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Character Traits of the People of Paradise

Ramadan Series 2017, Vol 17

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

15 June 2017 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Zhuhr Suhbah

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillaahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,

nawaytu 'r-riyaada, nawaytu 's-salook, lillahi ta'ala al-`Azheem fee hadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Atee`oollaha wa atee`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:59)

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.

We must always be happy; say another time, “As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.” Who is happy now? As Prophet (s) said:

يا أيها الناس، أفشوا السلام، وأطعموا الطعام، وصلوا بالليل والناس نيام، تدخلوا الجنة بسلام

O Mankind! Spread (say) the (greetings of) peace, give out food, and pray at night while people are asleep, then you will enter Paradise peacefully. (Tirmidhi)

When you see others and want to develop closeness, give them salaam. During their informal gatherings, the Sahaabah (r) greeted Prophet (s), “As-salaamu `alaykum, yaa Rasoolullah,” and he replied, “Wa `alaykum salaam wa rahmatullah wa barakaatuh.” Salaam means,“Yaa Rabbee, make peace between us as we are weak servants and only You can grant this.” We try, but we struggle, one day we can and the next day we cannot. May Allah take away all of our obstacles so we may be happy, as happiness is everything! You must be happy both in having come to dunya and in going to Akhirah. Sayyidina `Ali (r) said to be happy for both sides:

اعمل لدنياك كانك تعيش ابدا واعمل لاخرتك كانك تموت غدا

Work for dunya as if you are going to live forever and work for Akhirah as if you are dying tomorrow.

Look for happiness by doing for dunya as if you will live forever, and do for your Akhirah as if you will die tomorrow. Do your best for both sides: for your Akhirah, pray and complete your obligations; for dunya, fight the obstacles imposed by Iblees, which will also give you happiness in Akhirah. Happiness is not to buy ice cream or have a nice meal. If you compare a fancy meal to a simple one, you will see no difference, because as soon that morsel reaches your esophagus it becomes the same. Patients live on a feeding tube, but the taste buds are only from the mouth to the esophagus.

Prophet (s) said:

روى البخاري في صحيحه عن سهل بن سعد رضي الله عنه أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: من يضمن لي ما بين لحييه وما بين فخذيه، أضمن له الجنة

For anyone who is able to control what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I will guarantee Paradise. (Bukhari & Muslim)

If you want Paradise, make sure to not make your tongue run after dunya. From your mouth to your esophagus is dunya, Akhirah begins with the heart. We have to be very careful. Tariqah is to teach adab, with Allah, with Prophet (s), with mashayikh, with community, and with families. Everyone has to keep adab in their own environment. Awliya want us to even control food that enters our mouth, an area ten centimeters or three inches long, but we cannot. Awliyaullah trained themselves, as Prophet (s) said:

اخشوشنوا فإن النعم لا تدوم

“Live a rough life because favors do not last forever.”

(Ibn Abi Shaybah; at-Tabarani with different wording.)

Ni`am, favors might go one day from your hand, so live frugally, roughly so when you have problems you are able to manage and when you don’t have problems you will be alright.

One time, a Sahaabi (r) came, kissed Prophet’s (s) hand and moved on.

Prophet (s) said to Sayyidina `Umar (r), “That one will enter Paradise without account.”

Sayyidina `Umar (r) was surprised and thought to himself, “How? We don't see him do anything special. Let me ask him,” as he wanted to learn how this was so.

وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الأَسْمَاء كُلَّهَا

And He taught Adam the names of all things. (al-Baqara, 2:31)

Allah taught the names of all things to Sayyidina Adam (s), but in Reality, He gave the Noor of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) to the Light in Adam’s forehead that was created before him. Prophet (s) said:

اطلبوا العلم ولو في الصين

Seek knowledge even if it is in China.

You must run to get knowledge! Sayyidina `Umar (r) followed him to this house, knocked on the door, and that Sahaabi (r) welcomed him. It was customary to not ask the guest anything until they had hosted them for three days and nights. So on the fourth day, the Sahaabi (r) respectfully asked Sayyidina `Umar (s), “What can I do for you, yaa Sayyidi `Umar?” who replied, “I have been here with you for three days and have not seen you do anything special. We go for Qiyam al-Layl, then for Tahajjud and Fajr. After that we read Qur’an al-Kareem and take a small nap, then we wake up and pray Duha. Our whole day is full of prayer, but I am not seeing any of that from you. You pray Fajr and then sleep, go to work where you pray all your prayers, come home, eat, and sleep after praying `Isha. Except for the faraa'id, you do nothing special for dunya or Akhirah.”

You are required to fulfill all obligations, such as prayers, you cannot say, “I will not do it.” You can give an excuse for not praying the Sunnah rakats, but Fard rakats are required. Also, voluntary worship helps us advance quickly on the spiritual path.

That Sahaabi (r) replied, “Yaa `Umar (r), you saw what I do. If you want something more than that, I cannot clarify it.” In Tafseer, you add or subtract from your explanation to encourage people, but at minimum you must give the main point. Sometimes when the shaykh gives Tafseer al-Qur’an or Hadith, it makes people happy because Allah (swt) said His Signs are not to threaten people with Hell, but only to bring them back on the right track.

وََمَا نُرْسِلُ بِالآيَاتِ إِلاَّ تَخْوِيفًا

We only send the Signs by way of terror (and warning from evil). (Surat al-Israa’, 17:59)

That Sahaabi (r) said, “You have to clarify it.”

Sayyidina `Umar (r) is clever and asked, “I love, respect, and support you, but please tell me what you do other than eating, drinking and the normal obligations.”

He said, “I don't do anything special, but before I sleep, although I am far from them, I renew my baya` and Shahadah in front of Allah and Prophet (s) as loving them keeps them in my heart.”

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللَّهَ يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ فَمَن نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنكُثُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِمَا عَاهَدَ عَلَيْهُ اللَّهَ فَسَيُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

Lo! Those who swear allegiance to you (O Muhammad) swear allegiance only to Allah. The Hand of Allah is above their hands, so whosoever breaks his oath breaks it only to his own soul's harm, while whoever keeps his covenant with Allah, on him will He bestow immense reward. (Surat al-Fath, 48:10)

That is why Prophet (s) tried to give baya` to all the Sahaabah (r) as he wanted to present them to Allah (swt), which is the importance of baya` in Islam: find anyone to learn from and give them your allegiance so they can guide you and it goes directly to Allah (swt). This is the meaning of baya`. Yaa Sayyidee, yaa Rasoolullah, yaa Rahmatan li ’l-`Alameen! Just as your Companions (r) gave baya` to you, we are also! Take us under your wings in dunya and Akhirah! Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah, `alayha nahya, wa `alayha namoot, wa `alayha nalq ’Llah. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Inna alladheena yuba`yoonaka innamaa yuba`yoon Allah, yadullahi fawqa aydeehim faman-nakasa `ala nafsihi wa man awfa bimaa `aahada `alayhallaha fasay’uteehi ‘ajran `azheemaa.

Allah says, “Whoever takes it with love and respect, I will give him the greatest reward that he never imagined.” That is the benefit of baya`, which is not necessary to profess every moment, once in your life is enough; however, if you wish to take baya` every day to remind you of your allegiance to Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s), that is acceptable. Your baya` is in perpetual ascension to the Divine Presence until the Day of Judgement! Whoever took baya` to Allah, Prophet (s) and `ulama to keep on the right track of Islam will be rewarded for every breath in and out. Allah is The Most Generous. That is why Awliya take as much heavenly knowledge and light as they can to dress their followers. He knows they don't deserve it as they are not doing enough, but the shaykh dresses them with what Allah rewards him to keep them on the right track, shining like stars in dark nights. That is the baya`: to keep your relationship with Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s).

That man told Sayyidina `Umar (r), “After `Isha and Witr prayers, every night before I sleep I recite the Shahaadah three times. During the day, after praying Fajr and preparing myself to go to work, I forgive everyone who harmed me the previous day. I don't keep bad feelings for anyone. I know Allah and His Prophet (s) are my witnesses, so all bad thoughts go completely out of my heart. I don't think about or listen to what anyone gossiped in my ear or whatever lies they spread. I forgive them and don't feel negative towards anyone left or right, as if they did me no harm whatsoever.”

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ

O you who believe! If a corrupt person comes to you with something wrong, ascertain the truth unless you harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done.

(Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:6)

When Iblees comes to you, don't follow his gossips in your ear as it will be bad for you. Iblees does nothing to benefit you, he always comes against you.

He continued, “The second thing I do is when I awake in the morning is, I forgive everyone and say, “Yaa Rabbee, I don't need anything from anyone.” I keep that in my heart for 24 hours, along with my continuous repetition of Shahaadah, and I complete my assigned awraad. The third thing I do is, if all the treasures of dunya came to me in the morning and were suddenly taken out of my hand in the evening, (if Iblees and the fasaadi, corrupted ones gossip in my ears), I wouldn’t care as Allah will provide everything I need. Alhamdulillah, I am satisfied.”

Allahumma salli `alaa Sayyidina Muhammad wa `alaa ali Sayyidina Muhammad! In summary, the three things that Sahaabi (r) did were:

1. Recite Shahaadah three times before sleeping.

2. Forgive everyone.

3. If dunya was given to him in the morning and taken away in the evening, he wouldn’t care.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ

For Allah is He Who gives (all) Sustenance, Lord of Power, Forever Steadfast. (Surat az-Zariyaat, 51:58)

يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ إِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَن تَنفُذُوا مِنْ أَقْطَارِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ فَانفُذُوا لَا تَنفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَانٍ

O you assembly of jinns and Men! If you can pass beyond the zones of the Heavens and the Earth, pass, but not without authority will you be able to pass! (Surat ar-Rahmaan, 55:33)

Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an for both jinn and humans, “I made everything under your command; if you are able to penetrate the atmosphere, do so!” Laa tanfudhoona illa bi-sultaan, but you need a space shuttle to take you up. What was that Sahaabi’s space shuttle? Shahaadah; no hard feelings for anyone; and not caring for dunya.

Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “We don't do that, it never occurred to me. The three things you are doing, including not keeping hard feelings in your heart, is exemplary!” Is it possible for someone burned in dunya from people’s gossips (backbiting and slander, gheebat and nameemah) to forgive them as if nothing happened? That is very rare! The heart of that person would be highly valued, like a rare blue diamond. Those are the Awliyaullah, Friends of Allah, both men and women.

أَلا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاء اللّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Behold! Verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Surah Yunus, 10:62)

Allah describes in Holy Qur’an how nothing makes them fearful nor sad, “verily (to the smallest thing).” Allah is saying, “I will never leave them alone, I will always support them, but they must come to Me through baya` and struggle on My Way, then I will open My Door as I opened it for Awliya.” That is why you see both men and women Awliya. Like Sayyida Nafisa at-Tahira (r), who did her awraad in a grave to remind her of Akhirah.

When I visited India, which is bahr al-`uloom, an ocean of knowledge, at the maqaam of Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi (q), locals said there is an entrance to a place deep underground where he used to pray, about twenty to thirty meters deep. It’s a tight place, so you have to descend very carefully. It had not been opened for one-hundred years. I requested they open it and as soon as they opened the door, hundreds of spiders and different kinds of insects bit us and it was recommended we not enter, but I insisted. So alhamdulillah we went down, with many big ants crawling on our clothes. As we reached a hundred feet down, we saw a piece of marble where Sayyidina Ahmad al-Faruqi prayed. He didn’t go out and only ate one bowl of lentil soup sent to him every 24 hours.

Alhamdulillah, we prayed on that marble, where he also wrote his book Al-Maktubat on Tasawwuf and Hikmah, which today is a best seller. This is how they spent their days and nights. They did not care what people said about them. Allah made everyone speak highly of them after their death, but they were tested from Allah and Prophet (s) every day of their lives. Who was more tested than Prophet (s)? When he went to Ta’if, children threw stones at him, wounded his legs, but he was exceedingly patient. You win the hearts of people by being patient. Imam Shafi’ee (r) said, aljidal tutfi`oo nur al-qalb, “Arguing extinguishes the light of the heart,” so don’t argue with people, leave them until they recognize that you were right or wrong, and wait until Allah opens it for them. If you are wrong, ask forgiveness, and if they are wrong, they ask forgiveness.

Sayyidina Imam Shafi`ee (r) and his followers visited by Sayyida Nafisa (r) after Salaat al-Fajr and sat in the grave and asked her questions on Shari`ah. He wrote a very nice book, Kitab al-Umm, which has many volumes. Whenever he was uncertain, he consulted her. Sayyida Nafisa at-Tahira (r) was a great muhaddith and one of Imam Shafi`ee’s teachers. Who gave her that knowledge? Allah (swt) opened for her when He saw her struggling in His Way. Allah is not like what people think, He does not want to throw us in Hellfire. He said about mu’mins and Muslims, Wa maa nursilu bi ’l-ayaati illa takhweefa, “We only send Our Signs to make people fearful,” because what they are doing is wrong. Allah will forgive all the Believers and we leave the matter of unbelievers to Him. Do you think He will punish heavily or forgive heavily? He will forgive heavily, of course!

He describes Himself as ‘ar-Rahmaani ‘r-Raheem,’ the very first thing in the ayah, is it not? Malik al-Mulk, Dhul Jalali wa ‘l-Ikraam. He is The Compassionate, Merciful, Munificent; hence, all the Ninety-nine Names. He will forgive and send His Mercy on everyone. Ar-Raheem is for Akhirah: on the Day of Judgment, He will give them Paradise.

So that Sahaabi (r) excelled by doing three things: reading Shahaadah, forgiving everyone, and not caring for dunya. He did not have even a shred of doubt when he forgave and forgot everything he had faced in the previous moment, and every moment in his life was rejuvenated into the best he could get from Allah’s Rewards!

To Awliyaullah a century does not mean a hundred years, to them it is the lifetime of Prophet (s), sixty-three years. Every moment that passed for him was like a century of `ibaadah, as Prophet (s) said:

تفكر ساعة خير من عبادة سبعين سنة

To remember Allah (swt) (contemplate or meditate) for one hour is better than seventy years of worship.

Tafakkarru sa`atin khayrun, tafakkur is to contemplate the greatness Allah created around you and to first think about creation of this Earth and universe, how the skies are blue and shining, Who created them? Allahu Akbar! From where do they begin and where do they end? No one knows. There are such skies in your heart. If you can move these skies, you can move the skies of your heart, then veils will disappear and you will be in the Presence of Allah (swt) and Prophet (s). Awliya look for that, ilahi Anta Maqsoodi wa ridaka matloobi, “O my Lord! You are my aim and I seek Your pleasure with me.” May Allah be happy with all of us.

You must find happiness in everything you do. Be happy to throw away gossips that Shaytan whispers in your heart. If you are happy, Iblees cannot penetrate through that obstacle we must put in front of him to show that we are happy at every moment, and not listening to any of his gossips and lies until our soul leaves our body. Say, “I am loyal and faithful to you, yaa Allah, yaa Rasoolullah (s)!” That happiness must grow in you like a plant. The soil cracks on a hot and sunny day, preventing anything from living. If you want something to grow, you must water it. So now we are like a desert, very hot and full of cracks, and our body needs to be watered by mashayikh with our awraad. Your body is in seclusion and cracking; if you don't water it well it will not rejuvenate. When you turn the soil the best comes from the bottom, meaning the secret will be revealed to you and your heart will become fertile for planting new plants.

Keep your heart watered by dhikrullah. Say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah” at least one-hundred times a day; if not, then at least ten times. May Allah forgive everyone and give them what they like, by the barakah of Ramadan and this association, as Prophet (s) said:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مررتم برياض الجنة فارتعوا. قالو وما رياض الجنة؟ قال "حلق الذكر"

Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (s) said, "When you pass by the Gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them." The Companions asked, "What are the Gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied, "The circles of dhikr.” (Tirmidhi)

These sessions and all sessions with Awliya and `ulama are gardens of Paradise, so sit there with them! May Allah turn all our time into Gardens of Paradise.

Laylat al-Qadr is coming soon. May Allah make us to see that Night, which is in His Hands and the hands of His Prophet (s). May Allah give the order to make us happy these thirty days and make all our lives to be Ramadan!

Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.

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