13 August 2012 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan
Suhbah after 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`alaa fee haadha 'l-masjid.
أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ
Atee`oollaha wa atee`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.
Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:59)
We are discussing the issue of seeking refuge in Allah (swt) to take Shaytan from our way, and he has too many ways to come and attack us, especially in laziness. To feel lazy, to give your work to someone else or to delegate to others whatever work comes to you is one of the problems that Shaytan brings to make us not work.
The Prophet (s) urged and encouraged the Sahaabah (r) to work. He sent them everywhere and they did not say, “We have to sit with our family, to be with them day and night,” or, “I have to rest and cannot work more than one hour every twenty-four hours.” No, the Prophet (s) always encouraged the Sahaabah to do heavy work. What they were doing was not easy, leaving their homes behind for the sake of Allah (swt) to teach, educate, to do heavy construction work and also defend the faith. The most difficult work was fighting, and they knew they might be killed, but for the love of Allah (swt) and the Prophet (s) they went. In the time of the Prophet (s), there were many who stayed behind.
سَيَقُولُ لَكَ الْمُخَلَّفُونَ مِنَ الْأَعْرَابِ شَغَلَتْنَا أَمْوَالُنَا وَأَهْلُونَا فَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَنَا يَقُولُونَ بِأَلْسِنَتِهِم مَّا لَيْسَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ قُلْ فَمَن يَمْلِكُ لَكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا إِنْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ ضَرًّا أَوْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ نَفْعًا بَلْ كَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
Sayaqoolu laka ‘l-mukhallafoona mina ‘l-`araabi shaghalatnaa amwaalunaa wa ahloonaa fa ’staghfir lanaa yaqooloona bi alsinatihim maa laysa fee quloobihim qul faman yamliku lakum mina ’Llahi shayan in araada bikum darran aw araada bikum naf`an bal kaana Allahu bimaa ta`maloona khabeera.
Those of the Bedouin who stayed behind will say to you, “[The need to take care of] our chattels and our families kept us busy; do then, [O Prophet,] ask Allah to forgive us!” [Thus] they will utter with their tongues something that is not in their hearts. Say, “Who then has it in his power to avert from you anything that Allah may have willed, whether it be His Will to harm you or to confer a benefit on you? No, but Allah is fully aware of what you do!
(Surat al-Fath, 48:11)
That is a sign of a munaafiq. The Prophet (s) mentioned a small way for Shaytan to enter your heart and make gossips, and no one is free from that except the Prophet (s).
It is said that Shaytan is musalat `alaa tabi`ati ’l-bashar; he has been given a strong influence over human beings, and that was granted to him for people to know, “They follow Allah, or they follow Shaytan.” They must be straightforward: follow Allah or follow Shaytan, so choose! One day we are on the way of imaan and one day on kufr, not unbelief, but meaning here that we are disobedient. We have to be very careful with the word “kufr,” for it can be used in many different ways, not meaning shirk or to be an unbeliever in Allah, but to be ungrateful for Allah's favors. That can happen when Shaytan dominates you.
The first thing many people have to be careful with is their intake, not the output. When you inhale, are you breathing in dhikrullah or gossip in the heart? When you pray, you say, "Allahu Akbar!" In Imam Shafi`i’s school of thought, they have to follow a certain procedure to enter prayers. In the Hanafi school of thought you can just say, “Allahu Akbar,” and enter prayers, but in the Shafi`i school you have to concentrate all your body and meditate on it, and then say “Allahu Akbar,” focusing all your external power into the heart. That is why when you pray with the Shafi`i, with those of that school of thought, you see them raising their hands, “Al...,” then lowering them; raising their hands, “Alla..., ” lowering them; raising, “Allahu...,” lowering; raising, “Allahu Akbar!...,” that is to make sure, they are not playing a game, they want to make sure that when they enter the prayer they enter it in the right way which is against Shaytan. So in the Shafi`i school of thought, the actual entrance to the prayer is the most important part. While in the Hanafi school they say, “Innamaa 'l-`amaalu bi ‘n-niyyat,” so “ Allahu Akbar,” they say leave the `amal for Allah to accept, as the intention is only for Him. However, in the Shafi`i school it is said, “No, you must focus and then enter into prayer, otherwise it may be imperfect.”
So Shaytan can come in you through your breath and turn it into dhikr ash-Shaytan instead of dhikrullah, and no one can object to this as it is true. As soon as you enter prayer, Shaytan floods you with all kinds of thoughts, especially when you are praying behind an imam. In the Hanafi school of thought you don’t read anything when following the imam in prayer, whereas in the Shafi`i school you must read: the imam reads Surat al-Fatihah and then you read after the imam; that is why he stops for a short time between the Fatihah and the surah, to allow the followers to read, because you concentrate more when you read. According to Hanafis, respect is to keep quiet, as the imam carries the responsibility. The Shafi`is say you must read with him and follow the imam, or read after he completes it, then your mind is still in concentration. So there are different ways to give us different opportunities. If you find yourself strong in concentration, then don’t read behind the imam, but if you don’t feel strong, then take the other opinion and read behind the imam.
So Shaytan enters in your breath, in your prayer and in your food. And the most dangerous one is when he enters your food, as he will share with you and will take that barakah away, especially for those who are left-handed, because their parents didn’t teach them as children (to eat with their right hand). The Prophet (s) prohibited eating with the left hand because Shaytan enters this way through the food. When you don’t read “Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem,” Shaytan also enters with the food and shares it with you. Also when you are getting dressed, say, “Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.” You are asking Allah (swt) for protection and so this way Shaytan cannot approach you.
If you begin to struggle against yourself to do all this, then the desire of the stomach and to follow Shaytan will be cut down. When you struggle against Shaytan to concentrate in your prayers and breathe with dhikrullah and eat with the Name of Allah, this will take the desire of food from you.
What did Prophet (s) eat? Grandshaykh `AbdAllah (q) told us a story that I still remember, although it was a long time ago. We were sitting on the roof of Grandshaykh’s house in Damascus. The zawiya was not yet built, only the masjid was there, so when you entered the house, the first room on the left had no construction above it, it was a rooftop. You could see the whole of Damascus from the roof! So we were sitting up there between the time of `Asr and Maghrib, gazing upon the beautiful sunset above the horizon as Grandshaykh (q) was serving tea. He said, “Once Prophet (s) was sitting on the roof of his noble house with his wife Sayyida `Ayesha (r), telling her about our bread.”
In those days they didn’t have such fine flour as we do today, nicely ground and purified. The barley was coarse like seeds and blended with small rocks, so when they cooked it and ate it, those small rocks could break their teeth! That is why Prophet (s) ordered them to keep water by their side as they ate, so as not to choke and die. In the Middle Eastern countries at that time most of the food was served with bread, not with rice as in the Subcontinent. So, it is a sunnah to keep water beside you when you eat.
Grandshaykh (q) continued, “Prophet (s) said to Sayyida `Ayesha (r), ‘Do you see what kind of bread we are eating? One of the Signs of the Last Days, is that the flour for their bread will be ground as finely as possible, almost to nothing, and they will not thank Allah for it! Allah will give them that very fancy and tasty bread, not like our bread with stones and coarse barley, their bread will be far more tasteful than this bread, but we still thank Allah and they won’t.’
`Ayesha (r) said, ‘May Allah send on their teeth suus, cavities!’ And as she was about to say ‘cavities,’ Prophet (s) said, ‘Don’t continue!’ If Prophet (s) had not stopped her, everyone’s teeth today would have been ruined at a very young age! Even though she had not completed her du`a, it was still accepted as it had been her intention to say it, and because of the purity of the wife of the Prophet (s) and the Sahaabah (r), their du`as were immediately accepted, which is why we have problems with our teeth today and need to visit the dentist. They didn’t have problems with their teeth. It was very rare to have problems with the teeth at that time.
Prophet (s) used to eat barley bread, that might choke people, with a small plate of vinegar and oil. He would eat at four or five o’clock, dipping the bread in oil and vinegar, or sometimes only in water, to soften it; then dip it in salt and eat. That was their food. What is our food today? Kababs or other nicely prepared meat dishes. If people don’t have meat on the table, they won’t eat! Like wolves, you will eat only if there is meat. Although it is a sunnah to eat meat, Prophet (s) recommended to eat meat at least once every forty days to show that we are not like Hindus; we eat meat to separate ourselves from them. Prophet (s) wants to show that we are Muslims and are separate from those who worship statues, but he also said, “Meat gives hardness to the heart,” so Prophet (s) did not eat excessive amounts of meat, perhaps only once in forty days.
So Shaytan comes to us through food, especially when children fill their plates and then throw it away; that is wrong! Even adults take half the plate and leave the rest, but you must take only what you need. Don’t teach your children to not be satisfied with a little bit of food, as their eyes want to “feed the plate,” jasha`a, gluttony. And it is not only children, we all have this problem. It is gluttony of the eyes, not of the stomach. You can easily eat from what is near you, but you want to eat from every plate, especially when eating buffet style: they check each dish, picking up bits to see if it is good or not, and that is where Shaytan comes. Perhaps the barakah was in the food you chose not to take! So Shaytan comes to us through our food and we don’t even think about it.
Also, Shaytan comes to us when we dress. People get dressed and think, “This jubba is nicer than that one,” “Which jubbah should I wear?” “What kind of clothes should I wear? Tight clothes or loose clothes? Let me think, loose clothes don’t look nice, I have to wear tight clothes for my darling. They are going to see me outside talking too much, but I am thinking of my darling, my precious queen, so I’ll wear tight clothes!”
If you go into inspirations, not the gossips of Shaytan, shahwat al-batan, the desire of the stomach will stop by mentioning the Name of Allah before you begin to eat, as you will stop the interference of Shaytan. Also, it is not allowed in Islam to cook without wudu. If you want your food to be pure, clean and with barakah, you must cook it with wudu or otherwise it will not be clean.
When you are clean you enter in the prayer, you cannot enter the prayer without wudu and you cannot take the mushaf of the Holy Qur’an and read it without wudu, nor can you cook without wudu. Cooking without wudu prevents the purity of the food from reaching you, as it combines with the impurity of you not having wudu, so being impure and cooking does not work and therefore, it is imperative to have wudu.
These days people go out to eat at halaal restaurants thinking, “This is halaal food,” which of course it is, but who is cooking it? They might be non-Muslims or Muslims without wudu. They are cooking inside where no one sees them. You may have seen a sign over the sink that reads, “Wash your hands before you cook,” but who is really going to wash their hands? They don’t wash anything! They use toilet paper and then they cook, and you sit out there and say, “Oh mashaa-Allah, such nice food!” But look at its origin and what is blended in it; it may be without barakah. So if you are looking for halaal meat you must look for a halaal cook, to make sure that the food is ready and halaal for you from all sides.
About this very topic, there were two students of Sayyid Jamaluddin al-Ghumuqi al-Husayni (q) who were at the level of ‘mureed.’ Today we are all at the level of ‘lovers,’ not even ‘beginners,’ as we are still on the bottom. Some people say we are mureeds, but in reality we are not, while others say we have baya`, but we are only playing. Baya` is the barakah that comes from the Shaykh, but what is your baya`? It is to obey, to study Shari`ah (to know what to obey) and know all the principles and ahkaam of Shari`ah. Then you will be eligible for baya`. Now the baya` is only for barakah but in any case, it is still good.
So there were two real mureeds who, when they prayed, as soon as they said, “Allahu Akbar!” the first one appeared at the Ka`bah, they both would rise from the floor and appear directly in front of the Ka`bah. Don’t think this is too much, no! For awliyaullah this is childs’ play; anyone who is pious and sincere, who has reached the level of vision can move in zamaan and makaan! That is tayy; when time gets folded for him and he can move across the border from America to China as if they are one country. With the power of ‘Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem,’ you will be able to reach anywhere you wish! This is coming in the time of Mahdi (a): Haqiqat at-Tayy, “The Reality of Folding Time and the World.” In one second you will be in another place and in another moment you may be back where you were! And so with, “Allahu Akbar,” the first one appeared at the Ka`bah and the other one held his jubba and appeared with him there.
They also tested each other’s patience by harming each other physically, by fighting. That is how you learn patience, when someone is spreading rumors about you and for Allah’s Sake, you don’t answer.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ
Yaa ayyuhal-ladheena aamanoo in ja’akum faasiqun bi naba'in fa-tabayyinoo an tuseeboo qawman bi-jahaalatin fatusbihoo `alaa maa fa`ltum naadimeen.
O you who believe! If a corrupt person comes to you with something wrong, ascertain the truth unless you harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done. (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:6)
This means that if someone comes to you with rumors, check and confirm it first before answering. If you find what that one is saying about others is true, keep your limit and avoid everyone, but if you feel it is not true then try to stop it, as it is your duty. And these two used to check each other by reciting bad rumors about each other. So one day they were sitting together discussing their state, saying, “By Allah’s Blessing, by our being patient we are able to pray our five prayers at the Ka`bah.”
Grandshaykh (q) used to say, “Any prayer done in the first hour will be prayed at the Ka`bah; you will be moved there but you cannot see it as you are veiled, and you will get the benefit of one Hajj,” because you are there. That is spiritual knowledge awliyaullah give to their followers, so I am telling you what Grandshaykh (q) said.
The brothers said, “It is because we are patient, pious, and sincere that we are able to pray at the Ka`bah.” Their wives, who were sisters, overheard that and didn’t like what their husbands said. The wives said to each other, “It is not like that. In fact, our piety is the reason for their success as we are patient on them. We cook, clean, care for the kids, and do the laundry.” Then the laundry was not like today, where you just throw the clothes in the machine, no! They had to really scrub and clean the clothes and there was no convenience of disposable diapers, they had to boil the nappies to clean them, and if the stain still didn't go, they had to take a brush and scrub, which was half a day’s process for only one child! So they said, “We will teach them a lesson.”
That night they prepared the food and said, “Today we will cook with no ghusl or wudu,” as they usually took a shower, made wudu, and then cooked. Then they also mixed some chicken droppings in the food! They served the nice, warm, delicious bread with the steam still coming from it. Their husbands ate, enjoyed it and thanked Allah for the food, and when it was time to pray they stood and said, “Allahu Akbar!” but soon realized they did not move. They were heavy like iron, pulled to the gravity of the earth. They repeated, “Allahu Akbar!” but were still not able to move. The two sisters said, “Who is more pious? You or us? You cannot move, and do you know why? Because we cooked for you with no wudu and no ghusl. We have been cooking with the utmost purity and you think you made that Light that moved you to the Ka`bah!”
So we don’t know who is cooking that food that we eat from restaurants. Alright, sometimes you still might have to, so in that case what must we do? We recite Shahadah on it, as it takes away all sins: when you change from non-Muslim to Islam, you go from one side to another and get an upgrade, and all that happened before is gone. Islam came at the end and it wrapped up what Sayyidina Musa (a), Sayyidina `Isa (a) and Sayyidina Ibrahim (a) came with. That is why Islam is perfect. There is no “Americanizing” Islam as it is a perfect moon! As soon as you say, “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasoolullah,” you become a Muslim and all your previous sins are taken away and you are cleansed and purified. So if we recite Shahadah before we eat and make du`a “Yaa Allah, make this food a barakah for us,” that will become a source of barakah for us and it will be as if it is 100% pure.
We must know that Shaytan comes from too many places that we cannot see, such as in food. That is where Shaytan can play and we are making our prayers thinking that we are pious, no! It is what you put into your body that counts! When you do dhikrullah with every inhalation, that is what counts for your soul as your health, your body, and your spirit is from what you eat.
The way to perfect yourself for your soul is through prayers, there is no way except that. If you want yourself to be polished, pray! That is the way to fix yourself so you can be calm, not arrogant, to fix yourself in Allah’s Presence. So what are the major requirements of the prayer in order to be near Allah and against yourself? It is when you say, “Allahu Akbar,” and put your hands on your chest. When you go to someone to ask a favor, what do you do? Out of respect, either you stand as if in the army with your hands down and at full attention, or you show humbleness by putting your hands on top of each other.
Second is when you go into rukoo`, bowing down to Allah (swt), asking Him, “Subhaana Rabbee al-`Alaa wa bi hamdihi.” I hear many people say, “Subhaan-Allah rabbee al`alaa,” and stop, but the Prophet (s) used to say, “SubhaanAllah Rabbee al-`Alaa wa bi hamdihi,” so then you are bowing and thanking Allah for being able to bow! Allah loves the act of bowing, so he fixes your self, as you see so many pious people who have ‘fixed themselves’ by praying excessively. There are only a few rare cases where someone is in love with Allah (swt) and Prophet (s), and they are granted salvation, such as the Bedouin who came to the Prophet (s) and asked about the Day of Judgment. Prophet (s) asked him, “What have you prepared for the long journey of Judgment Day?” and he said, “Not much of prayers and fasting, but I love you and love Allah.” Prophet (s) replied:
يحشر المرء مع من أحب
Yuhshar al-maruw ma` man ahab.
Each person will be resurrected with the one he loves.
So it is alright to come from that way as well, but you will not be able to reach the high level of piety and sincerity; the most effective way is to keep excessive prayers and fasting. I know one person from Iraq who always came to Grandshaykh (q); he was around 90 years old then and was known as saaim ad-dahr, “the eternal fast,” because he fasted throughout the year except for five days: four days of `Eid al-Adha and one day for `Eid al-Fitr.
And then sajda is Maqam al-Mushahadah, “The Station of Vision.” In that position we recite, “Subhaana Rabbee al-`Alaa wa bi hamdihi,” which is going to the highest, al-`Alaa, trying to reach the highest level! So by this we are saying, “Glory be to Allah, The Most High,” which is the highest level where you want your vision to go and that is what we wish to attain. That is why it is always recommended to do sajda. After finishing your salaat, make sajda. And du`a is recommended in sajda or before the salaam, after Salaat al-Ibrahimiyya. These are two places that it is recommended to make du`a and that takes the power of Shaytan away.
Inshaa-Allah we will continue today or tomorrow, and this is enough.
Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.
(Takbeer!) See, now they are making takbeer in order for my ego (to be happy.) What they are doing is love, but dangerous for the speaker because he thinks to himself that his knowledge is above everyone else’s knowledge. That is the problem of professors, speakers, and teachers: they think to themselves that they know everything. That reaction of followers, which is appreciation, will throw arrogance in the heart of the teacher. And next I will tell you a story of the son of one khalifah of Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) and how he was arrogant.
May Allah forgive us and may Allah bless us.
Bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.
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