Lessons from a Meeting with Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani

 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

 

Maulana Rūmi has remarked in his ‘Masnavi’, “A moment in the company of the Awliyā’ (friends of Allah) is better than a hundred years of (voluntary) worshiping”. According to its commentators, he made such a claim because the company of the pious can teach a person numerous invaluable lessons that he may, otherwise, remain unaware of; even if he engages himself in voluntary (Nafl) worshiping for extended periods of time.

One fortunate day, I was blessed with the opportunity to accompany Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani on a Nikah ceremony that was to be conducted in a vicinity near Darul’Uloom Karachi (1).

To obtain his permission for accompanying him, I was waiting for him outside his residence. His car was parked at his doorstep and in its direction, his driver had opened a car door in anticipation of his arrival.

When he stepped out of of his home, l quickly moved towards him to seek his permission. As soon as he saw me approaching towards the car, he moved around the car while leaving the opened door for me. Seeing this, I was absolutely dumbfounded and I tried to gather my confidence to utter ‘Hazrat can I accompany you?’. He plainly replied ‘Yes, sure!’, while indicating towards the opened door. While I was still gazing at him in amazement, he casually opened the door on his side and got in to the car. Feeling immensely humbled, I too followed the suit by using the door that had originally been opened for him.

Thus I sat with the Shaykh on the back seat of the car (Alhamdulillāh for such a privilege). I had planned to consult him regarding a personal matter in brief but I thought to wait for him to settle well in the car before beginning to talk. Meanwhile, I was hoping that my amazement and excitement will also settle, allowing me to start the talk.

However, I noticed that as soon as the Shaykh entered the car, he didn’t let a minute of his to go in vain. He quickly started reading out some Du’aas (for protection) from a booklet. Immediately afterwards, he took out his smart phone and started reciting Qur’an on it! Since my matter wasn’t urgent, I thought to wait for him to get free.

When we reached the Masjid, where the Nikah was to be held, the Shaykh was welcomed by a crowd (which appeared large in that congested locality). He led the ‘Asr Salāh which was followed by the Nikāh. Thereafter, the same crowd accompanied him towards the car.

In a zigzag fashion, I too navigated my way through the crowd to reach the car, eager to find the Shaykh available to talk this time. Interestingly, but no longer surprisingly, he resumed his recitation as soon as he reentered the car.

It was when we entered Darul’Uloom again (and thus were about to reach Shaykh’s residence in a minute), the Shaykh finally kept his cell phone back in his pocket. Fearing that he might engage in another form of Zikr (remembrance of Allah), I took a quick breath, gathered my strength and and spoke up to put forth my query to him, while gasping between my broken words. He listened patiently and then replied to me in a polite and satisfactory manner.

Alhamdulillāh, thus I was able to experience a brief, yet an immensely lesson full, meeting with Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah Ta’ālā preserve him and allow us to benefit from him).

 

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(1) Jāmi’ah Darul’Uloom Karachi is a renowned and outstanding University for traditional Islamic studies in Karachi, Pakistan. It is currently headed by Hazrat Mufti Taqi Usmani and his elder brother, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani.

‘Maulana Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani’ framed outside Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani’s office in Darul’Uloom Karachi
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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)

Value your time!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Once a student of religious sciences asked Shaikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani to write him a short Nasīhah (advice) upon which Shaikh wrote the following piece of advice

“The moments of life are immensely precious – guage them meticulously and spend them for the deeds that please Allah the Most High”

The advice of Shaikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani is his own handwriting

Gauging the “Truthfulness” of a Desire

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Many of us long to walk the path of Deen but we don’t get to do it the way we desire. Is that because our desires are not “truthful”? The following incident provides us with an important guideline in this regard!

Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani narrated that once his elder sister asked her father, Mufti Muhammad Shafi, to pray that she may be able to do Hajj. Mufti Shafi asked “Do you have a desire to perform Hajj?”, to which she (obviously) replied in affirmative. However, Mufti Shafi remarked “No, you don’t have a (true) desire!”. Startled by this response, she insisted that she did have an immense desire. At this Mufti Shafi asked “Have you started to collect some money for it?”. Upon hearing a negation, he remarked “This shows that your desire is limited to your words. If you would have had a true desire, you would have collected some money for it!”. The daughter excused that she doesn’t get to have any savings (due to a low income of her husband) at which Mufti Shafi asked “Can’t you even save a cent (from your expenditures) for it?” The daughter replied that she could but that would be far too less to be able to afford the trip for Hajj. Mufti Shafi instructed her to at least do what she could do on her part – Allah helps those who take a step in His path. At most, even if the Hajj couldn’t be done, she will nevertheless get the reward for it. However, without taking any steps, mere “wishes” don’t end up anywhere!

Later, when the daughter passed away, a pouch was discovered among her belongings with a tag attached to it that read “Savings for Hajj” (Hajj kay lyay Paysay). Mufti Shafi’s eyes turned tearful at this sight. The collected money was given to a resident of Arabia so that he could perform the Hajj and the reward may reach the daughter. Later when Mufti Shafi went to the Hajj, he saw, probably in a sleepy state, that his deceased daughter is climbing Jabal al Rahmah (the Mount of Mercy) in ‘Arafah (this illusion was taken as a sign that Allah had accepted her “truthfull” desire and efforts for the Hajj – Talhah).

Adapted from what Shaikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani narrated in his lectures and also in his autobiographical articles entitled, “Yadain”.

A Garden in Darul Uloom Karachi before the time of sunset

Avoid the Disputes – Despite Being Right! 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

In our community, argumentation and bickering are a common phenomenon. Usually, each side continues deeming (only) themselves to be on the right. On such occasions, leaving argument for the sake of Allah has been greatly appreciated in the Shari’ah..

 

Sayyidi, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (مد ظله) mentioned that his father, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani (رحمه الله), would always strive to avoid disputes and argumentations. He would frequently keep the Hadith in mind, and read it out for others, wherein the Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم said:

“I guarantee a house in the center of Jannah for the person who leaves arguing, even if he is right” (Recorded in Sunan Abu Dawūd)

2017-12-13 18.41.32An excerpt from the book, “Easy Good Deeds”, by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani

One of the most exemplary incident in this regard was when he was granted a sizable land in the midst of Karachi city for the construction of an Islamic seminary (Darul ‘Uloom). However, after the official approval by the government authorities and initial arrangements (which included a ceremony for the laying down of the foundation, construction of a few rooms and a telephone connection), some dispute arose over it. Despite being on the right and the project having started and progressing already, Mufti Muhammad Shafi withdrew himself and cancelled the project. Numerous people were struck with a huge shock and they insisted for continuation of the project. However, the honored Mufti remained undeterred and he clarified that avoiding disputes is more important than the construction of a seminary.

Later, Mufti Shafi was donated a large piece of land, by some traders, where the Darul ‘Uloom now stands (in a way which could have been much beyond the expectations at that time. Talhah)

– Adapted from a discourse at Jumu’ah by Shaikh Mufti Taqi Usmani.

A view of the magnificent Masjid of Jami’ah Darul ‘Uloom Karachi (after the time of ‘Asr Salāh)

Laylah al Qadr and the Lesson against Disputes

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

While striving to increase our worshipping during the last 10 nights of Ramadhān, we must also remind ourselves of this important lesson!

Narrated by Ubada bin As-Samit رضي الله عنه :

The Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم came out to inform us about the night of qadr but two Muslims were quarreling with each other. So, the Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم said, “I came out to inform you about the night of qadr but such-and-such persons were quarreling, so the news about it had been taken away; yet that might be for your own good, so search for it..”

Sahih Bukhari Chapter No: 32, Night Prayer in Ramadaan (Taraweeh)

Shaikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Saheb mentioned, after referring to this narration, that our beloved Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم didn’t forget the knowledge about Laylah al Qadr without Allah Ta’ālā’s will. Rather, Allah Ta’ālā had intended for us to strive more (throughout the odd nights during the last 10 days of Ramadhan) to receive the immense rewards of this blessed night. However, through this incident, Allah Ta’ālā further revealed the wrongfulness of the act of altercation and dispute (1).

– Adapted from a discourse at Jumu’ah by Shaikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani.

(1) Thereafter, the Shaikh continued his talk by mentioning this: https://sayyidtalhah.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/avoiding-disputes/

A Spiritual view of the Jāmi’ Masjid Bayt ul Mukarram, Karachi, at night

Hardship is Inevitable – So Direct it Rightly!

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

قال الله تبارك وتعالى: لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي كَبد

(سورة البلد)

“Indeed, We have created man (to live) in hard struggle” (Surah al Balad: 4)

Sayyidi, Shaikh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani mentioned, while explaining this verse, that every person is in a sort of struggle in this life – be it a male or a female, be it a person from any age group, be it a poor or a rich, be it a religious or an irreligious person – each one of them is in some sort of struggle which can be physical, mental or both. Now, if one was to direct his struggle in such a manner that would make his Rabb to get pleased with him then, out of this struggle, he’ll get an everlasting reward (and he’ll be at peace in this life and the hereafter). On the other hand, if this shall not be done, then the person will ultimately land himself in to an everlasting torment. So, we need to ponder over this reality that we all have to face the struggle of this life (without which nothing can be achieved in this world). However, if done in a proper direction – as ordained by Allah Ta’ālā (i.e. we shall fulfill the commandments, abstain from prohibitions and carry out our worldly affairs as instructed by Allah) – we can bear the proper fruit. On the contrary, our struggles will render fruitless – rather, lead us to a path of destruction (May Allah protect us all).

– Adapted from a discourse by Shaikh Mufti Taqi Usmani.

We all face hardships and struggles in our daily affairs. By keeping the above mentioned reality in mind, we can strive to keep ourselves on the right track while feeling content in anticipation of the upcoming ease in the Ākhirah. Talhah

A view of Jāmi’ Masjid, Darul’Uloom Karachi