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Hierarchy of Saints Series, Vol 9

Characteristics and Levels of Dhikrullah

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

22 August 2010 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Ramadan Series 2010

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,

nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`ala fee haadha 'l-masjid.

Ati`ullaha wa ati`u 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

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

The Prophet (s) said:

انما الاعمال بالنيات وانما لكل امرء ما نوا

innama al-`amaalu bin-niyyaat wa inama li-kulli 'mrin maa nawaa.

Every action is by intention and truly to every man is what he intended. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Every one of us, our intention is to love Allah (swt), our Prophet (s), our shaykh (q), and to love everyone. But we are weak servants, pas faible, très faible; we cannot do more than what we are doing. However, it is nice to know what awliyaullah think of those things we are heedless about. Their knowledge is very high and ours is very limited.

We were speaking in the previous session about the importance of dhikrullah, which is important for everyone seeking this path. Shuyukh at-taa'ifa, an Arabic term which means, "shaykhs of tasawwuf", all of them with their differences and different ways of dhikrullah. As much as there are differences in that Way it is better, because people are able to find and take from the tap that quenches their thirst. This one makes dhikr in this way, this one in that way. It is okay as all of them are making dhikr to The One, Whom you cannot describe, the Exalted One. You cannot describe Him through any kind of thoughts in your mind. la yasifahu bil fikr. "You cannot describe Allah (swt) through your mind." Only through what Allah describes Himself you can understand, through His Beautiful Names and Attributes. But you cannot understand the Essence.

Awliyaullah are swimming in these oceans to pull out these treasures, and the deeper they go the deeper the water becomes and they cannot reach (an end). kullama taqaraboo wajad al-masaafa ab`ad. "However nearer they come, the distance increases and to pass it is difficult." In the Mir`aaj, Prophet Muhammad (s) reached qaaba qawsayni aw adnaa, very near, "two bows' length or nearer." But with that nearness which is only for Prophet (s), it is still far to reach the Reality of Allah's Essence. No one can reach that! How far is the Divine Presence? Only Prophet (s) knows, but the Essence is much further (beyond that).

That is why Allah (swt) is always putting different meanings in the heart of Prophet (s) and in the hearts of awliyaullah. That is why ascensions never end.

وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ

wa fawqa kull dhi `ilmin `aleem.

Above every knower is a (higher) knower. (12:76)

This ayat also means that in every moment there is a higher knowledge (revealed). That is why books contain knowledge of the past and knowledge of that time, when written by awliya, but tomorrow a higher knowledge will be revealed. Grandshaykh (q) said, "In the time of Sayyidina Mahdi (a), if you open any book there will be nothing in it; all the writing will have disappeared." All previous knowledge will have passed, but in the time of Sayyidina Mahdi (a) there is new knowledge called, Khaamis al-Qur'an, "The Secret of the Qur'an."

Today no secret of the Qur'an comes out, but then that secret with 12,000-to-24,000 oceans of knowledge will come on every letter of Qur'an to hearts of seekers! Those living in that time will immediately understand and reach their destiny in sainthood.

(An attendee sneezes.) Yarhamakullah. I did not hear you didn't say, 'alhamdulillah', which is a sin, and we are witness on that. (Attendee says, "alhamdulillah!") When someone sneezes, you must say 'alhamdulillah' and then we respond, 'yarhamakullah'. If (he does not say that), we are not responsible to reply.

Allah (swt) said:

فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِي وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ

adhkurunee adhkurukum, wa ashkuru lee wa laa tafuroona.

Remember Me and I will remember you, and thank Me and don't be ungrateful. (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:152)

That specialty is only for ummat an-Nabi. Before, for other nations, it was adhkurunee, "Remember Me." But for ummat an-Nabi, Allah (swt) added, adhkurukum, "I remember you." Others are under the order to remember Him, what He revealed in another verse:

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ

utlu maa uhiyya 'ilayk min al-kitaabi wa aqimis-salaata inna's-salaata tanhaa `ani'l-fahshaai wa 'l-munkari waladhikrullaahi akbaru w'Allahu y`alamu maa tasna`oon.

Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to you, and establish regular prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds. And remembrance of Allah

is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) you do. (29:45)

Allah's remembrance is for ummat an-Nabi, but His mentioning of you is higher and greater. How much higher and greater? There is no limit in that greatness! That means in every moment, even if you remember Him one moment in your life, you are `abd, servant, and your `ibaadah, worship, is limited. So if you mentioned Him one time in your life, saying, "Yaa Allah!" or, "la ilaaha illa-Llah," Allah will render it back to you non-stop until the Day of Judgment, and He will assign angels to send praise on you non-stop, without end and with no limits! That is for one time, and it is enough for Allah (swt) to send in every moment! Let us say now, Yaa Rabb! Yaa Rabb! O Allah! O Allah! That is for you a great blessing.

That is why the association of dhikr is a light, as angels are there. It becomes a place of `ibaadah, worshipness. Allah (swt) is looking and that place becomes a place of worshipness, where angels are all the time. That is why they say to appoint in your home a place only for prayers and salawaat. To enter there has to be with adab, discipline. You cannot enter there in your normal daily life, as that area becomes special and it has (heavenly) visitors. That is why Sayyida Maryam's place became sacred. kullama dakhala alayha zakariyya fil-mihrab wajada `indaha rizqa. Whenever Sayyidina Zakariya (a) entered that place, he found provision there. So there, he asked Allah to give him a child, and Allah (swt) granted him Sayyidina Yahya (a). So it is nice to have makaan al-ibadah, a place of worship, and later it becomes a maqaam al-ibadah, a place of worship where manifestations of angels come on you; angels must be present there.

One of awliyaullah said, law la anna dhikrullah ta`ala fardan lamaa dhakartuh ijlaalan lahu. "If it was not an obligation to remember Allah, to mention His Beautiful Names and Attributes, or to mention Him in recitation of Holy Qur'an, I would never do it."

It is ordered in the verse of dhikr mentioned previously; there might be 50-60 ayaat in Holy Qur'an. If it was not an order he will not mention it! Why? This is very significant.

He said, "How do I mention Him?" as when you mention Him you are entering the Divinely Presence. "How am I mentioning His Majesty when I revere Him so much, ijlaalan. How can someone weak mention Someone Who created him? I feel ashamed. I have to wash my mouth before I open it alfu alfu, a thousand by a thousand (1,000 x 1,000) times of repentance." That means, "Millions of repentances I have to do before I open my mouth to remember Him!"

Today when we come to dhikr, we come lazy. Why lazy? Because according to that wali, our soul knows that we are weak and our soul is ashamed from the doings of our bodies, which always contradict whatever Allah wants, so we do the opposite. Our body is absorbed in dunya desire and our soul is absorbed in heavenly desire. So when you come for dhikrullah, be sure you are very clean. As we said, in previous times they came to dhikr only in pure white clothes reserved for that. They had a room to change into their very clean clothes, with no dust. Today they say there are no special requirements, that to just attend dhikr is enough. Allah's mercy is in this time (and standards have dropped).

They asked one person, anta saaimun, "Are you fasting?"

He said, na`m ana saaimun bi dhikrillah. "Yes, I am fasting, as I am remembering Him, making dhikrullah in every moment. I am not with you, I am in the Divine Presence with My Lord. If I remember anyone other than My Lord, then I break fast."

Not like us; we say we are fasting if we are not eating. Let's count in 24 hours, how much we are mentioning Allah's Name and how much we are mentioning each other's names? It might be that in 23 hours and 59 minutes we are mentioning dunya, and the rest is mentioning and remembering Allah, our Creator, and that we are His weak servants (i.e., one minute)!

And a jawaarih (whose limbs do dhikrullah) mentioned, "There was a man between us who says 'Allah, Allah,' and one day a tree branch fell on his head and split it open. (There were no stitches at that time to close the wound) and blood was running from his head and gushed on the ground, and it began to write 'Allah, Allah.'" That one was mentioning Allah 23 hours and 59 minutes, because with him everything was with dhikrullah.

Also, there was a lady in Egypt who died recently. She never answered any question except with a verse of Holy Qur'an; even she wanted to eat, from Qur'an she mentioned foods and they prepared that food for her. She didn't eat anything that is not mentioned in Holy Qur'an. Allah mention in Qur'an that He made halaal for you ibil and other kinds of meats, and birds, and fruits of the sea. Always she answered from Holy Qur'an and never she opened her mouth to answer from other than that, until she died! Where are such people today?

In previous ummam, nations, were prescribed dhikr at certain times, but ummat an-Nabi was granted to make dhikr at any time, in their heart or by tongue. Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an:

الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذا بَاطِلاً سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Al-ladheena yadhkuroonullah qiyamaan wa qu`udaan wa`ala junoobeehim wa yattafakkaroona fi khalqis samawaatee wal `ard, rabbana ma khalaqta hadha baatilan subhanaka fa qina `adhaba 'n-naar.

Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and who think deeply about the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth, (saying),

"Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose. Glory to You! Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire." (`Ali Imraan, 3:191)

And there is dhikr of the heart, dhikr of the tongue, and dhikr of the soul. When the heart and tongue dhikr coincide, that is an opening for the soul to remember Allah, as in 24 hours when ummat an-Nabi sleeps, their souls ascend to make sajdah at the Throne of Allah. In that sajdah, the soul is free to make remembrance of Allah in the Divine Presence. That is why in Salaat an-Najaat, that sajdah is not here in dunya, it is under the Holy Throne. Awliyaullah take their followers when they go in sajdah, to the location in the Divine Presence at the Throne. Your heart must be well connected at that time, not to wander here and there; in this sajdah you must be extremely careful with your thoughts, and you must be aware that you are in that Divine Presence! It is very heavy and that makes awliya shake, to consider how much you wasted your time in dunya! Your du`a there is accepted, so it is essential in that sajdah to only make du`a for your Akhirah, not dunya. But you may ask for dunya also; ask what comes to the heart, such as:

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil 'akhirati hasanatan waqina 'adhaban-naar.

Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the Fire. (al-Baqarah, 2:201)

When we prayed Salaat an-Najaat behind Grandshaykh `AbdAllah (q), we made sajdah for one hour! Our foreheads, feet and hands become numb. We could not raise our heads (before Grandshaykh raised his). Awliyaullah know the importance of being in the Divine Presence, and as he was making du`a and we were saying, ameen. The main difference is, his du`a is not like our du`a, because he is there under the Throne. That is not simple!

The first level is dhikrullah is bil-lisaan, dhikr by tongue, because the heart is not yet connected. This is considered "the Station of Heedlessness," because your heart is not able to open and that is called the Maqaam al-Awwam, "the common people's station, maqaam of ghaflah, heedlessness". Because with your tongue you can say, "Allah, Allah" and you are watching TV! How many of you are watching TV when doing dhikr? (Many hands raised.) You see, if I didn't raise my hand they will never raise their hands! (laughter) And that is also known as dhikr ul-`ada, "the dhikr of habit." Like we make our prayers from habit, but it is not real worship. And we ask, "O Allah! Change our dhikr al-qalb to real dhikr!"

The second level is to make dhikr by tongue and dhikr by heart. In the Naqshbandi Order, they train you to do dhikr by tongue and dhikr by heart, by assigning you to recite daily 2500 times Allah, Allah by tongue (verbally) and 2500 times Allah, Allah by heart (silently). As soon as you do that, you feel it. Take your beads or even without beads (tasbih); put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and you find your heart doing dhikr, Allah, Allah. That is dhikr ul-khawaas, "Dhikr of the Chosen," assigned to some mureeds by the shaykh. It is dhikr ul-`ibaadah, "dhikr of (real) worship" and its fruit is wa ladhikrullahi akbar, "Allah will remember you in a Presence better than your presence."

Then the third level is, dhikr al-khawas al-khawas, "Dhikr of the Chosen of the Chosen," or dhikr al-muhabbatullah, "Dhikr of the Love of Allah," in which all parts of body do dhikr. That is only for awliyaullah. When dhikr of the heart and tongue coincide, who does that dhikr is able to enter the Divine Presence, which is the best of dhikr, as Allah (swt) said:

وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ فِي نَفْسِكَ تَضَرُّعاً وَخِيفَةً وَدُونَ الْجَهْرِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالآصَالِ وَلاَ تَكُن مِّنَ الْغَافِلِينَ

wadhkur rabbaka fee nafsika tadaru`an wa kheefatan wa doon al-jahri min al-qawl bi'l-ghudoowi wa'l-aasaal wa laa takun min al-ghaafileen.

And do thou (O reader!) Bring thy Lord to remembrance in thy (very) soul, with humility and in reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evenings; and be not thou of those who are unheedful. (7:205)

That means, don't make dhikr openly, but make it within yourself. Don't show that your beads are moving; that is "showing off," which is ego. One of Grandshaykh's representatives, Shaykh Husayn (q), like Shaykh Nazim (q), I never saw him with beads in his hands during the day. He said, "We don't like to show off. Do dhikr at night, up to Ishraaq." They don't show they are carrying beads. Today they show 500 beads or even one-thousand beads, so long!

tadaru`an wa kheefatan wa doon al-jahri min al-qawl, "Mention your Lord in yourself." Run to Him asking forgiveness, moving by your heart, afraid from losing His love to you, and inaudibly, without making a sound for people to see you are doing dhikr. Surrender and don't show off for others, with pride and arrogance.

النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: "خير الذكر الخفي"

wa qawlahu `alayhis salaam khayru 'dh-dhikr al-khafee.

The best of dhikr is the silent. (Ibn Hibban)

dhikr al-qalb saba` di`fan bi saba` di`f.

The dhikr of the heart is 70 times better.

When you multiply 2 x 2 it is 4, and 4 x 4 is 16, and the multiplication increases exponentially. So if you do 1000 dhikr of the heart, it is 70 times exponentially more than dhikr of the tongue. One-thousand times one-thousand is one-million, and then one-million times one-million is one-billion; that is two d`af. Three da`f is one-billion times one-billion equals one-trillion. So see how high you go with 70 da`f!

wa la-dhikrullahi akbar. This is a huge number; it has a limit, but you are happy with that huge number because Allah's remembrance of you is without limits! Will He throw that one in the Hellfire?

(Mawlana stands) So say, yaa Allah, yaa Rabb! If you mention "Allah" one time, He will mention you and that is enough for your entire lifetime. (Mawlana sits)

عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : "لفضل الذكر الخفي الذي لا يسمعه الحفظة سبعون ضعفاً، فيقول: إذا كان يوم القيامة وجمع الله الخلائق لحسابهم، وجاءت الحفظة بما حفظوا وكتبوا، قال الله لهم: انظروا هل بقي له من شيء؟ فيقولون: ما تركنا شيئاً مما علمناه وحفظناه، إلا وقد أحصيناه وكتبناه، فيقول الله: إن لك عندي خبيئاً لا تعلمه، وأنا أجزيك به وهو الذكر الخفي" ذكره السيوطي في البدور السافرة عن أبي يعلى الموصلي عن عائشة رضي الله عنها، كما ذكره علي القارئ.

wa 'dh-dhikr al-qalb illadhee laa yasma`u al-hafazha `ala min dhikr ul-lisaan.

The dhikr of the heart is higher than the dhikr of the tongues which the angels hear. (Narrated by Ayesha in Bayhaqi)

SubhaanAllah, the knowledge never stops!

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