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Think of Death at Least Four Times a Day

Grandshaykh `AbdAllah's Notebook Series, Part 12

Ramadan Series 2016, Vol 22

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

27 June 2016 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

Zhuhr Suhbah

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi ta`ala wa barakaatuh. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Alhamdulillah that you are all smiling, better than to be serious. A smile in the face of your brother is min al-imaan.

تَبَسُّمُكَ فِي وَجْهِ أَخِيكَ لَكَ صَدَقَةٌ

To smile in the face of your brother is charity. (Tirmidhi)

Always be a smiling person, it is better than being a very frowning person. We don't like frowning people; I am frowning, but you must be smiling. [Laughter]

Awliyaullah advise their followers to remember death four times a day to fix their way of life differently. When you have tool al-`amal, too much long-term goals/hopes, you to fall into love of dunya completely. When you remember death, you face situations knowing that at any moment you might die and you prevent yourself from falling into sin. If you think long term you say, “I can go for Hajj later, when I am older,” and when you are 40 years old you think, “I still have a chance.” But who can guarantee you life to reach Hajj or not? Even if you reach old age, 70, 80 years, you might say, “I am tired and old, I cannot go for Hajj.” So you must not have long term hope, but short term, short term to a moment.

One time in Cyprus in the 1980s, before he bought his house and zawiya, I was visiting with Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, may Allah bless his soul, and he said to me, “Yaa Allah we need to drive to an event.”

I had come from Beirut, Lebanon and wanted to sit to rest with Mawlana Shaykh (q), but he said, “No, no, you come along with me.” So I went and it was a funeral.

I asked, “Mawlana, is it important for me to go as I just arrived from far away? Do I have to go for the funeral? Going to a wedding it is okay, but a funeral?”

He said, “No, you come; ziyarat al-quboor is Sunnah of Prophet (s).”

At the beginning when the Message of Islam came, Prophet (s) prohibited to visit graves, especially women, as they were still too near the time of jahiliyya (unacceptable practices), so he was worried that his Ummah might worship graves. Later, when Islam became strong, he allowed to visit graves to take an example from the deceased. Mawlana (q) explained this to me and said, “Come with me.” So I went with him and the attendees were very high-class, important people, Cypriot officers and ministers. Mawlana (q) told me, “Help.” What to help? Digging, preparing the grave? I have no expertise in that, it is not my job, but he wanted to teach me a lesson as I came from a wealthy family.

Then he said, “Jump into the grave and hold the deceased.” I did not say ‘no’ as we must always say sami`na wa at`ana, “We hear and we obey.” So I went inside the grave, they took the deceased from the coffin and handed him to me. I tried to hold him but I needed help, I could not do it by myself, then the gravedigger helped put the deceased in his grave. When I came, I thought, “I should say salaam to these people and shakar sa`eekum, to console them,” but they did not approach me, perhaps they thought my hands were dirty or something. That was another test. So I was standing there and one person from among them put a coin in my hand, a very small “tip” as payment. I wanted to return it and immediately got a slap from Mawlana Shaykh (q), who said, “Put it in your pocket! He gave, you take it!” So I learned that one day we are going to be like that and what is going to happen to us in the grave. So that is why Awliyaullah advise their mureeds to remember death at least four times a day, which is Sunnat an-Nabi (s).

As we mentioned yesterday, Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) said that Allah ordered him to hit the stone, then water gushed out for a thousand years and the people of Merv still live on it. There is a well where Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) did his dhikr submerged, as Shaytan will not come inside the water. So the lesson is not to trust yourself, don’t trust the ego because it might play with you, then you imagine you are a king and don't want to listen to anyone except yourself! Allah (swt) wants us to accept advice, as Prophet (s) said:

الدين نصيحة

Religion is advice.

Anyone can sit in a masjid and give advice, but first it has to be for himself, not only for the audience. If you give advice that you don’t follow it will not send any enlightenment to their hearts and it will be erased immediately, because you are telling them to do something you are not. So the `alim has to be aware if he is teaching something that he also acts upon or not.

One time, Sayyidina Junayd al-Baghdadi (q) was sitting at `Asr time and a mureed asked him to define poverty. He said, “I will,” then he left immediately, went home,returned the next day and said, “Now I can answer you.”

The mureed asked him, “Yaa Sayyidee, why did you not answer yesterday?”

He said, “Yesterday I had a silver coin in my drawer, so how could I describe poverty when I have savings, it would not apply. I spent that dirham on the poor, so now I can define poverty in a right way.”

An `alim has to act on what he is teaching, not only make videos and spread knowledge, but he must apply what he teaches to himself. Allah will question you, “Did you apply that to yourself?” If not, that `alim will be punished twice as a shepherd is responsible for the flock and does not put it at risk. Don’t be a shepherd: rather, be a student with no responsibility; be taalib al-`ilm, student of knowledge, don’t be a scholar of knowledge, that says something but does not act on it.

Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul, said that Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) had a mureed who was well off, very rich, who spent 5,000 gold dinars to build a closet made of gold, and to show respect he put the Holy Qur’an in it. Awliya like their wealthy followers to help Ummat an-Nabi (s). That is why Allah ordered us to pay Zakaat and give sadaqa and zakaat al-fitr, so we will give fee sabeelillah.

Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) wanted to teach his wealthy follower a lesson and said, “I have been ordered to put you in seclusion.”

In a mine there is rock in which is hidden a diamond that you must cut, polish, then shave. To do that, you must be an expert in what you are cutting. That mureed was a diamond, but there was a stone around him--obstacles, veils on his heart--from the darkness of that wealth. The shaykh wants to get rid of those dirty things attached to dunya so the realities come out. That is what Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani, may Allah bless his soul, advised his students: to break and separate the stone from the diamond. Both are stones, but one part is valuable, the other has no value, so he wants to bring the valuable power of his heart out and ordered him into seclusion.

Today, Awliyaullah don't order more than forty days seclusion. Grandshaykh (q) ordered Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) in seclusion for six or nine months, but Grandshaykh's first seclusion was five years, and this mureed of Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) was to be in seclusion for eight years, alone! That is not easy,. In a mountain cave you don't know when a snake, hyena or lion will attack you. Many times wild animals come into the seclusion to destroy it! Grandshaykh (q) said when the seclusion is ordered by a shaykh, not of your own volition, which counts as `itikaaf, those wild animals are your ego's wildness, behaviors that you have to cut down. They come to attack you, but from the virtue of your awraad, it’s like fire burns them and they run away.

Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) said, “You have to do seclusion for eight years.”

The mureed said, “Sami`na wa ata`na.”

Although he was devoted to his shaykh, he did not expect eight years, eight days or eight months maximum, yes. So when he entered the cave, he began to think, “How am I going to support my family? All night I counted how much money I have savings and found it is enough for five years, but not enough for eight.” So all his mind and heart was focused on, “What are they going to face when I am in seclusion? They might die of hunger or have problems or anything that is not nice.” So he was thinking like that all his night but he was very devoted to his shaykh.

At Fajr time shaykh knocked on his door and he said, “Come in, my shaykh.”

Sayyidina Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) said to him, “I have been ordered by Prophet (s) not to put you in such pain, because you are ready to receive your Trust, but I have to clarify something for you.”

In the dream Prophet (s) had told him, “In a few days, show him what he will receive in the end of seclusion. As soon as you clear that position,, give him his Trust.” Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) was happy to get permission for one of his followers to be trusted, but on one condition. He said, “Yaa waladee, after you finish Salaat al-Ishraaq, I will come and take you to see something. Prepare yourself.” His mureed was happy to go with his shaykh to learn a lesson.

They went in the jungle to ponds of water and passed by many frogs. Who brought them to these ponds? From where they came? Frogs stay in the pond, so who created them in the pond? We have to think, subhaanAllah, Allah created them as frogs in the pond and if they leave the pond they die.

Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) said, “Who created these frogs?”

The mureed said, “Yaa Sayyidi, you know better.” He knew Allah created them, but from adab with his teacher he did not show his `ilm. Today they show off what they know in front of their teacher (as if they have higher knowledge), when in reality, even if your teacher makes seven mistakes reciting al-Fatihah you must not say it as he is the teacher and you are the student, and those roles will not change.

من علمني حرفا صرت له عبدا

Whoever taught me one letter, I became a servant to him. (Arab proverb)

Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) said, “Look at them; do you like them?”

The mureed said, “Yes, it’s Allah's Creation.” Then a frog jumped out and took one, two, three licks of dirt and went back into the pond.

The shaykh said, “Yaa waladee, O my son, did you see what she did?”

He said, “Yes! I was amazed that it was licking and then it did not finish its licking, it went back to the pond.”

The shaykh said, “What did you understand from the frog’s action?”

He said, “Yaa Sayyidi, I was thinking that Allah created all these mountains of stone and jungles and dirt, and this frog was licking instead of eating. Why does it do that, why not eat?”

The shaykh said, “So did you take an example, some wisdom from that?”

He said, “Not yet.”

Then the frog spoke in Arabic: Allah makes people hear what others cannot hear, as

narrated in the Hadith of Prophet (s) that we often mention:

عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ‏قال ‏‏قال رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏إن الله قال ‏ ‏من عادى لي وليا فقد ‏ ‏آذنته ‏ ‏بالحرب وما تقرب إلي عبدي بشيء أحب إلي مما افترضت عليه وما يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه فإذا أحببته كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به وبصره الذي يبصر به ويده التي يبطش بها ورجله التي يمشي بها وإن سألني لأعطينه ولئن استعاذني لأعيذنه وما ترددت عن شيء أنا فاعله ترددي عن نفس المؤمن يكره الموت وأنا أكره مساءته ‏

ولا يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه، فإذا أحببته كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به وبصره

الذي يبصر به، ويده التي يبطش بها ورجله التي يمشي بها،

My servant does not cease to approach Me through voluntary worship until I will love him. When I love him, I will become the ears with which he hears, the eyes with which he sees, the hand with which he acts, and the legs with which he walks (and other versions include, “and the tongue with which he speaks.”). (Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari)

“I will give the power to hear what others don’t hear and vision to see what others don’t see.” From that power the mureed understood the frog. The frog looked at him and laughed, then said, “Yaa ahmaq, O idiot who has no mind! On the first day you are worried about eight years seclusion as you have five years of savings, but if Allah gave you money it is enough! Don't you know Allah is ar-Razzaq, the Provider? By licking, I am showing you an example. One day I might eat all the dirt of the world and finish it, but you are a human being and Allah gave you a mind. To know He is ar-Razzaq for you and for me, but you are worried!”

That mureed didn’t understand the verse:

كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقاً قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّى لَكِ هَـذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ إنَّ اللّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاء بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Every time Zakariyya entered her chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said, "O Maryam! From where does this come to you?" She said, "From Allah, for Allah provides sustenance without measure to whom He pleases." (Surat Ali Imraan, 3:37)

Whenever Sayyidina Zakariyya (a) entered the niche of Sayyida Maryam (a) he found sustenance. Allah (swt) will provide even a worm in the stone!

He said to his shaykh, “Now I understand, we must have tawakkal `ala ‘Llah, render all our matters to Allah (swt) and depend on Him.”

Sayyidina `Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q) said, “This is what I want from you, to depend fully on Allah, and He will take care of you. With His Wisdom, Allah has created something of benefit just for you, and something of benefit for someone else; not everyone has the same benefits. Come with me, I will show you something else.”

They entered the garden of another mureed of the shaykh and he told him, “Take this stone and hit the apple tree.” When he hit the tree, ten apples fell to the ground. “You have to be like that tree. Anyone who harms you, give them goodness, just as you harmed that tree, and although that branch might become infected and kill the tree, it gave you fruit. So don't complain: be dependent on Allah and if anyone in your life harms you, try to guide him to the right way though good examples to help him overcome his problem.”

Two things you must know:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ مَا أُرِيدُ مِنْهُم مِّن رِّزْقٍ وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَن يُطْعِمُونِ

I have only created jinn and men so that they may worship Me. No sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed Me. (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 51:56-57)

“I don't want any provision from them, I provide their rizq,” so why are you worried? May Allah (swt) provide us with everything that He and His Prophet (s) like as we are weak and helpless, we don’t know what to do. Our rizq depends on Allah (swt): He provides for you. When you get something, remember to be generous with His servants and if someone hits you don't hit him back, but smile in his face. Then you are a good follower. Tomorrow we will speak about hitting and what benefit do you get.

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


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