Home Faqihul Ummah Mawa`iz (Discourses) Discourse 8 - The Manner of attaining Taqwa

Discourse 8 - The Manner of attaining Taqwa

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The manner of attaining taqwa

نحمده و نصلي على رسوله الكريم

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

“O Believers! Inculcate taqwa and remain with those who are truthful.” (at-Toubah:119)

In this aayat, the believers are addressed and instructed to adopt taqwa and remain in the company of the truthful.

What is Imaan? What is taqwa? What is truthfulness?

Imaan means to believe wholeheartedly in the laws revealed by Allah Ta’ala and accept the complete teachings of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), having ultimate reliance on Him. After accepting these two beliefs, we must now resolve to live our lives according to these beliefs. Imaan does not merely mean to know the truth. Even the disbelievers acknowledge the truth. Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan:

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّن نَّزَّلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ مِن بَعْدِ مَوْتِهَا لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّـهُ قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ

“And if you ask them (the disbelievers) who created the skies and the earth, they will most certainly reply, Allah!” (al-‘Ankaboot:63)

But alas! Their acknowledgment of Allah Ta’ala is to this extent that when they journey by ship and encounter turbulent waters, when surely they are on the verge of sinking and they despair for salvation, they beseech Allah Ta’ala for His divine help. They accept, at this time, that the only being who is All-Powerful is Allah Ta’ala and their deities cannot save them from their peril. They firmly acknowledge that none other than Allah Ta’ala has the power to rescue them from certain doom.

However, they still do not intend and they do not desire to spend their lives according to the teachings of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Therefore, Imaan means resolving to spend one’s life according to the Deen outlined to us by Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا  (O you who believe …) will thus mean: “O you who have resolved to lead your lives according to the Deen brought to you by Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).”

In this world, a government has the knowledge of another government’s strengths, laws and weaknesses as well as their aerial superiority and the capability of their navy and army. When one government refuses to be subordinate to the other, this results in a war.

There is also another scenario where a person despite knowing the laws, ministers, courts and the punishments of a country, is unprepared to be subjected to the laws of the government. What are such people termed as? They are termed as rebels or traitors. Are rebels ignorant of the laws of the country? Of course not! They are well acquainted with them!

If Imaan merely meant possessing knowledge of the truth, everyone would have been a mu’min (believer). However, a mu’min is he who has resolved to lead his life according to the teachings of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). One who is prepared to adhere to the laws of his government is termed a loyal citizen. Otherwise, he is termed a rebel. Whoever has agreed to be a citizen of a country, will abide to the laws of that place. If he breaks the law mistakenly, it is possible that the government may either punish him or forgive him.

This is also the system of Allah Ta’ala. That person who has resolved to be loyal to Allah Ta’ala, to lead his life according to the laws of Allah Ta’ala and the teachings of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), is a mu’min. Thereafter, if he breaks any command of Allah Ta’ala mistakenly, it is possible that Allah Ta’ala may forgive him and it is possible that Allah Ta’ala may punish him.

However, Allah Ta’ala will not allow him to remain in Jahannum forever. The rebel is the one who will remain in Jahannum forever. For him, there is no way of salvation.

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ

“Verily Allah Ta’ala does not forgive (the sin of) ascribing partners to Him and He forgives every other sin of whomsoever He wishes.”(an-Nisaa:48)

Allah Ta’ala sent Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) as a messenger and revealed the Qur’aan to him. Those who accepted him and lead their lives according to his teachings were termed believers. The believers are addressed in the Qur’aan,

“O Believers! [When you have accepted to be under Our rule; when you have made a pact of being loyal to Us; when you have resolved to lead your life according to Our divine law], inculcate taqwa within yourselves. [Lead your life with extreme caution. Be vigilant in not transgressing the laws of Allah Ta’ala.]”

When we plant a sapling, we undertake great pains to protect it, either from being eaten by an animal or from wilting due to severe heat or from drying up due to severe cold. It is watered according to its requirements and it grows and produces fruit only when it is carefully tended to. The creation of Allah Ta’ala takes benefit from its leaves, its branches, its flowers and its fruit. It becomes a tree of great value and benefit. But if it is not protected and nurtured, it will be destroyed and benefit no one.

Imaan is also a sapling, which has been planted within the heart. The reality of Imaan has been explained [in the previous lines] as ‘the resolve to lead one’s life according to …’

It is of utmost importance to protect this sapling of Imaan. When a sapling is well guarded, it becomes firm and strong. This protection of Imaan is called taqwa, i.e. to protect the sapling of Imaan from the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala.

The sapling of Imaan

Just as it is necessary to protect a sapling from being destroyed by severe heat and cold, from wilting and from being eaten by animals and insects, it is imperative to protect one’s Imaan from the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala. It is recorded in the hadeeth that, just as iron rusts, Imaan also rusts. Therefore, keep on polishing and renewing your Imaan. جدّدوا إيمانكم (Renew your Imaan.)

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) asked: “O Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)! How do we go about polishing our hearts?”

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied: “Recite لا إله إلا الله – La ilaaha illallah in abundance. Doing so removes the rust of the heart.”

Just as clothes become dirty and need to be washed, houses need to be re-painted and utensils need to be cleansed. Similarly, negligence, an evil environment and sin also taint Imaan. And the method of protecting and renewing one’s Imaan is to inculcate taqwa. If one’s Imaan is not adorned with taqwa, it will dry up, rust and become corrupt. The reason is that every person has a nafs (inner-self) within him.

إن أعدى عدوك نفسك التي بين جنبيك

Indeed your most dangerous enemy is your nafs which is within you.

The second enemy who always accompanies man is Shaitaan.

إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لِلْإِنسَانِ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

“Most certainly Shaitaan is man’s open enemy.” (Yusuf:5)

Shaitaan’s enmity for man is crystal clear, but his ways of expressing that enmity are very discreet. Very few people are versed and educated with this knowledge. It is crucial that we save ourselves from this enemy. Similarly, few people as well have the knowledge of the evils of the nafs.

The evils of the nafs

Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Sahib رحمة الله عليه once mentioned: “During my childhood, I was my father’s scribe and replied to his letters. He used to dictate them to me. Once, he used a word ‘istimzaaj’ which means confirmation of an opinion being correct. It is of Persian origin. The meaning of the Arabic word is different. My father dictated this word to me because the custom at that time was to correspond in the Persian language. I did not know the meaning of the word, so I told him: ‘It is possible that the addressee will not know the meaning of this word. Therefore use an easy synonym for it.’

“My father used an easier synonym. In reality, this was a ploy of my nafs to conceal my ignorance from my own father. It did not allow me to say that I did not know the meaning of the word. Instead, it prompted me to say that perhaps the addressee will not know the meaning. Ignorance is such a disease that a person is not prepared to admit it.”

The nafs is undoubtedly our greatest enemy as mentioned in the Qur’aan. The traps of the nafs are very discreet. We know that it is evil but the ways it uses to expresses its evil is known only to a few and select people.

Similarly, Shaitaan is known to be our open enemy but only a few people know the methods he uses to express his enmity. We witness in the world how enemies plot to destroy one another. Sometimes, they tie a wire on the ground (to trip someone), sometimes pour boiling water on them, sometimes dig trenches and utilise various other methods. Many a time, an innocent person falls into the trap and is annihilated.

Allah Ta’ala also makes his own plans. Abraha took an army of elephants and marched towards Makkah Mukarramah, intending to destroy the Ka’bah Shareef. What was Allah Ta’ala’s plan? Allah Ta’ala sent an army of small, clawed birds who carried stones in their beaks to destroy Abraha and his army. Where could Abraha have ever fathomed that small birds, armed with stones which were like miniature atom bombs, would destroy his army? The stones fell on the soldiers’ heads, went through their bodies and came out through their posteriors. They became: كَعَصْفٍ مَّأْكُولٍ (Like devoured crops.). Abraha was unaware of the plan of Allah Ta’ala.

Similarly, we do not know what the nafs is plotting against us. But this much is known that the nafs is within us as mentioned in the hadeeth “within you”.

The strength of an external enemy can be learnt through spies and other forms of espionage, but an enemy who is within us cannot be seen. Thus, how are his strength and plots estimated? It is a very difficult task indeed.

Shaitaan also moves within the body of man. It is mentioned in a hadeeth:

إن الشيطان يجري من الإنسان مجرى الدم

Verily Shaitaan moves about within man as blood [flows within man].

Thus, how can a person save himself from an enemy who is so skilled and well equipped? Why and how did this enemy become so well equipped?

Shaitaan’s du’aa

It is mentioned in a hadeeth that, when Allah Ta’ala had decided to send Aadam (alaihis salaam) to the world and banished Shaitaan from Jannah with the collar of Allah Ta’ala’s curse around his neck, Shaitaan made this du’aa:

“O Allah! My punishment was because of Aadam (alaihis salaam). Allow me to live till the day of Qiyaamah (so that I may mislead mankind).”

No matter how dangerous an enemy can be, once he dies, the danger no longer remains. Hence, there is always the possibility that through enemy’s demise, peace and safety will prevail. However, Shaitaan had asked Allah Ta’ala for respite,

أَنظِرْنِي إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ

“O Allah! Grant me respite till the day all will be resurrected.” (al-Hijr:36)

Shaitaan made this du’aa in order to escape death. When the trumpet will be blown for the first time, everyone will die. Thereafter, when it is blown for the second time, everyone will be resurrected. Thus Shaitaan begged Allah Ta’ala to allow him to live till the day of resurrection, in order to escape death. Allah Ta’ala’s reply was:

فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنظَرِينَ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ

“You will certainly be granted respite till a known time, i.e. till the first blowing of the trumpet when everyone will die.” (al-Hijr:37/38)

Shaitaan also asked Allah Ta’ala to grant him power over Aadam (alaihis salaam) and his progeny, since his banishment was due to Aadam (alaihis salaam). He was told: “You will be granted power over mankind by being able to move in his veins like blood.”

Shaitaan then asked for more. Allah Ta’ala said: “Very well! When man cohabits with his wife, you will be allowed to cohabit also. When a man’s sperm settles in his wife’s ovary, your sperm will also settle in her ovary. When life will be given to man’s foetus, life will be given to your foetus as well. When man’s child will be born, your child will also be born. From then onwards your child will be given power over man’s child.”

It is mentioned in a hadeeth: 

صياح المولود حين يقع نزغة من الشيطان

At times, a child cries unexpectedly because of being poked by Shaitaan.

Shaitaan had promised: 

قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ َ ثُمَّ لَآتِيَنَّهُم مِّن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَن شَمَائِلِهِمْ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ

“O my Sustainer, because You had misled me, I shall wait in ambush for them on the straight path. I shall then attack them from the front, from the rear, from the right and from the left. You will then find most of them ungrateful i.e. they will be under my control.” (al-A`raaf:16/17)

Thereafter, Aadam (alaihis salaam) begged: “O Allah Ta’ala! You have granted Shaitaan power over me. Grant me a way of saving myself from him.”

Man has been created weak. 

“When Shaitaan’s child will be given power over your child, we shall appoint an angel to protect your child.”

Therefore, it is mentioned in the ahaadeeth that angels drive away the Shaitaan from the child just as a person swats away flies from honey. If the person stops swatting, even for a few moments, the flies will totally devour the honey.

Similarly, if the angels do not prevent the shayaateen from attacking the child even for a few moments, they will attack him and wipe him out completely. May Allah Ta’ala protect mankind. Aameen.

Aadam’s (alaihis salaam) du’aa

Aadam (alaihis salaam) asked for a greater form of assistance as well. Allah Ta’ala said: “The reward of every good action will be multiplied tenfold. If you commit a sin, I will pardon it. If I shall punish you for a sin, the punishment will be according to the sin (not multiplied by ten).”

Aadam (alaihis salaam) then asked for an even greater form of reward. 

Shaitaan made three du’aas and Aadam (alaihis salaam) made three du’aas as well. Allah Ta’ala accepted his du’aa and said: “Whenever you and your progeny will make taubah before death, I shall accept that taubah.”

Shaitaan became depressed saying to himself, “My entire life’s effort will be wasted. I shall make man commit sin upon sin, but if he makes taubah before passing away, all his sins will be forgiven and my entire effort shall be in vain.”

Allah Ta’ala has sent man to this place of examination (the world), to this prison. He (man) is surrounded by difficulties and hardships. However, Allah Ta’ala has made arrangements for his protection. Man has many external enemies as well. Snakes, scorpions, wolves and lions are his enemies. Cholera, plague and other sicknesses are also his enemies. Open a book of medicine and you will find it replete with the various forms of ailments, which are the enemies of man.

Ponder and look around you and you will see the number of enemies that man has. If he experiences a pain in a tooth, he becomes restless. If he feels a pain in his heart or liver, he becomes agitated. If he is unable to pass urine, it causes him great inconvenience. Thus, this world is a place of test. Tests will come upon man from all directions.

However, Allah Ta’ala did not leave man helpless and desperate. Allah Ta’ala has promised to assist him as long as he fulfils his covenant to conduct himself in the correct manner. A poet once said:

کی محمد سے وفا تو نے تو ہم تیرے ہیں

یہ جہاں چیز ہے کیا لوح و قلم تیرے ہیں

Be faithful to Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and Allah Ta’ala will be yours.

What is this world? Everything will be yours.

Loyalty to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)

If man is prepared to become loyal to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and lead his life according to the teachings of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), Allah Ta’ala’s assistance will always be with him.

When he will sleep, who will protect him from his enemies? Allah Ta’ala is the one who will protect him. When he will eat different types of food, who will make this food acceptable to his system? Allah Ta’ala will make the food acceptable and beneficial to his system. Allah Ta’ala has created such machinery in the body, which extracts the nutrition from the food and makes it a means of strength for the body. Who does all of this? Allah Ta’ala does this.

We are sitting in this building with the roof suspended above us. Allah Ta’ala is the One who is keeping the roof above us. If Allah Ta’ala commands the roof to fall, it will fall immediately and no matter what arrangements are made to keep it suspended, it will be of no benefit. We move on the earth with ease, conducting our work and the earth does not cave in on us. Who is the being that has not allowed the earth to cave in? Allah Ta’ala is the Being who has not allowed the earth to cave in and destroy us. Allah Ta’ala has made the necessary arrangements for our protection.

Allah Ta’ala has sent His slave (man) as His deputy to the earth. Do you think that Allah Ta’ala will leave this slave of His, surrounded by enemies and other great creations of His, helpless and unprotected? Never! Allah Ta’ala will never allow something like that to transpire. Allah Ta’ala loves His creation.

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) once asked the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum): “Can there be such a mother who will throw her child in a fire?”

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) replied: “There can never be a mother who will throw her child in a fire.”

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) then said: “Allah Ta’ala’s love for His creation is even greater than a mother’s love for her child.”

Allah Ta’ala will protect man. The life in this world is a few days of test. Whoever has taken the oath of loyalty to Allah Ta’ala and Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) should lead his life accordingly. If he commits a sin mistakenly, he will be forgiven. Even in the hereafter, there will also be a great door of forgiveness. However, we should make the resolution from our side that we shall lead our lives in conformity to the teachings of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

Coming back to the point that taqwa protects Imaan, Allah Ta’ala states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ

“O Believers! Inculcate taqwa.”

With taqwa, Imaan will remain protected and it will progress. The more a person brings taqwa into his life and adheres to the commands of Allah Ta’ala and abstains from sin, his Imaan will strengthen accordingly.

Incident of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)

Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was once in the jungle at midday and it was extremely hot. He sat down to partake of his meals. He saw a shepherd herding goats and invited him to partake of meals.

“Please excuse me for I am fasting,” the shepherd answered softly.

“Why are you fasting in this extreme heat,” queried Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) in astonishment. “It is neither the month of Ramadhaan nor any date wherein fasting holds special virtue, like the 10th of Muharram, 15th Sha`baan or the 9th of Zul Hijjah.”

“I am putting my ayyaam-ul-khaaliyah (free days) to use.”

What is ayyaam-ul-khaaliyah (free days)? It is mentioned in the Qur’aan that it will be said to those obedient slaves of Allah Ta’ala who had underwent the difficulties of hunger and thirst (they fasted):

كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئًا بِمَا أَسْلَفْتُمْ فِي الْأَيَّامِ الْخَالِيَةِ

“Eat and drink with ease because of those actions which you performed in the days gone by [free days].” (al-Haaqqah:24)

The shepherd further explained: “My master has not tasked me with any difficult work today. I thought to myself that why should I let such a day go to waste. Let me use it to my advantage. Therefore I am fasting.”

His rationale pleased Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), who appreciated good deeds and liked to reward those who performed good deeds.

“Very well, give me a goat to slaughter and I shall give you some of the meat,” instructed Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu).

“I am not the owner of the goats. I am a mere shepherd and a shepherd has no right to give away the owner’s animals without his permission.”

To test him, Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) casually said: “I am sure that your master does not count the goats every day. You can present this excuse that a wolf devoured a goat or a goat got lost. For a goat to get lost from such a large flock is not a far-fetched notion.”

“And where is Allah Ta’ala?” snapped the shepherd. “I may be able to deceive my master, who is not present that a sheep got lost or was devoured by a wolf, but I am unable to deceive Allah Ta’ala who is present at all times.” This was the consciousness of Allah Ta’ala that was embedded in his heart.

Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was extremely impressed with his character. He found out who the master of this shepherd was, went up to him and bought the flock together with the shepherd. Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) thereafter went to the shepherd and informed him of this transaction.

“May Allah bless you in the flock,” exclaimed the shepherd.

Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) then informed him that he had purchased him as well. 

“May Allah Ta’ala bless you in this purchase of yours as well,” the shepherd replied softly.

“I free you and give you this flock as a gift,” disclosed Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu).

This person was a mere shepherd who did not have the authority to give away a single goat to anyone. Now he had become the owner of the entire flock. It is imperative that we develop within ourselves the consciousness that Allah Ta’ala is always watching.

An old woman’s resolve

During the khilaafat of Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) an old woman, who suffered from leprosy, used to make tawaaf of the Ka’bah. This inconvenienced and distressed many people. Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) prevented her from making tawaaf and instructed her to remain at home. She acted accordingly. When Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) passed away, someone came up to her and said: “The one who prevented you from making tawaaf has passed away. You may now go and make tawaaf without having any reservations.”

“Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was not a man who was to be obeyed in his lifetime only and disobeyed after his death,” she replied. “I shall therefore remain at home and not go to make tawaaf.”

This was the state of her resolution. Though she had a great zeal to reap the rewards of making tawaaf, but due to the instruction and wisdom of the Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen, she did not go to make tawaaf.

When a Muslim has resolved to lead his life according to the teachings of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), it is of utmost importance for him to remain steadfast on this resolution. How can a person achieve this? By inculcating taqwa within himself.

A saint was once asked: “What is taqwa?”

He replied with a practical example: “Taqwa is the way a person will walk upon a pathway adorned with thorny plants on either side. He will carefully thread along this pathway, watching every step of his, lest he should get scratched or his clothes will get caught in the thorns. This is taqwa.”

It is vital to inculcate taqwa in our lives, in order to be obedient to Allah Ta’ala.

In the month of Ramadhaan, everyone educates himself with the laws pertaining to fasting and they exercise great caution in all their actions, lest their fast breaks. They do not gargle thoroughly whilst making wudhu. If they are requested by their wives to taste the gravy and see if the salt is enough, they blankly refuse. This very same precaution should be found in all the laws of deen. We should ensure that we do not do anything that will displease Allah Ta’ala.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ

“O Believers! Inculcate taqwa.”

If we inculcate taqwa, our tree of Imaan will strengthen, produce fruits and spread its branches far and wide and we shall be blessed with taufeeq to perform good deeds.

It is narrated from Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu anhu): لكل شيء معدن و معدن التقوى قلوب العارفين (Everything has a mine, and the mine of taqwa is the hearts of the aarifeen [those who have recognised Allah Ta’ala]). Allah Ta’ala has blessed them with the treasure of taqwa. Whosoever sits in their company, pays careful attention to their teachings and adheres strictly to them, will also be blessed with taqwa.

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) sat in the company of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). The conditions that overcame them were such that they felt as though Jannah and Jahannum were before them. How did this condition arise? The company, of that person that you frequent, will have an effect on you. The level of Nabi’s (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) yaqeen (conviction) was so high that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was not oblivious of the aakhirah (hereafter) even for a single moment. This effect fell on the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) who used to sit in the company of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

The grief a mother experiences on the death of her child is extremely great. If she sits in anybody’s company, there is no need for her to explain her grief to anyone. Those sitting in her company will automatically get affected.

Hadhrat Moulana Ilyaas Sahib رحمة الله عليه has said: “We have become accustomed to taking messages from the words of people, whereas words are a very weak means of getting the message across. It has a great possibility of being erroneous. The fundamental way of receiving a message is from the personality of a person.”

He once mentioned: “I wrote a letter to Hadhrat Moulana Khaleel Ahmad Saharanpuri رحمة الله عليه informing him of my desire to spend time in his company.”

“There is no need for you to come and stay in my company,” advised Moulana Khaleel Ahmad رحمة الله عليه. “Being in my company or not is irrelevant. You will attain the same benefit”

When the resemblance with the ahlullah (friends of Allah) becomes a dominant factor in our lives, this is a very great achievement indeed. If our contact and link with the friends of Allah Ta’ala strengthens to such a level that we even resemble them in our physical appearance, then most certainly taqwa will enter our hearts.

If we do not attempt to inculcate taqwa in our lives, this will result in opening the doors to the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala. Just as Imaan strengthens with good deeds – it gets weaker by committing sins and it continues to weaken until a person remains a mu’min by name only. No sign of Imaan remains in him. Therefore, Allah Ta’ala has instructed us in this way: “O Believers! Keep your Imaan firm by inculcating taqwa,”

وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

“And frequent the company of the pious.”

Join the caravan

A caravan is travelling to a certain place. The people of the caravan are aware that their ameer (leader) is experienced and knows the route well. He knows where the road inclines and declines, which areas are dangerous and at which places their respective needs can be easily fulfilled. If a person joins this caravan, he will reach his destination with great ease.

If a person wants to proceed for Hajj on his own, his journey will be extremely difficult. However, if he joins a group of people who have been for Hajj several times, his journey will become very easy.

A person has accepted Islam today. To teach him how to make wudhu and how to perform salaah on your own is difficult. However, if you take him to the Musjid and he practically sees how the musallees make wudhu and perform their salaah, he will learn very quickly. Allah Ta’ala instructs us in the Qur’aan:

وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

“And remain with the truthful.”

Who are the truthful? The truthful are those whom Allah Ta’ala has blessed with truthfulness in their hearts. They have correct beliefs, which are the basis of Imaan and salvation. {Those fundamental beliefs that Allah Ta’ala had revealed upon Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) who then clarified it for our understanding.} They believe in the being of Allah Ta’ala and His qualities, as they ought to be believed. The truthful are those who also have truthfulness in their actions, character, lives and it is also evident on their tongues.

If we remain in the company of such people, insha-Allah we will also be blessed with correct beliefs, excellent character, taufeeq to carry out good deeds and correct utilisation of the tongue. In due time, insha-Allah, we shall be blessed with a high level of taqwa as well.

Forty days with the Tableegh Jamaat

A person is accustomed to using vulgar languages, not reading namaaz, drinking alcohol and perpetually quarrelling and fighting with people. He does not know Surah Fatihah, attahiyyaat or any other surah. He joined the tableegh jamaat for forty days. After forty days, note the distinct difference in him. For forty days he refrained from drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol is such a serious crime that the curse of Allah Ta’ala descends on such a person and the punishment for it is eighty lashes.

For forty days he refrained from swearing and speaking lies. It is recorded in a hadeeth that when a person speaks lies, the angels run miles away from him because of the stench that emanates from his mouth. For forty days he did not swear. For forty days he made wudhu and performed salaah. Not a single salaah of his became qadha during the forty days. From where did these blessings arise? It arose as a result of spending forty days in the company of the pious.

My beloved brothers! Allah Ta’ala has sent a large group of people to this gathering. We do not know who from amongst this group holds a special position in the sight of Allah Ta’ala. We do not have the eyes to recognise who are the friends of Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala has sent this group, and Insha-Allah, this is a group of pious and truthful people.

Insha-Allah, by staying with them for a month, reformation of the heart, beautification of character and correction of actions will take place. Allah Ta’ala will protect us from evil habits. This gathering is an example of:

وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

“Stay with the truthful.”

The saints of the past used to make their disciples stay with them for forty days at a time and, during that period, they were subjected to great sacrifices. They stressed upon them to cure themselves from their spiritual maladies via unorthodox exercises.

For example, a person may have the malady of pride, whereas it is mentioned in the ahaadeeth that whomsoever has an atom of pride within his heart will not enter Jannah. He will be flung into Jahannum until the pride is removed and thereafter will he only enter Jannah. Allah Ta’ala states in a hadeeth-e-qudsi:

الكبرياء ردائي

Pride is my upper-garment.

Whoever is proud is actually trying to snatch away the garment of Allah Ta’ala.

Remedy for pride

A saint had prescribed for a certain person afflicted with the malady of pride, to straighten everyone’s shoes in the khanqah. This cured him of his malady. Another saint instructed another person, suffering from the same malady, to stand up after every salaah and announce to the people: “Respected brothers! I am a very proud person. Please make du’aa that Allah Ta’ala cures me off this malady.”

These actions are the choice of the saints. They prescribe whatever remedy they feel appropriate for a specific individual. Our opinion plays no rule in these remedies for spiritual maladies. Our duty is to hand over ourselves entirely to the saints and adhere strictly to their prescriptions.

If anyone is admitted to hospital to undergo an operation, he consumes what the doctor tells him to consume and abstains from whatever the doctor instructs him to abstain from. He does nothing without consulting his doctor. In the interim, if he goes through any difficulty, he bears it patiently because, he is convinced that whatever the doctor is doing is solely for his benefit.

Similarly, we should accept the remedies of our spiritual mentors without questioning them and having the full conviction that whatever treatment is prescribed, is for our benefit.

A certain mureed had reached the rank of qurb-e-nawaafil. Qurb-e-Nawaafil is the rank, which is attained by the performance of abundance of nawaafil (voluntary deeds). Through the blessings of the nafl ibaadaat, a person becomes so close to Allah Ta’ala that, as mentioned, Allah Ta’ala becomes his tongue by means of which he speaks, Allah Ta’ala becomes his legs by means of which he walks and Allah Ta’ala becomes his limbs by means of which he performs his actions.

This hadeeth means that, whatever he says, whatever actions he conducts everything pleases Allah Ta’ala. Sometimes whatever these people utter becomes a reality.

Are you blind?

Once this mureed was sleeping and someone had entered to sweep the room. While sleeping, the broom struck the mureed who awoke and angrily said: “What is the matter? Are you blind?”

The moment he said this, the person sweeping became blind. The mureed went and informed the shaikh of what had transpired.

“Why did you utter such a statement?” reprimanded the shaikh.

“I lost my temper,” the mureed acknowledged.

“What remedy do you think is required” the shaikh enquired.

He replied that whatever the shaikh suggested.

“You will now be in charge of all his needs. You will take him to the toilet, help him to make wudhu, take food for him and see to his needs at all times.”

During the latter part of the night, the mureed awoke to perform tahajjud salaah. He had just started his salaah when the blind person expressed his need to relieve himself. The mureed was forced to complete his salaah and take him to the toilet. After a while, the mureed sat down to make zikr and the blind person now expressed his need to make wudhu. Khidmat (serving) of the blind person had resulted in an interruption to the mureed’s ma’mulaat (daily practices) causing him a great deal of distress.

When the shaikh had seen that he had been cured of his malady, he instructed the blind person to find out where the mureed was sleeping and to strike him again whilst he was asleep. The blind person did as he was instructed and the mureed awoke and said: “Open your eyes and walk,” and in so saying, the sight of the blind person was restored by Allah Ta’ala.

Test of character

A special benefit of staying in such a large gathering is that reformation of the character takes place. A person’s name was once mentioned in the presence of Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) asked the opinion of those around him regarding the said individual. They praised him and said that he was a good person. Hadhrat Umar thereafter asked them if they had ever travelled with that person, did any dealings with him or had been his neighbour. They replied in the negative. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) then said: “Perhaps you all had reached this conclusion due to seeing him engaged in some nafl ibaadat.”

There are only three ways of gauging the true character of a person. Firstly, by travelling with him, where generally everything goes against a person’s temperament. Secondly, by being his neighbour, where one can be observed day and night. Thirdly, through financial dealings. His honesty, truthfulness and trustworthiness will be tested. Thus, by staying together in this gathering, great reformation of one’s character will take place.

The gist of the aayat is that it is obligatory on that person who has resolved to lead his life according to the teaching of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), to inculcate taqwa in his life. We can inculcate taqwa within ourselves by staying in the company of the truthful. Allah Ta’ala, through His grace and mercy, has made it easy for us to be in the company of the pious. We must value this opportunity. May Allah Ta’ala grant us taufeeq.

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