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The Capacity of a Real Shaykh

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

8 June 2011 Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

Dhuhr / Suhbah at Private Residence

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.

Dastoor yaa Sayyidi madad.

We ask madad from awliyaaullah, from our shaykh, may Allah give him long life. Everyone is free in his belief and we are free in our belief.

لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا

laa yukallifullah nafsan illa wus`ahaa.

On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. (al-Baqarah, 2:286)

Our capacity is so small, while some think their capacity is a big pot; it is their capacity. Others think their capacity is this whole world; it is up to them. Our capacity is not yet a drop that the awliyaa are taking from the ocean of Prophet (s). kullu man yada`fil ilmi falsafatan `arafta shaya wa ghaabat `anka ashyaau They are all taking from Prophet (s).

Say to that one who claims he knows knowledge and philosophy, it is nothing! You know something, `arafata shayyan, “one thing,” wa ghaabat `anka ashyaau, “and all the rest is unseen to you.” So if it is unseen to you, how do you claim that you know everything? You know something that is very limited, that to your eyes your ego makes it big, but in reality it is nothing. So everyone (has knowledge) according to his capacity that his container can take, and the one who thinks he knows something, as Imam al-Busayri (r) said in the famous poem Burdah ash-Shareef, wa kulluhum min rasulillahi multamisun, “All prophets are taking from Prophet (s).”

You can take...but is there one? You know one, but there are trillions or quadrillions or more than we can count, because it never ends, it continues to infinity, which is impossible to count. You knew one, but there are many that are hidden. You cannot understand it (ghaybat). So in reality, Prophet (s) gave according to what the human being can carry.

Did Prophet (s) give everything that Allah (swt) gave to him? That is impossible, because then you would be shareek, a partner to Prophet (s). While a servant can claim he knows something, all servants need the Prophet (s)! So like Allah is laa shareek, without partner, the Prophet is also laa shareek (in knowledge). ...so kullu, “everyone,” includes all prophets. Look at the case of Imam Busayri (r): Allah opened his heart and he understood. So kullu, everyone, is preceded by waw `atif, "for sure"--all of them with no one left--are seeking from the ocean of Prophet (s). ...wa kullu min rasoolihi multamisun, “seeking from Prophet.” But how much they seek differs, as one takes a pitcher, another takes a container, another takes a barrel, another one takes a reservoir. And every day he receives a reservoir and slowly, slowly knowledge passes to the membership.

When they give you water you must have membership in the village and you pay a tax or fee, then water comes to your home. (buffering) to the... it is a membership, but a real membership, not false that everyone can claim, like we said about the other poet. You know that you know something, but then you did not have membership; your pipe is broken. You knew something, but not everything. So essentially there is a “pipe.” That is why those in tassawuf take a way, they have a shaykh, and they have to know there is a membership. Even if you take a shaykh, if you don’t have membership it will not benefit you. So even if there is membership, like one meter or two meters, it is up to you what you take. That is why the tafseer of that ayah.....

لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ

laa yukallifullahu nafsan illa wus`ahaa lahaa maa kasabat wa `alayhaa maa iktasabat.

On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns and it suffers every ill that it earns. (al-Baqarah, 2:286)

So according to your capacity, you might take half a meter or one, two, or three meters. So as you are rising up more and more comes; it is up to you what you want to take. Why do we say illa wus`ahaa, Allah doesn’t give you more than your capacity, according the the capacity of the reservoir in your heart, if we can say that, one meter or two meters or three cubic meters; with more and more you can rise up, but you have to have a pipe.

Some people claim they are taking water at the reservoir, but where is the pipe? How can it come to you without the pipe? That pipe is baya`. It is not yet installed, when you pay your installment then they connect you. Now they connect you one meter or ten meters, it is up to you how much you are asking, it is how much you are delivering, following the Shari`ah of the Prophet. One cannot be a wali if he is breaking the Shari`ah. Don’t claim anything if you are breaking the Shari`ah! A shaykh cannot be a shaykh if he is breaking the Shari`ah. A deputy cannot be a deputy around the world, neither in Qadiriyya or Naqshbandiyya, or from other tariqahs; if they are not following the Shari`ah strictly, they cannot claim that their pipe is connected. That pipe is not connected, so see how much the pipe is broken.

Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r) said, “If you see someone flying in the air or walking on water, don’t follow him.” It means someone who is showing that he is wali, don’t believe him as he is Shaytan. Did you ever see Prophet (s) walking on water? No, because he wants his Shari`ah to be followed completely. The Shari`ah is fruit.

Tariqah cannot break the rules also. Prophet (s) made Shari`ah easier; it is not to be broken, but it is made easier. For example, someone who is sick can pray sitting or lying down or merely by nodding their head, and they can fast later (when they recover). So rules in Shari`ah are in a different way. Also there are rules in tariqah. Some rules may be changed accordingly, to accommodate mureeds in order to get rid of sicknesses, illnesses of the ego, to move forward. Shari`ah accommodates people with physical sicknesses (while tariqah accommodates people with spiritual sicknesses).

So you must have membership to get water from the reservoir. Awliyaa compared to people are few. I heard from Grandshaykh and Shaykh Nazim that there are 124, 000 wali; that number came from `Ibn Abbas (r) in his tafseer of Surat al-`Araaf, regarding when Sayyidina Musa (a) asked, “O my Lord! Show (Yourself) to me, that I may look upon You."

قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ قَالَ لَن تَرَانِي وَلَـكِنِ انظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّى رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكًّا وَخَرَّ موسَى صَعِقًا فَلَمَّا أَفَاقَ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Qaala rabbee arinee anzhur ilayk, qaala lan taraanee wa laakin unzhur ila ’l-jabali, fa inni 'staqarrra makaanuhu fasawfa taraanee, fa lamaa tajalla rabbuhu li 'l-jabali ja`alahu dakkan wa khara Musa saa'iqan, falamma aafaaqa qaala subhaanaka tubtoo ilayk, wa anaa awwal al-mumineen.

(Musa) said, "O my Lord! Show Yourself to me, that I may look upon You." Allah said, "By no means can you see Me (directly), but look upon the mountain; if it abides in its place, then you shall see Me." When his Lord manifested His glory on the mount, He made it as dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses, he said, "Glory be to You! To You I return in repentance, and I am the first to believe." (Surat al-`Araaf, 7:143)

He saw the mountain and fainted. Sayyidina Ibn `Abbas (a) said in that tafseer that Sayyidina Musa (a) saw 313 prophets standing and behind him the rest of 124, 000 prophets prostrating and praying... So not every prophet, you cannot say, “I am like a prophet of Bani Israel,” no. Only those who are from 124,000 can call themselves Tabi`een, “the Successors;” like some are known as “Ibrahimi.” You must be where the reservoir is. You must be lucky, because your reservoir is Muhammad (s)!

In a maze, all the directions look similar and there may be a dead end, but there is one place where you can exit. Also these pipes connected to the reservoir are like a maze. You go and go, and still it is blocked by the wall of the reservoir; there is still some grass because of some moisture, like a small oasis that a creature can live in. These are the different branches (of tariqah), but the main pipe is going to be one. In every tariqah, and I am not speaking only of one and the rest are gone, in every tariqah there is one that is really connected and there are some that have the moisture within the walls. So the problem in the branches (within the tariqah) is that they did not recognize they had to connect to the real pipe that is connected to the reservoir. To do that, you have to show humility.

In any tariqah, let us take Naqshbandi Tariqah, there is one wali sitting on a silver brick and the gold brick as we said is for the Prophet (s). So every wali who says, “I am on a silver brick” is connected to tariqah and it is okay. But there are how many branches of Naqshbandi? So if the pipe is not connected to the reservoir, you can’t break through the brick wall to connect. If that pipe is connected they will receive, but others will get only some.

That is why Imam Busayri said, wa kulluhum min rasoolillahi multamisun, “All prophets are taking from Prophet (s).”

He said, either you are connected to the main pipe, or connected in a little way. Drop by drop they are getting and they drink, but each takes according to their capacity. Like the example of a main source of electricity: you cannot take from the main source, you take from the transformer or you will burn. So you have to have a transformer like you have to have a main pipe. The transformer is the real shaykh that is getting from the Prophet (s) directly. You cannot be a transformer as there is only one for each district. You cannot claim “shaykhhood,” but you can be “Robin Hood.” (laughter) You can do what you like! Robin is a man from the jungle who can do whatever he likes. But “shaykhhood” requires a real connection. If you hang on to a real shaykh you are safe, but if you hang on to your own group you, cannot claim (you are connected).

Tell those who are falsely claiming that they cannot do that. They may know only some things, but many things are hidden. You have to understand that tariqah is not that easy, because it will never allow you to break Shari`ah. Today everyone is breaking Shari`ah; in that case, where is tariqah? If you break Shari`ah, you are breaking tariqah a hundred times more! The most important thing is to not break Shari`ah. If you understand that, then more opens for you in tariqah. That is why like I said many times, if you complete Shari`ah the shaykh opens for you, because then you know about issues of fiqh (law) and then you will understand what the shaykh is saying.

This does not apply to pseudo-shaykhs. Now they want an Americanized Shari`ah. Where is that? Or a Malayanized Shari`ah, or an Indonesianized Shari`ah or Turkishized Shari`ah or Cypriotnized Shari`ah, or Frenchized Shari`ah. What is this? And I am saying with our shuyukhs’ barakah, and we never saw our shuyukh breaking Shari`ah! But they facilitate, like we said; in Shari`ah if someone is sick Prophet (s) gave a way out. So similarly in tariqah, the shaykh gives a way out but you cannot apply that to yourself (without the shaykh’s grant). Everyone has a different sickness, and there are 800 different spiritual sicknesses. The shaykh knows your sickness and facilitates for you to overcome it.

There was a shaykh to whom this understanding was given, and it does not mean you apply it (without the shaykh’s guidance). That shaykh was very well known, but his son was completely the opposite: drinking, womanizing, doing every bad thing. The shaykh could not do anything about it, it was impossible. So one day the shaykh called a meeting and said, “Today I am asking you to donate as much as you can. I am not telling you why.” So out of their love for the shaykh, the men and women gave everything, even their jewelry. So the shaykh called his son and said, “Take this and go spend it as you like.” The mureeds said, “This is our savings and we gave it and it is gone!” Maybe some people object, but we don’t care about that, we follow our way; this is what Grandshaykh said.

The son took the money and spent it wastefully, left and right. After sometime he spent all of it and he came to his father and said, “I want to repent.” The father said, “okay.” In the dhikr meeting the son entered and said, “I want to repent.” Everyone was quiet. The father said to everyone, “All my children! I want to tell you that you did a great favor to me, because on the Day of Judgment I would feel shy to have such a bad son, but you saved me. When I looked on the Preserved Tablet, I saw it written that my son would repent only after spending so much money, and that is what you gave. What you gave expedited that. It would have taken too long, but you shortened it by giving the amount written on the Preserved Tablet, and in only forty days all of that is finished. So you saved me and you saved him!”

Awliyaaullah know what they are doing. So our duty is to “hook” to their “pipe” and then we will slowly, slowly receive knowledge that is being passed to them. Awliyaa save their followers and you don’t know when the time will come, so be on Shari`ah. They can make decisions to make excuses for the mureed’s problems to be facilitated, like the shaykh gave that whole amount to facilitate that and the son was saved. If he did not do that, that boy would live his whole life in sin and darkness. May Allah forgive us and bless this meeting, and may Allah support you.

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