English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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This letter, written to Badi'uddin Saharanpuri, informs us about life in the grave and about the thawab of plague.
Hamd be to Allahu ta'ala. Salam be to the good people chosen by Him! Your valuable letter has reached us. You write that in your part of the country two horrific series of events have commenced, and that one of them is the ta'un [plague] and the other is the qaht [food famine]. May Allahu ta'ala protect us and you against calamities. May He bless us all with good health!
"This great catastrophe notwithstanding, we are still praying day and night and waiting upon the will of Allahu ta'ala. Our hearts are with Him momentarily," you write. Upon reading this, we paid our hamd to Allahu ta'ala and thanked Him. At such times as this, recite the four Quls very often! [That is, say the suras beginning as "Qul ya ayyuhal kafirun...," "Qul huwallahu..." and "Qul a'udhu..." This will protect you against the harms of genies and human beings!]
The sunnat prescribes that a man's shroud must consist of three parts. It is bidat to wrap a turban. A piece of paper called Ahdnama, [on which the answers to be given to the interrogating angels and the prayers such as istighfar are written], must not be put in the grave. Otherwise it will cause the blessed letters and names to be smeared with the foul emissions of the dead person; and it has not been commanded by any [of the four] basic proofs [of the Sharia]. The savants of Mawara-un nahr [Transoxiana, the cities between the rivers Syr Darya (Jaxartes) and Amu Darya (Oxus) near the Aral Sea] never did so. It is good to put a savant's shirt on the deceased instead of a qamis. Martyrs' shrouds are their clothes. [Those martyrs who have died of a wound by a gun are not washed or shrouded. Those who die in combat without being wounded or who die of an epidemic disease or in a catastrophe still get the thawab of martyrs, but they are washed and shrouded]. Abu Bakr- i Siddiq (radiallahu 'anh) enjoined in his last will, "Shroud me with these two pieces of clothes of mine!"
Because life in the grave is like worldly life in one respect, the deceased makes progress and gets promoted. Life in the grave is different with different people. It has been said that Prophets 'alaihimussalam' perform namaz in their graves. As our Prophet 'sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam' went by the grave of Musa ('alaihissalam) on the night of Miraj, he saw him performing namaz in his grave. When he ascended to heaven at that moment, he saw Musa 'alaihissalam' in heaven. Life in the grave is a wonder. Nowadays, studying the life in the grave on account of my deceased eldest son [Muhammad Sadiq 'rahmatullahi 'alaih'], I have been observing wonderful mysteries. If I were to divulge only a few of them, due to their being beyond the mind's range they would cause mischief and a disturbance. The Arsh is the ceiling of Paradise. But the grave also is one of the gardens of Paradise. The mind's eye cannot see this. The astonishing things in the grave are seen with a different eye. Belief in this, weak as it may be, causes one to be saved from torment. However, to be able to utter that beautiful word [Kalima-i tawhid] at your last breath it is necessary to [obey the Sharia in the world and to] do pious deeds.
It is a grave sin to abandon a place stricken with plague lest you should die. It is like deserting the battlefield. A person who does not leave the place of plague and who puts up with it patiently will get the thawab of martyrs when he dies. He will not suffer any torment in the grave. If this patient person does not die, he will get the thawab of ghazis (those who survive a Holy War).