Available in: English   French   Bahasa   Go to media page

Study Books to Learn Shari`ah and

Adab Towards the Shaykh, Part 1

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

25 February 2012 Burton, Michigan

Suhbah After `Isha at As-Siddiq Mosque

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani ‘r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani '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.

Books are the way for learning; without a book you don’t know anything. You might ask, “Why have you changed positions, when before we used to say ‘knowledge is coming through hearts’ and now we say we are in need of books?” Because, and I am speaking to Muslims, in general, many Muslims don't read. There are four groups: Muslims who don't read, Muslims who read, Muslims who are based in a respected and honorable tariqah (a Sufi Order) and who read, and some of them in tariqah who say they don't need to read.

Not everyone is the same; some people learn by reading and for some Allah (swt) wants to reveal through their hearts, so they don't need to read. In general, those who don’t need to read are awliya and normal people like us need a book. You may say, “I am following a Sufi order that teaches aabout the State of Ihsaan.” When Sayyidina Jibreel (a) asked Prophet (s), “What is Ihsaan?” he gave an explanation about the State of Perfection, but even when you reach that State of Ihsaan, you still need a book, is it not? No one can live without a book: a doctor cannot be a doctor if he doesn't read books and a Muslim cannot be a Muslim if he doesn’t read a book. Therefore, books are important, especially for those who say, “We get inspirations when we speak.” If that is the case, then what about the Book that Allah (swt) revealed to the Prophet (s)?

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

الم ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Alif. Laam. Meem. Dhalika ‘l-kitaabu laa rayba feehi hudan li ’l-muttaqeen.

In the name of God, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful. Alif. Laam. Meem. This is the Book; in it is guidance sure without doubt to those who fear Allah. (Surat al-Baqara, 2:1-2)

In it Allah (swt) called Holy Qur'an al-Kitaab, “the Book,” so how dare you say you don't need a book! Then they sit and begin to show-off by speaking. Allah (swt) revealed the only one and real Book, the Holy Qur'an, to the Prophet (s). This is not true of all Muslims, but some. I am particularly addressing our group, saying to Ahl at-Tasawwuf, the people of tasawwuf, that books are important in order for you to learn. I am speaking to those who call themselves followers of Mawlana Shaykh. If Mawlana doesn't need books, why is his house full of books? He has not only Arabic books, but English, German and Spanish books. His lectures have been translated into hundreds of languages. If books are not necessary, why do these teachings have to be translated? If you go to Mawlana’s house in Damascus, you see he has cabinets and closets full of old books and manuscripts, and hundreds of notebooks of all the suhbat of Grandshaykh `AbdAllah al-Fa'iz ad-Daghestani (q) that Mawlana wrote by hand. You can find hundreds of books of Grandshaykh’s (q) teachings that Mawlana Shaykh would read from time to time.

So don't say, “Why should we have a book?” Why do we need them? This is a book; why do you think we need it?

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ

Allaahu nazzala ahsana ‘l-hadeethi kitaaban mutashaabihan mathaaniya taqsha`irru minhu juloodu ’Lladheena yakhshawna rabbahum.

Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful message in the form of a book consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects), the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat. (Surat az-Zumar, 39:23)

Allaahu nazzala ahsana ‘l-hadeethi kitaaban, “Allah has revealed to people the best of hadeeth, words, in kitaaban, a book,” taqsha`irru minhu juloodu ’Lladheena yakhshawna rabbahum, “that when they read it they feel goosebumps,” which means those who memorized or can explain the Holy Qur'an. So then we must say we need a book! This book is At-Tibyaan fee Adab Hamalat al-Qur’an, To Explain the Clarification and the Respect of Those Who Are Carrying the Holy Qur'an, by Imam an-Nawawi ash-Shafi`ee, the author of Riyaad as-Saaliheen, Gardens of the Righteous. I brought it here especially to show the discipline between the student and teacher, and not only in tariqah.

Two days ago we heard on the Internet (and we are going to see the video coming soon inshaa-Allah), Mawlana said in his instruction, “We are following Shari`ah.” We are following Shari`ah, which states that you have to follow the meaning of whatever Allah (swt) has ordered the Prophet (s) to give to the ummah. This is the Shari`ah!

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا

Wa maa ataakumu ’r-rasoolu fakhudhoohu wa maa nahaakum `anhu fantahoo.

Leave what Prophet (s) forbade and take what he ordered. (Surat al-Hashr, 59:7)

Whatever the Prophet (s) gives you take it, and whatever he forbids leave it. Therefore, we have to follow what he told us. This means not only tariqah people must have respect between student and teacher, but also teachers of `Ilm azh-Zhaahir, the physical knowledge. There is zhaahir, the physical knowledge you can share with everyone, the common knowledge, and there is also the baatin, hidden knowledge, the realities or interpretations of the verses of Holy Qur'an, which you cannot express except to a few people. Both knowledges order you to have discipline between the student and the teacher.

I am bringing this `ilm because many think that only tariqah people respect their shuyookh, but in reality this is not true as both tariqah people and non-tariqah people have to respect teachings of their shuyookh. This is true from both sides, from `Ilm azh-Zhaahir, normal knowledge and in tariqah. You have to respect the Sufi shaykh as a teacher, wa min al-adaab bayn al-mureedi wash-shaykh, concerning the good manners between the student and the shaykh. I will explain what Imam an-Nawawi (r) explained in his book, At-Tibyaan fee Adab Hamalat al-Qur’an, in order to teach you the good conduct of being in the presence of the shaykh. That is for zhaahir and not for awliyaullah, as you must be much more careful in every movement you make in their presence.

Even if a teacher is not a wali, when he says something it means you have to follow it. You cannot say to the teacher in the classroom, “What you say is wrong,” or you will get a failing grade. Whatever he says you have to accept or fail the class; you can’t say, “No.” He explains the lesson and the next day you get the test and you must explain what he said or else you get an ‘F’. But because awliyaullah have big hearts, they try to cover their followers’ mistakes. However, if someone transgresses the limits past a certain point, the shaykh says, “Enough is enough! I don't want the presence of such people in this area. Move!” and then they must obey that order and move.

So what did Imam Nawawi (r), who was from the Shafi`ee school of thought, say? One of the students of Imam ash-Shafi`ee, ar-Rabi`, said, “Raheemahullah, mashtardtu an ashrab al-maa wa wa ash-Shafi`ee yandhuru ilaya, I didn’t dare drink water in front of Imam Shafi`ee when he was looking at me out of respect for him.” He was not even drinking water, and here they sit with Mawlana Shaykh, the wali and Sultan al-Awliya and they might not even have wudu! People are drinking, talking and socializing and the shaykh is sitting and listening. How much burden comes on him, while ar-Rabi` said, “I didn’t dare drink water in front of him.” How then can you compare the situation if you don't have a book to learn? If you don't know how the previous generations were with their shuyookh, how will you learn to be with your shaykh? Therefore, the book is important for us and we have to read and learn what they have done before us, so we can follow it.

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Qul in kuntum tuhibboona 'Llaaha fattabi`oonee yuhbibkumullaahu wa yaghfir lakum dhunoobakum w 'Allaahu Ghafooru 'r-Raheem.

Say (O Muhammad), "If you (really) love Allah, then follow me! Allah will love you and forgive your sins, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:31)

They follow the Prophet (s) and the mashaykh. How many people are sitting in front of the shaykh as if they are his family? The members of the shaykh’s family have the right to do anything in front of their father because that is normal and acceptable, but this is not true for the normal mureed, who is required tosit with adab in the presence of your shaykh. Further, you must have discipline and don’t raise your voice, whether you are a man or a woman. If we don’t take care of these principles and small issues, how can we take care of the big issues?

It was related by the Prince of Believers, Sayyidina `Ali (r), and I have heard it many times from Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul. Grandshaykh’s zawiya was about this big and on the sides were cushions like this where people sat, with no mixing of men and women. There weren’t any women present because they had their own section; Shari`ah says for men and women to be separate. The women had their association on Mondays, and the men on Fridays. For the women he ordered Hajjah Anne (q), Mawlana Shaykh Nazim's wife, Hajjah Naziha's mother, to read the dhikr in her house. Even Mawlana Shaykh was not allowed to be in the house during the dhikr; if he was, he had to remain upstairs in his private area for three hours, sitting until the women finished dhikr, ate and left, and only then was he allowed to come down.

Where is Shari`ah today? These principles are small issues and Mawlana is carrying so many difficulties from those people who don't understand his life with Mawlana Shaykh `AbdAllah (q). They think they are so close to the shaykh! They are not keeping Shari`ah, and Mawlana gave instructions this last Jumu`ah, two days ago, to make sure people understand that they have to follow the Shari`ah completely in all its ways.

I heard and witnessed Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, say in his suhbat many times, “When someone enters, don't look there because in tariqah that is against Shari`ah.” Your focus must be only on the shaykh, not on who comes and who goes; that is not our business. However, now it is okay because we are learning. He said even if there is no suhbah and people are just sitting, quietly drinking tea with the shaykh, if the shaykh says something they listen to him respectfully and they have no right to look at anyone who comes in because their focus is on the shaykh.

If someone enters, he says “As-salaamu `alaykum,” in his heart so as not to disturb the association, then if possible (if there is a way to pass) he comes directly to the shaykh to kiss his hand, although if he does not it is okay, and he says, “As-salaamu `alaykum,” to the shaykh only, then he finds an empty seat and sits. He doesn’t come in and say, “As-salaamu `alaykum,” to everyone, disturbing the whole majlis! It happens often that people come in when the shaykh is sitting and they shake hands with everyone, saying, “How are you? It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you!” The shaykh is looking to see who is keeping adab and who is not. The awliyaullah have their own heavenly scale that I’ve seen and heard.

Also, Grandshaykh (q) said, “When I am giving a subhah, don’t lower its level. Even if you scratch your head, the power of that suhbah goes down seven levels.” Shaytan always comes to the subhah to make a little bit of feeling here and there, irritating you so you scratch and twitch. You see that a lot when people pray, although I don’t want to name who does that! Too many times you see them scratching, moving, and brushing their beards! Don’t you see that? (Mawlana touches his beard and arranges his clothes.) They move so much, and three harakat (motions) will spoil the prayer.

What did Sayyidina `Ali (r) say? Min haqq al-`alim `alayk, “from the right of the scholar on you,” an tusalimma `an an-naasi `amaatan wa tukhusahu doona hum bi-t-tahiyyah, “you are supposed to say, ‘As-salaamu `alaykum,’ to all of the people collectively, but you give specific respect and greetings to the teacher or scholar; you come in front of him and give that greeting to him alone, not to everyone.” Imam an-Nawawi (r) in his book mentioned that it is from Sayyidina `Ali (r). So do we need a book or not? Yes! This book explains how to be in relationship with our teacher. When you sit in front of the shaykh, it means you face him, like the one who is sitting the farthest back there. If the shaykh is facing this way, it means that wherever you find a seat you sit and face him; don’t give him your back and don’t sit sideways. Too many people sit sideways and extend their smelly feet in people’s faces! That is all disrespectful.

* Don’t point to or wave your hand at anyone in his presence. Sometimes you need something from someone and you wave to him, but that is not allowed. How many times do we do that? All the time! So do we have discipline? We are trying, but not yet.

* Don’t wink at someone as a greeting in the majlis of the shaykh.

* Laa taqulu fulaan qaala khilaafan li qawlik. If the teacher is saying something, don’t say to him, as only other scholars may teach scholars, “This scholar said something different from what you said.” That is humiliation.

* wa laa taghtaab fee haadratihi abadan, “In his presence don’t backbite anyone.” How many people go to the shaykh and say, “This one said this, and this one said that.”

* When you are in such associations, don’t speak to your friend about an issue or discuss something you need. Keep quiet.

* Don’t take hold of the shaykh’s robe when he stands up so you can kiss it for barakah. Don't do that, but rather keep your respect and your distance. As much as you do it, respect is lowered and lowered. Keep your respect with full adab. Who does that now?

* Wa laa tu`rad `anhu, and don’t think you are already sitting too long in his subhah, that it is enough; the longer you sit, the better.

So this is what Sayyidina `Ali’s (r) advice was to the Sahaabah (r), to teach them. We will continue inshaa-Allah next time. We read this to show how important it is to carry out the order of the shaykh to keep Shari`ah.

One of the points of Shari`ah that Mawlana has instructed us to keep is to honor the principle of what we call a mahram. When a lady wants to go to Hajj they tell her, “Bring a mahram: your father, uncle, brother, or brother-in-law related to your sister.” That person is your mahram, which means someone you cannot marry. Concerning the private quarters of the shaykh's family, don’t trangress if you are not from the real blood family because that is against Shari`ah. It is called the haram, meaning it is haraam to enter the shaykh's quarters where you find his wife, daughters, sons and their wives, and all his family because it is off limits. Be careful not to be off limits! Don’t mix with his family because you are not family! What did Allah (swt) say about this in Holy Qur'an?

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتَ النَّبِيِّ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْذَنَ لَكُمْ إِلَى طَعَامٍ غَيْرَ نَاظِرِينَ إِنَاهُ وَلَكِنْ إِذَا دُعِيتُمْ فَادْخُلُوا فَإِذَا طَعِمْتُمْ فَانتَشِرُوا وَلَا مُسْتَأْنِسِينَ لِحَدِيثٍ إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ يُؤْذِي النَّبِيَّ فَيَسْتَحْيِي مِنكُمْ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوهُنَّ مِن وَرَاء حِجَابٍ ذَلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوبِكُمْ وَقُلُوبِهِنَّ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَن تَنكِحُوا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا إِنَّ ذَلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا

Yaa ayyuha ’Lladheena aamanoo laa tadkhuloo buyoot an-nabiyyi illa an yu’dhana lakum ilaa ta`amin ghayra nadhireena inaahu wa laakin idhaa du`eetum fadkhuloo fa’idhaa ta`imtum fantashiroo wa laa mustaaniseena li-hadeethin inna dhaalikum kaana yu’dhi ‘n-nabiyya fa-yastahiyy minkum wa Allahu laa yastahiy min al-haqqi wa idhaa sa’altumoohunna mata`an fas’aloohunna min waraai hijaabin dhalikum at-haru li-quloobikum wa quloobihinna wa maa kaana lakum an tu’dhoo rasoolallahi wa laa an tankihoo azwaajahu min ba`dihi abadan inna dhalikum kaana `indallahi `azheeman.

O you who have attained to faith! Do not enter the Prophet’s dwellings unless you are given leave, (and when invited) to a meal, do not come (so early as) to wait for it to be readied. But whenever you are invited, enter (at the proper time), and when you have partaken of the meal, disperse without lingering for the sake of mere talk, as that might give offence to the Prophet, and yet he might feel shy of (asking) you (to leave). But God is not shy of (teaching you) what is right. And (as for the Prophet’s wives,) whenever you ask them for anything that you need, ask them from behind a screen; this will but deepen the purity of your hearts and theirs. Moreover, it does not behoove you to give offence to God’s Apostle, just as it would not behoove you ever to marry his widows after he has passed away. Verily, that would be an enormity in the sight of God! (Surat al-Ahzab, 33:53)

It is clear: “O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses until leave is given you.”

Don’t go and enter by yourself, as some people are, saying, “Oh! It is no problem to mix since it is the 21st century, no problem.” What did Allah say? “O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses until you are granted permission.” If you are granted permission it is okay; it means the Prophet (s) gave permission and that is Shari`ah. So that means, “You are not allowed to enter my house until I give you permission.”

People today keep coming, especially in the shaykh's house, because they think it is okay but it is not okay. Perhaps his daughter is not wearing the right thing, or his granddaughter, wife, sister, auntie or his grandmother, so how can you go inside? Is it not? How can you go in without being granted permission? You see people going and coming without being granted permission, so Mawlana said, “I am taking a lot and carrying a lot from you. Stop it!”

What did Allah (swt) say in Holy Qur'an? “You come when permission is granted and when you come for food, come at the time when the food is served.” Who are you to socialize? It’s not that you are not honorable, but Islam is Islam. Allah (swt) then said, “(And then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation, but when you are invited, enter.” Today Shaytan says, “Bring an appetizer, to extend the time you are socializing.” If you need to socialize, go and do it with the person you want to be with, not in the home of the shaykh! “But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse without seeking familiar talk..” So eat and run, don’t sit and socialize.

Today they sit and chat. These days all the Internet is chatting, “I love you and you love me,” singing songs and I don’t know what else. In Holy Qur’an it says, “Such behavior annoys the Prophet and he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed to say the truth. And when you ask his ladies for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen.” This means you should ask from behind a curtain, not even face to face. The Prophet (s) and Allah (swt) didn't like that, so Islam doesn't allow that unless you are granted permission; then it is allowed and we cannot interfere, but if that permission is not granted, keep your limits because, “That makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs, and nor is it right for you that you should annoy Allah's Messenger, or that you should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing in Allah's Sight is an enormity.”

That is discipline, and this ayah of Holy Qur'an shows us we lack discipline and we need a lot of study and learning from Shari`ah books, at least to know discipline. Many times I said in previous times they didn't give baya` to anyone until they studied Shari`ah. Grandshaykh (q) didn’t give baya` to anyone, except two people, but now it is like selling radishes. “Baya`, baya`!” It is better to give them radishes or beets!

These days, what is baya`? “Put your hand on the stick and take baya`.” Is that baya`? That is so simple, but Mawlana is giving it [widely] now in this time of ignorance in order to spread mercy and barakah. In every time, baya` has its principle and meaning, but we must know that we need to study. When you are sick, why do you go to the doctor? He is a normal person like you and me, but he read books from here to the roof in order to become a doctor by studying! You want to make yourself a shaykh or teacher and you don’t know anything from Shari`ah, so educate yourself and learn.

An ayah in Holy Qur'an that says, “Iqraa! Read!”

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Iqraa bismi rabbik alladhee khalaq.

Read in the Name of your Lord, Who created. (Surat al-`Alaq, 96:1)

Allah (swt) is saying to the Prophet (s), “Read!” and we say, “Don’t read.” Anyone who doesn’t open a book that gives explanations from Shari`ah is not entitled to tariqah!

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


© Copyright 2012 Sufilive. This transcript is protected by international copyright law.

Please attribute Sufilive when sharing it. JazakAllahu khayr.