Glory of the Mystics
The mystics call Islam the nature of faith. It is the name of following mysticism to gain the Vision of Allah. It is finding out Allah’s secret. Knowing the Truth of oneself and finding yourself walking the right path is called Islam. Devouring Allah’s Vision, unconditionally loving the Prophet pbuh, respecting the Prophet’s companions, being loyal, faithful and ready to give up your life for Allah’s Beloveds is what Islam is. Bringing about faith on Allah and His prophet mohammad and defying all except Allah, to burn oneself in the fire of Allah’s Love is true Islam. Reside the Divine Love in your heart and offer the prayer of this Love is Islam.
What is Divine Love?
What are the rules of Divine Love? The ones who teach these rules are the mystics of Allah and so are the ones who sow the seed of Love in your heart. Rumi says:
The one who seeks Allah’s Closeness must seek closeness with the ones close to Allah.
Allah Himself orders in the Quran to sit in the company of people who are indulged in the remembrance of Allah. Whose day and night pass by in the invocation of Allah and whose soul food is Allah’s Glorious Vision, and whose inner selves are enlightened by the Divine Light. Them sitting, standing, eating, sleeping or doing anything at all is considered as a form worship.
(O My servant!) Stay tenaciously in the companionship of those who remember their Lord morning and evening, ardently seeking His pleasure, (keen on the glimpse of His sight, and eagerly aspiring to glance at His radiant Countenance). Your (affectionate and caring) looks must not but focus them. Do you seek the charisma of the worldly life (shifting your attention away from these self-denying devotees)? And (also) do not follow him whose heart We have made neglectful of Our remembrance, and who follows but the urge of his (ill-commanding self) and his case has exceeded all bounds. (al-Kahf, 18: 28)
Unawareness of Mysticism in the Present Era
The major reasons for being ignorant in this age are materialism and lack of respect. Materialism in the sense that people tend to let go of the innerself and focus only on physical forms of worship. Looking forward only to the rewards and fruits presented in paradise whilst forgetting the main aim of all this worship is materialism. Whatever the physical eye sees, the physical ear hears is all related to the physical world. Although, the existence of a person is both his soul and body. The soul also has insight and desire to reach its destination, Vision of Allah. Here the destination refers to the journey of the soul from the physical world to the Realm of Divinity. If we talk about the innerself, the first criticism would be getting blessings from saints and mystics, which can be as follows:
1) What’s the purpose of going to mystics and saints when you can worship and remember Allah in isolation?
2) Is it considered shirk to have high regard for the mystics?
3) Is it good or bad to make dua at the shrines of saints?
4) In a world full of fake, fraudulent people who call themselves fakirs and loot people in the name of religion, how is it possible to trust the true fakir?
Relation with the Perfect Saint
The most confusing question is whether it is in accordance with the shariah to seek closeness to a fakir in order to seek closeness to Allah. The answer in fact is, that Allah Himself has ordered His saints to guide His people and become the source for them to achieve closeness with Him. Since the beginning of the world, this has been His way of reviving people’s faith, like He sent prophets and messengers in the early eras. Had it been possible to gain marifah without guidance, Allah would never have sent His messengers in the first place. Now when the chain of prophets has long been to an end, Allah appointed his mystics and fakirs to become the source of spiritual guidance for His people till the day of Judgement. When Allah says, “(O Esteemed Messenger!) Proclaim: ‘He is Allah, Who is the One.”
(al-Ikhlās, 112: 1) He is not speaking directly with the people, rather He makes His Prophet a source to deliver His message. Not only does He make His Prophet the messenger but also states that obedience to the Prophet is obedience to Allah Himself. The impossibility of gaining marifah or having a conversation with Allah on your own without any guidance is proven in the Quran. (Shan e Aulia Allah)
Allah says, “O believers! Fear Allah persistently and keep looking for means to (approach and get closer to) Him and strive hard in His way so that you may prosper.” (al-Mā’idah, 5: 35)
Seeking Guidance to reach to Allah
Seeking guidance to reach Allah in other words can be called the Oath of Allegiance. During the Prophet’s lifetime, people used to take this oath at his hand. After he left this world, his first caliph Abu Bakr carried on with his way. Regarding this Abu Bakr said, “Until I obey Allah and His Messenger, keep obeying me.” Likewise, when Hazrat Umar and Usman held the office of caliph, they continued with the Prophet’s way of guidance by having people take the oath at their hands.
The fact that Hazrat Abu Bakr said to obey him until he obeys Allah and the Prophet is in light of this surah from the Quran: “And (also) do not follow him whose heart We have made neglectful of Our remembrance” (al-Kahf, 18: 28)
Sultan Bahoo states, “The continuation of faiz (spiritual beneficence) is still ongoing from the caliphs till date since their lifetime.”
The following Quranic verses and Hadiths show Allah’s order to be part of fakirs’ company and pledge allegiance to them:
- Follow someone who adopts the path of turning to Me in repentance and submitting to My injunctions. (Luqmān, 31: 15)
Allah’s Pious Men
For every nation Allah sent a prophet to guide them towards Him. These prophets were the epitome of the truth. Whosoever had faith in them, had faith in the Truth. In this ayah, the chain of prophets has come to an end. However, it still implies to believe in the ones who are possessors of the Truth. So, how’s it possible that every ummah had someone to guide them but not the ummah of the Prophet pbuh? If that was the case, the world would’ve come to end due to ignorance, polytheism and deniers of the Truth. The world is in fact going on by virtue of Allah’s pious men.
Sultan Bahoo in his Risala Roohi Sharif says, “it is indeed due to these pure souls that both the worlds are in existence.” And it is because of them that we still did not face Allah’s wrath in spite of all our sins. So, in point of fact, it is them who Allah refers to in the above-mentioned ayah, follow and submit to them.
- Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) and those (men of truth) who hold command amongst you. (an-Nisā’, 4: 59)
Here, men of truth refers to fakirs, mystics and the perfect spiritual guide who is the Imam of his era.
- (Call to mind) the Day when We shall call every section of people along with their leaders. (al-Isrā’, 17: 71)
Also, in this ayah, leaders mean the perfect spiritual guide.
- First find your guide, then walk your path.
- The one who doesn’t have a spiritual guide, doesn’t have faith
- A spiritual guide among his disciples is like a prophet in his ummah.
- One who does not wholeheartedly acknowledge the Imam of their era will die a death of ignorance.
- You cannot still be suspicious while sitting with men of the Truth.
Conclusion: Ghaus ul Azam holds a high rank amongst all mystics. Even he had to hold his spiritual guide, Hazrat Abu Saeed Mubarik’s hand in order to gain marifah. Then it is extremely unlikely for sinners like us to achieve Allah’s closeness without a perfect spiritual guide.
Is it polytheistic to have love and respect for mystics or to visit their shrines?
Not at all. Having faith in mystics or visiting their shrines is not polytheism. Rather, associating partners with Allah is polytheism. In the Quran, “other than Allah” is used to refer to the false gods of pagans. It cannot be used for mystics. It is used for the pagans since they associated partners with Allah.
And if you call them towards guidance, they cannot (even) hear. And you see these (idols are sculptured in such a way) as if they were looking at you, whereas they do not see (anything). (al-A‘rāf, 7: 198)
- And, (O Muslims,) do not abuse these (false gods) that these (polytheists) worship besides Allah, lest these people should (also, in retaliation,) revile against Allah’s Glory wrongfully due to ignorance. (al-An‘ām, 6: 108)
“False gods” is referred to the idols worshipped by the infidels. It can never be used for fakirs; they are Allah’s beloveds. They are like the manifestation of Allah.
Allah describes their glory in the Quran:
- Indeed, your real helper and friend is only Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) and the believers (as well) who persevere in offering Prayer and pay Zakat (the Alms-due) and they are those who bow down (with extreme submissiveness before the presence of Allah). (al-Mā’idah, 5: 55)
- The believers, men and women, are helpers and friends to one another. They command good and forbid evil and establish Prayer and pay Zakat (the Alms-due) and obey Allah and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him). It is they on whom Allah will soon shower His Mercy. Surely, Allah is Almighty, Most Wise. (at-Tawbah, 9: 71)
Although, this should also be clear that it is in fact a sin to worship fakirs. In the Quran wherever worshipping is mentioned, all prophets, saints, mystics and angel are included in “other than Allah”, because worship is only for Allah and whatsoever except Him is thought to be worshipped is other than Allah and polytheism.
Like Allah mentions in the Quran:
- They took their priests and monks for lords besides Allah and (also) the Messiah, the son of Maryam (Mary), whilst in truth they had not been given (any) command except to worship (only) the One God besides Whom there is no God. Holy is He, far above those that they associate with Him as partners. (at-Tawbah, 9: 31)
Is it right to visit shrines of prophets and fakirs?
The Prophet used to visit graves of fakirs regularly. Regarding this, Dr. Tahir ul Qadri states in one of his books:
The Prophet often used to visit graves of martyrs and fakirs and made dua, and following his footsteps, Hazrat Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman adopted the same habit. This proves that visiting graves of mystics is a sunnah. A few prominent Imams also stated that the Prophet used to visit the graves of martyrs. Imam Abdul Razaq reported a tradition from Mohammad bin Ibrahim Yatimi that the Prophet visited graves of martyrs at the beginning of each year and said, “peace be upon you, how impressive is your home in the hereafter as a reward of your patience”. He also said the same about Hazrat Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman.
Imam Shafi’s Routine to Visit Imam e Azam’s Mausoleum
Imam Shafi himself explains his experience at the mausoleum of Imam Abu Hanifa:
“I gain beneficence from Imam Abu Hanifa and visit his grave every day. Whenever I have a problem or need, I offer two rakat prayer and come here and I stand close to him and pray to Allah. I don’t’ move from there even when my prayer is fulfilled. “
If we think about it, it is an important lesson for us. Firstly, visiting graves of the men of Truth is appreciated by Allah. And secondly, even if a fakir physically leaves this world, he continues to shower blessings upon his disciples on the condition that they are faithful and pray sincerely.
Is it a sin to believe that Mystics bestow beneficence?
It is absolutely a sin if you believe a mystic can bestow beneficence on his own without Allah’s assent. Also, if a supplication in the court of mystics is intended an underlying worship is polytheism. Like the pagans had built idols to worship and they sought mercy from those idols in times of trouble. Only Allah is to be worshipped and all other than Allah is shirk.
Nevertheless, we can metaphorically call them our saviors and rescuers in need because at last, they are the ones who will guide us and make sure we are exactly where Allah wants us to be.
However, it is ordered by Allah to make dua through a source (spiritual guide), in the Quran he says:
O believers! Fear Allah persistently and keep looking for means to (approach and get closer to) Him and strive hard in His way so that you may prosper. (al-Mā’idah, 5: 35)
Dr. Tahir ul Qadri further explains this context: We never bring prophets and mystics in comparison with Allah. Some people pick out a few ayahs and claim they mean shirk but it is clearly understandable that the Quran talks about pagans and infidels, and are not related to mystics at all. Hence, making it about Muslims is an absolute sin. The worst of creatures is the one who believes the ayahs revealed about pagans are actually for mumins.
How can we bring about faith in a Perfect Fakir in the present era?
The answer is given by Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman: We have heard that nowadays perfect fakirs are rare, and people are disguised as fakirs who are fake and fraudulent. So, if you’re a seeker of the world and its pleasures, you’ll naturally end up going to such “mystics”. If someone sets out seeking Allah wholeheartedly, Allah never lets him go astray and Himself takes care of him. First, you should set your priorities and then look for a perfect spiritual guide, you’ll find one. In a time where no one truly wants Allah or has true desire to seek His closeness, true spiritual guide also has hidden himself from the fake material world. I assure you if you really truly look for your destination, Allah will help find the path. (Mujtaba Akhir Zamani)
- Risala Roohi Sharif
- Bayt ki Ehmiat o Zarurat
- Aqeeda e Tauheed aur Ghair Allah ka Tasawur
- Aqeeda e Ziarat e Qaboor
- Shan e Auliah Allah
This article is an English translation of the Urdu article that appeared in the November 2020 issue of the monthly Sultan ul Faqr Magazine titled:
شانِ اولیا اللہ Fatima Burhan Sarwari Qadri authored the original article. Zuhaa Fatima Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English.
Tap below to read the original article: