Dust Under Your Feet

5 December 1986

Q: Can you explain what can hinder or spoil a seeker’s (salik) reception of divine blessings or faizan when he undertakes his spiritual journey?

A: As regards spoilers of divine blessings or faizan during one’s spiritual journey, one (salik) should try to retain the state of faizan  for as long as possible by keeping quiet and not indulging in activities. Drinking of cold water immediately after spiritual work is forbidden. You can take tea, if you feel exhausted, but not as a matter of pleasure or enjoyment, immediately after the spiritual work. You can take up the children if necessary, but, mind you, kissing and plating or talking with them immediately after spiritual exercises spoils the state of spiritual inspiration or intoxication. Similarly if you take meals immediately after spiritual exercises you spoil it and are unable to retain it any longer.

Q: Say, if a seeker (salik) receives enormous spiritual blessings or faizan and get over—intoxicated, can you explain how to neutralize it?

A: Why should you neutralize a thing for which you worked so hard? On the other hand, you should try to develop and enlarge your spiritual vessel so that it does not overflow. The way to enlarge the spiritual vessel is to be courageous and bold, and bear everything bravely. Another way of enlarging the spiritual vessel is to do Moraqabah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (r) frequently since their faizan (spiritual blessings) is of such nature which enlarges the spiritual vessel and prevents it from overflowing. You should be try to be courageous and do not give up! The spiritual exercises called Shagal Hawa done with open eyes also increases the power of tolerance and Shagal Ya Zahiro, Ya Batino also has the same effect.

Q: Can you explain briefly about the spiritual exercise called Shagal Hawa?

A: As I said earlier this exercise is done with open eyes. This is the main Moraqabah for which all other spiritual exercises are done. A seeker (salik) under the guidance and supervision of a qualified Sheikh must do this exercise properly otherwise he or she cannot progress. One should do it regularly and give it more time. This Moraqabah lasts forever and is done even in the grave and also in the paradise forever and ever! So a seeker (salik) under the strict instruction of his Sheikh should not ignore it or slight it! One can do it at any convenient time, preferably early in the morning when one gets up for Tahajjud. This is the MOST important spiritual exercise of all! But mind you, all these spiritual exercises must be done under the strict supervision of a Kamil Sheikh otherwise it may prove harmful.

Q: Can you explain which is better, pondering over the creation or worship, prayers and other deeds?

A: Although we are told to ponder over the creation, but this is not the main thing in Islamic Spirituality (Sufism). The act of worship, prayers, zikr, reciting Salawat, fast and spiritual exercises are more important. The reason why a seeker (salik) after going through the spiritual course under a Kamil Sheikh after some years have changed over from pondering over the creation to the Creator Himself, is that, the worship, prayers, fast, zikr, spiritual exercises, etc  have brought him (salik) closer to the Creator. The more a genuine  seeker (salik) attend to the spiritual work, etc the greater will be his detachment from the creation and attachment to the Creator. This is Islam!

Q: Can you explain how to avoid satanic ideas and “waswas” during salat (prayer)? Can we spit to towards the heart quietly to drive away the waswas and satanic ideas?

A: As regards satanic ideas coming during salat, it is not permissible in Shariah to spit towards the heart but you can do it mentally or recite (seeking refuge from Allah from accursed satan) before the start of the salat. The best way to avoid satanic ideas is to be firm and reject what is injected by satan. Moreover, sometimes it is not the satan but the man himself who is responsible for these thoughts, gossips, day dreaming, wandering ideas. You can call them by any name you like, it is one’s own Nafs (bodily self or beastly tendencies) which thinks about worldly affairs in salat. The only cure or remedy is that does not worry about it and go on doing your job. These stray thought always come even at higher stages, and your duty is to dismiss them. In fact when absorption in Allah grows stronger these thoughts called waswas automatically get weaker and weaker. Even Hazrat Umar (rz) said he thinks of the course of warfare in salat. So do not worry.

Q: Which Mahzab (school of thought) should a Muslim follow, Hanafi or Shafii ways, etc.  

A: It is not very important to stick to any school of thought since all are good. They agree on basic (fundamentals) principles and differ in minor details. So you can do what you feel is better for you. I love Imam shafii as much as I love Imam Abu Hanifa. The wisdom behind it is to suit various taste and temperament of a Muslim.