Station 4: Faqr - Poverty
A`udhu billahi min ash-Shaytaan ir-rajeem
Bismillahi ’r-Rahmaani ’r-Raheem
Nawaytu ‘l-arba`een, nawaytu ‘l-`itikaaf, nawaytu ‘l-khalwah, nawaytu ‘l-riyaada, nawaytu ‘l-`uzlah, nawaytu ‘s-salook, lillahi ta`ala al-`adheem
We were describing the different levels of stations in the way of the Gnostics, they pass thru two parallel roads, one is the road of stations and the other is the road of hals, states, trance. [When you are hypnotized.] We are not hypnotized, we hypnotize everything.
Between stations and states. First we said tawba, repentance, and then god-wariness, wara, and then the thirds is az-zuhd, asceticism, and now we reached the fourth one.
When you know you are sinful person what do you do? You repent. When you repent you become more pious, and wari, which is God wary. You will be God fearing, alert, what is wrong and not wrong and you become more pious. Then as you become pious you become zaahidun fee ad-dunya (ascetic in this worldly life) and we explained these three stations now in summary not in detail.
Then the fourth station is faqr, poverty. When you become ascetic you drop everything from your eyes and become on the line of poverty.
They ask: “So what is the meaning of poverty, O shaykh?”
What is the literal meaning? “To have little or nothing.” Nahnu al-fuqara ila allah.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاء إِلَى اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ
Ya ayyuha an-naasu antumu al-fuqara’u ila Allahi w’Allahu huwa al-ghaniyyu ’l-hameed.
O ye men! It is ye that have need of Allah. but Allah is the One Free of all wants, worthy of all praise. [
Allahu huwa al-Ghani wa antum al-fuqara. Here there is a double meaning; not in the literal meaning that you have nothing only, then anyone who has nothing is faqeer. But Allah said in Holy Qur'an that Allah is al-Ghani - that Allah is the rich and you, human beings are the poor. Poor relatively speaking towards the one who is rich, the one who is rich is Allah. Huwa al-Ghani means He is independent, and the rest are dependent. You cannot have everything, not only faqeer in money, as money doesn’t mean anything in the way of gnostics. The real faqeer is the one who knows he is really dependent on Allah, so as much as you become rich in Allah’s way you are still faqeer in relation to the real Rich One. That is why we call people `abd al-Ghani; we don’t say `abd al-faqeer. Servant of the one who is rich. So Allah’s Beautiful Name is al-Ghani which means He is independent.
Today they come to us with a new philosophy in the 21st century: As soon as a child becomes 15, 16 they become “independent”. They think they are independent but they are running after Shaytan to be dependent on Shaytan. The leave their parents and go to work in different place. They work in order to show their arrogance and pride that “we are not caring for our parents, we will build ourselves.”
So one of the big Sufi saints what he described al-faqr, the poor. How he came to describe it? And he is very well-known: al-Junayd al-Baghdadi.
One time he was in association of his followers and they asked him this question, “Can you define the meaning of poverty for us?” They wanted a literal answer to this question so he didn’t answer the question and they felt shy to ask again.
Then he came at `Asr time the next day and said, “Today I can describe and define the meaning of poverty.” They asked, “Why not yesterday, why today you can explain the meaning of poverty and yesterday you were not able to explain the meaning of poverty?”
He said, “Yesterday when you asked me that question, I remembered that I saved one silver coin in my house. So I said that ‘how can I describe poverty when I have something that can carry me for one or 2 months?’ That means if I describe poverty then I am a munaafiq because I am trying to describe something I don’t have. So last night I went and distributed that silver to the poor and now I have nothing. Now I can define the meaning of poverty - the literal meaning.”
He said, “Poverty is of three different kinds.” Check which kind you are.
He said, “faqeerun la yusa’l wa in `utiyya la yukhadh - A poor person who doesn’t ask anything. One who doesn’t ask for help and if he will be given he doesn’t take it because he doesn’t accept except what he works for.”
If he works and takes it is ok, but to go and ask and be lazy, you cannot ask. So one definition is “the one who doesn’t ask and if he is given he doesn’t take.” That one is from the spiritual level of people, from rawhaniyyeen. That is even above awliya, he is in highest level of sainthood. He needs and doesn’t ask and if he is given he doesn’t take.
And that happened to me and my brother with Grandshaykh. One time, out of love to Grandshaykh, we wanted to give him something special. What to give him special? You cannot give a bedroom set, he has a “bedroom set”. You cannot give a living room set; he has one, but a very humble one. So we said, “let us give something that can be saved for the future.” One son in the family, my older brother, used to work in diamonds. So one time we got a ring - a very expensive ring: at that time it was a diamond with silver and white gold worth at least $20,000. So we took the ring from my brother as it was a family business besides the textile business. So we asked permission and he gave permission. So we took that ring and gave to Grandshaykh and his ring, which might be worth five dollars, is more precious than the diamond ring.
I had that ring. But he took it. I only had it for two or three hours.
So we went to Grandshaykh and we said, “O Mawlana we are getting you a gift.” He said, “What?” We said, “We want to give you that ring but we want to take that ring.” So he said “ok,” and he took his ring out and gave to us and we took the ring and put on his finger. And it was same size and we knew his size. And he said, “Thank you” and he prayed and prayed too much. And we were very happy we got that ring and we gave him that one. And in the evening someone coming from a distance, someone who doesn’t know anything about rings, who is not rich, but very poor, and coming as usual to sit with Grandshaykh. Anyone comes to Grandshaykh he speaks to him one or two hours, non-stop. If a child comes to him he gives him a lecture because his heart is like a fountain, it doesn’t stop. He can speak from morning to `Isha. Doesn’t stop. So that man came and looked at Mawlana’s finger and saw the ring is nice. And he said, “O my shaykh that is a nice ring.” Then Mawlana looked at him and looked at us. Then he said, “You like that ring, take it.” Our hearts went to it. That is a very expensive ring. And at the end Mawlana with no ring in his hand. He said, “Can I have the ring?” [meaning his original one] So that ring is gone.
That is faqeer la yas’al …poor in not dunya things, the wealth of dunya is nothing. He is poor to Allah, not poor to dunya. Allahu al-Ghani wa antum al-fuqara. You are the ones who are poor. Allah said in Holy Qur'an “whatever you approach to nearness to Allah swt, you need more.” As much as you progress you need more.
Allah swt took Sayyidina Muhammad (s) in Mi`raj. Why? To make him rich. To manifest the Beautiful Names and Attributes on Sayyidina Muhammad (s).
Not everyone can go on that Mi`raj. We are poor. We are sitting on the ground on the earth. And the Prophet (s) was taken in Mi`raj to heavens and Divine Presence. That is being dressed with the name al-Ghani. Then the whole universe will be in your possession.
These people they say they are rich. Why? Because they own resources: cars, houses. They might own half the world.
Sayyidina Muhammad (s), he owns heavens and earth and Allah took him out through the atmosphere and to dress him with His Richness.
So for Grandshaykh, the meaning, is, he didn’t ask for the ring. That is the highest level of poverty. You don’t ask if you are given something. If you give me something I don’t ask you but I don’t take it. We gave, but he didn’t take it, he gave it. So immediately it went like a tunnel, it didn’t stay in his hand.
Then from jumlat ar-rawhaniyya. People from high level of spirituality.
Then second is someone who has been given something and he takes it. You gave me something, you take it. And he doesn’t say “no.” That one, he will be given a special reward from the holy Paradises. He didn’t ask; you gave him. “I didn’t ask but you gave me and I took.” That is the third level.
The third level is faqeer yas’al wa in utiyya yukhadh. He asks and he accepts. He asks that he is poor and you give him and he takes whatever his needs are and distributes what is the rest. That is the third, lower level.
So awliyaullah whatever they get from Allah’s rewards, what do they do, Shaykh Abdul Haqq? Faqeer to Allah, relatively speaking to al-Ghani, whatever they take from the worth of their prayers they will give to their followers. So they take without asking and Allah rewards without asking and they give it.
So that is highest level of poverty.
And so that is why the prophet asked his sahaba, who is the muflis, the bankrupt one? What do you think the sahaba answered? They gave normal answer, the one who is bankrupted is the one who has no wealth, he is homeless he is poor.
So what he prophet said? He said, not that one is not poor, but the one who is poor is the one with no `amal. Because the Prophet (s) didn’t come to build your dunya. So he said, "The one who is poor is the one who has no deeds, even if he prays and fasts.” They asked, "How, even if he prays and fasts?" It means he prays and fasts and whatever side he earns, then he speaks and speaks too much, what you call those who whispered fitna, and make gossip. Then Allah takes his `amal and gives to the one he oppressed.
That is the poor person. Do we have `amal? If Allah with His mercy wants to give us a reward He will give and if He doesn’t want to give we are lost.
So at the end faqeer is the one that he knows that whatever he achieved in this dunya, that dunya, Allah said, “This dunya doesn’t weigh the wing of a mosquito.” It has no value, less than the value of the wing of the mosquito.
So the real poorness is not from dunya, but to be poor understanding as much as you do, if Allah doesn’t want to send his mercy on us, our `amal is poor amal. That is the meaning of faqeer.
Fifth Station: As-Sabr – Patience
That is the fourth level. And the fifth level is as-sabr - patience. So when you become poor, either in the literal meaning “you have nothing” or poor in the spiritual meaning that “you are running running to Allah’s Divine Presence because as much as you approach you are poor.”
So what you have to do? You have to be patient. Allah said His last Beautiful Name of the Beautiful Names and Attributes is as-Saboor. It means “I am the most patient towards My servants. I am patient, I am leaving them to do whatever they like and I am patient with them and they are not patient with Me.”
Allah is leaving people as they like. Is not Allah able to flip this earth upside down? Allah is patient with us.
After you be poor you have to be patient. It means: “O Allah I am patient, open for me your door.”
We have two examples of that, two saints. Bayazid al-Bistami asking Allah to open His door. He was patient, standing on the door, asking, "Ya Rabbee open, ya Rabbee open."
As Grandshaykh said that “the principles of the Naqshbandi Sufi order is to put three nails in your forehead: One is if they give you rope and shovel and tell you to dig to seven earths and you will find your trust. What is your duty? You have to dig. Don’t say “how will I reach seven earths? This is a broken shovel.” Don’t say, “O my shaykh this will not work.” This might be in lower level but in higher levels you must completely surrender to Allah, His Prophet and to the mashaykh.
So you dig and even though you can never reach, Allah by His Mercy will make you to reach your trust. In that place.
Second one is if they ask you to empty the ocean with bucket. What is your job to do? Empty it. Take the bucket; throw the water over here and it will come back down. What you have to do? Keep emptying the ocean. Then the breath of youth will come, rih as-siba, the heavenly breeze will come when the manifestation of ar-Rahman will come on you because you are doing with patience to do what they asked you to do. But be patient there might be something hidden there for you.
Don’t use your mind. The most problem that comes today is that people use their mind. How big is the mind? Literally? [As big as the universe] that is the abstract meaning. Small as a point. So let us say a lentil. As big as a lentil. That stubbornity in that lentil will make you to think you own the whole universe and Allah wants to show you His miracle. He made the mind as small as the lentil and what kinds of miraculous power is that. It has power to download and upload all kinds of information.
And everyone is different. No two people have the same mind. Everyone is different. That means that everyone with his complete blueprint of software and hardware that He put in that lentil. So are we poor or not to Allah? We are nothing. Count your hairs. With all this big mind, count how many. You never counted them. I counted them 232,500. Count, if you don’t believe, count. So then show us how much Allah is patient on us. He gave us a small lentil a chip in our brain and we are becoming so cruel and so hard and so rude and doing everything and not accepting anything.
Those who carry that characteristics that is what is very difficult. Ihtimal al-makrooh. To be able to carry what is disliked. You don’t carry what you like you have to accept what you dislike that is what it is. To be real patient, awliyaullah carry what they dislike. Because when they look at their followers they see their wild characters, so they carry what they dislike. So that is why sometimes it comes to us, when we sit in front of our shuyukh they see our hearts what kind of satanic energy is there, wild characters. Everyone has it and everyone carries it and everyone thinks I am the best. My ideas, my opinions, my… I am the best. No you have to say, “I am the worst.”
فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ
Wa la tuzakoo anfusakum - Don’t try to justify yourselves. Or the second meaning: don’t try to raise yourself higher by saying, "my self is good, I am doing this and that." Don’t give excuses to show yourself good. No you are the owners. That is what you have to believe about yourself.
To carry wat is disliked. To accept what you don’t like. That is patience. That is why you see many people have problems. Many people have medical problems, many people have family problems. Why? Because Allah loves them and manifests his Beautiful Names and Attributes as-Saboor on them in order to bless them. They have to be patient on that. If someone has a sickness and a very difficult sickness then he has to be patient.
If someone is jobless he has not work, he has to be patient so Allah will reward him. If we think in that way, our sickness will go and our job will appear and our complaints will disappear.
He said, wa huwa ath-thabaatu ma` Allah. To be steadfast with Allah. Not changing quickly like a chameleon. And to accept his afflictions with happiness. When you get an affliction and a problem, don’t come with an angry face, try to keep your face smiling happy. Allah likes that character. And it is to carry the pain and accept it and to say it is form Allah’s kindness coming from Allah that I have something like that, and ya rabbee as much as I can with your help I will try to carry it. And then Allah will test you and take it away from you.
So Sufi people. Ahl at-tasawwuf, what did they say? “Bayn as-sabri wal-musabira - Between patience and the patience of patience.” There are two levels. One is to be patient and musabira is to be over-patient. To be more patient than normal. To be a hardcore patient. That is called musabira. The musabira is as-sabr `ala as-sabr. To be a hardcore patient one is to be patient on patience.
Sabr to be in a very difficult situation and to be patient on it and musabira is to be more patient on it. As if patience is nothing. To be patient on that patience. Nur `ala nur. Sabar `ala sabr. Hatta yastaghriq as-sabr `ala sabrih. Istighraaq. To go deep into something, means to meditate deeply and focus on something so that Allah will give you power to be patient on patience and to be in meditation on that patience. At that level when you are meditating and using patience to meditate on that patience then patience becomes `ajiz, unable to affect you. Sometimes they say you are sick, you need antibiotics. What are antibiotics, doctor? [from a different fungus.] It is a poison over poison in your body. To kill it. So when you use that kind of meditation of patience on patience then you will be able to make that patience to become a helpless one and then it disappears. You are hitting it with its own characters, as using antibiotics you take from that patient and push it on it, and it will kill the one that is harming.
You are more patience on your patiency.
Al-musabira as-sabru `ala as-sabr. Hatta yastaghriq as-sabr `ala as-sabr…
I will translate next time. And then tawwakul and ar-rida and we will be finished with the translation.