December 6th, 2008
Hazrat Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (damat barkatuhum)
Shaykh’s inclination towards the Creator, the Almighty Allah (swt) began before he even reached puberty. He dedicated his life from before teens in the service of those pious servants of Allah (swt) whom the world today refers as Ahlullah (saints). From the tender age of 12, he began attending discourses of renowned scholars of the time. At the age of 15, he took bay’at (pledge) to the great Wali (saint) of his time, Shaykh Shah Muhammad Ahmed (ra) and spent three years continuously in his lofty company. Thereafter Shaykh was guided to the company of the famous Wali (saint) Shaykh Shah Abdul Ghani Phoolpuri (ra), with whom he spent 17 years. The Shaykh’s service and dedication to his Shaykh is unsurpassable in recent times. During the seventeen years with Shaykh Phoolpuri (ra) the nights were spent in a retreat (jungle) from where no other human sound was audible except for the Shaykh’s (Phoolpuri) zikr (remembrance of Allah). It was under the tutelage of Shaykh Phoolpuri for seventeen years that Hazrat mastered the scholarly work of Mathnawi by Shaykh Rumi. Shaykh Phoolpuri (ra) himself was guided by the greatest scholar of recent history, Hakeem ul Ummat Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi (ra), who in turn was taught the Mathnawi by Shaykh Haji Imdadullah (ra).
Shaykh’s discourses permeate the listeners’ heart with Allah’s love, Greatness and hope of salvation. Every word he utters brings one closer to the Creator, Almighty Allah (swt). His company impresses upon those around him to converge their mental as well as physical ‘being‘ into living a life to the Creator’s criterion. His discourses know no language, color or age barriers and even those alien of Urdu benefit. During Ramadan 1419 (1998/1999) a European from Belgium, who could not speak not understand Urdu, spent Ramadan with Shaykh. He was occasionally seen mesmerized by the Shaykh discourses and tears rolled down his cheeks. When someone asked him what was that kept him with Shaykh’s company? He replied, “Shaykh’s words touch my heart and my eyes involuntarily weep, thinking of Allah’s Greatness”. It is because of Shaykh’s great appreciation and understanding of Allah’s qualities that his Shaykh awarded him the title of Aarif Billah (One who has become acquainted with Allah’s qualities).
In his discourses and writings he explores profound topics relevant to the ummah (community) at present time. .His understanding and explanation of man’s spiritual relationship with Allah (swt), the prevalent spiritual and physical maladies and its rectification are topics taken up by other Ulemas (scholars of Islam) throughout the world.
Shaykh Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum) is one of the greatest gifted scholars of Islam today. His reputation and standing to the Muslims of Asian subcontinent needs no introduction. However, for the benefit of others, Shaykh has been favored by Allah (swt) to have been nurtured by three of the greatest and most renowned Wali’s (saints) of his time.
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (rahmatullahi alaihi) mentions in his Mathnawi, a story of Sultan Mahmood: One day the Sultan decided to test his ministers and ordered them to crush the most prized pearl of his treasury. One by one, each of 65 ministers declined, stating that the pearl was far too valuable to be destroyed.
The King then summoned his closest and trusted courtier, Ayaaz, and ordered him to crush the pearl. Without any delay or hesitation, Ayaaz crushed the pearl into fragments. When the ministers expressed disbelief and shock at such audacity, the King asked Ayaaz to inform them as to the reason for him having broken the pearl.
In response, Ayaaz asked these ministers: “Which is more important, the Royal Decree or the pearl? “
The question we pose to ourselves is:
“Which is more important, the command of my Allah or the haram desire of my heart?”
The haram desires of the heart are akin to pearls, which appear to be quite beautiful but we should not fulfill these haram desires at the cost of breaking the decrees of Allah.
Ayaaz attained closeness to the king through his loyalty and faithfulness and his obedience and submission. Similarly, we will gain the extreme nearness and intimate closeness to the King of Kings through loyalty and faithfulness. This in turn is dependent upon sincere obedience and complete submission to His decrees.