Dust Under Your Feet

8 August 1987

Q: Is it proper to announce or make known or keep it secret Nabuwwat (Prophethood) and one’s Wilayat (Sainthood)?

A: It is a general principle that Nabuwwat (Prophethood) is to be proclaimed, but Wilayat (Sainthood) is to be concealed, because it is a personal relationship between the lovers. Nobody likes to announce his relationship with his wife. Relationship with the Divine Beloved, who is the Lord of the Universe as well, is much more secret and delicate to be made known. History shows that when some Shaikhs announced it he was condemned. Moreover, if announced, further spiritual progress is stopped.

Q: I read in your book “Islamic Sufism” that some seekers (salikin) who are in the middle of the spiritual journey think that they are in the stage of Jamiyyat although they experience the intoxication of Fana. Is this a misconception?

A: Those middlers (seekers in the middle of the spiritual journey) who think that they are in the stage of Jamiyyat are a misconception and a false sense of “Perfection.” They are nowhere near it. Jamiyyat cannot come without Baqa. And Baqa cannot come unless Fana is complete. Their experience of the intoxication of Fana is not complete. How can they think of Baqa and much less Jamiyyiat which is very, very rare and remote and it takes a very, very long time! Those middlers  are advised to read the relevant passage of my book “Islamic Sufism” where I have said that the Christian Mystics when doing social work along with intoxication of Fana are not really in the state of Baqa. They are in the middle of the journey. Please read it again in my book (click the webite:moon over madina for our Sufi publications including “Islamic Sufism”). My caution to those middlers, “Your Nafs and Shaitan is again making you to indulge in wishful thinking. Beware!” One has to guard against the mischief of Nafs and Shaitan till death! Even the Shaikhs of the caliber of Hadrat Ghousul Azam Syedina Shaikh Abdul Qadir Gilani (r) experienced that kind of deception at the hands of Shaitan. Once he (r) was sitting when a cloud of Nur (Divine Light) appeared with a voice saying, “O My servant Abdul Qadir! Now you have reached the stage that you need not have to say Salat.” He (r)  at once realized that it was Shaitan who said this. He (r) said, “ La Haula Wala Quwwata Illa Billah.” And the Shaitan fled. While fleeing the Shaitan made another attack. The Shaitan said, “Abdul Qadir, your knowledge has saved you.”  The Shaikh realized the attack and said, “O, devil it is not my knowledge but it is my Lord who has saved me.” This is because to think that it is one’s knowledge which saves, is again shirk (polytheism) albeit very subtle kind of shirk unnoticeable by common people.

Q: Can you explain about Law of Causality.

A: It is God’s Will that He has made everything in the world subject to the Law of Causality, that is, everything is the result of some cause. Nothing happens miraculously except when God wants. God has powers to discard this law. This world is known as “Alam-i-Asbab”. Asbab is the plural of “Sabab” which means cause. It means everybody has to work to gain something. Nothing happens through waiving a magic wand. Even the miracles which are supposed to happen without a cause, take place by a cause but that cause is hidden from the eyes of common people.

Q: Fasting is good for seekers of God. Besides obligatory Fast in Ramadan, there are other voluntary Fasts like Saum-i-Ayyam, Saum-i-Taiy,  Saum-i-Daudi, etc. Can you throw some light on how some Mashaikhs practice these Fasts?

A: According to the Sufi Masters fast is half the journey. But you have misunderstood “Saum-i-Taiy.” It does not mean fasting half days (two halves making one day). What it means is  that one fasts for several days without sahur (eating before dawn) and eating at Maghrib. Hadrat Shaikh Ibrahim bin Adham of our Silsala used to take sahur on seeing the moon of Ramazan and used to breakfast on seeing the moon of Shawal, that is, without eating and drinking for the whole month. And he used to cut wheat crop on wages the whole summer (hot) days to feed his companions. This is “Saum-i-Taiy.” Another kind of fast is “Saum-i-Daudi” (as Hadrat Daud Alaihisalam used to fast like this). This is fasting on alternative days. Our Noble Prophet (pbuh) used to fast Saum-i-Taiy. But the Prophet (pbuh) forbade his companions who want to copy him. However, there have been many Shaikhs who resort to it. Hazrat Khwaja Garib Nawaz (r) used to eat once after every four or five days and his food were a few dry pieces of bread made soft in water. Many of our Shaikhs have done like that. But we eat thrice a day and claim to be like them!

Q: Can you explain the meanings of Kalima Tayyibah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah. Are there various interpretations on these meanings of Kalima Tayyibah?

A: It is both the beginning of Iman (believe/faith in God) and end of Iman. It has three meanings. For common people, it means:

(1)  La Maabud Illallah (There is none worthy of worship except Allah);

(2)  La Maqsood Illallah ( There is nothing desirable (goal/object) except Allah;

(3)  La Maujood Illallah (There is nothing existing except Allah);

    These are the three meanings for the (1) Common people, (2) Elite, (3) and Elite of the Elite.

Q: In the Holy Quran Allah s.w.t addressed the Soul, “Am I not your Lord?” (Alastubika Rabbakum, Qalu Bala Shaidna) and the Soul replied, “Bala” (Yes). Where this conversation does took place? Please explain.

A: When Allah s.w.t created the Souls, He questioned them, “I am not your Lord?” And the soul replied, “Bala” (Yes). This was a covenant made by Mankind to the Divine Lord to profess obedience to Him. This conversation was held when the Alam-i-Arwah, the soul world was created, that is, the fourth (4th) stage of Tanazzolat-i-Sitta .Tanazzolat-i-Sitta means the Six cosmic stages of creation by which the Divine Being as Absolute Essence manifested Himself in the multiplicity of beings (for more details on Tanazzolat-i-Sitta, readers may refer my book “Islamic Sufism, Chapter 2, Belief in God).

It is also a fact that Allah s.w.t wanted the angels to do sajdah (prostration) to Hadrat Adam Alaihisalam, and all obeyed except Iblis. Iblis was damned for disobedience.

Although there exists nothing except He in the realm of Spirituality (Haqiqat), but in the realm of phenomenal/ physical world (Majaz), we have to behave as servant to the Master. From the Haqiqat point of view there is Oneness (Wahdat), and from the Majaz (Physical) point of view there is multiplicity (Kasrat). Since Man in the combination of body (earthly world) and soul (Divine world), we have to behave in both of these capacities otherwise we fail in our duty. This dual capacity of Man, that is, perfection in both the capacities is successful life and real salvation! None is to suffer at the advantage of the other. Or none is to be observed at the loss (expense) of the other. This is real Abdiyyat (slavehood) and real Jamiyyat. Let it not be misunderstood as is misunderstood by many so-called Sufi of today.