Many are perplexed by the lack of spirituality in their lives which becomes a hindrance in their aims to gain the proximity of Allah (s.w.t). This form of anxiety is common amongst those who are punctual with their salah and adhere to the other ‘Faraaidh' (fundamental duties) such as ‘Sawm' (Fasting), ‘Hajj' (The Holy Pilgrimage), etc, but are disheartened by their apparent inability to abstain from sins and how they continually succumb to their base desires. Another great concern is the failure to recognise many of our advances, which are predominant in society and have unfortunately become accepted as the norm, as sins. Both ignorance and negligence have contributed towards the emergence of the latter.
The solution to this dilemma can be deduced from the influence of Rasullullah in terms of his sheer existence over fourteen centuries ago, his invaluable teaching, his social conduct and sagacious dealings with the respected Sahaba Radiallaho Anhum.
“Verily in the lifestyle of the Prophet there is a great for you”
Rasullullah taught us the root cause of this problem when he said, “Behold! In the body there lies a piece of flesh. When it is reformed, the entire body is reformed, and when it becomes corrupt the entire body becomes corrupt”. Behold! This (piece of flesh) is the heart. (Bukhari)
We learn from this Hadith that the heart heavily influences our behavioural pattern and is at the centre of our actions. This also agrees with our rationale because our actions are often the result of our beliefs, opinions, and desires which lie deep within us. If we make a sincere effort to purify our souls and mould them to be submissive to the will of Allah, it will become much easier to obey him and safeguard ourselves from inviting his wrath. What many of us fail to realise is that any progress in this task demands great effort and diligence from our side along with the constant duaa (supplication), pleading with Allah for guidance, which we are so accustomed to (Alhamdulillah). Allah mentions in the Holy Quran, “And (to) those who strive in our way we undoubtedly open our paths”.
If we leave no stone unturned in confronting Shaytaan and the ‘nafs' (the soul), striving wholeheartedly not to fall prey to them, then Allah will, out of his boundless mercy, open the doors of guidance for us. He will direct us to his obedience and holding steadfast to the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet which is described in the Quran as being the key to success:
“And he who obey Allah and his Prophet has indeed achieved a great triumph”
Adopting the company of the pious and the ulama
Ok! So we have a poorly patient in need of Spiritual doctoring. But how do we diagnose its maladies? And how do we go about treating them? Where do we search for the cure?
If we study the life of Rasullullah , we will find that his social conduct and dealings with anyone he came into contact with, especially the eminent Sahaba, illustrates and clearly outlines the principles we need to assimilate and implement in order to achieve the best results. The revolution of Arabia and the renaissance of morals and good conduct was the outcome of his priceless company adopted by his companions. The examples of the Prophet and his companions allegorically sets the benchmark for self-rectification and purification of the soul. It is a great shame that we do not take lesson from this. There are still very few who regard the company of the pious, the friends of Allah to be of any importance. Hakeemul Ummah, Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullahi Alay emphasized that not all of the Sahaba were Ulamaa (learned scholars of religion) but they achieved whatever they had achieved merely through his company. He further stressed that the righteous friends of Allah have always held firm onto ‘Suhbat' (adopting the company of the Pious). They have never given as much attention to acquiring knowledge as they have to Suhbat and Companionship.
“O those who believe, fear Allah and seek unto him a medium and strive in his path so that you may be successful.”
In this verse Allah instructs us to search for means through which we can reach him. The commentary of this verse, as according to many of the Sahaba and Tabieen, suggests that the word ‘Waseelah' in this verse (translated as a medium or means) literally refers to every source which aids one in attaining the ultimate pleasure of Allah, and gaining nearness to him. The saintly and devout servants of Allah are a great means of guidance for us. Accompanying them can open many channels directly leading to the pleasure of Allah. Therefore, it is imperative to befriend them, comply with their consultations and remain in their company. Only then we will be able to benefit from them and taste the fruits which blossom from deep within them. The blessings of Allah constantly descend upon his friends and they are perpetually caressed with his favours. If we accompany them it is highly possible that we may be granted a portion of these bounties.
We live in an era wherein the world has been stripped of any shame or modesty. Modern ills and traits encapsulating over environments have gradually crept into those parts of the world where Muslims are densely populated, such as the Middle East , Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Not only our actions, but our thinking and frame of mind have also transformed. The detestable traits and foul habits of the non-Muslims have become a part of us, darkening our souls, preventing the light of Imaan (faith) from penetrating the heart. Thus, we have fallen short of the remembrance of our creator and spiritually we are dying. The Prophet of Allah explained: “An example of that person who remembers his Lord and one that does not, is like that of the living and the dead” (Bukhari, Muslim)
The Ahlu-llah are sometimes referred to as ‘Ahle-dil' (people of the heart) because they are like spiritual doctors who treat the soul. These very people can diagnose ailments through insight gifted to them by Allah. They have the remedies to cure our spiritual illnesses and aid us in the struggle to change our lives. They can help us to revive the remembrance of Allah in our hearts which have become dormant due to our disobedience. It is essential to maintain a strong connection with such people as history has shown repeatedly that those who have failed to affiliate with them have deviated in someway or another. May Allah bless us with the company of such saints and may he grant us the capacity and the strength to benefit from them. (Ameen)