Shaikhul Masha’ikh Qutb-e-Alam Shaikh Ibn Ataullah Iskandari (rahimullah ta’ala) says,
“Not a moment of your time passes without some command of Allah being attached to it for you, be it obedience or sin, favour or disfavour, materializing.”
Every act which Allah Ta’ala has decreed for man at every breath of his, will materialize whether the act be one of obedience or sin or a ni’mat (bounty) or difficulty. This means that man is perpetually in a state which is pleasing or displeasing to his nafs. If it is pleasing, it will be a ni’mat on condition that it is not a sin. If it is displeasing, it will be a calamity on condition that it is not the effort of an act of obedience.
Of these two states, one state or the other applies at all times with man. Sometimes it is the state of pleasure and sometimes the state of displeasure.
Every state (haalat) has a right (haq) which man has to incumbently discharge. The haq of a ni’mat is shukr and the haq of the state of museebat (calamity) is sabr. It is, therefore, imperative for the bandah to be saabir (patient) or shaakir (grateful) every moment of his life. Thus, he should not destroy even one minute of his life.
Do not wait for a time free from alien influences because it (i.e. waiting) will keep you aloof from His meditation and remembrance in the state in which you are.
When the fadhl (grace) of Allah Ta’ala focuses on the Saalik, his heart establishes a connection with Thikrullah. Thereafter, sometimes the condition of his engrossment in Thikr is such that his heart becomes completely emptied of all things besides Allah. However, sometimes the contamination of mundane affairs and activities dominates him. Due to involvement in worldly affairs, the original state of Thikr in the heart is overshadowed. The Saalik becomes terrified and desires to extricate himself from this state of perplexity. Much of his time is then spent in this desire. He waits in anticipation of a time which will be free from all this pollution so that he could engage peacefully in Thikr.
The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) advises the Saalik not to wait for such a free time in order to resume Thikr. Even the state of zulmat (spiritual darkness) and kudoorat (spiritual pollution) in which the True Rabb has cast you, is a time. If in this time granted to you, you are going to involve your heart with the concern of the elimination of the pollution before engaging in Thikr, then this concern will prevent you from the meditation and remembrance of Allah Ta’ala. This time will be squandered in ghaflat (negligence, inertia).
Hence, banish the idea of waiting for a time devoid of contamination. Think that this is the only available time and that there is no other time because one has no certainty regarding the future. Thus, become engrossed with your Master in this very time of pollution and darkness.
Someone asked Sahl (radhiyallahu anhu):
“When does the faqeer attain comfort?”
“The faqeer attains comfort when he knows that the time which has passed over him is the only time.”
When this knowledge becomes grounded in the Saalik, the pollution and the confusion will be dispelled. In reality, this advice of the Shaikh is the remedy for these contaminations.
The aforementioned discussion will apply if the Shaikh’s advice is intended for the Saalik who is involved in thikr and shaghl (spiritual exercises). Nevertheless, this advice can also apply to people who are ensnared in the world. Generally, people involved in the world wait for a time when they will be freed from the encumbrances of a certain activity. They deceive themselves by believing that on the accomplishment of a particular activity, they will be free to apply themselves to the remembrance of Allah. But after accomplishing one worldly activity, they commence another. There is no end to the hopes and desires of the nafs. The entire life is squandered without achieving a time to devote to the remembrance of Allah.
For such people of the world, the Shaikh’s advice will also be applicable. They should not wait for a time when they will be free of worldly encumbrances. They should immediately engage themselves in the remembrance of their Maula (Master) regardless of worry and disturbance. Allah Ta’ala will Himself dispel the state of worry and agitation from the heart.
To delay the rendition of virtuous deeds until availability of free time is of the stupidities of your nafs.
This statement is similar to the aforementioned advice. When man becomes involved in worldly affairs, there is no end to its ramifications. When there is no end to man’s worldly indulgences, it is simply the indolence and stupidity of his nafs to postpone A’maal-e-Saalihah (righteous deeds), moral reformation and spiritual upliftment for the future under the notion of obtaining a time devoid of worldly affairs.
Man destroys his present time and in his stupidity waits for a time, the acquisition of which is uncertain. Life comes to an end without the obtainal of free time. Maut (Death) makes a sudden appearance.
An intelligent man, therefore, is he who values the time he has obtained. He does not postpone the work (of Thikr, etc.) for a later time nor does he wait in anticipation of free time, the attainment of which is impossible.
If the worldly affairs are permissible activities, continue therewith and involve yourself simultaneously in Thikrullah and A’maal-e-Saalihah. If these affairs are unlawful, abandon them.
Shaikh Ibn Ataullah Iskandari (rahimullah ta’ala) says,
“Obligatory Huqooq (Rights) such as obligatory acts of ibaadat, if not tendered (in their respective times) can be offered as qadha. But, it is impossible to make qadha (i.e. offer compensation) of baatini (spiritual) affairs and the spiritual acts of the heart (Waaridaat-e-Qalbiyah). These acts and affairs are the huqooq of time. Once omitted, fulfilment is not possible because their is no such time in which some new right or command of Allah Ta’ala does not become incumbent. When you are unable to discharge the Haq of Allah in its time, how is it possible to discharge the rights of others in that time?”
There are two kinds of rights devolving on the bandah. The first kind pertains to Ibaadaat. These rights become obligatory at fixed times, e.g. Namaaz, Roza. If these rights are not discharged at their appointed times, it is possible to redeem them by executing these acts of Ibaadat at some other time (by making qadha).
The second kind are the Huqooq of time. These Huqooq apply at every moment. There is no separate fixed time set out for them since these are the rights of time itself and the existence of time is perpetual, i.e. at all times.
Time in this context refers to the states (halaat) which occur to the bandah perpetually in succession. These haalat are of four kinds: Ni’mat (Bounty), Museebat (Calamity), Taa-at (Obedience) and Ma’siyat (Sin). At any given time the bandah will certainly be in one of these four states. The rights of these four haalaat are termed Huqooq-e-Auqaat.
The Haq of Ni’mat is Shukr. The Haq of Museebat is Sabr. The Haq of Taa-at is Mushaahadah (Perception) of Allah’s Fadhl (Grace). The Haq of Ma’siyat is Taubah and Istighfaar.
No such time will be found in which some Haq has not devolved on the bandah. Therefore, if these rights are not honoured, compensation (making qadhaa) for them is not possible. Qadhaa is to utilise some of one’s own time to discharge an ibaadat which was not rendered at its appointed time. However, in regard to the second kind of Huqooq Qadhaa is not possible because in the time which you set aside for the qadhaa of these Huqooq, some other right of Allah among the four rights mentioned above, devolves on you. Every moment Shukr, or Sabr or Mushaahadah Fadhl or Taubah becomes incumbent. Thus, their is no time available for the discharge of the Huqooq of time which have been missed.
Now when you have been unable to discharge Allah’s Haqq pertaining to the time, how will it be possible for you to fulfil the right of another person, which you did not discharge at its time? When every moment involving the discharge of some right of Allah (one of the four rights), it follows that when you will choose a particular time for rendering the unfulfilled right of others, you will be abandoning the Huqooq of Allah pertaining to Auqaat (Time).
It is, therefore, imperative that the bandah never neglects the Haq of time. At every breath, he should fulfil the haq of time. It is for this reason that the Pious Seniors have said:
“The Sufi is the Son of Time”.
In other words, he is fully and perpetually engrossed in the discharge of the rights of Time.
There is no compensation for age which has passed. The existing age is priceless.
No compensation can ever be offered for man’s age which has expired. Therefore, if the past age was spent in futility, devoid of Ibaadat and A’maal-e-Saalihah, nothing can now be offered to make good the loss.
On the other hand, the time which one obtains at present, is priceless. The entire earth with all its possessions cannot buy it because by virtue of existing time, the bandah can secure everlasting happiness for him. It is precisely on this account that the Salf-e-Saaliheen (The illustrious Saints of former times) treasured their breathing (taking a constant reckoning of every breath). Never would they destroy a single moment.
According to the Hadith, the moment of the bandah spent in ghaflat (inertia) will be a cause of regret for him. But at that time regret and remorse will be of no avail.
If you do not turn towards Allah Ta’ala even after having withdrawn from all other activities and when obstacles have lessened, then this is complete disgrace and misfortune.
It does not matter to what extent man is involved in worldly affairs and in the execution of his family duties, he is under obligation at all time to turn to Allah and remember Him. Ibaadat is obligatory on him in all circumstances. It is, therefore, essential that he casts behind his back the redundant affairs of the world and contents himself with basic needs. He should incumbently set aside time for his Maula (Master).
If all his time is consumed in worldly matters, leaving no time for building up a capital for the a khirat, then indeed, the bandah will find himself in complete disgrace and total loss. It will be his greatest misfortune. His excuse of not being able to find time, will not be acceptable in Qiyaamat.
If a man inspite of having sufficient means which relieve him of all or of a great number of worldly involvements does not turn to the remembrance of Allah nor applies himself in the spiritual process of building up his treasure for the Hereafter but, on the contrary, ruins his life in forgetfulness, play and amusement, then his disgrace, misfortune and destruction are multiplied manifold. Indeed, his plight is most pitiable. He had acquired the priceless treasure of Time and then had destroyed it. Alas!
[“Ikhmaal Ash-Shiyam”, Maulana Muhammad Abdullah Gangohi]