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 “Bismillah
irRahman irRahim.” 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’s
governor, 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
(if they stood just in front of him).

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

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

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.

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