Tuesday, 25 December 2012
The Aim, Purpose & Consequence of Consistent Spiritual Routines
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from “The Aim, Purpose and Consequence of Consistent Spiritual Routines” by Imam al-Haddad (q.s.), with commentary from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, dated 7th February, 2010.
In “The Book of Assistance”, Imam ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad (q.s.) said that the aim and spirit of spiritual routines, awrad, is presence with Allah (s.w.t.). As we aim for it; we will reach it only if we travel the road that leads to it, which is performing the external activities and striving to be present with Allah (s.w.t.) during them. When we persevere in this, we become immersed in the lights of Proximity and the sciences of gnosis emanate upon us, at which our heart becomes wholly intent on Allah (s.w.t.) and presence becomes its nature and well-established quality.
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani commented, a wird is any regular routine of worship, such as prayer, dzikr, du’a, fasting, and so on. One can also consider regular routines of religious study and reading to be a wird. It is sunnah to be consistent in one’s works; to take on only as much as one can sustain with excellence, without feeling overwhelmed; to focus not only on actions, but on excellence in one’s actions; and to strive for gradual, meaningful increase that is sustainable.
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Take from actions that which you can sustain, for verily Allah doesn’t tire until you tire.” This is recorded by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) and Imam Muslim (r.a.) from ‘Aisha (r.a.). This means, as Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) explained, that Allah (s.w.t.) does not tire of Rewarding and Accepting our works until we tire of performing them; or that it is not Allah (s.w.t.) Who tires for He is Exalted beyond imperfection but it is we who do.
And our Beloved Messenger (s.a.w.) said, “Verily, this religion is ease, and none will make the religion difficult except that it will overwhelm them. So, remain steadfastly committed; do your best; and be of glad tidings. And seek assistance in the early mornings; the late afternoons; and something of the depths of the night.” This is recorded by Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) and Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.) from Abu Hurayrah (r.a.).
Making the religion difficult is to take on more than one can manage. Remaining steadfastly committed entails seeking knowledge of who to seek Allah (s.w.t.) how to act according to the Prophetic example of excellence, and to strive to act accordingly. Doing one’s best is to take on what one can sustain; to keep consistent; and to do the best one is able to manage if one cannot do everything completely. Being of glad tidings entails celebrating the favour of Allah (s.w.t.) having Gifted one with the urge to seek His Pleasure; the knowledge of how His Pleasure is sought; and for inspiring one to act accordingly.
Say: “In the Bounty of Allah and in His Mercy ― in that let them rejoice”: that is better than the (wealth) they hoard. (Surah Yunus:58)
The three blessed times that are particularly beneficial for spiritual striving are fajr time and after sunrise, when there are few distractions; ‘aswr time, or during and after one’s return from work and a little of the late night, after having slept, tahajjud – the time for true lovers of Allah (s.w.t.) to stand with their Beloved.
Sincerity is to seek Allah (s.w.t.) Alone in one’s actions. This meaning is manifest in consistency as it affirms that one acts for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.) whether one has the inclination to or not; and it manifests the trueness of one’s yearning for Allah (s.w.t.). Consistency also strengthens one’s resolve to seek Allah (s.w.t.); makes one’s efforts add up; changes the heart, polishes it and directs it towards Allah (s.w.t.). And if one’s seeking becomes consistent, then one will surely find Allah (s.w.t.) and attain unto His Closeness, Love, and Presence.
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) related that Allah (s.w.t.) Says, “I Am as My servant thinks of Me. And I am with them when they remember Me. And, by Allah, Allah Rejoices more in the repentance of His servant than when one of you finds their lost property in a vast space. Whoever draws close to Me by a hand span, I Draw Close to them by an arm’s length; and whoever draws close to Me by an arm’s length, I Draw Close to them by two arm’s lengths; and whoever directs themselves to Me walking, I Direct Myself to them Running.” Imam Muslim (r.a.) authenticated this from Abu Hurayrah (r.a.); Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) mentioned it with similar text. This means that anything the one does of the good for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.) is Magnified in its Reward and spiritual consequence and that when one’s directing oneself to Allah (s.w.t.) becomes consistent and true, then Allah (s.w.t.) Rushes to one by Granting His Closeness, Love, Beholding, and Concern. This is found in ‘Ayni, Umdat al-Qari Sharh Swahih al-Bukhari, and others.
Imam Ahmad (r.a.) related that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said that Allah (s.w.t.) Says, “O child of Adam! Stand up for Me, and I will walk towards you. Walk towards Me, and I will rush towards you.” This is recorded by Imam Ahmad (r.a.) in his Musnad with a swahih chain of narrators according to Imam al-Mundziri (r.a.) in his Targhib.
May Allah (s.w.t.) Make us of the people of sincerity, consistency, trueness in turning to Allah (s.w.t.) and of those Whom Allah (s.w.t.) Accepts, Turns to, Loves, Draws Close, and Grants His Spiritual Beholding such that we worship, submit, and live as though we behold Him, with every step and breath expended on the footsteps of His Beloved Messenger Muhammad (s.a.w.).