Maulana would narrate that whenever he engaged in zikr.. he felt a burden upon himself. When he mentioned the same to Hazrat sahab he was shocked and said that Maulana Muhammed Qasim sahab رحمة الله عليه had complained the same to Hazrat Haji sahab رحمة الله عليه and He had replied that Allah سبحانه وتعالى shall accept some task from you.
Thereafter the second Hazratji , Hazrat Maulana Muhammed Yousuf sahab رحمة الله عليه also carried the three objectives of Apostleship with unison. Hazrat's special distinction was being a Da'ee ila'Allah apart from imparting the knowledge of Kitab and sunnah at the Madrassah. with regards to Tazkiyah Nafs , Maulana Syed Muhammed Shahid Saharanpuri (db) writes that :
"In the year 1935 AD/ 1354H Maulana Muhammed Yousuf رحمة الله عليه made bayat at the hands of his father Hazrat Maulana Muhammed Ilyas sahab رحمة الله عليه , and this blessed practice manifested at the deliberation of Hazrat Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammed Zakariyya kandhelwi رحمة الله عليه.
After bayat, Hazrat Maulana taught him the Zikr of Paas Anfas, and advised him to recite 3,000 times of Zikr Isme Zaat (Allah). After this spiritual connection, his determination, fortitude and attachment to sunnah augmented by the day.
Such that at one instance Hazratji Maulana Ilyas sahab رحمة الله عليه apprised Hazrat Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi رحمة الله عليه :
"Amongst the people residing here.. Yousuf bears a high potential"
Later on My shaikh and Murabbi, the second Hazratji, Maulana Inamul Hasan Kandhelwi رحمة الله عليه was also a conglomerate of the three objectives of Apostleship. Day and night..he was engrossed in Dawah ila'Allah. Taleem, imparting of Kitab and Hikmah was also a life long attachment.
"Once during the period of writing 'Lami Ad-Durari' , upon the arrival of Hazratji رحمة الله عليه at Saharanpur, Hazrat Shaikh ul Hadith رحمة الله عليه addressed Maulana Muhammed Aqil sahab:
"Those doubts which you have, get them rectified through Maulvi In'am sahab"
While Maulana Muhammed Aqil sahab was escorting Hazratji towards Hazrat Shaikh رحمة الله عليه's literature section, Hazrat Maulana casually inquired "now tell me what are those doubts...?" when he narrated them.. Hazarat رحمة الله عليه cleared them all...then and there. Later, after a few pages Maulana Syed Muhammed Shahid (db) writes that:
" Kashif ul Uloom, A Madrassah within the Markaz actively engages in the service of preaching knowledge & skills. Hazrat Maulana In'amul Hasan sahab رحمة الله عليه was its principal and administrator during the times of Hazrat Maulana Muhammed Yousuf sahab رحمة الله عليه. The curriculum of dars e nizami at this madrassa extended only uptil Jalalain and Mishkat .it was a desire of Maulana Muhammed Yousuf sahab رحمة الله عليه to even initiate [b]Daura hadith in the system.
With the directives of Hazrat Shaikh ul Hadith رحمة الله عليه, beginning from Rabi'ul awwal 1375 H, Daura hadith was initiated here. Maulana Muhammed Yousuf sahab, Maulana In'amul hasan sahab and Maulana Obaidullah Balyawi sahab were selected as the teachers of Sihah sittah.
Once while discussing with Maulana Mufti Aziz ur Rahman Bijnori sahab رحمة الله عليه about his educative pursuits and citing referential studies for teaching Bukhari shareef, revealed that "Five times I have gone through Umdat ul Qari and Fath ul Bari..also twice I have completed Fatawa Alamgiri and for a third time ended midway". During the period of teaching Bukhari Shareef.. Hadith teachers from various Madaris would attend his Dars e Hadith and pen down his scholarly research.
Hazratji رحمة الله عليه also remained attached to the third objective of Apostleship till the end of his life. Maulana Muhammed Shahid (db) writes that:
"According to the knowledge of Mufti Aziz ur rahman Bijnori sahab رحمة الله عليه this incident of bayat occurred in 1354 H/ 1935 AD. Where after taking bayat, Hazrat Maulana رحمة الله عليه advised the Zikr of Paas Anfas to both of them. Maulana Muhammed Yousuf sahab was prescribed Zikr Isme Zaat (Allah) for 3,000 times and Maulana Muhammed in'amul Hasan sahab was given to be recited for 12,000 times apart from being advised to read Hizb ul Azam and Hisnul Hasin."
The person ( Hazratji Maulana In'amul Hasan sahab رحمة الله عليه ) whose Zikr recitations initiated with 12,000 was gradually increased to 70,000 times. For quite many years it was his routine to confine in solitude at Humayun Tomb (a fort like structure nearby). drawn at a corner he would complete his Mamulat ( Daily schedule of Zikr-Adhkar ) which at times would last for seven hours..
Such sessions of extended Zikr would be spent engrossed deeply in Paas Anfas and Zikr e Khafi. He writes further " After passing through the various stages of Tazkiyah and Tarbiyah, Hazrat Maulana Ilyas sahab while asserting his confidence on an occasion even said that
'Hazrat Haji Imdadullah sahab رحمة الله عليه had Maulana Muhammed Qasim sahab رحمة الله عليه and Maulana Rasheed Ahmed sahab رحمة الله عليه .. similarly I have Yousuf and In'am'
And the kaifiyaat of Zikr which had manifested on Hazratji Maulana Ilyas sahab رحمة الله عليه could be judged by reading the letters he sent to Hazrat Shaikhul Hadeeth رحمة الله عليه and Hazrat Raipuri رحمة الله عليه.
Thus.. when the mission of Apostleship was summarized, the example of such was highlighted by showing the Jamiyyat (collectivity) of these three elders of Tableegh and the subject continued to gain expanse. May be it was willed by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala that the matter was necessary.
What is Tasawwuf and Sulook
Sulook is the Ta'meer ( building up) of " Dhahir (outward) and Batin (inward)". Implying to engage the heart and physical form in such obeisance to Allah سبحانه وتعالى that the path shown by Khatim un Nabiyeen and adherence to Shari'ah as taught by him evolves as a habit to such degree that following Sunnat Nabawiyyah becomes a natural instinct.. and an inherent attribute.Where formality is not required.
Since Sayyid ul Ambiya was perfectly balanced in both Zahir and Batin.. thus, his every action.. habit.. pause.. rested on this complete e'tidal (equilibrium/ balance) , Taqlid of which can instill e'tidal in every human heart..
Since physical organs involve a special connection with the heart.. so when a Muslim strives alongside with prayers to imbibe even the habits of Nabi kareem , emulating it always, he forges equilibrium even in his body organs.. and that clears away the defects... which in turn has an effect on the heart..
Such that the heart develops aversion for vile nature, imbibing itself with laudable qualities.. thereby becoming Mu'tadil..(balanced). The name for such e'tidal of heart is Nisbat..
Then.. one enjoys obeying the commands of Allah and His Rasool .. and feels hatred for sins.. he crawls out of basal self and desires.. reaching a point where the heart perceives such sweetness in the belief of the unseen which even the most nectarous bounties of the world fails to illustrate..
The heart cultivates such affinity with the zikr of Allah that to pass a moment in neglect seems like losing the kingdom of the world.. feeling deprived.. as if losing something more than life..wealth..family.. honour.. all that is loved.. and a cause for grief..
Tasawwuf and Sulook are infact Iman itself.. and not something detached away from Iman as an appendage, owing to the condition that the heart has acquired its sweetness and essence. This is Shari'at, i.e, but conditional to the fact that while reaching from the organs to heart..acting upon becomes a result of the loving heart..
This can be explained with the example of a sick person who never perceives hunger.. eats on the orders of the physician.. under compulsion. Such that he retains energy so as to aid in treatment and bear the suffering.
The other person is healthy and eats food on a true craving.. there is no doubt in the fact that both their lives are dependent on food.. which has provided nourishment for both.
On the face of it.. there doesn't seem any difference between the two.. but in reality they are poles apart. Similarly, a commoner worships subduing his Nafs.. and a Sahib e Nisbat - wali of Allah engrosses in worship.. but in such a condition that his yearning heart compels him to engage in this obeisance.
The human heart is a mirror which has the capacity and ability to absorb the Tajalliyat (manifestations) of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. So to exhibit its ability... it is necessary to keep it polished and clean.
Here the darkness of sins and impurities.. dust.. resulting from baser habits are continuously cleaned by making efforts and resolve..
When the dust is cleared it is then permanently engaged in Zikr and Fikr.. thereby making sustained efforts to increase its awareness in the presence of Allah سبحانه وتعالى .. and by the Barakah of which it gains such In'ekas ( spiritual reflection), that to explain it, one does not find a suitable example.
When this Mirror is illuminated by the Principal treasure of Noor, it is then potent enough to dispel the darkness of the entire world.. This is the Noor which descended down on the earth, carried forth by the blessed Heart of Nabi kareem .. that brightened the horizons of the universe..
The Brilliance of this Noor reflected and spread on many hearts.. which successively radiated the light of Hidaya throught the ages. Even after fourteen hundred years, the lamps lit by the sun of Prophethood continue to exist in this world and shall remain till the day of judgement.
The carriers of this sacred Noor are known as Awliya Allah and their numbers in the ummat -Muhammediah are more than lakhs.
To summarize all.. the blessed Shar'iah is the prelude or beginning of Tasawwuf.. and is also the pinnacle of Tareeq or Sulook.. and that Tasawwuf / Sulook is Shari'ah itself and not anything away from it.
Tasawwuf or Sulook - is it Mandatory for all..
A certain degree of sulook is Fardh while another is Mustahab. Dr Abdul Hayy sahab Arifi رحمة الله عليه has mentioned in "Jawahir Hakeem ul Ummat" the essence of which means that one method of voluntarily repelling lust etc.. exists where one does not deliberately make an attempt at it.. and if something occurs.. feels bad about it.. refrains from yielding to desire.. even if wasawis storm the mind..
This level is voluntary and Fardh.. and the surge of wasawis is involuntary and harmless..
The second degree is that of decimation & extinction of these evil qualities.. such that the Nafs has no craving or affinity towards it.. and it becomes so loathsome.. just like filth is naturally repulsive..
To pursue this is Mustahab.. and a means of attaining perfection.. and habitually these Mujahidaat (spiritual exercises) and Riyazaat (ascetic practices) are dependent on solitude and extended seclusions..
Likewise, there exist two levels of Huzoor e Qalb (awareness of the heart) in salah. One, while in salah or doing any virtuous deed, where apart from the motive, the heart does not contain any Ghair ullah (anything besides Allah).
Such that the motive behind worship is not to seek appraisal, wealth, or status from any Makhluq (creation).
Now this Huzoor e Qalb is obligatory and prayer is rejected in its absence,qualifying the punishment for Riya (ostentation). The second level is when the focus and shift of the heart while in salah, save for Allah سبحانه وتعالى, does not incline anywhere. even in thoughts or imagination.
Thereupon, there are again two stages. One, to voluntarily avoid any thoughts of Ghair entering the heart. This is known as Khushu. Ayaat (verses of Qur'an) and Ahadeeth have known to lay stress upon it, even though it is not obligatory.
The second stage is when such thoughts do not enter even involuntarily. this stage cannot be attained without the Fana (annihilation) of Qalb and Nafs.. and acquiring it is Mustahab.
A person should be indulged in seeking and work towards it and not to hasten at the motive.but yes one should begin by scrutinizing whether he treads the right path or not. when he reaffirms being on the right track,then continue walking steadily.. some day he shall definitely reach the destination.
But when the path itself is wrong no matter how much he walks, he shall only deviate further..
Then even Talab (Quest/ Pursuit) has two stages. The higher level of Talab lies where only the Talab of Allah سبحانه وتعالى exists. without the Talab of Jannah etc. The second stage is Talab of Jannah..
The first stage belongs to Khawaas (elite).. and the second one of general Mu’mineen (believers)..
( And the Foremost are the foremost.Those are the ones blessed with nearness (to Allah) (Translation -do-)
These are more elect than people of Jannah. but that does not mean they shall be segregated somewhere away from Jannah. Their abode shall also be Jannah in terms of dwelling. but on the basis of their quest, They differ.
These are only desirous of their lord. And being closer to Allah does not mean they would sit in his lap (iyazu billah). But was stated
فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ
That even they shall reside in Jannah, but would be closer ( To Allah) than others. These are neither aspirants of Jannah nor (fond) of guarding from hell. But this does not mean one should not crave for Jannah and seek refuge from Hell, just not solely desire for it.
What is Shari’ah, Tareeqat, Ma’arifat and Haqeeqat ?
1.Shari’ah: is the name given to the sum total of all divine injunctions which includes Zahiri (outward) and Batini (inward) acts.
Thereafter, in the terminology of later generations, the first part of Shari’ah ie, the Zahiri deeds, was termed as Fiqh (jurisprudence) and the next ie, Batini acts were known as Tasawwuf.
2. Tareeqat: known as the methods of Batini deeds.
3. Haqeeqat: The purity and luster which evolves in the heart after rectification of inward deeds, opens it to some realities of the world, especially as regards to deeds of virtue and divine realities as with Sifaat (divine virtues) , Af’al (divine conduct) are reflected upon it (the heart) .
These inspirations are known as Haqeeqat.
4. Ma’arifat : These Inspirations are known as Ma’arifat and the person who receives it is known as Arif and Muhaq’iq. It came to be known that all these acts are, but appendages of Shari’ah.
Hazrat Shaikh ul Hadeeth Maulana Zakariya Kandhelwi رحمة الله عليه writes in 'Shariat o Tareeqat ka Talazum’ (excerpt from P:102; Shariat o Tareeqat, translated by Asim Ahmed, Madania Publications)
“ The spiritual masters have articulated in their writings that the only objective of this path is attaining ihsān. The different exercises and tedious devotions which the sufis designed, are for sicknesses of the heart. It is similar to the various sicknesses and diseases of the physical body which physicians and traditional healers seek to cure by prescribing new medications.
Just as no one calls their latest treatments innovations, likewise it is our misunderstanding of this field to call the treatments of the sufis innovations. They are not objectives, but treatments for specific illnesses
of the heart.
Ibn Taimiyya رحمة الله عليه wrote extensively on the actions of the heart in his booklet, Al-Tuhfat al-‘Iraqiyya fi al-A‘mal al-Qalbiyya.
He further writes :
Allama Ibn Qayyim رحمة الله عليه, in Al-Wabil al-Sayyib min Al-Kalam al-Tayyib, states the conditions for being a mentor. One of them is that if a person wants to make bayat with a mentor, he should first investigate whether the person is amongst the people who lives in the remembrance of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and is not amongst the heedless ones.
He should be strict on the Sunnah, not a follower of the self, and should be cautious in his matters. If such a spiritual mentor is met, he should hold onto him tightly. He then narrates the habit of Ibn Taimiyya رحمة الله عليه that,
“Once, I went to my mentor. He sat after praying Fajr salah, doing the dhikr of Allah until midday. He said to me, ‘This dhikr is my breakfast in the morning. If I do not eat this food I will become weak; and I only avoid dhikr to give myself breath for dhikr at another time.’”
Another of Ibn Qayyim’s books, Madarij Al- Salikeen, is also on Tasawwuf. It is a commentary of the classic text on Tasawwuf, Manazil Al Salikeen, by Shaikh Abu Ismail Abdallah Harawi Hanbali رحمة الله عليه (1088 C.E)."(end of excerpt).
Hakeem ul ummat Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi رحمة الله عليه states that Sulook stands divided in two catagories - Sulook of Prophethood and Sulook of Sainthood. And each one has distinct features and effects which are mentioned below.
At times, the influence of Sulook Nubuwwah (Sulook of Prophethood) plays dominance over an Auliya (saint) and sometimes that of Sulook wilayat (sulook of Sainthood) .
The Features of Sulook Nubuwwah
1.Those of Sulook Nubuwwah do not voluntarily observe austerity, whatever they get are contended with.
2.They exhibit fondness towards corporeal world to impart (and benefit ) but do not get attached with them.
3.They engage in Amr Bil Ma’roof wa nahi anil munkar ( Enjoining good and forbidding evil).
4.They are governed by discipline as a man of canons would. They do not extend anything themselves through Kashf (mystical unveiling) etc..even though it may not deviate much from Shari’ah.
5.Their highest station is Abudiyat (bondsmanship).
The features of Sulook Wilayat.
1.They observe voluntary frugality in livelihood .
2.They despise the corporeal world.
3.They do not engage in Amr bil ma’rood wa nahi anil munkar unless mandatory.
4.They are confident over their Mukashfat (Mystical unveilings) and observances (of realities). And where it doesn’t conflict with the Shari’ah, also act upon it.
5.Their highest station is of Ridha. (seeking pleasure of Allah).
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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