Section 2: Aamaal Qalbiyyah
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An Introduction to the Science of Tasawwuf
Section 2: Aamaal Qalbiyyah
Sayings of Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahmatullahi alai
In the Shariah commandments and prohibitions are of two categories:
1. Those actions which are related to the Zahir (external) e.g. to recite the Kalimah, Salaah, Rozah, Zakaat, Haj and looking after parents these are known as Mamooraat (commandments). To utter words of kufr (disbelief), to commit actions of Shirk, adultery, stealing, dealing in interest and taking bribes etc. these are all known as Manheyaat (prohibitions).
2. Those actions which are related to the Batin (internal) e.g. Imaan, Tasdeeq (acceptance of truth), Aqaid Haqqah (rightful beliefs), Sabr (patience) Shukr (greatfulness), Tawakkul (trust), Radha bil Qadha (happiness and acceptance of destiny), Tafweez (assigning ones affairs to Allah), Ikhlaas, Love for Allah and his Beloved Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam etc, all these are known as Mamooraat and Fadhail (virtues). The opposite of these are disbelief, impatience, ungratefulness, showing off, pride, vanity etc, which are known as Manheyaat and Razail (debasing qualities), which the Shariat has prohibited.
Where the Holy Qur'an mentioned, “O people of Imaan! Establish Salaat and give Zakaat” it also commands about practicing Sabr, “Oh believers practice patience.” and relating to Shukr it says, “And do Shukr unto Allah.”
At one place it is found: “Fasting has been decreed upon you,” and “Upon mankind is the Hajj of the Bait for Allah.” While at another place it is found: “He (Allah) loves them (Mumineen) and they love Him” and “Those who have adopted Imaan are most ardent in the love of Allah”
Similarly, along with the verse: “When they stand for Salaat, they stand half-heartedly” it also says in a verse, “They show people (i.e. they perform Salaat for Riya)”
On the same line, where there is a reprimand and condemnation for the defaulter of Salaat and Zakaat there is a similar warning regarding Takabbur and Ujb.
In this very manner the Hadith also follows the same theme, that when you find the chapters on Salaat, Zakaat, Saum, Ba'y (trade and commerce), Nikah (marriage). Talaaq (divorce), so too will you find the chapters on Riya, Takabbur, etc.
Just as Aamaal Zahirah (external actions) are Divine commands so too are the commandments of Aamaal Batinah (internal actions) An example of this is that, “Establish Salaat and pay Zakaat” is an Amr (positive command), so too are the commandments, “Practice Sabr and do Shukr.” On closer examination and reflection it will be realized that all the Aamaal Zahirah are designed for the reformation of the Aamaal Batinah. The purification of the Batin i.e. the heart and soul of man is the aim and the basis of Najat (salvation in the hereafter) while corrupting the Batin is the cause of destruction.
Almighty Allah declares:
“Verily he who has purified the nafs has attained victory and he who has despoiled it has lost.”
And another verse says:
“That Day (of Qiyamat) neither wealth nor sons will benefit (anyone), but that person who comes to Allah with a reformed heart.”
Imaan and Aqaaid (Articles of Faith) on which pivots the acceptance of all Aamaal, are conditions of the heart (i.e. the innermost consciousness). It is manifest that Aamaal are designed for the perfection of Imaan. It is therefore clear, the original purpose is the Islah (reformation) of the heart. The heart is like a king and parts of the body are like his army and servants. If the king is upright then his army and servants will be alike and start to obey him.
The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam said:
“Truly in the body there is a piece of flesh, when it is sound, the whole body is sound, when it is diseased, the whole body is diseased. Truly it is the heart.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
The Ahle-Ilm (people of religious knowledge) are also not mindful of this, whilst they consider the external actions such as Qiyaam (standing) and Qaaidah (sitting) to be of importance they fail to realise that there is something else which is as important. An example of this is when the Holy Qur'an says: “Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salaah…” It further says: “…with humbleness out of fear.” It is widely accepted that this verse means to establish the Shar'i Salaat but, why is the latter part of being `humble with fear' overlooked? In fact, both these orders are of utmost importance. [Shariat & Tareeqat]
Sayings of Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai
Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai says, Allamah ibn Taymiyah rahmatullahi alai in his book 'Attuhfatul Iraqiyyah fi-Aamaal Qalbiyyah' has discussed in great detail Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah. He says, (the original book is in Arabic, this translation is a summary of his explanation) these brief words are relating to the Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah which are often interpreted by the words Maqaamaat (mystical stations and stages such as patience, gratitude, love etc. which are durable and permanent) and Ahwaal (state of mind or will; feeling of emotion; a passing feeling, such as elation, suppression, fear etc.) are such articles which emerge from the principles of Imaan and the basics of Deen such as, the love for Allah and his Prophet, trust in Allah, sincerity of intention, gratitude, patience, fear, hope, etc. All these Aamaal are compulsory upon all human beings, and there is a consensus of the Imams regarding this.
In reference to the above, people are divided into three categories (just like there are three stages in relation to external actions)
3. Sabeqoon bil khairat. (Each of these categories is explained below.)
ZALIM is a person who omits a command and carries out a prohibited act.
MUQTASID is the one who carries out the Wajib (obligatory acts) and abstains from the un-lawful things.
SABEQOON BIL KHAIRAT is such a person who tries his best to get closer to Allah by carrying out the Wajib, Masnoon (Prophetic practices) and Mustahab (preferable acts) and avoids all kinds of Haraam (prohibited acts) and Makrooh undesirable; discouraged; disapproved actions).
Although, the Muqtasid and Sabeqoon bil khairat at times commit sins, but they are forgiven by Taubah (repentance), good deeds or by being inflicted with difficulties, which becomes a means of their purification. Both these categories of people are the Awliya ullah (friends of Allah) as mentioned in the Qur'an, “Behold, verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil.” Therefore, it is clear that there are two categories of pious believers; the common ones who are referred to as Muqtasid and the distinct ones who are known as Sabeqoon bil khairat.
Thereafter, Allamah ibn Taymiyah rahmatullahi alai dedicated the remainder of his booklet to explain Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah. Sidq (honesty), Kizb (falsehood), Love for Allah, Sincerity of intention, total trust, acquiring His pleasure and other such Aamaal-e-Qalbiyyah which are all recommended actions. Tawakkul and Seeking Allah's help can also lead one to attain the destination and goal. Then he goes on to elucidate Tawakkul. Further, he writes, the essence of Imaan is the Love of Allah and his Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam. He also mentions the qualities of those people who are Lovers of Allah and that the Love of Allah is the fundamental action of Deen. Fear and hope is the result of Allah's Love. Then he explains the meaning of Allah's Love in the words of the pious predecessors. A detailed explanation is also given to establish that the essence of Allah's Love is in the adherence to the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam and subsequently his obedience increases the Love of Allah both internally and externally. Many other topics are also covered in this booklet, which is worthy of study. [Abstract from Shariat & Tareeqat]
Explanation of Hazrat Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi rahmatullahi alai
The knowledge of the Sufis refers to a combination of the knowledge of Deen (both Zahir and Batin) and the power of Yaqeen (firm faith). This is the highest knowledge. The state of the Sufiya is adornment of character and the perpetual cognition of Allah. The Haqeeqat of Tasawwuf is to become adorned with the Akhlaq of Allah Ta'ala, to annihilate one's Iradah (will) and cultivate the Ridha of Allah. The character of the Sufiya is identical to the character of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam, which is, in accordance with the declaration of Almighty Allah: “Verily, you (O Muhammad) are established on a great character.” Also, whatever is mentioned in the Hadith is part of the Akhlaq of the Sufis. The description of their Akhlaq is as follows:
1. To regard oneself as the most inferior. This is the opposite of Takabbur.
2. To deal kindly with the creation and to bear patiently the difficulties others cause.
3. To have tenderness, good character and to refrain from wrath and anger.
4. To sympathise with others and give them preferential treatment. Also to give priority to the Huqooq (rights) of others over and above one's desires.
5. To be generous.
6. To overlook faults and to forgive.
7. To be cheerful and upright.
8. To adopt the path of easiness and to be lenient.
9. To shun pretence and formality.
10. To spend without being miserly. But, not in such a free manner whereby one himself becomes afflicted with need.
11. To have trust in Allah.
12. To be content.
13. To be fearful of Allah and to abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden.
14. To refrain from quarrelling, fighting and wrath but for the truth.
15. To abstain from malice, jealousy and hatred.
16. To abstain from the desire of honour and fame.
17. To fulfil promises.
18. To persevere.
19. To be in agreement with those brothers who have a foresight and vision.
20. To have love and unity for brothers and be aloft from strangers. (Strangers in this context refers to those who are lost in worldly pursuits and have no relationship with Tasawwuf.)
21. To be grateful to the benefactor.
22. To sacrifice personal fame for the sake of Muslims.
A Sufi adorns his Zahir and Batin with Akhlaq. Tasawwuf is, in fact, nothing but Adab (respect). Respect for the Divine Court is to divert the attention from everything besides Allah because of His shame, splendour and dignity. The worst of sins is the conversation of the Nafs, i.e. pursuit of ones desires, which is the cause of spiritual darkness. [Abstract from Shariat & Tareeqat]
Bay'at (pledge of a disciple to follow the advice and guidance of his Shaikh)
Hazrat Shaikh rahmatullahi alai says, people direct many objections against the actions of the Sufis, whereas Bay'at is not necessary according to the Sufi's. (I will mention this later.) However, evidence of Bay'at can be substantiated from the Qur'an and Ahadith.
In Surah Mumtahina it is mentioned:
“O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bay'at, that they will not associate anything in worship with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery, that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood (i.e. by making illegal children belonging to their husbands), and that they will not disobey you in what is right then accept their Bay'at, and ask Allah to forgive them, Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (60:12)
Commenting on this verse, Hakim ul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahmatullahi alai states, This verse is evident proof for the justification of the purpose of Bay'at. It also demonstrates that the mere taking of Bay'at where there is no action is unjustified and void.
A tradition which appears in Bukhari Sharif is as follows:
The narrater Hazrat Ubadah ibn Thabit radiyallahu anhu (he was amongst those people who were present in the Battle of Badr and also during the night of Aqabah - i.e. these attributes make apparent the elevated status of the Sahabi) relates that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam said (at a time when he was surrounded with a group of Sahabah),
“Come! Take Bay'at from me that you will not ascribe partners to Allah, that you will not steal, that you will not commit adultery, that you will not go against the ordained commandments. Whoever fulfils this pledge Allah will reward him, and whoever indulges in any one of these, he shall receive punishment in this world, which will be a means of reparation for him. If Almighty Allah concealed his misdoing in this world then it is upto Allah if He punishes him or forgives him in the hereafter.” Hazrat Ubadah radiyallahu anhu says, “We took Bay'at upon the acceptance of these things.”
This aforementioned Bay'at was not the Bay'at for the acceptance of Islam nor was it the Bay'at for Jihaad (struggle and fight for the sake of Islam) but it was merely the Bay'at of Sufis, which is taken to enforce the commandments of Islam.
Hazrat Shah Waliyullah Sahib rahmatullahi alai in his book Al-Qawlul Jaleel has written extensively relating to the reality of Bay'at. An abstract from his work is quoted here which is taken from the book Shifaa ul-Aleel which is a translation of the original.
Almighty Allah says:
“Verily, those who give Bay'at to you (O Muhammad)
they are giving Bay'at to Allah. The Hand of Allah
is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks his pledge, breaks only to his own harm,
and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah,
He will bestow on him a great reward.” (48:10)
[Abstract from Shariat & Tareeqat page: 122]
Qalb-e-Saleem (pure, perfect, sound & flawless heart)
People enquired from a Saint what is the definition of a Qalb-e-Saleem. He replied it is such a heart, which is adorned with twenty praiseworthy qualities and eliminated from twenty debasing qualities.
The twenty debasing qualities from which one must purify his heart are as follows:
Associating partners with Allah
Yearning and Desire
Doubt and Suspicion
Persistence upon minor sins
Attachment with one besides Allah
Hope and Assurance with one besides Allah
Complaint and Grievance
Loosing hope in Allah
Assuming one to be immune from Allah's reach
Deviating and evil thoughts relating to all matters
Neglect and absent-mindedness from Allah.
The twenty recommended and praiseworthy qualities, which one must supplant within himself are as follows:
Belief in the Oneness of Allah
Well wishing for all
Firm committed Faith
Assigning oneself to Allah
To place all reliance and assurance to non but Allah
The intention of the ultimate goal i.e. The Straight Path to Allah, the Friend, The Protector, The Glorious
Remembrance of death
Hope in non but Allah
To endure hunger
Sound and pleasant thoughts relating to any occurring matter
The Remembrance and Love for Allah.
[Article from Wasiyyatul Irfaan Rajab Edition 1398 AH]
The early Sufis gave precedence of eliminating the debasing qualities from within a person and it was for this reason they instructed their disciples to undergo excessive Riyadhat and Mujaahadah. Many a time this course would take years to complete. However, the later Sufis, taking into consideration the weakening of body and strength, took a more wise and prudent approach and decided to make the goal of reaching to Allah and His contemplation a priority. In order to attain this bond and to enrich it, excessive Zikr was prescribed so that a state of Huzoor-e- Daemee (the state of being conscious of Allah at all times) was achieved and this would help in the aspiration i.e. reaching to Allah and attain His contemplation. This method subsequently led to the gradual removal of the debasing qualities from a person. [A gist Summary from Shariat & Tareeqat]
May Almighty Allah purify us from all types of debasing qualities and substitute them with virtues and praiseworthy qualities and may He grant us His pleasure and love. Ameen ya Rabbal Aalameen
Batley, W. Yorks. U.K. - 17 Safar Al-Muzaffar 1413 AH