Mawsim of Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi
may Allah be pleased with him
16th October 2022, Cape Town
Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah
Allah has gathered us all together in this blessed Jumu’ah mosque, in this blessed city of the mountain, sea and awliya, to honour the blessed life of sayyidina Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, may Allah have mercy on him, as was fore-ordained before anything came into existence. Each person is here because He, subhanahu wa ta’ala, decreed that it should happen; it is His will and for His purpose.
Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has made clear to mankind that He wants us to know Him in His Mercy and Majesty, and to that end He brought forth creation, which was firstly recorded in a book, from beginning to end. Nothing and no one outsteps what Allah wants, either in time or place, whether sun, sand particle, animal, jinn or human being.
The beginning is before time and space, with Allah taking a portion of His Light, naming it the Nuri Muhammad, subhanahu wa ta’ala, known only to Him. From that light descends all creation, glorifying and obeying Allah, willingly or unwillingly.
The highest and most perfect in fulfilling Allah’s intention are the Messengers and Prophets, Allah be pleased with all of them. They are the shining suns that reveal Allah’s creation for what it is, and what it is for. The best of them and the inspiration for all the others is our Messenger, Muhammad, sallahu alayhi wa sallim, sent to all mankind, not to be succeeded by another while time continues; a mercy for all creation and a guide to the pure Presence, by what Allah has made halal and haram. The Rasulullah, sallahu alayhi wa sallim, is vast in form and meaning, beyond our intellect, unsurpassed by any before or after, an impeachable source for all men and women to realise their own gift of existence and its purpose as decreed by the Decreer.
Since there will never be another Messenger among humanity for as long as the world exists, He, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has placed guidance and example among the best of those upon the earth at any time, indeed they are essential and key to the continuance of life on earth. Some are known, many are not; they are the pure slaves of Allah, obeying Him in every instant, whatever the changes over time, for better or worse, Allah protects them for His purpose.
Man is forgetful and weak, and from great heights can descend to the lowest depths. So it is, that Allah sends extraordinary men to remind mankind of the mercy and generosity of His great Messenger, Muhammad, sallahu alayhi wa sallim, and call them back from their wandering in loss to obedience to their merciful Master, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Those of us here, and others spread around the globe, are fortunate to be the followers of such a man, Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, may Allah be pleased with him, and cover him in mercy, solace and sweetness, in his resting place here, until the Rising, where we ask Allah to honour him greatly and apportion his place in the highest Gardens in the company of our Rasul, sallahu alayhi wa sallim, and those Allah loves best.
Allah guided him to Himself through the great men of Allah, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Habib and Shaykh Muhammad al-Faytouri, Allah be pleased with them both. He assumed, as commanded, the responsibility for the Darqawi Tariqah, and continued to call people to Allah, which was, and always remained, his first concern. However, through his Marifatullah, his knowledge and proximity to Allah, he realised that something essential was missing, and when an essential element is not part of any matter there can be no success, because the Arif knows that the source of Truth, the Haqiqah, is the Road, the Shari’ah, and vice versa, because they are from the Master of both.
In his certainty, as Shaykh of the Tariqah, he abandoned all that he had clung to of the practices of the Tariqah and placed himself at Allah’s mercy, for guidance and clarity, and in this state of complete submission, Allah raised him up, and showed him the reality of Shaykh al-Faytouri’s words uttered after his successful khalwah and completion of his journey, “Where do you go after Makkah, but Madinah?”
Allah brought the Shaykh’s attention to the works of Qadi Abu Fadl ‘Iyad al-Yahsubi, may Allah be pleased with him and protect his place of rest. It was the missing part he only knew by its absence in his extensive knowledge. These were not hidden treasures, indeed among the people of Imam Malik, radiallahu an, they are well known, but in his purview, he realised their real worth in our time, being pure gold, indeed, the red sulphur that transforms base metal into gold. He took them off the shelf and applied them to our lives. Through Qadi ‘Iyad, rahimahu Allah, he discovered men of Allah, whose states and behaviour demonstrated their love of Rasulullah, sallahu alayhi wa sallim, their fear of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, and their wilaya without a mention of Tasawwuf, because they were actively involved in establishing, protecting and advancing the Deen of Allah. Here, were men whose inward the Sufis would recognise and whose outward the people of ‘Ilm had to confirm, by whom the wronged gained justice, the poor were helped and the powerful were not feared.
Up until then we had experienced the dichotomy between the ‘Ulama and the Sufis, but here was a record of men who were both; men who were zahid at the same time pronouncing sharic judgements and caring for the civic body. Even before Shaykh Abdalqadir realised he was Muslim, he cared for people and social justice, and at this point his vision became clear; it was the coalescing of all the parts Allah had opened his heart and intellect to.
In times of danger to the Ummah, particularly the European invasion of the Muslim lands, it was the Sufis who left their zawiyyahs and engaged the Kuffar fee sabilillah, Allah reward them all. They did not leave their tasawwuf in their zawiyyahs but took it with them to the battle field.
In our time, our Shaykh realised the perilous circumstances of the Ummah, no khilafah, no rule by Book and Sunnah, instead all Muslims were being ruled by western economic and political systems. By Allah, he realised that the only response was to go back to the original successful implementation of Islam by the Rasulullah, sallahu alayhi wa sallim, and his companions, their followers and their followers, may Allah be pleased with all of them. This had been done throughout history, most recently by Shaykh ‘Uthman dan Fodio in Nigeria, and like him, he called us to Madinah and the ‘Aml of its first three generations, as recorded by Imam Malik, the Imam of the Dar ul-Hijrah.
This was not going from one thing to another, as some mistakenly thought, leaving Tasawwuf for Fiqh, but rather a unifying, or coalescing of these essential elements of our Deen, Islam, Iman and Ihsan.
To move forward we cannot go back to Kufa, Baghdad, Damascus or even Istanbul, but all the way back prior to Madhhab through Imam Malik to Madinah al-Munawwara.
What the Shaykh took from that in the first place was leadership, Amirate. Leadership by a man who took on the responsibility for the Deen and welfare of his community. Not an Imam or Shaykh, but a man who would get things done, helped, guided and obeyed by shaykhs, imams, ’ulama and the people at large. When a man places himself below everybody else in serving them, Allah raises him up with command over them. Without him there is no effective Jumu’ah, Ramadan, Hajj, Zakat or just trading, and without the solid foundation of the obligatory how do we approach Allah? It is what He loves most, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Sayyidina Shaykh raised up the example of the Ribat; the Murabitun; those on the borders with the kuffar, protecting and advancing the Deen against them, but where are those borders now? We started our journey in a zawiyyah, huddled in dhikr and study, honouring what we had from Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, through the tireless efforts of sayyidina Shaykh. We tried to break free from there to establish a halal village, but it didn’t work. We could not emigrate to a land governed by Book and Sunnah, because we could not find one. All this time over many years there was much interaction with Muslims from all over the world, Sayyidina Shaykh was tireless in pursuit of knowledge and the implementation of that knowledge, but nothing came close to what we received from Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib and the Darqawi Tariqah, until Qadi ‘Iyad and ‘Root Islamic Education’.
This was the step that revealed Shaykh Abdalqadir as Mujaddid and Muhyiddin, even if we did not realise it at the time.
We understood Shaykh Hasan al-Basri’s words that, ‘Sufism was a reality without a name, but now it is a name without a reality’. Meaning Madinah al-Munawwara, the place of the Deen, where everything was in its place. Islam for all, Iman firmly in the hearts and Ihsan for the dedicated to Allah.
He, Allah have mercy on him, pointed forward to Madinah, Amirate, establishing mosques, minting gold and silver, establishing Zakat as a taken governmental obligation.
He called us to Madinah as the only place, and reality, that all Muslims will agree on, as his desire was for the Ummah as a whole, a unifying love for Allah and the Rasul, only contested by Allah’s enemies and the Rasul’s detractors.
Now is the time for Islam to call mankind back from the brink, it is what the world needs and it is the Muslim’s responsibility to share and call others to what was established in Madinah al-Munawwara, before it was recorded by Imam Malik. No cultural manifestation of Islam from whatever real source can achieve this, we cannot call people to the Ummah as it is now; we have to call the Ummah back to Madinah by practice and to Allah in reality. If we embark, we will arrive. If we are true to what our Shaykh taught us, the light of the Deen will draw those of good heart and intellect towards Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
As the man of our time, his view was global, his concern was for everyone, those close to him will overwhelm you with anecdotes of his constant caring interaction with all he met in whatever mundane activity he engaged in. They will tell you of his extraordinary generosity and how things came into one hand and out of the other. This doesn’t mean he was a nice man; he was a beautifully majestic man, he gave everyone their due, whether a smile or a reprimand, but all for the sake of Allah.
When he encountered a man he considered capable, he handed over his authority of the sublime Darqawi Tariqah, saying he was putting it back where it belonged, may Allah help him who guides to Allah. He was always looking for a man of outward authority to take on the responsibility for the Muslims, and met leaders whenever there was a Muslim upheaval around the world, searching the traces of previous Islamic leadership for some sign of the revival for Allah’s Deen.
As our leader, he pointed us to the Qawa’id of Islam, upon which all else is built, and showed us that its fundamental pillar Zakat was lying in the dust, a pillar that once compromised, weakens Salah and its effectiveness, and thereby the Deen as a whole. Remember, Islam is a social reality not a private one. He instructed his Amirs to put this right, to mint the necessary coin for its successful implementation, which led to the understanding of the mu’amalat and its examples, aided by the tremendous work of Shaykh Umar.
We have no power, wealth or authority in this world, other than knowing that it all belongs to Allah, but it does not stop us from working with what we have relying on Allah to help us. Get up in the night, put your faces on the ground, weep and implore Allah, for the purification of your heart, that you may serve Him, following in the steps of His beloved, putting back into place what he, sallahu alayhi wa sallim, and his companions fought for with their lives to establish for all mankind until the end of time.
Emulating the Rasulullah, sallahu alayhi wa sallim, our beloved Shaykh made men and women who received his light and knowledge; communities, of what Ibn Khaldun termed, Asabiyyah, made up of individual lights that when brought together illuminate all around them. It is a light that shines in the modern darkness, and catches the glimpses of bright things within that murk. The light of Asabiyyah is from the very core of our Deen; it is the ‘Amal of Madinah wherever it is found; it is the mark of Shaykh Abdalqadir’s people. This is our inheritance, nurtured by Sayyidina Shaykh over fifty years, travelling through the deserts of a humanity without trust in the Divine, with our eyes and hearts looking towards Madinah al-Munawwara.
Its proof is evident when one of those people return to Allah, as we have witnessed in Norwich and Cape Town over these years. It is a year since our Shaykh completed his journey in this world, and most recently with the passing of our Amir Hakim and his mother-in-law Rahima, dear Abdallatif, and others, may Allah cover them in His mercy and grant them the best of His rewards. Marching through the busy streets of Norwich, declaring the Name and Majesty of Allah, from the mosque to the graveside, overwhelming all who encounter that awesome procession, with respect and even tears. It is the coalescing of these lights in action fee sabilillah, like tonight and on every occasion we come together for Allah, His Rasul and our Deen, that something happens in the universe, as is Allah’s will. It is something we receive individually that we could not achieve individually; it is like a Night of Power, better than a thousand months of individual effort. It is the light of this tremendous gathering that will be taken among the people of our time, within our daily mundane activities. It is transformative and will protect us from the shayateen, inspire the good of heart and change what we encounter for the better. Whether you are driver, lawyer, cook, man or woman, you are Muslim and this is your real occupation, the one Allah created you for.
The world of the Kuffar is crumbling, it is over, as our Shaykh told us many times over the years. Now we are seeing it for ourselves; anyone with investment in it is going to lose. It is the time of al-Asr; only those who trust Allah and act according to the Deen of the Rasul will flourish, as the world darkens they will become brighter. Islam is a wealth that looks like poverty, whereas Kufr, that is the modern world is a poverty that looks like wealth.
We left the zawiyyah for the ribat and left that for the mosque and we don’t want to go back; we want to take the light of Salah backed up by Zakah infused with dhikrullah into the everyday; we want to penetrate the darkness of Riba, the root cause of all that is wrong, with the ‘amal that are salih. Our Shaykh has shown us the way, he has given us the tools and arms, now it is up to us to use them, fee sabilillah.
Let us recite Suratul ‘Asr together, ba’d a’udhu billahi minash shaytanir rajim,