Monday, December 16, 2013

Probably the last


You should know that the above-mentioned stages [of spiritual progress] can only be attained through genuine repentance [tawba nasuh], and with verbal instruction [talqin] from qualified experts. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And He imposed on them
wa alzama-hum
the profession of true devotion.
kalimata 't-taqwa. (48:26)

That is the profession: "There is no god but Allah [la ilaha illa 'llah]," with the stipulation that it must come from a heart that is truly devout, pure of everything apart from Allah, not like any statement heard from the mouths of the common folk. The wording may be the same in each case, but there is a difference in the meaning.

The heart is enlivened only when it receives the seed of the affirmation of Oneness from a living heart. It must be a perfect seed, for nothing grows from a seed that is immature. That is why Allah sent down the profession of Oneness [kalimat at-Tawhid] in two places in the Qur'an, once in connection with the outer expression:

When it was said to them:
inna-hum kanu idha qila la-hum
"There is no god but Allah,"
la ilaha illa 'llahu
they were scornful, and they said:
yastakbirun: wa yaquluna
"Shall we forsake our gods?"
a-inna la-tariku alihati-na. (37:35,36)

-and once in connection with real knowledge:

So know that there is no god but Allah,
fa-''lam anna-hu la ilaha illa 'llahu
and ask forgiveness for your sin,
wa 'staghfir li-dhanbi-ka
and for the believing men and believing women.
wa li'l-mu'minina wa 'l-mu'minat:
Allah knows your going to and from,
wa 'llahu ya'lamu mutaqabbala-kum
and your lodging.
wa mathwa-kum. (47:19)

This instruction [talqin], concerning the reason for the revelation of this noble Qur'anic verse [aya], is for the benefit of the special few.

According to the author of Bustan ash-Shari'a [The Orchard of the Sacred Law]: "'Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him) was the first to ask the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) to show him the nearest, the finest and the easiest of the spiritual paths. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) waited for inspiration [wahy], so Gabriel (peace be upon him) came down and instructed him to repeat this profession [of Oneness] three times. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) then said what Gabriel (peace be upon him) had told him to say. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) then instructed 'Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him) to do likewise. Then he came to his Companions and gave the same instruction to them all."

[In the wake of a battle with the unbelievers], the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said [to his Companions]:

We have come home from the lesser sacred struggle [al-jihad al-asghar].
We are returning to the greater sacred struggle [al-jihad al-akbar].

-meaning the sacred struggle with the lower self [jihad an-nafs]. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to one of his Companions:

The greatest of all your enemies is that lower self of yours, in there between your flanks.

The love of Allah will not be experienced until His enemies, the instigating self [an-nafs al-ammara], the censorious self [lawwama] and the inspiring self [mulhima], have been conquered in your being. You must purify your being of the blameworthy characteristics of domestic animals, like the love of excessive eating, drinking, sleep and idle play, and of those of savage beasts, like anger, abuse, assault and coercion. You must also purify your being of satanic characteristics, like arrogant pride, vain conceit, envy and malice, and of other such vices of the body and the heart. Once you are cleansed of these impurities, you will be cleansed of the root of sins, and you will be included among those who purify themselves and are truly repentant.

Allah loves those who are truly repentant,
inna 'llaha yuhibbu 't-tawwabina
and He loves those who purify themselves.
wa yuhibbu 'l-mutatahhirin. (2:222)

If someone repents, but only of the outer aspect of sins, the obvious conclusion is that he is not covered by this Qur'anic verse [aya], since he is ta'ib [simply repentant], but not tawwab [utterly repentant]. The form tawwab is intensive, so it refers to the repentance of the special few. If someone repents, but only of the outer aspect of sins, he is like someone who cuts the grass above the ground, and does not take the trouble to dig it out by the roots, so it is sure to grow again, even more thickly than before.

As for someone who is truly repentant of all sins and blameworthy traits of character, his likeness is that of someone who digs the grass out by its roots, so it will certainly not grow again, except in very rare cases. After true repentance, therefore, the necessary instruction [talqin] is to uproot everything apart from Allah (Exalted is He) from the heart. If the bitter trees are not uprooted, the sweet trees will not take their place.

You must therefore pay careful attention, O possessors of perceptive faculties, for then you may prosper and succeed. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And He is the One who accepts repentance
wa Huwa 'lladhi yaqbalu 't-tawbata
from His servants, and pardons evil deeds,
'an 'ibadi-hi wa ya'fu 'ani 's-sayyi'ati
and He knows what you are doing.
wa ya'lamu ma taf'alun. (42:25)

He has also said (Glory be to Him):

Except those who repent, and believe,
illa man taba wa amana
and do righteous work-
wa 'amila 'amalan salihan
in their case, Allah will change
fa-ula'ika yubaddilu 'llahu
their evil deeds into good deeds,
sayyi'ati-him hasanat:
for Allah is ever All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.
wa kana 'llahu Ghafuran Rahima. (25:70)

Repentance is of two kinds: the repentance of the common folk [tawbat al-'amm] and the repentance of the special few [tawbat al-khawass]:

1. The repentance of the common folk is returning from sinful disobedience to worshipful obedience, from what is blameworthy to that which is praiseworthy, from the Inferno to the Garden, from the comfort of the body to the hardship of [conflict with] the lower self, by means of remembrance [dhikr], dedicated striving and vigorous endeavor.

2. The repentance of the special few is returning, after the achievement of this repentance, from the virtues of the pious to the sources of direct knowledge, from the stages of progress to nearness, and from physical pleasures to spiritual pleasures. That means forsaking everything apart from Allah (Exalted is He), enjoying intimacy with Him, and viewing Him with the eye of certitude.

To enjoy the benefits of material existence is to be guilty of sin. In the words of the saying addressed to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):

Your material existence is such a sin that no other sin can be compared with it.

According to the great elders (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon them): "The good deeds of the pious are the bad deeds of those drawn near [to the Lord]." That is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to seek Allah's forgiveness one hundred times each day, as Allah (Exalted is He) told him:

And ask forgiveness for your sin.
wa 'staghfir li-dhanbi-ka. (47:19)

That is to say: "for the sin of your material existence." This is the repentance called inaba, which means returning to Allah (Exalted is He) from everything apart from Him, entering into the safety of nearness in the Hereafter, and beholding the Countenance of Allah (Exalted is He). As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:

Allah (Exalted is He) has servants whose bodies are in this world, while their hearts are beneath the Heavenly Throne.

The vision of Allah (Exalted is He) is impossible in this world, where it is possible only to view the attributes of Allah (Exalted is He) in the mirror of the heart. It was 'Umar (may Allah be well pleased withim) who said: "My heart saw my Lord by the light of my Lord." The heart is a mirror in which the Beauty of Allah (Exalted is He) is reflected.

This witnessing [of the Divine attributes] is attainable only through the instruction [talqin] of an accomplished Shaikh, one who has been accepted among the predecessors, then sent back here to perfect the deficient, at the command of Allah (Exalted is He), in accordance with the example of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The saints (may Allah the Exalted be well pleased with them) are sent to the special few, not to the common folk. This is the difference between the Prophet and the saint [wali]: The Prophet is sent to the common folk and the special few alike, and he is free to set his own independent example, whereas the spiritual guide [murshid] is sent only to the special few, and he is not free to set his own independent example, because he qualified only to follow his Prophet (peace be upon him). If he did claim independence, he would be guilty of unbelief [kufr].

When the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made the comparison:

The scholars of my Community are like the Prophets of the Children of Israel.

-he did so because they [those Prophets] were the loyal followers of the Sacred Law of the Messenger, he being Moses (blessing and peace be upon him). Their task was to renew that Law and confirm its rules, without introducing another Sacred Law.

The same is true of the scholars of this Islamic Community, inasmuch as the saints are sent to the special few, in order to renew the commandment and the prohibition, to establish right practice with the utmost support, and to purify the basis of the Sacred Law, which is the site of direct knowledge in the heart. They transmit knowledge of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), just as the Companions of the Bench [Ashab as-Suffa]6 used to tell of the mysteries of the Heavenly Ascension [Mi'raj], even before the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported the news. The saint is the bearer of the sainthood [wilaya] of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), which is an element of his Prophethood, and his inner being is entrusted to his guardianship.

This does not apply to all those [scholars of the Community] who follow the outer aspect of knowledge, because they may be heirs of the Prophet, but only as relatives on the maternal side. The complete heir is one who is in the position of the son, because that is the closest of paternal relationships. The son is the father's secret being, both outwardly and inwardly. That is why the Prophet (blessing and peace be upon him) once said:

Some knowledge is like the form of the hidden treasure. It is known only by those who truly know Allah (Exalted is He). When they speak of it, the people of honor cannot deny it.

This is the secret that was lodged in the heart of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) on the night of the Heavenly Ascension, in the innermost of the thirty thousand inner compartments. He did not reveal it to any of the common folk, but only to his closest Companions and the Companions of the Bench. The blessing of that secret is the implementation of the Sacred Law until the Day of Resurrection.

Esoteric knowledge guides one to that secret, for all the academic sciences and skills are the shell of that secret. As for the exoteric scholars, they are inheritors, so some of them are in the position of the owner of material properties, and some are in the position of relatives on the maternal side. They rely on the shells of knowledge, in order to summon people to Allah (Exalted is He) with good advice. The Sunni Shaikhs are linked by their spiritual chain [silsila] to 'Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him), at the station of knowledge at the gate of knowledge, inviting people to Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) and giving wise advice. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Summon to the way of your Lord with wisdom
ud'u ila sabili Rabbi-ka bi'l-hikmati
and good admonition,
wa 'l-maw'izati 'l-hasanati
and dispute with them in the better way.
wa jadil-hum bi'llati hiya ahsan. (16:125)

What they [the Shaikhs] say is basically the same, though there may be differences in detail.

Three meaningful elements are combined in the Qur'anic verse [aya], and they are likewise combined in the essential nature of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). No one can carry all that after him, so it is divided into three parts:

1. Knowledge of the spiritual state [hal]. This is the kernel, which is granted to real men, and which is the aspiration of real men. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:

The aspiration of real men is the uprooting of the mountains.

What is meant by the mountains is the hardness of the heart, which is eradicated by their supplication and their humble appeal. As Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) has said:

He gives wisdom to whomever He will,
yu'ti 'l-hikmata man yasha':
and he to whom wisdom is given,
wa man yu'ta 'l-hikmata
he has truly received abundant good.
fa-qad utiya khairan kathira. (2:269)

2. The second part is the shell of that kernel, which is given to the exoteric scholars. It consists of good advice, commanding what is right and proper, and forbidding what is wrong and improper. As the Prophet (blessing and peace be upon him) once said:

The scholar preaches with knowledge and good manners, while the ignoramus preaches with aggressiveness and anger.

3. The third part is the shell of the shell, which is given to the worldly rulers. It consists of external justice and the government indicated by His saying (Blessed and Exalted is He):

And dispute with them in the better way.
wa jadil-hum bi'llati hiya ahsan. (16:125)

The worldly rulers possess the outer means of control, and the means to preserve the good order of the religion, like the red shell [the husk that protects the shell]. The esoteric scholars are like the kernel within the shell.

The Prophet (blessing and peace be upon him) once said:

You must frequent the company of the scholars, and listen to the speech of the wise. Allah (Exalted is He) revives the heart with the light of wisdom, just as He revives the dead earth with the water of rain.

He also said (blessing and peace be upon him):

The word of wisdom is wandering astray. The wise man snatches it wherever he finds it.

The words in the mouths of the common folk have come down from the Well-kept Tablet [al-Lawh al-Mahfuz], which is on the level of the realm of Omnipotence [Jabarut]. The words in the mouths of real men, those men who have reached their goal, have come down from the Greatest Tablet on the tongue of Holiness, without intermediary in the realm of Nearness.

Everything must return to its original source. That is why it is a compulsory duty to seek the expert instructors, for the sake of the life of the heart. As the Prophet (blessing and peace be upon him) once said:

The quest for knowledge is a strict obligation for every Muslim man and Muslim woman.

That knowledge is the knowledge of direct experience and nearness. As for the rest, there is no need for the exoteric sciences, except when they contribute to the performance of religious duties, like the science of jurisprudence [fiqh] in relation to acts of worship. As al-Ghazali (may Allah be well pleased with him) said in poetry:

The life of the heart is knowledge, so preserve it,
The death of the heart is ignorance, so avoid it.

Your best provision is true devotion, so provide it.
This advice of mine is enough for you, so heed it.

Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) is well pleased with those of His servants who make the transition to nearness, and attach no importance to degrees of rank. As Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) has said:

Say: "I do not ask of you a fee for it,
qul la as'alu-kum 'alai-hi ajran
except love in close kinship."
illa 'l-mawaddata fi 'l-qurba. (42:23)

In this context, according to one interpretation, what is meant by qurba [close kinship] is qurba [nearness (to the Lord)].

The number of the sciences ['ulum].


Explanation of the Sacred Law [Shari'a], the Spiritual Path [Tariqa], Direct Knowledge [Ma'rifa] and Reality [Haqiqa].

Exoteric science [al-'ilm az-zahir] consists of twelve branches, and esoteric science [al-'ilm al-batin] likewise has twelve branches. These branches are divided among the common folk and the special élite, in proportion to their capability.

The sciences ['ulum] are grouped in four sections:

1. The outer aspect of the Sacred Law [Shari'a], meaning the commandments, prohibitions, and other rules and regulations.

2. The inner aspect of the Sacred Law, which I have called the Science of the Inner and the Spiritual Path [Tariqa].

3. Esotericism, which I have called the Science of Direct Knowledge [Ma'rifa].

4. The innermost of inner factors, which I have called the Science of Reality [Haqiqa].

It is essential to acquire knowledge of all these sciences, for, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

The Sacred Law is a tree, the Spiritual Path is its branches, Direct Knowledge is its leaves, and Reality is its fruit.

The Qur'an contains them all, explicitly and by implication, by commentary or by interpretation. According to the author of al-Majma': "Commentary [tafsir] is for the common folk, while interpretation [ta'wil] is for the élite, because they are the scholars who are rooted [rasikhun] in knowledge. The meaning of 'rootedness [rusukh]' is 'firmness, establishment and commitment' to knowledge, just as the root of the palm tree is firmly established in the earth, while its branches reach up into the sky. This rootedness is the result of the profession [that there is no god except Allah] that is planted in the core of the heart after purification. [In the following Qur'anic verse] Allah (Exalted is He) has referred to 'those who are rooted in knowledge' immediately after His saying (Almighty and Glorious is He) 'except Allah [illa 'llah]':

He it is who has sent down to you the Book
Huwa 'lladhi anzala 'alai-ka 'l-Kitaba
wherein are clear signs-they are the
min-hu ayatun muhkamatun hunna
substance of the Book-and others allegorical.
Ummu 'l-Kitabi wa ukharu mutashabihat:
But those in whose hearts is doubt
fa-amma 'lladhina fi qulubi-him zaighun
pursue that which is allegorical,
fa-yattabi'una ma tashabaha
seeking dissension by seeking its interpretation.
min-hu 'btigha'a 'l-fitnati wa 'btigha'a ta'wili-h:
None knows its interpretation except Allah.
wa ma ya'lamu ta'wila-hu illa 'llah:
And those who are rooted in knowledge say:
wa 'r-rasikhuna fi 'l-'ilmi yaquluna
We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord.'
amanna bi-hi kullun min 'indi Rabbi-na:
But only men of understanding really heed.
wa ma yadhdhakkaru illa ulu 'l-albab. (3:7)"

According to the author of at-Tafsir al-Kabir [The Great Commentary]: "If this door were opened, the doors of the inner mysteries would open too."

The servant is also commanded to observe the commandment and the prohibition, and to oppose the lower self [nafs] in each of the four spheres. In the sphere of the Sacred Law, the lower self insinuates contradictions. In the sphere of the Spiritual Path, it insinuates deceptive conformities, like the claim to Prophethood and sainthood. In the sphere of Direct Knowledge, it insinuates concealed polytheism [shirk khafi] in the guise of luminous revelations, like the claim to Lordship. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Have you seen him who chooses
a-ra'aita mani 'ttakhadha
for his god his own lust?
ilaha-hu hawa-h. (25:43)

As for the sphere of Reality, the devil has no access to it, nor does the lower self, nor do the angels, because anyone other than Allah is (Exalted is He) is burned to ashes therein. As Gabriel (peace be upon him) said: "If I had drawn nearer by a fingertip, I would surely have burned to ashes." [In this sphere] the servant is therefore uninfluenced by two opponents [the devil and his own lower self], and he is sincerely devoted [to Allah]. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

[Satan] said: "Then, by Your might,
qala fa-bi'Izzati-ka
I shall surely beguile them every one,
la-ughwiyanna-hum ajma'in.
except Your sincerely devoted servants among them."
illa 'ibada-ka min-humu 'l-mukhlasin. (38:82,83)

So long as he has not attained to Reality, the servant cannot be sincerely devout, because the disloyal human attributes will only be annihilated by the manifestion of the Divine Essence, and ignorance will only be removed by direct knowledge of the Divine Essence (Glory be to Him and Exalted is He). Allah (Exalted is He) will teach him an esoteric knowledge from His Presence, without intermediary, so he will come to know Him through His instruction, and worship Him through His teaching, as in the case of al-Khidr (peace be upon him).

Once he has reached this stage, the servant will witness the holy spirits. He will come to know his Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), who will tell him about everything from the beginning to the end, and all the other Prophets will give him glad tidings of the eternal communion. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger,
wa man yuti'i 'llaha
they are in the company of those
wa 'r-rasula fa-ula'ika ma'a 'lladhina
to whom Allah has granted gracious favor-
an'ama 'llahu 'alai-him
the Prophets, the champions of truth, the martyrs
mina 'n-nabiyyina wa 's-siddiqina wa 'sh-shuhada'i
and the righteous-and the best of company are they!"
wa 's-salihin: wa hasuna ula'ika rafiqa. (4:69)

If someone has not acquired this knowledge, he is not a scholar in reality, even if he has read a million books. Inasmuch as he does not reach the spiritual level, though he performs physical work in accordance with the outer aspects of the sciences, his recompense will be the Garden of Paradise, and that alone. Only the reflection of the [Divine] attributes will be manifest there. The scholar does not gain access, by exoteric knowledge alone, to the Holy Sanctuary and nearness [to the Lord], because that is the realm of flight, and birds do not fly without wings.

If the servant acts in accordance with both exoteric and esoteric knowledge, he will reach that realm. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said in the Sacred Tradition [Hadith Qudsi]:

O My servant, if you wish to enter My sanctuary, you must pay no attention to the dominion [of this world], the realm of Sovereignty [Malakut] and the realm of Omnipotence [Jabarut], because the dominion [of this world] is the devil of the scholar, the realm of Sovereignty is the devil of the direct knower, and the realm of Omnipotence is the devil of the overseer.

If someone takes notice of any one of these temptations, he is an outcast in the sight of Allah (Exalted is He), meaning an outcast from nearness, not an outcast from the abode. Such are those who seek nearness, but fail to reach it, because they are distracted by desire, and because they only have one wing.

As for the people of nearness, they receive that which no eye has ever seen, of which no ear has ever heard, and which has never occurred to a human heart. That is the Garden of Nearness, in which there are no houries and no palaces.

The human being needs to recognize his true value, and he must not claim for himself what is not his right and proper due. It was 'Ali (may Allah ennoble his countenance) who said: "May Allah have mercy on a man who knows his own worth, who does not go beyond his limit, who guards his tongue, and who does not waste his life."

The scholar must therefore comprehend the meaning of the reality of the human being, called the child of inner meanings. He must train that child to practice constant affirmation of the Names of Oneness, and to leave the realm of physicality for the realm of spirituality, which is the realm of mystery, where there are no abodes except Allah. That realm is like a desert of light, to which there is no end. The child of inner meanings flies over it, and beholds its strange and marvelous wonders, but they are impossible to describe. It is the place of those affirmers of Oneness who lost their own identity in the eye of Singularity. The sight of Allah's Beauty left them with no existence in the meantime, just as staring at the sun makes everything else invisible. Without a doubt, the human being cannot see himself at the same time as Allah's Beauty, because of the overwhelming astonishment and fascination.

As Jesus (peace be upon him) said: "The human being does not enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, unless he is born twice, as the birds are born twice." This refers to the birth of the child of spiritual meanings from the reality of human capability. That is the secret of the human being. It is conceived and born from the union of the science of the Sacred Law and the science of Reality, just as the ordinary child results from the union of the two sperms from the man and the woman. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

We created the human being from a sperm-drop,
inna khalaqna 'l-insana min nutfatin
a mingling, in order to try him;
amshajin nabtali-h:
and We made him hearing, seeing.
fa-ja'alna-hu sami'an basira. (76:2)

After the manifestation of this inner meaning, it becomes a simple matter to pass from the surface of the oceans of creation to the depths of the commandment. In comparison with the realm of the spirit, every other realm is like a drop of water. After that [manifestation], the spiritual and esoteric sciences are communicated without a letter [of the alphabet] and without a sound.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The beginning of creation

Ibtida' al-khalq

You should know—may Allah enable you to achieve what is dear and pleasing to Him!-that Allah (Exalted is He) first created the spirit of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) from the light of His Beauty. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has told us:

I created the spirit of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) from the light of My countenance.

As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said:

The first thing that Allah created was my spirit [ruh]. The first thing that Allah created was my light [nur]. The first thing that Allah created was the pen [qalam]. The first thing that Allah created was the intellect ['aql].

This means that they are all one thing, that being the Muhammadan Reality [al-Haqiqat al-Muhammadiyya], but it is called a "light [nur]" because it is pure and unclouded by the darknesses of Majesty. As Allah (Blessed and Exalted is He) has said:

There has now come to you from Allah
qad ja'a-kum mina 'llahi
a Light, and a clear Book.
Nurun wa Kitabun mubin. (5:15)

It is also called an "intellect ['aql]," because it comprehends universal truths [kulliyyat]. It is also called a "pen [qalam]," because it is an instrument for the transmission of knowledge, just as the pen is an instrument in the realm of letters [of the alphabet].

The Muhammadan spirit is thus the quintessence of all entities, the first of all beings and the origin of them all. As he has said (blessing and peace be upon him):

I am from Allah and the believers are from me.

Allah created all the spirits from him in the realm of Divinity [Lahut], and in the finest real formation. "Muhammad" is the name of all human beings in that realm, and he is the original home.

Then, when four thousand years had passed, Allah created the Heavenly Throne ['Arsh] from the light of the eye of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), and from the Heavenly Throne He created the rest of existing entities. Then He reduced the spirits to the lowest level of existence, meaning the physical bodies. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Then We reduced him [the human being]
thumma radadna-hu
to the lowest of the low.
asfala safilin. (95:5)

In other words, the first descent was from the realm of Divinity [Lahut] to the realm of Omnipotence [Jabarut]. Between the two Sanctuaries, Allah (Exalted is He) clothed them with the light of Omnipotence, which is the royal spirit [ruh sultani]. Then he sent them down, in this attire, to the realm of Sovereignty [Malakut], and He clothed them with the light of Sovereignty, which is the immaterial spirit [ruh ruhani]. Then He sent them down to the realm of Dominion [Mulk], and He clothed them with the light of Dominion, which is the physical spirit. Then from it Allah created the bodies. As He has said (Exalted is He):

Out of it [the earth] We created you,
min-ha khalaqna-kum
and into it We shall send you back again,
wa fi-ha nu'idu-kum
and We shall bring you forth from it a second time.
wa min-ha nukhriju-kum taratan ukhra. (20:55)

Then Allah (Exalted is He) commanded the spirits to enter the bodies, so they entered at Allah's command (Exalted is He). As He has said (Almighty and Glorious is He):

And I breathed into him of My Spirit.
wa nafakhtu fi-hi min Ruhi. (38:72)

When the spirits became attached to the physical bodies, they forgot the covenant they had contracted on the day when Allah asked them: "Am I not your Lord?" and they said: "Yes indeed!" Because of this, they did not return to the original home, but the All-Merciful Source of Help took pity on them. He sent down Heavenly Books to remind them of that original home. As He has said (Exalted is He):

We sent Moses with Our signs, [saying]:
wa la-qad arsalna Musa bi-ayati-na
"Bring your people forth from darkness into light,
an akhrij qawma-ka mina 'z-zulumati ila 'n-nuri
and remind them of the days of Allah."
wa dhakkir-hum bi-ayyami 'llah. (14:5)

In other words: "Remind them of the former days of communion with Him, in the company of the spirits."

All the Prophets came into this world and went away to the Hereafter because of this admonition, but few human beings took heed, longed for their original home and returned to it, until Prophethood was assigned to the supreme Muhammadan spirit, the seal of the Mission and the guide away from error. Allah sent him to those heedless people, to open their eyes from the sleep of heedlessness, so he summoned them to Allah (Exalted is He), to contact with Him and the meeting with His sempiternal Beauty. As Allah (Exalted is He) said to him:

Say: "This is my way: I call to Allah
qul hadhihi sabili ad'u ila 'llah:
with insightful knowledge, I and whoever follows me."
'ala basiratin ana wa mani 'ttaba'a-ni. (12:108)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:

My Companions are like the stars. Whomever of them you follow, you will be guided aright.

Insight comes from the eye of the spirit, which opens within the heart of the saints [awliya']. That is why it is not acquired by knowledge of the external world, but only by knowledge of the inner Presence. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And We taught him knowledge from Our Presence.
wa 'allamna-hu min ladun-na 'ilma. (18:65)

It is therefore necessary for the human being to acquire that eye, and so become one of the masters of insight, by taking instruction from a saint, a spiritual guide whose teaching concerns the realm of Divinity [Lahut].

O brethren! Wake up, and hasten to forgiveness from your Lord through repentance! As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord,
wa sari'u ila maghfiratin min Rabbi-kum
and a Garden as wide as the heavens and the earth,
wa jannatin 'ardu-ha 's-samawatu wa 'l-ardu
which has been made ready for those who are truly devout.
u'iddat li'l-muttaqin. (3:133)

Embark upon the path, and return to your Lord with these spiritual caravans. The path will soon be cut off, and no travelling companion will be found. We have not come to settle in this vile, dilapidated world, nor for the sake of eating, drinking, and satisfying crude natural instincts. Your Prophet is waiting, sorrowful for your sake.
As he said (peace be upon him):

My sorrow is for the members of my Community who will come in later times.

The knowledge that is sent down to us is twofold: exoteric and esoteric, meaning the sacred law [shari'a] and direct understanding [ma'rifa]. Allah (Exalted is He) has commanded us to apply the sacred law to our outer being, and direct understanding to our inner being, so that the combination of the two will result in knowledge of Reality [Haqiqa], just as fruit is produced by the tree and the leaves. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

He has partitioned the two seas.
maraja 'l-bahraini
They meet, [but] between them there is a barrier
yaltaqiyan: baina-huma barzakhun
that they do not overpass.
la yabghiyan. (55:19,20)

Reality cannot be attained, and the goal cannot be reached, by exoteric knowledge alone. Perfect worship is accomplished by means of both forms of knowledge, not one without the other. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

I did not create the jinn and humankind
wa ma khalaqtu 'l-jinna wa 'l-insa
except to worship Me.
illa li-ya'budun. (51:56)

In other words: "to know and understand Me." If someone does not know and understand Him, how can he worship Him? Direct knowledge is attainable only by removing of the veil of the lower self [nafs] from the mirror of the heart, and cleaning and polishing that mirror. It will then reflect the beauty of the treasure hidden in the secret of the heart's core. Allah (Exalted is He) has said in the Sacred Tradition [Hadith Qudsi]:

I was a hidden treasure and I wished to be known, so I created Creation.

It is clear, therefore, that Allah (Exalted is He) created the human being to know and understand Him.

Direct knowledge is of two kinds: knowledge of the attributes [sifat] of Allah (Exalted is He), and knowledge of His Essence [Dhat]. Knowledge of the attributes is experienced by the physical body in both domains [this world and the Hereafter], while knowledge of the Essence is experienced by the holy spirit in the Hereafter. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And We supported him [Jesus] with the holy spirit.
wa ayyadna-hu bi-Ruhi 'l-Qudus. (2:87)

They [who know the Essence] are likewise supported with the holy spirit.

These two experiences are attainable only by means of two forms of knowledge, the exoteric knowledge and the esoteric knowledge mentioned above. As the Prophet (peace be upon him) once said:

Knowledge ['ilm] is twofold: knowledge conveyed by the tongue, that being Allah's testimony to His servants, and knowledge conveyed by the heart, that being the knowledge that is useful for the attainment of the goal.

First of all, the human being needs knowledge of the sacred law, in order to provide the body with sufficient education in the realm of the attributes, that being the realm of the stages of development. He then needs esoteric knowledge, in order to provide the spirit with education in its own realm of understanding. That can only be achieved by abstaining from all practices that are incompatible with the sacred law and the spiritual path [tariqa]. Its achievement requires the endurance of personal and spiritual hardships, for the sake of pleasing Allah (Exalted is He), without hypocritical display [riya'] and the pursuit of fame [sum'a]. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord,
fa-man kana yarju liqa'a Rabbi-hi
let him do righteous work,
fa-l'-ya'mal 'amalan salihan
and let him give no one any share at all
wa la yushrik
in the worship due unto his Lord.
bi-'ibadati Rabbi-hi ahada. (18:110)

The realm of direct knowledge is the realm of Divinity [Lahut], and that is the original home, in which the holy spirit was created in the finest formation. What is meant by the holy spirit is the real human spirit, which was installed in the core of the heart, and which becomes manifest through repentance, instruction, and constantly declaring: "There is no god but Allah [la ilaha illa 'llah]." This declaration is first made with the tongue, then with the inner being, when the heart has become alive.

The Sufis have called the inner being "the child of the spiritual concepts [tifl al-ma'ani]," because it arises from the sacred conceptions. It is called a child for several reasons:

1. It is born from the heart, as the child is born from the mother, then reared by the father as it steadily grows to maturity.

2. Just as worldly knowledge is taught to ordinary children, spiritual knowledge is taught to this special child.

3. The ordinary child is unsoiled by the filth of external sins, and this special child is likewise pure and unstained by the filth of polytheism [shirk], heedlessness and physicality.

4. In the case of this special child, the purity of form is even greater, so it is seen in dreams in a shape like that of the angels.

5. Allah (Exalted is He) has described the attendants of the Garden of Paradise in terms of childhood [tifliyya], in His saying (Almighty and Glorious is He):

There wait on them immortal boys.
yatufu 'ala-him wildanun mukhalladun. (56:17)

And there go round, waiting on them,
wa yatufu 'alai-him
young boys of theirs,
ghilmanun la-hum
as if they were hidden pearls.
ka-anna-hum lu'lu'un maknun. (52:24)

6. The name "child" conveys a sense of its gentleness and its cleanliness.

7. The name "child" is used metaphorically, to indicate its connection with the body and its likeness to the human form, but only for the sake of comparison, not for the purpose of belittlement. It refers to this "child's" initial state.

This "child" is the real human being, because he has a connection with Allah (Exalted is He), so the body and physicality are not unlawful to him. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:

I have a time with Allah, when there is no space for any angel brought near [to the Lord], nor for any Prophet sent as a Messenger.

This [Prophet sent as a Messenger] refers to the human nature of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The angel brought near [to the Lord] refers to his spirituality, which was created from the light of Omnipotence [Jabarut], as was the angel, so it has no entry into the light of Divinity [Lahut]. The Prophet (blessing and peace be upon him) also said:

Allah has a Garden in which there are no houries, no palaces, no honey and no milk, but where one gazes only at Allah's countenance (Exalted is He).

As Allah (Magnificent is His Majesty) has said:

Faces on that day will be resplendent,
wujuhun yawma'idhin nadira:
looking toward their Lord.
ila Rabbi-ha nazira. (75:22,23)

As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

You will see your Lord as you see the moon on the night when it is full.

If the angel and the physical body entered into these realms, they would be burned to ashes. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said in the Sacred Tradition [Hadith Qudsi]:

If I disclosed the splendors of My Majesty, I would burn up everything as far as My eye can see.

As Gabriel (peace be upon him) said: "If I had drawn nearer by a fingertip, I would have been set on fire."

Not sharing one's love of Allah

You so often say: "No matter whom or what I love, my love does not last long. Something always comes between us, whether through absence or death or hostility, or, in the case of material objects, through destruction or loss." Well, this may be said to you: Do you not know, O beloved of the Lord of Truth, so cared for and looked after, so jealously watched and guarded, do you not know that Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is jealous? He has created you for Himself, and you are yearning to belong to someone other than Him! Have you not heard His words (Almighty and Glorious is He):

He loves them and they love Him? (5:54)

and His words (Exalted is He):

I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. (51:56)

Have you not heard the saying of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace): "When Allah loves a servant, He puts him through a trial, and if he is patient, He makes him His own." When someone asked: "O Messenger of Allah, what is meant by 'He makes him His own'?" he replied: "He leaves him neither wealth nor children." This is because if he had wealth and children he would love them, and his love for his Lord would be diminished and fragmented, since it would be shared between Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and others. But Allah (Exalted is He) will tolerate no partner, for He is jealous, prevailing over all things and predominant over all things. He therefore destroys and annihilates His 'partner', so that His servant's heart will be His and His alone, with no other to share it. The truth of His words (Almighty and Glorious is He), "He loves them and they love Him," is now confirmed.

The heart is cleansed at last of all partners and rivals, such as wife, wealth and children, sensual pleasures and cravings, and the ambitious pursuit of positions of authority and leadership, of charismatic powers and spiritual states, stages and stations, heavenly gardens and degrees, proximity and advancement. Since no will or desire remains in the heart, it becomes like a cracked vessel in which no liquid can be contained, for it is broken through the working of Allah. Whenever any self-will arises there, it is shattered by Allah's action and His jealousy. Then around it are pitched the tents of dignity and might and awe, and in front of them are dug the moats of majesty and power, so that no willful desire for anything at all can gain access to the heart.

Now the heart can no longer be harmed by any means, not by wealth, not by children, family and friends, nor yet by charismatic gifts, wisdom, knowledge and acts of piety. Since all of this will remain outside the heart, it will not excite the jealousy of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). It will rather be a mark of honor and a kind favor from Allah to His servant, and a blessing, a provision and a useful benefit for those who come to him, for they will be honored by it, and receive mercy, and because of this gift of grace they will enjoy protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). He will therefore be a sentinel for them, a protective wing, a refuge and an intercessor in this world and the hereafter.

Believer's test


On the testing of the believer's faith

Allah is always testing His believing servant in proportion to his faith. Thus if a person's faith is very great and steadily increasing, his trial will be great as well. The trial of a Messenger is greater than that of a Prophet, because his faith is greater. The trial of a Prophet is greater than that of a Badal, and the trial of a Badal is greater than that of a Wali. Each is tried according to his faith and certitude, on the basis of this saying of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace): "We, the Community of Prophets, are the people most severely tried, then others according to the perfection of their faith."

Allah (Exalted is He) subjects these honorable masters to incessant testing, so they will always stay in His presence and never relax their vigilance, for He loves them. They are the people of love, who love the Lord of Truth, and the lover never likes to be far from his beloved. Affliction serves as a clamp for their hearts and a noose for their selfish natures, checking their tendency to drift away from their true goal and to place their confidence and trust in others instead of their Creator.

As this becomes a permanent condition for them, their passions melt, their selves are broken, and truth is distinguished from falsehood. Then cravings, willful desires, and the appetite for pleasure and comfort in this world and the hereafter, all retract toward the sphere of the self, while toward the sphere of the heart come trust in the promise of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), cheerful acceptance of His decree, satisfaction with His gifts, patient endurance of His trials, and the feeling of safety from the evil of His creatures. Thus the power of the heart is strengthened, and it acquires control over all the limbs and organs of the body. Tribulation fortifies the heart and certitude, verifies faith and patience, and weakens the self and the passions, because whenever suffering comes, and what it meets with in the believer is patience, cheerful acceptance, and surrender to the action of the Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), the Exalted Lord is pleased with him and thanks him. Then he also receives help, additional blessings and success. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

If you are thankful, I will give you more. (14:7)

When the self is moved to apply to the heart [qalb] for satisfaction of some carnal appetite or indulgence in some pleasure, and the heart agrees to this request without authorization and permission from Allah (Exalted is He), the result is disregard for the Lord of Truth, polytheism and sinful rebellion. Allah (Exalted is He) will therefore condemn them both to disappointment, trouble, subjection to other people, sickness and disease, injury and disorder. Both the heart and the self will get a share of this.

If the heart will not give the self what it wants, however, until it receives permission from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) through inspiration [ilham] in the case of Saints, or explicit revelation [wahy] in the case of Envoys and Prophets (blessing and peace be upon them) and acts accordingly in giving or withholding, then Allah rewards them both with mercy and blessing, well-being and contentment, light and wisdom, nearness to Himself, affluence, security from disasters and help against enemies.

This you must know and remember it well! Be ready for trouble if you rush to respond to the self and to passion! Far better to pause in such cases, and await the Lord's consent (Glorious is His Majesty), so that you may remain safe in this world and the hereafter, if Allah (Exalted is He) so will.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

On not Complaining


Let me give you a piece of advice: Never complain to anyone about your luck, whether he be friend or foe, and do not accuse the Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) of treating you badly and making you suffer misfortune. You should rather proclaim your blessings and your gratitude. Better even to tell a lie by expressing gratitude for a benefit you have not received, than to state the plain fact of your situation truthfully but as a complaint. Who is totally without the grace of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He)? Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And if you count the favor of Allah, you will never add it up. (16:18)

How many blessings you enjoy without acknowledging them for what they are! Do not settle for any mere creature as your confidant and intimate companion, and tell no one about your problems. It is rather with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) that you should be on intimate and confidential terms, and any complaining you do should be about Him and addressed to Him. Recognize no other party, for none has any power to bring you loss or gain, income or expenditure, honor or disgrace, promotion or demotion, poverty or affluence, movement or rest. All things are the creation of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). They lie in the hand of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and the way they function is at His command and by His leave. Each runs its course until a time appointed, and everything is regulated by Him. There is no advancing what He has postponed, and no putting back what He has brought to the fore. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:

If Allah afflicts you with some hurt, none can remove it but He; and if He desires any good for you, none can repel His bounty. He causes it to reach whomsoever He will of His servants. He is the All-Forgiving, the All-Compassionate. (10:107)

If you complain about Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) while you are in good health and already enjoy some blessing, just wanting to get more and shutting your eyes contemptuously to the benefit and well-being you have received from Him, He will be angry with you and deprive you of both. He will give you something real to complain about, doubling your trouble, intensifying the chastisement and detestation and loathing you must suffer, and casting you down out of His sight.

You should be very wary of complaining, even if you were being dissected and having your own flesh clipped away with scissors. Beware, beware, and yet again beware! Allah, Allah, and yet again Allah! Escape, escape! Take care, take care!

Most of the various disasters that afflict a human being are due to his complaints against his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). How can one have any grievance against Him, when He is the Most Merciful of the merciful, the Best of all judges, Wise, Aware, Gracious, Compassionate; when He is Kind to His servants and not a cruel slave-master; when He is like a wise, sympathetic and kindly family doctor?

Would you find fault with a tender-hearted mother? The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Allah is more merciful toward His servant than a mother toward her child."

Be on your best behavior, you poor wretch! Persevere in the face of misfortune, even if you are incapable of patience. Then be patient even if you are incapable of conforming with good grace. Then conform with good grace if you are there to be found. Then cease to exist if you are nowhere to be found. O philosopher's stone, where are you, where can you be found and seen? Do you not heed His words (Almighty and Glorious is He):

Fighting is prescribed for you, though it be hateful to you. But it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows, and you know not. (2:216)

Knowledge of the reality of things has been kept from you under wraps, and you have been kept from it behind a screen. So do not misbehave yourself, whatever your likes or dislikes. Follow the sacred law in whatever may befall you, if you are in the state of piety [taqwa] which is the first step. Follow direct orders, without exceeding them, if you are in the state of consecration [wilaya] and the extinction of desire [khumud wujud al-hawa], which is the second step. Harmonize gladly with the divine action and become totally absorbed in the state of Badaliyya, Ghawthiyya, Qutbiyya and Siddiqiyya, which are the ultimate stages.

Stand clear of destiny's path; get out of its way. Give up self and desire. Keep your tongue from complaining. Provided you do this, then if what is meant for you is good, the Lord will grant you extra pleasure, happiness and joy; and if it is bad, He will keep you safe in His obedient service while it runs its course. He will absolve you of blame, and keep you unaffected while it lasts, until it is all over for you and becomes a thing of the past–as night ends with the dawning of the day, and as the chill of winter takes its leave when summer comes around. Here is an example for you, so note the moral well.

There are so many sins and errors and outrages, so many kinds of offenses and faults that cause defilement.

To be worthy of the company of the Noble Lord, one must be purged of the impurities of sins and failings. No one is granted an audience at His court unless he is unstained by the filth of pretentiousness and self-conceit, just as no one is fit for the company of kings without being cleansed of all impurities and every kind of stench and dirt. Misfortunes have an expiatory and purificatory effect. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) so truthfully said: "One day's fever is atonement for a year [of sin]."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Relationship

A very poor man lived with his wife. One day, his wife, who had very long hair asked him to buy her a comb for her hair to grow well and to be well-groomed. The man felt very sorry and said no. He explained that he did not even have enough money to fix the strap of his watch he had just broken. She did not insist on her request.

The man went to work and passed by a watch shop, sold his damaged watch at a low price and went to buy a comb for his wife. He came home in the evening with the comb in his hand ready to give to his wife. He was surprised when he saw his wife with a very short hair cut. She had sold her hair and was holding a new watch band.

Tears flowed simultaneously from their eyes, not for the futility of their actions, but for the reciprocity of their love.

MORAL: To love is nothing, to be loved is something but to love and to be loved by the one you love, that is EVERYTHING. Never take love for granted.

You don't need a guy who adds many girls on Facebook,Gmail and finds pleasure to chat with them.

But you need...

A man who is engaged to his deen and married to his salaah.

A man who loves you for the sake of ALLAH and who fears ALLAH in regard of lowering his gaze in front of women who do not belong to him.

A man who would want to complete half his deen with you and not flirt with other girls/women because he respects you at least. 

Resenting Allah

On not resenting Allah

How great is your resentment against your Lord, your suspicion of Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) and your resistance to Him. How often you attribute injustice to Him (Almighty and Glorious is He), and charge Him with delay in providing sustenance and sufficiency and in removing troubles and tribulation. Do you not know that every term has a prescribed duration, and that for every increase in trouble and woe there is an end, a termination and a conclusion, which can neither be brought forward nor deferred? [Until they have run their prescribed course, therefore] times of trials do not change and turn into conditions of well-being, the time of misfortune does not change into prosperity, and the state of poverty is not converted into affluence.

Be well-behaved, practice patience, contentment and harmony with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and repent for your resentment against Him and your suspicion of Him where His action is concerned. In the Lord's presence there is no room for demanding payment in full and exacting retaliation where there is no offence, nor for recourse to natural instinct, as is usual in mutual relations between His servants. He (Almighty and Glorious is He) is absolutely alone from all eternity, existing before all things. He created them, and He created their benefits and disadvantages. He knows their beginning, their end and their fulfillment. He (Almighty and Glorious is He) is wise in His working and sure in His craftsmanship. There is no inconsistency in what He does. He does nothing uselessly and creates nothing as a futile game. There can be no question of criticizing or reproaching Him for His deeds.

You should therefore wait for relief, if you are too weak to comply with Him and to submit to His action gladly, until the prescript of destiny expires. Then the situation will yield to its opposite with the passage of time and the consummation of the course of events, as winter runs its course and yields to summer, and as night comes to an end and yields to day. If you ask for the light of day between the first two watches of the night, it will not be given to you. Indeed, the night will get even darker, until the darkness reaches its climax, then dawn breaks and the day comes with its light, whether you ask for this and want it, or say nothing about it and even dislike it. Should you now ask for the night to be brought back, your request will go unanswered and you will not get what you want, because you have asked for something at the wrong moment and time. You will therefore be left sorry, deprived, resentful and disappointed. So give all this up and practice compliance, thinking well of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and graceful patience. For what is yours will not be snatched from you, and what is not yours will not be given to you. By my life, you pray and make supplication to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), offering humble entreaties as an act of worship and obedience in keeping with His commandment (Exalted is He): "Call upon Me and I will answer you" (40:60), and His words (Exalted is He): "Ask Allah of His bounty" (4:32), as well as other verses and traditions. You pray, and He will answer you at the appropriate moment and appointed time, when He wills, when it is to your advantage in this world and the hereafter, and when it coincides with His decree and the end of the term set by Him.

Do not become suspicious of Him when He delays the response, and do not weary of making supplication to Him, for while you may not be gaining, neither are you losing. If He does not respond to you immediately, He will reward you later on. According to an authentic tradition, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "On the Day of Resurrection the servant will see in his records some good deeds which he does not recognize. He will then be told that these are compensation for requests he made in this world, but which were not destined to be fulfilled therein," or something to that effect. Well then, the least of your spiritual states is that you should be remembering your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), affirming His Oneness, inasmuch as you address your requests to Him and not to any other than Him, and do not submit your need to anyone but Him (Exalted is He). You are in one or the other of two conditions at all times, by night and by day, in health and in sickness, in adversity and in prosperity, in hardship and in ease:

1. You refrain from asking, gladly accept the decree of destiny, reconcile yourself and go along with His action (Almighty and Glorious is He) in a relaxed fashion, like a corpse in front of the ritual washer of the dead, like a suckling babe in its nurse's arms, or like a ball waiting for the polo-player to knock it around with his mallet. Destiny will then turn you about as it wishes. If it happens to be a blessing, thanks and praise are forthcoming from you, and from Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) comes increase in the gift. As He has said (Exalted is He): "If you are thankful, I will give you more" (14:7). If it is an adversity, however, you respond with patience and compliance, through His help, while from His side (Almighty and Glorious is He) come reassurance, support, blessing and mercy, through His favor and generosity. As He says (Almighty and Glorious is He): "Allah is with those who patiently persevere" (2:153). That is to say, through His support and reassurance, since He is supportive of His servant against his lower self, his passion and his devil. He says (Exalted is He):

If you help Allah, He will help you and make your foothold firm. (47:7)

When you help Allah by opposing your own self and your passion by giving up resistance to Him and resentment of His action within you, when you become an enemy and an executioner to your lower self for Allah's sake, so that whenever it moves with its unbelief and polytheism you behead it with your patience, your compliance with your Lord and your satisfaction with His working and His promise, and your contentment with them both, then Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will be a helper to you. As for blessing and mercy, consider His words (Almighty and Glorious is He):

And give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who say, when a misfortune strikes them: "To Allah we belong, and to Him we are returning." Such are they on whom are blessings from their Lord, and mercy. Such are the rightly guided. (2:155-157)

2. The other condition is that in which you make supplication to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) with prayer and humble entreaty, honoring His majesty and obeying His commandment. Now things are where they truly belong, for He has urged you to put your requests to Him and to resort to Him, and has made that a comfort for you, a messenger from you to Him, a contact and means of access to Him, provided that you give up suspicion and resentment toward Him in the event of postponement of the answer to your prayer until the time appropriate.

Take note of the difference between the two conditions, and do not be one of those who overstep the bounds of both, because there is no other condition besides these two. Beware of being among the wrong-doing transgressors, for He will then destroy you (Almighty and Glorious is He) without caring, as He has destroyed former peoples in times past, by intensifying His affliction in this world and by His painful torment in the hereafter.

Nafs

On the two conditions of the self [nafs]

The self [nafs] has two conditions and no third: The state of wellbeing and the state of tribulation. When it is undergoing tribulation, the signs are anxiety, complaining, resentment, protest and suspicion toward the Lord of Truth (Glorious and Exalted is He), and lack of patience, contentment and compliance. Indeed, there is likely to be ill-mannered behavior, the association of creatures and material objects with the Creator, and unbelief. When, on the other hand, it is in the state of well-being, the signs are greed, impetuosity, and the pursuit of carnal lusts and pleasures. As soon as it gratifies one desire, it goes after another, belittling the blessings it already possesses, such as food, drink, clothing, spouse, dwelling and means of transport. It finds faults and defects in each one of these blessings, wanting something superior and finer that is not part of its destined lot, while shunning what has been allotted to it. Thus the person gets into all kinds of trouble, and wades into many perils in a long and weary process that has no end or termination in either this world or the hereafter. As the saying goes: "Truly the harshest of punishments is the desire to have what is not one's allotted share."

When the self is undergoing tribulation, it wishes only to see it removed, forgetting all about enjoyment, lust and pleasure, and wanting none of them. Once relieved of suffering, however, it reverts to its frivolity, greed and impetuosity, to its recalcitrant disobedience of its Lord and its dedication to sinful rebellion against Him. It forgets all the trouble and pain, all the misfortune it went through previously. Now it is afflicted with even harsher trials and tribulations, because of the major sins it has perpetrated and committed, to wean it away from these and to restrain it from sinful acts in future, since well-being and comfort had failed to reform it, and its safekeeping lay rather in tribulation and pain.

If the self had behaved itself well when the affliction was removed, and had practiced obedience, gratitude and contentment with its lot, things would have been better for it in this world and the hereafter. It would have experienced increasing comfort, well-being, approval from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), pleasure, and help toward success.

Anyone who wishes for safety in this world and the hereafter must therefore cultivate patience and contentment. He must give up complaining to people, submit his needs to his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), practice obedience to Him, wait for happiness to come from Him, and be devoted exclusively to Him (Almighty and Glorious is He), since He is better than any other and than His entire creation. His deprivation is actually a gift, His punishment a blessing, His trial a remedy, His promise ready cash, His word a deed, His will a state of being. Surely His word "and His command when He intends a thing, is to say to it 'Be,' and it is" (36:82). All His deeds are good and wise and beneficial, although He keeps knowledge of the benefits concealed from His servants and reserves it to Himself alone. For His servants, therefore, it is most fitting and proper to be in a state of contentment and submission, to be dedicated to servanthood by fulfilling commandments, observing prohibitions, and submitting to the decree of destiny, to abandon preoccupation and combat with Lordship, which is the source of destiny's decrees, to be silent on questions of why and how and when, and to give up suspicion of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) in all His phases of movement and repose.

All of this rests on the authority of the hadith of Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be well pleased with him and his father), from whom it is transmitted by 'Ata'. Ibn 'Abbas said: "I was riding behind the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) when he said to me: 'My boy, take care of Allah and He will take care of you. Take care of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. So when you have something to ask, ask Allah, and when you seek help, seek help from Allah. The pen has already run dry from writing all that is to be, so if His servants were to strive to bring you some benefit not decreed for you by Allah, they would not be capable of it, and if His servants were to strive to cause you some injury not decreed for you by Allah, they would not be able to do it. So if you can relate to Allah with honesty and certitude [yaqin], do so; and if you cannot, there is much good in being patient with what you dislike. Know that help resides in patience, joy with sorrow, and "with hardship comes ease" (94:5).' "

It behooves every believer to make this hadith a mirror for his heart, to wear it as his undergarment and his outer garb, to treat it as his own hadith, on which he should act in all conditions, be he in motion or at rest, so that he may be safe in this world and the hereafter, and receive honor in both domains through the mercy of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Death and The Grave

Multitudes of men have walked on the surface of this Earth. They all belonged to different nations and cultures. A few of them made history for which they were remembered, whereas others, were never to be mentioned again. Although each one was personally different from another - their habits, thinking and tastes differed - they all had two things in common, first, they were all delivered from their mothers womb and second, they all tasted death. Who claims he has lived a thousand years?
When Allah created Prophet Adam alaihis salaam and his progeny the angels expressed much concern about the world being insufficient to accommodate all of them but Allah assured them by declaring, "I shall create death."
Hearing this, the angels became disturbed and when they remarked that it would instil fear and remove the pleasure of life, Allah explains, "I shall create hope and ambitions."When Prophet Adam alaihis salaam was sent to Earth, his Sustainer said, "O Adam! Construct buildings destined for destruction and ruination; and beget for death."
O dweller of lofty mansions, very soon you will be buried in the sand (a lowly station). Allah has an angel calling daily: Beget for death and create buildings for destruction.
We are so engrossed in our worldly pursuits that the remembrance of death does not occur to us. The Holy Prophet of Allah shallallahu alaihi wasallam has said, "The most intelligent person is the one who often remembers death. Constant remembrance of it prevents one from evil and sin and motivates him towards good morals."
The above narration clearly indicates that we are in this world for a purpose and not just for pleasure and entertainment. The Holy Prophet shallallahu alaihi wasallam says, "Live in the world as though you are a wayfarer." Concerning this Prophet 'Isa alaihis salaam has said, "This world is like a bridge, cross it and do not build on it."
Life in this world is very short which everyone has to surpass, until he meets his death. Allah says, "For every ‘Ummah’ (community or nation) there is a term
appointed, when their term is reached, not an hour (nor a moment) can they cause to delay, nor (an hour nor a moment) can they advance.
Nowadays, when a person dies, the family and close relatives grieve over the deceased. After some time all is forgotten and much attention is given to the inheritance, so much so they begin to have disputes over it. The wealth of the deceased is valued more than the lessons to be taken from his death. If we remembered it frequently, we would certainly prepare for it.
Intelligent students always prepare for exams. It is also a matter of intelligence to prepare for the account to be given after death. The Holy Prophet shallallahu alaihi wasallam has mentioned in a Hadith, "Clever is the one who prepares for life after death." The Holy Prophet shallallahu alaihi wasallam has also said, "Take importance of life before death."
How lucky are those souls who after finding out about the signs of their death, turn towards Allah, ask His repentance for any previous sins and prepare for it by doing good deeds. Such people are the ones who are truly gifted with the kalimah or a good outcome before departing from this world. This tends to be the sign of their being fortunate and people witness a sign of their salvation from the punishment of the Hereafter.
There is no doubt that there is a cure for every disease. If anyone is infected with a disease then it may be cured through medicine. His life may prolong to some extent but one day the same person will experience something with no cure at all. That is death. Allah states, "Wherever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high."
The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam said, "When Allah decides for a person to pass away at a certain place, he makes a need for that person at that place."
It is in another tradition narrated on the authority of Kuthaima radiyallahu anhu that once the angel of death appeared in the form of a human being in the court of Prophet Sulaiman alaihis salaam and gazed continuously at a person present there for some time. That person asked Prophet Sulaiman alaihis salaam, "Who was that person?" He told him that, that was the angel of death. He remarked: The angel of death had gazed at me in such a manner as if he had determined to take my life." Prophet Sulaiman alaihis salaam asked him, "What do you want?" He requested him to take him to India. He commanded the cloud to pick him up and drop him in India. Consequently the cloud carried him to India. The angel of death came to Prophet Sulaiman alaihis salaam. He asked him, "Why did you fix your gaze at that person?" He said, "I wondered that the Almighty Allah had commanded me to take the life of this person in India whereas he was sitting hear in your presence."

The Description of the Throes of Death

There is a bind between the body and the soul. This can be explained by portraying the attraction between two magnets. It is hard to pull them apart, likewise, the attraction of the soul to the material body is more due to the love of the materialistic world. In other words, the more the magnetic field in both the magnets, the greater the attraction will be. Similarly, the more the love towards the worldly life, the greater the pain of pulling apart of the soul from the body will be.
The soul is removed from the body in stages (as mentioned in the Holy Qur’aan): it is first taken out from the feet followed by the shin and then the thighs after which the chest is affected and at that moment the power of speech is lost. When the soul is taken from the throat, the faculties of sight and hearing are exterminated.
There are two things here. Firstly, the pain felt at the introduction of death. Secondly, the pain felt at the extraction of the soul. Here the latter is implied.
The severity of death varies from person to person. a believer feels the pain similar to the hair that is taken out from flour by a finger. Whereas, the disbeliever feels so much pain that it is impossible to describe.
The severity of death has been mentioned in numerous Ahaadith, some of which are as follows:
1. Rasulullah shallallahu alaihi wasallam had mentioned that the grasp of Malikul Maut is more severe than one thousand hacks (cuts) with a sword.
2. There is a narration regarding Prophet Musa alaihis salaam that he was questioned by Allah after death about how he had undergone the experience of dying and he replied that it could be described as the case of a live bird being put in to a hot boiling pot of bubbling oil.
3. In another narration, Prophet Musa alaihis salaam is reported to have replied that the experience was like that of a goat being skinned alive by a butcher.
4. It is narrated that there is not as much pain, torture in being spilt by a saw, shredded by scissors or scalded by fiercely boiling water than in experiencing death.
5. That all distress, displeasure and agony at the time of death can be likened to that of an ant-bite.
6. Prophet Ibrahim alaihis salaam asked the angel of death to show him in which form he visits an evil person. Angel of death replied, "You will not be able to tolerate the sight." Prophet Ibrahim alaihis salaam insisted, the angel of death told him to turn around, while he transformed himself. After which he told Prophet Ibrahim alaihis salaam to look. Upon seeing him he fell unconsciousness due to the pitiful sight. Thereafter, Prophet Ibrahim alaihis salaam remarked that the sight was so horrifying that just looking at him was enough punishment for the evildoer.
It is a pity for us today that we are inattentive enough to remember all other worldly matters and forget the main purpose of our creation. How unfortunate will anyone of us be not to take heed after knowing one’s reality - what one is made of, where one came from and where one will return. May Allah Ta’ala give us the ability to remember death and grant us the kalimah, Laailaaha illallah on our lips at the time of death.
Death is when the soul is separated from the body; it receives reward and punishment and the separation of the soul from the body means loss of power of the soul over the body. The soul uses the body in its works; it catches by the hand, hears by the ears, sees by the eyes and acquires the knowledge of all things.
Allah has said in the Qur’aan: “Every soul will taste death.” From this verse we know that death is such a thing that you can’t escape from even if you are in a house, which is built with metal walls, and has a massive padlock. Death will not only come when hair and the beard turn white, but it can come at any time, even when you are a baby, or an old person or a teenager or of middle age. Even if you are a king, a Prime Minister or a leader of one of the tribes.
Death also came to the Prophet and to the companions of the Prophet, so if death can come to such great personalities, who are we to be so unmindful of it?
Know, O dear brothers, that the man, who is engrossed in the world and cheated by its charming coquetries, is unmindful of the remembrance of death. He does not remember death and when he is reminded of it, he does not like it. Allah has said regarding such a man: “The deaths from which you flee away will meet you. Thereafter you will be led to the Knower of the world seen and unseen. You will then be informed of what you did.”

Three categories of mankind

Mankind is divided into three categories:
(1) One who is addicted to the world, (2) One who is repentant, (3) One who has surrendered to Allah.
1. The man who is addicted to the world does not remember death. He hates death and lives far away from the remembrance of Allah.
2. The man who is repentant remembers death and fears it. He does not often like death because he fears to die before he makes sincere repentance or he purifies his soul from corrupt deeds and he does not think bad of meeting with death and Allah because he is not fully prepared for it, but he is always busy in preparation to meet it.
3. The God-Addicted man always remembers death, as he likes to meet with his beloved. The loner cannot forget to meet with his beloved. This person loves to meet with death to save himself from the world of sin. For such a person the Prophet  has said: “Death is a gift for the believer.” The reason is that the world is a prison for a believer as he lives here in difficulties. Death gives him relief from these difficulties. Once the Prophet  came out towards the mosque. On the way he found some of the Sahâbâh  engaged in jokes and telling stories. He said to them: “Remember death! Beware by the One in whose hand lies my life, if you had known what I know, you would have laughed little and wept more.”
Not a single day passes when the grave does not call out: ‘I am a wilderness, I am a place of dust, I am a place of worms.’ When a believer is placed in the grave, it says: ‘Welcome, it is good of you to have come to me. Of all the people walking on the Earth, I liked you the best. Now you have come in to me, you will see how I entertain you.’ It then expands as far as the occupant can see. A door from Paradise is opened for him in the grave and through this door he gets fresh and fragrant air of Paradise. However, when a evil man is laid in the grave it says; ‘You are not welcome here. Your coming into me is very bad for you. Of all the people walking on the Earth, I disliked you the most. Now that you have been put into me, you will see how I treat you!’ It then closes upon him so much that his ribs of one side penetrate into the ribs of the other. As many as seventy serpents are then set upon him, to keep biting him until the day of resurrection. These serpents are so venomous that if one of them happened to spurt its venom upon the earth, not a single blade of grass would ever grow."
Thinking of death
Know O brothers that death is terrible because people are unmindful of death. The person who does remember death does not think of it with his whole heart. The mode of thinking of death is to free your mind from all thoughts and only put his mind on death. Be like the one who embarks on dangerous sea voyage. When the thought of death fills his mind and becomes one shadow, his worldly happiness decreases and his heart breaks. The best method of thinking of death is to remember the death of friends, family and neighbours, their bodies buried under the ground and their conditions in the graves. How their beautiful faces have become food for worms and insects! How their wives have become widows and their children orphans! How stricken by extreme poverty, they are passing their days miserably one by one! Think how death overtook them suddenly without any notice and warning! How unprepared they were for death and the hereafter!
So O brothers! Remember death as often as you can in the 24 hours of your daily life and make this your habit. It could be your turn next then your friends, family and neighbours will place you under the ground.
Start now before if it is too late.
When we will be asked about our youth?
Will we say the things we done truth?
Will our diplomas and degrees come in use?
Or will they bring us bad news?
We blanked Islam for education- and got in to the non-Islamic generation.
The friends we trusted- with whom we had fun, stopped us from entering the gates of heaven.
The requirements are simple, the reward is high - be prepared, think well before you die.
A garden of paradise or a pit of hell- the choice is yours! So think well!
Sacrifice your short journey here- for in the hereafter you will have no fear.
Two shoes of boiling fire he will wear- his brain will melt, his body will tear.
The person will scream and will not know- this is only the lowest punishment, Allah will give.
Day by day as our life decreases- day by day as our sins increase.
Day by day as our deeds change into sins- another day the shaytan wins.
For on that day when we’ll be scaled!
Think- will we win or will we fail?
May Allah save us all, Ameen.

Racism


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people  prevent you from being just. Be just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah, indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Maidah :8)

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white-except by piety and good action. (The Last Sermon-Hajj Wada)

وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنْتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed - all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?  (Yunus : 99)

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِير

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Al-Hujurat :13)

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ نَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا

O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah , through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer. (An-Nisa : 1)