There is deep gratitude in many of us for the fact that Allah (ﷻ) has turned us in His direction. Although we say, as we understand, that we have turned in His direction, it is not so. The understanding is that every single event and every single movement in all of creation are as our Lord has decreed, and as He has put into operation. This is difficult for us to understand, because we see ourselves as makers of our own personal history, and we also see ourselves as making our personal decisions. This is as it appears, but it is not as it is. So when, for example, we say that we have turned in our Lord’s direction, we in fact mean that Allah (ﷻ) has turned us towards Him, in order to satisfy our spiritual needs. Allah (ﷻ) decides as he wishes and turns into His direction those he wishes to turn towards Him.
There should be in all of us a deep gratitude for the fact that by making us Muslim, and of the nation of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ), He has turned us in His direction. It is when we are in His direction that we find all those activities in different forms of knowledge that can help us in our spiritual growth. Of course, it is difficult to understand that what we are, is according to our Lord’s decision. This is extremely difficult but Allah (ﷻ) has made it very clear in the Qur’an that it is He who guides as He wishes. Those of us who have received such guidance must be so grateful, because it could so easily have been otherwise. I look at the large numbers of Muslims who have lost guidance within the realm of Islam. It is the most amazing thing that so many people have given themselves over to the whisperings of Shaytan with regard to our religion. With very slight suggestions, Shaytan has been able to lead large numbers of Muslims away from the path of spirituality. One just looks in shock at how easily Muslims are misled and how easily they say things, which have misled them. Those who have been able to withstand all this under the guidance of their Lord, stand out in the Muslim nation as major torch bearers. We must try to understand the religious processes at work in the Muslim community. And we must see those who are totally under the domes of their Lord; the carriers of Divine teachings to others. And we must see the large numbers who have adopted philosophies that take them away from their Lord. And we must see others who have just left Islam. There must be no pretence in us about these different groups. We see every day the war against Ahlus Sunni Wal Jama’ah and the spread of disrespect for those whose hearts have been turned to their Lord.
We live in an age in which materialistic discourses dominate and people are dropping religion like taking off their coats. Many of the places of worship in other religions are empty. In the case of Islam, the places of worship are not empty, but the worshippers are misled to reject a path of religious quest. There is no difference between the two groups. One group is outside the religious structure as a product of misguidance and the other group is inside the religious structure and being misguided. Somebody remarked the other day about the large numbers of madrassahs in a certain area that are under the Wahabi/Salafi control. These children will come out of these madrassahs without religious guidance, and they will spread the discourses that they have learnt in these madrassahs amongst future generations. I do not think that the Ahlus Sunni Wal Jama’ah has lost the battle, because there are so many groups, all over the world, carrying its banners. What I do think is that the adherents of Ahlus Sunni Wal Jama’ah have not been proactive enough in the defence of Mainstream Islam. Many of us refuse to be foot soldiers in this battle; all with the strange belief that things will not go totally wrong. I am concerned that unless there are going to be major changes in the educational systems within the universities in many of the Islamic countries, we will find the majority of future generations in the hands of the Wahabis/Salafis.
The people of Tasawwuf, or rather the pro-active people of Tasawwuf, are very few. We have gone into countries and seen the devastation perpetrated against Mainstream Islam. We have gone into countries where congregational adhkar do not exist anymore or where no adhkar or recitations are made after the obligatory prayers. We have seen all of this. What is even worse, is the fact that many of the mosques of Mainstream Islam, are adopting what is happening in Wahabi/Salafi mosques. We go from mosque to mosque and we see the devastation.
I again want to say a strange thing. We have found that in those mosques where the religious activities of the Sufi Orders have been excluded, that the spirituality in those mosques is in rapid decline. When we conduct adhkar in those mosques, then, on many occasions, we find a decline in the spirit of the congregational dhikr. We have to ask ourselves: “What is going wrong?” Why is it that in some mosques there is almost no spirit? Are there things operating that we do not know about? In those mosques where we are enthusiastically welcomed, and where the Imams conduct affairs according to the teachings of Ahlus Sunni Wal Jama’ah, in those mosques there is spiritual life! We feel it all the time.
Allah (ﷻ) has provided all of us with a general guidance. But what He has decreed for each one of us is a totally different matter. Some are taken on a road to different stations; stations at which they receive major graces. To others, despite the general availability of the teachings of Islam, their hearts are not turned in the direction of their Lord.
This is a serious concern. We are seeing all over the place, our Muslim brothers and sisters going in the wrong direction. We are seeing the strength of the anti-spirituality forces. We know what is in the hearts of many Muslims. We know their love of adhkar and of the pious people. We know all of these but feelings or desires are not enough. People’s hearts must be strengthened to withstand the onslaughts of these ideologies, and this is not happening. It is for this reason that people are so easily overwhelmed by teachings on Islam which have nothing to do with the sciences of the Hereafter. Large numbers of Muslims have become convinced that there is no need for them to prepare for the Hereafter through intensive engagement in the sciences of, and the practices for, the Hereafter. Where are they heading to? They are heading to the Hereafter, but they are made to believe that intensive preparation for the Hereafter is not part of Islam. They have fallen for a major satanic trick, a trick to take Muslims away from Islam by giving them the impression that they have become steadfast adherents of the religion. People kill for this; believing they are martyrs in Allah’s (ﷻ) Cause. They destroy the shrines of Awliya’ believing that their actions will strengthen the teachings on the unity of God. All over the world people kill recklessly in what they think is in defence of Islam. Those of us who carry within our hearts an intense love of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) and of the pious people, are side-lined. This is happening all over and very few of us are seeing the danger of all of this.
In a study of Cape Muslim History, and in a strict observance of events in this history during the last few decades, I have not come across a single pious person who adheres to those destructive discourses. I have only seen pious people within the ranks of Ahlus Sunni Wal Jama’ah. We ask our Lord to be part of those ranks, amin.