It was the tareeq (way/methodology) of the Akaabir Mashaa-ikh to firstly attend to the reformation of the mureed’s A’maal-e-Zaahirah (the deeds which are the effects of his attitude and character) before imposing on the mureed wazaaif and nawaafil, and the ta’leem of Sulook. The Mashaaikh would  first attend to the reformation of razaa-il (evil and base characteristics).

  Nowadays many Shaikhs pay no heed to this  requisite. The consequence is that while the mureedeen become experts in auraad and wazaaif (incantations), their evil attributes remain the same. There is no importance accorded to distinguishing between halaal and haraam, truth and falsehood. Thus, they bring  disgrace to the Tareeq (Tasawwuf).

(Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)

  This was the appraisal of Hadhrat Thanvi 80 years ago. Today, in our time, almost all ‘shaikhs’ are bogus and mercenaries.

  Their ignorance is  shockingly lamentable. They lack even rudimentary understanding of Sulook.

Q. Is firaasat and ilhaam the same?

A. No, firaasat and Ilhaam are two different spiritual phenomena. Firaasat is a discerning intelligence. Such discernment is the effect of Taqwa. Firaasat is the immediate apprehension and understanding of something without the need of mental application. It is a deep, spiritual insight.

  Ilhaam is information inspired into the heart of a being. The incidence of ilhaam has different sources. It may be from Allah Ta’ala or from an Angel or from shaitaan. There is no absolute certitude in Ilhaam. Even a faasiq and a kaafir could be repositories of ilhaam.


Nowadays people are not aware of the reality of Tasawwuf. They regard certain insignificant, unrelated issues to be  extremely great. Among  such issues is Kashf (inspiration) which people  believe to be something of great importance.

(Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)

   Even  shaikhs/spiritual guides of this day labour under this misconception. In reality kashf is not related to Tasawwuf. Even  kuffaar experience such phenomena.


Islaah is not achieved only by means of thikr and shaghl. Every evil attribute  has a different  remedy. Even if a single evil trait remains, the Path (of Reformation) will remain blocked. In fact, sometimes a corrupt person’s  spiritual disease worsens with thikr and shaghl. Such a person gains the idea of himself having become holy on account of his thikr and shaghl. In this way sometimes the person develops ujub(vanity/self-esteem) because of thikr and shaghl. The remedy  for this malady is some other  mujaahadah other than thikr and shaghl.                         

   When Hadhrat Abu Saeed Gangohi (Rahmatullah alayh)  commenced thikr and shaghl, his Shaikh, Hadhrat Nizaamuddin Balkhi (Rahmatullah alayh), ordered him to  cease thikr and shaghl.  He then appointed Hadhrat Abu Saeed to be the caretaker of hunting dogs.

This was to cure him of the malady of ujub.     

(Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)


Nowadays, neither does the Shaikh understand the  status of the mureed nor does the mureed understand the status of the Shaikh.  (Both dwell in ignorance). This is the condition of such mashaaikh of this era who are not deceits. As far as the bogus ‘shaikhs’ are concerned, they are in total mess.

The concern of the bogus peer (spiritual guide)  is only the money of the mureed on which his (the shaikh’s) gaze is focused. The ignorant mureed labours in the misconception of acquiring the spiritual wealth of the sheikh without having to struggle in the Path.

Once a mureed narrated his dream to his sheikh. The mureed dreamt that while his own fingers were filled with faeces, honey was flowing from the fingers of the sheikh. Hearing this, the sheikh said: “Your dream is correct. You are a dog of the world and I am a man of the Deen.” The mureed said: “Hadhrat, I have not  completed the narration of my dream. I saw that that you were licking my fingers and I was licking your fingers.”

(The shaaikh then went into a rage, sharply rebuking the mureed for the ‘disrespect’).

The interpretation is quite obvious. The sheikh was acquiring worldly benefits from the mureed. On the other hand, the sincere mureed was gaining  some benefit of the Deen from the sheikh.

True Divine Love

True Love for Allah Ta’ala is not cultivated only by means of thikr and shaghl. The method is  observance of all A’maal-e-Saalihah with sincerity (i.e. total submission to the Shariah). Thikr and shaghl  create a temporary state of enthusiasm which dissipates after some time.

(Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)


It is narrated in a Hadith in Muslim Shareef that on the Day of Qiyaamah, Allah Ta’ala will say to a person:

“O Son of Aadam! I was sick, but you did not visit me.” The man will respond: “O Allah! How could I visit you when you are Rabbul  Aalameen (i.e. how  can You become sick)?” Similarly, Allah Ta’ala will say: “O Son of Aadam! I was hungry but you did not feed Me. ……..I was thirsty, but you did not give me water.” The person will respond in the same manner as mentioned above.

Sickness, hunger and thirst are the conditions and attributes   of people.  Why does Allah Ta’ala relate these states to Himself? The answer is that the Accepted (Maqbool) servants of Allah Ta’ala have acquired a kaamil (perfect, extremely lofty) state of Fana (Divine Proximity). Hence, Allah Ta’ala relates their conditions to Himself. This is the meaning of the concept of Wahdatul Wujood (Unity of Existence). Whatever is  asserted to it more than what is mentioned in the Hadith is ghulu’ (haraam extremism).

(Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)


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