People often believe nature or inward of a person never changes. Man dies with the same nature he was born with. His nature can temporarily change under different circumstances but his actual nature remains unaffected. Likewise, man holds similar qualities as the people he was upraised in and these do not change. It means one cannot become pious with struggle.
Outwardly, he remains the same but deep inside he feels restless because of the inability to express his nature. Similar to how a villager gets perplexed when he steps into noisiness and hustle and bustle of the city. Possibly, he gets used to city-life after living there for a while but at heart he remains a villager. Someone brought up in religious environment will feel restless in modern and liberal society because that is not his reality. He will feel calm only when he goes back to his origin, he cannot find this peace anywhere else. The good and bad qualities in a man’s nature further bloom with time in good company but do not change.
Sight of the Perfect Spiritual Guide
Besides all, the people of insight and faith have always agreed that the assembly and company of Saints has very positive impact on one’s personality, and their nature changes so much so that their old acquaintances feel surprised. Many drunkards, addicts of backbiting, gamblers, usurers, thieves, dacoits, drug addicts, in short, all types of bad people reformed because of the sight of the perfect spiritual guide to such an extent that their relatives were left dazed and astonished as to how can someone change so much. The people whom the perfect spiritual guide blessed with his sight, reached high levels of sainthood. Similar to how the sacred Companions’ lives changed due to the spiritual sight of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). Not only did they get rid of their sins but also became the reflection of his sacred conduct and Murshid blesses them his spiritual substitution.
During Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s journey to Baghdad, a group of bandits including their leader repented and reached a high rank of sainthood because of his courteous manners and the spiritual glance. The leader of jurists, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was against Saints in the beginning. But when he reached the assembly of Bishr Hafi, he recognised the reality and said that his life would have been wasted had he not arrived at his (Bishr Hafi’s) assembly. Similarly, Imam Abu Hanifa (ra) says that if he had not spent some time in the company of Bahlool Dana, he would have never attained the level he was at.
Allama Iqbal says:
نگاہِ مردِ مومن سے بدل جاتی ہیں تقدیریں
جو ہو ذوقِ یقیں پیدا تو کٹ جاتی ہیں زنجیریں
Explanation: The powerful spiritual sight of a true believer (the perfect spiritual guide) can change the destiny. If one’s faith in the perfect spiritual guide establishes completely, the chains of slavery will break and he will be relieved from all bounds.
Fake Spiritual Guides
Whomsoever Allah blesses with His special beneficence and the person repents, consequently ventures in search for perfect spiritual guide for inward guidance towards closeness of Allah and to cure his spiritual diseases. Some materialistic guides who have not reached any level themselves order to follow sharia absolutely, relinquish sins and adopt certain habits. Then one would be able to pledge allegiance for guidance. The question arises, if the seeker already knows the ins and outs of sharia and the Divine reality then why would he go to a spiritual guide for further guidance? And if he could himself give up sins then why would he look for a spiritual guide?
Such fake guides physically cover themselves up with the cloak of virtuosity. But inwardly, their natural habits and qualities remain corrupted and their objective is to lead people away from Allah. They portray themselves as pious and virtuous but inside they are the same ignoble character.
Perfect Spiritual Guide Grants Spiritual Substitution
In this deceptive world, the people in search of truth or the people who try to repent from sins need not worry because there is a perfect Saint, a perfect spiritual guide, in every era, who is not in search of pious people or Muslims but his assembly is open for everyone. It does not matter if the seeker is non-Muslim or however much of a sinner he is.
His duty is to bring the helpless, rejected, and inwardly ‘unclean’ people into his sacred shelter. He guides them, transforms their evil attributes into desirable ones, turns their sins into virtues and prevents them from further sins. During this process, the perfect spiritual guide changes their personalities and blesses them with new ones. This new personality is the rank of spiritual substitution. In which he confers a new life to their inwards and elevates them from worse esoteric state to the best by enlightening inwards of disciples.
Allah Almighty says in the Quran:
“Indeed, We have created man in the best constitution. Then We returned him to the lowest state of the low.” (4: 5)
Mutilation of the Pure Esoteric State
Every child is born in the purest state. Its esoteric self and personality is chaste, innocent and in its best form. Then the environment, the inclination and lust of the worldly desires, people’s behaviours, continuous attacks of Satan and innerself corrupt its best esoteric state. His innerself becomes stained, soul weak and inward troubled and distant from the Truth.
If he is unable to reach a perfect spiritual guide and remains stuck in innerself, Satan, and the world’s trap, he will have the same esoteric state in the end because he died in the same state. So, he will be presented in Allah’s and Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) court with the same esoteric state. He will not earn anything except shame and embarrassment. To achieve acceptance in Allah’s and Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) court, he needs to strive to better his esoteric personality and return it to its pure state. So that he presents himself to Allah on Judgement Day in that state and saves himself from shame and embarrassment.
The Perfect Spiritual Guide Blesses with Eternal Presence in Mohammadan Assembly
It is true that no human has control upon his inward and soul. Hence, everyone should search for a Sarwari Qadri perfect spiritual guide for the enlivenment and correction of their inward. One who is familiar with ups and downs of the spiritual path. Moreover, he has such authority upon the soul and inward that he removes all their flaws and diseases. Only a perfect spiritual guide can bestow the seeker’s inward and soul with a new aspect and direction. Give it an appearance identical to the state Allah Almighty created him with. And rectify all the imperfections, purify and protect him forever from the attacks of Satan, innerself, and the world.
All according to Allah’s order:
The Day when this Earth (Inward) will be changed (into a different Earth) (14:48)
The perfect spiritual guide afterwards enables this new personality enough for one to gain attendance in Allah’s and the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) court and blesses him with eternal presence in the Mohammadan Assembly. He converts the seeker’s inward and soul into the reflection of Divine reality. Takes him to the destination of Divine vision and union after which the seeker attains everlasting life. He transforms the unfortunate to fortunate, wretched to blessed, accursed to being accepted in the Divine assembly, from mortal to immortal. This is the true rank of spiritual substitution.
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Sultan Bahoo says:
Enlivenment of the Inward
- Do you know how an inward is enlivened? By taking the oath of allegiance at the sacred hand of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Do you know how an inward is enlivened? By becoming desirable in Allah’s court and attaining Oneness with Him. Do you know how an inward is enlivened? By purifying it completely and making it replete with Divine light. Do you know when an inward is enlivened? When an inward invoker is blessed with Divine vision. The enlivened inward saves the seeker from the lures of innerself. The inward invoker is extremely obedient and modest. How can these animal-like humans possess an enlivened inward! They are the seekers of carcass worldly wealth. (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)
How Soul Gains Spiritual Substitution
- Men of true inward are always desirable in the court of Allah and present in Mohammadan Assembly. Know that in the existence of human, inciting innerself is like the cursed Yazid, inward is the auspicious one, soul is like the (Saint) Bayazid while the ‘secret’ is meant to achieve Divine Oneness by acquiring the inspirational knowledge and elevating to the level of spiritual substitution. Spiritual substitution is bestowed by the attention of a perfect spiritual guide. What do we mean by ‘attention’? Attention means to attend to someone. When a spiritual guide attends towards a seeker, he fulfills all his objectives and elevates him to Divine presence. The guide who does not possess this attribute is verily not aware of the power of attention and knows nothing about spiritual substitution.
Power of Spiritual Substitution
ہر کہ نعم البدل را دریافتہ
ہر مقامی قید با خود ساختہ
Explanation: One who discovers the reality of spiritual substitution gains command over every station.
ہر حقیقت را شناسد از خدا
دائما ہم صحبتی با مصطفیٰؐ
Explanation: He learns about every reality directly from Allah and always remains in the company of Holy Prophet (pbuh).
گنج بخشد مرشدی کامل عطا
سبق خواند طالب از کیمیا
Explanation: The perfect spiritual guide grants the knowledge of alchemy to the true seeker and bestows Divine treasures upon him.
سیماب را کشتہ کند کامل نظر
نظر کامل بہ بود نظر از خضرؑ
Explanation: His perfect sight does miracles and is better than the sight of Khidr. (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)
The perfect spiritual guide is powerful enough to change destiny and nature as Sultan Bahoo says:
زباں تاں میری کُن برابر ،موڑاںکم قلم دے ھُو
Meaning: My tongue has the power of Kun (command of Allah ‘Be!’), It alters the destiny written by the Pen.
The meaning of Sultan Bahoo’s saying is the same as stated above that his tongue has the power to change destiny. Exactly this happened that many wretched turned into blessed and reached high levels of Faqr due to his perfect spiritual sight.
Perfect Spiritual Guide eradicates every evil present in the seeker
The perfect spiritual guide eradicates every evil in the seeker through his sight as if it was never there. Sultan Bahoo says in his Punjabi poetry:
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 remain on clothes, turning dirty into white. Likewise, instead of involving in forty days seclusion or unnecessary endeavours and struggles, the guide shows the path of Ism-e-Allah Zaat along with casting spiritual glance which purifies the innerself and removes the diseases of soul and inward. His marvel lies in the fact that he eradicates the love of the world from one’s inward and removes its vicious desires as well as that of the inciting innerself. And such spiritual guide grants the seeker his essence as a rank of spiritual substitution and completes the seeker like himself by making him annihilate in the spiritual guide.
Perfect Spiritual Guide Burns the Seeker in the Kiln of Ardent Divine Love
مرشد وانگ سنارے ہووے، جیہڑا گَھت کُٹھالی گالے ھُو
پا کُٹھالی باہر کَڈھے، بُندے گھڑے یا وَالے ھُو
Explanation: The goldsmith melts raw gold in a crucible and then alters it into many forms of jewellry giving it a lustrous look. Such should be the case of a spiritual guide, for the perfect is the one who burns the seeker in the kiln of ardent Divine love and moulds his spiritual self with Ism-e-Allah Zaat to purify it from the love of other than Allah. Old habits and wishes are altered giving the seeker such a form that is acceptable in the court of Allah. (Abyat-e-Bahoo Kamil)
Sultan Bahoo uses various titles for a Spiritual Guide:
- Spiritual guide can also be compared to a potter who makes pots out of clay. The clay does not dare to object before the potter in whichever way he holds or moulds it. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Giver of Life
- Spiritual guide is the giver of life (to the soul) and death (to the nafs) and is indifferent to all the needs. He is like a philosopher’s stone and a touchstone. His glance is beneficent like the sun which changes all the bad qualities of the seeker into good ones. He is like a dyer (who changes the inward colour of the seeker by diverting his attention from worldliness to Allah). Spiritual guide is a well-informed person and is aware of all the qualities of a seeker just like a betel leaf chooser is aware of the qualities of betel leaves.
Meaning: The iron that touches the philosopher’s stone, at once turns into gold. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- Spiritual guide is like a physician and the disciple like a patient. When a physician treats a patient, he gives him bitter and sweet medicines and the patient must take those medicines so that he is cured and becomes healthy. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
The dilemma of good and evil
The dilemma of good and evil is continuous in the life of man. Sometimes good prevails and sometimes evil. So man is a mixture of good and evil. He is a manifestation of Allah when good prevails, and a reflection of Satan when evil does. The life of worldly seekers ends with evil, and that of the seekers of hereafter ends between good and evil. The seekers of Allah are the only fortunate ones who gain perpetuation upon good. It is the perfect spiritual guide’s rule that his way of training is in accordance with the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) way. He overcomes the evil inside the seeker and gradually nurtures in him good attributes.
Getting blessed with these attributes is the rank of spiritual substitution because the seeker is blessed with good attributes only after exterminating the evil ones. Just like how you would destroy an old building to build a new one, the seeker’s old personality annihilates and a better one replaces it.
Types of Spiritual Substitution
The rank of spiritual substitution is of two types: general rank of spiritual substitution and the special rank of spiritual substitution.
General Rank of Spiritual Substitution:
The spiritual guide blesses every seeker with this type of spiritual substitution. He completely replaces the evil in their inward personality with good. While granting the seeker his attributes, the spiritual guide perfects him in any one of them and the seeker becomes the manifestation of that attribute.
Special Rank of Spiritual Substitution:
The perfect spiritual guide confers the special rank of spiritual substitution upon just one seeker who is his true heir. He is totally the essence of the perfect spiritual guide and his spiritual confidant. He is the complete manifestation of this spiritual substitution.
Sultan Bahoo’s Poetry Regarding Special Substitution:
جے توں چاہیں وحدت ربّ دِی، مَل مُرشد دِیاں تَلیاں ھُو
مُرشد لطفوں کرے نظارہ، گُل تھیون سبھ کلیاں ھُو
اِنہاں گُلاں وِچوں ہِک لالہ ہوسی، گُل نازک گُل پھلیاں ھُو
My Murshid Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman has explained this poetry in his writing “Shams-ul-Fuqara” as;
- If you want to gain oneness and union with Allah then you must serve your spiritual guide and follow him esoterically and exoterically. When a spiritual guide blesses his seekers, all sincere seekers who are like buds, bloom into flowers having fragrance of Oneness of Allah (reach their respective destination). These are spiritual descendants. Among them there is the most special seeker who is distinguished from all others like a tulip. It is such a flower which grows only upwards and does not stoop towards the soil. That seeker is the exact manifestation of his spiritual guide and is distinct in the knowledge of Oneness which makes him prominent among all seekers. In other words he is the superior spiritual successor.
The Beginning of Spiritual Substitution
The beginning of spiritual substitution is the transformation of evil attributes into good ones. And its completion is the oneness of the essence of seeker and spiritual guide.
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen is the Shaikh of the Sarwari Qadri Order of this era. He is blessing seekers of Allah with Divine gnosis and closeness by cleansing their inwards through his celestial company and perfect sight. No one has spread the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and king of all invocations (Hoo) to such an extent before Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. The personalities of seekers of Allah often change due to the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and the practice of inscribing Ism-e-Allah Zaat on body. They quit their old bad habits. The spiritual guide keeps on bestowing them with Divine attributes and they keep on changing according to Allah’s will and plan. This is the rank of spiritual substitution.
Prayer to Allah
I pray Allah to grant the favour to correct our inwards. Let us repent from sins and gain Divine attributes through the flawless sight of the perfect spiritual guide. And to bless us with the special rank of spiritual substitution. Ameen!
This blog is English translation of an Urdu article of the magazine “Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore” for the month of January, 2022. The title of the Urdu article is:
Martaba e Naem al Badal
مرتبہ نعم البدل
Originally penned by Ahsan Ali Sarwari Qadri from Lahore is presently in English by Mohammad Bin Moghees Sarwari Qadri, exclusively for websites.