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For Friends - Part 17

For Friends - Part 17


Book: Discourses of Maulana Maseehullah Khan Sahib (RA)
Chapter No.: 19


Foreword
Roshni & Indhera - Light & Darkness
Adl (Justice) and Be-adlí (Injustice)
Tawádhu (Humility) and Takabbur (Arrogance)
Honour and Disgrace
The Nafse-Mutma'innah
Status of the Ulema' and Politics
The importance of Family Lineage
The Status of 'Ilm
Istigná and Be-Istigná
Repetition Is Beneficial
Turning to a Sheikh
The Responsibilities of a Sheikh
Laghu - Absurd/ Nonsensical
Isráf - Wastefulness
Carrying Tales
Some Rules for Staying in the Khánqah
First Principle in Sulúk

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Maseehullah Khan Sahib (RA) was born in Sarai Barlah in the district of Aligarh in the year 1329 or1330 H. Hadhrat's (RA) lineage is linked to the noble Sharwani family of landed nobility, and being linked to Sayyid Hussain Ghauri (RA), the lineage is also Sayyid. Hadhrat (RA) attended the local government school up to standard six, but did not continue with his secular education, preferring to study Din, which he studied initially in his home town, and thereafter completing his studies in Deoband. Hadhrat (RA) became bay't to Hadhrat Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA), from whom Hadhrat (RA) received his Khilaafat the same year that Hadhrat (RA) qualified from Deoband. Hadhrat Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) stationed Hadhrat (RA) in Jalalabad, where Hadhrat (RA) established the madrassah, Miftahul-Uloom, and a khanqah where saalikin stayed for their self-rectification. He passed away in Jalalabad on the 17th Jamaadul-Ulaa 1413 H. (14th November 1992).

Published by Dr. Ismail Mangera
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Alhamdulillah, once again, solely through the fadhl of Alláh Ta'álá and the barkat of my Sheikh (RA) - also, not forgetting the valued du'ás of our readers - this seventeenth discourse is ready. (This is to place on record once more that I am indebted to many others in the publication of these majális. The tape for this majlis was given to me by brother Yusuf Bulbulia. Muftí Masúd Mewatí Sáhib, Muftí Hashim Boda Sáhib and Muftí Faeheem Mayet Sáhib assisted with the translations.)

The month of Ramadhán is always a memorable month. This is that special month in the Islámic calendar that causes Muslims all over the world to re-invigorate their ímán. No matter what the condition of the Muslim is, this individual finds it easy to give up bad habits and make more 'Ibádat In the blessed month.

This special atmosphere is especially noticeable where there is a masjid in the locality, where many more people are to be seen coming for the different namázes. People are seen carrying their little packets, dishes and flasks at the time of sunset, ready to break their fasts. With the Taráwíh prayer being performed at night, with the huffáz reciting the Qur'án Sharíf in their melodious voices, this special feeling that pervades during the month of Ramadhán, is more enhanced.

This brings me to Jalálábád: What was the routine there during Ramadhán? Those who had spent Ramadhán there will vouchsafe that this month was really memorable. The Khánqah used to be full, with the overflow of people staying in the madrasah section. Taráwíh was performed at various venues, including the madrasah masjid as well as in the classrooms.

Our Hadhrat (RA) used to make his Íshá salát in the Muniwálí Masjid but performed the Taráwíh salát in the courtyard in front of the majliskháná. The interesting part of the Taráwíh salát was that only one háfiz used to perform all twenty rakats until the completion of the Qur'án Sharíf. Our Hadhrat (RA) did not approve of the system of two or more huffáz performing the Taráwíh by sharing the twenty rakats between them. This did not allow any one háfiz to recite the whole Qur'án Sharíf by himself in the Taráwíh.

Sehrí was eaten individually and not collectively. Each individual woul prepare his own meal and eat it in his room. The same applied to iftár. According to the rules laid down, association with one another was strictly forbidden, unless there was a great need to have contact with others. Having meals together or inviting others to one's room in the Khánqah for meals was not allowed. Sálikín also did not sit in i'tikáf, as this would have meant that they would not have been able to attend the various majális that Hadhratjí (RA) conducted.

Sálikín were encouraged to recite more Qur'án Sharíf in this month and, of course, be punctual with their attendance at the majális. There were no collective programmes laid out for those who were staying in the Khánqah.

Seeing that the madrasas were closed during the month of Ramadhán, many ulema' came to spend some time in Jalálábád. Their presence created an additional lustre to the place. However, more than their presence, more than the fact that the Khánqah was full, was the fact that the rúhániyat that emanated from Hadhratjí (RA) was at an exceptionally high level.

During this month a definite difference was also noted in the content of the majális that our Hadhrat (RA) conducted. The topics were discussed at a higher level and many finer points were also discussed. Seeing that there were a significant number of ulema' and students present, many aspects were addressed to them specifically.

The majlis that has been translated in this issue of "For Friends" was conducted on the first of Ramadhán 1412, corresponding to the 7th March 1992. Our Hadhrat (RA) passed away on the 14th November of the same year. That is, this was our Hadhrat's (RA) last Ramadhán.

Our du'á is that Alláh Ta'álá grants us the tawfíq to act according to the precious teachings of our Hadhrat (RA).

Dr. I.M.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
نحمده و نصلي على رسوله الكريم

[Majlis held by Hadhrat Mauláná Muhammad Masíhulláh Khán Sáhib (RA) in Jalálábád on the 1st Ramadhán 1412, corresponding to the 7th March 1992.]

ROSHNÍ & INDHERá - LIGHT & DARKNESS

There is feebleness in my health.

Indherá and Roshní - Darkness and Light - are opposites. Similarly, fujúr (wickedness) and taqwá (piety) are opposites. Light is excellent, but, at times excessive light will cause one to be distressed. There should be i'tidál (equilibrium) in everything. This is the haqíqat (reality) and this is the yaqín (conviction) of all the Ambiyá (AS).

Adl (Justice) and Be-adlí (Injustice)

If there is be-adlí (injustice) from others towards one, but from onself, one should not stop behaving with adl (justice). Do you understand? To repeat: If there is be-adlí (injustice) from others, but from onself, one should not leave the reigns of adl (justice) in one's behaviour to them. To have developed this degree of adl and have it entrenched in one's temperament, is referred to as Maqáme-Adl.

For example: The wife does not behave with adl. She follows the route of be-adlí (injustice). Perfection (kamál) is that the husband should not discard adl in his behaviour with such a wife when she exhibits her be-adlí. What kamál is it to behave in a good manner with one who's behaviour is good? To behave correctly with evil people - this is an act of kamál! This is husne-sulúk (beautiful manners)! (Sulúk has two meanings: (1) Behaviour; manners; kindness.(2) In Sufí terminology Sulúk refers to the Path of Tariqat or Tasawwuf ), that the initiate (muríd) follows to develop a bond with Alláh Ta'álá.

From this husne-sulúk there enters beautification in one's Sharí'at. There is another way of putting it: until husne-sulúk - here the term "sulúk" refers to "Tasawwuf" - has not been attained, husne-Sharí'at can never be achieved. And husn (beauty) is liked by everybody - in everybody's eyes it is a quality that is loved. And why should husne-Sharí'at not be loved by everybody?

That is why "Sharí'at" has been attached to "Taríqat", irrespective of whether you call it "Tasawwuf" or "Sulúk" or whether you call it "Haqíqat", because the true meaning of Taríqat is as follows: Whatever task, in whatever manner, at whatever time, we have been ordered to perform, to perform that task in that manner, is called Taríqat.

Sharí'at is: Ahkáme-munazzal minnalláh: Those orders which have been sent down by Alláh Ta'álá. These Ahkáme-munazzal minnalláh may be connected to the záhir or to the bátin. Only when one observes and gives full consideration to the directions which accompanied the orders, at the time of carrying out the orders, will it be said that the orders have been carried out. This would be termed Taríqat. If one were to deviate from the directions that accompanied these orders, this would not be termed discharging these orders.

Now, darkness (zulmat) has its methodology and light (roshní) also has its methodology - there is a need for equilibrium (adl) in both. If one deviates from the adl, it means that one has deviated from the correct method, and the moment one deviates from the correct method, this cannot be termed as having performed the task.

Tawádhu (Humility) and Takabbur (Arrogance)

Take tawádhu and takabbur: Tawádhu is a light, a radiance (roshní). Takabbur is a darkness (indherá). There should be i'tidál in both. There should adl in both. You present here are Sáhibe-'Ilm (Ulemá). You are aware that in the Sharí'at both ifrát and tafrít (Ifrát - overdo; do in excess. Tafrít - to underdo; the lower extreme. Ifrát-o-Tafrít - to go to either extremes). are forbidden. The position between ifrát and tafrít is called adl.

The reality of takabbur is something else. There is takabbur súrí (Súrí - outward; external. (This is explained in detail later.) Haqíqí - real; inner). and takabbur haqíqí. Takabbur súrí is one thing and takabbur haqíqí is something else. Until takabbur haqíqí has not been eliminated and tawádhu haqíqí has not been achieved, it is ná-já'iz to utilise takabbur súrí. Until tawádhu haqíqí has not set in, it is not correct to make use of what is contrary to tawádhu. Otherwise one will suffer harm and one will land up in difficulties. One will not be able to safeguard one's honour. One will not be able to save oneself from situations of disgrace, whereas it is fardh to save oneself from situations of humiliation.

Honour and Disgrace

Some situations appear to be those of disgrace... (Listen carefully now, for this is how this old is man presenting it to you!) Sometimes the situations have the appearance of disgrace, but they are situations of honour in the eyes of others, even though the sense of it being honourable is absent within oneself.

For example: You are going somewhere. Along the rural area you come across another person sitting with a bundle of something or other. As you are passing by him, he calls out, "Ají Miají!" You have a proper beard; you are wearing a kurtah as well, neither a mini-one nor the long one of the style of the Arabs, but of some length; and the legs of your ijár are above your ankles, so you appear to be a "miají" in the eyes of onlookers. And you, incidentally, are also an 'álim, one who has graduated as an 'álim from a Dárul-Ulúm. So, this person sitting there calls out, "Ají Miají! Are you just passing by indifferently? It appears that you have no compassion within you. You should at least have enquired of me, ‘You have this bundle next to you, and you are sitting down. Why are you just sitting?'Ají Miají, come here. Mullájí, come here. This bundle is very heavy. I can carry it on my head, but lifting it up is very difficult. I did not realise how heavy it was. Carrying it on my head is also difficult. Just see how old I am and what I am capable of? You are young, má-shá-Alláh, and at your age you have greater capabilities. You are able to lift it and carry it for me, for it appears very difficult for me to carry it on my head. How nice would it not be if you could carry it on your head for me and take it to my house."

So, in appearance - externally, súratan -, this would be disgraceful for you to do so. Is that not so? However, this act would be an honourable act in the eyes of others. Do you understand? In reality, it is not disgraceful. It is only so in appearance. If one has even a little trace of takabbur, one will not tolerate the apparent disgrace. And if one possesses tawádhu haqíqatan, then this apparent humiliation will be adopted.

You have learnt it off, and even taught it to others, the Hadíth Sharíf that states:

لا ينبغي للمؤمن أن يذل نفسه

It is not the shán of the mu'min to disgrace himself.

Yes, you have learnt it off, and even taught it to others, but you have not recognised the appropriate occasion. You have not recognised the appropriate situation. You considered the situation presenting itself to be that of humiliation: "Me! Carry that bundle on my head? What if I meet my friends and acquaintances, what looks will they not give me? And the Hadíth Sharíf clearly states that one should save oneself from situations of disgrace, so how can I tolerate such a humiliating position?"

Initially, being an 'álim, you already took offence at being called "Miají" and "Mullájí". You forgot that a long time ago, all the great, very great, personalities were called "Mullájí". For example: Mullá Jívan, who was a great 'álim, the ustádh of Hadhrat Alamgír (RA). Mullá Jámí, whose kitáb, the shareh of "Káfí", you have studied. Such great personalities were called "Mullá". But nowadays, being addressed by the term "Mullá" is not tolerated. Why is this term not tolerated? The reason is that the term "Mullá" has taken on another meaning - it is considered to be an undignified term in the eyes of people, an insulting term. Yet, there was an age when this term was used commonly for great, great ulemá. This term is now applied to the mu'ezzin of the masjid or for those who are very low in the social scale. This term has become thus decayed. However, one has to recognise who the person who is using this term. If it is an ordinary, unsophisticated person, a peasant from the farmlands, then his using the term "Mullájí" should not be offensive.

A qissah:

Hadhratwálá (RA) was standing in front of the courtyard, under the covered area. A person came up to him, made salám and musáfahah. Hadhratwálá (RA) asked, "From where have you come?" He replied, "I have come from Pánípat." "What have you come for?" He took Hadhratwálá's name, saying simply, "I have come to see Ashraf Alí."

One often sees in books that the author's name is written without any titles, simply Ashraf Ali, without adding "Sáhib". Hadhratwálá (RA) said, "I am Ashraf Alí - people call me Ashraf Alí."

Can you hear me?

The person from Pánípat said, "Oh no. It's not you." He addressed Hadhratwálá (RA) with the informal "tu" and not the more respectful word, "áp", never mind saying even respectfully "Hadhrat". Hadhratwálá (RA) said, "And why not?" He repeated, "No, it's not you." Hadhratwálá (RA) asked, "How do you know that I am not, when I am telling you I am Ashraf Ali?" He said, "He is very handsome." Hadhratwálá (RA) said, "How do you know this?" He said, "He had once come to Pánípat to give a lecture. I saw him - he was very handsome."Hadhratwálá (RA) asked, "And how long ago was that?" The person from Pánípat mentioned that it was something like twenty or thirty years ago! "That many years ago, that is when I saw him." Hadhratwálá (RA), "At that time I was in my youth. Now I am gone old. Where will you still find the same handsomeness?" The Pánípatí responded, "Not so. You are telling lies. You are not Ashraf Alí!" There was a Mauláná Sáhib from Keráná sitting nearby. He had a very white complexion and his beard was not gone very white as yet. Hadhratwálá (RA) said, "Very well. Then it must be that person." The Pánípatí turned around and looked at him. "No, he is too white. It is not him either." Hadhratwálá (RA) said, "It is not him and it is not me. Fine, then go and ask somebody."

At that time there were some building operations taking place and there were some workers around. This person went to them. Whoever he asked, gave the same reply, "That is the person whom you are enquiring about. He is the one."

Finally, he was convinced, seeing that everybody was giving the same reply. He came running back and was about to fall at the feet of Hadhratwálá (RA), who grabbed hold of him, preventing him from doing so. "Oh, oh, what are you doing?" The Pánípatí said, "It is you! Forgive me my mistake." Hadhratwálá (RA) said, "Nothing to worry about. It is a question of non-recognition. My heart is happy. Now tell me: why did you come?" He said, "I was busy with my work, when the thought of you came to me, and my heart told me to go and see you. So I left and came here. I came just to see you again." Hadhratwálá (RA) said, "Is there some work you have to do here then?" He replied, "I have not come for any work. I came to see you. My heart had muhabbat for you and the urge was there to see you. Now that I have seen you, I am going back home. Assalámo-alaikum." He left.

Now, the words with which he addressed Hadhratwálá (RA) and calling a liar on top of it, would appear to be slanderous, you will agree. In appearance it was slanderous, but not so in reality (haqíqatan). Hadhratwálá (RA) recognised the nature of the person presenting himself. He, thus, tolerated his manner of speaking, and he was not upset in the least. Was he offended? Not at all. To the contrary, he was happy. The manner in which some people use the formal "Hadhrat", is like the piercing of an arrow! Whereas the use of the informal "tu" by others causes a glitter to enter the heart, and makes a person happy. In such instances, the word "Hadhrat" is a cause for disgrace and the word "tu" is a cause for honour.

Do you see what is tawádhu and what is takabbur, what is light and what is darkness?

These are principles that are being enunciated. The ramifications you can work out when the occasions arise. However, the task of making deductions is not for everybody. Whosoever has developed within himself correct capabilities of deduction, will be able to do this. His deductions will be correct. As I have mentioned earlier, only that person who has developed tawádhu haqíqí embedded in his heart, with no iota of takabbur remaining in him, may resort to takabbur súratin. That person who has not developed "maleke-izále razílah" (permanent eradication of the akhláqe-razílah) and imbued himself with "maleke-tawádhue haqíqí" (permanent true humility) is not permitted to adopt takabbur súratin.

Another Qissah:

Hadhratwálá (RA) mentioned the following incident:

There was a Mauláná from Delhi. His name was Mauláná Abdur-Rabb Sáhib. You may have heard of the well-known "Madrasah Abdur-Rabb" in Delhi, named after him. Now, Mauláná Abdur-Rabb Sáhib was a guest of a nobleman, a Nawábsáhib, in Mírath. On his way back from Mírath on the way to Delhi, he stopped over in Deoband. The ulemá came to meet him and he related to them what had happened to him while he was a guest at the nobleman's mansion in Mírath.

"I had gone to Mírath, where I was a guest of such-and-such a ra'ís, and an incident took place there involving me. What happened? Well, in the middle of the night, out of the blue, for some unknown reason, I had a tremendous urge to answer the call of nature. I got out of bed and proceeded to the toilet. Now, I did not know that the toilet for guests and others was separate and that the Nawábsáhib had a special toilet reserved for his personal use. The toilet that I entered happened to be the special one reserved for the Nawábsáhib! When I came out of this toilet, it so happened that the Nawábsáhib's security guard happened to be passing by on his security round. He barked at me with harshness, in a reprimanding tone, ‘Who are you?' I quickly thought to myself, ‘Abdur-Rabb, if you were to adopt the humility of the ulemá of Deoband at this point in time, you will suffer such a beating that you will not be able to stand up after that!' I told myself, ‘It is not appropriate to adopt the posture of humility of the ulemá of Deoband at this moment.' So, I barked back at him, ‘Who are you shouting at? Don't you know who I am? I am Hadhrat Mauláná Abdur-Rabb Sáhib of Delhi!' My tone was such that he was visibly shaken, for it appeared that I was a special guest of the Nawábsáhib! The guard, completely cowed, immediately started apologising, ‘Huzúr, I ask to be forgiven!' I stuck to my role: ‘Asking for forgiveness are you?' ‘Huzúr, I did not recognise you.' ‘Did not recognise me...? Wait till morning comes...!' ‘Huzúr, do not report me to the Nawábsáhib! He will dismiss me. I have a wife and children to support. I will become poverty-stricken! For the sake of Alláh Ta'álá, forgive me!' The poor chap was truly humbled. When I saw that he was completely subdued, I said, ‘Fine. Very well. I forgive you. You can go. I will not say anything.' I forgave him."

Hadhratwálá (RA) said that when he had said this, a smile had come to his lips. He had continued, "That was not an occasion for displaying tawádhu. It was an occasion for displaying apparent, outward, súrí takabbur. Or else I would have been beaten so severely that my life would have been at stake! That is why I adopted apparent, súrí takabbur on that occasion to avoid difficulty and disgrace befalling me."

Have you some idea now? He had tawádhu haqíqí and there was no trace of takabbur in him. However, that was an occasion of adopting súrí takabbur and not displaying his normal humility. Also, from his statement, "It was not appropriate to adopt the posture of humility of the ulemá of Deoband..." one can assess that the ulemá of Deoband had within them the highest degree of tawádhu in their temperaments in that age.

Another Qissah:

Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib was somebody with great tawádhu. Once there was a jalsah of a madrasah in Kánpúr. Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib, who was known as Sheikul Hind, was also a guest.

Incidentally, Hadhratwálá (RA) used to be upset at this title, and used to comment, "Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib was at that level of being Sheikhul-álam, not merely of the subcontinent of India (Hind). I am amazed that he is referred to as Sheikhul-Hind." Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib was the tutor of Hadhratwálá (RA). He was not the sadr-mudarris at that time - Mauláná Yáqúb Sáhib was the sadr- mudarris.

To continue: There was an 'álim from Alígarh, Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib. He was a great scholar and he excelled especially in the science of mathematics. Abdul-Haqq Khairábádí, was a famous Logician and Philosopher. In his era Mauláná Abdul-Haqq Khairábádí used to say, "In the whole of Hindustán, there are only two and a half 'álims." He counted himself as one, his father as one and Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib of Alígarh, as half an 'álim. In his opinion the ulemá of Deoband were completely excluded! The reality was that the ulemá of Deoband - speaking of their whole academic lifestyles - were an embodiment of Fiqah and Hadíth. They glittered in these fields. They had great expertise in the field of Logic, but they did not immerse themselves completely in this field. Based on this Mauláná Abdul-Haqq Khairábádí held the view that the ulemá of Deoband had no special affinity for the science of Logic. On the other hand, he considered himself to be uniquely eminent in this field.

Never mind the ulemá of Deoband, even Mauláná Ismá'íl Shahíd (RA), nephew of Sháh Abdul-Azíz (RA), whose era had just passed, was not given any consideration.

Another Qissah:

Hadhratwálá (RA) related another incident:

Mauláná Abdul-Haqq Khairábádí sent an 'álim with some questions pertaining to Logic, with the instructions, "Go to Mauláná Ismá'íl Sáhib and have him solve them."

Now, Sháh Ismá'íl Shahíd (RA) was pre-occupied with the concept of jihád. In order to wage jihád, several forms of training are necessary. One does not know what situations one may come across during jihád at the practical level. So, Sháh Ismá'íl Shahíd (RA) used to walk barefoot on the stone-laid courtyard of the Jámi'ah Masjid in Delhi in the heat of summer. The reason was to be prepared for the vicissitudes to be found on the battlefield. What if one had no shoes, how would one fare? He also trained himself to be a good swimmer: he used to go to swim in the River Jamná, which flows through the one end of Delhi. After Asr he used to swim from one bank to the other and back.

It is important to be acquainted with the histories of our Akábir. What type of people were they? Those who have passed on before us were such that they were people without match!

Mauláná Ismá'íl Shahíd (RA) was also a Háfizul-Qur'án. His practice was that, when he started his swim in the River Jamná, he would start reciting the Qur'án Sharíf. Reciting all the way while swimming from the one bank to the other and then back in the direction of Delhi, he used to make a khatam of the Qur'án Sharíf! He would then proceed to the Jámi'ah Masjid to perform his Maghrib namáz with jamá'at. This was his practice with regard to swimming.

So, at the time that he went into the River Jamná for his normal swim, the 'álim sent by Mauláná Abdul-Haqq Khairábádí, arrived with the questions. He addressed Mauláná Ismá'íl Shahíd (RA), "I have been sent by Mauláná Abdul-Haqq Khairábádí Sáhib. He has some questions on Logic for you to solve." Mauláná Ismá'íl Shahíd (RA) said, "You can carry on asking the questions and I will give my replies. You write down them as I speak." The 'álim did as instructed and put forward the questions, while Mauláná Ismá'íl Shahíd (RA) gave his replies on the turn. So, while swimming along the bank of the river, Mauláná Ismá'íl Shahíd (RA) gave his replies to all the questions.

This was the person whom Mauláná Abdul-Haqq Khairábádí thought had no inkling of the science of Logic! Can you gauge his calibre? Do you see the calibre of our Akábir, of the lineage and nisbat of Sháh Walí-ulláh (RA). The ulemá Akábir of Deoband have their academic lineage from Sháh Walí-ulláh (RA). The publishing and propagation, especially of fiqah and Hadíth Sharíf, have come down from Sháh Walí-ulláh (RA).

Let us now continue with the previous qissah: The Jalsah in Kánpúr was taking place. Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib had also been invited but had not arrived as yet. The turn of Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib came to deliver his lecture. During the course of his lecture, there was a slight commotion. Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib had arrived. People turned around to look to see who had come. He was well known, and a whisper went about, "Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib has arrived! Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib has arrived!" Noting the slight commotion Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib also looked up. When his gaze fell on Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib, he abruptly ended his talk.

Are you listening?

Having rounded up his sentence in a few words, he finished off. Some of his students from the Dárul-Ulúm who had gone with him to the Jalsah, as happens that a sheikh will take some of his muríds with him, felt very disappointed at this. It was not the habit of Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib to deliver lectures. However, on this occasion he had made an exception, and his talk was full of amazing proofs, arguments and counter-arguments. The students felt very heart sore. They were aware that Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib Alígarhí did not have a high opinion of the ulemá of Deoband. He had no real respect for them in his heart. So, the students were naturally very disappointed and also very puzzled, as this was an occasion to demonstrate the capabilities of the ulema' of Deoband.

When Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib came to meet them, greetings took place and after the scheduled proceedings of the Jalsah were attended to, they then retired to the places allocated to them. Some of the students asked Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib, "Hadhrat, what did you do? This was the ideal opportunity to have continued your lecture. Mauláná Lutfulláh Sáhib would have come to realise that the ulemá of Deoband were not devoid of providing proofs arguments and counter-arguments in the science of Logic. He would have heard your lecture with his own ears, but Hadhrat, you kept quiet." Hadhratwálá (RA) went on to say that

Hadhrat Mauláná Mahmúdul Hasan Sáhib said, "Very true. This very thought that you are expressing, came to me as well..."

Are you all listening?

"Yes, this very thought that you are expressing, came to me as well and I thought to myself, ‘If I were now to continue with my lecture it would be to show off my greatness, a manifestation of pride and conceit. It will not be for the pleasure of Alláh Ta'álá or for the Díní benefit of the listeners. It would be for myself, and not for the pleasure of Alláh Ta'álá (radhá-e-iláhí).' So, I kept quiet."

Is my voice reaching you? Do you see the qualities of our Akábir?

In other words, there is no room for waswasah. No room is left for such a thought, when it comes to mind, and then to keep it in one's mind.

Do you understand?

Takabbur, riyá and ujub: these are controlled in such a manner that not even a single waswasah is allowed to intrude. Do you see the reality of tawádhu? Do you see the extinction of takabbur? Have you pondered over it?

Light and darkness. Tawádhu is light and takabbur is darkness. Tawádhu haqíqí and takabbur haqíqí, and tawádhu súrí and takabbur súrí, are not permissible to be utilised by everybody. This is for certain individuals who have become like these individuals. Which type of individuals? These are those who have haqíqí nisbat ma-Alláh. So, who are these who have haqíqí nisbat ma-Alláh? These are those who have attained a nafs that is mut-ma'inna. Again: Who are these? These are those with nafse-mut-ma'inna. In the Qur'án Sharíf the nafs is mentioned as one but can exist three states. I had spoken on this previously. (Kindly refer to "For Friends" Booklet Number Seven).

The Nafse-Mutma'innah

One state is Nafse-ammárah. The Qur'án Sharíf mentions this:

إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ

The nafs enjoineth unto evil (12:.53)

Its basic component, its innate disposition, is to commit evil. This statement of Hadhrat Yusuf (RA) has mentioned in the Qur'án Sharíf by Alláh Ta'álá. Was the Azíz's wife not running after him and did he not flee from her to save his life? This was in the royal palace. Are you listening attentively to my words? You are? Excellent! There are lessons in these. With the tawfíq of Alláh Ta'álá, there are lessons to be learnt in all these.

A Qissah:

Incidentally, something else comes to mind. Hadhratwálá (RA) related this to us. You find those with money, in search of comfort and pleasure, will have servants - young boys, girls and women - to do all their work for them: to cook and clean, to make up the beds, and so forth. There are many among these who are big gossipers, carrying tales from here to there and from there to here. Also, they are full of many titillating, alluring and provocative stories.

A youth, very handsome, was passing by. In a mansion along the way there lived a young lady. She was of a good, well-to-do home. It so happened that she was alone at home - her parents had gone somewhere in the neighbourhood for some necessary work. Standing at the entrance of the mansion was one of these mischievous maids. On seeing the handsome youth approaching, she quickly went inside and instigated the young lady of the house. "There is such a marvelous and handsome youth outside!" "Go quickly, and call him," the young lady responded. He was called on the pretext that the young lady in the mansion was ill. "Please make dam on her. You appear to be a durwesh from your appearance." He went in, unsuspectingly. Some people are innocent and trusting. (Kindly refer to "For Friends" Booklet Number seven).

The young lady addressed him, "Come in, come in. My illness is such that I need you to fulfil my desires

The door behind him had been locked. He became terrified. What to do? He suddenly clutched his stomach. He grimaced and said, "Ofo! My stomack has a severe cramp! Instruct your bandi to place some water for me in the toilet".

In those days the toilets had no running sewerage like we like we have these days. Water had to be taken specifically to the toilet for istinja, and the night-soil was removed by special groups of cleaners.

The water was placed in the toilet for him and he went out. One does not know whether there was some there was some excreta lying there or he had a bowel action, but, in any case, he took the faeces and smeared some on his face, some on his hands and some on his clothes. With this the flies also started swarming around him. In this amazing condition, he re-entered the bedroom. The young lady saw him and started screaming at the bándí, "A mad man! What madman did you bring here? Get out! Get him out from here!" The bándí opened the door and let him out.

You understood the strategy the youth used to save himself? On the other hand, take our youth, our young men: should they see some beautiful girl, they will try different schemes to meet her. Whereas, in the incident just mentioned, without wanting to, he had a beautiful lady within his reach, but he devised a scheme to escape her clutches. He was at the stage of Nafse-mut-ma'innah.

Do you now recognise this phase of the nafs, Nafse-mut-ma'innah, or not yet? This is what it means to have haqíqí nisbat ma-Alláh. Those who are older will relate these incidents to the younger people, to the tálib, from person to person - from Hadhratwálá (RA) to me and then from me to you. These are not related without real reasons. To the tálibe-tazkiyah, to the person in the Khánqah, to the sincere and truthful searcher, these have lessons in them.

"Ofo! This is an amazing effect of having a Nafse-mut-ma'innah." Faeces - something which is impure (ná-pák) - was taken in his bare hands and smeared on his face and arms, and on his clothes and then he presented himself to her. She was revolted by the sight and the smell of him and got rid of him, screaming, "A mad man! What madman did you bring here? Get out! Get him out from here!" He went home, changed his soiled clothes and put on clean clothes. Is my voice reaching you?

This same youth was once going somewhere, sometime before the above incident took place. Along the way he had come across Shaitán, who was carrying a net with him. This person had addressed Shaitán, saying, "Prepare a net for me also. The net you are carrying looks beautiful." Shaitán had replied, "Very well. I shall see to it some time."

Now, after the above incident, the youth again met Shaitán along the way and said, "Where is my net? I had asked you to prepare one for me also." Shaitán replied, "Ari yár! I had prepared a net for you! However, you became insane!"

It comes in the Hadíth Sharíf:

ألنساء حبالة الشياطين

Women are the nets (snares) of Shaitán.

So, Shaitán said that he had prepared such a net for him, but instead of falling into his net, he resorted to the ploy of appearing insane. How did he resort to this scheme of appearing mad? It comes in the Hadíth Sharíf:

لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى أن يقال له أنه لمجنون

This means: Just see, O you Mu'mins, you will not be kámil (perfect) Mu'mins until those who see you do not tell you that you are mad, completely mad. Did the kuffár and mushrikín not tell Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that he was mad? Yes, they did! Nowadays, do not the general populace, the intellectuals, the politicians and national leaders, say, "How much knowledge do the ulemá have? What do the ulemá know? Just see from where to where has the world not progressed! From where to where has the world not advanced! What do these ulemá know? This is the age of progress. Man has reached the moon already. What do the ulemá know? Ulemá have no knowledge of today's world."

Status of the Ulema' and Politics

This is the label the ulemá have been given in this age, from the intellectuals, from the politicians, from the leaders of the nation. Yet, what did my Hadhrat say? Was he not in the final age and most recent period? What should I say? In his age, my Hadhrat was the essence, the sum total and a faultless jewel of all the Auliyá-Alláh, ulemá and pious predecessors.

I have heard with my own ears, in the very special majlis that used to take place in the mornings, Hadhrat saying... What did he say? He said, "Whatever ahwál (spiritual states) that had been experienced by the preceding Auliyá‑Alláh, those very háláts I have also experienced."

And he also said.... What did he say? Well, you have heard of Mansúr of days gone by, the one who had proclaimed "An-al-Haqq!" and who was executed after being found guilty of blasphemy. Hadhratwálá (RA) said, concerning this incident, "Were I present at that time, I would not have allowed Mansúr to be taken to the scaffold to be executed." (The implication of this statement is that Hadhratwálá (RA) would have put forward such proofs to show that his statements did not denote any such meanings as to have a charge of blasphemy being leveled at him and he would have been set free).

I am relating matters that I have heard with my own ears.

To continue: What else did Hadhratwálá (RA) say, in this last era, taking into account all the conditions prevailing at the time? "The politics of this age is different. Our ulemá should avoid getting involved in these politics. Our ulemá will not be able to support and sustain the politics of this age. Let those intellectuals who have come here after having studied in England, (It was the age of the British Empire and England was the centre for secular learning. get involved in politics). Yes, your duties are to mix with them, develop an informality with them and make tablígh to them. Allow them to rule. The nature of politics in this age is such. And the rank that you hold, the duty that you have to carry out is to associate with them and develop an informal relationship with them and make tablígh to them, so that, in time to come, they come to know the Sharí'ah laws and the politicians come to accept these and act on the Sharí'ah.

Let them study and let them rule. However, tablígh should be made to them. Now, those making tablígh, should they be ordinary people approaching such people? Remember, these are people with status, be it from the point of view of their noble family lineage, or their education, or from being well-bred, or from being cultured. So, should just an ordinary person go and make tablígh amongst them? There was a time when the ulemá also were men of status, being from noble lineage, cultured, well-mannered, having perfection in rhetoric, having perfection in eloquence. These are the ones who should go to them.

Importance of Family Lineage

Just see. Wait and see. See what? It is not a question of being rich or being poor. It is a question of family nobility (khándán). It is not in everybody's nature to follow those of a lower khándán - not everybody has the temperament to incline to those of a lower family lineage. The Ambiyá AS), those who were given nabúwat (prophethood), all came from very, very noble families. They were not from a low lineage. Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was descended from a very noble family from among the Arabs, even though he was raised in poverty. What is so special about family nobility and lineage? Leave aside the present times. This age is full of fitnas (trials/ corruption). Even those from very noble and honourable families, have not remained so. This is the result of television, bringing its tablígh from the west. Otherwise, those who were of great and noble families, were a category apart. We have seen them, we have met them and we have inter-acted with them. Without being ‘educated', yet they were very highly cultured. They possessed amazing manners. They had amazing etiquettes. If wrong teachings were not imbibed, or if no learning was attained, or if correct learning was pursued, a person became even more cultured.

The ulemá of those days were told by Hadhratwálá, "Let them involve themselves in politics. Let them rule. But you make tablígh amongst them, so that their temperaments turn towards the laws of the Sharí'ah in their national politics and their administration.

As I was saying: My Hadhrat was the essence and sum total of all the ulemá and Auliyá‑Alláh.

The Status of 'Ilm

Let us continue: Take 'Ilm, can it tolerate hirs and tama'? Can 'Ilm tolerate greed and avarice?'Ilm: what is meant by this word? Does it refer to secular education or Dín? It refers to Dín and wahí. If this is the case, then can 'Ilm tolerate deception and sycophancy? Can it adopt, on an ikhtiyárí (voluntary) basis, slander and disgrace? Mind you, I am using the word ikhtiyárí. Gair- ikhtiyárí (involuntary) is another matter. I had mentioned previously, if told to carry this big burden home for someone in distress, is it ikhtiyárí or gair-ikhtiyárí? It is gair-ikhtiyárí. Is this disgraceful? This would not be disgraceful.

لا ينبغي للمؤمن أن يذل نفسه

It is far from the dignity of a mu'min that he adopts any activity that will lead to his disgrace in the eyes of people. The word "ay-yuzilla" is used. This refers to ikhtiyárí activity. What is gair-ikhtiyárí is excluded. So, now do you understand the difference?

The talk, in the beginning, was on tawádhu and takabbur; light and darkness. So, a mu'min should not voluntarily adopt from his side such activities that will be disgrace on him in the eyes of the people, that people think him contemptible. Gair-ikhtiyárí is another matter.

A Qissah:

Take the situation with our Mauláná Muzaffar Husain Sáhib. He was a great 'álim, abstinent, muttaqí, highly respected in the community, and who lived in Kándhlá. Mostly, the ulemá of Kándhlá were noblemen. He dressed very plainly and simply. On one occasion he was going somewhere. Co-incidentally, a policeman, having just alighted at the railway station, was going to the police station with his luggage. Seeing this person in his simple attire, he ordered him in commanding tones, "Come here! Carry my luggage! I'm on my way to the police station. Take my luggage there!" Mauláná Muzaffar Husain Sáhib lifted the luggage as ordered, placed it on his head and carried it to the police station. When they reached there, the policeman ordered, "Good. Leave it here!" It so happened that the police superintendent knew Mauláná Muzaffar Husain Sáhib. Understandably upset at the policeman's audaciousness in getting Mauláná to carry his luggage, he stood up and was about to reprimand the policeman, but Mauláná Muzaffar Husain Sáhib quickly spoke up, "He is weak and tired, and was in need of assistance, so I helped the poor chap carry his luggage. Do not tell him anything!" The superintendent had great respect for Mauláná and said nothing to the policeman.

Do you see? Did he adopt what is ikhtiyárí or gair- ikhtiyárí? He had adopted what was gair-ikhtiyárí. Is there respect in his action or disgrace? Respect, because he was ordered to do so and he did not do so voluntarily. To have acted voluntarily in this way is forbidden.

It is not in the capability of everyone to utilise light and darkness to a degree of fairness and justice; according to the demands of place, person and situation. That is why the muslih, the guide and mentor, fills the ears of the tálibáne-isláh, the tálibáne--tazkiyah, with every type of teaching, and causes these to settle in their hearts, so that they may apply it correctly and act accordingly when the situation demands it.

Do you understand? Until the haqá'iq for differing situations are not brought forth, how is the poor student of tazkiyah to know? The sheikh is not going to remain with you forever. Hadhratwálá used to say that the teachings of the sheikh will remain. The tálibe-sádiq, mukhlis, who listens attentively with correct i'tiqád to every word and allows these words to settle firmly in his heart, will find the teachings of his sheikh with him all the time. The tálib will now develop light in his heart, from adopting taqwá and making an abundance of zikr, and from muráqabát. The foremost is taqwá. An abundance of zikr or muráqabát does not take priority over taqwá. This is termed correct nisbat, correct attachment to Alláh Ta'álá. Mere muráqabah, without taqwá, is not correct nisbat with Alláh Ta'álá. The first and foremost is taqwá. To embellish this, there is the zikr of Alláh Ta'álá, to embellish this is also the contemplation of Alláh Ta'álá.

There may be roshní, but there is no recognition of a particular item - there may be light, but no item is seen with it. So, will the light enable one to grasp the item which the light was supposed to reveal? The answer is no. That is the position of taqwá.

The qissah of Mauláná Muzaffar Husain Sáhib has been mentioned. Bear it in mind. He had adopted what was gair- ikhtiyárí, in which there is no disgrace. The term "ay-yuzilla" is used. Grammatically, it is not "feil-e-lázmí" (an action that terminates in itself) but "feil-e-tá'diyah"(an action that is continuous).

Istigná and Be-Istigná
(Istigná - Self‑reliance, self‑determination, autonomy, individualism. Be-istigná is the opposite of istigná).

Those who are from nobility, possess amazing manners and culture. Hadhratwálá narrated an incident concerning istigná and bé-istigná :

There was a prince from Iran who had come to India for a holiday. During his travels he also came into contact with a particular nobleman. The nobleman told him, "Seeing you are here on holiday, this here is my address - should you come my way, please do come and pay me a visit." The prince replied, "Very well. Will do so."

Those who are big-shots in the world, have a habit of being extravagant (isráf). In the context of their status, they tend to be wasteful. For them to recognise an appropriate place, person and occasion is very difficult. It was the same with this prince from Iran. While travelling and spending, his financial condition deteriorated. He reached a situation of impoverishment. Even his clothes, instead of showing his princely status, evidenced his degraded state. While in this condition, he thought of the offer of the nobleman he had met. He still had his address with him. He decided to go and visit him.

When the nobleman saw him in this abject and weak condition, he brazenly recited a couplet in Fársí to the prince:

When the temperament of a lion (being a lion) changes to that of a jackal, he goes begging with his needs to the doors of others.

Having previously seen the prince in his royal splendour and witnessing his poverty now, the nobleman read this couplet. However, after all, the prince was from royalty. Without any hesitation, as his repartee, he also recited a couplet with an air of complete independence and nonchalance.

You have not seen a real lion. What you may have seen is an artificial lion. No matter what the condition of a masculine lion descends to, despite his needs, he still lashes out with his sharp claws!

The prince, having recited this rejoinder, turned around and started walking away. The nobleman realised his indiscretion and error, and apologised profusely, again and again, but the prince retorted, "You are not worthy of associating with." He left.

From this you will be able to see what istigná is. That prince from Iran was a worldly person. He was not one who possessed 'Ilme-Dín and 'Ilme-wahí. In comparison to the worldly person, one can gauge to what degree of qalbí istigná that person should have in whom the knowledge of Dín has entered and to whom 'Ilme-wahí has reached.

What was the reason that Hadhratwálá related this incident to us? It was to compare the two. In the above incident, was it not a matter of disgrace for the prince to still meet the nobleman after the latter had recited that insulting couplet? Yes, it would have been dishonourable for him still to meet him. So, he did not meet him.

So, what did Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) state to the general mu'min community? Remember that whatever Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) stated was, in actual fact, what Alláh Ta'álá wanted him to say.

لا ينبغي للمؤمن أن يذل نفسه

What about that person, besides being from among the general mu'minín, is also an 'álim, what then? And, being a mu'min and an 'álim, he is also a sáhib-e-tazkiyah, a sáhib-e-tarbiyet, what then? What degree of istigná must he not have! At times there is some admixture, some contamination occurring in istigná and istikbár (pride/conceit). Istigná is light (roshní). Istikbár is darkness (indherá). To be able to recognise the admixture is not everybody's work. Yes, with the taufíq of Alláh Ta'álá, that person will be able to do it, who is a sáhib-e-tazkiyah, sádiq, mukhlis, with his gaze on the hereafter, with a nafs that is kept at the level of mutma'innah, one who can recognise the difference between light and darkness, and one who is able to act on adl and insáf.

At times, another person may come forward with injustice and treat him unjustly, but this tálib-e-tazkiyah will not allow the reigns of adl to slip from his hands. May Alláh Ta'álá make it that we can understand! This is what is termed tazkiyah; this is what is called taríqat and sulúk. This is that Sharí'ah that will not be manifested as Sharí'ah without husne sulúk.

Repetition Is Beneficial

Just see: Hadhrat Alí (RA) had thrown the káfir enemy on the ground and was saddled on his chest, about to slay him...

An incident may be repeated several times in order that a certain concept settles down firmly in the heart of the tálibáne-tazkiyah, so that on the right occasion, without making an effort at remembering and without having to stop to think of the solution, the correct reaction springs up spontaneously in his mind and he acts accordingly. In the Qur'án Sharíf as well, one finds certain incidents narrated at several different places, often with a slightly different perspective, so that Alláh Ta'álá is telling us, "The related lessons may be settled firmly in the hearts of My mu'min bandah, and that My dispensation comes to be known - what is My methodology (ádatulláh) - when, with whom and in what manner." Similarly, the muslih - the guide - will relate an incident several times on different occasions and in different majális. A person may think, "I have heard this before, many times." Yes, you may have heard it before, but has it settled in your heart? Has the lesson been learnt? Have you acted accordingly when the situation presented itself before you? Have you attained that firmness?

A Qissah:

We heard Hadhratwálá relate this incident many times, and also read it for it has also been published as well. Anyhow, let us continue: Sitting on the káfir's chest, his sword drawn, Hadhrat Alí (RA) was ready to execute the káfir. At that crucial moment the káfir spat into his face. Hadhrat Alí (RA) immediately got off his chest. Take into account that the person was a káfir, an enemy combatant, and one who was overpowered and defencless. He still had the gall to insult Hadhrat Alí (RA) by spitting into his face! Was this not denigratory? The status of Hadhrat Alí (RA) should also be considered: he came from a very noble family, one whose ímán was of the highest order, one who had an honoured position among the Sahábah (RA) and closeness to Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam); one who had been given the glad tidings of Jannat. Truly, he was of a very elevated status.

Those who are truly elevated, who are considered to be important, have the highest degree of abdiyet; they have the highest degree of humility, even though they may be wearing clothes of royalty. Mullá Jámí (RA) was a great 'álim. You may have studied his kitáb "Sháreh Jámí", which is prescribed in the Dárul-Ulúm...

Turning to a Sheikh

Before proceeding, let me mention something else: Towards the end, some ulemá develop some perception with regard to tazkiyah. When this realisation comes, they do not ignore it, but place their full attention and concentration on it. I have seen this with my own eyes. Mauláná Rasúlkhán Sáhib was a very amazing and accomplished mudarris at the Dárul-Ulúm, excelling in Philosophy and Logic. I studied the kitáb "Qází" under him.

A Qissah:

Once, a person from Khairábád attended his class whilst he was teaching the kitáb "Qází". We had mentioned previously Mauláná Khairábádí Sáhib, who considered himself unique in the field of Logic and Philosophy. Well, this student was from the same place. He had come to visit another student here. Seeing that the lesson was still on, he went to sit among the students of the class. Mauláná Rasúlkhán Sáhib did not notice his arrival or his presence. He had the habit of looking down and not looking right or left while he gave his lesson. He used to lean his back against the wall and give his lesson in this manner. When the lesson came to an end, the Khairábádí student raised a criticism of a particular point. Mauláná Rasúlkhán Sáhib gave his reply. On this, the Khairábádí student raised another criticism. Mauláná Rasúlkhán Sáhib replied to this. Again, the Khairábádí student raised another objection on this reply.

O students, are you listening? An ustádh will recognise the quality of his students and tailor his talks at their level. He explains the subjects of the kitábs accordingly. They sit in front of him daily and he comes to recognise their potentials. However, here was a student who appeared to be stubborn and mad, raising one needless objection after another. So, Mauláná Rasúlkhán Sáhib, in reply to the objection, then delivered a power-packed lecture, giving proofs, references and detailed explanations. At the end of this powerful exposition, he kept silent. There was now no more room for any objections or criticisms, and none came forth!

Mauláná Rasúlkhán Sáhib had the habit of using three phrases and these were, "Himár (donkey). Buze-akhfash (dunce). Kamarband ho-gyá dilá? (i.e. Has the steam being knocked out of you?)." These remarks were made in affection, according to the quality of the student concerned. However, on this occasion he did not know that there was a visitor present, but when he saw that there were no further objections being raised, addressing the questioner, he said, "Himár, Buze-akhfash, Kamarband ho-gyá dilá? Why do you not speak now?" The questioner was silenced

Do you see? Our ulemá were not in any way inferior to the Khairábádíes. Our Akábir ulemá were a match for the Khairábádíes, who were boastful of their knowledge of Philosophy and Logic.

Coming to the point I wish to make that, towards the latter period of his life, Mauláná Rasúlkhán Sáhib also turned towards Tasawwuf and sulúk. He established an isláhí contact with Hadhratwálá and was given khiláfat - mujáze-bai't - as well. Another such person was Mauláná Abdur-Rahmán Sáhib Kemalpúrí, of Mazáharul-Ulúm, highly qualified in Philosophy and Logic, Hadíth and Fiqh. He also developed this realisation towards the end and became bai't to Hadhratwálá. He also became mujáze-bai't. These individuals developed the realisation of the importance of Tasawwuf and sulúk towards the latter part of their lives.

A Qissah:

We were going to speak about Mullá Jámí before we digressed. His qissah came to mind when I spoke about royalty. He had also developed this yearning in his heart. He went to go and meet a buzurg.

Now, remember that abdiyet is an inner state. What we had mentioned with regard to the reality of humility and the difference between istigná and istikbár (Istikbár: pride/conceit).

In the past the Akábir of the Naqshbandí silsilah used to live with much pomp and glory. The Chistiyah did not adopt this method. Although we are connected to all the four silsilahs, the Chistiyah silsilah is predominant in our approach.

Before Mullá Jámí could enter to meet the buzurg, he saw that there was a doorman at the entrance. He had to obtain permission from the doorman in order to enter. Having obtained this permission, Mullá Jámí went forward and shifted the curtain in the doorway. As he lifted the curtain his gaze fell on the furnishings inside: luxurious carpets were on the floor, large, soft pillows against the wall, with the buzurg sitting with the pomp of royalty. On seeing all this luxury, Mullá Jámí recited a line of poetry:

The Ahlullah, those who are wásil-bil-Haqq, cannot be infatuated by the Dunyá.

Having recited this, he left and went to stay at the masjid.

At night he had a dream in which some person from the rijále-gaib (Rijále-gaib: a person from the Unseen; a person that Alláh Ta'álá sends to assist the Ahlulláh), came to him. Mullá Jámí asked him, "I want to travel the road to Alláh Ta'álá. Could you show me the way?" This person answered, "You had the road, but you left it." Mullá Jámí's eyes opened. He was now very perplexed. What to do now? He dosed off again and saw another dream: It was the Day of Hashr (Judgement Day) and accounts were being taken. Mullá Jámí saw himself there as well. Some people came to him, demanding money owed to them by Mullá Jámí. He was greatly agitated, as he had no money with him. He saw a sedan-chair coming with somebody sitting in it. There was an attendant with this person. The sedan-chair was placed on the ground and the attendant came to Mullá Jámí with the good news that the sheikh had offered to settle his debts from the money that the sheikh had kept there. The money was handed over and the debts settled. Mullá Jámí was left off the hook. Curious to know who the generous person was, Mullá Jámí approached the sedan-chair. Much to his surprise, he recognised the person as being the same buzurg that he had gone to see that day! His eyes opened. He was now more perplexed than ever!

The night passed and it was the time of dawn. At the time of Fajr he saw the sheikh enter the masjid for salát. The opportunity to ask his forgiveness had presented itself. He rushed forward, but as he was about to fall at the sheikh's feet, the sheikh stopped him. "No. No. It is not necessary. However, that line that you read: yesterday you recited it for your own pleasure. Today, my desire is that you recite it again, but for my pleasure." Mullá Jámí said, "It was my error, my fault. I ask to be forgiven." The sheikh said, "I am quite serious: yesterday you recited for your own happiness; today recite it to make me happy." Mullá Jámí recited the same line again:

The Ahlulláh, those who are wásil-bil-Haqq, cannot be infatuated by the Dunyá.

The sheikh immediately added his own line to it:

If one who is a real, haqíqí Mehbúb of Alláh Ta'álá, keeps dunyá as a friend, he does it for the sake of a friend.

The one line of poetry became a couplet. The friend had asked and he had a right over one, so as per the order of Alláh Ta'álá, it was used for the friend. It was not used for oneself, not for elevating one's prestige, not for promoting one's status and grandeur, not for the sake of hubbe-jáh, not for the sake of hubbe-mál. It was used only for hubbe-iláhí.

As I had said: towards the end many come to realise the importance of sulúk. So was it with Mullá Jámí. He also became aware of the need of having a sheikh. He became bai't to the buzurg.

The Responsibilities of a Sheikh

Remember that istigná is one thing and istikbár is another. To differentiate between the two is not within the capabilities of everyone. The muslih - that person whom you refer to as the sheikh - will discuss various topics in a majlis. The qualities of the tálib will determine the degree of 'Ilm that he will attain and the degree of perception that he will develop. Just as the muslih will convey correct practice, so will he convey correct Díní ta'lím.

Now, take this letter that I have received, being kept in front of you. The sender has written: "This is my name. I am a student at a Dárul-Ulúm, studying such-and-such specialist kitábs." Where he has written "Dárul-Ulúm", I have drawn a line and written, "Dárul-Ulúm is a general term. Nowadays, the madrasah is called a Dárul-Ulúm, but this is a general term applicable to all such institutes. Why did you not add a specific name to it, so that one may recognise which Dárul-Ulúm you are attending?" This has been done to correct his statement. A Dárul-Ulúm is a general, generic term for such institutions, and not specific to a particular one.

You would have studied Logic, in which these issues are explained. For example: man is an animal, falling into the category (genus) common for all animals. The sub-group (species) that he falls under is that of "nátiq" (one who speaks). Until this sub-group is not mentioned, he will be considered to be just a part of the animal kingdom.

So, this student wrote "Dárul-Ulúm", but he did not mention the sub-group, the specific institution. I am aware that, generally, when we refer to "Dárul-Ulúm" over here, we are referring to the Dárul-Ulúm in Deoband. However, what has happened now recently? Now there are two Dárul-Ulúms in Deoband, one being the "Qadím" (Old) and the other being the "Jadíd" (New). The latter is attached to the Jáme Masjid (Subsequently, this Dárul-Ulúm (Jadíd) moved to its own, separate premises), which is waqf, the other being gair-waqf. I am not sure what term is used to describe it. So, which Dárul-Ulúm is he studying at - the Qadím or the Jadíd? I also realised that he was most probably referring to the Dárul-Ulúm Qadím. However, he was being corrected on this issue: a line was drawn at that point and the question posed as to why did he not specify the Dárul-Ulúm. How am I to know which Dárul-Ulúm he was at if he did not specify as much?

So, that person who is a sheikh will correct the statements of his muríds, just as he corrects their actions. Why did he write in those terms? Why did he speak in that manner? Also, why did he sit in that manner? Sitting here, why is he looking elsewhere? Is this correct talab - is this a sign of questing?

The sheikh relates incidences and anecdotes as well - the context and effects of these are also related, in order that the tálibán-e-tazkiyah may develop discernment and a deep understanding of Dín, with its detailed ramifications and differences of opinions.

Every hirs is not harám. Every tamá' is not harám. Every takabbur is not harám. Every istigná is not permissible. One should be able to discern the correct viewpoint in differences of opinion. This is not easy and simple - it is not an insignificant quality. One needs to have lengthy sohbat to develop this. One needs to listen with great attention and thoughtfulness.

It is a well-known practice coming down from the mashá'ikh, that there is not just a single specific topic discussed in a majlis, as in a lecture, but the topics discussed are general, varied and many. These are presented with authentic narrations and rational proofs.

I had said something earlier on, before the majlis had commenced: The lights were switched on. There was enough light. The doors were then opened and more light came in - the intensity of the light increased. What did I then say? I said, "Put the lights off." Was this non-beneficial speech? What amazing people, what amazing friendship, what an amazing demonstration of faith and confidence, that this statement of mine is considered to be frivolous, to be lá-yání, to be laghu to be useless!

Laghu - Absurd/ Nonsensical

The meaning of the word "laghu" is "absurd/ nonsensical".

This word is used in the Qur'án Sharíf. See in the twenty-fifth surah. Mentioning several of the noble qualities of the believers, Alláh Ta'álá goes on to state that one of the qualities of the mu'min is that:

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ

The translation of this áyet is that the shán - the nobility and dignified status - of the believers is that they do not sit where nonsensical activities are taking place. The word that is used is "lá-yash-hadúna" - "they do not witness". The word "lá-yasma-úna" - "they do not listen" - is not used. The Word of Alláh Ta'álá is pure and full of depth and inner meaning. Scholarly linguists have thrown down their arms in the face of it. To continue: It is also not stated, "lá-yaj-lisúna" - "they do not sit" - but it is said, "lá yash-hadúna" - "they do not witness". Also, the word "laghu" is not used, but the word "zúr" - "lies/ falsehood" - is used. It is not in the shán of a mu'min is that he should sit in stupid and unintelligent gatherings. The meaning then would be that those gatherings where the conversation is non-beneficial, useless and inappropriate, and where there is no dafa'mazarrat (warding off harm), a gathering where those present speak about irrelevant matters, are avoided by the mu'min.

Another way of putting it is thus: He does not grant an opportunity to others to witness his stupidity by them observing his actions. If he were to sit in such gatherings, his action would be proof of his stupidity and being unintelligent! Those with knowledge have clearly understood that, by his action and by his speech, he is giving a clear indication of his idiocy, his stupidity. Those with knowledge have understood very well!

Do you understand?

Ímán also has some rank and status, and those with ímán - the mu'minín - will also enjoy some rank and status. So, that person who has this rank and status should live up to that position, not shift away from it. So, we should assess ourselves: being mu'min and also of the ahle-'Ilm, have we shifted away from that rank or not? Alláh Ta'álá is saying it: By your actions and your speech, why are you giving proof of your idiocy and stupidity? Are you not ashamed? Have you no sense of shame? Have you no modesty in you? Why are you sitting in such venues? Why are you sitting amongst such people? Why are you involved in such activities? And, mind you, you being of the ahle-'Ilm! Why are you involved in the sports of the English, being students of wahí?

It is Alláh Ta'álá Who is stating that this is not in keeping with the shán of the mu'min. And what if that mu'min is an 'álim, and what if that 'álim, in addition, is a tálib in sulúk? Has the rank and status not increased? It has! That is why Alláh Ta'álá has stated further on: Never mind not sitting there, never mind not providing proof of one being an idiot and being stupid, when his route unavoidably passes by them and he passes by incidentally by such stupid people, his shán is such that he pays no attention to them and he passes by with the greatest of dignity, in such a way that there is not the slightest thought of his own greatness or pride or arrogance; and there is absolutely no contempt for those involved in those nonsensical activities.

و إذا مروا باللغو مروا كراما

This is a continuation of the áyet quoted above: Never mind sitting with such people, if and when he has to pass by them, he does so with head bent, with the utmost humility, with utmost dignity and serenity. There is no pride in him. Also, his behaviour is such that it is apparent that there is no arrogance in his temperament and there is no contempt for others. In other words, there is no istikbár in him, but, in contrast, there is istigná.

Do you understand? Have you understood the examples?

The Qur'án Sharíf states that such people have istigná in them. There is no istikbár in them. "Marrú-kirámá" indicates that they have no istikbár in them, but they have istigná towards such activities. As stated previously: It is not in the capabilities of everyone to differentiate between istikbár and istigná. To recognise and utilise light and darkness in the correct manner is not within the capabilities of everyone. This topic had commenced when this bandah had said that the lights should be switched off.

Where this topic has been elucidated, with the fadhl of Alláh Ta'álá and the barkat of Hadhratwálá, from here another issue becomes apparent. This has entered my mind just at this moment. It concerns adl, (justice) i'tidál (equilibrium) and staying within the hudúd (Sharí'ah limits).

Isráf - Wastefulness

Utilise only as much light as is necessary for that task to be done correctly. If much greater light is used then this will be isráf (wastefulness/ extravagance). Yes, if the task cannot be performed without it, then make use of a bigger globe or additional lights. I do not know much about these newer and fancier lights on the market. However, if that task is being performed satisfactorily, then what is the need for attaching additional and expensive lighting? This is now wasteful spending - fuzúl kharchí and isráf. The person has moved away from adl. Being a sáhibé-wahí, a sáhibe-'Ilm, he still is not aware of what constitutes isráf.

A Qissah:

I cannot remember at this time whether this incident pertains to Hadhrat Umar (RA) or to Hadhrat Alí (RA). But it was a sahábí, with regard to whom Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated:

أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

All my Sahábah (RA) are like stars. Whomsoever you follow from among them, you will be rightly guided.

There was a lamp burning at the sahábí's home. The lamps used mustard oil (or something similar) to produce light. Another sahábí (RA) said, "If the flame was bigger, there would have been more light." The sahábí (RA) (it was either Hadhrat Umar RA or Hadhrat Alí RA) replied, "If this light is sufficient for the work to be carried out satisfactorily, what need is there for a brighter light? More oil will be used. Will this then not be isráf?"

This is narrated proof (dalíle-naqlí) of my statements.

The importance of being able to differentiate between roshní and indherá, núr and zulmat, (light and darkness), and the use of everything on every occasion with adl and i'tidál, has been set before you. Incidentally, these topics came to my lips after what happened earlier on, and the topic of roshní and indherá carried on into different avenues. The crux and essence of this topic is that one should save oneself from futile activities, from the aspect of actions as well as speech. This has been proven from the Qur'án Sharíf:

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا

It is stated not only here, but at other places as well,

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ

The shán of a mu'min is that he abstains from useless and vain actions and speech - he avoids these activities, he bypasses them, he sidesteps them.

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ

When he hears any person speaking non-beneficially to him, and he realises that it is fruitless and useless, he brushes it aside. Whether the "laghu" is directly at him, that such-and-such a person has said this about him, or it comes to his ears indirectly, he brushes it aside. This is the shán of the mu'min that has been described in the Qur'án Sharíf in different places. So, if that person is one of the ahle-'Ilm, and also a sáhibé-tazkiyah, then, to a proportionately higher degree, should these qualities be in him!

Carrying Tales

That is why it was the method of our Hadhratwálá and other akábir, Hadhrat Gangohí (RA), Hadhrat Hájí Imdádulláh (RA) and others that, when somebody came to them and said, "Such-and-such a person had this to say about you," then their response was, "That person may have said it or not, but you are throwing it directly into my face!" After such a rebuke, this person would not have the courage to carry tales again in the future.

However, people like us respond in a different manner from that of our akábir. We would gleefully ask, "Yes, yes, what more did he have to say? Come, speak openly! Why are you hesitating?" Interest has been aroused, is that not so? We do not know what gossip he will come to relate in the future. He will make up stories. He has found an ear to whisper into. The interest of the listener has been aroused. The listener has lent an ear to his gossip. The fountains for quarrels and fights have been opened. The in-fighting among relatives has now commenced.

Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was going somewhere. Passing a qabrastán, he stopped and ordered for two green twigs to be brought to him. He placed one on one of the graves and the other on a second grave. The Sahábah (RA) enquired, "O Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), what is this?" Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, "The inmate of the one grave was one who did not protect himself from drops of urine falling on him. And the inmate of the second grave was one who did not save himself from carrying tales. Both were being punished. I have placed these green twigs on their graves so that, because of the tasbíh made by the twigs, their punishment would be lightened." Rasúlulláh (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was sent as a mercy to both the worlds.

Carrying tales is another manifestation of laghu. Laghu has many branches to it. The evil of the tongue is not only to tell lies. The tongue is involved in many evils. Imám Ghazálí (RA) has listed some twenty evils of the tongue.

In tazkiyah of the nafs it is very necessary to save oneself from laghu and láyání. If one does not save onself from these how will one save onself from those aspects which are obviously useless and forbidden? This is the meaning of tazkiyah of the nafs, that one will also protect oneself from those actions which may be permissible (já'iz) in themselves, but which may lead one to what is prohibited. So, protect yourself even from that category of permissible acts.

That is why all the tálibs, but especially the mubtadí (Mubtadí - the beginner; novice), should not involve themselves in issues pertaining to já'íz and ná-já'iz. The tálib should not insist on a certain matter and say, "But this is já'íz!"

Is my voice reaching you?

Those who are staying in the khánqah should not talk to others, should not socialise with others, should not stare at others even though this person may not be looking at the other person with evil intent (bid-nigáh), and may be looking at the other person with muhabbat and with i'tiqád. Nobody is stopping you. However, the person stared at feels it a burden on his heart. It may be that some people's constitutions are weak.

A Qissah:

Hadhrat Mauláná Ilias Sáhib, the founder of the Tablígh Movement, came to the Khánqah in Thánah Bawan. Hadhratwálá used to perform the five times salát in the masjid. After performing the Asr namáz, Hadhratwálá came to stand in the courtyard near the covered area. It was summer time. Hadhratwálá had two servants, one for the big house and one for the small house. The servant from the big house was standing there as he had some necessary work. Hadhratwálá became aware of Hadhrat Mauláná Ilias Sáhib standing at the middle door of the masjid and staring at him. Thinking it to be just incidental, Hadhratwálá did not say anything. However, Hadhrat Mauláná Ilias Sáhib kept on standing there and staring at Hadhratwala. Hadhratwálá told the servant, "Just see who is that Sáhib." Hadhratwálá had a very investigative temperament and used to enquire into every occurrence.

Nowadays, whatever another says, one accepts and one is convinced of its truthfulness. There is no inclination to investigate personally. However, it is very necessary for a person in a position of responsibility to investigate a situation. It is not sufficient to rely merely on hearsay. How can one act on something merely heard from somebody?

So, the servant went to enquire and reported back, "It is Mauláná Ilias Sáhib." Hadhratwálá said, "Ofo! Being one of us, he does such a thing? Go to him and tell him, ‘The muhabbat you have is in its place. I am aware of it. However, what can I do? My constitution is a bit weak. Whenever somebody stares continuously at me, there is a danger of drops of urine leaking out.' Go and tell him that."

Hadhratwálá took into consideration the status of Hadhrat Mauláná Ilias Sáhib. It was not a situation where "everyone is driven with the same whip". Recognise the individual. We are speaking about roshní and indherá - light and darkness. The branches and masá'il are being enunciated and the method of its application. Recognise the person and the situation.

The message was delivered and Hadhrat Mauláná Ilias Sáhib moved away from there.

Yes, Hadhratwálá had reprimanded him, but the reprimand had taken into account the status of the individual being addressed. Khwájah Sáhib used to sit in the area where the students had their classes, leaning against a pillar. When Hadhratwálá used to come he was able to look at Hadhratwálá, but in such a way that Hadhratwálá was not aware that he was being stared at. He knew very well that if Hadhratwálá were to know of his looking at him from there he would be taken to task in a severe manner! Others would also look at Hadhratwálá but they would sit in such a hidden manner that they were not noticed by Hadhratwálá as to be watching him.

Have the different types of "laghu" being explained? It is fardh (compulsory) to save oneself from laghu. So, if one goes to sit at those places where people are involved in this laghu, one is giving evidence of one's own un-intelligence and idiocy. This is the meaning of laghu. If you have come there for some specific work, having done the work you have come for, move on. Why are you still sitting around there? Why are you still reluctant to move away? Why are there additional conversations of worldly matters taking place? Have you nothing else to do that you have time for this? It appears that you are useless person, sitting idle. It is a heavy burden on us, seeing that you are one of our people. One feels pained at seeing one of our own in this condition.

Some Rules for Staying in the Khánqah

So, staying in the Khánqah, should one abstain from laghu, or - taubah! taubah! taubah! - should one involve oneself in all the different categories of laghu? Therefore, observe two rules: silence (sukút) and tranquility (sukún). All types of people are here. It may happen that another person may be an acquaintance from before - the person may be hailing from the same locality, the same city or the same country - but, after arriving here one has to stay in such a manner as if to say, "I am alone here and I know nobody. I have absolutely no acquaintances here." One has to have a grip on one's temperament, burden oneself, and stay in such a manner that firmness comes into one. One should reach a stage of nafse-mutma'innah. One has come for that purpose to develop nisbate-Haqíqí, a special bond with Záte-Bárí Ta'álá.

Have you come here to change your old habits or remain steadfast on them? Of course, to change them. Now, this change, is it a change for the better or a change for the worse? Obviously, it is to change for the better that you have attached yourself to the Khánqah. So, the heart has to undergo continuous change for the better until the heart embraces seclusion. The characteristics of the nafs has been cleansed of the akhláqe-razílah, and the heart has been emblazoned with akhláqe-hamídah in a permanent manner. Have you understood what I am saying? The nafs has evil in it. This needs to be replaced with good. If not, what is the benefit of coming here? Why come? Go back home.

Bear in mind that this is the month of Ramadhán, the month of R = Rahmat; M = Maghfirat; Dh = Dhiyafat; A= Ulfat; and N = Ne'mat - Ra-Ma-Dhá-N.

Seeing that you have come here and are staying here, with the utmost humility and muhabbat, with the responsibility that is placed on me, and with responsibility with which you have come here, I urge upon you not to mix with one another, not to socialise with one another, not to go into one another's rooms. Yes, if there is a dire necessity, then there is no restriction. If there is no necessity, what would be the reason then be? In necessary matters, discarding what is necessary, will lead to harm. In unnecessary matters it, adopting what is not necessary, would result in bringing harm. You have come here to save yourself from harm, to save yourself from evil, to discipline your temperament. You have come to mold your temperament to khair (goodness). The ímán of a mu'min desires aman (peace and order), not bid-amaní (anarchy). The Islám of a Muslim desires salámatí (tranquility), not shar (evil). That is why a mu'min, a Muslim, should develop his lifestyle in this manner and live among Muslims and non-Muslims in this manner. Husne-akhláq (good character) should be portrayed with everybody.

Which brings me back to what I had said previously with regard to adl and bé-adl: If anybody confronts us with injustice, let justice should not slip from our hands. Good character should be displayed with everybody. This is one branch of nafse-mutma'innah. The nafs has three conditions: nafse-ammárah, nafse-lowwámah and nafse-mutma'innah. The characteristics of each are different. Each one is recognised by the effects each one manifests. You have come her to discard nafse-ammárah, to proceed to nafse-lowwámah and discard it as well and progress to nafse-mutma'innah. This cannot happen until the first and foremost condition is not adhered to, that is, not to socialise.

First Principle in Sulúk

The first principle in sulúk is to assess whether the sheikh with whom one wishes to attach oneself, is a sheikh or not. The sheikh should have knowledge of the ills of the nafs; he should have knowledge of the remedies for treating these ills; he should have knowledge of the different methods of treatment; he should have knowledge of, and the differentiation of socialising and its ramifications. You also have to know who his sheikh was and whether he has stayed in the company of his sheikh. When you have found such a sheikh, and you have i'tiqád and i'timád in him, then you hand yourself over into his custody like one would hand over one's clothes to a laundryman. Then, every word that issues from his lips is listened to with proper i'tiqád and i'timad. These words are then to be embedded in the heart. Your sheikh will not be with you in your daily life, but his teachings will be will you. So, the manner in which you spend your time in the Khánqah, in the same manner must you spend your time at home. That will be the way you spend your time, with husne-akhláq, not only at home, but in the wilderness, at your work, in the bazaars, in the streets and concourses, amongst your own, amongst strangers and even with your enemies! This is the steadfastness, firmness and perfection that have to be developed. This is what is termed nafse-mutma'innah.

The discussion was on roshní and indherá - light and darkness. Roshní is necessary. One has to behave with equilibrium (i'tidál) - with adl, not with bé-adlí. The essence of this is that if anybody confronts one with bé-adlí, adl should not slip from our hands.

May Alláh Ta'álá grant us tawfíq arzání

Khudá Háfiz.