The Science of Al-Ihsaan

The Science of Al-Ihsaan

Tasawwuf is a science, which imparts unto a believer the necessary skills to acquire that pristine level of worship, which the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) termed al-Ihsaan. This level of excellence in worship is achieved by following the injunctions of the Holy Qur'an and the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) in its most pristine and pure form. This is the path of the sahaaba who learnt directly from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam). Allah states in the Holy Qur'an concerning the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam):

The multi-dimensional divine commandments bestowed on and entrusted to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) for his entire ummah (community of believers) are elucidated in this verse: To recite the verses of Allah, to purify the believers, to endow them with the full knowledge of the Scriptures -The Holy Qur'an- and wisdom.

We understand from this verse that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) taught the Companions on two levels, the external - which has to do with the commandments and injunctions pertaining to the tenets of Islam and Iman- ('reciting unto them His verses'), and the internal. The sahaaba (companions) were schooled in purification of self and higher spiritual knowledge; which has to do with the level of Ihsaan (excellence) in 'ibaadah- (worship) ('and to purify them and teaching them the knowledge of the Scriptures and wisdom'). Purification of the person from all types of sin and vice and the perfection of character and morals were the first step to success, which the sahaaba achieved. This is in keeping with the following verses of the Holy Qur'an:

Verily those will prosper who Purify themselves and glorify the name of their Lord and pray. (87: 14-15)

Indeed he succeeds who purifies his own self. (91: 9)

The extraordinary level of spiritual training, which the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) gave to the sahaaba, can be foundĀ in this incident:

Sayyiduna Haarith bin Maalik (radiallahu anhu) was once sleeping in the masjid. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) entered and tapped him with his blessed foot, and said," Lift your head". He lifted his head and said, " May my mother and father be sacrificed for you, what is your command?" The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) asked, "In what condition did you begin the day? " He replied, "O Prophet of Allah I have begun today in the condition of a firm believer". There upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said, "Behind every positive statement there is a reality. What is the reality of your pronouncement?" He replied, "I have turned my face away from the world, fasted the whole day, worshipped Allah the entire night; it as if I see the throne of my Cherisher the people of jannah visiting each other, and the people of hell being enemies of one another". Then the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said, "You are a person whose heart Allah has enlightened with M'a'rifah (true recognition and knowledge of Allah). Remain steadfast upon it!"

And teaching them the (knowledge) of the Scriptures (3:164) The depth of the teachings of the 'knowledge of the Scriptures'- the Holy Qur'an- by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) can be appreciated by an incident which is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an about Asif Barkhya who was the scribe of Sulayman (alaihi salaam):

He (Sulayman) said: "O chiefs! Which of you can bring for me the throne of Bilqees before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience?" And ifrit from the jinns said: "I will bring it to you before you arise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work." One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: "I would bring it to you would then before the twinkling of an eye!" - then when Sulayman saw it placed before him, he said: This is by the grace of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or un grateful! (27:38-40)

Asif Barkhya who had the knowledge of the Scripture brought the throne of Bilqis in a split second. He was empowered with this ability by Allah with the true 'Knowledge of the Scriptures'.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) also taught this type of knowledge to the sahaaba as we learn from the famous example of Sayyiduna 'Umar (radiallahu anhu).

He was on the Pulpit giving the Friday sermon in Madinah when all of a sudden he exclaimed: "O Sariya, the mountain!" The battle was taking place in Persia and Sayyiduna Umar miraculously perceived the enemy about to ambush the Muslim army from behind the mountains. This amazing feat of Sayyiduna 'Umar whilst on the pulpit in the mosque of the Holy Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) 'seeing' this dangerous situation thousands of kilometres away, is a great example of the degree of knowledge which the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) had imparted to the sahaaba. It is the striving of the Awliya Allah through dhikr, etc., and strict spiritual striving [mujahada] in the manner of the sahaaba, as taught to them by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) which has elevated them to the rank of Awliya Allah.

This great knowledge of purification of self and knowledge of the book which, the sahaaba had inherited from the Holy Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) was transmitted with the blessing of Allah by the sahaaba -primarily by Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Ali (radiallahu anhuma). This field of Islam like other fields of knowledge of Islam such as Tafseer, Fiqh, Hadith has been transmitted since the era of the sahaaba. This great field which in the Holy Prophet's (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) era was a 'reality without a name' was classified as "Tasawwuf" and practitioners of Tasawwuf have since been called Sufis.

This sacred science as propounded in the Holy Qur'an and sunnah still exists today and is taught to aspirants by great Sufis who have received this knowledge from chest to chest via a spiritual chain which reaches the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) directly without any break in the link. These spiritual fraternities are called Salaasul and among the most famous spiritual orders are the Qadiriyya, Chisthiyya, Naqshbandiyya, Suharwardiyya, Rifaai'yya Tijaniyya, Mevlevi, etc. The method of implementation of all the Quranic verses mentioned at the beginning of this chapter is taught by the great teachers of the Sufi orders strictly following the teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) in the manner transmitted to them from the great companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam)

If a person diligently follows these requirements, then by the grace of Allah he reaches the station of Wilaayah (friendship with Allah)



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