''Undoubtedly, one of the worst abominations perpetrated by the Wahhabis under the leadership of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab was the massacre of the people of Ta'if. They killed everyone in sight, slaughtering both child and adult, the ruler, the lowly and well-born. They began with a suckling child nursing at his mother's breast and moved on to a group studying Qur'an, slaying them, down to the last man. And when they wiped out the people in the houses, in the streets, the shops and the mosques, killing whoever happened to be there. They killed even men bowed in prayer until they had annihilated every Muslim who dwelt in Ta'if.''

Thursday, August 18, 2011


33 - The la-madhhabi author does not accept believing in tasawwuf. He says,

"There were no madhhabs during the time of as-Sahaba. They were made up later. And tasawwuf was introduced into Islam by Jews."

These slanderous lies are refuted best by the following passage from the Persian book Irshad at-talibin by Muhammad Thana'ullah al-'Osmani ad-Dahlawi, a great alim from India:

"Some people do not believe in awliya'. And there are some who say, 'There were awliya', but there are none now.' And there are some others who say, 'Awliya' never commit any sins. They know the ghaib. Whatever they wish happens immediately, and anything they do not want soon vanishes,' and who, therefore, make wishes to the graves of awliya'. Those who think so do not believe the awliya' of their time when they see that what they think about the awliya' is not true for these awliya' and remain deprived of their faid. There are those who are so ignorant as to be unable to distinguish between a Muslim and a disbeliever, yet claim to be awliya'. And there are those stupid people who regard such ignoramuses as awliya' and are attached to them as students. Furthermore, there are some people who say "disbelievers" for awliya' putting forward the statements uttered by awliya' unconsciously in the state of sakr, that is, when they are covered with love for Allahu ta'ala and have lost themselves in this love. There are those who by themselves draw wrong meanings from such statements of awliya' and make up wrong beliefs, and thus disbelieve the correct meanings derived from the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-Sharif by the 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat and go astray. There are those who have learned the Zahiri knowledge which Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was ordered by Allahu ta'ala to preach, but who do not believe the ma'arif of tasawwuf (batini knowledge) which Rasulullah was permitted to teach as much as he wished to those Sahabis whom he selected. There are those who worship awliya', vow nadhr to them and go around their graves as if performing tawaf around the Kaba, as well as those who do not esteem or respect awliya'. This is why I wish to explain to my Muslim brethren what wilaya, that is, the state of being a wali, is. I have written the Arabic book Irshad at-talibin on this subject. And now, I am writing the same in Persian. This book consists of five parts:

"The first part proves that wasila is true.

"The second part is about the adab (manners) to be observed on the way of tasawwuf.

"The third part is about the adab to be fulfilled by the rehber.

"The fourth part is about the adab to be obeyed during the progress on the way of tasawwuf.

"The fifth part deals with the knowledge of approaching Allahu ta'ala and making others approach Him.

"Part one. There is the knowledge of wilaya and tasawwuf in Islam. There are batini perfections or excellences in men as well as Zahiri excellences. Zahiri excellences include believing in accordance with the knowledge comprehended and derived from the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-Sharif by the 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat, carrying out fards, wajibs, sunnas and mustahabs, and abstaining from harams, makruhs, mushtabihat and bidat'. Batini excellences pertain to the ascent of one's heart and soul. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported from Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu 'anh) that somebody he did not know came to Rasulullah's (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) audience and asked him, 'What is Islam?' Rasulullah answered: 'To say the kalimat ash-shahada, to perform salat five times a day, to fast in the month of Ramadan, to give zakat, and to go on hajj when one is able.' 'You told the truth,' said that person. The audience was confused to see him ask a question and approve the answer given. Then, 'What is iman?' he asked. 'Iman is to believe in Allah, in His angels, in His books, in His prophets, in the Last Day, and that good and evil occur as the result of Allah's Will,' Rasulullah answered. 'You told the truth,' he said again. Next, 'What is ihsan?' he asked. 'To worship Allahu ta'ala as if one sees Him; He always sees you although you do not see Him,' Rasulullah answered. Then, 'When will the Last Day come?' he asked. 'I do not know about it more than you do,' Rasulullah said. Then, 'What are the indications of the Last Day?' he asked. Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) listed the indications that would precede the Last Day, and then he looked at us and said, 'The one who asked these questions and has gone now was [Archangel Gabriel, Jibril] Jabrail ['alaihi 's-salam). He came to teach you your religion.' [This hadith sharif, named the Hadith al-Jibril, is quoted as the second hadith in Al-hadith al-arba'in (Forty Hadiths) by al-Imam an-Nawawi (rahmat-Allahi alaih). These forty hadiths were translated into Turkish and published by Ahmad ibn Kemal Pasha (rahmat-Allahi alaih). Mawlana Khalid al-Baghdadi (rahmat-Allahi alaih) commented the Hadith al-Jibril in his Persian book titled Itiqadnama, which is annotated and translated into English under the title Belief and Islam by Hakikat Kitabevi, Istanbul.]

"As it is understood from the Hadith al-Jibril, there is the perfection, an excellence, besides iman and 'ibadat, named ihsan, which we call wilaya. The heart of a wali loses itself in the observation (mushahada) of his Beloved when love for Allahu ta'ala occupies him. This hal is called fana' al-qalb. This mushahada does not mean seeing Allahu ta'ala. Allahu ta'ala cannot be seen in this world. But a hal occurs to the wali as if he sees Allahu ta'ala. This hal occurs not as the result of one's desire for it. This hal is described by Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) in his words, 'To worship Allahu ta'ala as if one sees Him.'

"Secondly, we say that a hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'There is a piece of flesh in man. If it becomes pious (salih), the whole body becomes pious; if it becomes evil (fasid), the whole body becomes evil. This piece of flesh is the heart (qalb)!' This piety of the heart, which is necessary for the piety of the body, is called 'fana' al-qalb' by mutasawwifs. When the heart gets annihilated in the love for Allahu ta'ala this fana' of the heart influences its neighbor, the nafs, which starts getting saved from being ammara. It attains 'al-hubb fi 'llah wal-bugdh fi 'llah'; that is, it likes the things approved by Allahu ta'ala and dislikes those disapproved by Him. Therefore, the whole body wishes to obey the rules of Islam.

"Question: 'Is there anything else, other than iman and 'amal, for the piety of the heart?'

"Answer: The hadith ash-Sharif says, "The body becomes pious when the qalb becomes pious." The piety of the body means its living up to the rules of Islam. There are many people who do not obey the rules of Islam although iman is present in their hearts. It is known that those believers who have pious deeds less than evil deeds will be tortured in Hell. Then, the presence of iman in the heart cannot cause the body to be pious. Therefore, 'piety' of the heart does not mean 'iman' of the heart. Nor can it be said that the heart's piety is made up of its iman plus the piety of the body; because, it is illogical to take the piety of the body as a cause [indirectly through the heart] for its own piety. In conclusion, the piety of the heart implies the existence of something else in the heart besides iman and 'ibadat. And this is the hal fana al-qalb as described by mutasawwifs.

"Thirdly, we point to the unanimity that any Sahabi is superior to all non-Sahabi Muslims, even though there have been and there will be, until the Day of Resurrection, many 'ulama' of Islam with knowledge and deeds as much as those of some Sahabis. Besides, it was declared, 'If others gave alms in gold as much as Mount Uhud for Allah's sake, they would not attain the thawab of barley of half a sa' given for Allah's sake by my companions.' Such superior value of the 'ibadat of as-Sahabat al-kiram (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) was because of the batini kamal (inner excellence) in their hearts which formed as a result of attending Rasulullah's (salla-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) sohbat. Their batins, that is, their hearts, received nur (spiritual light) from Rasulullah's blessed batin and became enlightened. When Hadrat 'Umar passed away, his son 'Abdullah said that nine tenth of all knowledge had gone away, and, seeing the confusion of the young people around him, added, 'I do not mean the sciences of fiqh and kalam that you know. I mean nine tenths of the science of batin, the marifa, that had emanated from Rasulullah's blessed heart.' [See also article 7.] Among the Muslims who came after as-Sahabat al-kiram, those who attained this nur of batin achieved it at the suhbas of their rehbers. They attained the nur emanating from Rasulullah's blessed heart through their rehbers. Of course, the nur obtained at their suhbas could not be as much as that attained in Rasulullah's sohbat. This is the reason for the superiority of as-Sahabat al-kiram. It is concluded, also from this explanation, that there are perfections of batin besides those of zahir, and there are various degrees of these perfections. This is pointed out in a hadith qudsi, in which Allahu ta'ala declares, 'I go closer to My servant if he comes to Me a little way. If My servant comes nearer to Me, I go much closer to him. By performing supererogatory 'ibada much, My servant approaches so close to Me that I love him very much. I accept his prayers when I love him. He sees, hears and does everything with Me.' The supererogatory (nafila) 'ibadat, for which Allahu ta'ala loves one very much, are those efforts made on the way of tasawwuf.

"Fourthly, we say that millions of Muslims who have come on the three great continents of the world for over a millennium have said and written that some hal occurred in their hearts by studying on the way of tasawwuf and by attending the suhbas of the salihun. No one can ever think that such a tremendous unanimity could be based on a lie. Biographies of most of those who contributed to this unanimity have been recorded in books; it is obviously seen that they had knowledge, taqwa and ikhlas. It is impossible for such perfect, good personalities to have lied. Millions of such pure, perfect Muslims have unanimously communicated that their hearts, by attending the suhbas of their rehbers, have attained the nur that emanated from Rasulullah's sohbat, that a hal besides iman and the knowledge of fiqh have occurred in their hearts at such suhbas, that, after this hal, love for Allah and for those whom Allah loved and for Allahu ta'ala's orders have occupied their hearts, that it has become lovely for them to do pious deeds and 'ibadat, and that the correct beliefs transmitted by the 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat have settled in their hearts. This hal which occurs to the heart is certainly of perfection and excellence; it is a hal that causes perfection.

"Fifthly, we say that awliya' possess karamat. Karamat are the extraordinary things created by Allahu ta'ala outside His usual custom, that is, out of the scope of scientific and natural laws. However, occurrence of some extraordinary things does not necessarily make one a wali. Such marvelous things may also occur on those whom Allahu ta'ala dislikes and even on disbelievers. The marvel that occurs on a disbeliever is called sihr (magic). The wali possesses taqwa along with karama. Taqwa is the quality of fearing Allahu ta'ala, obeying His orders and prohibitions.

"WHAT IS WILAYA? Now we will explain what 'wilaya' means. 'Wilaya' means 'the state of being close to Allahu ta'ala.' The closeness of human beings to Allahu ta'ala is of two kinds. The first kind is the closeness of Allahu ta'ala to every human being. Allahu ta'ala declares, 'We are closer to him than the big artery in his neck,' in the 16th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Qaf, and, 'Allahu ta'ala is with you wherever you happen to be!' in the fourth ayat al-karima of Surat al-Hadid. The second kind of closeness is Allahu ta'ala's closeness to the superior human beings and to angels only. The last ayat al-karima of Surat al-'Alaq declares, 'Prostrate and come closer to Allah!' The above quoted hadith qudsi declares, 'By performing supererogatory 'ibada much, My servant approaches so close to Me that I love him very much.' The closeness mentioned in this ayat karima and this hadith qudsi occurs to those distinguished, superior persons only. This closeness is called wilaya, that is, the state of being a wali. It is necessary to have beliefs compatible with the itiqad of Ahl as-Sunnat in order to attain this kind of closeness. The 68th ayat al-karima of Surat Al 'Imran declares, 'Allahu ta'ala loves those who believe.' But, He loves the distinguished ones among the believers more. Allahu ta'ala's love for every believer is called wilayat 'amma. His love for the distinguished believers is called wilayat khassa, which is the kind of love indicated in the above hadith qudsi. There are degrees of this love. We should also note that Allahu ta'ala's Attributes (sifat) cannot be comprehended by human reason ('aql), just as His Person (Dhat) cannot be understood. There is nothing similar to Allahu ta'ala's Person or to any of His Attributes. Therefore, the two kinds of closeness of Allahu ta'ala to men are incomprehensible and unknowable to human reason. It is not like the closeness in time or space. Allahu ta'ala's closeness to His servants is not like the material closeness that can be understood by reason or perceived through the sense organs. It can only be comprehended through the knowledge called marifa bestowed by Allahu ta'ala upon some distinguished believers. This knowledge is called in 'ilm al-huduree. Our knowledge is 'ilm al-husuli.

"Since these two kinds of closeness of Allahu ta'ala to His servants are stated in ayats and hadiths, it is wajib for us to believe in both of them. We should believe in these two kinds of closeness of Allahu ta'ala to us as we believe that He sees us. Allahu ta'ala's closeness is not measurable with any unit [such as meter or Angstrom] as His seeing is not with the help of the reflection of light as explained in physics. It was not for the purpose of giving a measure but just for the sake of comparison that some units, such as ell, dhra' (arm's length), span and length of a barley-grain were used in some hadiths.

"Question: 'Why has wilaya been defined with the word yaqin (closeness), though wilaya is only an incomprehensible-to-man hal between Allahu ta'ala and His servant?'

"Answer: We shall first explain two points before answering the question:

"1) The kashf that occur upon a wali, or the ru'ya (dream) seen by everybody is nothing but the vision of the like or example of something in the mirror of the hayal (the mind). It is called 'ru'ya' if it occurs when one is asleep. It is called 'kashf' if it occurs when awake. The purer and cleaner the mirror of the mind gets, the more correct and reliable the kashf or ru'ya is. Therefore, prophets' ('alaihimu 's-salam) dreams are absolutely reliable and believable; they make a kind of wahi, for all prophets were mathum; that is, they never made any mistakes. Their minds were very pure. Their batins or hearts were very clean. Most dreams of awliya' have been correct, too, because the minds of awliya' have been cleared and their hearts have been polished by obeying Rasulullah's orders and by the nurs attained at his sohbat either directly from him like as-Sahabat al-kiram or through their rehbers like the ones who came after as-Sahabat al-kiram. Jalal ad-din Rumi (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) expressed this subtlety very finely in a couplet in his Mathnawi:

'Do you know what are the images that hunt the awliya'?

They are the visions of the beauties of the garden of Khuda!'

"The batins of awliya' are polished and are like bright mirrors because of their obedience to prophets. Sometimes the old dark spots of their batins come back into vision like black stains, and the mirrors of their minds become blurred, and there occur mistakes in their kashfs and dreams. This blur occurs sometimes as the consequence of committing a haram or mushtabih or going beyond the limits [in using mubahs] or, at another time, as a result of being smeared by ignoramuses and heretics. Most dreams of sinners are wrong, and they err much since their batins are dark.

"2) All the beings created by Allahu ta'ala are called 'alam. There are three kinds of 'alam: 'alam ash-shahada, the material 'alam which everybody knows; 'alam al-arwah, the immaterial, immeasurable 'alam of souls; and 'alam al-mithal, where there is nothing material or immaterial. In 'Alam al-mithal, there are mithals [see below] of all beings that are in the first and second 'alams, a mithal of Allahu ta'ala, and even the mithals of thoughts and meanings. Allahu ta'ala has no mithl [see below], but it was said that He had a mithal. If a being resembles another being in respect of its dhat (essence, person) and sifat (attributes), the former is called a mithl of the latter. There is no mithl of Allahu ta'ala's Person and Attributes, and such a mithl cannot exist. A being which is likened to another in respect of not the very person but only its attributes is called a mithal of the latter. For example, when the sun is called the 'sovereign,' the 'sovereign' is meant to be a mithal of the sun. Allahu ta'ala declares, 'Allah's nur in the heart of a believer is like a candle in the lantern,' in the 35th ayat al-karima of Surat an-Nur. A mithal of Allahu ta'ala is expressed in the hadith ash-Sharif, 'He is such a Hakim that He has built a house and filled it with substances.' Therefore, it was said that Allahu ta'ala could be dreamt of. [Prophet] Yusuf ('alaihi 's-salam) saw the famine years as 'lean cattle' and the fruitful years as 'fat cattle and spikes of wheat' in a dream. It was declared, 'I dreamt that many people came to me. They wore shirts. Some had shirts down to their chests and some had longer shirts. I saw 'Umar (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh). His shirt was long, down to the ground,' in a hadith ash-Sharif reported in the Sahih of al-Bukhari, as-Sahaba asked his interpretation of it. 'The shirt means knowledge,' he explained. These ayats and hadiths show that the mithal of an immaterial being that does not have any mithl may be seen in a dream or through kashf. [One of the ayats is about Yusuf (alaihi's-salam).]

"After explaining the foregoing two points, we say that there is an incomprehensible hal called wilaya. This hal is seen, in 'alam al-mithal, through kashf as the closeness of two objects. As the hal of wilaya makes progress, it looks, in kashf, like a walk towards Allahu ta'ala or a passing from one Attribute of His to another. And because the changes in the incomprehensible hals of awliya' (rahmat-Allahi 'alaihim ajmain) have been seen as such in the 'alam al-mithal, these hals have been called 'qurb-i ilahi,' and the changes have been given such names as 'as-sair ila 'llah' and 'as-sair fi 'llah.'

"There is no return [or degradation] once fana' is attained on the way of tasawwuf. Those who have returned have done so before the attainment of fana'. This faqir [the author, Hadrat Thana'ullah] deduced this from the 143rd ayat al-karima of Surat al-Baqara which declares, 'Allahu ta'ala does not make your iman go away. He is very Merciful to His servants.' Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) declared, 'Allahu ta'ala does not take back the iman of His servants. But, He makes the knowledge fade away by annihilating the 'ulama'.' This hadith ash-Sharif, too, shows that Allahu ta'ala does not take back the real faith and batini knowledge. [This ayat karima and hadith sharif are the evidences of the fact that none of the Sahabat al-kiram (alaihumu'r-ridwan) became a murtadd, because the iman of all of them was real (haqiqi). If the Shi'ites had known this sublety, they would have slandered none of the Sahabat al-kiram.]

"Perfect taqwa develops only in awliya' and is not attainable unless the evils of the nafs such as jealousy, malice, arrogance, hypocrisy, and desire for fame are completely cleared away. For these to be completely cleared away, it is necessary to attain to fana' an-nafs, that is, annihilation of the nafs. Perfect belief and perfect taqwa cannot be attained unless love for Allah is more than love for other beings, or unless the heart is cleared of any love for every being except for Allah. And this is only possible through fana' al-qalb. Fana' al-qalb was expressed as 'the piety of the heart' in the hadith ash-Sharif. A hadith ash-Sharif quoted by al-Bukhari and Muslim declares, 'Iman of a Muslim is not perfect unless he loves me more than his parents, children and everyone.' [This hadith sharif is quoted also in the Wahhabite book Fat'h al-majid.] Another one declares, 'Three [kinds of] persons relish iman: he who loves Allah and His Prophet more than everything; he who loves only those whom Allah loves; he who, after attaining iman, is afraid of becoming a disbeliever more than he is afraid of being burnt in fire.' One day, Hadrat Rabi'a [al-'Adwiyya, a great woman wali among the Tabiin,] was carrying two dishes in her hands, one full of water and the other full of fire. When she was asked where she was going, she said, 'I am going to extinguish the fire of Hell and burn Paradise. Thus I want to save Muslims from worshiping Allahu ta'ala with the fear of Hell and the wish of attaining Paradise.' And as such is wilaya.

Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) declared, 'Show honor to my companions!' Allahu ta'ala declared, 'Those who deserve to be honored are those who fear [Allah] much,' in the 13th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Hujurat. Therefore, the 'ulama' of Islam unanimously have said that all as-Sahabat al-kiram were the most superior and most muttaqi (fearful of Allah) among this umma. Because, all as-Sahabat al-kiram attained to the highest stages of wilaya by attending the sohbat of Allah's Rasul. Allahu ta'ala praises as-Sahabat al-kiram in the 101st ayat al-karima of Surat at-Tawba: 'Those who are advanced in belief and those who were the first to migrate...' He declares, 'Those who have advanced in believing are those who are advanced in approaching Allah. They all are muqarrabun,' in the tenth ayat al-karima of Surat al-Waqi'a.

"It is wajib to try to attain to the perfection of batin by joining a way of tasawwuf. In the 102nd ayat al-karima of Surat Al 'Imran, Allahu ta'ala declares, 'Oh believers! Abstain completely from the things which Allah has forbidden!' that is, He wanted that, in the deeds of the zahir and in the morals and faith of the batin, there should not be left anything which Allahu ta'ala dislikes. The order in this ayat karima shows that the endeavors on the way of tasawwuf are wajib. Perfect taqwa can only be attained through wilaya. The above-mentioned evils of the nafs are haram. Perfect taqwa cannot be attained unless these evils are cleared away. And these evils can be cleared away by fana' an-nafs. Taqwa means abstention from sins. This was called 'the piety of the body' in the Hadith ash-Sharif. The piety of the heart is necessary in order that the body be pious. The piety of the heart is called 'fana' al-qalb' by mutasawwifs.

"We have explained that wilaya is the annihilation of the qalb and the nafs. The 'ulama' of tasawwuf (rahmat-Allahi 'alaihim ajmain) have said that wilaya has seven stages, five of them being the annihilation of the five latifas, namely the qalb, ruh, sirr, khafi and akhfa; the sixth, the annihilation of the nafs; the seventh, the annihilation of the substances of the body. The annihilation of the substances of the body was called 'the piety of the body.'

"Taqwa is not attained by performing only the supererogatory (nafila) 'ibadat. Taqwa is the performance of the fard and the wajib and the abstention from the haram. The fard and the wajib that are performed without ikhlas are of no value at all. Allahu ta'ala declares, "Worship Allah with ikhlas! Only He is to be worshiped," in the second ayat al-karima of Surat az-Zumar. Abstention from the haram cannot be achieved before fana' an-nafs is attained. It is seen that attaining to the perfections of wilaya is possible through performing the fard. However, attaining to [the very] wilaya is a favor of Allahu ta'ala; He bestows it upon those whom He wishes, and it cannot be obtained by labor. Allahu ta'ala has ordered men to do what they are able to do. He orders, 'Diet yourself with all your might to what Allah has forbidden!' in the 16th ayat al-karima of Surat at-Taghabun. It is seen that it is necessary to try as hard as one can.

"The degrees of wilaya are infinite. In his book Ghulistan, Sadi ShiRazi (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) expresses this with the couplet:

'His Beauty is Infinite, Sadi's words are unending;
Drinking does not satiate the sick, nor lessen the oceanic water!'

Similarly, the degrees of taqwa are infinite, too. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'I am the one who knows Allah best and fears Him most.' The fear of Allahu ta'ala increases as one makes progress through the degrees of wilaya. It is declared, 'The highest of you in the sight of Allahu ta'ala is the one who fears Him most,' in the 13th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Hujurat. It is wajib to endeavor continuously to advance along the degrees of wilaya since the degrees of taqwa are infinite. It is always fard to desire one's knowledge of batin to increase. The 114th ayat al-karima of Surat at-Taha states this fact: 'My Beloved Prophet! Always pray, saying, "Oh my Rabb! Increase my knowledge!" ' It is haram for a wali to stay at a degree he has attained and not to wish to advance further. Muhammad Baqi bi'llah (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) versified it:

'You should be observant on Allah's Way, be observant!
You should request till you pass away, should request!
Even if a sea-full is poured into your mouth,
Never should you satiate, but seek water thenceforth!'

Jalal ad-din Rumi said:

'Oh my brother, this path has no end,
March on no matter how long you have gone!'

Khwaja Muhammad Baqi bi'llah said:

'No matter how much You make me drink,
My fervent love for You increases!'

"It is wajib to look for a rehber (guide) since it is wajib to try to advance in the batin and because it has fallen to the lot of very few people to approach Allahu ta'ala without the mediation of a rehber. Therefore, Jalal ad-din Rumi said:

'No one but the rehber leads the men,
Find one and cling to him very tight then!

But, one should not get deceived by false rehbers.

"The distinguishing characteristic of a rehber is that he should have the faith of Ahl as-Sunnat and obey the rules of Islam perfectly. A person whose deeds and words are incompatible with the rules of Islam [who does not prevent his wife and daughter from going out without veiling their arms and hair] cannot be a rehber even if he flies in the air. [It is haram for Muslim women and girls to go out with their hair, arms and legs unveiled and to show themselves to the religiously strange men. It is fard for Muslim men to make their wives and daughters veil themselves before men. A person who does not obey the books by the 'ulama' of Ahl as-Sunnat (rahmat-Allahi 'alaihim ajmain) cannot be a rehber. Such a person harms one's religion instead of being useful.] Allahu ta'ala declares, 'Do not obey the one who commits sins or who disbelieves!' in the 24th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Insan or ad-Dahr. In this ayat, Allahu ta'ala orders us not to obey first the sinner and secondly the disbeliever, because a Muslim seldom meets a disbeliever, whereas he is frequently subjected to the command of a sinner. Besides, this ayat karima shows that company with a sinner is more harmful than that with a disbeliever. The 28th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Kahf declares, 'Do not obey the one whose heart is negligent of the dhikr of Us and who runs after the desires of his nafs and who oversteps the limits of Islam in his actions.' [Nowadays, those women who go out unveiled and those who take alcoholic drinks, that is, sinners, and those who do not perform ibadat, defend themselves against Muslims by saying, "You should judge one by one's heart; our hearts are pure. Allah judges our hearts." This ayat karima shows that such claims are wrong and corrupt. We noted above that the Hadith ash-sharif declared about the heart: "If it becomes evil, the whole body becomes evil," which also proves that such words of sinners are lies. The hadith ash-sharif, "Allah does not look at your appearance; he looks at your hearts and intentions," is about those who perform ibadat and charities. In other word, ibadat must be performed for love of Allahu ta'ala in order for them to be accepted.] It is understood from this ayat karima that following the nafs is an indication of the heart's negligence. The body's degeneration, that is, committing sins, indicates that the heart has degenerated.

"The second characteristic of a rehber, as explained in the Hadith ash-Sharif, is that talking with him and seeing him causes the remembrance of Allahu ta'ala. Nothing else but Allahu ta'ala seems lovable to the heart. As related by al-Imam an-Nawawi, Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) declared, "Allah is remembered when they are seen," when he was asked about the characteristics of awliya'.

Ibn Maja, too, reports this hadith ash-Sharif. Another hadith ash-Sharif related by al-Imam al-Baghawi says, 'Allahu ta'ala declared, "My awliya' are remembered when My Name is mentioned, and I am remembered when they are mentioned." ' But, it is necessary to have affiliation with a wali in order to remember Allah. One who denies a wali and does not believe that he is a wali has no connection with that wali. One who does not believe cannot attain this blessing. A couplet says:

'That person whom Allah does not favor,
Can't get faid even if he sees the Prophet!'

Every wali has this power of affecting (tathir). Some rehbers are more powerful in influencing so that they pull their disciples to the high stages of the way of tasawwuf. Such a rehber is called kamil-mukammil.

"Ignoramuses and liars cannot recognize a wali after a single or a few meeting. They should consult those whom they trust. Allahu ta'ala declares, 'Ask and learn what you do not know from those who know!' in the 43rd ayat al-karima of Surat an-Nahl and in the seventh ayat al-karima of Surat al-Anbiya. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'The way of getting redeemed from ignorance is asking and learning from those who know.' A person who has been in the company of someone who is known as a rehber for years but has not felt any change for the better in his heart should leave his company.

"Al-Imam ar-Rabbani al-Mujaddid al-Alf ath-Thani Ahmad al-Faruqi as-Sirhindi (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) declared, as-Sahabat al-kiram (radi-Allahu 'anhum) elected the Four Caliphs successively after Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) passed away. Their appointing caliphs was not solely for the purpose of managing worldly affairs. They chose them so that they should also perfect their batins.'

"Question: 'When awliya' die, they do not cease to be sources of faid. Is it necessary to always look a for a living wali to get faid?'

"Answer: The emanation of faid from awliya' does not end but even increases when they die. However, it is seldom possible for a deficient person to receive sufficient faid from the dead to enable him to attain to perfection. If it were possible to receive faid from a wali after his death as much as the faid attainable when he was alive, all the Muslims of Medina would have reached the high degrees of as-Sahabat al-kiram by receiving faid from Rasulullah over the centuries, and no one would have had to look for a rehber. Because, a relation between the faid donor and a faid receiver is necessary to receive faid from a rehber. This relationship ends when the rehber dies. Although it is possible to attain much faid also from a dead rehber after fana' and baqa' have been attained and a connection between the batins [of the rehber and the disciple] has been established, this faid cannot be as much as that received when the rehber was alive.

"The 'ulama' of the Ahl as-Sunnat (rahmat-Allahi 'alaihim ajmain) have said that no wali knows the ghaib, but he may report only about what is made known to him by Allahu ta'ala through kashf or ilham; he who says that awliya' know the ghaib becomes a disbeliever. Awliya' cannot make existent what is nonexistent, nor vice versa. Awliya' cannot give food or [render a family] child or make anyone recover from an illness. In the 187th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Araf, Allahu ta'ala ordered His Beloved Prophet to say: 'I do not have the power to help or harm myself. Only what Allah has decreed happens.' It is not permissible to expect help from anybody but Allahu ta'ala, who orders us to say, 'Only You we worship, and Your help we ask,' in Surat al-Fatiha; 'Iyyaka' means 'only peculiar to You.' This is why it is not permissible to make a vow (nadhr) to awliya', because nadhr is an 'ibada (a form of worship). Anyone who makes a nadhr to a wali should not fulfill this nadhr of his, because it is wajib to abstain from sins as much as possible. It is not permissible to go around a grave with the intention of respect, because it would resemble going around the Kaba, which is an 'ibada like performing salat.

"It is not jaiz to pray to and to ask prophets and dead or living awliya' to do anything by themselves. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'Praying is an 'ibada.' It is declared, 'Pray to Me! I accept your prayers. Those who do not want to worship Me out of arrogance will go to Hell in humiliation!' in the 60th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Mumin. Ignoramuses say, 'Oh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Geilani ! Oh Shams ad-din PaniPuti! Oh Tezveren Dede! Give me... for Allah's sake!' This behavior is polytheism and disbelief. One should say, 'Oh my Allah! Give me... for 'Abd al-Qadir al-Geilani 's love! Make my ill loved one recover for as-Sayyidat Nafisa's love!' This way of praying to Allahu ta'ala is permissible and beneficial. The 193rd ayat al-karima of Surat al-Araf declares, "Whomever you pray to beside Allah are slaves like you. They do not have the power to help anybody."

"Question: 'This ayat karima was revealed to make it known that the disbelievers' worshiping their idols was polytheism. Is it right to liken awliya' to idols?'

"Answer: The ayat al-karima says 'beside Allah,' which means 'everything other than Allah.' However, a hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'Mentioning (dhikr, see below) prophets is an 'ibada. Mentioning the pious people is an atonement for sins. Remembering death is like giving alms. Remembering the grave makes you closer to Paradise.' This hadith ash-Sharif is quoted in Abu Nasr ad-Dailami's (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) book Musnad al-firdaws. Ad-Dailami quotes also the hadith ash-Sharif, 'It is an 'ibada to mention 'Ali.' By the word 'dhikr,' these hadiths mean talking about their high status, hals and beautiful morals. To love them as such is due to love for Allah. Those who hear about those pious people try to be like them. It is an 'ibada to mention Muhammad's ('alaihi 's-salam) name after Allahu ta'ala's Name only in the adhan and iqama. It is declared, 'For [the sake of] you, We lifted up your [name's] dhikr,' in the fourth ayat al-karima of Surat al-Inshirah. This promotion is only for Muhammad. If someone, after saying, 'La ilaha illa 'llah Muhammadun Rasul-Allah,' adds, ''Ali wali-Allah', he deserves tazir; that is, he should be punished. Mentioning Muhammad's ('alaihi 's-salam) name is permissible only within the limits shown by our religion. For example, it is not permissible to repeat, 'Ya Muhammad, ya Muhammad...' using a rosary.

"'Isma is peculiar to prophets ('alaihumu 's-salawatu wa 't-taslimat). 'Isma means never committing any major or minor sin knowingly or unknowingly. It is disbelief to say that awliya' posses 'isma.

"Every Sahabi is higher than all [non-nabi and non-Sahabi] awliya'. Hadrat 'Abdullah ibn Mubarak, one of the prominent among the Taba' at-Tabiin, said, 'The dust that entered the nose of Hadrat Muawiya's (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) horse while he was riding beside Rasulullah was more beneficial than Uwais al-Qarani and 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz.'

"Building the graves of awliya' high building shrines over them as a sign of respect, giving feasts near their graves and lighting candles, lamps in their shrines are all bidats. Some of these are haram and some are makruh. Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and ordered Hadrat 'Ali (radi-Allahu 'anh) to demolish high-built graves of the disbelievers and their pictures, and so he did. It is necessary to love and respect awliya' after their death, too. Faid and benefits are received from their souls in this way; one's heart can get cleaned. It is permissible, even necessary, to build shrines over the graves of awliya' (rahmat-Allahi 'alaihim ajmain) so that the visitors, recognizing the graves of awliya', may show respect and may be protected against the cold, heat, rain and wild animals. [The shrine is built not for the wali but for the people who come to visit.]

"The sunnas in visiting Rasulullah's (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) grave are to have wudu, to say salawat on him, to donate the thawab of the good deeds already done such as salat, alms, fasting and reciting the Qur'an al-karim to him, to keep one's heart ready [to think of Allah's love for him], to ask Allahu ta'ala to make one love him and obey his sunnat. If one visits the grave of the wali he has associated (mansub) himself with, he should clear his heart of worldly thoughts and expect to receive faid from him. It is permissible to recite the Qur'an al-karim beside graves.

"Those who pass themselves off as rehbers to obtain worldly advantages, possessions and a reputation, and to attract respect are the deputies of Satan. They are like Musailamat al-kadhdhab.

"It is permissible for a wali to reveal to his disciples the favors he receives from Allahu ta'ala and the high degrees he has attained. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'To disclose the favors that have been bestowed by Allahu ta'ala is a way of expressing thanks for them.' Boasting is haram. If he attributes the good qualities and the favors on him to himself and does not think that Allahu ta'ala gives them to him, this is called boasting or tazkiya-i nafs. If he believes that all of what he has came from Allahu ta'ala and thinks how defective he himself is, this is shukr (thanksgiving).

"Men approach Allahu ta'ala only through His attraction (jadhba). If He attracts directly, without any intermediary, this is called ijtiba'. His indirect attraction is of two kinds: attraction by means of 'ibadat and riyadat, [Since the effects of the duties on the way of tasawwuf are confirmed, performance of supererogatory ibadat as riyadat is preferred.] which is called suluk, and attraction through the sohbat of a rehber. The basic cause of attraction is man's own abilities (isti'dad), which have been endowed to men during their creation. These abilities vary with every person. The greatest obstacle that prevents man from approaching Allahu ta'ala is composed of the desires of his nafs and the needs and evils of his body. The second obstacle is the inattention (ghafla) of the latifas of the 'alam al-amr towards themselves and towards Allah. 'Ibadat and riyadat that will make one approach Allahu ta'ala should be assigned to him by a rehber. Not only the nafs and the body attain tadhkiya (purification of bad qualities) by means of riyadat and 'ibadat, but also the latifas of 'alam al-amr are cleared of the darkness caused by substances of the body and by the nafs and get saved from being ghafil. The suluk is the first step to be taken in most ways of tasawwuf, and the two obstacles are cleared away. Thus the five latifas of the 'alam al-amr become purified, and the nafs gets embellished with good morals called al-maqamat al-'ashara. Then the rehber attracts (jadhb) the salik (one busy with suluk) to Allahu ta'ala. This salik [at this state of jadhba] is called salik al-majdhub. And this progression of this is called as-sair al-afaqi, because the rehber understands the purification of the salik by seeing into the 'alam al-mithal. This sair (progression, journey) is full of difficulties and takes a long time. Allahu ta'ala inspired (ilham) Baha' ad-din al-Bukhari to take jadhba before suluk. [On his way,] one first performs -under tawajjuh- dhikr in every latifa and gets annihilated in every latifa. This is called as-sair al-anfusi. Most of the as-sair al-afaqi happens along with it. Then comes riyadat to purify the nafs and the body. The salik at this state is called majdhub as-salik. This sair is easy and quick. Those who are deficient and ignorant either do not advance or advance very little by means of doing 'ibadat [assigned] by themselves, because the thawab for their 'ibadat is very little. They may reach only the lowest degree of wilaya after performing 'ibadat for fifty years. Hence, wilaya cannot be attained only by mujahada (striving) and riyadat. 'Ibadat and riyadat are helpful if they are compatible with the Sunnat. Therefore, it is a must to abstain from bidat'. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'Words (advice, al-amru bi'l-maruf) one gives but does not do himself are not acceptable. Deeds done without [a good] resolution are not acceptable. None of them are acceptable if they are incompatible with the Sunnat.' That is, none of them deserves thawab. 'Ibadat and riyadat should be not difficult or strenuous but be in accord with the Sunnat.

"Question: 'It is seen that those who undertake very heavy riyadat make good progress and show kashfs and karamas. How would you explain this?'

"Answer: Kashf, karama and success (tasarruf) in worldly affairs can be obtained by undertaking riyadat. Ancient Greek philosophers and Indian priests undertook austerities for this purpose. Men of Allah do not attach any importance to such results. It is possible to save the nafs from evils, or to kill the [inner] Satan, only by obeying the Sunnat.

"Question: 'As implied in your answer, no one should become a wali in those ways of tasawwuf in which only riyada is undertaken. How would you explain this?'

"Answer: All the ways of tasawwuf follow the Sunnat. Although a bidat has been introduced in some of them, their following the sunnas in many respects may cancel the harm caused by bidat. This introduction of bidat is due to the mistake in their ijtihads. A mujtahid's mistakes are forgivable. The faults of ignoramuses and liars are not forgivable, and such people always suffer a loss.

"Everyone, defective or perfect, may attain much faid from a more perfect person. Wilaya can only be attained in the sohbat of a perfect master. The sohbat of defective, ignorant people cannot make anybody attain wilaya, because they do not have any relationship with Allahu ta'ala. A perfect rehber can make people attain wilaya by transmitting the faid he gets from Allahu ta'ala to them because his zahir is in relation with khalq (the creatures) and his batin is with Haqq (Allah). The 95th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Isra declares, 'If there were angels to walk on the earth, I would send them an angel as a prophet from the heaven.' It is for this reason that not everybody can receive faid from the Qabr as-Saada when no apparent relationship with Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was left after his death. Thenceforth, faid has been attained from 'ulama' and rehbers, who are Rasulullah's inheritors according to the hadith ash-Sharif, 'Those who are learned in the sciences of zahir and batin are the inheritors of prophets.'

"He who attains to perfection and becomes a wali can receive faid directly from Allahu ta'ala without any intermediary and makes progress by performing 'ibadat. The ayat al-karima, 'Perform sajda and come closer to Allah,' indicates this fact. Such a wali can attain faid from the graves of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and awliya' too.

"It is for the effectiveness of the sohbat that prophets have been sent from among human beings; for, the sciences of itiqad and fiqh may be learnt through angels, too. Hadith al-Jibril indicates this fact, where Rasulullah said, 'It was Archangel Gabriel who came to teach you your religion.' It is essential that a perfect relationship be present for the sohbat to be effective and to obtain faid from a rehber. And this influence is necessary to attain wilaya.

"There have been few people of very high talents who attained the virtue of wilaya by receiving faid from the soul of the Prophet or from that of a wali. Such people are called Uwaysis. There was faid in the suhbas of as-Sahabat al-kiram, too, but one sohbat was not sufficient and many suhbas were necessary. The suhbas of the awliya' who came after [as-Sahabat al-kiram] could only be effective when accompanied with undertaking riyada.

"Allahu ta'ala has created in men the capability of approaching and knowing Him. This ability varies with the individual.

"After performing fards and wajibs and abstaining from harams and mushtabihat, the dhikr is the most effective supererogatory (nafila) 'ibadat. One should always perform the dhikr of Allahu ta'ala. A hadith ash-Sharif says, 'What the people of Paradise regret most is the time spent without the dhikr of Allahu ta'ala in the world.' Allahu ta'ala cannot be approached by performing supererogatory 'ibadat and reciting the Qur'an al-karim before fana' an-nafs is attained. No progress can be made with them unless the batin is purified. The batin can be purified by the dhikr of Allah. The Hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'The best dhikr is La ilaha illa 'llah.' Therefore, one should always repeat this kalimat at-tawhid in one's free time. And in his remaining spare time, one should meet and attend the sohbat of the people who always think of the next world and are salih. If one cannot find pious company, one should not make friends with renegades, bidat-followers or fasiqs (those who commit harams), but read books written by the salih. One should not converse with those who are ignorant of Islam, those who have set their hearts on the world and who are la-madhhabi. Conversation with such people is detrimental to one's batin (heart, soul). Attending the sohbat of awliya' is more useful than the dhikr and other supererogatory 'ibadat. As-Sahabat al-kiram (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum) used to say, 'Would you stay with me for sometime so that I may refresh my iman,' when they saw one another. Jalal ad-din Rumi (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) said:

'Little time spent in the presence of awliya'
Is more helpful than a century with taqwa!'

Khwaja 'Ubaid-Allah al-Ahrar (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) said:

'Nafila salat can be performed any time,
But our sohbat will not be found again!'

"Somebody was recommended to attend the sohbat of Bayazid al-Bastami. 'I am always in my Allah's sohbat,' he said. "Bayazid's sohbat is more beneficial for you,' was replied. It was meant that he would receive faid from Allahu ta'ala proportional to his own talent and to his relation with Him, whereas he would attain faid proportional to Bayazid's high degree [of wilaya] in Bayazid's sohbat.

'Never talk with a bad companion,
He is worse than a poisonous snake!

It will not take away your life alone,
He will take away your life and faith!' " [Since the effects of the duties on the way of tasawwuf are confirmed, performance of supererogatory ibadat as riyadat is preferred.]

Muhammad Parisa wrote in his work Risala-i qudsiyya, "People asked Yusuf al-Hamadani: 'What shall we do if we cannot find a perfect rehber?' He said, 'Read their books every day,' " Today, to attain salvation, one should read al-Imam ar-Rabbani's (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) book Maktubat. [More than a hundred letters selected from Maktubat are translated in our Endless Bliss.] It is very beneficial for those who wish to attain happiness.

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