Friday, August 19, 2011

Makruh and Non-Makruh Acts for a Fasting Person

Question: What are makruh and what are not makruh for a fasting person?
The following things are makruh for a fasting person:

It is makruh to brush the teeth with toothpaste.

It is makruh to gargle with medicine. If a sore in the mouth prevents one from reciting in the namaz, then it will not be makruh to gargle with medicine because there is an excuse for it.

3. It is makruh to kiss one's wife when there is the danger of ejaculating.

4. If the fast is broken in Ramadan for such reasons as having an injection or vomiting a mouthful by forcing oneself to or if a traveler arrives in the city where he/she lives or if the menstruation of a woman stops, such people must abstain from what breaks the fast, as fasting people do. It is makruh for them to eat or drink.

The following things are not makruh for a fasting person:
If one has a nocturnal emission in the night and if there is little time for imsak (the time when prohibition on eating begins) time and if one eats pre-dawn meal first and performs a ghusl after dawn, that is, if one begins fasting in a state of impurity, this fast will be valid. It is permissible to perform the ghusl later.

2. It is permissible to make intention for Ramadan fast after dawn lest kaffarah (expiation) might become necessary if it is broken.

3. If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife in Ramadan and if they sleep late thinking that they will make a ghusl soon and if the sun has risen when they wake up, it does not harm their fasts. However, they must take a bath at the earliest opportunity to be able to perform a namaz.

4. It is permissible to delay the onset of menstruation by taking pills in order not to miss fast-days.

5. If a woman begins menstruating while fasting, she should not avoid eating and drinking like a fasting person; she can eat and drink.

Legal concessions for fasting
Is it permissible to make use of the legal concessions mentioned below to be able to fast?

1. To put water into one's mouth to quench one's thirst; to pour cold water onto the head or to take a bath with cold water to cool down,
2. To apply a nicotine patch to the skin when one feels the need to smoke a cigarette,
3. To spray medicine or to apply ointment on a part with pain or with rheumatic pain; to apply medication or a patch absorbed through the skin on the chest for heart attacks,
4. To insert acupuncture needles into the body or to wear diet patches when one feels hunger [they not only stop the feeling of hunger but also help weight loss],
5. To take pills to delay monthly period so as not to miss fast-days and to observe them fully.
ANSWERAll of them are permissible, but the acts that rank first on the list are makruh tanzihi (makruh of a lesser degree) according to Imam-i A'zam because such acts may be a sign of boredom with this act of worship. However, according to Imam-i Abu Yusuf, there is nothing wrong with doing them because one, by doing so, removes the difficulty to some degree and helps oneself perform the act of worship more easily. Following the statement of Imam-i Abu Yusuf, one can do all of the above-mentioned acts.

What to do if the fast breaks?
If a person's fast breaks in Ramadan, is it permissible for the relevant person to eat or drink?
ANSWERIf one breaks one's fast in Ramadan for any reason whatsoever or if a traveler arrives in the city where he/she lives, that is, if a person becomes settled (muqim) when he/she comes back or if the menstrual bleeding of a woman stops, such people must abstain from eating and drinking until dusk, like fasting people. But if the menstrual bleeding of a woman begins, she should not act like a fasting person; she should eat and drink. Those with excuses that prevent them from fasting should eat and drink secretly on the days when they do not fast.

The Time of Sahar and Sahur Meal

Question: What is the importance of the time of sahar (last portion of the night)? How is it calculated?
ANSWERThe time of sahar is the final one-sixth of the night. That is, it is the final one-sixth of the duration from sunset to the time of imsak (the time when prohibition on eating begins). Let us say for example that the sun sets at 5:30 p.m. and the time of imsak occurs at 5:30 a.m., the night is 12 hours long. The one-sixth of this equals 2 hours. When it is subtracted from 5:30 a.m., it is 3:30 a.m. The time of sahar is from 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. This duration increases or decreases in summer and winter.

It is better to perform the namazes of tahajjud (voluntary late night namaz) and witr at the time of sahar. It is declared in hadith-i sharifs:
(Whoever fears that he will not be able to wake up in the last portion of the night, let him perform the witr in the early portion of the night. Then let him go to sleep. Whoever thinks that he will be able to wake up in the last portion of the night, let him perform the witr then because Angels of Compassion are present when he wakes up for it in the last portion of the night.) [Muslim]

(The du'a [supplication] made in the last portion of the night and the du'a made after namazes are accepted.) [Tirmidhi]

(Allahu ta'ala declares in the last portion of the night: "Isn't there anyone to make repentance, so that I shall forgive him? Isn't there anyone to ask, so that I shall give what he wants and accept his supplication?") [Muslim]

The time of sahar is a time when supplications and repentance are accepted. When one gets up for sahur (pre-dawn meal) in Ramadan, one will have gotten up at the time of sahar. One should deem it a great opportunity to make supplication at this time. In praising good people [in the Qur'an al-karim], Allahu ta'ala says, "They ask for forgiveness in the last portion of the night" (Adh-Dhariyat 18).

Ya'qub alaihis-salam said to his sons, "Soon [at the time of sahar], I will ask forgiveness for you from my Lord" (Yusuf 98).

In the 17th verse of Al-i Imran Sura, those who show patience, those who are truthful [in their speeches, deeds, and intentions], those who perform namaz, those who give zakat, and those who ask forgiveness in the last portion of the night are praised. The reason why those who ask forgiveness are mentioned after all others is that humans should consider their every act of worship as defective and should always implore for forgiveness.

Opportunity is a windfall. We should not waste our lifetimes on useless pursuits. Instead, we should spend them on things Allahu ta'ala is pleased with. We should perform five daily namazes with tadil-i arkan and in congregation, offer the namaz of tahajjud, and should not let the last portion of the night pass without imploring for forgiveness. We should not be overcast with the slumber of oblivion, but meditate death and afterlife. Turning away from prohibited worldly affairs, we should direct ourselves towards otherworldly deeds. We should engage in worldly earnings as much as indispensably necessary, and at other times we should fully occupy ourselves with making our afterlife better. (Maktubat-i Ma'thumiyya)
Question: Is it sinful to fast without getting up for sahur (pre-dawn meal)?
ANSWERIt is not sinful, but it is much reward-deserving to get up for pre-dawn meal. It is good to get up for it even if one gets up just to drink a sip of water. It is declared in hadith-i sharifs:
(Sahur meal is blessed. The whole of sahur is blessing. Get up for sahur even if you drink just a sip of water. Allahu ta'ala and His angels shower salat and salam upon those who get up for sahur.) [Imam-i Ahmad] (That is, Allahu ta'ala forgives those who get up for sahur and angels pray for them.)

(Get up for sahur; there is blessing in it.) [Bukhari]

(Aid yourselves in fasting by eating a meal at sahur.) [Bayhaqi]

(Getting up for sahur meal is a blessing that Allah has bestowed upon you. Do not miss it.) [Nasai]

(Providing that what they eat is halal [lawful], three people will not be called to account: a person who fasts, a person who eats sahur meal, and a person who keeps guard in the way of Allah.) [Nasai]

(Certainly sahur meal is blessed.) [Ibn Hibban]

(Have sahur meal even if it is just a morsel because there is blessing in it.) [Daylami]

(How excellent are dates as a Believer's sahur.) [Abu Dawud]

(Allahu ta'ala showers mercy upon those who get up for sahur.)

Fasting and Remaining Hungry

Question: Some people say, "What can the benefit of remaining hungry and thirsty be?" What is the purpose of fasting?

ANSWERFasting is not just the state of remaining hungry and thirsty. If an animal or a disbeliever is confined in a room and deprived of food and water, this is not considered fasting. In fact, fasting has a connection with other acts of worship, such as patience, giving thanks to Allahu ta'ala, and disciplining the nafs. Therefore, it is stated in a hadith-i sharif, "Everything has a gate. The gate of worship is fasting" (Ibn Mubarak).

The nervous system has a vital place in the human body. Those whose lingual nerves have been paralyzed cannot talk. Those whose nerves in their legs have been paralyzed cannot walk. Our lives are in danger to a lesser or greater degree as per the nervous system disorder we experience. People who suffer from neurosis are restless and impatient. Most of the fights and murders that occur within the community spring from being nervous and lacking patience. The hadith-i sharif, "Fasting is half of patience, and patience is half of faith," states that a fasting person is forbearing. (Abu Nu'aym)

Thus, it is seen that fasting is also from faith. Those who have faith do not commit crimes or sins in accordance with the strength of their faith. They keep their temper. There is a zakat for everything, and the zakat of the body is hunger. Because the desires of those who remain hungry by fasting are restrained, it is easy for them to show patience. Fasting people remain hungry. Remaining hungry, in turn, is beneficial: It develops one's insight (basirah) and enhances one's ability to understand. As a matter of fact, it was declared in hadith-i sharifs, "The comprehension of a hungry person increases, and his intellect is sharpened" and "Meditation [tafakkur] is half of worship, while eating little is all of it" (Imam-i Ghazali).

Those who eat much sleep much, thus spending their lives doing nothing. They are like drunks. Their brains become sluggish, and their intellects and memories atrophy. However, hunger brings tenderness to the heart. A hadith-i sharif says, "The interior of a person who eats little is filled with lights. Allahu ta'ala loves the Believer who eats and drinks little and whose body is light in weight" (Daylami).

In a state of hunger, desires are curbed. Leaving disobedience, our nafses become submissive. On the other hand, overeating causes negligence. Just as it is difficult to subjugate a wild horse, so it is difficult to subjugate the nafs that had gotten out of hand as a result of overindulgence in food. Hunger facilitates training of the nafs. It was declared in a hadith-i sharif:
(The human heart is like crops in a field, and eating is like rain. Just as excessive rain causes crops to rot, so excessive food causes the heart to die.) [Imam-i Ghazali]

Those who are always full up become merciless and ruthless. They cannot imagine what it means to be hungry. Gluttonous people become hard-hearted. It was related in a hadith-i sharif, "Do not kill your heart by eating and drinking much" (Imam-i Ghazali).

Those who keep their temper experience inner happiness. Hunger crushes one's hankering to commit sins and prevents one from doing evil deeds. A hadith-i sharif says, "Fighting against the nafs through hunger and thirst is like fighting in the way of Allah" (Imam-i Ghazali).

Those who eat much drink much water. Those who drink much water, in turn, sleep much. Since such people spend their lives sleeping, this state keeps them from earning material and spiritual profits. This means to say that hunger keeps nerves agile and energetic. Repletion results in imbecility. It inhibits memorization and keeping something in mind. A hadith-i sharif says, "Eating a meal once a day is moderation" (Bayhaqi).

Having meals three times every two days [that is, morning and evening meals on the first day and lunch on the second day] was reported to be standard. (Tashil-ul-manafi)
Most of diseases result from eating much. It was stated in a hadith-i sharif, "Eating and drinking much is the source of diseases" (Dara Qutni).

Those who eat little will have healthy bodies. "He who fasts will have a good health," was said in a hadith-i sharif. (Tabarani)

The feeling of pity in those who consume excessively will lessen. Their sensual desires will increase, and they will engage in forbidden deeds. It is necessary to block off all the paths that excite unlawful desires. Hunger, in this respect, blocks off Satan's path. A hadith-i sharif declares, "Satan circulates in the body like blood. Make his passage narrow by means of hunger" (Ihya).

The Virtues of Fasting and Ramadan

Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani states the following about this subject:
The blessed month of Ramadan is very honorable. The rewards given for the voluntary prayer, remembrance of Allah, alms, and all other such worships done in this month are like those given for the obligatory ones done in other months. One obligatory act of worship done in this month is like seventy obligatory acts of worship done in other months. If a person gives (the supper called) iftar to a fasting person in this month, his or her sins will be forgiven. He or she will be emancipated from Hell. In addition, he or she will be given as many rewards as those which the fasting person receives. The rewards of that fasting person will not decrease in the slightest degree.

In this month, also those bosses who facilitate the work of those under their commands and who make it easy for them to worship will be forgiven. They will be emancipated from Hell. In the blessed month of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah used to emancipate the slaves and would give whatever was asked from him. Those who can do good deeds in this month will be blessed with doing such deeds all the year round. If a person disrespects this month and commits sins in this month, he or she will spend all the year sinning.

We should consider this month as an opportunity. We should perform as many acts of worship as we can, do the deeds which Allahu ta’ala likes, and deem this month an opportunity for earning the next world.

The Qur’an al-karim descended in the month of Ramadan. The Night of Qadr is in this month. In holy Ramadan, it is an act of sunnat to have the iftar early and to have the sahur (pre-dawn meal) late. The Messenger of Allah was careful about performing these two sunnats.

Maybe hurrying for the iftar and being late for the sahur show humans' incapacity and that they need to eat and drink, and consequently, everything. And this is the meaning of worshiping.

It is a sunnat to have the iftar with a date. It is an important sunnat to recite the prayer, Zahabazzama’ wabtallat-il uruq wa thabat-al-ajr insha-Allahu ta’alaafter breaking the fast, to perform the namaz of Tarawih, and to read a khatm (that is, to read the entire Qur’an al-karim).

In this month, thousands of those Muslims who are to go to Hell are forgiven and emancipated every night. In this month, the gates of Paradise are opened. The gates of Hell are closed. The devils are chained. The doors of compassion are opened. May Allahu ta’ala bless us all with the lot of worshipping Him in a manner worthy of His greatness and with being on the right way which He likes! Amen. (Maktubat, Vol. 1, Letter 45)
Those who do not fast and who eat in public are not respectful to this month. Even people who do not perform namaz must fast and avoid the prohibited actions. Such people's fasting is accepted and is a symptom of their faith.

It is very thawab to fast in the blessed month of Ramadan, and it is a grave sin not to fast without a good excuse. A hadith-i sharif says, "If a person does not fast for a single day in Ramadan without a good excuse, he cannot earn the thawab of this single day, even if he fasts all the year round instead of it" [Tirmidhi].
(If there is a religiously legitimate excuse, then it is not sinful not to fast.)

Some hadith-i sharifs about fasting in Ramadan are as follows:
(The month of Ramadan is a blessed month. Allahu ta'ala made fasting in Ramadan obligatory for you. In this month, the gates of compassion are opened, and the gates of Hell are closed. The devils are put in chains. In this month is a night which is more valuable than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of the goodness of that night [the Night of Qadr] has been deprived of all goodness.) [Nasai]

(If a person fasts by knowing it as fard to fast in the month of Ramadan and by expecting its thawab from Allahu ta'ala, his sins are pardoned.) [Bukhari]

(If a person dies after fasting in Ramadan, he will go to Paradise.)

(When the month of Ramadan comes, it is said, "O seekers of goodness, run to what is good. O seekers of evil, abstain from what is evil.") [Nasai]

(Ramadan is the month of barakah. In this month, Allahu ta'ala forgives sins and accepts supplications. Fulfill the rights of this month. Only he who will go to Hell does not become the beneficiary of compassion in this month.)

(When the holy month of Ramadan comes, Allahu ta'ala orders angels to pray for forgiveness of Believers.) [Daylami]

(An obligatory namaz becomes atonement for the sins committed up to the next namaz. A Friday becomes atonement for the sins committed up to the next Friday. The month of Ramadan becomes atonement for the sins committed up to the next Ramadan.) [Tabarani]

(He who can fast for three consecutive days must observe the fast of Ramadan.) [Abu Nu'aym]

(The fast of Ramadan is fard and Tarawih is sunnat. If a person fasts in this month and spends its nights performing acts of worship, his sins are forgiven.) [Nasai]
(The reason why this month is called Ramadan is that it burns and melts sins.) [I. Mansur]

(The beginning of Ramadan is mercy. Its middle is forgiveness, and its end is emancipation from Hell.) [Ibn Abi ad-Dunya]

(Islam is to say Kalima-i shahadah, to perform namaz, to give zakat, to fast in the month of Ramadan, and to make a pilgrimage [to Mecca].) [Muslim]

(The beautiful mansions in Paradise will be given to those who are honey-tongued, whose salams are many, who offer meals, who observe the fast, and who perform namaz at nights.) [Ibn Nasr]

(A fasting Believer's silence is regarded as tasbih [glorification of Allahu ta'ala], and his sleep is regarded as an act of worship. His prayer is accepted, and the reward for his good deeds is multiplied.) [Daylami]

(Do not utter obscene speech especially when you are fasting. If anyone aggresses against you, say to him, "I am fasting.") [Bukhari]

(The true fast is the one observed not only by leaving eating and drinking but also by leaving vain speech and foul language.) [Hakim]

(Only fasting people will sit Allahu ta'ala's table spread that is full of blessings that no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no mind has ever imagined.)

(Whoever observes fast for a day in the way of Allah, Allahu ta'ala keeps him seventy years' distance away from Hell.) [Bukhari]

(Cleanliness is half of faith, and fasting is half of patience.) [Muslim]

(If a person dies while being in a state of fasting, thawab is recorded for him as if he fasted until Doomsday.) [Daylami]

(He who dies while fasting enters Paradise.)

(A person who fasts and performs namaz will get his reward on the Day of Judgment in proportion to the degree of his aql.) [Hatib]
(Fasting curbs lust.) [Imam-i Ahmad]

On blessed occasions, we should strictly avoid sins and increase righteous deeds, acts of worships, and all kinds of charitable acts. Those who are liked by Allahu ta'ala engage in virtuous deeds at virtuous times, while those who are disliked by Him engage in evil deeds at virtuous times. This demeanor of those who engage in evil actions causes the torment they will suffer to become more severe and causes Allahu ta'ala to dislike them much more because such people, by doing so, have left themselves destitute of the blessings of these times and have violated the sanctity and honor of them. (Maw'iza-i hasana)

The dream of our master the Prophet
(I saw astonishing things in my dream.
[In my dream] the Angels of Torment grabbed someone from my Ummah. Ablutions he had performed came and saved him from the difficult situation he was in. I saw someone being squeezed in his grave. The namâzes he had offered came and saved him from the torment of the grave. The devils were pestering someone. The remembrances [dhikr] he had made came and saved him from the devils. One's tongue stuck out as a result of a raging thirst. The fasts he had observed in Ramadan came and quenched his thirst.

Someone was encircled by darkness. The pilgrimage he had made came and delivered him from darkness. The Angel of Death came to someone. The kindnesses he had done to his parents came. They averted death and delayed it. Someone was not allowed to talk to Muslims. Then sila-i rahm
[visiting relatives, good treatment towards them, maintaining good ties with them] came and made intercession for him, so he could talk to them. Someone who wanted to go near his Prophet was being prevented from going. The ghusls he had taken brought him near me. Someone desired protection from the Fire. His voluntary charities came and became a veil against the Fire. When the Angels of Hell were taking someone to Hell, his enjoining the doing of what was good and forbidding the doing of what was evil came and saved him. Someone was thrown into Hellfire. The tears he had shed out of fear of Allah came and saved him.
When the deed-book of a person was being given to him from his left, his fear of Allah came and carried it to his right. Someone's thawab weighed light. His children who had died before himself came and made it heavy. Someone was quaking with fear by Hell. When his husn-i zann [having a good opinion of] about Allahu ta'ala came, his quaking ceased. Someone who crossed the Sirat with difficulty came to Paradise, but the gates were closed. His Kalima-i shahadah came and put him into Paradise.) [Tabarani, Hakim-i Tirmidhi]

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Safeguarding Faith (Iman)

People of wisdom state:With the approach of Doomsday, darkness gathers. As darkness increases, so does people's bumping against one another; everybody bumps against one another. What turns daylight into darkness is the gloom of unlawful things [harams], religious innovations [bida'], and disbelief [kufr]. It is such that Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani, speaking in reference to his own time, said centuries ago, "Religious innovations have become so prevalent that the world has darkened." What caused the world to get dark at that time was religious innovations. As for the time period close to Doomsday [Akhir az-Zaman, Last Age, Last Era], what causes the world to get dark is the gloom of disbelief.

What is meant by one-tenth that is mentioned in the hadith-i sharif "If my Ummah of the Last Age perform one-tenth of the commandments, they will attain salvation" is to safeguard the faith and die with the correct faith. Those who accomplish this will attain salvation because the greatest disaster in the Last Age is to die faithless. People who die without faith will go to eternal Hell. Today, lawful [halal] and unlawful [haram] things have become so mixed that the majority of people do not know what is lawful. But the truth is that whoever takes a haram lightly loses his/her faith. As a matter of fact, our Master the Prophet stated, "The biggest trouble of my Ummah that will come in the Last Age will be to protect and save their faith. Their biggest disaster will be to lose their faith." Acts of worship cannot rescue us, but they are highly valuable as they help us protect our faith. It resembles this: Let us say a fierce storm has broken. In order to protect a candle against this storm lest it should burn out, it is necessary to put it within 20 or 30 glass globes placed one inside the other. A candle that is left in the open burns out quickly. Therefore, people need to do more acts of worship and have much more sincerity in the Last Age to save their faith. Interestingly enough, it was not so difficult to save one's faith in the past, for there was not such a storm in those days. The candle was still burning even if there was not a glass globe surrounding it. Everywhere was in tranquility, so candles were burning without going out. Furthermore, there were many candles. As there is no light today, disbelief and harams have become normal practice, which is a very dangerous situation. Considerably worse days will come, and increasingly, the situation will deteriorate further.

Dying sinful is a great felicity compared with dying a disbeliever because the sinful will attain salvation sooner or later. Acting on the hadith-i sharifs "I will intercede for those with grave sins" and "Die with faith, and do not interfere in the rest," we should strive to save our faith. This, in turn, is fulfilled by having the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah, avoiding what is prohibited, and performing acts of worship. To be able to safeguard our faith, we should recite the prayer, "Allahumma inni a'oodhu bika min an-ushrika bika shay-an wa ana a'lamu wa astaghfiru-ka li-maa laa-a'lamu innaka anta 'allaamul ghuyoob," which was prescribed by our Master the Prophet, in the mornings and in the evenings. It means "O my Allah, I take refuge in You from ascribing any partners to You knowingly. If I did it unknowingly, forgive me. You know everything." Repeating the statement "La ilaha ill-Allah Muhammadun Rasul-Allah," we should frequently renew our faith. Also, steering clear of words and actions that cause disbelief, we should endeavor to protect our faith. May Allahu ta'ala keep us all from the disaster of disbelief and falling into faithlessness!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our nafs is not a creator

Question: In the books of Ahl as-Sunnah, on the one hand it is written that both good and evil are from Allah, but on the other hand it is written that humans are responsible for the sins they commit. Is it not a contradiction? Is it not our nafs that creates sins?

ANSWERThere is no contradiction in our religion. The Creator of everything is Allahu ta'ala alone. There is not any other creator. Our nafs (a negative force within humans that prompts them to do evil) cannot create anything. To consider the nafs as the creator is the view of the Mu'tazilah. Our nafs is not even an accountable creature unlike humans and genies. When a human dies, his/her nafs will be annihilated. How wrong it is to call a thing creator that is not even held liable and is doomed to annihilation! One of the six fundamentals of faith is to believe that both good and evil are from Allah. A person who does not believe in this cannot be a Muslim.

Ahl as-Sunnah scholars, inheritors of the Messenger of Allah, state:

Allahu ta'ala is the one who always creates, trains, and develops everything, who causes every favor to be done, and who sends every favor. He alone is the owner of strength and power. Unless He gives us thought, nobody can will or desire to do good or evil. After man receives the thought, he can will to do something, but unless Allah wills and gives strength and opportunity to that thought, nobody can do one bit of kindness or evil to anybody. He creates everything that man wants if He wills it. Only what He wills happens. He sends us the thoughts of doing good or evil for various reasons. When His born servants (men) whom He pities wish to do evil, He does not will and create it. When they wish to do good, He, too, wills and creates it. Goodness always arises from such people. He, too, wills to create the evil wills of His enemies, with whom He is angry. Since these evil people do not wish to do something virtuous, evils always arise from them.

In other words, all people are a means, a tool. They are like the pen in the writer’s hand. Only using their partial will that has been bestowed upon them, those who will goodness earn blessings, while those willing evil to be created become sinful. Allahu ta’ala willed in pre-eternity to create the optional deeds of people through their will power.

Our nafs causes us to commit evil
While it is our nafs that causes us to commit evil, is it true to say, "Both good and evil are from Allah"?

In terms of causing it, of course evil is from the nafs. However, in terms of creating it, both good and evil are from Allah. The nafs desires evil and causes it, and Allahu ta'ala creates it. That is, it is Allah who creates and wills evil, too. A fly cannot move its wing unless He wills and creates it. Every adversity that befalls us takes place by Allah's will and creation. Our nafs is not a creator. It cannot create either good or evil. It is Allahu ta'ala alone who creates everything. The Qur'an al-karim says (what means):

(The Creator of everything is Allah.) [Az-Zumar 62; Al-Mu'min 62]

(It is Allah who creates you and what you do.) [As-Saffat 96]

(Your Lord creates what He wants, chooses what He wills. They do not have the right to choose.) [Al-Qasas 68]

If a servant deserves a disaster, Allahu ta'ala sends it to him/her. As a matter of fact, a Qur'anic verse says:

(Any disaster that befalls you is because of what you commit with your own hands, yet Allah forgives most of them.)
[Ash-Shura 30]
(This means to say that disasters are being sent because of our sins, but the Sender is Allah. It is declared in this verse that Allah forgives most of them. That is, the One who sends disasters is He, and He forgives most of them.)

(Whatever good comes to you comes from Allah [as a grace of His]. Whatever evil befalls you comes from yourself [in return for your sins].) [An-Nisa' 79]

As is seen, this Qur'anic verse says that evil befalls us because of our sins, but it is Allahu ta'ala who creates evil. The verse preceding the above one says that evil, too, is created by Allah. The meaning of this verse is as follows:
(If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil reaches them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.”) [An-Nisa' 78]

It is a condition of faith to believe that it is Allah who creates both good and evil. A hadith-i sharif says:
(A person who does not believe that qadar, good, and evil are from Allah is not a Believer.) [Tirmidhi]

Of the ahl al-bid'ah (people of innovation), some reject qadar, and some reject the fact that good and evil are from Allahu ta'ala. There are people who reduce fundamentals of faith to less than six or who increase them to seven. Moreover, there are even people who say that there is no such thing as the fundamentals of Islam. This stems from the disease of blaming the early scholars and thus trying to rise by treading on them, which is a very abominable act. It is stated in a hadith-i sharif that it is a sign of Doomsday for upstarts to blame the scholars who lived in the past with a view to make reform in the religion. Our Master the Prophet stated, "Scholars are the inheritors of the Messenger of Allah." Does blaming the scholars of old, who are the inheritors of the Messenger of Allah, not sadden the Messenger of Allah, the owner of inheritors? One must recover from the disease of blaming the early scholars.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Both Good and Evil Are from Allah

Question: A man says, "Good is from Allah, but evil is not from Him. Humans themselves create evil. People, however, included the belief that evil is from Allah in the Amantu [formula of faith] as well, though there is no such thing in the Qur'anic verses or Prophetic sayings." Please explain this topic with Qur'anic verses and traditions.

ANSWERThat both good and evil are from Allah is clearly stated in the Qur'an al-karim and hadith-i sharifs. All Islamic scholars to date, without exception, said that good and evil are from Allah. The belief that evil is not from Allah is the view held by the followers of Christianity, the Mu'tazilah, and some heretical sects. No Ahl as-Sunnah scholar stated that evil was not from Allah because no scholar can say anything against the Qur'an al-karim and hadith-i sharifs. Humans cannot create their own qadar. As a matter of fact, the Qur'an al-karim says (what means):

(If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil befalls them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “All things are from Allah.” What is wrong with these people that they do not understand any word?)
[An-Nisa' 78]

(We decreed that the wife of Lut should undergo torment.)
[Al-Hijr 60] (That is, We wrote her such a bad qadar.)

(Those for whom We decreed a good end [those whose qadar is good] will be kept away from Hell.) [Al-Anbiya' 101]

(If Allah were hasty in sending evil to the people, as they are hasty in seeking good, all of them would certainly have been ruined. However, We leave those who do not expect to meet Us wandering in their transgression.)
[Yunus 11]

(Your Lord creates what He wants, chooses what He wills. They do not have the right to choose.) [Al-Qasas 68]

(It is Allah who creates you and what you do.) [As-Saffat 96]

(The Creator of everything is Allah.) [Az-Zumar 62; Al-Mu'min 62]

Hadrat Qadi Baydawi, the greatest of mufassirun (those who make a tafsir of the Qur'an al-karim), explained this verse as follows:
"It is Allahu ta'ala alone who creates good and evil, belief and disbelief, and everything. All things are at His disposal."

Our Master the Prophet clarified the Qur'anic verses about faith and stated:
(Iman [faith] is to believe in Allah, angels, books, prophets, the Day of Resurrection [that is, Paradise, Hell, the Reckoning, and the Balance], qadar, that good and evil are from Allah, death, and the Resurrection after death. It is to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am His servant and messenger.) [Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai]

(Allahu ta'ala said: "Whoever believes in Me but does not believe in qadar and that good and evil are by My preordainment, let him look for another Lord besides Me.")

(A person is not considered a Believer unless he believes that good and evil are from Allah.) [Tirmidhi]

As is seen, it is Allah and His Messenger who included the belief "Good and evil are from Allah" in the Amantu. The deviant sect called the Jabriyyah, looking at these verses, said, "It is Allah who makes us commit sins. We are not responsible for the sins." Of course this is wrong, too. According to Ahl as-Sunnah, humans have partial will (al-iradah al-juz'iyyah), and they are responsible for the sins they commit.

Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani declares:
Belief and disbelief, good and evil, guidance and aberration, obedience and sins are all by the creation, preordainment, and will of Allahu ta'ala. He has linked rewards and sins to the deeds of humans. He has left humans to their free will and made punishment and rewards dependent on the use of free will, which is termed kasb (acquirement). Kasb is from humans, and creating it is from Allah. Kasb is those actions we do with our own free will.

Just as Allahu ta'ala's knowing in the eternal past what He would create does not cancel His attribute will, so His knowing in the eternal past what humans would do does not prevent them from having free will and option.

The reason why Allahu ta'ala has laid down commandments and prohibitions is that humans have been given kasb (the heart's option and partial free will in their actions). If kasb had not been bestowed upon them, these commandments and prohibitions would have been unnecessary (never!). The promises of torment and blessings would have been wrong (never!). And prophets' and holy books' being sent would have been altogether out of place (never!). As it is seen, the purpose of the above-mentioned man is to eradicate the religions.

Allahu ta'ala definitely knows everythingWe have proved above with Qur'anic verses and Prophetic sayings the fact that good and evil are from Allah. Now we will give answers to the following assertion: "If Allah knows whether people will go to Paradise or Hell, then why does He hold them responsible? If He knows where we will go, why did He send us the great Qur'an? Why did He enjoin us commandments and prohibitions? There is no such thing as qadar. Everybody shapes his/her own qadar."

The answers to all these assertions exist in the Qur'an al-karim, and Islamic scholars explained them.

To start with, let us ask this:
Does Allah not know whether a person will go to Paradise or Hell? Can the one who does not know it be a god? How can so many verses existing in the Qur'an be denied? Following the usual strategy "Just throw mud. If it does not stick, it will leave a mark," he is talking through his hat in the hope that he may trap some unwary people.

Who creates evil?
It is written in Maktubat-i Rabbani:

Hadrat Imam-i A'zam asked Hadrat Imam-i Ja'far-i Sadiq:
"Has Allahu left humans' optional deeds to their wish?"
"No, He does not leave His rububiyyah [greatness of creating and doing whatever He wants] to His weak servants," he said in response.

"Then does He make His servants do deeds by force?" he asked.
"He is just. He does not compel His servants to commit sins and then put them into Hell," he responded.
"Then who is doing the optional deeds of humans?" he inquired.
"He neither forces them nor leaves them to their wish. It is something between these two. He does not leave creating something to His servants nor forces them," he elucidated.

Abd al-Jabbar Hamadani, a follower of the Mu'tazilah, asked Abu Ishaq Isfaraini, an Ahl as-Sunnah scholar:
"Allah does not will evils and sins; He does not create them. Are these things not created by the Devil?"
"All the good things, evil things, and everything are created by Allah. No one other than He can create anything," he said.

"Does Allah ever will disobedience to Himself?" he asked.
"Could the servants ever be disobedient to Him by force if Allahu ta'ala did not will and create disbelief and sins? Servants use their partial will and wish to commit disbelief, sins, and evils. And Allah creates their wishes, if He wills to do so," was his answer.

"If Allah did not will guidance for a servant, though he/she wants it, would He not be harming him/her?" he asked.
"He does not will not to give a servant's right, but He may not will to take His own right. He will reward for the tiniest goodness done. He forgives most of the sins except for disbelief. As for the question why He wills disbelief, Allahu ta'ala has knowledge, and He knows everything that will happen in the future. He is Hakeem; whatsoever He does and makes, it is always the best that can ever be done and made. He guides whomever He wills to the true way of salvation. He leaves in aberration a servant about whom He has knowledge that he will not renounce it. A Qur'anic verse says:
(He leaves to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills.) [Fatir 8]

Allahu ta'ala creates good and evil after humans will them. The will power of man is a cause for His creation. When Believers will faith and obedience through their partial will, Allahu ta'ala wills and creates them. When disbelievers will disbelief and sinners will sins, He creates them if He wills to do so. Nothing comes into existence only with the will of servants. It exists if He, too, wills. A fly cannot move its wing unless Allah wills it to move it. All the good and evil deeds of people happen by His will. When a human wills to do something, it does not take place if He does not will it to take place. Something He does not will to exist does not exist. If it existed after all, it would mean some drawbacks in His power. However, Allahu ta'ala is omnipotent.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

What does hidâyah mean?

Question: The Islamic scholars have translated the word hidâyah as the true path for 14 centuries. But hidâyah means reaching Allah in this world, doesn’t it?
It never does. By saying so, you are accusing all Islamic scholars of giving wrong meaning (never!) to hidâyah. However, Allahu ta’âlâ declares, “If you do not know, ask scholars.” Our master the Prophet states, “Scholars are my and the other prophets’ inheritors.”

Thus far, none of the Islamic scholars has declared the meaning of that word to be reaching Allah. Of the such scholars as the founders of four madhhabs (namely, Imâm-i A’zam, Imâm-i Mâlik, Imâm-i Shâfi’î, Imâm-i Ahmad), great scholars within madhhabs (such as Imâm-i Ghazâlî, Imâm-i Rabbânî, Imâm-i Abû Yûsuf, Imâm-i Muhammad, Imâm-i Nawawî) or other awliyâ’ with hundreds of wonders (such as Sayyid Abdul Qâdir Gailanî, Junayd al-Baghdâdî), which one said hidâyah meant to reach Allah? Which mufassir wrote in his tafsîr book that hidâyah was to reach Allah? Out of thousands of scholars, even one scholar cannot be put forth.
What is the reason for the animosity towards Islamic savants? Isn’t the reason for it that they explained hidâyah as Islam and that they conveyed the commandments and prohibitions of the religion exactly as our master Rasûlullah communicated? Why do they not refer to Islamic scholars instead of heretics?
Have the religion of Islam come incompletely until today? Some aberrant people say, “Islam had been incomplete until our master came. He completed it.” Has Islam come to us incompletely for 1,400 years? Or did Allahu ta’âlâ communicate it incompletely (never!)? Or did our master the Prophet communicate and explain it incompletely (never!)?
Hidâyah does not mean a path. That is, it does not mean a way, path or a bridge. Hidâyah means Islam. Islam, on the other hand, means the true path shown by Allahu ta’âlâ. Therefore, hidâyah is explained to be the true path. Its antonym is dalâlah, deviating.
Hidâyah is to see right as right and wrong as wrong and to enter the right path; to keep away from deviating and false path; to have îmân and to become a Muslim.
Hidâyah is the religion and the path that Allahu ta’âlâ wants.
Since the word path explains it well, all Islamic scholars declared hidâyah to be path. All the translations of the Qur’ân on the market, true and wrong ones alike, have given hidâyah the meaning of true path, that is, they have said that it is Islam. They have not fabricated such an odd meaning as “reaching.”
Hidâyah is to become a Muslim, to accept the religion of Islam. Islam itself is the true path. Then hidâyah means the true path. Two âyat-i karîmas purport:
(You cannot make whom you like reach hidâyah. But Allah gives hidâyah to whom He wills.) [Sûrat-ul-Qasas, 56]
(Whomever Allah wills to guide to hidâyah, He expands his breast for Islam.) [Sûrat-ul-An’âm, 125]
Two hadîth-i sharîfs purport:
(Allahu ta’âlâ has sent me as compassion and hidâyah for the worlds.) [Abû Nu’aym]
(It is not within my power to give hidâyah. Shaitan, on his part, shows what Allahu ta’âlâ has prohibited as being ornate and enticing. But it is not within his power to make one deviate, either.) [I. ‘Adiy]

The number of the fundamentals of îmân is not seven
Is it true to say, “It is îmân to have faith in a soul’s being reached Allah. The fundamentals of îmân are seven. Sharr (evil) is not from Allah but from nafs”?

Saying that evil is from nafs means that there are associates in Allah’s Attribute of Creativeness. Allahu ta’âlâ sends us afflictions owing to our sins, but we do not create the afflictions. We deserve them; as a result, Allahu ta’âlâ punishes us. Allah does not oppress His born slaves.
(If any good reaches them, they say, “This is from Allah,” but if any evil reaches them, they say, “This happened because of you.” Say: “Kullun min ‘Indillaah [All things are from Allah].” What is the matter with these people that they do not understand what they are told?) [Sûrat-un-Nisâ, 78]

Question: Isn’t there the expression “reaching Allah before death” at the end of the Arabic hadîth of îmân? Have the translators not added this part?

There has not been a lie of this kind. One cannot reach Allah before death.
The hadîth of îmân in Arabic is as follows:
(Âmantu bi’llâhi wa malâ’ikatihî wa kutubihî wa rusulihî wal-yawm-il-âkhiri wa bil-qadari khairihî wa sharrihî minallâhi ta’âlâ walba’thu ba’d-al-mawt haqqun ash-hadu an lâ ilâha illallâh wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ’abduhu wa Rasûluhu.) [Bukhârî, Muslim, Nasâî]
Sharrihî minallâhi ta’âlâ = Sharr is from Allah.
How can one deny this well-known hadîth?
Its English translation is the following:
(I have belief in Allah, in His angels, in His books, in His prophets, in the Last Day [that is, to have belief in Paradise, Hell, Judgement, Mîzân], in qadar and that good (khair) and evil (sharr) are from Allahu ta’âlâ, in death and Resur-rection. I bear witness that there is no ilâh except Allah and that Muhammad “alaihisslâm” is His born slave and Messenger.) [Bukhârî, Muslim, Nasâî]

Reaching Allah before death

Question: Wherever they see the word “hidâyah” in the Qur’ân, some people, somehow, say it means a soul’s reaching Allah before death. Actually, are there any âyât or hadîths that are in accordance with this definition? What is “reaching Allah”?

ANSWERNo, there is not such an âyat or a hadîth. Nor did any Islamic scholars say such a thing.
Hidâyah has these senses: the true path, the righteous path, Islam. Its opposite is dalâlah [going astray, deviating]. Hidâyah is to enter the right path after seeing right as right and wrong as wrong; it is to turn away from dalâlah and wrong path, to have îmân and to become a Muslim.
Al-Hâdî and al-Mahdî, two of the Beautiful Names of Allah, denote the One who provides hidâyah, who guides to the right path.
There is not such an expression as “reaching Allah,” but there is such an expression as “meeting Allah.” However, it does not mean “a soul’s reaching Allah before death.” The scholars of tafsîr explain “meeting Allah” as follows:
(Those who [deny the Resurrection] do not expect to meet Us [to be questioned], who are content with [as they are heedless of the Hereafter] and take comfort [preferring this world to the next] from worldly life, and who are unaware of Our âyât [proofs that show the existence of the Creator] will go to Hell because of what they have committed [because of their sins].) [Sûrat-u Yûnus, 7-8]
(To deny the meeting with Allah after death is to deny the Rising after death.)
The following are the purport of some verses that contain the word hidâyah:
(Inna hudallaahi huwal hudaa = Allah’s path of hidâyah [Islam] is the true path through and through.) The proper English translation of this âyat is: (The true path is only Allah’s path.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 120]
(In-nalhudaa hudal-laahi = The true path is without doubt Allah’s path.) [Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân, 73]
(Ulaaikal-ladheena hadaahumul-laahu = Those are the ones whom Allah has guided to hidâyah [whom Allah has guided to the true path.) [Sûrat-uz-Zumar, 18]
(Wal-ladheena-h-tadaw zaadahum hudaa = Allah increases the hidâyah of those who have attained it [who have entered the true path].) [Sûrat-u Muhammad, 17]
(Wa man yu’min bil-laahi yahdi qalbahuu = Whoever believes in Allah, Allah guides his hearth towards hidâyah [truth].) [Sûrat-ut-Taghâbun, 11]
(Wa yazeedul-laahul-ladheena-h-tadaw hudaa = Allah increases the hidâyah of those who have attained it [who have attained îmân].) [Sûrat-u Maryam, 76]
(Wallaahu yahdee man yashaau ilaa siraatin mustaqeem = Allah provides hidâyah for whom He wills to the right path [makes him reach the right path].) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 213]
(Sayahdeehim = He makes them reach hidâyah [makes them reach the right path].) [Sûrat-u Muhammad, 5]
(Hadaanaa li haadhaa wa maa kunnaa li nahtadee = If Allah had not given us hidâyah, we could not have attained it on our own.) [Sûrat-ul-A’râf, 43]
(Ulaaikalladheena-sh-taraw-ud-dalaalata bil hudaa = Those are the ones who have bought aberration instead of truth.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 175]
(Innaka laa tahdee man ahbabta wa laakin-nallaaha yahdee man yashaau = You cannot make whom you like reach hidâyah [you cannot make whom you like a Muslim]. But Allah gives hidâyah to whom He wills.) [Sûrat-ul-Qasas, 56]
(Wallaahu laa yahdil qawmaZZaalimeen = Allah does not guide the zâlimîn to the hidâyah.) [Sûrat-ut-Tawba, 19]
(Laysa ‘alayka hudaahum = It is not your duty to make them reach hidâyah.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 272]
In addition to them, the purport of some hadîth-i sharîfs is as follow:
(Each of my Ashâb is like a star in the sky. If you follow any one of them, you will attain hidâyah [the true path].) [Dârimî, Bayhaqî, Ibni ‘Adiy, Munawî]
(My Lord revealed: “O My Messenger! Your Ashâb are like the celestial stars. Some of them are more luminous. He who follows any one of them is on hidâyah.) [Daylamî]
(He who causes a person to attain hidâyah [who causes a person to have îmân] goes to Paradise.) [Bukhârî]
(Join the suhba of those pious scholars who strive to make people attain hidâyah and keep them away from dalâlah.) [I. Mâwardî]

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Giving improper names to Muslims

Giving improper names to a Muslim or calling a Muslim an improper name given by others is not permissible. Rasulullah ‘sall-Allahu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadith-i-sharif: “A person who has an improper name should change it to a good name.” For example, the name ‘Asiya’ ought to be replaced with ‘Jamila’. It is permissible to give nice names to Muslims. Children should not be given eulogistic names such as Rashid and Amin. Names like Muhyiddin or Nuruddin would be fictitious and neulogistic (bid’at). It is an act of makruh to call sinners, ignoramuses and apostates with names of this sort, which are eulogistic and laudatory. Nor can they be used in their figurative subsenses. Some (Islamic scholars) expressed their deductions as to the vindicability of giving such names to your children for being blessed with the auspicious connotations inherent in their meanings. It is permissible and useful to use these names for those scholars who are renowned for their piety.

[Famous scholar Ibn al-Abidin ‘rahimahullahu ta’ala’ states in the fifth fascicle of his book Radd-ul-Muhtar that the best and most proper names for Muslim children are Abdullah, then Abdurrahman, then Muhammad, then Ahmad and then Ibrahim in the order of priority. It is also permissible to give names of Allahu ta’ala such as Ali, Rashid, ’Aziz. However, names of this level will have be uttered with due reverence. A person who knowingly shows disrespect while mentioning these names becomes a disbeliever. For example, saying “Abdulkoydur” instead of Abdulqadir, or “Hasso” instead of Hasan, or “Ibo” instead of Ibrahim would be degrading these names. Even though saying these words would not cause disbelief when one does not intend to degrade them, it is better to avoid using such words which would verge on disbelief. If a child dies immediately after birth, it should not be buried without giving a name. Even though the name ’Abdunnabi is permissible, it is better not to use it. Hadrat Sayyid Abdulhakim Arwasi ‘rahimahullahu ta’ala’ preached for twenty-five years after late afternoon prayer every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at the Bayazid mosque in Istanbul until he passed away in the year 1362 hijri qamari, [1943 A.D.] During one of his preaches he stated: “A child has three rights on his parents: giving a Muslim name at birth; teaching him reading/writing, knowledge (’ilm), and crafts upon reaching the age of discretion; and marrying him when he reaches the age of puberty.” Some degenerate people in Europe and America are raised in an irreligious and non-ethical manner and are given fake diplomas and scholarly titles and then sent to Islamic countries. These ignorant disbelivers are appointed to high schools and universities as teachers or professors. They trap Muslim children with their position and make them irreligious and non-madhhabite. These children influenced by them easily become murderers and traitors. Those parents who send their sons and daughters to these schools are throwing their children to the Hell with their own hands.]


The book Maktûbât (Letters), originally in the Fârisî language, consists of three volumes. It also contains a few letters in Arabic. An elaborate printing of the book was accomplished in 1393 [1973 A.D.] in Nâzimâbâd, Karachi, Pakistan. It was reproduced by offset process in Istanbul. A copy of the Fârisî version exists in the library of the university of Columbia in New York, U.S.A. Maktûbât was rendered into the Arabic language by Muhammad Murâd Qazânî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’, and the Arabic version was printed in two volumes in the printhouse called Mîriyya and located in the blessed city of Mekka in 1316. A copy of the Arabic version occupies number 53 in the municipality library at Bâyezid, Istanbul. It was reproduced by offset process in 1963, in Istanbul. A number of the books written by Hadrat Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ were reprinted in Karachi, Pakistan. Of those books, Ithbât-un-nubuwwa was reproduced by offset process in Istanbul in 1394 [1974 A.D.]. The marginal notes on the book, which is in Arabic, provide a biography of Hadrat Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’. In the following section we shall present an abridgement from the biography. People who would like to know Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ more closely and with more detail would have to read the Fârisî book Umdat-ul-maqâmât, by Khwâja Muhammad Fadlullah, and the book Barakât, by Muhammad Hâshim Badahshî. The latter one, also in the Fârisî language and reproduced by offset in Istanbul, is of great help for the acquisition of stronger ikhlâs and more conscientious îmân.
(Muhammad Murâd Qazânî was born in the Ufa town of the Qazan (Kazan) city of Russia in 1272. Completing his madrasa education in his hometown, he went to Bukhârâ in 1293 [1876 A.D.]. He studied higher Islamic sciences in Bukhâra and Tashkend, and went to India and thence to Hijâz in 1295. He carried on his education in the blessed city of Medîna, and attained a certain degree in Tasawwuf as well. In 1302 he translated the book Rashahât and then the book Maktûbât into Arabic. He also wrote a biography of Imâm Rabbânî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ in Arabic).
Muhammad Murâd Munzâwî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ was another scholar. He did not translate Maktûbât into Arabic.
There are various ways to learn the facts about past people; how they were, their knowledge and ignorance, their guidance and aberration, etc. The first way is, for instance, if they founded a madhhab or a regime, to study the institution they founded. The second way is to read their works, books. The third way is to hear people who are unprejudiced about them and who mention their merits and imperfections objectively. Now we will study Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ from these three viewpoints:
1– Imâm-i-Rabbânî, mujaddid wa munawwir alf-i-thânî, Ahmad ibn Abd-il-Ahad, has an ancestral chain that reaches back to the Amîr-ul-mu’minîn ’Umar-ul-Fârûq ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ with the twenty-ninth paternal link. All his grandfathers were pious and virtuous people, and each of them was a greatest scholar of his time.
2– Implicit and indirect good news herald a person’s advent before he is born. Adumbration of this sort does not clearly name the person himself or his birthplace. An example is the news foretelling the advent of Mahdî. The occasional false pretensions to the name of Mahdî in recent history were merely attempts to exploit this latency. The same rule applies to the news foretelling our religious leaders (imâms). Examples of such news are the following hadîth-i-sherîfs: “If the religion (Islam) fled the earth and went to [the cluster of stars called] the Pleiades, a youngster of Asiatic origin would apprehend it and bring it back.” “Men will get into insoluble trouble and look for a scholar to solve their problem. They will see that none is superior to the scholar (who will be living) in Medîna-i-munawwara.” “Do not speak ill of the Qoureishîs. A scholar of their descent will illuminate the entire world with knowledge.” Of these hadîth-i-sherîfs, the first one refers to Imâm a’zam Abû Hanîfa, (the founder and leader of the Hanafî Madhhab,) the second one alludes to Imâm Mâlik bin Enes, (the founder and leader of the Mâlikî Madhhab,) and the third one foretells the advent of Imâm Shâfi’î, (the founder and leader of the Shâfi’î Madhhab) ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhum ajma’în’, according to other Islamic scholars. All these conclusions, regardless of the authenticity of the facts they are based on, are of conjectural capacity and therefore they are not definite knowledge. Whereas they are identical with knowledge in the friend’s view, they aggravate the foe’s stubbornness and vulgarize the denier’s nescience. For, it is either moral laxity and ignominy or vulgar ignorance and recalcitrance to deny something in the face of the great number and the high status of the people who believe it. Such is the case with Wahhâbîs, who obstinately deny the hadîth-i-sherîfs, which we have quoted above, about our religious leaders (imâms). The same applies to the deniers of Mahdî, for in effect it means to deny the so many hadîth-i-sherîfs (concerning Mahdî). For this reason, (some) Islamic scholars say that a person who denies Mahdî becomes a disbeliever. By the same token, Jews and Christians deny Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ although the good news about his advent is given in their holy books. We Muslims believe in him positively. Likewise, also, there are pieces of good news concerning Imâm Rabbânî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’, which are definite and positive facts in the view of his friends, although, by contrast, they exacerbate the denial and the obduracy of the enemy. The Believers’ faith is in their own favour, and the adversaries’ denial is at their own peril. In fact, a Believer ought to have a good opinion about another Believer, even though he is not someone he knows well.
Would it not, then, be wiser by far to have a good opinion about the Awliyâ, who are praised in myriads of books and whose own books fill the entire world and whose followers have always been the most valued and beloved ones of their times and whose goodnesses shine far and near with solar brightness?

3– Our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ stated, “Of my Ummat (Muslims), there will come someone nicknamed Sila. Through his shafâ’at (intercession with Allâhu ta’âlâ for the slaves), many people will enter Paradise.” This hadîth-i-sherîf is written in the book Jam’ul-jawâmî, by Imâm Suyûtî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’. Providing an extensive explanation for the Awliyâ’s words on ‘Wahdat-i-wujûd’, Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ proved that they were compatible with Islam, and combined the two very vast Islamic oceans, i.e. the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya (the Islamic principles, tenets, acts of worship, commandments and prohibitions, ritual practices, etc.), and Tasawwuf (knowledge pertaining to heart and soul; orders, paths, methods and techniques for the purification and improvement of the heart and soul), (which had hitherto been considered apart from each other). This won him the epithet Sila, (which means reunion; combiner). One of his letters ends with the prayer of thanksgiving, “May hamd (praise and gratitude) be to Allâhu ta’âlâ, who has made me a sila between two oceans!” He was known with this nickname among his companions. No one before him had won the epithet ‘Sila’, which exists literally in the hadîth-i-sherîf giving the good news. It is a fact in the sunlight that the epithet had been meant for Imâm Rabbânî. He who believes this will be beloved to him. Supposing his belief were wrong, neither in this world nor in the next would he be blamed for having had a good opinion about a Muslim.
Imâm Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ stated as follows, in versified narration:
The doctor and the naturalist supposed that when men
Die and decay, they will by no means come back to life.
Were your word to prove right, I would lose nothing;
Since I am right, in Hell will you spend the endless life.

4– Mawlânâ Jâmî ‘quddisa sirruh’, in his book Nafahât, quotes the Shaikh-ul-islâm Ahmad Nâmiqî Jâmî as having stated as follows: “I subjected myself to the total amount, and even more, of the mortifications and afflictions suffered by all the Awliya, and Allâhu ta’âlâ blessed me with all the spiritual states and goodnesses enjoyed by the Awliyâ. Every four hundred years Allâhu ta’âlâ blesses one of His slaves named Ahmad with such grand gifts, in such transparency as all people will see the gifts clearly.” There are four hundred and thirty-five (435) years between Ahmad Jâmî and Imâm (Ahmad) Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’, and throughout that period there was no other Walî with the name Ahmad and the same degree of greatness. In all likelihood, Imâm Rabbânî must have been the target of Ahmad Jâmî’s congratulatory innuendo ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhum’. This presumption finds credence in another statement made, again, by the Shaikh-ul-islâm Ahmad Jâmî ‘quddisa sirruh’: “After me there will be seventeen people carrying my name. The last one, which is the greatest and the highest, will come after the first millennium (A.H.).”

5– Halîl-ul-Bedahshî ‘quddisa sirruh’ states: “Of the great scholars constituting the (chain of scholars called) Silsila-t-uz-zahab, there will come a paragon of perfection in India. He will be peerless in his century.” Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ is the ineluctable addressee of the implication in this statement, since India produced no other scholar in the same silsila.

6– Imâm Rabbânî Ahmad Fârûqî ‘quddisa sirruh’ was born in the city of Sihrind, situated on the route between Lahore and Delhi, India. ‘Sihrind’ means ‘black lion’. For, the city was first established by Sultân Fîrûz Shâh on a site that had formerly been a jungle of lions. It was not long after being born when Imâm Rabbânî caught an infantile disease. So his father took him to his own master Shâh Kemâl Kihtelî Qâdirî. “Don’t worry,” said the profoundly learned scholar. “This child prodigy is going to lead a long life and make a very great person.” Then he held the child by the hand and kissed him on the mouth. Upon this the fayz and nûr (light, haloe) of Abdulqâdir Geylânî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ pervaded his blessed body. He received his initial education from his father, learned Arabic, and memorized the Qur’ân al-kerîm in his early childhood. Possessed of a mellifluous voice, he recited the sûras like a nightingale singing. He memorized several booklets on various sciences and went to the city of Siyâlkût (Sialkot), where he studied some positive sciences and learned a great deal from Mawlânâ Kemâladdîn Kishmîrî ‘quddisa sirruh’, who was the highest scholar of his time and the great teacher who educated the renowned scholar Abdulhakîm Siyalkûtî. He received ijâzât[61] in Hadîth, in Tafsîr and in sciences of Usûl (methodology, procedures) from Qâdî Behlûl Bedahshânî, who was an ’âlim-i-rabbânî. He was only seventeen years old when he completed his education, in possession of ijâzât in all the branches of religious and positive sciences, as well as in sciences called Furû’ and Usûl. During his education, he received, through his father, the fayz and flavour in the hearts of the great men of Tasawwuf affiliated with the orders of Qâdirî and Cheshtî. His father was still alive when he already began to teach the disciples practical and spiritual sciences. In the meantime he wrote quite a number of books, among which are Risâla-t-ut-tehlîliyya, Risâla-t-ur-radd-ir-rawâfid, and Risâla-t-u-ithbât-un-nubuwwa (Proof of Prophethood). He was specially interested in belles-lettres. His eloquence, rhetoric, quickness of comprehension and great intelligence were objects of bewilderment for all the people around him.

7– With such superlative knowledge and unequalled spiritual perfection, his heart was burning with the love of the great guides of (the order of Tasawwuf called) Ahrâriyya. He was reading books written by the scholars of that path. A year after his father’s decease he left Sihrind for (a voyage to Mekka for the performance of the Islamic pilgrimage termed) hajj. Enroute to his destination, he called at Dehli, [i.e. Delhi,] and paid a visit to (the great spiritual master and scholar named) Muhammad Bâqî Billâh ‘quddisa sirruh’, who lived there. As soon as he entered the blessed sage’s presence, a nûr (light, haloe) shone up in his heart. He felt attracted, like a needle that was caught in a magnetic area. His heart became inundated with things unknown to him and which he had not heretofore heard of. He was going to come back after hajj and reap from the mellow spiritual source, yet the affection and the desire in his heart was too strong for him to wait that long. So the following morning he entered the great scholar’s presence again and extended his wish to attain the Ahrâriyya fayz. He remained there, in the blessed master’s service. Paying utmost attention to his own manners as well as to the perfectly adept guide’s words, he attached his heart to him. He preferred being with the owner of the Kâ’ba to going to the Kâ’ba. Exerting all his exclusively high talents and his well-endowed personality, he attained all sorts of perfections, which became manifest on his gifted person. So kind and magnanimous was his master’s compassionate concentration on him that it was hardly beyond two months’ time when he attained unprecedented spiritual realizations. A couple of months sufficed for him to become entitled to an unconditional authorization in the path of Ahrâriyya from his master, who ordered him to go back home thereafter, transferring most of his disciples to his care and sending them along to Sihrind. Back home, he began to spread zâhirî[62] and bâtinî[63] knowledge and nûrs to the world and to educate his disciples and students and guide them to spiritual heights. He was now an owner of universal reputation, and his own master joined in the influx of his admirers to reap spiritual lights from him. He would fill everybody’s heart with knowledge and haloes, and resuscitate and invigorate the religion of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’. His utterly effective letters would encourage the time’s pâdishâhs, governors, commanders and judges to rally to the cause of Islam and to hold fast to the Sunnat-i-saniyya. He would raise a great number of scholars and Awliyâ.

8– Although he had acquired the spiritual knowledge (’ilm-i-bâtin) from Muhammad Bâqî ‘quddisa sirruh’, Allâhu ta’âlâ conferred even more upon him. And even this exceptional knowledge, which was peculiar to him, he publicized worldover. His master also would come to attain pieces from that knowledge, enter his presence and sit with adab (suitable manners). It was on one of those occasions that his master came, sensed that his master-disciple was busy with his own heart, told the servant not to disturb him (Imâm Rabbânî), and did not enter the room, waiting silently at the door. Some time later Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ stood up and asked who was at the door. “It is this faqîr, Muhammad Bâqî,” called his master ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’. Upon hearing the name, Imâm Rabbânî ran to the door and welcomed his master humbly and with suitable manners. His master would always give him glad tidings, praise him in the presence of his acquaintances, and command his disciples to adapt themselves to Imâm Rabbânî after his decease.

9– Sayyid Muhammad Nu’mân ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’, a very great scholar and one of highest disciples of Khwâja Muhammad Bâqî ‘quddisa sirruh’, relates: When my teacher told me to adapt myself to Imâm Rabbânî (after his death), I tried to tell him that it would be unnecessary, saying, “The mirror of my heart will only be towards your bright heart.” My teacher retorted, “What do you think Ahmad is? His solar light outshines thousands of stars like us.”

10– Khwâja Muhammad Bâqî wrote as follows to some of his acquaintances, who were the greatest scholars of his time: A youngster came from the city of Sihrind. He has very much knowledge. And his behaviour perfectly reflects his knowledge. He stayed with this faqîr, (the great scholar means himself,) for a few days. I have seen much in him. I understand that he is going to be a sun that will enlighten the entire world. His relatives and all his brothers also are brilliant, valuable and knowledgeable heroes! And his sons, especially, are a treasure of Allâhu ta’âlâ each.

11– He said on another occasion: For the recent three or four years I have been exerting myself to guide others to the right path, to the way of salvation. Al-hamdulillah (May gratitude and praise be to Allâhu ta’âlâ)! My exertion has not come to naught, for a person like him has come out.

12– Khwâja Muhammad Bâqî ‘quddisa sirruh’ stated on another occasion: I brought this seed, which is a medicament for hearts and a cure for souls, from Samarkand and Bukhâra, and sowed it in the fertile soil of India. I spared no effort for the education and guidance of the disciples. When he surpassed all degrees and attained the highest grades of all sorts of perfection, I withdrew myself from between and left the disciples to his care.

13– In a letter that Khwâja Muhammad Bâqî Billâh ‘quddisa sirruh’ wrote to Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruhumâ’, he states as follows: “May Allâhu ta’âlâ bless you with the lot of attaining the highest grade and guiding all others as well! A line:
Earth has a share from the meal table of the beneficent!
“The unornamented truth is that the Shaikh-ul-islâm Abdullah Ansârî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ stated, ‘I was educated by Abul Hasan Harkânî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’. However, if Harkânî were alive now, he would ignore that he had been my teacher, come and kneel down before me.’ My inaction is not due to complacency or snub; on the contrary, I am awaiting a sign implying admission. This is the truth of the matter. May Allâhu ta’âlâ bless us with guidance! May He protect us from conceit and vanity! Sayyid Sâlih of Nishâpûr, who will be bringing you this letter of mine, came to me for the cure of his heart. Because I do not have time and I am not in a convenient state, I am sending him to you lest he should waste his time with me. Inshâ-Allah, he will attain your high and generous attention and obtain something proportional to his talents.

14– “May Allâhu ta’âlâ, for the sake of His beloved Awliyâ, whom He has chosen for Himself, guide also those wretched and impoverished mendicants of knowledge and sagacity, the hapless count-outs of all windfalls, and make them attain their wishes! I have been unable to present my true respect to your rank, which is a resource of Awliyâ. Yes, this is the only proper way of addressing oneself to a rank whose states are true to its name. To call you ‘my disciple’ would mean to display the most shameless insolence and to obscure the truth with the apparent contraposition. I request your benedictions, sir.”

15– In addition to his own master, most of the scholars and sages of his time mentioned his name with laudatory remarks that he perfectly deserved, refuted those who were uncivil enough to speak ill of him, and all of them gathered like moths around the light of his ma’rifat. The greatest and the most distinguished ones among them were Fadlullah Burhanpûrî, Mawlânâ Hasan-ul-ghawsî, Mawlânâ Abdulhakîm Siyâlkûtî, Mawlânâ Jemâladdîn Tâluwî, Mawlânâ Ya’qûb Sirfî, Mawlânâ Hasan-ul-Qubâdânî, Mawlânâ Mîrekshâh, Mawlânâ Mîr Mu’mîn, Mawlânâ Jân Muhammad Lâhurî and Mawlânâ Abd-us-salâm Diyukî. Muhaddith Abdulhaqq Dahlawî spent a greater part of his life criticizing him; however, when the mirror of his heart rid the rust and dust of his nafs so that the rays of that sun illuminated his heart, he began to praise him and to refute the slanders of the stubborn deniers.

16– Fadl Burhanpûrî, for instance, would take pleasure from listening to laudatory remarks about his beautiful attributes and enjoy hearing about his ma’rifats. He would say that he (Imâm Rabbânî) was the Qutb-ul-aqtâb, i.e. the imâm (religious leader, the highest scholar) of his time, that his reports about the secrets of truth were always right and valuable, and that his adherence to all the subtleties of the Islamic religion and his universal popularity attested to the fact that his words were true and to the high status of the spiritual states he were experiencing and displaying. During the Imâm’s ‘quddisa sirruh’ imprisonment, he would pray for his release after each of the five daily prayers of namâz. When people from the neighborhood of Sihrind came to him to express their wishes to become his disciples, he would rebuke them, saying, “So you live at a place close to Imâm Rabbânî and look for knowledge and ma’rifat at other places. Leaving the sun, you run to the stars for light. You astonish me.”

17– Hasan-ul-ghawsî would praise him very much. He writes as follows about the imâm in his book Manâqib-ul-awliyâ: “The owner of the rank of Mahbûbiyyat, the ornament of the chairmanship of the assembly of Wahdâniyyat, the expert of the rank of Ferdiyyat, and the chief of the rank of Qutbiyyat.”

18– Mawlânâ Abdulhakîm Siyâlkûtî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ was another admirer of Imâm Rabbânî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ who paid profound respect to the Imâm. He would struggle against his deniers. He would call him ‘Mujaddid-i-alf-i-thânî (Restorer of the Second Millennium). He is said (by the Islamic scholars) to have been the first person to call him this name. He would admonish the deniers, saying, “It is ignorance to raise objections to great people’s words without properly understanding what they mean. People who do so end up in perdition. To reject the words of Ahmad the master, who is a source of knowledge, fayz and irfân, stems from not knowing and understanding him.”

19– Muhammad Mu’min Kubrawî of Belh city sent one of his disciples to Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ for inâbat (repentance for sins), tawba (repentance and invocation for the forgiveness of sins, and resolution not to commit sins again), and sulûk (a term in Tasawwuf, which means ‘to enter a religious order; to make progress in one of the paths of Tasawwuf’). When the disciple entered Imâm Rabbânî’s presence, he conveyed the salâms which he brought from his master, from Sayyid Mîrekshâh, from Hasan Qubâdânî, and from Qâdil Qudât Tulek, and added: My master Mîr Muhammad Mu’min said, “I would go and be blessed with his lectures and serve him till death were it not for the hindrances such as my old age and the great distance. I would try to enlighten my heart with his nûrs, which have not fallen to anyone else’s lot. My body is far away, down here, yet my heart is up there. I beg him to accept this faqîr, (i.e. Muhammad Mu’min himself,) as if I were one of his pure disciples in his presence, and to scatter his blessed nûrs into my soul. Kiss his hand on my behalf, too!” The disciple kissed the Imâm’s hand again and, as he was leaving he said, “The blessed people in the city of Belh request of you to send them letters telling about sublime facts.” Upon this Imâm Rabbânî ‘qaddas-Allâhu sirrah-ul-’azîz’ wrote the ninety-ninth letter and gave it to him together with a few other letters. Some time later some devotees from Belh came to India with the report that upon receiving the Imâm’s ‘quddisa sirruh’ letter Mîr Muhammad Mu’min had read it with exuberant satisfaction and had said, “If great Awliyâ such as Bâyezîd the Sultân-ul-’ârifîn and Junayd the Sayyid-ut-tâifa were living now they would kneel down before Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ and not even for a moment would they be absent from his service.”

20– One of the scholars of his time said, “The share that falls to the comprehension of scholars from Imâm Rabbânî’s ‘quddisa sirruh’ writings is identical with whatsoever ignorant people understand from the (words of metaphysical level called) hikmat that they hear from the (deeply learned and wise scholars called) hakîm.”

21– Another pious scholar of his time, whose religious practices were in harmony with his religious knowledge, observed as follows: “Experts of knowledge pertaining to heart and soul do either tasnîf (composition) or te’lîf (compilation). Tasnîf means an ’ârif’s writing the occult and mysterical pieces of knowledge that are imparted to him (and inspired into his purified heart). And te’lîf means to compile others’ words, to arrange them in a self-established order and then write them. It has been a long time since the business of tasnîf has left the world, although te’lîf still survives. However, what Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ has been writing perfectly fall into the category of tasnîf. They are not te’lîf at all. I am not one of his disciples. Yet I have been studying his writings minutely, and for reason’s sake I have not so far found a single word belonging to others. All of them reflect his own kashfs (findings of the heart) and the pieces of knowledge flowing into his heart. All of them are sublime, acceptable, beautiful, and compatible with the Islamic religion.”

22– When the greatest qâdî (Islamic judge) of his time was asked about the (spiritual) states that Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ had been experiencing and displaying, he replied, “The words and the states of the scholars of the knowledge of heart and soul are beyond the capacity of our minds. However, when I saw the states of Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’, I developed a realization and comprehension of the states and the words of the past Awliyâ. Before that, whenever I read about the states of the (past) Awliyâ and their peculiar acts of worship, I speculated a certain degree of hyperbolism about the written accounts. Yet, seeing his states and manners eliminated my speculations and hesitations.”

23– Abdulhaqq Dahlawî, a scholar of Hadîth, was formerly opposed to Imâm Rabbânî’s ‘quddisa sirruh’ writings; he would despise them and write refutations to them. Later, however, Allâhu ta’âlâ blessed him with seeing the truth; penitent of his former attitude, he made tawba. He wrote to Mawlânâ Husâmaddîn Ahmad, one of the graduates of Khwâja Muhammad Bâqî, about his tawba, as follows: “May Allâhu ta’âlâ’ bless Ahmad-i-Fârûqî with (all sorts of) salvation! This faqîr’s (Hadrat Dahlawî’s) heart is now true towards him. Curtains of humanity have gone up, and the blemishes of the nafs have cleared. Aside from the spiritual solidarity, it stands to reason that a religious superior like him could not have been defied. How unwise and crass I must have been! No words I would say now would suffice to express the shame and inferiority that my heart feels towards him. It belongs to Allâhu ta’âlâ, alone, to convert hearts and to change spiritual states.” In another letter, which Abdulhaqq Dahlawî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ wrote to his own children, he said, “Tear the drafts of my letters which I wrote in opposition to the writings of Ahmad Fârûqî ‘sallamahullâhu ta’âlâ’! No longer is there any blur about him in my heart, which feels quite true towards him now.” This shows that his former opposition was merely human. It was the case also with all the other deniers. Jenâb-i-Haqq (Allâhu ta’âlâ) chooses some of His slaves and blesses them with His Compassion, saving them from the Hell of denial and guiding them to the Paradise of affirmation. The reasons for his tawba are not known for certain. According to some reports, he had a dream in which the Messenger of Allah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ reprimanded him. Some scholars say, on the other hand, that he drew lots on the Qur’ân al-kerîm, that once the âyat-i-kerîma which purports, “... If he is a liar, it is at his own peril. If he is telling the truth, Allâhu ta’âlâ will send onto you some of what He has promised to you,” came out, and that at another time the outcome was the âyat-i-kerîma which purports, “They are the beloved slaves of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Even in their business of buying and selling, their heart is not without Allâhu ta’âlâ in it.” According to a third report, the objections that he raised against him were consequent upon a letter that the adversaries of the blessed Imâm (Rabbânî) had sent to him, (i.e. to Abdulhaqq Dahlawî). When he realized the truth he repented and made tawba.

A note: When his children received their father’s letter, they destroyed the drafts. Yet other people also had had letters from him, (which contained his former opinions about Imâm Rabbânî). Those letters still existed in a few books written in Persian. However, beautiful refutations were written to those letters. Short biographies of the scholars who praised Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ would make up an entire book.

24– THE FIFTH PERSPECTIVE: When a person rises to fame owing to his virtues and perfections, a concomitant increase in jealousy follows. This has been the case since (the first man and the earliest prophet) Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’. The jealousy of the ignorant is symptomatic of the abundance of the blessings possessed by the envied person. Our Master, the Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ states: “Of all people, prophets ‘alaihim-us-salâtu wa-s-salâm’, suffer the most disasters; next after them are scholars and then come the sâlih (pious, devoted) Muslims.” For that matter, Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ had a considerable share from disasters. How could it have been otherwise, since he was the mujaddid-i-alf-i-thânî? In other words, Allâhu ta’âlâ had sent him a thousand years after the Prophet, our Master ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, as a restorer to rehabilitate and strengthen the Islamic religion. Is it an easy job to rehabilitate something, to restore it to its pristine purity, and to undo all the so many superstitions that have become established customs throughout years? Would it have been a simple fait accompli to strengthen Islam and purge it from the deeply rooted impurities at a time when wrongdoings, heresies and superstitions are on the increase, aberrations so widespread, and sham dervishes of Wahdat-i-wujûd are known as Islamic scholars?

25– Mawlânâ Shâh Abdul’azîz (1239 [1824 A.D.]), a son of Shâh Ahmad Waliyyullah (1179), ‘rahimahumullâhu ta’âlâ’, observes as follows: Wahdat-i-wujûd deteriorated into various anomalies among the common people. Misunderstanding the words of the great, the ignorant deviated from Islam in the process of time. The highly esoteric and valuable science (,i.e. Wahdat-i-wujûd,) became a demolisher of Islam, and a source of heresy for the shaikhs of Tekke, whose aberrant paths spread among the ignorant populace. [The comatose trends buttered the bread of the enemies of Islam. Representing some irreligious and immoral people as poets of Tasawwuf, they designed school curricula containing their irreligious words, thus having the younger generations read them in the name of poetry.] Allâhu ta’âlâ, with His infinite compassion for His slaves, created a great mujaddid, Imâm Rabbânî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’. He blessed him with profound knowledge. Through him, He purified the minds of His slaves, separated right from wrong, and cleansed many a heart from heresy.

These magnificent accomplishments incurred the spite of some people and a torrent of persecutions, arrows and vilifications followed. The jealousies were even aggravated when, one by one, scholars and other virtuous and mature people left their paths and guides and hastened to join the disciples of the Imâm (Rabbânî) and to serve him. Conspiracies were resorted to for the purpose of exposing the Imâm to danger. For instance, they provoked the ignorant folk by spreading the lie that he abhorred the great Islamic shaikhs such as Junayd-i-Baghdâdî. They began to estrange the short-sighted people from the imâm by alleging that he denied the Wahdat-i-wujûd which was a science for spiritual improvement established by the great shaikhs of Islam. They tried to antagonize his admirers by asserting that he denied the Meshâikh-i-izâm and boasted of having attained the ma’rifat of Allâhu ta’âlâ directly without a guide. The defamations culminated when they finally tried to besmear him with the political felony of insubordination against the government and contempt for the laws and, into the bargain, many another libel which a Muslim could never commit against another.

26– His alleged denial of the Meshâikh-i-izâm was a blatant lie. The truth becomes manifest immediately upon beginning to read his book Maktûbât, which is a clear evidence of his profound respect towards the Meshâikh-i-izâm, so much so that he attaches beautiful meanings even to their words that are vulnerable to misinterpretation and which for centuries their enemies have exploited as fulcrums to bring their calumniations to bear, -as for their words that do not seem to be susceptible of a benevolent interpretation, he says that they were the erroneous words which those great people had said during their apprenticeship and which they corrected after attaining higher grades. He says that errors of kashf (in the paths of Tasawwuf), like errors of ijtihâd (committed by scholars who have attained the grade of ijtihâd), are not only pardonable but also meritorious acts that are likely to be rewarded (in the Hereafter). As regards his alleged denial of Wahdat-i-wujûd; those who read Maktûbât will know that the truth is quite the other way round and that he handles the matter with unprecedented adroitness by, on the one hand, protecting Islam’s honour and, on the other, paying heed to the dignity of those great people.

27– The statesmen under the time’s Sultân Selîm Jihânghir Khân, including his grand vizier, his chief muftî and his harem, were not Sunnî Muslims. However, most of the Imâm’s letters, and also his booklet Radd-i-rawâfid, especially, repudiate people without a Madhhab and explain that they are ignorant, stupid and base people. Imâm-i-Rabbânî sent that booklet of his to Abdullah Jenghiz Khân, the time’s greatest Uzbek Khân in Bukhârâ, with the note, “Show this booklet to the Iranian Shâh Abbâs Safawî! If he accepts it, things will be quite all right. If he does not, then it will be permissible to make war against him.” When the Shâh’s answer was in the negative, a war was made. Abdullah Khân took Herat (Hirât) and the cities in Khorasan. -Those places had been captured by the Safawîs a hundred years before. Upon this all the lâ-madhhabî[64] people in India cooperated, and their spokesmen showed the Sultân (Abdullah Khân) a letter which Imâm Rabbânî had written to his own master and teacher (Muhammad Bâqî Billah), i.e. the eleventh letter of the first volume, and said, “He considers himself, and claims to be, higher than all other people, even higher than Abû Bakr ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’.” The Sultân sent his own son Shâh Jihân to Imâm Rabbânî, inviting the Imâm and his sons and the other great scholars educated by the Imâm. He was resolved to have them all killed. Shâh Jihân went to Imâm, taking along a muftî with him. With them they had a fatwâ legalizing (Islamically) prostration before the Sultân (head of the Muslim state). (A fatwâ is a written answer which an Islamic scholar gives Muslims’ questions. A muftî is a scholar authorized to give a fatwâ). Shâh Jihân knew that Imâm Rabbânî was a true person. He said, “I can save you if you prostrate yourself before my father.” The Imâm replied that the legalization in the fatwâ stipulated darûrat (necessity, inevitability prescribed by Islam), that azîmat (the harder and more commendable choice) and ideal devotion to one’s faith would require refusal of a suggestion of prostration, and that nothing would save a person when the foreordained time of his death came. Leaving his sons and his ashâb (companions and disciples), he went alone. The Sultân showed him the eleventh letter and asked him what it meant. So beautiful and satisfactory was the great scholar’s answer that the Sultân, far below the level as he was to comprehend such sublime and esoteric facts, became cheered and released him apologetically. When the plotters saw that all their efforts had come to naught, they said to the Sultân, “This person has quite a number of men, and his words have caught on throughout the country. If we let him go, a chaos may follow. You see what a conceited person he is. He not only refused to show reverence, which in itself would suffice to prove his detestation, but also did not even condescend to salute you.” Indeed, the drunken, infuriated and ferocious appearance of the Sultân, as the imâm had found him upon entering his presence, had divested him of the respect and dignity that a personage in that position would normally have inspired, so that the great scholar had not even saluted him (by uttering the expression of salâm, which we have described earlier in the text). After a long debate with the assembly, the Sultân ordered that the imâm be imprisoned in the fortress of Gwalior, the most strongly fortified and the most dreadful fortress in the country. Like a nightingale caged in with lowly inmates, the Imâm’s ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ blessed face was shrouded from Muslims’ sight. The harvest moon was covered with black clouds. So gloomy was the hapless night that Sayyid Ghulâm Alî, India’s renowned man of belles lettres better known with his nickname Âzâd, could not help exquisitely versifying the event in his doleful stanzas.

28– Formerly, Imâm Rabbânî ‘qaddas-Allâhu ta’âlâ sirrah-ul ’azîz’ had stated, “There are many other ranks that are above the ranks I have attained. Those higher ranks are attainable only by way of a training with Jelâl (Majesty, Wrath, Rage of Allâhu ta’âlâ, which materializes as disasters, misfortunes, cares). So far, I have been trained with Jemâl (Beauty, Grace of Allâhu ta’âlâ), i.e. with fondlings.” Also, he had said to some of his companions, “Between fifty and sixty, cares and disasters will shower on me.” It happened exactly as he had said, and he was blessed with those higher ranks as well.

29– Thousands of unbelievers imprisoned in the fortress were honoured with îmân and Islam owing to the barakat of the blessed Imâm ‘quddisa sirruh’. An approximately equal number of Muslims made tawba (for the sinful lives they had led before). In fact, some of them would later attain very high positions in Islamic scholarship. A striking example is the illustrious conversion to Islam of a great commander of the fire-worshipping Indians, who happened to be among the audience as the blessed scholar was explaining the eleventh letter to the Sultân and yielded to the merits of the Imâm’s religious steadfastness and the flavour and high standard of his wording. The Sultân’s vizier had appointed his own brother as a guard to wait upon the imâm with instructions that “the convict should undergo a harsh treatment.” Yet the fortunate brother, witnessing various karâmats (wonders and miracles) on the blessed imâm, and an awe-inspiring dignity, patience, and even exultation, instead of dejection, into the bargain, made tawba, doffed the halter of heresy, ornamented himself with the necklace of Ahl as-sunnat, and consigned himself into the pond of grace where bathed the truest disciples of the blessed religious scholar ‘quddisa sirruh’.

30– Not to the least extent did the imprisonment bear on the philanthropy that Imâm Rabbânî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ held towards the Sultân. Pleased with what he had done to him, he would always pronounce benedictions over him. As a matter of fact, some of the companions of the Imâm ‘quddisa sirruh’ had a design against the Sultân, which was very well within their power. Yet the Imâm prevented them, showing himself to them in their dreams as well as when they were awake, and advised them to pronounce benedictions over the Sultân. “Hurting the Sultân will cause harm to all the people,” he would say. Readers of Maktûbât will see these facts in all their clarity in the letters which he wrote to his sons from the dungeon.

31– Sultân Selîm Jihânghîr Khân’s son, Shâh Jihân ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’, rose against his father. He had a powerful army and was sincerely backed by most of the commanders who were apparently on his father’s side. Yet the advantages he had proved short of bringing him victory. He told his story to one of the time’s Awliyâ and asked for benedictions. The Walî said: Your victory depends on the benedictions on the part of the four poles (highest Walîs and scholars) of the present time. Three of them are with you. Yet the fourth one, who is the highest one, does not approve of your attempt. That exalted person is Hadrat Imâm Rabbânî Mujaddid-i-alf-i-thânî ‘quddisa sirruh’. Shâh Jihân went to the Imâm and begged the great scholar to invoke a blessing on him. The Imâm ‘quddisa sirruh’ counselled him to give up the plan to overthrow his father, saying, “Go to your father, kiss his hand and apologize! He will soon pass away and the sovereignty will be yours.” Shâh Jihân listened to his advice and gave up his plan. A short time later, in 1037 [1627 A.D.], his father passed away, whereupon he attained his wish, sovereignty. Then, how could one ever believe the jealous plotters’ slander that Imâm Rabbânî disobeyed the Sultân and flouted the laws?

32– Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ had spent two or three valuable years in the fortress, when the Sultân began to feel remorse for his wrongdoing. Having him taken out of the prison, he showed him kindness. In fact, he became one of his true disciples and faithful friends. He ordered him to stay for some time among the army. Later, he set him free and, with deep reverence, sent him to his homeland. When Imâm Rabbânî ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’aleyh’ was back home, he had attained grades and states thousands of times higher than the spiritual positions which he had been occupying (before imprisonment). With the exception of his blessed sons and his successors whom he educated, no one can be privy to the occult and secret spiritual facts and ma’rifats permeating through his letters which he wrote in the aftermath. Those valuable letters of his complement the three volumes of Maktûbât.

33– Such afflictions and disasters befell not only the greatest Awliyâ, but also prophets ‘alaihim-us-salawâtu wa-t-taslîmât’, so that today’s Awliyâ and devoted Muslims will find solace in them and the afflictions and disasters that the ignorant witness to befall the contemporary Awliyâ will not be construed as symptomatic of iniquity (of the people who suffer them). Historians, who are unaware of this subtlety, write only about the pleasant facts concerning the Awliyâ, withholding some events which reflect their human demeanours. This sparing policy misleads their uncritical readers into visualising them as impeccable and angelic creatures; and, ergo, a most trivial sight of human weakness which they observe on a person who is said to be a pious and devoted Muslim or a Walî causes them to think otherwise, which in turn means that they cannot get a share from the spiritual gifts the blessed person has been endowed with, since you cannot acquire any blessings from a person about whom you have a bad opinion. Some people go even further wrong by gossiping about those pure Muslims. They do not know that Allâhu ta’âlâ hides His beloved slaves under the screen of human mediocrities. As a matter of fact, He declares, “I hide My beloved ones. Not everybody can recognize them.” Imâm Rabbânî ‘qaddas-Allâhu ta’âlâ sirrah-ul ’azîz’ offers a number of explanations on this subject in Maktûbât, while, on the other hand, Muhyiddîn Arabî ‘quddisa sirruh’ states in his book Futuhât that a peccadillo that breaks the heart and humbles the nafs is more useful than an act of worship which inflames the nafs and brings pride to the heart.

34– Having attained his loftiest aspirations, Imâm Rabbânî, Mujaddid-i-alf-i-thânî, Ahmad Fârûqî ‘quddisa sirruh’ reached the grades which Allâhu ta’âlâ bestowed on him, and thereafter, when the time which Allâhu ta’âlâ had foreordained, (i.e. the taqdîr-i-ilâhî,) came, he accepted the invitation extended by Azrâîl ‘alaihis-salâm’ (Angel of Death ) and attained the Refîq-i-a’lâ (Allâhu ta’âlâ) on the twenty-ninth day, Tuesday, of the blessed month of Safer (the second Arabic lunar month) in 1034 [1624 A.D.]. He was buried in the cemetery of Sihrind. May Allâhu ta’âlâ bless his soul with peace and his grave with plenty of nûr! May He make us attain the barakat of his valuable breath and his love! May He guide us to his shafâ’at and join us with his lovers who will assemble under his banner on the Rising Day! Âmîn.

35– People have different habits, different predilections, different wishes, and different thoughts. Therefore, not only as he was alive did he have admirers as well as adversaries, but also after his passing away two different groups of people held two opposite opinions about him. Whereas one group explicitly praised him, another followed the line of criticism. The antagonistic attempts, however, let alone choke his universally renowned ma’rifats, merely betokened evanescent snowflakes on a river. Or, rather, they contributed to his reputation, for, every attempt on the part of his adversaries to scatter poison his admirers counterplotted against with a variety of antidotal confutations. This reciprocal struggle proved fructiferous enough to give birth to more than seventy books specially devoted to this subject. One of them, perhaps the greatest one, the booklet Atiyya-t-ul wahhâb fâsila-t-u-bayn-al-hatâ wa-th-thawâb, a masterpiece composed by Muhammad Uzbekî Makkî, put the adversaries to a crying shame from which they should not have had the face to raise their heads. After the imâm’s passing away ‘quddisa sirruh’, many scholars lauded him and wrote very useful and important books. One of them is Mawlânâ Abdullah Itâqîzâda ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ, the Muftî of Mekka-i-mukarrama, the Shaikh-ul-Islâm, and the Imâm-ul-’allâma. We have not translated the passage from his book which occupies a few pages of the Arabic version.

36– A profoundly learned scholar who praised Imâm Rabbânî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ after his passing away is Ziyâeddîn Mawlânâ Khâlid ’Uthmânî Baghdâdî ‘quddisa sirruh’, a leader of ârifs, a guide to truth, a paragon of the highest attainable spiritual grades, an owner of physical and spiritual perfections, and an ocean of knowledge. The following paragraph is a paraphrased translation of the couplets in the ninety-fourth page of his Persian divan, in which he utters the delicacies of his lofty soul:

“Yâ Rabbî! Please do forgive me for the sake of the haloes in the eyes of Ahmad Fârûqî ‘quddisa sirruh’; a wayfarer of that endless path; a leader of the owners of knowledge; a source of the occult secrets which are neither perceptible to the human sight nor attainable with mind; an owner of greatness beyond the human cognizance and which Thou, alone, knowest; an ocean where meanings foam and crest like waves; a chief of a world where material beings or places do not exist; a source of nûr whose lights illuminate India; a beloved slave for whose sake the city of Sihrind was transmuted into the valley where Mûsâ (Moses) ‘alaihis-salâm’ received the Word of Allâhu ta’âlâ; a document to prove the greatness of the religion of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’; a light for the assembly of the keen-sighted; a commander of the army of absolute piety; a master who not only has attained unthinkable spiritual heights but also guides those who follow his path! Please do overlook my black face! So ruthlessly have I abused myself, innumerable are the faults I have committed, and so disloyal have I been in my promise. Yet the endlessness of Thine ocean of forgiveness and compassion makes me feel hopeful. Thine infinite Kindness, alone, do I rely on. For, ‘I am the Forgiver,’ Thou sayest.”

37– Another scholar who praised him was Hadrat Sayyid Tâhâ Hakkârî ‘quddisa sirruh’, a profoundly learned savant, a virtuous Walî-i-kâmil, a possessor of innumerable karâmats (wonders, miracles), and the highest of the Awliyâ educated and trained by Mawlânâ Khâlid Baghdâdî ‘quddisa sirruh’.

38– Another scholar who praised Imâm Rabbânî ‘quddisa sirruh’ was Sayyid Abdulhakîm Efendi ‘rahmatullâhi ’aleyh’, a gem of scholarship and an ideal perfection among the Awliyâ. He states as follows in a letter that he wrote to a devoted Muslim: “Dhikr, and so the effect of dhikr, is a deep sea. No one has reached down its depths. It is a such rough ocean that the entire world is quite unaware of any one of its waves. It is such a vast mass of water surrounding the world that the entire universe would not be able to comprehend it. Dhikr is a spiritual state that occurs in the hearts of those who make dhikr. It is something impossible to describe, to write about, to explain.

“A person who knows Allâhu ta’âlâ becomes speechless. He cannot find words to describe what he is experiencing. He becomes overwhelmed with bewilderment. He is quite oblivious to the world and to other people. As Allâhu ta’âlâ is the Person whose dhikr is being made, likewise, He, alone, is the Person who makes dhikr. He, alone, is capable of making dhikr of Himself. Who are poor creatures to make dhikr of Him? However, He commands His human creature to make dhikr of Him in order to tinge his own attributes with the (Attributes of Allâhu ta’âlâ termed) Sifât-i-ilâhiyya. Every person (who makes dhikr) finds an amount of consolation proportional to his abilities in that endless and wavy sea. Ways-al-Qarânî contented himself with a drop from that ocean. Junayd Baghdâdî was satisfied with a handful from that sea. Abdulqâdir-i-Geylânî only reached the shore of the sea. Muhyiddîn-i-Arabî took pride in a jewel taken out from the bottom of the sea. And Imâm Rabbânî acquired a great share from it ‘rahimahumullâhu ta’âlâ.
“The letters alif, lâm and he (pronounced as he according to the International Phonetic Alphabet), which serve in the formation of the word ‘Allah’, i.e. the very great word representing a Person, -who is not comparable to any other being,- are means and vehicles that lead to the tenor. Dhikr is not, in itself, to pronounce these letters. Dhikr is the spiritual state produced through the word, ‘Allah’. The word is called dhikr out of necessity to symbolize, and not in the actual sense.

“For the same matter, the expression (termed) Kalima-i-tawhîd is not dhikr, either. Yet, with respect to its being pronounced and its meaning, it serves as a means for dhikr, which, in reality, is a state of heart and spirit which comes into being from saying it repeatedly with the heart. Attainment of that spiritual state depends on the expression.”
The above-cited translation of the passage from the letter, which is considerably much longer, is an elaborate, eloquent, concise, and at the same time detailed and thorough praise and laudation of Imâm Rabbânî ‘qaddas-Allâhu ta’âlâ sirrah-ul ’azîz’.

Sayyid Abdulhakîm Efendi ‘quddisa sirruh’ would frequently say, “Ba’da kitâbillah wa ba’da kitâb-i-Rasûlillah, afdal-i-kutub Maktûbât-est,” during his lectures, and the same statement is written in several of his letters. This statement translates into English as follows: “After the Qur’ân al-kerîm, which is the Book of Allâhu ta’âlâ, (and which therefore is the highest and best of all books,) and after the book Bukhârî, which is a compilation of the hadîth-i-sherîfs, i.e. the utterances of Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, (and which naturally, is the second highest and best book,) the third highest and best book written in the Islamic religion is the book Maktûbât, (which is a compilation of the letters written by Hadrat Imâm Rabbânî).” [Whereas Mathnawî (Mesnevî), written by Jalâladdîn-i-Rûmî (Celâleddîn-i-Rûmî), is the most valuable book telling about the ma’rifats and the perfections in the grades of Wilâyat attained by the Awliyâ-i-kirâm, Maktûbât, written by Imâm Rabbânî Ahmad Fârûqî, is the most valuable and the highest of the books explaining both the perfections and the ma’rifats in the grades of Wilâyat and the ma’rifats and the kamâlât (perfections) and the subtleties peculiar to the grade of prophethood.]

An excerpt from one of his letters translates into English as follows: “... who has read and partly understood the book Maktûbât, which is the most useful book from worldly as well as religious points of view and whose compeer in the Islamic religion has not so far been written... .” He, (i.e. Abdulhakîm Efendi,) would say, “A person who knows a little Persian (Fârisî) language will understand Maktûbât better if he reads the Persian version. For the Turkish version rendered by Müstekimzâde Süleymân Efendi is both complicated and erroneous.” Müstekîmzâde Süleymân Efendi, a disciple of Muhammed Emîn Tokâdî, passed away in 1202 [1788 A.D.]. His grave is adjacent to that of his master at Zeyrek, Istanbul. The book Maktûbât was printed various times at various places. A splendid edition was made in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1392 [1972 A.D.]. It consists of two volumes. The first volume contains the first part, and the second and third parts are incorporated in the second volume. The two volumes were reproduced in pulchritudinous copies in Istanbul by offset process for which best quality paper was used. A Persian abridgement of Maktûbât was rendered in 1080 [1668 A.D.] by Muhammad Bâqir Lahôrî, an eminent one among the hundreds of Awliyâ educated and trained by Muhammad Ma’thûm Serhendî, one of the blessed sons of Imâm Rabbânî. The abridged version, entitled Kanz-ul-hidâyât by the author himself, is of a hundred and twenty pages and contains twenty hidâyats (subtitles). It was printed in Lâhôr in 1376 [1957 A.D.] The same blessed Walî wrote another book, entitled Urwa-t-ul-wusqâ, in the Fârisî language.
Inheriting from Rasûlullah, he was mujaddid alf thânî;
A mujtahid in all sciences, he was in Tasawwuf Ways al-Qarânî.
He spread Islam worldover, illuminated every Believer;
Awaken the unaware did the most exalted Imâm, Rabbânî.
All tenets in Islam he knew well, the Sharî’at he obeyed well;
Rank with unbelief as the entire world was, like Abû Bakr was he.
All received fayz from his sohbat, commanders and governors alike,
He descended from ’Umar Fârûq, true people give testimony.

source: the book SAHABA 'The Blessed'