52 – FIRST VOLUME, 304th LETTER

This letter is written to Mawlâna ’Abd-ul-Hayy. It is declared in many parts of the Qur’ân al-kerîm that those who perform ’A’mâl-i sâlihâ (pious deeds) will enter Paradise. This letter explains this, and also explains how to thank Allâhu ta’âlâ, and describes the mysteries of namâz:

After offering my hamd to Allâhu ta’âlâ and invoking my benedictions over the soul of our Prophet, I ask a blessing on you so that you will attain endless bliss. In many âyat-i-kerîmas, Allâhu ta’âlâ declares that those Believers who perform ’Âmâl-i sâliha will enter Paradise. I had been searching for a long time to find out what these pious deeds might be. I had been wondering if they were all pious deeds or only a few of them. If they were all good deeds, no one could do them all. If there were only a few of them, what good deeds were they? Eventually, Allâhu ta’âlâ blessed me with understanding the fact that these pious deeds were the five binding rules, the five basic pillars of Islam. If a person does these five pillars of Islam thoroughly and perfectly, he will most probably be saved from Hell. These are original pious deeds and will protect man against sinning and from doing loathsome actions. As a matter of fact, it is purported in the forty-fifth âyat of Sûratul-’ Ankabût of the Qur’ân al-kerîm: “A prayer of namâz performed perfectly will certainly protect man against doing fahshâ (foul acts) and munkar (loathsome acts).” If it falls to a person’s lot to carry out the five essentials of Islam, he has expressed gratitude for the blessings. If he thanks Allah, he will be protected from the torment of Hell. He declares in the hundred and forty-sixth âyat of Sûrat-un-Nisâ: “I will not torment you if you have îmân and thank Me.” Then, one should try most willingly to carry out these five essentials of Islam.

Of these five essentials, the namâz is the most valuable of the physical acts of worship; it is the basic pillar of the religion. One should try not to miss even one of the adabs of namâz. If namâz has been performed perfectly, the basic and the greatest pillar of Islam has been erected. The strong rope that will save one from Hell has been caught. May Allâhu ta’âlâ bless us all with performing namâz correctly![1]

When beginning namâz, saying “Allâhu akbar” means to  profess that “Allâhu ta’âlâ does not need the prayer of any of His creatures; He does not need anything in any respect; men’s performing namâz does not give Him a benefit.” And the takbîrs (saying “Allahu akbar”) that are in namâz signify that “We are not capable of doing the worship worthy of Allâhu ta’âlâ.” Since the tasbîhs in rukû’ (bowing when performing namâz) have this same meaning, we are not commanded to say “Allahu akbar” when straightening up after rukû’. However, we are commanded to say it after the tasbîhs of sajda (prostrating), for sajda is the lowest grade of humility, inferiority, and degradation. By doing this one may suppose that one has worshipped properly and perfectly. In order to protect one against this supposition, it is not only a sunnat to say the takbîr when prostrating and straightening up during these sajdas, but also we are commanded to say “a’lâ” in the tasbîhs of sajda. Because namâz is the mi’râj of a Believer, we are commanded to say the words “attahiyyâtu…” which our Prophet was honoured with saying on the Night of Mi’râj[2]. Then, a person who performs namâz should make the namâz a mi’râj for himself. He should look for the ultimate in closeness to Allâhu ta’âlâ in namâz.

Our Prophet ‘’alaihi-s-salâm’ stated: “The time when man is closest to his Allah is the time when he performs namâz.” A person who performs namâz speaks to his Allah, entreats Him, and sees that everything other than Him is equal to nothing. Therefore, because there will be fear, terror and fright in namâz, it has been commanded that we make salâm twice at the end of namâz so that we might be consoled and relieved. Our Prophet commanded, in a hadîth, to say tasbîh thirty-three times, tahmîd thirty-three times, and takbîr thirty-three times, and tehlîl once after every fard namâz.”[3] As far as this faqîr understands, the reason for this is that the defects in performing namâz are covered with tasbîh. Thereby it is professed that not a worthy or perfect worship could be done. Knowing that being blessed with performing namâz is through His help and His making it possible, He is thanked for this great blessing by saying tahmîd. And by saying takbîr, it is professed that no one besides Him is worthy of being worshipped.

[One should not miss this important sunnat. One should not omit the Âyat-ul-Kursî and the tasbîhs even when there is a funeral.

We should learn how to perform namâz, the omitted prayers of namâz, and all kinds of religious information from the books written by the Ahl-i sunnat savants; we should not believe the false writings and sweet words of the insidious enemies or of the ignorant.

In Islamic States there used to be Shaikh-ul-Islâms; that is, heads of religious affairs, and Islamic muftîs. Also, there were times when there used to be State officials called “muftî.” Islamic muftîs and the officials called muftîs should not be mistaken for one another. Islamic muftîs were the savants who taught Allah’s commandments and prohibitions, that is, the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya. But the State officials called muftîs did not know the Ahkâm-iislâmiyya themselves. If laws commanded something which Allâhu ta’âlâ had prohibited, they would not say that it was not permissible to do that thing. If laws prohibited something which Allâhu ta’âlâ had commanded, they could not say that it was necessary to do that thing. They would either remain silent or say the opposite. Thus, they would contradict the religion and misguide the Muslims into sins or disbelief. During the times such as when the hordes of Dzenghiz Khan invaded Muslims’ lands, or during the times of the Fâtimîds and the Rasûlîds, and even during the time of the Abbâsids, such government officers called muftîs said “permissible” about the harâm (forbidden). They even said that the Qur’ân was a creature. During the times when those officials caused the religion to be demolished by writing concocted fatwâs, those who remained loyal to the books of Fiqh and to the books teaching the truth about the religion remained on the right way. Thereby were they able to save their faith.

Fatwâ means to state whether something conforms with the Ahkâm-i-islâmiyya. It is not a fatwâ only to say, “It conforms,” or, “It is not permissible.” It is necessary to say also from what book of Fiqh and from what scholarly writing this statement has been derived. The fatwâs that are not conformable with books of Fiqh are wrong. It is not permissible to rely on them. Those who read âyats and hadîths without learning or knowing Islamic knowledge and who give them meanings according to their own minds and opinions are not called Islamic savants. They can be translators with a knowledge of Arabic like the priests in Beirut. No matter how ornamented and bright their writings and words are, they are worth nothing. Allâhu ta’âlâ does not like or accept the writings and words that are not conformable with what the Ahl-i sunnat savants understood or with the books of Fiqh which they wrote.

Ibni ’Âbidin, while describing Qâdis (judges), says on the three hundred and first page of the fourth volume: “It is not suitable for a sinner to become the muftî because it is a religious matter to give a fatwâ. Sinners’ words cannot be accepted in religious matters. The same rule applies in the other Madhhabs as well. It is not permissible to ask such muftîs about anything. Also, according to the unanimity (of savants), it is an essential condition that the muftî must be a Muslim and discreet. The fatwâ of a just and pious lady or of someone that is a dumb (unable to speak) person is acceptable. The muftî or the judge should give a fatwâ in accordance with the statements of Imâm-i a’zâm Abû Hanîfa. If he does not find a clear solution in his statements, he should take Imâm-i Shaybânî’s words. After him, he should prefer Imâm-i Zufar’s words, and then Hasan bin Zayyâd’s. Those muftîs who are ashâb-i terjîh choose the ones with sound documents from among ijtihâds. Those who are not mujtahids follow the words which these scholars have preferred. The words of the muftîs and judges who do not do so are not acceptable. That comes to mean that in matters about which the ashâb-i-terjîh has not made a choice, it is necessary to prefer the word of Imâm-ı a’zâm. As is seen, the muftî has to be a mujtahid within a Madhhab. He who is not so is not called a muftî; he is called a narrator, that is, one who conveys the fatwâ. Conveyors derive the fatwâs from well-known books. Those books are called mutawâtir news.”]

A namâz may be acceptable if it has been performed in full observance of its suhurût and âdâb (conditions and rules) and if the mistakes in performing it have been compensated for or covered by saying the tasbîhs, tahmîds, and takbîrs. Then you should extend gratitude (shukr) to Allâhu ta’âlâ for enabling you to perform namâz. And lastly, with sincerity, you must declare through your heart the Kalima-i tawhîd, which indicates that no one other than Him deserves being worshipped. Such a performer becomes one of those who performs namâz and who attains salvation. Yâ Rabbî! For the love of the highest of your Prophets ‘’alaihi wa ’alâ âlihim-us-salawât-u-wa-t-teslîmât’ make us among those who perform namâz and attain salvation! Âmîn.

[1] Three hundred and seventy pages of the fourth fascicle of Endless Bliss have been allotted to ‘namâz’.  

[2] Please see the sixtieth chapter of the third fascicle of Endless Bliss.

[3] ‘Tasbîh’ means to say: “Subhânallah”, ‘tahmîd’ means to say: “Alhamdulillah”; ‘takbîr’ means to say: “Allâhu akbar”; and tehlîl means to say: “Lâ ilâha il-l-Allâhu wahdahu lâ sherîka lehul mulku wa lahul hamdu wa Huwa ’alâ kulli shey’in qadîr.”

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