Lectures Text

Enter Islam Completely

الحمد للہ رب العالمین الصلواۃ وسلام علی خاتم النبین اما بعد فااعوذ باللہ من الشیطان الرجیم بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم یٰآَیُّھَاالَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا ادْخُلُوْا فِی السِّلْمِ کَآفَّۃً وَ لَا تَتَّبِعُوْا خُطُوٰتِ الشَّیْطٰنِ۔ اِنَّہ‘ لَکُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِیْن

(O you who believe, enter Islam completely, and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Surely, he is an open enemy for you;
Al-Baqra, 208)

ہ تعالیٰ اَلَآ اِنَّ اَوْلِیَآء اللّٰہِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَیْھِمْ وَلَاھُمْ یَحْزَنُوْنَ﴿۲۶

(So, those who believe and correct themselves, there will be no fear for them, nor shall they grieve,
Al – Inaam, 48)
﴾ اَلَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا وَکَانُوْا یَتَّقُوْنَ﴿۳۶

But We delivered those who believed and practiced righteousness). Who are those for whom these glad tidings have been forecast? They are those who have faith and are pious. A pious man will put all his knowledge into practice. Whatever is known to him? He would learn what he does not know. The holy Prophet had said,” Dead are all except the learned ones. Dead are the entire learned ones except those who act. Dead are all those who act, except the ones who act with sincerity and integrity.” The Prophet (PBUH) concluded it by saying,” even those who act sincerely are in grave danger.” This indicates that all of us have to seek knowledge which is obligatory for every woman and man. Now which is that branch of knowledge to that should be sought? It is the one which leads us on the track of Sharia and its implementation round the clock. The wisdom gained should be useful, lend itself to a verdict (fatv’a) and be a source of guidance for others. Learning is a Divine obligation and carries very high rewards. The Prophet (PBUH) has said, “A scholar has such an edge over a worshiper as I have over the ordinary amongst you”. Certainly the learned have an edge, but which ones? Those for it has been said,
إِنَّمَا یخْشَی اللّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِہِ الْعُلَمَاءُ
(those scholars who fear Allah Almighty). As I said earlier, it not just sufficient to learn alongwith it piety (taqv’a) is necessary. Allah Almighty has ordained the learned (fiqqaha) to spread knowledge. The Prophet (PBUH) was bestowed with Islam. Its cardinal aspects have laid down in the holy Quran. Religion is sought through the established practices of followers (RH) of the Prophet (PBUH). This is called Ijma’h (consensus). Beyond the three, if a doubt arises on religious matter, then recourse to supposition or presumption (qay’as) is sought. Scholars play their role here. It through their concerted and untiring efforts that our religious practices have been streamlined. Be it prayers (salat), fasting, zakat (elms) or hajj (pilgrimage) and other affairs of our daily life. May Allah Almighty reward them all for their efforts. Amen.
Now to regulate and implement the knowledge practically Allah Almighty chose another group of people. They are the mystics (Sufis), custodians of company (subha’t) of the Prophet (PBUH), learned ones (Ulam’a) being the custodians of his (PBUH) knowledge. A candle is gets lit from another candle and then it lit another one,so on and on it goes .Likewise hearts of followers of the Prophet (PBUH) were lit directly from his esoteric teachings, who in turn lit those of their followers (tabai’n). Coming later, the Taba Tabai’n got this light from their predecessors. After these times, which are called Khair ul Qaroon (benevolent times), the process has changed .Now an individual gives it to another individual. This is way it has continued to this day. Three things that can ensure salvation are frequent remembrance (zik’r) of Allah Almighty, to harbor memory of death and company of the pious (sal’heen). Hazrat Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA) said,” I pronounce the verdict that company of pious is a Divine obligation for without it belief /faith (e’man) is in danger in the present times. Quran says,
“يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ”
(O you who believe, fear Allah, and be in the company of the truthful. Al Tauba – 119). Remember the three essentials for salvation? Memory of death identifies destination and sets the course and the zik’r is to prepare the barren heart. The pious (Sal’heen) come in next to sow the seed. A rigid and tough heart has to be tilled like a barren land to make it receptive for theDivine truth. The famous maxim goes,” In the company of the good we become good”. What does it indicate? Whereas good company is better, bad company can turn a person into a sinner.
صحبت صالح ترا صالح کند
صحبت طالح ترا طالح کند

(Company of the pious makes you pious and the wicked shall turn you evil)
Hazrat Maulana Rumi (RA) in a couplet says,
” یک ساعت در صحبت با اولیا ء بہتر از صد سالہ طاعت بے ریا “
A moment’s company of the righteous is better than hundred years with the lost ones.”
Allah Almighty has created a useful system of guidance and reformation. Though it exits, we cannot feel it. It is like a child whose parents do not see him growing every day but an outsider straightaway notice the difference. Same way reformation or spiritual growth is seldom noticeable. Though there are occasions when it is found out immediately. Once in a zik’r congregation, during the course of discussion with religious scholars difference of opinion erupted and was turning violent. Fearing that it might sap the relationship I changed the subject. At the appointed time we went in for collective ritual of zik’r. Later over a cup of tea, the person who opposing us tooth and nail readily agreed to our point of view. How did this change come about? A person who was vehemently arguing his view point, changed without an argument. It was the effect of the remembrance of Allah Almighty (zik’r) which softened up his heart and compelled him to rethink and understand. Zik’r softens up the heart then it receives light of the Divine wisdom and truth. As earlier explained we must strive to benefit from these things. Arrangements should be made to collectively organize such congregations where in the company of pious people, Allah Almighty and death are remembered. Although all this can be done dispersed individually but collectively it yields much better results.
Towards this end establishment of Sufi brotherhoods or orders (sla’sil) is a Divine blessing. All the famous saints and scholars who made significant contributions in the fields of wisdom and knowledge, Jihad, spread of the religion and other areas; belonged to one or another established order of the Sufis. Hazrat Abu Hinfa (RA) was associated with three of them. Imam Shafi was a devotee of two orders and Imam Ahmed bin Hunbal was associated with one. You name them and their linkage will be discovered. Like Imam Razi,Imam Shamil , and Shah wali Ullah and many others. They all belonged to spiritual lineage of one or another order. To elucidate the point further, I will refer you to famous religious scholars from UP (Utter Pradesh or old United Province) in India. This area produced many religious scholars. However only a few of them like Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RA), Hazrat Nanotvi (RA), Hazrat Madni (RA), Hazrat Maulana Ilyas (RA) and Hazrat Maulana Zakria (RA) became famous. The only reason is that they all belonged to a Sufi brotherhood in the lineage of Hazrat Haji Imdad Ullah Muhajir Makkhi (RA). Even those learned men who became his disciples gained fame. Maulana Qasim Nanotvi was once asked that how come a renowned scholar like him chose Haji Imdad Makkhi (RA) as his mentor, who was not even a scholar. His reply is very strange. “Yes I am a scholar, I know the names of fruits like melons, bananas, grapes and oranges, but that is it. I had not tasted anyone them, till I came to my mentor, who despite not knowing their names; had tasted every one of them. And then he started giving these to me one by one. It is only then that I learnt, what a banana was and how it tasted and so on...Hajji Sahib may not have known the names, but he had them all in his possession. Whereas I merely knew their name, but possessed none of them”. Mufti Muhammad Shafi took his sons, Hazrat Muhammad Rafi Usmani and Mulana Taqi Usmani (Both eminent scholars of today) to Hazrat Dr.Abdul Hai Arifi (RA) for learning. While leaving them there, his parting advice was Dr.Abdul Hai may not be a religious scholar himself, but he makes scholars. So serve him well, to gain what he possesses.
Hazrat Ahmad Bin Hanbal (RA), one the great Imams and an eminent scholar of Islamic jurisprudence was also confronted witha similar situation, when asked the same question, that as to why despite being so learned, he had chosen to associate with Hazrat Bashr Hafi (RA), who was a total illiterate. His reply was, “I am only a scholar of Quran, but my teacher knows Allah Almighty (Arif Billah) intimately”.
These examples that I have quoted amply prove that until and unless the heart has been groomed nothing else works. Allah Almighty has said,”
اِنَّ فِی ذٰلِکَ لَذِکْرٰی لِمَنْ کَانَ لَہُ قَلْبٌ اَوْ اَلْقَیٰ السَّمْعَ وَ ھُوَ شَھِیْدٌ
(Verily in this is a Message for any that has a heart and understanding, or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses (the truth). Qaf- 37)
What is a heart (qal’b) and what does it mean? It has been said that there is advice in the heart of a person. What is meant by this? Does it imply that pound of flesh in the body? If so, then everyone with a heart must have the advice, including the non believers. It cannot be so. Surely something else is implied here. In the same verse, ‘giving ears’ is also mentioned. One can thus deduce that there are two methods to reform your own heart either do it yourself or else follow the one with a developed qal’b. Doing it in an organized manner pays dividends and accrues the desired results. The centuries old and established method is to find a mentor, establish relationship and then start working on his advice. It is however important to select the right guide through some research. I will give you eight indicators for selection of a preceptor:-
• He should belong to the Sunni School of Jurisprudence (Ahal – Sunnat wl Jamaat).
• Should possess knowledge of the obligatory rituals/worship (Farz e Ain). • He must himself be practicing them.
• He should belong to a recognized convent of the Sufi order (Silsila) traced in unbroken lineage to the Prophet (PBUH).
• He must have bonfide permission.
• Those under his tutelage should visibly be benefitting from him. Like doctors someone may be very pious himself but may not be able to benefit (faiz) others.
• Putting curtsey and kindness aside, he should only focus on rectification and reformation of his disciples.
• One must be reminded of Allah Almighty in his presence.
If you are seeking a sheikh and find the above signs in a person, accept him without much ado. Do not wait for an exhibition of super natural power or revelations from him. Many followers of the Prophet (PBUH) did not exhibit any of these spiritual miracles. Were they any less than the others? Just ensure that he suits you. To determine his suitability spend some time with him. If you start benefitting, then stick with him. When you enter the loop in the established fashion you will start believing in what you refuted in the past. A retired principal of some institution came to me at an age of seventy six. He did not believe in mysticism. I gave him a short zik’r for recitation. Later on, meeting me after three months, he told me that three changes had occurred in him because of the zik’r. Firstly, he had discovered the power of zik’r, although he could not express it to others. Secondly, being an avid reader, he could not do without the reading material previously, but now he sought solitude for worship and zik’r. Thirdly, putting his hand on the head and then moving it to his heart, he declared that, earlier he was there but the zik’r had brought him here.
Things that one may not believe in have to be accepted when you experience them yourself.
The conclusion is that associate yourself with the pious and you shall certainly beget what Allah Almighty has destined for you. Be at it, be at it and you shall surely hit it.
May Allah Almighty grant us salvation. Amen