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Hierarchy of Saints Series, Vol 18

Examples of the High Character and Forbearance of Awliyaullah

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

31 August 2010 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Ramadan Series 2010

Allahuma salli `ala Sayyidina Muhammad hatta yarda Sayyidina Muhammad (s).

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.

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

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

Madad ya Sayyidee, dastoor yaa Sayyidee, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani.

In the previous session we were discussing the good character, al-khuluq al-hasan. We discussed the ayah:

Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem, yaa ayyhual mudaththir, qum fa-andhir, wa rabbuk fa-kabbir, wa thiyabaka fa-tahhir.

O thou wrapped up (in the mantle)! Arise and deliver thy warning! And thy Lord do thou magnify! And thy garments free from stain. (Surat al-Muddaththir, 74:1-4)

"O the one who is covering himself," He is speaking and revealing to Prophet (s). "Yaa Muhammad (s)! Leave the Bed." That means, "Leave dunya, leave what makes you to feel good." When people want to feel good and relax, where do they go? They go to bed to lay down in order to feel okay. They say "O, I am tired." and husn al-khuluq, good character, is when you are tired, you must drop your nafs that wants to relax, and do something for the best of humanity. So He is saying to him, "Yaa Muhamamd (s), leave the bed." Qum, wake up and warn, andhir. Warn who? For Prophet (s), it means warn the ummah. But for us, there is another interpretation, as Sufism is a taste. Awliyaullah find ways to interpret Holy Qur'an's verses. Allah said:

وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الألْبَابِ

Wa maa ya`lamoo taweelahu ill 'Llah war-raasikhoona fil `ilmi yaqooloona aamanna bihi kullun min `indi rabbina wa maa yadhadhakkaroo illa ooloo al-baab.

But no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding. (Surat al-Imran, 3:7)

"No one knows its interpretation except Allah," wa 'r-raasikhoona fil `ilmi yaqooloona aamaanna. Those who are like mountains are strong. Even a huge tornado cannot do anything to a mountain. It might take the forest, the trees, but the mountain is raasikh, well established on Earth. He didn't say `ulama. So those who are like a mountain of knowledge in religion, not Shariah, say aamanna, "we believe," sami`na wa at`ana. "We believe that no one knows the interpretation except for Allah (swt). But He gave to Prophet (s) everything, He gave him `uloom al-awaleen wa 'l-akhireen (knowledge of before and after). He didn't hide that interpretation from the Prophet (s). That is why Grandshaykh (q) told us that Sayyidina Mahdi (s) will bring the interpretation of every verse and every letter.

"Those who are well established in knowledge, say, 'We believe, everything is from Allah (swt)'". But if we read the verse in a different way, wa maa ya`lamoona taaweelahu ill'Llah wa 'r-raasikhoon fi 'l-`ilm, in this reading, "No one knows its interpretation except Allah AND those whom Allah made like mountains, well established." It is waw `ataf from the first part of the word to the second word. Wa ar-raasikhoon, Allah and those who are well established in knowledge of the Holy Qur'an.

يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُقُمْ فَأَنذِرْ وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ

Yaa ayyuha 'l-mudaththir qum fa andhir wa rabbaka fakabbir wa thiyaabaka fa-tahhir.

O who covers himself with blankets! Arise and warn, and magnify your Lord, and purify your garments! (Surat al-Muddaththir, 74:1-4)

Yaa ayyuha 'l-mudaththir, "Stand up and be ready to warn the ummah," and everyone must warn their ego. How were awliya perfected? By warning their egos. Wa thiyaabak fa-tahhir, "And make your character the best." Tell them to be of best character. If they can be of best character, then they have achieved a lot. Because a best character is to perfect oneself. At the begining of Ramadan, we spoke about the the five qutbs (poles); Qutub, Qutbu'l Bilad, Qutbu'l Irshad, Qutbu'l Aqtab, and Qutbu'l Mutasarrif. And the five different groups of awliya; Budala, Nujaba, Nuqaba, Awtaad, and Akhyar. And on top of all of them is the ghawth, and under them, 124,000 saints. All of them have khuluq al-hasan. All that we were discussing from the begining of Ramadan was to show that awliyaullah have achieved these high characters and achieved to be raasikhoon fil-`ilm, "well established in high levels. Everyone according to their group and level, has become well established in the Divine Presence. We didn't yet go into their names and what Allah manifested on them, or what they represent, because time is running short. But insha-Allah we will continue.

So the best of us is the one with the best character. Allah said to Prophet (s), wa thiyaabak fa-tahhir, "Purify that dress." That is a khitaab to all humanity to purify your clothes, your character. War-rujzu fahjur, "Migrate and come out the bad characters." That is why in Arabic, every word in the Holy Qur'an has many meanings. Fahjurhuna fil-madajia`, "Let them get a way to come out for men and women." Fahjur means "get out of it," don't be completely dipped in the well of Shaytan. It is the same meaning in the verse of Surat an-Nisa:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاء

Ar-rijaalu qawamoona `ala 'n-nisaa,

Come out of the character that you have done, men or women! (Surat an-Nisa, 4:34)

They asked one person with good character and behavior, "From whom did you learned hilm, forbearance?"

He said, "I learned from Qays Ibn al-`Asim (q). One day I was sitting in his presence, and a maidservant came to him with a container that had hot charcoal and on it was some hot food. Wa saqat min yaddiha, as soon as she came, all this charcoal and the hot container fell down from her hand onto his young son The child died immediately. The servant was afraid, she didn't know what to do. Qays Ibn al-`Asim (q) said, la rawa`a `alayk anti hur fillah, 'Don't be afraid, I am freeing you for Allah's sake.' She harmed him and he freed her. Although he felt the pain in his heart for his son, he freed her to suppress his ego."

Today, cough suppressants control your cough, but we need tablets to suppress our egos! You can find that in a store that has that medicine: that is awliyaullah. If you want, they can give you the tablet and in 40 days you will be finished from your ego. If they don't give you the tablets they are playing with you, as they know you are not yet ready yet.

Therefore, in order to suppress his ego, Qays Ibn al-`Asim freed her, because his ego was saying, "She killed your boy, so kill her." From that pious actions, that person learned forbearance from Qays ibn al-`Asim. It is not easy. If someone kills your child, will you say, "No problem." If you killed someone's child, they will sue you for millions! There was insurance at that time also, heavenly insurance. You will get it in Paradise or in your grave, or you might even get it in dunya.

Ibrahim ibn al-Adham was a king. He is buried in Damascus. Every night, he drank until he fell down. All of his engines would be down, he would vomit and get sick. One night he was sitting in his house looking at the stars through a big glass dome he had built, when he heard someone walking on that dome. He looked and saw a man. Who can come to Ibrahim ibn al-Adham, the famous king?

He asked, "What are you doing?"

The man replied, "I am searching for my camel."

"How are you are searching for your camel on my dome?"

We look at others' mistakes and forget our own. He was looking at that one's mistake, but not at his own. We are dipped in our ego's arrogance. Struggle against it, and then Allah will take you from the Shore of Ignorance to the Shore of Knowledge by reeh as-siba, the Heavenly Breeze. That is like a tornado, but you will sense the beautiful perfume in it and it will take you to the other shore in the blink of an eye! You don't need more than that. But you need to show continuity, that you are doing your work, your awraad, your dawah, and what is asked of you by your shaykh.

Ibrahim ibn al-Adham asked the man what he was doing and not looking at himself that he is drunk. He said, "How can your camel be here on the third floor, on top of the dome?"

The man said, "There is a possibility to find my camel on your dome, but there is no possibility for you to find your Lord in your current state."

That was like an arrow shot through Ibrahim's heart! The people asked him, hal farihta min ad-dunya, yaa Ibraheem, "Did you enjoy your worldly life, Ibrahim?"

He said, "Yes, twice." These are examples that show us the good manners that awliya carry. He said, "One time I was sitting, qa`idan."

This is part of the story that Grandshaykh (q) mentioned about Ibrahim ibn al-Adham (q), why he was sitting at that time; because he went to a mosque, as he was going in the way of Allah. He was cold and bleeding. He entered the mosque, prayed `Isha, and layed down. The keeper of the masjid kicked him out.

Ibrahim ibn al-Adham (q) said, "Leave me alone. I am an old man."

The servant said, "Even if you were Ibrahim ibn al-Adham, I would still throw you out! You are lying!" and he beat Ibrahim ibn al-Adham, who left and went under a tree that had a tree house with three people inside.

He explained to those who asked about his dunya, "I was sitting there and one of them was drinking. He came out of the tree house and urinated on me. I was so happy and pleased, as he showed me what I deserved. That was one of the happiest things that happened to me in dunya, because that is dunya: to take poison out of the body. I understood it that He is giving me a signal to take out all the poison from my body."

Ibrahim continued, "The second time, I was sitting among a group of people and one of them came and slapped me on the face. When he slapped me, ja'a ahadahum wa safaanee, he woke me up to the remembrance of the Day of Judgment. Allah (swt) might send angels to slap me with no end. He made me aware of what might happen to me, both in the grave and on the Day of Judgment. These were the two times I was so happy from dunya, because these incidents made me realize what dunya is and what is represents."

Look at how much good character he has! One urinated on him and still he said, "No problem." The second one beat him up and he said, "No problem." If someone urinates on us, what will we do? If a baby in diapers urinates on you, you beat them1

It is said, once Ibrahim ibn al-Adham (q) roamed a jungle in Allah's love. A soldier passed by and asked, ayna al-`imaara, "Where is the city?" `Amaar is where you build homes.

Ibrahim said, "There is the city."

The soldier took his stick and beat him on the head. He showed the soldier the city, so why did he beat him up? Because he showed him the cemetery, saying, "That is the city you are going to be sleeping in one day." The soldier thought Ibrahim was mocking him. He beat him severely, wounding his head. When the soldier passed by the city, people asked him, "What have you done today?! You beat the most ascetic person in all Khorasan!" Persia today is one of the main city of awliya; that is why it is going to be safe. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said no one can touch it.

The soldier came back to apologize. Ibrahim ibn al-Adham (q) said, "When you beat me up, I asked Paradise for you from Allah!"

When someone beats you up, what do you do? Ask for Paradise by going to the police. You don't ask Paradise for him, but instead jail.

The soldier asked, "Why did you do that?"

He said, "Because you brought a reward for me when you beat me up. I didn't want that to be for me only, so I asked Paradise for you. And on the Day of Judgment, I didn't want you to be judged on my account, or to be the cause of your punishment, and I didn't want to be rewarded because you beat me. So I asked Allah to give you Paradise."

Do you ask for Paradise for those who beat you? Look at how they teach children today, they teach them marital arts, to defend themselves. You don't need martial arts. When you surrender to Allah's Will, that is martial arts. Ibrahim ibn al-Adham (q) was able to blow him far away with just one breath, but he didn't. Today they teach young children how to fight the enemy. Your enemy is Shaytan! Be peaceful and there will be no fight.

It was said by Haatim al-Asam (q), husn al-khuluq an yahtamil kull wahid, "The best character is to carry whatever they show to you, tolerate and accept them, except for one. Tolerate all else and you will be rewarded, but don't tolerate the one that will take you to Hellfire."

They asked, "Who is that?"

He replied, "That is your ego. Tolerate others for Allah's sake, but beat your ego by not giving it what it likes."

Malik ibn Dinar (q) was a famous wali, official, and judge. One lady came to him and said, yaa mura`ee, "O hypocrite! The one who thinks he is something! He is nothing, and garbage in my eyes!"

A lady said this to a big judge, and they say ladies have no rights (in Islam).

He looked at her, not seeing a man or woman, and replied. "May Allah bless you. I was looking for the name I lost. Today you came and gave it to me. Wajadtu `ismee al-ladhee adallahu ahlu basra, I found the name that the people of Basra lost. Alhamdulillah, I am thankful to you."

He didn't tell his army or police to throw her in prsion. So what is your name, mura`ee. Our name is to "show off" only, we are not dressing in the real dress as there is hypocrisy.

Sayyidina Luqman (a) advised his sons to have three characters: Thalatha la tu`raf illa `inda thalath. al-hilm `indal-ghadab, "Three things are only known through three others."

First is, to be patient when getting angry. All these emails that come to us are full of anger. "My wife did that, my neighbor did that." Every day there are hundreds of emails filled with complaints!Prophet (s) said:

من عرف نفسه فقد عرف ربه

Man `arafa nafsahu faqad `arafa Rabbahu

He who knows himself knows his Lord.

We interpret this hadeeth as, "Who knows his bad characters knows his Lord." But awliya interpret it differently: "Who knows himself, what Allah is showering on him of Beautiful Names and Attributes, to see the lights that Allah is showering on us, that one knows his Lord."

Allah doesn't look at the bad characters, but looks at the lights and manifestations of Allah's Names. You cannot go to the Divine Presence without these lights as they are the code and password. That is why it is recommended on Jumu`ah to take a shower, ghusl, as it will clean you, to take you to these manifestations of Divine Lights, and to divine prayer in the Presence of Allah. Surrender to Allah's Will, don't show anger and complain!

Sayyidina Luqman (a) is telling his sons to have forbearance, as Prophet (s) said to Sayyidina Abu Bakr (q), al-ghadabu kufrun, "Anger is unbelief." Second is, to have courage in war. Are we in war today? Yes, we are in the war against our ego. Not the war where they are blowing innocent people up, saying, "I am going to Paradise." You are going to Hellfire! So are we declaring war against our ego? The third good character is, to give charity when you know someone is in need. That means to be generous with people and to help them. If someone is sick, help him; if someone is sad, smile at him. Prophet (s) said, "A smile is sadaqah." To visit a patient or to build a school, all of this is sadaqah. Sadaqah is when someone is in need, you help. That person will find you there. These are the three characters Sayyidina Luqman (a) advised his sons to keep.

One wali used to have a servant helping him. People asked, "Why are you keeping him? Set him free."

He said, "I can't set him free because I am learning forbearance from him. He does everything wrong. I am keeping him to learn patience."

One mureed invited his shaykh, Uthman al-Heeli (q), to his house. When he entered though the door, the mureed said, "I called you but I feel I cannot accommodate you, so please go back." He is a wali and shaykh, coming to the house of his mureed. This means that when the shaykh comes with a stick, don't send him back; he comes with a stick against your ego. Grandshaykh (q) said, "Awliya look at their mureeds at least three times a day, and they don't send candies, they send pain, to see how the mureed will react."

The mureed said, "I regret I called you to my house, you can go now," and the shaykh left.

A few days later, that mureed returned to the shaykh and said, "I regret I kicked you out. Please come back." The ego was telling him to fix that. So the shaykh went back. He didn't say, "I am not coming, you threw me one time, that is it," and he would never go. The shaykh went and at the door the host said, "No, sorry again, but I cannot accommodate you. Please go back." And the shaykh went back.

His wife asked, "What are you doing, coming and going?"

The shaykh just made some excuse. The mureed did this to him four or five times and finally said to the shaykh, "I did that to try you."

SubhaanAllah fa lillah darruk, that is a highly respected saying which means, "Only Allah knows how high you are, that I throw you four or five times and you never said anything."

The mureed asked, "What kind of wali are you and what kind of khuluq do you have? You kept on coming, not complaining. I called you back and you kept coming, then I kicked you out. What kind of high character you have? I don't understand!"

The shaykh said, la tamdahnee fee khuluqin tujid fi 'l-haywaan, "Don't praise me, my son, for a character that is found in animals."

The mureed asked, "O Sayyidee! What is that character that when you call, it will come, and when you kick it out, it goes?"

He said, "That is a dog's character. Don't praise me for such a character."

That is the first level in tariqah, not to say a dog is better, but to learn that there are signs in everything around us. Like nothing will stop a lion or a tiger in a jungle, but the goat is different, it eats anything. Or a donkey, which is patient; it carries any amount of load, no matter how heavy. It carries it and moves. So we have to learn from the characters of what Allah created for the benefit of Ummat an-Nabi, not to be wild. "Don't praise me, because if the dog is invited, it will come, and if thrown, it will go."

It is said that one day that shaykh was passing by a house and someone threw ashes that came all over him, like ashes from a volcano. His mureeds got upset and began to curse, "That is our shaykh! How dare you throw ashes!" The ones who threw it didn't know, they just threw it from their window. It was not like today, you will get a ticket for "littering."

The shaykh said to them, "Don't get angry. If the one who deserves Hellfire gets a substitute of ashes, he will take the ashes! I was feeling the Hellfire and was saved by ashes thrown on me."

These are examples of good character of awliyaullah. May Allah guide us and teach us by means of these stories.

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


(Viewers are asking, when is `Eid al-Fitr.)

`Eid is Thursday or Friday (of next week). Some countries are observing Laylat al-Qadr on Saturday, 4 September, or on Sunday, 5 September. We will observe it Saturday and Sunday, and inshaa-Allah we will bring the holy hair of the Prophet (s) on Saturday and on `Eid Day, so you can announce that.