The Role of the Shaykh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is from the teachings of Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.).

Some are called believers because they believed in the unseen.  When the Prophet (s.a.w.) came, he said that he believed in Allah (s.w.t.), and so did Jesus (a.s.) and Moses (a.s.) when they came before him.  Belief, therefore, is in the unseen.  When it is seen, at that time, it is not belief but evidence.  At that time we accept something because we saw is not belief, there is no evidence of faith.

At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said, “I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam).”  (It was Said to him), “Ah now! - But a little while before, wast thou in rebellion! - And thou didst mischief (and violence)!” (Surah Yunus:90-91)

Whenever our shuyukh say something, we must not just accept with the tongue but with the heart as well.  The way to accept this not to use the mind since the intellect is limited in matters of spirituality.  It can only verify what is evident, not what is true.  And even with evidence, it may be overwhelmed with the ego and be astray.  It is a matter of faith.  If the heart does not accept, then there is no benefit for the murid.

A shaykh of a Sufi Order is someone who is verified and accepted.  He has reached a state of perfection and is kashf.  Therefore, it is important to be with a real shaykh, not pretenders with titles.  We have to show our shaykh, who knows how we sleep even as we sleep, that we truly believe in him. Our shuyukh are not like us.  They are the inheritors of the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Once, Shaykh ‘Abdillah ad-Daghistani (q.s.) 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 can hear and feel the movements of our murid no matter what they are doing, as loud as if we heard thunder.”  The murid of a Sufi Order is under the supervision of the shaykh all the time.  He can never move out of the sight of his shaykh.

In every person’s heart there are five levels.  This is the knowledge of Latha’if.  The first level is Maqam al-Qalb, the Station of the Heart.  Shaythan can enter through that level and understand what we are doing.  That is why we sometimes have bad thoughts, why we are distracted in prayer, you cheat at work or feel suspicion and insecurity.

The next level is the Station of Secrets, Maqam as-Sirr.  This is the distinction between the conscious and the subconscious.  It is the place in our inner mind where we bury things.  It is a scientific expression for the second level in the heart; it knows information, and Allah (s.w.t.) has Given every human being a secret.  We are Created and Honoured by our Lord Who has Created us from His Light and the Light of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the light of Adam (a.s.).

Human beings are Honoured beings.  They are Created in perfection.  Allah (s.w.t.) has said in the Qur’an:

We have Honoured the sons of Adam ... (Surah al-Isra’:70)

The Honour is perfection in Creation.  No one knows the secrets He has Endowed the Light He put into our heart.  Shari‘ah teaches the rudiments of how to fight Shaythan and throw him out of the heart.  Thariqa’ keeps the shari‘ah and continues to a higher level to extract the secret which Allah (s.w.t.) has Given to your heart.  This extraction is the duty of the shaykh.  This cannot be given to us 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 comes the fourth level, the Hidden, Maqam al-Khafa’ and the fifth level, the Most Hidden, Maqam al-Akhfa’.  No one may enter the third level except the masters of the thariqa’.  No one but the Prophet (s.a.w.) can enter the fourth level, and the fifth level is Known to Allah (s.w.t.) Alone.  Human beings are honoured beings.  There is no discrimination in Allah’s (s.w.t.) 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 this:

We Sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. (Surah al-Anbiya’:107)

There is no differentiation at that level.  Discrimination is from us.  It is we who label ourselves and each other: Jews, Christians, Muslims, atheist, polytheist, Sunni, Shi’ah, Sufi, Wahhabi, Naqshbandi, Tijani, Qadri and so forth.  But there are no such things in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Sight.  There are only human beings.

Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (Allah) Most Gracious as a servant. (Surah Maryam:93)

We are not allowed to speak ill of our brothers and sisters as all of us are sons and daughters of Adam (a.s.) and Eve (a.s.).  We would be interfering in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Judgment.  But we are not the judge.  Allah (s.w.t.) is the Judge.  We should not interfere, therefore, in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Ways by giving our opinion.  Allah (s.w.t.) will not ask for our opinion on the Day of Judgment.  If Allah (s.w.t.) were to put everyone who has faith and love of Him in Paradise, who can question Him, “What are You Doing?” and if He Wanted to punish everyone, who can gainsay Him?  No one.

He cannot be questioned for His acts, but they will be Questioned (for theirs). (Surah al-Anbiya’:23)

And do we think Allah (s.w.t.) Created us to Punish us?  Is He vengeful?  Do we accept this view?  It is impossible.  Allah (s.w.t.) is Merciful, and He Keeps His Mercy for His servants.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “The loveliest time in my life is when Allah Calls me 'abd ...”  Our shuyukh teach us how to be good servants.  Everything we want to get depends on servanthood.  We are weak.  We cannot do anything.  That is why Allah (s.w.t.) has Given the Prophet (s.a.w.) intercession, and the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “My intercession is for the sinners of my ummah.”  And this hadits has been recorded by Imam Ahmad (r.a.), Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.), Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.), Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), Hafizh al-Khathib (r.a.), Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), Imam Hakim (r.a.) and Imam as-Suyuthi (r.a.).


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