Monday 23 December 2013

Our Begging Bowl

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

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

Allah Ta’ala informs us in the Qur`aan Sharief, that each and every one of us is poor:

“O mankind! You are all poor to Allah, but Allah is Rich, Worthy of all praise!”
[Surah Fatir 35:15]

All of mankind are registered by Allah Ta’ala as fuqarah (poor). No matter who the person is and what his potential is, no matter the intellect and the resources of the person – whether a millionaire, billionaire, Mufti, Wali, president, doctor, scientist, engineer - each and every one is registered as ‘faqeer’. …Even if all of mankind pools their resources, potential and their wealth, all will remain fuqarah.

Allah Ta’ala has listed us and recorded us as poor, and there is no way that we can deregister. Allah Ta’ala announces thereafter that He is the One who is Rich, Self Sufficient and Independent. Thus the ones who are poor are dependent and reliant on the favours and generosity and benevolence of the One Who is Rich.

Allah Ta’ala, having registered us as poor, favoured us with the utensil that beggars generally possess - a bowl, to beg of Allah Ta’ala.

Allah Ta’ala makes us conscious of our poverty, by attaching our begging bowls to our physical bodies.

Our Shaykh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) explained that this faqeer is not a professional beggar, who works from 9 to 5, counts his earnings of the day and places his bowl on a shelf at night. The registered faqeer has his bowl with him, 24 / 7. He cannot put his bowl away. It is part of him. Whenever he has a need - even if it is the middle of the night – the faqeer has his precious bowl with him, to beg of Allah Ta’ala, Al-Ghaniyy.

Our bowl is our two beautiful hands, which we bring together – to make our unique begging bowl. The rich, the poor, the ruler, the subject – all have begging bowls.

Hadhrat Maulana (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had also explained that one reason behind the punishment and Hadd of cutting off the hand for the one who steals, is that these same hands – the begging bowl which Allah Ta’ala so graciously gave to us, was meant to ask and supplicate of Allah Ta’ala, and draw from His Halaal Treasures. Instead, it is used to steal and take in a Haraam manner.

…What humiliation there is for that king who is caught stealing two potatoes from a street vendor who sells vegetables on a street corner - when treasures are at the king’s disposal? Similarly, when a person has easy access and can take from the unlimited treasures of Allah Ta’ala, without any difficulty, he engages in the Haraam action of stealing and gets a paltry amount in comparison.

Theft is misuse and ingratitude for the bounty of the wonderful, precious begging bowl bestowed to us.

This begging bowl which was given, to use and take from the vast treasures of Allah Ta’ala was not appreciated, so it is taken back. Allah Ta’ala punishes on this misuse, taking back half of it – that is, first, only one hand is cut. …Of course, there are many conditions to be met before the Hadd or penalty of cutting the hand is implemented. It is not applicable in every situation of theft.

The correct etiquette when making Dua is as follows:

·        To keep the hands in front of the chest. …When we perform Salaah, it is a condition that our chests face the Qiblah. When we beg of Allah Ta’ala, then our begging bowl should face the Arsh of Allah Ta’ala. This is its Qiblah. This is from where, acceptance descends. SubhanAllah.

·        There should be a little gap between our hands. …This begging bowl is a broken bowl, to remind us, how poor we really are!

Allah Ta’ala who is Al-Ghaniyy (The One Who is Rich, Independent and Self-Sufficient) and who is Al-Mughni (The Enricher, The Bestower of Wealth – spiritual and material) does not give a little, which will slip through or fall through our broken bowl. Allah Ta’ala gives generously and abundantly, to fill up our bowls.

An Allah Waala poet says so aptly:

“My hands are so small and limited;
Your gifts are so great and unlimited.”

·        After Dua, we should use these same hands and wipe our faces. …Wiping our faces, we are saying : “I have received what I have asked for.” (wajadnaa maa talabnaa).

This is to show our conviction that we have received what we asked for.

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur`aan Sharief:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِىْٓ أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ط

“And your Lord says : Call on Me; I will answer your (du’aa)…”
[Surah Mu`min 40 : 60] 

If our child begs for something, or begs for some money to buy something, and before we can say no or refuse, the child says: “JazakAllah Abba…” – the father will naturally be compelled to give it. And he gives it.

Allah Ta’ala is Akramul Akrameen (The Most Generous of those who show generosity), Arhamur Raahimeen (The Most Merciful of the merciful) – He gives when we ask. …Of course, we need to understand that His answering our Duas is also in different ways. Sometimes, Allah Ta’ala gives some other good in place of what was asked.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Any Muslim who makes a Dua and his Dua does not contain a request for anything sinful or anything regarding the severance of family ties, Allah grants  him one of three things most assuredly; namely,

1.) What he has asked is granted immediately, or
2.) What he has asked is saved for him as a treasure in the Aakhirah, or
3.) Allah wards away some calamity from him in lieu of the object asked for.”

This face is ‘ashraf’ (the most honourable, noble and distinguished part of the human being). Passing our hands over our faces after Dua is also our expression of thanking Allah Ta’ala.

Added to this, these begging bowls hold beautiful reminders to us all.

Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur`aan Shareef:

“We will show Our signs in the universe and within their own beings until it will become manifest to them that it is the truth….”
[Surah Fussilaat 41 : 53]

And further:

وَفِى الْأَرْضِ اٰيٰتٌ لِّلْمُوْقِنِيْنَ◌ وَفِىْٓ أَنْفُسِكُمْ ط أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُوْنَ◌

“On the earth are signs for those of assured Faith, As also in your own selves: Will you not then see?”
[Surah Zariyat 51 : 20/21]

If we look at our palms, we will see lines which form Arabic numerals : Eighty one in the left palm and eighteen in the right palm. Adding these numbers and we get a total of ninety nine. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah has 99 Names, i.e. one hundred minus one, and whoever learns (memorizes) them will go to paradise.”[1]

These lines in our palms are signs from the signs of Allah Ta’ala – alluding to His ninety nine names, which Allah Ta’ala instructs us to call upon Him by. …SubhanAllah, Allah Ta’ala has given us this reminder in our hands.

وَلِلّٰهِ الْأَسْمَآءُ الْحُسْنٰى فَادْعُوْهُ بِهَا ص

 “The Most Beautiful names belong to Allah:  So call on Him by them…”
[Surah Al A’raaf 7 : 180]

قُلِ ادْعُوا اللّٰهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمٰنَ ط أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُوْا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَآءُ الْحُسْنٰى ج

“Say: ‘Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahmaan : By whatever Name you call upon Him, (it is well): For to Him belong The Most Beautiful Names …”
[Surah Al-Israa  17 : 110]

A computer keyboard has keys or buttons. When a key is pressed, it produces a letter, a number or a character on screen. Keys can also execute certain actions or commands.

Similarly, we have different switches and buttons, which, when we press, a light comes on, an air-conditioner starts producing cold air, a stove-plate becomes hot, a heater starts warming the environment around, a washing machine or dishwasher begins washing and cleaning, etc.

Our Shaykh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had explained that the Arabic numerals on our hands offer us a reminder of Allah Ta’ala’s 99 beautiful names. And for every need we have or any condition we may face, Allah Ta’ala has a Name by which His Servants may call Him by.

Like how we press on a key or button and there is some outcome, when we call upon Allah Ta’ala by His Attributes, that attribute of Allah Ta’ala is focussed on the one who is asking; that Tajalli manifests itself on the person.

If a person calls Allah Ta’ala, with His Beautiful Names: 'Ya Ghaffaar, Ya Ghafoor, Ya Afuww, Ya Tawwaab', he becomes beneficiary to Allah Ta’ala’s extensive forgiveness.

If a person takes the name “Ya Batino” (The Hidden One), he becomes concealed. If he takes the name “Ya Razzaaqu” (The Sustainer), he will become recipient to sustenance from Allah Ta’ala’s Side.  If he takes the name “Ya Salaamu”, Allah Ta’ala will shower him with Salamati (peace). If he calls upon Allah Ta’ala, with His Name, “Ya Shaafi”, Allah Ta’ala  grants him shifa.

It is left to us to appreciate these wonderful blessings and opportunities and to maximise on them. They are accessible to all.

Furthermore, if we look at the numbers in our palms and we subtract eighteen from eighty one, we will get sixty three. Sixty three was the age of our Beloved Rasul (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) when he passed away.

As someone beautifully brought to our attention: Our palms also become a reminder for us to convey Durood Shareef upon Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam), especially when engaged in Dua. …The reminder is in the hands we raise for Dua.

Indeed, it is by virtue of Durood Shareef that our Duas are granted acceptance.

Hadhrat Anas (RA) said: ‘Every Dua is prevented from reaching the Court of Allah until the person making Dua conveys Durood upon Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and upon the family of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Then it reaches the Court of Allah and is accepted.

Hadhrat ‘Umar (RA) said: ‘Dua remains suspended between the heavens and earth. It does not ascend and is not accepted until you send Salawaat upon Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).’

We also take lesson that we need to bring that noble lifestyle, that noble Sunnah, into our own lives. Then, when we ask of Allah Ta’ala, we ask as lovers of Allah Ta’ala, as beloveds of Allah Ta’ala – and Allah Ta’ala surely gives much more to those who are beloved to Him.

قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِىْ يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّٰهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ط وَاللّٰهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ◌
“ Say (O Muhammad (Sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)) : If you do love Allah, follow me. Allah shall love you and forgive you your sins; And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.”
[Surah Aal-Imraan 3 : 31]

Our ten fingers have got each three parts. We could say that this indicates to the thirty days of the month. Every day of every month should pass on this way of the Sunnah. Day and night should conform to the beautiful Sunnah. Allah Ta’ala will grant us the success of both worlds. And if we are sincere to Allah Ta'ala, we will experience Jannah in this life of Dunya as well.

Our begging bowls are a means of great goodness and success. Let us use it. Let us ask of Allah Ta’ala. Let us take from Allah Ta’ala’s Treasures.

May Allah Ta'ala grant us all the Taufeeq of lifting our begging bowls and asking of Allah Ta’ala, The Generous. Aameen.

[1] Sahih Bukhari