Dreams and Signs of the Last Day
(Maulana A S Desai)
Q. In the past few months I have seen my parents in my dreams on several occasions. Each time they appeared to be sad. What could be the interpretation?
Examine your lifestyle and eliminate actions which are in conflict with the Shariah. Offer acts of Isaal-e-Thawaab for them, e.g. Tilaawat of the Qur’aan, Sadqah and Dua for their forgiveness.
Q. Why is it that most Muslim businessmen pay their staff very poorly? They would rather donate large amounts to Tsunami victims, Bangladesh, Palestine, Iraq, Khanqas, etc. But they seem to think that paying their staff properly is not meritorious. Their wives get the best of everything while we cannot afford to buy a good set of clothes for our wives. They go out in jamaat, Hajj and Umrah, and they waste so much money on their children. They buy cars for their children. Please comment on this attitude of the businessmen.
It appears from your complaints, impatience (lack of Sabr), and deficiency in the belief of Allah’s Providence (Razzaaqiyat) that you are more in need of Naseehat than the businessmen who exploit their workers. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) instructed that you should focus on those who have less than you. Then, you will recognize the abundance of bounties Allah Ta’ala has favoured you with. You will then express shukr (gratitude) for the Rizq Allah Ta’ala has decreed for you. If you focus on those who have more than you, hasad (envy) will develop in you.
You will then complain as you are doing now, and be ungrateful for the ni’maat which Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to you. Businessmen and their workers all have their own quota and variety of evils and sins in which they indulge.
If businessmen are exploiting their workers, it is undoubtedly un-Islamic and wrong. But your complaints, your ingratitude to Allah Ta’ala, and your dissatisfaction with your divinely decreed measure of Rizq will not solve the problem of employer-exploitation.
Don’t worry about the wives and children of your employer. Don’t react with hasad (jealousy) when they spend on themselves and make charitable contributions. Far from solving your problems, you only multiply and worsen them. Impatience and jealousy on account of the possessions of others and malice for those who have more than you and who refuse to give to you, whether justly or unjustly, are in fact complaints directed against the apportioning
of Rizq by Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala has created people in different classes—the rich, the poor, the middle class, the suffering and the prosperous.
Leave the wrongdoers and oppressors to Allah Ta’ala while you express your shukr and satisfaction to Him. Make sincere dua for betterment of your lot.
How does one develop enthusiasm for ibaadat and the urge to do good?
Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi ( rahmatullah) offered the following prescription: “The way of developing concern and enthusiasm is muraaqabah (meditation). Contemplate on the perishable nature of the world. Meditate on your death and on the everlasting nature of the Aakhirah. Meditate on the reward and the punishment (of the Hereafter and the grave), and on the gifts and bounties of Allah Ta’ala. Join the companionship of the Pious and engage in abundance of Thikr.” To acquire the state of enthusiasm and urge for righteousness, you have to struggle and fight the evil propensities and demands of the nafs. In this way will you succeed. In this world sacrifices have to be made. There is no shortcut for gaining spiritual treasures.
Is it compulsory to fulfil a promise made to Allah Ta’ala, e.g. “If I look at a ghair mahram, I will give 5 loaves bread to the poor.” Now if I commit this haraam deed, do I have to compulsorily give the bread to the poor?
Yes, you have to compulsorily honour your promise. You may give the bread or its value to the poor. Such Sadqah should be given to only poor Muslims. While the Shariah does not impose such pledges, it is permissible and meritorious for one’s own islaah (moral reformation).
When I engage in Thikr, I see glittering lights around myself. What are these lights?
Ignore the lights. These lights can be very deceptive and even shaitaani. They are distractions which should be ignored. Don’t get any idea of piety. Shaitaan tricks people into believing that they have become ‘buzrugs’ (saints) when such phenomena are seen. He succeeded in duping people and ruining them by creating pride and self-esteem in them. Be concerned with the Thikr and dismiss the lights as irrelevant and even shaitaani deception.
How does one gain pleasure in Thikr. I do not derive any pleasure in the thikr I make.
The purpose of Thikr is to gain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, not the pleasure of the nafs. Thikr is not made for nafsaani (emotional) pleasure. The work of the bandah (Allah’s slave) is to be constant in the effort and struggle whether he derives pleasure or not. Pleasure in ibaadat is a gift from Allah Ta’ala. It is not a volitional acquisition. Furthermore, our lifestyle presents many acts which negate the acquisition of spiritual pleasure and sweetness of ibaadat. The preponderance of spiritual or baatini sins —sins of the heart — precludes the pleasure which one obtains from ibaadat. There is too much corrosion on the hearts in these days. The requirement is simply to continue with the struggle against the nafs and be constant with Thikr. Forget about the pleasure.
In view of the free indulgence in haraam, some people claim that there is no longer the need to abstain from mushtabah (doubtful) things. Is this view correct?
This view is baseless. If people freely indulge in consuming poison and killing themselves, it does not follow that others should relax their guard and consume just any filth and contamination. Mushtabah is spiritual contamination. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has commanded abstention from mushtabah. In every age, from the time of the Sahaabah right down to this age, all Mashaaikh emphasised the absolute importance of refraining from indulgence in mushtabah. Indulgence in mushtabah is the stepping stone for indulgence in haraam.
Some people search for the past faults and sins of those whom they consider to be their enemies. Their motive in so doing is to wreck the reputation of their adversaries by broadcasting to all and sundry what they have unearthed of their enemies. What is Islam’s attitude towards such people?
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that those who engage in such despicable activities will not die until they have not committed the same crimes with which they are seeking to disgrace their adverseries. In other words, before their maut, they will fall in the hole which they dig for others. Hasad (envy) is indeed evil. It devours good deeds like fire consumes fuel. The haasideen (envious people) are always in a state of mental agitation, unrest and nervous tension. They have no peace. They are consumed by their own flames of jealousy. It is truly a disastrous spiritual disease which destroys people in the same way as it had destroyed Iblees.
I live with my parents and am so unhappy and depressed that if suicide was permissible I would have been dead long ago. But Allah Ta’ala has saved me and strengthened my spirits and Imaan. Will it be permissible for me to make dua of a seriously sick person wishing for death?
Making such a dua is not permissible. A Mu’min should understand that everything is from Allah Ta’ala. You cannot thwart Taqdeer. Even if your parents may appear unjust to you, you as their child should be tolerant, obedient and respectful to them. If you should reflect, you will discover that your unhappiness if it is caused by any worldly difference with your parents, is baseless. If it is the result of a Deeni issue in which you are right and they wrong, then have patience. It is a trial. A Muslim is not expected to react with cowardice. You should not be so faint at heart. People had sacrificed their lives for their Imaan, but you are thinking of an evil such as suicide simply because you are `unhappy’ in your parents’ home. Kuffaar are weak in their hearts. They are unable to bear too much mental pressure. Suicide is committed by those who lack Imaan. The more you feel depressed, the more should your attention focus on Allah Ta’ala. You should increase your Thikr of Allah. The Qur’aan Majeed says: “Hear! In the thikr of Allah do hearts find solace.” Make dua for the removal of the trial and for strength of Imaan. A seriously sick person may not make dua for death solely on account of the sickness.
What is the meaning of the statement, “Imaan is between hope and fear.”?
Imaan is a great and a wonderful treasure. It is the greatest Ni’mat bestowed by Allah Ta’ala to a person. There is nothing greater, nothing more valuable than the treasure of Imaan. Only Allah Ta’ala decides who qualifies for Imaan. The Qur’aan-e-Hakeem declares emphatically: “We have created you. And from among you are Mu’min and from among you are kaafir.” Why has Allah Ta’ala given the treasure of Imaan to only certain of His creation and withheld it from others. This is a question which cannever ever be satisfactorily answered. It is an issue linked with Taqdeer which in turn pertains to the eternal attributes of Allah Ta’ala. To bestow Imaan and to withhold Imaan belong exclusively to His prerogative powers.
Sometimes Allah Ta’ala gives a lesson of Hidaayat and Humility to His devotees, the Auliyaa, through the medium of children and even animals. Once a dog said to Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh): “O Imaam of the Muslimeen! Why did Allah Ta’ala make you the Imaam of the Muslimeen and why did He make me an object of contempt to be despised and buffeted by everyone?” This statement of the dog set Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh) into a deep mood of contemplation. He realised that there was nothing in him – no excellence in him which qualified him for Imaan, and there was no defect in the dog which made contempt necessary for it. He realised that he was a Mu’min purely and only because of the Favour and Kindness of Allah Ta’ala. No man, therefore, has any right to hold another being – man or animal – in contempt. When someone is afflicted with takabbur or pride, he should reflect: “I have no control over my Imaan. If Allah Ta’ala wills, He can snatch away my Imaan in a second.” In fact such calamities had befallen many great men who were overcome with pride. The best and the classical example of such a disaster is shaitaan who lost his Imaan on account of a moment’s pride. His thousands of years of ibaadat did not avail him. His rank as the instructor of the Malaa-ikah did not save his Imaan.
Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (rahmatullah alayh) had developed a hunched back in his young age. People would ask him for the reason. He always avoided them. one day when they persisted, he said: “I had three Ustaadhs. one died as a Christian, one a Jew and one a Majoosi (Fire-Worshipper). When I observed this, fear hunched my back.” Now what confidence and what pride can anyone have for any virtue or excellence which he may possess? Nothing is more virtuous, more excellent and more valuable than Imaan. When we are liable to loose it – to have it snatched away – then never can one be at ease and negligent while one is still living on earth. It is precisely for this reason that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Imaan is suspended between hope and fear.” No one knows what tomorrow holds for him. In one Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“When you rise in the morning and you find your Imaan intact; you have your health and sufficient food for that day, then consider yourself the king of the world.”
There will come a time, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, that a man will rise in the morning a Mu’min, but by evening will become a kaafir. Another will sleep as a Mu’min and wake up a kaafir. May Allah Ta’ala protect our Imaan. The Qur’aan says:
“Only, the people of intelligence gain naseehat.”
How should one instil within oneself the love and concern for the Akhirah and bring himself to direct all his efforts towards the purpose for which he was created?
Islam is a culture of Ibaadat. Ibaadat is not confined to spiritual affairs. Every mundane act and activity of the Muslim has to be brought within the purview of Ibaadat which is the original purpose of man’s creation. The Qur’aan Majeed says: “I have not created jinn and man except that they worship Me.”
The Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) regiments the daily life of the Mu’min in a way which transforms his entire day into Ibaadat. From the morning when his eyes first open, he is required by the Sunnah to recite a dua; when he enters the toilet, he has to recite a dua; when he emerges from the toilet, a dua; when he dresses, a dua has to be recited; when he looks in the mirror, a dua has to be recited; when he commences to eat, a dua has to be recited. In short, when commencing, ending and during the course of an act, any and every act, the Sunnah requires the Mu’min to recite a dua. Special short duas for the numerous occasions and moments of life have been instructed by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
Then besides these duas, the Mu’min is required to abandon his mundane activities and occupations five times a day to go into seclusion for Salaat. He has to observe the introductory measures such as wudhu for Salaat. Besides the five Fardh (compulsory) Salaat, he is required to perform Ishraaq Salaat, Dhuha Salaat, Awwaabeen Salaat and Tahajjud Salaat. In addition, he is required to perform Tahyatul Wudhu immediately after having made wudhu or ghusl. On entering the Musjid, Tahyatul Musjid has to be executed. Then there are the other occasional Salaats such as Istikhaarah, Taubah Salaat, Salaatul Khauf, Salaat on the occasion of an eclipse of the sun and moon, Taraaweeh Salaat, Salaatul Tasbeeh, Salaatul Haajaat, Eid Salaat and Janazah Salaat.
Most of these acts are daily routines. But, this is not all. The Sunnah requires the Mu’min to spend daily some time in Tilaawat of the Qur’aan. In addition to his quota of tilaawat in the morning, there are lengthy Masnoon Surahs to be recited after each Salaat, viz., Surah Yaaseen after Fajr, Surah Fatah after Zuhr, Surah Naba’ after Asr, Surah Waaqiah after Maghrib and Surah Mulk after Isha. To complete the list, is the constant and perpetual Thikr commanded by the Qur’aan: “(The People of intelligence are) those who make the Thikr of Allah while standing, sitting and reclining….”
Many verses and ahadith exhort and command perpetual Thikr. The Rooh of the Mu’min can develop correctly only by means of perpetual Thikr, all day long, in all walks of life. one does not require wudhu or any other special condition for perpetual thikr. But, such thikr is the Purpose of life on earth. When the Mu’min consciously endeavours to reduce his worldly life into subservience of Islam, he will then strive to comply to the Culture of Ibaadat which the Sunnah actually is. When his heart becomes alive with perpetual Thikr, he will become conscious of his transgressions, failings and defects. When this realisation dawns on him, he will make an attempt to purify himself morally and seek ways of spiritual elevation. He will then search for the Saaliheen who can guide him along the path to Allah Ta’ala. It is for this reason that the Qur’aan commands: “And, join the company of the Saadiqeen (i.e. the Auliya).”
Q. Are there any worldly benefits in avoiding doubtful food?
A. Most Muslims must have heard the name of the illustrious Saint, Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak (rahmatullah alayh). His father, Mubaarak, was the slave of the Qaadhi of the City of Ray. The piety of his slave had made an indelible impression on the Qaadhi who was a very wealthy and prominent member of the community. Inspite of high-ranking and elite members of the community proposing marriage for his daughter, the Qaadhi married his daughter to his slave, Mubaarak.
The Qaadhi Saheb too was a pious man, hence he made the decision to have his daughter married to his slave. Taqwa was the criterion for his decision. After the bride was delivered to her husband Mubaarak, the now freed slave, he did not consummate the marriage for forty days. Both he and his wife remained in Ibaadat for this period. Meanwhile Mubaarak ensured that he fed his wife with halaal tayyib food for forty days.
After three days had passed without consummation, his wife complained to her husband. Mubaarak replied: “Undoubtedly, your father is a pious man. However, he is a Qaadhi. I have doubts on the absolute purity of his wealth and what he had fed you. I desire that before consummation of the marriage, any mushtabah food which you may have consumed at your father’s home be worked out of your system so that Allah Ta’ala blesses us with pious offspring.” When the pious lady heard this explanation she understood, was overjoyed and she joined her husband in the 40 day I’tikaaf. Thereafter the illustrious Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak, the Imaam of the Ummah of the time was conceived.
This is the effect of halaal tayyib food. It is precisely for this reason that Allah Ta’ala emphasizes to His Ambiya the importance of consuming halaal tayyib food. In such food there is Noor which brightens the Rooh of the Mu’min. on the other hand, in haraam and mushtabah food there is nothing but zulmat (spiritual darkness) which utterly ruins the spiritual fibre of the Mu’min. Taufeeq for A’maal-e-Saalihah is negated despite the realization of the importance of such deeds and despite the intellectual perception of the necessity of righteous deeds. But, the weakened Imaan tarnished and damaged by haraam and mushtabah food cannot generate sufficient energy to fight and thwart the commands of the nafs to be spiritually lethargic and perpetually incline towards evil. Muslims should realize that consumption of haraam and mushtabah is not a trivial issue. It is a fatal poison for Imaan.
What is Ma’rifat?
Ma’rifat is a special guidance which Allah Ta’ala inspires into the purified heart of the Mu’min. There are two kinds of Ma’rifat— Istidlaali and Shuhoodi. Istidlaali is the ability to reach Allah Ta’ala by intellectual deduction on the basis of observation of the wonders created by Allah Ta’ala. Contemplation on His creation leads to man’s recognition of Allah Ta’ala. The following Qur’aanic aayat states this type of Ma’rifat: “Soon shall We show them Our signs in the horizons (of the heavens and earth), and in their own beings.”
The true Ulama of Taqwa are grounded in this type of Ma’rifat. By observing the wonderful signs of Allah Ta’ala they reach their Creator. This category of Ma’rifat is also acquired by such pure souls to whom certain things of the unseen realm have been revealed, i.e. by way of Kashf (divine inspiration which removes the veils which conceal reality). Such persons make their deduction on both material and spiritual objects to reach the Reality of Allah Ta’ala. The deductions and conclusions based on only the external or physical realm are deficient. The conclusions will be perfect only if Baatini (spiritual) insight also accompanies the intellectual deductions based on the physical realm.
The second kind of Ma’rifat is called Shuhoodi. Those who have been blessed with this wealth attain Allah Ta’ala without any deductive process. They acquire His Recognition instantaneously by way of spiritual perception and recognition. They are not dependent on the external realm or the physical world to understand the greatness and reality of Allah Ta’ala. The Siddiqeen (Auliya of high rank) are the ones grounded in this type of Ma’rifat. This Ma’rifat is also called Yaqeen and Ihsaan. The knowledge of things is acquired from Khaaliq (Allah The Creator), not from observation of creation.
EXISTENCE OF THE HEART
Wahi (Divine Revelation) descended to Nabi Daawood (alayhis salaam): “O Daawood! Do you know what My Ma’rifat is?” Nabi Daawood replied: “O Allah! I do not know.” Allah Ta’ala revealed to him: “It is the existence of the heart in the substratum of My perception.” When the devotee is able to perceive Allah Ta’ala with his spiritual eyes, he has then acquired Divine Ma’rifat. In a Hadith-e-Qudsi, Allah Ta’ala addressing His devotee says: “O My servant! Become abstemious (develop Taqwa) so that you may recognize Me. Remain hungry so that you may see Me. Become emancipated (from the fetters of the world and nafs) so that you attain My Ma’rifat and Ibaadat.”
“He who is blind in this world, will likewise be blind in the Aakhirah. (In fact) he will be more astray (and lost) from the Path.” (Qur’aan) A man whose baatin (soul) is bereft of the Noor of Ma’rifat and lacks spiritual perception of realities is blind even if his physical eyes have vision. Therefore, a person who is involved in futility will not be a repository for divine Taufeeq. He will not be blessed with the Ma’rifat of Allah. Such a spiritually blind man is cast far away by Allah Ta’ala because of his engrossment in the desires of the nafs. He is thus deprived of the perception of the Divine Attributes of Allah Ta’ala.
Q. When I see an acquaintance accomplishing something or achieving success, I become jealous. How can I get rid of this evil?
A. As long as you don’t act according to the demands of the jealousy, it will not harm you nor is it sinful as long as you restrain it. Just recite Wahoula repeatedly, and make dua for the person you are jealous. Then you will gain much thawaab for this act of mujaahadah (struggle) against the nafs. When the nafs is jealous, it demands that the person should be harmed; that you should speak bad about him; that you should make gheebat about him, etc. Resist all these demands, and you will gain thawaab, and the jealousy will then not harm you morally and spiritually. To others, speak good about the person, and when you see him, be the first to make Salaam.
Q. What does it mean to do zikr with the heart?
A. Hadhrat Abu Saeed Kharraaz (rahmatullah alayh) said: “There are three forms of Thikr. (1) Thikr only with the tongue. The heart is oblivious. While the tongue is engaged in Thikr, the heart dwells elsewhere. This is Thikr by habit. (2) Thikr with the tongue with the heart being present. This is Thikr of high merit. (3) Thikr only with the heart. In this form the tongue remains inactive. This is the highest form. Only Allah Ta’ala is aware of its rewards and its lofty stage.”
Comment: The first form of Thikr is actually the Masnoon (Sunnat) way. This form has been prescribed for the entire Ummah – for the ordinary folk as well as for high ranking Auliya. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Maintain your tongue moist (and fresh) with the Thikr of Allah.” All Masnoon forms of Thikr are Thikr-e-Lisaani (Thikr with the tongue). Thikr with the tongue is the first stage. Without this first stage it is impossible to reach the second stage in which the heart co-operates with the tongue and attentively listens to the proclamation of the tongue. Therefore, regardless of the heart being inattentive, Thikr should not be abandoned. The Qur’aan and Hadith command perpetual Thikr – Thikr at all times and in every walk of life. Perpetual verbal thikr will embed the Remembrance of Allah in the heart. Even if the second stage is not attained after even a lifetime of verbal thikr, this Thikr should not be abandoned on account of the non-co-operation of the heart. Thikr even with only the tongue is not futile, and it will not go unrewarded even in this world. One of the primary functions of the tongue is Thikrullaah. It is therefore Waajib to ensure that this wonderful organ (the tongue) is perpetually engaged in the Remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. It should not be wasted and ruined in futility, nonsense, falsehood and sinful utterances. One should be grateful to Allah Ta’ala for the ability (taufeeq) to keep at least the tongue employed in His Thikr. The second stage will, Insha’Allah, be attained gradually if the first stage is diligently implemented and steadfastly sustained. The third stage is the practice of the Auliya of lofty ranks. Ordinary people may not practice the third stage for it will be pure deception of Shaitaan to make them forgetful of Thikr.
Q. What is the minimum amount of Thikr one should make daily?
A. There is no minimum amount of thikr. Thikr has to be perpetual – while walking, sitting, lying down, working, etc. The Mu’min’s tongue must be engaged in Thikrullaah at all times. This perpetual thikr will ensure that the thikr becomes engraved and entrenched in the heart. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Your tongue should remain ever fresh with Thikrullaah.” The purpose of life on earth is Thikrullah. The Qur’aan Majeed states: “I have not created jinn and man except that they render ibaadat to Me.” All other activities on earth besides Thikrullah are secondary and have to be made subservient to Allah’s Remembrance, hence Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Every obedient person is a thaakir (one who remembers Allah).” We are required to measure all our worldly activities constantly on the scale of the Shariah, then only will we become people of Thikr.
Q. Should we ‘penalise’ ourselves on commission of any sin?
A. “It is not justice that you have animosity for people when they disobey Allah Ta’ala, but when you disobey Him, you bear no animosity for your own nafs.” (Hadhrat Haatim Asam) Commenting on this naseehat, Hadhrat Allaamah Sha’raani (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Animosity with one’s nafs means to impose the penalty of hunger on oneself, to deny oneself the comfort of the bed and to impose similar acts on oneself as a punishment and a reminder.” It was a practice of the Auliya to impose some sort of penalty on themselves if they committed a sin or an act of futility. The nafs should not be allowed to remain unfettered. Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi (rahmatullah alayh) advised that in this age a good penalty would be performance of Nafl Salaat. For example, if the nafs does not restrain the eyes from staring at females, then perform 20 raka’ts Nafl Salaat for each such sin committed. Insha’Allah, the nafs will then understand and submit to obedience.
Q. What advice can one give to a man who wants to commit suicide? He is overwhelmed by financial problems.
A. Suicide, far from relieving a person of his problems, only leads to more problems. The purpose for suicide is to put an end to the grief/problems. But this baseless idea will be logical for atheists who have no conception of what awaits after the soul leaves this material body. If a Muslim also thinks of suicide, then it is almost certain that he has no Imaan. After Maut, a person wakes up to the true reality. The man who commits suicide will have to repeat his act of suicide perpetually until the Day of Qiyaamah. In Barzakh he will suffer the agony of killing himself over and over again. It will be a never -ending process of self-immolation without death ever arriving. So when a man commits suicide, he does not in reality die. He only appears dead to the people of the world. The torment begins from the time of suicide until Qiyaamah and beyond Qiyaamah until as along as he will remain in Jahannum. Thus, the idea of gaining escape from worldly worries and problems by committing suicide is the effect of disbelief (kufr). There is no escape from the problems. Problems are meant for surmounting. The Muslim focuses his gaze on Allah Ta’ala, and he believes that every atom moves only with the command and direct intervention of Allah Azza Wa Jal. Not a leaf falls from a tree but with Allah’s command. This world is the abode of trial and tribulation. It is not a place of comfort and happiness. A Muslim is always brave and he understands that these afflictions are Allah’s decrees, hence, he accepts and resigns himself to the Pleasure of his Rabb (Creator and Sustainer). Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “It is of the good fortune of a man that he remains pleased with the decree of Allah.” Therefore, the one who contemplates the cowardly act of suicide, should worry about his Imaan. Does he want to perish with kufr and assign himself everlastingly to perdition in Jahannum?
Q. What does istighna’ mean?
A. Istighna’ means an independence blended with humility with the gaze focused on Allah Azza Wa Jal. Once while making Tawaaf of Baitullah, the Khalifah of the time, Hishaam Bin Abdul Malik, observed the illustrious Aalim-e-Rabbaani, Hadhrat Saalim Bin Abdullah Bin Aaamir (rahmatullah alayh) also making Tawaaf. This great and noble Aalim was carrying his shoes and wearing an old simple shawl. Recognizing the Aalim, the Khalifah said: “Ask me for any of your needs.” Hadhrat Saal im: “I feel ashamed for Allah Ta’ala to ask in His House anyone besides Him.” The Khal ifah’s colour changed with anger. He interpreted Hadhrat Saalim’s response to be an insult. After completing his Tawaaf, Hadhrat Saalim left. The Khalifah followed behind him. When both were outside Musjidul Haraam, the Khalifah said: “Now, you are outside the House of Allah. Therefore, you may ask me for your needs (I shall fulfil it).” Hadhrat Saalim: “From worldly needs or needs of the Hereafter?” Khalifah: “Fulfilling a need of the Hereafter is beyond my power, but I shall fulfil any worldly need.” Hadhrat Saalim: “I have not asked for worldly needs from even Him (i.e. Allah Ta’ala) Who owns the world. How then can I ask for worldly needs from one who does not own the world?” So saying, Hadhrat Saalim (rahmatullah alayh) went ahead, leaving the Khalifah standing there reflecting on his own insignificance.
Q. What is the Hisaab?
A. Hi s a a b (o r t h e Di v i n e Reckoning in Qiyaamah) is a momentous and a fearful occasion. For halaal there will be Hisaab, and for haraam will be Athaab (Punishment). The more a man’s wealth the harder and more prolonged wi l l b e h i s Re c ko n i n g regardless of his piety and his absolutely sincere and profuse spending in the Path of Allah Ta’ala. While numerous Fuqara wi l l be saved from the torments of Hisaab, even thevery pious people of affluence will be embroiled in the c auldron of Reckoning. According to Hadhrat Umar Bin Khattaab (radhiyallahu anhu), the Fuqara will be sitting in the company of Allah Ta’ala on the Day of Qiyaamah. Ha d h r a t Ab u Da r d a (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “The hisaab of the person who owned two dirhams will be more severe than the Hisaab of the person who owned one dirham.” On the Day of Qiyaamah, even pure, halaal wealth will be a heavy burden. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the wealthy person will enter Jannat with difficulty. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa s a l l am) s a i d : “Th e Believer’s gift in this world is poverty. The last Nabi to enter Jannat will be Sulaimaan Ibn Daawood (alayhimas salaam) because of the vast kingdom (and wealth) he possessed. And, the last of my Sahaabah to enter Jannat will be Abdur R a h m a a n I b n A u f (radhiyallahu anhu).” In another Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “I saw him crawling into Jannat.” Now, Nabi Sulaimaan (alayhis salaam) was among the great Ambiya (alayhimus salaam), and his kingdom was bestowed to him by Allah T a ‘ a l a . Ha d h r a t Ab d u r R a h m a a n B i n A u f (radhiyallahu anhu) was among the senior Sahaabah. He was one of the Ashrah Mubashsharah (The Ten Sahaabah who were given the glad tidings of Jannat). He used to spend his wealth freely and abundantly in the Path of Allah Ta’ala. Despite this, they will be among the very last of their respective groups to enter Jannat. Wealth is therefore not to be coveted.
Q. Please advise regarding indulging oneself and extravagance.
A. Someone asked Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh): “What do you say about a man to whom Allah Ta’ala has bestowed abundant wealth – he gives munificently in charity and with it he maintains family ties? Is it valid for him to enjoy his wealth (for luxuries)?” Hadhrat Hasan replied: “No! Even if he possessed the entire world, it would not be lawful for him to spend except for that which is absolutely necessary, and he sends it ahead for the day when he shall be in need of it (the Day of Qiyaamah).” Possession of an abundance of halaal wealth is not a licence for extravagance and unfettered indulgence in even permissible luxuries. The avenues for spending in the Path of Allah are innumerable. The objective of wealth is not for amassing and hoarding, but to dispose of it constructively to build up your capital in the Aakhirah. Every unnecessary expenditure, be it for the acquisition of a lawful luxury, will prove to be a calamity in the Hereafter.
Q. What are the virtues of hunger?
A. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Sahl (rahmatullah alayh) said: “When Allah Ta’ala created the world, He instilled in satiation (i.e. a full stomach) ignorance and sin. And in hunger He created knowledge and wisdom.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said to Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha): “O Aishah! If you desire to link up with me (in Jannat), then let provisions equal to the provisions of a horse-rider (on a journey) suffice for you; beware of cultivating the companionship of the wealthy, and do not regard a garment to be old (and fit to be discarded) as long as you can patch it.” Although we lack the spiritual stamina to emulate these lofty attributes commanded by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the minimum degree of Waajib Zuhd (compulsory renunciation of the world) is to abstain from haraam, mushtabah (doubtful things), excessive luxury and unlawful adornment. Hunger should be practised by means of Sunnat and Nafl fasting and abstention from over-eating and filling the stomach to capacity. These abstentions apply to bounties (ni’maat) which are halaal and tayyib. Moderation in the utilization of even halaal and tayyib food is Waajib. What now says your Imaan regarding carrion and filth; haraam and mushtabah ‘food’ which the Shariah says is unfit for even dogs?
Q. What is the wisdom behind calamities?
A. In most cases, calamities and misfortunes, no matter how slight and small, are generally the effects of sins. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “When Allah wills goodness for a person, He hastens his punishment in this world.” The punishment which Allah Ta’ala inflicts a person with in this world is also a rahmat (mercy), for it compensates for the act of sin. The sin is then erased and punishment in the Aakhirah is averted. Very few people understand this mystery. The mind is furthest from the cause of the misfortune which throws most people into consternation and complaint. They are oblivious of their sins, hence fail to see the link. Even a pinprick is a kaffaarah (compensation) for a sin. These slight worldly punishments are all bearable. One should not become disillusioned and frustrated when difficulties overtake one. When a calamity, no matter how small, occurs, understand that it is the consequence of sin. The first reaction should be Istighfaar. Repent for the sins you can remember and for sins which you are unable to recall or pinpoint. The sins we commit are numerous. In fact, we do not even consider our sinful deeds to be sins. The attitude of justifying sins is dangerous for Imaan. Mere verbal recitation of Istighfaar without understanding and acknowledging one’s sins, is meaningless. When a person understands his sins, he is then stricken with remorse and regret, and this is the soul of Taubah. When the soul is present, there will be life in the verbal Istighfaar. According to the Hadith, when any difficulty or sickness, etc. befalls, recite Istighfaar in abundance, and sincerely supplicate for forgiveness, and make dua for the uplifting of the calamity. Allah Ta’ala is Most Merciful. He forgives all sins provided there is genuine regret in the heart. This is the first step of the remedy for cure.
Q. Please advise on what our attitude should be towards ni’mats bestowed upon us?
A. The Ni’maat (bounties and favours) of Allah Ta’ala are innumerable and limitless. The Qur’aan Majeed says: “And, if you count the bounties of Allah, never will you be able to enumerate them.” The innumerable bounties with which man has been born and which continuously cascade on him from Allah Ta’ala despite his (man’s) sin and transgression, have made him oblivious of the treasures which have been assigned to his custody. The free obtainal of so numerous bounties of such immense importance has made man impervious as to their value. Insaan generally appreciates Allah’s Ni’maat only after they have been snatched away. For example, if a person’s eyesight or hearing or a limb is eliminated, he will suddenly wake up to understand and appreciate the wonderful treasure which he had possessed. It is because man does not reflect that he does not understand or realize the wonderful treasures Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to him. Once Allah Ta’ala by way of ilhaam (inspiration) said to Hadhrat Habeeb Ajmi (rahmatullah alayh): “O Habeeb! If you have to spend the rest of your life making Sajdah Shukr (a prostration of gratitude) in the midst of a fire, never will you be able to fulfil shukr (gratitude) for even a single one of My innumerable bounties.” An attitude of ingratitude for a bounty is ujub (vanity). When a man becomes vainglorious on account of an excellence which Allah Ta’ala has bestowed to him, it is a clear sign of his ingratitude for the ni’mat. A ni’mat should inspire in a man greater tawaadhu’ (humility), and also fear, for he knows not if Allah Ta’ala will allow him to retain the ni’mat or will Allah Ta’ala snatch it away. Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) narrated the following episode: “By virtue of the dua of a few Buzrugs (pious persons), a man had managed to make hifz of the Qur’aan Majeed in his old age. The Dua of the saintly persons is a sign of Maqbooliyat (acceptance by Allah Ta’ala). After the old man had successfully completed Hifz, he saw in a dream two Buzrugs congratulating him for his accomplishment. This dream further confirmed the maqbooliyat. This old man happened to visit another city where the people requested him to lead the Taraaweeh Salaat. This person regarded the request to be a divine invitation, hence he did not attempt to refuse. He informed another Buzrug that he would be reciting the Qur’aan in a certain Musjid. That Buzrug said: ‘Your Qur’aan is accepted everywhere. Wherever you go, people will welcome you enthusiastically.’ The old Haafiz was immensely delighted for all these accolades. However, on the very first night when he began the Taraaweeh, there developed an intense argument between him and the musallis. They almost physically assaulted him. At that juncture the Haafiz remembered the following naseehat of his Ustaadh (who was a Shaikh): ‘Never pay attention to inspirations (kashf, waaridaat).’ The punishment for focusing his attention on these waaridaat (thereby becoming vainglorious) was his unceremonious expulsion from the Musjid, and thereafter for a long period of time he was humiliated by the people of the neighbourhood. Some people think of themselves to be among the elite if they discern a little excellence in themselves. They begin to despise others. They are overtaken by the twin maladies of vanity and holding others in contempt.”
Q. What is your view regarding striving in the world t o g a in e xc e l l e nce /perfection? I don’t mean merely earning a living, but instead working hard to be successful so that we can also be an example to the kuffaar in the ways of the dunya too. We can also use our economic leverage to help the Ummah as Hadhrat Abdur Rahman Bin Auf (radhiyallahu anhu) had excelled in matters of wealth. So, if a person can keep his Deen secure and executes all his Fardh, Waajib and Sunnat Muakkadah obligations, then is it encouraged for him to excel in the dunya? Is it better to lead a menial life or so well in the world?
A. A Mu’min who understands the maqsad (objective) of life on earth does not strive and live to prove anything to the kuffaar. He practises the Deen for Allah’s Pleasure, for thawaab in the Aakhirah and f or everlasting Najaat (Salvation). He does not manipulate the Shariah and the Sunnah to be an example for the kuffaar. We all eat food, not to build up our bodies. We eat good and delicious food to satisfy our nafsaani desires. But in this process the food builds up our bodies and sustains our life on earth. But almost every person’s objective for eating food and drinking water is to satisfy hunger, thirst and the nafs. Similarly, while a Mu’min practises according to the Shariah and adopts the Sunnah for the sake of Allah Ta’ala, he unconsciously and without design becomes an example of virtue for non-Muslims. The mundane benefits are by products. Our intention in following the Deen must be absolutely nothing but Allah’s Pleasure. We should not contaminate our niyyat with worldly designs and motives, or any motive which negates Ikhlaas (sincerity). Undoubtedly, we are under Shar’i obligation to utilize our material resources to assist the poor and in other Deeni projects. But this too is only for Allah’s Pleasure, not for any other reason. The Qur’aan Majeed states: “They feed the poor, the orphan and the prisoner for the love of Allaah. Verily, we feed you for the Sake of Allaah. We do not intend (to acquire) from you reward nor thanks.” Far from Islam encouraging the Muslim to excel in the dunya in material spheres of life, the Qur’aan and the Ahaadith advocate renunciation of the dunya in varying degrees depending on the quality of Imaan of individuals. The Qur’aan and Ahaadith condemn the dunya and discourage us from indulgence in worldly pursuits beyond the degree of need. You have mentioned Hadhrat Abdur R a h m a a n B i n A u f (radhiyallahu anhu). Despite his greatness, despite his entire wealth being at the disposal of the Deen and despite him being among the Ten Sahaabah whose Jannat has been assured, he will enter Jannat five centuries after Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) because while the former had excelled in the dunya, she excelled in the Aakhirah, and was totally but voluntarily deprived of the dunya. She led a life of extreme poverty and frugality. The merit for the Mu’min is to excel in the Aakhirah, not in the dunya. But this message is not propagated in general in these days because the Imaan of most Muslims dangles on a thread. It is therefore senseless to emphasize renunciation. Hence, we emphasize acquisition of the dunya within the prescribed bounds of the Shariah. That is the minimum Waajib demand for all Muslims, regardless of how weak their Imaan may be. Undoubtedly, it is infinitely superior to lead a life of a mendicant whose gaze is focused on the Aakhirah even though he lacks in entirety in worldly spheres.
Q. What could I recite for depression?
A. When depressed recite Surah Inna anzalna and blow on your food. Also, after Namaaz, recite Surah Alam Nash Rah, and blow on your heart. Keep the mind and heart strong. Depression is short-lived. It will, Insha’Allah, pass over. Don’t brood over it. Try to divert your mind to something else. Depression too comes with its benefits.
[expand title=”Q. I live with my parents and am so unhappy and depressed that if suicide was permissible I would have been dead long ago. But Allah Ta’ala has saved me and strengthened my spirits and Imaan. Will it be permissible for me to make dua of a seriously sick person wishing for death?
A. Making such a dua is not permissible. A Mu’min should understand that everything is from Allah Ta’ala. You cannot thwart Taqdeer. Even if your parents may appear unjust to you, you as their child should be tolerant, obedient and respectful to them. If you should reflect, you will discover that your unhappiness if it is caused by any worldly difference with your parents, is baseless. If it is the result of a Deeni issue in which you are right and they wrong, then have patience. It is a trial. A Muslim is not expected to react with cowardice. You should not be so faint at heart. People had sacrificed their lives for their Imaan, but you are thinking of an evil such as suicide simply because you are `unhappy’ in your parents’ home. Kuffaar are weak in their hearts. They are unable to bear too much mental pressure. Suicide is committed by those who lack Imaan. The more you feel depressed, the more should your attention focus on Allah Ta’ala. You should increase your Thikr of Allah. The Qur’aan Majeed says: “Hear! In the thikr of Allah do hearts find solace.” Make dua for the removal of the trial and for strength of Imaan. A seriously sick person may not make dua for death solely on account of the sickness.
Q. Please comment on how our niyyat always seems to be motivated by customary practices and what conforms to that which we want to believe in, rather than purely for the pleasure of Allah (azza wa jal) and submitting completely to His Shari’ah.
A. Niyyat simply means intention. The Islamic meaning of niyyat i s e x p l ained by Qaadhi Ba id h a awi a s f o l lows : “Focusing the heart on an action for obtaining Allah’s pleasure.” This beautiful intention is also termed Ikhlaas (sincerity – purely for the Sake of Allah Ta’ala). Minus this niyyat, good deeds are unacceptable. Hence, Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) said that more than the actual deed, strive for the acceptance of the deed. With taqwa and Ikhlaas even a small deed is not insignificant. It has considerable value. The slightest corruption in the niyyat ruins the ibaadat and renders it unacceptable. Such an action, regardless of its outward beauty has really no existence. Nowadays, we ostensibly practise good deeds and we superficially adhere to the salient features of Islam. However, our motives are corrupt. Most of our actions are bereft of Ikhlaas. Our piety is a mere outward façade. It is devoid of reality. In our adoption of virtuous deeds and in our abstention from evil deeds, we are motivated by customary norms. We therefore, adhere to some good deeds, whilst we neglect other good deeds. Deeds which conform to habit and customary practices and which are considered respectable, we readily practise. On the contrary, such good deeds which are not customary and which may be viewed with disdain are abandoned. This attitude brings us within the scope of the Qur’aanic aayat: “What, do you believe in a portion of the Kitaab (Qur’aan), and you reject a portion of it?” This attitude is a mere outward show of piety. It is not genuine piety. The analogy of our piety is like the outer peel or the shell without the inner fruit. This is the condition of our ibaadat. It has external form which is devoid of Ikhlaas. A man focusing his gaze on only
the external form believes that he has attained piety. If we should reflect on our condition, we shall not fail to discern that the greater part of our deeds are contaminated with corrupt intentions. Love for fame, love for wealth, show, ostentation, lust, etc. contaminate our A’maal-e-Saalihah. We have become impervious, hence we do not understand our corruption. Nowadays lack of Ikhlaas is our greatest deficiency. Thus, all good deeds and knowledge are hollow and go wasted. Our deeds are without soul. We thus find that despite numerous and long discourses, our Deen and Imaan increasingly weaken by the day. The original power is in Ikhlaas.
Q. Please comment on the importance of reciting the Qur’an.
A. Tilaawat (recitation) of the Qur’aan Majeed is an incumbent obligation for all Muslims, males and females. Abstention from Tilaawat corrodes the heart and destroys the ability to understand the truth and to practise righteous acts. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Do not convert your homes into graveyards. Verily, the shai- taan flees from a home wherein Surah Baqarah is recited.” A home wherein the inmates do not make regular and daily Tilaawat of the Qur’aan Majeed is like a desolate graveyard. Such a home becomes a haunt for the shayaateen. On the other hand, the shayaateen flee from a home in which the fragrance of the Qur’aan permeates. The heart bereft of the barkat of the Qur’aan is a rusted heart which becomes blind to the truth. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Verily, these hearts rust like steel rusts when it becomes moist.’ The Sahaabah asked: ‘O Rasulullah! What is its polish?’ He said: “Abundant remembrance of Maut and Tilaawat of the Qur’aan.” Innumerable Muslims abstain from daily Qur’aan tilaawat. There are many who fail to make a khatam (a complete recitation) of the Qur’aan Majeed in even a whole year. Such persons are most unfortunate. The shayaateen become their companions who influence their thinking, statements and deeds. The very minimum requirement is to complete one Qur’aan every month. Those who have the time and the taufeeq should make more khatams, and this should be increased during the Month of the Qur’aan, i.e. the Month of Ramadhaan.
Q. Please advise on averting heedlessness (ghaflat).
A. Shaitaaniyat (Satanism – to be under the influence of shaitaan) causes Ghaflat (to be oblivious, uncaring, unconcerned). When a person settles snugly in ghaflat, shaitaan is his constant companion. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan Majeed: “For the one who refrains from the Thikr of Rahmaan, We appoint for him a (special) shaitaan who becomes his constant companion.” (Aayat 36, Zukhruf) Life, despite its carrion status and temporary nature, is an extremely serious affair. The salvation or damnation of Insaan hinges on this earthly life. For the achievement of everlasting salvation in the Hereafter, Allah Ta’ala has ordained that His Thikr be the constant and perpetual occupation of the Muslim in every walk and condition of his life. Thus, we find that Allah’s Shariah regulates every movement of the Muslim from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed so that his entire day in his mundane activities, and his entire night in his sleep are recorded as an uninterrupted period of Thikrullah. Thus, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Every obedi- ent person is a Thaakir (one who is engaged in Thikr).” When a person abstains from constant Thikr, then according to the Qur’aan, Allah Ta’ala creates a special shaitaan who steers and drives the ghaafil (the oblivious one). He is constantly influenced by shaitaan. His thoughts, statements and acts all become manifestations of shaitaaniyat. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Verily, shaitaan sits glued on the heart of man. When he (man) engages in Thikr, shaitaan flees. When he is ghaafil, shaitaan casts waswasah (into his mind).” Thikr is the most efficacious method for combating and eliminating shaitaani wasaawis. The Qur’aan Majeed states: “When shaitaan assaults you with (his) evil whispering, then recite Ta -awwuz (Authubillaah)……..Those who have taqwa, when a group of the shaitaan assaults them, they lapse intoThikr. Then suddenly they see (i.e. shaitaan disappearing).” Every Muslim is required compulsorily by the Shariah to keep his/tongue fresh with the Thikr of Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Your tongue should remain ever fresh with the Thikr of Allah.” This is a reference to Thikr 24 hours of the day. When the tongue isengaged with thikr during the wakeful moments, then every breath during sleep is recorded as Thikrullaah. Constant Thikr will banish ghaflat and shaitaaniyat. The Muslim will then become more aware of his Deeni responsibilities and develop a greater perception of the Divine Presence and of the transitory and perishable nature of this world, and of the reality of Aakhirah. Allah Ta’ala warning those who refrain from constant Thikr, says in the Qur’aan Majeed: “Wail (Jahannum / Destruction) for those whose hearts have hardened as a result of abstaining from Thikrullaah.”
Q. Please advise regarding Salaatul Istikhaarah.
A. Istikhaarah simply means to consult with and seek advice from Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) encouraged the performance of Salaatul Istikhaarah whenever one wishes to embark on an important act . Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) also said that abstention from Istikhaarah is a sign of misfortune and wretchedness. Insha’Allah, by resorting to Istikhaarah there is greater probability of success in the contemplated venture. Immediately after completing the Istikhaarah Salaat go to bed. Sleep on clean bedding, facing the Qiblah. A strong inclination at the time when the eyes open will be the best course of action to adopt. Sometimes the course of action may be conveyed in a dream. However, seeing a dream after Istikhaarah is not necessary. The manner of performing this Salaat is explained in detail in our kitaab, Kitaabus Salaat. If you don’t have this book, write for a copy. Most people become perplexed because their Istikhaarah produces no effect or direction. They continue remaining in trepidation regarding the matter for which they had performed Istikhaarah. The reason for lack of effect and direction is the spiritual darkness and fog which nowadays generally cloud the mind and the heart. Clarity in the directive of Istikhaarah via the media of dreams and strong inclination is related to the spiritual realm. To achieve this clarity, the essential requisites are purity and clarity of the mind and heart. These requisites are the effects of Taqwa. Today Taqwa is an alien concept. Even Ulama nowadays frown on Taqwa. The abundance of haraam in which people indulge completely overshadows the mind and heart. Instead of noor, the heart is clouded with zulmat (spiritual darkness). The deluge of haraam and mushtabah (doubtful) foods such as carrion chickens, carrion meat, processed foods and alcoholic juices and beverages which is down-loaded into the body, utterly blocks every spiritual faculty of the Rooh (Soul). In addition to the avalanche of physical pollution by way of ingestion of haraam and mushtabah foods, is the preponderance of sin and disobedience. Utilizing the eyes, ears and limbs of the body for haraam acts; listening to music; viewing television; mingling with the opposite sex; harbouring animosity for a Muslim; indulgence in futility; abstention from the ways of the Sunnah; and, generally acting in ways which extinguish Taqwa, darken the Rooh completely. When all spiritual faculties ha ve b een extinguished, blocked or jammed with this avalanche of rijs (filth), fisq (flagrant disobedience) and fujoor (immorality), one should not be surprised when one does not experience the effects of Istikhaarah. However, despite this lamentable spiritual condition in which we are stagnated or in which we are retrogressing, Salaatul Istikhaarah should not be abandoned. Before engaging in Istikhaarah, repent for sins and recite Istighfaar in abundance. Perform the Salaat with the intention of fulfilling the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Then, Insha’Allah, even if there is no clear sign or directive, Allah Ta’ala will create the circumstances which will lead to the adoption of the correct course of action.
Q. What is the status of a person who is envious and jealous of another person? He falsely accuses people, yet he goes for Umrah, Hajj and gives abundant charity. He lives a life of absolute luxury.
A. It is not proper to confuse a man’s good deeds with his sins. His good deeds should not be criticized on account of his sins. Surely, you too have a good stock of sins, including skeletons in the cupboard and cans of worms. What constrained you to introduce his Umrah, Haj and charity into your question? What relationship is there between his ibaadat and his sins. Have you understood perhaps that it is not valid for an envious person to perform Hajj or give charity? Should he not perform Salaat nor make tilaawat of the Qur’aan on account of his jealousy? Generally people who seek to detract from a man’s ibaadat by citing his sins are themselves afflicted with the maladies of pride and envy. And, what has his life of luxury to do with his envy. His envy and making false accusantions are separate acts of sin just as your acts of sin. You are not sinless. His status is the same as your staus. He is a sinful Muslim because of his sins, and you and us are sinful Muslims because of our sins. There is no difference. This style of question is the effect of moral corruption.
Q. Please advise regarding bearing trials and calamities with patience, and refraining from complaining.
A. “The life of this world is but play and amusement, and the abode of the Aakhirah is best for those who have taqwa (fear Allah). What, do you have no intelligence (to understand this simple issue)?” (Qur’aan) Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “What is my relationship with the world? Verily, I am like a rider (on horseback along a journey in the desert) who seeks rest under the shade of a tree. Then (after resting a while), he leaves the shade and resumes his journey (in the hot desert to reach his destination).” Hadhrat Abu Uthmaan Al- Khairi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “The love of this world will displace the pleasure of Allah from your heart.” When man loves the dunya, his heart will not be pleased with the decrees of Allah Ta’ala. Trials in this world are inevitable. When a trial or calamity befalls a man in whose heart the love of the dunya is embedded, he will complain, be dissatisfied, become frustrated, despondent and panic. Thus when Allah Ta’ala afflicts him with a trial, he will not be pleased with Allah Ta’ala. His gaze is never focused on Allah Ta’ala. It is furthest from his mind that the trial is an imposition of Allah Ta’ala, and in which there is much goodness for him. On the other hand, calamities and trials do not divert the focus of the Auliya from Allah Ta’ala. Despite the worldly hardship, they maintain their composure and remain pleased with Allah’s decree. Their hearts being devoid of worldly love, they understand the blessing of even the calamity with which Allah Ta’ala tests them. Hadhrat Imraan Bin Haseen (rahmatullah alayh) suffered from the sickness of Istisqsa (dropsy) for 30 years. This disease causes excessive thirst and the body becomes extremely bloated. For this long period he could lay only on his back. Once his brother came to visit him. Overcome with pity, he (the brother) cried. Hadhrat Imraan (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Don’t cry. I shall tell you something which you should not reveal as long as I am alive. Angels come to visit me and recite Salaam for me. Their arrival gives me immense pleasure. This sickness is in reality a blessing (ni’mat) for me.” Once when Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anha) was very ill, some Sahaabah advised that he should call a physician. He responded: “If I know that my cure is in lifting my hand and touching my head, I shall not do so.” In other words, he told them to forget about calling a doctor. He was not prepared to even lift his hand to remove the ‘gift’ of the sickness which Allah Ta’ala awarded him. This was the degree of contentment of a man whose heart was overbrimming with Divine Love. While mortals of our lowly Imaani calibre lack such lofty attributes, the minimum degree which is Waajib for us is to refrain from complaint, and to exercise Sabr and make Dua for alleviation of the hardship. The effects of trials and calamities for the Auliya and the people of the dunya are vastly different. The gaze of the Auliya is always on Allah Ta’ala, hence they derive comfort and peace even during hardships.
Q. Please advise regarding the importance of living a life of simplicity and Zuhd.
A. Some o ne a sked Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) about their living conditions. She responded: “We survived on water and dates. When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) died, he was donning a patched shawl and a lower garment of coarse cloth.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Verily, my similitude with the world is like that of a traveller who takes rest under the shade of a tree. Then (after a short while) he departs abandoning the shade.” The traveller journeying through the wilderness does not adopt the shade of the tree to be his permanent residence. If he does, and consumes the little provisions he has, he will soon perish in the harsh conditions of the desert. This dunya is like the shade of a tree. But we have made it our permanent res idence. When Maut arrives, there will be no provisions for the onward journey through the harsh and fearful conditions of Barzakh (the life beyond the grave). Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), counseling Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) said: “O Aishah! If you desire to link up with me (in Jannat), then take from this world only such provisions which are sufficient for a traveller on horseback; beware of the company of the wealthy, and do not regard a garment as being old as long as you can patch it.” Although it is not Waajib to adopt such ‘extreme’ measures of austeri ty (zuhd) which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) loved for himself, his family and close companions, it is necessary for all Muslims to scale down their wasteful lives of opulence to ensure that they do not follow in the footsteps of Fir’oun, Haamaan and Qaaroon. While millions in the Muslim World suffer in grinding poverty and ignorance – alienated from the Deen – affluent Muslims lead lives of wanton extravagance and total indifference. Hadhrat Abu Sulaimaan Daaraani (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Everything which prevents you from the remembrance of Allah, is a misfortune, be it the wife, children, wealth or whatever it may be. Allah Ta’ala has created everything on earth to remind you of Him.” “The life of this world is but play and amusement while the life of the Aakhirah is best for those who have Taqwa. What do you have no Intelligence?” (Qur’aan)
Q. What is the meaning of Taqwa?
A. In this era of jahaalat, fisq and fujoor, Taqwa has become a strange or an alien concept to even the Ulama who spend their years teaching Qur’aan Tafseer, Hadith and Fiqah. Once Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) asked Hadhrat Ubayy Bin Ka’b (radhiyallahu anhu) to explain the meaning of Taqwa. Hadhrat Ka’b (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “O Ameerul Mu’mineen! Did you ever pass through an alleyway strewn with thorns? Hadhrat Umar: “Many a time.” Hadhrat Ka’b: “How did you react?” Hadhrat Umar: “I tightened my garment and walked with extreme care to avoid the thorns.” Hadhrat Ka’b: “That is the meaning of Taqwa. This world is an abode of thorns. It is filled with the thorns of sins. You should therefore pilot your way through this abode of thorns with exceptional care to save your garments and yourself being caught in the thorns of sins. This is the meaning of Taqwa and it is the most valuable capital.”
Q. Please advise on the importance of keeping the stomach empty.
A. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) advised that the stomach should be filled with one third food, one third liquids and one third should be left empty for air circulation. The extreme weakness of Imaan and excessive greed and gluttony of people have compelled the Auliya (the spiritual physicians of the Ummah) to advise a simpler method. Those who are unable to adopt the austere method of eating exhorted in the Hadith, should at least not overeat. As soon as the stomach is about to be filled, one should exercise restraint and stop eating. Overcome the crave for stuffing down another couple of morsels. The Mashaaikh say: “The stomach is the headquarters of disease, and affection (love) is the root of cure.” A husband displaying love and affection for his sick wife, especially when she is pregnant, goes a long way in the curing process and in the healthy development of the foetus. Most diseases generate from a corrupt stomach. Overindulgence in even halaal tayyib food is extremely harmful physically and spiritually. And, if the food is ‘halaal’ certified carrion, muck and rot, then the destruction is almost irreparable. The effects are disastrous for physical and spiritual health. A non-Muslim medical expert said: “Your body’s worst enemy is your stomach. Suffering from asthma? It’s your stomach. Are you losing your memory? It’s your stomach. Are your arteries diseased? It’s your stomach.” Hadhrat Zunnun Misri (rahmatullah alayh) said: “Hikmah (divine wisdom) does not reside in a person whose stomach is full of food., for verily, much eating hardens and darkens the heart . Lethargy of the limbs develop in the wake of satiation, disinclining one from ibaadat., and it increases ghaflat (obliviousness). With hunger man attains Hikmat which creates delight in ibaadat” Hadhrat Sahl Bin Abdullah (rahmatullah alayh) said: “When Allah Ta’ala created the world, He instilled sin and ignorance in satiation (a full stomach), and Ilm (Deeni knowledge) and Hikmat (spiritual wisdom) in hunger.”
Q. Explain what is the meaning of major and minor sins? Which sins are major and minor?
A. The classification of sins into major and minor is a mere technical issue. Literally, all sins are major and serious. A person who commits a sin thinking lightly of it because of its ‘minor’ (sagheerah) classification, has in fact thought lightly of Allah Ta’ala. Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) narrating a Hadith said: “Beware of thinking lightly of sins.” A sin is classified ‘minor’ in relation to another sin. A sin being minor does not mean that it is insignificant. Sometimes the punishment for even a ‘minor’ sin is severer than that of a technically ‘major’ sin. The sin of verbally abusing a Muslim is ‘minor’ in relation to the sin of physically hitting a Muslim. The sin of consuming liquor is ‘minor’ in relation to committing murder. But by itself it is a major sin, and so too is abusing a Muslim a major sin. Looking at a woman with lust is a ‘minor’ sin in relation to committing fornication. But by itself it is a major sin. And why will it not be a major sin of an exceptional degree when Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “He who looks with lust at the beauty of a woman will have (hot) iron rods inserted into his eyes on the Day of Qiyaamah.” So while this grave sin may be technically classified as ‘sagheerah’ (minor), the severity of the punishment is adequate to dispel any idea of insignificance. Most people have misunderstood the meaning of minor and major sins. They have understood from this classification that to commit ‘minor’ sins is not a serious offence. This is a dangerous misinterpretation which can even extinguish Imaan. The one who has authority over others should counsel and admonish his subordinates for every sin whether it is classified as major or minor. View all sins alike, namely, all sins are major literally speaking, and warrants Allah’s Wrath and Punishment.
Q. What are dreams? Please give some explanation. Do dreams influence a person’s actions?
A. There are different categories of dreams. Some dreams are true while others are false. Some dreams are the machinations of shaitaan, and some dreams are caused by even an upset stomach, especially when eating late at night. This kind of dream is drivel. Good dreams are from Allah Ta’ala, and they cause happiness, peace, and sometimes they act as warnings which make a person conscious of his moral life, and urge him to improve his Deeni life. Such dreams are usually seen just before Subh Saadiq (before Fajr Salaat time begins). Fearful dreams are mostly from shaitaan. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that when seeing a fearful dream and you wake up in the night, then recite Walahoula wala quw wata il laa bil laahil azeem; then spit on your left side; then turn around and sleep on the other side. Never narrate a bad/fearful dream to just anyone or to an ignoramus. Sometimes if a person blurts out a wrong interpretation, it happens accordingly. Therefore, if you narrate a dream, narrate it to a person of the Deen who is a man of wisdom. Dreams do not influence, and events do not happen because of dreams. What happens is that sometimes one sees a dream about something which is decreed to happen. It does not happen because of the dream. The dream is merely a sort of a notification of the event.