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Faith is Based on Action, Which Leads Us to Ma`arifatullah

Ramadan Series 2011, Volume 20

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

20 August 2011 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Suhbah after Salat al-Fajr

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

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

The whole message is to obey Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s), and who is obeying Allah, He will dress them in a dress of mercy to forgive them. If you follow those who are obeying Allah (swt) and the Prophet (s), and those who know more than you, you are on Siratul-Mustaqeem, “the Right Path.”

And as we said before, every word and every letter in the Holy Qur'an has an intimate meaning and what Allah gives to one He does not give to another. If I say, “allahuma salli `alaa Sayyidina Muhammad,” Allah will give me a blessing that suits my form. If we say it together, Allah gives everyone a different manifestation of His Beautiful Names and Attributes and His forgiveness on people. Not all of us have the same dress, just as in dunya we don’t have the same dress. Due to His Greatness, Allah (swt) likes to give us something unique in every moment! You cannot limit His Greatness nor the greatness of His Creation. In every moment He is creating, for those living in dunya and for those living somewhere else, and He knows best. inna rabbuka la-ghafooran shakoor, “Allah is very happy with His servant when he approaches Him through forgiveness.”

Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur'an, “For sure Allah is forgiving and thanking you, and happy with you because you are thanking Him.” So He gives you more:

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ

Wa la in shakartum la-azeedanakum

If you thank Me, I will give you more. (14:7)

He is not only happy with you when are asking forgiveness, but He is thankful! Look how merciful Allah is when you ask for forgiveness. Are you asking? Allah thanks and expresses His happiness because we are asking for forgiveness; it means forgiveness is something very great! Also Allah (swt) gave us the best of His Beautiful Names and Attributes, “al-Ghafoor, the One Who forgives.”

But we forget; we sin and we don't ask for forgiveness, which needs repentance. If you want your istaghfirullah to be accepted you have to say “istaghfirullah” to clean the sin, and for the second you need a third istaghfirullah to clean it, as it is mixed with all the dirtiness we carry. Don’t see yourself as an educated lawyer, engineer, or banker, for you are nothing! If the Prophet (s) is saying, "O Allah! Don’t leave me to myself for the blink of an eye," it means you have an ego. For sure everyone has an ego; otherwise we would never get angry. You cannot find anyone happy with the other because we have no faith; by tongue we can say we have faith from here to the ocean, but in practice we are weak.

In some narrations it is for 70,000 years and in some for 2,000 years, from the time Allah (swt) created Iblees until He cursed him, Iblees did not leave one hand-span throughout the universe without making sajda, because his imaan was strong. Here is the danger, a risk for everyone; even a awliyaullah have the risk of falling, but they are protected because they kept their covenant with Allah in dunya. However, speaking in general, as the Prophet (s) said, "O Allah! Don’t leave me to my ego for the blink of an eye," we understand no one is safe. Lack of imaan can make any of us fall if we are not careful, and we will end up like Iblees. Always he was in sajda, showing full `ibadah, but his imaan was incomplete. One order was given (to make sajda to Adam [a]) and he didn't obey it, and all his good actions were thrown in his face!

Today arguing, fighting, and all kinds of bad manners come to you during Hajj, although you want the best flight, the best hotel, best food, and to be surrounded with air conditioning. Be comfortable, but thank Allah (swt) as He gave us all this!

In previous times no Hajj visa was required. Allah (swt) created this Earth, He didn’t put lines to distinguish various territories as He created the whole Earth for you to go wherever you like! Those who are making hujjaaj (pilgrims) stand in lines according to their country are racist. They are like Iblees, because they don’t want anyone except themselves to have access to Africa. A man from Central Asia went to Hajj and after every step he prayed two raka`ats and made sajda. From where he began to reach Mecca took two years. He didn’t look for water or food. He had his stick, which is necessary in the desert as there may be wild animals or snakes, and he said, “O my Lord! I am going to Your Holy House,” then with “Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem” he stepped out of his house and Allah provided him with food and with water.

So the bullet point for today:

* Allah (swt) provides for the one who has imaan without him running after dunya, but you have to prove you have imaan by action, not by talking.

A film director doesn't say to the actor, “Act!” but rather he shouts, “Action!” Real action is based on imaan and with it Allah opens secrets that will astonish you. You have to show imaan like the one going to Hajj who prays, “O my Lord! I don’t deserve to go to Hajj, so between one step and another, I will pray two raka`ats, asking forgiveness for any sins I made.” On the last step we pray Sunnat at-Tawbah, two raka`ats asking forgiveness, and if we committed any sin, as soon as we realize it we say, “istaghfirullah” and fall into sajdah. May Allah forgive us.

So if you kept your faith firm, which Allah likes you to do, He will take you to Dar al-Ma`arifah, the Courtyard of Knowledge, ma`arifatullah,” the station of knowing about your Creator. But to achieve that you need imaan; you cannot carry it without imaan or you will faint, like when Sayyidina Musa (a) asked, “O my Lord, let me see You.” Allah said, “You cannot, but look at the mountain,” and when he looked at the mountain expecting to see Allah, then Allah opened His tajalli on the mountain and Sayyidina Musa (a) fainted.

When you perfect your imaan you will reach the Courtyard of Knowledge, ma`rifatullah, a state wherein people say, “Do we see Allah?” No, but you will see every Creation you pass through will talk to you, and inspirations will come to your heart as if they are telling you what is the secret that Allah created them for and with what secret they are helping humanity. You take knowledge from everything you pass. So ma`rifatullah is to take you to Maqaam at-Tawheed, “the Station of Oneness,” the state whereion you will not make partners to Allah (swt) in anything. However, here we always make ourselves partners to Allah, as we said previously:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاء رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

Qul innama anaa basharun mithlukum yoohaa ilayya annama ilaahukum ilaahun waahidun faman kaana yarjoo liqaa rabbihi fal-ya`mal `amalan saalihan wa laa yushrik bi`ibadati rabbihi ahad.

Say, "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me that your Allah is one Allah. Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness and in the worship of his Lord admit no one as partner. (al-Kahf, 18:110)

Whoever wants to enter the Courtyard of Knowledge, ma`arifatullah, must worship Allah exclusively and not make partners to Him! During the Prophet’s time there was a rich person, always feeding people but making shirk by saying, “I did this and that,” attributing that goodness to himself. No, Allah gives you the power, it is not from yourself.

Tawheed, Allah’s Oneness, will make you realize you are nothing and to not make partners with Allah (swt). This cannot be acieved except with `amalan salih, righteous deeds, and if you do a good deed you must take away the hidden shirk within you, as Prophet (s) said:

أخوف ما أخاف على أمتي الشرك الخفي

Akhwaf maa akhaafu `ala ummattee ash-shirk al-khafee.

What I fear most for my ummah is hidden shirk.

Don’t say this is repetition; each time the Holy Qur’an and hadeeth are spoken it descends on us with a new tajalli. This camera records everything but it needs batteries, energy. If you sleep you will never get the battery, which is your heart, to record anything! That energy is, `Amantu billahi wa malaa’ikatihi wa kutubihi wa rusulihi wa ‘l-yawmi ‘l-akhiri wa bi ‘l-qadri khayrihi wa sharrihi min Allahi Ta’ala. “I believe in Allah, and His angels, and His Books, and His prophets, and in the Last Day, and in Destiny, its good and its bad, from Allah the Exalted.”

When you cross that ocean and reach other side, there is another ocean, Dar al-`Ilm. In Dar al-Ma`arifah, when you know that The Only One to be worshipped is Allah (swt) and you say, “I believe in Allah,” you prepare yourself to enter knowledge by having imaan, and ma`arifah of His Oneness, just as you prepare to pray by making wudu. At that level you are sure there is no partner for Him, then He opens His treasures to you, you enter `Ilm al-Yaqeen, the Knowledge of Sincerity, and all these visions come true.

So when Muhyiddin ibn Arabi (r) entered that ocean, he saw and heard what no one had seen or heard before and he recorded it. When he showed it to people, they said, “No, it is not possible.” Like a man diving deep in the ocean comes back to the surface and says, “I saw blue fish,” is there blue fish? If you didn’t see it you may say there is not.

وَمَن كَانَ فِي هَـذِهِ أَعْمَى فَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ أَعْمَى وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيل

waman kaana fee hadhihi `amaa fa-huwa fi ’l-akhirati `amaa wa adalloo sabeela.

But those who were blind in this world will be blind in the Hereafter and most astray from the path. (al-Israa, 17:72)

I remember in the time of Grandshaykh (q) and Mawlana Shaykh (q), they taught fountains of knowledge so amazing that if you repeat it now, people will say, “That is kufr!” They did that to Sayyidina Ibn `Arabi (q) and to Bayazid al-Bastami (q), although the one who was very strict on these issues, Ibn Taymiyya, accepted him as a big wali. That is why when Rabi`a al-`Adawiyya (r) entered that ocean, she found she had to do istighfar at every moment.

The `ulama told her, “Your husband died and you must marry another as marriage is fard on every Muslim.” Allah (swt) doesn't like anyone to send his desires without marriage, and when you marry half your religion has been completed. So they said, “You have to get married. If you get sick who is going to take care of you?”

She said, “I am busy.”

“What are you busy with?”

“I am busy saying ‘istaghfirullah, istaghfirullah.’”

The delegation of scholars said, “Yaa Rabi`ah! You have to marry.”

“I am busy saying ‘istaghfirullah.’”

“Why are you saying istaghfirullah every moment?”

She said, istighfaree bi-hajjah ila istighfar, “My istighfar needs another istighfar.’” She had past ma`arifa and imaan and reached the Ocean of Knowledge. They insisted to know. So she said, “If you answer my questions, I will marry. What is your first question?”

They were educated scholars. Today's scholars are like peacocks more than in previous times; today scholarship is for showing off, not for humility. If anyone becomes imaam of the masjid, he will say, “I am imaam.” You are imaam of your ego. The khadim, servant of the masjid, goes to Paradise first and the mu`adhdhin, will enter second. You will see them first on Judgment Day because Allah (swt) will make their necks so long that they will be above everyone, so run to be mu`adhdhin or the khadim of the masjid. Today people look at the muadhdhin with disgust as he may also clean the toilets, which is humbleness, but the imaam is proud.

So she said, “The first question is, when the Angel of Death comes to take my soul, is he coming with punishment or with mercy?” What could they answer? They didn’t know, only Allah knows. So she said, “That is why I am busy making istighfaar. The second question is, when angels come to me in the grave to ask me, ‘Who is your Lord, who is your prophet and what is your book?’ are they coming with punishment or with mercy? They could not answer. Her third question was, “On Judgment Day, when Allah asks me if I am going to mercy or to punishment, can you answer?”

They said, “Yaa Rabi`ah! You are right.”

That is how a pious lady won over all those scholars. May Allah (swt) take away all our sins and bless us with His Mercy.

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