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The Story of Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani (r)

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

28 January 2010 London, UK

Peckham Mosque

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

Maybe some people saw me carrying this notebook, it is from forty years ago when I was young and attended Grandshaykh `AbdAllah ad-Daghestani’s (q) suhbah and the transmitter at that time was Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani (q), may Allah grant him a long life. I said to myself, tonight I might say something from that notebook (of personal notes from Grandshaykh and Mawlana Shaykh). If you like to hear, then I may speak. You like to hear? Whoever likes, raise your hand. (Attendees raise hands) That is good! Because I found it is necessary from time to time to know the greatness of the honor that Allah (swt) has placed us in. Allah (swt) said to His prophet, Muhammad, `abdihi wa salaatu wa ‘s-salaam, laa tahdee man ahbabta inn Allaha yahdee man yashaa, “Don’t guide whom you like,” which means, don’t waste your time to guide whom you like, as you cannot guide them; Allah guides whom He likes!

I look back at myself when I was your age, a young one; I was attending Mawlana Shaykh's suhbahs since I was 12 or 13 years old. At the time you don’t realize, but later you understand that it is a big honor that Allah (swt) put us between the hands of our shuyukh, where many others have not been. Some have other shuyukh who they heard from. And during this time as I grew up, what I learned and heard and saw from Grandshaykh (q) and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q), I can say their teaching is not similar to the teachings of other shuyukh. I studied the books of a lot of authors and scholars and many awliyaaullah, but I cannot find the similarities between what they taught and what we learned from Sultan al-Awliya, Grandshaykh AbdAllah al-Fa’iz ad-Daghestani (q) and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani (q). There is a big difference. I never came across anything like what is in this small notebook. This is one of three-hundred or four-hundred notebooks I have, and I never came across teachings of a scholar who gives the normal classes on issues of Shari`ah or even on tasawwuf, but with respect and my love to them all, I cannot find a resemblance of what they say and what Grandshaykh and Mawlana Shaykh say.

I am not speaking about what Mawlana Shaykh (q) is speaking in the last twenty years; he is hiding a lot. He is not anymore bringing up or speaking about what you used to hear. We used to hear things that are beyond our minds. Alhamdulillah that Allah (swt) put us in such high awliyaa’s hands. It is not because of your progress or your worship that you are in this position, but because of Allah’s support and that Allah (swt) chose us by name to be in such a gathering! These gatherings are blessed and you cannot imagine how much we are getting from coming, sitting and listening to what they have said or what they are saying. Their words are always living, when they speak it never dies; it is always there.

I came across very educated people in America, familiar with Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) and his famous statement. I don’t know if all of you know about it, many do, but we will mention it, that Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) said, “My feet are on the neck of every wali.” You heard it? Who heard it, raise your hand. (Many raise their hands). That’s good! That is true. His feet are on the neck of every wali. It means he has a very high rank of knowledge in what Allah (swt) is giving to him. But we didn’t check deeper into this statement, “His feet are on the neck of every wali.” Whose feet are on the head of every wali? There is the neck and there is the head. So that is why we have to know that Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an, wa fawqa kulli dhee `ilmin `aleem, “Above every knower is a knower.” (Surah Yusuf) So Abdul Qadir al-Jilani saw that his feet were above every wali’s neck, but he didn’t see it above every wali’s head.

When Prophet (s) was leaving dunya, he called Sayyidina `Ali (q) and Sayyidina `Umar (r). (Mawlana stands). As-salaatu was-salaamu `alayk yaa Sayyidi, yaa Rasoolullah, yaa Rahmata li ‘l-`Alameen, yaa Shafi` al-Mudhnibeen, as-salaatu wa ‘s-salaamu `alayka wa rahmatullahi ta`ala wa barakaatuh wa maghfiratuh wa ridwaanuh `alayka fi ‘l-`alameena innahu hameedun majeed, `ala Allahu ta`ala darajatikum al-qudsiyyah. Allahuma `aatihi maa laa `aynun ra’at wa laa udhunun sami`at wa maa khatar `ala qalbi bashar. (Mawlana sits.)

As Mawlana Shaykh speaks on Sufilive, where are these Salafi `ulama? Are you watching Sufilive.com? How many of you are watching? (Show of hands) I don’t believe it. On the statistics, how many are from UK? (about 20%) Only around 80 people.

So (Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani) said, “This is my road, that when Prophet (s) was leaving dunya he was sweating.” He had a temperature (fever) and when temperature comes, you sweat. It is said in the seerah (biography) that if you were to squeeze his robe, water will come out from all that sweat. And Prophet called after Sayyidina `Umar (r) and Sayyidina Ali (q) and said, “When I leave dunya I want you to take my dress (shirt), go towards the desert, towards Yemen; you will find someone named Uwais al-Qarani (r), give him my dress.” They never saw him. When Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani (r) decided to go see Prophet (s) and bring his shahadah, his mother asked him to stay, and not because of taking the shahadah, but because she was old. If your mother asks you to sit at home, will you sit? No, you go to disco or you go to all kinds of bad places; forget about going to dhikr or the masjid!

I was in the first year of university and we used to go every other day or every two days to visit Grandshaykh (q) and Mawlana Shaykh (q), and we had to cross the border between two countries, from Lebanon to Syria. Once I had a lot of exams and my brother and me decided to go. It was about three or four in the afternoon after coming back from university, and I said to my mother, “I am going to be visiting Grandshaykh in Damascus.” She said, “No!” I said, “I have to go!” and she said, “No, you don’t go!” “I have to go!” “No, you don’t go,” and we began to fight. I was arguing because I wanted to go and visit Sultan al-Awliya Shaykh Abdullah Fa’iz ad-Daghestani (q) and Mawlana Shaykh (q). I was not arguing because I wanted to go to a movie or a disco, and she was saying no—yes, no, yes, no! Finally, I took the car and drove to Grandshaykh. So what happened? We disobeyed. Iblees disobeyed one time and he fell down; Allah cursed him! So it is very dangerous to disobey as you don’t know what you will be cursed with.

May Allah forgive us, because in every moment we are disobeying! Anyone who disobeys his mother or father, it means so much to Allah (swt) because Prophet (s) has ordered us to take care of our mothers, and Allah (swt) said, al-jannah tahta aqdaam al-ummahaat, “Paradise is at the feet of the mother.” That means you cannot go to Paradise without her being happy with you! And ladies still object, saying, “We are second class.” No, Allah (swt) put you first class; your children cannot go to Paradise without you being happy with them. And men are not happy, they complain. They have to accept what Allah (swt) gave them. Their eyes are empty, nothing will fill it except dirt when they die. You will be stingy, stingy, stingy, until you die! And then you realize there is nothing important, you lost your life for nothing. People say, “O, I am not happy with my wife. Can I divorce my wife and marry another?” Some people are more courageous than that saying, “I can have another wife!” (laughter) Some women say, “I want to divorce my husband.” Why do you want to divorce him? It may be you will get another one worse than that. Accept and be patient. By patience you get happiness of Allah (swt) and Prophet (s) on you without you knowing, and ruhaaniyyat an-nabi is coming on your shaykh to give you your Trust, if you are patient. But we are not patient!

So she said, “Don’t go,” and I said, “We are going!” and we left. You cannot believe it, we reached the door of Grandshaykh (q), where there are three stairs and then you knock at the door and then there are three more steps and you go inside, up eight more steps to his room, in his house. And Grandshaykh (q) never comes downstairs, as it is a section for the guests to stay. We came to the door and we were going to knock but he opened it, asking, “Why you are coming here?!” Not like Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, you can talk a little bit with him, sometimes. “Why you are coming here?!” Keep quiet, better if you don’t talk, because any answer you say, you are going to be slapped! We kept quiet. Grandshaykh said, “Don’t ever come to me when you are making your mother angry!! Go back! Let her be pleased with you and when she gives permission, then you come.”

The road to Asli usually takes one-hour-and-a-half if there is no traffic and the border is easy. Grandshaykh (q) never allowed us to go back without eating and drinking. We would go there and stay overnight and then go to the university directly from there. He didn’t open the door and said, “Go back.” It took six hours to go back home. So we came back and our mother said, “What happened, you came back early?” We told her what happened. She said, “You see, I am closer to your shaykh than you!” (laughter) She had a Naqshbandi shaykh from Egypt. So it is important to listen and obey; awliyaa will be pleased with you. When you stir up the mud, you make a problem and most of the people fall in this trap of Shaytan, to argue and fight; no one is peaceful. So that will teach we have to make our mother pleased with us, especially young people. If coming to listen here, take something to benefit you to make your parents happy; children, make your parents happy, and parents, make your children happy. Don’t give too many orders as children don’t like orders!

دخل الأقــرع بن حابس رضي الله عنه على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فوجده يقبل الحسن أو الحسين فصاح قائلاً: تقبلون صبيانكم !! والله إن لي عشرة من الولد ما قبلت واحداً منهم. فقال صلى الله عليه وسلم: أَوَ أملك لك أن نزع الله الرحمة من قلبك ؟!

A group of people came to visit Prophet (s) and saw him kissing Sayyidina al-Hasan (r) and Sayyidina al-Husayn (r). They were surprised. They asked, qaaloo atuqabbiloona subyanakum? “Do you kiss your grandchildren?” Prophet (s) said, “Yes.” They said, “Yaa Rasoolullah! By Allah! I have ten children and I never kissed one of them!” The Prophet (s) said, "Can I help it if Allah has removed all the mercy from your hearts."

The Prophet (s) said:

من لا يرحم الناس : لا يرحمه الله

man la yarham an-naas la yurhamullah,

"Those who do not have mercy on others, Allah will not have mercy on them.”

When you kiss your child you are showing mercy, a sign of humbleness. When you kiss the hand of your shaykh, you are showing the sign of humbleness. Allah (swt) and Prophet (s) will be pleased with you. So we have to be thankful to Allah (swt), thankful to Prophet (s), and we have to always have mercy on each other.

So Prophet (s) called Sayyidina `Umar (r) and Sayyidina `Ali (q) and he said, “I want you to take my dress and give to Uwais al-Qarani.” Sayyidina `Umar (r) was never going to accept that one day Prophet (s) would leave dunya. So when Prophet (s) left dunya, Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “If anyone says Prophet (s) died, I will cut his neck!” Then he came to Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r), who recited the verse:

وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىَ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ اللّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ

Wa maa Muhammadun illaa rasoolun qad khalat min qablihi ‘r-rusul. afa ‘in maata aw qutila ‘n-qalabtum `alaa `aqaabikum

Muhammad is no more than an apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you turn back on your heels? (3:144)

“He is one of the messengers who has been sent; if he is going to die or be killed, are you going to change your `aqeedah (belief)?” When Sayyidina `Umar (r) heard that ayaah, he said, “w’Allahi, yaa Aba Bakr, it is as if I never saw that verse in Holy Qur’an,” and that is because he never accepted Prophet (s) would leave dunya.

Look how much we were crazy in our time, 40 years ago. They used to have a movie camera you turn by hand and crank to take the picture, or a more advanced one, where you press and the film moves and takes the picture. Then you send it to the lab and after one week they send it back to you and then you watch it. We had two or three of these cameras, but we never accepted to take a movie of Grandshaykh (q). We thought he would not die, because our love for him at that time was beyond anything you can imagine! We were young and believed that he would leave dunya. SubhanAllah, he left dunya and we never took any pictures of him, except some still photos we are seeing today. But sometimes peoples’ minds stop. Sayyidina `Umar was not accepting that Prophet (s) would die.

So they took the dress and went to the village that Prophet (s) indicated, looking for `Uwais al-Qarani (r), and no one knew him by that name, until they asked a child who said, “I know Abu `AbdAllah.” And he took them where Sayyidina Uwais was sitting on a rock.

They found him with his back to them and he asked without looking, “Yaa `Umar, did you see Prophet (s) in your life?”

Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “Of course I saw him in my life; I was always with him!”

If you ask someone, “Do you know Mawlana Shaykh Nazim,” they will say, “Yes of course, I’m always with him,” especially people who are living there.

So Sayyidina Uwais (q) said, “Describe him to me.”

Sayyidina `Umar said, “His face is between light and fair color, he has a reddish beard, no connection between the eyebrows, long eyelashes, very nice nose. His face had all the features of a prophet. Big broad shoulders, not too tall and not short.”

Sayyidina `Uwais (r) said, “`Umar, what are you saying? Everyone saw him like that!” Then he asked Sayyidina `Ali, “Did you see Prophet (s)?”

Do you remember from Khyber, when Sayyidina `Ali (q) was fighting and his eye was infected and a wrestler from the enemy kept calling on him until he cursed him? When Arabs say a big word (challenging, insulting) you have to face them, and Sayyidina `Ali said, “Yaa Rasoolullah, let me go.” And then Prophet (s) put his holy saliva on `Ali’s (q) eye and made it better, even more than his own eyes.

I told him (Ali Elsayed) to photocopy this notebook for me and he did. I told him he cheated me. He asked why. I said, “You made two copies: one for me and you kept one for yourself!” He wants to read. (laughter)

Grandshaykh (q) related that Sayyidina Muhammad (s) said, “Yaa Ali, look at me from the belly and up.” That is to understand the statement of Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (q), why I opened this story. `Ali said to Sayyidina Uwais al-Qarani (r), “Everything disappeared and I saw the neck of Prophet above the `Arsh. I didn’t know where the neck was, I didn’t see the head.”

There is no questing how or where (this happened), we cannot say there was direction, space or time, Allah knows best, but we can say it was touching `Arshullah and the head could not be seen. And Sayyidina `Ali (q) said, “I didn’t see his neck and head, and when I looked from his belly up to his neck, I saw in that moment all the knowledges that Prophet (s) put in my heart of what is between this Earth and the Seven Heavens. I got all that knowledge.”

There are five levels in these paradises, from the first samaa’ ad-dunya (physical world) to the highest heaven. Allah (swt) has given Prophet (s) these five different levels of secrets: `Alam an-Naasoot (1), the knowledge of Creation, of human beings and what comes with them, then `Alam al-Malakoot (2), the knowledge of the Heavenly Kingdom, and then `Alam al-Jabaroot (3), the Powerful, Strong Knowledge, then `Alam al-Lahoot (4), the Lordly Knowledge (above ma`arifatullah), and `Alam al-Hahoot (5), the Secret of Hu, qul huwAllah. That is what Sayyidina `Ali (q) saw when Prophet (s) said, “Look from my belly up to my head.”

Then Prophet (s) said, “Look from my belly down,” and Sayyidina `Ali saw everything disappear from under the knees of Prophet (s) reaching the seven earths, the deepest place in the universe. He didn’t see where his legs were, because no one can be shareek (or comparable) to Prophet as a servant to Allah (swt), as he is the only real servant and the rest are to follow him.

Then Prophet (s) said, “Look to all of me,” and Sayyidina `Ali said, “The whole universe disappeared and all I saw wherever I turned my face, was Prophet (s.)”

Grandshaykh (q) said, “So I realized that knowledge, everything, comes not by physical relationship only, by seeing and sitting with Prophet (s), but there are different realms of spiritual connection.” Prophet (s) reached every Sahaaba differently and gave everyone something different from the others. Awliyaullah inherit from the secrets of Prophet (s), so each one is different. Not all of us have the same knowledge. Of course in the eyes of the shaykh all of us are on the same level, but each one has a different knowledge. To the wali, all are his students. He cannot say, “This one is good and this one is bad,” as all are acceptable to him, as Prophet (s) said:

االناس سواسيه كااسنان المشط

an-naasu sawaasiyatan ka-asnaani' l-masht

People are equal like the teeth of a comb.

Might be one is a gangster and the other one is pious, but maybe the pious one is doing something bad that you don’t see him doing and the gangster stays up all night and prays istighfaar and Allah forgives him.

Today if people see someone do something bad, they speak about him. Don’t speak! It might be Allah (swt) is guiding him and he is better than you. There are people, how to describe them? I see them in Mawlana’s presence or wherever I travel. You see them as normal but they are better than everyone. They do their best for Mawlana Shaykh and they do their best for tariqah hidden, without anyone knowing; they don’t tell anyone. I met someone for the first time in one country, and someone told me he is a good person and he likes to help. When someone says he is good person, what do you expect. He may donate one-hundred pounds, or a thousand, fifty-thousand, or two-hundred-thousand pounds. I know there are people who go to Mawlana and give. I said to that person, “I want a church, can you help?” He said, “Fine, I will get it.” A church is expensive. I went back to America and found a church in Washington, DC. I told him I found a church and asked could he get the funds. He said, “I will pay.” He paid it all, and he put a mosque in the center of Washington, DC! For 20 years, I am dreaming to get a church in the `asimatu ‘l-qaraar, the capital of decisions. And that person out of the blue, I saw him for the first time in my life and he did that! You don’t know people.

Like the Sultan of Brunei bought the Priory for £2 million and renovated it for another £2 million in 1991 when Mawlana Shaykh (q) asked him for help. How many people are cursing the Sultan of Brunei and how many people are saying bad about him? But he put a place for you and you and you to pray, and he will receive the benefit of our prayers.

من بنى لله مسجدا، بنى الله له قصرا في الجنة‏.‏

Man bana lillaahi masjidan anbaallahu lahu qasran fi ‘l-jannah.

Whoever built a mosque for Allah (swt) Allah will build a palace for him in Paradise. (ibn Abi Shaybah)

Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, continues with the narration.

Prophet (s) said, “Look at me,” and Sayyidina `Ali saw Prophet (s) everywhere. (Mawlana stands.) As-salaat was-salaam `alayka yaa Sayyidee Rasoolullah, yaa Rahmatan lil-`Alameen. (Mawlana sits.)

Sayyidina Uwais (r) said, “Yaa `Ali, you saw him one time.”

How many times did Sayyidina `Uwais (r) see him? “One time,” has a meaning. That means he saw him normally, we don’t know. That is why,

وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ

wa fawqa kulli dhee`ilmin `aleem,

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

That is why when Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) said, “My foot is on the neck of every wali,” there are awliyaa whose heads are so high, no one can see where they are. That doesn’t diminish the level of Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q), but gives us an understanding that there are some awliyaa who carry higher knowledge.

To summarize, I just mentioned the five levels: `Alam al-Naasoot, the world of Creation; `Alam al-Malakoot, the World of Heavens; `Alam al-Laahoot, the Lordly Knowledge above ma`rifatullah; `Alam al-Jabaroot, the World of Destruction, Power and Majesty; `Alam al-Haahoot, the Absolute Hidden, as Prophet (s) mentioned in the Hadith Qudsi, when Allah Himself gave him:

كنت كنزا مخفيا، فأردت أن أعرف فخلقت الخلق فبه عرفوني

kuntu kanzan makhfeeyan fa aradatu an `araf fa khalaqtu khalq fa bihi `arafoonee

I was a Hidden Treasure and wanted to be known, so I created creation and by it they knew Me.

Why did Allah want to be known? He needs anyone to know him? He doesn’t need anyone. It means, “I want to show Myself to My beloved, Sayyidina Muhammad. I want to show the Reality to those standing on the Day of Judgment, Ahlu ‘l-Jannah (People of Paradise), and Ahlu ‘n-Naar (People of the Fire).” Prophet (s) will be seeing Allah (swt) in Paradise. Many scholars, not just Sufi scholars but normal scholars like Imam Nawawi (r), mentioned that Prophet (s) saw the Lord with the eyes of his head, in their tafseer on the ayah:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلاً مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الأَقْصَى

Subhaan al-ladhee asraa bi ‘abdihee laylan min ‘l-Masjidi ‘l-Haraami ‘llaa ‘l-Masjidi ‘l-Aqsaa...

Glorified be He, Who took His slave for a journey by night from al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Mecca) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem). (17:1)

So it is not strange that, “I wanted to show the secrets of Creation to My beloved, Prophet Muhammad (s).” And from Prophet (s) to those whom Allah (swt) honored:

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ

wa laqad karramna Bani Adam,

We have honored human beings (17:70)

and I am giving that to them.” Fa khalaqtu ‘l-khalq, “When I wanted to be known, I created Creation.” Through the Creation, “They knew Me,” because there is Maqam at-Tawheed (Realm of Belief in Allah’s Oneness) and Maqam al-Wahdaniyya (Realm of Oneness), and Maqam al-Ahadiyyah (Realm of Uniqueness). The station or level of Oneness indicates to you the greatness of the Creator; when you look at everything around you, you know there is a Creator, and that no two created things are same.

For example, it is impossible for an architect who makes drawings to make millions and millions of humans. Allah knows how many billions of branches have been created. On one tree, not one leaf looks like the other. Not every fruit or orange on the same tree is similar to the other or has the same taste. Imagine how many trees Allah (swt) has created and they are from the same category but not the same. Even twins are similar, but they are not the same in behavior. Allah (swt) said, aradtu ... fa khalaqtu ‘l-khalq. “Through Me, they knew My Oneness.” That is tawheed to say la ilaaha illa-Llah. But ahadiyya is higher knowledge of shahadah.

So another day we will continue with this notebook at the Priory, inshaAllah.

Wa min Allahi ‘t-tawfeeq, bi hurmati ‘l-habeeb, bi hurmati ‘l-Fatihah.