The Role of the Shaykh
Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
Why are some called believers? Because they believed in the unseen. When the Prophet (s) came he said: Believe in God, and so did Jesus ¡ and Moses ¡ when they came. Belief, therefore, is in the unseen. When it is seen, at that time it is not a belief but an evidence.
At that time you accept because you saw something, and this is not accepted.
Whatever your Shaykh says, do not say “muhaqqaq” or “true!” with your tongue. Your heart has to accept. The way is to try to accept what he is telling you without using your mind. Keep faith in what he is telling you.
If your heart does not accept, then you are not going to benefit anything. We have to show our Shaykh, who knows how we sleep even as we sleep, that we truly believe in him. Do you think that our Shaykh is someone like us? Hasha! (God forbid), Once, Grandshaykh said: “If an ant is moving on top of a smooth rock in the West and I am in the East, I can hear her footsteps in my ear as I hear the crack of thunder." And he said: “We – the Shaykhs of the Naqshbandī order – can hear and feel the movements of our murids, no matter what they are doing, as loud as if we heard thunder!” And he said: “Keep respect when you are sleeping in bed with your wife, because we are hearing and seeing everything.”
We are all under the same Shaykh, and that Shaykh is presently holding all power of this Way in his hand before the Last Days. If you do not know this, we know this. All the power that has been given to Naqshbandi saints from the Prophet (s) has now been pulled out of their hands and placed in Mawlānā Shaykh Nāzim’s hands. Other saints cannot proceed except by way of miraculous power, and the Prophet (s) is no longer accepting to show any miraculous power in the present day. As he has foretold in hadīth, corruption and oppression are exprected to finally govern this world. If you use miraculous power, you will take away that corruption; but that corruption has to reach its ultimate. That is the reason Mawlānā Shaykh Nāzim is patient and more patient. When you see him in reality, at that time all of us are going to melt as salt melts in water. Keep then respect to your Shaykh in your heart.
You are under your Shaykh’s supervision for twenty-four hours. You can never move out of his sight. He is looking at you. He is looking at you when you are moving here and there. Yet this is nothing: he can hear the secrets that come into your heart and the secrets that you keep in the recess of your heart as if it were thunder. Leave this also: in every person’s heart there are five levels. The first level is Maqamul Qalb, the Station of the Heart. Satan can enter through that level and understand what you are doing: that is why you sometimes have bad thoughts. You are distracted in prayer, you cheat at work or feel suspicion...
There is a higher level: the Station of Secrets (Maqam as-Sirr). They now have the distinction between the conscious and the subconscious. The second is that place in your inner mind where you bury things. It is a scientific expression for the second level in the heart: it knows information, and God has given every human being a secret. We are created and honored by our Lord Who has created us from His light and the light of the Prophet (s) and the light of Adam ¡.
Human beings are honored beings. They are created on perfection. God said, “I have honored human beings” (Al-Isra’ 70). With what kind of honor? Perfection in creation. In many ahadīth, the Prophet (s) speaks of his Lord in terms of a human being: “I saw my Lord coming to me smiling." It does not mean that He is a human being, nor that He is in any way like human beings - rather it is an indication of the perfection that human beings have been created to attain.
No one can know with what secrets He has endowed the light that He has put into your heart. That is what the teachings of the Naqshbandī order wants to bring out. Divine Law (Sharī‘ah) teaches you the rudiments of how to fight Satan and throw him out of your heart. The Path (Tarīqah) keeps Divine Law and goes to a higher level – to extract the secret which God has given to your heart. This extraction is the duty of the Shaykh. This cannot be given to you except through seclusion, and the Shaykh can hear and know what is going on at the second level.
The third level is the Secret of the Secret (Maqam Sirr as-Sirr), then come the fourth level, the Hidden (Maqam Khafa) and the fifth level, the Most Hidden (Maqam Akhfa). No one can enter the third level except the masters of the Naqshbandī order. Masters of the forty other orders can enter the second level only. No one but the Prophet (s) can enter the fourth level, and the fifth level is known to God alone, Who alone knows how He has honored that human being.
You can see how human beings are honored beings. There is no discrimination in God’s sight at that level: there is no Muslim; there is no Christian; there is no Jew; there is no Buddhist; there is no Hindu. There is only:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
Wa maa arsalnaaka illa rahmatan lil-'Aalameen
“We have sent you as a mercy for all human beings” (al-Anbiya’ 107).
There is no differentiation at that level. Discrimination is from us. It is we who say: “They are Jews”; “They are Christians”; Christians say: “These are Muslims”; “These are Jews." But there are no such things in God’s eyes. There are only human beings – period.
إِن كُلُّ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا آتِي الرَّحْمَنِ عَبْدًا
In kullu man fi 's-samaawaati wa 'l-ardi illa atee ar-rahmani 'abda
There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. (19:93 )
You are not allowed to speak ill of your brothers and sisters, as all of us are sons and daughters of Adam and Eve! You would be interfering in God’s judgment. But you are not the judge: God is the Judge. Don’t interfere, therefore, in God’s ways by giving your opinion. God will not ask for your opinion in the Judgment Day.
If God says, I want to put everyone who has faith and love of Him in Paradise, who can say to Him, “What are You doing?” and if He says, "I want to punish everyone," who can say to Him, “What are You doing?” No one. And do you think that God has created us to punish us? Is He Someone revengeful, Someone who likes revenge or punishment? Someone who created His servants in order to torture them? Do you accept this view? It is impossible. God is merciful, and He is keeping His mercy for His servants. The Prophet (s) said: “The loveliest time in my life is when God calls me by the name of “servant” or “slave” – 'abd ....and He tells me, “Come, O my servant.”
Mawlānā Shaykh Nāzim is teaching us how to be good servants. Why are we not accepting and obeying? We come here and sit hours and hours, day and night, in order to get something. Everything we want to get depends on servanthood. He is teaching us to be servants, not to be – as he said yesterday – mighty. The title Mighty belongs to God. We are servants. Moreover we are, as he also said, weak and helpless servants. We cannot do anything. That is why God has given the Prophet (s) intercession, and the Prophet (s) said:
شفاعتي لأهل الكبائر من أمتي
“My intercession is for the sinners of my nation”
We are weak and cannot be perfect, but we have to teach ourselves to accept what our Shaykh says and to polish our hearts.
Shaykhs do not depend on us. They depend on their power which God has given to the Prophet (s) and which the Prophet (s) has given, to them. That is why God said: “Come to me one step, I will come to you ninety-nine steps." Come to your Shaykh one step, you will find him running towards you ninety-nine steps. When you do not want to come to him one step, how can he come to you? He will not come. You have to show progress on your part.
Grandshaykh’s order for everyone to enter seclusion must be understood in this context. Everyone must teach himself how to polish his heart. We cannot enter seclusion now. All of us are sinners and no one is asking really from his heart to enter into seclusion. For that reason, there are other ways. Mawlānā Shaykh Nāzim is showing us ways in order to pull us towards him fast. Some people ride on donkeys, some people on horses, some people in cars, some people on planes, and some people on rockets. The faster you can go, the faster you can approach.
Grandshaykh said: I shall teach you a way to approach me very quickly. Whenever you are coming and sitting in an association, or you are praying at night, or by day, or you are making dhikr, or reading Qur’ān or hadīth, or doing anything, when you sit, say:
Nawaytu‘l-Arba'īn I intend the Forty Days Nawaytu‘l-‘Itikāf I intend retreat Nawaytu‘l-Khalwah I intend seclusion Nawaytu‘l-'Uzlah I intend isolation Nawaytur-Riyādah I intend devotion Nawaytus-Sulūk I intend discipline Nawaytus-Siyām I intend abstinence Fi hadha‘l-Masjid In this place of worship, li-llāhi Ta'āla for the sake of God the Exalted.
The Prophet (s) used to make a similar intention when he did retreat in the cave before revelation came to him. When all Companions of the Prophet (ra) and all grandmasters entered seclusion, they made this intention. When you make this intention for this meeting of ours, which lasts one hour, this hour will be deducted from the forty day seclusion which is an obligation on everyone of us. Make that intention before sitting at any meeting: it will take you to your Shaykh like a rocket.
How many years have you been sitting with Mawlānā Shaykh Nāzim? If you added up all these years, having made that intention, you will never leave the room except that it be written for you that you have spent two, or three, or five hours in seclusion. This will be deducted from the forty day seclusion. When you finish the forty days in this way, you will find that the light which God has given to you in your heart will be opened. It is that light which is going to open the eyes of the heart. Without this, you will never find the happiness that is now hidden in your heart. You must bring it out, and this is one “hook” to do that. Use it every time you sit with the Shaykh.
And from God is all success.
Wa mina-llāhit-tawfīq bi hurmatì‘l-Fātihah.
 Ahmad, at-Tirmīdhī, Abū Dāwud, at-Tabarānī, Khatīb, al-Bayhaqī, Hākim, as-Suyūtī.