Event Review: GPS for your life; Charting your spiritual destination
[box_dark]What: GPS for your life; Charting your spiritual destination
Where: Singapore Expo, Max Atria
Who: Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
When: 8 June 2013, 8pm
Organised by SimplyIslam[/box_dark]
After more than two decades of life, I finally know what GPS stands for. Global Positioning System.
Come on, admit it, most of you never knew what it stood for until you read this right? No? Just me?
The session started with Singapore Haqqani Ensemble’s performance of a few Qasidahs which were both heart-warming and soothing to the soul. Mawlana Shaykh Hisham arrived soon after they started their performance and he even requested for one more song to be played before he went up on stage to begin his talk.
He began by reciting verse 148 of Surah Al- Baqarah:
وَلِكُلٍّ وِجْهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيهَا فَاسْتَبِقُواْ الْخَيْرَاتِ
Which means “For everyone, there is direction and He is the Guider. Hence compete in doing good (to gain Allah’s favour.)”
If we think about it, our whole life is a journey. And as much as the journey itself holds a lot of lessons and understanding, it is ultimately the destination that we want to arrive at that holds the key to what kinds of preparations we should make. In this world, we use the GPS devices to plan our route so as to not get lost.
But have we planned our route for our time in the hereafter?
Shaykh Hisham mentioned that before souls are made to enter their respective bodies, they are all in the Ocean of souls or Bahrul Arwah. It is there that every soul is asked “Am I not your Lord?” and thus we all answer “Indeed”. Even before we are given the gift of physical bodies, the very first thing that is made known to our very souls, our essence, is that Allah is our Creator. He is our Lord. Hence, we are born into the world with this knowledge. When we are given life, it is in truth an amanah from the Almighty to us. Can we truly return what has been given to us as how it has been in the beginning?
We are all created with the need to love and feel loved. The ultimate love that we have to search for is the Almighty’s. And Allah has made it clear in the Qur’an as to how to gain his love! He says in the Holy Book,
“(Say O Muhammad), if you love Allah, follow me and Allah will love you.”
Hence the key to finding Allah’s Love is through His Messenger may peace be ever upon him! To love the Almighty is to love His apostle. So follow the teachings of our beloved Prophet (S) and insya Allah we will be enveloped in Allah’s love. A bedouin once asked Rasulullah (S) when the Day of Judgement will be and our beloved Prophet (S) asked him what preparations he has made for that day.
The bedouin admitted that he had not done much but his love for Allah and Rasulullah (S) was all he had. To which Rasulullah (S) replied “You will be resurrected with whom you love”. Prophet Muhammad (S) was sent down as a guide because Allah knows that we are blinded by our misconduct! That is why He sent His Messenger down to us.
Shyakh Hisham also mentioned that if Allah is happy with you, if He loves you, He will make for you a guide from within your heart. In other words, if Allah is happy with you, he guides your heart to Him! And to be guided we need teachers to help us. We cannot be confident that we are going down the right path without anyone guiding us towards it. In the words of Shaykh Hisham “when someone works towards Allah in ibadah, Allah will make for him a person from his heart to guide him”.
The first step to love the Almighty to cleanse our hearts. Allah’s love is too pure to seep into unclean hearts hence the first step we should take is to try and do things which will rid them of all black deeds. Shaykh Hisham referred to Imam Al-Junied as saying: to purify one’s self, one must simply do what is good and drop what is bad. Also, training our desires towards more positive ones is another step in tazkiyatun nafs.
To change, we must begin from the inside out. When someone changes themselves, controls their desires and occupies their hearts with Allah and His messenger, insyaAllah, he will be a better person. If the heart is good, then all will be good and vice versa. Cleansing of one’s self and heart is a part of charting our spiritual GPS in the right direction. It is the betterment of heart and mind together. As Shaykh Hisham mentioned, the most bankrupt of people is the one who has no direction in his life for he is lost!
The most unlucky person in the hereafter is the one that comes forth with his prayers, fasts and charity but he curses, opresses and beats others. It shows that even with all the ibadah that he does, it is not directing him towards Allah and that he does not truly believe. As Shyakh Hisham mentions “When our hearts truly believe, Allah manifests His light in our hearts.”
Purification of the heart does not depend on what age a certain person is. It does not mean that if someone is of old age, only then will he/she want their hearts to be purified. Even at a young age, the call to return back to our natural selves, with clean hearts can emerge. Allah does not look at a person’s physical characteristics as He says,
“I am with those who remember Me”
So keep ourselves occupied with the Almighty and know that He is near.
The first step to self purification is to control our anger. Shaykh Hisham explains that if we are angry, our brains cannot work properly. It is as if we are drunk. When people are angry, they hate.
The next thing we have to abolish is the malice & jealousy in our hearts. These two characteristics kill both parties; the jealous one and the one who he is jealous of. In order to be grateful for what we have, Shaykh Hisham advises us to look at the people who have less, instead of the ones who are blessed with more.
Another thing we have to avoid in our journey to Allah, is Fitna.
“Fitna is dormant, and Allah curses the one who gives life to it”
In this day and age, there is so much fitna to the point where it gets confusing. Shaykh Hisham explains that as Muslims, regardless of which school of thought we follow, we all want to be united as one. We want our voices to be heard as one. But we see a lot of differences in aqeedah. Just because someone practices Islam in the way that is foreign to us, does not give us the right to accuse them of being deviant and kafir. No one likes fitna. Who are we to judge others?
Shaykh Hisham advises us to leave the judging to Allah for He is the most worthy of judging. If one does not agree with what we do, it is okay. We all have opinions and we follow 4 major schools of thought and everyone is free to choose. Some Muslims have different approaches than others.
He also addresses the fitnah that has been circulating on the internet regarding the Naqshbandi Tariqah. The pictures of women kissing the shuyukhs’ hands have been published online raising a lot of questions. Shaykh Hisham explains that in both pictures, the women who are kissing the Shuyukhs’ hands are their daughters.
In Shaykh Hisham’s words “Do not go to the people who spread fitnah. May Allah bless us all. May He forgive us all. We ask Allah to forgive the ones spreading the fitnah and we ask of Him for His forgiveness. Ameen.”
At the end of the session there were some questions regarding how we can grow closer to the Almighty. Shaykh Hisham explains that we have to first eliminate the bad deeds in our hearts because that is what darkens the heart. He said “Do not count the good things we do because it comes from Allah. Count the bad deeds and list them down. Slowly, we will decrease them. “He also advises us to not lose hope of Allah’s mercy as He is the Most Merciful.
Shaykh Hisham closed the session with a reminder that in order to realign ourselves, start by putting the love for Allah and His Messenger (S) in our hearts. One quote that struck me the most throughout the whole talk was,
“When you manage your inner GPS, you can manage the earth and the heavens under your feet”.
May all of us be given the strength to chart our spiritual journeys and reach our ultimate destination – The Almighty.
Radhiatul Mardhiyah Mustaffa