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)

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