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The Etiquette and Discipline Between Mureeds

Ramadan Series 2014, Volume 24

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

22 July 2014 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Suhbah

A`oodhu billahi min ‘ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah, nawaytu 'r-riyaada, nawaytu 's-salook, nawayna as-siyaam fee hadha ‘l-yawm min Ramadan.

Salaam 'alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh, local people, viewers on the Internet and everyone on Ummah Channel. May Allah bless you and everyone we are reaching. We are trying our best; we are humble people trying to clarify what principles and humbleness of Tasawwuf show to everyone. The Prophet (s) said:

الدين نصيحة الدين نصيحة الدين نصيحة

Religion is advice. Religion is advice. Religion is advice.

Ad-deenu naseeha, ad-deenu naseeha, ad-deenu naseeha, three times. They asked him, “Yaa Rasoolullah, naseeha to whom?” He (s) said, “To Allah first, thumma li Rasoolihi wa li’l mu’mineen, first to call people to Allah (swt), then to the Prophet (s), then call people to be together with each other.”:

The Discipline of Mureeds to Mureeds

As we said previously, mureeds to mureeds must take care of each other and not backbite each other, nor throw rumors about them against each other: hifzh hurmatihim haadireen aw ghaaibeen, “to keep their honor in their presence and their absence.” When they are not present you are not allowed to backbite them. When they are present you can say something, but it is not good adab to say it in front of other people. So always you have to keep a good relationship and anything you saw wrong from your brother try to cover it or try to advise them.

Fa laa yaghtabu ahadun minkum “You must not backbite anyone of them,” these are principles of Tasawwuf and that is why we are learning this and the Prophet (s) mentioned to us, repeating it many times, wa laa tajasasoo, wa laa tajasasoo, wa laa tajasasoo:

ولا تحسسوا ولا تجسسوا ولا ‏ ‏تناجشوا ‏ ‏ولا تحاسدوا ولا تباغضوا ولا تدابروا وكونوا عباد الله إخوانا.

And don't look for the other's faults, and don't spy and don't hate each other, and don't desert (cut your relations with) one another. O Allah's slaves! Be brothers! (Narrated by Abu Hurayrah, Bukhari)

He is telling us not to do wrong things and in Tasawwuf we must treat others honorably.

Treat Each Other With Honor

First of all, we have to keep the honor of the mureeds in their absence, brother to brother or sister to sister. It is said that Allah protected mu’min from mu’min, because two can be mu’min, but they have this problem of backbiting each other, it is correct? And Allah (swt) said, “Don’t backbite each other!” wa laa tajasasoo wa laa yaghtub ba`adakum ba`ada:

وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ

Avoid suspicion as much (as possible) and spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would abhor it. (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:12)

Don’t try to backbite or say false rumors, because between you and Allah, He might forgive when you do istighfar, but between you and a brother, you might not forgive that brother, Allah is going to ask the oppressed to forgive the oppressor, if he says, “No yaa Rabbee,” He is going to take the hasanaat of the oppressor and give it to the oppressed so you will be loser.

Advise Each Other

Second, we have to advise them. Those who are more with the shaykh and know many things, he has learned a lot, he can advise his brother and direct them to the right track, to the way that can reach them quickly to the shaykh. So these conditions, there are conditions for that: Li ‘n-naasih wa ‘l-mansooh for the advisor and the one being advised, both of them there are three principles in it.

The Principles of Advisor and Advisee

Three Principles for Advisors

1. F’asharootu li ’n-naasih an takoon an-naseehaa sirran. The conditions to the one advising his brother is not to make it in public. He might take his brother somewhere separately and speak to him privately. The advice has to be secret. You cannot expose his mistake, he might run away. He thinks he is doing well, but might be he is doing a mistake, so you have the right to advise him in a decent way.

2. It has to be with leniency and softness. You cannot scold him and say, “You did something wrong!” If your brother did something wrong, cover him; you are not losing anything, then Allah (swt) and the Prophet (s) will be happy with you.

3. An takoon bi-laa isti`laa. Your advice should not be to show him you are higher than him, don’t be proud of your advice. Try to advise him with humbleness, not with pride that, “I am a representative who can advise you.” You can advise but with softness, leniently. That is why we see that the shuyukh who are Inheritors of the Prophet (s) are very soft in advising people, they bring the advice through a lecture, suhbat, in a way that everyone thinks the shaykh is directing it to him. He is directing it to one, but everyone feels that it is directed at them, because everyone has a defect. Don't make yourselves as if you know better.

Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an to His Prophet (s):

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ

Say, "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) Revelation has come to me. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:110)

Look how the Prophet (s) did not say like Sayyidina Musa (a), “I am Kaleemullah, let me see You.” We read that ayah in Surat al-Kahf every Friday, Qul innamaa anaa basharun mithlukum yoohaa ilayya, “I receive Revelation,” yes, but Prophet (s) humbled himself in order that we can learn.

Three Principles for Advisees

The one being advised has three principles of discipline. The one being advised must:

1. Accept the advice, because he knows the sincerity and piety of his brother who is advising him. he has to accept that advice, if that advice is really correct.

2. An yaqbal an-naasih to say, “Yes my brother, I am wrong, I am learning, sorry.”

3. An yashkur an-naasih, and to thank the advisor, or else you will be with that mistake all your life.

The parents advise their children to be good from childhood. They send them to school to learn, because learning is important as without `amal there is no benefit of `ilm as you cannot know the limits. That’s why you have to thank the one who is guiding you.

Mureeds Helping Eachother Builds the Infrastructure of this Tariqah

Most of the work of Tariqah, the infrastructure work is done by mureeds because the relationship between mureed and mureed is easy. The relationship between mureed and shaykh is based in protocols and etiquette as you cannot go beyond those boundaries, but with mureeds you can joke, speak freely and share mutual familiarity. That is why they say don't exceed familiarity between you and your shaykh, keep limits. To be near the shaykh too much will also burn you. Don't think that if you are at the house of the shaykh you are in a good position. No! You are going to be questioned and asked more than those who visit occasionally and leave.

When you go to Mecca and pray at the Ka`aba, each two raka`ats it is considered as if you prayed 100,000 times two raka`ats. If you pray in Madinah it is said your prayer is equal to 10,000 times more. So also in what we are saying you have to consider in the house of the shaykh you will be questioned for any mistake you do, because it has hurmah, to give its due right. Like if you go to Mecca and pray there, Allah gives your due rights, you get all the rewards, you took all that difficult way to reach Mecca and Madinah, and that’s why Allah gives a lot. Also, if you go to the shaykh and stay too long, you lose the seriousness and adab in the relationship between you and your shaykh and any mistake you do you will get hit. Like the Hadith an-Nabi (s) about Madinah, where you stay you have to know that in normal life you go to a masjid anywhere around the world and if you have a bad gossip or bad inspiration that you didn’t act on, it is not written against you, but in Madinat al-Munawarrah if you have any gossip or bad inspiration (even if you didn’t act on it), it will be written against you, so not only in dunya life if you do a sin it will be written against you, in Madinah if you have bad inspiration it will be written against you, so we have to be careful. Also the presence of the shuyukh is very risky as we have to always keep adab with them.

Apply The Advice

An yutabbiq an-naseeha, apply the advice. You don’t know, maybe the shaykh has pushed that one to “Advise this one as might listen to you more than to me.” Beginners are like that, they might listen from their friends more than they listen to their shaykh because they came to the shaykh through their friends. That’s why the infrastructure is made through mureeds. If I receive a phone call and email from someone in Ethiopia I might not know who they are, but they said, “We are 23 Naqshbandis and we found Sufilive.com, took baya` online, got the dhikr CD and we listen to it, now what do we have to do?” it means from mureed to mureed they were guided to develop the relationship. They saw Sufilive TV or any of our other stations/websites, they feel happy and they follow it.

Prophet (s) said:

لأن يهدي الله بك رجلاً واحدا خير لك من الدنيا وما فيها

If Allah guides one person to Islam through you, it is better than the wealth of this dunya.

(Imam Nawawi, Riyaad as-Saliheen)

To guide one person to imaan is better than all the wealth of dunya! Everyone is running in his life for the wealth of dunya, but the Prophet (s) is saying, “I am giving you wealth of dunya through your naseeha when you guide people to Islam.” So you don’t know, out of the blue someone may come and say, “I know you!” I meet so many Pakistanis although I didn’t go to Pakistan, and they say, “I saw you before”, or, “We know you”. They know because of what? Because one tells the other, because of this kind of technology that is being used in the right way, because of the work that mureeds are doing to help, as you cannot work by yourself (developing infrastructure of the jama`ah or Tariqat). The mureeds in every country have to help develop the infrastructure, then the shaykh comes and puts his touch on it. That is why to apply the naseeha is important, because when you apply it you learn it and if you see someone else doing the same mistake that you were doing, you can help them fix it.

Advisors Must Be Humble

At-tawaadu` lahum wa l-insaaf ma`hum, to be humble with them and insaaf, to be fair to them, wa khidmatihim bi qadari ‘l-imkan “and to help them in any way possible,” so not only to give advice but the third one is also to give them respect, humbleness and fairness, al-insaaf means “to excuse them if they make a mistake,” you don’t go and publish their mistakes. Today they get revenge from each other, they are followers of the same shaykh; you see some of them taking revenge on each other and backbiting in the back. In every, in many, in dunya Shaytan is playing with everyone. Between `ulama you have this problem, between shuyukh you can find these problems, between representatives you find problems, between mureeds you find problems; it is becoming a very difficult way and situation.

Alhamdulillah we have to thank Allah (swt) that He called us and directed us and guided us to our teacher, may Allah bless his soul. And to find a teacher like that you cannot any more in our Tariqah, not in the Naqshbandi as a whole, because there are too many branches, but in this the an-Nazimiyya branch, back to Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim's (q) name, to find another like Mawlana in our group is impossible, no way! That is why our shaykh: we cannot exchange him. He is living within our hearts, bal ahyaa’un `inda rabbihim yurzaqoon:

وَلاَ تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ أَمْوَاتًا بَلْ أَحْيَاء عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ

Wa laa tahsabanna ‘Lladheena qutiloo fee sabeelillaahi amwaatan bal ahyaa’un `inda rabbihim yurzaqoon.

And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord. (Surat Aali `Imraan, 3-169)

“Don't think that those who died, were killed in Allah's way are dead. No, they are alive Allah’s Presence.” Allah said, bal ahyaaun `inda rabbihim yurzaqoona, they are alive in the Divine Presence provided with spiritual food. Laa tahsabanna ‘Lladheena qutiloo, Don't think those who have been killed...there are those who killed their desires, laa khawfun `alayhim wa laa hum yahzanoon, as Allah (swt) said:

أَلا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاء اللّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

Alaa inna awliyaaullaahi laa khawfun `alayhim wa laa hum yahzanoon.

Behold! Verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Surah Yunus, 10:62)

“Verily Allah's Saints have nothing to fear or be sad from,” those who killed their desires, their bad desires. I will tell you an example. We used to visit Grandshaykh (q) all the time and pass by Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s (q) house, before I got married to his daughter. We slept, there was a room downstairs, the house is two floors, two rooms up and two rooms down and we see that at night anyone who goes down to the bathroom, to the living room or to the kitchen, you can see him, and you can hear him. One time it was one or two in the morning and I saw Mawlana (q) going down, going to the kitchen, opened the cupboard and checking the food. I came, said, salaam to Mawlana and was watching, and he was checking the food: is there any rotten food? He found some rotten food, covered it and put it on the side. He didn't say anything to me. I went to pray Tahajjud. Next day in the morning, breakfast time they put the food, and alhamdulillah nice food and there were five, six people who came from outside to eat. And Mawlana brought the plate that he had covered and ate that food and made everyone to eat the normal food.

Then he said to me, “This is Allah's Favors. Who steps on Allah's Favors and don’t give it adab and respect then Allah will send someone to step on him.” How can you find like that, go and eat rotten food? The food that’s smelly, there is no fridge at that time, it was a cupboard. Today if you don’t have nice food you don’t touch it even, forget about smelly food. Smelly food is easy, bad food is...He didn’t say to anyone, but I saw the plate and he saw that I saw the plate. So where can you find someone to sit in his place? it is no way.

Mureeds Build the Infrastructure, then the Shaykh Comes

So mureeds build the infrastructure then the shaykh comes when the infrastructure is ready to give his speech. We tried our best, the American Muslims, converts, for many, many years to execute Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s order to us, that, “I want you to stand and debate the Wahhabi ideology.” We did and some people here were in that time. We began that, me and this gentleman, Mateen Siddiqui, and alhamdulillah we were successful. No one at that time knew what is a Wahhabi or Salafi; we were building the infrastructure and when it was ready we planned a conference. We had 157 speakers, not 10, 20, 30, but 157 speakers who were grand muftis, muftis, ministers, `ulama and also common people, Muslims and non-Muslims. The conference was in Los Angeles, organized by American Muslim mureeds and it was one of the best conferences with 10,000 attendees. And we brought Mawlana Shaykh (q) on top of all these speakers as the keynote speaker, the guest of honor, and it was broadcast everywhere. The shaykh is not going to do that, his mureeds have to do it and then he comes.

Similarly we did the same in Washington DC in 1998 and it was attended by 8,000 and we brought Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) and grand muftis of Central Asia who sat in Congress in a big room where they gave lectures attended by congressmen and senators, and Mawlana Shaykh (q) sat at the top of the stage, and he gave his speech, which was broadcast also. That would be enough, but we did a lot on the side of conferences, all of that for what? To show the love and respect, the charisma and the humbleness of our teacher! You do this for what? For love. You are not going to do this for any benefit, you are not going to benefit money-wise: we paid from our pockets to do that, we didn’t ask anyone to pay for us, we managed from the mureeds to support and pay for those two conferences. Why would you do that, for what reason? You can do that to promote yourself, but no, you have to do it for the one that can guide you to the Shore of Safety!

So mureeds to each other can build up the new ones in order to guide them through the Real Way, not to fight with each other. Now today they say, “This group is my group,” “This is my group,” that one for that person, that group for that one, but there is no network! We tried to make network, but there is no real network, we connect with many other groups around the world, but we hope to build a real network. So out of humbleness that your shaykh teaches you, you try to teach the others.

Have Husn azh-Zhaan, Good Thoughts of Others and Don’t Praise Yourself

Husn azh-zhaan, to have good thoughts about each other, not to have bad thoughts or preoccupy yourself with their mistakes, but guide them. Don’t criticize them for their mistakes or instead of building them up they will destroy more. We say to everyone that have shuyookh, they took hand of their shuyookh from any Tariqah to keep good thoughts between the shaykhs, his followers and other followers. It is said, “Don't see the defect except in yourself,” don’t see the defect as coming from your brother as in reality it is your defect, because Prophet (s) said, “The mu’min is the mirror of the mu’min. So when you look at him, it reflects your character in his mirror, so you see yourself. Don't make yourself out as if you are the great advisor or great innocent person. We must always be reminded:

فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ

Don’t praise yourself. (Surat an-Najm, 53:32)

Don't try to give importance to yourself. Mu`taqidan `ayban badaa bayyinan laakinnahu ‘statira, “Don't see the defect except in you if you felt there is something wrong, but it is hidden so don't expose it.” Don't expose the mistakes of other mureeds.

Don’t Seek Leadership or Question the Shaykh’s Decision

This is important for Ahl at-Tasawwuf: an laa yatlub ar-riyaasa wa ’t-taqaddum `alayhim li-anna talib al-wilaayah wa la yuwallaa, “Don’t ask or request to be the leader over them because leadership will never be given to the one who asks for it.” If you ask for leadership, it will not be given. I know there are some people who physically asked Mawlana (q) for leadership and Mawlana (q) did not give them real leadership. So don't try to ask the shaykh for leadership because it means your ego is asking for it. As we said many times, that is like the `alim that came to his shaykh and said, “I have been with you 27 years and I am `alim. I love you, but I don't get anything ( miracles) and I don't feel anything in my heart (rabita). However, someone else came for a few days, or one or two years, and became your representative, while you are not giving me anything!” He is questioning his teacher, is that good?

The shaykh said, “O my son, if you want I will give you, but first I want you go to the city, buy a basket, fill it with walnuts, go to the door of the masjid and sit there. Anyone who comes inside, tell him, ‘If you want a walnut, hit me with your shoe once and if you want two walnuts hit me twice.’ When you finish all the walnuts in your basket, come to me and I will give you the `ilm.”

He said, “I don’t want this `ilm!”

After 27 years he lost everything, because of his arrogance, because he was asking for leadership! He was not able to do as the shaykh instructed, he ran away from it. He was not going to lower himself to those who knew him as `alim by sitting at the masjid door and ask people to hit him on the head with their shoes and then give them a walnut! Yes, the shaykh wants him to humble himself, he wants to crack that stone, and if he had stayed a little bit longer the shaykh was able to crack that stone and bring the jewel out! May Allah teach us respect to our shuyookh.

It is said, At-Tasawwuf kulluhu aadaab, “All of Tasawwuf is discipline.” Don’t look for other than to learn discipline! Yes, to acquire `ilm you have to know Shari`ah, Fiqh and Hadith, but on the other side, you have to know Shari’ah, Fiqh, Hadith, Tafseer alongside learning Tasawwuf! You cannot drop Shari`ah and say, “I am a Sufi,” no you are not Sufi, you are nothing! In that case, with such thinking you are an unbeliever, because Islam cannot accept that. At-Tasawwuf kulluhu aadaab, everything in Tasawwuf is adab, everything in Islam is Shari`ah and li kulli waqtin adab, “For every moment, for every state you are in, for every level of your spiritual development, there is etiquette.” Fa man lazima’l-adab balagha mablagh ar-rijaal, “Who keeps the adab will reach rijaal, manhood, the maturity of fulfilling one’s religious responsibilities, whereas we men and women did not reach “manhood” in the general Arabic meaning; women can also be rijaalAllah by applying principles of Shari`ah and Tasawwuf. Wa man hurrim al-adab fa huwa ba`eed, “Anyone who is deprived from knowing adab, to carry that responsibility, he will be far away from the Reality,” because Prophet (s) said:

‏انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق

I have been sent to perfect the best of conduct (your behavior and character). (Bazzaar)

All knowledge of Tasawwuf, the disciplines and principles in Islam, come under this Hadith! So Prophet (s) wants to keep us in the good way with the good manners, because Shari`ah is for Allah (swt), while adab is for you. Shari`ah is the way that makes Allah (swt) happy with you, it is an obligation, and Tasawwuf is to decorate that obligation, to decorate you. Like if you have a warehouse and decorate the walls with beautiful calligraphy, that is Tasawwuf. Shari`ah is the building and Tasawwuf is the decoration.

May Allah (swt) forgive us and accept from us and inshaa-Allah we mention about al-`ilm, knowledge, tomorrow and also one Hadith that will make every one of you happy, every Muslim and mu’min, inshaa-Allah. To know one Hadith from Prophet (s) will save you in dunya and Akhirah, and it is so easy, so simple, but it has a very deep meaning and a prediction from the Prophet (s) that carries a lot of mercy with it to the people of today. May Allah forgive us.

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


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