Jump to content

Understanding By Beautiful Analogies & Similitudes

Recommended Posts

I have always found the use of simple everyday occurrences which the Mashaikh use to explain a concept of Deen deeply inspiring. This method is also found in the teachings of our beloved Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam. The following is one such example. Abu Musa Al- Ash’ari radhiyallaahu ‘anhu narrated that he had heard Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam saying,

“The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one blowing the bellows. The owner of musk would either offer you some free of charge, or you would buy it from him, or at least you would smell its pleasant odour; and as for the one who blows the bellows (i.e. the blacksmith), he would either burn your clothes or at least you shall have to smell a repugnant smell”. (Bukhari, Muslim)

I thought I would compile some of these precious examples from the teachings of our Mashaikh. The following is from the lessons on the Mathnawi by Shaykh Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar sahib.

Hidden deep down in the ocean, among the pebbles are the oysters bearing precious pearls. If one considers them to be worthless stones and bothers not to look among them, one will not discover the prized pearl. By searching among those very stones, those very pebbles, one will find that special oyster bearing its peerless prize.

Similarly, if one spots a fake Shaykh dressed in the garb of the Ahlullah, do not make the mistake of thinking that whoever is to be found in that garb are all the same. Search among them and Insha Allah, you will find hidden among those stones the pearl you seek. Among those fakes, you will find the hidden Sahib-e-nisbat who is worthy of praise among the multitudes of mankind.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Examples of Ghazali's Analogy    



Imam Ghazali describes “understanding the Qur’an”:

When an illiterate person receives a letter, he will not rest until he finds someone who will read the contents of the letter. The news will either be good i.e. marriage, birth of a child etc. or it will be bad as in the case of sickness or death. The happiness or grief caused by the “good” and the “bad” news is temporary and likely to last for only a short period of time and then will be forgotten, yet one will not rest until the contents of the letter are known.

The glorious Qur’an is a “letter” from the Creator Himself and it contains good news and bad news. However this “good” and “bad” news will have everlasting consequences yet sadly, we make no effort to find those who understand the Qur’an (the Scholars) and who would explain the message within.



Imam Ghazali on making effort with continuity and steadfastness:

If one takes a tank of water and pours it on a stone in one go, it will have no effect on the stone. On the other hand if the tank with the same amount of water has a hole in it, and drop by drop the water falls on the stone over a period of time, it will have an effect and it will wear out a hole in the stone. Similarly, any act of obedience or refraining from disobedience has to be persevered with continuity for lasting effect.

Taken from the lectures of Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat (hafizahullah)        

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

A Few Examples of Mawlana Rumi’s Analogy    



Mawlana Rumi ra describes “love for the world” in the following way:

A ship needs water to float on. It will remain on the surface of the water as long as the water does not enter the ship. Once water enters the ship, it will sink. Similarly man is the ship and the world is the water. Just as the ship needs water to keep afloat, man needs the world to live. As long as the world remains outside and does not enter the heart, man will reach his destination. If the love of the world enters the heart, then like the ship which allows water to enter, it will sink.

Mawlana Rumi ra gives the example of those who give their hearts to those other than Allah:

It is the height of foolishness to use a candle or a lamp when the sun is at the height of its journey across the earth, so too is it foolish to turn one’s attention towards the glimmer of earthly beauty, in the face of Allah ta’ala’s Eternal Brilliance.

Reflection of the Moon:

An individual saw the reflection of the moon in the river and thought to himself, “Tonight the moon has descended into the river, let me grab hold of it because to reach up into the heavens is extremely difficult.” When he stepped into the water his foot cause the soil beneath to move and make the water murky, due to which the reflection was no longer visible. He was thus deprived of the reflection as well as the actual moon which remained unattainable.

Mawlana Rumi draws a lesson from this , that as long as we remain distant from attractive young men and women we will attain Allah ta’ala. If on the other hand we run behind the reflection of beauty, we will be deprived of the Original.

The Snake Catcher

Maulana Rumi ra relates a story of a snake catcher who once went to the mountains. Due to the winter cold and heavy snow, many very big snakes lay motionless, as if they were dead. The snake-catcher picked up one of these seemingly lifeless snakes and took it to Baghdad, with the purpose of using it for a show. Showing it off, he made big claims as to how he had deftly captured the snake – captivating the attention of his audience.

However, when the sun began to shine and its warmth cloaked the snake, the coldness in its body disappeared. The signs of life were soon apparent and when the snake began to move, the snake-catcher and all those around, fled.

Maulana Rumi ra then explains that our nafs is like that snake. With Tazkia (purification) and mushaqqat (effort), our nafs (self) becomes frozen. It appears to be dead. But give it a little heat from the fire of sin and it will bite again. A little exposure to some past sins and the nafs swings back to life.        

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Empty the Heart for Allah


If a dish already contains something, then to put something else in, the dish needs to be emptied.

Similarly if the heart contains love for that which is ghayrullaah then the heart needs to be emptied of it before the love of Allah subhaanahu wata'ala will enter

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Different paths, same destination


A car is made up of various parts like the steering wheel, tyres, brakes, etc. Now, when a driver starts driving the car and the steering wheel thinks, "What need is there for the four dirty wheels when it is I who am in the hands of the driver?" ittle does the steering wheel realise that in reality the car will not even move without the wheels and actually each part compliments the other which is necessary for the car to run smoothly.

Similar is the case where the various forms of serving the Deen of Islam compliment each other. Some are busy with Tableegh and Da’wah work while others are busy with teaching. Some are responsible for masaajid while others are working in other fields, each one complementing the other.

No one knows who is accepted in the court of Allah subhaanhu wata’ala. We should continue our own effort with sincerity and have the utmost respect for each and every person busy in their efforts of serving the Deen in the field of their choice.

(Taken from the teachings of Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat, hafizahullah)


Another analogy was given by another well known Shaykh who said that it is similar to a group of four people carrying the janaazah (carrying the deceased in a funeral). If two more people joined in no one is going to refuse them as it actually lessens the burden and if two more joined, all the better. Similarly, every effort in the service of Deen must be welcomed and supported. The efforts of each group compliments the others.....

What insight these chosen friends of Allah subhaanahu wata'ala have! How much love and concern they have for the Ummah! If only we could listen with the ears of our hearts and emulate them in every way!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...