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Companionship is Essential for Learning Good Manners:

Lessons from Sayyidina Imam al-Ghazali (q)

Ramadan Series 2014, Volume 6

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

4 July 2014 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

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`alaa fee haadha 'l-masjid.

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh. Those who are local and those who are far away, (online) viewers from around the world, I just received an email they are watching us from Australia.

So we have now five sessions on Tasawwuf and we will continue until we see how long it takes and the condition is that at the end of Ramadan, I will put 40 questions and you have to answer. If you answer correctly you go to the next stage, if you don't answer well you go back to study well what we said in these sessions! It is important that you keep this in mind, because, as we said before, the conscious or mind is constantly sending fiery vibrations that disturb us and if they don't relax down, and we explained that before, it has to go down from 120 vibrations down to 7-14 vibrations, then at that time you will be relaxed and you will synchronize well between the conscious and the unconscious, or the mind and the heart, like a gearbox. Then you are connecting the pipe and it is working.

So it is important to say that we have to make our nafs to be decorated with the good manners, and good manners are not easy to learn, so what do you need to learn them? You need as-suhbat, the companionship, You need to connect with someone who can reflect his good manners onto you, as the Prophet (s) said:

المؤمن مرآة أخيه

Al-mu’min mirraat akheehi.

The believer is the mirror of his brother (or sister).

So when you accompany a mu’min he reflects, because he is a mirror, so he reflects everything on you. That is one of the meanings of the Prophetic Hadith, al-mu’min mi'rraat akheehi, the mu’min is the mirror of his brother: he reflects either good manners or bad manners. But a mu’min does not carry any bad manners, so for sure, the mu’min carries the good manners. We carry the bad manners, so we have to look to find someone that has good manners in order that he can connect us. Why were the Sahaabah (r) called ‘Sahaabah’ (r)? Because they accompanied the Prophet (s) and they were getting all these perfections, all these endless good manners that he was reflecting on Sahaabah (r). That is why they became perfect, by sitting in his associations. His teachings, his ways of speaking to people, his actions, his patience, his humbleness, all this Sahaabah (r) learned from the Prophet (s) and they implemented it.

Imam Ghazali on Tasawwuf

What did Imam Ghazali say? Because today if you say "Imam Ghazali" everyone will listen, but if you say "Junayd al-Baghdadi", "`Abdul Qadir Jilani", "Sulayman ad-Daraani", "Sirr as-Saqati", "Shah Bahauddin Naqshband", "Sayyidina Imam Nawawi", "Rabi`a al-`Adawiyya", or "Abu Yazid al-Bastami" they don't pay attention, but when you say "Imam Ghazali" they listen. What did he say? At the beginning he was doubting Tasawwuf and doubting everything, because he had a mind working, not like ours, glued together and it does not work. So he said, "Let me experiment with the way of Tasawwuf," and when he experimented with it and he was dressed with its results, as Islam has a body and a soul, and Tasawwuf is its soul that carries everything good, while the body might carry dirtiness, then what do you have to do? Do you wash it or just put good clothes over it and go out? No, you might smell, so you have to wash, you cannot wear the good clothes over a dirty body. And we have an imperfect body that needs the soul to dress it. So when he had experimented with full faith and was making full progress in the way of Tasawwuf, he was able to lamasa, feel the progress of Tasawwuf on him, the nice clothes of the soul, and he ate from its fruit, and what did he say? He said:

الدخول مع الصوفية فرض عين،

Ad-dukhool ma` as-soofiyya fardu `ayn.

To be with Sufi people is an obligation on every individual.

‘Sufi people,’ the people who follow Shari`ah in all its ways, "to be with Sufi people is an obligation." He did not accept not to be with them, he said it is an obligation, because it will take you to the reality of the soul and there, in the reality of your soul, you will find the cause of why you are not carrying the good manners.

Today they teach you to look into...today doctors don’t look at the patient from outside and say, "You have a problem, your heart is beating fast." They don’t stop there, they make a stress test or an isotope test or inject you with chemicals to color your heart and to study your heart well. They study well, find the cause and eliminate the cause, and then you are okay. If we don't eliminate the cause we are not okay. So who among Muslims were able to eliminate the cause?

العلماء ورثة الانبياء

Al-`ulama warathatu 'l-anbiyaa.

The (genuine) scholars are inheritors of the Prophets.

As Prophet (s) said, the `ulama are the inheritors of prophets, and if you are in their company you inherit from them the good dress, because they are infallibles (ma`soom), so you learn from them perfection and you follow, or else you fall into the traps of Shaytan. Even you pray, but how many bad thoughts or good thoughts dome when you say, "Allahu Akbar," come to your mind? Many, countless, and you don’t know how many raka`ats you prayed and you are hearing what they tell you and you lose your prayers. You are fulfilling the obligation, but it will not be a perfect prayer. In order to make it perfect you have to eliminate the cause that is making you far away from the good manners.

Fudayl ibn al-`Iyyad on Tasawwuf

That is why Fudayl ibn al-`Iyyad (r), one of the famous scholars of North Africa, Morocco, said, `alayk bi tareeq al-haqq, "Follow the Way of Truth," nothing else. "Follow the Way of Truth" even though you don’t find too many people on that road. Don’t say, "There aren’t many people here, so I will follow the other road, as the majority of people are on the other road." Of the two highways, one highway is jammed and on the other there are not many people. The one that is jammed is full of dunya entertainments, so where do people go? For the entertainments it is jammed! It is not going to take you anywhere, you are stuck, but if you choose the one with no dunya entertainment, rather, eith Akhirah entertainment, even though there are less people, follow the less people because they are the cream of the crop. Take the cream! Wa iyyaka wa tareeq al-baatil, "I am warning you, beware of the way of entertainment, baatil; jaa al-haqqa wa zahaq al-baatil, one day haqq is coming and baatil is going. What is haqq? It is Akhirah, and baatil is dunya. The one that will save you is Tareeq al-Haqq, the Way of Truth. Wa laa taghtar bi kithrati ’l-haalikeen, "Don’t imitate those who chose the entertainment highway," as they are enjoying themselves on this highway, but they are jammed so leave them alone and guide yourself back to Holy Qur'an and Holy Hadith and to love of the Prophet (s)! Always look for a partner, a friend that has good manners, follow him and you will learn from him.

How People Become Lost

That is why as-suhbat, the companionship, has a deep power in building up your personality. Why are people lost around the world? Because in high school, for example, they spoil them through something they call "prom". When you finish high school, where do you go? [to the big dance.] Alhamdulillah you are a convert, so Allah saved you all your life, all your sins are waived as a convert, not like us; all is waived. They go for these kinds of parties and they spoil them. One does drugs and says, "Take little bit," and the other takes a little bit and all of them become drunk. They spoil them. The system around the world spoils the young ones and when they grow up they found themselves already spoiled and their mind is not thinking well, their mind is off, and they lose the possibility to work. So they need a doctor. The medicine is there, the good manners are there, but you need a doctor to prescribe one of the good manners. Who can carry that?

Choose Your Companions Wisely

العلماء ورثة الانبياء

Al-`ulama warathatu 'l-anbiyaa.

The (genuine) scholars are inheritors of the Prophets.

They can prescribe for you what you need, their basket of good manners is full, they have a full basket to distribute and the basket of bad manners is empty. So you have to look for someone like that. Not everyone is like that, not everyone can carry that. To be a shaykh is not by wearing a jubba and turban and saying, "I am the shaykh now." No, being a shaykh has specifications and requirements and the specifications are so many, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, so many principles. Step one, step two, step three...what you have to see in him? You cannot take someone who doesn’t follow Islamic Shari`ah. You have to see that he is perfect in all kinds of Islamic knowledges in order that he can answer you and advise you. The Sahaabah (r) did not reach that very high level that no one can reach after they were in full ignorance, they were dipped in ignorance, except when the Prophet (s) came and they accompanied him and they were the best, they were stars in the night!

أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

As-haabee ka 'n-nujoom bi ayyihim aqtadaytum ahtadaytum.

My Companions are like stars (on a dark night); whichever of them you follow, you will be guided.

(`Abd ibn Humayd, ad-Daraqutnee, ibn `Adiyy, ibn `Abd al-Barr,

with unsound chains but the meaning is sound.)

If you want to be guided, you have to follow someone who takes you to Sahaabati Rasoolillah (s)! So people were not able to reach that level except by accompanying the Prophet (s). These `ulama, their focus is only on the Prophet (s) and in every move they make in dunya they are inheriting from Prophet (s), their role model is the Prophet (s) and the Sahaabah (r). Their role model are al-a'immat and the Twelve Imams, the grandsons of the Prophet (s), so if you follow those you reach. Do you want to follow someone by name, who has appointed himself here and there? He might take you in a different direction. Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi (q) had 299 representatives, each one better than the other, but any one you follow will take you somewhere according to his level, and sometimes they might make mistakes, who knows?

Shaykh `Abdul-Qadir `Isa in his book Haqaa’iq `an at-Tasawwuf says:

فمن جالسهم سرى إليه من حالهم الذي اقتبسوه من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، ومن نصرهم فقد نصر الدين،

Fa man jalasaha min haalihim al-ladhee aqtabasoohu min Rasoolillah (s) wa man nasarahum faqad nasar ad-deen.

Anyone who sits with them, they reflect on him from their states they have taken from the Prophet (s) and whoever supports them and helps them supports religion.

Story from Grandshaykh `AbdAllah (q) about Prophet (s) and the Two Graves

I will say that story that Grandshaykh `AbdAllah (q) said many times. One time the Prophet (s) was going somewhere with some Companions (r) and they passed by two graves. There was no green on those graves and the sunnah is to put something green on the graves, a small tree or a bush. So they were passing and Prophet (s) said, "One beautiful white hand came out." The Prophet (s) gave respect to that hand by kissing it and the Sahaabah (r) were looking, and then the Prophet (s) passed to the other grave. The first one had light coming from the hand and he (s) kissed it one time and then, passing to the second grave, a hand came out and he kissed it two times, and that one had lot of wounds on it. If you ask someone, they would say that the first one is a wali and the second is involved in dunya.

The Sahaabah (r) asked the Prophet (s), "Yaa Rasoolullah, we saw something strange. That white hand came out and you kissed his hand to teach us to respect people, but the second hand, we say he was involved in dunya and you kissed it twice."

And the Prophet (s) said, "If not for the one who is involved in dunya helping the one who was a wali, a worshipper, that worshipper would never be a worshipper. The one who helped him, who worked hard in dunya and brought for him his provisions and food and supported the first one to be able to worship more, the reward will go to the second one."

So these awliyaullah are there and we have to look for them and support them. That is why in their associations you feel relaxed when you are in their presence, when you visit you don't feel tired and you feel happy in their presence and they reflect on you their good manners. So don't be like those who have sickness in their souls as they have bad manners, not good manners. They reflect their bad manners on you and if you want to follow them you will be losing.

Imam al-Ghazali Finds a Shaykh

So after Imam al-Ghazali experimented with Tasawwuf, he came up with this. Al-Imam Hujjat al-Islam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (q) said:

الدخول مع الصوفية فرض عين، إذ لا يخلو أحد من عيب إلا الأنبياء عليهم الصلاة والسلام

To be with the Sufis is an individual obligation, a must, because not one human being is absent of faults except the prophets, upon them be blessings and peace.

وأما علم القلب ومعرفة أمراضه من الحسد والعجب والرياء ونحوها، فقال الغزالي: فرض عين

As for the knowledge of the heart and knowledge of its illnesses from envy and self-adulation and showing off in worship and the like, it is fard `ayn, an individual religious obligation.

No one must think he has no faults. Whatever you do of worship, you have faults. Can you pray two rak`ats without gossip in your ear? No, so you are not in the Divine Presence, you are in the presence of your ego. So since no one is immune from faults except prophets, so who accompanied a prophet, because you have so many prophets in their times and whoever accompanies them, they will reflect their good manners on them. So what do you think about the Sahaabah (r)? Imam al-Ghazali said:

After I tried to experience the way of Sufi people and after I was denying that teaching, from childhood I denied all pious people and did not follow them and I denied all kinds of awliyaullah, Maqaamaat al-`Arifeen, the level of those who can see what cannot be seen, Ma`rifatullah, until I found a shaykh. One day someone came in my way and I liked him. He followed Shar`iah and he was always smiling and always teaching us to leave dunya and go for Akhirah. His name is Yoosuf an-Nasaaj (q). I accompanied him and I followed him all the time, and he begin to polish me with Mujaahada. By training me into this road, this highway that is empty except for a few people; no one goes to it, but they go to the entertainment highway and it is jammed. So that highway is empty but full of obstacles and he was making me to struggle until I reached, after Mujaahadah and polishing and polishing...

What happens when you polish a rock? The diamond comes. When you polish the heart of a Believer, the imaan comes, an-noor, the light comes to the heart and flourishes, it enlightens the heart.

Hattaa hadhaytu bi ‘l-waaridaat, Until I was able to receive Mushaahadah, having visions. At the beginning I was following the way of Sufis and following my shaykh and I reached level of `Ilm al-Yaqeen, to be able to hear realities, and then he raised me to the level of `Ayn al-Yaqeen, to see what people cannot see of realities. So now I can see what people cannot see and hear what people cannot hear.

That combination together becomes a living reality in front of you: you see it and hear it. So what happened? What kind of waaridaat can such a person see? What kind of levels can he go up and receive from the Divine Presence? What he received? Something big!

Seeing Allah in One’s Dream

This is Imam al-Ghazali (q), whose books they teach around the world. We are teaching what he said about Tasawwuf, so don't deny Tasawwuf! In this series we are mentioning what many teachers said about Tasawwuf, and this is about what Imam al-Ghazali (q) said:

كنت في مبدأ أمري منكراً لأحوال الصالحين، ومقامات العارفين، حتى صحبت شيخي (يوسف النساج) فلم يزل يصقلني بااهدة حتى حظيت بالواردات، فرأيت الله تعالى في المنام،

Kuntu fee mabda’aa amree munkiran li ahwaali ‘s-saaliheen wa maqaamaat al-`arifeen hattaa sahibtu shaykhee Yoosuf an-Nasaaj falam yazal yasqalanee bi ahdatan hattaa hazheetu bi ‘l-waaridaat.

In the initial stages of my affair I was denying the stations of the righteous and the stations of the gnostics until I accompanied my shaykh (Yusuf an-Nassaaj). and he kept on polishing me until my heart was cleaned and I began to receive heavenly inspirations, [we don’t say ‘Revelation’, but we say ‘ilhaam’, for people who are not prophets.]

I reached a level that I know is high. What is the highest level to me? I saw Allah in my dream.

What you want more than that? That is from Imam Ghazali (q), who people learn from, and even those who are not Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, the other sect, they teach him. Don’t they pass through this. I don't know. He said, "I saw Allah (swt) in a dream."

There are young ones that come to me and say, "I saw Allah (swt) in a dream," because they are young, innocent, pure, so they can see; not everyone, but certain ones that Allah wants to be special. I tell them, "Record (write) these dreams." I don't know if they record them or not, but they see.

فرأيت الله تعالى في المنام،فقال لي: يا أبا حامد، دع شواغلك، واصحب أقواماً جعلتهم في أرضي محل نظري

Fa-raaytu ‘l-Laah fi ‘l-manaam. fa qaala lee yaa abaa haamid, d`a shawaaghilak w ’ashab aqwaaman ja`altahum fee ardee mahal nazharee

I saw Allah in my dream and He said to me, da` shugilak, "Leave these distractions. If you want Me, leave them, and follow the people whom I put on Earth as they are under My Blessings and under My Mercy and under My Gaze. You will find them; follow them."

And I will keep the continuation of lessons from Sayyid Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (q) for tomorrow.

The Redeeming Benefits of Wudu

I will mention that hadith further and will keep Abu Hamid (q) until tomorrow. It is a long hadith, I will not go through it all. One day we will go through it as it a long hadith, so now we’ll take one section.

عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ عَمْرُو بْنُ عَبَسَةَ السُّلَمِيُّ : قَالَ : فَقُلْتُ : يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ فَالْوُضُوءَ حَدِّثْنِي عَنْهُ ، قَالَ : " مَا مِنْكُمْ رَجُلٌ يُقَرِّبُ وَضُوءَهُ ، فَيَتَمَضْمَضُ وَيَسْتَنْشِقُ فَيَنْتَثِرُ إِلَّا خَرَّتْ خَطَايَا وَجْهِهِ وَفِيهِ وَخَيَاشِيمِهِ ، ثُمَّ إِذَا غَسَلَ وَجْهَهُ كَمَا أَمَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا خَرَّتْ خَطَايَا وَجْهِهِ مِنْ أَطْرَافِ لِحْيَتِهِ مَعَ الْمَاءِ ، ثُمَّ يَغْسِلُ يَدَيْهِ إِلَى الْمِرْفَقَيْنِ إِلَّا خَرَّتْ خَطَايَا يَدَيْهِ مِنْ أَنَامِلِهِ مَعَ الْمَاءِ ، ثُمَّ يَمْسَحُ رَأْسَهُ إِلَّا خَرَّتْ خَطَايَا رَأْسِهِ مِنْ أَطْرَافِ شَعْرِهِ مَعَ الْمَاءِ ، ثُمَّ يَغْسِلُ قَدَمَيْهِ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ إِلَّا خَرَّتْ خَطَايَا رِجْلَيْهِ مِنْ أَنَامِلِهِ مَعَ الْمَاءِ ، فَإِنْ هُوَ قَامَ فَصَلَّى فَحَمِدَ اللَّهَ وَأَثْنَى عَلَيْهِ وَمَجَّدَهُ بِالَّذِي هُوَ لَهُ أَهْلٌ ، وَفَرَّغَ قَلْبَهُ لِلَّهِ إِلَّا انْصَرَفَ مِنْ خَطِيئَتِهِ كَهَيْئَتِهِ يَوْمَ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ "

Abu Umamah related that Amru ibn `Abasat as-Sulamee said, I said to Allah’s Prophet (s), "O Prophet of Allah, tell me about ablution": The Messenger of Allah (s) said, "No one of you approaches his ablution then gargles and then rinses his nose and then blows it out, except that his sins from his mouth and the inside of his nose will be eliminated with the water when he blows it out. Then when he washes his face as Allah has ordered except the sins of his face will fall down from the ends of his beard with the water, then he washes his arms up to the elbows except that the sins of his arms will fall out from his finger tips with the water, then he wipes his head except that the sins of his head will fall off from the ends of his hair with the water, then he when he washes his two feet up to the ankles except that the sins of his legs will fall of from the tips of his toes with the water. Then if he stands for prayer and praises, extols and glorifies Allah in a manner worthy of His dignity, and cleared his heart of all but Allah, he is definitely taken out of his sins as the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Muslim)

Today people do ablution and when they lose it, they don't renew it. We must keep it as much as we can. May Allah guide us for that. Memorize this hadith, not necessarily every word.

The Prophet (s) said:

When any one of you begins to make his ablution, he washes his mouth and he cleans his nostrils, all the sins that his face did by seeing looking here and looking there, from his face and from his nostrils and from his mouth will fall from him and not one sin will be left from that wudu, wa idhaa ghasal wajhahu kamaa amarahullah illa kharat khataaya wajhihi, and if he washes his face with water, all his sins of his face will fall down and they all go down from the sides of his beard. Min atraaf lahyatihi min al-maa, as the water is coming down it goes through his beard and all his sins will be falling down. Thumma yaghsilu yadayhi ilal-mirfaqayn, then he washes his hand up to the elbows or a little bit further (up the arm) and all the sins that his hands did in that day go out through the fingers as he is washing his hands right and left, all sins will go through the fingers and nothing will be left."

And so Allah (swt) cleans you from all sins of the mouth, from backbiting and many others, and from your nostrils, of smelling (or sniffing) something that’s not allowed (such as drug use). So washing his hands up to the elbows/arms, all sins of his hands will go. Thumma yamsahu ra`asahu illa kharat khataya raasihi min atraaf fi sha`rihi ma`al-maa. "When he begins to wash his head, all the sins of the head that he accumulated from one wudu to another wudu, all these sins will go out from the hair." Allahu Akbar. And then he washes his feet with the ankles and all his sins that his feet have done to go somewhere forbidden, all these sins will go out through his toes. thumma yaqoom fahamid Allaha ta`ala wa yathnaa `alayhi wa farragha qalbahu lillahi ta`ala illan ansarrafa min khatiyatihi kahayatihi yawm waladat-hu ummahu, and if he stands and prays two raka`ats for wudu and thanks Allah and praised Him, and he will clear his heart of all except Allah, he will be cleared of his sins as if he was newly born from his mother, clean and pure.

That is the wudu, that is for every wudu you will do! This is the good manners, to respect Allah that you never be without wudu as perhaps Allah looking at you, sending His Gaze to you to see if you are ready. And if you ask, "What about when I am sleeping?" that will be as if you were on wudu until you wake up.

May Allah bless us on this morning and give us the best of the day and accept our fasting, and we say Thank You to Ummah Channel that is broadcasting this on live TV on many stations throughout the world.

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


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