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

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This letter, written to Kilinj Khan, explains that progress is possible only through wara' and taqwa. It enjoins us to cease from more than necessary mubahs, or at least to refrain from the harams and to pare down on the mubahs. It also states that there are two ways of abstaining from the harams:

May Allahu ta'ala protect you against every kind of sorrow! May He protect you against every defect for the sake of the most superior human being "sallallahu alaihi wa sallam'!

Allahu ta'ala declares in the seventh ayat of Surat-ul-Hashr "Take and obey the commands which My Messenger has brought for you! Refrain from what he has prohibited!" As it is seen, two things are necessary for escaping the disasters in the world and the torments of Hell in the next world: hold fast to the commands, and abstain from the prohibitions! Of these two, the greater one, the more necessary one is the second one, which is called wara' and taqwa. In the presence of Rasulullah "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' they said that a person worshipped, struggled hard. When they said that another person abstained from what is prohibited very much, he stated, "Nothing can be like wara'." That is, he said that it was more valuable to abstain from the prohibitions. In a hadith he stated, "Wara' is the pillar of din." Man's becoming superior to angels is due to wara' and their progress, becoming exalted, is, again, owing to wara'. Angels also obey the commands. But angels cannot make progress. Therefore, holding fast to wara' and having taqwa is more necessary than anything else. In Islam the most valuable thing is taqwa. The basis of the religion is taqwa.

Wara' and taqwa means to refrain from the harams. In order to be able to refrain from the harams entirely, it is necessary to refrain from the more than necessary mubahs. We should use the mubahs as much as necessary. If a person does whatever he likes with the mubahs, that is, with the things which the Shariat has permitted, and if he uses the mubahs exceedingly, he will begin to do what is doubtful. And the doubtful are close to those things that are haram. Man's nafs, like a beast, is greedy. He who walks around an abyss may fall down into the abyss one day. To be able to have wara' and taqwa properly, one should be abstemious in using the mubahs, and should not exceed the limit of necessity. When using this amount, one should intend to use them in order to do one's duties as a slave of Allah's. It is a sin also to use them a little without intending so. It is harmful whether it is little or much. It is next to impossible to always abstain entirely from more than the necessary mubahs, especially in this time. At least, one must abstain from the harams and do one's best to abstain from the more than necessary mubahs. When the mubahs are done more than needed, one must repent and make tawba. One should deem these deeds as the beginning of committing harams. One must trust oneself to Allahu ta'ala and beg Him. This repentance, asking for pardon and begging may stand for abstaining from more than the necessary mubahs entirely, thus protecting one against the harm and mischief of such deeds. One of our superiors says, "Sinners' hanging their heads seems better to me than worshippers' swelling their chests."

There are two kinds of abstention from the harams. First, to abstain from those sins which only violate the rights of Allahu ta'ala. Second, to abstain from those sins in which other people's and creatures' rights are also involved. The second kind is more important. Allahu ta'ala does not need anything, and He is very merciful. But human beings not only need a lot of things but are also very stingy and mean. Rasulullah "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' said: "A person who has violated others' rights or who has encroached on others' property and chastity should pay the rights back and have himself forgiven before dying! For on that day gold and property will not have any value. On that day, his thawabs will be taken away until the rights have been paid, or, if he does not have any thawabs, the sufferer's will be loaded on him."

[Ibni Abidin "rahmatullahi 'alaih', while explaining the book Durr-ul-mukhtar, says on the two hundred and ninety-fifth page of the chapter dealing with the subject of intending for namaz, "On the Day of Judgement, if the right-owner does not forgive his right, for a right of one dank, seven hundred prayers of namaz that have been performed in jamaat and accepted will be taken away and will be given to the right-owner." One dank is one-sixth of a dirham, about half a gram, of silver, which is worth about twenty-five kurush, about 0.17 cents, as of today.]

One day, when Rasulullah asked the Sahaba, "Do you know who is called bankrupt?" they said, "The person without any money or property left." He stated, "Among my Ummat, a bankrupt is the person whose deed-book contains many thawabs of namaz, fasting and zakat on the day of last Judgement. But he has sworn at a person, slandered him and taken away his property. His thawabs will be divided and distributed to such right-owners. If his thawabs are finished before the rights are paid, the sins of the right-owners will be loaded upon him. Then he will be flung down into the fire of Hell." [As this hadith points out, he who speaks ill of or swears at any one of the Sahaba "ridwanullahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain' will certainly be punished in the next world.]

It would still be of little consequence no matter how much we thanked you, no matter how grateful we were to you. Owing to your blessed existence, the majority of the rules of the Shariat have been appearing and are being carried out in the big city of Lahore at such a time as this. In this city, Islam has been becoming strong and has settled. To this faqir, Lahore city is like the heart of India. The usefulness and abundance of this city have been spreading all over the other cities of India. Islam's becoming stronger in this city has been opening a way for its becoming strong in all the other cities. May Allahu ta'ala increase your energy. May He help you on everything you do! Rasulullah "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' said: "Of my Ummat, those who are in the right way will exist in every age. Those who oppose them cannot do them any harm. They will do their tasks until the hour Allahu ta'ala has predestined." Thinking about your loyalty to my master, an ocean of knowledge, my most beloved one, I wanted to refresh that love through these few lines of mine. I write only this much lest I bother you. May Allahu ta'ala bless your exalted person with real fortunes and endless happiness. For the sake of His beloved Prophet "alaihi wa 'ala alihissalawat wattaslimat', may He accept this prayer of mine!