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Adab of the Naqshbandi Tariqah, Part 11

(Introduction to the Adab of Halaqa)

Ramadan Series 2015, Vol 18

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

11 July 2015 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Suhbah

Bismillaahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. As-salaam 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

Innama 'l-`amaalu bi ‘n-niyyaat. Fa li-dhalika naqool nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah, nawaytu ’r-riyaada, nawaytu 's-salook, lillahi ta`ala fee hadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

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

Dear viewers, all those who are present here, and those who are watching online, may Allah (swt) bless you and your families and accept from all of us the fasting of Ramadan. No one can explain or express what Allah (swt) will reward those who fasted Ramadan.

الصوم لي وانا أجزي به

Fasting is for Me and I give reward it. (Bukhari)

Allah (swt) said to the Prophet (s), who said to us, “Fasting is for Me and I will reward it.” What is the meaning of ‘the fast is for Me’? It means any human beings or creatures, because every creature fasts in Ramadan by Allah's Order:

تُسَبِّحُ لَهُ السَّمَاوَاتُ السَّبْعُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهِنَّ ۚ وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلَّا يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّهُ كَانَ حَلِيمًا غَفُورًا

The Seven Heavens, the Earth, and everything that is inside them praise Him. There is not a thing but celebrates His praise, but you do not understand their praise. Truly, He is Clement and Most-Forgiving. (Surat al-Israa’, 17:44)

Everything is making tasbeeh, but we cannot understand their tasbeeh, and similarly, they are fasting, but we don't understand their fasting. They know what Allah has written for them and the reward will be written for Ummat an-Nabi (s). Angels descend on those who are fasting and they don't go back up until that person leaves dunya: all their tasbeeh is written for that person, then Allah orders them to go where He wants them to be.

Great-Grandshaykh Sharafuddin’s Suhbah from 1905

This suhbah today, although we will not go through all of it, was given on 1st Shawwal 1326, 110 years ago, from Great-Grandshaykh Sharafuddin (q) to Grandshaykh `AbdAllah al-Fa'iz ad-Daghestani (q). The title of it is Fadeelat al-Halaqa, “Rewards of the Circle”. The circle has a beginning and an end; when it begins it makes a cycle in our life and it goes all around your life in dunya until it reaches back to point zero from where it began. It means your life is finished in the meaning of the circle.

That is why the Prophet (s) said, as said by Great-Grandshaykh Sharafuddin (q), Grandshaykh `AbdAllah al-Fa'iz ad-Daghestani (q) and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil (q), may Allah bless all their souls, that after Fath Mecca, the opening Mecca for them and they performed Hajj, in Madinat ul-Munawwarah after the Hijra, after making dhikr with them, the Prophet (s) ordered his Sahabah (s) to be in a circle to remember Allah (swt), and they were 45 Sahaabi present at that time.

The Origin of the Halaqa (Dhikr Circle)

As Great-Grandshaykh Sharafuddin (q) said, the Prophet (s) has revealed to them all the ayaat, the verses of Holy Qur'an that mention the importance of dhikrullah. Wa qaala lahum an-nabi tahallaqoo fa ja`aloo daa’irat al-halaqah bi ‘n-Nabi, the Prophet (s) told them to make a circle, so they sat in halaqa and Prophet (s) was at the top of the halaqa, and they were in a circle until they came to the end. The one on his right was Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r), then the rest of the Sahaabah (r) and Khulafa ar-Raashidoon, until they reached other side of the Prophet (s) with no gap between them. Sometimes we have to realize that not everything is an order, but we speak about what they have done and the adab of Tariqah and Shari`ah. People can do what they can, it is not an order; for example, they might get sick [and not come to the halaqa].

Benefits of Showering in Cold Water

In a previous session we mentioned the adab of the Khatm al-Khawajagan, how before attending it you wear clean clothes and take a shower with cold water, and if there is no cold water you use warm water. In those days the water was warm because of the weather; before they use the pitcher and the water is hot, not cold, but cold water is recommended to refresh the body and wake up. As soon as you put cold water on yourself you feel the body will reject the cold water, but it is not rejecting, it is the angels pulling out every sin you have done, throwing it out of your body and making you clean! You see there is wisdom in everything you do. With hot water you don't feel that, because you used the rukhsah, an easier way, not from the higher Level of Determination, you went with the lower level. `Azheemah is the higher level of doing something in Shari`ah and Tariqah, like praying Salaat at-Tasaabeeh, not everyone will pray it. Similarly, to shower with cold water is the `Azheemah.

Some people took a shower with cold water yesterday and we don't want people to be sick, so we have to be careful. Those who took shower got first prize, and those watching us and they took cold shower according to what we said yesterday, the body was coming out rejecting the cold water, but actually it was not rejecting it, but taking all the sins you have performed up to that day!

Benefits of Using Water Sparingly

That is why the Prophet (s) said, “Who takes a shower and goes to Jumu`ah will come back as if newly born,” with no sins on him. So Grandshaykh (q) always recommended to take a shower, but not in an excessive way. They used to take a shower with one pitcher, now they use half a tank! That is waste of water, which is not allowed in Shari`ah nor Tariqah, neither for showering or wudu. In previous times, they poured a little water and rubbed it on their hand [almost like masah], while today they open the tap fully and have water flowing from their hands, their mouths, arms, etc. Those who took a cold shower yesterday--and I told them not to do it anymore unless they feel they won’t get sick, because some of them were sick-- those who did it got the prize of:

انما الاعمال بالنيات

Truly actions are only by their intentions. (Bukhari, Muslim)

They used cold water and they can now use warm water, but it will be written for them as if they used cold water. They get that because they accepted and because of the high respect they showed to the words of Shaykh Sharafuddin (q).

So our bad desires and sins cannot go except by the use of water, taking showers, and that adab of Khatm al-Khawajagan is one of the nine adab we explained before. Now we go to the adab of circles.

Adab of the Halaqa Circle

Benefits of the Circle

Why do we sit in a circle, why did the Prophet (s) order the Sahaabah (r) to sit in a circle, why not in rows? Today people sit in rows, which is okay, but if you sit in a circle it will be better. I always saw Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) and Grandshaykh (q) sit in a circle and close the gaps many times. What is the importance of the circle? He said that the adab for sitting for dhikrullah is to sit in a circle, and whoever is sitting in that circle should begin dhikr. If there are two groups, one sitting in a circle in a house or outside in a field and another sitting in a masjid and not in a circle, which group is going to be rewarded more? Those sitting in the circle will be rewarded more, because in the circle you notice why there is an empty space inside it; even if you form a larger outer circle, however it may be, the middle of the circle will be empty.

Where the Angels Sit in the Circle

So in that vision from the Prophet (s), Grandshaykh Sharafuddin (q) said when they sit in a circle it is not empty, that angels fill the empty part and Anwaar an-Nabi (s) reflects from the center, from the radius to the circumference, as Allah opens from the Noor of the Prophet (s) and it radiates. Then, ss soon as that Light reaches everyone in the circle, it is as if they performed all 500 maa’mooraat, orders of Shari`ah we must fulfill in our lives: that is reflected on the people sitting on the circumference. That is why the middle of the circle is always left for the angels.

Imam Shafi`i’s Oath of Being in Paradise

As I said, when they come down they don’t go up. Those who sit in a circle are seven times higher than those who don't in their awraad. According to Sayyidina Shaykh Sharafuddin’s personal notes, Imam Shafi`i (r) was sitting in a dhikr area and said, “If someone does not believe I am in Heaven, then he is mistaken. I am now sitting in Heaven, and those who are sitting in Heaven with me will receive heavenly rewards through the angels Allah will send to encircle them up the First Heaven, and they make tasbeeh on behalf of those sitting in the circle.” Further, Imam Shafi`i (r) said that if someone gives an oath that he is sitting in a circle [of Dhikr], we have to believe that he is sitting in Paradise, we have to accept that. Why? As the Prophet (s) said in Hadith, and we don't say something that is not based in Shari`ah:

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

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)

He said in his Hadith to his Sahaabah (r), “If you pass by the land of Paradises, sit there.” They said “What are the lands of Paradise?” The Prophet (s) said, “The circles of dhikr.” It is mentioned as a ‘circle’ in the Hadith, not a ‘row’ If you cannot find a place to make circles, you can make smaller circles, because:

انما الاعمال بالنيات

Truly actions are only by their intentions. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Sit in a Circle or in Rows?

If you cannot arrange yourselves in circles, then sit in rows and Allah (swt) will change that area to a part of Paradise. Why? It is because in Holy Hadith, in which Allah said to the Prophet (s) and the Prophet (s) mentioned to us:

أَنَا جَلِيْسُ مَنْ ذَكَرَنِي

I sit with him who remembers Me. (Hadith Qudsi. Ahmad, Bayhaqi)

So Allah will sit with those who remember Him, meaning He will send down His Beautiful Names and Attributes on those who sit in circles making dhikrullah. We don't say literally, “Allah sits with them”, we say Allah is ‘sitting’ with them, meaning Allah will send His Tajalli to those people. Allahumma salli `ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa `alaa aali Sayyidina Muhammad.

Even the Hypocrite that Attends the Halaqa is Blessed

If there is a munaafiq, heedless or faasiq person sitting in the circle who comes for nifaaq, hypocrisy, some described as:

آيَةُ الْمُنَافِقِ ثَلاثٌ : إِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ , وَإِذَا وَعَدَ أَخْلَفَ , وَإِذَا اؤْتُمِنَ خَان

There are three signs of the hypocrite: if he speaks he lies, if he promises he breaks it, and if he is entrusted he betrays. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Someone from whom there is nothing correct, he is completely heedless and sits in the circle only to make trouble, that person will not be unsuccessful in his sitting, but he will also get that same forgiveness and benefit because Allah will not deprive them of His Tajalli!

لا يشقى جليسهم

The one who sits with them will not suffer. (Bukhari)

What the Angels Tell Allah about those Attending the Halaqa

In the Hadith, Allah asks the angels, “What are people doing when they know about My Paradise and My Hellfire?” It is a long Hadith and at the end, after the benefit of the circles of dhikr, the angels say, “Yaa Rabbanaa, there is one person not from them; he came sitting with them for some other purpose.” Then Allah says, “Since he is sitting in the circle, I am dressing him and he will not lose out. He might be guided at the end of his life and turn out to be a good person.”

The Dhikrullah of Angels is Always Unique

Angels sit in the circle and whenever they recite dhikrullah on behalf of those sitting, it will always be different, not the same: we have never heard it. Every time they make dhikr, it will be different from the first, the second, the third and fourth and all that will be written the same for those who are making dhikrullah in that halaqa.

Dhikrullah is from Shari`ah and Allah Wants Us to Remember Him!

I see the people making circles of learning Shari`ah in the masaajid, but not making dhikrullah. Is Shari`ah not dhikrullah, and is it not an order?

فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِي وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ

Remember Me, I will remember you. Give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful towards Me.

(Surat al-Baqarah, 2:152)

Allah is saying, “Remember Me, I remember you.” Look! You mention Allah and He mentions you, and that mentioning of you by Allah even once in your life is enough to be saved! It doesn’t mean to go against Shari`ah and do bad things, but it is to show how much Allah is Merciful. In a soft way, Allah is saying, “I like you to remember Me and then I remember you in a nice way, so please remember Me!” Allah is teaching us adab. “The prize is ready for Me to give to you, but first remember Me.” We don't remember except ourselves and our ego.

Why did He mention, “Washkuroo lee” after “dhikr”? Allah will give you high level of Paradise when you remember Him and then you must thank Him, say, “Thank you, Allah! You inspired us to remember You.” So when those who are sitting in a circle of dhikrullah for Allah and His Prophet (s), Allah looks at them all equal, as it is mentioned in the Hadith:

االناس سواسيه كااسنان المشط

People are equal like the teeth of a comb.

So when you sit in a circle, the highest one and the lowest one in the circle all share the same rewards; there is no one higher and no one lower, Allah looks at all of them with His mercy because you are leaving a space for the angels to sit and do dhikr with you and it will be written for you.

Introduction to the Nine Conditions of Sitting in Halaqa

The adab of sitting in halaqa has its conditions:

1. The Appointed Head. There must be a leader in the halaqa that everyone accepts. Absolute permission is given to the leader of the halaqa, al-idhn al-mutlaq. No one else in the halaqa may say “yes” or “no.” By agreement of the people in the halaqa, they assign the ra`ees, head, and mashaaykh will give him permission to lead the halaqa. If he is not ma’dhoon from the shuyookh, he is leading it in vain and has no permission because the halaqa has a chain, it is made of links connected from one to another all the way to the Prophet (s). So as soon as you sit and the chain is coming over the head of the top one who is leading the halaqa, as soon as they begin dhikrullah that halaqa will begin to move and give a sound and awliyaullah hear that halaqa. If that is interrupted in any way, it has to go through forty shaykhs to the Prophet (s), so if it is being performed with their permission then they have to fix any problem with that dhikrullah that is under their name and permission. So for this crucial reason, not just anyone can sit and say, “I am the one who leads the dhikrullah.” However, since people live long distances from each other, we follow the principle, “Truly actions are only by their intentions” and whatever you can do, there are so many representatives now to lead dhikr, but that depends on the closeness of the permitted one to the shaykh. So the first condition is to have a leader with permission to lead the halaqa and do dhikrullah.

2) To Show Our Servanthood by Worshipping Allah. The purpose of sitting for dhikrullah is to worship Allah at the Maqaam al-`Abdiyya, showing servanthood to Allah by remembering Him, as the Prophet (s) said:

أَفْضَلُ مَا قُلْتُ أَنَا وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ قَبْلِي يَوْمَ عَرَفَةَ : لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لا شَرِيكَ لَهُ

The best of what I have said and the Prophets before me (said) on the Day of Arafah is “laa ilaaha illa-Llah wahdahu laa shareeka lah.” (Bayhaqi)

Recite Kalimat at-Tawheed because it is the best dhikrullah, then you can move. That is why we recite it at the beginning and then the rest. So when you sit in dhikrullah it is best to begin with ‘laa ilaaha illa-Llah,’ as the Prophet (s) said, “The best of what I said from the whole message of Islam, the summary of that Islamic message is ‘laa ilaaha illa-Llah’,” Maqaam at-Tawheed.

من قال لا اله الا الله دخل الجنة

Whoever says ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ enters Paradise [without restriction]. (Mustadrak of an-Nisaburi)

The Prophet (s) did not mention and Allah (swt) did not make any restrictions on that in the Holy Qur'an. Allah loves that word ‘laa ilaaha illa-Llah.’

Inshaa-Allah we will continue the rest of these principles next time, from the third to the ninth. May Allah keep us together with dhikrullah in dunya and Akhirah! I am bringing these up as they demonstrate Tariqah fully complies with Shari`ah and shows its different aspects that we are fulfilling but don’t know why. So we are explaining the different requirements of Tariqah; just as previously we mentioned Adab ash-Shari`ah, now we are mentioning the protocols of the Tariqah and so many benefits of the dhikr circle, the main one being that the circle has an empty place where the angels sit and join in the dhikr.

If you want to know more about dhikrullah, I recommend you read book The Fiqh of Islam, now available at www.ISN1.net, which you can also get in the ASIM masjid bookstore. Then you will know the importance of dhikrullah as explained not by me, but by Ibn Qayyim (q), the student of Ibn Taymiyya. I quoted specifically from their teachings mentioned in that book to demonstrate to Wahhabis the importance of doing dhikrullah, because they don't do it in public as a group.

Remember, this is from 110 years ago that Grandshaykh Sharafuddin (q) mentioned that story and it was the night before `Eid al-Fitr. He mentioned the fadeelat, the purpose, merits and benefits of halaqa of dhikrullah. May Allah forgive us.

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


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