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Why the Naqshbandi Tariqah is called “Most Distinguished”

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham

17 June 2010 Lefke, Cyprus

Laylat al-Ragha’ib Khatm and Suhbah

As-salaamu `alaykum. Before dhikrullah ... tariqatuna as-suhbat wa ’l-khayru fi ’l-jami`yya, after saying, a`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Dastoor yaa Sayyidee, madad. Dastoor yaa Sultan al-Awliya, madad, Mawlana Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Fa’iz ad-Daghestani.

Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q), and it has been mentioned by Grandshaykh (q) that Shah Naqshband said between 12,000 and 24,000 times, tariqatuna as-suhbat wa ’l-khayru fi ’l-jami`yya, ”Our way is companionship.” As was the way of the Companions with the Prophet (s), they became the Sahaaba by accompanying him (s). Companions of awliyaa are inheriting from that secret! The shaykh is dressing his mureeds, whatever they do, wherever they live. When a shaykh accepts their hand, they are responsible to dress mureeds with the dress that Prophet (s) dressed the Sahaaba (r). The shaykh will dress them as Prophet (s) dressed them and that means to be a friend. To be a companion is to be a friend. You can’t be a companion and not be a friend. So all mureeds are friends

So that is why they call it Naqshbandiyyati ’l-`Aliyyah. `Aliyyah means “high.” I heard that question all around the world, as there are many different tariqats and all take from Sayyidina Muhammad (s). Sayyidina Muhammad al-Busayri (r) said, “gharfan min al-bahri aw rashfan min ad-diyami - Either they are taking in buckets from ocean or in handfuls from the constant rain.” They take either with handfuls of water, knowledge, or in pitchers, or in buckets from the ocean! It depends on the power of the shaykh, how high he is, to bring knowledge in buckets from a stream or a river or a huge waterfall like Niagara Falls!

Every shaykh is different. So when the shaykh dresses his mureeds, it is not like us, one day friends and one day not friends. No, when he dresses his mureeds that is it. Allah (swt) is “al-Kareem,” the Absolute Generous One, and `aliyyah takes from that name, so when they give, they give (permanently). A wali cannot be a wali without giving. Allah (swt) said, in Holy Qur'an:

أَلا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاء اللّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

alaa inna awliyaullahi laa khawfan `alayhim wa la hum yahzanoon.

Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; (10:62)

“Don't have any fear, O My friends (awliya)! I am giving you My love! I am not giving you Hellfire. Take what you want. If you want your mureeds, take them. Do you think Allah will yukhayyib, disappoint His saints? No, He will take your mureeds in Paradise.”

And the shaykh is connected with whom? He is with the Prophet (s)! So the mureeds go with their shaykh and he goes with the Prophet (s). So that is why it is called “Tariqat an-Naqshbandiyyati ’l-`Aliyyah.” That question is hayyar, amazing, confusing. So (people ask us), “Why do you say your tariqah is the highest, raised up?” That doesn't mean lowering the other tariqahs, because they all take from the Prophet (s). But Naqshbandi Tariqat takes from two different doors from Prophet (s); he has many doors. And he (s) said:

أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

ashaabi kan-nujoom bi ayyihim aqtadaytum ihtadaytum.

My Companions are like stars; whichever you follow you will be guided.

(`Abd ibn Humayd, ad-Daraqutnee, ibn `Adiyy, ibn `Abd al-Barr, with unsound chains but the meaning is sound)

And so choose whoever you like, even a lady. Don't think a lady cannot be a saint; they can. So also with the senior mureeds of the shaykh with whom you like to go, you will be guided, as your intention is the shaykh. So that is why we say when I am asked this question so many times, “Why is this tariqah ‘high’?” It is (because it is) coming from two main doors: from Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r) and from the door of Sayyidina `Ali (r), about whom Prophet (s) said he poured in his heart what he poured. And he (s) said, “I am the city of knowledge, and `Ali is its door.” We take from both of them, as they come to meet in Sayyidina Jaذfar as-Saشdiq (r), one of the twelve imams who took from both lines, from Sayyidina Abu Bakr and from Sayyidina `Ali's lines. So that is why this tariqah is coming through these two lines, and meeting in Sayyidina Jaذfar as-Saشdiq (r) and continuing to today. That is why we say Most Distinguished tariqah. Other tariqahs are taken from Sayyidina `Ali (r), but only Naqshbandi tariqah is taking from Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r).

And we say it was in this night when Allah sent His Light of Lights, and sent the honored Creation to the womb of Sayyida Aminah to carry the Chosen One, the Secret of Secrets, whose place is in everyone's heart, Naqshbandi or not. And Grandshaykh (q) and Mawlana said there are five levels in the heart: Qalb, Sirr, Sirr as-Sirr, Khafa and Akhfa.

Qalb is where Shaytan can enter, where people are in dunya and with family. If he begins to go above that level and establish the level of Sirr, that is mostly, as Grandshaykh (q) said, for the 40 different tariqahs. And there are a lot of principles and fundamentals to follow in order to reach these high secrets; it is not something easy to describe. For example, when you take ablution there are principles of ablution and in tariqah there are principles to follow in order to reach this journey. And the third level is the Secret of Secrets (Sirr as-Sirr). Then is the maqaam of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) in everyone's heart, Maqam al-Khafa. Everyone has in his heart a level of dunya, then Secret, then Secret of Secrets and then the level related to the Prophet (s), Khafa, and then the level no one knows.

لي مع الله وقت لا يسعني فيه ملك مقرب ولا نبي مرسل

Lee m`a Allahi waqt laa yas`anee feehi malakan muqarrab wa laa nabiyyin mursal.

“I have with Allah time that no one reached that level, neither an angel brought nigh nor any sent prophet.”

No angel and no prophet knows that level, Akhfa, that is given to every person, to everyone who was given life. And that subhah that Mawlana Shaykh was speaking has many points and in every point you can make a book.

ألا وإن في الجسد مضغة إذا صلحت صلح الجسد كله ، وإذا فسدت فسد الجسد كله ، ألا وهي القلب

alaa inna fi ’l-jasadi mudghah. idhaa saluhat, saluh al-jasa kulih. wa idha fasadat fasadati ’l-jasad kulih. alaa wa hiya al-qalb.

The Prophet (s) said, “There is in the body a piece of flesh; if it is good the whole body is good, and if it becomes sick the whole body is sick.”

If we want to reach these levels, we must follow the principles of these levels. And awliyaa are responsible to keep in their hands the secrets of these levels and they give to whom they like. You might find someone with curly hair and greasy clothes, who doesn’t look nice, with a disgusting smell, and people run away from him; but if he asks Allah (swt), Allah will give to him. His heart is pure; he is with Allah (swt), with Prophet (s), with awliyaullah. Allah (swt) doesn’t look at your forms, but looks at your hearts.

And this night, when Allah sent the secret to the womb of Sayyida Amina, here we are! We made ziyarah to Mawlana Shaykh, may Allah give him long life and health and to be with Mahdi (a). He is the guide, to guide us to the right way. We came, those living here and those who do not, we came for Mawlana's ziyarah and we came for the ziyarah of the hair of Prophet (s).

The importance of the hair of Prophet (s) is, I will give a hint. This is cup of water, and this finger (takes a drop out). This drop is coming down but is part of the water, the whole. Outside the drop can be seen with a form and inside the water in the cup, it is gone. So ziyarah of the hair of Prophet (s) is like making ziyarah to Sayyidina Muhammad (s), as it is part of him!

I will relate that story in which Sayyidina ibn `Arabi said, “One time my hand saved the boat of Nuh (a), and if not for my hand that boat would have sunk!” And the people were surprised, saying, ”Nuh (a) lived 5,000 years ago.” And he said, “Yes, I am from nasl of Prophet (s); I am Hassani-Husayni. And it was the Prophet's (s) hand that saved the boat of Nuh (a) and I am part of that hand.”

So any relic will witness on the Day of Judgment from the Prophet (s) that you said shahadah in front of it and you visited it. This is why we kiss Hajar al-As`ad. Why, when you go to Ka’aba the main focus is how to reach and kiss the Black Stone? And there are many issues in it; I will mention one. First, it is a stone from Paradise, and who touches Paradise, never Hellfire will touch him. So when you begin, Bismillah, Allahu akbar even from afar, that stone will reach you. Don't think the stone is waiting for you to reach it, with that crowd. No, whether you reach and kiss it or you are not able, that stone is a live stone and will reach you as if you touched Paradise. And who touches Paradise will never touch Hellfire, as the person who visits the Rawdatu ’sh-Shareefa and has prayed two raka`ats there. As Prophet (s) mentioned, “What is between my minbar and my maqaam that is a garden from the gardens of Paradise.” That is Paradise, so anyone who prays there is safe in Paradise. And any relic of our shaykh will be a mercy and a means to Paradise. May Allah give long life to Mawlana Shaykh.

(Begin khatm.)

After khatm:

I would like to say one thing before I go. This is Shaykh Abdus-Salam Shaami (standing next to Shaykh Hisham). He served Grandshaykh, then since Grandshaykh passed away he is serving Mawlana Shaykh, so I will say he is serving for 60 years. I will repeat what Grandshaykh said, “Abdus-Salam is my helper and I consider him like my family, like Salman al-Farsi (q).” And he said, “Shaykh Abdus-Salaam is one of the five qutbs.” And I like to say in the presence of Mawlana Shaykh that Shaykh Abdus-Salaam is one of the five qutbs that Mawlana Shaykh honored with that. I have not seen him for five or six years. That is what Grandshaykh said about him, and may Allah (swt) grant him happiness and may Allah grant him someone to serve him as he served Grandshaykh. So you may speak to him if you have questions or for barakah.

Tonight is mubarak for all of us. May Allah make this Laylat al-Raghaib, when the Prophet (s) transferred from his holy father to his holy mother's womb, may we be granted that mercy that Prophet (s) came to this world.

Wa min Allah at-tawfeeq, bi hurmatil ‘l-Fatihah.