Monday, March 31
"In the depth of the night while many sleep some hearts wonder about the reality of this world, by day I am a hypocrite, while by night I become a lover, this illusion in the day light shall never bring peace to the contemplating soul." - Kaiser Mo
It's impossible to reach the Divine Presence without a true guideMaulana Sheikh Nazim
This is a very nice discourse by our beloved Maulana Sheikh Nazim Hakkani Rabbani,
God said in the Holy Quran [9:109] that if someone builds the foundation of his house on a cliff without building a good foundation, then it will fall down. But if someone builds the foundation of his house on solid plot or on a solid ground, piece by piece, well placed, then he is going to find that his house stands firm.
But everything requires an expert. If I say to our brother, "Can you build a house for us?" He will say, "No, I am not a carpenter." So we are obliged to call another one and say, "Please, build a house for us, because you are an expert." And he will tell you "All right, this is the plan; here we put that wall, here the foundation, here cement" and so forth.
If you need an expert to build an ordinary house, what about your heart? How do you approach your Lord without the guidance of an expert? You have to look for an expert. You cannot reach Him without one, no matter how much you try to move on this path alone. No one can reach by himself because sometimes even though he knows he is on the right path, he might do something out of place or time. Then he will fail. So we need an expert and that expert is our guide.
Guidance is important. If you do not have a guide to lead you to your destination, then you are going to find many difficulties on your way. When you go into a desert, they tell you "Beware, do not go into that desert because you are going to suffer." They might show you the beginning of the way. Nevertheless you need a guide to show you the rest of the way through the desert. Why is this? Because in the desert everything looks the same. When the winds come, the sand moves; you easily lose direction.
An expert, a guide can take you along the right way even if the winds come and in two or three days you have passed through the desert and reached the other side. Also, to reach your Lord, you can never find your way through the desert of this life except with a guide because the wind of the ego desires, vain passions changes everything. The ego has desires. The wind of the ego is empty desires and vain passions. When desires come to your ego, they veil the right path for you. Then you are lost! You are going to stop and you do not know how to continue. That is why you need a guide who is an expert in the ways of the desert. He is an expert in the roads that traverse the ego.
If you can't find such a guide, then you are wasting your time in trying to reach your Lord in this life. God is Merciful: Because you are trying to reach, you will reach at the end even without a guide, but you will not reach quickly. Now you are losing time, not progressing.
But as soon as you find that guide and you accept to follow him to show you the shortcut through the desires of the ego, and the will of the ego, its vain passions and desires, then you are going to find yourself reaching the other side. Otherwise you will be lost in that vast desert.
When the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam peace be upon him was ordered to emigrate from Makkah to Madinah he said "I need a guide." He is a prophet..! why did he need a guide? To teach us that even though he is a prophet, he still needs a guide, an external guide to show him the way to reach Madinah. For example, say we are showing my son how to go to Niagara Falls. We do not know, so we find an expert God willing, a good expert who will not give us wrong directions! He is a prophet and he asked for a guide. Did he not know? Jesus said "One of you is going to betray me." It is true. As Muslims we believe this. He said "One of you".. did he not know? He knew but he did not reveal it. Prophets know but they wish to show complete weakness and humility. Prophet Muhammad also knew the way to go from Makkah to Madinah but he was teaching us to seek out a guide. They needed a guide to show them the way from Makkah to Madinah; they reached Madinah safely with the help and guidance of that guide.
If we need a guide to cross a desert, what about our spiritual life? it is more difficult.
You certainly need a guide for that, and that is also why the Prophet had a guide, the angel Gabriel peace be upon him, bringing him inspirations and revelation. The Prophet was guided by him into God's Presence on the Night of Ascension, the night when the Prophet went to meet his Lord. So, he needed a guide externally when he migrated from Makkah to Madinah. Internally he needed a guide when he emigrated to his Lord on the Night of Ascension. It is impossible to emigrate without a means. Without a means you cannot reach anywhere! That is why everyone must find a guide to show him the way of Truth and the way of Reality.
Without a guide you will be in doubt as to whether what you are doing is right or wrong; you will not know yourself if it is right or wrong. With a guide, you depend on him because he is an expert. As we said, the Prophet took a guide to show him the way to Madinah. He did not say to that guide "No, you are taking me this way, why not take me that way?" He relied upon his guidance because of his expertise.
That guide who shows you the way must be trustworthy. You can't take a superficial or artificial guide and say "This person is my guide." If you take an imitation guide, he may take you to the ocean of satan you will be lost in the ocean of hallucination. Many people follow such 'untrue' guides! At some time the followers will begin to have hallucinations. They will think that they are seeing something. In reality they are experiencing hallucinations. What they are seeing is non-existent. That is why a true guide is very important..
How can you recognize a guide? Once, Grandshaykh said that if you want to know if someone is a true guide, first see if he has completed his external outfit. If you see that he is incomplete in bearing the externals, it means that he has a defect in his heart. Do not follow him. Anything in a sufi master and we are speaking about sufism, not about anything else that does not conform to the external dress and manner of a true master, betrays a defect. Grandshaykh said "If you have a watch and that watch is working internally one hundred percent but has no needles, it won't show you the time so there is no benefit from it. Also if a watch has two needles but the internal mechanics are not working one hundred percent it will not show you the correct time. So the outward and the inward must both be completely correct for a person to be a guide."
We are not speaking about ourselves. We follow our master; he is our guide. He works one hundred percent both outwardly and inwardly.
As for us, we are trying to imitate. That is why when we want to look at someone and say "Is this person a true guide," you must see that he has completed the externals without any deficiency. If there is anything missing, then you should not follow him. That is, if he is missing something from the externals, then he must be missing many things inwardly, for that is where people can't see. You dress well when you know that people will be looking at you. But when it comes to things people will not see, you say "Never mind. No one will see that." If the outfit which people are going to see on you is missing many items, it means that your "unfit" so to speak which people will not see, is missing even more things. Such a person can't be a true guide; he is a disconnected guide.
He might take you a certain distance in spiritual life but he is disconnected from any further levels. A true guide must have correctly completed his exterior, without missing one thing! This is the first step, Grandshaykh said, in knowing whether someone is a real guide or a false guide. When you see this from him, then you say "He has now passed," not the first test but the first criterion.
Now we think of looking at his inner side. How do you judge the inner side? He said "You must see that person has respect for everyone, without the slightest discrimination towards any human being, without looking at their religion because they are servants of one Lord, the same Lord, and the Lord doesn't change without discrimination for any in his heart. It is not his business, because all human beings are the servants of the Lord. The guide has to respect them; first, because they are God's creation and have that Light/Nur in them. In addition to respect, he must have love for them. To accept what he wants for himself and his children, to be and act also on their behalf, although they are not yet his followers but simply ordinary people. So he must show them respect and love. Thirdly, he must show them humility.
He can't say that he is higher than them; no one is high except God! If he sees himself higher than they are, then he is like Satan who saw himself higher than Adam. These three criteria are the inner accessories of the true guide. For the outfit he must have the complete dress of a Sufi master. If your master is like that, then he is a true guide: Follow him! With him you can find satisfaction and everything that you are missing. If you do not find someone like that, then continue seeking. You will find because God is Merciful. When you look for, God will give. When you do not ask, God will not give. If you really ask, ask from your heart, you are going to find. At that time, He will give you the key to your heart. If you do not really ask from your heart, but only with your tongue, perhaps you might find one, perhaps not.
Ahmad al-Badawi was a very famous saint known in all sufi teachings. He did not accept a guide saying "I have no need for a guide. My guide is the Quran" as the wahhabis say today "and the way of life of the Prophet." He tried to approach his Lord as the Prophet said on his Lord's behalf "My servant does not cease to approach me through voluntary worship or good manners, until I shall love him. And when I love him, I will be, at that time, the ears by which he hears, the eyes by which he sees, the hand by which he feels, the feet by which he walks. If he asks Me, I give to him. If he seeks refuge in Me, I protect him. I will be he, and he can say to something 'Be' and it will be." The wahhabis usually cut off the end of that tradition but we recite it all. Ahmad al-Badawi drew near his Lord until he reached the door of the Divine Presence and said "O my Lord, please open the door for me." He received no answer. He tried again and again until he met someone by chance. We say "by chance" but it was not by chance; it was well-planned, it was God's Will to test him. He saw that person on the street, an ordinary person who looked at him, and said "O Ahmad!" he did not even call him "O Sheikh Ahmad" to give him due respect. He said "O Ahmad! You need the key to God's Divine Presence? I have that key. If you want it, come to me and I'll give it to you." Many people among us refuse to accept facts and truth because of pride, even though they know, as a matter of fact, that this is the right path.. they do not accept because their ego says "No!" So Ahmad's ego said to him "How are you going to accept something from him? Do not accept the key from him. Accept it from God." And he said "O my brother, I will not take the key from you, nor from anyone except the Key-Maker. Who are you? You are nobody."
Then he kept approaching the Divine Presence until he heard God's voice saying to him "O Ahmad, this life is the life of causes and effects. I will not give you the key. My will is that the key to my door, for you is with that person. Go and get it from him." Now, the matter is finished! He heard it from his Lord, and he accepted. Now he had to find that guide. But that guide had disappeared. He had left him. For six months the guide was secretly examining Ahmad's heart, seeing him search for him and pray to his Lord day and night "O my Lord, send that person back to me" until he saw him another time. That person, immediately removed the veil he had been present all the time revealing himself; so the guide removed the veil and appeared to Ahmad. Ahmad said "O my sheikh! I found you!" He had not found him; it was the guide who had removed the veil.. yet he thought he had found him. He said "O my sheikh, I accept you as a guide." The guide answered "If you accept me as a guide now, you must submit, surrender, give your will over to me completely. You can't have a will alongside my will. You have built your knowledge on a cliff; with just one gust of wind from the ego, it will fall apart. I have to build a good foundation for you. So, look into my eyes." Ahmad looked into his eyes and that guide immediately erased all the knowledge that Ahmad al-Badawi had learned through books: "Through books" means that there are many things written that come from the authors' egos; so he removed that knowledge out of Ahmad's heart and disappeared. He left him for another six months not even knowing how to say "In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate" not even knowing how to say the Name of God.. Everyone in the city was now mocking Ahmad al-Badawi who had seemingly become insane after having been a very great scholar; because of their limited spiritual knowledge, they thought that he was mentally ill. All they could see was that he was following someone who was making him crazy but Ahmad al-Badawi knew that he had heard the voice of his Lord saying "Your key is with that person." No one made him crazy; he was following that person. But if he had accepted from the beginning, when that guide came to him the first time by God's Will, he would not have had to pass through this test; so why make yourself pass through a test? When you find the truth, the correct guide, accept him immediately! Do not play games with your ego. So he left him for another six months then reappeared to him another time. In those six months, Ahmad al-Badawi continued to search for him again. When he reappeared again, he said to him again "O my sheikh, I found you another time!" At that time, the guide looked into his eyes transmitting from his heart to Ahmad al-Badawi's heart, through the eyes, internal knowledge the knowledge of the Book, and its secrets. He was giving, giving, giving until Light shone forth from Ahmad al-Badawi's eyes. It was so powerful that anyone who looked into his eyes would die; therefore he covered his face with a veil. At that time he was able to enter into the Divine Presence and he received that key.
Without a guide, it is very hard to reach the Divine Presence! It is impossible to reach the Divine Presence without a true guide who will open the door to you to where you are going. Ahmad al-Badawi was a great scholar who knew many things. He was proud of his knowledge and did not want to accept learning from someone else. Because of his pride, he wanted to take directly from the highest station. He did not see anyone higher than himself except God. How, then, to take from another person? It means that there was no humility in his heart. He was missing one of the three characteristics needed by God's servants. He had respect. He had love for human beings, but he did not have humility in his heart to accept advice from someone else. And because he had left out that one characteristic, it was as if he had stopped progressing. A saint, a master, must have the three levels: Respect, love, and humility. If you find one of them missing, then he is not a true guide; he will take you only a certain distance. Just as we see that Ahmad al-Badawi was able to draw nigh to a certain extent, to reach the door of Divine Presence, he was unable, however, to open it. For he was in need of someone who had the key. He had not accepted this need because he was full of pride in his knowledge.
He thought too much of himself. Later, he accepted but only because he heard it from his Lord. That is why he passed through a test. If he had accepted without self-pride, that door would have immediately opened for him, without need for two years of testing.
When you find a guide and your heart is happy in his presence, do not listen to your ego. Tell your ego "You are wrong! What am I going to lose if I accept that guide as my master?" You will not lose anything. You are showing humility and this is enough for God to raise you up. If I come and say "so-and-so is my sheikh," and take initiation from him, what is wrong with that? I am accepting, I am showing humility: God will raise me up!
Having humility is important. If you are humble, you accept everyone, because everyone, in a sense, will be a guide for you. There is a proverb in our country which says to ask a good person "From where have you learned perfect behavior in society?" He will say "From a wrongdoer. I watched him, saw what he did wrong, and I now avoid doing as he does. Thus I was able to correct myself through the mistakes of others." If you accept any person as your guide, even a bad person can guide you. By observing him and seeing what he is doing wrong, you stop! This comes from humility. Why then do you not accept? Are you proud of yourself? Who are you? You are a creature from among five billion creatures in this world.. five billion human beings and you are one! Why are you proud of yourself? We are nothing in comparison to God. There are five billion living ones other than you, not to mention those that have passed away. And only one of you! So you are nothing! What are you proud of? You do not have a political position. You are not in a spiritual position so who are you to fight, show disrespect and not to love?
On the contrary, you should make friends. Do not be a stupid person by showing pride, anger, and disrespect to people. Out of these five billion, try to make ten, fifteen, twenty, forty friends; they will help you. To God, you are nothing because you are one out of five billion, so it is as if you do not exist. It is like one divided by infinity. What will it be? Like zero.. so you are zero! Why are you proud of yourself? Everyone is so proud of himself, you can't talk to them! Why? Because ego is there, satan is pushing him. We have to try to have these three qualities: respect, love, and humility. When we correct our inner life and our external manner, then we will find the way to God. And since it is difficult to correct ourselves, we have to follow someone who has already corrected himself, to take such a person as a guide.
This piece of advice from my sheikh is also important for me to listen to. I need this because my ego is so high. I am too happy with myself. I have to see myself as less than everyone. That is why Jesus peace be upon him showed us a good sign and until now Christians remember to do it, and this good sign is that you have to see yourself lower than everyone, respecting everyone so much that you have to bend down and kiss everyone's feet, showing humility. This, Christians still do until now because Jesus kissed the feet of his disciples. This is a sign of humility. You do not kiss the feet of someone for the sake of the feet! You kiss them to show humility. You have to teach yourself not to be proud. When you do this, you will win everything! So try as much as possible to break your pride and to increase your humility. Through pride you reach satan; through humility, you reach your Lord.
Sunday, March 30
Conscious Breathing ("Hosh dar dam")
Hosh means "mind." Dar means "in." Dam means "breath." It means, according to Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani (q), that
"the wise seeker must safeguard his breath from heedlessness, coming in and going out, thereby keeping his heart always in the Divine Presence; and he must revive his breath with worship and servitude and dispatch this worship to His Lord full of life, for every breath which is inhaled and exhaled with Presence is alive and connected with the Divine Presence. Every breath inhaled and exhaled with heedlessness is dead, disconnected from the Divine Presence."
Ubaidullah al-Ahrar (q) said, "The most important mission for the seeker in this Order is to safeguard his breath, and he who cannot safeguard his breath, it would be said of him, 'he lost himself.'"
Shah Naqshband (q) said, "This Order is built on breath. So it is a must for everyone to safeguard his breath in the time of his inhalation and exhalation and further, to safeguard his breath in the interval between the inhalation and exhalation."
Shaikh Abul Janab Najmuddin al-Kubra said in his book, Fawatih al-Jamal, "Dhikr is flowing in the body of every single living creatures by the necessity of their breath -- even without will -- as a sign of obedience, which is part of their creation. Through their breathing, the sound of the letter "Ha" of the Divine Name Allah is made with every exhalation and inhalation and it is a sign of the Unseen Essence serving to emphasize the Uniqueness of God. Therefore it is necessary to be present with that breathing, in order to realize the Essence of the Creator."
The name 'Allah' which encompasses the ninety-nine Names and Attributes consists of four letters, Alif, Lam, Lam and the same Hah (ALLAH). The people of Sufism say that the absolute unseen Essence of Allah Exalted and Almighty is expressed by the last letter vowelized by the Alif, "Ha." It represents the Absolutely Unseen "He-ness" of the Exalted God (Ghayb al-Huwiyya al-Mutlaqa lillah 'azza wa jall). The first Lam is for the sake of identification (tacrif) and the second Lam is for the sake of emphasis (mubalagha).
Safeguarding your breath from heedlessness will lead you to complete Presence, and complete Presence will lead you to complete Vision, and complete Vision will lead you to complete Manifestation of Allah's Ninety-Nine Names and Attributes. Allah leads you to the Manifestation of His Ninety-Nine Names and Attributes and all His other Attributes, because it is said, "Allah's Attributes are as numerous as the breaths of human beings."
It must be known by everyone that securing the breath from heedlessness is difficult for seekers. Therefore they must safeguard it by seeking forgiveness (istighfar) because seeking forgiveness will purify it and sanctify it and prepare the seeker for the Real Manifestation of Allah everywhere.
Watch Your Step ("Nazar bar qadam")
It means that the seeker while walking must keep his eyes on his feet. Wherever he is about to place his feet, his eyes must be there. He is not allowed to send cast his glance here or there, to look right or left or in front of him, because unnecessary sights will veil the heart. Most veils on the heart are created by the pictures which are transmitted from your eyes to your mind during your daily living. These may disturb your heart with turbulence because of the different kinds of desire which have been imprinted on your mind. These images are like veils on the heart. They block the Light of the Divine Presence. This is why Sufi saints don't allow their followers, who have purified their hearts through constant Dhikr, to look at other than their feet. Their hearts are like mirrors, reflecting and receiving every image easily. This might distract them and bring impurities to their hearts. So the seeker is ordered to lower his gaze in order not to be assailed by the arrows of devils.
Lowering the gaze is also a sign of humility; proud and arrogant people never look at their feet. It is also an indication that one is following the footsteps of the Prophet (s), who when he walked never used to look right or left, but used to look only at his feet, moving steadfastly towards his destination. It is also the sign of a high state when the seeker looks nowhere except towards his Lord. Like one who intends to reach a destination quickly, so too the seeker of Allah's Divine Presence is moving quickly, not looking to his right or his left, not looking at the desires of this world, but looking only for the Divine Presence.
Imam ar-Rabbani Ahmad al-Faruqi (q) said in the 295th letter of his Maktubat:
"The gaze precedes the step and the step follows the gaze. The Ascension to the high state is first by the Vision, followed by the Step. When the Step reaches the level of the Ascension of the Gaze, then the Gaze will be lifted up to another state, to which the Step follows in its turn. Then the Gaze will be lifted even higher and the Step will follow in its turn. And so on until the Gaze reaches a state of Perfection to which it will pull the Step. We say, 'When the Step follows the Gaze, the murid has reached the state of Readiness in approaching the Footsteps of the Prophet, peace be upon him. So the Footsteps of the Prophet (s) are considered the Origin of all steps.'"
Shah Naqshband (q) said, "If we look at the mistakes of our friends, we will be left friendless, because no one is perfect."
Journey Homeward ("safar dar watan")
It means to travel to one's homeland. It means that the seeker travels from the world of creation to the world of the Creator. It is related that the Prophet (s) said, "I am going to my Lord from one state to a better state and from one station to a higher station." It is said that the seeker must travel from the Desire for the forbidden to the Desire for the Divine Presence.
The Naqshbandi Sufi Order divides that travel into two categories. The first is external journeying and the second is internal journeying. External travel is to travel from one land to another searching for a perfect guide to take and direct you to your destination. This enables you to move to the second category, the internal journey. Seekers, once they have found a perfect guide, are forbidden to go on another external journey. In the external journey there are many difficulties which beginners cannot endure without falling into forbidden actions, because they are weak in their worship.
The second category is internal journeying. Internal journeying requires the seeker to leave his low manners and move to high manners, to throw out of his heart all worldly desires. He will be lifted from a state of uncleanness to a state of purity. At that time he will no longer be in need of more internal journeying. He will have purified his heart, making it pure like water, transparent like crystal, polished like a mirror, showing the realities of all matters essential for his daily life, without any need for external action on his part. In his heart will appear everything that is needed for his life and for the life of those around him.
Solitude in the Crowd ("khalwat dar anjuman")
"Khalwat" means seclusion. It means to be outwardly with people while remaining inwardly with God. There are also two categories of seclusion. The first is external seclusion and the second is internal seclusion.
External seclusion requires the seeker to seclude himself in a private place that is empty of people. Staying there by himself, he concentrates and meditates on Dhikrullah, the remembrance of God, in order to reach a state in which the Heavenly Realm becomes manifest. When you chain the external senses, your internal senses will be free to reach the Heavenly Realm. This will bring you to the second category: the internal seclusion.
The internal seclusion means seclusion among people. Therein the heart of the seeker must be present with his Lord and absent from the Creations while remaining physically present among them. It is said, "The seeker will be so deeply involved in the silent Dhikr in his heart that, even if he enters a crowd of people, he will not hear their voices. The state of Dhikr overcomes him. The manifestation of the Divine Presence is pulling him and making him unaware of all but his Lord. This is the highest state of seclusion, and is considered the true seclusion, as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an: "Men whom neither business nor profit distract from the recollection of God" [24:37]. This is the way of the Naqshbandi Order.
The primary seclusion of the shaykhs of the Naqshbandi Order is the internal seclusion. They are with their Lord and simultaneously they are with the people. As the Prophet said, "I have two sides: one faces my Creator and one faces creation." Shah Naqshband emphasized the goodness of gatherings when he said: Tariqatuna as-suhbat wa-l-khairu fil-jam`iyyat ("Our Way is Companionship, and Goodness is in the Gathering").
It is said that the believer who can mingle with people and carry their difficulties is better than the believer who keeps away from people. On that delicate point Imam Rabbani said,
"It must be known that the seeker at the beginning might use the external seclusion to isolate himself from people, worshipping and concentrating on Allah, Almighty and Exalted, until he reaches a higher state. At that time he will be advised by his shaikh, in the words of Sayyid al-Kharraz, 'Perfection is not in exhibitions of miraculous powers, but perfection is to sit among people, sell and buy, marry and have children; and yet never leave the presence of Allah even for one moment.'"
Essential Remembrance ("yad kard")
The meaning of 'Yad' is Dhikr. The meaning of 'kard' is the essence of Dhikr. The seeker must make Dhikr by negation and affirmation on his tongue until he reaches the state of the contemplation of his heart (muraqaba). That state will be achieved by reciting every day the negation (LA ILAHA) and affirmation (ILLALLAH) on the tongue, between 5,000 and 10,000 times, removing from his heart the elements that tarnish and rust it. This dhikr polishes the heart and takes the seeker into the state of Manifestation. He must keep that daily dhikr, either by heart or by tongue, repeating ALLAH, the name of God's Essence which encompasses all other names and Attributes, or by negation and affirmation through the saying of LA ILAHA ILLALLAH.
This daily dhikr will bring the seeker into the perfect presence of the One Who is glorified.
The Dhikr by negation and affirmation, in the manner of the Naqshbandi Sufi Masters, demands that the seeker close his eyes, close his mouth, clench his teeth, glue his tongue to the roof of his mouth, and hold his breath. He must recite the dhikr through the heart, by negation and affirmation, beginning with the word LA ("No"). He lifts this "No" from under his navel up to his brain. Upon reaching his brain the word "No" brings out the word ILAHA ("god"), moves from the brain to the left shoulder, and hits the heart with ILLALLAH ("except The God"). When that word hits the heart its energy and heat spreads to all the parts of the body. The seeker who has denied all that exists in this world with the words LA ILAHA, affirms with the words ILLALLAH that all that exists has been annihilated in the Divine Presence.
The seeker repeats this with every breath, inhaling and exhaling, always making it come to the heart, according to the number of times prescribed to him by his shaikh. The seeker will eventually reach the state where in one breath he can repeat LA ILAHA ILLALLAH twenty-three times. A perfect shaikh can repeat LA ILAHA ILLALLAH an infinite number of times in every breath. The meaning of this practice is that the only goal is ALLAH and that there is no other goal for us. To look at the Divine Presence as the Only Existence after all this throws back into the heart of the murid the love of the Prophet (s) and at that time he says, MUHAMMADUN RASULULLAH ("Mu ammad is the Prophet of God") which is the heart of the Divine Presence.
Returning ("baz gasht")
This is a state in which the seeker, who makes Dhikr by negation and affirmation, comes to understand the Holy Prophet's (s) phrase, ilahi anta maqsudi wa ridaka matlubi ("O my God, You are my Goal and Your Good Pleasure is my Aim.") The recitation of this phrase will increase in the seeker the awareness of the Oneness of God, until he reaches the state in which the existence of all creation vanishes from his eyes. All that he sees, wherever he looks, is the Absolute One. The Naqshbandi murids recite this sort of dhikr in order to extract from their hearts the secret of Oneness, and to open themselves to the Reality of the Unique Divine Presence. The beginner has no right to leave this dhikr if he doesn't find its power appearing in his heart. He must keep on reciting it in imitation of his Shaykh, because the Prophet (s) has said, "Whoever imitates a group of people will belong to them." And whoever imitates his teacher will some day find this secret opened to his heart.
The meaning of the phrase "baz gasht" is the return to Allah Exalted and Almighty by showing complete surrender and submission to His Will, and complete humbleness in giving Him all due praise. That is the reason the Holy Prophet mentioned in his invocation, ma dhakarnaka haqqa dhikrika ya Madhkur ("We did not Remember You as You Deserve to be Remembered, O Allah"). The seeker cannot come to the presence of Allah in his dhikr, and cannot manifest the Secrets and Attributes of Allah in his dhikr, if he does not make dhikr with Allah's Support and with Allah's Remembrance of him. As Bayazid said: "When I reached Him I saw that His remembering of me preceded my remembrance of Him." The seeker cannot make dhikr by himself. He must recognise that Allah is the one making Dhikr through him.
Attentiveness ("nigah dasht")
"Nigah" means sight. It means that the seeker must watch his heart and safeguard it by preventing bad thoughts from entering. Bad inclinations keep the heart from joining with the Divine. It is acknowledged in the Naqshbandiyya that for a seeker to safeguard his heart from bad inclinations for fifteen minutes is a great achievement. For this he would be considered a real Sufi. Sufism is the power to safeguard the heart from bad thoughts and protect it from low inclinations. Whoever accomplishes these two goals will know his heart, and whoever knows his heart will know his Lord. The Holy Prophet (s) has said, "Whoever knows himself knows His Lord."
One Sufi shaikh said, "Because I safeguarded my heart for ten nights, my heart has safeguarded me for twenty years."
Abu Bakr al-Qattani said, "I was the guard at the door of my heart for 40 years, and I never opened it for anyone except Allah, Almighty and Exalted, until my heart did not know anyone except Allah Almighty and Exalted."
Abul Hassan al-Kharqani said, "It has been 40 years that Allah has been looking at my heart and has seen no one except Himself. And there is no room in my heart for other than Allah."
Recollection ("yada dasht")
It means that the reciter of Dhikr safeguards his heart with negation and affirmation in every breath without leaving the Presence of Allah Almighty and Exalted. It requires the seeker to keep his heart in Allah's Divine Presence continuously. This allows him to realize and manifest the Light of the Unique Essence (anwar adh-dhat al-Ahadiyya) of God. He then casts away three of the four different forms of thoughts: the egoistic thoughts, the evil thoughts, and the angelic thoughts, keeping and affirming solely the fourth form of thought, the haqqani or truthful thoughts. This will lead the seeker to the highest state of perfection by discarding all his imaginings and embracing only the Reality which is the Oneness of Allah, 'Azza wa Jall.
`Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani had four khalifs. The first was Shaikh Ahmad as-Siddiq, originally from Bukhara. The second was Kabir al-Awliya ("the Greatest of Saints"), Shaikh `Arif Awliya al-Kabir (q). Originally from Bukhara, he was a great scholar in both external and internal Sciences. The third khalif was Shaikh Sulaiman al-Kirmani (q). The fourth khalif was `Arif ar-Riwakri (q). It is to this fourth khalif that Abdul Khaliq (q) passed the Secret of the Golden Chain before he died on the 12th of Rabi`ul-Awwal 575 H.
Thursday, March 27
Load the ship and set out. No one knows for certain whether the vessel will sink or reach the harbor. Cautious people say, "I'll do nothing until I can be sure". Merchants know better. If you do nothing, you lose. Don't be one of those merchants who wont risk the ocean.
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
Everyone is so afraid of death, but the real sufis just laugh: nothing tyrannizes their hearts.
What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl.
Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls.
Whatever posessions and objects of its desires the lower self may obtain, it hangs on to them, refusing to let them go out of greed for more, or out of fear of poverty and need.
If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in it. Those who are not in love with God will see only their own faces in it.
Bulla Ki Jaana Maen Kaun
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!
I am not in the mosque of the believer,
Nor in false rites.
I am not in the pure or the impure.
Neither Moses nor Pharaoh.
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!
I am not in the vedas or holy books,
Not in drug or wine.
Not in the drunkards wasted intoxication,
Not in wakefulness or sleep.
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!
I am not in sorrow nor in joy,
Neither in clean nor unclean.
I am not water, I am not earth,
I am not fire, I am not air.
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!
I am not from Arabia or Lahore,
Nor from India or Nagaur.
Neither a hindu or muslim from Peshawar,
Nor do I live in Nadaun.
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!
I cannot be unearthed in the mysteries of religion.
I was not born of Adam and Eve.
I am not the name I assume.
I am not in stillness, not in movement.
Finally, I only know myself.
I cannot know any other.
Who could be wiser than I?
Bulla asks, who then, stands here?
Says Bulla, who knows who I am!
What is to be done, O Muslims? for I do not recognize myself.
I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Gabr [Magian], nor Muslim.
I am not of the East, nor of the West, nor of the land, nor of the sea;
I am not of Nature's mint, nor of the circling heavens.
I am not of earth, nor of water, nor of air, nor of fire;
I am not of the empyrean, nor of the dust, nor of existence, nor of entity.
I am not of India, nor of China, nor of Bulghar, nor of Saqsin;
I am not of the kingdom of 'Iraqain, nor of the country of Khurasan.
I am not of this world, nor of the next, nor of Paradise, nor of Hell;
I am not of Adam, nor of Eve, nor of Eden and Rizwan.
My place is the Placeless, my trace is the Traceless;
'Tis neither body nor soul, for I belong to the soul of the Beloved.
I have put duality away, I have seen that the two worlds are one;
One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call.
He is the first, He is the last, He is the outward, He is the inward;
I know none other except "Ya Hu" [Yahweh] and "Ya man Hu" ["O He who is"].
I am intoxicated with Love's cup, the two worlds have passed out of my ken;
I have no business save carouse and revelry.
If once in my life I spent a moment without you,
From that time and from that hour I repent of my life.
If once in this world I win a moment with you,
I will trample on both worlds, I will dance in triumph for ever.
O Shamsi Tabriz, I am so drunken in this world,
That except of drunkenness and revelry I have no tale to tell.
Wednesday, March 26
There are dozens upon dozens of verses that remind us to be patient and trust in Allah during these times of trial. Among them:
"Seek Allah's help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble." (2:45)
"Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere." (2:153)
"Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives, and the fruits of your toil. But give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who say, when afflicted with calamity, 'To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.' They are those on whom descend blessings from their Lord, and mercy. They are the ones who receive guidance." (2:155-157)
"Oh you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy. Vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and be pious, that you may prosper." (3:200)
"And be steadfast in patience, for verily Allah will not suffer the reward of the righteous to perish." (11:115)
"Be patient, for your patience is with the help of Allah." (16:127)
"Patiently, then, persevere - for the Promise of Allah is true, and ask forgiveness for your faults, and celebrate the praises of your Lord in the evening and in the morning." (40:55)
"No one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune." (41:35)
"Verily man is in loss, except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual enjoining of truth, and of patience and constancy." (103:2-3)
As Muslims, we should not let our emotions get the better of us. It is certainly difficult for a person to look at the tragedies of the world today and not feel helpless and sad. But believers are called to put their trust in their Lord, and not to fall into despair or hopelessness. We must continue to do what Allah has called us to do: put our trust in Him, perform good deeds, and stand as witnesses for justice and truth.
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West.
But it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day,
And the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers;
To spend of your substance, out of love for Him,
For your kin, for orphans, for the needy,
for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves;
To be steadfast in prayer
And give in charity;
To fulfill the contracts which you have made;
And to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity
And throughout all periods of panic.
Such are the people of truth, the God-fearing.
Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
"Patience is of two kinds: patience over what pains you, and patience against what you covet"
Imam Ali (as)
"Patience is the key to joy"
Mevlana Rumi (ra)
Tuesday, March 25
Britain’s Prince Charles visits the tomb of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, founder of Sufi Islam, inside Mevlana museum in central Turkish city of Konya, November 26, 2007.
KONYA, Turkey (AP) — Prince Charles and his wife visited the mausoleum of one of Islam’s greatest mystic poets Monday and watched the traditional whirling dance of his followers, the dervishes.
The heir to the British throne and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are on a four-day tour of historic sites in Turkey.
In Konya, central Turkey, they visited the mausoleum of the 13th-century poet Mavlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, who is considered to be the father of Sufism — the mystical form of Islam that preaches tolerance and love.
Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visit the tomb of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, founder of Sufi Islam, in Mevlana museum in the central Turkish city of Konya November 26, 2007.
The two looked at handwritten books and costumes as well as verses of the Quran painted on the ceiling.
Charles and Camilla later watched dervishes whirl in a traditional trancelike meditation, called sema, one palm turned up toward heaven, the other turned down toward earth.
In a speech after the sema ceremony, the prince said: “What better place then here near the resting place of (al-Rumi) to rededicate ourselves to the purpose of reacquiring an understanding heart and a rebalance of the East and West in ourselves.”
Sunday, March 23
1. Jokingly or seriously, don't lie, because once your tongue avoids lying, Allah the Most High enlarges your chest and purifies your understanding and ilm (knowledge). That person becomes as if they don't know what a lie is. Everything becomes truth to him. When he hears other people lie, the mureed should pray for them not to lie.
2. The disciple should avoid cursing or harming humans and other created beings (from bugs to Jinn) because avoiding to curse and harm is the character of the good and loyal friends of Allah. If a person is like this, then Allah protects him or her and their end will be good. They will reach to a high level in Allah's presence. Allah will protect them from being destroyed and protect them from harm. Allah rewards this person with being a blessing to human beings and close to Allah's essence.
3. The disciple has to keep his promise at all times unless he has a very good excuse. He must avoid not keeping his promise because not keeping a promise is in the same class as lying. As long as the servant of Allah tries to keep his/her promise the doors of generosity and blessings open to him/her. Loyal lovers of Allah love these people and they get a high station in Allah's presence. It is better that he avoids the habit of making promise, so that he may not be guilty of the breach of promise.
4. Even though a person has harmed or wronged him/her, the disciple should not pray for harm to come to him or curse him. Even if the mureed is wronged, he/she should not damn anyone, whether by word or action. The mureed should put up with this and be patient for Allah's sake. This virtue takes the owner to high stations in this world and the hereafter. Such a person will be loved by far and near ones.
5. The disciple should not blame other believers with attributing partners to Allah, with disbelief or cause trouble between people. This attitude is close to mercy and assists the mureed to reach high spiritual levels.
6. The disciple should not sin inwardly (in the heart) or outwardly. He/She should avoid eating things that are not halal and protect all the organs of his body from sin. This state is the best achievement in this world that a mureed can cultivate for the eternal life.
7. The disciple should earn his own livelihood and not be a burden to people who are independent of him/her. He should bear not only his own burden but also that of other people. Because of this virtue, the fear of Allah will make their worship complete and honorable.
8. The disciple /dervish must not or should not expect anything from people or desire what belongs to others. He should be unmindful of things which he needs, for to have no need is the mark of honour and the distinguishing trait of piety of the pious. The biggest honour and wealth and the highest level is to put one's whole trust in Allah only. Only with this attitude can the dervish be pious. Worship matures with this attitude. This is the state and action of one who give himself to Allah.
9. A disciple/dervish should not, either truly or falsely, intentionally or unintentionally, by mistake or on purpose take Allah's Name in vain or swear by the Name of Allah.
10. The disciple/dervish should take to hospitality and humility. With humility, the dervish reaches high levels of spirituality and stays at this high level. This is the base of goodness and the highest level of goodness. Because of this quality the lovers of Allah stay with him in troubled times. The Walis (Saints) visit him in the unseen and aid him in his difficulty. Humility is seeing everybody you meet as higher than you and thinking that they might be closer to Allah than yourself.
Friday, March 21
Yes, Lupe Fiasco is a Muslim from Chicago. This is not traditional sufi themed post, however, Sufism is all about islamic lifestyle. I think in the hiphop world, this beat brings a positive feeling. Check it out.
Lupe Fiasco’s real name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco. On his website’s biography page (the record label’s site) talking about his album, ‘Food and Liquor’, he says:
‘The title reflects on me being Muslim and being from the streets,’ says Lupe about FOOD & LIQUOR. ‘In Chicago, instead having bodegas like in New York, the majority of the corner stores are called ‘Food and Liquors.’ The store is where everything is at, whether it be the wine-o hanging by the store, or us as kids going back and forth to the store to buy something. The ‘Food’ is the good part and the ‘Liquors’ is the bad part. I try to balance out both parts of me.’
Finally here is the song:
Lupe Fiasco - Muhammad Walks [mp3]
Friday, March 14
Download Qasida Burda - Audio Al-Husayn [right click on link and save target as to your computer]
Download Qasida Burda Video for Mobile Phone - Al-Husayn [right click; save; play on cell phone]
(The poem of the scarf)
The reason for writing this poem
The writer HAZRAT IMAAM SAALIH SHARA-FUD-DEEN ABU ABDULIAH MUHAMMAD BIN HASAN AL-BUSAIRI R.A had become paralysed. His doctors and physicians gave up all hope of his recovery. Eventually in this state of complete helplessness and despair he composed this poem expressing the grandeur and excellence of Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam. Using this as his sole means of asking Allah Ta'alaa to cure him from his illness. He isolated himself in a quiet place one Thursday night and with complete devotion, concentration and sincerity/ began reciting this poem. While reciting it sleep overcame him. He had a vision of Sayyidina. Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam. He told Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam of his illness whereupon Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam passed his blessed hand over Imam Busairi's body. Through the barakat and blessing of Sayyidina, Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam Allah Ta’alaa granted him complete cure from his paralysis. When he awoke he found a scarf or shawl on his body which he had seen Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallhu Alayhi Wasallam place on his paralysed limbs. This resulted in the poem being named "Qasidah Burdah" (The Poem of the Scarf).
In the morning when due to some necessity. he went to the bazaar, a pious dervish greeted him with salaam and requested him to recite the qasidah which he had composed in praise of Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam The poet said that I have composed many poems in praise of Rasuluallah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, which one do you wish to hear? The dervish replied: 'The one which begins with, A-min Tazak-kurin (i.e. Qasidah Burdah)". Upon this request the poet became wonder struck and said, "I take an oath that no one knows about this poem. Tell me the truth, from whom did you hear about it?" The dervish replied, "I take an oath by Allah that I heard it from you last night when in a dream you had recited it to Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, whereupon Sayyidina Rasuluallah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam became attentive towards you and because of its blessings Allah Ta'alaa granted you complete cure from your ailment".
When the poet gave this poem to the dervish his secret became known to all the people and its barakat and blessings too became general for all.
When this poem reached Baha-ud-deen the governor of the country named Tahir, he so highly regarded and respected it that he would stand while listening to it.
It is also narrated that Sa'aadud-deen Farouqi, who was a viceroy of Baha-ud-deen, had became blind. In a dream he saw a pious person who told him to take the Qasidah Burdah from Baha-ud-deen and place it on his eyes. In the morning he told Baha-ud-deen about this dream. The Qasidah Burdah was brought and with full sincerity and conviction Sa'aadud-deen placed it on his eyes. Through its barakat Allah Ta'alaa granted him complete cure and restored his eyesight.
The virtues and specialities of Qasidah Burdah
The virtues of Qasidah Burdah are innumerable.
Some of its virtues (and specialties as appear in famous books) are mentioned here:
- For blessings in life (1ong life) recite 1001 times.
- For the removal of difficulties recite 71 times.
- To remove drought recite 300 times.
- For wealth and riches recite 700 times.
- To have male children recite 116 times.
- To make easy all difficult tasks. recite 771 times.
- Whoever recites it daily or has someone else recite it9 and thereafter makes damm (blow) on him, will be safeguarded from all hardships.
- Whoever recites it once daily and makes damm blow) on his children, they will be blessed with long life.
- Whoever recites it 17 times on a Thursday evening for 7 weeks will become pious and wealthy.
- Whoever recites it in his bedroom for any work or special purpose, that purpose will be shown to him in a dream.
- Whoever recites it 41 times in an old cemetery for 40 days, his enemies will be destroyed.
- whoever reads it once daily on rosewater for 7 days and gives it to someone to drink, that persons memory will increase tremendously.
- Whoever is afflicted with a great calamity or hardship, should keep 3 fasts and daily recite it 21 times.
- Whoever writes it with musk and saffron and hangs it around his neck, will be safeguarded from seventy afflictions and difficulties.
- The house in which it is read 3 times daily, will be protected from most difficulties.
- If a person has important work, he should recite it 26 times on the night of Jumah (Thursday evening) and give 26 things in charity.
- The house in which this qasidah is kept, will be safe-guarded from thieves, etc.
- Whoever recites it 7000 times in his lifetime, will live up to the age of one hundred years.
- Whoever reads it over rose water and sprinkles it over his clothes, will become respected and loved by the creation of Allah Ta'alaa.
- On a journey if recited once daily, one will be protected from ail hardships of travel.
- Whoever Is in debt should recite it 1000 times.
- If someone reads it 41 times, or has someone else read it for him on the night of Jumuah, for a certain aim or purpose, will have his aim or purpose fulfilled.
- The house in which this qasidah is read regularly will be saved from seven things:
- From the evil of Jinn.
- From plague and epidemics.
- From smallpox.
- From diseases of the eyes.
- From misfortune.
- From insanity.
- From sudden death.
- The house in which this qasidah is read daily, its inhabitants will also be bestowed with seven benefits:
- Long life.
- Abundance in sustenance.
- Good health.
- Help (from Allah).
- One will see the NUR (splendour) of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.
- Happiness and contentment.
- Whoever wishes to know whether he will derive benefit or harm from a journey9 should read the qasidah 3 times, and before reading it, he should recite durood Shareef 1000 times He will thereafter be informed in a dream by Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam whether it would be beneficial or harmful to travel.
- Whoever wishes to know the condition of a traveller, should recite the Qasidah 3 times together with durood Shareef on a Thursday night.
- To remove the evil effect of jinn, read once daily for 40 days and make damm (blow) on the affected person.
- If a child is born, then read it 9 times on sea water and bath the child with it. The child will be saved from all types of calamities.
- For labour pains (child birth), read 3 times and blow on rose water. Mix the rose water with ordinary water and drink it. Place a little on the loins as well and ease will be experienced immediately.
- Whoever reads it once after embarking on a ship and passes through a severe storm, will be safeguarded. whoever is imprisoned, should recite it continuously and he will be freed.
- If land is infertile, read and make damm (blow) on the seeds, thereafter plant them, abundant crops will grow.
- If farmlands are infested or plagued with locusts, then read it 7 times on sand and sprinkle it through the lands. wherever the sand falls, that land will not be infested again.
In conclusion we find that for whatever purpose "Qasidah Burdah" is read, In-Shaa-Allah that purpose will be fulfilled, with the precondition that ones earnings and food is halaal. One also becomes constant in eating, sleeping, and talking less. May Allah Ta'alaa through His infinite grace and mercy accept this humble effort, grant us death with Iman, bestow us, our Ma'shaykh, and our families, eternal love for Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam through the blessings of this qasidah. Ameen.