Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Allahuma Sali Ala Sayyidna Muhammad ﷺ
It is amongst the great treasures bestowed by Allah Almighty upon His selected servants, that He ﷻ has granted them the ability of the ‘Tai al-Lisan’, or the ‘folding of the tongue’. This ability is granted especially to the Shaykh of Purification who can train disciples to reach to their destination. Our Shaykh, Muhammad Banaras Owaisi, is one such Shaykh, who has the ability of the ‘tai al-lisan’, and has also, in turn, opened such abilities to those of his mureeds whom he has found qualified to carry it as such.
The purpose of this short piece will be to ask what exactly the ‘tai al-lisan’ is, and to document the proofs of such an ability from the writings of the Awliya Allah. It is noted too that the ability of the ‘tai al-lisan’ falls under the blessings of ‘barakat ul-waqt’ (loosely translated as ‘blessings of time’) i.e. the ability to do much in the amount of time given via the blessings bestowed upon someone by Allah SWT. Such a blessing allows for someone to perform what is otherwise humanly impossible. One such example of this would be how our Master, Imam Ali ibn Husayn Zain ul-Abideen (d. 713) would pray a thousand rakahs in one night. It would otherwise be humanly impossible to pray this much at night, but because Imam Ali ibn Husayn possessed such qurb to Allah and His Messenger, this was opened for him.
First and foremost, ‘tai’ in Arabic translates loosely to ‘folding’ or to ‘roll-up’. But what is being rolled up? The literal translation to mean ‘folding or rolling of the tongue’ can sound rather unintelligible to some. The connotation is that the Purified Shaykh, once he reaches a certain level of nearness to the Prophet ﷺ and His Lord, time itself is ‘folded’ or ‘rolled-up’ for him, wherein the ability to recite up to (if not more) 700,000 times a day ‘Allah’ ﷻ is granted through the power of the Spirit. Once that Shaykh has reached a level of Awareness, being aware of each breath, his capabilities to do more for Allah’s ﷻ sake increases. That servant reaches such a level of nearness (qurb) to Allah ﷻ that Allah ﷻ becomes, “his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks.” This is undoubtedly a gift from Allah ﷻ to His selected servants.
We are informed of this ability via narrations attributed to the Companions and the Awliya Allah. While to sift through the pages of the biographies of these Awliya to find all examples would take considerable time, we will briefly mention some examples of the ‘tai al-lisan’ from the lives of the Noble Ones of this Ummah. First, we are told inMirqat al-Mafatih of Mulla Ali al-Qari (d. 1605), a book which served as the sharh Mishkat al-Masabih of al-Tabrizi (d. 1341) of how the Noble Companion and Fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA) was able to complete the whole of the Holy Qur’an as he would mount his horse. He would begin the ‘Fatiha’ while putting his foot into the first straddle, and by the time this second foot would go into the second straddle, he would have already completed a khatm of the Qur’an! Subhanallah al-Azeem!
Another such example is reported by Imam Yusuf Nabhani (d. 1932) in his Jami’ Karamat al-Awliya, a book on the compilation of the miracles of the Awliya Allah. He writes concerning the teacher of the Egyptian Sufi and Shafi’I scholar Imam Sha’rani (d. 1565), Shaykh Ali al Marsifi. He writes:
Imam Sha’rani says: Abul Abbas al-Huraythi told me that he completed the Qur’an Khatm (completion) between Maghrib and Isha 5 times, so I mentioned that to my Shaykh Ali al Marsifi, and he told me, ‘I’ve recited the entire khatm 360 times in 24 hours”
(Imam Nabhani continues…)
The Gnostic, Abdul Ghani an-Nabulsi (d. 1731) said in his commentary on the Tariqa Muhammadiya after mentioning the above:
“This is not far-fetched for the Awliya Allah whose Ruh (spirit) have overcome their physical bodies. And the Ruh is from the Command (Amr) of Allah Ta’ala and the command of Allah is like the blink of an eye as He said in His Book… so the displaying of all the words of the Qur’an along with their meanings upon the tongue of the Wali all in one moment is not impossible and is capable of all things.”
Let us give a historical analysis in addition to the above commentary of Imam an-Nabulsi. We can see from the way the ‘tai al-lisan’ capability is recorded that the acknowledgement of its presence has always been known amongst the People of Tasawwuf. Take for example that Imam Sha’rani records the ability of Shaykh Ali al Masrifi in the mid-16th century, which is then affirmed by Imam an-Nabulsi in the mid-18th century. Finally, Imam Nabhani records this in the early part of the 20th century. This is not to say these are the only Scholars who have recorded the ‘tai al-lisan’; rather, the presence of this ability is all throughout the works of the Awliya Allah. It has just never been found under a certain section, or heading such as ‘tai al-lisan’.
It is up to us, the students of these masters, to compile this data, insha’allah. Also, the continuity of affirming this ability is indicative that the rightly guided Ulema and Awliya have always been aware of not just the practice, but the People blessed by such an ability. It is only the misfortune of our current generation that when the subject of ‘tai al-lisan’ is brought up, or the discussion of its existence is brought up amongst a gathering, that we deny its existence and laugh away— laughing, when we should in fact be weeping that we have become so disconnected to the blessings of Barakat ul-Waqt!
These miraculous abilities are a sign of Allah’s special favour and Wilayah upon the Purified Shakh: the Shaykh who can, in turn, purify! It should be noted also that the Purified Shaykh in turn possesses this ability due to his constant state of consciousness of the Messenger ﷺ. This state serves as an example of the annihilated state of love these shuyookh exist in towards the Messenger ﷺ. What better gift for love, than to return such love? And whose love can be better than the Messenger ﷺ?
Alhumdulilah, Shaykh Muhammad Banaras Owaisi is one such Purified Shaykh who has the ability of ‘tai al-lisan’. The Shaykh can finish one sitting of the entire Quran in just a short period of time. The Shaykh through this ability is able to perfom Khatum of Quran 600 a day with a minimum of 300,000 salawat. Through the grace of Allah ﷻ the Shaykh blesses and heals those that are fortunate enough to be guided to him. We are witness to it, and we are in turn witness to him opening such a station to others.
May Allah ﷺ continue to raise the stations of the Holy Ones and grant us qurb for the sake of their qurb to His Messenger! ﷺ