We Must Perfect Our Character
Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
1 January 2017 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan
A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani ‘r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani '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.
Alhamdulillah that Allah (swt) gave us a chance in every moment to remember Him and to ask His forgiveness. We are carrying a heavy load so don't be proud of yourself. If you go to the Internet today, which did not exist twenty years ago, you find a lot of information and if you need to check any subject, you Google it and get everything described on that subject is it not? They have everything, what you need to know and what you do not need to know. They can enter your homes and your lives and they keep that data for themselves. If human beings can enter your house and your heart, can’t Allah’s angels enter and write what is good and what is wrong that you have done? Yes, they can.
If you look at the knowledge they give on the Internet, if someone did one percent of what is written there they will be successful. To base success on something very important to Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s) you will be successful, but if you base your knowledge on what Allah and His Prophet (s) do not like, you are a loser. They are teaching everything, but there is something missing in what Muslims and non-Muslims are teaching. Alhamdulillah, some Muslims are teaching, and unbelievers are also doing their best on the same subject, about what Prophet (s) said:
انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق
I have been sent to perfect the best of conduct (your behavior and character). (Bazzaar)
If we don't have good manners and behaviors we are losers and Prophet (s) wants to fix what Ummatun-Nabi has lost. So the most important aspect of Islam is to perfect your manners and your behavior. One example is, do you argue at home? Yes. Are you oppressors to each other? Yes. So what is the benefit of all this YouTube and so forth (suhbah live stream and video archive) if we are not improving? As we said yesterday,
نَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ
Inna ‘s-salaata tanhaa ʿan al-fahshaa’i wa ‘l-munkar,
Indeed the prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; (Surat al-`Ankabut, 29:45 )
Prayer prohibits you from being corrupted and doing what is bad. If you find that you have still the same anger and bad character, this means your prayer is not being accepted, so that is a big question mark; it may be accepted as fard, but not to raise you higher and higher in good manners, you are not yet reaching that. So how to proceed to build our character and behavior?
I just came out and saw two people shouting at each other, why? They are coming here to be better, not to fight and argue. Prophet (s) did not like arguments. Imam Ghazali said, “Arguing will extinguish the light of the heart.”
Imam Shafi`ee used to study Shari`ah from Sayyida Nafisa at-Tahira (r), one of the grandchildren of Prophet (s). When going to his mosque, he passed by her house and sat with her and his followers to learn about good manners and good behavior, and what are we doing for good manners? Nothing!
And one time he entered her house and found something like a ditch in her room and he said, “What is this?”
She said, “This is my grave; when I die I want to buried here.” And she was buried in that grave that she dug herself in dunya; she prepared herself for Akhirah, she didn’t care for dunya.
I spoke with a person on the phone yesterday and because of that today he is here today, he could not help himself. Awliyaullah teach their followers to perfect their character, but they don't tell you to pray as you have to pray, it is an obligation. It is not necessary for them to waste their time, it is necessary for them to teach you to perfect your manners, because you can pray and have bad manners and then you will not be raised up nor rewarded as someone who has good manners. So you can pray like that or you can pray with perfection and the prayer will take you up.
Which is better, the prayer with anger or the prayer without anger? Without anger is better, so why are you and other people angry all the time? They reject what Allah gave them and it makes them angry. The first principle in Tariqah is to keep your anger down, and Grandshaykh `AbdAllah and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, may Allah bless their souls, always insisted on good manners, and keeping your anger down is part of that. Grandshaykh said, al-ghadabu kufr, “Anger puts you in a state of unbelief.” Do we have anger? Yes, all of us have anger, and we have to get rid of it!
Imam Shafi`ee studied with Sayyida Nafisa at-Tahirah (r), a granddaughter of Prophet (s), to take his anger out. Awliyaullah tell us to take our anger out. Grandshaykh (q) used to say, “An angry person has no mind, like someone drunk. Whatever you speak to them, they will not listen.”
How far Awliya went to keep their anger down? I will tell you a story that Mawlana (q) told us. Sayyid Jamaluddin al-Ghumuqi al-Husayni (q) was the father-in-law of Imam Shamil (q) in the time of Russian tsars and he lived in Istanbul. Always he did not speak when he was angry, he kept quiet, but his wife often pushed him to get angry. He suffered a lot to keep his anger down. One day, Friday, he took a shower and dressed in a white clothes, which is the Sunnah for Jumu`ah or prayers in jama`ah that we are not fulfilling now. He went downstairs and walked out in the street. One window of the house faced the street.
His wife, an angry woman, was doing the laundry and wanted to fight with him, a Wali of the Golden Chain. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) said the family doesn't know their husband is Awliya; out of 1,000 people two of them know and 998 don't know because Awliya hide it. In his country, the people called Grandshaykh (q) ‘Hajji AbdAllah’ because secrets of his Wilayat weren’t revealed until after he left his country. People don't realize because Awliyaullah veil themselves.
So Sayyid Jamaluddin al-Ghumuqi (q) did not answer and his wife was shouting, then she went to the window and poured all the dirty water on him! What do you expect he did? He continued on his way to the masjid without saying one word, smiling, because he knew it was a test. He entered the masjid, changed his clothes, gave the Jumu`ah Khutbah and returned to his house as if nothing had happened. Today people divorce for something like that! So if you are interested in Tariqah, you must build your good manners and good behavior. First fix your house, don't fight with your wife and children, try to accomodate them.
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِسَاء بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْض ٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allāh has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. (Surat an-Nisā, 4:34)
Allah gave authority, responsibility, not to be bad, but to show one's wife and children the best manners and character one can have, not to come home barking and fighting with your wife or children or vice versa. What did Sayyid Jamaluddin (q) do? He kept quiet, thinking, “Does not Allah (swt) see me?”
What did Sayyidna Ibrahim (a) do when he was thrown in the fire? When Jibreel (a) came to him and said, “Yaa Ibrahim, do you need any help?” he said, “No, The One Who put me here knows what help I need.” He kept his adab, he rendered his situation to Allah. Laa hawla wa laa quwatta illa billah, All power and might with Allah (swt). Therefore, if you render everything to Allah you will be saved, but if you render it to yourself and you want to take revenge you will lose.
Allah sent Prophet (s) to show us the 500 obligations and 800 prohibitions in Islam, for us to build up fulfilling the obligations and leave the prohibitions. The main prohibition is anger: we must leave it. People give da`wah on the Internet, but do they fight with their husband or wife? We have a psychiatrist here. Dr., how many people get sick from fighting each other? [Many of them.] And Allah said, “I am sending My Beloved One to perfect your manners.” Prophet (s) said, Innamaa bu`ithtu li utammimu makaarim al-akhlaaq, “I have been sent to perfect good manners,” which means we are molded with bad manners and Prophet (s) wants to clean that. It is easy to make someone angry, but not easy to make peace after anger.
Sayyidina Muhammad (s) built up his Sahaabah (r) and they became pure; that’s why he said about them:
أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم
My Companions are like stars (on a dark night); whichever of them you follow, you will be guided.
(`Abd ibn Humayd, ad-Daraqutnee, ibn `Adiyy, ibn `Abd al-Barr, with unsound chains but the meaning is sound.)
If you follow any one of them you will be successful, you will be guided, but we need to accept them. Take any Sahaabi (r) and check his life, read about him and imitate him and see how much you will be supported. Prophet (s) described one man of the Sahaabah (r), “This one is going to Paradise with no account.” Sayyidina ´Umar (r) was surprised, thinking, “How will he go to Paradise with no account? I want to follow to learn from him. If Prophet (s) said that, I want to find out about what he is doing.” Do you want to go to Paradise without giving an account? Say “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah,” and inshaa-Allah with no accounts, the book will be empty except your hasanaat, no sins!
So when the majlis went home, Sayyidina `Umar (r) followed that one to his home. They were learning the adab of how to walk oin public, keeping their eyes on their feet, not looking at everything in front of them. Now today in public people look everywhere, which is when you see a lot of forbiddens. So from time of Prophet (s) it was required of us when we walk in public, outside, to look at our feet, not to take interest in what is going on in this neighborhood or that house. This is one of the main eleven principles of Naqshbandi Tariqah, nazhar bi ’l-qadam, to gaze at the feet, not looking anywhere else. It is not your responsibility to see what is happening on your left, right, straight, you only look where you are going.
So Sayyidina `Umar (r) followed that Sahaabi, reached his house, knocked on the door and the Sahaabi greeted him, “O, you are here, Sayyidina `Umar. Come in.” Before three days it is adab to not ask the guest what he wants, you are not allowed to ask, and after three days of hosting him well you can ask, “What can I do for you?” Today, who can do that? So he put the food and then they had already prayed `Isha so he gave Sayyidina `Umar (r) his bed and the Sahaabi slept on the floor; that is adab. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar!
Sayyidina `Umar (r) looked at him, waiting for something (of guidance to appear) from him, since Prophet (s) said he is going to Paradise with no account. He expected him to spend his whole night in prayer, but he went to sleep before Sayyidina `Umar (r) and as soon as the man put his head on the pillow he slept. He woke up hearing “Allahu Akbar” when Sayyidina Bilal (r) was calling the adhaan for Fajr, then they ran to the masjid to pray behind Prophet (s), and the same happened on the second day, praying with Prophet (s) when he could, but he performed no awraad, no special prayers, only his obligations. It was the same on the third day.
As Grandshaykh (q) narrated, then he asked Sayyidina` Umar (r), “What can I do for you?”
Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “I was surprised when Prophet (s) mentioned you are going to Paradise with no account, and we pray Tahajjud, Salaat al-Wudu and many other nawafil. You don't do any of those, so what do you do?” Sayyidina `Umar (r) wanted to get the jewels from him as to how he is entering Paradise without doing any special worship.
He replied, “Yaa `Umar, before I sleep, I say, ‘Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah’ three times. Secondly, I forgive everyone who gossiped about me and I don't want to hear from anyone, ‘This one did this, this one did that.’ My heart is with Prophet (s) and with Allah, no one knows it or sees it. I forgive anyone who harmed me; even in Akhirah, I don't want to ask for their hasanaat, I leave it to Allah and to His Prophet (s). Third, if the dunya comes to me in the morning I will not be happy for it and if it goes from me in the evening I will not be sad for it. If Allah gives me all treasures in the morning, I will not be the one who changes behavior, I will still follow the procedures to be good and not be angry, and if I lose the whole dunya in the evening it is the same.”
Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “That is something I never heard before,” and Sayyidina `Umar (r) wept.
Prophet (s) said, “I was sent to perfect the good manners.” When you go to Awliya, they don't tell you to pray because that’s already an obligation--to pray, fast, pay Zakaat, make Hajj--so you must be ready to fulfill the obligations that Allah ordered. The soul belongs to Him and at any moment He can take it, so be ready, do not to say to Him, “No, I am not doing anything.” What He already gave of obligations you must do and you must avoid forbiddens and have good manners and good characters, in order that Allah will be happy with you and for these veils to be lifted. There are mureeds that have been with their shaykh hundreds of years. There are 124,000 Walis, one on the footstep of each prophet, and you perfect yourself through their guidance.
" إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى بِعَبْدٍ خَيْرًا ، جَعَلَ لَهُ وَاعِظًا مِنْ قَلْبِهِ يَأْمُرُهُ وَيَنْهَاهُ "
If Allah (swt) wants goodness for His servant, He will make for him a guide in his heart.
(Abu Na`eem al-Ispahani in Hilyat al-Awliya fom Ahmad bin Hanbal)
Everyone already has a guide, because Allah loves you and honored you by making you Muslim! That is the biggest ni`mat Allah gave us, as we are reminded in the story of Sayyidina Musa (a) with that one in the cave. Sayyidina Musa (a) liked to travel, siyaaha, and approached a mountain cave, from which he heard a beautiful sound of someone reciting. As approached nearer he heard:
Alhamdulillahi ’Lladhee fadalanee `alaa katheerin mimman khalaqa tafdeelaa.
All praise be to The One that honored me over many of whom He honored.
(Du`a based on Surat al-Israa’, 17:70)
He saw a man reciting this du`a non-stop in sajda, then a deer came to him and raised its leg for the man to suck its milk. That was his food every 24 hours, Allah sent him a deer to the cave because he was a thankful `abd. When we thank Allah, He is happy, but ur problem is that we are not thanking Allah, so say “shukran lillah.”
Sayyidna Musa (a) saw that man has no arms, only shoulders, and no legs. He was surprised and said, “Yaa Rabb, what is this? He is thanking You for Your favors, but he has no arms or legs! What kind of favors does he have?”
That `abd heard Sayyidina Musa (a) and said, “O Musa, Allah favored me with the best of favors: He made me Muslim.”
That `abd was favored by Allah to know about Sayyidina Muhammad (s) in the time of Sayyidina Musa (a)! Allah favors us and loves His servant that thanks Him for what He gave him! None of us sleeps hungry. If we go to our original country, weu might sleep hungry, so what’s the difference? There you see many beggars and no one is feeding them, but here (in America) they feed them. Allah likes that, it is mercy.
Make sure your house is peaceful. Allah gave a choice in marriage: if you cannot agree then separate. If you argue, you might not think and pick up a knife and kill someone. When angry, you are lost in that anger: ghadab is kufr, anger is unbelief. May Allah forgive us and perfect our manners, not the way we see ourselves as okay.
لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ
If you thank Me, I will give you more. (Surah Ibraaheem, 14:7)
If you want more, say “shukran lillah” a hundred times a day, then all your problems will be solved inshaa-Allah.
Bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah, shukran lillah.
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