English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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Hamd be to Allahu ta'ala and salam to those slaves of His whom He has chosen! You ask: "When I do riyadat and pray, my nafs swells with importance. He thinks there is no one to be as pious and as good as he is. When I do something incompatible with the Shariat, I consider myself needy, incapable. What is its medicine?" O my brother who has attained Allah's blessing and favor! Feeling oneself needy and incapable, which you describe as the second mood, is a result of repentance, a great blessing. If you do not repent having sinned - may Allahu ta'ala protect us - and if sinning comes sweet to you, you will become an insistent and addicted sinner. Repentance is a part of tawba. Insisting on committing venial sins will cause grave sins. And insisting on grave sins will lead one to disbelief. That second state of yours is a great blessing. Thank Allahu ta'ala for it so that your repentance will increase and will protect you against actions unsuitable with the Shariat. The seventh ayat of Ibrahim Sura purports, "If you thank Me, I shall increase My blessing!" The first kind of state which your nafs in sometimes is pride; that is, it is self- arrogance based on having worshipped. Arrogance is a horrible poison. Being a fatal disease, it does away with worships and goodness. It is like fire burning the wood. Pride originates from liking one's worships, from deeming them well done. Its medicine is to do the opposite. For doing this, one should see one's good deeds as deficient, consider one's secret defects in them, and thus realize that one's worship is defective and badly done. In fact, one should find them likely to be disliked and refused. A hadith states, "There are many people who read the Qur'an, but the Qur'an accurses them." Another hadith states, "There are many people who fast but their fast is no more than suffering hunger and thirst." One should not think that there is nothing wrong with one's worship or good deeds. If one reflects on the matter a little, with the help of Allahu ta'ala one will find it all badly done. One will not even sense any smell of beauty. Can pride ever exist in such a person? Can the nafs be content with itself? When a person finds his deeds and worships defective there will be an increase in their value. They will become worthy of acceptance. Strive to see your good deeds so, lest you should feed your own ego. Otherwise, it will yield very bad consequences. Only those whom Allahu ta'ala likes can escape such a disaster. A person who has attained the blessing of finding his worships and good deeds faulty and defective will be in such a mood that he will think that the angel on his right shoulder, who has been appointed to write down his good deeds, has been writing nothing. For, he cannot see himself doing any goodness for the angel to write. And he thinks that the angel who writes down his bad deeds on his left shoulder has been writing ceaselessly. For, he sees that all the things he does are bad and unworthy. An arif who has attained to this state is blessed with a blessing which not everybody can understand or describe.
Translation of a Persian line:
At this point, the point of the pen broke.
Salam to those who are on the right way!
[Some people who have not understood Islam and some enemies of Islam say that Muslims are selfish, egoistic and arrogant. To those who perform namaz they say, "Instead of performing namaz in order to escape Hell, get up and serve people." Above we have explained very well that the Islamic din is not a din of egoism, and that those who are not egoistic are dearer. As for performing namaz, Muslims, contrary to what the ignorant think, do not worship in order to escape Hell or to attain to comfort. They worship because it is Allah's command, because it is a duty. "Duty is to do what is commanded by the commander and not to do what he prohibits." If two commanders' orders do not agree, the superior commander's order will be done. Even in the military the primary duty is to do the superior commander's order. In order to deceive youngsters, the enemies of the din say, "Duty is sacred. Duty first, and namaz later." Yes, duty is even more sacred than they think it is. But the primary duty is to do the command of the most superior commander. The most superior commander is Allahu ta'ala. The first duty, therefore, is namaz. No superior, no commander, no ranking officer should change this duty. One should perform namaz during the breaks, in dormitories or - if there is no other way - even in restrooms. However, the best thing to do is not to work with such black and stony-hearted enemies of the din and to stay away from them. Surely, Allahu ta'ala will give a Muslim more sustenance through some other way. Imam-i Ghazali says in his book Kimya-i Saadat, "There will be no fertility in a job that hinders the namaz or makes it difficult. There is abundance in those jobs that are convenient for the namaz." He says on the seventy-ninth page, "Rasulullah states, 'Muslim means a person who does not harm Muslims with his hand or tongue.' Each Muslim should be so. A hadith states, 'Of you, the one with the most perfect iman is the one with the most beautiful moral character.' " As it is seen, even iman is measured with morals, with being useful to others. In my work Islam Ahlaki (Islamic Morals), published in Turkish in 1981, the good manners Muslims should develop are written in detail. When performing namaz a person extends salams to all Believers and prays for them. But he who does not perform namaz trespasses on this right of Believers. Then, performing namaz is not egoism, but it is benefaction. And it is cruelty not to perform namaz.]