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  • Iqbal Shaikh
    … ! Translator s Introduction # of his vision are his Sirat-e-allaj, a biography of Man!ur al- allaj and an exposition of his teachings on ta awwuf, Shar!
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 12, 2013
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      … ! " Translator's Introduction #
      of his vision are his Sirat-e-allaj, a biography of Man!ur al-"allaj and an exposition
      of his teachings on ta awwuf, Shar! Fu u  al-ikam, Kalid-e-Mathnawi,
      "Irfan-e-Ha$#, Masa’il-e-Suluk, al-Takashshuf, and al-Tasharruf. &ese latter two
      works will be the subject of detailed discussion later on in this introduction.
      Mawlana’s Perception of Ta awwuf
      &ere is no denying the importance of Mawlana’s written work. Yet, of no less
      importance to the Muslims of the subcontinent was Mawlana &anawi’s spiritual
      guidance. It had become a lamentable fact of life in India that ta awwuf had
      degenerated to such a degree that there was little to distinguish a yogi from a
      Su). &e &ariqas, or Su) orders had become social clubs and sources of income
      for the chosen few. Indeed, in most orders khilafah or spiritual leadership had
      become a matter of inheritance, like the feudal lordship, which was the bane of
      Indian society.
      Mawlana &anawi’s contribution was to re-establish in the public mind the
      connection between Shari "a and &ariqa. &is he accomplished to a certain extent
      in his writings. However, the real breakthrough in this potent )eld for the reform
      of the individual and society was made by Mawlana &anawi, the sheikh and
      murshid, not by Mawlana &anawi, the author and scholar.
      &e di*erence should be easy to understand. It is one thing to spread the word,
      and another thing entirely to be an example of the living word. Mawlana Ashraf
      #Ali &anawi went a step further. As the result of his attention and guidance,
      scores of others themselves became living examples of the word of lslam and, in
      turn, in+uenced hundreds and thousands of Muslims. &e register of Mawlana
      &anawi’s spiritual successors (khalifahs) includes some of the most accomplished,
      learned, pious, and spiritually in+uential Muslims of the century.1
      In bringing the Islamic ideal of equilibrium to the )eld of spiritual guidance,
      Mawlana &anawi established a number of criteria for his disciples. To begin
      with, all disciples were classi)ed as belonging to one or another of the following
      four categories:2 (3) scholar and single, (4) non-scholar and single, (5) scholar
      and married, (6) non-scholar and married.
      &e reasons for such a division would have to do with the kind of opportunity
      a disciple had for attention to spiritual disciplines and exercises and the kind
      of understanding he–she brought to them. What is signi)cant is the Mawlana’s
      acceptance of the circumstances and responsibilities of his followers, and his
      attempt to reasonably accommodate all those interested in pursuing a spiritual
      7 For a complete list of Mawlana’s Khalifahs, see: Munshi #Abd al-Ra)man Khan, op. cit., p. 648–655
      8 See Qa d al-Sabil, op. cit.
      relationship. &erea7er, disciples were classi)ed as possessing limited, average,
      or advanced abilities, and for each group separate sets of disciplines and exercises,
      as well as reading matter, were prescribed.8
      One exceptionally lucid work, also entitled aqiqat al-&ariqa, or %e Truth
      About the Way, was required reading for all of Mawlana’s disciples at the time of
      their entering the Su) order.
      As this work is quite brief, and yet sheds a good deal of light on Mawlana
      &anawi’s teachings, it is translated here into English for the bene)t of the reader.
      2e Essence of Inner Conduct
      3. Neither kashf (visions) nor karamah (minor miracles) are required or
      4. On the Day of Judgment no one (other than yourself) will be responsible
      for your salvation.
      5. &ere is no promise that your worldly a*airs will improve (as a result of
      your becoming a disciple of this Su) order, or) through your tying talismans
      or charms around your necks, or that you will win court cases, or
      have an increase in income, or be cured of disease. Or be granted knowledge
      of what is in the future.
      6. Your behavior will not be reformed merely through the attentions of your
      sheikh, nor will you cease to think evil thoughts. You will not automatically
      engage in worship without even having to resolve to do so. And your
      knowledge and understanding of the Qur’an and Islam will not necessarily
      register any sort of increase.
      9. &ere is no promise that you will attain any inner spiritual states, or even
      that you will )nd pleasure in the performance of worship or spiritual
      exercises, or that you will not be beset by alien thoughts while in worship.
      &ere is no guarantee that you will wash your sins away with your tears of
      ;. In your performance of spiritual exercises you need never see mystic
      lights or hear voices from the Unseen.
      1. You may never have a sublime or meaningful dream or receive guidance
      from above.
      9 See =anawi’s al-Takashshuf "an muhimmat al-ta awwuf (Lahore: Sajjad Publishers, 1960) p. 30.
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