STRIVING AGAINST THE NAFS (DESIRES) AND SHAYTAAN
THE GREATEST JIHAD
To transform Azaazeel into Iblees, was not the work of another shaitaan. It was the nafs which had ruined him. It is therefore of greater importance to defeat the nafs than to defeat the kuffaar. It is for this reason that the struggle against the nafs is termed Jihaad-e-Akbar (the Greatest Jihaad). – (Azaazeel was the name of Iblees before he became the shaitaan.)
THE PERFECT MUJAHID
Fudalah al-Kamil (radhiyallahu anhu) related that the Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “A Mujahid is one who strives against his desires in order to obey Allah.” [Al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman] Commentary: Jihad against desire is referred to as the greater Jihad. Striving against one’s desires is referred to as the greater Jihad in many of the sayings of the spiritual masters. This is established from the Hadith above because the grammar in this expression “A Mujahid is one who” indicates that the speaker intends to restrict the reference to a certain kind of mujahid and, when there is nothing to indicate otherwise, the assumption is that the kind of Mujahid intended is the perfect Mujahid. This sort of expression is well known to scholars of Arabic.
The hadith therefore means that a perfect Mujahid is a Mujahid who struggles with his or her desires. It should be obvious from the foregoing that the most perfect form of Jihad is Jihad against desires. Here, the words “perfect” and “greater” have the same meaning.
WHAT CAUSES SIN?
Sins are actually without pleasure. Sins are the effects of the demands of the nafs. The demands of the nafs are because the issues which are able to neutralize such demands are abstract and hidden from sight, e.g. Allah’s Remembrance, Jannat, Jahannum, remembrance of Allah’s bounties and remembrance of the Huqooq (Rights). Therefore consciously reflect on these issues. Such reflection will overwhelm the demands of the nafs and you will be saved from sin. Engrossment in the dunya is the root of every sin.
A SIMPLE REMEDY TO EFFACE EVIL ATTRIBUTES
A simple remedy for Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah (evil attributes) is reflection and tolerance. In other words think before acting – is the act permissible or not? Do not make haste. Be tolerant and procrastinate (in worldly acts).
CARNAL ATTRIBUTES CAN BE MEANS TO GAIN GREATER PROXIMITY
Carnal attributes per se are not evil. For example, lust by itself is not evil. In fact, a man of strong carnal lust derives greater noor from his struggle against his nafs than a man with a weak lust. When a man utilizes his volitional power more to combat his inordinate emotional desires, he gains greater proximity to Allah Ta’ala.
REIGNING IN STRONG LUSTFUL DESIRES CAUSES GREATER SPIRITUAL ELEVATION
Malakat-e-Razeelah (the lowly bestial qualities) by themselves are not evil, e.g. Shahwat (sexual lust). In fact, a man with strong shahwat will derive greater noor (spiritual light) from the opposition he offers his shahwat. The noor of a man with weaker shahwat will be less. Thus, the basis of Divine Proximity are Af’aal-e-Ikhtiyariyah (actions which are the effects of man’s free will). When ikhtiyar (free will) is employed to a greater degree (e.g. in striving against lowly desires), the Divine Proximity gained, will correspond to the greater effort.
THE FATHER OF SHAITAAN
The cunning nafs is in fact the father of shaitaan. It has surpassed shaitaan (in evil). It was the nafs which had deceived shaitaan. He fell into the trap of his nafs and became evil and accursed.
ALWAYS BE SUSPISCOUS OF ONE’S NAFS
Hadhrat Haaji Saahib (Haaji Imdaadullah—rahmatullah alayh) said: “Wisdom dictates that a man should always be suspicious of his own nafs. Never repose confidence in your nafs. Always be diligent (for the snares of the nafs).” According to the Aarifeen one should hold a good opinion of others, but always be suspicious of one’s own nafs.
ASSUME ONESELF TO BE SINFUL RATHER THAN SEARCH FOR EXCUSES
It is better that a man acknowledges a sin and regards himself sinful than justifying the sin by some interpretation. It is extremely evil to fail understanding that a sin is a sin.
THE METHOD OF TRAINING THE NAFS
It has been confirmed by the authentic kitaabs and by experience that as long as the nafs is not humiliated, it will not reform. It is quite obvious that no one will impose disgrace on himself. Disgrace is imposed via the medium of someone else. (In the process of suffering humiliation, the nafs becomes reformed.)
CAUSE AND MEDIUM OF SIN
Both the cause and the medium of a sin are sinful. It is precisely for this reason that it is forbidden to unnecessarily indulge in conversation after Isha Salaat. Since this indulgence will prevent one from waking up for Tahajjud and Fajr, it has been prohibited in the Hadith.
ALWAYS BE ALERT OF THE NAFS
Always be alert regarding the nafs. Whenever the nafs finds an opportunity, it will most certainly act (to involve one in evil). Even those who have attained moral reformation should not be careless in this regard. However, at least they will be able to apprehend and control the nafs by virtue of knowledge and experience. On the contrary the condition of our nafs is like that of a wild horse out of control. It is therefore necessary to be alert at all times. Carelessness will culminate in deception. How can one become careless regarding a snake? Shaitaan is not as dangerous as the nafs is.
DARKNESS OF SIN
The darkness which develops on the heart as a consequence of sin is a special type of spiritual zulmat (darkness). Its effect is the creation of a disinclination for obedience. In contrast, the effect of A’maal-e-Saalihah is Noor (spiritual light). This is not a visible physical light. There is a variety of such anwaar. A particular kind of noor which is the product of ibaadat creates magnitude (inshiraah) and enthusiasm in the heart. The darkness and raa’n (corrosion) of sin develops on the spiritual heart.
THE AIM OF REDUCTION OF FOOD
Taqleel-e-Ta-aam (reducing food) means to eat when one is very hungry, and to refrain from satiation (i.e. to eat to completely extinguish the hunger). When there still remains some desire for eating, halt at that point.
The maqsood (objective) is not taqleel-e-ta-aam per se. The objective is to neutralize bestial lust, and the purpose of this neutralization is abstention from sin. Therefore, if abstention from sin for someone is possible without taqleel-e-ta-aam, then there is no need for reduction in food.
THE CONTAGIOUS EFFECT OF SIN
Once, after making a mistake in Salaat, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “What has happened to the people. They do not perform Wudhu correctly, which causes the Imaam to make mistakes. The effects of sins also affect those who do not sin.
DO NOT DELIBERATELY PONDER OVER PAST SINS
To excessively ponder and regret the past (beyond the limit) becomes an obstacle with regard to the future. Do not deliberately ponder over those sins from which one has made sincere Taubah. Also, do not concern yourself over it happening in the future. Grief over the past and concern of the future, both are barriers and obstacles. (These two factors develop despair).
NO PLEASURE IN SIN FOR THE TRUE MUSLIM
A Muslim who has fear for Allah Ta’ala does not derive pleasure in sin. He understands that Allah Ta’ala becomes displeased when sins are committed and that punishment awaits him in the Aakhirah. These thoughts cast a shadow of disturbance on the pleasure of sin. The Muslim therefore does not derive total pleasure from sin.
DISEASED STATE EXPOSED BY PLEASURE IN SIN
Our condition now is like a person who has been bitten by a snake. The bitter leaves of the Neem tree taste sweet for him. Similarly, sins which are a fatal poison appear pleasurable to us. There is the need to remedy this malady. Search for a physician who can treat this disease. As long as you are unable to find a physician, an effective remedy is to reflect. (Before doing anything, ponder and try to fathom whether it is lawful or unlawful in the Shariah).
SHAITAANI AND NAFSAANI DECEPTION LEADING TO ADDICTION
Sometimes there develops a strong urge to commit a sin. Despite striving to prevent the nafs, the urge becomes stronger. Then shaitaan and the nafs collude to hoodwink the Saalik. He gains the idea that if at this time he commits the sin just once, the desire of the nafs will be gratified and the urge will be totally extinguished. Sometimes on the basis of this nafsaani and shaitaani interpretation, he regards the commission of the sin at that juncture to be permissible on the basis of need. He then indulges in the sin. This is an exceptionally grave error. In fact, it is ilhaad as well. (Ilhaad: Kufr by interpretation).
It is a grave error because by perpetration, that sin becomes embedded in the nafs. Thereafter it becomes almost impossible to eradicate it. It is ilhaad because sin is accepted as a means of obedience. When such an urge develops, never grant the nafs the slightest leeway. Muster up courage and restrain the nafs. Even if the urge is not extinguished, there is no harm in its lingering. The urge itself is not punishable. Perpetration of the act is sinful and punishable. By exercising restraint a few times, such urges will become easily suppressed.
A SATANIC DECEPTION LEADING TO ADDICTION TO SIN
The idea that after committing a sin the desire for the sin will weaken, is in reality a shaitaani deception. While commission of the sin will temporarily reduce the crave, its effect will be an increase in the craving to commit the sin. Then it will become beyond one’s ability to restrain it. (This is the effect of addiction).
PERSISTENCE IN SIN LEADS TO ADDICTION
It is logical that the more a part of the body or faculty is exercised, the stronger it becomes. On the basis of this same principle, the carnal lust will not be satisfied by casting a lustful glance. On the contrary the root of the evil will become stronger. One should not be deceived by the satisfaction derived from an evil glance. This satisfaction is temporary. Soon the urge will assert itself with greater force. It is like a drug addict deriving temporary satisfaction from drugs. The effect soon dissipates and the urge for more is stronger.
ABSTENTION FROM SINS – SHORT-CUT TO ATTAINING DIVINE PROXIMITY
Some people inspite of paucity of A’maal (righteous deeds) have attained the objective of a close relationship with Allah Ta’ala (i.e. Nisbat-e-Maqsoodah). Due to this, some people gain the impression that this Wusool (Attainment of the objective) is not in need of a’maal and mujaahadah. This is a misconception. While overtly it may appear that wusool was achieved without a’maal, in reality the goal was attained by means of a’maal. The only difference is that in this case (of paucity of zaahiri a’maal) the a’maal are of a Baatini (inner / spiritual) kind. Such a’maal are classified as Kaf-fun nafs anil ma-aasi (preventing the nafs from sin).
It is obvious that the acts of repeatedly restraining the nafs from transgression are a’maal-e-saalihah. This person restrains his nafs at all times from every kind of sin — sins of the ears, of the eyes, heart and limbs. A saw is constantly moving on his nafs. This is an act of great mujaahadah. Thus, if wusool was attained despite paucity of A’maal-e-Zaahirah (outward of practical acts), it was on account of A’maal-e-Baatinah even if these appear to be little. Furthermore, if even a little is done systematically, there is much barkat in it. (Paucity— i.e. the little or less — of a’maal refers to nafl acts of ibaadat, not to Fardh, Waajib and Sunnatul Muakadah deeds — Translator).
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EFFECTS OF THE NAFS AND SHAITAAN
Generally there is a difference between sins committed as a result of shaitaani influence and nafsaani influence. If the desire to commit the sin repeatedly recurs, it is the action of the nafs. If one refrains from further commission of a sin after having committed it, then desires to commit another sin, it indicates shataani influence. The aim of shaitaan is to induce commission of sin regardless of the type of transgression. In contrast the nafs derives pleasure from the sin, hence its repeated urging. The single remedy for all kinds of transgression is to abstain from all sinful desires. This is the actual way and remedy. While thikr aids one to combat sin, it alone is inadequate. Thikr engenders Qurb which leads to divine aid. Then there is the need for a shaikh to guide the mureed. The responsibility of the mureed is to keep his Shaikh informed of his conditions, and to obey the instructions of his Shaikh.
THE EFFECT OF DEEDS VISIBLE ON THE FACE AS WELL
There is Noor in the heart of the musalli (one who performs Salaat).The effect of this Noor becomes discernable on the face as well. On the contrary there is zulmat (darkness) in the heart of one who does not perform Salaat. This zulmat becomes manifest on the face as well. The zulmat on the face indicates that certainly there is a fire inside the heart and the darkness on the face is its smoke. Such a person has darkened his body and soul. The effect of this darkness of the heart/soul is that such a person has no detestation for bribery, lies or slander. He is unconcerned if he usurps someone’s property and if he refuses to pay his debts. He flagrantly stares with lust at young lads and women. He has no dislike for the adoption of the appearance of non-Muslims.
SINS VEIL THE NUR OF IMAN ON THE FACE
(Regarding the question on whether the effects of Nur ul Iman – light of Iman – are visible on the face of every believer, Hazrat Thanwi states:) A similitude of this is like a handsome person who blackens his beautiful face and thus conceals his beauty. Then as soon as he washes his face with soap, the beauty shines like the full moon. Similarly, the Nūr ul Imān of most of Muslims has been concealed due to increase in disobedience (of Allāh’s commandments), but inshā’allāh as soon as they repent and increase in their Istighfār, their hearts will shine with Nūr.
THE FLAMES OF SINS WILL EVENTUALLY BE PERCEIVED
The paralysis of ghaflat (indifference, obliviousness) has desensitized the body, hence the flames of sins are not being perceived. But one day this paralysis, desensitization and indifference will disappear. At that time the scorching flames of sins will be fully perceived. (That will be the time of Maut).
A SIN IS SAGHEERAH (MINOR) ONLY IN RELATIVE TERMS
1. A sin is sagheerah (minor/small) in relation to another bigger sin which is termed kabeerah. Thus being minor is in comparison to another sin. But in reality, every act of disobedience to Allah and His Rasool (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is kabeerah. To recklessly perpetrate sins which are said to be sagheerah is to invite self-destruction.
2. Some sins (which technically are described as Sagha-ir), (e.g. an evil gaze) with regard to their effects are more harmful than even Kaba-ir (major) sins. (This is due to constancy in the commission of such sins which are viewed as insignificant). Although there are differences in the severity of sins, it should not be said that one sin is lesser than another sin, e.g. it should not be said that the sin of consuming liquor is less than murder. Rather, it should be said that the sin of murder is worse than drinking alcohol. It should not be said that the filth of urine is less than faeces. On the contrary it should be said that the impurity of urine is great and that of faeces greater. Style of speech is important for the muslih (spiritual guide) and muballigh (preacher). There is a need for understanding.
NO SUCH THING AS AN INSIGNIFICANT SIN
Committing a sin on the understanding that it is Sagheerah, is a grave error. Whilst the person committing the sin thinks of it as ‘minor’, he fails to understand the Being against Whom he is sinning. If he would only ponder, he will understand that even the sin which he believes to be sagheerah (minor), is in reality akbarul kabaa-ir (the greatest of the great sins).
ONE DEVOID OF IMAAN REGARDS SIN TO BE INSIGNIFCANT
A Mu’min is scared of his own sins even if the sins are minor. On the contrary, one devoid of Imaan regards sins to be insignificant. He remains unconcerned. It is a sign of Imaan to view sin as being severe and evil.
NO SIN IS EVER INSIGNIFICANT
Do not consider sin to be insignificant, neither in belief nor in action. Sin is in conflict with Deen and intelligence. Virtue and vice should not be considered insignificant even if it is quantitatively little. Even if there appears to be some benefit in a sin it never becomes permissible. It will remain haraam.The barkat (blessing) of ibaadat is reduced by sins.
NO GOOD DEED IS INSIGNIFICANT
Do not consider any good deed to be insignificant. Whatever good you are able to do, do not regard it as being insignificant. (I.e. Do not forego it, thinking it is insignificant.) For example, do not believe that there is significance only in rising late in the night for Tahajjud and ibaadat. If rising for Tahajjud is difficult, then at the time of Isha’, perform Tahajjud Salaat.
EVERY ACTION A MEANS OF SALVATION OR DESTRUCTION
Once Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (May Allah have mercy on him) and another person were making wudu at a stream. The person was at the top section and Imam Ahmad at the bottom. The person thought to himself that Imam Ahmad is an accepted servant of Allah and my used water is flowing towards him, this is disrespectful. So he moved to a lower place than the Imam. After his death someone saw him in a dream and asked him if he received forgiveness or not? He replied that I had no good action by me. I was told that “You have been granted forgiveness due to the respect you had shown to Our accepted servant Ahmad ibn Hanbal! We have approved of that action.” Thus, it is mentioned in the hadith “O A’isha! Do not think low of any good action. Every good action has the quality of securing maghfira in it.” In the same way, every sin has the quality of bringing ‘adhab (punishment), whether a small or big sin.
INCLINATION TO SIN CAN NEVER BE COMPLETELY EFFACED
As long as man is alive, human attributes cannot be eliminated. Regardless of the degree of moral and spiritual excellence a man may achieve, the inclination and thought of sin sometimes do develop in him.
METHOD OF DISCARDING SIN
Some sins are such that by discarding them no harm and anxiety is caused, e.g. shaving the beard, covering the ankles, etc. These sins which cause no difficulty by discarding them should be stopped immediately.
Other sins are such that by discarding them anxiety and uneasiness results. Regarding such sins I usually say that leave them gradually. Although there is no hope of leaving them immediately, the intention should be to eventually leave them. In fact, if the person applies too much pressure on himself to leave it, he will not leave it for his entire lifetime.
I also explain another method of leaving sin. Before sleeping and after locking the doors of your house (at night), daily make du‘a unto Haqq Ta’ala and say: “Wallah! I am truly most wretched, unworthy and vile.” Use the most severe words for yourself and thereafter say: “O Allah! My courage is insufficient to leave these sins, so You assist me!”
Adopt this method and in one or two weeks (in a short space of time) all sins will be discarded insha’ Allah, but no one is prepared to try this! It is like a student who doesn’t memorize his lesson and tells the teacher to memorize it himself!
REMEDIES FOR LUSTFUL PLEASURES AND PRIDE
For abstention from lustful pleasures, the Shariah has prescribed the mujaahadah of fasting, and for pride, the mujaahadah of Salaat
BLAMEWORTHY AND PRAISEWORTHY CHARACTERISTICS
WHAT IS TAKABBUR (PRIDE)
The actual nature of takabbur (pride) is the feeling of superiority which arises in one on account of some attribute of excellence. This feeling engenders contempt for others. If this feeling arises involuntarily, one will not be blameworthy provided that one does not act in accordance with the dictates of this involuntary takabbur. In other words, one should not proclaim by word or deed one’s superiority nor show contempt for others. If this feeling of superiority is by deliberate design or even if not by deliberate design, but one acts according to the demands of takabbur, then one will be guilty of the crime of takabbur. The remedy for this malady is to praise and speak good of the person whom one is despising. Also meet him with honour, respect, and humility.
TAKABBUR (PRIDE) IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS BANDIT
Kibr (pride) is an extremely dangerous bandit in the Path of Allah. In relation to other evils, this should first be remedied. Nisbat (a special relationship with Allah) is acquired by taking Allah’s Name. But if the relationship is not accepted by Allah Ta’ala, of what benefit will it be? (Kibr is the greatest obstacle for achieving this Nisbat). When a person achieves some concentration, he feels that he has become a saint. The standard for a valid Nisbat is obedience to the Sunnah in word, deed and character. Everything should conform with the Sunnat otherwise nothing has been achieved.
EVEN THE MASHAAIK ARE ENTRAPPED BY KIBR, HASAD AND RIYA
It is imperative to eliminate the maladies of kibr (pride), hasad (envy) and riya (ostentation). Even the Mashaaikh (spiritual guides) are entrapped in these diseases despite their claims of having annihilated their nafs.
PRIDE WHILE COMMANDING RIGHTEOUSNESS
A man here once admonished someone, exhorting him to do an act of righteousness. I doubted his motive and said to him: “Did you resort to Amr bil Ma’roof (commanding righteousness) to a certain man” When he replied in the affirmative, I said to him: “You are standing in the Musjid. You are taking the Name of Allah Ta’ala. If you are going to speak a lie, both your worldly life and the life of the Akhirah will be ruined. Now honestly answer. At the time when you were executing the duty of Arm Bil Ma’roof, did you consider yourself better than him?” He replied: “Undoubtedly, I did think so.” I said: “This is therefore, not guidance. On the contrary it is deviation. I fact, it is a deviation akin to shirk. Now what should be done to you?” He said: “Whatever you prescribe.” I said to him: “Tend to the shoes off all the musallis.” (This means to put in order the shoes off all the musallis who usually leave them in disarray at the entrance of the Musjid.) Also, fill the wudhu-jugs for all. (These services were imposed on him as a remedy for his pride.)
Since this ailment (of pride) was in consequence on his Thikr and Shaghl (prescribed forms to spiritual exercises), I ordered him to desist therefrom. Instead of the prescribed formulae of Thikr I instructed him to continue with Thikr while walking, sitting and reclining. In this way he will in fact be engaging in even more Thikr. He had derived much benefit by the adoption of this method. He had also conceded this fact. His words were: ‘Even in ten years I would not have derived so much benefit.’
ADORNMENT – FOR PERSONAL PLEASURE OR PRIDE
If fine garments are donned for one’s own pleasure, it is permissible. But it is not permissible to dress for tafaakhur (pride and pomp). The sign by means of which the two conditions (personal pleasure and pride) can be distinguished is the person’s attitude in privacy and public. If his attitude in dressing is the same in privacy and public, namely, he wears fine garments at all times, then it indicates refinement of disposition. Thus, there is nothing wrong when such a person dons fine apparel. In contrast, if in privacy a man dons inferior garments while in public he dresses gaudily with fine dress, then this attitude displays tafaakhur (pride), which is haraam.
THE HADITH PRAISES ABSTENTION FROM ADORNMENT
It is mentioned in the Hadith: “Simplicity is from Imaan.” Abstention from adornment (zeenat) is a branch of Imaan. The reason is quite obvious. The entire focus of the Mu’min is on the Aakhirah. His mind is therefore not on adornment. If items of adornment are acquired without hankering after them, then such adornment is not evil. However, since in most cases effort is required for the acquisition of adornment, the Hadith praises abstention from zeenat.
ENGROSSMENT IN PERSONAL ADORNMENT LEADS TO DEPRIVATION
As long as a man is engrossed in personal adornment and luxury, he will remain deprived of spiritual and moral excellences. Engrossment in physical adornment is evidence for engrossment with the nafs.
PEOPLE OF KAMAAL HAVE NO NEED FOR OSTENTATION, DECORATION, ADORNMENT
People of spiritual, moral and intellectual excellence and accomplishment have no need for ostentation, decoration and adornment of appearances. They have neither time nor inclination for such futility. Whenever I see a person indulging in the adornment of external appearance, I understand that he is bereft of lofty excellences, and that his mind is not even focussed on the acquisition of moral and spiritual excellences in the future.
FEAR OF CRITICISM IS A SIGN OF PRIDE
Nowadays a widely prevalent malady is the fear for criticism. No one should speak ill of me. This malady is called hubb-E-jaah (love for fame). It develops from takabbur (pride). Pride is a destructive disease. Do not be concerned with the criticism of people. Let them say whatever they desire. There is no harm in it.
CORRECT INTENTION TO BE ADOPTED WHEN TAKING TO SECLUSION
Nowadays safety is in seclusion and solitude. A Buzrug mentioned that the intention for adopting seclusion should not be protection against the evil of people. On the contrary, one should believe that one is like a snake and a scorpion. Thus, one adopts solitude to save others from one’s evil. This is the precaution which the former seniors had adopted as protection against ujub (vanity/self-esteem).
EVEN THE GREATS PRESCRIBED FOR THEMSELVES TREATMENT FOR VANITY
Once when Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was seen filling water in the homes of Muslims, he was asked for the reason for doing this menial labour. He responded that the emissaries of the Roman emperor Heraculeus had praised his justice. Since he was pleased with their praise, he resorted to filling water in the homes of the Muslims to remedy his vanity.
LOVE FOR FAME IS WORSE
Hubb-e-Dunya (love of the world) has two branches—hubb-e-maal (love for wealth) and hubb-e-jah (love for fame). While both are evil, hubb-e-jah is worse. A man suffering from hubb-e-maal will submit to disgrace in the pursuit of wealth. But, one who hankers after fame, cannot save himself from takabbur (pride) at any time.
ALLAH ELEVATES THOSE WHO ADOPT HUMILITY
People say that humility produces disgrace. This is wrong. On the contrary humility brings about respect. It comes in the Hadith: “Whoever adopts humility for the sake of Allah, Allah elevates him.”
PRIDE IN THE GUISE OF HUMILITY
1.Sometimes takabbur (pride) is in the form of tawaadhu’ (humility). The sign of this is that the display of tawaadhu’ is followed by pride. If this person is not honoured after his display of humility, he becomes annoyed. On the other hand, genuine tawaadhu’ is followed by khauf (fear). This person has no concern for being honoured for he regards himself undeserving of any respect and honour.
2. Sometimes takabbur (pride) assumes the form of tawaadhu (humility). Some people adopt an outer-façade of humility to gain the praise of people. Humility with this motive is takabbur. On account of such confusion, there is a great need for a guide (Murshid) in this Path (of Tasawwuf—moral reformation). When you locate a true guide, submit wholly to him.
BOTH PRIDE AND FALSE HUMILITY ARE DETESTABLE
I neither like pride nor have any affinity for such humility in which there is disgrace. I do not house (in this khanqāh) anyone who is haughty, nor does a displayer of false humility find any place here, nor such a person who adopts such humility in which another becomes acquainted of his being selfless. This is also one branch of pride.
Everything should be balanced, and an easy way to attain that is that one neither adorns a style which instills pride, nor forces humility upon oneself. Be free in your disposition and do as per ones natural habit. This manner will be devoid of both pride and false humility otherwise whichever side one inclines toward will yield that quality.
VANITY ON ACCOUNT OF IBAADAT
A man should not become vain and proud on account of his ibaadat and taqwa which in reality are the bounties of Allah Ta’ala. With the attitude of gratitude for His favours, safety is ensured. Great men were ruined when pride overwhelmed them. Humility is essential in all excellences and accomplishments, not only in ibaadat, for all these are the favours of Allah Ta’ala. Wealth, health, fame, intelligence, knowledge, beauty, strength, power, expertise, etc. are all divine bestowals. These attributes can lead to pride and arrogance. None of these attributes of excellence is within the power of man. Pride is therefore irrational. It is imperative to inculcate in one the praiseworthy attributes of tawaadhu’ and abdiyat.
ABILITY TO PRAY TAHAJJUD IS FROM ALLAH
Allah Ta’ala wakes up His select servants who regularly andpunctually perform Tahajjud. He thus grants them the opportunity tocommune with Him. Therefore, instead of vanity, the servant shouldexpress gratitude for this favour.
BE NOT VAIN OVER ONE’S GOOD DEEDS
Ilm and Amal are noble only when they are acceptable to Allah Ta’ala. However, no one has certitude in this regard. In fact if we reflect on the state of our knowledge and deeds, it will not be farfetched to conclude that rejection by Allah Ta’ala is certain. There is therefore no cause to be vainglorious on account of one’s knowledge and deeds of virtue. The validity of Ilm and Amal is in relation to one’s state at the end of life. No one knows how his end will be. Consider knowledge and good deeds a ni’mat and express gratitude for it.
REMEDY FOR PRIDE
Whenever your attention focuses on your own excellence and the defects of another person, then it becomes incumbent to neutralize this state of pride by reflecting: “It is quite possible that there is concealed in him such and excellence and in me such a defect, by virtue of which he occupies a higher rank by Allah Ta’ala.” This attitude will suffice for the elimination of pride.
INSTANT ERADICATION OF PRIDE
A person came to me in Keranah (a village in India) to give bay‘a (pledge). He also brought a tray of sweetmeats but with someone else carrying it. I realized that this person had an effect of pride in him (otherwise he would have carried it himself, but considered it below his dignity). Incidentally, I had to visit a few places, so I told him that I have to go and see a certain person and don’t have the time to make him bay‘t here. I told him to join me and maybe I will make him bay‘t there. He now joins me carrying the tray in his own hands. After reaching, I told him the same i.e. there is no time here, let us go to the next place. I had him carrying this tray around from house to house for two hours. I also ensured that we pass through the market- place so that people could see him carrying this tray. After being vexed for quite a while, and realizing that this evil of pride has left him, I finally made him bay‘it and also explained to him the wisdom of my action. Thus, a malady (pride) which is sometimes not eradicated through years of effort and devotion, by the Grace of Allah, was eradicated in this manner within two hours!
SUCCESS IN THE PATH DEPENDS ON BANISHING PRIDE AND VANITY
Reflect, ponder and supplicate to Allah Ta’ala. Strive and struggle. Lament and shed tears by Allah. Cultivate humility. Banish pride and vanity from your mind. Thereafter there will be no undue delay in reaching Him. Without cultivating this state, there will be no success.
A REMEDY FOR KIBR
A remedy for kibr (pride) is to keep in mind the possibility of the superior rank of the other person by Allah. In all likelihood he enjoys a lofty rank by Allah Ta’ala. Also keep in mind your own defects and sins. Practical kibr (i.e. to display pride by action) is to treat others with contempt. The remedy for such action is to praise the Ahl-e- Haqq who have become the target of your pride. Speak highly of them and practically honour and respect them. If they (i.e. those who are the target of your pride) happen to be from the Ahl-e-Baatil (such as the people of bid’ah), then do not criticize them merely as an occupation. (Hasad motivated by pride constrains even Ulama to indulge in gheebat of even the Ahl-e-Haqq, and even the People of Haqq at times unnecessarily indulge in gheebat of the people of Baatil. The people of baatil should be criticized only when there is a need to safeguard the Deen and to warn people of the deviation of the miscreants. But the habit of making gheebat of the people of baatil in private sessions merely to pass the time is despicable and haraam.)
PRAISE AND CRITICISM EQUAL TO ONE DEVOID OF PRIDE
Praise and criticism are equal to a person who is devoid of pride. Neither does praise affect him nor criticism.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOASTING AND GRATITUDE
To boast about a ni’ma is pride (kibr) and to consider it as a gift from Allah while considering oneself unfit for such a ni’ma is gratitude (shukr).
Honouring contemporaries is evidence of one’s Tawaadhu’ (humility).When a contemporary is honoured, it is possible for onlookers to conclude that the honoured person is superior in rank. It is therefore difficult on the nafs to honour contemporaries.
HUMILITY GIVEN PREFERENCE OVER THE ENTIRE WORLD
Lowering oneself, which is called Tawaadhu’ (humilty), is a great and valuable asset. To achieve this quality, many of the servants of Allah abandoned their kingdom and empire. They didn’t care in the least what people thought of them. Surely, humility must then be a much-prized quality so that people gave it preference to it over the entire world!
DISPLAYING NEED, HUMILITY AND HELPLESSNESS
It is among the etiquettes of dua that the bandah (servant of Allah) verbally proclaims his needs to Allah Ta’ala despite the fact that Allah Ta’ala is fully aware of his requirements. If the bandah refrains from verbal assertion, his humility and helplessness will not be displayed whereas these qualities are of greater importance in dua.
IT BEHOVES SLAVE TO BE HUMBLE AND AWAIT FULFILMENT OF DUA
The condition for fulfilment of Dua is to refrain from haste. (Do not expect immediate fulfilment). Continue supplicating. The relationship with Allah Ta’ala is lifelong. Even if it appears that the dua is not being fulfilled, you should continue your duty of supplication. Do not abandon your humility. There are good reasons for delay in fulfilment of the dua. There is greater fear of Allah’s Wrath for abandoning Dua after having supplicated for a few days. Prior to abandonment, the person believed that the dua may not be accepted due to his own deficiencies. But abandonment implies that he feels that Allah Ta’ala is unjust in not answering his dua. It is obvious that this implication is dangerous. It is tantamount to levelling an accusation against Allah Ta’ala, and this is in negation of uboodiyyat (being the slave of Allah). It is therefore incumbent to continue making dua. If He wills, He will grant the dua by actually fulfilling the desire or if He wishes, He shall not fulfil it in this way. You should nevertheless discharge your obligation of making dua. It behoves the slave to always be humble.
PERFORMING ACTS OF HUMILITY AND SIMPLICITY
The reality of disgrace is to ask others for one’s needs. Lifting loads, working with mud, wearing cheap clothes, etc. are not disgraceful. These are acts of humility and simplicity.
EXAMINE YOURSELF, NOT OTHERS
A person should do soul-searching and examine himself. He should impress on himself that he has more evils in him than others. It is the fadhl of Allah Ta’ala that he has concealed our faults and defects. He should tell himself: ‘My faults are more. Why should I feel insulted?’ If it reaches you that someone spoke ill about you, do not investigate the matter nor plan ways of vengeance or retaliation.
NO KNOWLEDGE OF ONE’S OWN RANK BY ALLAH
Despite man’s piety and saintliness, he has no knowledge of his rank by Allah Ta’ala. When there exists the possibility of one not having any rank of elevation by Allah Ta’ala, then on what basis can a (pious) man believe himself to be pious. When one is not aware of one’s rank by Allah Ta’ala, one does not know what the future holds. Someone asked me: ‘How is it to curse Yazid?’ I said to him: ‘Only a man who knows that he will not die in a state worse than Yazid, may curse him. Since no one knows how his ultimate end will be, he should concentrate on seeking the protection of Allah Ta’ala.’
THE STATEMENT, “I AM NOTHING”
Hadhrat Maulana Gangohi rahmatullah alayh used to say after all his mujahadat, “I am nothing.” One time he took on oath saying “I am nothing.” Two groups of people in the gathering started to argue whether the oath was valid or not. One party said that the oath is valid and surely the sheikh is nothing as he says. One of Maulana Gangohi rahmatullah alayh’s follower was astounded at this. If the Sheikh is Kamil (having achieved distinction and perfection in his field) then the oath is incorrect and invalid.
So I said to him that there are two types of Kamāl (perfection). One is attained (i.e the perfection which has already been acquired) and the other is expected (i.e the perfection which is hoped to be achieved). Maulana Gangohi rahmatullah alayh was kamil with regards to what he had already attained, while was nothing with regards to what he expected to achieve in future, and the oath was in the ambits of the later. For example one who has studied Sharah Jāmī (a course book) will say that he is nothing in relation to all the books above Sharah Jāmī. At the same time in relation to Mīzān (an introductory level book) he will be an ‛ālim.
NIYYAT WHEN ADOPTING ISTIGHNAA
The people of Ilm (Ulama and the Students of Deeni Knowledge) should cultivate the attribute of istighnaa (independence). Disgrace is in presenting one’s needs (to the wealthy). There is no disgrace in old and torn garments. When adopting istighnaa, the niyyat should be to maintain the honour and dignity of the Deen. By this niyyat, one will gain thawaab while at the same time refrain from going to the rich (for one’s needs). There is no disgrace in visiting the poor.
GREAT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISTIGHNAA (INDEPENDENCE) AND KIBR
There is a great difference between istighnaa (independence) and kibr (pride). Kibr is evil while istighnaa is praiseworthy. But an excess of istighnaa too is reprehensible. However, ghulu fil istighnaa (i.e. excessive independence) when dealing with arrogant and proud persons is honourable. And, the best attitude is khulu (i.e. to divert one’s attention from all).
ISTIGHNAA OF OUR FORMER MASHAA-IKH
1. Our former Mashaaikh had passed their lives in dire straits of poverty and hardship. They had adopted their poverty to conform with the poverty of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). It was a voluntary, self-imposed poverty. If they had desired, they could have accumulated abundant wealth. But they never even considered it. Whatever they would receive would be contributed in the Path of Allah Ta’ala.
Hadhrat Maulana Qaasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) possessed only two sets of clothes. One set he donned while the other set was being washed. But the Mashaaikh of today live like nawaabs (rulers/kings). Even if they adopt Istighnaa’, it is not as the lofty degree of Istighnaa’ of our former Mashaaikh who had lived with Istighnaa’ despite their poverty and hardship. There is an incumbent need for Istighnaa’. (Istighnaa’ means independence – to be independent of others. The gaze should not be on the wealth of others nor should one expected any aid/gift from others.)
2. The ruler of Rampur, Nawaab Kalb Ali Khaan invited Maulana Qaasim Nanotwi (rahmatullah alayh) on the occasion when he (Maulana Nanotwi) visited Rampur. Hadhrat Nanotwi sent the reply: “I am a villager. I am not aware of the respects and etiquettes to be observed for royalty. My presence will therefore annoy you.” The Nawaab sent the following reply: “We ourselves shall honour you. You are not expected to honour us. Do come. I have a great desire to meet you.” Hadhrat Nanotwi sent the following response: “Subhaanallah! You have the desire, but I have to come! Make dua that I develop the desire to meet you. When this desire develops in me, I shall come to meet you.”
3. Once Jahangeer (the mughal king) came to meet Sheikh Saleem Chishti rehmatullahi alayh. (At that time) Sheikh had given his rags to one of his Mureed to look for lice. During this time Sheikh went into his quarters and closed the doors. After a while (when Jahangeer came) the mureed servant knocked on the door. Sheikh asked “What happened?” The mureed said “The King (Jahangeer) is here.” Sheikh said, “Laa Hawla Wa laa Quwaata, I thought some big lice came out, that you came running to show me.”
REMEDY FOR RIYA
Offering a simple remedy for riya (show), Hadhrat Haji Imadaadullah (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Practise abundantly the action which is affected by riya. Ignore the thoughts of riya which accompany the action. However, it is necessary to understand that riya is evil. Constancy in practising the deed will gradually eliminate the riya. The deed will develop into an aadat (habit), and ultimately it will become ibaadat (worship).”
RIYA NOT CONFINED ONLY TO IBAADAT
Riya (show) is not confined to the display of Ibadat. Riya is to display one’s Ibadat while being motivated by the desire to be known as a pious person. Ibadat in public does not necessarily reflect riya. If the thought of piety comes to mind unintentionally without one believing or entertaining the idea of one’s piety, then such thought is not riya. It is a waswasah of riya. [Waswasah is a stray thought which enters the mind at the behest of shaitan. Provided that such a whisper of shaitan is not fixed firmly in the mind by one’s volition and intention, no sin is occasioned. Translator]. As long as there is no intention to display one’s Ibadat, riya is not involved.
REMEDY FOR EVIL GLANCES
A remedy for the disease of casting lustful glances is to regularly study the life episodes of the Auliya and to sit in seclusion contemplating on the warnings and punishments for sins. Also, renew this contemplation whenever the thought of sin occurs. Insha’Allah, the evil demand of the nafs will then be eliminated. If the inclination to sin is slight, then confront it with resolute effort. Without effort and struggle nothing will succeed. (When the nafsaani desire for committing a sin is inordinate and strong, contemplation on the punishment of Allah Ta’ala, Maut, punishment of the grave, one’s ingratitude to Allah, and on other similar issues becomes necessary to assist in neutralizing the craving of the nafs. However, when a slight desire for sinning develops, the solution is to apply pressure on oneself to abstain from the act. By such effort the inordinate desire of the nafs is neutralized.)
DEVELOP GREATNESS OF ALLAH IN HEART TO CURE EVIL HABITS
A man wrote informing Hadhrat Hakimul Ummat that he (the writer of the letter) was involved in the disease of casting evil glances. Hakimul Ummat replied: “What, is this not controllable?” Casting an evil glance is a volitional act (i.e. done by one’s one free will. It is not forced onto one). Hence, it is within one’s power and ability to control and abstain therefrom even though it may be difficult. However, people just refuse to undergo any difficulty. But the punishment of Jahannam is severe and most difficult.
I asked a man who was involved in the disease of the evil glances: “If the husband of the woman is watching you will you stare at her?” He said: “No”. I said to him: “The greatness of Allah in your heart does not even equal the greatness which your heart has for the husband. Allah Ta’ala is omnipresent. He watches our conditions at all times. At all times He is aware of our evil conditions; however, we are not deterred. We are not conscious of being watched by Allah Ta’ala every moment. If this consciousness is developed, there will not be the audacity to sin in this way.”
REFRAINING FROM CASTING EVIL GAZES IS WITHIN EVERY PERSON’S CAPACITY
A man argued that restraining the eyes from lustful glances is beyond a man’s control. This is baseless. The fact is that man is reluctant to apply pressure on his nafs. Instead of striving against the nafs, he joins forces to gratify his desires. This argument implies that the Shariat has imposed on us something which is beyond our capacity.
FALLING FOR CARNAL LOVE IS A SIGN OF WRETCHEDNESS
Falling in love with appearance is a punishment especially the inclination towards young lads. This is indeed an extremely severe disease. When Allah Ta’ala desires to make someone accursed. He involves that person with young lads. Thus this type of ‘love’ is the sign of wretchedness (mardoodiyyat). A tenet of Tasawwuf is total abstention from mingling with lads and to refrain from speaking tenderly with women (ghair mahram females). Allah’s statement (in the Qur’aan): ‘Do not speak tenderly…’, confirms this rule. Artificial love (love for women) is a great calamity. In contrast, true love (i.e. love for Allah Ta’ala) is a wonderful experience in which there is Noor, peace and tranquillity. There is no distress.
COMPENSATION FOR SIN FOR CASTING LUSTFUL GLANCES
Instructing a mureed, Hadhrat Thaanvi said: “Lower your gaze. To compensate for this sin (of casting lustful glances), perform fifty raka’ts Nafl Salaat daily.”
CURE FOR EVIL GAZES
Someone asked the cure for evil gaze. Hadrat replied: Nothing will be effective besides courage and perseverance. Two things will assist: [a] the thought of punishment and [b] excessive dhikr.
PERFECT MORAL EXCELLENCE ACHIEVED BY RESTRAINING ONESELF
The perfect stage of moral excellence is to restrain the nafs from transgression at the time of its inordinate promptings. Restraint when having the ability and the inclination is the perfect stage. If a blind man does not cast an evil gaze, it is not an excellence for him. The excellent stage is to restrain the nafs when attracted by beauty. Inspite of inclination, the eyes are restrained and a glance of lust is not cast.
CURE FOR SPEAKING LIES
A very efficacious remedy for a habitual liar to cure him of speaking lies is for him to immediately confess his lie to the person whom he addresses. (If he is sincere and desires to be cured of his evil habit, he should adopt this treatment).
USING DECEPTIVE WORDS TO PERPETRATE LIES
I become very disturbed when people use the word, ‘perhaps’ when they narrate reports. This term is an instrument of speaking lies. Alas! People do not abstain from the calamities of the tongue. People endeavour to make others believe what they themselves are uncertain of. They desire evil for themselves and for others as well (with their narration of lies).
When one hears that someone had gossiped about one, it is natural to become offended and be grieved. This natural feeling of emotion is not evil. But to act according to its demands is evil. Continue greeting and speaking to the person even if it is difficult. After a few days, the effect of aversion will be eliminated.
FORGIVENESS FOR GHEEBAT
A man who appeared to be a Molvi, asked: “Is it possible to gain pardon for gheebat from a person whose gheebat was made?” Hadhrat said: “Yes, gheebat is pardoned.” The man asked: “Should the gheebat be clearly explained or mentioned in ambiguous terms?” For example, merely saying: I have committed gheebat of you. Hadhrat said: “Ambiguous terms are sufficient. Repetition will cause pain.” The man said: “I ask you to forgive me. I had made gheebat of you in a gathering.” Hadhrat said: “I daily supplicate to Allah: O Allah do not punish anyone because of me (i.e. because of any harm they cause me). I have forgiven all violations of my huqooq (rights).” The man said: “Tell me explicitly that you have forgiven me.” Hadhrat said: “I have forgiven you, not only the past, but for the future as well. I have forgiven all Muslims for any violations of my huqooq.” The man said: “Now make dua for me.” Hadhrat said: “May Allah Ta’ala grant you His Love and firmness (istiqaamat) on the Deen.”
THE LINEAGE OF GHEEBAT
Gheebat is the father as well as the son of animosity. Sometimes the consequence of animosity is , and sometimes the result of is animosity. This is indeed an abominable lineage. It has been seen that when a person is bent on harming another, he becomes totally oblivious of the Deen. He neither abstains from harming the other person nor from lies and deception. His objective is only to cause harm to his enemy regardless of the destruction he causes to himself.
REMEDY FOR GHEEBAT
Whenever you have made gheebat about a person, praise that person in public. He will surely have some virtue which could be praised. This is a cure for gheebat.
If someone consults you regarding a marriage proposal, and if you are aware of any corruption, then informing the person thereof will not be haraam gheebat. Similarly, if it is not your intention to speak ill of anyone, but for the safety of someone there is a need to apprize him of the evil of the other person, then it will be permissible. In fact, in some cases it will be Waajib.
IMPOSING PENALTIES AS REMEDY AND SERVING PARENTS TO CREATE LOVE
A man came and said: “I am a habitual gambler. What is its remedy? Hadhrat Thanvi replied: “Courage is its remedy. Secondly, resolve firmly that whenever you indulge in gambling you will impose on yourself the performance of 100 raka’ts Naft Salat and abstain from two meals. Other than this, the original and actual remedy is nothing other than courage and striving against the dictates of the nafs.” The same man said “My heart is devoid of love for my parents.” Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi) replied: “Serve them in abundance. Service to parents will create love for them.”
HABIT OF USING FOUL LANGUAGE CURED BY ZIKR
Someone mentioned to Hadhrat, a Molvi who was accustomed to vulgar language. He was very abusive. After coming into contact with Hadhrat Maulana Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) he underwent a great change. Hadhrat commented: “It appears that he had commenced thikr. Khushu’ cannot be acquired without thikr”.
A REMEDY FOR ENVY
If you become envious of a ni’mat which someone possesses, then reflect: ‘Despite me not deserving it, Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to me many such favours which that person does not have. Why then should I become envious over one ni’mat which has been bestowed to him?’ By reflecting in this manner, the envy will disappear.
REMEDY FOR HIRS (DESIRE FOR GOOD THINGS OF THE WORLD)
Allah Ta’ala did not command the total elimination of hirs (desire for the good things of the world). On the contrary, He has instructed that we should employ this desire/greed to acquire the bounties of the Hereafter. This is the remedy for hirs. (Desire should be restrained and operated within the bounds of the Shariah).
REMEDY FOR A SUSPICIOUS PERSON
An effective remedy for a suspicious person is to consume halaal food. Halaal food creates noor in the heart. This noor enables a person to distinguish between truth and falsehood.
REMEDY FOR HASAD (ENVY)
Dua in abundance for the envied person will, Insha-Allah, eliminate the jealousy.
THOSE WHO HAVE NO CONCERN INDULGE IN FUTILITY
Those who are oblivious (ghaafil) of essential matters, indulge in futility and nonsensical things. They are unconcerned with important issues. A man who has the concern of the Deen and Aakhirat will never have the leisure for indulgence in futility. Consider the state of a man whose son has just died. He is concerned about the burial requirements and needs of his deceased son. Now if at this time someone asks him to solve a mathematical problem, what will he respond? This in fact, is the perpetual state of the Ahlullaah (People of Allah). Someone asked Hadhrat Raabi’ah Basriyyah: “Have you ever cursed shaitaan?” She said: “When I have no time to spare in my engrossment in the remembrance of my Beloved, how can I have time for cursing shaitaan?”
FUTILE TALK LEADS TO SIN
Futile and nonsensical talk involves one in considerable sin. The Auliya went to great lengths to abstain from such conversation. Two persons came to Hadhrat Nizamuddin Auliya (rahmatullah alayh) with the intention of becoming his mureeds. While they were sitting by the Musjid’s hauz (pond for making wudhu), they engaged in conversation. One said: “The hauz in our place is much bigger than this hauz.” Hadhrat Shaikh overheard this comment. When they met Hadhrat Shaikh and requested to become bay’t, he asked: “How much bigger than this hauz is the hauz at your place?” When they said they did not know, Hadhrat Shaikh instructed: “Go, measure it and come.” Both journeyed back to their homeland. When they measured the hauz they discovered that it was one baalisht (cubit or about 15cm) bigger. They returned and informed Hadhrat Shaikh who said: “You claimed that it was much bigger, but one cubit cannot be described as ‘much bigger.’ It is clear that in matters of truth and falsehood you are careless. How will you progress in this path (of spiritual and moral reformation)?”
The Mashaaikh would first attend to moral reformation before prescribing Wazaa-if (forms of thikr) and Nawaafil (Nafl Salaat). Only after moral reformation would they commence ta’leem in the higher spheres of Sulook. The emphasis was first on correcting the external actions and eliminating the evil attributes. However, nowadays many Mashaaikh pay no heed to this requirement. In consequence, while the mureeds become adept in auraad and wazaa-if, the evil and bestial attributes remain in them. Thus, they neither care to distinguish between halaal and haraam nor are they concerned with truth and falsehood.
DISEASE OF FUTILITY HAS REACHED EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS
Nowadays people squander their time in futile talk and nonsensical activities. Even when meeting buzrugs they do not refrain from this futility. They destroy even the time of the buzrug. Much of the futility consists of discussing others and complaining about them. Its remedy is to be concerned with oneself. Complaining about others while forgetting oneself is like being unconcerned about the snakes and scorpions on your body, and making an issue of the flies on someone else’s body. This disease has today reached epidemic proportions. Everyone is involved in it. From every walk of life, even the Sufis and Ulama are caught in this disease. Why don’t they appreciate the value of time? Every second which passes without Thikrullah is a great misfortune.
FUTILITY LEADS TO SIN
*I take an oath and say that if a man reflects, he will understand that indulgence in futility and nonsensical things most certainly leads to the commission of sin. There is not a single futile act whose boundary does not adjoin sin. Futility while initially permissible culminates in sin.
*Shun futility and reduce unnecessary association. Anything in which there is neither Deeni nor worldly benefit is futile. Abandonment of futility does not bring about any harm in the Deen nor in the dunya.
*Man’s every action, be it mundane or spiritual, is of three kinds: beneficial, harmful, and neither beneficial nor harmful (i.e. futile). However, on closer examination it will be understood that the third category, viz. futile acts, is also part of the second category, namely, harmful. The time and effort expended in a futile act would be considerably beneficial if spent constructively. Deprivation of this benefit is in fact harm and a loss. It is like a trader investing his capital in an unprofitable business. He will regard lack of profit as a loss and deprivation.
TAWAKKUL (TRUST IN ALLAH)
The reality of Tawakkul is to focus the gaze on Allah Ta’ala irrespective of the availability or unavailability of the usual means of accomplishment. Allah has the power to effect accomplishment without the need of means and ways. The gaze should be on Musabbibul Asbaab (The Causer of all causes / means). The adoption or abandonment of the normal means is another issue. A person of determination is permitted to abandon such means which are described Asbaab-e-Zanniyyah. However, it is not permissible to abandon those means called Asbaab-e-Yaqeeniyyah. For a person of weak faith, it is not permissible to abandon any of the means. (There are two kinds of ways and means to accomplish the aims and purposes of man on earth. These are called Asbaab-e-Zanniyyah and Asbaabe- Yaqeeniyyah. Asbaab-e-Zanniyyah are such ways and means in which there is no absolute certitude for accomplishing the purpose, e.g. trading, working, medicine. Asbaab-e-Yaqeeniyyah are such means without which attainment of the purpose is impossible, e.g. eating, learning, to travel for the purpose of Hajj.)
SOUL OF TAWAKKUL
The reality of Tawakkul (trust in Allah) is to focus the gaze in only Allah Ta’ala whether one possesses the means of acquisition or not. Allah Ta’ala is Qaadir (All-Powerful). It is within His power to grant the matloob (the object) even without employment of the means of acquisition (asbaab). The attention should also be on Musabbibul Asbaab (The Cause of all causes and effects). This is the soul of Tawakkul.
TYPES OF TAWAKKUL
There are two types of Tawakkul: Conceptual and Practical. Conceptual Tawakkul is the rational understanding that every aspect of creation is in the control of Allah Ta’ala Who is the True Cause and Controller, and that our reliance and dependence are on Him Alone. This category of Tawakkul is the minimum degree of Trust in Allah. This degree is Fardh (compulsory) and it constitutes an integral part of Imaan. The second type of Tawakkul, namely Practical Trust in Allah, is total reliance on Allah Ta’ala, not on the means of enactment nor on one’s effort. (While employing the lawful ways and means of acquisition in a lawful manner, the gaze is not focussed on these ways, means and one’s effort. The end result of employing the agencies and means is the decree of Allah Ta’ala.)
ESSENCE OF TAWAKKUL
The essence of Tawakkul is to remove the focus from the one who is not the true dispenser. This diversion of focus (from others besides Allah) is doctrinally Fardh. (In other words, it is the minimum degree of Tawakkul, observance of which is compulsory in belief. It is imperative to believe that it is only Allah Ta’ala Who is the Provider and Dispenser of all affairs).
Practical Tawakkul which is abandonment of the normal means and agencies of acquisition, is Mustahab provided one has the ability to bear the consequences of difficulty stemming in the wake of abandoning the means and agencies. However, if the means and agencies of acquisition of needs are absolutely imperative, then abandonment of such means is sinful, except for such Auliya who are among the Ahl-e-Haal. For them it is permissible to abandon even the absolutely necessary means and agencies. The abandonment of means explained above is related to material or worldly means and agencies. It does not apply to Deeni means and agencies.
ABSTENTION FROM MEDICAL TREATMENT MAY NOT BE CRITICIZED
It is mentioned in the Hadith: “Verily, Allah has sent down both disease and medicine. He has created a medicine for every sickness. Therefore adopt medicine, and do not remedy with haraam.” This is the Masnoon way. Nevertheless, abstention from medicine is also permissible if one has the necessary Tawakkul (Trust in Allah). Abstention from medical treatment may not be criticized.
TAFWEEDH – HIGHEST STAGE OF TAWAKKUL
If the plan (tadbeer) is unsuccessful or if it is an issue unrelated to planning, e.g. calamities beyond one’s control, then never complain. Be satisfied with the final outcome. This is called Tafweedh which is the highest stage of Tawakkul. Its effect is Ridha’ (total contentment and pleasure with Allah’s decree).
HOPE AND FEAR – WHICH IS BETTER?
Someone asked: “What is better – Rajaa or Khauf? (Rajah means hope in Allah’s Rahmat. Khauf means fear for Allah’s displeasure and punishment), Hadhrat said: “Both are praiseworthy on their occasions, like butter and honey. On its occasion butter is better, and honey on its occasion.” (Every attitude should be applied correctly. A particular attitude or condition is not best or praiseworthy at all times).
HOPE CAN BE DECEPTION
Valid hope (in the mercy of Allah) is such hope which is accompanied by amal (virtuous deeds). Minus deeds, the hope is deception (of the nafs or shaitaan).
TOO MUCH FEAR OF ALLAH CAN BE HARMFUL
Khashyatullah (fear of Allah) is the fountainhead of all virtue and goodness. It has great significance. However even this noble attribute renders a man useless if it exceeds the limit, hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) made dua as follows: “O Allah! Grant me that much of Your fear which will act as a barrier between me and disobedience to You.” This implies that excessive fear will overwhelm a man. Since it will be unbearable to him, it will incapacitate him, rendering him useless. (In other words, he will abandon his good acts and become careless.)
On the other hand, the yearning to meet Allah Ta’ala is also a bounty. But even here, Rasulullah’s (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) dua teaches moderation: “(O Allah! grant me) such yearning for Your meeting which is devoid of severe illness and such trial which deviates (from the Straight Path).” It is obvious that the only way by which Allah’s meeting can materialize is by Maut. Therefore, yearning for maut for the sake of meeting Allah Ta’ala is a wonderful ni’mat. However, sometimes a person is driven by circumstances to wish for death. This is a misfortune and reprehensible. It is for this reason that the yearning to meet Allah should also been conditioned with moderation.
WISHING FOR DEATH IS FINE IF NOT DUE TO HARDSHIP
Haafiz Dhaamin (rahmatullah alayh) mentioning his overwhelming desire for death, added that since this condition was in conflict with the Sunnah, he feared it being evil. Haaji Imdaadullah (rahmatullah alayh) who was his Shaikh, said: “I inform you of the good tiding that Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to you the stage of Wilaayat (Sainthood / His Proximity). The evil of wishing for maut refers to difficulty (pain, grief, worry). It is reprehensible to wish for maut on account of hardship.” Hadhrat added: “The wish for maut which is motivated by eagerness to meet Allah Ta’ala is a sign of Wilaayat. This is borne out by the aayat: “If you think that you are the friends of Allah to the exclusion of other people, then wish for maut…..”
ENCOUNTERING CALAMITIES AND BEING GRATEFUL
SHUKR AND SABR
Giving naseehat to a bed-ridden person in severe pain, who could perform Salaat only lying in bed, Hadhrat said: “This is sufficient (i.e. laying in bed and performing Salaat by signs of the head). Continue reciting ‘Allahu, Allahu’ with the tongue. If this too is difficult, then engage in thikr with the heart. Allah Ta’ala is the One who cures. Do not panic. Sins are being expiated. These conditions will come to an end. Presently difficulty is being experienced, but its value will be appreciated when the reward will be given (for Sabr and acceptance of Allah’s decree). Not a single state of the Mu’min is evil. In prosperity the Mu’min makes shukr (i.e. is grateful). The thawaab of shukr is acquired. In difficulty and pain the thawaab of sabr is achieved. Do not become despondent.”
CONVERTING CALAMITY INTO BLESSING
That which produces worry and disturbs the peace of mind is a calamity. If a sick person becomes agitated and distressed, the sickness is a calamity for him. On the contrary, if the indisposed person is patient and grateful to Allah Ta’ala, then the sickness is not a calamity. It serves the purpose for the elevation of his ranks by Allah Ta’ala.
PATIENCE IN CALAMITY IS THE WAY OF THE MU’MIN
When overtaken by calamity, adopt Sabr (patience). This is befitting the Mu’min. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the state of the Mu’min is wonderful. In prosperity he praises Allah and expresses shukr (gratitude), and in adversity he also praises Allah and exercises sabr. Both conditions — Sabr and Shukr — are commendable and beneficial. During calamity do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Be hopeful of the grace and mercy of Allah Ta’ala. He who has no Imaan on Taqdeer loses hope. The way of the people of Imaan is to be contented with the Divine Decree.
WHAT TO DO DURING CALAMITY
Continue making dua for the elimination of the calamity and engage in ways of combating the calamity. But do not believe in the plans. The command to make dua is because there is no barkat in the plan without dua. Continue repenting (making Istighfaar) Seek forgiveness for sins. If a calamity descends on a brother Muslim, consider it to have fallen on you. Institute such measures for his aid as you would have instituted if the calamity had befallen you.
REMEDY FOR OVERWHELMING GRIEF
The remedy for overwhelming grief is to refrain from thinking about the cause of the grief. Do not think about it nor speak about it. Although the grief will remain, it will be in moderation and not prove harmful. On the contrary, moderate grief is beneficial. There is wisdom and benefit in grief as well. Exceeding the limits in grief is sinful. It is therefore incumbent to treat it. Focus the mind on the good things of the Aakhirah and do not contemplate on the good things of the world.
TARBIYAT BY ALLAH CARRIED OUT THROUGH AFFLICTIONS
When Allah Ta’ala desires to do good to a person, but he (this person) is deficient in his struggle against the nafs, then Allah Ta’ala creates such circumstances which cure the maladies of his nafs. For example, Allah Ta’ala afflicts him with sickness or imposes the domination of an enemy who harms and disgraces him. Initially this person suffers much in consequence. But then he confronts his difficulties with sabr and ridha. In this manner he develops considerable spiritual power. Then in consonance with: “Verily, with difficulty is ease”, Allah Ta’ala grants him honour and acceptance by the masses. When this occurs, he is devoid of pride. His independence increases with the increase of his ranks by Allah. Along with the attainment of ranks of elevation, the desire for fame is annihilated.
IMPOSED MUJAAHADAH – A MEANS OF ELEVATION
(Mujaahadah is the struggle against the bestial dictates of the nafs). There are two kinds of Mujaahadah: Volitional and non-volitional. When Allah Ta’ala wishes that His mercy settles on a person, He involves him in the non-volitional type of Mujaahadah by imposing a calamity on him. The person adopts Sabr, and his ranks are elevated. In the other Mujaahadah, one volitionally struggles against the nafs by reducing or abandoning pleasures.
ELEVATION VIA SABR AND RIDHA’
When Allah Ta’ala wishes goodness and elevated ranks for a servant, but finds him deficient in his resolve to strive for its attainment, then He afflicts this bandah (slave) with such calamities which eradicate his evil attributes. For example he is afflicted with sickness, or an enemy is imposed on him, who persecutes and humiliates him. Initially this bandah experiences severe suffering in consequence of these calamities. However, he gradually acquires the capacity of forbearance. As a result of his firmness and patience in calamity, his spiritual ranks are exalted and he even gains public acclaim. But such acclaim has no attraction for him. He has become totally independent of it.
THE BOUNTY OF GRIEF
The stages of Sulook are traversed swifter by means of grief/sorrow than by means of mujaahadah (striving against the emotional desires). It is worthy to remember this fact.
THE AHLULLAH ARE STILL AT PEACE DURING CALAMITIES
Difficulties come in the life of Ahlullah (the pious People/Friends of Allah swt/those people who have a very close connection to Allah swt) and also the worldly people, but there is a world of difference in how these two types of people deal with their difficulties…When Ahlullah get sick they don’t think ‘O my, what will happen if this illness gets worse?’ If Ahlullah are involved in some legal case they don’t think ‘O my, what will happen if I lose this case?’ Ahlullah dont think, ‘O my, if I don’t get anything to eat tomorrow what will happen?’ Such thoughts don’t occur to Ahlullah but rather in all conditions and situations their heart is at peace. They have something hidden in their heart because of which they have contentment and solace even if by worldly standards they don’t even own a needle. And as far as worldly people, their internal condition is the complete opposite of this.
AN EXAMPLE OF SHUKR
A person was blessed with the vision of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) in his dream. This person asked the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) about the meanings of a verse of the Qur’an. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, ”look in Bayan al-Qur’an.” Bayan al-Qur’an is a commentary of the Qur’an written by Hakeem al-Ummat Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayh).
This person informed Maulana Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayh) about the dream in a letter. Maulana Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayh) remarked,” [even] if my life is sacrificed upon these gladtidings, then this is ok.” He did not lie down the entire night, [instead], he engaged himself in invoking Durood Sharif (sending salutations upon the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
ISTIGHFAAR OR DUROOD SHARIF?
Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala) achieves purity of the heart. I shall now show you something which will create glitter in the heart. Garments are first washed and then cleansed. Only thereafter is perfume applied. This has been said by Hadhrat Zunnoon Misri (rahmatullah alayh). Someone asked him: “Is Istighfaar better or Durood Shareef?” He replied: “For unclean garments soap is better and for clean garments perfume is better.” (In this analogy, Istighfaar is likened to soap and Durood Shareef to perfume. First Istighfaar should be made, then Durood Shareef be recited).
TAUBAH AND ISTIGHFAAR SHOULD NOT BE MERELY VERBAL
Mere verbal utterance of Astaghfirullaah is not Taubah and Istighfaar. The soul of Taubah is regret and to supplicate to Allah Ta’ala. Sins have different ways of Taubah (repentance). The Taubah of Huqooqul Ibaad consists firstly of fulfilling the usurped rights or making appropriate amends, and then also seeking forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala. If Salaat and Saum (fasting) had been omitted, qadha is firstly necessary. If a deed is a sin e.g. eating haraam, drinking wine, fornicating, indulgence in riba,, etc., then regret and supplicating for forgiveness, and pledging never to commit the sin again is the way of repentance. After repentance, be constant with obedience. After sincere and correct Taubah, the Mercy (Rahmat) of Allah will cascade on the heart. The heart will gain in spiritual strength. Thereafter even a calamity will appear to be comfort.
WHAT IS WASWASAH?
A Molvi Saheb asked: “Hadhrat what actually is waswasah?” Hadhrat Thanvi (rahmatullah alayhi) replied: “A detestable thought coming involuntarily into the mind is what I consider to be a waswasah. However, since it enters the mind without one’s choice, it is not harmful.”
AIM OF WASWASAH
The aim of shaitaan with his waswasah is to cause grief to the musalli. If the musalli is not grieved by shaitaani wasaawis (i.e. stray thoughts), shaitaan will refrain from casting such thoughts in the musalli’s mind. Indifference to the stray thoughts will cure this problem.
ABUNDANCE OF WASAAWIS (SATANIC WHISPERS)
People usually complain of the onslaught of abundant wasaawis (shaitaani thoughts) and lack of concentration while engaged in Thikr and Salaat. The remedy for this is to continue with the Thikr regardless of the abundance of wasaawis. In the beginning the thikr is only Thikr-e-Lisaani (verbal thikr). Later this thikr will become ingrained, and the mind will automatically divert from the Name of Allah to the Zaat (Being) of Allah Azza Wa Jal.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHAKK (DOUBT) AND WASWASAH
A person said he had certain misgivings and doubts in certain aqa’id (beliefs). Hadrat replied that if it is so, then it is absolutely necessary the doubts be cleared as soon as possible, otherwise no ‘amal (deed) would be beneficial. All your deeds will be wasted. First it has to be ascertained as to whether you truly have doubts or just thoughts. Doubt is one thing and stray thoughts another, and both have separate laws. To doubt the necessary beliefs results in damage and harm to iman (faith). On the other hand, thoughts are not even a sin, for there will be no questioning regarding it.
Thereafter Hadrat inquired from him as to whether he is troubled by those thoughts and do they cause him anxiety or not. Also whether he had considered preventative measures or not. He replied that they cause him great anxiety and uneasiness. Hadrat said: Then these are just stray thoughts and not doubts. The differentiating factors are that thoughts have anxiety attached to them, the heart is troubled, and the person abhors such thoughts and considers preventative measures. But when one experiences doubts, all these factors are absent. The heart is completely at ease. Thus you will not see a kafir (non-Muslim) in such anxiety. You only have suspicions. Do not become troubled by them, for Shari’a has granted us immunity regarding them. When there will be no questioning regarding them, then to be troubled by them is a complete waste of time. It is acknowledged that they are troublesome but they will not be if you ignore them. For example, if one is feeling sleepy, let it come and don’t fight it. Do not make an intention of ignoring the thoughts. The intention of ignoring them (or fighting them) is actually getting involved in them. The more you try to fight them the more they will attack you. Do not become perturbed even if you are not free from them your entire life because they are not harmful to you in any way.
WASAAWIS IGNORED WILL BE RECORDED AS GOOD DEEDS
(Wasaawis are stray thoughts whispered into the heart by shaitaan.) Do not become perturbed by wasaawis. In fact, these stray thoughts will be entered into your Book of Deeds as virtues. (Stray thoughts which flash into the mind without one’s contemplation do not harm one. Never become frustrated at the abundance of wasaawis which enter into the mind usually during Salaat. The remedy is to ignore the thoughts, not to brood over them.)
MAKE ZIKR DOMINANT AND WASAAWIS WILL DISAPPEAR
Thikr is life and ghaflat is death. When Allah’s remembrance (thikr) becomes dominant, then wasaawis (shaitaani and stray thoughts) will vanish. Therefore engage in Thikr at all times.
DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF THOUGHTS
The thoughts which enter into the heart are of four types. (1) From Allah Ta’ala. This is called Khaatir-e-Haqq. (2) From an Angel. This is called Ilhaam. (3) From the Nafs. This is called Hawaajis. (4) From Shaitaan. This is called Waswaas. The way of differentiating these thoughts is as follows: If a good thought is so compelling that one is unable to act in conflict, then it is Khaatir-e-Haqq. If it is possible to act in conflict of the good thought, then it is Ilhaam. If an evil thought inclines one to lust, pride, anger, etc., it is Hawaajis. If the evil thought prompts one to commit a sin, it is Waswaas.
LOVE FOR AKHIRAH AND DETACHMENT FROM DUNYA
METHOD OF INCULCATING CONCERN AND YEARNING FOR AKHIRAH
The method for inculcating concern and yearning for the Aakhirah is Muraaqabah (meditation). Meditate on the perishable nature of the world, on your death, on the perpetuity of the Aakhirah, on reward and punishment, and on the blessings and bounties of Allah Ta’ala. Also sit in the company of the pious.
PEACE & TRANQUILITY PROPORTIONAL TO DETACHMENT FROM DUNYA
1. Engrossment in the dunya – in worldly pursuits – ruin even one’s physical health and beauty. The spiritual destruction is even greater. However, due to desensitization people are imperceptive. At the time of Maut this spiritual paralysis will be cured and the ruin and destruction will become vivid.
The less the relationship with the dunya, the more peace and tranquillity will one experience. The people of the dunya are deprived of this treasure. Even if they experience it partially, it is contaminated and imperfect.
2. The less a person acquires of the dunya (material things) the more peace he achieves.
THIS WORLD IN COMPARISON TO THE AKHIRAH
This world in comparison to the Aakhirah is like the mother’s womb in comparison to the world outside the womb. The baby lives comfortably inside the mother’s womb. It is in fact, its whole world. Assuming the baby is informed that it is living in an extremely restricted abode beyond which exists a vast, limitless world, the baby will not believe it, and will not desire to leave its restricted world of the womb. However, after the baby’s emergence, he realizes the vastness of the new world. If now the baby is told to return to his former narrow and restricted abode, it will never accept.
Similarly, this world in comparison to the Aakhirah is extremely restricted and narrow. After you depart from this narrow world, you will be grateful. You will then never desire to return to this world. Maut is the sport of the Ahlullaah. It is their constant occupation. We should endeavour to cultivate this condition. Always meditate on the comforts and pleasures of the Aakhirat.
REAL CONTENTMENT IS IN THE AKHIRAH
1. Happiness and contentment in life is not based on wealth, but on the joy of oneself and the soul (spiritual self). Spiritual happiness is based on the relationship with the din and Allah Most High. Thus, a person who has din but little material possessions has a pleasant life. On the other hand, without din the dunya (material possessions) also becomes unpleasant.
If a person possessing wealth is seen to be in happiness then it is either because of the portion of din that he has in him or the observer has been fooled by the external condition of that person. If his internal condition is investigated, nothing but distress and unhappiness will be found. It is also possible the observer is unaware of the reality of genuine happiness. He (the observer) has taken superficial comfort to be true happiness. The secret is that true happiness and contentment is different and the means of happiness is different. (Do not misunderstand the material means and possessions to be actual happiness).
If those material things which people consider to be the means of happiness are not so, then Wallah! In reality they are adhab (punishment). Allah Most High says in the Qur’an:
وَلاَ تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَ أَوْلاَدُهُمْ إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللهُ أَنْ يُّعَذِّبَهُمْ بـِهَا فِى الدُّنْيَا وَ تَزْهَقَ أَنْفُسُهُمْ هُمْ كٰفِرُوْنَ
And do not let their wealth nor their offspring impress you. Allah’s plan is to punish them with these things in this world, and that their souls shall depart while they are disbelievers. (Surah Tawba)
It is not necessary that a person in possession of the material means of comfort be in actual comfort. Also, it does not necessarily mean a person not in possession of these material things is not happy and contented.
It is the way of Allah to deprive a person from comfort who is neglectful towards the din. Neglect towards the din results in the destruction of worldly comfort too.
2. Do not desire peace and comfort in this world. Troubles will only come to an end when in Janna. Complete peace is only in the hereafter. That difficulty which is a means of building ones hereafter is in reality not a difficulty. Yes you should make du’a for peace and protection and that you receive such bounties which you can bear.
WEALTH LEADS TO ANGUISH
Well-being and general protection (‘afiya) is a great boon, which is an aid in matters of din (religion). On the other hand, excessive wealth makes one neglectful and is anguish, consisting of thousands of worries. Without well-being everything else is worthless. There was a Nawab of Lukhnow whose stomach had become so weak that he would place minced meat in muslin cloth and suck on it. Even this was difficult on him to digest. His house was situated at the edge of the city. One day he observed a woodcutter dropping a bundle of wood from his head and wiping his perspiration. It was summer so he (the woodcutter) washed his face and hands, took out two rotis (bread) and ate them with onion.
Thereafter he slept at the same spot. The Nawab had difficulty in sleeping too. On observing all this the Nawab said to his friends: “If that can become my condition I will happily give up my governorship and lands in lieu of it.” He possessed everything and even his dogs ate that which he could not eat. Undoubtedly, that wealth which cannot be used by one is nothing but a burden. Yes, if Allah Most High gives without one becoming preoccupied then it is a ni’ma (bounty) in any case, and its rights should be fulfilled.
OVERCOMING THE FEAR OF BECOMING PIOUS
If someone fears that if he becomes pious (muttaqi), he will lose out on the worldly pleasures, then I say; “Make the intention that I do not want to become pious. However, for the sake of Allah spend some time in the company of the ‘ulama and the masha’ikh and understand the din. The result of this will be that you will not experience any difficulty in becoming pious. On your own accord you will build up the interest to practice (on the din) and you will experience such joy and pleasure in practicing on the din that you will forget about all the worldly pleasures.”
WITHOUT ZIKRULLAH TRUE COMFORT IS NOT POSSIBLE
Without Thikrullah, the acquisition of true comfort is not possible. I take oath and say no one has such comfort and peace which the Auliya experience. They have been blessed with such treasures which others do not have although it may appear that they and others are the same on account of the external façade of worldly difficulties and hardships. Inspite of this external similarity, there hearts are in peace and tranquillity. The basis of peace and comfort is the heart. There is no frustration and despondency in their hearts.
TO BECOME ENGROSSED IN DUNYA IS PROHIBITED
To earn the dunya is not haram (prohibited), but love of the dunya is haram. To earn money is not haram, but to become engrossed in it is haram. If milk, ghee, etc. is not eaten then the mind will be affected resulting in that person not being able to do any work. If the mind is nurtured and protected then that person will be able to perform. Feed the nafs (lower self) and take civil (dini) work from it. The nafs is like an employee and the mind a governmental machine. If it gets paid regularly (fed) and regular repairs take place then it will keep on functioning.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) says that your nafs also has a right upon you. He also says that a strong Muslim is better than a weak Muslim, i.e. he is physically strong so that he can assist others, and he is also spiritually strong.
FILL THE HEART WITH GOOD WHILE EMPTYING IT
In an answer to one Maulāna Saheb, Maulāna Ashraf Ali Thānvi rehmatullāhi alayh said that it is not from amongst the statements of Muhaqiqīn (those with the insight) that one should first rid his heart from Mā Siwā’ Allāh (all that is besides Allāh) and thereafter instill Allāh’s remembrance in it. Whosoever believes this is greatly deceived. It is extremely difficult for a heart to be empty of Mā Siwā’ Allāh, and to think otherwise is a grave error.
A beneficial way to attain this is by filling the gap with good as one empties it (from Mā Siwā’ Allāh). There are many good things one can fill into ones heart, for example a constant connection and friendship with the Ulamā to learn Dīn. Filling the void in the heart with good, while one rids it of the bad, is not harmful for aSālik, rather it will be a catalyst to attain the aim. Laymen do not understand these things. Only those people with farsightedness understand this. A statement of Imam Shāfi’ī rahmatullāhi alayh says “Since I came to know that a person will meet his friends in the Jannah, I started to yearn for Jannah”, hence such friendship is intended.