Having now mentioned about stories from the lives and Haj of the righteous saintly ones, I wish to end this chapter. There are many more to relate, and so much more to tell because in these fourteen hundred years of our history so many wonderful things have happened to the truly beloved one’s of Allah and so many more are the incidents that happen daily with these sincere ones. I have chosen to stop after quoting seventy incidents only, because in the hadith too the number seventy is described as many.
Let it be known that when reading or listening to such incidents three things are important.
(a) In these stories the incidents are mostly based upon mystical love for the Divine Being. The laws, regulations, prescriptions and prohibitions in such cases are different from the general laws to which we all are subject. The expression of such love is not governed by generally accepted principles and cannot be acquired by learning and teaching, but only by falling in such love for ‘Love alone teaches the ways of love.’ One only has to strive and endeavor to acquire it and thereafter it becomes easy whereby every difficulty disappears. And whatever is easy for the lover is indeed an insurmountable obstacle for others. That which is pleasure for them brings destruction to the un-initiated. Those caught up in this great ocean drive the utmost ecstasy therefrom. For this reason one should look at these stories with the mirror of love prescribed for it to understand the real significance. And as long one has not himself become part and parcel of such an ocean and its people. One should not use these stories as the basis of an argument to prove anything. Neither should the truth of these stories be denied. In his Ihya Imaam Ghazali writes: “Whoever had drunk the cup of love becomes intoxicated and words uttered at such time are open to wider interpretations (Not confined to literal meaning). And when the intoxication is over he realizes that whatever was said; points to the state of ecstasy wherein he was, and is not to be taken literally. These people drive ecstatic pleasure from such conditions and should not rely on such uttering.” (Ihya)
(b) Secondly, these stories mostly show total reliance on Allah, which is above and beyond us, and can hardly be properly believed or understood by the uninitiated ones. These people have reached the highest point of tawakkul (reliance). Such rank is desirable and everyone should try and reach it or at least hope for it. However, no one should try to enter into the fold of such tawakkul, by forsaking the need for food and worldly means etc, until such time as he has developed and reach such rank. When Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Yahya R.A. was asked what is tawakkul, he replied: “it means that when you have stretched your hand towards a large serpent and he swallows the whole hand, then still you should fear none save Allah. The questioner says that he went to the house of Hazrat Bayazid R.A. in order to ask him the same question- the reality of tawakkul. He found the door closed and knocked. From inside Hazrat Bayazid R.A. shouted (without having heard the question or having seen the questioner): “Are you not satisfied with Abdur Rahman’s reply that you now have to ask me the same?”
The questioner said: “Kindly open the door.”
Hazrat Bayazid R.A replied: “I shall not open because this time you did not come to visit but merely to ask a question. You have already found your answer.” The questioner returned after a year and having knocked at the door was quickly admitted and this time Hazrat Bayazid R.A said: “Now you have come to meet me.” (Rowdh)
Hazrat Mulla Ali Quari R.A writes in his commentary on Mishkaat: “It is not contrary to tawakkul to carry means and even when a person discards all means and solely depend on Allah, then too it is not wrong even if that person is steadfast and righteous that he does not become distressed at his lack or absence of means and has trained his mind that none enter it save Allah on whom to rely. Those writers who have condemned the one who discards means and rely solely on tawakkul have done so because people have not been using tawakkul properly, and have thus inconvenienced others, looking to them for help. (Mirqaat vol 3)
Rasulullah Sal’am once said: “If you rely on Allah as you should with all its due rights, He shall grant you sustenance as He grants it to the birds leaving their nests hungry in the morning returning with full stomachs at night.”
Rasulullah Sal’am also said: “whoever turns to Allah completely, him shall Allah grant all his needs and grant sustenance from where he never expected.” Rasulullah Sal’am also said: “whoever desires to become the most independent of men, should have as much reliance on Allah as he has on the wealth he possesses.”
A proper idea of tawakkul can be had from the following two stories which are well known in Hadith.
Firstly, when the Battle of Tabook had to be fought and contributions asked for to prepare the army, Hazrat Abu Bakr R.A. brought all that he had at home and placed it before Rasulullah Sal’am who accepted all. Rasulullah Sal’am asked: “What have you left at home?” he replied: “For them I left Allah and His Rasul.”
Secondly, a man came to Rasulullah Sal’am and brought a piece of gold of the size of an egg and asked: “O Rasul of Allah, I have found this piece of gold and I give it as charity in Allah’s path. Apart from this I have nothing.” Rasulullah Sal’am turned away from him but the man was persistent and repeated his offer twice, thrice then Rasulullah Sal’am took the gold from him and threw it so hard that had it struck him he would have been hurt. Then Rasulullah Sal’am said: “there are some people, who give all their wealth in Allah’s way and then stretch out their hands begging alms from others.”
We see that I none case Rasulullah Sal’am accepted all from Hazrat Abu Bakr R.A. and in the other he was displeased. It shows the degree of tawakkul Rasulullah Sal’am saw in the two; and the difference between men.
In this respect our own elders have set very good examples. Our respected and honored Hazrat Shah Wali’ullah R.A. has in his book described his vision. He writes; “Once I asked Rasulullah Sal’am a spiritual question as to what is more virtuous; tawakkul- without any means- or its opposite. From Rasulullah Sal’am some spiritual condition emanated towards me and I found my heart turned away from all means, children etc. soon afterwards this feeling passed away and I found myself turned towards this feeling passed away and I found myself turned towards means-asbaab-and my soul turned from all means; depending only on Allah.” (Durre Thameen)
Rasulullah Sal’am said: “The real rich man is not he who is rich in wealth; but he who is rich in heart.” Hazrat Imaam Ghazali R.A. writes: “Tawakkul has three degrees. The first degree may be likened to a person having to appear in court. He appoints a clever, experienced lawyer to fight on his behalf and depends on the lawyer to do every thing for him. This type of tawakkul soon passes and does not serve at all times. The second degree is higher in rank than the first. It may be likened to a small child’ relationship with his mother. Such a child depends on her for everything, and whenever any problem arises he calls on her.
It was to these two degrees that Hazrat Sah’l R.A. referred when he was asked: “What is the lowest degree of tawakkul?” To this he replied: “To do away with all hope,” and when the questioner asked for the middle degree, he replied: “To forego your right.” When asked what is the highest degree, he replied: “Only such people can understand the third degree who had already attained the second stage.”
Hazrat Imaam Ghazaali R.A wrote the highest degree of tawakkul is to become like the corpse under the hands of the person who washes it before burial. Such corpse makes no movement of its own. When ones relationship with Allah reaches this stage, it does not even become necessary to beg anything of Allah because Allah Himself sees to all ones needs without one having to ask: just as the person performing ghusl of the dead sees to the needs for the dead one. (Ih’ya)
At this stage we have an anomaly which is that Rasulullah Sal’am himself always prepared his means (asbaab). The answer to this is that Rasulullah Sal’am chose that himself because he was the exemplar of this ummat. Had he chosen the third and highest degree of tawakkul, it would have been very hard for his ummat to emulate him. We all know that he was always very considerate wishing to make matters as easy as possible for them.
Hazrat Aa’isha R.A. reports: “Rasulullah Sal’am (occasionally) did not perform the dhuhaa (chasht) salaah while I did.” It is a fact that very often Rasulullah Sal’am, in spite of his great desire to perform certain righteous deeds, occasionally did not do so for fear that it would become obligatory on the ummat. (Abu Dawood)
So in actual fact Hazrat Aa’isha R.A. meant that Rasulullah Sal’am did not perform it so diligently and with such regularity as she did. It does not mean that he never performed dhuhaa salaah because it is reported in so many ahaadith that he did. However if he did perform it with regularity, it wold have become incumbent on the whole ummat. The same is the case with taraweeh salaah. Here Rasulullah Sal’am performed it for a few nights in Ramadhaan. During this time the Companions became tremendously interested and enthusiastic about it joining him in large numbers. Then he stopped it and did not come out to lead them. The Companions were of the opinion that he must have fallen asleep and therefore made certain sounds normally used to awaken someone. He came out to them and said: “I have seen your movements and through Allah’s grace I have not been neglectful this night. However, let it be known that nothing prevented me from coming out and leading you in prayer save that I feared it would become fardh upon you. If that happens you will find it difficult to carry out properly.”
(Mishkaat &Abu Dawood)
And since Rasulullah Sal’am at times intentionally refrained from doing that which is most virtuous and instead preferred that which is only permissible, though second best, it becomes clear that for Rasulullah Sal’am, the action he chose is the one in which lay the most reward for him. So in actual fact the deed which is supposed not to be the best as far as reward is concerned (rukhsat) is the one in which was the most reward for him.
Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar R.A reports that he had heard that when a person performs salaah while sitting down he receives only half the reward for a salaah performed in a standing position. He says: “Once I went to visit Rasulullah Sal’am and fond him performing salaah while sitting down. I sat down with my hand on my head and when Rasulullah Sal’am had finished his salaah, he said to me: “And what is your trouble, O son of Umar?” I replied: “O Rasulullah Sal’am, I have heard that the reward for performing salaah while sitting is only half of that of a salaah while standing; and here I have seen you performing salaah sitting down.” Rasulullah Sal’am said: “What you have heard is indeed true, but note that I am not like you people,”-al Hadith-The meaning of Rasulullah Sal’am’s reply is that it would be half reward for you: but not for me. In other words Rasulullah Sal’am receives the full reward. This difference between persons does not only exist between the Rasul Sal’am and this ummat.
We see a similar difference between the ulama and the Mashaa’ikh of Tariqat, i.e. the mystic Sufis, where the rank of the ulama is higher than the Mashaa’ikh. According to a Hadith it is stated that when one person presents a gift to another in the presence of others, that gift becomes the joint property of all present there.
Once a saintly shaikh was presented with a gift, while in the company of others. Someone from among the audience jokingly reminded him of this Hadith; saying; ‘Gifts become joint property.’ The Shaikh replied: “It was in order to avoid from any form of shirk (setting partners) that for so many days I have exerted myself so diligently. I am not interested in sharing this gift. It is yours.” When that man could not lift it , the shaikh sent it with a servant to that person’s house.
When Hazrat Imaam Abu Yusuf R.A., the great Hanafi jurist once was presented wit ha gift in the presence of others: someone called out: “Presents become joint property.” The Imaam replied: “The present is not the type that is referred to in the Hadith.”
Then he had the gift taken to this home. It is not our intention to discuss the Hadith and its meaning here, for this is not the place for it. However here we see one Hadith with two vastly different explanations according to their differences in rank and positions. The ulama have stated that both handled the cases correctly and properly. If for example Hazrat Imaam Abu Yusuf R.A had shared the present it would become his maz’hab to do so, and in that case would have been an ordeal for hi followers. The writer of Rowdh says: “It has always been the custom of the Nabis and saints to prepare themselves in those things wherein lies the best benefit and which avoid s most disadvantages, but in spite of this no one should criticize those who prefer abstinence and depended solely on Allah.
Rasulullah Sal’am, himself is the guide and leader of this Shari’ah. It was necessary for him to guide on the easiest manner possible like the leader of a caravan whose duty it is to lead the caravan members along the best, shortest and easiest road. If however, he should lead them along a path that proves to be hard, arduous and insurmountable for the majority of the caravan, then he will not be considered to be sympathetic and merciful to them. And about Rasulullah Sal’am the Qur’aan says:
“Now has come unto you a Rasul from amongst yourself; it grieves him that you should perish; Ardently anxious is he over you; to the Believers is he most kind and Merciful (Surah Towbah-128/129)
Now if on the other hand some of the caravan members because of their own accord, choose to go along the difficult path they may do so, and the leader will not be able to stop them.” (Rowdh)
This is also the reason why Rasulullah Sal’am prohibited the Imaams from prolonging the salaah, and in fact scolded them for doing so. He said: “Whoever becomes an Imaam should keep his salaah light and short, and when performing salaah on his own may prolong it for as long as he wishes.
(d) The third point to bear in mind from these stories is the fact that in many of these stories we read about people accepting upon themselves unnecessary hardship and difficulty which at times is almost tantamount to self destruction and not permissible in shariat. First of all it should be borne in mind that these stories and incidents are actually a form of spiritual medicine. These are cases where a trained physician has to administer or prescribe poisonous medicine, but in such cases this medicine is the most suitable or even necessary. In any case it would be wrong and dangerous to use such medicine except under the care of a doctor and according to his prescription.
Similarly in these stories we find people who had used these bitter and seemingly unsuitable medicines. To criticize them or condemn them is to show one’s own ignorance about this special art of spiritual healing. In fact for one who is a doctor, in this field or who has not acquired the advice of one who is a doctor, these stories appear to be against he Shariat and not permissible at all. This is wrong. We should also bear in mind that it is not haraam in all cases to destroy oneself. When it is being done for the sake of our Deen it is not only permissible but at times even becomes compulsory.
Rasulullah Sal’am said: “Allah is indeed very pleased with two people; The first one is that person who lies under a warm blanket with his beloved wife, and then suddenly with the same joy and pleasure departs from there to stand in salaah before the Lord. Allah boasts to the angels about him. The second person is he who goes to and in jihaad for Allah’s sake. On the battlefield the army is defeated all flee. Than one man out of his fear for Allah, returns and he alone fights the enemy till he becomes a martyr.
About him Allah says: “Look at this, my servants; who, for the blessings of my favor and for ear of my displeasure has returned to fight till even his blood does flow” (Mishkaat). Here we see a person returning all alone to face a conquering army. It is only too clear that he returns to be for his ideals. When a whole army had been defeated and fled, how much can one man do against the conquerors? Allah praises him, although he had thrown himself to destruction. In another Hadith Rasulullah Sal’am said: “Among the lives of men the best life is the life of that person who, sitting on his horse, reins in hand, rides in the way of Allah. Wherever he hears of any trouble he speeds in that direction searching for battle and death. Wherever he imagines it to be; there he reaches.” (Mishkaat)
When these people throw themselves into danger we find it most difficult to criticize them or to object against their actions; especially so because Raslullah Sal’am said: “The real Mujaahid is he who strives against himself”; (Mishkaat); and also; ‘The real Mujaahid is he who stives against his own desire.” (At’tasharruf) For this reason this form of Jihaad is called the ‘Jihaadul Akbar’; the great jihaad, among the Sufis. Rasulullah Sal’am, himself used this term. Hazrat Allama Shaami R.A. says: “The virtues of Jihaad are numerous; very largely because her a person sacrifices his most beloved and precious possession……. His life. In order to gain Allah’s pleasure he overloads himself with great obstacles, yet there is something even more difficult than in Jihaad; and that is to force one’s nafs-self-towards the obedience of Allah and to keep it away from following vain desires and sinning against his will. Hence, for this Rasulullah Sal’am said once; on return from a battle:
“We have now returned from the minor jihaad to the major jihaad” i.e, toward fighting against ourselves.
Hazrat Jabir R.A. reports that some people, returning from battle; came to Rasulullah Sal’am and he said to them: “Your arrival is very meritorious; as it is an arrival to return from the minor jihaad to the major jihaad.”-i.e. You have now returned to fight and strive against your own passions and desires. (At’tasharruf, vol 2.) So we see that these people exposed themselves to obstacles and difficulties. They are not to be criticized. The cause is a meritorious one, because when one strives to conquer and subdue an enemy he deserves reward and praise; and not condemnation.
Rasulullah Sal’am said: “Your greatest enemy is your own nafs;-self-which resides between your two flanks.” This is the enemy that has to be subdued, and when a person with this intention; of his own accord and choice remains hungry and thirsty, exposes himself to danger and undergoes ordeals, it is something exceptionally praiseworthy as long as this does not prevent important religious duties from being carried out.
And now I make duaa: “May Allah in His infinite Mercy cause some of the bounties and blessings to reach the humble writer of these words-and its publishers-for it is not impossible at all that such blessings reach unto whomever He pleases.”
This booklet was written during my stay in Nizamuddin in Shawaal 1366 Hijri. Thereafter it occurred to me to add the section including the various stories. When I returned to Saharanpur. For months I did not even find time to look at what had been written; due to the tremendous pressure of work. Finally towards the end of Rabi’ath Thaani, I managed to find some time to complete it; and at last today, Friday the fourteenth of Jamaadil’Ula, 1367 Hijri, I have come to the end of this book.
It is my last and earnest wish that readers should remember me in their duaa at special times, and that whenever they remember me, they should pray for me- A similar request is made by the publishers.
“And our last call shall be; Praise be to Allah the Lord of all the worlds.”
“And may Allah’s choicest blessings and peace be upon the most virtuous of all Rasuls; and upon his family, and his Companions and his followers till the day of Qiyaamah. We beg this O Allah, through Our Mercy; O You Most Merciful One.”
MOHAMMAD ZAKARIYA KANDHLAVI,
29 Zilhaj 1348 Hijri.