Allah سبحانه وتعالى says of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم in the Holy Qurān,
فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ
This verse reminds us that we should focus on ourselves. When man thinks about his lowly origin, it will lead to humility. Many of the teachings of Allah and Rasūl Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم are about looking inward and changing oneself. To look at oneself and change oneself is difficult, whereas it is easy to blame others and external factors. By blaming other people or other factors, it allows us to deny our own faults.
Often when there is a problem, we could resolve things but instead we choose to blame other things. Whenever there is fighting, argueing and quarreling, such as with family members, we should learn to control ourselves and change our own behaviour. We should not wait for everyone else to act on the Qurān and ḥadīth, rather we should act on them ourselves.
In a hadeeth Rasūl Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم says
When a person looks in a mirror and sees a flaw, the mirror serves its purpose by allowing the person to recognise what needs to be changed. The person will then rectify that flaw. Similarly, we can rely on others to point out our faults. If someone sincerely points out our faults, we should be grateful.
Sayyiduna Umar ibn Khattab رضى الله عنه would say ‘May Allah have mercy on a man who offers me a gift of my faults’.
Enjoining the good and forbidding evil is an obligation for us. But, it is an obligation on ourselves before anybody else. We should work on our nafs before anyone else.
Just as martial arts is physical training, tazkiyah is spiritual training. Martial arts instructors train and discipline their students in order that they may defend themselves. Tazkiyah under the guidance of a spiritual guide is training in order that we may defend our imaan (faith) . However, many of us who adopt the path of tazkiyah make the mistake of having too high and unrealistic expectations of both tazkiyah and the spiritual guide. When our expectations are not realised, we lose hope and abandon the path. The goals of tazkiyah will not be attained overnight and results come after many years. This path of spiritual purification may seem dull, monotonous and repetitive, however the training and discipline received over many years of dedication will ultimately pay off. This may be when we are tested such as when a calamity has befallen us or when Shaytaan attacks us. Many years of learning will come into effect during these crucial and difficult times.
We learn from the Qur’an and hadeeth that man is in a constant state of spiritual decline. You do not have to do anything wrong to be in decline. This is because even if you do not commit a sin, the environment around you will have an effect on your level of spirituality. It is for this reason that religious gathering such as daroos and majalis are vital to arrest our spiritual decline.
. [This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 13th January 2013].
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 13th January 2013].
Gratitude for a gift is not something that is expressed verbally, rather it is expressed in attitude and deed, i.e. it is appreciated and utilised it in a beneficial manner. We have the opportunity to learn, educate and reform ourselves, yet despite this gift of ilm available to us, we lack desire and motivation. We do not appreciate this opportunity since we have become involved in a rat race and rivalry has distracted us.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 13th April 2004].
People never forget any wrong done to them by others and any good done to them is easily forgotten. However a believer should overlook any wrong done to him and engrave in his heart and mind any good done to him no matter how small. Unfortunately, nowadays the tables are turned and people are fickle in friendship and loyalty, and are willing to overlook many years of good done to them, yet are unforgiving even for a single mistake.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 20th March 2004].
The whole purpose of tazkiyah is to reform one’s fitrah (core character). A person may adopt a facade for a certain time, however when he is tested, his true fitrah emerges. On the path of spiritual purification, a person must strive and work hard in order to eradicate bad character.A spiritual guide can only help and advise, however the onus, effort and struggle is upon the individual.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 12th March 2003].
Many of us wander at our lack of spiritual progress yet we fail to avoid the basic sins. For example, sins of the tongue such as swearing, backbiting, rumour mongering and slander.
Silence is the hallmark of a believer and one of the goals of tazkiyah is to cut down on one’s speech. Most people tend to talk excessively and this in itself is a curse. We have to train ourselves to remain silent and true silence is when a person has the ability and desire to speak yet remains silent, for example when angry. We should be conscious that we will be accountable for every word we utter on the Day of Judgement.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 5th February 2003].
The pressures and trials of life inevitably test a person’s character, but the beauty of a person’s character should shine through in such situations. Many of us become visibly miserable and agitated at such times, however it is the mark of a believer that he maintains a dignified composure and continues to treat others with adab (etiquettes), akhlaaq (manners) and pleasantness. Even in suffering a believer behaves beautifully to the extent that others cannot tell whether he is suffering or not.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 31st July 2002].
We should regularly attend gatherings of knowledge and engage in the work of deen (religion), to ensure our own stability, steadfastness and imaan (faith). Allah’s deen is not in need of us and nor do we have something to offer, rather we should do so for our own good and benefit. The work of deen is not necessarily doing things which are fanciful and glamorous, rather it is about contributing in any way possible, even if this is an apparently menial task such as cleaning in the masjid. However, we should not consider this to be insignificant because it is a very virtuous act from which we will benefit insha’Allah.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 17th July 2002].
Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Holy Qur’an:
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
Worshipping Allah سبحانه وتعالى is a duty upon a person regardless of whether one is in ease or hardship. Many people despair when they practice Islam because they do not see their lives changing for the better in dunya terms and they eventually abandon their worship. The world by its very nature is a life of trials and tribulations. Even after practising Islam one will continue to suffer afflictions and one’s life will not necessarily change to one of ease, free of all worries and concerns. However, a person is duty-bound to worship Allah سبحانه وتعالى in all circumstances.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers' majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 29th May 2002].