Hadhrat Hakeemul Ummat Mujaddidul Millat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullahi Alayh said,
‘A person needs to have annihilated himself even before setting foot on this path – the path of Tasawwuf, the path of reaching Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala and the path of Sulook.’
Before a person even begins to traverse this Path to Allah, annihilation is necessary.
‘Even after setting foot on this Path to Allah, a person does not bring into himself the quality of Fanaa’iyyat – annihilation, then he is going to remain Mahruum (deprived).
The gist of what I am trying to say is, here only and only after Fanaa and annihilation, a person is going to get something; a person is only and only going to benefit after annihilation.’
This is the Malfuz…golden words of a very very golden man and a golden Wali of Allah.
Few words, but the vastness of these few words is staggering and enormous.
Hadhrat Thanvi Rahmatullahi Alayh is saying that, to achieve annihilation and Fanaa’iyyat in this path is so important that infact we can say there is a need for Fanaa and annihilation even before a person sets foot on this Path to Allah.
In other words what he is trying to say here is, before a person even sets foot on this Tareeq – on the path of Tasawwuf and Tazkiyah, a person should have at least a basic level of annihilation.
A person will attain the required level and the higher level of annihilation after years and years of Mujahada, but having a basic level of annihilation is a prerequisite of setting off on the path of Tasawwuf and Tazkiyah.
Why is this necessary?
Why is Hadhrat Rahmatullahi Alayh saying this?
It is because when a person sets off on this path, then what is the most fundamental component of this path?
It is to give oneself over to one’s Shaykh that, ‘whatever my Shaykh is going to say, I am going to do and I will have no opinion of my own.’
Who is going to be able to do that?
Who is going to be able to fulfill the Haqq of Ittibaa’ – following a Shaykh in every way and form; whatever a Shaykh says the Mureed does even if it goes against the opinions and desires of the Mureed and he gives himself over like how a Mayyit is in the hands of the person giving Ghusl?
Who can do that?
It is only that person who has achieved a basic level of annihilation, otherwise if there is absolutely no annihilation then he is not going to be able to do that.
The Shaykh will tell him to do something and he will stand up and say, ‘who are you to tell me, I am not going to do this…’
He may say that or he may give excuses that, ‘you know what, I can’t do this because of this and this and this’ or he may say, ‘but I feel this is better and what my opinion is, is better than what you are saying…’ and he is not going to follow the Shaykh.
If a person doesn’t follow the Shaykh then how is he going to reach Allah?
Therefore the basic level of Fanaa’iyyat and annihilation is a prerequisite in this path where before setting off on it, a person has to be ready to follow his Shaykh.
If a person has that, then he is going to progress in the levels of annihilation.
‘Even after setting foot in this path to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, if a person did not bring into himself the quality of Fanaa’iyyat and annihilation then that person is going to be deprived…’
A person is already on the path of Tasawwuf – the path leading to Allah, he has connected himself to a Shaykh and yet he does not bring into himself the quality of annihilation; he still prefers his own opinions and desires and to what he feels, thinks, and wants then such a person is going to be left deprived, Mahruum and he is going to be left with nothing.
He ends off saying with the summary of it all,
‘In this path, a person can only get something after Fanaa’iyyat.
Spiritual benefit can only come after annihilation.’
As long as there is no annihilation and a person has pride and arrogance in him then he is not going to benefit. No Nur is going to enter him from the Shaykh.
The pride and arrogance is going to form a barrier in the channel between him and the Shaykh and nothing is going to enter his heart.
So this again is a reminder for all of us. It is not something new because we always talk about this and that is due to the importance of annihilation.
We need to make a concerted effort and Mujahada for our annihilation.
We need to leave our own opinions, desires, wants and feelings on the side…
Leave everything on the side and come to the Shaykh with an empty heart and an empty mind…Not a mind which has already been made up and which already has preconceived ideas and not a mind which is firm and set on something…
We need to come to our Masha’ikh with complete humility ready to take in whatever we get, removing all the barriers from in between and handing ourselves over totally with full Ikhlaas that ‘we are going to do whatever we are told to do and we will stop whatever we are going to be told to stop.’
It is because that is what our Shaykh is going to tell us. Regarding certain things he is going to tell us to do them and regarding other things, he is going to tell us to stop.
We need to do what he tells us to do and we need to stop what he is going to tell us to stop.
It is as simple as that.
But when there is no annihilation, then it becomes very complicated because a person feels that his Shaykh is wrong.
When there is pride then a person always feels that his Shaykh is wrong and he always feels that he knows more than his Shaykh or that the Shaykh should not have said that or that this is better than what the Shaykh has said or ‘I have been doing this all along, now the Shaykh is telling me not to do it, so I am not going to listen to the Shaykh.
So we need to concentrate on our annihilation and our Fanaa’iyyat, that is when we are going to be able to fully benefit otherwise we are going to be left deprived…
And we don’t want to be deprived in this path…
We want to reach Allah. We want Allah to enter our hearts.
How is Allah going to enter our hearts when there is no Fanaa’iyyat?
Fanaa’iyyat is the broken heart…
When there is no broken heart, then how is Allah going to enter?
May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala grant all of us the Tawfiq and the ability Inshallah to make more effort, a greater effort and Mujahada towards our Fanaa’iyyat and annihilation.
But the basic level of annihilation, everyone must have…
If we don’t have that then we need to question ourselves, ‘why don’t I have that basic level?’ and we need to very quickly make an effort on ourselves to at least bring ourselves up to that level so that we can progress…
—Hadhrat Maulana Aarif Umar (Daamat Barakaatuhum)