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Mankind Is Ignorant

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

22 October 2009 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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)

Kalimataani khafeefataani `ala 'l-lisaani thaqeelataani fi 'l-meezaan. Subhaanallahi wa bi hamdihi, Subhanallahi 'l-`Azheem.

Two words are very light on the tongue, it’s very easy to recite them, but they are very heavy on the scale on the Day of Judgment. Subhaanallahi wa bi hamdihi, Subhanallahi 'l-`Azheem, or Subhanallahi 'l-`Azheem astaghfirullah.

This is a very blessed gathering, not because of our achievement, but because Allah’s (swt) is happy with those who sit in a gathering remembering Him. We are not coming here for any dunya matter, but we are coming for remembering Allah through His Beautiful Names and Attributes, and through an advice that might be suitable for me and for you. I am not claiming that I know something; I know nothing and whatever I say, it’s Allah’s blessing and mercy and Prophet’s (s) blessing and mercy, and our shuyookh that have guided us and taught us for many decades.

It’s not the person who is important, but the one who throws something to say to the heart of that person. That’s why we must not claim something that we don’t own. This place has an owner. You cannot come and say to the owner, “I want to take it.” Similarly, Allah (swt) owns us and we cannot own anything. If we can own something, then we must be able to live forever. But there will be a moment in our life when Allah will call back that soul to Him, inna Lillahi wa inna Ilayhi raji`oon. Allah owns us. Inna Lillah, we are owned by Allah (swt). wa inna Ilayhi raji`oon, and to Him is our return. No one can own you except Allah (swt), not a president or a minister, or a person of any position. None can own you, Allah (swt) gave you freedom. The only One that can own everyone is Allah (swt). So, He owns us; He owns our tongues, our eyes, our hearts, and He owns everything given to us as a trust to use in a proper way.

Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an, A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani ‘r-rajeem. Bismillahi ‘r-Rahmaani ‘r-Raheem. Inna `aradna 'l-amaanta `ala 's-saamawaati wa 'l-ardi wa 'l-jibaali fa aabayna an yahmilnaaha wa ashfaqa minha wa hamalaha 'l-insaan. Innahu kaana zhalooman jahoola.

Allah (swt) extended, offered the trust, al-amaanah. Meaning something you don’t own, someone offered it to you. I say to you, “Abdur Razzaq, take this cup and keep it for me as amanat until I ask for it.”

You cannot own it. When I ask for it, you give it back to me.

Allah (swt) offered the amaanah to heavens and Earth. They said, “No.” And the earth and mountains said, “Yaa Rabbee, it’s too much.” Then Allah (swt) said, “Okay, no problem.” Allah (swt) is teaching us that, “I offered that amaanah to the heavens. The heavens were worried, although they can carry every human being. I offered it to the Earth, it can carry everyone. The Earth was afraid that they will give it back with a mistake.” As Allah (swt) gave it clean, He has to take it clean. So heavens and Earth said, “No, we cannot. Yaa Rabbee, we cannot, it’s too much.”

Who took it? We did. We said, “O, we will take it.” Human beings carried it because Allah (swt) described us as zaluman jamula, oppressors and ignorant. If Allah (swt) says about us that we are oppressors and ignorant, can we say that we are not oppressors and ignorant? There’s no way. We are oppressors, because we are oppressing ourselves when we commit sins. We are ignorant, because we are not accepting the truth and what Prophet (s) came with.

So that trust that Allah (swt) gave to us, means that He owns it. Whatever He offered you and you took is temporary. Allah is checking if you are going to hold on to dunya fully with your fist, or will you hold Aakhira with your fist? What are we doing? We are holding dunya with our fist. Although this is a blessed gathering, we have to remind each other about Allah’s Greatness. Since you don’t own anything, then you don’t even own your knowledge. People say, “I owned my degree, I became PhD.” You are studying? (Mawlana asks someone in the room.) What you are studying? Are you doing a masters degree or a bachelor? Do you own it, or did you get it yet? If he got it, he says, “I deserved it, I own it.” But the reality is we don’t own anything, because the one who was going to get his PhD, Allah (swt) took his soul back. What will happen to his PhD? Nothing, it’s gone. You cannot transfer it to someone else. If you can transfer it, then you can own it. Can you give your PhD to him? If you have one, can you give it to him? No one will accept it.

When a president goes to a country and visits a university to give a lecture, they give him an honorary PhD. This means that it has no meaning, nothing. You are cheating, you are giving honorary PhD? Either you give a real PhD, or you don’t want to honor, they cannot give. Only Allah (swt) can give. Human beings cannot give. If Allah (swt) wants to give knowledge to someone, no one can stop that. Allah (swt) doesn’t give a PhD, He gives ma`arifah, spiritual knowledge of Allah and secrets of Shari`ah and hadeeth.

How was Ibn `Abbas (r), the biggest Sahaabi, able to give Tafseer al-Qur’an commentary of Holy Qur’an? If Allah (swt) wants, He can give. Can anyone say Abu Hurayrah (r) was not one of the biggest muhaddiths (relater of hadith)? Allah (swt) gave him a heavenly title. Many Sahaaba learned from Sayyida Ayesha (r), a lady. Today ladies say, “We are excluded and discriminated against.” Allah (swt) does not discriminate. If we are doing that to ladies, then we are against His will, and that will be written for us as a sin. If you discriminate against women, Allah (swt) will not be happy with you because he raised Sayyida ‘Ayesha (r) in knowledge and she taught the Sahaaba.

So, if Allah (swt) can give, He will give. All the knowledges are in His Hand. That’s why He said in Holy Qur’an:

Wa`allama Adamal asma a kulla Ha thumma aradahum `alal malaikati faqalaa ambiooni bi asmai Ha ulaa i-in kuntum sadiqeen. Qaloo subhanaka la`ilmalana illa ma `allamtana innaka Antal `Aleem ul-Hakim.

And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels and said, “Tell Me the names of these if you are right.” They said, “Glory to You! Of knowledge we have none, save what You taught us. In truth it is You Who are perfect in knowledge and wisdom.” (2:31-32)

Allah (swt) said, wa `llama Adamal Asma a kulla, “I taught Adam (a) all names the and knowledges.” Here “names” means knowledges. When they teach you medicine, law, or any of the sciences, first they give you theories in books and then you experiment in the lab; so you learn both theory and practice. You cannot take theory only without seeing with your eyes in the labs. Or in medical residency, you treat patients.

Allah (swt) taught Adam (a) all the names, and also what these names represent. Allah (swt) will teach only names, without showing the things that He is teaching the names for? He gave him the names and He gave him the knowledge. Allah (swt) taught Adam (a) but He didn’t teach the angels that knowledge. Allah continues in the Holy Qur’an:

“Then He offered them to angels, they said, ‘We don’t have this knowledge Yaa Rabbee, you didn’t teach us,’” meaning, Who owns the teaching? Allah (swt) does, He owns everything and We own nothing. That’s why no one is living for ever; you are going to die one day. You are not going to be able to live for ever. You can try; say “I don’t want to die.” Can you? No, they try, they are trying. Don’t you see them on the streets? They are jogging. You want to jog? Come. They wear shorts, men and women, naked; I don’t understand. How you don’t feel shy, ashamed of yourself? You are wearing shorts, running on the streets like crazy. A lot of them are Muslims. They say, “O, we want to extend, stretch our life for some more years. O, they found out today that we have a small brain.” But even ministers and presidents go out jogging. They cannot jog on the street, they are afraid, for security reasons. Someone can come and harm them, so they go to the gym. They have gyms with big machineries in their home. I ask, why? They say we want to keep fit. When Allah is going to take your soul, He is going to take your soul. You cannot stretch it, not one minute more or one minute less.

So Allah (swt) owns us. We cannot own ourselves. Since we don’t own anything, then we must not then be arrogant and proud; of what? Is it because we are wearing a nice shirt, pants, jubba, turban, hat, tie, or a nice suit? No, Allah doesn’t look at that. Allah looks at the heart. If the heart is clean, you are clean. If the heart is not clean, then work on it to make it clean or else we are not following Allah (swt); we are following our egos. Our ego plays with us a lot. I don’t know why rich people like to be richer. You might find a rich person not happy in his life; he owns a lot of real estate but he is not happy. And the person who has nothing, is happy and content. Abdu 'r-Rahman, stand up (a man with injured hands stands up). Look at him. Show them your hands. All of you, look. Are you happy with your life? (He answers, “Yes.”) Are you content with your life? Do you have a big apartment or a small one? How many children? (He answers, “Seven children.”)

He’s happy. It might be that he is happier than anyone else. If he says, “Yaa Rabbee!” Allah (swt) says, “Yes, Yaa `abd.” Then we have to ask him to make a prayer for us. Make du`a (the man prays), al-Fatiha. His du`a might be better than a scholar’s du`a by one-thousand times. His du`a might be better than anyone’s by one-thousand times, because Allah (swt) looks at the hearts. He’s happy. He doesn’t have millions or billions; he has a little bit. I asked him yesterday, “Do you have money?” He said, “Oh, it doesn’t mean anything to me.” What does it mean to him? Look at his hands, he cannot do anything. But he is happy. Allah (swt) is providing for him. If anyone approaches Allah (swt) with one hand, He approaches him with one arm. If you come to Allah (swt) walking, He comes to you running; it’s a hadith of Prophet (s). This one is walking in the way of Allah (swt), Who is coming to him running, He will accept. That’s why it’s good to ask such a person to make du`a, to learn. He’s an example.

I will repeat the hadith of Prophet (s) that we mentioned two days ago. “Verily, when you look at someone, and you feel that he is nothing,” (pointing to the man), “but if he asks Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will give.”

O Muslims, Islam is not a book that we memorize. Islam is a sweet taste. If we cannot taste it, we will be loosing. Islam is not a dry form. It is a fresh and alive form. Islam is not only praying your five prayers or fasting in Ramadan or performing Hajj or giving zakat or making shahada, no. On top of all of that, you have to feel the sweetness of Islam by improving yourself, by cutting your ego down and by cleaning yourself and purifying it. Or else, you cannot see anyone. It’s strange, me, my brother, our Sultan, and many others, have seen so many people coming and saying, “Pray for us. I have a project worth 500,000 or 1 million, 3 million, 10 million, or even 1 billion.” No says they have a project for 500,000 times salawaat on Prophet (s), or 1 million, 3 million, 100 million times salawat on Prophet (s), or 1 million times Laa ilaaha ila-Llaah, or 10 million times Surat al-Ikhlas.” Can you see or find people like that? No, and why not?

Allah (swt) said in Holy Quran, Rabbana atina fiddunya hasana wa fil akhirati hasana. Allah is not saying to you don’t do for your dunya, but to do good for your akhira as well. Like you do a project for your dunya, look for a project for your akhira. How? By following the way of Sayyidina Muhammad (s), ittib`a (follow). If you don’t follow, who will you follow then? You choose, you want to follow dunya or you want to follow akhira? It’s up to you; there is no force. laa yukallifullaahu nafsan illa wus`aha, you don’t want akhira, okay, do for your dunya then, your akhira will be lost, we don’t know; it’s Allah’s judgment. You want your akhira, then do for your akhira also. O Muslims, not everything is dunya, dunya, dunya, because we don’t own it.

One time I was walking with my shaykh, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q), and it was a full moon. He was looking, and he said, “You like the moon?” Can you say, “No?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “I give it to you.” If someone comes and says, “Do you like this building?” You say, “Yes.” Do you think he will say, “I will give it to you?” No. Why? The moon is cheap to give and the building is expensive? He’s teaching us. Why it’s so easy to say, “I’m giving you the moon,” and difficult to say, “I’m giving you the building”? Because you cannot own the moon; it’s owned by Allah (swt). You think you own the building, but it’s owned by Allah. If Allah sends an earthquake, what will happen?

Look in Indonesia, there are earthquakes every other day. I met someone on an island before I came here. We were both looking at each other. He said, “I saw you on TV” this last week. I was not on TV. He said, “No, you were on TV, I saw you with the beard, the turban.” I was on TV but not live, it was something recorded before. And he said, “Would you like me to recite Qur’an for you?” He began to recite Qur’an. His recitation of the Qur’an was very nice and sweet. What does he do? He sweeps the streets. He stopped working, sat down and recited Qur’an very nicely for us for half-an-hour. He was content, he was smiling. When he finished his recitation he said, “Shaykh, I want to ask you to make du`a for me.” I said, “Inshaa-Allah.” He said, “My home in Sumatra fell down, the whole house fell by the earthquake. It’s good that my parents were not in it.” You know what he said? “But Allah is Great, Allah will send me money to build it back.”

If someone is saying this to you out of the blue, coming in front of you suddenly while cleaning the street. He’s not a normal person, he might be someone Allah is sending to test you. So what do you need to do in that case? You need to give charity, and don’t be stingy! You give what Allah gave you. Do people today give? It’s very difficult. This zawiya needs carpets. For the last 20 years, it’s been the same carpet. When you make sajdah you smell the old carpet. Did anyone say, “I will change the whole carpet of this place so where I am making sajdah will be clean.” They don’t even have a vacuum cleaner, it’s broken; they clean the carpet with a broom. They don’t feel ashamed. I’m the bad one now! They don’t feel ashamed! One, two, or three, can come, raise their hand, and say, “We will take care of changing the whole carpet.” And there are rich people here. There are not enough air conditioners and fans. Did anyone say, “I will help to put these?” No. Why? Do you have an explanation? Is it true or not? We hope that one day Allah (swt) opens the hearts of people to look after their own places to be clean so that when they pray, they are praying on a clean carpet.

In any case, we have to know that we do not own anything; we are leaving everything, and going. I was passing by yesterday, someone was driving me, and as we were driving he said, “Do you know to whom this highway belongs?” He said it belongs to this person, he mentioned the name. The other highway belongs to this person, he mentioned the name. The other highway belongs to this one, he mentioned the name. Every highway is at least 200 or 300 million dollars. Allah gave richness to people in this country. Change the carpet! You cannot change it? Boycott them, if they don’t change the carpet, meaning boycott your ego, because our ego is controlling us.

I will mention the story of Grandshaykh (q) and will end with that. Suhbah is more important than anything, because it is how the tariqah is built. Tariqah is the gathering and the companionship, to listen and to give advice. Grandshaykh (q) never stopped giving suhbah. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim announced yesterday on the live broadcast, “I’m going to do live broadcast everyday until the last moment of my life,” because it’s important. Grandshaykh (q) always told us, “Keep change in your pockets, because you should never reject anyone asking money for Allah’s sake.”

One time he was moving on a carriage with horses, like in the old days, from his village all the way to Istanbul. Every where he stopped, people came and asked for help, they were poor. So he put his hand in his pocket and gave many times, until he reached Istanbul. Someone came and said, “For Allah’s sake, yaa shaykh.” He looked in his pocket; all the money was gone and this man was standing, waiting. You cannot say to him, “I don’t have money.” So he put his hand in his pocket again and there was nothing. Then he remembered the hadeeth of Prophet (s), “Don’t reject anyone who is asking.” He had a watch given to him by Sultan Abdul Hameed, who got it from the heirs of Louis XVI, King of France, a very precious watch. He didn’t care. He put his hand in his pocket and gave him the watch. Today it might be worth hundreds of millions! Awliyaaullah don’t care; they are not stingy. We must not be stingy!

The man took the watch and disappeared. Who was that person? Allah knows, but the shaykh made his duty. He didn’t say, “No.” That’s why if you have a watch and someone stops you on the road, give it. There are many shaykhs I know that I have met many times, here and in Indonesia. They wear gold Rolex watches worth 30 or 40 thousand dollars. I don’t know if it is imitation from Chinatown. They like to wear it to show off. But if you are a scholar and you wear an imitation Rolex watch, then you have ego and arrogance. We don’t need your teaching; it is not acceptable.

May Allah forgive us and bless us.

Wa min Allahi ‘t-tawfeeq, bi hurmati ‘l-habeeb, bi hurmati ‘l-Faatihah.