Friday 19 April 2013

The Need for Islaah

Bi Ismihi Ta’ala

Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)

There are many who take Bay`at, but without sincerely wanting to tread the path of Islaah (reformation). They are not genuinely interested in reforming themselves.

Sometimes, the intention is for Barakah[1], or for name and fame, or for Khilafat[2], or due to financial, health or other problems, or for some ulterior motive.

My respected Sheikh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) would tell such people: “Sort out your problems first, then come for Bay'at. Bay’at is for Islaah and not to sort out these kinds of problems.”

Sometimes, the person considers himself independent of Islaah because of his Ilm (knowledge) and his Khidmat of Dien. So Bay`at is taken out of formality, and just for the sake of finding some credibility and acceptance amongst people, due to one’s association with a Sheikh. 

Those who are neglectful of their Islaah, easily become the toys of nafs and shaitaan. And any person who feels that he does not need anyone to guide him, is in deception.

Even if a person has made his Islaah and becomes a great Sheikh, with thousands of Mureeds, but he does not worry about his own Islaah, he will not remain a Muslih (one who reforms). He may not even remain Sawleh (pious).

وہ کیا مصلح ہوں گے ، صالح بھی نہیں  رہیں گے

‘Where will he be a guide; he, himself, will not be righteous.’

جو اپنے آپ کو مستقل بالذات سمجھتا ہے
وہ مستقل بد ذات ہوتا ہے ‎‎
‘He who regards himself as independent (and not in need of guidance or a Sheikh), 
will fall into evil.’

…Sometimes, the person gets Khilafat and that title and rank gets to his head. He thinks: My work is done. I am in a position to make Islaah.

Khilafat is only the starting point. There is a need for a lot more work. We have to keep an extremely vigilant eye on ourselves.

Moreover, Khilafat is generally given due to the spiritual progress of the Mureed, whilst in the company of the Sheikh. Khilafat usually indicates the potential of the Mureed to progress further in the field of Sulook if there is continuous effort, commitment and sincerity from the Mureed’s side. 

Hadhrat Moulana Husain Ahmad Madani (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had addressed some students who had graduated, saying: Those of you who think you have, today, become Aalim will remain Jaahil (ignorant). The one who continues seeking Ilm and continues teaching it, and becomes grounded in it, and strengthens his relationship with Ilm, by Amal, will become an Aalim.

Finishing the course, is only commencing the real course, and this course continues until one’s last breath comes out with Imaan. This course will continue until death.

This is the reality; otherwise the person misses the boat.

Many a time, a person’s Ilm becomes a test for him. Sometimes Khilafat becomes a great test for the person. …Because these stations can breed pride and arrogance. Then we find the person considers himself important, and there are great expectations from the people - that people must now do for him, people must now serve him, favour him, etc. He gets upset and angered if expectations are not met, or if someone has to advise and caution him.

The person even uses these positions to secure his name and fame, to secure Dunya – and in that agenda, he throws his weight around, and sometimes, many people are hurt, or wronged and oppressed. 

We find the attitude of : ‘Ana’, ‘Ana’… ‘I can do what I want to. I do not have to ask anyone…’

These are vices which creep and steal into the heart, and if not reformed, lead to many more base and evil qualities, and will ultimately be the cause of destruction, humiliation and disgrace. May Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu protect us all. 

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayih wasallam) said: “Two hungry wolves let loose on a flock of sheep cannot cause as much destruction to the flock than the damage inflicted to one’s Dien by one’s greed for wealth and fame.”[3]

…Sometimes the boss has to remind the employee: “You are just working here. You are not the boss; you are not in charge, despite your years of experience…”

Similarly, when we, who are the servants of Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu, start entertaining our own greatness and importance, and exploit the position of Ilm or Khilafat, Allah Ta’ala then reminds the person as to who is in Authority – and the person is humbled. Allah Ta’ala brings him down. May Allah Ta’ala protect us all.

Islaah is the main concern. And Islaah is not something we can do on our own. Unfortunately, many decide their own “ilaaj” (cure) and sometimes find themselves worse off than when they started. As is commonly said:

رَاْيُ الْعَلِيْلِ عَلِيْل

The opinion / remedy prescribed by the one who is ill, is ill
(i.e. harmful, detrimental).

There are those who do not have the humility of seeking cure for their spiritual ailments. They recognize their weaknesses, they know their sins, but their pride won’t let them seek the cure.

Until the person does not submit to a guide, until the person does not humble himself and ask, the sickness will not be cured.

And if we are not conscious of our Islaah, nafs and shaitaan will assert their hold over us. Sometimes they keep the person in such a tight grip that the person, on his own, cannot free himself.

So this cannot be stressed enough : At all times, the concern should be of our Islaah, until our last breath. And for that, it is very important to have someone over us, to guide us.

If a child grows up without his parents, due to death or divorce (Allah Ta’ala forbid), in many cases, the child turns out to be a delinquent. In today’s time, we find that even if the parents are present, many children do not take heed of the advices of their parents.

When that child becomes a young adult, he does not want to listen to anyone, does not want to take any advice or accept any guidance and direction. He even argues that he knows what he is doing and he knows what to do. Everyone else is wrong.  This is his deception which he cannot see.

Similar is the case of those without 'spiritual' parents or those who think they do not need to draw from the experience and guidance of their spiritual guide. They are in deception. Nafs convinces and shaitaan whispers, that the person knows everything  – he is, after all, an Aalim and even a Sheikh; there is no need for anyone to advise or admonish him; no need to consult and seek the wise counsel of a spiritual guide.

This kind of independence is walking a very slippery path, and whoever walked this path, slipped.

Moreover, for each person, shaitaan comes to him according to his status and position.

Imam Ahmad bin Hambal (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) is counted as one of our greatest Fuqaha[4], whose Madhhab[5] is established in different countries. On his death bed, he was heard, repeatedly saying: ‘Not yet! Not yet!’

When asked, he replied that shaitaan kept coming to him, saying: ‘O Ahmad, you have succeeded! …O Ahmad, you have succeeded!’ … trying to delude him. 

Imam Fakhrudien Raazi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) was a brilliant and gifted Scholar. Yet on his death bed, shaitaan came to him with strong arguments that Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu does not exist. He presented one hundred proofs of Allah Ta’ala’s existence. His shaitaan was such an Aalim, who broke every single proof of his. He then saw his Sheikh in a vision, who said: ‘Say: I believe in Allah without any proof!’

سُبْحَانَ اللهِ …Now which proof is shaitaan going to break?

So when the attitude is: “I can manage on my own. I do not need guidance. I guide others,” …the person is in a very dangerous position. This kind of thinking indicates to Ujub (conceit) and Takabbur (pride). And the end of pride is disgrace.

Allah Ta’ala said: “Pride is My cloak and greatness is My garment; so whoever competes with Me regarding these two will be thrown into the Hellfire.”[6]

This Nasihah (advice) is not confined to the Ulama fraternity. These points have been brought up because the audience comprises mainly of students of Dien and Ulama-e-Kiraam. We do not paint everyone with the same brush; nor should we look down upon any single person.

Whilst we all have weaknesses, there is potential in all, for reformation and rectification of our weaknesses, and there is potential in all to reach the highest levels of Wilayat[7]

These advices are extended to and include all Saalikeen and Mureedeen. Each person knows his or her weaknesses and should strive in the direction of Islaah (reformation).

Pride, vanity, ostentation, the love for name and fame, the love of Dunya are inherent weaknesses in man. Every person has a nafs to contend with – and nafs is our worst enemy. However, with a little Mujahadah (striving) and some sacrifice, these spiritual ailments can be cured; these weaknesses can be overcome or re-channelled to what is praiseworthy.

May Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu guide us all and give us the understanding of the purpose of Bay`at, the need for Islaah, and the Taufeeq and courage of working in the direction of self-reformation. May Allah Jalla Jalaaluhu protect us from the deception of nafs and shaitaan.

[1] Barakah: blessings
[2] Khilafat : approved spiritual representative of the Shaykh
[3]  Tirmidhi 2482
[4] Fuqaha : Jurists
[5] Madhhab : School of Jurisprudence
[6] Abu Dawud 4090
[7] Wilayat: Friendship with Allah Ta’ala