Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
By Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Is’haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)
Were we to reflect over various incidents in the annals of our history, we find that without fail, shaytaan whispers negative thoughts in the hearts and minds of people, whereby many incline towards objecting and fault-finding.
In the time of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), the people said that they want a Nabi like Musa (Alaihis Salaam) who received his Kitaab in one tablet form. They also presented other objections and baseless reasons in not accepting Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam): The Quraish questioned why Nubuwwah was not given to one of their leaders; why an angel was not sent down; and the Jews turned away because the final Nabi descended from Hadhrat Isma`eel (Alaihis Salaam) and not Hadhrat Is`haq (Alaihis Salaam).
They also say: 'Why was this Qur'an not revealed to some mighty man
from the two towns'?
"They also say: 'How is it that this Messenger eats and walks about the markets? Why has no angel been sent down with him to warn us? Or, why has no treasure been thrown to him, or a garden for him to eat from?' And the harm doers say: 'The man you follow is surely bewitched.'"
[Surah Al-Furqaan 25:7−8]
With the choosing of the Khulafa in the history of Islam, we find objections. …This is what happens all the time. This fitnah has always prevailed…
We find the same trend and pattern being followed in every generation, at different levels. The Sheikh passes away and shaitaan places objections in the people, regarding those who are Khulafah. The Mureed thinks or even says: “There is no one to guide me! …I don’t find anyone fit for me. There is no one worthy for me to take Bay`ah, to continue with, on this path…”
Is there any humility in this kind of thinking? …There is no humility in this. This kind of thinking smacks of pride!
The person’s thinking discloses that he considers himself such a person, such an important and great person that presently in the entire world, there is no one good enough to be a means of guidance and assistance on this path to Allah Ta’ala.
When Hadhrat Moulana Muhammad Ilyas (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) passed away, people said that the work of Tabligh was dead – there is no one to continue. Allah Ta’ala disproved their conclusions by bringing Hadhrat Moulana Yusuf (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) into the work, and Masha-Allah, he made the work flourish in the world. When he passed away, the people said there is nobody to continue. Hadhrat Moulana Inaamul Hasan (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) then continued the work. He too passed away and still the work continues – everywhere.
This is the effort of shaytaan, where people think: ‘Now there is nobody!’
Sheikhul Hadith, Hadhrat Moulana Muhammad Zakariyyah (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) would say: “Make a connection with a Sheikh who is here today, because tomorrow he too will not be here. Appreciate (make qadr) before even the present day Mashaa`ik are gone.”
There are many who compare the present day Mashaa’ik with the Mashaa’ik and Auliya Allah of the past, and in their comparison, they consider and even describe the present day Ahlullah as ‘3rd class’, as ‘low grade’ or as inferior. …How easily we forget what our own condition is and to what class we belong to...
Hadhrat Moulana Maseehullah (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had given an apt analogy: A person wants to travel from Bombay to Delhi, but he arrives late and the train has already started moving. He has a first class ticket but the first class coach has already moved ahead. If he says: ‘I only travel first class. I will never consider traveling third class.’ – Then he must not expect to reach his destination.
…The train is slowly moving out and picking up speed. There is still the opportunity to get onto the third class coach. If he does not, he will not reach Delhi. The person will just stay where he is.
He should rather board the third class coach, despite the inferior and inadequate facilities. It may be that the windows do not close, or the fans do not work or the seats are loose, or the hinges are broken. However, despite all of these conditions and the discomfort, if he boards, he will reach his destination.
It is a known fact that the destination of the first class coach is the destination of the third class – even though not so comfortably.
Hadhrat Moulana Maseehullah (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) then said that the truth is, that there is never a case where the Auliya Allah are third class.
…Your thinking is third class. They are not third class. They are all first class.
It is the Mureed’s bad thinking: ‘They are not fit for me; not good enough for me!’ This train of thoughts reveals pride.
Allah Ta’ala not only informs us that there will always be His Truthful and Sincere Friends, He commands us to keep their company, to be with them. This proves the need for a Sheikh and to relate to him.
يٰٓأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللهَ وَكُوْنُوْا مَعَ الصّٰدِقِيْنَ ◌
“O You who Believe, Fear Allah and join the company of the Truthful ones
(the pious, the Auliya Allah).”
[Surah Taubah 9 : 119]
It is essential to have a sheikh and a living sheikh. Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had said that he considered it necessary upon every individual to connect himself to a reliable, experienced spiritual guide (and undergo the process of Islaah and Tazkiyyah).
Here too, we should keep in mind the following: Not only is there a need to have a Sheikh who is living, but a Sheikh who we can make Mashwarah with.
It is to the benefit of the individual if he links up with some Sheikh-e-Kaamil. Without a Sheikh, the Mureed/Saalik will not draw the full blessings of this path.
Also: It should not be that Bay`ah is taken and nothing follows thereafter.
Of course, great caution needs to be exercised in choosing a Sheikh and a person should seek a Sheikh, making sincere Dua to Allah Ta’ala to guide to the one who will benefit the most. One should not be hasty in regard to taking Bay`ah. It would also only be to one’s benefit if Mashwarah is made and Istikharah is read, when there is an inclination towards any Sheikh of Tariqah.
Furthermore: It is sadly a reality that some Khulafa also, become negligent or lax after the demise of their Sheikh – sometimes, even during the lifetime of the Sheikh. They then do not also make suitable guides for others. May Allah Ta’ala save us all.
It was for this reason that Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) would present a yearly list of his Khulafa, so that people are aware who could be taken as a worthy spiritual guide. Anyone whose Khilafat was withdrawn – due to laxity or some other valid reason, would not be included in the list.
May Allah Ta’ala guide us all and grant us the appreciation of our Mashaa'ik.