Translated by Imran Mogra
Translator’s note: It was at the annual gathering to mark the completion of Imam al-Bukhari’s Sahih in 2002 that Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Talhah Kandhalwi (1941-2019) instructed this lowly one to translate into English an important letter written by the second amir of Tabligh Hadratji Mawlana Yusuf Kandhalwi (1917-1965) – may Allah shadow him with His infinite mercy.
The original Urdu letter was published by Kutub Khana Yahyawi in Saharanpur in book form under the title “Hadrat Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Sahib Kandhalwi ka Aham Khut” with the compiler named as Ansar Hasan. I pray Allah Most High makes this translation a means of benefit and blessings for the entire Ummah.
Introduction by Ansar Hasan
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
‘Hadratji’ Mawlana Yusuf [Kandhalwi], after performing his ‘Umrah, wrote a lengthy letter to the [Tabligh Jama‘at] delegations which were travelling to various places. The purpose of the letter was to ensure that the effort of Tabligh was carried out according to it and that a correct foundation of the work could be laid.
Mawlana Sa‘d (may his shadow preserve over us) read this letter in the gathering (ijtima‘) of Bhopal and in the Banglawali Masjid located in Basti Nizamuddin, Delhi, India. He also suggested that the guidance printed in this letter should be read so abundantly that its contents are committed to memory.
He also noted that a change of conviction is desired through [the work of] da‘wah and that the purpose is to attain the reality of actions. Travelling and journeying is not the goal of this work. In fact, the objective is to embed these qualities within oneself. To achieve this, Hadratji showed three categories of work:
- Invitation (da‘wah)
- Practice (mashq)
- Supplication (du‘a)
He strongly emphasised the reading of every sentence and word of this letter conscientiously. May Allah bless us with the ability to do so – amin.
Respected and honourable [friends and brothers], may Allah increase us in struggling and striving in His Path and may Allah inspire us towards the objectives of our affairs. May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.
I have hope in Allah that you are all safe and secure. The news about your [noble] religious efforts are a means of happiness and encouragement. May Allah Most High accept them and grant you further progress – amin.
Firm Belief – Iman
Allah Most High – may His bounties be most common – has placed the dependence of all the successes of humankind on their internal capacity. Success and failure of an individual is determined by their internal condition and not by material possessions. Honour and disgrace, ease and pain, tranquillity and anxiety, and health and sickness are all attributes of internal conditions. In the development and regress of these attributes and emotions, physical material do not have any role to play, rather they are dependent upon an individual’s internal state.
Allah Most High can disgrace a person despite being wealthy and honourable. Likewise, Allah can grant dignity to a beggar. The [true] assets of a person are their inner attribute of firm conviction (yaqin) and their righteous actions (‘amal).
Once the inner conviction of a person and the actions which emanate therefrom are correct, then Allah Most High will create the conditions for one’s success of the internal state, regardless of how low one’s material well-being may be.
Allah Most High is the Creator and Owner of every particle and every individual in the world. He made everything with His power. Everything comes into being through His creation. He is the Originator; the creation did not come into existence by itself.
[Moreover] whatever has been created cannot make anything [by itself]. Whatever has been created by Allah is all under His control. Allah has dominance over everything. He is the One who utilises everything. He can, through His power, alter the forms and shapes of these things without changing their qualities and properties. He can also alter their qualities and properties whilst retaining their forms and shapes.
He can turn a stick into a snake and a snake into a stick. Similarly, He has control over every matter, regardless of whether it is a kingdom, lightening, wealth or vapour. Everything is under His exclusive dominance. He is the Sole Administrator.
He can bring about misery in such places which [initially] appear to humankind to be sources of prosperity. [At the same time] He can bring prosperity from those places, which [initially] appear to be hopeless or destructive. He is the One who stimulates growth. He can make vegetation grow on lifeless or barren land. He can also prevent growth in perfect conditions.
The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) brought a method from Allah to assist us in the development of a relationship with Allah Most High and it will allow us to benefit directly from His powers.
When the lifestyle of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is implemented into our lives, Allah will grant [us] success by showing it in the physical world. There is a demand to change our conviction, our motivation (jadhbah) and our way of life in declaring There is no one worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (La ilaha illallah Muhammadur-Rasulullah).
By merely changing our conviction, Allah will reward us with a Garden of Paradise several times larger than this universe. Once our conviction from material causes is removed and becomes solely reliant on Allah, then the material things will become subjected to us.
The following need to be done to create a firm conviction in our hearts:
- We need to call (da‘wah) to this conviction. We need to explain the Majesty of Allah, His Lordship (rububiyyah) and Power. We also need to read the stories of the Prophets (peace be upon them) and those of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them).
- We need to contemplate and reflect independently in solitude. The conviction [of faith] towards which the [audience] is invited during the speech must be established in [our] heart as being the truth.
- [Thereafter], whilst weeping profusely, supplication (du‘a) should be made in the following words: ‘O Allah! Bless me with the reality of this yaqin.’
Prayer – Salah
In order to directly benefit from the power of Allah Most High the performance of Salah has been ordained. [You should] make use of the entire body – from head to toe – in consistently performing those specific actions which attract the pleasure of Allah. The correct use of the eyes, ears, hands, tongue and feet should be maintained.
The attention and realisation of Allah should be in our heart. We should have the fear of Allah. We should firmly believe that, in the Salah being offered, the use of [every part of my body] according to the command of Allah; and the [declarations and performances of] saying of Allahu Akbar (takbir) and Subhanallah (tasbih), bowing (ruku‘) and prostration (sajdah) are a means of reward which is greater than anything else in the entire universe. After performing our Salah with such a conviction in our heart, we should open out our hands and supplicate. Then, Allah Most High will fulfil every need through His Power.
This kind of Salah will also attract the forgiveness of sins and blessings in sustenance. [Moreover], Allah Most High will grant the ability (tawfiq) to do righteous deeds. To learn such a Salah:
- We should encourage and invite others to perform Salah with humility (khushu‘) and humbleness (khudu‘). The benefits in this world and in the Hereafter that would be achieved through such a Salah should [also] be explained. The Salah of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and that of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) should be read.
- [We need to continuously develop the habit] of consciously improving our own Salah. We should perform our ablution (wudu) diligently. We should contemplate in Salah and, at least thrice, we should inculcate deep concentration in the standing (qiyam), the sitting (qa‘dah), the bowing (ruku‘) and the prostration (sajdah) that Allah is observing me.
- After Salah, we should [solemnly] admit that the Salah has not been offered as it should have been, in accordance to the Majesty of Allah. [Thereafter] we should weep upon such deficiency and supplicate, ‘O Allah, imbue us with the reality and vitality of [our] Salah.’
Knowledge and remembrance – ‘Ilm and Dhikr
The objective of knowledge is to develop a desire to know what it is my Allah wishes me to do in any particular moment and state. Exerting oneself in carrying out that action whilst being conscious of and fully attentive to Allah is remembering Allah (dhikr).
The journey which a person undertakes with the aim of learning religion is recorded as an act of worship. Seventy thousand angels spread their wings [in approval] under the feet of those people who journey for this purpose. The entire creation of the earth and the sky supplicates for the forgiveness of such a person. A single scholar (‘alim) is more formidable against the Satan than one thousand devout worshippers. To achieve this, we need to:
- Make an effort to inspire other people to acquire knowledge. We should inform them about the virtues [of seeking knowledge].
- [In turn] we should ensure that we participate in the circles of learning (ta‘lim). We should attend and spend time in the company of the scholars and be convinced that it is an act of worship.
- We should weep profusely to Almighty Allah and beg that the reality of knowledge is granted to us.
The objective of the remembrance of Allah is to create the consciousness of Allah in every action [that we perform]. Whoever remembers Allah, Allah remembers such a person. Allah is with a person as long as their tongue is engaged with the remembrance of Allah. Allah Most High grants His love and spiritual recognition (ma‘rifah). The remembrance of Allah is a fortress against Satan.
To create such an awareness of Allah within oneself, we should:
- Encourage and motivate others to engage in the remembrance of Allah.
- Carry out our own remembrance with [full] concentration and knowing that my Allah is observing me.
- Weep profusely and supplicate, ‘O Allah! Bless us with the reality of dhikr.’
Serving Muslims – Ikram al-Muslim
We also need to honour every Muslim, by the fact that they are a follower (ummati) of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). We have to humble ourselves in the presence of every Muslim, fulfil the rights of every person and not demand our own rights.
Whosoever conceals the faults of another Muslim, Allah will conceal their faults. Allah remains in the service of an individual so long as the person continues to be in the service of a fellow Muslim. Any person who forgoes their rights, Allah will award them a palace in the middle of Paradise. Any person who expresses humility towards others, Allah will bless them with honour and dignity. [In order to achieve this, we should]:
- Generate the enthusiasm of respecting and honouring a Muslim [among the general public] with encouragement. The value of a Muslim should be mentioned. The stories of the sublime characters, sympathy and selflessness of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) should be read.
- We should [also] practise this on a personal level.
- Weep excessively and supplicate to Allah Most High to grant us the ability to [practise] the morals of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
Sincerity – Ikhlas
The zeal of [acquiring] the pleasure of Allah must exist whilst executing every action. The desire [to achieve] worldly benefits and acquire status must not be made when performing an action.
A small deed, carried out with the passion of gaining the pleasure of Allah, will be a cause of earning many benefits. [Otherwise], without a sincere intention, great actions will be a cause of questioning [and punishment]. To correct our own intentions, [we should]:
- Make an effort of nurturing a concern and desire, among the people, to correct their intentions.
- Develop [the habit] of reminding ourselves to [check and] correct our intention before performing an action and whilst carrying out every action, which is [to say]: ‘I am performing this action [only] to please Allah.’
- In addition, after completing an action, we should regretfully consider our intention as imperfect. [Thereafter], we should repent and supplicate for forgiveness. We should also weep abundantly and beg for sincerity in our intentions.
The importance and virtues of Hijrah and Nusrah
Currently, to a certain extent, the custom of performing righteous deeds on an individual level exists within the Ummah, although its reality has faded away. [However], as a result of the finality of prophethood of the Noble Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) every individual of the entire Ummah has received the duty of inviting so that the relationship between humans and Allah can be established.
To this end, we need to invest our life and wealth for this responsibility according to the methodology of the Prophets (peace be upon them). [Importantly], we must not desire anything in return from the people among whom the invitation is being carried out. To accomplish this, [we will require] journeying (hijrah) and assistance (nusrah). Allah showers His mercy on those who are merciful to the dwellers of the earth.
Those who make an effort of faith and righteous deeds, so that others are able to establish their relationship with Allah, are the ones whom Allah will first and foremost bless with the reality of faith and righteous deeds. Thereafter, Allah will grace them with His Divine relationship.
To spend a morning or evening in this path is better than the whole world and whatever it contains, in terms of the good actions as well as material wealth. In this path, the reward of spending any amount of wealth and the remembrance of Allah, glorification of Allah and every Salah is multiplied by seven hundred thousand times.
The supplications of those who exert their efforts in this path are [readily] accepted, just as the supplications of the prophets (peace be upon them) of the Banu Israel were [readily] accepted. In other words, following their supplications, just as Allah had utilised His power against the physical powers and schemes of falsehood and granted them success, similarly, based on the supplication of those who engage in this effort, Allah will manifest His powers against all physical odds. Moreover, if this effort were to be carried out on a universal scale, then, through the effects of these efforts, changes in the hearts of people will take place.
[Unfortunately], as with all the other actions of [our] religion, we do not know how to carry out this effort in the correct manner. [Therefore:]
- We need to encourage other people to participate in this effort. Its importance and value needs to be explained. The stories of the Prophets (peace be upon them) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) need to be read.
- We need to engage ourselves in all kinds of sacrifices and get involved in all forms of journeying and assistance (hijrah and nusrah).
- The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) went forth in the path of Allah in every condition and circumstance. At the time of a marriage ceremony; when bidding farewell to a bride; at the occasion of the birth of a baby in the home; at the time of a death in their family. [They went out] in winter and in summer; whilst hungry and starving; in the state of good health and in sickness; in strength and in weakness. They went in the path of Allah in their youth and when they were older.
- We need to weep profusely and beg Allah to accept us for this honourable effort.
To make every individual fully understand and develop a familiarity with these noble objectives and duties, they are requested to spend four months [in the path of Allah], regardless of their work or background. They should take leave from their occupations, businesses, homes and family members, and invite people towards these deeds and duties, and, simultaneously, implement them in their own life, by travelling from country to country, continent to continent, community to community and locality to locality.
The actions specific to the mosque and their methodology
The Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) transformed every follower into a person of and belonging to the mosque. He had blessed them with certain specific actions of the mosque. These actions had been a trademark [and distinction] in the lives of Muslims.
They discussed the greatness of Allah, faith and the Hereafter in the mosque. They talked about the fact that [a successful] life is achieved through righteous actions. The circles of teaching and learning were conducted to rectify their actions. The enlisting [tashkil] to [go out in the path of Allah to various] countries and provinces for the purpose of inviting people towards faith and righteous actions took place within the mosque itself. The gatherings of the remembrance of Allah also happened in the mosque.
It is from here that the acts of assistance, selflessness and sympathy were practiced. Every person, including a ruler, subject, rich, poor, business person, farmer, or labourer – all came to the mosque and learnt to live [as a Muslim]. Thereafter, they left the mosque and went to their own homes, occupations and professions and lived and worked based on the impressions gained from the mosque.
Today we have fallen prey to deception. We think that the mosque functions through our finances. The mosques have become empty of actions and filled with material things.
The Noble Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not subject the mosque under the control of people of the bazaar. There was no light, water, or any bathrooms in the mosque of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). There were no facilities which incurred any expenditure.
Nevertheless, they came to the mosque and became callers to the way of Allah (da‘i), teachers, people who remember Allah (dhakir), diligent in their prayers (namazi), obedient, Allah conscious, abstinent (zahid) and well-mannered. After leaving [the mosque], they then adopted a correct lifestyle. [Thus] the mosque influenced the lifestyle of the people of the bazaar.
During these four months, as you visit various locations, you should learn how to invite every person of this Ummah to the mosque. Simultaneously, you too should practice these actions of the mosque, and, at the same time, encourage others to go forth and spend four months to learn this effort.
After returning [from the four months] to your hometown, you should revive these actions in your local mosque. In a week, you will conduct two visits among the local people and gather them with the aim of drawing their attention to these actions.
To practise [and learn] these, one person from every household should go out for four months. One visitation (gasht/jawlah) should be carried out in the vicinity of your local mosque and, a second one, in the surroundings of another nearby local mosque.
In every mosque, a local group should be created. The brothers of all mosques should conduct a reading session from the Book of Virtues (Fada’il al-A‘mal by Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalwi). To create an environment conducive to these actions in the outskirts and dwellings of small villages and towns near your city, delegations from every mosque should be sent out for a period of three days at a time, within a radius of around ten miles.
Every friend should spend three days in a month consistently. Based on the hadith that good deeds will be rewarded tenfold, the reward gained for these three days will be equivalent to thirty days. [In other words], if you spend three days in every month, this would be considered as being equivalent to spending the entire year in the path of Allah.
In order to meet the internal demands [of this effort] within a country, and to ensure that your practice [and involvement] is consistent, you should assiduously spent forty days annually.
At least once in a lifetime, you should spare three months. In a year [go out for] forty days and three days in every month; conduct two visitations in every week and, on a daily basis, [join] the reading circle, remember Allah and recite the Quran – this is the minimum prescribed syllabus, so that our life can continue to be a religious life.
If we want to be the means for the collective change of the lives of the whole of humanity, for them to follow the correct direction, and of perishing falsehood, then we will need to go beyond this syllabus. [In other words] half of our time and wealth will need to be spent in the path of Allah and, the other half, for our business and family needs. Or, at least, a third of our time and earnings be utilised for the path of Allah and two-thirds for our necessities. In other words, every year a four-month schedule should be set.
All of you, as a minimum, should devote yourselves wholeheartedly in inviting towards four months. You must not be anxious at all in this matter. Without this, the direction of [peoples’] lives will not change. Even, those brothers who have not yet spared four months should give invitations eagerly and wholeheartedly with a firm intention that Allah may accept you for this [i.e. four months] as well.
What should and should not be mentioned in the sermons and virtues of gusht
The importance of visitations (gusht) in this work is similar to the importance of the backbone in the human body. If the visitation is done correctly, it will be accepted; the invitation will be accepted; the supplication will be accepted. [Once the] supplication is accepted, then guidance (hidayah) will follow.
However, should the visitations not be accepted, then the invitation will not be accepted, and if the invitation is not accepted, then the supplications will not be accepted, and without the acceptance of supplication, guidance will not come.
The purpose of the visitation [is to remind people that] Allah has kept the solutions of our difficulties of this world and that of the Hereafter in leading our lives according to the lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). The implementation of his way of life into our own lifestyle requires an effort. People need to be encouraged to take on this effort and to gather them for visitation in the mosque.
After Salah, an announcement should be made requesting the people to stay behind. It is preferable that the announcement [to participate in the visitation] is made by an influential person of the locality or by the imam. However, if they suggest that one of our members should do it, then one of us should do it. [In the talk] the importance, necessity, and value of the visitation should be explained. They should be encouraged to join in. The etiquettes of the visitation should be explained properly to those who are ready [to come along].
[During the visitation] we will walk whilst engaged in the remembrance of Allah, with our gaze lowered. All our affairs and actions are directly connected with Allah. [We are] not concerned with any of the material things abundant in the markets. Eyes should not fall on them and the mind should not be diverted towards them. [However], if per chance, a glance does fall on them, then they should be considered a lump of [worthless] soil. [On the other hand], if our hearts were to turn towards these material objects, how [do we then] expect the hearts of the people whom we are visiting to turn away from these things towards Allah? The ultimate destination of entering the grave should always be in our forethoughts. We are destined to go beneath this earth.
Walk together [in pairs]. It is more successful when one person does the talking. The spokesperson should talk briefly and send the invitee to the mosque. [The invitation should be:]
Brother, we are Muslims. We have declared the kalimah la ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasulullah. It is our firm belief that Allah alone is the Sustainer. Allah is in control of loss, gain, honour, and disgrace. If we live our lives according to Allah’s commandments and adopt the lifestyle of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), then Allah will be happy with us and will make our life prosperous and successful. Brother, in order that everyone’s lifestyle conforms to the wishes of Allah and is in accordance with the way of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), a talk is taking place in the mosque regarding this effort and concern, [therefore, kindly proceed to the mosque].
If the one who has been visited has performed their prayer, even then, they should be sent to the mosque. If necessary, the need to perform the prayer can be made a pretext for them to go to the mosque immediately. [The person should be counselled that]:
The greatest commandment of Allah is prayer. When we offer prayer, Allah will bless our sustenance, forgive our sins and accept our supplications.
Glad tidings rather than warnings should be mentioned. [He should be reminded that] ‘the time of prayer is passing. Let us go forth to the mosque.’
The leader (amir) is to be obeyed. Repentance [of shortcomings] should be sought whilst returning. After explaining the etiquettes of the visitation, a supplication should be made before departing. Ten people should participate in a visitation, which should be performed around those houses which are in close proximity to the mosque. If there are no houses, then it should done in the bazaar. For this group, the majority of participants should be those who uphold the etiquettes of the visitation meticulously.
Two or three people should be nominated to remain behind in the mosque. If there are many new comers, after an explanation, they should be asked to be occupied in the mosque. The few new comers should be kept in each other’s company.
One person should be designated in the mosque to carry out the remembrance of Allah and supplications with complete devotion and concentration. A second person should be appointed to greet and welcome those who are arriving in the mosque [either for Salah or have been sent to the mosque by the group on visitations]. If necessary, they should be directed to perform ablution and offer their Salah.
A third person should occupy those persons who are in the mosque until the time of the next Salah, explaining to them the purpose of our life. The visitation should be conducted for 45 minutes. It should be completed seven or eight minutes prior to Salah. Everyone should join the Salah with the pronouncement of the first takbir.
The person who was chosen to deliver the talk during the consultation meeting should give the speech, explaining that establishing a direct connection with Allah Most High will result in countless goodness in this world and in the Hereafter. [However], if a relationship with Allah is not developed, then there will be a great loss in this world and in the Hereafter.
At the beginning of this letter, six points were discussed, likewise, for each point, its purpose, virtue, benefit and how they can be attained should be explained.
The talk should be delivered in a simple manner. In this way, Allah willing, the gathering will understand the work and realise the need for it. They will also recognise that they can learn it as well.
All our regular colleagues (sathis) should also participate in the talk wholeheartedly and passionately. They should focus and listen attentively, sitting as zealous needy persons. Whatever is said in the talk, we should say to ourselves in our hearts, that this is the reality and truth. Through this, the ripples of faith in our hearts will come to life and the enthusiasm for doing righteous acts will develop.
The appeal [to spend time in the path of Allah] for four months should be emphasised and presented with firmness. Names should be noted instantly. Thereafter, participants should be requested for going out for forty days. Following this, any length of time which an individual offers should be accepted.
At the time of requesting and enrolling names (tashkil), the essence of the entire invitation depends on the effort being exhorted. If the emphasis on requesting names (mutalabah) is not made with firmness, then the most important work will not be executed. As a result, sacrifice will not materialise. Consequently, the work will lose its soul and spirit.
The request for names must only be made by the person giving the talk. One person should stand and write names. The person who writes the names should not begin to deliver a talk of his own. [However] he may interject a few sentences of encouragement.
Thereafter, people [in the gathering] should be asked to encourage one another. The persons sitting close [to you] should be motivated with genuine concern [to enlist]. [In the case where someone] presents an excuse or a difficulty, they should be offered a solution with kindness and in an inspirational manner by referring to the stories of the sacrifices made by the Prophets (peace be upon them) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them), and encourage them again. Finally, following the enlisting of names, a local group should be formed and a schedule for them should be created, consisting of carrying out the biweekly visitations, daily reading circles, remembrance of Allah, going out for three days in a month and so forth.
In the talk, the Divine Assistance that Allah blessed the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) with should be mentioned. However, the Divine Assistance that has been granted to us should not be mentioned. Current affairs should not be mentioned in the talk. Moreover, rather than highlighting the weaknesses which have appeared in the Ummah in relation to their faith, practices and morals, it is better to draw their attention to good characteristics, as these are the ones that ought to be inculcated; hence their attention should be drawn towards these.
The purpose and etiquettes of ta‘lim
The practice of sitting with love, concentration, honour, respect, and attention should be made during reading circles (ta‘lim). One should not lean [against a wall]. An effort to sit with ablution should be made. One should not leave the circle by making an excuse of discomfort during the readings [unless a genuine need arises]. There should be no talking.
If people sit in this manner, then the angels will envelop the gathering. [As a result], the inclination to obey and practise [the hadiths being read] will be created. By demonstrating honour and respect, the light (nur) of the noble hadith will be created in the heart, which results in receiving the guidance to act.
As soon as they are gathered, their attention should be drawn to the etiquette and purposes [of reading]. The purpose is to develop a zeal and quest for faith and religion within us.
After reading a few sections from the Fada’il-i-Quran (Virtues of The Quran), some of those chapters from the Quran which are commonly recited in Salah should be rehearsed with each other with the aim of correcting the pronunciation (tajwid). The rehearsal and rectification of al-Tahiyyat, the du‘a of Qunut, and other such invocations and practices should be done during independent (infiradi) learning and teaching times and not during the time of the collective book reading.
If Allah gives the ability, then three or four pages should be read from each booklet [mentioned below]. There should not be a speech from the reader whilst reading. After reading a hadith, two or three sentences should be said in such a manner that through them a desire to implement that action is aroused.
The booklets compiled by Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalwi (may Allah have mercy on him) should be read: Fada’il-i-Quran, Fada’il-i-Namaz, Fada’il-i-Tabligh, Fada’il-i-Dhikr, ‘Fada’il-i-Sadaqat (parts one and two), Fada’il-i-Ramadan, Fadail-i-Hajj (during the seasons of Hajj and Ramadan), along with Mawlana Ihtisham al-Hasan Kandhalwi’s book titled Muslim Degeneration and Its Only Remedy. These are the only books which are to be read and listened to in the collective circles. These books should also be read individually.
The six points of the books should be rehearsed (mudhakarah). The brothers should be requested to explain these numbers [six points].
Once the reading has started, two people from within the group should be sent to gather other people for the reading session. They should return after 15-20 minutes and then two other brothers should go [for this invitation]. In this manner, a continuous effort should be made to encourage the people of the locality to participate in the reading circle.
When away [in the path of Allah], the daily reading should be conducted for two to three hours at a time, both in the morning and after Zuhr. Likewise, the reading session within one’s own locality should take place on a daily basis for an hour; or initially for as long as the brothers are able to participate.
The etiquettes of consultation or mashwarah
The brothers should be gathered for consultation to think about the demands of the work, how to meet these requests and to organise schedules. The consultation should also include [a consideration] of the appropriate deployment of those brothers who have freed their time and other related issues and matters. [Brothers should] sit in the consultation with a deep concern, by making a prior supplication and should be focussed upon Allah.
In the consultation, no one should sit with a will to insist on their opinion and for it to be accepted as this diverts the assistance of Allah. Whenever a view is sought, it should be considered as a trust and that to which one’s heart is inclined to should be suggested.
The suggestion should be expressed in a gentle manner. A confrontational approach to another brother’s view should be avoided. One should recognise that the mischiefs of my soul (nafs) is fused with my opinion. [Therefore], if the decision is made in preference of another opinion, then one should be relieved that the decision made has been protected from my mischief. [On the other hand], if the decision has been made on one’s favour, then one should fear and make additional supplication [for goodness in the matter].
For us, the basis of the decision is not on the majority nor is it necessary to ask the opinion of everyone. [However], the happiness of everyone is necessary. The appointed leader (amir) should have the conviction that through the concern of the brothers and the blessing of their participation, Allah will divulge the right decision.
The leader should consider himself in need of consultation. After seeking suggestions and contemplating, whatever appropriate decision comes to his mind, he should declare it as such. He should present the decision in such a manner that no one’s opinion is undermined. If temperaments are varied, then they should be primed to act upon the decision through inspiration and encouragement.
The brothers should then follow and implement the decision of the leader with enthusiasm, as though it was their own suggestion that had been decided. Herein lies the nurturing and training (tarbiyyah).
Later, even if it practically transpires that one’s opinion was more appropriate, still no one should be rebuked or insulted, [either] directly or indirectly. The belief in the existence of goodness should be considered to lie in whatever transpires. There are severe warnings against a person who rebukes leaders.
The correct methodology for the ijtima‘ on the eve of Friday
The weekly gathering (ijtima‘) on the eve of Friday will be considered to be taking place in accordance to the correct methodology when [the following will happen]: the call for one person from every household to go out for four months through the efforts of the biweekly visitations; brothers will be constant with their reading circles and remembrance of Allah; and from every mosque there will be a continuous effort of sending groups out for three days. [Simultaneously], the [capacity and] forms of the work will expand.
On Thursdays, after ‘Asr Salah, groups from various local mosques should arrive at the place of gathering with their own bedding and food provisions. Through consultation, in general, a brother who is well established in this work and, upon whose temperament the needs of the work are dominant, should be assigned to deliver the talk. The enlisting should be made with real passion and due diligence.
If time commitments [for going out] are not obtained from the [attendees], then [further] effort should be made at night. Supplication should be made intensely and by crying. In the morning, the groups should be organised and dispatched with guidance. Those groups which have come prepared for three days from the local areas should be sent to work generally in a vicinity of a seven to eight mile radius.
At every Thursday night gathering, the plan of dispatching groups to go out for four months should be established. If, Allah forbid, all these demands are not met during the gathering on Thursday evening, then for the entire week, the effort for this should be repeated in one’s own locality, and in the gathering of the following week [people] from the locality should be come prepared to meet the needs [of going out].
The characteristics for effective work
Brothers and friends! This effort is very sensitive. The Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) made an effort. Through it, a complete change took place among all the people in all aspects of their lives [including] in their methods of earning, weddings, social gatherings, worship, business, morals and so on. Thus, how many methods of this effort must he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) have shown himself?
[In reality], we still do not know how to carry out this work, and neither has this work truly started yet. The work will [truly have] begun on the day when people, after being filled with faith, certitude, love of Allah, consciousness of Allah, concern for the Hereafter, fear and anxiety of Allah, piety and abstinence, adorned the high morals of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and filled with the enthusiasm of the pleasure of Allah, will roam, far and wide, having been drawn by the eagerness to give their lives in the way of Allah.
Sayyiduna ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘May Allah have mercy on Khalid (may Allah be pleased with him)! His heartily desire was only that truth and the people of truth should shine, and falsehood and the people of falsehood should perish. There was no other desire at all!’
The blessings that are currently apparent to us are a result of the initiation of the work. This is akin to the blessings that were manifest immediately upon the birth of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), whereas, the true work and the true blessings began after forty years.
At the moment, the effort is focused on preparing people who will do the effort. Allah will accept those people and will make those the means of guidance, who will change their lifestyle according to their da‘wah. As for those whose lives will not change according to their invitation, Allah will not take the work of His religion from them. This effort is the effort of the Prophets (peace be upon them).
The need to learn the principles and necessary miscellaneous points
In this work, if a person does not consider themselves in need of learning the principles, and if the work is not carried out according to its principles, then there is a danger of severe misguidance, confusion and trials (fitnah).
When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) decided to start work in distant countries, he first prepared the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) for three days. Thereafter, he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) emphasised to them that they had to carry out the work outside their locality exactly as it had been carried out within their locality.
This is the nature of this work. The principles do not change with changes in location, language, culture, seasons and so forth.
In order to learn the methodology and principles of this work, and to be steadfast upon it, it is extremely important for a person to come regularly and constantly participate in the environment where Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalwi (may Allah have mercy on him) sacrificed his life, and to mingle with them is also very important.
Without those people who had participated in the sacrifices and struggles with Mawlana Ilyas and, who have been in this environment and have continuously engaged in this work from its inception, it is apparently impossible for the work to remain on its methodology and principles. For this reason, our participants in this work should be sent diligently to such environments on a regular basis.
All of the Prophets (peace be upon them) came in opposition to the particular system that prevailed in their respective period. They explained that success does not depend at all on material means. Success is directly connected with the exalted essence of Allah Most High.
If the actions are correct, Allah will grant success, even when the means are minor. On the other hand, should the actions be incorrect, then Allah will destroy greatest structures and show them as unsuccessful.
To attain success, perfect your actions in this world. Every Prophet (peace be upon them) exerted their effort in opposing the prevalent ideology of their times. The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) came and opposed the system based on the notions of the majority – power, wealth, agriculture and crafts. His effort (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not prosper due to these factors. Instead, his mission spread through struggles and sacrifices (mujahadah).
Falsehood flourishes in the guise of luxury, whereas truth prevails when difficulties are endured. Falsehood glitters through wealth and authority, while truth shines through trials and tribulations of poverty and hardship.
The remedy and solutions to the rise in mischiefs being induced through affluence and authority lie in simplicity and minimalism, and in forbearing difficulties for the sake of truth.
Currently, there is a need to develop, through this work, the capacity to struggle and sacrifice for the truth within the Ummah.
A grave danger for this work is that it becomes confined to its means and resources. Consequently, the spirit and life of the effort will be lost. [Therefore], the protection of this work lies in its participants making sacrifices for the sake of this work, even when all these assets and resources are available, they should [still] continue to struggle and sacrifice. Under no circumstance should they let the concept and manifestations of mujahadah be eliminated.
Our effort should be increased among the poor. The pedal jama‘ats [groups travelling on foot] should be dispatched. People will come [to you saying], ‘Spend our wealth for the cause of the religion.’ [At this point], you will have to sacrifice such resourcesand say to them, ‘Sir, in this work, the correct and pure method of spending and its passion is taught. So, you should find the most deserving recipient and spend it according by yourself. With us, learn the method.’
For the mass propagation of this work, there is a need for complete abstention from the [use of] conventional methods of newspapers, posters and print media and also from the use of popular terminologies.
This effort is entirely unconventional. In utilising conventional methods, the convention and customs will be strengthened, not the work.
The core elements of the work
The core elements of the work are: da‘wah, gusht, ta‘lim, tashkil and so forth. If there is a need for consultation, appropriate brothers should be selected and consulted. A situation should not arise at any time, whereby, those people who carry out the consultation are uninvolved in the fundamental public actions (umumi a‘mal).
Work amongst students
This effort should also be conducted among students in colleges and universities. Local groups should be organised for their local work in their accommodation. Students in accommodation should conduct one visitation within their hostels, the second weekly visitation in another locality or hostel. Groups from the local areas in close proximity to the hostel should go there and carry out visitations. Resident students in hostels should also establish their own daily reading circles and monthly three day routine.
The sensitivity of women involved in the work
The sensitivity of the effort among women is greater. They must not be brought out in general gatherings (ijtima‘), especially if there is a possibility of unveiling.
Within each locality, women from nearby houses should gather in a household where the veil is observed and conduct their own reading circles on a particular day.
The initiation process for this should be as follows: whatever the menfolk hear in their general gatherings, talks, reading circles and so forth, should be informed to their households. Through this, Allah willing, within a short time, their mind-set will begin to be formed.
Occasionally, groups should be made for a day or three to visit nearby areas. In the female group, their husbands should be with them. Otherwise, every woman must be accompanied by her legal guardian (shar‘i mahram). They should go whilst observing the veil. Their stay should be in houses where the veil is observed and the men should stay and carry out the efforts from the mosque.
Your journey for the ‘Umrah can be an opportunity for the revival of this effort from the very places wherein the Noble Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) initiated and carried out his work and efforts; the people hailing from these places can be made to become the flag bearers of this effort and a means of reviving it, and from those surroundings an international movement and effort of going out in the path of Allah can be initiated.
It is an excellent opportunity to meet senior members of this effort from different countries, for the development of a unified approach and to become aware of the details emerging from the principles.
It was extremely pleasing to learn about the preparation for ʿUmrah being undertaken by my respected Haji Hanif and Brother Muhammad Idris. May Almighty Allah accept it; make an effort of bringing the other senior colleagues together as well.
The letter has become lengthy in an effort to write some principles. All of you should try to read every part and every word of it carefully. Then there is hope for great benefits, Allah willing. Keep us informed about your condition every fifteen days so that we can be continuously strengthened. Convey the customary salam to all the brothers.
That is all and in peace
The servant Muhammad Yusuf (may he be forgiven)