28 — FIRST VOLUME, 59th LETTER
This letter, written to Sayyid Mahmûd, states that people who disagree with the Ahl as-sunnat wa-l-jamâ’at ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ will not escape from going to Hell:
May Allâhu ta’âlâ bless us all with walking along the way of Islam. May He enslave us to Himself! Your valuable letter and your sweet writings pleased these faqîrs very much. We were happy to read about your love for our superiors and your ikhlâs towards them. May Allâhu ta’âlâ increase this blessing of His. You ask for advice. My son! To attain endless salvation, three things are absolutely necessary: ’Ilm, ’amal, ikhlâs. ’Ilm is of two parts. The first one is to learn the things to be practised. The knowledge that conveys these is called ’Ilm-i fiqh. The second one is the knowledge of the things to be believed with the heart. The knowledge which conveys these is called ’Ilm-i kalâm. ’Ilm-i kalâm consists of the teachings which the savants of the Ahl assunnat wa-l-jamâ’at have understood from the Qur’ân al-kerîm and hadîth-i-sherîfs. It is these savants only who will be saved from Hell. He who does not follow them will not escape from going into Hell. It has been understood through the kashf of the Awliyâ and through the inspirations coming to their hearts that it is a great danger to dissent from the way of these great people as much as a hair’s breadth. There is no likelihood of any mistake. How lucky for those who follow the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat and who keep on their path. Woe betide those who disagree with them, who deviate from their way, who dislike their teachings, and who dissent from them! They dissented and also misled others. There were people who denied the fact that Believers will see Allâhu ta’âlâ in Paradise. There were people who denied the fact that on the Day of Rising the good will intercede for the sinful. There were people who could not realize the value and the high grades of the Sahâba ‘’alaihimurridwân’, and also people who disliked the Ahl-i bayt-i Rasûl ‘radiy- Allâhu ’anhum’.
The savants of the Ahl as-sunnat ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ stated that, “The Sahâba ‘’alaihimurridwân’ unanimously said that the highest of them was Hadrat Abû Bakr-i Siddîq. Imâm-i Idris bin Shâfi’î ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaih’, one of the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat with very dependable information about the Sahâba, says that when Hadrat Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ honoured the next world with his presence, the Sahâba were not able to find on earth someone superior to Hadrat Abû Bakr-i Siddîq, though they searched for one very assiduously. After making him Khalîfa, they accepted service under him. This statement shows that the Sahâba agreed on the fact that Hadrat Abû Bakr-i Siddîq was the highest of them. In other words, it shows that there was ijmâ’-i-ummat on the fact that he was the highest of the Sahâba. Ijmâ’-i-ummat is a document; there cannot be any doubt about it.
As for the Ahl-i bayt; the hadîth, “My Ahl-i bayt are like Noah’s ‘alaihi-s-salâm’ arch. He who gets on board it will be saved. He who does not will get drowned,” about them, will suffice. Some of our superiors have said that our Prophet ‘sall- Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ likened the Sahâba to stars. He who follows a star will find the way. And he likened the Ahl-i bayt to a ship. For, he who boards a ship should advance under the guidance of the stars. The ship will not get to the shore if it does not follow the stars. As is seen, since both the ship and the stars are indispensable for being saved, it is necessary to love and respect all the Sahâba as well as all the Ahl-i bayt. To dislike one of them means to dislike all of them. For all of them have the virtue of having been honoured with the company of the Best of mankind. And the virtue of this company, which is called Sohbat, is superior to all virtues.
[Sohbat means to be in the company of someone at least once. It is written in Khazânat-ur-riwâyât that it is also written in Mudmarât that being in the sohbat of a savant of Islam for one hour is more useful than worshipping for seven hundred years. Amîr-ul-mu’minîn ’Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ stated in one of his admonitions that he had heard Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ say: “The heart of a person who has not been in the company of a savant of Islam will darken. He will begin to commit grave sins, for knowledge animates the heart. There can be no worship without knowledge. Worship without knowledge is no good!” It is declared in the hadîths in Kunûz-ud-deqâ’iq: “It is worship to be in the company of a savant,” and “To attend a gathering concerning the knowledge of Fiqh is more useful than one year’s worship,” and “When seeing the Awliyâ, Allah is remembered,” and “Everything has a source. The source of taqwâ is the hearts of ’Ârifs,” and “It is worship to look at a savant’s face,” and “He who stays together with them does not become evil,” and “Respect the savants of my Ummat! They are the stars of the earth.” These hadîths show that the true guides of life are Islamic savants.]
It is for this reason that Ways-al Qarânî, who was the highest of the Tâbi’în, was not able to reach the grade of the lowest of the Sahâba. [Believers who saw our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ are called Sahâba. Believers who were not able to see him but who saw one of the Sahâba are called Tâbi’în.] No superiority can be as high as the superiority provided by sohbat. For, the îmân of those who were blessed with sohbat, [that is, of the Sahâba], is so firm that it is as if they had seen, owing to the barakat of sohbat, owing to the barakat of the Wahy. None of their successors had such high îmân. Deeds and worships are dependent upon îmân and their significance is like the significance of îmân.
The disagreements or battles among the Sahâba ‘’alaihimurridwân’ were on account of good thoughts and mature perspectives. They were not because of the desires of the nafs or out of ignorance. They were based on knowledge. They resulted from the difference in ijtihâd. Yes, some of them were wrong in their ijtihâd. But Allâhu ta’âlâ gives one thawâb also to the one who errs in ijtihâd.
In short, the way which the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat have chosen concerning the Sahâba ‘’alaihimurridwân’ is this medial way. That is, neither being excessive nor being too slack, they have told the truth. This is the safest and the soundest way. [Râfidîs, i.e. Shiites, became excessive in their love for the Ahl-i bayt. They said that to love the Ahl-i bayt it is necessary to hate the three Khalîfas and all of those Sahâba ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ who obeyed them, and to be hostile towards them all. On the other hand, Khârijîs, that is, Yazîdîs, were slack in this love. They became hostile against the Ahl-i bayt.]
’Ilm and ’amal are explained by Islam. To obtain ikhlâs, which represents the soul, the root of ’ilm and ’amal, it is necessary to make progress along a path of Tasawwuf. Without Seyr-i ilallah, that is, walking on the way towards Allâhu ta’âlâ, perfect ikhlâs cannot be obtained. The maturity of a mukhlis cannot be reached. Yes, all Believers can obtain some ikhlâs, though little, with difficulty in some of their worship. But the ikhlâs which we are discussing about is the one which always occurs easily and automatically in every word, in every action, in every motion, and in every motionlessness. [Ikhlâs means to make real and pure, to purify the intention, to act only for Allah’s grace.] For the formation of such ikhlâs, one should not worship or be fond of anything besides Allâhu ta’âlâ, whether inside of oneself or outside of oneself. And this is a fortune which can be obtained only after Fanâ and Baqâ and after attaining Wilâyat-i khâssa. The ikhlâs which is obtained with difficulty is not permanent; it will disappear. The ikhlâs which is obtained without taking pains is permanent and it is realized at the grade of Haqq-ul-yaqîn. Thus, whatever the Awliyâ ‘radiy- Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ who have reached this grade do, they do it for Allah’s grace. They do nothing for their nafs. For, their nafs has been sacrificed for Allah’s grace. They do not need to intend for obtaining ikhlâs. After being promoted to the grades of Fanâ-fillah and Baqâ-billah, their intention becomes pure. As a person who follows his nafs does everything for his nafs and does not need to intend for doing this, likewise will he do everything for Allah’s grace when he no longer follows his nafs and falls in love with Allâhu ta’âlâ. He does not need to intend at all. Intention is necessary for doubtful things. It is not necessary to make certain by intending for those things that are certain already. This is such a blessing which Allâhu ta’âlâ gives to those slaves of His whom He loves. Owners of permanent ikhlâs are called Mukhlas. Those who have inconsistent ikhlâs and who strive to obtain ikhlâs are called Mukhlis. There is a great difference between the mukhlas and the mukhlis. Those who make progress along a path of Tasawwuf earn a great deal in ’ilm and ’amal, too. The knowledge of Kalâm, which others obtain by studying, learning, and understanding, comes to these people through kashf. Deeds and acts of worship are done easily, willingly, with no laziness or slackness being left, which were caused by the nafs and by the devil. Sins, things that are harâm, seem ugly and loathsome. A Persian line in English:
We wonder whom they will give this great fortune.
I send my infinite salâms.
Allâhu ta’âlâ avenges Himself through another slave of His.
He who doesn’t know ’ilm al-ladunnî thinks it comes from that slave of His.
All things belong to the Creator, wrought by the slaves of His.
Do not expect a mote will move without a command of His!
 Ibrâhîm bin Sheybân passed away in 337 hijrî.