Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
September 6, 2004, Indonesia
A‘udhu billahi mina ’sh-Shaytani ’r-Rajim
Bismillahi ’r-Rahmani ’r-Rahim
Ati` ullaha wa ati`u ’r-Rasula wa uli’l-amri minkum. Obey Allah, obey Prophet (s), and obey those who are in authority. [4:59]
And we try, as much as we can, to obey. And we ask Allah, Mighty and Exalted, to help us to obey, not to be disobedient; to be like a river, going to the ocean. The river is always going down until it reaches the ocean. When it reaches the ocean, it will become a part of the ocean. Although at the beginning it was a river. Obedience will take you to the ocean where you will see everything clearly, because you are swimming in that Ocean of Knowledge, the Ocean of Love, the Ocean of Mercy, the Ocean of Gnosticism, (ma‘rifah).
Obedience makes you so patient, so kind, so soft, because it will polish you. When the water in the river is drying, it comes up from the mountains, it faces all these rocks, so it is hitting, in friction with the rocks, but still it is moving, moving, to become softer and softer and softer, and cleaner and cleaner—as much as the water hits the rocks, to that extent it becomes cleaner. That is how it comes from underground. It comes out and goes to that ocean where you are now not feeling and not seeing other than Allah (swt), in His Divine Presence.
Don’t be like a salmon, swimming against the stream. It goes in the opposite direction from the current. Instead of going down, it goes up and up and up, to the source of the river. It is struggling and struggling and struggling. It never feels patient, never feels rested, never feeling soft—it is always struggling. At the end what happens? Finished. Because it is going against the flow. When you go against the flow, everything will be difficult. When you go with the flow, everything will be simple, easy. Because then Allah sends baraka. When baraka comes, Allah doesn’t look at what you have planned or prepared. Allah, from Himself, His will—with His mercy, you see everything opening up. Because you have surrendered to Allah’s (swt) will.
There was a king—I mentioned this before—there was a king who some guests came to him and gave him a precious gift, that they thought the king would be happy with. They gave him someone to serve him, a slave. They said, “O our king, we are giving you this as a gift who will serve you—a servant, a slave. In the old times, kings used to have slaves, or people used to sell people. Now we don’t find this anymore.
So the king took that slave, and that slave was very handsome and eloquent. So he looked at him and thought, let me see what his name is and what he knows. And he asked him, listen well, “O slave! O my servant! What is your name?”
(Mawlana is asking people what their names are… What’s your name? What’s your name? What’s your name? Everyone has a name. What is your name? What is your name?)
So he asked him what his name was, and he said, “O my master, how can I have a name in your presence? I have no identity in your presence. I had many masters before you, so everyone was calling me a different name. So I have no name in front of my master. My master, whatever he likes to call me, can call me. I will respond. My obligation is to say ‘YES SIR!’ My obligation is not if you say my name is X and I say, ‘No, my name is Y.’ It is you who have to give me my name. I am your servant, your slave. There is no Me in front of You. There is only you.”
What is your name? [asking someone in audience – answer, “No name.”] Ah, no name. What’s your name? Say, I want to hear! [Abdullah] You see, he is insisting on a name. Maybe he didn’t yet reach that level. So what is your name? [No name!] What is your name? [No name!] What’s your name? [No name!]
Allah swt will give you a name. He gave only one a name, Abdullah, his Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (s). Subhanalladhee asra bi ‘abdihi… Glory to ((Allah)) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).” [17:1]
So we go back to the story, “O my master, my king, I have no name in your presence. Whatever name you want to call me, call me that. You want to call me ‘animal,’ it’s up to you! You want to call me ‘horse,’ it’s up to you. You want to call me ‘lion,’ it’s up to you. You want to call me ‘donkey,’ it’s up to you. You want to call me ‘cat,’ it’s up to you. You want to call me ‘talking animal,’ (because we say in Arabic, al-insaanu haywaanin naatiq—a human being is a talking animal.) You want to call me ‘Abdullah, that’s up to you. It is not up to me.”
What’s your name now? No name! Because you don’t know what your name is. That name your father gave to you, or your mother might not be the real name. It is an imitation name, it can be changed. You need the real name. To Allah, every person has seven names. In different cycles of life, there is a name. Allah calls you, you will know these names. Some saints know their names in dunya. Some other people who have not reached the level of sainthood, they know their names in the afterlife.
He said, “Okay, my servant, let me ask you another question. What kind of clothes do you like to wear? What is your preferred clothing? Which color?” He said, “O my king, a slave has a choice? If he has no name, he doesn’t exist. Whatever his master gives him as clothing, he wears. It can be batik, cotton; it can be this or that. It depends on what his master provides him with through his favors. I cannot provide for myself. I cannot give myself anything. The king, the master, can give everything to the slave. So you want to give me white clothes, I wear white clothes. If you want to give me black clothes, I will wear black clothes. If you don’t want to give me clothes, that is up to you. I have no choice.”
Then he said to him, “O slave! What kind of food do you like most for me to give you?” He said, “O my king, my master, whatever you give me, I will eat. If you give me flour, I will eat flour; if you give me rice, I will eat rice; if you give me barley (which you give to horses), I will eat barley; if you give me grass (which you give to donkeys), I will eat grass. It is up to you what you want to give me. It is not up to me. What you provide, I am going to eat. If you don’t provide me, I am going to fast. If I die, I die. It is the duty of the slave to surrender to his master.”
And then he said, “O my servant, O my slave, what would you like to give me as work? What do you know?” He said, “O my master, whatever you give me. I have no choice. If you make me a garbage man, I will become a garbage man, collecting garbage (samba?). You want me to clean sewers, I will clean sewers. If you want me to clean toilets (bandus?), then I will clean toilets. If you want me to sit in the palace, I will sit in the palace. If you want me to do this or that, it is up to you. I have served many before you, and I never asked them what I had to do. They ordered me to do what they wanted me to do. So you order me, and I will execute your will. I will do what you want me to do, according to your will. I have no will in front of you. I will be like a shadow awaiting your order. Order me. I cannot put my opinion with my king or master’s opinion. I cannot put my opinion with my shaykh’s opinion. I leave it to his judgment.”
He said, “O my slave, my servant, do you know what you deserve? I am going to give you what you deserve.” And the servant was shaking. But he surrendered. He didn’t know what was going to happen to him. The king said, “You deserve to be the king. And I deserve to be your slave. You can run the kingdom better than I can, because you are not a corrupted person. You are sincere, you are pure, you are a clean person who submits to my will.”
That is a story for us, to understand how much we have to be in the Presence of Allah (swt) with no will. Only Allah’s will on us. Not to be like salmon fish, going up the river, struggling and struggling. No, surrender. When you surrender, inayatullah comes.
Mawlana Shaykh may Allah bless him, our master, said: “You have to put three nails in your forehead (meaning three goals), three goals in your life. That is the discipline of tariqah. If you really want to be considered a murid in the Naqshbandi tariqah, you have to have these three disciplines or characteristics. This is in addition to being very disciplined in your prayers, in your worship, obligations, five prayers, fasting, charity, zakah, hajj—besides all that, you have to have three spiritual characteristics. First, if your shaykh says to you, ‘O my son, your trust (amanaat) is under 7 earths (not the first layer of the earth!).’”
You know when they dig for oil they dig down 1.5 km or 2 km down – that might be one layer. The thickness of the earth from one point to another point is how much? 40,000 kilometers? [Someone in audience says, “12,200 kilometers”]. Surrender! Don’t be like a salmon fish, “I am right, you are wrong.” Accept, then it’s easy. Don’t fight. So we go with 12,200 kilometers. If it is 40,000 kilometers, what is the difference? If you dig, and they say to you, “Your trust is deep in the center of the Earth,” which is according to him 6,000 kilometers. 6,731 kilometers.
So he says to you, “Oh, you need one of these drilling rigs?” Did you know that one machine for digging down to 500 meters or deeper, how much does it cost? Let us say 1,000 meters. $1,000,000 to drill to 1,000 meters, to get oil. If your trust is at 6,000 kilometers, your shaykh is telling you, it is in the center of the earth, and you need a drill, and your shaykh gives you a broken shovel and a broken pick and says, “Dig.”
What is your answer? “YES SIR!” If you use your mind, you need a drill not worth one million dollars. Maybe you need a drill worth 1 trillion dollars. How are you going to dig with a broken pick and a broken shovel? Maybe you cannot even dig down 10 meters with them.
There are some drills that drill for water. They get water at 10 meters, 15 meters, 60 meters—they are happy! They get free water. They give money. They keep digging until they get water. Is it not true? Because their goal is to get that precious mineral from the ground, to get that water or to get that oil, or to get those diamonds—they go how deep down? The mines in Africa, how deep are they?
They make deep mines, spending millions and millions, but their intention is to get something. They know that something is there. So also the shaykh, when he says, “Your trust is there,” it means you have something there that you have to get. If you really believe what the shaykh is saying, you will dig with a broken shovel and a broken pick, even though they are broken. Because you know the diamonds are there—you can get them. What do you have to be? Patient. Digging digging digging. Listening to the order. THAT IS FOR DISCIPLINE. In tariqah, to listen to what the shaykh is saying, even if he is saying to dig to the seven earths, with a broken shovel—you dig. Don’t say “No.” Don’t use your mind and say, “It is impossible!” It is possible! “I am like a fish in the river, not a salmon fish, going against the flow.”
Second, if your shaykh says to you, when you are in the Far East “Your provision is in the West,” your food. You have to move from the East to the West! Don’t say, “There are valleys, there are oceans, there are mountains.” You face obstacles and move, like an ant. An ant, if she feels that the food is in the East, and the ant is in the West, the ant will move move, move, move, move. It doesn’t say, “It is far,” it keeps moving until it gets the food and comes back. Even if you move like an ant, and you know you cannot reach your trust, but if the shaykh says to you, “Your trust is in the East, and you are in the West,” you go. Although you might not reach, do not put that in your mind! You move.
Third, if the shaykh says to you, “O my son! Go to the ocean, take a cup or a bucket, and empty the ocean, your trust is there under the ocean. So empty the water of the ocean.” You have to go to the ocean, the beach, sit there, take a bucket with your hand, and say “My shaykh said to empty it, I am emptying it.” If you empty from here, the water goes back in from behind you. No problem. You listen to the order. This means ita`atu ’l-murshid—the obedience to the shaykh. If you get the obedience to the shaykh, you will get obedience to Prophet (s), then you will get obedience to Allah (swt). What will happen?
There is a maqam from Bahru ’l-‘ilm, the Ocean of Gnosticism. From that ocean, that eternal Ocean of Knowledge, there is an ocean that has a breath. That breath is always sending, Reehu ’s-Siba—the wind of youth. The breath of youth, the beautiful breath that comes with a nice smell. That breath comes when they see you—you are continuously on your work, doing what you have been ordered to do, although you know you cannot reach, Allah’s mercy will reach you. You have to know that you are not good for anything. You are not good for nothing! You are nothing! But when Allah is seeing you trying to do your best, then that Reehu ’s-Siba (Breath of Youth) reaches you. When it reaches you and catches you, it is like a tornado that takes you up, and brings you to your trust, in that ocean. It delivers that trust to you from Allah’s Mercy. Like what happened to Sayyidina Imam al-Ghazzali, and I will not say his story here. And like what happened to Sayyidina Salman al-Farsi (ra).
That’s why of Sayyidina Salman al-Farsi, Prophet (s) said of him that he is “from my family,” because many things happened to him like these things. Sayyidina Imam al-Ghazzali also, he was doubting everything before, then when Reehu ’s-Siba reached him because of something he did, he was given this knowledge of Gnosticism.
Reehu ’s-Siba, Shaykh Mustafa is showing me that it is here, in the Qasidatu ’l-Burda, that breath comes from that ocean, and it takes you to Bahru Inayatullah, that ocean of taking care of you, the Ocean of Care—it comes under the Mercy of Allah, under the ocean of mercy. It’s taking care you to give you that trust, because you have listened to the order of the shaykh that is coming from the order of Prophet (s), that is coming from the order of Allah. That is under the meaning of the verse, “Obey Allah, and obey Prophet (s), and obey those in authority.” The meaning of that verse, means the obedience of the shaykh is coming from the obedience of Prophet (s), coming from the obedience of Allah (swt), ordering you to do something to see how much you will be patient, although you know that you are helpless. That is the meaning. It means you cannot do anything by yourself. You are helpless. But the Care of Allah will reach you if you keep running for it.
Allah said, “Walladheena jaahadoo feena la-nahdiyanahum subulana. And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right.” [39:69] Those who struggle in Our way. It means, struggling in the way of Allah through excessive worship – through excessive voluntary worship, through learning. Through education, through helping others, through doing da’wah, through all kinds of actions… Healing people, cleaning up things for people—all this is struggle in the Way of Allah. La-nahdiyanahum subulana – those people who go in Our Way and serve in Our way, we will guide them to their destiny.
Subulana means the way to Allah to reach your destiny, which means, to reach the Divine Presence. Those who struggle, left their jobs for Allah’s sake, left their work for Allah’s sake, left their families for Allah’s sake, left everything from dunya for Allah’s sake, and the love of His Prophet (s), and the love of their shaykh, and they will leave all care of what is going on outside for a period of 40 days, sitting day and night, reading Holy Quran, making Dhikrullah, reciting praises of Prophet (s), reading Dalailu ’l-Khayrat, praying in jama’at—those people struggled in Allah’s Way. Allah will guide them to His Way. They are far better than those involved in worldly things. Because they dropped everything, this group of people, and they sat by themselves. Those who are serving them and helping them to keep them away from worldly things, those people also will be granted the same reward.
What I mean is that those who, by Mawlana Shaykh’s permission, entered seclusion, they left this world for the sake of the next world. They are working their best to do whatever has been asked of them to do, although they are like the three examples we gave of the discipline of tariqah, emptying the ocean, going from East to West, and digging. Although they cannot reach anything, but Allah’s Care will reach them. And to those who serve them and take care of them, they will be granted the same. And to those who serve them and sit with them, through their eyes, they will also be rewarded the same thing. Because shuyukh do not differentiate between one and the other.
When I entered this morning, he said to me to go down to see them. I said, “Wait.” Because I was coming from worldly things. Still these reflections, negative reflections, coming on me from everywhere. So I have to prepare myself to meet with them because they are clean. There are no negative reflections on them. So when I was ready and came down, I was seeing that this whole area is full of spiritual beings making seclusion with them, and from their eyes I was seeing this majestic light coming, that sends horror in the hearts of people against Satan. It means their eyes were full of majestic light that can burn any devil that approaches this place. So any person—because every person has a devil with him, as Prophet (s) said in hadith—so that light that is coming from their eyes is able to burn everyone’s devil who is in that presence.
Alhamdulillah, Allah is rewarding them in the first 20 days. In the second 20 days, we will see what will happen.