34 - 'Abd al-Ghani an-Nabulusi wrote:
"One should be neither lax nor excessive but moderate in performing 'ibadat. The 185th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Baqara says, 'Allahu ta'ala wills ease for you. He wills not hardship for you.' This is why He has permitted the sick and the traveler not to fast. He did not order us to do heavy, distressing duties. If a person is to make a choice between doing two things, it is right for him to do the lighter and the easier. The Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) heard that a man kept performing salat in the mosque for hours. He went to the mosque and, holding the man's shoulders, said, 'Allahu ta'ala wants this umma to do easy things and He does not approve of hardship.' Allahu ta'ala has ordered easy things for this umma. It is very easy to follow the rules of Islam.
"The 90th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Ma'ida declares, 'Oh believers! Do not forbid (make "haram" or "unlawful") the beautiful things that Allahu ta'ala has made lawful (halal) for you, and do not say "haram" for what is "halal"! Allahu ta'ala does not love those who say "haram" for which He said "halal"!' [Ibn Abd al-Wahhab said 'haram' for many things which are halal, even for ibadat. Even more, he said 'polytheism' for some of them. This ayat karima shows that Allahu ta'ala does not love him. He has shown the way to get saved from punishment when a believer commits a sin. He declares that the one who commits a sin will be forgiven if he repents of it and gives the kaffara (attonement). Ibn Abd al-Wahhab attacked against dawr (performance in a circle of poor Muslims) of isqat and said that such things were fabricated practices that caused evil people to sin. Would he charge against Allah's forgiving sins of those who repent and atone? Would he dare slander the ease and mercy shown by Allahu ta'ala by claiming that this would cause ill-willed people to commit sins?]
"The Hadith ash-Sharif says, 'Allahu ta'ala likes you to do what He has permitted as He likes you to do what He has ordered you to do.' He has given permission (rukhsa) to commit a haram and omit a fard in case of darura (compulsion or emergency necessity); that is, there will not be any punishment for it. Carrying out the orders of Islam even in case of darura is called 'azima. It is sometimes better to do the 'azima, for example, not to conceal one's iman when threatened with death; one becomes a martyr if he is killed. And sometimes, it is better to do the rukhsa, for example, for a traveler not to fast when traveling. The traveler will have committed a sin if he dies of an illness as a result of fasting.
"It is not permissible to search for the rukhsas and easy ways of the four madhahib and do one's affairs according to them to avoid practicing the rules of Islam. Such an attempt is called talfiq. In case of necessity it is permissible to change one's madhhab or to do a few things according to another madhhab. It is haram to cheat in order to omit a fard or commit a haram. This is called hilat batila. However, it is permissible to prevent something from becoming fard or haram before it becomes fard or haram. This preventions is called hilat Shariyya.
"In the book Ikhtiyar, the annotation of the book Mukhtar, it is written: 'Riyada, or eating very little, if it weakens one to the degree of preventing one from performing the fard, is not permissible. It is fard to work and earn enough money to afford the livelihood of oneself and one's wife and children and to pay one's debt. If a person who works with this intention dies, he will not be punished [for it in the next world]. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, "It is fard for every man to earn his livelihood." It is permissible not to work for more than this. Adam ('alaihi 's-salam) grew wheat and baked bread; Nuh [Noah ('alaihi 's-salam) was a carpenter; Ibrahim ('alaihi 's-salam) was a cloth merchant; Dawud ('alaihi 's-salam) was a smith; Sulaiman ('alaihi 's-salam) wove baskets, and Muhammad ('alaihi 's-salam) was first a shepherd, later he became a merchant, and later he was engaged in jihad and became a soldier. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was a cloth-merchant; 'Umar al-Faruq was a shoe-repairer and shoemaker; 'Uthman Dhi 'n-Nurain was a food-importer, and 'Ali (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) was a workman. It is mubah to work so as to earn the amount of one year's livelihood of one's household. It is mustahab to work hard and earn more to help Muslims and to perform jihad. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, "The best of mankind is the one who is beneficial to human beings." ' It is makruh tahrima to earn for ostentation and boasting. The book Multaqa writes that this is haram. Working does not increase the sustenance (rizq). Allahu ta'ala is the One who grants sustenance. By working, one holds fast to the causes, which is a sunnat.
"Those who work are of five categories: in the first group are those who believe that sustenance is earned only as an exchange for work; disbelievers believe so. The second group of people believe that Allahu ta'ala grants the sustenance, and working is meant to hold fast to the causes, and they do not disobey Allahu ta'ala while working; they do not commit the haram and are sincere, pious Muslims. The third group of people disobey Allahu ta'ala while working, although they believe that Allahu ta'ala grants them the sustenance; sinning believers are of this group. The fourth group of people believe that the sustenance comes both from Allahu ta'ala and from their efforts; polytheists are of this group. The fifth group knows that sustenance is granted only by Allahu ta'ala, but they are not sure whether He will grant it or not; munafiqs are of this group.
"It is written in the fatwa book Tatarkhaniyya that it is makruh tahrima to shut oneself in a mosque or house and worship all the time and to neglect eating, marrying, pleasures like going for a walk, and earning halal sustenance.
"Question: 'The above statements of the 'ulama' of the religion do not agree with those statements of mutasawwifs which praise undertaking riyada and leading an ascetic life. Which one is better of the two?'
Answer: Some mutasawwifs said that he who keeps himself hungry for forty days starts comprehending the Divine Mysteries. Sahl ibn 'Abdullah [at-Tusturi, d. Basra, 283 A.H. (896)] used to eat once in fifteen days. Al-Imam al-Ghazali [d. Tus, 505 A.H. (1111)] wrote: 'Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (radi-Allahu 'anh) ate once in six days. Al-Junaid al-Baghdadi performed four hundred rak'as of salat every day. Sahl ibn 'Abdullah became a hafiz when he was seven years old. He fasted every day and ate solely barley-bread for twelve years." Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sharani [(rahmat-Allahi 'alaih), d. 973 A.H. (1365)] recited the whole Qur'an twice during the time between the evening and night salats. One should not hesitate to believe this; awliya' have spiritual (ruhani) power, and the soul (ruh) can do many things in a moment.
"The 'ulama' have declared that one should not be excessive and distress oneself in performing 'ibadat. This statement is related to the things that are fard, wajib or sunnat for the whole Umma. Every Muslim should do as such. The austerities undertaken by mutasawwifs are the supererogatory (nafila) 'ibadat. Not every Muslim should do them. The 16th ayat al-karima of Surat Taghabun declares, 'Fear Allah as much as you can!' The 70th ayat al-karima of Surat al-Furqan says, 'For those who believe and repent and do pious deeds, I convert their sins into thawabs. Allahu ta'ala is the Forgiver of sins and Merciful.' Upon hearing this ayat, Wahshi said, 'It states conditions to be fulfilled for being forgiven. I fear if I cannot fulfill them. Is there no easier way out?' Then, the ayat, 'Allahu ta'ala forgives everything but polytheism of His human servants whom He wishes,' was revealed. Then, Wahshi worried: 'What shall I do if Allahu ta'ala does not wish to forgive me?' Thereupon, the ayat al-karima, 'Oh My servants who tyrannize themselves! Do not be hopeless of Allah's Grace! Allahu ta'ala forgives all sins. He is ghafur [and] rahim!' was revealed. 'This good news is sufficient for me,' said Wahshi, and he became a believer. This ayat karima is good news for everyone on the earth until the Resurrection. For those who cannot find water and are to perform tayammum for ablution, Allahu ta'ala first declared, 'Rub your hands and face with clean soil!' but later declared, 'Rub your hands and face with your hands dusted with clean soil!' He ordered men not to rub with soil and made the order easier. When Allahu ta'ala told His Prophet that He would turn the hills around Mecca into gold if he wanted, Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) did not think of spending that much gold for Allah's sake to perform jihad against the enemies and did not want it, but he wished to experience difficulties. However, he asked his companions' help before the Battle of Tabuk, saying, 'I give him the good news of becoming destined for Paradise who supplies the needs of this army.' It is noted in books that Rasulullah did not break his fast for days and tied stones on his blessed abdomen [not to feel hunger]. It is also reported that he performed salat late at nights until his blessed feet were swollen. His blessed wives (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhunna), too, performed that much 'ibada. But, because he was very merciful to his umma, he did not want them to undertake that much difficulty. He ordered them in rukhsa, but he himself performed 'ibada in 'azima. Islam is not a religion of mere orders; it is composed of both rukhsas and 'azimas. The ayat al-karima of Surat at-Tahrim, 'Do not make haram the beautiful things which Allahu ta'ala has made halal for you!' means 'Do not deny those rukhsas which are permitted! It is zuhd and good for you if you give up the rukhsas and abstain from them without regarding them as haram. It is not a sin to do or use them.' The hadith ash-Sharif, 'He who does not accept my sunnat has no relation with me,' means 'He who does not accept the things I permit but undertakes difficulties does not belong to my umma.'
"The superiors of tasawwuf have preferred 'azimas, yet they have not denied the right of practicing ('Amal) with rukhsas. As Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) did, they have ordered everyone to practice with rukhsas. Tasawwuf means obeying the Qur'an al-karim and the Sunnat, abstaining from bidat', being respectful towards the superiors of tasawwuf and being merciful towards everyone and omitting the practices that are rukhsas. The 'ulama' of the Ahl as-Sunnat would give up about seventy halals lest they should commit a haram, for they acted with 'azima and wara'. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (radi-Allahu 'anh) declared, 'We would abstain from seventy halals lest we should commit a haram.'
"Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) ordered Abu Huraira (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anh) 'Do with wara' so that you will become the best of the 'abids.' It is understood from this hadith ash-Sharif that Islam is not a system of rukhsas or being moderate in every affair; 'azima, zuhd and wara' are Islamic, too. It is for those who cannot endure and whose body and mind may suffer harm that undertaking riyada or hunger is makruh tahrima, because it is haram to expose oneself to danger. Undertaking riyada is permissible and useful for those whose spiritual powers prevent this danger.
"The necessity of a rehber can be appreciated from this point, too: the perfect rehber perceives the condition of the health, character and spiritual power of the disciple and orders him to undertake riyada appropriate for his capacity and protects him against dangers. The perfect rehber is an expert in both the knowledge of the body and that of the soul and religion. He is an inheritor, a deputy, of our master Rasulullah. No one among those trained by perfect rehbers have been seen to suffer any harm or danger. They all have made progress and attained to perfection. None of them have shown any slackness in obeying Islam during their progress on the way of tasawwuf. It is haram to do something that causes the omission of a fard. A rehber protects one against such harams. It is for this reason that it is necessary to perform supererogatory 'ibadat with his permission.
"Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was very merciful to his umma. On the Miraj Night, he asked that salat of fifty times a day be reduced to only five times a day. He did not permit his companions to undertake severe riyada so that heavy orders would not be conveyed to his umma. It cannot be thought that he did not inform his umma of the 'ibadat which would be very helpful, or that he prevented those who performed them. He taught, performed and made others perform the best and most useful of everything. Since the practice of rukhsas, that is, being a human servant without excessiveness or laxity would be useful for all his umma, he openly practiced them and ordered their practice. However, he also taught secret knowledge and 'ibadat to the superior ones among as-Sahabat al-kiram. The 282nd ayat al-karima of Surat al-Baqara declares, 'Fear Allah! Thus, He will teach you many things,' which are Divine Marifa and secret [esoteric] knowledge. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'Knowledge has subtle and secret constituents. Only the men of Allah know them. The ignorant will not believe if they disclose what they know.'
"The hadith about the Miraj, written in Al-mawahib by al-Imam al-Qastalani, declares, 'My Rabb revealed to me three different sciences. He told me not to reveal the first one to anyone, because no one but I can understand this science. He said, "You may communicate the second science to those whom you wish. Teach the third science to all of your umma!" ' It is seen that Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) did not declare, 'The science revealed to me by Allahu ta'ala is solely the science ordered to be taught to all the umma.' He told that there were two other true sciences, too. The second science which Rasulullah had been permitted to teach to whomever he wished was wilaya, that is, the science of tasawwuf. This science deals with the batin and reality of Islam, and it can only be obtained through taqwa. Referring to Khidir ('alaihi 's-salam), Surat al-kahf declares, 'Knowledge from Us was given to him.' This ayat karima indicates the science of wilaya. As the knowledge of fiqh, which was ordered to be revealed to everybody, is the collection of the blessed sayings and deeds of Rasulullah, so the marifas of wilaya have been flowing from his blessed heart into other hearts. This is why Abu Huraira (radi-Allahu 'anh) said, 'I learnt two sciences from Rasulullah. I have conveyed to you the first one. You cannot comprehend the second one and you would kill me if I disclosed the second one.' The first science is 'ilm az-zahir, and the second one is 'ilm al-batin. Only awliya' and Siddiqs know the latter.
"Mutasawwifs undertake riyadat and perform mujahada to attain 'ilm al-batin. As there are false 'alims in 'ilm az-zahir, so there are false, ill-willed people who pass themselves off as mutasawwifs and make this blessed way a means for their worldly interests. It is necessary to identify such liars and to know them in order not to be trapped by them. Therefore, one should learn Islam very well, because it is the only touchstone to distinguish the true from the false. It is very good and useful if someone who practices fiqh also tries to make progress in tasawwuf. However, the supervision of a perfect rehber is necessary to make progress on this way, who is a specialist of the heart and soul. He diagnoses the illness in the heart of the talib (aspirant), chooses the proper riyada and dhikr for him and orders him to do it. The tenth ayat al-karima of Surat al-Baqara says, 'Their hearts are ill.' Rasulullah's sohbat cured that illness, and there was no need for any riyada for as-Sahabat al-kiram because they all received faid from his blessed heart through the blessings of his sohbat and reached the highest degrees of tasawwuf, thus being superior to all awliya' who came after them. The successors of as-Sahabat al-kiram have tried hard to get saved from the heart diseases by undertaking riyadat, because they have not had the chance of attending Rasulullah's sohbat. 'Ilm al-batin does not occur separately from 'ilm az-zahir; those who gain both of them are called 'ulama' ar-rasikhin. Only those are the 'ulama' who are Rasulullah's inheritors. Those who cure their hearts by undertaking riyadat give up riyadat after they attain to 'ilm al-batin. They do only what are fard and sunnat. They perform 'ibada also through their batins, their hearts, like the as-Sahabat al-kiram (radi-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum) did. Even their buying or selling does not harm their batins' 'ibada. They do not forget Allahu ta'ala even for a moment. They are praised in the Qur'an al- Karim: the 37th ayat al-karima of Surat an-Nur says, 'Buying or selling does not make them forget Allah.' The as-Sahabat al-kiram reached this high degree very easily and quickly without undertaking riyada. Hadrat 'Umar (radi-Allahu 'anh) attained to this degree just in the first sohbat. If as-Sahabat al-kiram had been permitted to undertake riyada, the 'ulama' of Islam, the imams of madhhabs, would have recorded their riyada in their books and all Muslims would have to do as they did.
"The hadith ash-Sharif related in the book Mustadrak by Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah Hakim an-Nishapuri, a scholar of hadith [(rahimah-Allahu ta'ala), d. Nishapur, 405 A.H. (1014)], declares, 'The food of the believers in ad-Dajjal's time will be their praising and sanctifying [Allahu ta'ala], as it is the food of angels. Allahu ta'ala will satisfy the hunger of those who praise and sanctify in that time.' This shows that Allahu ta'ala may put His servants whom He wishes into such a state that they do not need eating and drinking, and He will grant this state to every believer in the time of ad-Dajjal. One of the mischievous acts of ad-Dajjal will be his saying, 'Worship me and obey me!' wherever he goes. If people obey him, he will order the sky and the earth, and it will rain and crops will grow. If people do not obey him, he will order it not to rain and crops not to grow and they will suffer hunger. The above hadith ash-Sharif reveals that his mischief will not do any harm to the believers; they will not suffer hunger by praising and sanctifying Allahu ta'ala.
"One should not get the feeling that undertaking austerities such as zuhd, patience, riyada and hunger are incompatible with Islam, because Islam forbids the things that are painful and harmful to the body. These austerities are not harmful to mutasawwifs. They, like every rule of Islam, make up a part of the Islamic religion inherited from Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam). Denial of these austerities and of the awliya' who undertake them is the denial of a part of Islam.
"One should not think that mutasawwifs were superior to prophets ('alaihimu 's-salawatu wa 't-taslimat) or even to as-Sahabat al-kiram (ridwan-Allahi 'alaihim ajmain) because they undertook riyadat. Nor should one slander any wali. One should recognize that he himself is defective by being unable to understand the greatness of awliya'. A hadith ash-Sharif declares, 'good news to him who thinks about his own faults and defects so much that he cannot find time to look for others' faults.' Sahl ibn 'Abdullah at-Tusturi said, 'The worst sin is to eye a Muslim with suspicion. Most people do not regard this as a sin and never repent of it.' A person's respect and praise for all awliya' are of no avail if he speaks ill of only one of them without any reason based on Islam. He who does not accept and approve of all awliya' cannot become a wali. If one hurts a wali of Allahu ta'ala by eyeing him with suspicion, he will have slandered a part of Islam. Abul-Mawahib ash-Shadhili (rahimah-Allahu ta'ala) said, 'He who does not respect the awliya' of his time is immediately dismissed from the circle of awliya'.' Muhyiddin Ibn al-'Arabi (rahmat-Allahi 'alaih) declared, 'Most of our great scholars said that it caused disbelief to bear hostility towards awliya' and towards those 'ulama' who practice their 'ilm.' 'Ali al-Khawwas, who was 'Abd al-Wahhab ash-Sharani's master, said that one must stay away from the person who bore hostility to a wali or an alim. Opposing a wali or an alim is a heresy, which leads one to destruction.
"Allahu ta'ala's awliya' are those 'ulama' who are 'amil of (living up to, practicing) their 'ilm. Denying with heart or tongue any dead or living wali is an obvious kufr (disbelief). Anyone who denies a wali becomes a kafir (disbeliever) according to the unanimity of all Muslims, of all the madhhabs of Muslims, because this is a denial of the Islamic religion. An ignorant and stupid person may not be aware of his denial and may think that he denies a superstition or a bidat or something unbecoming in his opinion, but he ruins himself by saying 'fasiq', 'kafir' or 'zindiq' for awliya' and by misjudging their deeds and words. In reality, however, Allahu ta'ala's awliya' are very far from his defamatory deferences. Their words and deeds are taat and qurba and are compatible with Islam. But the ignoramus insists in obstinacy and does not understand the knowledge of awliya' and the marifa of Siddiqs. His heart is dead, and he cannot see the truth. He has sunk into the abyss of disbelief, deviation, heresy and hypocrisy. He thinks he is a man of tawhid and ta'a who enlightens mankind. In the next world, he will be punished because of his kufr and suffer torture for his oppressions and slanders. He does not say 'kafir' for himself and for the people who believe like him, because they all participate in this denial and consider themselves Muslims. On the contrary, to Muslims, they are kafirs. Muslims believe Allahu ta'ala's awliya' and their true hals. Not knowing or misunderstanding is not an excuse for those who deny, since it is not an excuse not to know the religion. Their misunderstanding awliya' is like the denial of Muhammad's ('alaihi 's-salam) true religion by Jews, Christians, Magians and idolaters. It is not an excuse for them to be ignorant of wilaya, just as it is not an excuse for non-Muslims to be ignorant of Islam.
"The denial of Allahu ta'ala's awliya' implies disbelief like the denial of a rule of Islam. The punishment inflicted upon the renegade who denies Islam should also be inflicted upon the kafir who denies awliya'. But he is first allowed to give up his denial and to repent.
"Awliya' and prophets cannot go beyond being Allah's human servants, no matter how high their degrees are. As human beings have no influence on the occurrence of marvelous events or miracles, so they have no influence on those happenings that are created within the scope of [His] usual custom [or natural laws]. Allahu ta'ala alone creates everything. Awliya' and prophets have no influence on the creation of anything. But, Allahu ta'ala has regarded His awliya' and prophets as higher than other human beings and has bestowed upon them favors that He has not given to others. He creates the optional actions of every human being if He wills after he wishes. He does not create what men want if He does not will. He, too, always wills and creates some certain wishes of human beings. For example, when one wishes to raise his arm or blink his eyes, He instantaneously wills it and raises his arm and blinks his eyes; very rarely He does not will to create such wishes. There are some other wishes of human beings which He seldom wills to create and usually does not will and create. Most of our wishes in this world are of this kind. But, as it is witnessed every day, this condition is not the same for every human being. Hence, Allahu ta'ala wills and creates most of the wishes of His awliya' and prophets immediately, as if they were wishes like the raising of an arm or blinking of an eye. This is a favor of Allahu ta'ala for them. Awliya' differ from one another in this respect, and no wali can ever reach the degree of a prophet. Awliya' do not wish anything worldly because none of them regards the world as valuable. And whatever they want of the world is for the other world and for Allah." [Abd al-Ghani an-Nabulusi, Al-hadiqat an-Nadiyya, v. I, p. 190, Istanbul, 1920.]
Allahu ta'ala's awliya' (rahimahum-Allahu ta'ala) centuries ago foresaw as a karama that there would be the la-madhhabi who would deny awliya' and become heretics and even apostates. They wrote everything necessary to protect Muslims against being deceived by them. Is not this apparent karama sufficient to make one believe awliya'?
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