12 August 1988
Q: There are deviated Tariqa groups in our country. These deviated groups really spoil the name of good and genuine spiritual orders. Our government is doing a good job by putting a check on them. Comment please.
A: I have seen the paper cutting. We do not worry. We agree with the Malaysian Government in eradicating the heretical practices listed in the report. Our way is based squarely on Shariah and we love reforms based on Shariah. We also are against the pseudofakirs or false Shaikhs, and we have pointed out such deviated groups in our books and magazines. These deviated groups try to deceive the innocent people and sometimes rob their money and mislead them to an irrepairable condition.
Q: Can you explain the Hadis: “Allah can be contained by the Qalb (soul) of Momin ...” and the Hindu, Christian and Buddhist saints claiming they are right in saying about incarnation according to this Hadis.
A: The actual Arabic word is “Yasaani.” We are not sure about its real significance. The English translation given in the book is by some European Orientalist. But I think the word “contain” is not an exact translation of the word “Yasaani.” It is only a near equivalent. These are the words of Allah Himself quoted by the Prophet (s.a.w) in Hadis Qudsi. So, Allah knows best what the word actually means. There are so many words, phrases and sentences in the Holy Quran and Hadis which it is very difficult to understand properly, even by the great Arabic Scholars and high Mashaikh. Hence the difference of opinion. For instance, Allah says: “We are nearer to man than his jugular vein.” Jugular vein, the life vein of man or man himself. How can Allah be nearer to man than man himself? Ask any Ulama (exoteric) to explain? Also Allah says:“ I am with you wherever you are”. Ask the Ulama (exoteric) what does this mean? What sort of nearness or company is this? Also Allah says in the Quran: “Wherever you turn, face of Allah is there.” Ask them what does it mean? Do they (exoteric ulama) understand these verses?
So, the word “Yasaani” in this Hadis is of similar nature. Why do you leave all the above ayats of Quran alone and jump on this Hadis only?
But the Hindu and Christian mystics cannot say that their mysticism is compatible with the Prophet’s word since the Prophet (s.a.w) (in fact Allah has said to tell mankind) has said: “Allah can be contained by the Qalb (soul) of Momin (if we translate the word “Yasaani” into containing), but the Hindus and Christians maintain that the body of Christ and Rama contains God. Is there no difference between the body and the soul? Hindu and Christian theory of Reincarnation is definitely heretical and opposed to Islam since a small limited body of a person cannot contain God itself, or for that matter, the idols and statues cannot be God. I have made the point clear in Islamic Sufism by giving example of John etc.
I do not say Hazrat Jesus Christ a.s. or Rama and Krishna were not true believers. The Holy Quran tells us that Hazrat Isa (Jesus) a.s. was a true Prophet of Allah but does not say anything about Rama and Krishna. Even if they were prophets of God their modern followers who worship them as God are not true believers. They are Kafirs. No prophet of God claimed to be God.
Q: Is there such mention of duties of Auliya, Ghous, Qutub, etc in the Holy Quran? I do not rememeber seeing this. But duties of Prophets and angels are mentioned in the Holy Quran. Please clarify.
A: It is wrong to say that duties of all prophets and angels have been stated fully in the Quran. Only partial duties have been briefly mentioned in the Quran. There are millions and billions of angels at work in the Universe whose duties are not stated in the Quran. Similarly, the duties of the Prophets are also partially and briefly given in the Quran. As regards Ghous and Qutubs etc these have been mentioned in Hadis also hinted in the Quran. For example, Khizer is one of them who performed such duties which even Prophet Musa a.s. did not understand (see Surah Kahaf).
According to Allahu Taala it was not necessary for everybody to know their workings, (Khizer snubbed Hazrat Musa a.s. when he wanted to know the reason of his action), and the workings of millions of angels, as it did not concern the common folks.
Q: The non-muslims are quick to say that all religions are one or all religions are same. I think they are trying to confuse the Muslims. Please explain.
A: It is un-Islamic. All religions were true successively not concurrently. The religion of God is Islam and all Prophets did preach Islam. But when the teachings of a former Prophet were adulterated, a fresh Prophet was sent to revive and preach the same true Islamic teachings. If every religion always remained true, why did Allah send so many Prophets? He sent so many Prophets to revive the old truth - true Islamic teachings. So, how can the previous corrupted teachings of ancient mostly pre-historic religions be true when these were superseded, outdated and abrogated by the fresh Prophets? I will write an essay on the subject based on Quranic verses to show that all previous religions stand condemned in the Quran and Hadis. But will the non-muslims believe in the verses and Hadises? It will however, help the Muslims. But it will take time. I am so busy in more important work.
Q: The exoterics ulama say that salat (ritual prayer) is the main pillar of Islam, not zikr, moraqabah, etc.
A: To say that only salat has been stressed in the Quran and Hadis and not additional worship (fasts, vigils in night, zikr etc.). He who says this is ignorant of Quran and Hadis. It is in a Hadis-al-Qudsi in which Allah has told the Prophet to tell the Muslims that, “ When my servant resorts to additional deeds of worship (nawafil which means voluntary deeds of righteousness and includes salat, fasts, charity, haj, zikr, moraqabah, azkar, etc), I love him and I come so close to him that I am his eyes, ears, hands and feet ............”
Does this not lay emphasis on supererogatory, voluntary deeds of virtue? Moreover, Allah says in the Holy Quran in praise of ‘superman’ (Wali Allah), “There are people whose bodies do not touch their beds in the nights”,that is, they keep awake the whole night, whereas the exoterics say salat five times a day is enough. Allah also says, “There are people who spend their night with Allah standing prostrating (Qiyamun Wa Sujuda ).” Do the exoteric do it? It is only the Sufis who did it like the Prophet and the Companions. Moreover, Allah s.w.t has called upon mankind to do excessive zikr. Allah s.w.t has praised in the Holy Quran at many places those who are busy doing zikr standing, sitting and sleeping. (Qiamun Wa Qaudun Wa ala Junubihim). In other ayah (verse), Allah says in praise of zakirin,“Worldly affairs do not prevent them from zikr-ullah.” This means “perpetual moraqaba-i-zat” which you and I and others students of spirituality observe every moment and exoterics are devoid of it.
If they (exoterics) mean salat by zikr, then ask them, “What kind of salat is performed during sleep”. It is only the sufis who get fully absorbed in zikr and moraqaba during sleep like the Prophet who said to his wife Aisha (r) that,“My eyes sleep, but Qalb is awake.”
It is said in the same Hadis that the Prophet was breathing heavily and perhaps even snoring, but all of a sudden he would get up and start saying salat without making fresh wuzu while sleep nullifies wuzu.
There are many sufis who did the same thing on this sunnah of the Prophet, but the exoterics cannot keep awake even the full one night of 27th Ramadan.While Hazrat Khwaja Mueenuddin Chisty (r) or Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r) said salat of subuh (fajar) with the wuzu of salat ishak for fifty continous years. Can the exoterics do it? Still they say that the sufis were not righteous people. He used to eat three or four morsels of dry bread soaked in water after three or four days. Can any Ulama do it? The Prophet did it and the sufis copied him in letter and spirit. Once a goat was stolen in Baghdad and Imam Abu Hanifa gave up eating mutton till death saying that the same goat may be sold to any butcher at any time. Some food was offered to Hazrat Junaid (r) by his nephew who was in Government Service. He threw it in the river as Government money was doubtful, and then he never ate fish of that river thinking that the fish would have eaten that suspected food.
Abu Yazid Bistami (r) never ate melon in his life saying that he did not know from Hadis how the Prophet cut it and ate it, and if he cut it in any other way he may be guilty of violating sunnah. Who can do this? Ask the exoterics. All Mashaikh were that careful in observing sunnah. It is the exoterics who profess but do not act properly on Sunnah.
The Prophet said, “He who does not like for his Muslim brothers what he likes for himself is not a Muslim.” The Prophet acted upon it, so did the Sufi Shaikh who lived in starvation to feed others like the Prophet, for example, Hadrat Ibrahim Adham (r). But the exoterics are rolling in wealth while the poor are dying in hunger! So, who is acting upon Sunnah?
Q: Some non-muslims say Muslims do not practice as what they preach. They think our Muslim belief and practice are faulty. Comment please.
A: For non-muslims (kafirs) dunya (this world) is their goal. If the non-muslims find faults with the Muslims, are all the Christians angels? They take Jesus Christ as God. Is it not kufr and shirk (polytheism). Are the kafirs and mushriks good in their eyes? What sort of thinking is this! Muslims may not be 100 percent good but they are certainly better than the kafirs and mushriks (polytheist). Their beliefs are faulty, therefore they are kafirs. It does not require high intelligence to know this. The Christian nations are rich and militarily powerful because they looted and robbed the weaker nations for centuries, and are still robbing in many subtle ways. If they are advanced in science, they learnt it from the Muslims. While the Muslim had made science to serve mankind, the western nations are using science as power of destruction. Is this progress? It is not progress. It is degradation. They know they are going towards destruction what cannot help it.
Q: I saw in a dream that I argued about Islam with the Christians gently and they also behaved gently. Can you interpret this dream.
A: It is a lesson to you to tell you to be always gentle, soft, polite and humble while dealing with people, all people (Muslim and non-Muslim alike).
I always told you before to be kind, gentle and soft and to avoid being harsh and critical. So, you have seen in this dream how your gentle behavior forced the opponents to behave gently with you and to accept what you said. When Allah s.w.t sent Hazrat Musa a.s to Firaun, He advised him to talk to him gently and softly.
This dream also shows you will, Insha Allah, meet with success in preaching Islam to Christians if you preach gently and nobly.
Q: Can you explain that the souls are not bound by time and space.
A: You want proof from the Quran and Hadis, while you personally experience it. It means you have Haqqul Yaqin that fire burns, because you experienced it by putting your hand in fire, and still you want a theoretical proof. That means you want to revert to Ilmul Yaqin from Ainul Yaqin and Haqqul Yaqin. How strange!
However, if you want an arguement to convince others, then here is the answer: First, you must know that Quran and Hadis are not a book of Law to describe all things, chapterwise, articlewise and sectionwise. You can only draw inferences from the happening describe there. You must also know that Ayat of Quran have been divided into two main categories:
1. Muhkamat (Commands) and,
2. Mutashabihat (Ambiguous)
The Ayat (plural) of the first category (Muhkamat) are clear cut orders and there is no second choice or interpretation so that the whole Ummah is united on them.
While the Ayat of second category (Mutashabihat) can be interpreted differently by different people, but these do not relate to fundamentals of Islam. They relate only to optional matters.
Now since the topic in question does not form part of the Fundamentals of Iman / Islam, no clear cut answers to such questions are clearly given in the Holy Quran or Hadis. But you can easily and abundantly draw conclusions from various happenings and descriptions there in. The Prophet s.a.w has said: “When you go to the graveyard and say salam to the people in graves, they return the salam.” It is also said: “When you pray for them, they pray for you.” The Quran and Hadis tell us that the souls of the dead are in the soul world (Alam Arwah), which is absent from you, and you are absent from it. But they can hear what you say because they are in the soul world having no time and space, and you cannot hear what they say because you are in the domain of time and space.
Hazrat Umar (rz) was standing in Masjid Nabawi giving lecture but he could see the battle field thousands miles away in Iran and shouted, “Ya Sariya-al-Jabal” (“O, Saraya get on the mountain”). General Sariya also heard the call and obeyed and won the battle. Here also Hazrat Umar’s soul crossed the barriers of time and space.
Look at the story of Hazrat Musa a.s and Khizer. Khizer’s soul was able to see at long distance that a King was confiscating boats. So, Hazrat Khizer dug a hole in the orphan’s boat to incapacitate it. This shows space was not a barrier to his spiritual eyes.
Moreover, what we call time and space, these are only imaginary things. They do not exist in reality. Space is nothing. It is empty void, but we call it by the name of space. Why should we give name to something which does not exist? It came into consideration on the creation of the sun and earth. Before it, there was no space as such and after the Universe ends, there will be no space.
Similarly, time came into existence (if we call it existence) on the movements of the sun. Take the sun away or invent a plane as fast as the sun, there will be no time at all. The theory of relativity has proved these assertions more vividly. So, when there is no such thing as time and space in the soul world, how can it affect the soul, not to speak of the soul world?
Time and Space do not really exist in our physical world, but since our physical senses are limited, we cannot see unseen things while the spiritual senses of the dead or of the living Auliya are not limited by the artificial barriers of so-called time and space. They can see distant things.
Mind you, my explanation is extempores. If I look up Quran and Hadis, I will be able to say more about it.
If somebody critizes you, ask him to come and say Fateha, close your eyes and feel it for yourself. This is the direct method.
Maulana Rumi (r) says if somebody asks you to prove the existence of the sun, tell him to look at it and not to close the eyes.
Q: The Holy Quran tells about Man’s Soul. Can you explain the origin of the Soul.
A: The Quran says: “The soul or spirit is from Amr of Allah.” The word ‘Amr’ has several meanings. It means a command as well the “domain of spirituality” or the “Realm of Divinity”. What this Ayat means is that the human soul originally belongs to the Domain of Divinity and has been “blown into man” as another Ayah tells us. It is this,“We blew out of Our soul into Man.” This is esoteric interpretation of the word Amr, while the exoterics interpret it as command. We say in reply what else in the Universe has not come into being by the command of Allah? Everything comes into existence by the command of Allah. There was no point in saying about the soul that it is by Allah’s order, while everything is by His order. The non-Muslims (Kafirs) wanted to know the reality or origin of soul and God Almighty correctly replied that its origin is the Realm of Divinity. In the Quran, there is a mention of two domains:
1. Alam-i-Khalq (phenomenal world)
2. Alam-i-Amr (the Spiritual or Divine World) .
So, our interpretation that Amr means world of Divinity is based on another Ayah of the Quran itself. Do not link it with Lataif. Lataif means spiritual senses of man. When Allah says, “You know but little about the Realm of Divinity.” He means that it is limitless and beyond human comprehension.
Q: The statement “Allah Created Man in His Image.” Can you explain this?
A: It is a Hadis and not Quran. I said in Islamic Sufism or in any other book that it is a Quran Ayah by mistake, as I was misled by a writing in a book saying it is in the Quran. But later on I confirmed it that it is a Hadis. Now what does the above statement mean.
This Hadis has very wide implication almost beyond human comprehension. The word surat (image) does not mean physical appearance, as Allah s.w.t has no physical body. We can say that it means likeness. That is to say, a knowing, intending (will), etc as a miniature as compared to Allah’s vast and unlimited powers of hearing, seeing, knowing, will, etc. It also may mean that if spiritual senses of man (Lataif) are activated, he can see unseen things like Allah. As I said it has so many implications.