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The Power of Increasing Your Thankfulness to Allah

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

15 September 2011 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

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.

This is dhikr water and inshaa-Allah it is beneficial for all kinds of disturbances. In the time of the Prophet (s), they used to recite Surat al-Fatihah and blow on water, and it becomes shif`a`a for those who drink it. The Prophet (s) said:

الْفَاتِحَةُ لِمَا قُرِئَتْ لَهُ

al-fatihahtu limaa quriyyat lahu.

Fatihah is for whatever purpose you recite it.

So reciting Surat al-Fatihah on water and drinking it takes away all kind of diseases and problems, inshaa-Allah. Some people might drink one barrel and say nothing happened., but if you say that, your faith is not strong as you have doubt in what the Prophet (s) said! The Prophet (s) is as-Saadiq al-Masdooq, “the one who is always on truth,” and he (s) was honored by his Lord, Who affirmed and confirmed that title for him! That means you have no right to say no, but you have the full right to say yes. He is as-Saadiq, “The Truthful.” Al-Masdooq is from Allah's side, affirming it, so anything relating to the Prophet (s) has to be accepted without hesitation!

Today we are so hesitant in anything we do, and the Prophet (s) said, "Don’t be hesitant, at-tijaarah jasaarah.” Trade is when you do something to overcome difficulty. We say, “insaanun jasoor, someone who throws himself in the fire,” which means to be firm in your decision and believe in what you are doing, completely confident that you will be successful.

The Prophet (s) mentioned that doing business is to overcome obstacles. Is the best tijaarah, trade, of dunya or Akhirah? You can understand this from both sides, but this refers to the trade of Akhirah, with Allah (swt). When someone trades with Allah (swt), he may jump over obstacles. What are these obstacles? Shaytan! Shaytan made Sayyidina Adam (a) tat from the tree that Allah prohibited. Alhamdulillah that Allah (swt) prohibited Muslims in only a few issues:

وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الزِّنَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاء سَبِيلاً

wa laa taqraboo ’z-zina innahu kaana faahishatan wa sa’a sabeela

And do not come near to adultery for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). (Surah al-’Isra, 17:32)

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) is prohibiting you from making adultery, (drinking) alcohol and gambling, killing people, and eating pork. It is good that He (swt) didn’t say, “I prohibit you from sleeping,” or then what would you do? Instead, He (swt) said, “Rm giving you eighth ours to rest.” Are you not happy with eight hours? Rest, relax, and don't do anything. You work for eight hours; do you want to work more? Today they make two shifts, and if they could they would make three shifts! Some people work 36 hours straight and rest the remainder of the seven days. Why is that, when Allah (swt) said to work eight hours a day?

He gave 24 hours in a day when He could have made it 26 or 30 hours, so why didn't He? Because Allah (swt) likes everything as He planned. He planned 24 hours, in which to work eight hours, sleep eight hours, and worship eight hours. But what are we doing? We work 16 hours and perhaps worship for only half-an-hour. If you add up the time it takes to pray Salaatu ‘l-Fajr, Dhuhr, `Asr, Maghrib, and ‘`sha (with two, four, four, three, four raka`ats, respectively,) you get around half-an-hour. It might take you only half-an-hour, but Allah (swt) says, “No problem, I will count that as fifty prayers!” What better do you want?

Allah (swt) is Merciful, as He said:

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ

wa rahmatee wasi`yat kullaa shay.

My Mercy encompasses everything. (al-`Araaf, 7:156)

Our duty is to say, “Shukran yaa Rabb! Shukran yaa Rabbee, alhamdulillah!” “Shukran” is different than “alhamdulillah;” it shows humility from your side. “Alhamdulillah” means, “Okay, I am very happy with what I have done, so alhamdulillah,” but “shukranlillah” shows how much you are in need for Allah (swt). That is why it is so recommended for Allah’s servants to say, “Shukran yaa Allah!”

Allah (swt) said:

ْلَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ

Wa la’n shakartum la-azeedanakum

If you thank Me, I will give you more. (al-Ibrahim, 14:7)

He didn’t say, “If you make hamd I will increase,” because, for example, if you have designed this cup very well and you say “alhamdulillah,” there is ego in that. Although you are praising Allah (swt), also Allah makes hamd to Himself by Himself (in Surat al-Fatihah), “Alhamdulillahi Rabbi ‘l-`Alameen,” or “Subhaan al-ladhee ‘asra bi `abdihi, Glory be to The One Who took His servant,” the servant must show humility by saying, “Shukran yaa Rabbee! If not for You I could not have done it.”

Allah (swt) said:

وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ

wa qaleelun min `ibadee ash-shakoor.

But few of My servants are thankful. (Surat as-Saba’, 34:13)

He is saying, “Very few of My servants remember to thank Me,” but many of them make hamd because they recite Surat al-Fatihah. So shukr is a sign of humbleness that Allah (swt) likes to see in His servants. That means, “Whatever level I put you in, say, ‘Shukr, yaa Rabbee! Shukran! You did this for me; I didn’t do anything.’” Whether He gave you a nice voice or a normal voice, whether He gave you what you like or what you don't like in this life, it is from Allah (swt)! Whatever He gives, take it and be happy; don't put your will there or it is as if you are saying, “Yaa Rabbee! I am not happy with what You are doing for me; I want what I want!” That is takabbur, arrogance. Leave things as they come! Allah (swt) knows best what is good for you. He gave this image to you, He gave another image to someone else; the features that fit someone else do not fit you, so everyone must be happy with what Allah (swt) gave him.

African Americans, with my respect to them, are the people with the softest hearts. Allah (swt) gave them a good heart, but they complain too much, especially in the United States, saying, "White people used us as slaves." Allah (swt) doesn't punish anyone twice! Therefore, if white people punished you, then Allah (swt) is going to open His Heavens for you! You don't know what kind of wisdom Allah (swt) had in making you examples for others. Look at (current) Arab leaders; they enslaved their citizens, who are now rebelling against them. The time has come when Allah (swt) opens for people to come against their leadership, as He wants to compensate them for what they suffered from their leaders, not for dunya. It means Allah (swt) is now taking revenge on their behalf and giving those who were harmed Paradise on Earth, so accept what Allah sent to you!

Look at the Somalis (currently roaming in famine)! Who is (in a better position), you or them? Your life is thousands of times better than those at the border of Somalia. I told you the story last week of one lady crossing the border of Kenya, which takes 4-6 hours; she walked in that desert with her eight children and reached the other side of the border with only three, as five of her children died on the way! And we are not happy; we complain. Thank Allah!

That is why He said, wa qaleelan min `ibadee ash-shakoor, “Very few of My servants are thankful.” He said “`ibadee,” because not everyone reached the level of `abd, servanthood. If you are a real `abd, it means you are a real worshipper; you have a sword against your ego, not allowing it to fall into one mistake. A real `abd is the one whose sword is against the neck of Shaytan. We are not at that level, but Allah (swt) said, “Those who have reached that level must still thank Me, because they are not yet thanking Me correctly.”

So where can you reach the level of servanthood? We are fighting with each other for nothing. Fight with yourself! Do you think you are good? That is why, we are cautioned, don't come against Allah's servants. Don't have doubts in others, and accept what Allah has sent to you. You planned this way and Allah (swt) planned that way. Whose plan will succeed? Allah's plan!

وَمَكَرُواْ وَمَكَرَ اللّهُ وَاللّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

wa makaroo wa makarullahu w' Allahu khayru 'l-maakireena,

They (unbelievers) planned evil and Allah also planned, and He is the best of planners.

(Aali `Imraan, 3:54)

If Allah (swt) decided you are going to live in this country and you decide to live in another country, you will be where Allah has decided for you to be. Allah (swt) is showing you an example in Egypt, where its president who controlled his people for forty years is now behind bars! If he knew that one day he would be like that, he would have given up everything in order to be released. So what do you think about Akhirah, when you will be between bars? If you are lucky there will be no bars; if you are not lucky, you are going to be questioned behind bars. If you could bail yourself out you would give everything you have in order to save yourself, but can wealth of dunya help you there?

Yesterday my wife was checking something on the computer, and we don't know anything from iPads or computers. She pressed a button and a video came up of what happened to someone dead in the grave. Did you see that? Go and check if you haven’t seen it. She said, “Come and look at this.” I said, “I don't want to look.” They put cameras inside a grave with a dead body and filmed that. At first, you see how nice he looks; he opens his eyes as if he is speaking with you. Then his face and body becomes bigger and bigger, inflating until he explodes, and all these flies and worms begin to eat his face, eyes, tongue, and whole body until you begin to see the skeleton. Go and look; it will make you to leave dunya completely! Allahu Akbar! May Allah forgive us.

Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasoolullah! `Alayha nahya, wa `alayha namoot, wa `alayha nalq ’Llah. Aamantu billahi wa malaa’ikatihi wa kutubihi wa rusulihi wa bi ’l-yawmi ’l-akhirati wa bi ’l-qadari khayrihi wa sharrihi, wa’l-ba`thu ba`da ’l-mawtu haqq. Kulluna laka `abdun, yaa Allah, wa ahaqqu maa yaqoolu al-`abd Allahuma laa maani`a limaa `atayta, wa laa mu`tiya limaa man`ata wa laa raadda limaa qadayta wa laa yanfa`u dha ‘l-jaddi minka ’l-jaddu Rabbee wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billahil `Aliyyi ’l-`Azheem. Wa ufawwidu amree ila-Llah, inn ’Llaha baseerun bi ‘l-`ibaad. Yaa Rabbi ’ghfir lee wa’r-hamnee wa Anta khayru ‘r-raahimeen.

May Allah forgive us and protect us from `adhaab al-qabr wa `adhaab al-akhirah, punishment of the grave and punishment of the Hereafter! So you would give everything you have to be saved from being put behind bars on Ttat Day, about which Allah (swt) mentioned:

يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَبَنِيه لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ

yawma yafirru ’l-maro min akheehi. Wa ummihi wa abeehi wa saahibatihi wa baneehi li-kull imrin minhum yawmaydhin shaa’nun yughneeh.

That Day shall a man flee from his own brother, and from his mother and his father, his wife and his children; everyone on that Day will have affairs to keep him occupied. (`Abasa, 80:34-37)

He will only say, nafsee nafsee, “Myself! Myself!” He will not say “my father,” “my mother,” or “my brother.” Only the Prophet (s) will say, “My ummah,” and only awliyaullah will say, “My followers! I will not go to Paradise without them.” Don't think it is cheap to become a guide!

أَلا إِنَّ 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. (al-Yunus,10:62)

That is easy for Allah (swt), Who is saying, “O My saint! If you want them to go to Paradise, they will go! That is cheap for Me!” If Allah sent everyone to Paradise, does it hurt him or affect him? Allah (swt) said, “My Mercy encompasses everything! So for the sake of Prophet (s), take them all to Paradise with no questions asked!”

It is mentioned in a hadeeth that on the Day of Judgment, Prophet (s) will make sajda and ask Allah (swt), “Yaa Rabbee! Give me my ummah!” and Allah (swt) will say, “Take them! Are you better than Me that you forgive them? I forgive everyone!” Allah’s Greatness is unlimited, so we must thank Him (swt) by saying, “Shukran yaa Rabbee! Shukran yaa Allah, shukran yaa Allah, shukran yaa Allah!” Remember, Allah (swt) said, “If you thank Me, I will raise you higher and higher and I will give you more wealth,” which is nothing for Him!

Mt. Uhud came to the Prophet (s), saying, “O Prophet of Allah! I will turn myself into gold for you,” to which the Prophet (s) responded, “We don't need your gold!” He put stones on his stomach to suppress his hunger, while today if we don't have a hundred different foods we complain! We must also have pickles, and for people of the Indian Subcontinent, if there is no rice it means there is no food, while for Arabs, if there is no bread there is no food! Is it better for Allah (swt) to give you that food or to give you eternal food? May Allah (swt) give us eternal food in dunya and in Akhirah, because if you take it in dunya, you will know for sure that you have been saved in Akhirah but if you wait to take it in Akhirah, that is questionable.

Yaa Rabbee! Grant us to be with the Prophet (s) in dunya! Allah (swt) dressed the Prophet (s) to be the Seal of Messengers and we must understand that in every era Allah (swt) sent messengers to remind people of their responsibilities; had they not been sent, how would people remember? As mentioned by the mufassir of Holy Qur’an on tafseer of Surat al-`Araaf, Sayyidina Ibn Abbas (r), Allah (swt) sent 124,000 prophets to remind people, because we need constant reminding as we don’t even remember what we ate yesterday! That is why people hire accountants, to account for and record everything. In every era there is a messenger stronger than the one who came before him, with accumulated power. After Sayyidina `Isa (a), after a long period of 600 years Prophet Muhammad (s) came as the Seal of Messengers, and as such, he will be present until the Day of Judgment to remind people. Otherwise, from 1500 years ago we would only be able to remember by qaala wa qeela, “he said this, he said that.” How can people follow what Prophet (s) said if there is no presence? For example, doctors prescribe treatment and tell you “do this and that,” but they also schedule regular follow-up visits to monitor your progress. Who is checking up on us after 1500 years? There is someone!

عن أمتي السلام قال : وقال رسول الله (ص) حياتي خير لكم تحدثون وتحدث لكم ووفاتى خير لكم تعرض على أعمالكم ، فما رأيت من خير حمدت الله عليه وما رأيت من شر إستغفرت الله لكم ، رواه البزار ورجاله رجال الصحيح.

hayaatee khayrun lakum tuhadiththoon wa tuhadditha lakum wa wafaatee khayrun lakum, tu`radu `alayya aa`maalakum famaa raa’ita min khayrin hamadtallah wa maa raa’ita min sharrin astaghfarta lakum.

(The Prophet (s) said,) “The deeds of the ummah are displayed to me (in the grave) and if I see good I thank Allah, and if I see other than that I ask forgiveness on your behalf.”

Fifteen-hundred years is the longest period in which no other prophet was sent, and there will be no other prophet, even if Resurrection Day comes one year or a million years later! Prophet Muhammad (s) is still the Last Prophet and he will fulfill the duty to remind all Mankind, as Allah (swt) gave him that power! Allah (swt) dressed him so that he will be in our life in every moment, which is why He said in the Holy Qur’an:

وإعلموا أن فيكم رسول الله

w `alamoo anna feekum Rasoolullah.

And know Allah's Messenger is in you. (al-Hujurat, 49:7)

You must know that Sayyidina Muhammad’s guidance and observance, that relationship and reality, is always within you. Don't be blind, open up and see it!

وَمَن كَانَ فِي هَـذِهِ أَعْمَى فَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ أَعْمَى وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيل

waman kaana fee hadhihi `amaa fa-huwa fi ’l-akhirati `amaa wa adalloo sabeela.

But those who were blind in this world will be blind in the Hereafter and most astray from the path. (al-Isra, 17:72)

So don’t be blind! That is why we say Allah (swt) gave the Prophet (s) what He did not give to any other prophet! We are weak and helpless, so how are we going to remember if there isn’t a reminder who is always present with us? In all aspects of our daily life we have reminders: doctors, lawyers, accountants, supervisors who know what we are doing. So in religion, to preserve and remind us of the heavenly message, does Allah (swt) not keep someone to check on us?

Holy Qur’an is universally known as “a speaking Qur’an” because when you read it, it speaks to you and gives you answers. If you reach the level of servanthood, when you read an ayah it tells you why it was sent and what is the meaning behind it, and from one to another that meaning differs as everyone does not understand the ayah the same way.

The tafseer, scholarly commentary, will never give you an answer because it is not Allah's Words, which is the Arabic from which light comes. If you cannot understand Arabic, put your finger on the letters and move across them as if you are reading, and heavenly lights will guide you through your heart. If you can read and understand Arabic it is more powerful and Allah will open to your heart. Some awliyaullah have written books from their observations and that is why no one can write what they wrote, which is only a drop of their knowledge!

May Allah bless this meeting. May Allah forgive us and may Allah bless us and bless all of you.

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