Cii Radio | 08 August 2014/10 Shawaal 1435
Keeping the Connection is a 4 Part series of advises, transcribed from a recent lecture delivered by Sheikh Kamaludeen Ahmed*
How do we get this closeness to Allah SWT? You have to know Allah SWT in order to love Allah SWT.To know Allah SWT means to know Allah SWT as He has revealed himself to be in the Quraan. To know Allah SWT as He wishes Himself to be known. There are two ways of doing this. The first is Asma ul Husna (the 99 names of Allah). Allah SWT has revealed Himself through different names that represent His different attributes. Allah SWT says in the Quraan, to Allah belongs His infinitely beautiful names and that we should make dua to Allah SWT using these names.
Turn and orient your heart and feelings towards Allah SWT based on the meaning of these names. It’s only when you know what Ar Razzaq is that you can be Abd ur Razzaq. It’s only when you know the difference of what it means for Allah’s SWT Ar Rahmaan and Ar Raheem that you will also have a different flavour of Abd ur Rahmaan and Abd ur Raheem. You have to know these things, it has to be learnt. Allah SWT says in the Quraan, ask someone who knows what it means that Allah SWT is The One who is infinitely Merciful.
There are very few people left on this earth who are so deeply informed that they can guide on this. They are called the Mashaaikh. Another way to get this closeness to Allah SWT is to know some of the verses in the Quraan in which Allah SWT describes His relationship with us. If one doesn’t know that Allah SWT has told us that His companionship is with us all the time, how is one going to feel it? The beautiful thing about knowing Allah SWT is that the more you know Allah SWT, the more you will love Allah SWT. We’ve chosen to know so many things about this world but we don’t know about Allah SWT.
The second way to get closer to Allah SWT is to remember Allah SWT more. Allah SWT said in the Quraan, “Oh you who have Imaan, you must remember Allah SWT abundantly.” The less you remember Allah SWT, the more distant you will feel. This closeness is an irreplaceable feeling.
The third way to get closer to Allah SWT is the more you associate with those who are close to Allah, the closer you will become to Allah. Allah SWT says in the Quraan, “Oh you who believe, have Taqwa, and keep the company of the Saadiqeen.” The Saadiqeen are those who are more true to Allah SWT and more true to Nabi Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)than you are. They are the ones who love Allah SWT and Nabi Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)more than you do. If you sit in their company as Allah SWT says in the Quraan, then the love that they have for Allah SWT and Nabi Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will begin to trickle into your heart.
The fourth way to get closer to Allah SWT is called Tallab (yearning, desire, seeking). You have to want to get closer to Allah SWT and you have to want it badly. If you don’t have this, you will not get the first three. The real tragedy is that we don’t even want these things anymore. It’s not in our dreams and it’s not part of hopes and aspirations. We’ve lost this Tallab. To seek Allah SWT due to your yearning, burning desire for Him. This is Tallab. A person who has Tallab is called a Taalib of Allah SWT. This is what we should be. There is nothing else to search for in this life. There is no other reason that we have been given existence other than to seek out the Pleasure of Allah SWT.
This fourth step can happen in one night. For the other three, we need to give more time. It is only through the blessings of Allah SWT that we had this Tallab in Ramadan. We should not let it go in Shawwaal, it is the most important thing. Don’t let it go out, keep lighting it. Be the guardian of the flame of your Tallab for Allah SWT, tend to it and nurture this flame. Don’t ever let it go out. If you let it go out entirely it might take a whole Ramadan to ignite it again.
Ramadan was a taste of what real Imaan is like. In Ramadan Allah SWT gives us a free sample of closeness to Him. It is up to us now, those who want it, they will beg Allah SWT for it, they will strive for it. This is called Tazkiyah. After having begged for forgiveness – Taubah – we make the journey from Taubah to Taqwa, that is from purifying to purity. This journey in our Deen is called Tazkiyah. Tazkiyah is the follow up to Taubah and Ramadan. Tazkiyah was later called Tasawwuf. It means to purify your heart of all the impure feelings. To take out the love for ghair-mahram, to remove the love for dunya and self and to put in the pure feelings of knowing, loving, fearing, obeying and wanting Allah SWT more.
Just as we have teachers for Tajweed, Hadith, Tafsir, Fiqh, we also have teachers of Tazkiyah. These are Sheikhs. If a person feels that they need the Tallab, and to be guided they take Baiyah (a commitment to Allah SWT with someone, to connect your heart with someone in a line of Mashaaikh) with a Sheikh. A Sheikh does two things: He presents to you the teachings of the Quraan Kareem and the Hadith of Nabi Kareem (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in some way that we try to feel the Quraan and Sunnah. The second thing a Sheikh does is he instructs you to do some Dhikr every day. If one does this dhikr everyday, one’s soul gets its daily nutrition, that instructs you on Dhikr, helps you with Dhikr, guides you to fix your Dhikr, gives you topics of Tazkiyah. It is your job to listen and learn and live your life according to those teachings and to do the Dhikr.
The mission begins after Ramadan that we want this Closeness with Allah SWT, that we want to ignite this Tallab in our hearts, we want to become seekers on the path of the Pleasure of Allah SWT. We want to become seekers of the love of Allah SWT.
*Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed was born and raised in Manhattan, New York City. He recieved a BA in Political Science and Arab & Islamic Civilization from the University of Chicago. Shaykh Kamaluddin then spent many years in Pakistan, studying full-time the classical disciplines of Islamic learning including tafsir of the Qur’an, Hadith, Arabic grammar, law and legal theory. He recieved the ‘alimiyyah degree as well as formal authorization to transmit legal opinion (ifta).
From 2005-2010, he was a lecturer in Islamic Intellectual History, Legal Theory, Spirituality and Ethics at one of Pakistan’s leading universities. In 2012, he completed a Masters degree from the University of Oxford and currently is a Doctoral Fellow in Islamic Intellectual History at the Berlin Graduate School.
For over seventeen years, Shaykh Kamaluddin has consistently remained in the close company of the highly respected Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad, and was granted ijaza by him in tasawwuf (islamic spirituality) in 2002. Since then, he has continually tutored seekers on the path to becoming closer to Allah.
Shaykh Kamaluddin divides his time between the UK and Pakistan, guiding students and delivering lectures at masajid, universities and institutions of learning.
The Shaykh and his wife have also established Zaynab Academy, an Islamic educational institute which offers free online courses for women the world over