A short passage to reflect over and ponder, especially for those from an Indian Subcontinent background where matters are always presented as black and white.
Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani , the recent prominent Sunni theologian of Palestine wrote the following passage in his work Shawahid al-Haqq (p.62).
“Know that the belief I hold regarding Ibn Taymiyyah and his two students – Ibn al-Qayyim and Ibn Abd al-Hadi – is that they are from the Imams of the religion and from the prominent (akabir) Muslim scholars. They have greatly benefitted the Muhammadan community with their knowledge, even though they made serious errors regarding the issues of visitation and istighatha as a result which they caused significant harm to Islam and the Muslims. I swear by Allah to Magnificent! Before my coming across their statements regarding these issues regarding the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) I did not believe that a Muslim could venture to say such a thing. I have now for a number of months been reflecting over citing their statements but cannot venture to do so even for the sake of refuting them out of fear that I might be a means of increasing their circulation such is their ugliness. May Allah forgive them and have mercy on them according to their intentions and not deprive us from seeking mercy for them and benefitting from their knowledge.”
Shah Waliullah and the topic of istighatha can be confusing. You have the anti-istighatha scholars usually citing passages from his Hujatullah al-Baligha and at times other disputed works which seem to support their argument. Yet when you read works of Shah Waliullah such as the Anfas al-Arifin you get a totally different impression, as it contains a number of pro istighatha anecdotes and comments, some of which have been presented on this site. So which is the real Shah Waliullah? I had been thinking for some time that the written words of a scholar can be misinterpreted and misrepresented by parties seeking to validate their own views, and that a record of the personal practice of an individual is often the best means to understand their view on an issue. I was therefore overjoyed to some time ago come across the authorised biography of Shah Waliullah which was penned by his close disciple, and which happens to shed light on the issue of istighatha in such as a decisive way that only a stubborn partisan fanatic would engage in intellectual gymnastics to refute it.
Shaykh Muhammad Ashiq Phulati, the close disciple of Shah Waliullah and author of his authorised biography named Qawl al-Jalli mentions (p.82-83) a clear instance of istighatha which Shah Waliullah taught his students and which is cited approvingly by Shaykh Muhammad Ashiq Phulati. He said:
“A person named Muhammad Yusuf, who was a learned and pious mystic (darwesh) person narrates from a person named Dost Muhammad who was also a pious learned (fadil) person who narrated the following incident:
I would usually go to a person who I was close to who was well known in tasawwuf but regarding whom I knew that his beliefs (aqaid) were not good. I would also go to another person whose company I found beneficial and outwardly he conformed to the sacred law (shariah), and I had full trust in both of them.
One day I got up for the Fajr prayer and the congregation was ready and about to begin, I wished to pray 2 units and then join the congregation, however just as I had formed my intention for this that both of these Shaykhs forms manifested in front of me and attempted to prevent me from praying. I wished to get rid of them and begin the prayer but despite my attempts I was unable to do so. One of the Shaykhs sat down at the place of prostration (sajda) in order to prevent me from prostrating. The other Shaykh stood next to me* and was preventing me…when I found I was unable to do anything I began to recite, ‘La Hawla…’ but I did not find this beneficial to my predicament. I was increasingly becoming more distressed and was aware that the time for the prayer was running out.
I then began to individually recite the names of the pious folk of the past, meaning the noble awliyah and great Prophets and seeking help from them. I then remembered that Hazrat-e-Aqdas (Shah Waliullah) had once said that at a time of distress or difficulty remember my name. As soon as I had called out/took the name of Hazrat-e-Aqdas and sought help from him that I saw that Hazrat-e-Aqdas appeared and with his two hands took both Shaykhs by the ear and banished them and saved me from this tribulation.
I thanked Allah for this and busied myself with the prayer, and this incident was a reason for my increased veneration of Hazrat-e-Aqdas.”
Shaykh Muhammad Ashiq Phulati mentions the following in the biography of his teacher Shah Waliullah al-Dihlawi (Qawl a-Jalli p.52-53):
Point of benefit: When the desire to undertake travel to the Haramain Sharifain (May Allah increase them both in nobility and honour!) occurred and this blessed resolve became firm, in Rabi al-Akhir 1143 hijri he (Shah Waliullah) set off in the company of his elder maternal uncle Shaykh Ubaydullah (May Allah Taala protect them) via the route of Lahore.
During this blessed journey wherever they came across a tomb (mazar) of a wali they would go to it and spend a little time there, and whichever nisbat the wali possessed would become apparent to him which he would then explain in detail.
When they reached Panipat they visited the tomb of Shah Bu Ali Qalandar, Shah Shams Turk and Shah Jalal (Allah sanctify their secrets). After this after reaching Sirhind they visited the tomb of Hazrat Mujaddid Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi and from there they went to Lahore and the tomb of Shaykh Ali Hujwiri (Allah sancitify his secret).
They then reached Multan where they visited the shrine of Makhdum Baha al-Din and Shah Rukn Alam (Allah sanctify their secrets) and he proceeded to detail the spiritual states (ahwal) of each person.
In the city of Multan most of the students of knowledge took the pledge of spiritual allegiance (bayat) and received instruction on spiritual exercises to perform. Some even attained the station of “spiritual ecstasy” from merely one blessed spiritual gaze and only came to their senses after some time. Some others began to shout ecstatically without being able to control themselves .
At the time of Shah Waliullah’s departure most peoples state was that they were insistent on leaving friends and family behind and departing with him. However Hazrat-e-Aqdas keeping in mind what was best consoled everyone and then departed.
I found the following from Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq, the great Shaykh of the Shadhili tariqah who said in his book Uddat al-Murid al-Sadiq:
“I heard a person saying whilst indicating to himself:
‘Every Shaykh who does not guarantee for his murid [that he will help him] in three places – meaning at the time of death, at the time of being questioned [in the grave] and on the bridge [sirat] – is a fraud.’
This is an immense affliction! this is because the state of the Shaykh in these three places is unknowable, likewise the state of all of the creation, and the next world will be a day where Masters will not be able to help each other nor can they be sought help from – except those whom Allah bestows His mercy upon! The supplication of the Messengers upon the Sirat will be “Allahumma sallim sallim” so how can other than the Messengers possess that which they do not? May Allah protect us from this disgraceful matter and lying against Him. This is a great tribulation and mistake which has occurred from this person, and this is due to his ignorance, good opinion of himself and love of leadership. Added to this is his eating in the name of the religion, accompanying the oppressors, giving preference to the rich over the poor and those who hold him in esteem over those who do not…”
The picture above is of Shaykh Abd al-Baqi al-Ayyubi al-Luknawi, one of the great Hanafi scholars of the last 100 years from the illuminated city Medina.
He is best known for his work Manahil al-Salsalah on Musalsal hadith which is regarded to be the most extensive work in this genre.
A number of our teachers were taught by students of Shaykh Abd al-Baqi, such as Shaykh Muhammad al-Mulla and Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Fadani.
Only a handful scholars today remain (to my knowledge) who are able to transmit the Manahil al-Salsalah with all of its conditions. I queried Shaykh Khalid al-Turkestani about the Manahil and Shaykh al-Fadani, he mentioned to me that he did not have the opportunity to read the full text with Shaykh al-Fadani but rather took some narrations from him from the text, he was however permitted to borrow Shaykh al-Fadani’s copy of the Manahil and transcribe his notes from his personal reading to the author.
Here is a link to a biography of Shaykh Abd al-Baqi:
Telegram channel: t.me/daralhadith
Archery has over the past few years become increasingly popular amongst the Muslim community in the UK. This is primarily due to several Prophetic narrations regarding the virtue of this activity such as:
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever learns archery and then leaves it is not from amongst us, and has done wrong.” (Sahih Muslim 1919)
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever learns archery but then forgets it, then it is regarded as a blessing which has been lost.” [Tabarani in Al-Awsat]
These above narrations along with a number of others can be found in Imam Murtada al-Zabidi’s work listing his students and teachers entitled Mujam al-Mukhtas. Whilst looking through this book (p.536 onwards) I was interested to find a lengthy ijazah an expert bowyer (the term used for a person who makes bows) asked him to write on their behalf regarding the issue of archery and more specifically the art of bow making. Imam al-Zabidi after mentioning several narrations regarding the virtue of archery (including the above) wrote on behalf of Ali bin Abdullah al-Rumi (the Mawla of Ahmad Katakhda Salih) saying:
It is established that the first person who practised archery with an Arabian bow was Adam (upon him salutations and peace), for Gibril (Upon him be peace) descended from Paradise with a bow, a bowstring ad two arrows in his hand, which he passed to him and taught him how to practise archery. It was then passed on to Ibrahim (Upon him be peace) and then on to his son Ismail (upon him be peace) at whom the chain of transmission (isnad) of the scholars of this science ends. This being the case…I issue this specific license (ijazah) to him (Hasan bin Abdullah Mawla Ali) in this noble art, with the witnessing of the brethren, just as I was authorised by the Shaykh, the pious complete expert, the deceased: Abdullah Effendi bin Muhammad al-Busnawi, on the basis of his taking from his Shaykh, the deceased, al-Haj Ali al-Albani, from his Shaykh Muhammad al-Istanbuli with his continuous chain to Abdur Rahman al-Fazari and the Imam, the author of al-Ikhtiyar and author of al-Idah, better known as al-Tabari, on the basis of both of them taking from the well known Imams of this art: Tahir al-Balkhi, Ishaq al-Rafa, Ibn Hashim al-Barudi by means of their continuous chains via Shaykh from Shaykh until it reaches Sayyiduna Ismail (Upon him be peace).
Telegram channel: t.me/daralhadith
Wazaif Ibn Taymiyyah? Yes! It appears that even Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah despite his well known stance on the issue of innovation (bidah) had some litanies (wazaif) which were not directly established from the sunnah. Two examples are presented below:
Repeating the Fatihah After Fajr Prayer till Sunrise
Hafiz Umar bin Ali al-Bazzar said:
I kept his close company for the duration of my stay in Damascus, for most of the day and a large part of the night. He would keep me close to himself such that he would make me sit next to him and I would be able to hear what he recited and the invocations he would make. I witnessed him recite the Fatihah and repeat it for the whole duration of time between (the offering of) Fajr until the sun had risen. Alam al-Aliyyah fi Manaqib Ibn Taymiyyah p38
Wazifa Between Sunnah and Fard of Fajr
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (Allah sanctify his soul)… said one day: these two names – referring to al-Hayy and al-Qayyum – have a profound effect on giving life to the heart, indicating that these two names were the greatest name (Ism al-Adham). I heard him saying: Whoever consistently recites 40 times on a daily basis between the sunnah of Fajr and the Fajr prayer: Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum La ilaha illa anta, bi rahmatika astaghith, will attain life of the heart and prevent its death. Madarij 1/446
Imam al-Dhahabi said:
Shaykh Abul Qasim Abd al-Karim al-Qushayri was gifted a horse which he rode for close to 20 years. When the Shaykh died his horse refused to eat anything and died a week later.
InshAllah we hope to release a set of excerpts from the hours of audio recordings we have from the Ramadan Dowra we ran in both 2013 and 2015 with our teacher, Shaykh Khalid al-Turkestani (Allah protect him) from the sacred city of Mecca.
Please find below an excerpt from the opening gathering in 2013 discussing sacrifices in the path of seeking knowledge which serves as a reminder for us all. The translation in this gathering was undertaken by Shaykh Thaqib Mahmood (Allah reward him).
About Shaykh Khalid al-Turkestani
Shaykh Khalid was born in the city of Mecca where his ancestors had migrated to from Central Asia after it came under communist rule. He grew up in the Jarwal district of Mecca and whilst a university student was lead to his teacher, the great hadith master of his age, Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Fadani whose close company he kept for the last three years of his life. After his teacher’s passing he continued his studies with numerous other scholars, such as Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki with whom he read a number of works in depth with commentary such as the whole of Sahih al-Bukhari; the whole of Mukhtasar Sahih Muslim of Imam al-Mundhiri; the whole of the Mishkat al-Masabih over an 18 year period of discipleship. He also studied Aqidah, Shafi fiqh, logic and other sciences with teachers such as Sayyid Ahmad al-Ruyqaymi as well as graduating from the Umm al-Qura university. He currently works as a primary school teacher in Mecca and is among the teaching staff in the private school in the home of Sayyid Abbas al-Maliki (Allah have mercy on him).