CHAPTER ON THE AADAAB (RESPECT, ETIQUETTE, RULES) OF DUAA
If, despite your humble supplication, there is a delay in the materialisation of your duaa, do not despair of the acceptance of your duaa because Allah Ta’ala has undertaken to answer your call in something which He considers beneficial for you, not in something which you desire for yourself, and He grants when He wishes, not when you desire.
Many people contend that inspite of making abundant duaa, their prayers are not answered. Some who have inculcated in themselves a degree of piety usually say that their duaas are not accepted because of their sins. They believe sin to be an impediment to the acceptance of duaa. (Although sin is an obstacle for acceptance of duaa, it does not mean that a person’s perception of his duaa’s non-acceptance is due to sins. There is a difference between non-fulfilment and non-acceptance. While a duaa is accepted, its method of fulfilment and its time of fulfilment are by Allah’s choice – Translator.) Some Thaakireen too, are trapped in this waswasah (shaitaani thought). They feel that inspite of years of Mujaahadah and Thikr, their spiritual condition remains unchanged. They sincerely supplicate, but see no change in their moral or spiritual state. This attitude produces in them despair. The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) answers these misgivings by saying that if the duaa does not materialize inspite of sincere and humble supplication, it should not be interpreted as rejection by Allah Ta’ala.
Although Allah Ta’ala has promised to accept duaa, He has not promised to grant whatever is supplicated for. Our knowledge and intelligence are not adequate to always comprehend what is beneficial and harmful for us. Sometimes the object requested is not for our good. Allah Ta’ala is Most Merciful to us. He knows our needs more than what we do. He withholds the object we are supplicating for in view of it being harmful, in the same way as a wise and loving parent withholds a harmful object which the child obstinately cries for. Instead, something better and beneficial will be given. It will, therefore, not be proper to claim that the parent has rejected the request of the child.
The meaning of the Divine Promise of accepting duaa is that Allah Ta’ala will grant duaas and fulfil supplications according to His Wisdom and Choice. Sometimes the object requested is awarded and sometimes withheld. But, in lieu something better will be awarded either in this world or in the a khirat or some earthly disaster is averted in lieu. Also, sometimes the very object supplicated for is given, but at some time in the future. The reason for delaying fulfilment of the duaa is that in the Divine Wisdom the immediate awarding of the object requested is fraught with either Deeni or worldly harm.
The bandah should, therefore, refrain from employing his intelligence in issues which Allah Ta’ala decides. He should be constant in his supplication and not despair of acceptance.
If something which has been Divinely Promised fails to materialize at its promised appointed time, do not doubt the truth of the promise. Such doubt may blind your intelligence and extinguish the light of your heart.
Sometimes a Servant of Allah is informed inspirationally of the occurrence of a future event at a stipulated time. Such news may be transmitted to him by way of a dream, Ilhaam or the voice of an angel. (Ilhaam is a form of revelation which Auliya sometimes receive.) The information may be, for example, rainfall on a particular date or the ending of famine on a certain date, etc. If the appointed day arrives without the promise materializing, the bandah should not doubt the truth of the promise. It is quite probable that the materialisation of the prediction depends on some conditions which were absent on the stipulated day. Or, the Divine Intention was to test the bandah, hence the requisite conditions were not revealed to him.
Thus, the bandah should not commit the fatal error of doubting the truth of the Divine Promise, for doubting is a grave act of disrespect, ignorance and stupidity. It is also a sign of pride. Such an attitude will blind the intelligence because violation of the Divine Promise is impossible. Allah Ta’ala declares:
“Verily, Allah does not dishonour a promise.”
There is the grave danger of this disrespect extinguishing the light of the heart. Thus, his baatini treasure will be snatched away. At no stage should the bandah abandon respect and his state of slavery (bandagi).
The bandah should attribute all defects and vice to himself and believe that his insight and understanding are deficient.
The statement of the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) pertains to valid Kashf and Ilhaam, not to mere thoughts and imagination.
Supplicating for such needs for which Allah Ta’ala has undertaken the responsibility is to accuse Him of refraining from giving. Supplicating for Proximity is the sign of being far from Him. Supplicating for foreign things whether these pertain to worldly affairs or spiritual states, is on account of your audacity. Asking from anyone besides your True Master is because of your distance from Him.
At this juncture it is essential to understand a few important facts. One – It is of utmost importance for the Thaakir Saalik in whose heart Thikr has made some impression, that after rendering the Fardh and Waajib duties, he perpetually engrosses himself in thikr with his heart. He should eliminate all vestiges of wasaawis and keep the heart’s attention engrossed with Allah Ta’ala until he gains complete mastery of his heart.
Two – In a nutshell, Tasawwuf and Ma’rifat are Adab (Respect), hence the Auliya have said:
“The whole of Tasawwuf is Adab.”
Three – As long as nafsaani desires have not been eliminated and he has not annihilated his nafs, all his deeds, whether Duaa, Namaaz or Roza, will be contaminated by the nafs. Therefore, of great importance is the engrossment of the heart so that Thikr permeates the heart and nafsaani contamination is eliminated from A’maal-e-Saalihah. Ikhlaas will then be achieved.
Now understand the gist of the Shaikh’s statement. He is actually saying:
O Saalik! Your supplications are of four kinds. These four kinds of duaa are in conflict with the Adab of the Divine Court. (Adab also means dignity).
Firstly, is your duaa for such things regarding which He has undertaken the responsibility of giving, e.g. Rizq. Since your nafs is still alive, its interference will certainly be in this supplication. By implication it means: “If I ask, He (Allah) will give, otherwise perhaps not.” This is to accuse Allah of withholding. Also, the Saalik is doubting an issue (e.g. Rizq) on which there is yaqeen (absolute certitude). Your request, therefore, implies doubt and uncertainty, hence abstain from such a supplication. Apply yourself to your occupation, viz. Thikr. If you had been an a rif, your duaa would have been sincere and you would not have regarded your supplication to be a determinant. The aim of duaa then would not have been for the acquisition of the object requested because Allah Ta’ala has already promised to bestow it to you.
The a rif’s supplication is simply to profess his weakness, humility and dependence on Allah Ta’ala. Since you are not an a rif your supplication is not free of nafsaani contamination.
Secondly, you are supplicating for His Proximity (Qurb) and Perception (Mushaahadah). This is not in conformity with your rank because Qurb and Mushaahadah for you are actually involvement with your own state. When you concern yourself with the request for Qurb and Mushaahadah, then that Qurb and Mushaahadah which you had possessed, disappeared, hence, this duaa is not appropriate. You should not divert your attention for even a second from Allah Ta’ala.
Thirdly, supplicating for anything besides your True Master, whether it be a mundane need or a spiritual rank or state, is on account of your audacity because you profess to be a searcher of your Master, but seek for something other than Him. If you had any shame, you would not have asked him for anything. Rather, you would have fully remained in His Hudhoori (concentration).
Fourthly, to ask from anyone besides your Maula (Master) is because of your remoteness from Him. If you were near to Him, never would you ask from others.
The a rifeen believe that their supplication is by virtue of Allah’s aid. They do not attribute it to themselves. Hence, their duaa is for Allah with His aid.
O Saalik! Do not turn your attention to another besides your Gracious Master. Hopes cannot bypass the Gracious One.
An honourable person will place his needs in front of a gracious benefactor. He does not go for his needs to a dishonourable person. The Kareem-e-Haqeeqi (The True Gracious Benefactor) is none besides Allah Ta’ala. Kareem (Gracious) is a Being who forgives a criminal despite possessing the power of punishing him and when He promises, He honours it. When He gives, He gives more than expectation. Whoever comes within the confines of His refuge, He does not destroy him. He has no need for intercessors. These attributes par excellence exist in only Allah Ta’ala. Hence, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) instructs the Saalik to direct his attention to only Allah Ta’ala for his needs, for everyone besides Him is dishonourable. The Saalik should fix his hopes on only the True and Gracious Benefactor and not attempt to bypass Him by asking others.
When asking for a need from someone, if reliance is on that person and Allah Ta’ala is forgotten, then such asking will be negatory of the rank of bandagi (being a slave of Allah). However, if the person is considered only as the external (zaahiri) or mundane means created by Allah Ta’ala, but complete reliance is on only Allah Ta’ala, then such asking will not be in conflict with bandagi.
Do not go to someone with any such need which Allah Ta’ala has imposed on you. How can someone attend to a need which Allah Ta’ala has placed on you? How can a person who is unable to fulfil his own needs attend to your needs?
O Saalik! Turn only to Allah Ta’ala for the fulfilment of any need or for the upliftment of a calamity which He has imposed on you. Direct your plea to Him, the King Who has afflicted you with the problem. The person besides Allah, to whom you are turning, is himself overwhelmed with needs and problems. If he had power, he would firstly have relieved himself of the problems besetting him. When a man lacks the capability of tending to his own needs and problems, how will he be able to ameliorate your condition? The solution is only to direct your case of need to your Maula-e-Haqeeqi.
Supplicating to your Master (Maula) is not a beautiful state. A beautiful state is that you are bestowed with Adab.
According to the Hadith Shareef, Duaa is the essence of Ibaadah. On account of having heard of this significance of Duaa, the Saalik who has as yet not attained freedom from his nafs, thinks that the maqsood (aim, object) is Duaa. In so doing, he errs.
As long as the reign of the nafs exists, there will be nafsaaniyat (contamination of the nafs) in even the Duaa. The nafs will supplicate for its desires and pleasures, and the attention of the heart will be on the need for which the supplication is being made, not on Allah Ta’ala. On the other hand, the Duaa of the a rifeen is undoubtedly the essence of their ibaadat because the purpose of their ibaadat is expression of their weakness and dependence on Allah Ta’ala.
The nafs of the a rif is annihilated and his gaze is perpetually on Allah Ta’ala, not on his Duaa which he makes on account of his bandagi and the Ruboobiyat (Godhood) of Allah Ta’ala.
Since the duaa of the non- a rif is for the sake of his nafs, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) says that such a duaa does not reflect a beautiful state even though it is good (and permissible). A beautiful condition of the Saalik is Adab. The Adab for him is to resign himself to Allah Ta’ala in all his affairs, and engross himself in the remembrance and Mushaahadah of his Rabb.
There is nothing better than weakness and restlessness to draw you to your Gracious Benefactor and there is nothing better than lowliness and dependence of the heart to draw the favours of Allah to you.
O Saalik! Allah Ta’ala demands from you worship and that you remain His slave (i.e. in the state of Uboodiyat). The most perfect attributes of Uboodiyat are weakness and restlessness. There is nothing superior to your weakness and the restlessness of your heart in your yearning for Allah Ta’ala at all times. Your condition should be like that of a drowning man who sees no succour other than the help of Allah Ta’ala or like a man lost in a desolate wilderness with no one to show him the road. Just as the heart of this lost person will be engulfed with anxiety, and restlessness, so too should be the state of your heart in your yearning for Allah Ta’ala.
When your heart is overcome with the feeling of helplessness and dependence, the bounties of Allah Ta’ala will be showered on you. There is no better state for the attraction of Divine Favours, both Zaahiri and Baatini, than the sad and forlorn state of your heart.
Frequently the excellent state of Adab of the Aarifeen prevents them from supplicating to Allah Ta’ala. The complete reliance is on the eternal dispensation (Qismat) which has been decreed for them. Also, their total absorption in Thikr does not permit any time for supplicating.
The a rifeen are of a variety of dispositions. Some are overwhelmed by Tafweedh and Tasleem (i.e. they are completely resigned and contented with whatever their lots are). In this state their hearts are absolutely resigned to the eternal predestined Decree of Allah Ta’ala. Whatever has been predestined will come their way. In this condition or frame of heart they consider supplication to be in conflict with Adab (Respect for Allah Ta’ala) and negatory of their disposition (Shaan) of Resignation (to the Divine Will). Furthermore, their complete engrossment in Thikrullah does not allow them any time whatever for Duaa.
However, it will be evident that the best and most perfect state is the state which resembles the state of Rasulullah ( r ). The Shaan (disposition) of Rasulullah ( r ) was to make Duaa in every affair despite his Radha (state of being pleased with Allah Ta’ala) and Tasleem (Having resigned oneself to Allah Ta’ala) being the highest standard. Thus, the most perfect state is undoubtedly to verbally proclaim one’s weakness and dependency while the heart remains in the state of Radha in all matters.
Where forgetfulness (ghaflat) is possible, reminding when requesting will be proper. It will be proper to call to attention only such a person who is uncaring of the request of the supplicator. But both these states (forgetfulness and being uncaring) are impossible of Allah Ta’ala.
This is mentioned by way of proof for the earlier statement of the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh). Some Ahl-e-Haal (Auliya in state of spiritual ecstasy) feel that abstention from Duaa is proper and Adab (Respect) because it appears as if one is reminding Allah Ta’ala of one’s needs or if one does not ask, He will not give. But, both these aspects are not possible in regard to the Divine Being because of reminding is proper only where the possibility of ghaflat exists. But Allah Ta’ala is a limul Ghaib Wash-Shahaadah (The Knower of the unseen and seen). There is no need to draw His attention to anything since He is neither forgetful nor unmindful of the one in need. He has already predestined everything for the bandah, while at the same time His boundless mercy engulfs all things whether someone asks or not. Such men (of high state of spiritual ecstasy) do not present their needs, etc. to Allah Ta’ala. They adopt silence and Radha since they regard asking to be in conflict with Adab for Allah Jalle Shaanuhu.
In most cases, the Aarif having set his sight on the eternal Will of Allah Ta’ala, feels ashamed to present his needs to Allah Ta’ala. When this is his condition, how is it possible for him to present his need to people?
Since it is a known fact that all things which happen are the manifestations of the Eternal Divine Will. Everything will necessarily happen in accordance with Allah’s Eternal Will. The a rif is, therefore, contented with these manifestations which were decreed in eternity. He, therefore, feels ashamed of presenting his needs in the Divine Court.
Such an a rif who feels ashamed of presenting his needs to even Allah Ta’ala, will to a greater degree refrain from asking people whom he knows are themselves paupers and helpless.
Do not think that there is a delay in the granting of forgiveness by your Maula (Master), but think that the concentration and attention of your nafs (towards Allah Ta’ala) are lax and deficient.
The nafs generally believes everyone else is like itself. Sometimes when the Saalik does not experience the effects of his abundance of riyaadhat and mujaahadah, then on account of the ignorance of the nafs he begins to think that he will not achieve any spiritual progress and the delay is from Allah’s side, Nauthubillah! The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) thus says that the Saalik should not think that there is a delay in the bestowal of Allah Ta’ala. Delay in giving is the act of a miser. This is not possible in regard to Allah Ta’ala.
The ocean of Divine Grace flows perpetually. The cause of the delay is because of the deficiency of the Saalik. The Saalik lacks in perfect concentration. His attention is not fully towards Allah Ta’ala. False images are being engraved in his mind, hence the delay. It is essential that he erases these images from his heart and applies his attention fully to Allah. He will then see Divine Forgiveness every moment.
Of all the things you request from your Maula, the most beautiful and best is the thing which He demands of you, viz., Istiqaamat (firmness, steadfastness) in Uboodiyat.
Man has been created for worship and obedience. The Qur’aan Majeed states:
“I have not created jinn and man except that they worship Me.”
Allah Ta’ala, therefore, demands from the bandah His Worship. Thus, the best thing which the Saalik can ask Allah, is steadfastness in worship and obedience. All other things, whether worldly or pertaining to the Deen are not the best because there is some desire and pleasure of the nafs in these things. But, worship and slavery (to Allah Ta’ala) do not give any pleasure to the nafs.
To ask for something which gives pleasure to the nafs, is in conflict with bandagi (one’s state of worship).
The purpose of Duaa and Ibaadat should not be acquisition of forgiveness and the bestowal of bounties because your intellect will then lack the ability of comprehending His wisdom and mysteries. Your Duaa and Ibaadat must be only to display your Ubodiyat and to maintain the rights of His Ruboobiyat.
O Saalik! Your objective of engrossment in Duaa and Ibaadat should not be the acquisition of some worldly or Deeni bounty. If this is your purpose, then you have failed to understand the essence and wisdom of Duaa. The purpose of your Duaa and Ibaadat should only be the demonstration of your state of slavery and worship and for the fulfilment of the Huqooq (Rights) of His Ruboobiyat. In fact, Allah Ta’ala has instructed the observance of Duaa and Ibaadat so that the bandah presents his appeal, dependency and supplication in His Court.
If this is the aim underlying Duaa, the bandah will never relent in making Duaa even if all his wishes are continuously being fulfilled because his maqsood (aim) is to display Allah’s Ruboobiyat and his own slavery. On the contrary, another man whose Duaa has been fulfilled, will cease to supplicate. His abstention from Duaa (on account of the fulfilment of his wishes) is abominable. By this attitude he implies his independence.
The true bandah is he who at all times proclaims his need for the bounties of Allah Ta’ala and for His Gaze of Rahmat.
How can your past supplication be the cause for His eternal bounties.
In the previous statement it was mentioned that it behoves the Mu’min to engage in Duaa for the sake of displaying his dependency on Allah Ta’ala, not for anything else. In the statement under discussion it is said that Duaa should not be regarded as the cause for acquisition (of the needs and wants). Whatever one will obtain has already been predestined in Eternity, while the Duaa for that object of need or desire came later. A later development cannot be a cause for an earlier existent. The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) therefore tells the Saalik to eliminate the idea of his Duaa being the cause of his needs being fulfilled.
In the next statement (mentioned hereunder), the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) draws the mind to the same issue, in a different style. The statement is also proof for the assertion which is made.
The eternal decree is extremely lofty. Cause and reason cannot be attributed to it.
O Saalik! How is it possible for you to regard your supplication as being the cause for His bestowals. The Shaan (Dignity) of the Divine Eternal decree is far above this idea. The eternal decrees are not in need of any causes and reasons. The acts of Khaaliq are far above such needs. There is, therefore, no cause or reason (sabab) for the bounties which He bestows to anyone. His bestowals were decreed in eternity while the request for it developed much later.
After having learnt this truth, it will be in conflict with the rank of bandagi (slavery) to abandon Duaa.
CHAPTER ON ACKNOWLEDGING ALLAH’S COMMAND AND ABANDONING ONE’S OWN CHOICE
If inspite of the istiqaamat (steadfastness in Ibaadat and obedience) which Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to you, you desire to renounce the mundane means (Asbaab-e-Zaahiri), then know that your wish is the desire of the nafs. Your attachment (clinging) to the mundane means despite the steadfastness and fortitude which Allah Ta’ala has granted you, is to retrogress from an elevated disposition to a lowly (degenerate) disposition.
O Saalik! If Allah Ta’ala has granted you fortitude in your Deen while keeping you engaged in mundane activities, e.g. farming, trade, employment, etc., and you are blessed with istiqaamat in zaahiri and baatini Ibaadat, then your desire to abandon the worldly means for the sake of gaining freedom from the mundane encumbrances, then such an idea is the deceptive desire of the nafs, which is concealed and suppressed in the innermost recess of the nafs. Although superficially this thought appears good on account of the idea of complete renunciation of worldly attachment, bringing greater Divine Proximity, but in reality, a very sinister plot of the nafs prompts this idea.
Name and fame ensue in the wake of renunciation. The nafs desires to be known as a great saint so that people become followers. If you, O Saalik, act according to this nafsaani prompting you will lose the present state of spiritual fortitude which you have gained because the inclination of people towards a person is a fatal poison for him.
Complete renunciation is not harmful for a kaamil (one who has reached spiritual perfection). O Saalik! It is best for you to remain in whatever condition Allah Ta’ala has chosen for you. Do not choose another condition for yourself.
On the other hand, if Allah Ta’ala has granted istiqaamat in the Deen in your state of renunciation and your rizq reaches you without involvement in mundane activities, then despite this state of peace, if you desire to pursue worldly means of acquisition, then you are falling form a lofty state to a degenerate state. After having established your bond with Allah Ta’ala – such a bond which has set free from people and which has completely eliminated your trust in them and developed in you perfect Tawakkul–your abandonment of that lofty state to cultivate a link with makhlooq (created beings), is to degenerate – to fall from the top to the bottom. Therefore, ignore the prompting of the nafs, and be pleased with the condition in which your Maula is keeping you.
Do not ask Allah Ta’ala to remove you from your present worldly or Deeni state for another state of your desire. If He had desired, He would have applied you to the activity of the other state without even changing your present condition.
It is not proper for a man involved in an activity, e.g. employment, to supplicate to be extricated from his involvement so that he could apply himself fully to the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. If his involvement is not in conflict with the Shariah, there is no valid reason for abandoning it.
Frequently, abandoning the occupation leads to worry and frustration. If Allah Ta’ala wishes, He can grant the other stage which is desired, without the need for renouncing the existing state (in which the Saalik is involved). Since He has not done so despite His Qudrat, it clearly indicates that it is in your best interests to remain in your present state. Thus, do not abandon your existing condition voluntarily. When He wills, He will deliver you to the stage which is your objective. When He wills, He will remove you from your existing state.
Advancing himmats cannot penetrate the walls of Taqdir.
An ability (quwwat) of the nafs which influences the hearts of people and other created beings with the permission of Allah Ta’ala is termed himmat in the language of the Sufiyaa.
Despite the fact of these abilities (himmats) of the people of Mujaahadah stepping ahead of everything and exercising their influence swiftly on anything towards which they direct their attention, these himmats cannot act in conflict with the predestined decrees (Taqdir).
When such an effective ability as himmat is impotent and of no significance in front of the Wall of Taqdeer, the effect of Tadbeer (employment of mundane means) has absolutely no recognition. It is, therefore, incumbent on the Mu’min to refrain from reposing trust on mundane means and agencies. He should not regard them as effective. The gaze should be on the Decree of Allah Ta’ala.
Release your nafs from the strain of Tadbeer because there is no need to assume a responsibility which Allah Ta’ala has assumed for your sake.
For the purpose of earning a livelihood, a little tadbeer (worldly involvement) which does not put pressure and strain on the nafs is sufficient. Only such a degree of tadbeer should be adopted, which does not form an impediment in your obedience to Allah Ta’ala. The reliance of the heart should not be on the tadbeer. Reliance should be only on the Razzaaqiat (Providence) of Allah Ta’ala.
However, a tadbeer which strains the nafs with an abundance of unnecessary encumbrances, overwhelming it with worry and a multitude of wasaawis, should be abandoned. Frequently it happens that despite the strain and pressure, man is not successful in his tadbeer (plan). He thus suffers greater hardship and difficulty. It, therefore, does not behove the Saalik to burden his nafs with unnecessary strain and pressure in the pursuit of a livelihood. He should give his nafs rest by releasing it from unnecessary mundane pressure.
When the responsibility of something is undertaken by a stronger, more experienced and kinder person than oneself, it is logical to feel relieved and to rely on him. The responsibility of rizq which you, O Saalik, have undertaken has already been undertaken by Allah Ta’ala. He has guaranteed your rizq. Now why should you load yourself with a burden? Do not assume the responsibility. Leave it to the plan of your Master and set your mind at rest.
Your toiling in something, the responsibility of which Allah has assumed and your deficiency in something which He demands from you, are evidence for the light of your intelligence being extinguished.
O Saalik! Your Maula has already assumed the responsibility for your sustenance (rizq) and the means of your livelihood. Declaring this responsibility, He says:
“There is not a living creature on earth, but its rizq is the responsibility of Allah.”
Have you then no trust in His Providence? You labour and toil to acquire rizq which is the responsibility of Allah Ta’ala. On the other hand you are lax and deficient in worship and obedience which He demands of you and for which purpose He has created you. This attitude clearly proves that the noor (light) of your intelligence has been extinguished, hence you are devoid of intellect. If your intellect was functioning correctly, you would have been unconcerned regarding the issue of rizq whose responsibility has been assumed by Allah Ta’ala while at the same time you would have applied your full attention and effort towards the fulfilment of Allah’s demand of worship.
The use of the term ‘toiling’ or ‘striving’ by the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) implies that a little effort for the acquisition of rizq will not be misplaced. However, engrossment in the pursuit of rizq is improper.
Whoever desired for a condition other than the condition in which Allah Ta’ala has created him at any given time, has left no stone unturned in the demonstration of his ignorance and imbecility.
It is imperative for the Mu’min to confront every situation which is not in conflict with the Shariah, with radha (pleasure) and tasleem (resignation), whether the situation is a calamity pertaining to life and property or whether it is a state (emotional or spiritual) of the heart. The attitude of radha and tasleem is the demand of Allah’s dignity, knowledge, ma’rifat and ruboobiyat.
If a person wishes that the condition which Allah Ta’ala has imposed on him be substituted with another condition, e.g., adversity with prosperity or despondency with elation, then he displays complete ignorance and imbecility of the mind. The basis of such wishes and regrets is the jahl (ignorance) of his nafs. If he had truly possessed the ma’rifat of Allah Ta’ala, he would have understood that these predestined conditions cannever be displaced, hence regret and wish would not have occurred to him. He would have been contented with every circumstance and have observed respect. Now by virtue of his wishes he is clashing with the pre-ordained Divine Decree.
The object which you seek from your Creator is not difficult and the object which you seek to acquire by the ability of your nafs is not easy.
O Saalik! Regardless of how difficult the object of your desire may seem, be it a mundane object or a Deeni matter, as long as your sight is set on your Creator and you repose absolute trust in Him, its acquisition is not difficult. On the other hand, no matter how easy the acquisition of your desired object appears, if your gaze is on the ability of your nafs and on your plans, thus forgetting Allah Ta’ala, then its achievement will become difficult. In fact, failure is almost certain.
It is necessary, therefore, that reliance be placed on Allah Ta’ala and trust be completely shifted from one’s own strength, intelligence and plans.
All things cling for support to the Divine Will, but He does not take the support of anything.
Allah’s Eternal Will has already decided and predestined all occurrences in the universe, be it good or evil, guidance or deviation. The manifestation of these occurrences is because of the Divine Will. There are no other causes and reasons for the materialisation of these events. In fact, the asbaab (causes and reasons) too are related to the Divine Will.
The Divine Will is not the effect of anything existing because Mashiat (Will) is the attribute of Allah Ta’ala. If a Divine Attribute is dependent on something, the logical conclusion will be a defect in the Divine Being (Nauthubillah!). Since Allah Ta’ala is the Perfect Being, His Mashiat is not the effect of a cause.
It is essential for the Mu’min to ensure that this knowledge of the Divine Will becomes his permanent state (Haal). He should abandon ignorance, and never cast his gaze on his means and plans.
When the morning dawns, the ghaafil person wonders what he should do on this day while the wise man wonders what treatment Allah Ta’ala will mete out for him on this day.
Know, that the Faa-il-e-Haqeeqi (the True Actor) in every act is Allah Ta’ala. The true belief of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah is that the Creator of all actions is Allah Ta’ala. Man is only the substance of manifestation for the Divine Acts of creation.
The person whose Tauhid is imperfect, attributes the actions to himself, hence when the new day dawns his mind dwells on different activities. But, the a rif who possesses correct knowledge, whose Tauhid is perfect and from whose nafs jahl has been eliminated, ponders on the treatment Allah Ta’ala will be meting out to him on this day. He is not concerned with what he should do because he attributes all actions to Allah Ta’ala. This attitude has become his state. His insignificance is clear to him.
Since the ghaafil’s gaze is on his own capability, he attributes all his actions to his ownself. Allah Ta’ala, therefore, assigns him to his nafs. Thus, all his affairs become difficult and he becomes entrapped in numerous problems. But, for the true believer in Tauhid, the most difficult task does not overwhelm him because his gaze is fixed on Allah Ta’ala. He acquires aid openly from Allah Ta’ala.
CHAPTER ON PATIENCE AT THE TIME OF CALAMITIES AND HARDSHIPS
When Allah Ta’ala has opened up an avenue of Ma’rifat for you, then do not be concerned of the paucity of deeds because He has opened up this avenue only for you to acquire Ma’rifat. Are you not aware that it is He Who delivers to you the bounty of Ma’rifat and you are presenting your deeds to Him? What relationship is there between your presentations and His bestowals?
Among all the Maqaasid (aims, goals) of Tasawwuf, the greatest aim and bounty is the Ma’rifat of Allah Ta’ala, hence the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) says:
O Saalik! When Allah Ta’ala has opened up an avenue of His Ma’rifat for you, e.g. He reveals to your heart that He is the true Actor of all deeds or it is revealed that Allah is with you, and along with such inspirations you have acquired the correct spiritual state, then do not be concerned if you are rendering only a small amount of Nafl acts of ibaadat. Do not become despondent on account of this paucity. The aim of Nafl Ibaadat, verbal Thikr and abundance of Muraaqabah is the acquisition of Divine Ma’rifat. When you have acquired this aim, then a decrease in your deeds due to a valid reason will not adversely affect your progress in the acquisition of higher ranks of Ma’rifat. For the purpose of maintaining istiqaamat (firmness in obedience and Ibaadat) continue with acts of worship as much as you are able to render with ease.
The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) then states a subtle reason for this advice. There should be no regret on account of paucity of righteous deeds because the very fact that Allah Ta’ala has opened up for you an avenue of His Ma’rifat indicates that He wishes you to progress higher than your external deeds, hence the bestowal of the elevated stage of Divine Ma’rifat. Allah Ta’ala desires to manifest the Tajalli (Illumination) of His Beautiful Names and Attributes to you. This Ni’mat (Bounty) is immeasurably superior to an abundance of A’maal-e-Zaahirah (Physical acts of worship).
You, the Saalik, should also understand that the Ni’mat of Ma’rifat has been Divinely Conferred on you whereas the acts of Ibaadat are your presentations. There is absolutely no comparison between Allah’s bestowal and your presentations. Thus, the Ni’mat of Ma’rifat is immensely superior to A’maal-e-Zaahirah. Although in reality the Taufeeq of A’maal and the practical expression of the deeds are also the effect of Allah’s grace, nevertheless, the bandah is the medium for these acts whereas the Ni’mat of Ma’rifat is inspired directly into the bandah’s heart. Thus, from this angle, the deeds of virtue are related to the bandah while the Ni’mat of Ma’rifat in every respect is from Allah Ta’ala. The effort of the bandah plays no role in its acquisition.
As long as you are in this worldly abode do not be surprised at the incidence of (spiritual and moral) contaminations, because the world has merely exposed its essential attribute.
As long as you are in this world, do not be surprised at difficulties, misfortunes and displeasing occurrences. O Saalik! While you are in this earthly abode do not feel surprised if clouds of contamination settle over you. An amazing and a surprising event is something which is not expected to transpire. But regarding the misfortunes and calamities of this world, nothing surprising happens. Such events are merely the natural manifestations of the attributes of the world.
Contamination and pollution are the natural and necessary characteristics of the world since Allah Ta’ala has created it as a trial and a test to distinguish between the patient and the impatient, and between the grateful and the ungrateful.
If you keep in mind that it is Allah Ta’ala Who afflicts you with difficulties and hardships, then most certainly your grief will be lightened because the One Who has involved you in the hardship has always chosen goodness for you in all your affairs.
When you keep in mind that the misfortunes which befall you are from Allah Ta’ala, the worldly causes (asbaab-e-zaahirah) having absolutely no significance in this regard, then grief and sorrow will be lessened. You will realise that the Being Who has afflicted you with the misfortune is the same Being Who has always acted for your welfare in all your affairs. He has always treated you with love and kindness.
In view of Allah’s kind and loving treatment in all your affairs, you will understand that there most certainly is some benefit for you in the hardship. While ostensibly the hardship appears to be a misfortune, in reality it is for your benefit. In fact, it is a mercy for you.
When this knowledge develops into a state (haal) in you, your worry and grief will disappear. Although the hardship will produce pain to your physical body or to your physical heart, your baatini (roohaani) heart will be contented and delighted.
Whoever entertains the notion that in difficulties and hardships Allah Ta’ala has lifted His grace and kindness, does so on account of deficiency in his intelligence.
The idea that Allah’s kindness and grace are with the bandah only in the state of pleasure and prosperity, not in the state of difficulty and hardship, is the product of deficiency of the intelligence. The Mu’min bandah who holds this notion is short-sighted because his gaze is limited to the external circumstances. In difficulties and hardships the Mu’min achieves such baatini bounties which he does not acquire in prosperity. In fact, in the zaahiri ni’maat (luxuries and the state of prosperity) are numerous calamities because when the nafs acquires the objects of its pleasure, it gains strength, hence its rebellion will increase. It will thus become involved in sin. If not sin, then at least it will certainly fall into ghaflat.
On the contrary, the power of the nafs weakens in difficulties and hardships. Since Imaan exists, the bandah turns his gaze towards Allah Ta’ala. He supplicates to Allah Ta’ala and adopts sabr (patience). He turns away from the world and cultivates the attribute of Radha Bil Qadha (Contentment with the Divine Decree of Predestination). These attitudes and attributes are the acts of the heart, which are superior to the outward acts of worship executed by a healthy person in a state of peace.
Thus, it is deficiency in one’s intelligence to believe that Allah Ta’ala’s mercy is lifted during difficulties and hardships.