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Principles of Discipline Between the Mureed and the Shaykh, Part 1

Ramadan Series 2014, Vol 20

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

18 July 2014 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani ‘r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem.

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)

Everyone of us is on authority but Shaytan plays with us in order that he will be on authority. Allah said in Holy Qur'an, Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem:

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا . قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا

Fa alhamahaa fujoorahaa wa taqwaahaa. Qad aflaha man zakaaha.

He inspired the self of its good and its bad. Truly he succeeds that purifies it. (Surat ash-Shams, 91:8-9)

“Allah inspires the self with what is good and what is bad for it.” Allah (swt) inspired everyone with something different as there is no repetition and no copy machine in what He gives. Everything for everyone is different, like you have a key for your house that cannot open anyone else's house. Everyone has a key and if you are able to oil it very well and put it nicely in the door it will open the door, or else it will not open the door. Allah (swt) gave everyone a key to open His Amaanaat, Trust, His Treasures, Knowledge, `Ilm, as He said regarding Sayyidina Khidr (a):

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

So they found one of Our Servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our Own Presence. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:65)

Scholars’ Concensus on Tasawwuf with its Realities and Steps to Achieve Them

“We gave him knowledge from Ourselves.” We have reviewed what many scholars have said about Tasawwuf, including Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, who acknowledged that Tasawwuf is the core of Maqaam al-Ihsaan.

The Haqaa’iq at-Tasawwuf:

1. Ta`areef at-Tasawwuf: to explain Tasawwuf for people to know about it.

2. Ishtiqaaq at-Tasawwuf: the derivatives of Tasawwuf’s names.

3. Nashatoo `Ilm at-Tasawwuf: from where and how Tasawwuf emerged.

4. Ahammiyyat at-Tasawwuf: the importance of Tasawwuf.

Actions one must take to achieve the Haqaa’iq are:

1. As-Suhbat, Companionship

To be with someone who will guide you either as his friend or student, and its importance, benefit and what it leaves behind:

* The importance of as-Suhbat in Holy Qur'an.

* Then the importance of as-Suhbat in Hadith an-Nabi (s).

* The discipline and significance of as-Suhbah according to scholars and the Fuqaha (knowledge of Shari`ah), with examples from the sayings Ibn Hajar al-Haythani, Ibrahim Baajouri, Ibn Abi Jamra, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya and Ibn Taymiyyah.

* Aqwaal al-`Arifeen billah, what those Knowers whom Allah (swt) put on the Gnostic Way said about the importance of as-Suhbah.

2. How to find al-Warith al-Muhammadi: after studying what all these scholars said, it is our turn to search, like conducting a computer search.

3. When you find al-Warith al-Muhammadi you take `ahad, the covenant or promise from the shaykh.

4. Baya`: for men, the group, for one individual, for women, for the minor who is not mature, then baya` of the Sahaabah (r), which is the Companionship with Prophet (s).

5. Tanaakul al-Idhn: transmission from one to another and the shaykh will give idhn in different countries; the ma’dhooneen in different countries that have permission to teach this knowledge.

Adab al-Mureed maa` Shaykhihi: Discipline of the Mureed with His Teacher

Without adab there is no knowledge and siscipline will teach you adab. Today in schools, I am sorry to say there is no adab between students and teacher: the students want to mock and criticize teachers and in return, teachers fail their students, so from both sides there is a fundamental problem. So Adab al-Mureed maa` Shaykhihi is of two kinds: Adab il-Baatina, the Hidden Discipline of the Internal, and adab zhaahira, the external. We hope Allah will teach us adab.

أدبني ربي فأحسن تأديبي

Adabanee rabbee fa’ahsana taa'deebee.

My Lord perfected my good manners and conduct. (Ibn `Asakir)

“Allah taught me adab: He raised me with adab, fa’ahsana taa'deebee, He perfected my adab.” Allahu Akbar! When and where did Allah (swt) teach the Prophet (s) adab? We have to try to see the greatness of Allah (swt) that He gave to the Prophet (s) in an instant. The Prophet (s) said, Adabanee rabbee fa’ahsana taa'deebee--that is not in dunya only, but Allah (swt) him gave adab when He created him,

كنت نبي و ادم بين الماء و الطين

Kuntu Nabiyyin wa adamu bayna 'l-maa'i wa 't-teen.

I was a prophet when Adam was between water and clay.

كنت نبيا وآدم بين الروح والجسد

Kuntu nabiyyan wa adam bayna ar-roohi wa ’l-jasad.

I was a prophet while Adam was between soul and body.

From that time, Allah (swt) taught the Prophet (s) adab and if you want to go further, you can say it was when Allah created the Light of Sayyidina Muhammad (s), before He created any Creation, when He raised that Light under His Gaze, as awliyaullah say for 70,000 years. Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, said when Allah created the Light of Muhammad (s), from His Light, Qabatu qabdatan min nooree fa qulta lahu koonee Muhammad. “I took a Handful of My Noor and said to it, Be Muhammad!”

According to a long hadith related by Ibn `Asakir (r) which you can research, Allah (swt) put that Light in Bahr al-Qudrah, the Ocean of Power, before Creation was created, when that ocean was turning and turning, and the Light of Prophet (s) was turning under the Gaze of Allah (swt), then Creation was created. So Prophet’s adab was perfected under Allah’s (swt) supervision in a way only Prophet (s) knows.

Adab il-Baatina: The Hidden Discipline of Inner States

Prophet (s) revealed the meaning of Adab il-Baatina, the Hidden Discipline of the Internal, and how must clean ourselves with them, as in the hadith:

أوصى النبي صلى اللّه عليه وسلم أبا هريرة بوصية عظيمة فقال: { يا أبا هريرة! عليك بحسن الخلق }. قال أبو هريرة رضي اللّه عنه: وما حسن الخلق يا رسول اللّه؟قال: { تصل مَنْ قطعك، وتعفو عمن ظلمك، وتُعطي من حرمك}

The Prophet (s) advised Abu Hurayrah (r), “O Abaa Hurayrah! You must have good manners.” Abu Hurayrah asked, “What is good manners, O Rasoolullah (s)?” He (s) said, “Connect with the one who cut you off; forgive the one who oppressed you and give to the one who prevented you from reaching your desires.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

“You have to acquire the good character,” which is discipline. Abu Hurayrah (r) asked, wa ma huwa husnu’l-khulq, “How can I acquire it?” and the Prophet (s) said, “The highest level, an tassil man qata`,” which here has two meanings:

1. To connect to the one who disconnected you for some reason, who doesn’t like you.

2. Also when you are falling into the trap of Shaytan and sin, and (in general) behaving like an unbeliever, Allah will hate that and His anger comes on them, He disconnects from them. When someone retruns from unbelief to belief, Allah (swt) will like him and dress him. So here, an tassil man qata`k means to connect through istighfaar, then you will be accepted by Allah (swt) and your sins will be forgiven. So then, as Allah (swt) said:

فَفِرُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ . وَلَا تَجْعَلُوا مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ إِنِّي لَكُم مِّنْهُ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ

Flee to Allah (from all that is false and evil)! I am from Him a Warner to you, clear and open!

(Surat adh-Dhariyat, 51:50)

The First Discipline of Tasawwuf is to Surrender to Allah

“Run to Allah! I am warning you, there is no other way to find safety!” Safety is when Allah is happy with his servant. How is He happy? When you surrender. We are not surrendering. We are like fish out of the ocean, how they are struggling, resisting, we Muslims are struggling, we don't surrender. So the first discipline of Tasawwuf is to surrender to Allah (swt) by surrendering to the Prophet’s (s) orders and to the authority to the Warith al-Muhammadi when you find him.

Ibn Taymiyya’s Position on the Station of Annihilation

Then he will show you how to submit completely to Allah (swt), which is Maqam al-Fanaa`, the Station of Annihilation, which is not outside of Islam. No, no, no! Study the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya about the Station of Annihilation in his book on Tasawwuf. Although Ahl as-Sunnah wa 'l-Jama'ah does not accept his explanation of `Aqeedah, Allah (swt) might save him because he expressed his love to many awliya, and it is said that he took baya` through six generations of shaykhs to Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) and accepted Yazid al-Bastami (q), Sulayman ad-Daraani (q), Al-Junayd (q), Sirr as-Saqati (q), Rabi`a al-`Adawiyya (q), and many others. So if he accepted them, why is it wrong for us to accept? The master of those who object accepted awliyaullah and wrote two books on `Ilm as-Sulook and `Ilm at-Tasawwuf, each volume 800 pages, in which he explained Tasawwuf in detail, including the Station of Annihilation, Maqaam al-Fanaa`!

Submission is to annihilate yourself in the will of your shaykh; you eliminate your will in front of your shaykh, keeping it in the hands of your shaykh, because you find that he is the Warith al-Muhammadi, with all the qualities of the Inheritor of Prophet (s), able to take you to the presence of Prophet (s).

The Internal Levels of Love

The levels of love are:

1. Mahabbatullah, Love of Allah (swt)

2. Mahabbat al-Habeeb, Love of the Prophet (s)

3. Mahabbat al-Mashaykh, Love of One’s Shaykh

In Tasawwuf, the first thing for beginners is to love the shaykh. You are in love with your teacher and alert to his orders. When he sees you are submitting and knows that you can submit to Prophet (s), he takes you to the presence of Prophet (s):

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Leave what Prophet forbade and take what he ordered and fear Allah, for Allah is strict in Punishment.

(Surat al-Hashr, 59:7)

This is if you want the shaykh’s love. When you submit to the Prophet (s) through your love, the shaykh takes you to the Divine Presence. That is so easy to say, but it is very difficult on the heart to accept. When you achieve that level like when you love someone so much, you always think about them, is it not? When you love your shaykh, you think about him constantly!

The Internal Levels of Presence

So love takes you to the second state/level:

1. Hudoorullah: Allah’s Divine Presence.

2. Hudooru’ l-Habeeb: Presence of Prophet (s).

3. Hudooru ’l-Mashaykh: Presence of the Shaykh.

You feel the presence of the shaykh, which takes you to the presence of the Prophet (s), who takes you to the Divine Presence of Allah (swt). That state of Hudoor is not easy: it means you are always in His Presence. That is why the Prophet (s) said, “My best time is when I stand for prayer, as I am between Allah’s Hands.”

قرة عيني في الصلاة

Qurrati `aynee fi 's-salaat.

The coolness of my eyes is in the prayers. (Ahmad, Nasa’i)

The Internal Levels of Annihilation

Further, Prophet (s) said, “Then I am in that Presence.”

لي ساعة مع الرب وساعة مع الخلق

Lee sa`atun ma` al-khaaliq wa lee sa`atun ma` al-khalq.

I have one image, one side (or one hour) with my Lord and one side (or one hour] with the people.

“I have one face with people and one face with Allah.” To summarize, this is the level that will take you to complete submission, where you reach Maqaam al-Fanaa`. After achieving the Levels of Love and Levels of Presence, they put you in the Levels of Annihilation:

1. Fanaa`un fi ‘l-Llaah: Annihilation in Allah

2. Fanaa`un fi ‘l-Rasool: Annhilation in Prophet (s)

3. Fanaa`un fi ‘sh-Shaykh: Annihilation in the Shaykh

To annihilate means to submit, to be in total surrender. the state of “Islam” is to surrender. This is whyProphet (s) said, why he said, “The best time for me is in my prayers,” and that will take you to Maqaam al-Fanaa. Islam is not just tolerance, peace and harmony, Islam is submission: to the Warith Muhammadi, who is inheriting from Prophet (s)! Anyone who finds a shaykh whom he loves and feels his presence, then he can reach that level of submission. There are 124,000 awliyaullah ready to take you to reach that Presence! So when you annihilate, means you completely remove your ego and place your will in the Hand of Allah (swt): you accept what comes and goes with no objection. Today even between mureeds there is too much objection and they do not accept each other.

The First Principle of the Internal Disciplines is to Surrender

The first principle of the internal disciplines is to surrender to the shaykh and obey whatever he orders and advises, to say:

سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ

We hear and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all, so forgive us). (Surat al-Baqara, 2:285)

“Yaa Rabbee, we are listening and obeying!” We listen to our shaykh and obey. You gain the love of the shaykh when he sees you love him, then he loves you not like our love, but he protects you from many issues that we don't know. They are always looking after you and they are not ignorant of your situation.

Obey those in Authority

I will tell you a story. I was studying in the university and always we went to visit Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, and Mawlana Shaykh, may Allah bless his soul, who travelled, but Grandshaykh always stayed in Damascus. We used to go after midnight, reaching Damascus at Tahajjud time.

One day I had finals and, subhaanAllah, it came to my heart to visit Grandshaykh (q), although the next day was the final exam.

I prepared to go and my mother said, “Where are you going? No, you have a final tomorrow so you have to stay and study.”

We were young and I said, “No, I have to go! I am going to Grandshaykh (q).”

She said, “No, you cannot go, I will not let you! I will not be happy if you go!”

You go, don’t go, you go, don’t go...I took the car keys and went to Damascus, parked the car, climbed the stairs up the mountain to Grandhsyakh’s house on top of the hill, where you can see all Damascus below. He used to drink tea and make suhbah on top of the house, and we used to sit there with him and all Sham was under us, and he used to make his lecture, naseeha.

So I arrived during the day, like 4 o'clock and went up the stairs, then there is an alley and you make a right and his house is on the left. I came to knock the door, and he opened it immediately (which was unusual). I thought, “How he opened it when he has to come from his room down the stairs to answer the door. Although his wife was there, he didn’t let her open the door.

He looked and said, “Why are you coming here?”

I said, “To see you.”

He said, “To see me and making your mother angry, upset! You cannot come here until she is happy with you. Go back!” He turned me back. You cannot say no, and he slammed the door! I had to drive another four hours to reach home.

My mother said, “So quick! What happened?”

I said, “Mawlana did not allow me to come until you allow me.”

She said, “If you get a good grade on the final exam, then you go.”

So the next day I took the final and alhamdulillah did well. She said, “Now you go.”

When I knocked at the door, Shaykh `Abdus-Salaam opened it and I went up to Grandshaykh’s room.

Submit to Awliyaullah Because They are Taking You on the Best Path

Grandshaykh (q) told me, “O my son, we don't tell everyone, but I feel I must tell you as I am feeling mercy for you. We are ordered by the Prophet (s) to look at our mureeds three times in 24 hours, which is the lowest as we can see our mureed at any time if there is something important to work out with him. So I want to tell you that when we look at the mureed, we don't give you sweets, we give you sour, bitter fruit, we give you struggles, obstacles and problems at that moment for you to remember we are looking at you. That difficulty is coming from us to you, to bring you back on the track.”

When you submit to awliyaullah, they want to test you to be sure you pass all the obstacles on the road, to reach the Shore of Safety on the other side of the ocean. And they tell you, “Struggle with a boat that has a hole in it and go to the other side!” How to do that? If you push your hand to close the leak, water pushes your hand up! So you have to struggle to reach the other side, which means to prepare yourself for any difficulty. That is why you must obey your shaykh as he is an expert in the ways to attack Shaytan, to relieve you from Shaytan. He has wisdom and specializes in this kind of knowledge.

So first is to surrender to the shaykh. It is Islam, as the patient surrenders to the doctor to take medicine; when you surrender completely is when he says, “I examined you and you have to take this pill and this pill.” When the shaykh orders you, surrender to it and obey. An order from Allah (swt) to human beings is:

وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا

Leave what Prophet (s) forbade and take what he ordered. (Surat al-Hashr, 59:7)

The Prophet (s) is Tabeeb al-Ummah, doctor of the whole Ummah, ao what he says, he knows the tricks and difficulties of Shaytan. So Allah said in the Holy Qur’an, “Whatever Prophet (s) gives to you, take it, and whatever he forbids you leave it.” It is a balance. Also, “He inspired the self with its wrongdoing and taqwa.”

فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا

And (the self’s) enlightenment as to its wrong and its right. (Surat ash-Shams, 91:8)

The Second Principle of the Internal Disciplines: Do Not Object

In Tasawwuf, the second principle of Adabi ’l-Baatina, the internal disciplines, is not to object. In his Gnostic state, never a wali said, wa lima laa. No one can say to his shaykh, “Why, what for, how come?” Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (r) one of the big Sufi scholars in the seventh century, said on the meaning of don’t object to your shaykh:

Whoever opened the door of objection to his shaykh and looked into his personal affairs with his family (and the way he treats them differently than the mureeds), don't object to whatever the shaykh tells you. If you begin to do that your, faith in your shaykh will be less and less and less if you see something you don't like.

The shaykh lives a normal life with his family; from a dunya perspective he has to provide them while with mureeds he is living student-teacher life. How do you consider your mind is better than one who has been on this road, the way of sainthood all his life? Your immature mind tells you, “Object!” but your mind compared to his mind is nothing. When your teacher says something, if you are his student, his family, his lover or you respect him, then you listen to what he ordered you and do it! Don’t do the opposite or things go out of your hand and you will be blamed for it all your life, and all your life you regret, “Why did I not follow his order?”

If you begin to lose faith and trust in your shaykh, he will veil from you all the goodness you might acquire and achieve, and he will disconnect your heart from his heart, and he will pull out that light from your baya`, that `ahad, that promise you took from his hand, and that noor that runs from his heart will stop.Who opened the door of objection to his shaykh and began to look at his mistakes according to their mind, it is the sign of his disconnection, hurmaanihi from them and will lead to a bad ending.

Because you gave your hand and the shaykh took responsibility for you, so you cannot stab him in the back. Whatever your mind is saying against the shaykh, don’t accept it, say to yourself, “My shaykh is correct,” because he is not going to put you in problems. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (r) continues:

And the one who says to his shaykh limaa, “what for”, will never succeed, he is lost. Shaytan will try his best to bring gossips in the heart of the mureed and show him something that is not wise in Shari`ah, ashkaalan fi ‘sh-shari`ah, according to his opinion but which is not accepted in Shari`ah from the behavior of his shaykh that does not suit that mureed and he thinks bad of it. That will be the sign and the allowance for that shaykh to disconnect that mureed and throw him out! The only thing a mureed must think about his shaykh is good thoughts and if he saw something against Shari`ah he must accept it and make an excuse for his shaykh, saying to himself, “My shaykh will never break Shari`ah; this is simply something I do not understand (my knowledge is limited).”

Blame your ego, blame your mind, blame your desire, blame yourself and you will win. It might be a test for you to show how you act when you see something that doesn’t suit you. If you were not able to find an excuse for your shaykh and Shaytan is still playing with you, the best way to save yourself is to go to the shaykh, which is the lower level, and ask him with discipline and respect, “My shaykh, I saw this and it is bothering me,” although it is not nice to say it to the shaykh, but at least you will clarify your doubt it in order that Shaytan will not play with you. And anyone who finds excuses for his shaykh, Allah will be happy with him and Prophet (s) will be happy with him.

We will stop here and continue tomorrow.

Wa min Allah at-tawfeeq bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.


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