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Tadhkiratur Rashid - Extract 1- Zikr and Ahwal of Hazrats Murideen

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2016 14:36
Extract 1 from Tadhkiratur Rashid
The life of Hazrat Imam Rabbani, Moulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Rahimahullah

This section deals with the islaahi Zikr prescribed to Hazrats murideen and their spiritual states and conditions. It is lengthy but a very enjoyable enlightening read. Please read all of it!

(After the preliminary practices were given such as the daily ibadah and tasbeehaats)

If the seeker wanted to make further progress and desired advancing in sulūk, he would instruct him into dhikr wa shughl and provide him with full guidance in this regard. He did not confine himself to any specific method of dhikr. He would gauge the seeker’s temperament and instruct him accordingly. He would ask him to practise on the methods which were most conducive and most beneficial to him.

He would instruct some of them according to the Chishtīyyah approach, others according to the Naqshbandīyyah approach and, at times, he would combine both approaches and instruct the person in a merged approach.

His expertise was not confined to anything specific. His proficiency, intellect, insight and Allāh-endowed capability did not permit him to err in gauging a person’s temperament. There are numerous incidents where Hadrat had, for example, prescribed the Chishtīyyah approach to a person. During the course of his training, the person then happened to go to another Ahlullāh who either affirmed the first approach which Hadrat had prescribed, or redirected the person to another approach. When he then realised that the second approach was unhelpful, he reverted the person back to the Chishtīyyah approach. The Ahlullāh would then say to the person: “Only the instruction which Hadrat Maulānā had given you will be of benefit to you.”

From amongst the numerous methods of achieving a single objective, Hadrat’s method of training was so safe and secure that all fear of ‘highway robbery’ had become weakened. One never found difficult toiling, spending several ‘forty days’ at a time, spiritual exercises, excessive nafl salāh and other optional acts of worship in his system of tutoring. It was, in truth, his lofty gaze and the attention which he paid to the sālik that directed him towards Allāh I. From amongst the numerous methods of achieving this goal, he preferred the following method: All associations with anything ‘non-Allāh’ (all things apart from Allāh) should be overpowered through the excessive dhikr of Allāh – to such an extent, that they must be totally subdued – as though they have no relationship and association whatsoever with Him.

He would instruct the sālik to engage in the twelve tasbīhs [Bāra tasbīh]. He was so particular in this regard that, if the person did not complete them at night, he would have to complete them during the day and, if for some reason he did not complete them in one day, he had to make up for them (make qadā) the following day. If he was unable to do it aloud, he had to do so silently. If he could not do it while seated, he would be allowed to complete it while lying down. If he was unable to maintain his wudū’, he had to continue without wudū’. In short – no matter what – he should not omit these under any circumstances. Once the sālik had developed an enthusiasm for dhikrullāh, he would increase the number of ism-e-dhāt (Allāhu Allāh) or nafiy ithbāt (Lā ilāha illallāh). He would increase the number from 1000 until he eventually read up to 12 000 and even 24 000. Together with this, he would teach him pās anfās and explain to him the manner of controlling his breath through dhikrullāh.

Instead of pās anfās, he would teach some sāliks the method of dhikr-e-qalbī (dhikr with the heart). Since this method of dhikr is not limited, he would instruct the sālik to engage in it without specifying any number. He had to engage in it all the time with special concentration. The feeling and condition which one would experience – both internally and externally – within a few days of practising upon this instruction is neither within our ability to describe, nor is there any need to express it.

This was the beginning of the bond of love with Allāh I for which thousands of His servants were prepared to cast aside the kingdoms and treasures of this world. It was the prelude to the joy of that righteous obedience for which thousands of people were prepared to desert their inhabited bodies [annhililation of self] and which they considered to be the pinnacle of their achievements.

Allāh I says:

إِنَّ الْمُلُوْكَ إِذَا دَخَلُوْا قَرْيَةً أَفْسَدُوْهَا وَجَعَلُوْا أَعِزَّةَ أَهْلِهَا أَذِلَّةً

“When kings invade a town,
they ruin it and they turn its noble people into the most abject.”
(Sūrah an-Naml, 27: 34)

Once Hadrat perceived the effect of pās anfās or dhikr-e-qalbī on the sālik, he would initiate him into murāqabah hudūrī wa ma‛īyyat (meditating on Allāh’s Presence and Proximity), or any other practice which he considered to be beneficial for the sālik. The effects and the results of this short instruction and education are only known to those who have experienced it. However, their mouths are sealed, for what is the need for them to describe it? One thing is certain – together with an increase in their acts of obedience, their affinity [with Allāh I] increased, and an aversion towards sinning increased by the day. Shame and modesty would develop in the sālik and he would hesitate in disobeying Allāh I – in privacy and in public. It was as though a guard had been placed at the entrance of his heart who prevented anything, apart from Allāh I, from entering it.

The effects of dhikr would flow through him and it would permeate not only his heart and mind, but every part of his body. These effects are beyond description. Evil habits and traits would gradually and automatically become weaker, while good qualities and traits would become stronger until eventually it would become firmly embedded in the person’s character. The heart would experience a restlessness – as though it was in search of something. It would have an expectation of finding something which is beyond comprehension. It would eventually find this light which is known as nisbat and experience hudūri (the constant Presence of Allāh I).

There is no doubt that, due to the differences in the temperaments of his associates, each one responded differently to Hadrat’s teachings. One would tread a particular path, while another would tread a different path. One would experience a certain condition, while the other would experience a different condition. This is what really marked Hadrat’s proficiency. He was able to control all of them according to their different temperaments and was able to convey each one to the level of perfection in accordance with their peculiar habits and mannerisms. Amongst his associates, many had extraordinary experiences – each in his own unique way. Such experiences are rarely absent in the heart of a sālik. He would guide each sālik according to his peculiar inclinations, temperament, perception and understanding, convey him to the next level and send him forward.

Allāh I apportioned diverse conditions and peculiarities to His Creation. Some trees need the full rays of the sun to grow and flourish. The absence of sunlight is detrimental to them. Yet, the lushness and greenery of a shade-loving tree is dependent upon shade and on being kept away from the sunlight. If it is placed in the full sun, it will wither and die. Extraordinary experiences of the heart desire concealment and secrecy. It [such experiences] does not like to be expressed verbally and brought into the open. That is why I cannot describe the condition of any person who went through such experiences. It is my duty to convey the narratives and accounts of my fellow friends in this biography. However, I did not receive anything on this subject nor did others convey them to me. If I did overhear some accounts, I did not receive permission to relate them. This section is therefore devoid of strange stories, unique experiences, rare results, and unseen spiritual bestowals. However, in conclusion it is necessary for me to say that the hearts of those who were tutored by Hadrat most certainly experienced unique and extraordinary occurrences.

Many had good dreams and experienced glad tidings through such dreams. They experienced the blessings and bestowals of the elders of the silsilahs and the guides of the spiritual lineages. At times they would be overcome with zeal and enthusiasm. At other times, a state of ‘intoxication’ and amazement would overpower them. Some of them would burst out into fits of laughter, while others would be overcome by weeping and would cry so profusely that they literally had no time to do anything except wiping the tears from their cheeks and beards.

There was a time when Hadrat had fallen ill and the doctor’s prescription was that he should eat the meat of pigeons. One of his khādims took this responsibility upon himself. He was in the habit of laughing constantly. Wherever he went, he would be overcome with laughter. Whenever he appeared before Hadrat, he would seal his mouth with a cloth in an attempt to suppress his laughter. Even then, some sound would still escape him. On one occasion he went out into the veld to catch a pigeon. He saw a cave, and told his companion that he was convinced that he would find a pigeon inside. He approached it – laughing – and extended his hand inside. A black snake came out of the cave – hissing. His companion was overcome with fear and moved aside, but this khādim stood his ground and continued laughing. He moved his hands about two or three times, caught two pigeons and returned – still laughing. When Hadrat Imām Rabbānī recovered from his illness and heard about his story, he made du‛ā’ for him and said: “Bhāi! Whatever a person does, he does to his own advantage.”

There was another person who would cry continuously. He would cry and scream like a mad-man. He would quote poems of love and cry incessantly. It was as though a terrible calamity had struck him and he was in such excruciating pain that he could not suppress it and it was impossible for him to exercise any patience. He would constantly repeat this poem:

Everyone’s Book of Deeds
will be read on the Day of Judgement,
while I will become unconscious
and will not be able to hear it.

If anyone had such a quest [for Allāh I], he would consider it the realization of his dreams, and if he were to die in this state, he would consider it the pinnacle of life.

Come and see Him,
and raise your heart away from this world.
When you meet the Friend,
you will sever all relations with this world.

If I do not recieve anything
from the Garden of Love ...
Then too, the anticipation of meeting Him
pleases me [is enough for me].

If there was anything which he uttered during the brightness of the day or the silent hours of the night, then it was this:

If the lover did not have
a deep-rooted love for his Beloved,
then he would not be toiling
and roaming in the heat of the mid-day sun.

There were also those who used to lose themselves in remorse and regret, and annihilate themselves in their desire to meet their Beloved [Allāh I]. They had realized their objective, yet they considered themselves to have failed in this regard. Thus they would tremble and say:

O lush, green tree!
How long will I keep looking at you?
In regret I gaze at your green colour,
but when will you bear fruit?

How does one describe a person’s internal condition? Some were overwhelmed by submission. Some were swept away in amazement and reflection, while others were the pinnacle of patience. Some would constantly worry and weep. Some were brimming with love, while others revealed that they were infused with peace and internal tranquillity. Some glowed with enthusiasm, while others were engrossed in concealment [asceticism]. However, there was something which they all had in common – they were all obedient to the Orders of the Beloved [Allāh I] and they all had a desire to reach their objective. Regardless of which condition or state had overcome him – each person literally addressed his One Allāh, saying:
You are the King and I am the slave.
Whatever You wish, You may Command,
and Your Command is compulsory upon the slave to obey.

There were also those from amongst Hadrat Imām Rabbānī’s blessed group who had arrived in this world with a temperament which was similar to his. They remained, unwavering, from beginning to end and was never overcome by any peculiar condition. They never experienced any hindrance, and remained engrossed in a simple and straightforward manner of obedience. They kept themselves occupied in studying or teaching the Sharī‛ah. They acquired nisbat once their hudūr had been established. The sole result of their internal condition was that they remained totally subservient to the injunctions of Allāh I and His Divine Will, and all their desires became subservient to the Pleasure of their Beloved [Allāh I].

O Friend,
if it pleases You not to fulfil my wishes and ambitions,
then I turn my desire into Your Desire.
[I will be pleased with whatever You Decree for me.]

They started to experience joy in complying with the orders of Allāh I. The servant experienced a desire to serve his Master [Allāh I], and his heart demanded:

Do not think that I will lift my eyes from You, my Beloved!
Till my last breath remains, I will continue loving You.
[And] if I hear that the caravan of my Beloved is in distress,
then the first one honoured to sacrifice his life for You, will be me.

Some of Hadrat’s associates would be overcome by ecstasy (hāl) and go into a trance-like condition. They would lie on the Musjid floor and scream for hours. Then there were also those who would be astounded upon seeing their brothers in such a state, and they would wonder how a person could possibly experience such a condition. In short, each person had his own peculiar trait and mannerism.

Hadrat Imām Rabbānī would monitor the diverse temperaments and conditions of his associates and impart spiritual training to them – treating each one according to his peculiarities. It was his heart-felt desire that each person should appreciate whatever internal condition he experienced, that he should consider it to be a Favour from Allāh I, and that he should safeguard it with gratitude.

One person was once overcome by an uncontrollable condition, and he started to boast about it to others. Hardly had his done this, when the condition was removed from his heart. The removal of a Favour is not such that a sālik’s heart does not perceive its removal, or that he does not feel its effect. He wrote to Hadrat describing his condition. In reply, Hadrat wrote the following:

The Unseen Subtlety (latā’if) is such a guest,
that, if you become unmindful,
it returns [to Allāh I].

At the same time, Hadrat would not allow his associates to pay undue attention to such conditions and experiences. He would say to them: “These conditions are not the objective. The essential objective is obedience to Allāh I and emulating the Sharī‛ah of Rasūlullāh r.” Consequently, his associates would not become smug over such conditions and experiences. The more they experienced these conditions, the more they would direct themselves towards their actual objective. They would progress further until they acquired the quality of total emulation of the Sharī‛ah with absolute conviction and total enthusiasm, thereby reducing the fear of any attack from Shaytān.

Some of his associates experienced unique conditions at the beginning stages of their training which, in other circles, would be considered extremely enviable. However, in Hadrat’s circle these conditions were not considered so remarkable. He would always advise the person, saying: “Do not pay undue attention to it.”

A person once pledged bay‛ah to Hadrat through a letter. Afterwards he became engrossed in dhikr – as per Hadrat’s instruction. Within a few days he experienced a condition in which he met the souls of the auliyā’ of the different silsilahs. Thereafter he began meeting the souls of the Prophets u – one after the other. Gradually he felt as if every vein and every hair on his entire body – from head to toe – had a bond with pure souls. During the course of this condition, he would be go into a trance and an altered state of consciousness, during which time the ‘unseen’ would be revealed to him and he would acquire the honour of being present in the assembly of Rasūlullāh r. At times he would become unconscious and remain motionless. However, the moment it was time for salāh, he would regain his consciousness. Upon completing his fard salāh, he would fall unconscious again. While in this unconscious state, he would sometimes wake up all of a sudden, ask for rotī, take a few bites of whatever was presented to him, eat like a mad-man, spit out the last morsel, and lose consciousness once again. It seemed as though he had been ordered to eat, and ordered to stop eating.

This condition prevailed for several months and Hadrat was informed about it. Hadrat replied [to the person who wrote on behalf of this murīd]: “These things are not the objective. If you intend coming here, bring him with you. Efforts will have to be made to teach him about the Sharī‛ah.” His father brought him to Gangoh. Hadrat seated him near him and lowered his head. To onlookers, it appeared as if Hadrat’s tawajjuh (focus) was causing the person to fall into a dream-like state. He lowered his head like a sleeping person and fell to the ground. After a few moments, Hadrat started speaking [to all those who were present] and this person also got up – like every other normal person. He eventually went to Deoband to study and did not ever experience such a condition again. At the same time, he progressed in his yearning for Allāh I and in his obedience to Him.

While Hadrat used to be occupied with awwābīn salāh after maghrib, some of his associates would enter a trance-like state. They would become ecstatic, scream out, lie on the ground, sing heart-rending poems, and utter sorrowful words of invocation. Upon completion of his salāh, when Hadrat proceeded [to his house], the screaming and beseeching would increase. They would say: “Hadrat, for the Sake of Allāh, show mercy on us. Feel sorry for us.” Hadrat would listen to these words with absolute resoluteness, and proceed silently. Since these conditions were not really worthy of consideration, he would not pay any attention to it. At the same time – because of the fact that these were scenes of righteousness and enchantment – he would not look upon it with aversion. Obviously, whatever they were experiencing was due to their quest for the Pure Allāh for whom countless people had sacrificed their lives. Thus, if a person were to pass away in this quest [for Allāh I], he would, to a certain extent, attain his objective based upon this Hadīth:

ومن يخرج من بيته مهاجرا إلى الله ورسوله فقد وقع أجره على الله

“The one who leaves his house in his quest for Allāh and His Messenger, has established his reward from Allāh.”

Hadrat would therefore consider it a boon if a person had to pass away in such a state. May thousands of lives be sacrificed for a single death of this nature. Such a death is preferred over thousands of survivals.

A buzurg once wrote to Hadrat, informing him about one of Hadrat’s murīds who had become maghlūb al-hāl (one who is overcome, one who is in a trance-like condition). He expressed his distress and pleaded with Hadrat to save him from this condition – for the murīd’s own good. Hadrat was lying down when this letter was read out to him. He listened to it from beginning to end and, in a peculiar tone, he said: “It will be good if he dies in this very state.” Hadrat then turned his body the other way and discarded the incident from his mind.

O intelligent heart! You cannot reach the Court of the King
until you do not make the sorrow of others, your sorrow ...
Until you do not place your shoulder to the wheel,
you will never see the Locks of your Beloved.

Whether a person was restless, agitated or trembling, Hadrat’s supervision and monitoring would ensure that – no matter how difficult it would become for the person – his enthusiasm to reach Allāh I would increase. Even if a person seemed to be travelling in a desolate place without any means and possessions, he would visualize the attainment of his goal and would not lose courage. Instead of stepping back like a coward, he would advance at every moment.

Were I to have a hundred hearts,
they would all break at every breath.
Due to Your Incomprable Beauty,
my desire continues to increase.

Since the appearance and experience of conditions such as ecstasy, trance etc. could very well be obstacles from Shaytān, Hadrat would affirm the blessed conditions of his associates, console them, keep up their spirits, and emphasize upon them the need to adhere to the Sharī‛ah and to emulate Rasūlullāh r. Through his writings, his statements, by way of warning, through encouragement, by way of teaching and through his practical examples, he tutored all his associates – especially those who were prone to such conditions. He ensured that they would firmly believe that, regardless of how enjoyable and excellent such a condition might be, it is of no significance whatsoever if it is experienced while casting aside the protection of the Sharī‛ah of Rasūlullāh r.

O Sa’di (name of poet)!
It is impossible to tread the path of truth and purity
without complying with, and following,
the Sunnah of Muhammad Mustafā r.

[If a person should choose any other path
than the path of the Messenger r
he will never reach his desired goal and objective.]

The essence of Hadrat’s teachings to a sālik during the course of his sulūk, was that the true love of Allāh I should become fully embedded in his heart until it resulted in his adherrence to the Sharī‛ah under every condition, and until he emulated Rasūlullāh r at every step. This is the only way of reaching Allāh I as explained by Allāh I Himself in the Qur’ān, and conveyed to us by Rasūlullāh r. This was the same way in which Rasūlullāh r had been taught and it was the same way in which Imām Rabbānī had repeated it to his associates. Thus, we will be totally correct in saying that his way of instruction – based on the fact that he was the deputy of Rasūlullāh r – was for the sake of conveying and propagating the Qur’ānic instruction:
قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّوْنَ اللهَ فَاتَّبِعُوْنِيْ يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللهُ

“Say: If you love Allāh, then follow me,
Allāh will Love you.”

Hadrat was never heedless of rectifying and improving the condition of his associates. His practical life and his mere presence was guidance in itself. Every khādim was enthusiastic about emulating him, engrossed in whatever was required of him and filled with courage to safeguard and uphold whatever he had learnt. However, Hadrat did not suffice with this. He would assist them even further through verbal encouragement and spiritual attention.

There was a Wilāyatī [pious] person who remained in Hadrat’s service and engaged in constant dhikr. Within a short time he experienced a certain condition where Hadrat’s face would appear to be brighter than the full moon to him. This increased his love for his Shaykh and firmly established his enthusiasm and conviction. Whenever he used to meet with the other members of the khānqāh, he would ask them: “This is how luminous and bright Hadrat’s face appears to me. Do you also perceive it in the same way?”

Obviously, everyone who lived in the khānqāh would not necessarily experience the same condition. When they replied in the negative, Shaytān instilled pride and haughtiness in this person’s heart and he thought that his fellow companions were deprived of the effects of dhikr with which he had been blessed. He considered his own efforts to be accepted by Allāh I and thought he had acquired something great. These evil thoughts resulted in him becoming lazy and lethargic in dhikr. One or two days passed in this way. One night, after ‛ishā, he was massaging Hadrat’s feet. A few other khādims were also present. He posed the following question to Hadrat: “Hadrat, Allāh I says:

يُسَبِّحُ لِلهِ مَا فِي السَّمٰوٰتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ

“All that is in the heavens
and all that is in the earth glorifies Allāh.”

“In the above verse, the word مَا (all) is general – it refers to animate and inanimate objects. Does it mean that everything glorifies Allāh I?” Hadrat replied: “Yes, everything glorifies Allāh I, even an ant in its hole. Such a condition has been experienced by most sālikīn (plural of sālik) – they can feel Allāh’s dhikr emanating from everything. However, man is so feeble-minded that, as soon as he engages in dhikr for a few days, he becomes inflated with pride and thinks that he has become somebody special. He experiences a little illumination and thinks he has reached a venerable position. Remember, such thoughts cause a person to be expelled from the Court of Allāh. Allāh I bestows countless bounties upon us, but we are unable to be grateful for just one bounty. How can it be correct for us to consider ourselves to be accepted in His Court and eligible for some geat reward, merely because we have engaged in a small amount of dhikr?”

Hadrat then related this story: “There was once a great ‛ābid (ardent worshipper) and zāhid (ascetic). He spent his entire life in Allāh’s worship, and his worship was done with sincerity, whereas our acts of worship are filled with ostentation. This person lived for a thousand years. His entire long life was spent in Allāh’s worship. Towards the end of his life the thought crossed his mind: ‘I have engaged in the constant worship of Allāh. I have spent my entire life in His remembrance. I will certainly receive a lofty rank from Him as reward.’ When he passed away and he was presented before Allāh I, the angels were commanded to cast him into Hell. Angels are under the absolute Command of Allāh I. They dragged him towards Hell. He called out saying: ‘O Allāh! I worshipped you for one thousand years, I was actually eligible for Paradise!’ Allāh ordered the angels: ‘Very well, keep him on the edge of Hell.’ He was placed there and he felt extremely thirsty. In his restlessness he beseeched Allāh I, saying: ‘O my Lord! Permit me to drink water because I am dying of thirst.’ Allāh I said to the angels: ‘Tell him that water is not for free over here. He may purchase one bowl of water in exchange for one thousand year’s of worship, if not, he should remain silent.’ He was delighted upon hearing this and said: ‘I accept the offer. If I receive the water, I will save my life. At least I have not been asked for the worship of several thousand years.’ Allāh I said to the angels: ‘Tell him, while he lived in the world for a thousand years, he drank thousands of bowls of cool, sweet water. He must first give an account of all of that and then We will accept his one thousand year’s of worship in return for one bowl of water.’”

After relating this story, Hadrat said: “Miyā! We cannot even express gratitude to Allāh I for just one bowl of water which is not even equal to thousands of years of worship. What about the countless other bounties and favours? How, can we have the audacity to assume that we are eligible for high ranks?”

Upon hearing Hadrat’s explanation, all the Shaytānic whisperings and thoughts disappeared from this person’s heart without any trace. Within a few days he was overpowered by weeping and the realization of his insignificance increased by the day.

Due to the fact that they could not see the fruits thereof, some associates assumed that dhikr was having no effect on them. This Shaytānic obstacle would manifest itself in the form of despondency. The person would think to himself: “I have spent so many months making dhikr, but I am still not experiencing any enjoyment. What hope is there in experiencing any enjoyment in the future?” Hadrat would fill the hearts of these people with hope, encourage them, and remove their despondency. He would explain to them, saying: “Some Ahlullāh experienced a very slight effect, even after several years of striving. Hadrat Jalāl Thānesarī rahimahullāh gave up all his teaching responsibilities and became engrossed in dhikr bil jahr (loud dhikr) for two whole years. The only thing he experienced after this entire period was a superficial sound. He wrote to his Shaykh, Shaykh ash-Shuyūkh ‛Abd al-Quddūs rahimahullāh, and described his condition to him thus: ‘Hadrat, I have been engrossed in dhikr for two continuous years. Hadrat is aware that I gave up my teaching responsibilities in order to engage myself in dhikr. However, I have not experienced the effect of it as yet. I am merely hearing a superficial sound in my head.’ His Shaykh replied: ‘Do not fret. Persevere with whatever you are doing.’”

No matter how long it takes to make honey,
in the end it will always taste sweet.

Hadrat Imām Rabbānī used to console them through relating the stories of the righteous, and he would not permit them to lose courage. He used to quote this poem again and again, and would quote it in his replies to their letters:

Keep working,
and do not keep talking about the work you are doing.
In this path you will have to keep working,
no matter what.

Those amongst Hadrat’s murīds who were ‛ulamā’, and who were engaged in teaching and lecturing as per his instructions, were aided in their striving and dhikr through their service in the field of teaching and lecturing, and thus conveyed to their objectives. The murīds, who spent lengthy periods of time in striving and dhikr, would think to themselves: “These people only come to see Hadrat occasionally, yet they are able to progress so much, while we are not acquiring much, despite the fact that we have remained here for so long.” Hadrat would always come to know about these whisperings and – while speaking about another subject – he would convey this message to them: “The purpose of dhikr is to remember Allāh I and to inculcate an inclination towards Him. Since the ‛ulamā’ acquire this through teaching and lecturing, their mental striving by night and day, and the fact that they convey the teachings of Allāh I and Rasūlullāh r are the greatest channels for their reformation and rectification. It is incorrect to think that the ‛ulamā’ do not engage in dhikr.”

Once, a person complained to Hadrat that he was not experiencing any benefit, despite engaging in dhikr for so long. Hadrat [again] quoted this poem:

Keep working,
and do not keep talking about the work you are doing.
In this path you will have to keep working,
no matter what.

Then he added: “Miyā! The people of the past had to bear many hardships and strive for many years, yet you are becoming restless with so little! Hadrat Jalāl Thānesarī rahimahullāh only started sultān al-adhkār after three years.”

In short, Hadrat would not allow any person to lose courage and hope. He would try to get the faint-hearted to work through constant encouragement. This is because the essential benefit of dhikrullāh lies in persevering in the remembrance of Allāh I. When man remains in Allāh’s Court – ready to carry out His Orders – a mere Glance from Allāh I may grant him forgiveness. We do not know when that Glance of Affection will fall upon us.

Even though I am not worthy
of presenting myself in the Royal Court ...
Yet, in Your Nobility,
cast a single Glance of Grace upon this lowly servant.

People expect to see the results of their striving instantly and, if they don’t, they become impatient in this regard. This is a form of audacity and disrespect and could very well become the cause of a person’s deprivation and destruction. Hadrat Imām Rabbānī was therefore never heedless of rectifying these ills in his associates. He would remove such evil thoughts from the tālib’s heart through his verbal statements, writings, and spiritual attention (tawajjuh), and he would relate stories of the past elders to them. He would firmly embed in their minds the reality that any perfection in this world can only be attained gradually – through years of striving.

Consider how long it takes for a child to develop into a young man or woman, and how long it takes an ignorant person to become knowledgeable. How can one then possibly expect to acquire the most valuable thing in this world – close proximity to Allāh I – within a few short days? Even if it takes a thousand years to acquire this bounty, honour and rank, it would be considered ‘quick’ and a sign of good fortune.

It takes a long period of growth for a baby
to develop into a fully intelligent, understanding and capable adult.

It takes many years for a stone to return to its original glitter ...
for it to be transformed into a ruby, or a beautiful emerald.

It takes a long time for a handful of wool to grow
and to be woven into the clothing or coat of a Sufi.

It takes an entire season for cotton to grow in the soil,
and to be sewn into the garment of the beloved,
or the shroud of a martyr.

We have to anxiously wait for a lengthy time
for a speck [of dust] to be transformed
into a beautiful pearl inside an oyster.

Being a servant implies servitude, and servitude implies helplessness. Who ever said that it means that one can make demands before the Master? Moreover, who said that it was permissible to demand anything from Him? Can a person look towards his Beloved with affection and yet make demands of proximity?

If you desire the love of Layla from the depths of your heart,
[then] transform yourself into a lover in the image of Majnūn

The true quest of this pure path is that the seeker should obliterate all his own hopes. The sacrifice of all his desires should become the greatest desire of all. Some seekers never make such a request. However, the one who does make this request will have to prove true to his word and be willing to sacrifice his life for it.

I told my heart: ‘Please don’t take me to His door,
for He is the King and I do not know the protocol of the Court.’
My heart replied: ‘Go, and do not talk nonsense!
Either you go to His Door, or He will come to yours.’

Hadrat Imām Rabbānī’s method of instruction had a special blessing and effect on his associates by means of which they were able to reach their objective within a few months or weeks. Even if it had taken several years, it would still have been considered to be a great feat. A few moments in his presence, and a slight spiritual bond with him, proved to be more beneficial and profitable than spending lengthy periods in various forms of striving (mujāhadah).

Sufi Karam Husayn Sāhib described his own condition thus: “When Hadrat taught me to engage in dhikr, he said: ‘You must loudly recite 1000 times nafī ithbāt, 1000 times ithbāt, and 3000 times ism-e-dhāt during the last part of the night. Furthermore, you must silently recite 24 000 times ism-e-dhāt during the remainder of the day and night.’ While Hadrat was teaching me all this, a special quality of love for Allāh I developed in my heart. At the same time, I perceived a heat in my heart which spread throughout the rest of my body. When I completed my dhikr that night, I felt sleepy. While still seated in my place, I felt a fire being ignited and it filled the space between earth and the skies. It filled my body in such a way that I perceived myself sitting on the ground, with my head in the sky, my shoulders were attached to the north and the south, my body became like a rock, and my tongue filled my entire mouth – making it difficult for me to utter a word. After some time this condition passed, but I still felt its effect on my body. The following morning I related my condition to Hadrat. He said: ‘Bārakallāh! (may Allāh bless you). The effect of dhikr has started.’ After this I experienced different forms of illumination as a result of making dhikr and my consciousness of ism-e-dhāt (the Unique Name of Allāh I) steadily increased.”

One of Hadrat’s khādims had spent just a few days engaging in loud dhikr. One night he went to massage Hadrat’s feet and experienced something in his heart, and this condition increased. Hadrat immediately changed his posture, facing in his direction. The khādim’s condition became unbearable. Hadrat then said to him: “Enough! You may leave.” He went to his room, lay down and swiched off the lamp. The condition which he had experienced while massaging Hadrat’s feet increased to such an extent that he felt as if his own body had become non-existent. He could merely sense his presence ‘somewhere’. A veil was raised and a light appeared before him – its vastness seemed to extend beyond the breadth of the earth and its colour was brighter than the morning light. Although his room was pitch dark, he felt as if the morning light was flooding it. Then a red light appeared, and its vastness was equal to the light he had just witnessed. This was followed by different colours of light, one after the other. Finally, he perceived the light of latīfah akhfā. When he related this to Hadrat the following morning, he replied: “Bārakallāh! These were the lights of the latā’if.”

In the midst of this, an endless voice (saut-e-sarmadī) could be heard. It commenced with absolute severity causing shivers to run through the body. At times, this sound was like thunder, and at times it sounded like the striking of chains, while different sounds could be heard at other times.

Every part of his body could perceive this sound and the word ‘Allāh’ would emanate from it. A few days later he perceived this sound emanating from everything. Eventually, the Blessed Name of Allāh could be heard emanating from the heart of anyone who was seated next to him while engaged in dhikr. This condition increased to such an extent that he could eventually perceive and hear the dhikr eminating from every part of the person’s body.

Some of Hadrat’s murīds would experience such powerful effects of dhikr within a few days, that it would cause their rooms to become illuminated in the darkness of the night. The light would be so intensely powerful that it would become difficult for them to see. These illuminations would sometimes take the form of a person dressed in green or red. It would appear as though he was standing next to them – engaged in dhikr or performing salāh. At times, the illuminations would take a physical form during salāh, or while engaged in dhikr. Upon seeing this, the sālik would become euphoric and experience an ecstatic condition.

In short, the blessings, effects and results of Imām Rabbānī’s teachings were fully acknowledged by the hearts of those who appreciated the value of these Unseen Bounties. Through practising upon his teachings, the enjoyable and pleasant restlessness which could be experienced by the heart on the very first night, would cause the heart to become like a bird which is trapped in a cage – prepared to destroy itself in quest of this joy, and considering it to be the pinnacle of all its desires.

My heart calls me towards my Beloved at all times.
The place to which it calls me is every place
[where the Beloved can be found].

This topic is most enjoyable and I do not feel like casting it aside. It is a very extensive topic and would be difficult to complete. The purpose of this subject was merely to show the reader that Hadrat would, in all his teachings, always accord the greatest importance to following the Sunnah. Second to this, he would ensure that every seeker accorded the necessary respect to the Ahlullāh. Even if a person was not bound to the teachings of any particular silsilah, he would ensure that he always had good thoughts (husn-e-zann), confidence in, and love for all the silsilahs and auliyā’. Thereafter, he would teach them that dhikr, shughl, pās anfās, or murāqabah should be adhered to and practiced upon so that it could become a means of fruitful benefit and a means of acquiring blessings.

Differences in temperaments would obviously produce different results and conditions. Some would be overwhelmed by unseen experiences. Others would experience the Presence [of Allāh I] and thereby become steadfast in Dīn and overcome by peace and tranquillity. Some would experience ecstasy and trance, while others would be overpowered with fear, anxiety and weeping. Some would feel intoxicated, while others would experience grief and trembling. The diversity in these conditions and circumstances can neither be understood nor described. Mentioning a method and manner of treatment would therefore not be of any benefit to the reader. Besides, there is no specific and definitive method of treatment which could be presented. For that reason I do not consider it of any value to delve into all of this.

However, I can certainly say that very few people experienced ecstasy and trance from Hadrat’s teachings. Those who did experience it, were relieved of this condition and it was replaced with peace and tranquillity within a short period of time. Since the nature of Hadrat’s nisbat was very subtle and hidden, his magnanimity permeated his murīds and they preferred humility. Thus, no one ever heard about their conditions. Most of his khulafā’ were cut from the same cloth and – al-hamdulillāh – it is still continuing in the same way.

Hadrat did not like his murīds to develop the habit of remaining aloof from others and severing relations. If he found this trait in any of them, he would make efforts to remove it. Munshī Qādir Bakhsh Sāhib Bulandshahrī pledged bay‛ah, returned home and became engrossed in dhikr and shughl – as per Hadrat’s prescription. Within a few days he started to experience extraordinary conditions. He was overjoyed with the pleasure of these experiences. The thought crossed his mind that – if he could experience such joy while remaining aloof from people and engaging in dhikr for such a short while – imagine the extent of his joy if he were to sever his ties with this world completely and occupy himself in the remembrance of Allāh in some cave in a mountain, or in a secluded spot in a jungle!

No sooner did these thoughts enter his mind, than his desire to remain in solitude started increasing and his love for his wife and family started to diminish. Eventually he became restless in the presence of his children, developed an aversion towards his relatives and recoiled from the coming and going of his friends and associates. His relatives became distressed by this change in his temperament. They started sweet-talking him, embracing him and begging of him to tell them what they had done wrong and what the reason was that had caused him to remain aloof from everyone? Then they realized that it was the effect of dhikr which had caused him to desire solitude, and they realised that it would be difficult to remove this desire for solitude from him. When they felt convinced he would soon leave them and go out into the jungle, they started to criticize and scold him, hoping that he would feel ashamed and desist from such thoughts.

His wife said to him: “It seems you are no longer able to earn a living. That is why you want to abandon everyone.” His mother told him: “It is the Maulwī Sāhib [referring to Imām Rabbānī] who made him his murīd. He has now taken away my son from me. I had only one support in my life and it has slipped away from me. I am going to write to the Maulwī Sāhib and tell him: ‘You have separated a son from his mother. Now you tell us women what we should do.’”

To cut a long story short, his family adopted every possible strategy, but it did not have the least effect on him. When Hadrat Imām Rabbānī finally came to know about this, he summoned for Munshī Qādir Bakhsh. When he arrived, Hadrat took him into his room, seated him near him, focused on his heart, and said: “Miyā Qādir Bakhsh! Do you intend doing something which is completely against all the buzurgs of the silsilah and against the practice of all the Messengers of Allāh? Tell me, how will you be able to live if you should act against them? What benefit will it contain for you? I have heard that you intend leaving your wife, your children and your elderly mother, and that you intend living somewhere far away from them. Listen carefully – this can never happen!”

When Hadrat said this to him, a special love for his wife, children and mother gushed forth from his heart. He developed an intense urge to quickly return to his house and to see their faces. He thus returned and is still living in his house with that same intense attachment and love for his family. After this incident, not the slightest thought of leading a life of solitude and asceticism ever entered his mind again.

Hadrat had the special ability to analyse people’s temperaments and to consider their weaknesses and strengths. By virtue of his rank in the Sight of Allāh, his inexperienced murīds were engulfed by Allāh’s Mercy. By virtue of his sincere submission to Allāh I, his immature spiritual children and young murīds were showered with Allāh’s Grace and Affection at every step of the way. Hadrat’s ‘children’ did not even realise that the affectionate tutoring and training which they had received from him had caused them to blossom. This distant path – which many young men would recoil from – was traversed by Hadrat’s murīds with absolute peace, and without feeling any fatigue. Al-hamdulillāh, this dangerous and terrifying jungle – which many valiant men shuddered to enter – was easily crossed by Hadrat’s beloved ‘children’, without anyone even perceiving it. Not even his ‘children’ themselves recognized the dangers that were lurking in their path, let alone others.

Hadrat did not like his murīds to give up their halāl and pure means of livelihood without any valid reason. He would not even hint in the direction that any Muslim should deliberately put himself through the test of desirable (mustahab) reliance (tawakkul). Obviously, if he found that a companion possessed a resilient temperament, and felt sure that he would be able to bear the difficulties and hardships with patience, he would make a subtle suggestion to him to give up his means of livelihood and to place his total reliance upon Allāh I.

When Hadrat Maulānā Ashraf ‛Alī Sāhib [Thānwī rahimahullāh] sought his counsel in this regard, he told him very clearly: “It is mubāh (permissible) for you to keep your properties etc. If you do not keep them, Allāh I will never cause you any concern about your sustenance.” Maulwī Muhammad Ismā‛īl Sāhib Gangohī started to become restless with his employment in Gwalior and wanted to leave. Hadrat wrote a reply to his letter. It contained the following: “It is permissible for you to leave your employment if you are able to exercise patience over your unemployment. The rank of an ‛ālim requires that he should remain seated in the Musjid and live a life of poverty. If you are able to do this, then leave your employment. However, you should first gauge your temperament and whether you feel you will be able to cope. If you think you will not cope, bear the difficulties of your employment and remain there. I am making du‛ā’ for you. You must read يَا مُغْنِيْ (yā Mughnī) 1100 times after the fajr salāh, and يَا بَاسِطُ (yā Bāsitu) 1100 times after the ‛ishā salāh. This you must read daily.”

Consequently, Hadrat Maulānā Thānwī acted upon his advice and desposed of all his wealth. Maulwī Muhammad Ismā‛īl Sāhib commenced with the above wazīfah, his hardships disappeared within a few days, his conditions were remedied, and he never experienced any poverty.

In sulūk, most attention is paid to the heart. No task can be accomplished without peace and tranquillity. Hadrat therefore gave the greatest amount of attention to the sālik’s focus and unity of purpose. He would adopt all the desirable means and plans to remove stress, worry and tension. He would adopt unique ways of guiding and steering his murīds. Livelihood is such a thing that it causes a person to seek the means of acquiring it from all sides. A believer experiences such worries and concerns about it that, if his condition is not rectified, his īmān may fall into danger. Upon seeing the progress and victories of the strong-hearted mashā’ikh, a novice in the path of sulūk may be overcome with the desire to give up the lawful means of seeking his livelihood. A proficient spiritual physician never considers such a desire to be worthy of consideration. They consider it better for a person to earn a livelihood than to open himself to the complexities and harmful uncertainty which would result if he were to give up his means of livelihood.

The majority of Imām Rabbānī’s murīds were confined to seeking a means of livelihood while their hearts were attached to Allāh I. Obviously, in maintaining such contacts [and employment], a person becomes prone to stray thoughts and distractions. Hadrat would adopt appropriate measures to repel these. He would console the person through narrating stories of the pious and righteous elders. He would encourage the person to exercise patience, remind him of the promises of reward for the pains and concerns which he was experiencing, and thereby he would fill him with confidence and happiness. At times, he would promise to make du‛ā’ in his favour and boost his confidence in this way. Sometimes he would prescribe a wazīfah to the person. On the one hand, these temporary measures would boost the person’s morale, while on the other hand, Hadrat’s prescription of dhikr wa shughl would strengthen his heart and fortify his connection of love with Allāh I. Eventually, these would assist him in concentration and aid him in his path. Then the Gifts of the Beloved [Allāh] would become enjoyable, and they would become the means through which he achieves progress.

Every pain and sorrow that causes restlessness in your heart
is in reality tranquillity and a pleasure for the lover.

The grief which had been the cause of the person’s detachment and dissociation in the past, would now become the sign of his connection and the mark of his proximity.

The heart that becomes consumed with love
becomes a mine of grief, sorrow and restlessness.
It is not possible to settle that body
which is filled with such frenzied love.

O heart, become unconcerned due to [your] happiness,
for you have become aware of the grief of true love.

The same hardships and calamities, which had previously been the cause of a dreadful and frightening scene, would now become the salient features of the close servants [of Allāh I] and garments to the righteous, and would announce their inclusion amongst the beloved servants of Allāh I.

There is a [hidden] secret for us in love:

Work and effort are stolen from the lovers.
[In their quest for love, their efforts often seem in vain.]

Sometimes the beautiful necks of our beloveds
have been made to drink poison.
Sometimes they are beheaded with swords.

We look after Our enemies and We love Our friends.
No one has the least reason to complain of Our Decision.
They used a saw on Nabī Zakarīyyā u
yet We kept Nabī Yahya u alive through trying circumstances.

In their concern for a livelihood, and out of fear of poverty, some people used to resort to alchemy, while others desired wealth to come to them from the unseen. [In their effort to obtain ‘easy money’], they would consider this to be lawful and pure earning and thus they would devote all their time and effort towards it. This was a two-fold illness: (1) They would spend all the wealth they possessed in its quest [and become distracted from their true purpose]. (2) Due to this, their poverty would inevitably increase. Imām Rabbānī would therefore aim to remove these ailments as quick as possible. He would remind the person of the failure and terrible condition of those who had tried to obtain ‘easy money’ [in the past]. He would prohibit the person from such activities – explicitly and implicitly. He would direct his own spiritual focus towards the person, whilst relating stories of the righteous to him. In so doing, he would free the seeker’s heart and mind from such whisperings.

Munshī Qādir Bakhsh writes: I was quite stressed because I could not find a job and the running expenses of my house were quite high. I used to impose dhikr wa shughl upon my heart, but this concern dominated my thoughts all the time and spoiled my joy. I went to Gangoh with the intention of asking Hadrat for a practice (‛amal) which would provide me with help from the unseen. I would then be able to remain at home without any worry and would be able to occupy myself in the remembrance of Allāh I. I presented myself to Hadrat but did not get the opportunity to forward my request. Hadrat was alone in his room one day and I felt that this was the ideal opportunity for me to approach him with my request. I went inside, but before I could say anything to him, he said: “Bhāi Qādir Bakhsh! Read this wazīfah. It will benefit you tremendously. Inshā Allāh, you will not experience any poverty.” I said: “Hadrat, teach me an unseen practice.” He said: “What I told you is sufficient.”

He returned home and started reading the wazīfah which Hadrat had taught him. From the moment he started it, he experienced comfort and, no matter how difficult a task may have been, the means to accomplish it would be provided to him by Allāh I and all his needs were fulfilled with peace and comfort.

The special servants of the ‘Knower of the Unseen’...
the foundation of their hearts is to seek the Beloved.
Before Him all the secrets of their hearts are exposed,
even as a thought enters the depths of their hearts.

A sālik is a person who has completely subjugated himself in Allāh’s Path. His training includes the protection of his thoughts, the treatment of his internal self, and the adoption of methods to rectify and reform his heart. His training is concealed and hidden – like a hidden pearl. Although one experiences ecstasy, it can only be understood by one’s emotion. This is something very lofty and beyond the understanding of someone like me. It is, in itself, very difficult to understand the outward forms of rectification which are beneficial for certain spiritual ailments. When Allāh I opens the ‘eyes’ of a person’s heart, such a person automatically knows what illnesses his soul is suffering from and what the best method of treatment would be. I do not intend teaching these methods of treatment, nor do I have the ability to teach it.

What I wish to demonstrate is that Imām Rabbānī – through his expertise and Allāh-endowed insight – had been blessed with a lofty position of instruction. We could refer to him as a mujaddid in this field [the tarīqah]. The large number of dead souls which were revived at the hands of this ‘messiah’ was, in itself, a manifestation of Allāh’s Power. Others may be able to fathom and perceive this, but it is certainly beyond me. Like his treatment of physical ailments, he would certainly adopt a variety of measures when treating spiritual ailments. However, a measure is merely a measure, and what is obvious is plain to see. The fact of the matter is that [although these measures were not without benefit] these ailments were removed through the internal spiritual attention and focus which Imām Rabbānī had directed towards every sālik. Their cure was the fruit of his spiritual attention.

The essence of his training an
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2016 14:43

The essence of his training and instruction was that a Muslim should become a helpless servant of Allāh I. Allāh’s Pleasure should supercede the most desirable of all his desires, and obedience to Him should become the most beloved of all things. The person should become like an infant in the care of a wet-nurse. He should become like a corpse, and the Orders of Allāh I should be as one who bathes this corpse – tossing and turning him at Will. The Sharī‛ah of Rasūlullāh r should permeate every part of his body and become part and parcel of all his actions, and even his inaction.

The interim period, between the time of his birth and the time when he is placed in his grave – in other words, his entire life – should be a physical manifestation of the splendid palace which Rasūlullāh r had constructed during the twenty-three years of his mission as a Prophet. The person should neither come to a standstill of his own accord, nor should he move of his own accord. If he sleeps, he should sleep in emulation of Rasūlullāh’s r order. When he wakes up, he should wake in emulation of Rasūlullāh’s r order. This is the meaning of true love. This is sulūk, and this is the tarīqah.

What is Ishq (intense love)?
Say: [It is] to become the slave of the Beloved.

It is to place your feet into the Hands of another,
and to place your hands into the Hands of another.
[and to allow the Beloved to control you.]

This instruction is the essence of all rectification, and the embodiment of all the teachings expressed in the Qur’ān:
قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّوْنَ اللهَ فَاتَّبِعُوْنِيْ يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللهُ
وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوْبَكُمْ إِنَّ اللهَ غَفُوْرٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

“Say: If you love Allāh, then follow me. Allāh will love you and forgive you your sins. Surely Allāh is Forgiving, Merciful.”

The quest for this love is dependent upon following the beloved [Rasūlullāh r] of the Lord of the worlds. The person who possesses the quality of following and emulating Rasūlullāh r, is promised the splendorous crown of becoming the Beloved of Allāh I.

This is the actual wilāyat and proximity, and this is the guarantee for forgiveness and acceptance [in the Sight of Allāh I]. Thousands of people have sacrificed their lives for it, and the continued existence of this world is dependent upon this instruction and teaching. Dying in its cause is the essense of life itself, and annihilating oneself in its quest is equal to a thousand lifetimes. If only the author [‛Āshiq Ilāhī] could obtain a flicker of it, hold onto a guide and a group of travellers on this long and dangerous journey, and reach his goal ...

Life cannot be called ‘life’ [just] because I am living.
‘Alive’ is he who is in love with the Beloved.
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2016 17:14
Although quite long it is certainly worth the read Mash'Allah very insightful concerning the spiritual practices ... Yet somehow makes one feel melancholic at our present condition in comparison to the purity innocence and piety of a by gone era.
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 8th October 2022 07:18
Abdur Rahman ibn Awf wrote:
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 10th October 2022 13:29
Masha ALLAH very Good Post.
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