You may recall that the previous Jumah I spoke on the essence of fasting and I pointed out a universal rule; that every Ibaadat [Act of Worship] has an appearance and an essence. Accordingly, the essence of fasting is mujaahadah and the gist of mujaahadah is to oppose the nafs [the carnal self; the propensity within a human being urging him to be neglectful of his Creator and incline rather to sensual pleasures].
Although it was not necessary to repeat it, nevertheless I have repeated it in order that we refresh our memories, and in order that the relationship to today’s topic becomes evident.
In short, just as fasting has an essence, similarly, every Ibaadat has an essence.
Right now my intention is not to speak on the essence of each and every Ibaadat, as there is neither the need for it and nor the time. I will, however, speak on the essences of those Ibaadaat which are connected to Ramadhaan. Hence, the essence of fasting was discussed in view of it being the major Ibaadat of Ramadhaan. Herewith, those Ibaadaat will be mentioned which are of the special features of Ramadhaan, and each one’s special nature is proven from the Nusoos [Qur’aan and Hadeeth].

The Ibaadat of Taraaweeh Namaaz
One Ibaadat is Namaaz and another, Tilaawat of the Qur’aan. Supplemented to these two is a new Namaaz which has been declared Sunnat. Other forms of Ibaadat could also have been advanced [for engagement in the Blessed Month of Ramadhaan]. Advancing Namaaz over the rest teaches us that it has a special relationship with Ramadhaan which no other Ibaadat enjoys. This Namaaz is called Taraaweeh.
Reading Taraaweeh Namaaz is also extremely necessary because it is proven from documental sources that it is encouraged, decreed, practised, desired, intended and praised from the practice of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and furthermore from the persistence of the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum). For this reason the Muhaqqiqeen [Expert Scholars] have written that it is Sunnat-e-Mu-akkadah [a strongly emphasised traditional practice].
Although it is documented that after three nights Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) did not emerge for Taraaweeh saying: “I feared that it would have been made Farz upon you,” we learn from this that had there been no fear of a Farz declaration, he would have resolved to emerge [for Taraaweeh Namaaz]. A resolution is tantamount to an action. Thus, in view of his resolution the emphasis on Taraaweeh is further substantiated, just as it is substantiated by practice. This is one explanation of it being Sunnat-e-Mu-akkadah, and considering its keynote it is a new explanation.

The popular explanation of it [being Sunnat-e-Mu-akkadah] is that there are two types of regular practices; one, actual and the second, in effect. Actual regular practice is the perceivable constancy of an act. Examples are the Sunnats of Zuhr, the Sunnats of Fajr.
Regular practice in effect is when an act is rendered in a manner which shows that its permanency is desired. Accordingly, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) emerged for two, three nights and thereafter he never. Thereupon he said to the Sahaabah: “I was aware of everyone’s presence. However, I never came lest it becomes Farz on you. In that case, if you do not carry it out, you will become sinful.”

This does not mean that we have leeway, i.e. “It is not Farz, so why must we go through the trouble of staying awake and tiring ourselves?” On the contrary, it means that one will be sinful, albeit not on par to the omission of a Farz.

The Gravity of Omitting Taraaweeh Namaaz
Perhaps someone may say: “Okay, it does not involve a great sin. It is a small sin. If we leave it out there won’t be much sin involved.” Whoever says that, let him firstly accept the following proposal of mine whereby we can understand that he gives no consideration for something small and regards it to be superfluous. Then I will also give Fatwa to him that it is permissible for him to leave it [Taraaweeh Namaaz] out. The proposal is that he should take a small flame and put it in his thatch roof or in his clothing trunk. [This was in those times when homes had thatch roofs and clothing was kept in trunks. The analogy today would be to put a flame on the curtain or in the wardrobe.] Then when someone remonstrates let him say: “It is just a small flame. It is not a torch.”

If he desists from keeping this small flame, in view of the consequence of a small and big flame being the same, [i.e. his whole house burning out] then it will be said to him: “Hazrat! The consequence here [in committing a minor and major sin] is also the same.” And what is that consequence? It is the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala.
In fact, in a way the consequence of abandoning a Sunnat is graver than abandoning a Farz. The reason for this is that although the Honour of Allah Ta’ala is sublime which cannot be attained by even the Ambiya, however, we naturally find the effects of something perceivable greater. Accordingly, don’t you see that you fear the government more than Allah Ta’ala! Why? The reason is that you do not see the chains and shackles of Allah Ta’ala. On the other hand, the cuffs and chains of the government are before your eyes. The prison of Allah Ta’ala (i.e. Jahannam) you do not see; the prisons of the government you do.
Take another example! How much are you attracted to your beautiful wife! You do not have that degree of attraction to Allah Ta’ala. Thus, we learn from this that something absent [i.e. something which is not before our eyes] does not assert that degree of effect which something present does.
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has been observed. He was spoken to; he was seen; his company was kept. Although we did not see him, however, when we learn of his appearance, features, habits, eating, ways, manners, acts of Ibaadat and character it leaves a great impression on our minds. It produces the same effect as with seeing him in his practical life.

Allah the Sublime
This is unlike, Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala. Up to this day, no one has seen Him and nor can anyone see Him in this world. There is no form which we can bring to our minds of Him, as we can of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).
“O One beyond thought, estimate, opinion and imagination!
And beyond everything people have said and what we have heard and read!
The file has been closed and life has come to its conclusion,
with us helpless and perplexed at Your very first attribute.”

Extracted from:
Hakeemul Ummat Mujaddidul Millat Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi
(Quddisa Sirruhul Azeez)

Translated and Published by:
Jamiatul Ulama Gauteng

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