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Struggle and Show Your Love to Allah (swt) and the Prophet (s)

Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani

7 February 2009, Oakland Zawiya, California

A cow for Grandshaykh

[A mureed, Abdul Hafeezh Khan, brought a lot of meat for Mawlana and filled the fridge with it, chicken and lamb and beef]

Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani: Did you raise the chickens?

AHK: no, Mawlana.

Shaykh Hisham: Did you raise the sheep, the cows?

AHK: no, Mawlana. But actually I did raise a cow at my brother’s.

Shaykh Hisham: One time it was Eid and Shaykh Adnan and myself, we went to see Grandshaykh. I was 23 and he was 21. We left Beirut and reached Damascus around 4 am. We decided we wanted to give Mawlana a special present. We decided to give him a cow. So we went to the livestock market, which was already open at that time, early in the morning. And we bought one cow. But we weren’t thinking how we could get it to Grandshaykh. Then a man with a truck came but we didn’t know how to get the cow in the truck. He put planks of wood and then tried to get the cow to go in. Finally after some work we got the cow into the truck and then drove up to Grandshaykh on the mountain. When we got there, he parked and then from there to Grandshaykh you could take one of two ways, one is long and winding and the other one is a set of stairs that goes straight to his house. We got the cow out and that cow was 750 kg. and very big, not a calf. So we were thinking, "How will we get the cow up to Grandshaykh’s?" But the cow, as soon as we got it out of the truck it immediately, by itself, went up the way of the stairs to Grandshaykh's house. Then it went through the gate and went up the next set of stairs up to the house itself and then it entered and climbed up the stairs straight to Grandshaykh's door. Grandshaykh was there, and opened the door. He said, “What is this?” We said, “Mawlana we brought you a cow.” He said, "What am I going to do with it?” We said, “You can slaughter and dry the meat for Eid.” He said, "ok.”

Then we wanted to slaughter the cow. We tied the back foot and tried to push it over, but it was so heavy and we could not move it at all.

Grandshaykh was looking and said, “O you are women, you are children!” He approached and tied the back rear foot. Then he came up to the neck and with one movement he turned the cow upside down and brought the big knife to its neck and slaughtered him.

Story of Abdul Hameed Khan’s son-in-law and daughter

The son-in-law of Sultan Abdul Hameed Khan II married a second wife. His first wife, the daughter of the Sultan, was upset, always complaining about the new situation. His son-in-law informed the Sultan of her complaints. The Sultan was gathering in his main hall with all his viziers and courtiers. He told them all to lower their heads and not to look up. Then called his daughter to come to the room. He told her, “take off your scarf.” She did, but felt very shy and was thinking what she could do to cover. To cover herself she ran to her husband and put his jubbah over her head. The Sultan then said, "You are running to your husband after complaining to him about him marrying another wife. That shows you know his station. You may come to complain to me after he marries the fifth!”

A`udhu billah min ash-shaytan ir-rajeem

Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem

Allahum salli `ala Muhammadin wa `ala aali Muhammad was sallim

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Ya ayyuhalladheena aamanoo ati` Allah wa ati` ar-rasula wa uli 'l-amri minkum

O you who believe! Obey Allah, obey the Prophet and obey those in authority among you. [4:59]

I am not here to lecture you, but I am here to lecture myself. In order to learn we have to be able to see our shortcomings.

The unwise scholar

Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) has a khalifa, it does not mean 'deputy' and it does not mean 'representative'. A khalifa is someone who takes over the Shaykh's place when he is not available. A shaykh can have many representatives and deputies but there aren't many khalifas. That is why you see shaykhs today giving authority to many representatives. Like a country that sends ambassadors all over the world, every country has ambassadors. So for every country you have at least 160/170 ambassadors who represent their country in another country. You can have that, but they cannot sit in the place of the president or the king. But the wali al-`ahd, the crown prince, can sit in the place of the king or the vice president can sit in the place of the president. Not the ambassadors.

So Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (q), has many students and thousands and he has many representatives but not too many khalifas. khalifa means those who can sit and speak whenever the Shaykh is not there and the Shaykh’s followers have to accept what they say.

A representative of the Shaykh can represent the Shaykh but you can either accept what he says or not, because he has shortcomings. But when a khalifa says something you need to obey.

So he had a khalifa – but not in the Islamic religious arena, we have to make sure we understand where everyone stands. A scholar, `alim can learn everything about hadith, can learn everything about Shariah, but might not pray. But still you say he is an `alim but he might not be praying. You cannot say about him “this one is someone that will be inspired by heavenly inspirations.” He is missing a big dimension of Islam, he is losing one of the main pillars of Islam. But still he is a scholar. How many scholars do you see in universities teaching Islamic Studies who might be Muslim or they might not. And even if they are Muslim, they might be Muslim secondarily, yet they are teaching Islamic Studies. You cannot say this one is like one who is pious and sincere and praying and fasting. Allah (swt) will inspire the heart of such a one. Not that other one. Today people are “very well taken” by someone who speaks very eloquently and they say, “O that one is a saint.” Yet that is not true and this story will give the evidence.

Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) had a khalifa. He was a very pious person, very sincere; a saint. Allah (swt) looks at hearts. Allah (swt) can give in one second knowledge that you never need to open a book for it. Awliyaullah are mostly like that. Muhyideen ibn `Arabi wrote what most people cannot know or express. Sirr as-Saqati (q), the same Sulayman ad-Daarani (q), the same, Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (q), the same, Junayd (q), the same. Allah inspires whom He likes.

Sayyidina Musa (as) is sent to learn from a pious one

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا قَالَ لَهُ مُوسَى هَلْ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَى أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْدًا قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلَى مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا قَالَ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ صَابِرًا وَلَا أَعْصِي لَكَ أَمْرًا

Fa wajada abdan min `ibadin ataynahu rahmatan min `indina wa `alamaahu min ladunna `ilma. Qaala lahu moosa hal attabi`uka `ala an tu`alminanee mimma `ulimta rushda. Qaala innakalan tastatee`a ma`eea sabra. wa kayfa tasbiru `ala maa lam tuhit bihi khubra. Qaala satajidunee insha-Allahu saabiran wa laa `aseey laka amra.

Then found they one of Our slaves, unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and had taught him knowledge from Our presence.

Moses said unto him: May I follow thee, to the end that thou mayst teach me right conduct of that which thou hast been taught?

He said: Lo! thou canst not bear with me.

How canst thou bear with that whereof thou canst not compass any knowledge?

He said: Allah willing, thou shalt find me patient and I shall not in aught gainsay thee: (Surat al-Kahf 18:65- 69)

From many servants they found one out of many they found one.

That ayah, is enough from the beginning of dunya to end of dunya for people to understand where their limits. But unfortunately we cannot understand because our ego is so big.

Sayyidina Musa (as) and his helper were going to find the truth. He is a prophet. Don’t think Allah doesn’t test prophets. Allah gives the most difficult problems and difficulties to prophets. And they are patient, patient, patient. At the same time they are messengers. Allah gave Sayyidina Musa (as) a lesson. “Don’t think, ya Musa, that because you are My favorite prophet I will not test you. Yes, you are one of My favorite prophets but still I am giving you a test. Don’t think that because you are Kaleemullah and you talk to Me directly that gives you an advantage. No, keep in limits.”

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَآ ءَاتَيْنَـٰهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَـٰهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

fa-wajadaa `abdan min `ibadina.

“They found one of His servants" meaning one from many of His servants.

So Allah sent one of His servants. He didn’t say fa-wajadaa `abdan min `ibaadina wa `alamnaahu min ladunna `ilma. He put something there - one word in between. Wa ataynahu rahmatan min `indina. Without mercy then you cannot come to “wa `alamnaahu min ladunna `ilma – We taught him knowledge from Our Divine Presence”. So there must be a connection between the level of servanthood and the level of knowledge to be taught. There must be a pipe, which connects both ends. And that pipe is “wa ataynahu rahmatan min `indina – We gave him mercy from Ourselves.” Without mercy from Allah (swt) and without blessing from Allah (swt) you cannot reach heavenly knowledge. That means that if Allah (swt) doesn’t bless you, O scholars, with mercy and blessings, then whatever you study and you become a big `alim, without humbleness, to show humbleness and humility, as Sayyidina Musa (as) showed, to follow that one. Of course, Sayyidina Musa (as) is higher than Sayyidina Khidr (as). There is no resemblance. Musa (as) is one of the ulul-`azam (from five highest messengers). And about Khidr (as) some say that he is a prophet while others say a wali.

So even if you reach high academia, there are a lot of scholars, but if you don’t reach rahmat from Allah and baraka it'll just be dunya. Even Islamic knowledge when there is no sincerity and no piety, it is lost. You give this course you give 500 dollars you give this course and you get 2000 dollars. Where can you see in Islamic history that they would sit in circles of learning and give money? Imam Malik had 9000 teachers. He said 600 of them taught him spirituality - Maqam al-ihsan, sincerity, spirituality, moral excellence - at-tazkiyya. So Shariah scholars he had double [the number of scholars teaching him the principles] of moral excellence. Look at the importance but today no one is listening to that. So that knowledge is slowly, slowly going away from the people's hearts.

So the connection between servanthood, to the level of knowledge to be taught, there must be a rahmat there, else if no rahmat how you can reach? Allah said in Holy Qur'an, “wa ataynahu rahmatan min `indina -We gave him mercy from Our mercy.” Who is the mercy?

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

Wa ma arsalnaaka illa rahmatan lil-`alameen

We didn’t send Thee, O Muhammad, except as mercy to all humanity.” ( Surat Al-Anbiya, 21:107)

That means between Khidr and Sayyidina Musa (as) there was the Prophet connecting them or else they would have never met. Never could they be together. It must be that because Sayyidina Muhammad (s) was a prophet when Adam was still between clay and water. That light was moving.

Those relationships between level of servanthood and level of ?? knowledge is the Prophet (s).

Wa ma arsalnaaka illa rahmatan lil-`alameen.

We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as Mercy to all the worlds."

So he was the mercy that Sayyidina Musa (as) and Sayyidina Khidr understood. He asked: "can I join you?" He answered: “no you cannot join me, you are coming with Shariah alone. If you want to join me you have to be patient with me, with what I am going to show you. To tell you that there are things Allah did not give you but he gave to the Seal of the Messengers.”

Although Sayyidina Musa (as) , no one can except bow in front of him. But he, Sayyidina Musa (as) complained. That is why Allah sent him Sayyidina Khidr to teach him. That is why in Isra and Mi’raj, the night of Mi’raj, Sayyidina Musa (as) , we go back to the story of Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (q), we moved far. Next week. So Sayyidina Musa (as) , in the night of Isra and Mi’raj, Sayyidina Musa (as) …we will go back to the story of Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (q), we moved far. Next week.

Conversation between Sayyidina Musa (as) and Imam Ghazali

So in the night of Isra and Mi’raj, Sayyidina Musa (as) is mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet (s) that the Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (s) prayed with all the prophets in the first heaven. The Prophet (s) was imam and all the prophets prayed behind him. And there is one issue that has been brought up, with Sayyidina Ghazali, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. Sayyidina Musa (as) asked the Prophet (s), “Ya sayyidee, Ya Rasulullah, Ya akhee Muhammad (s). You said in your hadith…” This is a conversation on the night of Isra and Mi’raj. “You said علماء امّتي‏ كأنبياء بني‏ إسرائيل ‘`ulama ummatee ka-anbiya Bani Isra'il.’ “You said,” Sayyidina Musa (as) was saying to Sayyidina Muhammad (s). Look also, prophets have nice conversations. Learning. It is very important to learn. It is not that we must be,… whenever there is possibility of learning we have to run to it.

So Sayyidina Musa (as) took advantage of it, because that is still in his heart. That is why Sayyidina Khidr said, “you cannot accompany me. You are not patient.” Because he has that ability, that way to speak with Allah, like a spoiled child, he asks everything. He is asking too many questions in Holy Qur'an, that is a hikmah by that we learn.

So he said, "The scholars of your Ummah are like the prophets who came before Sayyidina `Isa.” `ulama ummateen ka-anbiya bani israeel. That means in their knowledge Allah will give the knowledge like he gave the prophets of Bani Isra'il. He said, "I cannot understand it." It means he needs an explanation. `Ulama here are not like the scholars today or like American scholars. No, in general we are speaking of the `ulama around the world. Not the `ulama that sit at tables and chairs. We are speaking of the pious servants of Allah (swt) who devoted their lives to Allah in their mosques and in their rooms. People come to them and seek their blessing and they come and they go. They throw that light into people’s hearts and they give you wisdom and hikmah. They are not going to teach how to make wudu and pray 4 raka`ats. There are too many others to do that. They teach you how to behave in all your life because they are in scrutiny of you, heavenly cameras. They have heavenly cameras, they teach you how to be able to be presented well in these cameras. Or they teach you how to avoid these cameras. Don’t say there are no tricks. No, there are too many. Repentance. Ask forgiveness.

So he was not able to understand. So at that moment the Prophet (s) called one of these sincere pious servants. Calling his soul. He mentioned him from the future bringing him from the future in his soul to be present. They have movies in which they have machines that take you into the future. Time machines. Prophets have such sophisticated time machines. Awliyaullah have time machines they can bring back from the future and from the past.

So the Prophet (s) called one of those pious scholars who would come in 400 years. That was Sayyidina Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. He was brought to be present in his soul with the Prophet (s) and with Sayyidina Musa (as) .

Sayyidina Ghazali was explaining this in his book and Sayyidina Musa (as) asked him, "What is your name?" and Sayyidina Ghazali looked at him and said, "My name is Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s)." Seven times. Sayyidina Musa (as) said, "What is this? I asked you your name and you replied, 'I am Muhammad (s) ibn Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s)' seven times. You cannot say to me 'I am Muhammad (s) Abu Hamid al-Ghazali?' Instead you are saying, 'I am Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) al-Ghazali?'" Imam Ghazali said, "Ya Rasulullah, I am trying to follow your way when Allah asked you 'What is in your right hand?'”

وَمَا تِلْكَ بِيَمِينِكَ يَا مُوسَى قَالَ هِيَ عَصَايَ أَتَوَكَّأُ عَلَيْهَا وَأَهُشُّ بِهَا عَلَى غَنَمِي وَلِيَ فِيهَا مَآرِبُ أُخْرَى

Ma tilka bi yameenika ya Musa qaala hiya `asaya. Atawakka’u `alayha wa ahushshu biha `ala ghanamee wa leeya feeha ma’aaribu ukhra…

And what is that in thy right hand, O Moses? He said: This is my staff whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find other uses. (Surat al-Anbiya 20:18,19)

You answered ‘This is my staff whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find other uses.’ Why did you stretch [the answer]? Why did you continue describing it? Why didn't you say ‘it is only my cane.’ But you answered ‘hiya `asaya, atawakka’u `alayhawa ahushu biha `ala ghanamee wa leeya feeha ma’aaribu ukhra and I have too many things that I do with it. If you want O Allah, I will describe them.’ Why?”

He was a wise one. Sayyidina Musa (as) said, “Because I was in an honorable, Divinely place. It cannot be... I take benefit when I am speaking in the Divine Presence to stretch the time to get more blessings.”

He said, "Ya Musa. Don't you think I'm in the Divine Presence in the presence of the Prophet (s) and that Allah is witnessing us? So of course I am going to stretch the time also, saying Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) bin Muhammad (s) until the last moment of my life to keep in that honorable station.”

So Sayyidina Musa (as) said, “Sadaqta ya Rasulullah. The scholars of your ummah are like the prophets of Bani Israeel.”

Conferences are for the proud

This is an introduction. As we need introductions. And this is a reminder to myself and to you and to anyone who is listening. When he speaks, everyone is listening. Not one person is sleeping. All of them open eyes, open ears.

Today when we go to a conference and a scholar is speaking, what are we doing? Half of the audience is sleeping. Because there is no sincerity. That magnet that is in the heart of that wali can attract. But those scholars lost that magnet, they don’t have it anymore. That secret that attracts the ears of the listeners. The eyes of the listeners of the people who are there. We are losing that connection. Why? because we are arrogant. Scholars have become arrogant. I am a scholar so everyone needs to listen to me. Use your knowledge to teach yourself - man `arifa nafsaha `arafa rabbah. Man arafa hadahu waqafa `indah.

Don’t think I am standing on a stage and giving a lecture. No Allah knows everything about you. That is arrogance. That is why the light in their lecture disappears.

So that khalifa of Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) was a real khalifa, he is sincere. So whatever he says, everyone is listening. His son is a very educated scholar. He memorized 100,000 or 200,000 hadith. He memorized the whole Qur'an, he knows everything about Shari`ah. There is a sickness in his heart that [he thinks to himself:] “O! My father gave me an opportunity to learn and I learned all I can about Shariah.” He knows too much about Shari`ah. But he doesn’t know too much about the level of ihsan, moral excellence. That sickness goes around in his heart that “O, I know too much.”

So one day the father [the khalifa] said, “I am going to give him a lesson.” He came to his son and made himself as if sick. He said, “Today, O my son, today I cannot give a lecture to speak to the audience. I want you to speak." His son was so happy--this is the opportunity that he was waiting for, to show his father (the khalipha) and Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) that he knows more than both of them even.

They let him go up and sit on the chair and he began to speak. After five minutes, speaking very academically as an `alim, and slowly slowly the people begin to sleep. He is boring.

Why do people run away from the mosques when the imam begins to speak? Because he is not giving them something that is 'wet'. As when the Bedouin came to Rasoolullah (s) and said, Qad kathurat `alayya shara`ii al-Islam. The rules and conditions of Islami have become too much for me to handle."

Rasoolullah (s) said, "Make your tongue wet with Dhikrullah."

Dhikrullah is what makes you feel alive.

وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ ٱلْمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ حَىٍّ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

Wa ja`alana min al-maa kulla shayin hay.

We have made everything alive from water. (Surat Al-Anbiya, 21:30)

So what do you think about Dhikrullah, it is even more effective than water for giving you life. Keep mentioning it. So now they give you a dry teaching. Some listen and some run away. There is no building up on sincerity and piety and humbleness. There are some but in general no.

So the son of that khalifa begins to speak and after half an hour he finished, no one is listening. He stopped and finished and went to his father, and said, "O my father I gave a lecture in a very scholarly way and I never thought the people would be bored but they were all sleeping. What is the problem?"

His father said, "O my son. When I give a lecture I am the listener. I am the first one to listen to it because what they put on my tongue to speak I am the first one in need of it. I see myself so small compared to such knowledge that is coming that I need it in order to build up myself and make my ego down. That's why when I address it to myself then Allah makes the people listen to me. When you humiliate yourself and humble yourself people will accept you. But when you are proud people run away. You were proud of yourself, that is why shaytan comes and people sleep."

When shaytan comes people sleep. Look, you are busy and active all day, but noon prayer comes and as soon as you say 'Allahu akbar', you begin to yawn. Asr time comes and you begin to yawn. Outside the prayer you are open-eyed, everything is ok. There is where shaytan is coming. When you yawn in the prayers that means shaytan is after you.

And we fall into this problem; all of us. Learn and take a lesson and don't think you are so high. No one is high. Know you are a servant and that is your status; not more than a servant. The Prophet (s) said, "The most happy time is when Allah calls me a servant."

Now the happiest time for people is when they put after your name, PhD, MMA, MMS, BBC. That is our problem today, we get proud of ourselves because we have titles. Speakers in the conference, the Master of Ceremonies, speak more than the speakers. He thinks of himself as a bigger scholar than everyone that he is going to speak and he doesn't want to stop speaking. Never mind, lower yourself and listen. But when that Master of ceremonies begins to say "this one is this and this one is that." That is where the speaker has to be careful. That is where you begin to think you have come from heaven to earth. Iblees was kicked out of heaven. Why? Because he was proud, Anaa khayrun minhu "I am better than Adam." That idea is what cause him to be thrown out of heaven. Then Allah said, if you think you are better, then make sajda.

So it is frightening today when they present you with high praises. You have to get ashamed in yourself that you are an imperfect person, you are an egoistic person with a lot of bad desires and you do a lot of wrong things and that person is standing there praising you, cheating everyone.

That is why Awliyaullah don't like conferences. We like them because it is for our ego. That will take us to our next lecture, in the next week.

We have to address the problem of ourselves, like Sayyidina 'Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) khalifa and his son. That khalifa was a saint, he can hear what people cannot hear and see what people cannot see. Don't say 'how?' It is as the Prophet (s) described in his authentic hadith. "My servant does not continue to approach Me through voluntary worship until I love him. And when I love him I become the ears with which he hears and the eyes with which he sees…" You will be hearing what people cannot hear and seeing what people cannot see. How? When He loves you. When does He love you? When you approach Allah (swt) through voluntary worship. Not by studying books but by `amal.

That is where we have to look into our problems: are we improving in our `amal or not? And if we are improving we still must not be proud of what we are doing because we are still moving like an ant. May Allah (swt) forgive us and bless us.

We must be happy because of one thing, as Imam Busayri said, "O Muslims! Don't worry too much.' He is showing us the importance of the Prophet (s) in our life to increase our love to the Prophet (s). "We have someone that we can lean our back on, Sayyidina Muhammad (s)." Inna lana min al-inayat ruknan ghayra munhadimi, Allah gave us blessings that can never be destroyed, and that is the reality of Sayyidina Muhammad (s). So struggle, you make a sin, no problem say astaghfirullah. But show love to Allah (swt) and to His Prophet (ss). May Allah forgive us.

Bi-hurmatil-habeeb bi-hurmatil-fatiha.


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