Faqr (Al Faqr) literally means indigence; usually taken for poverty, pauperism, destitution and the like. In Islam 'Faqr' is the way or course that removes all the veils between Allah and man, hence, bestowing him with His Deedar (Vision) and Visal (Union). Indeed 'Faqr' is the soul of true Islam. Modern scholars and occidentals, being strangers to this way of our great sufi saints and pious predecessors, have diverted people at large, to superficial values and acts. Hence, they have forgotten their connection with Allah and soul, and have been entangled into the rituals and physical prayers solely. Today Muslims are as strangers to the word 'Faqr' and its reality as the non-Muslims are. Even though, our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam declared Faqr as his pride and attributed Faqr especially to his Holy Self. He Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said:
Meaning: "Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me".
Allah the Greatest has bestowed our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam with countless marvels and virtues but he took pride in none of them. Neither on truth, justice, piety, generosity, patience, bravery, nor on his abdication, trust in Allah, eloquence, honesty, dignities and truthfulness, not even on his family lineage. Even, it is stated in Mishkat-al-Musabih that the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "I am Habib (the beloved friend) of Allah but I don't take pride in it." He took pride in Faqr only. Similarly, all the religious precepts and branches of knowledge originate from him. All the basic beliefs and devotions, Quran and Hadith reach the Muslim ummah through him, but he Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam never attributed any branch of knowledge to himself, except "Faqr".
Faqr means that degree of soul's ascension to Allah where His Deedar (Vision) and Visal (Union) were bestowed upon the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam at Shab-e-Meraj (the Night of Ascension to Allah). On that night he prayed Allah to bestow this great blessing of His Deedar and Visal as a gift for his Ummah. Allah blessed him with the gift of Saum and Salat (fasts and prayers) for the apparent purity and with the Light of Faqr for the internal and intrinsic sanctity of the soul, thus opened the way to access Allah for the Ummah of Hazrat Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. Before our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam, requests of the previous prophets to His Deedar (Vision) were responded to as "you cannot see me". Allah be exalted, conferred this blessing only to His beloved Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam and through him to the Mohammadans which is the greatest blessing of this universe and there is no such pleasure as the pleasure of Deedar-e-Elahi (the Divine Vision). This great blessing is the one for which all the prophets prayed to be Mohammadans. By Allah's grace, this is what excels our Holy Prophet over all the prophets and the Mohammadans over all the other Ummahs. Our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam declares:
Meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me and Faqr is the reason of my superiority over all the prophets and messengers. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Meaning: The Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "Faqr is not appreciable for the people in this world but on the Doomsday, it will be very precious, at the court of Allah Almighty".
- In another Hadith the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "Faqr is the most precious gift of Allah for a Momin in this world". (Mukashifa-tul-Qaloob by Imam Ghazali)
Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam declared Faqr, the benediction of Allah's Deedar (Vision), as one of His countless treasures. Because after its attainment, one becomes indifferent to all the luxuries, blessings and treasures of the world and the hereafter. One, who finds the Owner of all the treasures, 'Allah', remains in no need of any other treasure. He Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam states:
Meaning: Faqr is one of the treasures of Allah.
This treasure is bestowed upon a person's soul on its ascension to Allah in the form of Visal (ultimate Union) of the soul with Allah. The Holy Quran states the highest degree of closeness and Visal of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam with Allah on the night of his Meraj (ascension to Allah) in these words:
Meaning: Then a distance measuring only two bow-length was left (between Allah unveiled and His Esteemed Beloved) or "even less" than that (in extreme nearness). (Al-Najam-9)
No one knows, the details of "even less"; the extreme limit of Union of Allah and His beloved Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. Certainly, some Quranic verses revealed after the Night of Ascension points towards Qurb (quem of propinquity) and Visal of Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam with Allah, referring to it as "Oneness". Allah says:
Meaning: My beloved (Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam), you did not stone the enemies (in the battlefield) but I did. (Surah-ul-Anfal-17)
Meaning: Those, who swear allegiance upon you, in fact, swear allegiance upon Allah. (Surah-ul-Fatah-10)
Meaning: He (Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam) does not speak out of his own desire. (Al-Najm-3)
In a Qudsi Hadith (saying of Allah told by Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam), Allah reveals this closeness of man with Him in these words:
Meaning: when a person seeks my closeness through excessive prayers and devotions, (a stage of closeness comes when) I, Myself become his eyes, he sees through Me, I become his ears, he listens through Me, I become his hands, he holds through Me, I become his tongue, he talks through Me, I become his feet, he walks through Me.
Every Mohammadan can find this Meraj to Allah where he is bestowed upon with this extreme nearness to Allah and His Divine Vision by opting the path of Faqr, through his own devotion, struggle, ability and the most of all, Allah's guidance and favour.
When, the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam reached the extreme height of Faqr i.e. Oneness with Allah after being annihilated in Him, he Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam became the manifestation of Allah, as Maulana Room clearly says that:
Meaning: The chosen Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam is the reflection of Allah's Self. All the attributes, epithets, and qualities of Allah are reflected through him.
Since, Allah's Self is reflected in the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam, that is why, he Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said that "Faqr (Vision and nearness of Allah) is from me", meaning that I am the way to reach Allah and I am Faqr myself.
He Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam also said:
Meaning: One, who has seen me has in fact seen Allah. Hence, attaining intimacy of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam is infact attaining closeness to Allah.
Those, who inferred Faqr from the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam spiritually became one with him on reaching the state of Fana-Fi-Rasool (annihilated in the Divine self of the Holy Prophet). First of all, Syeda Fatima Razi Allah Anha gained the blessing of Faqr from him and became the first Sultan of Faqr. When, she found oneness with the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam and recognized the reality of his being, he Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "Fatima is from me". Then Hazrat Ali Karum Allah Wajhul Kareem, the Door to Faqr, annihilated his intrinsic being in the real, purest being i.e. Noor (Light) of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam and found his reality, so the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "Ali is from me". When Hazrat Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain Razi Allah Anhum were blessed with Faqr, he Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "Hassan and Hussain are from me". Then, this treasure of Faqr was transferred to the Muslim Ummah spiritually. Every true follower of Hazrat Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam, who deeply and truly loves him and wants to meet Allah through his mediation, is the heir of this treasure of Faqr, as the great poet Iqbal has said:
Meaning: Faqr is the passion and eagerness (for Allah). It is the way, to surrender and submit yourself completely to Allah Almighty. It is the asset of our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam and we are its inheritors and custodians.
Meaning: Faqr and Supremacy befell from Mustafa Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. These are the tajalliat (Divine Self Disclosures) reflected from his esteemed self.
Every follower of Islam can attain that spiritual height of ascension to Allah by adopting the path of Faqr according to his or her ability, where he or she would get the Vision and Union of Allah.
In the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam's saying that "Salat is a Meraj (an ascension to Allah) of a Momin", invitation of Meraj has been laid open for the whole Ummah, though, their will and endeavour are up to them. Faqr is the way of all those, whose path we pray for in Surah Fatiha
Meaning: Guide us on the right and straight path, path of those whom you blessed. (Al Fatiha 5-6)
These are the pure souls of friends of Allah who have been blessed upon with Meraj to Allah through the path of Faqr. Faqr is, infact that Sirat-e-Mustqeem (Straight Path) that leads man to Allah. Hazrat Ali Karum Allah Wajhul Kareem said About Faqr
Meaning: One who really loves Ahl-e-Bait (the family of the Prophet) should be ready to wear the gown of Faqr". (Neheja-tul-Blagha)
When Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Razi Allah Anhu, found ascension to Allah, Allah said:
- "O' Ghaus-ul-Azam say unto your friends and companions if they want My Divine Company and Nearness, they should adopt and choose the path of Faqr. At the ultimate end of this path, they remain nothing except Me". Then Allah said "O' Ghaus-ul-Azam, when you find a Faqeer (the mystic who has reached the height of Faqr) in such a wretched condition that the fire of Faqr has consumed him, be close to him, for, there is no veil between him and Me." (Risala-ul-Ghausiya)
In his book Sir'rul-Asrar Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Razi Allah Anhu comprehensively defines Faqr as:
- "According to our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam "Faqr is my pride and a source of honour for me"; here Faqr does not mean poverty as is usually understood, rather it means spiritual Faqr which means to depend on none but Allah and to abdicate every pleasure and joy from heart except the pleasure of being close to Allah. When a person gains this status, then this is called Fana-Fillah (annihilation in Allah) where, nobody exists within his being except the only Entity, Allah."
Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Razi Allah Anhu further says about Faqr:
- The dignity of Faqr is not in wearing rags or coarse clothes or in eating tasteless food, rather, it is in acquiring mysticism and devotion for Allah by your heart and soul.
- Faqr and mysticism is a struggle to reach Allah. Do not adulterate it with anything foolish or absurd. May Allah bestow his Divine favour upon us to acquire it. (Al-Fatah Rabbani) Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says about Faqr:
- "Faqr is a special attribute suited to the chosen ones only". (Kashaf-ul-Mahjoob) Hazrat Khawaja Nizam-ud-Din Auliya Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
- "Faqr in this world is the key to riches in the hereafter". Hazrat Shaikh Ibrahim Khawas Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
- "Faqr is the coverlet of honour, dignity and glory for apostles and pious ones".