27 - Sayyid Abdulhakim Arwasi (rahmatullahi 'alaih) [He was a great and profound religious savant. His name was mentioned in the preface of our book. His letter to a university student radiates knowledge. It was translated into English and published as a brochure. Our book includes that letter. He died in 1362 A.H. (1943).] says in his book Ashab-i kiram, "Ijtihad means to work with all one's might, to strive and to take pains. In other words, it is to strive to derive the rules to solve problems that have not been explained clearly and openly in the Qur'an or in the hadiths by likening them to matters that have been explained clearly and in detail. This can be done only by our Prophet (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam), by all his Ashab and, from among other Muslims, by those who have been promoted to the grade of ijtihad; these exalted people are called Mujtahid. Allahu ta'ala commands us to perform ijtihad in many places of the Qur'an. Then, it is a binding rule for mujtahids to perform ijtihad. These are the great people who can understand the rules of the Shariat and religious matters lying in the depths of the ayats and hadiths that do not have clearly understandable meanings by using their understanding of the text and the meaning that can be inferred from the text. To be a mujtahid it is necessary to know the high branches of Arabic thoroughly, to know the Qur'an by heart, to know what each ayat means, the meanings that it indicates, the meanings lying hidden in it, the meanings that must be given according to the subject, to know when ayats descended, why they descended, about what they descended, if they are general or particular, if they are nasih or mansuh, [Some ayats were changed by some other ayats that descended later. The former are called mansuh, which means 'changed.' The latter are called nasih, which means 'the one that has changed the other.' The ayat about wine is an example.] if they are conditioned [Some ayats depend on some conditions, e.g. the ayat "O believers, perform namaz," is conditioned, because to perform namaz one has to be sane and pubert, and has to have a ritual ablution, etc. But the ayat "O people, have iman," is unconditional because everybody has to have iman.] or unconditional, how they have been derived from Qiraat-i Saba and Qiraat-i Shazza [Some ayats in the Qur'an are read in seven different ways. Each reading has a different meaning. Qiraat-i Shazza means the word which a few of the Prophet's companions used to recite in an uncommon manner.], to know by heart the hundreds of thousands of hadiths that are in Qutub-i sitta [The six hadith books which all Islamic savants have confirmed to be correct.] and other hadith books, to know when and why each hadith was said and how comprehensive its meaning is, which hadith is before or after the other, the events that have to do with it and upon which events and happenings it was said, by whom they were communicated or narrated and the state of the morality of the persons who communicate it, to know the methods and rules of the knowledge of fiqh, to comprehend the twelve branches of knowledge and the indications and symbols of the Qur'an and hadiths and their clear and hidden meanings while having these meanings fixed in the heart, and to have strong iman and a bright, pure heart and a conscience possessing superior qualities and tranquility.
"All these superior qualities could exist only in the Ashab-i kiram and, later, in some of the great awliya who lived within two hundred years of the period after them. Later, opinions and preferences became wide spread and bidats started to appear. Day by day such auspicious people decreased in number and by 400 A.H. there was no one left satisfying all these conditions, that is, who was a mutlaq (absolute) mujtahid.
28 - Sunnat-i muakkada, sunnat-i-zawaid
28 - The actions that Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) did or abstained from are of two types. The first type of actions is the ones which he did or did not do as forms of worship. Every Muslim has to adapt himself to these performances and avoidances. Actions which do not conform with them are bidats. The second ones are the actions done as customs by the people of the cities and the countries in which he lived. He who dislikes them and says that they are unpleasant becomes a disbeliever. But it is not obligatory to do them. An action not conforming with them is not a bidat. Doing or not doing them depends on the customs of one's country and nation. They are categorized as mubah. They do not have anything to do with the religion. Each country has different customs. In fact, customs of a country may change in the course of time.
Ibni Abidin (rahmat Allahi ta'ala 'alaih), while explaining the sunnats of ablution, writes: "Mashru'at, namely 'ibadat, i.e. things which Muslims were commanded to do, are of four categories: fard, wajib, sunnat and nafila. Plain commandments by Allahu ta'ala are called fard. Allahu ta'ala's commandments that are not as clear as a fard, but are inferred through deduction are called wajib. Those worships which are neither fard nor wajib but which Rasulullah himself advised or practiced, or if the did not say anything to those who omitted them, are called sunnat-i huda or sunnat-i muakkada. They are the shi'ar (symptoms) of the Islamic religion. [That is, they are peculiar to this religion; they don't exist in other religions.] When he saw someone omit a wajib, he used to prevent him from omitting it. If he himself omitted it from time to time, it is called sunnat-i ghayr-i muakkada. I is makruh to omit a sunnat-i muakkada. It is a venial sin. Allahu ta'ala promised to give thawabs for all worships. But, it is necessary to intend for a worship in order to be rewarded for it. To intend is to obey the commandments and to remember the fact that the worship is being done to attain the rida (consent) of Allahu ta'ala. To perform these three categories of worships in their due times is called ada. (Not to perform them in their due times, but to perform them after their due times are over is called qada. To perform them again upon one's own wish after ada or qada is called nafila worship.) It is more blessed to perform fards and wajibs as nafila than performing sunnat-i muakkadas. Things which Rasulullah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) has done continuously not as 'ibadat (worship) but as 'adat (habit) are called sunnat-i zawaid. His style of attirement, his sitting and standing and his beginning from the right hand side while doing good things are in this category. Those who do them are also rewarded. It is not necessary to intend to get a reward for them. It they are intended, then they become acts of worship. Their blessing increases. It is not makruh to omit the sunnat-i zawaid and the nafila worships." Nevertheless, following Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) also in things pertaining to customs supplies one with many advantages and causes much happiness in this and the next worlds.
The things which disbelievers use are of two types
29 - Ibni 'Abidin 'rahmatullahi alaih' in discussing the makruhs of namaz says: "Things which disbelievers do and use are of two types: The first ones are things which they do as customs, that is, things which each nation, each country does as its customs. Out of these, doing or using things that are not haram and that are useful is never a sin. [Using trousers, fez, different types of shoes, spoons and forks, eating meals at a table, putting each person's meal in a dish in front of him, cutting the bread in slices with a knife, and using various tools and gadgets are all behaviors concerning customs and are mubah. It is not a bidat or a sin to use them.] Rasulullah put on shoes especially made for priests." Among them, doing or using the ones that are unpleasant and loathsome and which are not useful is haram. But, after two Muslims use them, they become (Islamic customs) and are not haram for the third Muslim who uses them. The first and second Muslim become sinful, but not the others. In the book Qamus-ul-alam, in the passage giving information about Timurtas Pasha, it is written: "Timurtas Pasha is the person who designed the color of the Ottoman Banner. [Also, the shape of today's Turkish flag with its crescent and star.] He also colored the faz red, which had been white up until that time." The color of the Abbaside State's flag was black. It was changed to white during the time of khalifa Mamun. As it can be seen, the fez was not taken from the Hungarian people, but rather, it was developed by the Turks.
It is written in Birghiwi Vasiyyetnamesi Sharhi [Muhammad Birghiwi Bey's father is Ali. He was born in Balikesir in 928 and died of the plague in 981 A.H. His works, Vasiyyetname, Tariqat, Awamil and Izhar and others, are very valuable.], "The second type of things which disbelievers use are the things which are symptoms of disbelief, symptoms of denying and disbelieving the Shariat and Islam, and it is wajib for us to debase them. One who does or uses them becomes a disbeliever. They cannot be used unless one is threatened with death or with the cutting off of one's limbs or some other reasons causing these results such as severe thrashing or imprisonment or the taking away of all one's property. Also, he who does or uses one of them, which is commonly known, without knowing or as a joke in order to make people laugh, becomes a disbeliever. For example, it is kufr to wear (or use) things specially worn or used by priests during their worships. This is called Kufr-i hukmi." It is written in the basic books of fiqh by Islamic 'alims that to wear the 'things that are peculiar to disbelievers is kufr. (See Ibn-i 'Abidin, Vol. V, page 481). The enemies of Islam, in order to deceive Muslims, try to hide the fact that it is kufr to adopt the customs of the disbelievers and to celebrate their festivals. They call these customs 'Islamic customs' and these days 'sacred days'. They represent the Noel (Christmas), which was introduced into Christianity by the Great Constantine, and Nawruz, which was invented by Jamshid as a national celebration; and they want Muslims to accept the same things. Young and innocent Muslims should not fall for these things. They should learn the truth by asking those sincere Muslims they trust, their relatives who perform namaz, and those family friends who know their religion. Today, no matter where in the world, not to know what is iman and what is kufr or how to perform 'ibadats correctly is inexcusable. He who is deceived because he does not know his din will not be saved from Hell. Today, Allahu ta'ala has made His din known everywhere in the world, and He has made learning iman, the fards, the harams and the halals, beautiful morals very easy. Everybody should learn as much as necessary and this is a fard. One who does not learn them is deemed to have disobeyed the fard. But a person who says there is no need to learn them or who gives no importance to them becomes a disbeliever.
There are seven grades concerning obedience to Rasulullah.
30 - There are seven grades in following Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). The first one is to learn, believe and do the rules of Islam. All Muslims, savants, zahids [Those who do not set people their hearts on worldly possessions.] and, abids [People who try to perform all kinds of worships. ] following Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) are in this grade. Their nafs [A malignant power in man that forces him to do what Allah prohibits and not to do what Allah commands.] haven't fully believed or surrendered to Allah. Allahu ta'ala, with His great pity, accepts only the belief in their hearts.
The second grade, together with doing the commands, is to follow all the instructions and habits of Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and to purify the heart from evil inclinations. Those who walk on the path of tasawwuf are in this grade.
The third grade involves conforming oneself to all the states, spiritual pleasures, and things that come to the heart which occurred to Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). This grade is obtained in the rank which tasawwuf calls wilayat-i hassa. Here, the nafs, too, believes and obeys and all worships become real and perfect.
The fourth level consists of being real and faultless in all auspicious deeds as well as in all acts of worship. This is peculiar to the great ones who are called 'Ulama-i Rasikhin. These savants with perfect knowledge understand the deep meanings and denotations in the Qur'an and hadiths. Such were the Ashab (radi Allahu ta'ala anhum ajmain) of all the Prophets. The nafs of all of them believed and became obedient. Blessings of this sort falls to the lot of either those who advance in the way of tasawwuf and wilayat or those who obey all the sunnats and abstain from all the bidats. Today, bidats have invaded the whole world, and sunnats have been lost; so much so that it is beyond possibility to recover the sunnats and adhere to them and to save oneself from this ocean of bidats. However, customs cannot build up the religion or the Shariat, no matter how widely they have settled and spread or how beautiful they look. Things that are haram or cause disbelief can never be halal or jaiz (permitted), even if they are customarily done or used. [This means that to reach this grade it is obligatory today to advance on the way of tasawwuf. In the early centuries of Islam it was easy to follow all the sunnat. There was no specific need for tasawwuf then.]
The fifth grade is to adapt oneself to the perfect, high qualities peculiar to Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). These qualities cannot be obtained through knowledge or worshipping. They come only through Allah's blessing. In this grade are great Prophets (salawatullahi ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain) and very few great ones of the ummat of Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam).
The sixth grade is to adapt oneself to the perfect qualities of mahbubiyyat [To receive the hidden blessings that are given to the darling himself, Rasulullah.] and ma'shuqiyyat [To receive the hidden blessings that are given to the darling himself, Rasulullah.] in Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). This is peculiar to those whom Allahu ta'ala loves very much; it cannot be obtained through blessings, muhabbat (love) is necessary.
The seventh grade involves all the motes of a man's body adapting themselves to him. The follower is so similar to the one followed that a state of imitation no longer exists. He, too, as if like Rasulullah, takes everything from the same source.
31 - FIRST VOLUME, 42 nd LETTER
The best medicine for purifying the heart is to adhere to the Shariat
This letter, written to Shaikh Darwish, explains that the best medicine for clearing away the rust of loving others from the heart is to hold on to the Sunnat-i saniyya (the Shariat).
May Allahu ta'ala give you salvation! As long as a man remains attached to various things his heart cannot be purified. As long as it remains foul it will remain deprived of and far from happiness. Loving things other than Allahu ta'ala blackens, stains the heart, which is called Haqiqat-i-Jamia [That which has accumulated everything within itself.]. This stain should be cleared away. The best cleaner is to follow, to obey, the Sunnat-i saniyya-i Mustafawiyya ('ala masdariha-ssalatu was- salami wattahiyya). Following the Sunnat-i saniyya does away with the habits and the desires of the nafs that cause the heart to darken.
How lucky for those who are honored with receiving this blessing! Shame upon those who are deprived of this high luck! May Allahu ta'ala give salvation to you and to those who follow the righteous way!
[The word "sunnat" has three meanings in our religion. When "the Book and Sunnat" is said together, "the Book" means "the Qur'an" and "Sunnat" means "hadiths." When referred to as "fard and sunnat" fard means "Allah's commands" and "sunnat" means our "Prophet's sunnat, that is, his commands". When the word "sunnat" is used alone, it means "the Shariat, that is, all the rules of Islam". Fiqh books say that this is so. For instance, it is written in the book Mukhtasar al-Quduri, "He who knows the sunnat the best becomes the imam [When Muslims perform namaz in congregation (jamaat), one of them leads, conducts namaz. He is called the imam.]." In explaining this point, the book Jawhara says, "Here, 'Sunnat' means Islam'."
It is understood that it is necessary to obey the Islam for purifying the heart. Obeying the Shariat means doing the commandments and abstaining from prohibitions and bidats.
Bidat means something that was invented afterwards. They are things that had not existed during the time of our Prophet and his four caliphs 'radi-Allahu anhum' which were fabricated and done in the name of worships. For example, since it is necessary to recite the (ayat called) Ayat-al-Kursi [Verses in the Qur'an are called ayats. There are 6236 ayats in the Qur'an. "Ayat-ul- kursi" is one of them. It explains the greatness of Allah and that His power is infinite.] immediately after the (five daily prayers called) namaz, it is bidat to recite the (prayer termed) 'Salatan Tunjina' [The word salat means both namaz and prayer. Muslims send their prayers to Allah so that the Prophet's grade will go up and he will be given more blessings. Such prayers are called salat, too. Allah loves those who pray so. He rescues them from trouble. Salatan Tunjina means to ask a blessing on the Prophet in order to get rid of problems.] or to say other prayers. These must be recited after Ayat-ul-Kursi and telling the tasbihs [After namaz, it was the Prophet's habit, so it is sunnat, to recite "Ayat-ul-kursi", once, to say "subhanallah" thirty-three times, which means, 'there is no defect in Allah,' "alhamdulillah" thirty-three times, which means, 'hamd, thanks done to everybody will have been done to Him, for He is the only One who sends every favor,' "Allahu akbar" thirty-three times, which means, 'Allah's greatness cannot be comprehended through the mind, through knowledge or through thoughts.' This procedure is called "telling one's tasbihs," or counting beads on a rosary of 3x33=99 beads.]. It is bidat to prostrate and then get up after finishing namaz and saying dua (personal, individual prayer.) It is bidat to call the adhan [At prescribed prayer times, (morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night), a Muslim goes up the minaret and calls all Muslims to pray. This is called the "adhan."] through loudspeakers. Every kind of change and reform in the religion is bidat. On the other hand, it is not bidat to use forks and spoons, to wear ties, to drink coffee or tea, or to smoke cigarettes, for they are not worships, but habits, and they are mubah. They are not haram. Statements made by Islamic scholars about smoking are quoted and explained in detail in the (Turkish) book Se'adet-i ebediyye. There are three types of bidat:
1 - It is the worst bidat to use things which Islam says are symbols of disbelief.
2 - Kinds of belief not conforming with what the Ahl as-sunnat scholars communicate are also bad bidats.
3 - Renovations and reforms done as worships are bidats and are grave sins.]
Faithfulness is what becomes a man, even when wronged;
If a person is true, Allah will him uphold.
32 - FIRST VOLUME, 65 th LETTER
Muslims have become garib recently
This letter, written to Khan-i azam, expresses regret over the situation Islam is in today and over the persecution which the Muslims suffer.
May Allahu ta'ala increase your strength! May He help you in your struggles against the enemies of religion in order to exalt His Shariat. Mukhbir-i sadiq [He who always tells the truth.] (Muhammad, 'alaihi wa ala alihi minassalawati afdaluha wa minattaslimati akmaluha) said, "Islam commenced in a gharib and lonely state. During the latter times, it will relapse into its state of gharib (lonely, forsaken, left alone) as it was when it began. How lucky for the Muslims who are gharib and lonely!" During the time of the previous government (the time of Akbar Shah) Muslims were so gharib that disbelievers used to slander Islam openly and make fun of Muslims. They used to express their irreligiousness and praise disbelievers and disbelief in bazars and markets. It was forbidden for the Muslims to do [to say and write about] most of Allah's commandments. Those who performed worships and obeyed the Shariat were being censured and slandered.
Beauties hide away their cheeks, Satan is feigning reluctance;
Subhanallah! ["I know Allah to be far from a defect or deficiency." ] O my Allah, thanks be to Thee! It has been said, "Islam is protected under the shadow of the sword." The brightness of the exalted Shariat has been delegated to leaders of governments. However, the situation became quite different; the state and the government were trying to demolish the Shariat. Shame upon that situation; we must regret and feel penitence over it! We deem your blessed existence as a great blessing from Allah. We do not know of any hero besides you who will protect Believers, who have been scattered under the attacks of the enemies of religion, under this wings that have been scattered by the attacks of the enemies of religion. May Allahu ta'ala, for the sake of his beloved Prophet and his Ahl al-bayt [Immediate relatives of the Messenger of Allah: Hadrat Ali (his cousin and son-in- law), Hadrat Fatima (his daughter), Hadrat Hasan and Husain (his grandsons).] ('alaihi wa alaihimusalawatu wattaslimat wattahiyyat walbarakat), increase your strength! May He help you! It was declared in a hadith, "Unless a person is said to be mad, his iman will not be complete!" At the present time, Junun (madness), which is the symbol of love for Islam and Islamic zeal, appears in your pure soul. Thanks to Allahu ta'ala, who has given this blessing! Today is such a day that a few actions [words or writings] will be immediately accepted and many rewards will be given for them. The reason why the Ashab-i kahf 'rahmatullahi ta'ala alaihim' [The seven persons who were in the cave of Tarsus. They attained high grades by doing one beautiful deed. This deed was that when the enemies of the religion invaded their land they migrated to another place lest they would lose the iman in their heart.] gained so much value and fame was only because they migrated. When the enemy attacks, a few actions by the cavalrymen become very valuable. In peacetime, very delicate or hard drills cannot receive as much value. The jihad which you perform through words today is the greatest jihad. Appreciate the value of this blessing which falls to your lot. Do your best to disgrace the enemies of religion [so that it be realized that the harams are ugly and harmful and thus they must be abstained from] and tell the truth. Believe that the Jihad done with a preaching [and with the pen] is more profitable than the jihad done with a sword [and cannon]. We people with hands not writing and tongues not speaking are deprived of this blessing.
Enjoy blessings, who has attained it,
poor Lover! With few drops, be sated.
I showed you, to treasury this is the short cut,
You may reach it, even though we have not.
Khwaja-i Ahrar [Ubaidullah-i Tashkandi] 'quddisa sirruh' said, "If I became a shaikh, no other shaikh would find a murid (disciple) at any place. But I was assigned to do another task. This task is to spread the Shariat and strengthen Islam." For this reason, he used to visit sultans [presidents, members of parliment] and give them advice. Through his persuasive words, he brought all of them around to the right course. Through them he used to spread the Shariat. Allahu ta'ala, for the sake of your love and respect towards our superiors, has blessed your words with effectiveness and has represented your affection for the religion as majestic. Then, at least, I request that you strive for the abolition of disbelievers' customs [feasts, Christmas Eves, dances, balls, men and women's coming and being together] that have spread among the Muslims and that have become their customs. I also request that you protect Muslim children against loathsome things of this sort that are peculiar to disbelievers. May Allahu ta'ala give you plenty of rewards through us and through all Muslims. During the time of the previous government there was an unrestrained enmity against Islam. There is no such visible enmity, grudge or obstinacy now. There are some mistakes. Yet they are not because of obstinacy, but because they are not known. Today, Muslims, like disbelievers, can talk freely and have the freedom which disbelievers have. Let us pray and wake up lest disbelievers will win, lest the chronic grudge and enmity will bring harm upon us, and lest Muslims relapse into persecution and torment.