Bismillāh ar-Rahmān ar-Rahīm
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
What an uplifting talk he gave during the lecture “Longing for the Divine” at Singapore Expo on Tuesday night. There were about 700 people in attendance and The Naqsh Band sang 3 qasaid before the lecture started. They got the crowd to sing along with them and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
When Shaykh Hisham Kabbani took the mike, it was easy to see why millions are in love with him. His ever-ready smiles, his humour, his great affection – it was infectious to say the least. Several times he turned to the poster that was behind him and asked, “I don’t understand this. Longing for the Divine? Who?”
He then drove home the point that in truth, it is the Divine that is longing for us, not the other way round. He talked about how everyone everywhere is looking and longing for something and throughout his travels, he’s found that they are looking for spirituality.
Shaykh Hisham talked about the concept of Sufism and its historical background and foundation. He mentioned how Istighfar is the vehicle on which to take you closer to the Divine. He said that the great Saint Rabia’ Al-Adawiyah (Rabiahtul Adawiyah) was occupied with saying Astahgfirullah day and night and how she says that her 1st Istighfar was in need of a 2nd istighfar to purify it. SubhanAllah!
Shaykh Hisham also said that one of the signs that someone is sincerely longing for the Divine is when his prayers are not enough. Each time he completes his obligatory prayers, he proceeds with nawafil prayers because he wants his connection with the Divine to not be cut off.
He was also actively engaged with the audience, constantly asking questions and smiling and getting answers from the audience. One time, he asked an Ustaz what was the meaning of “hasanat”. This was in relation to the doa that we often read: “Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanah wa fil-akhirati hasanah. Waqina azaaban-naar.”
The Ustaz said it meant “goodness”. Shaykh Hisham then singled out MP Zainal Abidin and asked him and MP said “mercy”. While Shaykh Hisham said that both answers were correct, the secret behind that doa is something else. He talked about ‘goodness’ and then later asked, “Who embodies goodness?”. He then said that the Prophet SAW was the embodiment of goodness and when we make that doa, we are simultaneously asking for the Prophet’s SAW intercession in this life and the next.
In a hadith, the Prophet SAW said “My life is a great good for you, you will relate about me and it will be related to you, and my death is a great good for you, your actions will be exhibited to me, and if I see goodness I will praise Allah, and if I see evil I will ask forgiveness of Him for you.”
Shaykh Hisham only has one last program before leaving Singapore. Don’t miss the event at Madrasah Khairiah @ Simply Islam at Still Road tonight at 7pm. Maghrib prayers will be done together.
Ameera Begum Aslam