In Tariqah There Are No Shortcuts
Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
3 February 2011 Santiago, Chile
A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.
Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,
nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`ala fee haadha 'l-masjid.
Ati`oollaha wa ati`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.
Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (4:59)
As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.
When you make the intention that I recited just now, it is as if that meeting or that association has become like a seclusion of the saints. Nawaytu 'l-arba`een means, “I make the intention for 40 days’ seclusion,” and this meeting becomes like that. Nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf means, “I intend to make the seclusion,” the one that Prophet (s) used to make at the masjid in the last ten days of Ramadan, when he would stay at the mosque and not go home. This association will be counted as that and inshaa-Allah we will be rewarded accordingly.
Nawaytu 'l-khalwah means, “I make the intention to be with myself.” Nawaytu 'l-`uzlah means, “I make the intention to be away from anyone that interrupts me during this session, in my seclusion.” Nawaytu 'r-riyaadah means, “I intend to make this session to be an effort towards improving my spirituality.” It is similar to when people are running, jogging, and training in a gym, working hard to be stronger. Likewise, we are making the effort to build up our spirit. Nawaytu 's-sulook means, “I intend this meeting to be a journey to reality, to receive real knowledge that Gnostics can put in the hearts of people.”
This video camera is recording everything. There are also cameras that are for each and every individual; they can record not only what you see, but also what you think. They can read your mind, as I explained yesterday a little bit. They can tape your daily actions.
Prophet (s) said:
تعرض على أعمالكم ، فما رأيت من خير حمدت الله عليه وما رأيت من شر إستغفرت الله لكم
tu`radoo `alayya `amaalakum famaa ra’itu min khayrin hamadt’Allah `alayhi wa ra’itu min sharrin astaghfarta laku.
I observe the actions of my nation. If I see good, alhamdulillah, I praise and glorify the Lord. If I see people do something not good, I repent on their behalf.
This is to show how much we are dear to Allah, that He sent prophets and then saints, who are at the threshold of prophets, working hard to raise the level of people so they are saved from their sins and go to the Day of Judgment clean. Allah did not create people to torture them. The reality of punishment is only to make us remember our Lord and to praise Him. Do you think that God is going to punish those who were struggling between good and evil?
God has created everything good. So some people might ask, “What about evil?” Evil will create in yourself a fear about losing; the ego is fearful of losing the power of being strong, so it wants to overcome that relationship. The bad desires want to overcome the good. Therefore, we create fear within ourselves. It is not good for the ego’s fear to take over because it takes us away from the positive desires, from the spiritual side, and that is what we describe as “evil.” So, going from neutral, there is a minus and a plus: the good is on the plus side and the bad is on the minus side. God has informed us:
فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا
fa alhamahaa fujooraha wa taqwaahaa.
We inspired the self with its goodness and badness. (91:8)
He has inspired the self with what is good and what is bad, and gave you the choice of what you want to follow. So if we follow the good we are on the plus side, and if we go the other way, then we are on the minus, negative side.
As I have mentioned before, Prophet (s) said that he observes the actions of people daily. If they are on the positive side, he praises and if they are on the negative, he intercedes and it goes to the positive side. Prophets such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, and Muhammad always take their nations to the positive side; therefore, Allah (swt) will not allow the negative to take over.
Human beings are pure and are created from a heavenly form, which is Adam (a), the father of all human beings. God created Adam and Eve (a) in Paradise and since we are coming from that Paradise, it is impossible for God to let any negative energy affect our positive side. That is why He gave the message to their nations to come to the positive side.
We came from Adam and Eve pure, so God will not allow any negative energy to affect us. Because God knows that if we stayed in Paradise we would be perfect, He sent us on Earth to be tested. But since God is Just, all of His Creation is just. God knows we are struggling and we are weak. If God wanted, He could cancel all negativity on Earth. Do you think God cannot destroy the work of Satan and dress everyone with a heavenly dress from His Names and Attributes? He is “al-Khaliq,” the Creator, “al-Jamal,” the Beautiful, “al-Jalal,” the Majestic, “ar-Razzaq,” the Provider, and described by many other Beautiful Names and Attributes.
Do you think God flung us in a jungle, expecting us to survive? Do you think God is going to play games with His Creation? No, he is not. Allah (swt) said:
وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ
wa rahmatee wasi`yat kullaa shay.
My Mercy encompasses everything. (al-'Araaf, 7:156)
“I am going to give it to whoever is following the prophets from beginning to end; I am going to dress you with My Mercy.”
There was once a wali, (saint) called Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q). He was deeply in love with Allah. God likes for His servants to love Him, not to put anyone else in their hearts except for Him. Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) was at that level of love, and all of you are at that level of love or else you would not be here. That indicates the level of love in the heart.
So he said, “O my Lord! You want to judge us on the Day of Judgment? You judge Yourself, because we are Your shadow.” It means, “We are a shadow of what You have created, with no value without You. So you are The One Who is being judged through Your Greatness and Mercy and we are all saved.”
He said, “O my Lord! We are going over a bridge and You have put many bad desires there to make us fall into punishment. Who put them there? If we cross that bridge over to Paradise, we will find You there, because we are shadows.” And he went to Mecca, to the House of God. He held a chain and said, “O my Lord! With the power that You gave to me, I am able to chain all the devils on Earth, to prevent all Satanic work, and I can erase all the evils on this Earth, but I need Your permission.”
Don't think saints don’t have power; in one second they can change this whole world, but they have no permission. At the moment he said, “I can erase all Satanic power from this world,” he heard a voice. He looked and fainted; he was not able to hold himself up. Allah left him this way for quite some time. Later, when he opened his eyes he began crawling on his chest toward the door of Ka`aba, the House of God, saying, “Yaa Ghafoor! O God, forgive me, I didn't know that.” It was a surprise for him.
What happened? When he raised his head, he saw the Mercy that Allah mentions in the Holy Qur’an, all the Mercy descending on human beings, making them saints without even judging them.
Allah (swt) said, “O Abu Yazid! My Mercy is as much as My Greatness. Since there is no limit for My Greatness, there is no limit for My Mercy. I created that Mercy and am creating it every moment,” like an atomic reaction that ends with a huge explosion. “I created that Mercy for My servants. I created human beings, who are never satisfied and are always hungry to do bad things, and I am always happy to bless them and forgive them. I am their Lord. I created them with My hands. I created that Mercy for them. I don't care for their sins, that does not affect Me. It affects them to be far away from Me, and I want them to be near Me.”
So the importance is, how much we move away from negativity and go towards positivity. That love goes more and more to the heart of the listener or goes to the heart of the people who are attracted to heavenly love. There was a person in the time of Moses who wanted to reach his Lord through the short, easy way, not the long way, which is stronger in infrastructure. When you build a building, you build its infrastructure first, then walls and everything else. All of you want to build that infrastructure of heavenly love, then later you build the walls. And God likes to see His servants making more and more, by building love with family, neighbors, the community, and doing good things for people, as that is what this world is built on. All of us here want to go the short way.
So this person went to Moses (a) and asked, “Why spend all my life searching for the truth?” To search for the truth is okay, but as it is said in the Holy Qur’an:
وَكَانَ الإِنسَانُ عَجُولاً
wa kaana ’l-insaanoo `ajoola.
Man is given to hasty (deeds). (al-’Isra`, 17:11)
Human beings want everything quickly; they don't want to ascend stairs one-by-one, they want to jump to the top. He said, “O Moses! Where are you going in your best clothes?” Moses replied, “To Mount Sinai. I am going to speak to God today.” The man said, “You know I believe in you and your message. Can you ask God something for me? Tell Him that I am always thirsty for His love, I want to quench my thirst. Can He send His love to my heart?”
Is this what you want? (Yes!) Do you want the short way or the long way? (The short way.)
So Moses began his meditations and prayers, and God began speaking to him concerning the message for Bani Israel, his nation. When Moses was about to leave, God said, “O Moses! What happened? Are there any message to Me? Moses replied, “Oh yes, I forgot. There is one who believes in my message that You gave me. He is asking if You will honor him to send some love to his heart.” Allah (swt) said, “Okay. I am sending him some of My love.”
Do you see? Allah used to speak to Musa directly, with no intermediary; he is the only prophet with that distinction.
Moses was happy and returned to his house and delivered his message to his nation. Then he went to his neighbor to tell him that God was going to send some love to his heart. He knocked on the door, but there was no answer. Musa (a) pushed the door and saw that one sitting on the floor with his eyes closed. He said, “O my neighbor! I have a good message for you, wake up.” But the neighbor did not reply. Musa shook him, with no result. “O my neighbor, wake up!
Then Moses heard a heavenly voice, “O Moses! Don't waste your time. He is completely in My love. There is no way for him to come back to his normal life. That heavenly love is making him rejoice. His body is not working but his soul is, so leave him alone. O Moses! Even if you put him in a machine and grind him, every small piece and every atom of his body will be saying, ‘Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah,’ and will not respond to you.”
Moses (a) said, “O Allah, what have You done? I asked for love for him, I didn’t ask for him to go that quickly from me. What did You do?” Allah (swt) said, “O Moses! I sent him one small drop of My love and it affected him like that. That is why My wisdom is to let My servants go step-by-step, to build up, because if I opened that love, everyone would leave work, family, and children to be in total love for Me. That is for Heaven, not for here. Work has to be for here, I created it.”
So God knows that everyone is asking for that love. And as much as you go higher and higher, your interest in the worldly life drops. To the extent that you may not be able to live any more as you should live as a human beings. That doesn’t mean that you are not supposed to have love for God in a good way, but we have to take it step by step. Not everyone can get a shortcut. For us, the long way is the best. The short way is for those who are dedicated, you cannot dedicate your life. Even if you dedicate your life to God, do dawah, and bring people close to Him, it is not going to give you the title of a saint, this title comes from Heaven.
There are saints between people who can guide and direct. And as I said last night, all of you are saints in the eyes of God, because you are trying to go on the way of Gnostics, Knowers, which God loves. But He wants you to travel on a long highway. You start from the beginning like a car, the highway might be 1,000 kilometers long. You can see rest areas along the highway. God wants you to be on the highway, but you may stop for a while at the nice places on the sides to entertain yourselves and to make yourself happy. And then you must continue traveling farther and farther. Every 100 kilometers, for example, you stop, eat and drink, play with your children, and then go back on the highway; that is what He wants. That is why it is said:
a`ajalla’l-karaamat dawaama ’t-tawfiq.
The best of miracles is to move with steady and firm steps.
That means to listen to what your guide is saying.
One guide said to his student, “O my beloved disciple, go up to the mountain and wait for me. I am coming to see you. We will make meditation.” The disciple went up and began waiting for his guide to come. One hour passed, then two, and then three. Finally, it was evening, the guide didn't come. So what do think you should do? Should you go back or stay? And if you should stay, then for how long? The student ran out of food and water. But he found a small stream, so he decided to stay. He stayed one day, one week, two weeks, one month, but the guide did not come. It was a mountain like the ones you have here, about 100 meters, but with trees.
So one month passed and that disciple was waiting because his guide said, “I am coming.” When you listen, they give you short ways. But there will be tests, obstacles to see how you do. It had been one month and his guide didn't come. The student began eating fruit from the trees. Winter came and he was very cold, there was nothing there. His hair was growing so he covered himself with his hair. Then he began to eat the bark of the trees and tried to get some water from it. One deer came full of milk, so he began to drink that milk. The deer would come every day and then leave. Another three months passed and he kept waiting. He was doing dhikr every day. And after six months, he began to see animals coming from the jungle to make dhikr with him. Dhikr is the remembrance of God's Names, to mention and read them.
He was so surprised. He thought, “What happened? How are they coming here?” He couldn’t understand it, they were doing dhikr with him. He was more happy being on that mountain than living in the city, because he was seeing something that he never believed would happen. That’s why we say while doing dhikr in your normal life, angels will do dhikr with you, they will accompany you. But we don't have the eyes that can see these angels.
One year passed, he stayed there. And then two, three, four, five, six, and then seven years passed. After seven years, the guide came. As he was climbing the mountain, he reached a place where it would still take one hour of climbing to reach his student. His student was waiting for him at a certain area. He knew that he was coming, because he didn't disobey his guide and went into that kind of love gradually. After seven years he was now able to read what his shaykh was sending him through electro-magnetic telepathy.
His shaykh was shouting at him. And always when the shaykh shouts, it is to take away negative energy from you and to give positive energy. Don't say, “The shaykh is shouting at me,” and run away; it is good for you. He asked, “How come you waited so long and didn't come down?”
The student replied, “If I didn't wait all this time, you would have never come to see me with Prophet's (s) order. You came here because I obeyed you. I am happy because you are coming here today to give me my trust, as you were ordered by Prophet (s).”
At that moment, the guide looked into his heart and began pouring all kinds of knowledge. And then He opened for him the six main realities of his heart because he listened and he did not disobey. Thus, we have to know that our movement is like an ant, it is very slow. It is not written for you to go the shortcut, but it is written for all of us to move slowly; to build our worldly life and build our spiritual life as well. That is why your meditation should be for everything that is good, that you love the most. And what you love most must be for the Creator. Allah will reward you and give you what no one has been given.
That’s why on everyone's chest there are seven different layers, lata'if, the heavenly, subtle different stations that we can achieve by the layers that have been put on the chest. When we make dhikr of la ilaaha illa-Llah, we begin to activate the layers one by one. When you activate the first one, you begin to feel that happiness. When you feel that happiness come in your heart, it is a sign that you are opening one of these seven subtle heavenly layers. I cannot describe the pleasure that you will be able to achieve when these heavenly subtle stations open up. I can explain a little bit, and you have to understand.
Here it is empty and here it is full, but there it is empty. When you activate these layers, there will no longer be any emptiness. How big is this space here? When these two lata’if begin to open up, you can see these heavenly pleasures that you cannot enjoy in the way you think. It is not the same as these normal worldly pleasures, like going to the beach or movie theatre, or having a wife and children, no. These are pleasures that come and go. But these heavenly pleasures are more than worldly pleasures: you can feel it.
There is no resemblance from a small atom from this vacuum; it is full. For example, in video games they begin with a small challenge. If you are able to win, then another door opens. Then when you win more, another door opens, then another, and another. It continues without an end, to show how much evil there is in this world from these games. When you get one pleasure another one opens, and then another, and another. No two pleasures are the same and as you are feeling the pleasure from one, at the same time, you are feeling the pleasure of the others and it never ends.
That is why when you are sitting with a real guide, he can raise you up to a level you don't know about, but it is saved. Just like it is on a computer; when you open the level you are on, it is saved until they all open and you can see them all. That is why with saints, you don't know when it will come, but it has to come once. You have to be very clever at seeing what is going to be your password, because when you get it you will witness all the levels opening at the same time. Keep yourself aware, because God is Merciful, and when God sees the servant progressing and progressing, He will carry them to what we call reehus-subha, when He will dress the servant with a heavenly breath that will descend on him.
In our Way, there are three main principles. The first principle in the Naqshbandi Sufi Order is coming through Prophet (s) to Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r) and to `Ali (r), as both of them are representatives. Then it came to Central Asia where it flourished. There are three main principles you have to put on your forehead like nails or arrows.
The first one, which is in all Sufi Orders, but mainly in the Naqshbandi Order, is that the guide might give you a broken shovel, which has to be broken. He might say, “O `Abdul Matin, I want you to use this shovel to dig the Earth until you find your treasures.” But `Abdul Matin is going to say to his shaykh, “O my guide, my shaykh! How am I going to dig 700 meters to free the miners with a broken shovel?” If you think like that, you will be thrown out of tariqah! If he gave you a broken shovel, keep shoveling. Whether you get there or not, that is not your business, it is the shaykh's business. Do you think that he is dumb, he doesn’t know you cannot do that? How is he a guide if he doesn’t know you cannot dig? He knows, but he is telling you, “Listen and obey and don't use your mind in front of me,” bcause whenever you use your mind, you are lost. In tariqah, use your heart, because spirituality needs a heart, while the body needs a mind. So even though you know you cannot reach, you still take that broken shovel and dig.
The second one is that if they say to you, “Your treasures are in a deep ocean. Take this pitcher and empty the ocean to get your treasure.” At that time if you think, “How am I going to do that? It is impossible,” you will be out. You have to take that pitcher, empty it there, and come back for more. It is not your business, it is the shaykh’s business. Your business is only to obey.
The third one is that if you are in the West, he might tell you, “O `Abdul Matin, I want you to move to the Far East,” then your duty is to move. You cannot say, “How am I going to move, by plane?” No, you go walking on water if you have to. If you die, no problem, you are going to God. This means that the guide knows how much damage there is and they have to clean it up. That is why the way of the shaykh of the Naqshbandi Tariqah, the Central Asian Tariqah, is to clean us.
Shah Naqshband (q) said, “Our way is companionship,” it should be to accompany everyone. Companionship is very important. Our way is to be together in a big community, helping each other; the rich help the poor, the healthy help the sick, the ones with full stomachs help the hungry. It means to be around the queen bee, then you can produce honey. If there is no queen, then you will become like wasps that sting but give no honey. What is needed to have honey? If the queen is not there, there will be no honey and no generations. God has honored ladies. If there were no ladies, everything would be dead. That is why they must be happy, they have been given more than the men, but still they complain. (laughter)
So it is very important to have companionship. That is why Shah Naqshband (q) said, “Our way is companionship and the best one is the one who is in a group.” Therefore, the disciples of Jesus were honored because they were together. The Companions (r) of Prophet (s) were honored, because they were companions; Allah raised them. That's why if the leadership is good, the citizens will support the leadership (in goodness). If we go to the leadership of the community, the whole community will be good. And that is our message: this is one family that is bigger than the family of just the wife and children. As much as it expands, that much you are fulfilling principles of tariqah and teachings of the prophets, because they all had companions!
May Allah forgive us, bless us, be happy with us, and send to our hearts heavenly love that will enlighten our way.
Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.