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Look Deep Within

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

20 January 2012 London, UK

`Isha Suhbah at Friends’ House (with Quakers) (2)

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhoo. It is an honor for me to be here and I thank the organizers, especially Dr. Abbas and those who helped him. (...)

Everyone wants to hear something, as do I. We are human beings and all of us think the same way: we have the same mind, the same body, and all of us are searching for something that may benefit us in this time of great materialism. The one who was rapping at the beginning also mentioned consumerism. Some say this is the time of “modern life.” I say it is a life that fits the century we are in, that is appropriate for those living now. It might be later, in the coming years, this generation will go and another more knowledgeable generation will come, and for them it will also be a “modern life.” In the Stone Age, someone with a rock hammer was as happy as we are with computers! For them it was modern life.

Spirituality is also in modern life, in every moment, just as it was with Adam (a), the first man on Earth, and it will remain up to end, until the Last Day of this universe. For us, spirituality is a demand from which we like to benefit and to know where we stand and what is our role in this life. People are wondering where to go (to get such answers). Some queue in line at discos, church, synagogue or a mosque, because everyone wants to find the truth that suits him. Truth is there and you cannot discard or cancel it, because it is within you! Everyone has a reality within his “House of Realities,” the human body, which we know to be true from many traditions of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

God revealed to him:

ما وسعني أرضي ولا سمائي ولكن وسعني قلب عبدي المؤمن

Maa wasi`anee ardee wa laa samaa'ee wa laakin wasi`anee qalbi `abdee al-mu'min.

Neither My Heavens nor My Earth contain Me, but the heart of My believing servant contains Me. (Hadeeth Qudsee, Al-Ihya of al-Ghazali)

You cannot contain a creator in his creation. You can contain this Creation within the Beautiful Names and Attributes of God; not “in” Him (swt), but in His Universe. So God cannot be contained, but He said to Prophet Muhammad (s), “Neither My Heavens nor My Earth contain Me, but the heart of My servant contains Me!” Each of us--Muslim or not, Jewish or not, Christian or not, Hindu or not, Buddhist or not, Zoroastrian or not, Zennist or not, secular or not-- everyone must have a reality within himself, which is the soul. We cannot see it because with our physical eyes that see external but not internally or inside ourselves, but with eyes that see inside, you can see what your realities are.

You might say, “Oh! How is that possible? I can see inside?” Yes, of course! Everyone has eyes that can see inside, even machines can see inside! People go for ultrasound imaging and for ECGs to see inside, but with limitation. Machinery they are inventing today can see inside you, but you cannot see without the help of a machine. If there are doctors that can see inside you using machines, this means there are doctors whose eyes became the machinery of heavens so they can see within you when they look at you and understand what you say or feel!

I will tell you a story that happened just now, in this room. There were five singers from Senegal, they were standing, and I know Senegalese people, especially Tijanis, sing all night--they don’t stop! And they were, mashaa-Allah, singing very well, praising the Prophet (s) and remembering Allah (swt) in their way, but they will go on for the whole night! So in my heart, it came to me that we have to empty this room, because when the Senegalese reciters begin they will go on for hours and hours, it might be twelve o'clock and we will still be here! (laughter) Correct? They don't get tired when they remember their Lord. Africa has a lot of spirituality, not only in Senegal, but in Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Morocco, and Algeria. When they begin their dhikr, their remembrance of their Lord, they don’t stop because they are seeking the guidance of their shaykh to reach the spirituality that saves them from this materialistic life. They can go on forever!

However, as soon as that thought came in my heart, they picked it up and one moment later they stopped! This is telepathy from heart to heart; that inspiration came to my mind like email or a text message you get and then you answer the message. But in spirituality you don’t need a computer or phone. So the message went from my heart, as I thought about it, to their hearts, and they stopped in one second.

That is like what happened to Sayyidina `Umar (r), the khalifah of Prophet (s), when he was in Madinah making the Friday prayers, and his army was 2,000 km away in Damascus, and he saw the aggressors were coming from behind the mountain to attack his army. He spoke like in a video conference, with his major-general, saying, “Yaa Saariya! Be careful! They are coming from behind the mountain!” And immediately Saariya heard that, went behind the mountain and stopped that attack.

How did he do that? How do you do that? And we say, “technology, technology!” Technology is for...I don’t want to say that word...spirituality is for normal people! Technology...(laughter) you can understand. That means that they are far from understanding spirituality. That’s why spiritual people understand that today, I was telling some scholars in a conference, that scholars must address people with spirituality, more than Shari`ah, because Shari`ah today is very difficult. There might be some here who don’t understand what Shari`ah means--it is the Islamic principles, in every matter of your life, there are principles, it is the Constitution, and people cannot understand it.

I gave them the example of that man who came to Prophet (s) 1400 years ago, and he said to Prophet (s), “O Rasoolullah, O Muhammad (s)! There are too many conditions in Shari`ah that I cannot uphold, so give me something easy!” If we give our youth today something easy, we will fill that vacuum. They have problems finding something to fill that vacuum they feel within themselves, that spiritual aspects of their lives which they cannot find anywhere except in some areas, like in this meeting, this music and these appearances and songs that fill the heart, especially for the youth. Tell them that Islam is not only praying and carrying a suicide bomb, blowing yourself up for nothing and destroying the lives of innocent people! No. So we have to think what they need as they are in a vacuum of spirituality and they need that to be filled.

So that man came to Prophet (s) and said, “I cannot, it’s too much, it’s too much!” He (s) gave him a very simple answer, and if we follow that answer we will find our life is so easy:

لا يزال لسانك رطبا من ذكر الله

laa yazaal lisaanak ratban min dhikrillah.

Make your tongue wet with dhikrullah. (Tirmidhi)

“Make your tongue wet with remembrance of your Lord.” To remember your Lord is to say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, Muhammadan Rasoolullah.”

قُلِ اللّهُ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

Quli 'Llaah wa dharhum fee khawdihim yal`aboon.

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

Say, “Allah!” We are saying “Allah!” We are calling Him, so do you think He is not hearing us or not responding? Just now I saw an image of Ibn al`Arabi (r) projected on the backdrop, but he is saying that we have to go to Him, to the Beauty...we are the Beauty! We are beautiful, because we are His Creation: He created us, He comes after us, He wants us! If He didn’t want us He would not have created us, but unfortunately, we always think the opposite.

Allah wants you, and if you want Him He is happy. Also if you don’t want Him He is still happy because God is never angry. You cannot take away anything of His Greatness, you cannot add to it or subtract from it. He is not hurt. You hurt, and this is a sickness between the people, but God doesn’t hurt; rather, He says lovingly, “You hurt Me? Nevermind, come and repent, say, ‘God forgive me!’ and I forgive you.”

So that Bedouin said to the Prophet (s), “Give me something easy.” He said say, “Allah.” Say, “Allah!” Repeat after me: Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu ana Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasooluh Finished, He is happy now. Y’allah, go and dance! (Laughter)

Today doctors use stem cells to rejuvenate the body, but can you rejuvenate the soul, so okay! And a small question to everyone, to me and to you: during pregnancy, can we know what second the soul will enter the body? No one is able to know what moment the soul enters the body in the womb. No one knows! Whatever you want to know, anything you might be able to know about that, but you cannot know when the soul enters the body, which means when your soul knows its limits, then you will know your Lord!

The soul inside the mother’s womb and the baby know! And if it was up to him he would stay inside, he would not come to this world. He is bornnot laughing, but crying, and all of you cried because you didn’t want to come out to witness the miseries of this world. You saw how difficult the world is, and toughness you will face in your life because your eyes are open there (inside the womb). When you come out it is by force, because if you don’t doctors will inject (your mother to stimulate the birth process). Poor ladies!

That is why the Prophet (s) said, “Paradise is under the feet of mothers.” He is telling them, “You are the best of Creation.” O Ladies! Don't think you are worst of Creation, as people are harming you with those wrong ideas, but God has raised you and made Paradise under the feet of the mothers, not as compensation because they are being humiliated, not because they raised the children, but because they carried the jewel of Heavens in their womb! Those jewels are the generations of the Children of Adam (a) whose souls Allah (swt) created on the Day of Promises when there was nothing except the souls of the human beings!

There, Allah (swt) said to them:

أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُواْ بَلَى

Alastu bi Rabbikum? Qaaloo balaa.

Am I not your Lord? They said, “Yes, We do testify!” (Surat al-A`raaf, 7:172)

Those souls are there, waiting to come down to the womb of their mothers, and they are jewels of the Heavens! That's why Allah (swt) gave honor to ladies, to carry those generation after generation and to carry the Best of Creation, Sayyidina Muhammed (s) and all other prophets: Jesus (a), who was one of the big prophets, and Moses who was one also one of big prophets, and Ibrahim (a) and Noah (a). Allah gave them all honor. From where did Prophet Muhammad (s) come? Was it not from his mother? Was Prophet `Isa not from his mother? Sayyidina Musa, Sayyidina Ibrahim, Sayyidina Nuh, were they not from their mothers?

The womb is not a piece of flesh, it is a heavenly element that God put in ladies in order to bring one generation after another. Spirituality is to understand what is in your heart, as we learn from these ahadeeth:

ما وسعني أرضي ولا سمائي ولكن وسعني قلب عبدي المؤمن

Maa wasi`anee ardee wa laa samaa'ee wa laakin wasi`anee qalbi `abdee al-mu'min.

Neither My Heavens nor My Earth contain Me, but the heart of My believing servant contains Me. (Hadeeth Qudsee, Al-Ihya of al-Ghazali)

قلب الموءمن بيت الرب

Qalb al-mu'min bayt ar-Rabb.

The heart of the believer is the House of the Lord. (Hadeeth Qudsee)

من عرف نفسه فقد عرف ربه

Man `arafa nafsahu faqad `arafa Rabbah.

Who knows his self knows his Lord.

Do you know yourself? I know myself when I know my limits, and then I cannot transgress my limits. Today people are transgressing their limits. They have no daily regimen or program. If you are a Muslim, you have to pray your five prayers; if you are not a Muslim, you have to follow your religion; if you are secular, you have to follow the discipline and constitution of the world, but don’t transgress your limits and create miseries around the world as God does not like that.

I don’t know myself; if I did, I must be humble. Humble yourself. I’m a donkey because I don’t know myself. A donkey will stand thinking and then suddenly bray because Shaytan whispered to him, “O donkey, you have to be very careful! The world is ending and you will be left without a wife while you are still young!” (Laughter) That’s how we are crying today, running after boyfriends and girlfriends, so you have to be careful.

I’m a donkey because I have yet to learn patience. Donkeys have the good characteristic of patience. A donkey does not object; whatever you load he will carry, even if you are a tyrant and overload him he will fall from the weight but never complain! That is patience. If you are patient you are humble. If you are humble, God said:

من تواضع رفعه الله

Man tawad`a rafa`a Allah.

Whoever humiliates himself for God’s sake, Allah will raise him. (Muslim)

God raised Prophet (s) because he was the most humble, and He lowered Shaytan because he was the most arrogant. Today when you go home, before you sleep, ask yourself, “Am I humble? Was I angry with someone today?” If you were angry, it means you were not humble. Anger is the worst character, like a drunk person who cannot understand anything. If you are angry you might kill someone without even knowing it.

That’s why Prophet (s) said:

فالقاتل والمقتول في النار

Fa 'l-qaatil wa 'l-maqtool fi 'n-naari abadan.

The killer and the killed are in the Fire, forever.

Because the one who killed, killed, and the one who was killed would have killed the killer if he could have. So both of them are punished, caused by their anger. I am saying, especially to the students of my teacher, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani, may Allah give him long life, with whom I have been for fifty years, I never saw him angry, always he is patient. He never mentions, something that happened the day before, he looks forward, often saying, “What happened yesterday is gone. I am living in this moment going forward. I do not bring a story that makes people upset.” Today, if there is a story that upsets people, even from Adam’s (a) time, we will mention it!

O Brothers and Sisters! Spirituality is “inn” you, because the heart is the inn. If the brain stops you may still be alive, but if the heart stops you will die. You can live a long life in a coma, but if the heart stops, everything stops! Don’t let your heart stop in its remembrance of your Lord, then you can find yourself and know yourself. If the heart stops, we will be unable to understand ourselves.

In America, I often like to visit Hindu temples, because they do meditation, and through their meditation they can feel the spirit that enlightened them. Some of you ask, “Why don’t I do meditation?” God mentioned meditation in the Holy Qur`an!

O Muslims! Why don’t you meditate to acquire knowledge about yourself? All the saints meditated in order to know about themselves. When you sit by yourself in your room, when everyone is sleeping, after midnight at ywo or three o’clock in the morning, you may think and meditate, as Prophet Muhammad (s) said:

تفكر ساعة خير من عبادة سبعين سنة

Tafakkarru sa`atin khayrun min `ibaadati saba`een sannah.

To remember Allah (swt) for one hour (contemplate or meditate) is better than seventy years of worship.

Meditation is for you to audit your books with your Lord, to evaluate yourself and your actions throughout the day and ask yourself, “Was I good or not?” If I get the reward of seventy years’ worship for one hour of meditation, that is good for me! Then I can audit myself, and see what kind of bad behavior I had today. That is spirituality: to examine your bad behavior.

Psychologists say, “Mention the good you have done, look in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘How am I today? What did I do today?’ and talk to yourself about whatever good you did.”

I once said to a group of psychologists, “What’s the benefit if you only mention the good you did, and don’t examine what wrong you did? Tomorrow you might do more bad things and you will never know that you are doing bad, only thinking that you are doing good.” The psychologist wants the person to feel good, so he gives him ice cream, but there is a hidden poison in it because they are not telling you the truth, because they want your money!

But go to God, and follow what the Prophet (s) said: meditate for one hour, sit on your knees, put a candle in front of you. I saw Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, may Allah bless him, not now, but every night ten years ago he was in his room before Fajr، with a candle in front of him, doing his awraad and meditating, to see what kind of bad manners and good manners are there. Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, ordered Mawlana Shaykh Nazim into seclusion when he was young, in Madinatu 'l-Munawwara. For six months he could not see anyone and stayed in a small room with only a mattress and a place to pray. The window was blocked completely with wood and there was no light except the candlelight..

I asked Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, how can you count your bad manners when there are 800? I counted and counted and counted, and didn’t count more than fifty! Prophet (s) said there are 800 prohibitions, bad manners. So I asked Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and he said, “When Grandshaykh (q) ordered me for seclusion, I entered, I locked the door and said I will not leave before it finishes, unless its to the grave! I am going to do the six months.” Don’t think it’s easy! In the first week of the seclusion, if there is an open window you would jump out, even from top of the highest building! It is not easy by yourself. Sometimes they say, “Do it in a cave!” There are a lot of spiritual beings (jinn) in these caves, coming and going from one place to another, and you might run away but they chase you!

He said, “I began to count whatever came into my heart of bad manners, and in the first month of my seclusion I counted 187 bad manners.” You can never count them in normal life, but when you begin the meditation, as Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an:

الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ

Alladheena yadhkuroonullaaha qiyamaan wa qu`oodan wa `alaa junoobihim wa yattafakkaroona fee khalqi 's-samawaati wa 'l-ard.

Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth. (Aali `Imraan, 3:191)

Think and then contemplate about the greatness of the Creation, of your physical body, the universe is, of the smallest virus or bacteria. No one can match that! When you think like that, Allah (swt) begins to open to your heart to know your good and bad manners.

May God forgive us, may God bless us, may God expand the time until everyone has eaten! As-salaamu `alaykum.

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