The Islaah of a Sheikhul Hadith
Nav for Ikhlas
One Sheikh-ul-Hadith* wrote to Hazrat Maulana Ashraf
Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) : “I
get angry very often… (Imagine a Sheikh-ul-Hadith is
saying this)… and in this state I lose my self-control.
I then give vent to my anger, which sometimes exceeds the limits
It was not necessary for him to expose his weakness. He could have
continued to conceal it, continued receiving gifts from his students,
shaking hands and listening to them sing his praises.
However, he was sincerely concerned about the condition of his nafs
and also his condition and status in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.
He knew that his anger was not for the sake of Deen.
Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) replied,
prescribing a severe remedy : “The next time you lose your
temper with someone, then hold his feet and plead with him : ‘Please
forgive me.’” …Would holding the feet of
a person and pleading for his forgiveness be an easy thing for a
However, he started to practise upon this prescription and after
a week wrote back and informed Hazrat Maulana that he was as yet
not cured. Consider his concern and fear. …This is exactly
what we are found wanting in, and this is the point I am presenting
to you : We must not die with malice, greed, pride, arrogance, riya and
a host of other filth in our hearts. What will we face in the grave
if we are going to enter it with this kind of heart ?…
Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) advised
him : “Now ask the student or the person upon whom you
expressed unjustifiable anger, to remove his shoes, turn it upside
down and put it on your head for five minutes, and tell him that
you are trying to cure your spiritual illness.” This Sheikh-ul-Hadith
wrote back saying that the ‘prescription’ was so bitter
that before the completion of reading the letter, he was cured.
What would have been our reaction to such advice from a Sheikh? …We
would have said : ‘Thank you very much for your advice.
You can keep the Bai’at. I am going to another Sheikh.’
In the case of this Sheikh-ul-Hadith, despite his distinguished
status, there was extreme concern over the effects of his anger.
This is that same anger which is causing havoc in society. Over petty
matters we resort to extremes, like uttering Talaaqs, or resorting
to verbal and physical abuse, beatings, killings, etc. – all
of which have become most common.
Nabi’s e akhlaaq (character) was of such beauty that,
without justification, he never resorted to any kind of action that
would harm another …be it a human being; Muslim or non-Muslim,
or even an animal.
Hazrat Anas (j) had attended to Rasulullah (SAW) for many years
and said : “I remained in the service of Rasulullah (SAW) for
ten years. Not once did he utter : ‘Uff’ to me (i.e.
in displeasure). When I did something, he never asked me : ‘Why
did you do so?’. And when I did not do a certain task, he never
asked me : ‘Why did you not do it?’. Rasulullah (SAW) had
the best character among all people.”
This, however, does not mean that it is forbidden to correct a person
in the wrong, or a person not doing justice to work assigned to him.
Whilst this is permissible, one should not exceed the limits.
…What I had intended to speak on and what was said …
May Allah Ta’ala accept what has been said. May Allah Ta’ala grant
to me as well, the taufeeq to say whatever I am saying with Ikhlaas.
Make dua that Allah Ta’ala fill my heart with Ikhlaas because
if I am going to speak with ‘riyaa’ then I will
get nothing here and nothing in the Hereafter.
Delivering such words and talks carries along with it the fear of
accountability. Nabi had said : “Whoever delivers
a sermon will be questioned by Allah Ta’ala on the Day of Resurrection,
about the motive behind his sermon.”
Despite this, it is still necessary upon those blessed with knowledge
to carry out their duty of imparting that knowledge.
Nevertheless, whilst Ikhlaas is not easily acquired, it is not impossible
to procure. I always maintain that even if a person does not have
Ikhlaas, then too, he should not discontinue doing good deeds.
To cite an example : If a person does not have Ikhlaas in his Salaah,
which he is punctually performing 5 times a day, with Jamaat and
in the Musjid, then this does not mean that he must stop the act
of performing Salaah.
Without the action of Salaah, how will he develop sincerity in Salaah
? …There must be a vessel to fill water in, and there must
be an ‘amal’ (action) to ‘fill’ Ikhlaas