English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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This letter, written to Mulla Ibrahim, explains the hadith which informs that this Ummat will part into seventy-three groups:
It is declared in a hadith that this Ummat will part into seventy-three groups, seventy-two of whom will go to Hell. This hadith informs that the seventy-two groups will be tormented in the fire of Hell. It does not inform that they will stay in torment eternally. Remaining in the torment of Hell-fire eternally is for those who do not have iman. That is, it is for disbelievers. The seventy- two groups, on account of their corrupt belief, will go to Hell and will burn as much as the corruptness of their belief. One group, the seventy-third, will be saved from Hell-fire because their belief is not corrupt. If among the members of this one group there are those who committed evil deeds and if these evil deeds of theirs have not been forgiven through tawba or shafaat, it is possible that these, too, will burn in Hell as much as their sins. All of those who are in the seventy-two groups will go to Hell. But none of them will remain in Hell eternally. Not all of those who are in this one group will go to Hell. Of these only those who have committed evil deeds will go to Hell. The seventy-two reported groups of bidat, which will go to Hell, should not all be called "disbelievers", because they are Ahl-i qibla. However, of these people, the ones who disbelieve those Islamic tenets that are indispensable to be believed, as well as those who deny those rules of the Shariat which every Muslim has heard and knows become disbelievers. The savants of the Ahl as-sunnat declare: "If a Muslim's statement signifies a hundred meanings ninety-nine of which causing disbelief and one showing that he is a Muslim, it is necessary to take this one meaning, thus saving him from the state of disbelief." Allahu ta'ala knows the truth of everything. His Word is the most reliable word.
It was informed that the poor ones of this Ummat would go to Paradise half a day before the rich ones. This half day is equal to five hundred worldly years. For, one day expressed by Allahu ta'ala is as long as a thousand worldly years. It is declared clearly in Hajj Sura that this is so. Allahu ta'ala, alone, knows why it is that long. For, the next world does not have the night, the day, the month or the year, which exist in the world. The poor people having the privilege of going to Paradise earlier are those poor people who obey the Shariat and who are patient. To obey the Shariat means to do what the Shariat commands and to avoid what it prohibits. And there are grades, degrees in poverty. The highest of grades is obtained in the rank of fana. A faqir who is in this grade knows everything other than Allahu ta'ala as poor, needy. [There is not a creature who does not need Allahu ta'ala, that is, who is not poor in front of Him.] He forgets all creatures. He remembers none of them. He who has attained all grades of poverty is superior to the one who has attained a few. It is for this reason that the state of a person who has reached the grade of fana and who is poor, needy outwardly is better, more valuable than that of a person who has reached the grade of fana but who is not poor outwardly.