Sunday, September 7, 2014

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ninowy speaking on unconditional compassion in KL


Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.

Ya Huuuuuu... it was my third experience being in his majlis, our much loved Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya al-Husayni al-Ninowy, yesterday at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Kuala Lumpur.

The official title of his talk was 'Tolerance Amongst Muslims: The Muhammadan Legacy', but he said, in Islam it goes beyond tolerance, it has got to do with unconditional compassion.

At the outset of his tausiyah, the shaykh said "I am family amongst family and with family we don't need to say recognition." Shaykh Al-Ninowy was referring to the kind of formality that might be expected from such an event and his preference for a casual session.  

The shaykh confessed that his long trip was taking a toll on him, that he wasn't feeling well on arrival in KL but after fajar today he thought to himself: 'O Muhammad, this is a window for you to heal yourself.' Speaking about solehin is a cause for mercy to descend and with mercy comes shifa' (healing). Because he wasn't feeling too well, he had prepared some notes for his talk for fear that he might go off track but then he said "the best of speech is that which comes from the heart" so he did.

And because the best kalam is kalamullah, said the shaykh, he quoted a verse from the Quran where Allah says: 'Do not tell the people who give you salam, you are not a believer.'  

The shaykh said [and my notes are not complete/verbatim]
"Don't call those who say salam to you: 'you are not a believer'. Freedom stops when it infringes on someone's space. Don't judge people's heart. Don't do a neuro surgery on the heart.  The heart beats on automaticity (on its own). Let the heart beat with love compassion and tolerance. Don't get into people's heart and judge. Who knows a person heart, other than Allah. Did you open his/her heart? "

"Don't occupy ourself with that which is not productive for ourself. Instead, we need to reform ourself. But sometimes people feel better by putting down other people. We are always thinking about what they say or intend. We should be judging by husnul zan, that is thinking good of others. There is a ghazal that says: 'Whose self is void of beauty, cannot recognize beauty anywhere.' 'It takes beauty to recognize beauty.'

We are talking about Haddadul Qulub or the Haddad of hearts. The heart is called qalb or yaqlib which means 'flips'. We are supposed to be in solat but oftentimes our heart flips. When we give zakat, our heart flips thinking 'oh someone might notice this good deed I am doing'. There is a du'a asking Allah: 'Ya muaqqalibal qulub, O Allah who flips the heart, don't make my heart flips...'

"Worry about your own heart, not the state of other people's heart. Because when you do that, your heart flips from the Creator to creation. Mentioning the creation is a source of disease. Mentioning the Creator is a source of healing."

"Don't interpret people's intention. You may interpret their words but not their intentions. You may watch their mouth but not their heart."
"People want to see tolerance and compassion in actions but not words. People did not come to Malaysia bringing Islam with pamphlets or books. They came with kalimah tayyibah. People are looking for compassion. People want unconditional compassion which is beyond tolerance. Kitab is for later, it's for research."

"What is meant by ehsan? If you are good to those who are good to you then what good are you? Ahsan is about af'al (action). You are supposed to be better than good to those who are good to you. Don't argue with ahlul kitab except with ahsan. Call on to your Lord with hikmah, that is with ahsan/hasanah/ehsan - with unconditional compassion. Not just mercy or tolerance. You must always give/afford unconditional compassion. If people slander you, don't slander them back. Unconditional compassion does not depend on how others act on you."

Shaykh Al-Ninowy related a story of a Sultan of Morocco who had one and only daughter. The Sultan was dying so he went to Madinah looking for the right man for his daughter. He asked around in search of a good gentleman who could be husband to his daughter and inherit his throne. He was eventually directed to the Prophet's neighborhood, to a man who had three sons. The first son was questioned: If someone does wrong to you, what would you do? He answered: 'I won't do him wrong but I would do justice to him.' Like an eye for an eye, said Shaykh Ninowy. Then the second son was asked the same question: If someone does you wrong, what would you do? The second son said: 'Father, I will forgive him.'

Then came the third son who replied: 'I will do them good.' 'But why', asked the father. "Because my nature overcomes their nature. My essence overcomes their essence. I behave based on my essence and nature, not based on theirs. And my essence and nature is that I do good."

Shaykh al-Ninowy then commented on unity and conformity. He said unity does not necessarily mean conformity. Five plus five equals 10 and so does 8+2 and 7+3. The way you see things is not always the only way to see things. We see different aspects. Holding up a bottle, the shaykh demonstrated how people in the audience view it differently from where the shaykh was looking.

In reference to multi-faith issues, the shaykh quoted the Quran where Allah says, if your Lord will, everyone is going to be mukmin. So are you going to force people to be mukmin? Our job is just to convey the message. All we have to do is be good with each other and know the difference between hasanah and sayi'at. And do something better, not the same or good, but something better.

In Surah Taha, there is a verse that begins with Ar Rahmanu a'lal arshyis tawa...meaning 'Ar Rahman who is established on the throne.'  Allah didn't say Al Jabbar or Al Muntaqim or any other Name. That essentially means the arash is subjugated by the rahmah of Allah. Also in the Quran, Allah says 'My rahmah overcomes everything.' Know that the beginning of creation is rahmah. So we are not talking about tolerance, it's beyond tolerance.

Allah created 100 rahmah and He sent only 1 rahmah to the universe. According to a hadith related by Abu Hurairah: 'If the kafir knows what Allah has of Rahmah, they will not be hopeless of Jannah.'

We say bismilaahirahmanirahim. Some people differentiate the meaning of Ar Rahman and Ar Rahim but it's actually the same thing. You have to have rahmah in you and onto others. The anbiya were given rahmah to build people. They were not given weapons to destroy people. So, your mission is rahmah, not just tolerance.     

Allah defines Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam as raufun rahim. We should look at how Allah describes the Prophet. Therefore, we must be kind and unconditionally merciful. We can't erect a wall of hatred. But where are we? The sahabah asked the Prophet to make du'a against the mushrikin. But the Prophet refused saying 'I was not sent to doom people and curse them.' It's like the Prophet saying: I was sent as unconditional compassion to them. Even if they don't believe in me. They may be hateful but I don't become hateful.

The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam himself is rahmah. The Prophet says: "I am but a gift of rahmah." When Allah gives a gift, it's got to be the best of gifts.

Shaykh al-Ninowy further advice us not to be fooled by people who teach without rahmah. If there is no rahmah, there is no ilm. A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge! That is the pre-requisite. No loving heart - no knowledge. There is a difference between knowledge and amassing information, not knowledge, hence it's not makrifah.         

Remember the story of Nabi Musa and Nabi Khidir? Allah tells Musa to search for Khidir. Musa was not just a prophet, but also a Rasul and not just a Rasul but Ulul Azmi. How does Allah describe Khidir? In the Quran, Allah describes the knowledge of Khidir as being based on rahmah. That rahmah is the pre-requisite of ilm.

Again, in Surah Ar Rahman which begins with Ar Rahman 'alamal Qur'an. What it means is that you cannot know Quran without rahmah. Those who spill hatred amongst Muslims do not even understand the meaning of Bismillahirahmanirahim, let alone Ar Rahman 'alamal Quran.     
The first hadith is a hadith or mercy asking us to be merciful to the people on earth if we want to gain the mercy of those in the heavenly realm. So you cannot learn or even love without rahmah. If you want to get married, you will need two things. You need love and rahmah. Rahmah is the pre-requisite of love. You cannot love if you are intolerant.

Allah describes the anbiya as ibaduRahman, the slaves of Ar Rahman. When they walk, even their walk is the walk of rahmah.

Tolerance and compassion are both the attributes of Jamal or beauty. If you want to be beautiful, be tolerant and have compassion. And of course the perfect jamal is Mustafa. In him resides both jamal (beauty) and jalal (majesty) which then bring about kamal (perfection).

In the Quran Allah says: It is from the rahmah of your Lord, they see your beauty more than your jalal. If you were rough/tough (jalal), they would have moved from around you. That means they would not be able to take it from you.

Shaykh Ninowy further said, the jamal of Prophet Muhammad salallah alaihi wasalam was in his jalal. He likened the Prophet with the center of a flower and the sahabah around him are like petals surrounding a flower. Even the stones and the mountains could not bear the jamal of the Prophet, that they all had to speak to him salallah alaihi wasalam.

The shaykh concluded his tausiyah with more advice. He said, we are all weak/dha'if, we get strengths from being good to each other. That's why we must treat people the way we'd like to be treated. The bond of la ilaha ilallah is a sacred bond.

Stop judging people's heart. How is your heart with Allah? We can't wait for others to mature. You will not be asked about them. You will be asked about your maturity.

One of my father/grandfather's advice was: 'Son, you need to do good to those who are worthy and those who are not worthy of receiving good.'          
Are we good with Allah? We display public disobedient yet He keeps giving us nikmah. In the Quran there is a verse that mentions al jaza'ul ihsan... 

Allah is telling us: You need to do ehsan to people because I am doing ehsan to you.

Allahu 'alam. May I be forgiven for any errors in my notes.

The event was organized by HAK & CASIS/UTM. It was held in conjunction with the Haul of Imam Al-Haddad.

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