Tuesday, July 20, 2010


When Allah created us He blew into us something of Himself. This is known as the Spirit. The Spirit that lies within combined with the physical body is what completes “US”. The same way the Body has its vital Organs & their respective functions, as does the Spirit. The Vital Organs of the Spirit are known as the “Latifa” (singular) “Lataif” (plural). The first & foremost Latifa is the Qalb, which is the Brain centre of our Spirits & is placed within our physical heart.

The function of the Qalb is to a) receive & absorb the love that Allah feels towards us, b) Love Allah back & c) radiate Allah’s love to others. Since Allah is of Nur, His Orders, Attention, Affection are all Nur. The Spirits that lie within us are also Nur & can thus not only relate to Allah, but their food & energy too, is Nur.

The problem starts when our Qalb becomes dysfunctional! This happens due to repeated sins. Since every sin leaves a black mark on the Qalb, slowly the black marks envelope the Qalb & make it lose its capacity to illuminate & radiate, it becomes dull & loses its capacity to receive & absorb Allah’s Nur & thus it becomes diseased & cannot find the energy required for the Spirit to be healthy & functional.

Now the question arises that how are we to make our dysfunctional hearts functional again? How do we make our diseased Spirit healthy again?

Hadith: Al-Bayhaqee relates from Ibn 'Umar radiallaahu 'anhu that AlIah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "For everything there is a polish, and the polish for the hearts is the Zikr (remembrance) of Allah. There is nothing more potent in saving a person from the punishment of Allah than the Zikr of Allah." It was said: Not even Jihad in the path of Allah. So he replied: "Not even if you were to continue striking with your sword until it breaks."

Vander Hoven, a psychologist from Netherlands, announced his new discovery about the effect of repeating the word ALLAH (the Arabic name for GOD) both on patients & on normal persons. The Dutch professor confirms his discovery with studies & research applied on many patients over a period of three years. His non Arabic speaking patients were trained to pronounce the word "ALLAH" clearly; the result was great, particularly on those who suffer from dejection & tension.

The psychologist explained how each letter in the word "ALLAH" affects healing of psychological diseases. He pointed out in his research that pronouncing the first letter in the word "ALLAH" which is the letter(A), released from the respiratory system, controls breathing. He added that pronouncing the velar consonant (L) in the Arabic way, with the tongue touching slightly the upper part of the jaw producing a short pause & then repeating the same pause constantly, relaxes the aspiration.

Also, pronouncing the last letter which is the letter (H) makes a contact between the lungs & the heart & in turn this contact controls the heartbeat.

It has also been scientifically proven that since ‘Allah’ is a two syllable word it can easily get synchronized with the breathing, & since human breath contains one long & one short breath … ‘Allah’ ‘Hoo’ these 2 words are used in order to be recited within the heart with each inhaling & exhaling breath. "Allah hoo" ... The actual term is "Allah howa" which means "Allah, HE is the one" (which would be the shortest form of saying the first half of the first Kalimah “There is no GOD, but ALLAH)! When "Allah huwa" has an ayat in front of it (the round thing used instead of a fullstop), it is pronounced as "Allah hoo" thus becoming a two syllabal word which can be easily synchronized with ones breathing.

SIGNIFICANCE OF ZIKR ALLAH: Sahih Muslim Hadith 7178; Narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud: Since our acceptance of Islam and the revelation of this verse (57.16) in which Allah has shown annoyance to us, there was a gap of four years.

Surah Al-Hadid 57, Ruku 2, ayat 16:
Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the truth which has been revealed (to them) and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors.

And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us one who follows his own desires whose case has gone beyond all bounds.

So remember the name of thy Lord and devote thyself with a complete devotion.

ZIKR WITH ABUNDANCE: Surah Al-Ahzab Ruku 6, ayat 41
“O ye who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance.”

"And do bring your Lord to remembrance in your very soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evening, and be not of those who are unheedful.''

ZIKR BY THE SKIN AND THE HEART: Surah Az-Zumar Ruku 3. Ayat 23
“Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful message in the form of a Book consistent with itself (Yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects): the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble there at; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the celebration of Allah's praises. Such is the guidance of Allah: He guides therewith whom He pleases but such as Allah leaves to stray can have none to guide.”

ZIKR STANDING, SITTING AND RECLINING: Surah Al-e-Imran Ruku 19. ayat 191
“Men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with the thought): "Our Lord! not for naught hast thou created (all) this! Glory to thee! give us salvation from the penalty of the fire.”

“When ye pass (congregational) prayers celebrate Allah's praises standing sitting down or lying down on your sides; but when ye are free from danger set up regular prayers: for such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.”

“For Muslim men and women for believing men and women for devout men and women for true men and women for men and women who are patient and constant for men and women who humble themselves for men and women who give in charity for men and women who fast (and deny themselves) for men and women who guard their chastity and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.

“Is he whose bosom Allah hath expanded for the Surrender (unto Him), so that he followeth a light from His Lord, (as he who disbelieveth)? Then woe unto those whose hearts are hardened against remembrance of Allah. Such are in plain error.”

In the Quran it is stated ...

(39:22) - Shall he then whose breast Allah-SWT has expanded for Islam, so that he follows a light from his Rabb-SWT be as he whose heart is hardened? Then woe to those whose hearts are hardened against Allah-SWT ’s Zikr. They are in error manifest.

(39:23) - Allah-SWT has revealed the most excellent discourse, a Book consimilar, off-repeated, at which trembles the skins of those who fear their Rabb-SWT ; then their skins and hearts soften to Allah-SWT ’s Zikr. This is Allah-SWT's guidance to which He-SWT guides whom He-SWT will; and whom Allah-SWT sends astray, for him there is no guide

and heart and breast are mentioned separately ... over and over again

also in the above mentioned verses Zikr is also clearly mentioned in regard to the expansion of breast and not just qalbi-zikr
then in the following ayat:
(16:106) - Whoever disbelieves in Allah-SWT after his belief-save him who is constrained and his heart is at rest with the belief-but whoever expands his breast to unbelief, upon them shall be wrath from Allah-SWT and to them shall be a torment mighty.

(16:107) - That is because they loved the life of the world above the Akhirah, and because Allah-SWT does not guide an infidel people.

(16:108) - These are they upon whose hearts and hearing and sight Allah-SWT has set a seal; and these! They are the heedless!

(16:109) - Undoubtedly in the Hereafter they shall be the very losers.

the mention of those who open their heart to disbelief or darkness too is mentioned ... and then further its mentioned regarding the qalbs ability of sight and hearing

this covers the matter regarding Kashf
further more in the below mentioned ayat

(20:25) - He said: Rabb-SWT ! Expand for me my breast

Prophet Musa-AS upon finding the portals of endowment ajar, tried to gather as much blessings as he could, and presented one request after the other before Allah-SWT .The very first thing he sought was Sharah-e-Sadar’ (Opening of the Bosom).

Sharah Sadar
It refers to a state when knowledge descends directly from Allah-SWT unto the heart about topics or issues discussed, and the bosom becomes an ocean of knowledge. This knowledge indeed is termed as 'Ilm-e-Luduni (the inspired knowledge) which opens the bosom in which it is inspired. According to Quran when Allah-SWT showers His-SWT Mercy on someone. He-SWT opens his bosom for Islam. This is a blessing generally enjoyed by the Aulia’. However, some fortunate ones are especially gifted with such knowledge from Allah-SWT that they can converse at length on just about any topic, despite the fact that they never acquired any formal education thereof.

Prophet Musa-AS then presented his second request, which was to make his task easy as this indeed was the domain of Allah-SWT . No matter how perfect a person may be or how much authority he wields, whatever means he employs to achieve a particular result are made effective only by Allah-SWT .He also requested Allah-SWT to untie the knot of his tongue which means that not only should his bosom be overflowing with knowledge, but he should also be able to expound these facts before others.

qalb - heart
ruh - life / spirit
Sirri - literally means "the secret"
khafi - literally means " Hidden"
akhfa /ikhfa - literally means Most hidden

these being the five points of focus all lying within the breast, as can be clearly observed through Kashf and falls in coherence with the knowledge or information provided to us through the Quran and Hadith regarding the importance of Qalb and the opening of the beast for light and Islam.

There are five main points of focus of the spirit. The same way the human body has organs and body parts, similarly our spirit has some main points of focus, which lie within the parameters of our body. The Spirit too has a brain centre which is known as the Qalb and is placed in the exact same position as our physical heart. This is the most important part or point of focus of the Spirit and thus the main focus of meditation lies constantly at this point. The rest of the points are as follows:
1. Qalb – placed in the exact position of our physical heart. Approximately and inch below the left breast.
2. Ruh – placed directly opposite to the Qalb / heart on the right hand side. Approximately and inch below the right breast.
3. Siree – placed directly above the Qalb / heart. Approximately two inches above the left breast.
4. Khafee – placed directly above Ruh. Approximately two inches above the right breast
5. Ikhfa – placed right in the centre of the chest. Where the ribs join.
6. Nafs – (this is not an organ of the Spirit, but is placed with in our physical selves.) placed in the centre of our forehead.
7. Sultan ul-Azkar – (this too is not an organ of the Spirit, but is our physical selves) placed in our entire physical body from head to toe. Every inch, every pore of us.

1. Sit in a comfortable relaxed position.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Recite the 3rd Kalima, Astaghfaar and then the 2nd kalmia.
4. Recite Tawuuz and Tasmia.
5. Concentrate on your breathing.
6. Inhale deeply and exhale with deliberate force.
7. When you inhale recite the word ‘Allah’ in your heart.
8. Visualize the word ‘Allah’, descending on you in the form of light and penetrating into your soul, going straight into your heart (Qalb).
9. When you exhale, recite the word ‘Hoo’ in your heart.
10. Visualize the light that seeped into your heart now coming out of your heart and flowing out with your breath, only to come back and strike at your heart again.
11. Repeat this exercise on all the other parts of the spirit in the following manner.
12. When you inhale recite the word ‘Allah’ in your heart.
13. Visualize the word ‘Allah’, descending on you in the form of light and penetrating into your soul, going straight into your heart (Qalb).
14. When you exhale, recite the word ‘Hoo’ in your heart.
15. Visualize the light that seeped into your heart now coming out of your heart and flowing out with your breath, but this time it should come back and strike at either one of the ‘Lataif’ or vital organs of the Spirit (in the order of succession); (Qalb being the brain centre and the first organ of the spirit) 2. (Ruh), 3. (Siree), 4. (Khafee), or 5. (Ikhfa) depending on which stage of zikr-Allah you are at.
16. Repeat the same procedure again for the next two (Nafs) and (Sultan ul-Azkar) these are placed within the body, and are not parts of the Spirit.
17. The only difference in the procedure of the sixth stage or (Nafs) is that; when you exhale, recite the word ‘Hoo’ in your heart. Visualize the light that seeped into your heart now coming out of your heart and flowing upwards and coming straight out of the centre of your forehead in the form of a flame, burning out the impurities of the evil part your mind or (Nafs).
18. The only difference in the procedure of the seventh stage or (Sultan ul-Azkar) is that; when you exhale, recite the word ‘Hoo’ in your heart. Visualize the light that seeped into your heart now coming out of your heart and flowing outward from every pore of your body, from your head to toe).
19. Finally come back to the first Latifa Qalb / heart and repeat the procedure for zikr-Allah on the first latifa.
20. Now you may stop the deliberate breathing, and come back to your natural pace.
21. Continue reciting ‘Allah’, and visualising its penetration into your heart, every time you inhale.
22. When you exhale recite ‘Hoo’, but this time when it flows out of your heart it should go straight up into the heavens and hit the ‘Sublime Throne of Allah’ (Arsh-e-Azeem) forming a constant connection between your heart and the 'Arsh-e-Azeem' (wherever that might be).

Note: spend at least a few minutes of focused zikr Allah on each Latifa for its individual cleansing. The longer you take on each latifa, the more purified it will get. And therefore the improvement in your character will be more efficient.


There are five Exalted Messengers Hadhrat Muhammad-SAW, Hadhrat Abrahim-AS, Hadhrat Musa-AS, Hadhrat Noah-AS, and Hadhrat Eesa-AS, while Hadhrat Adam-AS is the first Prophet of Allah and the father of mankind.
1st Latifa = Qalb The first Latifa is connected to Hadhrat Adam-AS. The special quality which comes to the forefront in the nature of Hadhrat Adam-AS is that when he had fell victim to the mischief of Satan, he felt repentant and ashamed, and very humbly asked forgiveness from Allah. Thus, this is the quality of human beings which starts becoming prominent, that when he commits a mistake he should feel ashamed and ask for forgiveness. The quality of heartfelt repentance stems.

2nd Latifa = Ruh The second Latifa is connected to Hadhrat Noah-AS and Hadhrat Abraham-AS. The strongest quality of Hadhrat Noah-AS was his unwavering perseverance in preaching and Hadhrat Abraham-AS’s quality is his strength of faith, determination towards Islam and preaching which did not waver although opposed and harassed by his own family and relatives to the point of being thrown into the fire, for which he even severed ties with them. Thus similar qualities of perseverance, steadfastness and determination while inviting people towards Allah and while following Allah’s Commands is developed.

3rd Latifa = Sirree The third Latifa is connected to Hadhrat Musa-AS. The strength to stand up for the truth no matter what or who opposes you will stem. The ability to preach with patience, calmness and kindness is developed. Since Hadhrat Musa-AS also stood against all the black magic and voodoo that was rampant during his time, the ability to fight the negative forces and become spiritually strong against them appears.

4th Latifa = Khafee The fourth Latifa is connected to Hadhrat Eesa-AS. As this latifa gets purified you become indifferent to and unaffected by the negative or positive opinion or comments about you. None of the negative things people say about you can stand in the way of the good that you are doing and nor can they pull you down or make you feel bad. Similarly when people praise you and say good stuff about you it does not affect you in a way that you may start thinking something of yourself and become arrogant in your nature. Spiritual diseases such as arrogance and bottling grudges, is cured. The virtue of humility grows. You become more and more humble and humane.

5th Latifa = Ikhfa The fifth Latifa is connected to the Holy Prophet-SAW. With the purification of this latifa, the love for humanity develops. The need to help others and spread love and peace becomes intense. You become more and more balanced and develop spiritual wisdom. The Islamic law and the ‘Hikmah’ behind Allah’s words and circumstances that occur in your life start becoming much clearer. Thus you begin achieving the state of Razi-ba-Raza “Happy with whatever Allah ordains for you!”

6th Latifa = Nafs & 7th Latifa = Sultan-ul-Azkar As the Nafs gets purified, it becomes easier to avoid sin and do good deeds. And as each cell of the body gets purified, it gets tougher and tougher to disobey Allah, since the hands refuse to indulge in a sinful act and the feet refuse to take you towards evil. As the intensity of purification grows, so does the ability to avoid sin and aptitude to follow Allah’s Commands.


(Translation of Maulana Allah Yar Khan’s book ‘Ilm-o ‘Irfan)

By Abu Talha


Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, remained the seat of learning for a long time. Though now strife-torn after the ouster of Marxist regime, it has seen the blossoming of Islamic sciences. Even today the Jihad (fighting in the cause of ALLAH as distinct from war) is being led by the Muslim scholars turned warriors. A scholar from Kabul wrote to his eminence Allah Yar Khan (RUA), asking certain questions about Tasawwuf Islamic mysticism). This has been their practice to seek guidance in such matters from saints of eminence. The historic meeting of Maulana Rumi and his Shaikh Shams Tabrez is well known to any student of Sufi thought.

A scholar feels unshakable thirst as he advances in the quest of knowledge. The skepticism generated by knowledge without insight needs to be removed. It is for the same reason that he addresses a saint blessed with spiritual enlightenment. He knows that the fountain to satiates his thirst will be found here. The following letter provides an example of such an effort.

Text of the Letter
I had the chance to go through your book Dalael-us-Sulook, given by a friend, Dilawar Khan. The book lighted up the dark corners of my heart and strengthened my faith. I was surprised to find, that our subcontinent had been blessed with such a glittering jewel at a time when we are groping in the darkness of secularism. I would never have believed had I not personally seen your book. If someone had described these facts to me, I would have doubted him. Although whatever you have written has the full support of the Quran and the Sunnah and you appear to combine in yourself the best of Shariah and the Tariqah, yet it is a rare thing in the present age.

For a long time, I had been in search of someone who could cure my heart of all spiritual ailments but all my efforts were in vain. The so called spiritual guides that I met proved to be more of businessmen and as such I could not achieve my cherished goal. If I could come over to meet you I shall be very fortunate because I am at the tail end of my life. Meanwhile, I am eager to seek certain clarifications and I hope you will be kind enough to oblige.

Questions answered by Shaikh Allah Yar Khan

Question 1

Does one find similar Sufi practices and twice a day gatherings for Zikr, during the Qurun-e-Thalatha (the period of the Holy Prophet (SAW) till Tab'a Tab'aeen i.e. approximately the first 300 years of Islam), renowned for its goodness. If not, wouldn't these fall in the category of bidah (heretic innovations)?

Answer to Question 1

Firstly, the meaning of bidah must be clearly understood. Any aspect of Shariah existing in the first 300 years of Islam (Qurun-e-Thalatha) is Sunnah and anything outside its pale is bidah. The existence of any article of Shariah, according to the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, depends upon the explanations of the Holy Prophet (SAW), termed as Hadith, and not on any intellectual interpretations. Its validity will depend on its chain of transmission. The explanation may be explicit, implicit or inferred. Any of these types will prove the admissibility of the article and thus the article will be considered to have existed even if any of its details are not outwardly manifest. Thus, if any article is proved to be valid in entirety, it will be enforceable with all its details, even if a part thereof did not manifest itself during the first 300 years of Islam. And if such a part of basic article unfolds itself ever after, it will be taken as Sunnah and not as bidah.

The various forms of explanations or Hadith include the sayings of the Holy Prophet (SAW), his actions, his resolves and his intentions. However, Azkar is a Sunnah which is amply proved in the first 300 years of Islam. The Sufi practices having their origin in the Book and the Sunnah, though the details have been derived therefrom by the Mashaikh (plural of Shaikh) subsequently will become part of Sunnah because the means and the methods are considered as extensions of the aims and objectives.

Secondly it must be understood that Ta^alluq-bi-ALLAH (relationship with ALLAH), Nisbat-bi-ALLAH (connection with ALLAH) and Tawajjuh-ila-ALLAH (attention towards ALLAH) form part of His commands, ordained as such, though in different dimensions. The lowest level is mandoob (appreciable) and the highest is that of Fardh (obligatory). There are hundreds of the verses of the Quran and Ahadith (plural of Hadith) which prove that these have been ordained. In short, the essence of Shariah is that a human being's concern or relationship with his wealth and family should be of protection, and with ALLAH that of worship and obedience. Anyone who ponders over the Quran and the Ahadith can find hundreds of verses and explanations of the Holy Prophet (SAW) which clearly enjoin this concern or relationship and forbid an intimate concern with everything else.

Thirdly, it must be remembered that ALLAH’s Commandments and their contents are the real objectives. All means, methods and resources employed for their accomplishment would also be taken as part of His Commands. Take the example of ablution for Salah. Although the real objective is the latter, yet it depends on the former. Now obtaining water for ablution will become mandatory because it is the means to attain cleanliness. Similarly one requires to cover certain parts of the body during Salah. Therefore, procurement of suitable dress as its means will also become mandatory. Likewise, all the means and methods adopted by the Mashaikh in connection with Zikr ALLAH, which is the real objective, will be regarded as its components and will not be termed as bidah. These will not be taken as Ihdath-fi-Deen (anything new in the Deen) but as Ihdath-li-Deen (something new for the Deen). A medical practitioner may prescribe and change medicine according to the age of the patient and weather conditions because his real objective is to restore the health of his patient. Similarly, the real objective of Azkar (plural of zikr) is Ta'alluq-m`a-ALLAH (concern or relationship with ALLAH) and Tawajjuh-ila-ALLAH (attention towards ALLAH). If this can be achieved by any method, the adoption of such a method shall also become mandatory.

Or for example, to uphold ALLAH’s will and purpose, is an objective and Jihad (fighting for His cause as distinct from war) is one of the means towards this end. The procurement of modern weapons for Jihad i.e., the tanks, guns, airplanes etc. will become obligatory. Such can effort will not be considered a bidah on the plea that the use of only sword and spear is a Sunnah and these weapons were not found in the time of the Holy Prophet (SAW) or the Qurun-e-Thalatha. It is quite clear that the real objective being Jihad, all the means acquired for this purpose will be mandatory and cannot be termed as bidah.

Fourthly, Ehsan has been described as part of Deen in Hadith-e-Jibreel and it is obligatory for Muslims to acquire Ehsan. Indeed it is not only a part of Deen, but its very essence and Deen remains imperfect without it. The reality of Ehsan has been explained by the Holy Prophet (SAW) in these words: "Worship ALLAH as if you see Him and if you do not, be sure that He sees you". The said Hadith-e-Jibreel describes three components of Deen, that is, Imaan, which is the basis or the root, 'Amal (actions) which is the tree, and Ehsan which is the thamar (fruit). If someone forsakes Ehsan, it will be like the Salah of a person, who offers only two rakat fardh in the Maghreb (sunset) prayers. It is obvious that his prayer will not be valid. Similarly, leaving Ehsan will amount to abandoning a vital component of Deen, which shall render it imperfect.

Fifthly, it must be remembered that in the days of the Holy Prophet (SAW), a certain level of Ehsan was attained in his blessed company by everyone, after fulfilling the basic religious obligations. This level was so high that even the greatest of the aulia cannot attain to the level of a junior most Companion. After the Holy Prophet (SAW), the need for a deliberate effort (in the form of Sufi practices) was felt to acquire this important part of Deen, which is actually its quintessence.

Now, as for twice a day zikr assembly, following Quranic verses provide the authority:
(1) It was We that made the hills declare, in unison with him, Our praises, at eventide and at break of day and the birds gathered. (38: 18-19).

This reality is confirmed by true kashf. In the collective zikr, Divine Lights acquired by the participants are reflected on each other which drive away evil effects, invigorate the heart, and strengthen the resolve. As for the effects of zikr, these can only be experienced and cannot be described in words.

(2) And do you (O reader:) Bring your Rabb to remembrance in your very soul with humility and awe, without loudness in words, in the morning and evenings, and be not you of those who are heedless. (7: 205).

This verse ordains Zikr-e-Qalbi, because awe is related to the heart and not the tongue. Further, the zikr is ordained for both the morning and the evening. Anyone who does not do Zikr-e-Qalbi falls in the category of the forgetful or heedless. There cannot be a greater loss than being heedless about ALLAH, and the consequent imperfection in the Deen hardly needs any elaboration.

(3) Restrain yourself along with those who cry unto their Rabb at morn and evening. (18: 28).

Though frequent zikr is enjoined under all circumstances, this verse emphasis engagement in formal zikr at two times every day. Now here is a Hadith about collective zikr

(4) There is no gathering engaged in ALLAH'S zikr which is not surrounded by the angels and covered by ALLAH's mercy, peace and tranquility descending on it. It is such a blessed assembly that no participant is deprived of the barakah attending it.

This proves collective zikr beyond any doubt. Its rewards, like patronization by the angels, ALLAH'S mercy and peace of the heart are received by every participant. Yet another Hadith mentions the angels in search of zikr assembly. Wherever they find one, they summon other angels also to avail the opportunity of attending it.

Question 2
Are the Book and the Sunnah not enough for one's salvation on the Day of Judgment? If yes, then why should one resort to Sufi practices of Zikr with the specified restrictions, even when he is following the Book and the Sunnah?

Answer to Question 2
Frequent zikr is not limited to any specific time and the fact that it is ordained for both the morning and the evening is proved from the Quran and the Sunnah, as discussed earlier. The zikr is an action in accordance with the Book and the Sunnah. Why should then it be considered as a separate entity. Hadith-e-Jibreel highlights that besides beliefs (Iman) and actions (Amal), there is yet another obligatory part of religion which must be complied with, and that is Ehsan. And it is this Ehsan which is termed as Tasawwuf. It is thus proved that a person cannot act fully on the Book and the Sunnah unless he engages himself in frequent zikr in general, and performs zikr regularly both in the morning and in the evening, in particular.

Question 3
Does Tasawwuf (Sufi knowledge) form part of religion? If so, why it did not exist during the first three hundred years of Islam?

Answers to Question 3
It has been explained in the answer to the first question that Tasawwuf is a part of Deen.

Question 4
If Sufi knowledge is part of religion, why should its attainment depend on an accomplished Shaikh? Why can't it be achieved through the Book and the Sunnah alone?

Answer to Question 4
No knowledge or skill can be acquired without a teacher. Proper understanding of the Book and the Sunnah depends on a perfect and experienced teacher. Mere study of books cannot reveal or unfold the mysteries of the Book and the reality of the Prophet's Sunnah. Why should Tasawwuf then be considered an exception and the need of a perfect master, who alone has the capability to teach this science, be denied. The books on Tasawwuf can show the path but cannot lead one to the goal. The conditions, experiences, states and the meditations for spiritual growth cannot be learnt through books because there are no words to describe them. These blessings are attained from the heart, the spirit and inner self of an accomplished Shaikh. Anyone who has not experienced the Divine friendship and cognition, cannot attain wilayah. And I must reiterate that only an accomplished Shaikh with a strong heart (qalb) can attract the spirit and illuminate the inner self of a seeker.

Question 5
The Sufi knowledge is said to be an esoteric science which can be learnt from living people. How amazing then is the claim by some Sufis that it can also be attained from the Ruh (spirit) of those in the grave, which is part of another world, particularly in the light of the fact that some outstanding theologians, including Imam Abu Hanifa, deny the phenomenon of hearing by the dead?

Question 6
ALLAH described the creation of the human being, jinn and the Satan, in the Quran, without being asked, but did not disclose the reality of the Ruh even when asked. It, clearly implies that Ruh is more subtle than the angles or the jinn. How can any benefit be derived from such a subtle being, in the absence of all the prerequisites, like observation, communication and company of the Ruh. The claim of Kharqa-e-Khilafat (Robe of Permission) from a deceased saint will, therefore, seem totally absurd. Could you please quote any example?

Question 7
Will the Ruh not taste death? The Quran asserts: 'Every soul will taste death' How can an exception be made in case of Ruh?

Answer to Question 5, 6 and 7
There is a consensus amongst Ahl-e-Sunnah (the Sunnis) about deriving beneficence from the spirits of the aulia in barzakh. Any question on this score amounts to ignorance of their unanimous stand. The distance between the two worlds (this world and the barzakh), is a limitation for the physical body and not for the spirit. Please refer to the events of the Holy Prophet's Night of Ascension. The Holy Prophet (SAW) frequently saw the people in barzakh, some of them in perfect peace. He also led the Salah of the prophets and talked to them while they were in barzakh and the Holy Prophet (SAW) was in this world. There is difference of opinion amongst the experts of Hadith as to whether only the spirits of the Prophets(AS) were present in Masjid-e-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), or were they present along with their physical body. I personally favour the latter opinion. And mark the benefit derived from Prophet Moses (upon him, be peace). The daily Salah was reduced from fifty to five times. This should dispel any doubts about deriving beneficence from the spirit.

The phenomenon of observation of Ruh by a seeker, nature of its life, conversation with Ruh etc., cannot be described in words but can be taught and learnt. I consider Tasawwuf as an integral part of Deen, rather its very essence. Just as an acknowledgment of His bounties, I declare that if anyone wants to learn the Sublime Sufi Path, he is welcome to come to me. With a very few restrictions that I would like to impose, I shall Insha ALLAH show him how beneficence is derived from the spirit. He shall be able to converse with the spirits, shall see the rewards and retribution the grave, meet the spirits of the Prophets (As), and I shall even put him through the spiritual oath of allegiance at the hands of Holy Prophet (SAW) provided, of course, that he is a true follower of the Sunnah and is a sincere seeker.

The question of hearing by the dead would also be taken care of by personal observation, though there is no dearth of direct evidence from the Book and the Sunnah, which only an ignorant and obdurate can deny. During the period of the Companions, kashf and ilham (inner observations and inspirations) was attained without any deliberate effort because the mere company of the Holy Prophet (SAW) was enough for the purpose.

Human spirit draws life from Divine Lights. Just as the spirit is the driving force for the physical body, the Divine Lights which originate from the Almighty Being (as He is), are the driving force for the spirit. When the spirit leaves the physical body, it can no longer exert any influence on it. This separation is called death. The spirit is not mortal, it passes away in space but lives in time.

The reality of the Quranic verse 'All souls must taste death' should also be clearly understood. As a rule, any one who tastes survives and that which is tasted vanishes. Take the example of human being and his food. The former survives after tasting food while the latter is consumed and disappears. Likewise the spirit tastes death and survives.

The contention that Imam Abu Hanifa (founder of the Hanafi school of thought) did not believe in the hearing by the dead, is totally incorrect. Attention is drawn to the following quotations:

(1) It is a common public notion that Imam Abu Hanifa did not believe in the hearing by the dead. Mullah Ali Qari has written a booklet contradicting it. He concludes that such a reference to Imam Abu Hanifa is utterly baseless. (Urf-e-Shuzi: p.386).

(2) It is the consensus among Ahl-e-Sunnah that a person in barzakh is aware of the events of this world. (Urf-e-Shuzi\ p.387).

(3) That a person in barzakh is aware of the events in this world is a collective belief. And this awareness is impossible without life as listed in Urf-e-Shuzi page 387. (Sharah-e-Maqasad). The research scholars agree that Imam Abu Hanifa never denied hearing by the dead.

(4) In short, the Quran and the Sunnah are full of instances which prove that those in barzakh have the knowledge of the worldly events and the people. No one will deny it except the ignorant and the disbeliever. The Mashaikh assert that whosoever does not believe it is indeed unaware of the reality of Prophethood. (Lam’at by Shaikh Abdul Haque Dehlvi Vol.III p 401)

To sum up, the spirit lives and retains, even after the conventional death, its achievements which it accomplished during its association with the physical body. The knowledge that it acquired in this world can be received from it when it is in barzakh, provided the seeker has the capability to establish communication with the spirit in barzakh, just as the Holy Prophet (SAW) had benefited from Prophet Moses (upon him be peace) with regard to daily Salah.

Question 8
Is there any reality of fana-fi-Rasool, Fana-fi-ALLAH, baqa-bir ALLAH and other meditations? How can these be achieved? Can you describe in detail so that we may also achieve these and enter the group of select slaves of ALLAH. We are living in a remote land. Considering me a member of your Order, please provide detailed guidance to acquire kashf-e-malaeka (seeing the angels) and kashf-e-quboor, (seeing the condition of dead inside the graves).

Answer to Question 8
Fana-fi-Rasul, Fana-fi-ALLAH and Baqa-bi-ALLAH are stages of the Path for which thousands of ALLAH’s slaves strived, but left this world with their unfulfilled ambition buried in their hearts. A sincere desire for these stages is the hallmark of goodness of a person. However, these cannot be achieved by hymning His praises verbally. They belong to the realm of Qalb (subtle heart) and Ruh (spirit). The oral zikr alone cannot purify the soul and illuminate the inner self. The first step will, therefore, be reformation of the subtle heart which demands frequent Zikr-e-Qalbi closely adhering to the Shariah and the Sunnah, under the guidance of an accomplished Shaikh.

Such a Shaikh first attends to the lataif and after their illumination, he leads the seeker to Meditation Ahadiyat. When this connection strengthens, he exerts his spiritual power to put him through Meditation Ma'iyat and Aqrabiyat This is followed by the Three Circles of Love, Meditation Ism-e-Zahir-wal-Batin, a stroll of the K'aba together with Sair-e-Salah and Sair-e-Quran, Meditations onto the audience of the Holy Prophet (SAW) in his mosque, where the Meditation Fana-fi-Rasul takes place. Fana-fi-Rasul means complete absorption into the love and conduct of the Holy Prophet (SAW). After this the accomplished Shaikh puts the seeker to the Meditation Fana-fi-ALLAH and Baqa-bi-ALLAH. These states cannot be achieved by oral zikr but through zikr of the heart and with the tawajjuh of an accomplished Shaikh. A strange feeling overtakes the seeker during Fana-o-Baqa. Physically he is on the ground but spiritually he feels himself prostrating before ALLAH, reciting Subhana Rabbi yal A'ala (Sublime is my Creator). The sublime Throne is the focal point of His Personal Lights, which appear golden red. The whole universe resound with the same cry Subhana Rabbi yal A'ala by the trees, stones, animals and the angels. The seeker is completely absorbed and becomes unmindful of everything else. It is not strange that every thing in this universe hymns His praises. Writes 'Allama Ibn-e-Taimiya: ALLAH has created the stones, the minerals etc. that like human beings they indeed hymn His praise.

Remember that the creation is of two kinds; the one blessed with intellect and the other without it. The former i.e. human being is created for His worship and adoration and the latter for hymning His praise, as ordained by Him.

There is a meditation in my Order whereby one can communicate with the non-intelligent creation; i.e. the trees, stones, minerals etc. Their language is formally taught and a perfect Sufi can communicate with them. However, I purposely do not put seekers through it because it can mislead the novices.

Conversation with the angels, Jinn, Satans and the human Ruh are preliminaries of the Sublime Sufi Path. However, its proficiency varies with the ability of the students. There are some seekers who attain to very high stages of the Path like the Realm of Command, yet they do not have any spiritual observations. This is the Will of ALLAH, Who keeps His Own Secretes. There are others who are blessed with such observations at the very outset. Such seekers are also put through the meditation Ruyat-e-Ashkaal (lit; seeing the real shapes), whereby they observe the real form that the Ruh will assume after physical death. There are very few people in today's materialistic world, who carry their spirit in its original human form. The sinful life disfigures the human spirit into shape of that animal who possesses predominant common character trait. I seek ALLAH’s refuge against such an eventuality'. The scholars deny this phenomenon mainly due to lack of knowledge, though the scientific developments have proved it beyond any doubt. Take the example of the television. Despite great distances between the TV set and the transmitting station, you can clearly hear and view all the activities on the screen. Similarly, with spiritual insight, one can see and communicate with the human spirit inside the grave (regardless of its location on the globe).

The phenomenon that the solid bodies; the stones, the minerals etc. do possess consciousness is proved from the Quran and the Sunnah:

(1) The seven heavens and the earth, and all that is within praise Him and there is not a thing but hymns His praise but you understand not. (17:44).

(2) Haven't you seen that unto ALLAH pays adoration, whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the hills, and the trees, and the beasts, and many of mankind while there are many whom the doom is justly done. (22:18).

Some interpreters of the Quran have argued that this adoration is not the actual prostration but it signifies that every creation is the proof and sign of its Creator. This contention is however, not correct. The expression 'many of mankind1 negates this argument and implies that there are some who do not do so. The adoration, therefore, is real.

(3) Hadhrat Sahal narrates: The Holy Prophet (SAW) said that when a pilgrim recites Talbiyah "ALLAH humma labbaik" (O ALLAH! I am present), during the pilgrimage to Makkah, all the stones, trees and pebbles of earth around him, join him, till the chain extends from the East to the West. (Tirmizi and Ibn-e-Majah).

This Hadith confirms the spiritual observation of the men of cognition that the stones and the minerals etc. do possess consciousness through which they listen to the Talbiyah of a pilgrim and join in.

(4) Hadhrat Abu Hurrairah narrates: The Holy Prophet (SAW) said that when a person picks up pebbles from the K'abah, they implore him in the name of ALLAH to let them remain there. (Abu Da wood).

This Hadith also confirms the contention of the men of cognition that the pebbles do have consciousness and understanding.

(5) Hadhrat Ans narrates: The Holy Prophet (SAW) said that mount Uhad loves us and we love it. (Bukhari and Tirmizi).

The word love in this Hadith proves that the stones do have consciousness and feeling. The mutual love means real love. However, since this is a presumptive proposition, it will not be considered as part of fundamental beliefs.

To sum up, the stones, minerals and the trees etc. are created to hymn His praise and are fulfilling the purpose of their creation, but the human being created for His cognition is neglectful. Realizing his responsibility, if a person strives to attain Divine Nearness and Pleasure, he would lead a comfortable and purposeful life both here and in the Hereafter. The only instrument to this attainment is frequent zikr ALLAH.

I must reiterate that spiritual observations and communication with the spirits and the non intelligent creation do not constitute a certificate of perfection. The real perfection is ALLAH's Nearness and Pleasure. It is, therefore, vital for a perfect sufi to ignore these observations etc. and march on to the real destination which is ALLAH’s Nearness. And never forget that this objective can never be reached without the guidance of an accomplished Shaikh.