Thursday, March 17, 2016


My Notes and Reflections on Sehre Ramazan Lectures by Br. Khaleel Jaffer.
Surah : Al Baqarah 2 – Ayah 165.
‘ and of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah ….’
They love them – idols, wealth, self, false believes etc as they ought to have loved Allah.
The only natural obsession or yearning is for Allah.
Yearning for Allah in Arabic translates to ‘ shauk illAllah’
Now there is a subtle difference between ‘ shauk’ and ‘uns’ both are yearning, but with a difference.
One who has ‘shauk’ is referred as ‘ Mushtaq’ his yearning is for Allah who appears to be far and he yearns His nearness.
One who has ‘uns’ feels Allah to be very close to him,
‘Al unsbillah’ and such a person is referred to as ‘ Anees’
In ‘shauk’ the yearning for Allah is externalised whereas in ‘uns’ it is internalised yearning.
A gnostic (A’rif) is one whose body or person is with people but his heart is with Allah. He has no need of people, no need of this world and it’s entanglements, he is solely focused on achieving Nearness and Pleasure of Allah. His security is only in the Love of Allah, and he prays with his whole being.
When he is in ‘ruku’ he is fully focused and present in the ‘ruku’ and does not think of ‘sujood’ he prays with intensity and purpose. All his acts are performed out if Love for Allah.
Moulana Abuzar ul Gifari’s night prayers were so intense that at times, he used to be in ‘ruku’ for greater part of the night. When someone pointed out to him about his prolonged ‘ruku’ he said how I wish the night would have been longer. The night vigils of our beloved Nabi (S.A) are well known, and Allah in his Rehmat addressed him lovingly as Ta Ha ‘ ma anzalna alaiqa … ‘ we have not send down the Quran unto you ( O Muhammad) to cause you distress.(Surah 20 Ayat 2)
Dawood Nabi used to make a living by selling palm baskets and seeking in return barley bread. Isa Nabi used to sleep on a stone pillow. Nabiullahs and Awaliya Kirams through out the ages have lived a spartan life. Moulana Ali (S.A.) in one of his sermons says that the Love of Allah is like a fire, when it kindles in the heart of a believer, it burns everything, and what remains is only the Love of Allah.
In Nahjul Balagha Sermon 160 Moulana Ali (S.A.) says if you wish, I will give you example of Musa Nabi.
He calls out – ‘ My Lord – I am a beggar in need of what you will give me’
Musa Nabi who is the leader of his men, who has vanquished the might of Pharaoh, has achieved all that his heart has desired, what it is that he still wants ?
Allah knows what Musa Nabi is thirsting for. After self mortification for 40 days in the wilderness, when Musa Nabi finally arrives, Allah in jest asks.
Sura Ta Ha (20: 83) Why have you come running to me O Musa ?
Sura Ta Ha (20: 84) I have come running to you my Lord that You may be pleased.
This than is the true yearning. Nothing in the world matters, except Love of Allah.
At this stage an important point has to be considered. Islam does not favour or encourage one to become a hermit or a monk, to forsake the world, but the sirat of Nabiullahs and Awliya Kirams in many instances show that they enjoined upon themselves spartan lifestyle, although some were rulers of the world and leaders of their followers.
This paradox begs an answer and had to be reconciled.
Some of the symptoms a true A’rif experiences, when the yearning for the Love of Allah takes hold of him, as that he looses sleep, appetite, and although he lives amongst people he detaches himself.
The above symptoms are similar and experienced by one who falls in love with the opposite sex. But the yearning for Allah, when it takes hold of someone, is more intense, everlasting and the joys and experiences are beyond words.
Here it has to be remembered that any act of yearning performed after rationalising and deducing is not right. Outward appearances of wearing coarse clothing, simple diet etc: will not hold water, it is not true yearning.
Any act of yearning performed out of pure Love by the nudging of the heart is commendable. If one who is in true Love of Allah and as a consequence looses sleep, lives a spartan and secluded life, such a one is not to be blamed, because his only concern is the Love and Nearness of Allah, and for him nothing else matters.
In his case as if, ‘Taqbir’ ( the one that we recite in Janaza namaz) has been said for him and all his worldly desires.
An A’rif who truely yearns for Allah, receives strength and ease from Him to carry out also his worldly duties – which is also essential in Islam , an intregal part of Iba’dat.
How is one to distinguish true love for Allah. A terrorist straps himself with a bomb, enters a masjid, blows himself up, shouting ‘Allaho Akbar ‘ thereby destroying precious Muslim lives. He is not yearning for Allah but falling prey to the wiles of Shaitan and his wishperring and false promises of ‘huruleens’. His lust for Heteafter is his undoing and destruction of innocent lives.
In the riwayat of Musa Nabi when he nears the glowing bush, a Voice calls out to him ‘ fakhla nalaiyek’ remove your sandals, the esoteric meaning – when you approach the Blessed Ground, remove all attachments of both this world, and seeking of reward in A’kherat, and immerse your being in yearning for Allah. Come to Me pure and clean, free of attachments. If the condition is so, Allah says if you take one step forward, I will take ten steps towards you.
An A’rif is doubly blessed and more honoured if he lives amongsts his community, and by setting a good example tries to win over others to his way of living and thinking.
Crying is an expression of love, and one who yearns for Allah does constant zikr and tasbih.
Love speaks the language of its own and it cannot be understood by rationalising. The outward actions of an A’rif at times seem far fetched and perplexing, but these actions cannot be understood by applying the mind. It is out and out a ‘heart thing’.
The origin and source of any true realisation is through the heart and not through the mind. The mind is an effective and useful tool, that allows us to analyse, deduce and draw conclusion. It has an important place in our DEEN but it also has its limitation, in the context of God Realisation. The heart is the source of love and compassion.
There are many Ayats in Quran where understanding and Aql are associated with the heart.
Surah Al A’raf 7 : 179 ‘ lahum kulubun la yafkohuna beha….
They have hearts wherewith they understand not.
Surah Haj 22: 46. lahum kulubun ya keluna (Aql) beha….
have they hearts wherewith to understand.
Al qalb haramullah – Heart is the sanctuary of Allah. Heart is the vehicle that will take you on the path of yearning and God Realisation.
The prerequisite for attaining such lofty status is that all materialism should be removed and softening of the heart
The philosophical meaning of materialism is that physical matter is the only reality, as it can scientifically be verified.
However, in the context of our discussion on the art of yearning for God, we are concerned with those who do not deny the Hereafter but at the same time are preoccupied more with materialistic needs rather than spiritual, emotional and intellectual needs.
Enjoying materialism is fine, if regarded as a blessing from Allah, and through which Remembrance and Shukr find expression, but being enslaved to materialism is a big obstacle in the path.
Who is your Provider, and what is the source of your happiness and comfort, are questions that need to be addressed.
When one chooses the path of Allah it has to be remembered that it is not a bed of roses, but one has to strive hard, be fully focused to attain His Pleasure.
The following are the three signs that one observed in an A’rif.
1. He turns away from this world. He lives amongst the people but unlike them.
2. He is preoccupied with the Zikr of Allah and the Hereafter.
3. He prepares for death, before death arrives.
Softening of the heart is a prerequisite, without which it is not possible to truely yearn for Allah.
Quran states in clear writing the way to attain Spirituality and Nearness and also warns that it is not easy.
Surah al – Baqarah 2:45 ‘ vastainu bis- sabre vas sal’ate…
and seek help in patience and As Sala’t and truely it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al – Khashi’un.
Khashi’un are those who have a soft heart and are very humble, easily given to tears. Let us understand what causes hard hearted ness in the spiritual sense. If we come to understand the reasons, behind it, we can try to remove the impediments.
1. Persistence in sins and not repenting.
2. Too much of indulgence in worldly pleasure, particularly lust and excessive obsession.
3. Lack of remembrance of death – which is inevitable.
4. ‘tarkul Ibada’t’ intentionally keeping away from prayers for long period of time.
5. Greed and amassing of wealth.
Doa – supplication and in particular Munajaat – wishperring during Layl is considered to be the best method of softening the heart. Quran States : ‘Call out to your Lord humbly and secretly’. Ahlul bait (A.S.) and Awliya Kirams thru the ages have shown mumineen how Doa and Munajaat are the best and unparreled in the softening of the heart, inculcating ‘tavajo and khusu’ in oneself to attain Nearness of Allah.
The learned in this art of supplication with the help of years of study and analysis, have found five distinct steps, by which Doa – Supplication can be made. Tilawat of Supplications of Ahlul Bait ( A.S. ) Moulana Ali, Moulana Zainul Abedeen in particular are matchless in their intensity and pure ness. However, one can also supplicate in his own language, express his yearnings and try to attain Nearness. Do try it out.
Step 1. Praising and Glorifying Allah.
Step 2. Acknowledging our sins, and seeking true repentance.
It takes a lot of courage and humility to recall the sins and seek repentance.
Step 3. Accepting utter helplessness, without His Mercy I am doomed. You My Lord is ‘Sattar ul uyoob’ I am burdend by my sins, but your Mercy is far greater.
Step 4. Full faith in Him, no matter what. This is very interesting step, where a mumin does not ‘let go’ I will not cease to love You.
In order to comprehend fully, I quote a passage from Doa e Kumail. This Doa has all the five steps, however, I quote only a small passage to highlight Step 4.
فَبِعِزَّتِكَ ياسَيِّدِي وَمَوْلايَ اُقْسِمُ صادِقاً ، لَئِنْ تَرَكْتَنِي ناطِقاً لاَضِجَّنَّ إِلَيْكَ بَيْنَ أَهْلِها ضَجِيجَ الامِلِينَ وَلاَصْرُخَنَّ إِلَيْكَ صُراخَ المُسْتَصْرِخِينَ
O’ my Lord! By Thy honour truly do I swear that, if Thou wilt allow my power of speech to be retained by me in the hell, I shall amongst its inmates cry out bewailingly unto Thee like the cry of those who have faith in Thy kindness and compassion.
Step 5 Adressing Allah with conviction now that you find tears flowing down freely, that your prayers have been answered, no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ but being fully convinced that you have been heard, and this leads you to do Hamd and Shukr.
In the previous post we have seen that following the Guidance and reflecting and doing Tilawat of Doa Mubaraks of Awliya Kiram sahebs, we adna mumin can also learn to yearn, express our desires and wishes, offer Hamd and Shukr for the blessings received and supplicate to Allah in our own way, which is sure to please our Lord, for Allah accepts that which comes out direct from an adoring and loving heart.
There is a riwayat of Musa Nabi one day coming across an unlettered person, who was calling out loud to his Lord and expressing his longing in a crude language but with deepest of love. Musa Nabi chides this person, saying this is not the way to call out to the Almighty.
Allah calls out to his ‘ kalimullah’ saying do not chide the unlettered ‘abd’ of mine, for his supplication pleases Me greatly.
Supplication is a habit that has to be lovingly and diligently be nurtured. One has to find a private space, and an opportune time, preferably in the night to commune with His Lord. Detachment with people and materialism is a sign that one is now prepared.
Excessive eating is a big deterrent in the path of yearning. One should learn to eat in moderation, out of necessity of overcoming hunger, rather than eating out of greed.
A true A’rif’ will simplify his life, long for the company of awakened souls, will avoid useless talk and banter, and will prolong his ‘sajda’ and will always thirst for Zikr of Allah.
Allah loves the person who does Zikr and for doing Zikr, one does not need wealth, status, knowledge etc: A freeman and a bondsman, a prisoner, in fact everyone, if their desire so, can do the Zikr of Allah, and it is in this that we realise that Allah has given each one of us the opportunity to become ‘farishta shifat’.

I end by expressing my gratitude to Br. Khalil Jaffer, whose erudite lectures, have made me reflect and take notes, and hope I have done justice, at the same time admitting my limitations.