Attaining Divine Proximity
The normal Sunnah of Allah Ta’ala for His servants regarding the attainment of Qurb-e-Ilaahi (Divine Proximity – Nearness to Allah Ta’ala) is to join the ranks of the Saadiqeen. The Saadiqeen are the elite Auliya of Allah Ta’ala. The rule is that it is impossible to travel along the Path leading to Allah Azza Wa Jal without being in the company of the Saadiqeen. While every rule has exceptions, the exception is not the norm. Although the True spiritual guide is Allah Azza Wa Jal, He has created the institution of the Saadiqeen to lead His servants unto Him. It is for this reason that the Qur’aan Majeed commands in several Aayaat cultivation of the companionship with the Saadiqeen.
Allah Ta’ala says:
“O People of Imaan! Fear Allah (adopt Taqwa), and be with the Saadiqeen.” (At-Taubah, Aayat 119)
In this Aayat, Allah Ta’ala informs us that the way of acquiring Taqwa is in the company of the Saadiqeen and Saaliheen. With the march of time, the dearth of Saadiqeen is incremental. The further we move from the age of Nubuwwat, the fewer become the Saadiqeen. The current era in which we find ourselves is practically barren of Saadiqeen. They all have departed and are to be found only in the graves.
Regarding the disappearance of the Saadiqeen and Saaliheen, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“The Saaliheen are departing one after the other (in quick succession) until there will remain only the scum such as the chaff of dates or barley. Allah Ta’ala will have no care whatsoever for them.”
How to be with the Saadiqeen
In this era, we are deprived of the Saadiqeen. When the physical companionship of the Saadiqeen is not available, all the Mashaaikh have advised and emphasized the imperative importance of reading daily many pages from the life episodes, advices and admonition of the Auliya. Insha-Allah, this will become an adequate substitute for the sincere seeker of Islaah – moral reformation and spiritual elevation. Hadhrat Junaid Baghdadi (Rahmatullah alayh) said that the Waaqiaat (Anecdotes) of the Auliya are among the armies of Allah Azza Wa Jal. They morally purify and spiritually fortify the Traveler along the Path of Rectitude leading to Allah Ta’ala.
Confirming this truth, the Qur’aan Majeed says:
“And, whatever We narrate to you of the stories of the Rusul (Messengers of bygone times and of the Auliya), is to fortify your heart.” (Hud, Aayat 120)
This Aayat is in the first instance for Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The address is directed at him. When the Waaqiaat of the bygone Ambiya and Saadiqeen are a means for fortifying the purified heart of even Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), then we can understand the need for us to adopt this method prescribed by the Qur’aan Majeed.
The importance of their companionship
The imperative importance of companionship with the Saadiqeen is highlighted and emphasized in the following Qur’aanic Aayat:
“And, keep yourself (O Muhammad!) resolutely with those who call unto their Rabb morning and evening for the Sake of His Face (His Pleasure), and do not divert your eyes from them. Do you desire the adornment of the dunya? And, do not follow him whose heart is ghaafil (oblivious) of Our Thikr and he follows his vain desires, and his affairs are in transgression of the limits.” (Kahaf, Aayat 28)
Someone asked Hadhrat Shaikh Bu Ali Daqqaaq (Rahmatullah alayh) if there was any benefit in listening to the episodes of the Auliya if one does not practice accordingly. He said that there are two benefits.
(1) If the person is a seeker of the Truth, his resolution will increase. His search will increase.
(2) If a person suffers from pride, then his pride will diminish, and he will abstain from making claims of deception. He will view his virtues as deficiencies.
It is accepted that, especially in this era of abject Imaani weakness, it is not possible to follow in exactitude the austere ways of Taqwa and Wara’ of the illustrious Auliya of bygone times. The objective of reading and reflecting on the anecdotes of the Auliya is to view oneself in the mirror of these Auliya. In this Mirror one will observe with clarity one’s own deficiencies, and how far one has drifted from Siraatul Mustaqeem. When this realization dawns on a person, he will make endeavours to reform himself and at least conduct his life within the parameters of the Shariah. And, this is the very minimum obligatory requisite for immediate salvation in the Aakhirah, i.e. salvation from the Fire and entry into Jannat without first having to be purified in Jahannam.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the Rahmat of Allah Ta’ala descends when the stories of the Auliya are narrated. The Faidh (spiritual effulgence) of the Auliya whose life episodes are narrated exercises an effect on the audiences and becomes a wealth of fortune for them before Maut.
Some people asked Shaikh Abu Yusuf Hamdaani (Rahmatullah alayh): “When the Auliya disappear – when they are hidden, then what should we do to remain safe from the moral and spiritual ravages of the world?” The Shaikh said: “Daily read 16 pages of their advices and admonition.”
Hadhrat Shaikh Fareeduddeen Attaar (Rahmatullah alayh) said: “This kalaam (i.e. the advices of the Auliya) is the best speech. It creates an aversion in the heart for the dunya. It reminds of the Aakhirat. It cultivates friendship for Allah Ta’ala in the heart. It impels a person to make preparations for the Aakhirat. The kalaam of the Auliya is the commentary of the Qur’aan and Ahaadith.”
Although we are not of the Saaliheen and Saadiqeen, we do love them. Perhaps Allah Ta’ala will bestow to us reformation by virtue of this love, and perhaps he resurrects us in the assembly of those whom we love.