Thursday, May 05, 2016

The Language of the Heart


Many years ago, through the sheer Mercy and Favour of my Lord upon me, for which I will be eternally grateful (had He bestowed no other blessing upon me, this would have been sufficient), I came to meet Sidi Shaykh Abdellah al-Haddad.

Before his arrival, one of my dearest friends had told me I should "prepare to fall in love". He came and from afar, he was beautiful, the words he spoke were pearls, the spiritual presence he brought to the zawiya, palpable.  I needed to speak with him about a spiritual matter and when I went to see him I looked into his blessed eyes and there was a sea of love, merciful, unadulterated love, like nothing I had seen in any eye before. This is the essence of Sidi Shaykh and it never fails to make me weep. Such purity, such wealth that he gives and gives and gives of his love and yet, somehow, each time I lay eyes upon him, there is more love than before.

At the time I first met him, I was going though a trial that I used to pray in earnest for Allah to lift from me. Once he had accepted me as a faqira under his guidance, I had a beautiful vivid dream in which he was leading myself and that friend of mine in salat-ul maghrib. Upon completion of the prayer, I closed my eyes was in earnest prayer until I felt a strong presence with me, and when I looked his hands were beneath my hands. This was perhaps the first lesson the nisbah taught me. We are bound to our Shaykh. When we beseech our Lord, he beseeches with us. His concern for us is sincere and deep, it never leaves us.

Those who know Sidi Shaykh, know that his jalal is reserved only for what benefits. He is otherwise, jamal, jamal, jamal. And this was the nisbah's second lesson to me. I had always been very shadid in my spirituality, very jalali. Yet literally overnight, I came to espouse that immense mercy that characterizes Sidi Shaykh. Suddenly the students dancing and playing the drum didn't inspire within me a dislike for the ghafla, but rather a realization that this is the search of their soul for Allah. That were they to be guided, they would find a far greater peace and tranquility in the dhikr, in the hadra. And this led me to pray that Allah guide them to that knowledge of Himself.

Each year we are blessed from above, with a visit from Sayyidna Shaykh. He comes, I sit with him and ask his nasiha on one thing or another, and either his daughter or Salik translate between us. In truth, I always feel this is the formality of this world, we go through the motions that are the norms of the life of this world. Yet my greatest questions, those I cannot often even articulate, are communicated in the initial silence that follows the salams and exchange of niceties or in the final silence before we depart. When he looks over at me and smiles and I cannot even bring my lowly eyes to look back at him. It is in those moments that our hearts speak. And it is those moments that have taught me that language of the tongue or the pen, is in reality so impoverished in comparison to the language of the hearts.

Recently, Shaykh Yahya was speaking about the dense nature of this world and its resultant pull on us. And spending some moments with Sidi Shaykh is indeed in such contrast to that density. He is subtle, latif. And what a peace that brings the heart in comparison to the unrest of this dense world.

May we empty our hearts of the hardness, harshness, and density of this world so that we may have our hearts filled with the Light, Lutf and Mercy of our Lord Most High. Sidi Shaykh and those like him, they are calling us to the real purpose of our life in this world. We must pay heed, we must answer that call, for the life of this world is but two days -- it is here today and will be gone tomorrow. All that will be left is the light or darkness that we filled our hearts with. Let us fill our hearts with Light that never extinguishes. Ameen.

May Allah preserve Sidi Shaykh, give him health and strength, and grant him a long life by which he benefits many. Ameen.

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