English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi

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This letter, written to Khan-i Khanan-i jihan, explains the belief of the Ahl as-sunnat, the five principles of Islam and tawba for one's sins:

I begin my letter with the Basmala. [That is, I begin writing this letter in the blessed name of Allahu ta'ala, Who pities all human beings by creating and sending them useful things in the world; Who forgives, as a favor in the Hereafter, those Believers who have deserved Hell, and Who creates all creatures, keeps them in existence every moment and protects them against fear and horror.] Salams be to those good people whom He has selected and loved!

[It is written on the sixth page of the first volume of Ibni Abidin, "It is wajib to say Bismillah or Allahu akbar when killing an animal (by cutting its throat), when shooting an arrow at an animal to be hunted, when sending a trained hound for the animal to be hunted. It is acceptable as well to say the Basmala completely. There are those who say that it is wajib to say the Basmala before reciting the Fatiha at each rakat. Yet, more correctly, it is sunnat. It is sunnat to say the Basmala when beginning to perform an ablution, to eat, to drink and to do any useful work. It is either permissible or mustahab to say the Basmala between the Fatiha and the sura (which is to be recited after the Fatiha while performing namaz). It is mubah to say it when beginning to walk, when sitting down or standing up.

"It is makruh to say the Basmala when opening one's private parts, when entering a place where there is najasat, when reciting Bara Sura immediately after the sura previous to it, when beginning to smoke a cigarette or to eat something with a strong smell, such as onions or garlics, [and when beginning to shave. The fact that the cigarette is compared to things with a strong smell, such as onions and garlics, shows that tobacco is, like these things, tab'an makruh, not shar'an makruh.] It is haram to say the Basmala when beginning to commit a haram. In fact, it has been said that he who says the Basmala knowingly when beginning something which is certainly haram becomes a disbeliever. It is haram for a (person who is in the state of) junub to recite the Qur'an with the intention of reciting the Qur'an.

"It is wajib to say hamd in namaz, and it is sunnat to say it in a khutba or before each dua (prayer) or after eating and drinking. It is mubah to say it whenever you remember it. It is makruh to say it at dirty places, and it is haram to say it after eating or drinking something which is haram; it may even cause disbelief."]

We have received your valuable letter, which you so kindly sent to us. Hamd and thanks be to Allahu ta'ala, because at such a time as this when doubts have been on the increase, you fortunate people, though you need nothing and though there is no occasion, have been taking notice and thinking of these faqirs, who have been left, forgotten in the nook, thus showing that you have belief in this way, which befits your pure ancestry. It is such a great blessing that your various occupations and relations do not prevent you from this great fortune, nor do the confusing things you have to do hinder this love of yours. You should fulfill the thanks for this great blessing, and you should be hopeful, since it is stated in a hadith-i- Sharif, "In the Hereafter everybody will be with the person whom he loves in the world!"

O you valuable and fortunate man! Among the seventy- three groups, only (those people who are in) the Madhhab of Ahl as-sunnat wal-Jamaat will be saved from Hell. Each Muslim has to learn the belief of Ahl as-sunnat and correct his iman accordingly. The majority of the Muslims who have spread over the world for centuries have been in the Ahl as-sunnat Madhhab. Millions of books written by hundreds of thousands of Ahl as-sunnat savants who have come by have spread and promulgated Islam all over the world. He who wants to be saved from Hell has to find these correct books and correct his iman by reading them. It is a heart-killing poison to set the heart on those evil, corrupt creeds and beliefs disagreeing with the belief written in the books of the Ahl as-sunnat savants. It takes one to endless death, to eternal torment. If there is slackness in deeds and worships, it may be forgiven. But being slack in belief will never be forgiven. Allahu ta'ala declares: "I shall never forgive shirk, that is, disbelief. I shall forgive all the other sins of those people whom I like."

I shall explain the creed of the Ahl as-sunnat briefly and concisely. You must correct your belief accordingly. You must implore and beg Allahu ta'ala to keep you fast to this creed.

Know that Allahu ta'ala exists with His Eternal Person. He has created, made existent and let come out of non-existence everything other than He. He existed endlessly. He is eternal in the past. That is, He always existed. There cannot be nonexistence before His existence. Everything other than He was nonexistent. He created all afterwards. He who is eternal in the past will also be eternal in the future, everlastingly. He who is of recent occurrence and created will be transient; that is, he will cease to exist. Allahu ta'ala is one. That is, only His existence is necessary. Only He, again, is worth being worshipped. Existence of all things other than He is unnecessary. It makes no difference whether or not they exist. Nothing other than He is worth being worshipped.

Allahu ta'ala has perfect attributes. These attributes of His are Hayat, 'Ilm, Sam', Basar, Qudrat, Irada, Kalam, and Takwin. These attributes of His also are eternal, everlasting. Their existence is with Allahu ta'ala Himself. Creation of creatures and changes that have occurred in them do not harm the fact that the attributes are eternal. The recent occurrence of those things which the attributes have connections with does not prevent the attributes from being eternal. Philosophers, depending on the mind only and their minds being deficient, and the Mutazila group of Muslims, not seeing the fact well, just dismissed the matter by saying that since creatures were of recent occurrence, the attributes which created and handled them were of recent occurrence, too. Thus, they disbelieved the eternal Sifat-i kamila. They said, "The attribute 'knowledge' does not penetrate into tiny motes. That is, Allahu ta'ala does not know of tiny things. For, changes in things will make changes in the attribute 'knowledge'. However, there cannot be change in something eternal." They did not know that the attributes were eternal, but their relations with things were of recent occurrence.

Deficient attributes do not exist in Him. Allahu ta'ala is free, far from the attributes of substances, objects, states, and from the things that are necessary for them. Allahu ta'ala is not with time, with place or with direction. He is not at a place or at any side. He created time, places and directions. An ignorant person thinks that He is up on the Arsh. The Arsh, above it and below it are all His creatures. He created all these afterwards. Can something which has been created afterwards ever be a place for One who is eternal and always exists? Only, the Arsh is the most honored of creatures. It is purer and more lightsome than anything else. Therefore, it is like a mirror. The greatness of Allahu ta'ala is seen there. Hence, it is called Arshullah. But with relation to Allahu ta'ala the Arsh is like other things. They are all His creatures. Only, the Arsh is like a mirror. Other things do not have this ability. Can a man seen in a mirror be said to be in the mirror? Man's relation to the mirror is like his relation to other things. Man's relation to all is the same. Only, there is a difference between the mirror and other things. The mirror can reflect man's image while other things cannot.

Allahu ta'ala is not a substance, an object or a state. He is not limited; He does not have dimensions. He is not long, short, wide or narrow. We say that He is Wasi, that is, wide. But this wideness is different from what we know and understand. He is Muhit; that is, He surrounds everything. But this surrounding is not like what we understand. He is Qarib; that is, He is close to us, together with us, but unlike what we understand from it! We believe that He is wasi, muhit, Qarib, and together with us. But we cannot know what these attributes mean. We say that everything which comes to the mind is wrong. Allahu ta'ala does not unite with anything. Nothing unites with Him. Nothing enters Him. Nor does He enter anything. Allahu ta'ala does not part, break into pieces, nor can He be analyzed or combined. He does not have a likeness or a partner. He does not have a wife or children. He is unlike the things which we know or which we think of. It cannot be understood or imagined how He is. There cannot be a likeness or an example for Him. We know thus far that Allahu ta'ala exists. He has the attributes which He has communicated to us. Yet He is free, far from everything that comes to our mind and imagination about Him and His attributes. Men cannot understand Him.

Translation of a Persian couplet:
When asked, "Am I not thine Allah?" those who understood
Him, said, "He exists," and they said no more.

The names of Allahu ta'ala are Tawqifi. That is, they are dependent on the dictation of the Owner of the Shariat. Names dictated by the Shariat should be said. Names that are not dictated by the Shariat cannot be said. We should not say it no matter how perfect and beautiful a name it is. He can be called Jawad. For, the Shariat has called Him Jawad. But He cannot be called Sakhi, which, again, means generous. For the Shariat has not called Him Sakhi. [Then, He cannot be called god. Especially when doing an act of worship, such as calling the adhan, it is a grave sin to say god instead of the name Allah.]

The Qur'an is the word of Allah. It is His speech. Placing His word into Islamic letters, and sounds, He sent it to our Prophet Hadrat Muhammad 'sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam'. Through this He informed His slaves with His commands and prohibitions.

We creatures speak with our vocal cords, which are in our throats, with our tongues and palates. We change our desires into letters and sounds to reveal them. And Allahu ta'ala, with His great power, sent His word to His slaves in letters and sounds without the vocal cords, mouth or tongue. He revealed His commands and prohibitions in letters and sounds. Both these kinds of speech (kalam) belong to Him. That is, His Kalam-i nafsi, which is the one before being changed into letters and sounds, and His Kalam-i Lafzi, which is in letters and sounds, are all His Word. It is correct to call both of them Kalam. As a matter of fact, both of our nafsi and Lafzi words are our speech. It is wrong to say that the nafsi is real and the Lafzi is metaphorical, that is, similar to speech. For, metaphorical things may be denied. It is disbelief to deny Allah's Kalam-i Lafzi and to say that it is not Allah's word. Also, all the Books and Suhuf (small books) revealed to previous prophets 'ala nabiyyina wa alaihim-us-salatu wattaslimat' are Allah's word. All the contents of those books and the Qur'an are the Ahkam-i ilahi. He sent to the people of each age the rules that were suitable for their age and made them responsible for them.

In Paradise Muslims will see Allahu ta'ala without direction, without being opposite Him, without realizing how He is, without being surrounded, i.e., without being in any shape. We believe in seeing Allahu ta'ala in the Hereafter. We do not think of how He will be seen. For, the mind cannot understand seeing Him. We have no other choice but to believe. Shame upon philosophers, upon those Muslims called the Mutazila, and upon all the groups, except the Ahl as-sunnat, because they were too blind and were deprived of this belief. Attempting to liken something which they did not see or know to those things which they saw, they deprived themselves of the honor of iman.

As Allahu ta'ala creates men, so He creates men's deeds. All the good and bad things are by His decree and will. Yet He likes good deeds and dislikes bad deeds. Though every deed, good or evil, is by His will and creation, it would be impertinence to name Him only as the creator of one evil thing. We should not say that He is the creator of evil. We should say that He is the Creator of good and evil things. For example, we should say that He is the creator of everything. But we should not say that He is the creator of filth and swine. This is a practice of good manners towards Him. So coarsely think the group of Mutazila [and some aberrant people]. They say that man creates his every deed, good or bad. Both the mind and the Shariat show that this is wrong. Those savants who told the truth, that is, the great ones of the Ahl as-sunnat 'rahmatullahi alaihim ajmain' said that man's own power also affects something he does, and they called this effect kasb (acquiring). For, there is certainly a difference between the hand's vibration and its being raised optionally. Man's power and acquiring do not interfere with the vibrations. But they interfere with the optional actions. And this much interference on their part causes questioning and punishment, and man either earns thawab or becomes sinful. He who disbelieves man's power and option and thinks that men are incapable and compelled has not understood the words of the savants of din. These great people's saying that man has power and will does not mean that man does what he wishes and does not do what he does not wish to. Being so is very far from being a slave. The words of these great people mean that men can do what they are commanded to do. For example, he can perform namaz five times each day. He can give one-fortieth of his property as zakat. He can fast one month of the twelve months. He who has money enough for the journey and food can perform the hajj once in his lifetime. Likewise, he can do all the rules of the Shariat. Allahu ta'ala, being so merciful and men being so weak and frail, has commanded the lightest and easiest ones of all kinds of worships. He has declared in the Qur'an, "Allahu ta'ala wishes facilities for you, not hardships." And He declares in another ayat, "Allahu ta'ala wants to command you what is light and easy. Men are created weak and powerless."

[This is the meaning of the saying, 'There is no oppression, hardship in the din.' That is, it means, 'Allahu ta'ala has commanded facility.' However, it does not mean, 'Let everybody do what he likes and not do what comes difficult to his nafs, let him change the worships as he wishes into comfortable, easy ways.' It is disbelief, irreligiousness to make an insignificant alteration in the din.]

Prophets are people selected and sent by Allahu ta'ala. They were sent to call their ummats to Allahu ta'ala and pull them out of excessive, wrong ways into the way of salvation. They gave the good news of Paradise to those who accepted their invitation while intimidating with Hell torment those who disbelieved them. All the information which they brought from Allahu ta'ala is right. There is no error in any of it. The last Prophet is Hadrat Muhammad 'sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam'. His din has transformed, abrogated all others. His book is the best of the heavenly books. His Shariat will remain valid until the end of the world. It will not be changed by anybody. Hadrat Isa (Jesus) will descend from heaven, yet he will follow Hadrat Muhammad's Shariat; that is, he will join his Ummat.

[Some people say that a religion will change in the process of time, that laws of the Shariat have become obsolescent, old, that a religion is needed to meet the needs of our age. Yes, the religion changes in the course of time. But its owner, Allahu ta'ala, changes it. As a matter of fact, He has changed it many times since Hadrat Adam and finally sent Hadrat Muhammad's Shariat as the most perfect, the highest religion which will meet all requirements and needs until the end of the world. Could the poor human beings make a religion which is better than the one which Allahu ta'ala says to be perfect? Yes, a nation's laws will change in the process of time, but only the National Assembly can change them, not any guard or shepherd. It is written in the thirty-ninth chapter of Majalla and in its explanation, "The rules will change in the process of time. Rules that are dependent upon customs and traditions will change. Rules that are derived from the Nass (ayats with clear meanings) do not change in the process of time."]

All of what Hadrat Muhammad has informed about the Rising Day is true. It is right and true that there will be torment in the grave, that the grave will squeeze the dead person; that two angels named Munkar and Nakir will ask questions in the grave; that everything will be annihilated on Doomsday; that the sky will crack; that the stars will get out of their orbits and disperse; that the globe and its mountains will break into pieces; that all people will be resurrected from their graves and will assemble in the place of Mahshar, that is, souls will return to their bodies; that there will be an earthquake, fear, horror on Doomsday; that there will be questioning and accounting on the Resurrection; that hands, feet and limbs will bear witness to what has been done in the world; that record books of good and evil deeds will be revealed, and they will fly towards their owners from their right and left sides; and that good deeds and sins will be weighed on a pair of scales peculiar to the hereafter. There, those whose thawab weighs heavier will be saved from Hell, and those with little thawab will suffer loss. The pair of scales there is an unknown one, and its weighing heavier or lighter is opposite to that of worldly scales. The scale which goes up is the heavier one and that which goes down is the lighter. [There is no earthly gravitation there.]

There, first the Prophets and then pious Muslims, that is, the Awliya, will, with Allah's permission, intercede for those Believers with many sins. Our Prophet declared: "Of my Ummat, I will intercede for the ones with grave sins." There is the Sirat Bridge over Hell. Believers will pass this bridge to go to Paradise. Disbelievers will slip and fall down into Hell.

[When mentioning the Sirat Bridge, we should not suppose that it is like bridges which we know. As a matter of fact, we say that it is necessary to pass the bridge of examination in order to pass the course. Every student will pass the bridge of examination. We call it a bridge because all students have to pass it. Whereas, an examination is in no way similar to a bridge. There are those who can pass the bridge of examination, and there are also those who cannot pass it and fall down. But this is unlike falling down into the sea from a bridge. Only those who have passed the bridge of examination know how it is. Likewise, everybody will have to pass the Sirat Bridge, and others, being unable to pass, will fall down into Hell. But this bridge, passing it or falling down into Hell, is not like worldly bridges or the bridge of examination. It has no aspects resembling them.]

Paradise, which has been prepared for rewards and blessings for Believers, and Hell, which has been prepared for tormenting disbelievers, exist [now]. Allahu ta'ala created both from nothing. They will exist eternally [after everything has been annihilated and created again on the Resurrection] and will never cease to exist. Believers, when they enter Paradise after the questioning and calling to account, will stay there eternally and will never leave Paradise. Likewise, disbelievers, after entering Hell, will remain there eternally and will suffer torment eternally. It is not possible that their torment be diminished. Ibni Taymiyya denies the fact that disbelievers will remain in Hell eternally. Allahu ta'ala declares: "Their torment will not be diminished, they will never get help." Those with the tiniest iman in their heart will perhaps be put into Hell if their sins are many. They will be tormented as much as their sins, yet, at last, they will be taken out of Hell, their faces not being black. Disbelievers' faces will be made black. Believers will not be chained in Hell. Thus, the value of the tiniest iman in their hearts will be seen. But disbelievers will be handcuffed and chained.

Angels are Allah's dear slaves. It is not possible for them to disobey Allah's commands. They do what they are commanded. They do not get married. They do not bear children or multiply. Allahu ta'ala has chosen some of them as prophets. He has honored them with the task of carrying wahy. They are those who brought the Books and Suhuf to prophets. [For example, Anam Sura was brought by Hadrat Jabrail (Gabriel) together with seventy thousand angels.] They do not make any mistakes, nor do they ever forget. They do not play tricks or deceive. What they bring from Allahu ta'ala is always true. It is never doubtful, nor does it depend upon probabilities. Angels are afraid of Allah's grandeur, wrath and greatness. They have no other work than doing what they are commanded.

'IMAN' means to believe the teachings coming from our Prophet, which are written in the books of Ahl as-sunnat savants, and to express one's belief. Worships are not from iman. But they perfect and beautify iman. Imam-i azam Abu Hanifa 'alaihirrahma' said that iman does not increase or decrease. For, iman means the heart's confirmation, admitting and believing. There is not scarcity or abundance in iman. Belief which has its decrease and increase is not called iman, but it is called supposition and illusion. Iman's being much or little means muchness or scarcity in worships. When a person worships much, he is said to have much perfection in his iman. Then, the imans of all Believers are unlike the imans of prophets. For, prophets' iman has reached the summit of perfection on account of worships. The iman of other Believers cannot reach there. But both have the common quality of being iman. The former has become different through worships. It is as if there were no resemblance between them. All Believers and prophets share the property of being human. But other values, superiorities have made prophets reach high grades. Their humanity has become sort of different. In a way, they are higher human beings than the common humanity. Perhaps, they only are human beings. Others, as it were, are not human beings.

Imam-i Azam Abu Hanifa 'alaihirrahma' said that one should say, "I am certainly a Believer." And Imam-i Shafi'i 'alaihirrahma' said that one should say, "I am, inshallah, a Believer." Both are true. When one expresses one's present iman one should say, "I am certainly a Believer." When expressing one's iman at one's last breath, one will say, "I am, inshallah, a Believer." However, in this case, here, too, it is better to say, 'certainly' than saying it with some doubt.

A Believer's iman does not go away no matter how grave a sin he commits. He does not become a disbeliever. I have heard that one day Imam-i azam and the great savants of Baghdad were sitting somewhere, when somebody came up and said, "If a Believer kills his father unjustly, breaks open his head, drinks wine from his skull and then, getting drunk, commits fornication with his mother, will his iman go away?" All the savants who heard this became angry with that Believer. "It is unnecessary even to ask this," they said. Imam-i azam said, "That person is still a Believer. His iman does not go away by his committing sins." The savants disliked this answer and castigated Imam-i azam. But when the Imam proved his word true, they all admitted it. If a Believer with a lot of sins repents before his last breath comes up to his throat, he will most likely be saved. For Allahu ta'ala promised that He would accept the tawba (repentance). If he has not attained the honor of tawba, his state is up to Allah only. If He wishes, He will forgive all his sins and put him into Paradise, or He will torment him with the Hell-fire or through troubles as much as his sins. But at last he will be saved and enter Paradise again. For, it is only disbelievers who will not attain Allah's mercy in the next world. He who has the tiniest iman will attain His compassion. If he cannot attain His compassion because of his sins, he will at last attain it through Allah's blessing and favor. O Allah! After giving us guidance to the right way and showing us the right way, protect us so that our hearts will not deviate onto the renegades' side! Have mercy upon us! Pity us poor creatures! Thou, alone, can protect us against the darkness of disbelief and apostasy!

According to savants of the Ahl as-sunnat - may Allahu ta'ala reward them abundantly for their efforts - it is not a piece of basic Islamic knowledge to talk about the caliphate. That is, it is not something based upon iman. However, because Shiites were excessive in this respect [and a few ignorant people who disguised themselves as hodjas named themselves Alawis and poisoned Muslims with their slanderous words, books and magazines], savants of true Muslims have included the information about the caliphate into the knowledge of Kalam, that is, into the information of iman, and communicated the truth of the matter. After the last Prophet Muhammad Mustafa, the Khalifa of Muslims, that is, our Prophet's representative and the Muslims' leader is Hadrat Abu Bakr-i Siddiq. After him comes Hadrat 'Umar ul Faruq. Next comes Hadrat 'Uthman-i Zinnurein, and then Ali bin Abi Talib. The order of superiority among these four is analogous to the order of their caliphates. All the Sahaba and the Tabiin said that of these the Shaikhayn [the first two] were higher than the other two. This unanimity has been communicated by our imams of din. For example, Imam-i Shafi'i's saying is well known. Abul-Hasan-i Ashari, one of the leaders of the Ahl as-sunnat, said, "It is certain that the Shaikhayn are higher than all the Ummat. He who disbelieves this fact is either ignorant or stubborn." Imam-i Ali said, "He who holds me superior to Abu Bakr and 'Umar is a slanderer. As slanderers are to be beaten, I will beat him." Hadrat Abdulqadir-i Geilani reported in his book Gunya-tut- talibin: Our Prophet said, "I asked of Allahu ta'ala that Ali become the Khalifa after me. Angels said: ''O Muhammad! It will happen as Allahu ta'ala wills. Abu Bakr-i Siddiq is the Khalifa after you." AbdulQadir-i Geilani reported again: Hadrat Ali said that the Prophet said to him, "After me Abu Bakr will become the Khalifa. Then 'Umar, then 'Uthman and then you will become the Khalifa."

Imam-i Hasan 'radi-Allahu anh' is higher than Imam-i Husain. (These two people are Hadrat Ali's sons.) The savants of Ahl as-sunnat have declared that in knowledge and ijtihad Hadrat Aisha (the Prophet's blessed wife, our mother) is superior to Hadrat Fatima (the Prophet's blessed daughter, and Hadrat Ali's blessed wife). Hadrat Abdulqadir-i Geilani wrote in his book Gunya, "Hadrat Aisha is higher." To this faqir (Imam-i Rabbani means himself), in knowledge and ijtihad Hadrat Aisha is higher, but in zuhd and in withdrawing from the world Hadrat Fatima is higher. It is for this reason that Hadrat Fatima was called Batul (very pure). As for Hadrat Aisha, she used to teach the Shariat to the Sahaba. The Sahaba used to learn the Shariat by asking her.

The combats among the Sahaba, e.g., the event of Camel and the event of Siffin, were done with good intentions and for pious reasons, not for the desires of the nafs, with obstinacy or hostility. For, they all were great. Their hearts had been purified in the sohbat (company) of our Master, the Prophet, and with his blessed looks, no evils such as avarice, grudge or hostility have been left. Both their peace and their opposition or combats were for the truth. Each of them acted in accordance with his own ijtihad. They differed from those who did not agree with their ijtihad, but without bearing obstinacy or hostility against them. There are two or ten thawabs for those with correct ijtihad, and one thawab for those who erred. Then, we should not speak ill of those who erred as we do not speak ill of those who were right. For, these, too, received thawab. The savants of Ahl as-sunnat declare that the Amir (Hadrat Ali) was right in these combats. Those ijtihads which disagreed with his were wrong. But none of them can be spoken ill of, nonetheless for calling any one of them a 'disbeliever' or 'sinner'. Hadrat Ali declared in these combats, "Our brethren have parted from us. They are not disbelievers, nor sinners. For, they have been acting in accordance with their ijtihad." Our Prophet 'sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam' declared: "Avoid speaking ill of my Sahaba!" Then, we have to deem all the Sahaba of the Prophet as great and speak about them with reverence and good will. We should not think ill of any of these great people! We should consider the combats among them to be better than others' peace. This is the way to salvation. For, loving the Sahaba arises from loving our Master, the Prophet. Enmity against them means enmity against him. The great savant Abu Bakr-i Shibli said, "A person who does not respect the Sahaba does not have iman in Muhammad 'alaihissalam'."

[Alusi says in his book Ghaliyya, "Allahu ta'ala praises the Sahaba in the Qur'an. He declares that He likes those who migrated first, the Ansar, and those who follow them in goodness. Allahu ta'ala likes only that slave of His whom He knows will die in iman. It is impossible for Him to have declared that He loved a certain slave of His even though He knew that he would die as a disbeliever. Therefore, ayats which praise the Sahaba refute those who say that they were unjust and that they became renegades after Rasulullah's death, thus informing that such people who say so are malevolent. There are many hadiths praising all the Sahaba. One of the well-known ones of these is the hadith, 'My Sahaba are like the stars. If you follow any one of them, you will attain guidance to the right way!' which is communicated by Darimi and Ibni Adi." The book Uns- ut-taibin by Ahmad Namiqi Jami 'rahmat Allahi 'alaih' is in Persian. In its forty-fourth page of the Tehran edition printed during the time of Shah Rida, the names of four Khalifas are written, and these Khalifas and all of the Ashab-i kiram are praised well, and we are advised to love them all. Those heretics who cannot realize the value, the greatness of the Sahaba and who slander these great people and compare them to themselves, are called Rafidis. Rafidis are the worst of the seventy-two groups of bidat, which it has been declared will go to Hell. Today Rafidis name themselves Alawi. Saying that they follow Hadrat Ali, they deceive the innocent younger generations. Spreading the concocted legends fibbed in a certain book, which they printed in Istanbul in 1958 A.D. and entitled Husniya, among ignorant and mostly female villagers, they slander the great people of Islam. It is written in the book Tuhfa that this book, which teems with lies and very loathsome slanders, was concocted by a Jew named Murtaza. It is written in the book Asma-ul-muallifin that this book, (Husniya), was translated into Persian by a Hurufi named Ibrahim Esterabadi, who died in 958 [A.D. 1551]. It has fallen to my lot to refute those heretical writings, abominable slanders with documents, thus disgracing them in Ashab-i kiram (in Turkish) and in the chapter captioned Tazkiya-i-Ahl al-bayt of the book Hak Sozun Vesikalari (Turkish). (The latter was translated into English in 1992, under the title Documents of the Right Word, and is available from Hakikat Kitabevi, Darussefeka Cad. No: 57/A P.K. 35, 34262, Fatih- Istanbul-Turkiye). The Jewish convert Murtaza, its author, died in Baghdad in 436 [1044]. And his brother Radi bin Tahir was born in 359 and died in Baghdad in 406. The book Manaqib-i-Jihar Yar-i-Ghuzin, (by Ayyub bin Siddiq), gives a detailed account of the superior virtues of the Ashab al-kiram.

Of all the many characteristics whereby the Shi'a group differ from the Sunnites, what makes the Shiites worst is the fact that they bear the creed of Hurufi. Those who are excessive in the creed of Rafidi become disbelievers. Rafidis were few and were about to perish, when Shah Ismail, one of them, established a state; so they increased in number. The creed infiltrated into our country, too; almost all the Darwish convents came into contact with it, and many innocent people caught this contagion and tumbled down into eternal death. May Allahu ta'ala not let us dissent from the right, pure belief of the Ahl as- Sunnat. May He protect us against the perils called Wahhabism and Shiism, which instigate faction among Muslims! Amin. It is written on the initial pages of Tuhfa-i ithna 'ashariyya: The founder of Shiism was a Jew from Yaman, namely, Abdullah bin Saba, who was exiled to Madayin by Hadrat Ali because he called him a god. [It is written in Munjid that he was a Jew who came from Egypt to Medina in 34 A.H. (657) and became a Muslim.] This group of heresy took a different shape in every century, was put into a definite shape during the time of Shah Ismail, and books were written. Shiism was established during the time of Hadrat Ali. Its spreading among people began afterwards. In the sixtieth year of the Hegira, the Kisaniyya sect, in the sixty-sixth year the Mukhtariyya sect, and in the hundred and ninth year the Hishamiyya sect appeared, yet they could not catch on and perished. The Zaydiyya sect, which has been distracting Muslims from the right way for centuries, appeared in the hundred and twelfth year, and all the other sects appeared later. We may say briefly that all sects of bidat which have been instigating faction among Muslims appeared after the deaths of all the Sahaba. The beliefs of all the Shia sects come together in three groups:

1) Tafdiliyya: they say that Hadrat Ali is the highest of the Sahaba.

2) Sabbiyya: they say that the Sahaba, with a few exceptions, became cruel disbelievers. They speak ill of them.

3) Ghulat-i Shia: they say that Hadrat Ali is a god. So do the groups of Sabaiyya and Nusayriyya. They do not practice any worshipping.

These people have always gathered around one of the grandsons of Hadrad Ali and Hadrat Abbas and differed into various sects. When Imam-i Zaynalabidin passed away most of them came together around his son Zayd and while enroute to fight Yusuf-i Saqafi, who had been assigned the governor of Iraq by the Amawi (Umayyad) ruler Hisham bin Abdulmalik, some of them dissented from Zayd. Zayd called them Rafidi. But they named themselves Imamiyya. Those who remained with Zayd were called Zaydi. Both groups said, "After Rasulullah, the caliphate belongs to the twelve imams."

The Twelve imams are Ali bin Abi Talib, Hasan, Husain, Zaynalabidin, Muhammad Baqir, Jafar-i- Sadiq, Musa Kazim, Ali Rida, Muhammad Jawad Taqiy, Ali Naqiy, Hasan Askari Zakiy and Muhammad Mahdi. Attaching themselves to various sons of these twelve imams, they parted into different groups. Today the majority of them are Imamiyya and hold the first of the three main kinds of creed, yet there have been changes in their beliefs over the course of time. They now call themselves Jafari. There is lengthy information about the Jafaris in the entry Jafari Sadiq, the hundred and eighty-third entry of the word list at the end of the Turkish origin of the book.]

All of what the Mukhbir-i sadiq (he who always tells the truth) reported about the symptoms of Doomsday are true. There can be no errors. That day the sun, contrary to its usual course, will rise in the west. Hadrat Mahdi will appear, Hadrat Isa (Jesus) will descend from heaven. The Dajjal will appear, people called Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) will spread on the earth.

[It is written in Hujjat-ullahi 'alal'alamin, "People called Yajuj and Majuj are descendants of Yafas (Japheth), the son of Nuh (Noah) 'alaihissalam'. They have flat and wide faces, small eyes and big ears, and they are short. Each has a thousand children. Nine - tenths of the number of genies and men are Yajuj and Majuj. Every day they make a hole in the wall they have been left behind. But at night the wall becomes the same as it was before. They are kafirs. When they get beyond the wall, they will attack people. People will take refuge in cities and in buildings. They will eat up animals and drain rivers. Isa 'alaihissalam' and his Sahaba will invoke against them. A wound will appear on the neck of each, and they will all die in one night. Eating them, animals will multiply. Their stink will make the earth impossible to live on." It is written in the Qur'an that Gog and Magog are two evil peoples which were left behind a wall at a very ancient time and that they will spread on the earth towards Doomsday. Considering that archaeological research discovers cities buried under the ground and sea fossils on the peaks of mountains, that wall does not have to be in the open, nor do those people have to be numerous today. As a matter of fact, it could be thought that as thousands of millions of people today have originated from two persons, so those two peoples will spread on the earth by multiplying out of a few people and none knows where these people are.]

The beast called Dabbatulard will appear, the sky will be covered with smoke, which will reach all the people and will hurt them; due to its pain everybody will pray, "Ya Rabbi! Remove this torment from us. We now believe in Thee!" The last symptom is a fire, which will break out in Aden [which is in Yaman]. Somebody in India claimed to be the Mahdi, and he was believed by many ignorant people. According to them Hadrat Mahdi came, died, and his grave is in Fara city. [Also, some ignorant people in our country call those who say and write what they translate from the books of tasawwuf "Mahdi". They think that those people write their own inspirations.] However, a hadith declares, "There will be a cloud just above Mahdi's head. An Angel from the cloud will say: 'This is Mahdi. Believe what he says!," Another hadith declares: "Of all the people you have heard about, four persons took possession of the earth, [that is, most of the countries known]. Two of them were Believers and the other two were disbelievers. The two Believers were Hadrat Zulqarnain and Hadrat Sulaiman. And the two disbelievers were Namrud (Nimrod) and Buhtunnassar (Nebuchadnezzar). Fifthly, the earth will be owned by one of my descendants, Mahdi."

A hadith declares: "Before Doomsday, Allahu ta'ala will create one of my descendants, whose name, father's name and mother's name will be the same as those of mine, and who will fill the world with justice. The earth, which will have been filled with cruelty before him, will be filled with justice during his time." Another hadith declares: "The Ashab-i kahf will be Mahdi's assistants and Isa (Jesus) will descend from heaven during his time. As Isa fights the Dajjal, Mahdi will be with him. During his reign, unusually, contrary to calculations, there will be a solar eclipse on the fourteenth day of the blessed month of Ramadan and there will be a lunar eclipse on its first night." Then, let them be reasonable enough to see if these symptoms exist [in those people whom the ignorant suppose to be Mahdi or] in that above mentioned dead man. Many other symptoms of Hadrat Mahdi have been predicted by Mukhbir-i Sadiq 'alaihissalatu wassalam'. Hadrat Ahmad ibni Hajar-i Makki wrote almost two hundred symptoms of Hadrat Mahdi in his book Alqawlulmukhtasar fi-alamat-il- Mahdi. While the symptoms of the reported Mahdi are so obvious, those who think of others as Mahdi are so ignorant. May Allahu ta'ala bless them with the lot of seeing the truth! [The book Juz'un minal-ahadith wal-asar-il- waridati fi-haqq-il-Mahdi, by Jalaladdin-i Suyuti, informs with the symptoms of hadrat Mahdi].

Our Prophet 'sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam' declared: "The Bani-Israil (Sons of Israel) parted into seventy-one groups. Seventy of these went to Hell and only one of them was saved. And the Nasara parted into seventy-two groups, seventy-one of which went to Hell and one was saved. After some time, my Ummat also will part into seventy-three groups. Seventy-two of these will go to Hell and one will be saved." When asked by the Sahaba who were this one group, "The group which will be saved from Hell are those who follow my Sahaba's way," he said. [It is written in the translation of Milal-Nihal that this hadith exists in the four books called Sunan.] The saved group is the Ahl as-sunnat wal-jamaat, who have held fast to the way of the best of mankind. O our Allah! Do not make us dissent from the iman, from the belief communicated by the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat! Take us out of this world as we are together with them! Ya Rabbi! Let us be together with them on the Day of Resurrection. After being guided into the true faith, do not let our hearts slip away from the right way and give us rahmat from Your High Kingdom. You are the greatest of those who give blessings.

The first principle of Islam is belief in Allahu ta'ala and His Prophet. That is, it is to love them, like and admit their words.

After correcting the belief, it is certainly necessary to do the commands of the Shariat, to refrain from its prohibitions, that is, to carry out the rules of Islam. One should perform namaz five times without being slack or lazy. One should perform it with tadil-i arkan and in jamaat. "It is namaz which distinguishes the Muslim from the kafir." [A person who performs namaz correctly and well is a Muslim. If a person performs namaz incorrectly or does not perform it at all, his being a Muslim is doubtful.] When a person performs namaz correctly and well, he has held fast to Islam's rope. For, namaz is the second of Islam's five principles.

Islam's third principle is to give zakat.

Islam's fourth principle is to fast every day in the blessed month of Ramadan.

Its fifth principle is to perform hajj by making tawaf around the Kaba al-muazzama.

Islam's first principle, iman, is to believe with the heart and express it with the tongue. And the other four principles are the worships that are to be done with the body and intended with the heart. Namaz, which has accumulated all worships in itself, is the highest of all. On the Day of Judgement the first questioning will be on namaz. If namaz is correct, all the other questions, with the help of Allahu ta'ala, will pass easily.

We should avoid the harams as well as possible. We should deem the things which Allahu ta'ala dislikes as fatal poisons. Thinking about our faults, we should feel ashamed, embarrassed for having done them. We should repent and be sorry. This only becomes His slaves. He who talks and acts in a manner which Allahu ta'ala dislikes without being ashamed, embarrassed, has been persistently opposing Allahu ta'ala. Their obstinacies will almost drive them out of Islam, and will include them among His enemies. O our Allah! Have mercy on us. Through Thine Favor and Mercy, do not let us leave the right way.

[It is written in the third paragraph of the second chapter of the fourth section of the book Riyad-un- nasihin, "Though the harams have been divided into two classes, grave sins, and small sins, we should avoid the small sins as well as we avoid the grave ones, nor should we slight any sin. For Allahu ta'ala is munTaqim [Vindictive, capable of revenging on His enemies.] and Ghani (independent). He does not fear anybody in doing what He wishes. He has concealed His wrath, His enmity in sins. Any sin which is supposed to be small may cause His vengeance, His wrath."

It is written in the first paragraph of the third chapter of Riyad-un-nasihin, "Sins other than disbelief and bidat are classified in two groups. The first group are sins that are between Allahu ta'ala and man. Having alcoholic drinks, not performing namaz and the like. Of these sins, we should very much avoid the small ones as well as the grave ones. Rasulullah declared: "Avoiding a mote of [very small] sin is better than the worships of all genies and men." All sins are grave because sin means not doing Allah's command. However, some of them seem small when compared to others. For example, looking lustfully at a namahram woman is less sinful than committing fornication. [What is less sinful than both is to satisfy one's desire with one's hand.] Not doing a small sin is more valuable than the supererogatory worships of the whole world. For, it is not fard to do supererogatory worships, whereas it is fard for everybody to avoid sins. It is permissible to commit a small sin in order to avoid a graver sin, when there is no other way.

After any sin committed, it is fard to make tawba (to repent and beg Allahu ta'ala for forgiveness). Whatsoever the sin, the tawba will be accepted. It is written in Kimya-i saadat: "A prayer of tawba that is done suitably with its conditions will certainly be accepted. We should not doubt if the tawba will be accepted. We should doubt if the tawba meets its conditions." Allahu ta'ala may avenge for any sin which has not been repented for. For, Allah's wrath is hidden in sins. Allahu ta'ala is very very powerful, victorious over everybody, and He is vindictive. He may refuse eternally a liked slave of His who has been worshipping for a hundred thousand years for one single sin, nor does He fear anything. The Qur'an informs of this fact and communicates that the Devil [Shaytan], who had been obeying Him for two hundred thousand years, became eternally accursed because he was too arrogant to prostrate. A son of Hadrat Adam's, His representative on the earth, was eternally expelled by Him because he killed a man. Bal'am-i Baura, during the time of Hadrat Musa, knew the Ism-i azam. Every prayer of his would be accepted (by Allahu ta'ala). His knowledge and worshipping were in such a high degree that two thousand people would be present with him with their pens and ink pots in order to write what he said and benefit from his words. This Bal'am, showing a little inclination towards one haram of Allah's, died without iman. He became the subject of public talk which said, "Those who are like him are like dogs." Qarun was a relative of Hadrat Musa's. Having been blessed with the benedictions of Hadrat Musa, and being taught the knowledge of chemistry by him, he had become so rich that only the keys of his treasuries would be carried by forty mules. Because he did not give the zakat, which was worth a few cents, he was made to go under the earth together with his whole property. Salaba, among the Sahaba, was very zahid. He used to worship very much, so much so that he would not go out of the mosque. Because of one breach of promise he lost his chance to attain the grade of being Sahabi, and died without iman. Our Master, the Prophet, was commanded not to ask any blessings on him. Allahu ta'ala has avenged upon many other people like these on account of one sin. Then each Believer should be very much afraid of committing sins. Upon committing one small sin he should repent, say istighfar and beg for forgiveness."

It is written in the first paragraph of the second chapter of the second part of Riyad-un- nasihin, "Tawba should be made with the heart, with the tongue and with the sinful limb altogether. The heart should repent. The tongue should pray and beg. And the limb should cease from sinning.

The second group of sins are among the human beings; making tawba for them requires pleasing the human being also. It is written in the book Kimya-i saadat that a hadith declares: "Make the tawba for a sin secretly which has been done secretly! Make the tawba for a sin publicly which has been done publicly! Make sure that those who know of your sin hear your repentance!"

Then, it is useless to say, "Maybe he repented, gave up apostasy," about those dead people who were hostile against Islam and who persecuted Muslims when they were alive. Their cruel limbs must do favors, their tongues must pray, and they must say their last requests in such a manner as to please the oppressed. Those apostates who have not done so will not be thought of as good.]

What people living there are quite unaware of - and you are perhaps no exception - is the fact that you are in possession of a great fortune, a blessing which Allahu ta'ala has exclusively conferred on you. I mean that the sultan of the time is a Sunnite Muslim in the Hanafi Madhhab, beginning from his seventh grandfather. It is a fact that in our time, which is close to the end of the world and away from the time of Rasulullah, some students of knowledge have approached the statesmen and the Sultan for some years, and tried to gain their favor so that they could satisfy their own ambitions and ugly desires which originated from the dirt in their hearts, so they caused some doubts to appear in this true religion, and some idiots to slip away from the right way, but it is happiness to see that this famed sultan listens to you and follows your advice. Explain the words haqq and Islam to him, directly or implicatively, with their meanings compatible with the belief of the Ahl as-sunnat wa jamaat. In the presence of the Sultan, as far as possible, propagate the words of the devotees, the scholars of the right way, so much so that, always try to find the opportunity to teach the knowledge about Madhhab and religion. So, the truth of Islam will be brought to light. In addition, the ugliness and evilness of heresy, falsehood, atheism and disbelief will be realized. It is naturally clear that disbelief is null and void. A man with reason will never like it. Without hesitation, it must be made known that disbelief is invalid. Their false gods which they worship must be intolerantly refused and banished. No doubt, and no hesitation, the real God is only the Creator of the heavens. Have those things which disbelievers worship and praise as creators created a mosquito? They cannot create anything even if they all come together. None of the things which they worship can defend itself against a mosquito which will bite it. How can it ever protect others against harms? Disbelievers, hearing that these doings of theirs are bad and realizing their faults, say that their idols and statues will intercede for them with Allahu ta'ala, that they will make them approach Him, that for this reason they are worshipping them. They are so stupid. How do they know that those inanimate objects will intercede for them? Whence do they understand that Allahu ta'ala will accept the intercession of these idols, which have been made His partners and which are His enemies? Their case is like that of those idiots who help those who revolt against the government and then say that when they are in trouble these rebels will intercede for them, will ask a favor for them so that they will attain the government's help. They are so stupid that they both respect the rebels and say that the government will forgive them through their intercession. On the contrary, they should have helped the government and suppressed the rebels. In this case only would they approach the government, walk in the right way and attain to safety and comfort. Idiots, dressing a piece of stone with their own hands, worship it for years. They expect its help on the Day of Resurrection. Then, it is obvious that disbelievers' religions are corrupt.

Of Muslims, those who have deviated from the right way are called holders of bidat. The right way is the way of Hadrat Muhammad 'sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam' and his four Khalifas. It is written in the book Gunya by Abd-ul-qadir Geilani: "The origins of the seventy-two sects of bidat are nine groups, which are the Khariji, Rafidi, Mutazila, Murji'a, Mushabbiha, Juhaymiyya, Dirariyya, Najjariyya and Kilaybiyya. None of these existed during the time of our Prophet and Jihar Yar-i guzin (the four Khalifas). Their appearing and deviating into different ways happened many years after the deaths of the Sahaba, the Tabiin and the Fuqaha-i saba."

[Fuqaha-i saba means the seven great savants. It is written in the thirty-fourth page of the first volume of the translation of Tajrid-i-sarih, which is an abridged edition of Bukhari, "These seven great savants of the blessed city of Medina were Said ibni Musayyab, Qasim bin Muhammad bin Abi Bakr-inis-Siddiq, Urwatabni-Zubair, Kharijatabni- Zaid, Abu Salama- tabni-Abdurrahman bin Awf, Ubaidullah ibni Utba and Abu Ayyub Sulaiman."]

Our Prophet declared: "After me, there will be many differences among Muslims. Those who will live in those times should hold fast to my way and to the way of the Khulafa-i rashidin! They should avoid the things that will appear and will be all the fashion afterwards? For, renovation, reform in Islam means to deviate from the right way. Changes that will be made in Islam after me are irreligious."

This hadith shows that all t he things invented in Islam after our Prophet and the Khulafa-i rashidin are worthless. They are not reliable. Let us thank Allahu ta'ala very much because He has included us in the group of Ahl as-sunnat wal-jamaat, who will be saved from Hell. He has not let us join one of the seventy-two groups of bidat, who will go to Hell. He has so graciously protected us from falling for their corrupt beliefs. [Nor has He let us join those who, by saying, "You created, we ask for a religion from you,' exalt some people up to the rank of Allah.] Nor has He made us one of those who say that man creates his own work and action. He has not made us one of those who disbelieve seeing Allahu ta'ala in Paradise, either. In fact, this seeing is the greatest of all the blessings of this world and the next. And He has not included us with those two groups who hurt the Sahaba of the Best of Mankind 'sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' by speaking ill of them. They think of these great men of din as evil. They think that they were hostile against one another, that they concealed their hostility and grudge and handled each other hypocritically. However, Allahu ta'ala declares in the Qur'an that the Sahaba always love one another. These two groups disbelieve the Qur'an. They say that there was hostility and hatred among them. May Allahu ta'ala give them reason and show them the right way! Thank Him, again, He has not included us among those who say that Allahu ta'ala is a substance, an object, and who consider Him to be with time and place, thus comparing the Creator to His creatures, [nor among those apostates, idiots, who sell their faith and tread on the sacred property of their ancestors to obtain money, post, rank, comfort and to enjoy themselves].

It should be known well that presidents, those who preside over societies are like the soul. And people are like the body. If the soul is good, the body will be pious and good, too. If the soul is corrupt, the body will be corrupt, too. Then, to strive so that presidents will be good [so that those who are not hostile to Islam will be elected to govern the people] will mean to work for the benefit of all people. Trying to bring someone round to the right course can be done by teaching Islam to him. No matter through what way, we should strive so that those who will govern people will be Muslims. After their being Muslims, we should inform them of the belief of the Ahl as-sunnat wal-jamaat. We should struggle for the annihilation of corrupt ideas. A person who has the fortune of doing these becomes prophets' inheritor. This chance has fallen to your lot for nothing. Appreciate it! I could never write too much on this subject. But this much will suffice for you. Only Allahu ta'ala guides people to the right way.

[It is written in the thirty-ninth (39) article of Majalla, "With the changing of time, rules that are based on customs can be changed." However, rules that are declared through the Nass (ayats and hadiths) never change. Every custom cannot be based on as a canonical proof. Deriving a rule from a custom requires that the custom should not contradict the Nass, and it should have come from those Muslims called Salaf. [The early Muslims] Even if those who commit the harams increase in number and the harams become customs, they are still not halal. And, if symptoms of disbelief become customs and spread among Muslims, they will not become Islamic customs. Nor will they escape being symptoms of disbelief. In customs that are mubah (permitted) and in scientific knowledge, it is necessary to follow the present time and to keep in step with those who make technical progress. The time will not be followed in Islamic knowledge or in worships. The knowledge of iman, the knowledge of din, does not change in the process of time. Those who want to change it and to adapt it to the time will deviate from the Ahl as-sunnat; they will become disbelievers or heretics.]