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The Maqaam of Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q)

Ramadan Series 2011, Volume 27

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

26 August 2011 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Suhbah after Salat al-Fajr

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

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

nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`ala fee haadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Ati`ullaha wa ati`u 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

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

Since the beginning of Ramadan, we have mentioned many things about `Ilm at-Tasawwuf and the importance of these associations, and what Allah (swt) inspired to our shuyukh, specifically Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, may Allah grant him long life, to send these messages and information for everyone. It is very important to know that Ramadan is a month of spirituality, a month that is very important to Allah (swt), during which He likes His servants to be good.

The Prophet (s) said in a Holy Hadeeth revealed to him from Allah (swt):

as-sawmu lee wa anaa ajzi bih.

Fasting is for Me and I will reward for it.

There are five pillars in Islam, but Allah (swt) emphasized fasting when He said, “Fasting is for Me and I will reward for it.” Does someone else reward for salaat, shahaada, zakaat, or hajj? No, but what it means here is that any `amal we do ascends with the angels: if we pray, angels ascend with that prayer to the Divine Presence as a means to carry it, but it is Allah (swt) Who rewards it, and this is the same for shahaada, salaat, zakaat, and hajj. Only fasting is not tarfa`, lifted by angels; it is directly lifted by Allah Himself to His Divine Presence, and angels do not know what kind of rewards Allah will give, as He said, “Fasting is for Me!” Prayers are for you, as when you pray it’s for your own benefit, but fasting is for Allah and therefore He rewards it directly. Therefore, the Prophet (s) said:

la tukhdhaloo ummatee maa `azhzhamoo shahru ramadan.

Allah will never put down my ummah as long as they are honoring Ramadan. (Muslim)

When you honor Ramadan, you are honoring Allah (swt), Who created you. You are thanking Him for giving you Ramadan, which is not only comprised of fasting from eating and drinking, but Ramadan is Siraat al-Mustaqeem, the Straight Path. In Suraat al-Fatihah, everyone recites, ihdina as-siraat al-mustaqeem, “Guide us to the Straight Path,” but is there only one siraat or many? Every person has his own siraat through which he will pass; not everyone will go on the same siraat because everyone will get according to his own capacity.

لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا

laa yukallifullahu nafsan illa wusa`aha.

Allah does not put a burden on anyone more than he can bear. (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:286)

You will be judged according to your capacity, which means your capacity is different from anyone else’s. Everyone will have a different siraat where he will be judged accordingly. Will a handicapped person be judged the same as someone who is not? All of us are handicapped to a certain extent or we would be perfect and in the presence of the Prophet (s). We are not there, so don’t say you are there because you would be lying. Some people say, “We have visions of the Prophet (s).” First of all, if you want to have visions you must completely leave hubb ad-dunya, love of this life and its desires. We don’t do that, so we are handicapped.

If you want to be in the presence of the Prophet (s), look at what Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) did! He was one of the biggest awliyaullah of his time, to whom Allah gave Maqaam al-Ghawthiya, which is not cheap; you cannot achieve that because you are rich or donate a lot to Islam. There are many shaykhs who have reached the reality of sainthood, but look at what they are doing. So he was a very well-known shaykh, who memorized all the knowledges of Qur’an, who could read on the fourteen qira`ah and explain every verse according to different qira`at. He studied `Uloom al-Qur’an and `Ilm at-Tasawwuf. When he was able to approach his shaykh with all this, his shaykh dressed him with the jubbah of irshaad.

Thereafter, he didn’t sit on the chair and give suhbahs. He knew that this way is not through hubb ad-dunya so he completely dropped it. Some people say, “I dropped hubb ad-dunya from my heart: I am not watching TV or going to the cinema,” which is good, but not enough. Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) left dunya and went into the desert of Iraq where there is nothing except sun, very hot in the day and very cold at night, and he wore only the woolen jubbah given to him by his shaykh which, from the shaykh’s barakah, protected him from both the heat and cold! It was made of sheep skin, so how did it protect him from the sun? When you submit like a sheep, just as sheep skin protects sheep from the sun and cold so you will be, as sheep submit to their shepherd with no ego or desires!

From his love of Allah (swt) he ran into the desert, where he kept continuous seclusion and struggled against the self, which doesn’t like to be in the desert where it is not easy to survive! Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q), who lived in Baghdad, Iraq in what was considered at that time to be the best civilization, left everything behind and went into the desert, where he carried the burden of struggling against the self; whatever his self asked for he did not give.

The self will ask for a lot of things. Grandshaykh (q) said, “If someone makes wudu and prays two raka`ats whenever he feels sleepy, and does this for forty days, Allah (swt) will give him power that he won’t need to sleep anymore.” You see awliyaullah sleep, but they have already been through that struggle once in their lifetime so as not to be in need of sleep. But why do they sleep? When an order comes to them from the Prophet (s) for the benefit of their followers, they cannot do it with eyes open, they have to withdraw from people and go lie down. You see their eyes closed but the eyes of their heart are wide open, and they are doing something for the benefit of their followers. That is their sleep!

So how do people claim they have reached the level of sainthood? It is not that easy! A rich person like Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q), who came from a good family and learned everything about Shari`ah, left everything and went into the desert where there is nothing, to polish his ego and say to it, “This is your home where you are going to live, so you must submit!” In a desert, you submit solely to Allah (swt), because there you don’t know east, west, north or south.

Fa ayna maa tawalloo fa thamma wajhullah.

Wherever you direct your face, you see Allah's Oneness, the signs of His Creation.

So he was carrying all those burdens and fighting with his desires. Do you fight with your desires? It is difficult, not easy. A mureed was in the middle of a qasidah yesterday as we were holding the Holy Hair of the Prophet (s), and something urgent happened, so he left everything behind and ran to the one whom he loves; in doing so he lost one of the biggest trusts that might have been given to him! How do you leave the Holy Hair of the Prophet (s) and run? That was a test and we are heedless, but we must not be heedless in certain moments!

One time, Sayyidina Shaykh Sharafuddin (q) was sitting with his mureeds in an association, and one of his best mureeds was sitting with him. Someone came and whispered in the ear of that mureed, and he immediately left the association and ran to his house, which was burning, and he couldn’t do anything. His wife and children were inside, but he could not save them as his whole house was on fire, so he ran to his shaykh, who looked at him and said, “In that meeting, I was going to give you your trust, but you messed it up. Do you think your shaykh is blind to what is taking place in your house? Go get your wife and children; you will see them outside.” The hand of the shaykh saved them!

So we are heedless; we think with the mind and not with the heart in order to submit. When Sayyidina Ibrahim (a) was thrown in the fire of Nimrod, he submitted. Sayyidina Jibril (a) came to him and said, “Yaa Ibrahim! Do you need anything? I am ready.” He said, “No, I don’t. Why should I? The One Who sent you here knows what I want; I don’t need you!” Then Allah (swt) said:

يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ

yaa naaru koonee bardan wa salaaman `ala Ibrahim.

(Allah said) O fire! Be cool and peaceful on Ibrahim! (Surat al-Anbiyaa, 21:69)

So awliyaullah went through a lot of difficulties in life solely for their love of Allah (swt), to polish their egos, not reach any station or level. Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) was always hungry and when you are hungry you cannot sleep. In seclusion, they tell you to eat one small bowl of lentil soup, but because you are under the order of the shaykh, you don’t even feel like eating that because you have spiritual support, so you eat very little..

When Mawlana Shaykh Nazim was ordered into seclusion by Grandshaykh (q) for six months, followed by another three months in Madinatu 'l-Munawwara together with Grandshaykh, Grandshaykh used to give his food to Mawlana Shaykh and he never ate. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) said during those six months he never saw Grandshaykh (q) touch food, he only drank tea. If you didn’t eat for forty days you would die, but if you are under the order of the shaykh, you can go until the end without food, only drinking tea.

Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) was always in secluded places and his only job was to worship and make dhikrullah. He said, “I went into so many difficulties at the beginning, coming against my ego, which was threatening to kill me. I endured every possible struggle with my ego and I fought until I won. My sole dress was the woolen jubbah from my shaykh and a khuraiqah, small piece of cloth on my head, and I was barefoot. My food was a small fruit that grows between the desert thorns. That was the beginning of my journey.”

He walked on the hot desert sand, sometimes on thorns. Where are those who claim they are representatives? All of them might have turbans like a big tray of rice, always trying to balancing it on their heads! Where are we in that journey? First of all, today they tell you to study only secular science and knowledge. He is the ghawth, the one who distributes the sustenance of human beings by Allah’s order!

In a hadeeth, Prophet (s) said, ana al-Qassim wa ana al-Mahiyy, wa ana Taha wa YaSeen, “I am al-Qassim, the one who provides physical and spiritual sustenance to everyone by Allah’s order, and I am al-Mahiyy, the one who waives the sins of people with the shafa`ah that Allah gives to me. The whole secret of Holy Qur'an is in my heart.”

The ghawth slowly reaches the level to inherit from that secret of the Prophet (s). He is the one who takes from the Prophet (s) and gives to human beings. Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) did not receive that through studying secular science! He became the richest in Allah's Eyes and in the Prophet's eyes, providing everyone from that secret of the Prophet (s) that he achieved by walking on thorns in the desert! He left his knowledge behind, although he was the biggest scholar of his time, and he wasn’t concerned about knowing the chemical components of water; why bother yourself? Water is already there, just drink it!

وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ الْمَاء كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَيٍّ

wa ja`alna min al-maa'i kulla shayin hayy,

We made from water every living thing. (Al-Anbiya, 21:30)

So keep drinking and you will end up knowing everything! Now we have computer science. People in the computer science field will be asked on the Day of Judgment, “What have you provided for the ummah, good technology or porno technology? YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter? Is that technology or is Islam the real technology? Did you provide teaching of Islam or make a center for research on Islam?” If their intention is to promote teaching of Islam on the Internet, that is beneficial, but unfortunately it is mixed with too much dirtiness. One lady was researching Sayyidina Imam Ghazali (q) and as soon as she entered his name in the search engine, a porno page appeared!

When Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) was able to polish his ego, then Allah (swt) gave him the power to address those in need of his knowledge. His teacher gave him a huge institution of Islamic studies to teach the Science of Qur’an and hadeeth, until his reputation reached from east to west and students came from everywhere; he pulled them like a magnet! He converted and taught thousands. People were dedicated to his teachings because of the barakah of that wool jubbah his shaykh gave him, and he also became richer in dunya, but what he took with his left hand he gave with his right hand; nothing stayed with him.

In the story mentioned by Grandshaykh (q), one poor lady came to Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) everyday to see him because she loved him. He was sitting after Maghrib in a circle with about forty students, all of whom had nice beards, nice turbans, and nice ironed clothes. Awliyaullah like discipline in all things, so don’t come to their presence in jeans or women in pants; Mawlana shouts at them! So as he was sitting with his student, the servants entered and brought a big rooster in front of everyone, and a big turkey in front of Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q), and that lady’s mouth watered, and in her heart she was saying, “Inshaa-Allah I will get a piece!” As they ate she thought, “O, they will leave me half, or one-quarter, or fifteen percent, or five percent.”

Then nothing but the bones were left, so she thought, “At least I will get the bones,” but they ate the bones as well! She came everyday and saw the same thing and said to herself, “Allahu Akbar! This is nice. I will bring my son to be with the shaykh, to take baya` from him and at least he will eat well.” That’s why many people take baya` , to get some kind of worldly benefit. Then she said, “He will eat half and perhaps will give me some, as well.”

So she brought her son to Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) and said, “I want you to teach my son to be like you.”

He said, “Welcome, bring him in!” and she brought him. She was very happy that the shaykh said yes. The shaykh called his helper and said, “Take him to be like me.”

The next day and the day after that the lady came and didn’t see her son, then she came a week later but still didn’t see him. Finally, after one month she couldn’t take it anymore so she went to the shaykh and said, “O my shaykh, where is my son? I’m not seeing him here.” She was promising herself half a chicken, half a rooster.

He said, “Your son is somewhere.”

She said, “Can I see him?”

“Of course you can!”

He called his helper and said, “Take this lady to her son,” and his helper took her down to the lowest basement level, where she saw him very skinny, sitting and reciting, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah!” In front of him was only one cup of water and a piece of dry bread. In order to eat, he had to dip the dry bread in water and add a little bit of salt. She got very angry and said, “I did not send you here to eat this dry bread and sit, saying, ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah!’”

That’s what too many mothers and fathers say to their children, “Why are you going to these places, listening to these crazy Sufi people? Go and study!”

He says, “Mom and Dad! I am attracted; I see there is life there!”

“No, no, no, you don’t know anything! Go and study in a university where it is all mixed, where girls and boys date each other. In western countries and now in middle eastern countries, you will be happy because they give the girls birth control tablets.” That is civilization?

She said, “Do you want to sit in the basement, making ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah?’” However, one recitation of “La ilaaha illa-Llah” is enough to bring up all the `amal of the ummah and make all sins disappear! If you say, “H2O, H2O, H2O, H2O,” what will it give you? If you mention all the minerals in the periodic table from beginning to end, what will they give you? Nothing! But when you say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” even once, it’s enough to clean all sins of the ummah!

The Prophet (s) said:

man qaala la ilaha ill-Llah dakhal al-Jannah,

Whoever says ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ enters Paradise.

Now they will come to say, “O Shaykh! You spoiled our children. Is it real that they have to go and study in the desert?” Why not? It depends on how you direct your son or daughter from the beginning. Everyone wants their children to live a decent life, which is good, but Allah (swt) said:

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil ‘akhirati wa hasanatan.

Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the Hereafter. (al-Baqarah, 2:201)

That means to have one leg in dunya and one leg in Akhirah, asking for hasana in dunya and in Akhirah. So you must balance, not everything should be dunya, dunya, dunya. How many hours do they study for dunya every day after school, and how many hours do they study for Akhirah? For Akhirah nothing, but for dunya everything!

She went back to her shaykh and said, “Yaa Sayyidee! I didn’t send my son to be like a stick; I sent him to eat like you.”

He said, “Do you want him to eat like me, even the bones?”

She said, “Yes.”

He said, “In order to eat like me, he needs to go through this kind of life first, to be polished. This is how he will become like me, otherwise don’t bring him here, go somewhere else. This is our way and what one needs to do to become a shaykh.”

The way of awliyaullah is hardship, as the Prophet (s) said:

akhshawshanoo fa innal ni`amal tadoom.

Live roughly and don’t waste.

Live roughly because favors will not last; your situation might change one day. If you live roughly you know you can survive even with a little bit of provision, but when you don’t live roughly, you require the status of designer names such as Polo, Armani, Rolex, Gucci, and so on.

What did Shaykh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) end up with? He said, “For Allah to be happy with you, atamut ta`am, offer food to people.” If a tariqah does not offer food, it is not a tariqah. The best way to bring the hearts of people is by feeding them, because the food of awliyaullah is clean, so when you eat it good energy comes and cleans you from inside. The food of normal people is cooked, even with no wudu, or perhaps they are smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol while they cook, or do not wash their hands when they use the bathroom! So that food is contaminated with bad energy, while the food of awliyaullah is clean and gives you positive energy.

May Allah forgive us and may Allah bless us.

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