At Hudaibiya, more than 1400 companions swore allegiance (took bay’at) to the Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and this bay’at greatly pleased Almighty Allah. Those who had taken bay’at at the hands of the Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had taken bay’at with Almighty Allah, as Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’an, “Those who swear allegiance to you swear allegiance to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands.” [Surah 48, Verse 10]
The philosophy is that when one takes bay’at at the hands of a Spiritual Guide (Peer-o-Murshid), he then in fact swears allegiance to the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and then to Allah. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated in a Hadith:
“Bani Isra’eel was ruled over by the Prophets. When one Prophet passed away, another succeeded him; but after me there is no Prophet, but there will be Caliphs and they will be quite large in number. The one to whom allegiance is sworn first has a supremacy over the others. Concede to his due rights, that is, obey him.” [Muslim Shareef]
His Eminence Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ibrahim Khushtar (Rahmatullah Alaih) lays great stress that the disciples (mureeds) should keep contact with the Spiritual Guide. Only through contact with the Spiritual Guide can the door of Mercy be opened. He should regard the Spiritual Guide’s heart as a boisterous sea, filled with pearls of knowledge, and with the jewels of Ma’rifat, which at times from the furious blowing of the winds of favour of the Eternal Lord, casts some of those jewels on the shore of the tongue. Thus the disciple should always be hopeful and present at every gathering so that he may not be excluded from the advantages arising from the Spiritual Guide’s speech and presence.
Love for the Spiritual Guide
If the disciple regards another more perfect than his Spiritual Guide, the bond of love becomes weakened and the master’s word has little effect on him. When the Spiritual Guide’s words and actions take effect, love emerges. As his love is greater so is his readiness to accept the master’s instructions with a greater desire. There is only one thing that counts and that is the personal relationship with his Spiritual Guide. All other things must be kept at bay. The disciple is here for his master to send him where he wishes. He has chosen him. There is no way out. Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddeen Chishti Ajmeri (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) served his spiritual guide, Hazrat Khwaja Usman Harooni (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) for 22 years. Whenever his spiritual guide used to undertake a journey, he used to carry on his head his master’s bedding and basket. The Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said, none will experience the sweetness of faith until he loves a person and loves him for Allah’s sake, until it becomes dearer to him to be thrown into the fire than to revert to disbelief, and until Allah and His Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) become dearer to him than anything else. [Bukhari Shareef]
Prayer is of two kinds. One type of prayer is that of the ordinary man which is confined to precepts and practice. But for the mystic it bears a deeper significance. This type of prayer is that of the Prophets and the Awliya, which is performed with a receptive heart. Its reward is the unison with Allah Ta’ala.
Zikr (Remembrance of Allah)
At first one remembers Allah Ta’ala with the tongue. After continuous practice, one remembers Allah Ta’ala within the heart and then Zikr is transferred to the soul (rooh). The Prophets and the Saints are always engaged in the inner remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. Hazrat Abdullah bin Busr (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) told of a desert Arab who came to the beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and asked who was the best among men, to which Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, “Happy is he whose life is long and whose deeds are good.” He asked the Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) what deed was most excellent, and the reply was, “That you should leave this world with the Zikr of Allah fresh on your tongue” [Mishkaat Shareef]. The time of death is very critical. This is the time when Shaitaan tries every trick on a Muslim to make him become a disbeliever. If we want to pass through this trial safely with Imaan and with Zikr of Almighty Allah on our tongue, we should concentrate on Almighty Allah during our entire lifetime.
Lower Self (Nafs)
His Eminence lays great emphasis on the renunciation of the ego and the inner struggle. The Nafs is the abode of all sins and unlawful desires. Only by renouncing one’s nafs and the vain desires of this world can one attain Allah Almighty.
Abstinence from Sins
To perform good actions is easy but to abstain from sins is very difficult. It is only through the Grace of Almighty Allah that this restraint is obtained. The beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has described this constant struggle against the Nafs-e-Ammara, the unruly animal self, as ‘Jihad-e-Akbar’ (Greater Jihad). Here are a few golden rules:
- Keep silent and speak only when necessary.
- Avoid using foul languages, avoid backbiting and telling lies. When you speak, speak with justice and truth.
- Abstain from the sins of the hands and feet; don’t use your hands to harm the creatures of Allah and with your feet don’t go to places where the Shariah has forbidden you to go.
- Keep the eyes clean from seeing obscenities and always lower your gaze.
- With the ears don’t take pleasure in listening to shameful stories and vain conversation.
- Don’t take any person as lower than yourself, nor laugh at him. Perhaps, in the sight of Allah, he is better than you. And don’t rejoice at other’s misfortunes.
- Clean the heart from inward ills, that is jealousy and envy, greed and avarice, hatred and cruelty, pride and arrogance, show and ostentation, and boastfulness.
Renunciation is the fundamental principle in His Eminence’s mystical philosophy. Without renunciation, one cannot reach his goal. The people of the world run after material objects, not knowing it is an illusion and it will not last forever. They indeed, are the wisest, which have taken to renunciation. The object should be to have no ‘object’. To lose an object is to gain an object. Those who are in ignorance are to be pitied. They take happiness as trouble, and treat trouble as happiness. He, indeed, is the wisest, who upon the mere thought of some worldly object, renounces it, then and there and accepts piety and renunciation as the ultimate goal. A person should renounce all and he should be devoted to Almighty Allah alone, who is Everlasting and Eternal. Wealth and power are two of the biggest idols and have led and are still leading many astray. These individuals worship their power and wealth. Wealth and money should be spent in the way of Almighty Allah instead of spending it to feed the desires of the nafs. The individual, who has love of wealth, position and the love of any other object other than Almighty Allah, has indeed performed a negative act, but the one who has attained the Spiritual Truth of Almighty Allah has performed the positive act. And this can only be attained through remembrance (Zikr) and the love of Almighty Allah.
Almighty Allah has described such Saintly persons in the following verse:
“By men whom neither trade nor business diverts from the remembrance of Allah and performing of prayer and paying of the poordue (Zakat). They fear a day in which hearts and eyes shall be turned about.” [Surah 24, Verse 37]
The greatest barrier which prevents one from attaining Almighty Allah is the “I” or the egotistic self. As long as an individual is engrossed in his own self, he will not attain Almighty Allah. There are not two personalities, there is only one personality existing and pervading in the Universe. When the “I” is effaced, then and only then, does one reach a stage of Baqa. (Baqa is a state where the self is restored to a new consciousness and Allah Ta’ala appoints that person to guide others).
Existence of Deep Knowledge (Ma’rifat)
This is a knowledge that cannot be learned through books. It is knowledge, which is a gift of Almighty Allah, Who bestows it to His chosen ones among the Awliya Allah (Friends of Allah) who have reached a certain degree of nearness to Allah. It is about this knowledge that Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh), one of the Sufi companions (Ashaab-as-Suffa) has said:
“I have memorized two kinds of knowledge from Allah’s Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). I have propagated one of them to you and if I propagated the second, then my pharynx (throat) would be cut (i.e. be killed).” [Bukhari Shareef]
This knowledge cannot be disclosed. It has been transmitted from the breast of the Spiritual Guide to his disciples. To spiritually grasp and experience the real meaning of the undermentioned verse of the Holy Qur’an, it is only possible to those rare persons who have obtained the Grace of Almighty Allah.
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a chandelier (of glass). The chandelier is as it were a star glittering like a pearl; it is lighted from the blessed olive tree which is neither of east nor of west; it is near that its oil may flare up even though the fire touches it not. The Light is upon the Light. Allah guides to His Light whomsoever He will and Allah narrates examples for the people. And Allah Knows all things.” [Surah 24, Verse 35].
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq to follow these words of wisdom, to try to fight our nafs and to make an effort to gain the nearness to Almighty Allah, Lord of the Worlds, Ameen.