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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Istikhārah or Istikhbārah?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Despite being revered and widespread among Muslim community, Istikhārah has been mystified by a number of misconceptions. This brief post addresses the most common and basic misconception regarding it.

 

Maulānā Musharraf Ali Saheb Thānwī (رحمه الله) mentioned in a gathering that Shari’ah has encouraged us to do Istikhārah in our matters. Istikhārah (إستخارة) means ‘to seek Khair (خير) i.e. goodness (from Allah Ta’ālā)’. This is different than seeking a news – regarding whether something is expected to be good or not; which could be called ‘Istikhbarah’ (إستخبارة) meaning ‘to seek Khabr (خبر) i.e news’. Maulānā continued saying that we usually (try to) do Istikhārah (as per the encouragement from Shari’ah) but we expect it to be Istikhbārah and therefore try to seek some sort of answer (1)

Similarly, Sayyidi, Muftī Muhammad Taqī Usmānī (حفظه الله) also once mentioned during a lecture on Sahīh al Bukhārī (in Darul Hadith, Darul ‘Uloom Karachi) that in Urdu we use a wrong phrase, ‘Istikharah nikaalna’ (استخارہ نکالنا) (literally: ‘to take out Istikharah’), which indicates that we are seeking to take some information out of it (which is not what Shari’ah expects us to do).

(1) Maulana Musharraf Ali Thānwī was the step grandson of Hazrat Maulānā Ashraf Ali Saheb Thanwī (Rahimahullāh), son of Maulānā Jameel Ahmad Thānwī and son in law of Maulānā Idrees Kandhelwī. He gained Ijāzah (to initiate Murīdīn for Islāh through Bai’ah) from Hazrat Dr Abdul Haiy Ārifī. Besides, he had also been in close company of many other illustratious ‘Ulāmā’ and Mashā’ik. He headed Darul’Ulūm al Islāmiyah in Lahore. He passed away in Madīnah Munawwarah during Sha’bān (2018) and was laid to rest in the al Baqī’ graveyard. رحمه الله رحمة واسعة

An aesthetic view of Jāmi’ah Darul ‘Uloom Karachi’s Masjid at night