English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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This letter, written to Sayyid Mahmud, communicates that those who disagree with the Ahl as-sunnat wal-jamaat "rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain' will not escape from going to Hell.
May Allahu ta'ala bless us all with walking on the path of the Shariat. May He enslave us to Himself! Your valuable letter and your sweet writings pleased these faqirs very much. We were happy to read about your love for our superiors and your ikhlas towards them. May Allahu ta'ala increase this blessing of His. You ask for advice. My son! To attain endless salvation, three things are absolutely necessary: 'Ilm, 'amal, ikhlas. 'Ilm is of two parts. The first one is to learn the things to be done. The knowledge that conveys these is called 'Ilm-i fiqh. The second one is the knowledge of the things to be believed in with the heart. The knowledge which conveys these is called 'Ilm-i kalam. 'Ilm-i kalam consists of the knowledge which the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat wal-jamaat have understood from Qur'an al-karim and hadith ash-Sharifs. Only these savants will be saved from Hell. He who does not follow them will not escape from going into Hell. It has been understood through the kashf of the Awliya and through the inspirations coming to their hearts that it is a great danger to dissent from the way of these great people as much as a hair's breadth. There is no likelihood of any mistake. How lucky for those who follow the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat and who keep on their path. Shame upon those who disagree with them, who deviate from their way, who dislike their knowledge, and who dissent from them! They dissented and also misled others. There were those who disbelieved the fact that Believers will see Allahu ta'ala in Paradise. There were those who disbelieved the fact that on the Day of Resurrection the good will intercede for the sinful. There were those who could not realize the value and the exaltedness of the Sahaba "alaihimurridwan', and also those who disliked the Ahl al-bayt-i Rasul "radi-Allahu 'anhum'.
The savants of the Ahl as-sunnat "rahmat-Allahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain' stated that, "The Sahaba "alaihimurridwan' unanimously said that the highest of them was Hadrat Abu Bakr-i Siddiq. Imam-i Idris bin Shafi'i "rahmatullahi 'alaih', one of the savants of the Ahl as- sunnat with very dependable information about the Sahaba, says that when Hadrat Rasulullah "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' honored the next world with his presence, the Sahaba were not able to find on earth someone superior to Hadrat Abu Bakr-i Siddiq, though they searched for one very assiduously. After making him the Khalifa, they accepted service under him. These words show that the Sahaba agreed on the fact that Hadrat Abu Bakr-i Siddiq was the highest of them. That is, they manifested that there is ijma'i ummat on the fact that he is the highest of the Sahaba. Ijma'i ummat is a document; there cannot be any doubt about it.
As for the Ahl al-bayt, the hadith, "My Ahl al-bayt are like Noah's "alaihi 's-salam" arch. He who gets on board it will be saved. He who does not will get drowned," about them will suffice. Some of our superiors have said that our Prophet "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' likened the Sahaba to stars. He who follows a star will find the way. And he likened the Ahl al-bayt to a ship. For he who boards the ship should advance under the guidance of the stars. The ship will not get to the shore if it does not follow the stars. As it is seen, since both the ship and the stars are indispensable for being saved, it is necessary to love and respect all of the Sahaba as well as all of the Ahl al-bayt. To dislike one of them means to dislike all of them. For all of them have the virtue of having been honored with the company of the Best of mankind. And the virtue of this company, which is called Sohbat, is superior to all virtues.
[Sohbat means to be in the company of someone at least once. It is written in Khazanat- ur-riwayat that it is also written in Mudmarat that being in the sohbat of a savant of the din for one hour is more useful than worshipping for seven hundred years. Amir-ul-Muminin Ali "radi-Allahu 'anh' stated in one of his admonitions that he had heard Rasulullah "sall- Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' say, "The heart of the person who has not been in the company of a savant of the din will darken. He will begin to commit big sins, for knowledge animates the heart. There can be no worship without knowledge. Worship without knowledge is not good!" It is declared in the hadiths in Kunuz-ud-daqaiq: "It is worship to be in the company with a savant," and "To attend a gathering concerning the knowledge of fiqh is more useful than one year's worship," and "When seeing the Awliya, Allah is remembered," and "Everything has a source. The source of taqwa is the hearts of 'arifs," and "It is worship to look at a savant's face," and "He who stays together with them does not become evil," and "Respect the savants of my Ummat! They are the stars of the earth." These hadiths show that the real guides of life are Islamic savants.]
It is for this reason that Ways-al Qarani, who was the highest of the Tabiin, was not able to reach the grade of the lowest one from the Sahaba. [Those who saw our Prophet "sall- Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' when they had iman are called Sahaba. Those who were not able to see him but who saw one of the Sahaba are called Tabiin.] No superiority can be as high as the superiority provided by sohbat. For the iman of those who were blessed with sohbat, [that is, of the Sahaba], is so strong it is as if they had seen, owing to the abundance of sohbat, owing to the barakat of the wahy. None of their successors had such exalted iman. Deeds and worships are dependent upon iman and their significance is like the significance of iman.
The disagreements or battles among the Sahaba "alaihimurridwan' were because of good thoughts and mature perspectives. They were not because of the desires of the nafs or out of ignorance. They were from knowledge. They were due to the difference in ijtihad. Yes, some of them were erroneous in their ijtihad. But Allahu ta'ala gives one thawab also to the one who errs in ijtihad.
Thus, the way which the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat have chosen concerning the Sahaba "alaihimurridwan' is this medial way. That is, neither being excessive nor being too slack, they have told the truth. This is the safest and the soundest way.
[Rafidis, that is, Shiites, became excessive in their love for the Ahl al-bayt. They said that to love the Ahl al-bayt it is necessary to dislike the three Khalifas and all of those Sahaba "radi-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain' who obeyed them and to be hostile towards them all. On the other hand, Kharijis, that is, Yazidis, were slack in this love. They became hostile against the Ahl al-bayt.]
'Ilm and 'amal are explained by the Shariat. To obtain ikhlas, which represents the soul, the root of 'ilm and 'amal, it is necessary to make progress on the way of tasawwuf. Without Sayr-i ilallah, that is, walking on the way towards Allahu ta'ala, perfect ikhlas cannot be obtained. The maturity of a mukhlis cannot be reached. Yes, all Believers can obtain some ikhlas, though little, with difficulty in some of their worships. But the ikhlas which we are discussing about is the one which always occurs easily and automatically in every word, in every action, in every motion, and in every motionlessness. [Ikhlas means to make real and pure, to purify the intention, to act only for Allah's sake.] For the formation of such ikhlas, one should not worship or be fond of anything besides Allahu ta'ala, whether inside of oneself or outside of oneself. And this is a fortune which can be obtained only after fana and baqa and after attaining wilayat-i khassa. The ikhlas which is obtained with difficulty is not permanent, but it will disappear. The ikhlas which is obtained without taking pains is permanent and it is realized at the station of Haqq-ul-yaqin. Thus, whatever the Awliya "radi-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain' who have reached this station do, they do it for Allah's sake. They do nothing for their nafs. For their nafs has been sacrificed for Allah's sake. They do not need to intend for obtaining ikhlas. After being exalted to the grades of Fana-fillah and Baqa-billah, their intention becomes pure. As a person who follows his nafs does everything for his nafs and does not need to intend for doing this, so he will do everything for Allah's sake when he no longer follows his nafs and falls in love with Allahu ta'ala. He does not need to intend at all. Intention is necessary for doubtful things. It is not necessary to make certain by intending for those things that are certain already. This is such a blessing which Allahu ta'ala gives to those slaves of His whom He loves. Owners of permanent ikhlas are called Mukhlas. Those who have inconsistent ikhlas and who strive to obtain ikhlas are called Mukhlis. There is a great difference between the mukhlas and the mukhlis. Those who make progress on the way of tasawwuf have advantages in 'ilm and 'amal, too. The knowledge of kalam, which others obtain by studying, learning, and understanding, comes to these through kashf. Deeds and worships are done easily, willingly, with no laziness or slackness being left, which were from the nafs and from the devil. Sins, things that are haram, seem ugly and loathsome.
A Persian line in English:
We wonder whom they will give this great fortune.
I send my infinite salams.