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The Best Worship is to Feed People

Ramadan Series, Volume 28

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

27 August 2011 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Suhbah after Fajr

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani '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.

In the previous session we spoke about Sayyidina `Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) and I recommend that everyone go back to that lecture about his life to see how much awliyaullah suffer to reach the level of wilayah (sainthood), as it is not cheap. You can be a professor, a lecturer, an advisor or a consultant, a shaykh or a representative of a shaykh, no problem, but to be a wali is a level very difficult to reach.

The life of awliyaullah is a continuous migration from one level to another. For them it is not important to remain in the level opened to them from heavenly stations; rather, they aspire to reach knowledges in their hearts and inspirations from Allah (swt) or through His Door, which is the Prophet (s).

As we said, it is not cheap. Shaykh `Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) said, qaasaytul-ahwaal, “I experienced all kinds of hardship.” Ahwaal here means hardship that is frightening. After he became a big `alim and studied all different kinds of `uloom, he was knowledgeable in fourteen styles of qiraat of Qur`an with their dialects and meanings, in addition to all kinds of fiqh. He said, “I went to the desert and left behind everything--family, children, friends and students--as I understood that you cannot find Him in dunya, that you have to leave this dunya.”

This means you have to leave this fake civilization or fake “modernity.” Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (q) said, “Everything you see with your eyes is not a reality, it is a mirage and doesn’t exist.” Anything that is not disappearing is reality, so you are not going to see anything real until you die. Therefore, your concern is not this life, dunya, but it is Akhirah. You can find Akhirah where there is no life, in the desert, so Shaykh `Abdul Qadir Jilani left for the desert. Awliyaullah run to deserts, where there is no water, no food, and no life. You have to learn to surrender to Allah (swt).

That is why he said, “Qaasaytul-ahwaal, I experienced calamities and too many difficulties. I didn’t leave a calamity without doing my best to ride it, and to not allow dunya to ride me. I am not the donkey, but dunya must be the donkey. I was riding on the calamities, one after another, and all I had was one jubbah and a small piece of cloth to cover my head.” It is sunnah to cover the head and a wali cannot leave even one sunnah. Today we put on a big turban, like me, and we go out. If you go out like that in Mecca or Madinatu’l-Munawwara, they will think you are a big `alim and ask you questions. We wear turbans, since the Prophet (s) said:

العمائم تيجان العرب, فاذا وضعوا العمائم وضع الله عزهم

al-ama'im tijaan al-`arab. man wada`ooha wada`Allahu `izzahum.

Turbans are the crowns of the Arabs (i.e. Muslims). Whoever took them off, Allah lowered their honor. (ad-Daylami in Musnad al-Firdaws)

Al-amaa'imu tijaanu 'l-`Arab, man a`azzahu a`azzahullah wa man ahaanahu ahaahanhullah.

The turbans are crowns of Muslims, of Arabs. Whoever honors it Allah honors, and whoever dishonors it Allah will dishonor.

Today men are wearing scarves, like ladies! Manufacturers sell them 100 or 500 riyals, and some of them are made of silk, even though Prophet (s) prohibited men from wearing silk. They are not made of ordinary cloth but of fancy designer cloth, so they want to put them on their heads.

Shaykh `Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) said, “I left dunya with only a small piece of cloth covering my head. I walked barefoot on thorns and they pricked me wherever I moved.” This has another meaning: “Wherever I am moving in the way of Allah, there is an obstacle trying to make me come back, but I never came back.” He said, “I used to eat from bushes.” He reached that level and then came back by Allah's order to advise people as Allah (swt) opened for him the maqaam of ghawthiyah, the highest level of sainthood.

When he was on his deathbed, his son asked him, “O my father! Advise me as you are leaving dunya!”

He said, “My advice to you is to have taqwa in your heart, as there is no way to reach the level of sainthood without it. Also, do not be frightened of anyone in Allah’s way, only be afraid of Allah (swt) and no one else.”

What does it mean here, “to be afraid of Allah (swt).” It is to fear being far from Him, not only to fear His punishment. Allah doesn't like bad and thus does not look at it; He only looks at what is good. Awliyaullah say, “Do you think Allah (swt) will look at your bad geeds? Allah only likes good, He doesn't like khabeeth, anything dirty.” If you are doing something good, for sure you are also doing something bad, but it is not befitting to Allah’s Honor and His Divine Presence to look at the faults of human beings. Do you think that Allah doesn't know you will commit sins? Who sent Iblees to you? Allah (swt) sent him so He could reward you when you repent after committing a sin. Everyone sins, so you cannot count them. Every moment in your life is a sin because you are committing hidden shirk, as the Prophet (s) said:

أخوف ما أخاف على أمتي الشرك الخفي

Akhwaf maa akhaafu `ala ummattee ash-shirk al-khafee.

What I fear most for my ummah is hidden shirk.

Hidden shirk is to say, “I did this, I did that.” No, all good is from Allah (swt), so say, “Yaa Rabbee, I did bad and repent to You.”

So he said, “Have taqwallah and don’t fear anyone except Allah. wa la tarjoo ayy wahid siwa Allah, “Don’t ask anyone or demand anything except from Allah (swt).” Always ask Allah, id`oonee astajib lakum wakkil al-hawwaaij ila Allah wa laa ta`tamid illa `alayh, “Don’t depend on anyone except Him; ask everything from Him and don’t trust anyone except Allah (swt).” It means leave all your needs to Allah. Don't trust anyone here because all of them are committing sins and hidden shirk. When you trust someone they will give you their opinion, which is full of shirk and mistakes.

He said, “Don’t listen to those who are going to guide you to the way of Iblees, but listen to those who will guide you to the way of Allah (swt), Who gave a mind to people to compare what is good and what is bad, so everyone can know who is on the right way and who is on the bad way.”

فَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا يَرَه ُُ وَمَن يَعْمَلْ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَ

fa man ya`mal mithqaala dharratin khayran yarah, wa man ya`mal mithqaala dharratin sharran yarah.

Whosoever has done an atom's weight of good shall see it, and whosoever has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it. (al-Zalzalah, 99:7-8)

Then the son wept, saying, “Maadha yulimuk, O my father! What kind of aching do you feel in your body?”

He said, “Oh my son! All my body is aching, I have pain everywhere.”

That was when he was leaving dunya. Awliyaullah carry pain on behalf of their followers, which means they carry all their students’ pain when they leave; they don’t leave the students in the hands of Iblees, but in the hands of Allah (swt). They go to the door of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) and say, “Yaa Rasoolullah! This is your ummah, your nation, following you. I am presenting them to you, and that is all I can do.”

He continued, “O my son! All of my body is aching except for one place, ma`adha qalbee, my heart. It is impossible for it to ache because my heart is with Allah (swt). It is not in partnership, but is in the Divine Presence. I cannot feel anything because my heart is there. I am with my heart and leaving my body behind.”

Then the son asked, “Oh my father, what can I depend on, asta`een?”

He said, “Depend on laa ilaaha illa-Llah,” and he began to recite, “laa ilaaha illa-Llah Subhaanaka wa Ta`ala al-hayy ‘al-ladhee laa yakhsha al-fawt. Subhaana man ta`azzaza bil qudrati wa ’l-baqa, wa qahhar al-i`badi bi ’l-mawti. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasooluh. I am seeking support from Allah (swt), the Creator Who doesn't die and is always Eternal. He is the One carrying all kinds of power and all kinds of Beautiful Names and Attributes and honor! He is the One Who forces His Qudrah by bringing death to people. But I say, ‘laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan `abduhu wa rasooluh.’” Then he began to recite, “Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah,” until he left dunya.

In his teaching he said, “I searched for the best `amal that can be done.” What is the best that you think is accepted and with which Allah (swt) is happy? The Prophet (s) mentioned in a hadeeth:

afshoo 's-salaam w 'ati`mu 't-ta`am.

Say, “As-salaamu `alaykum” to everyone.

Shaykh `Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) said, “In all my years, I found what is the best of all forms of ibaadah. I searched all that I have done and all that awliyaullah did before, and didn’t see anything except for one which is the best, afdal al-`amal.”

Sayyidina `Ali (r) put all the meaning of Qur’an and hadeeth in one word when he said, “The highest level of wisdom is to fear Allah (swt), yakhaafatAllah.” Hear, “Fear Him,” means not from punishment only, but fear from being kept away from Allah's Love. Sayyidina `Ali (r) wants you to run after the love of Allah (swt)! In the time of the Prophet (s), the Sahaabah (r), and khulaafah needed that. Sayyidina `Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) knows the weakness of human beings and that the best time was the time of the Sahaabah (r).

So his son said, “What is the best?” You will be amazed at his answer!

Shaykh `Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) said, “The best that I found is, fa ma wajadta afdal min it`am at-ta`am, to give people food. When you give people food they run after you.”

You like following those who feed you because you see their sincerity; they extend their hands to you when you are hungry. Similarly, everyone is hungry for spiritual food, so he gives you physical food because he knows his food is halaal. Your food is haraam, not forbidden, but because it has many ingredients it is not a perfect food that gives you positive energy. You might be cooking without wudu or ghusl, or you might be drinking and smoking. If you are in need, go to a restaurant, but if it is for desire, there is no need. The food of awliyaullah is full of good, halaal ingredients.

Shaykh `Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) said, “Awwadu law kaanat ad-dunya bi yaddee, I wished that Allah (swt) would give the whole dunya in my hands, and I would feed everyone food that would take them to Siraat ‘l-Mustaqeem, and make their food hasanaat instead of sayyi`aat.”

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Rabbanaa atinaa fi 'd-dunya hasanatan wa fi ’l-akhirati hasanatan wa qinaa `adhab an-naar.

O our Lord! Give us goodness in this life and goodness in the Next Life, and protect us from the punishment of the Fire. (Surat al-Baqara, 2:201)

With their nazhar (gaze), awliyaullah turn whatever you are eating into food that can decrease your ego and increase your heavenly power. That is why it is recommended to begin eating your food by first reciting, “Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem” and a du`a thanking Allah (swt), and to finish eating your food in the same way. Today no one cares to make du`a; both children and parents are eating quickly. The du`a will clean the food you are eating in restaurants, which is full of bad ingredients from the people who cook it.

There were two students of Grandshaykh (q) who were relatives married to two sisters. They were constantly training to keep their anger down, and one of the most important sicknesses we have to eliminate from our behavior is anger. What did they do? They tried to mock and provoke each other, and when they did that everyone became nervous that they would fight. They were wrestlers and they really fought! They were checking each other's hearts to see who would be patient and who would be impatient. Sometimes they could not upset each other, but then they would keep provoking each other until they fought.

Slowly, slowly, they dropped their anger down and they went so far that any time they said, “Allahu Akbar,” they saw the Ka`aba in front of them; their prayers took them there! One of them was higher than the other, and as soon as he said, “Allahu Akbar,” the other one would hold his jubbah and both of them would arrive at Ka`aba, pray, and return. They had that specialty, which is reserved for those who are trying their best. Today when we say, “Allahu Akbar,” we are thinking, “How much do I have in the bank? What kind of car do I want to buy? Which kind of people do I want to cheat?”

One time a student of a shaykh had jazbah, attraction; Allah (swt) gave him the ability to know what was in the heart. That mahzhoob, a dervish in Allah's Way, didn't have anything in his mind except Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s). Prophet (s) said:

Ittaqoo firaasat al-mu'min fa innahu yara bi noorillah

Beware the vision of the believer, for he sees with the light of Allah.

You cannot deny that they can read what is in hearts! He always came to pray but stood at the end of the lines. One Jumu`ah he came, but decided to stand directly behind the imaam. As soon as the imaam said, “Allahu Akbar!” he broke wind and everyone began laughing. He was finished, but when you laugh your prayer is null and you have to go make wudu. He grabbed his shoes and ran. Everyone began chasing him and they caught him in the end and brought him up for judgment.

The judge said, “What did you do?”

He said, “I did nothing and already my prayer is null. Do you want me to tell them what you did today?”

“What I did today?”

He said, “What you did when you left the house.”

And he said, “Alright, alright, never mind.” When he left his house he had seen his neighbor's wife and said to himself, “If only I could have this one as my wife!”

The dervish said, “You committed zina already, so how can I pray behind you? You need a ghusl, not just wudu.”

So going back to the story, when those two prayed they were immediately at the Ka’aba. They spoke with each other after Jumu`ah, saying, “We achieved that level because we did this and we did that.” Their two wives were listening and said, “They are so proud of themselves, they don’t know that we made that for them.” They told their husbands, “You think you reached that by yourselves, but we are going to show you.”

They said, “You are ladies and you have to follow (us, the men)!”

The wives kneaded chicken droppings into the bread and baked it. Jumu`ah came and their husbands had to eat before they went to Jumu`ah. They said, “This bread is very delicious.” They ate, made du’a and left. They were standing in prayer and said, “Allahu Akbar,” but nothing happened; they remained in their places. Grandshaykh (q) said one of them was raised up half a meter and the other was holding his jubbah. They were saying, “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,” and the two ladies were laughing. They said, “Do you think you can do that? Our khidmah for you is what made that. But today your food was contaminated and that gravity pulls you down. When it is clean, your spirit is putting the body in a cage and pulling it to Ka`aba.”

With dirty food, the soul is in the cage of the body. These days people are all cooking dirty food. The best way is to make wudu, pray two raka`ts, and then cook. At least make shahadah and say “Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem.” Pray at night, feed the people, and spread salaams. Today they don’t give food except in Ramadan or for a special event.

Once a poor lady in the time of the Sahaabah (r) cooked three loaves of bread every day: one for the morning, one for the evening, and one for the person who knocked at the door seeking food. One day she heard knocking and gave one loaf. When she was about to eat breakfast, another one came knocking and she gave another loaf, thinking, “There is no need to eat breakfast today. I will give sadaqah.” Then, all day she was not eating and someone came at the end of the day, saying to her, “Give me from what Allah gave to you,” so she gave the last loaf.

That night her life was ending and Allah (swt) sent the Angel of Death, who is sent to pull the souls from dunya. Usually they take the soul from the mouth. The angel was taking her soul from her mouth, but a loaf of bread came out, not allowing the angel to take her soul. The angel tried from the left, but it could not take her soul because the bread prohibited it! There is a hadeeth of the Prophet (s):

sadaqa tarud al-balaa wa tazeedul-`umur.

Charity takes away afflictions and extends life.

Then the angel was coming from her belly to take her soul but he could not, then from her toes but he couldn’t take it from there either. Then the angel heard a voice, saying, “Come back. I will stretch her life for seven years from that sadaqah.” Giving food made that lady live longer. Therefore, if you don’t find anyone who is homeless, invite your friends and speak nicely about Prophet (s) and Allah (swt). Don’t eat alone, but eat with someone else. Sayyidina `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) knew that, which is why he said, “If Allah gave me the whole of dunya I would make it into food to feed everyone.”

Don’t be an oppressor who eats and others don’t. This is especially true if you eat in restaurants because you are lazy and don’t want to cook. In addition to putting the food in the microwave, they may have also have been in the toilet and not washed their hands, which gives all kinds of sickness. So find someone and give them food as it will extend your life. Also, when you give them food it will make them happy, both spiritually and physically.

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