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Be Guided by a True Guide or by Your Ego

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

9 July 2011 London, UK

Suhbah at CSCA, Feltham

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh. I am sorry the place is small but inshaa-Allah our hearts are big. I know it is difficult to sit when it is crowded, but inshaa-Allah I hope in the very near future, if we can raise enough money, to begin renovations and open these walls and it will be a nice center; downstairs people can host different activities.

This place is intended for teaching Sufism, tasawwuf, to have workshops and give conferences, to build relationships with interfaith movements in order to implement a better relationship with all communities. With help, it will soon become a center for teaching principles of tasawwuf that have been neglected for many hundreds of years. Alhamdulillah, people are coming back and speaking about tasawwuf although they were denying it at first, now many centers and mosques are speaking about the importance of tasawwuf.

And I am giving the salaam of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim to you all. I am nothing except someone who has been standing at his door for fifty years, asking through the Mercy of Allah and His Prophet and love of our shaykh to enter in his garden, but I don’t know if I’m in or out, so don’t look at me as if I’m in a better position, I might be the worst. We ask Allah Almighty to forgive us all.

The matter is not who is the person. The principle - and I heard Mawlana Shaykh Nazim say this so many times - the principle is not who you are, the principle is what your soul is. Is it a pure soul, is it a soul that has been purified, or is it a soul full of dirty things? Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an that a pure soul is a light,

wa nafakhtu feehi min ruhi

I blew into Adam from My Soul or Spirit or Light.

This means, “I sent him to be alive.” Ruh is always living, it never dies, it’s always there as either thumma aamanoo, a believer, or thumma kaafaroo, an unbeliever. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur’an that He inspired the soul to know what is good and bad for it. The important thing is the state of the soul, not whether you are male, female, a child, an adult, or old, but what you carry is important: what does your body carry, what do you represent? You might be a loser sometimes. However, when you come back to your nobility--which is the soul that has been enlightened since the Day of Promises when Allah asked, “Am I not your Lord?” and we said, “Yes!”--you might go back to see that light within yourself and then you understand in reality you are not the form in which you now exist, you are that one who was and still is existing in that Presence which never disappears, because the soul is sacred, heavenly, and it doesn’t die. Anything that is not heavenly is dead, anything heavenly stays. Yes, we are mass and form, but we have another element, the soul, and that make us alive.

An example is, an atom is mass and the electron energy makes it alive; without the energy the mass is nothing, it doesn’t move. So atoms move in different formulae in relationship with different particles. They interact with everything and when they interact they create new elements. Souls also interact, the body cannot as it is mass, but the souls interact as Prophet said:

الارواح جنود مجندة , فما تعارف منها ائتلف , و ما تناكر منها اختلف

Al-arwaahu junoodan mujanadan famaa t`aarafa minhaa 'talaf wa maa tanakir minhaa 'khtalaf

The souls were gathered like battalions and those who were related came together.

It means “Souls are like soldiers in a battalion, man t`arafa minhaa ‘talaf, “Who interacts know each other,” wa ma tabaghaada minha maa ‘khtalaf, “and who does not interact - out of envy - is separate.”

Souls interact widely because on the Day of Promises we were souls in interaction and those who know each other, the souls who feel familiarity here, interact and form groups, like battalions. Ahlu ’l-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, may Allah increase their levels, are interacting like the bees to the queen, from their love they are interacting directly with the soul of Prophet (s) as their souls are pure, so they are connected to him! That is what differentiates them from other Muslims who might otherwise be good but they don’t interact. They believe in what Prophet (s) came with, but they don’t believe in other matters that are very important to Allah (swt), such as intercession, love of Prophet, hadhir and nadhir, and different levels of noble and heavenly interaction that Prophet (s) carried. We cannot say they are not “believer souls;” they are believers, but they do not interact at this level and therefore they are not perfected.

Ahlu ’l-Sunnah souls are far better in this action, that’s why their souls are always in interaction with Prophet (s), and that’s why they are always in this presence. There are levels within Ahlu ’l-Sunnah; for example, we can say your interaction in this place is overwhelming because it shows you are not normal people, as your love to Rasool attracts you to the reality of where that holy presence is. Like the queen attracts bees to her hive, that indicates the presence of awliya that draws the nadhir an-Nabi, the gaze of Prophet (s). That strong presence brings you all, and that criteria is on different levels.

The interaction of Ahlu ’l-Sunnah with Prophet (s) is like the bees: in the hive there are layers of bees, some that are always with the queen are the first-line of security, while the rest are lined up behind them. There are bees who never even think of food as their love to her is such that their focus is to keep the queen secure. This means there are people who are in the first row to Prophet (s); they were more attracted on the Day of Promises so they are in the first row forever. You can see their interaction because of their love. They can release their love and all their senses become goose bumps in their body. They experience ecstasy that they cannot get anywhere else so they are always reading Qur’an, reciting salawaat or dhikhrullah, tears coming from their eyes. Prophet (s) said that even one tear from the eyes of those who love him is more precious than anything else to Allah (swt)! That one tear drop is able to extinguish Hellfire, by Allah’s permission, and it is enough to take that person who cried once in his life to Paradise, with Allah’s mercy and Prophet’s intercession! (...)

In this authentic hadeeth, Prophet (s) said, Afdal jihad is kalimatul adhunan `inda sultani ja’ir, “The best of jihad is to speak a word of justice against a tyrannical leader.” It is an order: “Go and speak up! Don’t keep quiet! Tell him in his face, ‘You are wrong!’

That is an order of Prophet (s), but what is the secret of this hadeeth? Who is the ‘tyrant leader’? Your nafs, the ego, that prevents you to stand up! And Prophet is saying, “The best jihad is to speak up against to your ego, to look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘You are the tyrant sultan that is destroying me and my faith!’”

For example, you need to be like the dog of Ashaabu ‘l-Kahf, who stood guard while they slept in the cave. Who is your lifeguard? That is the one who Allah (swt) sent as a mercy for humanity and you need him as your lifeguard, but you need a means to go there. To come here, you used a facility: you walked, drove, rode the train. Who brought you here? You need a guide to that lifeguard. Who is the best to take you there, your Prophet or your ego? But we are all weak.

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) says, “One day we are on the right side, one day we are on the wrong side.” Grandshaykh (q) used to say the words of Qur’an, “thumma aamanoo, thumma kafaroo.” People are thinking, “I didn’t do anything wrong, I prayed my five prayers, I did all my obligations and what do more must I do?” We are 99.99% certain that we did everything, so what is left?

Prophet (s) mentioned to the Sahaabah (r) `ala ukhriuhu bi ahlil jannah, “Shall I tell you who are the People of Paradise?” They said, “Yes, yaa Rasoolullah!” Of course they wanted to know. Kullu daifi wa kullu da’aa, “(They are) those who express their helplessness,” and weakness, who humble and humiliate themselves. Those are Ahlul Jannah. It means don’t say, “I did my five prayers for Allah,” as Allah doesn’t need them. So who is humble? Let’s look at ourselves. We cannot say, “Sitting on the floor makes us humble and you sit on chair, therefore you are arrogant!” Humility is given to the soul to show humbleness when it is necessary, not to argue with each other. Prophet (s) said to the Sahaabah (r) that backbiting is not accepted, that if you backbite you will go to Hellfire even if you pray and fast, because it eats the good `amal and leaves you with nothing. All of us are backbiting so much that if we could backbite ourselves we would do it (it is habitual)! That is destroying our chance to be counted among the People of Paradise.

Many ahadeeth show how far we are from auditing ourselves like Prophet (s) is asking us, to contemplate our actions for one hour and to ask forgiveness is better than worship of one year, or 70 years in another hadeeth. But your tyrant ego does not want that because it is under Shaytan’s influence, so there is only one way, not two, to follow Prophet (s) to Allah (swt)! Will books show you the way? What did Imam Ghazali (r) say? “I spent the beginning of my life confused about everything, about Allah (swt) and about Creation. I was confused, confused, confused, but when I took the hand of my shaykh to guide me I saw a dream, in which Allah (swt) said, ‘Yaa Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali! Leave dunya by your own will and come to Me, before dunya leaves you by force, when I take your soul!’” I woke up so happy and ran to my shaykh, who was waiting for me. He said, ‘Yaa Abu-Hamid! Those who follow us can see such things.’ I began to explain the dream to him and he said, ‘I am reading your Tablet; they are in my hands and one appeared to you and now that will increase.’ I kept my life with him.”

Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (r) became one of the biggest Sufis and `alims, although initially he doubted everything. If we go back to our history we see treasures of all the scholars, all of whom had guides.

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

qul 'in kuntum tuhibboona Allaha fa `attabi`oonee yuhbibkumu Allahu wa yaghfir lakum dhunoobakum wa Allahu Ghafooru 'r-Raheem.

Say (O Muhammad), "If you (really) love Allah, then `attabi `oonee, follow Me! Allah will love you and forgive your sins, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Ali Imraan, 3:31)

Imam al-Busayri (r), the biggest lover of the Prophet (s), said, “Everyone is seeking something from the Prophet, taking either with a pitcher, a big bucket, or a handful.” Everyone can take but you need a connection. There is a main pipe with so many branches, but if it is closed nothing flows. The guide is the main tap (faucet); if he closes nothing flows. We are all small taps and the biggest tap is the shaykh. If he opens the big tap everything flows, if your small tap is working you get water, and if not, your shaykh is the heavenly plumber and can fix your tap as he gives everyone what they need; he assigns specific dhikr to suit every individual. His tap is connected to Niagara Falls, to the Prophet (s). If your shaykh is strong he may take a bucketful, and there are shaykhs whose bucket is this universe or bigger!

Don’t underestimate the power of the soul, the spirit! Don’t use your mind too much as literal meanings will block your progress. Release your mind in that ocean of thinking to tafakkur, contemplate, and tadhakkur, reflect, and your subconscious will bring forth fdetails of what you have done in your life and you will seek forgiveness. Tafakkur is one level and tadhakkur is another level; when you combine them you use the conscious and subconscious: what you can remember easily in your mind and that which is deeper. So you need a guide to dive in your subconscious to bring out these realities and give them to you.

This means don’t use your mind to think too much; let your mind be released from its prison, which is the size of a lentil Allah (swt) planted in the back of the brain, a simple memory chip that stores your entire life! The brain functions according to that small chip that Allah planted in the back of the brain! Allah (swt) knows how many human beings He created, and He gave them different software; none are the same. Others higher than us, awliyaaullah, have tafakkur to the Day of Promises, they know what happened there and can see your reality. They speak to you according to how you were dressed there with beauty from Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s). They can reach that, and that is important, not what we have done from birth to death, although Grandshaykh and Mawlana Shaykh showed me my entire life from birth to death in a very short moment. However, you need to go back to the Day of Promises, as Allah (swt) said:

وَمِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَا زَوْجَيْنِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Wa min kulli shayin khalaqnaa zawjayn la`allakum tadhakkaroon.

And of all things We have created pairs; perhaps you will remember. (adh-Dhaariyat, 51:49)

Some interpretations read, “We have made men and women as pairs,” but this verse actually means, “We have made two of everything,” which is the original document and its photocopy. What we observe here is a photocopy of our reality on Day of Promises. When you connect between the copy and the original, you reach haqqaiq, reality. So awliya look at your reality that is in front of Allah (swt) and Prophet (s), not your copy. They see, “The reality of this person shows he is going to be in the highest level of Paradise,” although in his life he is struggling. Awliyaullah look at your end, your destiny..

That’s why one time I asked Mawlana, “There are too many problems among Naqshbandis,” and he said, “Hisham, I will tell you this secret: all of them are like diamonds on my crown; they are different colors, but all are jewels, all have a pure gem, and if one is not in its place on the crown it looks imperfect in front of other awliya, so I have to raise them all up to my level.”

This is why irshaad is not easy! So many people claim to be a murshid (the one who grants irshaad). Many tell Mawlana there is no dhikr being held where they live, so he says, “Lead the dhikr as my khalifah.” The next day you see websites proclaimning that one as the new qutb or ghawth! That is not irshaad, which is when you speak, you raise the people to your spiritual level. Grandshaykh (q) was granted that level from the Prophet (s), but when his shaykh, Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) brought that order, Grandshaykh refused it (except on the condition that Prophet (s) would grant him irshaad even for people who do nothing to fulfill their spiritual duties.

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