Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani Explanation of the Commentary of Ibn `Ajiba on Ibn Ata’illah’s Hikam March 11, 2003 Oakland, California
Wa qaal al-Hasan ibn al-Mansour: A-sufiyyu wahidun fidh-dhaati Laa yaqbalahu ahadun Wa laa yaqbalu ahadan Wa qeela as-sufiyyu kal-ardi yutrahu `alayhi kullu qabeehin Wa laa yakhruju minhu illa kullu maleehin Wa yata’uhu al-barru wal-faajiru Wa qaalu min aqbahi kulli qabeehin sufiyyunshaheehun Wa qaal ash-shibliyu as-sufiyyu munqati`un `anil-khalqi muttasilan bil-haqqi `Ikaz al-himmam fee sharhi al-hikam li Ahmad bin Muhammad bin `Ajiba al-Hasani, p. 4.
Al-Hasan ibn al-Mansour said: The Sufi is annihilated in the Essence, No one accepts him, And he accepts no one. The Sufi is like the earth, he accepts all forms of garbage, And nothing comes from him except that which is sweet, And on him steps the good and the sinner, And they said from the ugliest of ugly is a stingy “Sufi”, And Shibli said the Sufi is cutoff from creatures and connected to the Truth
From The Commentary of the Hikam of Ibn Ata’illah as-Sakandari by Ibn `Ajiba
It is said, “Saahib al-haal la tatahammalah ul-jibaalu wa haadha madhharun liman wasala ila haqiqat al-fana’. The possessor of states cannot be carried even by the mountains and this is an appearance for one who has reached the station of the reality of annihilation.
Hasan ibn al-Mansour wrote of the one who became annihilated (fani) in the love of Allah swt, maqaam al-fana’; the one who lost his sense of self in wonderment and awe before Allah swt's Absolute Existence. Such a person is difficult for the people to accept. When he reaches that maqam, and wishes to divulge his station, whatever he does will be different from what common people do. For that reason awliya-ullah who reach that maqaam hide themselves.
And the example of that from the Holy Qur’an is the story of Sayyidina Khidr - he did what people don’t usually do; things that even Sayyidina Musa (as) could not accept. Allah teachs us by means of that example, to learn, not because Musa (as) is lesser in station - for he is one of the five ul il-`adham, tremendous Prophets and no one can reach the level of the prophets, nor of the Sahaba even - but to show us the example of one brought near to Allah, as are His saints, as mentioned in the hadith qudsi, “My saints are under My domes; no one knows them except Me.” Allah’s saints, He Himself keeps hidden, for they are precious to Him. Similarly, as quoted in a hadith qudsiwhich even the rigorous Ibn Taymiyya accepted, “man `adha lee waliyyan `aadhantahu bil-harb.” – “Whoever comes against a Friend of Mine I declare war on him.”
When they are among the people they say and do things that not everyone accepts. That is the meaning of, “no one will accept him.” For the same reason, when the Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (s) came forth, his people rejected him. Similarly all prophets were rejected by their people. That is the case of the prophets what then do you think about awliya? Of course they will be rejected completely, because they are normal human beings who have been granted heavenly power by Allah swt.
Today’s `ulama say there are no longer any awliya. But this is not the case. Rather they became blind - they can no longer see them. Why have they become blind? Because awliya have hidden themselves, particularly in this time. They know that no one will accept them.
Thus the highest level of wali, is one who acts like normal people, not different. You see him acting like a normal person and they say of him, “He is like us. What is different?” What they don’t know about him is that person has been tested by awliya; he has been tested by the Prophet (s), and finally Allah swt tested him, and he passed his tests and was given his spiritual trusts (amaanat). So no one accepts them, therefore they hide the power Allah has bestowed on them. If they display anything of what they have, everyone comes against them.
Ibn `Ajiba continues: “Wa la yaqbalu ahad” – “And he does not accept anyone.” This means he sees them as astray, deviated. So he is calls them to return to the Path but they do not listen. He becomes fed up and leaves them.
That is why Sayyidina Bayazid al-Bistami, when he was constantly worshipping Allah swt, ascending in closeness, until he could even hear the angels arrived at a station where he sought the Divine Presence. At that time he said, “O my Lord! Open for me the gate to Your Divine Presence.” Allah said, “O Bayazid! If you want to enter My Presence, you must become a garbage dump for people.”
That is why al-Hasan ibn Mansour says here, “As-sufi kal-ard.” – “The Sufi is like the earth.” Here earth means something strong. Whatever Allah wills it accepts. It has no will of its own.
Awliyaullah are like that, like the earth. “Yutrahu `alayhi kullu qabeehin” - “They throw anything ugly on them,” including, in the next verse, “min aqbah il-qabeeh - the ugliest of the the ugly,” and they accept it. Qabeeh means not ugly, but worse, something deteriorated, putrid, like the worst garbage that they throw on the earth. And when they accept it, nothing comes from them except goodness. He doesn’t treat you like you treated him. He treats you the opposite of how you treated him.
That is why in another story of Abayazid, when he made a test for the `ulama, they decided to stone him, to kill him, because he did something they did not understand. He was testing them, for they in fact had tried to test him. He was not someone inclined to commit such wrong, heresy, for even Ibn Taymiyya praises him.When they had stoned Bayazid and thought he was dead, they threw him in a garbage dump. He was actually still alive, but very weak. Eventually after seven days had passed lying injured in the dump, he revived slightly and was able to move. So he began searching for something to eat. He found a bone, with a bit of fetid meat on it, probably thrown out one week before. When he took it a dog came and opposed him, saying, “This is my territory, and this my food. You cannot touch it.”
That means that at that point Allah opened to him to understand even the speech of animals. And Bayazid relates that he said, “I was saying, “Ya Allah ya Rabbee! What I seek is that I seek for the sake of Your love, [similar to what al-Hasan ibn al-Mansour whom we quoted above]. I wish they had killed me, and You gave me back life. And then after I regained my life (or my strength) that they would stone me to death again; then You revive me again; and they stone me yet again; then You revive me again, endlessly, because each time they stone me I will pray for them that You O Allah, will forgive them their sins. And whatever You have granted me as a reward for my prayers and spiritual struggle, You will share its reward with them.” This shows how much the wali, when he enters in the love of Allah, will love His servants.
That is what is meant by the awliya that al-Hasan ibn al-Mansour, is mentioning. Do you think there are no awliyalike that today? They are present, but no one accepts them. Only a few will understand. That is why today they say “There are no more awliya.” Or they say, “Every mu’min is a wali.” If that is the case, Allah would not differentiate between mu’min and wali. And who can truly say they are mu’min? Don’t they know that Allah said:
قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ
"Qaalati ala`rabu amanna qul lam tuminoo wa laakin qooloo aslamna wa lamma yadkhuli aleemanufee quloobikum wain tutee`oo Allaha warasoolahu laa yalitkum min a`malikum shayan inna Allaha ghafoorun raheem." “The desert Arabs say, "We believe." Say, "Ye have no faith; but ye (only)say, 'We have submitted our wills to Allah,' For not yet has Faith entered your hearts. But if ye obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not belittle aught of your deeds: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [49: 14]
Who can give certification that iman has entered your heart? That certificate is not given by one Muslim to another Muslim. That is given from Allah swt to the believer.
“As-sufi kal-ard yata’uhu al-barru wal-faajir
wa laa yakhruju minhu illa maaliyyatin...”
“And on him steps the good and the sinner
And nothing comes from him except that which is sweet.”Everyone walks on the earth - the good and the bad. Awliya put up a zawiya or khaniqa or ribat, wherever they are, and everyone comes to them and they receive anyone in their meetings, fajir or barr. They cannot say, “We will not meet this person or that person.” Today they tell you, “These people are your enemy. You cannot meet them. These people cursed us, you cannot meet them.”
The Prophet (s) came to all humanity - enemy or not.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيراً وَنَذِيراً وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
“Wa maa arsalnaaka illa kaaffatan lin-naasi basheeran wa nadheeran wa laakinna akthara an-naasilaa ya`lamoon. "We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not.” [34:28]
If an enemy came to him (s) he had to open his door. Since awliyaullah inherited that character, their doors must be open. Else what is the benefit of becoming a wali? Allah gave them wilayat to hear people, to treat them and to bring them to Islam. When you close your door and say, “I don’t work with those people,” you have isolated yourself and become a barrier to the Way. You have to work with people of any faith, any religion and any group to convey them to haqq. That is why we see Mawlana Shaykh meeting with everyone. And we seek to follow in his footsteps. You cannot close the door saying, “You are not a member.” Now everything is by membership – for money. They tell you, “Pay $50 and become a member.” Nothing is for Allah any longer.
“Yata’ahu al-barru wal-faajir.” – “The good and the bad will step on him.” That means he will carry burdens. He eliminates the garbage of everyone, and in return gives them his prayers, du`a, to change their hearts. He is trying to give them the best. That is why the good and the bad step on him.
“Wa qaalu min aqbahi kulli qabeehin sufiyyun shaheehun.” – He said, “And the ugliest of the ugly is the one who pretends he is a Sufi and yet he is stingy.” A Sufi cannot be stingy. A Sufi is always generous with the gifts he has been granted by His Lord, not withholding it graspingly. Allah swt is Akram al-akrameen. Similarly, the Prophet (s) is described by Allah swt as:
بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ “
bil mumineen ra’ufun raheem.” – “to the Believers is he most kind and merciful.” [9:128]
He is raheem ,will ask Allah’s forgiveness on behalf of everyone.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
“Wa maa arsalnaaka illa rahmatan lil`alameen.” – “We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.” [21: 107]
Therefore a Sufi cannot be stingy. The worst of the worst is someone who pretends to be a Sufi and yet he is stingy, grasping. Not stingy with his money, but stingy in carrying the difficulties of people and giving back from himself, whatever Allah gave him of hasanaat, as gifts to them.To make it more clear, he carries the sins of those who are under his authority by asking Allah’s forgiveness for them and gives them in return whatever levels Allah has raised him to by requesting Allah bestow whatever he received of rewards on them. That is for whoever comes to visit him.
You only need to connect these things together to get the picture. But today’s `ulama and those “scholars” on the Internet are unable to make such connections.The Prophet (s) said, “Any people who sit in a group and make dhikr, the angels will encompass them and touch them with their wings…. And someone not from them, but who came only for a certain issue, sits with them. Allah said, ‘la yasshqaa jaleesahum.’”
That means that anyone coming for only a few minutes, even if he is not one of them, will be rewarded for being with them. Anyone who comes to the wali, the wali will give to him from what Allah swt and the Prophet (s) gave him. That is what it means – the opposite of stingy. Giving what Allah adorned him with of mercy; taking on and carrying the difficulties and problems of the person who cam to see him.“Wa qaal ash-shibliyu as-sufiyyu munqati`un `an il-khalqi muttasilan bil-haqqi.” Ash-Shibli said, “The Sufi is disconnected from the creation and connected to the Truth, al-Haqq."
“Munqat’i `an il-khalq” – how do you translate it? Its literal meaning is “his heart is cut off from the people and connected with Allah.” “Munqat’i `an il-khalq” means he does not involve himself in issues that do not concern him, of what others are doing that is opposite of the Truth. He is connected with Truth. He likes everything about Truth and dislikes all that is the opposite – ignorance or falsehood.Literally it means he is disconnected from the creation and connected to Allah. But it also means he rejects all that is false and he loves all that is true. When he disconnects himself from falsehood, he veils it, as if he is not seeing it, though he knows of it. Yet he doesn’t go and backbite the people regarding what they are committing of falsehood and wrongdoing. He connects himself to Truth and disconnects himself from falsehood. He does this in order to balance their falsehood by bringing Truth to the other side of the balance. Otherwise if falsehood increases unchecked, it will be a disaster for the Ummah.
Thus the awliya are like mountains in the Ummah; they balance everything, as the mountains keep the earth in balance:
وَالْجِبَالَ أَوْتَاداً “
wal jibaala awatada.” –“And the mountains as pegs?” [78:7]
If falsehood were to increase unchecked there would no longer be a balance and the world would turn upside down. Thus the awliya balance everything.So Allah said:
أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ “
Allaa tatghaw fil-meezaan.” “In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance.” [55:8]
Don’t try to deceive in what Allah has made balanced.
وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ
“Wa aqeemoo al-wazna bil-qisti wa laa tukhsir ul-meezaan.”- “So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance.” [55:9]
It means make everything in the scale balanced.
If the awliya are not balancing falsehood through worship, what the evil ones are committing of falsehood thisdunya would have long been gone. So from the Signs of Last Days `Abdullah bin 'Amr Ibn al-`AaĀs (r) related that the Prophet (s) said:
Allah will not take knowledge from the hearts of the scholars but he takes the scholars (they die). There will be no more scholars to take their place so people will take extremely ignorant leaders. They will be asked questions and will give fatwas (legal rulings) without knowledge. They are misguided and they misguide others.
The awliya are balancing everything from time of the Prophet (s) and through very century, balancing falsehood. But now that balancing is coming to an end and so there is no longer any balance. That is why today one sees so much killing. And while everyone speaks of peace, peace, peace in fact everywhere people are dying.May Allah keep us under wings of awliya and balance our `amal to be in a good way.
 Bukhari 1:33, Kitab al-`ilm. Muslim #157, Kitab al-`ilm. Inna Allaha laa yaqbidu al-‘ilma intiz’an yantazi’uhu min al-‘ibaad wa laakin yaqbid ul-‘ilma bi qabd il-‘ulama hatta idha lam yabqa ‘aliman itakhad an-naasu ru’asan juhaaalan fa su’ilu fa aftaw bi ghayri ‘ilmin fa dallu wa adallu.