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The Importance of Suhbah (Vol 1)

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

26 September 2009 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

After Dhuhr

A`udhu billahi min ash-Shaytan ir-rajim

Bismil-Lahi’ r-Rahmani ‘r-Rahim.

Nawaytu ‘l-arba`in, nawaytu ‘l-`itikaf, nawaytu’l-khalwa, nawaytu ‘l-`uzla, nawaytu ‘r-riyada,

nawaytu ‘s-sulook, lillāhi ta`ala fī hadha ‘l-masjid.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those who are on authority. (4:64)

Tomorrow inshaAllah is ‘Eid al-Abrar, for those who have completed fasting the six days of Shawwal. Today is 7th of Shawwal and the sixth day of fasting after Ramadan. So for those who have fasted, Allah subhanahu wa t’ala is honoring them to celebrate tomorrow as ‘Eid al-Abrar. That is why we are celebrating here and also in London; I will be addressing the people tomorrow in London at the center inshaAllah. Anyone wanting to come I will be broadcast there tomorrow at the center and inshaAllah anyone in England is welcome.

What is important is the company, the suhbah; it is the train or the engine or the rocket that takes mureeds to their destiny. If our progress is based only on dhikr, dhikr only takes you to a certain extent. You have to keep your tongue, as Mawlana today mentioned, because Mawlana Shaykh is always sitting with you: if you look to your right or your left or in front or behind you, for sure he is there, and you will see him if you are not veiled. If you look to him you can take from his guidance. This is why Shah Naqshband (q) said, “Our way is the suhbah, the company of others.” The suhbah is a combination of dhikr and advice, and you cannot reach that station, you cannot get it only by doing dhikr.

Shaykh Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q), as related by Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and Grandshaykh ‘AbdAllah ad-Daghestani, asked Allah (swt), “Give me the knowledge of ma`rifat.” No one can know the reality of the Divine Essence, and no one knows the reality of the Prophet (s). Prophet does not know the reality of the Divine Essence; it is impossible. And no one knows the reality of the essence of Prophet (s) as Allah’s highest servant; it is impossible. But to know Allah’s Beautiful Names and Attributes is possible.

That is why Mawlana Shaykh often says “dome, dome” because the Light of Sayyidina Muhammad shines from the highest tower, from a beacon at the top of that Dome. So it is the light on the dome, that light, that beacon. So from that dome under ‘Arsh (the Dome of Provisions, as discussed in previous sessions), Prophet’s (s) light is shining everywhere, and awliyaullah go there to get knowledge. So they ask, they request so they can reach the elevated knowledge. We all like to ask, but we are not like them; our mouths are dirty.

Like today as Mawlana Shaykh mentioned in his suhbah, Grandshaykh asked Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, “What kind of smell is coming from that elderly person?” Mawlana answered, “It is a very nice smell coming,” and Grandshaykh explained about that one, that all his life, even when sleeping, he recited la ilaha ill-Llah continuously. So dhikr is important; it gives you that good smell, but from suhbah you get the vision. The one who is giving the suhbah has already thrown his ego out or else there is not a nice smell. So vision comes with subhah and Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) had that vision.

Prophet (s) had the Sahaba. Why they are called Sahaba? It means those who were very close, those who were friends and companions, in the company of Prophet (s). Ashaab an-Nabi (S). It means, saying to his companion, the one going with him. When you want to be saahib to someone, it means you have to be with him all the time. For even the blink of an eye you can not be gone from him, or you are not sahib. Similarly, the true meaning of suhbah is to be continuously, in every moment, in the presence of that one.

Prophet (s) is saying to his companion, the one who accompanied him on hijrah and in Jabal Thawr (the cave where they hid themselves from the Quraysh), from that time continuously he is saahib. And you must be happy and you must be honored, that the Naqshbandi Tariqah is coming from that line of Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r). That connection is there, coming from Prophet (s). The only two whos voice the Prophet heard voice when he went into Ascension, because he was overwhelmed with the events he experienced, so to feel peacefulness and happiness during the holy Night of Ascension, Laylat al-Mir`aj, Allah (swt) made him hear the voice of Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, and to see Sayyidina ‘Ali (r) as a lion. Prophet (s) saw these two, Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (R) and Sayyidina ‘Ali (R), on the Night of Ascension, so you must be happy coming from both sides in Naqshbandi Tariqah and they come together in Sayyidina Ja`far as-Saadiq. Qadiri Tariqah and many tariqahs are taking only from Sayyidina `Ali (r), which is still very good, but our Naqshbandi Tariqah is the only one to take from Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r), the father of our Naqshbandi Sufi Order. So you must know from whom you are taking.

Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) wanted to know ma`rifatullah (knowledge of Allah) as Allah had taught to Sayyidina Adam (a), all the secret knowledges and all the names of human beings. After that, Allah then turned to the angels and said, "Tell me what you know of these knowledges and names," and the angels replied, "We have no knowledge except what You taught us, O our Lord!" So Sayyidina Adam (as) had those knowledges granted to him from Allah (swt). What then do you think about the knowledge Allah gave to Prophet (s)?

So he heard a voice in his heart, “Ya Bayazid, you want these knowledges? Go sit with that one.” Even if for one minute someone was in the company of Prophet (s), he is a Sahabi. Even if you sit for one minute with awliyaullah, you are saahib. What you think if you are sitting with Sultan al-Awliya?

So Mawlana Shaykh, he is happy because he is addressing to hundreds of thousands on the Internet. When I spoke with him today after the suhbah he was so happy! He asked, "Are you stunned by it?” Of course. They ask, because when they deliver the suhbah they are not there; he is not on his chair. You see him on the chair, but he is not or else there is no baraka. They do not see themselves. Because of that, these high manifestations of the words he speaks are coming directly from Prophet (s), who gives directly (to Mawlana Shaykh, and Mawlana Shaykh gives directly to us). They cannot see themselves because they are with Prophet (s), in his Light. We cannot be more than seeing them, because more than that, we would faint; we cannot take it, and we will die. Like Sayyida Rabi`a al-`Adawiyya (as discussed in a recent suhbah), who opened the door of her room because her husband was giving her hard time, and he kept asking, "Who were you speaking to?" And she urged him not to look as Prophet's (s) Light was in the room, but he insisted and peeked through a hole in the door. He saw that light that was appearing to her, because she was a high lady saint, and he died because he was not trained. That's why Allah cannot open so many things for you: you will die. That's why awliyaullah train you slowly, building you up through your awraad. Many mureeds will get it when they die, but not now.

“OK,” a voice came to Abu Yazid's heart, “OK, no problem. You go with that one, one of my five qutbs.” The voice is Prophet (s), as Allah (swt) says in Holy Qur'an, "I sent you as a mercy for all humanity," so from that mercy Prophet (s) is sending from his heart. “You go to that person.” Where to find that person? Without his own decision, involuntarily he found himself downtown, in Persia, where he was, and he was looking, looking, looking and passing by a place, and smelling a very nice smell. But there was no one there selling incense, perfumes, attar or all kinds of natural fragrances.

As Mawlana mentioned briefly today, in the story of Shaykh Hassan al-Jibawi; I will tell you more details so you can understand it better. You go downtown in Damascus, a long street where many Ahlul-Bayt are buried. The government decided to expand that street and it was by the wall of the cemetery. Part of the cemetery they wanted to take out to build the highway. They tried to move the holy grave of Shaykh Hassan al-Jibawi, one of the awliyaullah of Damascus; they could not even move it. So the mufti of that time, Shaykh Amin Koftaro, father of Shaykh Ahmad Koftaro, went to Grandshaykh to ask what to do. They knew Grandshaykh, his associations, and many scholars came to learn from him. Grandshaykh said, “Do dhikr. You need to give the best gift to him (the shaykh), which is la ilaha illAllah Muhammadur Rasulullah."

So they listened and did what he said, and GrandShaykh sent Mawlana Shaykh Nazim there, and after doing dhikr all night they brought a bulldozer and brick-by-brick dismantled the grave until they reached the kafan (shroud), and that honorable body was as fresh as if buried today, with a nice smell of roses coming out. So with very high adab and taking great care, they relocated his grave across the street to a maqam in another building. Afterwards, a young child came running to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, with a small sack of soil from the holy grave, and an overpowering smell of roses came out from it. To this day we don't know who that boy was; he might be a hidden wali!

That’s why Mawlana Shaykh says they order everyone (to do dhikr). I was often with him day and night, and saw even to someone already in a district of ten kilometers, five miles away from where a community dhikr is already taking place, and someone is already assigned to lead, Mawlana says to someone new, "OK, you do dhikr (at your house)." He says, "Every street should do dhikr if possible." In London, every street can do dhikr, it is not for someone to make a monopoly (on people coming to the a certain place) for their own benefit. If anyone wants to do dhikr, do it! More people from the neighborhood might come.

The Sufi Muslim Council in London has worked hard for four years to deradicalize Muslims. I told them, "Do dhikr in the office," because people like dhikr and it will attract them. It is not a monopoly; Mawlana gives permission for people to do dhikr everywhere. Because Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, said, "majlis dhikr yakoonu kafaaratan li-saba`een alf majlis suuw - One gathering of dhikr will erase sins equivalent to seventy gatherings of sins." One association of dhikr you attend will take away for seventy gatherings of sin! With the baraka of that place of dhikr, Allah will waive the sins of seventy places. It means even if if people are only Muslims by words and not observing the religious practices.




Not like Jumma'a prayer last week at the Priory in London, (when some dissenters) said, "Oh, this is (fitna) confusion." It is not confusion. You can’t attack people without knowing the the hikmah (behind what they are doing)! Don't go against your senior mureeds; they know more than you. Mawlana is giving permission to do dhikr on every street! You can bring three or four families together to do dhikr. Don’t prevent people to do more and more! You must be happy for every center being opened. Mawlana is giving this opportunity to everyone. If you want to do dhikr (somewhere new), do dhikr. Some people don’t even know how to pray. Mawlana says, "Go and do dhikr after you learn to pray." I see them everywhere, when I travel to Europe, the Far East and the Middle East. They convert to Islam and Mawlana puts them to learn to pray and then to lead dhikr. In how many places do they now do dhikr in London, only the Priory and Peckham Mosque? Everywhere they can do! People may like someone, and not like someone else. Leave them alone!



So back to the story of Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami (q) (laughter). They opened the grave. If they don’t do dhikr they can't open the grave. So don't stop anyone from doing dhikr! May be four or five people to do -- don't stop them!!! The problem is only in your mind. If Allah sends someone to do dhikr, you can't prevent that. Don’t worry, your bite will come to your mouth; no one can take food from your mouth if it is written for you. Like when the mother birds feed their young, they take the bite from their mouths and give it to the chicks. It is written that if a bite of food is for your mouth, you will get it, so don’t bother people! Shaytan is playing with those dissenters in London too much! They are peacocks! One day their legs will be paralyzed and they won't be able to move because of their cheating and deception, always telling people, "Mawlana said this, Mawlana said that."

The importance of suhbah, is this. What I just spoke, of not being happy with people in London, will take away their sin! Awliyaullah have that power: if we shout at someone, it will take away the sin! Grandshaykh said, "Don’t think when I am shouting at someone that I am shouting directly at him because I like it. I am shouting at his ego, to take away that sin."

So that voice instructed Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q), "Go sit with that person." He searched and didn't find that one until he smelled a beautiful smell. From one mile away he followed that fragrance down a road to a dead end, where a man was sitting. That man said, "Abu Yazid, come here!" He thought, "How does he know my name when I never knew him?" When Allah wants to hide His awliya, He will hide them and let them test each other. Of course! You don't see how much Mawlana is tested with all these people surrounding him, giving him a hard time? He is on his chair (not traveling) since 2001, for nine years, and they make a queue to ask him questions. They think asking a question is only seeking his advice (but it is so much more); because the one they are asking from carries that burden for them! What can they do? It is too heavy and you cannot carry it so send that burden to Mawlana Shaykh, dump it on him, he is the one who can carry.

So Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) sees a shoemaker repairing shoes, sitting at his shoe-repair station; at that time they had round wood with an iron bar coming up, it has a ma`quf. It is curved and you put shoes inside it and put the nails. When I was young, people wanted to repair their shoes; not like today (advertisers offer), "Buy one, take ten free!" They jack up the price then say, "Buy one, take one!" What is that? You are cheating us! So they take the shoes and put the nails all around, and if there is a hole they cover it with leather; after one year the soles of your shoes are three inches thick! (laughter) Today they are wasting everything, a big problem. Allah doesn’t like that.

So he was sitting, hammering the nails in the shoes, and began to speak, and Abu Yazid al-Bistami was listening. This is the importance of suhbah: Prophet (s) (the voice) told Abu Yazid to go "listen to that one," although he was Sultan al-Awliya of his time. Sayyidina Musa (a) was one of the five greatest messengers, but Allah told him to listen to Sayyidina Khidr (a) as Allah wanted him to know that knowledge because it is different (from knowlegde he received). It is why Sayyidina Khidr (a) said to him, "You cannot keep up with me." It is difficult to keep up with awliyaullah because they take from Divine Knowledge. They keep you confused, polishing you if you are patient, then they bring you up, trying to polish you through too much difficulty. Don't think this tariqah is (all about) holding a stick and putting on a big turban and giving a lecture in London. You think you are so powerful, like Pharoah! No, all what you are doing has the value of a mosquito to the shaykh, so don’t think you are something! If every day in his suhbah Mawlana says he is the weakest, do you think you are the strongest? If so, defend yourself on the Day of Judgment if you can.

So (back to the story), Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) was listening. After three and one half hours, he said, "If I worshipped from the beginning of Creation until Qiyaamah, I could not reach the levels of knowledge I received from sitting with that qutb. Even with dhikr, I would not have reached the same as three hours with him." He did not say, "I am higher than you." This was a shoemaker, and he was qutb. We don;t know who people are! Do not underestimate people because you don't know them. Don't say, "Don't do dhikr here or there." In every street in London we will do dhikr!


Like today, Sufi Muslim Council was invited by the mayor of London, and attended a gathering at Trafalgar Square with fifty-thousand people. We were the lollipop of the celebration! (laughter) We have the "Pearls of Islam" (two Naqshbandi girls who recite qasidas), the world-renowned Naqshbandi Ensemble, and Aa'shiq al-Rasul (UK's premier nasheed group). I was not able to go, but we sent them. (Some) people are sitting in London, not doing anything to bring Mawlana’s name up. We brought Mawlana’s name to the top of London, Trafalgar Square! Sufi Muslim Council was able to do that! Tell me, what they did? Be humble, go back to your origin, and be humble! Don't think you have horses, no, you have dogs, and you are going to be proud of yourself? No. Millions of people saw today's broadcast! That’s how to bring up Mawlana's Shaykh's name, by hard work. And I applaud them, they worked hard for that program. We sit with our mouths closed, keeping quiet, but Shaytan doesn't like that, no. He stirs the pot and wants to bring a stinky smell; those people like stinky smells. They have hijacked (Mawlana Shaykh's mosques in London) Shacklewell Lane and Peckham Mosque! They know who they are! Did they bring up Mawlana's name? On Friday they sit and count the money they've collected, renting out this and that place (that is in Mawlana's name)! Haraam on them, and SHAME ON THEM!!!!! Not in dunya, but on the Day of Judgment I will be first person complaining against them, taking our rights from them!

So Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) said, "I learned more today." So you must not be away from the shaykh's presence for the blink of an eye! I will explain more on this topic "The Importance of Suhbah" which inshaALlah will be a series.

I am going to Canada next week, and will be in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in October. In November or December, I will see you in London insha-Allah. I will come to the Priory and other venues where people are hosting. So take care! Tomorrow we will celebrate 'Eid al-Abraar, the real 'Eid. It is the "`Eid of the Innocents." That's why I congratulated Mawlana Shaykh today. We will celebrate tomorrow here and in London. Go ask Mawlana about 'Eid al-Abraar.

According to the hadith that every good deed is rewarded by Allah 10 times, the six days of Shawwal that you fasted equals 60 days of fasting, and the 30 days of Ramadan you fasted is equal to 300 days of fasting, so it comes to 360 days; it will be as though you fasted a whole year.

Wa min Allah at-tawfeeq bi-hurmati 'l-Fatiha.

(After broadcast Mawlana answers questions on Sufilive chatroom)

If a woman missed days of fasting in Ramadan (excused) and she makes them up during Shawwal, those days can count as the six days of fasting in Shawwal. If someone did not fast these first days of Shawwal, they can still celebrate 'Eid al-Abraar and fast those six days later in Shawwal and receive the same reward, inshaAllah.


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