­­Translated by Javed Iqbal

(Translator: The following is a foreword written by our late teacher, Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Yusuf Motala (may Allah illuminate his grave), to Barakat-i-Durud Sharif, authored by Mawlana Muhammad Ayyub Surti Kholwadia (may Allah illuminate his grave). The foreword is based on an excerpt from Bada’i’ al-Fawa’id of Imam Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him), which Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Yusuf Motala lucidly captured in his own words without adhering to a literal translation. We pray Allah Most High grants us all true love for the Seal of Prophets, Allah’s Messenger Muhammad ﷺ. Amin.)

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Especially Merciful. 

Before you is the blessed work, Barakat-i-Durud Sharif, authored by our late friend Hadhrat Mawlana Ayyub Sahib (may Allah illuminate his grave). May Allah Most High accept this book, make it an ongoing charity (sadaqah jariya) for the author, and grant us the ability to shape our lives according to its contents. Amin.

Attaining the virtues and benefits of invoking blessings (salat) and peace (salam) [on the Prophet ﷺ] is conditional upon observing its etiquette. Part of its etiquette is to invoke blessings and peace with presence of mind and heart. The elders say that a person should be so engrossed therein that he becomes oblivious to his own self, having no realisation of anyone besides the Beloved ﷺ, not even of himself.

When explaining the profound reason for sending peace (salam) in the second person (khitab) form in tashahhud, ‘Allamah Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) writes in Bada’i’ al-Fawa’id:

وأما السؤال السادس والعشرون: وهو ما الحكمة في كون السلام وقع بصيغة الخطاب والصلاة بصيغة الغيبة؟ فجوابه: يظهر مما تقدم؛ فإن الصلاة عليه طلب وسؤال من الله أن يصلي عليه، فلا يمكن فيها إلا لفظ الغيبة، إذ لا يقال : اللهم صل عليك. وأما السلام عليه، فأتى بلفظ الحاضر المخاطب، تنزيلا له منزلة المواجه لحكمة بديعة جدا، وهي أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم لما كان أحب إلى المؤمن من نفسه التي بين جنبيه وأولى به منها وأقرب، وكانت حقيقته الذهنية ومثاله العلمي موجودا في قلبه، بحيث لا يغيب عنه إلا شخصه

In other words, the second person form “upon you (‘alayka)” has been adopted based on profound, amazing wisdom: the Leader of the Universe ﷺ is more beloved and dear to a believer than his own body and soul, and so the [spiritual] reality (haqiqah) of the Prophet ﷺ is present in his mind and heart. The poet says:

مثالك في عيني، وذكرك في فمي، ومثواك في قلبي، فأين تغيب؟

Your image is before my eyes; your mention is on my lips; and you reside in my heart; so, when were you absent from me?

He further elaborates:

ومن كان بهذه الحال فهو الحاضر حقا، وغيره – وإن كان حاضرا للعيان – فهو غائب عن الجنان.

Whoever is present at such a level, he is present indeed. On the contrary, those things that are physically before one’s eyes but the heart is absentminded of them, they are not really present; they are in fact absent.

فكان خطابه خطاب المواجهة والحضور بالسلام عليه أولى من سلام الغيبة، تنزيلا له منزلة المواجه المعاين، لقربه من القلب وحلوله في جميع أجزائه، بحيث لا يبقى في القلب جزء إلا ومحبته وذكره فيه، كما قيل: لو شق عن قلبي يرى وسطه ذكرك.

For this reason, the phrase “peace be upon you (as-salamu ‘alayk)” is in the second person, not in the third person form, for he ﷺ is so close to the heart that he is directly in front of it, with the heart observing him. In fact, the Beloved ﷺ is present in every grain of his heart; only his love, mention and presence are contained within in it. It is as they say, “Split my heart open and you will see your remembrance in its midst.”

Being absent from one’s sight and physical distance are not of consequence here; it is spiritual proximity which is considered, such that the soul experiences the pleasure of intimately conversing from nearby. However, this is something which only the ardent lovers are familiar with.

ومن كثف طباعه فهو عن هذا كله بمعزل.

People of this path proclaim, “O callous, dull people! Do not come this way.”

Here the lovers see the beloved closer to them than their own souls:

 أن يرى محبوبه في القرب إليه بمنزلة روحه…

The poet says:

يا مقيما مدى الزمان بقلبي                  وبعيدا عن ناظري وعياني

أنت روحي إن كنت لست أراها          فهي أدنى إلي من كل داني

O my beloved, you reside in my heart at all times, albeit you are away from my sight. You are like my soul, extremely close to me. If I cannot see you, just as I cannot see my own soul, what difference does it make?

Someone else said:

يا ثاويا بين الجوانح والحشا   مني وإن بعدت علي دياره

Although the residence of my beloved is very far from me, I have contained him within my own being.

In fact, when the ardent lover increases in his fervent love, he forgets his own being. Being aware of his own self troubles him, and considering it a barrier, he casts it aside. He then considers the beloved closer to himself than his own soul.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) expresses this in his own verses of poetry as follows:

وأدنى إلى الصب من نفسه  وإن كان عن عينه نائيا

ومن كان مع حبه هكذا   فأنى يكون له ساليا

If the beloved is physically distant from one’s gaze, even then, the lover is closer to him than he is to his own soul.

In the initial stages of love, the image of the beloved was in the heart. Thereafter, it gradually permeated every grain and cavity of the heart, until it became like the soul. Subsequently, the beloved became closer to him than his own soul, until the lover became weary of this duality and forgot his own existence.

ثم يلطف شأنها ويقهر سلطانها حتى يغيب المحب بمحبوبه عن نفسه، فلا يشعر إلا بمحبوبه ولا يشعر بنفسه

He is now at a stage where he has forgotten himself; he is now only aware of his beloved. At all times, it is the beloved alone whom he is aware of.

At this juncture, ‘Allamah Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) explains the ecstatic utterances (shatahat) of the Sufis, who reach such a level of intense love for Allah that they forget their own existence, and begin to believe that the essence of Allah is physically present in their soul and heart. Due to this, these ecstatic utterances (shatahat) transpire from them, like Hallaj who said “I am the truth (ana ’l-haqq)”.

‘Allamah Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) says that due to a lack of religious knowledge, such ecstatic utterances escape them. However, the accomplished (kamilin) remain safe from this. He says:

وهذه حال الكمل من القوم الذين جمعوا بين نور العلم وأحوال من المعاملة؛ فلم تطفئ عواصف أحوالهم نور علمهم، ولم يقصر بهم علمهم عن الترقي إلى ما وراءه من مقامات الإيمان والإحسان، فهؤلاء حكام على الطائفتين

The leader of the accomplished (kāmilīn), Hadhrat Gangohi (may his secret be sanctified) said regarding Hallaj that he uttered: “I am the truth (ana ’l-haqq)” on account of his lack of receptibility. Contrast this to Hadhrat Gangohi (may his secret be sanctified) himself who had drunk seven oceans of Allah’s love but never once did he vent it.

May Allah grant us, like these accomplished elders, an atom of His divine love and a drop from the ocean of prophetic love. Amin, O Lord of the worlds.

(Shaykh al-Hadith Hazrat Mawlana) Yusuf Motala

Darul Uloom, Holcombe, Bury

Sunday 17th March 2014

16 Jumada al-Ula 1435 AH