Allah's Greatest Name
Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
Audhu billahi min ash-shaytan ir-rajeem
Bismillah ir-rahman ir-raheem
Nawaytu'l arba`een, nawaytu'l `itikaaf, nawaytu'l
khalwah, nawaytu'r-riyaadah, nawaytu's-sulook,
lillahi ta`ala al-`adheem fee hadha'l-masjid
Do you all have notebooks? If not please leave. Without a notebook, nothing
remains in the mind.
Ati`Allaha wa ati` ar-rasula wa ulil-amri minkum.
Obey Allah (swt), obey the Prophet and
obey those in authority. (4:59)
That is the title of every association. Never did Mawlana Shaykh Nazim or Mawlana Shaykh
Abdullah start a lecture with out this ayah.
If you obey those in authority you will live happily. For in reality
Allah created us to be happy. Obedience is a necessity and it is necessary. Just as food is a necessity for the body,
obedience is a necessity for the ego. When you are hungry you need power for your body, and so you eat. If you don't eat you
will lose weight,and those who fast from eating altogether end up in the grave because
the body collapses. The nourishment
of the body is through physical food. The nourishment and requirement of the soul is to be standing in obedience. If
you do not obey, you will be deprived of all that Allah swt wants for you. And if you lose that you will face difficulty,for
those who contravene authority end up in jail. By disobeying the
Prophet and Allah, you will end up in prison. But Allah
is great and as He has proclaimed, His mercy will overrule his anger. We are weak servants, and weak servants in reality are
not able to do anything but to seek the forgiveness of their Lord.
Once I asked Grandshaykh a question:
the meaning of "wa li-kullin wijhatun hu muwalliha, Fastabiqul khayraat" "To each is a goal to which Allah turns him;
then strive together (as in a race)
Towards all that is good." (2:148) It means that what Allah has planned for you is
the best. So seek the good and try to be good. That is the literal meaning of this ayaah. Yet my intention was not the superficial
meaning when I asked the question, for this ayaah relates to what Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, may Allah bless him, has taught: that
everyone has seven heavenly names other than his original name.
And so is it mentioned in the ahadith of the Prophet
(s) that every human being has seven heavenly names in Allah's Divine Presence. In each paradise, in every level of heaven,
one has a certain name. According to the level and station he is in, so will he or she be called. And each of these names
begins with "Abd," such as Abdul Kareem, Abdur Razzaq, etc. Each name is related to a different
attribute, and each name
is unlike any other. In this world there are many people with the same names. But in heavenly realities, names are unique
and there is no possibility that a name may be repeated. And yet each begins with "Abd" and ends with a Divine Attribute.
Each is different and so Allah (swt) is the Creator of an infinite number of attributes that may be given to endless
creations. Reflect on the greatness of Allah (swt)! Some say that there are only 99 Divine Names and Attributes. Those are
the main names, but in reality there are an infinite number of names that Allah is creating.
So in each paradise, depending
on the level to which he is related, each individual has a different name. Perhaps his name is Abdul Haqq,
and after that he may be known as Abdur Raheem, and yet later still as Abdul Ghaffar. And even later he may have a name of
which we are completely unaware. I asked this question because Mawlana Shaykh
Nazim told me to go and asked Grandshaykh
what is your heavenly name.
For the first time in my life I asked a question, for in the presence of these Grandshaykhs
one never asks questions. Answers come extraordinarily through their speeches.
I had an uncle who was the president
of Muslim scholars in Lebanon and was known as the "walking encyclopedia" in jurisprudence, in tafsir of holy Qur'an and in
history and seerah. He was a very intellectual person and very well educated. His library was larger than this prayer hall,
and yet this room may hold 400-500 people! His library held 20,000-30,000 books and he had read all of them!
days one may read a single book and feel himself to have become a great scholar. Unashamed, such ascend the minbar, attacking
other Muslims and attacking governments. Such are the plastic scholars of today. They are toy scholars. They are charged with
batteries and then let loose. Previously such would be winded. Now, however, no winding is necessary. But fill him with a
little pride and he spreads his tail like a huge peacock. Like hot air
balloons, one needle is all that is necessary and
it will all collapse.
Every president or prime minister who visited Lebanon from the Middle East would visit that uncle
of mine. He would write most of the op-eds of the Arab newspapers, and all would take his opinion. If unable themselves to
reach a particular verdict, even the scholars of al-Azhar would forward the matter to him.
Once my brother and I asked
him to meet Grandshaykh. "Ah, why do I need to meet another teacher? Has he read more than I, these 30,000 books?!" We pressured
him until he finally agreed. He was a considerable alim, and as you know such do not agree quickly. They are proud of their
knowledge. Like a box with but a few matchsticks within: shake it and it makes noise. Real ulama don't make noise.
agreed finally and we went. We drove approximately 3 hours until we came to Damascus to the holy house of Grandshaykh.
As soon as we reached to open the door he pulled it open and said, "Welcome! I have been waiting for you." Thus, he brought
my uncle's arrogance completely down. Once we went up and in, the Shaykh said to my uncle, "You are a scholar, and I admit
that you are a substantial scholar and very well known. Do you want to speak or shall I speak? One must speak, not two. You
My uncle said, "No, I am a guest. If you were the guest I would speak." Of primary importance in Islamic behavior
is impeccable adab. Nowadays, if there are 10 people together, everyone must say one word. Yet good manners are not to talk,
but to listen. When you talk, your ego is talking, your negativity is talking. You want to show that you know something. That
is why our friend the reporter doesn't speak, he listens. If you want to speak you will not learn anything. And so my uncle
said, "You speak and I will listen."
Grandshaykh then said to him, "Would you like to go to the bathroom before I begin?"
Meaning, don't interrupt me when I begin to speak. He said,
"Yes I need to renew my ablution." So he went and came.
That was a clear second miraculous sign for my uncle.
The first thing Grandshaykh said was:
"Ati Allah wa Ati ar-Rasul wa uloolil amri minkum."
And then he spoke for four hours non-stop. Each one of us was fidgeting right and left, yet Grandshaykh continuously
spoke, and I was taking notes. I never sat in the presence of Grandshaykh and not write. Not one word I did not write. If
he spoke in Turkish I would write in Arabic a direct translation. And we were looking at my uncle, looking at his reactions,
and he was sweating. Grandshaykh spoke on different issues and when he finished after four hours, my uncle rushed to kiss
his hand. In my entire life, I had
never seen my uncle kiss the hand of anyone, not even the hand of his wife. Yet he
went grabbing the hand of Grandshaykh and kissing it. We were surprised with our uncle who with his intellectuality and intelligence
had never kissed the hand of anyone. He was a walking encyclopedia yet he kept quiet not saying a single word. After praying
Asr, Grandshaykh brought food. And after eating, we left to head back to Lebanon.
In the car my uncle was crying. I
had before that never seen my uncle crying. As tears were streaming from his eyes, he said, "If I am going to write a book
on what the Shaykh said, I would write on every word one volume. What he explained today was something that hayyaarat `uqul
al-`ulama, bewildered the minds of scholars. His words would
not only bewilder the minds of not only normal scholars,
but will dazzle the minds of great scholars and non-Muslim scholars will even confound the minds of awliya. There are seven
questions that have to date puzzled everyone and I put them in my mind before I left from Beirut. For these questions, to
date no one has been able to bring forth an answer. And without me even mentioning the questions, he
answered all seven!
If I were going to write a book I could write volumes on what he said."
Grandshaykh had addressed the subject of haqiqat
al-insan, the reality of humans, and al-insan al-Kamil, the Perfect Human. What is his reality and from where does his reality
come? More importantly, the question that has puzzled scholars even more is what is ismullah al-`adham, the greatest name
of Allah? All anbiya asked to know that
and Allah but hinted to them the answer. And that is why Musa (as) asked Allah,
"Ya Allah arinee andhur ilayk. qaala: Lam taraanee."
It means: "If you know that name you are with Me. But look at
that mountain and if that mountain stays in its place then you can witness Me. Look at that mountain when I send My Name upon
it! If it remains in its place then, then you may understand."
When Allah (swt) sent that ismullah al-`adham on that mountain, it completely shattered into dust. undhur ila al-jabali
faini istaqarra makaanahu fasawfa taraanee falammaa tajalla rabbuhu lil-jabali ja`alahu dakkan wa kharra musa sa`iqan falamma
afaaqa qaala subhaanaka tubtu ilayka wa ana awwalu al-mu'mineen
"When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: "O my Lord! show (Thyself) to me,
that I may look upon thee." Allah said: "By no means canst thou see Me (direct); But look upon the mount; if it abide in its
place, then shalt thou see Me." When his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, He made it as dust. And Moses fell down in
a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: "Glory be to Thee! to Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe."
The mountain completely dissolved and Musa collapsed and fainted. When he awoke, he said, "Ya Rabbee, forgive
me." Allah said, "If you want to come to Me, I am opening my door for you. No one comes to this door with his self. He must
be with Me. He must ask Me to guide him. Approach through My guidance and you will find Me."
Sayyidina Musa asked for
that name. All prophets asked for that name. `Ulama are eager to know that name. My uncle continued, "I had that question
in my mind and he addressed it as if someone was asking about an issue that is so simple that it does not mean anything. He
addressed it as someone relating a story for a child! I felt a complete child in his presence, as if I knew noting. I was
to see any of my knowledge, as if my knowledge shrank to nothing, when he spoke to me about that name and how we
And Grandshaykh said that that name is hidden within the human being, within insan. It means it is insan,
the human being, that Allah created as the recipient of a great honor. Within his heart, His name exists. If you dig inside
the heart, you will come to know that name.
Although it may not appear completely, you will begin to sense and feel
and you will begin to understand and to know. My uncle said that this was the greatest moment in his life, when he met Grandshaykh.And
I still have that lecture of Grandshaykh of four hours, but it is not for publication. It is of a very deep knowledge and
explain more than that.
Ismullah al-`adham madfoonun fil-insan. That greatest name of Allah has been implanted
in the human being. That is how the Awliya, Gnostics in the way of Allah, taste a sweetness that cannot be found anywhere
else. And yet people are unaware of these issues. Sayyidina Abayazid al-Bistami was a very famous Saint and all know of him
and honor him including even the scholars who rejects Sufism. Even
ibn Taymiyya, the 13th and 14th century scholar who
is a pole of the Wahhabi ideology, confessed and wrote in his books that Abayazid al-Bistami is a great Saint. Abayazid asked
Allah to open for him His door, and Allah said, "You cannot come to My door unless you are a carrier of the burdens of people.
You must be a like a dump, accepting the burdens of people." When Saints reach that level and in their seclusion go into a
trance, a state, they may say things that ordinary people cannot understand. I am giving a hint. He said, speaking with his
Lord directly, "You have made in Judgment Day a bridge, Siraat al-Mustaqeem, for people to cross into paradise.And if they
fall, they fall in hell. If their amal is ok, they will be able to keep moving. O Allah (swt), why are You asking us to move
that bridge when we are but Your Shadow. We are Your servants. We are appearing through your attributes we are coming
from the Ocean of Power, from your energy. We don't need to cross that bridge! You cross it first and you will find us
Such is how awliya interact [when they are in a haal, or high station of self-effacement. They speak to Allah
as a child to a father - they are lost from themselves. For that reason, even Ibn Taymiyya excused them and said they were
not responsible for what they said in that state.] They want to save everyone from punishment and difficulty.
everyone to go to Paradise.
He asked, "Why are You building that, for what? You move
first, and then we will follow
You." Then he said in one of his recorded sayings, "You established a scale to weigh the good and the bad, and You want
to see if the good is better than the bad that You may send to paradise. Weigh your generosity against us! It is enough to
send us to Paradise!"
And in yet another saying, "I believe in You and I believed in Muhammad (s). I am requesting
from You one thing. I love you. Because I love You, I love everyone. Make my body as large as hell itself so I will fill it
and everyone else will go to paradises." This shows the depth of sweetness, reality and taste in Islam. It is the taste of
sweetness that comes from the hearts and mouths of those Sufi
sages and saints that Allah sent to this world after the
was planning to speak on something else, but it changed to this. Back to the beginning where I asked the question that I asked
Grandshaykh. My intention was what Shaykh Nazim told me to ask, to ask what is my heavenly name. He said, "O my son, we don't
have questions here. If you have a question, you go to the Grand Mufti of Damascus." He meant go to those scholars who learned
how to recite letters. They know how to read letters but they don't know
the sweetness behind everything. "Those are the
scholars I refer you to, `ulama al-huroof. They don't see beyond the letters. If you are intending to ask what is beyond the
letters, then I will answer. If you are asking sincerely the real meaning of that verse, then it is my job to show it to you."
You have to follow certain techniques and methods. You need eyeglasses. Some people need larger lenses. Some go to
ophthalmologist who may say, "You are nearly blind! You need powerful glasses in order to see." Or perhaps, "There
is no way for you to see unless you undergo a special operation." And if you want to see at night, with infrared light, then
you need special binoculars or goggles. Yes, it is possible to see in the dark, but you need the appropriate instrument. For
the purpose of our discussion, it is not a physical instrument that you require for spiritual vision. When you polish and
purify your self, when you tear down your ego and uplift your soul by removing the negative energy that is clinging to
then you will be able to see.
And then Grandshaykh put me under training and tarbiyya. He asked - because he knew our
background - that we are from a very prestigious and rich family in Lebanon, "How did you come here, you and your brother?"
We had come in our car, a new and very expensive car. He said, "Give me the keys." He took the keys and called one of his
deputies and said, "Take this car and sell it in the market." And then he said to us, "You want me to guide you? Ok, I am
guiding you! I had a helper who used to aid me. He died when he was 107 years old and his clothes are down in one of those
baskets. You go and wear them, you and your brother." That was crushing. When you have pride in yourself, it is bad. It is
wrong to think or feel that "I am rich, I am an intellectual. I am a doctor, an engineer, something
special. I am this,
I am that." This does not work in Allah's eyes. What is important is who is sincere and who helps the creation, who helps
the Muslim and non-Muslim alike. How much do you do for your neighbors, your country? Don't be preferential, "This one
I like and this one I don't." In order to teach you, they have to crush you
from your selfishness. Grandshaykh continued,
"Give me your clothes for I am selling them also."
As soon as we wore those clothes, we were instantly covered with
fleas, white ones everywhere. He looked at us and he said, "Ok, now I am guiding you! Go to ibn Arabi mosque, the biggest
Saint in Damascus, put a cloth on the ground and sit down in front of his shrine that people may throw food and money
for you." In such ways do Shaykhs test you, studying you to see what your reaction may be, looking for the slightest degree
of imperfection. We said ok, but
that was not an easy ok it was a very difficult ok! He was examining the hearts. We went
to the mosque. It was but 20 minutes and he immediately sent after us his help, saying, "Ok it is enough."
how they polish. Not every time must the Shaykh give you candy. He may give you candy until you realize that you really want
to learn something. And then there is no more candy. Then he begins to give you sour things. Like in schools, in kindergarten
or in nursery school, they give children all kinds of candies and all kind of toys. Though when you begin intermediary
schooling, it becomes
harder work. Then they begin to increase the level of difficulty. The university is more difficult.
And this process of escalating difficulty continues until you reach masters level where every professor wants to fail you
down. This is how the awliya train the hearts of their followers.
Allahuma taqabbal minna, bi-hurmatil-Fatiha.
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Raheem
Faith and Belief in Islam
Prayer and the Development of the Muslim Character
Muhammad (saw) once said, "There will come upon people a time when they think that they have established prayers but have
(hadith narrated by Bukhary & Muslim). This group of people are referred to in the Qur'an in the following verses:
woe to the worshippers who are neglectful of their prayers (Qur'an 107:4-5)
After them followed a posterity who missed
prayers and followed after lusts soon, then, will they face Destruction. (Qur'an 19:59)
It is therefore wise that we
take heed and realize the purpose, significance, and benefits of prayer. It is also imperative that we establish prayer in
the correct spirit and manner. True worship does not rest solely on the form of prayer. The heart and mind have to be earnestly
applied to seek their realization of the presence of God.
Purpose of Prayer
I have only created Jinns and men,
that they may serve Me. (Qur'an 51:56)
The prayer is the most visible manifestation of Islam and it is a means of communication
between the servant and his Creator. The obligation to establish prayers five times every day and to perform it in congregation
wherever possible is a clear sign of the establishment and exuberance of the Religion:
And be steadfast in prayer;
practice regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down ( in worship). (Qur'an 2:43)
of prayer as a means of direct and intimate contact with God is reflected in the hadith: The closest moment a servant gets
to his Lord is when he prostrates himself in prayer. So increase your du'a during the prostration. (narrated by Muslim, Abu
Daud & An-Nasay).
Significance of Prayer
The Qur'an clearly states that one of the characteristics of a
God-fearing servant, a muttaqin, is one who is steadfast in prayer:
This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without
doubt, to those who fear God; who believe in the unseen, are steadfast in prayers, and spend out of what We have provided
for them. (Qur'an 2:2-3)
It is significant that the Qur'an describes the muttaqin as one who first believes in the
Unseen. It is upon this belief that he establishes prayer. And it is a consequence of prayer that he is motivated to spend
our what he has to the needy. In other words, it is the result of prayer
that a believer manifests his duty towards the
Prayer strengthens and nourishes the inner life of a believer. He lives earnestly because of his faith and
trust in God, and is given bounty by God in return. It is through prayers that his status as a believer is elevated:
believers are those who, when God is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and when they hear His signs rehearsed, find
their faith strengthened, and put (all) their trust in their Lord; who establish regular prayers and spend (freely) out of
the gifts We have given them
for sustenance: Such in truth are the believers: they have grades of dignity with their Lord,
and forgiveness, and generous sustenance. (Qur'an 8:2-4)
Benefits of Prayer
Prayer, if performed
correctly and earnestly, is guaranteed by God to ward off shameful and unjust deeds. And we may ask," How? ". The answer lies
in the fact that it is through prayer that the teachings and spirit of the Qur'an is imbibed by the worshipper. It is therefore
that we know the meaning and significance of the verses of the Qur'an that we say loudly and silently during
prayer. Sayyida Aishah (ra), the wife of the Prophet (saw), once exclaimed that prayer was the Prophet's garment. We can understand
why and should emulate him willingly.
Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular
prayer: for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of God is the greatest (thing in life) without
doubt. And God knows the (deeds) that ye do. (Qur'an 29:45)
Prayer is also a source of strength for the believer. It
is through perseverance and prayer that a believer would ask for help and protection from God. Consequently, the effects of
prayer on the believer are the inculcation of humility, modesty and inward piety in his heart and movements in everyday life.
For prayer is difficult to establish
except for those who have such qualities:
Nay, seek (God's) help with patient
perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit, who bear in mind the certainty that
they are to meet their Lord, and that they are to return to Him. (Qur'an 2:45-46)
Last but not least, prayer has the
effect of imbuing discipline in the life of the believer. The believer's life revolves around the fixed prayer times. He organizes
his activities after considering the right time for prayer. Thus, he is more sensitive and alert to his actions
his time is managed through prayer.
COMPILED, EDITED & ADAPTED BY KHALID LATIF,
" : . ".
Ab Hurayrah related
that the Prophet said:
Whoever says, "O Allh send prayers on Muhammad and the Family of Muhammad.
And Bless Muhammad and the Family of Muhammad just as You sent prayers upon and blessed Ibrhm and the Family of Ibrhm and
bless Muhammad and the Family of Muhammad just as You have blessed Ibrhm and the Family of Ibrhm," it will bear witness for
him on the Day of Judgment and will intercede for him.
[Al-Bukhr narrated it.]