Hazrat Moulana Mohammad Ilyas Words and reflections

Moulana Mohammad Ilyas (R.A) Words and reflections



Words and reflections

While talking to Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi, Moulana Muhammad Manzoor No’maani and Muhammad Shafi Quraishi Saheb, Hazrat Maulana said:

“It was the general condition of the Ummats of the former Prophets, that as they moved away from the times of their Prophets, their religious acts used to take the shape of mere customs and become empty of spirit and reality. Performance of these acts meant nothing but to celebrate established customs. Then, some other Prohets were sent to the Ummats for the correction of this misguidedness and waywardness, who, while removing these customary aspects, used to introduce the realities of religious acts and the actual spirit of Shari’at to the people. When, in the end, the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam received his call to prophethood. The condition of all the nations of that time who had any relation with some revealed religion was the same. Even if some part of Shari’at brought by their respective Prophets was present in them, its condition was no more than a collection of spiritless customs. Yet the people considered those customs as the real Deen and Shari’at. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam then removed these customs and taught the real religious truths and commands.”

“The Ummat of Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam is also suffering from this very disease now, and its worships also reflect this customary trend. This error has grown to such proportions that even the teaching of deen, which should have been the means of correcting all faults of this kind, has also become a mere custom at many places. But, since the successive coming of the Prophets has been put to an end and the responsibility of such missions has been placed on the Ulama of the Ummat because of their being the representatives of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, so they are the ones who are responsible to pay special attention towards correcting this misguidedness and corruption. The means for this correction is the ‘correction of intentions’. This is so because Customariness comes into the deeds only when the sincerity to do an act solely for Allah and the marks of true obedience start disappearing from the deeds. With this correction of intentions, the direction of deeds gets turned towards Allah and reality comes in them in place of Customariness, and every deed is then performed solely with the true sense of Allah’s worship and obedience. In short, creating sincerity and reality in religious practices by making people attentive to correct their intentions is a very special responsibility of the ulama of the Ummat and the carriers of deen.”



Hazrat Maulana said:


“The importance of the fact that deen is easy is announced in the Qur’an and Hadeeth with great emphasis. This means that deen is absolutely simple and easy. So, everything in deen will have to be easy and simple in proportion to its requirement and status in deen. That’s why since correcting one’s intention and doing things only to gain Allah’s pleasure are very necessary in deen- rather are the soul of all religious acts- therefore these are very easy. Together, since this very purity of intention is the sum and substance of all the faculties of “sulook” and “tareeqat” (sufism), hence, it becomes clear that sulook is also an easy thing. But remember, every work becomes easy if done with its particular procedure and principle. When using the wrong method, even the easiest of the easy works becomes difficult. Now the mistake people make is that they consider mere observing the principle as difficult, and hence avoid following principles; whereas even a very usual and ordinary worldly work cannot be completed without following the principle and appropriate method. A plane, boat, car, train, etc, all are operated on some principles;  so much so that even baking of bread and cooking require following a particular method.”



Hazrat Maulana said:

“The particular objective of ‘tareeqat’ is that the love for Allah’s commands and the dislike for what Allah has forbidden become part of one’s nature. (This means producing such a state of mind that delight and pleasure is felt in obeying Allah’s commands, while pain and shock is felt in going near to the forbidden actions.) This is the objective of tareeqat. As for the methods specifically introduced for zikr and spiritual exercises of particular nature, these are the means of attaining this objective. However, many people have started considering these means themselves to be the objective of tareeqat, while some of these means are actually innovations [in the religion]. Anyhow, since the status of these methods is that they are only means, and are not desired [from the acts of worships] in themselves, therefore with change in conditions and needs they must be reviewed and modified. As regards the things which are apparent and clearly defined in the shari’at, their practice will remain the same and necessary for all time.”



Hazrat Maulana said:

“The status of faraaidh (compulsory duties) is much higher than those of nawaafil (voluntary actions). It must be understood that the only objective of nawaafil is to bring perfection in the faraaidh, or to compensate the shortcomings in [the performance of] faraaidh. In short, Faraaidh stand primary, while the nawaafil are their subordinates and stand secondary. However, the condition of some people is such that they remain unmindful in respect of Faraaidh and devote themselves more to nawaafil. For example, you all know that calling and enjoining to the good and forbidding the evil (that is to say, all branches of the tableegh of deen) are among the important faraaidh of deen, yet how many people are performing these faraaidh? On the other hand, there’s no such shortage of devout and committed practitioners of nawaafil.”



Hazrat Maulana said:

“Some religious people and scholars have got seriously confused in the chapter of istighnaa: they take istighnaa as standing for not even meeting the rich people and the people of higher social standing. They maintain that one should not meet these people at all. In fact, istighnaa only requires that we should not go to these people hoping for their wealth or seeking fame and fortune. Meeting and mixing with these people for the sake of their reformation and other religious objectives is not foreign to the aim of istighnaa. Rather, it is necessary in a way. However, we must be on the alert that through this meeting, we do not develop in ourselves a thirst for fame and fortune or the desire for riches.”


Hazrat Mauiana said:

“Whenever a bondsman of Allah wishes to take a step towards any good deed, Satan opposes him in many different ways and places difficulties and hurdles in his path. But if these twists and turns fail to stop his progress and that bondsman of Allah starts doing that good deed after crossing these hurdles, then Satan’s second effort starts: he then tries to become the shareholder of that good deed- either by injecting evil into his sincerity and intention- or using some other similar means. That is, sometimes he attempts to mix the desire for show and fame, and sometimes he tries to corrupt his sincerity by mixing other motives- and at times he succeeds in this effort. It is, therefore, recommended for religious workers to remain alert from this danger. They must keep on safeguarding their hearts from such satanic whisperings, and should regularly examine their intentions. This is because the moment an intention other than the intention to please Allah becomes a part of a deed, it no longer remains acceptable by Allah.”




Hazrat Maulana said:

“This sad negligence and shortcoming occurs in many madrasahs that although the students are given education, yet no considerable effort is made to put these students to the actual objective of this study (that is, service of deen and calling towards Allah) when their education gets complete. As a result of this negligence, many promising student-scholars of these institutions, having completed their studies, only aim at earning their living. For this, they either rush to study herbal medicine or join the teaching profession in English schools after passing the government university examinations. In this way, all the time and money and all the efforts that were spent on their education not only go to a complete waste but corne in the use of the enemies of deen in some instances. Therefore, with respect to this education we should concentrate our efforts and thinking more on this thing that the students who get their studies complete, they should get involved only in the service of deen and in fulfilling the rights of the knowledge of deen. If our lands produce no fruit, it is still a loss; but if they produce fruit that goes to our enemies, it becomes a far greater loss.”



Hazrat Maulana further said:

“The religious deformation and damage that the government’s university examinations like ‘Molvi Fazil’ have brought on, is not being duly realised by us. These examinations are taken with the only purpose of seeking job in English-style schools. In other words, on the road to meet its objectives, the infidel government has introduced this system of education and has offered such examination so that the Muslim students may be made eligible to assist, or rather, making them the paid-means, in the completion of the schemes of infidel system. Think on this issue that, what else the greater injustice to the religious knowledge and its misuse could there be that the work of the ‘service’ of the education system of the enemies of Islam is taken from this knowledge. In other words, by means of these examinations, the direction of religious education is turned towards the infidels and the infidel government instead of linking with Allah and the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. Therefore, it becomes very dangerous.”!


Hazrat Maulana said:

“The primary and most important requirement of knowledge is this that a person should take stock of his own life: he should think over his obligations and his omissions, and should worry for fulfilling the rights which are due on him. On the contrary, if a person instead uses his knowledge for taking stock of others’ deeds and for counting others’ faults, it is but the pride of knowledge- which is deadly harmful to the people of knowledge.”

Do your own work; don’t pick holes in others’ work.


In answer to the question: ‘Why Muslims are not granted rule and authority?’ Hazrat Maulana said:

“When you are not applying Allah’s commands on yourself and are not stopping yourself from doing what Allah has forbidden, and are not fulfilling those commands of Allah which are for subjects, (that is, the things whose doing is not difficult), then, on what ground the administration of the world be given to you? The divine intention, behind giving the believers government on earth, is only that they should run the system of Allah’s commands and wishes in the world. When you are not doing this today even in your personal and subject life, how it can be expected for tomorrow from you, giving you the rule?”




Hazrat Maulana said:

“People regarded as loyal supporters of the government are, in fact, not loyal to anyone; they are loyal only to their interests. Since their selfish interests are being satisfied thanks to the present government today, they are supporting her. But tomorrow if their interests were to be served by those in the opposition, they will start singing their praises and will become equally loyal supporters of theirs. Such worshippers of the self-interests are, in fact, not faithful even to their fathers [because their associations alter from one day to the other]. The way to reform these people is not this that we should condemn them, or prepare them for opposing the government. Their real disease is their worship of desires, and so long as this disease remains in them, even if they give up their support for the government, they will become equally loyal to some other powers for satisfying their desires. Therefore, the work which must be done is: cultivating in them the worship of Allah, in place of the worship of desires, and making them faithful supporters of Allah and of His deen. Without this, their disease is not going to be cured.”



Hazrat Maulana said:

“This is a principle that man finds satisfaction in gaining what he likes and wishes for. For instance, a person who loves luxurious living, eats costly food and wears expensive clothes, will not find comfort and ease without these luxuries; whereas the person who loves sitting on a mat, sleeping on the ground, wearing simple clothes and eating simple food, will obviously feel delight in these things. Blessed are they who love simple living in following the Holy Prophet’s (Sallallahu Alayhi wasallam) example, because their peace of mind is in the inexpensive living- the means that are within the reach of both rich and poor. [This is indeed a big gift and great favour of Allah that one finds comfort and ease in simple and inexpensive means.] If our desires were bound with the things that only the rich can afford, we might have remained uneasy throughout our lives.”


Hazrat Maulana said:

“We have been commanded to spend on others out of what we have been given in this world; that is, we should not stop what we have been given, but should remain spending on others- but on condition that this spending should be proper and in the right places, according to the discipline and within limits set by Allah,-and should not be in an inappropriate manner or on unnecessary things.”


One day, probably due to rain, meat could not be obtained for the guests of Hazrat Maulana. On that day, a respectable person (who was a close relative of Hazrat Maulana) whose fondness for meat was well known to him was among the guests. I (the compiler) was also present:

To my surprise, the absence of meat from the meal greatly bothered Hazrat Maulana. After a while, he said with sorry feelings:

“It is narrated in the Hadeeth that: ‘The one who believes In Allah and the Last Day, should honour his guest. It is included in honouring the guest that, if possible, he should be provided with what he likes.”

Afterwards, Hazrat Maulana said in a pain-worn voice:


“How one can at all do honour to the guest of Allah and the guest of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam?”

(By this, he meant that those who pay a visit for the cause of Allah and the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam, their rights are greater than the rights of the common visitors.)


Hazrat Maulana said:

“Paradise is the return of [fulfilling others] rights. That is, letting go our own rights, our own comfort and our own ease for the sake of Allah,-and fulfilling others’ rights bearing troubles on our self (which includes the rights of AlIah as well). Paradise is the sole reward of such deeds.”

Hazrat Maulana further said:

“It is reported in a Hadeeth: Have mercy upon those on earth; the One in the skies will have mercy upon you. Two well-known incidents of two women are reported in the Hadeeth. First, that of a sin-laden and immodest woman who, taking pity, drew water for a thirsty dog from a well. In its return, Allah decided her entering into paradise. The other woman (who was .not sinful) kept a hungry cat imprisoned so that it died in great distress; because of this deed she was sentenced to hell.”


Hazrat Maulana said:

“The style of working of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam in Makkah (before the Hijrat), i.e., calling people to the good and meeting people in person for this purpose, seems to have changed after reaching Madinah- because there he himself sat in a centre. However, he did so after having prepared a particular jama’at of his responsible companions who had fully and efficiently carried out with the work of da’wat in the Makkan-order of working. After that, it became the need of this work that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam should himself sit in the centre and manage its activities in a systematic way, and take work from the companions. ”

“Likewise, the stay of Hazrat Umar Radiallahu Anhu in the centre, Madinah, became justifiable only when thousands of Allah’s bondsmen were available for jihad so as to elevate the Word of Allah in the lands of Iran and Rome. It then became the need of the hour that Hazrat Umar Radiallahu Anhu should himself sit in Madinah and firmly organise the work of da ‘wat and jihad.”



Hazrat Maulana said:

“A Hadeeth reports that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam taught Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq Radiallahu Anhu to beg the following du ‘aa after completing his salaat:

O Allah! I have wronged myself a great error, and there is none to forgive sins except you. So, forgive me by Your Grace and have mercy upon me, for verily, you are the Oft forgiving, Most Merciful.

Think for a while! The Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam is teaching this du ‘aa to Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq Siddiq Radiallahu Anhu, who is the best and most perfect of the whole Ummat, and whose salaat was so perfect in the sight of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam that he himself made him imam in the salaat [during his lifetime]- yet he is teaching him to beg this du ‘aa at the end of his salaat- that he should admit before Allah that he has remained weak in fulfilling the due of worship, and should beg forgiveness through His kindness and mercy! So, where do you and I stand?!”




Hazrat Maulana said:

“Man’s stay on earth is very short (i.e., not longer than the longest human life-span), whereas he will have to stay for much longer time below the earth. You may also put it this way that your earthly life is very short compared to the various places you are to stay afterwards. For example, in the grave up to the 1st sounding of the trumpet; after that, the period up to the 2nd sounding of the trumpet in a state best known to Allah alone (a span spreading for thousands of years); then thousands of years duration in the Plane on the Day of Judgement- and then, whatever be the divine decision about one’s final place in the hereafter. In short, every stage and place after death is thousands of life spans. Even then, how sad is the negligence of man that he does not make even that effort for those places which he does for his very short span of earthly life.”




Hazrat Maulana said:

“The true zikr of Allah is that: in whichever place and in whatever condition and engagement a person is, he must obey all of Allah’s commands that are relevant to that particular occasion. I press my friends more for this very zikr.”


Hazrat Maulana said:

“The tongue receives a special share in man’s mastery over the entire creation. So, if a man uses his tongue only for good speech, this will give him mastery in goodness. But if he has made his tongue an instrument of evil, for example, he uses foul language or unjustly harms others by speaking ill, then he will be distinguished in evil on account of the ill use of his tongue. Nor is this all, an evil tongue can sometimes make a man more evil than even dogs and pigs. A Hadeeth says: It is only the chatter of the tongue that throws people headlong into the fire.”   O Allah save us.





One day after Fajr salat, while encouraging people to help and serve deen, Hazrat Maulana started his talk with the following words:

“See that all people know and believe that Allah is not absent, but is present, and is seeing everything every moment. Now see, if the people, regardless of Allah’s all-existence and all-seeing, involve themselves in others rather than involving themselves in Him, i.e., turn away from Him and devote themselves and their attention to others- just think how unfortunate such people are and what a sad deprivation it is, and imagine how greatly would this thing be invoking Allah’s extreme anger?”

“To be indifferent to the work of Allah’s deen, and involving oneself in worldly engagements without observing His commands in worldly matters- is [the name of one’s] turning away from Allah and attaching and devoting oneself to other associations. On the other hand, being involved in the work of deen and to be obedient to Allah’s cornmands- is [the name of one’s sincere] involvement in Allah. But in this connection, care should be taken that the more important and essential a matter is, the more attention should that matter be given, [i.e., one must attend to first things first] – and this thing could be known from the perfect example of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam. It is known that the work- to which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam exerted himself the most, and for which he suffered biggest number of hardships- was spreading the Kalimah, i.e., putting people on the path of Allah’s obedience. So, this work will then receive priority above all other works, and involving oneself in this work will be the best form of involvement in Allah.”



In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“People have given much lesser importance to their obedience and service to Allah in contrast with their obedience and service to men. Therefore, when it comes to doing their employers’ work, this is the common behaviour of the servants that they consider it their duty to occupying themselves with this work all the time; and in doing their work, they [remain so busy that they do not even think about meals, and] eat whatever little comes to hand. On the other hand, what people do in discharging the due of Allah and deen is no more than cutting down some of their time from their solely personal engagements to do some religious devotion, like offering salaat or giving some money in charity, while wholly devoting themselves to the issues and events of their own interest and concern, and taking it as having fulfilled their right of service to Allah and deen. The right of Allah’s slavery means that the work of deen should be taken up as a regular job, while satisfying one’s thirst and hunger, and working for such needs, should be given secondary position.” (This does not mean that all people should give up their means of livelihood and businesses; it rather means that whatever may be the worldly business, it must be taken up with keeping the help and service of deen in view. [That is, a person should consider doing business to be the command of Allah; and considering his business to be the means of fulfilling this command of Allah, should then do his business- carrying out and fulfilling all those commands of Allah which appear in his business. In this way, his business will become deen.] One’s eating and drinking should be of an incidental nature, just as an employee’s is in the business of his employer.)


One day, a brother led a certain salaat and recited the following du ‘aa (which Hazrat Maulana himself used to utter time after time):

O Allah! Help those who help the deen of Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wasallam and belittle those who belittle the deen of Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

As Hazrat Maulana heard [the latter part of) this du’aa, he, in a pain-worn voice, repeated aloud the followings words thrice: “0 Allah! Do not make us from them.”

Then he addressed those present:

“Brothers! Think upon this du ‘aa and try to understand its weight. This is that du ‘aa which, in the same breath, is a curse as well- and has been continuously prayed by some particular bondsmen of Allah almost in every age. This is a very weighty du ‘aa: asking help and mercy in favour of those who help deen and make efforts in the cause of Allah; but, to them who do not help deen, it is an extremely severe curse- that Allah may deprive them of His mercy and help. Now, every person should judge his self by applying this du ‘aa, and see whether he is the picture of the good of this du ‘aa or is the target of its curse.”

“A point, which should be considered in this connection, is that offering up one’s own salaat and observing one’s own fasts, though high-ranking worships, yet are not the means of “helping deen”. Only that work is the ‘help of deen about which the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam declare to be so,- and the actual and heavenly-accepted method of which is one that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam did establish by himself. In this age, only the work of reviving and refreshing this method and this system, and making effort to giving it a new re-start, is the greatest help to deen. May Allah help us all to do so…Amin.”


In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:


“The actual aim of this movement of ours is to teach the Muslims everything with which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam came. (That is, to get the Ummat attached to the complete system of thought and practice of Islam.) This is our aim. As for this movement of jama’ats and Tableeghi Gasht these are the initial means of achieving this aim; and the instruction and teaching of Kalimah and salaat are, in other words, the ABC of our complete syllabus. It is also clear that our jama’ats cannot do all the work. What can be done by them is only this that wherever they go, they can only produce a motion and awakening by means of their effort, and attach those people, who are unmindful of religious concerns, to the possessors of deen of their place- and can inspire those people of their place who have the worry for deen (i.e., ulama and reformers) for making efforts to reform the ignorant common people. [That is, connecting the public with the ulama, and ulama with the public.] Only the local workers of a place can do the actual work in that place. People will also get more benefit if they get themselves attached to the possessors of deen of their own place. As regards the method of this work, it should be learnt from those of our people who are practically working in this method of learning and teaching since long, and have, for the most part, understood its discipline.”


In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“Our workers must remember it firmly that they should not lose their hopes and get sad in case their da ‘wat and tableegh is not welcomed somewhere, and if they are even insulted and abused and people lay blames on them instead. On such occasions, they should call this thing to their minds that this is the special sunnat and heritage of the Prophets, and in particular of the Chief of all the Prophets Sallallahu alayhi wasallam. It is not the luck of everyone to get humiliated in the path of Allah. [Disgrace of the path of Allah is not given to everyone.] And where they are welcomed with honour and respect, their da ‘wat and tableegh is appreciated, and where people listen to their talks and accept their work with enthusiasm, this must be considered only as a favour from Allah; and they should never show disregard to this favour. To serve and to preach these seekers of deen, even if they come from the lowest orders of society, must be considered as giving thanks to this favour of Allah. We are given this lesson in the following verse of the Holy Quran: He [the Prophet] frowned and turned away because the blind man approached him!” [Q 80:01-02]

“Of course in such situations we must feel afraid of the cheating of our own self. We should not consider this popularity and appreciation to be our own achievement. Moreover, in such a situation there is an acute danger of ‘peer adoration’ (worship of religious elders). Therefore, we must remain careful in this respect.”


In this connection Hazrat Maulana further said:


“All workers must be given to understand that in this path, they should never ask Allah for difficulties and hardships. (One should always beg welfare and safety from Allah.) But if Allah sends difficulties in this path, they should consider them to be Allah’s mercy, and a means of the forgiveness of sins and of raising the grades. Difficulties in this path have been the special ‘foods’ of the Prophets, the Siddiqeen and those near to Allah.”


Hazrat Maulana further said:

“While giving da ‘wat, the face of our self should be towards Allah only, and not towards the listeners. In other words, when talking to people, this thought must be present in our minds that we have come out neither for our any personal work and nor by our own will, we have but come out by Allah’s command and for His work; and that only Allah will make the listeners accept our talk. While talking to people if we bear this in mind, Insha-Allah neither shall we get angry at the negative response of the listeners, nor shall we lose our courage.”


Hazrat Maulana further said:

“How wrong it is going on that when people accept our talk, we regard it our success, and when they do not, it is considered as our failure; whereas entertaining such thoughts in this path is entirely wrong. To accept or not to accept is the deed of others, how can we be declared successful or unsuccessful on account of any deed of others? Our success is only this that we do our work [properly). If others do not accept this, it is their own failure. How that we have become unsuccessful because of others’ non-acceptance? People have forgotten this thing. They regard the acceptance of others as their work and their responsibility (which, in fact, is the “concern of Allah), whereas our responsibility is restricted to efforts made to the best of our ability. Not even the Prophets Alaihimus Salaam were reposed in the responsibility of getting the work accepted .”

“Of course from non-acceptance we should take this lesson that perhaps there was something lacking in our effort [inward .md spiritual and/or outward and visible] and we were not able to fulfil the right of communication (i.e., presenting our talk in that way in which it should have been presented), because of which Allah has given us this result. And after this, we must get determined to increase the amount of our efforts and the quantity and quality of du ‘aa and seeking Allah’s help.”


In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“Our common workers, wherever they go, should make effort to visit the righteous ulama and the reformers of that place, but this visit should be with the only intention of deriving spiritual benefit from them. Do not call these people directly to this work. They are well at home in the religious work which they are doing and the advantages of that work are in their experience, therefore, you will not be able to make them properly understand this of your talk. That is, you may not get them to understand with your talks that this work is of greater benefit to deen, and will bring more good than their other religious works. So, these people will not accept your talk; and once they say NO, it will become very difficult to change that NO to YES in future. Add to its adverse effect that the people who have faith in them will also not listen to your talk, it is also possible that you yourself become uncertain [about your talk]. Therefore, the ulama should be visited with the only intention of deriving spiritual benefit. However, extensive struggle should be carried out in the people of their place, and you should make more and more effort on abiding by the principles of this work. By so doing, it is hoped that the reports of the progress of your work will reach them by themselves and will become the caller for them, and will thus catch their attention. Afterwards, if they themselves pay attention towards you and your efforts, then request them for husbanding and taking care of your work; and, paying deep attention to their religious status, put your talk to them.”


Hazrat Maulana further said:

“If it is seen somewhere that the ulama and reformers of that place are not sympathetic to this work, then no place will be given to negative thoughts about them in the heart. Rather, we should take it this way that the complete reality of this work has not opened to them as yet. In addition, it must be understood that since these people are special servants of deen, Satan is a greater enemy to them than he is to us. (It is only the treasure where the thieves come.) Apart from this, another thing which should be taken into consideration here is that when the slaves of worldly concerns cannot give preference to joining this work of deen over their lower and mean worldly businesses, and do not do this work leaving their engagements, how can the possessors of deen easily surrender their noble religious concerns in the name of this work? People who are deeply rooted in knowledge and have a sense of direction, say chat: The veils of Light are much thicker than those of the veils of Darkness.”


In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“Among the principles of tableegh, one is that we should remain strict in our general talks, but should remain soft while speaking to a particular gathering or on a particular matter; .rather, even for a particular reformation we should talk generally, not particularly. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam used to say ‘What has happened to the people who do such and such things … ?’ when speaking of the wrong of some particular person.”



In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“We have got in the habit of being pleased only with talks. We take mere lip-service to good deeds as standing for their performance. Give up this habit and do work!!”

Do perform some work and leave all useless talk;

In this path it is action that makes a man worthy of his salt.


In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“Time is a moving train and the hours, minutes and seconds are like its coaches, whereas our occupations are the passengers sitting in them. Presently, our inferior materialistic occupations have gained such a control of this train and coaches of our life that they are not allowing the nobler concerns of the hereafter to come in. Our work is that we should be determined to put these nobler concerns in plate of the mean worldly occupations: the concerns which please Allah and build our hereafter.”


In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“Whatever a good work we do by the help of Allah, we should always make istighfar at its end. In short, all our deeds should essentially be followed with istighfaar. That is, considering that there must have been certain failings in our work- and for these failings we must beg forgiveness from Allah. Our Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam himself used to seek Allah’s forgiveness even after salaat. Since no one can ever fully discharge the due of Allah’s work, therefore the work of Tableegh must always be concluded with istighfaar. Moreover, as doing a certain work often becomes the cause of not doing some other works, we should balance such shortcomings also by concluding all our good deeds with istighfaar.”


One day after Fajr salaat when the Masjidid of Nizamuddin was thickly peopled and the workers of this movement were present in a great number, and Hazrat Maulana was so weak that he found it difficult to utter loudly even a few words, though lying in his bed, he called for one of his special attendants and conveyed this message to the entire gathering through him:

“All your moving in this path and all your struggle will remain useless if, together with this effort, you did not manage to learn the knowledge of deen and doing the zikr of Allah. (In other words, ilm and zikr are two wings; one without these things cannot fly long in the environment of Tableegh.) There is in fact, a great danger that if these two things are overlooked, this work, be it not so, may tum into a new door of waywardness, and mischief.”

He then told about the status and the true nature of ilm and zikr

“If there does not exist the knowledge of deen, then iman and Islam will exist only in name and as a formality; and if knowledge exists, but without the zikr of Allah- then it is a complete darkness (a big evil). In the like manner, the zikr of Allah- if even in excess- is very dangerous if it is without the knowledge of deen. In short, through zikr, noor (divine light) comes in the knowledge, and without knowledge the real fruits and blessings of zikr cannot be achieved: rather, in most cases. Satan makes such ignorant sufis its instruments. So the importance of knowledge and zikr should never be underestimated in this work but should always be given special attention. Otherwise, this Tableeghi Movement of yours will, too, become a mere wandering- and Allah forbid, you will suffer heavy losses.”

(Hazrat Maulana’s objective with this advice was that those making effort in this path of Da’wat and Tableegh should not, as has become the present-day trend, consider their struggle, journeys and selfless sacrifices to be the actual work; they should rather regard teaching and learning of the knowledge of deen and making the habit of remaining constantly in the state of Allah’s zikr and making connection with Him as the chief things to be aimed at. In other words, they are required not to become merely the ‘soldiers’ and preachers, but to become the ‘seekers and students of deen and the doers of Allah’s zikr’ as well.).


In mid of June [1944] when I (Zafar Ahmad Thanvi) attended Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Rahmatulah alaihi last time, he said as soon as I arrived:

The last breaths of my life have come on my lips; please come so that I may Feel life returning to me. When I will not be here (when I will die), of what use will your coming be to me?

So high was the effect of this on me that tears welled in my eyes. Hazrat Maulana then said: ‘Do you remember your promise?’ (I had promised to give some time in Tableegh.) I replied: ‘I do remember! However, it is too hot in Delhi; as it will soon be holidays in Ramadan, I shall give some of my time in Tableegh after Ramadan.’ He said: you are talking of Ramadan, whereas I do not expect even seeing Sha’ban, On this I said: ‘Very well, I shall remain here. Do not take it to heart I am going to give time in Tableegh right now. Hearing this, his face beamed with delight, and he embraced me and kissed my forehead, and for a while, folded me against his chest and gave me lots of du ‘aa. Afterwards he said:

“You are the one who, at least, have come towards me.

There are many ulama who want to understand my objective while staying away from me.”

Then Hazrat Maulana mentioned the name of a leading aalim who was taking an active part in the work in those days, and said:


“If you ask me, he has not understood my purpose even by now- because he has never talked directly to me and has always been using some means for communication. Now, how can I explain my purpose through means, and especially when these means are not good at absorbing my purpose? I therefore desire that you should remain with me for some days- because only then will you understand my purpose, and otherwise not. I know that you participate in Tableegh: you deliver lectures at gatherings which benefit people, but this is not that Tableegh which I want.”


In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“It is reported in a Hadeeth that: The world Is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever. This means that we have not been sent to this world for filling our bellies and for fulfilling the lust and desires of our self- the way which turns this world into ‘paradise’ for a person; we have been sent rather to oppose our self and to obey Allah’s commands- by which this world becomes ‘prison’ for the believer. Hence, like the disbelievers, if we also make this world a paradise by supporting our self and following our inclinations, we will be robbing disbelievers of their paradise. In this case, Allah’s help will not be with the robber, it will be instead with those robbed. Think well upon these words!”


Hazrat Maulana said:

“When people see the blessings of my Tableeghi work, they start thinking that the work is going on; whereas work is one thing, blessing another. Note that the blessings started appearing on the scene right with the birth of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam, but the actual work started much later; therefore, take the appearance of these blessings in this scenario. I am speaking truth that the actual work has not started till now, because the day when the work will get started, Muslims will come full circle to the good old days of 700 years ago. But if the actual work does not begin but remains at its present stage, and people start considering this work as just a movement among many other movements, or if the doers of this work get slipped in this path- then the calamities which were to appear in centuries will come in months. Therefore it is necessary to understand this thing.”


I (Zafar Ahmad Thanvi) delivered a talk to a Jumu’a gathering in the masjid of the parliament in Delhi. It was Hazrat Maulana’s suggestion that a talk should be delivered over there. After Jumu’a, I did not return to Nizamuddin and stayed over-night with some relatives. The next day when I returned to Nizamuddin, I apologised that I had to spend that night in Delhi due to the insistence of some relatives. Hazrat Maulana said: “Dear Maulana! There’s no need to apologise. Since those doing this work usually come to experience such excuses, so do not bother about it. Good! Tell me: was a talk delivered at the masjid of the parliament?” I replied: “Yes, there was.” On hearing this, he became very happy. Afterwards, he said: “These people have no urge to call us because they find no time spare from their worldly concerns. To these people we should go and make tableegh without their call.”

He then asked me what the talk was about. I replied: “It was an explanation of the verse: Verily, In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the succession of night and day, there are indeed messages for all who are endowed with Insight, [and] who remember Allah when they stand, and when they sit, and when they lie down to sleep … [Q. 03190-191) [After explaining that the wise ones are those who, from observation of these phenomena, reach to Allah] I talked on the necessity of Allah’s zikr and explained its reality, and then stressed upon the need of tableegh.” Hazrat Maulana advised that that subject was too lofty and was not suitable for that gathering, and the people gathered there [in the Markaz] were the ones to whom such a talk should be delivered sometime. For that gathering, it would have been better to explain the verse:

For those who shun the powers of evil lest they [be tempted to] worship them, and turn unto Allah Instead, there Is the glad tiding [of happiness In the life to come]. Give, then, this glad tiding to [those of] My servants who listen [closely] to all that Is sold, and follow the best of it: [for] It Is they whom Allah has graced with His guidance, and It is they who are [truly] endowed With Insight! [Q.391718)

Hazrat Maulana added: “These people are of a lesser stage and the words “it is they whom Allah has graced with His guidance’ of this verse tell us about it.” I replied: “True! If I got another chance, I will talk there on this subject.”


In one sitting Hazrat Maulana said:

“Rejecting the powers of evil and turning towards -Allah is the actual objective of our Tableegh; and this cannot be done without sacrifice. In deen, there is the sacrifice of both body and wealth. Hence, in Tableegh, the sacrifice of body means that a person leaves his home and environment for the sake of Allah, spreads Allah’s Word, and propagates deen; whereas the sacrifice of wealth means that he should himself bear the cost of travelling in Tableegh. Whereas the person who is not able to go out for some reason at a particular time, should specially prepare others to come out for Tableegh in those days; following which, with reference to: Leading others to good Is like doing the good by oneself, he will get a share of the rewards of the struggle of all those going out. If someone were to financially assist those going out, then he will get the reward of the sacrifice of wealth as well. Moreover, we should consider those whom we have sent out as having done us a favour because they are doing the work which we should have done but could not do due to some excuse, and they have, therefore, removed the responsibility from us. The teaching of deen is that both those excused and those sitting at home (with a sufficient and valid excuse, of course) should consider those making efforts in the path of Allah as having favoured them.”


Hazrat Maulana said to me (Zafar Ahmad Thanvi): ‘Maulanal In our Tableegh, ilm and zikr are of great importance. Practice is not possible without ilm, nor would one know the reality of practice; and without zikr, ilm is a complete darkness (evil), and there can be no noor in it. But our workers are lacking in ilm and zikr I replied: ‘Tableegh itself is an important obligation; and this lessening in zikr is like the example of Hazrat Syed Sahib Barelwi Rahmatullah alaihi who, while preparing for jihad, engaged his companions in horse-riding and archery instead of zikr and related activities. A complaint voiced that that noor was no longer seen as before, to which Hazrat Syed Sahib Rahmatullah alaihi replied: “Yes! This is the noor of jihad instead of the noor of zikr, and is what we need at the moment.”’

Hazrat Maulana again said:

“But, it’s the lack of ilm and zikr that I am worried about and feeling pain. This deficiency is. because that the people of ilm and zikr have not come to this work as yet. If they come in and take this work in their hands, then this deficiency will also be removed. However, very few ulama and people of zikr have come to this work by now.”

COMMENTARY: The jama’ats that go out until now are lacking ulama and spiritually developed people, which was the chief cause of Hazrat Maulana’s worry. Would that the ulama and spiritually developed people had also been moving with these jama’ats, this deficiency would be removed. Alhamdulillah! Ulama and spiritually developed people are present here in the Markaz, but they are in a small number. If they were also to go in every jama’ats; who will then care for the affairs of the Markaz?


In a sentence of Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi’s letter, it was mentioned that Muslims can only be of two types, and there could be no third type: either they are the ones out in the path of Allah, or they are the ones assisting those who are going .out, Hazrat Maulana commented: ‘He has understood very well.’ He then said:

“Assisting those going out also includes encouraging and preparing others to go out. One should encourage people telling them that if their going out promotes a regular delivering of the lectures on the Sahih of Bukhari or the Holy Quran of any aalim, they will get the reward of those lectures even. Let the people know about these kinds of intentions and ways of making the most of rewards.”


Once Hazrat Maulana said to me Zafar Ahmad Thanvi):

“Maulana! Our Tableegh, in summary, is that: common practising Muslims should learn deen from their learned people, and teach it to the lesser-informed people. However, they should consider those lesser-informed people to be their benefactors, because the more we spread and propagate the Kalimah, the more Our own Kalimah will get completed and enlightened. Likewise, the more we prepare others for offering salaat, the more our Own salaat will get improved.”

(This is a big formula in Tableegh that the preacher should consider his inner development and his own reformation to be the basic and principle aim; he shouldn’t consider himself the guide to others- because the guide is none other than Allah.)


Once Hazrat Maulana said:

“It is reported in the Hadees that: ‘One who does not show mercy, will not be shown mercy. Have mercy upon those on earth; the One in the skies will have mercy upon you.’ It is sad that people have restricted this mercy only to those fasting from necessity. They take pity on those who are hungry or thirsty, and for those having no garment, but have no feelings of mercy for Muslims that they are deprived of deen (i.e., deen is not present in them). In other words, the deficiency of material things is considered a loss, but the deficiency in deen is not considered so. Why then should the One in the skies take pity on us when we feel no grief at the ruined religious condition of Muslims?”

Hazrat Maulana continued:

“This feeling of mercy is the foundation of our Tableegh; therefore, this work should be carried out necessarily with kindness and the feelings of mercy. If a person goes out for Tableegh because the unfortunate religious state of his Muslim brothers pains him, he will definitely perform his duty with kindness and mercy. However, if instead he has some other inclination, he will be a victim of superiority-complex and self-elation, and any benefit from his work is beyond hope. Moreover, the person who performs Tableegh keeping this Hadeeth in view will have sincerity as well as a watch over his own failings. While his eyes may catch sight of the failings of others, their Islamic merits will also be in his sight. Such a person will not favour his self, but will blame it. The formula of this Tableegh is that one should not favour his self, but should always keep the lesson of blaming his self in view.”


Once Hazrat Maulana said to me (Zafar Ahmad Thanvi):

“Maulana! The matter of Allah’s commands calls for a careful examination and research; and we should always be doing this research. For example, before doing a work, it should be considered that being busy with a work needs two things: first, paying attention to the work going to be done, and secondly, neglecting other works in that time. Now, we should make sure whether there exists any work more important than the work we are busy with- and this thing cannot be recognised without a close examination of the matter.”


Once Hazrat Maulana said:

“Before starting salaat, one should sit down and deeply think upon its virtues and returns. Salaat performed without this preparation will be shallow and hollow. Therefore, one should deeply think upon salaat before performing it.”

COMMENTARY: It is for this reason that shari’at has joined offering sunan, nawafil, and iqamat before offering the salaat, – that this fardh worship may become filled with a due thinking of the related virtues and returns. However, we understand neither these causes and effects of the sunan, nawafil, and iqamat, nor do we enjoy their blessings. That’s why our faraaidh remain poor (in quality).

O Allah! I pray you for perfection In wudhu, perfection In salaat, and perfection In winning Your pleasure… Amin.


Once Hazrat Maulana said:

“The workers of Tableegh should create an openness in their hearts, which will be created by looking at the spread of Allah’s mercy. The work of spiritual training and development should be done after this.”


Once Hazrat Maulana said:

“In the beginning of Islam (when deen was weak and dunya was strong), the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam himself went from house to house to meet the people empty of the ‘want’ of deen, and used to visit their assemblies for giving da’wat without being called-for; he did not wait for their invitation. To some places, the Sahabah Radiallahu anhum were sent for tableegh. The same weakness (in the ‘want’ of deen] is present today. Therefore, we should visit in person the groups of impious and those who feel no interest in religion and are empty of the ‘want’ of deen, and exalt the Word of Allah among them.”

Then Hazrat Maulana had to round-off his talk due to the dryness of his mouth, but said to me (Zafar Ahmad Thanvi); “Maulana! You have come here very late. I have spoken at length and cannot continue. Think over what I have just said.”


Once Hazrat Maulana said:

‘To begin with, I teach zikr thus: reciting (l) Tasbeeh-e-fatimi and (2) Kalimah-e- Tamjeed (3rd kalimah) after each salaat and (3) durood and (4) istighfar one hundred times every morning and evening; (5) reciting the Holy Quran with the correction of tajweed; (6) offering tahajjud salaat regularly among nawaafil, and (7) visiting people of zikr. Without zikr, knowledge is but darkness; whereas zikr without knowledge is door to many evils.”


Once Hazrat Maulana said:

“[Inspired] dreams form the 46th part of prophethood. By way of such dreams, some people get such an advancement that even regular spiritual exercises and religious efforts cannot bring that advancement, because they are inspired with correct knowledge in dreams. Then, why progress will not take place? (Through knowledge, acquaintance with Allah gets increased; and when this acquaintance increases, one increases in nearness to Allah.) It is for this reason that we are commanded to pray for increasing in knowledge: Say: 0 My Sustainer, cause me to grow in knowledge,” [Q.20:114]

Hazrat Maulana further said:

“These days, correct knowledge opens on me in dreams; therefore, make an effort that I may avail more sleep. [Hazrat Maulana then said that he could sleep very little due to dryness, and when he consulted ‘a physician and with his advise got his head massaged with oil, his sleep increased.] The method of this Tableegli was opened to me in a dream. The commentary of: You are Indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong. and you believe In Allah … (Q.03:110) was inspired to me in a dream as follows: you people (i.e., the Ummat of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), like the Prophets, have been made to appear for mankind. Using the word brought forth here indicates that the work will not be done by restricting to one place but, instead, going from door to door will be needed. Your work is to affirm what is good and to negate what is forbidden. After this, through ‘believe In Allah’, it has been made known that by means of inviting to Good, your own iman will increase. As far as Iman itself is concerned, its report is contained in the verse being discussed.) Thus, do not intend guidance of others but intend for your own benefit.”

“Moreover, the word ‘mankind’ in the verse ‘brought forth for [the good of] mankind’ is used for the non-Arab people, and notfor the people of Arab, because for them the directives: On you does not lie their guardianship. [Q 39:41) and … You are not a warden over them. [Q 88:22 indicates that their guidance has been decided, and the Holy Sallallahu alayhi wasallam needn’t bother himself much about their guidance. Note that the addressees of “You are indeed the best community’ are the people of Arab, whereas ‘for mankind’ speaks of the people other than the Arab; and the verse: … Now if the followers of earlier revelation had attained to [this kind of] faith, It would have been for their own good. [Q. 031:110 (which is the concluding part of the verse quoted above) contains the report of this fact.”

“See that the phrase here is: ‘for their Own good’, and not for your own good’ [that is, the good of both the preacher and the addressee], which hints that the preacher- whether the addressee accepts or rejects- reaps the benefit of the strengthening of his own iman by means of Tableegh itself; and this benefit, on no account, rests in the other’s embracing iman due to the effect of Tableegh: it would be to his benefit who accepts the call”.