Islahul Khiyal (Correction of Thoughts) has been compiled by Hakimul Ummat Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahmatullah alayh). This short compilation consisting of some correspondence between two relatives and a letter of a Shaikh to some of his Mureedeen who were adversely influenced by westernism, answers many baseless doubts created by westernism in the minds of Muslims who pursue western education. May Allah Ta’ala accept this humble effort and make it a means for eliminating the doubts of kufr which befuddle the minds of many Muslims nowadays.
Someone wrote to his relative a letter counselling (giving naseehat – Deeni advice) him with regard to obedience to the Shariah in matters of a’mal (righteous deeds) and the adoption of an Islamic appearance. Being strongly influenced by modern western concepts, the relative entertained some doubts and uncertainties in regard to the naseehat offered. This person wrote a reply in an endeavour to dispel his relative’s doubts and misgivings.
Since many people, under the impact of western modernity, are confronted with similar doubts, it has been felt that publication of these letters will be in the Deeni interests of the general Muslim public. Thus, the doubts and their answers are presented here in book-form which is named ISLAHUL KHIYAL (Correction of Thoughts).
In addition a Shaikh-e-Kamil once wrote to some friends influenced by modern ideas, a letter of profound naseehat (Islamic Advice). However, the opportunity for despatching the letter did not arise. Some persons had copies of this letter. Since the subject matter of this letter pertains to our discussion, it is appropriate to include it at the end of this compilation.
Muhammad Ashraf Ali
The conception of Islam which the Ulama of Hindustan entertain of the Shariat and their peculiar way of following it are, in my opinion, not of the making of Islam. By changing circumstances of time and by the Will of Allah, the British acquired domination over the land of Hindustan.
A glance at the history of the time when Muslim rule was first established in Hindustan will reveal that the general condition of other nations was worse than that of the Muslims.
For example, in England, the test of boiling water was used to establish the guilt or innocence of a suspected criminal. It was believed that the hand of an innocent person will not be scalded in this test. People were burnt alive at the stake. Comparatively speaking, the Arab nation (i.e. the pre-Islam Arabs) of that age was not lagging behind others. It was a nation on equal footing with other nations of the time. Islam came and reformed the Arabs during an epoch when other nations too were equal in degradation.
Islam imparted to them the lesson of Tauheed. Within a short while a new nation arose. With sword in hand, nation after nation was conquered by Muslims in the wake of Islam’s onward advance. Asia and a large section of Europe came under Arab domination.
Divine Aid and victory are confirmed by the Qur’an and Hadith. There can, therefore, be no denial of the fact that Divine Aid is available for a nation which has imbued in it the ability to follow the Laws of Allah. This fact is evidenced by the grand empire established by the Muslims. Its example cannot be found in history.
After the age of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, mutual conflict developed among Muslims. The shameful episode of Karbala was enacted by the hands of Muslims. Until Qiyamah, Muslims will regret this event. The signs of the decline of the Muslim empire were thus initiated. However, since there existed no dominant civilized nation at the time, Muslims enjoyed peace in the lands they conquered. Later, conquest of lands had come to a halt and the empire was consolidated. In spite of this, the signs of Muslim decline were on the increase by the day. While living in peace and prosperity, Muslims failed to secure themselves against future attacks by other nations.