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Hierarchy of Saints Series, Vol 1

Characteristics of the Abdaal

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

14 August 2010 Burton, Michigan

`Asr / As-Siddiq Mosque 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)

We mentioned in the previous suhbah about Sayyidi Shaykh Shadhili (q), one of the greatest awliyaa who passed a long time ago. He was one of those poles, like the North or the South Pole. But we don't say "East Pole" and "West Pole." Why do we say "North Pole" and "South Pole"? In any case, Allah (swt) has created his awliyaullah, His saints, and made them on different ranks. And every wali doesn't cross his limits; he knows where he stands and he is happy with what Allah (swt) gave him. Why don't they cross their limits? There is a wisdom there. Allah (swt) puts in their hearts that they have reached the top level, the top point, and they feel they are at that highest level. Although they might be in a lower level, to them it looks like the highest level. That is why they keep content and happy, or else there would have been a kind of unaccepted complaint from that wali, that he wants to go to see the rank of the other one. So Allah (swt) hides them from each other and gives them the feeling that they have reached the highest station.

That is why you see there are 124,000 walis and every one thinks he is taking directly from Prophet (s). But in reality they are taking from the one directly above them in rank, and they are all eventually receiving from the Ghawth, the al-Fard al-Jami`, who brings everyone together. There cannot be two or three who bring everyone together, there can only be one. And then going down to the level that Allah (swt) showed the beauty of the world of Jamal, the Beautiful; when it is opened, they see beauty in everything, not only on Earth but in the universe, and when they reach it they cannot look at anything else but that beauty. People here say there is competition in the arts, who is the best artist. From their drawings you can see this artist is better than that one. When awliyaaullah see the beauty of what Allah (swt) created, they can no longer see that anything is not beautiful, so they are attracted to that beauty that Allah (swt) put in Earth and in Heavens.

When you admire people, when you open your heart to love people because you see that beauty, you are welcoming them through your arms and you are extending what you can give them in their lives. That beauty you see in them is the seed Allah put, that small tajalli appearing through them. That is why the wali will be a magnet to them and even one look from him to them will take away their difficulties. And that wali will transfer that beauty to their hearts and give them a spiritual injection, so on the Day of Judgment they are under his control. Not only did Allah (swt) give them that beauty to use in order to reach the maximum number of people, but He makes them travel throughout his universes and this Earth, from one place to another, to see more and more of those people who are lost or not lost, to bring them to Hazeerat al-Jamal "the Garden of Beauty." If anyone enters that Garden of Beauty, they cannot come out of it.

That group of awliyaullah who are under the ghawth are five qutbs (poles) that Allah (swt) established in dunya to attract as many people as possible through their travels. They have power to travel through spiritual dimensions and they have power to travel through Earth. They can move through heavenly and earthly power and according to hikmah (wisdom) of Allah (swt), they follow these two ways. Allah (swt) has made their hearts the place in which they can see His secret, wa atla`tahum `alaa shams asraarahum. In every secret there is a sun shining and every secret has been given to one of them. You cannot get the same secret the other one has, or else it is not a secret. Allah (swt) gave each one a certain secret he has to follow in order to reach iraadatullah (passion for Reality of Allah). He made their souls holy and he made their bodies heavenly. These awliyaaullah have a pure heavenly, subtle body so that they are able to receive these secrets from the Heavens. And they have an earthly body through which they deliver the message that Allah is sending to them through Prophet Muhammad (s).

Allah (swt) gave those five qutbs, with the ghawth, who is the sixth at the top of them, the ability to mine. When you are searching for diamonds, you mine. You might go underground three-hundred feet or three-thousand feet to find diamonds. Allah (swt) gave them that power of mining in the hearts of people, to take away what is bad and evil and to put inside what is good. Don't underestimate the power of a wali; they are able to reach from anywhere to anyone, but they prefer to show mostly their physical appearance, to see more people in need for support, and they support them. Allah (swt) gave them Quwwat al-Mujaahadah, the Power of Struggling, by putting Shaytan down and putting haqq (truth) in the hearts of people. Their lives are a struggle. They do not just sit, like many people who are lazy and their concern is only for this life, with no concern for the other life. So Allah (swt) has put in the hearts of these five qutbs the Power to Struggle, to fight against Shaytan, to remove baatil (falsehood) and to put haqq in the hearts of people, and they can do this with the power of their eyes.

Sayyidina Ahmad al-Badawi (q) covered his eyes because anyone looking into his eyes fainted. When he reached the highest level possible, a qutb came to him and said, "Yaa Ahmad! You need your trust, the key to that door. I have it."

He said, "I don't need the key from you, I need the key from Allah."

The qutb said, "Okay, you try to get it (on your own)!"

Because he was asking for that key and that qutb disappeared. Finally, Ahmad al-Badawi (q) was hearing a voice coming to his heart, saying, "Yaa Ahmad! If you want that key, My key is with that qutb. Go find him." And he went for six months looking for that qutb and he didn't find him. That qutb didn't appear; he was near him but Ahmad al-Badawi was not seeing him. That qutb didn't give him his key; instead he took all Ahmad al-Badawi's knowledge, because it was based on his ego.

Show me today anyone who is not basing his knowledge on his ego. `Ulama today are so proud of their knowledge that they want to put in front of their names the title "Doctor." They want this not just for medical doctors, but so they are all `alaamah, a pir, a professor, a doctor, and that is from the ego. So most of today's `ulama are building their knowledge on their egos. Awliyaaullah are building their knowledge on the Oceans of Prophet (s) that Allah (swt) is giving to him. That is why Imam Muhammad al-Busayri (r) said that everyone is taking from the Ocean of Prophet (s). This is where we put our back, that is where our `itimad is: our support comes from Prophet (s), our backbone, he supports us.

So these aqtaad are highest in their levels. We won't elaborate that now; we will go through something else inshaa-Allah, but they are the highest of awliya, and when one goes his seat has to be filled immediately; it cannot remain empty. These five are: Qutb, Qutb al-Bilad, Qutb al-Aqtaab, Qutb al-Irshaad, Qutb al-Mutasarrif. The eyes of their hearts, the eyes of their head, their attention, they are always looking at the ghawth. They take their daily assignments from him and he connects everyone to him, and he is taking orders from Prophet (s). And that is why, as there are five qutbs, there are also five groups of awliyaa under them: Budala, Nujaba, Nuqaba, Awtad, and Akhyar. They are looking at the qutb's order, to execute it. Allah (swt) made them Ahlu 'l-Fadl, the People of Favor, and Allah favors His servants. Therefore, they have to reach and share those heavenly favors with everyone.

So there is the Ghawth, five qutbs and under the five qutbs are five different groups. First of them is "Budala," whom Allah (swt) made Ahlu'l-Fadl and He made them so generous. They have to give to everyone, and they don't ask (about the state of that person); whether someone is saying the truth or not, they give fee saabeelillah, in Allah's Way. They are always on istiqaamah, the Right Path. If you see something from them that you don't understand, don't object or you will lose, because they might do something your mind may not accept. But they know there is wisdom in it and their goals are there, because they are always on istiqaamah, the Right Path, so they know. You might not always be on the Right Path; you might be on the diversion or the exit. The highway is straight and there are many exits. If you exit, you are not on the highway anymore. You cannot see what awliyaullah are seeing. You are exiting, maybe on the first or the second or the third exit. Awliyaaullah don't exit. They stay on the straight highway, the Straight Path, Siraat al-Mustaqeem. So when you exit, you are looking from far away, and you might not see what the wali on the highway is seeing. Don't try to balance what the wali knows to your mind. Because Allah made these Abdaal to save themselves from imaginations, khayaal. Takhallasoo min al-khayalaat, "They freed themselves from imagination." We normal people are full of imagination, like in the desert you see a mirage and you think you see an oasis of water, but you run and then you don't see anything. This is wahm, imagination, khayaal. A wali will see there is nothing there. That is why you need a guide; you cannot be alone.

Allah (swt) gave them four different assignments that are physical and four hidden ones that are spiritual. The first physical one the Abdaal have is to keep quiet; they don't talk. It is like what Sayyidina Ali (q) said. "To save yourself (from sin), first is not to talk, as-samt." When you talk you begin to show you know nothing. What is not to talk? It is not only not to talk to people, but to make your heart not to talk against people by throwing them with soow al-khaatir, bad thoughts. It means not only through your tongue, but samt has to be through your tongue and your heart. How much do we accuse people through our hearts and speak badly about them? Always these shaytanic gossips come to our hearts or our minds, and we begin to say things that are not good in the haqq al-aakhireen, the rights of others. So Allah (swt) gave the abdaal the physical power to keep quiet and that is why you don't know them. They might be in your physical presence but you don't know them, it might be they come in the appearance of a man you know or you don't know, and they keep quite.

And second, Allah gave them power of sahr, to stay up all night, not to sleep. Can you stay up all night? (to someone in the assembly) You, mashaa-Allah, sleep during the day and at night! (laughter) It is not only physical sleep that Allah gave them not to sleep, but also their hearts do not sleep; their hearts are always after people.

As related by Ahmad in his Musnad, Prophet (s) said, "When you are in the jungle or desert and feel afraid, call on `ibaad-Allah, `Abdaal, the Substitutes, rijaal-Allah. They will come and support you."

Where is the jungle? Everywhere is a jungle; it is not necessary to be in a real jungle. To be around people is a jungle, to be in gatherings is a jungle. Because when you have people with different beliefs, minds, actions, behaviors, with different ideas, it is a jungle of bad, low desires. Allah (swt) gave these Abdaal power to go everywhere, because everywhere is a jungle; today there is no place pure on this dunya. You find Balad al-Haraam in Mecca is pure, and in Madinah it is pure, and in Masjid al-Aqsa it is pure, and in Sham (Damascus) it is pure. Allah (swt) gave us these. But still, even in these pure places today people are not behaving correctly. It is a jungle so they need awliyaaullah, Abdaal to reach them. They are taking orders from qutbs and they do that. "Go here, go there, appear in this place and appear in that place." Sometimes they use normal, physical means and sometimes they use spiritual means. They don't like to show karamah, miracles, they want to show normality to everyone.

And He gave them the power of sahr `ala raahat an-naas. If a baby is sick in the hospital, you stay with her all night. They look after everyone through their spiritual means in order to lift up that one who is losing his faith or losing his duties during the day. They reach him and they don't differentiate from one to another, as they have orders to reach everyone in need.

Always, if there is food they eat and if there is no food, they don't care, they don't eat. Al-joo` is one of their characteristics, hunger. They want to feel with everyone, that there are poor people with no food, to sympathize with them, they do not eat. And this I saw in Grandshaykh (q) and in Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q); they don't eat, but we run to fill our stomachs and graze.

They always seclude themselves. They have this characteristic of being away from people. When they need to appear, they appear, but otherwise they seclude themselves.

So they carry these characteristics, especially as-samt, which is to keep quiet. Their speech is only dhikrullah. You see always Allah's Name on their tongue, either Allah Allah, or laa ilaaha illa-Llah, or salawaat on Prophet (s).

They don't sleep because they are busy during the nights reaching people when everyone is sleeping. And also, the spiritual meaning of sleeping is ghaflah, to be heedless, and they don't allow themselves to be heedless. They are always looking at the the five qutbs, and the five qutbs are always looking at at the ghawth, and the ghawth is always looking at Prophet (s).

These are characteristics of Abdaal that are very necessary to understand how awliyaullah interact and react. Some people like stories and some like something else, but since we entered in this ocean, we have to finish it.

Wa min khawaas al-abdaal man safara mina 'l-qawmi mawd`eehi wa man taraka jasadan `alaa suratih. And from the characteristics that Allah (swt) gave them is that from the inner circle of Abdaal, as the Abdaal are of different number--some ahadeeth say forty, some say seven--from the highest level of `Abdaal, is that they travel from their places, leaving behind their bodies, and take out from their bodies another copy, and they go around dunya looking for people that need help and they help them. That is why when you see a wali that it looks like they are sleeping, their soul left their body. And when they are sleeping, don't wake them up, otherwise you will make a mistake, unless they instruct you, "Wake us up at that moment." That means you are calling them back; when they tell you, "Wake us up," it means, "Call us back." Then you are like an alarm for them, but if they don't say anything to you, don't wake them up.

I saw this with Grandshaykh (q) and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q). One time I was passing by the window of Grandshaykh's (q) room, going where there was a dhikr and there was a window. And my one self was telling me to look and one self was telling me not to look. And these things, you cannot control yourself. If you don't look you miss the opportunity. So I looked and I saw Grandshaykh (q) sitting like that and opening his mouth. And I was shocked to see that, you know on cold days when you go out and you blow and you see fog coming out? What was coming out was light. And from his head a greenish color and from his mouth, white color was coming up and they were mixing, like a rainbow. The whole ceiling disappeared and you saw it going up through this universe until you cannot see it anymore. And at that moment I was shaking. "Why are you looking at something that does not belong to you? Run from here." And alhamdulillah I took that opportunity, I didn't miss it, to see that. Keep him supporting us, yaa Rabb! And give Mawlana Shaykh long life.

So awliyaaullah when you see them on the bed or floor or chair and you see them as if laying down sleeping, don't touch them. Don't wake them up. They are not there, they are not present. Seven days Grandshaykh (q) in seclusion left his body and went when Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q) appeared to him in a vision in khalwah. He left his body for seven days, no movement. And his wife ran to Grandshaykh Sharafuddin (q), Grandshaykh's uncle, and said, "Abdullah Effendi died." He said, "No, he didn't die. Leave him, he will be back in seven days." So awliyaa have that power. If they tell you, accept. If they don't tell you, you are free to do what you like. But al-amru fawq al-adab, "the order is above good manners." If it is good manners not to drink from a cup, and if Shaykh tells you "drink", you do it. Don't say, "O Shaykh, it is your cup, it is not my cup." If Shaykh says go to this place, you go. Don't say, "I don't." Go! That is an order above good manners. In his heart it is higher than what you are thinking. There is wisdom of it, to do that.

And that is why you see them and always they know if there are objections. And Grandshaykh (q) said, bless his soul, "I never give an order except to two. Two of my students. He used to say Nazim Effendi, Husayn Effendi. They never have doubts. When Shaykh gives you an order, don't try to balance it in your balance. Don't say, "I have this, that, busy here or busy there." No, do it. One day he said to me, "I want you to take me downtown in the car." Grandshaykh (q). And it was a very new car. I will cut the story short. Would you like to hear it? (Yes, sir.) I said it before, where did I say it?

Alhamdulillah, my elder brother and my father liked to drive cars and so always we had the latest cars, ten cars. And every year we had new, we changed. One year we bought a very fancy car, very expensive, a sports car, and it was a Jaguar. And my brother and I said, "Let's go to visit Mawlana in this car." So we went, and we arrived, we went up to visit him and he said, "Today I like to go with you to the market, so you take me down." We said, "OK." So we were happy, since it was a fancy car, and it was a small car, a sports car. And he came down and said, "What is this? This is garbage. Do you think this is a car? Naqshbandis must have the best." This is the best. He said, "Change it, go get a big car." So we went down to the market and it was small. He said, "I want to buy wood." You know, they cut the wood there and sold it. So Mawlana Shaykh filled the car with wood and all the dirt that comes from the wood was coming in the small trunk and on one of the seats. And he said, "Next time don't come with that car, bring a big car." He was teaching, "Don't have love of dunya in your heart."

Now, according to our minds, this was the best car. But he was giving to our mind that dunya must not be akbar hamminaa, that dunya must not be the most of our attention. So the next time, our father bought a Lincoln so it was a big car with beige seats and we said, "Alhamdulillah, we take this car." We went to Syria and Grandshaykh (q) said, "Yaa, awlaad, I want to go buy something from the market." So we took him in that car and he said, "This is a car. This car I can go and feel OK, this is for Naqshbandi." So they like students to be the best. If you are poor, no problem, but act the best, talk the best. Then people see this tariqah as something great. Don't look poor. Do you understand what that means? That means don't look poor in your appearance, look rich. Look mutahammis, to have zeal, yazal, showing that you are great with this tariqah, not a stinky person, a poor person in your manners. Have rich manners: to accept and not to deny, to give and not to be greedy, to love everyone and to extend your hands to everyone. Even if you receive from others what you don't like, don't give it back. Keep good relationships. For seven years Prophet (s) had has neighbor throwing garbage on his door, he never complained. Seven years and every morning at Fajr time, he saw the garbage and he took the garbage and didn't tell anyone. And finally that neighbor was dying, after seven years and he went to see him. And that neighbor said, "O Rasoolullah, seven years I am giving you a hard time. If this is Islam, then I accept Islam." That is the teaching of awliyaullah.

So we took Grandshaykh (q) and he said, "Take me to the charcoal market." There are two kinds of charcoal, the wood one, the long one, and there is the coal from inside the ground, which has a lot of dust. He bought bags of charcoal and said to the merchant , "Put it in the trunk," and that trunk became dusty black. And that was not enough; he put charcoal on the seats and he beige, clean color became all-black. And he was happy, looking at us to see what we were going to say. What you can say? And so they tell you, "Don't look at our actions; there is wisdom in it." It means don't make your heart dirty like charcoal dust; keep your heart clean." If they say, "Do this," do it. "Don't do this," don't do it. Then you will be successful.

We will continue later inshaa-Allah, tomorrow morning. May Allah (swt) forgive us and keep us under the mercy of His Prophet, Sayyidina Muhammad (s), and under Allah's Mercy and the mercy of awliyaullah. Without that we are lost.

Sayyidina Muhammad al-Busayri (q) said:

Tooba lanaa yaa ma`ahshar-Islaami

inna lanaa min al-inayaatai ruknan ghayra munhadimi.

Good tidings for us, the People of Islam,

Truly for us is a supporting pole that is never falling down.

He (s) said, ma`ahshar al-Islaam, People of Islam, not, ma`ahshar al-muslimeen, Muslims. It means People of Islam are those who accept Islam with its perfection. Muslims are not in perfection, so Muslims are not in good tidings. Those who are perfecting their Islam have good tidings. Those who are not, who backbite, do not receive good tidings. He said, "Good tidings to the People of Islam. Inna lana min al-inayaati ruknan ghayra munhadimi, "Allah (swt) granted us from His endless blessing a supporting pole that is never falling down." That means the Prophet (s).

O Muslims! As Mawlana says, O Attenders! If we lose love of Ahlu 'l-Bayt, then we lose love of Prophet Muhammad (s), as it says in Holy Qur'an:

قُل لَّا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَى

Qul laa asalukum `alayhi ajran illa 'l-muwaddata fi 'l-qurba.

Say, "No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin." (42:23)

Say, O Muhammad, "I am not asking any return for what dawa I am delivering to you. I am not asking anything, I will give you everything. But I only ask one thing: love my family. Keep wud, compassion, emotions, love for my family."

Where is love for Prophet's family today? Where are you, Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah, showing love to Prophet's family? That is what we are ordered to do. Allah is saying in Holy Qur'an, Qul laa asalukum `alayhi ajran illa 'l-muwaddata fi 'l-qurba. "I am not asking anything for what I do for you, but to love my family and care for them," to the Day of Judgment. Are you looking? Where are Ahlu 'l-Bayt? Write his name, write his e-mail, make a collection of Ahlu 'l-Bayti families. There must be millions in this time from Ahlu 'l-Bayt! Do you have a relationship together? No. That is what Prophet (s) is asking, "I am asking only to keep love to them." That means you must look for them, and especially some Ahlu 'l-Bayt who are awliyaullah. Do you look for them.?

And that is our message. Allah (swt) put awliyaullah everywhere in the world to guide us to Ahlu 'l-Bayt, to see them and to take barakah from them. Most, if not all awliyaullah are from Ahlu 'l-Bayt. Look at Sayyidina Salman al-Farsi (r) who is not from blood of Prophet (s), but whom Prophet made him to be from his family because of his love for him. Some are like Salman al-Farsi, considered to be from Ahlu 'l-Bayt. Prophet (s) left an authentic hadith, "I am leaving behind two things, that you never lose the way: kitaabullah, the Book of Allah, and `itratee, my family." He put his family up with the Book of Allah. Look after Ahlu 'l-Bayt. If you are really `ulama you know that He honored them to be from Ahlu 'l-Bayt. Not everyone is from Ahlu 'l-Bayt. Allah (swt) gave them that love from Prophet (s), and everyone has to respect them. May Allah (swt) give us the respect that is needed for Ahlu 'l-Bayt, and may Allah bless us.

Bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.