The Spiritual Attainments of the Leading Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)Hadhrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq
Hadhrat (His Eminence) Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (the veracious), the best of mankind after the prophets, the Shaikh al-Islam, caliph, imam (leader), is the head of ahl tarjid (renouncers of the world) and Lord of ahl tarfid (renouncers of themselves). He is known for his supernatural acts (karamat) and subtle sayings on the mysteries of the Sufi path. As a result of his quiet nature, the Sufi shaikhs regard him as the head of Arbab-i-Mushahidah (those enjoying God's vision), and Hadhrat Umar as the head of Arbab-i-Mujahidah (those engaged in the rigours of spiritualism) because of his vigorous and rigorous nature. It is related in authentic traditions, and the ulama know it, that he recited the Qur'an silently during the night, while Hadhrat Umar recited it loudly. When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) asked Hadhrat Abu Bakr why he recited silently he replied, "He whom I pray to is the best listener. When my Lord is always with me, it matters little whether I recite silently of loudly," When Hadhrat Umar was asked the reason for why he recited loudly he said, "To alert the sleeping ones and to scare Satan." This attitude if his speaks of mujahidah, and that of Hadhrat Abu Bakr of mushahidah. And the state of mujahidah is like a drop in the ocean in comparison with the state of mushahidah. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to Hadhrat Umar, "Your merits are only a fraction of Hadhrat Abu Bakr's." Now when Hadhrat Umar, who is the glory of Islam enjoyed only a fraction of Hadhrat Abu Bakr's greatness, you can imagine in what proportion the rest of mankind stands in comparison to Hadhrat Abu Bakr.
Hadhrat Abu Bakr is reported to have said, "O Lord, give me much of the world and then enable me to renounce it." The reason why he wanted plenty of the world first and then sought the ability to give them up is that he wanted dunya so that he would be gifted with the ability to thank God, and then give away everything to the poor in God's love, and thus combine two virtues namely, shukr (gratitude) and anfaq (charity). This prayer on his part implies the benefit of sabr (patience) as well, for renunciation is always followed by faqr (poverty) which then becomes voluntary (ikhtiari) and not compulsory (iztatari). But this acceptance of voluntary poverty is against the saying of a Sufi shaikh who is of the opinion that compulsory faqr is more perfect than voluntary faqr, because if poverty is voluntary it is then the creation of the seeker, but if it is compulsory the seeker is then the creation of poverty. Now, because voluntary poverty involves activity on his part it is always better to abstain from activity and resign oneself to passivity.
But I am of the opinion that voluntary faqr is better than compulsory because you give away everything for the sake of God out of free will, but in case of compulsory poverty you are poor by the force of circumstances and your option of free will does not at all come into play. Moreover, when your poverty is compulsory you are forced to go about begging at the doors of tyrants and the rich which is not desirable or virtuous under any circumstances. Now, because Siddiq Akbar (Hadhrat Abu Bakr) is the best of all men after the prophets, nobody has the right or status to challenge his verdict about the superiority of voluntary poverty over compulsory poverty. Moreover, all the Sufi shaikhs except the one mentioned above, are in agreement with the view point of Hadhrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq.
Imam Zuhri said that when Hadhrat Abu Bakr was elected as the successor of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) he addressed the people in the following words, "By God, I was never fond of leadership for a single day or a single night, nor did I ever beseech the Almighty openly or in private to bestow upon me the distinction of leadership, nor do I feel any pleasure in it." When a slave of God attains the distinction of sidq (friendship) and he happily settles down in peace and contentment, he has no desire but to leave everything to God and whatever happens to him he is fully satisfied. If the Almighty wants him to live in poverty he accepts it cheerfully. If He makes him wealthy he is equally cheerful and abstains from exercising his option under any circumstances. Hadhrat Abu Bakr remained the embodiment of humility and submission from the beginning to the end, so that he remains as the perfect model of all Sufi doctrines be it tajrid (renunciation), tamkin (sobriety), walayat (sainthood), faqr (asceticism) and acceptance or rejection of leadership. This is because he is the leader of mankind in general, and the Sufi shaikhs in particular. May Allah be pleased with him.
Hadhrat Umar bin al-Khattab
Hadhrat Umar bin al-Khattab, was the commander of the faithful (ahl-i-iman), leader of those having the status of ihsan (being in God's presence), the imam of those who have realised the Truth (ahl-i-tahqiq) and the guide of lovers gone deeps in the ocean of Divine love. He is famous for his karamat (spiritual eminence) and farasat (spiritual insight), and had a large number of mystical truths to his credit. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "Al Haqqu yantiqu ala lisanil Umar" (God speaks through the tongue of Umar). The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) also said, "There have been muhaddithin (foretellers) among the followers of the previous prophets, and if there is any in my ummah, it is Umar." He has expressed such a great number of mystical truths that it is not possible to exhaust them in this book. He said, "al uzlatu rahatun min khaltai-sue." (Solitude is safety from bad company).
Solitude (uzlah) is of two kinds:
(i) disregard of mankind,
(ii) total boycott.
Disregard of mankind is a sort of retirement from public life to avoid bad company and scrutinising one's own faults for protecting oneself from others and from oneself. But total boycott is something spiritual and involves mental rather than physical detachment from the world. In that state although one is living with people physically, one is alone spiritually. This is an extremely high state and the man of this status follows exactly on the footsteps of Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, who found pleasure in solitude, although outwardly he was the Commander of the Faithful and lived among them.
This is clear proof of the fact that the men of God (ahl-i-batin) have always been attached with people and were detached from them internally (spiritually) and thereby fully attached with God spiritually. Whatever little dealings they have with people, they regard it as bala' (misfortune or calamity) and try to render it ineffective by constantly living in God's presence (spiritually), because the world is never free from corruption in the eyes of the Friends of God. As Hadhrat Umar has said, "It is not possible for a house founded on corruption to be free from corruption," Hadhrat Umar is one of the choicest of the companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), and one of the select admitted to Divine Presence, so much so that Jibrail, peace be upon him, came and said to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), "O Muhammad, all the angels send you greetings on the conversion of Umar to Islam." The Sufi community follows the example of Hadhrat Umar in wearing wool and undergoing hardship of Islamic life since he is the Imam (leader) of mankind. May Allah be pleased with him.
Hadhrat Uthman bin Affan
Hadhrat Uthman bin Affan who is an embodiment of modesty, is one of the greatest devotees attached to God and illuminated by the Prophet's company. His merits and virtues are too well known to need description. Abdullah bin Rabah and Abu Qatada, may Allah be pleased with them, have narrated the following story:
When Uthman's house was besieged, we were with him. When the rebels flocked around him, his servants took up arms to defend him, but he set everybody free to go wherever they liked. So we ran away to save our lives. On the way, we met Hasan bin Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and came back with him to find out for what purpose Hasan had come. Hasan greeted Uthman and said, "You are the true Imam (caliph) and I am ready to fight those who are opposed to you as soon as you say yes." His reply was, "O the son of my brother, go back and sit in your house, I am not prepared to cause bloodshed in the ummah without God's consent." This is the sign of his submission in the event of a calamity and indicates the height of his friendship (khullat) with God. This is like prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, who at the time of being flung into the fire was asked by Jibrail, "Is there anything you need that I can do for you?" He said, "Yes, but not from thee." Jibrail said, "Why don't you invoke God's mercy?" He said, "He knows my condition and I need not speak. He knows better what is good for me." The same was the case with Hadhrat Uthman. He was facing rebellion instead of the fire of Ibrahim, and Hasan tried as Jibrail did to save him. But while Ibrahim was saved, Uthman was murdered. Ibrahim's safety is baqa and Uthman's surrender is fana of which we have said a lot before. Uthman is the model of the Sufis so far as sacrificing life and property for the love of God, and sincerity in worship are concerned. He is truly the Imam of mankind in the domain of shariat, tariqat and haqiqat.
Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Talib
Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, the cousin of the Holy Prophet, (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), is the head of all the Friends of God (auliya-Allah). He enjoys one of the highest and the most exalted positions in the domain of spirituality. His sayings and anecdotes speak of an intensely deep hal (spiritual ecstasies). It is on this account that Master Junaid, may Allah be pleased with him, has said, "Shaikhu-na-fil usul wal bala Ali al-Murtaza." (Ali, the chosen of God is our shaikh [master] in the principles of the Sufi Doctrine and also in the tolerance of calamities). That is to say, he is the most perfect guide in Sufism and in bearing the adversities of the Path, since by the word usul the Sufis mean the Sufi Doctrine.
Commentary: Out of the four main spiritual orders: Chishtiya, Qadriya, Suharwardiya and Naqshabandiya, the first three originate from Hadhrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him. Even the fourth silsila Naqshabandiya is indirectly connected with him and he can safely be called the head and guide of the entire Sufi community in the world.
Once a person came to him and asked for advice. He said, "Do not worry much about your wife and children; for if they are the Friends of God, He will look after them; of they are His enemies, you need not worry about His enemies." This is with reference to the Sufi doctrine that nothing other than God should occupy one's heart. It should be left to God in whatever way He treats His people. Hadhrat Musa, peace be upon him, left his wife, the daughter of prophet Shuib, peace be upon him, in awful conditions with full trust in God that He would look after her. Similarly, Hadhrat Ibrahim, peace be upon him, took his wife Hajjar and his child Ismail to a desert and entrusted them to God's care. These are the people who had no place in their hearts for anything other than God. Since they were fully devoted to God, they received the greatest rewards without asking for it, and by placing full trust in Him. This is akin to another saying of Hadhrat Ali who when asked what was the best occupation, replied, "Ghina-al-Qalb bi-Allah" (It is being rich with God). For he who is rich with God, absence of wealth does not make him poor nor does its presence makes him happier. This has been already explained in the chapter on faqr and safwat. So, Sufis had better follow closely what Hadhrat Ali has said to be able to renounce this world and the hereafter.
Commentary: Renunciation of the hereafter means that the pilgrim should be the seeker of God in all his actions in the gains of this world or the next. This is the highest height of love and sincerity with God.
- Syed Ali bin Uthman al-Hujweri, The Kashful Mahjub (Unveiling the Veiled)
Translation & Commentary by Maulana Wahid Bakhsh Rabbani
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter. (The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things." (Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake. (Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief; The ego is worse than seventy devils. (Arabic Poem)
I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires,
egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour?
I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful.
O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware!
I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.