I want to speak to you about a few things tonight . You must not imagine that I am some spiritual guru who has the answers to everything. I am just like all of you trying very, very hard to receive certain spiritual grants. I know some of you give me titles, but don’t worry about that. I can’t worry about that. My major concern is that Allah Almighty gives all of us certain spiritual grants. That is why I am talking about these things because I know from my experience, from my studies, and from what Mawlana Shaykh Nazim tells me and from my discussions I had with Shaykh Kabbani that there are these Divine Grants available. Allah Almighty prepares these Divine Grants and gives them to people. That is why Mawlana Shaykh Nazim is a Sultanul Awliya. He had worked hard and Allah gave him that grant. Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim mentioned that he is a Wali, a very big one. Allah gave him that grant. And throughout the world, when you go throughout the world today, you get people who have been given such grants. The reason we are in tariqah is because we desire those grants.
Right at the beginning I told you that this road is a very hard and tortuous road. It is not an easy one. That is why so very few people attain on this road. Very few people receive grants. I had deliberately mentioned to you who the murids were who were here at the time Shaykh Nazim was here, and who have since left. They’ve all gone away. They couldn’t take the pace. I want to ask you: “Please take the pace.” It is a long journey. I can tell you that. It might be 1 year, 10 years, 20 years. I don’t know how many years. Take the pace. Make this tariqah your life, and ask Allah to give you those grants.
One day a man came to the Messenger (ﷺ) and he said: “O Messenger of Allah, I want to be with you in the Hereafter.” Nabi Muhammad’s (ﷺ) reply was: “Help me by making a lot of sujud.” Now those words are very, very important. Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) did not say: “I will make du’a for you.” He said: “You must help me. You can be with me but you must work hard with your religion so that you are able to be with me. That is how you can help me.” I want to repeat this. This is a very important hadith. I would like you to remember this. Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) did not say: “I will ask Allah,” no, he said nothing like that. He said: “You must help me by doing a lot of sujud, by making a lot of ibadat. If you make a lot of ibadat Allah Almighty will give you the honour of being with me on the Day of Judgement.” Now the same thing applies with regard to our relationship with Mawlana Shaykh Nazim. The same principle because Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) when he used to speak about certain things, he taught us certain principles. This means that we have to help Mawlana Shaykh Nazim by making lots of ibadat so that when he works with our hearts, they are receptive. Our hearts must become receptive to change.
What is it that we want in our hearts? The other night I heard you reciting:
مَا فِي قَلْبِي إِلاَّ اللهُ
(ma fi qalbi illallah: there is nothing in my heart other than Allah). Some say:
مَا فِي قَلْبِي غَيْرُ اللهُ
(ma fi qalbi ghayrullah). It has the same meaning. Normally the statement
لاَ إِلٰهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ
(La ilaha illallah) is placed in front of it. I don’t know why you exclude
لاَ إِلٰهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ
(La ilaha illallah). Perhaps you have a very good reason. The full dhikr is La ilaha illallah, ma fi qalbi illallah or ghayrullah. What are you in fact saying? You are saying: “O Allah, I want to strive hard enough so that there is considerable consciousness in me about Thee. I want to understand that Thou art in charge of me, of what I do and how I do it.” This is what tariqah is in fact all about. To get to that stage where we have such consciousness of Allah, we must make an enormous amount of ibadat. That stage does not just come. Bring me the person to whom it had just come. Look at our history. Look at our pious people. They literally worked themselves to death for these achievements.
Today we can say that in our history we have Shaykh Yusuf of Macassar, we have Tuan Mahmud, we have this one, we have that one. But you see to me that is important but the most important thing is: “Where are we? What about us? What have we been granted?” Shaykh Yusuf had been given a special grant but what about me and you. Surely that is the most important thing. We can talk about them but they must just be examples to us of what Allah grants.
If anyone of us wants to obtain grants from Allah we must work hard for those grants. Now I don’t know whether my mind is just telling me things but somehow I feel that many of us are not tackling the job to the extent to which we are supposed to tackle it. Why is it that Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) came in a dream to the ladies? Why? Why did he come to the ladies’ group and not to the males? Doesn’t it worry you that the ladies had received this present? And of course, the explanation I got is that he attends. I don’t know if he attends all the ladies’ dhikrs but just that he attends. We have not received information about whether he attends the male groups.
I want us to understand what we are involved in. When we pledged, when we took bay’ah, we in fact said: “O my Lord, I am going to try my very best to be an excellent Muslim, and I will arrange my time to practise such excellence, to work for such excellence.” We must try to do that. We cannot hope to start when we reach our sixties and seventies. How do we know that we will reach those ages? We do not know. My appeal is with regard to this matter. Try to understand that if we want Mawlana Shaykh Nazim to work with our hearts and to help to bring into those hearts a consciouness of Allah so that we can get very special grants from Him, then we must work hard at it. We have to do all the things we are supposed to do and we have to work hard for those things. I don’t want us to say in a few years time: “We could’ve or we should’ve.” These words are spoken by so many people today but then it is too late, all too late. By the time you reach your sixties you might have very little time left. You can start now. Many of you are young. If you start now, you would have advanced far by the time you are older. But if you want to start in your sixties to get serious about tariqah, you can forget about it.
There is another hadith of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ). It was the battle of Uhud and the news had reached Madinah that Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) had been martyred. That night a young man had entered into marriage and he was in bed with his wife. The news had filtered to Madinah about the death of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ). His wife told him: “You are lying here. Where is our beloved Messenger? Go find him. Go look for him. Go find out what is happening.” He got out of his bed, probably took his armour with, and went to Uhud. He could not find Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) but he fought and he was killed. He had been married for a few hours. At the end of the battle Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) asked: “Where is that man who left his marital bed and came to fight?” They showed Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) where he was. Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) said: “Don’t touch him. The angels are using water from Paradise to give him his ceremonial bath.” The Companions were people of quality. They had made a major commitment to Islam. I don’t say I am like that. But I think we should all start working to be people of quality when it comes to our religion. There must be deep inside us a sterling quality for Islam. This young man had a major commitment to Allah, to His Messenger (ﷺ) and to Islam. He was prepared to get out of his marital bed to be martyred. I don’t know whether anyone of us would do that.
I’m telling you this story to show you the quality of the early Muslims. If we want to get anywhere in tariqah we must become Muslims of quality. What is it that I am talking about? What is it that I am appealing to you about? Because you see, in this country, Islam is disappearing. The fact that large numbers of our children are not fasting, are not praying, is an indication that things are extremely bad. The only places where Islam is going to survive are in the Tariqah Orders. They are not perfect places but at least inside these Tariqah Orders people are trying very hard to practise Islam properly. We can’t afford to fall down on the job. Allah has honoured us, first by making us human beings, then by making us part of the nation of Nabi Muhammd (ﷺ) and then by putting us in this tariqah. This is not an accident of history. We don’t believe like that. We say:
إِنَّ اللهَ عَلَي كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ
(Innallaha ala kulli shay-in qadir: Allah’s decisions rule over everything). It is part of the Divine Decree, and I want us to understand that, that each one of us sitting here was going to be in this tariqah. Where else do people do a pre-Fajr programme like we do? Where else? I’m not bragging about it, I’m just mentioning the nature of our work. Where else? Where do you have up to fifteen dhikr programmes over a weekend? Where else? Here, here, just here by us. We are doing this because we are striving for excellence, excellence in religion, excellence in faith, excellence in ihsan.
Each one of us has a specific duty to do. We have been given certain things to do. We must organize our time so that no day passes without us having done those things. And if it’s late at night and we haven’t done it, then we must sit down and do it because of what we are working for. Can you imagine how nice it would be if Mawlana sends me a message: “Tell such and such a person that Allah has granted him Wilayah.” You know one of the very, very pious people, the day he received the message, they went to look for him. They couldn’t find him. He was so overwhelmed by receiving that grant he went to hide. He didn’t want people to see him. They asked: “Why did you hide?” He said: “My Lord has granted this to me. I am not worth it.” Can you just imagine the honour that Allah Almighty can grant us? Where are we going to be on the Day of Judgement? In whose presence are we going to be on the Day of Judgement? Under whose flag are we going to walk? And even when we are in our graves, not a single worm would be able to take a piece of skin off our bodies. We shall not even disintegrate. What an honour!
So much honour that Allah grants. People don’t want that anymore. They are not interested in it, but we are interested in tariqahs. We want to achieve something. And it is there to be achieved. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim told me one day: “Allah prepares the grant.” The information comes to him for his murids. He then announces it. They say that he dresses one in the dress of Wilayah. I don’t know how it takes place but that is how it is explained. They can see the dress that you are in. Some people have been given the ability to recognize that a person is a Wali, even if one is in the grave. When Shaykh Abdurahim Iraqi came here he went to Oudekraal and recognized that Tuans Jaffer and Nurul Mubin were Walis of Allah. When Sufi Sahb came to Durban he recognized Badsha Peer as a Wali of Allah.
I want you to know that you have been given a chance. It is not going to come our way again. If we walk away from this, it is not going to come again. That is why I got you together tonight to appeal to you on the matter. You have become the hard core of this organization, and out of this hard core must come those people who will carry the flag of Islam. I must be able to depend totally on each one of you. If I call anyone, the response must be positive. I told one of the murids, Imam Muneer that I needed somebody to go up to Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Odendaalsrus and Welkom. His response was: “Yes, I shall go. When do you want me to go?” I said: “Coming Tuesday.” He went, and came back this week. Before he left, I asked him who was going to look after the mosque, and he replied that it had been arranged. This is commitment. This is the type of commitment we need. If we want to progress with this tariqah, if we want to make it the most active tariqah in South Africa, we must commit ourselves. We need serious commitment. In tariqah it is like that. There must never be a no, or I can’t do it, or I’m too busy. You are too busy for God? Too busy for God?
That is why when I speak about coming on time, it is part of this commitment. When we open our mouths to speak, it must be the truth. When we say 9:45 pm, it must be 9:45 pm not 10:45 pm. All these things are important. That is why I get excited about all those small things because if we get those small things right, everything else will follow.
Let me end off now. I am appealing to each one of you. Each one of you has taken bay’ah. You did not take bay’ah to me. You did not take bay’ah to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim. You did not take bay’ah to Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ). You took bay’ah to Allah. The verse says:
إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللهَ يَدُ اللهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيْهِمْ فَمَنْ نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنْكُثُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ وَ مَنْ أَوْفَى بِمَا عَاهَدَ عَلَيْهُ اللهَ فَسَيُؤْتِيْهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيْمًا
Verily those who pledged to thee do no less than pledge to Allah. The Hand of Allah is over their hands. Then one who violates his oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and any one who fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah, will soon be granted a great reward (xlviii: 10).
My appeal to each one, as from now, or tomorrow morning, is that each one re-organizes his life in order to carry out our responsibilities, such as the pre-Fajr programme, and to sit celebrating the praises of Allah until Ishraq. And when each fard salah comes, to do its programme. At the end of the day you can say:
(Alhamdu lillah: all praises be to Allah). I have done those programmes and now I’m going to do my daily dhikr.” Part of the re-organization of our lives is to reduce our social activities and commitments. Go only if it is necessary. We must want Mawlana to be proud of all of us. He is not. He is not happy with the fact that the South African murids are not carrying out all their duties. So my appeal to you is that I hope,
إِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ
(insha-Allah: if Allah so wishes), that you will take my words seriously. I am speaking to you tonight as a senior person, as an old person who has been a little bit through the mill. Don’t make the mistake of dropping this or being lazy about it.
Don’t be lazy for Allah or find excuses when it comes to being for Allah. What kind of Muslims are we? When it comes to working for Allah, we’re lazy. When we must be for our wives, there we go. How can we be lazy for Allah? How can we find excuses when it comes to what we must do for His sake? Where is our commitment? How can we be like that? Surely this is such a serious matter. We have pledged to Allah. I don’t know if I told you this story. Many, many years ago I was in Madinah and I had a problem. Shaytan was attacking me in all kinds of ways. I couldn’t get bad thoughts out of my mind. I went down to the grave of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ), and said: “Ya Rasullallah, please help me. Please make du’a that Allah take these bad thoughts out of me. I am very unhappy here. I can’t settle down. I promise you I will teach children when I go to South Africa.” I don’t think it was ten seconds before those evil thoughts disappeared and I could settle down. That’s why I believe he (ﷺ) is there. Other people might not believe but I believe. That’s why I teach children. I had promised him (ﷺ). Be careful of pledges and promises.
So please I am appealing to you, I want to be able to call any one of you and when I ask you how things are, you must be able to say that you are busy with extra ibadat every day. I am going to end off now. I ask Allah for guidance and protection for us, to place us under His Security, make us excellent Muslims, give us strong spiritual backbones, free our hearts from all those terrible desires that we have for material things. Allah will give to us without us having desires. He’ll give. If we are for Him, He will give to us. We must not worry. Ask: “O my Lord, make me a pious person.” That is what we must ask. Every single day we must say:
اللَّهُمَّ آتِنَا مَا آتَيْتَ عِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِيْنَ
(Allahumma atina ma atayta ibadikas salihin: O Allah, grant to us what Thou hast granted Thy obedient servants). Every single day we must ask.
We ask for all of these with the blessings of Suratul Fatihah …
And Allah knows best, and I ask forgiveness for any mistakes or distortions in what I have said, Amin.
Selected Talks by Yusuf da Costa [Published 2008]