Spiritual Practices for the Seekers of Allah Ta’ala
1.) In the state of wudhu, clean clothes, with perfume applied, faced towards the qiblah, meditate over the fact that your grave is before your eyes. Before everything else, negate your own self. Thereafter negate everything other than Allah and recite 100 times لا اله الا الله
When you say لا اله then you meditate that all the beloved things of this temporary world and all the false idols (which have taken shape in the form of carnal desires in my heart) are being negated.
Meditate that a pillar of light from the ‘Arsh of Allah Ta’ala is entering your heart when you say الا الله
2.) For Males: Make zikr of ismuz-zaat by saying الله the blessed name of Allah Ta`ala 100 times. Imagine that with your tongue, the heart is also saying the name of Allah. For Females: Make tasbeeh by saying Subhaanallah 100 times.
3.) Recitation of Istighfaar 100 times .
4.) Send prayers upon the beloved Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) by reading 100 times صلّي الله علي النبي الامّي
5.) Recitation of the Qur’an Majeed: A person should try to recite a much as possible. In addition, one should be punctual in reciting Surah Yaseen. After reciting the Qur’an Majeed, one should supplicate thus: “O Allah! We have recited your blessed words. And we have recited the “heart” of your words. O Allah, through the blessings of the ‘heart’ of your words, purify our hearts and grant us complete purification and bestow us sound hearts.”
6.) Recite one manzil of Munajaat-ul-Maqbool.
7.) Meditate upon death, scenes of the grave, the Resurrection, the Judgment, and Hell-fire.
NOTE: Those who suffer from depression or have weak hearts should NOT do the above meditations.
8.) One should be punctual in attending the gatherings and company of one’s shaikh. In his absence, one should study those books that he recommends. Namely, Qasdus-Sabeel, Behishti Zewar (part 7), and Malfuzaat of Hazrat Thanwi (rahimahullah) are some beneficial books for purification of the nafs.
9.) One should visit the graveyard from time to time and take lesson there from the transitory nature and futility of this world.
10.) Visit the pious people of your locality from time to time and get their blessings and prayers.
11.) Protect your gaze from faces of beautiful men and women (who are not permissible for you to look at). Shaytaan leads the seekers of Allah away from Him by occupying them with lust for temporary beauty. He lures them to waste their passions and love which was meant for the True Eternal Beloved, in the forbidden, short-term lust of these worldly corpses.
12.) Perform two rak’ats of salaatut-taubah (prayer of repentance) daily for all one’s sins. It is best for one to shed some tears of regret. However, if one is unable to do so, then he or she should at least try to imitate a crying person.
One should supplicate thus: “O Allah! Forgive all of my sins. Save me from the evil effects of my wrongdoings. Save me from the harm, which it has caused to my sense of shame and modesty. For through this shamelessness from sins, one is deprived of the status of mushahadah.”
Mullah Ali Qari writes in Mirqaat:
فان حقيقة الحياء؛ أن مولاك لا يراك حيث نهاك. و هذا مقام الاحسان يسمّى بالمشاهدة.
“…For the reality of shame and modesty is that your Master should not see you in that state which He has forbidden you. And this is the rank of Ihsaan (perfection in consciousness of Allah Ta`ala) which is also known as the status of mushahadah.” (Mirqaat; Vol. 1, Pg. 70)
Perform two rak’ats of salaatul Haajah, (prayer of request) and ask Allah Ta`ala with sincerity to purify you of your spiritual diseases and grant you the ability to abstain from all sins. If it is possible, one should supplicate with the following words, which are established from the sunnah, a quicker acceptance is hoped by supplicating with these words.
13.) One should make a sincere effort to abstain from three deadly sins in particular:
a.) LUSTFUL GLANCES: the heart becomes defiled through this sin. One should immediately resort to taubah and istighfar. It is also recommended that one prays a few rak’ats of nafl and give some money in charity.
NOTE: Allah Ta’ala has told us that the performance of good deeds does away with the sins. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) also has advised us in the hadith sharif to follow up your slips and mistakes with good deeds; they will eradicate your sins.
b.) UNNECESARY SUSPICION: Do not have ill thoughts and suspicions of one’s shaikh, pious people, and of all Muslims in general. Rather one should consider oneself the lowest of all creation and if any good deed or righteousness is being performed, then one should consider it the bestowal of Allah and thank Allah for granting one the ability to do so.
c.) BACK-BITING: Most backbiting occurs from pride and self-conceit, as a sick person who is suffering from a terminal illness cannot laugh or talk about someone with a common cold. How can we talk about the condition of others?
NOTE: Abstinence from these three sins in particular will make it easy to stay away from all the other sins.
14.) One should not miss their prescribed, daily wazifas/wirds. One should specify a time for performing them. If they cannot be performed at that time, then they should be made up later. If they cannot be performed that day, then they should be done on another day. It should not happen that one becomes totally hopeless and leaves his wazifas/wirds completely.
NOTE: (If for instance, due to being too busy or other overwhelming circumstances, a person cannot perform 100 zikrs, then one should reduce the amount to half; if that cannot be done, then to 33, if that cannot even be done then one should not go to sleep till at least 10 times zikr is performed.
This is like the example of a person who is traveling. Everyone knows that on a journey a person cannot have a home-cooked meal and enjoy him or her self as they do at home. Does this mean that one should remain hungry and thirsty? Of course not, rather a person will at least have some chips and juice on the go so that one does not become dehydrated. Similarly, one should be just as afraid of spiritual dehydration and should not deprive oneself completely of one’s spiritual food, even if it might be a small amount. This is because missing zikr deprives the soul of its sustenance, just as missing a meal deprives the body of its nourishment.)
15.) Another essential point to remember is that if one does not experience enjoyment and ecstasies in his zikr, then know that the fact one is taking the exalted and blessed name of Allah Ta’ala is the greatest endowment of all.
Un-enjoyable zikr is sufficient for attaining the closeness of Allah Ta`ala and the unveiling of His special proximity.
In addition, if a person becomes habituated to a sin and is unable to abandon it, then one should fully explain one’s problem in detail to the shaikh, consulting him for treatment and remedy. After practically applying the shaikh’s prescription one should inform him of any progress or regress. One should make and effort to abstain from sins.
However, remember, not being able to overcome a habitual sin does not mean one should also abandon good deeds. If one cannot leave Ghair-Allah, one should not abandon Allah Ta’ala either. What foolishness would it be that one could not leave strangers, so one should abandon the Beloved?
Inshallah, if a person continues to struggle and in spite of returning back to sins, one continues to lament and shed tears repentance and does not forsake the path to Allah, then in the end, with the mercy of Allah Ta’ala, this person will be rewarded with victory over his nafs, Shaytaan and evil deeds.
16.) Last, but definitely not least, the most important word of advice is that every action should be performed according to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi WA Sallam). One should find out what those sunnats are and apply them to one’s every day life such as sunnats of eating, drinking, sleeping, going to the bathroom. One should also memorize the du`as taught by the Beloved Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi WA Sallam) for different occasions and apply them.
The reward for reviving one Sunnah in our times wherein mischief is rife and negligence of the deen and Sunnah is common, is like attaining the reward of 100 martyrs.
These are 16 principles which have been mentioned for the benefit of the seekers of Allah Ta`ala. I pray that Allah make it a means to attain success in His path. Aameen.
Writer: (Hazrat Maulana Hakeem) Muhammad Akhtar (‘afallahu anhu)
It has been narrated by Ahmad, Abu Daud, Nasa`i, Ibn Majah, and Tabarani from Ma`qal ibn Yasar that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Surah Yaseen is the heart of the Qur’an.”