Saturday, December 21, 2013

Shaykh Ninowy @ Sacred Path of Love 2013


Bismillah.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah

The first time I learned about our beloved Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya an-Ninowy was through the Net sometime in 2009 and ever since I have harbored love for him and ever since I have developed a deep yearning to be in his majlis, to sit before him. Only this month, this year 2013 has Allah granted that wish. 

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, we were able to attend the Sacred Path of Love (SPOL) event organized by the Sout Ilaahi group in Singapore on 21st and 22nd December 2013. That's when I listened to Shaykh Ninowy in person for the first time after four years of waiting. To drink when you are really thirsty is different than when you are not so thirsty, you get what I mean?

At the Sacred Path of Love (SPOL) 2013, the shaykh said "the whole deen is about love." In response to a question: "How do we attain true love?" the shaykh also said: "The love of Allah is different from the love of creations. Attain true love by loving Allah, loving His Messenger, loving good deeds and loving good people. It's reflective in the du'a of the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam: 'O Allah give me the rizq (provision) of loving you, loving those who love you and loving a deed which is beloved to You...' If you want to love Allah, get to know Him by doing random act of kindness for Allah's sake, solely to please Allah.

At the outset of his first lecture at SPOL 2013, Shaykh Ninowy said:
Islam is not just information, but realization. That information should become realization. It's a process of transformation. Gathering information does not necessarily bring you change. Your 'ilm (knowledge) should take you to makrifah. Reading more books could increase one's iman but not necessarily. It is not 'ilm, if it does not increase your iman. We must have iman that's not shakeable like a mountain. Having more degrees doesn't mean a thing if there is no iman. Allahu lailaha illAllah huwal hayyul qayyum. It is not easy to know Him, but easy! We should have realization or makrifah of this phrase for it determines what we are. 

Don't they recite the Quran? Don't they live (i.e. tadabbur) or contemplate the Quran? But, the tongue sings a different melody than the limbs unfortunately. We must do some soul searching said Shaykh Ninowy. We must take a moment to reflect. If we just rest and found not what we are looking for then there's no point. There's a story about a Persian man who sent his son away looking for the truth. When he saw a group of man praying, he was impressed but his father told him 'your deen is better than their deen.' The young man then traveled to Sham (Syria) to find Allah. He asked around, 'who is the most knowledgeable of you? I wish to do khidmah (service) and learn from you.' Then he went to Northern Iraq to learn and serve Musa until the man died. He went to the land of Roman afterwards and served the man until the guide was on his deathbed. So the young man asked: 'What do I do teacher?' The teacher replied: 'You now live in an era where someone great will emerge. He accepts no charity except gifts.'

The young man was Salman who eventually ended up being sold as a slave to a Jew. However, a relative of the Jew, from Bani Quraizah of Madinah offered to buy Salman somehow. One day when Salman was on top of a tree he heard a cousin of his master said: 'There's a man in Quba claiming to be a prophet.' Salman fell off the tree on hearing this. He soon went to Quba looking for the Prophet and was convinced that this was the man his guru was talking about. This extraordinary man did not accept Salman's offers of charity but gave it away to his companions instead. This was the Prophet indeed!

Shaykh Ninowy said, this was Salman's great struggle from Persia to Sham to the land of the Romans and to the desert in the captives of a Jew. There is a verse in the Quran: 'Those who struggle in the way of Allah, we will show them the way.' Prophet Ibrahim alaihisalam, as did Salman, went through a similar experience in searching for Allah. Prophet Ibrahim kept looking and did not settle with a god that changes. Allah does not change. Ibrahim bin Adham too struggled in finding Allah. He left his family on a quest to look for Allah. But, the shaykh said. there are many people in the masjid, reading the Quran, yet they haven't found Allah, the Lord of the Quran. Many people pray but do not know who is it they are praying to. Ibrahim bin Adham made a munajat: 'O Allah, I found my family whom I left for the sake of You. I made my child orphan so that I can be with you. If you cut me into hardship every piece of me will cry yearning to be with you.'

Shaykh Ninowy reminded the audience at the Sacred Path of Love event to make sure our knowledge is not a hijab (veil). That we should look for Him, so that we love Him. That we should not just talk about Him but talk to Him. That we should not just learn about Him but to find Him or we'll waste our life. The honorable shaykh also said: If you find Him you'll find the love of your life. And you will have found the perfect love!

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Allahu 'alam. May I be forgiven for any errors and omissions.
Pic credit: The Sout Ilaahi group of Singapore, the organizer of the 4th Sacred Path of Love.

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