Brotherhood

Moussem 1991

By Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi

A’udhu billahi min-ash-shaytan ir-rajim

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim

I want to say a few words on the subject of brotherhood. Nowadays the Muslims, wherever they meet, say, “We must have unity.” Among the modernists something has been introduced and they say to each other, “Oh brother!” – ‘Ya akhi!’ This sounds right but it is not right. Why? It is not Sunna. Sunna of Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is very, very fine on this matter. He had two forms of address: either to raise people up or because he respected them he would address them formally by their family name, then if he was fond of the person he would follow the practice of the Arabs which is that he would call him by the name of their son. So he had two standards: one was close, one was far. The first one was that if he respected someone or he wanted to give them self-respect he raised them up and called them by their formal name, their father’s name – ‘Ibn so-and-so’, and the one who was close to him – ‘Father of so-and-so.’ In both these cases he was recognising in them whatever place or station they had. Everything that is Sunna has wisdom.

Of course, we know that we are brothers from the Qur’an and from Sunna, but the usage of ‘akhi’ among the Muslims was for a special moment, and when it was used it was usually used in the plural to address a group. When these modern people say, “Akhi”, what they are really saying first of all is, “We are all the same.” It is democracy and they end up doing this with Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, astaghfirullah. They end up saying, “He was only a statesman, only a general.” They reduce him, and this is against the expression of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala: “We have made you on a great character” – khalqil-‘adhim. It is the opposite. We could say that lack of proper adab to Rasul leads to wrong adab between the Muslims. You do not become brothers by saying, “Akhi.” You do not have unity by saying, “We must have unity.” You become brothers by mutual respect and acceptance because a family survives because they accept each other, and they forgive each other. What connects Muslims is higher than what connects family. Tolerance and forgiveness among them is higher.

The breaking up of the Muslims into the seventy three sects is really because of lack of respect and lack of acceptance. The root of the sickness of dissatisfaction with the other group is that at the heart of it they say, “I am right, and I only like people who say what I say.” But the Deen of Islam is not based on what this one says or what that one says, the Deen is your individual transaction with Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, with the Maliki Yawmid-Deen. You have to pay your bill with Allah. The Yawmid-Deen is not for saying which Islamic ideology was correct, it is to say what you have to account to Allah.

The biggest social gathering of the Muslims is the Hajj. All the rules of the Hajj are individual rules – you have to accomplish these things yourself. The core of the phenomenon of Islam is a personal accounting. It is the man standing before Allah which is the heart of the matter. The message that Allah sent through Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is for a man to receive, because when he gets the message in the Makkan surats, Allah speaks to the individual. When he gets the Madinan surats, he speaks to the group, so that what happens with the group is based on what happens with the man. We all know the wonderful story of how Sayyiduna ‘Umar, radiyallahu ‘anhu, became Muslim. If there was not this earthquake in ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab there would be no map showing the Muslims’ expansion! The realities are in the hearts of the men because the ‘amal is from the niyyat – so the niyyat is in the heart. Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “There is a piece of flesh in the body of a man and if you can guarantee it, this man is safe from Allah.” The heart is the spring from which the actions come because Allah has indicated that the Janna is for these people who have this account. One cannot make an Islamic movement because it is like starting on the outside and not on the inside. The man must say, “This is my task.”

The man then has to move to the outward, he has to be social. Then he has to behave correctly. There are two ways a man can look at existence: one is that he will say that the fault is out there, and the other is to say, “The fault is in me.” If I put myself right that is the most I can do. Allah has created human beings to learn in only one way which is imitation. This is the only learning which belongs to the highest species – from the monkeys up! It is part of our animal nature, yet the imitation of man has a spiritual dimension. If I tell you to do it, one thing will happen, but that is information. If I do it and you see it, and you understand it, then you will do it this way. This is called learning. This is what was Sunna. Rasul did it, and because the Sahaba understood it they passed it on – they did not record it in books, they recorded it by ‘amal. So I do not have to say, “Akhi” because my action has proved I am your akhi.

The poets say that when love is declared it is over, lost. This is the central secret of the whole transaction of Islam. This is the thing that from the first days to the very end, Rasul continued to talk about all through his nabawi. The Muslims are like two hands washing. If the bedouin Muslim gets a thorn in foot in the desert, the one in the city feels the pain. “Do not tell me things against you, I want to come out with a good opinion of you.” All the time, Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was raising up the Sahaba to be the best of creation. Al-Deen mu’amala.

To make brotherhood only you have to be right. Sidi ‘Ali al-Jamal of Fes said, “A man of knowledge can make a whole city, but a whole city cannot make one man of knowledge.” There is no Ministry of Education, education is transmission and man is like a camera: if you put in front of him the object when he clicks, because the light is on the object, that image gets imprinted on him.

Adab is not taught by the tongue. Adab is taught by imitation. What is the great adab? Salat – adab to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. How do we make Salat? Fourteen hundred years later, because he saw him, who saw him, who saw him, for fourteen hundred years, we know how to make Salat. Not one man to one man, but Madina al-Munawarra. That is why Imam Malik, radiyallahu ‘anhu, said, “Do not tell me so-and-so had it from so-and-so, who had it from so-and-so, or we will lose the Deen. In this place the men who took it from Rasul have passed it on.” This is called the ‘amal of the Ahl al-Madina. This is the basis of the teaching of Islam, it is not a matter of madhhab it is Deen al-Islam. That is why Ibn Taymiyya, who was not connected to Imam Malik that way, said, “Without the ‘amal of the Ahl al-Madina you cannot have Islam.”

Even to teach the child all of the Qur’an is not enough. Why? ‘Aisha, radiyallahu ‘anha, was asked about Rasul, “What was he like?” She said, “He was like the Qur’an walking.” This is what we call ‘Kitab wa Sunna’, and this is what has to be transmitted. This is not taught by the school teacher, it is not information, it is behaviour, ‘amal. If you make ‘amal to show off what is correct, then you will lose the respect of men. To demonstrate this with a light story: the imam of the mosque in London once called me over and said, “Shaykh Abdalqadir, I want to show you how we are all brothers.” There was a very big man with a tarboosh, no beard, and he said, “To show that we are brothers I am letting you shake hands with this great man. This is the mufti of Belgrade.” The mufti of Belgrade, without his beard, looked at the imam and said, “The grand mufti of Belgrade!” So he had gone further up and I had gone further down!

The opposite of this: sent some people to meet a shaykh of tasawwuf in the Atlas mountains and they stayed with him three days, and they said, “He is not a shaykh.” I said, “Why?” They said, “No, no. We know he was not a shaykh.” “What happened when you got there?” I said. They said, “Well, when we got there he went and drew the water for the lavatory, then when we came out he brought us dates and milk. Then he had his children take all our clothes and wash them.” I said, “Then what happened?” They said, “Then he took us to the hammam to get a wash, then he fed us.” “Then what happened?” I asked, and they said, “That was all, for three days.” I said, “When you left, what happened?” They said, “He gave us this bag of dates for you, these olives, he gave us all a burnoose and three hundred dollars, and said, ‘As-salaamu ‘alaykum’.” I said, “If that is not a shaykh I do not know what a shaykh is!” All service. What is this? – A tiny little bit of how Rasulullah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was from the first day of his life. This is not especially the business of the shuyukh it is the business of every Muslim, and whoever does this is shaykh, leader, statesman, political party and he is the one who has victory, because the one who serves – all creation serves him. This is the politics of Islam.

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~ by The Murabit Blog on 12/02/2009.

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