The Focal Point in Sulook

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 18th October)

A shaikh-e-tareeqat has to be a mujtahid. This means that he has to investigate every case individually and then work out the program for the individual. There are different approaches to reforming an individual that were adopted by the Chishtiyah and Naqshbandiyah. It is like the difference between a doctor and a hakeem. The approach of the past hakeems was that they would diagnose the illness and attempt to remove the illness. As the illness is removed the body regains its strength since it is the illness that is preventing the energy from building. The doctor looks at it differently; he provides the patient with energy and in turn the energy will push out the illness. Both are mujtahids and experts in their field and they have specialised. In tareeqat and sulook, the same applies. The Naqshbandi approach is to provide the energy. Hence, in the past they would start off with zikr as soon as the person comes to the khanqah. The Chishtiyah in the past would remove the illness first.

In their understanding, the greatest problem is pride, so they will use some technique to expel it. But they do not spell it out to the mureed that this is the technique. So at times, the shaikh will test him unawares and try to bring this tawaadhu’ within him and wipe out the pride. From the very beginning of this journey the shaikh will try to instil fana (annihilation and humility) and the deeper it gets the more the progress. It is like piling when constructing a building. The deeper you go down the higher the building. Then the shaikh will assess the capacity and ability of the mureed, and examine his level of commitment. Accordingly a program will be worked out.

For example, under normal circumstances wealth is permissible if it is used correctly. Now you get a situation of the as-haabus suffah. They were those Sahaabah who had dedicated themselves entirely for learning deen from Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and remaining in the musjid all the time. This was their only motive, hence people viewed them differently. Others were still engaged in their businesses etc. On the other hand, the needs of the as-haabus suffah were seen to by the other Sahaabah. Hence, they were not allowed to keep any wealth with them as they had made this type of a commitment.

If you want something to happen then there is a procedure to follow to achieve it. If you follow it then you will come through, but Allah Ta‘ala Himself is not subject to any system. This is the system of Allah. Your work is to join the line and then it is the choice of Allah as to who He gives preference and there can be no questions asked.

It is like a garden boy who comes to seek employment in a company. Once he is given a duty, he needs to see to it that he does his work. He cannot ask the manager of the company as to why does another person have another position, for the manager of the company feels that he cannot be questioned, since he has all the authority and control. So when you cannot question the manager who is a human like you then how can you question Allah?

In everything there has to be a balance for the system to continue and function smoothly. If there is an overpopulation of cattle, or insects, or cockroaches then the system of this world will not function smoothly. Allah has Himself made out this balance. However, the treasures of Allah Ta‘ala are limitless. He has no restrictions, but He sends down with measured proportion.

In this world, different people have different talents and tendencies and one is dependent on the other. For the smallest of things we are dependent. No matter how wealthy you may be, but you are still dependant on your wife. Without her you cannot survive. So what Allah wants from us is that we think of ourselves to be part of the ordinary rank and file and not above others. You may feel that on account of the little authority that Allah has given you nobody can question you, yet when you compare yourself to the rest you are nothing. As an individual you are worth nothing to Allah. Hence the right thing is to accept what Allah decides and not to question His authority.

The thing that we have come to learn here at a khanqah is humility and servitude. It is the most priceless thing in the kingdom of Allah, for in the heavens there is only honour and respect. So it is a rare commodity. Therefore, it fetches such a high price and the place to display it is in this world. However, this humility has to be real, it should not be a mere verbal utterance. Your behaviour should display it.

In the Chishtiyah this is the first thing that the shaikh wants; to break yourself. This is termed as fasl and wasl. He breaks away some things from you and takes it out of your system and then he puts certain things into your system. Initially the Chishtiyah would take out all the evils and they would earmark hubb-e-jaah (love for recognition) and hubb-e-maal (love for wealth). These are the two main obstructions in the path of one’s progress. When one has recognition and wealth he begins to feel that he has all the might and clout. After all, what was the problem and downfall of iblees. He had ‘ibaadat, ‘ilm and the recognition of Allah to his credit. However, what he lacked was this humility or ishq and love. Had he had love and humility he would have complied immediately without questioning. Every other problem stems out from these two. Shaitaan had malice and jealousy for Aadam (‘alaihis salaam) because of pride. Even gheebat is a product of pride, for you will not backbite about someone who is much senior then yourself for you recognise his superiority. But if it is a contemporary then one feels that he is lower than me and one backbites about him. So this is the program where you will have to detach from all vices and then attach yourself to Allah. So this pride and all other evils have to be removed, but through the help of someone who knows how to do go about doing it. And it does not come out overnight. You had it in your system for so long, hence it will take some time before it is removed.

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