The Fourth of eight Discourses on ‘Amal,
17th November 2007,
Nizamia Mosque, Tokai, Cape Town, South Africa
We will continue to deepen our knowledge of the science and practice of Futuwwa. This, in action, is the high Suluk of the Men of Allah. Abu’l Husayn al-Kalabadhi instructed his Murids thus: “Do not be concerned with your subsistence, it is guaranteed for you. But rather be concerned with the work that has been assigned to you.” By that he meant what had been assigned to you in the Destiny of Allah, for you to perform in your life-time these good actions.
Dhul-Nun al-Misri instructed his Murids thus: “The one who looks into the imperfections of others is prevented from seeing his own imperfections. The one who keeps sight of his own faults no longer sees the faults of others.” Futuwwa is to leave the path of accusations and head for the paths of forgiveness. A quarrel rose up between the ‘Alim Ibn as-Sammak and some of his friends. During the argument, one of his friends said, “Let us meet tomorrow and continue this fight.” Ibn as-Sammak replied, “No. Let us meet tomorrow in mutual pardon.” The Murids of Ibn Junayd asked that he should not reply to the people who attended their sessions only to challenge Sufism and start polemics. Imam Junayd explained, “I see them differently from you. My hope is that they may grasp by chance a single word, that they may understand and that it might save them.”
Imam Junayd told his followers, “I sat during ten years in the presence of masters who talked of the science of Tasawwuf without my understanding a word of their discourse. I knew they were speaking the truth, and that it was different from what I had always understood. Years later, they came to the door of my house and said to me, ‘Junayd, such and such has happened, and we need you to give us your advice.’”
I once told the Imam of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, rahimahullah, Imam Ibn ‘Abdalwahhab, “The most I have learned, I learned sitting in the company of our Shaykh, although I understood only one out of ten things he was saying.” The Imam was very pleased with me and said, “You are the one who succeeded. In due course it will come out from you.”
Sari as-Saqati taught his Murids, “Leave five things: leave all that is perishing, men, passions, will to power, and seeking honours. Hold to five things: the blessings of the Jannah, that the world is worthless, sincerity which imposes fear of Allah, keeping company with the Awliya, and what is pleasing to Allah from which the ignorant turn away.”
In the Musnad of Ibn Hanbal we find that the Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “One of the characteristics of the Muslim is that he does not busy himself with what does not concern him.” Ma‘ruf al-Karkhi, one of Imam Junayd’s masters, said, “The fact that a Mumin uses his time in being occupied with what does not concern him, is a sign for him of Divine anger.” Imam Junayd was asked, “What is the definition of the Sufi?” We take up our Qur’ans – and for Imam Junayd’s reply we go to the first half of Ayat 23 in Surat al-Ahzab (33:23):
Among the Muminun there are men who have been true to the contract they made with Allah.
It has to be stressed that the greater mass of people today are less than whole human beings. Humanism, the worship of the species, has not produced humans, it has produced subhumans. In exalting and looking up to ‘man’, they have placed themselves below man. Humanism has made both living men and the corpses of men identical. The masses of troops in World War I on both sides are identical. One mass of men charge out of the trenches, another mass of men mow them down. Half a million men in a day dead, and not an inch of territory gained. Germans in World War II rounding up and massacring millions of jews – but also, millions of jews submitting and letting themselves be slaughtered. In Russia, under the new regime of the Humanists – Communism – millions are herded into the Gulags and the Russian citizens obediently murder them. Not until Solzhenitsyn did one human voice speak up and expose the genocide.
The arrival of the Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, meant a new dispensation for the whole of mankind. It offered a new code of conduct to the human creatures. On his part comes his dispensation to the Muminun in Surat at-Tawba (9:128-129):
A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves.
Your suffering is distressing to him; he is deeply concerned for you;
he is gentle and merciful to the muminun.
But if they turn away, say, “Allah is enough for me. There is no god but Him.
I have put my trust in Him.
He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.”
On our part, comes our contract with him. Look at Surat Al ‘Imran (3:31-32). This is our contract that we have with him, but it is preceded by Allah ordering Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
Say, “If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you for your wrong actions.
Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” Then if they turn away, Allah does not love the kafirun.
So, in the first Ayat, Allah commands the Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In his received command is embedded OUR received command.
Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.”
Then if they turn away, Allah does not love the kafirun.
So from this Divine and also Prophetic Contract, comes an open definition of the new dispensation.
It is reported from Anas ibn Malik and recorded in Imam Muslim that the Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “None of you is a Mumin until I am dearer to him than his children, his father and the whole of mankind.” This is a completely new order, a completely new situation. Anas further told us that he also said, “None of you is a Mumin until one wants for one’s brother what one wants for oneself.” The Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is telling us what this new situation is. This second Hadith is the licence for Da’wa. If you have got the Deen of Islam, you want it for your brother. To this Abu Hurayra adds a further evidence. “Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should treat his neighbour with kindness. He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.’” Now Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is laying down fundamental elements of the new order.
Here is the fourfold plan for a new social ethos, grounded in ‘Ibada for Allah and love of the Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. We have been given these four orders: You are not Mumin until you love Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, more than your family and the whole of mankind. You are not Mumin until you want for your brothers what you want for yourself. If you believe in Allah and the Last Day you will treat your neighbour with kindness, and if you believe in Allah and the Last Day you will show hospitality to the guest.
I saw in our community in Spain that while they were inviting each other to their houses, the community was strong. The day they stopped inviting each other into their houses, conflict began among the houses. We go back to our Imam’s definition of the Sufi from Surat al-Ahzab (33:23):
Among the Muminun there are men who have been true to the contract they made with Allah.
Now we know what the contract is. It is this foundation which marks out the elite of the human species – the Rijalallah, the Fuqara and the Faqirat. Allah openly explains about them in Surat an-Nur (24:36-38):
In houses which Allah has permitted to be built and in which His name is remembered,
there are men who proclaim His glory morning and evening,
not distracted by trade or commerce from the remembrance of Allah
and the establishment of Salat and the payment of Zakat;
fearing a day when all hearts and eyes will be in turmoil –
so that Allah can reward them for the best of what they did
and give them more from His unbounded favour.
Allah provides for anyone He wills without reckoning.
So the corollary of this is inevitable, given that this is the new dispensation given to mankind. From the human, live or a corpse, having been utterly worthless, utterly dispensable in the kafir world order, the human being has become an exalted creature with a Divine contract. We go to Surat al-Baqara (2:30):
When your Lord said to the angels, “I am putting a Khalif on the earth,”
they said, “Why put on it one who will cause corruption on it
and shed blood when we glorify You with praise and proclaim Your purity?”
He said, “I know what you do not know.”
This raising up of the human being to be Khalif/Representative of Allah, subhanahu wa ta‘ala, means that the human being has meaning, has function. What is that function? We go to Surat adh-Dhariyat (51:56):
I only created jinn and man to worship Me.
Thus we can say that the human body is a kind of sacred vessel, filled with this Ruhani investiture. It means that the human is a protected creature. He cannot be destroyed except under the strictest rules – which we call ‘Shari‘at’ – granting a right to kill in punishment and in Jihad fisabilillah. This especially sets suicide as the most terrible wrong action, as it is a betrayal of the Divine Contract. The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, told us, on the authority of Abu Hurayra in Imam Muslim’s Collection:
He who killed himself with a weapon will exist forever in the Fire of Jahannam. He will have that weapon and be thrusting it into his stomach forever. He who drank poison and killed himself will be taking it in the Fire of Jahannam where he is doomed to remain forever. He who killed himself by flinging himself from the top of a mountain will be perpetually plunging downwards in the Fire of Jahannam, forever.
In another recension, Thabit bin Dahaq reported his saying, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
‘He who killed himself with a thing will be tormented on the Day of Rising with that very thing.’
The reference to these three sorts of suicide, in Arabic usage, also indicates that it is a general rule and therefore has no exception. It follows from this that a man who places such an instrument of suicide into a young man’s hand is by that action guilty of two crimes: the murder of the one intending suicide, and also the deliberate incitement of a Muslim to send himself to Hell.
It must follow from this that the new awakening of mankind – which is the Message of Islam and the obedience and love of its Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – is dependent on an end to the epoch of despair in the Mercy of Allah, currently functioning in the demented and ignorant Arab world.
The rebirth of Futuwwa in our time is incumbent on us. Firstly, challenging our ignorant brothers to set aside the false doctrines from the Age of Darkness of the Arab Nation. Thus our point of departure is in Surat al-A’raf (7:198-199):
If you call them to guidance, they do not hear.
You see them looking at you, yet they do not see.
Make allowances for people, command what is right,
and turn away from the ignorant.
Futuwwa demands that we do not distance ourselves from our brothers because of their errors. They must be approached, welcomed, and brought back by good counsel. The Wahhabis are our brothers. Their Bida’ is not Shirk. The Taliban are our brothers. Their errors are not Shirk. We must not let the kuffar divide us. Our concern for them comes from the obligation placed on us by our beloved Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, to join with them in unity, made sincere by good counsel, for the Deen is nothing but good counsel.