Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
The qasidah which we sing in dhikr, “aheemu wahdee bi dhikri rabbee,” Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib says,
“aheemu wahdee bi dhikri rabbee, fa dhikru rabee huwa ‘sh-shifaa’u”
It means, “I’m alone in the remembrance of my Lord. The remembrance of my Lord, it is the cure.”
That suggests that the normal consciousness of people is ailment. And that ailment you can describe as a longing, as a nostalgia. The Mevlevis say that when you listen to the ney, the reed flute, the sound of the ney is like the yearning of the reed for the reed bed. And in a sense, all human beings suffer that. All human beings suffer an illusion that they exist as something cutoff as something independent. As a piece of reed that’s been clipped from its original home and has been burnt and scarred and made hollow. And yearns to go home.
Going home is dhikr. And going home is remembrance. Because from one point of view, our cutoff state is an illusion. And our experience of the oneness and the continuity that we come out of is as accessible as remembrance. That remembrance is the cure. Your life is affliction. Normal consciousness is suffering. Until you remember.
Now, among the ayaat that Sidi Kamardine recited, Allah Subhana wa Ta’la tells us that Allah is the best of providers, is khairul raziqeen. Is the best provider. One of the attributes of this illusion of being cutoff is a deep conviction of lack of self-sufficiency or lack of sufficiency. I’ve been cutoff, I’m under threat. I’ve been alienated. It’s like the arteries that connect me to existence are severed. And so along with this deep sadness, which the human being has, there’s also an anxiety, and that anxiety is about provision.
“aheemu wahdee bi dhikri rabbee – I’m alone in the remembrance of my Lord.”
“fa dhikru rabee huwa ‘sh-shifaa’u – the dhikr of my Lord is the cure.”
It is the cure also, for your concern for provision because He’s khairul raziqeen, He’s the best of providers. And so with Allah, you have the opportunity to put all of your concerns in One. Make all your problems, one problem. And that problem is remembrance. You remember Him, everything else is easy. You forget that oneness that you’ve come from and everything else is struggle. Everything else is a nightmare.
Now amazingly, we are at our best when we’re on our knees. We’re at our best when we recognize that there’s a piece missing and our yearning is burning. And we are most dangerous to ourselves when the openings come and we suddenly have this sense, “But now I’ve worked it out. I understand now. You don’t have to teach me anything. I’m self-sufficient.”
And so the last surah which Sidi Kamardine recited is useful. Allah says, “iza ja’a nasrullahe wa fatah — Help from Allah comes and the openings come.” — And this was obviously done in the context in the days in Medina when Muslims were coming in droves. Allah says when people come into the deen in droves, in other words, when you succeed, when it’s no longer a struggle, do not forget to remember your Lord and to be thankful. Because it is when you think you’re succeeding, that your hubris is at its highest. Where you have the greatest sense of self-sufficiency.
Allah Subhana wa Ta’la has created us as the platform whereby He can be witnessed. And that which is Vast and Majestic, that which is the Greatest can only be viewed from a platform which is demeaned and small. So keep yourself in the station of the demeaned and small. And what produces that station of the demeaned and small is precisely this state of yearning, of longing. It’s part of our deep condition. It makes us beautiful. It makes us humble. It makes us realize that we are in-self-sufficient. And completely hand it over to Him.
So, when the openings come, do not forget to be grateful.
Do not forget to go back to your station, which is the station of the bereft one, the lost one.
May Allah keep us in the station of the bewilderness.
May He keep us always a bit confused.
May He always keep us at a place of in-self-sufficiency.
And quickly calling on Him.
And maintaining our connection with Him.
This discourse was given by Shaykh Ebrahim after a dhikr session on the 13th of August, 2011.