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How to Become a Believer

Shaykh Nour Kabbani

18 January 2015 Dallas, Texas

Suhbah at Mawlid an-Nabi (s)

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillaahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Praise be to Allah (swt). Alhamdulillah wa shukran lillah.

Let’s all say: Alhamdulillah wa shukran lillah. Laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ‘l-Allahu Akbar wa laa hawla wa laa quwatta illa billahi 'l-`Aliyyu 'l-`Azheem. Laa hawla wa laa quwatta illa billah.

Let’s all say one salawaat together on our beloved Prophet (s): Allahumma salli `alaa Sayyidina Muhammad, an-Nabiyyi ‘l-Umiyy wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi wa ‘s-sallim. Let’s bring one takbeer for the one whom He created the Prophet (s): Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, laa ilaaha illa-Llah. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa lillahi 'l-hamd!

I thank Allah (swt) for giving me the opportunity to speak. I thank my dear father Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, who taught me well, insha’Allah, and I thank the organization and the people present here.

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillaahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qu’ran in Surat al-Mu’minoon, if we open that chapter, in the first verse that comes to our eyes:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

Indeed the Believers are successful. (Surat al-Mu’minoon, 23:1)

Allah (swt) is saying,“Indeed the Believers are successful.” Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, Allah may sanctify and bless his soul and make his grave a Garden of Paradise, taught us that Allah has praised the mu’minoon. There is a difference here between mu’minoon and other words. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said, “Allah did not say, qad aflaha ‘l-Arab ‘The Arabs succeeded, the Turks succeeded, Desi, Pakistanis, Indians, Subcontinent people succeeded, the Christians succeeded, the Jewish people succeeded,’ He said, ‘Al-mu’minoon, Believers succeeded.’” He then goes on in that beautiful surah to describe these mu’minoon, these believers. At the end, I think it is about ten or eleven verses, He says:

أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْوَارِثُونَ

They are the inheritors. (Surat al-Mu’minoon, 23:10)

“These believers, these mu’minoon are the Inheritors.” Allah’s (swt) Beautiful Name is al-Waarith, The Inheritor. The Inheritor is declaring who are the Inheritors. He is dressing them from His Beautiful Name, The Inheritor, saying, “You are the Inheritors who will inherit Paradise.” Al-Waarithoon, what do they inherit? Al-Firdous, Jannah, Paradise, and Allah’s Pleasure. Khaalidoon, they are in it forever, for Eternity.

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) loved that word, “Eternity,” because he was one of them. He was a great mu’min. Don’t look at any other titles, look at being a mu’min: he was a great man, a great human. We can say, “Mashaa-Allah, we are mu’min. We pray, we fast, give Zakaat, go to Hajj, look at the beautiful Ka`bah, do our worship, give our sadaqah, inshaa-Allah, we will be there.” That is incorrect. What we describe as the acts of worship we perform does not constitute imaan, we are not mu’mins yet. Allah (swt) sent Jibreel (a) and we all know the famous Hadith of Jibreel (a). He sent Jibreel (a) as a teacher to us, to the Companions of the Prophet (s), when he told them about Islam. He said, “Prayer, fasting, Shahadah, Zakaat, Hajj are Islam.” So by fasting, worshipping, praying, giving Zakaat, going to Hajj, we are Muslim. Wait, there is no imaan yet, you are a Muslim.

Allah (swt) says:

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ

The Arabs declare, “We believe (aamannaa).” Say (to them, O Muhammad), “You do not; rather say, ‘We submit (aslamnaa),’ because belief has not yet found its way into your hearts.” (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:14)

The Arab Bedouins said, “We believe, we have faith, O Messenger of Allah (swt)!” But Allah (swt) said, “O no, no, hold on, not yet.” We know that verse. “No, no, you have not yet believed, but wa-laakin qooloo aslamnaa, but say, ‘We have become Muslims: we are praying, we are fasting, we are Muslims, alhamdulillah.’ Hattaa yadkhulu ‘l-imaan fee quloobikum, you have to wait until that imaan enters your heart.”

Why did Allah (swt) specify ‘qalb’, the heart? Because the acts of worship we perform are physical. You see yourself or others praying, fasting, performing Hajj, which are the seen acts of worship. What is imaan, what did Sayyidina Jibreel (a) say?

أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ بِاَللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ، وَتُؤْمِنَ بِالْقَدَرِ خَيْرِهِ وَشَرِّهِ.

Faith is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects. (Muslim)

Al-imaan is to believe in Allah (swt).

What are these? These are ghayb, Unseen. So when we pray, fast, give Zakaat, give charity,or do Hajj, these are seen, these are part of Islam. Allah (swt) said, “You have to wait until imaan enters the heart,” until the Unseen, to believe in Allah (swt), Whom we don’t see, and to believe in the angels that we don’t see, or maybe some see but most of us don’t and so forth. To believe in the Unseen is imaan according to the Hadith of Jibreel (a) and the holy verses:

الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ

Those who believe in the Unseen. (Surat al-Baqara, 2:3)

Who teaches the Unseen? We forget our Nabi (s). What is the meaning of “Nabi”? We say, “Nabi, Nabi, Nabi (s)”, but we don’t even know what it means, including me. I learned “Nabi” means someone who tells you the Unseen, where we came from. We came from Allah’s Power Oceans, the Unseen, and we are going back to Him, Unseen.

There are two knowledges in Islam that have been forgotten. `Ilm al-mabda’, there’s the Knowledge of Origin, where we came from, what happened at the beginning of the Creation, and there’s `ilm al-ma`ad, the Knowledge of Return. Where are we returning to? So an-Nabi, the Prophet (s) and the rest of prophets--Adam, Seth, Idris, Nuh, Hud, Saleh, Ibrahim, Lut, Musa, `Isa, Isma`eel, Ishaq, Yaqoob, you can count all of them--are all Anbiya who can tell you the future and where you came from.

So this is the dangerous part: we are not mu’mineen yet, so we are not guaranteed Paradise. We need the Nabi to teach us imaan because we have to learn the Unseen, so we go to Nabi Kareem (s) and say, “Our Master, our Beloved One! We want to be in Paradise, show us the way.” Allah (swt) sent prophets saying, “Collect My servants, I want My servants to come to Me, get them for Me.” This is the way, all these prophets called to Allah (swt) showing the way. Ash-Shari`ah, al-Haqiqah, the Truth, all of them called to The One Lord, Allah (swt), Lord of Heavens.

So Nabi Kareem (s) came and taught us how to reach Allah (swt), but we are still Muslims as we need imaan to enter into our hearts. What does Nabi Kareem (s) tell us?.

لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى أكون أحب إليه من نفسه

Prophet (s) said, “None of you becomes a true believer until he loves me more than himself.”

(Narrated Anas. Sahih Muslim)

In another riwaaya, and both of them are from Sayyidina Anas (r), the Prophet (s) is teaching us how to achieve imaan. He said none of us will get imaan in our hearts unless “I, anaa, me, the Messenger of Allah, the Holy Prophet” become dearer to you than what? What is dearer, more loved to you, than your fathers, children, wealth, countrymen, tribe, nation, club, whatever you belong to, and all of humanity?

لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى أكون أحب إليه من ولده ووالده والناس أجمعين

None of you becomes a true believer until he loves me more than himself, his wealth, his children, his parents and all of Mankind. (Narrated Anas. Sahih Muslim)

We know that Nabi Kareem (s) does not talk about anything without wahiyy, Revelation. There is an ayah in the Holy Qu’ran that confirms this:

You would not achieve imaan unless you love the Prophet (s) full heartedly, more than anything else. In Surah at-Tawbah (arabic) Qul, Say: O Muhammad (s):

قُلْ إِن كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُوا حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَ اللَّـهُ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah or His Messenger or the striving in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His decision and Allah guides not the rebellious! (Surat al-Tawbah, 9:24)

There is tahdeed, a threat, in this ayah: of becoming from the people who are disobedient. Allah (swt) is saying in this holy verse, “Yaa Muhammad (s), Nabi Kareem, O My Beloved One! Tell them where their love should be to achieve imaan. Tell them, if your fathers, your children, your brothers, sisters, your spouses, husbands, wives, your tribe, your community, your nation, your club, your association, whatever you belong to, and your money, your wealth and your trade, your business, your palaces, your mansions and all that you dwell in, are dearer to you than Allah (swt) and His Messenger and jihad, struggle to obtain the love of Muhammad (s), then wait until Allah’s punishment arrives because you were neglectful!”

You neglected where that love goes, to Prophet (s) and His Creator, Allah (swt)! Allah (swt) is saying that those people who don’t follow these guidelines of where they must put their love are being disobedient! Love of Prophet Muhammad (s) has to be ahead of everything! It’s hard, it’s difficult because we all love our fathers, our children, our families, our wives and husbands, but that love of the Prophet (s) has to enter the heart or else we will not be among those with imaan! Of course there is always shafa`ah of Nabi Kareem, we are all expecting that intercession and no one enters Jannah without his shafa`ah, but as the Holy Qu’ran states, we have to be from mu’mineen.

Prophet (s) stated, imaan will come with the love to him. Allah (swt) stated that love to the Messenger and love to Allah (swt) has to be the most important thing in our lives. How do we get that love? “O Prophet Muhammad (s), our Beloved! We love you. We want to love you more.” We all love him but we want more. So what does Allah tell us in the Holy Qu’ran, how do we get the love of Prophet (s)? We all know the ayah. Do ten of it, do twenty, do a hundred, do a thousand, do a million, go spend your life in a cave and do salawaat on Prophet (s)!

من صلى علي مرة صلى الله عليه بها عشرا

Whoever prays on me one time, Allah prays on him ten times. (Sahih Muslim)

Allah doesn’t need us. We say, Allahumma salli `alaa Muhammad, “O my Lord! You pray on the Prophet Muhammad (s).” Allah is already sending His Respect, His Honor, His Blessings, His Greetings, His Prayers, His Salawaat on Prophet (s). Allah Himself is sending, since when? Is there time and place for Allah (swt), is there a ‘when’? Does Allah have a time, a place? Since when is the Holy Prophet (s) receiving the blessings of his Creator, Allah (swt)? He says:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

Verily, Allah and His angels send praise on the Prophet. O Believers! Pray upon him and greet him with a worthy salutation. (Surat al-'Ahzaab, 33:56)

“The angels are sending His prayers, so you too send the prayers so you too become a part of that blessed group.” Then love of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) enters our heart. When we continue to make salawaat--1, 10, 100, 1000--inshaa-Allah Allah will open that love in our hearts to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s)!

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


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