(Barbados Travelogue, Part 1)
By Shaykh Tameem Ahmadi
22nd Sha’bān 1438 / May 19th, 2017
The journey to Barbados to visit my beloved Shaykh, Hazrat Mawlana Qamaruz-Zaman Sahib دامت بركاتهم was an unexpected, unplanned and sudden trip. For the longest time after the demise of my Shaykh e Awwal, Hazratwala Mawlana Shah Hakim Muhammad Akhtar Sahib نوَّر اللهُ مَرقده, my wish and desire has been to reunite with an Allah-Wala and quench the thirst of my soul in the company of a lover of Allah.
Once a person experiences the intense spiritual benefit in the company of a pious person, it becomes difficult to live without it.
As Hazratwala had said,
The essence of my life and the support of my existence,
Is to live amongst your lovers and die amongst your lovers.
When I had heard that he was coming to the UK my heart was yearning to fly away like a bird flees from its cage, but alas that masjid responsibilities and other engagements along with my financial inability held me back. I had requested Hazrat’s du’as that Allah Ta’ālā grant me the ability to see him – in the first few letters that I had written him when I had first made bay’ah – and also that Allah give me the financial capacity and free time.
Hazrat had written a du’a in my response which I am now convinced that Allah accepted. The amazing thing is, that when I had requested his du’as, I was thinking that the meeting would be in India – of the East – and never imagined that the acceptance of the du’a would manifest itself in the Indies – of the West!
In his last few days in the UK, when the announcement was made that he will be visiting Barbados, I didn’t take the matter seriously because I simply thought that I didn’t have the means. But then I said to myself, let me just ask about the prices from our dear friend, Zul-Qarnain. He got back to me a day later saying that he found a $500 ticket for three days and a return flight on the same day of Hazrat’s return. I was overwhelmed with excitement and thought to myself that if I don’t avail this opportunity to see Hazrat now, then I don’t know when I will get the chance again.
By Allah’s grace the money was there, I could manage to lead the Friday prayers and also be back in time before the commencement of Ramadan. It was unbelievable, but it was happening. I did not hesitate and quickly had it booked. Family and friends were a bit shocked at this because I had just returned from a 4 day trip the week before from Chicago, but this was something that had to be done. This desire of leaving everything behind and jumping on the earliest flight wasn’t an urge to go on a vacation, but rather from the divine bestowals of inspiration from Allah.
Wāridāt-e-Qalbiyya (divine bestowals of inspiration)
Undoubtedly, nothing can be accomplished without the will and permission of Allah. We cannot take a step, nor set into motion anything, nor do anything without His tawfīq. And as the sālik’s relationship gets closer and closer in proximity to Allah through his awrād and tā’aat, the wāridāt-e-qalbiyya, or divine bestowals of inspiration from Allah begin to descend upon his heart.
The Mashayikh have mentioned that these wāridāt-e-qalbiyya are visitors and guests from Allah and they should be honored and hosted by putting them into action. If they are ignored and neglected by the sālik, they will leave and never return again. In short, all of this was a manifestation of Allah’s grace and the acceptance of the du’as of and prayers and I knew that it should not be neglected.
Some of those intense wāridāt came in the form of these overwhelming thoughts which were constant:
- Hakim al-Ummah رحمه الله تعالى said, “A person may have a long-distance relationship with their shaykh through written correspondence but the special nisbat ma’Allah cannot be born unless the murīd actually remains some time in the physical company of that shaykh. It is similar to a man and woman who make a marriage transaction and never really meet. A child will only come into the world once they spend time with one another.”
- The custom of making bay’ah and saying, ‘such and such person is my shaykh’, without actually adopting the company of such people or having any intention of taking practical benefit from them to bring about change in oneself, is hypocritical and futile. These ‘by-products’ of tasawwuf were something that had always disgusted me, along with the cult-like culture, shaykh-worship, and clique/groupie type behavior, just to name a few. This whole custom of bay’ah has been turned into a vice, filled with poisonous elements that are destructive for the sālik. One of the reasons that many people turn out to become horrible people instead of becoming righteous through tasawwuf, is because of their wrong, insincere and misguided intentions in the beginning. The tree that grows and the fruit it gives is totally dependent upon the seed that is sewed. If I had not yanked on the reigns of my nafs to take this trip for the sake of my Islah from the one I had taken bay’ah with, I would have become the exact thing that I despised most. I would be a hypocrite if I did not act upon adopting the company of the Ahlullah that I so much preached to others. I seriously need to act upon my own advice.
- Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام traveled to the ‘joining of the two seas’ to seek out Khidhr for the sake of Allah; why should we also not travel to the farthest distances in order to attain the pleasure of Allah? Why should we not seek out rectification and gain the knowledge that draws us closer to him?
- Hazratwala used to say, “Those were in a constant state of. إفادة (giving benefit) to others are like wells constantly giving water. If the well is constantly depleted of water and not given some time to replenish, the water will start to become murky. That murky water can make you sick in place of quenching the thirst and there must be a time set aside for those who are giving benefit to others to also make إستفادة (take benefit) for their own rectification in order that their hearts replenish with the light of Allah Ta’ala.
- My heart was also constantly being frequented by the thoughts of the Hadith Qudsi,
وَجَبَتْ محبَّتي للمتحابِّينَ فيَّ ، والمتجالِسينَ فيَّ ، والمتباذِلينَ فيَّ، والمتزاورينَ فيَّ
“My love becomes necessary for those who love each other for My sake, and for those who sit with each other for my sake and for those to spend on one other for my sake and for those who visit for My sake.”
And also the statement that the one who visits his brother for the sake of Allah, then Allah announces,
طِبْتَ و طاب مَمْشَاكَ ، و تبوأتَ في الجنة منزلا
“You have done well, and may your footsteps be blessed, and you have secured yourself a place in paradise!”
And also the verse of the Qur’an,
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“As for those who strive in Our cause, We shall surely guide them to Our Ways…”
The Seeker Shall Find
The trip reminded me of a proverb in Farsi,
جویندہ ، یابندہ
“The seeker, is the finder…”
This is even more emphatic than the English proverb, “he who seeks shall find…”, because the above Farsi proverb indicates that the seeker has already become the founder.
Hazrat Sa’dī Shīrāzī said,
عاشق كه شد كه يار بحالش نكرد
اي دوست درد نيست و گرنہ طبیب ھست
Who is there who has become a lover and the beloved did not look upon him?
Oh friend, you have no pains of love, otherwise the doctor is there.
One of the things that Hazrat told me when I was departing from his company was, “Mash’Allah Mawlana, you are coming with so much talab and eagerness…”
That was when I realized the reality of the proverb… those who seek, Allah Ta’ala will definitely make a way for them to find.
And to him belongs praise in the beginning and last.
Shaytan’s Last Attempt
Even to the last day before my journey shaytan made a final attempt to withhold me from going on this trip. I seriously did not know where I was going to stay or who was going to pick me up, nor did I personally know anyone on that entire island. Mawlana Yusuf Bhula’s family and relatives resided there and he tried his best to get through to them as well, as I did, but to of no avail. No one was answering their phones, for some reason. I needed to have a single address or some plan of where I was going to stay. My plan was to just go and stay at the local masjid. That was when the whispers came saying, “Just cancel the trip… you’re stupid for booking a flight without first knowing your program or accommodations or where you’re going to stay…” etc, etc. Then, after many attempts, and while ignoring the shaytanic whisperings, Mawlana ‘Aqil, who is Mawlana Yusuf’s nephew, finally answered and was very helpful and extremely happy to receive us. May Allah reward him for his hospitality.
In short, no seeker will be left untested by Allah and no intention will be left without the litmus-test of mujahada. It is when the sālik comes out of the storm of adversities and trials, that his true face manifests itself.
فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَاءً ۖ وَأَمَّا مَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ…
As for the foam, it vanishes, [being] cast off; but as for that which benefits the people, it remains on the earth. Thus does Allah present examples.
To be continued….