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The Obligation to Learn Knowledge and Teach It

Signs of the Last Days, Part 17

Ramadan Series, Vol 3

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

10 June 2016 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Suhbah

[Series source text: السنن الواردة في الفتن وغوائلها والساعة وأشراطها As-Sunan al-Waridah Fi ‘l-Fitani wa Ghawaali’ihaa wa ‘s-Saa`ati wa Ashraatihaa, by `Uthman bin Sa`eed al-Muqri ad-Daani; research and Hadith authentication by Dr. Ridaaullah bin Muhammad Idris Mubarakfuri; published by Daar al-`Aasima, Riyadh. Originally published 444 Hijri.]

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani ‘r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Alhamdulillahi Rabbi 'l-`Alameen, wa ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaamu `alaa ashrafi 'l-mursaleena Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma`een.

Today inshaa-Allah we will mention one Hadith of the Prophet (s), although all of them are about the Signs of the Last Days and the importance of understanding that the Prophet (s) predicted ahead of time. You can predict ahead of time ten or twenty years that this or that might happen according to the situation and based on your information you can conclude what will happen, but to predict 1400 years ago what is going to happen at the End of Days is not easy! If you ask me or everyone here what they ate yesterday, they don't know, so how do they know what they will eat tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? It is unusual to find someone who will say what is going to happen after a hundred years; it might be easier to predict over two, three, ten days, watching what politicians are doing to know what will happen, but to predict 100 years or 1400 years is something heavenly. Allah (swt) wants us to learn and to know and for that reason, the Prophet (s) ordered, “Learn knowledge and teach it.”

The Prophet (s) said, as related by Ibn Mas`ud (r):

تَعَلَّمُوا الْعِلْمَ وَعَلِّمُوهُ النَّاسَ , وَتَعَلَّمُوا الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلِّمُوهُ النَّاسَ , وَتَعَلَّمُوا الْفَرَائِضَ وَعَلِّمُوهَا النَّاسَ , فَإِنِّي امْرُؤٌ مَقْبُوضٌ , وَإِنَّ الْعِلْمَ سَيُقْبَضُ , وَتَظْهَرُ الْفِتَنُ حَتَّى يَخْتَلِفَ الاثْنَانِ فِي الْفَرِيضَةِ لا يَجِدَانِ أَحَدًا يَفْصِلُ بَيْنَهُمَا

Learn knowledge and teach it to people, learn Qur’an and teach it to people, learn the obligations and teach it to people, for indeed I am a person who will be contracted and truly knowledge will be contracted, and chaos will appear to the point that two people will disagree about an obligation and not find anyone to resolve the issue between them. (Bayhaqi; al-Mustadrak of al-Hakim, an-Nisapuri)

It is a must now, because Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur'an, “Whatever the Prophet (s) came with, take it and don't leave it behind.”

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا

Accept whatever the Prophet gives you and refrain from anything that he withholds from you; (Surat al-Hashr, 59:7)

It means, “Leave what Prophet (s) forbade and take what he ordered.”

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ

Say (O Muhammad), "If you (really) love Allah, then follow me! Allah will love you.”

(Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:31)

“If you love Allah then follow my way, follow my teachings and my message, don’t leave anything behind you.” So it is an order to learn and seek knowledge wherever it is, not only what people are speaking and lecturing, that is good, but also make yourself available to search for and research knowledge even if it is far away, as the Prophet (s) said:

‎اطلبوا العلم ولو في الصين

Seek knowledge even if you must go to China. (Bayhaqi)

That means there is knowledge coming from the East, he didn’t say, “Seek knowledge from the West,” it means there is something special in the East, where the Prophet (s) emphasized China and the East, where China is east of Mecca and Madinah. So he said, “Learn knowledge,” and we call them `ulama because they are knowledgable, they have learned the knowledge they have to follow, and it is an order to them to teach what they have learned: if they don't teach you will be held responsible. What kind of knowledge is the Prophet (s) mentioning? He mentioned all kinds of knowledge, especially the knowledge of the heart and of the mind. That is why Ibn `Ajeeba (r) said, “There are two kinds of knowledges, al-`Ilmu `Ilmaan, knowledge is of two kinds: `Ilm al-Awraaq, the Knowledge of Papers, which is the knowledge of the mind as it was used to create that (thought, imagination, etc.); wa `Ilm al-Adhwaaq, and Knowledge of Taste, what you cannot taste except through the Light that Allah put in your heart,” which is Ma`rifatullah, the knowledge of Allah's Beautiful Names and Attributes, which is not an easy knowledge to learn.

The Prophet (s) wants us to learn these two knowledges: the Knowledge of the Heart/Taste and the Knowledge of Papers, which is for everyone as after Prophet (s) the Sahaabah (r) taught that knowledge and some of them even taught the Hidden Knowledge, Huwa azh-Zhaahir wa Huwa al-Baatin, “He is the Apparent, azh-Zhaahir and He is The Hidden, al-Baatin,” what you must search for.

You have in the palm of your hand, usually we see only the back of the hand, but the secret is in the inside of the hand, the palm, baatin al-yad, the hidden part of the hand. That is why in du`a do you look at the baatin or the zhaahir? In du`a you don't put your palms facing down, like when you read a verse of punishment in Holy Qur'an (people turn their palms facing down, away from them), in du`a you put your palms facing upward, you can see them, and then when done you rub them on your face, because you are trying to get the secret hidden in the palm of the hand. You can see four Arabic numbers there, “81” in the left palm and “18” in the right palm: 81+18=99. The `Ilm al-Adhwaaq is hidden in the palms of the hands, where these two numbers make 99 and 9+9=18 and 1+8=9, and “9” in numerology is zero.

This means through that knowledge you reach a place where you are not existing anymore and you realize the only existence is for Allah (swt). That is why Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami (q) reached that state and asked, “Yaa Rabbee, how can I reach You?” For him, everything he did in his life did not mean anything, he wanted to reach that Reality of what Allah's Beautiful Names and Attributes mean, and not only their meaning, but also how it affected him. Allah will dress you with the Light of these Names! Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami (q) wanted to reach the knowledge and Light of each of these Beautiful Names. That is why he struggled, saying, “O Allah, how can I reach You?” He didn’t say, “How can I see You?” because we know that we cannot see Allah in dunya, but we can see Allah in Akhirah in Paradise, as it is mentioned in the Hadith of Prophet (s).

Allah left him to keep asking and asking in the same manner as Sayyidina Ya`qub (a) asked Him to return his son, Sayyidina Ya`qub (a) asked persistently for 37 years non-stop, and then Allah informed him, “Your heart is dominated by that love for your son. What about Me? You are asking for Yusuf, but you need to ask for Me,” as Allah ordered the Prophet (s), “If you really love Allah, then follow me! Allah will love you.” So Sayyidina Yazid al-Bastami (q) was following the footsteps of Prophet (s), ascending through his struggle because he was concerned he would die and never reach the Divine Presence.

So at the end of the 37 years, Sayyidina Ya`qub (a) had thought so much about Yusuf (a), then Allah (swt) opened to him what he should do to reach the Divine Presence and said to him, “Either your son or Me, choose one!” Allah gave him a test. He said, “Yaa Rabbee, You!” Then Allah gave the order, “Go slaughter your son for Me,” which means, “Slaughter your ego, nafs. If you want to come to Me, slaughter your nafs.” Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bastami (q) did that, he understood because inspiration was coming to him, “If you want to come to Me, leave your self (ego) and come.”

All what you think you are existing in is a complete mirage, because no one exists in front of Allah (swt)! The Existence, al-Baqaa, is for Allah: Allah was a Hidden Treasure, He wanted to be known so He created Creation!

كنت كنزا مخفياً فأحببت أن أعرف فخلقت الخل

I was a Hidden Treasure (and) I wanted to be known, so I created Creation. (Hadith Qudsi)

It means “to know Me,” and all that Allah is asking from us is to know Him, and to know the Prophet (s) is to know Allah! That is why he said, “If you love Allah, follow me I will take you there.”

وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآؤُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللّهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا

If they had only, when they were unjust (oppressor) to themselves, come to you and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nisaa, 4:64)

“When they are oppressors to themselves they come to you, O Muhammad,” and everyone is oppressor to themself, that means everyone has to go to Prophet (s): they make istighfaar, “Yaa Rabbee, we drop dunya, we want Akhirah, we want `ilm, knowledge.”

Prophet (s) said:

اوتيت جوامع الكلم

Qad uteetu jawaami` al-kalim

I have been given the mother of the dialects.

“I have been given the Mother of Words, every knowledge that Allah gave I have been given by Allah, `Uloom al-Awwaleen wa `Uloom al-Akhireen, the Knowledges of Before and After.” This means he knows what happened before him since the beginning of Creation and what will happen on the Day of Judgement. So as Inheritors of Prophet (s), on that `ilm Awliyaullah are searching how to reach, “Leave your self and come to Allah.” Leave your desires, leave whatever your ego is asking of you, drop it, or else you will never reach. You cannot come as two to Allah: your ego is one and your self the other. Choose One, you have to drop them and come to Allah's Divine Presence.

Sayyidina Abu Yazeed al-Bistami (q) said, ansalaktu min jildee kama yansalak al-haya min jildihi, “I shed my skin as the snake sheds its skin. I dropped my self and dunya and only looked at how to reach the Divine Presence.”

So ta`allam al`ilm, seek knowledge, and the palm of the hands show that Allah is azh-Zhaahir, that means His Oneness appears in all Creation. Who can create human beings, each with different eyes, different noses, different ears? Who can create animals, worms in millions, such as ants, and they speak, the evidence is Sayyidina Sulayman (a) and the ant:

قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

One of the ants said, "O Ants! Enter your homes unless Sulayman and his armies unknowingly trample you." (Surat an-Naml, 27:18)

It is an indication to us that we are not yet ants! Ants surrendered when the queen of ants declared that, when Sayyidina Sulayman (a) came to Yemen to visit Bilqees, that ant spoke and all ants around the world heard her voice, “Run away, run from the war and run to your homes that are peaceful!”

Also, the Prophet (s) said, “Run from confusions (fitna),” don’t sit with confusions because, “There will be turmoil (fitan) like a chunk of dark nights.”

عَنْ أَبِي مُوسَى الْأَشْعَرِيِّ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " إِنَّ بَيْنَ يَدَيِ السَّاعَةِ فِتَنًا كَقِطَعِ اللَّيْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ فِيهَا مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِي كَافِرًا ، وَيُمْسِي مُؤْمِنًا وَيُصْبِحُ كَافِرًا ، الْقَاعِدُ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْقَائِمِ ، وَالْمَاشِي فِيهَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ السَّاعِي ، فَكَسِّرُوا قِسِيَّكُمْ وَقَطِّعُوا أَوْتَارَكُمْ وَاضْرِبُوا سُيُوفَكُمْ بِالْحِجَارَةِ ، فَإِنْ دُخِلَ يَعْنِي عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْكُمْ فَلْيَكُنْ كَخَيْرِ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ ".

Before the Hour comes, there will be a tribulation like patches of dark night. A man will get up a Believer and go to sleep an unbeliever, or will go to sleep a Believer and wake up an unbeliever. The one who sits at that time will be better than one who stands and the one standing will be better than the one walking and the one walking will be better than one running. Break your bows, cut their strings and strike your swords against stones. If someone comes to kill any of you, then be like the better of the two sons of Adam. (Narrated Abu Musa al-Ash`aree, Abu Dawud, ibn Majah)

So we come back to our hands, that is an example for us to understand that there is zhaahir and there is baatin. That is why Allah (swt) put the numbers 81 and 18 in your palms, so you remember in every du`a that you are rubbing your face with the barakah of Allah's Ninety-nine Beautiful Names. That will give you the knowledge of al-Baatin, The Hidden, and 99% of heavenly knowledge is hidden, might be one drop is appearing.

Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, said, “If all the knowledge of the anbiyaa was collected in front of the Prophet's knowledge, it is but a drop in an ocean.” The knowledge of the Prophet (s) cannot be expressed, there are no limits on it. So, going back to what we mentioned at the beginning, the Prophet (s) said, ta`alam al-`ilm wa `aallimuhu, “Learn knowledge and teach it.” So the responsibility on the one learning knowledge is to teach it, as Allah does not like us to take knowledge and hide it, Allah wants us to teach what He gave to you. That is why in Sunnah it is the responsibility of every `alim to teach what he has learned and he will be held responsible on the Day of Judgment, because like us, we are ignorant, we don't have knowledge, but some others have knowledge. `Ulama have knowledge and Awliya have higher knowledge, they have to teach us in order to guide us to a higher life. That’s why Prophet (s) said, ta`alam al-`ilm wa `aallimuhu, learn knowledge and teach it. If you hide it, Allah will hide Heaven from you, you will not enter Paradise, because it is your responsibility to learn and to teach!

Then, in the same Hadith, wa ta`alam ul-Qur’an wa `allimuhu ’n-naas, Learn the meaning of the Qur’an and teach it to people. It is also a responsibility for you to learn Holy Qur'an and teach humanity the meanings of the verses and letters. If you don't do that, you will be held responsible. You (mureeds) are hafizh, he is hafizh: it is an obligation on both of you and on every hafizh to teach children or elderly people, or else you will be held responsible on the Day of Judgment. This one (a mureed) is memorizing qasaa’id besides memorizing Holy Qur'an, but he is not yet hafizh, so it is his responsibility to teach qasaa’id. Everyone who knows something and doesn’t teach it will be held responsible on Judgment Day. That’s why Allah (swt) made it our duty, al-amr bi ’l-ma`roof wa ‘n-nahiyy `ani ’l-munkar, “To call for goodness and prohibit badness,” to teach people. That’s why:

الحلال بين والحرام بين

The permitted is clear and the forbidden is clear.

So if you don’t have a teacher, then balance it (your decision or opinion) according to your mind as I heard from Grandshaykh `AbdAllah al-Fa'iz ad-Daghestani (q) many times, “Use your mind if you want to do something or check if something is halaal or haraam.” If it is halaal then you do it. Your mind will never indicate something to be halaal which is haraam, there will be a question mark there, your mind always indicates accurately. If it says it’s halaal then you accept, like going to a disco, is it halaal or haraam? You check, as (Allah gave you a strong resource):

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا

He inspired the self of its good and its bad. (Surat ash-Shams, 91:8)

Allah inspires the self regarding what is halaal and what is haraam, so the one who knows what is halaal and what is haraam has to teach, he has a responsibility: you cannot spend your days learning and not teach it, like professors in universities try their best to teach students, we need teachers in spirituality and Shari`ah to teach people what is good for them, as the Hadith says, “Learn knowledge and teach it to people, learn Qur’an and teach it to people, learn the obligations and teach it to people.”

That is the Hadith of `Ilm stating it is an obligation to teach; you must do it as soon as possible because tomorrow you don't know if you will be here or not.

By rubbing the face with your palms after du'a, you rub the Light Allah is sending you, as the Prophet (s) and Sahaabah (r) did: they recited Surat al-Ikhlaas, Surat al-Falaq, Surat an-Naas and Surat al-Fatihah, blew in their palms and rubbed their faces before they slept or before their prayers. Allah will save you from one prayer to the next when you do that.

For the barakah of this day, Jumu`ah, wa min Allahi ‘t-tawfeeq bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.


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