As salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi ta`ala wa barakaatuh. Alhamdulillahi rabbi 'l-`alameen, wa 's-salaatu wa 's-salaamu `ala ashrafi ‘l-Mursaleen, Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammad wa `ala aalihi wa ashaabihi 't-tahireen al-mutahhareen `alayhim afdalu ‘r-ridwaan wa’ s-salaat `ala Nabiyyuna al-Mustafaa, wa afdala ar-ridwaan `ala sahaabatihi 'l-kiraam. amma ba`d fa naqoolu amaama hadaraati al-a’imma al-kibaar wa 'l-`ulamai al-fikhaam, aqoolu kalimataan amaamahum takfi insha’Allah bi 'l-ghardi li 'l-mustami’een.
I will try my best to say something in front of these a’imma, big imams; I am nothing, but they are honoring me, so I would like to say something that will benefit the people. Allah subhaanahu wa ta`ala mentioned in the Qur'an a very important story to Sayyidina Muhammad, `alayhi afdalu 's-salaata wa 's-salaam, in which he gave the example of an ant:
حَتَّى إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَى وَادِي النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
hatta idha aataw `ala waadee 'n-namla qaalat namlatun yaa ayyuha 'n-namlu 'dkhuloo masaakinakum laa yahtimannakum sulaymaanu wa junooduhu wa hum la yash`uroona.
Till, when they reached the Valley of the Ants, an ant exclaimed, "O ants! Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you, unperceiving." Suratu 'n-Naml (27:18)
One small ant between millions of ants said, "Run for safety before the army of Sulayman steps on you!" So they listened to an ant between them and in front of such `ulamas we are ants; we are nothing.
In Holy Qur'an, Allah (swt) said to Sayyidina Muhammad:
قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاء رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا
Qul innamaa anaa basharun mithlukum yoohaa ilayya annamaa ilaahukum ilaahun waahidun faman kaana yarjoo liqaa rabbihi falya`mal `amalan saalihan wa laa yushrik bi-`ibadati rabbihi ahada.
Say (O Muhammad), "I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your God is One God (Allah), so whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” (Suratu 'l-Kahf, 18:110)
Prophet (s) can say that about himself, but we have to say he is not like us, because Allah (swt) gave to Muhammad (s) what he did not give to anyone. He is the Seal of Messengers, he is the Intercessor until the Day of Judgment for everyone! With all that Allah (swt) gave to him, he said, "I am only a human being," like you, showing humbleness. So the importance is to be humble and Sayyidina Muhammad (s) showed humbleness; Iblees showed arrogance. Allah (swt) cursed the one with arrogance and praised the one with humbleness.
Prophet (s) said, man tawaadha’a lillahi rafa’ahu Allah, "Who will show humbleness, Allah (swt) will raise him.." You cannot be arrogant. Today, unfortunately, people are arrogant, they have jealousy from each other, they envy each other, and they are not accepting each other, they are stubborn. Prophet (s) taught his Sahaaba (r) not to be stubborn or arrogant!Who can declare that he knows everything? No one. Allah (swt) gave Sayyidina Muhammad (s) all kinds of knowledge, he is `uloom al-awwaleena wa 'l-akhireena, and still Prophet (s) says, "O Allah! I know nothing in Your Presence!"
Today, you have mosques like this mosque, or homes like this area, full of books. People wrote books, but what is the benefit of these books if you don’t have wisdom? Sayyidina `Ali, karramAllahu wajhahu wa radiy Allahu `anhu, said to the Sahaaba (r), "The whole Qur'an and ahadith are based on one point:." If you don’t know it, you cannot understand Qur'an and you cannot understand hadith. People today memorize Qur'an, which alhamdulillah is very good. They study Qur'an, which is very good, they study the explanation of Qur'an, which is very good, they study hadith, which is very good, they study fiqh, Shari’a, which is very good, but if they don’t have this point, all what they have done was a waste of their time. Why? Because if you don’t know that, how you are going to understand Holy Qur'an? Sahaabah (r) said, "Yaa `Ali, tell us what is that, so we can learn." And what he said is very simple, only four words. He said, raasu 'l-hikmatu makhaafatullah, "The head of wisdom is to fear Allah." They had all knowledges and secrets, and the head of that is makhaafatu Allah, "Fear Allah (swt)."
If you don’t have makhaafatu Allah, even if you memorize the entire Qur'an, what is it going to benefit you? Nothing. If you don’t have makhaafatullah you memorize all of Ahadithu 'n-Nabi. How many scholars ascend the minbar of Rasoolullah (s) and don’t apply what they speak to themselves because they don’t have makhaafatu Allah? Prophet (s) said, akhwaf ma akhaafu `ala ummatee, rajulun `aleemun bi 'l-lisaan, jahoolun bi 'l-qalb, "I fear for my Ummah one person ,"('one' means many), `aleemun bi 'l-lisaan, "the one who speaks very eloquently," but jahoolun bil qalb, "the one ignorant in the heart." That means he has no makhaafatu Allah. How many today are there? Today people are `Ulamaa al-Ummah (Scholars of the Ummah) and that is why we have to know.
Mawlana Imam Koudous, why I love him, I respect him, I kiss his hands even? Because he is sincere, humble, and pious. (Allahu akbar!) He has makhaafatullah in his heart. Like Imam (Mawlana Shaykh Hisham gestures to one seated to his right) and many of his close friends. So, when someone has makhaafatullah in his heart, at least you can speak with that person because he shows you respect and humbleness. When someone fears Allah, he has taqwaa in his heart. If someone has taqwah, he does not need anyone, Allah (swt) will teach him what ittaqullah wa yu`allimukumullah. And if he is not able to learn by himself, Allah (swt) will send someone, for sure, to guide that person to haqq, to follow the way of the Prophet (s).
Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur'an:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
yaa ayyuha 'l-ladheena aamanoo ittaqullaha wa koonu ma` as-saadiqeen.
O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed) (9:119)
"Yaa Mu’min;" Allahu Akbar, He did not say:, "Yaa Muslim," because yet, mu'min (believer) is a different level from muslim (who surrenders in faith). It is a very important point.
قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ
laa taqooloo aamannaa bal qooloo aslamnaa, wa lammaa yadkhuli 'l-eemaanu fee quloobikum,
Say, "Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say, 'We have submitted our wills to Allah,' For not yet has Faith entered your hearts." (49:14)
Allah said: "Don’t say, 'We are Mu’min,' say, 'We are Muslim, because imaan did not yet enter your hearts.'"
Yes, Islam, entered, so what is islam and what is imaan is a big difference. All of us are doing Islam, shahaadatu an laa ilaaha ill-Llah, wa anna Muhammadan Rasoolullahi wa iqaamu 's- salaat. Everyone may make their prayers, wa itaau 'z-zakaat wa sawmu Ramadan, wa hajju 'l-bayt. The pillars of Islam, all Muslims have to do them. But imaan is different, because when Sayyidina Jibril (a) asked about Islam, Prophet (s) gave him these five pillars. So, laa taqooloo aamannaa, don’t say aamanaa bal qooloo aslamnaa. You are doing the obligations of the level of islam, what you have to do. But imaan is a higher level than Islam. Imaan is to believe in Allah, His prophets, His messengers, His angels, His holy books, wal-Yawmu 'l-Akhir, the Last Day, Day of Judgment, and the qadar, khayrihi wa sharrih, Pre-destination, whatever Allah (swt) has made it.
So we believe in Allah, everyone believes; we believe in Prophet (s), everyone believes; we believe in Allah's holy books, everyone believes; we believe in the Day of Judgment, everyone believes; but do you believe in qadar, destiny? No! It means you are not surrendering yet to Allah (swt). That is one of the major and main sources of imaan, is to believe in destiny. We should believe in destiny, it means whatever comes, from people coming against you or speaking bad about you, ask Allah (swt) to forgive them. Submit like a dead person, with no complaint. That dead person is in his grave submitting! And if you don’t submit to Allah (swt), you are not yet fulfilling the reality of imaan, still you need to progress, so surrender.
That is why Allah said in the Holy Qur'an:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
yaa ayyuha 'Lladheena aamanoo ittaqullaha wa koonu ma` as-saadiqeen.
O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed). (9:119)
It means when you surrender to Allah (swt), and you submit to His will and to His qadar, at that time you have the right to be with His trustworthy people. By this way you are able to be with his trustworthy people, because to accompany a trustworthy person (saadiq) is very difficult. For example, the story in Holy Qur'an of Sayyidina Musa (a) and Sayyidina Khidr (a). Sayyidina Musa (a) is a messenger from the five big prophets, and about Sayyidina Khidr (a) there are two scholarly opinions, one that he is a prophet and another that he is a wali. So whatever it is, Sayyidina Musa (a) is higher. Sayyidina Khidr (a) is not of the level of Sayyidina Musa, who was not able to accompany him.
And that story is about one Khidr. How many Khidr's are there? Not necessarily there is only one Khidr, but how many trustworthy people are learning from the example of Sayyidina Khidr? Allah (swt) mentioned one `abd:
فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا
fawajada `abdan min `ibaadina.
So they found one of Our servants... (18:65)
"One, from many." Because `abdan min `ibaadina means, "I showed Musa one of My servants." There are many of `ibaad, one of them was, they were not able to move along with each other. How many of these people in the ummah of Sayyidina Muhammad (s)? That was the ummah in the time of Sayyidina Musa (a), and compared with the ummah of Sayyidina Musa, Ummata 'n-Nabi (s) is a blessed ummah! So there is no way to compare. Where are these `ibaad, where are these Ahlu 'l-Haqa, Rijaalu 'l-Haqq? (People of Truth, Defenders of Truth). Where are they hiding themselves? This is one of them (Mawlana gestures to Imam Koudous). (takbeer, Allahu akbar!)
So if you are able to complete your imaan, then Allah (swt) will send you a trustworthy person to guide you. Don’t say, "I do not need a guide." If you say, "I will do it by myself," then you are destroying the principle of Islam that every action comes with a reaction, every reaction comes with an action, that means "cause and effect," sunnatullah. Everything is being arranged.
(Imam Koudous introduces his son to Shaykh Hisham.)
In every action Allah (swt) shows cause and effect: you do something, you get something. It means dunya al-asbaab. So if someone says, "I don’t need a guide," he is coming against the teachings of Prophet (s). Why? Because Prophet (s) did it. He asked for a daleel, a guide, when he left from Mecca to Madina. Why? A prophet who went for Isra and Mira`aj in the second year of Islam cannot go from Mecca to Madina without a guide? He can, but he said, "I want to show my ummah that they need a guide."
To acknowledge you need a guide is a sign of humbleness. If they asked me, "Shaykh Koudous is your shaykh, or you are his shaykh?" what I have to say? I say, "Shaykh Koudous is my shaykh." I have to show respect, everyone has to respect the other. (In this way) I am not losing anything. If I say, "Shaykh Koudous is my shaykh," Allah (swt) will be happy with me, Prophet (s) will be happy with me, that I show signs of humbleness. But you might ask people on the street, scholars in different areas, "Is this one your shaykh?" and he says, "No, I have my shaykh." That one is his own shaykh, because that is arrogance. (takbir)
So we need guidance. There is a hadith from Prophet (s) mentioned in different hadith books, (but not in Bukhari and Muslim):
أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم
as-haabee ka 'n-nujoom bi ayyihim iqtadaytum ihtadaytum. My Sahaaba are like stars in dark nights, so anyone of them you follow, you will be guided. My Companions are like stars (on a dark night); whichever of them you follow, you will be guided.
(`Abd ibn Humayd, ad-Daraqutnee, ibn `Adiyy, ibn `Abd al-Barr, with unsound chains but the meaning is sound)
Prophet (s) said, "You need my Sahaabah to guide you," as if he is directing us to choose one of his Sahaabah (r) to guide us, not to say, "I don’t need to be guided by them, I take from Prophet (s) directly." No, you cannot take from Prophet (s) directly; there is a hierarchy in Islam!
Nakhtim bi aayah mina 'l-Qur'ani 'l-kareem (we end with a verse from the Holy Quran):
وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ
wa fawqa kulli dhi `ilmin `aleem.
Above every knower, there is another knower. (12:76)
Above every knowledge, there is another knowledge. This means that knowledge never ends, so don’t say you know something as all what you know is not a drop of the Oceans of Knowledge that the Prophet (s) has in his heart. Allahu akbar. Mashaa'Allah. He brought Sayyidina Musa, Sayyidina Khidr.
Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah. Tilaawatu 'l-Fatihah. Taqabbal Allah. Salaam.