Saturday, June 30, 2012

Have You Known Love?

Ms. Ra'ana Khan

Love – The most redundant word on this planet. It has been used so oft that it has in all entirety lost its essence and intensity. A casualness has evolved into its core essence with every use and every betrayal. “Though a love betrayed, in essence, never really was!”

Love – there is no betrayal when there is love! Blessed are those who have known love and who have the capacity to love. Love is unconditional, and those who have loved with condition have never really loved. Majority of us today, have never known love. Moreover, thus left to believe that whatever of the feelings of affection, attraction and want that we have felt were in fact feelings of love, nevertheless the tragedy of it is, that these conditional feelings of affection, attraction, desire, longing or want that we have felt were never really “love”. These in fact, when receive no reciprocation break our heart such that we become hardened of heart, scarred and damaged in ways that hinder us from ever truly experiencing love in its entirety and in its purest of nature. It is a catch 22 situation, very rarely have people lived to overcome it and truly experience Love irrespective of what may or may not have preceded.

Love – They say the feeling that the mother has for her babies. Unfortunately, we live in a world where every now and again we hear of mothers who kill their babies. We hear of mothers who betray their children. Then how can we find love? How can we know love? And how can we experience love, when even the examples to describe the word or feeling or its essence have become perverted and are lost?

Love – Bear with me, and my attempt to allow you to feel something. From here on, before you read my words, clear your mind of all negativity and all your past and everything you know holds you down. Forget about the reality of you as you know it, your job, your life, your friends and family, just for these few moments allow yourself to think and be what you most naturally were meant to feel.

You are walking in a thick green forest, dark with foliage and tiny sparkles of light seeping through. You are alone and lost. You have no memory of who you are or what you are doing here, and what your purpose is. You do not have a penny to your name. You are walking along, avoiding thorns, looking for a path. It is humid and hot and you are straining to breathe. You are walking in a direction, it’s random, you do not know what to think, your mind blank and your body working on reflex.

Suddenly you stumble and fall, and you hear a shriek and crying. Sprawled on all fours, you turn to see what it is that you tripped over. You see a baby, crying, looking tired, dirty, and weak. You instinctively pick it up and see if it is hurt. If YOU hurt it? It looks unhurt, but you are reflexively worried. You try to calm it down and look around for anyone who it might belong to. You look around and call out “HEY! anyone here?” in all directions. You get no response. You place it against your chest and cradling its head in your palm you gently pat its back with your other hand until it stops crying. You start walking again. Now you are looking for something. Now you have thoughts. You are no longer blank. Without even noticing you have a purpose, a direction. You want to find water. You need to clean this child. You need to find who it belongs to.

You move along noticing the foliage and forest in a different way. Trying to find signs or any remote suggestion where you might find water. Your eyes are open wider and your ears are straining to hear. In a distance, you hear some movement. You are apprehensive; could it be a person, maybe the parent of the child? Or is it an animal, perhaps a dangerous one? You are cautious with your steps; you call out once again “Hey! Anyone there?” you hear movement again, this time it sounds like footsteps and they are slowly moving away. You start moving in that direction. Calling out again “Anyone there?” and the footsteps break into a run away from you. You begin to reflexively run after it, cradling and holding the child closer to your chest. The footsteps stop abruptly. You stop. You are panting. You keep walking slowly in the direction you were running. After a few minutes, you find yourself in an opening within the forest.

 It is beautiful. A well-hidden spot of utter beauty, surrounded by the forest. Trees acting like a boundary wall around this big open patch of clean rocks, greenery and a blue lagoon. It looks like heaven, something truly God-sent. You take the baby and move towards the water. You think about what to do first and how to go about it. You want to clean the baby. You take your shirt off, place it on a patch of grass near the water, and safely place the baby on it. You remove the clothes of the baby and realize it’s a girl. You feel an even greater urge to protect her. The child grabs your finger with her tiny hand and smiles at you. You feel immense affection and a strange gratification at the smile. You smile back. You wait until it releases your finger, then you go to the edge of the lagoon and dip your hands inside to wash them. You feel stinging and pain. You pull your hands out and for the first time notice scratches and thorns on the outer side of them. You caught them while protecting the baby when running, oddly enough you never felt the pain or even noticed it at the time. You remove the thorns and once again dip your hands in, washing them properly bearing the pain and the stinging.

You wash the baby clothes as best as you can and place them on a rock to dry. You go to the baby, slowly lifting it up, you take it to the water. Realizing that the temperature of the water is perfect you decide to dip the baby into the water. She is not very happy. The baby starts crying because she is feeling insecure. You decide to hold her against you once again and decide to go into the water yourself cradling it against you. This time the baby is happy and comfortable. Her tiny hands garb on to you as best as they can, while you cradle its head cleaning it with your spare hand. You both thoroughly enjoy the water and after a while step out. You place her on your shirt again and go to check if the baby clothes are dry by now. Luckily enough they are, so you cloth her again. You feel hungry by now and realize the baby must be hungry too.

You look around and find some grape vines. You reach out and grab some grapes. You come back to find the baby asleep, her mouth ajar, you’re worried, you check her breathing, realizing it’s normal you smile to yourself. You take the grape and lightly squeeze the juice into her mouth tilted to the side. You see her licking the juice even in her sleep. You squeeze a number of grapes into her mouth, then decide to rub her gums with your finger to check if she has any teeth. You feel two tiny sharp things trying to poke out of her lower jaw. You smile. Suddenly you hear your own stomach growling and you realize how hungry you are. You then devour some grapes yourself and go to find some other fruit to eat. You find some banana trees full of ripe bananas. You grab some for yourself and the baby. You go back to the baby and decide to take a nap along with it. You wake up to baby crying. You realize the baby must be hungry so you mash up a banana in your palm and slowly scoop bits of it with your finger, placing it in her mouth. She hungrily enjoys each mouthful. There is a strange feeling of gratification you receive at seeing her hunger being satisfied.

Sometime later, you notice she has soiled her clothes and you need to clean her. You begin taking care of her as if it is the most natural thing. As evening sets in you realize you will need to make some shelter for the night. You begin to look for branches and twigs, leaves and other foliage to create some sort of a shed or shelter. You suddenly notice a semi broken hut; you hurriedly walk to it, excited and nervous. You look around it seems safe enough.

You run back to get the baby girl, you grab her and holding her against yourself bring her back to the hut. You try to fix the broken bits as best as you can and bring in some foliage to make a soft bed for resting at night. Night befalls; you and the baby fall asleep.

In the morning, you wake up and find the baby gone. You freak out and jump out of the shed. Your heart pumping hard, your thoughts running hay wire. You look around in search. You see a woman seated near the lagoon with her back towards you, holding the baby girl. You find yourself a little confused. You feel mixed emotions, you are happy at the thought that the baby girl’s mother has been found, yet apprehensive about the situation. You walk up to her, and you call out “Hey”, she looks up and you feel this sudden shock, fear, anxiety and you snatch the baby girl from her hands and rush away. The woman calls behind you “She’s mine, I’m her mother!” You holler back “I don’t care, you have leprosy, do you realize how contagious that is, even if she were yours you have no right to expose her to the disease like that!” She shouts back “she might have contracted it already, she might give it to you” … “I don’t care! We’ll see about that!” You scream back in retort!

This is love! When you are willing to lose all you have for the purpose of your existence: protecting and keeping alive “your beloved”, nourishing it and cherishing it, without caring what you will eventually get in return. “Your beloved”: the center of your focus, your world, the object of your affections. Because the gratification you are receiving every moment from that unconditional love, does not require the waiting of “a final outcome”! No doubt, if after the child grew up, she left you with absolute and complete indifference; stating something like “you’re not my real parent”. It would hurt you to bits and cause immense pain, yet it would never make you love her any less. Furthermore, when and if in life she were to return, she would find you with open arms, a wide smile and tear filled eyes. Moreover, the happiness that she would bring you, nothing else can; for she was your love, the meaning to your life, the purpose, when all else was lost and you knew not even your own self.

Now imagine that the child grows up to love you unconditionally back. Addedly, she feels the inherent need to try and honour your parental unconditional love with every ounce of life in her. This is our relationship with Allah-SWT, the Prophet Muhammad-SAAW and Islam. Unconditional love!

Muslims, is another name for people who still have the capacity to love in its purest of essence. We Love the Prophet Muhammad-SAAW for he guided us and showed us the path when we were absolutely lost and had completely forgotten our purpose and direction. We love Allah-SWT for HE has loved us unconditionally. We feel that love, at whatever level depending on our own level of spiritual purity; nonetheless, we feel it all the same and in turn recognize His right to be loved back, thus feeling the intense need to reciprocate it. HE has created us to experience the joys of life and further more experience the joys of love, most intensely HIS OWN LOVE. We Love Islam for it is the perfect guide in all matters, teaching us the easiest and shortest ways to reach our goals, perfection, success and most of all experience happiness, not only in this life, but also in the hereafter. The intensity of what we feel towards Allah-SWT and Prophet Muhammad-SAAW is unimaginable. We lose all bookish logical reasoning when it comes to them. We put them before our own selves. Not only that, we put them before our own children, parents, siblings and spouses. In fact, besides our Love for Allah-SWT and the Prophet Muhammad-SAAW, no other love is unconditional, all the rest of our love and affection is pre-condition to the persons mutual love (and intensity thereof) of Allah-SWT and His Messenger-SAAW. We love Allah-SWT and the Prophet-SAAW with such intensity that for a disbeliever it might even seem unreasonable, ridiculous or self-harming. Nonetheless, for us our unconditional love compels us such that we would do anything at all within or even beyond our reach, to uphold Allah-SWT’s and His Messenger-SAAW’s honour and Love, even if it meant jeopardizing our own lives! Therefore, if you cannot understand us Muslims and what it is that makes us react the way it does when it comes to the matter of Allah-SWT’s and His Messenger Muhammad-SAAW’s honour, evidently - you haven’t known love!

Love is: Intense, fierce, earth-moving, passionate, pure, immense affection, earnest caring, harmonious, peaceful, placid, calm, severe, serene, hopeful, supportive, honourable, sincere, earnest, driving, compelling,  loyal, unconditional, it is these emotions and much more, all at once!

May Allah-SWT allow us all to experience and reciprocate His-SWT’s and His Messenger-SAAW’s Love in the most pure and intense of its form. Aameen!

For those of you who wish to experience a glimpse of Allah’s everlasting love, I am sharing here the easiest and the quickest way, I know how.

Basic method of Meditation for calling out to Allah-SWT (zikr-Allah) (to be done for at least 5-10 min twice a day, the longer you do this the better it is for you, in the morning and evening): Before you proceed further, clear your mind of all thoughts, preconceived ideas, beliefs and expectations:

  1. Sit in a comfortable relaxed position. 
  2. Close your eyes. 
  3. Concentrate on your breathing. Inhale deeply and exhale with deliberate force. 
  4. When you inhale recite the word ‘Allah’ in your heart. 
  5. Visualize the word ‘Allah’, descending on you in the form of light and penetrating into your soul, going straight into your heart (Qalb). 
  6. When you exhale, recite the word ‘Hoo’ in your heart. 
  7. 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/jolt your heart again. 
  8. Continue this exercise until you feel that you want to stop. 
  9. Now you may stop the deliberate breathing, and come back to your natural pace. 
  10. Continue the exercise for a few minutes in shallow, passive normal breathing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Adamantly Invoking Allah’s Wrath - IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

Ms. Ra’ana Khan
Dated: 26 June 2012

As we continue with our Godless lives, we do not even stop to consider how, with each step and turn, we are adamantly invoking Allah’s Wrath! The gravity of this never hits us until (i.e. if at all), (Allah-Forbid) it finally seizes us!

The wrath of Allah has manifested itself time and again; in the form of various natural disasters or calamities, such as an Earthquake, leaving mountains upturned and thousands perished. Alternatively, Storms like “Katrina” leaving hundreds dead and abandoned, left to rot. Then again, worse still in the form of Tsunamis destroying hundreds of kilometers of land devastated and damaged, swiping clean most of the human and animal life. It has happened many a times before and as of late, it has become far more frequent. Yet we, so absolutely absorbed in our worldly lives (ripe with defiance of Allah), all in the name of fun and entertainment, we never stop to think when in those moments or planning for them, IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

I often wonder; what is it that stops us from relating to or contemplating the real value and worth of those precious moments that we choose to spend in Allah’s defiance? It escapes me how we could have cried buckets for the pain that we feel for people who suffered during the Tsunami in Japan or Phuket, or the Earthquake and then floods in Pakistan, for the victims of Katrina. It escapes me how we could have longed to know, how we could reach and help them. It escapes me, how we could yearn for finding a way to turn back time, to somehow stop the calamity from coming about at all. It escapes me, how after witnessing and wanting all this, we can yet continue so haplessly, so callously, so indifferently and so adamantly Invoking Allah’s Wrath? What is it that stops us from realizing the gravity of our actions while we pursue them? How come it escapes us to ask ourselves, at least while in the act if not before; IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

I see so many of us so called Muslims, who apparently know at least somewhat of the TRUTH (as we may never even have bothered to read the entire Word of Allah-SWT, i.e. the Qur’an, with understanding and meaning), continuing in the same pursuit of defiant fun, without paying an ounce of heed to Allah’s Command. It shakes the very ground beneath me with horror to see this, because of the realization that to know and spread the Truth, Allah’s Word, His Command, His Guidance and the Art of Living, was our responsibility. When we not only shun our responsibility to learn the Truth, let alone spreading it or upholding it, the intensity with which we become a part of the adamant invocation of Allah’s Wrath is far beyond that of the non-believers denial and perseverance towards the defiant fun! In effect instead of helping them any, we are a further or more intense reason for the calamity to come and strike or enfold them. If I were amongst those non-believers, I would sift out any so-called Muslim and throw them out of the gathering; for that would provide the non-believers an amount of protection from Allah’s Wrath than to allow these claimants of belief, to blaspheme against Allah’s Commands invoking His utmost Wrath to be allowed in their vicinity. It should be clear-cut, that these are “non-Muslim events”, and only non-believers are allowed to pursue this form of entertainment, for otherwise the presence of those hypocritical believers might end up being the biggest party pooper they live to witness!

It is a question I would like to put forth to those of us Muslims, who are planning to participate in or carry out or be part of these FUN events, be it a rock concert, or clubbing, or partying or beach concert or any other prevalent form of “BEING MERRY”, so to say; Why is it that we are pursuing this activity? Is it for fun? What if I were to choke on my spit and die right in the moment of this defiant fun? How would Allah-SWT receive me? How much of His Love would I have invoked? How much of His Mercy would meet and welcome me? Would all the fun that I have in this moment suffice me or satisfy me for all times to come (in the hereafter)? If doomed to hell, would I be reminiscing these moments of fun and finding pleasure and gratification in them? If a calamity like a Tsunami were to seize every one of us amidst the defiant fun and we all be raised together on the Day of Judgment, would I be glad to be amongst these people as my companions and comrades?

I wonder sometimes that all those who tragically lost their lives in the calamities amidst the defiant fun they were so adamantly pursuing, did they even get a chance to reflect, WAS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

So here I am, making an attempt to help my dear dear dear fellow Muslims realize, we still have time, ask ourselves the needful and wakeup to the gravity of our choices and actions. When making the attempt and efforts to seek and pursue the defiant fun, stop for a moment and think. In today’s world there are all sorts of choices and opportunities before us. While there are opportunities to participate in defiant fun and adamantly invoke Allah’s Wrath, there too are endless opportunities to seek and pursue companions and gatherings, full of contentment of heart and everlasting peace, aggressively invoking Allah’s Love and Pleasure. Now let us ask ourselves, “which gathering do we wish to be a conscious part of and which companions do we wish to be raised with on the Day of Reckoning?” The moment is now, for the present is all we have, let us not let it go by in vain. May we all make the right choices and May we all with absolute earnestness spend the rest of the moments left of our lives in the pursuit of adamantly invoking Allah’s Love and Pleasure. Aameen!

For life is short and then we die! so let’s make peace before we say good bye!

Quran, Surah 30: ayat 41 - Mischief [Corruption, Evil, Turmoil, Destruction] has appeared on land and sea because of (the meed) that the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds, defiance, disobedience of Allah, etc.),  that Allah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return [or turn back] (from Evil by repenting to Allah, and begging His Pardon).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Constant Zikr and the Taste of Association

Translated Speech of
His Eminence Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan
Shaikh Silsilah Naqshbandiah Owaisiah
3rd May 2002
Indeed in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and day are signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth; our Lord! You have not created all this in vain. Hallowed be You! Save us You from the torment of the Fire. (3:190-191)
Apparently, the world is touching the zenith of advancement, but does material progress, beautification of the body, abundance in food and wealth represent the pinnacle of human excellence? Is man just the name of a body alone? No, not at all! Man is a mag­nificent creation of Almighty Allah. The human body has a role in worldly affairs only, while the reality lies within this visible form. It permeates every cell of the body and is called the Ruh (spirit) - a wonder of Divine creation. When the holy Prophet‑saws was questioned about it, the reply was given by Almighty Allah, Say:
the Ruh is by my Lord’s Command. (17:85)
Command is an Attribute of Allah. How then was the Ruh created from this Sublime Divine Attribute? Was it created through its image or reflection? In response, it was said,
And of knowledge you have been given but a little. - 17:80.
It is beyond human intellect to comprehend this point, you haven’t been granted the ability to understand it.
The real human dwells inside this body, a body which is made from the earth and its clothing, food and medicines all come from the earth. It can sustain itself even with the minimum of provisions and can live on ordinary food, cheap clothes and cheap shelter. But can it survive if its connection with the earth is totally severed? The Ruh is a creature of the Realm of Command. When its connection with the Realm of Command breaks, it resembles a body whose connection with the earth is severed; it cannot remain alive. When the Ruh of a person is not alive...what is the life of the Ruh? The body gets its life when the Ruh flows into it. Similarly, the Ruh gets its life when the light of Faith flows into the Qalb. The Ruh of a person is dead whose heart is without this light or is filled with Kufr. If you watch a Kafir, he would be more like an animal and less like a human being. He would be selfish, immoral, wicked and be inclined, like a snake, to bite and destroy fellow creatures. If we look at our society the question becomes, ‘Why has everybody turned against each other, why is it that everyone is out to harm others?’ The basic reason is that the Ruh has died.
Prophets were sent to teach human qualities to the children of Adam-as. The word insan (human) is derived from uns (love). When life flows into Ruh, it generates love and kindness. One starts thinking about the good of Allah’s creation: how can I help a human being, how can I benefit others? This is the difference between the life and death of the Ruh. When the Ruh is given life, a special consciousness develops, the thought process is modified, horizons of perception are broadened and one’s conduct is reformed. This extended perception does not remain confined to this world only, even the Last Day can be perceived. When the Ruh becomes unconcerned with the apparent form of deeds and instead envisions their consequences in the Hereafter and on the Day of Judgement, it certainly reforms its conduct. But what keeps the Ruh alive, healthy and strong? The holy Quran has emphasised on numerous occasions that your most common action in life should be Allah’s Zikr:
Perform Allah’s Zikr most frequently. - 33:41.
Now taking food is an act, earning livelihood is an act, going about is an act, maintaining relations and doing business are also acts, but there are other actions that we keep on doing throughout our lives. We breathe without interruption and our hearts beat without a break - life halts when these stop. If we have to perform ‘most frequent Zikr’, we will have to do it more than our breathing and more than our heartbeats - but how is this possible?
It is a living miracle of the holy Prophet-saws that he made possible this ‘impossibility’. When those people who attended his blessed company and came to be known as the Companions went to him, the light reflected by his blessed Qalb instantly illuminated each cell of their bodies –
Then mellowed their skins and hearts towards Allah’s Zikr. - 39:23.
The reflection of Prophetic lights infused them, from the outermost to the innermost parts of their bodies, with Allah’s Zikr and each cell of their bodies began performing Allah’s Zikr. Now, one can only breathe once at any given moment, but at that same moment, there would be billions of cells performing Allah’s Zikr. This way, Allah’s Zikr would accordingly exceed respiration. Similarly, the heart may beat only once in a moment, but the bil­lions of cells that it is made of, alongwith the countless cells of the rest of the body, would be performing Allah’s Zikr. Within that one heartbeat, the body would perform Allah’s Zikr zillions of time. But there is only one way - only one: attain those blessings from the holy Prophet Muhammad-saws! Allah says there are signs in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of days and nights, for a person with the Light of Faith, the one whose nature is still pure, who hasn’t yet turned into an animal and still retains some human qualities.
The creation of the heavens and earth, the days and nights, the unending process of creation that produces innumerable forms of life on earth every moment, fruits that ripen, trees that bloom, crops that grow and the blades of grass that take root, all of these con­tain visible signs. Nobody can count the things that are being created or destroyed each moment. The continuous process of change, creation and extinction contain magnificent signs of Allah’s Greatness for the wise. Who are these wise men? The holy Quran explains, ‘Wise are … those who remember Allah standing, sitting and reclining’; that is, they remember Allah at all times, in all the states, not even a moment is spent without Allah’s Zikr - they are the wise! When this constant Zikr is achieved, the vision is broad­ened ‘and they reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth.’ They acquire wis­dom and reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth, the systems supporting the universe, life and death, and the phenomenon of ‘rise and fall’. The sun rises pale, turns into a fireball at noon and turns pale again as it sets. Similarly, the seeds sprout, grow into huge trees and finally fall to become firewood. Crops grow and sway in the fields like waves, to finally dry and perish. It is a cycle, permanent and continuous, with­out the slightest bit of devia­tion. The world has been in existence since time immemorial, yet if only a single ray of sunlight had been extinguished everyday, by now the sun would have become cold and the solar system frozen; if only one ray (of sunlight) had been increased each day, the solar system would have been incinerated by now. But there is someone…someone who has kept in check everything under His Command, so that nothing happens before or after its appointed time. These are signs for the wise, they will reflect, they will understand; the faculty of contemplation would develop with them; but how… ‘those who remember Allah standing, sitting and reclining.’ Zikr is a vast term and in plain words it means ‘to remember’. All of our actions that are in accordance with Shari’ah comprise Allah’s Zikr. That is Zikr by deeds or practical Zikr, whether it be earning a livelihood, doing business, maintaining relationships, carrying out Jihad, fighting on the battlefield or living within the family. If our verbal communication is in accordance with the Shari’ah, it is oral Zikr. We may read Darud Sharif, engage in Allah’s Tasbeeh, recite His Book, worship or may talk about Him, etc, all of this is included in oral Zikr. But there are times when all deeds get suspended. Man is a strange machine, he requires as much time to rest as he does to work. He works during the day and rests at night for the natural maintenance of his body. A loss of energy due to work is recouped; bones, flesh, veins and nerves are refreshed and toned up again and when he gets up in the morning, he is ready to work again. Now during this period of rest, he has not done any Zikr by way of deeds. Therefore, practically, constant Zikr by deeds is not possible. Even for oral Zikr, it is not possible that all of his talking during the day comprises Allah’s Zikr. If we write down all that we say during the day and review it in the evening, we would realize how we have wasted our day because there may be only a few sentences of any worth or value. Then, when we go to sleep, oral Zikr also stops but the breathing continues and so does the heartbeat. Simi­larly, if one gets sick or falls uncon­scious, the tongue may get tied, eyes may close, hands and feet may stop working but even then, the breathing would continue and so would the heartbeat.
The Prophetic way of beneficence was that, anyone who went to the holy Prophet‑saws with the light of Faith was immersed in an ocean of light, each organ and cell of his body started performing Zikr. These blessings were there during the time of the Companions and anyone who went to them became a Tab‘i. They were distributed in a similar manner during the time of the Taba‘in and anyone who attended their company came to be known as a Taba‘ Tab‘i. These three periods are known as Khair ul-Quroon - the best of all times. The holy Prophet-saws said, ‘My time, the time that follows it and the time after that are, respectively, the best of all times.’ After Khair ul-Quroon, religious knowl­edge was categorised, righteous scholars compiled and then organised the traditions of the holy Prophet‑saws - the Ahadith, and the Book of Allah was translated into the native languages of the countries that it reached. Scholars fulfilled their duty of spreading religious knowl­edge to the masses in a most befitting manner and are discharging their blessed duty even today - may Allah forevermore keep this nation under their patronage! It is their favour that they expound Allah’s Message and the holy Prophet’s‑saws traditions to people. There was another category that also came into being which, alongwith knowledge, strove to acquire Prophetic blessings and spent a lifetime in absorbing Prophetic lights, radiated by the blessed bosom of the holy Prophet-saws into their bosoms. They came to be known as Sufis and Mashaikh. Such people were rare because the commodity they possessed was extraordinarily precious. You can find a grocery store around the corner of every street but if you want to buy diamonds, you won’t find them at every store, even in big towns there won’t be many jewellers. These Prophetic lights and blessings that radiated from the blessed bosom of the holy Prophet‑saws were incomparably more precious than diamonds and therefore were very rare. Fortunate were those who searched across the globe for their bearers and acquired these blessings from them.
How much did people strive for these blessings…this you can comprehend from a small incident. There is a tomb of a saint near our lands here and in the 6th century he travelled to Baghdad on foot, as no other means of transport were available then. There, he became a student of the grandson of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani-rua. He stayed there for many years, learnt Allah’s Zikr, initiated his Qalb and body with Zikr and finally returned after an arduous journey of an indefinite period. During that time there were no telephones, telexes or televisions, it was impossible to know where to find such a person. People would set out in their pursuit from village to village and if they found someone they would stay, else they would carry on to the next village and then the next. He went from here to Baghdad on foot and returned on foot - isn’t it strange? But these people are somewhat different. He had built a small mosque near here and though centuries have passed by, nearby inhabitations have vanished and generations have gone by, nobody knows who had ever lived there, since there is no one to tell, yet the mosque still stands. Someone would just come and repair it. The mosque in which he remembered Allah is still there.
So my brother, Zikr is important for the reason that without Zikr, without constancy in Zikr, it is not easy to reform one’s conduct and deeds. It is not easy to keep the Ruh alive and retain the spiritual qualities that make a human being humane and generate humanity. You were enemies (of each other), and he (My Prophet) joined you hearts together. - 3:103. We who beg door to door for a piece of bread and endure insults while seeking a livelihood; shouldn’t we try to knock on a door where this Divine favour is available - the blessings of the holy Prophet Muhammad-saws? Shouldn’t we look for someone who gives us Allah’s Zikr, suffusing us in the same way as water saturates each particle of a flowerbed? These blessings should not only illuminate the Qalb and the whole bosom, but also initiate Allah’s Zikr in every cell of the body, in every piece of flesh, skin and bones and in every drop of blood. If one gets to this level of Zikr, it is only then that he starts to understand the reality of human life and humanity. Vision is diverted to­wards the creation of the heavens and contemplation is stimulated. One starts recognising Allah, according to one’s capacity, and feels like prostrating before Him and starts enjoying worship, one likes being in the Divine Presence and starts enjoying it. One feels like undertaking Jihad in His Cause and takes pleasure in getting his throat slit and his chest slashed. Such pleasure is the lot of a believer only and has shaken the Western world, they cannot understand why a Muslim sets out of his home only to die. It is strange. People join wars to capture booty, to get a salary and to earn money, for as the saying goes, ‘It is better to die rich than a pauper.’ But this army is strange, they say, ‘Take everything from us, just let us fight and let us die, our goal is to die.” What do they get in death? The West cannot understand this philosophy, because they don’t believe in Allah, they don’t know His beloved Prophet-saws. Allah says, ‘It is not death, it is the death of death! It is eternal life for the dead.’
Do not call those slain in Allah’s Cause as dead. - 2:154.
The interpreters have explained that those ‘people of God’, whose hearts and bodies get saturated with Allah’s Zikr, those who achieve continual Zikr, may meet death in any form but they are granted the status of Shahadat (martyrdom) and they achieve eternal life. This is because their total effort in life is devoted to Allah, seeking His Good Pleasure. They are the ones who have lost their lives during life. They can lay down their lives, but they cannot neglect Allah’s Zikr. They can die but cannot leave His Zikr.
Someone asked a question through an email the other night, ‘Doesn’t one practically remain in Allah’s Zikr all of the time? One utters His Name every now and then, during work one would say, ‘God willing, this would be done’, one would remember Allah when meeting friends or parting with them. That way, one always remains engaged in Allah’ Zikr in some form or the other.’ Basically the contention is correct; belief in Allah is also a form of Zikr. All deeds within the framework of Shari’ah also constitute Zikr, but per­forming Zikr that gives a taste of acquaintance is something totally different. Spending one’s life is one thing, but to enjoy the pleasures of life is something else. Reciting Allah’s Name every now and then is one thing, but the simultaneous vibration of billions of cells with His Zikr, that transform a human being into an ocean of Divine Refulgence is something absolutely different - it is an experience in itself! The one who tastes this does not differentiate between life and death, wealth and affluence lose their charm. The con­cept of union or separation loses its meaning and each moment of his life remains in the Divine Presence; every breath whispers a saga of Divine Greatness. This pleasure is known only to him who has tasted it- by Divine Grace.
So in my opinion, my brother, from what I have understood from the Book of Allah, the traditions of the holy Prophet-saws and the knowledge of a lifetime granted by Allah, life without Zikr is no life, it is only a pastime. The real taste and pleasure of life is in Allah’s Zikr. My suggestion, for the one who wants to know more, is that he should start performing Zikr himself. The Mashaikh have defined numerous ways of performing Zikr, and all of the methods that are not contradictory to the Shari’ah are permitted. Neverthe­less, being permitted is one thing, the method that draws more lights, blessings and beneficence is another matter. When someone asks us, naturally we would talk about and teach him our method that we have adopted for a lifetime, but he may perform Zikr by any other method that he likes - performing Zikr is mandatory. However, no restric­tion has been laid on the method of Zikr either by Allah or by His holy Prophet‑saws. There­fore, no one can impose any such restriction by one’s own opinion. Learn it from any Shaikh, learn it from any ‘man of God’, but my earnest recommendation is that if you really want to enjoy life, you must learn Allah’s Zikr. You will be able to taste its pleas­ure once it gets absorbed into your being and you would also understand how taste­less life is without Zikr.
May Allah favour everybody to do His Zikr. May He illuminate our hearts, bosoms and bodies, and forgive us our mistakes and sins.