Dust Under Your Feet

24 January 1986


Q: Why should the Saints of Islam avoid evil spirits or going to evil places (temples, churches, etc) when they are supposed to finish idolatry and evil acts/doings?
A: The evil spirits and unwholesome germs and influences pervading in the non-Muslim temples and houses are injurious for the beginners (salik /seeker of Truth) like a child who is warned by the parents not to play with fire or go about in heat and cold. But when he grows up and is strong enough to defend himself, he is no longer required to take these precautions. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) broke the idols after about 18 years of his prophethood. So did Hazrat Ibrahim (as) after he got prophethood. Moreover, when some filth is lying somewhere, everybody young and old takes care not to spoil his feet or clothes by it. Preaching of Islam is something else. We have to use our knowledge, wisdom (hikmah) and spiritual strength to persuade, call and convert people to Islam and not straight going to the temples and breaking the statues.


Q: Why the sinners commit sins, etc? What attitude one should adopt with them?

A: Man commits sin only when his Nafs (bodily/beastly self) is stronger than his spiritual development. But in dealing with the sinners one must be lenient. The Holy Quran says: “Talk to them mildly and politely.” The proverb goes: “Hate vice not the vicious.” One, specially a sufi, must regard himself as the greatest sinner. You know that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) who is the best and greatest of all men used to utter the following prayer daily:

“ O my Lord! You are so Great that I have not been able to worship Thee as Thou should be worshipped. I have not been able to praise Thee as Thou deserves to be praised; I have not understood Thee as Thou deserves to be understood; I have not been able to thank Thee as Thou deserves to be thanked.”

Another prayer of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is like this:

“ I am not able to find word which can express Your Greatness except those words which You have taught us.”
So, you see that the best of all mankind and the best of all Prophets is unable to worship Allah swt. What are we, and who are we to boast of worship and prayers.

In another hadith the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said to the Companions:

“Nobody can achieve salvation through his deeds. He who achieves salvation will do so by God’s grace (Rahmat).
When the Companions asked:

“What about yourself, Ya Rasool Allah?”
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) replied:

“Even I cannot achieve salvation through my deeds. I will get it through Allah’s grace.”
Now, who is there in the world whose deeds are better than the deeds of the Prophet (pbuh)?


Q: How can some Hindus (through their religious practices) piece spears, etc in their bodies or walk over fire?

A: As I told you earlier, these petty shows are not difficult to perform. It is mostly through mental concentration, magic jugglery, mesmerism, and drugs etc. This is nothing. No spiritual gifts are needed to do this. There are some Muslim sects also who do such things. This is not at all important or high. Anybody can do it by practicing some sinister exercises particularly by friendship with Jinns (unseen evil doer) or even some exercises such as holding the breath and so on. The question is do these tricks and funs bring them anywhere near God? Not at all. So, what is the use? To us it is not more than a child’s play or a jugglers tamasha (fun).


Q: Why do eyes get reddish after Zikr or Moraqaba?

A: There is no harm in it. It does happen temporarily. Shaghl Hawa (spiritual exercise) will  give one (salik) more irritation and red colour in the eyes. But do not care. It will be alright after some time.

Q: Why do one (salik) feel/experience ‘pressure’ in the middle of the chest?

A: You know that Latifa Sirr is situated in the middle of the chest. The pressure on this place is also a kind of faizan (spiritual inspiration). Do not worry about it. Shaghl Daira Haqqi (spiritual exercise) is meant to rejuvenate (illuminate) this Latifa. One should not worry. One must go on doing spiritual work regularly. Our Mashaikh have said:

“ Regularity (doing spiritual exercises/ work regularly) ranks higher than miracles.”

Q: How the powerful Souls (meaning Saints of Islam) travel and how fast?

A: Their travel is not physical. It is spiritual. Their bodies remain in the rooms while their soul go where they like. Mostly, they are in God. The Auliya Allah who can go to the help of their people also go there spiritually. If someone can see them there, they cannot touch them, because you cannot touch the souls. They also can be present at different place simultaneously. There are so many stories in the books. Syed Ali Hamadani was a great saint in Sri Nagar (Kashmir, India). Some of his opponents numbering 20 came and invited to dinner all at 9.00 p.m. He accepted their invitation and was present at 20 houses at one and the same time and also composed some verses and gave to the hosts. When his hosts met together the next day each of them confessed that he (the saint) was in his house at 9.00 p.m. and each had those verses with himself. Similarly Hazrat Ghous al Azam Syedina Abdul Qadir Jilani saved a ship miles away from sinking. There are so many stories of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) going to the sick, disable and poor to help them. My father saw him (pbuh) at the time of his death when I was 16 years old. I was sitting with him (pbuh), but I did not see him (pbuh) at that time.


Q: Is moraqaba-i-shaikh for passing away Muslim saints or for the living saints?

A: It is permissible and effective for both. Faizan (spiritual inspiration) comes from both living and dead. Fatiha (verses of the Holy Quran) can also be recited for both.


Q: Could you explain the nature and kinds of Faizan (spiritual inspiration) that emanates from Allah swt?
A: There are as many kinds of Faizan (spiritual inspiration) from the Prophets, Shaikhs

(Muslm saints or Friends of God or Auliya Allah) as from Allah. Faizan is a sort of purifying attention of the Shaikh (Saint) on the murid (sincere seekers). The Shaikh unites his soul with the soul of the murid and concentrates on him. The word “ yuzakkihim” (purify the souls) in the holy Quran means this purifying influence. When the evil spirits, jins and shaitan can influence man, why can’t the Friends of God?
Nature of Faizan: To begin with Faizan (spiritual inspiration) is in the form of love which is increased gradually to combat the mischiefs of Nafs (beastly self) and Shaitan. When the forces of Nafs and Shaitan are overpowered, then the Faizan is given in terms of Fana, that is, merger in the Divine Soul, and there is no end to it. At the Shrines of Muslim Saints Faizan takes the above form except that before Fana-fi-Allah  (absorption in God), the Shaikhs (Friends of God) of the Shrine give Faizan of Fana-fi-Shaikh, that is Fana in themselves or their souls, and then take you to Fana-fi-Allah slowly and gradually. But the main spring of all Faizan, may it be from reciting the Holy Quran, reciting Salawat on the Holy Prophet (pbuh), reciting Aurad (prayers/supplication), Zikr (remembrance of God), Moraqabas (meditation) and from the Shrines, is Allah Taala Himself. It is like sunshine coming through various doors and windows.


Q: Can reading books written by Saints of Islam give Faizan or inspire one spiritually?

A: You have felt Faizan (called booster by you) in reading my book Islamic Sufism. It is quite true. One does get Faizan from not material books, but from the authors (Saints) of book and from Allah Himself also because when one is reminded of Allah through books, Faizan starts coming from Allah Himself.


Q: How to concentrate in Salat (Muslim ritual obligatory prayers) more effectively?
A: There are many ways. One way is to know and understand the meanings of the Arabic words you are reciting. This is very necessary because if you do not know the meanings of what you are saying, then what is the use? Although you get some blessings without understanding but good understanding of the meanings is most important. When you understand the words, concentration automatically grows stronger. But do not close your eyes in salat. One will understand the secret of keeping the eyes open in salat later on.


Q: What are the major matters as said in a hadith in which Shaitan is hopeless about and what are the minor matters in which Shaitan can play mischief?
A: The major things which have disappointed the Shaitan is belief in Allah (Tauhid), in Prophets, in Day of Judgement, in Accountability, in Angels, in predetermination (Qadar) – all these known as article of Faith. These the Shaitan cannot touch. But so far as smoking, drinking, alcohol, or greed in eating, pride, anger, etc are concerned, Shaitan tries to mislead you.


Q: What are the merits of Surah Fateha and Ayatul Kursi?
A: The merits of Surah Fateha can be judged from the fact that Hadrat Ali (rz) has said:

“ If I explain the meanings of Surah Fateha, it will make seventy camels load.”

Once Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas went to Hadrat Ali after salat Isha and asked him to explain the meanings of Surah Fateha. He went on explaining the whole night and when the Muazzin sounded the Azan of the next Subah (Fajar prayer), he had not yet finished the meaning of  ‘B’ of Bismillah! Briefly speaking, Surah Fateha is the gist or essence of the whole Quran in a nutshell. It is full of Barakat (blessings). It is a cure for all physical and spiritual ailments. It is not possible to give all its merits in this small letter.

About Ayat-al Kursi it is good protection against Shaitan, jinns, wild beast, snakes, enemies, etc. It is said in a hadith that when you go out of your house, you should recite it three times and the house remains protected. There are innumerable advantages.


Q: Could you briefly explain what is Haqqul Yaqin (certainty of belief)?

A: Every salik (seeker of Truth) should try to reach the stage of Haqqul Yaqin (certainty of belief of God by actual spiritual experience) which is the final stage of Iman and Islam. It is called Fana-fi-Allah. InshaAllah, a salik can reach that stage by doing all the spiritual exercises told by his Shaikh (Spiritual Guide) if one continue to do them perseveringly, enthusiastically and regularly.


Q: Can a murid participate in other Shaikh’s session of Zikr?

A: There is no harm in joining the Zikr gathering of ordinary people (good Muslims). But if there is any Shaikh of any other silsila having his Halqa-i-Zikr (session), meant for his murids, one should refrain from it since a child is not allowed to drink at each and every woman’s breast for health reasons. The child had best be fed on his own mother’s breast. But when he grows up into a strong man, he can take any food. But there is no harm in ordinary gatherings of Fateha and Zikr where Faizan (blessings) comes from Zikr and recitation of Quranic verses; and not from a particular Shaikh of a particular nisbat (faizan) not meant for you.


Q:  Can we (murids) learn or take training from Shaikhs of other Silsilas (spiritual orders)?

 A:  Although we also belong to Qadriya, Naqshbandiya and Suharwardiya Sisalas, our main sisala is Chistiya, and a spiritual seeker who is in the middle of the spiritual course should NOT go to the Shaikhs other than his own Shaikh. Otherwise there is a fear of adulteration of different kinds of faizan (which is often injurious). Moreover, it is very difficult especially nowadays to distinguish between the genuine and the fake Shaikhs, sometimes the so-called Shaikhs take resort to jinns, black magic, witches and occult practices including drugs. So, it is not safe to drink at every spring nowadays. I know of some simple folks having been spoilt beyond recovery by the fake Shaikhs, pirs, and guides. One must be at a safe distance from them. If you wish to know more about other Silsilas, read books about them.

        So far as attending Halqas of Shaikh other than your Silsala, it is not conducive to good health if a patient is allowed to enter every hospital and take any medicine of his choice. He may kill himself. Nor can a child be allowed to eat whatever he likes.


Q: What if my boss in my working place is not a pious Muslim?

A: If your boss is not a pious Muslim, you have nothing to do with it. Do not discuss religion with him and go on obeying his official orders. Do not try to influence him or correct him because the superior officers generally do not like to be taught a lesson by their juniors. They resent it. So, what is the use of picking up quarrels with such men when they are not prepared to listen? Try to avoid friction with him. It is your Islamic duty to obey your officers provided they do not order you to do an unislamic deeds. If he (your boss) tells you not to say salat (prayer), do not obey him. But if he tells you not to say salat during office hours, you can say it at other times. Here in Pakistan, government servants are allowed time to say salat at Zohor. I do not think any officers in a Muslim country stops you from saying salat or fasting, etc.


Q: What should be the position of a government servant or any individual who wish to have an Islamic state as championed by the reformers and political Islamic parties all over the world?

A: There is no doubt that the Islam loving individuals and political parties in the Muslim countries are doing a good service to Islam by calling upon the peoples and governments to enforce Islam. But the position of government servant is very delicate indeed. On the one hand he is right in sympathizing with the reformers. On the other, he has signed a pledge to abide by the conduct rules and service regulations by which he is to remain faithful to government and not to oppose it. So the government servant has two options. He should either leave service and join the Islamization campaign if he can afford it or remain in service and obey the government. There is a middle course also. A government servant can sympathize with the reform movements in the heart of his hearts, and refrain from practically opposing the government. The Prophet (pbuh) has described three ways of stopping evil/corruption:

  1. Stop it by force if you have the power.
  2. Oppose it verbally if you lack that power.
  3. If you cannot even speak against evil/corruption, then you should hate it mentally.

So, you see how wise and practical is the holy Prophet’s (pbuh) advice which suits peoples of all circumstances.


Another thing which is more important than the above, and which most people fail to understand is that most of the reformists working in the Muslim countries, do not know the proper method of reformation and create an awkward situation for the government, for themselves and for general public. Their very approach to the question of Islamization is wrong. All these parties (reformists) forget that the process or the method of reformation adopted by the Holy Quran and by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is to start from the roots to the branches, while the over-enthusiastic half-baked reformers of today try start from the branches to the roots which is like placing the cart before the horse. In order to make a tree green and fruitful, you have to pour water in its roots not branches. But the so-called reformers would pour water on the branches to make the tree bear fruit which is absurd. If you want to reform the Muslim society, the best way is reform the hearts ( Qulub ) of the individuals by means of preaching, education and gradual development. Reform the individuals and the whole nation gets reformed automatically. But the ill-advised reformers of today first want the government to reform itself and to force the people to become good Muslims by enacting and enforcing Shariat Laws. Do they not know that Shariat Laws are already enforced by God but the people do not obey them? Now, if your government or any government reproduce Shariat Laws in their statutes as laws and promulgate these laws, what will happen? The people who are corrupt and overpowered by the force of Nafs and beastly self will still go on violating the government laws as they are violating God’s Laws. So, real reforms lie in reforming the hearts and Nafs (beastly self ) of the people which is a very tough job.The Nafs ( beastly self )  is reformed by a hard, long, laborious and continuous process of purification by means of Zikrullah, reciting Quran, saying salat, fasting, education in religious schools and so on. But the reformist (exoteric ulama) refrain from this course for several reasons:

  1. It is a difficult and long process which takes years and even centuries. The soft and easy going scholars of Islam cannot take the trouble of going about in the country and educating and purifying each and every individual.
  2. They are themselves not properly purified for they also have strong and overpowering Nafs (beastly self).
  3. Most of the reformers aim at catching power and becoming ministers and presidents. This is again Nafs.There may be good people among them, but most of them lack the insight, that is, they fail to understand Islam and the way it was enforced slowly and gradually by the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

You know what the Prophet (pbuh) did to enfore Islam. He spent forty long years in the cave (Hira) to get prepared for the programme he was going to implement. Then after Nabuwat (prophethood), for thirteen years in Mecca he refrained from enforcing Islam by force. It was only after his followers had been individually and personally Islamized that he embarked upon the course of implementing Islam by force. Why did he and his followers say salat (prayers) secretly in Mecca because the Muslims had not yet reached that state of perfection and purification so necessary for enforcing Islam by force. Similarly wine was not prohibited by a simple stroke of pen. The command or process of purification was spread by Allah Taala over a period of several years to prepare the Muslims to be able to abandon it finally. In the first ayat (verse) of the Quran it was simply said that the disadvantages of wine were more than its advantages. The next order came after several years saying that the Muslims should not say salat when they were drunk. After some time the final command came in which it was totally banned. The American nation also copied Islam and prohibition was enforced by the government. But it did not work simply because the necessary purification of the soul was not carried out which could have enabled the habitual drinkers to give it up. The government of U.S.A had to cancel the law of prohibition. It shows taming of the beast in man is a pre-requisite for all reformation which our over-enthusiastic and half-baked, quarter-baked (and often selfish) reformers fail to understand. Real, effective and lasting reformation is ensured only when the Nafs (beastly self) of the people is purified. This is a very difficult task and takes years and years to accomplish. But selfish reformers prefer to choose the shorter course of asking the government to enforce Islam by force, or to get hold of power to enforce it themselves. Both of these courses/method are incapable of achieving the object with taming the wild beast in man.


Yet another important factor in the way of reformation is that even if the exoteric Ulama understand the necessity of reforming the hearts and Nafs of people, they cannot do it properly because their way of training and reforming is not like our Noble Prophet’s (pbuh) way of reformation which has been adopted by the Auliya Allah (Saints of Islam) only. The difference between the way of reformation of the exoteric ulama and the Auliya Allah is that while the former only give splendid speeches on the benefits of sharbat (sweet drink), the Auliya Allah not only give lecture on the subject but pour sharbat (sweet drink) into the throat of the thirsty as well. Obviously a good lecture on a sharbat cannot quench the thirst unless the sharbat is poured into the throat. Our Noble Prophet’s (pbuh) way was that pouring sharbat or food into the empty stomach, while the exoteric scholars make splendid speeches on food and drink and do not give them anything to eat and drink practically.


The Auliya Allah (Saints of Islam) like the Holy Prophet (pbuh) first illuminated and purified the Nafs by Zikrullah and personal tawajjuh (spiritual attention) after which they are fully transformed. Your personal experience also shows the effectiveness of this method as against the purely theoretical method of the exoteric scholars. When I became a murid and started practical spiritual work under the Shaikh, I found that what could not be achieved in years was achieved within weeks and days. So, please do not be swept away by slogan. I do not say that the method of the exoteric is totally useless. No, it does have some effect. The exoteric can, at best, produce exoteric like themselves and not those supermen called True Momins (Auliya Allah) about whom the Prophet (pbuh) has said that they see with the eyes of God, hear by the ears of God, work by the hands (power) of God, walk by the feet of God and speak by the tongue of God Almighty. Also those Momins whose hearts (Qalbs) have been called by the Prophet (pbuh) as the Arsh (Throne) of the Almighty.


The characteristics of an Islamic state can be judged from the facts mentioned above. It envisages to produce such supermen as defined above. These exoteric people do not know what Islamic democracy is, what Islamic state is, what Islam is, and how he can be transformed to be higher than angels. Modern democracy is creating beasts and making the beasts stronger and stronger to create havoc in the world. Our Islamic countries are imitating Western democracy and are thereby turning the beasts into bigger beasts and devils into bigger devils. It is an irony of fate that we Muslims have become past masters in the art of imitating the Western people without knowing that we are hastening our own doom and ruin like the Westerners. What a mockery!