Dust Under Your Feet

1 June 1988

Q: Is it Shirk (polytheism) to seek help from anybody other than Allah? Is seeking help (blessings) from the Muslim Saints (both living and passed away), and the Prophets a Shirk?

A: It is a controversial issue. It is called istimdad. As a matter of fact, seeking help from the opposite camp is Shirk (polytheism). The opposite camp is Statues, Idols, Satan, Evil Spirits, Jinns, Black Magic, etc. But Auliya Allah are the Friends of Allah (Hisballah, the Party of Allah, Surah 58:22) and do not come under the heading of opposite camp (Hisbusshaitan, Surah 58:19). The Friends of Allah are one with Him (God). How can they opposite to Allah?. For instance, everybody is allowed in Islam to seek help from others. In fact we have been advised by the Holy Quran and Hadis to help others. Now if giving help to others and seeking help from others was unislamic, it would have been banned in Shariah. But there is no question of banning it. It has been recommended in Shariah as virtuous act. When you seek from a friend of yours, you know he is not God, and then we do ask anybody other than God for help. It is only the act of seeking help from the opposite camp has been condemned in Islam and not from the pro-camp. Auliya Allah, your friends and rich men who are in a position to help you do not constitute the opposite camp. It is in the scheme of God that men should help one another in the world, for without co-operation nothing is possible. The world cannot exist without each others co-operation. The farmer ploughs the fields to give you food. The army protects you from the enemies. You help others by working in the office. This is the Scheme of God (called Sunnatullah). It is not shirk (polytheism) to get help or give help, although those who help you are other than God, and not God. Some people say in reply to this that, “It is permissible to seek help from those who can help and not from those who cannot help”. And because they think that Auliya Allah have no power to help, therefore it is not permissible to seek help from them. But this arguement is wrong. Does a person who is rich enough to help others suddenly ceases to be other than God by becoming rich?. And does a poor man who cannot help others remain other than God? Not at all. Everybody in the world is other than God. So if seeking help from everybody other than God is Shirk (unislamic), then seeking help from the rich people, from officers, from your neighbours against thieves and robbers should also be unislamic because they are other than God. In fact it should be greater sin to seek help from those who are rich than from those who are poor and cannot help. If you ask a tree to give you money, you will be called only a fool. But you will be Mushrik if you ask a rich person to give money, if at all seeking help from everybody other than God was unislamic. But it is not. It is in the Scheme of God that you should help one another. Another arguement which the non-spiritualists advance is this; that seeking help from the dead in the grave is unislamic because they are dead and cannot help. But the Holy Quran calls them alive and not dead. Everybody knows that according to the Quran, a Shahid (martyre) is called alive and not dead. Moreover, the degrees and status of men has been described in the Holy Quran in the following order of priority: i)Prophets   ii)Siddiqin   iii)Shuhada (Martyres)  iv)Ordinary pious people called Salihin. Now if according to the Quran the people of the third category (the Shahids) are alive, the people of the first category (Prophets) and of the second category (Siddiqin) are much more alive than those of the third and fourth categories. Now who are the Siddiqin?  They are Auliya Allah famous and remarkable for their sidq (utmost sincerity). They are also known as Siddiqin because a Sadiq is one whose faith (Iman) is not based on hearing from prophet that God exists but they testify it by their personal observation also. This act of testifying by seeing is called Tasdiq and Sadiq. Siddiq is one who reached the stage of Tasdiq or direct testimony (testification) based on personal observation. That is why the Auliya Allah are called Siddiqin in the Quran because their Faith in God is not based on the evidence of the prophet about God’s existence, but on their own personal experience/observation. Those who are opposed to this stage of personal observation (Mushahida) must know that while defining the word Iman, Islam and Ihsan in a Hadis ( called Hadis of Gabriel), the Prophet (s.a.w) said that Ihsan is stage when one sees God in salat, and if a man cannot see Him, he should at least imagine that God sees him. So, the stage of personal observation stands proved in this Hadis. Another proof is that when a person asked Hadzrat Ali (rz), “Have you seen Allah?” He said, “How can I worship one whom I cannot see.” But mind you, seeing is possible by the eye of the soul and not of head.

        Another objection which the exoterics (hardliners) raised is that the Shahids and Auliya Allah and also the Prophets whether dead or alive have no power to help. The reply is, “How do they know that they have no power to help.” The proof is that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) said in  a Hadis, “Allah is the Giver and I am the distributor.” It is again in the Scheme of God that the Prophet is God’s distributor on earth. So asking the Prophet (s.a.w) to give you something cannot be a sin in Islam although the Prophet is obviously other than God. Similarly the Auliya Allah as the deputies of the Prophet are also sub-distributors. If seeking help from the Prophet is permissible under that Hadis, it is also permissible to seek help from the sub-distributors.

  The thing is that these externalist or exoterics do not know the Scheme of God. The Scheme of God (called Sunnatullah) is that He has appointed various Agencies to work under Him:

1. The First Agency is that of the Angels who are deputed to work for us and provide livelihood (risq) to us. They manage rains, crops, clouds, seasons etc.


2. The Second Agency is of the prophets and their deputies who have been deputed to do some duties to serve Mankind.


3. The Third Agency is the ordinary men and animals that are made to help Mankind in various way.


4. The fourth Agency is the vegetation and crops that God created to help Mankind and cater for its needs and requirements.

    So, if seeking help from everything other than God is a sin (shirk), then you are a Mushrik (polytheist) at every step of your life and cannot possibly escape it. But it is not. What is really Shirk is seeking help from the camp opposite God or opposed to God which includes Shaitan, Idols, Ghosts, Jinns, Magic, and Witchcraft and so on.

    Another thing is that if the Satan who is the declared enemy of God has been given certain powers to mislead and harm Mankind, why can’t the Auliya Allah, the Friends of God have powers to guide and help Mankind. If Allah can give powers of evil doing to His enemy, the Satan, why can He not give the powers of doing good to His friends?

     Our personal experience is that the Auliya Allah do help us spiritually as well as physically. Do you not get inspiration (spiritual blessings/faizan) from them when you think of them in Muraqabah? This is enough to convince us. We need not try to convince others.

     I have come across another Hadis. It is quoted by as important an authority as Shah Wali Allah Mahaddis of Delhi. A Muhaddis is one who is expert in the science of Hadis. Therefore when a Muhaddis quoted a Hadis, he is fully certain that the Hadis is authentic. He has quoted the following Hadis in his book, “Anfasul Arifin”: “Seek help from the dead in the graves when need be.”  

    There are many, many people who have been helped by the Prophet (s.a.w) in various ways in dreams, and when they woke up their difficulties were removed.

Q: Explain the statement in your book “Islamic Sufism” - “Taking the seeker up blind folding” during the spiritual journey and also about the Supernatural Deeds or Karamat.

A: It only means that the seeker is not allowed to see vision or perform supernatural deeds during his spiritual journey because it gives him a false sense of perfection and he gets satisfied with his so called achievement which is not achievement at all. It is only the beginning. However, some Shaikhs especially some Naqshbandis do allow these things, but the result is not good. They get stuck up in the mud and find it difficult to go up, although according to them they think they have achieved what was wanted not knowing that it is only the alphabet. It is the specialty of our silsila (Chistiya) and many other Silsalas not to let the seeker see things during the upward journey.

     But it is not complete “blind folding” or complete “blackout.” The seeker does see internally what progress he is making daily. You also know it and experience it although to an outsider you are the same as ten years ago. So it is not total “blackout”. It is only partial. Moreover, the validity or genuiness of a shaikh is to be judged by this internal change (progress) and not by his supernatural deeds because the Shaikhs of higher caliber and higher status do not indulge in such things which they call “Tamasha”(fun making), jugglery, sightseeing, or child’s play because these thing can be performed at a lower level of progress, and also by kafirs as well. Look at Jean Dixen of America whose prophecies are considered to be 75 % correct, but she is not a sufi. She is a kafir.

Q: We hear about Jinns are of two types. One is called Muslim Jinns and the other Kafir Jinns. Can you explain about this and how do they become Muslim?

A: You should know that a lot of Jinns embraced Islam at the hands of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w), and are continuing to be Muslims generation after generation. Some of them embraced Islam at the hands of Auliya Allah in different countries and some remained Non-Muslim (Kafir) like human beings.

        You have asked the question, “Why are we frightened of Muslim Jinns?” The answer is you need not be frightened. The Muslim Jinns are good and pious and they do not harm anybody. It is the Kafir Jinns who try to do mischief.

        Satan belongs to the Jinn community. It is Satan and Kafir Jinns who try to harm the Muslims. The Muslim Jinns are mostly harmless, except when they are teased.

        As regards bomohs (so-called Faith healers) who get help from Jinns, most of them are not genuine and try to rob innocent people. Anyway, bomohs should be avoided. It may not be shirk but it is definitely bad to consult them. Sometimes, bomohs attribute physical diseases to Jinn influence by mistake or by cunningness, while these diseases are physical and can be cured by doctors. If a disease cannot be cured by doctors, it does not mean that it is Jinn influence, while the bomohs allege every disease as the influence of Jinns. This is wrong. This is deception and exploitation of innocent people.

        You asked a question whether we can blame Satan for the sins committed by us. You must know that we are misled by two forces mostly. One is one’s own Nafs or carnal self, and the other is Satan. But it is not easy to fix responsibility. We do not clearly know whether it was our Nafs or Satan who misguided us. The best way is to act upon Islam and do spiritual work to get the state of purification as much as we can until death. It is then one can resist the pressure of Nafs and Satan or the evil forces! 

Q:  Sometimes we feel very boring, fed-up and dull. Can you explain how to overcome pessimism and be in happy mood?

A:  Actually it is one’s Nafs’ that cause trouble. Shaitan also joins the Nafs and destroys happiness.

      The best way to overcome them is to go on doing Zikrs and Moraqabas regularly besides your obligatory religious duites. Allah s.w.t has said in the Holy Quran, “Peace of mind lies in Zikr” (Surah Al-Rad 27-28). This is because Zikr is the food of Qalb as it brings the seeker close to the Divine Lord. Once you have established close relationship with Him all the worries come to an end miraculously. It is said by our Noble Prophet (s.a.w), “He who becomes of Allah, Allah becomes his”. He also said, “He who has the Lord, has all.”

       So, the ideal cure for all worries, trouble, calamities and misfortune is Zikr Allah and attachment with Allah s.w.t.

       Allah s.w.t says, “I do with My servant as he/she expects Me to do.” So there you are. If you firmly believe that He is with you and will never let you down, He will never let you down. It is His promise.    

Q: Many world leaders and politicians are shouting about Reformation.Can you explain what real reformation is and where it should start from?

A: As a rule, guidance and reformation should start from the nearest end, that is, self reformation.

      Although we all think that we are reformed and there is no need for it, yet there is always a room for reformation in every case, since there is no end to knowledge and spiritual nearness with Allah s.w.t.

     An eminent Scholar Saint and Ulama in India called Shah Wali Allah Mahaddis Dehli has said, “All knowledge in the world is like grass (chaff) and the grain is the knowledge about Allah (Marifat). But the vitamin of the grain is actual Nearness (proximity), Qurb of Allah which means close relationship and intimacy with Him to the point of seeing Him and getting direct union and communion with Him.”

    You know there are numerous degrees of belief in Allah, perhaps as many as there are human beings. But Islam divides them into three broad categories:


i.      Ilmul Yaqin, that is, belief based on knowledge received from the Quran and the Prophet   that Allah exists.

ii.     Ainul Yaqin, that is, belief based on actual seeing with your own eyes that He exists.

iii.   Haqqul Yaqin, that is, belief based on your personal experience. This can better be explained by an example of fire.


    Suppose there is a person who has not seen fire burning wood. If somebody tells him that fire burns wood, his belief about fire’s burning quality would be of the first category, that is, Ilmul Yaqin.


    When he actually sees fire burning the wood, his belief would be of the second category, that is, Ainul Yaqin.


     But when he puts his hand in fire, his belief would be of the third category, that is, Haqqul Yaqin.


     The Hadis of the Prophet (s.a.w) saying that, “Say salat in a state as if you are seeing Allah” refers to the second category of Iman, that is, Ainul Yaqin.


    While the Hadis saying that, “When a servant of Allah tries to come close to Allah, Allah loves him and gets so close to him that he hears by Allah’s hearing, sees by His sight, works with His hands and walks  by His feet.”                     


This Hadis refers to the third category of Iman, that is, Haqqul Yaqin.


    There are so many verses in the Holy Quran about the third category, that is, Haqqul Yaqin. For instance:


         1. Allah says, “Wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah.”


         2. Allah says, “He is with you wherever you are.”


         3. Allah also says, “We are nearer to man than his jugular vein.”


         4. He also says, “Thy goal is Thy Rabb.”



All this shows that persons of higher qualities and calibres must always strive for the higher degrees of Iman, that is, spiritual nearness (Qurb) with the Divine Lord, and should never content themselves with the lower degrees of Iman like the common people.

Q: What is the purpose of Man on this earth? Or What Man Really Is? Can you enlighten me on this? 

A: Rumi said, “It is a pity, O my son, you are contented with the food God had meant for your donkey.”


      It can be safely said that the present frustration, lack of peace of mind, mental diseases, suicides, universal conflicts, confrontations, wars, all our individual and collective woes, worries, greatest tragedy, the worst failures and the severest misfortunes of all times are due to the fact that while everything possible is being done to feed and fatten the body (the horse), nothing is being done to feed the soul (the rider) which is really matters. And the result cannot be different from what is before us in the form of global strifes, warfare and frustration which even the best brains are unable to eradicate.






1.     To understand that he is the masterpiece of God’s creation.

2.     To know he is the Vicegerent of God on earth.

3.     To know that he is the microcosm combining within himself all the forces of Nature?

4.     To know how many suns, moons and stars rise and set in him.

5.     To know that oceans, mountains, and deserts lie dormant in him.

6.     To know what forces of construction and destruction he combines.

7.     To know that beasts, monsters and demons lie in him.

8.     To know how many angels adore his audience or how many houris adore his countenance.

9.     To know what pearls of wisdom and excellence are stored in his nature.

10.  To know what powers of miracles and supernatural acts he possesses.

11.  To know what Divine Mysteries, Divine Beauty, Grace, Love, Light and Divine Wisdom he has been blessed with.

12.  To know what his worth is, value, greatness, honour and esteem in the scale of creation so that angels are commanded by the Lord to salute him.

13.  To know what heights of spiritual perfection in the nearness, presence and union with the Divine Lord he is capable of scaling and what depth of Reality he is capable of fathoming.

14.  To know that he can fly far beyond the orbits of the sun, moon and stars and reach the regions of Divine proximity where he is delegated with Divine powers to rule over the universe.

15.  To know what charms, fascinations, raptures and ecstasies he enjoys in the company of the Divine Beloved so that all barriers of physicality are broken, all veils are lifted, all curtains are removed, and he stands face to face with Divine Beauty. Not only that, he becomes one with the One Beloved.
      But, it is a pity he does not know what he is, how he should see the Divine Lord in himself and how to exercise the vast authority the Almighty has endorsed him with to function as His Vicegerent on earth.
      He is more of an angel than an animal for all his feats of philosophy, art, science and learning of civilization and culture are the by-products of his angelic self. I say by-products because the end-products are something else. There are more sublime and exalted than the tongue can describe.