Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Going back to our fitrah - a story about Shaykh al-Ghudjawani and Ubaydullah al-Amawi

O son, Eid al-Fitri may be interpreted as a day of victory for having passed the test of Ramadhan or it could also mean going back to one's fitrah (true nature). So what is our fitrah? As I sit and contemplate on what to offer you on this 3rd day of Shawal 1430H, I remember a story told by dear Shaykh Hisham Kabbani in Michigan recently. To go back to one's fitrah, according to Shaykh Hisham, one needs to be 'demolished'. He narrated a story about Shaykh Abdul Khaliq al-Ghudjawani and his mureed Ubaydullah al-Amawi. Shaykh al-Gudjawani (d. 1179 CE) is the 11th Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain silsilah (lineage). He was the one who established eight out of the eleven principles of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, such as conscious breathing, solitude in the crowd and watching one's step.

Below is an edited version of Shaykh Hisham Kabbani's narration. Its full transcript is available at sufilive.com

A`udhu billahi min 'ash-shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-rahmani 'r-raheem. Nawaytu'l-arba`een, nawaytu'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu'l-khalwah, nawaytu'l-riyaadah, nawaytu's-salook, nawaytu'l-`uzlah lillahi ta`ala fee hadha'l-masjid. Ati` Allah wa ati` ar-rasula wa uli 'l-amri minkum. Obey Allah, Obey His Prophet (s), and Obey Those Who are on Authority.

So Ubaydullah al-Amawi, after he finished his questions and Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani was answering him, he said to him, "O my son, awliyaullah, who are perfect and they are reaching perfection, they do not and they never speak on the Unseen future, because يَمْحُو اللّهُ مَا يَشَاء وَيُثْبِتُ وَعِندَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ yamhullahu ma yashaa'u wa yuthbit wa `indahu ummul-kitab, as Allah said in Holy Qur'an,'`Allah will erase or confirm whatever He likes and with Him is the Mother of Books.' (13:39). So if a wali comes and speaks on the future and he is not of the calibre that he can see what can be confirmed or what will be erased, then whatever he says might not be real, as Allah may change if He wants."
That is why you see awliyaullah--the kummal, the perfect ones--try to speak normal, preparing their students to be in presence of Prophet (s) and awliyaullah, instead of giving them hypotheses or theories. That is the work. The one who give theories is the one who is not confirming a reality, so he doesn't reach the reality. He doesn't know about it, so he has to give a theory and make an argument, and might be correct, but most of time he is not be correct. So these days, most of those who think they are speaking from the connection of their hearts, in reality their hearts are not connected to a wali, but are really connected to their egos. They mislead their viewers and their listeners.

So Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani answered, "Ya waladee! First of all, in order that I can give you and show you what you have promised Allah in the Day of Promises and what happened there, you have to attend my suhbat as every one of the others attends it. Further, they are not of your level; you have to come down to their level and look at yourself as if you are at the same level or less. That means all your visions don't mean anything to me. In one moment you will be thrown out (if you rely on those visions). A big example that awliyaullah take is a prophet, Adam, the father of the human race. Because he turned his ear one moment, Allah swt took him out of Paradise, meaning took him out of heavenly visions. O my son, one mistake of your ego might take you out of all that heavenly knowledge. They (awliyaullah) might take it out in one moment from your heart. So what you need is to attend my associations with the others, and you are not better than them, so you must see yourself worse than them."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani continued, "Our way is association, to sit with the wali and receive the blessings coming to him, reflect on him from heavens, and disseminate to the others sitting there. First of all, you must sit in association to clean yourself and improve yourself, or else you are not able to receive heavenly blessings. Too many in this country cannot reach their realities, that reality present on Day of Promises. They cannot connect with it to understand it. There you were in the company of Prophet (s) and in dunya you are not in his company, so you need the company of the shuyukh in order to be considered as accompanying him, like the Companions (r). You accompany a wali that inherits from Prophet and you receive these blessings that come on you. And that way you become perfect, day by day. Not from your ego dressing you, but it is me dressing you, giving to you. I take blessings from Prophet (s) and dress them on you. So whatever comes from your ego is considered null and whatever you receive from awliyaullah is considered good."

Ubaydullah said, "O my teacher, what I have to do?" He said, "You have to be generous." "What do you mean?" "That means whatever you have, you must give to me (similar to Ahmad al-Badawi's story). You have to give me your wealth. You have to give to me! What you achieved in dunya wealth you have to give to me, and what you have achieved of akhira wealth you have to give to me, because it is built on a cliff. Afaman assass bunyanahu ala shafa hufran min...dhalimeen, "Whoever built his building on a cliff without strong infrastructure will fall down in Hellfire." So what you built with your ego, you must be generous and give it all. If you withhold it, you cannot take what I want to give you. What I want to give you, in three hours will take you to your reality that is embedded in the reality of Sayyidina Muhammad (s). That reality, that atom, is dressed with the Light of Prophet (s)."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq continued, "Everyone's real essence is embedded in Prophet's essence. (Grandshaykh says in his notes) (from Quran) وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّه - w`alamoo anna feekum Rasulullah - Know that the Prophet is in you." (49:7) 'If he is not within you, you cannot exist.' Allah made every person have to appear because of the existence of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) in the Divine Presence, or else you cannot appear; then you are not created. If you see yourself here, created, that is an indication you are in reality of Prophet and that you are in the Divine Presence. That is why Prophet is alway happy when Allah calls him 'My servant,' `abdee. So if you are not understanding that, you never can see your reality. Because you have to understand, no existence for you. You are existing by existence of Prophet (s), so you have to surrender. If you don't surrender you are nothing."

Ubaydullah asked, "How must I surrender?" Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq answered, "Like when you have a cup water and take a drop out with the tip of your finger, you see drop has formed. But when it goes back into the cup of water it has no form; it goes back to an ocean. You must decline your form and swim in the ocean of Prophet (s). That is the key for you." "How to do that?" Ubaydullah asked. Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq said, "To do that is to be in suhbat of the shaykh, in his association, surrendering and submitting completely to his orders. You come with an empty container; your heart has to be empty. Don't come with a full container."

Can you see someone coming in association of shaykh and his container is empty? Saying, "I know this or that." Might be in front of your shaykh you say he knows better, but in front of your brothers and sisters can you say that they know better? You think you know best. People love to sing. That is why you see now Mawlana Shaykh singing for people, as they like to hear singing.

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq continued, "You have to come with nothing, like the leaf of tree: wherever wind throws it, takes it right or left. You have to be like a leaf up on the mountain, coming down, down, down, all the way down into the deep valley, and then it is gone. It means bring your ego down from the high mountain, as all of us think we are on a high, Himalaya mountain. Bring your self down."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq said, "O my son, you have to enter the demolition project, the demolition room." You have to go in that "room", if we can say that. As they do now, they cremate people. It means make them into ashes, which is against Islamic shari'ah completely and against every religion, but in reality, in spirituality, instead of entering the cremating room, we will call it the "demolishing room." You have to be demolished, to go into powder, dust. Then you might, you might be able to be dressed and then appear another time to speak to people.
So from that, what is called in the language of awliyaullah, qahr at-tajalli, "the Manifestation of the Subduer, qahaar." Qahaar means "to be overpowered." What is qahaar? (destroyer). That is the process, that they destroy your ego completely and you can never raise your head and you are destroyed completely. They don't use the word "I", they use the plural ("we"). They don't use the singular or speak about oneself. Speaking in plural means all of us are the same.

So he said, "You have to go into that demolition room for Allah, for his beautiful name 'al-Qahaar.' The Subduer will shatter you into dust to annihilate you completely; then you are dust. Then they take you to the level of baqa, 'complete existence.' At that time you exist in the presence of Prophet (s). At that time there is no more 'you' and 'me'. You disappear; your form, like the drop of water in the cup, disappears. You disappear in the presence of the Prophet (s); there no more 'you'".

Then you are like a TV or radio (a receiver). There is no more "you". When you reach that level, Prophet (s) will open to you through awliyaullah to know the Day of Promises, to know your awraad that was written, and to act accordingly.

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq continued, "But I have to tell you, my son, about Shah Naqshband. (Shah Naqshband came after 'Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani; he is telling him about what will come in future. He can, because he is one of the kummal, as that reality never changes.) After we enter the demolition room and were shattered completely to dust, and we enter the presence of Prophet (s), and Shah Naqshband appears in dunya, he will never give his followers what I am giving you, because he will not accept to speak. Shah Naqshband entered the demolition room not one time, but fifty-one times. That means he goes in, comes out and then goes back in, to be sure he is completely annihilated, and no trace of ego left on him that he will annihilate himself in the presence of Allah and Prophet (s) and awliyaullah. That has to happen to him fifty-one times. At that time, his dharrah (atom) will be able to speak there. Before he reaches that level he will not speak in dunya, until he reaches that level. Then, whatever he is able to get, then his words are coming directly from the dharrah of Prophet (s), from reality of Prophet (s)."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq continued, "Be happy that we accept you to go into the demolition room one time! In our time once is enough, but in the time of Shah Naqshband, he will not accept less than fifty-one times for himself and his mureeds. That is why you see that there are very few who reached that level in this time. They are Sultan al-Awliya and they reached level and they are crushed, then overcrushed, then overcrushed, fifty-one times or might be more in this time. Then Allah will send them back from that ocean of Reality. At that time I will take you to your trust,to know who is on your right, who is on your left, what you have promised, and how you can achieve that."

Ubaydullah al-Amawi said, "I am ready, and I give all my wealth and all my knowledge." Then in three hours Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq pulled all his knowledge and made him zero, or less than zero: epsilon. So when he threw Ubaydullah in that demolition room, in three hours he was able to perfect him into the reality of existence in the day of alastu bi-rabbikum; he was able to go there. So we are asking through our shuyukh and through Prophet (s), "We are weak servants and we cannot do that by ourselves without looking at our shortcomings. We are asking, Ya Rabbee! We are weak servants, helpless and hopeless. Open from Your ocean of generosity, without looking at our shortcomings! Dress us with the reality of that day alastu bi rabbikum!"

That will end the story of Ubaydullah al-Amawi with Shaykh 'Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani.

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