The Life of a True Soofi (2)
And if your Tahajjud becomes qadha (that is, one overslept) then don’t be thrown into undue grief. Perform its qadha. This is what is meant in the Aayat:
“He has made the night and day alternate continuously for those who wish to understand.”
Some people become excessively grieved when their Tahajjud becomes qadha. They moan and groan of their Tahajjud never having become qadha before. Bear in mind that sometimes, the outcome of such worry is that one becomes occupied with oneself instead of one’s occupation with the Beloved (Allah Ta’ala). Engrossing themselves in this grief they become deprived of the Actual Zikr. Man has been created to absorb himself with the True Beloved. He should not occupy himself with others.
It is said: “The past and the future are barriers between the bandah (servant) and Allah.”
In short, don’t trouble yourself with anxiety. Experience teaches that sometimes by making things easy for yourself you happily carry out the work, whilst burdening oneself results in routine work also being missed. Therefore, do not make things difficult upon yourself. A happy worker produces wonderful work.
Tarteel of the Qur’aan and Zikr
All this was the bayaan of Qiyaamul Lail and its etiquette of moderation. Now the second practice of the Ahl Sulook is mentioned:
“And recite the Qur’aan with tarteel.”
Tarteel means to recite cautiously. During the age of the Sahaabah (Radhiyallahu anhum), among the ways of bonding oneself with Allah Ta’ala was permanent and guarded recitation of the Qur’aan and offering of Salaat. The dream of Hazrat Shah Abdul Azeez Saheb is well-known. He asked Hazrat Ali (Karramallahu wajhahu) what methodology of the Soofiyah was harmonious to their (the Sahaabah’s) methodology. Hazrat Ali (Radhiyallahu anhu) replied: “During our time, together with Zikr there was also Qur’aan and Salaat. But, nowadays, Zikr is taken to be the be-all and end-all.”
One reason for this change is that the hearts of the Sahaabah by virtue of the blessed association with Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) were fertile without all the conditions which developed later. Through the spiritual effulgence of the company of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) khuloos (sincerity) had become embedded in their hearts. They were not in need of added conditions to their Zikr. On the other hand, people of later generations did not have this sincerity without steps implemented to produce this in the heart. Thus the Soofiyah Kiraam who are mujtahids in this field (of spiritual reformation) devised specific methods of Azkaar and Ashghaal and attached special conditions for these.
Experience has proven that when the Ism Zaat (the word, ALLAH) is repeated in solitude and appropriate zarb and jahr are also observed then the effects are greater and more durable on the heart. The heart melts and burns with the love of Allah Ta’ala. This love produces Ikhlaas in Ibaadat which is commanded by Allah Ta’ala in this and other Aayaat:
“They have been instructed with nothing else besides offering Ibaadat unto Allah Ta’ala with Ikhlaas in their Deen.” (Surah Bayyinah, 5)
Thus, the illustrious Soofiyah had devised these specifications as a treatment method; the objective being nothing but Ikhlaas. Therefore, if anyone is uncomfortable with these conditions or without these conditions he can conduct the Masnoon Azkaar, Tilaawat and Salaat with complete Ikhlaas then the Soofiyah do not regard such conditions necessary for him.
We learn from this that all these specifications and conditions are prescribed as remedial and boosting measures. These are not taken to be Shar’i injunctions and acts of Qurbat (Divine Proximity) per se.
(An example of this is physical exercise. Physical exercise in the form of specific training methods, such as doing push ups and squats, etc. are not commanded by the Shariah. However, to develop the body physically is desired for Jihaad which is among the Ahkaam. Thus, the specific forms of physical exercise employed to gain strength and stamina for carrying out the Hukm of Jihaad are permissible and indirectly incumbent. – Translator)
In summary, the second instruction to those on the Path of Sulook is Tilaawat of the Qur’aan.
Spiritual Strength and Stamina
Then Allah Ta’ala states:
“We are going to drop a heavy speech on you.”
This is connected to the preceding Aayaat in this manner that the “heavy speech” refers to Wahi. Wahi is demanding. Strength to bear the ‘heaviness’ of Wahi is produced by continuous offering of Namaaz and recitation of the Qur’aan Majeed. Hence, Namaaz and Tilaawat were instructed firstly. The ‘heaviness’ of Wahi is reported in the Ahadeeth where it is mentioned that the camel of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would drop into the sitting position, a Sahaabi says his thigh felt like bursting when Rasoolullah’s thigh was pressed against his and Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) perspiring in the thick of winter. All these were the effects of the heaviness.
These Aayaat also mention the effects of Wahi:
“Did We not expand your heart and We lifted the load which was breaking your back?” (Surah Inshiraah, 1-3)
“Had We sent down this Qur’aan on a mountain you would have seen it (the mountain) brought down in pieces…” (Surah Hashr, 21)
This Aayat conveys the meaning very lucidly.
Strength borne out of continuous and increased Salaat, Tilaawat and Zikr and lightening of the load of Wahi are as a result of Zikr, etc. producing academic and practical inspirations and effulgence on the heart. By these the heart gradually becomes stronger and by virtue of this increase in its strength it is able to easily bear the heaviness and difficulty. For this reason we notice the uneasiness of those who are constantly going through different phases in Sulook (the Ahl Talawwun), whilst those who are entrenched in the Path of Sulook (the Ahl Tamkeen) nonchalantly bear all difficulties.
The heart could not tolerate anything in the beginning. By virtue of increased Zikr its threshold of toleration and its power increased.
These spiritual states are of various hues. Sometimes there is eagerness, excitement, happiness and exuberance, whilst on other occasions they are in the form of grief and depression. Bast (spiritual exuberance) has its benefits and qabz (spiritual depression) has its benefits and goals. All are praiseworthy. Qabz also serves to spiritually reform the nafs and cure vanity.
(To be continued, Insha-Allah)