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Hierarchy of Saints Series, Vol 8

Dhikrullah Is the Main Pillar of Tariqah

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

21 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.

Dastoor yaa Sayyidee, madad.

Rabitah is the connection that connects the pipe from you to the shaykh. When he takes your hand for initiation, he is connecting you. In the same way you connect a pipe with fittings, he connects all the fittings so there is no leak. And not only does he connect the fittings, but he glues them also so it will never break. So always the rabitah is the connection with fittings and it is glued so that it is never going to break. And muraqabah is to keep observing both from the wali's/shaykh's side and from the mureed's side. From both sides they are always in observation. Muraqabah means to observe like a video camera what is going on, to be vigilant to maintain that pipe with no leakage.

As a mureed, from your side you are looking to make sure that if there is a defect you fix it, and from the side of the shaykh, he is looking for any defects to fix. If you want to count the defects between you and your shaykh, you can realize there are a lot of holes and leaks in that pipe and nothing can fix them except heavenly glue; you can't use dunya glue or anything else as it will not work. Heavenly glue is dhikrullah, and that heavenly backbone or pillar on which you can lean is dhikrullah.

To do dhikrullah, you have to be clean. When you do dhikr it means you are knocking on the door to be opened for you. 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

Alladheena yadhkuroonullah qiyamaan wa q`oodan wa `alaa junoobihim wa yattafakkaroona fee khalqi 's-samawaatee wa 'l-ard, rabbanaa maa khalaqta hadhaa baatilan subhaanaka fa qina `adhaaba 'n-naar.

Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and 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." (Aali `Imraan, 3:191)

Al-ladheena yadhkuroonullah,"Those who mention their Creator, Allah (swt), on their tongues in different ways and positions." So when you mention Allah (swt), you go into that pillar of tariqah. Tariqah doesn't differ from Shari`ah. Shari`ah is the law and tariqah is the way. You cannot change what Allah (swt) has ordered for us, the law of Islam. The obligations, you cannot change them. Imaan, what the Prophet (s) described, you cannot change. Ihsaan, moral excellence, you cannot change. The constitution that Allah (swt) gave to Muslims, the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Hadeeth of Prophet (s), cannot be changed. Tariqah is the way to execute these laws. One of the main pillars of tariqah is dhikrullah, and Allah mentioned, "The best of dhikr is to know laa ilaaha illa-Llah, which is Maqaam at-Tawheed, "the Station of Oneness of Being." So to glue and restore what is broken, you have to come back to dhikrullah. I'm not speaking of dhikrullah that is a public association, but rather dhikrullah when you are alone, as Prophet (s) mentioned, ij`al lisaanak ratban bi dhikrullah, "Keep your tongue wet with dhikrullah."

How are we spending our time, in dhikrullah or in dhikr ad-dunya, in Allah's remembrance or in remembrance of dunya? As soon as you remember dunya, you need ghusl (prescribed shower of purification). You cannot come to Allah's door bringing your dunya with you! This is adab at-tariqah, "principles of tariqah." You cannot come to an association of dhikrullah with no ghusl. That is why Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q) didn’t allow any of his followers in his time to attend his sessions without not only wudu, but a complete ghusl. Do you know why you are required to make ghusl after you and your wife are intimate? It is not only to remove najas (impurity); that act is pure, clean. But you make ghusl, saying, "Yaa Rabbee! I am moving from the desire you put in me for my family to my desire for You." That is why the curtain between you and Allah (swt) is very thin. So when you are in dunya and you fulfill Allah’s order, you take ghusl when you finish (that act), in order to go back to Allah's remembrance and open that door.

So one of the awliyaullah used to say, "I never entered the door of my teacher without having ghusl. I come with a full shower to his door and I come fasting."

Al-Qushayri, one of the biggest scholars of tasawwuf, said, Lam adkhul fee hudoori 'sh-shaykh illa saa'iman mughtasilan, "I never enter the presence of my shaykh except having taken shower and fasting, and whenever I come to his door I back up. I come to his madrasah, school. (Today if you say madrasah they say, “terrorists.” Madrasah means "school".) I enter the school, go to the door where he is sitting, and then I back up, respecting him, and not coming with my ego, with my dunya inside. I am worried.”

Today, how do we go to the door of the shaykh? What determines who goes in and who stays out? Who pays more money is allowed in!

"If I have the courage and insist to enter, then as soon as I enter I feel numb from the tajalli, divine manifestations, coming on him that make me run away, shaking."

This is the beginning of the journey. We are lucky because we are in a time that is full of ignorance. As Grandshaykh (q) said, that is why Allah (s) opened more and more His doors of Mercy. Because of these doors of Mercy there is no more protocol, no more this discipline that is a prerequisite. Like a child that is spoiled, does he have any kind of principles to enter his father's room? Even if his father is president or king, no one will stop him and he enters. We are spoiled today with that rahmat opening from Allah (s) there are no more restrictions. So awliyaullah no longer look at the behavior of the followers with them. They say, "That is okay." Before, they could not take a step, out of respect and discipiline toward the shaykh; a student became numb and went back. Today, no one is asking because of that huge tajalli of mercy coming on ummat an-Nabi and on this dunya. When you have a lot of water, you can use it in any way you like, even for irrigation of crops, but if you don’t have water you save it. The awliyaullah used to save the rahmat for their followers, but now it is coming like an ocean. So let them take it; with that rahmat they will be blessed and cleaned.

So if al-Qushayri (r) said, "I would not enter my teacher's presence without fasting or taking a shower," oh mureed, how then do you dare to knock on the door of Allah, which is dhikrullah? How can you go there without fasting from not only food, but also from all desires? You must come clean. As soon as you sit in the association of dhikrullah, your thoughts interfere and take you right and left, so Allah (swt) made dhikrullah an obligation.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَكَانَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَحِيمًا

Yaa ayyuha 'Lladheena aamanoo 'dhkurullaaha dhikran katheera wa sabihoohu bukratan wa aseela. Huwa 'Lladhee yusalli `alaykum li yukhrijakum min azh-zhulumaati ila 'n-noor.

O you who believe! Remember Allah! Continue to mention Him without limit, before sunrise and before sunset. He is The One Who encourages, appreciates, and supports you all, and replaces darkness and tyranny with divine Light. (Al-Ahzaab,33:41-43)

This means dhikr not only by tongue, but with all your senses, all your organs, all your body, all your soul and with everything possible to use that Allah (swt) has given you! You have to mention and continue reciting, not His Name, but entering the Ocean of Vision and seeing defects in your body and soul, and enter to that Presence. Mention to yourself, don't mention to people. Dhikrun katheera means "excessive dhikr". How do we do dhikr? For ten or fifteen minutes only, but dhikrun katheera has no end; it is non-stopping, a continuous remembrance of Allah (swt), in your day and night! So if you stop, you are coming against His will.

That is the difference between awliyaullah and people; they are in constant dhikrullah, while we do dhikr for one hour and stop. Their hearts are constantly in remembrance. katheera means, "unlimited". Then, sabihoo bukratan wa aseela. So first is dhikrullah, because as Allah (swt) said:

wa nahnu aqrabu ilayhim min habli 'l-wareed.

And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (al-Qaf, 50:16)

It means, "Don’t leave My Presence!" Allah is possessive of His servant: He doesn't like the heart of His servant to be occupied or possessed except by Him. So Allah (swt) wants awliyaullah to be exclusively for Him.

قُلْنَا اهْبِطُواْ مِنْهَا جَمِيعاً فَإِمَّا يَأْتِيَنَّكُم مِّنِّي هُدًى فَمَن تَبِعَ هُدَايَ فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Qulna 'hbitoo minha jamee`an fa imma yaatiyannakum minnee hudan faman tabi`a hudaaya fa laa khawfun `alayhim wa laa hum yahzanoon.

We said, "All of you get down from here, and if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (al-Baqarah, 2:38)

Awliyaullah never feel sad because Allah is taking care of them, making them slaves at His door. So there is a huge gap (in conduct) for mureeds to be at door of their teacher.

w'adhkurullaha dhikran katheera wa sabihoohu bukratan wa aseela, "And praise him and glorify him morning and evening." There is morning remembrance and evening remembrance. Huwa 'Lladhee yusalli `alaykum li yukhrijakum min azh-zhulumaati ila 'n-noor. "He is the one who sends blessing on you..." That is imaad at-tariqah, the "pillar of tariqah." Then Allah brings you to His Presence after you do that continuous remembrance and glorify him morning and evening. Then what? Allah and his angels will send blessings on you. inna Allaha wa mala`ikatahu yusalloon, He will raise you to be connected to the heart of Sayyidina Muhammad (s); as He orders his angels to send blessing on Prophet, He also orders his angels to send blessings on you, to take you up, away from darkness to light. What darkness? Darkness of dunya, which for awliya is darkness and not worth anything. That is why they became ascetics; they left v and those who took it made a mistake. Our duty is to leave the desires of dunya, but if Allah makes dunya a slave running after you, that is no problem.

Huwa 'Lladhee yusalli `alaykum li yukhrijakum min azh-zhulumaati ila 'n-noor. "He is The One Who supports you and takes you from darkness to light." When He takes you from darkness to light, wa kaan bil-mumineena raheemah. "He is showing you His mercy." It means, "You remember Me! I am ordering My angels to pray on you, and sending on you that mercy."

So when awliya see this, they insist dhikrullah is the Pillar of Tariqah. They don’t ask people to do irshaad, which is not for everyone, but they tell them do dhikr so they will benefit.

And Prophet (s) said:

يا ابن آدم إذا ذكرتني شكرتني وإذا نسيتني كفرتني

yaa ibn adam idha dhakartanee faqad shakartanee katheeran wa idhaa naseetanee kafarta

وبالشكر تدوم النعم

wa bish-shukru tadoom an-ni`ma.

O son of Adam! If you mention Me, it means you are thanking Me. By thanking Allah, favors will not stop reaching you.

And Prophet (s) said in a holy hadith (Hadith Qudsee):

O son of Adam! If you mention Me you are thanking Me and if you thank someone he gives you more.

What do you think of Allah (swt)? If you thank Him, you get more, so to remember Him is to thank Him.

wa idhaa naseetanee kafarta. "And if you stopped remembering Me, you are not becoming an unbeliever." kufaar here does not mean "unbeliever," but rather "to make a mistake," or, "You have ignored My favors on you."

When you don’t thank who is generous with you, what will he say? It means you didn’t care, you are ungrateful. kafartanee here means "ungrateful"; it does not mean "becoming non-Muslim". You are ungrateful when you forget Him, so show gratitude to Allah!

Prophet (s) said:

khayru 'l-`amaal dhikrullah.

The best of deeds is to remember Allah.

wa qaal an-nabi li kulli shayin saqaalan wa saqaal al-quloob dhikrullah.

For everything there is a polish and polish of the heart is dhikrullah.

Like a diamond is in a rock, and to take it out you must cut the rock and then you polish it. The shaykh polishes us like a rock. Many of us go to the shaykh as tyrants, so what does he do? He has to break you down and hammer on you. They ask, "Why is Shaykh hammering on me?" Because he loves you, and that is to help you. When he shouts at you, don’t get upset because he is carrying your problems! For everything there is polish and the best polish for hearts is dhikrullah.

Prophet (s) said:

wa idhaa ra'aytum riyad al-jannati farta`oo faeeha.

O my companions! If you find riyaad al-jannah, the heavenly gardens on Earth, farta`oo feeha, stay there and sit in it and be in it.

qaaloo ya rasoolullah wa maa riyaadul-jannah. They asked, "Are there heavenly gardens on Earth?"

He said, "Yes, the associations of dhikrullah."

It means dhikrullah of Holy Qur'an, Holy Hadith, the Beautiful Names and Attributes, or of holy prophets. So when you find such associations, go and sit in them as that is Heaven on Earth.

Do you want Heaven on Earth? People go everywhere looking for Heaven on Earth. Go sit with humble, broken-hearted people: sit with people of dhikrullah. That is what we need. We don’t need to sit with presidents or kings. They are leaving whatever they have behind them (when they die). Those sitting in dhikrullah sessions are finding Heaven on Earth, where they are cleaning their hearts for their Lord and coming clean, then receiving these manifestations.

wa qeela man kaana yureed an ya`rif mazilatahu `indallah fal yandhur ila manzilatillahu fee qalbih. "As much as we are keeping Allah in our hearts, Allah is keeping us." Say the truth: who are we keeping more in our hearts, Allah or our children? We are always keeping our children in our hearts.

One of the awliyaullah, Abu Ali ad-Daqaaq (q), said, "Dhikrullah is manshoor al-wilayah, the proclamation of sainthood." That big proclamation is displayed everywhere, and throughout circles of dhikr they know you are a wali. Your level can be known there, because you are from `Abdaal, Nujaba, Nuqaba, Awtaad, Akhyar, and Qutb, Qutb al-Bilad, Qutb al-Aqtaab, Qutb al-Irshaad, Qutb al-Mutasarrif. Everyone knows his level. wa man utiyya dhalika al-manshoor... "And whoever keeps his dhikr has that proclamation," and who has been sulib, one who dhikrullah has been taken from his heart, that means he has been "laid off", he is no more in that heavenly gathering on Earth.

And it is said dhikrullah is better than fikr, to think. With thinking you have to pull information or knowledge, and with your mind you can only pull dunya knowledge, you cannot pull secrets. However, with dhikr Allah (swt) opens for you the interpretation of Holy Qur'an and the Holy Hadith, and an understanding of what awliya have said. Allah ta`ala yusaf bihi wa laa yusaf bil-fikr. Allah (swt) is not described by thought but He is described by remembering Him. you cannot describe through your mind as it is too limited.

wa qeela `adhab al-`arifeen qit`uh. "The punishment of a wali is to be cut from dhikr," because Allah said, "Remember Me and I remember you; mention Me and I mention you. Remember Me in your heart and I remember You in My heart."

O students of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q)! We are lucky and blessed to be connected to such a wali, who is connected to the Golden Chain through two big oceans, Sayyidina Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (q) and Sayyidina `Ali (q), marraj al-bahrayn yaltaqiyyaan, "two oceans coming together and between them is a thin divider." Those are two places of knowledge that come together, as mentioned in Surat ar-Rahman, that He made the two oceans come together with very thin divider between them.

مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ يَلْتَقِيَا نِبَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخ ٌ لاَ يَبْغِيَانِ

maraja al-bahrayni yaltaqiyaani baynahumaa barzakhun laa yabghiyaan.

He has let loosed the two seas meeting together. Between them is a barrier which none of them can transgress. (Ar-Rahman, 55:19-20)

That is the bahr, ocean, of Sayyidina Abu Bakr and the bahr of Sayyidina `Ali. The two of them came together in Sayyidina Jafar as-Sadiq (q). May Allah bless these two great ones and all Sahaabah of Prophet (s) and His deputies (q), and those looking for normal life, not a life of extremism!

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