In his masterpiece, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, Imam al-Ghazali writes passionately about the evils of not acting on knowledge and the signs of the ‘ulama of the hereafter. A condensed version of this lengthy passage was rendered into Urdu by Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalawi and produced in part two of Fadail-e-Sadaqat, which was subsequently translated from Urdu into English by M. Tayyab Bakhsh Badayuni. These twelve signs have, under the instructions of Dr. Hanif Kamal, been edited and are now being reproduced on Deoband.org; this is primarily for the benefit of the editor, the ‘ulama in general, and — since we live in confusing and delicate times — for the general lay populace to allow them to identify the true inheritors of the prophets (peace be upon them).
Author Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalawi
Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah enlighten his resting place) has also stressed in his letters that the original purpose of Suluk is ihsan. In one epistle he writes, “My respected one. The original purpose of Suluk is ihsan — ‘that you worship Allah as if you are seeing him’ (Al-Hadith). In other words an ingrained ability [of ihsan] should develop in the salik and this should be [the condition] at the beginning. As to [the condition at] the end, then that is acquiring the pleasure of He Whose Name is Powerful. (Shaykh al-Islam then writes a poem, the translation of which is as follows. Translator). ‘Why do you seek firaq and wasl? Seek the pleasure of the beloved, as wishing from the beloved something apart from Him is regretful.’
It has been mentioned above that Sayyiduna Jibril (may Allah grant him peace) asked the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), “What is ihsan?” The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, “Ihsan is that you worship Allah as if you are seeing him…” Tariqah in reality is another name for ihsan, or the way to acquire the quality of ihsan. It is this that is called Tasawwuf and Suluk, or name it what you wish — these are all terms.
A collection of letters between three leading ‘ulama detailing the need and importance of establishing gatherings of dhikr in madrasahs. Consisting of letters between the Grand Mufti of Pakistan Mufti Muhammad Shafi’, Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi and Muhaddith al-‘Asr Mawlana Sayyid Muhammad Yusuf Binnori (may Allah enlighten their graves).
It is also called the exercise (shughal) of Rabitah, Barzakh and Wasta (see Ta’lim al-Din); to the mashayikh of Tasawwuf it is a very important exercise. The mashayikh have written many benefits of this. Some seniors said it is unconditionally (mutlaqan) impermissible. According to this slave, this is incorrect, as Tasawwur al-Shaykh is understood from many hadiths. Because of this, I have not understood why some have deemed it unconditionally impermissible.
Question: To my sayyid, my mawla (may Allah increase your piety), Al-Salam ‘alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh, Your dear letter arrived on 15 Dhu ‘l-Hijjah. I am regretful for not being able to present myself in the service of Maulwi ‘Abd al-Rahman. What are the detailed circumstances of the destitute that I may convey to you? The road to here, however, is very dangerous. Do not, at all, take the trouble [to visit]. This would be very difficult on this lowly one.