Expressions of Servitude
By Mufti Rasheed Ahmad Fareedi
Edited by Faraz Abdul Moid
Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasmi said that his father, Hadrat Hafiz Muhammad Ahmad, had mentioned that he had seen many pious people. However, there were three among them whom he had not only seen, but in fact, the memories of their lives were very clear and apparent before him. [Hafiz Muhammad Ahmad relates:]
Hāji Imdādullah‘s Expression of Servitude
The first of these three men was Hāji Imdādullah. Whenever he experienced any minor difficulty, he would moan and groan excessively. Someone once said to him, “Hadrat, outwardly this seems to be against submission to the will of Allah (SWT) and is a sign of expressing intolerance. We ought to be patient with the decree of Allah. Your reaction is completely the opposite.”
Hadrat replied, “Do you wish that I be bold in front of my Allah? Should I display such boldness that I can withstand any calamity that He places upon me? Rather, I express my humility and submission that ‘O Allah, I am not worthy of being tested. I do not have any strength at all. Forgive me without engaging me in any trial. Therefore, I express my helplessness, inability, and my dependence upon you.’ To express one’s helplessness, inability, and dependence is actual servitude.”
Mawlana Qāsim Nānotwi’s Expression of Servitude
The second pious person was my father Hadrat Mawlana Qāsim Nānotwi [grandfather of Qari Muhammad Tayyib]. His practice was that no matter how big a calamity he be afflicted with, he would never disclose it to anyone; he would tolerat it. After many months, he would say, “I had experienced such and such difficulty.” Only then would we come to know that he went through such severe difficulties.
He used to say: “Whatever comes from the friend is best.” In other words, whatever difficulty a person experiences from Allah, he should exercise patience. If sickness comes, he should be patient. If he is afflicted with any calamity, then too he should be patient. Thereafter, he used to explain that this is the true meaning of servitude.
Imām Mawlana Rashīd Ahmad Gangohi’s Expression of Servitude
The third pious person was Hadrat Mawlana Rashīd Ahmad Gangohi who was my ustādh (teacher) as well as my murabbi (spiritual guide). If he was afflicted with the slightest sickness, he would not complain. However, he would be extremely particular about medication: “Call the doctor! Bring the medicine! What food should be eaten? What food should be refrained from? Now the doctor/hakīm is coming for treatment.”
These were some of the statements he would constantly make. The people would comment, “Hadrat, this apparently seems to be against tawakkul (reliance upon Allah). So much concern for such a small sickness! This is against the very essence of tawakkul.”
Mawlana Rashīd Ahmad Gangohi would reply, “This body of ours is a machine from the [Divine]. We are not the owners of it. The real owner is Allah, and to look after it is fard. This body is an amānah (trust). Look after it so that you will be saved from khiyānah (misuse) [i.e. one should not neglect medication nor should one overdo medication]. When a person gets sick it is [from the] Sunnah to adopt the means to cure himself so that this machine will function well. To look after oneself is fard.”
Thereafter he would say, “Ittibā’ al-sunnah (following of the Sunnah) is in fact true servitude.”
Qari Muhammad Tayyib states, “Thereafter, my father would say:
I saw all these three saints. One would moan and groan like Hāji Imdādullah, one would keep silent like Mawlana Qasim Nānotwi, and [Mawlana Rashīd Ahmad] would take his precautions so that he may follow the Sunnah.
In one instance servitude is to express one’s inability. In another instance it is tafweed (submission to the will of Allah). In yet a third instance, it is in the following of the Sunnah by resorting to treatment. All these are expressions of servitude.
Extracted from Virtues and Etiquettes of Visiting the Sick
Note: This article was edited for spelling, grammar, and style.