Faqr (Alfaqr) 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 Vision (Deedar) and Union (Visal). 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 prayers solely. Today Muslims are as stranger 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:
اَلۡفَقۡرُ فَخۡرِیۡ وَالۡفَقۡرُ مِنِّی
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 the beloved friend (Habib) 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, Qur’an 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 accession to Allah where His Vision (Deedar) and Union (Visal) were bestowed upon the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam at the Night of Accession to Allah (Shab-e-Meraj). He prayed Allah to bestow this great blessing of His Deedar and Visal as a gift for his nation (Ummah). Allah blessed him with the gift of fasts and prayers (salat and saum) 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 the requests of prophets to His Vision (Deedar) were responded to as “you cannot see me”. But 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 the divine Vision (Deedar-e-Elahi). This divine blessing is the one for which all the prophets prayed to be Mohammadens. By Allah’s grace, this is what excels our Holy Prophet over all the prophets and the Mohammadens over all the other nations (Ummahs). Our Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam declares:
اَلْفَقْرُ فَخْرِیْ وَالْفَقْرُ مِنِّی فَافْتَخِرُّ بِہٖ عَلیٰ سَائِرِ الْاَنْبِیَآ ئِ وَالْمُرْسَلِیْنَ
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)
قَالَ رَسُو لَ اللّٰہِ صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِ وَآلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ اَلْفَقْرُ شِیۡنٌ عِنۡدَ النَّاسِ وَزَیۡنٌ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ فِی الۡقِیٰمَۃِ
Meaning: The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said “Faqr is not appreciable for people in this world but on the Doomsday it will be very precious for 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)
- He Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam also Said اَلْفَقْرُ عِزٌ لِاَھۡلِہٖ Meaning: ” Faqr brings respect for those who are worthy of it”.
Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam declared Faqr, the benediction of Allah’s Vision (Deedar), as one of His countless treasures. As 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:
اَلْفَقْرُ کَنْزٌ مِنْ کَنُوْزِ اللّٰہِ تَعَالیٰ
Meaning: Faqr is one of the treasures of Allah.
This treasure is bestowed upon a person’s soul on its accession to Allah in the form of ultimate Union (Visal) of soul with Allah. The Holy Qur’an states the highest degree of closeness and Union (Visal) of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam with Allah on the night of his accession to Allah (Meraj Shreef) in these words:
فَکَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَیْنِ اَوْاَدْنٰی. سورۃ النجم
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 اَوْاَدْنٰی “even less”; the limit of the Union (Visal) of Allah and His beloved Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. Certainly some Qur’anic verses revealed after the Night of Accession (Meraj) points towards terminus and quem of propinquity (Qurb) and conjugation (Visal) of Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam with Allah, referring to it as “oneness”. Allah says:
وَمَا رَمَیْتَ اِذْ رَمَیْتَ وَلٰکِنَّ اللّٰہَ رَمٰی
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).
اِنَّ الَّذِیْنَ یُبَایِعُوْنَکَ اِنَّمَا یُبَایِعُوْنَ اللّٰہَ ط
Meaning: Those who swear allegiance upon you infact swear allegiance upon Allah (Surah-ul-Fatah-10).
وَمَا یَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْھَوٰی۔
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:
لایزال عبدی یتقرب الٰی بالنوافل حتٰی احببۃ فکنت سمع الذی یسمع بۃ وبصرہ الذی یبصربہ ویدی التی یبطش بھا ورضلہ التی یمشی بھا. صحیح بخاری
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 sight by opting the path of Faqr through his own devotion,struggle, ability and most of all Allah’s guidance.
When the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam reached this extreme height of Faqr, he Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam became the manifestation of Allah, as Maulana Roomi clearly says that
مصطفیؐ آئینہ روئے خداست
منعکس در وے ہمہ خوئے خداست
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 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, “I am the way to reach Allah and I am Faqr myself”.
He Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said:
مَنْ رَأَنِیْ فَقَدْ رَایٌ الْحَق
Meaning: One who has seen me has infact seen Allah.
Hence attaining intimacy of Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is infact attaining closeness of Allah. Those who inferred Faqr from Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam spiritually became one with him. First of all Sayeda Fatima Razi Allahu Ta’ala 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 Gate of Faqr, submerged his intrinsic being with the real, purest being 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 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:
فقر ذوق و شوق و تسلیم و رضاست
ما امینیم ایں متاعِ مصطفیٰؐ است
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.
فقروشاہی وارداتِ مصطفیٰؐ است
ایں تجلیاتِ ذاتِ مصطفیٰؐ است
Meaning: Faqr and Supremacy befell from Mustafa Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. These are the refulgent lights reflected from His esteemed self.
Every follower of Islam can attain that height of accession of spiritualism by adopting the path of Faqr according to his or her ability, where he or she would get the Vision of Allah. In the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam’s saying that “Salat is Meraj (an accession to Allah) of a Momin”,invitation of Meraj has been laid open for the whole Ummah.Though will and endeavour is upto them. Faqr is the way of all those whose path we pray for in Surah Fatiha. These are the pure souls who have been blessed upon with Meraj to Allah through the path of Faqr. Faqr is infact that Straight Path (Sirat-e-Mustqeem) that leads man to Allah. Hazrat Ali Karum Allah Wajhul Kareem said About Faqr
مَنْ اَحَبَّنَا اَھۡلِ الۡبَیۡتِ فَلۡیَسۡتَعِدُ لِلۡفَقۡرِ جِلۡبَانَا
Meaning: One who really loves Ahl-e-Bait should be ready to wear the gown of Faqr”. (Neheja-ul-Blagha)
When Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Razi-Allahu Ta’ala Anhu, found accession to Allah, Allah said: “Oh 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 “Oh Ghaus-ul-Azam, when you find a Faqeer (one 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 Jillani Razi-Allahu Ta’ala Anhu comprehensively defines Faqr as: “According to our Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam “Faqr is my pride and is a source of honour for me”; here Faqr does not mean poverty as is usually understood but 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 annihilation in Allah (Fana-fi-Allah) where nobody exists within his being except the only entity Allah.”
Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi-Allahu Ta’ala 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 adultrate 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”.
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh entitles his teachings neither as Sufism (Tasavvuf) nor any of its schools (Tariqat) but ‘Faqr’. All his teachings are about the path of Faqr and its related stages and basic philosophies. He explains the philosophy of Faqr in these words:
- “One who seeks Allah and His glorious sight should follow the path of Faqr”. (Ain-ul-Faqr).
- “Faqr is exactly and truly Allah Himself”. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- “Faqr is the divine knowledge to find the splendid sight of Allah”. (Ain-ul-Faqr).
- “One who followed the path of Hazrat Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, made AlFaqr his companion. No status is more honourable or higher than AlFaqr, AlFaqr is life forever”. (Noor-ul-Huda)
- “AlFaqr has all the heavenly treasures. Worldly treasures exhaust at last and this material life is just like a dream, but AlFaqr is the eternal treasure and mystic knowledge of being one with Allah (Wahdat). The worldly pleasures last for a few days. At last one has to be accountable to Allah Almighty”. (Tofeiq-ul-Hadayat)
فقر شاہے ہر دوعالم بے نیاز و باخدا
احتیاجش کس نہ باشد مدِّ نظرش مصطفیٰؐ
Meaning: Faqr is the sovereign ruler which is one with Allah and that is why Faqr is detached and indifferent to everything in this world and the hereafter. AlFaqr is always looked upon by Hazrat Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam with great pride.
- “Faqr is the righteous path guided by the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam himself” (Ain-ul-Faqr).
As The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said “Faqr is from me”, hence when the follower of the path reaches at the extremes of spiritual and esoteric purity, he spiritually attains recognition of Allah through His glorious Vision (Deedar) and finds the eternal presence in the Mohammadan Assembly, where The Lord of both the worlds Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam himself leads and instructs him. He Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam always keeps him in his view. In his Assembly souls of his privileged companions and saints are present who directly benefit the seeker spiritually. This is the point where the true essence of the religion is accomplished. Esoterically there is no stage higher than this. When a person is directly guided by the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, his religion is established on strongest foundations,and then the whole building of his religion becomes strong and perfect. That is why Iqbal has declared that the foundation of one’s religion is accomplished only when he finds access to the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. Without approaching him the religion is incomplete and superficial.
بہ مصطفیؐ برساں خویش را کہ دیں ہمہ اوست
اگر بہ او نرسیدی‘ تمام بولہبی است
Meaning:You must find access to the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam as he himself is the perfect religion. If you do not find guidance by him, your religion is just like Abu-Lahab’s religion.
Iqbal himself was a follower of AlFaqr. All his poetry and philosophical thoughts revolve around AlFaqr. He states the grandeur of AlFaqr as:
فقر کے ہیں معجزات تاج و سریر و سپاہ
فقر ہے میروں کا میر، فقر ہے شاہوں کا شاہ
Meaning: All the arms and throne and the crest are the miracles of AlFaqr. AlFaqr is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.
مقامِ فقر ہے کتنا بلند شاہی ہے
روش کسی کی گدایانہ ہو تو کیا کہیے
Meaning: The status of AlFaqr is much, much higher than sovereignty and kingdom. What can be said if someone wants to be a slave (of his own desires).
اک فقر ہے شبیریؓ‘ اس فقر میں ہے میری
میراثِ مسلمانی‘ سرمایہ شبیریؓ
Meaning: The AlFaqr which is related to Hazrat Shabir Razi-Allahu Ta’ala Anhu is the Faqr of sovereignty. It is the inheritance of the lords and the possession of Hazrat Shabir Razi-Allahu Ta’ala Anhu.
فقر مومن چیست؟ تسخیرِ جہات
بندہ از تاثیر او مولا صفات
Meaning: What do you understand by AlFaqr of a true muslim! It is to overpower and conquer the boundaries of time and space. By AlFaqr a person acquires the attributes of Allah Almighty.
Just as the material knowledge of the worldly objects gives us information about them, similarly the objective of AlFaqr is to gain spiritual knowledge i.e Gnosis (Marifat) of Allah.Material knowledge is only limited to this world and its objects whereas AlFaqr has access to Allah. Comparing knowledge and Faqr Iqbal says:
علم کا مقصود ہے‘ پاکی عقل و خرد
فقر کا مقصود ہے ‘ عفتِ قلب و نگاہ
Meaning: The objective of worldly knowledge is to elevate wisdom and intellect in a person, while the objective of AlFaqr is to purify the soul and elevate the spiritual vision.
علم فقیہہ و حکیم‘ فقر مسیح و کلیم ؑ
علم ہے جویائے راہ‘ فقر ہے دانائے راہ
Meaning: Intellect can train jurists and philosophers, while AlFaqr is the attribute of Prophets. Intellect searches the ways, Faqr knows them.
علم مقامِ خبر‘ فقر مقامِ نظر
علم کا موجود اور‘ فقر کا موجود اور
Meaning: Intellect only gives theoretical knowledge and information but Faqr actually reveals the truth and exposes the reality. Intellect lets you feel the presence of only material things, while Faqr makes you feel the presence of the Omnipresent Allah.
So the crux of this discussion is that Faqr is Islam’s foundation which leads to Allah’s Gnosis (Marifat) through His Vision (Deedar) and spiritual presence in the Assembly of our beloved Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam (Majlis-e-Mohammadi ). Allah Almighty says:
یٰٓاَیُّھَاالَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُواادۡخُلُوۡ فِیۡ السِّلۡمِ کَآفَّۃً
Meaning: Oh believers! Enter Islam perfectly and completely (Al-Baqra-208)
Islam clearly speaks of the rights of the human beings (Haqooq-ul-Ibad) and rights of Allah (Haqooq-Allah). Haqooq-Allah are not just offering prayers and fasting but the Gnosis (Marifat) of Allah is its basic and an integral part. Common muslims, considering it something too exalted than the basic religion, have exempted themselves and restricted it to just one class ,the sufis, although the above mentioned verse of Qur’an is addressed to all those who call them muslims. If analyzed carefully, Faqr is the actual religion, as religion is to attain Allah’s closeness which is what Faqr exactly does. That is why Iqbal has said:
لفظ” اسلام” سے اگر یورپ کو کد ہے تو خیر
دوسرا نام اسی دین کا ہے “فقرِ غیور”
Meaning: It doesn’t matter if Europe resents the word ‘Islam’. Another name for the same religion is the honourable ‘AlFaqr’.
Nowadays when we look around us we see nothing but chaos, disorder, disintegration and confusion and when we look inside ourselves we see restlessness, fear and frustrations overpowering our senses. Despite being followers of Islam, meaning peace, we find peace nowhere. The benefactor of humanity Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam brought a religion for external and internal, individual and collective wellbeing. History speaks of this individual and collective welfare in His Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and the four Pious Caliphs’ era but today despite being followers of the same religion we see welfare nowhere. Reason to all this is that we are not following our religion completely. So in order to find internal and external peace and wellbeing in this world and hereafter we must enter Islam completely by acquiring the path of AlFaqr,the Sirat-e-Mustqeem and the real and basic religion which leads a muslim close to Allah,grants him His Deedar and makes him a MOMIN from an ordinary muslim.
Now let us discuss about the Glorious Vision of Allah (Deedar-e-Elahi) in detail.