What is exactly Rabita as Sharif

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Question

What is exactly Rabita as Sharif as practiced by the Naqshibandis , and what is the stance of the Deobandi ulema on it?

I asked once to a Deobandi Mufti from SA (Mufti A.K. Hoosen) about Rabita as Sharif as practiced by the Naqshibandis as on the manual here on:

http://www.nurmuhammad.com/NaqshbandiSecre…efmuraqabah.htm

He told me that these are not permissible, while other Deobandi Mufti’s i asked seems to have no idea what it is, and some said the only thing we know is that a students corrospondences with his teacher either personally, by phone or letter for discussing problems or questions to be short making mashwara (consultation to each other).

Is this Rabita Sharif as practised by Naqshibandis a Bidah? Or Shirk?

Answer

Muhtaram / Muhtaramah

In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāh wa-barakātuh.

The word Muraqaba is derived from the root letters ر ق ب .

رقب – يرقب (raqaba – yarqubu) means; to observe, to watch attentively, to heed, to inspect. In terms of Sharia, it refers to inspection and introspection of one’s Nafs (inner self) with certain forms of silent dhikr ( الذكر الخفى ) in an attempt to bring the Nafs in line with the injunctions and commands of Allah. In essence, it is derived from the following verses, إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا – “Verily Allah is ever-watchful over you” and أَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَرَى – “Does he not know that Allah is watching?”

Generally, Muraqaba is carried out by clearing one’s thoughts of everything besides Allah. Thereafter, a person turns his spiritual gaze and attention completely and exclusively towards Allah Ta’ala. He meditates upon the fact that Allah Ta’ala is constantly watching and observant of every single move he makes and every thought that crosses his mind. When such a mindset becomes firmly established in an individual, he is said to have achieved the stage of Ihsan (excellence) as referred to in the following Hadith,

قال ما الإحسان ؟ قال  أن تعبد الله كأنك تراه فإن لم تكن تراه فإنه يراك

Jibreel (AS) asked Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم , “What is Ihsan?”

Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم replied, “It is that you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him and if you are unable to see Him, then (know well) that He sees you.”(Bukhari, Hadith # 50, Dar Ibn Katheer – Beirut).

When a person is entrenched in the thought that Allah is watching over his every move and thought, how could such a person ever conceive of committing even the most venial of sins. Furthermore, such a person will worship Allah with full attention, reverence and subjugation which is the basic purpose of life as stated in the following verse,

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

“And I have not created the Jinn or mankind except that they should worship Me.”(51:56)

The Mashayikh of Tasawwuf have divided Muraqaba into various types depending upon the aim and objective. There are many more types of Muraqaba but a few have mentioned hereunder by way of example:

  1. Muraqaba Dua’iyya : This is a type of meditation wherein the person ponders that his heart is making Dua and that the words of dhikr are emanating from his heart instead of his tongue.
  2. Muraqaba al-Maut: This is a type of meditation wherein the person sits in seclusion, closes his eyes and ponders about death and the conditions that will occur after death. He will imagine scenes such as his soul is being extracted from his body, his final Ghusl being performed, being buried in the earth etc.
  3. Muraqaba al-Ru’ya: This is a type of meditation wherein the person sits in seclusion and imagines that Allah Ta’ala is watching him. All the while he ponders over the verse أَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَرَى .
  4. Muraqaba al-Ma’iyya: This is a type of meditation wherein the person imagines that Allah Ta’ala is with him all the time. However, Allah does not take any shape or form during such imagination and meditation.

All of the above-mentioned types of Muraqaba are permissible and praiseworthy. Such Muraqaba will lead a person towards establishing the desired object, namely, the quality of Ihsan as previously mentioned.

As for the Naqshabadi Tariqa, it is one of the main four schools of Tasawwuf. As is the case with the four Madhhabs in Fiqh, there are four schools of Tasawwuf, namely, Chistiyya, Naqshbandiyya, Qadriyya and Suharwardiyya. There are many Ulama and Mashayikh in each Tariqa (school) that propagate the teachings and practices of each Tariqa. All of these Tariqas are correct, in accordance to the Sharia and upon the methodology of our pious predecessors. These four Tariqas have gained acceptance in the sight of Allah Ta’ala and their teachings have spread far and wide throughout the four corners of the world. Despite attempts by certain sects and groups to defame the Sufiyya and discredit them, these Tariqas have flourished in recent times. Every Muslim should make an ardent effort to identify a qualified Shaykh from any one of these Tariqas and thereafter follow his guidance in regards to his / her spiritual purification and perfection. The Muslim Ummah at large is facing a spiritual degeneration unparalleled in history and the only way to cure such ails is through Tazkiya (purification) of the Nafs.

A qualified Shaykh is one who has full knowledge and experience in spiritual ailments, attributes of vice and virtue, their characteristics and effects. He is able to distinguish between the subtle differences in the spiritual condition of his disciples. He has the ability to devise plans and prescribe prescriptions for the acquisition of virtuous attributes and elimination of vicious attributes. He is acquainted with the hazards and ploys of the Nafs and shaytan.

In brief, a qualified Shaykh should:

  1. Possess the necessary knowledge of Deen acquired by academic pursuit and / or companionship under the tutelage of pious Ulama.
  2. Be a deputy (Khalifa) of another qualified Shaykh who granted him permission to guide others in the spiritual realm.
  3. Maintain an upright and pious character.

In regards to this specific Rabita Shareef Muraqaba, we cannot give a detailed ruling as there seems to be more involved in this type of Muraqaba than mentioned in the article. Upon research of the mentioned web-site, many controversial and questionable articles and beliefs were discovered. We would encourage that one exercise restraint from accepting information from that web-site.

And Allah knows best
Darul Iftaa

Madrasah Inaa’miyyah

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