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Everyone Has an Ego: the Story of Shah Naqshband (q)

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

26 November, 2012 Lefke, Cyprus

Zhuhr Suhbah

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`alaa fee haadha 'l-masjid.

Dastoor yaa Sayyidee, madad. I feel shy to speak in front of Shaykh Adnan, but what can I do? (Shaykh Adnan Kabbani: You have permission, you have permission!)

Alhamdulillah, that Allah guided us through our youngsters, guided you to Sultan al-Awliya, Mawlana Shaykh, to be his lovers. I didn’t say his “mureeds,” I said his “lovers,” as it is very difficult for any of us to attain the level of mureed; that is not easy to reach. Yes, he can dress us in it, but through our worship can we attain that level? No, but we can attain the level of his lovers. That is like the Bedouin who came to the Prophet (s) and asked, mata sa`ah? And we know what the Prophet said, “What have you prepared for that Day?” The Bedouin replied, “It is not from too much praying. I am coming for your love and love of Allah.” Prophet (s) said:

يحشر المرء مع من أحب

Yuhshar al-maruw ma` man ahab.

Each person will be resurrected with the one he loves.

So this is a teaching for us, telling us not to say that we are reaching through our deeds by too much fasting and praying; no, we are reaching because he wants us to reach and anything that we try to do that Islam did not accept is garbage! We cannot follow any kinds of beliefs that we blend with Islam because it is a perfect moon. Sayyidina Muhammad, `alayhi afdalus salaatu wa salaam, is the moon! He is Islam, so we must follow his footsteps and we cannot blend Hinduism, Buddhism, Zenism, or any kind of reincarnation or crucifixion as none of that is acceptable to Islam! So our way is a pure way to Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s).

So then, what is our duty? Our duty is to surrender to the will of our guide! I will mention a story that I have mentioned before, from Al-Hadaaiq al-Wardiyyah, one of the famous books about the Naqshbandi shaykhs. I will relate this story about Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q), Imam of the Naqshbandiyya Tariqah, as it was named after him in his time; previously it was called “Siddiqiyyah,” after Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r), then “Tayfouriyya,” after the name of Abayazid al-Bastami (q), and then “Naqshbandiyyah” after Shah Naqshband (q), then “Naqshbandiyyah Mujadidiyyah,” then “Naqshbandiyya Khalidiyyah,” Naqshbandiyyah Daghestaniyyah,” it went like that.

So Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q) was a very famous `alim min `ulamaa al-muslimeen, such that his reputation reached East and West. He was so rich (that he had a huge masjid) and at least five-thousand people attended his majlis. There were no microphones then, but everyone heard him clearly. Similarly, Imam al-Bukhari (q), who was in the same area and buried in Samarqand, had large gatherings of 25,000 and everyone could hear his suhbah as if they were sitting beside him! We were told this by the `ulama of Bukhara when we visited there.

But Sayyidina Naqshband (q) was able to reach his five-thousand students gathered in his masjid. He said:

One time I woke up from a state of vision, and it came to me to start a walk. I felt like I had to go for walk in Bukhara, and as I was walking in the main street I felt I was in a trance, in a state of ecstasy (haal, a state in which he cannot control himself). I began to move and a scent I smelled attracted me to another alley. So I followed and I didn’t know where I was going until I ended at the door of Sayyid Amir Kulal. When I arrived at the door, Sayyidina Amir Kulal (q) was sitting with all his followers and from his place he looked at me standing at the door and said, “Who is this?” They replied, “Yaa Sayyidee, this is the famous Imam Muhammad Bahauddin Shah Naqshband.” Of course he knew this. As they were saying that, I was entering the masjid and he told his followers, “Throw him out as he is not from us!” I heard this and felt bad, but I went out and began to struggle between my ego and what the shaykh had said. I knew Sayyid Amir Kulal’s reputation and that he was from the Forty Shaykhs of the Golden Chain, but I began to feel a struggle inside me: one self was saying, “Why do I have to listen to him? Go away, you are famous!” and one self was saying, “No,” as the Holy Qur’an mentions:

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا

Fa alhamahaa fujoorahaa wa taqwaahaa.

He inspired the self of its good and its bad. (Surat ash-Shams, 91:8)

“He inspired us with what is good and what is bad,” so the bad nafs was beginning to say, “Don’t come back, go away!” while the good one was saying, “There must be a cause, that he sent me out, so find it!” I said, “I am not going!” and immediately the hadith came to my mind:

انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق

Innamaa bu`ithtu li utammimu makaarim al-akhlaaq.

I have been sent to perfect the best of conduct (your behavior and character). (Bazzaar)

The Prophet (s) was affirming and confirming, “I have been sent to complete good manners in every person.” So when that hadith came to me I said, “I cannot disappear,” I came back after everyone left and I went into sajda at the threshold of the masjid and I didn't move. I entered another trance until snow came on my head and covered me. I was not wearing except a farwa, a thin jubbah, and the snow began to cover me. While I was in dhikrullah, I was remembering too many ahadeeth and the ayah of Holy Qur’an mentioning dhikrullah. I felt that I should do dhikrullah and I began to feel warm with dhikrullah. I felt like what Prophet (s) said in the hadith:

أَنَا جَلِيْسُ مَنْ ذَكَرَنِي

Anaa jaleesu man dhakaranee.

I sit with him who remembers me. (Ahmad, Bayhaqi)

So I kept making dhikr in sajdah at the door of the masjid, because of the ayaah:

وَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهَا

Watoo ’l-buyoota min abwaabihaa.

Enter houses through their doors. (Surat al-Baqara, 2:189)

You cannot enter through the window, you have to go to Allah through adab, through your guide, and from your guide to the Door of Prophet (s) and from Prophet (s) to the Door of Allah! You cannot jump and make imaginary doors, not knowing which door to enter through. In Haram-e-Mecca, how many doors are there? Hundreds, but all are outside the Ka`bah. There are hundreds of doors (for the masjid), but the door to the Ka`bah is only one. Outside you can take millions of people, but in Ka`bah (through that one door) you can take maybe one or two dozen people, and it has one door. It means if you want to enter the heart of the shaykh, there is one door that takes you to the Door of Prophet (s):

أنا مدينة العلم و علي بابه

Anaa madinatu 'l-`ilmi wa `Aliyyun baabuha.

I am the City of Knowledge and `Ali is its Door (or Gate). (al-Haakim, Tirmidhi)

It means you have to follow the right door to come inside, to enter the city of the Ka`bah, which is the city of Prophet (s), and when you enter inside there can be twelve there, or twenty-four or as many as the shaykh likes! Allah will expand it, but most of the rest will stay outside the Ka`bah circumambulating and it is okay. Those are the lovers and when you enter you become like a mureed, like Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q). So he saidto himself when he made dhikr in the snow, “I understand now that perhaps my shaykh wants to teach me a lesson.” He was famous; maybe he was the head of scholars in Bukhara and Samarkand, who knows?

Fajr time came and the shaykh came out of the masjid and where did he put his feet? He could have avoided him, but he stepped on Sayyidina Naqshband’s head, pressing on it, teaching him, and then he looked at him and said:

“Oh! You’re here?”

Shah Naqshband (q) said, “Yaa Sayyidee, I am waiting for you.”

The shaykh said, “Come in. You came as an `alim, but you are going out as a wali.”

Then Sayyidina Amir Kulal (q) dressed him with the dresses of knowledge and Gnosticism, which are not simple dresses, like in the story of Sayyidina Musa (a) and Sayyidina Khidr (a), in that ayat:

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

Fawajada `abdan min `ibaadinaa aataynaahu rahmatan min `indinaa wa `allamnaahu min ladunnaa `ilma.

So they found one of Our Servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our Own Presence. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:65)

If we look deep into this verse, Sayyidina Musa (a) and his helper found one `abd from many, “`abdan min `ibaadina.” If we say Sayyidina al-Khidr (a) is a wali, he is a nabi, but as we speak of wilayat, spiritual knowledge, Allah mentioned that there are many others, `ibaadina. So there are too many awliyaullah. We have to be very careful: there is not only one wali, so we have to be careful what we say in conferences or on the Internet as every word is recorded. This ayah shows there are many awliya, like Khidr (a):

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا

Wa `ibaadu 'r-rahmaani ’l-ladheena yamshoona `ala al-ardi hawnan wa idhaa khaatabahumu 'l-jaahiloona qaaloo salaama.

The (true) servants of The Most Merciful are those who walk humbly on the Earth and who, when the ignorant people behave insolently towards them, say, "Peace be unto you." (Surat al-Furqaan, 25:63)

They keep quiet, as there is no need for fitna. So if we look at what Allah (swt) mentioned in the Holy Qur`an about Sayyidina al-Khidr (a), it says, fawajada `abdan min `ibaadina, “One of Our `ibaad,” so it means you have to respect all the others. There are 124,000 awliyaullah, each in different levels. We believe that Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) is Sultan al-Awliya” but there are also other tariqahs who believe their shuyookh have high levels. It is imperative that we respect that or else fitna will come. We cannot say, “There is no other than Mawlana Shaykh!” but as mureeds, we firmly believe that Mawlana Shaykh is for us and for everyone, that he is our guide, the Door of Prophet (s), the ‘City of Knowledge’ mentioned by Prophet (s) that Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r) represents. Mawlana Shaykh is there, giving us from his knowledge. But at the same time, we cannot disrespect the other awliya or many (not all) of the representatives that Mawlana has chosen. We respect those who are following the right way of Islam, not those who are blending all kinds of knowledge and current ideas, creating imaginary concepts and saying, “This is what we learned.” No, we don’t accept that! However, we must respect those who have been given permission for irshad. Irshad is not easy, it is not given to everyone and is not easy to find like water. It is not the same as being told by Mawlana, “You can lead dhikr as much as you like.” Rather, it is something only very few people are given.

So the ayah says, wa `allamnaahu min ladunna `ilma, “whom We had taught knowledge from Ourselves,” and before this Allah (swt) is saying, fawajada `abdan min `ibaadina aataynaahu rahmatan, “We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our Own Presence.” To open the Door of Knowledge, it is important to have been given mercy, rahmah, which is Rasoolullah (s)!

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

Wa maa arsalnaaka illa rahmatan li 'l-`alameen.

(O Muhammad!) We have sent you not except as a Mercy for all the Worlds. (Surat al-Anbiya, 21:107)

“Fawajada `abdan min `ibaadina aataynaahu rahmatan” and “wa maa arsalnaaka illa rahmatan li 'l-`alameen” are equal (in meaning). So you cannot enter the Door of Heavens and of awliyaullah before they dress you with that rahmah which they inherited from Prophet (s); then you may go inside and get immersed, take the responsibility, wear that dress of rahmah, and enter the City of Knowledge.

So Sayyidina Amir Kulal (q) wanted him to enter that city and to enter it, Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) said, kayfa usool `ilayk, “How can I reach You?” He heard a Heavenly Voice say, ataruk nafsaka wa ta`ala, “Leave your self and come to Me, as you cannot come with your self.”

Let us ask a simple question: do you have a self? Yes, of course, everyone has a self. Everyone thinks they are the highest and have the most knowledge and no one likes to remain quiet. It is true of all of us, but Allah made the self as He mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَ فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَاا

Wa nafsin wa maa sawwaaha, fa alhamahaa fujoorahaa wa taqwaahaa.

He fixed the self and inspired that self that He fixed for you and honored you with what is good and what is bad. (Surat ash-Shams, 91:7-8)

Allah (swt) made every self good and then He told us what is good and what is bad. Therefore, we must struggle to pursue what is good.

What is the evidence that we have a self? You cannot speak about the Unseen issues on the Internet. There is Unseen Knowledge, which is known as Metaphysics, what goes beyond (the comprehension of) your mind. Sometimes people don’t understand this and scholars make it problematic, which is why it is better to quote some ahadeeth so that there are no complaints.

Do we have a nafs? Yes, we do, and the shaykh also has a nafs, but it is perfected and protected. He may sometimes make mistakes, but is mahfooz. Prophet (s) said, “If a judge makes a good judgment he is rewarded twice, but if he makes a bad judgment he will be rewarded once, but still rewarded.” So without their self-interest, the shuyookh might do something that you are not happy with, because Prophet (s) said to humanity:

اللهم لاتكلني الى نفسي طرفة عين ولا أقل من ذلك

Allahumma laa takilnee ila nafsee tarfat `aynin wa laa aqala min dhalika.

O Allah! Don't leave me to my ego for the blink of an eye or less.

How many times do we blink in a minute? Perhaps ten, twelve or fifteen times. So Prophet (s) is saying, “Don’t leave me to myself for 1/15 of a minute.” This teaching is for us, as he was at Qaaba Qawsayni aw Adnaa! Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q) said, “Now I realize that before I was a lover and now that he has dressed me I am a mureed.” So what is necessary for us? It is what Sayyidina `Ali (r) told the Sahaabah (r), “If we do four things we are safe:”

1. First, as-sakoot, “be silent.” Don’t talk, because even one word might make you to fall into the hands of Shaytan. Therefore, it is better to be quiet. There is a saying in Arabic, “If words are from silver, sakoot (silence) is from gold.” So keep quiet, don’t talk. If someone wishes to argue with you say, “I am fasting.”

But the self doesn’t accept, that’s why Sayyidina `Ali and the awliya are teaching us, that (keeping quiet) is the main issue! As Prophet (s) said, “I have been sent to complete your manners,” and to be silent is part of good manners. This also means that Islam is good manners. Allah (swt) sent Prophet (s) to complete the manners of Muslims and of humanity.

2. Second, as-sima`a, “to listen.” Don’t talk; keep quiet and listen.

3. Third, an-nazhar, “to observe.” After hearing what they say, observe; watch how they act, speak, and attack each other, watch their nafs and carefully observe until you can determine what you need to do.

4. Fourth, al-haraka, “to act/move.” Then you move and say what you need to say, as now your action will become wisdom because it has been built on silence, listening, and observing.

Chess champions are a dunya example of this, they spend many hours observing the eyes and even the whispers of their opponents in order to make just one move! If that is the case for chess, then can you imagine how careful we need to be against Shaytan? For dunya, they spend 2-3 days to move one piece. How careful then should we be in observing what Shaytan is making us do in order that we attack him? But alhamdulillah, we are lovers of Mawlana Shaykh and he will always take us with him, he will not go without taking all of us to be with him in the Presence of Prophet (s)!

And at the end I would just like to say that when Prophet (s) said, “I have been sent to complete your good manners,” there is a big secret there.

‏‏ انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق

Innamaa bu`ithtu li utammimu makaarim al-akhlaaq.

I have been sent to perfect the best of conduct (your behavior and character). (Bazzaar)

“To complete,” means that he took that responsibility! He is not waiting for us to complete ourselves, he is completing us without us knowing what he is doing! To those who say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah, amantu billahi wa malaa’ikatihi wa kutubihi wa rusulihi wa bi ‘l-yawmi ‘l-aakhir wa bi ‘l-qadri khayrihi wa sharrihi min Allahi ta`ala wa bi’l-ba`tha ba`d al-mawti haqq!” that is enough! We are under his banner to appear on the Day of Judgment, for the barakah of your Sultan, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q), who will dress you to appear like stars in the dark night!

My brother and I heard it many times from Grandshaykh (q) and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q), that those who follow guides, especially of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain, will be like the stars shining in a dark sky. They will shine on the Day of Judgment! May Allah (swt) make all of us shine with the barakah of our shaykh.

Bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.

If Shaykh Adnan wants to add anything?

(Shaykh Adnan Kabbani: No need, you are an ocean!)


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