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How to Fix Ourselves

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

17 January 2016 Potomac, Maryland

Suhbah at Private Residence

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Alhamdulillahi Rabbi 'l-`Alameen, wa ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaamu `alaa ashrafi 'l-mursaleena Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa saahbihi ajma`een.

If we make salawaat on His Prophet (s), Allah will be happy. I like to say that what you have been given from knowledge is a few words. It means no one has knowledge. If you add all the knowledge of human beings it would be little, except Prophet (s), who brought the Message of Islam and the Reality of the Qur’an. I am now around 70 years of age and since I was young, I .always visited my uncles whom Shaykh Ahmad knows very well, they are great `aalims. Their associations were of `ulama; when they spoke it was to `ulama on different issues and one of them was the head of the scholars of Lebanon, the other was Amir al-Fatawa, because there were no other muftis, as there were problems in Lebanon; many `ulama come from overseas and meet with them. I used to be there, but what did I learn from that? I learned from them one thing which is very important: sincerity. They were very sincere in their lives, spreading the reality of Islam. Their goal was love of Allah (swt) and love of Prophet (s).

In Damascus, Sham, in Egypt and many countries, we heard from their mouths their certainty of love of Allah (swt) and love of Prophet (s) that they tried to plant in the hearts of people. What they wanted is Allah and His Prophet (s) and they never looked for anything else except to be with Allah and His Prophet (s) and to be good servants. That sincerity which we lack today is a major problem that created confusions and fitna around the world. Without sincerity you cannot build yourself. You are a Muslim if you say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah,” and although you might do things Allah doesn’t like, as long as you declare, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah,” you are still a Muslim and no one can say anything against you. Allah knows best how to judge you for your sins, we don’t interfere.

What I heard from them was: Mahabbatullah, Mahabbat al-Habeeb al-Musatafa afdalu’ s -salaat wa ‘s-salaam and Mahabbat al-mashayikh, that mahabbah will guide you to what Allah and His Prophet (s) want. In their majaalis with the `ulama, I never heard speaking against people, each other, or backbiting. Their goal is to reach Mahabbatullah, Love of Allah, Mahabbat al-Habeeb, Love of Prophet (s) and Mahabbat al-mashayikh, love of `ulama. When you have mahabbah, you begin yearning for the one you love. If you are not with them, you travel to be with them. We have a long travel to reach mahabbah. Mahabbat al-Habeeb is not easy, you have to crush your ego completely to reach that level. Our ego is delaying us.

Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا

He inspired the self of its good and its bad. (Surat ash-Shams, 91:8)

He wants us to know when something is bad we must leave it and when something is good we must follow it; however, we are like:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ثُمَّ كَفَرُواْ ثُمَّ آمَنُواْ ثُمَّ كَفَرُواْ ثُمَّ ازْدَادُواْ كُفْرًا

Those who believe, then reject faith, then (again) believe and (again) reject faith and go on increasing in unbelief. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:137)

One day we are Believers and the next, kafaroo, which does not mean we are unbelievers, but we sin; one day we are good and one day we are bad. Allah (swt) wants us to be good. He has given us something to hold as a Trust, so what we are going to do with what He gave us, are we going to keep it high? What do you do with a diamond? You keep it in a safe place so as not to lose it. Allah gave us a Trust:

إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنسَانُ ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا

We offered the Trust to the Heavens, the Earth and the mountains, and they refused to carry it and were fearful of it, but Man carried it. Indeed, he was oppressive and ignorant. (Surat al-Ahzaab, 33:72)

He gave the Trust to the Heavens, Earth and mountains and said, “Can you carry it?” We took it out of greediness. Instead of saying “we cannot,” like the Heavens, Earth and mountains did, we accepted. We cannot carry this Trust as it is too much for us, but still we took it! Human beings carried that Trust, they took it without thinking. Allah said, “He made a mistake, he oppressed himself, he was ignorant.” So what must we do? We are in this problem today, how can we come out of it? Try to fix ourselves, but how? Prophet (s) said:

‏انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق

I have been sent to perfect the best of conduct (your behavior and character). (Bazzaar)

Prophet (s) has the Message of Islam, which is to perfect Allah’s servant and present them when Allah calls, that we go back carrying the good manners, not buried with bad manners. Everyone can audit themselves and ask if what they did will take them to Paradise or Hellfire. Me, you, everyone has to check what we are doing: is it enough to take you to Paradise? Yes, Allah’s Rahmah is wide and can take everyone to Paradise and Prophet’s Intercession is wide and can take everyone to Paradise, but if we are going to be asked, in reality were we able to come to Allah and answer what He will ask us? I don’t think so. If Allah (swt) judges us, for sure there will be punishment as Prophet (s) said to Sayyida `Ayesha (r):

من حوسب عذب

Man hoosib `udhdhib.

(Yaa `Ayesha!) Who will be judged will be punished for sure. (Bukhari)

So ask Allah not to judge you. Sayyidina Abu Yazid (q), one of the great `ulama and a great Sufi of his time, was one of the `ulama whom even Ibn Taymiyya accepted. Ibn Taymiyya is the one who we say rejected Sufism, which is not correct. He acknowledged Sufism, but not those who use it for their personal materialistic life. He even accepted Sayyidina Junayd (q) and many, many others. What did Sayyidina Abu Yazid (q) say? He was trying to do his best for Islam, the Ummah, and to struggle against his desires. He said he felt that power within him like Sayyidina Musa (a) felt when he was talking to Allah directly with no intermediary, that he could ask something no one asked:

قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ قَالَ لَن تَرَانِي وَلَـكِنِ انظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّى رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكًّا وَخَرَّ موسَى صَعِقًا

He said, "O my Lord! Show Yourself to me that I may look upon You." Allah said, "By no means can you see Me (directly), but look upon the mountain: if it abides in its place, then you shall see Me." When his Lord manifested His glory on the mount, He made it as dust and Moses fainted. (Surat al-`Araaf, 7:143)

He did so because he was happy with his ‘amal, guiding Bani Isra`eel, so he went up so high and asked to see Allah, not like Sayyidina Muhammad (s), who said, showing so much humbleness, “I am a human being like you, I don’t differ from you,” although he differed a lot. Abu Yazid (q) went into that way, that cycle every wali goes through in his life. He was saying, “Yaa Rabbee, let me come to You, open Your door for me.” The door didn’t open and he asked more, struggling, not sleeping, not eating. Today we eat, we sleep, and we say we are good Muslims.

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

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

That is the first level: don’t say you have a high level of belief, say, “Yaa Rabbee! We are Muslims, make us mu’mins!” Sayyidina Abu Yazid (q) saw himself so powerful that he could do miracles and he said, “Yaa Rabbee, I want to pray two raka`ats in a way no human being did before, with full sincerity and no gossips.” Today when we say “Allahu Akbar,” what happens? Too many gossips come, everyone you ever forgot about comes in the prayer, they don’t come into your mind before that. To audit yourself, enter the prayer and count how many gossips from dunya come to your mind. He said, “I want to make two raka`ats in a way no one did before me.” He entered in the prayer very focused, sending all his power to make sure his mind didn’t bring any gossips that can affect his heart.

Why is it necessary to pray not quickly and also not too long? Because too much gossip comes. We should not peck like roosters, Prophet (s) prohibited that. Pray slowly, but quickly. Prophet (s) mentioned that someone praying behind you might be sick or cannot wait too much as they may need to go to the bathroom, but in reality, it is so as not to have too many gossips in your mind because you are between Allah’s Hands with Ka`bah in front of you. You cannot see it, but it is there. Ka‘bah can see you, it is Baytullah. Does Baytullah speak or not? Does Ka`batullah know everyone that makes tawaaf? Yes, of course! As soon as they begin tawaaf their name is registered in Baytullah. Why do we go there, to see four walls? There must be something. When you say ‘Baytullah’, as Allah described it, it means the ‘Bayt’ has property inside it that belongs to Allah (swt), the Noor-i-Ilaahi that He manifests on that House makes it alive! Ka‘bah is not dead. If you look at Hajar al-Aswad, Sayyidina `Ali (r) said it will witness for you on the Day of Judgement! So when you enter in the prayer Ka`bah is there, so don’t let gossips come, don’t delay too much. For taraweeh, it is good to read one juz every night, but what do those praying behind you do? Their minds are going somewhere else, they cannot concentrate. That doesn’t mean you don’t pray taaraweeh, you do, but try to struggle against yourself and when a gossip comes say, “Astaghfirullah.”

So a gossip came into Sayyidina Abu Yazid’s heart, saying, “You are big now! Pray two raka`ats for Allah to show Him no one did what you did!” So he entered the prayer and for sure all gossips came because you cannot claim something above your level as Allah will punish you. Don’t claim you are praying for Him, Allah made you to pray from Him! Don’t praise yourself, you didn’t do anything! That is shirk al-khafi, “I did, I said, I made,” no you didn’t do anything!

So he entered the prayer, made two raka`ats, gave salaam, and at the end he heard a voice coming to his heart saying, “Yaa zhaalim, O oppressor! How do you claim you want to pray for Me two raka`ats no one prayed before? I’m going to judge you according to what you have claimed! You are an oppressor, you claimed something that doesn’t belong to you and you didn’t achieve that!” Abu Yazid thought, “Yaa Rabbee, what did I do?”

He heard a voice saying, “You prayed two raka`ats which you claimed no one did before, but you leaned more on your left side than your right side. I gave you a balanced system, don’t overload one side, you have to balance them: balance your belief and your `amal in everything you do. I gave you two legs to balance you so you can walk. If I take My Hand from you, you will fall, so don’t claim something that is not up to your level. Your ‘amal was not accepted. The favor I gave you is above what you are asking, but now your bad ‘amal will be heavier than your good `amal.”

He claimed he could pray two raka`ats better than anyone else, so Allah judged him according to that, which is why Prophet (s) said to Sayyida `Ayesha (a), Mother of the Believers, wife of the Prophet (s),“Ask Allah not to judge you, because for sure you will be punished.” He (s) said that to her, what about us? We claim we know everything and we are stubborn like the child who claims he knows everything. Today children are using iPads and iPods; I don’t know how to open them. The most important is not to claim you know something because you know nothing!

وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن الْعِلْمِ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً

(O Mankind!) Of knowledge, only a little is communicated to you. (Surat al-Israa’, 17:85)

Very simple: look at yourself, do you know how many hairs you have, can you count them? With your mind it is a waste of time to count them, you cannot.

من عرف نفسه فقد عرف ربه

Who knows his self knows his Lord.

If you know yourself then you know Allah’s Way. You don’t know how many hairs you have, how do you claim you know everything? Today ‘ulama, may Allah bless them, without them and without Awliya what can we do? The ‘aalim has a duty to humble himself to show his followers that he is more humble than anyone.

Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) had a khalifah whom, when he spoke the whole audience could hear, and there were thousands, yet if a needle fell on the floor they could hear it. He was not an ‘aalim but Allah gave him knowledge.

عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ‏قال ‏‏قال رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏إن الله قال ‏ ‏من عادى لي وليا فقد ‏ ‏آذنته ‏ ‏بالحرب وما تقرب إلي عبدي بشيء أحب إلي مما افترضت عليه وما يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه فإذا أحببته كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به وبصره الذي يبصر به ويده التي يبطش بها ورجله التي يمشي بها وإن سألني لأعطينه ولئن استعاذني لأعيذنه وما ترددت عن شيء أنا فاعله ترددي عن نفس المؤمن يكره الموت وأنا أكره مساءته ‏

ولا يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه، فإذا أحببته كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به وبصره

الذي يبصر به، ويده التي يبطش بها ورجله التي يمشي بها،

My servant does not cease to approach Me through voluntary worship until I will love him. When I love him, I will become the ears with which he hears, the eyes with which he sees, the hand with which he acts, and the legs with which he walks (and other versions include, “and the tongue with which he speaks.”). (Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari)

Allah gave Awliya ease, talaaqah, on the tongue; they speak like fountains of knowledge. He had a khalifah who was so sincere that everyone saw him like an angel. His son was an `aalim; he knew his son could not reach this level so he sent him to study `Ilm al-Zhaahir, Knowledge of the Apparent, as he didn’t see him well suited to learn hidden knowledge, he was not able to enter that. So his son began to think, “I am `aalim and my father did not study `ilm so I am better than him. If he gives lectures and everyone is very attentive and the majlis is so quiet and everyone listens trying to understand, when I give my lecture I can raise them higher, I might make them fly!” like when Rumi whirls he rose up because gravity could not hold him down as because he left his ego. He pulls his mureeds up with him; some can rise up a little, but no one can reach Mawlana Rumi’s level. So that’s why he was whirling, when he moved he brought power like a turbine that no gravity can pull him down, like floating wood; he was in complete submission to Allah (swt), so he can’t be pulled down.

The father knew his son had that sickness in his heart and one day said to him, “My son, I am sick. Go give the Jumu`ah Khutbah.” The son was so happy to speak and thought he would show his power. Run away from speaking, run away from being imam, run away from being anything! Don’t claim anything and Allah will give you everything. When you claim something, Allah will prohibit you from reaching anything!

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

وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

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. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:110)

That it is high praise to Prophet (s) showing his humbleness, as Imam Busayri (q) said in al-Burdat ash-Sharifah:

فمبلغ العلم فيه انه بشر وانه خير خلق الله كلهم

The summit of knowledge regarding him is that he is human.

However far the ‘ilm can reach, it still shows he is a human being: that is a praise of his humbleness, as he didn’t want to be better than his Ummah! On the Day of Judgement he will give his Ummah what Allah gave him! Allah takes his load of the Ummah from his back:

وَوَضَعْنَا عَنكَ وِزْرَكَ

We removed from you your burden. (Surat al-Sharh, 94:2)

So the son went on the minbar and began his speech, and after five minutes people began to sleep, no one was paying attention. In most conferences speakers speak and people are sleeping. Did the Sahaabah (r) sleep when Prophet (s) spoke? They stayed up all night worshipping and worked during the day, they barely slept. So he began to speak and the whole majlis was sleeping.

He was upset and said, “What is going on? I am speaking,but they are not listening. With my father everyone is paying attention, eyes open, hearing everything, what’s happening to me?”

He finished and went to his father, who said, “O my son, how was it?”

He said, “O my father, everyone slept.”

He said, “Yaa waladi, O my son. What I speak is first to myself, whatever I tell them I try to make it firt for me to follow it. Whatever they put on my tongue I consider if for me first and then for the audience. Ara nafsi muhtaajan akthara minhum, I see myself in need more than them, so I lower my level. If my Prophet (s) lowered himself with humbleness, can I come to the minbar with arrogance?”

The imam has to see the audience as better than him, he has to thank Allah for sending him the audience or else to whom will he speak, to himself? Yes, first to himself. When you say, “Don’t do this,” first you don’t do it, then it is accepted.

The father said, “You saw that you don’t need what you were saying, but you are in need of it before them.”

Humbleness is no longer in the vocabulary or understanding of Muslims. There are humble ones, but not the majority; before the majority were humble, now it is a minority. Don’t say, “Why is it like that?” Does Allah want us to be on Haqq or not? He (swt) wants us to be on Haqq. Now what is happening? We are not seeing that Haqq, we are on baatil because Allah is not happy with the Muslims. You were the best Ummah sent to humanity! “Kuntum, when I created you I made you to be the best Ummah, but you lost it when you came on Earth. You were calling for good and prohibiting bad on that day.” Are we breaching our contract that we made with Allah, when we He said, “Am I not your Lord?” and we said, “Yes!” You came to dunya and you became like unbelievers, you breached your contract, so there is a penalty. How many times do we breach our contract? Did we think there is a penalty? No, no one thinks. Allah gave it very easy to us to save us:

كلمتان خفيفتان على اللسان ثقيلتان فى الميزان حبيبتان إلى الرحمن سبحان الله و بحمده سبحان الله العظيم

There are two words that are very easy to say, yet very heavy on the Scale, most beloved to The Merciful, “SubhaanAllah wa bihamdihi subhaanAllahi ’l-`Azheem.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Say it and you save yourself! So easy, so cheap, because you are from Ummat an-Nabi (s), the beloved Ummah! Or say istighfaar, tahleel, bismillah, shukran lillah, keep your tongue wet with dhikrullah!

That Bedouin came to Prophet (s) and said, “Give me something easy on my tongue, there are too many principles of Islam to uphold, give me something easy.” Prophet (s)said, “Make your tongue wet with dhikrullah.”

عن عبد الله بن بسر رضي الله عنه أن رجلا قال: يا رسول الله إن شرائع الإسلام قد كثرت علي فأخبرني بشيء أتشبث به؟ قال لا يزال لسانك رطبا من ذكر الله" الترمذي.

A man came to the Prophet (s) and said, "O Rasoolullah! The rules of Islam became heavy on me, so give me news of something which I can maintain." Prophet (s) said, "Make your tongue wet with dhikrullah." (Tirmidhi)

Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur’an:

قُلِ الله ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

Say "Allah," then leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling. (Surat al-An`am, 6:91)

“Leave them, don’t bother with them, I gave them some toys.” When you say ‘Allah’, Allah is happy! May Allah (swt) forgive us and support Muslims, mu’mins, around the world. Allah (swt) is Ghafoorun Raheem. Don’t say, “I invited you.” You didn’t invite us, Allah invited us: Allah (swt) guided you through your heart to invite us so it is from him. Unfortunately, the way we have been raised to speak is full of shirk khafi.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbi 'l-`Alameen, wa ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaamu `alaa ashrafi 'l-mursaleena Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma`een. [Du`a by Imam Bashaar.]


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