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['Aalim Network QR] The Road to Faith and Spirituality


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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
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Salamun alaykum,

	The reply to the following question was kindly provided by Mulla
Bashir Rahim.  In it, he has very eloquently outlined and discussed the
means by which we can increase our Imaan (faith).  May Allah (swt) reward
him for his effort.

Wasalaam,

Mustafa Rawji
Moderator, 'Aalim Network

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QUESTION:

  Assalam Alaikum,

  May Allah send His blessings on the Prophet and his Family.

  I read the book, Light Within Me, and I was utterly confused.  According
to scholars, what is the way that we gradually increase our imaan and
proximity to Allah? 


ANSWER:

Thank you for asking this very important question. Allow me first of all
to quote from my earlier posting on another subject. 

"Allah (SWT) says in Chapter 49 (al-Hujurat) verses 14 &15:

    The wandering Arabs say: We believe (have imaan). Tell them (O
Muhammad) "You do not believe. You should rather say:'We submit' for imaan
(faith) has not entered your into your hearts. Yet, if you obey Allah and
His Messenger He will not withhold from you any of the rewards of your
deeds. Allah is indeed Forgiving and Merciful." 

    The (true) believers (mu'minoon) are only those who believe in Allah
and His messenger AND AFTERWARDS DOUBT NOT, but strive with their wealth
and their lives for the cause of Allah. These are the sincere (sadiqoon). 

The above ayah immediately conjure up a graphic of Islam of two concentric
circles. The inner circle, a small one, of those elite who accept all that
Allah and His messenger have said and abide by them. The centre is the
Holy Prophet, 'Ali and the other Aimmahs as was pointed out by the Holy
Prophet. Within the inner circle we find such figures as Abu Dhar, Salman
Farsi, Ammaar, the Shuhadaas and the like, including some great mujtahids.

Now the book in question has been co-authored by three of our greatest
scholars of the modern time, Allama Muhammad Hussain Tabatabai, Allama
Murtadha Mutaharri and Marhum Ayatullah Ruhullah Khumaini (A.R.). To this
list we can add many other scholars most outstanding of whom is Ayatullah
Khu'i. These are the people who while being well versed with tafseer,
ahadeeth and jurisprudence also have been thinkers of great stature. They
were 'urafa who gained extensive knowledge of 'irfan. 'Irfan is
concentration on the world of divinity with a view to illuminate one's
soul in the radiance of Divine Light. In English it is known as gnosis.

Gnosis is inseparable from Islam. One acquires gnosis as one travels from
the outer circle towards the inner circle envisaged by Suratul Hujurat's
verse referred to above. The starting point is a resolution to obey Allah
and His Prophet.

Through 'irfan one begins to understand Allah and one's own position with
regard to Allah. Who is Allah ? Where is Allah ? Who am I ? What are my
responsibilities as His representative on the earth ? These are the
questions which the 'urafa address their mind to and endeavour to seek the
answer. Rumi was also such a seeker and he expresses his search for God in
the following poem: 

                Cross and Christians, from end to end,
		I surveyed; He was not on the Cross.

		I went to the idol-temple, to the ancient pagoda;
		No trace was visible there.

		I went to the mountains of Herat and Candahor.
		I looked, He was not in that hill and dale.

		With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Qaf
		In that place was only Anqa's inhabitation.

		I bent the reins of search to the Ka'ba;
		He was not in that resort of Old and Young.

		I questioned Ibn Sina of His State;
		He was not within Ibn Sina's range.

		I fared towards the scene of two bow-lengths distance,
		He was not in that exalted court

		I gazed into my heart;
		There I saw Him; He was nowhere else.

Many of the du'aas of Imam Zainul 'Abideen (A.S.) also reflect 'irfan of
the highest category. Allow me to quote the following ahadeeth: 

a.     The Holy Prophet has said: "He who has known his self has known
         Allah."

b.     The following two quotations from the compilation of sermons and
sayings of Imam Ali (published as Nahjul Balagah) are also relevant. 

	"There is no doubt that Allah the Almighty has made His
remembrance the polish of the hearts.  By means of it the deaf begin to
hear, the blind begin to see and the arrogant become submissive.  In every
age and period Allah the Almighty has created men in whose minds He puts
His secrets and through whose intellect he talks to them." 
								Sermon 220

	"A godly person enlivens his heart and annihilates his ego till
what is coarse becomes soft.  A bright light like lightening shines in
front of him, shows him the way and helps him in advancing towards Allah. 
Many doors push him forward till he reaches the gate of peace and safety
and arrives at the destination where he has to stay.  His feet are firm
and his body contented, for he uses his heart and pleases his Lord." 
								Sermon 218


I would repeat that the best way to acquire spirituality is to begin total
obedience of Allah and His Prophet, without question, without hesitation,
without entertaining any doubt. This is the beginning of the journey.
Allah says in the last ayah of suratul Ankabut: 

"As for those who strive in us, We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! 
Allah is with the good." 

I trust this response satisfies the questioner. 'Irfan is such a vast
subject that it is impossible to encapsule it in a single posting. If any
member has any supplementary question, please submit it to the Alim
Network. 
  
With salaams and du'aas from a humble servant of Ahlul Bayt and their
followers, and with a request to be remembered by you in your prayers,

Bashir Rahim




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