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Istighaathah in the Shari’ah

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In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Countless and Choicest Blessings and Salutations upon His Noble Prophet

Istighaathah is an Arabic word which means to seek help. It is mentioned in the Holy Quran and the Prophetic Hadeeth. In the Shari’ah, Istighaathah is to seek help from other than Allah Almighty. We do this every time we seek help from the doctor when we are sick (knowing full well that Allah is the Ultimate Healer), or from the teacher when we want to learn something (knowing full well that Allah is the Ultimate Educator), or from the lawyer when we need legal services (knowing full well that Allah is the Ultimate Judge), or even from an older family member if we are in need of dua (knowing full well that it is Allah Almighty who ultimately fulfills our needs). However when we turn to the pious people of our tradition, viz, the Prophets and Awliya to seek their help, this act gets labeled as shirk. Why the anomaly? Why the double standard? It is simply because this is a satanic agenda to distance us from the Prophets alayhimus salaam and the Awliya radi Allahu anhum, as they are the guiding lights of Islam. Shaytan has promised to take people astray, and many modern day Muslims have fallen prey to his tricks.

The argument is that it is okay to seek help from the doctor, teacher, lawyer, and older family member because they are “alive” whereas it is not okay to seek help from the Prophets and Awliya because they are na’udhu biLlaah “dead.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Modern day science may have its definitions of life and death. However Islam has its own. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

And do not utter regarding those who are slain in Allah’s cause as “dead”; in fact they are alive, but it is you who are unaware. [2:154]

This single verse (and there are others in the Quran) very clearly spells out Allah Almighty’s definition of life and death. A person who is killed in the cause of Allah where overtly his or her body lays “lifeless,” is “alive” in the definition of the Quran.

There are two ways to get killed in the “cause of Allah.” One is on the external battlefield and the other is on the internal battlefield of one’s nafs (heart/soul). The inner struggle between good and evil inclinations is honored in Islam as having a higher status than that of the fight of the swords. The above verse is applicable to both the external jihadul asghar (lesser struggle) and the internal jihadul akbar (greater struggle). In other words, those who did not attain martyrdom on the external battlefield, attain it by fighting their nafs till they behead it and reach the status of nafs-ul-mutmainna (the peaceful soul). The Prophets of course have the highest and most unique status in creation. This is why the Quran always addresses the Mumineen in the order of the Nabiyyeen, Siddiqeen, Shuhada and Saliheen. Any quality bestowed to the Shuhada is a sub-set of the qualities of the Nabiyyeen. Therefore simple Boolean logic proves that if the Shuhada are alive, then so are the Prophets. And the Awliya are shaheed of the nafs and hence they too are alive.

“The Prophets are alive in their graves, praying.”[1]

Therefore it is very clear that the Prophets and specifically Syedul Ambiya Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam is most definitely alive and so are the Awliya Kiram radi Allahu anhum in their blessed resting places (Mazars / graves).

In light of this simple logic it is quite ludicrous to find floating on social media baseless images equating the making of duas at Mazar Sharifs to shirk. Those who create and propagate such imagery are doing nothing but facilitating the satanic propaganda. The claim that those who visit Mazar Sharifs are making dua “to” the Sahibe Mazar is an outcry and those who indulge in it are guilty of false accusations (bohtan). Dua is an act of ibadah and is strictly made to Allah whether we are standing near the Maqam Ibrahim, or the Hateem or the Rauza Mubarak or the Mazar of a Wali of Allah. Linguistically dua connotes “calling upon.” In this sense we can call upon anyone for help provided we believe that Allah is the Ultimate Helper.

In Surah Al-Maidah Allah Almighty calls Himself, His Rasool and the Mumineen as our friends.

You do not have any friends except Allah and His Noble Messenger and the believers [5:55]

What are friends for if we cannot call them in our time of need? And calling upon other than Allah in times of need is proven by several authentic Prophetic traditions two of which are quoted below:

It is related from Malik al-Dar, ‘Umar’s treasurer, that the people suffered a drought during the Khilafa of Syedna `Umar radi Allahu anhu, whereupon a man (Syedna Bilal ibn al-Harith radi Allahu anhu) came to the grave of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam and said: “O Messenger of Allah, ask for rain for your Community, for verily they have but perished,” after which the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam) appeared to him in a dream and told him: “Go to ‘Umar and give him my greeting, then tell him that they will be watered. Tell him: You must be clever, you must be clever!” The man went and told ‘Umar, who said: “O my Lord, I spare no effort except in what escapes my power!”[2]

It is very clear from the above Hadeeth that a Sahabi-e-Rasool approached the Blessed Grave of the Holy Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam in a time of need and directly beseeched him sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam for help. This is exactly what the Muslims have been doing for centuries and continue to do when they visit the Rauza-e-Rasool or the Mazars of the Awliya. So to label this as shirk is a direct accusation of shirk on the Sahaba wa ayaadhu biLlaah.

A similar Hadeeth is quoted below where a Noble Companion calls out to the Prophet of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam when his foot falls asleep:

Foot Fell Asleep

As can be seen from the Arabic text above, the word “ud’u” is actually used which means “call upon.” And in response, Syedna Umar radi Allahu anhu’s son, a prominent authority in Hadeeth, responded “O Muhammad!” Hence calling upon Rasool Allah for help is proven by another act of a Sahabi. If calling upon Rasool Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam for help in his absence was shirk it would never have been done by a Sahabi.

These are just a few examples. There are numerous others.

The verses in the Holy Quran which censure the kuffar of Mecca for calling upon their hand-made lifeless idols for help cannot be applied to calling upon the Prophets and Awliya for help. Doing so is a great abomination and one that will not go unpunished in the Divine Court. The Prophets alayhimus salaam and Awliya Kiram radi Allahu anhum are more alive in their blessed resting places than some of us walking the earth due to the spiritually diseased states of our hearts.

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa Aalihi wa sallam made it very clear in the Sahih Bukhari Hadeeth #1344 that he does not fear shirk from his Ummah. So if the Prophet, who is the leader of this Ummah, doesn’t fear shirk, why is it such a phobia to some Muslims today? Why not worry about what the Prophet worries about and that is we will do “tanaafasu.” Of all the spiritual diseases of the nafs, scholars have highlighted this to refer to hasad or envy. This is a grievous problem in the Ummah and something we should seriously fear and seek protection against. Another major nafs issue is greed. There is no doubt that the Mazars, especially those of the Subcontinent, are plagued with greedy caretakers, perhaps a result of the poverty and corruption in these societies. However, greed for money, abysmal as that may be, is not shirk, and Muslims should refrain from using this weighty word loosely.


–Syeda Shagufta Ahmad Qadri



[1] Recorded by Abu Ya’la (6:147 #3425 Sahih) and Bazzar (Zawa’id, 3:100-01) in their Musnads, Ibn ‘Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (4:285), and Imam Bayhaqi in his book Hayat al-Anbiya’ fi Quburihim (#1-3, Sahih according to Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari 6:487), Abu Nu’aym in Akhbar Asbahan (2:38), Daylami (Firdaws, 1:154 #402), Ibn ‘Adiyy (al-Kamil, 2:739), Tammam (Fawa’id, 1:33), and others. Haythami (Majma’ az-Zawa’id, 8:211 #13812), Suyuti, Munawi (Fayd al-Qadir, 5:467), Bayhaqi, Ibn Hajar (Matalib, #3452), and others said it is Sahih.

[2] Bayhaqi (Dala’il, 7:47), Ibn Abi Shayba (7:482-83), Bukhari in his Tarikh al-Kabir (7:304), Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in his Isti’ab (2:464), Ibn ‘Asakir (44:345, 56:489), Tabari (Tarikh, 2:509 with another chain), Ibn Abi Khaythama (2:80), and is Sahih according to Ibn Kathir (Bidaya wa Nihaya 7:91-92=7:101 and Tafsir 1:91) and Ibn Hajar (Fath al-Bari 2:495-96)

Written by Shagufta Ahmad

October 15, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddeen Hassan Chishti Ajmeri (Rehmatullahi Alayhe)

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With every breath, my restlessness increases; Why does the bud of my heart not blossom? Grant you my wishes, for the sake of Ali (radiallahu anhu). Salutations to you, O Khwaja, the saint of Hind! May this devotee’s aspirations be fulfilled.
The small town of Ajmer, 400 kilometres south and west of Delhi, is unremarkable to the eye at first glance. However, on closer inspection, one beholds the reason that it stands out; pilgrims. In thousands upon thousands they come, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, of all nationalities; raising their voices in celebration and prayer, in praise and remembrance of one of the greatest saints ever produced in the long and illustrious history of Islam. The deservedly titled Sultan of India, the Qutb or spiritual axis of the eastern Islamic world; he is the fountain from whose spiritual light have sprung all the beautiful, mighty saints of the Chishtiyya silsila: Hazrat Khwaja Moinudeen Hassan Chishti Gharibun-Nawaaz Ajmeri (rahmtullahi alaihi).
The chieftain and founder of the Chishtiyya silsila, one of the four great orders that radiate throughout the world, Khwaja Gharibun-Nawaaz (radiallahu anhu) is one of the most respected and universally recognised figures in Sufism and Islam. He stands tall as a great spiritual leader; a reformer and purifier of hearts at the most turbulent of times. Most of the saints before his time had been concentrated around the lands of the Middle East, but he was a pioneer, a missionary who was responsible for spreading the Sufi and Islamic sphere of influence to the remotest regions of polytheistic India. His pious character was a true picture of Islam; his practice exactly in accordance with the dictates of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, and his teachings beautiful lessons in godliness, truthfulness, and equality which enlightened the hearts of multitudes. Authentic estimates place the number of people he guided to the path of Islam at nine million. It is a historical fact that his Chishtiyya silsila wielded a direct and crucial influence on the course of Indian history, the development of the embryonic Bhakti Consciousness Movement of Hinduism, and modern (pantheistic) Buddhism.
Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) was born in the year 536 AH in Sijistan, the son of Khwaja Ghyasuddin Chishti, a pious and influential man of what is now Iran. He was a direct descendant through both his parents of Hazrat Ali (radiallahu anhu). It was a time of chaos and great upheavals in both India and the Muslim Empire as a whole. In the year of his birth, Sultan Sanjari was finally defeated before the implacable advance of the Mughals, spelling the beginning of the end of the Sultanate; and in Khurasan, where he was brought up, religious sects and barbarism had lain waste a once civilised country. He was orphaned at the tender age of fourteen, and was thus raised in the same condition as Rasulallah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam).
But social evils, moral degradations and personal tragedy stirred something deep within the young man, and he began to turn towards the spiritual life. Once when watering his father’s garden, he came across a dervish, Hazrat Ibrahim Qanduzi (radiallahu anhu). He was deeply affected by the saint’s holy manner, and Hazrat Ibrahim (radiallahu anhu) for his part transformed Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu)’s inner being. His eyes became opened to the ultimate realities of the spiritual world. Renouncing all material things, he sold his father’s garden, all his possessions and distributed the money among the poor.
Still at a young age, he arrived at the great centres of learning in Samarkand and Bokhara, where he swiftly became a hafiz and distinguished alim, fully conversant in all aspects of Islamic thought. Unsatisfied with this, he began a strict regime of prayers, meditations, fasting and self-renunciation which continued for years and grew more intense and vigorous until Allah granted him the exalted rank of sainthood. He used to fast for seven days and nights, breaking fast on the eighth with a small crust of bread soaked in water. At this point, he felt the need for a shaykh, or spiritual guide, feeling the truth of the Qur’anic injunction,
O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty towards Allah, and seek a means of approach unto Him, and strive in his way in order that ye may succeed. (5:35)
He himself used to state, “success is not possible without a guide.” He travelled extensively throughout the near East, finally finding a spiritual guide in Hazrat Khwaja Uthman Haruni (radiallahu anhu). In twenty years he spent under his murshid’s guidance, he attained perfection in tasawwuf and was awarded the khilafat-e-azam by Khwaja Uthman (radiallahu anhu). He offered many pilgrimages both with his murshid and alone. It was during one of these, while in Madinah Sharif, that he was directed spiritually by Rasulallah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) to go to India and spread Islam there. He left immediately with 40 of his disciples, on the long and arduous journey.
Along the way, he stopped in several places including Baghdad, Isfahan and Balkh. In Baghdad Sharif, he was the guest of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (radiallahu anhu), the greatest of saints and founder of the Qadriyya silsila. Hazrat Ghaus-ul Azam (radiallahu anhu) organised a qawwali in his own house for the visitors, and he himself stood outside that night, with eyes closed and his staff tightly held against the ground. When asked the reason for his actions, he replied, “I needed to stop the ground shaking, such was the power of Khawja’s wajd.”
In Sabzwar, he came across a ruler of such corruption that he would not even hesitate to denigrate the holy sahaabi of the Holy Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam). Yet one glance from the great saint sufficed to render the man unconscious. When he awoke, his personality had changed completely; he gave up his kingdom, renounced all his possessions and became a mureed of Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu).
Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) and his disciples were in a cave in the mountains of the Hindu Kush when one of the most famous events in sufi history occurred. Hundreds of miles away, in Baghdad Sharif, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (radiallahu anhu) pronounced his chieftainship of all auliya-allah by saying, “My foot is on the neck of all walis.” Spiritually hearing the great saint’s statement, Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) immediately threw himself down and stretched his neck against the floor, signifying his submission to that truth.
It was because of this type of humble obedience that Allah granted him the title, “Sultan-e-Hind”, for he is the leader and spiritual head to all the hundreds of walis that have blessed India in after-times. So it was that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) arrived in India at a time of tremendous upheaval and moral decay. The Ghaznavi dynasty was in its death throes, and the Rajput kings were gaining power. Tyrannical rulers were making life unbearable for common people, especially the muslims whose numbers were diminishing day by day.
Yet India is not named for no reason, “the land of saints and sufis”; its people had inherited a wealth of spirituality that yearned for expression. It was into such an arena that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) stepped, a torch to India’s tinder. First he went to Lahore, a centre of learning where resided a great number of Muslim theologians, philosophers and sufis. Yet he soon left this place, for his divinely guided mission was not to men such as these, but rather to those who were deprived of the light of Islam.
Thus he arrived in Delhi, which was to become the seat of his most famous successors. At the time, the city was a place of much fear and mutual hatred between Hindus and Muslims, but Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) began delivering his sermons in a soft tongue, dipped in honey. As a result of this kindness and forbearance, both Hindus and Muslims were turned towards the path of truth. The great wali was revered and loved by those of both religions, a trend which, was to be the hallmark of Sufism in India.
Soon, however, he left Delhi too, heading instead for the remote city of Ajmer, deep within the kingdom of the most powerful Rajput prince in Northern India, Raj Prithviraj.
This city was completely alien to Islam; no muslims at all lived within its bounds. It was in this hostile environment that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) and his forty disciples settled and began the bulk of his teaching. Very soon, however, he changed the entire civic atmosphere, gathering people of all races, castes and stations to the shining truth of Islam. His high morals and frugal lifestyle deeply impressed the Hindus and all the while, the beautiful messages of the Qur’an and Sunnah entered deep into their hearts. Soon they started to convert, in multitudes upon multitudes, and the raja became alarmed as even his courtiers and high-ranking servants took up Islam.
It is interesting here to note that the raja’s mother had predicted the arrival of Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu), and had warned her son not to interfere with him lest he suffer total destruction. Whether Raj Prithviraj forgot this prophecy or ignored it is unknown, but he began to harass the shaykh and trouble his followers. But Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu), holding firm to the Islamic doctrine that, “Allah is with those who patiently persevere,” steadfastly carried on his peaceful mission. One day, however, he said, “The raja will be captured alive, and his kingdom snatched away.” This prophecy was proven true not months later. The raja, was defeated by Sultan Shahabuddin, was captured alive and brought into the presence of the sultan, who ordered him executed. The power of the Rajputs was thus broken for more than three hundred years.
Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) carried on his work in Ajmer for 45 years, and millions entered Islam through his spiritual light and endeavours. Besides this great service, he also established permanent sufi centres which were run by such mighty disciples as Khwaja Qutbudeen Khaki, Hazrat Nizamudeen Auliya, Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakar and Khwaja Nasiruddeen Chiragh Delhawi (rahmatullahi ta’aala ajmaeen).
On the 29th Jamaad-us-Saani, before entering his bare cell for his usual meditations, he advised his attendants that he should not be disturbed until his khalifa-e-azam, Khwaja Qutbuddeen Khaki (radiallahu anhu), arrived from Delhi. On the 6th Rajab, 633 AH, his khalifa arrived and, receiving no answer to his polite knocking, the mureeds broke down the door. There they found that their beloved murshid had already left the world, at the ripe old age of ninety-six. To the wonder and amazement of all, upon his forehead was inscribed in letters of light: He was a lover of Allah, and he died in the love of Allah.
Such was the passing of one of the greatest saints in Islamic history. Undoubtedly, if not for him and his enormous sacrifices, many of those who read this would not have been born into the mercy of this beautiful religion. One can only imagine the hardship he endured in his early years in Ajmer, in the kingdom of a hostile king, surrounded by a nation of polytheists, a people even whose native tongue – Sanskrit – was foreign to him.
How similar was his situation, and his conduct under adversity, to the Holy Prophet (saw) himself! How he managed to convert so many Hindus to Islam, working from the heart of their own kingdom, at a time when the only words that the two religions could address each other with were hatred and war, is a miracle in itself. He not only moulded the character of a people, but also led them to a more prosperous, nobler way of living, and cultivated in them the qualities of humanity and truth. Through him and his immediate successors, the entire culture and civilisation of India underwent a profound change.
As alluded to before, apart from the millions of converts to Islam, the Bhakti Consciousness movement, modern Buddhism and Sikhism, all monotheistic or pantheistic in outlook emerged from the ancient religions of Hinduism and Buddhism due in great part to the Chishtiyya silsila’s efforts in the path of Islam. As is stated in Sura al-Nasr, When Allah’s succour and triumph cometh, and thou seest mankind entering the religion of Allah in troops, then hymn the praises of thy Lord, and seek. forgiveness of Him Lo! He is ever ready to show mercy.
Courtesy of Chishti-Habibi Tariqa Webpage.
© 2007 Islamic Studies and Research Association (ISRA)

Written by Sharaaz Khan

June 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi (1551-1642 CE) (May Allah Be Please With Him)

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June 19, 2005 / Jammad-ul Awwal 12, 1426

Issue 8

It is Allah Almighty’s Blessed Manner to take humanity out of polytheism, disbelief and misguidance through His Noble Prophets (may peace be with them all). These holy personalities transport humanity in moments to a state where human thought reaches after many stages of development.

Prophethood was sealed with the Master of the two worlds, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). No new Prophet will come after Him (Peace Be Upon Him). However, in order to continue the Prophetic endeavor, immense personalities rose to the occasion who we know as the Noble Friends or Awliya Allah. These are those great individuals for whom the spread of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was their life’s purpose.

The Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:

No doubt Allah Almighty raises for this Ummat someone at the turn of each century to renew the Deen for it.

[Abu Dawood]

The 11th century Hijri renewer (Mujaddid) and preserver of the Deen of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), famous scholar of Islam, leader of the scholars of Hadeeth (Muhadditheen), Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi (d. 1642 CE / 1052 Hijri, may Allah be pleased with him) is one such great personality of the Islamic world who needs no introduction.

He was the true pioneer in the Indian Subcontinent in the dissemination of Hadeeth literature. Along with commentary on Hadeeth, he authored many books, the most distinguished of which is the Madarijun Nubuwwat. Originally written in Farsi this magnum opus has been translated into other languages and is a pivotal reference point for modern scholars on the subject of life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

This leader of the Ahle Sunnat interpretation of Islam was born in Dehli in 1551 CE / 958 Hijri. His ancestry hails from originally from Bukhara and includes the names of Agha Muhammad Turk Bukhari, and Sultan Muhammad Alauddin Khilji, who migrated from Bukhara to Dehli. His father, Shaykh Saifuddin Dehlawi a very pious personality was a spiritual disciple (mureed) and Khalifa of the Qadri Spiritual Order (silsila / tareeqa) of Shaykh Amanullah.

He read the entire Quran in 3 months from his father. At the age of 13 he had completed studying books on Islamic Creed (Aqaid) and at the age of 18 had gained all the Islamic knowledges. He had a phenomenal memory. He would narrate his childhood weaning experience as though the incident had occurred yesterday. He studied inheritance laws, logic, and theology under various teachers. He spent 21-22 hours everyday studying and completed all of his education in 7-8 years. He would present his thoughts to his teachers who would remark that they are benefiting from him! He was also blessed to learn the internal knowledges from his father.

It was the time of Akbar during the Mughal rule in India, which was a time of great dishonor of Islam. The Mughal king tried to influence the Shaykh (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) but the latter’s heart was filled with the love of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and the king did not succeed in their ill-intentioned efforts. The Shaykh, however, was so disheartened that he left India for Hijaz, where he studied famous texts such as Bukhari, Muslim, Mishkat Shareef and Tasawwuf books under Shaykh Abdul Wahhab Muttaqi (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him). He gained much intellectual and spiritual knowledge and achieved high spiritual stations under this Shaykh.

Shaykh Abdul Haq (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) arrived into Madinah by the permission of his Shaykh. He stayed there for about a year. While in the lighted city of Madinah, he respectfully walked its streets bare-foot and had the vision of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) 4 times.

He loved to worship and be engaged in spiritual exercises. His first bai’ah (spiritual contract) was with his father. In 1001 Hijri he took bai’ah with Hazrat Musa Pak Shaheed Multan (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him). In Makkah he took bai’ah with Shaykh Abdul Wahhab Muttaqi (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) in the Qadri, Naqshbandi, Shadhili & Madaniya Spiritual Orders. He then returned to India where he was honored by the bai’ah of Hazrat Khwaja Muhammad Baqi Billah (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) of the Naqshbandi Spirtual Order at the spiritual command of Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him).

Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi’s (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) age was one of darkness where the “Mehdavi Tehreek” of Mohammad Jondpuri was at its peak. Jondpuri used to spread the audacious and false claim that he had reached the state of perfection of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and that this was available to all worshippers, that they could reach his state through worship (may Allah protect us!) Such outrageous beliefs were challenged and proved false by Hazrat Shaykh (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) and his towering contemporaries: Shaykh Ahmed Sirhindi (Mujaddid Alf Sani), Ibne Hajr Makki, Hazrat Ali Muttaqi (may Allah have mercy on them all). They preserved the Sunnah and great status of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and spent their lives doing so.

This was a critical period in Islamic history where Akbar, the Mughal king, had ruined the name and message of Islam. He made fun of Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and the Prophetic Ascension (Mi’raj). The sun was worshipped four times a day. Marriage to polytheists was allowed He named his distorted innovation as Deen-e-Ilahi. During this dangerous time, Hazrat Shaykh (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) raised his voice and started to write against these misguidances to the vizirs and high people in the king’s court. These letters proved to be very effective. These letters spoke of the love of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

This was also a time when Hadeeth had almost disappeared in Subcontinent. By Allah Almighty’s Grace the Shaykh (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) revived this fundamental Islamic Science and began to teach Hadeeth as a mission. He established a Dar-ul-Uloom where all the Islamic Sciences were taught. He spent the rest of his life writing and teaching. Today, all of his writings are regarded with much esteem and respect all over the world. He wrote on every topic in Islam: Tafseer, Logic, Tajweed, Tasawwuf, History, Khutbat, Hadeeth, Ikhlaq, Makatib, Aqaid, Grammar, Poetry, and more. He has written 60 books the most famous of which are:

1.        Ash’aatul Ma’aat (Commentary on Mishkat Shareef; Persian)

2.        Madarijun Nubuwwat (Comprehensive Seerat; Persian)

3.        Akhbarul Akhyar (Syed Tazkirah, Information on the scholars of India; Persian)

4.        Jazbul Quloob fi Diyaril Mahboob (Tareekh-e-Madina, History; Urdu)

5.        Zaudatul Aasar (Manaqib on Ghaus-e-Pak ; Arabic)

6.        Takmeelul Iman (Beliefs of the Ahle Sunnat; Farsi)

7.        Commentary on Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s (Peace Be Upon Him) Futuhul Ghayb (Farsi)

8.        Masabt bi Sunnah (Compilation of Hadeeth related to Muamalat in the 12 months; Arabic)

9.        Fahras At-Tawaaleef (Arabic)

10.     Marajul Bahrayn (Tasawwuf; Farsi)

11.     Tauseelul Mureed ilal Muraad (Tasawwuf; Farsi)

If one includes his magazine publications, then there are 116 in total.

The blessed Shaykh (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) loved the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). He would go into a state of ecstasy upon hearing His Blessed Name. The following is a translated excerpt of a Naat he wrote in Farsi:

“Recite Naat of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), but since you cannot do justice to this topic, suffice with mentioning His Beauty.

O Messenger of Allah Almighty, I am distressed due to the separation from your beauty, grant your Vision and have mercy on the life of this lover.

The darkness of showing off has darkened the world. Please come and enlighten it with your Light.”

The sun that had enlightened the air of India passed on to the Divine Realm on 21 Rabiul Awwal, 1052 Hijri at the age of 94 years. Indeed to Allah we belong and to Him is our return. The great scholar and Saint rests in Delhi and his blessed grave is a place for pious visitation. Through his writings Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi (Mercy of Allah Be Upon Him) clarified the high status and station of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and said that His love is the life of the Deen. His contributions to the renewal and preservation of the essence of Islam are undeniable. We pray that Allah Almighty gives us the Divine Guidance to benefit from the works of this great Friend of His. Aameen.

Syeda Zille Humma Qadri

Syeda Qadri is a research scholar for IECRC. She conducts monthly spiritual and educational gatherings for women and children and is a guest speaker at various religious events. She is an active mother of 3 young children.

Written by iecrc

June 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

A Gift From Allah Almighty

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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Volume 1, Issue 3 (Shawwal 1424)

A favor from Me

Don’t you recognize it?

What is there that is not a

Thank You?

Sura 55, Ar Rahman (Most Kind)

Allah is Wise, All Knowing.  What He, Exalted be His Name, says in the Holy Qur’an is 100% true.  As Muslims we know this for certain, without a doubt.  There are times we may not understand the wisdom in an ayat (verse, sign) but that is due to our lack of knowledge and understanding, not the Wisdom of Allah or the truthfulness of His Word.

In Sura 42 Al-Shura (Consultation), ayat 30, we are told misfortune comes to us due to what we have earned.  And our beloved guide, the one Allah chose to clarify the meaning of life for us, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings on his sweet soul, said:

For every sadness, every sorrow,

every ache and pain,

even the prick from a rose,

Allah erases a sin.

This means sadness, sorrow, pain or any discomfort we may suffer, are payments for our sins and we no longer owe a debt for them.  Just as we cannot enumerate the blessings of Allah Almighty, we cannot know how many times in a day we think bad thoughts or do bad deeds.  Every act of commission without the Command of Allah and every act of omission to the Command of Allah is an act for which we are accountable.

If we remember that our Lord and Master is absolutely free to do whatever He likes and in His Hand is all good, then Insha Allah we would also remember everything that comes to us comes from Him and is good for us.

Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, may his soul be blessed, in his book Futuh al Ghaib, summarizes lessons from the Holy Qur’an:

As for the trial of man – sometimes it comes as a punishment for any violation of law and any sin which has been committed; at others it comes with the object of removing the defects and refining the nature of man and at still others it comes to raise a man in spiritual rank.

Shaikh Farid ad Din Attar, in his hagiological book, Muslim Saints and Mystics, told the story of one of the Friends of Allah (Wali Allah) (may they be blessed) who enjoyed the loving and respectful treatment of his wife and daughter.  One day, for no apparent reason, both females spoke loudly and rudely to him.  The Friend retired to a private place and pleaded with Allah to forgive him for whatever he had done, or had not done, to cause the harshness they were displaying toward him.  Immediately after that private conversation his wife and daughter returned to their normal loving and respectful behavior.

In the late 1990’s in California, a Muslim brother had been out of work for six months and was actively looking for a job that would support him and his family.  Finally he was hired, though the pay was a great deal less than he had previously earned. The day before he was to start this position, he slipped and broke his leg.  The employer had to find a replacement for him.  His friends were more upset than he was.  He insisted there is wisdom behind everything and patiently accepted the decree of Allah.  While recuperating, he again began job hunting.  Not only did he find a job in his field but the pay was much more than the job he lost.

Allah is Great and His Timing Perfect

We should graciously accept and recognize what comes to us is a gift from the Most Loving and Wise Creator.  It may be a warning of our disobedience in time to correct the mistake, it may be an atonement for a sin we knowingly or unknowingly committed or an exaltation of our spiritual rank.  In any event it is:

A gift from Me

Don’t you recognize it?

What is there that is not a

Thank You?

Khadija J.C. Locks

Sister Khadija is a resident of Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of “The Wealth of the Inheritors”, published by Nuqoosh Press, Lahore, Pakistan. She is currently working on a book on the subject of Islamic stories for children. She is a regular contributor to the IECRC Newsletter.

Written by iecrc

March 23, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Ghauth ul-A’zam Shaykh Syed Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him)

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The Crown of the Saints (the Sultan of the Awliya of Allah), Syeduna Shaykha Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) is a descended from the family of the Blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) both from Hadrat Husayn and Hadrat Husan radiallahu anhuma. His status in the Ummah is unquestionable and his Karaamat (miracles) are mutawaatir (have come down through so many chains of narration that they cannot be denied).

Read about this great saint of Allah in by clicking the following link:

Hazrat Ghaus-e-Azam Shaykh AbdulQadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him)


Written by Sharaaz Khan

March 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Practices During the Giyarhween Shareef and their Permissibility

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The spiritual aspirants (mureedeen) of the Crown of the Saints Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him) remember this great Wali of Allah on the 11th of the Islamic lunar calendar each month.  This event has come to be known as  Giyarhween Shareef.

What is Giyarhween Shareef and what are the practices that it consists of? Read about it by clicking the link below:

What is Giyarhween Shareef?


Written by Sharaaz Khan

March 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Brief Introduction of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (May Allah be pleased with him)

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August 16, 2003 / Jamad-uth-Thani 1424

Volume 1, Issue 2 (Part 3)

His name is Hazrat Abu Muhammad Muhiyuddin Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him).  He was born in Jilan, Iran on Ramadan 1, 470 Hijri.  He is the founder of the Silsila-e-Qadriya.

When Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) was a young boy, on the day of `Arafah in his village of Jilan, he began ploughing the field behind a bull.  The bull looked at him and said, “O Abdul Qadir! You weren’t created for this.”  Startled, the young Shaykh returned home and asked his mother to send him to Baghdad to acquire knowledge.  His mother was extremely pleased and prepared to send him off.  She brought him the 80 dinars that his father had left her.  The Shaykh left half of it for his brother and his mother sewed the other 40 dinars into his garments.  She exhorted him to speak the truth under any circumstances. She bid him farewell for the sake of Allah and said that she would now see him on the Day of Judgement.

Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) proceeded for Baghdad with a small caravan that was headed in that direction.  On the way, the caravan was attacked by 60 bandits.  One of them came to the young Shaykh and asked if he had anything on him, upon which the Shaykh replied that he had 40 dinars sewed into his garments.  The bandit [not being able to believe the boy’s honesty], thought that he was just joking.  Another bandit came and had the same experience.  They went and reported this to their leader who then called the boy and asked him what his motivation was in revealing his possession.  The young Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him) said that his mother had emphasized that he must always speak the truth and he couldn’t break his promise to her.  These words penetrated and touched the heart of the leader of the bandits and he felt extreme remorse that this young boy was not breaking his promise to his mother whereas all these years he had been breaking his vows to his Lord.  The leader of the bandits repented at the hands of the young Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him) and all the other bandits followed suit.

The Shaykh passed into the realm of Divine Presence on Rabi-uth-Thaani 11, 561 Hijri at the age of 91 and rests in Baghdad Shareef, Iraq.

Information Source

Translated from Urdu Text “Mazhar-e-Jamal-e-Mustafai” by Sufi Syed Nasiruddin Hashmi Qadri Rizwi Barkati published 1985, Pakistan International Printers Limited, Lahore, Pakistan.

Written by iecrc

March 22, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Hazrat Baba Fareeduddin Masood Ganj Shakar (May Allah be pleased with him)

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Issue 10

February 2006 / Muharram 1427

Just like the full moon’s sweeping bright light covers the earth for miles on end into and beyond the horizons, similarly the miracles, saintliness, spiritual benefits and bounties of the 13th century CE Saint, Hazrat Baba Fareeduddin Masood Ganj Shakar (may Allah have mercy on him) proclaim a fame that reach beyond the Indian Subcontinent into Arabia, Iran, and the entire Muslim world. And just like the full bloomed flower fragrances the entire garden, the veracious and pious life of   Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) has been resuscitating lifeless and encrusted hearts for centuries. Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him)  is not just one of the most prominent Saints of the Chishtiya Spiritual Order, but the world of Punjabi poetry owes its existence to him.  According to the narrations of historians, the seeds of Punjabi poetry were sown by his blessed hands.  Through his poetry he has guided the astray and made Saints out of thieves.  Even today his poetry is read with much devotion and reverence.  Through his love and sincere struggles Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) removed the thorns of disbelief and polytheism from the Punjab which was the center of idol worship. It was the result of his consistent efforts that hundreds of thousands of misguided people found the light of faith (Iman).  Many candles were lit from this light and this has been ongoing for several centuries.

Syed Mohammad Kirmani (may Allah have mercy on him), the spiritual disciple (mureed) of the Crown of the Scholars (Sultan-ul-Mashaikh) Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (may Allah have mercy on him), writes in his famous book “Sair-ul-Awliya” that the blood lineage of Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) traces back to Farrukh Shah Adil, the king of Kabul by 7 generations, to Hazrat Sultan Ibrahim Adham (may Allah have mercy on him) by 17 generations, and by 22 generations to the Rightly Guided Caliph, the Great Hazrat Umar Farooq (may Allah be well pleased with him).  The descendants of Farrukh Shah lost the Sultanate to the brutal attacks of Chengiz Khan forcing Hazrat Baba Fareed’s (may Allah have mercy on him) paternal grandfather Hazrat Qazi Shoaib (may Allah have mercy on him) to migrate from Kabul to India.  This was the time when Punjab, Ajmer, and Delhi were under the Muslim Mughal rule of Shahabuddin Ghori.  When the Mughal emperor discovered the greatness of Hazrat Qazi Shoaib (may Allah have mercy on him), he gifted the entire city of Multan to him.  Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) was the middle born son of Hazrat Kamaluddin Sulaiman, the son of Hazrat Qazi Shoaib (may Allah have mercy on them both).  There are varying reports as to the year of birth of Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him).  Mohammad Akbar Qadri relates in “Hayat-e-Faridi” that the great Saint was born in the year 584 Hijri (about 1188 CE) in the village of Khatwal in Multan, Pakistan. His parents named him Fareeduddin Masood. Who knew that this baby was to become famous as Hazrat Baba Fareeddun Ganj Shakr (may Allah have mercy on him), a star in the history of Islam? History cannot tell us when he became an orphan but historians say that this happened at a very young age. Bibi Qasim Khatoon (may Allah have mercy on her), his blessed mother was very well versed in the Holy Quran and Hadeeth, and labored hard to raise her son in a very religious environment.  In his poetry, Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions the miracles at the hands of his mother and how she was at the extremely high station in spirituality (Wilayat) of Vasalane Haq.

Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) obtained his early education in religious studies in his birth village of Khatwal. He memorized the entire Holy Quran in Arabic, i.e. became a Hafiz at the young age of twelve. He then proceeded for higher learning to main Multan which was the center of knowledge and scholarship at the time. One of the most prominent spiritual disciples of Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him), Sultan-ul-Mashaikh Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (may Allah have mercy on him) writes in his “Sair-ul-Arifeen” that the great Saint lodged in Masjid Mawlana Minhajuddin Tirmizi in Multan and began his studies.  Everyday he would complete one recitation of the Holy Quran.  He was about 12 or 13 years old at the time.  Once, when he was reading the book “Nafi’”, he was visited by Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him), the spiritual disciple (mureed) and successor (Khalifa) of Sultan-ul-Hind Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti (may  Allah have mercy on him), who asked him what he was reading.  Hazrat Baba replied with the name of the book which means “one that gives benefit”.  Hazrat Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him) replied that Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) would receive much benefit from this book.  To this Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) replied that what would truly benefit him was the discipleship of Hazrat Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him). Saying this, he presented himself humbly to the great Qutb.  Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) was 18 years old at the time.  He fell deeply in love with Hazrat Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him) and when the great Qutb departed for Delhi from Multan, Hazrat Baba  Fareed went with him.  However after a short time, the Qutb instructed his devotee to return to Multan to complete his mastery of the external sciences of Islam, the Shariat, saying that “the ascetic (zahid) without knowledge is satan”.  Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) diligently pursued his studies for 5 years. Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (may Allah have mercy on him) writes in his “Rahat-ul-Quloob” where the Sultanul Mashaikh has compiled all the sayings of his beloved spiritual master, that from Multan the great Saint left for Baghdad Shareef where he visited all the great scholars of his time; topping the list were Shaykhul Mashaikh Hazrat Shahabuddin Soharwardi, Hazrat Shaykh Bahauddin Zakariya Multani, and Shaykh Saifuddin Khizri (may Allah have mercy on them all).  For higher learning he went to Jerusalem, Madina Munawwara, Makka   Mukarrama and Kirman (Iran).  After completing all the external sciences, traveling the Muslim world, and visiting the scholars and Sufi Saints of his time, Hazrat Baba was ecstatic with happiness as the time had now come to visit his beloved Hazrat Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him). Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) came to Delhi and presented himself in the service of Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him).  After 3 days the Qutb accepted his hand in the Prophetic spiritual contract (bai’ah) placing his turban (Imama) on him saying that a Sufi scholar should have the ability to remove the rust of the hearts with one spiritual sight (nazar) and take the seekers to their destination – Allah Almighty.  This was the beginning of Hazrat Baba Fareed’s (may Allah have mercy on him) inner spiritual journey at the hands of his beloved Murshid (Spiritual Guide).  Hazrat Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him) said that a man’s perfection lies in 4 things: sleep less, eat less, speak less and keep less company of the people.  As part of his inner struggles, Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) requested his Murshid for intense spiritual exercises (mujahida).  He was asked to keep the fast of “Tay”, which involves fasting for 3 days and then eating whatever one is presented from the unseen (ghayb).  Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) did as he was instructed and on the third day someone brought him some bread.  However upon eating it he threw it all up.  He went to  Hazrat Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him) and told him what happened.  The Qutb replied that this was a great mercy upon Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) from his Lord as that food had been prepared from the earnings of an alcoholic.  He was asked to repeat his 3 day fast.  Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) obeyed unquestioningly.  The continuous fast of 6 days made him extremely frail.  The pangs of hunger had him put some pebbles in his mouth and by Allah Almighty’s Mercy and Grace, they turned into sugar! (Sairul Awliya). His Murshid told him that from now on Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) will always be sweet.  And how true that his sweetness is felt even today after a period of over 800 years! This is how he became famous as “Ganj Shakar,” the treasury of sweetness. It was the prayers and spiritual grace (faiz) of his Murshid that people began flocking to Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) and miracles (karamaat) began to abound at his blessed hands.

Hazrat Baba Fareed’s (may Allah have mercy on him) Punjabi poetry in and of itself is a great miracle.  Through it he has given teachings that have transformed the lives and hearts of many.  His poetry teaches reliance on Allah (Tawakkul), satiation (qana’at), patience (sabr), love (muhabbat), and fear of Allah (khaufe Khuda) amongst other essentials of life.  A famous Punjabi couplet of his says:

Rukkhi Sukhi khai ke thanda paani pee e

Fareeda dekh parai chopdee na tarsain jee u

Eat dry food, then drink cold water

Fareed don’t desire your neighbor’s house

When he was sending his distinguished mureed, Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya (may Allah have mercy on him) to Delhi he advised him “Keep your enemies happy as much as possible; repay your debts as soon as possible; discussion and debate between two people is more beneficial than the individual efforts of one person for 2 years.”  He further advised to keep ones good and bad hidden from people and to make efforts that one remains alive even after one’s death. He further said that those who feed birds will eventually be visited by “Huma”, the king of birds.  In other words he advised to keep oneself involved in small acts of goodness and eventually a great task will be carried through one’s being.  Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) also authored the “Fawaidus Salikeen” which outlines the benefits of spiritual seekers on their spiritual journey to Allah Almighty.

Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) told his Murshid once that people ask him for ta’weez (protective prayers). To this Hazrat Bakhtiar Kaki (may Allah have mercy on him) replied, “Fareeduddin, Ta’weez is Allah’s Name. Give it to the people.”  Through the permission and prayers of his Murshid his blessed hands acquired such blessing and affect that all the Ta’weez he gave alleviated people’s pains. Khwaja Ahmed Siustani, a mureed of his used to bring Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) water for ablution.  One day he did not bring the water. Hazrat Baba Fareed enquired the reason to which the mureed replied that he had severe pain in his back. Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) placed his blessed hands over his disciple’s back and from that point on he never complained of pain.

Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) was blessed with both physical as well as spiritual children.  However his spiritual children, i.e. disciples surpass his blood descendants by a great number.  It is said that there are over 10 million spiritual disciples of Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) in India alone.  In addition to this, his disciples abound in Arabia, and Africa.  In China alone there are 150 spiritual centers (Khanqas) of his spiritual order.  Of his most famous spiritual successors are Hazrat Qutb Jamal-ud-Deen Hanswi, Khwaja Nizamuddin Awliya, and Hazrat Makhdum Alauddin Sabir Kaleri (may Allah have mercy on them all).

Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) spent the last 18 years of his life in Pak Patan, near Multan and Lahore in Pakistan.  Pak Patan was previously known as Ajodhan.  This name meant the “place of magicians,” as this place was filled with evil sorcerers who were engaged in black magic (sahr).  As soon as Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) arrived into Ajodhan, he said that this is where he was meant to stay and this is where he would pass away.  It was the effect of his blessed footsteps that Ajodhan was cleansed and purified of the magicians getting its name as “Pak Patan.”

Towards the end of 669 Hijri Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) became very ill.  He said that his earthly time was now coming to an end and the moment was approaching to meet his Lord.  On the 5th of Muharram, 670 Hijri (about 1271 CE) he performed his night (Isha) prayer in congregation and then passed out.  After he came to, he questioned if he had performed his prayer.  Even though he was assured that he had performed it, he did it again just to be sure.  He did this 3 times.  He then performed a fresh ablution and then went into prostration.  He recited Allah Almighty’s Names “Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum” and passed away into the Realm of Divine Beatitude in this state of prostration.  He rests in Pak Patan, Pakistan.

Every year, the memorial (Urs) celebrations for Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) are carried out with much devotion from 25th Dhul Hijja to 6th Muharram. People from far and near come to pay their respects to his illumined shrine and gain spiritual benefit by following his teachings. It is our prayer that just like Hazrat Baba Fareed (may Allah have mercy on him) guided people through obedience to every command of Allah Almighty and following the Blessed Practices of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace & Prayers of Allah Almighty be upon Him), may the Muslims live their lives following in his blessed footsteps and practicing his teachings. Ameen.

Syeda Zille Humma Qadri

Research Scholar, IECRC

The above article is an edited English translation of the original full length Urdu contribution.

Responding to Tribulations in Our Times

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Issue # 12
April 22, 2007 / Rabiuth Thani 1428

Immensely Blessed is He in Whose control is the entire Kingdom, and He has authority over everything. He, Who has created death and life that He might test you, as to whose work, is excellent among you. And He is the Esteemed One the Forgiving. [The Holy Quran 67:1-2]

It is clear from the aforementioned blessed verse of the Holy Quran that trials and hardships that face the human condition in the form of tests from Allah Almighty are a part and a parcel of His Divine Plan on this earth. Who has not experienced some type of hardship in life, be it in the form of loss of a loved one, loss of one’s health, or wealth. The question then arises: what is the purpose of the test? Is it ultimate harm or ultimate good? The answer lies in the same verse above. It is to see how one responds to the test. Whether the ultimate result of the test is harm or good depends on one’s own response to it. Does one exhibit patience (sabr) recognizing that the test is from the Almighty, Loving Creator and therefore can only carry goodness in it despite the apparent signs of harm? Does one express gratitude (shukr) to Allah Almighty appreciating the fact that one was considered worthy of such a weighty examination? Does one appreciate the fact that this opportunity for reflection (tafakkur), purification (tazkiya), repentance (tauba) and seeking forgiveness (istaghfar) will make a better, stronger person out of us? Or does one simply complain about the outward temporary losses not being able to see Allah Almighty’s Wisdom?

One simply has to turn the pages of history and observe the lives of the greatest people who have walked this earth – the Prophets (peace be upon them all), and the Saints (Awliya – may Allah Almighty be pleased with them and have mercy on them all) to see that when Allah Almighty wishes to grant His knowledge (marifat) & closeness (qurbat) to His servants, He Almighty sends hardships. One must remember, however, that the Prophets and Saints are Allah Almighty’s chosen people and their role on this earth is that of guiding the common folk. Therefore, the hardships they face are instructional for others and for the purpose of increasing them in infinite spiritual ranks with their Creator. The Crown of the Saints, Hazrat Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (b. 1077 CE, may Allah be pleased with him) says in his famous Sirr-ul-Asraar, “Allah created the spirit (rooh) in the finest formation in the realm of Divinity. Then He wished to reduce it to the lowest of the low, for the purpose of increasing intimacy and nearness.”

The pious Hazrat Syeda Zaynab (May Allah be pleased with her), the beloved grand-daughter of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) experienced so many hardships in her life that she earned the title of Ummul Masaib, the “Mother of Hardships.” When she was six years old, her beloved Grandfather – our Beloved Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), who had honored her with the name Zaynab and placed His Blessed Saliva in her mouth, passed onto the Realm of Divine Beatitude. Six months later, her blessed mother Hazrat Syeda Fatima Zahra (May Allah be pleased with her) too joined her Blessed Father (Peace Be Upon Him). Upon reaching early adulthood, she witnessed the martyrdom of her beloved & respected father, Hazrat Ali (May Allah be pleased with him). Ten years later she witnessed the martyrdom of her dear brother Hazrat Imam Hasan (May Allah be pleased with him). And on the battlefield of Karbala, she lost her dear brother Hazrat Imam Husayn (May Allah be pleased with him) and nearly the rest of her entire family. However, in the face of such immense hardships she always stood tall for the Truth against the wrong-doers. Her words of fortitude, courage, and resilience reverberate the passageways of history providing inspiration to both women & men today.

There is a famous narration regarding the great 8th century CE Saint Hazrat Rabia Basri (May Allah be pleased with him) regarding the response to hardships. A Saint was asked about how one should respond to hardships and he said, ” with patience (sabr)”. Another Saint was asked the same question and he replied,  “with gratitude (shukr)”. When Hazrat Rabia (May Allah be pleased with him) was asked the very same question, she said that one should be so engrossed in love (ishq) for Allah Almighty and His Messenger (Peace Be upon Him) that one cannot even see the hardship!

It is clear from the writings and sayings of all the great scholars and saints that the foremost response to hardships in life is patience. Indeed Allah Almighty Himself commands us in the Holy Quran to seek help from prayer and patience. [Al-Quran, 2:45] As Hazrat Syeda Zaynab’s (May Allah be pleased with her) blessed father, the Gate of Knowledge (Babul-‘Ilm), from whom she directly learnt, Hazrat Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) writes in his famous Nahjatul Balagha that the relationship of patience (sabr) to faith (iman) is like that of the head to the body. He (May Allah be pleased with him) further says as is reported in the famous Kashful Mahjoob of the 11th century CE scholar and Saint, Hazrat Daata Ganj Baksh (May Allah be pleased with him) that, “I have recognized my Lord (marifat) in the breaking of plans.”

Allah Almighty also states in the Holy Quran that He appreciates gratitude [Al-Quran, 4:147] The scholars have said that one must say “Alhamdulillah ‘alaa kulli haal,” i.e. all praises are to Allah Almighty in every condition. When one adopts such a response to one’s hardships then the angels pray for one’s forgiveness and deliverance. Whether Allah Almighty has given us an apparent blessing or an apparent hardship, in every situation one must say “Alhamdulillah.” It is also very important to remember that what may seem as an apparent blessing may also indeed be a test. As Hazrat Daata Ganj Baksh (May Allah be pleased with him) warns us in his Kashful Mahjoob that, “a blessing is truly a blessing when it guides you towards Allah Almighty. If it veils you from the Giver, then it is a hardship (bala).” In the eloquent words of the great 12th century CE Persian poet, Shaykh Saadi (May Allah be pleased with him)  (translated):

Aysh vo kya jo halaakat ka sabab ban jaae

Jis ka anjaam ho raahat vo museebat achchi

May Allah Almighty give us the guidance (taufeeq) to follow in the footsteps of our pious predecessors and may He Almighty grant us a portion of their patience in our hardships and may He grant us that spiritual station (maqam) that we are so engrossed in His and His Beloved’s (Peace Be Upon Him) love that the hardships become invisible to us. Ameen.

Syeda Shagufta Ahmad Qadri

Hazrat Maulana Rumi (May Allah be pleased with him) (1207-1273 CE)

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Issue #11

July 8, 2006 / Jamaduth Thani 12, 1427

Hazrat Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammed Rumi (1207 – 1273 CE, may Allah Almighty be pleased with and have mercy on him) is one of the greatest Saints in Islamic history and the most famous in the West because of his spiritual and mystical poetry emphasizing love of Allah Almighty and His Beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

Maulana Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him) was born on the 6th of Rabbi al-Awwal in the Islamic Hijri year 604 in Balkh, present-day Afghanistan. His father, Hazrat Bahauddin Walad (may  Allah have mercy on him), was a great Muslim scholar and also a Sufi saint who came from the family of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him), First Caliph of Islam. Maulana Rumi (r.a.) grew up in this learned household and was a fully accomplished scholar himself. His family migrated from Central Asia towards Eastern Turkey and completed the Hajj pilgrimage, after which Hazrat Bahauddin Walad became the head of a seminary school (madrasa) in Konya, Turkey. When he passed away, Maulana Rum (r.a.) took his place at the head of the school. During this time, Maulana Rum (r.a.) was a spiritual disciple of first his father, and then Syed Burhanuddin Mahaqqiq (may Allah have mercy on him) until the latter passed away.

One version of the famous meeting that Maulana Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him) had with Hazrat Shams Tabrez (may Allah have mercy on him), was that once Maulana Rumi (r.a.) was teaching a group of his students and referring to his handwritten books and notes while Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.) happened to come along and asked him about those notes. Maulana Rumi (r.a.) replied that the books and notes were beyond the understanding of Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.). Then Maulana Rumi (r.a.) continued his class, meanwhile Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.) threw all the books into a nearby pond of water. The students noticed this and started beating him. This caught the attention of Maulana Rumi (r.a.) who complained about losing his knowledge. Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.) replied that he could return the books, so he recited Bismillah and retrieved the books from the water and they were intact. Now Maulana Rumi (r.a.) was surprised and asked how this was possible – to which Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.) replied that such knowledge was beyond that of an external scholar.

Thus began the relationship between Maulana Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him) and Hazrat Shams Tabrez (may Allah have mercy on him). Maulana Rumi (r.a.) is reported to have mostly retired from his public life and spent a lot of time with Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.). Once Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.) was driven from Konya but returned. The second time that Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.) disappeared, it was permanent. There is a famous Persian couplet:

Maulvi hargis na shud Maula e Rum

Ta ghulame Shams Tabrizi na shud

Maulana (religious teacher) Rumi could

never have become Maula Rumi

Without submitting to

Spiritual Guide Shams Tabrez

Maulana Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him) then formed companionship with Hazrat Saladin Zarkub (may Allah have mercy on him) and then later Hazrat Husam Chelebi (may Allah have mercy on him). The latter encouraged the Maulana to write the famous Masnavi-ye Manavi or Mathnawi Shareef, which is a very long poem containing as many verses as the Iliad and the Odyssey put together. Among Maulana Rumi’s other famous works are the Diwan Shams-e-Tabrez, and Fih ma Fih (What is in it, is in it).

In his commentary on the Mathnawi Shareef, Maulana Abdur Rahman Jami (may Allah have mercy on him), the famous 15th century CE Persian Sufi Saint and poet, writes:

“The word ‘ney’ (reed) in the first couplet of the Mathnawi (“Listen to the reed, how it tells a tale, complaining of separations…”) means a perfect and exalted human being brought up in Islam. Such people have forgotten themselves and everything else. Their minds are always busy seeking the rida [approval] of   Allah, The Most Exalted.”

Maulana Jami (r.a.) says that ‘Ney’ also means non-existent, because these men are emptied of themselves. Finally he says ‘Ney’ refers to the reed-pen. A pen’s writings are fully controlled by its writer, which also points to men emptied of existence and perfectly submitting to the will of Allah, The Most Exalted.

This brings up the point that Maulana Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him)  was a true Muslim scholar and Sufi. Unfortunately, there have been many mistranslations or misrepresentations of Maulana Rum (r.a.). He himself writes in his Diwan:

man banda-yé Qur’ân-am, agar jân dâr-am

man khâk-é rah-é Muhammad-e mukhtâr-am

gar naql kon-ad joz în, kas az goftâr-am

bêzâr-am az-ô, w-az-în sokhan bêzâr-am

I am the servant of the Qur’an

as long as I have life.

I am the dust on the path of

Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), the Chosen one.

If anyone quotes anything

except this from my sayings,

I am quit of him and

outraged by these words.

Maulana Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him) was a poet, jurist, theologian and scholar of the highest accord. He emphasized however that true knowledge is not found in books, but at the feet of the Noble Friends of Allah Almighty. For any given individual that person is his or her Shaykh or Spiritual Guide (Murshid / Pir). Maulana Rum (r.a.) mentions the importance of the Shaykh when he writes:

Sad kitaboh, sad waraq, dar nar kun

Aur jaan-o-dil rah, janibeh, dil daar kun

Throw all (100) your books into the fire

And turn with heart and soul to the Awliya

[For without them one cannot reach perfection.]

In the Mathnawi Shareef, Maulana Rumi (r.a.)  writes the following:

“Seeing a man who was tilling the earth, a fool, unable to control himself, cried out, “Why are you ruining this soil?” “Fool,” said the man, “leave me alone: try to recognize the difference between tending the soil and wasting it. How will this soil become a rose garden until it is disturbed and overturned?”

This verse brings to mind the importance of the Shaykh who is the tiller, where he may test the spiritual disciple (Mureed) in order for the Mureed’s full inner potential to be realized.

Maulana Rumi’s (may Allah have mercy on him) importance continues throughout the centuries and across cultures. Hazrat Allamah Iqbal (may Allah have mercy on him), the great 19th century CE poet-philosopher of the Indian Subcontinent, separated by six centuries of time, famously attributed Maulana Rum as his Pir when he wrote “Pir-e-Rumi, Mureed-e-Hindi” and also about himself:

Tu bhi hai us qaafla-e-shawq mein Iqbal

Jis qaafla-e-shawq ka salaar hai Rumi

You too are a member of that

caravan of longing Oh Iqbal

That caravan of longing

whose guide is Rumi

Maulana Rumi (may Allah have mercy on him) passed away into the realm of Divine Beatitude on 5th Jamadi-u-‘l-Akhar 672 Hijri in Konya, Turkey and his tomb is near to that of his Shaykh Hazrat Shams Tabrez (r.a.). This shining star of the East however lives on through his legacy of love, devotion, and piety, which continues through the centuries to fragrance, nourish and heal the broken hearts that it encounters. May Allah Almighty give us the ability to learn from him and follow in his footsteps. Ameen.

Naveed Agboatwala

Mr. Agboatwala has been with the IECRC since its inception and is one of its most dedicated and hard working contributors. He is a Software Engineer by profession and a research scholar by nature. Brother Naveed leads the IECRC Friday (Juma) prayers. He handles all of IECRC’s audio releases and is an invaluable technical support resource to the rest of the IECRC team.

Biography of Maulana Rum (rahmatullahi alayhe):