Secrets from the Mystical Letters of Holy Qur’an

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

9 May 2012    Jakarta, Indonesia

Suhbah at Masjid al-Bina

Salaam `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh. Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, thumma alhamdulillah. All praise be to Allah, Who has honored us with Sayyidina Muhammad (s), and all praise be to Allah, Who has honored us with

إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ

Inna ad-deena `inda Allaahi al-islaam,

The religion in Allah’s view is Islam (submission to His Will). (3:19)

And alhamdulillah that Allah has made us believers, Muslims, monotheists, and we say in every moment, “laa ilaaha illa ’Llah Muhammadan Rasoolullah!” Alhamdulillah that He has gathered His Secrets in the hearts of His Prophets and, in particular, in the heart of Sayyidina Muhammad (s). Glory be to Allah (swt), that He made us Muslim and mu’min and muwahidoon, monotheists, and to say, laa ilaaha illa ’Llah Muhammadan Rasoolullah.” He has made His Secrets in the hearts of His Prophets and especially in the heart of Sayyidina Muhammad (s).

Mashaa-Allah, there are many young ones here and many older ones, so if I speak from a spiritual point of view, many of you may not be able to understand, and if I speak from a physical point of view, many of you will get bored, so it is better to keep silent and listen to qasidah!

Allah (swt) made in everything a secret. Laa shareeka lahu fee `ilmi, Allah has no partner in His Knowledge, no way! And Allah (swt) says to us, “My Knowledge is different; it is a Hidden Treasure that I give you slowly from it.” Do you want to know many secrets of Holy Qur'an? [Yes!] Then if we want to know secrets of Holy Qur'an, can we keep them or might we lose them one day? If we can keep it as we keep jewels, then no problem. There are a lot of secrets in the Holy Qur'an, so much that there is no beginning and no end, but the problem is how we can keep these secrets if Allah gives them to us? What do we have to do? If we want to muhafazha `alayha, preserve it and not to lose it, we must listen to what Allah is saying to us in Holy Qur'an.

Allah (swt) said one ayah upon which the whole Islam, the whole imaan, all religions, all of what Sayyidina Musa (a) came with, all that Sayyidina `Isa (a) came with, is built on this one verse of Holy Qur'an! Sayyidina `Ali (r) explained that to the Sahaabah (r), saying, “The entire Holy Qur'an from beginning to end and entire hadith of the Prophet (s) from beginning to end are built on only one principle.” The Sahaabah (r) said, “Yaa `Ali (r), what is that?” He said, “Everything is built on makhaafatullah, fear of Allah (swt), to fear His Punishment and losing His Love to you. If you can keep that, then you are safe.”

Sayyidina Abu Yazid al-Bistami (q) used to say, "I respect the young ones because they have fewer sins, and I respect the old ones because they did a lot of worship.” So he was respecting the young and the elders. He respected those older than him because they did more `ibaadah and those younger he respected as they committed less sins. Young ones don't have too many sins, so you have to respect them more than you respect yourself. Don't think that you are so great, inflated like a peacock! No, with one pin (the huge balloon of your ego) will be deflated and become nothing! Young ones have few sins and older ones have more sins. Elderly ones, like Shaykh Mustafa, who is older than me--say I am 22 and he is 32, so older by 10 years--he made more `ibaadah than me, so I have to tell my ego he is better than me. Also I have to tell my ego that they are young ones, so they are better than me. I am the worst.

So Sayyidina `Ali (r) said you have to have makhaafatullah, which is taqwa. Raasu 'l-hikmati makhaafatullah, the head of wisdom, which everyone must have to think; the head of that is makhaafatullah, then that (thinking) will take him on the right track.

Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur'an about the whole of `ibaadah is in one verse, Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem:

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Ati`oollaaha wa ati`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:59)

Obedience: either you obey or you don't obey, and that is the difference. Like if a train goes off the track it falls down, so either you are on the track of obeying Allah (swt) or you leave the track and at that moment you are listening to Shaytan. If we obey, then always we are from the group of awliyaullah. If we don't obey, then we have to struggle to obey, because we say, “laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadan Rasoolullah,” and Prophet (s) said, man qaala laa ilaaha illa-Llah dakhal al-jannah, “Whoever says ‘laa ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadan Rasoolullah’ will enter Paradise.” So for sure we will enter Paradise, but if we want to be with the Prophet (s) on Judgment Day then we have to obey Allah (swt) and obey the Prophet (s), but you need a guide.

Allah (swt) said, “Ati`oollaaha wa ati`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum,” He didn't say “wa `ati wa ooli 'l, He said, “wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.” He didn't say there is one “ooli ‘l-amr, but He said “oolu ‘l-amr” in plural. There are many ooli ‘l-amr  that can take decisions, so take one and follow that one. Don't say the oolu ‘l-amr have to sit at home not doing anything! They are ordered to go among the people if they take that line of da`wah, then they are responsible to guide people to the right way. That is why Allah (swt) said in plural “oolu ‘l-amr, He didn't say “wa ooli 'l-amr” in singular, but rather “oolu ‘l-amr, there are too many.”

Imam Malik (r) had 600 teachers of tasawwuf and 300 in Shari`ah. He took from all of these oolu ‘l-amr, but his Shaykh is one; he is not following all of them. There are many: one ooli ‘l-amr in hadith, one ooli ‘l-amr in talaaq, one ooli ‘l-amr in inheritance, one ooli ‘l-amr in guidance, one ooli ‘l-amr in ihsaan, tasawwuf, and in one ooli ‘l-amr in ittiba`Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah. And so He gave you a big range of those who are oolu ‘l-amr and who you have to follow. And it is a big mistake today that governors or presidents do not  have oolu ‘l-amr to guide them on the rights of Muslims in Muslim countries; they cannot dictate their own secular mentality and not know anything from the Islamic perspective! And also, they must have different guides, not just one, as it is an obligation of those in charge of the affairs of Muslims to have many advisors guiding them in all the different matters relevant to governing Muslims. If they don’t, they are not going to be good governors or politicians; they must be sincere oolu ‘l-amr, not just there to fill their pockets with money!

When they asked Sayyidina Imam Malik (r) to make a fatwa, although he was a mufti he refused because he was afraid to make a mistake! However, today there are too many muftis issuing fatwas with many mistakes. That is why in the Holy Qur'an “oolu ‘l-amr” indicates “many,” and so each one has his specialty. You need a mufti in inheritance, another one in banking issues, economics, fiqh, salaat, siyaam, and in every smallest detail you need to consult the experts or else you are not obeying Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s) as it should be. If we are going to be awliyaullah, we must follow those guides who can take us on the right train track to ensure we are not following those who take us on wrong directions.

And that is why it is very important to know the difference between jewels and pebbles, as Imam Busayri (r) said in al-Burdah ash-Shareef:

Muhammadun basharun wa laysa ka 'l-bashari bal huwa yaaqootatun wan-naasu ka ‘l-hajari.

Muhammad is a man, but not like other men; Muhammad is a gem and human beings are stones.

The Prophet, Sayyidina Muhammad (s), is a human being but not a human being; in comparison to people he is a jewel among rocks! Here comes a meaning: how does the Prophet (s) look? Basharun laysa ka 'l-bashari, “human but not a human.” When a wali in Maqaam al-Wilayah looks at the Prophet (s) spiritually, do you think he sees him as a normal person with a face? Of course he has a face, but there is no description; you cannot describe his `azhamah, his greatness, his beauty, like when you say a work of Picasso is magnificent and cannot further describe it.

That is a dunya issue, so what about the Prophet’s description? If you make one salawaat on him, Allah creates an angel whose one leg is in the Mashriq, the East, and the other in Maghrib, the West, and his head is under the `Arsh and he is making salawaat on your behalf up to the Day of Judgment! What about when you make two, three or a hundred salawaat; if that is a description of one angel that Allah creates from one Salaat `alaa ‘n-Nabee (s), then what about the reality of the Prophet (s)? Can it not also be under the Throne or even on the Throne? Allah (swt) has given him generosity and what no one else was given, and that is why He called Prophet “YaaSeen.”

يس وَالْقُرْآنِ الْحَكِيمِ إِنَّكَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِي

Yaseen wa‘l qur’an al-hakeem. Innaka la-min al-mursaleen.

Yaseen. By the wise Qur'an. Verily, you are indeed one of Allah’s Messengers. 

(Surah Yaseen, 36:1-2)

It means, “You are right. You are a Messenger.” Allah (swt) called him “YaaSeen.” Also, the Prophet (s) said, YaaSeen qalb al-qur’an, YaaSeen is the heart of the Holy Qur’an.” Allah (swt) gave his awliyaullah abbreviated mystical letters in the Holy Qur’an, the meanings of which we Arabs have never discovered! Only Allah (swt) knows their meanings, and on the Day of Judgment He will inspire the Prophet (s) to make du`a with these to save the ummah, because their secrets will be opened!

Let us take the letters “YaaSeen.” `Ulama have described their many meanings, but Mawlana Shaykh just inspired this to my heart, and Allah (swt) knows best. We often pronounce it as “YaSeen,” (without elongating the “ya”). It is two letters and you write, “Yaa Seen,” because madd is above the letter “ya” that elongates or stretches the pronunciation, so there is “yaand above it is madd, then it becomes “yaa harf nidaa,” a calling pronoun. For example, Allah said: Yaa ayyuhalladheena aamanoo, “O you who believe!” where Yaa is also harf nidaa. So Allah (swt) is calling on the letter seen, “Yaa Seen!” Like if I say for example, “Yaa Berni! Yaa Gibril! Yaa Ibraheem!” as that is how we call in Arabic, and you answer, “Yes, what do you want?” Allah (swt) is calling the Prophet (s) by, “Yaa Seen!” 

What then is “seen? We know what “seen is, and a basic explanation is that “YaaSeen” refers to Sayyidina Muhammad (s), but when you read it as a calling pronoun, “Yaa Seen!” it means “as-Saabiq,” as in as-saabiqu li ‘l-khalqi noorun, “Yaa Saabiq! O that One whose Light is before Creation! I created you, Yaa Muhammad, before I created anyone!” He was present before knowledge of anything. That is why the Prophet (s) said, “I know the `Ilm al-awwaleen wa `ilm al-akhireen, the Knowledge of Before and the Knowledge of After.”

There are also many tafseer written on the combination of letters, that precede 14 suras, like “Alif. Laam. Meem.” Now one tafseer is coming from Mawlana Shaykh, to show us that when you try to enter that ocean, you will dive in it and never come out as it is endless.

Alif. Laam. Meem. Alif is for Allah, “Laamis for Lahu, “belonging to Him, owned by Him,” and “Meem” represents Muhammad. So Alif. Laam. Meem. means Muhammad is for Allah.” Allah Habeeb Muhammad and Muhammad Habeebullah. Alif. Laam. Meem.

“Kaaf. Haa. Yaa. `Ayn. Saad.” are the initial letters of Surat Maryam. “Kaaf is with madd, so it is elongated as “Kaaaaaaf” and it means that there is no end. “Haa. Yaa. `Ayn. no end, then “Saad no end (also with madd). Kaaf is linked to:

كنت كنزا مخفياً فأحببت أن أعرف فخلقت الخلق

Kuntu kanzan makhfiyan fa ahbabtuhu an u`rafa fa khalaqtu ‘l-khalq.

I was a Hidden Treasure (and) I wanted to be known, so I created Creation. (Hadith Qudsi)

Kanz means “a treasure” and that treasure is in Kun fayakoon, “‘Be!’ and it will be.” So Kaaf is Kun, “Be!” Haa is huwa, “He.” Yaa is the calling pronoun again and the `ayn is for Muhammad because `Aynis `Alim, and Prophet (s) has `Ilm al-awwaleen wa ‘l-akhireen. Therefore, it is saying, “You! The Unknown One who was Unknown before (the order), ‘Be!’” Together with the other letters it is, Kun Huwa Yaa Muhammad! Haa, Yaa. It can also be Kun Huwa Yaa Seen! “Yaa Seen.” Saabiqun li ‘l-khalqi noorun. Finally, the Saad is for Muhammad, who is as-Saadiq al-Masdooq, the One Trusted with all that Treasure, entrusted with all the jewels in that! So it becomes, “O whose Light was before Creation! Take this knowledge as you are the Trustworthy One, worthy of it!”

May Allah (swt) always teach us these meanings and keep us under the banner of the Prophet (s) and all Muslims around the world. Too much is hidden in the letter kaaf; it is full of treasures!

Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.

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