REVIVAL OF RELIGIOUS LEARNINGS IMAM GHAZZALI'S
IHYA UL UM-ID-DIN
THE BOOK OF WORLDLY USAGES
CHAPTER VII Benefits and harms of seclusion and society 139
CHAPTER VIII Rules of journey 151
CHAPTER IX Music and Exctacy 162
CHAPTER X Enjoining good & Forbidding Evil 180
CHAPTER XI Conduct and Character of Holy Prophet 207
RULES OF LIVING IN SECLUSION
There are differences of opinion regarding living in seclusion and living in society among the people. Those who supported the former opinion are the following sages-Sufiyan Saori, Ibrahim-b-Adham, Daud Tai, Fuzail-b-Iyaz. Solaiman Khawas, Eusof-b-Asbat, Huzaifa, Marashi, Bashar Hafi and others. Majority of Tabeyines (successors of companions) are supporters of living in society for the reason of doing good to others, establishing brotherhood, love and friendship among the believer and helping mutually for the sake of religion better than seclusion. The following are its supporter-Sayeed-b-Mosayyeb, Shubi, Ibn Abu Laila, Hesham-b-Urwah, Ibn Shabramah, Shark-b-Abdullah, Ibn Ayniah, Ibn Mobarak, Imam Shafeyi, Imam Ahmed-b-Hambal and other. Hazrat Omar said Loneliness is like worship. Fuzail said : I am satisfied with God as an object of love, with the Quran as a companion and with death as an admonisher. Hazrat Abu Daud and Tai said to Abu Rabi Fast from the temptations of the world and break it in the next. world. Flee from society as you flee from tiger. Hazrat Hasan Basari said : I have rememdered from the Torah : You will be free from depending on men if you are satisfied with little, you will be on men if you are satisfied with little, you will be safe if you keep distant : from society, you will get the pleasure of freedom if you give up sexual passion, manliness will come out if you give up hatred and you will get ever lasting happiness if you can refrain from temporary greed. Wahab-b-ward said : I have heard that wisdom has got ten parts, nine of which are in loneliness. Eusof-b-Moslem said : I used to mix in society but did not hold any talk with the people. Sufiyan Saori said : The present time is the time of loneliness and staying in a corner of the house. Hazrat Ibrahim Nakhyi said : Acquire learning and adopt loneliness. Rabi-b-Khasain said that Imam Malek used to be present at funeral prayers, nurse the patients and pay the rights of friends. He at last gradually gave up everything. Sayeed-b-Abi Waqqas and Sayeed-b-Zaid used to live at Aqiq near Medina. They did not come to Medina for Jumma or for any other thing and died at Aqiq . Sufiyan Saori said : Loneliness has become lawful now. Bashar-b-Abdullah said : Be acquainted little with the people as you don't know what will happen on the Resurrection day. If you
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are disgraced, few people will know you. A certain ruler asked Hatem Asem : Have you got any requirement ? He said : Yes The ruler asked : What is it ? He said : Don't meet me and I shall not meet you and don't be acquainted with me.
A certain man asked Sahal Tastari : I love to keep you company. He said : When one of us dies, with whom will he keep company ? He said : With God. He said : Then it is better at present to keep company with God. Fuzail said : The more a man is acquainted with the people. The less is his wisdom . Hazrat Abu Abbas said : Your assembly within your house is the best assembly. You will not find anybody there and nobody will find you. These are the sayings of those who love loneliness.
Those who support living in society have got the, following proofs. God says : Don't be like those who differed and became separate. God said : Then he united their hearts. These versesspeak of unity on the ground of love and speak of differences regarding the Book of God. The second proof is said to be the saying of the Prophet : A believer loves an object of love and there is no good in one who does not love or got love. In this Hadis, condemnation of bad conduct is seen as it is a hindrance to love. There is another Hadis : He who separates from the united body even half a span shifts off the tie of Islam from his neck. He said : He who keeps separate from the united body dies the death of the days of Ignorance. These are weak proofs of mixing in society. These speak of allegiance to one Imam or ruler and there is no mention of loneliness therein. The fourth proof cited is that the Prophet prohibited absence of meeting with the brother Muslim for more than three days. This proof is also weak as contemplates previous quarrel . The fifth proof cited is that the Prophet said : Patience of one of you in a dangerous place of Islam is better than his worship of 40 years in a lonely place. This speaks of the time when Islam was in danger. At another time when a certain companion liked a lonely place where there was current of water the Prophet said : Don't do it, because the rank of one of you in the way of God is better than his divine service for sixty years. Don't you love that God should forgive you and you should enter paradise? Make Jihad in the way of God, as one who fights in the way of God even for a short time, God will admit him in paradise. Another proof is this Hadis. The Prophet said The devil in men in like a tiger among a flock of sheep. The tiger
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attacks near and distant ones. Take care of hillocks and keep attached to united body, mosques and ordinary people. This means that loneliness is prohibited before the perfection of learning.
MERITS AND DEMERITS OF
That seclusion is good or bad depends upon the circumstances of each man. It is good for some people and bad for some people. The benefit of loneliness are as follows. The benefits are either worldly or religious. Benefits that are derived from loneliness are engagement in divine service, getting leisure for meditation or religious thoughts and relief form prohibited sins, such as show, back-biting, bad company with sinners 'and transgressors. The benefits of this world are that one can do his worldly matters with peaceful mind. So there are six benefits of loneliness.
(1) One can get sufficient leisure for divine service and deep contemplation of God's glory. The greatest ponder over divine matters is over the wonderful creations of God and of His sovereignty and power. In a society, that benefit cannot be availed of. A certain wise man said : It is not possible for anybody to take to loneliness unless he hold firmly the Quran of God. Those who hold it firmly can enjoy the comforts of material and spiritual worlds. Those who remember God live in God's remembrance and die in God's remembrance and meet with God in God's remembrance. For this reason the Prophet was immerged in deep meditation in the cave of Hira in early stages. For this reason, though he lived in society, his mind was always concentrated in the thoughts of God. Hazrat Junaid Bagdadi said
For the last 30 years, I am holding secret talks with God but the people think that I am speaking with them. A certain sage was asked : How can you keep patience in loneliness ? He said : I am not alone, God is my companion. When I wish that I should speak with Him secretly, I observe prayer. A certain sage was asked : What benefit have you derived from renunciation of the world ? He replied : God's love. Once Hasan Basari asked a sage What things prevent you from mixing in society ? The man said No time passes in which I am not in gifts or commit no sin. I remain busy for the gifts to express gratefulness to God and seek forgiveness to Him for the commission of sins. Junnun Misri said
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The joy and taste of a believer lies in his invocation to his Lord. A certain wise man said : Love for the people is a sign of bankruptcy in religion.
(2) Second benefit: A man can get relief from the sins to be committed by living in a society by adopting loneliness. These sins are of four kinds-(1) to make back-biting and to hear back-biting , (2) to refrain from enjoining good deeds and from prohibiting bad deeds, (3) to work for show of people, 4 (1) and to entertain bad conduct and evil deeds. Except the truthful, nobody can be safe from back-biting. (2) Enjoining good deeds and prohibiting evil deeds is the basic principle of religion and compulsory. Once Hazrat Abu Bakr said at the time of Khutba: 0 people, you need this verse of God : 0 those who believe, take care of yourselves. When you find guidance, the misguided people cannot misguide you." but you do not use it in appropriate place. I have heard from the Prophet: If a man does not remove an evil deed of a man after seeing it, God sends punishment for it on all. The Prophet said: God will take account of a servant, even He will ask this also : When you saw an evil deed being done, why did you not prevent it ? When God will show proof to His servant, he will say : 0 Lord, I feared men and hoped for your pardon.
(3) Show: Show is an incurable disease and to remove it is very difficult on the part of the religious and pious men. Good feelings are required to be maintained in a society for which one feels inclined to make a show of his character and conduct. The Prophet said : The worst man is one who has got two faces. He comes with one face to one people and with another face to another people. A certain wise man said : If God loves a man. He wishes that his fame does not spread. Hazrat Taus went once to Caliph Hesham and said : 0 Hesham, how are you ? He became displeased with him and said : Why have you not addressed me as 'Commander of the Faithful." ? Hazrat Taus said : The Muslims are unanimous against you. I fear that if I address you as Commander of the Faithful, I may a liar. There is no fear for such a man to mix in society. The people once asked Jesus Christ : How are you ? He said : I don't get in my possession what I hope and I have got no power to remove what I fear. I am busy with my affairs. All deeds are in the hand of another. There is nobody more in want than myself. A man asked Abu Darda'a: How are
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you ? He said: I am well, provided I am released from Hell. Wais Qarni was once asked : How are you ? He replied. How is the man who does not know weather he will live upto the next morning when evening comes to him, and when the dawn comes to him he does not know weather he will live upto evening.
(4) Stealing of conduct: You steal in your conduct what you see in the conduct of others. In other words, you follow their conducts. This is a secret disease from which even the wise men are not free, not to speak of the heedless ones. If one sees major sins being committed constantly around him, he takes them as of little consequence. For this reason, if you always look to the gifts of the rich, you will consider your own gifts as little. For this reason, you should take to the assemblies of the poo~ and the destitutes . You should look to the conduct and character of the religious people and not of those who are irreligious and commit sins and transgressions. The Prophet said : Mercy descends at the time of the discussion of the pious people.,To be able to reach paradise and to have sight of God mean mercy. It means that the beginning of mercy is good deeds and the beginning of good deeds is desire and the beginning of desire is discussion of the character of the pious men. Curse means to remain distant from God. The sins are the roots of being distant from God. The cause of curse is to go away from the remembrance of God and to be busy with the worldly comforts. When such is the effect of discussion of the lives of pious and the sinners how is the condition when the pious and the sinners are met with ? The Prophet said.: A bad friend is for you like the hammer of a blacksmith. If the spark of the fire of heated iron does not even touch you, its vapour touches you just as its vapour touches you even when you do not know. The Prophet said: A good companion is like a seller of perfume. If he does not give you perfume, you get its fragrance. For this reason, it is unlawful for a man to disclose the faults of a learned man for two reasons. The first reason is that it will be back-biting him and the second reason is that the people will dare to commit the sins of the learned man when they see him committing them always. This is the machinations of the devil. God says with regard to those who oppose the devil. They hear words and follows what is good. The Prophet gave example of bad people. He said : The man who hears the words of wisdom and does not act but what is evil is like the person who says to a shepherd : Give me a stout and
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strong sheep from your flock. He then says : Choose the best one from the flock. Then he takes a dog by its ear from the flock. He who searches the faults of a leader is likewise. Seeing his bad deeds constantly, his abhorrence of evils drops from his hear.
(3) Third benefit: The third benefit of loneliness is to get relief from quarrels and disputes and to save oneself from useless talks. The Prophet said : When you will see the people breaking their promises and trusts and when they become such (he thrusts the fingers of of one hand into the fingers of another), they will remain busy with quarrels and disputes. A man asked : what will we do then ? He said : Keep attached to your own houses, keep the tongue under control and accept what you know and give up what you know not. Be busy then with your own affairs and give up the affairs of the people. The Prophet said : The wealth of a Muslim in near future will be goats and sheep. He wil roam in caves of hillocks and places of water. He will shift from one place to another with his religion from calamities. The Prophet said : In near future, such a time will come upon man when it wil be difficult to save his religion. To save religion, he will flee away like a jacket from one cave to another and from one hillock to another. He was asked: 0 Prophet of God, when will it occur? He said: When you will not be able to earn livelihood without sin. When that time will come, one will be ruined at the hands of his parents, if he will have no parents, at the hands of his wife and children and in their absence, he will be ruined at the hands of his. relatives. They asked : 0 Prophet of God, how will that come to pass ? He said: They will abuse him for his insolvent condition. His parents-will ask what is beyond the capacity of their son; as a result he will come to the position of ruin. The sage Sufiyan Saori said : Now seclusion has become lawful. Hazrat Sa'ad did not join the party of Muwayiah or the party of Hazrat Ali at the time when they were fighting for Caliphate. It has been narrated that when Hazrat Hossain was proceeding towards Iraq. Ibn Omar prevented him to proceed there but he refused bn the ground that he had with him a letter of allegiance of the Iraqi people. Ibn Omar then recited a Hadis of the Prophet : Gebriel once came to the Holy Prophet and asked him to choose either of these-two this world or the next world and the Prophet chose the latter. You are a piece of flesh of the Holy Prophet. By God, none of you will be the ruler of this material world which has been keep separate from you Inspite of this advice. Hazrat Hussain refused
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to turn back. He started with ten thousand men but there were no more than 40 persons with him at the time of battle.
Hazrat Tau kept attached to his ownhouse. Being asked the reason, he said : The dangers and calamities of this age and the oppression of the leaders compelled me to remain within the house: Hazrat Urawah erected a house at Aqiq for living and gave up coming to the Prophet mosque . Being asked the reason, he said On seeing your mosques as the place of sports and jokes, your bazars as the places of useless talks and your lanes as the places of obscene deeds, I have chosen to stay within the house wherein there is peace.
(4) Fourth benefit. One can save himself from the harms of the people in case of secluded living. Hazrat Omar said Loneliness is better then a bad companion. Hazrat Samad said One of our friends said : Men were like medicines with which they treated diseases. Men have turned now into disease of which thereis no cure. Flee away from them as you flee away from a tiger. Hazrat Hasan Basari said : Sabet Bonani was the friend of God, When I intended to go on pilgrimage, he wished to accompany me. I said : If we live together, there may be such conduct between us which may lead us to hatred.
Another benefit of loneliness is mentioned here. It is to keep secrecy in religion, manliness, character and conduct, poverty and the remaining internal conditions. God praised such a man. Theilliterate man thinks that they are rich owing to their abstinence from begging. Hazrat Abu Darda'a said : Man was before a leaf as it were with thorn, but at present he is a thorn without leaf. This was at the end of the first century. Is the condition now ? Hazrat Sufiyan-b-Aynish said : Hazrat Sufiyan Saori in his life time and after his death in dream said to me Make little acquaintance with the people as it is difficult to save oneself from them. This thought occurs in my mind that the sins I have earned are due to my mixing in society. A man was asked What have you abandoned society ? He said : I feared that my religion would be robbed in my absence. Hazrat Abu Darda'a said : Fear God and fear society, because when they ride on a camel, they cause wound to it and they whip a horse when they ride on it and they cause harm to the mind of an unbeliever. A certain wise man said : Make little acquaintance, your religion
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and mind will remain safe and your duties will be less. The more the acquaintance, the more the duties.
(5) Fifth benefit is the hopes of the people from you and your hopes from the people will vanish in case of secluded living as it is impossible to please all the people. So it is better to remain busy in purifying one's own character and conduct . Imam Shafeyi said: To do benefit to the sinners is the root of every opposition. If one does not see the fineries of the world from the beginning, greed does not grow in him. For this reason, God said : Don't prolong our eyes towards what I have provided them of various kinds. The Prophet said : Look to those who are below you in respect of wealth and don't took to those who are superior to you in wealth, Otherwise you will consider the gifts of God on you as insignificant. Hazrat Aaon-b-Abdullah said : I was at first in the company of the rich. I saw their dresses better than my dress, their conveyances better then mine. Then I kept company with the poor and I got then peace of mind.
(6) Sixth benefit: If the idle and the fools take to loneliness, they get security from foolishness and heinous character. To meet with an idle man is like loss of sight. Hazrat A'mash was asked : How have you lost power of sight ? He said : Owing to my seeing the idle, Once Hazrat Abu Hanifa came to A' mash and said : The Prophet said : If God robs the sight of two eyes of a man, He gives him better than them in exchange. What thing has He given you in exchange of the loss of your eye sight ? Hazrat A'mash sold jokingly : God has given me in its exchange the sight of the idle and you belong to that class. The wise Jalianus said Everything has got fever. Fever of soul comes at the sight of the idle. Imam Shafeyi said : If I sit by the side of an idle man, the portion of my body which keeps near the idle man casts heaviness on me.
BENEFITS OF SOCIETY
Know, 0 dear readers, that there are some religious matters which cannot be performed without mixing in society. The benefits which are gained by mixing in society are destroyed by loneliness. The benefits of society are the following
(1) First benefit: By mixing in society, one can teach and learn religious learning which is the best divine service in this world. Education has got greater scope. Some education is
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compulsory and some optional. If loneliness is adopted without learning the compulsory education, it will be committing sin. If you have got ability to be expert in any branch of education, it will be a cause of harm if you adopt lonely living. For this reason. Ibrahim Nakhyi and other sages said : Acquire religious learning at first and then take to lonely habitation. If one remains busy in divine service for the whole day without acquiring sufficient knowledge, his mind and body do not remain free from self-conceit and deceit. So education is the root of religion.
(2) Second benefit. Doing and taking benefit from the people mean to earn money by trading with them. Without mixing in society, it is not possible. If one is bound to earn his livelihood, it is compulsory for him to mix in society. To do benefit means to help the people at the cost of life and property and to remove the wants of the Muslims.
(3) Third benefit. It is to make strenuous efforts and to gain the attribute of patience in the way of salvation . By mixing in society, man can earn the quality of patience at the harms and injuries inflicted by men. This leads to hard labour extreme forbearance.
(4) Fourth benefit. It is to love and get love. Another benefit of mixing in society is that one can love another and one can get the love of another. The Prophet said : God is not vexed with you till you become vexed. Loneliness is not without undisturbed peace; The Prophet said : This religion is firm and take it with kindness. Hazrat Ibn Abbas said: Had I not feared random thoughts, I would not have mixed in society. He said : Who injures man except man ? The Prophet said : Man is upon the' religion of his friend. So let him look with whom he befriends.
(5) Fifth benefit. It is to get virtues give virture. In a society, a man is required to be present at funeral prayers, call on patients, join I'd congregations, etc.
(6) Six benefit. One can earn the quality of modesty and humility in a society while it cannot be gained in loneliness which sometimes creates pride. It is reported that a man of Israil dynasty wrote nearly 360 books on wisdom and thought that he got some rank to God for this. God then revealed to the Prophet
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of that age : Tell the man : You have filled up the world with hypocrisy. I will not accept any portion of your hyocrisy. Then he gave up writing books and took refuge in a grave and thought. I have now gained the pleasure of God. God then revealed to His Prophet Tell him : You cannot gain My pleasure till you mix in society and bear their harms and troubles. After wards, he mixed in society . Then God revealed to His Prophet : Tell him : Now you have gained My pleasure. Hazrat Ali used to carry daily necessities of the family from bazar and say : The perfection of a perfect man is not reduced if he carries anything for his benefit. Hazrat Abu Hurairah, Huzaifah, Obai and Ibn Masud and others used to carry fuels and food stuffs on their backs. Hazrat Abu Hurairah was the governor of Medina at one time. He used to say while carrying loads of fuel Give way to your ruler. The Prophet used also to carry his necessary things from the bazar. Some companions asked him: Give me the load to bear. He then said : The owner of the load has got right to carry it.
Hazrat Hasan, son of Hazrat Ali, while passing by the poor, used to sit with them and they used to say to him: 0 descendant of the Messenger of God, take share in our food. Then he used to get down from his conveyance and share with them their meal and said: God does not love the proud. Another reason is that one who remains busy in rendering pleasure of the people falls in error, because if he knows God perfectly, he will appreciate that there is no good in the pleasure of the people without the pleasure of God and all harms and benefits are in the hand of God. There is no benefactor and destroyer except He. He who incurs the pleasure of men by incurring the displeasure of God, God becomes displeased with him and keeps the people dissatisfied with him. If the object is only to incurs the pleasure of the people, it is not fulfilled. God is the object of love and search. Imam Shafeyi said : There. is no such man as has got no friend and foe. When it is such, keep company with the pious. Hazrat Moses invoked God : 0 Lord, save me from the tongue of the people. He said : 0 Moses, I am also not free in this matter. So how can I make you free from their tongue ? God revealed to Wazair: I will not enrol you as one of the humble ones near Me if you do not remain satisfied with the chewed matter in the mouth of the chewers.
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(7) Seventh benefit is the gaining of experience which is gained by mixing in society. One whose natural intellect is not sufficient to understand the good of this material and spiritual world, loneliness is not good for him. If a boy without experience adopts loneliness, he will be misguided. He should therefore, remain busy in educating himself. Every experience of loneliness is secret. Those who walk in the path of the next world search for purification of heart and allow themselves in the fiery tests. If they feel pride in their hearts, they try to remove it. Even some of them carry the skin of water or bundle of fuel and necessary articles from the markets. Thereby they gain experience and pride goes away. So the great benefit of mixing in society is that the faults of one come out. For this reason, it has been said that journey discloses the character and conduct of a man as it is a result of mixing in society.
So what has been described above about the benefits and harms of seclusion, it is clear that loneliness is sometimes good and sometimes bad according to the special circumstances of each man and the surroundings he lives in. This depends on his friends and companions. A certain wise man said: To keep separate from society is a cause of enmity and to mix in society means sometimes company with the bad people. So be not separate and do not also mix, rather adopt the path of loneliness in mixing in society.
RULES AND REGULATION OF
(1) One should intend by loneliness to save himself from the harms of men. (2) He will seek safety from the harms of other people. (3) He will intend to be free from the faults in fulfilling the duties to the Muslims. (4) He will intend to prefer loneliness for divine services (5) He shall engage himself in learning, zikr, fikr and other divine services. (6) He will not allow the people to mix with him. (7) He will not allow others to put questions to him .(8) He will not ask the news of any place or any man. (9) He will remain satisfied with little. (10) He will remain patient at the harms of his neighbours, if any. (11) He will be deaf in hearing of the praise of others. (12) He shall know the merits of the path of the next world. In other words, he shall follow the rules and regulations of zikr with humility of mind, think of the wonderful creations of God, the heavens and the earth, sun moon, stars and
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of the sovereignty of God, think of life and death and of the conditions in grave after death.
It you do not give up the passions and temptations of the world, your patience in secluded living will not become perfect. The heart cannot be cleansed of impurities making short of your hopes and passions as you have got no power to prolong life. Think after getting up from bed in the morning that you will not be able to reach evening. In this way, you will be able to curtain your hopes and check passions. Know it for certain that he who cannot earn the love of God in his mind and His remembrance will not be able to bear loneliness after death. He who earns this attribute will be able to bear it, as death cannot destroy the place of God's love and remembrance. He will live in the midst of mercy of God. For this reason, God said about the martyrs : Don't think that those who have been killed in the way of God are dead, but they are alive near their Lord and get provisions.
THE END OF CHAPTER 7 OF VOLUME 2
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