Calling another shaykh “Mawlana”


Rabiul Awwal Mubarak, May Allah give you good health and happiness.

Please advise me what should I say, when someone complaining when I call Syekh Hisyam with Maulana Syekh Hisyam. He complaint that Maulana is only Maulana Syekh Nazim. I understand Maulana is Maulana syekh Nazim. I really upset with this guy, this guy is singaporian and wanna write for him. Please tell me what to say.



`Alaykum as-Salam,

Mawlana means “our mawla.” In the Arabic language mawla is applied to any blood relative, cousin, neighbor, helper, defender, ally, leader, freed slave, and the person who frees his slave. It is also a Divine Name, in which sense it is applied to Allah alone (Q 2:286, 3:150, 8:40). But in the first senses it can be applied to many different kinds of people, including a mosque imam or a Qur’an teacher, not only in the Arab world but also in Southeast Asia.

Sultan al-Awliya Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (may his secret be sanctified) is closer to us than our blood relatives, he is also our greatest helper, defender, ally, leader, and the one who frees us by the grace of Allah from the slavery of sin and hellfire, since he is the inheritor of the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) in our time; and as Mawlana’s son-in-law, representative and khalifa, Shaykh Hisham is an inheritor of those qualities, only one of which is enough reason for us to call him our Mawla; although it does not give him enough credit to call him Mawlana for he is much more, and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim is much more.

Al-Hasan al-Basri said: “When you leave your house in the morning, whoever you see for the rest of the day tell yourself they are better than you.” That means they are all your Mawlana. In our Tariqah we are told to consider anyone we see to be possibly al-Khidr `alayhis-salam! So we should be very careful what we say and we should never fall into the trap of giving anyone less respect than they deserve. The Holy Prophet (upon him blesings and peace) said: “Truly a man shall utter a word which he thinks of little consequence, then fall headlong because of it for a distance of seventy years” (Tirmidhi); meaning, they will be blocked from Tawfiq for the rest of their lives – we seek refuge in Allah from such a fate!

But there is never any harm in giving more and more respect, on the contrary, it shows humbleness and iman.

Yet, even if we called Mawlana Shaykh Nazim with the greatest titles 24/7 exclusively, it does not add anything to his status because only Allah and His Prophet and His Prophet’s inheritors truly know Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s status; similarly, if we call everyone else “Mawlana” it does not detract one iota from Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s status. He does not need us one bit. Showing respect is not for his advantage, but for the good of our souls, and he asks for respect in the deeds of our lives and the sincerity of our hearts, not in formalities or pedantry.

We seek refuge and ask protection from Allah Most High on behalf of Mawlana Shaykh Hisham (may his soul be sanctified and his levels be raised always), from the avarice of our souls and from the evil of the envier when he envies.

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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