Showing posts from March, 2021


  HUBB-E- DUNYA  (EXCESSIVE LOVE OF MATERIAL WORLD) ( حبّ ِ دنیا )   “Love of one’s spouse is  Dunya  (love of material world) but it is permissible, in fact, it is a desirable attribute. As long as it does not make one neglectful of  Deen  (religion), having love for one’s spouse is commendable in Shariah. When a person advances in  Taqwa  (that fear of Allah Ta’ala which stops a person from disobeying Him) his love for his spouse increases.” (MAAT-RE)

THE WAY OF PURIFYING ONE’S INNER-SELF: 7 (a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

  Similarly, a person’s   Nafs   (inner-self) is like an infant. It is addicted to sins. It likes to seek pleasures, regardless of whether the activities it is trying to obtain pleasure through are permissible or not. It does not like to perform   Ibadah   (acts of worship) because there is no pleasure for it in   Ibadah . Now, if you leave your   Nafs   to its own devices and let it decide which activities it wishes to pursue, then it will never give up sins. If you wish to make it give up sins, it will require a lot of effort but eventually it will give up sins. You just have to switch the pleasures of your   Nafs , and retrain it to seeking pleasure through   Ibadah , rather than sins. This is the message of Allama Buseri (may Allah Ta’ala bless him). And Hazrat Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) is also saying that the crux of Tasawwuf is that a person uses his willpower to keep performing   Ibadah   and in abstaining from sins.


  KEENAH ( کینہ ) (HOLDING A GRUDGE/ILL FEELING TOWARDS SOMEONE)   “ Keenah  refers to deliberately and intentionally holding ill feelings towards someone and wishing them harm. If someone has hurt us, and we just don’t feel like socializing with them, that is not  Keenah . It is just a natural feeling which is not a sin.” (MAAT-RE)   “If a person feels happiness upon his opponent coming to some harm, then he should remind himself intentionally, and firmly believe it, that such happiness is condemnable and one should not harbour it. And he should keep praying to Allah Ta’ala to remove this feeling of happiness (upon someone else’s loss) from him.” (MAAT-RE)

THE WAY OF PURIFYING ONE’S INNER-SELF: 6 (a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 A PERSON’S  NAFS  (INNER-SELF) IS LIKE AN INFANT   Allama Buseri has said in Qaseeda Burda that a person’s  Nafs  is like an infant. If you keep feeding milk to an infant and never wean him off it, then he will become an adult but would still be drinking only milk. However, if you realize that a child should not be drinking milk alone, he should be eating other things too, so he should be weaned off milk, then whenever you start doing it, there will be an initial difficult period. He will cry, he will scream, there will be some sleepless nights, but eventually he will be weaned off milk. However, if you get scared of this whole process and think that this is too difficult, he will never sleep at night himself and nor will he let me sleep, lets just keep feeding him milk, then that child will grow up but will still be drinking milk alone.


TREATMENT OF  HASAD  (jealousy, envy)   “The treatment of  Hasad  is to recognize that feeling happy when harm befalls someone is wrong, to do  Taubah (repentance) to Allah Ta’ala, to pray to Allah Ta’ala to remove such negative feelings from him, and to start actively helping that person, whether physically, financially or with  Dua  (prayer). If a person keeps doing this, then Insha’Allah (God willing) his natural feeling of jealousy will get attenuated.” MAAT- RE

THE WAY OF PURIFYING ONE’S INNER-SELF: 5 (a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

  This is the person who spent all his life learning about and then teaching Tasawwuf, and he is saying that the primary lesson of Tasawwuf is to battle your procrastination and lack of motivation. For example, you are feeling lazy in going to the Masjid for Jama’at, and your heart is telling you to just pray at home, or not pray at all. At that time, there is no treatment for that procrastination and lack of motivation besides forcing yourself to do it. To combat this procrastination, use the fortitude, the determination, that Allah Ta’ala has granted you. If you keep using your determination, your procrastination will gradually get weaker. If you do not use your determination, your resolve, then this procrastination will get stronger and stronger. Today it will make you miss one   Fard   (compulsory act of worship), tomorrow it will make you miss another. Today it will make you commit one sin, tomorrow it will make you commit another sin. But you if decide within your mind that you w


 “If a person feels happy upon hearing something bad happening to another person or that person coming to some sort of harm, then it means he has an inner feeling of  Hasad  towards that person.  While a person is not accountable for natural feelings, but if he deliberately acts on that feeling, (for example, starts expressing happiness about that person’s loss, or starts saying bad things about him) then this action is voluntary and he will be held accountable for such actions. That is why it is important to attenuate or weaken this natural feeling of  Hasad  so that a person doesn’t start acting on it.” MAAT-RE

THE WAY OF PURIFYING ONE’S INNER-SELF: 4 (a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 THE CRUX OF TASAWWUF   Hazrat Dr Abdu Hai (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) used to frequently quote a saying by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him);   “The crux of Tasawwuf is that when a person is finding it difficult to perform a commandment of Shariah because of a lack of motivation, he should fight that lack of motivation to obey that commandment, and when a person is finding it difficult to resist temptations to commit a sin because of lack of motivation, then he should fight that lack of motivation to refrain from that sin. This is what gives rise to a closer relationship with Allah, this is what makes that relationship stronger, and this is what sustains it.”


  THE THREE STAGES OF HASAD (حسد) (jealousy, envy) “The first stage of Hasad is just a natural feeling (of unhappiness when something good happens to a person one is jealous of) which is beyond a person’s control (and therefore not a sin in itself). The second is an action (for example badmouthing a person one is jealous of, making efforts for them to lose those good things he is jealous about). This is a sin. The third is intentionally opposing that negative feeling towards the other person. This is mandated by Shariah. This means that if a person feels like badmouthing a person because of jealousy, then he should deliberately praise him in front of others. If he doesn’t feel like talking to him, then he should force himself to meet him, treat him with respect, initiate saying Salam to him, and do (Ihsan) good to him.”

THE WAY OF PURIFYING ONE’S INNER-SELF: 3 (a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

  This is not Allah Ta’ala’s way because in   Aakhirah   (Hereafter) every person will be rewarded or punished according to the voluntary actions they have performed. That is why every individual needs to make an effort by himself, and to make this effort he needs to make a firm commitment that no matter how much hardship he faces he will keep following the path of Allah Ta’ala. Therefore, for improving the deeds of both one’s body and one’s inner-self, it is necessary that a person practices resisting the impermissible desires arising in his heart, strives not to act on them, and makes himself used to persevering with this hardship for the rest of his life.

اتّباعِ سنّت

  ہائے صد افسوس کہ جو بات تقریباً تیس سال کے بعد جا کے سمجھ آئی، کاش وہ پہلے سمجھ آ جاتی، کہ دین تمامتر صرف اتّباعِ سنّت ہے، اس کے سوا کچھ بھی نہیں۔ جو انسان رسول الّٰلہ ﷺ کی سنّت سے جتنا قریب ہے، وہ الّٰلہ تعالیٰ کی رضا سے اتنا قریب ہے، جو سنّت سے جتنا دور ہے، وہ الّٰلہ تعالیٰ کی رضا سے اتنا دور ہے۔ اس میں کچھ تفصيل ہے، وہ یہ ہے کہ رسول الّٰلہ ﷺ کی سنتّیں ظاہری بھی ہیں اور باطنی بھی۔ جس طرح رسول الّٰلہ ﷺ کی سنّت کا اتّباع اپنی ظاہری حلیے میں، عبادات میں، اور لوگوں سے حسنِ سلوک میں کرنا چاہیے، اسی طرح ہر وقت الّٰلہ تعالیٰ کا شکر گذار رہنا، تکلیف پہ اور الّٰلہ تعالیٰ کے دین کے معاملے میں صبر کرنا، تواضع اور عاجزی اختیار کرنا، ہر نیک کام صرف الّٰلہ تعالیٰ کی رضا کے لئے اخلاص کے ساتھ کرنا، یہ سب بھی رسول الّٰلہ ﷺ کی عظیم الشان سنّتیں ہیں۔ ان تمام سنّتوں کو بھی سیکھنے اور ان پر عمل کرنے کی کوشش کرنی چاہئے تا کہ انسان کا ظاہر اور باطن دونوں رسول الّٰلہ ﷺ سے قریب سے قریب تر ہو جائیں۔ الّٰلہ تعالی ہم سب کو اتّباعِ سنّت کی توفیق عطا فرمائیں۔ آمین۔


  HASAD  ( حسد ) (jealousy, envy)   (In Shariah’s terminology,  Hasad  means a person having such intense jealousy for another person that if the other person is blessed with something good, for example, children, wealth, or a good job, then he feels very unhappy about it, wishes that the other person loses those good things, and in worst cases, badmouths that person or makes deliberate efforts to make him lose those blessings.)

THE WAY OF PURIFYING ONE’S INNER-SELF: 2 (a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 SHAYKH CAN’T PURIFY ANYONE WITHOUT THEIR EFFORT   Some people believe that when someone goes to a  Waliullah  (people of Allah), establishes an  Islahi Ta’alluq  (a mentoring relationship to purify one’s inner-self) with a Shaykh, or does  Bayt , then that Shaykh will just cast an eye on him and his inner-self will get purified instantly. Please understand carefully that it usually doesn’t work that way. A person has to make the effort himself, he has to work hard, and has to oppose his inner wishes and desires no matter how much distress that causes him. The role of the Shaykh is to guide him, to show him the way, and to tell him ways that make treading on this path a bit easier. But the person has to make the effort himself. No one can else can make the effort on his behalf. Otherwise, the Prophets of Allah Ta’ala wouldn’t have had to go through such hardships to convey the message of Allah. They could have just cast an eye on everyone and everyone would have become a Muslim.


 “If a person feels angry, the wise thing for him to do is not to rush to say or do anything immediately. (give yourself some time before you react). If a person keeps practicing this, his temper will become more moderate over a period of time.”

THE WAY OF PURIFYING ONE’S INNER-SELF: 1 (a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 Hazrat Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) said;   “The way of improving one’s actions and one’s inner-self is to resist the desires of one’s Nafs and to make it get used to hardships.”   Improving one’s actions in this context means improving those acts of worship which are carried out physically, for example, praying Salah, fasting, giving Zakat and performing Hajj. Improvement of one’s inner-self in this context refers to those acts of worship which are carried out mentally or internally, for example,  Sabr  (patience),  Shukr  (gratefulness to Allah Ta’ala),  Tawakkul  (placing one’s trust in Allah Ta’ala),  Tawazu  (humility, modesty), etc. Hazrat says that the way of improving both external and internal acts of worship is to oppose one’s innate drives, resisting the innate urge to perform sins, and to make one’s inner-self used to experiencing hardships. 


“When you feel angry do the following; (1), remember that I have also committed many sins, if Allah Ta’ala becomes angry with me in a similar way where will I go, (2) reflect that if I forgive this person Allah Ta’ala will forgive me, (3) do not remain unoccupied then, try to become busy immediately especially in reading books, (4) move away from the person you are angry at, (5) recite  اعوذ بالّٰلہ  frequently, (6) drink water, (7) perform wudu (ablution).” MAAT - RE

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 18 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

In fact, this gradual change and progress is far better and safer for the person than abrupt change. If a person bring an immense change in himself suddenly to the extent that people start noticing it and pointing it out that “look at so and so, what he used to be and what he has become now”, such an abrupt change can be harmful for the person. It is better for a person to bring gradual change, and he gets  Barakah  (blessing) from Allah Ta’ala for it. So, do not feel hopeless if you can’t become perfect suddenly, keep making your effort, keep moving forward on this path, and keep battling Satan and your  Nafs  (inner-self). Insha’Allah Ta’ala you will succeed. May Allah Ta’ala make us all follow this path. Aameen   و آخر دعوانا ان الحمد الّٰلہ رب العٰلمین


 ANGER   “Feeling anger is a natural instinct and is beyond a person’s control. It is not condemnable. However, acting on this anger, especially when this action exceeds beyond the limits set by Shariah, is voluntary, and therefore, a person will be held accountable for it. As acting on anger is voluntary, its treatment is also voluntary. There is no treatment of anger besides trying to control it with voluntary effort. This effort includes; moving away from the person one is angry at, reciting  اعوذ بالّٰلہ , and reflecting on one’s own mistakes and flaws and what would happen if Allah Ta’ala starts becoming angry with us for every mistake we make. One has to keep practicing being soft-spoken and mild-tempered for a very long time with a lot of effort, and only then it becomes natural for a person.”

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 17 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 WHEN DOES A CHILD BECOME AN ADULT?   Hazrat Dr Abdul Hai (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) used to say that have you observed how a little child grows up and no one even notices? If that child measures his height everyday to check how much he has grown in the last 24 hours, then he would be disappointed that he has hardly grown at all in 24 hours. If he then measures his height again the next day and compares it with the height of the day before, he will again feel that he hasn’t grown at all. In reality, he is growing gradually and his height is increasing, but this growth is hardly noticeable on a day to day basis. Gradually he grows up to become a full adult over a period of time. Similarly, when a person embarks on this path of purification of his inner-self, he keeps making progress on it slowly and gradually, as long as he continues to make efforts with  Ikhlas  (purity of intention), does not become neglectful of it, and does not let go of it.


 THE TWO DEGREES OF  TAUHEED  (ONENESS OF GOD)   There are two degrees of  Tauheed  which are required by Shariah. The first is  Tauheed  of Belief ( توحیدِ اعتقادی ) which refers to believing in the Oneness of Allah Ta’ala, both in terms of His existence, and in terms of His characteristics and powers. The second is  Tauheed  of intention ( توحیدِ قصدی ) which means that when performing any action, a person’s sole intention should be to the seek the approval of Allah Ta’ala, and not doing anything to seek the approval of people.”

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 16 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

  “Allah does not obligate anyone beyond his capacity…” (2:286)    It is not the purpose of this talk to make you feel that this path is too difficult, because Allah Ta’ala has not made us accountable for any actions that are beyond our capabilities and powers. Therefore, start trying to give up sins, and start observing  Sabr  (patience) if you encounter any difficulties and hardships while doing so. When you start doing this, there will be times when you will slip and make a mistake. There will be an ongoing battle between you and your  Nafs  (inner-self), and you and Satan. Sometimes you will defeat your  Nafs  and Satan, and sometimes they will defeat you. When you defeat them, say  الحمدالّٰلہ  (All praise be to Allah) , and when they defeat you, say  استغفرالّٰلہ  (Allah Ta’ala please forgive me). If you keep making this effort, after a period of time you will defeat them more than they will defeat you, and you will start dominating them. This is what Allah Ta’ala has promised in


  RIYA ( ریا)   (Riya refers to the act of a person performing or publicising an  Ibadah  (act of worship) so that other people will praise him or he will obtain some other material gain, rather than performing  Ibadah  with the intention of pleasing Allah Ta’ala.)   “Before performing any act make a conscious intention of seeking the pleasure and approval of Allah Ta’ala. Do not consciously make an intention of pleasing people. If the thought that ‘people will praise me if they learn that I did this’ comes unintentionally, then do not worry about it and renew your conscious intention of seeking Allah Ta’ala’s approval only. If a person keeps practicing this for some time, then his internal drive for  Riya  (seeking people’s approval rather than Allah Ta’ala’s approval) becomes weaker. It is not necessary to completely eliminate negative attributes of inner-self, because it is often not possible. What is sufficient is that they become so weak that resisting them (in the sense that a pe

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 15 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 REFLECTION AND FORBEARANCE   Hazrat Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) said;   “The cure of all negative attributes of a person’s inner-self is reflection and forbearance. Whatever act he is going to perform, first he should reflect on whether it is permissible under Shariah or not. And he should not rush to do things, he should practice forbearance.”   This means that to treat the negative attributes of his inner-self, a person should do two things, the first is reflection, and the second is forbearance. ‘Reflection’ in this context means that before a person does anything or says anything, he should reflect for a moment whether what he is going to do or say is permissible under Shariah or not. If, after reflection, he realizes that what he wanted to do is impermissible, and his  Nafs  (inner-self) is inclined towards committing that act despite knowing that it is impermissible, then he should observe forbearance, meaning he should tolerate whatever distress or discomfort he experie


 “One should never look down upon people who ask for our financial help. We should be grateful towards them because they carry our good deeds to take them to  Aakhirah  (Hereafter). If there were no poor people in this world, how our  Sadaqat  (charity) would have reached Aakhirah? Therefore, people who are financially well off should never look down upon people who ask for their help, and should never feel aggrieved by them.” (MAAT-RE)

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 14 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

  معصوم تھا نہ وقفِ سجود و دعا تھا میں خوبی میری یہی تھی کہ اہلِ خطا تھا میں   The angels are  Masoom  ( معصوم ) (incapable of committing any sins). They are also dedicated to keep praying to Allah Ta’ala. But this is a human being’s virtue that he has the capacity to make mistakes, has the impulses and desires to commit sins, and then he resists these desires to abstain from sins. This virtue requires that these desires to commit sins are present in the first place. As long as these desires remain, this struggle will remain. However, the difference is that when a person initially embarks on the path of  Tazkiyah  (purification of his inner-self), this struggle requires an enormous amount of effort. But after sustained  Mujahidah  this struggle becomes relatively easier. However, no matter how much  Mujahidah  a person has performed, a person will still keep having a little bit of struggle till the very end. So, do not be afraid of this struggle, do not feel hopeless that even after  M


 “If you see someone engaging in a sin that you do not commit, then think about whether you commit some sins that he does not commit. Everyone has many good qualities and some bad ones too. If that person has one bad quality, then it is possible that we have many more bad qualities than him, or we may have only one flaw but it may be much worse than his flaw. Then why should we think of others as being inferior to ourselves?”

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 13 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 HUMANS AND ANGELS   If human beings were not born with a desire to commit sins, then what would have been the difference between them and angels? Angels do not have such desires. They do not feel angry, they do not have biological desires, they do not experience hunger or thirst. If humans didn’t have these desires as well, they would have turned into angels. Then they would have had no superiority over angels. The reason human beings have been deemed superior to angels is that they are born with all these desires, and when they combat these desires in submission to Allah Ta’ala’s commands they become superior to angels.


 “Believing oneself to be superior to someone else, inwardly or outwardly (meaning just holding that belief or expressing it through one’s behaviour), to the extent that he looks down upon that person, is  Takabbur .  Takabbur  is intentional, and giving up an intentional act also requires intention. Initially it is difficult to give up and behave in ways which are not symptomatic of  Takabbur , but with sustained effort it becomes easier.” 

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 12 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 If a person develops an infection, he goes to the doctor. The doctor prescribes some medicines for him. After using those medicines his infection clears up and his fever subsides. Can any doctor then give a guarantee that because he used that treatment, he will never have fever again in his life? No doctor can give such a guarantee. If you become ill again, you go to the doctor again, and the doctor treats you again.    Similarly, if you go to a Shaykh for treatment of your spiritual ills, and as a result of his guidance and following his advice one of your negative internal attributes becomes weakened, it doesn’t mean that it has disappeared and can never return. No, it can return and can affect your behaviour again.  So, if it comes back, go to the Shaykh again and get it treated again.


 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN  TAKABBUR  AND  SHUKR  (being grateful to God)   “If a person feels proud (believing that what he has achieved is exclusively because of his own personal efforts) of what he has, this is  Takabbur . If he believes that it is a blessing from God and is mindful that he could neither obtain, nor sustain all of it through his own efforts alone, this is  Shukr  (gratefulness).”

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 11 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 NEED FOR LIFELONG EFFORT   Hazrat Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) further said;   “A person will continue to need treatment (for spiritual ills) until and unless these internal desires are completely extinguished, and there is no way of completely extinguishing these internal desires.”   It means that as long as these internal desires are present, they can always affect a person’s behaviour and lead him to sins, no matter how much  Mujahidah  he has done. That is why it is important to understand that battling these desires is a lifelong struggle. Do not think that if you received mentorship from a Shaykh, learnt how to perform Mujahidah, managed to bring your internal desires into control, did not feel as inclined to commit sins and started staying away from them, then a time will come after which you will never have any desire to commit sins. That time is never going to come. There will always be a risk of getting impulses to commit sins again. Hazrat Thanvi RE has explained thi


  TAKABBUR  ( تکبّر ) (ARROGANCE, GRANDIOSITY)   ( Takabbur : the belief that I am superior to others and others are inferior to me.)   “Q: Many times, unintentionally I get the thought that I am a scholar and so-and-so is illiterate, so I am better than him.   A: Say to your  Nafs  (inner-self) that who knows who is better in the eyes of Allah Ta’ala. It is possible that his inner-self is better than mine and I am condemned in Allah Ta’ala’s court. Allah Ta’ala has taught you a few words and you started thinking of yourself as high and mighty because of those. If He takes these words away from you, what will you do?”   (The Noble Qur’an says,  “ Surely the noblest of you, in Allah’s sight, is the one who is most pious of you…”  [49:13] It means that no matter how much wealth, knowledge or status a person has in this temporary world, in the end the most successful person will be the one who has lived his life most piously. Therefore, one should never feel proud of these material indica

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 10 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 However, even after these negative attributes of  Nafs  (inner-self) have been tamed, a person keeps to keep monitoring them all the time. It doesn’t work like that once a person has tamed them they stay tamed forever. Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) used to say that this is a terminal illness, one has to keep monitoring till his last moment that he is not doing anything under the influence of these negative internal attributes, and that they are not becoming stronger again. The reason for this is that these negative internal attributes do not go away completely as a result of  Mujahidah , they just become attenuated. If we start neglecting them, they can always rise up again and lead a person to committing sins. That is why one has to always remain careful. As Maulana Rumi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) said;   اندریں راہ می تراش و می خراش تادمِ آخر دمِ فارغ مباش   “On this path, one always has to keep developing, keep evolving. There can be no free moment till


  TAJASSUS  ( تجسّس ) (Excessive curiosity about other people’s private matters)   “Sitting in a place where others can’t see a person, and then eavesdropping on other people’s conversations is also included in  Tajassus  (undue curiosity). If you are sitting in a place where others can’t see you, then tell them you are there or sit in front of them. Similarly, if a person lies down to sleep, and others start having a private conversation believing that he is sleeping while he is actually awake, then he should tell them that he is awake. In the same way, if two people are speaking privately in a language believing that the third person doesn’t know that language but he knows it, then he should make them aware that he knows that language.”

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 9 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 THE OUTCOME OF  MUJAHIDAH   When a person keeps doing  Mujahidah  (sustained effort) over a period of time, eventually he begins to tame the negative attributes in his  Nafs  (inner-self). For example, he previously had excessive love of material wealth, excessive love of material world, excessive physical desires, excessive anger, now all of these get tamed and come within the bounds of Shariah. The process of taming all these negative attributes and bringing them under control in called  Riyazat   ( ریاضت ).


  “The primary cure of  Badgumani  (thinking ill of others),  Tajassus  ( تجسّس ) (trying to pry out other people’s secrets and weaknesses), and  Gheebat  (backbiting) is to adopt  Tawazu  ( تواضع ) (humility,), and removing  Takabbur  (grandiosity) from one’s inner-self. However, until that happens, the treatment of  Gheebat  is to think before speaking, fining oneself if it is committed inadvertently, and to focus one’s concentration towards Allah Ta’ala’s  Zikr  (remembrance) when a person gets any bad thoughts about other people.”   (In the terminology of Tasawwuf,  Tawazu  [ تواضع ]is the opposite of  Takabbur  and refers to believing that other people are better in the eyes of God than oneself.)

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 8 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

  The primary objective is not to stare at what Allah Ta’ala has forbidden us to stare at. But because it is difficult to control one’s gaze when one starts doing this, we have been ordered to lower our gaze and not to stare here and there, even at things which we have been permitted to look at otherwise. This is   Mujahidah . With one keeps practicing this, then a person stops staring at inappropriate places, and if by any chance it happens he will move his gaze away immediately. Once a person reaches that stage, then he is not forbidden to look here and there. It is permissible to look at whatever Allah Ta’ala has allowed us to look at. The point here is that when a person starts the effort of abstaining from   Haraam , sometimes he has to abstain from Halal as well in the beginning. This is what is known as   Mujahidah .


 “If a person thinks ill of others, the stage at which it becomes a sin is if he starts firmly believing in it. If he doesn’t believe these things firmly, then it is not a sin, but because it can become one, it is important to treat it. The treatment is that he should reflect on his own sins whenever he gets thoughts about other people’s flaws. If after this treatment some thoughts still remain then they are not as harmful.”

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 7 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 PROTECTING ONE’S EYES FROM SINS   Hazrat Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) said that when Satan was condemned by Allah Ta’ala, he vowed that if You are condemning me because I refused to prostrate before a human being, then I will attack to mislead him from the front, from the back, from his right side, and from his left side. But he forgot to mention two directions, from the top and from the bottom. It means that these two directions, that is above and below, are safe from the attack of Satan. If you turn your gaze towards your right, the Satan can mislead you, if you turn your gaze towards your left side he can mislead you, and same with front and back. But he cannot mislead you if you look above or below. However, if you walk with your gaze upwards, you run the risk of falling down. Therefore, the only safe way is that you walk with your gaze lowered. Then, Insha’Allah Allah, Ta’ala will keep you safe from the attacks of Satan.


 “The root of  Badgumani  (thinking ill of others),  Tajassus  (undue curiosity) and  Gheebat  (backbiting) is  Takabbur (grandiosity). Rather,  Mutakabbir  (a person who harbours  Takabbur ) gets full satisfaction only after he commits  Gheebat .  Badgumani  and  Tajassus  are just a prelude to  Gheebat . If a person engages in  Badgumani  and  Tajassus  but does not commit  Gheebat , then he won’t be fully satisfied, and will also give up  Badgumani  and  Tajassus . That is why  Gheebat  is the worst sin amongst them all.”   ( Tajassus  refers to the habit of prying into other people’s personal and private secrets and flaws. Shariah strictly forbids Muslims to try to spy on other people’s private matters which they want to keep secret. If someone somehow comes to know such matters, then keeping such matters to themselves and not sharing these with anyone else is included in  Amanah  [trustworthiness])

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 6 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 Hazrat Nanotvi RE then said, “a person’s  Nafs  (inner-self) is also bent towards sins. So, when you try to bring it to moderation, it doesn’t stay there. The trick is to bend it to the other side and make it give up Halal things as well. Once it gets used to giving up Halal activities as well it will develop moderation, and then it will become easier for it to refrain from sins and from disobeying Allah Ta’ala.”   Our Nafs has become used to committing sins (may Allah Ta’ala protect us). For example, our eyes have become used to inappropriate staring and drawing pleasure from it. On the other hand, Allah Ta’ala has said in the Noble Qur’an;   “ Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes …  (24:30)   If a person is going to the market and looks this way or that way, is it permissible or impermissible? It is permitted as long as he is looking at those objects which are permitted to look at, like cars or buildings. But because the eyes are used to committing sins, and he re


  BADGUMANI  ( بدگمانی ) (THINKING ILL OF OTHERS)   “ Badgumani  arises from  Takabbur  (arrogance, grandiosity). If a person deliberately and intentionally thinks ill of others, it is  Haraam  (unlawful). However, if such a thought crosses a person’s mind unintentionally it is not  Haraam  as long as the person does not act on it. (Acting on it means that he starts believing it firmly, or mentions it to other people.)”   ( Badgumani  [ بدگمانی ]refers to harbouring bad expectations from others and thinking ill of them without any real evidence. This consists of thinking bad of a person when they have seen or heard no strong evidence for it.  Takabbur  [ تکبّر ]refers to a person believing that he is superior to everyone else, and everyone else is inferior to him.  If a person only believes that he is better than others, but not that others are inferior to him it is called  Ujub  [ عجب ])


  (Another common misconception about  Gheebat  (backbiting) is that people believe that if what they are saying is true, then it is not  Gheebat . A person once asked the Holy Prophet  (peace be upon him) , “O’ Prophet of Allah  ﷺ . Would it still be  Gheebat  if what I am saying about that person is true?” The Holy Prophet  ﷺ  replied, “It will only be  Gheebat  if what you are saying is true. If what you are saying is not true, then it will be  Bohtaan  [ بہتان , slander, which in Shariah carries two sins, one of lying, and one of denigrating another human being].”)

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 5 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 FORBIDDING HALA ACTIVITIES FOR  MUJAHIDAH   Once someone asked Maulana Yaqoob Nanotvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him), “Hazrat, why do Sufis sometimes forbid those activities which Allah Ta’ala has declared Halal? For example, Allah Ta’ala has permitted eating, but they say don’t eat as much. Allah Ta’ala has permitted sleeping but they say, don’t sleep as much. Allah Ta’ala has made permitted socializing with people and talking to them but they say don’t talk as much. Why is that?”   Hazrat Nanotvi RE gave that person a piece of paper and asked him to fold it. He did. Then he asked him to open the fold and straighten the paper, but despite many attempts the paper wouldn’t stay straight because of the fold line. He said, “now fold it in the opposite direction and then try to straighten it.” The person was able to straighten the paper then.

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 4 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

  MUJAHIDAH  OF EATING LESS   Hazrat Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) used to say that the  Mujahidah  of eating less that Sufis of previous times made their disciples do, is not useful these days. The physical constitutions of people in those times were stronger and they used to have larger diets. So, the  Mujahidah  of eating less did not harm their physical health, rather it used to act as a tool for keeping their  Nafs  (inner-self) in check. But this eating less was relative to their own diets. The amount of less eating that Imam Ghazali (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) has mentioned in Ahya ul-Uloom, was so much that it would be sufficient for two people like us today. That is why Hazrat Dr Abdul Hai Arfi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) used to say that these days the amount of eating less should be that a person only eats as much as he needs to, and then stops eating anymore. And the way to recognize that one has eaten enough is that while a person is eating there comes a point when


 (In Shariah’s terminology  Gheebat  means saying something about a person in his absence that, if he had heard it, would have hurt his feelings. Some people proudly make statements like ‘I am not doing  Gheebat  because I can say this to his/her face’. They do not realize that for a statement to constitute  Gheebat  it has nothing to do with whether a person can say that to someone’s face or not. All it requires is that what is said behind a person’s back would have hurt him if he had heard it. And to understand the severity of it one needs to remember that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has likened it to eating the flesh of one’s deceased brother.)


 (Since writing about how to purify one’s soul is way beyond the writer’s capacity and knowledge, I will just translate some sayings of Hazrat Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) on this matter. Hazrat’s words will be in quotation marks, any explanations by the writer will be in brackets. May Allah Ta’ala make it beneficial for all of us. Aameen.)   GHEEBAT  (BACKBITING)   “Do not speak without thinking about it first. You won’t remember sometimes that you should think before talking, but if you keep practicing it you will start remembering it most of the time. Before you start to say something, just reflect for a moment whether what you are going to say can hurt someone’s feelings. Insha’Allah (God willing) this will lead to great improvement.”

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 3 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 GIVING UP HALAL ACTIVITIES   Sometimes a person has to give up Halal activities in order to stay away from  Haraam  (unlawful) activities, lest his  Nafs lead him from Halal to  Haraam  activities. For example, sometimes Sufi saints say that do not eat till your stomach is full, eat a little bit less than that. Is eating till one’s stomach is full  Haraam ? No, it is not. But they say so, because eating less than a full stomach is a  Mujahidah  (effort) for  Nafs  and the benefit of this  Mujahidah  will be that that person’s  Nafs  will learn to do things against its wishes which will then help the person in resisting the impulses to commit sins.

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 2 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

  Hazrat Thanvi RE said that when a person’s  Nafs  (inner-self) tries to make him commit a sin again and again, then forcefully stopping oneself from committing that sin is  Mujahidah  ( مجاہدہ ). As a result of that sustained effort over a period of time, the internal psychological trait which was giving rise to those repeated impulses to commit that sin become weakened. This weakening of the internal psychological trait is called  Riyazat  ( ریاضت ).


 V. AKHLAQ /  TAZKIAH  (INTERNAL PURIFICATION)   Regardless of whether we call it a person’s mind, soul, spirit, personality, temperament or inner-self, everyone recognises that there is a part of human beings which is not visible with eyes, but is as clearly unique and identifiable as their facial features, their physique, or their skin colour. Most of us know someone who always becomes angry, and probably someone who always withdraws and goes into their shell, every time something happens against their wishes. We know someone who is the first person to volunteer every time someone needs help, and someone who hates to part with even a cent of their money even if someone is in desperate need of help. These traits of a person’s inner-self are as clearly identifiable when we spend some time with someone, as their height and complexion.   In Shariah, some of these traits of inner-self are deemed desirable; like being able to control one’s anger, like having humility and modesty, and some

MUJAHIDAH AND RIYAZAT: 1 (abstracts from a talk by Mufti Taqi Usmani DB)

 Hazrat Thanvi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) said that;   “Opposing the impulse and drive to commit a sin is called Mujahidah ( مجاہدہ ) (sustained effort). That impulse arises from some spiritual illness or weakness. The weakening or attenuation of that spiritual illness with sustained effort is called Riyazat ( ریاضت ).”


 The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said; "Many women come to Muhammad’s [ ﷺ ] house and complain about their husbands that they misbehave with them and hit them badly. Listen carefully; those people who hit their wives are not good people amongst you.”


  RIGHTS OF WOMEN   - “…And women have rights similar to what they owe as recognized…” (2:228)   - “The best people amongst you are those who treat their women well, and I am the one who treats the women best amongst you. (Prophet Muhammad  ﷺ )   - “I advise you that you treat your women well. Accept this advice” (Prophet  Muhammad  ﷺ , the last sermon)


 On the other hand, if a person is not leaving any  Wajib  (necessary) commandments unfulfilled, rather he is providing for his wife and children so that they can live with a degree of comfort that he can afford, in those circumstances even if he feels a bit uncomfortable spending money because of his love for money, there is no harm in it. Even though it is also a form of  Bukhl  but as this degree of  Bukhl  did not lead him to commit a sin, therefore, this  Bukhl  did not cause him any harm. So, the point is that as a result of  Mujahidah  (sustained effort) neither the  Bukhl  subsides completely, nor the love of this material world, but it does stop influencing a person’s behaviour. May Allah Ta’ala grant us all the motivation to save ourselves from these spiritual ills. Aameen   و آخر دعوانا ان الحمد الّٰلہ رب العٰلمین


In a Hadith, the Holy Prophet  ﷺ  said that Allah Ta’ala likes that the impact of what He has blessed someone with shows upon his person. It means that how we live and dress should be reflective of the blessings Allah Ta’ala has showered upon us. This is also  Bukhl  if Allah Ta’ala has blessed someone with millions and he keeps himself covered in torn, shabby clothes. This is also in one way being ungrateful to Allah Ta’ala.


   -         A person reportedly asked the Holy Prophet   ﷺ : "Which is the most favoured deed in the sight of Allah?" He said, "Salah at its time." The person asked again, "Which is the most favoured deed after that?" To that he said, "Treating parents well."     -         The Holy Prophet   ﷺ   said,  "For one who remained obedient to his parents for the sake of Allah two gates of Paradise shall remain open. And for one who disobeyed them two gates of Hell shall remain open, and if he had just one of the two, either father or mother, then, one gate (of Paradise or Hell shall remain open)." Thereupon, someone asked, "Does it (the warning of Hell) hold good even when the parents have been unjust to this person?" Then he said thrice: “ و ان ظلما و ان ظلما و ان ظلما ”   which means, 'yes, there is that warning of Hell against disobeying and hurting parents even if they were unjust to the son.' 


  RIGHTS OF PARENTS   Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and do good to parents. If any one of them or both of them reach old age, do not say to them ‘uff’ (a word or expression of anger or contempt) and do not scold them, and address them with respectful words, and submit yourself before them in humility out of compassion, and say, “My Lord, be merciful to them as they have brought me up in my childhood”. (17:23-24)   “Be grateful  to Me, and to your parents” (31:14)


  BUKHL  (MISERLINESS, STINGINESS) ( بخل ) IS AN ILLNESS OF THE SOUL   Similarly,  Bukhl  is also an illness of the soul.  In the Noble Qur’an, Allah Ta’ala says;   “ Avarice (materialism) is made to be present in human souls.” (4:128)   It means that Allah Ta’ala has put love of material world in people’s souls. That is why most human beings have some degree of love for wealth. As long as this  Bukhl  does not interfere with that person carrying out his obligations under Shariah, and it does not lead to him engaging in acts which are Haraam, undesirable, or against consideration of other people’s feelings, then it is not deplorable.   On the other hand, if a person does not pay Zakat, or does not give his wife and children reasonable living expenses, or does not give  Sadaqah  in Allah Ta’ala’s way,  then this degree of  Bukhl  is in some circumstances  Haraam , and in some instances not  Haraam  but certainly not desirable.