Suhbat: The Meaning of Rabitah
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
September 7, 2004
A'udhu billahi min ash-Shaytani ’r-Rajim
Bismillahi ’r-Rahmani ’r-Rahim
Dastur Ya Sayyidi Madad
Every time we begin a suhbat, association, we have to ask support. And always, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, may Allah bless him, as we are followers of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, Naqshbandi murids, we have to follow the same discipline. So we cannot change the discipline, and say, “No. Is it accepted or not accepted??” We follow. They know better. Because they have taken from us a promise, initiation. We accepted their initiation on us of Naqshbandi Tariqah so it means they included us in their rope, in their rabitah.
Rabitah is like a chain of keys. We are one key of this chain. Or like beads—we are one piece from the beads. If there are 1,000 or 200 small pieces, we are one part of it. So we are connected together. So we have to follow what we have been taught, or else we are not executing the discipline of the tariqah. So whatever the Shaykh does, we are always focusing on what he is doing. We are looking and focusing, and we are in muraqabah continuously, to learn what every piece—what we have to say, what we have to read, what we have to… look at what he is doing and learn from him and understand, and that is the meaning of a [form of] discipline in the tariqah by looking, by focusing, by muraqabah.
When the shaykh says “Dastur Ya Sayyidi Madad,” when he begins his suhbat—if you listen to him—every suhbat, every association, the shaykh sits. It means the association, when he sits, and there are 100 or 200 or 300, all of them are sitting in his presence and already they have accepted his hand and they have been initiated in the tariqa, so this association is the rabitah, the connection to each other. We say rabitat-aal al-Kabbani, rabitat aal al-Ghalayyini, rabitat aal al-Kuftaro, rabitat aal al-Maliki, rabitat aal al-Madani, rabitat al… It means the rabitah is the rope that connects all these families. For example we have rabitat aalul-Kabbani in Lebanon—maybe thousands of people from the same family. So rabitah means… the group, all of them connected together in one road, so they come and meet in a place. So this means rabitah. It means you are accepted to be under the banner of that group.
Now what you do inside that group is different. But rabitah is that whole community of the same family, of the same relationship. So we are rabitat-al-Haqqani. It means, we are Rabitat-aalu ’l-Haqqani, or ash-Shaykhu ’l-Haqqani—we are in his connection, in his rope, connecting all of us together. Like, what is your family? Subki. Aalu’s-Subki. Rabitat aalu ’s-Subki—it means all of the Subkis who have that same family name—they make an association and they say, “Okay, we will meet together. And this is our leader in that.” So this is the meaning of rabitah, to connect all those who are spread all over one place here and one place here—no, he brings them together. The shaykh, his murids are scattered all over the world, so when he puts them in rabitah, it means he puts them in his chain, in his rope. So they are all connected to him. So that is rabitah. The rope that connects them. It is completely different from muraqabah.
As there is a physical rabitah through blood relations, there is a spiritual rabitah through spiritual relations. Blood relations is from silatur rahim—same cousins and relatives. They have a rabitah between them that connects them all. Spiritual means those who are under the same shaykh, who is connecting them through their spiritual beings—souls and… which have been given to him on the Day of Promises, and given to him on Lailatu ’l-Isra’ wa ’l-Mi‘raj by Prophet (s)—gave him, dividing the ummah. That is under his control, under his power. That is his rabitah.
That is why in Khatmu ’l-Khwajagan, when we do the Dhikrullah, khatm, we reach after Shahada and Astaghfirullah, then what do we say? “Rabitatu ’sh-Sharif” After the Fatiha we say “Rabitatu ’sh-Sharifah,” it means, connect your heart and remember that you are in the rope, in the chain of the shaykh. You are in the same flock, like a shepherd with his sheep. They are looking, they know that they belong to that shaykh. It means you belong to that particular shaykh. So look, keep that relationship of spiritual childhood with the shaykh, and brotherhood with the followers. So the shaykh is the father, the followers are your brothers or sisters. It means, keep that in mind, and make sure, when the shaykh says “rabitah,” it means you are part of that association. It means renew your initiation in your heart with your shaykh, as if saying, “O my Shaykh, I am still in your chain. Please, don’t take me out. I am still there.” That is the rabitah.
That is your connection. You know to whom you are related. You are related to al-Haqqani, or related to another tariqah. No. We are related to al-Haqqani, which is related to ad-Daghestani - Mawlana Shaykh ‘Abdullah (q). Related to Shaykh Sharafuddin Daghestani. Related to Abu Muhammad al-Madani, related to Sayyid Jamaluddin al-Ghumuqi al-Husseini, all the way to Prophet (s). So this is our connection, this is our rabitah. This is the chain by which we reach there. It has nothing to do with muraqabah. Muraqabah is a completely different issue.
Allah said in Holy Quran, “Inna-Allaha yudafi‘u ‘ani ’ladheena aamanu.” Allah will defend those who believe and are believers. These people don’t need to defend themselves. Allah will defend them. Allah will support them. Yaa ayyuhal ’ladheena aamanu, in ja’akum faasiqun bi naba’in fatabayyanu ‘an tuseebu qawman bi-jahaalatin fa tusbihu ‘alaa maa fa‘altum naadimeen. – “O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done.” [49:6]
O believers, if a faasiq (corrupted person) comes to you with news (something—bi naba; for instance, saying, “No, I am coming to do this, and correct this, to correct your belief. I have been sent by the Shaykh, or by this, or by that.”) Make sure, check completely whether he is right or wrong. An tuseebu qawman bi jahaalatin—because if you believe without checking, then you are falling under that description an tuseebu qawman bi jahaalatin—it means you are coming against someone who said the truth, but because of your ignorance without checking, you are attacking him or attacking others who are related to him, and trying to do their best for Islam, and trying to do their best for tariqah, and trying to do their best for their shaykh. You are attacking for some low level mentality, or a plot that has been pressured on you in order to make you fall into the trap of Satan. It is better to check, and then to speak. It is good for any person who wants to correct belief to check whether people gave him the right information or the wrong information before attacking and creating a confusion and fitnah. And Prophet (s) said, “Al-fitnatu na’imatun la‘an-Allahu man ayqadaha – Fitnah, Confusion is dormant, Allah curses the one who brings it up.” Because this is a fitnah for nothing. And Allah said:
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Inna Allaha yudafi‘u ‘an illadheena aamanoo inna Allaha laa yuhibbu kulla khawwaanin kafoor. “Verily Allah will defend (from ill) those who believe: verily, Allah loveth not any that is a traitor to faith, or show ingratitude.” [22:38]
“Allah will defend those who are on the right way.” We hope that we are on the right way, and Allah will defend us.
It is completely rejected by Allah in Holy Qur’an, saying “Don’t doubt anyone, because you will be regretful at the end.”
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Ya ayyuha alladheena amanoo in ja’akum fasiqun bi-naba’in fa tabayyanoo an tuseeboo qawman bi jahalatin fa tusbihu ‘ala maa fa‘altum naadimeen. “O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done.” [49:6]
You are going to be regretful of what you have attacked without a reason. And always the characteristics of a shaykh, means he doesn’t claim that he is a shaykh. You cannot claim that. If you are following a master, a shaykh, you cannot claim that you are a shaykh. It is bad adab, bad conduct, out of discipline. You claim you are a student, and the lowest of students, in order that Allah will give you more. A representative of the shaykh, cannot claim he is a shaykh. He cannot claim he is something, he cannot say, “I am annihilated in Allah’s Presence,” or “I am so-and-so. I am the pure one. I am the sincere. And the rest are beggars, the rest are devils, the rest are animals.” You cannot say that. If you really represent the shaykh, and you are authorized, you have to be the lowest - under everyone, to make everyone happy. You cannot backbite! Where is that in the Prophet’s (s) teachings!
Al-ghiba, an-nameemah, al-buhtaan are not accepted in Islam! How do you throw ghiba against your brothers and sisters? Always your majlis is sitting and backbiting on issues that are not accepted. In their faces you make yourself the big lover. In their absence, you backbite each other. What kind of Islam, what kind of Shari’ah, what kind of tariqah is that?
I never heard Mawlana Shaykh Nazim in all my life speaking in the back of anyone. Backbiting him, or trying to say, “I am correcting his belief.” Or “I am correcting” this or that or “What he said is wrong.” Never! He is so simple, so soft, so lenient with everyone, and trying to attract hearts of people, as Prophet (s) said, Idkhaalu ’s-suroori ila qalbi ’l-‘abd mina ’l-iman - “To bring happiness to the heart of a servant is from faith.” So he tries to bring happiness, not to bring anger, not to bring confusion, not to bring destruction, not to bring depression, not to bring pressure, not to bring lies, not to bring buhtaan, not to make fitnah between people. No, never does the discipline of tariqah allow that.
If you are doing that for a chair, or for fame, that is something else. If you want to be recognized by people, if you think that you are not recognized, that is a mistake. That is a sickness in yourself. Allah will recognize you! You don’t need the people to recognize you. So when you find a chair empty, and you jump and sit on it to be recognized, by attacking your brothers or your sisters, or those most closely related to you, in order to get fame—for what? For dunya issues? Or for akhira? If it is for akhira, it is not the discipline of akhira, that kind of work. If it is for dunya, then we understand that it is for dunya. So we have to be very careful of such fitnah, that we will be dragged by Shaytan. Even if you are a saint!!!
Even saints! Sometimes Satan tries to drag them. And the example is Sayyidina Adam (as). He is a prophet! Prophets—there is no resemblance between prophets and saints! A saint is not even the drop of the ocean of a prophet! What do you think about the Seal of Prophets (s)? So Sayyidina Adam (as) was dragged by Satan to eat from the tree, and he is a prophet. Do you not think that a saint will be dragged, if Allah wants him to be dragged? So you have to be very careful. There are 124,000 saints. Not one saint. Not two saints. Not three. There are different levels! There are the lower levels to the highest level. And Alhamdulillah, we believe that our shaykh, Sultan al-Awliya, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani is the highest level. But there are 124,000 after him. Do you think that these on the lower level will not do any mistakes? Of course they do! Sahaba, among themselves had problems. Mu’awiya and Sayyidina ‘Ali, did they not have problems? They were fighting with each other and both of them are Sahaba! They were coming and fighting. Sayyidat A’isha (r) was with Mu’awiya against Sayyidina ‘Ali (ra)—and she was the wife of the Prophet (s). But we don’t touch that subject, because it is Sahaba, it is between them. We back away.
So don’t try to create… You have to learn discipline in tariqah. And the discipline is to keep the line of brotherhood and sisterhood in the same rabitah, in the same chain—it means in the same group, not to create fitnah in the group and to divide the group into hundreds of different pieces.
There are two kinds of relationships in the discipline of tariqah, even between saints. If you want to say “saints” for murids of Mawlana Shaykh—there are saints among them. There are two different relationships. There is a spiritual relationship with each other—because they do have spiritual relationships—and there is also spiritual and blood relationships. There might be brothers among saints. And there might, among these brothers from both the physical and spiritual side, yet they might have different ways of looking at things. You cannot, as a brother—you are in the same rabitah—if you are under a different saint, then what do you want to say, you are supporting your master. It is a different group of saints. But if you are under the same saint, you cannot, or else you are falling into a mistake. And don’t think “Oh! How can they differ?” They do differ.
And the example of that, that they can differ, although they are physically and spiritually connected to the same shaykh, they can differ in the ways they approach things. Their destination is one, is Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, or Prophet (s), or Allah, but they take different ways. One goes to the right, one goes to the left, but at the end they meet at a certain point. But every one goes in a different direction. And don’t think, “Oh! How does this happen?” Yes. In Holy Qur’an it is mentioned. In Surah Yusuf (as), the children of Ya’qub (as) – they are 12 prophets. They are prophets that Allah (swt) made them prophets. They got jealous of Yusuf (as), and what did they do? They wanted to kill him, at first! They wanted to kill Yusuf (as)! Because of their jealousy and hatred, they reached a level where they could not take it any longer, because Yusuf was so close to his father, doing everything to promote his father, teach the teachings of his father, Sayyidina Ya‘qub (as). He was the wise person, the closest to his father—they tried to kill him.
But what happened? Allah didn’t want that. He wanted it to be a test for Yusuf (as), and a test for them, so he changed it, He stopped them by one of them saying, “No. We cannot kill him. We will put him in the well and leave him to die.”
Allah called them Aali-Ya‘qub. Aali-Ya‘qub means rabitatu Ya‘qub, it means that they are in the chain of Sayyidina Ya‘qub (as), in the rope, group or association of Sayyidina Ya‘qub (as). It means, that is the relationship, rabitah. But despite that rabitah, everyone does something opposed to it. So they went through their thinking, and what came to their minds? “O let us kill Yusuf.” Why? “O, to get rid of him. Then we will be closer to our father, and he will love us more.”
That is jealousy; envy. In tariqah, you must not do that. And these are prophets! Allah gave them prophecy! It was not ten of them. We said twelve before. Allah gave them prophecy. They are not saints! They were even of the highest level! So you say that there will be no such conflict? Yes! There will be such things. But Yusuf (as) took it as what?
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wa ufawwidu amree il-Allah. Rabbi qad ataytani mina ’l-mulki wa ‘allamtanee min ta’weeli ’l-ahaadeeth - “O my Lord! Thou hast indeed bestowed on me some power, and taught me something of the interpretation of dreams and events. Thou art my Protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Take Thou my soul (at death) as one submitting to Thy will (as a Muslim), and unite me with the righteous." [12:101]
“O Allah, you gave me the mulk, you gave me the power! You granted to me to be known here and there, and You taught me from the knowledge of the interpretation of dreams and knowledge.” They were envying him. Why could they not be like him? “Eliminate him!” How to eliminate him? Plot something not correct against him in order that he will be thrown away. Then we don’t see him anymore. (Gesture of wiping hands). Make a false report on him. Wrong information, discredit him in all kinds of ways, and still they were prophets and doing that. So a saint might do that!
And they did that and they knew they were doing something wrong, but they insisted to do that, because they were dragged like Sayyidina Adam (as) was dragged by Satan. They were dragged to do that, but Allah saved Yusuf (as) and Yusuf (as) was close to them. He was going to play with them. It means he was very close to them. He cannot destroy that relationship. He used to work with them, everything, outside. And saints can work with each other, everything, outwardly. Whether they are physically related or spiritually related, they work outwardly, but when there is no way for that jealousy except to hate and kill, at that time, it dresses that person, and he doesn’t find a way out of it. And then he destroys something. But, Allah (swt) is merciful. How did it end up? Because they were prophets. They came and bowed to Sayyidina Yusuf (as) and said, “Ya Yusuf, we recognize we were wrong. You were right. Forgive us.” So Allah still, to his saints, He gives a kind of… we say “hifz” in Arabic, protection. Not ‘isma—‘isma is for prophets. Purity. Protection is for saints. If they do something wrong, because all their lives they were doing good, Allah gives them an excuse, forgives them. So Sayyidina Yusuf (as) and his brothers are prophets, so Allah (swt) brought them and showed them that they made a mistake.
And Yusuf (as), when his father was crying because of that problem, his eyes… he became blind. So any confusion within a group that is spiritually connected to one another under the banner of a shaykh, the shaykh will cry when he sees a fitna that is not necessary to be there. He will cry and his eyes will be blinded. It means he doesn’t want to see that. He doesn’t want to see that fitna. They will be disconnected. Until they ask peacefulness back, and forgiveness. Then he forgives them. And what happened? Sayyidina Yusuf (as) sent his shirt to his father, saying to his brothers:
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Qaala la tathreeba ‘alaykumu al-yawma yaghfiru Allahu lakum wa huwa arhamu’r-rahimeen
He said: "This day let no reproach be (cast) on you: Allah will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!” [12:92]
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Fa lamma an ja’a al-basheeru alqaahu ‘ala wajhihi fartadda baseera,” Then when the bearer of the good news came, He cast (the shirt) over his face, and he forthwith regained clear sight. [12:96]
He could see again. It means he restored that relationship. He forgave his brothers for the mistake of Yusuf (as).
So the shaykh will be unhappy because of that situation. And those are—those authorized around the shaykh in these areas of countries where fitna comes out, they will be unhappy also. But, with their softness, and with their coolness, and with their open hearts, they forgive. So why to come to that situation when we can avoid that situation? It is not accepted in Islam, and in Shari’ah.
And I will bring, from Grandshaykh’s stories and examples, I will bring this. He said, one time the Prophet (s) said, “That Sahabi is not going to enter Paradise.” A Companion! The Prophet (s) is teaching us. Of course, Companions will enter Paradise. But Prophet (s) wants to clean him and bring his attention to his bad action. Meaning, “Drop this bad action.” Because the Prophet (s) came to teach us Shari‘ah and discipline. So he wanted to teach us that that was wrong, so he said to that Companion, “You are not going to enter Paradise if you are going to keep practicing that bad action.”
Why? Because he would usually, when sitting with other people, if anyone passed in the street – at that time there were very small alleys, small streets—as people would pass he would greet them: “Oh! Hello! You are very good, you are missing me! Where are you! What are you doing! I love you! Come to my home! You are the best! You are this! You are that! You are the generous one! You are the most beautiful one! You are the cleverest one! You are the most handsome one! You are the most knowledgeable one!” That other one would become very happy.
And then when that one left, he would tell his people, “He is the worst one. He is nothing. He is garbage. He is dumb. We have to throw him away.” And he would begin to backbite and throw him with bughtaan and ghiba and nameema.
So there are people today in front of you, “Oh! You are the best one! I love you! I didn’t see you! Where are you!” Hugging you, kissing you, and then when you go, “Oh! That is wrong belief! I am correcting their belief. They are doing this wrong. They are making fitna. They are taking you as trade. They are not clarifying everything.” That is not accepted.
Always, Grandshaykh and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim prohibited speaking behind the back something bad, and in front of them something nice. That is haram.
If you have a problem with these people who are passing on the street or alley, you speak with them directly. Check what is wrong. If anyone, in Mawlana Shaykh’s murids or representatives—you have a problem, speak directly, face-to-face, solve the problem. Not fighting. It is not necessary.
I will jump to a different subject.
The other subject is that I will give more examples of what I gave examples of in previous lectures, examples of muraqabah. I will give one from Grandshaykh’s papers. And no one can say “No” to that. One time, Sayyidina ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) said to his murids—this means to those in his rabitah, in his rope or chain—that is rabitah. It means all the people who accepted his initiation. When we say rabitah, we are connecting with our shaykh, remembering that we are renewing our relationship with him, that he connects us with Prophet (s), connects us with the Divine Presence. So he said to his murids, “Today…” And those were authorized representatives, high representative murids, and normal murids. He said, “Today, I want everyone of you to go and slaughter a rooster, a chicken, in a place where no one can see you.”
So they went, and one came after one hour. They went everyone, hiding themselves, behind the mountains, behind the hills, behind the market, behind the houses, behind the bushes, behind the trees, behind the jungle, on the sea—everywhere possible where they were able to do it, in Baghdad. They tried their best to do it. One came after one hour, slaughtering the rooster. One came after two hours. One came after three hours. One at this time, one at another time. And only one was left. He didn’t come. And Maghrib came and they could not find him. And then the next day he came, and the rooster was in his hand, coming to Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani. The rooster was still alive. He said, “All of your friends came, and they have slaughtered their roosters already. Why were you late? I asked you to hide yourself in a place where no one can see you slaughter, and come back to me. What happened to you?” He said, “O my master, you asked me to slaughter where no one could see me.” And no one can deny this story of Grandshaykh. He said, “I was… All the murids, as a rabitah, as a group of a chain or a rope, went together. And then they separated on their own. And then they came together. That’s rabitah, they go together and come together. They are his group, Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani’s group. But every one went a different way, he reached out in his own way to Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani. Because they are in the same group, but everyone is looking at their shaykh in a different way. They were in constant muraqabah to the shaykh. They were constantly looking—what he would do they would do. So that was a very highly inspired murid, and he was an authorized one. He said, “O my shaykh, I was looking, focusing, meditating, thinking.” How do they say in muraqabah, thinking is kufr? Or “Muraqabah, meditation, is kufr—you cannot do it except to Allah!”
Rabitah, you can do it to shaykh. Rabitah is a chain! Is a rope. All of you, you are there. Of course. That has nothing to do with muraqabah. But muraqabah is that you have to see how the discipline of the shaykh is. How he is doing, you do. It means, you are always in his presence. So what did he say?
And this is the answer.
He said, “O my shaykh! I was focusing and meditating, I went to the hill to slaughter the rooster where no one could see me. I saw you there. I went to the beach where no one could see me, I saw you there. I went to the forest, and with my meditation I saw you there with my heart, or with my focusing in my mind and my heart. Always you are present! Anywhere I went, I didn’t find an empty space where you were not there with me, and I am in your presence. So your presence is always with me, and from you I was able, through your presence, to reach the presence of Prophet (s), and reaching the presence of Allah (swt). So there was no place empty in this universe, in this world, that I could reach, that was empty of you, empty of Prophet (s), empty from Allah (swt). Wherever I direct my face, I was seeing you. Wherever I direct my face, I was feeling the presence of Prophet (s), wherever I direct my face, I was feeling the Presence of Allah (swt). So how could I slaughter the rooster? I was in continuous muraqabah, and you were there, everywhere. So I didn’t find any place empty. I didn’t find a place where you were not, or where Prophet (s) was not, or where Allah (swt) was not there.
This is Grandshaykh’s story of Sayyidina ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, with his student, to slaughter a rooster in a place that no one is there. And the answer of the murid, he said, “You are my khalifa. You are the only one that understood what is the meaning of muraqabah and rabitah, may Allah support you. I am sending you as an authorized person, to give teaching around the world.
The third story of Grandshaykh for today is that he said one time, a murid of Sayyidina ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani (q) died. And this is Grandshaykh’s story, Sultanul Awliya, Sayyidi Shaykh Abdullah al-Fa’iz ad-Daghestani, and Sayyidina Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani. It is their story. It is not my story, or someone else’s story. It is Grandshaykh’s story. He said, “One time, one murid of Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani died.” Sayyidina Azra’il came, took his soul, and went. They buried him. And the two angelsof questioning, Ankar and Nakir, came. Saints can see. They are not easy. They are strong. Allah gave them power. When Sayyidina Muhammad (s) was speaking in the fight of Badr, he was speaking to the unbelievers when they died, and they buried them, did you see what Allah promised you as Haqq? It means, “Did you see you are going to lose and go to Jahannam?” Sahaba said, “Ya Rasulallah, they will hear you?” You are seeing and can hear them? He said, “Yes. They can hear and they can see. They are seeing me and hearing me.” Saints are the inheritors of Prophet (s). If Prophet (s) gives them something, they will carry it. Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani was one of the Sultans of Awliya.
So Ankar and Nakir came, the two angels of after-death, and wanted to ask questions of that man. Any question they ask, he says “’Abdul Qadir Jilani.” They ask, “Who is your Creator?” “’Abdul Qadir Jilani.” “What is your religion?” “’Abdul Qadir Jilani.” “What is your Holy Book?” “’Abdul Qadir Jilani.” To everything, he says, “’Abdul Qadir Jilani.” It means, “I am annihilated in ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani. Don’t ask me. Ask him. I was always, in dunya, in his presence, and in akhira, in his presence.” It means that presence… The first level is love (mahabbat), love of the shaykh, love of Prophet (s), love of Allah (swt). Then there is presence (hudur), presence of the Prophet (s), presence of the shaykh, then it reaches us to annihilation (fana) in Allah, in Prophet (s), and in the shaykh. So that presence, that muraqabah, that meditation, that he was not seeing except ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani. So how do you say that muraqabah is kufr? Or that muraqabah is shirk? “You cannot do muraqabah.”
Muraqabah—that murid was still in the first level of Hudur (Presence). He was seeing everything coming from his shaykh. This is the discipline of tariqa, obedience.
“Obey Allah, obey Prophet (s), and obey those in authority over you.” He will take you to Prophet (s). So when he was still in that level, after mahabbatullah, mahabbatul-Habib, mahabbatul-mashaykh, he reached the next level which is presence of the shaykh. Wherever he turned his face, he saw the shaykh. Like the other one with the rooster. He didn’t find a place empty from the shaykh. So he was seeing his shaykh. So now the shaykh has to answer Ankar and Nakir. He appeared there for Ankar and Nakir. He answered on his behalf. He said, “If you grind him, if you grind his body, and make it into pieces, and grind his blood, every drop of his blood and every cell of his body is going to say, ‘’Abdul Qadir Jilani.’” This is Grandshaykh’s story. It means that muraqabah filled him completely, but he had not yet been able to go to the second level, which is muraqabatu’ r-Rasul (s). So he was in the transition. And he died. So if he had been able to reach muraqabatu ’r-Rasul, he could have reached muraqabatullah, which is the goal—muraqabah with the Divine Presence. But the beginning has to be through the shaykh.
The vehicle, as Mawlana explained in one of his lectures recently, muraqabah has to be with the shaykh in the shaykh, and looking at the Shaykh, and he gave the example of a driver’s education car, where you have the real driver and a student driver. The driver has a steering wheel and has gas and brake and acceleration. The student has the same thing. So the student is driving, and the teacher is looking, directing him. And if the student is making a mistake, he is looking at his teacher who corrects him. So he is in continuous muraqabah, continuous meditation with the shaykh and he is driving, with the driver and he is driving, with the teacher and he is driving. So if he makes a mistake, the Shaykh pulls him up quickly.
So that murid was fully in the presence of ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani—no answer for him. He cannot answer, what can he say? He has already been taken, possessed—not possessed by jinn, but dressed with that reality of presence. There is no way out of it now, until he goes to the presence of Prophet (s) and the Presence of Allah, but his time of death came before he reached that. He reached it later, in the grave.
Always rabitah has to be to the shaykh, always muraqabah has to be to the shaykh. Rabitah is always to the shaykh because you are in his chain. And then he takes you and puts you in the chain of Prophet (s), or the rope of Prophet (s), and Prophet (s) puts you in the rope of Allah where he says,
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wa’tasimu bi hablillahi jami’an wa laa tafarraqu, – “hold tight to the rope of Allah, and don’t separate”… (3:103)
You will reach the final destination. Muraqabah is the love of Allah, love of Prophet (s). That is the way, what you have to do. Rabitah is to attach yourself to the shaykh, to the Prophet (s), to Allah by taking that initiation. Like appointing an ‘amir. If you are three, Prophet (s) said, “Appoint one `amir on you.” It means, connect with that ‘amir, and listen to what he says. That is finished. We took his hand, we made initiation, we are in his group. That is rabitah.
But muraqabah is how you are going to follow a certain method in your lifetime in order to discipline yourself and learn the characteristics and good behavior and characteristics of the shaykh. Through muraqabah—Sahaba used to look at Prophet (s) and try to follow in his footsteps. And Allah said
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In kuntum tuhibboonallah, fattabi’oonee yuhbibkumullah wa yaghfir lakum dhunoobakum wallahu ghafoorun raheem – “if you really love Allah follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]
So muraqabah is love. You really love Allah, follow my footsteps to Muhammad (s), Allah will love you. So the muraqabah is to follow the footsteps of Prophet (s), which also means the footsteps of the inheritors of Prophet (s). So when you look, it takes you first to love, mahabbatullah, the love of Prophet (s), love of the Shaykh. Then it takes you to a higher level: Presence of the Shaykh, Presence of the Prophet (s), Presence of Allah. Then it takes you to a yet higher level: Annihilation in the Shaykh, Annihilation in the Prophet (s), Annihilation in Allah (swt). Those are the three levels, which go together, from the first level to the second to the third.
And they are parallel to ‘Ilmu ’l-yaqeen, ‘Aynu ’l-Yaqeen, Haqqu ’l-Yaqeen. Mahabba gives you ‘ilm, Hudur gives you ‘Aynu ’l-Yaqeen, and Annihilation (Fana) gives you Haqqu ’l-Yaqeen. With Mahabba, you can hear. ‘Ilmu ’l-yaqeen, knowledge comes to you by hearing. Hudur means you are in the presence of the shaykh, it means you are in muraqabah, you are looking—vision. And that’s why it gives you ‘Aynu ’l-yaqeen, the reality of seeing. The second level on the parallel side. The third level of Annihilation is paralleled by Haqqu ’l-Yaqeen, the reality of seeing, now. You have the knowledge, you have the vision, then it gives you the truth, the real truth.
So this is the way of muraqabah. It has to guide you through your journey of Gnosticism. You cannot say, “No, there is no muraqabah. Or muraqabah is kufr.” Then you change your mind to say, “Muraqabah is allowed to the shaykh but not allowed to this or to that.” You are every day jumping like the scholars of today. One day they give a fatwa that this issue is okay, and the next day they change the fatwa because they see their regime saying, “No, change it now!” For politicians your fatwa was not okay so you change it. You change your fatwa so that you can hold your chair. So the ‘ulama begin to change their fatwa. It’s like a chameleon. One day changing one fatwa, the next day changing to a different fatwa. In tariqa you cannot play that. Tariqa is straightforward. You say the truth!
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Wa qul ja’ al-Haqq, wa zahaqal baatilu, innal baatila kaana zahooqa. “Say truth came and falsehood vanished; for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish.” [17:81]
You cannot stand for falsehood and make a fatwa for falsehood. So go back to your conscience. Go back to your heart. You are not—if you are really saying that we are followers of Mawlana Shaykh, and representative of Mawlana Shaykh, we have to go back to our real personality, not to play like a windmill, as the wind moves so does the windmill, or like a boat in the sea, sailing wherever the wind moves it goes along—like poetry says, “the wind moves the boat as it likes.”
Tajri riyahu bimaa laa tashtahi sufunu.
Don’t let the wind take you from one place to another in order to give a false excuse or a false interpretation of what happened.
You have to be a faithful follower. If it is true, you keep the truth. If it is not true, you keep the truth. And you know best, as murids of Mawlana Shaykh, all of us know best that muraqabah is a very important teaching in Islam and Prophetic medicine.
May Allah forgive us.
Wa min Allahi ’t-Tawfiq bi hurmati ’l-Fatiha.