Shaykh Yusuf da Costa: Naqshbandis operating in a sea of antagonism, ignorance & criticism

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To walk a spiritual path in Islam is extremely difficult, because one generally operates in a sea of antagonism, ignorance and criticism. Over the centuries the teachings of Islam on spiritual development have been suppressed and in some countries, these teachings are considered to take one outside the pale of Islam. What is it that they do that is so different? They propagate intensive ibadat. They have examined the Qur’an and all the holy traditions and all forms of ibadat that are mentioned there, they strive to do. And so they do all the Nafl salahs, all additional Sunnah salahs that are attached to the Fard salahs, and engage in intensive individual and congregational adhkar. They try to do all the different forms of Sunnah fasting that are found in the Holy Traditions, and they make considerable sadaqat, and try very hard to lead intensely pious lives, and work in the Cause of Islam. Every day they ask Almighty Allah to make them pious people and to make them of His servants. Because of the sea of criticism and antagonism in which they operate, they try to find somebody who has successfully walked this path to help them and to guide them. Deep in the depths of their hearts they ask Almighty Allah to place them into one of His categories of pious people. They especially appeal to Him to make them of His Friends, those Awliya’’ who form part of the cream of the Muslims. They want to be part of that cream. They want to be in the company of the Prophets, the truthful ones and the martyrs in the Hereafter. They strive with all their might, all their energies under the guidance of a shaykh who has already achieved what they are striving for. Allah (ﷻ) says in the Qur’an:

يَ أَيُّهَا الَّذَيْنَ ءَامَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللهَ وَ كُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِيْنَ

O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful (9:119).

وَ اتَّبِعْ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَىَّ

And follow the way of those who turn to me (xxxi: 15).

They try their best to do this. Where are the pious people whom our critics associate with? Where are the people who turn towards Allah (ﷻ) whom our critics follow? They do not have anybody. The Naqshbandis have their intensely pious shaykhs. The Naqshbandis obey the Qur’an and they disobey it.

What is so wrong with this? What is so wrong with wanting to achieve piety and the only people who can help them are those who have achieved? Those who criticize them have achieved nothing and they do nothing. They sit on the sideline throwing stones. But there is very little in the critics. They are not pious. They know very little about Islam and they know nothing about spirituality. And so they say, for example, one cannot use names in a du’a, and so the first name they have to remove is the name of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ). How deeply ignorant can people be? The Naqshbandis are striving very, very hard to become pious and others criticize them. These people are doing nothing, just being smart and they achieve nothing. And they want to sit in judgement on those who place Allah Almighty first and last in their lives. Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:

قُلِ اللهُ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِى خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُوْنَ

Say: Allah, then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling (vi: 91).

The Naqshbandis are not prepared to listen to these people. Their striving for holiness is too precious and sacred that they should bother about the inane utterances of people. Why don’t these people show the Naqshbandis a path to holiness? They cannot, because they know nothing and they do nothing.

If you want to be part of the Naqshbandis, you must be prepared to walk a path of holiness for holiness, the path of what is sacred, to attain what is sacred. The Naqshbandis want to be Allah’s (ﷻ) servants, not servants of their passions. They want to be recognized on the Day of Judgement as being servants of Allah (ﷻ). They want to be called “Abdullahs”, not by the names they are recognized on this earth. You must not allow yourselves to be drawn back into the ocean of ignorance and doing nothing for Islam that prevailed around you previously. Call Allah (ﷻ), be for Allah (ﷻ), live for His sake, strive in His path, and raise your hands to the heavens and appeal to Him for guidance. Listen to Allah (ﷻ), don’t listen to people who do not listen to Allah (ﷻ). Let Allah (ﷻ) determine your path, not people. If you wish to attain holiness, you must be brave servants of your Lord. Be like that. Don’t be otherwise. Don’t tamper with adhkar that have produced the holy friends of Allah (ﷻ).

PS: You may give copies of this to whoever you please, especially some of those smart ones on the sidelines. Perhaps it will stir their hearts and they will get up from their comfortable couches and throw themselves into sujud in front of their Lord. They will appear one day in the Divine Court and they will have to answer to Allah Almighty as to why they oppose His Remembrance and why they are trying to take you away, with spurious arguments, from the remembrance of Allah (ﷻ). Allah (ﷻ) says in the Qur’an: “Remember Me”. They say: “Don’t remember Him”. Allah (ﷻ) says in the Qur’an: “Be helpers in the Cause of Allah”. They say: “Don’t be helpers. Waste your time”.

We ask Allah Almighty to provide them with guidance. They are misled and they are misleading others. They will only be happy if the people of your area refrain from calling: “Allah”. We ask Him to make us of those who call His Name as part of our remembrance of Him, amin.

[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]


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