The following letter and reply is given by Hadhrat Hakeemul Ummah:

The Letter

I am presently in Daurah-e-Hadith ( the final year in the Alim Fadhil course). For quite a while I had intended to write, but a certain aspect prevented me from doing so. I am a voracious reader and lover of your writings, and have been engaged in reading your books since my childhood days. By the grace of Allah Ta’laa I have derived immense benefit.

I have learnt one particular thing from your writings, viz. the commands of the Shari’ah are all voluntary (ikhtiyaariyyah). Since the commands are ihktiyaariyyah (volitional), it follows that the commands to abstain are likewise volitional. Thus the remedy for all spiritual ailments is to refrain (volitionally). I have always adopted this method for myself. The question now is this: now that this principle has been learnt from the Masha-ikh of Tareeqat, does the need still remain to refer to the Masha-ikh and obtain remedies from them? I do not understand this.

I have ruminated for quite a while regarding this matter. I trust that you will advise me so that I may practice accordingly. After realizing this general principle, what is the need for obtaining the diagnosis and prescription of a Shaikh? I hope that if I have erred, I will be informed.”

The reply:

“The commands and the prohibitions are all volitional. However, errors do happen in this regard. At times what has already been acquired (hasil) is considered as not having been attained yet (ghair- hasil), and sometimes vice versa. For example, a person intends to attain khushu’ (concentration based on humility) in Salaat, and in reality he then attains khushu’. But while having attained khushu’ he is simultaneously afflicted by an abundance of stray thoughts (wasawis). This person then regards the accident of such wasawis as contradictory and negatory of khushu’. In the initial stages of Ibadat, wasawis are non-volitional (ghair- ikhtiyari) – coming of their own accord- however, later the musallee is diverted into believing that such wasawis are yet of the non-volitional kind of the initial stages. He thus considers himself to have khushu ‘ while in actual fact khushu ‘ has been eliminated.

At times he considers what is not firm (ghair-rasikh) to be firm (rasikh). For example, in a few light mishaps he considers himself to have attained the state of radha-bil-qadha (satisfied with what has been divinely decreed). His contentment in the face of some slight misfortunes, leads him to believe that he has attained advanced capability in firmness and steadfastness. But, if some great calamity overtakes him , and he fails to be contented, then too he labours under the deception, that he has attained the desired degree and goal of rusukh(firmness)

The consequence of regarding the attained (hasil) as unattainable (ghair-hasil) is frustration and depression, which in turn induces one to become careless and neglectful. Thus, the attained becomes truly eliminated. The harm of the opposite condition (i.e considering the unattained as attained- ghair- hasil as hasil) is deprivation. Since one labour’s under the false notion that one has already achieved the goal, one does not make any effort in this direction.

The same danger lurks in considering ghair-rasikh (infirmity) as rasikh(firm), viz., one remains careless, not making any effort or arrangement to attain the desired goal of firmness and steadfastness. Sometimes one makes the error of believing that the state of rusukh has not been attained despite it having been attained. For example, one combat unlawful lust during a time when the effect of one’s thikr was dominant. As a result, the condition of unlawful lust remained suppressed so much so that one’s attention was totally diverted from it. Later when the effect of the dhikr decreases, and the natural propensity assert themselves even if in slight degree, one is misled to believe that one’s mujahadah (striving against the nafs) has gone wasted, hence the return of the evil propensities. The consequence of this feeling is that one loses hope and is overtaken by stagnation and retrogression.

The above are merely some examples of errors and the resultant harm. A qualified Shaikh of Tareeqat by virtue of his insight and experience discerns the reality, and if one is connected to such a Shaikh, he informs one of the errors and the pitfalls. The mureed is thus saved from these dangers. Assuming that the Saalik (one who trods the Path of Tasawwuf) because of intelligence and correct understanding discerns the pitfalls, then too, he will not attain tranquility and peace of mind because of inexperience. He will remain perplexed. And, perplexity impedes the attainment of the goal.

This is the duty of the Shaikh’s office. More than this is not his responsibility. Nevertheless, in kindness he performs another function as well. In realizing the goal or the initial stage of the goal or in eliminating an evil attribute, the searcher of the truth undergoes great stress and difficulty, although repeated subjection to such difficulty finally becomes transformed into ease. But, the Shaikh sometimes as a favour, devises such a scheme that the difficulty disappears from the very inception.

This is a brief exposition for understanding. The need for a Shaikh of felt and understood, once one commences in the Path and systematically informs the Shaikh of one’s particular conditions, and at the same time following his advice and instructions.

Furthermore, such total obedience is possible only if one has full trust and confidence in the Shaikh, fully submitting to him. At that time one will actually feel and realize that it is not possible to attain the goal normally without a Shaikh. “

Shariat And Tasawwuf

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