What are the Signs of Being Sanctimonious?
English Bayan, 55 mins
1st May, 2021

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What are the Signs of being Sanctimonious?

In respect of performing Ibadah to Allah subhana wa ta'ala, the most precious and beloved method that His servant adopts to worship Him is that his Ibadah, as far as possible, is concealed and performed in isolation, without showing off. When this is the case, then that Ibadah is very beloved to Allah. This is very difficult for Insan, because his heart says and his Nafs says that everything he does should be Dhahir - it should be visible. He thinks ‘People should see what I'm doing and praise me and appreciate me so that I become elevated.’ And he considers he has succeeded when he hears people acclaim him for his worship and he becomes famed for it; but in reality, this is not success. This is a very big danger - it's a very, very big danger.

In the Khanqahs, our Akabireen, our pious elders, especially Hadhrat Hakeem ul-Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi qaddasAllahu sirrah, would do Islah in respect of these things. He did this for his Mureedeen, for his students. He would improve them, and purify them, and he worked hard on this aspect, because this is this is also a type of a sin – and it is a strange condition that can befall a person. A person might look very wealthy, with numerous Ibadahs, and he looks to be pious and so on, but in reality, he may be the poorest in terms of the Hereafter. That's why Allah ta’ala says to this Ummah in this regard ‘The more a person worships without showing others, the more I love those actions; I like very much that My servant worships in hiding and in isolation, and conceals his deeds and doesn't try to make them apparent and visible to others.’ Allah tala very quickly becomes pleased with such A’maal that are not done to show others.

Look, Allah ta’ala has instructed us to pray Salah, and Salah is compulsory – it is Fardh. This is this is the case, isn't it? So when we come to the Masjid, we fulfil the Fardh. But as soon as we fulfil the Fardh, then Allah ta’ala’s law and principle changes. Then Allah ta’ala says ‘Now, the balance of the Salah, the remaining Salah, does not fall within My Hukm that you have to pray here; the rest of your Salah will be greater if you pray it in concealment and in hiding, alone.’ Say SubhanAllah. So when a person goes home and completes his Salah, that Salah is greater compared to the Salah of a person who prays the balance of Salah in the Masjid. But today, we see that we always complete the rest of the Salah in the Masjid. The reason for this is that the respected Ulema, the scholars, have mentioned the point that although that Salah whose Nafl Ibadat are completed at home is great, the problem here is that we are in the age of Fitnah and Fasaad and disorder, and obviously there's so much Fitnah that as soon as a person leaves the Masjid, there are obstacles and distractions - somebody gives Salaam and then you start talking, or you remember that you have to buy something so you run to the shop, or this and that. And then shaytan is present, obviously, and Nafs is always present as well, and they look for excuses and ways, and make a person think ‘Oh, I have prayed the Fardh - what differences does it make?’ Hence there is regularly a danger that shaytan steals that Ibadah from the individual.

So the pious elders have said that rather than look for the Afdhal Salah by finishing at home, it is better to complete your Salah in the Masjid. Yes? SubhanAllah, there is Hikmah here, but if a person is prepared, ready and he is capable, then shaytan can do nothing. Yes? If he is capable, then it's better for him, if he's ready and capable, that he goes home to pray the rest of his Salah. So the point arises here, is why don't me and you try to pray the Afdhal Salah? For that, we should prepare ourselves and improve ourselves internally and spiritually via the Dhikr of Allah so that, alhamdulillah, we become capable of completing that Ibadah in the best way, and we won't get Sakeenah and contentment unless we first go home and finish the Ibadah there, instead of leaving it or leaving that greater reward. The point is that you should improve yourself, and make yourself capable of doing this, and work hard, make effort and improve yourself to the point where you can attain the greatest reward. You should have that much power and spiritual energy that you are capable of opposing the evil forces in order do these A’maal. If you say that you want to attain the greatest reward for Salah, then can't you leave the Masjid and go home to finish Salah? You say ‘I can't step back into the Dunya and try for that greatest level, no - there's a danger, so I had better leave it.’ Then okay, rouse yourself and after admitting that it is the case that you are down and you are weak, admit that you have succumbed to your weakness and must now become stronger. Say to your Nafs ‘Show me if you can stop me now!’ Make that challenge to yourself in order to do good deeds. If you don't challenge yourself to do good deeds, then you cannot be successful in Allah’s Court and in life.

Every step is a challenge. It's a fight, a preparation, and a person must not become a coward. {سَعۡيُكُم مَّشۡكُورًا} ‘Your efforts are appreciated’ Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam would pray ‘Oh Allah, save me from negligence and laziness and Bukhl. Save me from this. Oh Allah, save me from weakness.’ So do we think ‘Oh, today I'm not going to work - I'm not going to the shop. I feel too weak’? No, we tell ourselves ‘I need to motivate myself. If don't go there today, then I won’t go tomorrow, and then the day after that, and then my shop will have gone, and business will go downhill. My job will go downhill.’ So if you don’t get up one day, and instead of waking up for work at 8am, you get up late, then you will scold yourself and say ‘Why am I being lazy? Why am I so bone idle?’ Some people take supplements, thinking ‘If I take this, I can get stronger physically so that I can work harder.’ People take vitamins, don't they? Say SubhanAllah. People take vitamins, yes, in order to safeguard their health. If we take vitamins for these things, then we should take vitamins for this as well – and that is Dhikrullah, SubhanAllah. If you don't get strong after that and if an improvement doesn't occur, then come and tell me. But we don't want to do this, because we are cowards. We will live as cowards and die as cowards and go to our graves as cowards; we will go in that form. So the better state is that if a person is weak and can't fight himself spiritually, or if the environmental around you holds you back, then make yourself strong, brave and courageous - strengthen yourself and make yourself capable. Look, we have to think ‘Allah has given an instruction, and I'm not following this instruction.’ Instead, we think ‘Oh, I'll go for the lesser reward - I'm weak.’ There should be no such compromise. Think ‘I will do this action that Allah wants. Why can't I do it? Why should I leave this greater reward?’ This is one point – okay?

So now the next question is why is Nafl Ibadaat Afdhal - why is it best to do that bit extra? Why should you do it after the Fardh Salah that you pray? I’m not comparing it with the Fardh, but in this aspect of worship, Allah ta’ala has instilled His pleasure. So why has Allah ta’ala not hidden His pleasure in the Fardh, in the high-status action? Say SubhanAllah. This is something to think about. So nothing can compare to the Fardh, but if Allah ta’ala loves the actions that are done in concealment and isolation and alone, we should have concealed our Fardh as well. If this was the case, then I should pray Fardh at home. So what's the reason for having to walk and run and strive and not pray on your own? Allah tells us to pray Salah in Jamah, in congregation. And Allah ta’ala says ‘The bigger the Jamah, the greater is My pleasure in your observance of Salah.’

Allah ta’ala’s pleasure changes when it comes to Fardh. Why is it different when it comes to Nawafil, where Allah says the more you are alone, the better it is? Allah says that in Fardh Salah, the bigger the Jamah, the better. Look, when you go to a bigger Masjid, there'll be more people there and so there will be more reward. The pious elders have stated that because all those people get that Thawab, then the Duas there will be accepted more readily as well. This is why it is stated that you should pray Jumu’ah Salah in the Jami’ah Masjid. There's more reward in the Jami’ah Masjid – why? Because in the Jami’ah Masjid, there's a bigger gathering, a bigger assembly. There’s a big difference – and this is for such a great Salah. But Allah says that Nafl Salah, the lesser Salah, should be read in isolation.

So there's a point for the lovers that I'd like to present to you - this is a Faqir’s point, and you’ll enjoy this point when you hear it, inshaAllah. What is the reason? Allah said ‘Go - pray openly amongst the people’ and that is order number one. But for the Nafl, it is not an order, as in ‘Do it!’ Say SubhanAllah. Do you understand what I'm saying? Has Allah ta’ala emphasised or forced us to pray Nafl? As for Sunnah prayers, for example, you can do more, do enough or do more than this. The Fardh is a Hukm – four Rakahs. You have to pray – yes? For Nafl, there's no Hukm. So as between the instruction and the non-instruction, there's a difference in the grade. So I'll go further now and explain the point a bit better. So as for Hukm, instruction, we have to pray the Fardh according to the Hukm. And then after that, there's another action. The situation is that Allah subhana wa ta'ala is saying ‘I desire that, five times in the world, everywhere in the world, My greatness is mentioned. I want My Adhmat to be mentioned and My glory to be elevated via Adhan, via Iqamah, via Takbir. And when the Iqamah is prayed, you will not just stand, but put one man forward, and let him sometimes pray in silence and sometimes with a loud voice.’ SubhanAllah.

Look at this point. So here, you have to elevate Allah's glory, His status, His greatness – do you understand? Allah has given us the order to elevate His greatness in the best way. Allah is saying, SubhanAllah, that we've come to complete a task here. When we come to pray Salah, we are fulfilling Allah's instruction to stand up and advertise and announce to the whole world that Allah is One, Allahu Akbar, Allah is the greatest, that the whole world belongs to Allah who is the Controller. Physically, this is like a medicine for the people who don't believe. Say SubhanAllah – and it is a bitter pill. The Minars of the Masjid pinch them, the Adhan pinches them. What is shaytan pinched most of all by? The Adhan. When the Adhan is called, then what does shaytan do? He runs miles away! Why? Because the Adhan is inviting people to pray to Allah. You say ‘Allah Akbar!’ in the Adhan. Say SubhanAllah. Look at this – do you understand what the greatness of Adhan is? This is the meaning of the Fardh action. Allah says you are announcing and advertising, and every man who stands in Salah is in a state of Jalal - he's passionate, he is in love with Allah. He has been given a big duty in this task of praying the Fardh openly. The angels are protecting us from the heavens - angels descend every Salah time to see. Why? Because we become different at that time; we are fulfilling Allah's instruction and His order. We are announcing to the whole world and the universe, saying ‘How dare anyone deny that Allah ta’ala is the Haqq – He is the Truth! Listen - Allah is Great! Listen to how great He is. Hear of His glory, His strength and His power!’ In some Salahs, Imam Sahib recites loudly and sometimes quietly. And Allah ta’ala says ‘The bigger the gathering, the more Thawab I give to that gathering.’ That's why there's more Thawab for the Fardh.

Now Nafl, SubhanAllah – let’s come to Nafl. The lovers understand - shall I tell you about the lovers who understand about the Nafl Ibadah? Whatever comes into my heart, I share with you. I'm not an scholar of Imam Ghazali such that I have studied and I know everything – no. That is not the case. This is just the heart - and I share that with you. So with Fardh, there is Hukm, instruction, whereas in Nafl, voluntary worship there's Ishq, love. Your love is being demonstrated and displayed now - say SubhanAllah. There, there is Hukm, order, Jamal and Jalal, but here, there is Ishq, Muhabbat and love, passion, enjoyment and rejoicing. What is the rejoicing in the Nafl? With the Fardh you get reward when you pray Salah and you prostrate, and your emotions are different. But the Ashiqs and lovers, SubhanAllah, they love Allah subhana wa ta'ala and love remembering His greatness; they love His Dhikr and remembering Allah in Sujood, in Qiyam, and in Ruku’. So the Ashiq says ‘I ate one piece of Burfi in the Fardh salah, but I want to eat the whole box of Burfi!’ Is this not the case? When there is nice food and delicacies that you like in front of you, even after you finish the food, you still move your hand towards the plate to see if there is anything left. So the Ashiq thinks ‘That four Rakahs of Fardh finished too quickly. What shall I do now? I want to do something else now - what should I do?’ Allah ta’ala says ‘Now it is all about your love. How much love do you have?’

Remember, a principle of love is that Ishq is not found commonly amongst people. Allah says ‘If you love Me, and if your love is forcing you to do My Ibadah, then come to the corner, come to the side for the extra.’ Come where? Come to the side, to the corner. Why? Because Ishq doesn't like to advertise and announce itself. This is the point you find in lovers. For lovers, the Mehboob, the beloved doesn't like to be seen. If someone say ‘Oh come to the road and we'll meet,’ they said ‘No, no, no, we won't meet there. Let’s meet in a corner in the night, in isolation, hidden. Come secretly - nobody should know. Wear dark clothes so nobody can see you.’ SubhanAllah – is that not what happens in in the Dunya? SubhanAllah. SubhanAllah – this is the demand of the one who loves another person - someone who loves another person meets in hiding. So Allah says ‘This was the Fardh, and you fulfilled My instructions, but if you show your love for Me, then I will give you more Thawab, especially if you do it in hiding.’ There, it was the stick and the scolding, and that was dragging you. It was due to the fear and the thought that ‘If I don't go, Allah will give punish me and I will go into Hellfire.’ Allah says ‘That's not the case here. My love will drag you, pull you and demand from you.’ So it is your love that's bringing you - your passion and your Ishq. So it is stated here, SubhanAllah, that the more you practice the Nawafil in hiding, in Khafi, the more the colour and the effect of the Nafl Ibadah takes place. That's why Allah ta’ala says ‘Come and pray the rest of the Ibadah of Salah in hiding and in isolation on your own - I like that more, and you will also like it more.’ The true lover will do that.

Experience this. If you go home after Fardh and pray the Nafl Salah in your room, in isolation, in the corner, you'll get so much taste and enjoyment - don't you? Experience it – try it. You will enjoy the Tahajjud you pray at home; in the morning, if you pray the Sunnah of Fajr at home, see what enjoyment there is for praying that Sunnah at home. In the Masjid, you'll be looking left and right, and others will be looking at you. Everything is showing off, looking at people - what sort of Ishq is this, my friends, if you're looking here and there, left and right, speaking to him and looking at other people, and then you pray two Rakah of Sunnah and Nafl. Allah says ‘What is this?’ Allah tala says that He likes it when the Ashiq goes straight home and prays at home.

Okay, so when he gets home, which tongue and in which language does the lover pray to Allah? Do you ever think about this? The Ashiq, the lover of Allah, when he speaks to Allah, like I was saying yesterday, the Jadhbah and the passion comes out when he speaks to Allah. When he wants to speak to Allah, then Allah ta’ala has given him such a mode and medium through which he can pray. SubhanAllah, this is such a method, and it is KalamAllah! KalamAllah. You cannot pray Salah without the Qur’an. Yes? You can’t speak to Allah without Qur’an when you pray Salah. Has Allah said ‘Don't pray Qur’an - read Hadith in Salah’? No. There's a Shart, a condition. Allah says ‘When you pray Salah, you must recite the Qur’an, otherwise you cannot discuss with Me or speak to Me. You're in this Dunya, and this is how you must speak to Me. This is not that phase yet when I will remove the veils in the Akhirah. When you're in front of Me at that time, there will be a different discussion, but now you're behind the veil and the barrier. So when you speak, there's a barrier between Me and you, and that that is KalamAllah, the Qur’an-e-Pak.’ When you recite the Holy Qur’an, all of the emotions of your Salah will come to you and you will pray and recite those verses that Allah tala likes so that they can arrive to Allah and Allah tala will accept it. SubhanAllah.

So Allah has put that taste and enjoyment in every word and in every verse, the belovedness of Allah, the closeness to Allah, the illumination, the Waqi’aat, the events, the incidents, the verses of Surah Yunus, Surah Yusuf, Surah Rahman, Surah Yaseen - you will get enjoyment from all the verses alhamdulillah - Say SubhanaAllah. And these verses are the method through which we have to speak to Allah. That's why there is more Thawab in the Nafl - do you understand? Allah ta’ala has put so much in this. This is Ishq, the love for Allah, and this is the connection that pulls and drags the servant to Allah. So Allah says here ‘When the human being seeks Me via Nafl’ – SubhanAllah – ‘when My servant seeks me in Nafl, I grab him and I make him My beloved. I make him such a beloved that I become his tongue, I become his hand and I become his ears!’ SubhanAllah. Who is this for? The one who does Nafl Ibadah, because there's Ishq and love within this, and he's praying for the sake of Ishq - say SubhanAllah.

So Allah ta’ala says ‘I like a person who does Ibadah in hiding’ - especially the womenfolk, because a woman is someone who is hidden. Allah ta’ala doesn't want the woman to come out. Allah said to the woman, to the female ‘Your Salah is not in the Masjid.’ Who said go to the Masjid and pray Salah there? Allah says ‘No, I don't like this for the woman whatsoever. I don't like this at all.’ Rather, Allah says ‘Pray your Salah your home, and don't pray in the courtyard of your home. No, hide yourself more. Where should you pray? Pray in your room. The more you hide in concealment, the more I'll make you my beloved, oh female.’ So for that woman for whom Allah's order for Ibadah is to pray at home, in hiding, how can that woman leave the house? Tell me. How much Allah has hidden the woman – she is connected to hiding, to concealment. Yes? So the more a person does this Nafl Ibadah, this extra, supererogatory, optional Ibadah in hiding, in concealment, the better. And this is for all the other Ibadaat, not just Salah. What has Allah said about Sadaqah, charity, other Nafl Ibadah? ‘I like this when you do it in secret; that when you give with one hand, even the other hand doesn’t realise.’

But we are unfortunate - we don't do this. We don't do this. In our lives, unless another person knows, we aren’t happy. If a third party doesn't know that we're doing Ibadah, we don't enjoy ourselves. If he doesn't appreciate, or see or hear, and if we don’t hear someone say ‘Oh, he's good - he's pious,’ then we don't enjoy ourselves when we do Ibadah. We have this demand inside us, and our Nafs wants people to know and be aware and recognise what we do. This is not called worship for the sake of Allah - rather he's doing this action for the sake of Dunya, for the world. How much difference there is in this. Tell me how much difference there is in this action that Allah ta’ala is telling us to do in hiding. Allah ta’ala says ‘I don't want you to do these deeds in the sight of others - I want you to do then in concealment, behind a barrier.’

And what happens when you do this, when you pray Nafl Salah and you're stood you praying Tahajjud Salah in the Masjid, and others are looking or watching and are aware you are praying the Salah, then what happens inside him is that this emotion and condition comes, and he thinks ‘People will think I'm pious; I'm praying Salah, so he'll consider that I'm good. He'll think I'm pious and that I'm a Wali, that I run here to pray my Salah. People can see me.’ It’s not that praying in the Masjid is prohibited, rather it's not encouraged – it’s discouraged. Don’t even pray your Qadha Salah visibly, in front of people, because there is excess in quantity there, and people will see. How Allah tala wants to save you! So here, in reality, in respect of doing Nafl Salah or other good actions in hiding, Allah says ‘I'm saving you from a big sin, from a very big sin. You think that this is Ibadah, but you also consider that people think that you're pious, that they’re saying ‘MashaAllah, what is he doing? His Qira’at, his recitation is good.’ If you think that people are praising you, do you think your Ibadah has been accepted? Oh mad person, you should question where your Ibadah is going if you want other people to see and appreciate it. What a sickness you are caught up in - shaytan and Nafs are present.’

So here, this is a message about the importance of being cautious - all the different principles and pillars are coming out. So there's a big pillar of cautiousness here, and you need this if you want to be saved from this big sin, which is a very, very big sin, an extremely big sin. What a big sin this is, because for that person, it is counted as Shirk-e-Asgar. This is Shirk when you do actions of Riya, showing off, because your Ibdah and your worship is done for the sake of the Dunya. If you want acclaim and recognition, then the Dunya has been included in your Amal. If you want people to praise you and to recognise you, and if you have this desire and the emotion for recognition, there's no Li-llah in any action performed with this feeling. What does Allah ta’ala say with regard to Ibadah and worship? What is the definition that Allah ta’ala has given? There's a Hadith I'd like to share with you from the Musnad-e-Ahmad, and I'll give you the meaning of the Hadith, which I'm not reciting word-for-word. But in this Hadith explains that an Ibadah which is done for the Dunya, to show people, for recognition of the Dunya, if you have a desire in your heart for recognition so that people acclaim you, it is stated that in the Hereafter you will get nothing for that Ibadah. This is the first principle. You will attain nothing in the Hereafter for the Ibadah that you do for recognition. Allah will say ‘Go to those people and ask them for the reward - you are not going to get anything from Me here.’

In Tabarani, there's a Hadith which I think Abu Hurayrah radhiAllahu anh narrated. Listen to the next step here regarding Ibadah and worship where there’s showing off, where it’s about showing people and wanting to be famous, and where the sake of Allah ends and the sake of the Dunya takes over, where you have the desire for the Dunya and think ‘The Dunya should praise me, the Dunya should elevate me, the Dunya should say ‘Oh, very good, very good.’’ Then for that person, what is there on the earth and in the heavens? In all of the space between, it is written that he is a cursed person - Allahu Akbar! Let's go beyond this - there’s another Hadeeth in Tabarani. That person who does actions for the sake of the world, for the sake of showing them to people, for the sake of fame and acclaim in the Dunya, for recognition, then for the person who has these feelings and emotions and desires, then listen - what a big punishment! In the Hellfire, there'll be a name written, hanging on top, that he is destined for hellfire. And his face will be dragged and spoiled and disfigured. Which face will be like this? That face which is his real face will be disfigured. What was he doing? ‘Oh, look at my Ibadah, look at my prostration, look at my Qira’at’ - but inside, his Niyyah was spoiled. He was desperate for recognition and acclaim; he was desperate for people to recognise him.

What a big disease, my brothers. Think about it. What a big disease - we need to struggle and work hard to eliminate this sickness. Another Hadith, not in Tabarani but in Baihaqi, contains a beautiful message. This Hadith is totally straightforward. This states that a person who does Ibadah like this is a Mushrik - end of story. End of story. So now, whether this we accept or not, and there are many other Hadiths about this, pay attention to these four Hadeeth, pay attention. There's another big Hadith which I think is in Nisa’i, which describes three groups of people who will be called on the Day of Judgement. The Hafidh will be called - the Hafidh of the Qur’an; and the Shaheed will be called - he'll be summoned; and the third group at this moment is not coming to my mind. So we have the Hafidh, the Shaheed and the third, which at this moment is not in my mind. So they'll be asked ‘Why did you do this Amal?’ The Hafidh will say ‘Oh Allah, I did it for Your Remembrance. I used to do Qira’at for this reason.’ But the books of Allah ta’ala will be open, and Allah will say ‘You are lying here. You did this for the sake of the world, for recognition. You did this Amal because you wanted to be written in the books of history. You wanted people to like you, you wanted that acclaim. When the gathering was bigger, your recitation was better, and when there were less people, your recitation was different.’ Say SubhanAllah. ‘When there was a big gathering, a big congregation, you used to give a great speech; you called people to make the gathering bigger. Your Niyyah wasn’t to get Thawab and to do Tableegh, your Niyyah was to announce and advertise so that people would say ‘Oh, he's a big shot. He's this and he’s that.’ You wanted that recognition.’

This is a sickness, brothers. Can we get this sickness? Corona can come to anybody. Yes? Corona can come quickly to that person who doesn't protect themselves – say SubhanAllah. That person who doesn't protect himself gets a sickness more quickly. Allah says tells us to follow the means and the methods - if you expose yourself to more danger, it can come quicker. So a person who doesn't protect himself and who sits in the wrong environment, then he's in big danger. Say SubhanAllah. That person is in a great danger; he faces more hazards. He thinks ‘This is my Qur’an’ – but it is not yours. Allah says ‘Put the Qur’an to one side, for you have no link with this. Take him by the scruff of his neck and drag him into the fire.’ What a big, high status the Hafidh has – this is not a minor status. The status of the Hafidh is such that the more you keep on reading, the more you keep on getting the stages of Jannah. Such a crown will be put in his head, and never mind his crown, his mother and father will get also get crowns, and they will be more glowing and shinier than the moon and the stars and the sun, and that crown will illuminate the whole of Jannah. But did he protect this Amal from Riya, from showing off? Allah will give that wealth, but that wealth will only be conferred if no thief steals that wealth of ours.

Don't we know what forces are with us? Don't we know what Riya is, what showing off is? Tell me. Tell me. We have forgotten this fact, haven’t we? If you want praise and recognition, then you're showing off – you want acclaim. You are given your ‘Ilm, and Allah has given you the method of giving Bayans and speeches and lectures so that you can deliver the message of Allah to the hearts of the people, and so you can make your Hereafter by correcting and explaining to people, and improving them. It doesn’t matter if there’s a big gathering; even if there's only one person at the gathering, spend as much time on him as if there were fifty people. If you just prepare one person for the Akhirah - say SubhanAllah - then he will become the person on which you will depend. For example, you should teach the Qur’an for the sake of Allah and with no other objective, not with a need to make a big Madrasah and so on. If you don't have the means and the time to set one up, and if you don’t teach in a big institution, if the Qur’an is in your heart, you have such a great wealth there. You can still take a child from the street – say SubhanAllah - and say, ‘Son, come - let me teach you Qur’an,’ and then give thirty minutes to that child every day. But no, you say ‘I want a Madrasah, an institute, and I want recognition and the rest of these things so that people recognise me - then I'll teach the Qur’an.’ There are conditions upon conditions - so who are you doing all of this for? Tell me. And then you want praise, and you want titles and titles - I won't say anything more. Tell me. SubhanAllah.

So this is what we need to see. This is what you get when you sit in the real Khanqah – say SubhanAllah. Why am I emphasising these points today? Because Allah ta’ala has given me an opportunity, and in this day and age, this is the drought. These were my Hadhrat Sahib’s words. Somebody saw this – I have told you this dream before. They were sat in front of the Ka’abah and somebody said ‘Hadhrat, I saw the Ka’abah in my dream, and the Minar fell down!’ And Hadhrat Sahib smiled and said ‘This year, such a WaliAllah will pass away that after that, Wilayah will end!’ Allahu Akbar. ‘No Wali of that level will come thereafter’ - and that year, Hadhrat Sahib passed away after Umrah, Allahu Akbar. He could not come back to do Hajj.

This is the Hal, my brothers. If you sit in the Khanqahs of such people and take their Sohbat, alhamdulillah, you will see purity, you will see Ikhlas. You will see one man who works hard and makes effort, and his speech is not determined by the size of the gathering – if there are one hundred, he has the same emotions as if there one thousand, SubhanAllah. SubhanAllah. Yes? He has Fikr and concern for the Ummah and wants that Ummah of Nabi al-Karim sallallahu alayhi wasallam to be revived. He wants them to learn the right actions, whether it's a woman or a man. He embraces everyone and everything with the intention that somehow, somebody is corrected and realigned, feeling that this is the duty he has been given. There is no differentiation as to who is higher and who is lower, who is rich and who is poor. Poverty, wealth, status, money - he has no concern for these things. He has one Fikr, just one. Whoever he faces, he wants to see the Amal of the Ummah of the greatest Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. He has that longing and that concern - say SubhanAllah.

So my brothers, we need to be cautious about showing off, about Riya. It makes a person a Mushrik. And SubhanAllah, doing Nafl Ibadah to show off for the sake of other people? In our Naqshbandi Silsila, SubhanAllah, the first brick of the building is this. First and foremost, showing off ends there and then, on the first brick that is laid in the wall of the building. Learn Dhikr from a Naqshbandi Sheikh, and directly he will give you Dhikr that neither the angels nor the people will be able to hear. Subhanallah - only you can feel it. Say SubhanAllah. Say Subhanallah again - make my heart happy! SubhanAllah – can Riya come in with this Dhikr? But who wants to work hard? We want to shout out ‘La ilaha illa-llah!’ and show other people so that the walls fall down. This is a high-grade Dhikr, but this is not the time. This is the day and age of Fitnah and disorder, and that's why this Silsila has been stated as the greatest Silsila, this Naqshbandi Silsila. Yes? What else can there be in the Silsila, because everything is done in isolation. What is the attribute of this Silsila? The attribute of the Silsila is that it takes you out of Riya, out of showing off, and gives you Ikhlas, concealment and isolation. It takes you out of Shirk and SubhanAllah, makes you a Mu’min. It turns all the Ibadah that you're doing, which are becoming dust and stones and soil, into mansions and palaces of Jannah, SubhanAllah. Say SubhanAllah. This is the case - only the jeweller recognises real diamonds.

So a person who has the desire to attain Allah, if he wants to become an Ashiq and attain that the quality, he says ‘Tell me such an action, oh Sheikh, which I can do in hiding so no one can see or realise.’ So the Naqshbandi Sheikh gives you that Silsila whose blessings you won’t even know; your wife won’t know, even the angels won’t know - nobody will know. In the Akhirah, you will realise when you are presented in front of Allah. Even you won’t know. Allah will say ‘Wait, wait, wait, stop him. There are some rewards that you cannot see which remain to be counted.’ Allahu Akbar ‘Some rewards are left.’ The angels will say ‘Allah, which rewards? We didn't see any - whatever we saw and heard, we wrote.’ Allah says ‘Be quiet! What do you know about these points?’ SubhanAllah. ‘This is My Ashiq, My lover. And what did the Ashiqs do? They didn't do actions in the open. He was alive for seventy or eighty years, and he kept on remembering Me inside! Inside he was glowing, everything was hot inside – with all his Lata’if, he remembered Me. His blood was flowing, and he kept saying ‘Allah, Allah’ inside himself.’ Say SubhanAllah. ‘Even his bones and his flesh were glowing.’ SubhanAllah, my Sheikh’s tongue was hot and moist - it was moist from so much recitation of the Name of Allah. His body was blazing, but SubhanAllah, no one in the world knew that Ali Murtaza was the Dhakir, Allahu Akbar. He presented as a normal person. This is how he became the great human being that he was.

And in the Naqshbandi Silsila, this is how great it is. Amongst the Mashaa’ikh of the Naqshbandi Silsila, amongst the pious elders, the Mureeds would never pray Nafl, or stand and do some action – no. No, in that company, the emphasis was not on Nafl. Why? Because that is the time to make your earth capable, so that later you can stand for Nafl. The Salah in their company is Ishq, and when you are an Ashiq and Riya comes out of you, then pray the Nafl as much as you want - then do Ibadah as much as you want. Yes? Oh foolish person, you're doing all these actions now, but there's a big sin concealed in your actions, and you're earning that sin. They think ‘Why don’t I get Ijaza to pray Nafl? Why can’t I get all this Thawab that I am told about?’ When that Thawab is being mentioned, the Thawab for the Nafl of Chasht and Tahajjud, that is for those people whose earth has been tilled and cultivated. When a person goes to a Sheikh to be improved, that Sheikh gives him good things; he doesn't give him bad actions. He gives him good encouragement, whereas a thief will say ‘If you just do this and do that, you will get this much reward.’

And the women are especially quick to ask ‘Give me Ijazah to do this Nafl, or to do that.’ The the biggest Be-Adabi, disrespect, in the Naqshbandi Silsila is this, that the Mureed himself asks the Sheikh - Allahu Akbar. This is a big Be-Adabi - he is a totally useless Mureed. He goes in asks ‘Give me this and that’ - don't ask yourself. Don't ask. Today, we ask the Sheikh to change the thing we have been given – SubhanAllah. These are the Mureeds of today. They knock on the door and say ‘Oh, can you take back what you gave me? It was a mistake for me to take it. We want to return the thing that we’ve been given.’ Brothers, Ishq is a big Darajah – this is an Ajeeb situation. The Sheikh gives because he knows what is best for the Mureed. The Sheikh gives, but he doesn’t take it back from the Mureed. He gives the pure thing, and he doesn't take it back from you. He knows what's beneficial and what you need, and he doesn't take it back, SubhanAllah. He encourages you, and encourages more, and he says ‘Oh young man, stand in Tahajjud and show that to Allah; display that, and say ‘Oh Allah, I am praying Tahajjud.’

After many years, my Hadhrat Sahib said to me - and I've got this in writing – ‘Now you can pray extra Nafl.’ This was after years! When I was at the Ka’abah all night long - I spent my life with Hadhrat Sahib - and I won't swear because I don't need to swear, but in front of Hadhrat Sahib and when in his company, never did I observe any Nafl Ibadah, not even in front of the Ka’abah - SubhanAllah – because I had not the Ijaza from Hadhrat Sahib. I knew that if I were to stand and start praying Nafl Salah, it would not be Nafl. It would not remain Nalf; the Ishraq would not be Ishraq – rather, it would be my destruction, not Ibadah. Look, when you go to a teacher or a doctor for a cure, then you should know all the principles of the doctor's clinic, otherwise you will get destroyed. You should know the rules, and what are the correct manners to have with the Sheikh. If I sit down, what do I do? What is Dhikr? For us, it's prohibited to sit on the side and do Dhikr – it is Be-Adabi to do so behind the Sheikh. If you want to get Faidh, then sit behind him and get the Faidh and the blessings, not in front of him or to the side, showing the Sheikh that you are a Dhakir and that you are doing Dhikr. No - even if you don't mean to show off, this is the principle. The people in the world will think that you're sitting there and showing him.

Even remember this - physically don't always show that you're a Dhakir by closing your eyes when you do Dhikr. People can that see you're doing Dhikr, so this is Riya - showing off. Yes? Your Sheikh has prepared you now so that you have no need to close your eyes; you can keep your eyes open and do the Dhikr of Allah as well, SubhanAllah. In isolation, Muraqabah is such that the eyes are closed – when you’re in isolation, your eyes are closed and your tongue has stopped - but that is just for the sake of Allah, there in front of Allah, when you've opened your heart to remember Him. That's in isolation - this is the point, my brothers. Think for a few moments. Think for a few moments. Even when your hands are in the Dunya, your heart is attached to Allah – this is the Naqshbandi Silsila.

What is the point of sitting in a big gathering and showing people, closing your eyes and showing you are doing Dhikr? If there's a gathering and your Sheikh is there, don't worry, in the Masjid or wherever you are, draw the Faidh from your Sheikh; but if you are in a gathering where your Sheikh is not present, try not to show your Ibadah so that someone says ‘Oh look, he's a Dhakir. He's the Mureed of a Naqshbandi Sheikh’ – how dare you? Open your eyes and do the Dhikr of Allah with your heart. This is the proper way. Everything can be happening to the left and the right, but you have no need to show off. Keep your eyes open - no one should be able to know that you are doing Dhikr. You seem to be in the Dunya but really you are in Jannah at that time. Wa-llahi, the Naqshbandi Mureeds are like this. They are sincere and have no need to show people - nothing can disturb them. Neither the noise of an aeroplane or of the oceans or the seas or the gatherings of the world will disturb them. They will be sitting there in a big lecture with their eyes open, and their faces are paying attention to what's happening in front of them, but their heart is paying attention to Allah. Are you a Mureed like this? Say ‘Yes – inshallah, I'm like this.’ Why are you afraid?

Yes, I'm telling you the Tariqah, the methodology, the Adab. So don’t close your eyes and bow your head in every gathering. Or when four or five people are sat in the Masjid, and you sit there showing them, sitting there hunched over with your eyes closed. No - how dare you? They say ‘Oh, it’s Sunnah to wear the Dhoti and a blanket, so I don’t need Ijazah’ – no. You are not capable; you will do it with Riya and start showing off. If your Sheikh tells you not to do an action or an Ibadah, then he's saving you from a very big sin - which sin? It has been announced that whoever is doing Ibadah for the sake of Dunya is a Mushrik! So do you want to be a Mushrik, or do you want to take the guidance? Are you enjoying what I'm saying? Do you understand? This is the Majlis of Asr – SubhanAllah. In ten days, you will look back on these gatherings and miss them - maybe you will get this next year, maybe not; we don't know. Say SubhanAllah.

My brothers, this is a very big lesson; it is a warning not to do Ibadah for fame and for status, or else a big disease will come inside. So the first cure and solution is what? The first cure is to go to a Naqshbandi Sheikh, take his hand - SubhanAllah. Take his hand, take his company and then learn. The Naqshbandi never does Ibadah for showing off, never; he is free of this. Look, a Mureed is not judged by having been in that company for 60 years or 25 years in the company of the Sheikh, doing Khidmah. What have you become in that time? What has he become inside? Do you even have the Niyyah? It hasn't been corrected yet. Why? Because your Niyyah wasn't to attain Allah ta’ala’s nearness – that’s why. You didn't have that love, and you didn't have that desire. For example, can that person demand and claim that he loves Allah so much that his deeds are solely for Allah? Why has that love not come into us? Now we are sixty or seventy years old, but we didn't have that Niyyah to become like that. Allah ta’ala’s love hasn’t come into our hearts yet, SubhanAllah.

But the Naqshbandi Silsila and the love of Allah, Allahu Akbar, is distributed just like the rain falling from the sky - but that rain is absorbed and penetrates that ground which there is capacity that it can absorb that rainwater. Rain is falling everywhere in the world, but plants only grow, and flowers only grow on that earth which is fertile, soft and tender. Where there's dry, barren and solid land which is rocky, then the water drops and splashes; but the soft land absorbs the water and the plants and the fruits grow in that land. So whenever you go to a WaliAllah, to a friend of Allah, pray two Rakahs of Nafl Salah before that, correct your Niyyah and say ‘Oh Allah, I want to attain Your nearness. Oh Allah, I want to immerse myself in his service. I want to immerse myself in the service of the Sheikh and give myself one hundred percent. But, Allah, this is for Your sake - I'm doing this to attain Your nearness!’ Then see how you become the right Mureed.

That is the love. What is the love we have today? Say SubhanAllah. So the Sheikh saves you from Riya, from showing off. Don’t’say ‘I want to do this Sunnah and the Sheikh is not allowing me.’ The more you have such desire and passion, the more the reality is hidden inside you, which is that this is showing off. You want to show off and do it for the sake of others. I never used to wear Imamah in front of Hadhrat Sahib – say SubhanAllah – despite the fact that there, the earth was such that even the birds and creatures would implement Sunnah! People used to say ‘That man is strange – he is so close to Hadhrat Sahib, but he doesn’t wear Imamah.’ SubhanAllah – why? Because I knew and Allah ta’ala had put this concept in my mind and gave me this awareness and taught me that, despite the fact that everyone else was wearing it, I knew that it would be a big crime if I were to do so and that it would become a punishment for me in the Hereafter. I thought ‘Unless the Sheikh tells me, I won’t do this action.’ Allahu Akbar. Do you know who gave me Ijazah to wear the Imamah? I obtained this Ijaza seven or eight years later, when Hadhrat Sahib sent me to go and meet his Sheikh. Otherwise, what connection did I have with his Sheikh? Everybody knew about his teacher, but I didn’t know. Everyone went there, but I had never been, so Hadhrat Sahib sent me to the Ijtima. People would go from the Khanqah in Gadai, and Hadhrat Sahib would smile at me and say ‘Farooqui Sahib, why didn’t you go?’ I would say ‘Hadhrat Sahib, I thought why do I need to go?’ I didn’t say ‘Oh, it was because you didn’t give Ijazah and it was due to my love for you that I didn’t go.’ I learned that all such talk is drama and show. No extra words are needed. You don’t need to physically show your love with your words – no, no. Love is a unique and Ajeeb condition. It drags out the love of the Sheikh from the heart; it draws and absorbs, SubhanAllah.

So if there is no Haya in the heart, no shyness, you will see that person showing off and being disrespectful, and there will be no impact from his words. He goes along with the environment of the people around him – he is not constant and consistent; it is all showing off. The true lover has one approach – he doesn’t change with the climate and the weather. What Tarbiyyah is happening here, my friends, what Tarbiyyah is taking place. It is happening, isn’t it? Yes – this is about improvement and purification, and that is what you get in the company and the gathering of the Sheikh. Why is this Tarbiyyah happening, and why am I explaining these points? Why do I feel the need to explain this? Because I want you to become the stars of the Naqshbandi Silsila in the sky, glowing. Due to my Hadhrat Sahib’s name you are gathered here, and I will have to give the report to him tomorrow. He will say ‘What work did you do? What effort did you make?’ I will say ‘I made all these people your Ghulams, and then I came.’ SubhanAllah. Whoever’s Niyyah was not correct before today, even after seventy years, no problem, make this Niyyah today: ‘Oh Allah, I have true love for my Hadhrat, and I want to learn true love for my Sheikh. I have made big mistakes before this, so I seek Your forgiveness, Ya Allah! I want to do Tawbah.’ Then come to your Sheikh and make your Bai’ah again – don’t be afraid. You haven’t died yet – a person makes a mistake because his Niyyah was not correct - admit it, Say SubhanAllah. This Dars is given for this reason.

Anyway, we have to do Dhikr and time is going. There are a lot of points in this very high-grade subject. We need to look at everything. First and foremost, the key action that the Sheikh does is to save the Mureed from Riya, because that showing off burns away all the other Ibadaat. This is the biggest action of the Sheikh, and the biggest favour upon the Mureed. May I be sacrificed for my Hadhrat Sahib, SubahnAllah, for he saved his students from Riya. So be the best Hafidh, be the best Alim, be the best Qari, and be the Imam in front of the Dunya and make speeches in front of the Dunya, but your desire should be that it is for Allah. Do it in such a way as if you were doing it not for the Dunya, but rather to a bare wall, just for the sake of Allah, with no desire for fame or status. The Sheikh wants this for all his Mureeds. It is not that he doesn’t want you to become a Hafidh or an Alim – he does want that. Become those things so that the heavens and the earth praise you and you are like a glowing star. But for this, you have to correct your Niyyah.

Which Sheikh doesn’t want his students’ Darajaat to be elevated? The Alim should be the greatest Alim, and the Hafidh should be the greatest Hafidh, such that the whole world wants to pray behind him. Why? Because the elevation of the Mureed is the elevation of the Sheikh, SubhanAllah. The other day, somebody showed me the Janazah of our Hadhrat Mu’min Sahib when he passed away. I prayed two Rakahs Nafl, and said ‘Hadhrat, I fulfilled your promise. I made such a Ghulam in the world that people are praising him, SubhanAllah.’ He was a great human being, a great man. If this is the Hal of the Khalifah, if he is like this and had such a great Janazah, then imagine – and I am not praising myself – but imagine my Hadhrat Sahib. Hadhrat Mu’min Sahib left with Khilafat in this Silsila – he was a Khalifah, SubhanAllah. This was after years. He took Asbaq from me for several years – he sat in the Khanqah for many years, all night long – yes. I was surprised once when I was in I’ttikaf – this was many years ago – and I thought ‘Who is calling out?’ I saw the person who used to be with him, his colleague, and I saw his face and I said ‘Who’s this?’ I saw the person who was sat with him, and I had seen him in the Mosque at Randal Street, where he used to come and give speeches. I had no connection with him, and I thought ‘He looks like the Moulana Sahib who used to come and give speeches there.’ I was surprised that he had come. It was at night, and after giving his speech, he came to the Khanqah in Manchester. He was reciting near where I was sitting, and he very quickly learned the lessons that I gave him, so I knew that Allah ta’ala had given grace to him, though I didn’t know that he had only a few years left.

He hosted such big gatherings of Dhikr, and so many people used to come – this is the Faidh-e-Murtazaiah, SubhanAllah. He took it from Bolton and delivered it to the hearts of the people. This wasn’t his Janazah, but rather the Janazah of one the Khalifahs of Hadhrat Sahib that was taking place. Whether people accept it or not, this is the reality – the truth. Today, that person still has his Tasbeeh and his Kitab, the person who used to bring him when he came to receive the Asbaq. He had such Adab and love and Muhabbat. I will tell you about one event which surprised me, coming from such a person. He was such a big Alim, but he was Fana – annihilated in his love. One night, I was on my own, upstairs at the Khanqah, and he took Ijazah and came. It was in Ramadhan, and he came and sat next to me. When he came in, he sat very close and then started to cry. I said ‘Hadhrat, why are you crying?’ He was Bai’ah at that time and had received the Asbaq, and he said ‘I have had this desire for so long, but I am afraid.’ I said ‘Tell me.’ So he said ‘I don’t know how to say this, as I fear I may be disrespectful. I don’t know how to say this to you.’ I repeated ‘Tell me.’ I was sitting comfortably, leaning back on a pillow, and he came closer and closer and put his hand out. I said to myself ‘I don’t know what is happening here,’ and then he bowed forward and said ‘Hadhrat, let me kiss your feet. Rather, let me not just kiss your feet, let me suck!’ I saw his face and I could see everything inside him, his Jadhb and his passion. He has so much Ishq and love with the Silsila that I could not stop him. The Sheikh knows that when a Mureed is in that Hal, don’t stop him. Allahu Akbar – he was crying, and the tears were flowing. You don’t get Janazahs like that from giving Taqrir and speeches; these are the Janazahs of the Ashiqs that are performed like this.

Don’t take what I have shared with you badly. So brothers, he who takes the treasures takes the treasures. This is the sort of Ashiq a person should become. If you don’t understand your mistakes and your shortcomings, bring them out. Accept them and seek forgiveness, saying ‘My Niyyah was not correct, and that is why I made mistakes and shaytani things came into my life. I did such big sins! I am like this – I’m not correct.’ Accept your shortcomings and deficiencies. Say SubhanAllah. Don’t be afraid. InshaAllah, your Sheikh is very tender and soft. If you have taken his hand, then inshaAllah, he will take you to the end point – but correct yourselves along the way.

So brothers, all of these words and discussions have taken place by means of who? Whose Fadhl and grace and rain of mercy has allowed this? This is all the grace and generosity and mercy of Ramadhan. Allah has given us the whole of Ramadhan to take this illness out of us and has given us such an Ibadaat whose Thawab is written after being multiplied by one hundred, which is an Ibadah performed in isolation, an Ibadah which is far from showing off. And Allah says ‘There is such a reward for this because this is My fast.’ And that individual who for the whole of the rest of the year does Ibadah like this, then Allah says ‘Just as his fasts are Mine, then on the Day of Judgement, I will address that servant and say ‘This servant is Mine! Let him come into Jannah – he is Mine. Don’t give him any accounting and don’t look at his deeds.’ Become like that, just like in Ramadhan Allah took the Ibadah of fasting from you, and the greatest aspect of fasting is that there is no showing off in fasting. Fasting is never contaminated by Riya – there is no sign of Riya in fasting. How do I know who is fasting among those who are sat here? Maybe there are people who are sick, perhaps someone has diabetes or something. We think everyone is fasting, but how do we know? No one would admit that he was not fasting, would he? Who would dare to say so? This deed is so hidden that even if people think he is doing that Ibadah, he may not be doing so. SubhanAllah. Tell me.

So, if we spend these thirty days with Ikhlas, then my passion and love tell me, SubhanAllah, that if we practice these thirty days correctly and do our Ibadah in the manner that Allah ta’ala desires, then we will be saved and purified from this sin of Shirk and showing off will come out of our hearts. This is the meaning of fasting. That is what fasting invites us to, and if we keep the fasts with this Niyyah and spend Ramadhan in this way, then I am hopeful in the Mercy of Allah, that inshaAllah, Allah ta’ala will purify a person from this sin of Riya and give him that strength. So from today, we should correct our Niyyah. This is the message of Ramadhan, and our biggest duty now is that, just as we are desperate to be free from Riya in Ramadhan, we remain desperate to maintain that for the rest of our lives.

May Allah ta’ala give us the Tawfeeq. Ameen
4th May, 2021