The deeds of the servants are the external forms while Ikhlaas is the soul (rooh) for deeds.
The righteous deeds of the bandah, e.g. Salaat, Saum, Hajj, Zakaat, etc., devoid of ikhlaas are like a dead body without soul. Ikhlaas, i.e. the opposite of riya (show) and nafsaani desire, and their elimination from an action, is like the rooh and life. If the action is accompanied by ikhlaas, it will have life in it. On the contrary, if the action is devoid of ikhlaas and is rendered to show others or to derive personal pleasure, it will be like a lifeless body without benefit in the a khirah.
During the spiritual sojourn (Sulook) at the time of the revelation (kashf) of ma-aarif and mysteries, and manifestation of celestial illumination (anwaar), the Saalik’s intention is not to halt. Reality (Haqeeqatul Amr) calls out to him: “Your Goal lies ahead.” The external beauty of worldly things is revealed and it attracts the Saalik, but their realties loudly proclaim: “We are a trial. Do not be ungrateful by indulging in us.”
When the servants of Allah, while traversing the spiritual sojourn engages in thikr, fikr and muraaqabah (contemplation), and numerous kinds of mysteries and realities cascade on their hearts, then on account of the spiritual ecstasy they experience, they engross themselves in these states thinking that this is the goal (maqsood) of Sulook whereas this is not so. Divine Guidance (Taufeeq-e-Ilaahi) and the Kaamil Murshid’s shadow are at hand (to guide the saalik on towards the Goal of Divine Pleasure).
It is inspired into his heart: “Your Goal is ahead. Don’t halt here. Advance! These conditions and states which you are experiencing are creations like yourself. They are not the Creator, your Goal is Khaaliq Ta’ala.”
Similarly, the external beauty of worldly objects by being revealed to the Saalik, attracts him to them (worldly objects). If deviation has been decreed for him or if he lacks the company of a Kaamil Murshid, he becomes entrapped in these worldly objects. He regards these worldly allurements as the medium for the attainment of the Goal.
If Divine Guidance comes to aid, the reality of the objects of this transitory world become manifest to him and they (the hidden realities of worldly objects) loudly call out to him: “We have been created by Allah Ta’ala as a trial for you. Do not be ungrateful to your Creator, Allah Ta’ala by engrossing yourself in us. Proceed ahead of us.”
Do not intend to travel from one creation to another creation, for then you will become like the ass operating the grinding stone. The point which is the beginning of its sojourn will also be the end of its sojourn. Rather, travel from makhluqaat (created objects) to Khaaliq (The Creator). Allah Ta’ala says:
“Undoubtedly, the end (of Sulook) is your Rabb.”
The Maqsood-e-Asli (True Goal) of the Searcher of Allah is Allah. His gaze must be focused on his Master in everything. The purpose of all acts of ibaadaat, thikr and shaghl is the diversion of the Saalik’s gaze from all things besides Allah so that the heart becomes absorbed in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala.
Thus, if a man of the world abandons the world, engrossing himself in ibaadat, thikr and shaghl to convey to others that he is a man of piety and a saint, he has in fact abandoned one object of creation to involve himself in another object of creation. In other words, he abandoned wealth for the sake of name and fame. It is clear that those whose acclaim he seeks are all creations.
If the Saalik’s maqsood (goal) is thawaab, lofty ranks and acquisition of spiritual pleasure, then although these are lawful, it does not behove the Searcher of Allah to hanker after these. This too is a journey from one creation, viz. abandoning the world, to another creation, viz. reward and lofty ranks. The journey of even this Saalik is not towards Allah Ta’ala. He remains stagnated to the point from whence he commenced his sojourn because thawaab, lofty ranks and fame are all common in being entities other than Allah Ta’ala. Such a Saalik is like the ass driving the mill, in that he walks in a circle. He does not traverse any distance. Similarly, is the Saalik who abandons one object of creation for another. He remains in the circle of creation without covering even a cubit in distance towards Khaaliq.
The Saalik should therefore abandon all creation whether it be the world, thawaab or some lofty spiritual rank. He should leave them all behind and travel towards his Master. Allah Ta’ala says:
“Undoubtedly, the end (of the Journey) is until your Rabb.”
Therefore, act according to the exhortation of this aayat and fix Maalik-e-Haqeeqi (The True Master) as your Final Goal. Colour yourself with this hue.
Keeping in mind the statement of Rasulullah ( r ), viz.:
“He whose migration is towards Allah and His Rasool, is truly heading towards Allah and His Rasool, and whoever migrates towards the objects of the world, his migration is in the direction he has contemplated.” If you are a man of intelligence and understanding then contemplate the meaning of this statement of Rasulullah ( r ), viz.,
“Thus, his migration is towards the object he has intended his migration.”
This hadith is proof for the aforementioned contention. The meaning of the hadith is that whoever has left his homeland sincerely for the sake of Allah and His Rasool, his migration is valid. On the other hand, if the purpose of the migration is worldly gain or a woman, then such a migration is for the world. It will have no share or gain in the a khirat.
In the same way, if the aim of the Saalik’s thikr, shaghl and ibaadat is the derivation of spiritual pleasure or name and fame, then this will be the limit of his attainment. He will not attain Divine Proximity. If he abandons everything and fixes his gaze on Allah Ta’ala, then this will be the Maqsood he will attain.
In the Divine Court there is no act which is more acceptable than such an act which is out of the mind and which you regard as insignificant.
The deed which has greater acceptance by Allah Ta’ala is an act which the bandah understands to be from Allah. He discerns it with his heart and does not attribute it to himself, but viewing it with the heart’s eyes, he says: “If Allah Ta’ala does not wish that I render this deed, never will I be able to accomplish it.” He should not regard this deed as being of such significance whereby he can gain Divine Proximity. On the contrary, he should consider it not worthy of acceptance in view of it emanating from himself. Such a deed finds ready acceptance in the Divine Court.
Do not be vain on account of acts of obedience, labouring under the notion that such deeds are the effects of your willpower and choice. But, be happy thinking that you have been able to render the good deeds solely on account of the mercy, grace and ability granted by Allah Ta’ala. In this regard Allah Ta’ala says:
“Say: It is by the grace and decree of Allah. Thus be pleased with this.”
When the bandah gives vent to exhilaration and feels proud of his acts of worship, thinking that he has rendered these by virtue of his choice and will, then he will be guilty of displaying ingratitude. The happiness of the bandah on account of having practised righteousness should be because he knows that he was able to render the deed by virtue of Allah’s grace, mercy and aid. He thus expresses his shukr (gratitude) to Allah Ta’ala Who had enabled him to execute the deed of virtue. In this regard, Allah Ta’ala commanded:
“O Muhammad! Say, be pleased with only the grace and mercy of Allah. Do not be pleased with something else.”
When the bandah deals in cash regarding his acts of obedience, Allah does not respond with a credit reward, i.e. He does not delay the reward until Qiyaamah.
It is not the attitude of a generous person to extract work and delay payment of the wages. Thus, Kareem-e-Haqeeqi (The One Who is truly generous and munificent) – Jalle Shaanuhu – to a greater degree will not behave ungenerously. He does not delay compensation for the bandah’s deeds until Qiyaamah. He grants the reward for Taa-at (obedience) here in this world. The reward comprises of the sweetness the heart tastes in Ibaadat and Thikr, and the variety of secrets, mysteries and subtleties which He bestows. In comparison to this reward, the bandah regards the kingdom of the world as dust.
This immediate compensation is a very insignificant sample of the reward he will receive in the a khirat. The reality of the bestowals of the a khirat is beyond description.
As a compensation in this world for acts of obedience, it is sufficient that your Master has become pleased to consider you fit for Taa-at.
The worldly reward for Taa-at is also limitless. Among these, the greatest reward for you, the Saalik, is that Ahkamul Haakimeen and the King of kings has become pleased to choose you for rendering obedience to Him. You are, in fact, nothing. You are a contemptible slave and a pure non-entity. When a king in the world extracts some service from a man, he feels proud of it because he has gained a rank. Whether he receives anything more, is not of importance. The attainment of a rank in proximity to the king is adequate for him.
The ilhaamaat (inspirations) which descend on their hearts and the opening up of the Doors of the Pleasure of supplication are adequate cash compensation for those who practise righteous deeds.
The bounties which are bestowed here in this world to those who practise virtue are the variety of inspirations which cascade into their hearts from the Divine Court at the time of enacting righteousness. They experience spiritual pleasure from these Ilhaamaat. Furthermore, vistas of the pleasure of supplication are opened in their hearts. As a result of the bond of love which Allah Ta’ala bestows to them, the bounties of the world recede into oblivion.
He who worships Allah for the attainment of thawaab (reward) or for salvation from athaab (punishment), has not discharged the haq (right) of Allah’s attributes of excellence, splendour and grandeur.
If the bandah’s purpose in rendering ibaadat is the acquisition of Jannat and salvation from Jahannum, then, Insha’Allah, he will achieve these goals. However, he has desired personal pleasure by way of ibaadat. He thus remains trapped in the web of the nafs, he has not discharged the right of Allah’s lofty attributes.
The bandah’s attributes of excellence (kamaal) is that his ibaadat should be purely for Allah’s greatness and glory, not because of the desire for Jannat and the fear of Jahannum. The duty of the slave is to serve, whether the master favours or rebuffs him.
When you are motivated by reward for any good act, then you will be questioned regarding Sidq and Ikhlaas in the deed. You will then be uncertain regarding Ikhlaas. It is adequate for the uncertain one to be safe from Divine Punishment for his useless and defective deed.
If the intention underlying ibaadat and virtuous deeds is the acquisition of compensation from Allah Ta’ala, then Allah Ta’ala will point out to him that only a deed accomplished by Ikhlaas is rewardable. It will be said:
“When you have practised this deed for the sake of compensation, it was not rendered solely for Me. On the contrary, it was done for the sake of your nafs.”
Thus, the bandah will be in doubt regarding the existence of Ikhlaas. If Ikhlaas was certain, he would not have rendered the deed in expectation of compensation. For such a person it will suffice that he is not apprehended by Allah Ta’ala. The hope of thawaab is thus left aside.
You are not the actual demonstrator of your deeds, therefore, do not expect reward for any of your acts. An ample reward for your deeds is that they are accorded acceptance and you are not apprehended for rendering them (defectively).
It should be understood that Allah Ta’ala is the Faa-il-e-Haqeeqi (True Actor) of all actions. Therefore, in ibaadat the bandah’s gaze should be on Allah Ta’ala. He should understand that Allah Ta’ala has created the act and it is His favour (Ihsaan).
Since the bandah is not the creator of his good deeds, it is highly improper for him to desire compensation. Therefore, if he is in the pursuit of reward, Ikhlaas will be negated. It is more than enough that the True Master accepts the deeds, grants reward and does not punish. In fact, the bandah deserves to be apprehended.
At the time of taa-at and ibaadat you are more in need of Divine Kindness than what you are in need thereof at the time of sin and disobedience.
The excellence and loftiness of the bandah are in his awareness that the actual Maqsood of all ibaadaat is only Allah Ta’ala. Thus, at all time in all acts his gaze is focussed on Allah Ta’ala like a beggar soliciting food from a benefactor. His action, deed and even his existence are completely out of his sight. His reliance is only on Allah Ta’ala. The heart derives solace from only Him and the direction of his heart is only Him. There remains absolutely no trust on one’s efforts and plans.
The contemptibly and destruction of the bandah are brought about when his attention turns to his nafs and he becomes pleased with his deeds. Thus, he begins to value himself. When the bandah develops this disposition, he is expelled from the Divine Court and becomes accursed.
Now understand that when the servant sins, he is in need of Allah’s kindness, for if he is denied Divine Kindness, Allah’s punishment will overtake him. He, therefore, requests Divine Kindness to avoid being apprehended and to secure pardon for his sins.
Since Taa-at (obedience) and Ibaadaat (worship) are, in fact, Divine Pleasure (Ridha-e-Ilaahi), the issue of Kindness does not arise. Kindness is required when an act is rendered in conflict with Divine Pleasure. Nevertheless, frequently the opposite materializes, i.e. the need of Divine Kindness at the time of Taa-at is greater than at the time of sin. The explanation of this (paradoxical) claim is as follows:
It is the natural disposition of the Mu’min to be raked by remorse after commission of a sin. He becomes overwhelmed by regret, grief and self-contempt. He despises and detests his own nafs. He gains greater humility and he hastens to supplicate for forgiveness in the Divine Court. In this pitiable state, his gaze is not on his effort and deed (of taubah). The attitude of complete dependence on Allah’s Kindness becomes ingrained in his heart. He is fully aware that besides Allah’s grace, mercy and kindness, there is no other refuge for him. This attribute which he has subsequently developed is the objective which has to be cultivated. This attribute (of absolute humility) is in fact, the bandah’s excellence.
On the other hand, sometimes after Taa-at and Ibaadaat, the bandah’s gaze falls on his deeds. He then becomes vain, considering himself an obedient servant and an aabid (pious worshipper). He feels that he has discharged Allah’s rights, hence he believes that he deserves to be rewarded. In this state his gaze is on his effort and he ceases to rely on Allah’s grace and mercy. Therefore, it will not be surprising if Allah’s Wrath settles on him and he thus becomes the object of Divine Displeasure. Thus, on the occasion of this type of Taa-at (which leads to vanity), the bandah stands in greater need of Divine Kindness than his need at the time of sinning.
Frequently, subtle and obscure riyaa (show) enters from an avenue which others cannot perceive.
Riyaa (show, ostentation) is to render an act of Ibaadat or some other virtuous deed with the motive of creating an impression on others so that they consider one a pious and saintly person.
If a person commences an act of worship, e.g. Namaaz, in the presence of people or in the absence of people who later arrive, and solely to create the impression of piety, the person adorns his Namaaz, discharging it beautifully, then this type of show will belong to the overt kind of riyaa (riyaa zaahiri). Everyone understands this type of riyaa.
Sometimes a person renders an act in privacy, no one being present to see him. Notwithstanding this privacy, riyaa then too enter his heart. This kind of riyaa is extremely subtle. The sign of this riyaa is man’s desire to be honoured when he meets others; that he be appointed to a position of prominence and leadership and that others serve him. When he is honoured, he becomes elated. When such honour is not forthcoming from the people, he is stung with surprise. This attitude indicates that this person’s efforts and deeds are motivated by the desire for name and fame, and to gain service from people.
Your desire that people learn of your deeds and your baatini (spiritual) states, is proof of the lack of truth in your worship.
Truth in Uboodiyat (the state of worship) is the diversion of the gaze from all things besides Allah. The attention of the bandah should turn solely to Allah Ta’ala. If the bandah possess this attribute, he will be true.
If he desires people to become informed of his pious acts and his special spiritual conditions, and he adopts various methods for publicising these, he should know that he is not true. This very desire is proof for his insincerity.
Contemplate the Divine Gaze of Grace on you and banish the thought of the attention of people. Be concerned with the attention Allah Ta’ala gives you and do not turn yourself towards the attention of people.
The disposition of the sincere bandah is such that the pleasure and displeasure of people are irrelevant to him. He has no care for it. Since the Gaze of Divine Mercy is perpetually on him, he is oblivious of the attention others accord him. To him it is irrelevant whether people honour or dishonour him and whether they respect or despise him. His heart attaches no importance to their attention. On the contrary, he contemplates on the Divine Attention which is on him at all times, considering it an invaluable treasure. Being in possession of this great treasure, he cannever divert his gaze to others.
It is simple to understand that if a man is under the care and protection of the king who caters for all his requirements, then this person will have no care for the attention of others. The Gaze of Ahkamul Haakimeen is with us every moment of our lives. Every minute He showers on us a variety of bounties. Inspite of His limitless kindness, if our gaze still turns towards others, then there can be no worst ingrates than us. In consequence of such ingratitude, the punishment should be the snatching away of all the bounties, but in view of His boundless mercy, He overlooks our ingratitude.
Just as Allah Jall-e-Ala dislikes a deed of partnership, i.e. adulterated by riyaa, so too does he dislike a heart of partnership, i.e. in which exists the love of others as well. He neither excepts a deed of partnership nor grants reward for it.
Mushtarak (partnership) Deed is a deed contaminated with riyaa (to show others). In it others have been made partners. Allah Ta’ala does not love such a deed. Similarly, Qalb-e-Mushtarak (a heart of partnership) is a heart in which is found the love of others. Allah Ta’ala does not love such a heart. Allah Ta’ala loves the heart which contains only His Love.
The deed which is calculated to gain the attention (and pleasure) of others is neither accepted nor rewarded by Allah Ta’ala. Only deeds devoid of riyaa are acceptable to him.
You will become the slave of the object you love. Allah Ta’ala dislikes that you become the slave of any object besides Him.
On earth when man loves any object besides Allah, he becomes its slave because a deep and strong relationship builds up with the object of love. Separation from the object of love produces grief and sorrow. This then, is the meaning of enslavement to the object of one’s love. Some become the slaves of gold and some are enslaved to their wives and children.
It should, however, be understood that the love of worldly objects which is detestable is such a love which induces the bandah to ignore the law of the Shariah. He devotes himself wholeheartedly to his object of love even if such love leads to violation of the laws of the Shariah. If priority is accorded to the demands of the Shariah, thus keeping the love subservient, then the natural love one has for children and relatives is not abominable. In fact, it is Sunnat.
A lover is not a person who desires remuneration from his beloved nor is he motivated by the desire to gain something. A true lover (Muhibb-e-Haqeeqi) spends everything to gain the pleasure of his beloved. He who expects his beloved to spend on him is not a muhibb-e-haqeeqi.
The Mahboob-e-Haqeeqi (object of Love) of all servants is Haqq Ta’ala. The Mu’min is His muhib (lover), hence Allah Ta’ala says:
“Those who have Imaan are deeply in love with Allah.”
Thus, the Mu’min who desires compensation, viz. Jannat, states of spiritual ecstasy, sweetness, mysteries and subtleties for his acts of ibaadat is not a true muhib. The true muhib desires nothing besides the pleasure of the Mahboob. In fact, the true muhib sacrifices his life and body – whatever he possesses – for the pleasure of his Mahboob.
How can you demand compensation for a deed which is His bestowal? How can you expect to be remunerated for the gift of rectitude He grants you?
You can expect compensation for a deed which you had rendered for the benefit of a person and in which there is no benefit for you. The good deed the bandah renders is for his own benefit. There is absolutely no benefit in it for the Gracious Master. He is entirely independent and does not require any benefit from the bandah’s worship.
The acts of virtue, the rectitude and the sincerity of the bandah are all bestowals and charity conferred by the Gracious Master (Maula-e-Kareem). Indeed, it is very surprising, unintelligent and absurd to expect to be remunerated for the gifts He bestows to you. How can a faqeer (beggar) who acquires charity from a person turn around and demand the benefactor to compensate him? The absurdity is self-evident.