Anyone whose misinterpretation of the Holy Scripture (and/or use of private ”revelation”) implicitly or explicitly, contradicts Quran and the Sunnah can never be a saint even if he/she is a fortune teller, makes predictions, heals the sick, transforms base metals into gold, etc. With a lot of fake faith healers moving in disguise practising as God-men: How important is it to know true or fake; and How a person not well-educated can identify or differentiate the real saint from fake?
The issue of faith healing has been a subject of great misunderstanding and distortion partly due to a lack of understanding and fundamentals of true creed, but also partly due to misconduct of some impostors. We speak here about the standards based on the teachings of the Holy Books Quran, and Sunnah practices – the way of life prescribed as normative for Muslims on the basis of the teachings and practices of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and the interpretations of Quran.
Unsure, what’s more disturbing to many of us, and especially for,“We the Pirzadas,” Is it a broken trust in a several centuries-long tradition of missionary services of a broader version of faith healing, the “Pir-Mureed,” (a religious guide -disciple relationship) relationship which our dynasty also practiced for many generations or, our sorry state of speechless apology on the weak understanding of “Fundamentals of True Islamic creed (Aqeedah)”. A society’s shallow regret on moral decadence is that even educated people fall prey to such con-men or women.
Frankly, many of us are baffled about why people at first instance visit these faith healers. Understandingly, a needy man is greedy, impatient, ignorant, often myopic and quick fortune (miracle) seeker in his/her private (marital) or business life, politics or professional career. It is not unusual for any weak soul, to get frustrated during worldly trials or day to day problems. Many childless couples and patients after exhaustion from Medical experts instead of seeking direct guidance from the Qur’an and the Sunnah or true spiritual guide, land in despair with fake faith healers.
Assuredly, a lot of noble souls (Aamil) are also present in our society. There is a legitimate belief in – and practice of – faith healing. There also is an illegitimate approach to this issue; one that usually puts people at risk of distortion, deviation and misguidance from con artists, including many so-called charismatic preachers misrepresenting and/or exploiting people in the name of the trust (Aqeedah)? Perilous times have much to teach us today. Many people get duped through wrong doctrine or false teachers. Factually, on careful deep probe, one always finds something lacking by which the reality of these fakes can easily be identified.
There also is an illegitimate approach to this issue; one that usually puts people at risk of distortion, deviation and misguidance from con artists, including many so-called charismatic preachers misrepresenting and/or exploiting people in the name of the trust (Aqeedah)? Perilous times have much to teach us today. Many people get duped through wrong doctrine or false teachers. Factually, on careful deep probe, one always finds something lacking by which the reality of these fakes can easily be identified.
How would one not well educated, identify or differentiate the real from fake?
A simple criterion to anyone’s credibility and character in such issues is his Ikhlas (sincerity) in adherence to Quran and Sunnah, the piety (Taqwa) in his actual practical life. “The most honourable people among you in the sight of Allah is he who has “Attaqwa” i.e. most fearful of Allah-(Quran) Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “I have left among you two matters by holding fast to which, you shall never be misguided: the Book of God and the Sunnah”.
Applying such key performance indicators correctly without making the person alert that you are checking, you will never regret in your opinions, selections, and decisions. Actually, it is the poverty of the people’s (or victims’) knowledge about fundamentals of creed (Aqeedah) that provides the opportunity and fertile ground for fraudsters to thrive in disguise on the name of spiritualism, mysticism or much-revered Sufism.
Such people are known to use tricks like (hypnotism, mesmerism, magic etc.) to con the people and make them believe about their supernatural power.
What makes a distinction between one who errs out of ignorance and one who errs despite his knowledge is that the two people can confront the same circumstances with very different reactions. Prophet (ﷺ) said: “…Whoever cheats is not one of us.” (Muslim). By the favour of Allah, the Believer is a guide for others to righteous deeds, whether by his actions or words. He never cheats, deceives or disguises. The shameful acts are beneath him, as they contradict the values of truthfulness.
The stories of the distortion and abuse by any norms, deserve condemnation on the sad state of gross irresponsibility and/or inexcusable ignorance on the parts of involved, and raises questions about society’s sensitivity over wrong or right – How much is too much?
Saying that someone is practising wrong for any Believer should be based on Shar’iah evidence and principle, not on “Asabiyah” or personal preferences on “Aqeedahs”. Self-reflection is key – A desire to know is surely a great strength. A hunger to learn is laudable, but the fruit of learning make a person especially innocence particularly susceptible to the grave sin are not acceptable in any faith or respectable society.
Things about which people should be cautious:
Allah the Almighty has prescribed ordinances, which should not be neglected. He has outlined some limits which should not be contravened and has forbidden some things which he deemed inviolable.
It would be easy if Satan came as his picture is often portrayed. We would naturally flee this ugliness. Often he comes cloaked in the deceptive garb of righteous preachers or spiritual healers, in the end, there can be a wolf under the sheepskin heading.
Devil has many disguises and perilous societies have many nominees for this position yet few are aware of them at all. Ignorance leads to dangerous paths. Learning the fundamentals of our faiths is obligatory, one will not stray from the righteous path and shall also be able to identify and avoid the dangerous paths of disobedience and immorality, which may cross our lives.
And, whenever a deceptive guide meets us, a few moments of small interaction with him will quickly establish that he is not a guide to be followed. Following the Prophet’s (ﷺ) way of correcting mistakes, every faithful servant has a mission in life. The ignorant need to be taught; the one who has doubts needs to have things explained to him; the negligent person needs to be reminded; and the one who willfully persists in committing error or sins needs to be warned and educated, and misguided involved in criminal activities.
Dr Fiaz Fazili has a Diploma in Islamic studies from Islamic Online University. His work has been published in local and international Journals.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of the Free Press Kashmir.