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A`udhu billahi min ash-Shaytaan ir-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 al-`adheem


Whatever we say or whatever we do, it is still less than the movement of an ant, because we are weak servants and Allah created us and wants us to know not to be arrogant or proud of ourselves.  That is why we have to know that we cannot be proud or arrogant; if your movement is less than an ant’s.  We were explaining the different levels and stations in the way of the Gnostics in seeking the journey to the divine presence and we come to the third station after the station of repentance and asking Allah's forgiveness, at-tawba.  The second station is wara: God-wariness.  The third one is az-zuhd, which, in the traditional literal meaning, means that if someone is an ascetic, zaahid, then he owns something and he left it for Allah’s sake.  It means he is not looking for anything that might be an obstacle in his way to the divine presence.

Sometimes in the literal meaning, it means someone who is an ascetic is not jealous of what people have, or if he had something and he lost it he doesn’t get upset and he doesn’t get angry.

So zuhd in general is a very high level of purification and cleanliness of the self, because the self, the bad ego, always likes to possess everything and especially the husband wants to possess the wife and the wife wants to possess the husband.  The child wants to possess the mother or father, the leader wants to possess the community or the citizens, and everyone is trying to show how much he wants to possess.

When you leave that, it is zuhd.  It is not just in the way of Allah , to be ascetic, it might be even someone who does not believe as you believe, but they are ascetic in their own way of life.  It might be they don’t possess anything for themselves and they want to live a natural life.  You see these people go to natural areas - rural areas - and live in the forest or jungle.  What do you call them, naturalists?  People are not interested in the fantasy of this life.  God gave them enough to eat and drink, and they are satisfied.  They live in the jungle and they have nice homes in the trees.  Go to Africa and you will see people eating and drinking what they possess of crops and they are happy with their life.

Zuhd is to be content with what Allah gave you; not more than that.  When we begin to follow that way many doors will be opened to us.

The highest level of ascetics, those who are on the highest level, are those who are able to have a lot of wealth, a lot of favors, a lot of power and they drop it from their eyes.  They might even give it to others.

What is in their pockets, they consider it is not for them but they are only a vehicle to give it to someone else.  That is why you travel and look at those friends of Allah , those saints, ‘awliyaullah’, we say in Arabic, kasaab wahaab, they receive and they give.  They get from any legal way and then they give and you find in the evening they don’t have anything in their pockets.  We know that reality by our Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani.  Whatever people bring to him is gone by evening.  By evening he gives.

One time last year I was sitting in his presence and as I was looking, someone who is from the same country, from Turkey to Cyprus, gave Mawlana Shaykh an envelope, like that thick [one inch shows by fingers].  It was an envelope full of money, for sure.  He put it in his pocket.  Not even five minutes after that person left, one person came and was telling him about how they are in need in Bosnia; that they are in need of help and there are many poor people there and as he was explaining to him he immediately took the envelope, not even counting what was inside, and gave to the person.  He didn’t count it.  [Laughs] I said to Mawlana, “This is a big envelope; it is thick.”  He said, "Yes it is in the way of Allah …I don’t need to count it.”

Later I asked the man how much was in the envelope.  You won’t believe it.  It was equivalent to 20,000 dollars.  That person gave it to Mawlana and he put it in his pocket and didn’t even count it.

I was surprised that in one second, one gives and in the other second another comes and takes.  That is what is called zuhd.  For him dunya is not in his heart anymore.  Dunya is lost; it is dropped from the heart.  He takes, yeah, Allah sends people to give to him, as he has become a vehicle to help people.

I learned later that this person took the money and released ten masaajid that were being held by the Bosnian government, since you know, the communist times.  He released them by giving that money to them and now they are free mosques.  Before they were being used as centers where people drink or as bars.

This is a way that awliyaullah can know what is good and what is bad.  They know when to help and when not to help.

Some people come and ask and he gives and others they ask and he doesn’t give.  Some he gives without courting.  They see where to give as where it is best used.

That is an example that there are people who get everything and if they would keep it they become so rich but because they are ascetics they give and they live a very natural primitive life; not a fancy life - a very primitive life.

That is one meaning and the literal meaning.

The spiritual meaning which is the most important meaning is an takoonu zaahidun min al-haraam.

To be ... when you are facing some sin, something that is forbidden and Allah said not to do that and you drop it because you don’t want to do anything forbidden, that is zuhd.

Halaal has been granted.  Allah said, for halaal you can have any kind of halaal.  There is no problem.  Anything halaal you can own it.  It means anything that comes to you in a halaal way is acceptable but anything that is haraam you have to leave it and drop it from your life.  The example of an ascetic is that he prevented himself from falling into the trap of shaytan.

That is the first level from spiritual meaning.  The second level from spiritual meaning is that although he gave you all that is halaal you take only what is necessary from it.  What do they do?  They give in the way of Allah and the rest they distribute in the way of Allah .

It is related in hadith of Ayesha that one day, (we mentioned before that in the house of the Prophet (saws), they are all ascetics.)  One day she was in her house and a lady came.  She opened the door and found the lady carrying two daughters.  She asked for something; a sadaqa, charity.

That is zuhd.  She doesn’t have anything.  She came to house of the Prophet (saws) and asked for something.  Sayyida Ayesha answered but she didn’t have anything.  Now in our homes what do we have?  Turkey.  Not one turkey.  Look they say today is Thanksgiving.  It means thanking Allah for his favors.  We have to thank Allah always for his favors.  Sayyida Ayesha had nothing in her house except three dates.  She gave all of them to the lady.  What is that?  - Zuhd.  She became ascetic on her own self; although she might be hungry and the Prophet (saws) may be coming any moment and he is hungry.  She gave the three dates to the lady.

The lady gave one date to one daughter and one to the other.  She wanted to put the third in her mouth but the two daughters quickly ate the dates.  They two were looking at the date in her hand wanted to eat it.  She gave one half of the date to each of the daughters.

The Prophet (saws) explained later that she deserved Paradise for that gesture.

So you don’t know that you might give something to your child and Allah gives you paradise.  To those gnostics al-zuhd min al-haraam is waajib.  To be ascetic in not doing something wrong is an obligation and in the halaal it is a fadilah, it is rewardable.

To only love Allah will be three.  A simple example is how much you love your children; how much you defend them when they do something - remember at least to have such love for Allah .

I believe that if anyone checks himself or herself…if she or he checks how much love we have for Allah we will find we don’t have real love for Allah and we do have real love for our children.

How much do we love them when they are hurt or sick and then you feel so much for them whether they are ok or not.  First there is repentance, then god-wariness, then asceticism; or leaving the forbidden completely.  As much as you leave the forbidden, that much you are considered ascetic.  That is common asceticism.

Alladheena yatafakaroona fee khalq as-samawaati wal ard...

That is why they said az-zuhd is three different kinds and “tark al-haraam zuhd al awwaam   leaving the forbiddens is the ascetiscm of the common people.” That is the asceticism of common people.  So you attain the level of ascetic if you drop sins from your life and only the love for Allah will be there.  

Then the second level is “tarku al-fudool min al-halaal: to leave the extra from halaal.”  You have lots of halaal and you leave what is extra and give in the way of Allah.  That is zuhd al-khawwaas.

And the third is zuhd al-`arifeen; the zuhd of Gnostics.  Then you leave everything and keep only Allah’s remembrance in your heart.  May Allah guide us to that station and give us to know how we are going to find our way without facing obstacles and reaching the highest level of spirituality in the way of Allah and the love of Allah and the love of the Prophet (saws).

 May Allah forgive us, bi hurmatil ’l-Fatiha.