English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi

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In the two hundred and sixty-sixth letter which Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani wrote to Khwaja Ubaidullah and Khwaja Abdullah, sons of his master Muhammad Baqi Billah, he explains Ilm-i kalam, that is belief, which was inspired to his blessed heart by ilham and firasat. Although he did not have recourse to books or any mental contemplation for writing this information, it all concurs with the words of the savants of Ahl as-sunnat wal-jamaat. May Allahu ta'ala reward those savants with the highest blessings, who worked ceaselessly by spending their lives and sacrificing their rest!

Imam-i Rabbani Mujaddid-i alf-i Thani Shaikh Ahmad Faruqi had only newly dived into the ocean of knowledge, when he dreamt of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam), who said to him, "You will become a mujtahid in the science of Kalam." He told his master about his dream. From that day on he had different ijtihad and views on each matter of Ilm- i kalam. Yet on the majority of matters he was in agreement with our leader of Maturidiyya. Refuting the words of philosophers, which contradicted the Shariat, he proved that they were wrong, and he exposed the disgrace of those ignorant idiots who, being unable to recognize the great men of tasawwuf and to understand their words, deviated from the right way, and who, thinking of themselves as religious men, misled others as well. In this letter, he also communicates a few matters of fiqh concerning salat, the value and the high grade of tasawwuf, and conveys that great men who have made progress on this way are fully adherent to the Shariat and that the slanders of those who are unable to recognize them are untenable, [and advises not to listen to music, not to go dancing or playing], in addition to a few other things:

Praise be to Allahu ta'ala. May all prayers and blessings be on Muhammad Mustafa "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam," who is His Prophet and Beloved, and who is the most beautiful and the most superior of all people in every respect, and on all of those who love and follow him! May Allahu ta'ala bless you, my dear master's children, with endless bliss.

O you beloved children of my master, my dear teacher, who caused me to attain the blessings of this world and the next! Be it known that this poor brother of yours, who is needy in every respect, that is, I, am bathing from head to foot in the alms and favors given by that exalted father of yours. From him did I learn the alphabet of humanity. With him did I read the words revealing high grades. In his presence, under his supervision did I attain certain grades in a short time, which would take others years of labor. All merits that embellish men with virtues and superiorities were sprinkled on me as the prizes for my serving him. This poor person, who used to be good for nothing and who used to know nothing of humanity, matured under his luminous observation in two and a half months, thus joining the path of the superiors, and attaining the grades closer to Allahu ta'ala, which were peculiar to them. In such a short time, the secret advantages, tasted by the men of tasawwuf, and which were expressed in such terms as tajalli, zuhur, nur, hal and kayfiyyat, were scattered before me like drops from the ocean in your father's brilliant heart. Which one of these shall I explain? He being so kind and so merciful to this poor person, none of the marifats of subtle pieces of knowledge remained unlearned, which men of tasawwuf have tried to explain with such words as Tawhid (to know as one), Qurb (closeness), Ma'iyyat (togetherness), Ihatat (to surround everywhere), Sarayan (to exist in every mote). Nothing of their essence remained unfamiliar to me. To see the greatness of Allahu ta'ala in everything -which they call Wahdat-i wujud- and to find kathrat (plurality) in wahdat (unity) are the beginnings of these subtle pieces of knowledge. It would be ignorance and idiocy to attempt to explain the knowledge which Islamic superiors reach and know through the expression of words. The grades which they reach and attain are very high. The knowledge and the occult zeal which they enjoy and acquire are very subtle. Not every peddler of knowledge or those who are considered as superiors and leaders reach or approach this level.

Even if I rub my face on your servants' feet till I die as a recompense for the favors and gifts of that exalted father of yours to this faqir, I would have done nothing towards you. Which one of my defects shall I expose? Which one of my humiliating and shameful traits shall I reveal? May Allahu ta'ala reward Husamaddin Ahmad for taking our duty, our debt towards you upon himself, and for being honored with taking service with you, thus causing us to breathe freely.

A couplet translated into English:
Were all the hairs on me to begin speaking;
You still wouldn't be acknowledged with due thanks!

I was honored three times with kissing the threshold of the door of that treasure of values, [who centuries could not educate once more, nor could the human mind assess]. At the third time he said, "I have become enfeebled. My hope for living has decreased. After me, watch over my children!"" They brought you. You were children carried in arms then. He commanded me to pay tawajjuh on you. His command being obeyed then and there in his presence, you were paid so much tawajjuh that its effect soon showed itself. Then he said, "Now pay tawajjuh on their mother in her absence." As she was absent, she too, was paid tawajjuh on. As it was done with his command and in his presence, I hope that the tawajjuh will bring many uses.

Do not worry that I may be forgetful or oblivious of your father's commands, which must be done in any case, or of his advice, which has to be fulfilled no matter what it costs. Is that ever possible? I have been awaiting a small signal from you. For the time being I am writing a few lines of advice. Listen with rapt attention! May Allahu ta'ala bless both of you with endless bliss.

Every Muslim must first correct his belief; that is, he must believe as the savants of Ahl as-sunnat wal-jamaat have described. May Allahu ta'ala profusely reward those savants who worked incessantly, undauntedly! It is only they and their followers who shall escape the eternal, infinite torment of Hell. Of the tenets of belief which they taught I shall explain the ones that have been forgotten:

[The principles of iman are six: The first one is to believe in Allahu ta'ala]. Allahu ta'ala exists with His own being. Everything other than He came into being as a result of His creating. He Himself, His attributes, and His deeds are unique. [That is, nothing resembles Allahu ta'ala in any respect.] As He does not have a companion or partner in existing, He does not have any likeness in any respect. Resemblance is only in names and words. His attributes and deeds, like He Himself, cannot be comprehended mentally, nor can they be explained; they do not have any resemblance to or analogy with men's attributes and deeds. [He has eight attributes, which are called Sifat-i thubutiyya.] One of them is His attribute knowledge, i.e. He knows. This attribute of His is, like He Himself, eternal, that is, it is not hadith (of recent occurrence). It always exists and is elementary, [that is, in one state. It never changes, it is indivisible, it never increases]. The things which He knows change, and He knows every change. But there is no change in His knowledge or in the dependence of His knowledge upon these things. He knows [every change from eternity in the past to eternity in the future through only one knowledge. In other words, in one moment He knows everything in eternity,] both the largest and the tiniest motes, with their aspects similar and dissimilar to one another, each existing in its own time. For example, both a person's existence and nonexistence, his states before existence, his childhood, youth, old age, his standing, sitting, leaning, lying, laughing and crying, his being in pleasures and blessings or in pain and sorrow, in honor and esteem or disgrace and degradation, in the grave, at the place of resurrection, at the place of Judgement, and, let us say, among the blessings in Paradise; He knows all these at one time and in one state. There is no change, neither in His knowledge nor in the dependence of his knowledge upon these things. If there would be a change, there would be a change in the structure of time, too. However, at that rank there is an unbreakable moment from eternity in the past to eternity in the future. Or, rather, Allahu ta'ala is free from time; there is not "being before" or "being after." If we say that His knowledge reaches all things, He knows all things by knowing them as one and by one relation of His knowledge with them. This one knowledge and relation is above mind's capacity. I find the following example appropriate for explaining this to the mind. Man can think of various cases of a word and its different forms at one moment. At one moment he can know one word in the nominal form, in the verbal form, as a mass of letters, in the past form, in the future form, in the imperative form, in the negative imperative form, with particles, without particles, in the affirmative form, in the negative form. He may say that he sees various forms of a word at the same moment. When it is possible for a man to gather various different cases together in his knowledge, and even in his seeing, why should it not be possible for Allahu ta'ala? Moreover, in His knowledge, the state of two opposites at the same place together is only in appearance. In fact, there is no oppositeness there. For example, He knows a person both as existent and as nonexistent at the same moment. But, at that same moment He knows his existence, let us say a thousand years after the Hegira, and his first nonexistence before this existence, and his second nonexistence, for example a hundred years after this existence. Then, there is no oppositeness there. For, the time of the existence and that of the nonexistence are different. Therefore; though Allahu ta'ala knows separate, different things at one moment, no change takes place in His knowledge. Contrary to what philosophers suppose, nothing happens in His attribute knowledge afterwards. For, the knowledge of something does not originate from the knowledge of something else that precedes it; why should there be change in the knowledge, then? Since He knows everything at the same one moment, no change or novelty takes place in His knowledge. Then, in explaining that there is no change in the knowledge, it would be unnecessary to say that the knowledge has been attached to things through various bonds and that these bonds change. As a matter of fact, to refute philosophers, some of our superiors said so. It would be pertinent to say that change occurs in the attachment of these bonds to things.

Another sifat-i thubutiyya of Allahu ta'ala is His attribute Kalam. His attribute kalam, that is, His word, is an elementary word; He is the speaker of that one word from eternity in the past to eternity in the future. All the commands, all the prohibitions, all that is communicated, all the questions, all the requests are in that one word. All the books and pages that He has sent are of that one elementary word. The Torah has originated from it. And the Qur'an, too, has originated from it.

[Another sifat-i thubutiyya of Allahu ta'ala is His attribute Takwin. That is, He is creative]. All that He created, all that He made are of one deed, of one making; all His creations, from His first creation to eternity, are created through that one deed. The ayat, "We made everything in the twinkling of an eye," shows this fact. His giving life and taking life are through that one deed. His creating and annihilating, too, are of that one deed. There are not various attachments to His deed, either. Perhaps, with one attachment He creates all the things in the beginnings and in the ends, each coming about in its own time. Since the mind cannot understand His deed, it cannot comprehend the attachments of the deed. The mind does not have access to that realm. Even Abul-Hasan Ashari, one of the savants of Ahl as-sunnat, being unable to understand the deed of Allahu ta'ala, said that His attribute Takwin, that is, His creating, was of a recent occurrence. That is, he said that His making each thing happens when He makes it. However, all the deeds that have been done in process of time are the works, appearances of that deed in the eternal past. They are not the deed itself. So, of the great men of tasawwuf, those who say, "We see His deeds, we have attained to the Tajalli-yi afal," are wrong. They presume that they see the deed of Allahu ta'ala in everything. However, those manifestations, appearances are not the deed itself, but they are its works. For, since Allahu ta'ala cannot be seen, His deed cannot be seen, felt, thought of or understood by the mind, either. His deed and all His attributes are eternal. They are not of a recent occurrence. With Him they always exist. His deed is called Takwin; it does not go in the mirror of creatures, nor is it seen there.

A Persian couplet translated into English:
How can meaning go into the shape and form of a cup, which is
Narrow? What is a Sultan's business in a beggar's cottage?

According to this faqir (Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani), unless Allahu ta'ala becomes manifest, His attributes and deeds cannot become manifest. How can His attributes and deeds ever become manifest without His own manifestation, in the light of the fact that they do not part from Him? What parts from Him are the shades, reflections and visions of His attributes and deeds. Not everybody can understand these. Only to those slaves of His whom He loves does Allahu ta'ala impart this subtle knowledge. His blessings are multifarious.

Now we come back to the point under discussion: Allahu ta'ala does not enter anything. He does not penetrate any substance. Nothing penetrates Him. But Allahu ta'ala surrounds everything, is close to everything and is together with everything. Yet these are not like the surrounding and the closeness and the togetherness which we understand and with which we are familiar. They are not worthy of Him. Nor is the surrounding, the closeness or the togetherness, which the Awliya sense through kashf, worthy of Him. For, none of these poor creatures can understand His attributes and deeds. They must be believed without understanding.

A Persian couplet in English:
The phoenix cannot be hunted, undo your trap!
Air, only, this hunting is going to trap.

It will be pertinent to quote the following distich from my exalted murshid's "qaddas- Allahu sirrah-ul'aziz" Persian Mathnawi by translating it into English:

The destination is far away;
"I've attained", would be wrong to say.

We believe that Allahu ta'ala surrounds everything, that He is close to everything and that He is together with everything. But we cannot know what this surrounding, this closeness, this togetherness mean. To say that His knowledge surrounds, or that His knowledge is close, would mean to translate the outward meanings in Qur'an al-karim. We do not approve of such translations.

Allahu ta'ala does not unite with anything. Nor does anything unite with Him. Great men of tasawwuf uttered some words which we would interpret as uniting. But they meant something else. For example, by their statement, "When faqr is completed, one becomes Allahu ta'ala," they meant: "Nothing exists. Allahu ta'ala exists only." They did not mean to say that the faqir unites with Allahu ta'ala. It would be disbelief, zindiqness to say so. Allahu ta'ala is not like what disbelievers suppose Him to be. My master said: The meaning of Hallaj-i Mansur's word, "I am Haqq", is, "I am not. Only Allah is." [Such statements said by those who obey the Shariat must be judged with a good opinion and with tawil.]

Allahu ta'ala Himself does not change; nor do His attributes and deeds. No change takes place in Him, in His attributes or in His deeds when actions, movements take place, or when He creates things. Those who maintain that there is wahdat-i wujud say that Allahu ta'ala created beings in five grades, which they call Tanazzulat-i khams; yet this does not have a meaning so as to indicate a change in Him. If a person expresses it in this meaning, he diverges from the right way and becomes a disbeliever. These great people say that there have been five grades downwards in the manifestation of Allah's attributes, which means that there is no change in Allahu ta'ala's attributes and deeds.

Allahu ta'ala is Ghaniyy-i mutlaq. That is, He does not need anything for anything. Nothing is necessary for Him, for His attributes, for His deeds, in any respect. As they do not have a need in existence, they do not have a need in appearing, or in being known. Those words of the great ones of the Sufiyya-i 'aliyya which imply meanings such as, "Allahu ta'ala needs us in order to display His names and attributes" seem very humiliating to me, the faqir. Being created, we have been valued, honored. Nothing has increased in Allahu ta'ala. Such words are quite impertinent and very loathsome. He declares, "I created genies and human beings only so that they should worship Me." This means to say that the creation of genies and human beings is intended for them to know Allahu ta'ala; this is an honor, a fortune for them. It is not intended for Him to gain something. Allahu ta'ala declares in a hadith al-qudsi, [that is, through the Prophet's blessed tongue,] "I created everything to be known," which means, "...so that they may be honored by knowing me." It does not mean, ".....so that I may be known and through their recognition reach perfection." This meaning is not worthy of Allahu ta'ala.

Allahu ta'ala does not have the attributes of imperfection or the peculiarities and symptoms of creatures. He is not matter. He is not a substance. He is free from place; [that is, He does not occupy a place]. He is free from time; [as He does not have a place, so He does not have time]. The attributes of perfection and the indeficiencies only exist in Him. He has declared that He has eight attributes of perfection, which are: Hayat (being alive), 'Ilm (knowing), Qudrat (being powerful), Iradat (will), Sam' (hearing), Basar (seeing), Kalam (saying), Takwin (creating). These attributes of His exist separately from Himself. Their existence is not in knowledge only. That is, they are not only said to exist theoretically, but they exist separately and actually. As He Himself exists, so these attributes of His exist separately. What those sufiyya-i aliyya who believe in wahdat-i wujud suppose, and their words, such as,

In mind and thought the attributes are separate; 
But in reality they are all nothing but Himself,

mean is: to deny, to disbelieve the attributes. Of Muslims, the Mutazila group, who deny the attributes, and of unbelievers, the ancient philosophers say that though His attributes are theoretically separate from Himself, only He exists in reality. [That is,] they do not deny that His attributes are [theoretically] separate from Himself. For example, they do not say that the meaning of the attribute knowledge is the same as that of His own Self. Nor do they say that His attributes Qudrat and Iradat are the same in meaning. But they say that their existences individually are one and the same. Then, for safety from the denial of attributes, it is necessary to believe that each one of them exists separately and actually. It is not good to believe of them as separate theoretically.

Allahu ta'ala is Qadim. [That is, His existence does not have a beginning. He was never nonexistent before His existence; He always existed.] He is Azali. [That is, He was never nonexistent.] No being other than He is Qadim or Azali. Owners of faith, owners of heavenly books have always held this belief and have said that those who deem anybody besides Allahu ta'ala as Qadim and Azali are polytheists. For this reason, the Hujjat-ul Islam Imam-i Muhammad Ghazali "rahmatullahi 'alaih" has said that Ibni Sina and Farabi and a few others were disbelievers; for they believed that the Primordial matter, [which they said was the initial state of mind, soul and matter], was eternal, and that the heavens, together with their contents, were eternal.

[It is written in the book Akhlaq-i-'ala'i, "Ibni Sina (Avicenna) denied the resurrection after death in his book Mu'ad. Though it is rumored that towards his death he performed a ghusl ablution and did penance for the cruelties he had done when he had been a vizier, it is said (by savants) that the ghusl, the namaz and the prayers of a person with the wrong belief will not be accepted."]

My master said, "Shaikh-i akbar Muhyiddin-i' Arabi's statement, "The souls of great people are eternal," should be adapted to the unanimous beliefs and statements of savants: its outward meaning should not be considered."

Allahu ta'ala is Qadir-i mukhtar. [That is, He can do whatever He wills to. Unlike natural forces, He is not compelled [to do things]. Ancient Greek philosophers, being unable to comprehend the matter, presumed that it would be perfection, greatness, to have to act, create, thus denying the choice of Allahu ta'ala. They said that He had to act. These idiots said that Allahu ta'ala had to create one thing, and that he had not created anything else. They called that fabulous thing the constant actor and said that it was making everything.

What they call 'Aql-i fa'al (constant actor) is only a fancy that exists in their imagination. According to their profane belief, "Allahu ta'ala does not do anything. When man is in trouble, he invokes 'Aql-i fa'al. He does not ask anything of Allahu ta'ala. For Allahu ta'ala is not interested in what is going on on earth. Everything is made, created by 'Aql-i fa'al." In fact, they do not invoke 'Aql-i fa'al, either. For, they do not consider it to have a will or option for freeing them from trouble. These unfortunate people are the lowest of all the heretical groups in idiocy and stupidity. Disbelievers trust themselves to Allahu ta'ala in everything they do. They supplicate to Him for the elimination of disasters. But these base people do not do so. Two evils exist in these unfortunate people in a greater degree than in any other group of heresy and idiocy. First, they do not believe the messages sent by Allahu ta'ala; they show an obstinate and hostile attitude towards Prophets' "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" communications. Second, they advance profane theories. Putting forward groundless, untenable proofs and documents, they attempt to prove their null and heretical ideas. In their attempts to prove their heretical thoughts, they make so many mistakes that no other ignoble individuals have done a thing so wrongly and unsoundly. They say that everything done on earth is done by the changing motions and states of the heavens and stars, which move and turn ceaselessly. They cannot see the One Who created the heavens, Who designed the stars, and Who makes them move and regulates their motions. They suppose that He does not meddle with anything; they are so stolid, so base! And those who consider them to be wise and who believe their words are even baser. One of their mentally contrived and arranged sciences is geometry, which is good neither for worldly prosperity nor for eternal salvation. What use will humanity get from saying and proving that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles? [Unless scientific knowledge, modern machines, electronic apparatuses and other new discoveries are made and used by believing people whose hearts have been purified and whose morals have been beautified by obeying Allahu ta'ala's Prophet, they will render no great advantage; they will not provide for human rights, ease and peace; they will not be used for eliminating wars and destitution. Instead, they will be a means for cruelty and torment].

[Imam-i Ghazali "rahmatullahi 'alaih" divided the irreligious people, who think of themselves as intelligent and unerring men of knowledge, into three groups. The first group are the Dahriyyun and the materialists, who existed centuries before Greek philosophers. Some idiots who pass for scientists today are in this group. Denying the existence of Allahu ta'ala, they say that beings came into existence by themselves and will go on so, that they [May Allah forbid!] do not have a creator, that the living multiply from one another and this will go on everlastingly. The second group are the naturalists, who, seeing the stupefying order and delicacies in living and non-living beings, had to confirm the existence of Allahu ta'ala; yet they denied the Resurrection, the next world, Paradise and Hell. The third group are Greek philosophers, who date later, and who include Socrates and his disciple Plato, and Aristotle, who was a disciple of the latter, and both their philosophies. Refuting the Dahriyyun and the naturalists, they said so many things about them that in describing their wrong and base way, others do not have to say anything any more. But they didn't escape disbelief, either. These three groups and their followers are all disbelievers. It is appalling to hear that some credulous people think of them as religious men and even laud them to the grade of prophethood by fabling hadiths about them. Disbelievers may say anything. But it is a piteous fact that some people who seem to be Muslims cannot distinguish iman from kufr].

All these three groups of disbelievers [and also the Renaissance leaders such as Luther Martin, Calvin, Voltaire, Auguste Comte, Karl Marx and Durcheim, who are today called men of knowledge and praised as the founders of modern philosophy and sociology but who in actual fact have nothing in their stocks of religious knowledge except the Christianity that was born from the desecration of the Injil by Jews and priests and a few made-up books written by Islam's enemies], excelled all others in idiocy and ignominy, thus leaving all the other classes of disbelievers behind. All these people both disbelieve religions and bear obstinacy and hostility against Prophets ('alaihimussalawatu wassalam) and adduce untenable proofs and documents for deceiving one another and others with their concocted sayings about family, society and religion. They say wrong, ludicrous things, so much so that no other ignoramus, no other idiot has shown such baseness. They are so stupid, so poor; and those who consider them to be clever are even more wretched and more unfortunate than they are. They stole much of their valuable information from Prophets' "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" books, in which they interpolated other things.

Imam-i Ghazali "rahmatullahi 'alaih" explains these in detail in his book Al munqidh 'an- id-dalal. If holders of faith, those who follow Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat," make mistakes while proving that something is true, they will not be in harm or jeopardy, for they follow them in all their teachings and deeds and try to prove their words true. Their following Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wassalam" suffices to indicate that they are true. But those wretched people call it retrogression to follow Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat," and try to adapt their statements to the mind. No doubt, they go wrong in facts that are beyond the mind's grasp. When Plato, who is considered to be the greatest of them, heard about the teachings of hadrat Isa (Jesus), who was the Prophet of Allahu ta'ala, he said, "We are pure, mature and modern people. We do not need anyone to guide us to the right way." However, he should have gone to see and observe a person whom he had heard to have enlivened the dead, opened the eyes of the blind and cured leprosy, which their own science and experiments had fallen short of doing. But he answered so without seeing or finding out. His statements disclose that he was a blithering idiot.

[As it is seen, Plato lived in the time of Isa "alaihis-salam" (Jesus). It is written in books written in Europe and in their translations that Plato had died 384 years before Hadrat 'Isa honored the world with his presence. Since the teachings of this Greek philosopher, who is also called Plato, were famous, the time of his death is tenable. Yet because Hadrat Isa was born secretly, stayed only for a short time in the world and was taken to heaven, and because only twelve apostles believed in him and the Isawis, who were few in number, lived secretly for centuries, his birth, that is, Christmas Eve, could not be determined precisely. His birth day is thought to be the twenty-fifth of December or the sixth or so of January. It is written as well in books of various languages that today's Christian years have one to four years missing. Then, unlike the Hijri year, which is the Muslim year, the Christian year is not correct and precise; both its day and its year are incorrect. According to Imam-i Rabbani, it has more than three hundred years missing, and the duration of time between Hadrat Isa and Hadrat Muhammad is no less than a thousand years. It is written in the third chapter of the second volume of Mawahib-i ladunniyya, "As Ibni Asakir reports on the authority of Shabi that there are 963 years between Isa "alaihissalam" and Muhammad "alaihissalam."] According to historians, Muhammad "alaihi's-salam" entered a cave on mount Sawr, towards sunset, on the last Thursday of the month of Safer [Gregorian Calendar year 622], as he was immigrating to the city of Medina. On the night previous to the following Monday, he left the cave and entered Kuba, a suburb of Medina, on Monday the twentieth day of September according to the European calendar, which concurred with the seventh day of September as per the Greek Calendar. The day of his arrival became the new year's day for Muslims (Hijri Shamsi-based on movements of the sun). The Shamsi (Solar) year of Persians starts six months before, that is, on March 20th, which coincides with the celebration day of Magians. This day was the 8th of Rabi'ul- awwal. That year, the beginning of Muharram was accepted as the new year's day of Hijri Qamari- calendar (based on movements of the moon). That year, the lunar new year's day coincided with May 16th, Friday. He stayed in Kuba for four days and left that Friday, arriving in Medina on the same day. Accordingly, every Hijri Shamsi year is 622 years behind, as per the beginning of the Gregorian year with which it coincides. On the other hand, a Gregorian year is 621 years ahead in accordance to the beginning of the Hijri Shamsi year it concurs with].

Recently my son Muhammad Mathum "quddisa sirruh" has completed the book Sharh-i mawaqif. During his studies he has come to understand well the mistakes and faults of these so-called wise people, and he has learned a great deal. Thanks be to Allahu ta'ala, Who did not confine us within the narrow frame of mind, and Who guided us to the right way. If He had not guided us to the right way through His Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wassalam," we, too, like these wretched people, would believe as we supposed concerning whatever is beyond the mind's grasp, and thus we would be destroyed.

[Imam-i Muhammad Ghazali, Imam-i Ahmad Rabbani, and many other Islamic superiors studied Greek philosophy very minutely and explained that those philosophers were quite ignorant and stupid disbelievers. They wrote in many of their books that Muslims must not approve or believe such unbelievers.

Then, it is quite out of place and wrong for unbelievers, for renegades, for the enemies of Islam to say, "Islamic savants, men of tasawwuf, were influenced by Greek philosophers, by Roman mystics, by the school of Ptolemy." Such statements are slanders that are perpetrated in hostility in order to belittle Islamic savants by representing them as their pupils and imitators. But the truth is that Islamic savants have rebutted Greek and Roman philosophies and laws with their own very subtle and powerful knowledge, have downed them to the ground, and have explained that, of their statements on law, ethics and medicine, the ones that are true were stolen from the books of ancient Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat". The words of the Sufiyya-i aliyya on tasawwuf, contrary to what the ignorant idiots suppose, are not taken from books, learned from others or imitated, but they are the marifats which they acquired through kashf, that is, by their flowing into their blessed hearts, into their pure souls. Most of the letters of Maktubat explain these facts very well and clearly.

Ancient Greek Philosophers were people who attempted to understand everything mentally, to adapt everything to mind, and who believed only what the mind approved of. They could find out what was right in the affairs which the mind could comprehend; but they went wrong in many matters beyond the mind's reach. As a matter of fact, they reproved one another, and thus earlier ones were censured by their successors.

As for Islamic savants; after studying contemporary scientific knowledge and learning the eight branches of knowledge well, they opened their hearts and purged their nafses in the manner pointed out by the Shariat, thus finding out what was right and attaining haqiqat. Calling Islamic savants philosophers would mean to downgrade them. Philosophers are people who are slaves, prisoners of mind, which is ever susceptible to erring. When they express their opinions without experimenting, and when they follow their illusions in explaining the experiments, they are wrong and harmful. For this reason, and because they cannot transcend the mind, they cannot become exalted like Islamic savants.

He who is without a mind is insane. He who does not use his mind is dissolute. It is wretchedness not to act compatibly with the mind. He who has a little mind is an idiot. And a person who follows and depends only on the mind, and who errs in matters that the mind cannot grasp, is a philosopher. And those exalted people who trust the mind in the affairs that it can grasp, and who guide the mind to what is right under the light of Qur'an al-karim in those matters that the mind would fall short of comprehending and thus would go wrong, are Islamic savants. Then, there is no philosophy in Islam; there is no such thing as Islamic philosophy or an Islamic philosopher. There is Islamic knowledge, which is above philosophy, and there are Islamic savants, who are above philosophers].

Also, Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi's "quddisa sirruh" books bear the understanding that Allahu ta'ala, like natural forces, does everything without a will. It is perceived that in explaining the power of Allahu ta'ala he agrees with philosophers. He does not say, "He does not do if He does not will to do," but he says, "He has to do." How disappointing it is that Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi, whom our superiors love and deem as great, has uttered such incorrect words disagreeing with the true statements of the savants of Ahl as-sunnat. Since his errors are within his kashf, in the knowledge that comes to the heart, they will probably not be deemed crimes. He cannot be blamed, for his errors are like errors in ijtihad. Only I, the faqir, say that he is great and his errors cannot be considered crimes. I deem him great and I love him. But those words of his that do not agree with the savants of Ahl as-sunnat I deem wrong and harmful. Some of the Sufiyya-i aliyya dislike him and utter unpleasant words about him. They consider all his information to be wrong and heretical. And some others, following him, take all his information, all his statements for granted. They consider all of them to be correct and strive to prove that they are correct. Both of these two groups are wrong and unfair. One group overflows the measure. And the other is altogether deprived. Could Muhyiddin-i Arabi "quddisa sirruh", who is one of the greatest Awliya, be refused altogether on account of his errors in kashf? And yet, could his erroneous information, which disagrees with the true words of the savants of Ahl as-sunnat, be accepted, and everything else of his be admitted? The right path here is the medial one, which does not diverge from the track in either direction, and which has been bestowed upon us by Allahu ta'ala. [Hadrat Imam-i Suyuti, in his Tanbih-ul-ghabi, proves the greatness of Hadrat Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi with documents. It is written in the fatwas of Abussuud Effendi that he cannot be spoken ill of]. It is obvious that in the knowledge of wahdat-i wujud most of the Sufiyya-i aliyya are concordant with Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi. He has chosen a peculiar way here, too; yet they share the same basis. This knowledge of his, too, seems to disagree with the belief of Ahl as-sunnat, but it is easy to adapt and possible to compromise them. I, the faqir, while explaining my master's Rubaiyyat, have compromised this knowledge with the belief of Ahl as-sunnat with the help of Allahu ta'ala. Pointing out that the difference between them is only in words and expressions. I have illuminated the places on which both sides feel doubt so well that those who read it will no longer have any doubt. It will be understood when seen.

O thou Muslim! Be it known that everything you see and hear, everything that comes into being, matter, all substances and their properties, minds, thoughts, the heavens, the stars, elements and compounds used to be nonexistent. They all came into existence with the decree of Allahu ta'ala by His creating. As they came into being from nothing through His creating, so they need His will, His power, every moment so that they may keep on existing, lest they will be annihilated. [Men's combining substances with one another, formation of new substances] by the variation of events and conditions, veils and conceals Allah's deed, His making, from us. In order that His might, His power will appear, He has applied some means for His making and creating. A person who has wisdom, who is vigilant and who has salved, polished his heart's eye by obeying Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wassalam," will perceive that these causes and means, too, have been created by Allahu ta'ala, that they need His might every moment, that they were created by Him and are kept in existence by Him, that they are lifeless, ineffectual, inactive and inert, that they cannot affect others, which are like themselves, and that they cannot create others, which are, again, like themselves. He will realize that behind these causes and means there is an almighty power who creates them and who gives them effectuality, strength and energy. When a wise person sees something lifeless moving he infers the existence of some power that makes it move. He knows that an object at rest cannot move by itself, and that only some exterior force can make it move. This means that the motion of a lifeless object does not conceal from wise people the existence of some agent, some power that sets it into motion. That the moving object is inert informs the clever about the existence of an agent, of a power owner. Thus, all causes and means proclaim the existence of Allahu ta'ala and His power to wise people. But idiots, seeing the object move, and unable to see or infer the existence of the agent, of the power owner, suppose that it moves by itself. Being unwise, they think that the moving lifeless object has power. Denying the agent, the power that makes it move, they become unbelievers. Allah's making and creating everything through causes and means causes idiots, the unwise to deny, to disbelieve. It points out the owners of wisdom and common sense the way to salvation. To understand the existence and the oneness and the power of Allahu ta'ala by seeing the causes and means is possible only with Prophets' "alaihimussalawatu wassalam" guiding and awakening. The human mind cannot understand these by itself. Some people suppose that it would be more compatible with greatness if the media did not exist and everything was created without means. They say that there is no effectuality in the media, and that without the means interfering everything comes to being directly by Allahu ta'ala's creating. They do not realize that to annul the media would mean to defile the hikmat, [that is, what Allahu ta'ala decides to be good], and His law. There is many a use in this hikmat. O our Allah! In this existence Thou hast not made anything without hikmat, out of place, or unbecoming! All Thine Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" adhered to the media in all their actions. However, they begged Allahu ta'ala for the creation of the actions. For example, when Hadrat Yaqub (Jacob) sent his children from Syria to Egypt, he advised them, "Do not enter through one gate altogether. Enter by different gates" lest they would be harmed by evil eye. Nevertheless, he begged Allahu ta'ala to protect them against evil eye, and said, "By giving this advice I cannot change what Allahu ta'ala has decreed about you, for the precaution cannot change destiny. Always what He wills happens. I trust you to Him. So should everybody: trust only Him in whatever they do. He will certainly come to the rescue of those who, thinking that everybody is nothing but a poor means, depend upon Him only," Allahu ta'ala declares in Qur'an al-karim, in the sixty-eighth ayat of Yusuf Sura, that He likes this case, and says that He gave that knowledge to him: "He was learned; he knew My qada and qadar. I let him know: but most people do not know My qada and qadar."

[A couplet translated into English:
Man takes measures, clings to media, but doesn't know the decree;
Man's precaution won't change Allah's decree.]

Allahu ta'ala declares, "O my beloved Prophet! Allahu ta'ala and, of Believers, those who obey you will suffice for you!" in the sixty-fourth ayat of Anfal Sura, and thus commands also Hadrat Muhammad, our Prophet, to adhere to the media.

As for the effectuality of the media; Allahu ta'ala sometimes creates effectuality, that is, power enough to do some work, in some media. Therefore they do that work. And sometimes He does not create that effectuality in the same media, so they cannot do the work. Everybody witnesses this fact many a time and oft. We all witness that some media sometimes can do certain work and sometimes cannot do the same work. To say that there is no effectuality in the media would mean to ignore experience and the events blindly. We should believe their effectuality. But we should know that this effectuality in the media, like the media themselves, is Allah's creation. This is what I, the faqir, would say on this matter. This means to say that adhering to the media does not deter one from tawakkul (trusting oneself to Allahu ta'ala). The sufis of the way of tasawwuf who have not made enough progress will say so, but in fact it is the highest grade of tawakkul to adhere to the media, to use the media. Hadrat Yaqub both adhered to the media and trusted himself to Allahu ta'ala.

[One of the six principles of iman is to believe in qadar, that good and evil are from Allahu ta'ala]. Allahu ta'ala decrees, wills, and creates good and evil. He is the Creator of both the good and the evil. Yet He is pleased with the good and displeased with the evil; that is, He dislikes the evil. Will and approval are different from each other. Only the savants of Ahl-as-sunnat were able to see the difference between them. The other seventy- two groups, being unable to understand this distinction, remained in heresy, all losing their way. For example, the Mutazila group presumed that everybody was the creator of his own actions, stated that so and so created such and such an action, and stated that men created their own iman and kufr. [Because they deduce this belief from ayats and hadiths, they do not become unbelievers; but since they do not accept what is right they will be scorched for a while in Hell. But it is unbelief for those who know nothing of ayats, hadiths, religion or iman to say, "You created," in order to flatter occupiers of rank and sultans and thus earn their sympathy. It is very dangerous to say, "He created," about a person other than Allahu ta'ala. The Rafidis, who are also called Alawis -or Shiites- say that men create sins, and Allahu ta'ala creates goodness only].

As it is understood from the books of Shaikh-i akbar Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi and his followers, "Hadi, one of the names of Allahu ta'ala, likes iman and worships; likewise, Mudill, another name of His, likes kufr and sins." These words of theirs also disagree with the Ahl as-sunnat faith and verge on denying the Will. It is similar to saying that the sun is pleased with its job of illuminating.

Allahu ta'ala has given His slaves strength, power, and will. They do what they wish. Men do their actions themselves, and Allahu ta'ala creates them. Allah's hikmat, law, is as follows: When man wants to do something Allahu ta'ala creates his action. Because that action has been created upon man's wish and option, responsibility for the action, its reward or penalty, lies with man. If those who say that man's option is weak or quite limited mean to say that it is weaker than Allah's will, they are right. But if they mean that it is not sufficient for doing the commandments, they are wrong. Allahu ta'ala has not commanded His slaves to do anything they are incapable of. He has always commanded what is easy. He has not commanded what is difficult. He has willed to inflict everlasting torment for a short time's disbelief and to give endless blessings for a short time's iman. We cannot understand its reason. With the aid of Allahu ta'ala we know enough to say that denying such a being as Allah, who has given men all the visible and invisible blessings and goddesses, who is the Creator of the earth and the heavens and the motes, and who is the only possessor of perfection, indeficiency, will certainly incur very bitter torment, which means eternal furnace of Hell. Believing such an owner of blessings without seeing Him and trusting Him despite the tricks of the nafs, of Shaitan and of the enemies of religion, will result in a great reward, which means staying eternally in the blessings and favors of Paradise. Most of the mashayikh-i kiram said: "Entering Paradise is only Allah's mercy and kindness. The reason why iman has been pointed out as the basis for entering Paradise is because there is more flavor in a blessing that is earned." To me, the faqir, entering Paradise depends on iman; but iman is a favor from Allahu ta'ala. And entering Hell is the result of kufr, which, in its turn, is born from the desires of the nafs-i ammara. As a matter of fact, it is purported in Qur'an al-karim; in the seventy-ninth ayat of Nisa Sura, "Everything beautiful, good, comes to you from Allahu ta'ala. And everything loathsome, evil, is caused by your nafs." Basing entering Paradise on iman is intended to indicate the value of iman; and this shows the value and the importance of the tenets to be believed. Likewise, basing Hell on kufr is intended to insult kufr; which shows the value of the tenets that are not believed, inasmuch as such great torment is inflicted for not believing them. This subtlety does not exist in other explanations made by other mashayikh.

A person who goes to the other world from this world with iman will see Allahu ta'ala without a direction, without a mode, without likening Him to anything, and without finding any reminiscence in Him. Of the seventy-three groups of Muslims, only the Ahl as-sunnat have believed this. The rest have denied it, saying that it is impossible to see Allahu ta'ala without a direction and without a mode. In fact, Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi stated that it is Tajalliyi suri to see Allahu ta'ala in the Hereafter. [That is, he says that it is not a matter of seeing Allahu ta'ala but a matter of seeing His vision], and that it is impossible to see Him otherwise. One day my master said that Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi had said: "If the Mutazila group had not said that Allahu ta'ala would be seen without direction or mode through a seeing which the mind cannot comprehend, if they had said that He would be seen as other things are seen, if they had deemed seeing Him as tajalliyi suri, they would not have disbelieved the fact that He will be seen by saying that He cannot be seen. That is, they do not believe that He will be seen without a direction and without a mode. For, there is a direction and a mode in seeing the vision." However, to say that it is the manifestation of the vision that is involved in seeing Allahu ta'ala in the Hereafter is to deny the fact that He will be seen. Though the manifestation of the vision there is unlike the appearance of the visions of things in the world, still it is not seeing Him.

An Arabic couplet translated into English: 
In heaven, all Believers will see Allahu ta'ala, but without a direction or a mode. 
It is impossible to describe that vision.

[The fourth principle of iman is to believe in Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat"]. Pitying His slaves, Allahu ta'ala sent them Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat". Had not those great people been sent, who would have proclaimed Him and His attributes to humanity, which had lost their way? Who could distinguish what He likes from what He dislikes? The human mind, being deficient, cannot know these, nor can it distinguish them unless it is illuminated with the light of the invitation of those great people. Since our comprehension is imperfect we will go wrong and be confused about understanding them unless we follow those great people. Yes, mind is a gauge for distinguishing what is right from what is wrong. But it is an imperfect gauge. It is completed with the invitation, with the information of those great people. The reward or the torment in the next world is suitable only after this invitation and declaration.

[The mind is like the eye, and the Shariat is like a light. That is, man's mind, like his eyes was created weak. Our eyes cannot see in the dark. Allahu ta'ala has created the sun and the light, so that we may utilize our sense of sight. Were it not for the light of the sun or of various other sources, our eyes would be good for nothing, and we would not be able to avoid dangerous things and places, nor could we find useful things. Yes, a person who does not open his eyes, or whose eyes do not function, cannot utilize the sun. But he does not have the right to blame the sun.

Likewise our mind cannot recognize spiritual things, useful or harmful things by itself. Allahu ta'ala created Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat", the light of Shariat, so that we may utilize our mind. If Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wassalam" had not shown the way to be comfortable in this world and in the Hereafter, our minds could not have found it, thus being of no use; we could not have avoided dangers or hazards. Yes, people who do not adapt themselves to Islam, or who have little mind, cannot benefit from Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat". They cannot avoid dangers and harm in this world and the next. No matter how numerous the scientific means, how much the money, how high the grades and ranks owned; no individual, no society can be happy without following the way pointed out by Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat". Very happy and pleased as they may seem, inwardly they weep bitterly. Those who live comfortably and happily in both this world and the next are only those who obey Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat". It should also be known that for attaining comfort and happiness, it is not enough to claim to be a Muslim or to pretend to be a Muslim; it is necessary to learn Islam well, to understand it correctly, to practice it correctly and to obey it].

Question: Since the infinite torment in the next world depends on the invitation of Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat", how can sending them be compassion for different classes of beings?

Answer: Sending them is intended by Allahu ta'ala to proclaim Himself and His attributes. And this knowledge is the cause of se'adet-i ebediyye, that is, the endless blessings of this world and the next. By declaring what acts should be done towards Allahu ta'ala, they have distinguished them from those that would be unsuitable. For, our blind and lame intellects have been created from nothing, and they will not remain in existence; they will be annihilated. Then, could the mind ever find out what would be suitable for the eternal, real Being, in Whom there is no non-existence, and Whose names, attributes and deeds exist eternally? Could it ever explore what would be worthy of Him? Could they distinguish what would be unsuitable to say to Him so that they might abstain from saying so? On the contrary, being deficient themselves, most of the time they would think of perfection as deficiency, and vice versa. Prophets' "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" teaching and distinguishing them is, to this faqir, above all other favors and blessings. Who could be baser than those who would consider the attributes that are unsuitable for Allahu ta'ala -e.g. non-existence- to be worthy of Him? It is the statements of those great people which distinguish what is wrong from what is right, what is false from what is true, and those who are not worthy of being worshipped or obeyed from the One who is indispensably worthy of being worshipped. By their statements does Allahu ta'ala invite people to the right way. By their mediation does He bless His slaves with the great fortune of approaching Him. By means of them is it made easy to learn what Allahu ta'ala likes. Owing to their teachings is it understood which of His creatures, how and how much, Allahu ta'ala, the Creator and the Owner of all these beings seen and known, permits us to use and which ones He does not permit us to use. In addition to these benefits which we have cited, Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" have many other benefits. Then, the sending of those great people is certainly compassion, and a favor. Yet if a person, obeying his nafs-i ammara, following the accursed Shaitan, [and being deceived by the made-up publications of the irreligious,] does not believe Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat", does not read books that are written by real religious savants and religious experts and which communicate Prophets' "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" words and does not do their commands, what is the Prophets' "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" sin and why should they not be compassion for this reason?

Question: The mind, being incomplete in its early state, when it is created, is not capable of comprehending facts pertaining to Allahu ta'ala. But could it not establish some connection with Him, perhaps by making progress, by purifying itself in the course of time? Without the information coming to Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" through an angel, could man not receive through his mind the things pertaining to the eternal and real Being directly from Him?

Answer: The mind can establish such a connection. But as long as mind remains in this world, it remains attached to the body, too. It cannot free itself from this attachment. Its connection with this temporary being cannot be canceled. Delusions always cluster around the mind, and fancies stay with it. Wrath (ghadab) and lust (shahwat), that is, desires of the nafs, always stay with it. Ambitions and personal concerns do not leave it alone. Confusion and oblivion, the indispensable signs of being human, never leave it to itself. Going wrong and erring, which are properties peculiar to this world, do not just slip away from it. Then, how can the mind be believed in everything? The mind's decisions and commands cannot escape the interference of delusions or the influence of fancies, nor can they be protected against the danger of oblivion and confusion, whereas none of these defects exists in angels. These stains and evils do not exist in them. For this reason, angels certainly never go wrong. Angels can be trusted and depended upon. The interference of delusions, the danger of oblivion, the probability of confusion cannot influence the reports that an angel brings. Sometimes when I want to convey some information which has come from the soul through the sense organs, I feel that some untrue beginnings come out by way of delusion and fancy and that despite my will they get mixed with the information coming from the soul, so that I cannot distinguish them. And sometimes I am inspired as to how to distinguish them. So, as a result of errors getting mixed with the information coming through the soul, it all becomes unreliable. Another answer would be as follows: The progress and the purgation of the mind is possible only by doing the acts which Allahu ta'ala likes, that is, by learning and doing the rules of the Shariat. And this, in its turn, requires learning and doing what Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wassalam" say and communicate. Unless they inform us, the mind cannot make progress or purify itself. The signs of purity and brightness, which some disbelievers seem to have, are not the brightness of the heart, but the brightness of the nafs. And the brightness of the nafs brings nothing but digression, damage and loss. It is called Istidraj when disbelievers and sinners are informed with some unknown things, when their nafs shine. It is intended to entice them to utter perdition, to torment, gradually, slowly. May Allahu ta'ala protect us all against such perdition. For the sake of the greatest of Prophets "alaihi wa 'alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat wa 'ala alihi wa ali kullin," may He protect us against such things!

This comes to mean that all the rules of the Shariat, which Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" communicated, are compassion and goodness. Contrary to what mulhids, zindiqs, [renegades and freemasons] think and say about them, these commandments and injunctions are not burdens, torments or tortures, and they are not unreasonable at all. Such words as, "Is it mercy to command His slaves difficult things and then say, you will enter Paradise if you do these? He shouldn't have commanded anything. He should have left all the people to themselves, and they should have been eating and drinking, going about and having fun, and living as they wish. This would be mercy," which they say often, are quite heinous and quite stupid. Do they never think that it is a mental requirement to thank those who do favors, to acknowledge that you are pleased? The rules of the Shariat teach us how to thank Allahu ta'ala, Who creates all blessings and favors and sends them. Then, the rules of the Shariat, the divine commandments are mental requirements. Furthermore, the order of one's world, of one's life is possible by doing these commandments. If Allahu ta'ala had left everybody to himself, nothing but evil and chaos would happen. Were it not for the prohibitions of Allahu ta'ala, those who run after their nafs and their pleasures would assault others' possessions, lives and chastity, which would lead to chaos. Both the assaulter and his victims would suffer harm and would end up in annihilation. [Development in countries and comfort for human beings, that is, civilization could not take place and humanity would turn to savagery. Even today, we see that most of Allahu ta'ala's commandments occupy places in the laws of those societies who deny Allahu ta'ala, who will never appreciate Islam, and who boast about themselves, which is the result of their ignorance. It is seen that the more people ignore the principles of religion the more they writhe under incompatibility, misery, trouble and torture. It alarmingly strikes the eye that though scientific media and modern apparatuses have been improved, astonishingly the uneasiness in the world and the distresses in humanity have not decreased, but increased. Allahu ta'ala commanded the things which cause human beings to attain happiness. He prohibited the things which cause them to meet with a disaster. The more one observes these things ordered to be done or not to be done the more he, either a believer or a disbeliever, with or without a conscience, will live happily and comfortably in this world. This is similar to the fact that whoever uses the medicine known to be good for his illness will recover. We see that irreligious people and nations are successful in many business fields. They are successful because they work compatibly with Qur'an al-karim. However, it is necessary to believe in Qur'an al-karim and to follow it with the intention of attaining the happiness of the next world, too.] The 179th ayat of the Surat-ul-Baqara in Qur'an al- karim, which purports, "O those who have reason; only think! You will see that My command, (Kill the murderer), bears life, not death!" corroborates our argument.

A Persian couplet translated into English:
If the judge didn't have a cudgel hidden behind him,
The drunk, base-born would vomit into the Kaba.

We will also mention the fact that Allahu ta'ala is the absolute owner of everything, of all of us. All people are His creatures, slaves. It is always reasonable and useful for Him to use every command He gives His slaves and everything as He wishes. There cannot be cruelty or malice in this. Those of lower rank or slaves cannot ask their superiors, their masters the reasons for their commands and attitudes.

If He were to put all the people into Hell and torment them eternally, who would have the right to object? For, He would be using His property which He Himself had created and raised. How could it be said to be cruelty while there is no transgression to someone else's property, because there is no someone else? However, the possessions which people use and which they boast about belong in actual fact not to themselves but to Him. Indeed, it is injustice for us to lay hands on them, to interfere with them. For the order of this world and for some other uses, Allahu ta'ala has assigned them to our possession, yet in fact they are all His. Then what is proper for us to do is to use them as much as their real owner allows us to.

All the facts, all the commandments which Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" conveyed to us from Allahu ta'ala are true. For unbelievers and for the disobedient ones of those who die with iman there will be torment in the grave. Mukhbir-i Sadiq (he who always told the truth) "alaihi wa 'ala alihissalatu wassalam" conveyed this information. When unbelievers and Believers [or only Believers] are interred, two angels named Munkar and Nakir will come and question them. The grave being a bridge, a pass between this world and the next, torment in the grave is in one way like worldly torment; it is not eternal. In another way it is like the torment of the next world; it is of the same kind. The forty-sixth ayat of Sura-t-ul Mumin, "In mornings and evenings they will be tormented with fire," of Qur'an al-karim, reports the torment in the grave. Likewise, the blessings in the grave are both like worldly comforts and like those in the Hereafter.

A good person, a fortunate person is one whose faults, sins, being forgiven through goodness and mercy, are not cast in his teeth. If a person's sins are cast in his teeth, and if, being pitied for this reason, he is made to suffer only worldly torment and thus becomes purified of his sins, he, too, is quite fortunate. Also a person who, not being purified with this only, suffers the grave's squeezing and tormenting for the rest of his sins, and who is taken without any sins to the place where people will gather on the Day of Judgement, is very lucky. If instead of this he is punished in the next world, it is still mercy and justice. But, on that day those with sins, those who are in an embarrassing position, those with dark faces will be in a very difficult situation. But of those people, the ones who are Muslims will still be pitied, and will attain mercy at last, being freed from the eternal torment of Hell; and this is a very great blessing, too. O our Allah! Do not extinguish the light of iman which Thou hast bestowed upon us, cover our defects! Thou canst do everything!

[The fifth principle of iman is to believe in the next world]. Doomsday certainly exists. That day the heavens, the stars, the earth which we live on, mountains, seas, animals, plants, metals and, in short everything, matter and energy will be annihilated. The skies will break into pieces, the stars will disperse, the earth and mountains will turn into dust and will be blown about. This annihilation will take place with the first signal of the Sur. With its second blowing everything will be recreated, people will rise from their graves, and will gather together at the place of Mahshar. Philosophers [and those who claim to be positive scientists], that is, who strive to solve everything with their minds, say that the heavens and stars will not be annihilated. [By saying that science does not accept that they will be annihilated and that everything will go on existing as it is, they slander the knowledge of science, which is based on observation, research and experimentation. The intellects of some of them do not function at all, but they call themselves Muslims. They obey most of the rules of Islam. What is even more consternating is that some Muslims who believe their statements and books think of them as Muslims and even as Islamic savants, religious superiors. They become angry with anyone who says that those people are disbelievers. They praise and defend those disbelievers. However, those people disbelieve Qur'an al-karim and hadiths, and deny what all Prophets communicated in consensus. Allahu ta'ala declares in Qur'an al-karim, in the Surat-ul-Takwir, "When the sun, having no light any more, gets dark, and the stars fade away," another ayat in the Surat- ul-Inshiqaq, declares, "When the skies crack and hear the voice of their Rabb [Allah]," and "The skies positively obey the commands of Allahu ta'ala," and another ayat in the Surat- un-Naba declares, "That day the skies will certainly crack." There are many such ayats. These people do not know that to be a Muslim it is not sufficient to say the Kalimat-ush- shahadat only. Being a Muslim requires believing and confirming all the facts that are to be believed in, avoiding kufr and everything that may cause kufr, and disliking unbelievers. This is the only way to be a Muslim. One cannot be a Muslim unless one fulfills these conditions.

In the next world there is questioning on the actions done in the world. There is a pair of scales, in its own nature peculiar to the next world, and a pass which is called Sirat Bridge. The Mukhbir-i Sadiq "alaihi wa "ala alihissalatu wassalam" has communicated these facts. Some ignorant people's denying these -because they do not know what prophethood means- does not prove that these are non-existent. It is null and void to say non-existent about existing things. The rank of prophethood is above the mind. To try to adapt the true statements of Prophets to the mind would mean to distrust and disbelieve in prophethood. It is necessary, without asking one's mind, to obey and follow Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat' in matters pertaining to the next world. The rank of prophethood is beyond and above the mind's capacity. The mind thinks of things beyond its grasp as disagreeable with itself. Unless the mind adapts itself to Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" it will never attain to high grades. Not conforming, that is, disagreeing, is different from not comprehending, from not understanding. For, one may disagree with something only after understanding it.

Paradise and Hell exist. On the Day of Judgement after the settling of accounts, many people will be sent to Paradise, and many others will be put into Hell. The rewards, the blessings of Paradise, and the torment of Hell are eternal, everlasting. These facts are declared clearly in Qur'an al-karim and in hadith ash-Sharifs. Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi "quddisa sirruh" says in his book, Fusus, "At last everybody will attain compassion," and, quoting the ayat, "My Mercy has covered everything," he says, "After disbelievers stay in Hell for three thousand years, Hell will become cool and comfortable for disbelievers, exactly as the fire was salvation for Ibrahim "alaihissalam" in the world. Allahu ta'ala may go back on His promise concerning torment." By saying, "None of the 'arifs said that disbelievers will remain in Hell eternally," he diverges from the right way here, too. He did not realize that the ayat, "My Mercy includes everything," indicates that in the world the mercy is both upon Muslims and upon disbelievers. In the next world there will not be even a mote of mercy upon disbelievers. Allahu ta'ala intimates this fact in Qur'an al-karim, and after declaring, "My Mercy covers everything," He also declares, "My Mercy is upon those who, fearing Me, forbear the forbidden, pay their zakat, and believe My Qur'an." Muhyiddin-i Arabi "quddisa sirruh" reads the beginning of the ayat and omits the rest. Allahu ta'ala declares in the fifty-fifth ayat of Surat-ul-Araf, "My Mercy is upon those with iman and goodness." The forty-seventh ayat of Sura Ibrahim, "Do not think Allahu ta'ala may go back on His promise which He has given to Prophets," does not imply that He may go back on that which He has given to others. Perhaps His declaring only that He will not go back on His promise which He has given to Prophets, is meant to promise that His Prophets will be more powerful than disbelievers and will overcome them; thus He has promised both Prophets and their enemies, disbelievers. Then, this ayat declares that He will never go back on His word, neither with Prophets nor with disbelievers; thus this ayat, which he quotes in order to prove his thesis, exposes the fact that he is wrong. We should also remember that His going back on His word which He has given to His enemies, like His going back on the word given to His beloved ones, would be mendacity, an attribute which would be quite offensive to ascribe to Allahu ta'ala. For, it would be very repulsive to say that for some uses Allahu ta'ala said that He would torment disbelievers eternally though He knew He would not torment them. And the 'arifs' saying that disbelievers will not remain in Hell is one of the statements which Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi "qaddasAllahu ta'ala sirrahul 'aziz' says through kashf, that is, by sensing through heart. There are often errors in things that come to the heart. Such kashfs of the great religious superiors, which contradict what they write by following our Prophet "sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam' and the Sahaba "ridwanullahi 'alaihim ajmain', are without any value or importance. [Also, Ibni Taymiyya denies the fact that disbelievers will remain eternally in Hell].

[The second principle of iman is to believe in angels]. Angels are the created slaves of Allahu ta'ala. They do not commit sins or go wrong or forget. The sixth ayat of Tahrim sura purports, "Angels do not disobey Allahu ta'ala in what they are commanded, and they do what they are commanded." They do not eat or drink. [That is, they do not need to eat or to drink.] They are not male or female. Qur'an al-karim describes angels by words and letters proper to men, because men are more honored and higher than women. As a matter of fact, Allahu ta'ala represents Himself by such words and letters for this same reason.

As Allahu ta'ala selected some people as Prophets, so He distinguished some angels as Prophets. Most of the Ahl as-sunnat savants said that the great ones from among humans are higher than the great ones of angels. Imam-i Ghazali, Imam-i Malik, and Shaikh Muhyiddin- i 'Arabi said that the great ones from among angels are higher. To the understanding of this faqir (Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani means himself), the wilayat side of angels is superior to that of Prophets. But there is a grade which Nabis and Rasuls can reach but angels cannot. This honored grade has come to Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" from the substances of the earth. And this is peculiar to man only. Again, as it has been revealed to this faqir, the exaltedness of the Awliya, when compared with the exaltedness of Prophets, is nothing, not even a drop of water compared with an ocean. Then, the superiority which is gained by way of prophethood is very much superior to that which is gained through wilayat. So, a collection of superiorities in all respects belong to Prophets, while a superiority in one respect belongs to angels. The correct word is what most of the Ahl as-sunnat savants said. May Allahu ta'ala bestow upon them abundant rewards for their work! This means to say that none of the Awliya can ever reach the grade of any Prophet. A Wali's head is always below a Prophet's feet.

What should be known very well is that when there is disagreement between savants and sufis it will be seen that savants are right if the matter is considered well and minutely. Its reason is that because savants follow Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" they look at their grades of prophethood and the knowledge in these grades. They acquire their knowledge from there. But sufis look at Prophets' grades in wilayat and at the marifats that are there. The knowledge derived from the grade of prophethood is certainly more precise than the knowledge which is received from the grade of wilayat. I explained this statement of mine more profoundly and in more detail in letter 260 -which I wrote to Muhammad Sadiq, my dear son, who has a superior intellect and knowledge, and who has realized the facts and attained blessings and fayd from Allahu ta'ala. [Murshid-i kamils, being exalted savants in the grade of ijtihad have both knowledge and marifat. Namely they are Zul- Janahayn].

IMAN: Means the heart's confirming, admitting and believing the facts which the books of the Ahl as-sunnat savants "rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain' communicated to be from the religion, that is, which have to be believed. They said that what the heart believes also has to be expressed with the tongue. [Yet this expressing is not the faith itself, but it is the announcement of the faith existing in the heart. He who does not express iman while there is no impediment becomes a disbeliever. They said "In case a person is threatened with death or with mutilation or forced with bitter persecution, he may excusably hide his iman; he who does not express his iman or who expresses the opposite in such a case does not become a disbeliever." We have derived this supplement from the book Milal-Nihal.]

The symptom of iman's existence in the heart is to abstain from disbelief and from wearing the zunnar around the waist, and from other signs of disbelief. To abstain from disbelief means to dislike the enemies of Allahu ta'ala and to deem them as enemies. When disbelievers are powerful and attain ascendancy, so that they may inflict punishment, they must be disliked with the heart, and when there is no such fear it is necessary to oppose them both by heart and by all kinds of means. In the Qur'an, Allahu ta'ala commands His beloved Prophet "sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam' to fight against disbelievers and munafiqs and to gain ascendancy over them by working to this end. For, unless one bears hostility against the enemies of Allahu ta'ala and His Prophet "sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam', one will not have loved Him and His Messenger, nor will one have the right to say that one loves them. If a person says that he has iman but does not beware from disbelief, he has believed both Islam and disbelief, thus having two religions; such people are called Murtad (renegade); they must be looked upon as munafiqs. Iman's existence in the heart certainly necessitates avoiding disbelief. The lowest grade of this abstinence is by heart. And its highest grade is that which is done both with the heart and with the body. That is, it is to show the heart's spurning by words and manners.

A Persian line in English:
Unless there is enmity there will not be friendship!

Some people misuse this condition of love by loving only the Ahl al-bayt "radi-Allahu anhum', [who are the relatives, grandsons of our Prophet "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam']. They say that loving them necessitates enmity against our Prophet's three Khalifas "radi- Allahu ta'ala anhum' and against most Muslims. This assertion is quite wrong. For, the symptom of love is enmity against the enemies of the beloved, which does not mean to be hostile against everybody other than the beloved. Anybody with wisdom and an intellect functioning properly can realize that our Prophet's "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' Sahaba "radi-Allahu ta'ala anhum' were not hostile against the Ahl al-bayt. Especially those three Khalifas, the greatest of the Sahaba, would have sacrificed their property and lives for the sake of our Prophet "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam'. They would forgo their ranks, fame, and advantages for him. In the Qur'an, Muslims are commanded clearly to love the Ahl al- bayt. As a thanksgiving, a recompense for Rasulullah's "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' inviting and bringing them to endless bliss, love of the Ahl al-bayt "ridwanullahi ta'ala anhum ajmain' is demanded from them. Then, how could those great people ever be thought or said to have been hostile against the Ahl al-bayt?

The reason why Ibrahim "alaihissalam" was so much exalted, why he won the second rank from top among all human beings, and why he was honored with being the father of Prophets, was because he avoided the enemies of Allahu ta'ala. Allahu ta'ala declares in the Surat-ul-Mumtahina of the Qur'an, "O Believers! Follow the beautiful way shown by Ibrahim "alaihissalam"! That is, you too should become like him and those Believers who were with him! They said to the disbelievers: Don't expect sympathy from us! For, you disobey Allahu ta'ala and worship others. We don't love those whom you worship, either. We don't believe your bogus religion. This difference has caused enmity between us. Unless you believe that Allahu ta'ala is one and obey His commandments, this adversity will not be erased from our hearts, but it will show itself in every manner."

According to this faqir "rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaih', there is no deed, no worship as good as avoiding disbelief for gaining Allahu ta'ala's appreciation and love. Allahu ta'ala Himself is hostile against disbelievers and kufr. All the idols they worship and those who worship them are the enemies of Allahu ta'ala Himself. Eternal burning in Hell is the punishment for this base deed. But the desires of the nafs, and all other kinds of sins are not so. Allah's enmity towards them is not from His own self but from His attributes. Allah's wrath and anger against sinners does not originate from His own wrath but from His attribute Wrath. His tormenting and abhorring them is always through His deeds and attributes. It is for this reason that sinners will not remain in Hell eternally, and He will forgive most of them if He wills. Since Allah's enmity against disbelief and disbelievers is from His own self, His attributes Mercy and Compassion will not reach disbelievers in the next world; and His attribute Mercy will not be able to cancel the enmity of His own Self. Enmity of the Self is more powerful than the mercy of the Attribute. What is done through the Attribute cannot change what is done by the Self. It is purported in a hadith al-qudsi, "My Mercy has surpassed My Wrath." Its meaning is: "My attribute Mercy has surpassed My attribute Wrath. That is, it has overwhelmed My wrath towards the sinful ones from among the Believers." It does not mean that His attribute Mercy surpasses the Self's wrath, which is directed towards disbelievers and polytheists.

Question: Allahu ta'ala pities disbelievers in the world. As a matter of fact, this has been mentioned above. Then doesn't His attribute Mercy surpass the Self's wrath in the world?

Answer: Pitying disbelievers in the world is only in appearance. That is, it is an istidraj, a trick that seems like mercy. As a matter of fact, He declares in the Surat-ul-Muminun of Qur'an al-karim, "By giving disbelievers plenty of property and children; are We helping them, are We doing them favors? Do they presume that in return for their disbelief We are sending numerous blessings, one soon after another? No, it is not the case. This helping is not a favor to them, but perhaps an istidraj. It is intended so that they go astray, go mad, and then go to Hell." Also, the ayat, "I am bringing them to torment piece by piece. This they are unaware of. As they overflow the measure, I am giving them opportunities by giving them terrestrial blessings on the increase. They are being beguiled. The torment which I have prepared for them is very bitter," in the suras of Araf and Nun, shows this fact clearly.

NOTE: Remaining eternally in Hell is the retribution for disbelief. Now the following question may arise: Our savants say that if a person, though having iman, practices the rites and customs of disbelievers, he will lose his iman and become a murtad. [For, such behavior means not to avoid disbelief]. Most of today's Muslims have caught this nuisance. According to that statement of our savants, most of those people who are said to be Muslims today are going to suffer eternal torment in Hell. On the other hand, our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' said, "He who has a mote of iman in his heart will not remain in Hell eternally, but will be taken out." What would you say about this?

Answer: We would say that if a person disbelieves, doubts about or disapproves even one of the Islamic tenets that are to be believed, his iman goes away; he becomes a kafir. He will be burned eternally in Hell. If a person expresses the word tawhid, believes its meaning, says that hadrat Muhammad is Allah's Prophet and that whatever he has said is true, and believes that those who disagree with the Prophet are wrong and evil, and takes his last breath in this faith and goes to the other world with this iman; but if he practices the customs, rites and ceremonies peculiar to disbelievers, and on the days and nights which disbelievers hold sacred does as they do, he will go to Hell. But, having a mote of iman in his heart, -that is, since he believes briefly as we have explained-, he will not remain eternally in Hell. [To believe briefly means, when hearing about one of the religious facts that have to be believed, to believe it without doubt]. One day this faqir -Imam-i-Rabbani- visited a sick acquaintance. He was about to die. I paid tawajjuh towards his heart. His heart had darkened. I did my best to clear away the filth; it was of no avail. Meditating deeply for a long while, I came to realize that that blackness was the contagion and symptom of disbelief, and that they were caused by his relationships and friendliness with disbelievers and disbelief. Try hard as I would, that filth could not be cleared away. It was then realized that that evil would be cleared away only with the fire of Hell, the punishment for disbelief. Yet, since a tiny light of iman was seen in his heart, owing to this he will be taken out of Hell. Having seen the sick person in that manner, I went deep into meditating whether I should perform the namaz of janaza for him. After searching my heart for a long time, I realized that it would be necessary to perform it. This means that we should perform the namaz of janaza for those who, though having iman in their hearts, are intimate with disbelievers and follow their ceremonies and Easters. We should not look on them as disbelievers. As a matter of fact, such people are so treated today. We should believe that owing to their iman these people will be taken out of Hell. But there is no pardon or forgiveness for those who do not have iman, [for those who do not like even the words and habits of Muhammad "alaihissalam"]; in return for their disbelief they will remain in Hell's torment eternally. [Please read the four hundred and eighty-first page of the fifth volume of Ibni Abidin. If the enemies of religion try to deceive Muslims by covering the fact that disbelievers' customs and rites are disbelief and say that they are Muslims' customs and Muslims' holy days, young and pure Muslims should not believe them. They should learn the facts by asking real Muslims they trust, or their relatives who perform namaz, or their fathers' friends who know their faith. All over the world today ignorance is not a real excuse, neither for not knowing iman and kufr nor for not doing the worships correctly. He who is deceived because of not knowing his religion will not escape Hell. Today Allahu ta'ala has made His religion known all over the world, and it has become very easy to learn iman, halals, harams and the fards. It is fard to learn these as well as necessary].

In short, if a person who attends disbelievers' festivals has a mote of iman, [that is, if he has believed the meaning of the word tawhid concisely, and if he has not done or said anything that would remove his iman], he will not remain in Hell eternally, though he will enter Hell for torment. As for those Believers who have grave sins; Allahu ta'ala will forgive those sins if He wills. Or He will torment them in Hell until they are purified of their sins, if He wills. According to the understanding of this faqir "qaddasAllahu ta'ala sirrahul'aziz', Hell fire, whether endless or temporary, is for disbelief and for the symptoms and contagions of disbelief. The grave sins committed by those Believers who shun disbelief will be forgiven either through Allahu ta'ala's compassion for the sake of their iman or by their repenting or being blessed with shafaat. Those who are not forgiven by such means will be purified through worldly problems and cares or through the throes which they will suffer while dying. If they are not purified with these either, some of them will attain forgiveness by suffering torment in their graves. And others will be forgiven through the torment and suffering in the grave in addition to the vehemence of the Day of Resurrection; they thereby being without sins, there will be no need for them to be purified through Hell's torment. As a matter of fact, Allahu ta'ala declares in the eighty-second ayat of the surat-ul-Anam of Qur'an al-karim, "Those who have iman and who do not smear their iman with polytheism are secured against remaining eternally in Hell. There is not such fear for them," which proves our word to be correct. For, in this ayat, Zulm means shirk (polytheism). Only Allahu ta'ala knows the truth of everything.

Question: "Allahu ta'ala declares that also those who commit some sins other than disbelief will enter Hell. For example, the punishment for killing a Believer on purpose is to remain in Hell eternally, He says. Our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' says, "He who does not perform one prayer of namaz within its prescribed time and omits it on purpose will suffer torment for one huqba in Hell.' [One huqba means eighty years of the next world]. Then, Hell's torment is not only for disbelievers." If we were told so, we would answer as follows: Hell's torment is for those who ignore the fact that it is haram to kill a Muslim and who will kill a Muslim by saying that it is halal (permitted). As a matter of fact, the savants of Ahl as-sunnat "rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain' gave it this meaning in their interpretations. The report informing us that there is torment in Hell also for sins other than disbelief is always intended to explain that there is contagion of disbelief in these sins. Examples of these would be to commit a sin by slighting or ignoring its importance, not to perform namaz or to sin by flouting the commands of the Shariat. Our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' stated, "O my Ummat, I shall perform shafaat for those who commit grave sins." And he stated once, "Allah's compassion is for my Ummat. In the next world there is no torment for them." Also, the ayat whose meaning we have written above puts stress on the truth of our statements. [Suicide, that is, (intentional) self- killing, is a graver sin than killing someone else].

In a letter I wrote to my son Muhammad Said I explained in detail what treatment will be applied in the next world to disbelievers' children who die before reaching the age of discretion and puberty, to those who, having been born and grown up in mountains or deserts, die without having heard of a religion, and to those irreligious people who lived in ancient times when one religion was changed and defiled by disbelievers and died before the advent of another Prophet. Please read it to learn the matter! [Please read the second chapter in this book!]

Our savants gave different deduced opinions on the increasing and decreasing of iman. Hadrat al-imam-ul-azam Abu Hanifa "radi-Allahu 'anh' said that iman does not increase or decrease, Hadrat al-imam-ush-Shafi'i "rahmatullahi 'alaih' said that it increases and decreases. Since iman is a confirmation and belief in the heart, there is no increase or decrease in it. Belief that increases and decreases cannot be iman. It is called supposition. By performing the worships, the actions which Allahu ta'ala loves, iman gets polished, becomes luminous, and shines. By committing the harams it becomes cloudy. Then an increase or decrease occurs in the lustre of the iman on account of deeds. It does not happen in itself. Some (savants) said that the iman which is bright is very much greater than that which is not bright. They almost did not consider some beliefs that are not bright as iman. And about some lustrous ones they said that they were iman but that they were small. This case with iman is like the case of two mirrors standing opposite each other with different brightness. It is similar to saying that the one which is more lustrous and reflects the things opposite itself more brightly is greater than the one that reflects less brightly. And another person, for example, says that the two mirrors are equal. They are different only in brightness, in reflecting the things opposite themselves; that is, their properties, qualities are different. Of the two persons, the latter's opinion is keener and more correct. The former has looked at the appearance, and has not penetrated into the essence. This example, which has fallen to this faqir's "rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaih' lot to give, has disproved the words of those who would not believe the fact that iman does not increase or decrease; and at the same time the iman of any Muslim has not been likened to the iman of Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" in every respect. For, their iman, being very luminous and very bright, will provide much more fruit, much more benefit than the dark and cloudy iman of their ummats. It is stated in a hadith, "The iman of Abu Bakr-i Siddiq "radi-Allahu 'anh' is heavier than the total sum of the imans of all this Ummat." And this is in regard to the nur, the lustre of iman. Being greater is not in the essence, in the basis, but in the qualities. As a matter of fact Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat" are human beings, like anybody else. There is no difference with respect to being human. The difference arises from perfect, superior attributes. One who is without superior qualities is in one way different from those who have them. They are all the same, however, in being human. They are not more or less than one another. Humanity cannot be said to be increasing or decreasing. Some (savants), in describing iman, said that it is to confirm, to express with the tongue; in which case both belief and supposition must be iman, and iman must be susceptible of increase and decrease. Nevertheless, the essence of iman is the heart's confirming, believing. Supposition or doubt cannot be called iman.

Al-imam-ul-azam Abu Hanifa "rahmatullahi 'alaih' says that one should say, "I am rightfully, that is, certainly a Mumin (Believer)." But al-imam-ush-Shafi'i "rahmatullahi 'alaih' says that one should say, "I am a Mumin, insha-Allah." The difference between these two is only in words. For, one should say, "I am a Mumin certainly," when expressing one's present iman. And when speaking of one's iman at one's last breath one should say "Insha-Allah, I am a Mumin then, to." But, instead of basing it on a condition by saying, insha-Allah it is more provident and more proper to say, "certainly," every time.

It is necessary to believe in the karamat of the Awliya "qaddas-Allahu ta'ala asrarahum'. Allahu ta'ala creates everything through His divine law of causation in this world. [That is, He creates them through the law, order and harmony that are learned in scientific lessons]. Through the hands of His Awliya, [that is, those whom He loves,] He creates, makes something outside His law of causation, which is called Karamat. He who disbelieves the karamat has disbelieved the events that have been seen many a time and oft all over the world and which have spread from mouth to mouth. Allah's creating something which no one can do through the hands and words of Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat", by suspending His law of causation temporarily is called a Mujiza; a person who performs a mujiza declares his prophethood. But a person who performs a karamat says that he is not a Prophet but is following a Prophet. [Mujiza is appropriate for Prophets "alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat". It is not permissible to use this word for anyone besides them].

Superiority of the Khulafa-i-rashidin, [that is, of the four Khalifas who succeeded our Prophet "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam',] to one another is as per the order of their caliphates. All the Sahaba and all the Tabiin said that Abu Bakr and 'Umar "radi-Allahu anhuma' were superior to all other Muslims. Most of our religious leaders wrote these words in their books. One of them is Hadrat al-imam-ush-Shafi'i. The great savant Abul- Hasan-il-Ashari, who gathered and recorded the belief of Ahl as-sunnat, says, "It is obvious and certain that first Abu Bakr and then 'Umar are higher than all Believers." Al- imam-uz-Zahabi, one of the greatest savants, says, "We have been told by more than eighty people that they heard Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh' say to a large crowd of Muslims: "Abu Bakr and 'Umar "radi-Allahu 'anhuma' are the highest of this Ummat.' " Giving the names of most of them, he says, "Rafidis, that is, those who do not believe this are very heinous, very evil people. Allahu ta'ala will meet them very harshly in the Hereafter." Al-imam-ul- Bukhari, the author of the book Bukhari-i-Sharif, which in Islam is the second most dependable and most valuable book after Qur'an al-karim, says "Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh' said, "After our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam', the best, the highest of this Ummat is Abu Bakr. Then comes 'Umar "radi-Allahu 'anh', and then somebody else.' At that moment his son Muhammad ibnu Hanafiyya said, "And it's you.' Upon this he said, "Like any other Muslim, I am one of this Ummat.' " Al-imam-uz-Zahabi and other savants said, "Hadrat Ali said: Be careful, listen well! I have heard that some people have been holding me superior to Abu Bakr and 'Umar. If I catch any one of them I shall inflict upon him the chastisement for slanderers. For he is a slanderer." Dara Qutni says, "Imam-i Ali "radi- Allahu 'anh' said: If I catch a person who cherishes me above Abu Bakr and 'Umar "radi- Allahu 'anhuma', I shall punish him by beating him, as I do so with slanderers." There are so many of such reports from the Ashab al-kiram "radi-Allahu 'anhum' that no one could find a possible way to deny the fact. Even Abdurrazzaq, one of the great Shiite scholars, says, "Since hadrat Ali holds Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat 'Umar "radi-Allahu 'anhuma' superior to himself, I hold them superior, too. For, if I did not hold them superior I would have disobeyed Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh', though I love him very much; and this would be a grave sin for me."

[A Jew named Murtada writes false stories in his book captioned Husniyya, and says that those three Khalifas are disbelievers. He has been given beautiful answers in my (Turkish) books, Hak Sozun Vesikalari and Ashab-i kiram. The true Alawis who have been following Hadrat Ali have never been heard to utter such ugly and base words]. We have extracted what we have written about Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat 'Umar "radi-Allahu 'anhuma' from the book Sawaiq-ul-mukhriqa, by the great savant Ibni Hajar-i Haitami "rahmatullahi 'alaih'.

As for the fact that Imam-i 'Uthman "radi-Allahu 'anh' is higher than Imam-i Ali; most of the savants of Ahl as-sunnat said, "After the Shaikhayn, [that is, after Abu Bakr and 'Umar,] the highest Muslim is 'Uthman. After him the highest is Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh'." So did the imams of the four Madhhabs say. Though al-imam-i Malik is said to have doubted about the superiority of Hadrat 'Uthman "radi-Allahu 'anh', Qadi Iyad, the author of the book Shifa, says that later he said that hadrat 'Uthman is higher. Also, Imam-i Qurtubi says, "Insha- Allah, this is the truth of the matter." Some (savants) say that it is inferable by his statement, "The sign of being Sunni is to believe the superiority of the Shaikhayn and to love the two sons-in-law," that al-imam-ul-azam Abu Hanifa does not hold any of the two sons-in-law "radi-Allahu 'anhuma' superior to the other; but, to the understanding of this faqir, there were other reasons why the imam said so. That is, seeing the discord, the frustration in the hearts because of the chaos and faction that had begun during the caliphates of the two sons-in-law "radi-Allahu 'anhuma', the imam deemed the phrase "loving the two sons-in-law" pertinent, and said that loving them is the sign of being Sunni. Could al-imam-ul-azam Abu Hanifa be said to have had doubts on the superiority of Hadrat 'Uthman "radi-Allahu 'anh', whereas the books of the savants of the Hanafi madhhab teem with statements like "Superiority is in accordance with the order of caliphate"? In short, the superiority of the Shaikhayn is definite. But, that Hadrat 'Uthman "radi-Allahu 'anh' is higher than Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh' is not so definite. Yet we must avoid saying "disbelievers' about those who deny the superiority of Hadrat 'Uthman and even of the Shaikhayn. We must look upon them as holders of bidat, as divergent Muslims. For, one party of our savants did not say that they were disbelievers. The case with them is like the case with the base Yazid, who our savants have forbidden us to curse, for circumspection.

Offending our Prophet by way of hating the Khulafa-i rashidin is identical to offending him by way of disliking Imam-i Hasan and Imam-i Husain. Our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' stated, "Fear Allahu ta'ala as if you should ever hurt my Sahaba! After me, do not think ill of them. He who loves them does so because he loves me. He who bears hostility against them has borne hostility against me. He who hurts them hurts me. He who hurts me has hurt Allahu ta'ala; hence He will torment him for this." Allahu ta'ala declares in the fifty-seventh ayat of Surat-ul-Ahzab, in Qur'an al-karim, "Those who offend Allahu ta'ala and His Prophet; may they be accursed in this world and in the Hereafter!" The great Islamic savant Sadaddin-i Taftazani says, "We should be reasonable in this order of superiority," in his revision of Aqaid-i Nasafiyya; but his statement is unreasonable, and his doubt is out of place. For, our savants state that in this context "superior' means "the one with more thawabs.' It does not mean the one who is more useful to others with his goodness and trueness. A wise person will not value such things. The Sahaba and the Tabiin informed us about so many cases and events manifesting the goodness of Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh' as they did not communicate about any other Sahabi. On the other hand, they, again, said that the other three Khalifas were higher than he. As it is seen, being superior is not because of the maniness of merits and epics. Superiority arises from other reasons. Who can understand these reasons are only those chosen fortunate people who have been honored with seeing the wahy, that is, the coming of the angel. They have understood the reasons of superiority by seeing them clearly or through some denotations. And they are the Sahaba of our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam'. Then, it is nonsensical for the reviser of 'Aqaid-i Nasafi to say, "If the meaning of superiority is the numerousness of thawabs, this is the place to doubt about the order of superiority." For, if the order of superiority had not been intimated clearly by the owner of the Shariat, there would be a place for doubt. Why should he doubt after it had been intimated? If the Sahaba had not understood this superiority clearly or through some denotation, would they have reported it? What is out of place is for those who consider all the four (Khalifas) to be equal to say that superiority among them is out of place. Could there be a statement more out of place, more useless than saying, "It is out of place," about the consensus of the religious superiors? Or does the word (superior) cause them to discuss such nonsense? Nor does Muhyiddin-i 'Arabi's statement, "The order of their caliphates was in accordance with the order of their lives," show that they are equal. For, being the Khalifa is different from being superior. We might as well say that he said so with regard to superiority; but it is not a statement that can be taken as a document; it is one of his erroneous statements. A few of his kashfs, findings, which do not conform with the words of the savants of Ahl as- sunnat, are incorrect. Only psychopaths or the sick-hearted or those who imitate everything blindly will follow such statements.

It is necessary to believe that the combats, the disagreements between the Sahaba were out of good will, that they were not intended for earthly blessings or for the desires of the nafs. Though Sadaddin-i Taftazani is one of those who loves Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh' excessively, he says: "Their disagreements and combats were not for the caliphate. They arose from an error in ijtihad." [Hadrat Ahmad Khayali, a savant during the era of Sultan Muhammad the Conqueror Khan, wrote a very valuable commentary on the long revision written by Sadaddin-i Taftazani for 'Umar Nasafi's book, Aqaid-i Nasafi], Khayali says in that commentary of his, "Hadrat Muawiya "radi-Allahu 'anh' and those who were with him did not agree with Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh'. However, they knew and said that he was the highest of the time's people, and that the caliphate was rightfully due to him. They revolted because he would not catch and punish those who had martyred Hadrat 'Uthman "radi-Allahu 'anh'." In its commentary by Qaramani, [that is, in the notes which he wrote on the page margins of the book Sharh-i aqaid], it states that Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh' said, "Our brothers would not agree with us. But they are not disbelievers. Nor are they sinners. They have been doing as they understand from the religion, from the Shariat." It is doubtless that it is not a sin to make a mistake in ijtihad, and it is not something to be blamed. Considering that the Sahaba were educated in the company and by the teachings of our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' we should look at all of them as good, and we should respect them all. Since we love our Prophet "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' we should love them all. For, he "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' said, "He who loves them does so because he loves me; and he who is their enemy is so because he is my enemy," which means, "Loving my Sahaba is loving me, and hostility against them is hostility against me." Those Sahabis who fought against Hadrat Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh' are not our relatives or acquaintances. On the contrary, those combats between them cause us sorrow and hurt us. Yet, because they are the Sahaba of our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam', we have been commanded to love them. We have been prohibited from offending any of them, from bearing hostility against them. Then, we have to love all of them. We love them because we love our Prophet "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam'. We avoid treating them inimically and tormenting them, for, hostility against them or hurting them would end up with our Prophet "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam'. Only, we can say who was right and who was wrong. Namely, hadrat Amir (Ali) "radi-Allahu 'anh' was right. Those who opposed him were wrong. It would be wrong to say more than that. Please read the letter for Muhammad Ashraf! [251st letter].

WORSHIPS - After correcting our iman, our beliefs, it is certainly necessary to learn the rules of fiqh, that is, the acts which our religion commands and prohibits. We have to learn the fards, the wajibs, the halals, the harams, the sunnats, the makruhs, and the doubtful things, and act in accord with this knowledge of ours. It is obligatory for every Muslim to read and learn books of fiqh. [One cannot be a Muslim without knowing these]. We have to do the commandments of Allahu ta'ala, and live as He likes us to. What He likes best for us to do is to perform the namaz five times every day, which He commands time and again. The namaz is the archstone of the religion. I will inform you about a few facts on the importance of the namaz, and on how it must be performed. Listen with rapt attention. First, we should perform abdast (ablution) compatibly with the sunnat, [precisely as it is prescribed in books of fiqh]. While performing an ablution, we should be extra careful to wash the prescribed parts three times, and wash them completely each time. Thus we will have performed an ablution compatibly with the sunnat. While rubbing the head with the hands we should pass them over the entire head. The ears and the back of the neck should be wiped well. While applying khilal to the toes, [that is, while washing between the toes], we have been directed to insert the small finger of the left hand between the toes from underneath. We should be serious about this, and not dismiss it by thinking that it is only a mustahab. We should not slight the mustahabs. They are acts loved by Allahu ta'ala. Were it known that a certain act He loves could be done by sacrificing the entire world, anyone who could do it would make a great profit, like receiving a precious diamond in return for a few pieces of a broken flower-pot, or similar to resuscitating one's dead darling by giving away a few pieces of gravel.

After performing an abdast in the commanded manner, we come to the namaz in its turn, which is the Miraj for Believers. That is, the blessings which were bestowed on our Prophet on the night of Miraj are given only in the namaz to his Ummat, to taste in the world. Men should take great care to perform the fard namaz in jamaat, and not to miss making even the first takbir together with the imam. [It is a sin for women to enter a mosque where men are, whatever the reason for doing so, such as to perform the namaz in jamaat, to listen to the reciters of the Qur'an or mawlid, or to perform Friday prayer to gain more thawab].

We should perform the prayers of namaz at their mustahab times. [That is, when we perform the namaz alone we should perform each namaz at its early time, but the afternoon and night prayers at their times prescribed by al-Imam-ul-azam. The later the namaz is performed the less thawab will be given. The times that are mustahab are intended for performing the namaz in jamaat by attending to mosque. If the prescribed time is over and one still has not performed the namaz, one has committed a sin as grave as murder. This sin will not be forgiven when one performs it later; only the debt will be paid then. To have the sin pardoned, one should either do tawba-i nasuh or perform an acceptable hajj. (Ibni Abidin)

In namaz the Qur'an should be recited as much as the sunnat prescribes. It is necessary to remain motionless at ruku' (bowing with the hands on the knees), and at sajda (prostrating), for, it is either fard or wajib. When straightening up after ruku' one should stand so straight that one's bones settle. And, it has been said (by savants) that it is either fard or wajib or sunnat to remain straight for a while. So is the case with sitting upright between the two sajdas. These should always be given much care. At ruku' and at sajda the tasbih must be said at least three times and at most seven to eleven times. For the imam, it depends on the state of the jamaat. It is very disgraceful for a healthy person to say the tasbih a minimum of times when performing the namaz on his own, especially when he is not in a difficulty; he should say it at least five times. While making the sajda one should put his limb which is closer to the ground first on the ground. Accordingly, first the knees, the hands, then the nose, and then the forehead should be put on the ground. Of the knees and hands, the right ones should be put on the ground before (the left ones). When getting up from the sajda the upper limb should be raised first. That is, the forehead should be raised first. One should look at the place of sajda while standing, at one's feet while bowing for ruku', at the point of one's nose while prostrating, and at one's hands or lap while sitting. If one looks at these places without one's eyes squinting around, the namaz can be performed with a heart free from worldly thoughts. Thus khushu' (devoted reverence) can be enjoyed. As a matter of fact, our Prophet said so. It is sunnat to open the fingers at ruku', and to attach them to each other during the sajda. These should be done with care. It is not without reasons or vain to keep the fingers apart or attached. The owner of the Shariat, [that is, our Prophet "sall- Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam'], did so considering its benefits. For us there is no advantage as great as obeying the owner of the Shariat. These words of ours are intended to incite, to awake the desire to practice the tenets taught in the books of fiqh. May Allahu ta'ala bless us and you with doing the acceptable deeds shown by the Shariat! For the sake of the sayyid, the master, the best, the highest of Prophets, may He accept this prayer of ours! Amin. After correcting your iman, if you want to understand the use of the namaz and the superiorities peculiar to it, read three other letters which I wrote, i.e. those which I wrote to my son Muhammad Sadiq, to Mir Muhammad Numan and to Hadrat Tajuddin. [They are the 260th, the 261st, and the 263rd letters in the first volume of Maktubat. Translation of the second one, 261st letter, occupies the 34th chapter of the third fascicle of Endless Bliss].

[If we liken man's promotion, his attainment of endless bliss, to the flying of an aircraft, faith and deeds, that is, iman and worships, are like its body and engines. And making progress on the way of tasawwuf is like its source of energy, its fuel. For reaching the goal, the plane is obtained. That is, iman and worships are acquired. For starting it, it is necessary to get the fuel, that is, to make progress on the way of tasawwuf].

Tasawwuf is not intended to obtain things other than the faith of Ahl as-sunnat or the commands of the Shariat. Tasawwuf is intended to make the faith of Ahl as-sunnat secure and conscientious and firm, lest it should be undermined by effects bringing doubt. The iman which is strengthened through the mind, through evidence, through proofs cannot be so firm. Allahu ta'ala declares in the thirtieth ayat of the Surat-ul-Rad, in Qur'an al-karim: "Iman's penetration and settlement in hearts is possible only and only by dhikr." The second purpose of tasawwuf is to facilitate worshipping, to bring about enthusiasm, and to do away with the indolence, the reluctance inherent in the nafs-i ammara. It ought to be realized well that clinging to tasawwuf is not intended to acquire the ability to see what others do not know, to inform others with the unknown, to perceive nurs, spirits, or to enjoy valuable dreams. All these are vain, useless things. What is not in the everyday light, in the various colors, in the natural beauties, that should coax man to leave these and look for other things at the cost of suffering so many inconveniences? After all, both this light and those nurs, both these beautiful shapes and those other things are all the creations of Allahu ta'ala and bear witnesses to His existence and to the fact that He is the Almighty.

There are many paths of tasawwuf. The most important and the most suitable of them is the path of those great people who adhere to the sunnat and avoid bidats. As long as those great people obey the sunnat in everything they say and do, they do not worry even if no kashfs, karamats, hals or unveilings happen to them. Yet if they become sluggish in obeying the sunnat while all these things happen to them, they repel these things. It is for this reason that in their path such things as music and dancing are prohibited. They do not value the flavors and hals originating from such things. Even, they say that it is bidat to mention Allah's name aloud. They do not turn to look at things emanating from this. One day I was serving a meal in the presence of my exalted master, when Shaikh Kamal, who was one of his admirers, said the Basmala aloud in his presence before starting to eat. Being quite displeased with that, he severely prohibited him from doing so, and told us to tell him not to eat with him any more. As I have heard from my master, Khwaja Muhammad Bahaaddin- i Bukhari gathered the savants of Bukhara and took them to the home of his master, Sayyid Amir Kulal. And they said to him, (that is, to Sayyid Amir Kulal), "It is bidat to say Allah's name aloud. Give this up." It being his habit to receive a correct word willingly no matter whence it came, Hadrat Sayyid admitted it, saying, "I won't do it again." [Also, hadrat Jalaladdin-i Rumi writes in his Mathnawi that dhikr should be done silently with the heart]. As the superiors of this way prohibit even saying Allah's name aloud, what would they not say against such things as music, dancing, cavorting, bouncing about, yelling and shouting?

To this faqir, all the hals and dhawqs born from things prohibited by the Shariat are istidraj. For, those hals happen to disbelievers, too, and they too, learn such things as tawhid and kashf, which occur to them in the mirror of the universe. Those hals are seen on Greek philosophers, on jukis [Darwishes of Brahmin religion], on Brahmin priests and Hindu beggars. What represents the true hal is its compatibility with the Shariat, and its issuing not from things that are haram. Music and dancing are matters of playing. The sixth ayat Lahw-al-hadith in the Surat-u Luqman was revealed in order to prohibit reading (the Qur'an) melodiously. Al-imam-i Mujahid, one of the disciples of Abdullah ibnu Abbas, is one of the greatest of the Tabiin. He stated that this ayat prohibited music. It is written in Tafsir-i Medarik, [and the great savant Thanaullah Pani's Tafsir-i Mazhari, which consists of ten volumes], that Lahw-al-hadith means music. Abdullah ibnu Abbas and Abdullah ibnu Masud "radi-Allahu 'anhuma' swore that the ayat is about music. Al-imam-i Mujahid said that the seventy-second ayat of the Surat al-Furqan purports, "A group of those whose sins shall be pardoned are those who do not stay at a place where music and songs are sung." It is written in books that the imam of our Madhhab in belief, Abu Mansur-i Maturidi, said, "If a person hears the tunes of (one of) our time's melodious reciters of Qur'an al-karim and says (to him), "Your recitation is so beautiful,' he becomes a disbeliever. His wife becomes divorced. He loses the thawabs for all the prayers he has done up to that time." Abu Nasr-i Dabbusi says that Qadi Zahiraddin-i Harazmi said, "If a person listens to a song from a singer or at some other occasion, or commits some other haram, and then says, "So beautiful,' though he does not like it, [and even if he does not know that it is haram], his iman goes away then and there. For, he has ignored Allah's command. All mujtahids state in consensus that he who ignores Allah's commands becomes a disbeliever. Worships of such people will not be accepted. The thawabs that they have gained will be annihilated. We take refuge with Allahu ta'ala against such calamities."

The ayats, the hadiths, the statements of savants of fiqh declaring that music is haram are so numerous that it would be difficult to tally them. If a mansukh hadith or a fatwa explaining that music is permissible is found, we should ignore it. For, not one savant has ever given a fatwa on that music or dancing is permissible. Al-imam-i Diyaddin "rahmatullahi 'alaih' writes so in his book Multaqit.

Something done or avoided by men of tasawwuf is not necessarily halal or haram. Nor do we blame them for doing (or avoiding) it. We consider them excused. Allahu ta'ala knows their state, and will meet them as He likes. For knowing whether something is halal or haram, we look at the words of al-imam al-azam Abu Hanifa, of al-imam-i Yusuf Ansari, and of al-imam-i Muhammad Shaibani; we do not try to find out whether or not the great men of tasawwuf such as Abu Bakr-i Shibli, Abul Husain-i Nuri and Junaid-i Baghdadi did it. [But all their teachings regarding the Shariat are true. It is necessary to believe and to follow all their teachings]. The unripe sufis who know nothing of the Shariat or of the Tariqat have turned it into a religion of crying and yelling, playing music and dancing on the pretext that their masters used to do so. They suppose that they earn thawabs by doing so. Allahu ta'ala declares in the seventieth ayat of Surat-ul-Anam and in the fiftieth ayat of Surat-ul-Araf, "O My beloved Prophet! Keep away from those who turn their faith and worships into playing and amusement [by singing and playing music]. They shall go to Hell."

As it is understood from what is said above, he who approves things that are certainly haram becomes a disbeliever. He is not a Muslim. He has turned into a renegade. [But those who do the harams with regret and knowing that they are foul though they may taste sweet, do not become disbelievers]. Then, just imagine the case of those who value the harams and who consider them as acts of worship. May infinite thanks be to Allahu ta'ala, because our superiors, who educated us, did not smear themselves with this filth. And because we followed them, they protected us from doing such disgraceful things. I hear that the worthy sons of my master have been listening to music, making it a habit to assemble together on Friday nights and to recite ilahis and qasidas; and most of our acquaintances being there have been following them, and attending the gatherings. I am surprised, very much surprised to hear this. The disciples of others do as their masters did on the pretext that their masters did so. They hush up the prohibitions of the Shariat by saying that their masters did so. Wrong as they are, they take shelter behind their masters. But I wonder what idle pretext our friends could put forward to cover their guilt? Not only the Shariat prohibits it but also our superiors avoided it. Both the Shariat and the tasawwuf disapprove this act. Even if the Shariat did not prohibit it, it would still be very disgraceful to do something which has no place on the path of our superiors. Since the Shariat also prohibits it, we should think of how grave the disgrace is. I send my salam to you all.

[In the seventy-second letter of the third volume Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani says to Khwaja Husamaddin Ahmad:

"It is permissible to recite (or read) Qur'an al-karim, qasidas, mawlids with a mellifluous voice. What is haram is to tune up the voice to musical pitches, in which case the letters are changed and the meaning becomes defiled. It is permissible to read these without tunes but with a beautiful voice, provided that it is done for Allah's sake. But, since those who do not spare their faith will not observe these conditions, it seems more suitable to this faqir not to permit this either." One other condition is that men and women should not be in the same place together].