Monday, April 1, 2013

Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki on Al-Hikam and the true Friend


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki was at Ba'alawi KL yesterday evening. May Allah grant him sihah and afiah and let's not ever take for granted his presence and teachings, this fatherly shaykh whom we all love.

He expounded on several aphorisms of Al-Hikam by Ibn Atha'illah as-Sakandari. The gist of the lessons is as below:

Had Allah not covered the imperfections of our worship/servitude, none of our amal (good deeds) would be accepted. Our worship [amal] is blemished, it's problematic, it's not pure. Allah covers up the flaws of our amal.

We learn from the Prophet the need to say istighfar immediately after solat, we say astaghfirullah three times. We must say istighfar even after having performed a good deed i.e. solat. Should Allah want to be strict with us, none of our good deeds would be counted. When we pray, our hearts roam everywhere. The portion which we are khusyuk (attentive) is negligible. So we try to pray in congregation and have at least 40 people praying so that Allah might accept our prayers. This is especially important for solatul janazah - prayer for the deceased.

The standard of our siyam (fasting) is like that of a primary/elementary school. Our fasting is categorized as awaam (general public) because we merely abstain from food and drinks. Our eyes, mouths etc. are not fasting as it should be. The elite (khawas) fast with all their 7 limbs. And the khawasal khawas (elite of the elite) their fasting is of the highest degree. For example, Saidatina Aishah. She was fasting when she was gifted with a big sum of money equivalent to $70,000. She immediately distributed all the money. When it was nearing iftar, she asked her maid what food was available for them. Apparently, they had nothing much for iftar except for some leftover bread. Shaykh Fahmi said, unlike us, we are always planning and preparing large meals for iftar, what more if we had plenty of money. 

The same goes with our hajj/umrah. Merciful is Allah who disregard our tainted amal. We tend to be proud and boast about our good deeds even though we cannot be sure if it would be accepted by Allah. How can we take pride in something which we do not do ourselves? We should always question our lower nafs. We should always doubt it by asking ourselves: am I really doing this for the sake of Allah? 

The following aphorism was about our needs for Allah's hilim (patience/forebearance) after having performed a good deed more than after having committed a bad deed. Those who commit vice are usually fearful of Allah and are ashamed of themselves. Those who perform a good act have the tendency to feel proud of themselves thinking it's a result of their own effort. They forgot that being able to do a good deed is a blessing from Allah due to hidayah and tawfik from Allah.

We cannot escape Allah's watching over us. We cannot hide from Him. He knows the bad intention behind an evil eye. If we were truly aware of our own misdeeds and shortcomings we would not bother talking about people's faults. There is a Malay saying describing people who could see the most minute flaw of others, no matter how remote/distant it is. Yet he/she is unaware and oblivious of his/her own big faults.

Shaykh Fahmi said, to think we are flawless, clean and unblemished is ujub (pride). It's even worse for someone who is dirty, yet believe he/she is clean. Saidina Ali karamallahu wajhah was one of those who were guaranteed a heavenly reward - the al ashrah. Still he spent the night praying telling his nafs: "Ya nafsi, ghurin ghayri." O nafs, go cheat other people, don't cheat me. Do not ever feel safe from the tricks of your desires. Imam Ghazali said: "To perform a good act is difficult". But to protect the rewards of a good act like solat, siyam and teaching is even more difficult.

The next aphorism was on the need to ask Allah to cover up/veil our shortfalls. There're two meanings to this, said Shaykh Fahmi. The awaam (the commoners) they ask Allah to hide their faults so that people may regard them as a clean/good person. For the khawas (the elite) whay they mean by asking Allah to cover up their faults is that they hope Allah would protect them from any possibilities of doing a bad deed. They are concerned about their reputation in the eyes of Allah, whereas the awaam, they are concerned about people's perception towards them. The awaam, they are impure but want to be seen as pure. The khawaas,  they are pure and want to avoid from falling into errors. The awaam, they have commited vice and want it veiled from people.

If or when people show respect towards you, they are not actually respecting you but it's due to how well Allah has covered up your flaws. Abdullah bin Mas'ud said: "If they knew my faults, they would not show me any respect." Indeed people do not in reality, respect our true realities. People simply respect/honor the garments/coverings which Allah has put in place so as to hide our flaws.

There's a story about a shaykh in Mesir who on one festive occassion had worn ordinary clothes instead of the dressings he's known for, being a shaykh. And people ignored him. He then realized that people only had respect for his outfit and not him as a person. So he said addressing his jubbah and turban: "Now you eat O jubbah, O turban, people have more respect for you than me!"

People are not aware of our akhlak mazmumah (negative traits). We must therefore, doubt and question it.

Moving on to the next aphorism, Shaykh Fahmi explained why Allah is our only true Friend. None shall befriend you, who is aware of your shortcomings yet is patient about it.

Allah is our true Friend because He is well aware of us, of our faults but He keeps helping us, always offering us His bounties. Therefore, He is the best person whom we should keep company.

There's a saying by Imam Ghazali: "If a person truly understand with what he/she commits a bad deed, the person would refrain from commiting the bad deed." For example: the eyes. It's a gift from Allah, so how can we use His gifts to do something that He forbids? That would tantamount to kufur of His blessings. Our mouth is a gift from Allah. Allah lends it to us yet we badmouth/backbite people. We just do not know how to be thankful. There are people who worship idols, yet Allah never forsake them. He feeds them. So do not be fooled by Allah's hilim (forbearance) thinking He will forgive us for all that.

We must have adab. If you have cats as pets at home, do not ever think your cats are depending on your rizq. The reverse might be true!

The sahabah received plenty of lessons/admonition for their adab. Saidina Umar got very furious when Hindun bt Utbah (Abu Sufiyan's wife) pledged to eat Saidina Hamzah's heart. A revelation came reminding Umar that he too was like that before, but Allah gave him the blessing of Islam. If we want Allah to forgive us, we must offer pardon to people if we're in the position to do so.

The sahabi (friend) who is most patient with our faults is noneother than Allah. But so little thanks we give. We perform ibadah and foolishly think we are doing Allah a favor. And Allah just keep giving us plenty of things.

The last aphorism expounded by Shaykh Fahmi was on the degree of certitude.

Shaykh Ibn Atha'illah said: 'If truly the light of certitude occupies your heart, you will see akhirah so near to you without you having to approach it.'

Shaykh Fahmi said, we will not be so lazy to work for akhirah if we are able to see how close it is to us in actual fact. Many of us think akhirah is far away. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam once said, 'I could see the heavens behind the mihrab (prayer niche).' Yakin (certitude) is a degree after iman. There are many people who have iman but so few have yakin. Those who have yakin, their certainty of a particular thing, shapes and influence their actions.

In reference to the third and fourth verse in Surah Al-Baqarah:

 ٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلٰوةَ وَممَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ
وٱلَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَآ أُنْزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِٱلآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ

"Who believe in the unseen, and are steadfast in salah (prayer) and spend out of what We have provided them; and who believe in what has been revealed to you and what has been revealed before you; and they have faith in the Hereafter."

Shaykh Fahmi said we must have yakin about Allah's reward for us in akhirah for a certain good deed we do. For example, in giving for charity, we must have faith that it is an investment for akhirah. That for every $10 we give away we don't lose that amount, but will only get more. We must have a good degree of certainty on the matters of akhirah.

Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.

The majlis ta'lim was hosted by:

No comments:

Post a Comment