|THE NATURE OF TASAWWUF||MUJAAHIDAH||DYING BEFORE DEATH|
THE NATURE OF TASAWWUF
The department of the Shari'at relating to A'maal-e Baatini (esoteric acts or states of the heart) is called Tasawwuf and Sulook; and, the department of the Shari'at relating to A'maal-e Zaahiri (exoteric acts or physical acts) is called Fiqh. The subject matter dealt with by Tasawwuf is Tahzeeb-e Akhlaaq or the adornment of character while the motive of this branch of the Shari'at is the attainment of Divine Pleasure. The method of acquisition of this Divine Pleasure is total obedience to the commands of the Shari'at.
Tasawwuf in fact is the rooh (soul) and state of perfection of the Deen.
Its function is to purify the Baatin (the heart) of man from the lowly
bestial attributes of lust, calamities
of the tongue, anger, malice, jealousy,
love of the world, love for fame, niggardliness, greed, ostentation, vanity,
deception, etc. At the same time it (Tasawwuf) aims at the adornment of
the heart with the lofty attributes of repentance, perseverance, gratefulness,
fear of Allah, hope, abstention, Tauheed,
trust, love sincerity, truth, meditation, reckoning, contemplation, etc.
In this way, attention towards Allah Ta'ala is inculcated in man. This
is in fact the purpose of life. Tasawwuf or Tareeqat is therefore not at
all negatory of the Deen and Shari'at. On the contrary it is incumbent
for every Muslim to become a Sufi (one who follows the path of Tasawwuf).
Minus Tasawwuf, a Muslim cannot truly be described as a perfect Muslim.
THE NEED FOR TASAWWUF
Now that it is clear that Tasawwuf is not contrary to the Deen, but is in fact a branch of the Shariat, its need is evident. Hadhrat Hakeemul Ummat (Rahmatullah Alayh) states in the introduction of Haqeeqat-ut Tareeqat:
"After rectification of beliefs and external acts it is Fardh (compulsory) upon every Muslim to rectify his esoteric acts. Numerous Qur'aanic Aayat and innumerable Ahadeeth narration explicitly indicate the Fardhiat (compulsion) of this. However, most people of superficial understanding are neglectful of these because of their subservience to lowly desires. Who is not aware that the Qur'aan and the Ahaadith are explicit regarding the significance of zuhd, Qanaa'at, Tawaadhu', Ikhlaas, Sabr, Shukr, Hubb-e Ilahi, Radha bil qadha, Tawakkul, Tasleem, etc., while at the same time they emphasise the acquisition of these noble attributes? And, who is not aware that the Qur'aan and Ahaadith condemn the opposites of these noble qualities, viz., Hubb-e dunya, Hirs, takabbur, Riyaa, Shahwat, Ghadhab, Hasad, etc., and has warned against them? What doubt is there in the fact that the noble qualities have been commanded and the bestial traits have been prohibited? This is the actual meaning of reforming the esoteric acts. This is the primary purpose of Tareeqat. It being Fardh is undoubtedly an established fact."
In Tareeq-ul Qalandar, he says:
"All the authentic principles of Tasawwuf are to be found in the Qur'aan
and Ahadeeth. The notion that Tasawwuf is not in the Qur'aan is erroneous.
Errant Sufis as well as the superficial Ulama (Ulama-e-Khushq) entertain
this notion. Both groups have misunderstood the Qur'aan and Ahaadith. The
Ulamaa-e-Khushq claim that Tasawwuf is baseless since they believe that
the Qur'aan and Ahaadith are devoid of it while the errant and Transgressing
(ghaalee) surfs assert that in the Qur'aan and Hadith are only the exoteric
(Zaahiri) laws. Tasawwuf they say, is the knowledge of the Baatin (esotericism).
According to them - Na'uzu Billah - there is no need for the Qur'aan and
the Hadith. In short, both groups consider the Qur'aan and Hadith to be
devoid of Tasawwuf. Thus in conformity with their opinion, one group has
shunned Tasawwuf and the other group has shunned the Qur'aan and Hadith."
TASAWWUF AND THE QUR'AAN
Both external (Zaahiri) and internal (Baatini) acts and duties are commanded
in the Qur'aan. Thus the Qur'aan while commanding Salaat
"O People of Imaan.' Establish Salaat and give Zakaat",
also commands shukr (gratefulness):
"And be grateful unto Allah".
At one place is to be found:
"Fasting has been decreed upon you."
"Upon mankind is the Hajj of the Bait for Allah.",
while at another place is to be found:
"He (Allah) loves them (Mu'mineen) and they love Him.",
"Those who have adopted Imaan are most ardent in the love of Allah."
Similarly, along with:
"When they stand for Salaat, they stand half- heartedly",
is to be found:
"They show people (i.e. they perform Salaat in Riyya)."
The Qur'aan, like it reprimands and condemns the defaulter of Salaat and Zakaat, also states the evil of pride and vanity (takabbur and ujub).
The same applies to the Ahadeeth. Like the chapters of Salaat, Sawm,
Ba'y (trade and commerce), Nikaah (marriage),
Talaaq (divorce) are to be found, so too do the chapters of Riyaa, takabbur,
etc. exist. No Muslim can refute the fact that like the A'maal-e Zaahirah
are Divine Commands so too are the A'maal-e Baatinah. "(Establish Salaat
and pay Zakaat)" are positive commands just as "(Adopt sabr and shukr)"
are positive commands. Like the Aayat: "Fasting has been decreed upon you'',
establishes the Shar'ee nature of Fasting, the Aayat: "Those who have Imaan
are the most ardent in the love of Allah'', establishes the Shar'ee nature
of Love for Allah. On closer examination and reflection it will be realized
that all the A'maal-e Zaahirah are designed for the reformation of the
A'maal-e Baatinah. The purification of the Baatin (the heart and soul of
man) is the aim and the basis of Najaat (salvation in the Aakhirat)
while the despoiling of the Baatin is the cause of
Allah Ta'ala declares:
"Verily, he who has purified the nafs has attained victory, and he who has despoiled it has lost."
"That Day (of Qiyamat) neither wealth nor sons will benefit (anyone), but that person who comes to Allah with a reformed heart."
The first Aayat asserts victory as being the consequence of the purification
of the Baatin while the second aayat negates the utility of wealth and
sons in the absence of a reformed heart. wealth and sons in the absence
of a reformed heart. Imaan and Aqaa'id (Articles of
Faith) on which pivots the acceptance of all A'maal (actions), are
conditions of the heart (i.e. the Baatin). It is manifest that A'maal are
designed for the perfection of Imaan. It is therefore clear that the original
purpose is the reformation (Islaah) of the heart by virtue of which man
is ushered into the Divine Court of Acceptance and attains the lofty spiritual
ranks. This is precisely what is known technically as Tasawwuf.
STATEMENTS OF THE SUFIYA
In this regard Bayazeed Bistami Rahmatullah Alayh says:
"Do not be deceived if you see a performer of supernatural feats flying
in the air. Measure him on the Standard of the Shariat - how he adheres
to the limits of the
Commands of the Shariat."
Hadhrat Junaid Rahmatullah Alayh says:
"All avenues besides the strict following of Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam are closed to mankind."
Hadhrat Noori Rahmatullah Alayh says:
"Do not venture near to one who lays claim to a condition which brings about transgression of the limits of the Shariat."
Hadhrat Khwajah Naseeruddin Charaagh Dehlavi (Rahmatullah Alayh) says:
"Obedience to Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam is imperative. Such obedience is essential in word, act and intention because Love for Allah Ta'ala is not possible without obedience to Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam."
Khwajah Mu'eenuddin Chisti Rahmatullah Alayh says:
"He who adheres to the Shariat, executing its commands and refrains
from transgression, progresses in spiritual rank, i.e. all progress is
dependant on adherence to
Hadhrat Hakeem-ul Ummat (Rahmatullah Alayh) says: in Ta'limuddin:
"Whoever acquires the wealth of Wusool (Attainment having attained the
Love of Allah) has acquired it by virtue of following the Sunnat."
THE TECHNICAL TERMS OF SHARI'AT AND TAREEQAT
The fountain of all Islamic teaching is the Qur'aan and the Sunnat. The inception of this teaching was in the Majlis (gathering) of Nabi Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam . It was the initial stage of Islam which was present in its headquarters. It had a confined number of adherents, hence all branches of Islaamic instruction - Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqh and Tasawwuf - were imparted at one venue, the Madrasah of Nabi Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. Separate departments did not exist. However, in this Madrasah of Nabi Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam there was a permanent group of lovers of Allah and devotees of Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam who were at all times engaged in the purification of the nafs, and the reformation of the Baatin by, means of practical education-This group is called As'haab -e- Suffah, later when Islam acquired an universal status, the Ulama of the Deen formulated the teachings of Islam into separate departments. Those who rendered service to the Knowledge of Hadith are called the Muhadditheen; those who undertook the responsibility of Tafseer are called the Mufassireen; those who specialized in Fiqh are called the Fuqaha while those who took custody of the department of Islaah -e- Baatin (purification of the nafs) became known as the Mashaa'ikh Sufiya. Hence, not a single one among the great authorities of former times ever divorced the Shariat from Tareeqat. On the contrary they also held Tareeqat in subservience to the Shariat.
SHARIAT, TAREEQAT, HAQEEQAT AND MA'RIFAT
The whole combination of the teachings imposed by Islam is known as the Shariat. Both sets of acts, viz., A'maal -e Zaahiri and A'maal-e Baatini, are included. In the terminology of the Mutaqaddimeen (the early authorities of the Shariat) the term Fiqh was synonymous with the word Shariat. Thus Imaam A'zam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah Alayh) defined Fiqh as follows:
"The recognition of that which is beneficial and harmful to the nafs."
Later, in the terminology of the Muta-akh-khireen (the later authorities of the Shariat) the word Fiqh was used for that branch of Islam which related to A'maal-e Zaahiri while the branch which dealt with A'maal-e Baatini became known as Tasawwuf. The ways or methods of acquiring the A'maal-e Baatini are called Tareeqat.
The reformation of the A'maal-e Baatin brings about spiritual lustre and glitter of the heart to which is revealed, in consequence, certain realities (haqa-iq-e-kauniyah) pertaining to tangible and intangible occurrences especially virtue and vice; as well as certain realities (Haqaa'iq-e Ilahiyyah) pertaining to Divine Attributes and Acts especially related to affairs between Allah and servants. These revelations (makshoofaat) are known as Haqeeqat. The process of these revelations (i.e. inkishaaf) is called Ma'rifat while the Saint of Inkishaaf is known as a Muhaqqiq and Aarif.
All the aforementioned relates to the Shariat. The notion that the Shariat and Tareeqat are entities apart - this notion has gained prominence in the public - is totally false and baseless. Now that the nature and reality of Tasawwuf and Sulook have become clear, it will be understood that:
Kashf (inspiration and revelation) and karaamat (miracles) are not necessary.
It does not promise success in the worldly affairs.
It does not assert that one's work will be achieved by means of ta'weez and potions; nor does it claim that one will be successful in court cases by means of du'a.
It does not promise increase in one's earnings nor does it promise one cure from physical ailments.
It does not foretell future events.
It does not contend that the disciple's (mureed) reformation will be achieved by the spiritual focusing of the Shaikh. Extra-normal operation is not necessary to Tasawwuf.
It does not contend that the one who trods this Path will not be afflicted by even the thought of sin nor does it claim that the mureed will automatically (without effort) engage in Ibaadat.
It does not promise total self-annihilation so that one is not aware even of one's presence.'
It does not promise the experiencing of states of ecstasy and spiritual
effulgence in Zikr and Shaghl (spiritual exercise) nor does it claim that
one will see beautiful dreams and wonderful visions.
All these are not the aims of Tasawwuf. The purpose is the Pleasure of
Allah Ta'ala. This then, should be kept in sight.
Bay'at is a mutual pledge relating to the striving, arranging, executing and adhering to the laws of A'maal-e Zaahiri and A'maal-e Baatini. This pledge is called Bay'at-e-Tareeqat which has been in vogue by authoritative transmission from generation to generation from the earliest time of Islam.
Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam had enacted bay'at of the Sahaabah not only on Jihad, but on Islam and the adherence of the Ahkaam (Laws in general) as well on practical deeds (A'maal). This is established by numerous Ahaadith. The following hadith is one such Hadith:
"Auf Ibne Maalik Ash-ja-ee (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said: We were with Nabi Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, seven, eight or -nine (of us), when he said:
'Will you not make bay'at (pledge) to the Rasul of Allah?'
We stretched our hands and enquired: On what shall we make bay'at to you, O Rasul of Allah? He said.
'That you make the Ibaadat of Allah,- that you associate nothing with Him,- that you perform the five Salaat; that you hear and obey."
(Muslim, Abu Daawood, Nisaai)
On this occasion the bay'at which Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam
took from the Sahaabah was neither Bay'at -e- Imaani (Pledge of Imaan)
nor Bay'at -e-Jihaadi (Pledge to wage Jihad). This Hadith is categoric
proof for the validity of the system of bay'at in vogue by the Mashaa'ikh
of Tasawwuf. Like there are four Maz'habs (Schools of Thought) in Fiqh,
viz. Hanafi, Shaafi'ee, Maaliki and Hambali, so too are there four schools
of thought in Tasawwuf, viz., Chishtiyya,
Qaaderiyyah, Naqshbandiyyah and Suharwardiyyah. Like the Hanafi Way is dominant in this area (India and Pakistan), the Chistiyyah Way too is dominant here.
Our akaabir (authorities in Tasawwuf) enter into (bay'at) in all the four Schools of Thought (Silsilah) so that respect for the four Silsilah is maintained although Chishtiyyat is dominant.
The founder of the Chishtiyyah Silsilah is Hadhrat Khwajah Mu'eenuddin
Chishti Ajmairee (Rahmatullah Alayh); founder of the Qaaderiyyah Order
is Hadhrat Shaikh Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (Rahmatullah Alayh); founder of
the Naqshbandiyyah Order is Hadhrat Shaikh Bahauddin Naqshbandi (Rahmatullah
Alayh); and the founder of the Suharwardiyyah Silsilah is Hadhrat Shaikh
Shahaab'uddin Suharwardiyyah (Rahmatullah Alayh).
THE MODE OF BAY'AT
The bay'at is enacted by the Shaikh taking into his right hand the right hand of the mureed (disciple). If the group contracting the bay'at is large, the Shaikh used a length of cloth onto which each member of the group holds with his right hand. Ladies who contract the bay'at do so from behind a screen. A mahram of the lady should also be present at the bay'at ceremony. Hadhrat Aaysha Radhiyallahu Anyha said:
"Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam never touched the palm of a
woman, but he would make the (pledge-bay'at) upon her. Upon having made
the bay'at he would say: Go.' Verily, I have already made bay'at with you."
(Bukhaari, Muslim, Abu-Daawood)
It is for this reason that in entering ladies into the bay'at, the Mashaa'ikh do so verbally or by means of a cloth which is spread from the Shaikh to the lady behind the screen.
This is the method of bay'at when in the presence of the Shaikh. Those
who are not able to present themselves personally to the Shaikh could contract
the bay'at by means of a letter or through the agency of a responsible
and trustworthy person. This form of bay'at is called bay'at-e-Uthmani.
Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam on the occasion of bay'at-e-Ridhwaan
made the bay'at of Hadhrat Uthman in his (Uthman's) absence. On this occasion,
Rasulullah Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam placed his right hand on his left
hand and announced that he has made bay'at of Uthman. (The bay'at in absence
of the mureed is therefore termed
TA'LEEM (INSTRUCTION) AT THE TIME OF BAY'AT
Certain instructions are given to the mureed at the time of bay'at.
1. Firstly, is the qadha (fulfillment) of Salaat and Fasts which were omitted. The qadha should be executed by performing along with each daily Salaat a Qadha Salaat of the same time, e.g., along with the Adaa Maghrib Salaat, a Qadha Maghrib Salaat should be made. During Ishaa, the Witr omitted should also be made. In making the qadha only the Fardh and Witr are made. It is however preferable to perform a number of qadha Salaat collectively at one time or in a single day, e.g. the Qadha Salaat of several times or of several days. In this way quicker discharge of the obligation takes place.
2. Discharging any monetary obligations of others if one is liable for such obligations. Such discharge is either by making the due payment or by obtaining the pardon of the one whose right is involved.
3. Fully guarding the eyes, ears and the tongue; total abstention from haraam and mushtabah (doubtful) wealth; appearance, dress to be in conformity with the Sunnat; total abstention from innovation and un-Islamic customs and practices on occasions of happiness and sorrow; to refrain from unlawful methods in all affairs; to constantly bear in mind not to harm anyone by means of one's hand or tongue; not to hurt anyone; refraining from association; meeting according to need; and abstaining from unnecessary conversation.
4. Constantly maintaining the Zikr of Kalimah Tayyibah, i.e. while walking, sitting, reclining and laying down. The way to do this is to continuously engage in reciting. Laa-Ilaha Illallah After reciting if a few times, Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah should be added.
5. After every Salaat recite Aayatul Kursi followed by Tasbeeh Faatimi. i.e. 33 times Subhaanallah ; 33 time Alhamdulillah ; and thirty four times Allahuakbar . If time affords then recite after Zuhr, Maghrib and Ishaa one Tasbeeh (100 times) the third Kalimah.
6. After Ishaa Salaat, at the time of going to bed engage in muhasabah (self-reckoning) and muraaqabah-e-maut (contemplating death).
see also: Prescribed Preliminary
Practices (for those having undertaken Bai-at [Bayah- Allegiance]))
Muhaasabah means to take stock or reckoning. Here it means to take stock
of one's own deeds and activities. One should reflect over the entire day's
acts and deeds. Upon recalling a noble act or an act of Ibaadat, express
one's gratefulness (shukr) unto Allah Ta'ala and request for greater taufeeq
(ability and inclination) to enhance virtue. Upon recalling one's evil
or wrong doing, become regretful. This is the daily muhasabah incumbent
upon the mureed.
This means to contemplate...to think about the oncoming event of maut (death). Reflect about the pangs of death, the questioning in the grave, the Plain of Resurrection, the Reckoning in Qiyamat; the presence in the Court of Allah; crossing the Siraat, etc. All this has to be contemplated and a pledge is to be made that one will in future not venture near to sin. One tasbeeh (100 times) Istighfaar is then to be recited. The Istighfaar is:
Subhaanallah -e- Wa- Bihamdihee Subhaanallah-Il-Azeem. Astaghfirullah-al-Azeem La-Ilaaha Illa ho-al Hayy-ul- Qayyoom
7. Consider yourself to be the most inferior, so much so, that if you observe with your own eyes another indulging in the worst of vices then too you shall not despise him/her, nor shall you consider yourself nobler than him/her. On the contrary one should fear and bear in mind that it is very possible that the perpetrator of the vice may resort to sincere taubah and become a person of high piety while the one who had despised the sinner become ensnared (Allah forbid ! ) in the meshes of the nafs and shaitaan and be diverted from Ibaadat and obedience. One has no certainty regarding one's end. One, therefore, has no basis for regarding another with contempt.
N.B. This instruction, No. 7, is the first step in Sulook. Without taking
this step, the Path of Tasawwuf remains closed.
THE NATURE OF BAY'AT
The meaning of bay'at ( to sell) is inherent in bay'at . Bay'at thus
implies that the mureed "sells" himself to the Shaikh. In other words he
has sold himself to the Shaikh in preparation of Ahkaam-e- Zaahirah and
Ahkaam-e-Baatinah (i.e. to learn to give practical expression to the Law
of Allah Ta'ala). The nature of this "sale" envisages that the searcher
after the truth (taalib) should repose implicit trust and faith in his
Shaikh. He should understand and accept that the advice's and prescriptions,
admonitions and prohibitions of the Shaikh are all designed and motivated
for his (the mureed's) spiritual well-being. The taalib shall not interfere
with or impede the diagnosis and prescriptions of the Shaikh. He should
have implicit faith to such an extent that he should believe that in all
the world there is none in his knowledge
who can benefit him more than his Shaikh. In the terminology of Tasawwuf
this conception of implicit faith in the Shaikh is known as wahdat-e-matlab
(unity of purpose). Minus this conception, the ceremony of bay'at is meaningless
and of no benefit because congeniality (munaasabat) with the Shaikh is
condition for islaah (reformation) of the nafs.
The sign of the existence of congeniality (munaasabat) between the Mureed and his Shaikh is that the heart of the mureed does not object to the respect, statements and acts of the Shaikh. Should any objection arise in the heart regarding the Shaikh, the mureed should grieve and feel depressed.
The external form of bay'at is beneficial to the general public since
it induces reverence and respect in them for the Shaikh. As a result, they
readily accept the Shaikh's statements and are constrained to act accordingly.
However, for the elite (khawaas), i.e. the Ulamaa, bay'at proves beneficial
after a period has been spent in association with the Shaikh. By virtue
of bay'at a bond of sincerity (khuloos) is generated between the mureed
and the Shaikh. The Shaikh considers the mureed to belong to him and the
mureed considers the Shaikh to belong to him. There does not remain any
suspense between them.
THE NEED FOR A SHAIKH
It has always been in the Divine Scheme of things that perfection cannot be attained without an ustaad (expert instructor). Thus when one is endowed with the guidance to enter into the Road of Tareeqat, one should search for an Ustaad of Tareeqat so that one may reach the true goal through the medium of his graceful instruction and auspicious companionship.
"O my heart! If you desire to undertake this sojourn hold on to the garment of the guide. Whoever trod the Path of Love without Companion his life passed by without attaining love."
Hadhrat Hakeem ul Ummat Rahmatullah therefore says:
"What! Has anyone attained perfection by only books? It is simple to understand that one cannot become a carpenter without sitting in the company of a carpenter,- one cannot become a tailor without the companionship of a tailor,- one cannot become a calligraphist without the company of a calligrapher. In short, one cannot attain perfection or become an expert without the companionship of an expert."
The companionship of a pious man will induce piety in you. Similarly,
the companionship of an evil man will induce evil in you. He who searches
for association with Allah Ta'ala, has to acquire the association of the
Auliyaa-e-Kiraam. A short while spent in the companionship of Auliyaa is
nobler and superior to a century of unostentatious obedience. Companionship
with the pious for even a moment is superior to a century of zuhd (abstention)
and taa'at (obedience).
A LETTER AND ITS REPLY
The following letter and reply given by Hadhrat Hakeemul Ummat Rahmatullah Alayh demonstrates the need for a Shaikh.
"I am presently in Daurah-e-Hadith (the final year in the Aalim Faadhil course). For quite a while I had intended to write, but a certain aspect prevented me from doing so. I am a voracious reader and lover of your writings and have been engaged in reading your books since my childhood days. By the grace of Allah I have benefited much.
I have learnt one particular thing from your writings, viz. the commands of the Shariat are all voluntary (Ikhtiyaariyyah). Since the commands are Ikhtiyaariyyah (volitional) it follows that the commands to abstain are likewise volitional. Thus the remedy for all spiritual ailments is to refrain (volitionally). I have always adopted this method for myself. The question now is this: Now that this principle has been learnt from the Mashaa'ikh of Tareeqat does the need still remain to refer to the Mashaa'ikh and obtain remedies from them? I do not understand this.
I have ruminated for quite a while regarding this matter. I trust that you will advise me so that I may practice accordingly. After realizing this general principle, what is the need for obtaining the diagnosis and prescription of a Shaikh? I hope that if I have erred, I will be informed.''
"The commands and the prohibitions are all volitional. However, errors do happen in this regard. At times what has already been acquired (Haasil) is considered as not having been attained yet (Ghair-e-Haasil), and sometimes vice versa. For example, a person intend to attain khushu' (concentration based on humility) in Salaat, and in reality he then attains khushu'. But, while having attained 'khushu' he is simultaneously afflicted by an abundance of stray thoughts (wasaawis). This person then regards the accident of such wasaawis as contradictory and nugatory of khushu'. He thus considers that he has not attained khushu'. In the initial stages of Ibaadat, wasaawis are non-volitional (Ghair-Ikhtiyaari) - coming of their own accord - however, later the musallee is diverted towards volitional (Ikhtiyaari) wasaawis and he is deceived into believing that such wasaawis are yet the of the non volitional kind of the initial stages. He thus considers himself to have khushu' while in actual fact khushu' has been eliminated.
At times he considers what is not firm (Ghair raasikh) to be firm (raasikh). For example, in a few light mishaps he considers himself to have attained the state of radha bil qadha (satisfied with what has been divinely decreed). His contentment in the face of some slight misfortunes leads him to believe that he has attained advanced capability in firmness and steadfastness. But, if some great calamity overtakes him and he fails to be contented then too he labours under the deception that he has attained the desired degree and goal of rusookh (firmness).
The consequence of regarding the attained (Haasil) as unattained (Ghair Haasil) is frustration and depression which in turn induce one to become careless and neglectful. Thus, the attained becomes truly eliminated. The harm of the opposite condition (i.e. considering the unattained as attained-Ghair-Haasil as Haasil) is deprivation. Since one labours under the false notion that one has already achieved the goal, one does not make any effort in this direction.
The same danger lurks in considering Ghair-raasikh (infirmity) as raasikh
(firm), viz., one remains careless, not making any effort or arrangement
to attain the desired goal of firmness and steadfastness. Sometimes one
commits the error of believing that the state of rusookh has not been attained
despite it having been attained. For example, one combated unlawful lust
during a time when the effect of ones zikr was dominant. As a result, the
condition of unlawful lust remained suppressed so much so that one's attention
was totally diverted from it. Later when the effect of the zikr decreases
and the natural propensities assert themselves even if in slight
degree one is misled to believe that one's mujaahidah (striving against the nafs) hat gone wasted, hence the return of the evil propensities. The consequence of this feeling is that one loses hope and is overtaken by stagnation and retrogression.
The above are merely some examples of errors and the resultant harm. A qualified Shaikh (of Tareeqat) by virtue of his insight and experience discerns the reality and if one is connected to such a Shaikh, he informs one of the errors and pitfalls. The mureed is thus saved from these dangers. Assuming that the Saalik (one who trods the Path of Tasawwuf) because of intelligence and correct understanding discerns the pitfalls, then too, he will not attain tranquillity and peace of mind because of inexperience. He will remain perplexed. And, perplexity impedes the attainment of the goal.
This is the duty of the Shaikh's office. More than this is not his responsibility. Nevertheless, in kindness he performs another function as well. In realizing the goal or the initial stage of the goal or in eliminating an evil attribute, the searcher of the truth undergoes great stress and difficulty although repeated subjection to such difficulty finally becomes transformed into ease. But, the Shaikh sometimes as a favour devises such a scheme that the difficulty disappears from the very inception.
This is a brief exposition for understanding. The need for a Shaikh
is felt and understood once one commences in the Path and systematically
inform the Shaikh of one's particular conditions and at the same time following
his advice and instructions. Furthermore, such total obedience is possible
only if one has full trust and confidence in the Shaikh, fully submitting
to him. At that time one will actually feel and realize that it is not
possible to attain the goal normally without a Shaikh."
THE SIGN OF SHAIKH-E-KAMIL (QUALIFIED SHAIKH)
A shaikh is one who has full knowledge and experience of spiritual ailments
(Amraadh-e-Baatinah), attributes of vice and virtue (Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah
Akhlaaq-e-hameedah), their characteristics (khawaas) and their effects (ta'theeraat). He should further be able to distinguish between their similarities and he must have perfect ability in devising plans and prescriptions for the acquisition of the attributes of virtue and the elimination of the attributes of vice. He has to be aware of the progress and retrogress of these attributes. He must be well versed in the hazards of the nafs and shaitaan, the intuitive senses and feelings pertaining to the angels and the Divine Being. He must be able to distinguish these various intuitive and extra-sensory feelings and perceptions. It is therefore imperative that the shaikh of tareeqat be one who is qualified in this knowledge, be a Mujtahid in this field and possesses natural ability and inherent propensity. If he has acquired the Tareeq by a mere self-study of books on Tasawwuf or by listening from others, he will destroy the mureed whom he is attending, because he will not be in position to correctly diagnose the various states of the mureed.
Shaikh Ibne Arabi (Rahmatullah Alayh) briefly summarizes the signs of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil (the perfect and qualified Shaikh) to be three:
1. Deen resembling the Deen of the Ambiyaa.
2. Prescribing like the physicians.
3. Management and control like that of kings.
The exposition of the above summary is as follows:
1. He should possess the necessary knowledge of the Deen which he must
have acquired by either academic pursuit of such knowledge or from companionship
2. He must be a deputy (Khalifah) of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil attached to an authentic Silsilah.
3. He should be uprighteous and pious.
4. He derived spiritual benefit by remaining for an adequate period of time in the company of the Shaikh. Such "companionship" is either by means of correspondence or by physical presence in the association of the Shaikh.
5. The people of knowledge (i.e. the Ulamaa) hold him in high esteem, and refer to him.
6. The effect of his companionship (suhbat) is increase in the desire for Aakhirat and Divine love as well as detestation for the love of the world.
7. The majority of his mureeds are followers of the Shariat, their conditions conforming with the demands of the Shariat.
8. He is devoid of greed and desire (for worldly gain and benefit).
9. He engages in Zikr and devotional practices.
10. He does not leave his mureeds unfettered, but reprimands them when the need arises. lie treats everyone according to their respective abilities.
The one in whom these attributes exist is worth y of being a Shaikh
and he should be considered a wonderful alchemy. His companionship and
service to him are in fact priceless treasures. Once these attributes or
perfection are found in a Shaikh, one should not be concerned about karaamat
(miracles) and kashf (inspiration). It is not necessary that these states
exist in the Shaikh-e-Kaamil nor is it necessary that he be one who does
not himself earn his livelihood.
MUNASABAT (CONGENIALITY) WITH THE SHAIKH
Experience has proven that for gaining spiritual benefit (fuyudh-e-baatini), mutual munaasabat (congeniality) between the Shaikh and Mureed is a natural condition. Normally benefit is dependent on affection which is the reality of natural congeniality (munaasabat-e-fitri). Sometimes a Shaikh will refer a mureed to another Shaikh because of the lack of such munaasabat between them. In doing so the Shaikh establishes either by deduction or kashf (inspiration from Allah Ta'ala) that the mureed has munaasabat with a certain Shaikh. In this Path it is essential that munaasabat exists between the Shaikh and Mureed otherwise the latter will not benefit. Such munaasabat is the basis for the acquisition of benefit and passing on faidh (spiritual grace) to the mureed.
Munaasabat envisages that there exists between the Shaikh and Mureed
compatibility and harmony to such a degree that the mureed discerns no
rejection in his heart for any word or act of the Shaikh although he (the
mureed) may be afflicted by mental disagreement with any word or act of
the Shaikh. Nevertheless such mental disagreement will not countenance
any rejection for the Shaikh in the heart of the mureed. In short, harmony
and compatibility are conditional for bay'at. It is therefore essential
to first inculcate munaasabat. This need is imperative. In the absence
of this essential condition, mujaahidaat (strivings), riyadhaat (certain
exercises designed to subdue the nafs), muraqabaat (meditations) and mukashafaat (intuitive revelations) are all futile. In the absence of natural munaasabat (tab'ee munaasabat), the mureed should endeavor to inculcate intellectual (aqlee) munaasabat, because benefit is dependent on it. For this reason, one should refrain from entering into the bay'at contract until total munaasabat is non-existent.
THE BENEFITS OF THE COMPANIONSHIP OF A SHAIKH-e-KAAMIL
The benefits of association with a Shaikh-e-Kaamil are manifold. Among such benefits are:
1. The noble and lofty qualities of the Shaikh slowly devolve into the mureed.
2. Even if one is not totally reformed, one will have gained the ability to discern and recognize one's faults.
3. The mureed follows the Shaikh in character and habit.
4. Attainment of joy and pleasure in Zikr and Ibaadat.
5. Enhancement of courage.
6. The obtainal of clarification and contentment from the Shaikh in the event of a spiritual condition settling over the mureed.
7. The mureed will discern his own spiritual condition which becomes manifest in the talks of the Shaikh, such talks being the essence of the masaa'il (rules).
8. Increase in the desire to practice virtue.
9. The mureed's ability becomes manifest to him.
10. Love for Allah Ta'ala increases.
11. Quick attainment of cure for spiritual ailments.
12. Obtaining the du'a of the Shaikh.
Elimination of doubt and uncertainty as a result of the Noor emanating
from the heart of the Shaikh. This Noor has its effect on the mureed. Spiritual
darkness is dispelled by this Noor. The reality of all things thus becomes
manifest. There are degrees regarding the efficacy of this Noor depending
on the degree of fertility of the disposition of the mureed. One of high
and noble disposition can attain the full beneficial effect of this Noor
by merely looking at such Shaikhs of perfection. In such cases the mureed
attains spiritual progress and ranks without even physical association
with the Shaikh.
HUQOOQ (RIGHTS) OF THE SHAIKH
1. The mureed should believe that he will attain his goal through the agency of his Shaikh. If the mureed turns his attention elsewhere (i.e. towards another Shaikh while he remains the mureed of one Shaikh) he will be deprived of the spiritual grace and benefit of his Shaikh.
2. The mureed should in all ways be obedient to his Shaikh and render sincere and total service to him. In the absence of the love of the Shaikh there is no real benefit. The sign of love for the Shaikh is immediate fulfillment of his orders. Never follow any act without his permission because sometimes the Shaikh resorts to an act which is appropriate for him in view of his rank and spiritual state, but the same act may be a fatal poison for the mureed.
3. Recite the zikr and the wazifaas which the Shaikh instructs and refrain from all other forms of wazifaas.
4. In the presence of the Murshid, the mureed should direct all his attention towards him. This attention has to be to such a degree that the mureed should not perform even Salaat (in his presence) without his permission.
5. Do not speak with anyone in his presence, in fact, do not pay attention to anyone.
6. Do not stretch the legs in the direction where the Murshid is seated even if he is not directly infront.
7. Never lodge any objection against the Murshid. If the mureed is unable to understand any act of the Murshid, he should not entertain any misgiving, but should recall the episode of Hadhrat Musa (Alayhis Salaam) and Hadhrat Khidr (Alayhis Salaam) and consider that some wisdom must be underlying the act.
8. Never desire the Murshid to display karaamat (miracles).
9. If in any doubt, immediately discuss it with the Murshid. Should the doubt after having discussed it still remains, consider it to be the result of your defective understanding. If the Murshid does not respond when the mureed puts forward his doubt, he (mureed) should consider that he is yet not capable of comprehending the explanation, hence the Murshid's silence. He should await another opportunity for clarification.
10. Inform the Murshid of dreams as well as any interpretation of such dreams which come to your mind.
11. The mureed should not without need and without permission remain aloof from the Murshid.
12. The mureed should not raise his voice above that of the Murshid nor should he speak in loud tones to the Murshid.
13. When necessary, the mureed should speak to the Murshid clearly and be brief and wait with much attention for the reply.
14. Narrate to others only that extent of the Murshid's talks which is understandable to them. Do not narrate to others such words of the Murshid which they will not be able to comprehend.
15. The mureed should not refute the words of the Murshid even if it seems that the mureed is correct. The mureed should hold the belief that the error of the Shaikh (Murshid) is superior to his (mureed's) rectitude.
16. The mureed should inform the Murshid constantly of his condition, whether good or bad. The Murshid is the Spiritual Practitioner and prescribes remedies after being informed of the mureed's condition. The mureed should not maintain silence about his condition depending upon the kashf (spiritual inspiration) of the Murshid for realization of the mureed's condition. The mureed has to systematically notify the Murshid of his condition.
17. The mureed should not engage in any wazeefah (zikr or form of recitation) while sitting in the company of the Murshid. Such recitation should be in the absence of the Murshid.
18. Whatever Baatini Faiz (spiritual blessing) accrues, the mureed should
consider it to be the consequence of the agency of the Murshid even if
in a dream or state of muraaqabah (meditation) it appears that such blessing
is from a different direction (other than the Shaikh). If in a spiritual
state it appears that such Baatini Faiz accrued to the mureed via the agency
of another Saint, the mureed should consider that it is some manifestation
of his Mureed which has assumed the form of another Saint.
"Those who strive in Our Path, We will most assuredly guide them to
wards Our Paths."
"Fudhaalah Kaamil narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam
said: 'The Mujaahid is he who makes jihaad (strives) in the obedience of
The Nature of Mujaahidah
The reality in Mujaahidah consists of the habitual practice of opposing the nafs (man's lowly desire). In other words, to check and control the physical, monetary, egoistical and mundane desires, delights and preferences of the nafs in the pursuit of the Pleasure and Obedience of Allah Ta'aalaa.
Two types of benefits accrue to the nafs.
1. Huqooq. Huqooq (rights or obligations) are such benefits necessary for the endurance and existence of the physical body and life.
2. Huzooz. Huzooz (pleasures, delights, luxuries) are benefits in excess to the Huqooq.
Mujaahidah and Riyaazat (abstinence-forms of austere exercises designed to establish the control of the mind over matter) are directed towards the Huzooz. In Mujaahidah, reduction or total abstention from the Huzooz. (pleasures) are advocated. (Pleasures here refer to lawful pleasures and not to such pleasures which are forbidden in the Shariat). In the employment of Mujaahidah, the Huqooq (rights and obligations) are not destroyed, for such destruction is contrary to the Sunnat.
The Hadith Shareef states:
"Verily, your nafs has a haqq (right) over you..."
Destruction of the huqooq brings about physical weakness and the health
deteriorates. When this happens, one finds it difficult to execute even
the necessary duties
The Need for Mujaahidah
A'maal-e-Saaliha (righteous deeds) are always accompanied by labour, toil and difficulty because such A'maal are in conflict with the desires of the nafs. There will always be some form of opposition sometimes great, sometimes slight by the nafs against A'maal. Striving against the nafs is therefore a life-long process.
Both the Mubtadee and the Muntahee are at times faced with lethargy because of conflict in the A'maal. (Mubtadee a beginner in the Path of Tasawwuf. Muntahee one who has attained his goal in Tasawwuf. Both are in need to ward off their lethargy by means of Mujaahidah. However, the Mubtadee stands in greater need of Mujaahidah in the initial stages, he at times becomes over-confident. But, frequently natural traits and habits return and the consequence is an urge for sinning. The nafs of the Muntahee therefore also becomes lethargic at times in obedience. He, therefore, stands in need of Mujaahidah at such a time.
There is, however, a great difference between the Mujaahidah of the Mubtadee and the Muntahee. The Mubtadee is like one who is seated on the back of a horse just trained. The rider of the newly trained horse has to be much more alert and exercise greater control over the horse as such a horse tends to be more mischievous and is apt to go out of control. The Muntahee is like a rider seated on the back of a well trained horse. He exercises no great endeavor to maintain the horse under control. Nevertheless, he too has to be alert because even a trained horse sometimes reverts to mischieviousness because of its natural animal traits. But, the slightest warning from the rider is sufficient to check the horse. If, however, the rider is totally negligent then even the trained horse will sometimes suddenly drop him from its back. Thus, mujaahidah for the control of the nafs is necessary for the Muntahee also.
Moderation in Mujaahidah
The purpose of Mujaahidah is not to depress and frustrate the nafs,
but is to habituate the nafs to difficulty and to eliminate the habit of
comfort and luxury. For this purpose that amount of Mujaahidah is sufficient
which brings some difficulty on the nafs. It is of no benefit to impose
excessive strain on the nafs and frustrating it. Excessive strain will
render the nafs useless. Understand this well. Effort and trial are not
always and in all conditions meritorious. It is desirable if in moderation
resulting in beneficial progress. Excess in Mujaahidah is contemptible,
hence observance of moderation is incumbent. Shaikh Sa'dee (Rahmatullah
Alayh) echoes this
in the couplet:
Eat not so much that it spills from the mouth
Eat not so less that the body is overcome with weakness.
Allah Ta'ala says in the Qur'aan Shareef:
"(The servants of Allah are) those who when they spend, do not waste nor are they miserly. But, between these (extremes of waste and miserliness) they are moderate."
Moderation has therefore to be observed in Mujaahidah. But, this moderation
should not be prescribed by one's own opinion and desire. The degree of
moderation and the method of Mujaahidah should be acquired from a Muhaqqiq
(a Shaikh qualified in Tasawwuf and who has been authorized by some spiritual
master to spiritually train others).
The Types of Mujaahidah
There are two kinds of Mujaahidah.
1. Physical Mujaahidah. This is the imposition of practices upon the nafs in order to accustom it to difficulties, e.g. accustoming the nafs to Salaat by imposing upon it Nafl Salaat in abundance; reducing the greed of the nafs by means of abundance of Nafl Fasting.
2. Opposition. In this type of Mujaahidah the nafs is opposed in its desires. When the nafs urges to commit sin then opposition is offered. The main type of mujaahidah is this second kind. This second kind of Mujaahidah is Waajib (compulsory). The first type of Mujaahidah is employed in order to acquire the second kind. When the nafs becomes accustomed to difficulties then it will develop the habit of controlling its desires.
Those who possess the ability to control their desires without resorting to physical Mujaahidah (the first kind) are not in need of this type of Mujaahidah. However, because such people are extremely few, the Sufiya have stringently adopted physical Mujaahidah as well. According to the Sufiya physical Mujaahidah consists of four fundamentals (Arkaan) as follows:
1. Qillat-e-Ta'aam: To eat less.
2. Qillat-e-Kalaam: To speak less.
3. Qillat-e-Manaam: To sleep less.
4. Qillat-e-Ikhtilaat Ma'al Anaam: To associate less with people.
One who fully acquires these four qualities and becomes accustomed to
observe them, will attain the ability to control his nafs. He will be in
a strong position to check the evil desires of the nafs.
Mujaahidah against the Nafs in its urges for sin is acquired when the nafs is opposed to a certain degree in even its lawful desires, e.g. refusal to fulfill immediately the desire of the nafs for some delicious food, its urge for such food being rebutted and only fulfilled after vehement desire so that the nafs does not become frustrated.
When one becomes accustomed to oppose the nafs in things lawful then it will become relatively simple to oppose the sinful urges of the nafs. A person who grants his nafs absolute freedom in the Mubaahaat (lawful things) at times will not be able to suppress the urge for sinning.
Riyaazat and Mujaahidah have two fundamentals (Rukn):
1. Mujaahidah Jismaanee or Mujaahidah ljmaalee (i.e., the physical Mujaahidah explained earlier).
2. Mujaahidah Nafsaanee or Mujaahidah Tafseelee (i.e. the Mujaahidah of opposition explained earlier).
Mujaahidah Ijmaalee has four fundamentals as stated above. In these acts (viz., reduction in food, speech, sleep and association) it is necessary to adopt moderation in accordance with the instruction of a Shaikh-e- Kaamil (a spiritual guide qualified in this field). Neither is there to be excessive indulgence in these acts because the result will be indolence and negligence, nor should there be excessive reduction, for the consequence will be physical weakness.
The second Rukn viz. Mujaahidah Tafseelee, is divided into two classes:
1. Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah: Beautiful and virtuous qualities.
2. Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah: Evil qualities.
THE EXPOSITION OF THE FOUR FUNDAMENTALS OF MUJAAHIDAH IJMALI
Allah Ta'ala states:
"He (i.e. man ) utters not a word, but a ready guard is at hand."
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:
"He who maintains silence has attained salvation."
Maalik Rahmatullah Alayh said that it reached him that Eesaa Bin Maryam Alayhis Salaam said:
"Do not speak in abundance other than Zikrullah, for your hearts will
become hard. Verily, a hard heart is far from Allah, but you know not.
And, do not look at the sins of people as if you are the overseers. Gaze
at your sins as if you are slaves. People are of two kinds: the one who
is involved (in sin) and the one who is saved (from sin). Have mercy upon
those involved and praise Allah Ta'aalaa for protection (received)."
Abundance of speech hardens the heart thereby eliminating humility,
and fear. This fact is established by experience. A person becomes distanced
from Allah Ta'ala because of the hardness in the heart, but one fails to
realize this drift from Allah Ta'ala. The reality of it will be discerned
in the Aakhirat. Although the effects of such distance from Allah are detectable
here as well, but due to unconcern one fails to realize this. One should
not view, the sins of others as if one has been appointed over others,
but on the contrary one should be concerned with one's own sins so that
compensation could be offered and rectification adopted. Some people are
involved in sin and others again have been protected from sin. One should have mercy upon those who have become involved in sin and not despise or criticize them.
Admonish them with kindness and make du'a on their behalf. Protection against sins is a safeguard, hence one should not be vain and arrogant if one is saved from sin. On the contrary, one should consider such protection as a Nay'mat (favour) of Allah a favour to which one is not entitled and be grateful.
Taqleel-e-Kalaam (Reducing Speech)
Man's conversation apparently falls into three categories.
1. Beneficial. lit such speech is some worldly or Deeni benefit.
2. Harmful. In such speech is some worldly or Deeni harm.
3. Neither beneficial nor harmful. The Hadith describes this third category
of speech as laa-ya'ni (futile, useless). On closer examination it will
be realized that this third class of speech belongs also to the second
category, viz., harmful talk. If SUBHAANALLAAH was uttered once during
a time which was squandered in futile talk, then half the pan in the Scale
of Aml (deeds) would be filled. If some advantageous or righteous act was
done during the time spent in futile conversation, it would have become
an expiation for sin and a medium of salvation in the Aakhirat, If not
this, then at least such time idly spent could have been expended in some
worldly benefit. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:
"A sign of one's Islam being healthy is one's shunning of futile acts and futile talks."
In lhyaa-ul Uloom it is mentioned that a reckoning will be taken (in
Aakhirat) of laa-ya'ni (futile) speech. There is therefore no certainty
that one will be saved from something which will be submitted to reckoning.
The Mujaahidah of reducing conversation is more difficult than the Mujaahidah
of reducing food and reducing sleep. In eating, preparation to a certain
extent is involved, moreover, there is a limit to food consumption. lndigestion
due to excessive eating will in itself compel one to reduce eating. Similarly,
there is a limit to sleeping. On the contrary, conversation requires no
effort and no difficulty is experienced in maintaining the tongue in
operation. Man resorts to pleasures so as to experience delight and joy. Besides conversation, all other pleasures (Huzooz) decrease in enjoyment with greater indulgence. Eating with a filled stomach does not bring about any enjoyment in the food. Excessive sleep too is not enjoyable. But, the enjoyment derived from speaking is limitless, In fact, pleasure increases the more one speaks. Hence, Taqleel-e-Kalaam (reducing conversation) is the most difficult. Inspite of this difficulty, freedom in it (i.e. in speech) has not been granted because of the evils involved in abundant speech. One becomes greatly involved in sin because of speaking much.
Reducing speech has therefore been stipulated as a Rukn (fundamental) of Mujaahidah.
Reducing speech does not mean reduction in such talk which is necessary. But, it means shunning nonsensical or futile conversation even if such talk happens to be lawful. If this habit is inculcated then abstention from haraam talks such as falsehood, scandalizing, slandering, etc. will be automatic. Abstaining from unlawful discussion comes within the scope of true Mujaahidah - Mujaahidah which is compulsory. If one becomes accustomed to refrain from idle (although it may be lawful) talk which falls within the scope of secondary Mujaahidah then to a far greater degree will one practise true Mujaahidah (i.e., compulsory striving against haraam talk, It is not permissible to shun talk which is necessary since this will result in problems or cause inconvenience and difficulty to the audience.
Explanation of "Necessary"
"Necessary" here means such a need which if refrained from will result in harm. Therefore, if by refraining from a certain conversation the result is some worldly or Deeni harm, then such talk will be necessary. Example of necessary talk is the conversation that a trader has with customers in order to promote his sales. As long as his talk is in the interests of his trade it will be regarded as necessary. Refraining from such talk will result in worldly loss, hence the Shariat gives permission for such discussion. Such necessary conversation has absolutely no detrimental effect of the heart. The heart does not darken the slightest by such necessary talk. The illustrious Auliyaa have experienced that even a full day spent in necessary talk will not adversely affect the heart. An auctioneer can spend the entire day in selling by means of talking, but such talking will not darken the heart one iota because such talk is regarded as necessary. On the other hand, a single statement spoken un-necessarily will darken the heart.
The Shariat's prescription of reducing speech does not mean sealing the mouth, but it envisages that the tongue be kept occupied with the Tilaawat (recitation) of the Qur'aan Majeed or in Zikr (remembrance) of Allah Ta'ala. In this way the Mujaahidah of speech reduction will be most beneficial. By means of this Mujaahidah the tongue remains detached from sin; the habit of nonsensical discussion is reduced (or eliminated), and along with it limitless thawaab (spiritual reward) is obtained. By constantly engaging the tongue in Zikr such benefit is acquired, which is unobtainable by maintaining silence.
Prior to speaking, ponder for a few moments. Endeavor to understand whether Allah Ta'ala Who is the Hearer and the See; will be pleased or displeased with what you are about to speak. If this method of contemplation is adopted before speaking, then, Inshaa 'Allah, sinful talk will not emerge from your lips. If after adopting such contemplation, the nafs urges one to indulge in sinful or nonsensical talk, then confront it with courage and suppress the urge. If any unbecoming talk was spoken then compensate immediately for it by making taubah (repenting). If the talk involved abuse to anyone, mockery of anyone, scandalizing or gossiping about anyone, then after taubah obtain the pardon of the person concemed as well. If for some reason it is difficult to obtain the necessary pardon (e.g. the person concerned may be away or may have died) then make Istighfaar (seeking Allah's Forgiveness) for the person concerned as well as for oneself. Such forgiveness could be asked in the following way:
"O Allah forgive us and forgive him."
Hadhrat Shaikh Fareeduddin Attaar (Rahmatullah Alayh) explains most beautifully, perfectly and comprehensively the benefits of maintaining silence. He says:
"In my mind does not enter any topic nobler than silence. Silence contains so many benefits that they cannot be explained. Silence makes breasts the treasure house pearls of wisdom. I learnt this hidden secret from the oyster's shell."
The drop of water enclosed in the oyster's shell is transformed into
a pearl. Similarly, man's breast becomes a treasure-house for pearls of
wisdom by means of closure of the lips.
Qillat-e-Ta'aam (Reducing food)
Allah Ta'ala states:
"Eat and drink, but do not waste. Verily, Allah does not love those who transgress the limits."
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:
"Tasbeeh and Taqdees which are sufficient for those of the heaven will suffice for them (people) too."
This Hadith means that like Tasbeeh (reciting the Glories of Allah) and Taqdees (reciting the Holiness of Allah) are sufficient for the Malaa'ikah (Angels) in the heavens so will it suffice as nourishment for Muslims. It is narrated that certain saints remained without food for long periods in solitude engaged in Tasbeeh and Taqdees. It is clear from this Hadith that at times Zikr and Tasbeeh are sufficient as nourishment. However, it is not possible to adhere to the methods of food reduction practiced in former times. The people of those days were endowed with great physical strength and despite the great reduction in food they suffered no ill effect and maintained their full concentration in their Ibaadat activities. Their physical strength could be gauged from the type of spiritual exercises (Ashghaal) which they practiced. Some of their Ashghaal were of such a severe nature that if anyone attempts to practice them today he will find his back breaking. Such an example is Salaat-e-Ma'koos which consists of one suspending oneself upside down and in this inverted manner carry out some Shaghl (singular of Ashghaal).
In reality Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam did not prescribe Taqleel-e-Ta'aam,
but altered the routine times of eating and in this way made the intervals
between eating times longer. This change of habit (in eating times) and
the longer intervals (between eating times) which are difficult upon the
nafs, have been considered by the Shariat to be representative of Taqleel-e-Ta'aam.
Among the various forms of Mujaahidah, fasting
is the best. Hence, the Shariat has given Taqleel-e-Ta'aam the form of
fasting. In the Shariat, reduction of food will therefore be fasting. The
other forms of Taqleel-e-Ta'aam adopted by the people of Mujaahidah have
no original basis in the Shariat. Eating less and remaining hungry are
not forms of Mujaahidah of the Shariat. The significance (Fadheelat) of
hunger mentioned in the
Hadith does not refer to voluntary (i.e. self-imposed) hunger, but refers to involuntary hunger - hunger which comes one's way uninvited. The Hadith consoles such persons of poverty by explaining the virtues of hunger so that they do not worry and suffer unduly.
Patience in the face of such divinely imposed hunger, occasions thawaab and elevation of spiritual ranks. This significance of hunger is similar to the significance of sickness explained in the Hadith. The Hadith mentions thawaab for even sickness, but this does not mean that one has to voluntarily induce sickness. The method of Qillat-e-Ta'aam mentioned in the book, "Tableegh-e- Deen" by lmaam Ghazaali Rahmatullah Alayh, has been forbidden because reduction in food is not the intended purpose of the Shariat, also because the physique of people of today is unlike that of the people of earlier times.
Qillat-e-Ta'aam is not an end in itself, but is a means of acquiring
an intended aim. This intended aim and purpose is to weaken the animal
urge in man, and the aim in weakening this urge is to prevent the nafs
from sin. Therefore, if the nafs could be controlled and restrained from
sin without reducing food then Taqleel-e-Ta'aarn is not necessary. Furthermore,
cheerfulness and joy in Ibaadat are experienced if the body is in the state
of health and strength. Experience shows that nowadays the health in most
cases suffers as a result of Taqleel-e-Ta'aam. But, at the same time one
must abstain from excessive eating and adhere to moderation. The capacity
of people differs, hence moderation will differ for different persons.
The guide line in this matter is to eat when hungry and to stop eating
when you feel that you can yet eat a few more morsels. In other words,
one is allowed to eat to one's stomach
fill, but not to satisfy one's desire.
Qillat-e-Manaam (Reducing sleep)
Allah Ta'aalaa says:
"Stand up during the night, but a portion (of the night); half the night or less than half the night."
The aforementioned aayat commands standing up during the night so that the nafs becomes accustomed to striving. In this way the ability of the nafs (to submit to righteousness) attains strength and perfection. Standing up during the night is most efficacious for bringing the nafs into submission. All forms of Ibaadat, be it Du'a or Qir'at, Namaaz (salaat) or Zikr and be it external (zaahir) or internal (Baatin), are fulfilled in the proper manner during the night. The meaning of proper external (zaahir) discharge of Ibaadat during the night is the proper and correct recital of the words since the time available is ample. The meaning of proper internal (Baatin) discharge of Ibaadat is that during the night one derives greater pleasure in Ibaadat. This is in fact what is meant by the tongue and the heart conforming.
During the month of Ramadhaan the Shariat has ordered the performance of Taraaweeh Salaat during the night because it envisages Taqleel-e-Manaam. Like Sawm (fasting) has its role in Taqleel-e-Ta'aam, Taraaweeh has its role in Taqleel-e-Manaam. Like the change of habit (i.e. in eating times) during fasting induces Mujaahidah, so too, does the change of habit in Taraaweeh. The general habit prevailing is to sleep after Ishaa. The command of Taraaweeh brings about a change in the habit of sleeping, and this changing of habit is difficult on the nafs. This is precisely Mujaahidah.
In Taqleel-e-Manaam the Shariat does not stop at mere awakefulness, but instructs the observance of Ibaadat during the time of awakefulness. Allah Ta'ala praises pious servants in the Qur'aan:
"In the fatter part of the night they make Istighfaar."
Elsewhere in the Qur'aan it is said:
"They separate their sides from the beds calling their Rabb in fear and hope..."
In other words, they perform Salaat during the night. However the trend of the aayat comprehends all forms of Ibaadat, hence it applies to Du'a and Zikr as well. Furthermore, beside the Deeni benefits in sleeping less, the physical health also benefits. Less sleep creates Noor (celestial light) on the face. The following is the statement of a Muhaddith in this regard:
"The face of one who performs Salaat in abundance during the night becomes beautiful during the day."
Excessive sleep is detrimental to the physical health as well. It reduces or stunts the capacity of contemplation in a person. This in turn brings about harm in both Deeni and worldly activities. A person who is given to excessive sleeping is never able to be punctual in time.
Moderation in Qillat-e-Manaam
Moderation in this Mujaahidah is also desirable. Nowadays this moderation means sleeping at least six or seven hours, If sleep becomes over-bearing then one should not ward it off. In this case postpone your wazeefah (act of lbaadat) and sleep. The wazeefah should be completed later. If the sleep is not over-powering then one should adopt courage and remain awake. If sleep is warded off when it is really over-powering then the consequence will be harmful to the mind as well as to the body in general. Confused thoughts will arise in the mind and at times one is deceived into believing such confused thoughts to be inspiration (Ilhaam). Such a person then considers himself to be a saint. The final result is insanity. Hence, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:
"When any of you rises in the night and finds that he is unable to recite the Qur'aan properly (due to feeling sleepy), and he does not know what he is reciting, then he should lay down."
The advice in such cases of sleepiness is to lay down and not to ward off the sleep. Some people who are extreme in their observance of Taqleel-e-Manaam and other aspects of Mujaahidah and do not heed the possibility of harm, should take advice from this Hadith. This Hadith is an admonishment for them. The advice given in this Hadith is two-fold.
1. At times extremism in Mujaahidah proves detrimental to the physique.
2. When the words are not recited correctly because of over-powering
sleep then the necessary thawaab will not be obtained. Thus remaining awake
will serve no beneficial purpose in this case.
Qillat-e-Ikhtilaat Ma'al Anaam (Reducing association with people)
Unnecessary association with people should not be augmented. Remember that besides Allah, there are three kinds of association.
1. Praiseworthy association. The Shariat commands this type of association, for in itself it is an association with Allah Ta'aalaa. Ending such association is not permissible.
2. Detestable association. The Shariat prohibits such association. Ending such association is Waajib (compulsory).
3. Permissible association. This association is neither lbaadat nor sin. It is not necessary to end such association. Although permissible, there is a need to reduce such association. The instruction to discontinue association refers to detestable and permissible association and not to praiseworthy association. However, in so far as detestable association is concerned, the discontinuance must be total, i.e. such association is to be compulsorily ended, and in regard to permissible association the meaning is reduction or limiting such association.
As long as the relationship with the Creator is not well-established and grounded, association with the creation is extremely harmful. The ostensible reason advanced for association with people, viz., fulfillment of their obligations, can be truly fulfilled only it the relationship with the Creator has been firmly grounded, If the relationship with Allah has not been firmly established then neither is the duty to creation fulfilled nor the duty to the Creator. This fact has been proven by the experience of thousands of Auliyaa,
Solitude is permissible, in fact best and advisable (Afdhal) for one who has no worldly or Deeni duty pertaining to himself or others to discharge. Such solitude is of greater merit during times of strife and mischief when it becomes difficult to have patience (sabr) in the face of anxiety, agitation, confusion and anarchy. The Ahaadith have extolled solitude during such circumstances. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said in this regard:
"... a man who takes to solitude on the peak of a mountain. He has goats, he fulfills their right and makes the Ibaadat of Allah."
In another Hadith it appears:
"Soon a time will dawn when the best wealth of a Muslim will be goats.
He will go with them to a peak of a mountain and to places where rain-water
accumulates. He will flee from mischief taking along his Deen."
Solitude (i.e. total disassociation from people) is not permissible for one who has some duties and obligations to discharge, whether such duties pertain to others or oneself, and whether it be obligations, e.g. providing maintenance to one's family when one does not have the ability of Tawakkul (trust in Allah), or Deeni obligations, e.g. the acquisition of necessary Deeni knowledge. Certain Ahaadith which prohibit solitude refer to these two states just mentioned. Such an example of prohibition is the case of Hadhrat Uthmaan Ibne Maz'un Radhiyallahu Anhu. He was forbidden from adopting solitude since he was yet in need of acquiring knowledge of the Deen. At the same time Muslims also were in need of him regarding matters of the Deen, especially in the fields of spreading the Word of Allah and developing Islam.
The above explanation pertains to solitude which is adopted permanently. However, temporary solitude (Khalwat) of a few days is necessary for the Mubtadee (beginner in Tasawwuf) in the majority of cases.
The Benefits of Solitude (Khalwat)
Among the numerous benefits ensuing from solitude is the abstention
from sin provided that in solitude control is exercised over the eyes as
well. The ears as well as the heart have to be guarded in solitude. Deliberately
the thought of anyone besides Allah Ta'ala should not be introduced into
the mind. In the event of any such stray thought entering the mind, the
one sitting in solitude should immediately ward off the thought by engaging
in Zikrullaah. In such a well-guarded solitude there is indeed great protection
against sin. It is quite manifest that prevention against evil has priority
over the acquisition of gain, hence solitude has priority over association.
Although association (i.e. with others) has its many benefits, nevertheless many sins follow in its wake. Secondly, Qillat-e-Kalaam (less conversation) is difficult with association (Ikhtilaat). Only the Siddiqeen and those perfected in spiritualism are able to exercise perfect control over their tongues (as well as other emotions) even in association with others. In most cases futile and nonsensical discussions take place when one is in association with others. The hearts of those who have no solitude in their time become progressively denuded of Anwaar (spiritual effulgence).
The Benefits of Association (Ikhtilaat)
For certain persons in particular circumstances, association is beneficial.
Among such benefits are acquisition (Ta'allum) of knowledge and imparting
(Ikhtilaat) of knowledge, Ta'leem and Ta'allum are dependent upon association
(Ikhtilaat). Ikhtilaat affords the opportunity of rendering service to
creation. The fazeelat (significance and benefits) of Jama'at
Salaat is available by means of Ikhtilaat. One who has adopted total solitude
is deprived of the thawaab of Jama'at and service to creation. Tawaadhu
(humility) is also the result of Ikhtilaat. The faidh (spiritual magnificence)
of the Deen is obtained by means of associating with the Auliyaa.
The Effective Method
Execute every act and duty at its stipulated time. Mundane (worldly) duties in their time and Ibaadat on its time. Even occasional humor and light-hearted talk for pleasing the hearts of Muslims should be resorted to at opportune times. One's daily life should be conducted in this controlled manner. Total solitude is not always ideal because sometimes eagerness and enthusiasm in one are dulled and it then becomes difficult to progress.
Service to creation is extremely beneficial for the Saalik (the one who trods the Path of Spiritual Progress), but his Ikhtilaat (association) should not exceed his time required for rendering his service to creation. Association in excess to the required measure is fraught with Baatini (pertaining to the Rooh) evils and harm. One should not increase one's association and connections, for such increase interferes with Zikrullah.
One should remain in solitude as long as the heart finds solace and united with Allah Ta'ala. However, when one becomes disturbed and frustrated in solitude as a result of a multitude of thoughts striking the mind, one should withdraw from solitude and sit in company. But, it is essential that the company be pious. The stray thoughts and frustration will be eliminated in such company. In such circumstances Ikhtilaat (association) is in the same category as Khalwat (solitude).
These four aspects (discussed so far), viz., Qillat-e-Kalaam, Qillat-e-Ta'aam,
Qillat-e-Manaam and Qillat-e-Ikhtilaat Ma'al Anaam belong to Mujaahidah
In the ensuing pages will be discussed the kinds of Mujaahidah Tafseelee
Khalq and Khulq are two different terms. Khalq refers to external form while Khulq means internal form. Man, while consisting of body and physical parts, also consists of spiritual parts, viz., Rooh and Nafs. His physical body has been given the faculty of Basaarat (sight) which is exercised by the eyes of the body. Similarly, has he been given the faculty of Baseerat (insight or seeing with the "eyes" of the heart). The external eyes lack the ability to perceive the internal dimension.
Allah Ta'ala has created men with these two component parts (physical
body and spiritual form) in different moulds. He has bestowed to them different
physical forms along with various internal forms. Some have a beautiful
form and character and some have ugly form and character. The physical
form is known as Soorat while the spiritual or internal form is known as
Seerat. The rank of Seerat is higher than that of Soorat because Allah
Ta'aalaa has related the former to Himself. In this regard He said:
"I blew in him (Aadam) My Rooh."
In this Aayat, Allah Ta'aalaa relates "Rooh" to Himself. In another
Aayat, He says:
"Say, the Rooh is of My Command."
This indicates that the Rooh is not lowly nor of dust. However, Allah Ta'aalaa has related the physical body to soil. He says:
"Verily, I shall be creating man from soil."
The meaning of Rooh in this context is the substance which was generated by the direct Ilhaam (inspiration) of Allah Ta'ala. Each such substance (Rooh) acquire cognition of things in proportion to its inherent ability.
It has thus been established that the object of greater honour and importance
is the Command of Allah, viz. the Seerat of man. As long as beauty is not
inculcated into the Baatini (internal) dimension of man, he will not be
described as having a beautiful Seerat. Allah Ta'ala has granted the physical
body limbs, e.g. hands, feet, etc. Similarly, has He bestowed "limbs" to
the internal form. The "limbs" of the internal form are the faculties of
knowledge, anger, desire and justice. A Seerat will not be called beautiful
until these four faculties have been adorned. Imperfection in the Seerat
is comparable to deformity in the physical body (Soorat). Like a deformed
physical body cannot be called beautiful, so too will a defective internal
form not be described as beautiful. For example: if one's faculty of anger
(Quwwat-e-Ghadhabiyyah) is below the level of equilibrium and one's faculty
of desire (Quwwat-e-Shahwaaniyah) is excessive above the degree of equilibrium
then one's character (Seerat) will not be described as beautiful.
The I'tidaal (Equilibrium) and Husn (Beauty) of the Four Internal Faculties
The Faculty of Knowledge (ilm)
The I'tidaal of ilm is man's ability to distinguish between statements
of falsehood and truth; between beliefs of Haqq and Baatil, and between
deeds of vice and virtue.
When this ability has been cultivated the fruits of wisdom (Hikmat) will be experienced. Regarding such Hikmat, Allah Ta'aalaa says:
"He who has been granted Hikmat, indeed he has been granted abundant goodness"
In reality this hikmat, is the root of all significance and excellences.
The faculty of Wrath and the faculty of Desire
The I'tidaal of these two faculties is that both begin to operate along the lines of Hikmat and Shari'at, submitting in entirety to the demands and commands of the Shari'at and abstaining from its prohibitions.
The Faculty of Justice
The I'tidaal of the faculty of justice is to hold the reins of the faculty
of wrath and the faculty of desire and to ensure that they conform to the
Deen and Intelligence.
Aql (intelligence) is like the king and the faculty of justice is like the deputy of the king, It has to comply with the orders of the king.
The faculties of Ghadhabiyyah (wrath) and Shahwaaniyah (desire) should be like the trained hunting dogs of a hunter or like a well-trained horse, answering and acting in accordance with the call of the master. When these conditions are cultivated and become praiseworthy, man will be described as the repository of beautiful character. His Seerat will be said to be beautiful.
About the Faculty of Wrath
When this faculty is in the state of I'tidaal it is known as Shujaa'at (Valour, bravery), This is praiseworthy by Allah Ta'aalaa. An excess in this faculty will be called Tahawwur (rashness) and a deficiency will be termed Jubnat (cowardice). Both the conditions of Tahawwur and Jubnat are reprehensible.
In the wake of the laudable state of Shujaa'at (Valour) flow the qualities
of kindness, chivalry, courage, generosity, forbearance, steadfastness,
tenderness, the ability to restrain anger, dignity and far-sightedness
in all affairs. The state of Tahawwur produces inexperience, boastfulness,
pride, inability to restrain anger, and vanity.
The state of Jubnat creates cowardice, disgrace, contempt, inferiority. All these lowly qualities find external manifestation.
ABOUT THE FACULTY OF DESIRE
The name of the state of I'tidaal of the faculty of desire is called Paar-saa'ee (Chastity). When this faculty exceeds equilibrium, it will be termed Hirs (greed) and Hawaa (lust). Allah Ta'ala loves the condition of chastity. The excellences produced by chastity are generosity, shame, patience, contentment and it is also termed Ittiqaa, In this state man's desire and hope decrease, fear and humility increase and the wish to aid others is engendered, If this faculty falls below I'tidaal it results in greed, expectation, flattery, servitude to wealthy persons, contempt for the poor, shamelessness, extravagance, show, narrow mindness, impotency, envy, etc.
ABOUT AQL (INTELLIGENCE)
Equilibrium in Aql makes man wise, cultured, sharp-witted and far-sighted. His advice will be sound and he possess the ability to act in all affairs. Ingenuity manifests in him. If Aql exceeds I'tidaal it will be called deceptive, fraudulent and imposture. Aql below the degree of I'tidaal will be ignorance, dim-wittedness and stupidity.
The consequence of this is that such a person is quickly misled. In short, man will be described as having a beautiful Seerat only when all these faculties are in the state of equilibrium, It has been said that the best of affairs is its middle (its state of equilibrium). Allah Ta'ala says:
"Our servants are such that they neither are extravagant nor are they niggardly, but they remain in a condition in between (i.e. in the stale of equilibrium)."
Internal beauty (Seerat) varies with people just as external beauty (Soorat) differs. The possessor of the most beautiful Seerat was Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. About his excellence, the Qur'aan declares:
"Verily, you are on a splendid character."
Among the Muslims the degree of beauty of character (Seerat) will be
in proportion to the degree in which they resemble the
character of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. The greater the
resemblance in them with the character of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi
Wasallam , the greater will be the beauty of their Seerat, It is evident
that success and fortune in the Aakhirah
will be in proportion to the beauty of Seerat acquired.
ALL AKHLAAQ ARE NATURAL
All qualities of Seerat (Akhlaaq) are natural propensities. In so far as natural propensity is concerned an attribute is neither reprehensible nor praiseworthy. The attributes become praiseworthy or reprehensible by operation. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said:
"He who gives for the sake of Allah and withholds for the sake of Allah, verily, he has perfected his Imaan."
The stipulation, ''for the sake of Allah'' is related to both ''giving'' and "withholding". It is clear from this, that unrestricted generosity is not praiseworthy neither is niggardliness (i.e. to withhold spending) in itself reprehensible. Both will be praiseworthy if employed for the sake of Allah Ta'ala and both will be reprehensible if not for the sake of Allah Ta'aalaa.
The principle governing the elimination of Akhlaaq-e-Zameemah (reprehensible
attributes) is "for the sake of Allah or not for the sake of Allah. " lnsha-Allah
this will be explained in detail further on. All reprehensible attributes
are inter-related. Hence, the nafs will conic wider control only after
the elimination of all such attribute.
Rectifying one attribute while ignoring another will not prove beneficial. One afflicted by a number of ailments will be considered healthy only after all the ailments have been cured. Similarly, man will have acquired a beautiful Baatin (internal form) when all his internal conditions have become praiseworthy. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said that a Muslim in fact is he whose character is perfect. He also said that the noblest Believer is one who has the best character. This basis is thus called Deen, and Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam came to perfect this Deen.
KINDS OF AKHLAAQ
There are two kinds of Akhlaaq-e-Baatiniyah (internal attributes). One type is related to the heart and the other to the nafs. Akhlaaq-e-Baatiniyah related to the heart are called Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah (the Beautiful Attributes) and Malakaat-e- Faazilah (the Excellent Faculties). These are also referred to as Maqaamaat. They consist of:
Tauheed, Ikhlaas, Taubah, Muhabbat-e-ilaahi, Zuhd, Tawakkul, Qanaa'at, Hilm, Sabr, Shukr, Sidq, Tafweez, Tasleem, Ridhaa, fanaa, and fanaa-ul-fanaa. (These will be dealt with in detail further on).
The type of Akhlaaq-e-Baatiniyah related to the Nafs are called Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah (The Despicable Attributes). They are:
Tam'a, Toolul amal (greed of longer desires), Ghussah, Daroogh, Gheebat, Hasad, Bukhl, Riyaa, Ujub, Kibr, Hiqd, Hubb-e-maal, Hubb-e-Jaah, Hubb-e-dunya.
The process of purifying the nafs from these attributes is called Tazkiyah-e-Nafs. In this regard, Allah Ta'ala says:
"He who has made Tazkiyah (purified) his nafs, verily, he has attained
Allah Ta'ala says:
"And, Allah has created you and your deeds."
"And you desire nothing, but that Allah Ta'ala desires it."
Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
"Know that if all creation united to benefit you, they will not be able to grant you any benefit but that which Allah has ordained for you. And if they, unite to harm you, they will not harm you in the least, but that harm which Allah has ordained for you."
THE NATURE OF TAUHEED
Tauheed in this discussion refers to Tauheed-e-Af'aalee or Unity of
Actions. This means that one has to have implicit and strong faith that
without the Will of Allah nothing can happen. This state of Tauheed is
acquired by contemplating on the weakness of creation and the power of
Allah Ta'ala says:
"They have not been commanded, but to render Ibaadat unto Allah sincerely establishing the Deen for Him and turning away from all others."
Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
"Verily, Allah does not look at your external forms and your wealth, but He looks at your intentions and actions."
THE NATURE OF IKHLAAS
Ikhlaas means to have the intention of only Allah in one's acts of obedience. The motive must be only the Proximity and Pleasure of Allah. This motive must not be contaminated with personal motives of gain or the pleasure of others.
ACQUISITION OF IKHLAAS
Elimination of riyaa (show) is precisely the acquisition of Ikhlaas.
THE BENEFITS OF IKHLAAS
No matter what type of righteousness an act may be and no matter how little it may be, if it is accompanied by Ikhlaas, it will be permeated with barkat even if there is no helper. Thawaab will increase in proportion to the degree of Ikhlaas. For this very reason it comes in the Hadith:
"A half a mud (a measure) of corn given in charity by my As'haab is nobler than gold equal to Mount Uhud given in charity by others."
The secret is the degree of Ikhlaas. The Ikhlaas in the Sahaabah is far superior to the Ikhlaas in others. Their reward is in terms of their sincerity and love.
The highest stage of Ikhlaas is the rendering of an act for the sake
of only Allah Ta'ala, creation having absolutely no connection in one's
motive. A lesser degree of Ikhlaas is that the act is rendered to please
people but it was not motivated by any desire for worldly gain. The motive
was merely to please others. The third degree of Ikhlaas is to render an
act without having any motive. The motive is neither the Deen nor the world.
This too is Ikhlaas, i.e. the non-existence of riyaa (show).
Allah Ta'ala says:
"O Believers.' Make taubah unto Allah Ta'ala a pure taubah. "
Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
"O people! Make taubah unto Allah. "
The Nature of Taubah
Taubah (repentance) is the regret and sadness which arise in the heart when remembering a sin. For the validity of the taubah, shunning the sin, firmly resolving to abstain from it in future and controlling the nafs when it urges for the sin, are necessary.
The meaning of taubah is to return and to return from the far side to
the near side. It has a beginning and an end. The beginning (Ibtidaa) of
taubah is the spreading of the rays of Noor-e-Ma'rifat (the Light of Divine
Recognition) of the heart which thus realizes that the sin committed is
a fatal poison which wroughts great spiritual disaster. This realization
induces regret and fear which result in a true and sincere yearning to
compensate for the sin. This yearning is to such a degree that shunning
of the sin is immediate. Further, a firm resolve and intention are made
to totally abstain from the sin in future. Along with this intention a
full effort is made to
compensate for the past shortcoming. When the result is this fruit of taubah pertaining to the past, present and future, then perfection of taubah has been acquired.
This then is the end (Intihaa) of taubah.
The Need for Taubah
It should be clear that taubah is Waajib (compulsory) upon every person
because Allah Ta'ala addresses all Muslims in the Aayat:
"O Believers! Make taubah unto Allah, a pure taubah."
Since the reality of taubah is to regard sin as a fatal poison and disaster for the life of the Hereafter, and to firmly resolve to shun sin this much of taubah is part of Imaan it being waajib and necessary are apparent to every Mu'min. Hence, Allah Ta'ala says:
"He who makes taubah after his transgression arid reforms, verily Allah
turns towards him."
The meaning of this Aayat is:
Allah Ta'ala will forgive, have mercy upon and aid the person who after having sinned renders taubah according to the rule of the Shari'at and reforms his acts for the future, i.e. he abstains from all evil, practices in conformity with the Shari'at and remains firm on his taubah.
THE WAY OF MAKING TAUBAH
Taubah or repentance is to confess to Allah Ta'ala one's sins and to regret such commission. Resolve firmly to discharge all Huqooq-ul-Ibaad (rights of others) and other duties which are obligatory, but which have not been rendered. This intention should be immediately made and thereafter the actual fulfillment of such rights and duties put into motion. Alternatively, the pardon of those whose rights were usurped should be obtained. When a sin has been committed, immediately perform two Rak'ats Salaat with the intention of Taubah. One then has to offer repentance with both the tongue and heart. The taubah should be made fervently and vigorously. If one is unable to shed tears, then one's face should take on the appearance of a concerned and crying person while making taubah.
For the purpose of making taubah, recall your sins and then offer repentance in profusion. However, do not meditate about the sins committed or do not make vigorous attempts in a bid to remember what sins had been committed, for this attitude will create a barrier between the repenter and Allah Ta'ala. This constitutes an obstacle in the path of love and progress. After having made a sincere taubah, if previous sins come to mind then renew the taubah. Do not be too much concerned about sins for which taubah has already been made.
While making taubah there should be a degree of moderation in mentioning the sins. There is no need to recite a whole list of sins while making taubah. Seek forgiveness for all sins in general. According to the Hadith Shareef one should say:
"And, I repent of even such sins which you are more aware of."
"I repent of such sins which I am aware of and of such sins which I am unaware."
Pondering about sins is in actual fact destruction of time and diversion
from the remembrance of Allah. However, one should make special taubah
for sins which one recalls automatically. The real Goal is Allah Ta'ala
and not the remembrance of sins neither the remembrance of acts of obedience.
The purpose of remembering sins is to offer repentance. Hence, once taubah
has been made, one should not deliberately and consciously ponder over
sins thereby making such remembrance a definite purpose because this will
engender the idea that Allah Ta'ala is displeased with one, and this is
a dangerous idea.
THE METHOD OF ACQUIRING TAUBAH
Remember and reflect about the warnings sounded in the Qur'aan and Hadith
in regard to sins. The pang of regret which enters the heart as a result
of such reflection
is in actual fact taubah.
Allah Ta'ala says:
"He (Allah Ta'ala) loves them and they love Him"
"Those who have Imaan are strongest in love for Allah."
Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
"He who loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him. And, he who detests
the meeting with Allah, Allah detests meeting him."