Q&A: Solutions to Your Spiritual Diseases
We are very pleased to announce that by the taufeeq of Allah Ta`ala, through this An-Noor blog, Allah Ta`ala has helped us start up this Q&A section which allows people who are connected to this Silsilah, who would like to get connected, and/or those who would like to take on the path of sulook to Allah Ta`ala, to express their spiritual ailments and get remedy and advice from mujaazeen—scholars who have been given Khilaafah and Ijaazah (license and permission) in the path of spirituality by Hazrat Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Sahib (DB), who was the special attendant of Maulana Shah Muhammad Ahmad Sahib Pratabgadhi Naqshbandi (RA), and Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (RA) and the khalifah of Maulana Shah Abrar-ul-Haq (RA), the latter two were Khalifahs of Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA). Hazrat Thanwi (RA) was a khalifah of Hazrat Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (RA), who had Ijaazat and Khilaafat in all four silsilahs/tareeqahs.
Alhamdulillah, this legacy of Hakim ul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) is still being carried on through the blessings and efforts of our Shaikh, Hazrat Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Sahib (daamat barakaatuhum).
Many a time, people who decide to tread the path of sulook and tasawwuf by connecting themselves to a shaikh have the notion that they will magically reach the status of wilayah (friendship and closeness to Allah) merely through their connection and link with their shaikh. This is an absolutely erroneous and misleading notion because the duty of the shaikh is simply to show and be a guide to the path, not to carry the mureed on his back. The mureed must traverse the path to Allah Ta`ala himself and get guidance from the shaikh along the way.
Our beloved Shaikh, Hazrat Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Sahib (daamat barakaatuhum) has said that there are two main foundations of this path of tasawwuf (derived from the Qur`an):
1.) Suhbat: Adopting the company of the pious:
واصبر نفسك مع الذين يدعون ربهم بالغدوة والعشيِّ يريدون وجهه…
“…And withhold yourself (in the company) of those who remember their Lord, morning and evening desiring His Sublime Being…” (Surah Kahf: 28 )
2.) Mujaahadah: Struggling to Fight the Nafs:
والذين جاهدوا فينا لنهدينهم سبلنا…
“And (as for) those who strive hard (struggle) for Us, We will most certainly guide them to our paths….” (Surah Ankabut: 69)
Thus, the essence of tasawwuf is to struggle to acquire islaah-e-nafs (rectification of the character) through the company of a qualified shaikh.
Rectification of one’s character consists of beautifying oneself with akhlaq-e-Muhammadiyya (the prophetic characteristics and morals), and ridding oneself of akhlaq-e-radhilah (evil, satanic traits).
Thus, if a person wants to acquire the essence and objective of tasawwuf he must endeavor to rectify his character more than anything else. The method for this is to have an islaahi ta`alluq (a reformative connection) with one’s shaikh.
Someone wrote to Hazrat Hakimul Ummah saying, “I do not know the way to rectify myself and acquire “islaah-e-nafs”. I am totally ignorant of this matter. Please, for the sake of Allah, advise me in this matter.”
Hazrat Thanwi’s reply: “The method is that you should write to me your spiritual ailments one by one and ask me for their remedies. I will prescribe the appropriate remedy and after practically implementing that remedy you must inform me of your condition.”
(Tarbiyat us Salik; Vol.2 Pg. 20)
The islaahi-letters are letters which a mureed writes to his shaikh to inform the shaikh of his spiritual state and, in turn, get remedy and advice from the shaikh to rectify his condition.
There are four conditions which Hazrat Hakim ul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) mentioned that one needs in order to benefit from having a Shaikh, otherwise making an islahi connection is just another custom for the sake of name or show.
And you will hear people proudly boasting, “I’m bay’ah to such and such Shaikh…” or “I have an islahi ta`alluq with so and so..” but when you see their akhlaaq and a’maal and life, there is no special difference in their life in comparison to someone else’s life who is not linked to a Shaikh…The reason for this is that there is no islaahi activity taking place, whether it be suhbat or islaahi letters or mashwara of one’s condition via letters, email, or on the phone, etc.
Those 4 conditions are:
(1) (اطلاع) TO INFORM THE SHAIKH OF YOUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION. This is mainly done through the islaahi letters, etc.
(2) (اتباع) TO FOLLOW THE SHAIKH’S ADVICE.
(3) (اعتماد) TO RELY UPON THE ADVICE AND COUNSEL OF THE SHAIKH.
(4) (انقياد) TO FIRMLY ADHERE AND IMPLEMENT WHATEVER THE SHAIKH ADVISES ONE TO DO FOR ONE’S REFORMATION.
All these points are directly connected with suhbat of the Shaikh and/or the islaahi-letters.
Some people make the excuse of not writing to the Shaikh saying they have a difficult time “expressing” themselves in writing. The solution to this is easy, and that is: you don’t need to “express” yourself and write your entire autobiography; all you need to do is write your spiritual condition, i.e. what is wrong with you and what wrong you are involved in, similar to the manner in which you tell a doctor how you are feeling, or what is bothering you.
Here is an example:
HAAL (spiritual condition):
Respected Shaikh, Assalaamu alaikum…
For a long time now, I just do not have the ability to control my gaze. However much a try, I still fail in controlling my eyes. Any woman that passes by, I glance at her lustfully. Please counsel me as to how to save myself from this disease.
(insert name here)
The example reply to this is as follows:
REPLY AND REMEDY:
Wa alaikumus salaam…. The statement you made about not having the “ability” to control your gaze is incorrect. It is a known fact and an established principle of human nature that, if a person has the ability look, then he definitely has the ability not to look. If he has the ability to sin, then he definitely has the ability not to sin.
The fact of the matter is that you are not using that God-given ability. Hazrat Hakim ul Ummat Thanwi (RA) said: “There is no other remedy for the disease of continuous sinning (whether it be casting evil and lustful glances or any other sin) except to do three things:
1. To use your Himmah God-given inner-strength. Have courage and face your “fears”… that fear that “what if I don’t look at her… what will happen if I lower my gaze? If I leave sinning then I will get bored and go into depression… maybe I should go slowly into deen or else I won’t be able to handle it. I’m still young and strong… what a waste of my youth….”
These are all whisperings of shaytaan, who wants you to delay with these childish and cowardly excuses so that your heart totally becomes black in sinning which will lead to never being able to make taubah again.
Tell yourself, “I CAN DO IT… SINNING IS NOT GOOD FOR ME… IF SINS WERE GOOD, THEN WHY DID ALLAH FORBID IT? SINS ARE CANDY-COATED POISON….“
SINS ARE LIKE AN ITCH, IT FEELS REALLY GOOD TO SCRATCH IT, BUT AFTER YOU’RE DONE AND YOUR SKIN IS RIPPED UP AND BLEEDING, THEN IT DOESN’T FEEL GOOD ANYMORE.
Tell yourself, “I will not use this body which Allah created for His obedience to commit sin and live the life of a disobedient servant. O Nafs! This body does not belong to you! It belongs to Allah, so don’t exploit it to whatever shaytaan tells you to do.”
Use your Himmah. Be strong, fight your nafs and say that you can.
2. The second remedy to continuous sinning is to pray to Allah Ta`ala to help you use that Himmah and ability He granted and to take you away from a life of sin.
3. The third remedy is to ask the pious servants of Allah Ta`ala to make dua for you so that you use the ability to stay away from sin.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT POINT:
These letters should strictly contain questions about spiritual diseases and their remedies. If however there is a mas’alah (Deeni question) related to one’s spiritual disease then there is no harm in mentioning it.
How many problems should I mention?
You should mention only one spiritual disease or problem at a time… when you get the answer to one, practice on the advice given for a week or two weeks, then write back whether you benefited or not, in this way, you continue to the next one and the next, and so on…
What if I have no spiritual haal?
If you have no spiritual condition, and feel like you are in a spiritual slump…. then you just mention this:
“Respected Shaikh, I have no spiritual haal at the moment. Please make du’a that Allah Ta’ala rectifies my character and grants me the Imaan and Yaqeen of His beloved servants…
Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Akhtar Sahib (daamat barakaatuhum) mentioned that as long as this letter remains (with the shaikh’s dua in it) then Allah Ta’ala will continue to shower down blessings upon you…. even if the shaikh has passed away, the words of his du’as are preserved on paper.
May Allah Ta`ala give us the ability to value and benefit from this great opportunity.