By Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
One day, the Prophet (s) called Bilāl shortly before midnight and ordered him to make the call for prayer, adhan, but not to pray, but for everyone to come to him: “Quickly, for I cannot delay giving this message to my Companions." Bilāl was very frightened and wondered why the Prophet (s) was calling everybody at such an hour. Was Judgment Day coming? The Prophet (s) was shivering. Bilāl went to the mosque and called adhan, and all the Companions ran to the mosque and waited for the Prophet (s).
When the Prophet (s) came, they did not receive him in the same manner that we receive Mawlānā when he arrives at the mosque. We run to him, unfortunately, like horses! We have to give respect. When Mawlānā enters, rather than crowding him rudely, you should be disciplined, stand in line at a distance in order to show respect to your Shaykh. Instead, we run in chaos like sheep or chicken. You have to kiss his hand, but do not run and make a crowd and block the way. Even when Mawlānā Shaykh Nāzim wants to go to the car he is unable to enter the car unhindered. Why don’t you simply stand and give respect?
One day Sayyidinā 'Abdul-Qādir Gilānī was walking with his followers in an alley of Baghdad and they saw someone coming from the other end of the alley. His disciples were moving with him in accordance with good manners, adab: all of them behind – no one moving beside him. Here, everyone is trying to move beside the Shaykh and pray beside the Shaykh! What is your rank to pray beside him? Stand behind in order to keep respect, not beside – except if there is no room in the mosque. Sayyidinā 'Abdul Qādir’s disciples did not crowd each other by walking abreast in the same row, as we do today, but they moved behind one another with the Shaykh alone in the front. You cannot be in his level! Teach yourself this discipline, adab, and this respect.
A priest came from the other end of the alley, and immediately 'Abdul Qādir gave way, and all the disciples gave way. No one said: “This is a priest." They all give him way. When the priest saw that respect in the Shaykh, and he saw that all the murids were following that discipline and respect, adab, he bowed to Sayyidinā 'Abdul Qādir Gilānī from the head. The latter immediately bowed from the waist. When he saw this, the priest said: “Ashhadu an la ilāha illa-Allāh wa ashhadu anna Muhammadur-Rasūlullah." Priests know the truth and that incident brought it out from this priest. “O our Shaykh,” said the disciples, “what happened? How did you give so much respect to that priest?” He said: “I gave respect because I am looking at the light which God has given to his heart, and I am giving respect to those two angels that are standing on his right and on his left." It is this respect that made that light jump out and made the priest say shahādah. Giving respect is most important.
When the Prophet (s) finally came to the mosque, all the Companions (ra) were in line and were bowing. The Prophet (s) passed unhindered until he reached his place. When he reached it, he was shivering as he said:
“God has sent the angel Gabriel¡ to me to tell me: 'Ya Rasūlullāh! Call your Companions and give them that message.' It is the most difficult message that the angel Gabriel¡ gave to me in my life. I am very frightened of this message, and that is why I called you quickly to tell you what must do, and tell you to listen and obey to this message."
The Companions (ra) were anxious in their hearts to know if a big battle against aggressors lay ahead, or something coming as new revelation from heaven.
The Prophet (s) said: “God has informed me tonight that He has ordered all His angels in the seven heavens, and swore an oath on Himself, and ordered me and all prophets that have passed away, to curse and send hardships on the one who is not going to obey this message." Everyone was afraid: "what could earn such a curse from God, angels and prophets?" He continued:
“If anyone makes another mention of any bad event or happening that took place two hours earlier in their life, they are going to be cursed."
This means that if something has gone wrong and confusion resulted from it, or someone has spoken harshly to someone else, and you bring back that event into your conversation more than two hours later, you are going to incur that curse from God, the Prophet (s), the angels, and all prophets.
You have to be concealers of your brothers’ and sisters ‘faults as God is the Concealer of the sins of human beings. You must not show up their mistakes for you yourself are in the midst of mistakes. If you do not show their mistakes, God will never show your mistake. This is the meaning of Sattār, the Concealer. Hide their mistakes; don’t speak ill of your brothers and sisters, and God will hide your mistakes. For everyone has mistakes they are hiding in their heart. If you take such care to hide your own mistakes, why do you bring out the mistakes of the others? Hide others’ mistakes, and God has sworn on His Honor and Greatness that He is going to curse anyone that is not going to hide the mistakes of his brothers and sisters, or hide whatever bad events have passed concerning them.
And from God is all success.
Wa mina-llāhit-tawfīq bi hurmatì‘l-Fātihah.