Letter of Khwājah Muḥammad Maʿṣūm Sirhindī (2)

Inside The Koutoubia Mosque

Letter 58, written to Mullā Qāsim,

“Honoured sir! Ṣalāh is the Miʿrāj of the believer. The state that you perform your Ṣalāh in, is like the state of your Miʿrāj, and is superior to all spiritual states. Other states compared to Ṣalāh is like a picture compared to reality. For example, consider the reflection seen in the mirror. What comparison does it have to the original form other than similarities in shape and image, nothing more. The extent that one perfects Ṣalāh is the extent to which one will draw fayḍ and blessings from it. Ṣalāh is perfected through consideration of the Sunnahs, making an effort on the etiquettes, lengthy recitation and bowing and prostrating according to the Sunnah. The beauty and perfection of Ṣalāh will become more apparent.”

Extracted from Biographies of the Naqshbandī Mujaddidī Mashāʾikh by Mawlānā Maḥbūb ʾAḥmad Qamruz Zamān Nadwī ʾIlāhābādī

The Track ( Maslak ) of Darul Uloom Deoband

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The track of Darul Uloom Deoband, shall be in accordance with the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, Hanafiate practical method (Mazhab) and the disposition (Mashrab) of its holy founders, Hazrat Maulana Mohammad Qasim Nanautavi (Allah’s mercy be on him!) and Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (may his secret be sanctified).

The preservation of the track of Darul Uloom shall be a duty of all the members and kindred of the Darul Uloom. No employee or student of Darul Uloom shall be permitted to attend any such society, institution or function the attendance where of may be injurious to the track or interest of the Darul Uloom.

As far as the religious attitude of Darul Uloom and its elders is concerned, it has been clearly stated in a very eloquent and concise manner by Hazrat Maulana Mohammad Tayyib, vice chancellor of Darul Uloom in his treatise entitled Maslak-e-Ulama-e-Deoband.Its summary, more or less in his own words, is as follows:

“Academically this Waliyullahian party is, by track, Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, which is based on the Book, the Sunnah, consensus (Ijm’a) and analogy (Qiyas). According to it, the foremost position in all propositions (Masa’il) is held by tradition (Naql), narration (RiwayaT) and the predecessors historical traditions (A’sar), on which the entire building of religion rests. With it, the purports of the Book and the Sunnah can be determined not merely by the power of study but by being confined within the limits of the predecessors’ saying and their bequeathed taste, and, to boot, through the company of and attendance on the Shaikhs and their teachings and training. At the same time, intellect and knowledge (Derayat) and discernment of religion (Tafaqqoh Fiddin), too are according to it, a very important factor in the under standing of the Book and the Sunnah. Keeping the intent and purpose of the Legislator (peace be on him!) from amongst the collection of traditions (Riwayat) before itself it connects all the traditions to it and concatenates all of them grade wise at their respective places in such a way that they all look like links of the same chain. Hence the “collocation of tradition” (Jama Bainar Riwaytain) and the “condition of Hadiths’ (Tatbiq-e-Ahadith) at the time of mutual contradiction is its main principle the purport of which is that it does not want to leave or omit even the weakest of the weak traditions, so long as it is not fit to be protested against. On this basis, in the sight of this party, contradiction and variance is not felt anywhere in the explicit legal texts; on the contrary, the entire religion, being free from contradiction and variance, looks like a bouquet in which academic and practical flowers of every hue look blooming at their respective places. Along with this, self-purification (Tazkiya-e-Nafs) and self-improvement (Islah-e-Batin), in accordance with the manner of the wayfarers (Ahl-e-Sulook), which is innocent of and free from formalities, usage’s and exhibitive rapture and discourse, are also necessary in this track. It favored its dedicated followers with the heights of knowledge as well as adorned them with human morals like slave hood (Abadiyat) and humility. If the members of this party, on the one hand, reached the heights of academic dignity, self-satisfaction (Istaghna) – academically – and self-content (Ghina-e-Nafs) – morally – on the other, they were also abundantly invested with the humbling sentiments of complaisance, humility, self-denial and abstinence; neither did they become a prey to arrogance, pride and self-conceit nor were involved in self-humiliation and wretchedness. While they, reaching the heights of knowledge and morality, began to look higher than the common run of men, at the same time, adorned with the virtues of humility and sub-mission humbleness and complaisance and non-discrimination, they mixed freely with the masses and yet remained “unique among the people”. While they sought seclusion for striving with the unregenerate soul (Mujahada) and spiritual communion or contemplation (Muraqaba), at the same time they also displayed warrior – and crusader-like zeal as also feelings for communal service. In short, through the mixed feelings and desires of knowledge and morality, seclusion and congregation (Jalwat), striving and jihad, moderation and the golden mean became they distinctive feature in every religion circle; which is a natural Corollary of the comprehensiveness of sciences and moderateness of morals. It is for this reason that among them the meaning of becoming a traditionalist is not to be dispute with the jurisconsult or of being a jurist consult is not to be disgusted with the traditionalist; or the meaning of Nisbat-e-Ihsani (predilection for Sufism) is not to be hostile to the dialectician (Mutakallim) or the meaning of acumen in dialectics is not to be weary of Sufism. On the contrary, under this comprehensive track the graduate of this institution proved, by gradation, simultaneously a traditionalist, a jurisprudence, a professional commentator of the Quran, a Mufti, a dialectician, a Sufi (Muhsin), a physician and a protector (Murabbi), in whom the mixed sentiments of abstinence and contentment sans beggarliness, modesty and self-effacement sans cajolement, com-passion and mercy with “enjoining the right conduct” (Amr bil-ma’roof) and “the forbidding of indecency” (Nahi anil-munkar), composure of heart with communal service and “solitude in a crowd” (khalwat Dar Anjuman), became firm. Or, the other hand, the feelings of moderation, recognition of dues and the fulfillment of rights in regard to arts and sciences and the men of arts and sciences permeated in them as virtues of the self. Hence all the masters of learning and excellence and the well-versed scholars in all the branches of religion, whether they be traditionists or jurisprudenis, Sufis or Gnostics, scholastic theologians or fundamentalists, the nobles of Islam or caliphs, all of them are worthy of respect and faith in their sight. To extol or run down any class of Ulama or to be careless as regards legal limits in praise or censure is not the track of this party. With this comprehensive method the Darul-Uloom, by its academic services, diffused the light of the prophetic sciences from Siberia in the north to Java and Sumatra in the south and from Burma in the east to Arabia and Africa in the west, wherefore the thorough fares of sacred morals became clearly visible.

On the other hand, its scholars never shrank from political and national services, so much so that, from 1803 to 1947, the individuals of this party offered in their own style the greatest possible sacrifices which are on record in the pages of history. The political and warrior-like strives of these august men can never be concealed; particularly the events in the second half of the thirteenth century when the Mughal regime was tottering, the efforts for revolution, jihad-like steps and self-sacrificing struggle under the auspices especially of Shaikhul Masha’ikh Haji lmdadullah for the national liberty and independence, and the imprisonment and bandage on arrest-warrants of his two favorite proselytes (Murids), viz., Maulana Mohammad Qasim and Maulana Rasheed Ahmed and their dedicated followers and attendants, are such historical facts which can neither be denied nor thrown into oblivion. The people who wish to conceal them merely for the reason that they were themselves not accepted in the path of sacrifice will add to their own unpopularity. According to research scholars and those who are knowledgeable about this aspect of the Indian history, all such writings whether emanating from one who may have some connection with Deoband or from a non-Deobandi that negate the jihad-like services of these august men are unreliable and absolutely unworthy of attention. If a favorable view is taken the utmost accounting of these writings can be only this much that these writings, as a result of the awesome factors of the time, are a demonstration of foresight and circumspection to the personal extent, Otherwise, in view of the historical and factual evidences, they have neither any importance nor are worthy of consideration. The sequence of these services continuously went further and with the same inherited feelings the well-guided successors of these elders also continued to come forward in a self-sacrificing manner in connection with national and communal services; whether it was the Khilafat Movement or the release of the native land from the foreign yoke, they, in exact proportion, took part in all these revolutionary ventures.

In short, while the comprehensiveness of knowledge and morals was always the distinctive feature of this party, service to religion and community, nation and country with breadth of vision, enlightenment and toleration was its practice. But in all these walks of life the utmost importance in this party has been given to the imparting of the prophetic sciences, as all these walks of life could be brought into effect correctly only in the light of knowledge and therefore it kept this aspect only conspicuous. Hence the summary of the comprehensiveness of this track is that it is inclusive of knowledge and gnosis, inclusive of reason and love, inclusive of action and morals, inclusive of spiritual striving and jihad, inclusive of rectitude and politics, inclusive of tradition and intelligence, inclusive of seclusion (khalwat) and public appearance (jalwat), inclusive of devotions and social life, inclusive of commandment and wisdom, inclusive of the exterior and the interior, and inclusive of ecstasy and discourse. If this track which has been obtained through the spiritual connections (Nisbats) of the predecessors and the successors is reduced to technical language, then in sum it is this that religiously Darul Uloom is Muslim; as a sect, Ahl-e-Sunnat wal-Jama’at; in practical method, (Mazhab), Hanafi’yat; in conduct, Sufi; dialectically, Maturidi Ash’ari; in respect of the mystic path, Chishtiyyah, rather comprising all the Sufi orders; in thought, Waliyullhian; in principle, Qasimiyah; sectionally, Rasheedian; and as regards connection, Deobandi”.

Since a separate treatise entitled “Maslak -e- Darul Uloom” has already been written in this connection, the need of greater detail is not felt on this occasion and its comprehensive sentences only have been excerpted here. For details, one can refer to the said treatise.

Moreover, greater detail here is unnecessary for the reason that a very clear sketch of this track has been written by Qari Saheb in his introduction to this history. However, a synopsis of this extensive article was necessary and so, at my request, he wrote it himself and gave me, The verbatim text is as under:-

“The summary of it is that this moderate track is based on seven basic foundations, which, with brief elucidation of each, are as follows:-

1- KNOWLEDGE OF THE SHARI’AT: Which includes all the branches of beliefs, devotions and worldly dealings etc. The outcome of which is faith (Iman) and Islam; provided this knowledge may have been acquired, being restricted to the sphere of the sayings and practices of the predecessors, through the teaching; training and grace of the company of authoritative divine doctors and discipliners of the hearts whose chain of exterior and interior, knowledge and practice, understanding and taste may have continuously reached through continual authority to the Author of the Shari’at (on whom be most excellent blessings and greetings !); and may not be the result of self-opinion or mere book-reading and power of study or mere rational search and intellectual investigation, though it may not be devoid of rational style of description and argumentative proof and demonstration, for without this knowledge, distinguishing between right and wrong, legitimate and illegitimate, permissible and impermissible, the Sunni and the innovation, the abominable (Makrooh) and the commendable (Mandoob) is not possible nor is release possible from wild fancies, philosophical theories and blind superstitions in religion.

2- THE FOLLOWING OF THE PATH: That is, consummation of good breeding, self-purification and spiritual traversing (Sulook-e-Batin) within the auspices of researching Sufis and their well-tried principles (inferred from the Book and the Sunnat), because, without this, moderateness in morals, stability of zest and ecstasy, internal insight, mental purity and observation of reality are not possible. It is obvious that this branch is connected with Ahsan along with faith and Islam.

3- CONFORMITY TO THE SUNNAT: That is, conformance to the prophetic Sunnat in every walk of life and dominance of the permanent Sunnat thorough maintaining respect of the Shar’at in every ‘state’ (Hal) and ‘utterance’ (Qal), every condition of the exterior and the interior; for without it, It is impossible to be released from the conventions of ignorance, customary innovations and prohibited indecencies. and from the calamity of customarily imitating the ecstatic utterances and sayings of ‘men of states’ inspite of the lack of spiritual states of giving those utterances the status of a permanent general law parallel to the shari’at.

4- JURISPRUDENTIAL HANAFATISM: The name of Islamic practical doctrines (fra’iyat) and casuistic interpretations of laws (ijtehai’yat) is Fiqh (jurisprudence). And since the elders of Darul Uloom are generally Hanafi’at, the meaning of jurisprudential Hanafiatism is compliance with the hanafi’at jurisprudence in casuistic practical doctrines, and conformance to its principles of jurisprudence only in the education and preference of propositions and fatwas; for without it elusion from the desires of the evil self in educible propositions and, through the way of colligation, operating capriciously under different systems of jurisprudence, excision in the contents of propositions in accordance with the desires of the hoi polloi or guess and conjecture under the awe of emergency conditions and shallow changes and innovations in propositions through unlearnedness are unavoidable. It is obvious that this branch appertains to Islam.

5- DIALECTICAL MATURIDIISM: That is, as regards beliefs, the sustentation of the power of certitude and the stability of true beliefs with right thinking in accordonce to the laws and principles determined and codified through the method of the Ahlus Sunnat wal-Jama’at and the Asha’ira and the Matureedia; for without it escape from the doubts cast by the tergiversators and the conjectural innovations, superstitions and skepticism of the false sects is not possible. It is evident that this branch is connected with faith (iman).

6- DEFENSE AGAINST TERGIVERSATION AND DEVIATION: That is, defense against the mischiefs raised by bigoted cliques and tergiversators, but in the language and expression of the time, with consciousness of the psychology of the milieu and through the contemporary familiar means where the argument or proof may be completed. Moreover, efforts with a crusader-like spirit for stamping them out, for without these the removal of the unlawful things (munkarat) and protecion of the Shari’at from the encroachment of the antagonists is not possible. It includes refutation of polytheism and innovation, confutation of atheism and materialism, correction of the customs of ignorance, and, as per need, polemics, verbal or in writing, and the changing of unlawful things. It is obvious that this branch is concerned with the elevation of the word of allah in accordance with “While Allah’s word it was that become the uppermost” and the expression of religion be in accordance with “He may cause it to prevail over all religion” and the general organization of the community.

7- THE TASTE FOR QASIMISM AND RASHEEDISM: Then while the same track, with its collective dignity, appeared after passing through the hearts and souls of the first patrons of Darul Uloom Deoband, and the feelers of the pulse of the community, it drew in the demands of the time in it and adopted the form of a particular taste which has been denoted with the word ‘mashrab’ (disposition, nature, temper, conduct). Accordingly, in the basic constitution of Darul Uloom Deoband (dustoo-e- Asasi-e- Darul Uloom Deoband), which was approved in Sha’ban, A.h. 1368, this reality has been stated in the following words: “The track of the Darul Uloom, Deoband, will be the hanafi’at practical method (mazhab) in accordance with the Ahlus Sunnat wal-Jama’at and the disposition (mashrab) of its holy founders, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanautavi and Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (may their secrets be sanctified !)”.

     Hence among the constituents of the track of Darul Uloom this factor is an important element on which the establishment of the education and training of Darul Uloom working. It comes under Ahsan (god-consciousness), while it is connected with spiritual training. Thus the knowledge of the Shari’at, the following of the path, conformity to the Sunnat, Jurisprudential Hanafitism, dialectical Maturidiism, defense against deviation, and the taste for Qasimism and Rasheedism are the constituents of this moderate track which answers well to “seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains” (11:261). If these “seven ears” are expressed in shara’i language, they can be interpreted as Iman (faith), Islam, Ashan and Izhar-e- Deen (demonstration of religion), as has been indicated item-wise above. The collection of all these seven articles with the above-mentioned details is the track of Darul Uloom Deoband. if it is mused over, this track will be found to be an exact epitome of the Hadith-e- Jibra’il in which, on Gabriel’s questioning, the Holy Prophet (Allha’s peace and blessings be on him!) has described Islam, Iman, Ahsan ans defense against mischiefs in detail and has called it the teaching of religion. Hence it will not be inappropriate if it is said that track of the Ulama of Deoband is Hadith-e- Jibra’il itself.

     Then the basis and foundation of all these basic elements are the Book of Allah, the Sunnat of the Apostle of Allah, the consensus of the ummat, and casuistic analogy, out of which the first two proofs are legislative (fashri’i) with w the Shari’at is formed and the last two are derivative (taf’ri’i) by which the Shari’at is opened. The first two proofs are the treasure of explicit texts which are traditional, for which authority (sanad) and (riwayat) are inevitable; the next two proofs are rational for which trained reason and understanding and habitually pious mind and taste are ineluctable. Hence this moderate track is traditional as well as rational, narrative as well as intelligential; but in such a way that it is neither extraneous to reason nor based upon it, but has been rather raised in such a way with a balanced mixture of reason and tradition that tradition and revelation (wahy) are the root in it and reason is its all-time attendant and agent.

    Thus this track of the ulama of Deoband is neither the track of the rationalist Mutazilites in which, acknowledging reason to be covereign and master over tradition, reason has been made the root and revelation or its meaning its subject, whereby religion is rendered a mere philosophy, the paths of atheism (zandaqa) are made even for the rank and file and at the same time the connection of the simple-minded faithful with the religion does not remain intact. Nor is this track that of the externalists (zahiriya) in which dead-locked or being inert over the words of revelation, reason and intellect have been thrown into abeyance, and, bidding adieu to the esoteric causes and mysteries and inner points of wisdom and experiences of religion, all the ways of ijtehad and inference have been blocked, whereby religion is rendered something unreal, rather, something meaningless, unreasonable and static, and the wise and the sagacious then have no more relation with it. Thus in one track there in left reason and reason alone and in the other reason becomes suspended and idle. It is obvious that both these directions are of the two extremes and of “whose case ha?h been abandoned” (XVIII : 29) from which this middle, comprehensive and moderate religion is free. Hence this alone is the track that includes both reason and tradition and it can be this only that in all roots and offshoots common sense should always remain with authentic tradition, but as an obedient and compliant attendant and agent of the religion so that it may keep supplying rational proofs, reasonable arguments and perceptible evidences and examples for each of its generalities and details whereby religion may prove acceptable for every class of the ummat an all-sided constitution of life, and this ummat may look a correct answer to “Thus We have appointed you a middle nation” (11:143). This thack alone is called the track of the Ahlus Sunnat wal-Jama’at and the ulama of Deoband are the heralds and standard-bearers of this very track . It is for this reason that on account of the culmination of this comprehensive track and all these religious sciences, they are simultaneously commentators of the Quran as well as traditionists, jurisprudents as well as scholastic theologians, sufis as well as strivers with the self (mujahid) and thinkers; and then, with the amalgamation of all these sciences, their disposition is temperate as well as medium. This is the reason that in their party disposition there is neither extremism (ghulu) nor exaggeration (mubalagha), and due to this breadth of vision there is neither anathematizing (takfir) nor scurrility, neither obloquy nor ill-speaking against anyone, neither obstinacy and envy and indignation nor dominance of position and pelf and excess of luxury. It is rather only a statement of proposition and ummat, or the establishment of the truth and refutation of the falsehood, in which there is neither involved the despising and disparagement of personalities nor is there arrogant flouting. The name of the sum-total of the same virtues and particulars is Darul Uloom, Deoband, and it is due to this very academic and practical versatility that its influence has spread over all the countries of world.

Sourced from: http://www.darululoom-deoband.com/english/

Letter of Khwājah Muḥammad Maʿṣūm Sirhindī

 

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Letter 177 written to Mullā Jamālud Dīn,

“It is necessary that in resolving to bring about the implementation of Islāmic Law, that you be active and alert. Make ordering good and forbidding evil your habit and way. Reviving abandoned Sunnahs should be considered a great work. Try to hide the spiritual occurrences which befall your heart. Do not place any reliance on spiritual manifestations and dreams. What benefit is there if you are proclaimed emperor or Quṭb of the era in a dream? The emperor and Quṭb remain those who have those positions in reality. If for the sake of argument you do become emperor in reality and the world submits to your rule, what piety has been achieved and what punishment of the grave and the hereafter has been lifted? People with firm resolve pay no attention to these kind of things. Instead, they remain striving for Allāh’s pleasure. They strive to eliminate their ego and hide their spiritual experiences.”

Extracted from Biographies of the Naqshbandī Mujaddidī Mashāʾikh by Mawlānā Maḥbūb ʾAḥmad Qamruz Zamān Nadwī ʾIlāhābādī

Being in Allah’s Protection – From the Discourses of Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

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Allah سبحانه و تعالى  has created this world as a place of trials and tribulations. Having trials and tribulations is actually the rule, not the exception. Beyond that Allah سبحانه و تعالى  has created human beings who are unable to bear most trials and tribulations. The Prophet (ﷺ) in his infinite mercy has taught us some way by which we can protect ourselves from the difficulties of this world.

Firstly, you should understand this world is a place of trials and tribulations. Every second there are dozens of people that are afflicted with some new trials and tribulations. This world is a place of musiba. The Prophet (ﷺ) taught us that Allah سبحانه و تعالى  has the power to afflict us with trials and tribulations at any time.

Secondly, we are human beings and we do not have the ability to bear those trials and tribulations. So we should ask Allah سبحانه و تعالى  to protect us. There are du‘aa’s in the Qur’an in which we ask Allah سبحانه و تعالى  to not bear upon us those difficulties because we are not able to carry them.

The prophet (ﷺ) taught us that after fajr and maghrib prayer we should make the following du‘aa 3 times:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

In the Name of Allah, who with His Name, nothing in the earth or the heavens can cause harm, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)

Everybody should memorize this du‘aa and make it part of their daily routine. This is the most perfect way you can seek protection from the difficulties that exist in the universe. The difficulties are those that Allah سبحانه و تعالى  sends down upon people; those that people cause amongst themselves e.g. theft, murder; and those that shaytaan intends to inflict upon those who follow Allah سبحانه و تعالى .

Trials and tribulations like losing your job, losing your house, or someone stealing from you are difficulties but the reality of such difficulties is that they pass. However, there is one trial and tribulation for which there is no answer, and that is a disconnection from Allah سبحانه و تعالى. That is the worst thing that can happen to us. If you get disconnected from Allah سبحانه و تعالى, the effect is jahannam and there is no cure for that. It is one affliction for which there is never a cure.

Individuals in the society try to purchase insurance for anything valuable they own e.g. car insurance, house insurance. This du’aa is our insurance policy as well. This is the real insurance. Don’t forsake that which the Prophet (ﷺ) gave for that which people have created. You’ll never find cure in it.

(The above is a summary of the talk given by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar. The audio of the talk can be downloaded from HERE. To listen to more talks of Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar, please visit sacredlearning.org)

Avoiding The Environment of Sin – From The Discourses of Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

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There are 2 factors that determine how far you get on your path to Allah سبحانه و تعالى ; doing good deeds and avoiding bad deeds. If you look at our daily lives the good deeds are not usually the problem. The question that arises is ‘If we are doing good deeds, why are we not experiencing progress in our development?’ or ‘Why are we moving backwards?’ It only leaves the second part of the equation i.e. we do not avoid bad deeds.

There are 2 factors to avoiding bad deeds. Firstly, one has to realize that the deed is bad. Allah سبحانه و تعالى  has placed a veil on the hearts as concerns their deeds. The way that can open up to one is by spending time in reflection and solitude. The second aspect is to actually avoid the bad deeds.

وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنْتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلاَ مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا هَذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنْ الظَّالِمِينَ

And We said: “O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zalimoon (wrong-doers).” (Surah al-Baqarah, verse 35)

When Allah سبحانه و تعالى  placed Aadam ( عليه السلام ) and his mate in jannah, He told them to eat from whatever you want and enjoy but the only thing they have to do is not to approach this tree. If they did, they would be from among the wrongdoers.

If you look at the tafseer of this ayah, approaching the tree was not the problem for Aadam ( عليه السلام ) and his mate. The problem was actually interacting and partaking of the tree. But Allah سبحانه و تعالى  gave them a tremendous amount of wisdom by commanding them not to approach the tree. Because if they would approach the tree, they would end up going down the slippery slope and taking from the tree. In this aayah, Allah سبحانه و تعالى lays down a very beautiful principle by telling you to avoid those things which Allah سبحانه و تعالى  wants you to avoid i.e. you got to stay out of the environment of sin.

This helps to highlight so many principles within the sharia, for example a man talking to a woman. The reason why it was prohibited upon us by Allah سبحانه و تعالى and the prophet (ﷺ) is because it leads to the next deed. Once you talk to someone, then you want to spend time with them and eventually it becomes a type of zinaa.

The sharia closes the door to the slippery slope so that you can avoid the sin completely.

The sharia closes the door to the slippery slope so that you can avoid the sin completely.

(The above is a summary of the talk given by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar. The audio of the talk can be downloaded from HERE. To listen to more talks of Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar, please visit sacredlearning.org)

Advice of Khwājah ʿAbdul Khāliq Ghajadwānī

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One day Khwājah ʿAbdul Khāliq Ghajadwānī رحمه الله took the hand of his son, Khwājah ʾAwliyāʾ Kabīr رحمه الله , in his hand and said, “O my son! Make Taqwā your distinguishing feature. Be firm with your Wazhāʾif and worship. Meditate over your condition. Fear Allāh. Fulfil the rights of Allāh, Rasūlullāh ﷺ and the religion. By observing these qualities you will attain Allāh. Obey Allāh تبارك و تعلى  for He is your Guardian. Read the Qurʾān, whether from memory or by looking. Read it whilst pondering over it. Read with sadness and weep. Do not move even one of your feet away from seeking knowledge. Study Jurisprudence and Ḥadīth and avoid the ignorant amongst the Ṣūfiyāʾ – Mashāʾikh Naqshbandīyah Mujaddidīyah, pp. 89 – 90

Extracted from Biographies of the Naqshbandī Mujaddidī Mashāʾikh by Mawlānā Maḥbūb ʾAḥmad Qamruz Zamān Nadwī ʾIlāhābādī

Maulana Husayn Ahmad Madani in the words of Shaykh Zakariyya Khandalwi

Hadhrat Maulana Husayn Ahmad Madni (ra) probably needs no introduction. He is among the senior khulafa (successors) of Hadhrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (ra.) He was appointed as Head Teacher and Shaykh al-Hadith of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband after ‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (ra) had left the post. He filled this position for approximately 28 years. Prior to this, he had spent 18 years teaching various Islamic sciences including Hadith in Madinah al-Munawwarah. Hadhrat Maulana (ra) was also very active politically. He was imprisoned for approximately three years in the Island of Malta (by the British) with his beloved teacher Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind Maulana Mahmud al-Hasan Deobandi (ra.) He was well known for his tireless efforts in the liberation struggle of which he was at the forefront after the Death of Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind (ra.)

By reading Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya’s (ra) autobiography (Aap Beti), it is apparent that he was very close to Hadhrat Maulana Madni (ra) and held him in very high regard.. In this book (Aap Beti) and also in his Al-E’tidaal, Hadhrat Shaykh (ra) praised Maulana Madni in various places. I had already posted a few of these paragraphs (of praise) elsewhere but I thought that I should also make them a part of the blog. The quotes are not exlusive and there are many, many more. However, they give us a glimpse into his exceptional character and the sacrifices that he made in the Field of teaching and the service of Islam and Muslims.

I pray that Allah give us all the ability to walk in the footsteps of such great men which is in essence the way shown to us by the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his successors.

Hadhrat Shaykh Zakariyya (ra) says:

Maulana Madni (ra) was an exceptional personality and for me to even try and emulate him would be an impossible task and foolishness on my part. How can I possibly emulate him whose life on journeys and at home was the same, whose hard work by night was the same by day – a man who felt no need for rest nor ever seemed to tire (after his continuous struggles and hard work.) Such a man was he that he would return from Hijaz and disembark at Karachi. From there, he would immediately board a train and travel for two days and nights arriving at Deoband at 5 a.m in the morning. And then at 6 a.m he would take his place in front of a class to teach Bukhari. This is what heppened on his last journey from Haj. How can anyone emulate him?

Last year, he often travelled hundreds of miles daily for periods of fifteen days on end giving daily lectures in various places. A few years ago he promised to deliver a weekly lecture on the life of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) here in Saharanpur. And true to his promise, for several months he came every week to Saharanpur by the night train to deliver the lecture from ‘Esha prayers till 1 a.m. Thereafter, he would go to sleep and without anyones assistance he would wake up at 3 a.m. From here, he used to proceed to the station to return to Deoband and after arriving there, teach for a period of three to four hours without a break in-between

One should also bear in mind that Maulana Madni (ra) commenced his lectureship (teaching Islamic sciences) in Madinah Munawwarah (he taught in Al-Masjid al-Nabawi.) For many years, he lived such a life of dedication and devotion, that at times, he lectured twelve or thirteen classes daily, sleeping for only two or three hours per day. The rest of his time, he spent in studying or preparing lectures for the following days classes. This man had been trained in this hard manner till he became so exceptionally proficient. Now, will it not be foolish of me to endeavour to emulate (let alone surpass) a man like that?

Now, hear about his spiritual training. He was trained by that man who is the ocean of love and divine knowledge, Hadhrat Shaykh al-Arab wa al-Ajam Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (ra), in the blessed and Holy city of Madina, in such a blesed place as Masjid-e-Ijaabat. And under the supervision of his Shaykh he devoted himself to Thikrullah for a very long time for the sake of purifying himself spiritually. Thereafter, the completion and polishing of his training was done under the guidance of Hadhrat Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (ra) [from whom he received khilafat.] Therafter, for many years his spiritual training reached its pinnacle and maturity under the sympathetic and benign shadow of Hadhrat Shaykh al-Hind [Maulana Mahmood Hasan (ra)] in the seclusion of their exile on the Island of Malta. (1)

During my life, I have heard no-one else weeping so much in Du’a before Allah in the latter part of the night as I have heard Maulana Madni (ra) and my father Very often, in spite of my deep sleep I used to be woken up by his crying. Hadhrat Madni (ra) would recite Hindi lamentations with so much pain and sorrow. I was unacquainted with Hindi and could not understand, but the wailing and crying still echoes in my ears. It was almost like a child who was receiving a hiding and is crying. As much courage as Hadhrat had, as brave as he was and as much as he encountered ordeals, I have not seen this (type of crying) in any of my elders. (2)

(1) Al-E’tidaal Fi Maraatib ar-Rijaal (English Translation), Islamic Book Service, Pages 34-35
(2) Aap Beti (English Translation), Darul Isha’at, Pages 375-376

The above has been sourced from zakariyya.wordpress.com

(ra) stand for rahmatullahi ‘alayhi 

Submission before Allah

Hazrat Shaikh Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) once mentioned:

My beloved friends! Express submission before Allah Ta’ala, (that Being who has complete control over everything), and everything will become submissive and obedient to you. The incident of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) is well known, where they were once in the jungles of Africa and they needed to pitch their tents and encamp. However, the jungle was such that it was filled with various wild animals and harmful creatures. Hence, Hazrat Uqbah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who was the leader of the army, took a few Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) with him and went to a certain place. He then addressed the animals and announced saying, “O insects and animals! We are a group of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! We wish to stay here and you should thus depart. After this announcement, if we find any animal around this area, we will kill it.” After this announcement was made, the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) witnessed the animals depart while carrying their young in total submission and obedience before the command of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).

(Suhbat Baa Awliyaa pg. 88)

Sourced from ihyaauddeen.co.za

Food For The Soul – From the Discourses of Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

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Allāh سبحانه و تعالى has 2 methods of creation. One method is that things are created over time i.e. fī sittati ayyāmin.

إنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّـهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ تَبَارَكَ اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He covers the night with the day, [another night] chasing it rapidly; and [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, subjected by His command. Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds. (7:54)

The second method is that things are created instantaneously with the command “kun”, and the result is “fa ya kun“.

إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَن يَقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ

His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,” and it is. (36: 82).

 

So these are 2 different spheres of the creation of Allāh سبحانه و تعالى. The sphere in which Allāh سبحانه و تعالى says ‘kun fa ya kun‘; this is called `alam al‑’amr. The second sphere which Allāh سبحانه و تعالى creates over time in stages, and that is called `alam al‑khalq; the created world.

Human beings are very unique type of beings in that they actually composite of both of these worlds. So when we consider ourselves, we actually have to consider two aspects of ourselves. The first is that we have a rūḥ, i.e. a soul, and that soul comes from the commanded world i.e. `alam al‑’amr. At the same time, we have a jism i.e. a body. This jism actually comes from the create world i.e. alam al‑khalq. So we are a composite of both of these worlds.

From this we derive several principles. The first and most foundational is that that which comes from `alam al‑’amr needs to be sustained by amri things. So for example we say that the soul or rūḥ comes from `alam al‑’amr and that its sustenance will also come from amri things, spiritual things, so that the sustenance of the soul is actually derived from things that are spiritual.

At the same time, the body comes from`alam al‑khalq, from the created world. Therefore the things which sustain the body will be khalqi i.e. will come from the created world.  The simple example will be that of bodies are made from mud and everything that we use to sustain our bodies happen to also come from mud. For example, the food we eat grows from mud, the clothes we wear grow from mud, cotton for example. At the same time one can say that we get our food and clothing from animals e.g. if we wear wool. However both of those also come from mud because they are also created in a sense from mud; dirt. They also eat crops which come from dirt.

So essentially what we are trying to highlight is that the body requires its sustenance from bodily things i.e. from tangible and physical things; and that the soul requires its sustenance from spiritual things. This is a very simple principle which is not too hard to understand. However it forms the key foundational idea for the vast majority of human failure in this day and age. Why? Because when you look at mankind as a whole, most people in this day and age have made the erroneous assumption that peace will be attained by gaining physical things. So whether you look at a Muslim or a non-Muslim in this day and age, we have begun to think that somehow our happiness is tied to physical things. For example, if we have a big house, we will somehow be happy; if we have nice clothing, we will somehow be happy; if we have a nice car, we will be happy; if we eat good food, we will be happy. However what you have to recognize is that happiness is not a characteristic of the body. It is a characteristic of the soul.

However what you have to recognize is that happiness is not a characteristic of the body. It is a characteristic of the soul.

So here we are trying to feed the soul with houses, clothing, ice cream and chocolate, nice cars, and what ends up happening is that we are feeding the body instead of the soul. The body turns into a monster. It crushes and leaves no space for growth of the soul, and it produces depression within a human being.  It’s so amazing obvious that in this day and age, the wealthiest people tend to be the most depressed. You look at the wealthiest societies and within them you find the greatest degree of depression. You can travel to some very poor places in the world and you’ll see happy people. It’s funny because you’ll read these articles not from Muslims, but from non-Muslims who actually say “I travelled to Tibet or some village in China or Afghanistan.” And they’ll say that “When I went there, I was shocked to see that people were happy. They were smiling, laughing and enjoying life.” That’s because this simple principle has not destroyed them. You can say that this mistaken principle has not destroyed them.

We all desire to be happy in the life and in the hereafter. What contents the human being is the soul we are providing for. Why? Because our souls are from jannah. That is who we are. The body is not who we are. The body will be put in the grave and will return back to the dirt and disintegrate. It’s the soul that will be raised up and will be judged on the Day of Judgment.

The soul actually grew up in jannah. We were in jannah. We were in the presence of Allah سبحانه و تعالى. Then we got banished down to the earth for a period of time and we happened to be wrapped up in this thing called the body while we are here. The body is what deceives us because all the tests in this world are bodily for example, lowering the gaze, eating halāl, earning halāl income. These are all bodily tests.

The body is sort of the vehicle that tests the soul. If the soul is fed with the things that it was used to having e.g. the presence of Allah سبحانه و تعالى and qurb (nearness) to Allah سبحانه و تعالى, the soul becomes very content and happy; and the human being becomes happy irrespective of what their body has.

A great example is that of one who has spent any time studying the dīn and in any type of Islamic environment will tell you that when students study at madāris of our dīn, they are so content despite the fact that it is one of the hardest things to do. You can ask them what their toughest struggle was. They’ll say, “Well, when I studied in madrassa that was really tough.” And if you ask them “When were you happiest in your life?” They’ll say, “When I studied in madrassa, there is no greater happiness that I can recall.” This is the common theme. You can ask anyone and I don’t have a doubt that they will share the exact same with you if they truly benefitted from their teachers and they were doing what they were supposed to do.

Just as the body requires a balanced slack of nutrients that people need to consume in order to grow the body properly, in the same way there is balance of nutrients that is required for the growth of the soul. So you need to give it some Qur’ān, some salawāt on Rasulullāh ﷺ, ṣuhbaḥ of good company, and putting it in the masjid as much as possible. So these are the multiple nutrients that are required in order to grow the soul.

The first basic thing about the rūḥ is that it needs to be given space to grow. The body (jism) and the soul rūḥ exist in one closed contained space. If the body is big, the soul has no space to grow. If the emphasis of the human being is on the body all the time then what ends up happening is the body grows into an animal, into a monster, and it provides very little room for the soul to grow. So the first thing that has to happen before the soul can grow is that you have to contain the growth of the body.

Nafs is the name of the inner portion of the body. It’s the key command center of the jism. So if the nafs is out of control, it takes up the vast majority of space and the soul becomes very crushed and depressed. One thing that has to happen is the nafs has to be curtailed. The simple curtailing of the nafs will cause the soul to expand.

The simple curtailing of the nafs will cause the soul to expand.

How comes that you find people who practice yoga or people who live in a Buddhist monastery become very spiritual? How comes they themselves say they experience something and that they feel spiritual and good about themselves? This is a very simple principle. The body and the soul exist in a contained space. The vast majority of human beings have grown their body and their nafs so much their soul is automatically constricted and depressed. So if any human being using any mechanism begins to cut off the bodily desires and the body begins to shrink down to its normal size, the soul will expand and they will feel spiritual. So it’s not that only the Muslim can feel spiritual. There is some degree of spirituality that will arise just from maintaining a normal balance of being human. So we shouldn’t be confused that how come they can be spiritual? Is that some form of ‘ayb on Islam? Is that some source of defect in Islam? No! This is just part of being a natural human being.

Now the ‘ajīb (strange) thing however is those things will never make the soul to grow. See there are 2 separate issues. One is to just come and maintain the balance of the body and the soul which if any human being does they will be at some degree of peace. But actually beyond that is to cause the soul to grow and elevate. That requires Islām; that requires the dīn. When a person does that, they go far beyond this basic spirituality that you see arise in various settings. They go far beyond that and attain a degree of spirituality, righteousness, and closeness to Allāh سبحانه و تعالى that can never be described in words. Our challenge is not only to contain the body. We want to contain the body and knock it back in to its cage. So you put it back in to the cage to create space for the soul. Once you create space, the soul automatically expands and you’ll feel good about yourself. Then the next thing is to grow the soul.

So we know we have to grow the soul and we know that as we grow and feed the soul, we will become people who are close to Allāh سبحانه و تعالى. When we say grow the soul, what we actually mean is bringing it closer to Allāh سبحانه و تعالى. We should ask ourselves, what is the best mechanism by which we can do that? The best mechanism is the dīn of Allāh سبحانه و تعالى. In this day and age, that dīn will be the dīn of Islām.  In this day and age the mechanism of that will be the sunnah of Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ. If you want to summarize it in one word, it’s the sunnah. The sunnah is the mechanism to get closeness to Allāh سبحانه و تعالى.

The sunnah is the mechanism to get closeness to Allāh سبحانه و تعالى.

Now it is unfortunate that in this day and age this has become the most confusing principle. It is confusing to people that the sunnah is the actual mechanism by which we attain wilāyah. Even this concept has been lost. This is how deluded we have become. We have to be very clear about this one principle because it’s the failure of the vast majority of people who want to pursue this path.

The premise of all of this lies in an āyah of The Holy Qur’an in which Allāh سبحانه و تعالى says;

قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمْ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

Say, [O Muḥammad], “If you should love Allāh, then follow me, [so] Allāh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allāh is Forgiving and Merciful.” (3:31)

This is our equation. Now what does the equation say?

قُلْ

The messenger of Allāh سبحانه و تعالى is being commanded by His Lord to say:

إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّه

Say to who? Say to your companions and all of the generations of Muslims to witness this discussion as well until the Day of Judgment. Say to your companions:

إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّه

If you love Allāh سبحانه و تعالى

فَاتَّبِعُونِي

Follow me

يُحْبِبْكُمْ اللَّهُ

Allāh سبحانه و تعالى will love you.

So here is a very simple equation. If you love Allāh سبحانه و تعالى and you desire to attract the attention of Allāh سبحانه و تعالى then you have to recognize the only mechanism by which you can do that is to follow the sunnah of Rasulullah ﷺ.

Now actually as a corollary to this, we have to realize that the food of the soul comes from Allāh’s attention. The more the soul is focused on Allah سبحانه و تعالى and the more the barakāt, fuyūdhāt, and tawajjuḥāt come from Allāh سبحانه و تعالى, the more the soul becomes elevated and eventually develops into a worthy human being who will eventually enter in to jannah; someone who will attain contentment in this life and who will attain falāḥ in the hereafter.

What does falāḥ mean? According to scholars, falāḥ is that success after which there can never be failure. Now why is that condition required? Because in this world every success is followed by failure or at least the potential for it. For example, what are billionaires doing all the time? They are always worried about their money. It is funny a guy makes a billion dollars yet he is always worried about his money. He is worried about his asset preservation. Even the wealthy man worries about preservation of capital. Why? Because every wealthy man know it is easy to become poor again, quote and quote, relatively poor again. You can become the most successful person in the community but you’ll always know there is a potential for failure. You’ll always be up at night thinking what the next step forward is because if you do not take a step forward then you are taking a step back.

Even if you were to have a perfect life, no one can deny that you will die which is the ultimate failure if you were living a perfect life. So in this life there is no permanent success. There is limited success. But the word falāḥ means a permanent lasting success after which there will never be failure. So what is meant by that? It means that once you go into jannah, you never have to worry again about being sick, about losing your wealth, about losing your house, and the best is you never ever have to worry about jahannam. Because for the mu’min that is the failure we always worry about. Even if we are practicing properly, we worry about the potential for jahannam which is always on our neck. The possibility always exists.

Now this falāḥ is so established that what will happen after people are put into jannah? When all the people have been put in either jannah or jahannam and everybody’s balance has been taken into account, an animal will be brought in front the people and it will be sacrificed. The people will be asked on if they know what the animal is. The people will say they do not know. They will be told that this is death itself. Death itself has been sacrificed. When people of jahannam will realize that the door is closed on them, they thought they could die because they were going through hell. So even death will have been removed as an escape. As for the people in jannah, they will now know that there is no more worry because they got permanent success and the possibility of death has been removed. So this is what basically defines falāḥ.

(The above is a partial summary of a talk given by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar (Fundamentals of Tasawwuf part 2). The audio of the talk can be downloaded from HERE. To listen to more talks of Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar, please visit sacredlearning.org)

Shaykh al-Hind at the khanqah of Mawlana Gangohi

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It is said regarding Shaykh al-Hind Hadhrat Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi (may Allah have mercy on him), who was the head lecturer at Darul ‘Uloom Deoband, that every Thursday after classes would finish he would set off from Deoband to Gangoh. He would leave before ‘Asar or after ‘Asar and would offer the rest of his daily prayers at various stops along the way. The distance from Deoband to Gangoh was twenty-three miles and Shaykh al-Hind would walk the entire distance. This was his habit for many years. The journey was long and would take several hours; as a result he would reach the khanqah of Mawlana Gangohi late at night. If the gate were open he would enter otherwise he would spread a sheet of cloth there and then at the doorstep of the khanqah and offer prayers as much as he could. If he were to feel tired then he would rest a little while but would not knock on the gate. Towards the latter part of the night at the time of Tahajjud, the gatekeeper would come and find Shaykh al-Hind there. He would often ask him why he had not knocked or called out at which Shaykh al-Hind would simply reply saying he was anxious that doing so would disturb his shaykh and the other murids inside the khanqahand felt it better to simply remain at the door rather than disturb those inside.

Mawlana Gangohi (may Allah have mercy on him) also had a habit of holding a gathering for the general masses before the Friday prayers. This gathering was well attended with the majority in attendance being farmers and labourers from the surrounding areas of Gangoh who would arrive in the khanqah very early in the morning and gather at the front of the masjid awaiting the arrival of Mawlana Gangohi. By the time Mawlana Gangohi would come, the area at the front close to him would be full leaving many of his closemurids and khalifahs with only space to sit at the back close to the entrance. It is said that Shaykh al-Hind, who himself was one of the senior khalifahs of Mawlana Gangohi and the leading lecturer in hadith at Darul ‘Uloom Deoband, would humbly sit wherever he could at the back of the gathering without any inclination to come forward. He would only come forward if by chance Mawlana Gangohi noticed he was sitting at the back at which he would say, “Mahmud, come to the front.”

After the Friday prayers, Shaykh al-Hind would take permission from his shaykh and then return to Deoband on foot as he had arrived covering some twenty-three miles on the way back. Subhanallah, may Allah have mercy them. This was his habit for many years as long as his shaykh was alive. Look at this love, respect and honour for his shaykh. It was not the case that Shaykh al-Hind could not afford a means of transport; he could have got a horse or a cart. This he could have, but this is the hardship he underwent out of respect for his shaykh and he did this with such respect, reverence and honour. May Allah have mercy on them all.

Sourced from Important Discourses on Tasawwuf by by  on Deoband.Org