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The Master and the Servant

Ramadan Series, Volume 22

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

21 August 2011 Fenton, Michigan

Suhbah after Salat adh-Dhuhr

Dastoor yaa Sayyidee, madad.

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

The Prophet (s) summarized Islam in many different one-line sayings. As we said before, that all Islam, the entire message of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) is in the verse:

Ati`oollaha wa ati`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

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

In the hadith of the Prophet (s), there are many meanings for this verse that give us a better understanding. The Prophet (s) said:

In lam tastahiyy fafa`l maa shi't.

If you don't feel shy or ashamed, do whatever you like.

It doesn’t mean anything to the one who is not ashamed; nothing is going to control him. That is why the Prophet (s) said, "If you are not ashamed in front of people then do whatever you want, no problem." If you are not ashamed to drink alcohol in front of people, then you are not going to be ashamed in front of Allah (swt), so do whatever you like as it is written that you are an unbeliever and whatever you do will not benefit you.

Today people are not ashamed. Let us check ourselves. We see that in many places, but with Allah's mercy and the Prophet’s barakah they made us Muslim. However, not in Islam but in the Muslim world we have shortcomings, nuqsaaniyya; that comes when we don’t feel ashamed. The worst is to backbite, because there are rights of others involved. If you sin, you can repent and Allah (swt) accepts and all is forgiven, but if you harm someone you cannot be forgiven until you apologize to the one you harmed and he forgives you. These days it is very hard to find someone who forgives, but Allah forgives; He says, "Repent anytime and I will forgive you."

Awliyaullah say, "Our doors are open so wide, from east to west, so come and repent to Allah (swt)!" But when you harm or backbite someone or spread rumors about them, or do something not nice, they have specific rights in that matter and Allah (swt) will not forgive you if that person does not. That is why the Prophet (s) asked, man al-muflis, "Who is bankrupt?" the Sahaabah (r) said, "The one who has no money." He said, "No, the one who has no `amal." They said, "Even he prays and fasts?" and he said, "Yes, even if he prays and fasts, because he backbites." The worst character we have is backbiting. When we backbite we make fitna in the community, even from one word. That is why shaykhs teach us to keep our mouths closed.

Grandshaykh (q) said, if Allah (swt) opened the graves and allowed us to smell the stench of dead ones’ backbiting before their death, the whole world would faint from it! May Allah protect us from that punishment.

Sayyidina `Isa (a) took his disciples on a journey in the desert where they saw a dead dog. The smell of the carcass filled the area and they covered their noses. He wanted to teach them a lesson. He knew they would see a dog in the desert. He said, “The smell of backbiting is like the smell of dirty flesh.”

Sayyidina `Isa (a) moved the lips of the dog with his stick and said, "Look at the lips and teeth, how nicely they are created. See the Greatness of the Creator." It means don’t look at anyone’s bad deeds, but look at the good they did as Allah (swt) likes good, not bad.

The Prophet (s) said, “If you don’t feel ashamed, faf`al maa shi't, do what you like.” There must be repentance between you and Allah (swt), then He will forgive you, but if the matter is between you and others, if you harm them, you must get the right from the one you harmed. On Judgment Day, Allah (swt) will bring two people and ask that one to forgive his brother. He will say, "No, I want my right." Allah is The Best Judge, so He will take from the `amal of the one who was backbited and He ask, "Are you content?" That one will say, "No, yaa Rabbee, I am not content as he harmed me a lot," because fitna, backbiting and rumors hurt a lot. So then Allah will take from sayyi`aat of the backbited one and give to the one who backbited him so that the other is full of good deeds and left with no sins and he goes to Paradise, leaving the other one standing with no good `amal, with nothing in front of His Lord. So Allah asks him again, "Are you content?" and he replies, "O Allah! Yes, I am content." He took everything from the other one, and so now that poor muflis one is going to Hellfire. Allah says, "I am The One Who put contentment in My servant. He is not more merciful than Me. Let him go to Paradise." However, we don't want to stand in this position on Judgment Day.

And in another hadith the Prophet (s) said:

Min husni islaam al-maruw tarku ma laa yaaneeh.

If you want to perfect your Islam, you must know to leave matters that don't concern you.

It means don't jump in a conversation and give your opinion; don't jump into a fight between two people to support one against the other; don't say, "This is wrong and this is correct;" don't be tableeghi. It is not your responsibility to knock on the door of people and teach them anything! Allah (swt) said, "When you recite the Holy Qur’an in your homes, lower your voice," because in the time of the Prophet (s) the Sahaabah (r) raised their voices in Maghrib, Isha and Fajr prayers, but then mushrikeen began to curse Allah from that, so the Prophet (s) said, "Lower your voices,” so that non-Muslims do not curse Allah (swt), the Prophet (s), or Islam.

جَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ

jaadil hum bilatee hiya ahsan,

Argue with them in best manner. (an-Nahl, 16:125)

To perfect your Islam, leave what doesn't concern you and attend to what concerns you. Focus on Islam, on Allah's Oneness, on the Prophet (s), and on Holy Qur'an; that concerns you and nothing else.

Allah (swt) said:

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء

Innaka laa tahdee man ahbabta wa laakin Allah yahdee man yasha.

It is true thou wilt not be able to guide every one, whom thou lovest; but Allah guides those whom He will. (al-Qasas, 28:56)

It means that Islam is not in your hands, it is in Allah's Hands.

You must surrender to others and then they will surrender to you as they see your nice way of talking. Once there was a rich man, and in old times they sold slaves; it was a cultural issue, not an Islamic issue. They brought African slaves not only to Europe and America, they brought them around the world. Even today you find them in Yemen, Africa, Fiji, in far-off countries they sell people. And that man bought mamluk, a servant, and that servant was a very pious, sincere person. He was Muslim, and performed his prayers, fasted, and recited tasbeeh to Allah (swt). The owner loved him so much because he was pious.

He said, "O my good servant, what would you like to eat?" Never does a master ask the servant what he would like to eat; they give them anything and they eat it, but he asked him.

The servant said, "O my master! Whatever you give me, I am happy." Servants don't say that, they complain.

Salman al-Farsi (r) sold himself into slavery in order to reach the Prophet (s). His Zoroastrian teacher whom he served for twenty-five years was dying and told him, "Go to Baghdad; there is a priest who will tell you where to go." Salman al-Farsi (r) eventually arrived in Madinat al-Munawwara. Servanthood is Maqaam at-Taslimiyya, “the Station of Submission.”

The master asked the servant, “What do you want to wear?”

He said, "Whatever you dress me."

The master said, “Where you want to stay in my home, in what room?"

He said, "My master, I don't have any preference, wherever you put me it is the same, in a small room or a big room. You are my master and I cannot raise my head before you. I listen and obey."

A room that measures one meter by three meters is bigger than the grave, but for us it is a problem; you see our ego is so much like Pharaoh! We aren't happy with anything, always complaining, even if they give all the treasures of world, still we complain!

Then the master said, "What work would you like to do in my home?"

He said, "Whatever you like. I can clean the toilets, cook or clean, whatever you order me to do, O my master."

The master cried and said, fa baka ar-rajul. qaala tooba lee anaa ma` rabbe `azz wa jalla kama anta ma`ee, “Good luck for me if I were like this to My Lord as you are with me."

This is a servant to his master, in complete submission to another human being. What do you think of awliyaullah’s, the prophet’s and the Seal of Messenger’s submission to Allah (swt)? You cannot comprehend that!

The mamluk said, "O my master! Does the servant have a choice with his master?" That means there is no will in front of master, no will in front of Allah's will! Leave things as they flow and get the reward from Allah!

The master said, "O my servant, you are free. You are no longer a servant, but stay in my room, and I will stay in another room.. I will serve you myself and with all my wealth; it will be baraka for me. After what I have seen in you, now my wealth is under my feet." He gave away his wealth and Allah gave more business to that master.

Whoever knows Allah (swt) and comes into the ocean of ma`arifah will never have any will or preference: he leaves it all to Allah. Our iraada, will, is artificial so leave it to Allah (swt) as in reality we have no will. For example, a plane takes off for a certain destination that cannot be changed. Akhirah that our destination. Imam Ghazali (r) said, "When you die, you awaken." We are in the plane and it is moving, and within it you can also move about and change seats, but you cannot change the take-off and landing. When you come to dunya cannot be changed and your leaving it cannot be changed. When we leave it, we hope to see everything good and for Allah to give us Paradise!

So put that story of the master and servant in front of your eyes. Don't be like fish struggling, be like a whale that doesn't die in the ocean but on the beach. Be like a whale diving in the ocean; the whole ocean is under its command and then Allah (swt) will make the whole dunya under your command! But now we see nothing but complaining. May Allah (swt) make us to be under our shuyukh and to be in the love of Allah (swt), love of the Prophet (s), and the love of our mashaykh (q), the love of Holy Qur'an and love of Islam! May Allah keep us attracted to awliyaullah and keep them attracted to us.

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