Expectations from the Shaikh
Translated Speech of
His Eminence Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan
Shaikh Silsilah Naqshbandiah Owaisiah
Al-Murshid, June 2004
There is a verse of an old Persian poet which reads:
My meeting with my beloved didn’t last longer than a moment;
I hadn’t yet appreciated the rose when Spring passed by.
It is a favour of Almighty Allah that He guided us to Shaikh Maulana Allah Yar Khan, during this time of selfishness, commotion and egotism and made him the source and means of His Zikr and remembrance for us. It is His kindness that He connected us with such a great personality. During these times, especially due to the influence of Hindu culture in our society, the concept of Shaikh has become blurred. For that reason, we do not have that expectation from a Shaikh which is his real objective, but expect from him something which must not be expected from anyone but Allah. It is wrong to ascribe such expectations to anyone other than Almighty Allah. We wrongly consider the Shaikh as someone who can remove our distress, take our worries away and fulfil our needs. We forget that those personalities who are granted such offices have to undergo more worldly trials than us commoners; they face more diseases and encounter greater difficulties than others. This is the Sunnah of the holy Prophet-saws who said, “I had to face more troubles than any other Prophet.”
There is only one thing that we should expect from the Shaikh, one and only one! The only thing that we can get from him, that which is more precious than the whole universe, and which cannot be had from anybody other than the bearer of Prophetic blessings, is a relationship with Allah! How strange, that the most difficult task is to establish a relationship with Someone Who is actually the nearest; nearer than the life-vein, nearer to us than our selves and our thoughts. When Prophets came, there was not a single soul on the face of earth that had a relationship with Allah or knew anything about Allah and His Attributes. Yes, the land was inhabited by human beings; there were states, governments, capital, trading, businesses, the whole system of the universe was running smoothly, but there were none who knew the Administrator of this system. It wasn’t easy to know Him either, because it is not possible to know Him through intellect, imagination, knowledge or effort. The instrument of Divine perception is the heart and not the mind. The knowledge related to the intellect was distributed in this world of cause and effect, even those people who did not possess the light of Faith could also acquire it, while the knowledge related to the Qalb was distributed by Prophets. Any portion of this blessing that was ever received by any member of the human race was through the holy Prophet-saws. He-saws rightfully expressed, ‘Allah grants and I distribute.’
Then, there must be some indication that this blessing exists with the Shaikh and the seeker is really benefiting from it. The first indication is that the seeker becomes sure of Allah’s existence. Although he believes, in the absence of this blessing, he finds it difficult to be convinced; mere belief and sure conviction are two different feelings. The holy Quran normally uses the word ‘belief’ for other articles of the Faith, but when it refers to the Akhirah, it says, they are surely convinced of the Hereafter. Although belief in the Hereafter is included in the overall belief, yet the Quran emphasised that, as far as the Hereafter is concerned, a mere belief is not enough - it must be sure conviction. The strength of our conviction reflects itself through our actions in practical life, when we act according to our claim, this indicates that we have sure conviction. When we say that such and such injunction is correct but it is difficult to adopt it presently, our saying does not amount to Kufr, but it does represent a belief without conviction. No Companion ever submitted to the holy Prophet-saws that it was difficult to practically implement his instructions. You cannot quote even a single Companion who might have said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! There is an economic system in vogue in the world or similarly there is a social system governed by kings and tribal chiefs. Then, every nation and tribe has its own system of justice. How can a few weak slaves from a far flung location of Makkah talk of changing the whole system on the globe? How is it possible?’ Not even a lone whisper to this effect! They said, ‘What the Messenger of Allah says is the Truth, everything on its opposite is false! The Truth must prevail and falsehood must vanish.’ That is sure conviction! That is the thinking, fervour and commitment granted by the holy Prophet-saws. On the contrary, we say today, ‘Yes, the Commandment of Allah is correct, so is the instruction of the holy Prophet-saws, but somehow our circumstances don’t allow us to adopt them.’ This is mere belief but not sure conviction!
Through the blessings of the holy Prophet-saws and love of the Shaikh, one must get this sure conviction - this is essential. If this doesn’t happen then the Shaikh is a pseudo saint, he doesn’t possess anything and is a mere impersonator. But if some seekers do get this blessing and some do not, then the fault is with the seekers, not with the Shaikh. Had the Shaikh been empty, no one would have achieved sure conviction. The righteous scholars have also defined a criterion for a Shaikh - one should see his students. If none of them have experienced any positive change, then he is not a real Shaikh but is an impostor who is deceiving people. However, if some of the seekers have changed for the better, they have developed a fear of Allah, feel Allah near to their hearts, trust Him, communicate with Him, present their problems before Him and expect His favour and mercy, this proves that Allah has granted this blessing to the Shaikh which is flowing to his students. Then those who are not getting this sure conviction must analyse wherein lies the fault.