In the Holy Qur’an, Allah says:
“O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatsoever with God, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (Or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter, then do thou receive their fealty, and pray to God For the forgiveness (of their sins): for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Surah Mumtahinna - ayah. 12]
In a hadeeth narrated by Ummi A’tiya radhi’Allaho anha she radhi’Allaho anha says that, “Rasoolullah took our bay’ah (oath of fealty) on that we would not wail anymore” (i.e. excessively cry and lament on the death of someone as women are often guilty of this – translator)”. [Saheeh Muslim –Vol:1 page.304]
The act of bay’ah (and making a solemn pledge in this way) is not a mere custom nor a meaningless tradition but rather it is an established and blessed Sunnah of RasoolullahThe purpose of giving the bay’ah is to have one’s islah done (character reformed) by an authorized Shaykh who’s spiritual chain (Tareeqa/Silsila) can be traced all the way back to Rasoolullah It can thus be summarized as seeking the pleasure of Allah by following in the footsteps of Rasoolullah and his’ noble companions.
In order to achieve this once a sincere salik (seeker of Allah’s pleasure) gives the bay’ah to a Shaykh in the Naqshbandia tareeqah, he/she is instructed in some initial lessons of this path and is given some ma’moolat (meaning certain spiritual acts of worship which are to be done regularly). It is very important for the salik to remain punctual and steadfast in completing one’s daily ma’moolat as prescribed by the Shaykh, for it is the foundation of all future spiritual progress.
(1)Wuqoof -e- Qalbi
(3)Tilawa (recitation) of the Holy Qur’an
(4)Three tasbeehaat (recitation of a certain dhikr & keeping count on a counting bead or rosary)
(5)Punctually praying the 5 fardh salawaat
(Fajr,Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib & Isha with their sunnah and witr after Isha salaah)
(1) Wuqoof -e- Qalbi
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“O ye who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance.” [Surah Ahzaab ayah. 41]
The mufassireen (exegetes/commentators of the Holy Qur’an) have written that the command of Allah to the believers to remember Him “with much remembrance”, means that one should be constantly mindful of Allah in all states and at all times.
The lexical definition of the word Wuqoof is to stop. Here, in the wider context and in light of the above Qur’anic verse wuqoof-e-qalbi means to be ever vigilant over one’s heart (spiritual heart, the abode of feelings and emotions) and maintain the focus of one’s heart towards Allah.
The method by which this is achieved is as follows; at all times one must focus one’s attention upon one’s lateefa-e-Qalb (the subtle heart – part of the soul) which is located near the left breast two fingers width below your top rib (the Shaykh will usually show you how to locate it) and imagine as though one’s heart is constantly saying “Allah”, “Allah”, “Allah”.
It is in human nature to constantly be absorbed in all sorts of mundane and often frivolous thoughts in one’s heart. By being regular in this exercise of wuqoof-e-qalbi one is soon able to eradicate such futile thoughts and worries of the heart and is able to achieve a perpetual state of dhikr (remembrance) of Allah. Though this exercise at first may seem difficult, however in reality after practising in this way daily it becomes very easy for the salik. Until eventually a time comes when the salik may outwardly be involved in his daily necessary activities and work (e.g. job, driving, eating etc.) yet the salik’s heart remains constantly absorbed in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah.
Take the example of a person driving a car for instance. The driver is able to talk to and converse freely with his fellow passengers whilst simultaneously moving his hands and feet steering the car, changing gears and breaking when necessary. Though outwardly the driver may, casually be talking to his fellow passengers yet his inner thoughts are focused on his driving, it is for this reason that he is able to safely reach his desired destination without any problems. Conversely if whilst driving, not only the outward but the inner thoughts too are diverted to anything other than driving for even a second then unfortunately we see that such a momentary lapse often results in dangerous accidents, causing injury and times even death (may Allah protect us all. Ameen). - Translator
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“And do (O reader!) bring thy Lord to remembrance in thy (very) soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evenings; and be not thou of those who are unheedful.” [Surah A’raf - Ayah.205]
The mufassireen (exegetes/commentators of the Holy Qur’an) have written that the meaning of,
Thus in light of the above Qur’anic verse the instruction from Allah to us is to do his dhikr in our hearts. It is in complying with this command of Allah that muraqabah is taught (by a Shaykh) to students of this path. Muraqabah thus requires a person to cut themselves off from everything other than the remembrance of Allah and all that is mundane and worldly (for the duration of the muraqabah) and to sit silently, with reverence and love for Allah, patiently awaiting Allah’s mercy to illuminate his heart.
The Method of Muraqaba
In the Naqshabndia tareeqa the method of doing muraqabah that is taught is as follows:
When the salik has completed their daily mundane obligations (e.g. employment, work, studies, eating, household chores etc.) to allocate 15-20mins for muraqabah when they should not be disturbed by anyone or anything (it is therefore advisable to switch off one’s cell phone) thereafter whilst in a state of wudhu sit cross-legged and comfortably, facing the Qibla, close your eyes, close your mouth and place your tongue against your palate (roof of the mouth) so as to ensure it does not move whilst you do muraqabah with the heart. Now, clear your heart of all worries and concerns, empty it completely of all thoughts then, with utmost respect and reverence begin focussing the thoughts of your mind (i.e. the tawajjuh of the mind) towards your heart (lateefa-e-Qalb)and then begin focussing the attention of your heart (i.e. tawajjuh of your Qalb) completely towards Allah.
Be mindful of the Majesty of Allah and of all His attributes. Contemplate His absolute purity, the Oneness of His Being (Tawheed) and that He (Allah) is above all faults and physical forms. Keeping your eyes closed and whilst observing all of the above conditions imagine as though a noor (celestial light) full of blessings (faidh) is beaming upon your heart and it is illuminating it, thus dispelling the darkness that had gathered due to sin and heedlessness and that your heart is being cleansed with the blessings of this noor and that your heart (latifa-e-Qalb) is calling out, “Allah”, “Allah”, Allah” with love and longing.
Though in the beginning you may get an abundance of stray and random thoughts entering your mind and diverting your attention at times, but do not become disheartened and continue with your muraqabah without allowing such stray thoughts from distracting you and thus keep your tawajjuh on your heart and focus the tawajjuh of your heart towards Allah at all times. Continue doing your muraqabah like this daily for at least 15-20mins and soon with practice you will be able to focus your attention (tawajjuh) more quickly and easily and insha’Allah progress in this path towards gaining Allah’s pleasure.
(3) Tilawa (recitation) of the Holy Qur’an
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“…read ye, therefore, of the Qur-ān as much as may be easy for you…”
[Surah Muzammil – Ayah.20]
In a hadeeth Rasoolullah has said, “The tilawa (recitation) of the Qur’an is incumbent upon you for it is a noor (divine light) and clear guidance for you on Earth and in the skies it is a treasure for you.” [Saheeh ibn Hibban]
The Holy Qur’an is the kalaam (speech of Allah) and we are desirous of receiving the love of Allah, it therefore behoves us to gain guidance from it by developing a strong bond of love and an attachment with the kalaam of Allah, the Holy Qur’an. In order to achieve this one must ensure that not a day passes by but that we recite (a portion) of the Holy Qur’an daily, with all due love and reverence.
[Note – one must be in a state of wudhu to touch the Qur’an itself, although wudhu is not required to recite it from memory, however in the aforementioned paragraph one is being advised to recite from the Qur’an itself thus one should ensure that one is in a state of wudhu in accordance with this- Translator]
The mashaikh (pl. Shaykh)of the Naqshbandia tareeqa have always advised the salikeen (pl. salik) to ensure they make the tilawa (recitation) of the Holy Qur’an one’s (noble) daily habit. One should try and aim to recite one Juz (para)which is one thirtieth of the Holy Qur’an, but if this is not immediately possible then at least half a juz (para) should be recited daily, again with all the love and reverence that the speech of Allah deserves.
The salik should also make it a daily practice to read the following three tasbeehaat (one tasbeeh = 1X100). If possible one should complete all three tasbeehaat in one appointed time, if not however then as long as they are completed in the day:
Allah has ordained upon us five (5) fardh salaah in 24hours of the day. One should therefore take particular care in ensuring that one performs wudhu before a particular salaah time is upon us and without missing the takbeer oula (the first takbeer when praying in jama’a) to read that salaah with utmost devotion. The fardh salaah should of course be read with their respective sunun (e.g. two sunnah before fajr) and nawafil and witr after Isha salaah. The salik should also try and gradually increase ones nawafil prayers to include Ishraaq, chasht, awabeen and especially tahajjud salaah
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“…and follow thou the path of him (those) who turn penitently unto Me.”
[Surah Luqman Ayah.15]
As the Shaykh himself fervently adheres to and follows the sunnah of Rasoolullah therefore when the mureed (student) follows his Shaykh in striving to also adhere to the sunnah and obey the commands of Allah then this will be in direct conformance to the above Qur’anic ayah. Thus by acting upon it one will be not only receiving reward but also drawing closer to Allah, which is the essence of all worship.
From among the etiquettes (adaab) of conforming to the teachings of the Shaykh and in light of the aforementioned Qur’anic ayah it is also important that the mureed keep the Shaykh apprised of one’s progress (or otherwise). This is what is referred to by the mashaikh as “Rabita”. This rabita can be maintained in a number of ways and can take various forms, such as for example; attending the majalis of the Shaykh , telephoning the Shaykh from time to time, via correspondence (email/letters) and occasionally visiting the Shaykh just to sit with him for a short while and seek his duas (one should bear in mind that it is only polite to ensure one does not turn up unannounced, as this may cause inconvenience to the Shaykh).
In a hadeeth Rasoolullah advised us thus:
“Do not befriend anyone other than an upfront, honest and truthful person.” [Tirmidhi]
Therefore in heeding the noble advice of Rasoolullah this is exactly the intention a person giving the bay’ah and thus adopting the pious company of a Shaykh should have.This is precisely what is meant by muhabbat-e-Shaykh and rabita-e-Shaykh.
The real Golden Rule that underpins all the ma’moolat is in fact rabita-e-Shaykh. By being diligent in observing this golden rule, not only does one gain consistency and steadfastness in observing one’s ma’moolat but overtime the essence and reality of all of the aforementioned becomes discernable.
There are two facets to rabita-e-Shaykh, one is the exoteric (outward) and the other esoteric (inward), both must be observed if one is to truly benefit:
At the point when the exoteric and esoteric adaab of rabita-e-Shaykh are observed, then the blessings of receiving constant faidh (spiritual benefit) from the Shaykh is attained and this is a great blessing indeed.
In addition to all of that which has been detailed in the aforementioned, the salik should take extra care in observing the following:
The following are the scheduled (regular) programmes and spiritual gatherings held of
Hazrat Shaykh Shams ur Rehman Abbasi Naqshbandi Mujaddidi (damat brakatuhum) which every salik/mureed should try their very utmost to attend regularly for they form the very foundation of one’s spiritual progress.
Note: All the weekly programmes are conducted between Asr and Maghrib]
Sunday: Islahi bayaan (talk) followed by muraqbah
Monday: Khatam-e-durood shareef
May Allah grant us all the true concern and fikr for our islah and for the hereafter (akhira). Ameen.