Event Review: “Even Though We’ve Never Met” by Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
Who: Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
Where: Singapore Expo Max Atria
“One day Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said to his companions: Would that I can see my brothers coming toward me to the pool and welcome them with bowls filled with sweet juices. Before entering the paradise, I wish I can offer them from my Pool of Kawthar.
Upon these words, the companions said: O Messenger of God! Are we not your brothers?
He replied: You are my companions. And my brothers are the believers who believe in me without seeing me. Surely, I ask of my Lord to illuminate my eyes with you and the believers who believe without seeing me.”
The crowd came early to listen to the esteemed scholar of Islam, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America and leader of the Naqshbandi Haqqani order in America, speak on the topic of ‘Even Though We’ve Never Met’, inspired by the above hadith.
The event began with the Singapore Haqqani Ensemble welcoming Shaykh Hisham Kabbani to the Max Atria with ‘Tala Al Badru Alayna’ and continued to perform several qasidahs. Sister Sajeda Kabbani, Shaykh Hisham’s daughter and herself a noted qasida performer with the Az-Zahra Ensemble, joined the Singapore Haqqani Ensemble onstage for several qasidahs. Despite several technical difficulties, the energy of the group was palpable and resonated even with the microphones failing.
Ustaz Muhammed Zahid, a young local scholar and member of the qasidah group Maadihul Mustafa, gave a short introduction to Shaykh Hisham before welcoming the noted scholar onstage for his lecture.
Shakyh Hisham thanked SimplyIslam for the opportunity to speak in Singapore again, and began by wondering aloud how brother Nassir (managing director of SimplyIslam) came up with the titles for his lectures time after time. He began his lecture proper by elaborating on the hadith that gave his lecture its title, giving a narration from ibn Abbas where Rasulullah (SAW) questioned the sahaba on who had the best of iman, with the sahaba naming the angels, the prophets, and themselves before the Prophet (SAW) corrected them saying that the best of iman would come from those who had never seen him but believed in him, that is, the generations of Muslims that would succeed the sahaba, including those present in the lecture.
He subsequently gave another hadith where Rasulullah (SAW) was overcome with emotion at his longing for his lovers, whom he identified as the ummah that would come after him.
Shaykh Hisham asked the audience whether the prophet knew us and asked whether we knew Ahmed Tijani, the eminent shaykh based in Ghana and the USA who was seated in the audience. Many of course replied yes, but Shaykh Hisham said that if we didn’t, we could simply type his name in Facebook and find out about him. He made the point that surely if Facebook and Google knew us, the Prophet (SAW) would definitely know us.[pullquote_left]If Facebook and Google knew us, the Prophet (SAW) would definitely know us.[/pullquote_left]
He proceeded to relate a hadith from the Musannaf of Imam Abdur Razaq from the companion Jabir, asking Rasulullah (SAW) what Allah created first, with the Prophet (Peace be upon him) replying that his light was created before anything else.
The light was divided into four parts, the Pen, the preserved Tablets, the Throne and from the fourth came everything else, including the light of believers. Shaykh Hisham continued to state that when the angels were commanded to prostrate themselves before Adam, it was because of the light of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), which all believers had on their foreheads.
He later noted that there was no verse in the Qur’an that stated that the angels were commanded to raise their heads after prostrating themselves to Adam, and that the angels were continuously in a state of sajda before the light of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Shaykh Hisham challenged the very notion that we had not met the Prophet (SAW). He related the verse from the Qur’an in Surah Al-A’raf, “Am I not your Lord?” and stressed that everybody had met Allah, and we had met the Prophet (SAW) in that same gathering.
Shaykh Hisham said that all of us, if we looked into ourselves, could find the light of the Prophet (SAW) within us. He related that Imam Bukhari, while writing his Sahih, prayed istikhara and received guidance from the Prophet (SAW) himself on how to arrange and categorise the hadiths he had compiled.
Shaykh Hisham related a story of Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ad Dabbagh, who went into a trance upon seeing the Prophet (SAW) and woke up with goosebumps, and said that there were many, even among those gathered for the lecture, who had dreamt of the Prophet (SAW) and experienced similar occurences. One of his students insisted on getting the secret of his, and upon receiving it the student gathered a following around him and related the secret to them. He was promptly thought to be mad and was executed. Shaykh Hisham stressed that such deep spiritual knowledge may not always be understood by those around those around us.
Shaykh Hisham closed by stating that Allah would open the doors He had opened for His awliya for those who sent salawat upon the Prophet (SAW) with the highest of his names.
Question & Answer Segment
Ustaz Zahid chaired the question and answer segment, and he recalled a time while he was studying in Syria that he met Shaykh Hisham while visiting the Maqam of the Grand Shaykh with several other students. One of the students had asked Shaykh Hisham how anyone could know that he or she had met the Prophet (SAW), and Shaykh Hisham replied simply that it was we who had forgotten meeting with the Prophet (SAW).
Questions came in furiously on a number of topics. One question came in on how one could dream of the Prophet (SAW). Shaykh Hisham replied that all believers dream to dream of the Prophet (SAW), and that as related from the hadith whoever sees the Prophet in a dream sees him in reality.
Shaykh Hisham emphasised making abundant salawat upon the Prophet (SAW), and to make two rakaahs of prayers, make du’a and send salawats upon the Prophet (SAW) while facing the qibla. He gave the Dala’il Khayrat of Al-Jazuli and the Qasidah Burdah of Al-Busiri as examples of where one could turn to find salawats.
Another question was asked on how to raise children to know and love Rasulallah (SAW), with Shaykh Hisham answering that first of all, children shouldn’t be raised on Facebook, but instead on the recitation of Qur’an, qasaid, hadith, and weekly mawlids. He stressed raising them in an environment that emphasised religion and encourage parents not to give their children computers to avoid exposing them to pornography and such.
The last question of the evening came from someone who enquired whether the light of the Prophet (SAW) would go away if one had committed sins. Shaykh Hisham replied that the light of the Prophet (SAW) would not go away, and stated further that the mark of wudhu would colour the limbs of the believers, and identify them on the day of judgement.
Closing by Shaykh Ahmed Tijani
Shaykh Ahmed Tijani ben Omar, dressed in all white, was asked by Sister Harasha to come up to close the event. He proceeded to sing the Malay classic “Ibu” for all the mothers in the audience in commemoration of Mother’s Day, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. He asked the audience to give takbirs for Shaykh Hisham, which the crowd responded enthusiastically with cries of “Allahu Akbar!”
Shaykh Ahmed recounted first meeting Shaykh Hisham and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, and called Shaykh Hisham the “sword of Islam for peace, for Rasulallah (SAW) and for the proper understanding of Islam”. He closed by singing an ode to Shaykh Hisham in Arabic, subsequently praising the Prophet, leading the audience in chanting “Allahu Ya Allah”, before switching to English singing in a gospel-inspired style, making du’a for Singapore, the Muslims in Singapore, Shaykh Hisham and for SimplyIslam to spread not only in Singapore but across the world.
Shaykh Ahmed said that he himself had seen the Prophet (SAW) in his dreams after making eleven thousand, one hundred and eleven salawats a day, and recounted two separate occasions where he had seen Rasulallah (SAW), once with his companions and another with his daughter, Sayyidatina Fatimah.
Shaykh Ahmed Tijani closed his segment by sending salawat upon the Prophet (SAW) and encouraging everybody to make salawat.
Shaykh Hisham Kabbani returned to the stage to make the closing du’a, and gave bay’ah to all who sought it.
As he left the Max Atria, the audience thronged the aisles for a chance to greet Shaykh Hisham and kiss his hand.
Shaykh Hisham’s lecture was a wealth of knowledge for the lovers of the Prophet (SAWS), drawing from the Qur’an, Hadith and the texts of classical scholars, and I would like to take this opportunity to stress my own shortcomings in attempting to summarise the renowned speaker’s speech and apologise for any mistakes I have made.[divider]
Ahmad Zhaki Abdullah
Ahmad Zhaki holds a degree in English Literature from the University of London. He is a full-time executive at a local training institute and a part-time writer.