English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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This letter, written to Sayyid Mir Muhammad Numan, informs of the value of namaz and the virtues peculiar to namaz:
I thank Allahu ta'ala. I send my prayers and salam to His beloved Prophet Muhammad 'alaihissalam', and I pray for you. My Dear Brother! May Allahu ta'ala promote you to true ranks! Know that namaz is the second of the five pillars of Islam, of the five fundamentals of the din. It has accumulated all other kinds of worship within itself. Though it is one-fifth of Islam, it has become Islam itself owing to this accumulative quality. It has become the first of the deeds that will make man attain love of Allahu ta'ala. The honor of ruyat, which fell to the lot of the Master of Worlds, the Highest of Prophets 'alaihi wa alaihimussalatu wassalam', in Paradise on the night of Miraj, was granted to him, in namaz only, suitably with the state of the world, after returning to the world. It is for this reason that he stated: "Namaz is the Believer's miraj." He stated in another hadith: "It is in namaz that man is closest to Allahu ta'ala." Namaz has the greater share from that fortune of ruyat which falls to the lot of those great people who have adapted themselves precisely to his way, to his path. Yes, it is impossible to see Allahu ta'ala in this world. The world is not suitable for this. But those great people following him has been enjoying a share from ruyat. Had he not ordered us to perform namaz, who would raise the veil from the beautiful face of the purpose? How would the lovers find the Beloved One? Namaz is the taste-giver of worried souls. Namaz is assuagement for the afflicted. Namaz is food for the soul. Namaz is medicine for the heart. The hadith, "O Bilal, cheer me up," [which commands the adhan] indicates this fact, and the hadith, "Namaz is the bliss of my heart, the pupil of my eye," points out this desire. If any of the dhawqs, wajds, knowledge, marifats, maqams, nurs and colors, talwins and tamqins in the heart, comprehensible and incomprehensible tajallis, qualified and unqualified zuhurs happens outside namaz and if nothing is perceived from the inner nature of namaz, whatever happens comes from the reflections, shades, and appearances. Perhaps it is nothing but an illusion, a delusion. A mature person who has perceived the inner nature of namaz, when he begins namaz, he sort of goes out of this world and enters the life of the Hereafter, thus attaining something from the blessings of the Hereafter. He enjoys a flavor and a share from the origin without the reflections, illusions interfering. For, all the perfections and blessings in the world issue from reflections and appearances. It is peculiar to the Hereafter for them to issue directly from the origin without the interference of the shades and appearances. To receive from the origin, miraj is necessary in the world. This miraj is the Believer's namaz. This blessing is peculiar to this Ummat only. They attain this by obeying their Prophet. For, their Prophet 'sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' went out of the world and ascended to the next world on the Night of Miraj [on the twenty-seventh night of the blessed month of Rajab]. He entered Paradise and was honored with the fortune of ruyat. O our Allah! Thou bless that great Prophet 'sallallahu alaihi wa sallam', on our part with the goodness suitable with his greatness! Also, Thou give favors, goodness to all the other Prophets 'ala nabiyyina wa alaihimussalawatu wattaslimat', for they have invited people to know Thee and to attain Thine love, and they have guided people to the way which Thou likest. Most of the followers of the way of tasawwuf looked for the medicine for their diseases in other places because they were not informed of the inner nature of namaz, because they were not taught the virtues peculiar to namaz. They held fast to other things in order to get to their purpose. Some of them even considered namaz as extraneous to this way, as having nothing to do with the purpose. They considered fasting superior to namaz. The author of the book Futuhat [Hadrat Muhyiddin-i Arabi 'quddisa sirruh'] said: "Fast, being an abstinence from eating and drinking, is to be qualified with Allah's attributes, to approach to Him. But namaz is to become different, to get away, to establish the difference between the worshipper and the worshipped one." This statement, as it is seen, arises from the matter of tawhid-i wujudi, which is a manifestation of the intoxication by the Divine Love. Many others who could not realize the inner nature of namaz looked for the pacification of their sufferings and for the consolation of their souls in music, in rapture, in becoming unconscious. They supposed that the Beloved One was behind musical notes. For this reason, they held fast to dancing. However, they had heard about the hadith, "Allahu ta'ala has not created a healing effect in haram." Yes, an inexperienced swimmer who is about to drown will snatch at any herb. Love of something deafens, blinds the lover. If they had been made to taste something of the virtues of namaz, they would never mention music, nor would they even think of rapture.
Not seeing the right way, they have deviated into the desert.
O my brother! The perfection originating from namaz and the sorrow caused by music are as far from each other as the distance between namaz and music. He who is wise enough will infer much from this denotation! This is such a superiority that it appears a thousand years after our Prophet 'sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam'. It is such an end which resembles the beginning. It may be for this reason that our Prophet said, "Which is better, the beginning or the end?" instead of saying "the beginning or the middle?" This means to say that seeing that the last ones are more like the early ones he preferred the skeptical side and said so. In another hadith he stated: "The most useful ones of this Ummat are the early ones and the last ones. Between these two it is blurred." Yes, among the last ones of this Ummat there will be those who are very much like the early ones. But they are few. They are very few. The intermediate do not resemble them so much, yet their number is great. They are very many. But the fact that the last ones are few has increased their value even more, thus making them resemble the early ones all the more. Our Prophet stated: "The Islamic din began gharib [forlorn, poor, needy and alone]. And its end will be gharib again. good news to these gharib people!" The end of this Ummat began a thousand years after our Prophet's 'sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam' death, that is, with the second millennium [in the hijri year 1011]. For, there will be a great change in people and a strong alteration in things with the elapse of a thousand years. Since Allahu ta'ala will not change this din until the Resurrection, He will protect it against being defiled despite the efforts of the enemies of the din; the freshness of the early ones has been seen on the last ones. He is strengthening His Shariat at the beginning of the second millennium. To prove this word of ours, we will point out Hadrat Isa 'ala nabiyyina wa alaihissalat wassalam' and Hadrat Mahdi as strong witnesses.
O my brother! These words might hurt the feelings of many people. They might sound unreasonable to them. But if they assess these pieces of information and marifats with reason, and if they compare them in view of the Shariat, they will see which respects and reveres the Shariat more, and thus they will admit the fact.
In all my books and letters, this faqir has written that the tariqat and haqiqat are serving the Shariat, that prophethood is higher than wilayat, and that even the wilayat of a prophet is lower than his prophethood. I have informed that the grades of wilayat, when compared with the perfections of prophethood, are not even a drop of water compared with a sea, plus many other facts. If they see how I have explained tasawwuf, especially in a letter which I sent to my son [first volume, two hundred and sixtieth letter, which the great scholar wrote to Muhammad Sadiq], they will come to reason. My purpose in writing this is to manifest the blessings of Allahu ta'ala and to encourage youngsters. They are not intended to make a show of superiority to others. May Allah protect me against such a presumption. It is haram for a person who recognizes Allahu ta'ala to deem himself superior to a Frankish disbeliever. Then, what would become of a person who would deem himself superior to the superiors of the din?
If the Sultan picks me up from the earth,
It will be proper if I think my head is above heaven.
I am the earth which the April's cloud pities,
And then it showers upon me its fruitful rain.
Even if my body had hundreds of tongues,
How could I ever fulfill the thanks worthy of Thee?
If upon reading this letter a desire arises in you to learn the real essence of namaz and to attain to some of the perfections peculiar to it, and if the desire becomes too strong to endure, perform istihara and then come over to this part (of the country) to spend one part of your life learning about namaz. Only Allahu ta'ala shows men the right way and the way to endless bliss and guides them. May Allahu ta'ala give salvation to those who walk along the right path and those fortunate people who have been honored with adapting themselves to Muhammad Mustafa 'alaihi wa ala alihissalawatu wattaslimat'.