Sulook: The Thanwi Way

In today’s time, Hazrat Thanwi (RA) had his own special way of reforming conduct and character, and purifying the soul. This was done with his special brand of reformative and revivalist education and training. The objectives of Sulook are to be obtained through strict conformity to the Qur’an and Sunnah. That way the salikeen and those who seek to tread the path to Allah will undergo a rigorous training and education. It is designed in such a way that anyone with any spiritual capability can tread this path without severe difficulty and doubt, can be in tune with the purposes of the path, and can soon succeed.

Allah blessed Hazrat Thanwi (RA) with a special understanding of the issues of Sulook and a unique foresightedness that was unparalleled. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) himself says as a reverent expression of the bounty of Allah upon him (Tahdeeth Bin-Ni’mah), “The bounty of Allah which I have I shall express, that is that for the training of one’s inner-self (tarbiyat-ul-Baatin), Allah has endowed me with many easy methods. Allah has also blessed me with a special understanding of how to diagnose spiritual diseases. Seldom do I falter in this regard, and mostly my treatments prove to be correct and beneficial. All of this is due to the duas, blessings, and attention of Hazrat Haji Sahib (RA). He was an Imam in the field of Tasawwuf. He was a revivalist (Mujaddid) and a Mujtahid in the field of Tasawwuf. That branch of Islam which had passed away was given a new life by Hazrat Haji Sahib (RA).” Hazrat Thanwi used to say, “Whatever goal a person has, it can never be attained unless the proper means are utilized. Correct social conduct (tahzeeb-ul-Akhlaaq) and Purification of the soul (Tazkiyat-un-nafs) are also important, fundamental, and foundational aspects of our Deen. In order to achieve this, the principles of the Quran and Sunnah must be utilized. Without this the goal can never be reached. In my opinion, this is extremely important, and the whole foundation of my teachings and trainings are based on these principles. I believe that rectification of character (tahzeeb-ul-Akhlaaq) should be at the forefront of the Tareeq. Thus, when one’s akhlaaq are corrected, their a’maal automatically become rectified. This is why from the onset this understanding is instilled within the seeker.” Hazrat Thanwi (RA) would often explain that zikr etc. are very necessary and beneficial undoubtedly, but when one’s akhlaaq and a’maal are not corrected, then this forms such a barrier which stops the anwaar and barakaat of zikr to permeate into the rooh (soul). That is why until Islah of one’s akhlaaq and a’maal is made, zikr is of very little benefit, if any at all. Generally, those sufis and Mashaa’ikh who do not completely comprehend this reality stress mostly upon zikr and Ashgaal, and not much attention is paid towards the Islah of akhlaaq and a’maal. Thus resulting in the seeker being unaware of the actual aim and purpose of the Tareeq, and is always running after ahwaal and kaifiyaat, and is deprived from attaining the pleasure of Allah. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) has, with this important, and often overlooked point, given notice to the saalikeen, that they be aware of this notion that Tahzeeb-ul-Akhlaaq comes first, and he has made this a principle of his method of tarbiyah. By doing so, he has advised the taalibeeen and saalikeen to rectify their akhlaaq and a’maal first and foremost. He would say, “If a person does zikr and shaghl, I do not value it until their akhlaaq and a’maal are rectified. There is an enjoyment in zikr and shaghl, and if not done, then one feels restless. The real ‘amal is when the nafs is pressured, then to attain the pleasure of Allah, one utilizes that ‘amal. In this way, even if the person has to bear some difficulty upon themselves, they will do it, but they will surely fulfill the right of the other person.” (Ashraf-us-Sawaanih)

To make dharb (to sway one’s head during zikr) for two hours is not difficult. Make some effort for a little while, and then you are free. That person should come to me, who wants to, day and night, saw his nafs. On every step his concern should be what is permissible and what is impermissible.

To develop within the taalibeen the importance of Deen and the concern of halal and haram is the real karamat, and miracle of the shaikh, and is a clear sign of the shaikh being a Sahib-e-Faidh wa barakah (Man of spiritual benefit and blessings), and this is also the actual responsibility of the shaikh.

In one place Hazrat Thanwi (RA) said, “I do not have as much importance of other matters as I do towards the rectification of akhlaaq. The reason is that learning and teaching is being done everywhere which is also important, but rarely is any attention focused towards the akhlaaq of the students. For example, I do not even take much notice of who prayed salat with jama’at and who did not, because firstly their could have been a valid excuse for missing the congregation, secondly, this only puts the person in distress and does not cause harm to another person. As opposed to that person who does not know how to properly conduct himself, and he does something which inconveniences someone else and puts someone else in a state of difficulty. This is why we focus more on these issues.” (Ashraf-us-Sawaanih)

-Note: This last paragraph in in no way a license for people to skip the congregational prayer. Hazrat Thanwi (RA) used this as an example only to emphasize his point made earlier. Obviously, the congretional prayers are part of the Quran and Sunnah, which, as mentioned above, are the foundation of our tareeq.  Disregard for congregational prayers without a valid shar’i excuse would be tantamount to disregard of the Quran and Sunnah.  Negligence in this regard is detrimental for progress of saalik regardless. I hope this expels any confusion. Nonetheless, if still there is some confusion, or something someone doesn’t understand, please ask, and Insha Allah we will try to clarify it. The point of this post was just to mention the underlining khasaai’s (specifics) of the Thanwi silsilah.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Aadaab-Etiquettes and Manners, Ahwaal, Akaabir, Connection with Allah, Fadhaail, Fikr, Fiqh, Love of Allah, Muraqabah, Razaail, Zikr

One Comment on “Sulook: The Thanwi Way”

  1. Abu Yahya Says:

    To see a practical and living example of Hazrat Thanwi’s tazkiya and tarbiyat one should just spend some time in the auspicious company of Hazrat Maulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (damat barakatuhum). Just in matter of 3 days (maybe even less) a person will start to a attain and understanding of what it is that Allah Ta`ala truly wants of us and how we may acquire that. I have experienced this first hand myself, and others who have also seen Hazrat and spent time in his company can also attest to this fact.


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