The Foremost Responsibility
Translated Speech of
His Eminence Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan
Dar ul Irfan Munara
21 November 2003
Although, Almighty Allah is the most Manifest of all beings and of all things, yet He is also the most Hidden. He is present everywhere, all of the time; but to realize and perceive this fact is the most difficult and the greatest achievement in this world. We had a friend, who was a famous doctor of Sialkot, I have seen him working. If he was writing a prescription and heard the Azan (the call for prayer) he would put his pen down. Although the patient might cry himself hoarse and plead with him to complete the prescription, he would always decline. “No way!” he would say, “I am being called from His House and I cannot dare to continue working after hearing the Call,” and would complete the prescription on his return. He has since died in a road accident on his way back from Lahore. Once he came to me, stayed overnight and left immediately after the dawn Zikr. I had just finished my Fajar prayers when he came back. “Doctor, is everything OK? Have you come back quickly, or you haven't left yet?” He said, “I had gone and have come back again.” “What happened?” He said, “A question has occurred to me, 'If Allah is present everywhere, why can’t we come close to Him, after all, what is the obstacle or barrier between us?” I replied, “Doctor, there is no external obstacle between us. We, ourselves, are the greatest barriers. You are saying, ‘I have come back’, yet if you remove this ‘I’, it would become, ‘Allah has brought me back’; then you won’t need to ask me this question. If you remove this ‘I’, ‘myself’, ‘my interests’ from in-between you and Allah, then you would come closer to Allah.”
Natural requirements cannot finish completely one will continue to feel thirsty and hungry, will have to get dressed and work to live in this world. But the question is of relative importance, do we assign greater importance to ourselves or to Almighty Allah? There is a saying of the holy Prophet-saws, that every person has to bear the loss of one side; either of Allah’s nearness or of personal benefits. If one side gains, the other will definitely lose. If personal benefits take precedence, the image of Allah’s greatness will start fading. Then, a person will offer Salah only if he finds the time, he will perform Zikr only if he can spare some moments. If Allah takes precedence, then … I have to eat, but I can’t miss Zikr, I will eat later; I have to go to work, but I can’t leave my Salah, I will offer it while travelling, it is important and it must be offered even if I am late by a couple of minutes. The real issue is one of priority; but, to achieve this, one has to make a lot of effort. Dunya (this world) is known as Dunya because it is immediately close, its verb ‘Dana’ means being very near. It is mentioned in the Quran about the holy Prophet’s-saws Ascension ‘Thumma dana fatadalla’ (he came even closer). This world is Dunya because its effects are instantly realised; we sell something and get the profit immediately, we eat and the stomach feels full, we drink and immediately feel the taste and freshness. These effects are realised immediately; but the effects of the Hereafter are not close, and we have to excite our inner senses to realise them - that requires effort. Allah has granted everyone the ability to stimulate this sense. Five senses are known and scholars and intellectuals agree that there is a sixth sense also, through which thoughts flow in from somewhere. But this sense, call it the seventh sense, is even higher. The five senses are closely associated with this world; the eye sees immediately, the ear hears now, the nose smells the fragrance and the tongue tastes immediately. If a person gets lost in the rainbow of these five senses, he does not feel the sixth. Everyone doesn’t use this sense, because he is so absorbed in his five senses that he doesn’t have the time or doesn’t pay attention to it. However, if someone dominates his five senses, harnesses them and is not enslaved by them, then his sixth sense gets activated. But, if he can also see beyond his sixth sense, then he starts perceiving the Hereafter and can feel its rewards and taste its pleasures. But, it is not easy to cross six rivers to drink from the seventh, it requires a lot of time, endeavour and effort. Look at the life of the holy Prophet-saws and his Companions, who were the seeds of Islam and from whom have blossomed every flower and fruit of Islam. How hard, difficult and full of danger had been the three years of Shoab-e Abi Talib! Each moment of the thirteen years of their Makkan life unfolded even greater problems and persecution. The ten years of life in Madinah are marked with more than eighty Ghazwat and Sirayah (battles), some writers have mentioned eighty-four and some have written eighty-two battles of a national level. Now, how could that exalted personality-saws find any time for rest or respite; he who laid the foundation of a new state, fought eighty wars against strong adversaries, organised a complete system of government including trade, commerce, justice, politics and all other civil and military systems, imparted complete religious instructions and taught the best code of conduct in every matter relating to life? As long as we remain slaves of leisure and rest, we will reach nowhere.
Today I felt sorry about a remark. Our books are printed on inexpensive paper and if you see yoga books published by Hindus, if you see novels and magazines, which are nothing more than junk and fantasy, you will find that their paper and printing are distinctly superior. You remarked that our books be printed on even cheaper paper. Do you mean that our books shouldn’t last even for a year? The life of a book depends on its paper, which shouldn’t only be beautiful. When someone buys a book, his descendants might benefit from it. We have books of the earliest period of Islam in our library. I have a hand-written volume of the holy Quran belonging to the 3rd and 4th century Hijra They have used high quality paper and ink, and not a word has paled so far. At places, they have used golden and green colours, have made symbols of Ruku’ and have designed flowers and seals. It is an 'over-a-millennium' old manuscript, but not a single colour has faded even slightly! Had the paper, colours or ink been substandard, its paper would have worn out and colours faded long ago. For once, someone made the effort and we are benefiting from it even after eleven hundred years. Our requirements have their own place and importance, but it does not mean that our effort should be cheap and worthless. No! Good standards must be maintained, even if we have to skip a meal or forego a cup of tea! The distance from Munara to Noor Pur is five miles and it costs five Rupees in a bus. One can go on foot and save those five Rupees. We shall have to manage from somewhere. We shall have to sacrifice our genuine needs to spend in the way of Allah -He does not accept leftovers! When we give leftovers or what we can spare (in His cause) we don’t get desired results. When we give time that is leftover from our worldly business, no one listens to us. I receive many letters in which the writers complain that they do try to talk to people but no one listens to them. How can I make them understand that when you talk to people only when you are free and they have their own business then they may not be free at that time? When you are free, they are not! But when you sacrifice a need, it is possible that they may also, likewise, sacrifice their needs and listen to you.
The effort in His cause will not stop, whether we remain associated with it or not. ‘It is possible that Allah brings forth a people whom He loves and who love Him.’ He will grant this opportunity to others, and they will keep doing the job. Anything that He desires will certainly be done; nobody can stop it. If we don’t do it, it is we who will be deprived; the work won’t stop. This is Allah’s cause, the cause of religion and a great honour indeed. If we look at ourselves, we have no distinction, whatsoever. There are certainly more intelligent, educated, handsome, rich and authoritative people in the world than us; there always exists an even better person in every field. This is His own choice and only He knows the criterion of His selection. What He has told us is that He looks for only one attribute: He guides the one who desires to come towards Him. And He does not care if the person is weak, white, coloured, big, small, rich or poor. To Him, the wealth of the affluent and the poverty of the poor means nothing, everyone is His creation and it is He, Who has granted a status to each and everyone, according to His Will. Such distinctions are significant only for us, not for Him. Like us, everything is His creation including fire, clay, air, water, trees and stones, and, as a creation, all have the same status before Him. If, even an iota of longing is produced in some heart…and it is not produced by itself, in most people! It is human nature that a person will pay attention to something only when he is motivated. Everyman doesn’t possess the ability to motivate others. Only some people can inspire, while others follow in their motivation. If He has selected you as motivators, it is indeed His great favour. Now, this mission (to inspire others) should receive your greatest attention. During the process, an occasional meal may have to be missed, your business may suffer, your health may deteriorate and your sleep may also be reduced - one side will certainly be affected. If worldly activities are not affected, then, most certainly, your mission would be suffering. It is the statement of the holy Prophet-saws that one side will definitely suffer. It is a principle of life that greater attention is focussed on tasks of primary importance, everything else will certainly suffer. If your worldly affairs are systematically downgraded, then they will suffer. Similarly, if your religious effort is of secondary importance, it will be accordingly affected.
When a person makes a firm decision and resolves to accomplish a task, Allah (the Originator of all causes) produces the means for him. If you show weakness, He won’t drag you towards strength - the decision is yours! If you expect concessions and look down, you will continue going down - you shall have to climb up to advance. Therefore, don’t make frail decisions or give weak-willed advice. He is the Almighty and He provides every resource. What difference would it make if a couple of friends can’t buy a book? They can borrow it from a friend. But, don’t decrease the age of the book under this pretext. If a person really wants to read a book but cannot buy it, he can still manage to get the book and read it. You can establish libraries in all of your centres and keep the Silsilah books there. If there is someone who can’t buy, he can borrow it from the library or read it there. Why should the quality of a book be lowered? Most people can’t afford to buy every book, they go to the libraries to read them. Then, some of the books are rare and are not available except in libraries. Even if someone wants to buy them, it could be that he cannot because they are not available. The answer is to establish libraries with Silsilah books at these centres. Whenever friends have the time, they can come over, perform Zikr, meet other friends or read during the available time.
Those, who are responsible, should arrange for a Zikr Halqah. Do your duty according to a proper system. Those who are required to submit reports, should submit them regularly so that the system is centralized and the centre knows the progress of work and the requirements of various places. Circumstantial constraints should not affect work. If man makes a determined effort, the Almighty creates favourable circumstances for him. God willing, the resources will also become available. But, decide one thing; give priority to the task that Allah has chosen you for and has granted you the opportunity and the responsibility towards - that is the top priority! It will be done properly only when you assign it a greater importance than your other affairs. However, all creation belongs to Allah, if He likes He can guide everyone, and if He decides to guide none, we cannot do anything about it. Our duty is to only convey Allah’s message to His men and not to coerce them, we must not fail in our duty. When He dispatched Prophets Musa and Haroon to Pharaoh, He advised them, ‘Talk to him softly. He is the Pharaoh, I have granted him a kingdom and its dominion, and he claims divinity for himself. So don’t address him harshly, he won’t tolerate it. Talk to him in a polite and pleasant manner.’ Even in Pharaoh’s case, Allah desired that he shouldn’t be able to object that he was mistreated, and so lose his temper and thus be unable to understand the Message. Similarly, people shouldn’t complain that they couldn’t understand whether we had approached them to invite them or fight them. This has become a trend of our religious people that, first, they grade others as irreligious, consider them gross sinners and then try to preach to them. While inviting people to Allah, one should always remember that they are Allah’s creation, I have Allah’s Message to convey to them. I shouldn’t make any mistake in this, the meaning of the Message must never change. Then, if He desires, He will grant guidance to whom He wills, and if He is annoyed with someone, that is between Him and His creation. No man is indispensable. Men are mortal, they die but the cause keeps progressing, everyone has his own part to play. By Allah’ Grace, make your full effort and schedule your meetings regularly. Remember, the greater the number of people whom we sincerely convey this blessing of Allah, the greater is our honour!
Let’s make Du‘a now.