Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi rahimahullah says that Hadhrat Maulana Gangohi rahimahullah used to say that Maulana Muhammad Mazhar Saheb would say, ‘People say that “Dhikr and Awraad” and “Dars and Tadrees” cannot combine together. I find this hard to accept. Since both these are from deen, there is no reason for these two not to be able to be combined.’ Maulana Gangohi rahimahullah would respond, ‘Suit yourself’. Then when Maulana Muhammad Saheb started doing dhikr and awraad, he found it to be hindering and then confessed that definitely the two are extremely hard to be combined.
I was a student in Deoband. Maulana Gangohi rahimahullah came that way. I requested to pledge a baiy’ah on his hand. He responded, ‘This is a whisper of shaytan. When you have finished your books, then make intention towards this pledge.’ At that time I was amazed at Maulana’s response, but now I understand that he was indeed correct.
This is because acquisition of knowledge is Fardh even though this (tazkiyah) is also fardh and indeed a greater fardh than than acquisition of knowledge. Just like Salah is fardh and a bigger fardh than wudhu’, still a salah cannot be completed without a wudhu’.
Similarly darweshi (tazkiyah al-nafs) is an obligation and a greater obligation than acquisition of knowledge, but acquisition of knowledge is like wudhu’. So as in that case the importance of salah was dependent on wudhu’, here too the it is dependent on acquisition of knowledge.
Hence, if two jobs of religion cannot combine, then how can we combine between a job of world and a job of deen. Hence for the people of ability our Mashayikh consider that their connection should only remain with Allah Ta’ala. This is what Fuqaha’ have understood as well.*
Khutbaat Hakeemul Ummah 13/364
* This path has been suggested for those who have the ability to sustain themselves without having the need to delve into worldly acquisition. As for those whose needs are not fulfilled through their current sustenance then they should seek work in worldly matters as per the need. This is to keep the connection to Allah alone, and using the means provided by Allah to fulfill the needs.