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Soulful articles on Faqr and Islam
Tehreek Dawat e Faqr blog is a forum of Sufi teachings presented by Tehreek Dawat e Faqr. Its sole purpose is to invite the creation of Allah towards the true purpose of life. That is, striving to gain Divine vision, closeness, gnosis and union. Moreover, the organization is true and only representative of Faqr, which is a true heritage of Holy Prophet. Faqr is in fact the soul of Islam.
What do we do?
The founder of this organization Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman is the perfect spiritual guide of the present time and 31st Shaikh of Sultan Bahoo’s Sarwari Qadri order. This organization is working day and night in order to spread the teachings of Faqr and blessings of Deedar e Elahi in every corner of the world. Keeping in view the needs of modern world we are utilizing every available platform to convey the message of Faqr. One of the biggest accomplishments of our organization is the translation of Sultan Bahoo’s books from Persian into Urdu and English. Also another worth mentioning is the publication of Mahnama Sultan ul Faqr Magazine every month.
Tehreek Dawat e Faqr blog
As mentioned above our organization publishes Mahnama Sultan ul Faqr Magazine every month. It contains soulful articles on all kinds of topics related to Islam like Masarif e Zakat etc. and Faqr (Sufism). The magazine is extremely popular among people nationally and internationally. Considering the rising requests of international devotees this Sufi organization has taken a revolutionary step of translating the articles of Mahnama Sultan ul Faqr Magazine. These articles are published on our websites regularly in the form of blogs. Now even the English-speaking devotees are benefiting from Mahnama Sultan ul Faqr, the sole representative of Faqr in the world. Not to mention the effort has been highly admired by the communities of international devotees.
Our blogs are published on the 15th of every month here on this website. We encourage you to visit our website regularly so you don’t miss out on our latest articles. Those who want to gain the level of truth of certainty must read this blog. Read about Abu Bakr Siddiq.
It is related from Salman al-Farsi that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) delivered a sermon to us on the last day of Shaban (the month before Ramadan):"O people! A great month has cast a shadow (of mercy and blessings) over you. Allah has obligated fasting (during the day) and supererogated the night stay. A person who will perform any virtuous deed in this month (Ramadan) to truly seek the closeness of Allah is blessed with the reward of an obligatory prayer. Whoever performed the obligatory prayer in Ramadan, his reward is as much as if he has performed seventy obligatory prayers in the months other than Ramadan. It is the month of patience and the reward of patience is heaven. It is the month of equality, compassion and sympathy. It is a month in which the sustenance of the believer (Mumin) is increased, and whoever breaks the fast of a fasting person (during iftar), his sins are forgiven and he is freed from the fire (of hell), this does not decrease the reward of the fasting person."We (Salman al-Farsi and other Companions) requested: ‘’O Messenger of Allah (pbuh)! Not every one of us can (help) break the fast.’’Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) replied:‘’Allah Almighty also gives this reward to the person who breaks the fast of someone with even a sip of milk, a date or a sip of water. Whoever feeds the fasting person, Allah will give him water from my Pond of Abundance (Hawdh al-Kawthar). He will not be thirsty till he enters Paradise. The first part of Ramadan is mercy, second part is forgiveness and the third one is liberation from fire (of hell). Whoever lightens the burden of his servant (from daily chores) in this month, Allah will forgive him and set him free from the fire’’. (Mishkat al-Masabih)The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said:
"Rajab is the month of Allah, Shaban is mine and Ramadan is month of my umma.’’
Etymology of Ramadan:
The word “Ramadan” or “Ramazan” is derived from the Arabic word ‘’رمض’’ (Ramdh) meaning ‘’to burn’’. This month burns the sins of Muslims hence termed as ‘’Ramadan.’’
Etymology of Sawm:
The Arabic word for fasting is ‘’Sawm’’, which means to abstain. In the state of fasting, a Muslim abstains from eating and drinking completely from Fajr to Maghrib prayer thus named as ‘’Sawm’’.
Obligation of Sawm (Fast) in Ramadan:
The Divine command for the obligation of ‘’Sawm’’ (fasting) in Ramadan was revealed in 02 AH, almost fifteen days following the change of the Qibla (Tahweel al-Qibla).
The Purpose to Mandate Sawm (Fast) in Ramadan:
Every act of worship or deed has a purpose. What is the purpose of Sawm (fasting)? Allah says in Quran:Meaning: ‘’O believers! Sawm (fasting) is obligatory for you as it was obligated for the people before you so that you may adopt piety.’’ (2:183)From this verse it is clear that the purpose of the obligation of fasting is to make the Muslims pious. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
“The best amongst you is the one who is most pious.’’
What is Piety?
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was once asked about piety. He (pbuh) pointed to his (sacred) heart and said:
‘’Piety is here.’’ (Muslim 6541)
Piety is actually the closeness of inward to Allah Almighty. The closer one's inward is to Allah, the more pious one is. Piety, in fact, is proximity to Allah. (Sawm) fasting brings a person closer to Allah. Allah says about this act of worship: "Sawm (fasting) is for me and I am the reward for it."It is written in Quran:
Meaning: “This Book (Quran) guides the pious (towards the righteous path).” (Al-Baqarah)
The (light of) guidance from the Holy Quran is given only to those who are pious.
Levels of Piety
The first level of piety is that one avoids all that for which Islamic scholars and jurists have issued a decree. This is the piety of ordinary Muslims.
The second level is abstinence from things that are unclear. This means that something is apparently made halal (permissible) in the Shariah but is doubtful. This is the piety of virtuous people.
Third level is to avoid the things having even a slight suspicion of being haram. This is the status of elevated pious ones.
The fourth level is to avoid things which become hurdle in worship and obedience. This is the piety of the truthful (Siddiqeen).
Conclusion from Levels of Piety:
As for the first degree which is the piety of the common people is the renunciation of disbelief and polytheism. The second level in which it is commanded to abstain from the prohibitions of shariah and to forsake sin is the piety of the pious. The third level is the piety of virtuous ones which reduces the hurdles in worship and obedience. The fourth level refers to those who have renounced everything except Allah and prevent all worldly distractions from entering their inwards. They are free from evils of innerself and Satan. This is the piety of the chosen ones meaning Mystics. These pious are beloved.Hence, the real purpose of (Sawm) fasting is to make one pious. If piety is attained, then guidance, Divine light and righteous path is gained from the Holy Quran.
Significance of Ramadan to gain Piety
Just as man strives to attain the highest rank and the luxurious life in the world, likewise, he should strive for the highest rank and status of piety. Ramadan is a golden opportunity to seek the righteous path and piety from Allah Almighty.
The Reward of Sawm (Fasting)
The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said that Allah says:
‘’I reward ten to seven hundred times for every virtuous deed, but Sawm is (fasting) especially for Me, so I Myself am its reward.”
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Patience is half faith and Sawm (fasting) is half patience”.
He (pbuh) further said,
“The odor from the mouth of a fasting person is dearer to Allah than the smell of musk.”
Allah Almighty says:
‘’My slave refrains from eating, drinking and having intercourse just for My sake, only I can reward for it.’’
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“The sleep of fasting person is worship, breathing is to glorify Allah (tasbih), and supplication is well answered (accepted).”
And Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) further said: The doors of paradise are opened and doors of hell are closed on the arrival of Ramadan. The devils are imprisoned and an announcer proclaims, “O seeker of virtue! Your time shall come soon and O seeker of evil! Stop, for you have no place."
The Sawm (Fasting) of Mysticism And Reality
Ghawth al-Azam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani says:
The Sawm (fasting) of Shariah is that a person abstains from eating and drinking and having sexual intercourse during fasting.
The Sawm of Mysticism refers to esoteric and exoteric avoidance of all forbidden in shariah and evils such as to refrain from pride, arrogance, envy, greed, malice, hatred, selfishness, narcissism and conceit etc. If the seeker commits any of the above evils, then the real (inwardly) Sawm becomes flawed and weak.
Sawm of Shariah is for a specific duration but the sawm of mysticism is sawm of whole life. (eternal)
The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said,
“There are many people who observe fast and get nothing from it except starvation and thirst.”
That is why, it is said that there are many people who apparently observe fast but actually they do not and there are many who are not in the state of fasting exoterically but inwardly they are i.e. they refrain themselves from the acts that are forbidden in shariah and avoid harming others.Allah says in Qudsi Hadith
“Sawm (fasting) is for Me and I am its reward.”
The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said:
‘’There are two joys for the fasting person. One is the joy of Iftar and the other is the joy of Divine vision. May Allah grant us these blessings too.’’
The scholars and follower of shariah have taken the meaning of Iftar to be “eating and drinking at sunset” and the concept of “vision” is to see the crescent of Eid al-Fitr. Contrary to this, the Mystics have described Iftar means to ‘’enter the paradise and breaking the Sawm of reality by enjoying Allah’s blessings. While, the meaning of “vision” in this Divine vision of Allah Almighty. May Allah grant us all these blessings.
The Sawm of Reality refers to purifying the inward from all worldly and heavenly desires except Allah and to keep the secret (sir) free from the love of observing other than Allah.
Allah says in Qudsi Hadith, “The man is My secret and I am the secret of man. The secret (sir) is from Divine light; therefore, it is not inclined towards anyone except Allah. It has no beloved, affection and desire in this world and in the hereafter except the Divine Essence. If the secret (sir) of a man falls in love with other than Allah, his Sawm of reality becomes imperfect. Its qada (atonement) is to discard love of everyone except Allah in this world and in the hereafter and to return to the sublime and submerge in the Divine love, Divine union and Divine vision as stated in the Qudsi Hadith: "Sawm is for me and I am its reward." (Sirr al-Israr)Al-Ghazali says, Sawm is divided into three grades:
Sawm of the commons
Sawm of the specials
Sawm of the chosen ones
Sawm (fasting) of the common people is to abstain from eating, drinking and intercourse during fasting. This is the lowest grade.However, highest grade is Sawm (fasting) of the chosen ones which includes purification of inward from the love of everything except Allah and submitting oneself to the Divine will. This means to keep the Sawm both esoterically and exoterically. If a person is involved in unnecessary worldly matters despite invocation of Allah, then this Sawm of reality breaks. However, thinking about the matters which are helpful for the religion is not included in the worldly affairs. The religious scholars even consider it to be a sin that a person plans to arrange the Iftar because it depicts the fact that he does not believe in the promise of Allah about providing the sustenance. This is the status of Prophets and Truthful (Siddiqeen). Not everyone reaches this status. The Sawm of the special ones is not only to refrain from eating, drinking and intercourse but it is also to keep oneself away from all evil and inappropriate activities. This Sawm is completed by six things.
First is to restrain eyes from seeing everything that diverts the inward away from Allah Almighty. Especially avoid one’s sight from watching anything which ignites sensual desires. As the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘’Eyesight is one of the venomous arrows of Satan.’’ Whosoever will control his eyesight due to the fear of Allah, Allah will grant him the dignity of faith that will adorn his inward’’.
It is narrated from Anas ibn Malik that Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘’There are five things which (interrupt and) break the Sawm (fast):
Seeing someone with sensuality
Second thing which perfectly completes the Sawm is to avoid obscene and unnecessary conversation. A person should either stay quiet or keep himself busy in reciting the Holy Quran or invocation of Allah Almighty. Unnecessary arguments and disputes are also included in obscene conversation. Some religious scholars also consider that lie and backbiting breaks the Sawm of common people only.
During the era of the Holy Prophet, two women were near to death due to thirst during their fast. They asked for permission to break their fast from the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The Holy Prophet (pbuh) sent them a bowl to regurgitate in it. Both of them vomited blood clots in it. People were surprised at this incident. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that both of those women kept their Sawm (fast) by eating Halal but broke their (Sawm) fast with Haram i.e., they committed backbiting and the blood clots were flesh of the person whose backbiting they did.
Thirdly, a person should not listen to bad conversation as the words that are not permissible to speak should not be heard as well. A person who listens to lie and backbiting is equally responsible for the punishment.
Fourth one is to keep away all the body parts from the evil and inappropriate activities. A person who observes Sawm (fast) and stops eating food but keeps on committing evil is same as the person who avoids getting sick but keeps on eating toxins because wrongdoing is toxic while food is nourishment. Excessive food is also harmful, however, having the required and moderate sustenance is not detrimental. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘’There are many who get nothing from Sawm (fast) except hunger and thirst.’’
Fifth is that one should not take Haram and doubtful edible at Iftar. Even Halal food should be eaten in moderate quantity. The purpose of Sawm is to diminish the desires and eating a lot at a time boosts the desire, especially when many varieties of food are available. The inward cannot be purified unless the stomach remains empty.
It is the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) that a person should not sleep much during daytime and keep himself awake so that he may feel hunger and weakness. When he will eat less at night, he will be able to sleep early and wake up for Tahajjud (night prayer). The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “No filled vessel is worse than the stomach for Allah.”
Sixth is that at Iftar one should not be confused inwardly whether his Sawm is accepted or not.
Hasan al-Basri once passed by a community on Eid who were enjoying themselves. He said, “Allah Almighty has made Ramadan like an arena, so that people may augment and progress in His obedience and worship. One group succeeded and the other one left behind. I am surprised at those who are unaware of reality and yet they are cheerful. I swear to Allah if the reality is disclosed and the states are revealed then those people whose worships have been accepted will enjoy. On the other hand, those people whose worships have not been accepted and disapproved will be full of sorrow and they will not be indulged in any pleasures.”
Hence, it is proved that Sawm (fast) of those people is apparent only (not a real soul of Sawm) who just refrain themselves from eating and drinking. The reality of Sawm (fast) is that the person should try to make himself pure like the angels because angels are free from all kind of desires and animals are full of sensual desires. This is the reason animals are much inferior to the angels. Hence, this criterion represents that every person whose sensual desires dominate him is like an animal and the one who has overcome his sensual desires is like an angel and shares the same attributes as angels. As angels are close to Allah similarly the person with these attributes is in proximity to Allah too. The person who fills his stomach to its desire and delays in establishing evening prayer (Maghrib), his sensual desire is enhanced. This person does not attain the soul of Sawm (fast). (Kimiya-i-Saadat)
Significance of Iftar and Suhur in Ramadan according to Hadith
Amr ibn al-As narrates that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said, “The difference between Sawm (fasting) of Christians and Muslims is taking Suhur.”
Abu Hurairah also relates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has prohibited observing consecutive fast without Suhur. A person said to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) that you observe fast consecutively without Suhur. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) replied, “Who amongst you can be like me? I spend my entire night (with Allah), my Allah feeds me.”
It has been narrated by Abu Hurairah that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “Dates are good food of Suhur for the believers (Mumin).”
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “Suhur is a blessing, do not abandon it. If there is nothing to eat then at least drink a sip of water instead. Because Allah blesses those who take predawn meal and the angels pray for them.” (Musnad Ahmed, Muarif al-Hadith)
Sahal ibn Saad relates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “People will remain fortunate and at good until they hurry in Iftar.”
Abu Hurrairah relates another Hadith that Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “Until the Muslims will keep hurrying in Iftar, the religion (Islam) will remain dominant because the Jews and Christians (non-Muslims) delay Iftar.”
Laylat al-Qadr /Qadr Night / Shab-e-Qadr
The Arabic term for ‘’night’’ is ‘’Laylat’’ and Persian term is ‘’Shab’’. The meaning of ‘’Qadr’’ is significance, greatness and value. Thus, Laylat al-Qadr means the night of significance and greatness. By the grace of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), Allah Almighty blessed the Muslim umma with a very special night, in which the reward of worship and obedience is greater than the worship and obedience of a thousand months.
It is stated in the Muwatta Imam Malik that when the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was told about the long lives of previous ummah, he (pbuh) became worried that since people of his umma have been granted short lives then how come their deeds would be equal to the people of other ummas. Thus, Allah blessed the Holy Prophet (pbuh) with Laylat al-Qadr which is greater than the (worship and obedience of) a thousand months.
Ibn Abbas narrates that when we discussed about the Jihadofan individual from Bani Israel for thousand years in the court of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he (pbuh) wondered about it and prayed for his umma, “O’ my Lord! Due to the short lives of my umma they will be unable to perform as much good deeds”. Thus, Allah Almighty blessed him (pbuh) with the Shab-e-Qadr. (Tafseer al-Khazin)
Al-Suyuti relates from Anas ibn Malik that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said,
“Allah Almighty has blessed only my umma with. Laylat al-Qadr. This blessed superiority has been granted to none of the previous ummas.”
The virtue of last ten days of Ramadan is salvation from the fire (of hell). It is Sunnah muakkadah and Fard al-Kifayah to perform Itikaf in these last days i.e. sufficient for others if some of them perform Itikaf. Whosoever performed Itikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan, it is like performing two Hajjand Umrahs (this means getting the same reward). (Bayhaqi, Maariful Hadith)
It is related that the Holy Quran was recited before the Holy Prophet (pbuh) once every year. The year he (pbuh) passed away (physically) it was recited twice before him (pbuh). The Holy Prophet (pbuh) used to perform Itikaf for ten days every year but in the year of his demise he (pbuh) did so for twenty days.
Anas ibn Malik relates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) used to perform Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. One year he (pbuh) did not perform it. He (pbuh) performed Itikaf for twenty days following year.
Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said in the favour of person who performs Itikaf, “He stays away from the sins. His virtuous deeds continue like virtuous people.”
Sadqa-e-Fitr/ Zakat al-Fitr
The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said, “The Sawm (fast) of a person remains suspended between the world and the heavens unless he pays the Sadqae-Fitr. (Zakat al-Fitr).”
Sadaqah-e-Fitr is Wajib. If it has not been paid in the last year, it is necessary to pay it in the present year. There is no condition of Sawm for paying Sadqa-e-Fitr. This means that if a person has not observed Sawm (fast) during Ramadan it is still necessary to pay it.
Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al-As relates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) sent a person in the streets of Makkah to announce that Sadqa-e-Fitr (Zakat al-Fitr) is Wajib for everyone whether he is a male or female, free man or a slave, child or an adult. It should be equal to the weight of almost four pounds of wheat or three and a half kilograms of any other grain or dates etc. (or their equivalent price) and it should be given before offering Eid prayer.
(Note: This blog is an English translation of Urdu article فضائلِ رمضانwhich appeared in April 2022 edition of Monthly Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore. This article is taken from the Urdu book “Haqeeqat-e-Roza” authored by Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman. Dr. Mohammad Waseem Akram Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English as ‘Virtues of Ramadan’)
What is the importance of Ramadan/Ramazan in Islam?Ramadan is a golden opportunity to seek the righteous path and piety from Allah Almighty. It is the month of mercy, forgiveness and salvation from fire of hell.What is the significance of Sawm (fasting)?Allah says in Qudsi Hadith “Sawm (Fasting) is for Me and I am its reward.” If Sawm is observed with perfection of its soul, it becomes the source for enlightenment of inward and hence closeness to Allah.What are the rewards of Sawm (fasting)?One of the many rewards of Sawm is closeness to Allah. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said that Allah says: ‘’I reward ten to seven hundred times for every virtuous deed, but Sawm (fasting) is especially for Me, so I Myself is its reward.”What is the highest category of Sawm (fasting)?According to Ghawth al-Azam Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani: The Sawm of Reality refers to purify of the inward from all worldly and heavenly desires except Allah and to keep the secret (sir) free from the love of observing other than Allah.Al-Ghazali states: The highest grade is Sawm (fasting) of the chosen ones which includes purification of inward from the love of everything except Allah and submitting oneself to the Divine will. This means to keep the Sawm both esoterically and exoterically.What is significance of Laylat al-Qadr/ Qadr Night/ Shab-e-Qadr?By the grace of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), Allah Almighty blessed the Muslim umma with a very special night Laylat al-Qadr, in which the reward of worship and obedience is greater than the worship and obedience of a thousand months. What is significance of Itikaf?Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said in the favour of person who performs Itikaf, “He stays away from the sins. His virtuous deeds continue like virtuous people.” What is Zakat al-Fitr/ Sadqa-e-Fitr?Sadaqah-e-Fitr is Wajib. If a person did not pay it in the last year, it is necessary to pay it in the present year. There is no condition of Sawm for paying Sadqa-e-Fitr. This means that if a person has not observed Sawm (fast) during Ramadan it is still necessary to pay it.
Faith is the most valuable blessing which a person has. If a person has nothing but faith, then he is the richest person of the world. On the other hand, if one has all the comforts of life but he does not have faith, then he has nothing.Allah says:
Meaning: O believers! Put faith in Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him). [4: 136]
We are living in a roughish society and it is very crucial to acquaint ourselves with the essence of faith. Everything has two aspects; the one is exoteric and the other is its essence. A large number of people are familiar with the exoteric state of faith only and a few reach its essence.
The Holy Prophet pbuh said:
There will come a time when my umma will have the exoteric state of Islam only. Meaning thereby, they would be apparently Muslims but far away for the essence of faith. They would be familiar with its name only.
Who is a True Believer?
In present era every Muslim considers himself a true believer. The exoteric scholars think so on the basis of their knowledge and the worshippers and religious devotees consider themselves faithful due to their excessive prayers and pious deeds. In essence, faith is neither related to knowledge nor pious acts. However, it is faith that makes knowledge acceptable and turns it into Divine light. Likewise, pious deeds and noble acts cannot grant faith but faith makes them admissible in the holy court of Allah. In short, both knowledge and pious deeds are useless without faith. It is not wrong to say that faith is life and blood for knowledge and deeds.
Faith and Knowledge
Knowledge is not incumbent with faith nor every scholar is faithful. However, every true believer must have knowledge.
Holy Prophet pbuh said:
“Beware of an ignorant scholar.”
The sacred companions asked:
“Who is an ignorant scholar?”
Prophet Mohammad pbuh replied:
“The one who is outwardly learned but his esoteric self is ignorant.”
If the level of faith depends on level of knowledge then not a single infidel would have knowledge. We can see a number of learned persons around us who, merely on the basis of their knowledge, reached at moon and ruled over the world but they are not blessed with faith. Knowledge means to know. If knowing something grants faith then Abu Jahl must have been faithful. He knew that the Holy Prophet is as-Sadiq (the Truthful) and al-Amin (the Honest) hence his proclamation of prophethood is true. But knowing these all did not make him a believer.
Allah Sent His Prophet Among The Illiterate
It is written in Al Minhaj Us Sawi:
If it were compulsory for faith to be literate then Allah would have sent His beloved Prophet to Rome. Rome was the hub of knowledge at that time but Allah sent him amongst the illiterate.
Meaning: He is the One Who sent a (Glorious) Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) amongst the illiterate people from amongst themselves. [62: 2]
The Holy Prophet pbuh did not get worldly knowledge but he is the source of all the knowledge, wisdom and sagacity. Likewise, Sultan Bahoo (ra) did not acquire exoteric education but he has written 140 books and all those are masterpiece of esoteric knowledge. Hence, he is known as "King of Mystics".
Sultan Bahoo and Knowledge
I did not get formal academic education like Prophet Mohammad pbuh. We had the Divine knowledge. The Divine experiences revealed such inspirational knowledge upon me inwardly and outwardly that needs a number of books to be expressed. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
He further says:
گرچہ نیست ما را علم ظاہر
ز علم باطنی جاں گشتہ طاہر
Explanation: Although I did not get any worldly education but spiritual knowledge has completely sanctified me. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Result Of Focusing Too Much on Exoteric Knowledge
He says about those who do not bother to travel on Divine path and only insist upon worldly education:
پڑھ پڑھ علم کرن تکبر، حافظ کرن وڈیائی ھوُگلیاں دے وچ پھرن نمانے، وتن کتاباں چائی ھوُجتھے ویکھن چنگا چوکھا، اوتھے پڑھن کلام سوائی ھوُدوہیں جہانیں سوئی مٹھے باھوؒ، جنہاں کھادی ویچ کمائی ھوُ
Explanation: Worldly knowledge brings arrogance. The possessors of such knowledge always remain busy in altercation, verbosity and controversies. Satan was the greatest scholar. He used to teach angles but his knowledge created pride and arrogance in him. Resultantly, he was deprived of Divine nearness and presence.Allah says:
Meaning: And surely, My curse is on you till the Day of Resurrection.’ [38 : 78]
Faith and Acts of Worship
It is crystal clear from the lives of sacred Companions that obligatory acts of worship i.e. prayer, fasting etc. are not the sole source of faith. Holy Prophet made them true believers first and all acts of worship became obligatory afterwards. It is most important to note that pious deeds are acceptable in Divine court only when they are done with faith.
Following Hadith is quoted in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih al-Muslim:
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri narrated that While we were with the Holy Prophet pbuh who was distributing (i.e. some property), there came Dhul Khuwaisirah, a man from the tribe of Bani Tamim and said, "O the Messenger of Allah! Do Justice." The Holy Prophet said, "Woe to you! Who could do justice if I did not? I would be a desperate loser if I did not do justice." Umar said, "O the Messenger of Allah! Allow me to chop his head off." The Holy Prophet said, "Leave him, because there will be people in future generations like him who pray and fast in such a way that you will consider your fasting negligible in comparison to theirs. They recite Quran but it would not go past their throats (i.e. they would not act on it) and they will desert Islam as a sharp arrow pierces through a victim's body." (Sahih Bukhari: 3610)
Abdullah bin Abi Salool, the head of the hypocrites, used to perform all the exoteric deeds but this did not make him true believer. The Holy Prophet said:
There will come a time when people will gather in mosques but by God there will not be a single believer among them.
(Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
All those deeds which do not enlighten Innerself are merely pretence
Sultan Bahoo (ra) says:
Inward is never sanctified by the supererogatory prayers alone. Esoteric acts i.e. invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat is compulsory. It grants Divine blessings. (Qurb-e-Deedar)
He says in Punjabi couplets:
سے روزے سَے نفل نمازاں، سَے سجدے کر کر تھکے ھُوسَے واری مکے حج گزارن، دل دی دوڑ ناں مکے ھُوچلے چلہیے جنگل بھون، اس گل تھیں ناں پکے ھوُسبھے مطلب حاصل ہوندے باھوؒ، جد پیر نظر ایک تکے ھوُ
Explanation: I left no stone unturned to accomplish gnosis by performing various religious rites. I offered supererogatory prayers, prostrated in salat hundreds of times, performed hajj, forty-days seclusion and then wandered off into the woods to find Allah but failed due to lack of guidance of the perfect spiritual guide. I remained deprived of Allah’s gnosis until I came in the servitude of my guide. The moment he cast his spiritual glance upon me with beneficence then and there I accomplished the purpose of my life.
Presence Of Inward Is Compulsory For Worship
He further says:
باجھ حضوری نہیں منظوری، توڑے پڑھن بانگ صلاتاں ھوُروزے نفل نماز گزارن، توڑے جاگن ساریاں راتاں ھوُباجھو قلب حضور نہ ہووے، توڑے کڈھن سے زکاتاں ھوُباجھ فنا رب حاصل ناہیں باھو، ناں تاثیر جماتاں ھوُ
Explanation: That worship is not acceptable in the court of Allah which does not have presence of inward whether it is azan, salat, fast or zakat. If one fasts through the day and offers supererogatory prayers at nights, still presence cannot be achieved but only through the purification of innerself and inward. If a person does not annihilate his innerself then union with Allah, His vision and Divine presence are not achieved.
Only a true believer can have presence of inward and according to Sultan Bahoo (ra), any worship without presence is not acceptable in the court of Allah. To sum up, acts of worship neither grant faith nor guarantee success in the hereafter but deeds are acceptable only when they are performed with faith.Allah says fifty-two times in the Holy Quran:
اٰمَنُوْا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰت
Meaning: Put faith and do good deeds.
Good Deeds Require Faith For Acceptance
If we carefully look at the sequence, every time Allah says to have faith first then do good deeds. Sadly, renowned scholars, ascetics and pious ones are unable to understand this important point and they keep on emphasizing upon doing more and better deeds.
Essence of Faith
The essence of faith is the intense love for Prophet Mohammad pbuh. It is a subtle passion that arises in inward and burns everything other than Allah.
Hadith Explaining the Essence of Faith
One day, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) asked a young Companion, “O Harith! Tell me, how is your morning?” Harith bin Malik replied, “Master! I did the morning with the essence of faith.” The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “O Harith! Think again what are you saying? What is the essence of your faith?” He replied: "O Master! My innerself has completely renounced the world. Since then I have been awake at night, unable to sleep and tired of the world. I spend whole day thirsty. The situation has become such that I could clearly see the Throne of Allah when I raise my head. I could see the people of Paradise visiting each other, meeting each other and listen woes of the inmates of Hell." On hearing this, the Holy Prophet pbuh said: "O Harith! You have become a Mystic. Be steadfast. You have found the essence of faith." He said these words thrice. (Al-Tabrani, Shuab al-Iman)
Characteristics Of One Having Perfect Faith
Renunciation of world is the distinct characteristic of a Mumin. Whatever he does, does it purely to gain Divine pleasure. That is why his each act is accepted in Divine court.Sultan ul Ashiqeen says:
The true believer is perfect in his outward as well as inward and his heart is profound with Divine love.
When a true believer annihilates himself in Allah according to His will, he becomes perfect manifestation of Divine attributes. Even though his spiritual status changes, he still remains a slave of Allah.In present era, people focus on outward acts of worship only instead of seeking the love of Allah and His beloved which is the source of faith. Surprisingly, they are convinced too that they are believers.
Sacred Companions Feared the Most About Their Faith
Imam Bukhari writes in Kitabul Iman:
I met thirty Companions and I found each one very concerned about faith. Each of them wished that their faith remained safe.
The sacred Companions were the most fortunate seekers of Allah who gained beneficence directly from the Holy Prophet pbuh. They always feared about disgrace in the Holy court of Allah that is why they kept their hearts filled with love of Prophet Mohammad pbuh. In fact, this is the essence of faith. The love of Allah and His beloved cannot be learnt from any institute rather it is acquired from the spiritual sight of a perfect spiritual guide.
No One Can Gain The Essence Of Faith Without Perfect Spiritual Guide and Divine Love
Allama Iqbal writes in Javid Nama:
دین نگردد پختہ بے آدابِ عشق
دین بگیر از صحبت اربابِ عشق
Meaning: No one can gain the essence of faith without following the rules of Divine love and this is only possible by the companionship and spiritual glance of passionate lover of Allah (perfect spiritual guide).
Allama Iqbal says about the importance of perfect spiritual guide:
صد کتاب آموزی از اہل ہنر
خوشتر آں درسی کہ گیری از نظر
Meaning: A single lesson learnt from the glance of perfect spiritual guide is much better than reading a hundred books from scholars. (Faqr-e-Iqbal)
Perfect spiritual guide is the only source of faith. He is the one who illuminates the inwards of the Divine seekers with the light of Ism-e-Allah Zaat.In the present age of materialism, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is spreading the beneficence of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. By sitting in his company, passionate love for the Holy Prophet pbuh is instilled in inwards, the source of essence of faith. May Allah bestow us His path and the company of perfect spiritual guide. Ameen
This article was published in Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore (monthly Urdu magazine of Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr) titled as ایمان کی حقیقت Iman ki haqeeqat in the issue of March 2022. It was originally written by Faqiha Sabir Sarwari Qadri and translated in English by Faiza Fahad Sarwari Qadri.
Answers of Important Questions
What is the essence of faith?
We are living in a roughish society and it is very crucial to acquaint ourselves with the essence of faith. Everything has two aspects; the one is exoteric and the second is its essence. A large number of people are familiar with the exoteric state of faith only and a few reache its essence.The essence of faith is the intense love for Prophet Mohammad pbuh. It is a subtle passion that arises in inward and burns everything other than Allah.In present era every Muslim considers himself a true believer. The exoteric scholars think so on the basis of their knowledge and the worshippers and religious devotees consider themselves faithful due to their excessive prayers and pious deeds. In essence, faith is neither related to knowledge nor pious acts. However, it is faith that makes knowledge acceptable and turns it into Divine light. Likewise, pious deeds and noble acts cannot grant faith but faith makes them admissible in the holy court of Allah. In short, both knowledge and pious deeds are useless without faith. It is not wrong to say that faith is life and blood for knowledge and deeds.
Why faith is important?
Faith is the most valuable blessing which a person has. If a person has nothing but faith, then he is the richest person of the world. On the other hand, if one has all the comforts of life but is deprived of faith, then he has nothing.Allah says:
Meaning: O believers! Put faith in Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him). [4: 136]
What is the purpose of knowledge?
Knowledge must be acquired to gain marifa, Divine vision and closeness. Sultan Bahoo (ra) says about those who do not bother to travel on Divine path and only insist upon worldly education:
پڑھ پڑھ علم کرن تکبر، حافظ کرن وڈیائی ھوُگلیاں دے وچ پھرن نمانے، وتن کتاباں چائی ھوُجتھے ویکھن چنگا چوکھا، اوتھے پڑھن کلام سوائی ھوُدوہیں جہانیں سوئی مٹھے باھوؒ، جنہاں کھادی ویچ کمائی ھوُ
Explanation: Worldly knowledge brings arrogance. The possessors of such knowledge always remain busy in altercation, verbosity and controversies. Satan was the greatest scholar. He used to teach angles but his knowledge created pride and arrogance in him. Resultantly, he was deprived of Divine nearness and presence.