Tuesday 29 July 2014

The Spiritual Laundromat | Washing Hearts

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

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

In his quest for living a comfortable life, man has invented numerous gadgets of convenience. There is the cell-phone, stove, microwave, iron, kettle, toaster, dishwasher, washing machine, and so much else.

Our cars are to take us to places in less time, to give us more time. Planes are to deliver us to distant lands in short periods of time, compared to travel by land or sea. Buses, trains and other conveyances also serve to make easier our traveling, compared to walking from place to place, which is time-consuming if there are a number of kilometres to cover.

The dishwasher is to lessen our burden of washing dishes and give us free time; the washing machine is to ease our burden of washing clothes and give us more free time, modern cooking appliances are to lighten our burden and give us even more free time – but alas, despite all the means, we still complain that we don’t have sufficient time!

Man sees the need for the washing machine, the dishwasher, the vacuum cleaner, for laundry services, pool services, maintenance of his home, etc. – and he also sees the need for his own outward cleanliness and neatness, as well as for his health and well-being.

He has regular check-ups with his doctor, he frequents the gymnasiums and gives time for all kinds of exercises and therapies – all of which is for his physical body. He now even markets organic foods at high prices – for his well-being and good health. Added to this, women – and nowadays even men – spend endless hours at salons and beauticians, wanting to improve their physical beauty. Time and money is spent to look beautiful.

So man pays attention to so much relating to his environment and himself, but he neglects the most important part of himself - his soul! ...Sadly, he does not consider the need to wash his heart and to wash his soul! And yet, both need to be washed, and both require constant cleaning and polishing. Both need to be beautified. Both need maintenance, upkeep and care!

…Each one of us has a soul (ruh) and an ego (nafs). The stronger one rules. If we feed the nafs by satisfying its evil demands and fulfilling its evil desires, and we starve our souls of obedience to Allah Ta’ala, the nafs becomes strong and tough and lively. The soul naturally becomes weak and feeble and frail.

On the other hand, if we feed the soul, by obeying Allah Ta’ala, by working righteousness and suppressing the evil desires of the nafs, the soul will gain in strength and will be able to easily overpower the nafs.

If we establish our connection with Allah Ta’ala, then we have Allah Ta’ala’s assistance and help with us, against nafs and its partner in crime, shaytaan. Without Allah Ta’ala’s help, nothing can be achieved. We are entirely dependent on Him.

وَمَا تَوْفِيقِىْٓ إِلَّا بِاللّٰهِ

“…And my ability to do things comes from none except Allah…”
[Surah Hud 11 : 88]

With Allah Ta’ala on our side, goodness will definitely follow.

If we allow nafs and shaytaan to be in control, then the consequences are frightening – to say the least. Like a car out of control, wreaking havoc and devastation, the person will commit the worst of sins, causing spiritual disaster and devastation. May Allah Ta’ala protect us all.

For the soul to become dominant, an effort needs to be made on the heart of man. If the heart is sound and the soul is strong, and the actions are corrected, then the journey to the Hereafter will be traversed following the path to Jannah and not those paths that lead away from Jannah.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi waSallam) said: “There is a piece of flesh in the body, if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets corrupted, the whole body gets corrupted – and that is the heart.” ~  Sahih Bukhari

The following analogy came to mind, with Allah Ta’ala’s Fadhl, having read an advertisement by a Laundromat, and contemplating how Laundromats have mushroomed all over, and the great demand for out-sourcing dirty clothes and linen… to the extent that companies even collect dirty laundry for people, saving them even more time. Besides the washing of clothing, clothes are dried, ironed and folded and can even be delivered back to one’s home, sometimes on the very same day. Obviously at a cost.

Whilst people employ the services of a company to do their laundry, we also find that hospitals, prisons, hotels and other institutions sometimes have their own laundry facility. Everywhere, we find people establishing some kind of system to keep their clothing, linen, uniforms, etc. clean.

Alhamdulillah, in Islam, Allah Ta’ala has established a service where hearts are washed and cleaned. And it is a service which is free of charge!

One of the duties of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was the purification of the hearts and souls.

“It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom - although they were before in clear error.”

[Surah Al-Jumu`ah 62 : 2]

Like the work and Khidmat of teaching the Qur`aan Sharief and the Sunnah continued and will continue, until Qiyaamah, so too will this work of purifying the hearts and souls of people.

We have the Darul Ulooms that have become the means and medium for teaching the Qur`aan Sharief and Sunnah, and we have the Makaatib and other works, whereby the knowledge of Dien is also disseminated. Similarly, we have the Khanqahs and this is that facility whereby the heart and soul are purified. Alhamdulillah.

The analogy that came to mind was that a Khanqah can be likened to a laundromat, and the Sheikh can be likened to a washer-man or the operator at the laundromat. The Mureeds are like the dirty clothing and linen that comes in, to be washed.

  • When clothing items and linen are sent to a laundromat, then there are different stages that the items go through: The washing, processing and packaging stage.

Similarly, there are different stages to go through, for mureeds who enter the Khanqah for the purpose of purification.

  • The general procedure is that the items are collected or they are dropped off at some laundromat.

The general procedure to clean the heart is that the mureed makes himself available and gives his time to keeping company with the Sheikh. If he does so with sincerity and he hands himself over for Tazkiyyah and Islaah, he will benefit greatly, Insha-Allah.

  • Laundromats advertise that each order is handled with care.

In the Khanqah, each mureed is handled with far more care, because it is his heart and his soul that have been handed over for washing and cleaning – not his clothes. 

  • A person will be selective of which Laundromat he will hand his clothes and linen over to, for cleaning. Naturally, a person would consider a Laundromat that is well-established, reliable and offers excellent service – because his clothing costs money and he is spending more money to wash and clean them.

A mureed should be more selective of where and to whom he will be handing over his heart, for washing and cleaning. The Sheikh must be known for his piety, learning, and experience. He must be one who is acknowledged by the Ulama-e-Haq. ...Otherwise, there are many who are frauds and out to just make easy money by trapping gullible seekers. So care and caution needs to be exercised in regard to who the heart is entrusted to, for Tazkiyyah.

  • At the Laundromat, the items are sorted out according to their type. Different items require a different programme for washing. Some may be heavily soiled and stained; others may be fine and delicate and others may be large and heavy items such as blankets. As such, the process of sorting out clothes is required.

Those clothing items that are heavily soiled – and they may even have blood and faeces and urine, require a longer wash, a more intense programme, and stronger detergents.

In a similar vein, those hearts which are heavily soiled with major sins and evil desires and passions, will require more time and a more intense programme for purification. Others come with minor sins and weaknesses and can be washed quickly and easily.

Like how Laundromats check pockets for unwanted items and inspect for stains, so the Sheikh analyses his mureed – checking his walk, talk, interaction with others, his Ibaadah, and so forth, so that the process of Tazkiyyah and Islaah, the process of cleaning and reforming can commence and can be carried out properly, and so that the heavy stains on the heart can be treated like how stained clothing and linen is treated with a stain-remover.

If the Sheikh is informed of the sins that the mureed is secretly engaging in, or does not want to give up or cannot seem to give up, this makes the cleaning process easier. The Sheikh will choose a suitable spiritual stain remover and detergent, by prescribing Taubah and Istighfaar, some Azkaar, etc. and will also offer guidance in respect to getting out of the habit of sinning.

Just as garments are separated and treated differently, depending on the type of fabric, the degree of dirt, etc. so mureeds are treated differently. Each one has a different temperament, different weaknesses and different strengths. The Sheikh takes all these aspects into consideration, before choosing a method of Islaah, or giving a prescription for Islaah. Allah Ta’ala guides the Shaykh to what is suitable for each Mureed.

  • After sorting out the laundry, the laundry goes in for washing. An operator loads the machine and the process of washing commences: The clothing is soaked, and then goes through the programme of wash and rinse, etc. As the washing machine turns, it tosses the clothes so that the dirt can be easily removed; it washes and rinses and subjects the clothing to heavy spins.

In following the prescriptions and the advices of the Sheikh, the mureed will find some treatments tough on his nafs and some to be gentle and mild. He will experience the wash and rinse and the spin of his spiritual heart.

The mureed who wants to sincerely complete the process and wants a clean heart, will be patient in following through with all that is prescribed.

After the washing stage, the clean clothes are dried, then ironed and folded.

During the stage of drying, the linen is exposed to heat that evaporates the moisture.  Steam-heated rollers are used to also dry the linen and press out wrinkles, like how irons do. The linen is then neatly folded.

Together with the cleaning process, the Mureed is subjected to training his nafs and increasing in his good deeds, in improving his Salaah, and other Ibaadaat. The wrinkles of insincerity and other weaknesses are pressed out of the heart.

If too much of heat is applied to iron out all creases, the clothing may get burnt. 

Similarly, in this process of Islaah, the Sheikh-e-Kaamil will not be too hard on his Mureeds. Like the cloth that can be burnt, so the mureed can be destroyed if the Sheikh is harsh and hard and creates disillusionment and despondency in the mureed.

After completing the different stages, the mureed will find that ghairullah is removed from his heart, the Love of Allah Ta'ala fills his heart beautifies his heart.

We find that some clothing items are even fragranced. ...In the Khanqah, the heart is fragranced with Zikrullah and Durood Sharief.

  • Having gone through the entire process, the linen is packaged and kept for the customer to collect.  Some clothing items are packed individually in plastic wrapping, and hung up, waiting to be collected – and these are, as if, ‘show cased’.

When the Mureed completes the process of purification, reformation, he becomes worthy of being ‘show-cased’. He becomes a role-model for others.

This end result is for those Mureeds who hand themselves over for washing. Those who stay out, who do not get involved practically, and just watch the washing process, won't get cleaned themselves.

Just as a laundromat is a facility where people get their laundry done quickly, efficiently and with great convenience, so the khanqah, which is run under the auspices of a Sheikh-e-Kaamil, is a facility where Saalikeen get their hearts washed and cleaned – efficiently and with convenience.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the understanding and the Taufeeq of going this route of Tazkiyyah and Islaah, that we may reach the Court of Allah Ta’ala, with clean hearts and are received by Allah Ta’ala, with His Pleasure. 

Wednesday 9 July 2014

The Qur'aan Sharief...

Bismillahi Rahmaanir Raheem


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

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Khanqah Akhtari | Ramadaan 1435 Programme

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

May Allah Ta’ala accept.

Click HERE for live audio-streaming