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

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This letter, written to Muhammad Salih-i Ghulabi, informs that every deed of the Beloved One will be liked, that the Beloved One's inflicting torment is sweeter than His favors, and that hamd is higher than shukr (thanks).

May our hamd be to Allahu ta'ala. Salam to those slaves of His whom He has chosen!

O Mawlana Muhammad Salih, my dear brother! Know that something loved, in the eyes of the lover, and even actually, is beloved always, no matter in whatever state it is. It is loved when it hurts the lover as well as when it does him a favor. Many of those who have been honored with the blessing of loving and who have tasted loving love even more whenever they receive a gift from the Beloved One. Or their love never changes when He hurts them as well as when He does them favors. Among these lovers, however, there are very few whose love is increased by the Beloved's hurting them. Attaining this most valuable blessing requires having a good opinion about the Beloved. Even if the Beloved thrusts His dagger into the lover's throat or cuts him into pieces, the lover should deem this useful for himself and see it as a great favor and happiness. When he obtains such a good opinion, none of the Beloved's actions seem unbecoming to him, and he gets honored with Muhabbat-i Dhatiyye. Loving the Divine Person only (Allah Himself) without any attribute, any comparison, any condition in between, is only peculiar to Habib-i Rabb-il-alamin 'alaihi wa ala alihissalawat wattaslimat'. To those who are honored with such love, the sorrow given by the Beloved is more delicious and more relieving than His favors. I think this grade is higher than the grade of rida. For, a person who is in the grade of rida does not loathe the sorrow given by the Beloved. But the one in this grade takes flavor from sorrow. The more the Beloved tortures him, the more relieved and happy the lover feels. Can these two ever be alike? Because the Beloved is Beloved in the eyes of the lover, even in his essence, He becomes Mahbub in his eye, and even in his essence. Then He is praised all the time; in His every action, he is paid hamd. The lover always praises both His sorrow and His blessings. For this reason, it is suitable for the devoted lovers to say, "Al-hamdu lillahi rabbil 'alamin ala kull-i hal." Then they will be included among those hamids who are grateful during times of trouble as well as at times of happiness. This is the reason why saying hamd is more valuable than saying shukr (thanks). For, in giving shukr the Beloved's blessings are in consideration, which in actual fact come out of His attributes or, to be more precise, out of His deeds. But when paying hamd the Beloved's husn-i jamal, that is, He Himself, is in consideration. In other words, both His Person and His attributes and His deeds and His gifts and His giving sorrow are always loved and lauded. For, the sorrow given by Allahu ta'ala is beautiful as His gifts are. As it is seen, hamd is the highest manner of praising and lauding and shows the husn-i jamal in the most compact way. Hamd is paid both at times of happiness and at times of trouble. But shukr is done only at times of blessing, and is not continuous. When there are no more blessings, when favors are finished, shukr also comes to an end.

Question: In some letters, you have informed that the grade of rida was above loving and the grade of love. But now you say that the grade of love is higher than the grade of rida. How will these two statements be reconciled?

Answer: The grade of muhabbat (love) which we are now explaining is different from the grade of muhabbat which we have written in other letters. That kind of love, more or less, includes other attachments, respects. Though that kind of love is said to be muhabbat-i dhatiyya and loving the Divine Person Himself, it is not love for (Allah) Himself only. For, a person who is in that grade of love cannot get rid of seeing other attachments. But there are no attachments, no other respects in this grade. We have said in some of our letters that above the grade of rida there is a way on which only the last Prophet 'alaihi wa alaihim wa ala ali kullinissalatu wassalam' can make progress, and that no one else can go further than there. Allahu subhanahu, alone, knows the truth, the real essence of everything.

It should be known very well that something's coming loathsome to the nafs, to the body, does not mean that the heart dislikes it. Its being seemingly bitter does not prevent it from being sweet in fact. For, they have let the figure and appearance of an 'arif who has reached perfection remain like others. They have not taken the human attributes away from him. Thus, they have concealed his maturity from others' eyes. They have made the world a place for examinations. He who is on the right way and he who has deviated are mixed with each other and are alike. A mature 'arif's soul and essence in comparison with his figure and appearance is like a person's relation to the clothes he wears. What is man's clothes worth when compared with his own value? So is the value of his appearance when compared with his essence. The ignorant look at an 'arif's appearance as they look at a mountain. They think that it is like their own appearances and figures which are without an essence or an inner value. They, therefore, deny and disbelieve such great men. Thus, they are deprived of benefitting from them. May Allahu ta'ala give salvation to those who walk on the right way and who hold fast to the footsteps of Muhammad Mustafa 'sallallahu alaihi wa sallam'! Amin.

[The letter above gives a full answer to the Wahhabis. It is written at many places of the Wahhabite book titled Fat'h-ul-majid, e.g. on the five hundred and third page, "It is permissible to ask for benedictions from the Prophet, and even from anyone alive. Also, one may pronounce one's benedictions over a dead person and ask for a blessing on him. But it has been prohibited to ask for benedictions from the dead. Allahu ta'ala declares, 'It is shirk (polytheism) to ask from someone who cannot hear or answer.' The dead and those who are far away do not hear or answer. None of the Sahaba or of the savants went to the Prophet's grave and asked for anything."

I have written in detail in the seventeenth chapter of the second fascicle of Endless Bliss that these words are wrong and slanderous. Also, I have proved it with examples and documents in my book Advice For the Muslim. All the Sahaba were higher than all the Awliya. They all attained love of the Dhat-i ilahi. They were content with Allah's qada and qadar. They would also take pleasure from the bitter and troublesome happenings that befell them. They would not ask for shafaat (intercession) either from the dead or from the living in order to get rid of the things that gave them trouble. They would pray for the healing of any disease that would prevent them from worship, jihad and work. While being martyred, Hadrat 'Umar, 'Uthman, Ali, Hasan and Husain 'radiAllahu anhum' did not ask for help from Rasulullah's blessed soul, because they were pleased with Allah's decree and predestination. If they had asked, Rasulullah 'sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' would for certain hear them and would rescue them either by prayers or in person. His hadiths communicate that he hears in his grave. And the Sahaba reported his mujizas (miracles) after his death.

Pitying His slaves, Allahu ta'ala created mujizas and karamats so that they would recognize His Prophets and Awliya and believe, love and respect them, thus receiving fayd from them and attaining happiness. During the times of the Sahaba and Tabiin the hearts being pure and brilliant, the Muslims would recognize the Awliya at once and would receive fayd from them. So creation of karamats would not be necessary. As we are farther away from Rasulullah's 'sallallahu alaihi wa sallam' time, bidats, sins, evil have increased, their zulmat darkening the hearts. In order to make His Awliya known, He has created lots of karamats. Thus only have the slaves woken up from unawareness and been able to receive fayd from the Awliya. If more karamats are seen on a Wali this does not necessarily mean that he is higher.]