English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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May Allahu ta'ala, for the sake of His beloved Prophet "alaihi wa 'ala alihissalawatu wattaslimat', rescue us from being the slaves of those other than Himself! May He bless us with the lot of being attached to Him with all of our being!
On the surface the world is very sweet and is supposed to be beautiful. But in actual fact it is a fatal venom. It is a possession which is good for nothing. There is no safety for those who love it, who are attached to it. Those whom it kills become carrion. Its lovers become crazy. The world is like filth decked out. It is like a poison covered with sweets. He who has wisdom will not let his heart be seized by this foul possession. Savants say, "If a person who is about to die requests that his property be given to the wisest of the time, it is necessary to give it to the zahid." For the zahid does not esteem or desire or set his heart on the world. His not being fond of the world shows that he has much wisdom.
This letter would be too long if I were to write some more. However, let me add that shaikh Zakariyya, an owner of virtues, has been keeping a note-book. Taken to this as he has, he fears worldly accounts, which are much easier than the accounts in the Hereafter. In the world of causation he deems your honorable tawajjuh and aid a powerful support. And he hopes that he will be mentioned in the new diwan as one of the attendants of that exalted station.
May Allahu ta'ala give you visible and hidden fortunes and happiness!
[Wisdom is different from the intellect. Wisdom distinguishes good from bad, useful from harmful. He who has little wisdom may have much intelligence. It is not correct to think of the disbelievers, of the enemies of religion, who have much intelligence, as wise].
[It is stated in the hadiths in Marifatnama, "The happy person is the one who abandons the world before the world abandons him;" "For him who desires the next world and works for the next world Allahu ta'ala makes this world a servant;" "He who works only for the world gets only what is in his qadar. His matters are complicated and his worries are many;" "It is so astonishing that a person believes that the next world is eternal and yet holds fast to this world;" "The world was created for you, and you were created for the next world. And in the next world there is no place other than Paradise and Hell fire;" "May the person who worships money and food be annihilated!;" "I do not think about your becoming poor, nor do I worry about it. I fear that you, having obtained plenty of the world, may become disobedient towards Allahu ta'ala and hostile against one another, exactly as it happened to your predecessors;" "The harm of the ambition of property and fame to man is more than the harm of two hungry wolves that have run among a flock of sheep;" "Abandon the world so that Allahu ta'ala will love you! Do not cast a covetous eye upon others' property so that everybody will love you;" "The world is like a bridge to be passed. Do not try to repair this bridge. Pass it as soon as you can and go!"; "Work for the world as much as the length of time you will stay here, and work for the next world as much as the length of time you will stay there!"
The world is zill-i zail. He who trusts it will rue it. Even if it remains with you, you will not remain with it. Take the love of the world out of your heart before you leave the world. He who is not steeped in worldly flavors will attain the blessings of Paradise. He will be cherished and respectable in both worlds. The world is ruin. Its sherbets are mirages. Its blessings are poisonous and its pleasures are sorrowful. It wears out bodies. It whets desires. It runs away from those who chase it, and chases those who run away from it. The world is like honey and those who have fallen into it are like flies. Its blessings are transient and its states are evanescent. The world and those who are fond of it are not believable. For, there is no loyalty or peace in them.
Give up what is transient so that you may obtain what is permanent. It would be astonishing if a person with self-consciousness were fond of this world. The wicked will be fond of this world. And the good will hold fast to what is eternal. Be in the world with your body, and enjoy the next world with your heart! He who forsakes the desires of the nafs will become clean and will be rescued from disasters. For the person who forsakes what Allahu ta'ala disapproves, Allahu ta'ala will bestow something better. He who knows the world will not lament over its inconveniences. He who understands the world abstains from it. He who abstains from the world knows his nafs. He who knows his nafs finds his Allah. He who serves his Allah is served by the world. The world is like a man's shadow. If you chase it, it will evade you. If you run away from it, it will chase you. The world is a place of troubles for its lovers. It is a place of blessings for those who are not deceived by its flavors. It is a place of profit for worshippers. It is a place of hikmat for those who take warning. It is a place of salvation for those who know it. It is like Paradise when compared with one's mother's womb. It is like a rubbish-heap when compared with the Hereafter.
All the things that come before death are called the world. Of these, the ones that are useful after death are not considered to be worldly. They are counted as part of the next world. For, the world is a field of tillage for the next world. Those worldly things that are not useful for the next world are harmful. So are the harams, the sins and excessive mubahs. If the things that are in the world are used compatibly with the Shariat, they will be useful in the next world. Both the worldly flavor and the blessings of the next world will be attained. Property is neither good nor bad. Virtue or evil is in the person who uses it. Then, the world which is cursed as bad is the thing which Allahu ta'ala disapproves and which is used in such ways as to demolish the next world. Those who forget about themselves and Allah are like the stranded traveler who while on the way busies himself with his horse's ornament, saddle and grass, and, thereby, remains behind his companions. Being left alone in the desert, he will perish. Likewise, if man forgets about what he was created for, falls for worldly charms, and does not make preparations for the next world, he will drag himself towards eternal perdition. Love of the world prevents one from getting ready for the next world. For, the heart, thinking about it, forgets about Allah. The body, striving to obtain it, cannot worship any more. The world and the next world are like the East and the West. He who tries to approach one of them distances himself from the other. If a person does not practice Islam and does not observe Allah's commands and prohibitions in his living and earning, he has held fast to the world. Allahu ta'ala makes everybody's heart feel discord against him. Nobody likes him.]
Who on earth is free from the bane of griefs?