Wednesday, April 21, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles –Islamic perspective in brief: Part 2.

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

As we noted in Part 1 of our Article, Allah declares war on the enemy of His Friend.   Ibn Taimiyya said that Allah is expressing: "I will seek revenge like an aggressive lion against anyone who comes against My saints."

There was a disciple of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi ® who bore him a grudge and therefore left him. One day, however, he returned to the Shaykh with the intention of testing him. Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi ® was aware of the intention. So he asked him, “Do you need a formal answer or a spiritual one?” “Both,” said the disciple. Replying to him, the Shaykh said: If you had tested yourself, you wouldn’t have the need to test me. And the spiritual answer is, I depose you from the Saintship. The disciple’s face turned black immediately and the light of certainty (‘Yaqeen”) also vanished from his heart. The disciple abandoned his foolish self-conceit and implored the Shaykh to forgive him. Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi ® told him: Don’t you know that Awliya-Allah possess mysterious powers? You cannot endure their blows.” Saying this, and considering the repentence of the disciple, the Shaykh blew a breath over his face and the disciple was restored to his original self. 

Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti ® narrated that there was a man who hated the Awliya-Allah. After he died, he was placed in a grave where the people tried to turn his face towards the Qibla. To their astonishment, as much as they tried, that man’s face always turned away from the Qibla. A voice from nowhere announced that it would be an exercise in futility trying to turn his face to the Qibla because that man used to turn his face in disgust on seeing the Awliya-Allah. “I will turn away My face from him. He is a condemned soul, and on the Day of the Judgment such people would appear with faces of the donkeys.” That is one of the ways how Allah deals with those who bear grudge against Awliya-Allah.

Of course, there are also instances when Awliya-Allah suffer the ignominy heaped upon them but they bear it without complaint – which goes to show their extreme forbearance, tolerance and patience with the ignorant for the ‘Rida’ of Allah, depending upon their ranks.

Awliya-Allah are the persons of Ahl-e-Tassawwuf: 

Allah has exalted status of knowledge and power of the Awliya. Allah says about them:  “Whosoever mortifify themselves for Our sake, We will assuredly guide them in Our ways."

(Qur’an: 29:69).

Shaykh Hakim of Tirmidh in the second chapter of his Adab al-muridin describes such mortification or striving as a kind of door which leads to nearness to Allah. Now attaining this nearness (which is not physical) is itself not easy because it requires the mastery of bringing the carnal soul (Nafs-e-Ammaara) under control which in itself is ‘Jihaad-e-Akbar’ ( the greater Jihad) as per the famous hadith of Mohammed Mustafa (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) which he (s) stated to his Companions while returning from a battle which he (s) merely termed as “Jihaad-e-Asghar” (i.e. Lesser Jihad).

Observance of outer state by man is "mortification".  "Guidance" consists in Allah's maintenance of man's spiritual feelings of Inner Truth or Inner Reality.  Thus there are two aspects:  The first is the Shariat consisting of the outer state or external ordinances.  The second is what is at the heart of the revelation - which is called Haqiqat.  Shariat cannot be maintained without the Haqiqat and conversely Haqiqat cannot be maintained without the Shariat.  Those who uphold both Shariat and Haqiqat are called people of Tasawwuf or the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat that consists of the four schools of thoughts namely, the Hanafi, the Shafii, the Hanbali, and the Maliki. 

Again, regarding the Quranic verse, ittaqullah wa yu`allimukumullah ("Be aware of Allah, and Allah Himself will teach you" 2:282), Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani ® points out in Discourse 16 of Futuh al-Ghaib: And fear Allah and He will teach you, then He will invest you with the power of controlling the universe with a clear permission which will have no obscurity in it... and He has done this with many of His Prophets and awliya and people especially favored from among the children of Adam. Then there is the hadith shareef: “ man `amila bi ma `alima warrathahullahu `ilma ma lam ya`lam ("Whoso acts upon what he knows, Allah will make him inherit a knowledge that he did not have"). Hazrat Bayazid of Bistam cited this hadith in response to a question: "From where and from whom did you get this knowledge which you claim to have?"

Awliya-Allah are the people of Tasawwuf and are also called the "Sufis".  They fulfill the requirements of the 'Deen' (Religion), which consists of Islam, Imaan and ihsaan,  as aptly explained in the Hadith of Jibreel.  With the evolvement of the language, it is "ihsaan" that came to be known as "Tasawwuf" in later centuries, and the two aspects of Ihsan came to be known as Mushahada and Muraqaba, i.e one where one worships God as if he sees God; and the other where one is unable to worships God in the first way, he at least worships God knowing that God sees him.  Awliya-Allah are the most ardent defenders of  Shariat, and their path from the outer Shariat to the inner Haqiqat is known as "Tariqat".  A qualified seeker can traverse this Islamic spiritual path but under the direction of the qualified guide known as Pir-O-Murshid who is well-versed with the Holy Quran and the prophetic traditions (ahadeeth), and practising the Shariat.     Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh says that Law without Truth is ostentation, and Truth without Law is hypocrisy.  Truth or Inner Reality means knowledge of Allah and such religious practices which are made perfect by sincerity.  The word "Awliya" represent conformity with the revealed religion and as such to the truth.  There is no heresy as there is no departure from the revealed religion or from the truth.  Even orientalists such as Louis Massignon and others have irrefutably demonstrated that the doctrines and practices of the Sufis, i.e. the Awliya-Allah, are entirely based on and derived from the Holy Qur'an - which is the very base of Islamic orthodoxy. 

It is to be remembered that the word Sufi should be used only of the Awliya-Allah who have attained the proximity of Allah, though it has become a fashion nowadays to distinguish a Sunni Muslim by calling him a Sufi.  Even a great Awliya such as Hazrat Abul Hasan Kharqani (R) used to say:  "Don't call me Sufi."  Such is the weightage of this word.  The righteous 'ulema of the traditional four schools of thought are, more or less, Awliya-Allah or Sufis, and no Awliya-Allah are found in other sects.     

Modern scholars and pseudo-sufis have based their school of thoughts on the teachings of the sufi stalwarts of Islam, but under their own labels. We need to reject the false Wali and seek the real Wali-Allah.  It is not easy to recognise a Wali-Allah.  But as a general rule one way of recognizing them is to know that “The friends of Allah are those who when they are seen, Allah is remembered” (Majma’uz Zawaid; Vol. 10, Pg. 78, Bazzaar).  Another general way is to rectify our own heart and adopt his company.  If his company generates thoughts and love of Allah in our heart then he is a Wali.  If the heart indulges in worldly thoughts then he is not a Wali since it is said that the heart is a mirror of another heart.   We must also note the observation of the Shariat in him, remembering that even the Sultan of Awliya, Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Ghausul Azam, did not give up the Shariat, including the ritual prayers.  Or the instance when Hazrat Bayasid Bistami (R) refused to accept a person as a Wali when he learnt that while entering the Masjid that person had put his left foot forward.  There are many examples of such a nature. 

At the same time, we must not come to a swift conclusion in judging a person who is known as a Wali because we might commit an error of judgment, which reminds me of the anecdote of Hazrat Bayazid Bistami (R) who,  while travelling to another town during the month of Ramadan,  found that almost the entire town had come to receive him, an Awliya-Allah.  Since he did not like it,  he removed a khubooz (bread) from his sleeve and began to munch on it.  Seeing this, all the people lost faith in him and went back home.  To think about it, the Shaykh had done nothing wrong with the Shariah, since eating and drinking on a Ramadan day is allowed on travelling certain distances.  He did that just to be left alone, but see how the people judged him hastily.    Even Ibn Taimiyya who himself belonged to the Qadri Order, considered Bayazid as one of his masters.  About him he said:  "There are two categories of fana': one is for the perfect Prophets and saints, and one is for seekers from among the saints and pious people (saliheen). Bayazid al-Bistami is from the first category of those who experience fana', which means the complete renunciation of anything other than God. He accepts none except God. He worships none except Him, and he asks from none except Him." He continues, quoting Bayazid saying, "I want not to want except what He wants."

Awliya-Allah have influenced other religions too.  Quranic verses and the sayings of Baba Farid (Hazrat Shaykh Fariduddin Masood Ganj-e-Shakhar (R)) are found in the holy book of the Sikh, Adi Granth; while the Rosicrucian sect of Christianity has liberally borrowed from the teaching of Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyuddeen Abdul Qadir Jilani. 

The lives of  Muslim Saints are a source of inspiration to the Muslims all over the world -  even in those pockets where their teachings are being suppressed.  Their unswerving love of Allah, their Tawakkal (piety)and Tauheed (Unity of Allah), courage of conviction, strength of character, religious zeal and devotion to earning the pleasure of Allah, sprinkled with countless miracles at their hands, and their empowerment of Allah on this earth and the hereafter have earned them the title of Friends of Allah.     

To continue....


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