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Sufism is the Science of Cleaning the Heart and

Fiqh is the Science of Correcting Actions

Introduction to Tasawwuf: Ramadan Series 2014

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

29 June 2014 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

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`alaa fee haadha 'l-masjid.

This is the first masjid that was established in 1993 and Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani, may Allah bless him, bless his soul, he is the head of the Naqshbandi-Nazimiyya Order, which was known as “Tariqat an-Naqshbandiyya Haqqaniyya”, so now in March, I asked, I mentioned to Mawlana to change the name of the tariqah, and as you know:

عِنْدَ ذِكْرِ الصَّالِحِينَ تَنْزِلُ الرَّحْمَةُ

`Inda dhikr as-saaliheen tanzilu ’r-rahmah.

When the names of the pious are mentioned Allah’s Mercy descends.

(Sufyan ibn `Uyayana in Imam Ahmad’s Zuhd)

By mentioning the name of pious people, mercy will come down, and as everyone knows around the world, Mawlana Shaykk Nazim (q) was a very pious, sincere person, he was a big wali and he was inheriting from Grandshaykh `AbdAllah ad-Daghestani (q) through the Naqshbandi Golden Chain, up to Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r) and Sayyidina `Ali (r), from their knowledge, and from the knowledge of awliya that came before him. Now we are living his legacy and because there are some questions coming here and there when we are travelling about what Tasawwuf is, so we decided in this month to speak about Tasawwuf, Sufism, how it began and when it began, in order to know its relationship with other knowledges, `uloom, and where it stands, because we know it has the most strong affiliation with Tazkiyyat an-Nafs, Purification of the Self.

Tasawwuf is not New and is Mentioned in the Holy Texts

So, before we go into the explanation of the Sufi orders to prepare the viewers, Tasawwuf is not something that has been innovated, but it is something that has been mentioned in Holy Qur'an and in Holy Hadith by a different name, which is Tazkiyyat an-Nafs, Purification of the Soul. And after Prophet (s) had, and we can go into details, after Prophet (s) had established, after him it was established as `Uloom al-Fiqh and `Uloom at-Tafsir, `Uloom al-Ahadeeth, `Uloom al-Nahuw, grammar, the science of interpretation of Holy Qur'an, and what verses of Holy Qur’an and every order of the hadith of Prophet (s) meant. And then they established `Uloom al-Ahadeeth, how many categories of hadith there are. Then they established `Uloom al-Nahuw, how to perfect your grammar in order to understand the hadith of Prophet (s) or the Holy Qur’an.

So we will go into that later, but for today I will mention some excerpts of some scholars in order to give us an understanding about Tazkiyyat an-Nafs, Purification of the Self, which equals `Ilm at-Tasawwuf, the Knowledge of Tasawwuf. There are many examples and we cannot go with all, but we will go with some, inshaa-Allah.

Tasawwuf Trains the Mind and Heart to Synchronize

It was recently mentioned by Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq, one of the greatest scholars, not a long time ago but about 150 years ago, “Tasawwuf is a knowledge that has been set up to fix the heart to work together in a system with the mind,” because it’s like cleaning and building up the good manners and good behaviors of Islam. Like Psychology, why is it important? Because it builds up your understanding of how to purify and fix your heart or the hearts of people, their manners and their behaviors, and your manners and your behaviors. So in English they use the word “Psychology,” which is the knowledge or science of how to have good manners and solve your problems. In French it is Psychologue, how to focus yourself on the good manners and good behaviors to treat the heart.

It is like a gearbox working between the mind and the heart in a system of synchronization, so it is not only the mind working by itself and the heart working by itself, or the unconscious or the conscious speaking, but a synchronized system. It is not only the conscious mind speaking and you leave behind the unconscious, you have to bring them together. This is one of the main aspects of Knowledge of Tasawwuf: to make sure you balance your system, between the conscious that you can see what is around you, and the unconscious that you cannot see, but it is within you, that is embedded and implanted in the heart. However, through the years of negative energy you are veiling and veiling and veiling your unconscious so that you cannot see it any more, you only see what is around you.

The Fiery Vibrations: the Brain’s Battle Between Stress and Relaxation

And what is around you in dunya, they found now scientifically, especially Psychology scientists, students and professors, found that the brain is vibrating and that when it is vibrating at the level of the conscious mind it is firing hundreds of vibrations every second, vibrations that come out to affect the body in hundreds of fiery vibrations that make you depressed, stressed and confused, so that makes you tremble, not to control yourself through all these kinds of fiery vibrations.

On the other hand, how to fix that we will come to later, but on other hand, the brain wants to be relaxed, to be not stressed, so it is a struggle between stressed and not-stressed. So to be not stressed is a struggle in order to bring your brain to be down, in order to think and relax and think nicely. That’s why they tell you if you have something to think about, your work...when stressed you should take a shower first or to listen to qaseedahs or Holy Qur'an or hadith and that will relax you, then you can think clearly.

So they found when vibrations are coming fiery and at high speed, you cannot think through them: your thinking is not clear, your decisions are not clear and you will be in a big catastrophe. This is what is happening today between people and that is why they say we need a counselor or psychologist or psychiatrist, in order to give us some ideas to relax down.

Dhikrullah Synchronizes the Conscious and Unconscious Minds

So they found that to relax to a level that you synchronize your unconscious and your conscious together, the vibration must be between 14 and 7 vibrations per second and then you are in a position of complete relaxation and you can think well. You can see that children from age 7-14, they are in the best age to memorize as their minds are clean and pure. So they came up with what Islam came up with: they say if you want to be clear-minded, make meditation. Islam came with meditation from the beginning! Because today, if you put headsets and listen to Holy Qur’an recitation you will feel relaxed, or if you do dhikrullah like laa ilaaha illa-Llah, not in an aggressive manner, but in a tranquil manner and focus on it, you are pointing to the Oneness of Allah, so then tranquility comes on you and you feel subtle, very subtle. In that state you can synchronize your conscious and unconscious, and then you can synchronize your mind and heart through dhikrullah. And they found that through dhikrullah or through Holy Qur'an recitation you can achieve that. How? By what Allah said in Holy Qur'an:

جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذا بَاطِلاً سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Behold! In the creation of Heaven and Earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding, those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting and lying down on their sides, and contemplating the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, (saying), "Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose! Glory to You! Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.” (Surat Aali `Imraan, 3:191-192)

“Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and laying down,” that means in prayer or not in prayer, as you cannot lay down in prayer; standing and sitting are part of prayer, qiyaaman wa qu`oodan, but lying down is out of prayer, and when you do dhikrullah, and that will be like a gearbox that synchronizes your motion in the state your current state, because with dhikrullah in that state the vibration of the mind drops to 7-14 vibrations per second, which is the right timing and they synchronize like a gearbox and they begin to think well and they move forward. So Tasawwuf teaches you to be like that and teaches you that type of meditation through which you can adjust yourself.

Tafakkur (Meditation) is Prescribed in Islam and Leads to

Realization of Allah’s Greatness

Allah says in Holy Qur’an:

وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ

Wa yatafakkaroona fee khalqi ’s-samaawaati wa ’l-ard.

Contemplating the creation of the Heavens and the Earth. (Surat Aali `Imraan, 3:191)

To do that is to meditate on the Greatness of the Creation of Heavens and Earth; when you know you are nothing compared to this universe and then you are...even if you had all treasures of dunya, you are an aggressive fiery person, your brain is moving, your brain is firing all these vibrations in order to get more money and more money but at the end what happens? You are going to leave and go. So tafakkur, meditation, is contemplation in such a way that will lead you to understand the greatness of the Creator and the greatness of what He created, and when you see that you will know you are not even greater than an ant! It might be that ants are higher than us in intelligence, because ants were speaking. An ant spoke when Sayyidina Sulayman (a) was coming with his army:

قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

Qaalat namlatun yaa ayyuha 'n-namlu 'dkhuloo masaakinakum laa yahtimannakum Sulaymaanu wa junooduhoo wa hum laa yash`uroon.

One of the ants said, "O Ants! Enter your homes unless Sulayman and his armies unknowingly trample you." (Surat an-Naml, 27:18)

“One ant,” it might be the smallest ant, we don’t know, with no microphone was speaking to all the ants, “Run!” How did that ant know that Sulayman (a) was coming? “Laa yahtimannakum Sulaymaanu.” How did she know that this was Prophet Sulayman (a) from far away? Did she have a radar? She had that radar and was able to detect the army coming with Sulayman (a), going to destroy all the ants by stepping on all of them, so she said, idhkuloo buyootak, “Run to your homes!” which means “run to safety”.

Dunya is a Battalion Coming to Upset Everyone and Tasawwuf is its Defense

This whole world is like a battalion coming after everyone. You only know that it cannot do anything to you when you die, you know that you move and it is not coming after you any more. As long as you are living it’s after you, that battalion is coming to everyone to make them upset and there is no one free from that. So Tasawwuf teaches you how to meditate and to fix your heart, it came to free your heart.

Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq said, “O people, don’t think too much, I will give you the answer. Tasawwuf is a knowledge.” Like today we have Psychology, it is a knowledge, like pain management is a knowledge and Orthopaedic is a knowledge, all kind of knowledges that universities teach, such as Business Management, I hear this a lot, what are you studying? “Business Management. I want to manage a bank.” Okay. “I want to manage a company.” Okay. “I am proposing a plan for 2020.” Perhaps you will die, then what you will do? Manage yourself first! They want to manage themselves, what he said:

ويقول الشيخ أحمد زَرُّوق في كتابه (قواعد التصواف) التصوّف عِلمٌ قُصِدَ لإِصلاح القلوب ...

Tasawwwuf `ilmun qusida islaahu ‘l-quloob, “Tasawwuf is knowledge that is intended to fix the heart, a way to connect between heart and mind,” not for them to be unsynchronized and all these vibrations firing, the mind firing its weapons on you and the heart trying to defend. The heart must not defend, the mind must defend, because the mind is the one that makes you problems and the heart is full of light, so the mind must defend, not the heart.

The Lesson Allah (swt) Taught Sayyidina Ya`qoob (a) About Duality in the Heart

قلب الموءمن بيت الرب

Qalb al-mu'min bayt ar-rabb.

The heart of the believer is the House of the Lord.

It is said, “The heart of the believer is the home of the Lord,” and not just to fix your heart, but to be sure to understand and to know to tell yourself, “I am going to clean myself of all kinds of shirk and association with You, O my Lord! My heart is for You alone,” or else you never come out of problems. And the explanation of that is that if you associate anyone with Allah in your heart, you are going to be under a big test. All of us are falling into this problem and no one can say, “No, I am a complete muwwahid.” Are prophets infallible or not? Yes? [Yes!] Then why did the brothers of Yusuf (a), who are all prophets, throw him in the well? They are infallible, of course they are infallible, but as we know the story from Holy Qur’an, they first decided to kill him and then the older brother said, “No, let us put him in a well and someone will come and take him.”

Allah (swt) said:

وَمَكَرُواْ وَمَكَرَ اللّهُ وَاللّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

Wa makaroo wa makarullahu w' Allahu khayru 'l-maakireen.

They (unbelievers) planned evil and Allah also planned, and He is The Best of Planners.

(Surat Aali `Imraan, 3:54)

Allah wanted to put him in a well. Why? There must be a wisdom to put Sayyidina Yusuf (a) away from his father and family. Why? Because Allah wants to say to Sayyidina Ya`qoob (a), “Your heart cannot be for two, only for One, only Me!” He took his son, by the brothers putting his son in the well, by Allah’s wisdom they put him there, they took him because Allah wants something else to happen after 37 years. Look how far! Their action was understood after 37 years, so no one can understand anything except by emptying his heart and by not associating anyone with Allah (swt), then he has a clean mind. That’s why the Prophet (s) said:

أخوف ما أخاف على أمتي الشرك الخفي

Akhwafu maa akhaafu `alaa ummattee ash-shirki ’l-khafee.

What I fear most for my ummah is hidden shirk.

The hidden shirk, the hidden sharing of anything with Allah. Now everyone of us loves his children, so what happens? If you love them, but always your worship to Allah comes first then that is okay, but if you only focus on your children, that is not accepted. So Allah (swt), because Sayyidina Ya`qoob (a) was so much in love with his son, Allah took that one and put him in a test, and he is a prophet, but put him in a test and at the end of the test, you know the story, that Sayyidina Yusuf (a) sent his shirt to his father who had gone blind, and then he was able to see, and now he could see what people cannot see and what people cannot hear as Allah dressed him with the dressings and blessings of the Prophet (s). What did he say in a hadith?

عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ‏قال ‏‏قال رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏إن الله قال ‏ ‏من عادى لي وليا فقد ‏ ‏آذنته ‏ ‏بالحرب وما تقرب إلي عبدي بشيء أحب إلي مما افترضت عليه وما 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 وإن سألني لأعطينه ولئن استعاذني لأعيذنه وما ترددت عن شيء أنا فاعله ترددي عن نفس المؤمن يكره الموت وأنا أكره مساءته ‏

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،

...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.”). (Hadith Qudsee, Bukhari)

So in Tasawwuf, you have to drop everything from your life for the sake of Allah and your priority must first be Allah the Creator, and Sayyidina Muhammad (s) as His `Abd and His Messenger.

Tasawwuf was Known by Different Names and has Various Branches of Knowledge

So what do we understand? That Tasawwuf is the science to fix the heart, what we call today Psychology, and before it was called in Holy Qur’an Tazkiyyat an-Nafs, and then after first century of Hijra it began to be known as the Knowledge of Tasawwuf.

Wa ’l-fiqh li islaahi ‘l-`amal, on the opposite side you have Fiqh, (Islam’s Rules). Fiqh is to teach you how, for example, that if you see a stone in the middle of the road to move that harmful object from the road. When you see something wrong on the road you should remove it, as in the hadith of Prophet (s). So what you do is you extend your feet as you are walking and you push [kick] it. However, Tasawwuf tells you to take it by one's hand [hold it], not to kick it, which is adab, respect. By pushing it with your feet you might hurt someone but by taking it with your hand and putting it on the side you are not harming anyone. By pushing it with your feet it might kill many small animals as it is moving, small worms, and they are making tasbeeh as their life is tasbeeh. When you pick it with your hand that is Tasawwuf, teaching you your hudood, your limits, how you can adjust yourself to be someone with good manners, then follow this way of life.

I was going to explain in this introduction how to eat and what are the disciplines of eating. There are too many ahadeeth on how to eat, that is Fiqh. Because people in their mind is only ‘Fiqh, Fiqh, Fiqh’, which is important as Fiqh teaches you how to act within limits, not to transgress the limits and [thus] move forward while Tasawwuf teaches you knowledge of how you fix your heart. I will give one example in order to understand it. You go and eat, and, narrated from `Umar ibn Abi Salama (r), the Prophet (s) said:

، عَنْ عُمَرَ بْنِ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ ، قَالَ : كُنْتُ غُلامًا فِي حِجْرِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، وَكَانَتْ يَدِي تَطِيشُ فِي الصَّحْفَةِ ، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " يَا غُلامُ سَمِّ اللَّهَ ، وَكُلْ بِيَمِينِكَ ، وَكُلْ مِمَّا يَلِيكَ "

Qaal an-Nabi (s): sammillah wa kul bi yameenik wa kul mimmaa yaleek.

The Prophet (s) said to me personally, “Begin with ‘Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem’ and then eat with your right hand.

How honored is that Sahaabee (r) by the Prophet (s) speaking directly to him? He said, “Mention Allah’s Name and eat with your right hand.” For example, Fiqh tells you to eat, you have to eat, but how to eat? Fiqh gives you the explanation: it tells you “mention Allah’s Name first, Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem, then eat with your right hand.” How many people now are eating with their left hand? Today even many non-Western countries follow the Western countries. Before we used to eat with the spoon or the fork on the right side and now the protocol is you have to eat in the left side. Fiqh tells you, “No, you eat on the right side, because Shaytan will eat with you when you eat with your left hand.” So Fiqh tells you to eat, but how to eat is what we need. You have to pray, first make wudu. How do you make wudu? I have to follow a certain procedure, that’s Fiqh.

And he said (s), in continuation of that hadith:

وكل مما يليك

Wa kul mimma yaleek.

And eat from what is in front of you. (Bukhari & Muslim)

Don’t have hungry eyes. When you have a dish here [near you] and you are sitting on the floor and you have some people have two kinds, three kinds, but eat whatever is in front of you and if they pass [another dish] to you from far then you eat it, but you are not allowed to extend your hand and say to your friend, “Give me that plate there [further away], give me that plate.” That is not accepted and that is teaching you how you keep our limits. So this is how to eat, and it’s too long.

If someone invites you for eating, you have to say yes to them! Don’t say, “I cannot come.” If you can, you go.

Unlike the Western Concept of Psychology, the Core of Tasawwuf is to

Focus on Love of Allah, Prophet and Ahlu ‘l-Bayt

So what do we understood now? We understood Tasawwuf is fixing the knowledge of the heart as ‘psychology’ in Western terms, but that is not as valuable as Tasawwuf, it is only a dunya explanation. Tasawwuf goes into the core: of love of the Sahaabah (r), the love of Ahlu ‘l-Bayt (r), the love of Prophet (s) and the love of Allah (swt).

والفقه لإصلاح العَمَل وحِفظِ النِّظام وظهور الحِكمة بِالأحْكام.

Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq continues, wa ‘l-Fiqh li islaahi’l-`amal wa hifzhi ’n-nizhaam wa zhuhoor al-hikmat bi ‘l-ahkaam,. “Fiqh is to fix your actions and to keep the order, an-nizhaam, the constitution of the country,” not to make problems, like today they are making problems all over the world. “And it will be apparent to you and all around you, because when you study Fiqh you are learning to keep the order and when you keep the order then wisdom will come out by the judgement you give.” Because people might ask you, if you are someone who has this kind of piety and sincerity that you understand what is Fiqh and to build up your daily life and Tasawwuf to build up your spiritual life, then wisdom will come and people can come and ask you and you can give a fatwa and you can give a judgement.

وقال سيّد الطائفتين الإمام الجُنَيد التصوّف إستِعمال كلِّ خُلُقٍ سَنِيٍّ وتَركُ كُلِّ خُلُقٍ دَنِيّ.

Imam at-Taa’ifatayn al-Imam al-Junayd (q), one of the great scholars after the time of Sayyidina `Ali (r) by some years, said, at-Tasawwuf kull khuluqun saniyyin wa tarku kulla khuluqin daniyy, “Tasawwuf is to use every good manner and to leave every bad behavior.” So Tasawwuf is of two parts: one is to increase your good manners, one is to decrease your bad manners.

We will stop here and continue tomorrow with a story of Imam Shafi`ee (r) before we continue to explain about Tasawwuf.

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



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