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Stay on the Highway, the Shaykh Will Navigate You

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

17 December 2010 Jakarta, Indonesia

Suhbah after Fajr at Private Residence

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

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah, nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`ala fee haadha 'l-masjid.

Ati`ullaha wa ati`u 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

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

Kaleematan khafeefataan `ala al-lisaan thaqeelataan fil-meezan subhaanAllah wa bi-hamdihi subhaanAllahi 'l-`Adheem istaghfirullah.

There are two words that are light on the tongue but heavy on the Scale: subhaanAllah wa bi-hamdihi subhaanAllahi 'l-`Adheem istaghfirullah.

We have to know that the Shari`ah of Islam cannot be played with; we must keep Shari`atullah as it is the way that Allah (swt) wants His servants to follow. You cannot walk on stones or on mountains, but you need a highway, a refined pathway paved by huge bulldozers, so you can always move through. Shari`ah has a beginning and an end, what Allah (swt) gave to His Prophet (s) from "A" to "Z," "alif" to "yaa." You cannot play with it as the alphabet is from the beginning to the end. You cannot say out of sequence, "alif, jeem, daal," no. You have to go one by one, as that is the tarteeb, order.

So the Shari`ah of the Prophet (s) came in order. From the beginning until the Prophet (s) left dunya, that is the highway, you cannot except to move through it. They come and say to you, "Pray this way," you pray. The other madhhab comes and says, "Pray this way," you pray. Another school comes and says, "Pray this way," and you pray, a little bit left or right, and all of them are inside the highway. You cannot go outside the highway, or else you will fall into the valley. Then they say to you, "That is the way of Shari`atullah," and those who cannot understand, their minds are limited. Like for example, some people ask you, "What is tariqah, for? Why do you come for tariqah? Shari`ah is this, follow it." O, the one who is asking this, use your mind a little bit. Last year they asked us, "What is tasawwuf?" and I said, "You consider yourself to be the head of tasawwuf and your country is the country of tasawwuf. And yet you are asking what is Naqshbandiyya? Go and ask Abah Anom what head of Shari`ah is."

Thus, what is tariqah then? It is so simple, if they had a little bit of a brain, they would understand. If you are on a highway on which you cannot go right or left and after one hour you need petrol (gas). If there is no petrol station on the highway what will happen? You will be stuck, you cannot continue. Tariqah is the petrol station off the highways. There is a petrol station everywhere so that you may put energy and power in the car and so that you may get something to eat as well. Tariqah is these restaurants on the highway so that you can continue. All of these decorations, coffee shops, and restaurants give you contentment. Instead of a highway that is nonstop with no end and no left or right, it is adorned with decoration and variety which people like.

Allah (swt) through His Prophet (s), gave us Siraatu 'l-Mustaqeem,"The Straight Path." That is the highway we have to take. There are countless beautiful sceneries that the Prophet (s) decorated it with when he raised his Sahaabah (r) to the state of ihsaan (moral excellence). Awliyaullah have different petrol stations, coffee shops, and restaurants. They are decorations to keep you guided and to keep you going on the highway so that you don't make an exit. If you do, you are lost.

Prophet (s) was raised and was the only one that had been invited by Allah (swt) for a Mi`raaj, no other prophet went on a Mi`raaj. Allah lifted Sayyidina `Isa (a) and Sayyidina Idrees (a) from among their ummah for a certain reason, which we will not discuss here. But Prophet (s) had been invited, and he was not taken up as he already was up! With, laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah, he was already there. Sayyidina Jibreel (a) brought an invitation to him, "O Prophet! Allah is inviting you." To be invited to the Divine Presence is a big honor. Sayyidina `Isa (a) was invited to the First Heaven and Sayyidina Idrees (a) was invited to the Fourth Heaven. Sayyidina `Isa (a) is coming back. But Prophet was not raised and then left behind, he was invited to come up on this journey and take whatever he wanted and then go back.

Why did he come back? Why didn't he stay like Sayyidina `Isa? He came back to bring to us what he took, to bring that decoration and beauty that Allah (swt) gave to him. Prophet (s) reached the First Heaven with Jibreel (a) and then they knocked at the door, as this is adab. They were keeping adab, "Come to them through their doors," you have to knock. Does the Prophet (s) have to knock? Does Jibreel (a) have to knock? And yet, they are knocking. Then they are asked, "Who is there?" Jibreel answers, "Jibreel." They are asked, "Have they been invited?" Why are they being asked these questions? The Heavens have been decorated for Prophet's visit, but this is to teach us that you must follow the protocol, the Shari`ah.

But still, people want to get to ma`arifatullah, you cannot come to ma`arifatullah without knocking. Today they are saying, "ma`arifah, ma`arifah." What is ma`arifah? You don't even know ma`arifah about yourself and you want to know about Allah? You must come with adab, then you can continue. You cannot pretend to be a shaykh or they will throw it in your face. You should be happy to be given the job of cleaning the shoes at the door of the mosque, as that would be an honor for you. Don't say, "I want to be a khalifah." You are nothing!

So Allah (swt) invited Prophet (s), and from one Heaven to the next not only was he raised, he entered and took all knowledge in that Heaven. Today when a tourist visits a country, they prepare for them a package deal to visit every site. What about when Prophet (s) was passing from the First Heaven to the second and so forth; did he visit the sites or did the sites come to him? Every smallest atom and every angel that Allah (swt) created in that Paradise came to Prophet (s) and identified itself, saying, "O Prophet (s)! Allah created me for this, and this is what I am doing and what I am for." Everything in Paradise comes to the Prophet and gives its knowledge! He is not running after knowledge. That is the adab. You cannot go to the shaykh and say, "Give me knowledge," as there are many tests to prepare you to receive that knowledge. You cannot go to the shaykh and say, "O my shaykh! Teach me knowledge." You must say, "Teach me to put my ego down." Come to the shaykh to be put in the grinder, so he may polish and grind you, not to come just for the suhbah. It is not about coming and putting a turban, no! There are even people dressed in a suit and tie, asking the shaykh to teach them knowledge! Why?

Once a person said, "O my shaykh! I have been with you too long, for 20 years. I want you to teach me something that I can teach others." When you come to the shaykh, you must throw away your knowledge which, to the shaykh, is worth nothing because you built it with your ego. When you are ready, they give. First, they have to polish your ego. So what did that shaykh do to his mureed? He told him, "Go and fill a basket with walnuts and sit by the door of the masjid. Anyone who is going or coming, tell them, 'Take my shoes and hit me on my head. If you hit me twice, I will give you two walnuts.' When you empty all the walnuts from your basket, come to me and then we will discuss what to do next."

That scholar looked at the shaykh and said, "Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah!" We use that in Arabic; when someone is angry they say, "Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah!" The shaykh said, "O my son, if a kafir says, laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah, he becomes a Muslim and Allah sends him to Paradise; kufr goes and imaan comes. But the way you said it is a way that takes you out of imaan. Repent from that quickly!" It means, "Don't try to bring your ego up by showing your knowledge." There is no ego on the highway; everyone there is equal but there are stations you stand on that are controlled by awliyaullah. You are sent from the first wali to the second, to the third, and so on, each with a different rest area. And as the highway proceeds, there are more and more stations, but don't make an exit. Islam is a highway and Shaytan has put a lot of exits. Don't exit or you will lose your way. Either you will have to come back and start from the beginning and lose what you achieved, or you will have to find a navigation system, a wali to navigate you, "Make a U-turn now," like when driving a GPS tells you, "You have made a wrong turn." Awliyaullah on every exit, saying, "Don't go there." Shari`ah is Siraatu 'l-Mustaqeem, the main way, and tariqah is the decoration on that way. Inshaa-Allah we will continue later.

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


Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem wa 's-salaat was-salaam `ala ashraf al-mursaleen. We came to you, O Prophet (s), with nothing in our hands! We ask you to give us a glance of mercy and generosity. Don't turn us back empty-handed. We came with a bag asking to be filled. Don't let us go back with nothing in it but clean us and purify us and save us from the Fire by your baraka and with Allah's mercy, yaa Sayyidee! O our Lord of Power! We are coming to you, standing at the door of Your Prophet (s). We are al-`ibad, and the most true thing a servant can say is, there is no one to keep away what You gave, and no one to give what You kept back. And he is the Prophet (s) who never spoke on his own, but only from wahi (revelation). O our Prophet (s)! This is Muharram al-Haraam, a month beloved by every wali, and in it Sayyidina al-Husayn (r) was martyred. We come with Sayyid ash-Shuhaada al-Husayn (r), and you are his grandfather, the great one! We come to you asking you to clean us with the power Allah (swt) gave you! And we put ourselves and all our family, brothers, and the ummah altogether, in your hands!


Allah (swt) is the One Who Inspires; He inspires the nafs with good and evil, and He inspires taqwa, and to not fall into wrongdoing, and to support our son, al-Ustadh Mansour, to send him east and west, and support him in his work to the love of goodness, and guidance of Muslims, and support him in the madrassah he is building, and the young students who attend from east and west.

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