Following is the transcript(not word-by-word) of a talk delivered by Hadhrat Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad (db) in his UK tour on 16-09-2011
عَيْنًا يَشْرَبُ بِهَا الْمُقَرَّبُونَ
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ
وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
It is human nature that if we do anything we got to get the maximum return on it, maximum reward on it. That’s why young people are looking for new opportunities of job so that they should have maximum salaries and benefits. It is human nature. Everyone wants that whatever I do I should be able to get maximum benefit.
Now, we worship Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, what maximum benefit we can get from Allah swt?
Maybe someone can think that I should become a person whose duas are accepted. I should become a person who should have a highest rank in the paradise. But what is the maximum return? Still the question is there.
The answer is, that the person who gets the close proximity of Allah swt, that is called qurb in Arabic. So,this is the maximum achievement that a person can attain.And its proof can be taken from Quran, that when Fir’aun, he invited the magician to come and compete with Moosa alayhi Salatu was Salam. So then they came and they asked a question that if we will be the winner then what reward we will get from you?
So he replied.
إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا لَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ
That if you will be the winner, then you will become my muqarrab, you will get close proximity. So this is the highest reward what a person can get that Allah swt may include his name in the list of His muqarrabeen.
How we can become a muqarrab?
This is another question that comes to the mind. So there are few steps which we have to take. And these are just like stairs. Every step of the stair if we climb, we will go on the roof. So just like that; if we want to get the qurb of Allah swt, we will have to take a few steps.
1. The first step is to achieve knowledge.
To acquire knowledge. Because any person who has no knowledge is ignorant in the sight of Allah swt. And the person who has got knowledge, he is beloved servant of Allah swt. Knowledge is a light.
That’s why RasulAllah (sws) placed emphasis on acquiring knowledge, that seek knowledge right from your cradle uptil your grave. Seeking knowledge is mandatory on every man and woman who is muslim. So we should get knowledge. Knowledge is important.
If you want to go to the destination and you don’t know the way, how you can go there?
So the knowledge is the first step. We should know on what things Allah swt is pleased and on what actions He is not pleased. Then we will be able to do all those things by which Allah swt can be happy. So to achieve knowledge is the first step.
How we can achieve knowledge? Then there is one step which we have to take.
2. The second step is called adab.
Adab means that the person should be respectful to Allah swt, to the Prophet, to elders, he should have adab. What is adab? Adab means to be respectful. And its proof is in Quran. When Moose (as), he saw a a light coming from a tree, he wanted to go there. Then he was ordered by Allah swt to take off his shoes.
فَاخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى
That O Moosa (as)! you are in a sacred place so take off your shoes. So to take off the shoes while you are at a sacred place – that is called adab. That’s why we make lot of adab of the masjid because it is the house of Allah swt. We never enter into the masjid with our shoes. We never bring animals in the masjid. We never do any sin inside the masjid.
Because it has got a respect, it is the house of Allah. That’s why to talk about the dunya is prohibited in the masjid. This all is called adab. So the person who wants to get knowledge the pre-requirement is that he should have adab. If he will not have adab he will not get beneficial knowledge.
Now let me explain that knowledge is of two types.
i. One of them is just information. You know a lot but you don’t act upon it. That is only piece of informations. There are so many kuffar who know a lot about Islam, that is not called knowledge, that is information.
ii. The second is called the beneficial knowledge. So what we mean here is the second type and that means something which we know and we do it. That is called ilm-e-nafi’, a knowledge which is beneficial.
Now let me give an example. A person who smokes everyday, he knows what are the bad points of smoking and even the companies who make the cigarettes sometimes they print on it that smoking is dangerous for health. Now this person who is a smoker, he knows it is dangerous for me. Even he knows it can be cancerous to me because the carbon when it goes inside can create cancerous cell.
So now he knows everything but when he eats food then he feels a temptation in his body and he cannot resist himself and starts smoking. Now he knows it is dangerous, still he is doing it. This is a person who has knowledge but he is not acting upon it. So this is a piece of information, it is not called knowledge. That’s why in Quran Allah swt has said:
Afa ra’aita mun ittakhadha ilahahu hawa wa a’dalAllahu ala ilm
And Allah took him away from the right path because he had just information, not proper knowledge. So to have a beneficial knowledge then we should have adab in our life. RasulAllah (sws), he told that
Addabani Rabbi fa ahsana Tadeebi
That Allah swt, He taught me what are etiquettes what is adab. An He taught me the best etiquettes. So adab in Islam is very important.
Addibun nafs ayyhal ashabu
Turukal ishqi kulluha aadabu
That O my friends, you should teach yourself adab because all the ways of ishq, they go to the destination, they are from adab. So we should teach ourselves adab, then we will get the knowledge.
Story of how Anwar Shah Kashmiri became a big scholar
There was one big scholar, Hazrat Allama Kashmiri (rah), he had such a memory that he could remember whatever he read, maybe even after twenty years. So once Mufti Kifayatullah (rah), he was speaking to his students and then he asked a question. Can you tell me how Anwar Shah Kashmiri (rah) became such a big scholar? Someone said, he was very intelligent. The other one replied, O he was a big scholar of Quran. Someone said nai, big scholar of Hadith. One said he was a good poet.
But he (Mufti Kifayatullah) kept quiet. Then the students, they asked him, Hazrat can you tell us how he achieved these heights and became such a big scholar? Then Mufti Kifayatullah (rah) replied that once this question was asked from Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri (rah) himself. How you became such a big scholar?
He replied that I had a lot of adab for the books of knowledge. I had lot of adab. He said (the questioner) everyone makes adab of this knowledge. He said no, I never touched any Islamic book without wudhu. And if I used to put the books, one on the other, I used to take care of their ranks.
For example, I never put any book of Hadith on Quran. I never put any book of fiqh on Hadith. I never put any book of History on the book of Fiqh. So even on placing the books I used to take care of their ranks. Allahu Akbar! So because he had a lot of adab for the books, so Allah swt gave him such a beneficial knowledge, he had such a power of memorization that he remembered whatever he read even after twenty years of his life.
3. Act upon that knowledge
So first step is that we should have adab in our lives, then we will be able to get knowledge which will be beneficial. Otherwise in Quran, Allah swt has spoken about Ulema of Bani Israel,
كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا
…Their example is like that of a donkey who has a burden on it
So a person who has no practice on the knowledge so its example is just like a donkey with the burden. So the first step that we have to take is that We should become mu’addab. We should take care, we should respect Allah swt, the Prophet of Allah swt, Baitullah, Kitabullah, even our elders, our parents. So this is the first step. The person who will have adab, he will secure the beneficial knowledge.
Then the first benefit of the knowledge is that the person acts upon it, this is the result of beneficial knowledge.
Al-ilmu bila ‘amal
Ka shajari bila thamar
knowledge without practice is just like a tree without fruit
So if a tree without the fruit has no price, similarly a person who has no practice on his knowledge has no price in the sight of Allah swt. So whatever we know, we should practice it. If there is a patient, and he knows that I have fever and I have to use anti biotic, and he takes the medicine from the medical store but does not eat it.
So will he be able to get the benefit of the medicine? No.. The benefit of the medicine can be taken if he uses the medicine. Similarly, the benefits of the knowledge be taken if we practice our knowledge.
So first step is Adab, then what we will get? We will get the beneficial knowledge. And if we will have beneficial knowledge then we will get the taufiq to act upon it. Whatever we will know, we will act upon it.
Mufti-e-Azam defines the meaning of Beneficial Knowledge
Once I got the chance to sit in the company of Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi (rah), Mufti-e-Azam Pakistan. So he was talking with the students about the knowledge. He asked the question what’s knowledge? Someone said to know about Allah. Someone replied, to get ma’rfat of Allah. So different students gave different answers but Hazrat, he kept quiet.
Then one of the students, he asked the question that Hazrat can you please tell us what is knowledge, beneficial knowledge. Then he explained, that
Knowledge is a Noor, when it enters in the heart, you cannot remain calm without practicing that knowledge(you become restless until you act upon it). That is knowledge. Otherwise, its information. So beneficial knowledge means that the person will get a Noor in his heart, a light in his heart and such a temptation for acting upon it that he cannot resist himself, he will act upon the knowledge.
4. The Fourth Step is Hikmat (Wisdom)
So first is adab, then second is beneficial knowledge and the outcome of beneficial knowledge is a’mal, action upon the knowledge. Now when someone acts upon the knowledge whatever he gets? He is blessed with hikmat, which is called wisdom. Anyone who is a practicing person, he is blessed by this bounty by Allah swt that he gets wisdom.
وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا
The person who got hikmat, he has been blessed with khayr-e-katheer.
So the person becomes really wise, very wise person. So wisdom is the outcome of practicing on our knowledge. There are so many scholars, but the insight in the knowledge is different for everyone. If we want to know what was hikmat. Imam-e-Azam Abu Hanifa (rah), he had such a beneficial knowledge, that he had lot of wisdom in himself. There was so many times when people could not understand a situation, and he was the first one to understand it. So many times. Let me quote one two stories to explain it.
The Wisdom of Imam-e-Azam Abu Hanifa (rah)
There was a young couple at that time and the husband was in a good mood. But the wife, she was not happy with him due to something. So the husband, he wanted that we should be very close to each other. In a loving mood. But the wife, she was not prepared for that.
So when he said something, then she never replied. So the person, he felt very embarrassed. I am talking to her and she is not replying. So he swore in the name of Allah that if you will not talk to me first then I will not talk to you. And the woman, she was already in an angry mood, she also swore in the name of Allah. Okay, if you will not talk to me first I will not talk to you.
Now both are silent. Now in the day wanted what is the solution. So they contacted Sufyan Thawri (rah) and asked Hazrat, what should we do. He said that anyone of you who will speak he will break his qasam. He will become haanith and he will get the punishment.
Now everyone at that time wanted that if he has swore in the name of Allah he should prove it. Now what to do? Then the husband, he went to Imam-e-Azam Abu Hanifa (rah) and he told the story what happened. Imam-e-Azam (rah) replied don’t worry, you are husband and wife, go and talk to your wife and everything is okay. So he came very happily back home and right entering inside the home he said hello, hi, how are you honey!
When he started talking she said, Oh! You have broken your qasam. He said no, Imam-e-Azam (rah) told me that I have not broken it. She said no, we have to go again and tell them what happened properly so that we should get the proper answer. So both of them, they came to Sufyan Thawri (rah) and they said that we had asked this question from you and you replied, but Imam-e-Azam (rah) replied differently.
He said let me go with you to Imam-e-Azam (rah) and let me ask him how he can reply that way. So all the three, they came to Imam Abu Hanifa (rah). Sufyan Thawri (rah), he was an elderly person, respected figure of the society and had good knowledge.
So he talked to Imam Abu Hanifa (rah): Abu Hanifa! How you can make a haram into a halal?
He said, no I am not making any haram into a halal.
He said, you replied that nothing happened, go and talk to your wife and everything is okay.
He said, Hazrat have you listened the problem?
He said yes. Now the problem is that the husband, he swore in the name of Allah, if you will not talk to me first, I am not going to talk to you. And then the wife, she also made qasam, if you are not going to talk to me first, I am not going to talk to you.
So then he (Sufyan Thawri) said, that anyone who will talk he will break his qasam.
He (Imam Abu Hanfia) said no, Hazrat the reality is that first husband, he swore in the name of Allah, if you will not talk to me, I will not talk to you. Then the wife, she swore, although she is swearing in the name of Allah, she is still talking to the husband! So if she is talking to the husband then the condition of the husband has been fulfilled. And now it is the condition of the wife. I told him to go and talk to the wife, so the condition of both will be fulfilled, go and stay like a husband and wife.
Such a wisdom! Go in the depth of the matter and understand what is the reality of this matter that is called wisdom. Imam-e-Azam (rah) was so wise. SubhanAllah!
Wisdom in giving a Fatwah
Once there was a question amongst Ullema that a person who wants to make four rakat fard, then after two rak’ats he makes tashahhud and then he has to stand up and make the third rak’at . but if someone forgets and starts making durood sharif, Salat alan Nabiy. So what will happen?
So Imam-e-Azam (rah), he gave a Fatwa, a ruling, that if he said Allahumma and he recalled that I have to stand up for the third rakat and he stood up, no problem. And if he said Allahumma salli ala, then he remembered and he stood up and made third rakat, no problem. But if he said Allahumma Salli ala Muhammad, now he has to make sajda-e-sahw. So he made this fatwa.
That night he saw RasulAllah (sws) in the dream. So the Prophet of Allah swt asked him.Abu Hanifa! Did you give fatwa that anyone who will take my name he will have to make sajda-e-sahw? Strange question! Abu Hanfia! Have you given Fatwa that anyone who will take my name so he will have to make sajda-e-sahw?
So Abu Hanifa (rah) he replied: No Prophet of Allah swt, I have given fatwa that who will take your name in the condition of forgetfulness, he has to make sajda-e-sahw. So Rasul Allah (sws), he smiled, you have given a good fatwa.
So this is called wisdom. You go down in the matter and you understand the reality.
The Wisdom of Hazrat Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz (rah)
Hazrat Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz (rah) was a big scholar of India. He was in Dehli. He had a lot of wisdom. Allahu Akbar! If you study his life biography you can understand what wisdom he had. So once he was sitting in his madrassa. So one person who had the worldly, scientific knowledge, he came to him. And he has his son, maybe six years five years of age. And he said, Hazrat you teach your children only Arabic, Quran, Hadith, Fiqh and these things, why don’t you teach Science, Geography and this so that their thinking should be widened.
So Shah Abdul Aziz (rah) asked him how the thinking will be widened.
He replied that look at my son, he is only five years of age and he studies Science, Mathematics and Geography and he has broad thinking. So Hazrat asked a question from his son, can you see this pond, where people make abolution? He said yes. He asked okay, how many cups of water will be in the pond? Now the child, he was just silent. He said, I don’t know. He said okay.
Then he called a student from his madrassa, of the same age, same level and then he asked the student a question. Tell me, how many cups of water are in this pond? Now the person, because he studied mantiq and everything, so he knew, so he replied that Hazrat if the cup size is half then it is two cups and if it’s the size of the pond then it is only one cup of water. So this is wisdom. You can understand the situation and you can answer.
1. the person who has adab, he will get beneficial knowledge.
2. Anyone who has beneficial knowledge, he will get the tawfiq to act upon it, he will make amaal
3. And the person who makes ‘amal, then he will get the wisdom from Allah swt.
5. Fifth step is Anabat (Inclination towards the Hereafter)
And one benefit of the wisdom is that the person knows that how much I have to stay in this world and how much I have to stay in the hereafter. So the wisdom tells a person that you have to prepare yourself proportionally.
Duration of this life is insignificant in comparison to the life in Hereafter
We are going to spend fifty years, or hundred years of our life in this world. And how time we are going to spend in the hereafter? Millions and billions and trillions and zillions of years.
So it means that the time that we will spend in the hereafter is much much more than this time, but if you see the schedule of our life. How much time we are spending to get prepared for this dunya?
Maybe more than twenty hours.
And how much do we spend for our hereafter? Very little. Even some brothers, they say that we don’t offer our five times prayer because we don’t have time. We don’t recite Quran because we don’t have time.
If you don’t have time, then it means that we are spending all of our time for this dunya, where we have to stay only a few years. Ulema, they have written in the book, Imam Ghazali (rah), that if the whole space in the earth and they sky is filled with small grains and one bird comes and takes one grain and then after 1000 years he again returns and takes another grain and after 1000 years another grain.
A time will come when all the grains in between the earth and the sky, they will be finished but the life of the hereafter will never be finished.
Are we preparing for that infinite duration of time?
So if we have to stay so long in the hereafter, are we getting prepared for that? Maybe not. Our struggle is not proportional. We are spending lot of time for this world and very little time for the hereafter. So if the person gets wisdom, so the wisdom tells him no, spend the time proportionally.
So this person who has got wisdom will never miss the prayer. He will never miss the recitation of the Quran. He will always speak truth. He will practice the deen and he will try to please Allah swt. That is wisdom, that we should please our lord.
Now look at this. If someone is working in the factory and he cannot please his owner, will he be able to stay on his job? No. Maybe after a month or two, he will be just give a notice, you are not working properly so find another job.
So if a person is working in a factory,he cannot stay there if he is not pleasing his boss, his owner, so look at our life, if we are not pleasing Allah swt how we will be able to be successful in our life. So the wisdom tells a person that be a good person of the society. Have good morals, good etiquettes, good habits, be a good member of your family, deliver goods to your fellow brothers, do good work for the humanity. Wisdom tells a person that you should be a good person, not a bad one.
Now first one is adab, we should get beneficial knowledge. When we will get beneficial knowledge, we will get the tawfiq to practice upon it. When we will practice our knowledge, we will get wisdom, when we will get wisdom, then we will become a good person, a humble servant of Allah swt, a good person of the society and then we will try to get prepared for the hereafter. That is called anabat.
Anabat means Inclination towards the hereafter.
Attajafi ‘an daril ghuroor wal anabatu ila daril khulood wal isti’dadu lil mauti qabla nuzulihi
That is called Anabat.
6. Last step is the Qurb of Allah swt
Now the person who has his attention towards the hereafter, then he will worship Allah swt and then he will be blessed with something what is called the qurb of Allah swt. Now look, in the Quran there is a verse, wasjud that when you make sajda, then what you will get. Waqtarib, you will get the qurb of Allah swt.
And in Hadith there is also a proof.
RasulAllah (sws), he said, there is a Hadith-e-Qudsi:yataqarrabu ilayya ‘abdi bin nawafil.
That the person, he gets my Qurb due to the nawafil. Due to the ibadat. So, when we will make more ibadat, we will get the proximity of Allah swt and that is the objective of our life.
So there are a few steps which we have to take.
- We should get adab in our life.
- Then we will get beneficial knowledge.
- By getting beneficial knowledge, then we will get the tawfiq to practice upon that knowledge.
- When we practice upon our knowledge, then we will get wisdom (Hikmat).
- And when we will get wisdom, we will be involved in the ibadat and in practicing the deen.
- And that ibadat gives the person the qurb of Allah swt.
Three Types of People in Jannah
That’s why in Jannah there will be three types of people.
1. Those who will have a place where they will go and drink something.
2. And there will be some people they will be served by the angels and then they will drink something.
3. And there will be people, Allah swt will bless them, will give them something to drink.
Its simple. In our house a guest comes. Now there are three types of people. If there is worker, some common person, then we put a water cooler outside. Anyone who comes, passes by, he could just drink. This is one level.
Then the second level is, that the person comes inside the house and he is friend, then we ask our servant in the house, okay take this drink and give it to the guest.
And then, sometimes there is a person who is friend, who is our relative, very close to us, then what we do? We take the drink in the jug and glass and take ourselves in front of the guest and pour it in the glass and give it. Please drink it. So this is the highest level. So the muqarrab who will be in paradise:
Wa saqaa rabbuhum sharaban tahuran
Allah swt will present them with a drink and they will be able to drink it.
This is the highest blessing of Allah swt. May Allah swt make us His muqarrab and give us the tawfiq to cover all these steps and to become a muqarrab before our death.
Wa aakhiru da’wana anil hamdu lillahi rabbil ‘alameen