Perhaps one of the difficulties that I face almost on a daily basis is how I can keep contact with the murids and their work throughout the country. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim has given me this responsibility and I have accepted it with all the enthusiasm at my disposal. I have, during the cause of our work, become critically aware of the importance of being for Allah (ﷻ) and of working in His Cause. I have never had this kind of awareness before. It has come to me in this Tariqah. And especially in this period of history, our responsibility to bring people into Mainstream Islam, has increased tremendously.
Other groupings in Islam, especially those who oppose us, refer to us in different ways. But the question always arose: “What is it that makes us so special? What evidence is there to show in fact that we are on the right road?” Other than what Mawlana Shaykh Nazim says, what makes us so sure that this is a path that we want to travel in Islam. Here I do not only mean the path of Tasawwuf, but the path of Tasawwuf in the Naqshbandi Tariqah. There are many personal experiences that I have had, which I do not speak about but which has assured me of the truth of this path. Personally, I do not need any convincing. But what about others? People, for example who have not had any personal spiritual experiences, what about them?
I have always considered the fact that quite a number of us have dreamt of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) as a major assurance of the truth of our path. But, even these people might not be prepared to accept it as evidence of the validity of our work and of this path. Fortunately for me, I can look back at the history of this community and at the history of Islam and I see, in both our community and in the rest of the Islamic world, that those whom Allah (ﷻ) has blessed with major spiritual grants are all in Tasawwuf. We have searched in our community for pious people outside Mainstream Islam but we have not found any. Surely the greatest expression of the validity of Mainstream Islam lies in the fact that the truly pious people of the Muslim nation are all to be found in Tasawwuf. One cannot see how piety will be granted to people who are not for their Lord. Just being for Allah (ﷻ) within the parameters of a Tasawwuf Order and working in His Cause in a variety of ways within those parameters, and to do all of this successfully, indicate the validity of the path that we are walking. The path of the Naqshbandiyyah is rich in intensely pious people, people who have been granted a variety of special blessings by their Lord because of their religious practices and beliefs in this Tariqah. This is not blowing our trumpet. It is far from it. It is the recognition of the validity of Mainstream Islam and especially of the Naqshbandi Tariqah.
How else can we explain the overwhelming spiritual richness that we experience in this Order? How else can we explain the existence of massive spiritual figures that acquired this spirituality in this Order? The Naqshbandis today, in this country for example, have been given centre stage by Allah (ﷻ), as far as striving for piety and working in Islam are concerned, Alhamdu lillah. All over the country, in different ways, we sprout, taking the celebration of His Praises to wherever Muslims live. In all humility, we are the only Tariqah doing this. We knock on people’s doors and tell them: “Come, let us remember our Lord together”, and we have so many positive responses. Those who criticize us are doing nothing, and in their nothingness they see their so-called validity of what they do. How can one do nothing for Islam and think that one is on the right path?
On Sunday, 16th January 2011, a little boy in Driftsands “entered the Qur’an”, as we say. And he recited some verses from Suratul Baqarah. We all sat in awe. His mother was so proud of him and she came to me and asked me to pray to God on her behalf. I prayed. And little Farouk, as he is called, was just overwhelmed by all the attention. We must not underestimate the significance of this. In future, we ask Allah (ﷻ) to give us many Farouks, amin. And it will become our responsibility to see to it that all the Farouks become workers in the Cause of Islam.
We do not always understand what we are doing, because it is Allah (ﷻ) at work and in a certain sense we just follow the flow. We just allow the social currents to take us anywhere where Allah (ﷻ) wants. Today I believe intensely in the importance of Allah (ﷻ) in our lives. It is an intense faith watered by these currents. Every time somebody recites Shahadah, or recites Salawat or enters the Qur’an, or just shares our food, we have to call out: “Allah, Allah”, because it appears as if Allah (ﷻ) is giving us His personal attention. To me it does appear to be so. To me, in all humility, it is like that. Many of these feelings of what we call nearness to Allah (ﷻ) are all beyond our understanding. We must strongly believe that when we are calling Allah’s (ﷻ) Name or doing Allah’s (ﷻ) Work, then Allah (ﷻ) is with us. There should be in each one of our hearts an indescribable yearning, if I can put it that way, for us to be with Allah; an indescribable yearning, to be in Allah’s (ﷻ) Presence. All of this must mean so much to us. We know that when we celebrate Allah’s (ﷻ) Praises, that Allah (ﷻ) is busy with us. We know that when we work in Allah’s (ﷻ) Cause, Allah (ﷻ) is busy with us. But we must ask “O our Lord, be busy with us at all times.” It is this feeling, if one may call it that, of Allah (ﷻ) being with us that charges and recharges our spiritual batteries. One does not know how else to explain this. Sometimes there is a loneliness that can only be filled by Allah (ﷻ). It is a strange kind of loneliness during which one does not desire the company of others but one desires, if one may put it that way, to be in Allah’s (ﷻ) Presence. What else can one ask for under these circumstances? Is Allah (ﷻ) busy with one when one desires Allah’s (ﷻ) Presence? Is it Allah (ﷻ) at work with one’s heart, or what is it? When it comes to our relationship with our Lord, one feels that there are no answers. For us, the answers are with our Lord. Perhaps some day, in the future, Allah (ﷻ) will provide us with some of those answers, insha Allah. Now, all those things that chain one to this world appear to be major stumbling blocks to Allah’s (ﷻ) Presence. Perhaps I am just dreaming or perhaps my heart is talking a language I do not understand, or perhaps my soul has desires. I do not know. I sometimes wish that in the broad scheme of things we can all find answers to the desires that our Lord has placed in our hearts. Perhaps the answers are very simple. Perhaps Allah (ﷻ) wants our hearts to be for Him and nothing else. Perhaps it is as simple as that. But like all human beings, we want our lives to be complicated. Again I do not know. May our Lord guide us, amin.