REVEALED LAW AND OBSERVANCE/RULE
(SHARIAH AND TARIQAH)

by  Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (rahmatullah `alayh)

Shariah and Tariqah (Revealed law and Observance) are not two different or opposite things. Without obeying the Shariah (Revealed Law) one cannot approach Allah. Revealed law is the collection of all the commands concerning body and soul, the spirit and heart, all the divine science and the infinite knowledge. A part of Shariah (Revealed law) is called Tariqah. It possesses cognizance so unanimously that it is conclusive and final. So all the actions and performances of the saints have to be judged in accordance with the divine Shariah (Revealed law). If they are perfectly in accordance with the said law then they are true and acceptable, otherwise they are condemnable and unacceptable.

So necessarily the absolute Shariah (revealed law) is a must. It is the centre and the orbit. It is the only standard and in fact a touch stone to test the truth and the falsehood. Shariah means the path and the Shariat-e-Muhammadia means the path followed by the Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, and it is absolutely popular and universal and is not limited to few commands relating to physical existence of body. This is the path which is prayed for five times (in every prayer (Namaz/salat) in its every "rakat" (part of Namaz) saying "(Oh Allah) lead us to the straight path". This path is the path of steadiness and of the uprightness. It is the path of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, We pray Allah to establish us firmly on this path.

Similarly Tariqah is also a path, it does not mean an approach. So if Tariqah would have been a different path from Shariah then it may not help us in approaching Allah and on the other hand it may lead us to Satan. He latter may carry us to the Hell instead of Paradise, because except the Shariah (revealed law) all other paths are false and condemnable according to Holy Quran. There is no crime if we believe that Tariqah is the same path as that of Shariah and that in fact it is a lustrous part of the latter, which can not be separate from it in any case.

One who regards Tariqah (Observance) to be separated from Shariah (Revealed law) then he regards the former to be a separate path or the path of Iblis (Allah forbid it).

Tariqah (Observance) is absolutely the path of Allah and not the path of Iblis. Any individual who performs many austerities and religious exercises and also sacred endeavors cannot attain such rank or status that he can be exempted from the commands and prohibitions of the Shariah and he is not free to behave like a horse let loose from reins or a camel without bridle. Allah reveals in Quran: "No doubt on this straight path meets my Rab (Raiser)" from the beginning of the Ruku (Section) Allah addresses the Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, saying "And that this is my straight path (Shariah) so follow it and accept it do not follow any other paths for they will separate you from the way of Allah." Thus the Holy Quran has clearly stated that Shariah (Revealed law) is the only path of which the final destination is Allah. One who follows it he advances unto Allah. Except this path one that follows any other path will be dragged away from the path of Allah.

Whatever is disclosed in Tariqah (Observance) it is the grace of obeying the Shariah. Otherwise without following the Shariah also great disclosures were made to people like hermits and jog’s (ascetics/yoga devotees) and Sannyasis (Brahmins of fourth order/religious mendicants). But all these disclosures lead them to Hell and they deserve the painful torment.

On the other hand Sufi (Muslim abstemious devotee) who controls his wishes and desires according to the Shariah (Revealed Law) and is never swept away by self-desires nor falls prey to the lust of life and lasciviousness, he never disregards the Shariah.

Remember that Shariah is food and Tariqah is energy. If one stops to consume food then he is bound to suffer the loss of energy. The Shariah is like a mirror and Tariqah is the power of sight. If one damages his power of sight by destroying his eyes then he loses his power of sight. Any contradiction to this belief may not be acceptable by common sense. If the compliance of Shariah would not have been compulsory or if it could have been neglected or set aside optionally then the Syed of Worlds Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, and Hazrat Ali (Radi Allahu `anhu) (Allah's favours be bestowed on his face) would have regarded to be right to leave or discard Shariah.

Absolutely not. Appearance to the contrary as the degree of nearness to Allah increases the reins of Shariah are held more tightly. The good deeds of the righteous people happen to be greater in number than the common people. The people who enjoy supreme and exalted ranks in the presence of Allah are bound to perform many good deeds. The Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, used to offer voluntary prayers (Nafil Namaz) for the whole night and used to be sorry and always shed tears in the interest of welfare of Muslims Ummah. The daily five time prayers Namaz) was obligatory for the Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, like any other but in addition to those prayer the pre-dawn prayer (Tahajjud) was also made obligatory for his whereas this prayer is only a Sunnat (Tradition of Prophet) for the Ummat.

When Syed of the Taifa (party) Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi Radi Allahu `anhu, was asked about some people who were proud of the fact that by following command of Shariah they had become "Joined" (Wasil) and they did not need Shariah any more, then he replied "They are telling the truth they have become Wasil (Joined) but unto What? unto Hell."

He added:

"The thieves and adulterers are better than the people of such faith. If I live for a thousand years I shall neither reduce any obligation and Wajibats (expedients) nor shall I without any excuse of Shariah reduce the number of Nawafil (supplementary prayers) and Musta-habat (preferable religious acts) which I have fixed for myself. So, for the people all other ways except the way of the Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, are closed.

One who does not follow the way of the Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, then he can never reach his destination.

It should be borne in mind that the disrespect or contempt of Shariah tantamount to infidelity. Those who reproach and use abusive language against the scholars of the religion then they are bound to be disgraced and humiliated in Hereafter. Those who go out of the circle (Jurisdiction) of Shariah they actually commit disobedience of Allah.

On the other hand a Sufi (abstemious Muslim devotee) is in fact righteous and truthful in his action therefore an upright Sunni Muslim who follows the true faith following the commands of Allah and His Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, always believe that the scholars of the manifest. Shariah are the heirs of the Last of the Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, and that they are the flag bearers of the troops of religion and are guardians and custodians of the Science of Shariah.

So they regard that paying respect to the scholars is in fact like honoring the Holy Prophet sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, which is the real orbit of religion. So those who behave humbly and respectfully with the upright righteous and people fond of Allah are in the refuge of Allah and they are Knowers of Allah. Those who regard the scholars of religion to be eminent and superior to themselves and to be free from the worldly vices if by chance they find something in the scholars which is repugnant to Shariah then they should broad mindedly over look such errors and leave them to Allah so that He sets them right. It is the only way open to the true followers of Sunni faith in the aforesaid circumstances.

Oh Allah Guide all of us and make us steadfast and firm in our faith and make us to part from this world being the perfect followers of the truthful articles of faith. Amen oh the Merciful of the Merciful.

Oh Allah all praise is for you and unto you we look for help and there is no power nor any force except you, you are Allah the exalted and the greatest. Let greetings of Allah be unto His friend Hazrat Mustafa sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, and unto his pious members of household and unto his purified companions collectively.