English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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MUHAMMAD MATHUM FARUQI Informs about how to hold fast to the Shariat and about the importance of namaz:
The letter has arrived, which you, remembering this man forgotten in some nook, sent through my brother Mawlana Muhammad Hanif Kabili. Reading it, we were much pleased. And reading about your attachment to Allahu ta'ala, who has no partner or likeness, and about the fact that you have been burning with the fire of His love, we were pleased all the more. What a great blessing it is if Allahu ta'ala places His love into the heart of a slave of His and burns him with separation from Him, especially during the fitna and zulmat of this latest time! He should appreciate the blessing and be thankful. Incessantly, he should struggle to augment it and hope that the divine love will reach its summit. He should not attach his heart to anything but the real desired One, nor should he busy with useless things. The fire of love burning up the curtain of egoism and self-respect, which originates from the excessiveness and overrunning of the nafs-i ammara, the heart should be illuminated with the sacred lights of that perfection which is eternal in the past as well as in the future. "If you are thankful for My blessings I shall increase them," He has declared in an ayat.
O my lucky, fortunate brother! Since you have been desiring to walk on the way of Allah's beloved slaves, you should observe the conditions and adabs of the way! First of all, it is necessary to hold fast to the Sunnat-i saniyya and avoid bidats. For, these two are the essence of the way that makes one attain to Allah's love. You should adapt your deeds, words and moral qualities to the words and books of those pious slaves who know and love Islam. You should be like the pious servants and love them. Your sleeping, your eating, your talking should be temperate rather than excessive. You should strive to get up by the time of sahar [at the end of each night before imsak]. You should know it as a great chance to say istighfar, to weep, to beg Allahu ta'ala at such times. You should long to keep company with the pious. Do not forget the saying: "One's faith is like one's friend's faith!" Be it known that those who want the next world [endless bliss] should not be fond of mundane flavors.
If you cannot cease from those flavors which are mubah (permitted), avoid, at least, the forbidden and dubious ones so that your salvation in the Hereafter may be hoped for. However, it is necessary to pay the zakat of every kind of gold and silver property, of those animals grazing in fields, of commercial goods, and the ' ushr of the crops obtained from land, from fields and from trees. The amounts that are to be given out of them are explained in books of fiqh.
You should give the zakat and the fitra willingly to the people prescribed by the Shariat. You should visit your relatives, or please their hearts by writing to them. You should observe the rights of your neighbors. You should be charitable to the poor, to those who want to borrow money. You should not spend your property, your money on anything prohibited by the Shariat, nor should you waste it on anything permitted. [You should abstain from interest (money charged or paid for the use of money), from any kind of games of chance whether gambling or not. You should not spend your money on games, on harams, on musical instruments, on adorning yourself, on ostentation, on boasting, or on stocking property.] When these are well cared for, your property will be protected against harm, and what is worldly will be for the Hereafter. And maybe they will no longer be called worldly.
Know that namaz is the pillar of the din. A person who performs namaz has put his din right. The din of a person who does not perform namaz will be demolished. You should perform your prayers of namaz at their mustahab times, suitably with their conditions and adabs. These are explained in books of fiqh. You should perform the prayers of namaz in jamaat, try to say the first takbir together with the imam, and find a place in the first line. [It is not permissible, if one has come to the mosque rather late, to annoy the assembly by breaking one's way through the lines in order to go up to the first line.] In case you have not observed one of these, you should mourn. When a mature Muslim begins to perform namaz, he sort of goes out of the world. For, very little of the blessing of approaching Allahu ta'ala is attainable in the world. It is, if any, an approaching to the zil, to the shade, to the vision. But the Hereafter is the place for being close to the essence. So, in namaz one goes to the Hereafter and enjoys one's share from the great felicity there. Those who have been thirsty burning with the fire of separation can cool and assuage themselves only with the life- giving water from the fountain of namaz. Only under the tent-flaps of the bride of namaz can those who are paralyzed in the sahara of the greatness of the Supreme Being perceive the astounding smell of approaching the beloved one. The Messenger of Allahu ta'ala said, "When a Believer begins to perform namaz the gates of Paradise will open for him. The curtains between his Allah and him will go up. The huru'in of Paradise will meet him. This state will go on until the namaz is over."
Until you find one of the great leaders of this way, utilize your time by reading the Qur'an, worshipping and reciting the prayers and tasbihs prescribed in valuable books and hadiths. This faqir (Hadrat Muhammad Mathum means himself) had gathered some of these prayers, tasbihs and worships. Mawlana Muhammad Hanif borrowed them. Spend most of your time saying the word 'la ilaha il-lal-lah.' It is so effective in purifying the heart. It will be good if you keep saying it for a while each day. It can be said without an ablution as well as with an ablution. Deem it as a capital for happiness to love the great leaders of this way. Know that this love is the strongest means for making progress on this way.
Translation of a Persian couplet:
I give you the key to the treasure you've been looking for!
Maybe some day you'll get there, though we haven't heretofore!
May Allahu ta'ala give you and the other travelers of the right way safety and facilities!
[The book Durr-i yakta sharhi says that the word salat which is commanded in many ayats of the Qur'an al-karim is the prayers which is performed five times a day by doing the specific acts which are commonly known. Our Prophet 'sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam' stated that salat meant to do some particular acts and to recite some particular prayers, and he himself did so, too. The fact that this is so was taught to the Tabiin by Ashab-i kiram; then they taught it to Taba'i Tabiin, and thus these teachings reached us by way of tawatur through an unbroken chain of scholars throughout the centuries. (Tawatur means the transmission of a message from mouth to mouth. These tawatur teachings have spread throughout the world through books written by Ahl as-sunnat scholars.) If some heretics and atheists who claim to be shaikhs of mystic orders say to the uneducated Muslims, "I have saved you from performing salat. Don't perform salat from now on," or "The salat commanded by Allahu ta'ala is not getting up and down or reciting particular things. It means to repeat the names of Allahu ta'ala and to think of His greatness," this denial of theirs may mislead Muslims. In this case, it will be a must to kill them by the court's verdict. Once under arrest, the tawba they make will not be valid. A person who denies the salat, that is, who does not believe that salat is a duty, is called a disbeliever. A person who believes that salat is a duty but does not perform it because of indolence is called a fasiq (sinner). That is, he will have committed a grave sin. He is kept in prison until he begins to perform salat. It will be necessary for him to perform the salats he has omitted and also make tawba (repentance). The citation from the book Durr-i yakta ends here.
We should learn how to perform namaz, how to perform the omitted namaz and all other Islamic information from books written by Ahl as-sunnat savants. We should not believe the falsely adorned articles and sweet words of the insidious enemies and the ignorant.
Islam had its shaikh-ul-Islams, that is, chiefs of religious affairs, and Islamic Muftis. There were also times when there were state officials called Muftis. We should not mistake Islamic Muftis and the officials called Muftis for each other. Islamic Muftis were the savants who communicated the commands and prohibitions of Allahu ta'ala, that is, the Shariat. But the officials called Muftis did not themselves know the Shariat. When something prohibited by Allahu ta'ala was commanded by the laws they would not say that it was not permissible to do it. If the laws prohibited something commanded by Allahu ta'ala they would not say it was necessary to do it. They would either keep quiet or say something to the contrary. Thus, they themselves would go out of Islam, misguiding Muslims towards sins and disbelief. During those times when the soldiers of Genghis spread over Muslim countries, ruined mosques and massacred Muslims, during the time of Fatimis and Rasulis, even during the time of Abbasis, such state officials called Muftis said 'permissible' about harams. They even said that the Qur'an was a creature. Whereas these state officials called Muftis gave such false fatwas and caused Islam to be demolished, those who followed books of fiqh and ilmihal remained on the right way, thus saving their faith.
Fatwa means to inform if something is suitable with the Shariat. It would not be fatwa to say only that it is 'suitable' or 'not permissible.' It is necessary also to give reference to the book of fiqh wherefrom the answer has been derived, including the concerned part of the book. Those fatwas which are not suitable with the books of fiqh are wrong. It is not permissible to depend on them. Those who read ayats and hadiths without learning, knowing Islamic teachings and who interpret them in accordance with their own mental capacities and points of view are not called Islamic savants. They may be Arabic- knowing interpreters, like priests in Beirut. No matter how well, ornamentedly and brightly they speak and write, they are no good. Allahu ta'ala does not like or accept words and writings which disagree with rules inferred by Ahl as-sunnat savants or with the books of fiqh written by them.
Ibni Abidin, while explaining Qadis, that is, judges, on the three hundred and first page of its fourth volume, writes, "It is unsuitable for a sinner to be a Mufti. Fatwas given by him are not to be relied on. For, it is one of the matters of the din to give fatwa. A sinner's words in the matters of the din are not acceptable. It is so according to the other three Madhhabs, too. It is not permissible to ask such Muftis anything. According to the unanimity [of savants], it is a condition that a Mufti should be a Muslim and discreet. A fatwa given by a just, pious woman or by a dumb person is acceptable. A Mufti or a judge should give fatwas in accordance with Imam-i azam Abu Hanifa's word. If he does not find in his words what he has been looking up, he should follow Imam-i Abu Yusuf's word. If he does not find it in his words, he should follow Imam-i Muhammad Shaibani's word. Next to his comes Imam-i Zufar's word to be followed, and then comes Hasan bin Ziyad's word. Those Muftis who are mujtahids in the Madhhab, that is, those who are Ashab-i tarjih, will choose the ones with strong evidences among the ijtihads. Those who are not mujtahids will follow the judgement preferred by the former. Judgements of the Muftis and judges who do not do so are not acceptable. This means to say that on those matters in which the Ashab-i tarjih have not made a choice it is necessary to follow Imam-i azam's word. As it is seen, a Mufti should be a mujtahid in a Madhhab. He who is not so is not called a Mufti but he is called a conveyor, a narrator, he who conveys a fatwa. The conveyors take the fatwas from well-known books. These books have the same value as well-known, mutawatir reports.
It is written at the end of the madhbata (protocol) in the preface to Majalla, "When there are various ijtihads for a matter that is not reported clearly by a Nass and how to do which is inferred by ijtihad, in doing it, it is wajib to follow the ijtihad which Hadrat Imam- ul-muslimin commands (us) to follow."] It is written in the book Radd-i Wahhabi that the meaning of the ayat, "If you cannot come to an agreement on some matter, learn the truth of that matter from Allah and from Rasulullah," is, "If you cannot come to an agreement on how to do something, the learned ones ['ulama] among you must learn how to do it from Allah's book and from Rasulullah's Sunnat. And the unlearned ones must do it by following the learned ones' inference." As it is seen, this ayat-i karima commands us to imitate the imams of Madhhabs. Ibni Humam says in the book Fat'h-ul-Qadir, "A Mufti has to be a mujtahid. A man of the din who is not an alim in the grade of ijtihad cannot be a Mufti. If a non-mujtahid man of the din is appointed a Mufti, he will have to read and learn and quote the mujtahids' statements." The book Kifaya says in the subject of fasting, "When a non- mujtahid man of the din hears a hadith, he cannot act upon his own inference from the hadith. He has to act upon the fatwa which the mujtahids gave after learning the matter from ayats and hadiths. If he does not do so he will have disobeyed the wajib." The same is written in the book Taqrir.