Friday, October 18, 2013

Time Management to Help the Salik, Nizam e Awqaat Salik k Liye

Salikeen have to learn how to manage time. My grandfather shaikh from my Qadriyya silsila, Arif billah Hazrat Sufi Ghulam Muhammad sahib (ra) used to say, "A person who cannot manage his time cannot manage anything." My grandfather shaikh from my Chishtiyya silsila, Hazrath Jalalabadi Moulana Masihullah Khan Sherwani (ra) used to say, "A person who cannot manage to sleep on time cannot manage to wake up on time."

Both of these advices have to be used in order to have a proper schedule. An idea came to me at this point about memorizing the words of our pious elders. Should a salik worry about memorizing the words of his buzrughs? No. He should be focused about reading them, listening to them regularly, he doesnt have to worry about memorizing them, why? The words of our pious elders are such, they have such a barakah in them that they come to a saliks use when he needs them. Moreso, something I heard from my shaikh in a dars he was doing out of Malfuzaat of Hakeem ul Ummat, a salik needs to develope within himself such ruhaniyat that the words that issue from his mouth are like the words of pious buzrughs. You yourself should create such ruhaniyat in you that people will listen to your words and want to memorize your words.

Back to time management, which is probably an unstated lesson, shuyookh might never comment on this but its extremely important to do. It is so important that a shaikh might think that this is something that goes unstated, that a salik should know at least this much.

When it comes to time management salikeen fall into two categories; (1) the salik who is goverened by time and (2) the salik who governs time.

I have seen the manifestation of both of these in both of my grandfather shaikhs, the Chishti shaikh Hazrath Jalalabadi Moulana Masihullah Khan Sherwani (ra) and the Qadri shaikh Arif Billah Hazrat Sufi Ghulam Muhammad sahib (ra). The key is to first make a schedule of ones time. Keep something like this:

Adjust the times on the left according to your time.

The key to success in this field is amal, to do your mamulaat punctually, with steadfastness, daily. Our buzrughs never miss their mamulaat even on safar trips. They can travel from one part of the world to another and not miss a single mamulaat, they are so punctual. We have to take on that quality. On some days we may have to adjust things around, but these are rare circumstances. If these become a regular occurance then we have to look back at how we set up our schedule and adjust it completely. Salikeen often complain of how they are not progressing, they cannot do their mamulaat daily, they do zikr for 3-4 days then they are absent in zikr for 3-4 days, they want to sit with the shaikh daily and make zikr to get a habit of it - they want to hold the shaikhs finger and walk with him forever or in some cases they want the shaikh to carry them on his back. The thought never occurs to them that maybe they havent set up their schedule properly, maybe they dont even have a schedule!

So lets say a salik has 13 tasbih zikr, tilawat, munajat e maqbool and hizbul bahr. The key to getting these accomplished is to do them before Fajr. So lets say I estimate the time to do these is 1 hour, in 1 hour time I can accomplish the above mamulaat. Fajr time here starts at 534am, so I will have to wake at 415am, make wudhu and start my mamulaat at 430am in order to finish by Fajr time. Set up your schedule like this, start at 400am, your day begins at 400am. So you get up and make wudhu. Here is a subtle point in doing mamulaat at tahajjud time: get up quietly, make wudhu quietly. This saves a salik from two things; (1) disturbing others and (2) hint of riyaa.

So now you wake up and make your mamulaat, its Fajr time, congratulations! Shabaash and mubarak to you! Fajr time has just started and you are already done with your mamulaat for the day! After Fajr, according to your schedule at that time, you can do some more tilawat or some other wird (astaghfaar/durood) you need to finish up or maybe its time to prepare for work now or maybe you have some nap time scheduled, whatever. It is very critical to your success that you adhere to your schedule. This is one type of salik and most salikeen are of this type, they need to set up a time to do mamulaat and then stick to that daily. This was the way of Hazrat Jalalabadi Moulana Masihullah Khan Sherwani (ra).

Ok so you set your time table to start at 4am but how will you stick to this? How will you adhere to waking up daily at 4am?? The key is in the time you sleep. The man who cannot sleep on time cannot wake up on time. You have to set a specific time to sleep, which you adhere to strictly, and then you will wake up on time for your mamulaat. I would recommend the cut off time for all activities to be at 11pm. Hazrath Jalalabadi Moulana Masihullah Khan Sherwani (ra) used to be accompanied by his students after Isha, he would head back to his quarters and upon reaching near the door he would turn and say, "Ok, khuda hafiz, its time to retire for the night now." He would do this strictly and punctually, daily. He slept on time, not because he needed to sleep at that time but because he had to wake up on time. If you sleep late naturally you will wake up late. This is the salik who is goverened by time, he needs to set a specific time to do his mamulaat. He will notice that the day he misses his mamulaat at the specific time he has set them that day he will miss his mamulaat completely, he will never manage to come around and catch up to his mamulaat. The day you miss your set time for doing mamulaat is the day you will miss your mamulaat illa masha'Allah. Most salikeen fall into this category, that they need to set specific times to do mamulaat and have to stick to them.

The other salik is the type who governs his time, time does not govern him. These salikeen are rare though, its more of a personality/mentality that some people have. These salikeen dont care about the time, they are more focused on the objective. The objective to them is to be punctual in mamulaat whether the mamulaat are done before Fajr or after Zuhr or after Isha, the time doesnt matter to them. They carry a mental note of tasks and they accomplish them whenever they want. As I said these salikeen are rare and its a type of personality some people have, if a salik wants to know if he is this type he just has to try to maintain this mentality for a month or so and he will come to know. If he was punctual in his mamulaat for a month without fixing any specific time to carry them out then he is this type. Arif Billah Hazrat Sufi Ghulam Muhammad sahib (ra), the father of my shaikh, he was like this. He never kept a specific time to do mamulaat, he carried them out whenever he wanted to. These buzrughs may not keep specific times to do mamulaat but these buzrughs are very punctual in mamulaat, they never miss.

Salikeen fit into whatever category comes more natural to them. Here is another point that comes to mind, this is the benefit in being bayt in more than one tareeqah, the benefit in being bayt in more than one silsilah is that your natural disposition will lead you to that method which works best for you. If you are bayt in one specific silsilah then you may have to adjust your natural disposition to it, which is highly admirable, but when bayt into all four silsilahs its much easier to gravitate to that method which fits you. Back to the schedule thing, sometimes circumstances arise in your life where you have to adjust your schedule and rather than doing your mamulaat before Fajr as you are accustomed to, you might have to do them after Isha, it all depends on your preoccupation that day. So you will have to adjust your temperement, your personality, and you will have to govern your time for that day rather than let it govern you. In any case, it is very important to your success in sulook that you make a time-table, you set a specific time to do your mamulaat and you adhere to that time daily, punctually, without fail. On some days you may need to adjust them around, thats ok, but the overall flow of your schedule should always remain the same. If your schedule is constantly being adjusted then you will have to sit down and re-plan your schedule, possibly you underestimated your activities. Keeping and maintaining a set, proper schedule is a major key in success in sulook. The salikeen who stick to a proper schedule advance very quickly in sulook. So you should take these advices and make dua for this poor person.
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