Go to media page

How Can We Find a Perfect Inheritor of Prophet (s)?

Ramadan Series 2014, Vol 14

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

12 July 2014 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

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.

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Alhamdulillahi Rabbi 'l-`Alameen, wa ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaamu `alaa ashrafi 'l-anbiya wa ‘l-mursaleen Sayyidina Muhammad (s).

We have come across many of the famous scholars of Islam who are Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah and they are very famous in their teachings, especially the Four Imams of the four madhaahib. It shows us that Tasawwuf has been applied in all their lives and they applied it on themselves, on their families and on their students. They said, “The one who has no good manners is the one who does not follow Tasawwuf.”

As Imam Malik (r) said, the one who only studies Fiqh and not Tasawwuf also is considered a heretic, or corrupted person:

Man tafaqqaha wa lam yatasawwaf faqad tafassaq, Whoever studies jurisprudence (Fiqh) and didn't study Sufism (Tasawwuf) will be corrupted and whoever studied Tasawwuf and didn't study Fiqh will become a heretic; and whoever combined both will reach the Truth.[1]

Today after mentioning all of these scholars, especially the Four Imams, we have to find how to reach a perfect inheritor or inheritors of the Prophet (s), you have to make a search and a study to find someone who can guide you. Before I was going into that explanation, an inspiration came for me to mention something from the other side, regarding those who deny Tasawwuf, in order to show what the teachers of those who don't accept Tasawwuf and those who accept Tasawwuf said, because many people don’t know; those who deny Tasawwuf today, their teachers were with Tasawwuf.

What Salafi Scholars Have Historically Said About Tasawwuf

I will mention what Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (r), who died in 751, said:

We can witness the greatness of the People of Tasawwuf in the eyes of the Salaaf by what has been mentioned by Sufyan ath-Thawri[2] (d. 161 H/777 CE), one of the greatest imams in the second century and one of the foremost mujtahids, who said, "If not for Abu Hisham as-Sufi (d. 115 H/733 CE), I would never have perceived the action of the subtlest forms of hypocrisy (riya') in the self."[3]

It means, “He has taken me out of riyaa, showing off, by his beautiful actions.”

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya Explains Who Are the Five Best People

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya further mentioned the importance of Tasawwuf:

The best creation that Allah created between human beings, the best among them are five: `alimun zaahid, who does not look at dunya--the ascetic scholar; faqeehun soofi, the scholar of fiqh and hadith who is at the same time a Sufi; ghaniyyun mutawadir, a humble rich person; wa faqeerun shaakir, and a poor person who is thanking Allah always: wa shareefun sanee, a noble person who is an honorable one in the community.[4]

Ibn Taymiyya Speaks of Fanaa

Ibn Taymiyya narrated a story indicating the State of Annihilation, and he went so far that he accepted Maqaam al-Fanaa, that is State of Annihilation, one of the highest stations a servant of Allah can reach, yughayyib nafsahu, when he makes himself not to exist and existence for him is only for Allah (swt). Those who reach annihilation with Allah also have that character with other human beings and they feel with them, their problems. So this is a story told by Ibn Taymiyya.

There is a story of two men who were so respectful and loved each other very much. One of them fell in the water of the sea and immediately the other threw himself behind him. Then the first one who was sinking asked, "What made you throw yourself here?" He didn't know how to swim either. He said, "When you jumped I jumped, I didn’t feel myself, you pulled me.”[5]

This is the State of Annihilation. I heard from Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, that in that stage of annihilation, if the mureed feels pain in the stomach the shaykh feels pain in the stomach, even if he has thousands of mureeds he can feel them all. If the mureed has a wound, the shaykh will have the same wound. So annihilation means, “to vanish in someone else.” You can do that? You can’t do that. He said, “I vanished in you and when I vanished in you, I thought you were me and I was you.” Who is saying this? The highest `alim of the Salafi-Wahabi School. I am not saying he is not a faqih, he is; he has some issues with Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, but he did not deny Tasawwuf. So why are they denying Tasawwuf when Ibn Qayyim said these are of the five best groups that Allah created in dunya? One of the them is the People of Tasawwuf.

Ibn Taymiyya Acknowledged the Praiseworthiness of Dhikrullah

Ibn Taymiyya received a letter, asking him, “Is it allowed to do dhikrullah?”

A man sent a letter to Ibn Taymiyya and he completely denied dhikr, he did not accept the People of Dhikrullah completely, and he said that dhikr is innovation in Islam. He asked, “As to people who begin with Holy Qur’an and they end with Holy Qur’an, and in-between they do their dhikr of laa ilaaha illa-Llah or whatever, wa yajma`oona tasbeeh, and they do tasbeeh, tahmeed, tahleel, takbeer wa yusalloona `alaa n-Nabi (s), is it accepted or not?”

And Ibn Taymiyya said, and I will repeat it in English:

Ibn Taymiyya was asked about people that gather in a masjid making dhikr and reading Qur'an, praying to Allah and taking their turbans off their heads (leaving their heads bare) and crying, while their intention is not pride, nor showing off, but seeking to draw closer to Allah: is it acceptable or not? He replied, “Gathering for the mention of God and listening to His Book and invoking Him are righteous deeds and among the best acts of nearness and worship in any time.”

So he is acknowledging the People of Dhikr, the People of Tasawwuf. Continuing, he said:

In the Sahih, it is mentioned that the Prophet (s) said, “Verily Allah has angels roaming around the Earth. If they passed some people remembering Allah, they call to each other, ‘Come to what you were seeking!’ And he mentioned the hadith in which they find them glorifying Allah and praising Allah:

إِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَلَائِكَةً يَطُوفُونَ فِي الطُّرُقِ، يَلْتَمِسُونَ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ، فَإِذَا وَجَدُوا قَوْمًا يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ تَنَادَوْا، هَلُمُّوا إِلَى حَاجَتِكُمْ

Allah has angels who roam about on roads looking for the love-sick rememberers of Allah. When they find such people, they call out to other angels, ‘Come here to you were seeking….’ (Bukhari)

But it is necessary to should be done sometimes in certain times and places but not to make it a regular Sunnah except what the Messenger of Allah (s) did continually in praying in the five daily prayers in congregation, Jumu`ah, and holidays, etc.[6]

And so it means that he accepted the People of Dhikr, because he mentioned that hadith of the angels roaming, looking for People of Dhikrullah; when they find them they sit with them. So this is two of the main teachers of the Salafi School of Thought; they accept Tasawwuf and dhikrullah. Ibn Taymiyya has two volumes, `Ilm ut-Tasawwuf and `Ilm us-Sulook in his book Majmoo`a Fataawa Ibn Taymiyya al-Kubra. So we see that the opposite side of Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, those who are Salafi accept Tasawwuf and dhikrullah. So now since we confirmed that everyone accepted (Tasawwuf) and Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah is accepting for sure and the other side also accepting, we need to find someone who can guide us.

Finding the Perfect Guide

It is very necessary to find a shaykh that can guide us to the States of Perfection. Sayyidina Muhammad (s) said to Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah (r):

أوصى النبي صلى اللّه عليه وسلم أبا هريرة بوصية عظيمة فقال: { يا أبا هريرة! عليك بحسن الخلق }. قال أبو هريرة رضي اللّه عنه: وما حسن الخلق يا رسول اللّه؟قال: { تصل مَنْ قطعك، وتعفو عمن ظلمك، وتُعطي من حرمك}

The Prophet (s) advised Abu Hurayrah, “O Abaa Hurayrah! You must have good manners.” Abu Hurayrah asked, “What is good manners, O Rasoolullah (s)?” He (s) said, “Connect with the one who cut you off; forgive the one who oppressed you and give to the one who prevented you from reaching your desires.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

“You have to carry the best of character,” that means to find a shaykh, and it is not that any charlatan can be a shaykh, but the shaykh must have characteristics that he has to follow, things that you can see in him in order that he can take you to the Level of Perfection slowly, slowly, and you will see in him duroos al-adab wa’l-fadaa`il, lessons of discipline and favors and goodness.

Today not just anyone can say, “I am your shaykh,” and you see that a lot, especially in this environment that we are in. And not only that, the shaykh must discover all your defects and all your sicknesses that are in you in order to treat you and the evidence is the hadith of the Prophet (s):

اتَّقُوا فِرَاسَةَ الْمُؤْمِنِ فَإِنَّهُ يَنْظُرُ بِنُورِ اللَّهِ ‏

Beware of the Believer's intuition (gaze), for indeed he sees with Allah's Light.

(Narrated Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudree, Tirmidhi)

“Beware of the vision of the Believer because his gaze is on your heart and he can see what your defects are.” So we have to look for someone like that. People might ask, how does one find such a shaykh? It is very easy: look in your village and if you don't find him there, look in the next village. If you don't find him in your country, look in another country If you didn’t find in that country, try another country, keep searching! It means that Allah is testing you, are you really looking for a shaykh or not? If you are really looking for that shaykh, Allah will make that shaykh come to you.

Conditions to Look for in the Perfect Guide

What description does he have to carry? When a person is looking and feels that he is sick spiritually, he has to find a doctor, he can’t just say, “Oh, it will pass in a short time.” No, he has to find a doctor, he must go and find a doctor to prescribe the right medicine, he has to find the shaykh.

1. So you have to find the shaykh who will prescribe for you in order to fix your defects. Our duty is to perfect our intention that we want to find that person, asking in a humble way, “O Allah guide me to the one who can guide me to You,” dullunee `alaa man yadullunee `alayk wa awsilnee ila man yoosilnee ilayk, “and connect me to the one who will connect me to You!” That is a daily du`a we need to make. “O Allah guide me to the one who will guide me to You, connect me with the one who will connect me with You.” This is first.

2. Second, he has to look in his city and if he doesn't find anyone in his city, he must look in another city.

Like this one with us here, he didn’t find anyone in his city so he came to see these fellows here, coming from far away, a 12-hour drive. All of us have one shaykh, the same shaykh, alhamdulillah, Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil (q)! We found one and some of you found another one, Grandshaykh `AbdAllah al-Fa’iz ad-Daghestani (q). You have to ask in the city you live in for someone to guide you by the hand to Allah (swt). Don't listen to those who say, “Today there are no more awliyaullah, they are hidden.” They don't even say, “They are hidden,” they say, “There are no more awliyaullah.”

Ibn `Ajeeba’s Description of Who Believes in Awliyaullah

Ibn `Ajeeba (r), who lived 200 years ago, said, “People are of three categories in this field:

قسم أثبتوها للمتقدمين ونفوها عن المتأخرين ؛ وهم أقبح العوام.

1. First, some people who accept there were awliyaullah in the past but there are none today. He described them as aqbah al-`awaam, they are the worst of people who believe that.

وقسم أقروها قديماً وحديثاً، وقالوا: إم أخفياء في زمام، فحرمهم الله بركتهم.

2. Then there is another group of people who accept that there are awliyaullah past and present, qadeeman wa hadeethan wa qaalu innahum akhfiyaa fee zamaan, but they say that they are hidden, fa-haramahumu ’Llah barakatihim, so because of that Allah hides them from such people. And I know some people like that (first group), here in America; they are scholars and everyone invites them for conferences and they are from Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, their background is Sufi and they have shaykhs, but they don't believe there are awliyaullah today, and I won't mention their names. The second group Allah has veiled them from seeing the awliyaullah, cut them completely.

وقوم أقروا الخصوصية في أهل زمام، مع إقرارهم بخصوصية السلف، وعرفوهم، وظفروا بهم،

3. Wa qawmun aqraaoo al-khusoosiyyata fee aahli zamaan ma` iqraaruhum bi-khusoosiyyata as-salaf The third group accepted that there are awliyaullah today and there were awliyaullah before, and if you look for them you will find them. Some of this group knew shuyookh like that and they studied at their threshold. “They are the People of Happiness, they are the ones that Allah loved.”

So today, we have this problem that people don't accept there are awliyaullah or they say they are not today or they are hidden. We have to accept that there are awliyaullah and they are not hidden, they are there! Grandshaykh used to say, may Allah bless his soul, that always there are 124,000 awliyaullah and when one of them dies another will take his place and they are on the number of prophets (a) and each one inherits from one of the prophets and the highest one inherits from the Prophet (s), and on the sides of the pyramid, as you go up they inherit from the other prophets (a). So if you don't find one in your city, go to another city, like if you can't find a doctor you go to Harvard to find a good doctor, drive or fly. So find a good teacher.

That is why Ibn `Ajeeba also said, al-arwaah tahtaaj al-attibaa, “The souls also need doctors.” That is where the Maqaam al-Ihsaan came from, where you can fix your spirituality and dress it with the good manners and good characters.

Qualities of the Perfect Shaykh

His External Qualities Fulfill All Shari`ah

So what do you have to look for in a shaykh? An-yakoona `aliman bi ’l-faraaida ’l-`ayniya. First, he must be a scholar in all the different obligations: he must know the ahkaam as-salaat, principles of salaat, such as when has salaat been ordered, how do you pray, how you tackle it, what you recite, what movements you do; and as-sawm wa ‘z-zakaat, fasting and zakaat, in kaana maalikan li ’n-nisaab wa li ’l-buyoo`, and everything you need in your life, that shaykh must know the rules according to Fiqh and Shari`ah. He must not drop one course of Shari`ah in order to be a murshid.

He Fulfills All Sunnah

So first of all, I will give you a hint of how to find a perfect shaykh: the perfect shaykh must not leave one Sunnah, he must come with every Sunnah of the Prophet (s)! Then look at his hand: if he is carrying a ring that means he is carrying a Sunnah of the Prophet (s). And many scholars, go and check, because they are not carrying a ring on their hand, and the wearing of the ring is not the importance, but to carry the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) is important. He (s) used to have `aqeeq and fayrooz, carnelian and turquoise. When that stone touches the body, it will take energy from the atmosphere and give it to the body. They find now that vibrations takes away a lot of sicknesses for someone carrying a ring with those stones and it is touching the finger. We did not know that before, but look at the hands of these murshids; sometimes you don't find a ring there, and they are calling themselves murshid--how do you drop one Sunnah of Prophet (s)?

Are you using your siwaak for every prayer? That is another Sunnah that you can easily see. If he is not carrying it that means he is dropping many Sunan when no one can see him.

Like in some countries, without mentioning names, they come to the masjid with western clothes. You have to wear loose clothes in order to follow the Sunnah, like the khamees, “tunic” in English; it is a complete dress, or a loose dress that we are wearing with jubbah, in order that you be following the Sunnah of the Prophet (s). But in some countries the imams come with jeans and a shirt and they go behind the minbar and put on a turban covered with white plastic in order to keep it clean always and they put on a jubbah; you see it one specific country and you see it here. Why do they cover it with plastic? Not to get dirty, and also they don't even know how to wrap the turban!

And al-`amaaim , turbans, I don't say to everyone to wear turbans, but you can find in Sahih al-Bukhari a whole chapter on turbans, and today you don't find them wearing turbans and even the imam does not cover his head, although in Islam, in the Sunnah of Prophet (s) you must cover your head, the man as well as the woman, not just to force a woman and taking advantage. And you see here and in some countries, the wife is in full niqaab with burqa and the husband is in shorts walking on the street (in public). Why she has to cover when he is not covering? They have to ask this question of their husbands.

So the perfect shaykh is one that teaches you to carry the Sunnah of Prophet (s). Look, mashaa-Alah here...Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil (q) taught everyone to wear a turban at least in the masjid and when you leave you can take it off and pack it in the car, so at least you wear it in the home and in the masjid when praying.

So one of the specialties of the shaykh is to be an-yakoona `aliman bil-faraaid, a knower of the obligations, those that you can see, like fasting, praying, and Hajj something that is physical.

He Reached Maqaam al-Ma`rifatullah

Second, wa an yakoona `arifan li-Llahi ta`ala, he must be of those who reached Maqaam al-Ma`rifat, to know about Allah (swt), he must be on the level of Ma`rifatullah. If he is not in the level of Ma`rifah, `Ilm Divinely Knowledge, how is he going to guide you? Our shaykh, may Allah bless his soul, was of that caliber and most scholars around the world have sent condolences about him when he passed away, mentioning his good manners and divine knowledge that Allah taught to him through his heart, learning, inheriting what the Prophet (s) sent to hearts of awliyaullah. So he was `Alim fi ’zh-Zaahir a scholar of External Knowledge, one of the a'immat, one of the big scholars of the Hanafi School of Thought and on the other side he was one of the biggest scholars that Allah opened to him Heavenly Knowledge of Realities. So if you find, you follow and if you don't find, then look for someone who has that and can carry that. If you don't have it then don't claim it! This is Islam, you cannot claim something you don't know; it is better to leave that and sit at home, then you have no responsibility. So look for a perfect shaykh that can take you to the Prophet (s).

He is Expert in Tazkiyyat an-Nafs

Third, he must have a lot of experience in the ways of how to purify and to raise up, uplift you in the stations of Tazkiyyat an-Nafs and he must know how he can raise you; like a parent who raises his child, he must raise up each of his mureeds in that character, Maqaam al-Ihsaan.

He has Ijazah to Guide

Fourth, an yakoona madhoona bi ’l-irshaad, he must have an ijaazah to guide people; if he does not have ijaazah to guide people, if he has no permission then his teaching has no importance and he might end up taking you to another place. As as we said, he has to know principles of all the different prayers, fasting, zakaat and Hajj, all that. And he has to know the `aqeedah of Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, he has to know their `aqeedah and what is their `aqeedah. He cannot try to play in `aqeedah, it must be firm. And what he reached in Maqaam at-Tawheed, and we will explain what is necessary to be done in order to reach a high level of spirituality, through what means, and we will finalize it with the hadith of the Prophet (s), when he was advising Ibn `Umar (r):

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَّ ، أَنَّهُ قَالَ : " يَا ابْنَ عُمَرَ دِينُكَ دِينُكَ ، إِنَّمَا هُوَ لَحْمُكَ وَدَمُكَ ، فَانْظُرْ عَمَّنْ تَأْخُذُ ، خُذْ عَنِ الَّذِينَ اسْتَقَامُوا ، وَلا تَأْخُذْ عَنِ الَّذِينَ مَالُوا "

fa awsaa ibn `Umar, deenuk deenuka innamaa huwa lahmuk wa damuk, fanzhur `amman takkhudhu. khud `ani’Lladheena astaqaamoo wa laa taakhudh `ani ’Lladheena maaloo.

The Prophet (s) advised Ibn `Umar: Your religion is your flesh and blood, so look to whom you are taking it from and take it from those who are on the right track, trustworthy ones, and don't take from those who deviated, slowly. (al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi in his al-Kaafiyyata fee `ilm ar-riwaayaat)

قال الإمام مالك وابن سيرين إن هذا العلم دين فانظروا عمن تأخذونه،

Qaal al-imaam maalik wa ibn sireen inna hadha ’l-`ilmu deenun f’anzhuru `amman taakhudhoonahu

Imam Malik and Ibn Sireen said: This religion, our deen is knowledge, so be careful from whom you are taking it.

If that imam is not carrying the characteristics we mentioned, that we did not describe in detail yet, you cannot follow him as he will take you somewhere else that you do not need to go. May Allah always make us to take from our shuyookh and from their blessings, dunya and Akhirah, and to take us to the presence of the Prophet (s), and that is not difficult at all for Allah (swt)!

May Allah forgive us and bless us.

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.


© Copyright 2014 Sufilive. All rights reserved. This transcript is protected

by international copyright law. Please attribute Sufilive when sharing it. JazakAllahu khayr.


[1] Mentioned in `Ali al-Adawi’s book with explanation of Imam Abi ‘l-Hassan, vol.2, p.195.

[2] One of Ibn Taymiyyah’s teachers who praised Tasawwuf.

[3] From the book, Manazil as-Sa'ireen.

[4] كتاب معيد النعم ومبيد النقم، تأليف: تاج الدين السبكي، ص119

[5] Majmu`a Fatawi Ibn Taymiyya, volume 10, published by Dar ar-Rahmat, Cairo, page 339.

[6] Majmu`a Fataawa Ibn Taymiyya (The Collected Fatwas of Ibn Taymiyya), Vol. 22, page 253, King Khalid ibn `Abdul `Aziz edition.