Thursday, 22 October 2009, Janda Baik, Pahang, Malaysia
At the outset of the gathering, everything looked pleasant, typical of a get-together honoring Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. Certainly, his trip to Malaysia this time (his second trip for the year) has been very special with the presence of Hajjah Naziha, his wife and daughter of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Haqqani (the murshid of Naqshbandi 'Aliyah Tariqah).
But the audience on that day couldn't help but also adored young Sajeda - Shaykh Hisham's daughter.
Sajeda sat on the floor next to his father who was sitting on the sofa, facing the ever eager crowd. Accompanying her were two little girls of the Haqqani family - very cute party of three they were.
Shaykh Hisham then began his sohba whilst the audience sat still and quiet. "Nawaitul arba'in, nawaitul iktikaf, nawaitul khalwat, nawaitul riyadah, nawaitul uzlah, nawaitul suluk. It's important to make this intention at the start of any good deeds you do. You are sitting here to listen to some advice, so make niyyat that it will be counted as a part of your forty-days seclusion. No matter how small an amal you do, with this intention, Allah will consider it as significant, InshaAllah." All eyes were on Shaykh Hisham.
"Saidina Abu Bakar (r.a) was the first to do this unique gesture", he said while gesticulating his hands at the same time. The first caliph whose love and loyalty to the Prophet knew no bounds would, according to Shaykh Hisham, touch his shahadah finger with his thumb (both hands), then kiss them and make a circle around his eyes. Abu Bakar as-Siddiq would do this each and everytime the Prophet's name was mentioned. He did this to certify his love for the Prophet s.a.w. What Abu Bakar meant by that gesture was that "he witnessed with the shahadah finger that Muhammad is Rasulullah. With the thumb signifying the unique code in heaven, Abu Bakar was in fact saying 'I witness you are Rasulullah and I'm witnessing and coming with the reality of everything that's coded in my thumb and saying you are indeed Muhammad Rasulullah!' With the two fingers touching, Abu Bakar rubbed them around his eyes; that according to Shaykh Hisham meant that he was also witnessing with another vision and sealing the love he had for Allah and Rasulullah. Abu Bakar would also frequently profess "Sadaqa Rasulullah. Sadaqa Rasulullah..." because of his strong faith in Nabi and everything that the Prophet was saying."
By this time, Sajeda had been standing up for the third or fourth time already. The audience took for granted why this pretty young lady had to do what she did until Shaykh Hisham smiled and patted her head. He said, to the somewhat clueless audience, "Sajeda stood up each time I mentioned the Prophet's name because Shaykh Nazim Haqqani, her grandfather had taught her to do that out of respect for Rasulullah!" Upon hearing this remark from her father, Sajeda broke into tears.
MashaAllah! MashaAllah! Everyone present was absolutely impressed by little Sajeda whose respect for the Prophet was definitely a lot greater than her physique and far beyond her years. What amazed me was that she followed her grandfather's advice even when a girl like her might have been embarrassed to act her beliefs. She did not feel shy at all even though she looked shy, keeping her head down all the time while Shaykh Hisham was giving sohba. Imagine she was facing a crowd of adults, men and women and while everybody was glued to the floor, she just kept standing up each time her father mentioned the Prophet's name. Allahu Allah! From then on everyone, including Shaykh Hisham himself stood up and cries of sallahualaihi wassalam filled the air!
That much we all learned from young Sajeda - a lover of Prophet Muhammad! O son, may Allah plant in your heart and mine the sort of love and respect Sajeda has for Rasulullah s.a.w. Ameen Allahumma ameen.