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Pearls of Spirituality

P E A R L S   O F   S P I R I T U A L I T Y 
Gleaned from the writings of Sayyiduna AlaHadrat
Imām Aḥmad Riḍā Khān al Qādirī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu
 

I | Ignorant Ṣūfīs

The noble friends of Allāh SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala state – “an ignorant ṣūfī is shayṭān’s joke.” Similarly, a ḥadīth of the noble Messenger of Allāh SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam informs us –
 

فقيه واحد اشد على الشيطان من الف عابدين
“A single jurist is severer upon shayṭān than a thousand worshippers.” [Tirmidhī and ibn Mājah]
 

Those who remain ignorant yet strive hard in their worship are merely made to dance by shayṭān upon his fingers. He places bridles in their mouths and tangs in their noses, and thus drags them wherever he wishes, whilst they convince themselves that they are accumulating good deeds.

Sayyidunā Junayd al Baghdādī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu  states –

“my spiritual guide, Sayyidunā Sirrī Saqtī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu  supplicated for me thus – ‘may Allāh SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala grant you the knowledge of ḥadīth and then make you a ṣūfī, and may He not make you a ṣūfī before granting you the knowledge of ḥadīth.” [Iḥyā 'Ulūm ud-Dīn; Vol. 1; Page 13]
 

Sayyidunā Imām al Ghazālī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu states – whilst explaining this statement –

 

“here, Sayyidunā Sirrī Saqtī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu meant that the one who steps into the field of taṣawwuf armed with the knowledge of ḥadīth is victorious, whereas the one who ventures forth without knowledge is merely (– Allāh forbid! –) placing himself into destruction.”
 

Sayyidunā Abu-l Qāsim Junayd al Baghdādī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu states –
 

“the one who has neither memorised the Qurān, nor written ḥadīth (meaning the one who lacks the knowledge of the jurisprudence) shouldn’t be followed by seekers of the path (of taṣawwuf,) nor should he be taken as a murshid [spiritual guide,] as all our knowledge of ṭarīqah is in obedience to the Book and sunnah.”
 


Sayyidunā Sirrī Saqtī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu states –

“taṣawwuf is the name of the coming together of three qualities: firstly, the light of his (meaning the spiritual traveller’s) gnosis should not extinguish his light of asceticism. Secondly, he should not utter anything esoterically which exoterically contradicts the Qurān or noble ḥadīth. Finally, none of his miracles should be a means of him revealing that which Allāh SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala has forbidden to be revealed.” [Risālat ul Qushayriyah; Page 13]


Sayyidunā Shaykh Shihāb ud-Dīn as-Suharwardī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu states –
 

“that ‘ḥaqīqah’ which contradicts the sharī'ah is not in reality ḥaqīqah, but rather plain heresy.” [Awārif ul Ma'ārif; Vol. 1; Page 43]
 

II | The Definition of 'Ilm

The definition of an 'ālim is that he –
 

  • is aware of the correct 'aqāid in their entirety;
  • has a firm, independent resolve;
  • and is able to extract his necessities from the corpus of religious literature without the help of another.

('ilm is not merely attained through the study of books,) but rather is also attained by discussion with the people of knowledge.[Malfūżāt; Page 58]

III | The meanings of Bay'ah and ṭalab

In becoming ṭālib, one’s intent is merely the acquisition of spiritual bounties, whilst the meaning of bay'ah is “to sell oneself entirely.” [Malfūżāt; Page 228]

IV | Conditions of Bay'ah

The bay'ah should be upon the hand of such an individual who embodies the following four qualities – in the case of him lacking even one of these qualities, bay'ah will not be valid upon his hand –
 

  • he must be a sunnī with the correct creed;
  • he should possess at least such a level of knowledge that enables him to extract his necessities from the corpus of religious texts without the help of another;
  • his chain back to the Messenger of Allāh SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam should be continuous and unbroken;
  • and he should be free from open fisq (transgression.) [Malfūżāt; Page 228]

V | Bay'ah in our times

Nowadays, people take bay'ah only as a trend, remaining ignorant of its true meaning. Bay'ah can be understood by means of the following account –

 

A murīd of Sayyidunā Yaḥya al Munīrī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu was once drowning in the ocean. Sayyidunā Khiḍr appeared to him and said – “give me your hand, I will rescue you.”

He replied – “I have already given my hand to Shaykh Yaḥya al Munīrī, and will now not give it to anyone else.”

Thus Sayyidunā Khiḍr disappeared, to be replaced by Sayyidunā Yaḥya al Munīrī Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu who rescued him. [Malfūżāt; Pages 228/9]
 

VI | Renewing one’s Bay'ah

The practice of renewing one’s bay'ah dates from the blessed era of the noble Prophet SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam, with the Messenger SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam himself taking bay'ah from Sayyidunā Salāmah bin Akwa Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu three times during a single gathering. They when headed for jihād when bay'ah was taken the first time, and Sayyidunā Salāmah Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu pledged his allegiance then.

After a short while, our Master SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said – “Salāmah, will you not take bay'ah?”

When Sayyidunā Salāmah Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu replied – “my master, I have already done so,” the Messenger SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said – “once more.”

Thus Sayyidunā Salāmah Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu took bay'ah again. When all others present had finished pledging their allegiance, the Messenger of Allāh SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said once more – Salāmah, will you not take bay'ah?”

He Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu replied – “my Master, I have already done so twice.”

The Messenger SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam said – “once more,” and thus he took bay'ah for the third time in that gathering. [Kashūl Faqīr Qādirī; Pages 48/9]

VII | Bay'ah from more than one Shaykh

(It is possible to leave a shaykh and take bay'ah upon the hand of another) in the case of there being some discrepancy (with regards the pristine sharī'ah) in the first shaykh. Otherwise it is not permissible, though one can always renew bay'ah.

'Adī bin Musāfir Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu says – “whoever comes to me, I accept his bay'ah regardless of his silsilah [spiritual lineage,] with the exception of those pledged in the Qādirī way, for no one leaves the ocean for the river.”

VIII | Acquiring the rank of fanā fis-Shaykh

(The rank of fanā fis-shaykh is attained by the following spiritual practice –)

Envisage that your shaykh is present in front of you, and that your heart is situated below his. Visualise that the spiritual bounty and luminosity of the Messenger of Allāh SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam is descending upon the heart of your shaykh and from there, cascading upon your heart. After a period, one will reach such a state where he will clearly see his shaykh upon every surface he sets his eyes upon, to such an extent that he will not be separated even during ṣalāh. Thus, your shaykh will remain with you in every state. [Malfūżāt; Page 234]

IX | Benefits of reciting one’s Shajrah

Amongst the benefits that will be attained by reciting one’s shajrah are –
 

  • memorisation of the continuous spiritual chain which reaches back to the Messenger of Allāh SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam;
  • invoking the mention of the pious, which brings about the descent of Divine mercy;
  • conveying the rewards of one’s deeds to each Spiritual Master individually, which brings about their generous spiritual focus;
  • the mentioning of such luminaries in times of safety will ensure they in turn come to his aid when times of calamity strike. [Aḥkām e Sharī'at; Vol. 1; Page 80]
 

X | The Acceptance of Ważāif

To achieve the effect of ważā’if and a'māl , (the fulfilment of) three conditions is essential –

1. Confident Expectancy

For the heart to be free from such anxiety where one is constantly deliberating whether it has had an effect or not. Rather, one must trust wholly in Allāh SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala that He will definitely accept (this action).  It is mentioned in ḥadīth that the Messenger of Allāh SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam stated –
 

ادعوا الله وانتم موقنون با لاجابة
“Supplicate to Allāh in such a state that you remain certain of its acceptance.” [Sunan at Tirmidhī; Vol. 5; Page 292; Hadith 3590]
 


2.  Patience and Forbearance

For one not to become fearful with the passage of time, where one thinks – “even after so many days, no effect has become apparent!” This itself will come to be the cause of (the action) not being accepted! Rather, embrace the mindset that without doubt, Allāh and His Messenger SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam are about to generously favour you! Allāh SubHanuhu wa Ta'ala states –

 

ولو انهم رضوا ما اتاهم الله ورسوله وقالوا حسبنا الله سيوتينا الله من فضله ورسوله انا الى الله راغبون
If only they were content with that which Allāh and His Messenger have given them, and say, “Allāh is enough for us – He will give us some of His bounty and so will His Messenger – to Allāh alone we turn in hope.” [Sūrah al Tawbah; Verse 59]
 

 

یستجاب لاحدکم ما لم يعجل فیقول قد دعوت فلم یستجب لي
“Your supplications are accepted as long as you do not hastily say – ‘I supplicated but it is yet to be accepted.’” [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim; Page 1563; Hadith 2735]
 


3. With regards permission (to act upon) the entirety of my (meaning 'Ālā Ḥaḍrat’s Radi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu) ważā’if , A'māl and Ta'wīżāt [amulets,] I have stipulated the condition that one must remain regular in offering the five daily ṣalāh with the congregation in the Masjid. And with Allāh is Tawfīq. [Fatāwā Raḍawiyyah; Vol. 23; Page 558]

 
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