Mahdaviat in the light of sayings of ImamanaAS  
By Hazrat Muhammad Nooruddin Arabi Saheb
(Translator's Note: This article appeared in the Urdu publication 'Safina-e Fikr-o-Nazar' and has been translated to English)

To judge any religion, one has to investigate the sayings and actions of its founder.

Mazhabs: After Hazrat RasoolullahSLM departed from this world, differences arose in Islam and it was divided into numerous sects. Islam's two biggest sects Ahl-e-Sunnnat and Shia were themselves divided into many sects. When there was a decline in practice (Amal) by followers of Islam, the advent of Mahdi MawoodAS took place, as was forecasted by Nabi KareemSLM, to stop religious practices done as per customs, habits and innovation (rasam, aadat and bidat). MahdiAS travelled around the world for twenty three years from the age of forty to the age of sixty three years.

Beliefs: Generally, Mahdavia beliefs are the same as Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jamaat. In terms of principles (Usool) Mahdavia are based on Ashari and Maturidi and for matters of jurisprudence (Fiqh) we choose the path of Aaliyat (excellence) from Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki and Hambali schools and therefore this article does not discuss beliefs (aqaid). Islam also has the silsilas (spiritual orders) of Chishti, Sahrwardi, Nakshbandi, etc. but be it the Mahdavia spiritual path (sulook) or visible religious actions (zaahiri amal), it is based on the Quran and Sunnat.

Hazrath Mahdi MawoodAS has said, "Mazhab Ma Kitabullah Wo Ittiba Muhammadur Rasoolullah" (My Mazhab is Allah's book and adherance to Muhammad RasoolullahSLM).

Need for the advent of Mahdi AS: The religion of Islam is a combination of Eeman, Islam and Ihsaan. In the Hadees-e-JibraeelAS, the meaning of Ihsaan has been given by RasoolallahSLM as "You worship Allah in such a way that you see Him. If you cannot see Him worship Allah knowing that He is seeing you." Thus the meaning of Ihsaan is the vision of Allah (Deedar-e-khuda).

RasoolullahSLM has explained the other two parts of Deen ie. Islam and Eeman. These two aspects are related to the visible (zaher) and it is this that is called Shariat. But the ProphetSLM did not explain the commands (Ihkaam) of Ihsaan.

Wama khalaqtu aljinna walinsa illa li yabudoon (Az Zariyat 51:56)

(I have only created Jinns and men, that they may worship Me.)

Some scholars of the salaf have explained the meaning of li yabudoon as li Yarifoon. That is, man has been created so that he can recognise Allah. In fact the reason for the creation of the universe appears to be the gnosis (Marifat) of Allah as it is said in the Hadees Sharif, "I was a hidden treasure. I wished that I am recognised (pehchan), so I created the creations." This hadees is sahih amongst all Sufis and Auliya.

RasoolullahSLM did not explain the commands of Ihsaan, but forecasted the advent of Mahdi and said that the Mahdi was the Concluder of religion (Khatim-e-Deen) and since Deedar-e-Khuda is related to Vilayat, he is known as the Khatim-e-Vilayat.

Thus, MahdiAS had the responsibility of revealing the commandments of Vilayat and related issues. He said, "The main reason Allah has sent me is to reveal through me the commandments which are related to Vilayat-e-MuhammadiSLM"

Faraiz-e-Vilayat: The commandments which MahdiAS made Farz are as follows. These are known as Faraiz-e-Vilayat and there are eight Faraiz.

1. Talab-e-Deedar-e-Khuda (Desire for the vision of Allah)
2. Tark-e-Duniya (Renunciation of the World)
3. Hijrat Az Watan (Migration from the homeland)
4. Sohbat-e-Sadiqeen (Company of the truthful)
5. Zikr-e-Dawam (Perpetual remembrance of Allah)
6. Uzlat-Al-Khalkh (Seclusion from people)
7. Tawakkal wo Tasleem (Trust and Acceptance)
8. Ushr (Tithe)

Talab-e-Deedar-e-Khuda (Desire for the vision of Allah): Hazrat MahdiAS has said, "We have been created for the purpose of seeing Allah, otherwise what was the need of creation."

Mahdi MawoodAS has said that the desire of the vision of Allah is compulsory (Farz) on every man and woman. Until a person sees Allah through the eyes, or through the heart or in a dream, he is not a believer (Momin). But a seeker of truth (1) who has turned his heart away from things other than Allah (Ghairullah) (2) who has turned his heart towards Allah, (3) who is always in the remembrance of Allah (4) who has separated from the world and it's people (5) who has the courage to come out of his own self, MahdiAS has described such a person also as one with eemaan. The above has been described by Hazrat Bandagi Miyan Syed Khundmir Siddiq Vilayat in his respectful writings.

Attainment of Love (Ishq): Intense love is called Ishq. Allah says, "waallazeena amanoo ashaddu hubbal lillahi" (Al Baqara 2:165) That is, "Those people who are Momin have intense love for Allah." A lover is one who does not rest for a moment without his beloved. When attainment of vision is important then truly this would not be possible without love. Mahdi MawoodAS asked what is obligatory on the seeker of Allah in order to reach Allah. He himself answered the question and said that it is love.

How does one get love for Allah? Mahdi MawoodAS gave the answer:

1. Turn the attention of your heart towards Allah in such a way that no other thing should come in the heart
2. Do this in utmost privacy
3. Do not meet with people, either your own or others
4. Remember Allah standing, sitting, lying down, eating, drinking - in all states and conditions.

In other words, this is the attribute of belief. He said that one who does not possess belief, how can he escape the wrath of Allah. But a seeker of truth (1) who has turned his heart away from things other than Allah.[till the end as detailed above].

Tark-e-Duniya (Renouncing the World): For those actions that are done for this world then as per the Ayat "Man kana yureedu alhayata alddunya..." (Hud 11:15) (Those who are desirous of wordly life and its splendour, we reward their deeds in this world only, and they will have nothing but hell hearafter), the people performing the actions are promised hell. MahdiAS has said, "Warae Tark-e-Duniya Eemaan Neest" (There is no belief without renouncing the world). He then said, "Desire for the world is disbelief (kufr) and the seeker is a disbeliever (kafir)." He also said, "Living in this world with desires (Jaan se jeena) is kufr." Tark-e-Duniya is renouncing the self and renouncing the capacity for action (Tark-e-Tadbeer).

That is why after Tark-e-Duniya, it is necessary to stay away from employment, trading and business. Women, children, gold, silver and animals are known as the wealth of this world. Association with them should be only for the sake of Allah and to the bare minimum. MahdiAS said if a Faqir visits the house of a person who indulges in the above wealth, then that Faqir does not belong to me or to MuhammadSLM or to Allah.

Sohbat-e-Sadiqeen (Company of the truthful): This is an important Farz among the Faraiz-e-Vilayat. Without relevant companionship, one cannot learn a skill or a trade. The other word for Sadiq (truthful) is Murshid-e-Kamil. Murshid-e-Kamil is one whose speech, action and state (qaul, fail, hal) are one. Or as per ImamanaAS his state is angelic, divine or heavenly (Malkuti or Lahuti or Jabrooti). The company of a person whose state is only human (Naasuti) is profitless. Another attribute of a Sadiq has been described as "he can resolve his difficulty through Allah or through the soul of RasoolSLM or the soul of MahdiAS."

At the very minimum, a Murshid-e-Kamil strictly adheres to the Shariat-e-Muhammadi and also follows the rulings of Vilayat. Adherance to two time remembrance (Zikr), congregation (Ijma), equitable distribution (Sawiyet), tithe (Ushr), staying awake in turns (Nowbat) and Tahajjud prayers are prevailing in his Daira or Masjid. MahdiAS has said that Nowbat is one of the constituents of Deen. On Tahajjud he said that, "if you want the Faiz-e-Vilayat, then perform Tahajjud." Hazrat Khoob Miyan Palanpuri quotes this saying and writes, "it is naturally expected of Faqirs, but which Kasib is there who has accepted the Mahdiat of Mahdi MawoodAS and does not want his share of Faiz-e-Vilayat".

It is also required for the Murshid to perform the Bayan-e-Quran daily so that the seekers of truth learn about the religion. But as per MahdiAS the person performing Bayan-e-Quran should have the following attributes. (1) He should be a Mutawakkil (dependant on Allah) (2) Does not go to the house of a seeker of the world (3) Whatever Allah gives, he spends in the way of Allah (4) Sees Allah with his physical eyes (5) Has knowledge about the condition of the soul of a dead body (6) To him, gold and mud are equal. Whoever does not have these attributes, he cannot perform Bayan-e-Quran and is not a Murshid-e-Kamil also.

Zikr-e-Dawam (Perpetual Remembrance): The essence of all religious obligations (faraiz) of shariat and tariqat is remembrance of Allah (zikrullah). The attributes of a seeker of truth and the essence of conditions of attainment of love is continuous mindfulness towards Allah and being immersed in the remembrance of Allah. Even a second's negligence from zikr would be unlawful (haram). MahdiAS has said that if anyone misses remembering Allah even for one breath, then he is a kafir for that breath, although hidden. He has declared unlawful negligence of Allah and also the cause which led to the negligence, be it working for a living (kasab) or learning knowledge or any other occupation. He has said, "Guard your heart and don't allow any evil to enter your heart." He said, "Wash, not your clothes, but your heart, everyday. O seeker of truth, don't sleep without care till you see Allah with your eyes and your heart is illuminated."

Other than Zikrullah other Nafil prayers (apart from Farz, Sunnat and Wajib) are prohibited. There is a risk of ostentation in Nafil prayers, which is why it is prohibited.

There are five kinds of Zikr : Zikr-e-Lisani, Zikr-e-Qalbi, Zikr-e-Roohi, Zikr-e-Sirri and Zikr-e-Khafi. Amongst us, except for zikr-e-khafi, no other zikr is taught. Auliya Allah of earlier times used to first teach their followers all the zikrs mentioned above and finally they taught them zikr-e-khafi. But the MahdiAS taught zikr-e-khafi initially itself to the people who presented themselves before him and said, "Everyone's final stage (inteha) is our initial stage (ibteda)" and he also said that "zikr-e-khafi is eemaan".

Uzlat-Al-Khalkh (Seclusion from people): This means seclusion from those people, in whose company one would forget Allah and indulge in wrong deeds. Staying away from people is very necessary for getting contentment in the heart and to stay immersed in zikr. To obtain love (Ishq), Uzlat and Khilwat are required. MahdiAS has said, "consider the outside of the Daira as the burning fire and don't go there." He said, "Watch your breath and step" (Dam Khadam par nazar rakho).

Tawakkal (Trust in Allah): We should have trust (bharosa) in Allah in all situations. Leaving your affairs to Allah is Tawakkal. MahdiAS has said, "Having trust for bread is not Tawakkal, because there is a veil of bread between Allah and Banda (servant)." He said, "A high level of Tawakkal is that one eats whatever comes from Allah at that time and give the rest in the way of Allah." As per Tawakkal predictions (faal kholna), amulets, etc. are prohibited.

Ushr (Tithe): MahdiAS has said that if Allah gives you ten grains then feed one to the ants with the intention of Ushr. Ushr is among the Faraiz-e-Vilayat. One of the conditions of kasab (working for a living) is to pay Ushr. Ushr is obligatory on both kasib and faqir. There is no condition of amount of wealth for Ushr. Whatever you get, you have to pay Ushr on it immediately.

Description of a Momin: MahdiAS has not described as a Momin a person who does not see Allah with his physical eyes, or the eye of the heart or in a dream. But for a seeker of truth, whose attributes have been described above, he said, "It is possible to see Allah and one who sees Allah is a Momin." He said, "Momin is one who is observant towards Allah at all times, in all conditions." He said, "Momin is one who wages jihad against the self." MahdiAS read the Quranic Ayat " Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our Servants as We have chosen (35:32)" and said that "this ayat is in favour of my community." MahdiAS said, "Our eeman is zath-e-khuda, your eeman is zikr-e-khuda", "Momin does not accumulate", "Momin does not sin umdan"

Attributes of the Mahdavia Community: Hazrat Bandagi Miyan Syed Khundmir Siddiq VilayatRZ writes in Aqida Sharifa that Hazrat Mahdi MawoodAS has read the Ayat "Those who left their home..." (3:195) to be in favour of people who accepted him (Mussadiqs). Those who migrated (Hijrat), were driven from their homes, suffered persecution in the way of Allah, fought with disbelievers to slay them and were themselves killed - these four attributes of migration, expulsion, persecution and killing have been described in favour of Mahdavis.

MahdiAS read this Ayat, "Believers are those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and when they hear His signs rehearsed, find their faith strengthened, and put (all) their trust in their Lord; Who establish regular prayers and spend out of the gifts We have given them for sustenance (they give Ushr)."

Kinds of La Ilaha Illallah: Hazrat MahdiAS has said that La Ilaha Illallah is of four kinds : La Ilaha Illallah spoken, La Ilaha Illallah known, La Ilaha Illallah tasted and La Ilaha Illallah occurred. The last three are the attributes of prophets and auliya. That is the Knowledge of Certainty (ilm-al-yaqeen), Certainty after Seeing (ain-al-yaqeen) and Total Certainty (haq-al-yaqeen). One who does not keep even a semblance of faith is a hypocrite (Munafiq) and torment in hell is in store for him. But a seeker of truth (1) who has turned his heart away from things other than Allah...[till the end as detailed above].

He said, "La Ilaha Illallah is the purport of all heavenly books" and through this kalima he gave the zikr as "Illallah tun hai La ila hun nahi". He said "Our brothers who came before us reached Allah with a lot of efforts, struggled and departed from this world with eeman. If they had been alive at this time they would have greatly valued our company. You have obtained this servant of Allah for free." Then he said, "Our brothers left the straight and short path and walked on the long and roundabout path, but since they were true in their quest, they reached their destination." Sahaba asked him, "Which is the long and roundabout path and which is the shorter way?" He said, "Surrendering your choice and control (Apne ikhtiyar se bey-ikhtiyar reh jana) is the shorter way. Why didn't they follow Shariat-e-Muhammadi after surrendering themselves (after becoming bey-ikhtiyar). Why did they fast for their entire lives and performed chillas and hung upside down in wells. They followed these practices which Allah did not specify and fell into a vortex."

He said, "We have been given the ikhtiyar that we become bey-ikhtiyar from our ikhtiyar." Then he said, "Bey-ikhtiyar is bakhtiyar (fortunate). Eat chicken and fine flour, wear clean and nice clothes, sit on thrones and horses, but realize Allah through your bey-ikhtiyari." He said, "Give your heart to Allah and then do whatever you like."

Following the Shariat: MahdiAS has given strong instruction to follow the Shariat. He said that one who breaks the limits of Shariat, has damaged his religious objectives. With regard to Namaz, he said after Azan don't do work, if you do it, it is haraam. If he was eating and if the Azan was recited at that time, then he would keep back the morsel of food in his hand back into the plate and get up. Once a Sahabi joined the Namaz after one rakat. At the end of the Namaz when the Imam had performed the first salaam, the Sahabi got up to complete his prayer without waiting for the second salaam. MahdiAS asked him why didn't you wait for the second salaam? The Sahabi replied, "I came to know through kashf (revelation) that there is no sahu on the Imam." MahdiAS replied, "Throw your kashf which interferes in the Shariat into the oven."

He said, "When the time for Namaz comes, let me know. If I come it's okay, otherwise perform the Namaz and don't wait for me, because time is farz, so don't let it pass." Hazrat MahdiAS gave his short way of meeting Allah as "become bey-ikhtiyar and do your actions as per Shariat-e-Muhammadi". He strictly prohibited any action which was against the Shariat. He said one who forsakes Namaz and denies Zakat is a kafir.

He praised all four Imams of Fiqh - Imam Azam, Imam Hanbal, Imam Malik and Imam Shafei. He said that they are the wrestlers of religion and seekers of truth. And said, "In matters of religion they have done hair-splitting and whatever they said and did was for Allah. If you have an issue related to Shariat then refer to the books and follow the ruling which is on azeemat (excellence)." He used to perform Khasr Namaz during his travel, but in the state of travel he did not give permission to break the fast and explained in such a way that all the Sahaba said, "We will sacrifice our lives for the Farz of Allah" and did not break their fast although the journey was in hot climate and they were passing through a desert.

Keeping Shariat in mind he has prohibited discussions of the hidden secrets. He said knowing is eeman and telling is kufr so that phrases like An al Haq (I am the truth), Azam Shani, etc. are not spoken. For five hundred years, amongst us, thousands of Allah-seeing elders (buzurgs) have passed but no such claim as the above has been made nor did one show his powers or miracles. Instead they remained bande (servants of Allah). MahdiAS said that it is easy to become god but difficult to become a servant. He heard the hadees "Iza tamma al faqra fa huwa Allah" and said, "Fa huwa Abdullah".

Mahdavis also have some religious rites. One is the performance of Dugana Tahiyatul Wuzu about which MahdiAS said one who does Wuzu and does not perform Dugana is a miser of religion. Second is offering supplications to Allah secretly in Sajdah (supplicating Allah by raising hands is prohibited). Performing Bahr-aam - this is done to obtain Faiz. Dugana Lailatul Qadr is performed on the 27th of Ramazan as Farz. Because Shab-e-Qadr was revealed by Allah upon Mahdi MawoodAS, this Namaz is followed scrupulously.

This was a brief introduction about Mahdaviat in light of the sayings of ImamanaAS. The essence of which is that along with adherance to Shariat one should be in constant remembrance of Allah and become one of Allah and refrain from indulging in anything other Allah, including one's own self.
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