Whilst in the company of one’s Shaykh, or when in good company, or during the month of Ramadaan, we find an undeniably positive effect in respect to our overall behavior and in our relationship with Allah Ta’ala.
It suddenly becomes easy to perform good deeds and abstain from sins. Our hearts become light and happy, after being relieved of the terrible burden of sins. Noor and Sakeenah permeate the heart and life becomes so pleasant - Alhamdulillah.
…Then we leave the company of the Shaykh or Ramadaan passes, and we find ourselves susceptible and vulnerable to the invitations and temptations of sins, and we fall prey to nafs and shaytaan. We ask: Why? How come? …We were slowly but surely improving, and then we start stumbling, faltering, falling, and sometimes we are floored by nafs, and even land up in the gutters of sins. May Allah Ta’ala protect us all.
We, ourselves, are the reason for our weaknesses and failings.
While in the company of the Mashaa`ik or during Ramadaan, we do not develop sufficient Taqwa to insulate ourselves against sins, against nafs and shaytaan. The Suhbah (company) of the pious and righteous, as well as the month of Ramadaan, offers a special protection. However, we generally visit or keep company with the pious for short periods of time, and Ramadaan visits us once a year.
The time certainly comes when we have to face the many challenges outside the company of the pious and outside of Ramadaan. It is therefore necessary to very strongly insulate the heart and soul against the harsh climate of sins.
For better understanding, let us take an example: It is an extremely cold Winter’s day. Whilst we are indoors, we keep warm because our homes offer some kind of insulation: the walls and the roof provide a protection; the carpets, heater, fireplace, etc. add to that protection and also generate warmth.
If we sit near the fireplace or heater, we will enjoy this warmth. However, when we have to go outside, we obviously cannot carry the heater with us.
…We have heard and read of people who climb mountains, covered in snow. What do they do? Do they carry heaters with them? No! …They insulate themselves with warm, thermal clothing.
If we have to go outdoors, then knowing the extreme temperature outside, we adopt measures to protect ourselves.
In order to keep warm, while we are outdoors, we first insulate ourselves, by wearing warm clothing, thick jackets, warm hats, socks, gloves, and so forth. We may even drink some hot soup or any hot drink to warm ourselves from the inside. …If we adopt all these means prior to leaving our homes, we will be shielded against the icy, bitter cold – Insha-Allah.
Similarly, while in the company of the Mashaa`ik or during the blessed month of Ramadaan, we must do our best to insulate ourselves with the qualities of Taqwa, Sabr, Shukr, Zuhd, Tawaadhu, etc.
In the company of the Shaykh, we draw the warmth of the love of Allah Ta’ala. This is what is generated from his heart. This then becomes the insulation and protection against the demands of nafs and the attacks of shaytaan.
It is not possible to be with the Shaykh twenty four hours of every day. He has a life to lead. He will be teaching at the Madrasah, giving talks at the Masjid, traveling out in the Khidmat of Deen, etc. What do we do at such times? In the company of the Shaykh, we prepare for ourselves, for the harsh climate of sins and distractions of the outside work. We adopt the measures of protection just like the person who covers himself with a blanket or wears a heavy jacket, before going out.
In the Majlis of the Shaykh, we also insulate the heart with the Sifah of Ihsaan, with the conscious awareness of Allah Ta’ala – keeping before us that Allah Ta’ala is All-Seeing, All-Hearing, All-Knowing, All-Aware – and that nothing escapes the knowledge of Allah Ta’ala. This quality is what we take with us wherever we go.
…So even though the Shaykh cannot be with us all the time, but Allah Ta’ala is with us at all times:
“And He is with you, wherever you are.”
[Surah Al-Hadid 57 : 4]
If we maintain the conscious awareness of Allah Ta’ala’s presence at all times, then when we have to go to the bazaar, marketplace, university or college, we go well-insulated.
Therefore, when we sit in those Majaalis, we should not think that it is just a bayaan, just a talk given. The bayaan will take place, and even if there is no bayaan, the silence of those who are Kaamil, generates a Noor, a light. This enters through the eyes and ears, and lights up the heart with the love of Allah Ta’ala. It gives the person strength in his Imaan. Thereafter when the person goes outside, that spiritual warmth is with him - like the person who wears his jersey and jacket, warm hat and warm socks. May Allah Ta’ala bless us all with well insulated hearts.
Allah Ta’ala has granted us such great means for renewed fortification. Our insulation is also found in our Salaah, which needs to be established five times a day, in the Masjid – and that too, with concentration and attention. It should not be a ‘slap-dash’, ‘hit and run’ Salaah as is so common. (Na’uzu Billahi min zaalik).
Allah Ta’ala says:
“…Verily Salaah restrains from shamelessness and evil…”
[Surah Ankabut 29 : 45]
We also insulate with our Tilawah, our Zikrullah, and our deep-hearted Dua for protection. My Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (RA) would repeatedly make Dua:
‘O Allah! Wherever I am – whether on earth or in the skies – my Taqwa must always remain safe.’
Together with these, we also insulate our lives by ridding our homes of all those elements that will nullify the spirituality that we develop in the company of the Shaykh. We throw out the television, give up music and whatever other Haraam that pollutes our homes and our lives.
The Suhbah of the Shaykh and the beautiful month of Ramadaan are opportune times to insulate our hearts and souls – since they facilitate ease in practising on Deen.
Thus, when Ramadaan ends or we leave the company of our Mashaa`ik, then despite the harsh climate of sins on the outside and all around us, Allah Ta’ala will protect us and assist us in abstaining from evil because we made a concerted effort to insulate ourselves against the severe and dreadful environment of sins.
Of course, to whatever extent we can, we should try to regularly attend Deeni programmes and maintain some connection through correspondence or even telephoning the Shaykh from time to time. This will be very conducive to one’s progress, Insha-Allah. May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq.
Sometimes, some mureeds are content to just wait for their Shaykh to come from Pakistan, India or some other part of the world and they say:“We will make our Islaah when the Shaykh visits.” …The Shaykh may only visit once a year, and he may be in one’s city for seven days, ten days, or just a few days. Then he is gone and the rest of the year passes. What is to be done?
If the person says: “I will not attend the Majlis or programmes of any other Shaykh. I will not accept the Nasihah of any other Shaykh,”then shaytaan will say: “This is a good candidate for me, easy to prey on! This is easy prey because this person has got no Shaykh for the next eleven months.” – Shaytaan will pounce on him.
“Suhbat” is something that has to be on a continuous basis. If for some reason there are not many Majaalis in the area or there are no Akaabir or Mashaai’ik, then take the kitaabs of the Shaykh or other Mashaa`ik, and read them, or listen to the cds or programmes via audio-streaming. Insha-Allah, this will keep a person insulated against nafs and shaytaan – otherwise, the person will become like the lone sheep which is easy prey for the wolf.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the understanding and the Taufeeq.