Suhbat: the Spiritual Hierarchy
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
private home, following ISRA Conference, Maryland, October 10, 2005
Alhamdulillah Allah showed His different ways to him. It depends on the person’s different capabilities what he wants to choose. Some choose this way, some chose that way. Some might choose from the east, some from the west, some might choose to go straight forward, but all of them end up in the same place. That is why spirituality in Islam is very important, because it tries to bring everyone to be at least in one part a Muslim. Even if he is not yet ready Muslim, but spirituality allows the person to become a Muslim in some form or another. Because Allah does not look at our pictures but He looks at our hearts. ' 'a
And the saying goes, ma wasi'anee ardi wa laa sama’ee wa laakin wasi'anee qalbi 'abdee al-mu’min - neither My earth could contain Me nor my Heaveans, but the heart of My believing servant contains Me.
The heart is the manifestation of the Divine Presence. And that manifestation is very important because it does not differentiate.
For example the Prophet (s) came 1425 years ago, if we go by Hijri years or 1400 years ago current era.
What about the people of China, Islam did not reach them at that time and the Prophet (s) came. What will happen to them when they die? Islam did not reach them at that time. Or some people in America, here, the Indians. What will happen to these people?
That is why everything depends on intention. If the intention is good, Allah’s Mercy is over these people, regardless of their belief.
Even Sayyidina Musa (as) came 5000 years ago and he came in a very small area between Palestine and Egypt. Even Sayyidina Ibrahim (as). What about people in Siberia, what about people in India? Do you think that Allah did not send them someone?
That is why, I heard it from Grandshaykh Abdullah, when you begin to go into spiritual meditation you being to get visions and inspirations. These inspirations are like a shining sun. [If you want to give them tea you can.]
Abdul Munim: that is part of their tariqat belief, that Allah did not leave anyone without sending the truth to them?
It is a khitab, address, to Adam,
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Qulna 'hbitoo minha jamee'an fa imma yatiyannakum minnee hudan faman tabi'a hudaaya fa laa khawfun 'alayhim wa laa hum yahzanoon
We said: "Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. [2:38 ]
"Ya Adam I am sending My guidance... When I send you on earth, I will be sending you My guidance."
Without guidance, Allah’s swt will not send Adam (as) on earth. That is why guidance, wherever there are human beings, or wherever there are children of Adam, there must be guidance there. Or else there will be no justice on earth.
Allah swt did not create Adam and Hawwa, Eve, and send them to earth without showing them the right way.
When they were in heavens, in that Presence, they had guidance, Allah guided them. “You have this whole heaven for you. But I am prohibiting, forbidding you from that tree.”
So guidance is something that shows you the good to follow and tells you about the bad that you don’t need to follow. So guidance is like a two-way, like a two-edged sword or knife. It has two edges. Allah swt showed you what you have to follow and that is one edge and the other edge is He told you “This is bad, so don’t follow it.”
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Fa alhamaha fujuraha wa taqwaaha. Qad aflaha man zakaaha wa qad khaaba man das-saaha.
And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds that purifies it, And he fails that corrupts it! [91:8-10]
Allah said, He inspired the self. Alhama in Arabic means revealed or inspired. He inspired the self, the nafs, Fa alhamaha fujuraha wa taqwaaha, fujuraha is its corruption. How can Allah inspire corruption? But Allah said in Holy Qur’an, Fa alhamaha fujuraha, He inspired in the self, showing it what is wrong and immediately He put guidance of what is wrong and the grand finale is taqwa, piety.
It means "Are your final days, when you have done wrong going to end good?" How do they end? Well?
He inspired the self with what is bad, but the grand finale is what He wants for us, taqwa.
Allah said, in a qudsi hadith, “My mercy overrides My anger.” Taqwa overrides corruption. That is why it is the responsibility of the guide to give us guidance. Or if we are left to ourselves, we might be falling into fujoor, corruption. We might not fall into the category of taqwa.
If we fall into category of fujoor, let us say, how do we end as He wants us to end, in taqwa? He said, qad aflaha man zakaaha. "The one who built up taqwa in himself and purified himself is the winner."
To do that by yourself you need guidance. If there is no guidance, then how can the Children of Adam go along with what Allah revealed in the Holy Qur’an in Surat ash-Shams.
That is why guidance is an adjective - it describes someone whose way of talking and speaking is an example, is a way to guide. Islam is not anarchy. It is not a chaotic system. It is a hierarchy.
The communists were totalitarian, where the government tries to control everything in your life. Islam is not totalitarian. Allah swt gave you principles and wants to save you at the end. That is how he structured 124,000 prophets. And the top of the pyramid is Sayyidina Muhammad (s). Sayyidina Adam (as) is the base. Where are the 124,000 prophets? We know how many mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. How many mentioned in Qur’an? 25 in Holy Qur’an.
There are 313 messengers, that are not mentioned. Some are messengers. These are messenger-prophets. And the rest are prophets. Where are they?
So when Allah said, Fa alhamaha fujuraha wa taqwaaha, “He inspired the ego with what is corrupt and inspired it with what is good?” Did He not send most prophets to the area of Palestine and Egypt and Makkah, Madinah? Is this the whole world? Adam’s children are everywhere. Where are these prophets and why don’t we have answer about them. We don’t find examples of them in history. But they existed.
Thus Allah swt will not leave a person without a guide in even 24 hours. So in spirituality, even someone on top of a mountain cannot be left without a guide.
One wali, for after the Prophet Muhammad (s) there are no more prophets, but there are inheritors, they are awliya. These inheritors of the anbiya, these awliya are roaming the world. Like you go around the world and the phone is roaming with you. Awliya are roaming the world. There must be, even on top of a mountain, or in a jungle or in a desert, there must be one wali who must appear to look you in your face and go.
That is the duty of the Qutb al-mutasarrif. Allah gave five qutbs power on earth and they are taking from one of the five great prophets (ulul-‘adham).
Five qutbs are looking after every detail, just as a doctor looks on every detail in your body. Allah assigns these five qutbs to look at every detail of human beings. Under them are 124000 wali. They have been assigned around the world, to reach every person, or else there will be no Divine Justice. Everyone must be guided.
These awliyaullah are looking wherever people are around the world, coming and looking into them. So that his why Allah said, fa man tabi’a hudaya…
Allah is sending guidance, to purify you and show you the right way.
There is a physical guide that appears to you or is a physical wali that you can see him, you sit with him and speak with him. And there are awliyaullah that you cannot see, they are hidden, but spiritually they are working on the hearts of people from far away.
When the Prophet went into Isra' and Mi'raj, he reached a place that archangel Gabriel could not go, and he said, "You go on your own now, I cannot go further or I will be burned!"
He went and reached a place that Allah swt sent him revelation, “Ya Muhammad (s), I created creation for you. And I sent you as a messenger for your nation. And you are a messenger for every nation, but for you the time is now for your nation on earth. And Ya Muhammad (s), this is your nation, I am giving it to you as a trust; do you like to take it?”
And who is the Ummah of the Prophet (s)? I am asking you now.
Muslims are not the only nation of Sayyidina Muhammad (s). When Jesus (as) came, he came for everyone in his time, when Musa (as) came, he came for all the people in his time. When Sayyidina Muhammad (s) came, he came for all people. That is why scholars say the Ummah is divided into two parts: Ummat al-ijaba wa Ummat ad-da'wah. Ummat al-ijaba are those who accepted what the Prophet (s) told them. The Ummat ad-da'wah are those who did not yet accept. The whole creation is his Ummah.
Allah showed him, “This is your Ummah, ya Muhammad (s).” And he showed him their souls. This is teachings of awliyaullah. This is like Uwaysi teaching. There are two kinds of teaching one you read through books and one that comes to awliya through their hearts through their visions, and they teach it. As I explained about Sayyidina Ahmad al-Badawi, saints teach them that knowledge
So Allah showed him those people, those souls and showed them in their taqwa, in perfect obedience. All in perfect worship. You think Allah created soul and they are not in constant worship. They are created from Bahr al-qudrah, heavenly sources. These souls are pure.
What you think a pure soul will do in that Presence? It will be in constant worship. These souls, Allah’s 'ibaad, servants, were in constant worship when they were in their places before coming into that body. When they came into the bodies, the body holds them hostage, like someone kidnapped.
This is not an academic lecture. Academic teachings, as I like to say, are always qaala wa qeel – “This one said this and this one said that.” Those scholars look into books and see what was said and present it. This is something that will not give fruit. It is only describing the fruit, but it is not tasting. Tasting is a completely different way - they are so different from each other.
We have knowledge that came to us through thousands of years. But what are you expecting of today’s spiritual knowledge? It must be continually progressing. That is coming through heart visions that are not recorded in books. Unfortunately today there are very few such saints that can get such knowledge. The rest are qeel wa Qaala – "he said and she said."
So let us go back. When Allah gave these souls to the Prophet (s), Allah showed him how they were when they were in the Heavenly Presence, in constant worship, before they were created as human beings. They were fully in constant worship.
And He said, "Do you accept them, do you keep them in trust to Judgment Day?" They were very pure, very sincere. The entire Ummah of the Prophet (s), Ummat al-ijaba and Ummat ad-da'wah.
As soon as he said, "Yes, I take them," and he accepted that trust.... What do you do when you are given a trust? You try to put in the best place, not to be stolen. As soon as he took them, Allah showed him how much they are going to be corrupted in dunya. All their bad actions, 'amal. Now He (s) cannot say, "I don’t accept them."
That is why we say in Islam man wa'ada wafa - "You cannot go back on your promise." And many times it is said that this value has long been gone from the Muslim world and from the Arabs. They no longer keep their promise. I am surprised though that this Islamic value is well kept in the western world. They keep their promise. You don’t break your promise. That is an Islamic principle. Al-mu'min idha wa'ada wafa - "The believer if he makes a promise, keeps it."
Today if they promise something, the next minute they cheat you. In the western world, and the European world if they say “I promise,” they never change.
So when he (s) accepted he took the Ummah. He (s) said, “Ya Rabbee give me helpers, give me those to help in what I have to do.” And Allah swt showed him from this whole Ummah, a continuous, unbroken chain, in every time and at every certain time, there must be 124,000 wali that will be standing on the footsteps of 124,000 prophets reaching the Ummah at any moment.
So the Prophet (s), when he saw that, was very happy, he divided the ummah into Ummat al-ijaba and Ummat ad-da'wah. He divided them among these saints. This one got 100 million, this one 20 million, and so forth.
They say that as soon as the Ummat an-Nabi (s) reaches the figure of 400 billion will come, Judgment Day will come. It means that all told the Ummah of the Prophet is 400 billion. Today we are 6 billion. But if you sum all the numbers, from the beginning, when that number reaches 400 billion. at that time Allah will order Sayyidina Israfeel to blow in the Trumpet.
So some walis took charge of 100,000; some took one million; some took 100 million. But how will these walis reach those who are divided to them? In physical life, a wali might have 100,000 or 200,000 followers. But I never saw a wali in physical life who had 200 million followers. So there must be a spiritual way by which a wali can reach all his followers, from east to west and north to south.
As we said there are two types of followers: those who met the Shaykh physically and those who met him in dreams or visions; or they met the Shaykh on the street dressed in a different appearance and guides them. They can transform. The minimum wali can transform in 12,000 appearances around the world.
When the prophet saw that he was so happy. He divided the Ummah on these 124,000 awliya. These are working of their followers; either they follow spiritually or physically. Both are equally under the ri'ayat ash-Shaykh – the Vision [or shepherding] of the Shaykh. That is why awliyaullah have a time for themselves, when no one can be with them, looking into the hearts of their followers at least three times a day. Wherever they are, in desert, jungle or forest. They reach them and correct them. If they cannot correct them, they carry their bad `amal and give their good 'amal to them. And they come to the Prophet and ask the Prophet to forgive them.
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Wa law annahum idh dhalamu anfusahum jaooka fastaghfarullaha wastaghfara lahumu ar-rasoolu la wajadoo Allaha tawwaaban raheema.- "If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah's forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful." [4:64]
When they are oppressors to their selves, when they came to know they did something wrong through their lives, to Allah swt, “They have to come to you, Ya Muhammad.”
Ja’ooka - they come to you ya Muhammad (s). This is in the past, in the present and in the future. The Qur’an is for every time. It is referring to the future in that verse. It means anyone who has done something wrong must come to Muhammad (s).
How do you come to Muhammad (s)? We need a vehicle. That is the guide. That guide will take you, the badness, and the fasaad, the corruption that you have done, and go to the Prophet (s), showing your good side and hiding your bad side. Carrying your bad side on his shoulder.
Don’t think awliya are playing; sitting with you and lecturing and eating and playing with you. That is a very divine presence that they keep always with the presence of the Prophet (s), taking the responsibility on themselves, as soon as you gave your hand with baya', they are the carrier, the real carriers. That is why I said jump on that wagon. Don’t think you can be that wagon. And don’t sit and count how many wagons are passing. Jump and run and then that wagon will take.
Our wagon is Mawlana Shaykh Nazim. Then we are safe, because the wagon is connected to the engine. The engine is safe. These engines if there is no oil they are finished. The Prophet’ engine is heavenly engine, always running. Awliya plug to the Prophet. Take you to presence of the Prophet (s). Their duty is to take everyone that has been assigned to them not only the ten or fifteen people sitting with the Shaykh. Don’t be jealous. They are all over the world. They saw the Shaykh in different appearance. They are there for them.
“They come to you, ya Muhammad (s) and they ask Allah’s forgiveness in the presence of the Prophet.” It cannot be other than that. “They have to come to you Ya Muhammad (s), to ask forgiveness of Me in your presence.”
And that will not be authenticated, it has to be legalized. When you go you need a paper from someone and the notary will stamp it. But that is not enough you also need the Secretary of State to stamp it. And sometimes you need more, you need a federal stamp.
So the wali puts his stamp. But the Prophet (s) has to authenticate it. Wastaghfara lahum ar-rasula. That is the stamp. “At that time you will find Allah forgiving them.”
Awliya have the duty, to take you all the way. Even you don’t know that. That was assigned in the Isra and Mi’raj. That is most important part, which people don’t know about it. Isra and Mi’raj was for benefit of the Nation. Don’t try to find it in a book, don’t try to research it; that is coming directly from the source.
When I have been authorized by my Shaykh, Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad (s) Nazim al-Haqqani, when I speak I don’t need to prepare. There is no need and no acceptance of preparation of a presentation. If you prepare a presentation that will be thrown in your face; people will sleep in your lecture. Because when you prepare a presentation you are preparing with all your ego’s stuff. Like what we said before about Sayyidina Ahmad al-Badawi and all his knowledge.
You don’t know who will be in the audience. It might be that what you prepare is not suitable for their needs.
So awliya, they say just plug in your plug. Today it not a plug, it is wireless. Instant wireless telecommunication; like wireless communication. Then the audience receives what it needs. The master is looking at what they need from far away. We are not more than a radio. When the switch on the main studio, we speak; when they stop - zero. Nothing to speak even. Sometimes they tell me, speak. I say, I don’t know what to speak.
They are teaching. When we switch off you are nothing. Don’t think it is coming from you. Tariqah is humbleness. If you don’t teach yourself humility you can never reach upwards in spirituality. That is why there is a big difference between scholars and teachers. That is why there is big difference between their way of teaching. That difference is the plug or connection to the main source. Is he plugged correctly, is he plugging with his ego, or for fame? Does he consider himself to be someone respected? Or does he consider himself a normal person?
There was one wali of the Naqshbandi chain, who said, “When I die, and my coffin is there, take my turban and throw it up. Wherever it lands on someone’s head that will be my calipha, the one inheriting my secret.”
So all these students of that Shaykh in that time... in that time today the Shaykh gives tariqah to everyone, before they have to study, Islamic principles and law and everything. Not just Islamic sciences, but everything. That Shaykh has a lot of followers, 'ulama scholars, professors, doctors in different Islamic thought and philosophy. Every one of these is like a peacock, so big, not like you, but they are like a balloon, you know that go in the air, if you take a needle and prick it they pop.
That was Sayyidina Ubaidullah al-Ahrar, who is buried in Uzbekistan, Samarqand.
So his calipha was Muhammad (s) Zahid. So when the Shaykh died, everyone was crying, they could not believe it.
When Mawlana Shaykh Abdullah died, we could not believe it, our Shaykh’s Shaykh. I was young. We were not believing he will die. Allah gave such a love in your heart to your Shaykh; you gave up everything for him as in time of Sahaba, Sayyidina 'Umar said “If anyone says the Prophet (s) died I will cut his neck.”
So in that time they were crying. They were crying physically, but they were still seeking to sit on the chair. That is the most dangerous illness today. Who cares, who is calipha or not? You have no burden. You don’t have it. If you are in the wagon, you are safe, you sleep when you want, and do what you want.
But that is a sickness today, hubb ar-riyasa. So when he passed away, they took the turban and threw it up in the air. That turban was running and running. That is secret of the Shaykh; but they were veiled from reality of the Shaykh.
The Shaykh can bring anyone who knows nothing and fill him up with heavenly knowledge in one moment. And everyone was trying to stretch his head up to catch the turban. So that turban went and landed on the head of one mureed.
That mureed was the one sitting at the door cleaning the shoes of the other mureeds, so when they go out their shoes are clean and organized. He was the shoe cleaner. “How can it be?” they asked each other, “The shoe cleaner is the calipha of the Shaykh? No the turban is wrong.”
So they threw it up again and it went again to the same person. “No! the turban cannot be right. Try again.”
They threw it up a third time, but that turban did not care if that person is an academic - it was looking for a real heart, a pure heart. Because Allah will give inspiration, reveal inspiration. The Shaykh wants a clean pipe. When you have a blocked pipe you call who? Abdul Fattah, the roto-rooter to open the pipe. These scholars, shuyukh, 'ulama, professors; their pipes are blocked. If the Shaykh wants to transmit something he cannot.
Who has a clean one? Those who are at the shoes. [Shoes here represents the bottom, the lowest, to be hidden at the back of the mosque far from the front line.]
This story means show humbleness, not arrogance. That is what is needed. A pipeline, clean that water can reach through it.
So the turban went to the one with the cleanest heart. The one who never showed himself up in the presence of the Shaykh, who never showed a will before his Shaykh; who never asked a question; who never objected on an issue.
Whatever the Shaykh said he said, sam’imna wa ata'na. It is not only sam'ina, reading from books. Where is ita'at? obedience. That is the most difficult characteristic – to obey. Everyone thinks he has the biggest and highest kind of knowledge or mind.
Even a child. You bring a child and he wants to bring and impose his opinion.
You don’t see that everyone is happy with his mind? I am learning now these technical terms. Everyone thinks he is the focus, the self center. In front of his father, in front of his mother, he says, "You are awkward. You are covering. We need openness." Even if his father or mother are very "presentable" in the western style or not the western style, we object. Children do that.
We are children to awliya. Shaytan is always trying to put an objection to the Shaykh. Don’t let that disease enter your heart or we will never reach any point.
May Allah teach us and guide us. That is why a living Shaykh is important. If there is no living Shaykh that can plug and bring is…
Even meeting the Shaykh physically once a year or twice a year is important. That meeting will bring you back to the right track. Meeting with the Shaykh will bring you back to normal track; because we are deviating little-by-little, day-by-day.
May Allah bless the owner of this house and his family, children and grandchildren and bless and forgives us all, bi-hurmatil Fatiha.
Now I will give you initiation.
Hafez visiting from Pakistan:
In the presence of awliya we have so much spirituality and so much life we cannot imagine. This life Is coming from awliya from the source. As Allah said in Surat al-Anfal:
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astajeebu lillah wa li'r-rasul idha da'akum lima yuheekum - "O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life;" [8:24]
The life is awliya, the life here is Islam, the life here is love of Allah, love of the Prophet, love of Sahaba, love of the tabi'een, love of awliya, love of shuhada.
Awliya are loving people who love for the sake of Allah.
I would like to share with you my experience. When I came yesterday, I heard many speeches. Some speeches made me fall asleep. And I told my friend who was sitting around me, "My brother me neck is hurting."
One poet is famous in Pakistan, his name is Iqbal, Allama Iqbal. He has a very good piece of poetry in Urdu regarding this:
If the speaker’s heart is enlightened with nur of Allah swt, then you give life to your audience. Then the audience is getting life from the speech. If the heart is full of darkness, then you are putting them into death.
When I heard our Shaykh yesterday, I was fully awake alhamdulillah. I don’t know what kind of inspiration of what he said, but the more I hear him the more my heart gets filled with nur.
The love of awliya is the main source if we love the awliyaullah according to our Shaykh we are in the wagon and we will have no fear in the dunya and no fear in akhira. As Allah said in Surat Yunus, alaa awliyaullah, la khawfan alayhim wa la hum yahzanoon. Those who are most beloved to Allah will have no fear, no huzn in this dunya and in the akhira. They will have good tidings, bushra, in this life and the next, and there is no change to the principles of Allah.
What is Allah’s principle? If the person is in the wagon, if the person is in the premises, the universal rule, will never change. This is what we have to learn from each other. The love of awliya is basic, that he will take us to love of Sahaba love of Sahaba will take us to love of the Prophet and love of the Prophet will take us to love Allah.
We have to go step by step. You will move step by step. Inshiqaq. Person who is unbelievers will go to destruction step by step and believers will go up to Allah step by step.
Shaykh Sa'adi of Persia said,
To spend one second in the presence of God's Friend
is better than one hundred years of prostration.
That 'ibadah has no showing off, no one has seen us, worshipping Allah swt, even that, one second, one moment in the presence of the wali is more valuable than that.We are so blessed to be among the awliya. Those who love Allah, and those who love Allah’s Messenger.
The wali that we are all connected to is Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani, he is the master of masters, master of awliya connected dunya and akhira.