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Do Not Exaggerate When You Praise Your Shaykh

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

13 January 2018 Feltham, London, UK

Centre for Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (CSCA)

I don’t know where to begin and where to end, but will begin by saying that not every mureed has reached the state of wilaya if their murshid did not reach a certain level of sainthood, as some attain sainthood and some murshidoon reach in-between.

I am looking and see there is no place for us between the worshippers. We feel shy from the presence of Prophet (s) and real Awliyaullah to be sitting here in such an association in which they are praising Allah and His Prophet (s). There is no place for us, so don’t overwhelm yourself by praising me because my place is by the shoes. The biggest sin is for someone to praise himself, as when we praise someone for sure some kind of ego will enter it, then all our praising is lost!

Most murshidoon practice a lot, but that doesn’t mean we are those who reached: we are beginners. I don’t want to say what they said from Qaum Tazkiraat al-Awliya. We are from the lowest of sainthood, we are on a small track between two lines and the train can move, but if you take one line the train cannot move. So let us put the two lines together and say, “Yaa Rabbee, as You have made love to You and Your Prophet (s) among the Ummah, also make that love for us in our hearts (for one another).”

As I have said before, we are under that order Allah gave to Sayyidina Muhammad (s) in Holy Qur’an mentioned in many places, which is hubb, love; not ordinary love that people know, but Eternal Love that never changes over time, which remains so strong that even you cannot object to it as a mureed of any of the Masters of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain.

This is a story from Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul. One of the mureeds was so excessive in his worship, Allah (swt) gave him something that He did not give other mureeds. That mureed prayed and fasted a lot; he was locking himself down (securing himself from sins). For that reason, he was able to see the Lawh al-Mahfuzh, Preserved Tablets, which we all wish to see. He didn’t just see the ‘bullet points,’ he saw it in detail. There is a wide range when we say, “This murshid can see what is on Lawh al-Mahfuzh,” but what’s most significant is to see what is inside. That mureed wondered if he could enter that level, so he began worshipping more and more, and finally he was able to see deeper what was written, including what was written for his teacher, murshid, to go to the Hellfire!

Out of love he was worried for himself and his shaykh, and thought, “How has my shaykh taught me for the last twenty-five years and it is written that he go to the Hellfire?” So he went into sajda and said, “Yaa Rabbee, I am not raising my head until You forgive my shaykh and turn his status from Hellfire to Paradise.” He was so happy, just like we are happy now, that Allah (swt) accepted his du`a and on the Preserved Tablets Allah changed for that `abd, his shaykh, to go to Paradise. Herein is hikmah, to teach us that Awliyaullah have power and love for their followers that we don’t have, the example of which Allah (swt) supported through:

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)

Then that mureed was so happy his shaykh is going to Paradise, and at Fajr he dressed and ran to him. When he entered, the shaykh broke his miswak in two, looked at the mureed and said, “Why are you coming here? You have no place here, go away!” For that one mistake, the mureed who with his du`a took his shaykh to be in Paradise instead of Hellfire was not allowed inside.

However, from the shaykh’s love for his mureed, he relented, “If you don’t turn me back to where I was, do not come here.”

The mureed said, “Yaa Sayyidee, Hellfire was written for you!”

The shaykh said, “I don’t care what was written for me, neither Hellfire or Paradise! I order you to turn me back to my previous status, and don’t return here until you achieve that!”

The mureed went home and made sajda, saying, “Yaa Rabbee! For Your Prophet’s sake, for Awliya’s sake, for the sake of everyone You revere, restore my shaykh to his previous status of Hellfire.” After a while, he saw his shaykh’s name removed from the list of those entering Jannah to Hellfire. He was so happy, he ran to the shaykh and said, “It’s done.”

The shaykh confirmed that although he is a murshid, Allah can change it, so can anyone object?, “For twenty-five years I saw my name written to enter Hellfire, and I didn’t disturb it although I have permission to change it. Had I willed it so, I would be lost and then the whole Tariqah would be lost.”

Awliyaullah have a long connection through the chain, but if you break any link you lose all the mureeds; therefore, he he did not exercise his will because it would jeopardize everyone. For twenty-five years he was able to carry that, although we cannot.

He told the mureed, “For twenty-five years I have been in this position and am happy with it. You must be happy with what Allah wrote for you and I am happy with what He wrote for me. I do not worship Him to avoid Hellfire, I worship Him because I love him.”

That is key: out of love, he didn’t want to bring himself out of that seat, he left it for Allah and His Prophet (s) to decide! What they want will happen. A real wali enters Maqaam al-Hubb, which is a very high station that isn’t easily achieved because each of us loves dunya. If someone denies that, he is lying; perhaps someone loves dunya this much (one hand-span). With Awliyaullah we must be very careful as they achieve for their followers what we cannot, so don’t throw words that upset them or you will lose.

For twenty-five years, that shaykh saw his name written for Hellfire and then it was changed to Paradise. So now he asked for it to be put back, and everything returned to its place. Allah (swt) sent that test for the mureed, to show how much he loves his shaykh and because of that he was able to reach deep inside the Preserved Tablets. Secondly, he followed his shaykh’s order and Allah changed that position. It demonstrates that we must really love.

The Arabic word “hubb” (love) is comprised of two letters, Haa and Baa, which represent hayaat (life), and baqaa (Eternal Life). We live between them, and no one can live beyond that. No hayaat means no health, but when Allah gives you hayaat He gives you Eternal Life, which leads to baqaa. Baqaa means to always be in existence, not only living distantly, but taking secrets from that existence which shows you the meaning of the verse of Holy Qur’an (3:31), “If you really love Allah (swt), if you follow Sayyidina Muhammad (s) Allah will love you.” Allah (swt) didn’t give that to any other Nabi: that hubb and following Prophet Muhammad (s) is wajib, a must, but He turned it to a spiritual must, so it has even more meaning.

For sure one suhbah, lecture, advice that Mawlana gives to the heart is equal to all advice a wali gives his followers without kibr, arrogance or pride. Let us take pride out of our hearts and live a life with hayaat and baqaa, as that will save us. That is the meaning of:

وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآؤُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللّهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا

If they had only, when they were unjust (oppressor) to themselves, come to you and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nisaa, 4:64)

Last time when we met five months ago, we mentioned, “If really they live but oppress themselves, where do they go?” Allah (swt) didn’t say to go anywhere else, He said, “Follow Prophet (s): if you love Allah, (then) you must love Prophet (s). As much as you love Allah, love Prophet (s).”

That is not shirk: loving Prophet (s) is the same as a servant loving His Lord! So we mentioned the two here, “If you really love Allah, follow me,” and, “When they are oppressors to themselves,” this is where the spiritual meaning is: jaa’ooka, “They come to him (s).” So how do they come to Prophet (s)? It means Prophet is alive, because his khitaab is not only for Sahaabah, it is for every time and every moment. When Allah says “jaa’ooka,” it means, “O Prophet! Be ready as the oppressors are coming!” It means Prophet (s) is aware of it, waiting for them to come in order to show them the Right Way.

We are all oppressors (sinners), are we not? Everyone is an oppressor; therefore, Prophet (s) is ready for you because Allah (swt) said, “They come to you when they are oppressors,” which means all of us are coming to him, so he is receiving us, he is alive! Jaa’ooka f’astaghfaroollaaha, “They come to you when they sin, yaa Muhammad.” What must you do? Make istighfaar, then Prophet will make istighfaar for you. From that place you make istighfaar in the Prophet’s presence (otherwise, that would not make any sense). It means you must meditate, focus your attention that you are in his (s) presence, make istighfaar and then Prophet will make istighfaar on your behalf. Laa wajadullaha tawaaban raheema, at that time they will find Allah forgives them. That is where we have to seek the real love, how much Allah loves His Prophet (s) that He gave him that salaahiyya, authority over humans and all Creation.

Now, there is another reading of “wa law annahum.” According to this ayah, when we change our reading a little bit from jaa'ooka f’astaghfaroollah la-wajadoo ’Llaaha tawaaban raheema, “When they ask istighfaar and you make istighfaar for them, they will find Allah forgiving and merciful.” There is waqf there, a reminder to stop reciting, which is wajib: you must stop and then continue. Let us read it with the stop to see the different meaning. With the waqf after “jaaooka f’astaghfaroollah la-wajadoo ’Llaah” it means “they would find Allah,” it completely changes the meaning: “la-wajadoo ’Llaah” means they find Ma`rifatullah. In that moment, that `abd for whom Prophet (s) has made istighfaar will reach that Station. Awliya can see that `istaghfaar and will take him to his place in Paradise, what Allah wants to give a Muslim, and he will not see it but will reach that moment of Nearness, that blessed moment of being in the Presence of Allah (swt). So with a brief pause, without changing anything we reach a meaning that Allah wants you to be happy with, but it is a hidden meaning, “la-wajadoo ’Llaah, they would find Allah.”

Everyone coming here or to any masjid or Awliya is trying to reach that, and Allah is giving it for free! May He open the understanding of the Holy Qur’an for us, and the understanding of love of Prophet (s) and Awliyaullah!

We will see you next time or next week or tomorrow at 4 o'clock, when we have qasida with Shaykh `Ali Elsayed. Now we will have short dhikr, inshaa-Allah. Prophet (s) said don't take too long when praying, because sick people might be following you.

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.