Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ibn Arabi's Tuesday Eve Prayer

Bismillah.

O my Lord, make me rich through You, beyond need of any other than You, so that this pure sufficiency leaves me free of all conditions that might make me dependent on any creaturial need or spiritual requirement. Make me reach the utmost ease in my prosperity (in You) , and elevate me to the lote-tree of my extreme limit. Let me witness existence as a cycle and the journey as an orbit, so that I may behold the mystery of Divine Descent to the ultimate ends and the Return to the very beginnings, where speech comes to an end and the vowel of the lam is silent where the dot of the ghayn is removed from me and the One returns to the two.

O my God, grant me the facility of that secret which You have accorded to many of Your saints, a facility which will dispell from me the fog of my (apparent) self sufficiency. Support me in all this by a radiant light, dazzling the eyes of every envier among jinn and mankind. Grant me the gift of an aptitude which brings success in every station. Make me rich beyond need of other than You, with a richness that establishes my complete poverty towards You.
Indeed You are the Rich, the Praiseworthy, the Friend, the Illustrious, the Generous, the Discerning Director!



And may the blessing of God be upon our master Muhammad, and upon all his family and companions.
Partial extract from: 'Ibn Arabi. The Seven Days of the Heart. Prayers for the nights and days of the week' Translated by Pablo Beneito and Stephen Hirtenstein.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Remembering death - Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani


Bismillah.

"If you would remember death, your enjoyment of this world would diminish and your abstinence from it would increase. When our end is death, how can we find happiness in wordly things? As the Prophet s.a.w has said: Every runner has a goal, and the goal of every living being is death.

Death is the end of sorrows and of joys, of wealth and poverty, of hardship and ease, of sickness and pain. When someone dies, he experiences his resurrection, and what was distant comes to be near as far as he is concerned. All that you are involved in is crazy delusion. You must detach your heart, your secret (sirr) and your inner being (bathin) from all your present involvements. This world is for a finite term, while the hereafter is for an infinite eternity. Your life in this world is for a finite term, while your life in the hereafter is for an infinite eternity."

Innalillahi wa inna ilai hiraji'un.
To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Letter of advice from Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad

Bismillah.

O son, I so love everything about Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi. Here is an abridged version of his advice written in a letter to one of his students.

1. On remembrance (zikir)
Begin by conceptualizing that Allah is watching you at every moment and then imagine that your heart is calling Allah! Alah! Allah! In all circumstances, whether walking, sitting or doing your daily activities, you should focus on your heart and make certain that it is concentrating on Allah. Your hands should work while your heart remains in remembrance.

2. On reflection (muraqabah)
When free from your worldly duties, whether in the morning or evening, make ablution and isolate yourself. Sitting on a prayer rug, close your eyes, bow your head, open the window into your heart, and look at your true self. Muraqabah entails waiting patiently for the mercy of Allah to descend into your heart. Perform this for 10 to 15 minutes daily. Remain quiet and still, without moving the tongue or limbs, and empty your mind of all thoughts. Focus on the mercy of Allah descending into your heart and purifying it from the corrupt and blameworthy. Sit quietly and listen as your heart calls 'Allah, Allah, Allah' in gratitude for His mercy. Remember that muraqabah is the essential key to attaining stillness of the mind and the soul.

3. On salutations for the Prophet s.a.w
Send salutations to the Prophet 100 times a day. Recite this with extreme sincerity, humility, and love, as if you are presenting a gift to Allah in His distinguished court.
Allahumma salli 'ala sayyidina Muhammad
wa a'la aali sayyidina Muhammad wa barik wa salim

4. On repentance (istighfar)
Recite 100 times a day with extreme humility and shame, reflecting on your sins. Seeking forgiveness (istighfar) with neglect and laziness is improper and this lapse in itself merits additional istighfar. Attempt to experience the bliss of crying to your Lord during the pre-dawn prayer (tahajjud) should you be blessed with the ability to wake up for it. Today, most enjoy the delicious tastes of exotic foods, but sadly they are stranged from the delightful tastes of supplicating at the time before dawn (tahajjud).
Astaghfirullaha rabbi min kulli zambin wa atubu ilaih
'I seek forgiveness from my Lord for every sin and to Him I turn (in repentance).'
If tears of shame and regret do not stream down your eyes then at least assume facial expressions consistent with these states.
Be he Attar, be he Razi, be he Rumi, be he Ghazali. No one begets anything without weeping near the dawn.

5. On recitation of the Holy Quran
Read a quarter juz of the Holy Quran every day...Take as much pleasure in recitation as you do with every spoonful of ice cream, and imagine the essence of the verses descending upon your heart at that very moment.
You cannot untie knots, you cannot solve mysteries;
Until such time when the Book descends upon you.

6. On correspondence with the spiritual guide (Shaykh)
The summation of these daily prescriptions is that you keep in contact with your spiritual guide by letter or phone, keeping him apprised of your spiritual condition. Anyone who hopes to be cured from physical ailments must communicate with their physician. Likewise, if you seek to rid yourself of spiritual ailments, you must communicate with your teacher.
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Read the complete letter: Letter Two - 'Concerning the Dhikr of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Tariqah' and 23 other letters in 'Wisdom for the Seeker' at Tasawwuf.org
ABOUT Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad:Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad is one of leading shaykhs of Tasawwuf in the present era. Formally granted authorization (ijazah) in the Naqshbandi spiritual path (tariqah), he retired from his position as an electrical engineer at the age of forty to devote himself entirely to the service of Islam. He regularly travels to more than thirty countries transforming the lives of people all over the world. A testament to his deep love for Allah, his uncompromising dedication to sunnah of the blessed Prophet , and his firm adherence to Islamic Law (shariah) is that thousands of religious scholars and students of Islamic learning are among his students (murids). Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad regularly delivers lectures in both English and Urdu across the world. Furthermore, he has written dozens of books many of which have been translated into several languages. Online versions of both talks and writings are availalbe at the links on the left.
Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad's spiritual chain traces back through a series of authentic teachers all the way to the Holy Prophet.
(Source: Tasawwuf.org)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

28 Conditions of an Ashiq by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad


Bismillah.

O son, Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi is one gem I discovered (virtually) while in seclusion (suluk riadah) recently. A contemporary Sufi Shaykh of high calibre, the murshid of Naqshbandi Mujaddidi, whose writings emit so much love that it gives me great joy to reproduce parts of them for you.

Below is an excerpt from 'Love for Allah' - the English edition of the Shaykh's famous book, "Ishq Ilahi". The book discusses basic principles of our love for Allah based on the Quran, Sunnah, and the noble tradition of our great scholars. Of note are the dozens of poems translated from Arabic and Urdu, which highlight the concepts discussed.

You will find these 28 states of an Ashiq (the one who loves Allah) spelled out in Chapter 3: 'The Condition of the Lovers of Allah in this World'.
___________________________________________
Allah states: "We keep alternating the days (good and bad) among mankind." (Quran 3:140) Like the tides of an ocean, the tides of life are perpetually changing. At times life is stormy, at other times life is calm. At times everything appears to blossom; at other times everything appears dismal. At times a person feels close to his Lord; at other times he feels distant. At times there is vitality; at other times there is listlessness. At times there is sickness; at other times there is health. Human conditions never remain the same. According to the poet Allamah Iqbal:
Serenity is difficulty in the workings of fate,
Change is the only stable thing in time.
The state of the one who loves Allah is affected by the changing conditions of life. Hence at times he is happy and at other times he is sad. At times he feel close to his Creator and at other times he feel distant. At times there is affection and grace and at other times there is anger and reproach. At times there is fervor and excitement and at other times there is peace and contentment. Whatever the circumstance a sincere ashiq always remain pleased with his Beloved.
The Beloved's favors are regular, but His anger is occasional,
My Beloved is to be lauded under all circumstances.
Traversing the sea of love, an ashiq experiences various states. These are briefly mentioned below.


1. Restlessness
The ashiq is so anxious to reach (wasl) Allah that he is unable to find rest, even for a moment. So occupied is he in the remembrance of his Beloved.
I am not conscious of myself, nor of the world.
I sit entranced by Your beauty.
Ask the stars about the state of my life,
I remain awake at night, in Your contemplation.



2. Despair
When sadness and despair overcome an ashiq, there is no outlet except for crying. This increases the beauty of one's love and wins over the seemingly distant Friend.


3. Anticipation
The ashiq desires that the Beloved look at him with love. He anxiously awaits the mercy of the Creator of the universe. He knows that his aim would be fulfilled with a single glance from the Beloved.
Cast at least a slight glance toward the lovers,
If not always, at least every now and then.
With one glance, what hopes You plant in me,
The hope for just one glance of You.



4. Sacrifice
There can be no greater blessing than reaching (wasl) the Beloved. In comparison everything else seems futile and trivial. For the realization of this wasl the ashiq is prepared to forego everything else.
Except for wasl everything is useless.One wasl in exchange for one hundred worlds is gracioulsy accepted.
You ask me "What is entry into Heaven?"
Meeting with the Friend is itself entry into Heaven.


5. Development
Wherever Allah's grace is directed, things begin to flourish. In contrast (spiritual) withering away indicates Allah's indifference.
What this season of autumn? It is only His veiling.
If he casts His grace, it would soon be spring.



6. Ecstacy
When the Beloved showers His blessings, a sincere ashiq cries. These are not tears of sorrow but tears of joy. Both the happiness and sadness of love are expressed through tears. The heart of man is made of flesh, while the gaze of the Beloved affects even stone.
A beautiful being glanced in my direction,
Now I can only sigh - speechless and bedazzled.
What fault is it of mine? My heart is but a piece of flesh,
His gaze would make a hole even in stone.



7. Separation
The heart of a sincere ashiq is torn apart by separation and he can never find any solace in this condition.
O Beloved, my heart is mad about You,
Without worry, come into Your home, it is indeed Your home.
Sweeter You are to me than sugar and honey,
From your separation, my heart is torn to pieces,
And these pieces were made for You.



8. Insignificance
Worldly objects do not attract the heart of the sincere ashiq, nor does he give these things any importance. Compared with the pleasure of Allah and of reaching Him, this decadent world has no significance.


9. Obsession
If anyone advises the sincere ashiq that obsession is not appropriate he considers this person his enemy. In fact, he wishes that this person would catch a glimpse of the beauty and splendor of the True Beloved, so he too would become insane with love.
They ridicule my love for You.O Beloved, cast a slight glance upon them too.
So they become like me, mad for You.


10. Measure
For a sincere ashiq, his Beloved is the only criterion by which he gauges his friends and foes. If his own enemy were to fall in love with the Beloved he would begin to regard him as a friend. If someone were to have no affection for his True Beloved, then he would regard him a foe.


11. Comfort
The ashiq finds comfort in the remembrance of his Beloved. By taking His name again and again, his heart gains peace.
How much peace is attached to this name of Yours,
Comfortable sleep can be found on a bed of thorns.



12. Remembrance
An ashiq cannot imagine one moment of his life devoid of the remembrance of his Beloved. His waking moments are full of thoughts of Him and his sleep is full of dreams of Him.


13. Thirst
Love for Allah is such that even if continuously sipped glass after glass, neither the thirst of the ashiq would be quenched nor the drink diminished.
I die when I think of You, then I come back to life,
If the water of Your wasl did not exist, I would not be alive.
Hope keeps me alive and desire kills me,
For you how many times have I lived, how many times have I died.
I drink love, cup after cup,
Yet the drink does not diminish, nor am I quenched.



14. Eagerness
The name of the Beloved always remain in the heart of an ashiq and the conception of Him always lingers before his eyes. Thus, the heart and eyes of an ashiq always remain eager for the Beloved.
I have a Friend whose thoughts remain before my eyes,
and whose name is hidden in my heart.
When I remember Him, my entire body becomes my heart,
And when I look at Him, my entire body becomes my eyes.



15. Consolation
When a sincere ashiq senses that his every sigh and lament is reaching his Beloved, his heart gains consolation.
The heart of an ashiq finds contentment in the fact
That he has sent his sighs to the heavens.



16. Progression
An ashiq advances toward his Lord with each tear. Just as distances in the physical world are crossed by foot, distances in the spiritual world are traversed by the shedding of tears.


17. Tearfulness
The condition of an ashiq is truly worthy of pity. When there is separation, he cries craving for nearness (wasl). And when there is wasl, he cries in profound gratitude. Perhaps intense love ('ishq) and crying go hand in hand.
To cry is the duty of the ashiq,
Without crying there is no acceptance.
Whether the heart cries or whether the eyes cry,
In love crying is necessary.
Some cry to see You, others cry at seeing You,
In profound love one must cry, whether in wasl or in distance.



18. Verbal Praise
When the eyes are in constant search of the Beloved and the heart is flooded with His love, the tongue of the ashiq remains engaged in singing His praise.
Your image is in my eyes and your remembrance on my lips,
Your abode is in my heart, so where can You hide?



19. Constant Reflection
When the sun rises, the ashiq is reminded of his Beloved. When it sets, he is reminded of his Beloved. When an ashiq sits with friends he speaks of his Beloved. And were he to receive an invitation to meet his Beloved, he would go walking on his head.
By Allah the sun does not rise nor set,
but that You are in my heart and in my thoughts.
I do not sit in the gathering of friends,
but that You are my conversation among the people.
I do not remember You in grief or joy,
but that Your love is woven into my breath.
I do not intend drinking water in thirst,
but Your image I envision in the glass.
If I had the strength to come,
I would, dragging my face or walking on my head.


20. Sincerity
When muslims perform acts of worship (ibadat) they are motivated by the reward (thawab) they will receive for their righteous deeds. Although this is a noble objective, the condition of the ashiq is extraordinary. He does everything purely for the pleasure of his Beloved.


21. Renewing Fervor
Allah states: "Every day there is a new glory for Him." (55:29). The beauty of the Beloved gains new luster and charm with each passing day. In response the love in the heart of the sincere ashiq also grows in fervor and adds dimensions. There is neither a limit to the beauty of Allah nor a limit to the intense love of the ashiq. Thus, there remains no possibility of being attracted toward another. In the words of a poet:
My love is You, my companion is You.
My religion is You, my faith is You.
My body is You, my soul is You.
My heart is You, my life is You.
My kaabah, qiblah, masjid, pulpit and Quran are You.
My worship - hajj, alms, prayer, fasting and adhan are You.
My remembrance is You, my reflection is You.
My pleasures are You, my existence is You.
My support, hopes, and trust are You.
My religion and faith are You, my honor is You.
My shame is with You and my glory is with You.
My pains, sorrows, tears and laughter are You.
My pain is You and my respite is You.
My reasons for my happiness are You.
My reasons of comfort are You.
My beauty and youth are You.
O Farid, if only the Friend accepts you, then you are the king and you are the ruler.


22. Establishment of the night vigil
The sincere ashiq longs to intimately converse with his Beloved. There is no better time for this than during the darkness of night. Therefore, it becomes the habit of the ashiq to wake at the time of the night vigil (tahajjud prayer) to delight in its secrecy and to win over the Beloved through his sighs and tears.
O sleeping Farid, awake and sweep out the masjid,
You are sleeping and the Lord is awake!
How will your friendship continue?


23. Humility
In spite of his nightly worship (ibadah) a sincere ashiq never feels he has done as much as he should. Even a dog remains awake at night guarding its master's home. As such, he does not regard spending the night awake as any great accomplishment.
You remain awake at night and are called 'Shaykh',
the dog that remains awake at night is better than you.
It eats bland, dry food and sleeps during the day under the tree shade.
It is better than you.
It leaves not the doorstep of its master, even if beaten a hundred times.
It is better than you.
O ingrate, you sleep upon a soft bed, whilst the dog sleeps on stone.
It is better than you.
Rise and win over your Friend,
Otherwise, the dog will have outdone you.
Another poet stated it differently:
By spending the nights awake, do not presume
That you have attained the ranks of the awliya.
Brother, a dog spends its nights awake on guard.
It remains awake in exchange for a small morsel of food,
Whilst you have received thousands of blessings.
The dog has outdone you. O faqir, hang your head in shame.
Erase yourself until effaced. O faqir, efface yourself until erased.


24. Appreciation
The ashiq even regards the sadness inflicted upon him by his Beloved as better than any (worldly) happiness.
Even your grief is very dear to me,
As it is something given by Thee.
The more the Beloved rebukes the ashiq, the more the ashiq's zeal increases. At times, in this state of immersion (in love) the ashiq even proclaims, 'Is there more?' (hal min mazid?)


25. Vitality
When Allah bestows His attentive gaze, the world resounds with vitality. When this happens anyone could lose themselves.
Do not raise a finger against those entranced in their captivation.
Look, is there any sense to be found even in a sensible one?


26. Pleasure
An ashiq finds such pleasure in talking about the Beloved that his heart desires to speak of Him all the time. If he finds a friend whose heart is also full of such passion, then what remains? Both spend their time merrily.


27. Yearning
When the ishq of an ashiq is enflamed by the remembrance of the Beloved, his heart yearns to see the Beloved.
Lift the veil and reveal Yourself. I have come to see Your face.


28. Struggle
The ashiq tries to restrain his feelings and emotions. In this struggle, his entire life is spent.
Day and night is a struggle between desire and supressing desire.
My heart agonizes me, and I agonize my heart.


Read the entire book at
Tasawwuf.org

Friday, June 26, 2009

I am my father's secret























Bismillah.

Ismail bin Jan (1935-1995) - my dearest father was regarded by his friends as 'the king of men'; acknowledged by the state of Sarawak for his dedicated service to its people and awarded medals for his bravery while serving in the army. But a bigger medal this sergeant truly deserves is from Allah s.w.t for having inspired no fewer than 200 people to embrace Islam. May the Lord accept his deeds.

A son who turned down an offer to study religion in Egypt because there was no one to look after his mother. A husband who enjoyed cooking for his wife. A father who insisted on preparing sahur and iftar meals for the family each Ramadhan that he was with us.

The one who taught me to love the alim ulama (religious scholars) and contemplate on the wisdom behind each event. The one whose secrets are within me.

O Abah, I long for the day when I would be circumambulating the Kaabah and walking up Safa & Marwah again, all for your sake. And this favorite girl of yours have also recited some 70,000 La ilaha illAllah for you. May Allah accept these gifts from me to you and raise you to a higher heavenly realm bi-iznillah. May Allah refrain from punishing you on account of my previous wrong doings. May you be happy to know that this note is written while I am in a spiritual retreat, so rest assured that your little baby has changed for the better. May your soul dwell in the abode of the solehin, peacefully, until we reunite for eternity. Ameen. Al-Fatihah.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fruits of friendship

Bismillah.

O son, you must repent from keeping a bad company. If you wish to know who you are, look at your friends. Are they God-fearing, seeking food for the soul and useful knowledge OR are they busy feeding their stomach and ego excessively? Repent from associating with people who drag you into useless affairs.

Listen to this advice from Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani: "Keep your distance from evil companions. Put an end to the friendship between you and them, and establish a connection between you and righteous folk (as-salihun) Avoid near neighbors if he happens to be one of those bad companions, and get in touch with someone far away if he happens to be one of those who make good friends. Whenever you relate to someone on affectionate terms, a form of kinship will develop between the pair of you, so take a good look at anyone you befriend. When a certain wise man was asked the meaning of kinship (qaraba) he said: Loving friendship (mawadda)."

Be strong, know when to say no and withdraw from bad association. It does not matter if he is popular or has thousands of followers. It does not matter if he could impress people with his religious philosophies; if he influenced you to do satanic acts or deeds that are against the Qur'an and sunnah, then he is as good as Satan, period! So beware of the jinn and shayatin wearing the mask of men.

Pray: 'Robbi habli hukman, wa alhiqni bis solehin' - 'O Lord, give me wisdom and enjoin me with the righteous.' And when you put a stop and repent from being close to evil companions, stick to your repentance because our father al-Jilani has said 'the important thing is not your mere repentance but you sticking to it. The important thing is not that you plant a seed, but that it should take root, put out branches and yield fruit.'

May Allah protect you from evil men and decorate your life with genuine friends who love one another for the sake of Allah.


Whoever is sitting with friends
is in the midst of a flower garden,
though he may be in the fire.
Whoever sits with an enemy is in the fire,
even though he is in the midst of a garden.
- Jalaluddin Rumi



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Rejab 1430 Hijrah


Bismillah.

O son, Alhamdulillah I have just came out from a short suluk riadah on this first day of Rejab. The picture above is the 'cave' I run to every now and then. May you follow in the footsteps of my gurus and our great elders in practising periodic seclusion with the intentions to purify the heart, repent and seek nearness to Allah. May Allah increase our tawfik so we could gear up our amal ibadat especially during this auspicious month. May we be given long life and good health awaiting Shaaban and the holy month of Ramadhan InshaAllah. Here's the du'a to read in Rejab as taught by Shaykh Hisham Kabbani.

Allahumma inni astagfiruka min kulli ma tubtu lahu ilayka summa ‘udtu fih. Wa astagfiruka min kulli ma aradtu bihi wajhika wa khalatani fihi ma laysa fihi ridak. Wa astagfiruka linni`am allati taqawwaytu biha `ala ma’siyatik. Wa astagfiruka min azzunub allati la ya`lamuhu gayruka wa la yattali`u `alayha ahadun siwak wa la yasa`uha illa rahmatika wa la tunji minha illa magfiratuka wa hilmuk. La ilaha illa Anta Subhanaka inni kuntu min azzalimin.Allahuma inni astagfiruka min kulli zulmin zalamtu bihi `ibadak. Fa ayyama `abdin min `ibadika aw amatin min ima’ika zalamtu fi badanihi aw `irdihi aw malihi fa atihi min khaza’inik allati la tanqus. Wa as’aluka an tukrimani birahmatik allati wasi`at kulla shay’in wa la tuhinani min ‘azabika wa ta`tiyani ma as’aluka fainni haqiqun birahmatika ya arhamur rahimin. Wa sallAllahu `ala Sayiddina Muhammadin wa `ala alihi wa sahbihi ajma`in. Wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billahil Aliyyul Azim.

O Allah, I ask forgiveness of You for everything for which I repented to You then returned to. And I ask forgiveness of You for everything I displeased You with and all that concerns me with which You are displeased. And I ask forgiveness of You for the favors which I used for increasing my disobedience towards You. And I ask forgiveness of You for the sins which no one knows except You and no one sees except You and nothing encompasses except Your Mercy and nothing delivers from (the sins) except Your forgiveness and clemency. There is no God except You alone. You are the Most High, and I was one of the [self] oppressors! O Allah, I ask forgiveness of You for the injustice I committed against Your servants. Whatever of Your male or female servants whom I have hurt, physically or in their dignity or in their property. Give them of Your bounty which lacks nothing. And I ask You to honor me with Your mercy which encompasses all things. Do not humble me with Your punishment but give me what I ask of You, for I am in great need of Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful. May Allah send blessings upon Muhammad and upon all his companions. There is no power and no might except in Allah the High, the Exalted.

Ameen.

33rd Discourse of Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani

Bismillah.

O son, first things first, the correct way to pronounce his last name is Ji-lani and not Jai-lani. Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki pointed out this common mistake among Malaysians. Oh well, I have mis-pronounced this holy name for like a thousand times until last sunday.

This extract is taken from 'Al-Fath ar-Rabbani' a book I borrowed from my dear Ustaz Shamsul.

It was in the guesthouse, in the early morning of Sunday, the 23rd of Jumadal Akhira, A.H. 545 that Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (1077 - 1166 CE) said:

To see one who loves Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is to see one who has seen Allah with his heart, who has entered His presence with his innermost being (sirr). Our Lord is a visible entity. As the Prophet s.a.w has said: 'You will see your Lord as you see the sun and the moon, not disputing amongst yourselves the fact that you see him.'



Today, He is seen with the eyes of their hearts, tomorrow with the eyes in their heads:
'There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. (Quran 16:11)

Those who love Him are content with Him to the exclusion of all others. To Him alone they turn for help. For them bitterness of poverty becomes the sweetness of doing without this lower world, of being content with Him and enjoying affluence with Him.

Their wealth is in their poverty, their comfort in their affirmities, their friendship in their loneliness, their nearness in their remoteness, their relaxation in their weariness. How blessed are you, O patient ones, O contented ones, O you who pass beyond your lower selves (nufus) and your passionate desires (ahwiya)!

O my people! Adapt yourselves to Him, and gladly accept His workings within you and in others. Do not preen yourselves and pit your minds against the One who is more expert than you. Allah has said: 'Allah knows and you know not.' (Quran 2:232)

Stand before me bankrupt of all your intellect and all your intellect and all your acquired knowledge. To obtain His knowledge, let your minds go blank and make no willful choice. Be helpless at His dsiposal, till knowledge comes to you. Bewilderment first, then awareness second, then thirdly arriving at the facts. The intention, then reaching the intended goal. The wish, then achievement of the desired purpose.

Take heed and act accordingly, for I am twisting your cords. I am twisting your slack cords and reconnecting those that have been split. I have no concern but your concern. I have no anxiety but your anxiety. I am a bird; I glean wherever I alight. The serious business has to do with you, O stones discarded, O cripples overburdened, shackled to your lower selves, fettered by your whims and passions!
O Allah, on me have mercy, and on them have mercy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani on 'Three States of Matter'


Bismillah.

The Divine asks us to “...enter houses through their proper doors” (2:189). For every door there is a key, and the key for unlocking the door to the heart is through obedience to the Divine will. “Obey God, obey the Prophet(s) and obey those charged with authority over you.” (4:59) We are asking, and always Mawlana Shaykh is teaching us, to be under the shade of these three trees of authority. They are like mighty oaks which protect us from the storms and floods of this life. In times of natural disasters, when floods and tsunamis are washing everything away, what remains are the trees. And you see many times on the news that people who are able to reach and hold on to the trunk of a tree are able to survive the flood. Mawlana is teaching us that if we hold to these three mighty trees we will quickly reach to our Lord’s satisfaction. As Prophet Jesus[as] taught in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” For the gnostic and the knower of these Heavenly realities, this supplication encompasses the entire spiritual path, which is to surrender our will back to God. This comes through obedience to the Divine, and obedience opens servant hood, because a servant must obey their Master. But what is standing in our way is our ego. Therefore, tariqat/Sufism teaches that the highest level to achieve is not a PhD or a lawyer or an engineer. The highest level is to become a servant. It is most difficult on the ego and it is most pleasing in Divine Presence. God is saying, “I gave you free will. Now give it back to me,” and that is the test of our life, to give back our free will out of love for the Creator. This concept, “obedience to God's will”, is the religion that all Prophets brought to humanity. That is why all Prophets were saying, “Sami'na wa ata'na” (2:285), which means “we hear and we obey”. Who do we obey? “Obey God, obey the Prophet (s) and obey those charged with authority over you.” (4:59)

These three levels of obedience teach us a great deal about the Sufi path because God’s first command is to obey Him, and Sufism comes and teaches us to step back and humble ourselves and realize that we can never truly obey God. That is why Sufism is a way of humbleness. It comes against pride and it comes against arrogance by pointing out to us that we are in need of support, and by teaching us that there is an etiquette in how we approach the Divine Presence. We must “...enter houses through their proper doors” (2:189). Don’t think that you can obey God’s command so easily. That was a station for the Prophets, not for us. They were hearing and speaking with the Divine, and we are not hearing and speaking with the Divine. But the ego is so quick to say, “I don’t need to listen to anyone. I don’t need anyone else’s advice. I can connect directly to God.” God knows that we are a weak creation, constantly sinning and making mistakes. If we had to obey Him directly all of us would be in grave danger because we are not obeying. Therefore, we must show some humbleness in our approach. We are not Prophets, and we do not take our orders directly from the Divine, therefore we must seek to obey those who do. “O ye who believe! Do your duty to God, seek the means of approach unto Him” (5:35). Don't approach God directly saying “I am who I am!” Don’t overstep your authority and ask to connect directly to God. That is ok in the beginning, but not when you are seeking to advance. Satan also wanted a direct connection and he was very advanced! He didn’t accept Adam’s authority and so he refused to bow, and for that he was thrown out of Paradise even though for 70,000 years he was in complete worship of the Divine. The Divine is teaching you that there is an etiquette involved in dealing with the King. You can’t just walk up and start speaking. There is a particular way to approach the thrown. You must keep your eyes down. You may have to drop to your knees, and if the King appoints someone to represent him and vests authority in that person, you can’t say, “No, I don’t accept.” If that is the protocol for Kings in this world, what about the owner of the throne in Paradise? So Mawlana is saying, “lower yourself. Don’t place yourself on the level of Prophets. That is very dangerous.” Then God gives us another way by asking us to obey the Messenger(s), and He also says,“He who obeys the Messenger obeys Me.” (4:80). God is saying “look to the Messenger(s). I have sent him to you to teach you how to obey Me.” Prophet(s) is in complete submission to the Divine – he has no will of his own. Therefore, he acts as a mirror reflecting the Divine Presence towards creation. However, Prophet(s) is not with us, so how can we imitate his perfection? By obeying those charged with authority over us. That means spiritual and temporal authority. You must obey the police, the Mayor, the Governor, the Prime Minister and anyone who has been placed in a position of authority because who gave them that authority? The Divine! If it was not written and destined for that person to have that job, how could it happen? Tariqa comes to perfect our faith and learn to accept God’s will. That opens the spiritual reality, because there is a spiritual government just like there is a government in this material world. So if you must obey material authority, it means you must also obey spiritual authority, and there are Saints with different ranks and stations in that spiritual government who are inheriting from the Prophets. If you find them and follow them you will be in safety because they are on authority and that authority is coming directly from Divine presence. As Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said,“O my son, you have to sit with the Sufis because they are like a fountain of knowledge. They recite the remembrance of God in their hearts. They are the ascetics, and they have the most spiritual power. I do not know any people better than them.” Saints are inheriting from the perfection of Prophet(s). Through spiritual training and constant remembrance of God, they have purified their hearts of all imperfections in character and in worship. It means that their hearts have become like mirrors. “Hold tight to the rope of God and do not separate.” (3:103) Whereas Prophet(s) is a mirror reflecting the Divine Light towards the Saints, the Saints in-turn are receiving the light of Prophet(s) and reflecting it towards humanity in our time. The Saints of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain are inheriting that light from Prophet(s) through the lineage of 40 Grandshaykhs, beginning with Sayedena Abu Bakr(r) and reaching us today with Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and His Deputies Shaykh Hisham and Shaykh Adnan. That lineage is like a rope reaching seekers in the 21st century and guiding them on their journey towards the Divine.

Are You Chasing After The Material World - Who's Riding Hu?
Unfortunately, people today are no longer following Saints - they are only following their egos. Instead of riding your ego it is riding you. It is a strange phenomenon because in every aspect of our material lives we seek out experts. If we want to become a doctor, we go to medical school. If we want to become a lawyer we go to law school. In everything we do in life, we must learn from a teacher. You cannot open a practice without that stamp of approval on your wall that says you have been tested and verified as a real doctor by this school – it is not allowed. But you ask people today what school are you taking your spirituality from, they say “there is no need for that. I can read the Holy Books myself and come to my own conclusions.” For some reason, when it comes to spirituality many people reject the concept of learning from a master and follow their ego instead. But the Saints are teaching us that in dealing with life's difficulties and trials, it is important to constantly be guided and inspired by people more pious than ourselves.“O ye who believe, fear God and keep the company with those who are truthful.” (9:119)

Three States of Matter and the Shams al-Tabriz
“Obey God, obey the Prophet(s) and obey those in authority.” (4:59) These three levels of obedience are also symbolic of the 3 states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. The Divine is like the gaseous state: we can't see it, we can't taste it and we can't smell it. In our physical, solid form it is impossible for us to interact with gas, and that is why God is saying “obey Prophet(s)”. Prophet(s) is symbolic of the liquid state which, like the gaseous state, is impossible to follow because it has no form. Obedience to Prophet(s) is like trying to hold liquid in our hand. Since we are solid we must find those with form to guide us. It means we must seek out a spiritual guide that we can learn from, one who is inheriting from the spirituality of the Prophet(s).We are solid ignorance, we are in need of solid faith/Qutub.

These are the Saints who are dressed with the perfection of Prophet(s) because they are reflecting his light. Therefore, when we look to them we see the reality of Prophet(s), just as the essence of liquid remains in its solid form. Through the Saints we begin to be dressed with the attributes of servant hood that Prophet(s) exemplified, and through servanthood we may enter the Divine Presence. To be a servant means to be nothing, to be gaseous. When we are trying to enter as something and someone it means that we are still in a solid state, but you can’t have form in Divine Presence. To be in the presence of God, Almighty and Exalted, you must lose your form like binary code. Binary code is made-up of a series of 1’s and 0’s. 1 means you are “on” and symbolizes your form. 0 means you are off; you are in non-manifest-existence; you are in a gaseous state. You must annihilate and efface your physicality if you are to reach the presence of the 1, which is the oneness of the Divine. It means you must become like a gaseous state, like a 0, complete effacement in the Divine reality. For matter to change states there must be a catalyst which creates a change within that existing state. For example, for a solid to become liquid requires tremendous heat. In Sufism that catalyst is the spiritual Mentor, the Shams al-Tabriz. According to a verbal tradition, once while Rumi was reading next to a large stack of some books, Shams Tabriz, passing by, asked Rumi, "What are you doing?" Rumi scoffingly replied, "Something you cannot understand." On hearing this, Shams threw the stack of books into a nearby pool of water. Rumi hastily took the books out of the water, but to his surprise they were all dry. Rumi then asked Shams, "What is this?" To which Shams replied, "Mowlana, this is what you cannot understand." Shams al-Tabriz was the name of Jalaludin Rumi's (q) teacher and his name refers to the highest point of energy. “Shams” means sun in Arabic, referring to the fact that the heart of Shams al-Tabriz was like the sun - lit with the light of guidance. Tab-Riz means Highest point of Heat. When Mawlana Rumi met Shams he was very firm and very scholarly. It means he was in a solid state, and he needed Shams al-Tabriz to melt him into a liquid state because to understand the knowledge of Saints requires a transformation. We cannot understand with book knowledge only. Like the letter of the law without knowing the Spirit of the Law – it is like trying to fit a square-block through a round hole.

Realities of Saints
There is an important hadith of Prophet(S): Allah’s Messenger(S) said, “When Allah(SWT) created the Earth it began to oscillate, so He created the Mountains, ordered them onto it, and it became steady. The angels marveled at the strength of the Mountains and asked their Lord whether there was anything in His creation stronger than the Mountains, to which he replied that Iron was stronger. They asked if anything in His creation was stronger than Iron, and He replied that Fire was. They asked if anything in His creation was stronger than Fire, and He replied that Water was. They asked if anything in His creation was stronger than Water, and He replied that Wind was.”

As an aside, this Hadith specifies the stages of personal progress and spiritual achievement. "And the mountains as pegs" (78:7). The Mountains refer to the Awliya, the Saints of God, who through great firmness of faith reach a station that corresponds with that which stabilizes the Earth, i.e. they balance the universe with their positive light and energy. The Mountain is unshakeable, solid and stable, and perfectly describes the rank of the Friends of God and of Prophet(S). Through their further development and evolution, and the application of spiritual power, Awliya then become Iron – absolutely firm and unbreakable. Iron not from the Earth but Heavenly sent. The next stage is Fire, wherein the Saint’s essence burns and is ignited with the flame of Divine Power from the Presence of God, a state that may melt even Iron. Afterwards, the Saint’s being and container becomes Water, a fluid mountain which responds automatically and instantaneously to the will of the Divine, and which may douse even Fire. This corresponds to a state wherein one is completely melted and annihilated in Bahr ul-Qudra, the Ocean of Power wherein all creation swims. Lastly, Awliya may reach the station of Wind, pure Prophetic Essence, subtle, ethereal, completely without mass – pure Divine Will. In Every Moment in (new) Splendor doth He (shine)! (55-29)

The Shams al-Tabriz exists in every time, symbolizing the Saints who can melt our ego through the power of their heart. They can melt us into a liquid state because they have the ability to intensify energy. In Classical Islam there are many examples of how the Grandshaykhs would melt ice or heat water just from their body heat. For example, during his seclusions Grandshaykh Abdullah al-Fa’izad-Daghestani used to use his spiritual power to melt a bucket of snow so that he could make ablution. This shows us that Saints are able to create a tremendous amount of spiritual heat, and through that secret they are also melting their followers to take them towards liquid and gaseous states. The Saints teach us how to become servants, and that process begins to melt the ego. In that process of melting we scream and struggle because our ego, our identity and who we think we are, begins to burn in that fire. It wants us to escape the fire. It doesn’t accept to be nothing and to be burned away, but spiritual Masters are teaching us to jump into the fire like the story of Prophet Abraham (as) who jumped into the fire of Nimrod. We said, "O Fire! be thou cool, and a means of safety for Abraham!"(The Prophets 21:69) All of the Prophets have something to teach us. The story of Prophet Abraham (as) is teaching us that when you are lost in that love, throw yourself into the fire. Fear of that fire symbolizes fear of faith, but it is all an illusion. That fear is making us run away from faith and from spiritual practices. It makes you think that if you become spiritual you are going to be burned, but the reality is the opposite. When you move towards faith, what appeared to you as a fire is actually cool and peaceful once you are inside it. The Divine is showing you that instead of running away, you should move into the fire. That fire will burn our bad character, but once the bad character goes that fire becomes a fire of love and it is all-consuming. Then when the Saints have melted us, we enter a liquid state and we become like water. Water symbolizes submission having a flowing quality without harshness or abrupt breaks.

Whether you are poured into a bottle or into a cup, it no longer matters. How do we reach to that liquid state? Submit! Submit to everything by seeing every event in your life as coming directly from God, because every event and every test in our life is like a fire. Every time your boss yells at you, it represents that fire. The question is, do you fight fire with fire? Or do you throw water on the fire? It means, do you show no ego by saying “thank you”? Answer back with love, not anger, and throw water on the fire. The more we can put down our ego and respond with love, means the faster Saints can melt us into that liquid state. That is why, in the meditation you may feel your entire body heating up. Saints are releasing that energy and literally melting you into that liquid state. That liquid state occurs through love, as only love can melt the heart. When you are in a liquid state, it means you are submitting your will to the Divine will. Once you are in that state you will be quickly ascending because you are no longer fighting the Divine will. But in your physical form, the ego is struggle against Heavenly orders, making it incredibly difficult to accomplish one command from the Divine. If you are told to pray, your ego makes you to skip it. If you are supposed to meditate, your ego tells you to watch television instead, and this becomes the biggest delay to our progress. But as we move into a liquid state under the training of our spiritual Mentor, the process begins to speed up because the ego is submitting. Water flows in whatever direction the earth takes it. It doesn’t decide where it wants to go. The student in that liquid state must be the same, flowing in whatever direction the Divine is sending them. In that state of submission and obedience to the Divine will, Saints are able to quickly take us to the Divine Presence because to move from liquid to a gaseous state is faster.

The most difficult part is to melt the physicality because it burns the ego, but once we are in submission the Saints can increase their energy and boil us into that gaseous state very quickly. Only in that gaseous state can we understand and truly experience Divine Love. We must be careful, however, because without spiritual practices we will not be able to withstand the heat. Those practices and disciplines are not empty or without purpose. They provide protection for us in our ascension to the Divine Presence, and it is extremely important that we do them. To enter into a gaseous state means that you have reached annihilation and completely effaced yourself in the light of your Mentor, in the light of the Prophet(s) and in the light of the Divine Presence. In that state of non-Manifestation the soul has the most power. It becomes free to travel and move anywhere at the speed of light, because gas is the most diffuse of all the states of matter. In the solid form, the physicality puts roots into the soul. The liquid and gaseous states, however, symbolize the increasing control of the soul over the physicality and its ability to move independently of the physical form. This is one of the secrets of the Shams al-Tabriz, which is currently manifesting through the Saints of the Most Distinguished Naqshbandi Order.

Source: Sufilive
Pic credit: Haqqani Fellowship
 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bury, bury, bury


Bismillah.

Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity,
for whatever sprouts forth,
without having first been buried,
flowers imperfectly.

(Wisdom No. 11, Hikam
Ibn Ata'illah)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Music is the food of the spirit


Bismillah.

Everything has its own food,
and music (sama') is the food of the spirit.
- Nasrabadi in Attar:Tadhkirat, 793

*******
When many melodic arrangements and spiritual harmonies
- that is to say, music -
are evoked within someone,
his nature comes to prefer them over all else.
Thus, when a person listens to harmonious melodies
which allude to those archetypal meanings relating to heart-savor
and to the realities of divine Unity,
his whole being inclines to these things,
each limb receiving its own individual delight.
Hence, while the ear hearkens to the subtleties of the harmonies of the Infinite,
the eye apprehends the concordance of movement,
the heart the subtleties of ideas,
and
reason ('aql) knows rapture of the harmonies of the Infinite.
- Ahmad Tusi: Bawariq, 121-122
From ' The Wisdom of Sufism' Compiled by Leonard Lewisohn.
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Picture : Haqqani Mawlid Ensemble performing for Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, KL Malaysia, May 2009.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ask, let go and let God

Bismillah.

If in spite of intense supplication,
there is delay in the timing of the Gift,
let not that be the cause for your despairing.
For He has guaranteed you a response
in what He chooses for you,
not in what you choose for yourself,
and at the time He desires, not the time you desire.
- Ibn Ata'illah as-Sakandari

O Lord,
You know our plea
You know what we conceal
You know what we reveal
while waiting for Your Divine Decree
We shall sing and be merry, let our souls heal and the hearts be free...



'DEVOTIONS' - music CD by Haqqani Maulid Ensemble. Price: RM10.00. Contact Haqqani KL Zawiya: +603 20962124. List of songs: Qul Ya Azim/Selawat Badar/Kelalang/Ya Imamarusli/Ayyuhal Mushtaq/Ibadallah/Allah Allah Malana (my fave!)/Ya Nabi/Selawat Nabi.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Discovering Salawat Imam Ibn Mashish

Bismillah.

O son, ask and you shall be given.

When I first heard the meanings of Salawat Imam Ibn Mashish, my heart melted and expanded as vast as an ocean. But the friend who read it out to me did not have the Arabic wordings. So I left with a deep sense of longing. A few days later, to my surprise, Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki revealed this salawat from his book 'Provision for the Akhirah'. Shaykh Fahmi, however refused to elaborate the meanings in detail because 'it is too deep' he said. So yesterday I went back to the friend who has the English meaning and pleaded her to give it to me. Alhamdulillah, here is the transliteration of salawat Ibn Mashish from Shaykh Fahmi's kitab, followed by its English meaning; they might not be a perfect match but still they are worthy of contemplation.

Allahumma solli 'ala man minhun shak khotil asraru
wan falakhotil anwaru
wa fi hir takhotil hakha-iq
wa tanaz zalat 'ulumu Adam
Fa 'aq jazal khala'iq
walahu tadho alatil fuhumu
Falam yudrik hu minna saabikhu wala la hikh
fariya dhul malakuti bizah ri jamalihi mu nikhotun
wahiya dhul jabaruti bifaidhi anwarihi mutadaffaqah
wala syai-a illa wahuwa bihi manuth
iz lau lal waasithotu lazahaba (kama fila) al mausuthu
solatan taliikhu bika minka ilaihi kama huwa ahluhu
Allahumma innahu sirrukal jami'ud dallu 'alaika
wahaja bukal 'aqzomul kho imu laka baina yadaika
Allahumma al hikhni binasabihi
wa haq qiqni bihasabihi wa'ar rifni iyyahu makrifatan aslamu biha min mawaaridil jahli
wa ak ro'uu biha min mawaridil fadhli
wah milni 'ala sabilihi ila hadhratika
hamlan mahfufan binus rotika
wakhzifbi 'alal baathili fa'ad maquhu
wa zujjabi fi bihaa ril ahadiyah
wan shilni min au haalit tauhidi
wa aqrikhni fi 'aini bahril wahdah
hatta la ara wala as ma'aa wala ajida wala uhissa illa biha
waj 'alil hijabal 'aqzoma hayaata ruuhi
wa ru hahu sirra haqiqati
wa haqi qotahu jaa mi'a 'awaa limi
bitah khi khil hak khil awwali
ya awwalu ya aaqiru ya zahiru ya batinu
is maq nidaa'i bima samiqta bihi nidaa'a 'abdika Zakaria
wansurni bika laka
wa aiyad ni bika laka
waj maq baini wabainaka
wahul baini wa baina qoirika
Allah, Allah, Allah
Innal lazi faradho 'alaikal Qur'ana lara aadduka ila ma'adin
Allah shower Your blessings upon him from whom burst open the secrets, and stream forth the lights, and in whom rise up the realities; And upon whom descended the sciences of Adam; by which all creatures are made powerless. And blessings upon him before whom all understanding is diminished. And none of us totally comprehend him whether in the past or the future. The garden of spiritual kingdom blossom honoredly with the resplendent of his beauty. And the reservoir of the world of dominion overflow with the outpouring of his light. There is nothing that is not connected to him. Because if there were no intercessor, everything to be interceded for would vanish as it is sad. So bless him with a prayer that is worthy of You from You as befit his stature. Allah indeed he is Your all encompassing secret that leads through You to You. And he is Your supreme veil raised before You between Your hands. O Allah, include me among his descendants and confirm me through his account and let me know him with deep knowledge that keeps me save from the well of ignorance so that I might drink to fullness from the well of excellence. And carry me on his path to Your presence; encompassed by Your victory and strike through me at the false so that I may destroy it. Plunge me into the sea of oneness and drown me in the essence of the ocean of unity, until I neither see nor hear nor find nor sense except through it. O Allah, make the supreme veil, the life of my spirit; And his soul the secret of my reality and his reality the conflux of my worlds through the realization of the first truth. Hear my call as you heard the call of your servant Zakaria; and grant me victory through You for You, And support me through You for You; And join me to You and come between myself and anything other than You. Indeed, he who ordained the Qur'an for You will return to the station of Your ultimate destiny.

I learned afterwards that Green Mountain School USA sells the above booklet at USD5.55. "The booklet contains both the Prayer of Sidi ‘ibn Mashish, the Shaykh of Sidi Abu-l-Hasan ash-Shadhdhuli, and the redaction upon it, composed by Shaykh Muhammad Abu-l-Mawwahib at-Tunisi, may Allah sanctify their secret. Sidi ‘ibn Mashish received this prayer from the Prophet s.a.w."

O son, that was my awkward journey in discovering this precious gem. May Imam Ibn Mashish take pity on me and shower his barakah so that I (and you) could memorize and practise it religiously. I look forward to a trip to Madinah al-Munawarah when I would be standing beneath the Holy Green Dome, addressing Rasulullah s.a.w with this salawat, with all my heart...InshaAllah.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shaykh Hisham Kabbani - 'Longing for the Divine'


Bismillah.
Shaykh Hisham Kabbani spoke at a gathering in Singapore on 'Longing for the Divine' where he cited Rabia Adawiya as a prime example of one who longs for the Divine.
Rabia said:
"I am busy. I am not alone. I am busy with the Divine. I am longing for the Divine. I am repenting day and night. My astaghfirullah needs another astaghfirullah to purify it. I am approaching nearer and nearer. The first astaghfirullah is not purified so I have to purify it. I have to keep making istighfar. When you move forward, you need to be more sincere in your istighfar."

Allah asks us to pray:
Robbana atina fiddunya hasanah
wa fil akhirati hasanah wa ghina aza bannar
Shaykh Hisham asked the audience 'what does hasanah mean?' One person responded 'goodness' and another said 'mercy'. So who is that hasanah? What is that rahmah (mercy)? What the du'a means is:
O Allah, give us in dunya, Muhammad. Let him look at us. Let us have his shafaat. Let him intercede for us. Allah has entrusted in Muhammad this privilege. And the Prophet has said: 'Whoever sees me in his dream will see me in reality. Reality means in dunya before akhirat. In akhirat everyone is going to see him.
Muhammad is the door to Allah. The Divine is longing for us. Allah is longing for His servants to come to Him. That is why He sent Muhammad. How to long for Him? Longing is to have that nice presence in your heart at any moment. Nurture that feeling of longing through voluntary worship and by going through the Prophet s.a.w. As such, salawat must be done continuously.

The Prophet s.a.w said to sahabah: "You are the lovers of Muhammad because you see me. They are my lovers because they don't see me yet they love me!" Therefore, Shaykh Hisham said, know your worth!
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Photo credit: Brother Rifat Ali of Haqqani Fellowship
Click here for
Lisan al-Din post on the need to have high aspirations in wanting to see the Prophet in one's dreams and eventually see him in person.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't be a heretic!

Bismillah.

O son, it is common for sufi aspirants to fall every now and then while traversing the Path, especially those who are ignorant who follow the ignorant. So beware from whom you acquire your knowledge. Knowledge (useful knowledge that is) must be sought from persons of the right character, those who display good adab. One who is truly knowledgable will have good manners inwardly, outwardly, in public and in private. Do not be easily deceived by a person's physical appearance, eloquence or title. I have been fooled by a few 'gurus', so listen to me!

Imam Malik said: "He who follows the path of Sufism while neglecting jurisprudence (syariat) is a heretic (zindiq) and he who learns jurisprudence while neglecting the path (tasawuf/haqiqat) commits transgression (fasiq)."

O son, I was at one point in time, misguided and became a heretic because I followed a preacher of haqiqat who left his syariat at home. I was at one point in time, led astray by a bogus guru who not only abandoned shariat but used malevolent magics on me. I was at one point in time, tricked by a 'saint' who blogs eloquently on mysticism and gnosis but talked me into doing the unthinkable when in private. I was at one point in time, misled by two 'shaykhs' who used their oratory skills to lure me into fulfilling their desires. I was at one point in time deluded by yet another 'shaykh' who wished to marry me for a few weeks! Astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, I forgive all of them. May Allah forgive them. May Allah pardon me for I must have been impure myself to have attracted such characters. May Allah save all of us and our future generations from heresy.

O son, the road to Allah is slippery. The risk for a female salik is even higher. So when I found the genuine murshids whom I have stuck by and whose teachings I share with you; you O son, you take heed and know the price I had to pay to find them.

Allahu Allah...keep us in Your protection dunya wal akhirah. O Rasulullah, help us, we are the children of akhiru zaman, shield us from all sorts of fitnah, grant us your shafaat now and in the hereafter. Allahumma solli ala Saidina Muhammad wa ala ali Muhammad...O Rasulullah, O Habibullah, O Nabi Allah...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Seasons of Our Lives

Bismillah.

O son, life is not a bed of roses they say. Wise men do not wish life to be a bed of roses. The wise see Him and His acts in both good times and bad times for he understands both are necessary and good for him. We are either seeing His attributes of Al-Qabdhu (contraction) or Al-Basthu (expansion) as we journey from one state to the other perpetually. If at present you are all smiles and gay, think of the next moment when He manifest His Al-Qabdhu nature to you. Embrace each season of our lives as it passes.














Rumi says:
When a feeling of spiritual contraction comes over you,
O traveler, it's for your own good.
Don't burn with grief,
for in the state of expansion and delight you are spending,
That enthusiasm requires an income of pain to balance it.
If it were always summer,
the sun's blazing heat would burn the garden
to the roots and depths of the soil.
The withered plants never again would become fresh.
If December is sour-faced, yet it is kind.
Summer is laughing, but yet it destroys it.
When spiritual contraction comes,
behold expansion within it;
be cheerful and let your face relax.

Observe the qualities of expansion and contraction
in the fingers of your hand;
surely after the closing of the fist comes the opening.
If the fingers were always closed or always open,
the owner would be crippled.
Your movement is governed by these two qualities;
they are necessary to you
as two wings are to a bird.

God turns you from one feeling to another
and teaches by means of opposites,
so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.
- Rumi
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Related Lisan al-Din's post: Seasons of my life University of Life

Monday, June 15, 2009

Be strong!





















Bismillah.

O son, it's easy for anyone to say 'be strong'. But understand that people's definitions of strong may not necessarily be the same. We follow the ways of the Prophet and the Sufi saints. Our beloved Rasulullah s.a.w. said: "The strong man is not one who is good at wrestling, but the strong man is one who controls himself in a fit of rage.'' (hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Most men would find Shaykh ad-Darqawi's advice below difficult if not impossible yet it is the Sufi way.

A strong man is one who rejoices to see that the world is slipping from his hands, leaving him and fleeing from him; who rejoices that people despise him, and speak ill of him and is satisfied with his knowledge of God. The Venerable Master, the Saint Ibn Ata-Illah says of this, in his Hikam: "If the fact that people turn away from you or speak ill of you causes you suffering, return toward the knowledge of God in you; if this knowledge is not sufficient, then lack of satisfaction in the knowledge of God is a far greater trial than that people speak ill of you. The purpose of this slander is that you should not rely on people; God wishes to bring you back from all things so that nothing may distract you from Him."

La haula wala quwata illa billah hil 'Aliyil 'Azim.
There is no power and no strength 
save with Allah, the High, the Great.
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Related Lisan al-Din's post: Don't take offense


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Prophet Muhammad on Cheerful Countenance

Bismillah.
"You will not be able to give anyone happiness by means of your wealth, so do it by means of
a cheerful countenance
and
good humor."
The Prophet Muhammad in Qushayri: al-Risalat al-Qusyairiyya.
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From: 'The Wisdom of Sufism' compiled by Leonard Lewisohn.
Photo credit: Brother Ishaq Muhammad - Haqqani Fellowship

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Shaykh Chilli and a pot of oil


Bismillah.

This world is like the house of Shaykh Chilli; when you throw away the burden then nothing onerous remains.
Once, somebody said to Shaykh Chilli. "This is a pot full of oil. Take it and deliver it to my house and I will give you one rupee."
Shaykh Chilli agreed. As he placed the pot upon his head and started walking he also started thinking: I shall buy a hen out of this one rupee. This hen will give me eggs which I can sell and then I will be able to buy a goat which will produce several kids and in no time at all I will have a heard of goats. I could then sell these and buy a good cow. With the cow's milk I will be able to increase my earnings; I will soon have both a herd of cows and goats and in this prosperity I shall then marry. Then I will have a son. He will learn to walk and soon, whenever I return home, he will run to me and ask, "Baba, Baba, what have you brought for me?" Then I shall become angry with him and say "Go away." He said these last words to himself with such vehemence that the pot of oil slipped from his head and shattered into pieces on the ground. Shaykh Chilli started crying. The owner of the pot complained,"What have you done? You have broken my pot." Shaykh Chilli said, "You are concerned only with your pot whereas the whole world slipped from me as that pot slipped."

If you reflect upon this parable then all tariqa (gnosis) is fully explained here. That single rupee was that name of God with which a disciple is instructed by the shaikh. From it issue all eggs, chicken, cows and goats. In other words, seekers go through stages unveiling and miracles, reflections and remembrances, aspirations and ecstacies - all these they need, but when the pot breaks into pieces, all this affair is scattered.

FROM: Solomon's Ring. The Life and Teachings of a Sufi Master by Gul Hasan. Translated from Urdu by Hasan Askari.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Allah's hand is over their hands

Bismillah.

"Those who pledge allegiance with you (by placing their hands in your hand) they, in fact, pledge allegiance with Allah. Allah’s hand is over their hands..." - Qur'an Al-Fath: 10

O son, it was Allah who planted the seed of admiration in my heart for this honorable prince 20 years ago. It's Allah who will that I renewed my pledge to Him through him last night. I would make a pledge with Him through 124,000 awliyas, 24 times a day if I could and I would get in 7,007 queues that could take me to Rasulullah s.a.w. if need be.



When the heart has seen the sweetheart, how can it remain bitter? When a nightingale has seen the rose, how can it keep from singing?

- Jalaluddin Rumi