The Path

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Umar radiyalaahu anhuma had mentioned, "Whoever wishes to follow the way of another, should follow the ways of those who have passed away. These were the companions of Muhammad sallalaahu alayhi wassalam, who were the best people of this Ummah. Their hearts were most pious, their knowledge was deepest and they were least pretentious. They were people whom Allah Ta'ala had chosen to be companions of His Nabi sallalaahu alayhi wassalam and for the transmission of His Deen. You people should emulate their character and mannerisms. By the Rabb of the Kaabah! The Sahabah radiyalaahu anhum of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam were correctly guided."

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Ulama and the Effort of Dakwah and Tabligh: Part 2

On 10th June 2007, Maulana Abu Bakar of South Africa visited Masjid Jame' Sri Petaling, the Kuala Lumpur Markaz and a jord (gathering) was held at the Markaz. From his many precious advises, he talked about the importance of maintaining relationship with the ulama. 

He urged us to meet the ulama and asked them to make du'a for us with the intention of getting blessing from Allah. May by the grace of Allah, Allah will forgive us through the du'a of the ulama. An aalim also have to ask for du'a from a more senior aalim. Members of the public have to ask prayer even from young ulama. Even someone who sponsored a young man to learn hifz and aalim studies also have to give a proper respect to the young man upon him completing his Deeni studies.

An aalim is not to be disturbed when he was resting and sleeping, and at the time when he is teaching. Greeting him, presenting him with a gift, asking for advice and du'a are good things in tartib of khususi the ulama . Give karguzari with wisdom depending on the situation. We may also give brief karguzari on how dakwah and tabligh work has given benefit to ourselves.

He also mentioned that we should not criticize the ulama. This will cause a bad effect on our imaan and becoming a cause (asbab) for ourselves to be prevented from Deeni effort and may prevent us from taufeeq or guidance to practice Deen.

Alhamdulillah, for a layman like me, Allah makes it easy so as to confine our duties and responsibilities in a fairly straight forward way as above. Rightly, the ulama are in their own league. It is best to let an aalim to tasykeel another aalim in their own special way.

Hadhrat Maulana Zafar Ahmad Thanwi rahmatullah alayhi recounted that when he was with Hadhrat Maulana Ilyas Dehlawi rahmatullah alayhi around June 1944, Hadhrat Maulana Ilyas uttered a poem "My life will end shortly, behold! Let us live together for a few days. If you come after my demise, you'll be sorry." I was moved by his words that I shed tears unnoticed. Then he said, "Do you remember your promise?" I had promised to him to spend my time in tabligh. I replied, "Yes, I remember. But now the weather is very hot in Delhi. In Ramadhan it'll be very tough. I will give time after Ramadan." He answered, "You mention about the month of Ramadhan when even I might not have any hope to live in Sha'ban." (Ten days prior to the month Sha'ban, on 21 Rajab 1363H/1944M Fajr time, he was called back to his Khaliq).

I said, "Well, I will give time for tabligh right now. Do not worry, Maulana." Hearing my answer, his face was beaming as he hugged my neck, kissing my eyebrows while making du'a for me. Then he said, "You have approached me closely. Many ulama wish to understand what I mean, but from a distance." Then he mentioned the name of a great aalim and said, "He would always follow this dakwah work. But if you ask me, then I say: He did not understand what I want because he is in contact with me through messengers. How could I make him understand if the representative messenger did not understand? Thus, I want you to join me for a few days so you can understand my desire and purpose. It can not be understood from a distance. I know you have taken part in this dakwah and tabligh effort by giving taqrir at functions and listeners get a lot of benefit from them, but it is not that form of dakwah which I desire."

When Hadhrat Mufti Mahmud Hassan Gangohi rahmatullah alayhi was once at his residence in South Africa, some responsible brothers of the tablighi jamaat and ulama linked to the tablighi jamaat came to meet him. They had come to consult with Hadhrat Mufti about how they could best explain to a certain aalim that he should stop writing articles condemning the tablighi jamaat. Someone suggested that an aalim linked to the khanqah who was also in agreement with the effort of the tablighi jamaat should be sent to speak to the aalim in question. It was hoped that he would be able to convince the aalim. However, another aalim said, "I have personally spoken to him about this matter, but he refuses to accept."

Hadhrat Mufti then said, "My opinion is that nothing should be said to him. You continue with your work and he will continue with his belief that it is his duty. The more you try to prevent him, the more he will continue. Carry on with your work and let him carry on with his." This was Hadhrat Mufti's decision and they left it at that.

It was in this gathering that Hadhrat Mufti related a few experiences. He said that once the rector of Darul Ulum Deoband, Hadhrat Maulana Qari Muhammad Tayyib rahmatullah alayhi was initially not familiarized to the work of the tablighi jamaat and was unaware of its benefits. There was an ijtema in Saharanpur and upon the advice of Hadhrat Maulana Zakariyya Kahdhlawi rahmatullahi alayhi the responsible brothers of the tablighi jamaat requested Hadhrat Qari Tayyib to deliver a lecture since he happened to be visiting Saharanpur at the time. Hadhrat Qari Tayyib delivered the lecture in which he admonished those participating with the tablighi jamaat.

Hadhrat Mufti said, "I was once on a journey with Hadhrat Qari Tayyib and said to myself that I will speak all the way without giving him a chance to say anything. I therefore narrated to him many experience and incidents of the tablighi jamaat. The effect of this was that the entire attitude of Hadhrat Qari Tayyib completely changed. It so happened that some time later another ijtema was held in Saharanpur. This time Hadhrat Qari Tayyib was also there and Hadhrat Maulana Zakariyya again told the responsible brothers of the tablighi jamaat to invite him to deliver a lecture. However, this time Hadhrat Qari Tayyib delivered such lecture regarding the six points that even those associated with the tablighi jamaat would be unable to deliver."

In another incident, Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Bari rahmatullah alayhi once commented to Hadhrat Mufti Mahmud Hassan rahmatullah alayhi, "Why are you doing the work of tabligh amongst the ignorant? Rather do it amongst the English-speaking class because I have not seen any of them whose iman is in a safe condition, unless they had not been hesitant in expressing their beliefs." Hadhrat Mufti replied, "We will continue doing work amongst the ignorant because we are illiterate just like them. You are educated, therefore you should rather do the work amongst the learned class."

Hadhrat Mufti Mahmud Hassan Gangohi rahmatullah alayhi also mentioned, "There was once an Ijtema in Lucknow (in India). Maulana Abrarul Haq, Maulana Siddiq Ahmad rahmatullah alayhim and I were all present there. With them, I also presented myself in the company of Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Bari who had been granted permission from Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahmatullah alayhi to act as a spiritual mentor. He started making some tea when he said, "Yes! No ones lecture was on the style and mode of Hadhrat Thanwi. They scatter the seeds and go away. They do not reform their household. A person's home should first be set right. One should go out to reform others only once one's own home and town have been reformed. It was because of this that Hadhrat Thanwi did not approve of this method." All this he was saying while making the tea as the three of us sat there quietly.

Maulana Siddiq and Maulana Abrarul Haq both whispered to me, forcing me to give a reply. Eventually Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Bari himself said, "Mufti Sahib! You will have to give a reply." I submitted, "In the presence of pious people, as long as a person can remain an ear he should not become a tongue." However, he insisted, "It is your duty to reply."

I then said, "Alright, then listen. Your opinion is incorrect. Hadhrat Thanwi had written the books Islahur Rusum and Bahishti Zewar and traveled to many places to deliver lectures. Did he first reform his own town and region? Did he only engage himself in reforming his household? Which custom was not prevalent in Thanabowan? Hadhrat Thanwi's wife was the paternal aunt of my close relative, so I know all about their domestic matters." Maulana Abdul Bari said, "The original way is this that a person first reforms himself, then his family, then his locality and then his neighbourhood and surrounding areas. The work should be done in this manner." I replied, "Did Hadhrat Thanwi first reform his own household and then started advising others and reforming them? Similarly, you have written so many books for the reformation of others. Did you first reform your household before writing these books?" He said, "I threw my children out of the house." I said, "This is also wrong. Will they be reformed in this manner? Was this the approach and style of tabligh of Rasulullah sallalaahu alayhi wassalam that those who do not accept should be thrown out of the house whereby ending all hopes of reformation?"

Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Bari said, "I was not aware that the tablighi jamaat can influence the Grand Mufti of Darul Ulum Deoband to this extent. If they had no other accomplishment to their credit, this in itself is a great accomplishment that they influenced the Grand Mufti of Darul Ulum." I replied, "This is also incorrect. On the contrary, the tablighi jamaat gave Darul Ulum a Mufti. The Darul Ulum needed a Mufti, so they requested the tablighi jamaat who gave them a Mufti as I am first a tablighi then a Mufti."

Upon this Maulana Abdul Bari said, "There is great benefit in this work as well. Many people who were not performing solah started performing solah and learnt a great deal of Deen also. But this is such a method where the seeds are being continuously planted and that is where it stops. There is no consolidation of the effort." Upon that I said, "Get ready for 40 days. I will accompany you. As you wish we will do the work. As far as not physically taking part in this effort and merely raising objections and criticize while sitting in ones home, we give no merit to such criticism, nor do we pay any attention to it.""

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