The death of Aarif billah, Shaikh Hakeem Mohammad Akhtar Saheb [1928 – 2013] in Karachi yesterday has united seekers around the globe. Celebrating his life and reminiscing over his legacy, hundreds of thousands mourn the loss of their beloved spiritual mentor and guide. His lectures, books and tours covered various topics, but he will be most remembered for highlighting a simple way to find a spiritual connection to the Almighty Allah. His easily implementable, widely translated contributions to Tasawwuf, Reformation of Character (Rights of women, Rights of Family) and Spiritual Diseases (anger, pride, greed, lustful glances, masturbation, racism, prejudice) were all extracted from the Quran and Ahadith. His lucid and poetic commentary on the Mathnawi of Moulana Jalaaludeen Rumi (ra) has been hailed by great Ulema as a commentary which ignites the love of Allah Almighty. He is listed 3rd amongst the 500 most influential Muslims in the world, in the category of Spiritual Guides.
He had been in a critical condition for several days. A stroke in 2002 left him partially paralysed, but did not prevent him from promoting spiritual beneficence till his end. His janaza prayer was offered on Monday morning, the 3rd of June 2013, at Jamia Ashraful Madaris, Gulistan e Johar in Karachi, Pakistan. Born in 1928 in (then) undivided India, Hakim Muhammad Akhtar studied Tibb (Oriental Medicine) in Allahabad. He went on to become a Khalifah of Moulana Shah Abrarul Haq, (Khalifah of Hakimul Ummah, Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi) and Shaikh Shah Mohammad Ahmad Partabgarhi from the silsila (chain) of Shah Fazal ur Rahman Ganjmuradabadi (ra). Shaikh Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (ra) was his first Shaikh and incidentally, stepfather. In South Africa his silsila is conjoined to Ml Fadhul Rahman Azhmi, Mufti Muhammad Amjad, Ml Abdul Hamid Ishaq of Azaadville; Mufti Zubair Bayat, Ml Haroon Abbas Omar, Ml Naeem Motala of Durban, and the marhoom Mufti Husain Bayat and Ml Yunus Patel, among many. May Allah preserve those who are alive and shower His choicest blessings on those who have left us. Ameen.
It is an undeniable facet of our faith that the way to Allah’s pleasure is through spending time with righteous believers. For this Allah says in the Quran [at-Taubah 9:119] “O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with the righteous people.”
After finding a sustainable connection with a righteous and pious person, (we may deem so by our mutually cohesive personalities) being in their company causes the to heart develop a fondness for good deeds and a fear and distaste for sins. Consequently, it may become easier to save ourselves from sins and do good deeds. Our love for our shuyookh and spiritual mentors is based on this alone. We recall the words of Abu Bakr Siddiq (rad) at the death of our beloved Nabi (pbuh): “Whoever worshipped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead. Whoever worshipped Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die." Then he recited Allah's Statement -- "(O Muhammad) Verily you will die, and they also will die." (39.30) He also recited -- "Muhammad is no more than an Apostle; and indeed many Apostles have passed away, before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah. And Allah will give reward to those who are grateful." (3.144) [al Bhukari].” Likewise, though we may mourn the death of our Shuyookh, their passing is part of the natural system of Allah. If anything, it should propel us to carry out their teachings toward bonding with Allah, more resolutely.
A related anecdote mentioned in Khazaa’in-e-ma’rifat-o-Muhabbat (pg. 72):
Once the baby of Hakeem Akhtar’s nephew came to the khanqah. Hazratwala (ra) picked him up and the baby proceeded to cry and scream. Hazratwala (ra) related:
“I wanted to pick up the child up to kiss him out of love. But since the child was unaware of my motivations, he began to scream and cry. Similarly, when people are called towards Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) they become uncomfortable and uneasy. This is merely because their souls have not yet matured. If I had lured the child with chocolate candy he may have yielded. Likewise, people accept every alluring candy coated invitation towards the dunya. This little child is exempt and excused, but we are different. We must accept the invitation of Ieman from Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) (in whatever form/packaging), as we are sane and mature. He [Allah] has nourished and raised you. He has caused your body and mind to grow and mature. Despite all of that, if you still have not recognised Allah, then how can He forgive you. ”-- Wa billah at’taufeeq
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