Discourse on the Qur'an and the Blessed Qasida of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib
by Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi
(This is a transcript of a talk).
Al-Muzzammil - The Enwrapped
In the name of Allah, All-Merciful, Most Merciful
1 O you enwrapped in your clothing,
stay up at night, except a little,
2 half of it, or a little less,
3 or a little more,
and recite the Qur'an distinctly.
4 We will impose a weighty Word upon you.
5 Certainly rising at night has a stronger effect
and is more conducive to concentration.
6 In the daytime much of your time
is taken up by business matters.
7 Remember the Name of your Lord,
and devote yourself to Him completely.
8 Lord of the East and West.
There is no god but Him,
So take Him as your Guardian.
9 Be steadfast in the face of what they say
and cut yourself off from them -
10 Leave the deniers, who live a life of ease, to Me,
and put up with them a little longer.
The tafsir of this in Ibn Juzayy says about the beginning of this revelation that this is Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, directly addressing the Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim. It refers to the Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim, being wrapped up in his cloak after the revelation of the Surah al-'Alaq, which was the first revelation, Iqra'. Allah commands him to stand in the night prayer. It also talks about reciting distinctly, tartil, the correct pronunciation of the Qur'an. Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, orders the Rasul in his recitation to recite the Qur'an distinctly. This is the order which we all obey in the recitation of Qur'an. What we take from this is that although Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, is uniquely addressing the Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim, in this you have your true model of tasawwuf. Here is the true model of the Sufism of Islam in its correct condition. It cannot be argued because it is based on this profound Sunnah and these directions of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, to the Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim.
7 Remember the Name of your Lord,
and devote yourself to Him completely.
8 Lord of the East and West.
There is no god but Him,
So take Him as your Guardian.
So right there you have the direction, that is, what is addressed to the Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim, and is taken by the muslims as a Sunnah of Rasul. It is taken by them and an order on them. In other words, everyone's recitation of Qur'an comes from this ayat which says to recite the Qur'an in tartil, so that every letter is clear. But at the same time there is this image of the Rasul as muzzammil, as wrapped up. To the people of tasawwuf this represents the image, the silhouette, of the man who has turned from the world and everything to do with the world, and completely enclosed himself in this remembering of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala.
We go from these blessed ayats of Qur'an to the words of the Diwan of our blessed Shaykh, Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, radiya'llahu anhu, who is buried in Meknes, and who taught in Fez, Meknes and in the deserts and the cities of Algeria and Morocco at the opposite end of Africa from where we are now.
In The Lesser Qasida, he says:
In the tavern of the Presence we drank a wine
of the lights that totally dispelled the darkness.
Already the Shaykh is using a special language, and this language has been the language of the Sufis. It is the language of Burda and after all, connection with Burda and Muzzammil is obvious for all of us because the Burda is the cloak of Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim. Here where he says, "In the tavern of the Presence", they use this language to explain to those who know this matter and who have taken on this matter which is tasawwuf. It is not a sentiment, it is not a club, it is not tariqa or Shaykh or wird or wazifa, it is something much deeper than that. It is the commitment of the faqir to have knowledge of his Lord. Knowledge of his Lord means Hadrat al-Rabbani, the presence of Lordship.
He calls this condition of calling upon Allah like the drinker is in the place of drinking and is drinking a wine that will intoxicate him. This is the language of the sufis, because this intoxication is the intoxication of love. This is the intoxication of longing, yearning, 'ishq.
Through it we grasped...
Now he comes to tell you what he is given and what the one who wraps himself in his mantle like Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim, is given in his portion, not in the portion of Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim, because he is the first of the sons of Adam.
... that the act in every atom
is through its Creator who is worshipped everywhere.
He says that we are given a tawhid that is not intellectual, it is an understanding which brings everything into creation, is in every atom. He only has to say to a thing Kun fa-yakun and that act is one act which brings all things into creation, sustains all things in creation and takes them out of creation by their disintegration. This is the Power of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, and it is through this light we grasp that the Act is in every atom through its Creator being worshipped everywhere.
We realised, we were given the reality of the fact, that Allah is
manifest in everything through His most Beautiful Names
and the secrets of power.
Because Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, has said in Qur'an 2:114:
Both East and the West both belong to Allah,
so wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah.
Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.
The secrets of power are in Kun fa-yakun.
However, the states of existence are numerous,
and because of this great veils have fallen over wisdom,
And the Merciful has sent the flower of His creation
as a bringer of good news and a warner, a guide with inner sight.
If you wish to obtain the gift of happiness
then make him (the Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim) the guide of your every thought and move.
Tell the impulses of the self: "Do not come with me.
Do not cut off my path to the Lord of creation."
So he says, if you want this tranquillity, this serenity, you say, "Do not come with me." Who do you say it to? You say it to your self, "You, do not come with me. Leave me be, stop nagging and pulling at me and making me anxious and making me concerned, leave me be." Do not cut off my path to the Lord of creation. In other words, the one who cuts you off from the path to the Lord of creation is yourself. The faqir said to Rabi'a al-'Adawiya, the great woman saint of Basra, when she asked what was wrong with him, "I am waiting for a door to open." She struck him. She said, "Who said it was shut?" So you cut yourself off from this great Presence of Lordship.
And then he gives you the advice, and he gives you the whole tariqa in these three words. He says:
Whoever has got dhikr, fikr and himma
will in every moment rise above otherness,
The otherness means thinking that there is other-than-Allah. Because there is no other-than-Allah in the truth. He will remember Hadrat al-Rabbani, the presence of Lordship. That the Lord is manifest in every atom. In The Greater Qasida of the Diwan the Shaykh says,
Take care you cannot despise even the lowest atom.
Things have no existence except through their Lord.
O Living! O Eternal! Your own most eloquent proof!
These three things are: dhikr, fikr and himma. The dhikr is the invocation of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, by the tongue. The greatest dhikr is the Ism al-Mufrad. The single Name of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. The greatest way of reciting the Ism al-Mufrad is the Ism al-'Adhim, which is the Name extended and expanded, Allaaaaaaaah, in the way that has come to us from Shaykh Shadhili, and from Moulay al-'Arabi al-Darqawi, and from Shaykh Mustafa al-'Alawi, radiya'llahu anhu, and from Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, radiya'llahu anhu, of Meknes. The Ism al-Mufrad is saying it in the short way like the beat of the heart, Allah, Allah, Allah. That is said with the tasbih. This is the remembering and not letting yourself forget the Presence of Lordship. The Ism al-'Adhim is for deepening this experience by the recitation of the Name, Allaaaaaaah. This is the dhikr.
Fikr is reflection. Reflection is that in every matter you return it to Allah so that you do not see the world as having contradictions. So that when the contrary comes you see it is also from Allah. The Sufis say, Alhamdu lillahi 'ala kulli hal. Praise belongs to Allah in every state. I give the example of a very great Sufi, Sidi Hamoud of Blida in Algeria. He was an old gentleman and I was present when they brought him the news that his two sons had been killed in a car crash. After they brought him the news there was a moment, and then he said, "Alhamdulillah!" People were shocked because they thought he was being pleased with it but what he meant was that in this situation too, I praise Allah. And it was something that everyone present was shattered by. It showed that he never for a moment forgot, and he put the matter to Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala.
There was another example of that wisdom with one of our people. They had a new baby and while the woman was turned away there was this inexplicable suffocation and when she turned around the child was gone. The woman went into shock. There was with her a very learned 'alima who took her and rushed her through to the washroom to do wudu. She was in shock, she had lost her new baby, but she made her do wudu, and said, "Come. Two raka'at." There was no phoning police or doctors, the poor child was dead. She made her do the two raka'at with majesty. Afterwards, the mother said to me, "If it had not been for Hajja Khayriyya I could not have dealt with it at all. It was that that made me able to deal with it and understand it." It was in the worst situation remembering Allah, Alhamdu lillahi 'ala kulli hal. This is tasawwuf. Tasawwuf is not a club, it is not an allegiance to someone in a distant place. It is knowledge of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala.
Dhikr, fikr, and the third thing, which he says which will make you forget otherness, that there is something other-than-Allah and that event is under Allah's command, is himma. Himma means yearning. Himma means longing. That is the difference between the Sufi and the faqir. The faqir follows in the way of the Sufi but the Sufi longs for the presence of Lordship. He longs for the Beloved. There is in him awakened something that begins to come alive inside him. His heart comes alive. In the language of the Sufis, they would go to the Shaykh and they would say, "Construct me a heart." Make it so it is functioning for what it was created which is to long for Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala.
Imam Junayd, radiya'llahu anhu, said that Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, gathered before the creation of the world all of the spirits, all the arwah, and said, Qur'an 7:172:
They said, "We testify that indeed You are!"
The Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim said, "Men are asleep and when they die they wake up." The Sufis are those people among the fuqara' who begin to wake up and who begin to remember from inside themselves, the cells remember an ancient covenant, an ancient contract, that they made before the creation of the world. Their ruh, when it was asked, Alastu bi-Rabbikum? said, "We testify that indeed You are." That is the beginning of the end of something in the Sufi and something new begins which is always in motion. It is always in movement.
You will notice that the shuyukh all travel. They go here and then they go there. They are restless because this matter is never finished with them. They call people to Allah, and they guide people to Allah and they speak well of Allah in an age where people either do not speak about Him at all, and do not know about Him, or are frivolous about Him. So this himma becomes the more and more powerful dimension of the life of the Sufi. The evidence of himma is the same evidence that you find between the people who just like to take a drink and the people who become chronic drinkers in the world. Once they get a taste for the wine, they go to where the people who like wine are. They go to the tavern, they want to be with the other people drinking because this thing is so special that if you do not do it they have nothing to say to you. This is why the metaphor of the tavern and the wine is used because the people who love Allah want to be with the people who love Allah. If there is ever an evidence of the meaning of Hajj it is that because at the end of the day everyone on Hajj becomes a lover of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, everyone is Sufi on Hajj. Labbayk labbayk, Allahumma labbayk, it is himma, you are shouting in the street with a million people who are shouting Labbayk! What is that but that you have wakened up? You are in place with over a million people, and the Ka'aba. The first time you see it it is a little box, the next time you see it is a mountain. One time you see it, is solid, and the next time it is like a curtain in the wind. You do not know what is going on. You cannot get near the black stone and suddenly you are up against it and you are kissing it, you do not know how it happened, and you are gone again. So everyone is a lover of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. Hajj unveils for you this state but this is the living state of the people who love Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala.
And he will attain gnosis beyond what he desires
and fast realise the secrets of existence.
What are the secrets of existence? To all people, everywhere, existence is a secret. They cannot make sense of it and they would say, "Well if I knew that I would know the numbers for the lottery. If I knew that I would know how to be rich." They see the secret of existence as if it was to make life easy for them but the secrets of existence are the knowledges of the Power of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, and the understanding that Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, is in charge of everything. Therefore what happened is what Allah intends to happen. The secrets of existence reveal to you that He is the Doer, He is the Actor in every situation. This means that when you act you act by Him not by you.
Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, says in Hadith Qudsi, "My slave approaches me by nawafil acts." What are nawafil acts? Acts that are nafila, are acts that are unnecessary. They are extra. This is fard and then comes Sunnah and these extra things like the Duha prayer which is almost a secret prayer. It is not for other people, it is for you to do privately at that special time before the middle of the day. It is also like the night prayer is for Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. The Sufis say the daytime is the time for the slave to serve his Master, that is five prayers a day. The night time is for the lover to be with the Beloved, and that is the prayer of the night because something else happens at night. Imam Junayd, the great Imam of the Sufis, was asked, "What did you get from all these years?" He said, "I think I got two raka'at under the stairs." Hadrat al-Rabbani, the presence of Lordship.
He will see that separation is the pure Shari'a,
which, properly speaking, is the source of Haqiqa.
There is the whole thing. The Shari'a is based on separation, this is there, this is there, I am here, you are there - separate - in a world of separateness. Therefore if I steal, I get punished. If I kill, I get killed because separation makes distinctions and the world is based on distinctions. If you do that, that is the punishment. If you do that, that is the reward. If the inheritance is such, the Qadi says, "No, it does not go to you, it goes to the two sisters." And so on and so on, this is separation. This is the world of business, this is the world of affairs, this is the world of the news on television. But the news on television itself, these events have to be seen from a position of Shari'a because also it must be understood that the Shari'a is the source of the Haqiqa, the reality of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. What does this mean?
Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib says in his qasida "Gifts of the Ism al-'Adhim":
Love with the love of Allah and hate with His hate.
This is the Shari'a, so be aware of it, my friend!
Someone said to me, "You are anti-semitic." I said, "No, I am not anti-semitic. Allah hates the jews, I love what Allah loves, I hate what He hates." I am not going to gas them or kill them but you cannot make me love them because Allah hates them. Allah's curse in on the jews. So you cannot make me love them because I am a muslim. You can do what you like with them but they can never be loved by the people who love Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala.
The Haqiqa is that in every situation you want what Allah wants. Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim, said, "Allah wants something and you want something. What you want is not what Allah wants, but you must know that what Allah wants will certainly happen." At the point that you say that, that is ma'rifa. Then you want. One of the great Sufis called it the giving up of the management of affairs. He did not mean that you went like a hindu and sat down and said reality is all fake, illusion, so I will just sit here and beg. No, because separation is the pure Shari'a.
What is the pure Shari'a? The Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim said to a man, "Please do not beg, wait a moment." He asked someone to lend him so much money. The Prophet, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim, borrowed the money and said, "Somebody sell me a brush." They sold him a brush. He said, "There you are, these people need their courtyard swept and they will pay you. With some of the money you can pay me back for the brush, I will pay back the man, and you are employed." That is Shari'a. But look, it is because Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, expects people to act. In acting know that what comes, comes from Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala.
When Sayyida Maryam, who was beloved of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, was under the palm tree, He gave her one command. He said, "Shake the palm tree and the dates will come down." And there was water flowing underneath it that she could drink. We knew a very blessed majdhub who was intoxicated with love of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, Moulay Hasan, rahimahu'llah. Every day he would sit in his house and he crocheted two skull caps. When he finished them he would go out and sit in the mosque and sell the two caps. Then he would go back to his house and say, "I have been shaking the palm tree." He got a few dirhams because people knew who he was and of course they gave him the money. He would feed up to forty people at his table every day. On these two caps he would feed these people and pour out gallons of tea and all from "shaking the palm tree." This is an understanding of being in harmony with the Shari'a and yet understanding the Haqiqa.
This is why the Qur'an commands mankind to reflect
and brings a tawhid which eliminates any doubt.
A tawhid which eliminates doubt is a knowledge of the unity of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, in His command over everything, every atom, every leaf that falls. Everything is in the knowledge of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, from the beginning of time, from the creation of time itself, through the world to the end of time and the rolling up of the carpet of existence. This is the tawhid that has no doubt in it. The sceptic is the one who doubts, not existence, but himself. So when someone is sceptical to you, you must reject what they give to you because the thing they point to is not the thing they are sceptical about, they are not sure of themselves. They have the opposite of knowledge, they are ignorant. According to the Sufis the world is in front of you like a mirror. Abdalqadir al-Jilani said, "The world is before you like a mirror and I am not making a metaphor." Before you like mirror, so when you look at the world it is giving you back, you. The sceptic says, "I am not sure about that." He is not sure because he is not sure of the mercy of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. The sceptical person can only lead to darkness. The muslim is never sceptical because this doubt exists only with a knowledge that is incomplete and the knowledge of tawhid that is complete is one which arrives at the point of knowing that the one at the centre is non-existent. That the only existent is Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala.
When Abu Yazid al-Bustami, radiya'llahu anhu, was in the khalwa in the cave and he heard a voice say, "Who is within?" He said, "Abu Yazid." The voice said, "Then I cannot enter for where I am there cannot be two." And then he passed out. Now that one has a tawhid because the self on which we base the separation and the obligation to obey the Shari'a of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, in itself has an intrinsic reality. It is a reality by the power of Allah, the secrets of the power of Allah, which has set the world and given us a Shari'a which is, what the 'ulama used to call, "The ship of the Sunnah." The ship of the Sunnah means that with following the Sunnah you can sail in the ship through all the rocks of contradictions of existence and events and not be smashed on the rocks.
That is why everything that has happened in Afghanistan is a demonstration that the people were not being taught Islam because they were led into a disaster, and there is no disaster for muslims, there is only victory. If you obey Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, you have victory. The Battle of Badr is the evidence of the majesty of Allah over the power of the kuffar. Of course after that it was not allowed to fight if you were outnumbered more than two to one. So you do not enter into disaster and suicide and ignorant things like that because it is done without fear of Allah. The result is chaos but it does not reflect on Islam, it does not reflect on muslims because the reality of Islam is not there. The Islam is with the people who obey Allah, who love Allah, and who create a life that is a better sort of life than the kuffar can possibly create. The event of being shahid is not the purpose of a Jihad. The purpose of Jihad is victory. The gift of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, on the ones fighting is that those fighting fi sabilillah and are killed are raised up shahid, but it is based on the victory. 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, radiya'llahu anhu, said, "When did you defeat the enemy?" They replied. "In the afternoon." He asked, "When did you engage them?" They said, "At Dhuhr." He said, "You mean that the enemy stood up to the muslims from Dhuhr to 'Asr? You have made a bida' on the religion!" This is Deen of Islam. If you obey Allah, you have success. If you board the ship of the Sunnah you are safe, you cannot go wrong.
The Merciful is only to be seen in manifestations like
the Throne, the Footstool, the Tablet, or the Lote-Tree.
The intellect cannot grasp the nature of the Attributes of the Lord
through unveiling, let alone realise what nature itself is.
So attack the attributes of the self and efface them, ...
How do you efface the attributes of the self? Ism al-Mufrad - Allah, Allah, Allah...This is tasawwuf - Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah...
...and you will be helped by the lights of the eternal Attributes.
But what are the Attributes? The Mother Attributes are seeing, hearing, speech, life - hayyu - and power. These are the attributes of the self. This is when the Sufi becomes muzzammil, he wraps the cloak around himself reciting Allah, Allah, Allah, Allaaaaaaaah - And slowly but surely his sight will go, his hearing will go, his hayyu will go, he will stop breathing. All the attributes, the power will go and all that will remain will be the Name.
When I was in the khalwa with my second Shaykh, Shaykh al-Fayturi, rahimahu'llah, of Benghazi, Libya, he would come and ask what had happened. I told him, "I stopped doing the dhikr, I could not go on, but then I heard the dhikr." And he said, "What a wonderful thing. There were you looking for the Name of Allah and there was the Name of Allah looking for you."
Thus you will see lovers who have become intoxicated by the lights,
and the drunkest lover is the one who is given special licence.
There is no restriction on what those utterly overwhelmed
by Allah may reveal, or on the people of Idhn.
The people who have an Idhn, a permission can teach this matter and it can spread because they will not say things that are incorrect, that are a bad adab to Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. The ones who are intoxicated, we excuse them from saying what they say. We have to ignore what they say because it sounds as if they are against the Shari'a which is something shocking. One of the students of Imam Junayd, radiya'llahu anhu, in Baghdad used to enter states of intoxication where he would declare that he was the Divine. The 'ulama wanted to arrest him because of this but the Shaykh would see the moment coming and he would have the man, Shibli , locked up in the insane asylum to that they could not touch him. He would say, "Quick get him off to the insane asylum," and off they would take him. He would say all these things, which I will not repeat, by claiming godhood. But they would say, "He is mad," so he was alright. But eventually he became so intoxicated when he was saying these things, that the 'ulama, who really were jealous of Imam Junayd and wanted to get at him, had Shibli arrested and had him tried and he was condemned to death. They brought the death sentence to Imam Junayd to sign. Imam Junayd was in his zawiyya, in his muraqqa', his patched robe, and he took off the robe of the Sufi and he lifted the robe of the Qadi, and he put it on and he wrote, "In the eyes of the Shari'a he is guilty, in the eyes of the Haqiqa, Allahu a'lam." This was the fine point of this matter in those days when such things were a matter of life and death. Now nobody cares anymore about anything. So tasawwuf has to fight against people who want to sentimentalise it and make it cheap and popular and emotional. In those days it was a matter of life and death.
He says of these people who are utterly overwhelmed by Allah:
Here are ones who have obliterated their selves
and plumbed every depth in the oceans of love,
So submit to them for what you see of their ardent love,
and the raqs and the singing in their dhikr of the Beloved.
He said submit to the Hadra, Hayy Llah, Hayy Llah, Hayy Lllah, these are people who are intoxicated with Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, who are in love with Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, submit to them. Submit to their singing, La ilaha illa'llah, La ilaha illaíllah, La ilaha illa'llah. Submit to their dance, to Hadra.
If you had but tasted something of the meaning of our words,
you would already be experiencing every hal.
And, my brother, you would have borne your troubles patiently,
and you would have torn the robes of shame and self-importance,
You would have said to the leader of the Sufis, "Make us love His name!
There is no shame in that song, nor in that love!"
Unfortunately, whoever becomes subject to his own self
is cut off from the secrets of this path.
All of modern education, all of the message and philosophy of the cinema and television is telling people that they must become masters of their destiny, they must take charge. They must be like these people in the Olympics who race and win and they make this futile punch in the air. They get a golf ball into a hole and they punch the air as if it was a triumph. They are not in command of anything. They are in complete darkness and ignorance. He said, "Whoever becomes subject to his own self is cut off from the secrets of this path."
Everything in the last hundred years in the world has been driven by the philosophy of the power of the will. All the great philosophy of the last century has been to take the will and to take command of it and will things to be. It has caused on the face of the earth the death of millions and millions of people, from Russia, Germany, South Africa, from the middle of Africa, people have been wiped out because they have tried to take command by the will. The will belongs to Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. That is why Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, educating the Rasul, salla'llahu alayhi wa sallim, in being the Rasul of Allah, said, Do not say I will do a thing except you say "Insha'llah." Now people say things like, "It will be dry tomorrow," and then they say, "Insha'llah." It is nothing to do with the mashi'a of Allah. The masha'llah is what will separate you from your action in case you think it is your mastery. I will do it insha'llah. That is where the masha'llah comes in. Not people saying insha'llah, insha'llah. It does not mean anything. That is not under the mashi'a of Allah, it is under the Qudra of Allah. Something is by the idhn of Allah, but I will do it insha'llah. We will meet tomorrow, insha'llah. In other words, before your activating anything, the will, that will in fact determine it, has determined it and will continue to determine it, which is the will of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, over the individual destinies of the human being.
The most hostile enemy of man is his self,
which hinders him from gaining the Haqiqa.
The most powerful enemy of man is his self. Which means that the only ones who could lead the muslims in action which Allah wants are ones who have already defeated their nafs and are in obedience to Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala. Then they would not hold futile ideas such as that there is something called America, and that we can make war on it. There is no such thing as the United States of America. It does not exist. The people running it, you see, they could not run a bus. The world is not set up like that any more. So this futile idea that there is a real world in which you operate, has produced this disaster for people and has degraded the name of Islam throughout the world. The ones who have conquered fi sabilillah, and the ones who have done it fi sabilillah, like the Khalifs of Istanbul and the Moghul Emperors of the Sub-continent, they are the ones. On the night before a battle with the hindus a Moghul Emperor's leading General left and went over to the Hindus. The Emperor withdrew into his tent and one of his Generals came after him and saw him making two raka'at. He said, "Your majesty, please do not despair, we are with you." He said, "No, I am thanking Allah because if he had deserted us on the battlefield we would have lost. But Allah has made him leave now, and now we know who our men are. Now we will have victory." He was fighting fi sabilillah so therefore it was not a setback. If he was a General just thinking about the logistics it was a disaster, but he was going fi sabilillah and he saw it as a gift from Allah to ensure his troops were safe and they would have the victory. This is the opposite of what we have been witnessing recently.
So become greater than the common people if you desire reunion with Him,
and do not be satisfied with a mere reputation of nobility.
O, the triumph of a people who have answered
the great call of the Beloved, and so obtained the Garden!
By that I mean both 'Irfan in the presence of nearness
and gnosis, ma'rifa, of the garden of rivers, houris, and delights.
Let the one whose heart has become devoid and empty
of 'Irfan in every thought weep over himself.
In other words, if the heart is not full of this knowledge all you can do is weep over yourself.
The joy of life without trouble, by my Lord,
is only found in the realisation of reunion.
Perhaps a glance will cure the sick man of his sickness,
for the perception of the essence of Haqiqa is mighty.
It is enough that the people who love Allah look on Him for that might be the thing that cures you. I give you proof of this with the man sitting next to me. He was with a few other men in the desert of Morocco and they got lost. In the desert overnight you can be dead from thirst. From nowhere they saw a motorcycle coming towards them. The young man on the motorcycle took them one by one back to his father's house. He told them that his father had told him to go out to these people because they were lost. They said to his father, "This is an amazing coincidence." And he said, "No, no, this is not a coincidence." He said, "You are from Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib aren't you?" They said , "Yes." Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib was in the north of Morocco and they were in the southern-most desert of Morocco. He said, "Well now I am too. Five years ago I was in Zagora, which is the big market town, and there were masses of people for the day of the market. On the other side of the square I saw a very big car and sitting in the back was this old gentleman. Suddenly he opened the door of the car, he walked all the way across the square and came to me. He took my hand and said, 'Assalamu alaikum, ya wali Allah.' I became hot, I burst into a sweat, and the man turned and got back into the car and then the car vanished. I was agitated and I rushed around asking, 'Who was that man? Who was that man in the car?' They said to me, 'That was a Darqawi Shaykh from Meknes, Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib.' I thought there must be a reason. Now, after all these years I looked out and saw you were going to die in the desert and realised you were fuqara of the Shaykh and my job was to save you."
My best time is when I am characterised by humility,
incapacity, poverty, and negation of the will.
For these are the foundations of our perfect path.
So follow it and avoid reputation and self-importance.
Flee to the opposite of the Attributes of the Lord,
then by Allah's favour, you will be the richest of creation.
His Attributes are encompassing knowledge, and power over everything,
and our attributes are ignorance and less power than a particle of dust.
If you desire to reach the goal of all the 'Arifin,
then, O my companion, set out for it with himma.
Being a slave of Allah is sincere when it goes
along with giving the Lord what He wants at every moment.
By slavehood I mean tajrid, being stripped, from every power
and strength and any means, and even getting things for yourself.
Because in this way the heart is purified of blindness
and is filled with lights in every thought.
The song is over. Praise is due at the beginning and the end
for the gift of help from the Best of the Community.
May the blessings of Allah be upon him and his family,
and his Companions, the people in Allah's care.
Its writer is known, I mean Muhammad ibn al-Habib,
who seeks perfect slavehood.
So convey a fragrance to it, O Master of Generosity,
from You that will spread the effulgence of Haqiqa over all creation.
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