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Don’t Lock Yourself Into Four Walls!

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

19 February 2011 Burton, Michigan

Suhbah at As-Siddiq Mosque

Allahuma salli ‘alaa Sayyidina Muhammad hatta yarda Sayyidina Muhamamd

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem

Ati`oollaha wa ati`uoo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (4:59)

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.

Alhamdulillah, Allah (swt) granted and honored us with Sayyidina Muhammad (s) whose birthday is in this month, the Arabic month of Rabi`ul-Awwal. He is the Seal of Messengers, Khatam ar-Rusool; he is the perfect human being that Allah (swt) created. As Ahlu ’l-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, we believe that Allah created Creation for him. That does not mean that we worship Prophet (s), but it means Allah raised him to reach the level of servant hood. Prophet (s) is very happy, content, and full of pleasure when Allah calls him `abdee, “My servant.” Allah called Sayyidina Muhammad as `abd where He said:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى

Subhaana 'Lladhee asra bi `abdihi laylan mina 'l-Masjidi 'l-Haraami ila 'l-Masjidi al-Aqsa.

Exalted be He Who took His servant for a journey by night from al-Masjid al-Haraam (at Mecca) to the Farthest Mosque (in Jerusalem). (al-'Israa, 17:1)

Here, “Subhaan” means Allah is praising Himself by Himself. He is not asking us to praise Him, as in Surat al-Fatihah we say, “alhamdulillah,” we are praising. “Subhaana 'Lladhee ” means He is glorifying Himself to Himself, by Himself. That means there is no way to understand Him, it is impossible for the human mind. If all humanity sat together in one place trying to describe the greatness of that glorification of Allah to Himself by Himself, they could not even discover a drop in an ocean of that glorification!

When Allah glorifies Himself by Himself to Himself, a lot of secrets and meanings are there. And when He glorified Himself by saying, “Glory be to Me that I asra bi`abdihi, that I have moved, raised My servant from dunya (Earth), to qaaba qawsayni aw adna,” that is not easy. The human mind cannot understand that. How did that happen? This is something beyond the universe, the Heavens, and any place, because Allah has no place. You cannot say, “Allah is sitting there,” or “He is at the left or the right,” He has no direction. So to where did He raise Muhammad? There is no place and no direction that can be described by the tongue or by the heart; except what awliyaullah have been given as traces of that understanding, and they have no right or permission to explain.

So Prophet (s) is happy to be called `abd, because Allah glorified Himself to Himself, by Himself. He told us that raising the Prophet (s) to that high level is beyond what any human being can understand, only Allah has that knowledge. Even angels cannot grasp that, as they ascend and descend, but it is impossible for human beings. Therefore, He is saying, "You cannot understand."

لَخَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ خَلْقِ النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

La-khalqu 's-samawaati wa 'l-ardi akbaru min khalqi 'n-naas wa laakina aktharahum laa ya`lamoon.

The creation of Heavens and Earth is indeed greater than the creation of Mankind, yet most of Mankind know not. (40:57)

The creation of Heavens and Earth is greater than the creation of human beings. If you put this together with the previous verse, it means that human beings cannot encompass or overtake Heavens and Earth, it is beyond their capacity; but it is not too much for Sayyidina Muhammad (s) because Allah said, “Glory to Me because I raised him beyond Heavens and Earth!” So that is the greatness that Allah wants everyone to know of humans, jinn, angels, and all Creation, that Muhammad (s) is the highest Creation, yaa shafi`ee al mudhnibeen bihi natubu ila Allah, astaghfirullah. When He says, “The creation of Heavens and Earth is greater than the creation of human beings, yet I still brought human beings above that,” it means, “I gave him full authority to understand the secret of the creation of Heavens and Earth and of human beings!”

And when He said, “The creation of Heavens and Earth is greater than the creation of human beings,” and then said, “Glory be to Me that I raised Muhammad to My Presence,” this means He brought him above everything. He brought him to qaaba qawsayni aw adna, two bows’length and less in no place! How can we understand that? Because there, Allah has no place, no place can contain Him. Thus, Sayyidina Muhammad (s) was brought to qaaba qawsayn, to a place beyond place! When awliyaullah open, they open traces of realities to make people drunk with knowledge.

Awliayullah say that Prophet (s) has a mi`raj in every moment, and every human being has a mi`raj as well. But the majority of people are busy with observing outer shells, “This shell is nice, that shell is nice.” They are not looking inside the shell, they look at the outside. Some people look at the outside and inside and say, “Is spirituality equal to mysticism?” What is spirituality and what is mysticism? And they ask if there is a difference between them, as they want to find a solution. When people need to find a solution it means they are bankrupt. They want to find something to come out of a cocoon. Everyone is in a cocoon. They want to come out. It’s so easy.

For instance, when a caterpillar enters its cocoon, it begins to eat it little by little then it flutters out as a butterfly. But now everyone is like a caterpillar inside their cocoon. Become a butterfly and release yourself from inside, fly freely outside! Don’t lock yourself in your four walls. We are sitting here today in this mosque behind four walls, but every one's mind is also within four walls; the four walls of the mind: we cannot come out of them. Everyone of us is thinking differently than the other. That one is thinking about when he will go to Disneyland, the other about when he is going to travel to London. Everyone is trapped in between these four walls. If you have antiques, where do you put them? In the cupboard. You look at them everyday, “Aah, they’re still there, that’s nice.” This is what we are doing. The good is there, alright we will just look at it. But for now, we will work with evil, with this worldly life that is full of difficulties and negativity.

So they ask, “What is spirituality, what is mysticism?” Those of you who are putting “professor” or “doctor” in front of your name: you are over forty or fifty years old, and you still don’t understand mysticism and spirituality? It is better for you then to be underground than to be above it. Where do gigantic rivers or small streams end up? In the ocean. The ocean is mysticism, and the streams and rivers are spirituality. Understood?

Spirituality is the way that you follow, as the water moving in a stream or in big rivers. What do they do as they are moving and making sound? They are cleaning. They are polishing all the rocks. They eat the rocks and clean them. Is it not so? As they are continuously moving and carrying that dirty water which also flows into them, they are cleaning wherever they go; then they flow into the ocean and are submerged, to become the ocean. So the river, flows until it reaches the ocean; it becomes clean and takes everything from it. The ocean can carry, clean, and preserve anything.

What preserves food? Salt. Why do you think oceans are salty? Because they are preservatives. So mysticism is a preservative that can protect the ocean from anything unclean. Where do these rivers go? They flow into the ocean. And how many oceans do we have? Seven. Every ocean is different from the other; one is colder while the other is warmer, you can find treasures in one and different kinds of precious stones in another, and different kinds of fishes in another. Each one gives a different kind of beauty that you cannot understand.

If you dive in an ocean do you find any dirtiness? Even if millions of rivers go into it, the ocean is clean. Mysticism is the ocean. You need spirituality to polish you, to bring you to your goal-the ocean, to clean you as a seeker of Gnosticism, in order that when you reach there you dive into a clean place. Some oceans may have more beautiful fishes, whales, dolphins, or treasure. And it depends on what kind of river you are or where you are; whether you are on the side that ends in Ocean A, Ocean B, or Ocean C. But all of the oceans are connected, are they not? So spirituality takes you to different oceans. It depends on how the guide is guiding you through your spiritual journey and polishing your heart. As you are moving with the different guidance from the healer, you will be ending in an ocean. But what kind of ocean and how many? All must be describing One.

You might have an Ocean of Beauty, you might have an Ocean of Patience, you might have an Ocean of Majesty, you might have an Ocean of Provisions, (provisions means spiritual enlightenment).And every ocean points to the Creator. Mysticism as a whole combines Ninety-nine Names, every Name is an ocean. Whichever Name you dive in, you find and understand the traces of that Name. Some can reach two Names and some three, but no one can reach all Ninety-nine Names except the Prophet (s). That is the highest level of ocean and is always mystical. Sometimes in spirituality you can see where you are taking your journey, but in mysticism you cannot see. It is a combination of all spirituality, all these rivers running to that ocean, but all oceans become one. Also in heavenly enlightenment, the goal of all the oceans is Allah. Ilahee anta maqsoodi wa ridaaka mattloobee, “O Allah, You are my goal and Your happiness with me is what I like.

So the end of the journey is to know about Him, the Creator. But how can one know Him through these Names? You cannot go into the ocean without being cleaned. As you drive by the ocean you might see some private properties with a sign that reads “no trespassing.” You cannot trespass into the ocean without being clean, spirituality cleans you. Mysticism is the ocean of enlightenment and wisdom, the ocean of knowledge, and spirituality is the way to reach there and to clean yourself. That is why it is said:

at-turooq ila Allah `azza wa jall `adadee anfaasi il-khalaaiq.

The ways to reach Allah are on the number of breaths of human beings.

That means in every breath there is a way. Why did He say breath? Because breath is oxygen that comes inside to clean you, cleaning as it is moving, like rivers clean the water to the ocean. And that breath brings all kind of detergents to clean wherever it goes and throw away whatever dirtiness there is. And in spirituality the guide has to give you a pop quiz. And then suddenly you realise, “Oh! I made a mistake!” Why did you make a mistake? You said you were clean and pure? “Oh no! I was heedless and forgot to correct this!” That means Shaytan is playing with you, he can attack you anytime.

So in spirituality, there are seventeen trunks of bad manners. We have mentioned them before, you have to clear yourself of them one by one. They are the main trunks of forbidden actions and have 800 branches. All of us are diving and immersing in these bad characteristics. As soon as we are able to go through them and take them away one by one from ourselves, then as we are seeking that journey. It is as if you are on a highway. When you begin your journey, there is nothing. They tell you you are at the beginning of the highway and there will be no rest area for fifty kilometers. So you have to stay patient until suddenly, you come to a rest area. They have restaurants, coffee, tea, and all kinds of other things. So on that highway you can find something. Also, you come to see things on your journey that you never imagined would happen and say, “Oh! I saw a miracle! The shaykh told me something that no one knows, it is a miracle!” You are bringing the shaykh too low. Your shaykh is breathing with you! He knows when every breath comes and goes.

Shaykh `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) was sitting with his students giving a suhbah. Do you know what it is like when Sultan al-Awliya is giving a suhbah? In previous times, mureeds didn’t even scratch their heads with their fingertip, they were listening. There were some apples in a tray in front of Shaykh `Abdul Khaliq (q). Look at his turban, (Mawlana points to someone) Do you go to work like that? It is only half white. Everything must be clean and nicely done. Don’t sit like that (with spread arms and legs). I like to pick on him because he doesn’t get angry; if I say this to someone else, they get angry and run away!

So, he was sitting and speaking in front of his students. And there were apples in front of him. It was very cold. Suddenly he took one apple from the tray, threw it up, and caught it. Then he took the other apple and caught it. Everyone was wondering, “That is the shaykh and sultan?” It was not like today where everyone sits in front of Mawlana Shaykh with no adab. This was a childish act, is it not? If you are a president and you take an apple and throw it up, people will say, "Maybe the president has lost his mind." Too many presidents today are like that. They have no relationship with the needs of people and citizens; they are between their own four walls and that is why people make demonstrations.

And they said, “O Shaykh! We saw something strange.” `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawaani (q) is not an easy shaykh, he said, “Yaa waladee, adab, after four hours you will understand.” It doesn't click to them, why the shaykh is saying to wait for four hours, but they keep their adab, and do not question. They wait, and after four hours, there came a knock on the door. The distance between his village Merv in Uzbekhistan and another village, was four hours by horse. That is how they measured distance then, by time. As soon as the man entered he told him, “Yaa waladee, go tell his family that he is in Paradise.”

That messenger was coming to tell Shaykh `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) that one of his mureeds died four hours ago, and the shaykh is telling him, “Yaa waladee, tell his family that he is in Paradise.” He said, “As soon as the Angel of Death was coming I was notified. I saw him so I took one apple and threw it to him.” That is a nice way of saying, “Go back, O Angel of Death!” He was coming with punishment. “‘No, this is my mureed, if you are coming with punishment you must ask me!’ With that gesture I asked Allah (swt) to change punishment to forgiveness, and then when that changed, I threw the second apple to tell him, now you can take the soul, but it is changed.” If Allah wants awliyaullah to know and if Prophet (s) opens it to them, they know.

So if you are seeking spirituality, you have to be under the supervision of a healer. Spirituality is not something that you make into a book or curriculum, and go to a university to learn. You need a healer to teach you. You need to empower the healers that are known as wise men or Gnostics, that means they are awliyaullah. You need to help them and give them support as they don’t ask for dunya, they are expecting that Allah (swt) will open for them a door to provide for themselves, their families, and their students.

The healer is awaiting an empowerment that empowers him, the students will come, by opening a place for an educational system through which he will be able to educate. It is not a blending of different beliefs and religions and saying these are the spiritual ways we have to follow. Although they might be alright, but you need that healer who can see the illnesses in you and then can assign you a spiritual way.

وَأَلَّوِ اسْتَقَامُوا عَلَى الطَّرِيقَةِ لَأَسْقَيْنَاهُم مَّاء غَدَقًا

wa alaw istiqaamoo `ala at-tareeqati la-asqaynaahum maa'an ghadaqaa.

Then that if they [who have heard Our call] keep firmly to the [right] path, We shall certainly shower them with blessings abundant. (72:16)

So the shaykh will tell you, “Your way is this way,” and he will guide another mureed on another way. Maybe the students will get the same things to work on, but with his guidance the healer he is able to treat them by having them accept what he is showing them of reality. Maybe they have identical bad characteristics, so he will begin with those, but two other students might have the same bad characters and on top of them two or three different bad characters. The guide might want to treat the two or three different ones first and then come back to the other bad characters. So it depends on how they guide you and direct you.

And Allah knows we are helpless in our journey. So what is needed? To get to the ocean quickly. You don’t want to be like a stream moving slowly, taking a long time. A river reaches much quicker. May Allah dump us in that ocean of enlightenment, of knowledge, the ocean of the Prophet (s) and the ocean of the Divine Presence.

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

(Shaykh Hisham reads from an article.) Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Robert White is one of many scientists and physicians who through their research came to this conclusion. He said, “Human beings did not just come together, but are the handiwork of an all knowing creative genius. He said I am convinced the brain is the repository of the human spirit. The soul for me, the practice of medicine and religious faith, are inextricably interwoven. I pray a great deal especially before and after surgery. I find prayer satisfying, I feel there are immense resources behind me, resources I need and want and I want to know them...

...Yet the notion that human life is nothing more than chance confluence of complex molecular biology and electrical activity, strikes me as a deviance of logic. I have to believe that all this had an intelligent beginning, that someone made it happen. I cannot accept the proposition that at a random point of time such substantial entities as intelligence, personality, and the human body just sort of fell together. I also find it unreasonable to suppose that at brain death, these powerful entities of intelligence, personality, and memory simply cease to exist. Far more reasonable is to believe that the essence of us escapes from a container, the brain, which no longer is capable of supporting us and finds support in a new dimension.”

Allahu Akbar. This is an article he wrote to Harvard a long time ago. (Continues reading from the same article)

“The feeling of pain can be completely cured by meditation, wherein the dormant energy of a sick body is activated by a spiritual ignition produced by the meditative process. This spiritual process uses seven different focal points in the seven layers, the lataa`if.”

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