Question: Can you please explain the hadith, ‘Seek knowledge even if you have to go as far as China,’ what is meant by knowledge, is it worldy knowledge? or does it mean to become alim or hafiz? Everyone is giving me their own interpretation and I’m confused.
BismillahirRahmanirRahim. We have spoken about this before at length but because you ask the question again we may speak insha’Allah. Because there are some people they are also asking for that. Sheykh Effendi had spoken so many times, Sheykh Abdul Karim Al Kabrisi Hz, may Allah raise his stations, may he send his support to us insha’Allah.
When Prophet (asws) says, ‘Seek knowledge even if you have to go to China,’ the knowledge that he is speaking about in reality is not the knowledge of this Dunya. The Prophets they never teach people or push people to run after this world. It is always after Ahirat. When he says, ‘Seek knowledge,’ he is talking about Heavenly knowledge, he is talking about spiritual knowledge. He is not talking about trading, he is not talking about learning computers. He is not. Because the highest knowledge now it is not the knowledge of this world, it is knowledge of Ahirat. That is the highest knowledge. But the highest knowledge of Ahirat is the knowledge of Allah swt. Can any knowledge be higher than the knowledge of Allah? Nothing.
So to seek knowledge there is one secret there, even if you have to go as far as China, because Sheykh Effendi said China at that time was known as the furthest, the most exotic, the furthest area. But if you look at China, you look at China especially the parts linking Central Asia to China, Western China today they call, all that area it is the most important and the most Holy places for Tarikat and Tasawwuf. You understand? So now the knowledge of Tasawwuf, the knowledge of your Lord even literally it is around that area. It is there.
We are very fortunate in these days we don’t have to travel all the way to China. We don’t even have to travel all the way to New York. New York comes to San Diego (Sheykh laughs). We are fortunate, we are spoiled even, but Allah swt knows us and He knows how weak we are and He makes things easy for us, for the sake of His beloved one, for the sake of the Prophet (asws). So how are we showing then the appreciation to our Lord Allah swt? How are we thanking Him? This is something we have to look at carefully. Thanking Him is not just saying ‘thank You’ then later to say, ‘why are You giving this to me?’ Thanking Him is not to say, ‘ok thank You I have a job but I need more money.’ Thanking Him is not to say, ‘thank You I got married but why is he like that, why is she like that?’ Complaining, that is not real thanks now. So Allah has blessed us.
Man if he just sits down and he starts thinking about his Lord, he will get closer to his Lord. This is what the AwliyaAllah has been trying to tell us all this time, that it is not through studying that you are going to understand your Lord, you’re not, especially books. In these days especially if you study so many books it will give you more confusion, because more poison is in there, more corruption is in there. That’s why in the old days people don’t print out, have you heard of any Scholars, lets say for example, astaghfirullah I don’t want to make it trivial, but you ever heard of Imam Abu Hanifa printing books and making money from the books? or Imam Malik? Imam Hambali? Now our Scholars are making a lot of money, no? So there is something wrong there. So with that itself there’s going to be corruption. So may Allah keep us from corruption inshaAllah.
Now if you are just sincerely questioning yourself, coming back to the first part of our Sohbet, you go through a mid life crisis and you ask yourself, ‘who am I? Who am I?’ I am Hashim. Who gave me that name? Is that the name that I have been living with all my life, the meaning of that name? Why am I being sent here? How am I with my Lord? Once you start asking, you find certain answers and you find the glory and the greatness of your Lord, that becomes a worship. Man can be going up and down saying Allahu Akbar but there is no sincerity in his prayer. The man who doesn’t pray so much but he looks at the beauty of nature around him and he says, ‘SubhanAllah, look everything is different everything is beautiful, what a great Lord my Lord is, what a great artist he is SubhanAllah.’ That time you are worshiping. That time you are understanding your Lord. That time you are close. That time you are not just doing certain rituals that because you are doing it so much, you are not putting meaning into it and it becomes empty. Of course were not saying don’t pray don’t do anything, you have to pray you have. Thats why the Prophet (asws) is saying how do you make your prayer to become fresh and alive? Think when you are praying as if it is your last prayer. That is how you are going to wake yourself up, to make your prayer to be fresher. But how many of us we know that Hadiths? How many of us are really putting into it now? And more you are thinking of death, more you will understand and taste life, and more you are going to look forward to the afterlife.
Don’t seal your hearts. More you fall in love with this Dunya, more it will seal your heart. More you give in to your desires, more it is going to seal your heart. More you are sincere with your Lord and say, ‘I am weak help me, help me. I cannot do anything, please forgive me.’ That time forgiveness may enter as much as you are sincere. But we are not going to look at whatever that we are doing that is wrong as right. We say this is a weakness. We cannot say, ‘so what? I do it , so what? So many people are also,’ or ‘this one is like this I am like this , so what?’ No, then that time arrogance enters, and arrogance, if you have a drop of arrogance, a drop of jealousy you can not even smell Jannat you understand? But if you say to your Lord, ‘yes I am arrogant, yes I am a jealous one Ya Rabbi. Today I did this, today I thought this, today I said this that made me to come out with all these wrong feelings and I’m asking for forgiveness.’ That time it is easy for them, easy for them to forgive you because you are already judging yourself, taking yourself into accounting. Then your judgment in the grave and the Hereafter is going to be easy for you.
This much is enough insha’Allah, Wa Min Allahu Tawfiq Al Fatiha. May Allah forgive me insha’Allah and bless you. Thank you very much I will see you soon. Al Fatiha.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz,
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
San Diego California
16 Jamada al-Awwal 1437
February 25, 2016.