100 Years Ago… – Daily diary of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II: The true remembrance of Allah and the way of the present-day sufis


Al Fazl, 15 & 22 April 1922

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Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra

20 April 1922

[…] Remembrance of Allah

A person asked Huzoor[ra] that, “[The verse]: 

فَاذۡكُرُوا‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬قِيٰمًا‭ ‬وَّقُعُوۡدًا‭ ‬وَّعَلٰي‭ ‬جُنُوۡبِكُمۡ‭ ‬

“[‘And when you have finished the Prayer, remember Allah while standing, and sitting, and lying on your sides’] clearly shows that [saying] ‘Allah,’ ‘Allah,’ is the only dhikr [remembrance of Allah]. Is there any other way to remember God in every state?”

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra] said: 

“The translation of this [verse] is, ‘Remember Allah while standing, and sitting, and lying on your sides.’ Now we take a look at how one can remember someone. Many people in the world say that they remember such and such person. However, on such occasions, they do not begin to take their name but only recall their face, virtues, company or deeds. Hence, their attributes are remembered. Likewise, in the Holy Quran, the remembrance of Allah always means remembrance of His attributes. His attributes signify His manifestations that we witness upon us. For example, ‘Ya Rahman’ means, ‘O Most Merciful, have mercy on us,’ and saying ‘Ya Ghafur’ means, ‘O Most Forgiving, forgive our sins.’ The ahadith show that those transgressors will be held accountable on the Day of Judgement who only by the word of mouth say, ‘Allah,’ ‘Allah,’ but on the other hand, we do not find anything in support of the said dhikr.”

Remembrance of Allah in the way of the present sufis

The same person then asked Huzoor[ra], “If one follows the commandments of Allah the Almighty, loves Him and keeps remembering His name in the way taught by the sufis, is it a crime?”

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra] said:

“There are two types of crimes. One is whether or not a person knows about the said crime; for which he is then punished. For example, if a killer gives an excuse that he did not know about the crime of murder, he would still be hanged in any case.

“The second [type of crime which is pardonable is] if a person does not know about the crime. For example, if a person unknowingly enters a building where it is forbidden to go and his excuse of lack of information proves to be valid, then he is pardoned. 

“It is mentioned in the Holy Quran that shirk [associating partners with Allah] is not forgiven at all, and the Promised Messiah, on whom be peace, has said that it is shirk to believe that Jesus is alive in the Heaven. However, at the same time, the Promised Messiahas has also said that the earlier people who passed away [believing that Jesus was alive in the Heaven] and made an error of ijtihad [the process of making a legal decision in Islamic law by independent interpretation of legal sources] will not be held accountable. Likewise, one who does not know that the dhikr ‘Allah,’ ‘Allah,’ is forbidden, then it is not a crime if he does so unknowingly. However, he will be guilty if he continues to do so even after being informed about it.”

Why didn’t the Holy Prophetsa and his companions do such dhikr?

Then, he asked Huzoor[ra] that it is said, “The dhikr ‘Allah,’ ‘Allah,’ prevents one from doing evils.”

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra] said:

“This is a mere assertion. The first thing to see is whether this practice was adopted by the Holy Prophetsa and his Companions or not. If this was a good thing, then why didn’t they do it? Moreover, it should have been mentioned in the Word of God [the Holy Quran].

“Then we observe that [the said dhikr] does not exist in the books of the great sufis. For example, the books of Syed Abdul Qadir Sahib Jilanirh which he wrote with his own hand do not mention it; the book written by Shahab al-Din Sahib Suhrawardi does not mention it; rather, they mention the same auraad [prayers that are repeated again and again] which are mentioned in the Holy Quran and ahadith. There are books of Imam Ghazalirh, Shah Waliullah Sahibrh and Syed Ahmad Sahib Barelvirh; they also did not write such dhikr. These people were pillars [of Islam] and they gave support to the religion in their respective age.”

Present-day sufis

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra] said:

“We observe that in this age, the people who carry out such dhikr are on the rise. The [present-day] sufis themselves have neither trust [in Allah the Almighty] nor do they possess true righteousness. In short, apart from few exceptions, actual reformation is nowhere to be found. There are millions of people who have benefited from the auraad mentioned by God and His Messengersa, but here we do not see that they [today’s sufis] gained anything [from their dhikr]. When the Holy Quran and ahadith were practiced, the people of that time are given the prayer ‘Rahmatullahi alaihi’ [may Allah shower His mercy on them]. On the other hand, the condition of the people of the present age is such that in the thirteenth century onwards, even the animals are said to have sought refuge from them.”

The true remembrance of Allah the Almighty

Then he requested Huzoor[ra] to tell him about the wird [prayer that is repeated again and again] according to the teachings of Allah and His Messengersa as the people of the jungle did not have knowledge of it.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra] said:

“One should recite istighfar, ‘alhamdulillah’wurud-e-tasbih, and ‘Subhanallahi wa bi-hamdihi, subhanallahil-Azeem’ a lot. There are many ways to recite ‘Subhanallah’ and ‘Astaghfarullah’. The simple way is to say:

اَسْتَغْفِرُ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬رَبِّيْ‭ ‬مِنْ‭ ‬كُلِّ‭ ‬ذَنْبٍ‭ ‬وَّ‭ ‬اَتُوْبُ‭ ‬اِلَيْهِ

[“I ask for forgiveness from Allah, my Lord, and turn to Him in repentance.”]

The second way of doing istighfar is as follows:

رَبِّ‭ ‬اِنِّيْ‭ ‬ظَلَمْتُ‭ ‬نَفْسِيْ‭ ‬وَاعْتَرَفْتُ‭ ‬بِذَنْبِيْ‭ ‬فَاغْفِرْلِيْ‭ ‬ذُنُوْبِيْ‭ ‬فَاِنَّهُ‭ ‬لَا‭ ‬يَغْفِرُ‭ ‬الذُّنُوْبَ‭ ‬اِلَّا‭ ‬اَنْتَ

[“O my Lord, I have wronged my soul and confess all my sins. Pray forgive me my sins for there is none else who can forgive.”]

Then, Durood Sharif [invoking blessings on the Holy Prophetsa] should be recited in one’s free time while one is not engaged in any other activity. There is no need to fix the number as to how many times one may invoke Durood Sharif. It is better to recite it at night time. The limit is that as long as there is a desire in one’s heart [one may continue to invoke durood]. The Holy Prophetsa has given different instructions on different occasions. For the people in the mosque, the Holy Prophetsa said to read ‘Subhanallah’, ‘Alhamdulillah’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ three times each after their daily prayers. Some had been instructed to recite these up to 11 times, while certain others were advised to recite these up to 33 times. As long as one does not feel any weariness and there is no difficulty, one may keep doing the said dhikr. After Tahajjud prayer, one may continue to carry out dikhr till dawn. 

“Then, one should recite the Holy Quran after the Fajr prayer. This is also a kind of dhikr. The sunnah or nawafil prayers are also a kind of dhikr. The reading of Surah al-Fatihah, La Haultasbih and takbir while waiting for the imam, all these [dikhr] are mentioned in the Holy Quran and ahadith. Then, whoever [comes in the mosque early] and sits in the first row has the reward of sacrificing a camel. And whoever sits in the second row has the reward of sacrificing a cow. The imam will come when the people have arrived and therefore, the one who is sitting in the first row will have to wait the most for the imam and while waiting, he will spend his time in remembrance [of Allah]. In short, if this waiting time and the time of each obligatory and supererogatory prayer are added, then the time of dhikr comes out on an average of seven hours daily. We do not know for sure who can find time to carry out even more dikhr than [the said hours]. The fact of the matter is that one who abandons the dhikr mentioned by God Almighty and His Messengersa, they turn their attentions toward others. Otherwise, if one remembers Allah the Almighty according [to the Holy Quran and ahadith], they will not find any time to carry out other dhikr.”

The way to reflect on the attributes of God Almighty

Then he asked Huzoor[ra], “What is the way to reflect on the attributes of God Almighty?”

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra] said:

“The best way is through the Holy Quran. In it, the attributes of Allah the Almighty are mentioned by way of illustration. Through the said [examples], one can completely understand them. Apart from that, there is the occasion of praying. The attributes of God Almighty related to the particular occasions should be used regularly while praying. For example, when one prays, one should call Allah the Almighty by the name of “Ya Sami‘ al-Dua” [O Hearer of prayers]. When praying for rizq [sustenance and provisions], one should pray by the name of “Ya Razzaq” [O Provider].”

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu published in the 15 and 22 May 1922 issue of Al Fazl)

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