Dust Under Your Feet

25 March 1986

Q: “Perfect man is the mirror that reflects Divine Reality. But he is not that Divine Reality itself.” Please explain what the above quotation mean? 

A: You have not said where you got this quotation from, because a lot depends on the author of a statement.

Anyway, if it is from some authentic and reliable sources, then it means that the “Perfect Man” (Insanul Kamil), who has reached the stage of Fana-fi-Allah, has imbibed the Attributes of God or, in other words, is qualified with the qualities of God, therefore he can be called the mirror of Divine Being in which you can see Divine Attributes. But he cannot be called Divine Being himself, because as I told you earlier in the stage of Fana the seeker loses himself in the Divine Being and does not remain himself. When Hallaj said, “Anal Haq ” (I am God), it was God who was saying this and not Hallaj, because Hallaj had lost himself like a drop in the ocean and was no more. That being the case the perfect man who has lost his being in the Divine Being cannot be said to be Divine Reality itself because he is no more there. He is lost in the ocean of Divine Being and therefore he is just a reflection (mirror) of Divine Being in which you can see Divine Attributes. This is a delicate and subtle point which can be understood only when one reaches that stage. It cannot be understood by the limited human brain. It can only be understood spiritually after purification and reaching the stage of Fana.


Q: “Man tends to forget himself as he increases his contact with a certain tool or profession, golf, share market, etc ” Please comment.

A: I do not know where you got these quotations from? I should be called upon to explain the sayings of Auliya Allah, and the Prophets or of God Himself, and not the sayings of confused philosophers and literary men.

The statement in question seems to have been made by a psychologist and not a saint. Apparently, it means that when man is fully absorbed in his profession, etc he forgets himself like when you read an interesting book or when a doctor busied himself in investigation of diseases. Why should you run after such statements of ordinary and ambiguous nature?


Q: What is the meaning of the words which we recite at “ Atthaihiyat?”

A: It consists of praise of Allah and Darood and salam on the Holy Prophet (pbuh). In the end, there is a prayer for forgiveness of our sins, and the sins of our sons and parents and all Muslims.

From the spiritual point of view, this is the final stage of salat which corresponds with the final stage of the spiritual journey called Baqa-bi-Allah when the seeker regains his individuality, praises the Lord, send Darood and salam to the Prophet (through whom he reached that stage), and then prays for the whole of the Ummah.


Q: Can we pray (make doa) to Allah during sajda?

A: According to the Hanafi school of Islam, we people do not make extra prayers during sajda (prostration). But during Haj I heard some Arabs on my right and left uttering prayers after reciting “Subhana Rabbiyal Aaala.” I think it is allowed in the Shafii school of Fiqh. You can ask some Shafii scholar about it, if you like.


Q: Explain the three kinds of Nafs and its characteristics as mentioned in the Holy Quran.

A: Nafs Ammarah, Nafs Lawwammah and Nafs Mutmainnah. These are Quranic expressions.

Nafs Ammarah is the untamed beastly self which is beyond control like an untrained horse which goes out of the control of the rider. Nafs Lawwammah means the blaming self. When man reaches some stage of spiritual purification (Tazkia-i-Nafs), his lower self (Nafs Ammarah), although not fully subdued, at least begins to differentiate between right and wrong and realizes that he has committed a sin. But when the seeker reaches the final stage of purification his lower self comes fully under his control and he is satisfied that he does not commit sins. The word Nafs Mutmainnah literally means the “satisfied self.” At the final stage of Fana he sees that what good or evil happens to him is by God’s Will and therefore he is fully satisfied with what happens to him knowing that it is from Allah. More in Fana he is fully satisfied and happy, nay, charmed! This is also called Tauhid Afaali, that is, to realize that what is happening in the world is the work of the Almighty.


Q: Explain the controversy regarding photos. Some scholars say we cannot hang photos in our house.

A: The first thing to understand is that decisions of Fiqh are not taken by a single Hadith. The Fuqaha (Jurists) have to take all Hadises on the subject both in favour and against, together with the verses of the Holy Quran on the subject. Moreover, they have to judge the nature (authenticity) of all the Hadises and so on. It is a very laborious job to take decision on any subject. That is why some difference of opinion happens to creep in among the Jurists. Now opinion of the Jurist on photography is divided, and therefore, it has become controversial issue like so many other issues. The duty of common people is to obey any group of Ulama or Fuqaha he likes. It is said in a Hadis that one is not punished for an error of judgment. In fact according to that Hadis he who commits an error of judgment gets one sawab (mark) while he who is right gets two sawabs. So the common man is at liberty to act upon the verdict of any group of Ulama and he will not be a sinner.

Now, those Ulama who regard photography as lawful in Islam argue like this: What is a photo? In the Hadis you are forbidden to keep “ shahiba ” in your house. The Ulama in favour of photography argue that the word “ shahiba ” is a three-dimensional figure and does not imply a photo which is called “ surat ” in Arabic language. Those Ulama who think that “ shahiba ” may also mean a photo, they declare photos as lawful because they say the photo is just a reflection in the mirror which is made permanent on the paper by means of some chemicals / medicines and compounds. If a reflection was unlawful, then, looking in the mirror would have been unlawful. But the Holy Prophet     (pbuh) and his Companions used to look in the mirror.

Thus the question has become controversial among the Ulama and therefore the common people are at liberty to follow any group of Ulama they like, and they will not be considered as sinners.

Looking at the Saudis, who are extremely strict and rigid on all issues, so much so that they do not allow anybody to kiss the tomb of the Prophet (pbuh), they indulge in photography freely and huge photos of their king are hung in all government offices and houses. In Pakistan also we see photographs of renowned hardliner Ulama in the newpapers, etc. But what is universally disallowed is photo worship like idol worship, which I think nobody in the Muslim world does. Loving or kissing of photograph of dear ones is not worship. It is like loving and kissing your dear and loving children.


Q: Please give a brief life history of Hazrat Maulana Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah (r) and Hazrat Shah Shahidullah Faridi (r) who belong to our Chistiya Silsala. 


Hazrat Maulana Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah ( r ) 

He belonged to a Syed family of India ( UP ). He was a graduate of Aligarh Muslim University. Before becoming murid he adopted journalism as his profession and worked in several newspapers and periodicals with great success. He worked with Allama Dr. Iqbal also, and had many prominent scholars and dignitaries as his friends. But his love for the Divine Lord did not allow him any rest and leaving everything behind he went all out in search of a spiritual guide. Allah was kind enough to show him his future Sheikh in a dream. So, he went from place to place and city to city searching for him, till he met him at the house of a friend. As soon as the Sheikh, Hazrat Maulana Syed Waris Hasan ( r ) saw him he said:

“ Where have you been all this time, I have been waiting for you.”   

So, he became a murid and was so keen to go through the spiritual course that he put on yellow dress of a Darwesh, gave up everything and went into solitude. He worked so hard and his spiritual capacity was so great that within a couple of years he was awarded khalafat, and was commissioned to guide others. He was extremely handsome and elegant by nature. He wrote several books of great spiritual importance. One of them is called “ Sirre Dilbaran” (meaning “ Secret of the Lovers”) which is an encyclopedia of Sufi terminology and of various stages and states of the spiritual journey in an alphabetical order. It is his masterpiece. He wrote articles in English as well in superb and scholarly language. The founder of Pakistan Quide-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was greatly influenced by him. In fact it was Hazrat Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah r.a who was spiritually at the back of Mr. Jinnah and was always inspiring him and other leaders of the Muslim League. We people believe that Mr. Jinnah was an outward figure but the real founder of Pakistan was my Shaikh. He wrote several inspiring letters to Mr Jinnah which has now been published along with Mr.Jinnah’s replies.


Hazrat Shah Shahidullah Faridi r.a

He was an Englishman named Mr J.G. Lennard. He embraced Islam in 1936 or 1937 under the influence of the book Kashful Mahjub (Unveiling the Veiled) by Hazrat Syed Ali Hujweri, and after searching for a spiritual guide in Egypt and Syria, he along with his brother Farooq Ahmad came to India. I (Hazrat Wahid Bakhsh) was in the army at that time. The two brothers were so keen to become murid that they were asking everybody where to find a Shaikh. They went from city to city all over India in search of a Shaikh. Shah Shahidullah also went to Dr. Rabindra Nath Nagore’s Academy Shantinaketan at Calcutta to see how much spiritual these people were. But he was soon disappointed by the shallowness of the spirituality and went to Haiderabad (Deccan, India) where he was guided to Hazrat Maulana Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah r.a. As soon as he met him he became his murid. Then he wrote me a letter, because we have decided earlier that whoever finds a Shaikh, he would inform the other. When I received his letter I immediately went to Ajmeer Sharif where he was due to come for the Urs of Hazrat Khwaja Mueenuddin Chisti and embraced his silsala as a murid. It was June 1940.The Shaikh was about 60 years old and I was 30 years old at that time. After Baiyat we all started working hard on the spiritual course. I wanted to leave service but the Shaikh did not allow it, but we went to live with him during each Ramzan at Ajmeer Sharif where he started to live permanently. We also went to the Urs at Ajmeer Sharif, and other places along with the Shaikh and enjoyed very much. It was in the year 1951 that we went to Hajj with the Shaikh. We were lucky to get 70 days at Madina Munawara. After that we went to Makka Muazzam. But the Shaikh passed away exactly at the time when all the Hujjuj had gathered in the Maidian Arafat. This was the saddest day for us. He was buried in Arafat and we came back home.


You have asked me to tell you his (Shah Shahib r.a) Maqam. How can a murid know the maqam of his Shaikh. But I can say this much that he was very, very high. His writings bear testimony to his greatness in the realm of spiritualism.Similarly the Maqam of Hazrat Shah Shahidullah Faridi r.a was very high. But there is no yardstick by which the spiritual heights can be measured. It is through one’s own spiritual capacity that one can know the spiritual heights.


Q: Please explain what is back-biting?

A: It is one of the greatest sins. In the Hadis it has been declared as worse than adultery (Zina). When the Companions asked the Prophet (pbuh) about it, he defined it like this:

“ To speak about a person in a manner or to say something about him (in his absence) which could make him angry if it was said to him directly, is Ghibat (back-biting).”

When the Companions said: 

“ Sir, is it a sin even what we say is true?”

The Prophet (pbuh) said:

“ Yes, and if you tell a lie about him that is called “Buhtan” (false accusation) which  is a greater sin than ghibat.”

So, you can see how abominable the crime is. But it has been a fashion these days to talk ill of everybody in modern society. It should be avoided like poison. Our Shaikh once said:

“ It is like a hole in the pot. Pour as much water into it as you like, but the pot is never filled.

What he meant was that whatever prayers and zikr, etc you do, it is all washed away by ghibat.


Q : What is meant by Abdal, Autad, etc?

A: It is a long subject and has been explained by our Shaikh (Hazrat Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah r.a) in his book Sirre Dilbaran.

Briefly, these are hidden personalities deputed by Allah Taala to do various duties in the world. There is one head of the people who is known as “Ghous.” He is one in the whole world. He has two deputies called “ Qutubs.” One of them is in charge of guiding people and the other is in charge of worldly affairs. The Abdals and Autads, etc are under him working in different areas of the world. They are all human beings and saint (Auliya Allah). But those who are deputed to look after worldly affairs work secretly and nobody except the Auliya Allah knows them. They are in the nearness of Allah in varying degrees.


Q : Does the Faizan (spiritual blessings)  at Latifa Khafi (forehead) carry any message?

A : It is a grace of the Divine Lord which He bestows whenever He likes. There is no particular message or warning in it. A time will come, InshaAllah, when it becomes a permanent affair day and night. But one must be careful not to ignore it when it comes. One must attend to it as it comes. What is meant by attending to it? When you get it you must pay attention to the Lord and be grateful to Him for His Kindness. It is said by Auliya Allah that Divine Inspiration is like a short tempered guest who gets angry at the slightest mistake on your part and goes home quickly.


Q : How the title Rahmatullah alaih, etc come about and who bestows these titles?

A: It has been decided by the concensus of the Ulama of Islam to say: Alaihissalam for the Prophets,  Raziallaho anho for the Companions and Companions of the Companions; Rahmatullah alaih for the Auliya Allah and other pious persons. It is a kind if doa ( prayer ) to Allah to elevate them in His nearness.


Q : Can Hazrat see Jinn and Angels? Who are Howris mentioned in the Holy Quran?

A: It is a personal question not to be asked. 

As regards Howris. Howris are the most beautiful beloveds in the paradise to entertain the inhabitants of paradise. This is exoterics Ulama’s version. But the Auliya Allah say that Howris are various Tajjaliyat-i-Ilahi (Manifestations of Divine Beauty) for the Friends of Allah.


Q: Why Allah causes destruction – earthquakes, volcanoes, etc? This question was posed by one of my sons.

A: Destruction comes as a punishment for sins and disobedience of mankind collectively or individually. Sometimes one suffers loss as a matter of trials. Sometimes one is put through difficulties to elevate him. Do you not see that the boxers and wrestlers get strong by being beaten? Obstacle races are meant to make you stronger. If there are no difficulties in life man becomes dull and ease-loving. History tells us that the hardy nations achieved victories over the ease-loving emperors. Huge empire perished due to ease and luxuries. So, hardship is really are blessings in disguise.


Q: Why some people are black or white? This question was posed by one of my sons.

A: It is due to climatic condition. But color is not the source of beauty. Some white people are extremely ugly and some black or brown people are extremely beautiful. But real beauty is the beauty of character not color. Some sages have said:

“ It is not right to call man white who virtue lacks. For it is the sin and not the skin that makes man black.”