Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Alhamdulillah, there are many who associate with the Mashaa’ikh and many become Bay`at at the hands of some Sheikh. However, very sadly, the relationship is confined to association and not Islaah. Or the person wants credibility, so he establishes ties with some Sheikh.
Many make no effort to correspond with the Sheikh for the purpose of Islaah nor do they visit the Sheikh and spend time with him to improve their spiritual condition; whereas in the company of the Sheikh, the Mureed’s Muhabbat and Ma’rifat of Allah Ta’ala, as well as his Islaah, will progress by leaps and bounds, if he is sincere – Insha-Allah.
…How will there be improvement and progress, when the Mureed – even if he is an Aalim – is not fulfilling his part? Or he is not sincere in keeping the company of the Sheikh?
Hadhrat Moulana Maseehullah (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had said that when a Mureed delays in Mukatabaat (correspondence) with his Sheikh and he neglects his Ta’alluq (contact) with his Sheikh, then his Munasabat (compatibility / affinity) decreases and he loses out the blessings of his Bay’at. And Hadhrat Moulana (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) also said that where a Mureed informs his Sheikh of his spiritual weaknesses and conditions and he maintains his Ta’alluq, then there will be progress and success.
…There are those who become Bay`at and they are granted Ijaazat and Khilafat, and some have many Mureeds – even running in the hundreds or thousands, but they too become comfortable with their spiritual condition, or they feel that now that Ijaazat and Khilafat have been given, they are independent; whereas in the company of the Sheikh, the Khalifa will also draw the teaching, training and expertise of the Sheikh.
The fact that many Mureeds do not see any need to maintain that connection, that there is no Islaahi contact, no humility in seeking guidance and advice - shows great weakness. Years pass – and if they do visit, it is to save face or to have their presence acknowledged. If they do make contact, it is because of some problem that they find themselves in and cannot come out of. Where is the Ikhlaas?
Others will only discuss their beautiful dreams, or discuss the Ibaadaat and Khidmaat that they are occupied with. They highlight their “kamaal” – their achievements – their Tahajjud, Tilawat, Zikrullah, the Kaifiyyaat (spiritual conditions) they experience, etc. But there is no mention whatsoever of any spiritual sickness or any fears or concerns they have, traveling this path of Sulook.
It is a common and a very appropriate saying: “Whoever does not reveal his condition to his physician is not intelligent.”
If a person goes to a doctor and says to the doctor: “My pressure is good, my sugar is normal; everything is fine. I am in excellent health!” – The doctor will ask: “Why did you come to me?”
Why do we go to the doctor? …To tell him our ailments. To tell him what is wrong with us, so that he may prescribe something for us and we may get cured.
In a similar vein, the Sheikh is a spiritual doctor and the Mureed is a patient – who may be suffering from the deadly ailments of pride, vanity, show, jealousy, love of Dunya, and so forth.
Others are ‘shy’ to disclose their Roohani or spiritual diseases to the Sheikh. Our Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi ‘Alayh) had said in respect to Mureeds: “Many are not shy. They are frightened - because if they say they are caught up in some sin – like casting lustful gazes or they are jealous of others or they are temperamental or they mistreat their wives – they won’t get Khilafat. Yet, if they acknowledge their weaknesses, seek a remedy and sincerely follow through with whatever is prescribed, they are the ones who will be considered for Khilafat.”
There are those who keep company with the Sheikh to give a show of their piety and humbleness. Sometimes, even in that humbleness, there is Riyaa and Takabbur. ...Sometimes, even in the person’s crying and Dua, there is the involvement of nafs! Sometimes, in the Khidmat of the creation, in serving the people, there is the nafs. The person displays his humility to people, but his nafs has a share, wanting to be seen as humble and pious. ...This is a sickness.
At times, the person does not realise or recognise his spiritual illnesses, and therefore does not ask for its treatment. He does not recognise the Ujub (vanity), Kibr (pride), Riyaa (ostentation), Hubbe Jah (love for fame) and other major sins in him. He sees himself as pious and righteous, yet he is the one most in need of “ICU” treatment!
Who will identify and diagnose? …The Sheikh who is Kaamil. He is blessed with Baseerat (insight) and he is guided by Allah Ta’ala.
How many great Ulama, Fuqaha, Muhadditheen and Mufassireen, despite their great, great learning and achievements, still found a distance between their ‘Ilm and ‘Aml, or found some deficiency in regards to their Love of Allah Ta’ala, until they connected themselves with a Sheikh-e-Kaamil; until they humbled themselves?
Hajee Imdadullah (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) was not an ‘Aalim; yet Hadhrat Moulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh), on taking Bay’at to Hajee Imdadullah (Rahmatullahi 'alayh), said: “We knew the names of the mithais (sweetmeats), but it was only in the company of our Sheikh, that we tasted the sweetness of the mithais.”
…Meaning, they had the knowledge of Dien and they were highly qualified in the sciences of Dien, but it was only in the company of a Wali of Allah Ta’ala, that the reality of Dien and the spirit of Dien and the Sweetness of Dien, were experienced.
It is related that when the son of Sheikh ‘Abdul Qader Jeelani (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) qualified in the various branches of Dien, after many years of travel, he returned home. The father requested the son to address the congregation, which he did, presenting an impressive talk on Qur`aan and Sunnah. The audience listened but there was no influence on their hearts. Sheikh ‘Abdul Qader Jeelani (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) then addressed the same congregation and said: ‘I made the intention to fast today and set aside some milk for Suhoor. A cat came into my home and drank the milk. So the fast was kept without Suhoor.”
The entire audience began to tear on just that statement. Amazed at the response, the son asked his father as to why such a simple incident would move the audience to tears whereas his own discussion on Qur`aan and Sunnah did not stir their hearts.
The father replied: “My dear son, you have travelled and traversed the lands of the physical world, in your quest for knowledge. You have not as yet traversed the spiritual world, in your quest for Allah Ta’ala. This is the outcome of traversing the inner path to Allah Ta’ala. You have acquired the external dimension of Ilm, but you are yet to acquire its reality!”
Some students and ‘Ulama sit before the Mashaa`ikh, and they sit with their own knowledge in front of them – and then they pass their opinions, viewpoints and even their critique, not considering that they may not have that degree of Ma`rifat that the Mashaa’ikh have, nor the experience and the skill and the depth in understanding which Allah Ta’ala blesses the Mashaa’ikh with. Many entertain pride and vanity of their knowledge and of their opinions – whereas, we should ask ourselves: From where did we learn and acquire this knowledge? ...Was it not taught to us? Was there not a time when this knowledge was totally unknown to us?
Imam Ahmad Ibn Hambal (Rahmatullahi ‘Alayh) was a great Muhaddith and ‘Aalim. When he would see Hadhrat Bishr Haafi (Rahmatullahi ‘Alayh), he would respectfully stand up, to greet him.
His students asked: ‘Why is there so much of respect for Bishr Haafi? He is not even an ‘Aalim.’
Imam Ahmad replied: “I am an ‘Aalim of the Kitaab. He is an ‘Aalim of Allah Ta’ala.”
There is a reality that needs to be sought. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) mentioned that the hearts of the close friends of Allah Ta’ala are mines of Taqwa.
Hadhrat ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (Radiyallahu’anhu) related that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Everything has a mine. The mine of Taqwa is the hearts of the Aarifeen (those who have the recognition of Allah Ta’ala).
Our Sheikh (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had beautifully explained that just as we obtain gold from a gold mine, silver from a silver mine, and diamonds from a diamond mine, so the treasure of Taqwa and the treasure of Allah Ta’ala’s Muhabbat and Ma’rifat is drawn from the companionship of His close friends, the Auliya Allah.
Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi Alayh) mentioned as an example: “If a donkey falls and dies in a salt mine, it too will become salt in due time. …If the Mureed annihilates his opinion in the presence of his Sheikh and he leaves aside his rank, his status and his knowledge, and sincerely spends some time with the Sheikh, Insha-Allah, such a Mureed will make great progress and become the friend of Allah Ta'ala.”
However, the nafs is a huge barrier. By nature, the nafs does not like to lower itself. …So the Mureed will have to strive against his nafs to enjoy the fruits of this journey to Allah Ta'ala.
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever humbles himself for the sake of Allah, Allah elevates him.”
In this path, there is a demand for humility. One needs to humble himself in this process of Islaah and Tazkiyah – and if it is done seeking Allah Ta’ala, then it is for Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala then elevates.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the understanding, the humility, the sincerity and the Taufeeq of making our Islaah under the guidance of a Sheikh-e-Kaamil.
By Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Is’haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)