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Hierarchy of Saints Series, Vol 12

The Status Given to Dhikrullah in Holy Qur'an and Tariqah

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

25 August 2010 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Fajr Ramadan Series 2010

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.

Nawayna as-siyam fardan `alayna wa inshaAllah nakoona min as saaimeen.

As we said before, we have to ask support from awiyaullah, who in turn ask support from Prophet (s). And we say:

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)

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. We consider that to recite, a`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem is dhikrullah. When we say that, Shaytan will be chained and stopped. And then we say Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. By reciting this, you enter that garden of Allah, Who created everything and made it appear by Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. As He said, in the verse to Prophet (s):

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Iqra bismi rabbik alladhee khalaq.

Read in the Name of your Lord, Who created. (Surat al-Alaq, 96:1)

So, Creation has been given to Prophet (s) and that is in the first revelation, "Read!" Prophet (s) said, "What am I going to read?" "Read in the name of Your Lord." Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem is the key to Paradise and the key to everything. Any `amal that doesn't begin with bismillah is cut, maqtu`a; it has leaks in its pipe and no water will come to its end. Therefore, when we dress we say bismillah, when we eat we say bismillah, when we drink, when we go out, when we do any work, we say bismillah. That is the key to success. Awliyaullah know that Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem is dhikrullah, so they keep in their hearts remembrance of their Lord and are always doing dhikrullah in their hearts.

Prophet (s) said:

ذكر الأنبياء من العبادة ، و ذكر الصالحين كفا،رة الذنوب

Dhikrul-anbiya min al `ibadah, wa dhikr as-saaliheen kaffaarah.

The remembrance of the prophets is considered worship, while the remembrance of the pious is expiation and the remembrance of death is charity.

And the remembrance of pious people--for example, you or anyone who remembers Allah is considered pious--is kafaaratun, takes away sins. Prophets have no sins to take away, so dhikr for them is worship, and for pious ones it is a cleansing or waiving of sins.

The Prophet (s) said (continuing the hadith):

و ذكر الموت صدقة

wa dhikr al-mawtu sadaqatun.

To remember death is charity.

When you make dhikr with the intention of remembering your death, it will be considered sadaqah, like when you give a donation in the Way of Allah. It will be written for you from beginning to end as if you are giving sadaqah, that you paid the zakaat of your entire life! That remembrance of death will protect you on the Day of Resurrection.

وذكر القبر يقربكم من الجنة

Wa dhikru 'l-qabr yuqarribukum mina 'l-jannah.

And when you remember the grave, that will take you nearer to Paradise.

What is after the grave? It is either Paradise or punishment. So if you remember you are leaving dunya, you are giving sadaqah and to remember your grave makes you near Paradise. As Prophet (s) said:

Those who are pious, Allah will free their souls and turn their graves into a piece of Paradise. (Ad-Daylami in Musnad al-Firdaws)

Dhikr is better than sadaqah. (Abu Shu`ayb in Musnad al-Thawab)

In Ramadan, people run to give sadaqah, but after Ramadan they stop, as if there is nothing left, all engines are down. Your donation is limited, or you do it only one time. That is why awliya say put a box in your house and when you go in or out always put sadaqah, to keep it running. The same is with your dhikr, keep it running; then it is considered sadaqah, whether you are walking, standing, or moving. In every moment, you are doing dhikrullah. There are many ahadeeth and verses of Holy Qur'an mentioning dhikrullah.

adh-dhikr al-ladhee la yasma`u al-hafazha khayrun min dhikr al-ladhee yasma` al-hafazha bi saba`een da`f.

The (silent) dhikr the angels do not hear is better than the (loud) dhikr heard by angels by 70 times.

So dhikr khafee, (silent dhikr) by the heart, is better than the loud dhikr by 70 times. Allah (swt) said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا

Yaa ayyuhalladheen aamanoo 'dhkurallaah dhikrun katheera.

O you who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often. (Surat al-`Ahzab, 33:41)

اذْكُرُواْ اللّهَ عِندَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ

Fadhkurullaaha `inda 'l-mash`ari 'l-haraam

Celebrate the praises of Allah at the sacred monument. (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:198)

وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ

Wadhkuroohu kamaa hadaakum.

And celebrate His praises as He has directed you. (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:198)

الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ

Al-ladheena yadhkuroona Allah qiyaaman wa qu`oodan wa `ala junoobeehim.

Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides. (Surat Aali-`Imran, 3:191)

فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُم مَّنَاسِكَكُمْ فَاذْكُرُواْ اللّهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ آبَاءكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًا

Fa idh`a qadaytum manasikakum fadhkurullah ka-dhikrikum aabaookum aw ashada dhikra.

So when ye have accomplished your holy rites, celebrate the praises of Allah. (Surat al-Baqarah, 2:200)

وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ فِي نَفْسِكَ تَضَرُّعاً وَخِيفَةً وَدُونَ الْجَهْرِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالآصَالِ وَلاَ تَكُن مِّنَ الْغَافِلِينَ

W 'adhkur rabbaka fee nafsika tadarru`an wa kheefatan wa doona 'l-jahree mina 'l-qawli bi 'l-ghadoowee wa 'l-asaal, wa laa takun mina 'l-ghaafileen.

And do thou bring thy Lord to remembrance in thy soul, with humility and reverence, without loudness in words, in the mornings and evenings; and be not among those who are unheedful. (Surat al-`Araf, 7:205)

وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ

Wa la-dhikrullaahi akbar.

And remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life). (Surat al-`Ankaboot, 29:45)

There are many verses in the Holy Qur'an about dhikrullah that show us its the importance. Just as the heart is mentioned around 100 times by name in Holy Qur'an, dhikrullah is mentioned many places as it is the work of the heart. So keep dhikrullah on your tongue and you will be safe in this life and the Next Life. Al-Fudayl (q) said, "It has reached us that Allah says, 'O My servant, remember Me one hour after Fajr.'" This is the saying of awliya and is why they keep dhikrullah for one hour after Fajr, as mentioned by Fudayl (q), who also said, "And after `Asr prayer, remember Allah for one hour." That is why if you want to follow this path, they will tell you, "Be sure to keep one hour after Fajr and one hour after `Asr. Then that is enough for you to guarantee what is between them, that you will be safe." Those who cannot do that, as time now is changing, awliyaullah might reduce that to five minutes. So don't run away, sit and do five minutes after `Asr time and five minutes after Fajr. Don't be lazy like us, and he is always sitting and doing dhikrullah.

غنيمة مجالس الذكر الجنة

Wa qaala ghaneematuh majaalis adh-dhikru al-jannah.

And he said, "What you gain from associations of dhikrullah by yourself or with people is Paradise for sure." (Ahmad and at-Tabaraani)

If you want Paradise in dunya and akhirah, make dhikrullah. All of tasawwuf is not only moral excellence, which doesn't come free; it works after your heart is pumping with dhikrullah. So what makes your heart in the Divine Presence will make you yartaah fil al-jinaan, grazing and roaming in Paradise. In dunya, you will always be in that tajalli of Paradise when you remember Allah (swt).

The Prophet (s) said:

عن أبي برزة قال : لو أن رجلين أقبل أحدهما من السوق في حجره دنانير يعطيها ، والآخر يذكر الله ، كان ذاكر الله أفضل

Law anna rajulayn aqbala aahadahuma min as-sooq fee hijrihi danaaneer yu`teehaa, wa'l-aakhir yadhkurallah kaana dhaakirullahi afdal.

If there were two men, one a man with money in his lap and he is passing it to people, and there was one who is sitting remembering Allah, that one who is remembering Allah is better than the one distributing money.

This is to encourage remembrance. Tasawwuf is based on dhikrullah. If there is no dhikr, there is no tasawwuf. Moral excellence comes with good behavior by remembering Allah in different ways through his Beautiful Names and Attributes. When you remember Allah by His 99 Names, the tajalli of these Beautiful Names takes you over. The tajalli will make you feel goosebumps from the presence of angels that bring those Beautiful Names to dress you. That is what takes you from bad manners to good manners; without you trying to avoid the bad manners, it will carry and throw you to the good side!

This just came to me now, so I will share it. When I was young, I was ordered by Grandshaykh (q) to put a cover when doing dhikr. He ordered me not to be open as we are here. It means to tighten your space or don't have huge space. Similarly, when doing seclusion, we do it in closed small spaces. In 1997, I was asked by Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) to do seclusion in Istanbul. I went to that masjid and on the roof they had built a grave the size of this minbar, perhaps six feet long by four feet wide. When you sit in that, you have to bend down.

When I called Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) on the phone, he said, "Where did they tell you to stay?"

I said, "They put me in a grave they built on the roof."

He said, "What will you do?"

I said, "I am going to enter it."

He was checking me. And that grave was scary; they close it when you go in and only let you out to do wudu. Then with Mawlana's mercy, he said, "You passed the test. Go and take a room." But in reality, years before, seclusion used to be done in a cemetery. You would sit in a closed grave between the deceased and listen to what goes on at night from different graves! It was not so easy. That is why you have to cover yourself. If you cover yourself you will know what we mean. If you want real ba`yah, cover yourself, then you will be visualizing or seeing what cannot be seen at that moment.

So I was 20 or 22 years of age then, covering myself during dhikr and reciting, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, laa ilaaha illa-Llah. Naqshbandis recite Allah, Allah, but the adab is to recite, laa ilaaha illa-Llah and then go to ism adh-Dhaat (Name of the Holy Essence), which is Allah, Allah. I was reciting loudly, in a melodious voice. At that moment I began to feel something unusual, and I was afraid. I was shaking and wanted to take the cover off, because it become heavy and difficult. As what happened today in Fajr, the first raka`at was silent. They didn't let me to say it out loud; it was not coming. But I was hearing Shaykh Sahib saying Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. And then the second raka`at was in a loud voice. That is why I made sajdat as-sahuw at the end. So, I felt like I could not take it anymore and at that moment, the presence of Prophet (s) came and entered from my head. As Prophet (s) was entering slowly, slowly, I was shaking, but felt the beauty of that presence, which took me over completely. Then at that moment, what happened, happened. This is what I wanted to say, that when you cover yourself and do dhikrullah, cutting yourself entirely from dunya, then awliyaullah and Prophet's (s) presence will reach you. That was Allah's, Prophet's (s), and our shaykh's favor, that Prophet (s) overtook my body completely and I was feeling myself enveloped in that beauty for many, many days after that.

Thus, if you disconnect yourself from dunya, you will be able to take away your bad characters. Every Beautiful Name has its taste and remedy to cure you of your bad behaviors and forbiddens. There are 800 forbiddens that awliya count and their only remedy is dhikrullah. That is why every Friday, Thursday, or Saturday, you do dhikr with different Beautfiul Names, because Ahlu ’l-Tariqah do that and we do like them. On top of that, the highest Name that is above all Beautiful Names and Attributes, ismullah al-jam`i lil-asma was-siffat, is "Allah," it encompasses all Names and Attributes. That is why on behalf of their followers, the shaykh of this taifa, group, assigns them an awraad of reciting Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, to clean them through their recitation of the Beautfiul Names and Attributes and send them to that ocean of the Name "Allah.". Some assign it for recitation 5,000 times a day and some 10,000 times. If you are a beginner in that Way, then it is 1,500 times a day. Allahuma salli `ala Sayyidina Muhammad (s).

إِلاَّ أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَى أَنْ يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأقْرَبَ مِنْ هَذَا رَشَدا

illa an yashaa Allahu wa 'dhkur rabbaka idhaa naseeta wa qul `asaa an yahdiyanee rabbee li aqraba min haadhaa rashada.

Except (with the saying), "If Allah wills!" And remember your Lord when you forget and say, "It may be that my Lord guides me to a nearer way of truth than this." (Al-Kahf, 18:24)

وأتبع الحسنة السيئة تمحها

Itba` assayiaat al-hasanah tamhooha.

Follow the bad deed with a good deed, as it erases it. (Tirmidhi)

When you commit a sin, immediately follow it with "astaghfirullah;" that will erase the sin. Don't say, "I have too many sins," no, don't complain or it will be as if you are contradicting the verse of Holy Qur'an:

وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ

Wadhkur rabbaka idhaa naseeta.

Remember Allah when you forget...(18:24)

When you commit a sin, follow it with goodness and that will erase it. We know when we do something wrong, then we say astaghfirullah; that will erase everything.

من أحب لقاء الله أحب الله لقاءه ومن كره لقاء الله كره الله لقاه , فقلت

Wa qaala man ahaba liqa-allah ahab allahu liqauh wa man kariha liaquh karihallahu liqauh.

Who likes to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him, and who hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him. (Muslim, Ahmad and Tirmidhi)

قال: رسول الله:، من أطاع الله فقد ذكر الله، و إن قلت صلاته و صيامه و تلاوته للقرآن، و من عصى الله فقد نسي الله، و إن كثرت صلاته و صيامه و تلاوته للقرآن.

man aat`a'Allah faqad dhakr-Allah wa in qallat salaatahu wa siyaamahu wa tilaawata 'l-qur'an. wa man `asa 'Llah faqad nasiy 'Llah wa in kathurat salaatuhu wa siyaamahu wa tilaawata 'l-quran.

Whoever obeys Allah remembers Allah, even if he doesn't do extra prayers and extra fasting, and doesn't read Qur'an (and whoever disobeys Allah has forgotten Allah, even if he does much prayer and fasting and reading of Qur'an). (Bayhaqi, ibn Mundhir, Sa`eed ibn Mansoor, Tabarani)

It means when you obey Allah, you remember Him, and when you remember Him, you obey Him.

لا يَقْعُدُ قَوْمٌ يَذْكُرُون اللّه تَعالى الا حَفَّتْهُمُ المَلائِكَةُ وَغَشِيَتهُمُ الرَّحْمَةُ وَنَزَلَتْ عَليهِمْ السَّكِينَةُ وَذَكَرََهُمُ اللَّهُ تَعالى فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ‏

laa yaqu`d qawmun yadhkuroon Allaha ta`ala illa hafathum al-malaa'ikata wa ghashiyahum ar-rahmata wa nazalat `alayhhim as-sakaeena wa dhakarahumullaha feeman `indah.

Never do a group of people sit in circles remembering Allah except that the angels will surround them and they will be covered with mercy and tranquility descends on them, and Allah remembers them to those in His Presence. (Muslim 0072)

When you go to a meeting with a king, you wear a nice dress with medallion from the king. Then the next day when you come to door, you are admitted immediately as you already have the medallion from the king. Likewise, can anyone stop you from entering Paradise when you come dressed with dhikrullah? Saying la ilaaha illa-Llah one time will dress you with that mercy and you will be admitted to Paradise! Take the army for example; they have on their uniforms rows of ribbons that distinguish what they achieve, so the military people know them. On the Day of Judgment the believers will come with all these ornaments and the doors of Paradise will open for them. Depending on what ornaments you have, different doors will be opened to you. May Allah give us high levels in Paradise! Don't follow those people whose hearts are heedless.

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا

Wasbir nafsak ma` alladheena yada`oona rabbahum bil-ghadaati wa'l-`ashiyya yureedoona wajhahu wa laa ta`du `aynayka `anhum tureedu zeenat al-hayaat ad-dunyaa wa laa tut`i man aghfalnaa qalbahu `an dhikrinaa wa'ttaba` hawaahu wa kaana amruhu furutaa.

And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; no obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:28)

Stay with those whose hearts are in remembrance day and night. Those who are doing dhikurllah are more important than anyone else. That is why you cannot leave weekly dhikrullah except for three circumstances: you are traveling, you have a guest, or you are sick. Don't leave it; you may even do it at home, with or without company. Dhikrullah is the most honored worship. It is the best, the greatest, and the most complete, perfect form of the aspect of purifying and cleaning the hearts. So if you want to purify the heart from the sickness of dunya, stay on dhikrullah. And it is not only to clean and purify the heart, but to sweeten it as well. It is as if you put sugar in tea, coffee, and juice. If you don't put sugar, it will not be sweet. It is said that if worshipers, `abideen, spend their day and night in all kinds of worship, rarely will they get a purified heart. That is why you see scholars are arrogant, because they feel that they are different, and higher than others. Awliyaullah say that even if they are worshipping day and night, qalama tahsala tasfiyya quloobihim, rarely will they achieve to sift something. "Sifting" hearts keeps the good in the heart and removes the bad.

And those who remember Allah (swt), when they finish their prayers and `ibadaat, they are busy with dhikrullah, and they don't say, "Pray your prayer and then wear your jeans and go to the mall," as today some famous imaams say. Also, fa amma adh-dhakiroon lamaa yashtaghil bi dhikrillah `ala ad-dawaam laa yashudhu minhum ahad illa hasal, "Those who remember Allah all the time, will be dressed with lots of secrets and the connection to Divine Presence," because dhikrullah is the only `amal the heart can do that contains all the different principles of remembering Allah. It will bring you nearer and nearer to Maqaam al-Yaqeen, "the Station of Certainty," which includes `Ilm al-Yaqeen, "Certainty of Knowledge," `Ayn al-Yaqeen, "Certainty of Vision," and Haqeeqat al-Yaqeen, "Certainty of Reality." You enter these three oceans by dhikrullah. Don't ask how; Allah will take you from blindness to vision, from deaf to hearing, from dumbness to speaking. When inayatullah, Allah's Care comes, even if you are at the bottom of the valley, Allah will take you to the top of the mountain; that is your recompense that can happen in a moment! It is not like going up a ladder step-by-step and that ladder is endless, so you will never reach; that happens in the blink of an eye!

Grandshaykh (q) said, "If you do dhikrullah in jama`ah or by yourself, you are dressed with one medallion and the next time, you are dressed with another medallion, regardless of what you have done." So when you do dhikrullah once a week, that cleans whatever you have done the previous week of and the second dhikr cleans you again for the next week. It is noor `ala noor, "light upon light."

Prophet (s) said:

لا إله إلا الله حصني فمن دخل حصني أمن من عذابي

La ilaaha illa-Llah husni wa man dakhala husni aaman min `adhaabee.

La ilaaha illa-Llah is My fortress; whoever enters it, is safe from My punishment. (Ibn Najjaar)

Let us say altogether (Mawlana stands), laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah! Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah! Laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah. We are sending that to our shaykhs to present to Prophet (s), and for Prophet (s) in his holy grave to present on our behalf on the Day of Judgment.

قُلِ اللّهُ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

Qul Allah thumma dharhum fee khawdihim yal`aboon.

Say, "Allah," then leave them to play in their vain discussions. (Surat al-Anaam, 6:91)

You can recite it (or pronounce it) as qul Allah, "say 'Allah'". How do they say there is no dhikr bi `ism adh-Dhaat? Wahabis say, "Don't do dhikr by Allah's Name." Allah is saying in Surat al-Anaam, verse 91, "Leave them playing with what they are doing. You say, 'Allah.'" We say "Allah" because we are following the way of our shuyookh and by the order of Allah in Holy Qur'an. (Mawlana stands) Say "Allah," as we are ordered! Maybe they are saying, "Shaytan, Shaytan" (as their dhikr)! And they don't use beads. Allah said in Holy Qur'an, "Say, 'Allah.'" Therefore we are saying "Allah," dhikr by ism adh-Dhaat. It is important in the Naqshbandi Way. May Allah (swt) forgive us.

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