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The Wisdom of Imam Shaybaan ar-Ra`ee

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

17 January 2012 Feltham, London, UK

Suhbah After Maghrib at CSCA (2)

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

Prophet (s) said:

(Bi maa ma`ana ‘l-hadeeth) arba` kalimaatin min al-qur’an; man hafizahum aw man dhakarahum aw man qaraa’ahum dakhala ‘l-jannah bi ghayri hisaab.

There are four words from the Holy Qur’an: anyone who recites or memorizes them will enter Paradise with no account: subhaanAllah, alhamdulillah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, and Allahu Akbar.

Prophet (s) stressed that we recite these four words: subhaanAllah, alhamdulillah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, and Allahu Akbar. I believe everyone reads them, but it is important to have faith in what you are reading as that faith will take you to Paradise!

There are many people who recite like parrots that repeat whatever they hear. Many people recite holy words and verses without imaan, but if you really read it with imaan, and believe what you are reading, as the Prophet (s) mentioned, that is different. Everyone reads them, especially after the prescribed prayer, but if you make it your daily dhikr or wird, Allah (swt) will open for you the treasures of Heavens and Earth, and He will not leave you in difficulties, but will leave you in the best way.

Such associations are important because they are meetings that remind us of issues that save us from Hellfire and take us to Paradise.

With his high status and high respect, Allah (swt) still tested Sayyidina Ibraheem, and sent him to a tyrant, Nimrod, to put him in a man-made fire that was so big it could burn anything completely, turning it to ashes! This incident is mentioned in Holy Qur’an and in the stories of prophets it is said the heat of that fire was so intense that even a mile away you will feel yourself burning! Nimrod took one of the best of prophets, Sayyidina Ibraheem (a), and threw him in that fire that could turn everything to ashes in seconds, and yet when he was in the fire, subhaanAllah, his body was not burning! That is a miracle! That was before Sayyidina Jibreel (a) came to him; he was already in the fire, but his body was not burning, which means Allah made his body not burn.

Even if they burned the whole dunya it would turn to ashes, and Sayyidina Ibraheem (a) would still be standing! Don’t think Allah’s power is limited! It has no limit and no one can describe it!

Allah (swt) sent Sayyidina Muhammad (s) in Mi`raaj, and now according to science they say no one can go into space or they will burn, but he went and he is still ascending in Mi`raaj, approaching and approaching!

The fire did not burn Sayyidina Ibraheem (a), and Sayyidina Jibreel (a) came to him and said, “Do you need any help?”

He replied, “I don’t need any help from you because The One Who sent you knows my situation.”

Allah (swt) dressed Sayyidina Ibraheem (a) with love for Allah (swt). He was “Khaleelullah,” the Intimate Friend of Allah. You can say, Ibraheem khaleelullah, “Ibraheem is Allah’s Friend,” but you cannot say, Allah khaleelu Ibraheem, “Allah is Ibraheem’s friend.” But for Sayyidina Muhammad (s) Allah didn’t say “khaleel,” He said, Muhammad habeebullah, “Muhammad is Allah’s Beloved.” There is a big difference: one is the friend and one is the most loved! You can have many friends, but only one habeeb, lover. Also, you can say Allah habeebu Muhammad, “Allah (swt) is the Beloved of Muhammad.” We are discussing these two attributes or descriptions of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Sayyidina Ibraheem (a).

Even with his high level, Sayyidina Ibraheem (a) was tested. To show one of his characters, he once had a whole valley full his his flocks, thousands of sheep, goats, cows, buffalo, camels, and oxen. His flocks were so vast, you could see them all the way to the horizon! Allah (swt) blessed him because he was sincere. One day, Allah (swt) sent Sayyidina Jibreel (a) in a disguise to test him. Sayyidina Ibraheem (a) knew it was him; look how Allah (swt) gave prophets the power to know!

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said to Sayyidina Ibraheem (a), “O, you are Ibraheem! I heard you have a lot of animals and I have nothing, which is unjust. At least give me some to share, since I am poor.”

Sayyidina Ibraheem (a) said, “No problem. Give me the money and I will give you what you want.”

“But I am a poor man, I have no money.”

“No, you have a lot of wealth because Allah gave you a lot. If you give me some, I’ll give you from my flocks.”

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “Okay, what do you want me to give you?”

“Say, ‘Suboohun qudoos rabbu ‘l-malaa'ikati wa 'r-rooh,’ one time and I will give you one-third of my flocks.”

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “Suboohun qudoos rabbu ‘l-malaa'ikati wa 'r-rooh!”

“Go and take one-third of my flocks; they are yours.”

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “I have too many tribes to feed.”

“Then say it another time and I will give you another third.”

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “Suboohun qudoos rabbu ‘l-malaa'ikati wa 'r-rooh!”

“Now two-thirds are for you. Do you want all of them?”

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “If you give them, I will take them.”

“Okay, now you must say, ‘Suboohun qudoos rabbunaa wa rabbu ‘l-malaa'ikati wa 'r-rooh!’”

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “Suboohun qudoos rabbunaa wa rabbu ‘l-malaa'ikati wa 'r-rooh!”

Then Sayyidina Ibraheem (a) said, “As-salaamu-`alaykum,” and left!

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “Yaa Ibraheem! Where are you going? What am I going to do with these? I am Jibreel!”

“Jibreel or no Jibreel, I don’t care! I took my payment from you; this is for you!” and he continued on his way without even turning back.

Allah (swt) said, “Yaa Jibreel! He will never return the three tasbeehs that he took from you for his flocks. He believes it is his way to Me, so don’t waste your time!”

Sayyidina Jibreel (a) said, “Yaa Rabbee! What will I do with them?”

Grandshaykh (q) said from that time all those flocks were moved by the jinn to behind Jabal Qaaf, to a planet that is holding all these secrets that Sayyidina al-Mahdi (a) will uncover, and it is preserved for when he comes.

So going back to the story of Sayyidina Ibraheem (a) in the fire, he said, “The One Who sent you knows what I need.” Immediately, Allah (swt) ordered, “O fire! Be peaceful and cool for Ibraheem!” and it became a paradise.

With its barakah, whoever recites “laa ilaaha illa-Llah,” the whole world will become a paradise: his home, his children. These four words, subhaanAllah, alhamdulillah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, and Allahu Akbar are from the Holy Qur’an, and we read them but we don’t pay attention. We must repeat them daily as much as we can. Everyone repeats them after the prayer and some people add “wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billahi ‘l-`Aliyyu ‘l-`Azheem.” Make them your daily wird, as Prophet said to the sahaabi, “Keep your tongue wet with dhikrullah,” which means wherever you are, keep repeating them. You don’t have to count them, but keep reciting them and Allah will take away your problems!

ومن قرأها حين يدخل منزله ثلاث مرات نفت عن الفقر ونفعت الجار

Anas (r) narrated from the Prophet (s) in a long hadith, part of which is:

Whoever comes to his house and recites Surat al-Ikhlas, Allah will remove from him poverty and it will benefit his neighbors. (Abu ash-Shaykh in al-`Azhamah, and Abu Bakr as-Samarqadi in Fadaa’il Qul Huw’Allahu aahad, from Anas [r])

Many people are unemployed, but there are things Allah (swt) gave you to increase your work and meet your family’s needs, and here Prophet (s) makes it very easy: recite Fatihah and Ihklaas when you enter your house. So anytime you enter your house, say Fatihah and then three times Ikhlaas. Begin with Ikhlaas and end with Fatihah, and Allah will take poverty away and will increase the sustenance of the house for your needs.

Awliyaullah are always looking after their followers, taking care of their needs. They don’t let their followers suffer, but they leave them to struggle because this is sunnatu ’l-hayaat, how life is. Allah made His prophets (a) suffer the most. Suffering or struggling in the Way of Allah (swt) is especially hard when people backbite you. You may suffer from poverty but it doesn’t affect you like when someone spreads bad rumors against you and brings your reputation down, which Allah (swt) prohibited:

وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا

wa laa yaghtab ba`adakum ba`adan.

...and neither allow yourselves to speak ill of one another behind your backs. (Al-Hujurat 49:12)

It is not allowed for anyone to speak with falseness about someone in his absence. Today brother is speaking against brother, sister against sister, husband against wife and wife against husband, and then they say, “We are falling into difficulties!” First fix the problem mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. If someone said about someone you know behind their back that they are a donkey, and you heard it, don’t go and tell them, “He said you are a donkey.” It would be even better to say, “He said you are a lion.” This means, don’t carry dirtiness from there and bring it here, like a black fly that destroys the food with all kinds of viruses and bacteria going from one to another. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said many times, “Don’t be like a fly.” Be like what Allah mentioned in Holy Qur’an:

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

Wa laa tajasassoo wa laa yaghtab ba`dakum ba`dan ayyuhibbu ahadukum an yaakulu lahma akheehi maytan fa-karihtumooh.

And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Ye abhor that (so abhor the other)! (Surat al-Hujuraat, 49:12)

So this is how we can save ourselves. Why do you have to follow a wali? Why is he a wali? We follow because dunya is dropped from his heart; that is the main issue. Today throughout the world people are split on the belief that we must follow those scholars that give lessons in Shari`ah but do not awaken your heart. It is far better to follow someone ignorant, perhaps even illiterate, but who makes you leave dunya, because he will save you from Hellfire! That one who teaches you scholarly things so you get a certificate showing that you studied Shari`ah, if his actions are for dunya he will not save you; rather, he will destroy you!

Imam Shafi`ee (r) was one of the Four Great Imams in Shari`ah, Haqiqat and Tasawwuf. He had a very clever student, Imam Hanbal (r), who was progressing quickly. Imam Shafi`ee, with his high level and knowledge, always put Shaybaan al-Ra`ee as imam, although he was not well established in Islamic Shari`ah but was very sincere. Although he made a lot of mistakes in reciting Qur’an, Imam Shafi`ee prayed behind him because he knew with his power of sainthood and sincerity, Shaybaan will take his hand and they will enter Paradise.

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ

wa laqad karamna Bani Adam.

We have honored the Children of Adam. (al-Israa, 17:70)

أَوْلِيَاء اللّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

alaa inna awliyaullahi laa khawfun `alayhim wa laa hum yahzanoon.

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

Awliyaullah must not fear anything because Allah (swt) promised, “Whatever they want, I will give them!” Whenever Imam Shaybaan ar-Ra`ee made wudu, Imam Shafi`ee held the water pitcher for him (a sign of respect) until he finished. Grandshaykh (q) said that once in a vision, Imam Shafi`ee told him, “O my son! Not only did I pour the water for him, but I drank that water after he finished.” According to Shari`ah, wudu water must be thrown away because it becomes “dead water,” taking away sins and not good for any other use. Even after Imam Shaybaan ar-Ra`ee cleaned his feet with that water, Imam Shafi`ee drank it because he was in love him! But that didn’t make sense in Imam Hanbal’s mind, as he used too read things too literally; that is why most of the Wahabi understanding comes from him, although he is innocent of their mistakes because they changed (his teachings).

Imam Hanbal (r) said, “Why are you listening to this one? You have a high level with the sultan, who is kissing your hand! I am going to ask him some questions.”

Imam Shafi`ee (r) said, “Don’t ask questions, because he is higher than both of us and you will humiliate yourself, me and everyone!”

Imam Hanbal (r) said, “No, I am going to ask him.”

Imam Shafi`ee (r) said, “Okay, but if he shouts at you it is not my business (don’t blame me, I warned you)!”

Imam Hanbal (r) said, “Yaa Shaybaan (not ‘shaykh’ or ‘imam’)! If by mistake someone prays five raka`ats instead of four, or if someone prays three raka`ats, or they pray two raka`ats instead of four, according to the Shari`ah what must he do?”

Imam Shaybaan ar-Ra`ee (r) said, “Yaa Imam Ahmad! You are asking what the Shari`ah says and you are imaam? It turns out you know nothing, and you broke the Shari`ah of the Prophet (s) by asking this question. Yaa Imam! I advise you to repeat all your prayers from the beginning of your life until now. How are you praying in the Divine Presence and you are heedless of Allah (swt)? How do you even dare tosay “Allahu Akbar.” Your heart is not in its place, you are in dunya, your mind took you somehwere else, that’s why you don’t know if you prayed one or tow or four, you are not in the Divine Presence, and prayer is presence. Allah said, ‘The best of My kind are when they are in the prayer.” Why are you praying when you are not in the Divine Presence? Why are you asking questions when you are praying like a child repeats prayers? Go away!”

Then Imam Shafi`ee said, “I told you!”

How did he bring this answer in a completely different way? Anyone else would have answered, “Do this or that,” or, “Make up the prayer,” that’s okay, that’s but Imam Shaybaan said, “You are an imam but asking the question of a child! We turn our face to the Ka’aba because it is the House of Allah (swt), Who is taking you there, not to your house! You are praying in the Divine Presence; we are there, in the presence of Ka’aba. Allah is taking us there, we are there! How can anyone in the Divine Presence think of anything else!”

If you go to the presence of a shaykh you will be frightened. What do you think it was like for the Sahaabah (r) in the presence of the Prophet (s), and what do you think of the Prophet (s) in the presence of Allah (swt)? Can anyone in that environment think of other than Allah (swt)? It is impossible. Awliyaullah lead you to the Divine Presence, so even if the wali is illiterate, don’t say he knows or he doesn’t know! Follow him even if he makes mistakes reciting Qur’an in the prayer. So whoever guides you to Akhirah, even if he is illiterate, follow him. The one who takes hubb ad-dunya from your heart, follow him. If a scholar leads you to hubb ad-dunya, leave him. If a scholar takes you to hubbullah, love of Allah, and he is a teaching scholar, you are lucky, because you found someone who knows and at the same time guides, so he takes you and teaches you also. Unfortunately, today, awliyaullah are the only pious ones who take you to hubbullah and take hubb ad-dunya from your heart.

Who brought you here? There is nothing of dunya here; we are all cold and shivering but we are coming for Allah (swt), for Prophet, (s) for Akhirah. Why do people go to Madinah and Mecca? For Allah (swt). One time I was doing Hajj with Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and it was a hectic trip, not like today where everything is easy. Everything was too difficult at that time, in the 60’s, and we were in the Haram making tawaaf, in the third round going on the fourth round, and Mawlana stood at Baab al-Mumtazam, where you cannot stand now as it is too crowded, and he raised his hands and said, “O Allah! We came all this way, we are very tired, we came for love of You, it is our duty to come, and for love of Prophet (s). And I say to You, as that one who wrote the Mawlid Sumt ad-Durrar, Ibn Habashi (q) said:

idhaa hasabanee `alaa akhtaa’ee aw dhanbee hasabtahu `ala maghfiratahu,

If He questions me on my sins, I will question Him on His forgiveness

idhaa hasbanee `ala ghinaya hasabtahu `ala karaamatih,

and if He questions me about my wealth, I will question Him about His Generosity.

That is how awliyaullah speak to their Lord: “If Allah asks me about myself, if I committed sins, I will question Him about His forgiveness,” because His forgiveness covers everything, so can’t He also cover my sins?

So Mawlana Shaykh said, “Yaa Allah! We came all the way here, and I am asking You to shower us with Your rahmah.” We looked at the hot sky and he said, “Send us clouds to shade us.” There were no clouds and we were hoping to get into the shade, then Mawlana made his long du`a and suddenly the clouds came. It began to pour rain, a shower was so strong that we couldn’t complete our tawaaf because the water came up to our chests! We went up, and the water there is not sucked into the Earth, but it was preserved by the Earth, being held for people to drink from it. For two or three hours the shower continued and all of Mecca was drenched in water!

That was one wali’s du`a! At that time Grandshaykh (q) was still living, so Mawlana Shaykh was one wali under Grandshaykh (q), who was able to make that rain come. So what do you think of 124,000 walis, according to their levels? Alhamdulillah, Allah connected us to the Golden Chain, to Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r) and Sayyidina `Ali (r), later combined with Sayyidina Ja`far as-Siddiq (r). If they hold your hand, you will reach the Divine Presence! So, alhamdulillah, we came here not for any dunya purpose, but to be with each other. Whose name is written on the Lawh al-Mahfouzh will be here; you cannot increase or decrease whatever Allah (swt) wants to happen, and it will happen. If your name is written you are here and if it is not written, you are not here. We ask Allah (swt) to keep us on the threshold of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and through him on the threshold of Prophet (s)!

Bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.

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