Non-Objectives of the Path
The objective of the Path to the pleasure of Allah (Tareeqah) is nothing other than to attain the pleasure of Allah (azzawajal). Amongst people there are many misconceptions about what the objectives are and what they are not.
When seekers of the pleasure of Allah, the Exalted, follow the spiritual path, and they are not sure of their destination and the fruit of their worship, they can fall for the wrong things. When they fall for the wrong things, it can have a negative effect on their devotion and practise. So if a person makes the fruit of their worship seeing an angel or paradise, he or she may not see them for ten years, because seeing them is not in their choice. By not achieving these things, they can become de-motivated, leave their obligations of deeds and practises of worship and think that they have wasted their time. That is because they have set the wrong objective such as seeing good dreams, miracles, walking on fire, reading people’s minds, increase in provision (rizq), getting a good job and so on.
For example, if a person sets on a journey to do Hajj, but thinks that London is Makkah then it is obvious that he will not be able to complete his mission. When he does not find the ka’bah there, he will be distressed because he will miss the Hajj itself. Many people try to do long mujahadah (struggle) with ‘special’ adhkars (spiritual exercises) and think that they are on the brink of discovering something big, but their destination is wrong. Therefore everyone needs to be sure in regards to what the fruit of their worships should be.
We now mention those things that are not objectives of the Tareeqah or spiritual path.
The objective is not to attain Kashf (Visions/Unveilings) and Karamaat (Special Powers).
These things are not the criteria for attaining the pleasure of Allah (azzawajal). There are many people who see visions but do not attain the nearness of Allah.
Kasf(visions), inspiration, audition (spiritual or physical) or spiritual unveiling and one experiencing different spiritual and psychological states are not part of the Tareeqah but can become an obstruction to the Tareeqah in some instances. So no one should aspire to them. Closeness of Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him) is not determined by these temporal states. However, it is determined by walking on the path. If one gets visions and unveiling and does not know how to interpret them then just imagine how dangerous this will be for that person!
If these things are not there then it is better and without danger. People aspire for these things without any justifiable reason. Instead people are taught and invited to achieve the real purpose and that is Ridha(pleasure) of Allah.
It is made clear to a novice or seeker that the purpose (maqsud) of ones traveling on the Tareeqah is the Ridha (pleasure) of Allah and this can only be attained through love, honor, respect and following Rasulallah (Peace be upon him). He is a model for achieving the pleasure of Allah so following him and his Sunnah becomes the only means in achieving our purpose. There is no other door or way to attain the pleasure of Allah, the Majestic.
Take the example of a person travelling on a train which stops at every station going to London. The windows are open and that person is looking at the beautiful sceneries, the mountains, rivers, trees, etc, through the window. He also leaves the train at every station for short while for refreshments. A second person is traveling to the same destination by a faster train or an airplane, therefore this person does not stop frequently nor view all the scenery like the first person does. However, the second person is in a special vehicle through which he reaches his destination. After reaching his destination he hears the experiences of the first person and wonders whether he has reached his destination at all, since he did not view such things as the first person did. He might even become doubtful about his destination; however, in reality it was good that the second person has traveled quickly to his destination, which was safer and free from any danger. It is only due to his lack of knowledge that the second person becomes suspicious.
In contrast, the first person reached his destination very slowly but it was dangerous for him to stop at every station and sight see. He might have indulged in a place and may have lost his way to his actual destination.
That is why many seekers consider the objective is to see lights, visions and other supernatural things on their way and all their life they indulge in these things and never reach their destination. Therefore, a suluk(spiritual journey towards Allah the Exalted)without any kashfs(unveilings, visions), supernatural experiences are the safest ones. Unveilings, Visions (kashf) and other similar experiences are very dangerous for a seeker or novice.
Shaykh Hajji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (rahimahullah) used to say there are veils of darkness, and everyone is aware of it, like the sinful acts or not following the Shariah. However, kasfs (unveilings, visions), karamats(miraculous acts) or states are veils of light so a person does not even realize that these experiences are a means of obstruction for a person from reaching Allah (ta’la) and a person can become confused and deceived!
One of the sages of this ummah has said that one act which is mustahab (recommended, which the Prophet did sometimes) is not comparable to a million karamats (miracles). Because these recommended deeds will take a person closer to Allah (swt), but miracles (kiramats) do not. In fact, it is dangerous as they can sometimes take a person away from Allah (swt). Shaitaan was sahib-e-kiramaat (a person who did miracles) but he forgot this important matter.
If a person is obedient to Allah, he is going through the self-purification course, doing his dhikr and muraqabah (the belief and thought that Allah is continuously watching me), and he sees himself in the Hellfire in the dream or in the form of a pig, he is still close to Allah in his state of obedience in wakefulness. He should not be bothered by these dreams. Allah (swt) says in the Quran “Verily those who believe and do righteous good deeds are the best of creatures (98:7)”. This is something which is done in a state of wakefulness. Allah never said in the Quran that those people who have good dreams and believe in the dreams, I am going to bless them in the Hereafter.
Then the shaykh said that even if anyone wants these states, they should stay away from pursuing them and not go after them, because unity of direction and focus is very important. People, who have dispersed minds do not reach any praiseworthy state. Unfortunately, people who have limited knowledge about the friends of Allah read about them and their states and karamats (miracles) and make them their objectives. So they try to attain them by doing different exercises and meditation. Sometimes they do achieve things such as flying in the air and walking on water, but they do not realise that this was just a by-product. They do not know that the righteous people only wanted the pleasure and closeness to Allah (swt) and these things were given to them as a blessing which they did not ask for.
A person, who is intelligent and he is always thinking about different ideas, Islamic rulings and so on, he very seldom gets these states. A person, who is less intelligent or knowledgeable tends to focus quickly on a state and goes through it. One of the dangerous effects of this is that if a person engages too much into a state, he will lose the state and he will lose the amaals (good deeds) that bought about this state. An example is that if a person becomes fond of the flame in a lantern, but forgets about replenishing the oil, he will lose the flame and also the oil. So the good deeds, Iman and steadfastness are like the oil in righteous people. If they are gone, the light will also go away. In Shaitaan, the light was also very much alight, but inside, his oil was not being replenished as he had jealousy and arrogance in him. In the end he was expelled from Jannah; in the end he was not left with the good states nor did he remain with the good deeds and Shari’ah.
The best thing is not to go after them at all, as they are only the scenes of the way and the toys of spiritual children. As Hadrat Junaid Baghdadi (May Allah’s mercy be upon him) has said, theses states, visions, colours and lights are for the amusement of spiritual children so that they are more steadfast and interested, they are not beneficial as such. For example if a person is travelling to Makkah, they see many scenes on the way. But these scenes are not the destination, but indications that they are travelling in the right direction. When a person sees something, it is a message that they should carry on going further. Sometimes it is a test. Be very clear in mind about this.
The objective is not for the Sheikh to take responsibility for intercession on the Day of Judgment
It is not the objective of the Tareeqah for the Sheikh to take responsibility for the forgiveness of the seeker on the Day of Judgment. Although Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) was the best person in the entire creation he did not give glad tidings of Jannah to all companions. Those people who think they will be forgiven on the Day of Judgment simply because they have done ‘bayat’ (pledge) with a righteous person are mistaken. There were Ashara Mubashara and many others about whom the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) assured they will enter paradise. No one is guaranteed paradise except those who were given the good news by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) if they believe otherwise they are under a great illusion. There can be no such guarantee. Even the Prophet (Peace be upon him) instructed his blessed daughter, Hazrat Fatimah [Radhiallahu ‘anha] saying to the nearest meaning, “Oh Fatimah, save yourself from the fire of hell”. He (Peace be upon him) also instructed his close family members to save themselves as well, and also he told them that Allah [subuhaanahu wa ta’ala] is in full control of everything, as it is up to Him whom He gives permission for intercession.
Just think, the great companions who were even given the glad tidings of paradise (some directly and some indirectly) still were fearful of Allah, why? Because they knew Allah does whatever He wills. If He puts all the people of paradise into hell, there is no one who can question Him, and it still will be justice. If people of hell are put into paradise, it is still justice. As Hazrat Nizam ud Deen Awliyah [Rahimahullah] said, its not injustice as injustice is to interfere in another persons ownership and Allah is the possessor of everything! This is the reason why the Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) feared Allah very much. If a person does bayah (allegiance) with this intention then they will become indulged in even more sins then before.
The objectives is not for one’s worldly matters to become easy with ‘tawizaat’ and ‘amliyat’ (amulets)
This is not an objective because these things do not have any connection with the Spiritual path as such. The Sheikh is interested in helping the person obtain the pleasure of Allah (azzawajal). It is not really his responsibility to make the seeker successful in worldly matters such as employment.
Some people come for the intention of seeking taweez, however this is not the field of deen and is a skill that anyone can learn and a person does not have to be pious. People come and give a small worldly gift to the person, mention their problem, take their problem and go home and that’s it. The person who gives the taweez is not concerned with the welfare of the other person. Both are people of the duniya; the seeker and sought.
Others will come in order to receive the prayers of the pious people so that they will get their cases and other difficulties solved. The underlying reason for them doing this is their selfish desire for everything to happen in accordance to their will. They are under the false notion that the whole world and all its affairs are in the hands of these people. They also think that they themselves will learn these techniques and methods and use them on other people. The ignorant masses think that all type of closeness is confined to these types of people regardless of whether or not the person is steadfast on the Shari’at or not. In a hidden way this person is also worshipping his nafs (desires).
The objective is not to cure the physical illnesses though ‘blowing’ or to tell the future
This does not really have anything to do with piety or righteousness. Prophets and righteous people also became ill. Many people go to righteous people in order to get cures from physical illnesses. The Sheikh can do dua for people but this is not necessarily related to the Tareeqah, it is an additional thing. It is also not the duty of the Sheikh to tell the person about the future, fortune-telling is not an objective.
The objective is not that the seeker will become completely purified with the spiritual power of the Sheikh
Had a person become purified just with the spiritual effect of the Sheikh while one does not show any true want and does not follow the teachings then the students and disciples of Great Saints would not have to do any Mujahada (striving). Although it is possible for this to happen if Allah (azzawajal) wills, it is not the norm. The Tareeqah is for everyone and not just specific cases.
It isn’t the norm for a person to be purified by one glance. If Allah Ta’ala wishes to bless someone then he can do so without any means. Just like Hazrat Isa [Alaihis Salaam] was born without a father, this doesn’t mean it’s the norm. If a person who wishes for a child, then they need to adopt the means which is marriage. Take also the example of Hazrat Syidina Abdul Azeez Dabbagh [Rahimahullah] although he was one of the blessed beings of Allah Almighty, he also had to walk around the earth for 12 years in search of a spiritual guide!
People who proclaim such things as mentioned above may not be executing the basic commands of religion themselves and quite the opposite may be indulged in sinning. The real Saints of Allah (azzawajal) are not only fulfilling the commands of Sharia, but also Tareeqah; Haqiqah Ma’rifah! If a person isn’t fulfilling the basic obligations of Sharia, they are not even a kamil mu’min [complete believer] as Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) said to the nearest meaning that ‘none of you can be a complete believer until what you like for yourself, you also like for others!’ There are some exercises in our Tareeqah to help a person achieve this.
If it was the case that one glance was all it took to purify, then the Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) wouldn’t have had to do anything. Instead it comes in many sound narrations that they were rigorously following Rasulullah (Peace be upon him)]. There is a well-known example of a companion who only had one hair as a beard; he then plucked it off because he thought people were laughing at him. When Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) came to know of this he did not reply to his greetings! That was the extent of his displeasure.
Once Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) said to the companions that he would like to burn the houses of those who did not come for congregational prayer. Sometimes companions had to leave their families, brother had to leave brother, son to leave mother and father, and even in many cases the ultimate sacrifice; they had to sacrifice their life for this blessed religion!
Once a person saw in a dream that he was in congregational prayer and Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) was leading the prayer. After the prayer, the people started to leave; he then approached the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and related to him that he thought that if he saw Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) his Islah (purification) would be done. The person went on to say, “but I am not reformed, although I am looking at your blessed face?” Rasulullah [Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam] replied by saying that “the purification isn’t done like this but rather you need to stay with me for 30 days”. The interpretation of that dream was that he had to practice the life of Rasulullah [Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam] on a 30 days basis like what we do in our Tareeqah.
Who is spiritually more powerful then Rasulullah [Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam]? Indeed the Companions had earned a great status just by having one glance at the Prophet [Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam] but that didn’t mean they just sat in the comfort of their homes all day and did nothing.
The objective is not that the seeker will not even get whispers of sin
Remember shaytan whispered to Adam (alaihis salaam) and even great friends of Allah had whispers.
Shaykh Ahmad Dabbagh said, in the past, a seeker of self-purification used to ask questions to mashaykh (teachers) some of which are noted down in the books. Once a disciple asked his Spiritual Master that he wishes to be free from whispers of shaitan. The Mashaykh have mentioned countless number of times that if these matters are beyond ones control then there is no need to worry as long as one does not bring the thought intentionally. So after a period of time, this disciple wrote back again with similar problems, so the Shiekh replied that ‘you should also wish that you’ll never have illness in your entire life!’
To avoid any illness is beyond our control and this could be a means of expiation of our sins and illness itself is not a sin. So without ones intention if evil whispers (waswasa) comes to ones mind, then know that this is either from nafs or shaitan. One should see oneself as three separate people in one body; your spirit (Ruh), intellect (‘aql) and nafs (desires). Then the fourth, external person within us is shaytan.
One should see where the thoughts are coming from, if a thought is evil then know that this is either from nafs and/or shaytan. One can use the intellect to establish something or ignore the whispers. From ones Ruh (spirit), goodness always emanate and this is because it is made up of light. So for example, an evil thought enters ones mind about ones teachers, etc. then one should recognize its evilness immediately and negate the thought straightaway thinking that it has definitely emanated from either nafs and/or saitan. It is like another person talking to you and if you do not like the comments being made by that person then you just ignore him. So likewise one ignores and deals with any evil thoughts entering in ones mind.
The objective is not that the person will automatically start performing amal-e-salihah (good deeds) without even intending to do them
Some people think that automatically that they will begin doing good deeds as opposed to striving to do good deeds. Even Anbiya (Alihai was salam) would have to do much mujahida (striving) to do good deeds. The Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) feet would be swollen after praying for most of the night. If a person doesn’t want to sacrifice then he should prepare himself a place in the hellfire. This is the time to work, walk the walk and sow the seed whereas in the hereafter we will reap the rewards for this. If a person doesn’t do any mujahida to do good deeds then the nafs is happy because it doesn’t like to make any effort.
Many people also have the false idea that the immediate effect of the bayah (pledge) is that the sins will automatically abandon them. Therefore after two years when they are still heavily engrossed in sins they will become disheartened and leave. On the contrary they should understand that they must leave sins and sins will not leave them except through mujahada (striving). If the sins of a person were to leave by themselves then it means that the person has become ma’soom (innocent) which is a quality of the Prophets (Peace be upon them) Even Walis (Saints) can commit minor sin.
The objective is not that all the duas of the person will become accepted
The objective is not that the person falls into a state of ecstasy or self-forgetfulness
Some people become very emotional or sentimental or they begin to say the name of Allah (Swt) very loudly or they begin to jump around in a state of ecstasy and altered state of mind. Other people then think that the person has reached a very high state and also begin to attain for it. We should remember that it is not a sin for the person who acts in this way but at the same time it is not an objective also as it is an uncontrollable state from Allah Most High. If you see someone who has attained this state then you should neither aim for this nor should you think badly of that person. It may well be possible that the person has obtained his goal however it should never be used as a criterion to determine whether or not a person has attained it. If a person makes this his objective he might then get de-motivated and gave up his good deeds.
The objective is not that the person’s memory, worldly knowledge or wisdom will increase
This may happen but it does not have a direct relationship with the pleasure and closeness of our Lord. A pious person can be tested in these matters. Many scholars and righteous people lose their ability to memorise as they become older.
The objective is not for a state to occur where the person has the urge and enjoys worship 24hrs a day
You should know that the states of the heart are two, by which every son of Adam goes through on the face of this transient world. At any given point he will be going through one of these two states. The ulema (scholars) and the wise men have transmitted to us as being, constriction (Al Qa’bs) and expansion (Al Ba’ast). If the heart was to be divided up into two sections whereby each section having the mentioned names, we can understand to an extent why our situation is as it is.
Constriction (Al Qabz): Imagine you are undergoing difficult, by which you seem to be in neglect of the obligations of the dheen (religion), as well as your daily affairs, the rights of the wife, the children, the rights of the parents are not expressed in its rightful manner, the offering of the five daily salah is of great burden, to an extent as to uttering of one ‘Subhan’Allaah’ (Glory is for the lord of the worlds) is a great burden and struggle. Understand that you are in the section of the heart undergoing a state, which is named constriction the forms may vary but underneath all is the state of constriction, regret, remorse and sorrow.
Remember that you are in a blessed phase of the test which will, like all things on the face of this deceptive world come to an end, know that Allah has great things in store for you as after winter comes spring and then summer, realise that the state of constriction upon your heart will soon come to pass followed by expansion where the hard efforts of your in striving to be strong will come to fruition. Allah loves you, for this reason you are being taken through difficult times. Know that in times when the heart is constricted and you feel not the need to carry out the injunctions of the dheen remember one thing, which is well expressed in the words of Shaykh Ahmad Dabbagh “...Why do you feel lazy to carry out good deeds? Are you the slave of your feelings or are you the slave of Allah the Exalted”
Allaah azzawajal loves the one who turns to him thereby placing you in situations where one finds the heart in a state of constriction; it is therefore an opportunity for you to turn to him. Know that the heart will change and it will experience the expansion.
The expansion (Al Bast):The state of the heart is at ease, no situation arises that the heart does not stay in its mutual harmony. Know that at the time of the heart being in the state of expansion you experience a state to where, all is seemed as being in peace. To perform good deeds you feel at tranquillity and find it easy, one at peace with his heart. To perform extra prayers and acts of good deeds you will opt for. When seeing, hearing, listening and speaking you avoid words, which are of unworthy to be mentioned, you avoid listening to things, which the shariah’ does not permit. You avoid going to places where it’s not permitted, on seeing, you lower your gaze to what has been disallowed and also including the rest of the bodily organs which every son of Adam utilises either to disobey or obey the Almighty. You try to perform A’mar’bil maruf’wa’nah’ya’nil’munkar (performing what is good and forbidding what is evil).
From the examples of the past the almighty often tests man at times of ease, at times when the son of Adam is satisfied. To see whether or not you still turn to him, cry to him as you used to, to ask of him and to thank him. Take advantage of this state oh worshipper of Allaah at these times, make constant du’aa(to make a request to Allah) ask the almighty to aid you in your worship and to give you steadfastness in I’badaah so at the times when the heart is not inclined towards righteousness you persevere in acts which will be a means of you felicity on the day of rising, and for the trails to come.
The objective is not that no unintentional evil or distracting thoughts will occur in the worship
This is one of the most important principles as half of the course of self purification is based on this. One could also say that this is the principle of all principles. It is mentioned in books through different angles. Sometimes it is mentioned as natural and intellectual, sometimes as deeds and states, stations and states, action and reaction, objective and means, intentional and unintentional, voluntary and involuntary, within our choice and beyond choice, volitional in volitional etc they are actually the same thing by principle but they are said in different ways depending on the persons situation. The person who does not understand this will be upset and depressed all their life and they might not even reach Allah (swt). However the person who understands it, there will still be a lot of mujahida but they will have peace of mind.
It is not in our choice what happens to us, (such as illnesses, accidents, not finding a job etc.) and what other people do to us (like degrading, ridiculing us etc.) but we will only be judged based on our reaction to those difficulties and troubles in life. Most people are worried and get depressed or frustrated because they take up a task which they do not have power over and only Allah (swt) has the full power over it. These people want things to happen according to their plan. Mankind only has a limited power and can only do limited things. Therefore when a man is not in control of everything then he should not expect that everything would happen according to his wishes. Only Allah (swt) has that quality and only He has the ‘Qudrah’ or supreme power to able to carry out a task without any obstacle from anyone. Therefore one has to remember that they are only slaves of Allah (swt) not God themselves or partners in the power of God.
There is a great difference in life between a person who knows the above principle and a person who does not. Shaykh Ahmad Dabbagh (db) has also stated that about 80% of all the worries and difficulties in life would evaporate if a person can understand this concept and apply it in his religious and worldly life. Therefore, if a person can react correctly in difficult situations, according to shari’ah, then he could benefit himself and one can even learn to benefit from bad company or an enemy. However, if a person does not have the right reaction then he cannot even benefit from the company of the pious and righteous people.
For example, to bring sinful and evil thoughts intentionally is within our choice and therefore to avoid them is within our choice also. As a consequence any intentional thoughts that are brought in and entertained will be a violation and considered a sin when carried out practically. However the coming of unintentional thoughts within a person’s mind, no matter how evil they are, a person should not be worried about because they are not within his control and he will not be taken account for that. But on the other hand to keep and extend the evil thought that initially came unintentionally becomes condemnable. Even if all the devils of the world come together and put evil thoughts in him, they will not harm him as he understands that they are not my thoughts and will reject them by taking refuge in Allah. He should react in such a way that will get him closer to Allah (swt) by crushing them and ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness and to protect him from falling into any traps of shaitan. He knows they are bad but they are not his, for example a T.V channel which broadcasts so many different channels, some good and some bad. Our mind is a like a T.V and the Shaitan and nafs are like the broadcasting station, and if we do not turn any channel on intentionally then obviously we will not watch it. It would be absolutely absurd for a person to become upset and depressed at the fact that so many evil channels and signals are coming in to his T.V as that is not within his control. Similarly until we activate the evil thought we are not sinful.
What is the beauty in a blind person refraining from the lustful glances towards members of the opposite sex, except that he has not seen the evil? Similarly the person who is getting evil thoughts is like the one who has the inner eye, has a sharp vision, has inclination to women, but due to the fear of Allah the Exalted stops himself from acting upon them. The evil thought instead of harming you will be a means of nourishing your iman (faith) and getting you closer to Allah the Exalted.
If a person dislikes these thoughts it is a sign of Iman. It is narrated in a hadith in Saheeh Muslim, to the nearest meaning, that ‘Allah has overlooked the evil thoughts of my ummat until they manifest it through speech or action’. Now if Allah’s messenger is saying this then what foolish people we are if we are getting upset over having these thoughts because it is natural the believer will dislike and detest them due to his faith.
Therefore, having a correct reaction to any situation will benefit a person and one can even benefit from the saitan’s devilish work. The principle described above can be considered as a lethal weapon in a spiritual warfare, fighting against ones lower self, i.e. the nafs and saitan. Shaykh Ahmad Dabbagh (db) also emphasized that one should understand the above principle in depth and then practice upon it according to ones ability, although everyone will be assigned it individually, through some exercise, to implement this principle in their own lives.
The objective is not to be in a state of weeping and crying
For example if someone were to complain that “Initially I used to be very tender and soft hearted, I used to weep while praying Tahajjud and so on, but I don’t anymore.” The answer to that would be that crying with the eyes is not in the person’s choice, hence the objective is not the crying of the eyes but it is to cry with the heart. The heart should be regretful for not getting closeness to Allah (swt). But as you are complaining, you already have what you require: the crying and regret of the heart.
Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) said “when you make dua (supplications) then say it whilst crying. However, if you cannot cry then at least make the face of a crying person.” A person lacking insight may question; what is the point of making a face of a crying person? Answer: crying is not in a person’s choice but making the face of crying is however.
The objective is not to have such annihilation (fanaa) of Allah that the person is not even aware of themselves although it is a desirable unintentional passing state but not the destination.
The extinction or annihilation (fana) which is objective is that corrupt beliefs, sins, evil traits, bad character and all whatever distracts one from Allah the Most High is eliminated and all bad and sinful traits and character are replaced with the virtuous and good qualities. These above mentioned matters are within the choice of a servant but the in volitional state when one forgets one self and surroundings completely is not the objective but it is a passing state to the destination which some travellers may experience.
The objective is not to see light (noor) or hear voices whilst doing dhikr or meditation
Many people think that when they perform dhikr or any muraqbaat (meditation) that they will see lights and hear voices from the world of unseen. This is a great misunderstanding!
Firstly it is not necessary that the dhikr or muraqabah will result in one seeing lights or hearing voices. Whether or not a person sees anything isn’t of concern but rather, the person should perform it properly with the correct intention after which they need not to worry about anything. Seeing lights is not an authentic and definite sign of the closeness of Allah Azzawajal as it may be from shaitaan or the mind.
Some people feel movement of lataifs [spiritual bodies] and some don’t, again this has got nothing to do with the closeness of Allah Ta’ala! Sometimes these lataifs [spiritual bodies] move due to different states. Some people think that they are seeing lights, hearing sounds etc, all these may be in actual fact being transmitted from his mind rather from the world of unseen.
Let us assume that in reality the creation of unseen begins to descend upon that person, what benefit will that person receive? A person will not gain any nearness to Allah [subuhaanahu wa ta’ala] if a world of unseen unveils to him, because Allah nor His Messenger (Peace be upon him) have made this the criteria for success! If one wishes for the closeness of Allah then it is achieved by following or being obedient to Allah, disobedience to Allah will result in the opposite.
Many times shayateens [devils] are able to see the angels, they can even see the heavens, but they still remain as shaytaan [devil]. Hence if unveiling of the unseen worlds were to increase the nearness to Allah Ta’ala, then surely they should have been brought close to Allah, but are they?
After death, all disbelievers are going to see angels and many other realities. This will be equivalent to the believers, but by them witnessing these realities they will still remain as unbelievers. Why? Because in this world they disobeyed Allah, went against Him and the Shariah [divine law] which he had sent through his beloved Messenger (Peace be upon him) and ultimately they didn’t purify themselves. Their witnessing will not benefit as they will still be sent to hellfire.
Obedience to Allah and following the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) coupled with refraining from the disobedience of Allah is what shall really benefit a person in this life and the hereafter. Thus obedience and following Allah’s Command is what makes the real difference!
It is not the objective to always see good dreams or to get divine inspiration (Ilham)
A person should not be waiting for states, spiritual experiences, dreams and visions. Hadhrat Mujaddid says that if anyone mentioned any dreams to him, he used to tell most of them that “I do not have acquaintance with the knowledge of Tabeer (interpretation of dreams) (although he used to be an expert, but he mentioned this for the tarbiyah (training) of people), tell me what you have been doing in your wakefulness. You told me what you have seen in the dream, but how did you spend your evening when you were awake? Did you sleep according to the Sunnah? Did you eat according to the Sunnah? When you turned sides during the night, did you recite the masnoon dua? Did you get up for Tahajjud? Did you even get up for Fajr? Did you recite the masnoon adhkars? Your success depends on what you do during wakefulness. This is in your choice and willpower, but in dreams you do not have a choice.” In some dreams you have control, but he is talking about those dreams that you do not have control over. So in these dreams, if a person goes to a bad place, he is not going to be sinful and if he goes to a good place, he is not going to be rewarded. Because it was from Allah (swt) that he has gone to those good places and because of devil he has seen bad places; he has not done anything himself.
There are three types of ‘seeing’: one where the person sees in a dream, one in semi-wakefulness and one in wakefulness. The terminology that the scholars of this science use for these are:
- Waqiyah – Semi-wakefulness
- Ruiyah saliha – Good dream whilst asleep
- Mukashifa – Full wakefulness
Mukashifa is where a person can see things in full wakefulness like a person sees in dreams. Matters of Hereafter can be shown to a person through this. But this is mostly very dangerous as Shaitaan can pretend to be Allah (swt) and other things and misguide people as they strongly believe what they are seeing in this state unless one adheres to guidance of a spiritual master and adheres to shariah and sunnah.
If a person does not rectify himself during wakefulness, when he has more control of his or her actions, such as refraining from sins, following the injunctions of Shariah, fulfilling the rights of others, doing virtuous acts and he is not purifying himself in the state of wakefulness, then if in the state of dream he sees himself roaming around the Arsh or Kursi, he will not get a hair-breadth of closeness to Allah the Exalted. Hundreds of people fall into this trap. They see a dream (shown to them by shaitaan), which they see in a sinful state and think that they have reached such a station that even sins do not harm them. Some people in their dreams see that people are prostrating in front of them. But this is actually a manifestation of their strong desire for fame and name.
A person may see a good dream from Allah (swt) but this is not very frequent. Most of the times it is Shaitaan and Nafs (desires). One should not think dreams are insignificant as there is guidance in there, good news, warnings and so on. But they should not be made as aims and objectives of the journey to Allah, the exalted. People should be judged in accordance to strictness on shariah and not on what they are seeing in dreams and visions.
The above mentioned are not the purpose of the spiritual path or Tareeqah. So one should try to eliminate and demolish these false illusions if one hasn’t done so already. Rather, let the real purpose settle in your mind and heart, and tell your nafs with your intellect that “I have never wanted any of these; I want the Ridha [pleasure] of Allah.”
If everything in the whole universe is spread before you then receive it with graciousness but don’t stop there. If you stay with what is offered, Allah will escape you. For example if after doing Mujahida you see an angel, at the end of the day it is still a creation. However if you attain the pleasure of Allah, the Exalted, nothing will escape you. Whatever is shown both outwardly and inwardly is a test from the Almighty. Unfortunately we lose our relationship with Allah when we are tested physically and spiritually as we fall for creation whereas the true friends of Allah Most High only fell for their beloved.