Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
In our time the Naqshbandī order is based on respect. In the spiritual associations of saints with the Prophet (s), are sitting the saints of the Golden Chain which descends without interruption from the Prophet (s) to Mahdī (as), and we are expecting that our Shaykh comes shortly before Mahdī (as). These saints asked our Shaykh: “What is the definition of the Naqshbandī Order now?” He said one word – and everyone must understand the meaning of that word: “respect."
If the Naqshbandī order is based on respect, how can you possibly speak about anyone badly and still claim it as your tarīqah, your Sufi path? Therefore, keep respect for everyone in your heart as you are keeping respect for your Shaykh.
This is the present foundation of this order. You have to keep respect for the young, you have to keep respect for the adult, you have to keep respect for ladies, and you have to keep respect for men. Sayyidinā 'Ubaydullāhi al-Ahrar was walking in a street with his followers one day. A dog was coming, and he backed up to give way to the dog. You must even give respect to animals, and even stones. As the Prophet (s) taught us, if you see something on the path liable to cause harm, you must take it away.
A long time ago, one of the followers of Mawlānā Shaykh kicked a stone out the way of the Shaykh. The latter said, “No! Do not do that! Who is the Creator of that stone, you or God?” The disciple answered, "of course, God." Mawlānā said: “How then do you kick His creation with your foot? Bow down and take it with your hand!” Everything comes into creation from the Ocean of Energy or Power, Bahrul-Qudrah. Everything comes from the Divine Attribute of the Powerful One. From that ocean, God has created that stone also. How could you remove it with your feet? The order to “Take it with your hand” means that respect has to dominate everything.
We are not even keeping respect with our Shaykh. You have to keep respect. If your brothers and sisters run and crowd Mawlānā’s way, at least you must not run. When you go to the post office or to the bank or in any store to get something, how do you behave at the cashier’s counter? Do you rush in front of others, or do you stand in line? Why do you keep more respect in those places than you are willing to keep with your Shaykh? As you keep respect when you go to a job interview, entering the room and trembling inside in front of your potential employer; sometimes, you don’t even sit but keep standing as he asks you questions; but in front of your Shaykh, O...! All kinds of bad behavior come out... Keep respect with your Shaykh and you will reap benefit.
It is against respect, tarku‘l- adab, to speak in the presence of your Shaykh, even to talk with each other, let alone to give lectures. It is against respect even to stand in a careless manner or to turn one’s back in his presence – even if he is talking with someone and not looking at us. We are making too many mistakes in keeping that respect, heedlessly. Yet you see your Shaykh always friendly and merciful with you as a matter of course. That is because he has the conduct and behavior of the Prophet (s), and the Prophet's (s) Sunnah, his Way of conduct and practice, is dressed on Mawlana Shaykh Nazim with all its power. The Sunnah of the Prophet (s) is appearing in this century most fully in the person of Shaykh Nāzim (q).
By opening only slightly the power of this attraction, many people are coming. If he opened completely, all of London would not be enough to contain the visitors who would come and see him. Everyone of us must therefore keep respect, adab, correct manners, when we are in his presence.
If you keep respect properly, God will give you respect. Take your respect from your Lord, not from your ego. Take your title from your Lord, not from your ego. Keeping respect with your Shaykh will merit you a title from God, and He will cause everyone to respect you. Open your ears to this advice and let this enter your heart. Do as much as possible. Do not say: it is another one of these lectures of which we have heard many. Do not say: we are as we are and we cannot change. It is ego that is telling you not to change yourselves.
As you keep respect for your Shaykh, keep respect for his followers also. Respect and love each other, be humble with each other, and do not repeat a story that has passed more than two days ago. And if you want to show your Shaykh good conduct (adab), don’t rush, just as you do not rush when you are in the supermarket, but act calmly, stand in line, instead. I will pray in the last row and perhaps my heart will be present at the side of my Shaykh to a greater extent than one who is praying thoughtlessly next to him, or to his left or directly behind him in the first rows.
Keep your heart present to this advice or you will never find any benefit from the Naqshbandī order. This order is based on respect. Respect everyone and you are going to win everything. If not, you will gain nothing.
And from God is all success.
Wa mina-llāhit-tawfīq bi hurmatì‘l-Fātihah.