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Our Duty is to Respect, Not Judge

Ramadan Series 2017, Vol 16

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

14 June 2017 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Zhuhr Suhbah

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani ‘r-rajeem. Bismillahi ‘r-Rahmaani ‘r Raheem.

يس وَالْقُرْآنِ الْحَكِيمِ إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

Yaseen. By the wise Qur’an, Lo! You are sent on a Straight Path. (Surat Yaseen, 36:1-4)

As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh. We are trying to say salaam as much as we can, because it is of the Sunnah of Prophet (s).

Dear brothers, sisters and children, sons and daughters, may Allah bless you all. We are entering into the last ten days of Ramadan, which is `itqun min an-naar. The first ten were Siffat of rahmah, when Allah manifests His Beautiful Names on Prophet (s) and the Ummah, during which mercy will dress those who are fasting, the Believers who respect Ramadan. The second ten days are maghfirah. After Allah (swt) dresses the mu’mins with rahmah, He grants them maghfirah and forgives all sins. The last ten days are `itqun min an-naar, freedom from Hellfire, which means no judgement, as Allah already made His Judgement.

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ

You were the best of Nations sent to humanity, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah. (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:110)

“You were the best Nation sent to humanity,” past tense, kuntum, “you were.” How many Ummahs Allah created we don't know, but Awliyaullah say there are 124,000 Nations, the same number of Prophets. “You were the best among them.” What more do you want? Yesterday someone here asked, “Can we have good tidings and something that will save us on the Day of Judgment?” I didn’t answer, because you don’t need an answer as Prophet (s) is already interceding for the whole Ummah! Prophet (s) did not come to dunya before Allah had forgiven all of the Ummah, and all Children of Adam were free from punishment except those who are not believers. That is not our problem; our concern is ourselves and our Muslim Ummah, the rest is for Sayyidina `Isa and Sayyidina Musa (a), let them take it from there. We follow Islam and Prophet (s), who loves Sayyidina `Isa (a) and never denied him nor Sayyidina Musa or Sayyidina Ibrahim (a), but said he is one of them. Prophets are not like us, they are ma`soom, infallible.

So he said, “Is there any certificate for us to go to Paradise?”

“Yes, of course. In the past I (Allah) forgave you and I will forgive in the future. You were the best Ummah, but not of the best `amal. The ‘best Ummah’ status is because you are enlightened by the Light of Prophet (s).” Sometimes you see the shaykh’s face reflected on mureeds; they look like him because after awhile very devoted mureeds begin to reflect his light, appearance and features. Awliyaullah look like each other, not fully, but according to what they get from Prophet (s) and Allah (swt). So, of course, you will have a free ticket to Paradise, which alone is an honor! Allah said, kuntum khayra ummatin ukhrijat li’n-naas taamuroona bi’l-ma`roofi, “You are the best Ummah sent to humankind calling for good,” not calling for haraam, but calling for goodness, to see peace, not Muslims and non-Muslims people fighting each other.

May Allah (swt) open our hearts and send us guidance, because the Ummah is lost now. You cannot find the Awliyaullah, they are like al-kibreet al-ahmar, the Red Sulphur, the red diamond that is very valuable, and al-kibreet al-ahmar is also rare to find as a mineral. It is very difficult to find them.

When someone passes away, he gives his load to the one who is living. They can give to one, ten or a hundred, but can you tell them, “Give only one load.” Once Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) told me, “Come with me.” It was in the same area in Damascus that we mentioned yesterday, where shuyookh from the Shadhili Tariqah like to have hadrah, not like our groups do, rather a dancing hadrah about which we said many times you have to be careful as it is not real hadrah, and we cannot say more than that. There we entered an alley where was a big, old-style house perhaps 300 years old. Three-to-four hundred people stood in a rectangle and did dhikrullah and sang qasidas. Now people know of it, but before they called it bida`. Now many do it as they found the reality of hadrah is to be attracted to the Divine Presence, to be purified by Prophet (s) and one’s shaykh, and presented to Allah (swt) clean from any disturbance. This is the duty of the shaykh, and then there were two great shaykhs: Grandshaykh `AbdAllah ad-Daghestani and Sayyidi Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani (q).

When we entered the hallway and the mureeds saw Mawlana Shaykh Nazim coming, they didn’t know him very well, but the shuyookh ran to him and immediately brought him in the center of the hadrah. I was happy to be in that association making dhikrullah and hadrah; it was first time for me to see a very organized hadrah like that, and the two or three munshideen who were making qasidah with very nice voices made everyone cry.

I was young and said to myself, “What is this for? To sit with Grandshaykh and Mawlana Shaykh (q) is better than this. Why did I have to come here leaving Grandshaykh at his house? No, it is better to go back.”

When we finished, Mawlana said, “Don't think that way. This is silaat ar-raheem, establishing kinship, which Allah loves.”

All Islam is built on silaat ar-raheem, the connection through blood and through the spiritual soul, for people to be together. We say silaat ar-raheem, the connection through the womb, family ties; so we are all family tied to Prophet (s). These Shadhilis are connected to Prophet (s) and we go to their dhikr and they come to our dhikr. We build bridges, which is acceptable, because some shuyookh did not yet reach their potential. There are many different levels: some shuyookh are on the first level, some are on the fourth level, the tenth level and some on the 124,000th level, because there is a level under every Prophet and, therefore, there are 124,000 levels you must climb. Some have advanced and climbed all the way up and some are still climbing, so we must respect all of them and not differentiate because they are doing their best to reach the highest level. Laa tuhaqiru ahad, don’t belittle anyone, any shaykh, not even your brother or friend. Today some people belittle the shuyookh of other Tariqahs, which is haraam as they are doing their best to achieve what Allah gave them and we must respect that. Remind me to come back to that.

This story is to explain how one day in Mecca, Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) was not where he normally was and Ashaab an-Nabi (r) were looking for him because Prophet (s) wanted him, but no one found him. Prophet (s) then went to the Ka`bah, opened the door and found him there praying and crying. Prophet (s) was stunned; why was Abu Bakr as-Siddiq crying? No one had died, no one had a problem, everyone was okay, so what was disturbing him? Prophet (s) kept standing out of respect, he didn’t leave him; he (s) was so subtle, subhanAllah, adab!

أدبني ربي فأحسن تأديبي

My Lord perfected my good manners and conduct. (Ibn `Asakir)

Allah respected Prophet (s), who then spread that Manifestation of respect, ihtiraam, throughout the Ummah for all to have ihtiraam towards each other. Souls respect other souls. When we sit with each other we must have respect, but unfortunately, we still harbor disrespect for others in our hearts, which is not good and we must rid ourselves of that. We must respect everyone, young or old, because we don’t know when the young one speaks, perhaps Allah (swt) inspired him to say something good and from it you learn adab. Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) was asked, “Why do you respect the young and give them your attention? They are young, they don’t understand.” He said, “Because the young have fewer sins than me.” They asked, “Why do you respect the elderly?” He said, “Because they worshipped more than me.” So you always must always show respect, that is important.

So until he calmed down a little, Prophet (s) stood without disturbing Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r), then Prophet (s) gently tapped him on his back, and when Sayyidina Abu Bakr saw him he was so happy that all his tears disappeared!

Prophet (s) asked, “What happened, yaa Abu Bakr? Everyone is looking for you, you didn’t show up today. What is going on, why are you crying? Allah (swt) granted you to be as-Siddiq al-Akbar, the Unique Trusted One, highest level of trustworthiness. Whenever I say something, you say, ‘Sadaqta, yaa Rasoolullah.’ In Mi`raaj, when I felt overwhelmed, I heard your voice in Paradise. Allah made you, the most respected, most trusted person, to be my companion when we migrated from Mecca to Madinah.”

Allahumma salli wa sallim wa baarik `alaa Sayyidina Muhammad wa `ala aali Sayyidina Muhammad! Allah said in Holy Qur’an:

إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لاَ تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَنَا

He (s) said to his companion, "Do not be sad (or afraid), for surely Allah is with us."

(Surat at-Tawbah, 9:40)

Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur’an that Prophet (s) called Sayyidina Abu Bakr “as-Saahib,” saahibi Rasoolillah. He was the first among men to believe in Prophet (s); among youth Sayyidina Ali (a) first believed and among ladies Sayyidatina Khadijah al-Kubra (a) believed.

Prophet (s) said, “Why are you in such a situation?”

Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) said, “Yaa Rasoolullah! When I entered Ka`bah, it came to my heart how can I respect and deal with everyone when I do not know what Allah will do with me on the Day of Judgement? I am looking at myself, saying, ‘Yes, Allah made me as-Siddiq and you call me ‘as-Siddiq, ‘ yaa Rasoolullah, and Allah promised me Paradise away from Hellfire. But what if Allah (swt) says, ‘I don't want you to be as-Siddiq anymore.’ If He changes it, can anyone interfere? If Allah says, ‘I want to send you to Hellfire,’ what can I do? Nothing. Yaa Rasoolullah, can you do anything for me at that time?”

Of course, the Prophet can intercede, but this is teach us something. What level are Awliyaullah on compared to this? That is why they don't like to be called ‘shuyookh’ or ‘Awliya’, they don’t like any title, because they don't want to be arrogant or proud of themselves. Awliyaullah are under that load: don't think they are happy all the time, they are crying in their homes. Allahumma salli `alayka yaa Sayyidi, yaa Rasoolullah!

Prophet (s) said, “Yaa Aba Bakr! Allah gave you `itqun min an-naar, freedom from Hellfire. You are from the ten who are granted glad tidings of Paradise with no account.”

Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) said, “Yaa Rasoolullah! If Allah changes, what will I do?”

Prophet (s) began to cry, then said, “If Allah takes you to Hellfire, I will go with you!” The demonstrates the degree of love between they shared. Do we have that? What will we do on that Day? There no one no brother or sister will take care of you, no uncle or judge, no mother, no one will help you, you will be responsible for yourself. If Allah says, “I want to send you to Hellfire,” what can you do? “Give me bara`atun min an-naar, innocence from Hellfire, yaa Rasulullah and I will stop crying, or else I will cry until the Day of Judgement!”

Sayyidina Nafisa Tahirah (r), Prophet’s granddaughter who is buried in Egypt, taught this. She is from Ahlu ’l-Bayt. Imam Shafi`i was among her students. After Fajr prayer, he took his students to her home, where they studied Shari`ah; she also taught tafseer and Hadith. One day Imam Shafi`i found her not in the home but in her courtyard, where she had dug a big grave and sat there reciting Holy Qur’an. She told him, “When the Angel of Death comes by reading Qur’an or Hadith I will be ready to give my soul.” She used her house as a graveyard. When visitors came she sat with them, answered questions, and explained Shari`ah; however, she was always aware of what will Allah do when He takes her soul. Do we have a guarantee from Hellfire when Allah takes our soul? No, but we have guarantee from Prophet (s).

Prophet (s) and Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r) cried for some time, then Allah (swt) sent Jibreel (a). in no time through kun fayakoon! Similarly, Allah (swt) granted Awliyaullah the powers of Tayy az-Zamaan wa ‘l-Makaan, the Folding of Time and Space: in one moment they can be anywhere on Earth. Nevertheless, when the order came Jibreel (a) was immediately there. To cross our galaxy you need billions or trillions of light years to reach. Sayyidina Jibreel (a) passed through all that in a moment, penetrating the no-time zone of that blessed, divine Heaven to Earth. What did he bring with him?

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “Yaa Rasoolullah! Allah sends His salaam[1] to you and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. He is not happy with you crying and said, “I made you the Seal of Prophets (s), wa ra`fana laka dhikrak, I raised your name with My Name and that is enough for you. And I made him as-Siddiq, which is enough for him. Tell him that Allah’s Order doesn’t change, and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq will enter Paradise with no account.”

Do we have such a thing? How can we say we are shuyookh, `allama, doctors, encyclopedias, Qiblat al-Muslimeen, muhaddith, al-Yaqoot al-Akbar, al-Yaqoot al-Ahmar...who gave these false titles, Heaven? Maybe Allah gave some of them, but in general, we don't have anything to save us from Hellfire but Muhabbat an-Nabi (s). Sayyidina Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q), may Allah bless his soul, followed the Hadith of Prophet (s) to respect everyone, ihtiraam al-kull, there is no differentiation because Allah created Believers and unbelievers and, therefore, judgment is His alone. Our duty is not to judge; otherwise, we fall into the sin of thinking we are better than them!

In Mountain View near San Francisco, we made dhikr in a masjid, a big hall where we also prayed Jumu`ah, and it was a also dojo for martial arts, so both Muslims and non-Muslims attended, mainly non-Muslims with a few converts. One day a man came, he was 95 years old, but mashaa-Allah he had power.

He said, “I live half-an-hour away, so I often pass by and would like to join you, because you used meditate loudly in a nice tone and I like it. Can I sit with you?”

I said, “Of course.”

He said, “I am not following your religion.”

I said, “It is not a condition to attend, welcome.”

He sat with us; after we finished we prayed `Isha and he left. The second week he came and sat in the dhikr; he was happy and left. The fourth week he came and said, “Can I be like you?”

I said, “Of course you can, but you must take Shahadah.”

He said, “What is that?” I explained it is, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah, wa iqaamu ’s-Salaah, wa eetaai ’z-Zakaah, wa sawmu Ramadan, wa ‘i\l-Hajju ’l-Bayt:

امَنْتُ بِاللهِ وَمَلئِكَتِه وَكُتُبِه وَرَسُوْلِه وَالْيَوْمِ الْاخِرِ وَالْقَدْرِ خَيْرِه وَشَرِّه مِنَ اللهِ تَعَالى وَالْبَعْثِ بَعْدَالْمَوْتِ

I believe in the existence and oneness of Allah, His angels, His books, His prophets, and I believe in the Day of Judgement, and in Destiny, that everything good or evil is from Allah, and I believe in life after death (and resurrection.) All of them are true and right. (Imaan al-Mufassal)

Then I asked, “Do you accept this?”

He said, “Yes, I accept.”

I said, “Do you accept Islam, because we are Muslim?”

He said, “I accept.”

He read Shahadah and was happy; he prayed `Isha with us and left. The week after he did not show up. Another week went and again he did not show up. I sent someone to look for him, and they found out he had died. So where did he go? Paradise. He lived as an unbeliever for ninety-five years and in one second he became a Believer. The ninety-five years he spent in dunya, Allah forgave his sins because Prophet (s) said:

الإسلام يهدم ما كان قبله

Islam removes all [sins] that came before. (Muslim)

That's why it is recommended for us as Muslims to often say, “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah, `alayha nahya wa `alayha namoot wa `alayha nalqallah.” That man died. A week before, had we seen him on the street or entering a church, or doing something wrong a week, we wouldn’t have known he would later become Muslim, and therefore, we cannot accuse or judge him, so leave that to Allah (swt)!

Many converts are coming to Islam. Had you met them before they came to Islam when they may have sinned, you might have said, “Look what they are doing.” Don’t demean them: Allah will judge them, He knows their hearts, so leave them. Let us look at and clean ourselves, it is not our job to clean others. Our job is to explain if they ask us something about Islam, but if they don’t ask, don’t interfere.

Sayyidina Abdul-Qadir Jilani (q) passed by some unbelievers carrying a coffin on their shoulders, the body of an unbeliever who often criticized Believers. As the unbelievers approached, he immediately stood bowing in respect, let the funeral procession pass, then joined his followers, who were surprised; some might have silently objected in their hearts, but you cannot complain as you don’t know the wisdom. Wait for your shaykh to explain the wisdom of everything you are doing or planning, then he gives his input. That is why when I was young we consulted Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, Grandshaykh (q), or my uncles, because they know more than us.

وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ

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

One of Abdul-Qadir Jilani’s students was curious, which is also a test when Allah sends mureeds that will make problems, to see if that shaykh has patience. Some shaykhs do and some don't; nevertheless, they are shaykhs. There are two types of Awliyaullah: some are happy with everything; they are on a higher level because they submit completely, whatever comes they don’t object; but the others complain. May Allah not make us from those who complain. Tests are very hard and they come on every mureed or mureeda, man or woman. Everyone is complains: mureeds complain about each other and the shaykh, and the shaykh complains about his mureeds! Now we need some adjustment. That is why mashayikh have disappeared. Awliyaullah know it is from the Signs of the Last Days, as Prophet (s) said:

`Abdullah Ibn `Umar (r) related from the Prophet (s):

قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وسلم: إن اللّه لايقبض العلم انتزاعا ينتزعه من الناس ولكن يقبض العلم بقبض العلماء، حتى إذا لم يترك عالما اتخذ الناس رؤوسا جهالا فسئلوا فأفتوا بغير علم فضلوا وأضلوا

Allah will not remove knowledge by extracting it from people, but He will remove it by removing scholars until no scholar is left and people follow ignorant leaders. They will ask them and they will give fatwa with no knowledge, misguiding themselves and misguiding others. (Muslim)

Prophet (s) told Sayyidina Jibreel (a) that too much ignorance will fill the Earth in the Last Days; you give an answer but it does not apply to the situation. Today shuyookh must be very careful in addressing mureeds. A curious one asked, “Yaa Shaykh! Why did you bow to an unbeliever? It is bid`a, shirk.” Shaykh Abdul-Qadir Jilani (q) said, “Yes, you are right; however, he has two angels, one on the right, one on the left, and my duty is to respect the angels, which I did when I bowed, and I advised the deceased to remember when he was young and his parents and grandparents were Muslim and gave him Shahaadah. At that moment, he read the Shahaadah.”

Prophet (s) respected both the young and old.

Once a shaykh was walking on the street and saw an unbeliever. The shaykh wasn’t on a high spiritual level, he was still at the beginning, and was worried about encountering the unbeliever, so he changed his direction and entered an alley. At that moment, his shaykh spoke to his heart, “Stop it! Laa tuhaqiru ahadan, don’t belittle anyone. You don't know if he ever recited the Shahaadah or not, as in every moment Allah may bring anyone to belief. Therefore, you cannot judge anyone, only Allah can judge, so just continue normally on your way.” He continued on his way and met the unbeliever, who then took Shahaadah. Don't belittle anyone. Inshaa-Allah, Allah granted us to respect everyone, which is Sunnah, as Prophet (s) said:

أدبني ربي فأحسن تأديبي

My Lord perfected my good manners and conduct. (Ibn `Asakir)

Allah perfected Prophet (s), so who perfected us? To come to Prophet (s) you need help of the daleel, guide on the road. If you are in Mecca under all its obligations of respect and want to go to Madinah to make ziyarah to Prophet (s), do you need a guide or not? Yes! Every fifty kilometers they have a checkpoint where police officers tell you, “Proceed to this street/highway.” They guide you for a four-hundred kilometers, so what do you think about the distance between us and Heavens, how can we reach there? You cannot reach it without respect: if we respect people, Allah gives us respect from Heavens. That is the message of the suhbah today: respect everyone.

One time Grandshaykh `AbdAllah ad-Daghestani (q) came down the mountain from his house to the mosque of Shaykh Ibn Arabi (q), fifteen minutes by car and forty-five minutes walking. Grandshaykh (q) hired a carriage drawn by two horses, and with the great scholar Abdul-Wahhab as-Sallahi, went to Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi’s maqaam.

Suddenly, they didn’t know how, someone took hold of the bridle and stopped the horses, looked at them, and said to Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab as-Sallahi, “Yaa Shaykh! You are mu`ammah, wearing a turban, so you are under observation from Awliyaullah. Tell me, is he your shaykh or you are his shaykh?”

Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab as-Sallahi replied, “He is not my shaykh and I am not his shaykh.” That man disappeared. Surprised, Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab as-Sallahi said, “Where is he and what did he answer?”

He didn’t know what to do. Grandshaykh (q) laughed and said, “He is still standing there, but from the bad adab in your answer, he disappeared from your sight.” Although Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab was a highly respected scholar, still his answer was wrong. Sultan al-Awliya Grandshaykh `AbdAllah (q), said, “What prevented you from replying, ‘He is my shaykh?’ What would you lose? It is best to show humility. Had you said, ‘He is my shaykh,’ that one would not have disappeared (you lost the opportunity to learn from him).”

May Allah (swt) always make us respect everyone and give them what they need from us in order to keep this Tariqah open all the way to the Day of Judgment, inshaa-Allah, with the appearance of Sayyidina Imam Mahdi (a).

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


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[1] “Salaam” is innocence from Hellfire.