Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, at the Sacred Path of Love 2013 event held in Singapore on 21st and 22nd of December, I listened for the first time tausiyah given by Shaykh Mendes.
He said: This event has been decreed in the knowledge of Allah. We being here at the same time is a decree of Allah. My teacher says to me: 'Always ask what is the meaning of your meeting. You never meet anyone by accident.'
Shaykh Mendes then went on to sing! Yes he sang a poem he said he wrote for his children; his mother and grandmother who have not yet embraced Islam; it's a poem he wrote to build bridges between Muslims. The melody was based on a well known Arabic qasidah - La ilaha illAllah Muhammad Rasulullah alaihi wa 'alih salAllah.
Some excerpts of the meaningful lyrics:
"For sick heart, it is the cure; for those who seek to be pure; it's the truth that shall endure, Lailaha illAllah."
"It will bring you inner peace; it will cure you from disease; it will fill your life with ease Lailaha illAllah."
Shaykh Mendes said, as mentioned in the last part of the poem, he wished and urged people to learn about some great Muslims like Imam Makandal who was a former slave who led the independence of Haiti; Imam Bukman, Tucson and Ella Collins who mentored Malcolm X (Haji Malik Shabazz).
Shaykh Mendes then began his proper tausiyah titled 'Restoring adab in freedom of speech. Safeguarding of tongues and hearts.' Quoting a hadith where the Prophet said "I leave you with a manhaj..." the shaykh said it is a road that is wide and radiant, we can't miss it. It is the path of Islam left by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). No one deviates it except one who is destroyed.
There are three major paths. Ulama tazkiyah or scholars of the heart said, the number of paths equals the number of breaths of creatures. Each has its own path, talent, purpose and gift. Imam Hussin said in summary those who worship Allah out of fear, their worships are worships of the slave. Those who worship Allah out of expectation for reward, their worship is like of the merchant. Those who worship Allah out of love and because He deserves to be worshiped, those are people who are free. They are liberated.
Imam Ghazali talked about fear (khauf) and hope (raja'). The fear of a Muslim is not the same as the fear of a muhsin (or a wali). The latter fear of not being near to Allah, of losing closeness to Allah. Prayer of a business man/woman is about counting the hasanah, about Jannah, thinking how many good deeds I'm getting. They are trapped by reward. Imam Hussin said there's something higher than that.
This event is called Sacred Path of Love. The Prophet loves Allah more than anything. His worship of Allah was motivated by love and gratitude. We know the hadith/story about Aishah asking the Prophet why he would pray a great deal and the Prophet answered: 'Should I not be thankful?'
Allah says in the Quran: "Say, if you love Allah, follow me. Allah will love you and forgive your sins." We always come out short. That is what it means to be human and yet Allah forgives our sins. He is loving. Ibn Arabi says in Tarjuman Ashwaq: 'My deen is the deen of love.' Rabiatul Adawiyah was an imam of love. Rumi embodied the path of love. But Rumi's teachings have suffered from bad translations. It is our responsibility to take back Rumi. People in America read more about Rumi than they do Shakespeare.
We learn from the Prophet that we should love Allah for His blessings for us and to love the Prophet because of our love for Allah; and to love the Prophet's family on account of our love for him. This is Islam. This is freedom.
Know that if you leave dunya, people will love you. The purpose of zuhud is to get you to love. What happens when Allah loves us? "Whoever harms the people loved by Allah, Allah will declare war on that person." You cannot simply run over people.
The Prophet [pbuh] treated his companions in a very special manner so much so that each one of them thought he's the most special. We are all one. Allah creates us with one nafs.
Allah says: When I love him, I am the hearing through which he hears. I am the vision through which he sees. I am the hand through which he grasps. And the feet through which he walks. If he asks, I give. When he seeks refuge in Me, I protect him.
This is what the path of love is all about. You ask, Allah gives. This is the path of Islam. Love comes with a price or mahar. The price of love according to Rumi is to lose yourself from attachment of yourself, of your ego i.e. self centeredness. Gain closeness to Allah through obligations of worship, through nawafil. It is about service/khidmah to humanity. This is the path of love.
Adab is a means of expressing love. It comes from the word maqdaba meaning banquet or walimah. The idea is when you attend a banquet there is adab so that everyone gets to have a fair experience. Islam is adab with Allah and with creatures of Allah. But there is a hierarchy. First is the Prophet (pbuh), then the angels, the jinn, human being, animals, plants, rocks - all unseen and the unseen.
I learned from Shaykh Ninowy that we should have adab before making a request as in the Surah Fatihah, we say iyakanaqbudu wa iya kanasta'in (Unto You we worship, unto You we ask for help).
Ibadah means makrifah. Every experience, bitter or sweet, every circumstances is a means to know Allah. Adab is the means to purify oneself, to build a relationship before asking Allah of the things we seek in this life and the next.
In the Quran Allah says: "Did we not give people two eyes, tongue, limbs, heart..." The heart is the seat of our essence and reality. The heart is not just an organ. There is both physical and metaphysical aspects to it known as lubb or fuad.
Poets say, the tongue is the translator of the heart expressing what is hidden in the heart. Freedom of speech is valued with limits. The more you protect the tongue from hurting others, the more the heart will come to life. If you want to change your heart, change your tongue. The tongue prevents us from seeing the secrets of the unseen. Guard the heart from five things: arrogance, conceit, envy, anger and showing off. Speak truthfully, then Allah will rectify your affair and forgive your sins.
Sacred Path of Love is a means to gain His love.
Allahu a'lam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.
Pic credit: Sout Ilaahi of Singapore the organizer of Sacred Path of Love