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Hierarchy of Saints Series, Vol 10

Duties of Guides and Students

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

23 August 2010 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Ramadan Series 2010

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.

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Dastoor, madad yaa Sultaan al-Awliyaa, Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani.

Dastoor, madad yaa Sultaan al-Awliyaa, Mawlana Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Fa’iz ad-Daghestani.

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) says that we have to ask madad from awliyaullah every time; it is proper adab. Awliyaullah ask their support from Prophet (s), and so we ask support from Grandshaykh (q), from Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q), and from every wali standing at the door of Prophet (s). They are our role models and the mureed tries to at stand their door to reach the Divine Presence. You cannot reach the Divine Presence without a teacher; they are there already. One of these shuyukh at-taa'ifa, the shaykhs of tazkiyyat an-nafs, is Shaykh Shibli (q). They are one group but they have different ways, because awliya are friends with each other and they know their limits.

Shaykh Shibli said, "I mentioned You, not because I forgot You for the blink of an eye, but because it is easy on my tongue to refresh it and to say Your Name." That means he is speaking with his Lord. Fa lammaa wajadta annaka haadiree shahidta annaka mawjood fee kulla makaanee, "When I found that You are present, I testified that You are present in every place. I spoke to everyone without speech. I observed someone without looking through my eyes." They recite this poetry when they are in a trance-like state; then they cannot control themselves anymore and they are always trying to reveal what is in their hearts by expressing themselves.

Many people today remember their Lord when they are in an emotional state. Even if they are not awliya, when something horrible happens and they are sad, they feel like turning to their Lord and asking from Him, because it is there, but in normal life it is veiled with the darkness of this dunya. When someone you love dies and you are present there, you feel that majestic manifestation of al-Qahhaar, (The Dominant), al-Jabbaar (The Compeller), al-Qaabid (The Restricter), "the One in Whose Hand is everything." You feel these attributes and you begin to fear death, and maybe with that fear you cannot enter the deceased one's room as you feel uneasy. So you remember Allah at that time. Awliyaullah are always in that state of feeling their return to Allah. They are not like us; we like to live even longer than Sayyidina Nuh (a)! (laughter)

One of the conditions of guiding to dhikrullah is, the murshid must be based in Islamic beliefs, f'il-`aqaaid wa fi'l-fiqh, in beliefs and in jurisprudence, so that he can answer his followers' questions. If not, the mureed will begin to doubt his shaykh. This is one of the conditions of the shaykh of Tariqat an-Naqshbandiyya as mentioned by Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi (q). He must know Shari`atullah. If not, he must step down and surrender his status of shaykh to someone who knows it. Also, he must be able to perfect and discipline the hearts of followers to the highest level of perfection. He must know all kinds of afaat an-nufoos, the sicknesses of the self, and which sickness his mureed is in. He must also know the illnesses and how to cure the mureeds from them. And not only will he guide them through their journey, but also if he found them in need for something, he has to provide it.

Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi (q) said, Wa li-kulli min amkaanahu la-ataahu min al-maal, "The shaykh even has to give his murreds money to build them up, and he doesn't leave him without money." Allahu Akbar! You can see how Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) reacts to this. People come to his door for money. We used to say, "Why is Mawlana giving money to mureeds?" He is not like us; he doesn't mind. He gives like an ocean! Allah (swt) gives to him and he gives.

Allah (swt) gave that wali power to see and observe all `ayb, deficiencies, of his mureed. So from his perfection, he never exposes his mureed; he never says anything. Someone came complaining to me when I was in England and also by email, saying they have a problem with someone there who considers himself accomplished in everything and he is a senior one. He was begging me to tell Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q). I said, "Okay, when I go to Cyprus. I cannot talk about these issues over the phone." It was amaanah on me, so when I went there I told Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q). It was so simple. He said, "No, I never saw or heard that. I don't believe it. If it is true, let the person who is saying that come to me." He wants to cover and not expose. Awliyaullah hide their followers, they don't expose them or it might cause enmity. So they leave them and slowly, slowly fix them.

Someone told me here in America, in political events they keep the beast around them because if they let the beast loose, he might make too many problems. They keep petting the lion, not to let him loose. Awliyaullah pet us, and that is how they can catch us. Grandshaykh (q) used to say, "I follow my mureed 99 steps; I go according to what he or she likes. When they are feeling they can trust me completely, I catch them. We go with them 99 steps and then one step, they go with me."

Furthermore, the character of the shaykh must be rich in good manners and he must not be angry, except when you break Allah's law. It is okay to get angry for Allah's law, no problem. But for dunya issues, the shaykh always forgives.

What is the duty of the murshid to his mureed? They are three. First, he has to put him on the right track to seek his journey. There are too many tracks, like a maze, and the mureed is not knowing where to begin or end. The murshid has to put him at the beginning of the maze. Second, he must inform the mureed when he has reached his goal; that is his duty. The mureed will be a guide for others and will be dressed with the Dress of Guidance. And third, the murshid will protect him when he is taking care of different followers around the world. The shaykh sends his senior mureed around the world to bring others to the shaykh.

And what are the duties of the mureed to his shaykh? First, he has to listen to whatever the shaykh says to him without question. Allah said in Holy Qur'an:

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Ati`ullaha wa ati`u 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

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

Here, "authority" means the shaykh. That is Allah's order, and you cannot say no. You say, sami`na wa ata`na, "I hear and I obey." Can you do that? No, it is difficult. Even if you do it you still have doubts, thinking, "This doesn't work in my mind, it is not acceptable!" So he first has to listen to what the shaykh says. If the shaykh says "eat," then eat, "drink," then drink, "pray," then pray, "do this or don't do this." The second duty is, kitmaan sirr ash-shaykh. If the mureed saw a secret of the shaykh, he must not expose it, even if it is something he doesn't like as he doesn't know the wisdom behind it.

Grandshaykh (q) said, "One time I was in my seclusion under the order of Shaykh Sharafuddin (q). During my seclusion he came to me." Your shaykh can come anytime during seclusion, but others cannot comer to you or it will interrupt the seclusion. He said, "`AbdAllah Effendi," meaning "respected `AbdAllah," "Prepare yourself tomorrow. I will pass by you and take you somewhere." Grandshaykh (q) was thinking, "O, I am coming out of seclusion to go somewhere." He had no doubt; his belief was straight forward, and he was that way since he was a boy. When he was young, he had to walk up a hill to reach his shaykh.

One day Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) was sitting with `ulama who said, "O Shaykh Sharafuddin (q)! You always give importance to that boy."

Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) said, "He is there at the bottom of the hill now. If I send someone to him saying, 'Your shaykh is telling you to go to Mecca,' then without coming to me to confirm, he will direct himself to Mecca and begin walking."

So now look at us and look at how strong his belief is, not like some people today who say they are representatives. Look at the belief. Can you tell someone now, "Close your store and take a one-month vacation." They will say, "How will I make my payments?"

Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) said, "Prepare yourself tomorrow, I am taking you."

When Mawlana Shaykh Nazim ordered me into seclusion in 2005 in Damascus, he said, "Every Friday I want you to visit two awliya, Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi (q) and Sayyidina Muhiyyudin Ibn Arabi (q)." I did my seclusion in Damascus, up on the mountain (in the home of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim on Jabal Qasyoun). If the shaykh orders you to go out of seclusion, you do it; you go visit and come back. If you do that by their order it is alright, but you cannot do that on your own, or that breaks the seclusion.

Shaykh Sharafuddin said, "Wait, I am coming." He came and took Grandshaykh to the big bazaar area in Istanbul, Kapalı Çarsa. It is a huge shopping area with a door at the beginning and a door at the end. You enter and you are inside, then they close the door in the evening and open it again in the morning. All kinds of people come there. When they reached the door, he said, "Let us hold each others' hand," and they stretched their arms. Although the door was bigger, but you could see that their hands were touching the door on both sides. Also, Allah gave them above-average height, and everyone was able to pass under their arms.

Awliyaullah are not like us. Everyone coming in or going out had to go under their arms. Grandshaykh (q) didn't ask Shaykh Sharafuddin (q), "What is the wisdom?" There is no question in tariqah. You do this, you don't change your mind. They stood all day until the noon prayer, then they prayed and came back. Time for `Asr came, they prayed and came back. There are many mosques there and they went around. Then they stood there until the closing time, which was Maghrib, and then they left. Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) was waiting to see if Grandshaykh (q) will ask the wisdom. He didn't ask. That is his duty, imtithual al-amr, to obey his order, and kitmaan sirrih, what he sees, he has to hide (keep secret). He saw many things when people came and passed under their arms, as it is an open, public place.

The next duty of mureed to murshid is t`azheem qadr ash-shaykh, to raise higher the respect of the shaykh or his order. Some people might disrespect the shaykh if he orders them to go and open their hands at Kapali charsa all day. They will say, "Why do I have to go there and raise my hand like that? People will say I am crazy and take me to the mental hospital." Grandshaykh (q) kept quiet and did t`azheem amr ash-shaykh; it is not to exalt, exaltation is for Allah (swt); it is to elevate and honor whatever the shaykh does.

Grandshaykh (q) never asked. At the end of the seclusion, Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) said, "`AbdAllah Effendi! Do you know why I asked you to do that? I was ordered to hold these two doors so that anyone who passes will see us, and from seeing us, if Allah likes, He will guide them to Islam," Because the light coming from awliyaullah can reach their hearts. Grandshakh (q) said, "If a person looks at a wali with love, it means that wali is responsible for that person in dunya and in akhirah. When someone loves you, it is because they feel that familiarity with you and light on you. That is how people feel with Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q); they see his humility and love, and they are attracted. When people are attracted, then awliyaullah can work on their hearts.

So there are three things; obey the shaykh, keep his secret, and honor the respect given to him. That is one part. The second part for the mureed is: first, to have adab with Allah; second, to have adab with Prophet (s), to respect and praise the Prophet (s); and third, to have discipline with the shaykh and pious people. If you keep that, then you will reach the level of dhikr in the heart and you will be ready to be accepted. Then you are on the right track. When a train comes, there are computers that put it on the right track. When pilots fly the plane, the computer guides the plane, even though the pilot might be sleeping. Awliya's hearts are responsible for their mureeds and all of them are connected to his "auto pilot". Every mureed's wire is connected to the server of the shaykh.

But there is a question here. Sayyidina Ibn Arabi (q) wrote al-Futoohat al-Makkiyah (12 volumes). Western people and Muslims alike are drowning in what he wrote, and that was 1,000 years ago! Look how high he was. What about awliyaullah today? If they open those oceans, people will drown in them.

Yajib `ala shaykhun idha ra'a shaykhun akhir, "It is an obligation of the shaykh that if he saw a shaykh higher than him in knowledge, to advise himself, and keep the service of the higher shaykh. This applies to him and his students. Fa innahu salahun wa haqqihi wa haqq as-haabih, "This will be righteousness and happiness for him and his followers." This means he is not cheating; he is not saying to his mureeds, "I am the shaykh." Those who consider themselves shaykhs, if they see another one higher, they have to drop their shaykh-hood and follow that shaykh who is higher, in order to reach happiness for him and his students. Wa matta lam yaf`al hadha laysa bi munsafin li nafsihi wa sahbih, "If he doesn't do that, he is not fair to himself. He is falling in a valley or well, and failed his himmah, what he was ordered.

In other words, if someone has a shaykh and he finds another shaykh who is higher, he has to follow him. If a mureed finds a mureed who is higher, he has to follow the one higher. If that senior mureed finds a senior mureed who is higher, he has to follow the one higher. If he doesn't do that, he is failing and he might be falling in love with the chair he is sitting on. Hubban li 'r-riyaasah, "in love with leadership," wanting that people follow him.

What was the character we mentioned in the beginning? He has to know all kinds of fiqh and all kinds of `aqa'id. If your belief is not correct, what is the benefit? You cannot say, "I am a Muslim," and you don't know what kind of faith you have. The Prophet (s) said:

والذي نفسي بيده لو أن موسى كان فيكم حياً ما وسعه إلا أن تبعني

walladhee nafsee bi-yadihi law in Moosa kaana Musa feekum hayyan maa wasi`ahu illa an taba`nee.

By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if Musa was alive in my time among you, he would have no choice but to follow me. (Ahmad, Abu Ya`ala, al-Bazaar)

So according to this hadith, a shaykh must follow a shaykh that is higher than him. That is why Shaykh Husayn Zakariya in Ghana didn't take the Tijaniyya Tariqah, which is spread throughout Ghana. Because at 14 years of age, he dreamt that a shaykh of the Naqshbandi Order gave him initiation. We sent someone to find him, who spent six months in Accra, but he could not find Shaykh Husayn Zakariya. When I landed, he was there at the airport waiting for me. Do you think he came there by himself? No! He had a dream in which Prophet (s) told him to go there and meet me. And that is how he got connected to the Naqshandi Tariqah. He was a shaykh, but he went to a higher shaykh. He has followers himself. Prophet (s) said, "If Musa was alive in my time, he would have to follow me, and even Ilyas and `Isa (would have to follow me)."

This also applies to the inheritors of the Prophet (s) in this time; they must follow the one who is higher. That means you must take your followers to the right fountain. If not, it means you love leadership.

In Islam, there is a pyramid. Leadership is not accepted in Islam except in a hierarchy. You must go from down to up. You must show humbleness. The shaykh is showing humbleness. Who is showing humbleness now? These kings and presidents? They are not showing humbleness, they are stubborn, saying, "I am better!" Then what happens in the end, they fight each other. But if they sit together and say, "We have to work together and open the borders," at least the Muslim countries (would benefit). Now to visit those countries, they require a visa and a background check, and in those countries, they are blowing people up! If you want to go to Afghanistan, they have to check your background. Why? Go check the people living there!

Where did the current flood come in Pakistan? In Swat. What did they do there two months ago? They blew up the tomb of Data Ghanj Bakhsh, Ali Hujwairi's (q) maqaam. Awliyaullah don't like that. Therefore, look what happened! They are punished. When punishment comes, it hits those who are good and those who are bad. So don't come against a waliullah, living or dead. When they are dead, they are stronger, more powerful.

All prophets are under Sayyidina Muhammad (s). This must be an example for shuyookh of tariqah; all of them have to be under one. That is why you have to see who is under وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ wa fawqa kull dhi `ilmin `aleem, "Above every knower is a (higher) knower." (12:76) You have to find the highest wali and follow him or else you are not on the right way.

We will stop here and next time we will discuss what Imam ash-Shahra`ni (q) said. This is important; it shows us principles of tariqah and where we stand in regards to them. It is becoming a nice book for keeping discipline in tariqah, which is important for all of us to learn.

May Allah bless this meeting and every meeting that calls people to Allah (swt). May Allah give long life to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) and to all of us, to see Imam Mahdi (a)!

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