Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Still sensitive to praise and dispraise?


O son, I'd be lying if I say I am insensitive to praise and dispraise. Maybe I am insensitive to praise but I still get sensitive when it comes to dispraise. Well, this is what Ghawth al-Azam has to say about this:

As long as you are given to this world and to creatures, you would be sensitive to both praise and dispraise, because you are living through your lower self, your passion and your natural inclination. When your heart attains to your Lord ('Azza wa Jall) and He takes charge of you, you will rid of your sensitivity to praise and dispraise and you will thus be relieved of a heavy burden. If you work for this world depending on your might and strength, you will lose, be torn apart, tire and be dissatisfied. Similarly, if you work for the hereafter with your strength you will lose. When you work for the True One, open the door to livelihood by the hand of His strength and trust in Him and open the door of acts of obedience by the hand of His guidance. Once you have attained to the spiritual station of seeking Him, ask Him for strength and truthfulness in asking for His strength and His help. Place the feet of your heart and your innermost being firmly in His presence and give up all preoccupations with this world and the hereafter.
- Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani
O son, let nothing leave a mark on our hearts save Allah.
Let there be no other patterns on our hearts save Hu.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Loving the old


O son, I have no special quotes for you today.

Today I just want to show you how much love and joy the elderlies have to share with us. Tok Teh is a close buddy of my mother. Everytime we visit her, she would either be praying or making zikr or sharing laughter with the neighbors as she eagerly waits for her Shabi Arus (Wedding Night). She is worried that we might not be around on her big day though. 

Tok Teh exudes so much love that everytime after meeting her I feel like I am reborn into a bright new world filled with rainbows. 

May Allah grant her the best of husnul khatimah and prepares for her the most beautiful abode where she would frolic happily in green silk gown, and her neck adorned with pearls and rubies. Oh how stunning she would be, just like her younger days when she was one of the most gorgeous girls in our village. Then again, she is eternally elegant to all who love her.

Perchance, the du'a below is one of her beauty secrets.

Allah hummaj 'al au sa'a rizqika
'alaiya 'inda kibari sinni wan qitho'i 'umuri
O Allah! Expand for me Your provision
till my old age
and till the end of my life.

Du'a credit: Islam - The Truth and Sis Nisa.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seeing none but Him


One mu'aleem whom I love said:

Allah 'speaks'.
How does He speak? Not a branch moves without His order. You will not sleep or walk without His orders either. His orders or instructions are his qalam (speech). That should be your aqidah (religious stand).

When you look at the rambutans (a tropical fruit), you should 'see' Allah. You see people getting married, you should see Allah. Only then you have shuhud (witnessing). Do not question His af'al (actions). But be careful, He will question your af'al!

You must continuously say in your heart, Allah, Allah, Allah...
Get rid of everything else from your heart. May Allah make your heart clean so that only His Name occupies your heart. So that you witness only Him, see only Him. So I am telling you, you must be a salik.
You must do zikir nafi (denial):
La ilaha illAllah
Then you must do zikir isbat (proclamation):
Allah Allah...
which is ism zat (name of His essence).
You must also say other zikir nafi such as:
La maqbud illAllah
When you say this, you must truly be in love with none, save Allah. You should not be in love with gold, people or clothes. I see that you now have many lovers in your heart. You have many fears too. So you must deny and get rid of all that - LA! (No!)

You should say:
La maqbud illAllah
La maqsud illAllah
La mawjud illAllah

La mawjud illAllah is shuhud wahdatul zat. When you see a tree, you see the essence of the tree which comes into existence by virtue of His Essence, therefore you must be able to see His essence.
La maqbud illallah is shuhud wahdatul af'al which is witnessing His actions.

Shuhud is is the fruit of a pure and genuine aqidah. You will have attained it when you are able to see wahdaniyat (His Oneness/Omnipotence/Omnipresence/Hu Ahad) that for anything and everything, it is He who determines. To achieve that, I keep saying that you must be salik, that you should be 'walking' towards Allah in accordance with the shari'at (the religious laws) and sunnah (the Prophetic traditions).

Fana (annihilation) means that you see nothing as being the acts of akwan/makhluk (created beings). When your witnessing (shuhud) becomes continuous/perpetual, your heart will be freed of seeing the acts of the creations. You believe in your heart that it is all His actions. This is the penultimate of one's aqidah. Baqa means that you will remember none save Allah.
So again, fana is when you deny (nafi) that things happen on their own accord through makhluk (created beings) while baqa is when you acknowledge (isbat) solely Allah who creates all. This is the highest aqidah and iman.

So recite:
1. La ilaha illAllah. La maqbud bi haqqin illAllah.
2. La ilaha illAllah. La maqsud illAllah.
3. La ilaha illAllah. La mawjud illAllah.
After having denied all, you should move on to profess (zikir) Allah, Allah, Allah...

Wallahu a'lam.
May I be forgiven for any errors in transmission.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The elect among us


Someone asked me recently whether my guru was genuine. And another tariqa follower (not Naqshbandi) had also asked me whether my other guru was genuine. Needless to say I got disturbed and upset when people questioned people whom I respect and love. I just wish those who have doubts about anyone would be a gentleman and meet, and speak with the person themselves. But I doubt they would do that.

I am naive. In many instances I simply follow my heart. When I meet some wonderful religious people I just submit myself easily because they are simply beautiful beings and they are irresistible! When they speak, their words penetrate your deepest heart and you just cannot deny the truth.

O son, walk and search for your guru. That is if you want to reach to the spiritual world. Listen to the words of the venerated Fariduddin Attar:

"After the Qur'an and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, there is not any discourse that is more beautiful than the discourse of the friends of Allah. This is because their speech is a reflection of inner divine knowledge. It is not the words of a learned person; rather their speech is a gift from Allah. For this reason, they are called the heirs of the prophets. The hearts of those touched by their speech become full of divine inspiration. They are re-energized as they fill with light and spiritual secrets are revealed to them. In the process of this transformation they are protected from the whispers of Satan as they are freed from enslavement to mundane desires.

The saints reflect the qualities of the prophets; some of them reflect the qualities of Adam, some of them reflect the qualities of Ibrahim, some reflect the qualities of Musa or Isa while some reflect the qualities of Muhammad s.a.w.

Some of them are people of knowledge, some of them are people of love, some of them are people of social interaction while some of them are people immersed in reunion with Allah; some of them reflect no qualities, that is they are hidden in nothingness."

FROM 'Tears of the Heart' by Osman Nuri Topbas 
Pic credit: Haqqani Fellowship
p/s Kak Ina, thanks for all the great books!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bless the generous


May Allah bless all those who are generous!
One philantrophist from Europe had offered piles of wonderful books for distribution in this land. One of them is From the Garden of the Mathnawi,  Tears of the Heart. I was speechless with joy when a sister handed them to me. MashaAllah, thank you!

May I quote one saying of Mawlana Rumi which surely refers to people whose hearts are as fertile as theirs: 
"Does a stone blossom even in the spring time?
Be as the soil
so that roses and other flowers
emerge from you
in many colors."

Indeed to please the Almighty means pleasing people. And I am very pleased to have this book in my hand.
May Allah bless all those who are generous! 

"Thus, the poor are the mirror of divine mercy and generosity.
Those who are with Allah or lost in the existence of Allah
are in a state of continuous generosity."
- Rumi, quddisa sirruh, quoted from 'Tears of the Heart'.

Friday, March 26, 2010

On witnessing


This is a partial transcript of a lesson by one mu'aleem in Malaysia. I am not going to mention his name or else his 'ardent' students might question me for sharing this. I am doing this for the sake of friends who due to distance and circumstances could not attend the majlis ta'lim and for friends who did attend but needed a summary to aid their understanding. Bismillah.

He said:
You must have a guru whom you love. You must know him well and recite al-Fatihah for him. As far as 'ilm ruhaniah (knowledge of the spirit) is concerned, you need a guru, you cannot work at it on your own.

Tasawwuf haqiqat (the reality of Sufism) by description is to look at something with the physical eyes. By definition it means seeing and understanding Allah in your heart -  his name (asma), attributes (sifat) and essence (zat). 

Shuhud wahdatul af'al means that you understand that He is the only doer of all actions e.g. sickness, happiness etc. You must learn this first before you progress to shuhud wahdatul sifat and shuhud wahdatul zat. You must keep witnessing Allah with sir/asrar, with the eye of your heart (fu'ad). This is an honorable state of a Sufi. If your heart has not experienced this state of witnessing, it shows that you have not yet 'arrived'. Your heart should be in a constant state of witnessing. Then Allah will carry you on to a higher plane. If you attained shuhud you will achieve true freedom. You will not be a servant to any other than Allah. This brings you to fana (annihilation). Nothing remains in your heart save Allah. No makhluk (being) resides in your heart. Hence, you return to alam lahut where you made the pledge when asked Alas tu birabbikum?  (Am I not your Lord), when you promised to obey Him and not your brain or desires. You would then understand His right over you and your right over Him. When you understand His rights, you will truly appreciate His bounties on you, your food, etc. Every little nikmat (blessings) you get is from Him. You will be grateful and honor His blessings. When you eat, you would eat to the last bit and when you drink, you drink to the last drop. Honoring His bounties means honoring Him. Never glorify makhluk (people), but always recognize and acknowledge everything as His actions. But keep it in your heart, never profess it with your tongue. You should speak just like everybody else but in your heart, you know that all is His actions. Do not reveal the secret. For example: when you see people getting divorced, you should know in your heart that it is all His doings. Do not question why. Always say La hawla wala quwata illah billah or Inna lillahi wa inna ilai hi rajiun. 

One who has attained mushahadah will not dare act or presume things ahead of time, ahead of His takdir (decree). Until and unless Allah reveals His secrets or plans, one should not forecast or try to foretell His actions. That is why you are not allowed to be a fortune teller. Only then your tawhid becomes pure.  

If you truly have accomplished witnessing, you will not go after worldly attractions. You will only be obsessed with Allah because you fully understand that everything that you have is on account of Divine Intelligence. The sweetness of sugarcane comes not from itself but from Him. You see His attributes al-Bari', al-Musawwir - His Essence at play. He decides on your looks from azali. Your parents could not determine your appearance. And you cannot change your looks. All that you have will be returned to Him so prove yourself with obedience. Improve your obedience. Go back to worshipping Him. Return to Him. Repent! 

He decides our qadar - our provisions, our characters, our status. We did not achieve all these with our own effort, neither did we inherit it nor did we achieve it with our own intelligence. Never feel inferior to your appearance or poverty. Never feel small when you are with those who are more attractive or richer than you.

You must be a salik so that you would be freed of akwan and aghyar; so that you would truly glorify your Lord and be sincere towards Him. When you give sadaqah (gift) to your neighbor, you are actually giving Him. Any good deeds you do, you do it for Him. So you do things lillahi taala with utmost sincerity.

Witness His acts so you glorify Him and not people. When you perform ibadah (worship) you would do it for His sake and not show off to people. Surrender yourself to Him completely. That is what taslim is all about - surrender your affairs to Him. Let not your affairs be tainted by makhluk, nafs or even your intelligence (akal). As taught by Habib Muhammad, your actions must be based on:
1. Bismillah Rabbi Allah
2. Bismillah hasbi Allah
3. Bismillah tawakaltu allAllah
4. Bismillahi iqtasamtu billah
5. Bismillahi fawadtu amri illAllah       
6. Bismillah il tajatu illAllah
7. La hawla wala quwwata illah billah

Be an ahlillah (people of the Lord) who is 'crazy' (intoxicated) about his Lord, not one who is crazy about asbab such as gourmet food, yacht and all the things that the wordly people are crazy about.

Wallahu a'lam.
May I be forgiven for any errors in transmission.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shabi Arus - a wedding celebration of another kind


Inna lilllahi wa inna ilai hi ra ji'un!
Today, a dear family friend (my mother's best friend, our neighbor) has gone to a better place. As I was driving 360km alone, I thought of how beautiful friendship can be. My mother yet again showed me what love is all about. Today I witnessed how moved she was when Latifah left her. It was a sad parting for all who knew and loved Latifah but she looked happy because it is in fact her Shabi Arus, her Wedding Night. She looked so pretty and gay to leave her sorrows behind, to be freed from the cage. I could sense it when I planted a goodbye kiss on her forehead. May Allah unite her with all the blessed souls in the highest Heavens. Ameen.

I am reminded of Shabi Arus, a term I had learned from reading Mawlana Rumi a while back. How Rumi had warned people not be sad about his passing from this physical realm. That death is in fact a celebration! O Mawlana, I marvel at how open and generous you had been in your teaching and sharing. Imagine if you were to keep all that avalanche of love and beautiful mysticism all to yourself?

O father Rumi, you were so right in your lament:
O my Lord, if your mercy is reserved only for those with pure hearts, then where will the sinful find refuge?
O Almighty Allah! If you accept only the pious people, then to whom will the guilty turn in prayer? Surely, you are the Most Compassionate!

O Mawlana, how heart broken you would be if you knew the sickness of this age; that some of the 'pious' and 'learned' people dislike other people to be pious and learned too. How they maintain that certain teachings are exclusive, that their tariqa is more exclusive than others so that people should not know about their 'exclusive practises'!

Oh...where will the sinful find refuge? Where will the guilty turn in prayer? And how will the ignorant learn if some 'pious' and 'learned' people keep the awliya all to themselves?

Perhaps they don't want the heavens to get too crowded? But havent't they heard about Bayazid Bastami? How Bayazid had prayed so that Allah would make his body so vast that it would fill the entire Hellfire, thereby leaving no place for other sinners?

Oh shame on you who are selfish, so self centered, thinking you are holier than others! May Allah forgive all our sins. Conclusive argument remains with Him.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A gift from heaven


O son, I see not a blessing coming from elsewhere except Him. May you learn these wirid and practise regularly. Know that I love you, so I love to share whatever little knowledge I pick up along the way. I don't care if other people wants to eavesdrop or peep in this space I have created for you O son. All that is good is from Allah.

May Allah increase us in knowledge and give us the strength to be istiqamah in our zikr. We are nothing. So we count on the blessings from all the awliya whom we love. May Allah make us love all those whom He loves, always and forever.

1. Zikr
La ila ha ilAllah
(700x or 1300x within 24 hours)

2. Salawat
Allahumma salli wa sallim ala Sayidina Muhammad
miftahiba bi rahmatillah
solatan wa salaman
ad da imai ni
bi dawami mulkillah
ada dama min 'ilmillah
(11x or 111x times morning & evening)

3. Istighfar
Astaghfirullahal azim
allazi la ila ha illa huwal hayyul qayyum wa atu bu ilaih
min kulli zanbim azim
wa min jami 'in
al mu'assi wal qotoya
sirran wa jahran
zahiran wa bathinan
qaulan wa fiq lan
sam'an wa basiran
tawbatan nasuha
(11x or 70x or 100x morning and evening)

As mentioned in the earlier posting: three things could replace a guru murabbi - zikr, salawat and istighfar. So if you cannot find a guru murabbi to guide you, be sure to make zikr, salawat and istighfar.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A salik vs a murid


Shaykh Abdul Aziz (Baba Aziz) during his lecture series at KL Ba'alawi last weekend continued speaking on the subject of tasawwuf based on Kitab Qatrul Ghaisiah ('Raindrop of Sufi Knowledge).

Baba Aziz recapitulated the 7 aqabahs or mountains that a salik (seeker) must conquer in the quest towards his goal - aqabah tawbah, aqabah awa'id, aqabah awarid, aqabah bawa'ith, aqabah bawadih and aqabah al-hamd wa-shukr. These aqabahs are like great mountains to be conquered only with huge efforts. A salik is one who is focused on his journey towards Allah. He leaves all ugly behaviors in preference for good morals. He is one who receives guidance from a guru who is murabbi. As a salik he would begin his studies mastering tasawwuf ibadah from classic kitab such as Minhajul Abidin. He is wary of pitfalls on the path caused by illnesses of the heart such as riak (pride) and ujub (self-glorification). His knowledge would increase as would his gnosis (makrifah). He will attain the true degree of sincerity (ikhlas) and his worship would become pure. He will be blessed with 'ilm ladunni, the highest kind of knowledge direct from His Presence because his heart is pure. He harbors hope soley in His Lord. He fears none except Allah. He longs and love only Allah.

Wat taqullah wa yu'al limukumullah means one must first have iman (faith) before taqwa (God-fearing). Without taqwa one will not be granted ilm asrar or the secret knowledge. Always keep your wudhu' (ablution) and recite salawat continuously especially salawat 'azamiyah. This particular salawat carries a lot of weight as it would take you to the presence of Rasulullah s.a.w.  So do not be careless about how you spend your time. Prove your taqwa. Prove yourself with a credible faith. By having a pure faith, taqwa, and sincerity, Allah will grant you makrifah (gnosis).

It is important that you avoid having a negative impression of your Lord. Just because He constricts your provision or give you illness, you start having ill feelings about your fate. If indeed you have makrifah you will not be restless, you will be calm and say Alhamdulillah regardless of your conditions. If you but know, He will, in fact, raise your maqam after each and every test. If you behave in a positive manner based on your understanding of this branch of knowledge He will grant you more knowledge that is beyond your imagination.

I think most of you are still murid, not salik. I say that because you cannot even find the time to make zikr Allah. You are suffering from sickness typical of a murid. You gather knowledge but you do not practice what you know. You must understand that husnul Islam, the best of Islam is one who leaves all that is worthless or unbeneficial to him. So go back to Allah. Become a salik. Be sure to get tarbiyyah (guidance) from a guru who is himself a jazbah and a salik. You must practice what you know because that is a pre-requisite for you to attain real makrifah.

He says: wa'alam nahu min ladun na ilma - "We teach him (he who practices what he knows) with one 'ilm (knowledge)", and that is called ilm' hal. You will know this when you reach this maqam. If you truly love Allah, you will appreciate your time. You will not want to waste it. You will occupy yourself worshipping Him. If you want to know what karamah is, look at the degree of your servitude. Check yourself, see how obedient you are. Do you always keep your wudhu'? Do you make an effort to tie that "black sheep" - your tongue? You can do that by holding a tasbeeh so that you would automatically remember to make zikr.

It is not good enough to be a murid. You must be a salik. The Sufis make 13,000 zikr Allah per day. The fuqaha (the ordinary person) should at least make 3,000 zikr. Learn the famous ratib such as al-Idrus, al-Attas and al-Haddad and recite them regularly. It is a waste of time to just be a murid. Please by all means become a salik. Remove all traces of mazmumah (bad qualities) from yourself and replace them with sifat mahmudah (good attributes). Allah is the ultimate guide who could bring us to goodness.

But go find a guru tarbiyyah who could prescribe you with what zikr, what salawat and what istighfar to do. When you find one and do as told, you will attain nafs radhiah. You are now at mutmainnah or mulhimmah where you get inspired to do good and regret your wrong doings. You must strive above this level. There are three practises you could do if you cannot find guru murabbi. You could do istighfar, salawat and zikr La ila ha illAllah 1300 times a day. Do this morning and night until they become more tasty than the best food that you have eaten in this world. Make them your preferred food. Clean, purify your heart so that nothing is there, save Allah.

Wallahu a'lam.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A point of view


O son, a week break from Lisan al-Din had given me time to listen and reflect.

So I listened to caring people who cautioned me about the presence of some un-friendly Sufi monitors. No I am not a Sufi and they are not monitoring me. I just happen to love the Sufis and unfortunately that might be a problem to some people who don't. I therefore, adjusted my sail since I could not control the wind; made a few changes here and there but you should not mind because Lisan al-Din after all is for my sons. And on Lisan al-Din love rules!

I also listened to requests from like-minded friends who asked me to keep sharing (not teaching) especially one particular blessing that I have been given in the last weekend. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. What happened was, one wali loves one mu'aleem so he taught him some wirids because he wanted him purified and be good. That mu'aleem in turn love a bunch of us so he taught us the wirids so we too would be purified and be good. So what I will do is put that love and sharing on record here later and ignore any clouded minds out there.

Yes of course you could learn durood/salawat, istighfar and zikr from anywhere and anyone. But some prescribed wirids have got to be more precious than others as we got to learn them from extra-ordinary people whom we love and who love us. May Allah continue to raise our gurus' maqam, give them a long healthy life so we could benefit from their presence and barakah for the longest time. And may Allah continue to make our hearts an abode for awliya, Rasulullah s.a.w and Allah s.w.t. 

And the disclaimer for Lisan al-Din remains
La hawla wala quwwata illah billah hil 'Aliyil 'Azim
There is no power and no strength save with Allah the High the Great.

Yours sincerely,
E. Ismail

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lisan al-Din in seclusion 16 - 22 March 2010


Please be informed that Lisan al-Din publisher is in seclusion for a week beginning from today 16th March to 22nd March 2010. She wishes to thank all the regular visitors for their support and encouragement.

Like a hypocrite, you offer your excuses -
"I am so busy providing for wife and children,
I don't have time to scratch my head.
How could I have time to practice religion?"
"I cannot escape from feeding my family,
I must seek lawful earnings tooth and nail."
You have an escape from God - but not from food.
You have an escape from religion - but not from idols.

- Rumi in Mathnawi


Monday, March 15, 2010

You are a hypocrite!


O son, I think I have been a hypocrite. And I think I cannot be wrong because this morning as I flipped open Jila' al Khatir (Purification of the Mind) seeking for some counsel from Ghawth al-Azam, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, I saw this paragraph shouting at me.

Have you not known that the hypocrite "is in the lowest depth of the Fire"?! (Qur'an 4: 145)
Surrender and then repent. Do something before death surprises you, before you are overtaken suddenly and end up in regret when regret is of no good at all. I know you but I cannot point to you. We are commanded in the Law to leave you and others unexposed. But I speak out, though, without mentioning names. I refer to you indirectly, without pointing to you explicitly. As the saying goes: "My words are in fact aimed at you, so listen to what I am going to say to my neighbor." The slave may need to be beaten with a stick but a nod should be enough for a free man. The True one (Ta'ala) looks at the private and public lives of the creatures and also at their hearts. He does not accept from them other than that which they offer to Him and do for the sake of His countenance. Do not put a show of artificial behavior, do not cheat and do not try to conceal your faults for "He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden." (Qur'an 20:7)
"He knows the deception of the eyes and that which the chests conceal." (Qur'an 40:19)

So with that I shall take a break from posting entries on Lisan al-Din for ONE week or until I could write to you with a clear conscience and with better sincerity. InshaAllah. La ila ha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu minaz zalimin. May Allah continue to guide us, keep us on the Straight Path and grant us husnul khatimah. Ameen. Madad Ya Sayyidi, Madad Ya Rasulullah!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Accuse your own soul!


Know that although obedience is the path to God and the means of approach to His Holy Presence, it may induce in those who are liable to distraction many things which are reckoned among the major sins, such as ostentation, self-admiration, arrogance, the feeling that one has obliged God, forgetfulness of His grace in granting (acts of disobedience), and  so forth. These may result in the deprivation of the obedient man's reward, and may even lead to painful punishment. The believer who is intent on following the path of seriousness and is concerned to attain salvation should always accuse his own soul (nafs) and refuse to give it the benefit of the doubt; he will ask forgiveness even for his acts of obedience, even if no contravention has outwardly occured, fearful that his soul may have led him into one of these hazardous faults. You now know why one should seek forgiveness even for acts of obedience.

Something even more subtle than this may befall the people of gnosis under some circumstances: they may notice that they have come to find comfort in their virtuous acts (rather than in God), or to rely on them (rather than on God); and they then turn back to Him in repentance, asking for forgiveness, The same things may again befall them while they pass through the noble stations and states with which they are invested; and they have then to repent and ask forgiveness for them.

For the people of God who divest themselves of all attachment to the worlds, sin is to attend to other than God, whatever this 'other' may be. We see them fleeing fearfully to God and seeking refuge in Him from states which, if experienced by others would have been considered great acts of devotion, such as for instance, setting one's hopes in one's acts of disobedience and having thoughts of fear (of God) or of renunciation. It is in this context that you should understand the saying: "The good deeds of the righteous are the evil deeds of those who are brought nigh to God." (the muqarabeen).
Were it not that the Path is fading away and the lights of realization are setting, we would have said some astonishing things on this subject. So take heed people of intelligence!

Shaykh Sihab al-Din al-Suhrawardi, may God have mercy on him has said:
"There are certain factors which impair spiritual stations, for these latter may be infiltrated by extraneous elements, and the gnostic may fail to perceive this while still in them, and only become aware of this upon rising from one station to a higher one, at which, experiencing an imperfection, he looks back at the former with better insight and returns to it in order to repair the defect and render it sound. This can only be done through repentance and asking for forgiveness."

This is a summary of what the gnostics have taught, with some explanantions and clarifications. Some have interpreted the saying of the Prophet s.a.w:
"My heart becomes covered, so that I ask God for forgiveness 70 times a day," along the lines suggested by Suhrawardi, but in fact it is far from bearing any relation to whatever to the Muhammadan rank which embraces all perfection of form and character. I have another interpretation for it, which I can only divulge verbally to those worthy to receive it. And God knows best.

- Imam al-Haddad

O son, I think I understand a little better now what Ustaz Shamsul has been saying and repeating that "The good deeds of the righteous (the saliheen) are the evil deeds of those who are brought nigh to God (the muqarabeen)." So never be satisfied with what you think you have achieved. Verily it is not our 'achievement' even. Instead, be harsh on your own soul. May Allah make us worthy of receiving gnosis of the finest kind and may our outward obedience reflect that of our inward state. Ameen Allahumma Ameen.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Give and be a rasheed - Mawlana Shaykh Nazim


Sultan al-Awliya Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani began his sohbet standing and glorifying the Lord: Ya Kareem, Ya Sultan, madad, La ilaaha illa-Llah, La ilaaha illa-Llah, La ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah `alayhi salaatullah.

O Attendees, Assalaamu`alaykum! Give a little bit of care when you are looking and asking to hear something. Give a little bit more care, cut yourself from everything that belongs to this world and come empty. If anyone comes empty, they may fill it with heavenly powers. If you are coming full, what may they give to you? Because we are now in contact with heavenly beings and we are asking for heavenly support for all of us, not only the handful of people here. We, all of us, are in need and we are asking that heavenly support to give much, much, more power in growing heavenly power for ourselves.

This association is granting the attendees heavenly support, giving much more power and making them become closer to heavenly stations, yes. And as much as you are giving care, you are taking much more. If you are occupying yourself with something around yourself or through your life, you are going to be supported as you are asking. If you are giving whole care for yourself, you will be given full support. If you occupy yourself with something else, you may take half the support or you may take a tenth of the support. If you are never interested, you will take nothing. Therefore, as much as you are giving your care and attention, you are taking more!

If you are in a place where there is a heap of gold and silver and the holder is saying, “Take as much as you like. It is for you and it is free! If you can carry a heap of gold, get another,” still Allah Almighty is giving endlessly wa ladayna mazeed, “And We have more to come.”

O People! Give more and take more! Give one and take ten. Give ten and take a hundred. Give a hundred and take a thousand. Give a thousand and take one hundred thousand. Give one hundred thousand and take one million. Give one million and look for ten million that comes to you! Why are you being so hasees, bakheel, miserly? Why? Anfiq bi-laa laa, “Donate endlessly.” Do you think that when you are giving, you lose your Lord's grant to you? No. Allah (swt) is giving for one, at least ten. Give ten, get one hundred. Why are you not urging people to give?

O People! Give more and take double on double. Why? If you are believers, why are you saving through banks and treasuries, why? And there are people in need; why are you not giving? Give! Are you not trusting what Allah Almighty is saying to you? He is giving ten times more! I am shouting to kings, to presidents, to the rich ones, saying: Don't save your money through banks' treasures. Don't occupy yourself with something else!

Why are you not urging the rich ones? So many hundreds, thousands of rich ones in Saudi Arabia, in the Arab Peninsula, in Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and where everyone has billions through banks! Why?! Give, and believe in your Lord's declaration, or believe in what He is promising to you! He is saying, wa ladayna mazeed, “And We have much more to come.” Mazeed is never coming down, there is never going to be fewer treasures. Why are you saving, saving, saving millions, ten million? Millions of people can’t find something to eat, but you are eating lamb and delicious food. Why are you not sending it? Send!

We must say A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. The biggest treasure is for us to say Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Take Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem from your saved money and give, Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Don't say your treasures will diminish. "Yes, it may be less here, but it will grow up through akhirah, through the heavens. Why are you not saying?"

These associations could make hearts hayyin layyin, soft and tender. Encourage them to give, give! Don't worry, don’t worry. Don’t say, “Our provision is going to be less.” No! Man zaada lillah zaadahullah, “Whoever donates in Allah's way, will be rewarded more by Him.” Who is giving for Allah more and more, the grant from Allah will get more and more and more for you?

When you are lying in the coffin, finished! They will take your ring, your earrings, your very, very expensive watch, taking it from your hand. Taking everything from you! They are not saying, “He was a king, we may leave this on him.” No, they are taking everything and you are going naked, with your body covered with ten yards of cloth.

O People! Before Judgment Day comes, you have a chance to give for Allah, give, give, give, as it is coming through heavenly knowledge, this you must say, Salafi `ulama, to all Wahhabi people who have treasures, to write in golden letters in front of their sitting place:
أنفق بلالا ولا تخاف من ذي العرش إقلالا
anfiq bilaal wa laa takhaaf man dha 'l-`arshi iqlaalan
Give without (saying) 'no' and do not fear from the Possessor of the Throne to be in loss.
That must be written! Don't say to me, “That is not fard, obligatory.” Now it is obligatory and you must give it, you must give it. You can’t save billions or trillions, you must give. It is haraam (to store wealth). Why are you not saying that storing wealth is bida`, against Shari`atullah?

Don’t say, “We are giving every year our zakaat.” What? Thirty-nine for yourself and one for Allah? Aren’t you ashamed to give thirty-nine for yourself and one for Allah? What is their mentality? Make it the opposite! Give for yourself one, for Allah thirty-nine. Wa laa takhaf man dha 'l-`arshi iqlaalan (do not fear from the Possessor of the Throne to be in loss). That is holy shari`ah.

‘Abd (means) servant, and everything that he has, belongs to Him, and everything that he is carrying is for his owner or for his master. Why are you not saying this? Salafi `ulama, you don’t know this? That judgment you know or you do not know? Say to people, “Give thirty-nine for Allah and one for you.”
What are you going to say, that it is bida`? Shari’ah is the real adab of the servant for his Sultan. Allah Almighty is granting to you, so give, and give and give because if you are giving Allah Almighty is not making it less. Wa ladayna al-mazeed. Allah Almighty is saying on behalf of Himself: “Don't fear that when giving, you will get less of My treasures. No! I am the Lord of Heavens! I am the Lord of the Whole Creation! I am that One that is giving what they are in need of and My treasures are never getting less!” Not even the size of an atom, what you give is not getting less. Because if it is getting less even one atom, then it is going to be finished. But what is in Allah Almighty's treasures is never-ending, never finishing. That is the reason why He is saying:
وَلَدَيْنَا مَزِيدٌ
Wa ladayna al-mazeed
There will be more and more in Our Divine Presence (Qur'an 50:35)

“I will give you more and more in My Divine Presence.” Allah (swt) will reward you more as a result of your donation in His sake.” Why are you not giving that ayat? When servants have been granted from Endless Treasures through heavens, through Paradise, they are asking, hal min mazeed, “No more after this, O our Lord?” and the Lord of Heavens is saying, “Never-ending treasures, are for Me. No one knows I am only knowing, I am the Lord of Everything. I am the Creator, and I have Endless Oceans from everything that is never-ending.” Hah!

و مَا عِندَ اللّهِ بَاقٍ
Fa maa `inda Allahi baaq
What Allah owns and rewards you with is Everlasting. (Qur'an 16:96)

What Allah Almighty has is forever, from pre-eternal up to eternal, never-ending.
What it is empowered in this life is not going to be acted in akhirah, but in the Eternal Life. This is a temporary life; it may be a million years or a billion years, it may be more and more billions of years old. For all of them, a limit is written, but for Allah, al-mazeed is endless. You know nothing; you know according to your ability, your capacity to understand.

O People! Give to Allah, keep for yourself a little bit. But say, “O my Lord, everything You granted to me from Your grants, I owe it to You. Who am I to say that I am giving?” Allah Almighty is saying, Haadha a'taa'una, “This is My grant to you.” What you have is from My grant to you. O People! My grant is never-ending, never-ending. SubhaanAllah, SubhaanAllah, SubhaanAllah, SubhaanAllah, SubhaanAllah, SubhaanAllah.

The worst characteristic of our egos is to be greedy, greedy, greedy. For what are you going to be greedy? Your Creator is saying, Is'al tu'ataa, “Ask as much as you can ask, and I will give to you.” Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar! One who is rasheed (rightly guided) is never greedy. Ar-Rushd (maturity/ripening) is the highest level of our good characteristics. Rasheed is he who understands something about what Allah Almighty is saying.
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
Wa idhaa sa'alaka `ibaadee `annee fa innee qareebun ujeebu da`wati 'd-daa`ee idhaa da`aani fa 'l-yastajeeboo lee w 'al-yu'minoo bee la`llahum yarshudoona
And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the du`a of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. (Qur'an al 'l-Baqarah 2:186)

You are Arabs, you know this ayah, “O My servants, if you are asking something from Me, I am asking also; you must run to what I am ordering you, to make it.” Imaan is to believe in Allah Almighty and our beliefs are at the lowest level, the lowest level, and to become raashidoon, Allah Almighty is asking His servants to reach the level of rasheed, as the Holy Qur'an is declaring:
أَلَيْسَ مِنكُمْ رَجُلٌ رَّشِيدٌ
Alaysa minkum rajulun rasheed
"Is there not among you a single right-minded man?" (Qur'an 11:78)

Rasheed is the highest level that a person can reach: ar-rushd. We are such useless ones! I am asking Allah Almighty that at least we may reach on the level of rushd, who is on the level to be 100% kamaal, perfect from every jawaanib (sides) in all his behavior - perfection.

Alaysa feekum rajulun rasheed? “Isn't there a man among you who understands?” A rasheed understands such a thing. I am asking to Salafi `ulama, Allah Almighty is asking to people, in Holy Qur'an also, alaysa feekum rajulun rasheed? That one who asked was a believer, haneef, real belief. But he was hiding and saying, “O People! Alaysa feekum rajulun rasheed?” No one in his mind can understand what the Lord of Heavens is sending.

Maqaam ur-Rushd (Station of Maturity) is the highest level servants can reach. Rushd, what does it mean? You must know. If not look in qaamoos (dictionary). If you could not find it, look in tafseer, commentaries of Holy Quran. Don’t say, “This is shirk” and don’t say, “This is kaafir.” No. Alladhee yafhamu 'l-katheer? “Isn't there a person who understands me well?” Hundreds of thousands of ones are bringing from the Holy Qur'an and its endless treasures, lu'lu, pearls, and diamonds. Why are you saying this is not a real diamond, it is only plastic? Don't say that!

If you are saying, Qul haatoo burhaanakum, “Bring your proofs,” that is making my heart to be in satisfaction. If not, you should be responsible in the Divine Presence, and the Divine Presence is never accepting you, sending you to angels.

O People! Come and hear, come and listen to the endless oceans through the Holy Qur'an. It is always giving people a refreshment and giving a young power to them for understanding and to be in pleasure and to be pleased with such a hidden treasure from the Holy Qur'an.

May Allah (swt) forgive me and forgive all listeners and Salafi `ulama also, and give us a hidden treasure of the holy verses, endless hidden treasures through holy verses.

O People! Take your adab with the Holy Qur'an and take your adab with such people who are bringing such strange meanings full with such a power and lights to take away from your faces darkness and give to you heavenly lights!

O my Lord, forgive me, and forgive Salafi `ulama, Ya Rasulullah!

(Mawlana Shaykh stands and sits then sing:)
Dome, dome, dome, dome
Dome, dome, dome, dome
Dome, dome, dome, dome
Dome, dome, dome, dome

(Mawlana sings in Turkish:)
Yaa Muhammad, canim arzular seni
Dost Muhammad, canim pek sever seni
Padışah konmaz saraya hane mamur olmadan
kenz açılmaz şol gönülden ta ki pür nur olmyınca

Yaa Muhammad, my soul is yearning for you
Yaa Muhammad, you are my true love
A king is not put in a palace before it is adorned
A heart's treasure is unlocked only when that heart is purified
Huu, huu, huuu, huuu, huuuuuuuuuuu...
As-salaamu `alaykum. This is Allah's grant for tonight, subhaanAllah, subhaanAllah, subhaanAllah, Oh, Yaa Rabbee!
Mawlana Shaykh Mazim's daily sohbet (lecture) is broadcasted LIVE from Cyprus on

Friday, March 12, 2010

Know when to speak


Abu Abdullah Ahmad bin Asim al-Antaki says:
"The most harmful time for speech
is when silence would be better for you
and the most harmful time for silence
is when speech would be more fitting for you
and more necessary."

O son, do not be one who is talkative. You must know when to speak and when not to speak. A sign of one who has intelligence is that he knows the sign of intelligence is not in always having something to say.

Frankly, I was feeling somewhat 'numb' like I do not have an opinion or preference on what to say to you today. Then I was reminded by Shaykh Hisham's sohbet on one the four things Sayiddina Ali karamallahu wajhah had practised. He said, one should be silent and observe the surroundings before one make one's move. I think that is common sense and yet most people like I get clumsy and jumpy.

The Sufis on the other hand, observe the present moment attentively and only act upon getting an ilham or inspiration to say or do anything. They are truly the son of the moment and fulfill the rights of the moment as per the Divine order. That much I observe from our gurus, so let us all take heed. May Allah grant us tawfik to follow in the footsteps of His pious and gnostic servants. Ameen.

Jumaah Mubarrak! 
Salam warahmatullah.
Pic credit: Haqqani Fellowship

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The rhythm of the Naqshbandi


"When (by means of music) the various limbs of the body become properly collected, hatred and aversion is removed and concordance (hukm al-tawafuq) appears." - says Ahmad Tusi in Bawariq.

O son,
Limbs sway nimble as hearts and souls danced to the tunes of  qasidah and hadrah for nights on end. That's what the Naqshbandis of this land have been up to since 10 Rabi'ul Awal. The Tariqa's Mawlid series of celebration is graced by the presence of Shaykh Adnan Kabbani and wife Hajjah Halima. (pic below)

So how do we explain the effects melodies could have on one's soul? 
"What causes mystical states to appear in the heart when listening to music (Sama') is a divine mystery (sirr Allah) found within the concordant relationship of measured tones (of music) to the (human) spirits and in the spirit's becoming overwhelmed by the strains of these melodies and stirred by them..." - says Imam al-Ghazali. 

Yes, stirred, we all Naqshbandis have been for many glorious nights - all for the love of Rasulullah s.a.w. Overwhelmed by feelings for him that one's own self dissipates in the praise for the Beloved of Allah and unite as one voice of adoration - prince and paupers alike. 

To quote Ahmad Tusi again:
"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."

And the preference over all else is that of attuning to the spiritual harmony of none other than Muhammad al Mustafa!
Allahumma salli wasallim wabarik alaih wa ala alaih.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Conclusive argument remains with God - Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi


A spiritual intuition will reveal that that which was necessary to affirm His Divinity is none other than the Reality Himself, and that the Cosmos (of created beings) is nothing more than His Self-Revelation (to Himself) in the forms (determined) by their eternally unmanifest essences, which could not possibly exist without Him. It will reveal also that He manifest Himself variously and formally according to the (inherent) realities and states of the essences all of which is understood together with the knowledge that, in relation to us, He is the Divinity.

A further spiritual intuition will show you our forms manifest in Him, so that some of us are manifest to others in the Reality, know each other, and distinguish each other in Him. There are those of us who have spiritual knowledge of this mutual recognition in the Reality, while others have not experienced the plane on which this occurs. I seek refuge in God lest I be of the ignorant.

As a result of the last two intuitions it is known that we are determined only through ourselves through ourselves (as essences); indeed, it is we who determine ourselves through ourselves, which is the meaning of the words God's is the conclusive argument, (Quran VI:149), that is, against the veiled ones when they ask the Reality why He has done with them things contrary to their own aims. And He made their affair difficult for them. (Quran LXVII:42), and this is the truth revealed to the gnostics. For they see that it is not the Reality that has done with them what is claimed, and they see that what was done with them came from themselves, for His knowledge of them is according to what they are themselves (in their eternal essences). Thus their complained is nullified, the conclusive argument remaining with God. 

We are His as has been shown,
As also we belong to ourselves.
He has no other becoming except mine,
We are His and we are through ourselves.
I have two aspects, He and I,
but He is not I in my I.
In me is His theater of manifestation,
And we are for Him as vessels.

- Shaykh Ibn al-'Arabi in The Bezels of Wisdom
Translated by RWJ Austin
Publisher Credit: Paulist Press

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In each other, all along


To the one dwelling in my heart
makes the chambers burst
into quiet laughter
your understated humor
tickles a lover's veins
so joy streams all over

love which is in silence
can never be wrong
for all that is unseen and unspoken
is from the One, the Strong

Rumi is so right
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other
all along...

Pic credit: wolfjpg.devianart

Monday, March 8, 2010

Proof of tawba (repentance)


Habib Najib bin Toha as-Seggaf, at the closing of the 8th Mawlid Kubro celebration hosted by Al-Jenderami Foundation in Dengkil, Malaysia, reminded the audience on the importance of keeping one's tawba. He said, "you should be grateful that Allah has invited you to this auspicious occasion, celebrating the mawlid as proof of your love for Rasulullah s.a.w. You may have come to such an event many times, so with such great blessings that you have been given, there must be evidence of your attachment to Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. If you truly love Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w you would not go back to your old poor habits, you would progress and become a better person. You will not engage in deeds that would incur the wrath of Allah. You will not commit anything that would displease Rasulullah s.a.w. There must be some kind of proof of your tawba, of you turning from the old you, to the new you. So keep your repentance and be grateful for Allah's blessings."

O son, what else could I add to this strong message from such venerable 'aleem and 'areef like Habib Najib, other than quote the sayings of Imam al-Haddad who said:
"Remorse (nadam) is the turning of the heart, in sorrow and regret, away from something which the servant has committed, and which angers God the Exalted, such as sins or the neglect of obligatory acts. It may also occur following an excessive involvement in permissible pleasures or the neglect of supererogatory devotions. A sincere remorse is one which leads to perservering in earnest, and avoiding neglectfulness. When sound, it includes nearly all the conditions of repentance (tawba), which is why the Prophet s.a.w has said: "Remorse is repentance." Those who are remorseful about their misbehavior, but still persist in it, are only jesting, and their remorse will not avail them.

Seeking forgiveness (istighfar) means asking God to forgive, which in turn means His concealing the misdeed (from the eyes of others). When God, by His grace, forgives a sin, he neither exposes its doer to shame, nor punishes him for it, whether in this world or in the next. The highest kind of forgiveness is for God to place a veil, a barrier, between the servant and sins, until it is as though he were free of them. In the context of Prophethood this veil is termed as 'inerrancy' ('isma); and in that of sainthood, 'protection' (hifz). This is the meaning of God's saying, addressed to the Master of Inerrant s.a.w: 'Ask forgiveness of your sin, and for believing men and women.' (Qur'an 47:19) And: 'That God may forgive you, your former and subsequent sin.' (Qur'an 48:2) It is well known that the Prophet was not liable to sin. But He here reminds him of His favouring him with His protection from everything that would distance him from Him, and commands him to pray to Him in that manner; prayer in this context being the consequence of thankfulness and thankfulness being the cause of further increase. 'If you are thankful, I shall give you more.' (Qur'an 14:7) And God knows best."
O son, how many times have we failed to thank Him for covering up our sins? How many times have we committed sins, repented and went back to doing them again?! How many times have we knowingly revealed our misdeeds to people when Allah Himself has promised to veil our sins? By doing so, we have shamed ourselves whereas God in His mercy commits to grant pardon and not shame us in this world and in the hereafter! Allahu Allah!
Astaghfirullah al-Azeem
allazi la ilaha illa huwal hayyul qayyum
wa atu bu ilaih
min kulli zanbin 'azeem
zahiran wa bathinan
sirran wa jahran
tawbatan nasuha!

# Imam al-Haddad quote is from: 'Gifts for the Seeker'. Translated from the Arabic by Mostafa al-Badawi. Publisher credit: Fons Vitae # Istighfar: As practised by Habib Ali bin Jaafar al-Idrus who taught it to Shaykh Abdul Aziz Shafie.