Lectures Text

Soul of Mysticism (Tasauw’f)

لْحَمْدُ ِﷲِ رَبِّ الْعٰلَمِیْنِ۔اَلصَّلوٰۃُ وَ السَّلاَم ُ
عَلیٰ خَاتَمَ النَّبِیینِ۔اَمَّا بَعْدُ
فَاَعُوذُ بِاﷲِ مِنَ الشَّیْطٰنِ الرَّجِیْمِ۔
بِسْمِ اﷲِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیْمِ۔اِنَّ
فِیْ خَلْقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ الَّےْلِ وَالنَّھَارِ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّاُوْلِی لالْبَابِ﴿ الَّذِیْنَ یَذْکُرُوْنَ اللّٰہَ قِیٰمًا وَّقُعُودًا وَّعَلٰی جُنُوْبِھِمْ وَیَتَفَکَّرُوْنَ فِیْ خَلْقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ۔ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ ھٰذَا بَاطِلًا۔ سُبْحٰنَکَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ﴿
(Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for the people of wisdom. Who remember Allah standing and sitting, and (lying) on their sides, and ponder on the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say) “Our Lord, You have not created all this in vain. We proclaim Your purity. So, save us from the punishment of Fire.
﴾ Al-e-Imran, 190-191)
وَقَالَ تَعَالیٰ
اَوَلَمْ یَنْظُرُوْا فِیْ مَلَکُوْتِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْض
(Have they not looked into the kingdom of the heavens and the earth
Al-Araf, 185)
وَقَالَ تَعَالیٰ
اَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْاَرْضَ مِھٰدًا﴿6﴾ وَّالْجِبَالَ اَوْتَادًا﴿7﴾ وَّخَلَقْنٰکُمْ اَزْوَاجًا﴿8﴾ وَّجَعَلْنَا نَوْمَکُمْ سُبَاتًا﴿9﴾ وَّجَعَلْنَا الَّیْلَ لِبَاسًا﴿10﴾ وَّجَعَلْنَا النَّھَارَ مَعَاشًا﴿11﴾ وَبَنَیْنَا فَوْقَکُمْ سَبْعًا شِدَادًا﴿12﴾ وَّجَعَلْنَا سِرَاجًا وَّھَّاجًا﴿13﴾ وَّاَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ الْمُعْصِرٰتِ مَآئً ثَجَّاجًا﴿14﴾ لِّنُخْرِجَ بِہٰ حَبًّا وَّنَبَاتًا﴿15﴾ وَّجَنّٰتٍ اَلْفَافًا﴿16﴾ ((Did We not make the earth a floor, And the mountains bulwarks? And We have created you in pairs. And made your sleep a source of rest, And made the night a covering, And made the day a source of livelihood. And we have built seven strong (skies), And created a luminous lamp (the sun). And we have sent down abundant water from the rain-laden clouds, So that We bring out there with grain and vegetation, And thick gardens.
An- Naba, 6-16)
وَقَالَ تَعَالی قُتِلَ الْاِنْسَانُ مَآ اَکْفَرَہ،﴿17﴾ مِنْ اَیِّ شَیْئٍ خَلَقَہ،﴿18﴾ مِنْ نُّطْفَۃٍ۔ خَلَقَہ، فَقَدَّرَہ،﴿19﴾ ثُمَّ السَّبِیْلَ یَسَّرَہ،﴿20﴾ ثُمَّ اَمَاتَہ، فَاَقْبَرَہ،﴿21﴾ ثُمَّ اِذَا شَآئَ اَنْشَرَہ،﴿22﴾ کَلَّا لَمَّا یَقْضِ مَآ اَمَرَہ،﴿23﴾ فَلْیَنْظُرِ الْاِنْسَانُ اِلٰی طَعَامِہٰٓ﴿24﴾ اَنَّا صَبَبْنَا الْمَآئَ صَبًّا﴿25﴾ ثُمَّ شَقَقْنَا الْاَرْضَ شَقًّا﴿26﴾ فَاَنْبَتْنَا فِیْھَا حَبًّا﴿27﴾ وَّعِنَبًا وَّ قَضْبًا﴿28﴾ وَّزَیْتُوْنًا وَّنَخْلًا﴿29﴾ وَّحَدَآئِقَ غُلْبًا﴿30﴾ وَّفَاکِھَۃً وَّاَبًّا﴿31﴾ مَّتَاعًا لَّکُمْ وَلِاَنْعَامِکُمْ﴿(32
Woe to man! what hath made him reject Allah? From what stuff Hath He created him? Then, doth He make His path smooth for him; Then, He causeth him to die, and putteth him in his Grave; Then, when it is His will, He will raise him up (again). Then let man look at his Food, (and how We provide it): For that We pour forth water in abundance, And We split the earth in fragments, And produce therein Corn, And Olives and Dates, And enclosed Gardens, dense with lofty trees. And Fruits and Fodder―For use and convenience to you and your cattle.
(Abasa, 17-32)
وَقَالَ تَعَالی
اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ لَمُحْیِ الْمَوْتٰی۔ وَھُوَ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیْئٍ قَدِیْرٌ
(Truly He Who gives life to the (dead) earth can surely give life to (men) who are dead. For He has power over all things.
Fussilat – 39)
﴾وَقَالَ عَلْیْہِ السَّلاَم فِی نُزول اِنَّ فِیْ خَلْقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ وَیْلٌ لمَنْ قَرَاَھَا و۔لَمْ یَتَفَکَّرْ فِیْھَا وَعَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ اّنَّ قَوماً تَفَّکَروْا فِی عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَقَالَ عَلَیْہِ السَّلاَم تَفَکََّرُوْا فِی خَلْقِ اﷲِ وَلاَ تَتَفَکََّرُوْا فی اﷲِ فَاِنَّکُمْ لَمْ تَقْدِرُوْا قَدْرَہ،
Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) referring to this Ayah said,” Dead is a person, who does not ponder over these things”.
Hazrat Innbn e Abbas (RH) has narrated, that a group of followers of the Prophet (PBUH) when started deliberating over the existence of Allah Almighty, they were forbidden to do so being beyond our imaginations and mental capacity. They were however advised to ponder over His creations. Like the barren earth which is turned fertile, Allah Almighty is going is to enliven the dead. For He has power over all things. There are signs for those who ponder and contemplate.
It has also been said that why don’t the people deliberate over Quran, a book with blessings and sent for meditation by the wise to gain advice and solicit warnings and fear. In this Holy Book, there are stories of the prophets (AS) and our ancestors as examples to emulate and warnings for the wise ones. And it also contains secrets and symbols for the people who understand.
Application of Wisdom. I have recited a few verses from the Holy Quran and hadith with their translation. Surely you must have identified the subject of my talk toady. By bestowing wisdom, Allah Almighty has been extra kind to us. We must respect and value it as a splendid gift. It distinguishes us from the animals and other creatures. Imagine, an Emperor gifts a person with a strong, young and a thorough bred horse for his personal use and also to be used in service of the king. Now this person starts using the horse against the emperor. How unfortunate is this? How offended the emperor would feel? Same is the case with wisdom. It is like a strong horse, which being brisk and fast can be very useful in all our errands. We can solve our problems with its correct application. That is why we have been instructed to use our minds to deliberate about the universe, creations of Allah Almighty and our personal selves so that we can identify our Lord, Allah Almighty. This is not possible without applying our minds and intellect. Being grateful to Him, we should use it only for purposes which come up to the desires of Allah Almighty. Discover Yourself. Allah Almighty has quite often indicated in Quran, as to how are we created? Birth is initiated with drops of dirty water. Then we are shaped us into best of the moulds. Later when we defy Him, we are abased to the lowest of the low, even worse than the animals. Allah Almighty has made it easy for us to conquer and control the universe. In return we are expected to worship Him. The universe is for us and we are for Allah Almighty. Do you know, what we utter when in difficulty? The traditional way is to say ناﷲ وانا الیہ راجعون (Undoubtedly we belong to Allah Almighty and to Him shall we return). Although this not meant for troubled times only, but certainly it is very useful even then. The reason being that in difficult moments of life, devil is all out to entice us to rebel. Knowing that harm also comes from Allah Almighty; one is likely to fall prey to the insinuations of Satan and turn against Allah Almighty. So this verse is recited, being an adapted way of the elders. Meanings of اناﷲ وانا الیہ راجعون What do we intend to say when we recite the verse. The meanings are very straight, “Undoubtedly we belong to Allah Almighty and to Him shall we return”. We were destined to meet troubles and difficulties that come our way. Allah Almighty surely has logic and wisdom to do so. Whatever has been granted to us is because of the benevolence of Allah Almighty. It was never our right. Let’s take an example. Someone loans me a book and then demands it after a few days. Will I be justified in resisting to return it or to turn against him? Certainly not. This is considered most unethical and mean. In the same way, whatever has been granted to us is solely a Divine blessing. Everything belongs to Allah Almighty. Our life is also a Divine gift and Allah Almighty can take it back at His will and desire. Why is suicide not permitted in Islam? Because life has only been given to us for use and not be wasted. He is therefore free to make any decisions. Allah Almighty is pleased if spend our life according to the tenants laid down by Him. Then being pleased, He rewards us with eternal life and a beautiful body and soul. In case we are ungrateful, defy and challenge Him, not only this life is taken away, but we shall be punished eternally with all kind of tortures and troubles. We must try to, therefore, know our real worth. The earlier it is found out the better it is for us. Truth of the mater, in nut shell, is that whatever belongs to us is only a blessed gift from Allah Almighty and it gives Him no advantage. The Benefit is certainly ours. Praying thousands times a day or offering a thousand rakkah wields no benefit or advantage to Allah Almighty and His kingdom (Divinity).Allah Almighty exhorts us to be charitable and give to poor in His name. He has further said that a loan given to Him (charity) is returned in full. This has been said in sheer compassion and benevolence. None of our offerings make a difference to Him. Jews were insolent and ridiculed Allah Almighty by calling Him the poor God of Muslims. We are all aware of the punishment meted out to Jews for their insolence and disrespect.
But be warned, that despite knowing fully we can still be led astray by the devil. This will put us in trouble. It is precisely the reason that Allah Almighty has revealed many verses to warn and caution us and become prudent. Let’s for a moment reflect on the systems in our body that Allah Almighty has created. Appreciate the blessings/bounties of Allah Almighty. Let’s just look at the system of our vision. A small disorder can turn the life miserable. You must have many a time seen blind beggars climbing into the buses. What do they chant? ” Oh those with the eyes know that they are a great blessing”. How true it is. Certainly the eyes are a great blessing of Allah Almighty. Imagine when we shut our eyes even for a short while how difficult it becomes. Eyes cannot be kept closed for a long time especially when one is awake and is static sitting or lying down. Now start moving or working, a host of difficulties crop up. You are scared to fall down or hit against an object. One starts groping and takes a cane as a walking aid. One is scared to stumble into a ditch. How grateful you feel on discovering the danger a few feet early and not fall into the hole. Ordinarily this same pit is visible from quite a distance. How d the life can become without eyes. Similarly look at the system of hearing. What a great blessing our ears are? How miserable the life become without them. Those not born deaf can become dumb also. You might have seen some body with an impaired hearing. He shouts to seemingly make others listen; for he feels that others cannot hear him.
Look at the tongue. How beautifully do we express our feelings and thoughts with it? A small child of a year or year and a half talks with a stuttering stammer. By and by he makes his parents understand him. If a bit intelligent, he feels frustrated when words cannot keep up with his thoughts. Again imagine for a moment that we cannot swallow when we eat? This Divine blessing is not appreciated because it is done so easily. Can you guess the plight of a person if his eating and digestive systems become dysfunctional? You cannot swallow, digest or excrete. Look at the system of perspiration. What can happen if one stops sweating? We stand beholden to Allah Almighty and His grace for even the very petty systems in our body. We must always express our thanks and gratitude to Him. The Prophet (PBUH) was once told about a person, who had no legs, arms, eyes or ears and asked that why should him also express his gratitude. Prophet (PBUH) replied that he must do it for being able to pass his urine out. Just see that our life is totally surrounded with the blessings of Allah Almighty. We, the ungrateful Lot. We are mostly ungrateful to the blessings of Allah Almighty. He has said, “that a man is ungrateful, very ungrateful”.
وَالْعٰدِیٰتِ ضَبْحًا﴿۱﴾ فَالْمُوْرِیٰتِ قَدْحًا﴿۲﴾ فَالْمُغِیْرٰتِ صُبْحًا﴿۳﴾ فَاَثَرْنَ بِہٰ نَقْعًا﴿۴﴾ فَوَسَطْنَ بِہٰ جَمْعًا﴿۵﴾ اِنَّ الْاِنْسَانَ لِرَبِّہٰ لَکَنُوْدٌ﴿۶﴾ وَاِنَّہ، عَلٰی ذٰلِکَ لَشَھِیْدٌ﴿۷﴾ By the chargers panting, and the striking sparks of fire by dashing their hoofs, and raiding at dawn, and therein raising dust, and cleaving therein their way unto the host, verily man is ungrateful to his Lord. And to that he is a witness.
Al-Adiyat, 1-7)
Allah Almighty is citing the example of a horse. A horse only gets fodder and gram from his owner. In return what all he does for him? It goes to the extent of laying down his life.A Horse is more loyal than the man. A dog similarly, indebted to his lord lays down his life for him. Actually all the other creatures surrender, but the man, who has been bestowed with a choice and reward for his deeds is led astray by the devil. The devil very cleverly and cruelly instigates him to challenge the domain and authority of Allah Almighty. This is a very dangerous situation.
Allah Almighty Says:-
اِنَّ فِیْ خَلْقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ الَّیْلِ وَالنَّھَارِ لَاٰیٰتٍ لِّاُوْلِی الْاَلْبَابِ
(Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for the people of wisdom
Al-e- Imran, 190)
Who is really Wise? Perception of a wise person varies from man to man. Some consider scientists to be wise; others attribute wisdom to those who can converse well especially in gatherings. While some think the rich to be the wisest of all. Actually none of them may be necessarily intelligent. The two conditions laid down by Allah Almighty are the only criteria for determination of wisdom. Allah Almighty says:-
الَّذِیْنَ یَذْکُرُوْنَ اللّٰہَ قِیٰمًا وَّقُعُودًا وَّعَلٰی جُنُوْبِھِمْ وَیَتَفَکَّرُوْنَ فِیْ خَلْقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ۔ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ ھٰذَا بَاطِلًا۔ سُبْحٰنَکَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
(Who remember Allah standing and sitting, and (lying) on their sides, and ponder on the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say) “Our Lord, You have not created all this in vain. We proclaim Your purity. So, save us from the punishment of Fire.
(Al-e Imran, 191)
Look how differently a wise person has been defined by Allah Almighty. Wise and sagacious is the one, who remembers Allah Almighty while standing, sitting and lying down. Let’s for a moment delink this criterion from Quran and consider it accordance with the prevalent perceptions. Will anyone accept it today? Unfortunately those who do zik’r (remembers Allah Almighty) are considered to be most unwise and useless. Now compare it with what Allah Almighty has proclaimed and professed.
I was once travelling with a religious scholar. To learn and benefit from him, I involved him in a discussion on religion matters. Mind you, we were talking nothing else but religious. After a while, taking out a rosary from his pocket, he concluded that enough had been talked, and it was time to get to work. I was baffled. What an excellent way of teaching. How many of us consider remembering Allah Almighty (zik’r) as a serious occupation. This is not an easy matter to understand. It can only be understood through the pious men of Allah Almighty. Otherwise even after spending the whole life one does not learn these subtle aspects of spiritualism. Realization comes when it is already too late.
Zik’r is a very easy ritual. It hardly requires extra time, energy or effort. There are minimal restrictions. Rather hardly any? While there are restrictions and protocols for every other act of worship like offering prayers (ablution, timings etc), fasting, paying elms (zaka’t) and the pilgrimage, remembering Allah Almighty has no off limits except the toilets. Zik’r in heart (zik’r e Qal’bi) can even be done in a wash room. In this worship there are no restrictions but rewards are in abundance. Those listed and described in the books of Hadith are unimaginable. Then one is compelled to exclaim, how generous and merciful Allah Almighty is! Some people become a little skeptical when Hadiths are quoted. Their authenticity is questioned. As you all know such misgivings are created by the devil, which makes all out effort to ensure that useful things do not reach us. So to allay any misgivings, I will quote from the Quran:-
فَاذْکُرُوْنِیْٓ اَذْکُرْکُمْ وَاشْکُرُوْالِیْ وَ لَا تَکْفُرُوْنِ
(So Remember Me, and I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and be not ungrateful to Me.
( Al-Baqra, 152)
Here is the Divine guarantee in support of the remembrance of Allah Almighty. Just imagine the standing of the person, who will be remembered by Allah Almighty personally. How happy one feels on being told by an important functionary like a deputy commissioner or a SHO or a DSP and even a doctor to come over with an assurance that he would remember him. It is claimed, now that our man is inside, our job will be done. Little do we realize that how much a human can give, if Allah Almighty does not will it? Man himself is so needy. On the other hand it is Allah Almighty, The Lord of all the worlds, who is telling you that if your remember Him, He shall remember you. So do you realize that how important it is to remember the Allah Almighty? He has also said:-
اَلَا بِذِکْرِاللّٰہِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوْبُ
(Without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.
Al- Rad, 28)
The most precious thing of the world i.e. satisfaction lies in remembrance of Allah Almighty. Satisfaction cannot be bought by spending millions or billions. It is a bounty which is only bestowed by Allah Almighty. One can only get it with zik’r. As I recited earlier, Allah Almighty has also said that wise are those who remember Him standing, sitting and lying down.
Do also reflect, when you remember Allah Almighty. Allah Almighty also says:-
وَ یَتَفَکَّرُوْنَ فِیْ خَلْقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ
(And ponder on the creation of the heavens and the earth.
Al- e- Imran, 190-91)
What is reflection? Scholars have described it an accrued deduction from two known facts. Let us, for example, imagine that it is winters now. We know that it is cold in winters. So the deduction is that we should protect ourselves. This is reflection. When you ponder further you will find out how to protect yourselves. Wearing warm clothes, sitting near a fire place, sleeping in a quilt are some pieces of the basic information which is then synthesized to procure the required items. Thought process initiates all our actions. What is engineering or medical sciences or for that matter business? All these are cumulative reflections and applications of our mind, intellect and experience. If the heart (qal’b) is preoccupied with love of this world, our mind and intellect will be only used for the worldly gains. Suppose a person wants to become the head of his village council. To succeed he has to eliminate all the other contenders. He will start applying his mind to defraud, spread lies and even arrange weapons to harm his opponents. How is all this happening? Reflection and the mental faculties are being mischievously used. No doubt these misdeeds will ultimately lead this man into the hell. All this happened because love of the world was dominant in his heart. The Prophet (PBUH) had warned that worldly love is the root cause of all ills. Our passions make us use all our body parts for the worldly gains. Be it our hands, feet, ears, eyes or brain. Our salvation is only possible if this love is extracted, which is easy said than done. But if we manage it somehow, the heart cannot stay empty. It has to fill up. It shall then fill up with the opposite. That opposite is the love of Allah Almighty. A heart filled with the Divine love, will also make the mind work for Allah Almighty. A heart beaming with this love will ensure that all the body organs are used to seek His pleasure. Has this outcome changed our ears, eyes or any other organ? The only change is in the driving force. What is that driving force? Change of Heart (qal’b) changes the Rest. The driving force is the heart (qal’b).Change in heart accomplished by ejecting the worldly passions, brings in De’an (faith/religion). It is engrossed in the Divine love and the love the life hereafter. Now this changed heart will dictate to the mind to find ways and means to please Allah Almighty and get closer to Him. Obeying the heart, our mind will start working towards to find the modus operandi. Mind starts thinking and reflecting. It finds out that a truthful person and messenger of Allah Almighty by the name of Muhammad had declared in his parting sermon that,” I am leaving two things for you, one is The Quran and other is my Sunnah, if you stick to them, you shall never go astray”. Now the mind has started working again and starts studying Quran and Hadith. In the process, it is learnt that if Sunnah is followed and the Prophet (PBUH) is emulated, one qualifies for the Love of Allah Almighty. How did we find it out? It was with reflection and application of our minds. Having now learnt how to please Allah Almighty, one starts working on it. Now all our faculties and organs are working in unison and functioning in accordance with Sunnah .It is described beautifully in a hadith. I t says, “There is a piece of meat in the body. If it gets reformed the whole body is corrected and a mischief in it will cause disturbance all. Beware! that part is heart, it is the heart.”
Allah Almighty has informed:-
اَلَآ اِنَّ اَوْلِیَآء اللّٰہِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَیْھِمْ وَلَاھُمْ یَحْزَنُوْنَ
(Be aware that friends of Allah shall not be scared or sad.)
Allah Almighty has indicated that His friends are those pious people who have strong faith and beliefs. At this stage it occurs to a raw mind as to what is piety (taq’va).Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said,
تقویٰ ھٰھنا۔تقویٰ ھٰھنا ۔ واشارالی القلب تقویٰ
(Pointing to the heart, here it is, here it is.)
We have learnt here that our Prophet (PBUH), who is true messenger of Allah Almighty gave us the glad tidings that to succeed reform your heart. Whereas the understanding of this fact occurred in the mind but one has to work on the heart to reform it. Once it is reformed then you shall get the true understanding of انا ﷲ وانا الیہ راجعون. You shall feel that everything belongs to Allah Almighty. At this stage of enlightenment you will only remember Allah Almighty wherever you go. Whether it is the market place, a mosque, office, a grave yard, or conversing with others; you will have Allah Almighty in your heart. Which is the true manifestation of یَذْکُرُوْنَ اللّٰہَ قِیٰمًا وَّقُعُودًا وَّعَلٰی جُنُوْبِھِمْ (remember Allah standing and sitting, and lying on their sides).
Reality of Zik’r (Remembering Allah Almighty) The essence of Zik’r is that Allah Almighty is in your mind all the time. Being in Rawalpindi presently, I don’t have to be told every now and then that I am in this city. We should have Allah Almighty in our minds exactly like this, not forgetting Him for a moment. Everywhere and always in the mind. Let me explain it further. A driver in his vehicle whether talking or negotiating tough turns has a part of his mind and eyes focused on the road. If he loses this focus, you can imagine what will happen. Next day it will be prominently flashed in the Newspapers that a bus fell into a ditch and so many people died. A little carelessness can cause a major trauma. A similar thing keeps happening with us. By remembering Allah Almighty all the time, we keep Him pleased. Any in it laxity can create a problem. The devil is always looking out to distract us. When we remember Allah Almighty, guidance is being continuously signaled to the heart, with clear cut instructions. This signal is only received, when we do Zik’r and obey the Divine commands. Any carelessness interrupts the Divine signal and the devil being on the lookout jumps in and starts causing apprehensions and evil temptations. Our heart is capable of receiving both the signals. Moment we restore the communication with zik’r, the devil becomes helpless. So to remember Allah Almighty perpetually is our compulsion or else we will fall prey the stannic designs. Allah Almighty be praised for He has reserved very high rewards for remembering Him. Amen. Allah Almighty Desires our Good Somebody hires me at a handsome salary to look after my own children. I will be delighted and go all out to praise and thank him. Do we ever show similar gratitude to Allah Almighty for His endowments and blessings? He rewards us to look after our personal selves. We are rewarded when seeking solace and satisfaction for ourselves. Yet we do not call out in praise for His being so kind and gracious. Quran says:-
وَیَتَفَکَّرُوْنَ فِیْ خَلْقِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ۔ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ ھٰذَا بَاطِلًا۔ سُبْحٰنَکَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
(Our Lord, You have not created all this in vain. We proclaim Your purity. So, save us from the punishment of Fire.
Al-e-Imran, 190-191)
Allah Almighty is pure of Imperfections. No imperfections can be attributed to Him. He is pure and undefiled. On cannot think of pointing a wrong to Him. When we recite سُبْحٰنَک, Subhan mean that, He is the only pure being and none else. Protect Yourself from Hell. فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ. Here a submission to be protected from fire of the Hell is made. Let’s take a police officer. One wants to be protected by him from any affliction or trouble. While he is not authorized to cause undue misery to anyone, expecting him to save us from a rightful punishment is also wrong. However this analogy cannot be applied to Allah Almighty. We all know that He has created a system of fire i.e. the Hell, where the level of torture is incomprehensible. Simply ask those working in the burn unit of a hospital, about the plight and sufferings of patients. This despite being a theoretical question sends a chill down the spine.
There was this princess on a hunting trip with her friends. She lost her way and could not find her companions and the night fell. Perturbed and worried, she sought protection in a mosque located deep inside the forest. To her horror, she discovered that a young man was also there. Being a chaste girl, she was very worried being all alone at night with a man in the wilderness of the jungle. Expecting trouble any moment, she crouched herself in a corner. What she saw, the boy would place his finger repeatedly over the flame of the lamp that he had burnt for studies. This went on till the dawn. Feeling endangered, the princess did not sleep the whole night and kept watching the act. The boy also kept awake. In the morning the royal contingent found her. The king heard the story from his daughter. On learning about presence of the boy, the king felt very perturbed. The lad was presented in the court. He was questioned and his burnt fingers were examined by the king himself. On being asked as to why he had burnt his hand, the boy replied that he had felt tempted many a times to do mischief. Every time he placed his finger on the lamp to see that if he could bear fire of the lamp. If not how would he be able to with stand torments in the Hell? This kept him away and restrained. The king felt very happy and married his daughter with the student. Morale of the story is that the hell fire is horrendous and we must do our best to save ourselves.
Allah Almighty through His beloved Prophet (PBUH) has offered us an escape. In the holy month of Ramadan, we have been told to frequently recite لا الہ الااﷲ and beg forgiveness from Allah Almighty (Istagh’far). Both these are ways to remember Allah Almighty (zik’r). Two more things have been told i.e. to pray for Jannah and protection/deliverance from the hell. By frequently reciting لا الہ الااﷲ one can go the heavens and be saved from the hell. Similarly with frequent istagh’far one can achieve both the ends. Through a single source, two ways of salvation have been indicated. It is so vivid, that Allah Almighty wants us to be saved from the hell. So a wise person will beg ,” رَبَّنَا (Oh My Lord), مَا خَلَقْتَ ھٰذَا بَاطِلًا۔ (You have not created all this in vain), سُبْحٰنَکَ (We proclaim Your purity), فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ (So, save us from the punishment of Fire)”. What are we? How beautifully have we been taught and directed by our Lord, the Mighty. Although there are numerous supplications in the Holy Quran, I will confine myself to one prayer here. Allah Almighty telling us our real worth is cautioning us as to what can confront us, if we fail. Once someone asked Hazrat Ali (RH) that did he know who he was? Hazrat Ali (RH) replied that you were born from a dirty drop and now you are a dirty barrel/beating drum and soon you would turn into a dirty heap. How true is this description? Look at ourselves. Aren’t we the barrels of muck? Puncture any part of the body and filth shall ooze out. Our spit is the cleanest of these filths. Can someone lick his spit? Certainly not. So are we not barrels of filth? It is indeed a great blessing that Allah Almighty has bestowed us with such good appearances and covered our bodies with the skin. What will be our end? Again a pile of filth. Death causes a change that is irrevocable. Even those loved ones who could not be parted with; have to be lowered into the earth because of their decomposing body. Our past, present and even the future is liked with filth. Universe is for the men of Allah Almighty. Despite this being our real worth, when we associate ourselves with Allah Almighty everything changes. Angels pray for you and come forward to greet and wish you. By not realizing his true stature a man can fall down to the lowest ebb, but if he does then he is elevated to highest pedestal. Everything that has been created in this universe is for him. It is claimed that universe has been created for the human beings. Have we tried to know, who those people are? Let me tell you, it’s not for George Bush or Obama. It was not meant for Alexander or any other non believer. This universe is solely for the Muslims and men of piety (momi’n). It will stay till a single Muslim is alive and shall end with their end. Non believers are enjoying its bounties because of us. Be assured that the universe was created only for us, the Muslims. Causes are created by The Causer of causes. It is, however, a different matter that anyone who works hard is rewarded with the worldly things. This in consonance with the laws of nature made By Allah Almighty. But God forbid, if everyone turns into a non believer, this universe shall be destroyed. Once I had gone to meet Dr.Mahmud Ghazi, the President of Islamic University (an ex minister). He got up in his office to greet me saying that he always felt delighted to receive me. On my asking the reason for this warmth, he said that because of you the Dooms Day is being delayed. Explaining it further he went on, that one of the indications of the Day of Resurrection is that the first section of knowledge to vanish from the world will be of Inheritance. Since I was still working on it, Allah Almighty had no plans to call the end. Although it was all exchanged in a lighter mood, the matter of fact remains that world is because of the Muslims. This blessing has been granted because of remembrance of Allah Almighty (zik’r), which is the essence of life. Allah Almighty says, وَاَقِمِ الصَّلٰوٰۃَ لِذِکْرِی (to remember Me, establish prayers) and اِنَّ الصَّلٰوۃَ تَنْھٰی عَنِ الْفَحْشَآءِ وَالْمُنْکَرِ۔ وَلَذِکْرُ اللّٰہِ اَکْبَرُ (Surely Salah (Prayers) restrains one from shameful and evil acts. Indeed remembrance of Allah is the greatest of all things.
Al-Ankaboot, 45)
Real is Inside (Bati’n) Actually the real thing is inside, which is the prime mover. Our outer self is just there to contain and protect it. Apparent or the outward appearance is only a container.
یٰٓاَ یُّھَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا کُتِبَ عَلَیْکُمُ الصِّیَامُ کَمَا کُتِبَ عَلَی الَّذِیْنَ مِنْ قَبْلِکُمْ لَعَلَّکُمْ تَتَّقُوْنَ
(O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint.
Al – Baqra, 183) Is self restrain (taqv’a) an outward act or is it seated deep inside (bati’n)? It is evident that prayers (salat) are for reformation and fasting is for protection of that which is inside us. Anyone who wants to succeed, or come close to Allah Almighty or is looking for good of both the worlds, has to follow in the footsteps of the loved ones (auli’a).In Quran, it has been said about them that they possess firm faith and exercise self restraint (taqv’a). How can we induce self restraint? The only way is to always remember Allah Almighty without which piety cannot be acquired. Our Prophet (PBUH) was asked three questions. This is written in the book of Hadith as sahe hadees,and is captioned as Hadees e Jibrael. Three Questions and their Answers. Who asked the three questions? It was the Arch Angel Hazrat Jibrael (AS) who put these questions to our beloved Prophet (PBUH).The first question was as to what was faith? The Prophet (PBUH) defined faith. We all know its basic components (Iman e Mufasil and Iman e Mujamal).Next he was asked as to what is Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) explained the basic tenants in his reply. The third and last question was, “What is Eh’san” Let us ponder a little here, firstly on its meaning and the spirit. The word is from the Chapter of Acts (Bab e Afaal), explained as an action to create a desired effect produced through effort. It is similar to esteem or deference. What is Eh’san (Beneficence)? The literary meaning is to beautify or decorate something with hard work and strenuous effort. It emanates from the word “beauty”. True meanings of the word were beautifully described by the Prophet (PBUH). In his reply to Gabriel (AS), the Prophet (PBUH) said that worship should be performed with such focused concentration as if you are seeing Allah Almighty. However if this state is not reached, one should at least feel that he is being observed by Allah Almighty. This is the state of Eh’san. Emphasis is on the worship. A question arises here, what is worship? We were created only for worship.
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْاِنْسَ اِلَّا لِیَعْبُدُوْنِ
(I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me.
Adh – Dhariyat, 56)
The basic purpose of our lives is to worship Allah Almighty. Rests of the errands in life are only to support this effort. Eating, sleeping, working etc are to maintain our adoration of Allah Almighty. So the actual job is to worship and nothing else. That’s the reason for being told to worship as if one is watching his Lord, The Almighty Allah. This is easy said than done. It is difficult to inculcate and then perpetuate this state. It needs a lot of hard work. The aim ideally should be to acquire a condition of mind that is permanent and cannot be eradicated. This is a state of singleness which cannot be acquired and possessed easily. How to do it then? How can this state of ecstasy be achieved? The Ropes to Climb In a place where no staircase exits, a rope with a grapnel is used for climbing to the top. Here too we need to find a similar way for the upward climb. I will now show you those ropes one by one. The first one is verbal/oral zik’r. This is the easiest to perform. No technique is required to be learnt. After making up your mind you simply move your lips and tongue. You can commence by reciting,”Subhan Allah” and keep on repeating it. Nothing else needs to be taught. The prudent and wise begin with easy to achieve a desired result. This zik’r can be performed by anyone.
The second type is meditative in nature and performed through the heart. It’s called Zik’r e Qal’bi. Despite being very close, the heart cannot be reached physically. You cannot touch or switch it on like a switch. Now to reach that inaccessible organ, Allah Almighty has provided us with ropes. That rope is meditation or contemplation. It is used exactly like a rope. You throw it up, if the grapnel is stuck,you start climbing up immediately, failing which go on attempting it, till you finally succeed. The tip here is not to get frustrated or tired and give up. When told to do Divine contemplation or meditation, it simply means that you have to imagine that your heart is doing the zik’r. At times, I am told by that in spite of the best effort it could not be done. I tell those people to keep on trying. Another way to do it, is to do the zik’r verbally in one breath and continue till you start panting. Now at that moment imagine that your heart has taken over. To understand this let us take the analogy of a rope. When it cannot be thrown up while standing, a runoff is attempted. One runs from a distance and throws the rope to give it an extra momentum and impetus. There are other methods also, which are prescribed on required basis. In one way or another heart starts doing the zik’r. All those who are aware of this know what I am saying. Those who do not know it yet, will learn it shortly with a little endeavour. All those who don’t want to make an effort, there is nothing that can be done for them.
After this stage of meditative zik’r is reached, there is more to come. In your body there are a number of sensing points which are actuated to enable you to perform singular (mujari’d) meditation. These spots for zik’r are called ‘latiaf’. Attempt is made to actuate them one by one. Every one of them has its own method or a rope. Once the whole system is activated, only then one is told to imagine the presence of Allah Almighty in his heart (qal’b). It is certainly difficult, but without it one cannot reach this stage. When the zik’r e qalbi (meditation) starts and the sensors get activated and access becomes possible with the requisite understanding, then one is advised to make a little more effort to ensure that the whole system starts running smoothly. It is here that one is told lastly to continue and remain at it.
Some persons have told me their difficulties in this regard. When they want to dozik’r e Qal’bi, it does not happen but then it starts happening on its own. You should know when the heart starts meditating on its own, that too is because of the grace of Allah Almighty. When they feel that nothing is happening; actually it is happening even then but it can’t be sensed or felt. Why was all this not happening before you went through the course and reached this stage? My advice always is never to quit the prescribed timings of this meditative zik’r. Be it fifteen minutes, half an hour or more. The moment one quits , it is stopped, just like a shadow which disappears when the source of light is removed and then it cannot be chased. So this candle has to be kept burning to ensure that the light remains. You shall always be with Allah Almighty and He shall be with you. This is what is called solitude in a company. One is amongst a crowd and yet with Allah Almighty. You cannot imagine the enjoyment and pleasure derived at those moments. You are talking with people only for sake of Allah Almighty. This is the condition of trance that is called Eh’san which can take you to unprecedented spiritual heights and glory. It is then the blessing of Allah Almighty, what more He wishes to bestow on someone. No match to a Man of Ecstasy (sahib e ha’l) So when one reaches this stage of transformation only then, the verse that I recited is truly understood and fathomed.
اِنَّ الصَّلٰوۃَ تَنْھٰی عَنِ الْفَحْشَآءِوَالْمُنْکَرِ۔ وَلَذِکْرُ اللّٰہِ اَکْبَر
(Surely Salah (Prayers) restrains one from shameful and evil acts. Indeed remembrance of Allah is the greatest of all things.
Al-Ankaboot, 45)
When offering prayers in this condition, can someone think of an evil act? Not at all. Perform Hajj (pilgrimage) in this state and then see what happens. This state is a multiplier which increases the rewards many fold. Two rakka prayer of a devout mystic is better than a millions rakkas of an ordinary person. All the adorations of a person who has reached this stage receive a quantum jump. Every act gets enlivened and glorified. Then you recall what the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said,” the difference between a person who performs zik’r and the one who does not, is like a living and a dead”.
Those making a comparison of mystics with the other religious convents, often allude to finding no difference. I ask them only one question. What was that motivation which made over nine million people embrace Islam at the hands of Hazrat Khawaja Moin ud Din Chishti (RA).It was not his sermons alone, but the spiritual Divinity of his heart that compelled the local Hindus to change their religion.
When Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) delivered his sermon, many lost their lives in trance and ecstasy. The reason is simple. What he uttered was for Allah Almighty and it all transcended on him from his Lord, The Mighty Allah.
So when the condition of eh’san is reached everything changes. A seminary becomes a place of connection with Allah Almighty for self and others who come there. If a soldier, he spreads goodness (khai’r) fighting jehad, ifa preacher, he becomes a source of good and if a politician he always benefits others. The reason being they have established a link with Allah Almighty.
گفتئہ او گفتئہ اﷲ بود
گر چہ از خلقوم عبد اﷲ بود
(He said although the pharynx was Allah, Abdul was Allah)
Here the word گفت is the word of Allah Almighty, though being spoken by His slave. Allah Almighty is empowered to do anything. Similarly through words being spoken on His behalf, anything can happen.
Before ending this part, I would like to narrate a hadith. It is said that proximity to Allah Almighty is gained through obligatory rituals (qurb bil fariaz). It goes further to say that optional rituals (nawafil) gradually bring a person closer to Allah Almighty. Then a stage comes and Allah Almighty says,” I become his hand with which he holds, I become his tongue with which he speaks, I become his eyes through which he observes.” Then the person is possessed by Allah Almighty. Now you tell me the difference in what this man says and what is uttered by others. There is certainly a major difference. To reach this stage, one has to really work hard on himself.
One day I was conversing with a friend from Tablighi Jamat (Contingent of Preachers). I asked him that in my reckoning preaching abroad is easier than preaching in your own homeland. He readily agreed. I went on to ask him, that isn’t it easier to preach in other areas than to which one belong. He agreed. Preaching in other cities was easier than your town and then your county or council, till I reached the comparison of own home with the others. Going further, I added that preaching yourself was more difficult than preaching your family. He said undoubtedly what I had said was more than true. So I told him that mysticism or spiritualism (tasawuf) is basically to preach and reform one’s own personal self. This is self reformation and is the most difficult of all. So anyone who has successfully accomplished the difficult, will it be tough for him do the easy things? He will be able to do them without much of a hassle. The Prophetic (PBUH) Sequence. Our holy Prophet (PBUH) before the declaration of his prophet hood would frequently go to the Hira Cave. He would stay there often, sometimes up to a month or so. He just took along some eatables and water. What was he doing there? He meditated there. Returned home only to replenish and go back. It continued till one day, Hazrat Jibrael AS ( Gabriel) disturbed his solitude and asked the Prophet (PBUH) to recite :- اِقْرَاْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّکَ الَّذِیْ خَلَقَ
(Read with the name of your Lord who created everything.
Al-Alaq, 1)
This was beginning of the Divine revelations. Now see the next command from Allah Almighty:-
یٰآَیُّھَا الْمُدَثِّرُ﴿۱﴾ قُمْ فَاَنْذِرْ﴿۲﴾ وَرَبَّکَ فَکَبِّرْ
(O thou enveloped in thy cloak, Arise, and warn. And pronounce the greatness of your Lord,
Al-Muddaththir, 1-3)
The Prophet (PBUH) was asked to go and warn his near and dear ones about the greatness of his Lord. So you see here how a beginning is made? It starts with you first and you move to those near you and then gradually proceed ahead. This is a natural sequence. Later these rays of Divine guidance start spreading all around. The Prophet (PBUH) was preaching in Makah and those living in Medina started receiving the guidance through the spiritual intuitions of the truths. Later when the Prophet moved to Medina and preached there, his message started transcending the world over.
So the best way to make a beginning is to start with your personal self and then go to the others. But if this is pended for some reason, it shall have serious repercussions. If your own heart has not been cleaned from the love of the world, it will contaminate everything else. This will also smear the direct intuitive condition of the heart being filled with the Divine love. Imagine the result of mixing a single spoon of poison in thousand liters of milk. Will the milk remain drinkable?
This precisely was what worried Hazrat Ilyas (RA) when he made the beginning of his movement for preaching (Tablighee Jamat). He wrote letters of instructions exhorting the persons going out; to adapt to the practice of remembering Allah Almighty (zik’r).These letters are still being issued to the heads of parties going out on tours of four months or more. A person from Peshawar accompanied Maulana Inamul Hasan (third Amir of the Jamaat) on a preaching tour to Basti Nizam ud Din. Maulana personally advised him to do zik’r. On his reluctance and plea of not being able to do it, Maulana asked him to keep on attempting and Allah Almighty would grant him the strength to do zik’r and advised him not to say that it could not be done. We must acknowledge that our elders contemplating recurrence of these problems gave out elaborate solutions for posterity.
Philosophy of Oath of Allegiance (bai’t). A few days back someone asked me whether it was essential to take an oath of allegiance. I told him that it was not necessary but was a desirable practice of our Holy Prophet (PBUH). However it was an obligatory Divine command (far’z e ain) to reform oneself. Reformation with or without an oath is a must. This is purely a legal point of view and it ends the matter here.
However the authentic and confirmatory answer is that reformation becomes easier with blessings of a pledge of allegiance. Looking back into the annals of our history, let us list those prominent and famous saints who made contributions to the glory of Islam. Analyze all those who came after the followers of those who followed the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) – Taba tab’een. The ones in whom we take pride and follow their religious practices. You will find that nearly all of them had been in the tutelage of one or more than one teacher/mentor. I will only say that it is indeed beneficial to be associated with a preceptor. Our Prophet (PBUH) had ordered even women to be formally associated and pledged for their spiritual reformation. The allegiance for the men is proven through the Hadith but for women it has been mentioned in the Quran. My comment on this matter is that it is decidedly better to be associated. There is nothing wrong to reform oneself independently. One may be benefitted spiritually. However the common practice that majority of people adopt is to find a mentor and follow his instructions.
Somebody inquired from me that after joining the Jamaat, one is reformed at least outwardly. Is there still a need to take a bai’t? Taking pity on his ignorance, I told him that people in millions had pledged to Maulana Inam ul Hasan. Since it is a private and personal linkage, it is therefore seldom publicized. Actually the devil is all out to lead us away from anything that brings us closer to Allah Almighty. Other thing is that restrictions are generally disliked. After getting associated with someone the person is bound and restrained. One has to keep in contact with the mentor (sheikh), keep him informed etc. No doubt restrictions may cause difficulties, but can the nuclear power be left unrestrained? It will cause havoc and destruction, but when in control it serves us as the atomic energy.
Remember restrictions and checks are beneficial for us. Rest depends on ones acumen and luck. Guidance is only provided by Allah Almighty.
May Allah Almighty bless us with guidance and the capacity to act on it. Amin