib of tazkiyah has need of the masa'il of Suluk at every step.
I remember an episode concerning Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (RA): Hadhratwala (RA) mentioned that Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (RA), when he reached old age, used to remark, "What I have achieved at this stage of my life is that I do not find it necessary to consult any kitab to look for any mas'alah concerning namaz." The deduction from this statement is that, after such a long period, he had mastered that amount of knowledge concerning namaz that it was not necessary for him to refer to any kitab. It also infers that this knowledge refers to masa'il of namaz only. As for the other ibadat, whether it pertains to acts of worship or to the category of transactions, etc., he still found it necessary to refer to other kitabs.
O Muftis! [Hadhratji (RA) was addressing the eight to ten students of Ifta' - the Mufti course - present in the majlis.] Just assess how necessary it is to study kitabs; how extremely important it is to devote one's time to attaining 'ilm; and how imperative it is to research, to probe, to investigate, to explore in-depth. And, seeing how necessary it is to research the masa'il of namaz, etc., of the zahiri ibadat, then similarly - nay, even more so - is it necessary to know the masa'il of the batini ibadat. The masa'il mentioned above are ones concerning Suluk and Tasawwuf - masa'il of the batin - which the Ahle batin (those treading the path of Suluk) have need.
IMPORTANCE OF ASKING
Example one: Once a lady came to ask a mas'alah. She said, "My husband has passed away (and I am in 'iddat). Some gair-mahram men (those who is are strangers in Shar'i terms) do not wait for permission before entering the house. They merely clear their throat audibly and walk in. My gaze fell on them. What I wish to know is: has my 'iddat become invalid by my gaze falling on them?" These are some misconceptions, from the Age of Ignorance, that are fixed in the minds of people and such misconceptions are eradicated with great difficulty. But see, this lady felt the need so she went to find out the mas'alah.
The answer to this query is as follows: She will need to leave the house to answer the call of nature; or she will leave the house to see to the cooking, if there is nobody to assist her; or even if there is somebody to assist her, then too she may need to leave the precincts of the house itself. However, she should not go beyond the boundary of the last door on the property. And if her gaze falls on somebody while in the house, it does not break the 'iddat. That leaves the question of purdah: Those with whom she has to observe purdah, this she has to do all the time, whether she is observing her 'iddat or not.
Example two: There was another query: A certain person asked the following mas'alah: "I had some black material with me, imported from another country. I had some clothes sewn with it for personal use. Somebody told me that it is haram (forbidden) to wear black clothes." He must have heard it from some Shi'ah, etc. In my reply I said, "Ask this other person what is the reason for it being haram. He should provide proof of it." This reply has the answer to his query as well that, when there is no Shar'i reason for a item to be na-ja'iz (impermissible), then it is ja'iz (permissible). At times such errors occur when people have no knowledge of the Shara'at.
You see that neither did that lady's 'iddat become invalid, nor is it haram to wear black-coloured clothing, but not knowing the mas'alah, both persons became distressed and made necessary enquiries. It happens similarly with that person treading the path of Suluk that he may come across some problem and become distressed through ignorance. It may be that the matter was correct, but in his view he thought it to be incorrect. This is why it is necessary for him to know the masa'il of Suluk.
MASA'IL OF Suluk
This is why the majlis of the sheikh is a majlis of the knowledge of Suluk for the salikan - it is a majlis of the knowledge of tazkiyah. There is not ta'lam (teaching) of only zikr, but the majlis is for the knowledge of zikr. That is, the majlis takes place to narrate those categories of knowledge which become necessary when the effects of making zikr manifest themselves. Similarly, the majlis takes place to impart the knowledge of the presentation of the effects of dawame-ta'at with zikr. The majlis is not for the ta'lam of tasbah and zikr.
So, in the same manner that the person performing namaz will benefit from the mention of the masa'il of namaz, and he will be happy at these explanations, those who are travelling on the path of Suluk - those who are involved in their tazkiyah, who encounter problems all the time, who experience certain manifestations - these are the ones who will benefit from these discourses. Their hearts will be happy at these discussions. Their hearts will be affected by these talks. Certain sentences will actually make them ecstatic. As was mentioned just now, that person able to make only a little zikr because of being occupied with Deeni or permissible worldly work has no lesser thawab and qurb than that person able to make zikr in abundance. How happy will these people not feel on hearing this mas'alah of Suluk! Each such individual will tell himself, "Today I have been given the answer to my question - the answer to that problem that I thought was some deficiency in me and which caused me to become despondent. Today I have received an answer bringing with it inner tranquillity." He will be feeling happy and will continue with his efforts.
Hadhratwala (RA) related an incident concerning Shah Fadhlur-Rahman Ganj Muraad-Aabaadi (RA). Before relating this incident let me relate another incident that comes to mind. This concerns obedience to the sheikh (ittiba-e-sheikh) and was also related to us by Hadhratwala (RA):
It was frequently witnessed that at Shah Sahib's place (i.e. at Shah Fadhlur-Rahman Ganj Muraad-Aabaada's (RA) place) a visitor would be curtly sent away. Shah Sahib would bluntly instruct, "Take him out of here! O, just take him away!" Once it happened that the minister (wazir) of Shah-Jahan Begumwaliah Bhopal arrived at his place. It was at night. According to his habit Shah Sahib said, "Go! Go!" He gave the order for him to be taken away. Shah Sahib's son, whose name was Muhammed-Mia, said, "This is the wazir of the Nawab-Begum of Bhopal." Shah Sahib remarked, speaking loudly, "So, what has that to do with me? If he is a wazir, he is a wazir of his own place. Get him out!" He was always in a state of juzb (absorption). Shah Sahib's son pleaded with his father again. Shah Sahib relented, "Very well. Call him in." He was called in. Shah Sahib asked, "What brings you here?" The wazir replied, Begumsahibah has sent me to request you to make du'a for her." Shah Sahib said, "Very well. I shall make du'a." The du'a was made. The wazir even obtained permission to stay over, but on condition that it was only till midnight. That is, he had permission to stay in the khanqah till twelve or one o'clock only. He was to leave the khanqah after that. The wazir agreed to this.
Just see now how he acted. Think about it. From this one will be able to gauge what the quality of the people of that age was and what the attitude was of those who supposedly had proper i'tiqad. Nowadays? Just do not ask!
Hadhratwala related that when the time for him to leave approached, the wazir sahib gathered up his baggage and prepared to depart. Disturbed from their sleep, the eyes of some of the others residing in the khanqah opened and they saw the wazir sahib ready to leave. These residents of the khanqah, these who had faith and confidence (i'tiqad) in their Sheikh, said, "Where will you go at this early hour? Where will you stay? It is still night. You will have difficulties. Stay over here and you may leave in the morning." The wazir sahib, who was from a noble family - nobility has with it a certain effect - said, "It was the order of the Sheikh. I had permission to stay only till this time. If I were to stay beyond this time, it will be betrayal of a trust and I will be acting in opposition to his command. I cannot stay. I will leave the khanqah and stay in some masjid or other." Consequently, he did not stay, but left immediately.
From this you can gauge what those with i'tiqad were saying and what level of behaviour that wazir sahib exhibited. This incident has been mentioned incidentally because of the beneficial lesson in it. What I actually wanted to do was relate another incident.
In a similar manner, another individual came to Shah Sahib. Salam and musaafahah (greeting and shaking of hands) took place cordially. After a short while Shah Sahib said, "Very well! Go! Get up!" This person stayed put - he refused to get up! Shah Sahib himself stood up, took this person's bedding and placed it outside the door. This person stood up, went to fetch his bedding from outside and brought it straight back in and sat down again! Shah Sahib said, "You have come back? Get up! Go!" When this person remained seated, Shah Sahib again stood up, took his bedding and again placed it outside. This person again fetched his bedding and again came to sit inside. Shah Sahib again took the bedding out and this person again brought it in. This cycle repeated itself three or four times. Shah Sahib then said, "Have something to eat - it is mealtimes." Shah Sahib went inside the house and sent some food from inside. The visitor said, "All this hustle and bustle is because of food - I shall not eat the food!" He sent the food back. Shah Maulana Fadhlur-Rahman Ganj Murad-Aabaada sahib (RA) brought the food back himself and said, "Brother, the fight is between me and you and not with the food. Eat the food." The visitor said, "I shall not eat." Shah Sahib said again, "What fight is there with the food? Come, eat the food." This time the visitor complied and ate. Shah Sahib then asked, "Why have you come?" The visitor replied, "There is some obstacle in my batini condition. I have come to have it remedied." Shah Sahib said, "Oho! Why did you not say so right at the beginning? I had thought that, just like all these worldly people who come here for me to make du'a for their worldly problems, you had also come for the same purpose. They waste much of one's time." Shah Sahib said, "Fine. Sit down." The visitor came to sit nearby and Shah Sahib resolved the problem that the person had encountered. The visitor made salam and musafahah, and then departed.
It is appropriate to note that Shah Sahib did not get kashf of the purpose of the visitor's coming, whereas Shah Sahib used to experience a lot of kashf. Kashf is not essential for a person to be a burzug - if kashf occurs, well and good; if it does not occur it is not a problem.
In Suluk and Tasawwuf - also called Tazkiyah Batin - together with deeds performed, certain conditions of a unique type present themselves. This person then experiences difficulties. In order to solve these problems it is necessary to know certain laws. These are called the masa'il of Tasawwuf. These discourses are to enunciate these masa'il of Tasawwuf. These discourses are not for enumerating the masa'il of Fiqah. These discourses are beneficial for those who are involved in the tazkiyah of their batin. Those who do not fall into this category should sit silently, for they will not understand. Take this example: If somebody is absolutely famished and he is asked, "How much is two plus two?" He will say, "Four slices of bread." The reason is that he is desirous of bread. He will not say, "Four rupees," because he is not desirous of rupees at that moment.
I was saying that when the demand of the Kalimah is taqwa, then Haq Ta'ala creates sakeenah (calmness/ tranquillity) and tahammul (forbearance) in the hearts of the Mu'min muttaqa, so that there may be an increase in the Iman that is present within him. It is thus apparent that Iman can increase. What are the ways and means of attaining this? It is dawame-ta'at and kathrate-zikr.
At this juncture there is a point that ordinary folks will also understand: Haq Ta'ala is saying that Allah Ta'ala creates sakeenah in the hearts of the Mu'minan. From this it is to be understood that it is necessary that there should be tahammul in the heart of every Mu'min. Another name for this is waqar (dignity / gravity). This means that when one is confronted by some behaviour from others that is contrary to one's temperament - either episodically or continually - one's own attitude should portray sakeenah; one should display tahammul; one should not exceed the bounds of dignity; one should not descend into a state where one uses harshness in speech, or words or tone of voice. His bitter act should be considered to be a draft of sweet nectar and swallowed! And when will this happen - when will one consider a bitter draft to be sweet nectar? This will only happen if you have drunk it in Suluk - when the batina tazkiyah of the nafs has become solidly embedded in the heart. Then, when that which is embedded in the heart, comes to mind - the concepts firmly planted in the heart are pictured, the ingrained lessons are remembered - this inner force converts the bitter draft to sweet nectar and swallows it. What is this inner force that is sitting there? It is called "Radha-e-Ilaahi" (being pleased with Allah Ta'ala). Radha' has converted all bitter things to sweet nectars.
Take this illustration: In the old days when we attended school, malaria was common. As a preventative measure the Headmaster would line up the pupils at midday and make them take quinine in his presence. Water was kept nearby; the tablet was given and gulped down with the water. Why did he have to personally supervise this? The reason is that the quinine tablet was very bitter and he had to personally supervise the whole procedure to ensure that nobody defaulted. But nowadays there has been progress: the quinine tablet is sugar-coated. It can be swallowed easily without having to be washed down with huge amounts of water. Just see how a bitter pill was made sweet so that it could slide down the throat with ease.
In the same way, that bitter action that you encounter from others, the nectar of Radha-e-Ilaahi, which is kept inside you, is mixed with the bitterness and swallowed with ease. In the same way that the bitter quinine tablet is coated with sugar and swallowed to maintain physical health, it is also necessary to swallow the bitter words of others to maintain spiritual (rahana) health. And what constituent is necessary to eliminate the bitterness? It is Radha. This Radha-e-Ilaahi is an objective in order to achieve qurb-e-Ilaahi. That is why that bitter item has been made sweet and swallowed. This is the effect of treading the path of Suluk. Even if it is not achieved all at once, it will come steadily, by degrees. The reason is that this person is concerned and attentive, and the effects will manifest, slowly and gradually. His condition becomes such that if anybody throws abuse at him he is not grieved. If he is affected, then it is only momentarily - here it comes and there it goes. He does not sit down despondent. If somebody thumps him on the back he does not even look back to see who it was. He is involved in tazkiyah - involved to that extent that a bitter item, a bitter word, is converted to a sweet word and swallowed.
CONCLUSION AND DU'A
I have proven from the segment of the ayet, "Kalimatat-taqwa", the compulsory nature of obedience, as well as some masa'il of Suluk, and the importance of tazkiyah of the Nafs. When it becomes compulsory to act on Kalimatut-taqwa, then an increase in Iman occurs, as has been explained in detail above.
May Allah Ta'ala grant us talabe saadiq, with zouq and shouq, and may He grant us the taufeeqe arzani to adopt the ways and means that Allah Ta'ala has mentioned, of increasing our Iman. aaa a Khuda Hafiz