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Eight Essential Good Manners

a Genuine Guide Instills in Your Heart

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

14 January 2012 Burton, Michigan

Suhbah at As-Siddiq Mosque

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani ‘r-rajim. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Kalimataan khafifataan `alaa ‘l-lisaan thaqeelataan fi ‘l-meezan subhaanAllah wa bi-hamdihi subhaanAllahi ‘l-`Azheem istaghfirullah.

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.

There are people who always try to enlighten themselves by listening to those who have wisdom and knowledge. Such people of knowledge have taken it from those who came before them, and so on and so forth. Wisdom and knowledge are always changing or, as scientists say, they are always evolving. Take the flu for example; they say it changes every year and you need a different flu shot from the previous year because the flu evolves from one level to a higher level.

Everything in this universe is created by Allah, the Creator, al-Khaaliq. We don't believe in what crazy people like Darwin say, that the elephant came from the fish. Imagine the elephant became an-namlat, the ant! What is this ‘evolution’? And human beings came from monkeys! Why then are monkeys not producing any more human beings? That theory is false. Allah says, Kun fayakoon, “‘Be!’ and it is.” (36:82) Allah can change whatever He likes and He does not need Darwin!

It is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an:

قُلْ هَلْ أُنَبِّئُكُم بِشَرٍّ مِّن ذَلِكَ مَثُوبَةً عِندَ اللّهِ مَن لَّعَنَهُ اللّهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ وَعَبَدَ الطَّاغُوتَ أُوْلَـئِكَ شَرٌّ مَّكَاناً وَأَضَلُّ عَن سَوَاء السَّبِيلِ

Qul hal unabbiukum bi-sharrin min dhaalika mathoobatan `inda ’Llaahi man la`anahullaahu wa ghadiba `alayhi wa ja`ala minhumu ’l-qiradata wa ’l-khanaazeera wa `abad at-taaghooti oolaaika sharrun makaanan wa adallu `an sawaai ’s-sabeel.

Shall I tell you who, in the sight of Allah, deserves a worse retribution than these? They whom God has rejected and condemned, and whom He has turned into apes and swine because they worshipped the powers of evil. These are yet worse in station and farther astray from the right. (Surat al-Ma’idah: 5:60)

So knowledge is always evolving and increasing, it doesn't decrease. As knowledge increases, it becomes higher and higher. The knowledge of Sayyidina Adam (a) was not like that of Sayyidina Muhammad (s). Similarly, the knowledge of Sayyidina Musa (a) was not like that of Sayyidina `Isa (a), with respect to their knowledge. We believe in the religion they came with; that is not altered. What Sayyidina Musa (a) and Sayyidina `Isa (a) came with, we really believe in it, but it is not equal to what the Prophet (s) came with: the perfect full moon, no less and no more, to what you cannot add or subtract anything as it reached perfection, and yet still the Prophet (s) is in ascension, and as he ascends, more knowledge is coming! Similarly, as we move ahead in life our knowledge increases, and awliyaullah, those wise people, bring explanations of these knowledges the Prophet (s) kept for the last ummah.

The Prophet (s) once asked the Sahaabah (r), “Who has the highest level of faith?”

They said, “ The angels.”

He (s) said, “How would the malaa`ika, angels, not have the strongest faith that doesn't change when they are always in Paradise and can hear Allah’s Revelation to them?”

Then they said, “The prophets.”

Prophet (s) said, “How would the prophets not have strong imaan when they saw Jibreel (a) bringing them revelation?”

Then they said, “ Us, the Sahaabah.”

Prophet (s) said, “How can you dare say that when I am among you and you see me day and night?”

“Who then?” they asked.

Prophet (s) said, “Those who come after me, who never saw me and yet believed in me! You are my brothers, but they are my lovers. ”

The Prophet (s) is supporting these lovers who came after the Sahaabah (r), yamudduhum, supporting them through different means. Don't ask how. The one who went to Qaaba Qawsayni aw Adna, the Station of Two Bow’s-Length or Nearer, cannot be asked how!

فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى

Fa-kaana qaaba qawsayni aw adnaa.

And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer. (Surat al-Najm; 53:9)

ومَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى

Wa maa yantiqu `ani ’l-hawaa. In huwa illa wahyun yooha.

Nor does he say (anything) of (his own) desire; it is no less than Inspiration sent down to

him. (Surat al- Najm; 53:3-4)

Everything the Prophet (s) said was Revelation! He did not ask, like those who ask too many questions because they have too many doubts in Allah (swt) and the Prophet (s), but they don't doubt themselves! They say, “I have doubts. I am praying, but sometimes Shaytan comes to me saying, ‘Why are you wasting your time? There is nothing after the grave, so enjoy!’” May Allah forgive us!

One of the greatest wise men from Ahl at-Tasawwuf, the People of Tasawwuf, al-Junayd al-Baghdadi (q), one of the big awliyaullah, said, "Those who are following the way of gnosticism, the Sufiyoon, are like soil of the Earth, k'al-ard yutrahu `alayhaa kull khabeeth, “You throw everything dirty on the Earth.” Is it not, and the Earth never complains! Nothing comes forth from it except every thing good. You throw dirt on it and it gives out good for you; after a while it comes out a stem. It is always growing something for the benefit of human beings, even deep in the Earth inside volcanoes. SubhaanAllah, can you live in a volcano? Can you believe that something will grow in a volcano, deep in the Earth, where it makes fire that yields fine diamonds? The best diamonds are found in mines near a volcano.

That is why wise people are always in ascension, to get you what you need in this life in order to prepare you for akhirah! They are not like scholars who throw out a lecture and go. Ahl at-Tasawwuf are always there to teach you and they don't let you out of their sight. Even if you are at a distance from here to China, they will still see you! They use the term “tasawwuf,” but in reality it is mentioned in the the Holy Qur'an as “Purification of the Self,” Tazkiyyat an-Nafs. To purify you, your guide has to show you how to cut down all your bad desires.

If you are among a group of people, Islamic scholars who are speaking about whatever subject they open, if they don't drop the desires of dunya from your heart do not sit with them, even if they are scholars. If they don't make you drop the love of dunya from your heart, don't sit in that majlis, association, as it is not appropriate for you, it is only a meeting of egos! The one that puts Hubb al-Akhirah, Love of the Hereafter, in your heart, and drops the love of dunya from it, follow that one, even if he is not a scholar, and do not follow the scholars! This is the whole message of Islam, to take away the love of desires!

زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاء وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ذَلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالله ُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ

Zuyyina li ’n-naasi hubbu ’sh-shahawaati mina an-nisaa’i wa ’l-baneena wa ’l-qanaateeri ’l-muqantarati mina adh-dhahabi wa ’l-fiddati wa ’l-khayli ’l-musawwamati wa ’l-an`ami wa ’l-harthi dhalika mata`u ’l-hayati ’d-dunya w’Allahu `indahu husnu ’l-maabi.

Fair in the eyes of Men is the love of things they covet: women and sons, heaped-up hoards of gold and silver, horses branded (for blood and excellence), and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world's life, but in nearness to Allah is the best of goals. (Surat Ali-`Imraan; 3:14)

Zuyyina li ’n-naas, “They decorate such things to allure people and make them happy,” so people would run after dunya: men after women, women after men, after children and wealth, after Arabian horses, which today means cars and luxury items, which is not going to take you anywhere.

Do not listen to any scholar that does not take away from you Hubb ad-Dunya, as there is no light in his heart. His tongue might speak, but there is nothing in his heart to make the candle in your heart glow, whereas the one who makes you run away from dunya and to love Allah (swt) and his Prophet (s), run to him because he will remove Hubb ad-Dunya from your heart and take you to Paradise!

This is so simple a balance! Avoid whoever doesn't take the desire of dunya from your heart, and follow whoever takes away your desire of dunya, even if he is an illiterate person, because his heart is connected to the Prophet (s), who can reach anyone! An example is today’s big servers that reach so many people. The Prophet (s) is not just a big server, he is the server of the universe, as mentioned in the hadith:

تعرض علي أعمالكم فإن رأيت خيرا حمدت الله وإن رأيت غير ذلك استغفرت الله لك

tu`aradu `alayya `amaalukum fa in raa'itu khayran hamadt 'Llah, wa in raa'itu ghayra dhaalika astaghfarta lahum.

I observe your actions and whatever I see of good, I praise Allah, and whatever I found other than that, I sought forgiveness for them. (al-Bazzar)

It means the angels present everyone’s actions to the Prophet (s).

In Baghdad, Imam Shafi`ee (r), founder of the Shafi`ee madhdhab, wrote Kitab al-Umm, which contained legal rulings of the time. Then he went to Egypt and found it more corrupt, so he explained something else in fiqh and wrote a different ruling there. If he were to come today, he might change everything! Despite his great scholarly, saintly personality, he respected Imam Shayban ar-Rayy (q), a desert man, yet Imam Shafi`ee respected him deeply, although Imam Shafi`ee knew what Imam Shayban ar-Rayy never knew! They were like Sayyidina Musa (a) and Sayyidina Khidr (a).

Allah (swt) sent Imam Shafi`ee to Imam Shayban ar-Rayy, who did not know how to read Fatihah properly, and yet Imam Shafi`ee poured the water for his wudu (showing submission to one higher in knowledge)!

Once the student of Imam Shafi`ee (r), Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r), asked him why he respected Imam Shayban ar-Rayy (r) so much. Imam Shafi`ee (r) said, “Be careful, you are going to get slapped!”

He said, “No, I am going to ask him a question!”

So he asked, “Yaa Shayban! (Imam Shafi`ee used to say, "Yaa Imam.") If someone is praying and he forgets whether he prayed three or five raka`ats, according to fiqh what must he to do?”

In Islam, if you pray three raka`ats and you think it is four, you have to pray an extra raka`at and make Sajda as-Sahw, the prostration for being forgetful.

So he asked him, “What do we have to do?”

Shayban ar-Rayy (r) said, “O Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal! How ignorant you are! How can someone who is always with his Lord be heedless of even one raka`at? How can you ask such a stupid question? That means you have ruined all your prayers: go repeat them!”

Then Imam Shafi`ee (r) said to Imam Ahmad (r), “I told you not to bother him!”

Imam Shafi`ee (r) also took wisdom from Shayban ar-Rayy (r) in the writing of his massive, ten-volume work, Kitab al-Umm.

The wisdom is to follow the wise one. We have told you the way: follow the one who directs you to akhirah, not dunya, as the Prophet (s) said:

رب اشعث اغبر لو اقسم على الله لأبره

rubba ash`ath aghbara law aqsama `ala allahi la-abbarah.

There may be a disheveled, dusty person who, if he swears an oath by Allah, Allah will fulfill it. (Muslim)

Perhaps a dusty, curly-haired person coming from the desert swears by Allah (swt) and Allah will grant him because he is striving for akhirah, not dunya. Follow the one who replaces bad desires with good desires for akhirah, and takes away dunya from your heart!

That one to follow has to throw in your heart eight good desires, khisaal, good manners, to take away your bad desires. He teaches you these good manners, as he doesn't need to teach you fiqh, hadith or tafseer. If you do not have these good manners, there is no benefit in anything you learn!

The Eight Good Manners are:

1 As-Sakhaa, to be generous. First, you have to be generous, sakhee. Being generous means to give unconditionally, without limit. But give what, money? Do awliyaullah need your money? They teach you to be generous! Yes, you give and they take, but not only money. Even to smile in the face of your brother is from imaan. Be generous in smiling, and in looking after those who need help, not necessarily monetary help, but they might need a word to make their hearts peaceful. You can help someone cross the street, take a stone away from the path, and fellow students can give each other from their time. Don’t be angry, be happy!

2 Ar-Ridaa, to be content with what you have. This is to be content with what Allah (swt) gave you. Don't complain, “I have this or that problem.” Be content; maybe that problem will take you to Paradise. He (a mureed) has two sons with autism. Allah made them like that for him and all his family and ancestors to enter Paradise. This is a difficulty they are carrying to clean themselves and all their ancestors . Although he is suffering by seeing his kids in that state, behind it is a big wisdom. You don't know, but all your ancestors, grandparents, and so on up to Sayyidina Adam (a) are all forgiven for the sake of these two boys!

3 As-Sabr, to be patient. Don't be grouchy! Be patient until the problem is solved. Allah has 99 Beautiful Names and Attributes, the last of which is “as-Saboor,” The Patient. He left that Name for the end, to say, “I am so patient and I left this Name to the end because I created and I honored you.”

4 Al-Ishara, to understand signs. It means everything in this life is a sign to be understood, like the two autistic children are an indication to take wisdom, so observe and try to understand. As Sayyidina `Ali (r) said, “ First keep silent, then observe, then think, then act.” The signs in everything show Allah's Oneness.

5 Al-Ghurba, to be a stranger. Here “ghurba” means to be ghareeb, a stranger in your life, like a siyaah, one who journeys through deserts or villages in Allah's Way as a stranger in this dunya. The Prophet (s) encouraged travel, which means to always be in a journey from dunya to akhirah. So on that highway you see a lot of things, but keep going and don't pay attention to them as your goal is Allah (swt). “Ghurba” means to be unknown in the land in which you travel, then move on to other lands in Allah's Way.

6 As-Soof, to wear wool. It means to be zaahid, an ascetic; wear that skin in dunya to cover your whole body to be in Allah's Way.

7 Al-Siyaha, to journey from dunya to akhirah. You may see things but keep going.

8 Al-Faqr, poverty. This is not financial poverty, but to be poor in front of Allah (swt), Who is al-Ghani, “The Most Rich,” Whose riches have no description! We want from that richness, and so be a faqeer, a pauper, then you will receive from the secret of Allah's Beautiful Name, “al-Ghani.”

As we mentioned, the first good manner is “As-Sakhaa,” generosity, which is Sayyidina Ibrahim (a), who was rich and generous, and there is a long story behind it. He gave his whole flock away for one word! Sayyidina Jibril (a) asked him to give his flock, and he said to him, “Recite ‘suboohun qudoosun rabbuna wa rabbu ‘l-malaa’ikatuh wa ’r-rooh,’” then he said, “Take one third of the flock.” He asked, “What will I do with it?”

Ar-Ridaa is for Sayyidina Ishaq (a).

As-Sabr is for Sayyidina Ayoob (a).

Al-Ishara is for Sayyidina Yahya (a).

Al-Ghurba is for Sayyidina Yusuf (a).

As-Soof is for Sayyidina Musa (a).

As-Siyaaha is for Sayyidina `Isa (a).

Al-Faqr is for Sayyidina Muhammad (s). Whatever he received he was thankful, and Allah (swt) said to him:

إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ

Innaa a`taynaak al-kawthar.

To you have We granted the Fount (of Abundance). (Al-Kawthar, 108:1)

We will continue this next time.

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


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