Home Faqihul Ummah Mawa`iz (Discourses) Discourse 7 - The Importance of I`tikaaf

Discourse 7 - The Importance of I`tikaaf

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Insaan – The paragon of creation

نحمده و نصلي على رسوله الكريم

If a riot breaks out and people are wantonly slaughtering each other and, in this dismal state, a government official provides us sanctuary in his house, is this not a great favour of his? Here, (on the occasion of i’tikaaf) Allah Ta’ala has given us sanctuary in His house. This is indeed a great favour of Allah Ta’ala. It is obligatory upon us all to express our gratitude to Him. Undoubtedly, Allah Ta’ala has greatly favoured us.

Firstly, He has created us purely out of His grace. Had He not created us we would have been non-existent, worthless. Secondly, He created us as human beings. Animals such as donkeys, dogs, cats, swine, snakes, scorpions, etc., are also His creation, but Allah Ta’ala has created us human beings. If He created us as snakes or scorpions, what would have happened to us? The moment somebody sees us, he would either run away from us or rush forth to kill us.

If He created us as donkeys, heavy burdens would have been placed on our backs. If He created us as oxen, we would have been toiling endlessly away in the fields. No! Allah Ta’ala has created us as man, who is the best of creation, and Allah Ta’ala continuously showers His favours on us at all times. But alas, we don’t give any thought to this by pondering over these favours. Expressing gratitude to Allah Ta’ala is an alien concept for us.

Points to ponder

Amongst mankind, some worship idols, others worship stones and many worship the sun, fire and water. Allah Ta’ala has saved us from this and made us Muslims to worship Him alone but, even amongst Muslims, we find many who disobey the commands of Allah Ta’ala – they don’t ever come to the Musjid, don’t read the Qur’aan Shareef, etc. Alas, there are even those who do not even know what salaah is and what the Qur’aan Shareef is. Thus, it is indeed a great favour of Allah Ta’ala that He has given us the taufeeq of coming to the Musjid, reciting the Qur’aan Shareef and engaging ourselves in ibaadat.

The more a person appreciates and expresses his gratitude for these favours, the greater the taufeeq will he receive to engage himself in these actions. Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan-e-Kareem: 

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“If you are grateful to Me (for my favours), I shall grant you more. And if you are ungrateful, verily My punishment is severe.” (Ebrahim:7)

It is therefore incumbent on us to express our gratitude to Allah Ta’ala.

If a person rearing a dog feeds it well and cares for it, it will guard his house the entire night. On seeing his master, it will sit obediently before him and wag its tail to express its delight. The dog knows how to be grateful but, sad to say, we don’t know how to be grateful. Thus, in spite of being created as the best of creation, our condition becomes worse than that of animals! Is this the way of expressing gratitude to the favours of Allah Ta’ala?

One more chance

It is Allah Ta’ala’s greatest favour on us that he has allowed us to see this month of Ramadhaan. How many people had seen the last Ramadhaan, recited the Qur’aan in abundance, kept roza and sat in i’tikaaf, but have passed away before the arrival of this Ramadhaan. On the Night of Baraa’ah the angel of death is informed of all those who have been decreed to pass away in the coming year. The entire details are provided to him: the soul of so and so must be taken away on a certain date, at this time and in this certain place, etc.

We have been afforded another opportunity this year to engage in the ibaadat of Allah Ta’ala, to repent and ask Allah Ta’ala for His forgiveness, to please our Allah Ta’ala and to express our gratitude for His bounties.

More time for more dimes

In the lifetime of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), two Sahaabah رضي الله عنهما accepted Islam simultaneously. After some time, one of them was martyred and the other passed away a year later. A few Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) made du`aa and asked Allah Ta’ala to grant the second Sahaabi (radhiyallahu anhu) the same rank as the first Sahaabi (who was martyred).

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) commented: “You have not made a favourable du’aa for him. The rank of the second Sahaabi is far superior to that of the first Sahaabi, because the second Sahaabi performed many more salaah, recited much more Qur’aan, performed more good deeds and abstained from more sins than the first Sahaabi.”

Allah Ta’ala had given us the entire year to take advantage of His favours but, unfortunately, the entire year has elapsed and we were negligent of making His ibaadat. Instead, we engaged ourselves in committing sins and fulfilling our desires. Now Allah Ta’ala through His Mercy has given us the blessed month of Ramadhaan to plead for His favours and earn innumerable rewards.

Ramadhaan specials

Just as December is a month wherein businessmen reap great profits, Ramadhaan is a month wherein we can earn great rewards from Allah Ta’ala for the hereafter.

It is recorded in the hadeeth that one who performs a nafl act in Ramadhaan is rewarded with that of a fardh action performed out of Ramadhaan, and one who performs a fardh action receives the reward of 70 faraa’idh actions performed out of Ramadhaan.

It is mentioned in the hadeeth, that the smell emanating from the mouth of a fasting person is better than the smell of musk in the sight of Allah Ta’ala. This is the value of our actions in the month of Ramadhaan and this is the status of a fasting person. Whatever has been created; has been done solely for the benefit of man:

خَلَقَ لَكُم مَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ

“Whatever is in the earth has been created for your benefit,” (al-Baqarah:29)

but unfortunately the slaves of Allah Ta’ala do not take benefit from this month in the manner they were commanded to do so.

The month of patience for the sake of Allah Ta’ala

This is a month of sabr. Sabr means to force the nafs to undergo difficulties and abandon its never-ending pursuit of fulfilling its desires, for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah Ta’ala. In the morning, one has the great urge to drink tea. However, the law of Allah Ta’ala instructs us to abstain from it. Hence, one does not fulfil his desire but gives preference to the command of Allah Ta’ala. Those who are accustomed to eating paan and smoking undergo great difficulty in curbing these desires, but they will do so to please Allah Ta’ala. We have a variety of food and drinks in our homes, but we abstain from consuming them and even engaging in conjugal relations with our wives, in order to gain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.

This is the essence of roza and this is how one exercises sabr. Sabr enjoys a very great status in the court of Allah Ta’ala. Sabr is one of the qualities of perfection found in the Ambiyaa عليهم السلام. Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Holy Qur’aan about one of the Ambiyaa عليهم السلام,

إِنَّا وَجَدْنَاهُ صَابِرًا نِّعْمَ الْعَبْدُ

“Indeed we found him to be patient. What an excellent servant was he.” (Saad:44)

The closer and the more beloved one gets to Allah Ta’ala, the greater the difficulties he will have to undergo. He will be faced with many conditions that are contrary to his desires, and to tolerate them will be very difficult for him. Ponder over the difficulties the Ambiyaa عليهم السلام underwent. Look at the difficulties that were experienced by Ibrahim (alaihis salaam), Moosa (alaihis salaam), ‘Isa (alaihis salaam), Dawood (alaihis salaam) and Sulaiman (alaihis salaam). Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has said,

“From all the Ambiyaa عليهم السلام, I underwent the greatest of trials and difficulties.”

Gone camping!

Although all the favours and benefits of this world and the hereafter were primarily created for Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), yet fasting was made fardh upon him as well, and despite having the full capacity of extracting revenge on his enemies, Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was discouraged from taking revenge and was advised to maintain sabr. People swore at him, pelted him with stones, deprived him of food and drink, severed relations with him and even surrounded his house with the intention of assassinating him, yet he was advised to exercise patience and not to take revenge.

The rank of sabr is very lofty. Ramadhaan is a month of sabr. The stomach makes sabr by remaining hungry; the tongue makes sabr by remaining silent. The speech which was previously impermissible will still remain impermissible, but one is also asked to refrain from unnecessary permissible talks. That is why the most difficult act to achieve whilst in i’tikaaf, is abstaining from speaking of worldly matters. Read the Qur’aan Shareef, make tasbeeh and make zikr but don’t engage in a conversation with anyone.

Once we indulge in futile talks, most certainly something will be said that will displease Allah Ta’ala. We intended to sit in the Musjid to perform ibaadat but, ultimately, we end up displeasing Allah Ta’ala.

The tongue has a desire to taste different types of food and drink. During Ramadhaan however, it is not allowed to eat and drink anything from the morning till the evening. People are accustomed to enjoying certain personal pleasures but they undergo difficulty, by abstaining from them. They are prevented from indulging in their personal pleasures.

A person’s wife is at home. He desires to gratify his passionate feelings with her and she is prepared and willing for him to fulfil his desires, but they are prevented from such an action.

The advice of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to Hadhrat Anas (radhiyallahu anhu)

We have all gathered in the Musjid in the state of roza. We should think along this line that we have come to the camp of Allah Ta’ala, which is a camp of safety. Neither can Shaitaan nor our nafs attack us. Our external condition and internal conditions are safeguarded from these two enemies. We must not harbour enmity towards anyone. Anas (radhiyallahu anhu) narrates that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

يا بني إن قدرت أن تصبح و تمسي و ليس في قلبك غش لأحد فافعل ثم قال يا بني و ذلك من سنتي و من أحب سنتي فقد أحبني و من أحبني كان معي في الجنة  

“O my beloved son! If you are able to spend the morning and evening, without entertaining malice in your heart for anyone, then do so.”

We need to distance ourselves from malice, enmity and animosity. The heart is a mirror. It is a jewel. It should be filled with the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala, not with these evil qualities. Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) thereafter said: “O my son! Not harbouring malice for anyone is my way, my sunnat. Whosoever loves my sunnat, loves me and whomsoever loves me will be with me in Jannah.”

Which Muslim will not desire to be in the company of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)? Gaining the company of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is the fervent desire of every Muslim. However, we can gain his company only if we lead our lives according to the way shown to us by Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). It is therefore imperative that we exercise extreme caution in the usage of our tongue. Refrain from passing unjust remarks about anyone.

Today if a person commits a sin, his so-called well-wishers involve themselves in many other sins. They gleefully discuss amongst themselves that so and so has this fault in him. This is gheebat (backbiting) and the Qur’aan explicitly states:

وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا

“And do not make gheebat of one another.” (al-Hujuraat:12)

If a person sins, he sins against Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala is most forgiving, most kind and most merciful. He will forgive the greatest of sins, but when we begin to discuss the faults of a person, when we begin to make gheebat, Allah Ta’ala will not forgive us until that person forgives us. Gheebat is a very grave sin and a very serious offence in the court of Allah Ta’ala. In the month of Ramadhaan, we fast and abstain from those things which are halaal and thereafter consume the flesh of our Muslim brothers.

How can the flesh of a dead Muslim brother ever be halaal? When we indulge in gheebat, we are actually consuming the flesh of our dead Muslim brother.

One for you and three for me

In the month of Ramadhaan, we have managed to abstain from that which is halaal, but consumed that which is forbidden. It is recorded in the hadeeth that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had received a complaint regarding two women who were fasting and the fast was very difficult upon them. Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) stated that they had consumed human flesh by making gheebat. When they were forcefully made to vomit, pieces of human flesh were found amongst the contents.

Once, a person uttered certain incorrect statements in the presence of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) instructed him to pick his teeth.

He replied: “I have not eaten meat.”

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “You have consumed meat by eating the flesh of your Muslim brother.”

When he picked his teeth, he found bits of flesh embedded in his teeth. It is of paramount importance that we refrain from making gheebat.

When discussing the habits of anyone, we usually create a certain nickname for him as well, whereas Allah Ta’ala has stated in the Qur’aan:

لَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ

“Do not address one another using nick-names.” (al-Hujuraat:11)

To address a person with a nickname that he finds offensive is impermissible. Thereafter, we go even further and mock the sinner in his absence whereas, Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Shareef: 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ

“O Believers! Do not mock one another.” (al-Hujuraat:11)

A person has committed one sin against Allah Ta’ala and through that one sin, he becomes involved in numerous other sins. Our ustaaz, may Allah Ta’ala shower His mercy and forgiveness on him, used to always say that whoever points a finger to another person, by picking on his faults, he is actually admitting to his own faults. This is so because only one finger is pointing towards that person and three fingers are pointing towards himself.

Retain and gain

We need to exercise extreme caution whilst sitting in i’tikaaf. Our time must be utilised in seeking the forgiveness of Allah Ta’ala constantly. We should make this du’aa: “O Allah! Forgive all the sins that we have committed in our lives right until now.”

We should also make this du’aa: “O Allah! None besides You can free us from the sins which we have become habitual of. O Allah! Through Your grace and benevolence, free us from these sins. Just as the Sahaabah spent many years in kufr, shirk and evil practices but, when they joined the company of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and repented for their past mistakes, they were freed from all these sins. O Allah! Forgive our sins as well.”

We must also spend a great portion of our time in reciting the Qur’aan and making zikr. If there is a genuine need to speak, for example, if we need to ask a certain mas’alah, then we can do so. However, there is no permission granted to indulge in futile and baseless talks. In any case, indulging in futile talks is impermissible, let alone indulging in it during the month of Ramadhaan whilst sitting in i’tikaaf.

Ramadhaan is the month of patience and restrain. Thus, we should restrain our tongues from speaking whatever it desires. If our eyes desire to wonder about, then we ought to restrain our eyes as well.

When our stomachs desire to eat certain types of foods, we restrain ourselves because it has become impermissible to enjoy of these foods. Permission has only been granted to eat and drink at the time of iftaar. On the other hand, the impermissibility of those things which are haraam even out of Ramadhaan, is emphasised to a greater degree during Ramadhaan.

The purpose of i’tikaaf

Thereafter, we should understand what the purpose and aim of i’tikaaf is. The aim of i’tikaaf is to be exonerated from each and every sin committed in our entire life. We should recall every sin and beg Allah Ta’ala for His forgiveness. When reciting istighfaar, we should understand it in the following light: “It is like a man, whose body and clothes are covered in filth, standing under an open shower. The water is constantly falling on him and he is washing off the dirt from his body and clothes.”

Similarly, we should bear in mind that we are covered from head to toe in sin. Not a single action of ours is void of sin. When reciting istighfaar we should picture it to be the stream of Allah Ta’ala’s forgiveness, which is falling upon us and washing away our sins. We should recite istighfaar with this frame of mind.

Most pure! (Subhanallah)

When reciting the third kalimah – سبحن الله و الحمد لله و لا إله إلا الله و الله أكبر, we must reflect that ‘Subhanallah’ refers to the fact that Allah Ta’ala is All Pure. Everything of the world, every creation has faults and deficiencies. The least fault every creation has is that it will expire. One day, its life is going to cease, but Allah Ta’ala is free from all faults, deficiencies and weaknesses. Whatever faults are found in the creation, none of them can be attributed to Allah Ta’ala in any way. Allah Ta’ala is free and far above any fault.

‘Alhamdulillah’ denotes that only Allah Ta’ala is worthy of all praise. Every favour and benefit is from Allah Ta’ala. Every form of beauty and excellence is from Allah Ta’ala. Our qualities of beauty and excellence will eventually perish, but His beauty and excellence will never terminate. Allah Ta’ala is the pinnacle of perfection. He is free from all faults.

Most worthy of worship

“Laa Ilaaha Illallah” – Only Allah Ta’ala is worthy of worship. The only being worthy of us forging a strong bond and contact with, is Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala is the sole Sustainer. We should place our trust only in Allah Ta’ala for our sustenance. When we ponder over our upbringing, we should realise that Allah Ta’ala is the true Nurturer. Allah Ta’ala is the most forgiving, most merciful and most compassionate. Whatever requirements we may have, Allah Ta’ala alone can fulfil them. No human being can ever fulfil our needs and desires. He is the owner of everything. Whatever we receive, we receive through Him. If the king presents someone with a gift, although you will receive it via the post or have it personally delivered by the king’s servant, the actual giver is the king and the servant is merely the courier or the means through which we have received that gift.

The mango tree

The system of the world operates in a similar manner. The giver of mangoes is Allah Ta’ala and the tree is the means of obtaining it. The giver of every fruit is Allah Ta’ala and He has made the trees the means of obtaining them. The provider of everything is Allah Ta’ala and He has created the means for us to attain these things. Thus, we should focus our attention primarily to Allah Ta’ala. If He has decreed anything for us, we will certainly receive it and if it has not been decreed for us, we will certainly not receive it.

Whatever Allah Ta’ala has decreed for us, will definitely reach us. No one can ‘snatch’ it away from us. Therefore, the only Being worthy of relying and trusting upon and attaching our hearts to, is Allah Ta’ala.

To summarise: we have discussed 3 aspects. Firstly, Allah Ta’ala is free from all faults and deficiencies. Secondly, Allah Ta’ala is the true possessor of every beauty and excellence. Thirdly, the only Being worthy of placing our trust and reliance upon, is Allah Ta’ala.

‘Allahu Akbar’ – Allah Ta’ala is the greatest. His greatness is beyond our comprehension. We are incapable of doing anything on our own. Allah Ta’ala has the complete power to do anything as He pleases.

We are ignoramuses and Allah Ta’ala is all-knowing and all-wise. How can the ignorant comprehensively understand the One who is all wise? We are perishable whilst Allah Ta’ala is ever-lasting. How can the perishable comprehend the One who is ever-lasting? Therefore, we should not even try and fathom the existence of Allah Ta’ala. We should go on saying, “Allahu Akbar,” for whatever we believe to understand or seem to understand.

Allah Ta’ala is far above whatever we can even begin to comprehend. If we read the third kalimah, bearing these points in mind, then insha-Allah, we will acquire the noor and blessings of these mubaarak words.

The greatest bounty

When reciting durood shareef we should contemplate upon this fact that, from the innumerable favours bestowed upon us from Allah Ta’ala, the greatest favour showered upon us is that we are the ummatees (followers) of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Allah Ta’ala has sent Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) for our guidance. Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has many rights over us and the greater the blessing or favour enjoyed by us, the greater the gratitude we need to express for it.

Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan, addressing Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam):

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّـهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ

“It is through the mercy of Allah Ta’ala that you (O Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)) are soft with the people.” (Aal Imraan:159)

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was extremely soft and gentle in his dealings with people. Anybody could ask Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) for anything they desired.

لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّـهُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ 

“Indeed, Allah Ta’ala has bestowed a great favour on the Believers when He sent to them a Messenger from amongst themselves who recited to them the Qur’aan, taught them its laws, purified their souls and taught them the hikmah.”(Aal Imraan:164)

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is a great favour upon us. Therefore, we ought to express the appropriate amount of gratitude. Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) himself has showed us an easy way to express our gratitude for this favour, i.e. following the sunnah and reciting durood shareef abundantly. If we lead our lives according to the sunnah and recite durood shareef in abundance, we will be displaying true gratitude.

A gift to the beloved

Recitation of durood shareef is no difficult task. It is recorded in the hadeeth that whoever recites durood shareef once, Allah Ta’ala sends down ten mercies upon him.

It appears in another hadeeth that Allah Ta’ala has appointed a group of angels who traverse the earth in search of those who recite durood. When any person recites durood, these angels take the durood and convey it to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

It is recorded in the ahaadeeth that an angel is appointed by the qabr-e-mubaarak (blessed grave) of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) with the sole duty of informing Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) of the durood conveyed upon him. He mentions not only the name of the one who has recited the durood but also the individual’s father’s name. Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) becomes pleased and makes du’aa-e-rahmat for that person. What a great favour it is of Allah Ta’ala on us that He has permitted Durood to be conveyed to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) who, in turn, makes du’aa-e-rahmat for us. It is essential that we abundantly recite durood shareef.

When reciting durood shareef, we should visualise that our durood is being taken by the angels and presented to Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) who in turn becomes extremely pleased and makes du’aa-e-rahmat for us.

Those who do not recite durood shareef should take heed of the warnings mentioned, for not reciting durood in the ahaadeeth. It is recorded in one hadeeth: “Indeed, distant from the gardens of Jannah is he who did not recite durood upon me when my name was mentioned in his presence.”

In another hadeeth it is mentioned: “He who does not recite durood upon me when my name is taken in his presence is a miser.”

Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has also stated in another narration: “That person, who did not recite durood upon me when my name was mentioned in his presence, has done a great injustice to me.”

When reciting durood, we should bear in mind the warnings narrated in the ahaadeeth for not reciting durood and the rewards for reciting durood. A lesser number of durood recited with attention, keeping in mind the rewards and warnings mentioned have a greater chance of acceptance than a voluminous number of durood recited inattentively. Similarly, if du’aas, durood, istighfaar, etc., are recited in the abovementioned manner, one will reap tremendous benefit thereof.

However, if these azkaar are made with underlying intentions that whatever knowledge which is contained in the seven skies and the seven earths should be revealed to oneself, this will be a momentous error, not to mention that it is also contrary to ikhlaas. Our desire should be to gain only the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.

The extent of the happiness of Allah Ta’ala is unknown to us, but an avenue of attaining His pleasure is adherence to the sunnah. Whatever action is done following the sunnah will be a means of winning the pleasure of Allah.

Advice of Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه regarding tasbeeh

Once someone complained to Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه that he spends a great deal of time in reciting tasbeeh but he didn’t find any benefit from it. Moulana advised him to recite tasbeeh with an attentive heart, keeping in mind what I have explained.

“If you recite tasbeeh with sincerity,” Moulana pointed out, “you will certainly receive such rewards. And if you do not receive it, then on the Day of Qiyaamah, catch me by the hand, take me in front of Allah Ta’ala and say: “O Allah Ta’ala! This person has deceived me.”

Our primary goal in life is to attain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. Kashf (divine inspiration), karaamat (miracle), ‘enlivening’ of the heart, inspiration or seeing visions of the angels are not the objectives.

So near, yet so far

If we do not acquire any of these, but attain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, we have achieved our goal. If on the other hand, we acquire certain supernatural qualities like kashf, this is no real accomplishment as kashf is a quality that is gained through effort. It is not a sign of acceptance. Acceptance and attaining proximity and a high rank are two separate entities. Neither is proximity necessary for gaining acceptance, nor is acceptance a pre-requisite for proximity.

A king appoints his son as a governor in a certain country. Daily, the son receives instructions from the king and implements the rulings in his country. Now apparently, it would seem that the son is distant from his father as he does not have proximity with his father. However, this could not be further from the truth. The son has gained acceptance from his father. His father appreciates his services and gleefully reads the progress reports of that place.

On the contrary, we have a thief who manages to break into the king’s palace to steal the royal treasury. He apparently has close proximity with the king but, if he gets caught, he will suffer a severe punished.

Thus, he who does not have Imaan and doesn’t follow Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) cannot enter Jannah and gain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala even though, through his efforts, his heart is ‘enlivened’ or brightened up.

The yogi from Himalaya

A Yogi who used to stay in the Himalaya Mountains and performed spiritual exercises, came to Gangoh and accepted Islam at the hands of Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه.

He narrated the following episode: “In the Himalaya Mountains I had seen a pillar of light, stretching from the earth and reaching the sky. I went in its direction to see from where it was originating and I saw that it was coming from Gangoh.”

As a result of his spiritual exercises, he could see Moulana Gangohi’s spiritual effulgence right from the Himalaya Mountains, whereas Moulana’s students, who were with him in Gangoh, couldn’t see it. They did not indulge in these types of exercises, hence they could not perceive it.

He began to see animals and orchards …

Whilst sitting in the majlis of Moulana Gangohi رحمة الله عليه, a person experienced kashf. Animals, orchards and gardens, that were distant away, were made visible to him. He had spent a short while enjoying these experiences when Moulana angrily said: “Who is engaged in this futility? Is this the purpose of coming here?”

At that time, Moulana had lost his sight. Thus, everyone was clueless as to who the culprit was. The moment Moulana mentioned these words, that person’s kashf terminated.

The pigeon and the Neem tree

This is just a type of amusement that comes by the way and if we are going to become embroiled in these types of activities, how can we ever reach our goal? If one experiences these types of events, one should close one’s eyes and pay no attention to them, because this is not one’s objective and goal. Our goal is to gain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.

These qualities are not something experienced by the pious only. My respected father used to say that even animals have acquired this quality. He once narrated to me: “In our garden, a wild pigeon had built its nest in a neem tree. If it were going to rain in the night, the pigeon would not rest in the nest but rather fly into the house as soon as evening began setting in. Accordingly, we were also ‘informed’ that it would rain during the night.”

The Hindu and the rain

There was a Hindu in our village. Allah Ta’ala only knows what his name was. Anyhow, in the summer months, he used to sleep on the porch. He also informed us if it was going to rain during the night or not. When questioned in this regard, he replied: “If it was going to rain at night, my dog will remain indoors, otherwise it sleeps with me. Through this, I come to know whether it is going to rain or not.”

What is the need in exerting so much effort to attain something that kaafirs and animals have acquired? The scholars have explained that the piety and sainthood of a saint who did not experience such events, is far superior to the saint who has had such experiences. The reason being that the Imaan of the former is based totally on the unseen. Nothing of the unseen has been ‘revealed’ to him.

Child’s play

Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed رحمة الله عليه began ‘seeing’ certain supernatural visions on the nights of Lailat-ul-Qadr and Lailat-ul-Baraa’ah. He had seen the stars, the trees and the ocean prostrating. He related these experiences, to his shaikh, Shah Abdul Azeez رحمة الله عليه. Shah Sahib advised him in the following manner, “These are experiences which the children of the spiritual path experience.”

These conditions are not worth paying any due attention towards. The only real objective and goal in life, is to attain the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. If our intentions and methodology are correct then, insha-Allah, we will be successful. If our actions are in accordance to the sunnah and done solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala we will, insha-Allah, be successful.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the taufeeq (ability) to practise on what has been mentioned. Aameen.

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