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We Are Lovers, Not Yet Mureeds

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

13 September 2015 Feltham, London, UK

Centre for Spirituality & Cultural Advancement (CSCA)

Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) was a descendant of Prophet (s) and many saw him in their dreams. I heard from many Awliya that he took baya` with the Naqshbandi Tariqah and carried that responsibility to preserve the secret of the Naqshbandiyya. It was not called Naqshbandiyya at that time, but he was carrying some, perhaps all these secrets.

One day he was in Baghdad, where most of the people were his students, although there were many big `ulama at that time, not like today. They could swallow whales from the oceans of their `ilm, they were very strong. In spirituality a whale can drink the whole ocean, like it swallowed Sayyidina Yunus (a). So Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) was of the caliber that he used to say, “My foot is on the neck of every Wali,” and he was known for that.

Baghdad was Madinat al-`Ilm, the City of Knowledge. In the time of the Umayyads it was Sham, in the time of the Abbasids it was Baghdad. They traveled from country to country by horse and one day King Haroon ar-Rashid received a delegation from a country declaring war against him and he did not know what to do. Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) lived in that time, which I mention in order to come to another subject, but we will finish this subject to show where we stand regarding our level in Tariqah.

Tariqah is not that easy, it is more than saying, "I am a Naqshbandi." What does that mean? “Naqshbandi” means to engrave the Name of Allah (swt) on your heart, then you are Naqshbandi. Are you able to reach the level where Allah (swt) gives you the power to open your chest like Jibreel (a) opened the chest of Prophet (s) and removed the house of Shaytan from his heart? Can we do that? No, only Prophet (s) can do that, but from their power, Awliyaullah can see through the chest and if ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ is written on their physical heart, that they reached the level of Tawheed.

We didn't reach that level, so we are lovers of Naqshbandis, not more than that. Awliyaullah like lovers, also. They know we are weak servants and we cannot reach that high caliber, even if we are trying to run to it. If you are a child running around making noise, no one says anything because you are a child. We are children and we love to see a child active: running, falling down then standing up, then falling down then standing up and falling down. Even Sayyidina al-Hasan and Sayyidina al-Husayn (alayhimu ‘s-salam) climbed on his back and Prophet (s) never came out of sajda until they got off his back, he gave them time. It is recorded they stayed on his back sometimes for hours and he never told them to go down, he stayed in sajda until they came off.

Awliyaullah consider us to be children and it is nice for us to have no responsibility and that they pamper us. They change our diapers and are happy we are their children, their followers. That is how they take care of us. In the time of Haroon ar-Rashid, anyone who wanted to be pampered was put in Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani’s care. Awliya give everyone what they want, so people love them.

Haroon ar-Rashid received a letter that a country had declared war against Baghdad and he didn't know what to do. As a mureed, he went to Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q). Everyone in the city of Baghdad were his mureeds.

He said, "Yaa Sayyidee, I have a problem."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) said, "What kind of problem?"

He said, "I received a letter that the enemy will attack us and they are coming."

This is how war was before, face-to-face, not like now when you shoot a cannon and hide yourself; that is extremism in combat. In Islam, rules of engagement are to fight face-to-face, and those who shoot cannons or explode suicide bombs are extremists. May Allah keep us away from extremism, as Prophet (s) said, Nahnu ummatun wasata, the middle way is best, so we follow that moderation.

نحن أمة وسطة

We are an Ummah on the middle way (moderate).

We are the nation on the middle way, not liberal, not conservative. Yassiroo wa laa tu`assiroo, “make things easy, don't make them difficult.”

يسروا ولا تعسروا

Make things easy and do not make things difficult. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Make this your motto! Listen to my advice: this is the best principle. If anyone enters your office, let them see this: “Make it easy, don't make it difficult.” This is what Islam is.

Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir (q) said to King Haroon ar-Rashid, "Don't worry, I will solve it for you." How not to worry? An army was coming, they had declared war. Baghdad’s citizens outnumbered the approaching army but had no weapons. He was worried, and as Grandshaykh (q) narrated, Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir (q) said, "Don't worry, Allah is with us. As long as we are with Him, He is with us, anaa jaleesu man dhakaranee. We remember Him always in our associations, don't worry."

أَنَا جَلِيْسُ مَنْ ذَكَرَنِي

[Allah said to the Prophet], I sit with him who remembers Me. (Hadith Qudsi. Ahmad, Bayhaqi)

He said, "How can I not worry when the army is approaching? They gave us seven days."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir (q) said, "Announce tomorrow in the city that Shaykh `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani wants all the citizens of the city to come and he wants to address them. You tell them that and send your ministers, cabinet, soldiers: tell everyone to leave their homes and go to the main city square. There will be a tent there and everyone has to listen to what Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani is saying."

The next day everyone came to that square waiting for Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) to arrive, but he kept them waiting. When you are kept waiting, waiting, waiting, you get angry and anxious. He was not late, he was ready, but wanted them to be frustrated to teach them a lesson.

He said, "Today I have received an order to see who is loyal to me and who is not loyal. Who is loyal to me, raise his hand." They all raised their hands and he announced to his army, "I have been ordered for the sake of Allah, His Prophet (s) Awliyaullah, and for the kingdom of Haroon ar-Rashid, to slaughter all my mureeds. Who will come first? Are you accepting me as your shaykh?"

They said, "Yes!"

"Are you accepting my teaching?"


"Do you love me?"


“Prove it and give correct evidence that you have been trustworthy and that you love me. I will slaughter everyone today from morning to evening and if we don't finish, we will extend it until everyone is slaughtered. I need the first volunteer to come with me in the tent."

One skinny person ran quickly to the tent, where Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) had already prepared a butcher with a lamb. With “Bismillah” he ordered the butcher to slaughter that man, who was slim. They told him to sit down and not show himself. They slaughtered the lamb and the others saw the blood flow outside the tent and one-third or half of the people ran away!

Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir (q) said, "Alhamdulillah."

Haroon ar-Rasheed said, "What happened? What do you mean, ‘alhamdulillah’? They ran away!"

He said, "Don't worry, don't worry." Then he asked the crowd, "Who will be the second volunteer?"

One skinny lady ran to the tent quickly like a rabbit, and with “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar!” they slaughtered another lamb, whose blood ran outside the tent. Most of the people ran away and there was no one left except that one man and one lady, who was his wife. When she saw her husband being slaughtered she was loyal and said, "I don't like this dunya anymore, I will be slaughtered.”

This shows sincerity toward the shaykh. In their words there is wisdom. It means, “be like that lady,” like when Sayyidina Ibrahim (a) was going to slaughter Sayyidina Isma`eel (a), who said to his father, "Why are you not following the vision you saw?" He hadn’t told his son he would slaughter him, but Allah inspired the son to surrender himself for slaughter and he was ready. So be like that, ready for the teacher's teachings. Run to him in order to learn what to do.

Awliya narrate stories to guide us through giving hints, like yassiroo wa laa tu`assiroo, and like that lady’s sincerity toward her husband, which is her sincerity to Islam, her religion. The man represents the backbone of Islam: every man is the backbone of the family, which depends on him, and on the lady working at home, not outside the home. Every load we put on ladies, not on men! That is laziness.

At that time, most of the mureeds were lazy and they ran away when the truth came, finished, it exposed their hypocrisy. They were not real mureeds, but only by name. They ate and drank at the zawiya, where there was kebab and rice. What could they want better than that? They stayed there in tambal khaanaa, the House of Laziness.

Haroon ar-Rasheed said, "What happened? We only have one man and one lady? What will we do with them?"

Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir (q) said, "Don't worry, don't touch them, they are my mureeds. The rest I am ordering to be your army. Go collect them."

Haroon ar-Rasheed was so happy, because no one can order mureeds of Ghawth al-`Azham, who is respected in Heavens and on Earth. Before the Sultan didn't have any soldiers, after he had hundreds of thousands of soldiers! Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) announced, "All of you who did not come to the tent to be slaughtered, Haroon ar-Rasheed is taking you to fight." So in reality, how many mureeds did he have? Grandshaykh (q) used to say, “One mureed and half a mureed.” I am repeating what he said. ‘Half mureed’ means full mureed, inshaa-Allah. Grandshaykh (q) said this, which is not diminishing the activities of the women. No! Her honor is big. “Paradise is under the feet of mothers,” Allah gave them that honor, but this is a story to show how one lady's husband was slaughtered and she wanted to follow him.

Sayyidina `Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (q) gave all his mureeds to Haroon ar-Rasheed, who defeated the enemy. In Tariqah, when reality comes those who considered themselves mureeds, the truth is shown. All of us are like them: we are not really mureeds yet, we are lovers, and we are running away. Alhamdulillah it is easier to be lovers of the shaykh; that will make him happy to take us like a father takes his children with him wherever he goes. If he goes to the house they go with him, if he goes to the cousin they go with him, if he goes to the uncle they go with him. If the Wali goes to the presence of Prophet (s) he takes all his followers with him, he will not leave anyone behind. That is the meaning of lovers: they follow the one that loves them.

We follow our grandshaykhs, Sayyidina Shaykh `AbdAllah al-Fa’iz ad-Daghestani (q) and Sayyidina Shaykh Nazim (q). We are their lovers. That is why when Grandshaykh was asked to accept the role of khilafah in Tariqat an-Naqshbandiyya, he said, "I don't want it, because if I don't put the mureeds on my level what is the benefit of keeping myself on one level and them on another level? I want them to be with me. When I go to the Divine Presence in Akhirah between Allah's Hands, I will bring the mureeds with me clean or else they will be punished!"

So these are Awliyaullah and that is how we know we are lovers and that we have to struggle in order to improve ourselves. We didn't touch on the suhbah of the lazy one, we will leave it for tomorrow. May Allah bless you, may Allah give you happiness in dunya and Akhirah.

Bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.


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