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The Manners of the People of Heaven

Grandshaykh `AbdAllah's Notebook Series, Part 6

Ramadan Series, Vol 15

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

20 June 2016 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Zhuhr Suhbah

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,

nawaytu 'r-riyaada, nawaytu 's-salook, lillahi ta'ala al-`Azheem fee hadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Atee`oollaha wa atee`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:59)

As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaahi ta’ala wa barakatuh. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. 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.

Alhamdulillah, today is fourteenth of Ramadan and the anniversary of the Battle of Badr is on the seventeenth. The Sahaabahs were fasting in the desert away from home, fighting the unbelievers who wanted them to denounce Islam, the Message of Prophet (s). They were 313 As-Haab al-Badr, who defeated 1,000 Quraysh. For every Sahaabi there was three Quraysh and they had strong faith, which is what defeats the enemy. When you have strong faith you can defeat anyone, but if one day we are okay and the next we are not, then our faith will be shaky.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ثُمَّ كَفَرُواْ ثُمَّ آمَنُواْ ثُمَّ كَفَرُواْ ثُمَّ ازْدَادُواْ كُفْرًا

Those who believe, then reject faith, then (again) believe and (again) reject faith and go on increasing in unbelief. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:137)

That is the problem. The most important thing is to keep straightforward, stand by your belief and do not listen to Shaytan, who wants to change you. If you do something that is good for you, Shaytan will come and try to steal it from you and change it. Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q), Imam al-Khatm al-Khawajagan of the Naqshbandi Order, used to sit in a circle and recite dhikrullah. He was the biggest `alim in his area near Imam Muhammad Ismail al-Bukhari (q). When he made dhikr, he was very cautious that it wouldn't be lost by the `amal of dunya, he wanted to make sure his dhikr was pure and only for Allah (swt). He used go inside a well until he was covered to his head with water and do his dhikr there. To breathe, he went up, took a breath and went back. Shaytan cannot approach water, it will burn him as he is from fire, and when he approaches someone it means fire is approaching. Shaytan will eat us the way fire eats wood.

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) knew that hikmah. He never tried to look at anything except he focused on Allah, ilahi Anta Maqsoodi wa ridaka matloobi, “Yaa Rabbee, You are my goal, to reach Your Divine Presence.”

We are being asked by our shuyookh to audit ourselves every day, to see what kind of `amal we have done, good or bad, to see which if our `amal Allah is happy with and not happy with, and to repent and ask His forgiveness. One time Prophet (s) mentioned about one of his Companions, “This one is going to enter Paradise without any account.” That one was from Al-Mubashareen bi ‘l-Jannah, ten of the Companions who were given good tidings to enter Paradise without any account. One whom Prophet (s) mentioned surprised Sayyidina `Umar (r), because in his mind that Sahaabi sometimes did not do excessive worshipness, but only did what was required. He thought, “I have to check what he is doing other than what we are doing and then I will understand hikmat an-Nabi, the wisdom of why Prophet (s) said that he will enter Paradise.”

He followed that Sahaabi to his house and knocked on the door. The Sahaabi welcomed him and they sat together. When prayer time came, he hosted him. At that time, it was an Arab custom from their generosity that any guest was welcome for three days of eating, drinking, and the host offered to help the guest in any way, which is good behavior. That’s why shuyookh don’t ask you, “Why are you coming?” You eat, you drink, you fast, then they see what is your problem. Sayyidina `Umar saw that one pray `Isha just like everyone else behind Prophet (s), then he went back to his house and Sayyidina `Umar (r) followed him.

Three days he was hosted by that Companion and at the end he asked, “Yaa `Umar, can I help you?”

Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “Yes, I want to ask you a question. You pray Zhuhr, we pray Zhuhr; you pray `Asr, we pray `Asr; you pray Maghrib, we pray Maghrib; you pray `Isha, we pray `Isha; you pray Fajr, we pray Fajr; but you sleep and we don’t sleep, we do extra worship, Qiyaam al-Layl, Tahajjud, but you do not; we pray all the prayers at night and read Qur’an more than everyone. We do all this and still Prophet (s) gave you the glad tidings of entering Paradise, even though you don’t pray extra prayers or do anything extra. What are you doing that we don't, for which Prophet (s) said you will enter Paradise?”

The Sahaabi (r) looked at him and said, “Yaa `Umar, I pray what you pray, but I have a character. Ever since I took Shahaadah, before I sleep I say, ‘Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah,” I declare that there is no Creator except Allah (swt) and Muhammad is His Messenger. That’s my belief, I renew my Shahadah in front of Allah and His Prophet (s) through my heart. Then whatever I did wrong during the day I ask Allah’s forgiveness, I do seventy istighfaar, as Allah (swt) said:

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

Say, "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surat az-Zumar, 39:53)

Allah will forgive all the sins, so I make istighfaar, I enter this ocean. I have never slept without making istighfaar and Shahadah. The third thing is, when I want to put my head on my pillow, I ask Allah (swt), ‘Yaa Rabbee, I forgive everyone who harmed me, who spoke against me, who created fitna against me, and who backbited me. I am happy to forgive them and I am asking You, yaa Rabbee, to give them from my hasanaat so they will be like me.’ This is my belief.”

Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “SubhanAllah! You have something we don't have, musamaha, forgiveness!”

Sayyidina `Umar (r) was strong, shadeed, and it was good for him to be that way as he was Ameer al-Mu’mineen; sometimes you need a leader to be tough. He realized why the Prophet (s) mentioned that Companion. First, he renewed his Shahadah to Allah and baya` to Prophet (s); second, he made istighfaar, he asked for Allah’s forgiveness; third, he forgave everyone before he slept.

He said to him, “Yaa `Umar, the last thing is that if dunya comes to me in the morning and leaves from my hand in the evening, I am not happy when it comes and I am not sad when it goes, I am always on the surface, I don’t care. Allah takes and Allah gives.”

If Allah gives and takes and you believe in that, then why are you sad? That’s what Allah (swt) wants from His `abd: to what you did with your Trust. Awliyaullah have even more to do. Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani’s character was such that he audited himself from moment to moment, not every 24 hours, but from one second to the next! He was able to do so with the power that Allah gave him, to check on himself if he did good at that moment. Every breath he inhaled and exhaled he was checking if it came in with halaal or with haraam, and is it going out with or without istighfaar. He made sure his breathing was clean coming in and going out and to support that he was doing his dhikr underwater, to train himself to breathe a breath that is clean.

Shaytan could not approach the well where he was doing his awraad. If he found himself following his ego even for one moment, he make istighfaar for one day, asking Allah’s (swt) forgiveness, like Rabi`a al-Adawiyya (q), one of the lady saints in fourth century Hijri, one of the greatest women in history. She was in love with Allah (swt) and with Prophet (s) so much that she could not see anything else. She felt the Presence of Allah’s Light and Prophet’s (s) Mercy always with her.

When her husband passed away, `ulama came to her and said, “Yaa Rabi`a, it is Sunnah, an obligation, not to be alone. You have to marry.”

She said, “I will marry, but I am busy. I cannot pay attention to my husband, I cannot do what is necessary for him. My first husband left, now I cannot take another one because I worked full-time for him cooking, cleaning, doing everything. Now I am busy with my Lord.”

They said, “It is not nice to be alone, you have to marry and have a husband to take care of you.”

She said, “No, Allah is taking care of me, so I will remain alone as I don’t want that headache.” They insisted for her to marry, so she said, “Okay, I will marry one of you if you can answer my three questions.”

They said, “What are your questions?”

She said, “First, when the Angel of Death (a) comes, will he come to take my soul with mercy or with punishment? Give me an answer. If you know tell me, then I will follow your nasiha.”

We must ask ourselves this question: how are we going to understand it and how are we going to behave when this question is asked? Who can answer? No one could answer how the Angel of Death (a) is coming to take her soul, with punishment or with mercy.

They said, “Yaa Rabi’a, we have no answer.”

She said, “Okay, leave that. When they bury me in my grave, didn’t Prophet (s) say two angels, Munkar wa Nakir, will question the deceased in the grave about what they did in dunya? Are these two angels coming with punishment or with mercy? How am I going to answer them, is my tongue going to freeze or not, do you know?”

They didn’t know. Do you know? No one knows how Munkar and Nakir will come and take their soul! This is amaanah.

إِنَّ اللّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤدُّواْ الأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَن تَحْكُمُواْ بِالْعَدْلِ إِنَّ اللّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُم بِهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ سَمِيعًا بَصِيرًا

Allah bids you to deliver all you have been entrusted with to those entitled, and whenever you judge between people to judge with justice. Verily, the most excellent is what Allah orders you, for Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing! (4:58)

As we said yesterday, this is the Trust: Allah gave you a Trust, you have to give it back. Your soul is an amaanah. When Munkar and Nakir ask that question, what is your soul going to answer? Is it going to say, “Yaa Rabbee, this person in whose body you have put my soul has tortured me in dunya. He listened to his desires and not to me, the good one.”

“Will Munkar and Nakir come to me to punish me or to send mercy on me?”

There was no answer. Do you have an answer? Do any of us have an answer? We all are poor and weak servants.

She said, “Leave all that about Sayyidina Malak al-Mawt (a) coming with punishment or with mercy and happiness, about Munkar and Nakir, the two angels coming to question me, I will manage that. However, the third question is, when Allah calls me, ‘Yaa Rabi’a’ on the Day of Judgement, will He call me with punishment or with mercy?”

Prophet (s) described on the Day of Judgement, even prophets will tremble, worried about what He will do with them. We are not anything, we are very weak servants but very arrogant.

She asked the scholars, “How is Allah going to question me and call my name, with punishment or with mercy? Therefore, how do you want someone like me not to worry about my Akhirah? What am I going to do with my dunya? I will always be busy with istighfaar, that’s why my tongue never stops saying, ‘Astaghfirullah.’ I have to make istighfaar between one `amal and the next to clean it, even the good deed.”

Every `amal that comes from us has a color. Awliyaullah see if you have the right color, and for that `amal Allah (swt) replaces His punishment with forgiveness: He will not punish you, He will forgive you. We cannot see that but Awliyaullah can. That’s why they guide their followers, “Audit yourself, death is coming.” Death is like an animal walking behind you that at any moment will bite you. You cannot protect yourself from death. When the call comes, you will never listen to anyone or see anything from this dunya, the focus is on one issue, to follow the voice that is calling them, “Come!”

When the call comes, everyone must follow it and see its Source, and the Angel of Death (a) will be waiting there. All your focus will on the Angel of Death (a): is he coming with punishment or with mercy? Rabi’a al-Adawiyya (q) wanted to prepare herself, so she said, “Astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah.” That complete annihilation in ‘astaghfirullah’ means every moment of her life she anticipated the call that will come one day.

They mention that death is walking behind you: you take one step forward and death takes one step forward. One year is finished, people celebrate and call it ‘Happy birthday.’ What happy birthday? You lost one year of your life! Did you check if it’s really a ‘happy’ birthday? If you are an innocent person with no sin, then it’s a happy birthday, but actually it's a sad day that you lost one year of your life.

We smile here, but there we cannot smile. In general, that’s what differentiates Rabi’a al-Adawiyya (r) and Awliyaullah from common people: they don’t smile or laugh, they feel the reality of the bite of death, that death will chain you as soon as you reach it. Is the Angel of Death (a) ready for you? If he is ready and you are pure, your soul will be flying in Barzakh, it will not be restricted in the grave, the grave will be a paradise from a piece of Paradise! Otherwise, it will be a ditch from Hellfire.

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : إِنَّمَا القَبْرُ رَوْضَةٌ مِنْ رِيَاضِ الجَنَّةِ أَوْ حُفْرَةٌ مِنْ حُفَرِ النَّارِ

In the grave is either a garden from the Gardens of Paradise or it is a ditch from the pits of Hellfire. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi)

May Allah give us Paradise in the grave! [Ameen.] Is the Angel of Death (a) coming to us with a piece of Paradise or a piece of Hellfire? Prophet (s) mentioned in many Ahadeeth that the Angel of Death (a) is coming with something: either to free you from the chains of the body, then your soul can move everywhere, you can check on your loved ones, both deceased and living. You will be able to go wherever Allah lets that soul go; it will see and return to it’s place.

Pray that Allah (swt) will give you Hayyatun Barzakhiyya, a life in Baraka, between death and the Day of Judgment. During that period in the grave, you will be where Allah wants you to be: if you were a good person you will be in good hands there, with angels, with Awliyaullah, with love of Allah (swt) and love of His Prophet (s). If you are not doing as you should, then Allah knows best what will happen. We ask for His forgiveness. That’s why you should ask for forgiveness like that Sahaabi (r) who said, “I sleep making istighfaar and Shahadah. If dunya comes in the morning and goes in the evening, I am not sad about it, I am not happy either, I don’t mind, and I forgive everyone.” Forgive everyone, have this good manner, don’t be angry with your friends or with your brothers if they did something to you. Forgive them, Allah will reward you for your patience. It is not nice to not forgive and always give your opinion and force it on everyone. This is not accepted in Islam.

May Allah (swt) bless us. Awliyaullah look for happiness in dunya and Akhirah, not for the miseries of dunya and Akhirah! That's why we read the du`a, “O Allah! Give us happiness in dunya and happiness in Akhirah and keep us away from Hellfire!”

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire! (Surat al-Baqara, 2:201)

May Allah forgive us, may Allah bless us. Keep your trust that Allah gave you clean, then Allah will keep you clean. Try as much as you can.

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And those who struggle in Our (Way), We will certainly guide them to our Paths, for verily Allah is with those who do right. (Surat al-`Ankabut, 29:69)

May Allah guide us to His Way and take Shaytan away from us.

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


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