Power of Certainity versus Book Learned Knowledge
It is impossible for a person to leave evil and to take the right path unless his Lord helps him. Therefore, we must ask help, divine help, for everything. You can’t take yourself away from evil if you do not ask for your Lord’s help, and you can’t put your step on a good way without asking help from your Lord.
Therefore, when you are in need of leaving evil, you must ask divine help by saying, “A’udhu bil-Lahi min ash-Shaytannir-Rajim.” That makes a protection, a fortress, for you. Any time you feel that Satan is approaching you, you must say, “O my Lord, Satan wants to make me his servant, to make me his follower. O my Lord, keep me away from him” – that sort of a meaning. Even if we say it only with our tongues, it gives benefit, if you say it with your hearts, it is so strong.
When you are asking to put your feet on the right path, you must say “Bismilla hir Rahman nir Rahim.” In our time, if a person is asking to walk on the right path, one hundred Satans rush at him to catch his feet so that he cannot move them forward, and when you say “Bismilla hir Rahman nir Rahim,” it takes them away and gives you power to walk on that straight path. Yes, that is true; “Bismilla hir Rahman nir Rahim” is so powerful. That is the key to every miraculous power. To the extent that you may be certain of that, if you put your feet on water, you can walk on it. It is only certainty which can achieve that. Everyone knows something, but only a few people have certainty; knowledge may be for everyone but certainty is not.
Hasan al Basri, may Allah bless him, was a famous Imam and during his time there was Habib al Ajami. He was not an Arab: from Persia or from Bukhara, such a person, and he recited the Qur’an as we recite, not as Arabs recite. Habib al Ajami was an illiterate person also.
Once Imam Hasan al Basri came and saw Habib al Ajami praying the Maghrib prayer. When Hasan al Basri heard that that Sheikh was unable to say “Al-hamdu” but pronounced it “Elhemdu”, he thought, “His recitation is not correct,” and did not pray behind him; he prayed alone. Then Allah Almighty’s Hatif ar Rabbani, divine voice, came (Allah Almighty sometimes “phones” some of His beloved people and they listen to what their Lord says) “Apart from that prayer which you did not pray behind Habib, I was going to accept all your prayers,” Allah Almighty said through ilham, inspiration, and Hasan al Basri listened. “But you left that prayer. You are still looking at the words, not looking at the heart of the Imam, as to with whom his heart is. I look at the one who is Imam but I do not look at his recitation; I look at his heart. If his heart is with Me, that Imam is all right. If his heart is not with Me but is occupied with making his voice and his recitation beautiful, engaged with that and permitting his heart not be with Me, angels take that prayer to Me, But for the one whose heart is with Me when he prays, I accept his prayers directly without any intermediary”.
Therefore, all prayers are of two kinds. One, of that sort of a person who is going to pray and when he says “Allahu Akbar,” he casts everything aside and is with his Lord; Allah Almighty directly takes his prayers to his Divine Presence. But for the one who says “Allahu Akbar” and through his prayer, is traveling, selling and buying, going and coming, sleeping and awaking, eating and drinking, running after this and that, angels take his prayer to Allah, But Allah Almighty directly takes the prayers of those who are with Him. “O Hasan al Basri, I would have accepted all of your prayers for the sake of the prayer that you left because of the way in which it was recited. “And Imam Hasan al Basri wept so much.
Once Imam Hasan al Basri was sitting near the Tigris River in Baghdad, waiting for the boat to come so as to cross over to the other side. Then Habib al Ajami came, saying, “O Ustad, my master, what are you waiting here for?” Hasan al Basri said, “I am waiting for the ferry boat, to cross from one side to the other.” “You are the Imam even so you sitting here waiting for that raft? Come and say ‘Bismillah’ and walk”.
Then Habib said “Bismilla hir Rahman nir Rahim”,and walked on the Tigris and passed over. It was then that Hasan al Basri cried, “This ‘Ajami, this foreigner, an illiterate person, is crossing the Tigris and I am sitting here!” Yes. Hasan “knew” what the power of “Bismilla hir Rahman nir Rahim” is, but that foreign person had certainty; Hasan didn’t have enough certainty to say “Bismilla hir Rahman nir Rahim” and to step on the water.
Therefore, we are in need of more certainty, more than knowledge. That is important. But in our time people always run after learning so much. What is the benefit? You may learn so much and you forget so much. But certainty never leaves you. Certainty is the seed of knowledge; you can plant it and it grows up.
Once when Habib-al’Ajami was sitting in front of his khaneqah, his takkiyah. Hasan al- Basri came running. Hasan said, “O Habib, hide me, because Hajjaj, the Calipha’sgovernor, is sending his soldiers to catch me. Hide me!” And Habib said. “Go inside and hide yourself”.
Hasan went in and finding a place, hid himself. Then afterwards, soldiers came running, asking Habib, “Have you seen Hasan al-Basri?”
“Yes, I saw him inside, He is inside.”
They went in and looked around, looking everywhere, everywhere, even going and peeping on Hasan al Basri’s head. He looked around in fear. Then the soldiers went out, saying to Habib, “Now aren’t you ashamed, telling a lie? Where is he? Hajjaj will deal with the one who cooperates with Hasan al Basri, and that will be appropriate for you. You said that he was inside, are you not ashamed of lying!”
“Inside, I am not lying. He is inside.”
Once again they searched;they couldn’t find him, then, very angry, the solders went away. Then Hasan al Basri came out.
“O Sheikh, what is this? I came to you asking you to help me and you told the soldiers, ‘Inside’.
“Yes Hasan, ya Imam najaut min sidq il-kalam – you were saved by my truth I told the truth and Allah protected you because I spoke truthfully. I said, “O my Lord, this Hasan al Basri, Your servant, came to me and said, “Hide me, keep me!” I can’t protect him. I entrust him to You, giving him to You as my trust. You Protect him.” I only said that and recited Ayat al-Kursi. For that reason the soldiers could not see him even
Yes. If Allah Almighty protects His servant, it is all right. Awliya are deputies of our Lord Almighty. If a person runs to a wali and asks for protection, they may protect him, here and hereafter. Those are miracles for the awliya – miracles for anbiya.
We are in need of some certainty. Once again, Hasan al-Basri came to visit that Sheikh. When he arrived, Habib al Ajami, may Allah bless him, brought two loaves of bread, putting them in front of him as a courtesy to his guest. Just as he was beginning to eat, someone who was hungry came and asked for something for the sake of Allah. Then that Sheikh, Habib al-‘Ajami, took back the loaves from Hasan al Basri and gave them to that person.
Then the Imam, Hasan al-Basri, said, “O Sheikh, you are a good person, but if you had some more knowledge of the Shari’ah it would have been better for you. You should know a little about the Shari’ah: you are in need of that.” He meant to say, “One loaf for me and one for that person, not taking the two and giving them away”.
The Sheikh did not say anything. After awhile someone came to the door. The Sheikh ordered, “See who is there.” A murid went and looked, saying, “A person has brought a tray full of plates.” Then the Sheikh said, “Bring the tray here. Now Imam, eat”.
“You know so much,” the Sheikh said to Hasan al Basri, “but have little certainty. You must try to have more certainty.” Because he had certainty, that Sheikh knew that if he gave this for the sake of Allah, more than this must certainly come. “You were angry with me when I took the two leaves, giving them to that person. Look! If I had not given both of them, this would not have come. I am certain that when I give, Allah Almighty will return it at least tenfold.
Yes. Therefore, certainty gives more benefit to everyone, and we are in need of that. If there is no certainty, knowledge can never give benefit but is only like an ornament to enable people to say. “We are doctors and we are scholars”.
What is certainty? Someone said, “If I put my hand in the mouth of a dragon and my heart is all right, it is never going to be afraid that this dragon will bite my hand, no. I know with certainty that only if my Lord gives the order will it bite. Therefore, without doubt, if I were to put my hand there, I would not be afraid.”
Imam Sha’rani – he is of the people of tawwakul, those who trust in their Lord totally – said, “Once I was traveling and it was near Maghrib time. I saw a dome and walked toward it. When I entered it, I saw that there was a tomb in it, under the dome, in ruins.
“After a short while peasants came running, saying, “O Sheikh, you must not stay here but must come with us. Our village is nearby. This is a terrible place, particularly at night-time. So many snakes, big snakes, come out and if anyone sleeps here, in the morning we find only his bones, nothing else. They eat him; only bones are left.
Therefore we are warning you not to sleep here”.
Then Imam Sh’arani, may Allah bless him, said to the peasants, “O my brothers, when you tell me that, I can’t move, I can’t take even one step out of this place. Because when you warned me about those big snakes, my ego was very afraid of them, and I was so ashamed in front of my Lord because my nafs was so frightened of snakes and not fearing Allah Almighty but fearing snakes. Therefore I am not going with you. I can never accept your invitation. I must sleep here this night; it is better for such a ego that I be eaten by snakes. Therefore, it is impossible that I should leave this place.”
Eh! The peasants said. “You know best, Sheikh, you are the Sheikh. We don’t know. We are inviting you and we are also warning you about the snakes.”
“Yes. Thank you very much. You go and I will be here this night. If, without saying anything about snakes, you had come and invited me officially, “Come with us.” It would have been all right, I might have come. But since you say, “There are snakes, there is danger, this is a terrible place, ‘ I can’t move even one step from here. So go away.”
They went, and in the morning they hurried back with shovels to bury shat Sheikh’s bones. And they saw that the Sheikh was sitting and making dhikr, and the snakes were, like wooden beams, beside him. When he lay down, they went around him; in that sandy place they made tracks, traveling around and hissing. And he was at rest.
Yes; if you know your Lord and trust in Him, He protects you. If you are familiar with your Lord, everything is going to be familiar with you.
That is certainty. Important! And we must try to improve in certainty, not trying to retain so many verses of the Qur’an and so many hadiths; but if we can acquire the secret power in them, that will be certainty for us. Whoever has it, may give it. The one who has something, may give it, if he doesn’t have it, how can he give? You ask bread from a person, for example. If he has it, he will give it to you; if not, he cannot give it.
Certainty is with the prophets; their certainty brought Gabriel to them from Heaven. And awliya, also; certainty is with them. You can acquire certainty from those people. All awliya have certainty; you can’t find a wali without certainty. Therefore we are asking our Lord to enable us to find one of them so that we can acquire certainty from them; they give certainty. There are some lamps of only five watts, and some others of one thousand or maybe even ten thousand watts. As much as a person needs, they give, as much as you ask, they give certainty. We are in need of that. May Allah bless you and forgive you, and grant us certainty from His beloved people.