2 August 2011 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan
We were speaking about Grandshaykh and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim's relationship, how they interact and how they lived very simply. I don't believe anyone of us can live such a simple life. That does not mean you will not try it, but this one (a mureed) and his wife cannot try it, because they believe the white people used them as slaves (and they would feel embarrassed to live so simply). Let me ask a question: if Allah didn't want it to happen, would it? If the whole world comes to make a person slave, they cannot without Allah’s will. There is wisdom in everything. Allah wanted to plant Africa in America to show solidarity, so why object?
Lillah fee khalqihi shu`oon, “Allah (swt) has His own ways with His servants.” Servants are like fish in an ocean, trembling, and when they tremble through Allah's Order, it means they are not accepting, so they are thrown in the sardine can, where you see silver, black, white, and all kinds. Fish become smelly so they put salt on it. Did they put salt on you or not? If they put salt on you, it takes all poison away.
If you go to (a mureed’s) house and he entertains you very well, some will say, “Masha-Allah, that is a wali.” That is how people think. Do you want wilayah from people telling you are a wali or do you want wilayat from Allah (swt)?
Sayyidina Imam al-Ghazali (r), whose books everyone reads today and which are even sold in places where tasawwuf is not accepted, is telling his story. He said, “At the beginning of my matter, I was completely in doubt about everything--about Allah, about the Prophet (s), about Shari`ah, about tasawwuf - until one day I took a shaykh.”
The moment you accept a shaykh they put you on the right track, Sirat al-Mustaqeem and without a shaykh you are wasting your time. As we said yesterday, laa budda min murshidin hissee, the shaykh must be physically with you. “Hissee” means not only you can see him, but he sees you, he looks at you, you touch him; it also means yatahasa, (as in the hadith) inna lillah malaa’ikati yatahasasoon, “Verily Allah has angels that see (everyone)” (similarly), the shaykh is able to perceive his followers to bring them back to Sirat al-Mustaqeem. That is why you need a wali who has been dressed with two dresses: a physical appearance and the physical ability to feel everything you can feel.
This is what we have been taught in Grandshaykh's time; he taught so many deep topics. Now the teachings of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, may Allah grant him long life, are mostly mixed with cautions about democracy and ego, but Grandshaykh taught us how to be in their presence. In his presence, can you look into the eyes of the shaykh? Yastariqoona an-nazhar, you could only peek, listen, take notes, then go home and you study what he said. Did anyone here study? Today, as soon as it is written it is forgotten!
Imam al-Ghazali (r) is saying, the shaykh is the one that brings you back through his feelings: he feels you and can even see you. If he is in the east and you are in the west, still he can see you and hear your movements. Imam Ghazali said, do you hear a worm moving on flat marble? Awliyaullah hear the friction between the worm’s legs and the marble as if it is thunder! So you can see theirs is not a simple power; that is why at any time they can reach anyone who is running away and bring him back. Many of these students who ran away in the time of Grandshaykh and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim came back. There is no choice; that is how it must be.
It is said that if you accept what the shaykh said without any doubt, even if it doesn't make sense to you, or if you disagree as it might interfere in your business, if you do what the shaykh said you might lose, but that loss will be like a camouflage. If you accept even though it is against your will, but still you listen to the shaykh, Allah (swt) will open a door from the other side that you were not expecting, bigger than this door, and He knows how big! But our `itiqaad, belief, is weak. We cannot listen, we cannot accept.
Imam Ghazali doubted and he was not accepting, but he had that love to the shaykh. So slowly, slowly the shaykh was building up that love until one day Imam Ghazali made the du`a, “Yaa Rabbee! Show me something that is correct and I can leave these doubts.” That night he saw Allah (swt) in a dream, and He said, “Yaa Abu Hamid, why are you running from Us? We are coming to you. Our doors are open but you must come.” He said, “I awoke from my dream jumping with happiness!” There are some people who can see Allah in a dream; I saw sometimes. Anyway, immediately Abu Hamid woke up, prayed two raka`ts and ran to his shaykh, Yusuf an-Nasaaj, to tell him the dream.
The shaykh said, “Yaa Abu Hamid, what you saw is the very beginning. Our blackboard is filled with our knowledge, but this is yet from what is within you, we didn’t yet give you knowledge from outside you, the tajalli knowledge. Tell me more of what you saw.”
He said, “Allah (swt) said to me, ukhraj min ad-dunya ikhtiyaaran qabl an takhruj minha saaghiran, “Leave this dunya through your choice before you will leave it by force.” Saaghiran means “by force;” a huge power that you cannot resist, that you absolutely will go out.
That is why in tariqah the first step of the saalik, seeker, is to know you were a sinner and to make tawbah, repent and make istighfar, asking Allah (swt) forgiveness, and to regret what you have done all your life, to remember every moment of your life and all your sins, which are too many. By making istighfar you realize your sins, then you need a huge spiritual machine to clean you. Where do you go? We have a door. wa law annahum idh dhalamoo anfusahum, you have to go to Sayyidina Muhammad (s); there is no other door. It is there. If you don’t want to go it is up to you; Wahhabis don’t want to go and that is up to them. So if you have done something wrong or have some difficulty, then pray two rak`ats and then sit facing qiblah and recite:
وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآؤُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللّهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا
Wa law annahum izh dhalamoo anfusahum jaa'ooka w 'astaghfarullah w 'astaghfara lahumu 'r-rasoola la-wajad-Allah tawaaban raheema.
We sent not an apostle but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah. If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto you and asked for Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful.
(Surat an-Nisa, 4:64)
Then say, “Yaa Sayyidee! You are the only door. Accept me through your generosity; if you do not it is your will, but please accept me anyway.” And there in Prophet’s presence (s), closing your eyes make istighfaar seventy times, then he will make istighfaar on your behalf, and then your sins are forgiven. Of course you will commit more sins and repeat the process.
In the Naqshbandi Order you have to get a shaykh that is not plastic, a real shaykh, or these doors will not open. At the end of salaat, when you say, “As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah,” you have to feel the presence of your shaykh taking you to presence of the Prophet (s)! If you don’t feel it, it means the connection is not working properly and you have to work on it.
You must have a shaykh to guide you, but on one condition: that you submit completely. inqiyaad lahu, whatever he says, you answer, “sami`na wa a`taana, “We hear and we obey.” Even if he says, “I saw in a dream that I have to slaughter you for Allah,” what do you say? You must do as the shaykh told you, not only accepting, but with inqiyaad, submission. Another example of inqiyaad: if you bridle a horse, the horse follows where you lead it. Your duty is to follow, not to be like the horse that rears up in objection; you cannot say, “I don't want!” Inqiyaad means even if the shaykh takes you to a cliff, throws you over into the valley, don’t say no; still he might send hyenas to eat your skin! inqiyaad is to not leave a will besides your shaykh's will; your shaykh's will has to work and your will must be gone. Do we do that? No, if he says one word, they say one-hundred words against it, thinking, “No, you are wrong and we are right.”
Imam al-Ghazali (r) continues: you have to believe that he is a wali and he is your guide taking you to Allah's Presence. You must keep that `itiqaad, belief, or nothing works. Grandshaykh (q) said that `itiqaad is what makes you follow the order of the shaykh and it saves you. That `itiqaad will take you to Allah's Presence, even if the shaykh is not of that caliber, still it will be opened to you because of your belief!
You have to know that, ya`taf `alayk, he cares for you more than you care for yourself, and he will give you more if you obey. Here Grandshaykh (q) is using this example. Let’s say the shaykh ordered you, “Hisham, leave this project!”, or “Leave this amr!” If you believe what he says and leave that, he will give you something more precious, so don’t underestimate the generosity of your shaykh; however, when you use your mind you get less or nothing. So whenever the shaykh says, “Leave this!” you must leave it, and when he says, “Take this,” you must take it. He will not ask you to leave something except he is going to give something more precious. If the mureed does not believe that, then his love is nifaaq, hypocrisy: fa in lam ya`taqahim kadhalik fa `itiqadihi nifaaq.
If the shaykh asks you to do something, you must do it perfectly or else you are doing it only for your benefit. If you have stayed with him over thirty years but you don't believe that he is going to give you something more precious by ordering you to leave something else, it means your love is hypocrisy and you will never benefit from his good character. That is why someone may come to the shaykh once, although mureeds have been in his presence for thirty years, and yet he says to that new one, “You are shaykh of that whole city!” Why? Because there is more love in his heart than in those who were sitting all that time; their’s is hypocrisy.
Here are two examples. An Arab teacher who also writes poetry came to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and stayed one week. We saw him on Sufilive reciting poetry for Mawlana and I was on the phone with Mawlana and we took turns reciting poetry and Mawlana was happy. The second time he went they told me Mawlana said to him, “I am putting you as khalifah on Sham. What work are you doing?”
He said, “I am a teacher of children.”
Mawlana said, “Stop that and go to all the closed zawiyas, Naqshbandi and others, and open them and make dhikr.”
That was after two meetings and he gave him a long, long certificate of `ijaazah authorizing the work. Mawlana Shaykh saw in him something he didn’t see in others. When you submit to awliyaullah, accepting what they say without coming out of the ocean trembling, you will get more benefit than anyone else. I was surprised when I heard Mawlana wrote that kind of certificate for him.
Another story is more important. Last year, Mawlana sent Shaykh Adnan, Shaykh Muhammad, Hajji Mastaan, a big guy from Turkey, and Ahmad Yasin for khalwah. The best in seclusion were Shaykh Adnan and Shaykh Muhammad; the others were talking and wanted to finish before the prescribed forty days, saying, “We cannot carry this!” Ahmad Yasin is well-known for his background. Anyway, I was sitting at Mawlana's table in Damascus and Ahmad Yasin came. Everyone was saying what he did and I was listening; they said he shot a man in his leg and now Mawlana is so angry with him and has called him to scold him. I sat waiting to see what will happen. The food finished, the tables were cleared, then we prayed Salat al-`Isha. After that, Mawlana pulled out a long piece of paper and wrote a long, two-page certificate of khilaafat! Everyone was jumping out of their clothes, shocked that instead of shouting at him, Mawlana gave him ijaazah! In such times, what must you do? at-tasleem wa 'l-inqiyaad. Through that person Mawlana was testing everyone, to see if they are going to surrender and follow his decision.
Imam al-Ghazali (r) continues, wa annahu ashfaqu `alayhi min nafsihi, the shaykh cares more for the student than the student cares for himself. That is to show how much more we need to build our knowledge in order not to make our love nifaaq, hypocrisy. Our love might be clean or it might be mingled with hypocrisy, which has to be eliminated. That is the work of awliyaullah, to take hypocrisy from their mureeds, while the mureed has to believe one-hundred percent whatever the shaykh said and promised him will happen; if not today, it will happen in the grave, so what is the big issue? Which is the more complicated life? In the grave you know where you are going, either to difficulty or to ease. But instead of that, go every day to the holy presence of the Prophet (s) and seek forgiveness!
Imam Hujjatullah (Imam al-Ghazali) (r) said, “If you don’t have a shaykh that guides you, Shaytan will guide you to places where the hawaa’, desires, corrupt you.” Where and how does your shaykh guide you? He has to guide every drop of your blood to where it has to go! Also, Allah gave him the power to see and to hear. That is from the hadith of the Prophet (s), narrated by Abu Hurayrah (r):
رب اشعث اغبر لو اقسم على الله لأبره
Rubba ash`ath aghbara law aqsama `ala allahi la-abbarah.
There may be a disheveled, dusty person who, if he swears an oath by Allah, Allah will fulfill it.
rubba ash`ath aghbar, There might be someone with curly greasy hair, with whom people are disgusted, but if he asks Allah, Allah will give him. It is not what is apparent on the outside; he is pious. So the duty of shaykh is to fix the inside, and your duty to fix the outside. Keep smiling and be humble, that is good for the outside. If someone is humble and keeps smiling it is easier to be with people. I know someone here, if he wants to say one word he smiles, on the phone, in conversation, buying something, any moment he speaks he is laughing and smiling. I asked him, “How is this?”
He said, “This is a university course they teach, so when you speak with people you are immediately acceptable.” Did you hear that before? We never learned that.
Imam ash-Shaa`rani (r), the famous scholar of Egypt, said, “A lot of Muslims in Egypt believe in me and come to me to treat their various sicknesses. Do you know how I treat them? I pull one straw from the floor, give it to him and say, ‘Go to the sick person and bakhiroo feeha, make this like incense, burn it on coal and move the smoke around him. He will be cured.’ They do this and they are cured. They think the straw cured them, but that straw is nothing. It is a psychological issue, so you draw their attention to something and their belief goes there. It is their belief that cures, not the straw. Shifaa` is due to the `itiqaad of the mureed, then Allah cures him, but you have to make him focus on something; without that he will not be cured. So I make them focus on straw or on a taweez I write, and they believe in it and they are cured.”
Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.