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The Different Levels of Taqwa

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 17th May)

1. Hazrat Mufti Mahmood Saheb (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) and Hazratjee Ml. Maseehullah (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) were contemporaries and studying together. Much of the good works that we find nowadays is linked directly or indirectly to them. During their studying days, they never stretched out their hands to anyone, even if they required something. They possessed true taqwa.

Taqwa generally translates as guarding yourself. It has three levels: (1) Protecting yourself against shirk – this is found in every Muslim. (2) Safeguarding yourself against the disobedience of Allah Ta‘ala – This is the way of a committed Muslim. (3) The third level which is the highest level is that of the auliyaa and siddeqeen. One reaches a stage where his mind and heart are continuously flourishing with the pleasure and love of Allah Ta‘ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). He does not find any interest and excitement in anything else.

2. The difference between these great auliyaa and us is that they have a direct line with Allah Ta‘ala without even an exchange line. In the past, when phoning to a distance you had to phone through the exchange. This is our condition where we have an indirect line. Sometimes the link is even higher where they see Allah Ta‘ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). It is like how we have Skype. Their forecast and projection is Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Since we don’t have it we have to take enjoyment from going to this park and that garden. If we really have it, then there will be no need for all of this.

3. This is a relationship with Allah Ta‘ala and Jannah. So it is not cheap. Allah Ta‘ala demands that you should be focused. The pagan Arabs used to make offerings to Allah Ta‘ala and their idols and gods. In doing so, if there was a shortfall on the side of the idols then they would take from the lot of Allah Ta‘ala, but if there was a shortfall on the lot for Allah Ta‘ala, they would never take from the lot of the gods to even it out. The point to understand is that we have time for Allah Ta‘ala and time for friends. It can be that we tip the balance at times; we will give extra time to friends, but does it ever happen that we tell the friends that we have to leave their company in order to complete our tilaawat and zikr etc.

4. The 3rd level comes when we abandon all the extras. The thing is that we should not be obsessed and consumed by these things, where we begin to start thinking of what we will leave for our future, the future of our children and grandchildren. The simple thing is that we should work with moderation; otherwise we will do everything for their dunya but nothing for their deen.

5. Many a times we do not know the pious people that are in our midst. Sometimes in a bayaan or even in the classroom, good ideas and thoughts come to mind on account of the piety and sincerity of someone in the crowd. Hence, we cannot undermine any believer, and therefore we should consider every believer to be a million times better than ourselves. Thinking of how low you are has many benefits; otherwise, pride will have the better over you. We can only see the apparent of people, but what is within his heart, we cannot see that.

6. Sometimes a person has a bad ending, but it is not that it occurred all of a sudden. Rather it was always within him, but it just surfaced at the end. A person was in jihaad and fighting valiantly and the Sahaabah (radiyallahu ‘anhum) were amazed at him. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said that he is from the people of Jahannum. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were surprised at this. It so happened that during the battle he was injured and could not withstand the pain and eventually killed himself and committed suicide. So this surfaced right at the end. Overall, if a person is concerned, then he will come out of the evil. He will not justify his wrongs. The person who continuously justifies his stance then the evil of it will surface right at the end.

7. The most dangerous thing is to remain stationary. Before the day can come when we will wish for a few more moments, we should prepare ourselves. How do we prepare ourselves? This path of tasawwuf is for all. It is not for the ‘Ulama only. The path of piety and righteousness is one of the departments of nubuwwat – wa yuzakkeehim – to purify people from physical and spiritual impurities. Overall, the more broken down you are, the chances are greater. The one with a broken down car, he will say before a journey, “Insha-Allah we will go.” But his ‘insha-Allah’ is full of confidence and reliance. His heart is in Allah Ta‘ala and all his confidence is in Allah Ta‘ala. However, we should not experiment and try to put ourselves in a situation. If we are not of that level then we should move gradually.

Nowadays, one of the main reasons for us not progressing is that we do not consult with our elders, whether parents or deeni elders. Why don’t we consult? It is because of pride. So without this we will not progress. The affinity should be built up. It is like a person wishing to do hifz. He will have to first learn ‘alif, baa, taa’. If such a person says that it is below my dignity to sit before the ustaaz and learn ‘alif, baa’, will he ever progress?

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