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The Three Levels of Discipline

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

13 September 2012 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Suhbah after Khatm

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Allahumma salli `alaa Sayyidina Muhammad wa `alaa aali Sayyidina Muhammad.

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-riyaada, nawaytu'l-'uzlah, nawaytu's-salook, lillahi ta'ala fee hadha'l-masjid

At-tariqatu kullahaa aadaabun, “All of tariqah is good conduct.” There must be respect, adab, discipline in the way you choose to follow, in any practice; otherwise, if there is no discipline, whatever `amal you have done will be incomplete, imperfect.

For example, someone brought this cup of water, which is adab, and furthermore, he brought it cold, which is better than at room temperature. To bring the cup is adab, but to bring at normal temperature it is not adab as it is summer. If it was winter, you would have to bring warm water. So you have to be careful even in the smallest `amal you do. If you give a present to someone but you don’t wrap it, then it is not perfect. In tariqah, everything must have the highest level of discipline or then we are wasting our time, because everyone can pray and do dhikrullah. Also, if you do not pray with tamaaneena, giving the right of the prayer, the prayer is imperfect and it might be thrown in your face! So everything must be on the highest level of discipline.

That is why Shah Bahauddin Naqshband (q) said, yanbaghi li ’t-taalib suhbat hadrat ash-shaykh wa suhbat as-haabihi, “If you intend to follow as companions of the Shaykh, you must also be companions of his followers.” To be a companion of the Shaykh might be easy, but to be a companion of the mureeds is difficult. If you decide to go that way you have to keep three adaab, three different disciplines and if you don’t keep them, then the way you are following is not perfect. Shah Naqshband (q) said:

Tariqatuna as-suhbah wa ‘l-khayru fi ‘l-jami`yya.

Our way is suhbah and the good is in the gathering.

Our way, as described by Shah Bahauddin Naqshband (q), is always ‘as-suhbat,’ to be in together in companionship, and the more we are together it is better. So we must have companionship of both the Shaykh and the mureeds.

The First Level of Discipline: Don’t Be Proud of Your Deeds

The first level of discipline is to go get that cup of water, but you have no right to tell yourself, “I did something better than the others.” You must not be selfish by thinking, “I brought the water!” Who moved you to bring the water? Allah (swt) made you to move and get the water and that was your duty; therefore, you must not see it as if you did us a favor as that is selfishness. You must not think “you” did some kind of favor and you must say to yourself, “I only did the minimum.”

And what is the maximum you can do? The maximum discipline in that act is not to bring the water when we are already beginning the suhbat, but to prepare it before, and also not to bring only one cup of water but to make sure that everyone has water, because if someone drinks and the others are looking the ‘eye’ will hit the one who is drinking, as they may think, “Oh look! That one is drinking and we are so thirsty.”

So what you did was imperfect, and so you did nothing. Your duty was to bring a pitcher and cups and give everyone water. Did you do that? No, you did that halfway, and you must not see it as if you did a favor. Whether you like it or not, it is Allah’s Favor on us to make us do anything! al-`amaalu bi khawaatimihaa, “The actions are judged by their fruits.” If you had given everyone water, how much would they all have prayed for you? Ask yourself, “Why didn’t I do that?”

Perhaps someone might choke and needs water. The Prophet (s) used to say, “Always put water when you have food,” because if someone chokes and they drink water they can swallow or else they might die. If you choke, no more air comes in, the chest will collapse and you will die.

So every action depends on its end result. That is why they summarize a long story at the end. So the summary of your `amal is that it was necessary to bring water for everyone, and when you do something like that you must see yourself as mutasil bi sifat al-tawada`, as if you didn’t do enough and you have to do better. If he brought water to everyone he has to see that he has to do more. For example, why didn’t he bring sweets? You have to bring sweets for everyone to eat! Dhikrullah must have sweets as dhikrullah is sweet.

Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, never did dhikr without sweets, which afterwards he distributed to everyone. You need to trick yourself into doing good actions (telling your ego), “I will give you sweets.” In the old times there were no sweets like today, so they used to give honey on spoons, which one generous person brought and shared after the dhikr. That is discipline, but we are not doing that and even in Cyprus they are not doing that. Where is the adab we learned from Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) and Grandshaykh (q)? They are doing it sometimes, but most often not. One of the obligations of tariqah is to give sweets after dhikrullah. It used to be that when Mawlana Shaykh Nazim came for dhikr, they had a tray of sweets and gave them to everyone.

To avoid being proud of whatever you did or from seeing yourself higher than others, you must:

* Tawada` wa ’l-inkisaar, “lower yourself.” You must see yourself as a broken person, a thousand times lower than everyone else. That is the first discipline in tariqah.

* Increase worship as much as you can.

* Leave the hope of achieving something in dunya by knowing whatever you are doing is for Allah (swt), and you are trying to perfect it for Allah (swt), not for yourself and your ego.

There are some people who come and in the beginning their ego is big. Initially they see everyone kissing hands and what do they do, they shake hands. The Shaykh doesn’t care if you kiss his hand or not. Grandshaykh (q) and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) never asked anyone to kiss their hand, but out of respect to elderly people we kiss the hand. Also, Grandshaykh never accepted kissing the hand and then putting it on their forehead; he never allowed that because the forehead is only for Allah (swt) for making sajda! Today they kiss and put the hand to their forehead, which is very wrong.

We kiss the hand to show humbleness. Some people whose ego is still strong will only shake hands, then next time they come and see us kissing hands, again they shake hands. Then little by little, after one year they come, bow slightly, but are still not yet able kiss the hand. Eventually, later they kiss the hand. Kissing hands is to show inkisaar, humility, to lower yourself. Lower yourself as much as you can, as that is accepted in tariqah.

(A mureed) doesn’t like to work with anyone, he cannot because his ego is strong. If you give him any work he tries to pass it on to everyone else so he will be free. Why do they give him work? To teach him to have inkisaar, to learn humility, but he never wants it. That is a cancer within us, that we are unable to humble ourselves, and instead we say, “Me! I don’t want to listen to him because I am better than him! I have my own ideas and opinions, so why do I have to go through that?”

There is no such thing in tariqah, there is only sami`na wa ata`ana, listen and obey! Don’t say, “I have to question what the Shaykh said!” The Shaykh has already questioned himself hundreds and thousands of times, until he reached that position. Do you question a doctor when he gives you medicine? He might describe hundreds of its side-effects and still you take whatever he prescribes because you trust him! But no one is trusting the Shaykh; very few trust as it is very difficult because everyone is happy with their ego.

إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا

Inna `aradnaa al-amaanata `ala ‘s-samaawati wa ‘l-ardi wa ‘l-jibaali fa-abayna an yahmilnaahaa wa ashfaqnaa minhaa wa hamalahaa ‘l-insaanu innahu kaana zhalooman jahoola.

We did indeed offer the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to undertake it, being afraid, but Man undertook it. Lo! He has proved a tyrant and a fool.

(Surat al-Ahzaab, 33:72)

When Allah offered the Trust to the heavens and earth and mountains, they said, “We are afraid to take it!” But human beings said, “We will take it!” then Allah said, “Verily he is an oppressor, ignorant!” so he will stay ignorant until Judgment Day! Therefore, the first adab is to do your best, with no ego, and to show inkisaar, humility, by lowering yourself.

We will continue next time.

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


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