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Tafsir Surah Saba

Shaykh Nour Kabbani

5 July 2015 Feltham, London, UK

Fajr Suhbah at Centre for Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (CSCA)

Spiritual Retreat, Day 4

Praise be to Allah, SubhanAllah wa bi hamdihi, that He (swt) has honored us, making us to be from Ummati Muhammad (s), who is the most complete prophet and his religion is the most complete religion. Religion is basically a way of life, the way we live life. Allah (swt) has sent us to this Earth to live the life He gave us. Some of us have 100 years to live, some of us have 20 years to live, but however much no one knows, but we have to live the way Allah (swt) wants us to live, as He (swt) likes, since He (swt) is The Owner of our body, our mind, our soul, and our heart, so He(swt) knows best how we should live, and we should live how He(swt) likes, not how we like.

And Allah (swt) sent our guidance in this holy month of Ramadan in the Holy Qur'an, in which He established how we should live in this life: When we are accepting Prophet Muhammad (s) as a true messenger from God, and believe we are going to return to God Almighty, then we really must observe what the Holy Qur'an says or else our faith, imaan, is not complete.

The Holy Qur'an is 600-700 pages, in which Allah (swt) included all information and knowledge that we need. Prophet Muhammad (s) said:

The Book of Allah [swt] is the way, for it contains information of what happened before you, news of what will come after you and a decision regarding matters that will occur among you. (Tirmidhi)

We are not the only Creation, and if we think we are it means our Lord is very limited. Allah (swt)’s Holy name is al-Khaliq, The Creator, which means His Creation is continuous and does not stop. Where is it in the Holy Qur'an that the news and information about all Creations before us and after us is contained only in these 6000 words or 600 pages? This is only the outside of the Holy Qur'an. Our teachers say that once the information, the knowledge of Holy Qur'an starts to surface, they go inside the Holy Qur'an into each letter, and from each letter they extract knowledge. Now some people may say, “That is impossible! What do you mean by each letter?” Our teacher said, “Do we know what ‘Alif. Laam. Meem.’ stands for?"

In the Holy Qur'an, at the beginning of the chapters there are letters. We don't know what they stand for. Surat al-Baqara begins with “Alif. Laam. Meem.” What is that? It's a sign that you don't know everything, that our mind cannot grasp what that verse is about. Allah (swt) is telling us that our mind has limits. Do you understand what is Alif. Laam. Meem.? In English let's say somebody is saying ABW; what does this mean? It's a code, so Allah (swt) is saying, “You don't understand this, the rest is sentences and yes, you can understand, but I am letting you know there is a limit to your understanding.” It's a letter that we understand, but we don't have a meaning for it, which means in Holy Qur'an there is an area of information and knowledge not accessible to everyone. It is accessible to the Prophet (s), because it is said in Islamic traditions that when Angel Jibreel (a) came down and said, “Qaaf. Haa. Yaa.” that Nabi Kareem (s) replied, “Alimtu, I knew.” It means oceans of knowledge were only open to chosen people and that's why we follow guides and teachers, because they can show us more than what is on the surface and they can go deep inside and extract knowledge that is beneficial to us.

And that's how the lectures, suhbahs of our masters, our teachers, Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani (q) may Allah bless him and raise him higher and higher, and the teachers that are his deputies that came after him, these teachings are from inside the Holy Qur'an, but they are not accessible to everyone, so Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) said in one of his suhbahs that Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur'an:

وَخُلِقَ الإِنسَانُ ضَعِيفًا

Man is created weak. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:28)

Allah (swt) is declaring to us that we are weak, and what do weak people do? They try to find a place or a person that is strong. If someone is bullying a child, let's say three or four kids are bullying a child who cannot defend himself, when they see their father or mother coming, what do they do? They run to their parents, then the other kids stop bullying them; the child is running to a person who has power because they cannot defend themselves against those bullies. This is the example. We are being bullied by Shaytan and his followers, and by our ego, by dunya and worldly matters, and we don't know what to do! That’s why Allah (swt) is saying:

فَفِرُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ

Run to Allah (from all that is false and evil)! (Surat adh-Dhaariyaat, 51:50)

Escape to Allah (swt) to gain power! In His Infinite Wisdom, He (swt) made us weak so that we could seek shelter in a powerful one and He (swt) has all the power, so we run to Him (swt), we run from our bad intentions, which make bad thoughts.When we have a bad intention, it makes us have bad thoughts, which all comes from the bullying of our desires. Our desires want pleasure, so they bully us into ways of enjoying ourselves and make the desires get pleasures, and when we are resisting these pleasures each one of us can feel burning inside us. You really want to do it, but you can't because your mind, heart and faith is saying, “Don't do it!” Allah (swt) is saying, “Don't do it!” but it feels good because you are being bullied by your desires, so what do we do? In this case, Mawlana Shaykh says you have to take the Sword of Heavens, about which Allah (swt) says in Surat al-Hadeed:

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّـهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ

We sent aforetime Our Messengers with clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice, and We sent down iron, in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for Mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help Him and His Messengers unseen, for Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might. (Surat al-Hadeed, 57:25)

There is very strong power in that iron, which is basically the sword. Swords are made of iron and with this sword we can defend ourselves from the bullies, and Mawlana says this ‘Sword of Heavens’ is Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. With that name we can gain honor, power, light, and mercy: Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem is the sword we use! He said by using that sword you are cutting of the limbs of your ego, and when they are cut off, the ego does not move anymore. When somebody is crucified and you nail their limbs, the hands and the feet, they cannot move anymore. The nail is made of iron, so the iron that you put into the limbs of the ego makes it not move anymore, it cannot seek its pleasures anymore. That iron is Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem and that's why Sayyidina Sulayman (a) said:

إِنَّهُ مِن سُلَيْمَانَ وَإِنَّهُ بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ أَلَّا تَعْلُوا عَلَيَّ وَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ

Truly it is from Sulayman and truly it is Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Do not think yourselves higher than Me and come to me as Muslims. (Surat an-Naml, 27:30-31)

That is the sword Sulayman (a) is sending to Bilquis, the Queen of Sheba, and what Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) was alluding to was, this is the spirit that we will send over to the ego, saying, “Don't elevate yourself, don't raise up your head! I'm coming with the Sword of Heavens, with Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. You either come to me Muslim, or you are going to get it!”

Now what does the ego say? What does the Queen of Sheba do in in the story in the Qur'an? She gathers her generals and armies and asks them, “What shall we do?”

Then Sayyidina Sulayman (a) said, “It is by Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem that I am coming to you to chop you up, O ego!” The ego gathered it's army, it's generals and consulted with them, “What shall we do?” and what did they come up with? “Let's send him a gift.” The ego is going to send the spirit a gift and the scholars say that gift is basically the pleasures of the body. “We are going to make you taste the pleasures of this physical being and if you accept, it means that you accept the pleasures of the material world!”

They said, “If the spirit accepts the pleasures of the material world, the spirit will be consumed in this life, but if the spirit rejects the material world and only wants the spiritual world, the Hereafter, then he is not going to accept the gift.”

So the queen sent the gift, meaning, the ego sent the gift to the spirit. We are all in that when we are experiencing the pleasure of this world: our heart, our soul wants to stay here,. Everything gets consumed in this world and we don't want to die, we want to live thousands of years, because the spirit accepted the gift which the ego sent over, the pleasures of this material world. If the spirit says like Sayyidina Sulayman (a) said, “No, I'm not going to accept your gift (pleasures of this life), I am going to bring forth soldiers that you have never seen before, the heavenly soldiers come with that Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem, attacking the ego and the army around it.”

Now the ego is given a chance, although before it's destroyed, in the story in the Holy Qur'an the Queen of Sheba was not killed, she did not perish because it [the ego] was given a chance: Sayyidina Sulayman (a) asked the people around him, “Who can bring me the Queen of Sheba’s throne?” The spirit is asking its army, the heavenly soldiers, “Who can bring me the throne of the ego?” meaning the body. The ego sits on this physical being, which is a throne to the ego, so the one who had knowledge of the book brought the throne very quickly: that means the book will be the one that will bring the body from the ego’s palace to the spirit’s palace or arena, the `ilm, the knowledge of Holy Books brings the body from the hold of the ego back to the hold of the spirit.

When the throne was brought back, it was upside down. When we look into the story of Sheba again in the Holy Qur'an, Sayyidina Sulayman (a) says:

قَالَ نَكِّرُوا لَهَا عَرْشَهَا نَنظُرْ أَتَهْتَدِي أَمْ تَكُونُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَهْتَدُونَ

He said: "Transform her throne out of all recognition by her: let us see whether she is guided (to the truth) or is one of those who receive no guidance." (Surat an-Naml, 27:41)

“Let us see if she is guided or not.” So when the throne was brought by the creature who had knowledge of the Book, which means it was brought by the `ilm in the Book, the throne was brought to Sayyidina Sulayman’s palace and turned upside down: whatever was on the top became at the bottom, what had been the priority became a non-priority! So when the ego has your body, what is your priority, to sleep or to wake up? To sleep! so if there is no knowledge of the Holy Books, then we don't wake up for Fajr, we sleep like the rest of human beings. The priority is to sleep, but when it's turned upside down the priority is to wake up. So when knowledge of the Holy Book comes through and brings the body back from the ego to the soul, the spirit, and turns it upside down, now sleeping becomes a non-priority and waking up at night becomes a priority. They took it back! So let's turn it back to where it was: the ego has the throne.

Do you eat a lot, five or six meals, and you might snack in between? But when the spirit gets hold of the body with the knowledge of the Book, what does it do, what are we doing today? Fasting. The priority was eating and drinking, which some people say we cannot survive without that, and then the priority has turned itself the other way around, because the priority now is not to eat and not to drink! Priorities of the ego become a non-priority, and the priorities of the spirit, ibaadah, worship, become the main priority. I hope it's not that confusing, but that's what happens with Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

The Sword of Heavens that what we use against fire, so it switched upside down, and the Queen of Sheba was brought to the presence of Sulayman (a) and asked, “Look at your throne, do you recognize it?”

She said, the queen or the ego, said , “Kind of.” It looks like the same body, it's still the same, but it's not the same. This body instead of sleeping is waking up, instead of eating it's stopped eating and drinking, so it's not enjoying itself. It has stopped having the pleasures it is used to, as if it's ‘kind of’ the same, but once it reaches the palace of Sulayman, the spirit, and it starts to get the Divine Light that is shining through the spirit, the ego starts to turn around and accept guidance.

This means the ego accepts life with the spirit and with Allah (swt), which is the sword Mawlana was talking about. It's in the Holy Qur'an: Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem, it's part of a verse at the beginning of every surah. Before we do anything, before we read the Holy Qur'an, whether we recite it aloud or read silently, we begin with “Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem”. So with this knowledge, with this Holy Book that came down in this month, we are finding guidance to our Lord, finding the way to turn the throne of our egos upside down. Knowledge of all Holy Books and the Pure Ones will turn the throne of the ego upside down, then the ego will accept or not accept, it all depends: the spirit either accepts the gift of the ego and goes along with the pleasures of this world, or the ego comes along to the way of the spirit and the Holy Books.

Inshaa-Allah we will continue with this turning our throne upside down and Inshaa-Allah , Allah will give us a bigger throne. Allah is so generous, He says, “If you do something for me I will give you more and more and more!” Nabi Kareem (s) said that if we do one good deed, Allah will multiply it ten times up to 700 times or even unlimited times! We ask Allah (swt) to make us successful, to subdue our ego as it's still not subdued, it still pops up here and there every now and then. Inshaa-Allah He will make us subdue it and follow the footsteps of the Prophet (s), who subdued the shaytan given to him and made him Muslim. Inshaa-Allah we make our ego Muslim.

Bi hurmati ‘l-habeeb bi hurmati ‘l-Fatihah.


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