CHAPTER ON THE THIKR OF ALLAH
Do not abandon Thikr on account of lack of concentration. Abandoning Thikr is worse than lack of concentration while making Thikr. It is not far-fetched (to say) that Allah Ta’ala may develop your Thikr-e-Ghaflat (Thikr devoid of concentration) to Thikr-e-Bedaari (Thikr with alertness) and your Thikr-e-Bedaari to Thikr-e-Hudhoori (Thikr in the Divine Presence) and from this Thikr to that (most lofty state of) Thikr in which everything besides Mathkoor-e-Haqeeqi (Allah Ta’ala – The True Object of Remembrance), is annihilated. Nothing is difficult for Allah Ta’ala.
Many Thaakireen (those involved in Thikr) complain of lack of concentration in their Thikr and the incidence of waswasah (stray thoughts). Some even abandon Thikr on this account. The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) advising such persons, says that the Thaakir should not abandon Thikr because of lack of concentration. The lack of concentration is only one calamity. But at least the existence of Thikr is with the Thaakir even though it is accompanied by ghaflat. But in the event of abandoning Thikr, it will not be simply Thikr without concentration, but the loss of Thikr itself. This state of having abandoned Thikr is, therefore, extremely grave. Thikr even with ghaflat is far superior than the abandonment of Thikr.
In the former state (i.e. Thikr without concentration) although the heart is negligent, at least the tongue is involved with Thikr. In the second state, both tongue and heart are ghaafil (inert), having abandoned the Thikr of Allah Ta’ala. Even verbal Thikr is a valuable treasure. When the tongue is saved from Jahannum, will the remaining parts of the body not be saved? (Most certainly they will be saved. – Translator.)
Providing encouragement, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) further adds that it is quite possible that Allah Ta’ala may improve the quality of your Thikr. The initial Thikr without concentration can progress to the stage where concentration will be achieved and wasaawis cease. It will then be the Thikr of wakefulness and concentration. In this stage of Thikr, the heart will not drift towards the wasaawis (stray thoughts) of the nafs. The verbal Thikr at this time will keep the heart alert. The Thaakir will then perceive pleasure in his verbal Thikr.
The progress will then continue to the stage where the condition of Hudhoori accompanies the Thikr. In Thikr-e-Bêdaari, the achievement is only the heart’s attention to the verbal Thikr. The heart is awake and does not incline to wasaawis. In Thikr-e-Hudhoori, Thikr becomes the attribute of the heart just as seeing is the attribute of the eye. Thus, Thikr becomes the permanent attribute of the heart. It becomes inseparable from the heart.
However, in this stage, the heart does perceive itself to be in possession of the attribute of Thikr. The Saalik in this state is conscious of his Thikr being with concentration.
It is then not surprising if Allah Ta’ala elevates the Thaakir to a higher stage of Thikr. He may rise in his Thikr from Thikr-e-Hudhoori to such a lofty stage where the heart becomes entirely oblivious of all things besides Mathkoor-e-Haqeeqi – Allah Ta’ala, The True Object of Thikr. Everything else is annihilated. In other words, Thikr predominates the Thaakir to such an extent that his entire being is permeated by الله الله . He has no perception of him being involved in Thikr nor is he aware of his presence in front of Allah Ta’ala. Perception of even such a presence is a kind of ghaflat. Even this perception is an object besides Allah, hence in the highest stage of Thikr, it too perishes and is assigned to the realm of oblivion. It enters the domain of other deities which are negated in the Thikr of لآ اِلهَ اِلاّ الله .
If someone expresses amazement, thinking that such a lofty stage is not attainable (by people of our lowly calibre – Translator), the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) provides the answer for this doubt. He says that the attainment of this stage will be well nigh impossible by one’s own efforts. This attainment is the consequence of Allah’s Fadhl. It is not difficult on Him to bestow His Fadhl to anyone. Therefore, do not despair.
Allah Ta’ala has honoured you in three ways. First, he made you His Thaakir. If it was not for His Fadhl, never would it have been possible for you to involve your tongue and heart in His Thikr. Second, He establishes His relationship with you, thereby making you (the Saalik) the object of remembrance of others. They, therefore, remember you with titles such as Waliullah and Safiullah. Third, by mentioning you (in the celestial realms of the Angels), He has made you His Mathkoor (Object of remembrance). He has, thus completed His Favour for you.
Here the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) is addressing the obedient Thaakir. He says that Allah Ta’ala has conferred on you three honours. These honours collectively constitute a limitless treasure of goodness and excellance for you. Allah’s mercy and favour have been thus bestowed to you in perfection.
The very first honour He has bestowed to you is the fact that He has enabled you to remember Him, hence you are able to engross yourself in His Thikr. With your tongue, limbs and heart you remember Him. If it was not for His Fadhl, then your tongue and heart would never have been able to render the Thikr of Ahkamul Haakimeen. You would not have been qualified to worship the King of all kings because deficiency, inertia and indolence are inherent in your nature. Furthermore, there are others more handsome than you in external appearance, yet He chose you. It is nothing other than His mercy and grace that while keeping millions of His creation in ghaflat, He applied you to His Thikr.
The second honour which He has conferred on you, is that He has related you to Him – People, therefore, remember you by virtue of this relationship. People regard you as the Wali (Friend) of Allah and as Safiullah (the chosen one of Allah). Indeed, this is a very high honour bestowed to you. If today, some puny worldly king confers a title on a man, he becomes bloated with happiness. His pleasure will be boundless. Now imagine the high state of the honour conferred on one when the True and Eternal King proclaims one to be His friend?
The third honour He has conferred on you is that He, Himself remembers you. The Hadith states that Rasulullah ( saws ) said:
‘Whoever remembers Me in his heart, I too remember him in My Heart and whoever remembers Me in a gathering, I remember Him in a gathering which is nobler than his gathering (i.e. the gathering of the Angels).”
It is learnt from this Hadith, that Allah Ta’ala remembers the Thaakir Bandah. In fact, He says in His Qur’aan:
“Remember Me and I shall remember you.”
What greater honour can there be? The bandah constituted of a handful of sand is remembered by the True King, the Lord of all lords, the Sovereign of creation! Therefore, O Thaakir, understand that by having conferred on you these three honours, Allah has perfected His Favour for you.
Zaahir Thikr does not occur without Baatini Mushaahadah.
The ibaadat, taa-at and thikr of the bandah, which become manifest in this world are the consequence of the manifestation of Allah’s Unity and perception of realities which Allah Ta’ala had caused his rooh to experience before entering this ephemeral world. The rooh of the bandah had already experienced the ibaadat, taa-at and thikr by way of baatini mushaahadah prior to its entry into this world. These are, thus, the effects of that earlier spiritual perception even though the bandah is unaware thereof.
The reason for this unawareness is the domination of the effects of the physical body over the soul. However, Allah Ta’ala bestows the knowledge of even that spiritual realm to whomever He pleases. He alienates all impediments to this awareness.
CHAPTER ON FIKR (CONTEMPLATION)
The wandering of the heart in the spacious field of aliens is called fikr (contemplation).
All makhluqaat (created objects) – everything besides Khaaliq (The Creator) are termed aliens (aghyaar). All creation from the heaven to the earth has been portrayed or compared to spacious fields. The reality of fikr is the wandering of the heart in these spacious fields.
Wandering in these fields, in this context, means to contemplate the wonderful manifestations of Allah’s power (Qudrat) which reveals itself perpetually, at every moment, in His creation. Some are born while others die; some are poor while others are wealthy. There are innumerable marvels in His creation inhabiting the heavens and the earth. Man is required to derive lesson from these marvellous objects of creation and contemplate on Allah’s attributes of Beauty, Excellence and Splendour.
This contemplation will lead him to Khaaliq Ta’ala. He will firmly believe that his Creator is Most Wise, Most Gracious, Most Majestic and Most Splendid. This is the type of fikr which we are commanded to observe. We have been forbidden to contemplate on the Thaat (Being) of Khaaliq because our minds being finite cannot comprehend the Infinite, Eternal Thaat. In such contemplation lurks the danger of renouncing the Deen. We seek Allah’s protection. Belief in the Creator should be confined to the limits indicated to us.
Further, one should contemplate on obedience and sin – that for a certain act of obedience there is a particular thawaab and for a sin there is a certain degree of punishment.
Also, contemplate on the bounties of Allah. His bounties are innumerable and He is the true Benefactor.
Contemplate on the perishable nature of the world and its objects. These various types of fikr are praiseworthy and we have been instructed to observe them.
Fikr is the lamp of the heart. In its absence, the heart will be without light.
Fikr which has been explained, is for the heart like a lamp. Minus fikr, the heart resembles a dark room in which there is no lamp. One does not know what lurks in that dark room in which nothing is visible. Similarly, without contemplation the reality and true nature of an object will not be fathomed.
When man contemplates, the inner nature and reality of things will be revealed to him. He will see with open eyes (i.e. his spiritual eyes) the realities of Truth, Falsehood, the perishable nature of the world and the everlasting nature of the Hereafter. The Glory, Splendour, Power and Wrath of Allah, as well as Him being the True Benefactor will become vivid realities. Man will also become aware of his own hidden defects, the schemes and deceptions of his nafs and that the world is the abode of futility and deception.
If the bandah refrains from fikr, his heart will become like a dark room. He will then be unable to differentiate the various things.
There are two kinds of fikr. The fikr of Tasdeeq and Imaan, and the fikr of Mushaahadah and A’yaan. The first kind is for the Saalikeen and the second kind is for the people of Mushaahadah and Mu-aayanah, i.e. for the Majzubs.
The select servants of Allah are of two kinds – the Saalik and the Majzub. The one who logically deducts the cause from the effects is a Saalik. He contemplates on the effects and arrives at the knowledge of the cause. His heart initially wanders in the objects of Divine Creation. From this contemplation he reaches the way to the Divine Attributes. For example, he sees people transgressing without Allah Ta’ala punishing them. From this he concludes that Allah’s attribute is Hilm (to refrain from punishing despite having the power). From the beauty, excellence and perfection of objects, he infers that Allah is All-Wise.
By means of prolonged contemplation on the Names and Attributes of Allah, the heart finally discovers the way leading to the Divine Thaat. Thus, by contemplating on the effects, he ultimately reaches the Cause – Allah Ta’ala.
On the other hand, the one who concludes the effects by contemplating on the Cause, is a Majzub. Initially, his heart becomes imbued with the Mushaahadah of the Thaat. He then dwells in the Names and Attributes of Allah. Finally, he enters into the contemplation of Makhluqaat.
Thus, while the Saalik is taken from the bottom to the top, the Majz م b is brought down from the top to the bottom. This is the state of those whose perfection Allah Ta’ala desires. Some Majzubs remain in the state of Jazb while some Saaliks remain suspended without attaining accomplishment. (In the state of Jazb the intellect is overwhelmed by Divine Love, hence the Majzub is not liable for the execution of the Shariah’s obligations which are waived for him. – Translator)
The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) says that there are two kinds of fikr. The first is known as the fikr of Tasdeeq and Imaan. This is the contemplation which is not the result of physical observation. Its basis is only Imaan.
The second kind of fikr is known as Muaa-yanah and Mushaahadah. In the first kind contemplation the Saalikeen reach Allah by their contemplative study of His created objects. They utilise their physical senses in the observation and contemplation of creation to conclude the greatness of the Creator. The aim of this fikr is the Mushaahadah (Perception) of the Pure Thaat of Allah Ta’ala. Its motivating force is not only Imaan. Its progression is not from the Creator to the creation, but from the creation to the Creator. Thus, the focus of his heart’s gaze is initially on creation and ultimately on the Creator.
On the other hand, the knowledge possessed by the Majzub dictates to him the necessity of the existence of creation on account of the existence the Creator. The focus of his heart is initially on the Creator, later reaching creation. For this reason the Saalik is one whose senses and intellect are intact whereas the Majzu b generally acts in conflict with intelligence.
It should be understood that the knowledge derived from contemplation is inspirational. It is a bestowal of Allah Ta’ala. It is not acquired by one’s efforts.
CHAPTER ON ZUHD (ASCETICISM) AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE
Whatever act stems from the heart of a Taarik-e-Dunya is not little and whatever act the ghaafil attaches to the world, is not much.
(Taarik-e-Dunya: A man who has abandoned the love of the world. – Translator)
As long as hubb-e-dunya (love for the world) and hubb-e-jah (love for fame) dominate, ikhlaas (sincerity) will not develop in a’maal-e-saalihah (righteous deeds). Worldly motives and lustful desires will appear in every place and every deed of such a person.
Acceptance of deeds in the Divine Court occurs only when these deeds are devoid of these calamities. Even the Namaaz of a man dominated by worldly love is contaminated with some worldly motive. On the contrary, a bandah on whom Allah’s Fadhl settles and whose nafs is purified from hubb-e-dunya, all his actions, whether pertaining to the Deen or the world, are based on Ikhlaas. His aim is Allah because the dunya (world) has been expelled from his heart. Hence, whatever deed is rendered by a Taarik-e-Dunya is not insignificant even if in quantity it appears slight. Although his deed may be quantitatively little, it is imbued with rooh (soul) and is accepted by Allah Ta’ala, hence it is very significant.
On the other hand the actions of a man whose heart is greedily set on the world and who is forgetful of Allah Ta’ala, are insignificant even if in appearance they are considerable and great because the aim of these deeds are not proper. The heart is contaminated with falsity, hence his deeds are not free of the calamities of show and base motives of the nafs and shaitaan even if he considers himself to be free of such ailments.
It is, therefore, of utmost importance to cleanse the heart of all things besides Allah Ta’ala. The heart should be purified and adorned with lofty attributes so that the righteous deeds rendered are full of life and soul. Then, even if the deed is ostensibly small, in reality it will be great.
It is essential to understand, that righteous deeds should not be abandoned on account of the existence of these spiritual calamities in one. After all, rendering the deeds is better than abandoning them. Moreover, righteous deeds, if practised constantly, will ultimately produce Ikhlaas (even if initially Ikhlaas was lacking).
One should posses less worldly objects of pleasure, then things which bring grief will decrease.
In most cases the cause of man’s grief and worry is the loss of worldly objects, e.g. loss of wealth and property. The possession of such objects, on the other hand, produces pleasure and comfort.
If anyone wished to decrease grief and worry, he should decrease his worldly possessions. He will then not posses things which will cause him grief. The greater man’s worldly possessions, the greater will be his grief and sorrow. The heart will not find peace.
Thus, the intelligent man will content himself with necessary requirements and eliminate superfluous possessions. In this way he acquires the peace and comfort of both worlds.
If you desire to be saved from dismissal, then do not acquire the transitory kingdom of this world.
This statement is mentioned by the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) as an example of his former statement. The kingdom of the world has no true existence. It is transitory and perishable. Do not acquire it because you will be confronted with the grief of being dismissed from it. Even if you are not dismissed in worldly terms, Maut will ultimately tear you away from this kingdom. You will then suffer the grief of dismissal. Hence, abstain from the acquisition of this perishable kingdom.
If the establishment of the kingdom of the world inclines you towards it, then its cessation either with dismissal or death will disincline you from it. If its zaahir (external dimension) draws you to it, then its baatin (internal dimension) prevents you from it.
Initially pomp and pleasure of worldly kingdom appear magnificent and pleasing. Those who possess such kingdom appear honourable and noble in the estimate of others. Even their own nafs basks in delight. This initial pomp draws people to acquisition of worldly kingdom. However, the ultimate result is that either the ruler is dismissed during his lifetime or he is separated from it by death.
In most cases, governments do not observe the laws of the Shariah. Injustice and oppression appear to be their necessary attributes.
When dismissed, the ex-ruler will be overwhelmed with grief. When separated from his kingdom by death, sorrow will be his lot and on account of his oppression and the usurpation of the rights of people, he will be weighed down by mountains of regret. Thus, sorrow and regret will be his end. This regrettable end will disenchant him from his worldly kingdom (but then it will be too late).
While the zaahir of worldly kingdom is alluring with its ranks, wealth and comforts which lure man to it, its baatin diverts man from the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. It is, therefore, absolutely disastrous for one’s happiness and success in the a khirat. This ultimate fate of the worldly kingdom should thus prevent you from hankering after it.
The intelligent man is far-sighted. He is not deceived by the external facade and initial stage of anything. His sight is set on reality and the ultimate result.
Allah Ta’ala has fixed the world as the abode of lesson and the mine of pollutions in order to turn you away from it.
Allah Ta’ala has made the world a place in which man should derive lesson and experience. He has also made it an abode of pollutions and worries. From the aweful and awesome episodes enacted night and day on earth, the intelligent man takes lesson and gains experience. From the terrible calamities and upheavals happening in the world, man gains admonition. No one is able to attain fulfilment of his wishes and goals. An ill man desires health, but sickness refuses to depart from him. A man wishes for wealth, but is overcome by poverty. In short, the world is the abode of worry and pollutions.
In the hardships, trials, tribulations and experiences of man there is considerable mercy of Allah Ta’ala. As a result of these trials, man becomes disenchanted from the world. By means of man’s disinclination does Allah Ta’ala separate him from this carrion (i.e. the world).
Allah Ta’ala was aware that naseehat (good counsel) will not be sufficient for you. He therefore causes you to taste of the bitterness of worldly hardships, thereby simplifying your separation from the world.
Naseehat, the Qur’aan and Hadith are adequate for a man devoid of the love of the world and whose intelligence is correct. However, Allah was aware that the love of worldly pleasures and pollution is firmly entrenched in the hearts of numerous people. Their intelligence is deficient, hence Naseehat alone is not sufficient for them. He gives them a taste of worldly hardships and trials so that they become disillusioned with this carrion. Abandoning the world (worldly love), therefore, becomes a matter of ease.
There also are such people who fail to gain any lesson from difficulties and hardships. Nevertheless, numerous Muslims do turn towards Allah Ta’ala in consequence of the calamities which befall them. Thus, in relation to their former state of degeneration, they progress in the direction leading to Allah Ta’ala.
Tay-e-Haqeeqi means that with your spiritual vision you wrap up the earthly sojourn to such a degree that you discern Qiyaamat to be closer to you than your own self.
Tay-e-Haqeeqi is a type of karaamat (miracle) which Allah Ta’ala awards to His Friends. Some Auliya traverse huge distances in a minute miraculously. The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) conveys in this statement that traversing huge distances miraculously is not the aim nor something to hanker after. Traversing distances miraculously (Tay-e-Haqeeqi) is not necessarily the product of Wilaayat-e-Maqboolah (Sainthood accepted by Allah Ta’ala), i.e. if someone possesses the ability of travelling huge distances in minutes, it does not follow that he is necessarily an accepted Wali by Allah Ta’ala. It is quite possible that a man can acquire such powers by exercises known as riyaadhat even while he is not obedient to the Shariah. A seemingly miraculous deed displayed by an irreligious person is called Istidraaj. (It is a demonstration which is facilitated by various satanic influences. – Translator).
If a miraculous act is demonstrated by a true and accepted Saint, then too, it is not an aim to be pursued.
The true Haqeeqi Tay (or traversing of distance) is that you wrap up the distance of the world from in front of your heart, i.e. not only expel the love of the world from your heart, do not permit it to even pass near to your heart. Eliminate the love of the world so that Qiyaamah appears to be nearer to you than yourself. Qiyaamah will appear to the Saalik closer than his own existence because his existence being part of ghairullah (everything besides Allah), will be traversed by his heart.
The heart gains the ability to traverse the distance of the world when Allah Ta’ala inspires the bandah’s heart with the Noor of Yaqeen. With the light radiated by the Noor of Yaqeen, the reality of
قُلْ جاءَ الحق وذَهَقَ الباطِلُ
(Say: Haq has arrived and baatil has perished.),
will dawn. At that time the world will be completely annihilated from the heart.
وَذلِكَ فَضْلُ اللهِ يُؤْ تِيْهِ مَنْ يشاء وَما ذلِ كَ عَلى اللهِ بِعَزيز
“And, that is the Fadhl of Allah. He grants it to whomever He wishes. And that is not difficult on Allah.”
رَزقَنَاهَا اللهُ تَعالى آ م ين
May Allah bestow it to us, ameen.
If the Noor of Yaqeen had to shine in you, then Aakhirat will be nearer to you than that nearness which a journey towards the Aakhirat brings about and then you would see with open eyes the blot of the perishable nature of the beauties of the world.
Allah and His Rasool have informed you that this world is transitory and an abode of falsehood and deception, and that the a khirat is everlasting, and the abode of truth. If you had firm belief (Yaqeen) in these truths and the light of this Yaqeen then permeates your heart enabling you to see that the promises of Allah and His Rasool are brighter than the sun, then the a khirat would have been in the very presence of your heart. The proximity of the a khirat would have been closer to your heart than that proximity resulting from the journey taken towards the a khirat.
A journey towards a place is undertaken when that place is situated at a distance. However, when that place is closer to you than your own nafs, there is no need to prepare for a journey and you would realise that the material things of the world with their external excellences and beauty are stamped with the blot of destruction. They all will perish.
The discernment of these realities is the result of the Noor of Yaqeen which is inspired into the heart. When it is inspired into the heart it makes the realities of things conspicuous. Every Muslim knows that the world is perishable and the a khirat everlasting. Every Muslim believes in the promises of Allah and His Rasool. But when the light of Yaqeen dawns in the heart, then these objects of our Imaan become as visible as the things seen by the physical eyes.
The effect of this discernment is that man will cast the world behind his back and all his efforts will be for the a khirat. The inordinate desires of his nafs will dissipate. He will treasure time.
رَزَقَنَاهَا اللهُ تَعالى آ م ين
May Allah bestow it to us, ameen.
The external beauty and glitter of worldly things are deception. Their hidden realities are full of lesson and admonition. O nafs! You look at the external beauty while your heart should focus on the inner hidden realities.
The nafs becomes ensnared by the external beauty and glitter of worldly things and pursues these. In this pursuit he forgets the a khirat. But the inner realities of these things are full of lesson and warning.
This is applicable to everything on earth. While every earthly object is initially beautiful and pleasurable, its ultimate end is distasteful, and disgusting. As an example, consider the beginning and the end of food.
The worldly allurements cause man to even turn his back on to the Deen. If Allah’s taufeeq is at hand and He bestows sound intelligence, the nafs is prevented from the superficial beauty and glitter of the world. The nothingness and ultimate extinction are kept in sight and man then does not plunge into these deceptions like the blind and deaf. He contents himself with needs. He leaves everything else and goes in search of the everlasting treasure.
If you desire everlasting honour, do not choose then an honour which will perish.
Worldly honour is wealth and fame. Both these are snatched away from man here in this earthly life or ultimately he is separated from them by Maut. Thus, this honour will end. If you acquired this honour while remaining uncaring and forgetful of your Master, then your honour will not endure because the basis of such honour is perishable.
True and everlasting honour is that the heart establishes no relationship with worldly objects. The heart is enriched by establishing a bond with the Eternal Being. If even the kingdom of the world is presented, the heart imbued with the Divine Bond will not be attracted to it. Compared to the kingdom of Ahkamul Haakimeen, the kingdom of the world is not equal to the wing of a mosquito.
Whoever therefore desires the true and everlasting honour, let him abandon the perishable honour of the world. This true honour will be with man even in this life while its full and perfect manifestation will be after death.