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The Believer is a Mirror to His Brother

Ramadan Series 2011, Volume 16

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

15 August 2011 London, UK

After Fajr at CSCA, Feltham

Allahuma salli `ala Sayyidina Muhammad (s). New day, new page; new day, new faces, mashaa-Allah. We didn't see them yesterday, every day new faces.

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.

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)

Like all these decorations on the wall here, also ad-deenu naseeha. As the Prophet (s) said, “Religion is advice.” Without advice, you cannot decorate your heart. Advice from those to whom Allah (swt) gave authority over us is like these nice frames on the walls. In order to make your masjid nice you put up Asmaullah al-Husna or you put up Asma an-Nabi (s) or you write verses of the Holy Qur'an. That is for a masjid, where you cannot do anything except `ibaadah, worship. You cannot sit in a masjid and plan tactics or find work or plan for dunya. No, in a masjid there is nothing but `ibadah.

The heart of the believer is the same. As the Prophet (s) said, "The heart of a believer is the House of Allah.” So look how they decorated Ka`batullah from the outside. From the outside it doesn't need decoration as it is already decorated with Asmaa’ullah al-Husna. With the light of the Beautiful Names and Attributes Allah (swt) is sending to it, it is already decorated! So our job is to decorate our hearts with Allah's Light. If we don't decorate our hearts then darkness will veil us with a veil, then another and another until you cannot see any more. You realize that whatever you do is going to go astray and it is so dark.

Between us and Sayyidina Muhammad (s) there are 70,000 veils! People recite, “Naray takbeer, naray Risalah.” When you say, “Naray takbeer,” you have to see that light within your heart, and when you say, “Naray Risalah” you have to see the Prophet (s) in your heart. If you are not seeing it, then your recitations of “Naray takbeer, naray Risalah” are only artificial. Our duty is to implement our knowledge of Allah (swt), ma`arifatullah, to take us to the light of the heart. Throw these veils out and the light of the heart will appear! If you close the curtains in this room and turn on the light, someone outside will still see darkness when looking at this room. Similarly, there are veils on the heart that block its’ light so you cannot see the light within your or other people's hearts, so you must eliminate those veils.

In the Naqshbandi Order there are 70,000 veils. Look at this turban; there are veils one over the other, one, two, three, four, up to 70,000. If I cover my eyes, can I see like that? But if I keep taking them away until the last one remains and then look, I can see. Before, I was not able to see with all these veils and now I see everything; it becomes lighter and I can see more and more.

Our problem is that we have very thick veils and the thickest veil for everyone is “Maqaam al-`Awwaam.” The first veil is thick, making it impossible to see. If that veil is taken away you see everything. This is the way of Naqshbandi Tariqah, and especially in the Daghestani branch that comes from the Prophet (s) to Sayyidina abu Bakr (q), to Sayyidina Ja`far as-Sadiq (q), merging from Sayyidina `Ali (q) and Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r), then going all the way to Daghestan and Khas Muhammad (q), to Sayyid Jamaluddin (q), then to Grandshaykh `AbdAllah al-Fa'iz ad-Daghestani (q) and to Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani (q). They don't remove the thick veil. For example, this (first bead of the tasbeeh) is the beginning of the thick veil and it goes all the way to the presence of the Prophet (s).

In other tariqahs they take the first veil away, then the second, then the third, the fourth, and you begin to see. As the veils are less thick, it becomes lighter and lighter so you are able to see and you are happy, saying, “Allahu akbar! This is the best tariqah. I am progressing!” The veils are taken away, one by one, one by one, and then you come to a state in which you are so happy and thrilled and you are not able to progress any further because you find happiness in your desires on that level.

In Naqshbandi Tariqah they don't do that; they begin from the back. They take away the lightest, the next lightest, then the next lightest, and so on. But the thick veil is still there so you cannot see you are improving. In reality, you are improving but they don't want you to be busy on this level, showing miracles and saying, “I know the future,” and so on. In the Naqshbandi Order they don't show karamaat. In the Golden Chain they say, “Divorce miracles,” not three times, but six times! And they say, “If it comes to you, leave it.” That is why they don’t perform miracles in a direct way, only in an indirect way.

In other tariqahs, because the thick veil is taken away first, they begin to see something and they reveal that. In the Naqshbandi Order, awliyaullah keep the thick veil intact until they are very sure you are ready. When the Prophet (s) gives permission, they take the final veil and you find yourself in the presence of the Prophet (s)! That is the specialty of the Naqshbandi Order; as much as you polish your heart, you are able to see more and more in the presence of the Prophet (s) and knowledge comes to you.

That is why the Prophet (s) said in a hadith:

المؤمن مرآة أخيه

al-mu’min mi'rraat akheehi.

The believer is the mirror of his brother (or sister).

The heart becomes a mirror in which your brother can see himself. As you became a mirror, good characteristics in your heart will reflect onto him when he looks in that mirror. That is why in the time of Imam al-Mahdi (a) you will not read books; all the books are going to be burned until nothing is left. The Holy Qur'an will be the only book left and all others will be burned. Any Qur’an that is not written with zafaran (saffron) will be burned, also. This is because today when they print books they use ink, and what is in ink? Urea. What is that? It is from urine. They use the chemicals of urine so the printing will be strong and the ink will stay.

That will not be allowed in the time of al-Mahdi (s). Only pure ones will be allowed and only pure manuscripts will remain. In the time of Imam al-Mahdi you won't need to read a book and go through that headache of studying, as knowledge will be given through the reflection of eyes from one to another. It will go from the one who received the knowledge to your eyes and to your heart. Then you will reflect to another, he to another, and so on. So, the mu’min is a mirror to his brother. They never knew that the meaning applies to al-Mahdi's time.

In a previous time there was a king who wanted to make a painting competition between the best artists. They eliminated competitors one after another until the two best remained and they took them to a place where they could paint a mural. They put each artist on opposite sides of a huge wall and each mural was covered by a curtain, so the artists could not influence one another and their paintings remained secret. One began to paint very nicely and the other began to polish the wall, cleaning it. Before the judging, the king wanted to see what they had done, so they opened the curtains to see both paintings. On one he saw very exquisite calligraphy. On the other there was nothing.

He asked the second artist, "What are you doing?"

He said, "I am polishing the wall. Please don't ask me."

So the day came and they went to see who had won. They opened the curtain, and for the first artist the painting was nice and the king was very happy. Then they looked at the second one and the painting was so nice. Why? Because his wall had become a high quality mirror; you could not know which mural was the original. “The mu’min is the mirror of his brother.”

Once Sayyida `Ayesha, may Allah (swt) reward her, was not happy about the Prophet (s) going to a masjid in his best appearance, grooming his beard and wearing nice clothes. She said, "Yaa Rasoolullah! Where are you going?” He (s) replied, “Umm al-Mu’mineen! I am going to the masjid.”

لي وجه مع الخالق و وجه مع الخلق

lee wajhun ma` al-khaaliq wa wajhun ma` al-khalq.

I have one face with people and one with the Creator.

Sayyida `Ayesha said, "No, you are going somewhere else," and that made the Prophet (s) unhappy. Then her father, Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r) came and slapped her face. That made the Prophet (s) unhappy and he said, "Yaa Abu Bakr, don't do that anymore. I am a mirror; you looked at me and saw your own bad character, astaghfirullah." It means, “Fix yourself.” Then that hadith came, “The mu’min is the mirror of his brother.” When you look at someone pious, your bad characteristics will appear. That is why when many people go to see Mawlana Shaykh Nazim they become frightened, because their memory is refreshed. How are you going to hide the bad things you have done in front of Mawlana Shaykh?

Awliyaullah take from that hadith to polish the hearts of their mureeds. They become a role model, a mirror reflecting the light of the one looking in it, and at the same time showing the one looking into this mirror their bad characteristics. That is why sitting with a guide shows you how many bad things you are doing, and you immediately begin to repent. When they look at you, you feel their presence and begin to remember all you did in the past and you begin to ask for forgiveness. Al-mu’min mirraata akhihi.

Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q) said,"What is this craziness, you say you don’t need anyone to teach you." That is what they say today, “Don’t take a guide.” Why not take a guide? The Prophet (s) took a guide when moving from Mecca to Medina, to teach us discipline. “I took a guide to Madina, I took a guide to qaaba qawsayn, I took Jibril (a).” Couldn’t Allah (swt) call the Prophet (s) without sending Jibril (a)? But He put Jibril (a) there in order for us to learn that we need a guide!

After reaching the seven heavens, Jibril (a) stopped and said, "I am not going any further." That meant, “There is no need for me anymore. You showed complete humbleness. I cannot go further because I will be burned.” That is what we know, but in reality it means, “You don't need me anymore. You needed me so you could show your humbleness but you achieved that and now you don't need anyone; go wherever you like.”

You say you don't need anyone to teach you, but the Prophet (s) said, “The mu’min is a mirror to his brother,” which means you need that mirror to see where you are going. It is sunnah to look in the mirror; the Prophet (s) used to look in the mirror. You look in the mirror to see your appearance and to thank Allah (swt) that he gave you a very beautiful appearance. Allah (swt) gave everyone a very beautiful appearance, since no one can find a better one to suit himself or herself. Your appearance doesn't suit him, and his appearance doesn't suit another. Everyone has an appearance special to himself, and when that secret is opened that person becomes a spotlight. When that is opened you can pull people to Islam, to ma`arifat, to light from darkness. So you need each other.

How do you become a mirror? Idha sahha al-mu’mineen saar mi’rraat kulluhum, “When your faith reaches its peak with no doubts.” All of us have doubts about many things, but the highest level of imaan is to have no doubt in your heart!

Sayyidina Imam al-Ghazali’s books are everywhere, even in areas where they don’t accept tasawwuf. In the beginning of his life he was always doubtful about everything: religion, Allah's existence, even the Prophet (s). Then he took a guide, Shaykh Yusuf al-Nassaj, his first teacher, who taught him itruk ad-dunya bi iraadatuk qabl an tatruk-ha..., “Leave the dunya by your will before it leaves you by force (upon your death). Leave it and come to Sayyidina Muhammad (s).”

Once at Ishraaq time when the sun had risen, Prophet (s) took the Sahaabah (r) to Mt. Uhud and he stood in one spot and their shadows were in front of them. Everyone had a shadow except the Prophet (s). (When the holy hair of the Prophet (s) was brought out here, a flashlight was put on it and the hair had no shadow, but the stone next to it had a shadow.) Then he told the Companions to face their shadows in the direction of Mt. Uhud with their shadows in front of them. He said, “If anyone can catch his shadow, I will give him a reward. Run!” If someone asked you this you would say, “How can you catch your shadow? That is not possible.” They didn't ask, “Yaa Rasoolullah, how can we catch our shadow?” Instead they said, sami`na wa ata`na, “We hear and we obey.” They didn't ask questions.

As they ran, they weren’t able to catch their shadows until they reached the mountain, because the mountain was an obstacle and they saw their shadows there and caught them. Then the Prophet (s) said, “Turn to me and run towards me.” They ran toward the Prophet (s) and their shadows were running after them. He said, “When you run after dunya, you never can catch your shadow as it runs from you, but when you run towards me your shadow, dunya, will run after you.”

So we have to make sure we are not running after dunya, we must run towards the Prophet (s). Then your heart will have the highest level of imaan and at that time you will reflect whatever is in it and outside it for people to look at. You become a mirror for khalaa’iq people, and at the same time a mirror for yourself. That is a state of sainthood, but you have to struggle for it.

Imam Ghazali (r) took the hand of his teacher, who said to him, “Leave dunya by your own choice, or else you will leave later by force.” Imam Ghazali returned home after `Isha and slept. He saw Allah (swt) in a dream, saying, “Yaa Abu Hamid! Leave dunya and come to Me.” It was a long dream but this is the summary. He woke up very happy and he went to his shaykh to relate the dream to him. His shaykh said, “Yaa Abu Hamid, hadhihi alwaahuna, these are the Preserved Tablets which we observed and told you about. Because you were truthful in wanting to emerge from the state of doubtfulness, Allah (swt) sent you that dream. Before He sent you anything, this is what we were telling you about, ‘Leave dunya before dunya leaves you by force.’”

From that moment all doubts dropped from his heart and he became one of the biggest `alims and one of the the biggest Sufis. May Allah (swt) bless us to be always under their ma`arifat.

Bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.