The 2nd Jahiliyya
Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
London, March 25, 1992/22 Ramadan 1412
O our brothers and sisters, especially newcomers, you are all coming here out of love for the Sheikh, ...for the love of Islam. All of you have come for the love of the Sheikh ...who has showed you the way of reality--that the way of reality passes through Islam.
God has created everyone on the pattern of Islam. The seed of Islam is in everyone. Islam, like salam, means "peace" in Arabic, a reference to the peace of the heart. That light of peace God has put into the heart of every human being. Not knowing this, as you were non-Muslims, you have nevertheless come to Mawlana Sheikh Nazim through the door of love, humbleness and respect, and he has brought you to Islam.
Why did the Sahaba, the Companions of the Prophet (s), accept him? Why did God choose the best one to be the Prophet (s)? Because good manners always attract people, and bad manners never do. Whoever saw Mawlana Sheikh Nazim's manners, was attracted to him. That attraction caused them to follow his way, which in reality is the way of the Islamic faith.
[In our time, due to the extensive propaganda of the press and the media, many people are "allergic" to the word "Islam". They are afraid of Muslims, perceiving them as a threat, as politically dangerous and as terrorists. Thus to avoid activating this "allergy", Knowledgable shaykhs use a way of da`wa, which enables them to preach without the perceived "threat" of Islam. Here Shaykh Hisham explains this highly effective approach.]
Many people come to us in America, and after three or four visits they give shahada, the testimony of faith in Islam, and they do not even know why they feel inspired to give shahada. After they sit with us and pray with us, when they are asked what their religion is, they answer, "We are following spirituality." This is because they do not come primarily for Islam. After a while, however, they are appraised of the fact that they are Muslims!
[in this approach to da`wah which these shaykhs employ--instead of opposing the beliefs and ways of the newcomers to the way, they use good character and good teachings to attract their hearts to the way of Islam, without necessarily telling them what it is. Once they are attracted and realize the perfection of the message, they no longer care what its name is, and they are happy to say "we are Muslim!"]
Islam is the highest spiritual teaching and it is the religion of God. Moses (s) brought Judaism to the Jewish people in their time. When Jesus (s) came, Judaism was superseded and everyone was called to believe in Jesus (s). When Muhammad (s) came, everything disappeared and Islam was there. The highest belief, therefore, must be Islam.
We do not deny Moses (s). We do not deny Jesus (s). Why then do others deny Islam? We do not deny anyone. This is the proof of perfection. The imperfect can never be the higher one in level. The Prophet Muhammad (s) is the highest one, and that is why the other religions cannot see him. We Muslims, however, who follow the Prophet (s) and his teachings, accept Jesus, because we know that they are right in accepting Jesus (s); and we accept Moses (as), and we know that his follower are right in accepting Moses (as).
When Moses (s) came, God gave him 100 tablets. When he returned after his forty-day seclusion with his Lord and saw that the people had been steered away from rightful belief, he threw down the tablets and 98 of them were destroyed. Only two were handed down to the people. That is one explanation for the relative imperfection of their religion, and a cause for Christianity to supply a continuation and a perfecting process; and the continuation and perfection of Christianity must lie in Islam.
Islam came to take people from darkness into light. That time is called Jahiliyya in Arabic, the Era of Ignorance. Unfortunately, we are regressing, in our century, to jahiliyya ukhra, another Era of Ignorance. Everywhere now you find ignorance. The people on the right path are being opposed, disliked, defamed, and fought. The people of falsehood are being praised and honored. This was foretold by the Prophet (s) who said that in such a time, "Yukhawwanul amin wa yusaddiqul kha'in," "The most trustworthy one will be called 'dishonest and untrustworthy', and the dishonest one will be called 'trustworthy.'"
We are coming to the end of the present world. There is not much time left for this world to continue. Today we heard something very surprising: a Sufi movement has been banned in one of the Far Eastern countries. This is the influence of the Wahhabi movement. Using their money, they are trying to control and to fight the love of the Prophet (s). They don't like anyone to love the Prophet (s), and for that reason Wahhabis are spreading false teachings that go against the person of the Prophet (s) and against the teachings of the four madhhabs (schools), in order to show Islam as a dry and cruel religion.
They are the ones responsible for the present scandalous view of Islam, due to which Islam has a bad name in the West. They say, it is the Jews that are responsible for passing Islam off as cruel; but in reality more harm is coming against Islam from Wahhabis than from Jews. The Wahhabis' disrespect to the Prophet (s) is so great! They are buying religious departments and institutions in every country. They are giving as much money as people want in order to induce them to fight the love of the Prophet (s).
There are long-standing historical reasons for this. They came to the Prophet (s) in his time and asked him to pray for them. He said, "Allahumma barik lana fi shamina wa fi yamanina," "O God, bless us in our Sham (Syria) and bless us in our Yemen." They said, "What about Najd, O Rasulallah?" Najd is the whole area around present-day Riyadh. He said another time, "O God, bless Sham and Yemen." Again they asked, "What about Najd" and again he did not answer them except by blessing Syria and Yemen. The third time they asked him about Najd, he said: "Yakhruju minha qarnayyish shaitani wa yakthuru fiha az-zalazilu wal fitan," "The two horns of the devil will appear from there, and earthquakes, confusion and corruption will abound there." (Bukhari, Muslim).
Now is the beginning of the events predicted in that hadith. In another hadith, the Prophet (s) said: "Sawfa tudi'u narun min ardi Najdin yashra'ibbu laha a'naqul ibili bi Busra," "Such a fire will come from the land of Najd that camels in Basra will run away from its heat" (Bukhari, Muslim). That happened last year [Iraq war]. Prepare yourselves, therefore, not for the best, but for the worst. Dark ages, not progress, is coming ahead. Only after the dark ages will the golden age of Islam come about, which is the age of Mahdi (s).
In the very near future many events are going to take place around us. Everyone of us must be careful concerning his beliefs, the beliefs of his wife and family, and of his children. Satan is not leaving anyone alone. He is trying to change your beliefs and to remove you from the love of saints, of Sufi people, and of the Prophet (s).
God said: "Lawla Muhammadun ma khalaqtu ahadan min khalqee" - "Were it not for Muhammad (s), I would never have created a single being of my creation." They are fighting the Prophet (s) because they thought that he would be coming from their own, from Najd. They did not accept him even in his own time: they are munafiqun (hypocrites) now just as they were then, and they are described in the Sura of the Holy Qur'an which bears their name. If you read it, you will find their description there. They are preparing themselves for that event with help from Western countries. They stock up weapons thinking that they believe will help them to maintain their kingdom. Never! If God wants to do something else, He can send an earthquake and everything disappears. But God is leaving them because they are fitna: they usher in confusion, and God is testing the hearts of his servants and checking who has a good heart and who has a bad heart.
As the Prophet (s) explained the signs of the last times to the Companions and said, "Afdalul umma akhiyarul umma akhirul umma," "The best Nation, the most favored Nation, is the last of the Nation," Sayyidina 'Umar (r) raised his hands to heaven and said, "Ya Rasulallah, I am willing to sacrifice all the rewards you have given me in order to be counted among those of that last Nation!" The Prophet (s) answered, "No, this is for them only."
Be happy as we are among the ones expecting Mahdi (s) and Jesus (as), insha Allah, to appear soon. Alhamdulillah, it is apparent that we have reached a time which is approaching the last time of the Nation. The Prophet (s) said, "Idha saluhat ummati falaha ma'ishatu yawmin wa in fasudat falaha ma'ishatu nisfi yawmin, wa 'inna yawman 'inda rabbika ka'alfi sanatin mimma ta'uddun," "If my Nation keeps pure and does well, it is going to enjoy an age of one day, and if it becomes corrupt, it will have an age of half a day" (hadith), "And one day according to God's estimation is 1,000 years according to yours" (Al-Hajj 47). According to the Prophet (s), therefore, God has granted us 1,500 years. We are now in the 1,412th year of the Hijri calendar: there is not much time left for this world.
All the signs are present for Jesus (s) to return and rule over this earth for 40 years, and for Mahdi (s) to come with him and rule for seven years. We expect these events are going to happen no later than in the coming eighty years, perhaps sooner. We are this near to the end and there is no time left. We must prepare ourselves by preparing our hearts. How dow we prepare our hearts? By leaving our ego.
We ask: "How can we leave our ego as our Master Sheikh Nazim keeps telling us?" Everyone has ego. But if God had not put ego over us, we would all have been sinless angels. Sayyidina Aba Yazid al-Bistami went to the Ka'ba one day and held the chain of the door of the Ka'ba. "O my Lord," he exclaimed, "give me leave to chain Satan by his foot and imprison him, with the power that you gave me, in such a way that all your creation can see him, and he cannot see anyone, so that he will leave your servants alone and they will no longer be sinning!" God had given this wali such great power that he could make such a request. But God inspired him in his heart, '°O Aba Yazid, look above you." This means: Look into the higher stations of your heart. When Aba Yazid looked, he fell unconscious and remained there for one hour. After he woke up, he crawled to the door of Ka'ba, whispering: "Ya 'Afuw, Ya 'Afuw," "O Forgiver, forgive me!"
And God inspired in his heart, "O Aba Yazid, to whom am I leaving the Oceans of Mercy that I have created if not to my servants? If I let you chain Satan, then everyone will be sinless, and I am the Forgiver! "Anal ghafurur rahim" (Al-Hijr 49), "I am the Forgiver and the Merciful One! Whom am I forgiving but sinners? If they become sinless they will be like angels, without levels. Let them sin: I will forgive them and I will raise their levels higher. These Oceans of Mercy are for sinners. Do not, therefore, interfere in My Will. I am the Creator of human beings, and I am the One keeping and protecting them from Satan, with these Oceans of Mercy; only let them come to Me when they sin."
If a small child is hurt, he will immediately run to his mother or father. When Satan hurts you and causes you to sin, run away to your Lord and say, 'O my Lord,' I committed a sin, please forgive me.' Insha-Allah, you will get His forgiveness immediately. Why, O sinners, do you not come to our Lord? Why are we not, with all our ego, still coming to our Lord? We have to come to him. Run quickly and find forgiveness; but if you do not come to Him, how is He going to forgive you?
We say: "How are we going to get rid of our ego?" Mawlana Sheikh Nazim has shown a very good way to get rid of your ego. Every day, write down in a notebook as many of the bad manners in your heart as you have done that day. Everyone has in his heart at least 700 bad manners. These seven hundred bad manners have to be taken away in order to clean yourself. Some people say: We have no bad manners. No: sit, think, and write down what kinds of bad manners remain in you.
[That is the meaning of the saying of Sayiddina `Umar (r) "hasibu qabl an tuhasibu" - "evaluate yourself before you are evaluated".]
Everyone knows himself and knows what his heart hides of bad manners. Write it down, and try every day to eliminate one bad manner. Day after day, you will see that you are leaving these bad manners one after another.
Satan does not let anyone do this. In your heart, when you sit and think, you are going to find that hundreds of bad manners are coming to mind. Everyone of us is a sinner; you know yourself better than anyone. When a saint, however, is looking at your heart, he knows whether you are clean or not. He knows, therefore, when he must put you in seclusion or not. Seclusion means that you are trying to progress and leave bad manners. When the saint sees that you are trying to leave bad manners in your heart, he is going to give you permission to enter seclusion. When he does not see you trying, he cannot, of course, give you such a permission.
Fight your ego! Whatever your ego asks you, do the opposite. Do not accept advice from your ego, because he is misleading you. "Fa la tuzakku anfusakum," "Don't praise yourselves," "Don't ever give excuses for your ego" (Al-Najm 32). "An-nafsu ammaratun bis-su'," your ego is always telling you, permitting you and ordering you to do bad things and commit mistakes. Therefore never listen to your ego, as the Prophet (s) said: "Do not listen to yourselves, but listen to me." But who is listening to the Prophet (s)? No one.
Listen with your love. That love is going to take us out of the darkness of this world and into the light of the hereafter. Mawlana said that a Bedouin came to the Prophet (s) as he was at the minbar delivering the Friday sermon, stood at the door of the mosque, and said, "Ya sayyidi ya rasulallah, mat`a as-sa'atu ya rasulallah," "O Prophet, when is Judgment Day?" The Prophet (s) did not answer him. He repeated, raising his voice, "When is the hour, O Prophet ?" Hearing and seeing this, the Prophet's (s) Companions sitting there were about to kill that person in their hearts for raising his voice, but there was no permission. When the leader is there, the followers are not allowed to do anything.
The Companions were angry but could never say anything in front of the Prophet (s). When he asked loudly for the third time, "When is Judgment Day?" at that time, Jibril (as) came to the Prophet (s) and told him to answer him. Only then the Prophet (s) answered him.
You can see by this example also how the Prophet (s) constantly listens and obeys. Only when the inspiration comes, he obeys and answers.
The Prophet (s) said, "O Bedouin, Judgment Day is a long journey and you need many things for it; what good deeds and acts of worship have you prepared?" He answered, "Alaa mahabbatika ya Rasulallah," "Do I not have your love, O Prophet (s)! Your love, O Prophet (s)! Your love!" And the Prophet (s) answered, "Kafi ya i'rabi," "It is enough, O Bedouin: you will be with the one you love!" (cf. Bukhari, Ahkam). The man left and he did not even enter the mosque to pray with the people.
Love of the Sheikh is very important. It takes you with him wherever he is going. Never allow that love to become shaky! Whatever happens, do not accept attacks on that love. If Wahhabi people come to you and speak against what you do, saying: "This is shirk (associating partners to Allah)," "this is bid'a (innovation)," "this is not good," do not listen to them. They are ignorant people hardened in their ignorance and will never accept you. Do not, therefore, listen to them.
Tasawwuf has never been shirk or bid'a in 1,400 years and cannot be declared so because of the past thirty years. These false accusations come from hatred of the Prophet (s) in the heart of these people. Do not listen to them. Otherwise, darkness will enter your heart. Be careful: Grandsheikh said that one hour spent listening to someone that does not have love for the Prophet (s) or love for tariqat Sheikhs in their heart, will bring one year of darkness on the heart. It will take one year for that darkness to wash away from the heart! Take care, therefore, not to listen to such people.
Ahl as-Sunna wal-Jama`ah, the people of madhahib and the people of tariqats are the ones following the right way, the way of the Prophet (s), of the Companions of the Prophet (s), of the Khalifs of the Prophet (s), of the Four Imams of Islam. All four Imams had Sheikhs -- they were Sufis! They used Sheikhs in order to gain their knowledge, and their Sheikhs were illiterate: Sheikhs such as Bishr al-Hafi and Shayban ar-Ra'i. Whenever Imam Shafi'i was in the presence of Sayyidina Bishr al-Hafi, who made seven mistakes in the recitation of Fatiha, he always asked him to lead the prayer! Bishr read, not from bookish knowledge, but from the light of the heart. This is what we need. Insha Allah, we pray that that light be given to us out of the love of the Sheikh. May the love of the Sheikh, therefore, always grow in our hearts. Without it, never can we come to the door of the Prophet (s).
We have to be humble to each other and to everyone else. There is no harm in accepting our brothers and sisters. This religion is based on love. This religion is based on respect. This religion is based on humbleness. If we do not have these good manners, never are we going to find the light of our Lord in our hearts, as God said in hadith qudsi: "Qalbul mu'min baytur rabb," "The heart of a believer is the house of God." To be a good believer means to be humble, respectful, and loving to people. Without these three good manners, you will never find that light in your heart in this life... Until that time, we will never find or see that light of the heart unless we first have these three good manners. Try to get them now. Try to induce your ego to accept these traits. Be humble; if someone hurts you, step on your ill-feeling and come to him and forgive him; go so far as to kiss his hands- what is the harm? As far down as you can be humble before others, do so: then God will raise you.
wa min Allah at-tawfiq!