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Contemplation of Love

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

5 December 2015 Singapore

Keynote Address at Mawlid Fest 2015 | Max Atria, Singapore Expo (2)

As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh. First of all, I would like to thank Simply Islam and all those who helped prepare this event and for inviting me to the 4th Mawlid Festival of 2015, and I thank the guests who came all the way from Malaysia to be here with us. I would also like to thank Dr. Usama Canon for his presentation, it was very touching. I am not a person with a sense of humor, but I will try. He was very good at making everyone laugh and he entertained everyone. I would like to entertain you, but how? I don’t have any drums, they took the drums away. Nassir always brings me titles that are difficult to explain, such as “ad-deenu naseehah” for lectures, suhbahs, advice; it’s very difficult, I don't know where he finds them. Let us begin by saying:

Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Alhamdulillahi Rabbi 'l-`Alameen, wa ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaamu `alaa ashrafi 'l-mursaleena Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma`een. Alhamdulillah nastaghfiruhu wa nasta`eenuhu wa nastahdeeh wa na`oodhu bi ‘Llahi min shuroori anfusinha wa sayyi’aati a`maalina. Man yahdi ‘Llahu fa laa mudilla lah, wa man yudlil fa laa haadiya lah.

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُُ

The religion in Allah’s view is Islam (submission to His Will). (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:19)

Allah is The Guide for everyone, as He said in this ayah. I don't know where to begin, but Simply Islam is a title that he wants to say Islam is simple, but to me Islam is not simple, it is ad-deena `inda Allaahi al-islaam. However, Islam is simple in one way: with shafa`at an-Nabi (s), the Rahmah of Prophet (s), but it is very difficult to reach what Allah wants you to reach, it is not so easy for people to say, “I am Muslim,” as Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

قُلِ الله ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

Say "Allah," then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling. (Surat al-An`am, 6:91)

Say “Allah!” Look at yourself, don’t look at others: say “Allah” and leave the rest as Allah will guide them and everyone.

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

It is true you (O Muhammad) will not be able to guide every one whom you love, but Allah guides those whom He will and He knows best those who receive guidance. (Surat al-Qasas, 28:56)

Allah said to Prophet (s), “Don't guide whom you like, Allah guides whom He likes.” It is Allah's Will when He created Creation that all are born on innocence, fitra, as Prophet (s) said:

يولد الانسان على الفطرة ، فأبواه يهودانه أو ينصرانه أو يمجسانه

Man is born upon fitra (innocence), but it is his parents who make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian.

(Bukhari, Muslim)

Every human being is born on innocence, without sins, with no faults! The light of imaan is in every heart, but it needs to be ignited, like the child in the womb of the mother is ignited and comes to life. I am asking myself, it may be because I am becoming old, and I don't know if it is reasonable to say it or not, but I wonder with all this technology we have today, can any medical doctor or scientist know the moment when a soul enters the womb of the mother? Can the doctor or anyone know when a person will die? If you look at the person dying you don’t see the soul about to leave them, so what kind of veil is that? How are you going to know yourself if you cannot see? Allah described Awliyaullah in the Holy Qur’an:

مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَىٰ نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ ۖ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلًا

Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: of them some have completed their vow, and some (still) wait, but they have never changed (their determination) in the least. (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:23)

“Men who kept their covenant with Allah,” from the Day of Promises they never changed. Allah described them:

بَلْ أَحْيَاء عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ

No, they live, finding their sustenance provided in the Presence of their Lord. (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:169)

Allah provides them with knowledge even when they die and He makes their graves gardens from the Gardens of Paradise. They struggle to know the secret of Creation, but:

وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

What you have been given from knowledge is very little. (Surat al-Israa’, 17:85)

‘Very little’ means don’t raise your head and praise yourself! First we have to say, “Yaa Rabbee, we are sinners, forgive us,” and Allah forgives.

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins. Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat az-Zumar, 39:53)

Allah forgives everyone, but what we have to say to establish our speech is, “Yaa Rabbee, we are renewing our Shahadah.” Say now, “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasooluh,” as:

من قال لا اله الا الله دخل الجنة

Whoever says, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” enters Paradise. (Mustadrak of an-Nisaburi)

افضل الذكر لا اله الّا الله

The best remembrance of Allah is to say,“There is no god but Allah.” (Tirmidhi)

Say Kalimat at-Tawheed and you will enter Paradise! So Islam is not only praying, fasting, paying zakaat and performing Hajj, no, there are many other obligations. I am saying this because it may be that I am in my 70s and think differently, but let us refer to a main scholar of Islam, whom even Ibn Taymiyya accepted, and when we say Ibn Taymiyya accepts Sufism, that is saying a lot! We even have a declaration of Ibn Taymiyya that this scholar was one of the rare Sufis, like Sirr as-Saqati (q), Rabi`ah al-`Adawiyyah (q) and Junayd al-Baghdadi (q), scholars who carried two wings, Shari`ah, the law, and Haqiqah, the Reality, which is not different, it is the core of Shar`iah, Maqaam al-Ihsaan, the Level of Perfection, and that is what we want. For example, you and I are thirsty and someone is showing me a glass of very nice, cold, delicious water, saying, “This cup is made from Bohemian crystal and `ud perfume is in the water,” but he doesn't give it to me to drink. As we know in Islam, as Ibn `Ajeebah (q) said, there are two kinds of knowledge: Knowledge of Papers (books) and Knowledge of Taste. So when you describe the water and don’t give me any to drink, I’m not tasting anything, I’m only looking at papers, but I want to look at Realities, what is behind every verse of Holy Qur'an and Hadith of the Prophet (s). It is not only memorization, but to act.

So that big scholar that Ibn Taymiya approved of, alhamdulillah which is good for us, he asked, “What am I doing on Earth, what is my goal?” He found out the Reality is not here, but in Heavens, coming with the Revelation that Jibreel (a) brought to Prophet (s). Did we hear the voice of Prophet (s) when we read the Holy Qur’an? No, only Sahaabah (r) did. Also, no one heard Jibreel (a) reciting to Prophet (s), so I’m sorry to say that we are miserable, we need something within us to open our hearts. The name of that well-known scholar along the `ulama is Abu Yazeed Bistami (q) from Bistam. He knew that there is `Ilm ash-Shari`ah and `Ilm al-Haqiqah and they both complete each other, for sure. If you complete `Ilm ash-Shari`ah you reach Heaven for sure, but if you complete `Ilm al-Haqiqah you will reach the highest Heaven. He said, “Yaa Rabbee open Your Door for me.” He was struggling, like someone diving in water without oxygen or knowing how to swim. “Yaa Rabbee! I am sinking, but I want to make da`wah to myself, I want to know what I have to do to reach You.” This is our goal, to reach Him.

Allah (swt) seeks us by sending the soul to our mothers. How many souls around the world come daily, how many new births? They are in the millions. When they enter the wrong womb or interfere with each other, or do they go straightforward, directly to the mother they belong to? Who gave them that knowledge? The soul didn’t make a mistake and go to someone else, like now in hospitals they tag the newborn so no one will steal it or confuse it for another. How do millions of souls know their mothers and enter the wombs daily, non-stop? Who gave them that power, Who directs them?

“It is true you (O Muhammad) will not be able to guide every one whom you love, but Allah guides those whom He wills and He knows best those who receive guidance.” (28:56)

Allah guides the soul to enter the right womb. A soul is innocent, perfect, without mistake, and comes from the Divine Presence, the Association, from the Day of Promises, and enters the womb saying, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammad Rasoolullah.”

So Abu Yazeed al-Bistami (a), a big Shari`ah scholar who struggled day and night against his ego, said to himself, “What am I doing here?” Allah likes people to ask, so ask, don’t stop asking, don’t come with your difficulties, ask and Allah will take them away! Persist in asking, don’t lose hope of Allah’s Mercy! Ask for work, for shifa’a for your children, your community...is it not better to go to the masjid and ask, “Yaa Rabbee, bring peace on Earth.” Of course it is! We are in the Last Days, about which Prophet (s) said knowledge will be lifted up and ignorance will fill the Earth!

حَدَّثَنَا الْمَكِّيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا حَنْظَلَةُ بْنُ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ، عَنْ سَالِمٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ يُقْبَضُ الْعِلْمُ، وَيَظْهَرُ الْجَهْلُ وَالْفِتَنُ، وَيَكْثُرُ الْهَرْجُ ‏"‏‏.‏ قِيلَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا الْهَرْجُ فَقَالَ هَكَذَا بِيَدِهِ، فَحَرَّفَهَا، كَأَنَّهُ يُرِيدُ الْقَتْلَ‏.‏

The Prophet (s) said, "Knowledge will be taken away (by the death of religious scholars), ignorance (in religion) and afflictions will appear, and Harj will increase." It was asked, "What is Harj, O Allah's Messenger (s)?" He replied by beckoning with his hand, indicating "killing."

(Narrated Abu Hurayrah, Bukhari)

Now show me how many scholars are around the world that people know, there very few. In previous times there were millions of them; they wrote all kinds of books on Shari`ah and Tasawwuf.

So Abu Yazeed (q) thought, “What am I doing here? I am losing the train car to reach the Reality, I need to jump on it!” He asked, “Yaa Rabbee, how can I reach you?” Allah (swt) is reaching him, but there is a condition to reach Him, from the Creator to Creation, to accept you to come to Allah (swt). He said, “How can I reach you? I am praying the five prayers but I want to pray two raka`ats in a way that no one has been able to pray before. I am going to contemplate, contemplate, contemplate and focus my brain, my heart, my organs, my body and my cells.”

Our bodies have three trillion cells that are rejuvenating every moment; it is a process of rejuvenating. He was asking, begging and crying, showing all kinds of emotion and love to Allah (swt), “I want to pray two raka`ats like no one did from the Ummah.” He took a shower and made wudu, even though wudu is included in ghusl, then he prayed two raka`ats and as soon as he said, “As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah,” he heard a voice coming to his heart, “O oppressor! You oppressed yourself! I am not accepting your prayer because you claimed you wanted to pray two raka`ats in a way that no one has prayed. Alright, I will judge you according to what you claimed, nothing else. Why did you lean more on your right foot than on your left? Your prayer is rejected as you didn’t balance them. I gave you a perfect body. You wasted it in your life, going here and there.”

May Allah forgive us for going to discos, clubs and where it is not allowed; you oppressed yourself! “Now you wanted to pray two raka`ats as no one prayed. Alright, I will judge you according to these two raka`ats, but if you didn’t say anything I would have accepted your prayer.” Don’t claim that you are something! I am not something, I wish to be under the feet of the Awliya, the Sahaabah (r), Prophet (s), the Four Imams and the a’immah.

فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ

Don’t praise yourself. (Surat an-Najm, 53:32)

We are praising ourselves a lot, claiming we are this or that, and Allah (swt) does not like that. Prophet (s) said, “I am a human being like you, but Allah reveals to me,” to show humbleness, to show us the way to reach Allah (swt) through humbleness, not pride and arrogance.

So Abu Yazeed (q) said, “Yaa Rabbee, I didn’t know that I have to balance my weight between the right leg and my left. I am confused, I don’t know which one is more, what do I have to do?”

He heard a voice saying to him, “Okay, leave this. You want to come to Me? I cannot have a partner.” He is a scholar and that voice said, “You are a mushrik, making shirk, because you are putting yourself with Me saying you want to pray two raka`ats the way no one prayed before. Come to Me with no one!”

“How, yaa Rabbee?” he asked.

He said, “Leave your self and come to Me. I cannot accept your self, then there are two. I cannot accept two, I want one. Leave your self.”

Why did Allah (swt) take the son of Sayyidina Ya`qub (a), Sayyidina Yusuf (a)? Ibn Arabi (q) said Allah took his son because He wanted to teach Sayyidina Ya`qub (a) a lesson; he loved his son more than anything else, almost more than his love for Allah (swt). Sometimes you fall into the problem of loving your son or daughter more, even pious people fall into that problem.

So He said at that moment, “Leave your self and come to Me, then I will accept you.”

Abu Yazeed (q) said, “At that moment, when I heard that voice I skinned myself like the snake sheds its skin from its body, in order to go to Allah (swt).” That has pain: you can only shed your skin if you really love Allah. So he shed his skin in order to reach the Divine Presence. Did we shed our skin? No, we did not. That is the main issue and that is why when Jibreel (a) came to Prophet (s) and said there are Five Pillars of Islam, Six Pillars of Imaan, and Ihsaan is to worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, if we look closely at that Hadith, it means Prophet (s) said to you that there is a possibility to see. “Worship Allah as if you are seeing Him,” you will see His Manifestations on you, His Rahmah, His Noor, al-Asma al-Husna will descend on you, you will be dressed with it! There is a possibility to see.

Are we seeing? No, so this means we have not yet reached Maqaam al-Ihsaan. Alright, if you are not seeing Him, even though there is a possibility, still He is seeing you and He will guide you, but go and ask Allah (swt) so He will guide you.

There is a story about Sayyidina Musa (a) going in the desert valley on a journey. It is a Sunnah of prophets to go on a journey, to leave where you live and go somewhere. One time he was going on such a journey and reached a cave. As he approached it, he heard a sound, recitation like qaseedah, and the sound became clearer. It was someone praising Allah (swt). He approached and saw a man in sajda reciting, Subhaan al-ladhee faddalanee `alaa katheerin min man khalaqa tafdeela, “Praise be to Allah that He favored me over many, many people of my tribe.” Paying no attention to Sayyidina Musa (a), he continued reciting, “Praise be to Allah that He honored me more than many.” Sayyidina Musa (a) looked at him and it didn’t make sense: he saw a female deer come, raise its leg and like a bottle you give to a child, let that man quench his thirst from its milk. This was his food Allah sent to him. Sayyidina Musa (a) thought how strange that was. When that man came up from sajda, Sayyidina Musa (a) saw he had no arms or legs, only a head and body (torso).

Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “O my brother, why are you saying Allah favored you over many people? You are not favored, you have no arms or legs. Don’t you see yourself?”

That man said, “Yaa Musa, I am praising my Lord because of something great He gave me.”

Sayyidina Musa (a) said, “What did He give you? You have no legs or arms!”

He said, “He made me Muslim, to accept Islam and with that Allah favored me over many of Fir`awn’s people. Allah favored me.”

We have to go into Maqaam al-Ihsaan, because it gives us taste, which is important. To reach the walnut fruit you have to break the shell., which symbolizes the ego: when you break the shell you get the fruit. That is what Sayyidah Maryam (a) did.

كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقاً قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّى لَكِ هَـذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ إنَّ اللّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاء بِغَيْرِ حِس

Whenever he (Zakariyya) entered her prayer niche, he found with her provision. He said, "O Mary! From where does this come to you?" She said, "From Allah, for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure." (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:37)

Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur’an whenever Sayyidina Zakariya (a) entered her niche, he found provisions there. Why don’t we have provisions? Allah will give us, but we have to abide by His Orders. So whatever Allah gave to Virgin Mary she took. Allah provides without account. Allah will give, His Treasures never end. His Beautiful Name is al-Mu`tee. He gives and doesn’t take back. He says, “You are My servant, I love you, I created Ummat Nabi (s) and Sayyidina Muhammad (s) for all Creation.”

وإعلموا أن فيكم رسول الله

And know Allah's Messenger is in you. (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:7)

You have to know that Prophet (s) is in you! Allah gave us everything, but we have to follow. So when Sayyidina Musa (a) saw that, he was surprised and said, “I have to do that,” and he was a prophet.

O Muslims, mu’mins! Islam is a taste you quench your thirst with. Allah said to Prophet (s) to tell us to say:

كلمتان خفيفتان على اللسان ثقيلتان فى الميزان حبيبتان إلى الرحمن سبحان الله و بحمده سبحان الله العظيم

There are two words that are very easy to say, yet very heavy on the Scale, most beloved to The Merciful, “SubhaanAllah wa bi-hamdihi subhaanAllahi ’l-`Azheem.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Two words that are very heavy on the Scale on the Day of Judgement, heavier than all the sins you have done in dunya. These two words are very light on the tongue, but very heavy on the Scale: SubhaanAllah wa bihamdihi subhaanAllahi ’l-`Azheem.

Allah (swt) will forgive us by saying these two words, that’s why it is recommended to recite them after every prayer, and you can add “astaghfirullah.” So Allah is giving us something to relieve us from punishment, although His Mercy encompasses everything. When Allah spoke directly with Sayyidina Musa (a) it slowly built his love, as when someone close speaks with you it builds love between you. So Sayyidina Musa (a) thought he could ask:

وَلَمَّا جَاء مُوسَى لِمِيقَاتِنَا وَكَلَّمَهُ رَبُّهُ قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ قَالَ لَن تَرَانِي وَلَـكِنِ انظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّى رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكًّا وَخَرَّ موسَى صَعِقًا فَلَمَّا أَفَاقَ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

When Moses came to the place appointed by Us and his Lord addressed him, he said, "O my Lord! Show (Yourself) to me that I may look upon You." Allah said, "By no means can you see Me (directly), but look upon the mountain; if it abides in its place, then you shall see Me." When his Lord manifested His glory on the mountain, He made it as dust and Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said, "Glory be to You! To You I turn in repentance and I am the first to believe." (Surat al-`Araaf, 7:143)

He knew that Islam and Imaan will take you to Paradise, but Ihsaan will take you to the core of Paradise. That’s why Imam Malik (r) said, “It is a combination of Shari`ah and Haqiqah and anyone who follows both will find the Reality and the Truth.” Allah (swt) wants us to find the Truth, so when Sayyidina Musa (a) saw that there was no intermediary between him and Allah (swt), he felt he could ask, “Yaa Rabbee, let me see You.” That is a big thing to ask. Allah (swt) said, “You will not see Me.” Sayyidina Musa (a) felt sad so Allah said, “Look at the mountain, if it stays by itself, and doesn't disappear when I manifest My Beautiful Names and Attributes on it, then you can see Me. If the mountain is steadfast you might see Me.” When Allah sent His Manifestations the mountain crumbled to powder, it no longer existed!

We have to crush our ego. Ibn Arabi (q) said, “Sayyidina Musa (a) saw that and asked for forgiveness from Allah (swt).” No one can reach by claiming, but only by action. Sayyidina Muhammad (s) never asked to see, he only asked for the Ummah. he didn’t ask for anything for himself, but Allah gave him Mi`raaj, what He didn't give anyone else, because Prophet (s) humbled himself.

O Muslims! Everyone, me and you, must humble ourselves to each other, then there will be no fighting and enmity, we will be brothers. That is what we need, not to go fight for this or that reason. O Muslims, stop fighting!

The Prophet (s) said,”Among the Signs of the Last Days is there will be days when too much ignorance will come to the hearts of people and knowledge will be lifted up!” Today you find too much killing, for what reason? The one killed doesn’t know why he was killed and the one who killed doesn’t know why he killed. For what reason, to take a piece of land and make himself a khilafah? Make khilafah first in your heart: render yourself first to Allah (swt), surrender yourself, submit as Prophet (s) surrendered himself to Allah (swt) completely, and yet how much he was abused, but he was patient, patient, patient. Let us be patient!

عَنْ أَبِي مُوسَى الْأَشْعَرِيِّ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " إِنَّ بَيْنَ يَدَيِ السَّاعَةِ فِتَنًا كَقِطَعِ اللَّيْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ فِيهَا مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِي كَافِرًا ، وَيُمْسِي مُؤْمِنًا وَيُصْبِحُ كَافِرًا ، الْقَاعِدُ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْقَائِمِ ، وَالْمَاشِي فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ السَّاعِي ، فَكَسِّرُوا قِسِيَّكُمْ وَقَطِّعُوا أَوْتَارَكُمْ وَاضْرِبُوا سُيُوفَكُمْ بِالْحِجَارَةِ ، فَإِنْ دُخِلَ يَعْنِي عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْكُمْ فَلْيَكُنْ كَخَيْرِ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ " .

Before the Hour comes, there will be a tribulation like patches of dark night. A man will get up a believer and go to sleep a kaafir, or will go to sleep a believer and wake up a kaafir. The one who sits at that time will be better than one who stands and the one standing will be better than the one walking and the one walking will be better than one running. Break your bows, cut their strings and strike your swords against stones. If someone comes to kill any of you, then be like the better of the two sons of Adam.

(Narrated Abu Musa al-Ash`aree, Abu Dawud, ibn Majah)

There is going to be confusion like big chunks of darkness in the sky all around the world. Today there is big confusion, for what? All countries are afraid of this small (terrorist) group. Why? Because we are not trustworthy to our Lord! We must ask forgiveness, for us, our families, our neighbors, our countries, for everyone! O Muslims! This dunya has a fixed time to exist, if we are Muslims we believe that, as Allah swt) said in the Holy Qur’an:

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ

The Hour (of Judgment) approached and the moon split. (Surat al-Qamar, 54:1)

“The time of the Last Days approached and the moon split.” This verse came in the time of Prophet (s), so let us rejuvenate ourselves by saying, “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ilaaha ill-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasooluh.” That is our ticket to Jannah:

من قال لا اله الا الله دخل الجنة

Whoever says, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” enters Paradise. (Mustadrak of an-Nisaburi)

We will end with that. Allah wants to save us by sending messages to His Prophet (s), who mentioned in a well-established Hadith:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مررتم برياض الجنة فارتع. قالو وما رياض الجنة؟ قال "حلق الذكر"

Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (s) said: "When you pass by the Gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them." The Companions asked: "What are the Gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "The circles of dhikr.” (Tirmidhi)

Between the grave and minbar of Prophet (s) there is a rawdah; if you pray there you will be forgiven, but in this Hadith, Prophet (s) made it wider: “If you pass by Riyaad al-Jannah, the Gardens of Heaven, sit there.” They said, “What are these Gardens of Heaven on Earth?” Prophet (s) said, “You!” It means the circles of remembrance, circles of studying Shari`ah and Haqiqah and circles of dhikr, because that attracts angels and they will turn that place and those sitting there, the dhaakireen, who are making dhikr, into a rawdah from Riyaad al-Jannah. What is better than that? Do you want Riyaad al-Jannah? Sit with those who are remembering, women and men separate. You can remember through your heart, but do it.

One time I asked Nassir to give me his phone and he was reluctant, but he gave it to me. I asked, “Is this phone halaal or haraam?” It is haraam, but we can turn it into halaal by installing a reminder to say “subhaanAllah,” or “astaghfirullah,” or “shukran lillah,” or “alhamdulillah.” Allah likes reminders and since we cannot have an angel remind us, our hearts will remind us if we are able, but if we are not able then let us use this phone to remind us, then at least it becomes halaal. If a phone becomes halaal, can’t we also be halaal? Open your heart to the love of Prophet (s) and Allah (swt)!

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

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

Yaa Sayyidi, yaa Rasoolullah, how to follow you? Show us the way, we will follow! You were with the Sahaabah (r) who saw you and we are not seeing you, but we believe in you! That’s why he said to his Sahaabah (r), “I miss my lovers.” The Sahaabah (r) asked, “Are we not your lovers?” He said, “No, you are my brothers. There will be a group who will come at the end of the Ummah who love me and believe in me without seeing me.”

كان صلى الله عليه وسلم في مجلسه ذات يوم فقال: "متى ألقى أحبابي؟". فقال بعض الصحابة: "أوليس نحن أحباؤك؟" قال: "أنتم أصحابي، ولكن أحبابي قوم لم يروني وآمنوا بي أنا إليهم بالأشواق

“Matta alqaa ahbaabee? When will I meet my lovers?” They said, “Are we not your lovers?” and the Prophet (s) said, “No, you are my Companions. My lovers are those who believed in me and didn't see me, and I am so in love with them, I want to see them.”

This is you! Look at how Allah (swt) wants us to be saved! Prophet (s) is calling us his ‘lovers.’ What more honor do you want than that? There are many examples of that.

Alhamdulillah before I end, I would like to say that I am very happy. I arrived in America in August 1990, I went to New Jersey for Jumu'ah and sat by the minbar and saw a person sitting next to me who was blind. I thought to myself that if he needs help, I will help. The adhaan came and I found out he was the imaam. He began bashing the Mawlid of Prophet (s), calling it ‘kufr’ and the wrong `aqeedah. I thought, “What is wrong with this country? I never experienced anyone like that in our countries,” where they celebrate Mawlid as a national holiday. I kept quiet, as you can pray behind a faasiq if you didn't know. Next week I went to a different masjid and it was the same thing: an imaam attacking the Mawlid of Prophet (s). So in 1991, I wrote an 8-page pamphlet and distributed half-a-million copies on `Eid, in America and Canada. It made a big impact and those who disagreed attacked me from right and left, and we arranged two international unity conferences with 157 different speakers who spoke on the permissibility of Mawlid and Intercession!

Alhamdulillah we see today that Mawlid is now observed in every masjid in America, where there was zero before. I don’t mention England, because there were Pirs, Shaykhs who observed the Mawlid there. Alhamdulillah there are many masaajid around the world that did not observe Mawlid before, but are now. This is the 4th Annual Mawlid Festival and now there have to be 1,437 festivals!

The Sahaabah (r) asked about fasting on Monday and Prophet (s) said, “It is the day I was born,” so he recommended the Mawlid. I am very happy that I will leave behind something I did to encourage the celebration of Mawlid. Now we will look forward to the new generation, Habib Ali Jifri and Habib Umar, to continue their work on that. May Allah give them health and power to do that. It needs courage and I believe they have enough to do that.

May Allah forgive us and bless us, and dress us with the manifestations of Mawlid. Allah called His Prophet (s) and made him go through all Seven Paradises when he could have gone directly to Qaaba Qawsayni aw Adnaa, but that was to keep him humble, Allah dressed him from every Paradise, He entertained His Prophet (s by taking him through every Heaven, and also to check on Hellfire, and Allah (swt) said to him, “Take what you like.” We will keep this topic for next time: how the Intercession of Prophet (s) is important for every Muslim. May Allah (swt) give us life for that next time.

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

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


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