Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Advices of Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)
regarding the Khanqah and Sheikh of Tariqah.
Tasawwuf is that branch of Islam which focusses on the purification and rectification of the heart and soul. Its goal is the Love of Allah Ta’ala – which is achieved by practical implementation of the teachings of the Qur’aan Sharief and the beautiful Sunnah of our Beloved Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Its proof is found in both the Qur’aan Sharief and Sunnah.
The word Khanqah is of Persian origin and is called “Zaawiya” in Arabic – meaning a corner or nook, or referring to a small little room. In Tasawwuf, it refers to a place where the work and effort of Islaah takes place; where a person can achieve optimum spiritual health, insha-Allah.
...When a person has some physical ailment, he first goes to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes the doctor refers the patient to a specialist or has him admitted into hospital. Depending on how sick the person is, he may be kept in a general ward and treated, or he may have to undergo surgery and then he is monitored and cared for in ICU or high care.
Similarly, the Sheikh is a spiritual doctor and the Khanqah is a spiritual hospital – where those who are desirous of good spiritual health go, for treatment of their spiritual ailments.
…Due to some ailment, a Mureed of Hadhrat Moulana Abraar-ul-Haq Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) was admitted into a hospital in Bombay. The doctors informed him that he will have to undergo an operation but will have to sign certain papers of consent. He replied: “I will consult with my spiritual doctor first.”
When he was asked: “Who is a spiritual doctor?”, he requested for the other doctors to also be present that he may explain to them as well.
When the doctors gathered, he said: “As doctors, you take blood from your patients for tests. Through these blood tests, you check the sugar levels, thyroid, kidneys, liver and so forth. Can you take some tests and tell me how much of pride or anger or jealousy or insincerity the heart contains?”
The doctors replied in the negative. The Mureed then explained: “This is the work of a spiritual doctor. The spiritual doctor diagnoses and treats ailments of the spiritual heart – such as pride, vanity, insincerity, etc. so that our spiritual hearts and our souls can become healthy and sound.”
Whilst man establishes clinics and hospitals everywhere – for the care of his physical body – which will die one day – he does not consider the need for spiritual hospitals for his soul – which will live on forever!
There are so many spiritual weaknesses and sicknesses – but neither do we care to diagnose them nor treat them. Sometimes, there is even love for Kufr and inclination towards Shirk – which can bring total ruin to a person’s Aakhirah.
This establishment of the Khanqah is not confined to the subcontinent of India and Pakistan. Alhamdulillah, Khanqahs were and are established throughout the world – in the past and even now, in these times. Khanqahs are also to be found in the Arab world since many, many Arabs are adherents to Tasawwuf.
Sheikh Sadaqah is an Arab who is presently based in Madinatul Munawwarah. When he brought his sons to South Africa, to enrol them in our Darul Uloom, he mentioned that many Arabs are followers of Tasawwuf. It is just that their adherence to Tasawwuf is not publicised as we find in other parts of the world where Tasawwuf has exposure.
Alhamdulillah, the Khanqah system is also very strong in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Unfortunately, when people bring practices into Tasawwuf which have no semblance and link to Islam, they give Tasawwuf a bad name. Sadly, due to these misnomers and due to various Fitnahs that may surface when there is negligence and leniency, people frown upon, criticise or reject the noble efforts of the Khanqah.
On one occasion, I requested our Sheikh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) permission to build a Khanqah separate from the Darul Uloom.
Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) replied: “Keep the Khanqah under the shadow of the Darul Uloom because tomorrow, when someone else takes over, then Fitnahs could easily arise.”
Sometimes when the Khulafa take over – or even the son of the Sheikh takes over – then if they are not of that level, Fitnahs can infiltrate.
Amongst various Fitnahs, two great Fitnahs have been the cause of the destruction of huge Khanqahs. The first arises when there is laxity in upholding Allah Ta’ala’s Commandments regarding segregation of men and women. When the Sheikh becomes lenient in this matter, then Fitnah manifests itself.
INTEGRATING WITH STRANGE WOMEN
The objective of Tasawwuf is the Love of Allah Ta’ala. The Sheikh teaches his Mureeds the love of Allah Ta’ala and as generally happens – the Mureed begins to love the Sheikh, since the Sheikh was the means of him or her connecting with and loving Allah Ta’ala.
Many of us will testify that by sitting in the company of Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh), we not only experienced the love of Allah Ta’ala which Hadhrat was passing on to us – but we also began to love Hadhrat (Rahmatullahi 'alayh) himself. …We become Fidaa over the person who teaches us this love for Allah Ta’ala.
That person who spiritually nurtures us wins our hearts. Those women who take this spiritual benefit from some Sheikh and Wali of Allah Ta’ala, also love their Sheikh – for the same reasons.
In this Ta-alluq (relationship), love must be free of evil desire and lust if the person wants to benefit. To reach spiritual perfection and completion through the Sheikh, love should be solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.
...We find, in the time of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), a Sahabiyyah (Radhiyallahu ‘anha) was informed that her husband had been martyred, her father had been martyred and her brother had been martyred. Despite such tragic, heart-breaking news – and we really cannot imagine what a test she faced at that time – but her concern was Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Tell me about my Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)? How is my Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)?
And when she is comforted in the knowledge that Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was safe, she said to him (Sallallaahu ‘alayh wasallam): “Now that you are safe, every adversity is gone.”
Allahu Akbar! Such love! Such Imaan! ... To love Nabi (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) is a condition of Imaan. It is his right over us as well.
The Sahaba-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallahu 'anhum) loved Nabi (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) even more than their own selves. This love was due to the fact that Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) had nurtured them in the love of Allah Ta’ala! Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) had been the means of taking them out of darkness and into light; connecting them to Allah Ta’ala.
So Muhabbat for the Sheikh also develops in the heart. Of course, the Sheikh and the Mureeds are not of that calibre by any measure, and there is a great need to keep this Islaahi Ta'alluq strictly within the parameters of Shari’ah.
To prevent any Fitnah, there should not be allowance of women meeting with the Sheikh, freely speaking to the Sheikh, etc.
Those who are fraudulent, bogus Sheikhs, justify their Haraam interaction with female Mureeds. Some say that the Sheikh is like a father – a spiritual father – and it is therefore permissible for his female Mureeds to be in his presence, serve him, shake his hand, kiss his hands, etc. – Na’uzu Billahi min Zaalik.
Hadhrat Ayesha (Radiyallahu ‘anha) said: “Rasulullah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) never touched the hand of a strange woman.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) said himself that he did not touch the hand of any strange women.
Such 'Sheikhs' who sanction and encourage what is Haraam are really conmen who have taken this line of Tasawwuf as a means of satisfying their own base desires or to earn some money!
So be very careful.
Husbands and fathers should be vigilant regarding these matters – otherwise some women in their naiveté get carried away and caught up in these Fitnahs.
Alhamdulillah, Allah Ta’ala commands us to lower our gaze and Allah Ta’ala institutes segregation – so that Fitnah does not take root and flourish. It is very important that the Sheikh maintains these Shar’i restrictions for his own safety and that of his followers. If he will be lax in regard to this and he becomes informal and free, meeting and/or talking with his female followers – then this is opening a door of Fitnah and great harm. This becomes a cause of a person’s downfall. May Allah Ta’ala protect us all.
In the case of the Khanqah – free integration with women becomes a cause for the destruction of the Khanqah.
When we visited Malaysia, it was suggested that I meet a Sheikh from Syria. I agreed, thinking that his effort must be on this same line of Islaah and Tazkiyyah as our Akaabir have established.
When we reached the Khanqah, we were welcomed by the beating of drums and recitation of Qasidas. I sent a message to them, requesting that they please stop and Alhamdulillah, they accommodated. When we went inside and the programme commenced, then Qasida Burda was recited with drums – which is not our Tariqah and way. Again, I politely requested that they stop and they did.
In front of us was a huge curtain and I did not think anything of it – until the curtain was opened and all the women who were present, emerged. This is not permissible at all. I was wondering: What is all this!? …I asked for permission to leave and left.
This is what becomes of the Khanqah if there is no effort made to fortify it from this Fitnah. When leniency sets in, the Khanqah is then reduced to this kind of scenario – which would be a great triumph for shaytaan – who now presents sins in the guise of Deen, in the guise of the Love of Allah Ta’ala and Love of Nabi (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
It is very necessary for the Sheikh to institute very strict measures so that there is no fraternizing with strange women. There must be great emphasis laid upon Mureeds - males and females - to keep aloof of ghayr-mahareem. Our Sheikh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) was very particular regarding these matters – and Hadhrat’s presentation of Tasawwuf was pure and clean since it was in complete conformity with the Sunnah.
The second Fitnah is money.
When there is love, then it is natural to want to spend on the beloved. So we find that many Mureedeen, out of love for their Sheikh, want to gift him with something or the other – in an expression of love and sincere appreciation and gratitude.
However, for the Sheikh to make any indication that others spend on him or for him to make Ishraaf (desire from the heart) that others spend on him is a terrible weakness.
Whilst the Mureed will have the desire to spend, the Sheikh should not have the desire for others to spend on him.
There is an incident related by our Akaabir, of a pious Sheikh of Saharanpur. At one time, he experienced some difficulty and had to contend with great hunger. From his side, he adopted Sabr (patience) and did not inform any person. A student noticed the Sheikh’s condition and realised the Sheikh must be very hungry. He left and returned with food, presenting it to the Sheikh.
The Sheikh said: “When you gauged my condition and left, I had this thought and this expectation in my heart that you will bring me food. Since there was Ishraaf and desire that you bring me food, I will not eat it.”
This was the concern of the Sheikh – that his gaze should not fall on Makhlooq and that he should not entertain any expectation from the creation.
The student was an intelligent, well-grounded student. He followed through with the instruction and took the food away. He then returned after a while bringing the food again and said: “Now there is no Ishraaf. You had lost your hope in me bringing food for you. So it is now permissible to eat.”
It is very important for the Sheikh to develop this degree of Istighnaa and purify his heart of any trace of Ishraaf. He must be very strong on these matters. May Allah Ta’ala grant us these noble qualities.
…Otherwise, the nafs finds various ways of asking – directly and indirectly. In this kind of asking, there is no Barakah in what may come in the form of money and gifts. Hubbud Dunya is like a cancer which spreads fast and furiously and which kills.
So we should be very much on guard against these two Fitnahs as well as all others such as pride, arrogance, etc. and we should make Dua for Allah Ta’ala to purify us of our weaknesses and safeguard us from all sins and Fitan.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the understanding and the concern.
 We seek Allah Ta’ala’s Protection from that
 Sahih Bukhari