How to find a good Teacher - Part 8: Signs of the learned men of the hereafter

>> Sunday, September 28, 2008

InshAllah this one is extra long, has 3 signs. InshAllah this will be the 2nd to last post on this topic (Hence I made it long.) This one is specially important (specifically sign 11)

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

(9) Ninth sign. Another sign of the learned man of the next world is that he becomes humble and adopts silence. The effect of God-fear appears on his body, dress, character, movements, speech and silence. If any man looks at him, it reminds him of God and his nature and character are proofs of his actions. His eyes are a mirror of his mind. The signs of the learned man of the hereafter are recognised in his face, tranquility, modesty and freedom from pride and vanity. A certain wise man said: God has not given a man a garment better than the garment of God-fear. It is the garment of the Prophets, Siddiqs, Pirs and the learned men. The sage Sahal Tastari divided the learned into three classes. (1) One class are those who are well acquainted with the commands of God but not punishment of God has not given a man a garment better than the kind of learning is God-fear which cannot be inherited. (2) Another class are those who have got knowledge of the commands of God and His punishments and they are the ordinary believers. (3) Another class are those who have knowledge of God, His commands and punishment. They are Side's , and God-fear and humility become strong in their minds. Hadrat Oman said: Acquire knowledge and therefore acquire tranquility, gravity and patience. Humble yourselves before your teacher and let your students do the same before you. Be not among the proud learned men lest your knowledge encourages ignorance. There is in a tradition: There are such good men among my followers who rejoice getting the mercy of God and weep secretly for fear of His punishment. Their soul is in the earth but their wisdom is in the hereafter. They walk with modesty and Come close to God through the means of his grace. Hadrat Hassan al Basra said: Patience is the vizier of knowledge, kindness its father and humility its garment, Bashir-b-Hares said: If a man seeks to rule by knowledge, the nearness of God keeps enmity with him, as he is detested both in heaven and earth. There is a stony that a certain wise man of Bans Israil composed 360 books on wisdom for which he was called Hakim (wise). God then revealed to his Prophet: Tell so and so, the earth has become full of your hypocrisy and you have not sought My pleasure therein. So I accept nothing of it. The man became repentant and gave it up. He began to mix with the people and roamed in the streets befriending all the children of Israil and he humiliated himself. God then revealed to their Prophet: Tell him: You have now carved My pleasure.
It has been narrated that the Prophet was asked: 0 Prophet of God, which action is best? He replied: To avoid evil and to make your tongue wet with the remembrance of God. He was asked: Which companion is best? He replied: The companion who helps you when you remember God and reminds you when you forget. He was asked: Which companion is worst? He replied: The companion who does not remind you when you forget. If you remember, he does not help you. He was asked: Who is the most learned man among the people? He replied: The most learned man among them is he who fears God most.
He was asked: Inform us about the best men among us, so that we may keep company with them. The Prophet said: Those who remind you of God whenever they are seen. He was asked: Who are the worst among men? He said: 0 God, I seek Thy pardon. They said: Tell us, 0 Apostle of God. He said: The corrupt learned men. The Prophet said: Those who have been the most God fearing in the world will be the most secure in the hereafter. Those who have wept much in the world will laugh most in the hereafter. Those who have suffered most in the world will be happiest in the hereafter.
Hazrat Ali said in his sermon: This is my responsibility and I am pledged for the following: The crops of nobody will wither if they were planted with piety. The roots of no tree will get thirsty if they were raised with righteousness. The most ignorant man is he who knows not the honour of God-fear. The worst man to God is one who gathers knowledge from every quarter and yet remains covered in the darkness of trials. The worst man calls such a man a learned man, while he has not lived a single day in learning. He gets up in the morning from sleep and searches for increase of wealth. He goes after greater knowledge little knowing that a little knowledge of right kind is better than a great deal of knowledge which detracts man from God. He lives in doubts and scepticism like living in the spider's web and does never know whether he committed mistake or not.
Hazrat Ali said: When you hear the word of knowledge, remain silent and don't mix it with frivolous talks. It will yield no fruit. Someone said: If a teacher possesses three qualities, gifts become perfect on a student, patience, humility and good conduct. When a student possesses three qualities gifts become perfect on a teacher, intelligence, good manners and keen understanding. In short the qualities which the Quran mentions are found in the learned men of the hereafter as they learn the Quran for actions and not to acquire name, fame, power and prestige. A certain wise man said: Five qualities inferred from five verses of the Quran are the signs of the learned men of the hereafter, God-fear, humility, modesty, good conduct and love of the hereafter more than that of the following verse: Of His servants, the learned fear God most 35:25). Humility is based on the following verse: They are humble to God and they barter not His verses for a small price (3:198). Modesty is based on the following verse: And lower your wing for the believers (15 : 88). Good conduct is based on the following verse: You have become gentle to them on account of the mercy of God (3 : 153). Asceticism' is based on the following verse: But they to whom knowledge has been given said: Woe to you, the reward of God is better for one who believes and does good deeds (28 : 80). When the Prophet read this verse: If God wishes to guide anyone, He expands his breast for Islam (6 : 125), he was asked as to the meaning of expansion of breast and he said: This is light. When it is cast into heart, it expands. He was asked: Has it got any sign?
The Prophet replied: Yes, to be separate from this world of deceit, to turn to the hereafter and to prepare for death before it actually comes.
(10) Tenth sign. Another sign of the learned man of the hereafter is that he studies the learning of practice and avoids such learnings as destroy actions, keep mind anxious and provoke evils. The root of religion is to be careful of evil deeds. For this reason, a poet said:
I have not known evil for evil's sake,
I have not known it but to live.
He who is ignorant of the evil of men,
Falls unto it although he is wise.
Hasan Basri was the man whose words has the greatest similarly to those of the Prophet and whose ways of life nearest to those of the companions. He was asked: 0 Abu Sayeed, you utter such words which nobody knows except you. Wherefrom have you got them? He said: From Huzaifah. Huzaifah was asked: You utter such words which no companion heard except you. Wherefrom have you go them? He said: From the Messenger of God. He was always asked about good deeds but I used to ask him about evil deeds, so that I may not fall therein. The companions were wont to ask the Prophet: 0 Apostle of God, what are the rewards of one who does such and such good deeds? I used to ask him: 0 Apostle of God, what corrupts the deeds? So Hazrat Huzaifah had special knowledge about hypocrisy, hypocrites and subtleties of dangers and difficulties.
The natural way of the actions of the learned men of the hereafter is to make efforts about the different conditions of heart but this knowledge is now rare. When ever anything of it is presented to a learned man, he expresses wonder at it and says that it is the deception of one who believes sermons. A poet said:
The true path is one out of many paths.
Very few are sojourners to this path.
Their goal is obscure, they are unknown.
Slowly and steadily they march to their destination.
People are indifferent to their goal.
Ignorant also are they of the true path.
It has been said that at Basra there were 120 men of scholastic theology regarding speech and Zikr but there were only three men regarding the knowledge of Yeqin or certain faith and the conditions of soul and secret attributes. They were Saha! Tastari, Shu'bi and Abdur Rahman.
(11) Eleventh sign. Another sign of the learned man of the next world is that he relies on his insight and knowledge which enlighten his heart and not on books and what he learns from others. His object of following is what the law giver said and enjoined. The companions believed blindly what they beard from the Prophet and they put it into practice. He from whose soul screen has been removed and whose soul has been illumined with the light of guidance is an object to be followed and he should not follow others besides him. For this reason, Ibn Abbas said. There is nobody except the Apostle of God whose knowledge is not sometimes followed and sometimes rejected. One sage said: We placed in our hearts and in our eyes what we received from the Prophet. We accepted something of what came from the companions and rejected something. Their successors were mere men like ourselves. The companions were superior, because they Now the circumstances under which the Prophet had lived and saw with their own eyes the revelation of the Quran and hence their rank is higher as their minds were imbued with it. The light of Prophethood was so strong on them that it saved them from many sins. They were not satisfied with the words of others. Their minds were distant from books and manuscripts which were not in vogue In their times, nor in the time of their successors. These books were compiled first in about 120 Hijra after the death of the companions and some of their successors specially after the death Hazrat Sayeed-b-Masayyeb, Hasan Basri and other pious successors. Hazrat Abu Bakr and one party of the companions did not like to collect even the Quran in a book form for fear that the people, would not commit the Quran to memory and lest the people depend only on this. Then Hazrat Umar and some companions gave advice to put into writing. Thus Hazrat Abu Bakr had the Quran collected in one book. Ahmed b-Hanbal was critical of Malik for his composition of Al-Muatta and said: He has done what the companions did not do.
It has been said that the first book in Islam was written by Ibn-Juray on dialects of the Quran and historical sayings based on what he heard from Mujahid, Ata and the students of Ibn-Abbas at Mecca. Then Muammer-b-Rashed composed a book in Yemen on traditions and practices of the Prophet. Then came the book Muatta of Iman Malik and the Jami of Sufiyan Saori. Then in the fourth century many books on scholastic theology and argumentation were written::. When the people were inclined to these books, Yeqin or certain belief began to diminish. Thereafter the science of heart, research into the qualities of soul and the learning of safety from the stratagem of the devil began to disappear. Thus it became the custom to call the scholastic theologians and storytellers who embellished their words with ornamentation and rhymed prose. Thus the learnings of the next world began to decrease.