Handwriting and Spirituality

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Many people take keen interest in the Islamic spirituality while engaging in a number of ‘overly’ deep and philosophical discussions and tending to ignore the simple basics. In this scenario, the incident mentioned hereunder sets a good reminder for all of us!

Sayyidi Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani mentioned that his elder brother, Zaki Kaifi (1), during his childhood, sent a handwritten letter (2) to Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi. In response, Hazrat Thanwi appreciated him and added “.. Try to make your handwriting further clear. This will provide ease and comfort to the reader and, by making such an intention (for the comfort of others), you will gain reward (from Allah) as well. See I am making you a Sufi during your childhood.. ”

Hazrat Thanwi would greatly emphasize on following the Islamic etiquettes and financial dealings alongside other injunctions and guidelines of Islam. He would consider adopting the ways of Islam in every walk of life as a basic part of Tasawwuf (Islamic spirituality). For this reason, while instructing the young “Zaki” to make his writing clearer, he remarked “I am making you a Sufi..” (i.e. by acting according to these rules of Islamic etiquettes, you are becoming a true adherent of Islamic Sufism).

– Adapted from what Shaikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani narrated in his lectures and also in his obituary for his brother, Zaki Kaifi (now published in ‘Nuqoosh e Raftugan‘).

Hence writing properly is not only a means to communicate well, it is also an effort to avoid unnecessary inconvenience being caused to the readers. Caring about the convenience of others is a fundamental teaching in the Islamic spirituality! Talhah

(1) Maulana Zaki Kaifi was the eldest son of Mufti Muhammad Shafi. He had a passion for reading and learning which would manifest in his intellectual conversations, apart from his rich poetic taste. He settled in Lahore after the creation of Pakistan and established a bookstore by the name of Idara e Islamiyat. His progeny is also serving Islam – his son, Mufti Mahmood Ashraf Usmani, is currently a senior teacher at Darul ‘Uloom Karachi

(2) A type of letter that is generally known as Islahi Khat in Urdu – a letter wherein a seeker informs his mentor/Shaikh about his spiritual conditions and asks any relevant questions if required

Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s writing as seen in the handwritten copy of his commentary on the Holy Qur’an (entitled Bayan ul Qur’an)
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