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 An Introduction to the Science of Tasawwuf

 Being a translation of the Urdu book:  Nisbat, Ihsaan & Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah
(From Rauf Publications (Batley, UK)/rauftrust@yahoo.co.uk )
Compiled by
Hazrat Mufti Moosa Badat Sahib
Khalifah of Faqeehul Ummat
Mufti Mahmood Hasan Sahib Gangohi (Rahmatullahi Ala'ih)
Senior Imam & Khateeb Masjid-e-Mahmoodia, Batley, U.K.

Translated & Prepared by Maulana Khalil Ahmed Kazi

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SCIENCE OF TASAWWUF

This brief treatise deals with Tasawwuf. It explains to anyone who wishes to tread the path of Sulook the basic terminology of this field; mainly Nisbat, Ihsaan, and Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah. It has been carefully prepared in a simplified manner to assist individuals especially those living in western countries to understand Tasawwuf. This booklet will prove priceless to both young and old wanting to comprehend and embody themselves with this branch of the Shariah which, inspite of its importance, has been neglected.

 

WHAT IS TASAWWUF?

Tasawwuf in reality is nothing but the spirit of Islam. Islam consists of two fundamental parts, viz. the external laws pertaining to worship and the internal state of beauty, concern, sincerity and perfection on which the external laws are to be based. Thus Tasawwuf is an integral part of the Shariah of Islam. Any Tasawwuf beyond the confines of the Shariah is not the Tasawwuf of the Qur’an and Hadith, but is a practice of fraud and deception. The Tasawwuf of all the great and illustrious Saints operates within strict control of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. The main purpose of Tasawwuf is to eliminate the debasing qualities in man and to supplant them with the virtuous and praiseworthy qualities of angels. In this direction, Tasawwuf employs the advices, exhortations, restrictions, prohibitions and remedies prescribed by the Qur’an, Hadith and the authoritative and authentic Saints of Islam.

 

CONTENTS
Explanation of key words
Translators Note
Compilers Note
Salutary Words
Section One: Nisbat & Ihsaan
Section Two: Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah
The Shajarah – The Holy Spiritual Tree
 

EXPLANATION OF KEY WORDS

 

NISBAT: An Invariably spiritual connection with Allah and his commandments.
 

IHSAAN: A state wherein a person is conscious of Allah and his commandments all the time.

 

AAMAAL-E-QALBIYYAH: Actions of the heart, which refers to both praiseworthy qualities such as faith, patience, sincerity of intention etc. and debasing qualities such as disbelief, pride, jealousy etc.
 
In the Name of Allah the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful.

 TRANSLATORS NOTE

Upon the suggestion of the compiler Hazrat Mufti Moosa Badat Sahib I took up the translation of this urdu booklet ‘Nisbat, Ihsaan & Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah’. The booklet is an introduction to the Science of Tasawwuf, which has been carefully prepared in a simplified manner to assist individuals especially those living in western countries to understand Tasawwuf. This booklet will prove priceless to both young and old wanting to comprehend and embody themselves with this branch of the Shariah which, inspite of its importance, has been neglected.
 

I am grateful to all my colleagues who have assisted me in the preparation of this work especially to Maulana Moosa Gora for his contribution in the initial stages.

             

Before concluding, I wish to apologise for any shortcomings that may have occurred in the translation and presentation of this treatise. If this booklet is read with an open mind in search of spiritual advice, these pages will provide countless gems. Inshallah, they will assist the reader in his self-reformation and guide him on his journey towards the ‘Love of Almighty Allah’.

 

Finally, I pray to Allah to accept this humble effort and grant this work divine acceptance. Ameen

 
 Khalil Ahmed Kazi
10 Muharram 1422 / 4 April 2001

 

COMPILERS NOTE

 

Hazrat Mufti Moosa Badat Sahib

 

            In the Name of Allah the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful. With the approach of the final hour we see a rapid increase in evils, distractions, and abstinence from righteous deeds. The Principals of Islam have begun to seem strange and un-familiar. Nisbat and Ihsaan, which hold immense significance according to the Shariah, have come to be considered as unnecessary and subsequently no effort is being made to acquire them. This humble servant has compiled this basic compilation from the works of our respected Elders in order to re-instigate the need for Nisbat, Ihsaan and Ashgaal-e-Qalbiyyah so that effort is undertaken to achieve this great treasure.
 

I pray to Almighty Allah that He accept this compilation and make it a means of benefit to the creation. Ameen

 
And our last call is that all praise be to the Lord of the worlds and peace and blessings be upon the Master of the Messengers, his descendants, and all of them.
 

MOOSA BADAT

5 Ramadhan 1413 AH

  
SALUTARY WORDS

 
            Faqeehul Ummat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Sahib Gangohi rahmatullahi alai

 
            Dear Respected Maulana Moosa Badat Sahib
Assalamoualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

 

            I had the opportunity to listen to your article, masha’allah it is very beneficial. Each year during I'tikaf Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai would mention the various stages of Nisbat. This has been published at varies places. You have also made this subject very clear masha’allah.

 

‘By Allah, may the might of the pen become even stronger.’
 

            This article has also been published in Aap Beti. I feel your work is sufficient and pray from the bottom of my heart that Almighty Allah make this compilation a means of benefit for the seekers and instil in the hearts of others zeal.

 

            Attitudes are such that we can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Only after the completion of one task can another be initiated. Therefore, if during the course of work notes are taken down it would appear beneficial.
 

Wassalaam
 

Dictated by Mahmood
8/5/1413 AH1
 
SECTION ONE: NISBAT & IHSAAN

 
Reality of Nisbat

 

            My Shaikh and mentor Faqeehul Ummah Hazrat Aqdas Mufti Mahmood Hasan Sahib Gangohi rahmatullahi alai mentions in one of his lectures that with Zikr (remembrance of Allah) a Nisbat is created between the remembered (Allah) and the one remembering i.e. the servant. When a person takes the name of Allah, time and time again, then a special bond is created. Then upon this bond special effects come into existence. This is the essence of Nisbat.

Literally, Nisbat means relationship and contact. Every creation has a sense of relationship with the creator but effects only become apparent when the creator is remembered.
 

            Hazrat further elaborates; I inquired from Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Raipuri rahmatullahi alai regarding Nisbat. He replied, ‘Praiseworthy qualities and the ability to perform righteous actions is called Nisbat.’ Praiseworthy qualities are patience, gratitude, forbearance, generosity and self-sacrifice. These praiseworthy qualities begin to inculcate a person and subsequently he is purified of the debasing qualities, which are the opposite of praiseworthy qualities. [Mawaaiz, Part 3]
 

            Hazrat Shaikh Maulana Zakaria rahmatullahi alai writes in one of his articles Nisbat and Ijazat (permission to carryout work of spiritual guidance), the reality of Nisbat has been described by Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahmatullahi alai very easily for ordinary people to understand. He says, In its literal sense Nisbat means ‘to be attached’ or ‘relationship’. In its technical sense it means a person’s contact and relationship with Allah Ta’ala, i.e. permanent obedience to Him, and continuous remembrance of Him as well as Allah Ta’ala’s special relationship with him (acceptance of him and Allah’s being pleased with him), as happens in the case of an obedient lover to the worthy beloved.

 

            Further, he describes the sign of a person of Nisbat: When coming into his company you experience the effect that you become inclined towards the Akhirat (hereafter) and you experience a detachment from the Dunya (this world). Pious and righteous people begin to have an attachment to him and worldly people have very little inclination towards him. But this recognition, especially the first part, i.e. when coming into his company you experience inclination towards the Aakhirat, is less experienced by the general public and more discernible to those who follow the path of Sulook (journey towards spiritual reformation).
 

            When one has understood the meaning of Nisbat, it is clear that a faasiq (evildoer) and kafir (disbeliever) cannot be a man of Nisbat. Some people wrongly describe Nisbat as a special condition, which overcomes a person as a result of Riyadhat (spiritual exercises) and Mujaahadah (spiritual striving). Then if so, this (special condition) could have been attained by every disciplined person undergoing Mujaahadah. To consider such a person as a Sahib-e-Nisbat (person of Nisbat) is only true in the terminology of ignorant ones.

 

            This shows that Nisbat is a special kind of relationship. The stronger the relationship, the stronger the Nisbat will be. A general kind of relationship with Almighty Allah is something that every Muslim has, but the Nisbat we are referring to is the result of having a special kind of love and a special form of relationship with Allah Ta'ala. Just like there are various degrees and stages of love, similar is the case of Nisbat, i.e. weak and strong. The ultimate stage of Nisbat is to become drowned in the sea of love.

 

‘It is useless searching for the shores of the sea of love,

O heart, best is to drown in it while crossing over.’

 

            [Abstract from Nisbat & Ijaazat by Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai]

 

            Then, Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai has quoted from Tafseer Azeezi the four types of Nisbat namely,

 

1. Nisbat In'ikaasi
2. Nisbat Il-qau-iyyah
3. Nisbat Islaahi
4. Nisbat Ittihaadi

            (For a detailed explanation of the above please refer to Aap Beti volume 5 by Hazrat Shaikh Maulana Zakaria ahmatullahi alai.)

 

            These Nisbats are achieved by staying in the company of those who are Sahib-e-Nisbat, just like the Sahabah radiyallahu anhum through the blessings of the company of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam attained a strong kind of Nisbat and relationship with Allah and were bestowed with the mantle of radiyallahu anhum (Allah is pleased with them).
 

‘I love the saints but I am not from amongst them,

I hope from Allah that he bestows goodness on me.’
 

True definition of Ihsaan

 

            Ihsaan has two meanings: 1. To show generosity and favour upon others. 2. To improve Aamaal (actions) and to carry them out with utmost concentration.This latter meaning is applicable here. This has been clearly explained in the famous Hadith of Hazrat Jibraeel alaihis salaam in which after explaining the definition of Imaan (faith) and Islam he enquired from the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam,

 

“What is Ihsaan?” The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam replied, “…to worship Allah in such a manner that you are looking at him, and if this is not achievable then in such a manner that he is looking at you.”[Sahih Bukhari]

 

            Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanvi rahmatullahi alai says, that in this Hadith Ihsaan is mentioned after Imaan and Islam, which indicates that besides the fundamental beliefs and physical actions there is another thing called Ihsaan. Furthermore, by the explanation given in the Hadith it can be understood that Ihsaan is a path of internal actions because without Ihsaan such complete and total attentiveness is unachievable.Thousands of reliable people have given oath to its presence, which can in no way be refuted.

[Shariat & Tareeqat]


Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani rahmatullahi alai’s explanation
 

            Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani rahmatullahi alai says, the fundamental thing is Imaan, which resides in the depths of the heart. When this Imaan increases the effect becomes apparent upon the body. By constantly adhering to the advice of the Prophets alaihimus salaam relating to Imaan and Islam strength is gained. This strength, which is built up through good actions and constant adherence, is known as Ihsaan. The Prophets alaihimus salaam were the greatest tutors of this art. In conclusion, Imaan increases to become Islam, then Islam increases to become Ihsaan.

 

            Further, he says, by systematically adhering to and constantly practicing upon the Shariat, which is a combination of Imaan and Islam, Ihsaan begins to develop. This is also known as Tareeqat (path of spirituality)by which one receives spiritual favour in this world. This is at times translated as Marifat (true knowledge of Allah) and Irfaan (recognition of Allah). [Fazlul Baari vol. 10]

 

Sayings of Hazrat Shaikh Zakariya rahmatullahi alai

 

            In his book ‘Shariat and Tareeqat’ Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai writes, Tareeqatis just another name for Ihsaan or it is the path of attaining the qualities of Ihsaan. This is also known as Tasawwuf (the knowledge which leads to inner spiritual purification and results in closeness to Allah) and Sulook (the path of Tasawwuf) or you can name it whatever you wish because they are all explanations of the same thing. He further writes, Hazrat Qutubul Irshaad Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi rahmatullahi alai says that the spiritual power of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam was such that when even the greatest of non-believers said the words of “la ilaha illallaahu” they would instantly attain the status of Ihsaan. An example of this is that once the Companions radiyallahu anhum inquired from the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam, “How are we to relieve ourselves? Because, this results in us being naked in the presence of Allah.” This was the ultimate state of their Ihsaan. [As recorded in Bukhari in the Book of Tafseer and reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas radiallah anhu]

 

            These people (the Sahabah radiyallahu anhum) were in no need of Riyadhat and Mujaahadah because their strength was gained through companionship of the Noble Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam. However, this strength of the Sahabah radiyallahu anhum was of a lesser degree than the personal strength of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. This strength was also present in the Taabe’een rahemahumullah but to a lesser degree than that of the Sahabah radiyallahu anhum. But during the era of the Tabe-tabe’een (those believers who attained the companionship of Taabe’een) this strength had been weakened dramatically.

             

            In order to rectify this weakness the Saints introduced Riyadhat and Mujaahadah. For a period these introductions remained only as a ‘means’ and as a non-objective in itself. However, as time progressed further away from Khairul Quroon (best of times i.e. the era of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam) they began to be considered as an objective and resulted in the introduction of Bid’ah (innovation). He further states, prominent Sufis tried to rectify these shortcomings e.g. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jelani, Shaikh Shihaabuddin Sahar’wardi, Mujaddid Alf Thani, and Sayyad Ahmad Shaheed rahemahumullah effectively. As a result of their efforts the innovations decreased, but they were not completely erased. [Summary from Shariat & Tariqat page: 94]

 

By the Compiler

 

            As is apparent from the sayings of the saints that the main aim of Ihsaan is to acquire and adorn oneself with praiseworthy qualities and to purify and rid oneself of debasing qualities. This is also a part of Islam.

 

            Therefore, Riyadhat, Mujaahadah and all other technical jargons are just new methods towards gaining Deen and not innovations in Deen. As an example, the objective is to read and understand the Qur’an and gain wisdom, but in order to achieve this object Madaaris (centres of learning) were established, syllabuses were created, books were published etc. all this did not exist in the era of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam and his Sahabah radiyallahu anhum. This is known as Ihdaath lid-Deen (innovation for religion) and is not Ihdaath fid-Deen(innovation in religion). This explanation is detailed in the forward by Hazrat Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Sahib Nadwi rahmatullahi alai in the book ‘Akabir ka Ihsaan wa Sulook’. This book is highly recommended as it very clearly explains what are ‘means’ and what are ‘objectives’.

 

Sayings of Mujaddid Alf Thaani rahmatullahi alai

 

            Hazrat writes in one of his letters that Shariat has three parts 1. Ilm (Knowledge) 2.Aamaal 3. Ikhlaas (purity of intention). Until all these three are not fully attained Shariat will not be fully achieved. The happiness of Allah is greater than all the pleasures and achievements of this world and the next. Almighty Allah says, “The greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah.” Therefore, Shariat encompasses the pleasure and achievements of both worlds.

                         

            He continues to say that Tareeqat and Haqeeqat (reaching a level of consciousness and spirituality whereby one is mentally, in full realisation and awareness of Allah’s all-encompassing existence. The position of Haqeeqat relates the soul to its Rabb – Creator) which are distinguishing qualities of Sufis, are from the third part of the Shariat i.e. their aim is to achieve Ikhlaas.Therefore, to achieve Tareeqat and Haqeeqat is in reality to achieve Shariat and not something else. Besides this, during the various stages of a Sufi’s spiritual journey the disclosure of knowledge relating to Mawajeed (status, existence and being) and the hidden wisdoms of the Shariat that become apparent to him are not the object, but are merely thoughts with which he is nurtured during his journey. The ultimate aim is to reach a state of Radha (acceptance and happiness with Allah’s commands), as this is the final stage upon which the art of Jazb (status of being absorbed in Allah) and Sulook finishes.

 

            He further writes, it is certainly the case that during the path of attaining the state of Ikhlaas and the state of Radha one has to acquire knowledge relating to Mawajeed and the hidden wisdoms of the Shariat therefore, these things will be considered as the initial phases of attaining the object and not the object itself.

 
            I have only attained the reality of this art after strolling on this path for ten full years with the Sadqah of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam. [Summary from Shariat & Tareeqat]
 

Words from the Compiler

 
            From the words of the Mujaddid it is established that the main objective is the attainment of Ikhlaas on which lies Radha of Almighty Allah.

 

            Due to the companionship of the Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam the Sahabah radiyallahu anhum managed to acquire complete Ikhlaas, it is for this reason their donation of a Mu’d (a weight measurement) would outweigh in reward the donation of even gold equal to the mountain of Uhud of those who came after them. The reason behind this was that their donation accompanied such Ihsaan and Ikhlaas, which cannot be matched by someone coming afterwards due to their distance in time from the Prophet’s sallallahu alaihi wasallam era.
 

            A further example of this can be understood from the saying of Hazrat Anas radiyallahu anhu who explains that after burying the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam we hadn’t even dusted our hands from the soil and dust of the grave that we felt a difference in the noor in our hearts. [Mishkaat]
 

            In order to achieve this very state of Ihsaan and Ikhlaas the art of Tasawwuf was established based upon the Qur’an and Hadith. This is similar to all those other sciences, which were not found in the time of the Sahabah radiyallahu anhum but were compiled and introduced later because of their need.
 

Explanation given by Shaikhul-Islam Hazrat Madani rahmatullahi alai
 

            Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai writes in his book Shariat and Tareeqat that Hazrat Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani rahmatullahi alai emphasised in his letters that the object of Sulook is Ihsaan. He writes in one of his letters, My Dear, the object of Sulook is Ihsaan i.e. 'to worship Allah in such a manner that you are looking at him’, which means that the Saalik is imbued with virtuous and praiseworthy qualities. These are the initial stages of his journey and the final object is to acquire Radha of Almighty Allah.

 

People of Comprehensive Qualities

 

            Allama Sayyad Suleman Nadwi rahmatullahi alai writes, those Saints from whom the light of Islam spread throughout India were such individuals who had comprehensive qualities of a Madrasah (institution of knowledge) and Khaanka (an abode for self-reformation) and this resulted in them being close to the example of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam.

 

            This was the very reason that their blessings and spiritual influence reached the furthest of places.If you reflect on the individuals starting from the Star of Delhi Shah Abdur Raheem rahmatullahi alai to Shah Ismail Shaheed rahmatullahi alai you will see that they had simultaneously mastered both the external and internal sciences, and from this their academic achievements and spiritual blessings become crystal clear. When occupied in teaching they would demonstrate the meaning of the verse “he teaches you the Book and Wisdom” and when they were in their respective quarters they would be fulfilling the verse “he purifies them”.[Usool Dawat]
 

Explanation of Shaikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi rahmatullahi alai


            This text is from Shaikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi’s book ‘Lamaatul Tanqee’ the commentary of Mishkat.

 

            It becomes apparent from the aforementioned commentary of Shaikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi rahmatullahi alai that by attaining the state of Ihsaan one’s Deen becomes complete and the essence of this is Ikhlaas without which faith and actions cannot be termed complete. This has been explained at numerous places throughout the Holy Qur’an and in the Ahadith of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam of which some verses have been quoted as examples in the text.

 

            Then explaining further, he says, Ihsaan has two meanings. 1. To beautify ones action and to attain the best of it, this is the meaning, which is applicable here. 2. To extend generosity towards others. This latter meaning can also be acceptable in the form that you assist yourself by abstaining from Shirk (associating partners with Allah) and Riyaa (to carryout acts of worship with the intention to enhance one’s dignity in the eyes of the people).

 

            Then, there are two stages of Ihsaan. One is the greater one, which is explained as Mushahada (observance), i.e. the servant is observing Allah, due to his complete attention with the eyes of the heart, (although this is not possible with the physical eyes in this world). The second stage is the lower one, which is explained as Muraqabaa (deep concentration).The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam attained the greatest stage of Ihsaan which is why he stated, as has been recorded in a Hadith that “…the coolness of my eyes is in Salaah.” Through the blessing of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam the Saints and Abedeen (sincere worshippers) also managed to reach this stage. (Numerous examples of this are mentioned in various books.)

 
Compilers word

 

            May Almighty Allah through the intercession of his beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam grant us the status of Ihsaan in our worship and actions, and may he resurrect us on the day of judgement with his Prophets Alaihimus salaam, the Siddeqeen, the Martyrs, and the Righteous Ones. Ameen
 
SECTION TWO: AAMAAL QALBIYYAH

 

Sayings of Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahmatullahi alai
            In the Shariah commandments and prohibitions are of two categories:

 

            1. Those actions which are related to the Zahir (external) e.g. to recite the Kalimah, Salaah, Rozah, Zakaat, Haj and looking after parents these are known as Mamooraat (commandments). To utter words of kufr (disbelief), to commit actions of Shirk, adultery, stealing, dealing in interest and taking bribes etc. these are all known as Manheyaat (prohibitions).

 

            2. Those actions which are related to the Batin (internal) e.g. Imaan, Tasdeeq (acceptance of truth), Aqaid Haqqah (rightful beliefs), Sabr (patience) Shukr (greatfulness), Tawakkul (trust), Radha bil Qadha (happiness and acceptance of destiny), Tafweez (assigning ones affairs to Allah), Ikhlaas, Love for Allah and his Beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam etc, all these are known as Mamooraat and Fadhail (virtues). The opposite of these are disbelief, impatience, ungratefulness, showing off, pride, vanity etc, which are known as Manheyaat and Razail (debasing qualities), which the Shariat has prohibited.
 

            Where the Holy Qur’an mentioned, “O people of Imaan! Establish Salaat and give Zakaat” it also commands about practicing Sabr, “Oh believers practice patience.” and relating to Shukr it says, “And do Shukr unto Allah.”
At one place it is found: “Fasting has been decreed upon you,” and “Upon mankind is the Hajj of the Bait for Allah.” While at another place it is found: “He (Allah) loves them (Mumineen) and they love Him” and “Those who have adopted Imaan are most ardent in the love of Allah”

 

            Similarly, along with the verse: “When they stand for Salaat, they stand half-heartedly” it also says in a verse, “They show people (i.e. they perform Salaat for Riya)”
 

            On the same line, where there is a reprimand and condemnation for the defaulter of Salaat and Zakaat there is a similar warning regarding Takabbur and Ujb.

 

            In this very manner the Hadith also follows the same theme, that when you find the chapters on Salaat, Zakaat, Saum, Ba’y (trade and commerce), Nikah (marriage). Talaaq (divorce), so too will you find the chapters on Riya, Takabbur, etc.
 

Just as Aamaal Zahirah (external actions) are Divine commands so too are the commandments of Aamaal Batinah (internal actions) An example of this is that, “Establish Salaat and pay Zakaat” is an Amr (positive command), so too are the commandments, “Practice Sabr and do Shukr.”On closer examination and reflection it will be realized that all the Aamaal Zahirah are designed for the reformation of the Aamaal Batinah. The purification of the Batin i.e. the heart and soul of man is the aim and the basis of Najat (salvation in the hereafter) while corrupting the Batin is the cause of destruction.
 

Almighty Allah declares:

 
 

“Verily he who has purified the nafs has attained victory and he who has despoiled it has lost.”

 

And another verse says:

 

“That Day (of Qiyamat) neither wealth nor sons will benefit (anyone), but that person who comes to Allah with a reformed heart.”

 

            Imaan and Aqaaid (Articles of Faith) on which pivots the acceptance of all Aamaal, are conditions of the heart (i.e. the innermost consciousness). It is manifest that Aamaal are designed for the perfection of Imaan. It is therefore clear, the original purpose is the Islah (reformation) of the heart. The heart is like a king and parts of the body are like his army and servants. If the king is upright then his army and servants will be alike and start to obey him.

 

The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam said:

 

“Truly in the body there is a piece of flesh, when it is sound, the whole body is sound, when it is diseased, the whole body is diseased. Truly it is the heart.”

[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

             

            The Ahle-Ilm (people of religious knowledge) are also not mindful of this, whilst they consider the external actions such as Qiyaam (standing) and Qaaidah (sitting) to be of importance they fail to realise that there is something else which is as important. An example of this is when the Holy Qur’an says: “Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salaah…” It further says: “…with humbleness out of fear.” It is widely accepted that this verse means to establish the Shar’i Salaat but, why is the latter part of being ‘humble with fear’overlooked? In fact, both these orders are of utmost importance. [Shariat & Tareeqat]

 

Sayings of Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai

 

            Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai says, Allamah ibn Taymiyah rahmatullahi alai in his book 'Attuhfatul Iraqiyyah fi-Aamaal Qalbiyyah’ has discussed in great detail Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah. He says, (the original book is in Arabic, this translation is a summary of his explanation) these brief words are relating to the Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah which are often interpreted by the words Maqaamaat (mystical stations and stages such as patience, gratitude, love etc. which are durable and permanent) and Ahwaal (state of mind or will; feeling of emotion; a passing feeling, such as elation, suppression, fear etc.) are such articles which emerge from the principles of Imaan and the basics of Deen such as, the love for Allah and his Prophet, trust in Allah, sincerity of intention, gratitude, patience, fear, hope, etc. All these Aamaal are compulsory upon all human beings, and there is a consensus of the Imams regarding this.

 

            In reference to the above, people are divided into three categories (just like there are three stages in relation to external actions) 1. Zalim 2. Muqtasid 3. Sabeqoon bil khairat. (Each of these categories is explained below.)

 

1. Zalim is a person who omits a command and carries out a prohibited act.

2. Muqtasid is the one who carries out the Wajib (obligatory acts) and abstains from the un-lawful things.

3. Sabeqoon bil khairat is such a person who tries his best to get closer to Allah by carrying out the Wajib, Masnoon (Prophetic practices) and Mustahab (preferable acts) and avoids all kinds of Haraam (prohibited acts) and Makrooh (undesirable; discouraged; disapproved actions).

 

            Although, the Muqtasid and Sabeqoon bil khairat at times commit sins, but they are forgiven by Taubah (repentance), good deeds or by being inflicted with difficulties, which becomes a means of their purification. Both these categories of people are the Awliya ullah (friends of Allah) as mentioned in the Qur'an, “Behold, verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil.” Therefore, it is clear that there are two categories of pious believers; the common ones who are referred to as Muqtasid and the distinct ones who are known as Sabeqoon bil khairat.

 

            Thereafter, Allamah ibn Taymiyah rahmatullahi alai dedicated the remainder of his booklet to explain Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah. Sidq (honesty), Kizb (falsehood), Love for Allah, Sincerity of intention, total trust, acquiring His pleasure and other such Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah which are all recommended actions. Tawakkul and Seeking Allah’s help can also lead one to attain the destination and goal. Then he goes on to elucidate Tawakkul. Further, he writes, the essence of Imaan is the Love of Allah and his Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam. He also mentions the qualities of those people who are Lovers of Allah and that the Love of Allah is the fundamental action of Deen. Fear and hope is the result of Allah’s Love. Then he explains the meaning of Allah’s Love in the words of the pious predecessors. A detailed explanation is also given to establish that the essence of Allah’s Love is in the adherence to the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam and subsequently his obedience increases the Love of Allah both internally and externally. Many other topics are also covered in this booklet, which is worthy of study. [Abstract from Shariat & Tareeqat]
 

Explanation of Hazrat Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi rahmatullahi alai

 

            The knowledge of the Sufis refers to a combination of the knowledge of Deen (both Zahir and Batin) and the power of Yaqeen (firm faith). This is the highest knowledge. The state of the Sufiya is adornment of character and the perpetual cognition of Allah. The Haqeeqat of Tasawwuf is to become adorned with the Akhlaq of Allah Ta’ala, to annihilate one’s Iradah (will) and cultivate the Ridha of Allah. The character of the Sufiya is identical to the character of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, which is, in accordance with the declaration of Almighty Allah: “Verily, you (O Muhammad) are established on a great character.” Also, whatever is mentioned in the Hadith is part of the Akhlaq of the Sufis. The description of their Akhlaq is as follows: 1. To regard oneself as the most inferior. This is the opposite of Takabbur. 2. To deal kindly with the creation and to bear patiently the difficulties others cause. 3. To have tenderness, good character andto refrain from wrath and anger. 4. To sympathise with others and give them preferential treatment. Also to give priority to the Huqooq (rights) of others over and above one’s desires. 5. To be generous. 6. To overlook faults and to forgive. 7. To be cheerful and upright. 8. To adopt the path of easiness and to be lenient. 9. To shun pretence and formality. 10. To spend without being miserly. But, not in such a free manner whereby one himself becomes afflicted with need. 11. To have trust in Allah. 12. To be content. 13. To be fearful of Allah and to abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden. 14. To refrain from quarrelling, fighting and wrath but for the truth. 15. To abstain from malice, jealousy and hatred. 16. To abstain from the desire of honour and fame. 17. To fulfil promises. 18. To persevere. 19. To be in agreement with those brothers who have a foresight and vision. 20. To have love and unity for brothers and be aloft from strangers. (Strangers in this context refers to those who are lost in worldly pursuits and have no relationship with Tasawwuf.) 21. To be grateful to the benefactor. 22. To sacrifice personal fame for the sake of Muslims.
 

            A Sufi adorns his Zahir and Batin with Akhlaq. Tasawwuf is, in fact, nothing but Adab (respect). Respect for the Divine Court is to divert the attention from everything besides Allah because of His shame, splendour and dignity. The worst of sins is the conversation of the Nafs, i.e. pursuit of ones desires, which is the cause of spiritual darkness. [Abstract from Shariat & Tareeqat]
 

Bay’at (pledge of a disciple to follow the advice and guidance of his Shaikh)

 
            Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai says, people direct many objections against the actions of the Sufis, whereas Bay’at is not necessary according to the Sufi’s. (I will mention this later.) However, evidence of Bay’at can be substantiated from the Qur'an and Ahadith.


 In Surah Mumtahina it is mentioned:

 

“O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bay’at, that they will not associate anything in worship with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery, that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood (i.e. by making illegal children belonging to their husbands), and that they will not disobey you in what is right then accept their Bay’at, and ask Allah to forgive them, Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (60:12)

 

            Commenting on this verse, Hakim ul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahmatullahi alai states, This verse is evident proof for the justification of the purpose of Bay’at. It also demonstrates that the mere taking of Bay’at where there is no action is unjustified and void.

 

A tradition which appears in Bukhari Sharif is as follows:

 

            The narrater Hazrat Ubadah ibn Thabit radiyallahu anhu (he was amongst those people who were present in the Battle of Badr and also during the night of Aqabah – i.e. these attributes make apparent the elevated status of the Sahabi) relates that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam said (at a time when he was surrounded with a group of Sahabah),
 

“Come! Take Bay’at from me that you will not ascribe partners to Allah, that you will not steal, that you will not commit adultery, that you will not go against the ordained commandments. Whoever fulfils this pledge Allah will reward him, and whoever indulges in any one of these, he shall receive punishment in this world, which will be a means of reparation for him. If Almighty Allah concealed his misdoing in this world then it is upto Allah if He punishes him or forgives him in the hereafter.” Hazrat Ubadah radiyallahu anhu says, “We took Bay’at upon the acceptance of these things.”

 

            This aforementioned Bay’at was not the Bay’at for the acceptance of Islam nor was it the Bay’at for Jihaad (struggle and fight for the sake of Islam) but it was merely the Bay’at of Sufis, which is taken to enforce the commandments of Islam.
 

            Hazrat Shah Waliyullah Sahib rahmatullahi alai in his book Al-Qawlul Jaleel has written extensively relating to the reality of Bay’at. An abstract from his work is quoted here which is taken from the book Shifaa ul-Aleel which is a translation of the original.

 

Almighty Allah says:
 

“Verily, those who give Bay’at to you (O Muhammad) they are giving Bay’at to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks only to his own harm,

and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah, He will bestow on him a great reward.” (48:10)

[Abstract from Shariat & Tareeqat page: 122]  

 

Qalb-e-Saleem (pure, perfect, sound & flawless heart)

 
            People enquired from a Saint what is the definition of a Qalb-e-Saleem. He replied it is such a heart, which is adorned with twenty praiseworthy qualities and eliminated from twenty debasing qualities.

 

The twenty debasing qualities from which one must purify his heart are as follows:

1. Associating partners with Allah
2. Hypocrisy
3. Hatred
4. Yearning and Desire
5. Greed
6. Doubt and Suspicion
7. Ignorance
8. Persistence upon minor sins
9. Arrogance
10. Attachment with one besides Allah
11. Temptation
12. Hope and Assurance with one besides Allah
13. Complaint and Grievance
14. Vanity
15. Stringiness
16. Loosing hope in Allah
17. Assuming one to be immune from Allah’s reach
18. Jealousy
19. Deviating and evil thoughts relating to all matters
20. Neglect and absent-mindedness from Allah.
The twenty recommended and praiseworthy qualities, which one must supplant within himself are as follows:

1. Belief in the Oneness of Allah
2. Sincerity
3. Well wishing for all
4. Abstinence
5. Contentment
6. Firm committed Faith
7. Knowledge
8. Assigning oneself to Allah
9. To place all reliance and assurance to non but Allah
10. The intention of the ultimate goal i.e. The Straight Path to Allah, the Friend, The Protector, The Glorious
11. Patience
12. Remembrance of death
13. Generosity
14. Repentance
15. Humility
16. Fear
17. Hope in non but Allah
18. To endure hunger

19. Sound and pleasant thoughts relating to any occurring matter
20. The Remembrance and Love for Allah.
[Article from Wasiyyatul Irfaan Rajab Edition 1398 AH]

 

Compilers note


            The early Sufis gave precedence of eliminating the debasing qualities from within a person and it was for this reason they instructed their disciples to undergo excessive Riyadhat and Mujaahadah. Many a time this course would take years to complete. However, the later Sufis, taking into consideration the weakening of body and strength, took a more wise and prudent approach and decided to make the goal of reaching to Allah and His contemplation a priority. In order to attain this bond and to enrich it, excessive Zikr was prescribed so that a state of Huzoor-e- Daemee (the state of being conscious of Allah at all times) was achieved and this would help in the aspiration i.e. reaching to Allah and attain His contemplation. This method subsequently led to the gradual removal of the debasing qualities from a person. [A gist Summary from Shariat & Tareeqat]

 

            May Almighty Allah purify us from all types of debasing qualities and substitute them with virtues and praiseworthy qualities and may He grant us His pleasure and love. Ameen ya Rabbal Aalameen

Moosa Badat

Batley, W. Yorks. U.K. - 17 Safar Al-Muzaffar 1413 AH


DARUL ULOOM ILAHIYAH
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