Faqr (Sufism) and Everyday Life
What is Faqr?
My spiritual guide Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:
- The literal meaning of Faqr is indigence and poverty. However, according to the Mystics it is the destination of life about which Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said the following;
اَلۡفَقۡرُ فَخۡرِیۡ وَالۡفَقۡرُ مِنِّی
Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me.
- Certainly, Faqr is a remarkable inward rank and marvel. There is nothing comparable to it in the inward.
- Faqr is the eternal destiny of those people who abdicated all the luxuries of world and hereafter on the day of Divine covenant. Thus, they remained firmly devoted to the Almighty Allah only. Indeed, none of the charms and pleasures of universe could shake their steadfastness.
- Undoubtedly, Faqr is the ardent Divine Love.
- Faqr is the path which takes the slave of Allah to Allah.
Question of Seekers
The moment any seeker of Allah pledges allegiance on the sacred hands of perfect spiritual guide (Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman) he questions himself like:
How should I spent my daily life?
How to strike balance between worldly life and spiritual life i.e. Faqr?
Should I renunciate the world as all Saints have warned about world?
Deception of Satan
As soon as the seeker steps on the way of Faqr, Satan leaves no stone unturned to allure him and frightens him of the path. Allah says:
اَلشَّیْطٰنُ یَعِدُکُمُ الْفَقْرُ وَیَاْمُرُکُمْ بِالْفَحْشآءِ۔ (البقرہ۔ 268)
Meaning: Satan makes you afraid of Faqr and enjoins you to commit indecency. (Al-Baqarah 2)
Therefore, Satan whispers into the inwards of mankind:
Leave outward aspects of life.
Run into forests.
Do not look after your family as they are no longer your responsibility.
Break your connections with people.
Some of the seekers fall prey to these evil whispers.
Whereas Allah says:
مَازَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَاطَغٰی . (النجم۔17 )
Meaning: His eye neither inclined aside nor overstepped the limit. (An-Najm 17)
Aforementioned verse speaks of moderate way i.e. neither to reject the way of Faqr nor to seclude oneself from worldly matters. So the question is:
How to identify and subsequently adopt moderation? How to practice a balance between worldly life and Faqr?
Now we will try to understand it with the example of universe created by Allah.
As we all know all that the planets including earth keep revolving around its axis as well as around the sun on a fixed orbit. Hence, the system of universe is maintained. In the same way, there is an axis or centre of everyone’s life and that is Allah. So the seeker must focus on his axis as well perform all the legitimate duties which sharia has assigned him. Hence, the balance is maintained. In short, he will become able to live a life qualifying all the standards set by Allah.
Contrarily, if he denies to perform his duties of worldly life like education, employment, grooming of children and their educations etc., then the system of life is disrupted.
Now the important points is the duties one has been performing for his parents, children, relatives etc. He should accomplish them with the intention to seek the will of his Lord. In shorts, same duties with different intention.
There is a Hadith:
اِنَّمَا الْاَعْمَالُ بِالنِّیَّاتِ. (صحیح بخاری)
Meaning: Actions are based on their intentions.
Holy Prophet said:
“Neither Allah weighs you because of your face nor actions but inwards (intentions).”
It clearly sets the importance of one’s intentions.
Sultan Bahoo says, “Those meet the success in achieving gnosis of Allah who remain steadfast and neither divert away from sharia nor follow the path of heresy.”
There is no other way out than performing the duties with utmost sense of responsibility while remaining in the constraints set by sharia.
In Ar Risala Tul Ghausia, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani says:
I had the Divine vision, there I asked him, “O Lord! What is Divine love?”
He answered, “O Ghawth al-Azam! Love for My sake, love me and I am Myself Love. Renunciate every action and thought other than Me.”
Above mentioned quote put emphasizes on safeguarding our inwards from love and fear other than Allah, and action should not be done in the love of people.
So should one resort to seclusion or monasticism?
The answer is in no. As Allah says:
وَرَ ھْبَانِیَّۃَ اَبْتَدَعُوْھَا مَا کَتَبْنٰھَا عَلَیْھْم . (سورۃ العدید۔27 )
Meaning: And they themselves invented the innovation of monasticism. We did not prescribe it for them. (Al-Hadid 27)
Moreover, Allah says:
“Say: O children of Adam! Dress up decently every time you offer prayer. And eat and drink, but do not spend extravagantly because certainly He does not like the extravagant. Who has forbidden the adornment (and beautification) of Allah that He has produced for His servants and (who has also forbidden) the pure and clean food?” Say, “(All these bounties) that are (available generally) for the believers in the life of this world will be exclusively (for them) on the Day of Resurrection. This way, We elucidate Our Revelations for those who have knowledge.” (Al-Araf 31-32)
When Saints call to renounce the world in fact they advocate to renunciate it esoterically instead of exoterically.
What does mean by world?
Present spiritual guide of Sarwari Qadri order, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman says:
“Usually the abundance of riches or wealth is thought to be the worldliness, but world is defined by the Saints and Mystics as; “Everything which distracts or diverts the attention away from Allah towards itself.” As it is the saying of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him);
مَاشَغَلَکَ عَن اللّٰہِ فَھُوَ صَنَمَکَ
Meaning: Anything which involves you with itself, diverting your attention away from Allah is your idol.”
Sultan Bahoo says:
“What is world? Anything which brings peace for you other than Allah is your world.” (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Hence, anything which make you negligent of Allah is world no matter it is the love of parents, children or your job. On the other hand, if they are not becoming your veil then they are not world. In short, one should sacrifice these relations or wealth in the way of Allah. As Allah says:
“O Mohammad! Say unto them you wealth and children must not make you oblivious of invocation of your Lord.”
Renouncing world in words of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen
- Renunciation of world in fact means renunciation of the lust of worldly pleasures and being indifferent to the world inwardly.
- 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.
Renouncing world in words of Sultan-ul-Faqr VI
Sultan-ul-Faqr sixth Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali says:
- Live in the world like a wild duck lives in water, it does not drown even while living in the water.
- Live in the world like a boat floats on water. Consider the boat as your innerself and the water as the world. The boat is safe unless the water enters it. When water enters the boat, it definitely sinks. You are like a boat and the water is like the world. Save yourself from the world and its love. (Sultan-Ul-Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Life And Teachings)
Invocation by breath
It means the love of the world must not pollute our inwards, therefore one must understand the difference between renunciation and monasticism. Rather the true renunciation is to invoke Allah with every breath by alongside performing all duties of sharia. Therefore, there is no space for such lengthy recitals in Sarwari Qadri way rather perfect spiritual guide blesses the seeker with invocation which is performed by breath. In this way one can have eternal invocation. In this way there remains no need to separate oneself from world. Such an invocation of breath put no hurdle in daily life. Therefore Quran has stressed to perform such invocation of breath:
وَاذْکُرْ رَّبَّکَ فِیْ نَفْسِکَ تَضَرُّعًا وَّ خِیْفَۃً وَّدُوْنَ الْجَھْرِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ بِالْغُدْوِّ وَالْاٰصَالِ وَلَا تَکُنْ مِّنَ الْغٰفِلِیْنَ۔ ( اعراف205 )
Meaning: And remember your Lord in your inward with humility and tearful submissiveness and fear and repentance and also by calling in low tones. (Persevere with His remembrance) morning and evening and be not of the neglectful. (Al-Araf 205)
Sultan Bahoo and invocation
Sultan Bahoo says:
باھُوؒ! نماز و روزہ و بسیار طاعت
از آن بہتر بود دل ذکر ساعت
Explanation: O Bahoo! It is better to do the invocation in inward for a while than excessive devotions, salats and fasts. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
باھُوؒ! عاشقانرا راز این است ذکر ھُو گوید دوام
دم بدم ذکر ھُو گوید کار آں گردد تمام
Explanation: O Bahoo! The secret of lovers is that they ever remain engrossed in the invocation of ‘Hoo’. They reach their destination by invoking ‘Hoo’ with their every breath. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
رِجَالٌ لاَّ تُلْھِیْھِمْ تِجَارَۃٌ وَّلَابَیْع عَنْ ذِکْرِ اللّٰہِ وَاِقَامِ الصَّلٰوۃِ اِیْتَآالزَّکٰوۃِ یَخَافُوْنَ یَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِیْہِ الْقُلُوْبُ وَاْلاَبْصار۔ (سورۃ النور۔37 )
Meaning: (Blessed with this light) are those servants (of Allah) whom neither trade nor sale diverts from the remembrance of Allah and from establishing prayer and paying zakat (the Alms-due. Even whilst performing their worldly duties) they keep fearing the Day when inwards and eyes will (all) overturn (with terror). (An-Nur 37)
The best examples of moderation
The best and most practical example of adopting moderation is that of Prophet Mohammad. In the same way, the People of Cloak and Companions have set such example.
If we study the life of Prophet Mohammad, the way he loved Allah, no one ever has loved. Even then he aptly fulfilled all the duties. He married and groomed his progeny in an ideal way and has been milking his goat with his own hands. Surprisingly, he used to bring groceries himself. Even he use to repair his shoes. Alongside these tasks, he preached and spread Islam in the whole world. He participated actively in jihad for exaltation of Islam. So, his inward was perfectly attached with Allah and exoterically he took all duties. He managed his all worldly matters including relations.
Companions also adopted different profession for earning livelihood. They married, had children but they were never neglectful towards Allah.
Similarly Fatimah bint Mohammad used to perform all the duties of home. For example she used to grind a mill, serve his husband, grooming of children etc were his daily routine tasks. But despite tough duties she was never oblivious of Allah even for a moment throughout her life.
Ali ibn Abi Talib says about her:
- I saw Fatimah (ra) that she was cooking food but invoking Allah’s name as well. She kept reciting the verses of Holy Quran while grinding millstone.
Iqbal says in his poetry:
نوری و ہم آتشی فرمانبرش
گم رضائش در رضائے شوہرش
آں ادب پروردۂ صبر و رضا
آسیا گردان و لب قرآں سرا
اشک او برچید جبرئیلؑ از زمیں
ہمچو شبنم ریخت بر عرش بریں
Explanation: Fatimah bint Mohammad holds such an exalted status that all angels and jinns are under her command. But she serve her husband. She was the emblem of station of surrender and submission to Allah’s will and used to recite Quran while grinding a mill. Fatimah bint Mohammad has been weeping in the love of Allah and His Prophet. Angel Gabriel used to pick those sacred tears and put them in the court of Allah. Her life is a model for every woman for carving out a balance between Faqr and his worldly duties.
Life of Rabia of Basra also serves as example for women. She was employed at someone’s house. But she upheld the invocation of Allah during all the busiest routines of various duties.
Example through the life of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen
In this era, the example is of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman. His whole life is full of struggles either it is path of Faqr or worldly life. He created such a balance that one cannot find such example in the past even. For example, along with his education, marriage, job, grooming of children, their education, the way he served his spiritual guide is something. One cannot serve more than what he has done for his spiritual guide. He spared his every second of life and every penny of his wealth to make his spiritual guide happy. Beside all these, he loved Allah so ardently that Allah entitled him as Sultan of lovers (Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen). He took revolutionary steps to spread the treasure of Faqr and thus he was entitled as Sun of Faqr (Aftab-e-Faqr) and Grandeur of Faqr (Shan-e-Faqr)
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman visits cities in all Pakistan for preaching purposes and has written more than 20 books. He has revitalized the spirituality and Faqr using internet. Instead of all these he remains with Allah inwardly all the time.
Reality of world in words of Sultan-ul-Faqr VI
Sultan-ul-Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali says:
- The world is like a shadow. If you turn your back towards the sun then your shadow will come in front of you. If you go forward to catch your shadow it will run before you and will never be caught by you. However, if you turn your back to your shadow and walk facing the sun, the shadow will run after you. Similarly, if you turn your back towards Allah and run after the world, you can never have it. Though if you walk towards Allah turning back from the world, it will run after you. (Sultan-Ul-Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Life And Teachings)
Hence, renounce lust and adopt eternal invocation. The invocation of Allah is the way which opens the lock of inward. Such an invocation makes one free of sicknesses of inward like prejudice, jealousy, greed etc.
Those oblivion of invocation
Sultan Bahoo says:
“The person who is not engrossed in the eternal invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, which grants entire wisdom, Allah torments him with His wrath and fury. He gets the honour and high ranks of this world which increase the darkness of his heart and his soul is destroyed completely due to the evil effects of greed, lust, jealousy, pride and desires of inciting innerself (nafs). Being deprived of the closeness and knowledge of Allah, he keeps running after the pleasures of world which leave him depraved from the right path.” (Ganj-ul-Asrar)
Perfect spiritual guide is like a physician
Sultan Bahoo says:
“Spiritual guide is like a physician and the disciple is like a patient. When a physician treats a patient he gives him bitter and sweet medicines and the patient must take those medicines so that he is cured and healthy.” (Ain-ul-Faqr)
In above mentioned saying, medicines are in fact troubles and difficult situation in the path of Faqr. Seeker has to pass through these difficult times to progress in Faqr. These trial are attached to worldly life as well. In one remains perpetual in this path and has firm belief in his spiritual guide, the spiritual guide himself helps him to pass through them. Sometime spiritual guide assign a duty to his devotee which confronts to his worldly responsibility. In such a state it is impossible to perform both duties at a time. In all such situation the leading rule is below mentioned saying of Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA):
- If I come across a situation where on one side the task assigned by Allah and on the other side I have my own worldly responsibility. Then I choose to perform Allah’s task and handover my task to Allah. In this way I perform Allah’s task and Allah performs my task in much better way than me.
- Only that seeker can be successful in Faqr who does not object at the actions of the spiritual guide and always tries to understand his will.
When we dedicate all our efforts and breaths to invocation of Allah, then we must dedicate all our abilities, resources, thoughts, intellect, knowledge etc. to Allah. We must use them esoterically and exoterically by submitting ourselves to the will of our spiritual guide.
In present era the jihad with sword has become rare but one can easily do jihad with pen. Therefore, whichever duties you are assigned for Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr, you must do it with full zeal.
This blog is English translation of an Urdu article of the magazine “Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore” for the month of May, 2019. The title of the Urdu article is:
فقر اور روز مرہ زندگی | Faqr aur Roz Marra Zindagi
Originally penned by Faiza Saeed Sarwari Qadri is presently in English by Sahibzadi Muneeza Najib Sarwari Qadri exclusively for the website. Do not forget to visit the original article to which you only have to click the link
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