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Hierarchy of Saints Series, Vol 17

Levels and Rewards of the Highest Character

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

30 August 2010 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Ramadan Series 2010

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`ullaha wa ati`u 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

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

Madad ya Sayyidee, dastoor yaa Sayyidee, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani.

As we mentioned, the Prophet (s) is "the Perfect Human Being," al-Insaan al-Kaamil, as it is mentioned in the Tawraat that Allah created human beings on sooratih, His Own Image. Okay, we understand that (soorah) is more symbolic, but it means that Allah (swt) reflected and manifested the continuous spring of the Beautiful Names and Attributes that have no end. Every moment a spring is coming; not just one spring, but springs are coming like fountains of water that are describing the reality of the Essence that cannot be understood, except through that one who is reflecting it to us, who is "al-Insaan al-Kaamil." He is the one receiving these blessings or manifestations and reflecting them to all Creation. The only one who can receive that is Prophet (s), who is the Perfect Human Being. It is said that he is the mirror on which Allah (swt) reflects Himself. He sends these images or realities, and the mirror, Insaan al-Kaamil, reflects them on anyone in the Heavens or Earth in need of these manifestations.

That is why Sayyidina Muhyideen ibn `Arabi (r) said, "The Prophet is the mirror of the Divine Presence." And he said more than that, he went so deep. "If Allah wants to look at His Creation, he looks at His mirror, the Prophet (s), who is the reflection of these appearances in this Universe." I hope we understood? That is why it is said the ghawth receives directly from the Prophet and then he sends on to those five qutbs who are waiting for these manifestations. That is why it is said that one who has qatratun, one drop, is:

عَيْنًا فِيهَا تُسَمَّى سَلْسَبِيلًا

`aynun feeha tusamma salsabeela,

A fountain there, called Salsabil, (al-Insaan 76:18).

That mirror is reflecting a spring that is mentioned in Surat al-Insaan as `aynun feeha tusamma salsabeela, "It is a spring called, 'Salsabeel." It is a knowledge that never ends, and who is able to drink even one drop from that spring will become a servant of Allah. That is why Sayyidina al-Khidr was able to drink from that maa' al-hayaat, the "Fountain of Youth," but in reality, in Heavens it is called the "Spring of Salsabeel."

Salsabeel quenches the thirst of `ibaadAllah whom Allah dressed with that. It is said they understand the reality of al-Insaan al-Kaamil through his best character as he must possess that.

ن وَالْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ مَا أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ وَإِنَّ لَكَ لَأَجْرًا غَيْرَ مَمْنُونٍ وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

Noon wa al-qalami wa maa yasturoona maa anta bini`mati rabbika bi-majnoonin wa inna laka la-ajran ghayra mamnoonin wa innaka la-`alá khuluqin `azheem.

Noon. By the Pen and what the (angels) write. You (O Muhammad) are not, by the Grace of your Lord, a madman. And verily for you will be an endless reward, and verily, you are on an exalted standard of character. (al-Qalam, 68:1-4)

Allah gives an oath by the arabic letter, Noon, and what is Noon? Allah knows best, but we will explain this once. "Noon" is the highest heavenly level by which Allah gives an oath, that, "Yaa Muhammad! You are of the best character!" From it `ibaadullah are quenching their thirst, those who want to understand and become deeply involved in these fountains, and to reach tahaqquq, Certainty. That is why it is said, man tahaqaqa takhalaqa, "Who reached (the Station of) Certainty, Allah will dress with best character."

So if you wish to reach best character, you must reach the Stations of Certainty: `Ilm al-Yaqeen, "Knowledge of Certainty", `Ayn al-Yaqeen, "Vision of Certainty", and, Haqq al-Yaqeen, "Truth of Certainty."

Muhyideen ibn `Arabi (r) continues, "Whoever inherits from that will have perfect character. Any appearance from what Allah creates can appear only through the mirror of the Prophet (s)." Wa man takhalaqa tahaqaqa, "Who inherits from the Prophet of good character will become certain of what he is hearing and seeing."

So if we want to reach the Station of Certainty, we need to reach good character. Do we have good character? (No.) Do you shout at your wife? (Sometimes.) So the best character is to be patient. Like the ocean, that never complains. If all the sewers go into the ocean, does it complain? No. And it is still clean, you can still make wudu in it. And if you put filth in any moving river you can still make wudhu in it. So, who reaches the Station of Certainty, his character will be perfected. And whose character is perfected will be stamped, "He reached reality." man takhalaqa tamazzaq, "Who reached the best of character and these manifestations will be torn into pieces!"

The Prophet (s) is of the best character, and in dunya the Prophet said, "I am the one most abused," tamazzaqa fil-haqq, "torn apart in truth." Who wants to reach the best character has to know that in front of him are torture and obstacles, because he knows the truth is there and he is not able to reach the Divine Presence easily. There are lot of obstacles he or she has to overcome, wa man takhalaqa tamazzaqa fil-haqq. Who has good character will be torn to pieces in the reality, the truth. And that is why awliyaullah suffered a lot to reach realities, and all their life is obstacles. al-Jilee, who is a big scholar and also a wali, said, Istadhir dhi'nuka, "Focus your mind on us; mushattat al-afkaar, don't be distracted too much by your thoughts. Open your ear and bring your mind to focus, and your heart."

Kullul-a`rifeen al-muwajiheen min al-haqq, "These gnostics crowned with crown of ma`rifah , oneness and knowledge, tasarraf, they never acted in the heavenly perfect Kingdom of Allah (swt), except through the best of their characteristics." So don't lose that. These are the levels of aqtaab, the five qutbs. They are in that level of perfection where they reached to inherit from the Prophet (s). That is why it is said, al-Insaan al-Kaamil is always in connection with Allah's Beautiful Names that appear to him, and awliya cannot count how many Beautiful Names and Attributes appear in every moment.

قُلِ اللّهُ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

qul Allah wa dharhum fee khawdihim yal`aboon.

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

Allahu Akbar! Say "Allah," and don't mind about what they are playing; leave khalq, human beings and their affairs. Don't go to their level, as you are in that high level, saying, "Allah," which is the highest Beautiful Name, that all other Names are under! Mention His Name! That is the source of all Beautiful Names and Attributes sent to Muhammad (s)! So, inna Allah wa mala`ikatahu yusalloon, means Allah is ordering His angels to carry the manifestations of these Beautiful Names and Attributes that are appearing in every moment, and to dress them on the Prophet. And according to awliya there is no limit to the Beautiful Names and Attributes manifested on him! It is continuous khalq, Creation, manifested on Prophet (s)!

It is also said that everyone is dressed with the tajalli of one of the Beautiful Names, and Prophet sees you under that tajalli and he gives you a name according to that Name, which he knows from the light appears in the divine mirror. As we said but didn't discuss, there is "`Abdur-Rahman, `Abdur-Raheem, `Abdul-Ghaffar." Whoever has those names are under the tajalli and servanthood of those Beautiful Names. There can be many people having the same name, but each is in a different light, because one Beautiful Name has an infinite number of tajalliyat. That is why we appear with that tajalli, our appearance is with the blessing of that light, and when awliya look at their followers they look at them under that light. They know their rank in the Divine Presence based on the light coming on them. And that is why Prophet is always in connection with the Beautiful Names and Attributes that can be envisioned and seen, and they are the real appearances of Allah (swt) on His Prophet (s).

To understand that, you have to carry the best of characters. It is said that the best characters are an infinite number, but what some awliya counted are about one-thousand good characters. One wali who counted around one-thousand good characters said, "Allah knows best how many there are, and Prophet said, Anna ahabakum ilayya wa aqrabakum majlisan akramakum akhlaqan, 'The one who will sit beside me on Judgment Day is the one with the best manners.'"

And we lack these good manners. Muhyideen ibn `Arabi (r) continues, "Some of these are al-hilm, forbearance, `ilm, knowledge, to have humility and compassion, and bashasha, to be always smiling and friendly in companionship, and al-`afoow, to forgive, and al-ihsaan, to be generous to the one who harmed you, and to connect to the one who left you, wa rahmah li 'd-du`afa, to have mercy on weak people, and tawqeer mashaykh, to respect shaykhs." Who respects shaykhs anymore? They don't call themselves shaykhs any more, they call themselves 'doctors.' "And al-Ikhwaan, brotherhood, wa 's-Sabr, patience, wa 'z-Zuhd, asceticism, Qana'a, Ridaa, Shukr, to be thankful..." and it goes on.

"Fa laa bud min as-saalik hatta yatakhalaq bi-hadhihi 'l-akhlaaq, For the seeker it is essential to attain all these good characters in his journey and not to be tough, but to be a real seeker." Today they say, "We are in tariqah," any tariqah, but are they really doing what tariqah calls for? Any tariqah calls for good character, that is why mujahad is not easy. That's why they send you to seclusion, for forty days, six months, one year, one after another, until they crush you completely, until you have good characteristics. When you enter seclusion it is not simple and you are always thinking about when are you coming out, counting the days.

They say, saahib husn al-khuluq la-wusil saahib as-sawmi wa 's-salaat, "That one who has good character will be raised to the level of the one who is praying and fasting all the time."

خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ

Khudh il-`awfu w'amr bi'l-`urfi w`arid `an il-jaahileen,

Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; But turn away from the ignorant. (al-A`araaf, 7:199)

"Be a forgiving person. Don't be like one who cursed you; say, 'Alhamdulillah, he saved me.'" If someone cursed you, especially on the Internet, the least they do for you is to carry your sins! So what should you do? Forgive them, because they made something good for you, they took away all your sins. So what do you have to do? Pray for them, "Yaa Rabbee, forgive them!" Be happy when they curse you, and don't be happy when they pet you. When they curse you Allah and Prophet are looking at how are you going to react. Yesterday we had an example: there were two big mureeds going to the food, and one blocked the way for the other. I was looking to see what he is going to do, as he was blocking the way of the other, who was patient and passed the test.

So, it is said, al-khuluq afdal manaqib al-`uboodiyya, "The best character is the best of worship. It will take you to the highest level of Certainty," and realities that we mentioned before. That is why in Holy Qur`an, Allah mentioned him as of the best character:

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

wa 'innaka la`alá khuluqin `adheem.

Indeed you are of a tremendous character! (al-Qalam, 68:4)

The Prophet (s) passed through all of the earthly kingdoms and all the heavenly kingdoms, and reached: فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَى fa kaana qaaba qawsayni aw adnaa, "within two bows' length or nearer," (an-Najm, 53:9) where no one can reach except a perfect one! And they are pure like angels, but even Jibreel stopped, saying, "I cannot go further, you go!" With this Allah showed the angels the high level of Sayyidina Muhammad (s). That is why Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُدَّثِّرُقُمْ فَأَنذِرْ وَرَبَّكَ فَكَبِّرْ وَثِيَابَكَ فَطَهِّرْ

Ya ayyuha 'l-mudaththir qum fa andhir wa thiyaabaka fa-tahhir.

O (Muhammad) who covers himself with blankets. Arise and warn, and magnify your Lord, and purify your garments! (Surat Al-Muddaththir, 74:1-4)

Prophet (s) was sick and covering himself, and here Allah (swt) was telling him, "No, in My Kingdom, shivering or not, someone has to keep moving, qum fa andhir wa rabbuka fa-kabbir, so wake up and warn people to, "Say, 'Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! Allah is Greatest and there is no resemblance to His Greatness. Tell them to leave their bad characters. Warn them that there is a measure and a balance."

وَالسَّمَاء رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ

Was-samaa raf`aha wa wada` al-meezan.

He raised high the Heavens and put a balance. (ar-Rahmaan, 55:7)

Allah (swt) raised Heavens and put the balance, so don't try to transgress it by being a tyrant: balance your `amal, your ego, your selfishness, and your sins well. That is why He said, qum fa andhur, "stand and warn them," then tell them, Allahu akbar: wa rabbuka fa-kabbir. "Say, 'Allahu Akbar,'" one hundred times daily. At that time comes: wa thiyaabak fa-tahhir, "clean your clothes." Not the normal clothes, but the clothes of the self, as it takes away the bad characters and puts the best characters. There are a thousand good characteristics that we cannot mention them all here, but let them carry these characteristics, war-rujza fahjur. "Leave the bad behind, migrate away from it, be an immigrant in Allah's Way and don't look back at this worldly life, look at the heavenly life." Those are four verses from Surat al-Mudaththir.

And the Prophet (s) said:

قال صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن العبد ليبلغ بحسن خلقه درجة الصائم القائم. الترمذي

Wa inna al-`abdu yablugha bi husni khuluqihi darajat as-saa'im al-qaa'im.

The servant of Allah will reach with his good character and behaviors. (Tirmidhi)

Even if he is making sins, if he can give one good character, Allah will reward him like He rewards the one who is fasting and standing in prayer excessively, doing nawaafil, supererogatory, fasts and prayers. That doesn't mean that you can then leave fasting; you have to fast Ramadan, but it means Allah will reward the one of good character like them. Look how easy it is. You cannot have the good character to smile in the face of others? Like this mureed, the other one was blocking him from food last night and he smiled; he showed good character, and that was enough for Allah to accept all his fasts. And the other one Allah accepted his fast as He used him to try this one! Prophet (s) said:

أفضل المؤمنين إيماناً أحسنهم خلقاً

Afdal al-mu'mineena imaanan ahsanahum khuluqan.

The believers with the best faith are those with the best character. (Bayhaqi, Tabaraani)

So let us see how much we have to balance. Wa wada` al-meezan. Balance yourself now. We find ourselves a complete failure. Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur'an:

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

Qalati 'l-`arabu aamannaa Qul lam tu'uminoo wa lakin qooloo aslamnaa wa lammaa yadkhuli 'l-eemaanu fee quloobikum.

The desert Arabs say, "We believe." Say, "You have no faith; but you (only) say, 'We have submitted our wills to Allah,' for not yet has faith entered your hearts." Don't say, "We are mu`min," but say, "We are Muslim," because imaan did not yet enter the heart. (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:14)

Prophet (s) said:

خصلتان لا يجتمعان في مؤمن : البخل ، وسوء الخلق

Wa qaala khuslataan la yajtami`aan fee mu'min: al-bukhl wa soow al-khuluq.

There are two things that cannot be found in a believer: stinginess, and al-khuluq as-sayyi`at, to carry bad character.

Especially today, people are not concerned with anything. They are carrying bad characteristics; they get angry and they never smile in your face all your life. It is finished, as if mercy disappeared from their hearts. Wa qaala dhun-noon, akthar an-naasu hamman aswaahum khuluqun, Dhul-Nun said, "Those with the most problems are the ones with bad characteristics." Because of their bad characteristics they always go into problems, and their bad characteristics are reflected in their children. If their parents have good character you see the children are raised nicely, with good discipline. And we ask Allah to give us good character and to take away our bad dresses!

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