Break the Form, Lose the Donkey

From the Teachings of Mawlana Shaykh Kabbani
Sufi Meditation Center, Vancouver, BC

Bismillahi Rahmaani Raheem. Alhamdulillah sharing from Mawlana Shaykh’s teachings that; Allah (SWT) is describing, “I am not in the Heavens and I am not on this Earth, but I am in the heart of My believer, qalbun mum’in baytullah.” From Mawlana Shaykhs teachings, an important reality begins to open; whether it is the practise of going for Hajj and circumbulating the Ka’aba, or the praying, or the whirling and other expressions of our love through different practises; there is a reminder for myself that the Prophet (s) is teaching us from that holy hadith that Allah opens a nearness to Himself when the servant approaches through voluntary worship; then Allah (SWT) begins to love that servant, through his voluntary prayers. And the Prophet (s) describes that if Allah (SWT) dresses that servant with His love; their hearing will be from a Divine Hearing, from Allah’s Hearing; their seeing will be from Divine Seeing and their breathing will be from the Divine Breath. And also their speech will be from the Divine and Heavenly Words; their hands and their movement and every action will be dressed from the Divine Oceans.

This is a reminder for us that in a world which is so committed or addicted to (the physical) form; then our Way is to break the “form” and (you see) in different Sufi teachings, where you come across people who are so excessive in their praying; always praying as if performing the prayer is the goal. And there are people who are so excessive in their fasting; always fasting as if fasting was their goal, and there are people who are excessive in their whirling, that they believe the whirling or the ceremony of the sama is so spiritual or so holy that they become lost in the concept of the sama and its importance as if the sama is everything.

And Mawlana Shaykh is reminding us always that, “Whether it is the salah, the praying, or the fasting, all of these different actions are only a ‘means’ to purify ourselves.” The Divine is teaching us that, “You have a donkey with you and you also have a very heavenly being with you, which is the soul, and for the soul to move to My Divinely Presence you must tame and discipline the donkey. But don’t be lost in playing with the donkey.” It means we get so lost in the “form” and forget about the “goal”. The goal is to feel the Divinely Presence because the Divine is saying, “If you are approaching Me through voluntary prayers only out of love and nobody is forcing you, then, you will begin to feel Me and hear Me; I will dress you from My hearing – (levels of the soul).”

The Divine has to give us the “power of hearing” to be able to hear our heart and our higher consciousness, because now all we hear is just the bad advices of people. But the Divine is saying, “I will (make you feel My) love when I will kiss you and dress you with a dress of My Love;” you will hear what your soul is in need of, and you will begin to hear the angels in the Heavens and the saints and all their guidance which will be drawing you closer… I will dress your eyes and I will become your seeing.” It means your soul will be dressed with a yaqeen or Certainty from what the Divine is about to show you; your heart will have certainty, your eyes see what others don’t see and many heavenly realties will be opened from what the Divine wants to show. They say when the Divine loves you; He begins to show you His Kingdom.

When you go to someone’s house and that person loves you, he will say, “O look, come look at all these treats, I have prepared. Look at all these nice deserts..,” and he welcomes his guest, with so much honour and so much love. And the Divine welcomes you saying, “I will become your eyes and I will show you what you can’t imagine, and I will become your breath and with the power of your breathing your soul will be flying to My Divinely Presence, and I will become the tongue with which you speak.” It means that you will be connected to the Divinely Oceans and to the heart of the Prophet (s) and to the heart of the Awliyaullah so that your speech will reach the souls of people. And it is not like in school where the professors talk and your mind barely comprehends because they are speaking from their “mind” to you, as they are learned people and they speak from “mind to mind,” and that is why they put most of us to sleep; as soon as the professor comes, they say, “O here he goes with frequencies,” and everybody drops their head and begins to pass out. But heavenly people, the wise ones (the guides) they speak from “heart to heart;” they send “transmissions” to the heart and everybody is able to pick up the frequency, the energy, the words, the guidance and the wisdom that they are in need of. And that becomes the uniqueness of the Divine Presence from the Oceans of Guidance. Allah says, “If I begin to speak through you and the heavenly power begins to emanate from you, I send a digital signal from your tongue and from your heart through which everyone will pick up what they are in need of, and each one has a unique frequency. It does not simply broadcast and everybody hears the same words; everyone’s heart is waiting for something and that is a heavenly association, so their heart picks up their (unique) digital signal from the Divine Presence.

“I (SWT) become the Hands with which you move,” means your hands are dressed from Divinely Hands and from the Prophetic hands and from Awliya’s hands, and those hands are from yadullah, which means heavenly power and heavenly support. And Allah says in Surah Mulk of the Holy Qur’an,
67:1 Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent –
67:1 Tabaraka allathee biyadihi almulku wahuwa AAala kulli shayin qadeerun.

(tabarakal) aladee bi yadi hil mulk (67:1); that Allah’s (SWT) is saying, “His Blessings be to the hand that reached that Mulk, and that My hand will dress your hand, and Sayyidina Muhammad’s hand dresses your hand that has reached the Mulk,” Allah (SWT) is saying, ” (tabarakal) aladee bi yadi hil mulk that Glory be to Allah’s Magnificence and Munificence, and your hand is in the hands of the Prophets and in the saints of the Ahlul Bayt, and of the Companions; then your hands have power and you merely have to ask and you will receive .
Heart of Holy Quran Surah YaSeen:
36:83 So exalted is He in whose hand is the realm of all things,
and to Him you will be returned.
36:83 Fa Subhana allathee biyadihi malakootu kulli shayin wailayhi turjaAAoona
” It means there are darajats or degrees and Allah (SWT) is going to open degrees of that power and your feet, your every qadam (step) your every movement will be in the Divine’s direction.
It means if Allah (SWT) is saying, “I am dressing your ears, and your eyes and dressing your tongue,” then no doubt He must be dressing your feet and then you don’t want to take your feet to places that are useless and worthless, but He inspires your qadam (steps) to go towards the Divinely Presence, to go towards Divinely openings and towards Divine Majesty and every step you take, the Divine open ninety-nine steps towards your soul. This is Allah’s Rahmah, His Grace and Mercy that one step towards the Divine opens ninety-nine steps in return towards you. That is what saintly people want for us; they say whatever you are doing, don’t be lost in that action you are doing, but achieve that reality (from the soul). If you are praying alhamdulillah, everyone is praying, and we don’t put specific reward on the praying only, but if you are praying then, are you “hearing” yet? Are you “seeing” yet? Are you “speaking” yet? Are you “feeling” yet? If you are, then Allah has kissed you with the kiss of His nearness. If not, then all the praying in the world is not working for you; means there is no adab yet or manners of sincerity and also no khusiyah or the humbleness of the heart yet. And all that praying was meant to open these realities.
It’s not only the praying that Allah (SWT) is saying, “Pray a thousand rakats every day because you are a powerful beast and I want to see how powerful you can be!” But the concept of just the “form” and all the actions that we are doing is to discipline our body and show the Divine our sincerity; that we are coming with love, and we are asking to be truly sincere, and that we have good manners, and good character. And then the Divine begins to say, “I will Bless you with My love and My Love will dress you with all (the ears, the eyes, the tongue, the hands and feet).” So then if you are praying and it is not yet opening, then you must seek the reality, and that what you are doing is not yet good enough to open that reality. And if you fasting excessively and yet not hearing or seeing the Divinely Presence then again we have to check and seek out the reality. Use the “form” but don’t be lost on the form.

And with the Sufi community, the whirling, the sama, yes it is the sacred dance, but it is not more sacred than the salah or the prayer to the Divine Presence, and if you are spinning and spinning and yet your heart is not opened and you are not “hearing” the Divine Presence and you are not “seeing” the Oceans of the Heavenly Kingdom, and you are not “tasting” and “feeling” all that the Prophet (s) wanted for us from the level of our soul, then we must loose the form. We must keep the practises, but we should give up the emphasis, and whatever “action” this “form” is doing, it is only a means to get us there. It means that we ride the donkey to get to the palace! And then once you are in the palace, you leave the donkey outside. And whatever you are doing that you think is taking you to the Heavenly Kingdom, and that takes you all the way to the gate of the Kingdom, and you leave the donkey there and you enter. It means you begin to meditate and you begin to open the heart; if you start to whirl, then (later) drop your whirling, and sit and start contemplating the Divine Realities; enter the Kingdom. And you start to pray and as soon as you finish with your tihayat, and salaams, you meditate and make your connection to the Divine Presence and “get off” the form and now enter with your soul into the Heavenly Kingdom. And they give the analogy that, “If you don’t do that, then, it is like you have arrived at the Heavenly Kingdom and you keep spinning around with your donkey,” because people like to whirl or pray or do different things, and when you are just doing this and you have arrived, you are doing this (movement) around the outside at the door of the Kingdom. And you can do that all day long, but you still have not entered, and you are still outside the door, just playing with the beast [ the self]. You were supposed to use it to come to the gate, and leave it there, park it, and come in with your soul; there is no “form” allowed in the Heavenly Kingdom.

That is why inna lillahi wa inna elayhi rajioon, that Allah is saying, “This beast, this physicality, all of our form, will go back into the grave and the earth will take it, but your ruh, your soul, is immediately moving towards My Heavenly Kingdom. And you should have empowered your soul, so that before you leave this earth, your soul is hearing Me, your soul is seeing Me,” not seeing Allah (SWT) which is impossible; but what the Divine wants to show of the Heavenly Kingdom, it should open onto the soul and you feel from it and taste from the love of the Heavenly Kingdom.

And that is what Mawlana Shaykh is teaching for us, that to remember and always as a reminder to myself; the “actions of the form” are necessary and they are “mandatory” but it is not the goal; it is only the means in which to take us to that palace and from there we have to get off, we have to leave the form, and enter with the soul into the Heavenly Kingdom. And the entrance of the soul to the Kingdom requires spiritual practises, and that means tafakkur, which the Prophet (s) described that, “Tafakkur for one hour is worth 70 years of worship.” It empowers the soul and then realizing that only my soul can reach the Divinely Presence, “Ya Rabbi I am doing all these practises of my form to discipline myself, and to show my love for You, and now I am asking that my soul should come into Your Divinely Presence.” And Mawlana Shaykh describes that, “There are many angels that will come to lift your soul from one shore, from where it is, towards the Heavenly Shores of the Heavenly Kingdom.” They describe this like in the old times of castles; that your form is on one land, and the Heavenly Kingdom is on another land. In the old days they used to have a castle and they had a draw bridge because in the water around the castle there were many sharks, and there were many different creatures to stop people from invading the castle. The Divine is teaching the same; there are many obstacles and not just anyone can run and access the Heavenly Kingdom, “But you come through your voluntary forms and your voluntary actions, and you wait there, and I will send for you from Heavenly creatures to come and take your soul from where it is, towards your heavenly reality in My Divinely Kingdom.” We pray that we understand that we use the form as a means to reach towards that Reality. But then we need to break down the form, and the importance of the form, and begin to bring out the power of the soul, and the power of love, and when we empower the soul with love, love for those who are already on that side, that is the power of that Love and that is what the Prophet was teaching that, “You will be with whom you love.” And when the Prophet (s) teaches, he is not talking about the bodies, they don’t care about bodies. They say when they teach you to love heavenly people; they are teaching you from the soul.
When your soul loves them, it is like a magnet, and immediately they can pull you out of your physicality and take you into their presence. Because we don’t know how to get there, but they teach us to love, and to show the love to the prophets, and we end up standing at the Shore crying out of our love and saying, “O Lord, please send me to the Heavenly Kingdom, let my soul move into that reality,” and only through the power of muhabat and ishq the soul stands there, and immediately it levitates, and moves towards that Divinely Presence and towards that reality. We pray that in this holy month, Prophet (s) dresses us with a dress of muhabat and love and that Awliyaullah dress us from their dress, and their endless oceans of guidance, and from their teachings. Subhaana Rabbika Rabbil izzati amma yasifoon wa salaamun alal mursaleen wal hamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen.

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