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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 of Shariah.”

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 Sheikh-ul-Hadith ?

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 in.

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