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Shedding Our Human Characteristics

Lessons to Learn from the Seclusion of Sayyidina Musa (a)

Shaykh Nour Kabbani

with Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

28 June 2015 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Suhbah

Shaykh Nour Kabbani

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbi 'l-`Alameen, wa ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaamu `alaa ashrafi 'l-mursaleena Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma`een.

Dastoor ya Sayyidee, Sultan al-Awliya

Allah Allah, Allah Allah, Allah Allah, `Azeez Allah!

Allah Allah, Allah Allah, Allah Allah, Kareem Allah!

Allah Allah, Allah Allah, Allah Allah, Subhaan Allah!

Allah Allah, Allah Allah, Allah Allah, Sultaan Allah!

Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Alhamdulillahi Rabbi 'l-`Alameen, wa ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaamu `alaa ashrafi 'l-mursaleena Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma`een.

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani 'r-rajeem.

Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur'an, innanee ma`akumaa asma`u wa araa, addressing Sayyidina Musa (a) and Sayyidina Haroon (a) when they were going to Fir`awn.

إِنَّنِي مَعَكُمَا أَسْمَعُ وَأَرَىٰ

He said, “I am with you two, I hear and I see” (Surat Taha, 20:46)

So Allah (swt) is with us also, He hears what we say and what we don't say, and He sees what we do and what we intend to do. We ask Allah (swt) not to make us follow our ego and not to listen to it because he also hears that.

وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ

We are closer to him than his jugular vein. (Surat Qaaf, 50:16)

Allah (swt) said that “We hear and we know what the nafs is telling the human being, the man.” As long as we listen to our egos we can never reach the Divine Presence.

So prophets came to teach us not to follow our egos and then be deprived of the Divine Presence. Allah says in Surat al-`Araaf, addressing Sayyidina Musa, may Allah bless him, one of Five Greatest Prophets whose dawah was to a very difficult nation from whom he suffered a lot. Although many prophets suffer from the wrath and displeasure of their nations, Sayyidina Musa (a) was rewarded by Allah saying to him, “Come and meet Me.” Sayyidina Muhammad (s) was invited to the Divine Presence in ‘Israa and Mi`raaj; also Allah invited Sayyidina Musa (a), which is a lesson for us in how to behave when invited to the Divine Presence.

وَوَاعَدْنَا مُوسَىٰ ثَلَاثِينَ لَيْلَةً وَأَتْمَمْنَاهَا بِعَشْرٍ فَتَمَّ مِيقَاتُ رَبِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً

We promised Musa thirty nights, and We completed it with ten more; thus the communion with his Lord was completed in forty days. (Surat al-Araaf, 7:142)

We rendezvoused with Musa (a) for thirty nights and then completed them with ten more, completing forty nights.

وَلَمَّا جَاءَ مُوسَىٰ لِمِيقَاتِنَا وَكَلَّمَهُ رَبُّهُ قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ

When Musa came to the place We appointed and His Lord spoke to him, he said, “My Lord, allow me to see You.” (Surat al-`Araaf, 7:143)

When Sayyidina Musa (a) came to that meeting, he asked to see Allah (swt) and that was denied to him, and the reason was his duality. When Sayyidina Musa (a) asked, “O my Lord, let me see You!” he put forth himself, and duality (You/me) cannot exist in the Divine Presence, Huwa Waahidun Ahad, he was told he cannot see Allah.

As our teachers taught, we have to leave ourselves behind and move forward. What is that? How do we do it? That is al-heerah, astonishment, bewilderment, there is no mind there anymore as the Divine Presence is beyond the mind. yaa daleel al-mutahayyareen, “O Guide of the Bewildered!” That is why Sayyidina Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (r) and other saints said, yaa rabb zidnee al-hayraan, O Lord! Let me be more bewildered!” as that is to, “Leave the self and come to Me.” We don't understand it, that is confusion, but the prophets came to teach us to do that.

When Sayyidina Musa (a) came to meet his Lord, what happened before that? Allah gave him 30 nights and then 10 more to complete and it is narrated by Sayyidina Ibn `Abbas that before he met His Lord, Allah ordered him to fast, that the way to the Sacred Valley, that holy piece of land, is through fasting, as Mawlana Shyakh Hisham said. Then he fasted 30 days, he starved himself and became very thin and was very devoted to Allah, and after 30 days he smelled the odor of his mouth so he used his miswak and then went to meet Allah (swt), Who ordered him to go back and fast 10 more days because he expressed something from himself, the action of purifying his mouth with miswak. Any expression from our self (of our will) prevents us from going to Divine Presence, so he was ordered to complete 10 more days!

Similarly, about Allah ordering Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami (q) to leave his ego, he said, “I shed my skin as the snake sheds its skin.”

Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) said, “If you look at all human beings without the skin they are all the same.” Anatomy books show human beings without skin are all the same--their skeleton, muscles, eyes, lips-- everything is the same except height (length). Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) said that when skin covers the body the identity comes forth: you become Shaykh Sahib, you become Shaykh Hasan, you become Shaykh Taher and so on. When you shed the skin you are a general human being, no more identity there. That is what we have to focus on, not having an identity, as that will take us down to the lowest level. That is what al-bashar is (skin). So Ibn `Arabi said, “Our Mi`raaj is our descent: the lower we get in dunya, the higher we get up in spiritual levels.

The Prophet (s) said:

من تواضع لله رفعه

Whoever humbles himself before Allah, Allah raises him up. (Musnad al-Shihab)

When Sayyidina Musa (a) went to meet his Lord he fasted, so from this we learn the way to the Divine Presence is through fasting. When fasting we are shedding our human characteristics. Our body likes to eat, drink and sleep, and in Ramadan our body craves rest and to enjoy itself in halaal ways, but we don't allow that. So by fasting we are approaching that valley where we shed our human characteristics: we leave quarreling, fighting so we elevate ourselves from the quarreling people whom we mentioned yesterday.

Allah called to Sayyidina Musa (a) in the Sacred Valley, and the Sacred Valley means no sins, everything is pure and perfect, and that valley is toowa, which means to fold something: you are folding away your body and your ego, ‘two one’ toowan. When al-ajsam wa ‘n-nufoos, the bodies and egos are folded, when we quickly approach the target of the Divine Presence by fasting, we are folding away characteristics of ego and body, so as we come closer to the Divine Presence. By following our teachers, we have to also follow the prophets and our saints, then we might reach that Sacred Valley to be with the Holy Ones.

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

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

[On video @ 00:18:00]

Mashaa-Allah, ahsan. I would like to make one addition to what Nour said. When Allah (swt) called Sayyidina Musa (a), He said:

إِنِّي أَنَا رَبُّكَ فَاخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ ۖ إِنَّكَ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى

Truly I am your Lord, so remove your shoes for you are in the Sacred Valley of Toowa.

(Surat Taha, 20:12)

Remove your shoes, you are in the Holy Valley. Why did he say, “Take off your shoes?” Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi (q) said that shoes are the symbol of donkeys because in that time shoes were made from the skin of donkeys, so the interpretative meaning is, “Don’t come to Me with your ignorance; drop your animality and come to Me with your spirituality.” Sayyidina Musa (a) was not like Sayyidina Muhammad (s), he was seeing himself to dared to ask Allah, “Let me see You.”

Allah said, “You are not able to see Me,” but Musa was Kaleemullah, he speaks with Allah directly, and Allah didn’t want to upset him, but khaffafa `alayh, reduced the impact on him:

قَالَ لَن تَرَانِي وَلَـٰكِنِ انظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي

He said, “You will not see Me, but look to the mountain. If it stays firm in its place then you will see Me.” (Surat al-Araaf, 7:143)

I will make it easy, I will look to the mountain and if it stays in its place you can see Me.

But it didn’t stay, and:

فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّىٰ رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكًّا وَخَرَّ مُوسَىٰ صَعِقًا

When His Lord manifested Himself to the mountain, He made it into dust and Musa fell down in shock.

(Surat al-`Araaf, 7:143)

"And the mountain was shattered by the Divine Tajalli." Sayyidina Musa (a) received a deadly jolt, sa`iq ar-rajul, like when someone touches electricity you see them hanging but burned. So he fainted from some kind of heavenly electricity, like Allah's Light, and he was unable to take it and he fell down, and all his ego and his desires were thrown away from him because he was under that sa`iqa. Then all characteristics of duality disappeared from him and at that moment he awoke.

Sayyidina ibn `Abbas (r) said about that verse you just read, the Tafsir Surat al-`Araaf, that Sayyidina Musa (a) was unable to enter the Divine Presence with his self, so Allah (swt) burned his self and after he was shocked he opened his eyes and was able to see the 124,000 prophets, the number of prophets and messengers that came to Earth, and Allah showed them to him in rows and the Prophet (s) was leading them in prayers.

Now he realized that this is the way to enter Heaven, the Divine Presence, not by asking, "Yaa Rabbee, let me see You!" and Allah telling him, "You are `abd, a servant, so how dare you raise your head to ask to see Me?"

Sayyidina Muhyiddin ibn `Arabi (q) says in his book Futoohaat al-Makkiyya that Allah told Sayyidina Musa to take off his shoes as they resemble donkeys, so when we wear our animality, we are ordered to take off our shoes in that Holy Valley. However, the Prophet (s) was never ordered to take off his shoes, not in Holy Qur'an or Hadith. Also, he never asked any questions, but the Holy Qur'an is full of questions from Sayyidina Musa (a) and Allah's answers. We are at the door of prophets and the door of Sayyidina Muhammad (s), who will intercede for everyone.

So the story of Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami (q) when he entered and Allah told him to leave his self behind and come, Allah said, “If you want to be My servant, and enter My Heaven and for Me to open for you My Door, then be a garbage dump for My Servants, kun mazbalatan li `ibaadee, carry them on your shoulders." If you are really concerned about entering Paradise, you have to carry the load like Sayyidina Muhammad (s), as mentioned in Surat al-Inshirah:

أَلَمْ نَشْرَحْ لَكَ صَدْرَكَ وَوَضَعْنَا عَنكَ وِزْرَكَ الَّذِي أَنقَضَ ظَهْرَكَ

Have we not expanded for you your breast and removed the load from you that weighed down your back? (Surat al-Sharh, 94:1-3)

"We have put away your wizr that was a heavy load on your back." We know that the Prophet (s) is infallible, he never committed any sins, so what kind of sins is Allah mentioning here? He (s) carried the sins of the Ummah! So Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami (q) was told, "Carry the sins and burdens of My servants, then I will open for you the door."

So as we said yesterday, the adab is to serve and to help your brothers and sisters overcome their sins by advising them to say istighfaar and bringing them to knowledge. What Allah gave to the Prophet (s),`Uloom al-Awwaleen wa 'l-Akhireen, knowledges of what came before whatever Allah created and after that time until Eternity, He did not give to anyone else! The Prophet (s) knows everything, that is why he (s) said, "I have been given `Uloom al-Awwaleen wa 'l-Akhireen."

May Allah (swt) grant us the intercession of the Prophet (s).

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


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