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Ramadan is Here

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

28 May 2016 Gaithersburg, Maryland

International Islamic Centre (ICC)

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. I Inshaa-Allah, everyone wants to welcome Ramadan shahru ‘l-khayr, the month of gratitude, barakah.

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillaahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah, nawaytu 'r-riyaada, nawaytu 's-salook, lillahi ta`ala al-`Azheem fee hadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

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

كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ

Every soul shall taste death. (Surat Aali ʿImraan, 3:185)

I am asking that they inspire me to say something and we like to say something good, people always have to look for goodness, not dirtiness, you don't pray on a dirty carpet you pray on a clean carpet. These carpets came from overseas and if it has some dust on it, first you shake it to get the dust away, then you pray, if there is not only dust but some dirt you have to wash it completely. So Ramadan is coming and washing sins, inshaa-Allah.

We have to learn that tariqatuna ‘s-suhba wa ‘l-khayru fi ‘l-jami`yya, “our way is to be together,” united, not coming and listening and then going and spreading fitnah, confusion, for nothing. So that’s why I said at the beginning, my tongue said, kullu nafsin dha'iqat al-mawt, “every soul is going to taste death,” no one can run away from it and we have to acknowledge that one day we are going to be judged for everything that we have said wrongly in dunya, in this world, but with Allah’s Mercy and Prophet’s (s) mercy we are going to be, inshaa-Allah, we will be excused from it, we will be forgiven. Still that doesn’t make you feel good, I am speaking generally, it doesn’t make you feel good because you are going to feel shy in the presence of Prophet (s) and the Presence of Allah on the Day of Judgement.

We are all believers here and we believe in Islam and we believe in love of each other, we don’t believe in stabbing each other. People are free to believe what they like and to do according to what they like but there is A Judge Who is going to judge you. You do whatever you want, say whatever you want to say in dunya, no issue, but when you leave this dunya, remember Allah (swt) said, “Everyone is going to taste death,” at that moment what are we going to answer? We are listening and we are...in our minds many stories come and we remind each other what they have said...Prophet (s) said, “I have been sent to perfect the character of my Nation.”

‏انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق

I have been sent to perfect the best of conduct (your behavior and character). (Bazzaar)

This is the message of Islam, but unfortunately, within Islam there are groups who back stab each other, which Prophet (s) prohibited and Allah prohibited in the Holy Qur’an when He said:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱجۡتَنِبُواْ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعۡضَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِثۡمٌ۬‌ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُواْ وَلَا يَغۡتَب بَّعۡضُكُم بَعۡضًا‌ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُڪُمۡ أَن يَأۡڪُلَ لَحۡمَ أَخِيهِ مَيۡتً۬ا فَكَرِهۡتُمُوهُ‌

O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible) for suspicion in some cases is a sin, and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would abhor it! (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:12)

“O Believers! Avoid entering into discussions and bad thoughts about each other, and don’t spy on each other and don’t backbite each other. Do you like to eat the raw flesh of your brother like wild animals?” No we don’t and that is a bad characteristic, to speak ill about each other and spread false rumors.

Allah knows best, we are not going to judge, but Allah is The Judge. We say, “Yaa Rabbee! You are The Judge.” One day Allah is going to judge us all, how are you going to meet when Allah calls you on the Day of Judgement, “What have you done in dunya?” What are you going to say? All prophets are shaking! If prophets are shaking what do you think about Awliya? They are shaking even more, they are afraid, because prophets are infallibles, they are ma`soom, Allah created them with perfection so they are innocent from any sins, whatever people say, there are no sins on them and with that they are shaking! What are the Sahaabah (r) doing? They are trembling. What are saints going to do? Are they shaking or not? What about us? If all of them are shaking are we going to be shaking or not? What are we going to say? Think! All our lives we accompany shuyookh, mashaykh and they are focussing on that. Yes, Allah gave us goodness in dunya and that’s what He said, He said “Approach me through that ayah.”

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the Fire! (Surat al-Baqara 2:201)

“Give us in dunya goodness, hasana, and in Akhirah goodness and prevent us from going to Hell Fire,”

Allah gave you to do what you want in dunya but not to break the law, you cannot break the law in a country, you will go to jail, what do you think will happen if you break the Law of Heavens? I am not speaking to make people afraid, but I am not only speaking to these people here but too many people are hearing and watching on the Internet, and this is an advice to me from my teacher and an advice to you.

This dunya is moving forward to its end and this is a belief for all religions and in Islam the Prophet (s) mentioned many Signs of the Last Days and if we look at the situation around the world, we will see that what Prophet (s) said, what he (s) predicted, is happening. For that reason it is refreshing for the mind to understand that we have to repent as soon as possible, everyday we have to repent, that’s what Allah wants from us. He knows that we are weak servants and we cannot be clean without His Support and His Help and without the help and support of Prophet (s), so we have to repent, and He said, “O My servant, don’t lose hope! Come to Me, I forgive you.” How to come to Him? By repentance. And Allah (swt) has told us, “I will forgive you.” He said:

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

Say, "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surat az-Zumar, 39:53)

“Don’t lose hope, Allah forgives all sins, but come to Him.” We say, “Yaa Rabbee, O our Lord, you know better, we don’t know. We are trying our best to come to You, guide us the right way.”

I was in California and we have (had?) in Mountain View in northern California, near San Francisco, a centre there. This story is from ten/fifteen years ago. Every week on Saturday we had a meeting like this, halaqat udh-dhikr, circle of dhikrullah, and we had many from different backgrounds: Africans, Europeans, Americans, Western, Middle Eastern, Sub-continent, Malaysia, Indonesia. One day a man came, he was new, but he had a cane, leaning on it, he entered, he couldn’t sit on the floor so we gave him a chair. He said, “Last week I was passing by this area and I heard some nice, beautiful songs,” it wasn’t songs it was dhikrullah, he heard it from the street. “I said to myself I will come, I will go inside the next day.” He came the next day and did not see anyone doing dhikr, as it was not the day the day we did dhikr; he thought it was every day they do that. So then he knew it was Saturday evening and he came and sat and was listening, and after we finished and he approached me and said, “I like that.” He was very old.

I said, “You are most welcome here, what can we help with?”

He said, “I am 95 years of age and I never came across such beautiful musical songs. Can I come next week?”

I said, “You are welcome.”

“Can I bring anything with me?”

I said, “No.”

He came the next week and sat in the dhikr and after dhikr we prayed `Isha and he prayed with us, he didn't know how to pray, he was a non-Muslim, ninety-five years of age. Then he came the following week and said, “I want to take Shahadah.” He said, “I want to become Muslim, what do I have to do?”

I said, “Nothing, attend this majlis, this association, and do what we do: praising Allah and sending praises and blessings on the Prophet (s) and you say after, Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah, I believe in God the Most Merciful, Allah is the Creator and Prophet (s) is the Messenger.” He repeated it and he immediately became Muslim. He asked for it.

Islamically what does that mean? Islamically anyone who is a non-Muslim and became Muslim at any time in his life, all his sins will be waived, whatever came before:

الإسلام يجب ما قبله

Islam clears the sins of what came before it. (Muslim)

He was ninety-five years of age and he took Shahadah and all the sins of his past life were erased. That is as the Prophet (s) said, a Hadith, al-Islamu yajibu ma qablahu, “Islam erases what was before.” So if we say as Muslims now, ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah we hope inshaa-Allah our sins will be erased. Allah is merciful, but come! So what do you think about this person? Ninety-five years of age, taking Shahadah at the end of his life, all sins have been erased and he is newly born in Islam, no sins. Where will he go? He will enter Paradise. He was in dunya ninety-five years doing what he liked and at the end of his life he remembered Allah (swt) and he became Muslim.

So Islam erases whatever comes before it, but we know the truth and we are disobeying. He did not know the truth, but we who are born Muslim are stabbing each other in the back. So what do we have to say? “Astaghfirullah,” and we have to renew our Shahada and say, “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah” and say, “Yaa Rabb, forgive us from everything we have done.” Then this man did not come, one week, two weeks did not come, so I wanted someone to check on him. And he came back and said, “That man died two weeks ago!” In the last moments of his life he came and he took Shahadah and then he died. So where will he go? To Paradise. That’s why Allah said in the Holy Qur’an, “I am gifting you this dunya, but be lawful to Me.”

اِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنسَانُ

إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا

Indeed, We offered the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains, but they refused to undertake it, being afraid, but Man undertook it! He proved to be a tyrant and a fool.

(Surat al-Ahzaab, 33:72)

“We have granted Our Trust, we offered Our Trust to Heavens and Earth and mountains and they said ‘Yaa Rabb, we cannot.’” They spoke! Heavens and Earth spoke. They said, “Yaa Rabbee this is the Holy Qur'an, we cannot carry the Trust, Your Trust, we cannot keep it clean,” they are afraid to carry and then be asked. But human beings liked it and took it and ran for it, and he is ignorant, he doesn’t know anything and is “an oppressor to himself.” Heaven and Earth backed up but human beings took it. Okay, no problem, but keep it clean. If you cannot keep the Trust that Allah gave to you clean then you are in a problem. What is the benefit of this association if we are unable to improve ourselves to be clean, to reach purity? If we are coming in this door and go out the same as we came, we are wasting our time. Many people are driving from far away to get benefit. Allah loves that intention. People driving from far, coming:

مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَمَن جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يُجْزَىٰ إِلَّا مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

Whoever does one good deed will have the reward of ten of its kind, and whoever does one bad deed will only be recompensed one of its kind and they neither will they be oppressed. (Surat al-An`am, 6:160)

The Prophet (s) said Allah will reward every footstep towards the masjid 10 times. No one knows what Allah’s rewards are. So count how many footsteps from the beginning of your trip ‘til you reach here or any masjid or majlis, for every step you get 10 hasanaat. So how many footsteps? Allah said in the Holy Qur’an, “I give you rewards that no one can imagine, but come to Me. Don’t lose hope of Me, come back to Me, repent and I will accept, I will forgive all the sins.” That is why the Prophet (s) insisted we say:

كلمتان خفيفتان على اللسان ثقيلتان فى الميزان حبيبتان إلى الرحمن سبحان الله و بحمده سبحان الله العظيم

There are two words that are very easy to say, yet very heavy on the Scale, most beloved to The Merciful, “SubhaanAllah wa bihamdihi subhaanAllahi ’l-`Azheem.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

“There are two sentences or words light on the tongue but very heavy in the Scale,” on the Day of Judgment, the Day of Resurrection, Allah will put your sayyi’aat on one side and our hasanaat on the other side. For sure our sins are more than our hasanaat:

فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ

Don’t praise yourself. (Surat an-Najm, 53:32)

“Don't give excuse to yourselves,” yes, I have to say to myself “I am the worst! I am bad in my character, in my behavior. I have to purify myself. I cannot continue my life with dirtiness inside me.” Allah gave us dunya and Akhirah.

Imagine 10 hasanaat for every footstep toward something good that you do; Allah will reward you ten times. Count how many footsteps you made to get here and multiply by ten. Let’s do the math! Say from Washington to here, how many miles? [It’s 20 km.] They don't understand km, 15 miles. [1,000 footsteps in a mile so that’s 15,000.] A footstep is how many inches or centimeters? 12 inches, divided into 15 miles you can find how many footsteps (63,360 inches per mile, divided by 12 inches is 5,280 footsteps per mile, multiplied by 15 miles is 79,200 footsteps--HH, might be nice to put this in), and multiply by 10 (792,000). For every hasanah Allah gives you 10 rewards. How much is that reward? When Allah gives He is The Generous. He is not going to bargain with you about the gifts He gives from His Treasures. He gives Maghfirah that is enough, but move towards Him. Don’t move towards your ego.

That is why Abu Yazid al-Bastami (q) one of the greatest `ulama, a Wali, whom even Ibn Taymiyya accepted...he was very tough on Awliya he wanted to check them thoroughly, and he was happy with Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami (q). He was struggling, he didn't know how to purify himself, he was struggling between istighfar, forgiveness and repentance, and du`as, but still he was not feeling he was reaching. So he said, “Yaa Rabbee kayf al-wusoolu ilayk? How can I reach You? Guide me.” Why are we coming here, for me? No. For him? No. We are coming for a peaceful meeting, a meeting that is an advice that all of us can benefit from. Tariqatuna ‘s-suhba wa ‘l-khayru fi ‘l-jami`yya, “Our way is companionship,” to be united, to be one, not coming to spy or going to another place to spy. That is not nice from a good Muslim.

Allah (swt) is giving endlessly from His Mercy on us so we have to take it and try to perfect ourselves. He heard a Voice coming from Paradise, saying to him, something came to his heart, he was being inspired, when he was asking, “O my Lord how can I reach You?” he went into the Love of Allah (swt), Annihilation in the Love of Allah (swt). When you reach that level everything will open in front of you:

عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ‏قال ‏‏قال رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏إن الله قال ‏ ‏من عادى لي وليا فقد ‏ ‏آذنته ‏ ‏بالحرب وما تقرب إلي عبدي بشيء أحب إلي مما افترضت عليه وما يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه فإذا أحببته كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به وبصره الذي يبصر به ويده التي يبطش بها ورجله التي يمشي بها وإن سألني لأعطينه ولئن استعاذني لأعيذنه وما ترددت عن شيء أنا فاعله ترددي عن نفس المؤمن يكره الموت وأنا أكره مساءته ‏

ولا يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه، فإذا أحببته كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به وبصره

الذي يبصر به، ويده التي يبطش بها ورجله التي يمشي بها،

My servant does not cease to approach Me through voluntary worship until I will love him. When I love him, I will become the ears with which he hears, the eyes with which he sees, the hand with which he acts, and the legs with which he walks (and other versions include, “and the tongue with which he speaks.”). (Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari)

“When My servant approaches Me with voluntary worship then I will love him.” So if you want Allah to love you approach Him through voluntary worship, He will love that and “at that time I will be your eyes that you see with, your ears you hear with, your tongue that you speak with, I will be his hand that he can move things with, I will be his feet to give him guidance,” to walk.

So he heard, “Utruk nafsaka wa ta`al--leave yourself and come!” That means, he was a big scholar in Fiqh and in Tafseer, and he was a big scholar in spirituality. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. And all his life he was asking forgiveness and asking, “Yaa Rabbee that’s all that I did, I want to reach You to be in the Divine Presence,” to be There means you have to leave your desires, your ego, that’s why he heard the Voice saying “Utruk nafsaka wa ta`al--leave yourself and come! You cannot be in My Presence with two, only One.” You cannot come with yourself, not with dirtiness in the prayer rug. Like the dirtiness that comes to your heart when you are praying, when you say “Allahu Akbar,” then all kinds of gossips come to you. If you follow what they whisper to you you fall into sins, because Shaytan will be whispering.

That is what happened to Sayyidina Yaq`ub (a) and Yusuf (a). You know the story? Because Ya`qub (a) used to love his son Yusuf (a) so much, he loved Allah, but he loved his son so much that Allah said to him, “No, you have to come to Me by yourself, there is no-one in your heart other than Me.” That is why He took away his son 27 years, because he was so in love with his son that Allah said, “I need your heart to be to Me not to your son.” Allah gave him that emotion and love to his son as advice to humanity: if you want to reach Allah (swt) leave yourself and come. If you want to be forgiven, leave yourself and go to Him.

May Allah (swt) forgive us and may Allah bless us. Ramadan is coming.

شهر رمضان أوله رحمة وأوسطه مغفرة وآخـــره عـــتق من النــــار

The first (ten days) of the month is mercy, the second (ten days) is forgiveness, and the last (ten days) is salvation from the Fire. (Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Fadaa’il Ramadan)

Allah dresses the fasting person with mercy, which comes on everyone to build them up to receive maghfirah in the second ten days. The first ten days he is being built up with mercy coming from Heavens; in the second ten days he is ready to be forgiven; and in the third ten days, he will get a certificate that he is free from Hellfire. So try in this Ramadan to be pious and sincere as often as possible, and Allah (swt) will forgive our sins.

This backbiting between people is not nice, Allah prohibited it in Holy Qur'an and the Prophet (s) prohibited in Holy Hadith. I don't know why people like backbiting and spreading false rumors, what is the benefit? I don’t see any benefit. You know that backbiting one person will take away all your hasanaat on the Day of Judgement, because Allah will ask the oppressed, “What do you want from the oppressor?” and he will say, “Yaa Rabbee, this one did this to me and backbited me,” and Allah will say, “Yes.” Then He will take all the hasanaat of the oppressor and give it to the oppressed, and the oppressor will be standing with nothing, naked from no hasanaat, it is all gone to the oppressed.

Then Allah asks the oppressed one, “Are you satisfied?” and he will say, “No yaa Rabb, I didn’t get my right yet. I want more to forgive him.” Then Allah will take the sins of the oppressed and give them to the oppressor! Then he will have nothing, so we don't want to be in that position on Judgment Day, so let us look where we step in this Tariqah, wherever we are putting our step look there and not further--maybe there is a ditch in front of you and you fall in it because you are not watching, you are raising your head and looking so far away.

What can you see from far? Maybe you can’t see it well, it will be fuzzy. So remember before you want to say something think about where it is going to take you, is it going to take you to a ditch? Put this in our mind. All of us have problems, even Prophet (s): Allah gave him a lot of tests and problems from his tribe and family, he was abused by people, but he is going to mercy everyone on the Day of Judgement, although they gave him a bad time he is going to give them a good time, that is generosity.

May Allah keep us under the Intercession of Prophet (s) and keep the whole Ummah clean and pure and for Allah (swt) for the sake of Prophet (s) to forgive us our sins, wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.

One of the Signs of Last Days is as the Prophet (s) said:

يوشك أن يأتي على الناس زمان لا يبقى من الإسلام إلا اسمه ولا يبقى من القرآن إلا رسمه ، مساجدهم عامرة وهي خراب من الهدى ، علماؤهم شر من تحت أديم السماء ، من عندهم تخرج الفتنة ، وفيهم تعود

There will come a time upon a people when nothing remains from Islam except its name, nothing from the Qur’an except the form of its letters, mosques will be built but are empty of guidance, their scholars will be the worst people beneath the sky, and chaos will emerge from them and return to them. (Bayhaqi)

Today the name of Islam is everywhere. Today everyone buys the Holy Qur'an to read, not to become Muslim, but to find something to criticize. That is why the Holy Qur'an entered every house, as the Prophet (s) said, “Holy Qur'an will enter every house and people will know about Islam,” but as the Prophet (s) also said, “In that time, nothing will be left of Islam but its name.” Most people are not acting on what Holy Qur’an teaches; yes, some groups here and there, a minority, but the majority of people don't know Islam except by name, either they don't believe in it or they don't follow it.

And he (s) said, “And of the Holy Qur'an, there will be nothing left but calligraphy.” I asked a calligrapher what is the meaning of that ayah and he did not know, but he knows how to draw it. So 1400 years ago Prophet (s) said, “This is coming in the future and when it comes, prepare yourself for the Day of Judgement.” Now Islam is known only by name and Qur’an is known only by calligraphy, drawings; they don’t know the verses or how to read them, they just draw it, it’s artwork. Decorate your heart with Holy Qur’an, not graffiti, that is what Allah wants! This is what Prophet (s) said 1400 years ago. May Allah forgive us. Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.

He (s) also said that in these days the first territory that will have problems will be the Middle East, he did not say Africa; Africa troubles are at a later stage. He said war will first enter Iraq, then Sham and then Yemen. Today we are seeing this exact sequence. Yes, the problem began in Iraq in the 1991 with President George Bush, Sr., and from then until now war there has been continuously. Then Prophet (s) said Sham, Syria, and we see what is happening in Syria; and then he said Yemen. He (s) did not say Iraq, Yemen, then Sham, he said Iraq, Sham, Yemen, the sequence we now see. That is what the Prophet (s) said 1400 years ago, so take this advice with you and meditate on it and we ask Allah's forgiveness and repentance.

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


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