We express deep gratitude to Allah Almighty for bringing us together tonight  to celebrate His praises. With deep, deep, deep intense gratitude from the depths of our souls we call on him with
(Alhamdu lillah: all praises be to Allah)ِ: “O our Lord we are in deep gratitude to Thee for granting us this privilege of celebrating Thy praises.” All people have not been granted this privilege. Allah has nominated only certain people from humanity to come together in groups like this to call His Name. He says in the Qur’an:
قُلِ اللهُ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِى خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُوْنَ
Say: “Allah” and leave them to plunge in vain discourse and trifling (vi: 91).
Let others go on with their games and their sports while we say: “Allah”. We thank Allah Almighty for giving us guidance, for the light of guidance, for honouring us so that we are able to remember Him.
وَ الصَّلاَةُ وَ السَّلاَمُ عَلَي أَشْرَفِ الْمُرْسَلِيْنَ …
(was salatu was salamu ala ashrafil mursalin) … and He has sent to us His most beloved, most precious seal of His Prophets, Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) to bring to us His message, His message of nur to enlighten our hearts, to enlighten our souls so that we can sit here today like this despite our history, despite what had happened to our forefathers. We have received the message, the call of Islam, from Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) and we thank Allah for that, and we ask Him to send praises and blessings and peace and everything that is good from us to the soul of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ), to the souls of all the Prophets (a.s.), to the souls of the shaykhs of the Naqshbandi Tariqah, and to all the souls of the Muslims, males and females, from the beginning of creation until the end of time. We ask Allah for that.
Meded Ya Saydi, destur Ya Saydi … I ask Allah to grant me support through those that He had authorized to give such support, and to give me permission so that I may talk to you tonight.
لاَ حَوْلَ وَ لاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ باللهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيْمِ
(La hawla wa la quwwata illa billahil aliyyil azim) … only Allah has power. Only Allah has strength. We do not have those qualities. They belong to Him. There is no power and there is no strength except with Allah, the Most High. This statement is one of the treasures of Paradise.
أَشْهَدُ أَلاَّ إِلٰهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ
(Ash hadu alla ilaha illlallah) … O my Lord I declare to Thee on behalf of all of us sitting here that we recognize Thy Existence and Oneness.
وَ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحِمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَ رَسُوْلُهُ
(Wa ash hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasulah) … and we give recognition to the fact that Thou had sent the Final Messenger (ﷺ) to us and we believe in him and accept him. We ask Allah that these declarations from all of us be accepted by Him.
Where are we going with our religion? Why do we come together every Thursday evening, every Saturday, every Sunday, whatever the case might be? We come together to call His Praises, in addition to all the other things that we do. Where do we want to go with all this? What is our goal? Islam is not goalless although many of us live from day to day without knowing where we are going with this religion. We pray and we do whatever we are supposed to do and we just go on with our lives like that. In tariqah it is different. In tariqah we set goals for ourselves. Those goals have been set by Allah for each one of us in the Qur’an. And He tells us to strive for those goals. He says in the Qur’an:
إِهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيْمَ
Guide us along the straight path (i: 6).
Who established this path? Who had stated that there is a siratal mustaqim? Allah Almighty! He has established this path for us, nobody else. He has done that. And He tells us, the believers, to ask Him to be on that path. This is why we say in Suratul Fatihah, “Guide us along the straight path” because this path leads to a goal. Where is it that we want to go? What is it that we want to achieve? What is it that we want to gain? We must have in ourselves an intense, intense, intense desire for our goal to be to receive a spiritual grant from Allah, a grant of a powerful conciousness of Him. That is our goal. I want to repeat this to you. The reason why we are sitting here, the reason why we work for Islam, pray, fast, give zakah, perform haj and umrah, recite Qur’an, and make dua’, is because we want Allah to develop in our hearts an intense awareness of Him, so aware that it is as if Allah dwells within us. We call it the in-dwelling of Allah in man. It is as if He dwells within us so that our thoughts are of Him all the time. And so when we eat, it is for Him; when we drink, it is for Him; whatever we do, is for Him and for His sake. Everything that we do as human beings, as Muslims, is for Allah’s sake. This is a grant from Him. He allows us to strive and He grants. He guides us like that. Eventually He takes us to that darajah or that station at which He makes us say: “O our Lord, our prayers, and our covenants, our agreements, our lives and our deaths are only for Thee.”
I want to repeat this to you. Don’t go through life without having a set goal. We must know where we are going to. We must know what we want to achieve. We must ask that Allah grants us for He is the One that grants. We call it achievements in our normal language, but it is He Who grants. What is it that we want of Him? What is the desire in the hearts of each one of us? We want from Him that He places us on the path that leads eventually to our consciousness being only of Him, our prayers only for Him, our covenants, our agreements, only for Him, all the activities of our lives only for Him, and even if we die the day, it must be for Him. We must declare that we are of those who bow down to Him, who submit to Him. We must ask to be like this.
We must not have the pretence that we can achieve on our own. We must not have that pretence. Don’t say: “I am striving for piety.” Say: “I am working so that Allah Almighty grants that to me.” Don’t say: “I am striving for Wilayah but say: “I am working hard so that my Lord grants that to me.” We must strive and work hard with our ibadat to obtain spiritual grants from Allah, and the spiritual grant that each one of us should want is to be intensely conscious of Him. This means that our hearts become filled with His Name and our desires are controlled by Him and our lives are controlled by Him, and it is as if He dwells within us. We are then concerned only with Him, and all our activities as human beings, as Muslims, all those activities have to do with Allah Almighty. O our Lord!
Just like on the day we were born, the first word that was supposed to go into our souls was the word, Allah. The last word when we pass out of this dunya’ should be Allah. In between these two Allahs, we must live with a deep conciousness of Him and an intense desire by each one of us to obtain a spiritual grant from Him. We must not go through life like robots. Animals do that. We have come into tariqah because of what we want to achieve. And we are asking Allah: “O my Lord, please take my hand and take me to my goal. Take my hand and take me to my goal.” What is my goal? Allah! We ask Him to lead us to Him.
We must ask Allah for this because we are so weak and He provides. I was sitting here just now listening to the dhikr, and I felt so weak … so weak … so weak. I am so weak. We are all so weak. We must ask to be made to stand up, to get up, to hold our heads high, and ask to be made to look in the direction of our Lord: “O my Lord, I am looking in Thy direction, being guided by the rules and regulations of Islam. I want to be for Thee. Make me be for Thee. When we pass out of this dunya’ one day, let it be for Thee. When we come into the akhirah one day, let it be for Thee. When Thou calleth us that day, when Thou addresseth us that day, let us be addressed: ‘O My servants, you have been for Me, come now to Me.’”
Don’t have pretences about these things. Don’t have pretences about our dhikr or our recital of Qu’ran. Don’t have pretences, have humility, and more humility, and more humility … and then Allah may grant. There is so much that He has available for us. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim speaks of endless, shoreless oceans of mercy, endless, shoreless oceans of Friendship, of forgiveness, and of repentance. For who are these? For us. We are the creation for this. We must not waste our time … not waste our time. We should spend large parts of the day and night in celebrating His praises. One day when we are old we will sit with our heads in our hands because, when we look back at our lives, we had received nothing, just nothing. Don’t let this happen to us one day. We must ask: “O our Lord, one day when we look back at our lives, let us say
(Alhamdu lillah: all praises be to Allah). O our Lord, Thou hast made me profit from my allotted time
(Alhamdu lillah).” I started with
(Alhamdu lillah) and I wish to end with
I say: “O my Lord, we are in deep deep gratitude to Thee for bringing us together like this, celebrating Thy praises … not wasting our time … remembering Thee … not wasting our time … calling on Thee …not wasting our time.” We must ask Allah for that for all of us because tonight I just felt there is so much available for us. Allah has so much for us and we don’t want to reach out. Most of us don’t want to reach out. We must raise our hands: “My Lord I am for Thee.” We don’t want to do that. There will be so much regret, so much remorse one day. Those of us who follow what we have been taught, we will be able to stand smiling, not an ordinary smile but a smile of satisfaction, a smile saying: “Our Lord is happy with us.”
We ask for this through 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]