Aap Beti

Autobiography of Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahmatullahi 'alayh)

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Reality of Tasawwuf

Here Hazrat Shaykh (رحمة الله عليه) explains the reality of Tasawwuf to Ra-eesul Ahraar (Maulana Habeebur Rahman (رحمة الله عليه) , a person that he initially had an unfriendly relationship with. However, Hazrat Shaykh (رحمة الله عليه)'s thorough yet concise explanation sparked a change in their relationship and they became close friends in the end.

Many are the ones alive to this day who can confirm how much love Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir had for me. My friend Soofi Iqbal of Medina was previously a worker in Pakistan. Whenever Hazrat Raipuri visited Pakistan, Soofi Iqbal wrote to me asking me: "When you reply my letter, please send greetings to Hazrat Raipuri (in Pakistan), because in the Majlis after Asr if I say to him that I have received a letter from my Shaykh who gives salaams to you, i am quickly called to come near to the bedstead on which Hazrat is seated and he asks about your welfare. In this manner, I get the opportunity to sit near his bed till Maghrib time."

People have come to know of his connection with me. Hence whenever they go to Raipur from here, the first question Hazrat asks is: "Did you meet Shaykh before coming here?" If the person says "Yes", he spoke to them quite freely, asking about my welfare and whether I had perhaps sent some message. And if the person answered "No", then he did not take any notice of him after that. In any case, he treated all of them according to the degree of contact with me. Because of this, many people were quite disappointed in that they had to merely come here to me to stand and shake hands with me before going to Raipur even though they did not really want to meet me.

Of those was Ra-ees Saheb. They came to meet me in order to be able to say that they have come from Saharanpur, have met me, and that I had sent greetings. And I too, in spite of not wanting to do so, as far as some people were concerned, and in spite of my very busy schedule with very urgent duties, called such people and asked them to pass on my salaam to Hazrat. I feared they will lie in saying that they have met me and that I had sent salaams, while it was completely untrue.

For many years this was the type of meeting with Ra-eesul Ahraar. One morning at 10 o'clock I was extremely busy in my room when Moulvy Naseer came to inform me that Ra'ees Sahem was there, en route to Raipur wanting to shake hands with me. I called him up to my room. He came up and while still climbing the stairs greeted me stretching his hand towards me saying: "I am going to Raipur. I want to put one question to you before I go. The day after tomorrow I shall come here in the morning for the answer. The question is, "What is this thing called tasawwuf? What is its reality?"

Immediately while shaking hands with him I replied: "All it is, is to correct one's niyat [intention]. Nothing else. Its beginning is إنما الأعمال بالنيات: "Verily all actions are judged by the intentions" and its end is
ن تعبد الله كأنك تراه: "That you worship Allah as if you see Him."

Hearing this answer of mine, he fell silent and replied: "While travelling from Delhi I have been thinking that if you say this, then I will raise this objection. And if you say that, I will raise that objection. But this answer which you have given, I have not even anticipated."

I said: "Go now. Your tanga is waiting. And furthermore my time is also being spoiled. You may continue to try to think of some objections to find fault with it. I am afraid that during the day I will not find time to discuss anything at length. Perhaps I will be able to spare a few minutes, but if you wish for a longer discussion, then it may be possible after Maghrib."

The very next day at Maghrib he was back saying: "It was difficult for me to stay over in Raipur last night, because I had to attend a certain function and tonight it has become necessary for me to spend the night here with you. For this reason I have come away one day earlier."

He said further: "Do you know that I never had any faith in you nor any love?"

I retorted: "The feeling was mutual."

Then he said: "But I must admit that the reply you gave me yesterday made a tremendous impression upon me. I have been thinking about it since yesterday and have not been able to come forth with one critical objection against it. I answered: Inshallah Maulana, you will never be able to find any fault with it... إنما الأعمال بالنيات

This is the first stepping stone of tasawwuf and the last step is
ن تعبد الله كأنك تراه: "That you worship Allah as if you see Him." This is what is called "Nisbat" (contact). This is also called "Yad dasht" (remembrance) or "Hudoori" (presence).

I said: "Maulana Saheb, all the exercises are merely to attain this state. The zikr aloud is for it. All the Mujahada and Muraqaba are for it. And whomsoever Allah has granted this wealth out of His Infinite Generosity, in any way, he will not require anything else.

The Sahaba رضي الله عنهم acquired this high state of spiritual blessings through only one look of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and thereafter they did not require anything else. Thereafter the elders and saintly forebearers of this Ummat had prescribed various forms of treatment for the many sicknesses of the heart just like doctors prescribe treatment and medication for physical diseases. The doctors of the soul have out of their experiences in every age prescribed various treatments for various spiritual illnesses according to the needs of the time. These prescriptions are derived from the experiences of the earlier elders of the Ummat. Some people derive benefit from them immediately and are healed while others take longer to effect a cure for their ills.

Thereafter I related many incidents, one of which I had heard from my late father many times and which I had related to the students of hadeeth as well as the attendants of my majlis. (Inshallah we will present the story in the next post - Scribe).

Aap Beeti, Page 58

The Warmth of Sincerity

Often times we make use of facilities that are in front of us in our Madrasas, Masaajid, workplaces without the thought ever crossing our minds that these things are not our property. In this section, Hazrat Shaykh (نور الله مرقده) explains that sincerity that some of his Akaabir and contemporaries had in regards to the Madressa's rights on them. This excerpt is about his father, Maulana Yahya (نور الله مرقده).

During my father's time, the Madressa did not yet have a kitchen to supply students, nor was there a cook or restaurant in the vicinity of the Madressa. Because his family was not staying here, his food was coming from a cook who had restaurant near Jamia Masjid. His name was Ismail. From the time that the food arrived till the time that that he ate it, the food used to get cold, especially during the cold days of winter. Then he placed the pot with food in front of the Madressa's hamaam (the fireplace heating the water), not in it, and so the food would become warmed by the hamaam's heat. Then he used to contribute two or three rupees monthly towards the Madressa funds, saying that he had derived some benefit of the fire of Madressa. He never took any salary from the Madressa for services rendered to teaching.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

That's Not My Job!

Here Hazrat Shaykh (نور الله مرقده) explains the attitude that he, the other teachers, and the students of the madressa had towards work pertaining to the madressa, and laments the current attitudes toward madressa duties. This scribe would like to add that if we try to apply this attitude towards our masaajid and towards duties in our home lives, there will be a very positive impact, Inshallah.

In those days this used to be my golden rule and that of practically every teacher, employee and official of the madressa. The madressa was not our property and whatever we received from or through it was firstly looked upon as a favour from Allah's side and secondly as a favor from the madressa, not a right. We have no right due upon the madressa. And we did not feel ashamed of any task that had to be done for the madressa, no matter how small and insignificant, like sweeping the classroom.

I cannot remember if in those days it was ever necessary to call an employee to bring the clay stones for use during “istinja” in the toilets or to bring the wood for lighting the fire which heated the water. I told the gate-keeper to inform me in my class when the wagon bringing the clay bricks arrived. Then I would send a message to Maulana Abdur Rahman with a student to inform him that I was going downstairs. He too would then come downstairs and seeing us go down both classes would come running along to reach the wagon before us. We then would hardly be able to carry even one block of clay as the students would grab that fro our hands as we off-loaded the clay. Within a few minutes the wagon would be empty. Some students would carry one block while others, eager to show their strength would carry two at a time. There were many other tasks like these. But nowadays, if an employee or official of the madressa is being asked to pick up a hand fan, he will first consider and ponder as to whether this is his work or not, is he getting paid for it or not?

Aap Beti, Page 126


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Students must never treat their Ustads with disrespect

My father was very insistant that a student should never treat his Ustad with disrespect. I had studied Mishkat in the manner described above. In the rest of the Madressa Mishkat and other hadeeth kitaabs were taught with long explanatory lectures given. On various occasions I had sought permission for listening to lectures on some hadeeth kitaabs from some other teachers but my father refused to grant permission that any hadeeth kitaab should be studied under anybody else but himself and Hazrat Khalil Ahmad Saheb. I was however allowed to study logic kitaabs and language from others. In this there was no harm. He used to say: "Disrespect to an Ustad is an insult. Should you show any disrespect to any Ustad teaching logic or philosophy, you will not derive benefit from those books which in itself is a calamity. But should you show disrespect to any Ustad teaching hadeeth, this will be unforgivable and not tolerated and your knowledge of hadeeth will be wasted."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Golden Rule

Here Hazrat Shaykh (رحمة الله عليه) explains a golden rule that he and his distinguished elders considered to be of the utmost importance.

There is one principal fact which our elders considered of paramount importance viz., that the rights of others which are due by you should be duly delivered and if there are any of your rights due upon others, they should not be demanded. My father [Maulana Yahya (رحمة الله عليه)] was a great protagonist of this and acted accordingly. He never used to consider what others were doing. He always used to worry about, "What should I do? What is my duty?"

The same principal will be found many times in the Malfoozaat of my late uncle Maulana Ilyas (رحمة الله عليه) as well as in the lectures of Maulana Yusuf (رحمة الله عليه). It is in fact derived from the hadith:

ليس الواصل بالمكافي ولاكن الواصل الذي إذا قطعت وصل
"The builder of good relations is not he who acts reciprocally (Acting in a friendly manner to those that befriend him), but is in fact the one who befriends those who cut themselves off from him" (Mishkat, Bukhary)

Aap Beti, Page 125

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