The importance of wearing clean clothes

Once, while sitting in the company of my Shaikh (db), he (db) was advising someone who came to visit him. One of the advises that I can clearly re-call as to how Hazrat (db) emphasized on wearing loose and clean clothes.

Loose clothes such as ulama wearing with loose arms clothes and long kurtas, it brings a feeling of being at peace and tranquility. And the libaaz (clothes) of a person is indulged in the zikr of Allah taala, and this has affect on one’s heart. Once the clean clothe gets dirt on it. Then the zikr stops.

So we should always wear clothes that are easy, comfortable and clean. Especially white, as it is the way of sufia e karam as well.

An Incident of Intense love

Maulana Rumi (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Sultan Mahmood once summoned his sixty- five ministers and ordered them to crush the most valuable gemstone in his treasury. They all declined on the grounds that they could not bring themselves to destroy the most valuable and celebrated piece of gemstone in the treasury. He then ordered Ayaaz, his closest vizier, to destroy the same gemstone. Ayaaz obeyed and soon the unique gemstone lay crushed into a thousand fragments. The ministers on seeing this expressed shock and anger at Ayaaz for breaking the most priceless gemstone. The Sultan also responded:

اس چہ بے با کی ست واللہ کافر است

O Ayaaz, you are indeed audacious and ungrateful! Answer these ministers now and tell them why you broke the gemstone.

Ayaaz turned to the ministers and said:

گفت ایاز اے مہتر ان نامور
امر شہ بہتر بقیمت یا گہر

Which is more important,
The royal decree or the gemstone?

From this incident Maulana Rumi (May Allah be pleased with him) is advising us that if our heart breaks in obeying the command of Allah Ta’ala then let it break. But the order and command of Allah Ta’ala should not break. These desires of lust that lurk in our hearts can be likened to the gemstones that appear very beautiful and pleasing to look at.

Nevertheless, we should boldly crush them and uphold the commands of Allah Ta’ala Who has ordered us to control our gazes. We should not look at beautiful women or handsome young lads, regardless of the compulsion that drives us to look at them. In front of the Divine Command of Allah Ta’ala, the heart has no value.

When the time for prayer comes, we should crush our love for the worldly life simply to stand infront of the kings of the king. For true lovers of Allah Ta’ala, to break the heart by abstaining from sins is really dear for them…

May Allah Ta’ala make us from the true lovers of Allah Ta’ala and Rasulullah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), Ameen!

[Extracted from Mawaiz of Arif Billah (rah)]

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Attainment of Intense love for Allah

Rasulullah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) referred to us as his beloved ones when he once addressed the Companions. He asked:

متى القى احبي

When will I meet my Beloved Ones?

The Companions asked,

أوليس نحن احباءك

Are we not your Beloved Ones?

Rasulullah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,

انتم أصحابي ولكن احبابي قوم لم يروني وامنوابي انا اليهم بالا شواق

You are my Companions, while those who will believe in me after me (after my demise) without having seen me, are my beloved ones and I eagerly await to meet them. (Kanzul Ummaal; Vol 14, Page 51, 52)

In other words, we are the ones who have brought faith in him without having seen him. May the eternal blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Beloved Nabi (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) who referred to us as his beloved ones and expressed the desire to meet us. Generally, the term ‘beloved’ is used when expressing love for the creation and when we express love for Allah Ta’ala then the term intense love should be used in addition to beloved. In other words, Allah is our Beloved whom we love more than anything else.

If these two factors are absent from our love for Him, then we shall fail to obey Him wholly and totally. Our love for Allah should outweigh our love for our relatives, our family, our lives and our hearts. Rasulullah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked for that love in the following words:

اللهم اجعل حبك احب إلى من نفسي و اهلي ومن الماء البارد

O Allah Ta’ala! Let me love you more than my life, my family and cold water. (Tirmidhi Shareef; Vol 2, Page 187)

Just as cold water is extremely beloved to a very thirsty person, let my love for you be more than that. From this we learn what the limits and boundaries of love are, as taught to us by Rasulullah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)

Hazrat Haji Imdaadullah Mohair Makki (May Allah be pleased with him) composed some couplets along the same lines and recited them us he clung to the ghilaaf (cloth) of the Ka’bah:

پیاسا چاہے جیسے آب سرد کو
تیری پیاس اس سے بھی بڑھ کر مجھ کو ہو

Just as a thirsty person loves (desires) water,
Let my thirst for You O Allah, be greater!

A thirsty person experiences great pleasure and satisfaction when the cold water quenches his thirst and flows down his parched and dry throat. Similarly, the lovers of Allah experience great pleasure when they utter the name of Allah.

Maulana Jalaluddeen Rumi (May Allah be pleased with him) said in his Mathnawi:

نام اوچوں برز بانم می رود
ہر بن مواز عسل جوے شود

When my tongue utters the name of Allah,
Then every hair on my body is turned into an ocean of honey.

How do we attain that rank where our hearts can be brimming with intense love for Allah so that we may become totally obedient to Him?

Remember that we can never be totally obedient to Him until we develop intense love for Him. Why? Because if we love our hearts more than we love Him, then we will not hesitate in the least to break His commands should we experience any difficulty to our hearts.

Consider the following example: A beautiful woman passes by. Our heart is inclined to look at her. If we love Allah intensely (more than our heart) then we will displease our heart and please Allah by not looking at her. If, on the other hand, we love our heart more, then we will go ahead and sin by casting a lustful glance at her, thereby pleasing the heart and at the same time displeasing Allah. Thus in order to stay away from sins, it is necessary that the love of Allah be more than anything else.

[Extracted from Mawaiz of Arif Billah (rah)]

I will continue this with an example given from Mathnawi by Maulana Rumi (May Allah be pleased with him) in the next post inshaAllah…

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What exactly is sufism or tassawuf? [part two]

After stressing the need to correct beliefs (‘aqa’id), Mujahadid Alf al-Thani continues to write: ‘Then, after correcting the beliefs, there is no escape from learning fiqh rules. It is necessary to learn the fard, the wajid, the halal, the haram, the sunnah, the mandub (preferable), the mushtabah (doubrful) and the makruh (disliked). It is likewise necessary to act according to the demands of fiqh. After having acquired the two wings of correct beliefs and actions, then – if a person has a divine accordance (tawfiq) – the next step is traversing (suluk) the path of the Sufis. This traversing is not to acquire something that is extra or new in beliefs and actions. Its purpose, rather, is to gain such firm conviction and assurance in those beliefs that the firm conviction and assurance do not disappear if a person was to place a doubt in it, and nor become obsolete by the coming of a doubt.’

‘In addition, the other benefit of Suluk is that it makes the performance of actions easy, and removes the laziness and rebelliousness which results from a soul that enjoins evils (al-nafs al-ammarah bi ‘l-suw). The purpose of treading the path of the sufis is not to view unseen images and forms, and the lights (anwar) and colours; these are all useless play and entertainment (lahw and la’ib). What are the shortcomings of tangible forms and colours that one leaves them and undertake mujahadah and riyadah with the hope of seeing unseen forms and lights? This is because these tangible forms and those unseen forms, and these lights and those lights are all created; they are signs bearing witness to Allah Most High’s existence.’

Just like the first lesson that Sayyiduna Jibril (may Allah bless him) taught was Iman i.e. beliefs, the second lesson was Islam i.e. actions of Shariah, and the third was ihsan i.e. Suluk. Mujadid Alf al-Thani has mentioned these sequence with much detail in his letter.

In another letter he writes: ‘Shari’ah gurantees all worldly and heavely happiness, and Tariqah and Haqiqah are servants of the Shari’ah.’ He writes further: ‘Shari’ah is composed of three parts: knowledge, actions and sincerity. As long as these three parts do not materialize, the pleasure of Allah Most High will be earned, and this is the pleasure of the Creator, it is loftier and above all worldy and heavenly happiness – “And the pleasure of Allah is the greatest” (Qura’an 9:71). The Shari’ah is therefore the gurantor of all the happiness of both worlds. There now remains no purpose that one would be in need of something other than Shari’ah [in order to acquire it]. Tariqah and Haqiqah, qualities with which the Sufis are distinguishes, are both the third part of Shari’ah, i.e. they serve the complete the sincerity. Hence, the purpose of acquiring them both is perfecting Shari’ah, not something other than Shari’ah. The hals (spiritual states), wajd (ecstasy), knolwedge and gnosis (ma’arif) that the Sufis experience during their journey are not the purpose, their status is, rather, that those thoughts with which the beginners of Tariqah are developed. One should move beyond all these things and react the station (maqam) of rida (Allah’s pleasure). This is because this is the station in which stations of ecstasy and suluk end, as the purpose of crossing the stations of Tariqah and Haqiqah is nothing except the acquisition of sincerity, and sincerity is requirement for the happiness of Creator Most High.

‘From among thousands, there are few who pass the divine revelations (tajalliyah) and gnostic (‘airifi) visions (mushahid) to reach the wealth of sincerity and the station of pleasure (rida). The short-sighted consider hal and wajd to be among the goals [of Tassawuf], and visions and divine revelations among those things that are to be acquired [in Tassawuf]. It is on account of this that they remain captive in the prison of delusion and fantasy, and deprived of the perfections of Shari’ah. Yes, it is corret that the acquisition of the station of sincerity and the status of rida is connected to the materialiation of those states, wajd, and knowledge and gnosis. Hence, those states and wajd are preludes to [acquiring] the purpose and not the [actual] purpose.

This reality became clear to me on account of his (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) blessings (barakah) after traversing this Path a complete ten years; and [it was then that] that Shari’ah appeared to be in a form befitting it. This in spite of me, all praise to Allah, not being – from the beginning- a prisoner to hals and wajds; there was no goal before my eyes except realizing the reality of Shari’ah. However, after ten complete years, the reality became completely clear – Al – hamduli Allah ‘ala dhalik hamdan kathiran tayyiban mubarakan fihi, mubarakan ‘alayhi.’ (Tajalliyat-e-Rabbani, Volume 1, page 53).

[Extract from Shari’ah wa Tariqah ka Talazum]

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What exactly is sufism or tassawuf?

Firstly I would like to apologize for the long delay in writing the post, due to unforeseen matters I could not continue posting. But inshaAllah, as time goes I will try my best to continue posting and the first matter I would like to highlight is in regards to ‘what exactly is sufism or tassawuf?’ Questions surrounding the reality of tassawuf are plentiful.

A famous hadith narrates that once Sayyiduna Jibraeel (may Allah grant him peace) asked the Prophet (may Allah bless and grant him peace), ‘What is Ihsan?’ The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, ‘Ihsan is that you worship Allah as if you are seeing him…’

Tariqah in reality is another name for ihsan, or the way to acquire the quality of ihsan. It is this that is called Tassawuf and Sufism, or name it what you wish — there are all terms.

The spiritual strength of the Prophet (may Allah bless and grant him peace) was such that the most unruly dibeliever would reach the state of ihsan by just saying ‘La ilaha illa Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah‘ (There is no deity except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah). An example of this is that of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) who would say to the Prophet (may Allah bless and grant him peace), ‘How can we relieve and undress ourselves in front of Allah.’ This is the final stage.

They were not in need of the different types of struggles (mujahadah) and spiritual exercises (riyadah). This strength existed in the Companions on the account of the Prophet’s fayd (spiritual blessings), but this was less than what the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless and grant him peace) had. It was also in the Followers (Tabi’in), but this was less than what was in the Companions. It was also present in the Followers of the Followers (Atba’a al-Tabi’in) albeit it had become very weak.

To compensate for the shortcomings, the mashaykh developed forms of mujahadah and riyadah which were remained for some time as a means (wasai’l) that were not the purpose themselves. As time, however, passed from the first three generations (khayr al-qurun), the means started to come the purpose and at times, according to necessity, other means were included in them on the account of which numerable innovations (bid’ahs) relating to knowledge, actions and beliefs were entered the faith.

The researchers (muhaqiq) sufis have striven in rectifying this corruption. However, the only outcome of their efforts has been the lessening of bid’ah and not their complete end. Just to name some of those muhaqiq: Mujadid al-Alf al-Thani Shaykh Ahmad Sarhindi and Sayyid Ahmad bin ‘Irfan Shahid Barelwi (may Allah sanctify their secrets).

Tassawuf and ihsan are one and part of the pure Shari’ah. Mujadid Alf al-Thani has stressed this greatly in his Maktubat. In one of the letters Shaykh writes: ‘The acquisition of tasfiyah and tazkiya (spiritual purification) are connected to completing righteous actions which are for the pleasure of Allah Most High. This is also dependent on the sending of the prophets. Hence, without their sending, the acquisition of the reality of tasfiyah and tazkiyah is not possible. As to that purification (safa) which is acquired by the unrighteous (ahl al fisq) and disbelievers, then this is in reality purification of the soul and not the purification of the heart; the purification of the soul only leads to deviancy and loss. The unveilings (kashf) of some unseen matters that are experienced by the disbelievers and unrighteous in the state of purifying is istidraj…’

…To be continued

[Extract from Shari’ah wa Tariqah ka Talazum]

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Moulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (rah) and a foreign student

During the period when Moulana Gangohi (rah) was studying under Moulana Kareem Baksh (rah), a foreign student arrived there with the claim that no one could teach him. The ustad did not like this boastful attitude and instructed Moulana Gangohi (rah) to go and teach him and also said: ‘Remember, if I see you being beaten, I will cut your head off.’

Moulana took the kitaab under his arm and went to that student. After some conversation he opened the book and a debate ensued. At the end the foreign was astonished and said: ‘Please teach me the whole book all over again.’

Thereupon Moulana Gangohi (rah) closed the book and replied: ‘It was not my aim to come and teach you. I only wanted to bring you down to earth. You were under the impression that none of the Ulama could teach you anything. Now I have shown you that one of the lowest of their students is able to defeat you’

Shaykh Haatim Asamm (rah) on types of heart

Shaykh Haatim Assam (rah) was a murid of Shaykh Shaqeeq Balkhi (rah). He was among the well-known Mashaikh of Khurasaan. In Zuhd and wara’ he was incomparable during his time. Shaykh Junaid Baghdadi (rah) said: ‘Haatim Asamm is the Sideeq of our era’

He once said, there are five types of hearts:

1 – A dead heart. This is the heart of non muslims.
2 – An ailing (sick) heart. This is the heart of sinners.
3 – An oblivious heart. This is the heart of those who fill their stomachs.
4 – An inverted heart. This is the heart specifically of the Yahood.
5 – A healthy heart. This is the heart of those who are filled with fear and who are at all times eager for worship and obedience.

He further said, be alert and examine the nafs on three occasions:

1 – When you do a deed. Remember that Allah is ever present and seeing.
2 – When speaking. Remember that Allah is hearing.
3 – When being silent. Remember that he is aware of your silence (and what transpires in your heart).