Although the third path is the shortest but it is not commonly used because its requirements are on the higher side. Many people do not have the amount of Ishq, fuel that is needed to propel a person on this path. That is why we normally talk about the second path.
Alhamdulillah, our Akabreen, specifically the Silsila chain of Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah Muhajire Makki Rahimahullah is a chain full of Barkat, blessings. Most of the Mashaikh have spread from his chain. He was the fountain of the major part of the efforts of Tazkiya and Tasawwuf taking place in today’s times. Most of the Masheikh are connected to his Silsila. However, I feel that, this particular Silsila which we and most of the people are connected to is an Ajeeb and amazing chain and method. I feel, this (Chishti) Silsila combines all three paths. It is not limited to one of the three paths. Although the method of working is based on the second path mostly, but that is then enhanced and complemented by a bit of the first and a bit of the third as well. This is what makes this Silsila so amazing. If you look at our Akabereen, they made Amal on the second path but together with that they had the Ishq of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala as well. In other words the Ishq of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala was very high and they made the effort to bring that into their hearts and serve as further fuel to push them faster towards Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. The Ishq of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala makes it much easier to get rid of the spiritual sicknesses and to inculcate the beautiful qualities. Hazrat Haji Sahib himself, Hadhrat Thanwi, Hadhrat Maulana Shah Abdughani Phoolpuri, Hadhrat Maulana Hakeem Akhtar Sahib Rahimahumullah Ta’ala have all emphasized on the path of Muhabbat. They have all said that, where Muhabbat and Ishq will take you even Khauf will not take you.
What is the difference between Ishq and Muhabbat?
Muhabbat is normal love but Ishq is severe and extreme love. There is a difference between them. Having extreme love for Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala is going to take a person to those heights whereas having only Khauf of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, will not take you. Those who are on the third path of Tariqe Ishq are firm upon the principle:
مُوْتُوْا قَبْلَ أَنْ تَمُوْتُوْا
Mootu Qabla An Tamootoo
Die before you die.
Although this principle is concerning the third path, but we (Chishti) use it as well. If you are just going to take last week’s explanation, then we may feel, since we do not use the third path or third road, this principle does not apply to us. That is why I mentioned in the beginning that, in reality, we (Chishti) also take a lot from the third path as well.
What Does ‘Die Before You Die’ Mean?
Upon just hearing ‘die before you die’ a person may get scared. What does this dying before you die mean? Outwardly it may seem very negative to us. This is one of the reasons people would obviously shy away from something like this. People do not even want to hear anything about Maut or anything related to Maut or dying. ‘Die before you die’ means, before you actually die you should die. It is like bringing death closer. People are very scared and they get Ghabraahat (disturbed) with regards to this principle because they do not understand what is actually being said. What is actually being said is supposed to be the principle of every Muslim. Mootu Qabla An Tamootu (Die before you die) is all about slavery to Allah.
Two different types of death are being talked about in Die before you die. One is the dying of physical life which is ‘’die before,’’ and the second die is the physical death which is ‘you die.’ The first dying does not refer to a spiritual death, but to the death of the Nafs. Before you die a physical death, make sure your Nafs dies. Before your physical death make sure that your Nafs has died. In other words, do not let it be that your physical death comes in a state where your Nafs has not died. Make the effort to die before your physical death comes. Physical death can come at any time. There is no guarantee of when it will come. This is something we all understand. Basically, we were sent in this world to die. In other words, we were sent into this world for our Nafs to die. To die before we die is a sign this person has achieved his Maqsad of life. The Maqsad of life is to die and when you die then you will get the true life.
Think about it.
The Maqsad of this life is to die and when you are going to die is when you will truly become alive. Until you do not die in this life, you are dead. When you die is when you become alive. Everyone is spiritually dead but when they die (the Nafs dies) then they become alive spiritually. For the Nafs to die means for the Nafs to get annihilated. For the Nafs to die is when a person has handed himself over into the Gulaami (slavery) of Allah. In other words, handing oneself over to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. The true slavery to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala is referred as the Maut of the Nafs – to kill the Nafs in the slavery of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala such that the Nafs no longer remains and no longer makes demands. It is not expressing any wish and desire. Everything is suppressed. Everything is smothered down, suffocated and strangled within the Nafs. Nothing is allowed to come out. Nothing is allowed to come up. The person becomes like a Mayyit. That is also where this saying comes from where Hadhrat Thanvi Rahimahullah said;
The Mureed should be in the hands of the Sheikh like
كَالْمَيِّتِ فِى يَدِ الْغَسَّالِ
Kal mayyiti fee yadil ghassaal
the Mayyit in the hands of someone who is giving the Ghusl.
Therefore, become like a Mayyit in the slavery of Allah. Kill the Nafs. Become like a dead person.
Comparision: A Dead Person
A dead person does not have any opinions, wishes, desires, demands, love for Dunya, love for Maal, love for position and fame and he does not have pride. The dead person has seen the reality. See the reality before you physically die because after you physically die then you will see the reality whether you like it or not but then it is not going to help you.
The world of the unseen, the Aalame Ghaib at the point of Maut no longer remains the world of the unseen for that person. It becomes visible physically. Majority of people did not die, so they did not see the reality before their Maut. When they are dying physically is the time the Haqiqat is being opened up and it hits them in such a way that, if that was the only Azab they were going to get, then it would have been enough. The Haqiqat of the Aalame Ghaib hits them in front of their eyes, they see the reality being unveiled and the realization dawns at that point. If this was the only punishment and there was no Jahannam and no Azab in the Qabr also. This would have been enough of a punishment to destroy a person.
Every person is going to see the reality because for everyone at the time of Maut, the veils are lifted up. However, at that point seeing the reality will do nothing for a person. It will not benefit the person at all because it is too late. But when a person dies in this Dunya, while he is physically alive, in other words when his Nafs dies, the same thing happens – the veils of the unseen are opened up for this person not for his physical eyes but for the eyes of his heart.
Suddenly he sees the Haqiqat (reality) of everything that which was hidden. The Ghaib, becomes the Zaahir. The big difference is that, the unveiling of this Haqiqat is going to greatly help him because it is only going to bring him closer and closer to Allah. Just like a person would have done, if he was given a chance after the physical Maut to come back, once he has seen the Haqiqat. No one is going to come back after the physical Maut. But after seeing the reality with the veils having lifted up, how would a person’s condition be if he was given another chance? This is how the condition of a person becomes whilst still physically alive, (but after the Maut of the Nafs.) When the veils of the Ghaib open up for him, it benefits him greatly and catapults him towards Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. It connects him to Allah because now he understands. Now, it is not something which is hidden for him.
This is why we are being told that you better die before you die, because those who do not die before they die are hit with the reality when it is too late to do anything about it. It is too late at that point because there is no u-turn.
~Hadhrat Maulana Aarif Umar (Daamat Barakaatuhum)