9 — FIRST VOLUME, 48th LETTER
This letter, written to Naqîb Sayyid Shaikh Ferîd, informs us that Islamic scholars should be respected:
May Allâhu ta’âlâ, for the sake of the most exalted of Prophets ‘’alaihi wa âlihissalawât wa-t-teslîmât wa-t-tehiyyât’, help you in your struggle against the enemies of Islam! We have been honoured with reading your blessed letter, which pleases the faqîrs and which you wrote out of mercy. You write that you have sent some money to be spent for youngsters who learn knowledge and who strive along a path of Tasawwuf. We are glad to see that you give precedence to the students who study Islam over those who endeavour in Tasawwuf in your writing. They said that the outward is an indicator of the inward. Inshâ-Allah, in your blessed heart also these students will take precedence. Translation of an Arabic line:
Every container will leak out what is inside it!
Placing the students of knowledge in the front causes Islam to make progress. These are the guards of Islam. They will protect Hadrat Muhammad’s religion against the ignoble. On the Day of Judgment everybody will be questioned about Islam, not about Tasawwuf. Entering Paradise, being rescued from Hell will be possible only by having obeyed Islam. Prophets ‘salawâtullâhi ta’âlâ wa teslîmâtuhu ’alaihim’ who were the best, distinguished human beings, invited everybody to Islam. Islam is the way to salvation. Those great people were sent in order to teach Islam. Then, the most valuable worship, the greatest favour to be done to humanity is to strive so that Islam is learned and practised and to recover one command of Islam. Causing one of the commands of Allâhu ta’âlâ to be practised yields more thawâb than giving thousands, millions as alms, especially in a time when the enemies of Islam assault the religion furiously. [They try to change the namâz, the fast, the hajj, the zakât and other worships, say harâm about things that are halâl, and beautiful, modern about the harâms, call Islam bigotry, and disbelief and irreligiousness improvement and modernness, make fun of those who perform namâz and those who fast by calling them fanatics and idiots.] For, this small effort means to follow Prophets ‘’alaihimussalawâtu wat- teslîmât’ and become their partners in their tasks. And these people, in their turn, are given the most valuable share from worships and their thawâb. Giving millions as alms, doing many favours may fall to anybody’s lot. Striving to uncover Islam is something which the nafs loathes. He who strives to do this will have performed jihâd against his nafs. Yet doing favours may be liked by the nafs. No doubt, on the other hand, it is very valuable to spend money for the learning and practising of Islam. Giving away little with this intention is no less than giving away millions without this intention.
Question: How can a student of knowledge who follows his nafs be superior to a sûfî who struggles against his nafs?
Answer: Although the person who learns knowledge harms himself by following his nafs, everybody benefits from his knowledge. While he burns himself, he causes others to be saved. For, the honour of learning the rules of Islam has fallen to his lot. But the sûfî strives to save himself. He is not useful to others. Islam holds those who strive for the happiness of others superior to those who strive to save themselves.
Yes, if a devotee who makes progress in a path of Tasawwuf attains the grades of Fanâ and Baqâ, is sent back to this world, and is honoured with inviting people, he will have a share from the rank of Prophethood. He will become one of those who teach Islam and who help others to attain happiness. He will be exalted and valuable like the savants of Islam. This is such a blessing of Allah’s that He bestows it upon whomever He likes of the distinguished. His blessings are so great.