English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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This letter, written in Arabic to Abdurrahim "rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaih', who was known by the name of Khan-i Khanan, prohibits learning the din from the ignorant and discusses choosing last names.
May Allahu ta'ala rescue us all from empty words and bless us with the lot of doing something. For the sake of the best of all people and the Prophet of all "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam', may He protect us against knowledge without practice, against useless information!
An Arabic couplet in English:
If a person says "amin' to this prayer,
Allahu ta'ala will have mercy upon him.
O my high-natured brother! May Allahu ta'ala bless the perfect qualities in your creation with becoming apparent! This world is the field for the next world. Shame upon those who do not sow their seeds here; who do not cultivate their potential capacity, which, like the earth, exist in their creation; who do not utilize this; and who thus miss the seeds of deeds and worships! Not to cultivate the growing capacity, which is like earth, means not to sow anything on it, or to sow harmful, poisonous seeds. The harm, the corruptness of this second type is much greater than the former. To sow poisonous, corrupt seeds is to learn the din and elements of din from those who know nothing of the din and to read them from the books [and magazines] of the enemies of the din. For the ignorant of the din follow their nafses and run after their pleasures. They explain the din as it suits their purposes. They also cause the nafs of the one who listens to them to go astray and his heart to darken. When giving religious lessons, [and when writing religious books] the ignorant of the din cannot distinguish what is suitable with the Shariat from what is not suitable with the Shariat. They cannot know what to teach and how to teach youngsters. Like themselves, they educate their disciples to become ignorant, too. By reading and memorizing many things, [by becoming an authority in other branches of knowledge, by becoming specialized in branches of science and arts], one cannot become a man of din, write books of din, or give knowledge of din.
When a savant of the din teaches the din to youngsters, first he finds out the fallacious propaganda and slanders instilled into them by the irreligious, by the enemies of Islam [and by the ignorant men of the din], and purifies their clean fresh minds of these poisons. He cures their poisoned souls. Then, in accordance with their ages and understanding, he places in them Islam and its virtues and benefits, the ultimate divine causes and subtleties in its commands and prohibitions, and the fact that it makes humankind attain happiness. Thus, fragrant flowers that are a panacea for cares and food for souls begin to grow in the spiritual gardens of youngsters. It is the greatest advantage to procure such a savant of the din. His look penetrates into souls. His words affect hearts. Only with the presentation of such a pure man of Allah could it be possible to embrace the Islamic din like a ready-made candy or a cool sherbet that would assuage you down to your lungs. May Allahu ta'ala keep us all in Hadrat Muhammad's "alaihissalatu wassalam" way! Amin. For it is this way only which makes men attain ease in this world and the next. The following Persian poem has been expressed so well. Its translation is:
Hadrat Muhammad "alaihi 's-salam", who was born in Arabia,
Is the highest in both worlds!
May he who will not become earth at his door
Remain under the earth all the time!
May our salams be on the highest and the most superior of Prophets "ala nabiyyina wa 'alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat'
To my astonishment, I have heard that one of the poets who had been honored with your valuable tawajjuh adopted a disbeliever's name as his surname. Moreover, he is one of the Sayyids, one of those great people whom we are to love. I wish I had not heard about this. I wonder why he accepted this base name? I can never see why he should. It is necessary to beware of accepting such names more than bewaring of dreadful lions. Such names should be deemed uglier than anything ugly. For these names and their owners are the enemies of Allahu ta'ala. They are His Prophet's "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' enemies. Muslims have been commanded to deem all disbelievers as enemies [whether they be Christians or Jews or disbelievers without a book]. It is wajib for every Muslim not to give such dirty names to his children. Tell him on my behalf to change that name! Let him replace it with a name that is better and which becomes a Muslim! What suits a Muslim is to accept a Muslim name. It is this only which Allahu ta'ala likes, which His Prophet "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' likes, and which is suitable for the position of a person who has been honored with being in the Islamic din.
[Abu Dawud and Ibni Habban communicate that Rasulullah "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' declared: "On the Day of Resurrection you will be called with your names and with the names of your fathers. Therefore, accept beautiful names!" As Tirmuzi communicates, Hadrat Aisha "radi-Allahu 'anha' said that Rasulullah "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' used to change ugly names.]
Tirmuzi and Ibni Maja "rahmatullahi 'alaihima' communicate: Abdullah bin 'Umar "radi- Allahu 'anhuma' said that one of Hadrat 'Umar's daughters was Asiya (meaning rebellious). Rasulullah "sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam' changed it. He replaced it with Jamila. Also, Abu Dawud reported that he replaced the names of many another man, place and street with those names suitable for Muslims. Muslims have been commanded: "Keep away from the places that will cause you to be under suspicion!" It is every Muslim's duty to avoid accepting the names, [uttering the words, using the instruments and doing the actions], that are the symptoms of irreligiousness or which provoke this suspicion. Allahu ta'ala declares in the two hundred and twenty-first ayat of Baqara sura: "A slave who is a Believer is more valuable than a master who is a disbeliever!" May Allahu ta'ala give safety to those who follow Hadrat Muhammad's "alaihi 's-salam" way! Amin.