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Secrets of Salawaat on Prophet (s)

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

15 October 2011 Saginaw, Michigan

Saginaw Islamic Center / Suhbah After `Asr

Salam `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Alhamdulillahi rabbi ‘l-`alameen wa ’s-salaat wa ’s-salaam `ala ashrafi ‘l-mursaleen. Alhamdulillah `ala kulla maa akramnaa bihi fa ash-shukra `ala ad-dawaam tazeed an-ni`am wa ‘sh-shukr `ala al-`ilm.

My brothers and sisters, it is my honor to be here today at a masjid whose opening Allah (swt) made possible. It is honor for us not when someone comes, but it is honor to come and sit for a little while in a masjid.

وَأَنَّ الْمَسَاجِدَ لِلَّهِ

Wa inna al-masaajida lillah.

The mosques are for Allah. (Surat al-Jinn, 72:18)

And we are for Allah (swt). And it is said:

قلب المومن بيت الرب

Qalba al-mumin bayt ar-Rabb.

The heart of the believer is the house of God.

Allah (swt) said His House is Ka`aba. and Ka`abatullah is where every believer directs his heart to pray. Allah made the heart of the believer a house for Allah, for the manifestations of all His Beautiful Names and Attributes and these anwaar. We cannot describe these Names nor understand them. For example, take one Divine Name, “al-Khaaliq,” which means, “The One Who Creates.” Of course everyone believes that Allah (swt) is the Creator, but creates what? Did He create and then stop? If He stopped, then it is not befitting His Greatness. If we say He created this universe, the Big Bang occurred, and then creation stopped, that is not what “The Creator” means: in every moment He is creating, and not the moment as we count, but the moment that Allah created, the real moment.

What is that moment? Physicists came to study one moment to find the smallest fraction of a second; they went to 10-to-minus 22 (10-22) of a second and found at that measurement time disappears and nothing remains but energy! Al-Bahr al-Qudrah, the Ocean of Power. There is nothing else there. People go to Niagara Falls to see that miracle of Allah on Earth, where millions of gallons of water pour down; Allah (swt) created every drop of that water!

Of what Allah created, is it only Earth or are there other Creations? If we say there are no other Creations we are limiting Allah's Greatness, so we say there are infinite numbers of Creations that no one can understand. That is why Allah (swt) wants His Beloved One, Sayyidina Muhammad (s), to get that manifestation of that knowledge of the Greatness of the Creator. Therefore, Allah (swt) invited him for Laylat al-’Israa and Mi`raaj. Where did he go in that night, in the universe or some where outside the universe? Scientists say there are six-thousand galaxies, each bigger than the other, and in our galaxy there are 80 billion stars. Prophet (s) went beyond that!

When we cross a road we see and remember everything on that road. Do you think Prophet (s) doesn’t remember all that he passed in this universe? That is `azhamat al-Khaaliq, Greatness of The Creator! Prophet (s) gave us great honor, to be able to appreciate Allah's Greatness!

No one can consider they are giving something to Allah (swt). On Judgment Day, all nations are going to look to ummat an-Nabi (s). Allah (swt) said:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

kuntum khayra ummatin ukhrajit lin-naas taamuroona bil-ma`roofi wat anhawna `ani ’l-munkari wa tuminoona billahi wa law aamana ahlu ’l-kitaabi la-kaana khayran lahum minhumu ’lmuminoona wa aktharuhumu ’l-faasiqoon

You were the best of nations sent to Mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.(Aali `Imraan, 3:110)

“Were” is the past tense. From “alastu bi-rabbikum,” the Day of Promises--where servants promised their Lord, “Yes, we are servants and slaves to You! Accept us in Maqaam al-`Uboodiyya, in the status of servanthood,”--all other nations were taking knowledge from ummat an-Nabi (s). So Allah (swt) made the heart of the believer a house for Him. Allah doesn't need a house or the Ka`aba, but He wants you to know that is a blessed place upon which He is sending the tajalli of his Allah's Beautiful Names and Attributes! Allah will reflect from that House to the house you have in your heart, but be a servant, not a denier.

Today we forget that Allah (swt) said:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ

Wa maa khalaqtu‘l-jinna wal-insa illa lI-y`abudoon maa ureedoo minhum min rizqin wa maa ureedoo an yut`imoon.

I have only created jinn and men so that they may worship Me. No sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed Me. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 51:56-57)

It means, “I created jinn and human beings to worship Me, and for no other puirpose! I don’t want you to provide anything: just worship Me and don’t think about your rizq, as Allah is Musabbib al-Asbab, ‘the Creator of Causes.’” To some He gives this much and to others He gave that much, so there is no need to ask about how much someone has: jealousy is not allowed in Islam! Don’t look at someone above you or your eyes will get tired. Like in Surat al-Mulk, Allah (swt) said:

ثُمَّ ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ خَاسِأً وَهُوَ حَسِي

Thumma arji`i ‘l-basara karratayni yanqalib ilayka ‘l-basaru khaasian wa huwa haseer.

Then look again and yet again; your sight will return to you weak and made dim.

(Surat al-Mulk, 67:4)

You try to look at these stars and your vision returns sorry as it cannot reach that far. So we must not look at others thinking, “How is he sitting there and not me?” No, we must look at those below us, then we will be content. So Islam is nothing but `ilm, knowledge and education. Allah (swt) said:

وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ

fawqa kulli dhil `ilmin `aleem.

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

Knowledge never ends! How many different branches of medicine do they teach? Today every doctor has a different speciality. Also engineers, lawyers and even plumbers now have specialties. Why? Is everyone equal and the same?

الناس سواسية كأسنان المشط

An-naasu sawaasiyatun ka asnaan al-musht,

Mankind are equal like the teeth of a comb. (ad-Daylami from Sahl ibn Sa`d)

So that is not in your hand: if He likes, Allah (swt) can take the power of your tongue to speak and you will lose everything. If He (swt) is not reaching you, you are done for. As Muslims, we have to surrender! The Prophet (s) said:

‏‏ انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق

Innama bu`ithtu li utimmu makaarim al-akhlaaq.

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

Today we say Islam is the five pillars, shahaadah, salaat, siyaam, zakaat and hajj. That is what we know of Islam, but is that enough? Allah (swt) has given imaan, faith. If we have no faith, it is like someone who has a walnut and eats the shell, and leaves the fruit! As soon as you say, Allahu Akbar! and enter in the prayer what happens? Gossips. As soon as you say, Allahu Akbar! As soon as you begin, Shaytan comes to destroy our prayer. We think about what is in our bank accounts, or which car am I going to buy, or which home, or where am I traveling. Or, how are my children doing today, or did my wife reach home safely yet. These are the gossips that come in prayer.

So that is why in the hadith of Jibreel (a) as transmitted by Sayyidina `Umar (r), Jibreel asked about the five pillars and the Prophet (s) answered, and then Jibreel (a) said, “Sadaqta,” he confirmed what the Prophet (s) said. Then Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “We watched and were amazed that he was confirming what the Prophet (s) said.” Then why did he ask? After explaining the five pillars, he asked, “What is imaan?” And the Prophet (s) said, “It is to believe in Allah and the holy books and angels and in the prophets and in the Last Day and in destiny, good and bad.” Allah inspires the self to know what is good and what is bad. We have to choose, and what do we choose? We are struggling, so we don’t want to say that we chose badly, but we are struggling.

If Islam was just these five pillars then he would have stopped at that, but he continued and asked about imaan, and then after that he continued and asked about Maqaam al-Ihsaan, “Maa al-ihsaan yaa Rasoolullah?” We know about it, but we don’t implement it. An ta`budallah ka-annnaka taraahu, “To worship Allah as if you see Him.” Can you see Him? No, but you see His Signs. For example, this is a mosque in Saginaw, which is a sign because who expected a mosque in Saginaw?!

I will tell you a story about hearing. The biggest muhaddith was Imam Bukhari (r). I visited his burial place in Bukhara and he has a big school in Samarqand that is still teaching ahadeeth and different madhdhaahib. And that mosque of Imam Bukhari might fit five thousand people maximum. When he used to teach and recite hadith, not only five thousand people listened, they say the whole courtyard of 25,000 people sat and heard ahadeeth of the Prophet (s)! How could they all hear? Today we need a microphone to hear, yet he spoke and 25,000 heard! Allah (swt) made everyone as if they had headsets and his speech reached everyone all the way to the furthest perimeter. Prophet (s) said about those pious people:

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،

Wa laa yazaala `abdee yataqarabu ilayya bi’ n-nawaafil hatta uhibbah. Fa idhaa ahbabtahu kuntu sama`uhulladhee yasma`u bihi wa basarahulladhee yubsiru bihi, wa yadahulladhee yabtishu bihaa wa rijlahullatee yamshee bihaa.

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.”) (Hadeeth Qudsee, Bukhari)

That means, “I will give him the power of to hear hear what others cannot, and when he speaks people from far distances will hear him.” Why? Because you loved Allah and He therefore loved you, by doing extra, voluntary worship, not only the obligations. But today we are forgetting voluntary worship because we have no time, we are so preoccupied! And that is an authentic holy hadith of the Prophet (s), so no one can say it is not sahih. “I will be his eyes he can see with and I will be his hands he can act with and I will be his feet that he walks with.” That is by means of doing voluntary worship!

Look at rahmatullah, Allah's mercy, which we cannot imagine! Look at Allah's Beautiful Names and Attributes “ar-Rahman” and “ar-Raheem.” Allah is the Most Merciful, so if someone has the worst character, will not Allah forgive him as long as he professed the shahaadah? Look at this hadith of Imam Bukhari, known as Adab al-Mufrad. Pay attention to it! I am not a teacher, or this or that; I might be the lowest one, but there are fine words mentioned by the Prophet (s) and we have to understand what he promised: “On the Day of Judgment I will go into sajdah and make du`a that Allah never opened to my heart before.” That means what Allah didn't open it to him in his time, all the way up to Judgment Day, because the Prophet (s) is not like us in the grave, a mass, but as he said, anaa hayyun tariiyun fee qabree, “I am fresh, alive, in my grave. Who makes salawaat on me, Allah sends my soul back to me to return his greeting.”

About this hadeeth, Imam as-Suyuti (r) said, “The soul of the Prophet (s) is always in his body because all the time there are people making salawaat, so Allah returns his soul permanently.” The hadeeth says, “I am observing the actions of my ummah in my grave; if they do well I praise Allah and if other than that I ask forgiveness for them.”

Imam al-Busayri (r) said, “We depend on our sins!” because the shafa`ah of the Prophet (s) is for the sinners of his nation. But they were the most pious people (who sinned little).

It is said by Ibn `Ajeeba (r),a famous scholar of Egypt and Morocco, “Knowledge is of two kinds: Knowledge of Paper (books) and Knowledge of Taste (inspired).” We are all acquainted with the knowledge you get from reading books, but it doesn’t give the Knowledge of Taste, which requires action. For example, the Prophet (s) is going to make shafa`a. We do not feel what Prophet (s) feels, but when you reach Knowledge of Taste, Allah supports your senses of hearing, sight and touch, which is a kind of tasting, because then you taste what people are going through. So the Prophet (s) said, “As soon as I make sajda on Judgment Day, I will begin to ask Allah (swt) with new du`as that I never recited before.”

What kind of du`a? Kitaab al-Maathooraat contains all the Prophet’s and Sahaabah’s du`a in 200-300 pages. Those du`as are there and they cannot be extended. So that means when he is begging to make du`a, the Prophet (s) will receive new knowledge that we don’t know, perhaps codes of “alif laam meem, qaaf haa yaa `ayn saad” or combinations of letters. Allah (swt) says to him (s):

يا محمد ارفع رأسك وقل يُسمع لك وسل تعط واشفع تشفع

Yaa Muhammad! irfa` raasak wa sa'al tu`tah wa qul yasma` w’ashfa` tushaafa`.

“O Muhammad! Raise your head, ask and you will be given! Say and you will be heard! Intercede and it will be accepted!” (Bukhari)

When we make du`a we ask for a car, plane, a cure, but will the Prophet (s) ask for a house or such things? No, he will say, “O Allah! You want to grant me my du`a, so give me my ummah. I don’t want anything else!”

Look at Allah’s generosity and the Prophet’s (s) love for his ummah! Then Allah (swt) will say, “Take one third.” Smile! Allah loves those who smile in His mercy, so at least if we smile we will be saved. Then the Prophet (s) will go into sajdah again and he will begin making du`as that he never made before, that Allah (swt) will send to him, then Allah (swt) will say, “Raise your head and ask whatever you like; you will be granted!”

In war, can a general leave any of his soldiers behind? He must take all of them, even if he is wounded. So the Prophet (s) will say, “Give me my ummah,” and he will go into sajdah once again, reciting du`as he never knew before. Then Allah (swt) will say, “Take them all! But there is one person among them who is the worst, and with My mercy I am sending the whole ummah to Paradise, including that one!” and He will say to him, “By My mercy, you also go to Paradise!”

O Muslims! Don’t think Allah (swt) created us then left us! Allah (swt) said, “You are the best ummah sent to Mankind.” So what do we have to say? Alhamdulillah wa ‘sh-shukran lillah! Allah (swt) is saying, “Thank Me and I will give you more, praise Me and I will bless you more, but don’t forget Me and My Prophet!” It is not wrong to remember the Prophet (s) along with Allah (swt): he is the real servant of Allah (swt), not us, as we are struggling.

In Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) encourages us to remember the Prophet (s) with Him:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

inna-Llaha wa malaa'ikatahu yusalloona `ala 'n-nabi, yaa ayyuhal-ladheena aamanoo salloo `alayhi was sallimoo tasleemaa.

Verily, Allah and His angels send praise on the Prophet. O Believers! Pray upon him and greet him. (al-'Ahzaab, 33:56)

He said, “I and all My angels are praising the Prophet (s)!” That means every single angel, not one angel is left behind, not one refused to do salawaat. There are an infinite number of angels who make salawaat because Allah (swt) ordered them, and He is the Creator! Do you think He created angels once and stopped creating them? In every moment He is creating angels, and every single angel has to make salawaat on the Prophet (s). Also, don’t think every angel makes the same salawaat, because Allah (swt) does not duplicate. Every salawaat on the Prophet (s) varies in its own specialty!

Then what did Allah (swt) say? yaa ayyuhal-ladheena aamanoo salloo `alayhi was sallimoo tasleemaa. (33:56) When we make salawaat on the Prophet (s), we say, allahuma salli `ala Sayyidina Muhammad (s), “O Allah! Send salawaat on our master, Muhammad (s)!” That means our salawaat is nothing, so we ask Allah to praise His Prophet! It is not proper to say, “sall-Allahu `ala Muhammad,” but rather we should say, “Allahuma salli `ala Muhammad.” That means our salawaat has no value, but even so, when we send salawaat on the Prophet (s), will Allah (swt) say, “No!” while He and His angels are continuously praising the Prophet (s)? The Prophet (s) will not enter Paradise until his ummah enters, those who are holding the hand of the Prophet (s), as Allah (swt) mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللَّهَ يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ فَمَن نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنكُثُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِمَا عَاهَدَ عَلَيْهُ اللَّهَ فَسَيُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

Inna alladheena yuba`yoonaka innamaa yuba`yoon Allah, yadullahi fawqa aydeehim, faman nakatha fa-innama yankuthu `alaa nafsih wa man awfaa bima `ahad `alayhullaha fa-sayu’teehi ajran `adheema.

Verily, those who swear allegiance to you (Muhammad) swear allegiance only to Allah. The Hand of Allah is above their hands, so whoever breaks his oath does so only to his soul's injury, while whoever keeps his covenant with Allah, on him will He bestow immense reward. (al-Fath, 48:10)

Allah (swt) is saying, “Those who are doing bay`a to you are in fact doing bay`a to Allah.” Reciprocally we can say those who send salawaat on the Prophet (s), Allah (swt) sends His salawaat on them! We are like one entity to Him (swt), like a hive of bees that give honey; they go together and the Prophet (s) doesn't go without his ummah. Don’t think the Prophet (s) will leave his ummah behind and go to Paradise. If all nations from Sayyidina Adam (a) up to Sayyidina Muhammad (s) come to the Prophet seeking intercession on the Day of Judgment, will the Prophet (s) leave them? No!

So, may Allah (swt) bless this meeting, this mosque and everyone who helped, worked and prayed, and may dunya and akhirah make them and their families happy.

The Prophet (s) said:

أنا مدينة العلم و علي بابه

`anaa madinatu 'l-`ilmi wa `Aliyyun baabuhaa.

I am the City of Knowledge and `Ali is it's door. (al-Haakim, Tirmidhi)

Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “If not for Sayyidina 'Ali (r) I would have made some bad judgments.”

Sayyidina 'Ali (r) said, `ilm yarfa` al-wadi`, “Knowledge raises up the one who is down and ignorance makes the ignorant one more ignorant.” So always seek knowledge. That is indicated in the hadith, “Seek knowledge, even if it is in China,” which means `ilm comes more from the east than the west; that is why most Islamic scholars migrated from Mecca and Madinah as in knowledge, east comes first and the west is second. That hadith also means, “Seek knowledge even if you have to go far.” They say, “Who taught me one letter, I will be a slave to him forever.”

Allah (swt) said about Sayyidina Khidr (a):

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

Fawajadaa `abdan min `ibaadinaa aataynaahu rahmatan min `indinaa wa `alamnaahu min ladunna rahmah.

Then they found a servant from Our servants, unto whom We had given mercy from Us and had taught him knowledge from Our Presence. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:65)

Allah (swt) made Sayyidina Musa (a), who is oolul al-`Azam, one of the five great prophets, seek knowledge from one of His servants, whom some say was a prophet or a saint. We pass through that ayah without paying attention! `Abdan min `ibaadinaa, “One servant among many of My servants.” He said, “We manifest on him Our mercy and after that We taught him from Our hidden knowledge!” What is that rahmah, mercy? `Ilm, knowledge comes after rahmah, and as we all say:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

wa maa arsalnaaka illa rahmatan lil-`alameen.

(O Muhammad!) We have sent you not except as a Mercy for all the Worlds. (al-Anbiya, 21:107)

That means he was taking knowledge that Allah (swt) gave to Sayyidina Muhammad (s)--as mentioned in the hadith--from the time

كنت نبيا وآدم بين الروح والجسد

kuntu nabiyyun wa Adam bayn ar-ruh wa 'l-jasad,

I (Prophet) was a prophet when Adam (a) was between soul (or clay) and body. (Tirmidhi)

Which means before Sayyidina Adam (a) was sent on Earth. Some of that knowledge is given to Khidr (a). How to get that? By praising the Prophet (s). Don’t say there is excessive praise of Sayyidina Muhammad (s); you may praise as much as possible! Didn't Allah (swt) say that He Himself is praising the Prophet (s)? So what is our praise compared to His? As mentioned in the ayah, “with Allah's remembrance tranquility and peace come to the heart,” so it is recommended.

الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ

al-ladheena yadhkuroona ’Llah qiyaaman wa qu`oodan wa `alaa junoobihim.

(And) who remembers Allah when they stand, and when they sit and when they lie down to sleep. (al-Imran, 3:191)

That is adhkur, “to mention” Allah's Beautiful Names and Attributes, not as they translate it, “to remember.”

A person said to the Prophet (s), “The rules and principles of Islam became too much for me and I cannot do it. Give me something I can do.” The Prophet (s), who is Rahmatan lil-`Alameen, told him, “Keep your tongue moist by mentioning Allah (swt).” Some can worship a lot, but that man could not, and the Prophet (s) didn't say you have to do too much, he simple told him to keep your tongue moist with remembering Allah, aloud or silently. In the Naqshbandi Sufi Order we do it silently, but in Africa and the Subcontinent they do it aloud. So our shaykh said, make it loud, especially because many non-Muslims are reverting to Islam and if you do it loud they begin to learn the correct way to pronounce recitation of Holy Qur’an.