Dust Under Your Feet

2 January 1986

Q: Which attainment is faster and easier – worldly objects or spiritual object (that is, Allah Himself)?

A: Mere theoretical knowledge about Fana and Baqa is not enough unless it is accompanied by actual experience which can be had through the various Azkar (plural of Zikr), Ashgal (plural of Shaghl – meaning exercise) and Moraqbat (plural of Moraqbah) which one (seeker, salik) had to do them regularly and InshaAllah, the seeker would be favoured with practical experience of these stages (Fana and Baqa) of the spiritual journey. But patience and perseverance is a MUST for the attainment of these highest objects. When one has to devote a lot of time and energy for the attainment of the ordinary worldly objects, you can imagine what time and energy is required for the attainment of the highest object in life, that is, Allah Himself.

But since response from Allah’s side is great, the journey is rendered easier than the achievement of other objectives where response from the opposite side is practically slow, difficult and sometimes impossible. Says Allah through the Noble Prophet (sl):

“When a servant of Mine tries to come closer to Me through additional worship and prayers (e.g Salat, Azkar, Mashaghil, Moraqbat, etc), I love him. And when I love him I become his eyes and he sees by Me; I become his ears and he hears by Me; I become his hands and he does everything by Me; and I become his feet and he walks by Me; and I give him whatever he wishes.” 

In another Hadith it is said:

"When a seeker advances one span towards Me, I advance two spans towards him. If he advances one step towards Me, I advance two steps towards him; when he comes walking to Me, I go running to him.”

Now is there any thing else in the world from where the response is so great? Therefore, the Saints of Islam have said that the easiest thing to achieve in the world is Allah. So the seeker need not worry. The seeker is already undertaking the spiritual journey and the object is coming nearer and every day but he (seeker) does not notice it because, in our silsala the journey is performed by blindfolding the wayfarer ( seeker ). Because if he is allowed to see things at various stages of the journey, he is caught up in the mire and cannot go or progress further. If Allah wishes, He is pleased to let one see some glimpses of the higher things to encourage him. But those who are strong enough to proceed further, they are not shown these things because they do not need them.

Q: Why did I fell senseless for a while upon feeling a sudden unseen “lightening struck like” on my left side chest at one point when an overwhelming dua was recited by an Imam at Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur which made me to weep excessively and intensively at about 10.30 p.m  during Laila-tul-Qadr night of 27th Ramadan 1982? I still remember vividly even now.

Why I did not feel the same spiritual experience the subsequent years on the same night (27th Ramadan) what I had experienced in 1982?

A: As regards your experience during Laila-tul-Qadr night in Ramadan 1982, what you experienced during that night was really a strong dose of Divine inspiration (faizan) vouchsafed to you as a reward for coming/embracing to Islam. Although the dose was not very strong, but it was too much for you as a novice (beginner) to bear.Therefore you succumbed to it and fell senseless. The reason why you did not feel it during subsequent years in the same night is not because you did not experience it, but because your vessel (power of reception) had increased and you were able to bear it without being overpowered like the first Ramadan in 1982. Time and again the Shaikhs have been urging the seekers (Salikin, plural of Salik which means a way-farer or pilgrim) to increase their power of resistance and should courageously go on bearing the storms of Divine inspiration such as ecstasies and raptures and never give in or be overpowered by them. Why, because those who get overpowered stop to get more. It is a matter of commonsense that if a person gets drunk by a single cup of wine who is going to give him more? Therefore, the slogan with Mashaikh (plural of Shaikh) is “ Hal min Mazid “ which means “ Bring More and More!!!” The high Souls go on swallowing not merely cups after cups, jugs after jugs, but they drink rivers and oceans of Divine Inspiration (called Faizan) and cry for more and more. However much the seekers drink of the wine of Divine Grace (Faizan) they are not satisfied and cry for more and more. In other words, they are not contented with any stage of Divine Nearness or Divine Union (Fana) and go on and on none-stop till death. Even after death they continue their flight in the Divine Soul and will go on doing so in the paradise till eternity. This is the highest enjoyment ever, and no enjoyment or happiness can match it. 

So do not worry if you are no more overpowered by divine Inspiration. The best thing is to be firm and steadfast and never succumb to intoxication, charms, raptures and ecstasies. Those who are weak and get overpowered are known as “Maghlubul hal”, while those remain firm like a rock amid storms of ecstasies and raptures are known as “ Ghalibul hal.” Vast majority of the Muslim Saints (Auliya Allah) have been of those strong ones, while only a few to be counted on fingers gave in, succumbed to raptures and were called  “Majdhub” or “Qalandars” like Mansur Hallaj and Shah Abu Ali Qalandar of Panipat ( India ). The Majzub are those who lose their senses while the Qalandars retain their senses but cannot say their prayers due to intoxication which is a weakness, but the common people regard it as big achievement, because it is these people who can perform miracles while the regular Mashaikh abstain from miracles because miracles stand in the way of further progress.The famous Muslim Shaikh Hadrat Ibn Arabi (RH) repented during the later part of his life for having performed miracles in his early age, because, he said he would have gone much higher if he had avoided miracles, and refrained from indulging in “sight seeing.”

Q:Are there non-muslim saints? If so, what great heights they ( non-muslim saints ) have reached as compared to muslim saints?

A:As regards non-muslim saints, the thing is that every religion was a true religion of God in its own time and was called Islam. But when its teaching got degenerated and corrupt, God Almighty sent another prophet to restore his true religion to its proper position. According to us (as told in the Holy Quran) all prophets were muslims and their religion was Islam which went on being renewed by a new prophet when it got degenerated due to the savages of the time. Therefore, the followers of all the prophets, that is, Hadrat Ibrahim Alaihissalam, Hadrat Musa Alaihissalam, Hadrat Isa Alaihissalam rose the high positions of Fana-fi-Allah by virtue of the pure Islamic teachings of these prophets. But those who did not recognize the new prophets and continued to cling to the debarred religion and then degenerated teachings, they fail to make spiritual progress. However, when they worked hard and undergo lot of austerities, starvations etc, they developed their spiritual faculties to a little extent and can perform ordinary types of miracles which they regard as great achievements but are really nothing to the saints of Islam who try to avoid the.

In other words, during the time of Hadrat Ibrahim Alaihissalam, Hadrat Musa Alaihissalam, Hadrat Isa Alaihissalam etc, their followers could rise and did rise to spiritual heights but when the teachings of a former religion were debarred and abrogated by the advent of a new prophet of God, the followers of the former prophets ceased to make progress chiefly because they ignored God’s Commands about His new prophet and were guilty of disobedience to Him. Moreover, since the teachings of the former religions had been corrupted and degenerated and therefore, could no longer give the desired guidance to the people. But mind you, even when the followers of other genuine prophets made spiritual progress and reached the state of Fana-fi-Allah, but there being numerous degrees of Fana as already told to you, their degree of Fana was not as high as that of the followers of our Noble Prophet (sl) because he is the greatest of all the prophets and his teachings are the best of all teachings. While each prophet dealt with one or the other aspect of human life, our Noble Prophet (sl) combined in himself all the aspects, and because his maqam (status/reach) was the highest of all prophets (sl), the degree of Fana of the followers of our prophet (sl) was naturally higher than that of the followers of previous prophets. I hope you realize the difference. It is because of this that a Persian has said in praise of our Noble Prophet (sl):

“ O, Prophet, you have the beauty of Prophet Yusof (Joseph), miraculous breath of Prophet Isa (Jesus) and white hand (miracles of Moses) of Prophet Musa. In short, you possess collectively what the rest of the beloveds have individually.”
Another poet has said: 

“ Prophet Musa fell senseless at a single glimpse of Divine Attributes;but thou art come face to face with Divine Essence and are yet smiling.”

There is a huge difference between Zat and Sifat of Allah.

So, what I am trying to say is that since the degree of Fana ( nearness, union, oneness ) of our Holy Prophet in the Divine Being was the highest, deepest, closest and profoundest of all Prophets, therefore, the degree of Fana of the Aulia of his Ummat is the highest and profoundest of all the saints in other Ummat and that too at the time when those prophets were alive and their religions were being practiced. But the followers of the Ummat of other prophets lost that privilege when their prophets passed away and were replaced by a new prophet and a new religion free from corruption.

Therefore, the position with regard to so called Saints of the past abrogated and outdated religions is that because they disobey Allah’s Commands to accept Prophet Muhammad (sl) and his religion, they do not gain anything in the way of nearness or union with the Divine Lord. However, they are able to perform a few petty supernatural deeds by virtue of fasts, austerity and “Habs Dam” ( holding of breath ) which gives them a little purification. But this is not much. It is absolutely nothing as compared with the most high stages of Fana-fi-Allah and Baqa-bi-Allah achieved and enjoyed by the Aulia Allah of Islam.The supernatural deeds are being performed by Jean Dixon ( of America ) and other witchcrafts / witches and other evil practices being performed in other countries as well.This is no achievement of any solid or important value. We regard it as a mere child play, or jugglers tamasha ( show ). Some of these so-called Saints and Bhagwans managed to get the assistance of Jinns and evil spirits ( disciples of Satan ) also.Some of them take resort to black magic and some to hypnotism and masmarism. How can you call a multi-millionare possessing eighty Rolls Royce cars as a friend of God or saint or Aulia Allah when you know that the real Aulia Allah sacrificed their everything for the poor and the destitute to obey the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (sl) saying:

“You cannot become a true Momin (believer) unless you like for the others what you like for yourself.”
The Prophet (sl) lived that kind of life with the lowest possible standard of life and demonstrated to the world that he practiced what he preached. As such that there was none in the world whose standard of living ( food, clothes, house ) was lower than that of the Noble Prophet (sl). The Prophet (sl) always slept on the ground on a rough mat which left marks on his body. His house was just a small thatched mud hut without roof. It was thatched with palm leaves and sacks of goat hair. The hut was big enough to allow him to stand up and say his salat ( prayer ).It was so small that his wife had to pull her legs when he went in sajdah ( prostration ) and spread her legs when he get up. There was no door in the hut, no bathroom, no kitchen, and no furniture.When Hadrat Umar went to see the Prophet (sl) he found him lying in a rough mat which has pierced his body. Seeing this scene, Hadrat Umar wept and said:

“ Sir! The Kaisars and Khiras ( Kings or emperors ) are enjoying and you have imposed such rigors and austerities on yourself while you are the Lord of the world.”
The Prophet said: “Umar, I wish to live like a humble servant of the Lord, so that I should be shakir ( thankful ) when I eat and sabir ( patient ) when I starve.”

Reading the Prophet’s life, a Hindu scholar, I think it was Ghandhi who said:

 “Mohammad has justified the Title of Man.”

Similarly, the Aulia Allah of Islam following the Prophet’s foot prints lived in austerity as destitutes and sacrificed everything for the poor and destitutes for love God. When Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq ( R ) was elected as a Caliph, the next morning he put a bundle of new cloth on his shoulders and started out to sell it to earn livelihood. When Hazrat Umar asked him:

“Where are you going?” He said: “ To earn food for the family.” Hazrat Umar said:

 “And who will do the duties of government?” He replied: “Then should I starve my family?”
On Hazrat Umar suggestion he agreed to get a salary of fourteen ( 14 ) dirhams per month from “ Baitul Mal” ( The Treasury ). Once he ( Hazrat Abu Bakr ) told his wife that he wanted to eat something sweet. She said:

“ How can I arrange sweet things within this money when even salt is not available.”
Anyway, she went on saving a pence daily and was able to cook a sweet dish for Hazrat Abu Bakr. Seeing the sweet dish he said:

“ Where did you get the money from?”
She said she had saved about half a dirham in a month. He said:

“I see you can save half dirham per month. Well, from now on my salary would be 13 and half dirham per month instead of 14 dirham.”
Similarly when Hazrat Umar was elected as Caliph he used to live in coarse bread made of barley. Once when he was taking meals and drinking a mouthful of water to let each morsel of the rough and tough bread go down the throat, a friend of his suggested that in order to save time for the duties of government he should better eat bread made of wheat. He ( Hazrat Umar ) said:

“I am prepared to eat wheat bread provided you assure me that not a single person in the Ummat ate barley bread.”
It is in Islamic history that when Hazrat Abu Bakr ( R ) was about to die he sold everything he had to pay his debt and also to pay back the money he had so far received from the “ Baitul Mal” as salary, leaving nothing for his children. It is also in history that almost all the Aulia Allah ( Muslim Saints ) of Islam lived in acute poverty and starved for days and weeks on end, simply because love of worldliness had ceased to exist in their hearts.They were able to give everything to the poor and destitutes. They simply cannot eat when someone is starving, and cannot clothe themselves when someone is going naked.This is because love of God without the love for His creatures is not only unknown in Islamic history, but is regarded as hypocrisy.

Q: Could you please explain the hadith, “ The Ulama of my Ummah are like the prophets of Bani Israeil.”
A: The Holy Prophet (sl) has said in a Hadith: 
“ The Ulama ( Aulia ) of my Ummah are like the prophets of Bani Israel.”

This is again referring in support to your earlier question.It is said in Mirratul Asrar ( a Persian authentic book giving life accounts of the Aulia Allah, which I have translated into Urdu and had it published ), that once a Shaikh saw in a vision that our Noble Prophet (sl) and Hadrat Musa (sl) were together in the paradise when Hadrat Musa (sl) asked our Prophet (sl): “ Who are the Ulama of your Ummat who like the Prophets of Bani Israel referred to in that hadith.” Our Prophet (sl) pointed to the soul of Imam Ghazali (r.a). Hadrat Musa turned to Imam Ghazali and asked:

 “ What is your name?”

Imam Ghazali said: “ My name is Mohammad bin Ahmad bin Mohammad Al-Ghazali.”

Hadrat Musa (sl) said: “ I asked only your name, but you have mentioned the names of your father, grandfather and your profession as well.What is the reason?”

Imam Ghazal said: “ The same reason which you had when Allah asked you only what was in your hand, but you replied that it was a staff with which you drive the sheep, cut leaves from the trees to feed the sheep and that you can lean on it.Was it not enough to say that what you had in your hand was a staff.”
( This story is mentioned in the Quran and the Bible ).

At this the Holy Prophet (sl) touched Imam Ghazali’s shoulder and said: “ Addib Ghazali addib.” ( O Ghazali have adab (manners), you are talking to a Prophet ).

What Imam Ghazali meant was that when a superior authority talks to an inferior person, the latter tries to prolong the talk so as to be with him for a longer time.

Q: How will Allah treat the so called Saints ( non-muslim saints ) of other religions who can perform miracles and have large following?

A: I can say only this much that Allah Almighty can do and will do what He wishes. He may forgive the sinners and punish the pious. Nobody can stop Him. But we have to go by His Word in the Holy Quran saying that He will not do zulm ( cruelty ) to anybody; and that He will reward the pious and punish the criminals. The greatest crime that can be conceived of is disobedience and insubordination to Him. Big following or no following and miracles or no miracles does not matter to Him. The Satan, Pharoh ( Firaun ), Nimrud, etc had large following, and magians and witches can perform miracles.This is not the criterion.

Q: Is service to mankind the best act of worship? Both Muslim and Non-Muslim Saints do subscribe to this.

A: Service to mankind is one of the best acts of worship, but it has to be accompanied by obedience to God. Service to the creatures without obedience to the Creator is of no avail. The only benefit that the good and pious non-muslims get in return to their service to mankind is in terms of greater wealth and material gain in this world only.

Q: What is your view with regard to giving help to Islam by non-muslims?

A: It is quite possible. Many non-muslims have been helping the muslims by way of charity and stipends to poor students. If some non-muslims countries giving funds to a muslim country for opening schools ( education in general ), for other lawful economic purposes, etc it is also a help to Islam which is acceptable.

Q: Why was Satan created?

A: The answer is that everything gets strong through opposition. If there is no opposition the life become dull and stalemate. Look at the big boxers and wrestlers. They get strong by being beaten daily by as strong wrestlers as themselves. The plants are trimmed and cut to flourish more vigorously. The opposition parties in the parliaments and the opposing sects among a community are meant simply to strengthen the other parties and also themselves. So Satan has been sent by the Almighty as a big wrestler to oppose you and to strengthen you. There are more reasons as well.

Q: How to keep waking up after 10.00 p.m to say our prayer and worship?
A: One should not keep waking late in the night. Have you not heard the proverb,

 “ Early to bed and early to rise makes man healthy, wealthy and wise.” 

A sufi (seeker of Truth) must go to bed early to rise early in the morning. This is because later part of the night is better for worship than the first part. During the first part the stomach is full of food and one cannot concentrate on God. It is easier to worship in the later part of the night when the food is digested and the stomach is empty.A salik (seeker) should try and develop the habit of saying Tahajjud ( late night prayer ) in the later part of the night. Instead of going to sleep at 11.00 p.m and gets up at 5.00 a.m, it is strongly recommended that one should go to sleep at 10.00 p.m and gets up at 4.00 a.m.and say from 4 to 12 rakats of Tahajjud reciting Surah “Ikhlas” three times in each rakat. For saying salat Tahajjud one should postpone the three rakats of “witr” of Isha and say it after Tahajjud. Tahajjud and witr must be said before dawn.

Q: Can we pray (make doa) for the passed away parents who were non-muslims?

A: Although the hardline Ulama of Islam are agreed upon not praying for the dead who were not muslims, but I as a tender hearted person am inclined to pray for them. And I often do pray to Allah to forgive all sinners and kafirs of all times. There was a Shaikh in our area about 150 years ago. He used to pray to Allah like this:

“ My Lord! On the Day of Judgement make my body very, very big, so big that it can occupy the whole of Hell, and then throw me in the Hell so that nobody else finds any room in it.” 

SubhanaAllah! How kind hearted he was. Is it not a prayer for the dead kafir? His name is Khwaja Khuda Bakhsh ( RH ). He is buried near Bahawalpur. I have been to his Shrine.

Q: What is the difference between a Prophet and a Wali (Saint)?

A: A Prophet is given a fresh religion to preach and he receives “wahy” (Revelation) from God in the form  of books or Divine messages through angel Gibrail or directly. A Saint (Wali Allah) is a Friend of God not given “wahy” or angelic message. He is a follower of the Prophet and is deputed to guide people on the Prophet’s behalf. Although a Prophet is also a Friend of God but his rank of prophethood cannot be shared by the rest of his followers. In brief, all Prophets are Wali Allah but all Wali Allah are not Prophets. This is the difference between prophethood and walayat. Another difference is that prophethood is wahbi (non-acquired, natural) but walayat is kasbi (can be acquired). Wahbi means non-acquirable through efforts. Kasbi is that which can be acquired by efforts.