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