Idols of Inward
جو میں سر بسجدہ ہوا کبھی تو زمیں سے آنے لگی صدا
تیرا دل تو ہے صنم آشنا‘ تجھے کیا ملے گا نماز میں
Explanation: When I bowed myself for prostration, I heard a voice coming from the ground. It is questioning my apparent prostration before Allah while offering Salat. As apparently, I claim to worship only Allah but in fact my inward is full of many other idols.
Idols are not only the ones made out of mud, clay or stones. Rather a human made out of dirt also has thousands of idols in his inward. For example, idol of knowledge, relations, condescension and comprehension. Furthermore, some people have made desires of this world and hereafter as their idols. Others run after attaining dignity and status and have made them their idols. If not that, then some people make their innerself their idol and circumambulate around its desires. Sadly, these people do not even realize that they have made their innerself their god and are worshipping it.
As Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:
“Running after the desires of innerself is like worshipping it and it is a form of idolatry. Following the desires of innerself (wrongdoing and immorality) is like holding partners with Allah. And to Allah it is an enormous sin.”
Allah says in sura al-Jathiyah:
(O beloved Prophet!) Have you seen him who has made his desire his god. (45:23)
Types of Idolatry
Idols could be corporeal or incorporeal, similarly visible or invisible. However, neither is acceptable, therefore it is better to break them for the salvation and rectification of oneself. Until and unless one breaks these idols, one cannot declare the eminence of righteousness. After the conquest of Makkah, when Prophet Mohammad entered the city, there were three hundred and sixty idols in all four corners of Holy Kaaba. At the time, Prophet had a stick in hand with which he struck the idols and broke them into pieces. Then he said; جَآءَ الْحَقُّ وَ زَھَقَ الْبَاطِلُ meaning: Righteousness (Islam) has arrived and spurious has vanished. (Bukhari-2478)
Man’s Relation to Allah Should be Above All Other Relations
Those who are aware of their inward idols are fortunate. Because they realize that their inward is home to many idols and lacks room for the Divine light. It is human nature that he cannot bear the person whom he loves the most values someone else more. Then how can we value the material things or the mortal relations more than our immortal relation with Allah.
Certainly, we should not give significance to our worldly relations over relationship with Allah. Undoubtedly, Allah is the most honorable and magnificent. He cannot bear that man make partners to Him while apparently claiming to be His slave and prostrating before him. Moreover, a person cannot claim to worship Allah and at the same time love the idols of his inward.
al-Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) said:
“When your inward remains connected to the creation of Allah then how can you turn towards your Creator. You have associated partners with Allah then how can you be with Allah. How can outward and inward be together! (al-Fath ar-Rabbani- Majlis-5)
It is also worth mentioning here that only this world and its material items are not our idols. Rather the blessings of hereafter also form a veil between the Creator and the man. As when the blessings of hereafter attract man, he worships solely to achieve them and not to please Allah.
Love of World Eliminates Love for Allah
At another instance Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani said:
“Every inward that contains the love for world is deprived of the love for Allah. Similarly, the person who saturates his inward with the love of hereafter also remains deprived of Divine love. Just like the attraction of the world keeps the man away from the worry of the hereafter. Similarly, attraction of the (reward in the) hereafter devoid man of Allah’s love. (al-Fath ar-Rabbani- Majlis 10)
In short, to please Allah it is important to have absolute faith in the Oneness of Allah. Rather, one must be in such a state in which he does not hold partners with Allah at all times, be it inwardly or outwardly. However, it is unachievable until man eliminates all the idols of his inward. Said another way, just like two lions cannot rule in one jungle and two swords cannot be in one scabbard. Similarly, a believer cannot have two gods.
As Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:
“To reach the station of Oneness of Allah (Tawhid), it is important to be indifferent from the love, desire and fear of everything other than Allah. In other words, being indifferent from everything besides Allah is Oneness.” (Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen)
Renunciation of World
Here it is important to elaborate that being indifferent does not mean abandoning the world completely. Also, it does not mean that a person gives up all the blessings of this world and reside in Jungle. Or become oblivious of all his responsibilities towards his family and children and think he has left everything on Allah. Rather, renunciation of world means that while living in this world he takes care of all his responsibilities. However, in doing so he does not get bonded to its attraction in his inward and forgets Allah. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen beautifully describes renunciation of world in the following quotes:
- Renunciation of world infact means renunciation of the lust of worldly pleasures and being indifferent to the world inwardly.
- As long as the worldliness, the worldly appetites, desires and lusts are concealed in the person, the love of Allah Almighty can never enter his inward. He, who claims to possess both the worldliness and the Divine love together in his inward, is an absolute liar. As the lovers and beloveds of Allah never pay heed to the world. Even if someone offers all the riches of the universe to them.
- Renunciation of world does not mean abandoning the world. Rather it means defeating the inner desires and love for the world. Unless one’s inward is purified of the worldly love and desires, it is not blessed with the Divine love.
Distinguish between Right and Wrong
A person must use his intellect and wisdom to distinguish between the right and wrong. Also, if Allah grants him wealth then spend not only on his needs but also in the way of Allah. Furthermore, use his wealth to spread the religion and not expect anything in return. Be it benefit of the world or hereafter. Additionally, if Allah blesses with children, then teach them good morals and feed them by lawful means. Also, enlighten their inward with the love of Allah and His Prophet through words and acts. However, it is a proven fact that one cannot achieve the aforementioned only by virtue of his hard work. In order to achieve it he needs guidance of a perfectly accomplished Murshid who has the insight of everything. It is unwise to depend merely on your wisdom to fulfil these duties.
According to a poet, intellect is mischievous which disguise itself in many different ways.
Can wisdom Guide Man Towards the Right Path?
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen describes intellect in the following words:
“Intellect is the glory of man and a source of guidance for him. Also, intelligent people fall under the category of those having awareness. However, when the intellect is enslaved by the innerself and its sensual desires then it is worst than the dog. Such intellectual person is actual under the control of his innerself. Ultimately, all the traits of the ignoble innerself slowly prevail him just like Cuscuta weed occupies the whole tree. Such person becomes arrogant and astray from the path of righteousness. Identification of such person is that he claims himself to be the most intelligent and think others as fool.”
In order to distinguish between right and wrong through one’s intellect, it is important to have such insight which knows how to safeguard itself from the attacks of intellect. Additionally, it is important to destroy other idols of inward.
Importance of Breaking the Idols of Inward
Triumphant and wise are those who hand over their idols of inward to an iconoclast. In other words, submit oneself to a perfect spiritual guide whose spiritual attention can break the idols of the inward. It is a rule in the path of Divine love that those who do not try to break their idols themselves, Allah disgraces them through these idols. In fact, Allah passes them through this ignominy to develop a sense of guilt. Ultimately, man seeks forgiveness from his Lord, repents and turns towards the path of righteousness. Allah accepts the repentance of a person and forgives him only when he acknowledges his sins and seeks His beneficence. Indeed, the ability to seek forgiveness is also a step forward towards the path of righteousness. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani said:
“O man unaware of the reality of world! Had you recognized the true reality of this world then you would have never desired it. If you get world, it will put you in trouble. However, loosing it will put you in a sense of deprivation or make you wistful of it. Had you recognized Allah then you would have known (the dark reality of) everything other than Allah.” (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani-50)
How Can One Break Idols of Inwards?
Allah send people like Mahmud of Ghazni to destroy the physical idols made of mud or stones. However, to break the intrinsic idols, one does not need to have physical power or strength. Rather, it requires such spiritual attention which is strong enough to destroy the idols by dragging then off their foundation. Although one cannot see the inner idols, however, they are rooted in our souls and weaken our connection with Allah. Only the spiritual attention of the Murshid and invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat breaks the idols of inwards. We have explained the aforementioned in the following few paragraphs:
Perfect Spiritual Guide
The idols of inward weaken the soul. Such diseased soul is deprived of the Divine vision and proximity. In order to save the life of soul it is essential to perform a careful surgery. The treatment of soul requires radiations and ointments in the form of Divine invocation and spiritual attention of Murshid.
A prescriber can self treat his minor diseases but can not perform a sensitive surgical procedure on himself. Despite being knowledgeable about his condition he still seeks help from his fellow expert physician. Similarly, to perform surgery on our souls we need help of the expert. And the expert in this case is the perfect spiritual guide. Once man reaches in the court of perfect spiritual guide, he must submit himself fully just like a patient. Only then, the perfect spiritual guide who specializes in the surgery of the soul is able to provide treatment.
As Allah says in al-Baqarah:
Allah is the guardian of the believers. He brings them out of (all kinds of) darkness and takes them towards the light. And those who are disbelievers, their supporters are Satan who take them out of the light (of truth) into the darkness (of evil). It is they who are the inmates of Hell. They will dwell there forever. (2:257)
1- Ism-e-Allah Zaat
About the significance of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and Murshid Kamil in breaking idols, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani said the following:
“When Ism-e-Allah Zaat flourishes in someone’s inward, it gives rise to two things: fire and light. Fire burns everything other than Allah and light changes the inward into an enlightened mirror. (al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
Shah Wali Allah also elaborates the importance of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and Murshid Kamil in the following words:
There are only two ways of cleansing a filthy land. First, either it rains to an extent that it flows all the dirt with it. Or the Sun shines too bright that its heat burns the filth away. Similarly, there are two things for the inward. First is the invocation of Allah which is corresponding to the rain. Second is the perfect spiritual guide, who is like the heat of the Sun. The spiritual attention of the perfect spiritual guide cleanses the inward just like invocation of Allah. Indeed, those people are very fortunate who get the company of the perfect spiritual guide. Also, only the fortunate ones develop the desire and urge to meet the perfect spiritual guide.
Reference from the Quotes of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen
Regarding aforementioned, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:
- A person can neither liberate himself from the imprisonment of the innerself and Satan, nor can his inward be disgusted of this world. Until he finds the company of the perfect spiritual guide and indulges in the invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat.
- Without attaining perfection in the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat one cannot get rid of lust and desires of the inciting inner self.
In short, the Muslims of the contemporary era worship idols more than they worship Allah. However, when a person breaks these idols after recognizing them, he reaches the accession of the humanity. To reach this station, a person must have two weapons, otherwise this accession will be impossible. In the absence of these arms, person will wayward from the right path forever. First weapon is the company perfect spiritual guide (Murshid Kamil) and the second is invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Now the question arises that who is the perfect spiritual guide?
The Perfect Spiritual Guide
The perfect spiritual guide is the one who blesses the seeker of Allah with the greatest name of Allah (Hoo). It is in fact the king of the invocations which Murshid Kamil grants on the very first day of allegiance. Further, he also teaches seeker inscribing the personal name of Allah on the body (which cleanses his innerself). If a seeker is fortunate enough to find such spiritual guide, then he must hold tight to him right away. However, it is hard to find such spiritual guide since he is not so famous. But such perfect spiritual guide who carries the Divine secret from one generation to another will remain in this world till the doomsday. (Shams ul Fuqara)
What is Ism-e-Allah Zaat?
Ism-e-Allah Zaat is the personal name of Allah. In fact, it is the essence of all Divine attributes. According to the perfect Fuqara, it is the Ism-e-Azam (the greatest name of Allah). When a person calls Allah with His personal name with great love and devotion, then Allah also bring him in His proximity. Ultimately, Allah enlightens his inward with Divine love and eradicates the love for everything other than Allah from his inward.
As Allah says in a Qudsi Hadith:
“I am with the man when he remembers Me. I treat him according to his perception (about Allah). When he invocates My name, I am in His company. When he remembers me in a gathering, I remember him in a better gathering (of Prophets and Saints).”
A common man entangled in this physical world, spends his whole life in the longing of achieving better status. He feels honoured and fortunate when recognized by high ranked people. Now imagine how fortunate that person would be whom Allah, the Creator of the Universe, remembers and blesses with His proximity. Is it possible for such a fortunate person to entangle in the desires of the inciting innerself? Of course not!
Ism-e-Allah Zaat is Special Gift of Allah for Mankind
Ism-e-Allah Zaat is so powerful that even angels do not have the strength and ability to invocate it. Shaikh Fakir Allah verifies it in the following incidence. He said:
Once he was busy in the invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. He noticed a few angels sitting close by were busy in the dhikr of Allah as well. Therefore, he asked them; “come a little closer and join me in my invocation (of Ism-e-Allah Zaat). In turn the angels replied; “we do not have the strength to come near you and invocate (Ism-e-Allah Zaat) with you. (The Divine Reality of Ism-e-Allah Zaat)
Company of Perfect Spiritual Guide is Necessary to Attain Divine Closeness
It is important to have the guidance of the perfect spiritual guide along with Ism-e-Allah Zaat. The history of Faqr and Tasawwuf verifies that no one has ever achieved proximity of Allah without the guidance of the perfect spiritual guide. Those who claim otherwise have in fact turned they backs to the reality and have pushed themselves in the dark. Additionally, such people in fact commit a huge sin since they also wayward others from the right path. Allah, the Merciful, forgives countless sins of man. However, He does not forgive the person who wayward others from the path of righteousness.
The perfect spiritual guide passes the disciple through various stages in Faqr through the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. In turn revealing many hidden idols in the inward of the disciple. Triumph are the ones who seek the help of the Murshid in breaking the idols of inward. Ultimately, with the spiritual attention the Murshid eradicates the inward of the seeker from the partners of Allah. Only such disciples succeed in the path of Faqr and eventually see Divine Oneness in their inward. The perfect spiritual guide blesses such disciples not just according to their desire rather more than that.
Journey of Self Recognition Reveal Inward Idols
Allah reveals the reality of inward only when a seeker walks on the path of inward with sincerity and honesty. It is a fact that the inciting innerself and Satan will wayward people on righteous path only. As they do not need to make an attempt to mislead a person already on the wrong path. Also, Satan swore to wayward only the people on the path of righteousness. When a seeker starts the spiritual journey of self recognition, only then Allah reveals his inner idols upon him. Then he is able to recognize the idols who are a hurdle for him in his journey towards Allah.
al-Ghawth al-Azam talks about his inward journey and how he dealt with the inner idols in the following words:
1- Fight with the Ugly Satan
In this regard al-Ghawth al-Azam said the following:
“Once Satan came to me in a very ugly and hideous looking face. He was stinky and foul smelling and said, “I am Iblees, you have worn my tutee and me. Therefore, now I want to be your student.”
I replied; “O accursed! Get lost from here.” He refused. Then instantly, I saw a heavenly hand struck him hard and buried him into the ground.
After some time passed, Satan came to me again. This time he had a fire ball in his hand. He growled while throwing fire balls towards me. Then I saw a man riding a white horse coming to me. The man had covered his face and handed me a sword. As soon as I held the sword in my hand, the Satan ran away.
2- Fight with the Deceiving Attractions of the World
At another instance, Satan approached Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani with yet another trick to attempt to wayward him. In this regard he said the following;
The third time, I saw Satan in a very strange condition. He was sitting on the ground groaning and crying while pouring mud on himself. While addressing me he said, “O Abdul Qadir! You have disappointed me”. I replied, “O cursed one! get lost from here, I always seek Allah’s protection from you.”
Iblees sighed and said; this is even harder on me. Then he spread various traps and snares around me, so I asked, what is this? He said, these are the snares and deceptions of the world, which I use to trap people like you.
Then for a year I focused on these traps to defused them and ultimately, they broke one after another. Afterwards, many other goods appeared in front of me, so I inquired about them. I was told, “these are your relations within the creation as you are associated with them.” Then for another year I engrossed towards them and made efforts to defuse them. Eventually, I got rid of all of them.
3- Astonishing Inward States
At another occasion, al-Ghawth al-Azam talks about his inner states while fighting with the deceptions of the world. He said he passed through the following phases:
Phase of Inwards Observation
During my struggles, I went through some astonishing states. Sometimes, I witnessed my inward and innerself. At other occasions I passed through the doors of Faqr, contentment, feeling of gratefulness and absolute trust on Allah. When I observed my inward, I found it indulged in various worries of the world. Allah told me that these are my authorities and desires. Therefore, I struggled for a year to eradicate them from inward. Eventually, I was free from all the worries of this world.
Phase of Observing Innerself
Then I passed through the phase of observing my innerself. I found it suffering from many diseases of innerself as well. Again, I fought with them for a year. Ultimately, Allah not only cured these diseases, but also eradicated their root cause from my inward. Then my inciting innerself came under the Divine slavery.
Phase of Having Absolute Trust Upon Allah
Next, I reached the door of having absolute trust upon Allah. This door was very crowded. However, I made my way through the crowd and passed from it.
Phase of Being Grateful to Allah
Further, I reached at the door (phase of) being grateful to Allah and found it packed as well. Again (with Divine help) I made my way through it as well. (To elaborate it means many people were stuck at his phase and could not go further).
Phase of Being Content
Finally, I reached the door of contentment and observation and found this door to be empty. When I entered though the door, I observed unlimited Divine treasures. This blessed me with the real contentment, honor and pleasure. Here, I felt a revolution in my inward and Allah blessed me with my new self. (Life and Teachings of al Ghawth al Azam)
The above-mentioned incidents are from the life of al-Ghawth al-Azam who was a great Saint by birth. Despite his high spiritual status, he strived to get rid of the traps of innerself, world and Satan. He as well had to seek beneficence from the great spiritual guides of his era. Therefore, it is important for a common person to make such efforts as well to succeed in this world and hereafter. Only then can he recognize and destroy the idols of his inward. Indeed, the lives of our spiritual leaders are an open book for us to benefit from. Wise is the one who seek guidance from their struggles.
If you are among those blessed people of Allah who feel the need of eradicating your inward idols to begin the journey towards Allah, then Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr invites you to take allegiance on the hands of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. Undoubtedly, he is the perfect and accomplished spiritual guide of the present era. Certainly, the disciples of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen have witnessed all the attributes of the perfect spiritual guide in him. He never returns the true seekers of Allah empty handed. Indeed, seekers have witnessed that with his spiritual attention, Allah cleansed their inward from the idols. Thus, they have reached the station where they hold no partners to Allah and attain Divine proximity. As Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen teaches the following to his disciples:
“The real and eternal success lies in ejecting the worldly love from the inward. Instead foster the Divine love in it. This is possible only through the contemplation and invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Provided it is received from the perfect and accomplished Sarwari Qadri spiritual guide who is the man of Divine Essence.”
Sanam Aashna is an Urdu article of the magazine “Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore” for June 2019 issue. Originally penned by Faiza Gulzar Sarwari Qadri and translated in English with few changes by Fatima Noor Sarwari Qadri. If you wish to read the article in Urdu, click the following link:
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