Understanding Tazkiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

The Four Parts of Dīn

The sole objective of our lives is to acquire the Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā, which can only be achieved by following the whole Dīn. The whole Dīn can be categorised into four parts:

1.   External actions, which comprise of:

a.  Performing good actions e.g. Salāh;

b.  Refraining from sinful actions e.g. backbiting.

2.   Internal qualities, which comprise of:

a.  Purifying the heart from debasing qualities e.g. pride;

b.  Adorning the heart with praiseworthy traits e.g. humbleness.

Allāh ta‘ālā has laid down commands relating to both the external and the internal aspects of Dīn. In both, there are Do’s and Don’ts. For example, performing Salāh, giving Zakāh, fasting and performing Hajj are external actions which must be carried out; whilst causing physical harm, stealing and consuming harām are external actions which must be avoided. Similarly, jealousy, malice and pride are debasing qualities of the heart which are prohibited; whilst Shukr (being grateful to Allāh ta‘ālā) and Sabr (patience) and humbleness are praiseworthy qualities with which every Muslim should strive to adorn his heart.

We can therefore conclude that our duties as Muslims are: to carry out good actions; to refrain from sinful actions; to purify the heart from debasing qualities; and to adorn the heart with praiseworthy qualities. All four are termed as Al-A‘māl As-Sālihah (good deeds) and our success lies in carrying them out. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

Verily those who believe and do good deeds, for them shall be gardens beneath which rivers flow. That is the great success. (85:11)

Tazkiyah and its Importance

The process of removing the debasing qualities from the heart and adorning it with the praiseworthy qualities is known as Tazkiyah (soul purification). Through Tazkiyah a person first begins to recognise the shortcomings in his inner traits, such as the existence of pride and miserliness. As a result, he is able to exert effort and replace them with praiseworthy qualities such as humbleness and generosity. Allāh ta‘ālā has emphasised the importance of Tazkiyah in the Glorious Qur’ān by taking oath of seven different things before stating:

Undoubtedly, the one who purified it (the soul) has succeeded and the one who soiled it (through kufr, shirk, sin) has certainly failed. (91:9-10)

‘Ilm and Tazkiy

In order to understand the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā and to carry them out, it is necessary to acquire ‘ilm. Through ‘ilm, we will be able to understand what we are required to do in every situation. Regarding the external actions for example, ‘ilm is required to understand the pre-requisites of Salāh as well as all the necessary aspects within Salāh. Similar is the case for the inner qualities; a person will require ‘ilm to understand which qualities are prohibited and the consequences of having such qualities. For example, our beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has informed us that a person with pride equivalent to a mustard seed in his heart will not enter Jannah (without first going in Jahannam). (Abū Dāwūd, At-Tirmidhī, Ibn Mājah).

However, without Tazkiyah ‘ilm is not beneficial, as we find that a person has ‘ilm but is unable to practice according to it despite having the desire to do so. For example, a person is aware that offering Fajr Salāh is compulsory, but is unable to leave his bed and go to the masjid.  Similarly, despite being aware that sinful glances are not permissible, he is unable to control the gaze from lustful glances. The reason for this is a lack of spiritual stamina to carry out the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā. Through the process of Tazkiyah, a person purifies his heart from debasing qualities and as a result gains the spiritual stamina required to fulfil all the external actions Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā.

External Actions Hold No Value without Tazkiyah

Another important point to understand is that without purifying the heart, despite carrying out the external actions of Dīn, they may not be accepted in the Court of Allāh ta‘ālā. This is because a corrupt heart could lead to a person performing deeds with the wrong intention. For example, if a person performs a good action with the intention of acquiring fame, he will gain no reward whatsoever, rather he will be answerable in the Court of Allāh ta‘ālā. Even though outwardly his action may appear perfect and in accordance with the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā and the Sunnah of Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, due to his insincerity his action will yield no benefit.

The importance of a purified heart has been explained by Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in a hadīth:

Indeed there is a piece of flesh in the body; if it is sound, then the whole body will be sound and if it is corrupt then the whole body will be corrupt. Indeed it is the heart. (Al-Bukhārī)

Tazkiyah: The Key to Practising the Whole Dīn

From the above, it is clear that Tazkiyah is the path that leads to the reformation of the heart, providing the spiritual stamina required for external actions; and making them perfect and worthy of acceptance.  Having understood the importance of Tazkiyah, the question arises as to how it can be achieved. For this, read and study ‘The Path to Purification’, published by At-Tazkiyah. 

Let us recognise the importance of Tazkiyah and exert effort towards its acquisition, so that we may practice the whole Dīn and acquire the eternal bliss of the Hereafter.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 26 No. 11/12, Nov/Dec 2017)


We are witnessing an era where Islām, in spite of its vastness and applicability in every sphere of the human life, has been confined to mere beliefs and a handful of rituals. As with some other important obligations of Islām, the obligation of ensuring the correct procedures in the field of inheritance has also been subjected to gross disregard and outright neglect. In fact, this section of Dīn can be said to be the most neglected one among all. Seeing such state of affairs, the respected Shaykh hafizahullāh embarked on the task of acquainting the Muslims on the importance of this vital duty. The lectures delivered proved to be highly informative and beneficial, but only to a limited audience. In order to extend the benefits to a larger part of the Ummah, it was decided that two of these lectures be selected and published in booklet form.

A few topics mentioned in the booklet are as follows:

• Equality in inheritance
• What can be drawn from the estate
• The importance of drawing up a will
• Causes of incorrect wills
• Criteria for wasiyyah (bequest)
• What to do following a death
• Common errors and customs

To order the above book or for details of our other publications, please email info@idauk.org or call 0116 262 5440.


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The Final Moments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

By Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

A person’s final moments are dependent on how he spent his life, what he lived for and what his heart remained engrossed in. Accordingly, if a person lives a life of disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā and is preoccupied in worldly pursuits, his last moments will be whilst engaged in such activities. Similarly, a person living a life of obedience to Allāh ta‘ālā, in His remembrance and in striving for His Pleasure, will find his final moments in acts beloved to Allāh ta‘ālā. Many incidents are recorded in history which bear testimony to this fact, prompting us to reflect on our current state and creating a concern regarding our own preparations for departure from this world.

Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā rahimahullāh has quoted a number of incidents:

• Rabī‘ ibn Bazzah rahimahullāh has narrated that a person was in his last moments and the people present encouraged him to recite the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh, but he kept repeating (indicating to a glass of wine), “You drink and also give me one.”

• Another person was in his final moments and the people around him were repeating the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh to prompt him, but he kept saying, “Ten ten rupees, eleven eleven rupees, twelve twelve rupees.”

Hadrat Muftī Muhammad Shafī‘ rahimahullāh has narrated:

• A salesman used to be always occupied in his business ventures, so much so that performing salāh and other acts of worship would never come to mind. During his final moments, people encouraged him to recite the kalimah lā ilāha illallāh, but his end came with him continuously mentioning and calculating his business transactions.

• An incident of another person who remained busy in his worldly pursuits, led to him in his final moments continually saying, “Have you fed my donkey.”

In contrast, we find amazing incidents of pious people who lived a life of piety, engaged in the obedience to Allāh ta‘ālā and toiling for His Pleasure, leaving the world in a manner which leaves us in amazement and wonder.

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd-ul-‘Azīz rahimahullāh is well known for his piety and steadfastness on Dīn. He established justice to such a degree, that the Ummah recognise him as the fifth rightly guided caliph. Many people were gathered around him when his final moments drew near. As he began to cry, someone consoled him and asked, “Why are you crying? Allāh ta‘ālā has revived the Sunnah and established justice through you.”

Hearing this he began to cry more and said, “Will I not be questioned regarding the rights of the people?” He then went on to say, “O Allāh! You commanded me with certain things regarding which I remained imperfect, and you prohibited certain things from which I couldn’t restrain myself, but O Allāh, I bear witness that You are One, Who has no partner and there is none worthy of worship except You.” He then requested all to leave him except his attendant saying there are such creations before him who were neither jinn nor human. After everyone had left, he left this mortal world after reciting the following verse of the Glorious Qur’ān:

This is the home of the Ākhirah, which We shall assign to those who do not desire pomp on earth nor corruption. The (best) outcome shall be for those with Taqwā. (28:83)

The great muhaddith Abū Zur‘ah rahimahullāh was an imām in the field of hadīth. Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahullāh states regarding him that he knew 600,000 ahādīth. When his final moments came, the ‘ulamā present began discussing how they should encourage him to recite the kalimah, as they felt it was disrespectful to address him directly. They decided to narrate a hadīth in his presence. One person initiated the hadīth with, “Dahhāk ibn Makhlad narrated to us from ‘Abd-ul-Hamīd ibn Ja‘far who narrated from Sālih”. He then stopped at this point. Hearing this, the great muhaddith began narrating the hadīth saying, “Bundār narrated to us that Abū ‘Āsim narrated to him that ‘Abd-ul-Hamīd ibn Ja‘far narrated to him that Sālih ibn Abī ‘Arīb narrated to him that Kathīr ibn Murrah Al-Hadramī narrated to him that Mu‘ādh ibn Jabal radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrated that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam stated, ‘Whoever’s last words are lā ilāha illallāh….’.” He then passed away. The full hadīth is, ‘Whoever’s last words are lā ilāha illallāh will enter Jannah’. By departing in this manner, he practically demonstrated the glad tiding mentioned in this hadīth. What an amazing death Allāh ta‘ālā granted him!

These few incidents are a mere drop in the ocean from the many great and amazing final moments Allāh ta‘ālā has granted His special servants, who made acquiring His Pleasure the objective of their lives. The thought should not cross our minds that these were great people of the past who achieved such heights. Even in this age, Allāh ta‘ālā does not deprive His servants who lead a life of servitude to Him and remain steadfast in their duties and obligations to Him.

Just this month, my very dear and close friend in Barbados, Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi, left this mortal world. May Allāh ta‘ālā grant him forgiveness for any shortcomings and elevate his status in the hereafter and resurrect him with the Ambiyā, the Siddiqīn, the Shuhadā and the Sālihīn. Āmīn.

Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi was my host whenever I visited Barbados and was very affectionate towards me and showed me much love and affection. He was very respectful towards the ‘Ulamā and Mashāyikh and would endeavour to serve and bring comfort to them. Almost all the prominent Mashāyikh who visited Barbados during his lifetime have been his guests and his manner and behaviour towards them was such that he would win their hearts. I was very saddened and experienced much grief upon the news. However, when his sons narrated to me the details of his final moments, I was wonderstruck and experienced immense happiness for the way Allāh ta‘ālā called him to his final abode.

Dr. Muhammad Shafee Nagdi was very steadfast and punctual with his a‘māl and ma‘mūlāt (prescribed practices). He would for the last forty years wake up for tahajjud and complete his ma‘mūlāt. In the last few years he was not very mobile, yet he remained punctual regarding his daily practices. Even in a poor state of health, he would normally wake up around 1am and engage in tahajjud salāh, dhikr and du‘ā until the beginning time of Fajr and then perform his Fajr. Thereafter, he would recite Sūrah Yāsīn and one juz from the Qur’ān. He would then awaken his wife and son for Fajr salāh.

His son, Rafeeq, narrated to me that during his father’s last night in this world, as per his usual practice he attended to his father at 1am to assist him to perform wudū and seat him in his chair for tahajjud, thereafter returning to sleep. Later in the morning, he was not awakened by the call of his father, but his mother. Worried, he got up and went to see his father to find that he had, at some point during the night, departed for the hereafter. This in itself was a great honour, that he had left this world whilst engaged in worship. However, the detail mentioned by his son is more amazing. He said that he found his father in the condition that the Qur’ān was still open and in his father’s hands. This means, according to his regular practice, Dr. Shafee must have performed his tahajjud salāh, completed all his ma‘mūlāt, performed his Fajr salāh, recited Sūrah Yāsīn and also the Qur’ān. Furthermore, when his son looked at the Qur’ān, it became apparent that he was on the last page, which indicated that he had just completed the Qur’ān. Subhānallāh! What a praiseworthy final moment Allāh ta‘ālā granted my beloved friend!

It is evident that, when a person makes Allāh ta‘ālā his objective and lives a life striving to acquire His Pleasure, then his final moments will be in the same state. We should take lesson from such incidents and reflect on how we are leading our lives, so that we can mend our ways by sincerely repenting from a life of negligence and adopting a life of piety and devotion.

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us all the tawfīq to live such a life that we breathe our last when we are engaged in acts that are most beloved to Him, so that we depart with His Forgiveness, Mercy and eternal Pleasure. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 26 No. 8, August 2017)


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Listening Attentively

A Requisite for ‘Ilm and Hidāyah

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

The great muhaddith and faqīh, Sufyān Ibn ‘Uyaynah rahimahullāh states:

The first step towards acquiring ‘ilm is istimā‘ i.e. listening attentively, then to understand, then to memorise/remember, then to act upon it and propagate.

The importance of listening with full attention is the first step and an essential requisite for success in acquiring ‘ilm, which is the prerequisite to acting according to the Wishes of the Creator. It is for this reason Allāh ta‘ālā used the word istimā‘ (listening with intent) instead of sam‘ (merely to listen with or without intention), followed by the word insāt (to become silent), when stating the adab of listening to the Qur’ān in the following verse:

When the Qur’ān is recited, listen to it attentively and be silent, so that you may be showered with mercy. (7:204)

Allāh ta‘ālā has promised to bestow His Mercy upon those who listen attentively, which will manifest in the form of the ability to abstain from wrong and engage in good deeds. Allāh ta‘ālā states: 

..those who listen to the word attentively (of Allāh ta‘ālā and His Rasūl sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, and follow (it, knowing that it is) the best of it (of all speech). These are the ones whom Allāh has guided, and these are the ones who possess (true) intelligence (wisdom). (39:18)

The importance of istimā‘ can be further understood by how Allāh ta‘ālā addressed Mūsā ‘alayhis salām when sending revelation to him. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

I have chosen you (for prophethood), so listen attentively to what is revealed. (20:13)

The commentators of the Qur’ān have mentioned that when Mūsā ‘alayhis salām was commanded that he should listen attentively to what is revealed to him, he stood on a rock, leaning against another, placed his right hand over his left, dropped his chin on his chest and stood listening attentively. 

From the above it is clear how important it is to listen attentively when seeking knowledge or listening to a discourse: only those people will genuinely benefit who listen attentively with sound understanding.

How to Listen Attentively

The pious predecessors have defined the term istimā‘ in detail. Wahb Ibn Munabbihrahimahullāh further explains the essence of istimā‘ by stating that it comprises of the following:

a. Keeping the body motionless.

A person should not engage any part of his body in anything whilst listening. He should become motionless. Fidgeting, playing around with clothes and other such actions dilute the concentration one needs when listening to religious discourses and lessons. The Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum, when in the company of Rasūlullāhsallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, would sit so still that they were described with the phrase, “as if birds were sitting on their heads.” If a bird was to sit on a person and he desired that it does not fly away, he will need to be extremely still. This was the condition of the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum whilst sitting in the company of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and listening to him.

b. Lowering the gaze.

In essence, lowering the gaze means that one should not be distracted by anything and be totally focused towards the lesson being imparted. Hence, a person needs to abstain from looking here and there. Focussing in a manner which will prevent one from being distracted is essential to listening attentively. This can be achieved by either looking down or at the speaker. Furthermore, it portrays interest to the speaker which will further enhance the quality of delivery.

c. Attention of the ears.

During the discourse or lesson, a person should lend his ears only to the speaker.

d. Attention of the mind.

Whilst listening, the mind should also be alert and attentive. Being preoccupied or thinking about other things will be a hindrance in giving the required attention. It is for this reason students are advised to disengage from all such activities and devices which occupy the mind.

e. Firm intention to act.

If a person does not intend to act upon the knowledge being imparted, his attention will not always be completely focused. Having a firm intention to practice will motivate a person to focus on everything being said.

When a person adopts such a manner of listening then he will fulfil the requisites of istimā‘ and gain the Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā. Allāh ta‘ālā will in return, grant him the correct understanding of knowledge and enlighten his heart with a special Nūr. Consequently, he will become from those who have been guided and granted a deep level of understanding, i.e. wisdom, as stated in the verse of the Glorious Qur’ān:

..those who listen to the word attentively (of Allāh ta‘ālā and His Rasūl sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, and follow (it, knowing that it is) the best of it (of all speech). These are the ones whom Allāh has guided, and these are the ones who possess (true) intelligence (wisdom). [39:18]

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us the tawfīq to implement the act of listening attentively so that we may acquire true benefit from religious discourses and lessons. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 25 No. 9, September 2016)


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Friends


Friends

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

It is very important for every Muslim to make sure that his choice of friends and the company he keeps is correct. It has been proven through experience that the habits and behaviour of friends and associates slowly enter into an individual. Without realising, a person begins to adopt the style and behaviour of his friends. We are all witnesses to this fact. Sadly, I can recall many incidents where those who were pious, religious and good in character lost all of their good qualities because they kept bad company and associated with an inappropriate circle of friends. I have also seen others who were drowning in sins and evil, who underwent a complete revolution in their lives after adopting the company of a pious person of high moral standards. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam advised,

A person is on the way of his friend. Therefore he should think very carefully whom he is making a friend. (At-Tirmidhī, Abū Dāwūd, Ahmad)

Sincere Friends

We need friends who are sincere, genuine and, true in their friendship. Those who care for our well-being from every aspect are true friends. Those who have concern not only for the needs of this temporary life but also for the requirements of our everlasting life are our real friends.

Allāh is Sufficient for Love

There is only one Supreme Being Who is worthy of ‘true’ love and friendship and this is Allāh ta‘ālā. For love and friendship, He alone is enough. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam commented,

If I were to take a khalīl (intimate friend) other than my Lord, I would have taken Abū Bakr. (Al-Bukhārī) 

Here, despite such close ties and such a strong bond of friendship with Sayyidunā Abū Bakr radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam explains that the highest level of intimacy is reserved only for Allāh ta‘ālā. However, when one becomes engrossed in Divine love and then in the light of this love, one befriends and loves somebody, then inshā’allāh this form of friendship will prove beneficial in both worlds.

This is an extract from the booklet ‘Friendship & our Young Generation’
published by the Islāmic Da’wah Academy