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

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This letter, written to Mulla Badraddin, gives information on alam-i arwah, alam-i mithal and alam-i ajsad, and explains the torment in the grave:

Thanks be to Allahu ta'ala. Salam to those people distinguished, loved by Him! You say that the soul was in the alam-i mithal before it was united with the body. "After leaving the body it will go back to the alam-i mithal. Torment in the grave, therefore, will take place in the alam-i mithal. The sorrows, pains in the alam-i mithal will be felt like feeling them in dreams. Furthermore, this information has various branches. I will write you much about this subject if you allow me to," you say.

Answer: Know that such illusions, rootless words are so far from being correct. I am afraid that such thoughts may lead you out of the right way. Though I hardly have time, I will force myself to write a few words on this subject. Allahu ta'ala, alone, makes men attain to the right way.

My dear brother! The world of mumkinat, that is, creatures, have been classified in three groups: alam-i arwah, alam-i mithal and alam-i ajsad. The alam-i mithal has also been called alam-i barzah. For, this alam is between the alam-i arwah and the alam-i ajsad. This alam is like a mirror. The real beings and meanings in the other two alams are seen in fine figures in this alam. For, a figure, a shape which is suitable with each real thing, each meaning in the two alams exists in this alam. This alam does not contain any real thing, any substance, any meaning that exists in itself. The figures, the shapes being here are all appearances which are reflected from the other alams. There is not a figure or a shape in a mirror. When a figure appears in a mirror, this appearance comes from some other place. So is the case with the alam-i- mithal. When this is realized well, we say that the soul also was in its own alam before getting attached to the body. The alam-i arwah is higher than the alam-i mithal. When the soul is united with the body it falls in love with the body and descends into this alam. It is not related with the alam-i mithal. As the soul has no relation with the alam-i mithal before it gets attached to the body, so it has no relation with the alam after the cessation of its connection with the body. Only, at times when Allahu ta'ala wishes, some states of the soul are seen in the mirror of this alam. This helps understand if the states of the soul are good or bad. Kashfs and dreams happen in this manner. Another event which has happened many times is that man has seen the figures in the alam-i mithal without losing his senses. When the soul parts from the body it goes up if it is high. If it is low it gets down. There is no connection between it and the alam-i mithal. The alam-i mithal is an alam in sight. It is not an alam of beings. There are two alams of beings. The alam-i arwah and the alam-i ajsad. In other words, the world of substances are the alams of beings. Things being in these are not only appearances. They themselves exist, too. But there is no being in the alam-i mithal. Only, it is like a mirror for the beings in the alam-i arwah and the alam-i ajsad. When dreaming, the sorrows, the pains, the troubles in the alam-i mithal are seen. This is seeing the appearance, in the alam-i mithal, the torment deserved by the one who sees it. It is shown to him in order to wake him up from unawareness so that he will pull himself together.

Torment in the grave is not seeing the visions in the alam-i mithal when dreaming. Torment in the grave is unlike dreams. Torment in the grave is not the appearing of torment. It is the torment itself. Moreover, even if it should be said that the pain, the torment which is seen when dreaming is the torment itself, it is still like worldly torment. But the torment in the grave is one of the torments of the next world. These are unlike each other. For, worldly torments are nothing when compared to torments in the next world. May Allahu ta'ala protect us against those torments! If a spark of the torments in the next world came to the world, it would burn, annihilate everything. To think that torment in the grave is like the torment seen in dreams results from not knowing, not understanding the torment in the grave. It originates from mistaking the torment itself and its vision from each other. This wrong thought may also be because of thinking that torment in the next world and worldly torment are the same. It is quite wrong to think so. It is obvious that it is wrong, corrupt.

Question: The forty-second ayat of Zumar Sura declares: "As man dies, Allahu ta'ala parts his soul from his body. Before he dies, He parts his soul as he sleeps, too." As it is understood from this ayat, as man's soul parts from him as he dies, so his soul parts from him when he goes to sleep. Accordingly, how could it ever be correct to deem the torment in dreams as one of the worldly torments while deeming the torment in the grave as one of the torments in the next world?

Answer: The soul's parting from the body when asleep is like a person's leaving his own country smilingly, with pleasure, in order to go on a journey or on a picnic; he will return to his home happily. The place where the soul will travel is the alam-i mithal. There are interesting, sweet things to be seen in this alam. Not so is the case with the soul's leaving the body when dying. This leaving is like that of a person who leaves his country because his country has been demolished, his houses, apartment houses have been destroyed. It is for this reason that there is no trouble or pain in its leaving the body when sleeping. On the contrary, there is happiness and comfort. But there are many pains, hardships in its leaving the body when dying. The sleeping person's country is the world. They practice on him the same exercises as those in the world. But the dead person's world has been demolished. He has migrated to the next world. They practice on him exercises pertaining to the next world. Therefore, a hadith [reported by Dailami] declares: "When a man dies his Doomsday has come."

Mind you, do not dissent from the belief taught by the savants of Ahl as-sunnat wal- jamaat by being deceived by the kashfs happening in the imagination and the things seen in the alam-i mithal! May Allahu ta'ala plentifully reward those great savants for their work! Do not believe in dreams, illusions! For, unless this Madhhab of salvation is followed escaping torment in the next world cannot be thought of. Those who want to be saved in the next world should give up their own opinions and do their utmost to follow those great people. A messenger's duty is to say what he knows. Seeing the slackness in your writing, I feared much that you might fall for your illusions and fall into the calamity of abandoning the good luck of following the great, that you might be seized by the current of your own kashfs. We trust ourselves to Allahu ta'ala against the evils of our nafs and the corruptness of our deeds. The Devil is our great enemy. You should be on the alert so that it will not make you deviate from the right way! It is not even a year that we have not seen each other, and yet what happened to your strictness in following Rasulullah's Sunnat, [that is, the way shown by the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat] and to your works showing that the only way to salvation is to cling to the way of those great people? How soon they were forgotten! You have been rolling behind your illusions. I understand that we will probably meet at a rather late date. You should regulate your daily life in such a way that the hope of saving yourself will not perish! O our Allah! Pity us! Bless us with good deeds! We send our salam to those who are on the right way.