THE HARMS OF UMUR-E-GHAIR IKHTIYAARIYAH

Umur-e-ghair ikhtiyaariyah are qualities and conditions which are beyond one’s volitional control. These are natural states and attributes in man and their cultivation and eradication are not within the purview of his power.

Among the impediments along the Path of Sulook are another two ailments which are so widespread that almost all Mureeds are involved therein. Even some Ulama are involved in these.

1. The one obstacle is the Mureed’s concern to acquire attributes and states not within his volitional control. Among the Umur-e-ghair ikhtiyaariyah are thauq (joy), shauq (eagerness), istighraaq (absorption), lazzat (pleasure), yaksoo-ee (solitude) in disposition), daf-e-khatraat (the ability to ward off thought), sorish (pangs of spiritual love), injithaab (a condition similar to istighraaq), etc. These states and attributes are erroneously considered to be the effects of thikr, shaghl and mujaahadah. The non-acquisition of these umur-e-ghair-ikhtiyaariyah is considered to be the consequence of having been deprived of the effects of effort, Bur, this too is erroneous.

2. The other obstacle is the Mureed’s effort to eliminate certain of the Umur-e-ghair ikhtiyaariyah, e.g. the state of qabdh (a state of spiritual contraction), abundance of khatraat, inability to concentrate, natural love for wealth, dominance of natural anger, absence of tenderness, inability to shed tears, the assertion of worldly sorrow or fear, etc. Sometimes the Mureed regards these natural and non-volitional attributes and conditions to be detrimental to his progress along the Path of Sulook. He labours under the notion that because of the presence of such umur-e-ghair ikhtiyaariyah he will not be able to attain his goal. Failure to eradicate these non volitional aspects is erroneously considered to be a cause for drifting away from Allah Ta’ala.

The abovementioned are two obstacles which generally occur to the travellers along this Path of Sulook. The common factor between there two obstacles is the pursuit of things beyond one’s control. Both acquisition and elimination of Umur-e-ghair ikhtiyaariyah are not within the control of man. One suffers adversely by pursuing such non-volitional aspects. One harmful effect of such wasteful pursuit is the implied confrontation with the declaration of Allah Ta’ala:

“Allah does not impose on one (anything), but that which one can bear.”

Since these aspects are non-volitional, their acquisition and elimination are beyond man’s control and capacity. Allah Ta’ala has therefore not imposed such acquisition and elimination on the Mureed. But when the Saalik considers such acquisition and elimination necess’ary for the attainment of his goal, he by implication believes that this attitude of his is commanded and imperative. But as said earlier, the Shariah has commanded one only in regard to that which one is capable of doing. The Saalik’s attitude implies that capability is not conditional for the executing of a task. This then is his confrontation with the Divine declaration:

“Allah does not impose on a person (anything), but that which he is capable of doing.”

Failure by the Mureed to achieve the desired acquisition and elimination of Umur-e•-ghair ikhtiyaariyah produces progressive frustration, the consequences being:

• Physical illness may develop as a result of constant worry. This in turn results in the omission of many devotional practices.

• Frustration sometimes results in ill-temper. Others are then inconvenienced by one’s display of ill-manners.

• Preponderance of worry and frustration at times causes one to neglect the rights of one’s family as well as those of others. Such neglect becomes sinful.

• In cases this frustration reaches such proportions which drive the mureed to suicide.. Thus, both his dunya and his aakhirah are destroyed.

• Sometimes the frustration causes the mureed to lose hope to the extent that he considers acts of obedience and righteousness to be useless. In consequence he ends all his righteous activities and reaches and abrupt halt in his spiritual affairs.

• Sometimes he becomes disillusioned with his Shaikh, losing confidence in him. He then labours under the notion that his Shaikh is not aware of the Path of Sulook.

• Sometimes the frustration becomes so extreme that one becomes displeased with Allah Ta’ala. attributing one’s failure to Allah Ta’ala. One then finds fault with the promises which Allah Ta’ala has made in the Qur’aan Shareef regarding His Aid to the one who strives along His Path. May Allah Ta’ala protect us from such a disastrous end.