Part Summary of last Thursday night’s Suhbah
The Suhbah was to emphasize the need to give your complete trust, love, devotion and loyalty to Maulana Shaykh Nazim in this journey towards attaining our Stations and Secrets. Once we have given our Bayat (Allegiance), we are submitting ourselves to a Spiritual Doctor, who will train and guide us all our lives, and whom we cannot do without, in seeking to enter the presence of Rasulullah (saw) and finally, the Divine Presence.
The story of GrandShaykh Abdullah Faiz Ad-Daghestani (q), who tried to love both Shah Naqshband (q) and Shaykh Sharafuddeen (q), was also told. GrandShaykh Abdullah (q) was advised to focus his entire love to his immediate Shaykh,Shaykh Sharafuddeen (q), as one who tried to water two fields with one windmill, would end up having insufficient water for both fields, resulting in the plants in both fields dying. So, by watering only one field with that small amount of water, we can keep all the plants alive until they blossom. To love our Shaykh, is to also love all those before him by default. If we are not allowed to divide our love to other Shaykhs of our own Tariqat, how is it that some of our Naqshbandi mureeds are sharing that love with Shaykhs of other Tariqats?
We can study Shariah/Arabic/hadees etc from anyone, and we can ask barokah and blessings from any maqam of any Wali (Saint) or pious one, but we must take Spiritual instruction and Spiritual training (tasawwuf), ONLY from our own Shaykh, Maulana Shaykh Nazim.
A man may read hundreds of books on mountain climbing, he may train at any gym he likes, he may hire any rock-climbing coach he desires, but when he actually seeks to climb Mount Everest, he needs to follow one Sherpa guide, who will take him to the peak. Such a guide, has been up to the peak many times before, and he is an authorised one to guide others. If so few have conquered the physical mountains of this world, how many have conquered the Mountain within us, which is our Ego? Such a treacherous mountain, filled with the tricks and traps of shaitan, cannot be crossed with a book in your hand, or by listening to many Indian Chiefs shouting instructions from afar – you need one Shaykh, who knows you intimately, who cares for you infinitely, and who wants for you what he wants for himself. As the English proverb goes, too many cooks spoil the broth – what we need is one Master Chef to be in charge.
That is the adab of Tariqah – complete loyalty to one’s Shaykh, like the loyalty and devotion of a wife towards the husband, her eyes never swerving to look at another man. That is part of the secret of Mi’raj, where Rasulullah’s (saw)sight, swerved neither right nor left. By running around to every Shaykh who comes to town, seeking secrets and openings, one becomes like a person who distrusts his doctor, and seeks a second and third opinion. It is like a wife who is intimate with strange men, when her husband is out of town. Such a wife, will never inherit her husband’s wealth or love, let alone his secrets.
Similarly, one who recruits mureeds from another tariqah to join his, is said to be committing adultery, like a man trying to steal the wife of another. For that reason, we never try to recruit mureeds from any other Tariqah, or even from any other branch of the same Tariqah. Every mureed must go to the one who holds his Spiritual Keys, so there is no point recruiting. Maulana said, for even if one met all the 124 000 Walis (Saints) on earth, but did not meet the one holding his key, he would have only tired himself, and gained no Spiritual advancement! So each seeker must find his own Key Holder, he will be guided to it, if he is humble and sincere.
So we must keep adab to our own Shaykh – respect him intensely, follow his teaching as best we can, and we must keep a respectful distance from Shaykhs of other Tariqats, when they visit. Don’t seek ijazahs for every amalan that you hear of, it is enough that you are doing the adab/awrad and wazifa of our own Tariqah. Once, when a mureed asked Maulana permission to continue the awrad of his old Tariqah, instead of following the Naqshbandi awrad, Maulana gave him permission, and remarked, “We are offering him a Mercedes, but if wants to continue driving a Mazda, what can we say?”
Every Saint is taking from the fountain of Sultan Awliya’s heart, so why should we run to small puddles of water, when Allah has decreed that we, the weakest amongst today’s Ummah, have been given the privelege of drinking directly from the fountain of Maulana’s heart? It is an unimaginable honour, of which we are not worthy of, so we must be so thankful to be under the direct gaze and tarbiah (training) of our own Shaykh, the Sultan Awliya of this time. Maulana says, “Oh my mureeds, ask from me, and I will give you everything that you ask for! What can be more than ‘everything’? Be like a goldfish who is opening its mouth and is trying to swallow the Ocean! Ask for more and more!”
Maulana has inherited the secret of Sayyidina Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra), and the secret of every single GrandShaykh before him. He is the representative of Rasulullah (saw) in this akhir zaman. So why are we running to other Shaykhs and guides, all of whom are taking from his heart?
Just as a rolling stone gathers no moss, one who is not completely loyal to his Spiritual Guide, reaps no benefits. Imam Ghazali and Imam Abu Hanifa are examples of two great Saints, who reached their Stations, only through humbling themselves before a Spiritually authorised guide, who opened the Secrets of their Creation, Existence and Mission,revealing to them the Secret of what they had promised Allah on the Day of promises, and helping them fulfill that promise.
(This is just part of the very long Suhbah, the full text and audio will be uploaded in due course)
Marhaban ya Ramadhan!
Expressing joy at the approach of Ramadhan is a sign of faith, so be happy and thank Allah that He has brought us to meet Ramadhan, insyaAllah, again.
Fasting is the only amal, that cannot be done with ego, says Maulana. Fasting is a Spiritual endeavour to reduce emphasis on bodily pleasures and needs, whilst enhancing the Spiritual Power within us, to seek a more powerful connection to heavenly beings, culminating in attaining a nearness to Allah.
Fasting is not only to avoid all that is forbidden to the body (food, drink, marital relations), it is to also avoid all that is forbidden to every organ in the body ie eyes, ears, mouth etc. Maulana says that shaitan will try to steal away our fasting, by encouraging us to indulge in forbidden activities like getting angry, lying, back-biting and frivolous talk, so that in the end, we only acquire hunger, thirst and sleepiness from our fruitless endeavours. So guard your fasting well from the clutches of shaitan! It is very precious, you are only given a certain number of Ramadhans in your life, so use it well.
True fasting in Tariqah, is the fast of the heart and Soul. We must strive to clean the heart of every known dirtiness, by reflecting on our past sins, and seeking forgiveness in abundance. Forgive everyone who has hurt or offended you, and seek their forgiveness too. Beg Allah to open the hearts of those you have sinned against to forgive you.
Discard every jealousy, anger, pride and hatred from your heart. Why be jealous, when each is receiving his allotment from the Most Wise and Most Fair? Why be angry, when anger is a sign that you are not in harmony with His Will? Why hate, when we too have sinned against others and are hoping for forgiveness? Why judge others, when it is we who will be judged by Allah, so why not judge ourselves? Why be arrogant, when we were born naked, penniless and devoid of knowledge, how is it that the gifts of Allah of fine clothes, wealth and knowledge has made us proud and defiant? Why feel superior, when all are equal in Divine eyes, and only taqwa differentiates humans in Spiritual Rank? By reasoning and reflecting, you can, in this Holy month, empty your heart of all that is dirty and which veils you from what you seek.
When your heart is emptied of all these darkness, beseech Allah to fill it with the Divine Light of guidance. Make your life’s intention to please Him in every act you do, of every moment of your existence in dunia. You must want to make your Lord happy with you, that is the sign of true servanthood.
When you have emptied your heart of those two huge dark veils – pre-occupation with bodily pleasures, and persisting in sinful acts/attributes – only then will the Soul be able to taste something that it has been veiled from all this while, the Thirst for Divine Love. When this yearning becomes known to you, you will find intense happiness and pleasure in ibadah and solitude, you will be with Him in remembrance, even though you appear to be mixing amongst people around you. It is a special state that you must seek during this coming month.
Maulana says that our hearts contain an unopened rose. This rose must be watered by water from the heart of Saints, and with the whisper of the Divine Secret that is contained within the Golden Chain, this Rose will blossom, and you will experience the sweet taste and smell of servanthood. Such are the Saints, whose bodies never rot in their graves, and from whose bodies and graves emanate the fragrance of Rose, the flower that symbolises Rasulullah (saw). But in any heart that does not seek Divine Love, it remains unwatered and untouched by that everlasting Love, and it will wither and die; such a person would have wasted his worldly existence seeking temporary Love, and will return empty handed.
So in a nutshell, true fasting is to be cleansed of all that Veils us from this thirst for the Divine, until at every instant, we are present only with Him, and absent from everything else.
The journey to be in the Divine presence, begins with being with our Shaykh. Though we cannot be with him physically, we can be with him Spiritually, at all times. What bonds us to him, is our love and loyalty, towards him. Regular Rabitah, done nightly at tahajjud time, is something every one of us must start to do.
Rabitah (Spiritual Connection with the Shaykh)
Maulana says that our Way is Rabitah, as Suhbah means Companionship with the Shaykh.
It can be done at any time, and for any number of times daily that you wish. The best times are at tahajjud time, after subuh (fajr) prayers, and after asar prayers.
Wear clean clothes and take ablution, and pray two raka’at Sunnat Tahiyyatul Wudhu. Sit on your prayer mat facing Qiblah in a quiet part of your home. Recite three Surah Ikhlas (Qul hu Allahu Ahad) and one Surah Fatihah and give these readings as a gift (hadiah, not sedeqah) to Rasulullah (saw) and GrandShaykh Abdullah Faiz Ad-Daghestani (q).
Stop all movements and thinking, close your eyes, feel his presence in front of you. Then say, “I am in the Holy Presence of my Shaykh.” Greet him with salams and with love, and speak to him about being weak and needing his support (madad). Then ask for his help.
The typical converstaion would be something like this, “Oh Sayyidi, come to me, as I cannot come to you. You can see me, but I cannot see you, you can hear me, but I cannot hear you. Oh Sayyidi, I am the weakest one. Help me. Madad ya Sayyidi madad. Help me be absent from my ego, and be present with you. Help me be you. Bestow upon my heart understanding and guidance, so that my only aim to to please my Lord. Pray for me, ya Sayyidi, for my forgiveness, and that of my family and jema’ah.”
You may continue speaking and asking for as long as you wish. If there are disturbances in concentration, open your eyes and recite A’uzubillah many times. Once you are satisfied, give salams to end the session.
In between Rabitahs, you must be aware that your Shaykh is always with you, as if he is looking over your shoulder, watching all that you do and listening to all that you say, and feeling all that you feel. Hence you must watch your step, and keep adab at all times.
By keeping this presence and love in your heart all day, you are always aware of your Shaykh at all times. That is a powerful step to attaining Taqwa, which means, to be aware of Allah’s Presence and Observation, at every instant. Sayyidina Ali said that all deeds are meaningless, without attaining Taqwa. Imam Ghazali said, “I marvel at young people, who do not seek knowledge. I marvel at people who seek knowledge, but do not act upon it. I marvel at those who act upon knowledge, but do not perform it sincerely. I marvel at those sincere ones, who do not attain taqwa.” So taqwa is of paramount importance, for Mankind is sorted, according to their taqwa. One who is always aware of His perfect observation, will be always in perfect adab, perfect akhlaq, and perfect agreement with His Will, thereby attaining the Maqam of the perfect man, Insan Kamil.