This was delivered by Habib Ali al-Jifri and translated by Ustadh Wael Zubi on 11th August 2022/14th Muharram 1444 at the Unity Centre in Birmingham. The event was organised by Ihya Initiative and Deen Central.
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
I intend to study and teach, take and give a reminder, take and give benefit, take and give advantage, to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of his messenger, and calling to guidance and directing towards good hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward, transcendent is He.
Are you tired?
When the heat because of the weather became really intense during the mawlid; a thought occurred to me; I remembered what I had read about the heat of the Day of Judgement. The sun will draw so near to people that they will feel the intensity of its heat but when I remembered it, it brought a state of solace and not fear or anxiety. Because, by remembering that heat of the Day of Judgement, it was not unrelated to the fact that this heat we are experiencing whilst we are here is in the remembrance of the one who will be covered in misk and calling us ﷺ. A thought occurred to me that some of his compassion and kindness ﷺ permeates this gathering. It is as if he ﷺ is saying to us, you have gathered with lots of you in a hot place where it is even difficult to get a breeze of cool air, and Allah has decreed that today the AC system isn’t working. It is as if the spiritual tongue of the Prophet ﷺ is saying that you have come here tonight despite the heat that you are experiencing.
You don’t feel tired? You don’t feel bored? The ladies, they have this covering over them in this intense heat so that you can know the value of the women, O men! When he says I am working hard and enduring all kinds of hardship; they (the women) are enduring more. So, when you are talking to the young women about modesty and covering up, be kind in the way you speak to them.
Going back to what we were saying. The thing that came to my heart was that the Prophet ﷺ knows that this gathering is to remember him ﷺ. Is it not so? In a tradition, the Prophet ﷺ said, “Your actions are shown unto me. What is good of them, I praise Allah for. What is bad of the actions, I seek forgiveness to Allah.” This gathering has been displayed to the Prophet ﷺ. Prayers on him are displayed to him ﷺ. Your happiness and joy because of him ﷺ has been displayed to him ﷺ. Your happiness because of him ﷺ has been displayed to him ﷺ. Every bead of sweat that has dripped during this gathering has been displayed to him ﷺ. Then, I remembered for our love of him ﷺ, many beads of sweat and perspiration have fallen from us. I remembered that some people for his love ﷺ, it would be nothing for them for their blood to draw in his love ﷺ.
I remembered a great female companion from the Ansar. Her name was Sayyidah Afra (may Allah be pleased with her). The Prophet ﷺ had come back from a battle where some people had attacked Madinah, so the Prophet ﷺ went out with an excursion to defend Madinah. Two of these lady’s sons had gone out with him ﷺ to this military excursion. When the Prophet ﷺ returned, he saw her on the outskirts waiting with the other women to see which men had returned and which hadn’t. She looked to the left and to the right; she couldn’t see either of her sons. The Prophet ﷺ came towards her. The dust from the battle was still on his (blessed) face and body ﷺ.
The Arabs call this dust, ‘naqa’. It is when the horses gallop and all the dust is thrown up and settles on the skin.
The Prophet ﷺ hastened to her from amongst all the people that were there until he reached her. The Prophet ﷺ spoke to her kindly and in a way that appreciated how she was feeling. Feel the burden for the Prophet ﷺ when he speaks to a mother that has lost two sons. The Prophet ﷺ spoke softly and kindly to her, he ﷺ tried to speak to her about her loss, to say to her that they went out to defend Madinah from those that attacked and transgressed so they will (in sha Allah) receive the reward from Allah and he was enjoining her to be patient. He ﷺ was really careful how he addressed her as he knew she was suffering. When she came out of the surprise and suddenness of the news, she noticed that the Prophet ﷺ was really going out of his way to make the news easy on her.
She said, “O Messenger of Allah! O Messenger of Allah! The dust on your face is harder for me than the death of my two sons.”
Like one of them says, “Every calamity that came after your loss is small.”
The woman is saying, if you are fine, everything is fine. She returned to her home.
Another woman went out to Uhud (the battle). All the women were trying to look for their sons, brothers, husbands or fathers. A woman was looking and one of the first people to come out of the battle said to her, “May God give you great reward. You have lost your husband.”
She replied, “But, how is the Messenger of Allah ﷺ? Is he safe because news had reached Madinah that he had been injured and maybe killed?”
The Prophet ﷺ had indeed been injured where his tooth had been broken and his helmet had been struck by a sword and gone into his skin cutting his face. Sayyidah Fatima al-Zahra ((عليها سلام was burning a piece of a straw mat in order to take some of the straw that was burning in order to cauterise his cut to stem the bleeding.
When they said, “Your husband has passed away.”
She asked, “What happened to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ?”
They replied, “He ﷺ is safe.” So, she left and hadn’t even learnt yet that she has lost two of her sons.
She is informed by a second man that two of her sons have been killed. She asked, “What happened to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ?”
He replied, “He ﷺ is safe.” So, she walked.
A third man came along and told her that two of your other sons have also died. She had 4 sons. She asked, “How is the Messenger of Allah ﷺ?”
He replied, “He ﷺ is fine.”
She said, “AlhamduliLla,” and walked.
Another man returned and told her that her brother has passed. She asked, “How is the Messenger of Allah ﷺ?”
He replied, “He ﷺ is fine.”
She said, “I will be fine when I see him ﷺ.” The man tells her he ﷺ is over there; injured.
She came to him ﷺ until she saw the resplendence of his visage and countenance ﷺ. She really paid the price of that gaze; truthfully. She held the hem of his cloak to feel that he was in reality close and said, “Every calamity is insignificant after you.”
The story here isn’t about people dying or blood being shed. That was what that situation needed because they needed to defend. Nor was the story about sweat or heat. It is about the meaning of what someone who is in love feels towards who they love.
So, when I remembered the Day of Judgement, I hoped that by the bounty of God, I hoped that by the few hours we spent in this heat, He will avert the years of heat we will experience there. “And that is not something too much to ask of God.”
It is just a few hours that we are sitting in a gathering where we are remembering and praising the Prophet ﷺ. We hope that in that intense heat on the Day of Judgement, we will also be with him ﷺ there. Being with him ﷺ means we will be under the shade of the throne. Being with him ﷺ there means being watered from the blessed basin of the Prophet ﷺ that is sweet, cool and fragrant in scent. More beautiful than that is the hand that will give you the water. Some people will be quenched by the water of the basin but some people, their quenching will be because of the hand that will give them the water. And that is how people are distinguished in their connection to the beloved. Some people love him ﷺ because of what they hope to be the fruit of that love. They hope for the garden, the basin, and the water of the basin. That’s love. There are those who love him for him ﷺ. Paradise for this person who loves is the Prophet ﷺ. That’s their Paradise. That person longs for Paradise because they will be in the vicinity of the Prophet ﷺ. Were it not for the vicinity of the Prophet ﷺ, he would not turn his attention to the garden. He is not going to find solace and joy if the Prophet ﷺ is not there. If he were not to see the Prophet ﷺ, he would never feel a state of peace and being settled in the garden.
One of the people who understood this was our master Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him). The Prophet ﷺ looked at him one time and saw that his colour was yellow, so he asked, “What is wrong with you, Thawban?” The Prophet ﷺ is asking whether he has an illness or is something else going on.
Thawban replied, “There is nothing wrong with me. There is no physical pain except that I love you.” Ya Allah!
Thawban has said (in meaning) that: I love you. Nothing has befallen me except that I love you. What has caused me to be in this condition is my love for you.
The Prophet ﷺ is saying (to Thawban) why are you tired like this, and he is replying, it’s because of you. The Prophet ﷺ was attentive as he’s asking what is wrong with him and Thawban replies with, “I love you.”
Thawban continues, “I remember you even when I’m with my family and children. There is a longing in me for you. That longing doesn’t settle until I come and see you.” The house of the Prophet ﷺ and his was a few metres apart. It was a stone’s throw apart. He couldn’t even feel settled when he remembered that there are just one or two walls between them.
Thawban continues, “I remembered the next world. I understood that you are going to be in a rank way higher than mine with the Prophets. With me, even if I get to the garden, I’ll be in a place lower than yours. Here, there is probably a street between my house and yours. Here if my longing gets too much for you, I can knock on your door. Over there, there are ranks and one is not allowed to go to the rank above them as you need permission. So, when I am longing for you there, what will I do?”
The Prophet ﷺ responds, “You’re talking about Jannah, right? You’re already there! You have palaces, date trees, rivers, gardens and orchards. Everything you have desired is there.”
You are crazy! You! Not Thawban! It is as if the tongue of Thawban’s state is telling us you are crazy. I am talking to you about the Prophet ﷺ is what Thawban is saying yet you’re talking about palaces, gardens, and orchards. Thawban is talking about love.
Thawban says, “O Messenger of Allah, I am going to be in a place lower than yours. I won’t attain your rank and won’t see you. Maybe if I go to the garden, I’ll never see you again.” He started to weep. He continues, “By talking to me about this and reminding me why I’m feeling like this, you’re re-opening a wound.”
At that point, Gabriel came down from the seventh heaven as if he wanted to show new revelation is coming from the ancient speech of God, which is outside of time and speech: it is eternal. The verses of God are eternal. This instance is what brought the context for it to be revealed at that time. Look at the brokenness of the people of love; how it shakes heaven. So, be careful, that you never break the heart of someone that loves. To hurt someone that loves can shake the heavens. Gabriel came down. Praise be to Allah that this moved the Prophet ﷺ and brought down revelation. I warn you about breaking the heart of someone who loves.
What is the verse that was revealed? Most of you know it. Tonnes of times you have probably heard this from speakers. Every time it is re-narrated, it can be re-narrated in a more exalted or subtle way. It is always in a constant state of renewal: the understanding you have of it. This is the state of those who love. For someone of love, no moment is like another. The scripture is repeated. The state that they are in when they read the same thing is not.
“Verily his gifts are in constant states of renewal. How magnificent is that renewal.”
What is the verse that was revealed?
وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَٱلصِّدِّيقِينَ وَٱلشُّهَدَآءِ وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ رَفِيقًا
ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْفَضْلُ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ عَلِيمًا
Whoever obeys God and the Messenger will be among those He has blessed: the messengers, the truthful, those who bear witness to the truth, and the righteous- what excellent companions these are! That is God’s favour. Allah is sufficient as a knower. (Surah Nisa: 69-70)
The words here are the words of love. This verse is a verse of being with. We have an authentic tradition where the Prophet ﷺ says, “A person is with who he loves.” It is explicit. So, why has this verse tied being with him to obeying him? Reflect on it. A person can obey someone and not be with someone if he doesn’t base his obedience on love. Those who follow without love aren’t with. The Khawarij followed the rulings without love. They thought by fighting Imam Ali they were following the rules of God. They thought by killing Imam Ali (may Allah ennoble his face) they were going to the garden. Like those people, may Allah guide us and them, the mad people that think by blowing themselves up they will go to the garden by doing that. The understanding of obedience can be relative.
This (verse is about) following and obedience to be with someone such that it is the fruit of love. The obedience that is the fruit of the tree of love. What is the proof of this? The context in which this verse is revealed. Why was this verse revealed? Because of someone’s state of love. Someone who couldn’t sleep, became ill and lost his colour and weight due to love. So, this verse of intense love was revealed, (to highlight) that if you love this much, capitalise on it by obeying so you can be with the one that you love. Without that love, your obedience won’t let you be with him. What is hoped for in this time and in these hours is that we will experience what it is like to long to be with. Why obedience that is based on love? Because obedience is the acknowledgement of my slavehood. When I obey the commands of Allah and the Prophet ﷺ, I am acknowledging that I am a slave of God. The slave obeys. When I obey, I am taking myself home because the ego doesn’t want to obey.
How many people here just want to take off all their clothes due to the heat? True?
Someone in the audience said, “No.”
No, by Shariah, yes. I’m saying because of the heat as your body is feeling the temperature. Imagine, if there was no-one around you, it was just you on your own on this heat, what would you want to do? You would want to fling everything off and throw yourself into a cool pool. True?
Someone in the audience said, “We are not feeling hot but love.”
I am talking from my position not yours. Ma sha Allah, you are in loving and not feeling the state (of heat) you’re in.
What stops people from flinging everything off? What stops them? It is obedience that is based on the knowledge that I am a slave who loves and obeys. I don’t need to look for the justification of why You have commanded me to do this. You have commanded me; I acknowledge and do. I am happy even if my ego is not happy; my heart is. That is the meaning of this obedience based on love. I obey because I have been commanded by my beloved. The beloved tells me, so I do it.
May Allah grant us the bounty of obedience that is based on love. I ask Allah to give us the understanding that comes from obedience that is based on love. I ask Allah to ennoble us with the reality of this love and the withness that comes with it.
When we leave this gathering, let’s take this with us, with all the other good that we have taken. Let each and every single one of you leave with our Master Muhammad ﷺ. He said ﷺ, “The person is with the one he loves.” Do you love our Master Muhammad ﷺ? Do you love our Master Muhammad ﷺ? Therefore, you are with him, in sha Allah. You are with him ﷺ so let your actions be based on the actions and state and words of someone who is with him ﷺ. May Allah grant us and you the reality of ‘being with’.
*Habib Ali then supplicated*
As a child approached the stage, Habib Ali al-Jifri asked Allah to accept by the purity of the child’s heart. Habib Ali al-Jifri then asked every parent to tell their children to say: Ameen.
What does ‘Ameen’ mean? It means: ‘Answer, O Lord.’ If the pure children ask, Allah will accept, in sha Allah.
By the secret of al-Fatiha.
These are notes which are close to verbatim of the translation. Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from the Treasures for the Seeker admin. Please correct us when you spot any mistakes.