Can only those who perform enormous prayers are considered pious? What if a sinner is remorseful but continues his wrongdoing because it has become part of his nature and he cannot help it, can he ever become pious? Well, a simple answer is yes! Continue to read the article to find out how is it possible for a sinner to become pious.
Incident of Bishr al-Hafi
Bishr ibn Harith was often seen wasted and drunk at the bar. However, Allah, the most Merciful, liked one of his acts because of which He forgave all of his sins. He made him not only pious but also converted him from an alcoholic to a saint.
In Uyun Ul Hikayaat, Bishr al-Hafi describes this incident in the following words:
Once I was headed somewhere, I came across a piece of paper laying around on the ground. The name of my Merciful and Compassionate Lord was written on the paper. This made me uncomfortable and agitated. Therefore, out of respect and regard I immediately picked up the paper, went to the canal and washed it. At that time, I had only five coins (daniq). I used four coins to buy fragrance and with the remaining one coin bought rose essence. Then with a lot of love and regard, I perfumed the paper, put rose essence on it. Afterwards, I reverently placed it at a sanctified place and came home.
That night, I saw someone saying in my dream,
“O Bishr! The way you have perfumed and exalted My name, I will exalt your name. The way you washed the paper that had My name on it, I will rinse and purify your name and you shall gain prominence.” (Uyun ul Hikayaat)
This incidence shows that only one humble deed may be weighted high enough in the court of Allah to forgive man and turn him to the righteous path.
Spiritual Rank of Bishr al-Hafi
In Al-Bidaya wa’Nihaya (volume II), it is mentioned:
Ibrahim al-Arabi said that no one is born alike Bishr al-Hafi in Baghdad. He is the most prominent among the people of Baghdad in his intelligence, piety and caution of using his words. Additionally he has not seen him pass any unkind remarks about his fellow Muslim. He was so wise that if his intelligence was distributed among everyone in Baghdad, it would load up people with wisdom, yet his wisdom would not lessen even an ounce. (Al-Bidaya wa’Nihaya-volume II)
Bishr ibn Harith became famous by the name al-Hafi, which means bare footed, because when Allah enlightened his inward with piety, he was bare feet. Therefore, he chose to remain bare foot for the rest of his life.
Another reason why he was famously called al-Hafi is because according to him Allah is the Creator of the ground. Therefore, it is disrespectful to walk with shoes on the royal ground of the True Emperor. (Tazkirat al-Awliya)
Bishr al-Hafi’s Transformation from an Alcoholic to a Saint
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman, writes in his book, Shams-ul-Fuqara:
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was once known for his disapproval for mysticism and Sufis. However, afterwards true faith adorned his inward and soul through the blessed company of Bishr al-Hafi. He then would answer queries about sharia himself but would refer the seekers of Truth and Reality to Bishr al-Hafi. Seeing this, students of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal felt embarrassed. Thus, asked him why he would refer people to a Sufi when he himself was a great scholar! He replied that he only had the knowledge of sharia and Bishr al-Hafi knew Allah Himself. Therefore, he directed seekers of Allah to him. (Shams-ul-Fuqara)
Death of Bishr al-Hafi
Abu al-Fida Imad Ad-Din ibn Kathir writes:
When Bishr al-Hafi died, all Baghdadis gathered for his funeral prayer. His funeral was after the morning prayer while he was buried after the night salat.
Ali al-Madni and other exotic Hadith narrators on his funeral were saying out loud, “By God! it is an honour (being part of his funeral) in the world before the honour of the hereafter. It is narrated that after his death djinns used to lament at his place of residence. One man saw him in his dream and asked him: “How did Allah treat you?” Al-Hafi replied, “He forgave me and anyone who endear me till the Day of Judgement.” (Al-Bidaya wa’Nihaya-volume II)
Can a Sinner Become Pious?
A simple answer to this question is yes. In fact we learned from the incident of Bishr al-Hafi that Allah is Benevolent and Merciful. He bestows high ranks, fulfil our desires, grant inner peace and enlighten our inward. Allah the most Gracious and the most Merciful may select whoever He wants and whenever He wishes. He is above all boundaries or rules. Only He knows better what standard He follows.
How the Inward of a Person Changes?
We cannot change anyone’s inward. All we can do is convey the message of righteousness. Only He can direct someone to the right path. We can only ignite the flames of the love for Allah and His Prophet and search for righteous path. However, we must be humble on this path and always fear Allah. The Divine lovers, the residents of paradise and the forgivers in the way of Allah are all treated uniquely in the court of Allah. Who are we to prescribe reward or punishment for someone? This is corresponding to holding partners to Allah! God forbid!
Arrogance Wayward From the Righteous Path
How can we determine reward or punishment for someone? Merely based on their arrogance, narcissism and jealousy. When we foresee that we are destined to be in paradise, it pushes us in the swamp of arrogance and condescension. Prophet Mohammad said:
“Whoever has arrogance in his inward even compared to the weight of mustard seed, Allah will throw him down on his face in Hellfire.” (Musnad Ahmad 7015)
Therefore, we should always be worried about our own deeds. To become pious we must fear Allah and continue to perform good deeds with sincerity.
برُے بندے نوں میں لبھن ٹریا، بُرا لبھا نہ کوئی
جد میں اندر جھاتی پائی تے میں توں بُرا نہ کوئی
I tried to find a bad person, but I couldn’t find one around me. When I peeked inside me, I realized that I was the worst of all. (Mohammad Bakhsh)
Repented is the First Step Towards becoming pious
We must remember that both Adam and Satan committed a mistake. Adam repent, knelt before Allah and asked for forgiveness. However, Satan remained arrogant, did not admit his mistake, thus is among the cursed ones.
Now it does not mean that one commits sin with the intention that he will seek forgiveness later on. Allah accepts repentance of only those sins that are committed by mistake or unknowingly. Often people are trapped in the cycle of wrongdoing in a way that they are aware of their mistake, yet they continue to do so because they don’t have the strength to fight the diseases of their innerself. What can one do in such instance?
Well! Man must stay humble in the court of Allah and ask Him to eradicate the diseases of innerself. If the intentions of the person are pure then Allah certainly leads him to a perfect spiritual guide. He then with his spiritual attention cleanses the inward of man. Also, he eradicates the diseases of his innerself one by one and makes him pious by granting the rank of his spiritual substitution.
How can a sinner reform into a pious Person?
So far we have learnt that a sinner can transform into a pious person. Now the question arises how is it possible? Can the nature of a person be changed? Well truth be told, physical prayers and forty-day seclusion does not change the nature of the person. Allah has granted the spiritual power to the perfect spiritual guide to sanctify the inward of people in the similar manner people used to benefit from the company of the Holy Prophet. Allah says in Quran:
Meaning: O believers! Fear Allah persistently and keep looking for mediator to (approach and get closer to) Him. (5:35)
In the aforementioned verse the mediator refers to a medium, like Prophet or Messenger of Allah. Since after the Holy Prophet, no prophet will arrive, therefore in today’s era the medium would be a perfect spiritual guide. Provided the spiritual guide is perfect and possess the spiritual power to cleanse the inward.
How can one become pious per Sultan Bahoo?
کامل مُرشد ایسا ہووے، جیہڑا دھوبی وانگوں چَھٹّے ھُو
نال نگاہ دے پاک کریندا، وِچ سَجیّ صبون نہ گھتے ھُو
میلیاں نوں کر دیندا چِٹّا، وِچ ذَرّہ مَیل نہ رَکھے ھُو
ایسا مرشد ہووے بَاھُوؒ، جیہڑا لُوں لُوں دے وِچ وَسّے ھُو
Explanation: The perfect spiritual guide should be like a laundryman who does not let even the faintest stain stick to clothes. He turns dirty into white, meaning makes sinner into a pious person. To make seeker pious he does not involve him in forty days seclusion or unnecessary endeavors and struggles. Instead, he shows him the righteous path of Ism-e-Allah Zaat along with casting spiritual glance. This purifies the innerself, removes the diseases of soul and make him pious. His marvel lies in the fact that he eradicates the love of the world from one’s inward. Furthermore, he removes its vicious desires as well as that of the inciting innerself. He drowns a seeker in Allah’s Oneness. A worthy seeker is the one who is manifestation of his spiritual guide. A worthy guide has the power to make it possible.
Furthermore, the spiritual company of the perfect spiritual guide nurtures the love of Allah and His Prophet. This love saves the seeker from committing sins and makes him pious. This strengthens him to pass through different veils of innerself with the help of perfect spiritual guide.
Love for Prophet Mohammad Eradicates Darkness from Inward
It is unfortunate that often when the discussion on the love for Prophet Mohammad is raised, some people think of him as an ordinary person (we seek refuge with Allah). They have belief that he came to this world just to convey the message of Quran. Contrarily when such people talk about themselves in gatherings, they speak very high of themselves. They consider themselves pious and righteous, which portray vanity. Allah says in Quran:
“Their hearts have become neglectful and (these) wrongdoers whisper (against you) inaudibly: ‘He is but a human being like you’.” [21:3]
Abu Hurairah relates that Prophet Mohammad said that Allah says:
“Pride is My cloak and majesty is My lower garment I shall put into Hell whoever view me as either one of them.” (Abu Dawud 4090)
Nowadays it is common to take pride in one’s intellect and because of this pride one remains deprived of gnosis, vision and union with Allah.
پڑھ پڑھ علم کرن تکبر، شیطان جیہے اوتھے مسدے ھوُ
Explanation: Many people remain deprived of Divine union because like Satan they take pride in their knowledge. (Abyat e Bahoo Kamil)
Is it possible to Purify Innerself?
Instead of considering others inferior or calling them bad, it is important that we self-reflect and ponder about purgation of our own innerself. Now the question arises what is innerself?
Innerself is a veil between Allah and man. To stir and awaken inwards, Saints sometimes compare this veil to be as big as mountains and sometimes instill hope by calling it as thin as the skin of an onion.
So going back to the question, what is innerself? In simple words, innerself is anything that distracts man from Allah, be it a thought or deed.
My perfect spiritual guide, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:
“Thought is everything. Making it positive is an accomplishment in Faqr.”
Salat is the Miraj of the Believers. However, the truth is, instead of true presence of inward in Allah’s court, our thoughts wander around the world.
Self-Accountability is a Step towards Piety
One way of self-accountability is that we reflect whether we are offering our prayers with the purity and presence of inward or not.
Before pointing fingers on others, we should ponder whether we have presence of inward in our salat, do we achieve piety with fasting, Divine vision with Hajj and faith in Divine Unity after reciting shahada? If not, then we should realize that we need sanctification of our innerself otherwise we will remain negligent. Keep in mind negligence is the enemy of the aim of life. It hinders the ignition of Divine love and is the weapon of Satan.
In Faqr the seeker gets the strength of justice and self-accountability by the spiritual attention of Umar ibn Khattab. These two elements not only maker seeker pious but also help him in attaining gnosis. Thus, helping him move forward on the righteous path of Faqr. Undoubtedly, innerself is the biggest veil between Allah and man. It hinders the man to become pious. (Khulfa e Rashideen)
Spiritual Guide Sanctifies the inward
When an arrogant person sees a saint who is higher than him in spiritual ranks then instead of repenting on his sins and being humbled by his wrongdoings, he envies him. He is burnt in the flames of his jealousy. It is his own loss as jealousy can do no harm to others.
Respect and disgrace are from Allah. Allah is indifferent, He blesses whoever He wants to bless. Allah bless His friends with honour and reverence both outwardly and inwardly. Why question that! Iblis was the first one to be jealous, shall we compare ourselves to Satan whose origin is fire? Absolutely not! The origin of man is the Mohammadan light and his aim of life should be to turn towards that light.
As man is ranked the highest among the creations of Allah, therefore, he should seek refuge from jealousy. Instead he should nurture the seed of love for Prophet Mohammad in his inward and germinate it towards the purgation of innerself. If man puts his heart and effort into something, then he can achieve anything.
All Blessings are from Allah
Narcissism is as common disease of innerself as are arrogance and jealousy. Allah has blessed everyone with their own distinct attributes and traits. If someone is pious then the other person has command in knowledge. These are blessings from Allah, it is not wise to give ourselves credit for His blessing. People are often so self-absorbed that they forget the fine attributes of others. If piety is the gold standard of judgement, then why think of others inferior based on trivial things. One must prostrate before Allah and accept his incompetence. As Allah knows all that we are unaware of.
Spiritual Sight of Murshid Makes Seeker Pious
If purgation of innerself was possible merely by words, then the dignity of Muslim umma would not have collapse. Purgation of innerself occurs with the spiritual sight and attention of the perfect spiritual guide. He does not give long lectures or speeches. His spiritual sight is so powerful that it makes seeker pious by removing the filth of the innerself. No matter what corner of the world the seeker resides in. The spiritual company and alchemic sight of the perfect spiritual guide helps the seeker pass through different levels of the inciting innerself.
Well! Then why wait! Come see Sultan ul Ashiqeen, the 31st perfect spiritual guide of the Sarwari Qadri order. He grants invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and the practice of inscribing Allah’s name on body with or without pledge of allegiance (al-bayah). If you want to be pious and walk on the righteous path that takes towards the gnosis of Allah, then don’t wait. As Allah shows the righteous way to only those who try to come towards Him.
Point to Ponder
These days on social media, be it YouTube or TV, everyone claims to be on the right path. However, they don’t have strong arguments to back up their claim. Most scholars have entangled the Muslim umma to outward deeds. They have eliminated the need of a perfect spiritual guide who focuses not on the outward rather inward of the person. This is one of the causes behind the downfall of the Muslim umma since the second world war. Before this what strengthened Muslim umma? Undoubtedly, it was the love for a spiritual guide. When the umma ignored the need of the perfect spiritual guide they were wayward from the right path. As the perfect spiritual guide removes the filth of the innerself, purifies the inward of the seeker with his spiritual attention and instill the love of Allah and His Prophet.
Call Towards Righteous Path
Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr gives an open invitation to all who want to be on the right path. Come take oath of allegiance on the hands of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. Its never too late to run towards Allah. We must remember that our destiny for the materialistic things is predetermined and cannot be changed. However, no matter how big of a sinner we are, we can always repent and turn towards Allah. The sacred company of perfect spiritual guide blesses us with the ability of self-accountability and repentance. Tears of repentance are valued in the court of Allah. If He want, He may disregard all of our sins, make us pious and grant us inward tranquility.
Old or young, men or women are all invited to meet Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen and start their journey towards righteousness. He grants invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat with or without oath of allegiance. The sacred name of Allah, Ism-e-Allah Zaat will definitely reveal the true reality of the perfect spiritual guide, who will then passes through all the inward levels of purgation of innerself.
در جوانی توبہ کردن شیوہ پیغمبری
وقت پیری گرگ ظالم میشود پرہیزگار
Explanation: Repentance at a young age is the way of the Prophets. Otherwise at an older age even the wicked wolf may turn into a pious one.
This article is inspired from the Urdu article ‘kia hum muttaqi paida hote hain ya muttaqi bantay hain’, written by Sahibzadi Muneeza Najib Sarwari Qadri. Miss Fatima Noor Sarwari Qadri translated it in English with some changes. To read the original article, click the link below: