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Meditate According to Shari`ah

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

11 November 2012 Lefke, Cyprus

Zhuhr Suhbah

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.

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`alaa fee haadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Atee`oollaha wa atee`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

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

If the advice does not come through inspiration from our shuyookh it won’t be real advice, or if the speaker doesn’t accept the advice that comes from the shuyookh as in he has a need for it, the advice will not find its way to the hearts of others. Sayyidina `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) had many khalifahs, but he assigned one person at his mosque in Baghdad, Iraq to give the Jumu`ah Khutbah. That person reached a high level in sulook, the way of Gnosticism, and was dressed by Sayyidina `Abdul Qadir (q) with high levels in tariqah, the right path of Prophet (s).

Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur'an:

وَأَلَّوِ اسْتَقَامُوا عَلَى الطَّرِيقَةِ لَأَسْقَيْنَاهُم مَّاء غَدَقًا

If they had (only) remained on the (right) Way, We should certainly have bestowed on them rain in abundance. (Surat al-Jinn, 72:16)

“If they were to stand forth on the Way (tariqah) straightforward, never exiting out, staying on the main highway.” So the word “at-turuq,” which is plural of “tariqah,” is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an; if we stay on this right path, when Shaytan whispers to us to get out, if we exit there are ways to return to the highway. Although we are delayed in the way of tariqah, if we continue the struggle then it is accepted and at least we come back!

So that khalifah had a son who was very well-educated in Shari`ah and who sat in his father's associations, seeing the mureeds listening attentively. He studied very well and became like Shaykh al-Islam. As he grew up he thought, “If my father, who is not very educated, can get such attention from people, what about me? Since I am so educated they might get more benefit and they will be very fascinated!” He thought like this for weeks and then one day his father called him and said, “O my son! I am not feeling well and I cannot give them naseeha. Please do the khutbah today.” He was so happy and thought, “Now people are going to be so fascinated by what I say and I will be respected more than my father because I know more than him. I know Shari`ah completely and now is my chance!” So he began his lecture and began to speak and soon all the people fell asleep, like in a conference, so don't address the people in a conference by reading from prepared notes; you will look at the paper and they will all sleep! [Laughter.]

So Grandshaykh `Abdullah al-Fa'iz ad-Daghestani (q) and Mawlana Shaykh (q) always advise me and my brother, “Don't speak except what is inspired; if no inspiration comes, don't speak.” If you plug yourself in the socket you will get the electricity, but don’t speak from what you have prepared as when you do that people begin to sleep. And like when my uncle Bahauddin speaks, not only people are listening but they are laughing! I asked him to speak but he didn't want. Mawlana has such highly respected children who can teach, and Mawlana's door is open always inshaa-Allah in dunya and Akhirah for anyone who is coming.

So that khalifah’s son spoke for forty minutes and everyone slept. He finished his lecture and went to see his father directly, arguing with him, “O my father! I am higher than you in knowledge, I know everything, I studied Shari`ah more, and yet when I speak everyone sleeps and when you speak everyone listens!”

His father said, “O my son! I sent you to speak so you will learn something. When you speak, it is from your ego, and you must remember there is a knower above you.

وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ

Above every knower is a (higher) knower. (Surah Yusuf, 12:76)

“Don’t think you are above everyone else or one day they will crush your head. When I speak, I first connect my heart to my shaykh and when inspiration comes I consider that speech is first to correct me and that my shaykh is speaking through me but to me. But you consider yourself above everyone and that you are teaching them and that is why Allah gave you a lesson, to teach you that everyone is asleep. So when you speak, be sure to think what you are speaking is first for you, then no one in the audience will sleep. Go next week, give your lecture and be sure that advice is addressed to yourself.”

So the next week he began to speak and said, “This lecture is for me first,” and then he began to speak against his own ego, not theirs, but against his own desires and his self, and all the people listened and requested even more! Tariqah is not that easy. In tariqah there is the importance of rabita, to focus and meditate that your heart is connected to your shaykh, but rabita comes after first completing Shari`ah; you cannot drop Shari`ah and meditate. With all my respect to them, we are not Hindus or Buddhists; they follow their beliefs, but we are Muslims and have to follow what is in Islam, in which there is also meditation known as “muraqaba,” which is to observe where your heart is going.

Muraqaba is to observe yourself. There is always a struggle within the self, and muraqaba is to observe and try to balance these two elements. Some people say, “What are these two elements we have to balance to connect directly to the shaykh?” Many people think they can always go directly to the shaykh to connect their hearts. Yes, that is correct, but first you have to know to where you must connect and which socket you are plugging into; you might be plugging into Shaytan and think you are connecting to awliyaullah, we don’t know. So if you don’t learn Shari`ah you might be on the wrong path; you might be exiting and going to another highway that takes you away from Islam. We are Muslims, but you might plug into a way that is against Islam.

I heard yesterday there are mureeds who think they are khalifahs of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) and yet they believe in reincarnation and in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ! They call themselves khalifahs of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and now people are confused. How can we fix this problem? Do you pet them and say, “We are friends, we are together and have the same shaykh,” no, you cannot! Whoever keeps his tongue closed from saying the right thing in such serious matters is a dumb shaytan! You cannot tell others, “I believe in reincarnation,” and give lectures on reincarnation and crucifixion and still claim, “I am a khalifah and deputy of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim.” That is dangerous, that is where Shaytan plays!

There are two elements in our selves, the heart and the mind, and you have to balance them. Allah (swt) balanced them in the Holy Qur'an when He said:

وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا

By the soul and the proportion and order given to it, He inspired the self of its good and its bad.

(Surat ash-Shams, 91:7,8)

And in Hadith Qudsi, Prophet (s) said that Allah (swt) said:

قلب الموءمن بيت الرب

The heart of the believer is the House of the Lord.

Allah always inspires the heart with good, but the mind gives a different order from that heavenly inspiration. So if we balance the heart and the mind, then we will be on the highway and we will begin to understand how awliyaullah work. Allah (swt) mentioned many ayaat about dhikrullah before muraqabah. You see many people saying they are connecting their hearts, but to whom? You must connect to the shaykh, not to the one who brought you to the shaykh. Anyone that gives baya` and says he is khalifah only gives baya` on behalf of the shaykh! He cannot call anyone to himself, he must call people to the main one from whom the tariqah comes, the main socket where the energy is coming from, or else you will plug into a socket that has no energy and spend your whole life achieving nothing, so what will be the benefit? Don’t be like someone (a well-known representative) connecting to the wrong place and come later and say, “I believe in reincarnation.” Before leading muraqaba or meditation, you must show people that dhikrullah is in Holy Qur'an, because some Muslims blend their meditation with Buddhism, Hinduism and Zenism, not adhering to what it says in Holy Qur’an. First, you must do dhikrullah and be in a struggle (against your ego) for many years of your life to reach that level about which Allah (swt) says:

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلاَفِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لآيَاتٍ لِّأُوْلِي الألْبَابِ الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذا بَاطِلاً سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Behold! In the creation of Heaven and Earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding, those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting and lying down on their sides, and contemplating the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, (saying), "Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose! Glory to You! Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.” (Surat Aali `Imraan, 3:191-192)

Qiyaaman is when they are awake they stand and mention Allah (swt), or when relaxing at home they are remembering and mention Allah (swt), and when they go to sleep they mention Allah (swt). At that time, when you keep mentioning Allah (swt) you reach these three levels: qiyaaman/ standing, qu`oodan/ sitting down, and `alaa junoobihim/ laying down. When you understand fully the importance of dhikr in your life, your heart, your mind and in your friend, at that time Allah is giving you permission to make tafakkur, meditation, which does not come so easy.

How many years did Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, may Allah give him long life and shifa`ah, make seclusions (before getting permission to give irshaad)? Besides what Mawlana told us, I know from what Grandshaykh (q) told me that it was at least 10-12 seclusions ranging from forty days to one year. One time Grandshaykh (q) made seclusion for five years continuously when he was eighteen years old and when he came out he was twenty-three years old. In that seclusion he only ate one piece of dry bread and seven olives every day, and he was there by himself for five years! It was not like today; alhamdulillah, with Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) it is very easy as we are not struggling because he is struggling by himself, carrying us! He is responsible and we are free! He said to us, “Go free like a horse, and the shepherd and horses are loose.” Any time we stray, he catches us, and he knows how far we went and he brought us back to normal.

To be able to reach that level of meditation is to reach the level of dhikr, first in Shari`ah, which means to make dhikrullah. So it means study Shari`ah, dhikrullah, then you can understand what awliyaullah say to you. And that brings this story of Shaykh `Abdul `Aziz ad-Dehlawi (q), a great shaykh from the Dehlawi Order in India. He was reciting sha`r, poetry, saying, “Whatever the shaykh orders you do it, even if he says to paint your prayer rug with wine.” In Arab poetry, wine represents love, so although he didn’t explain it this way, he is saying metaphorically, “Even pray on a rug that is painted with wine (love) as it will take you to the Divine Presence,” meaning, “Be drunk in Allah's love and come into prayer where there is nothing but Him!”

So a mureed asked him about that poetry, and the shaykh said, “Why are you asking about this poetry? It is not meant for you.” Why are you questioning the shaykh? Is it your business? First study your Shari`ah, then come to me to learn tariqah or you will not understand.” To study Shari`ah first is wajib on every Muslim; you cannot jump over it and come to tariqah. So his answer was, “Since you don't understand poetry, go study Shari`ah and then come to me.” He insisted his shaykh tell him. Look how much patience the shaykh has when students insist! They put up with mureeds arguing, “This way, not that way,” and all of us argue, even in our hearts, and the shaykh can see that so be careful. In the presence of the shaykh make your heart like iron so it doesn't move, because Shaytan comes quickly and whispers, “Don’t listen to this,” and it might be the shaykh is testing you at that moment.

So that student insisted, “No, I want to know what you meant by saying, ‘Paint your prayer rug if your murshid orders you to do that,’” as the Gnostic is ignorant in the way of tariqah if he doesn't do what the shaykh orders him.

His shaykh said, “Since you insisted, I now got permission to clarify to you what it means.” He gave him ten rupees and said, “Go to this place in that city and you will see a prostitution area and you will see the auctioneer.”

You have to understand the symbol of that; don't cut and paste and say, “Shaykh Hisham said this (to go to prostitutes)!” No, you should take the whole sentence, and this is not from me; rather, it is from Shaykh Abdul `Aziz Dehlawi (q) of India.

His shaykh said, “And ask the auctioneer if he has a beautiful girl that to enjoy.” So the poor mureed was in a big problem as he asked this question because he was in the Shari`ah way and insisted to know the answer. The shaykh said, “Why do you still insist? Then go and do this, go find a lady and enjoy her!”

The mureed was shocked and disturbed and began to meditate. Here we come to the subject of meditation now, and not like Hindus, who meditate with no cover and women and men together, saying, “I feel so inspired and I see the whole universe turning!” Rather, their mind is turning, not the earth, and everything is turning. So the mureed said to himself, “You made the mistake when you insisted to know and asked about that poetry and why is that so, and now you have no choice but to go to that place!” Then he understood that he has to follow the shaykh, so he went to that place and found the man in charge, who told him, “We just received a very beautiful girl from a village far from here and she is in that room. I will negotiate with her and tell you the price.” He came back and said, “She has accepted and wants this amount, so come back tonight to be with her.”

So the mureed returned that night, entered the room and found a girl covered, squatting and crying non-stop. He didn't know what to do and decided to speak to her.

He said, “I did not come to you to harm you. The auctioneer already spoke to you and you accepted, so I came here on the order of my shaykh.” When he said that she cried more and the poor man didn't know what to do! He was between his shaykh and this girl, between Shari`ah and tariqah, and he didn’t know what to do that will not be a sin.

She continued to cry and remained covered. She said, “I am mazhloomah, oppressed, and so down! My life is destroyed and I am so hungry from many days’ neglect after my husband left me and went to study Islam and Shari`ah in another country, and there is no communication from him.”

The mureed asked the name of her husband, which city is he from and where did he go? When she answered and explained everything, it turned out that he was her husband, the one who had left her!

Look at the wisdom of awliya! They don’t let you commit a sin, but they order you to do what will will fix you. Because he insisted, the shaykh led him to it. So it means insist on doing good, insist on doing what the shaykh is ordering you, and don’t question that or it will become a problem.

He began to cry and said, “Raise your head.” She raised her head and recognized him as her husband and hugged him. He took her and she was again safe with her husband. So look how awliyaullah work. If you don’t balance what your mind says with what your heart says, you will unknowingly fall into problems, but with the hand and power of the shaykh that person and his wife were saved.

May Allah (swt) forgive us and keep our backbone, as Imam al-Busayri (r) said in al-Burdah ash-Shareefah, inna lanaa min al-inaayata ruknun ghayr munhadimi. O People! From Allah’s tajalli of caring we have a rukn, a huge post that we can lean our back on for divine care and support: we have our shaykh to lean on, and in turn, he is leaning on the Prophet (s)!

May Allah forgive us and bless us.

Bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.


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