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Zikr – The Spiritual Maintenance

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 3rd October)

1. The hadeeth says that the simile of the one who remembers Allah Ta‘ala and the one who does not is like the living and the dead. Sometimes when we hear about zikr then we restrict it to just holding a tasbeeh and reciting some zikr. Yes, we cannot underestimate and undermine this, for it has its value and effect even if done unmindfully. However, zikr has a deeper meaning. What do you mean by zikr? It refers to having the consciousness of the presence of Allah Ta‘ala with His sifaat and great qualities i.e. His power, authority, might, etc. One needs to have this level of the presence of the mind. When you remember Allah Ta‘ala with this level of remembrance then it is virtually impossible to commit a sin. If someone has got a loaded gun and you know he is hot-tempered and short-fused, and his daughter is before you and he has his finger on the trigger, will you flirt with his daughter? Even if you think of doing it your feelings will die. This is the type of feeling and awareness of Allah Ta‘ala you should bring in your mind.

2. The functioning of the entire universe is subject to the remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala. As long as there is a single individual remembering Allah Ta‘ala the universe will continue. This is as far as the whole universe is concerned. As far as other creatures besides man, then there are two ahaadeeth regarding them. One states that just as there is an angel appointed to take the soul of man, there is an angel to take the soul of animals. Another hadeeth says that when the creature stops its zikr then its soul is taken away; like we commonly hear that the animal that is hunted down then it is on account of its zikr terminating. So everything is subject to zikr. Even your spiritual life is subject to zikr. To sustain yourself physically you need 3 things: (1) The right diet pattern (2) exercise and (3) don’t get stressed out. Other things may be by the way. This is what dieticians generally speak off. This is as far as your physical maintenance. For your spiritual maintenance, you require the remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala.

3. We are like that moist branch which needs to dry out first before it can be burnt. You want to be connected to Allah Ta‘ala but the moisture of sin and temptation has taken root in our hearts. It has to first be taken out. For one to dry out this moisture he will need to be focused and consistent and expose his heart to the fire of love.

4. Sir Sayyid the founder of Aligarh meant well, but his understanding of Islam was lopsided. Moulana Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) used to refer to him as na-daan dost – ignorant friend. He did not know what he was doing and the type of confusion he was causing. He had two concerns; firstly he did not want to be killed by the English who were ruling India at that time and secondly he also wanted to do something for the Muslims. Hence, he needed to play a balancing act. He needed to be good for the cause of the Muslims and good for the English because they are the ruling party. Like we had such people in the past, we have such people nowadays as well. They will say that we have to live in this world and live under the rule of the government. Hence, we need to follow them as well so that we don’t get unpopular with the government. You want to remain in their good books. In the balancing act, many of the things the government says you will have to make it right and look correct. If they say that photography is right then you will say that it is right. If they say that gender equality is right then you will also say that it is right. However, this class of people don’t understand that you will take from them but they will not take from you. You will start wearing a suit and tie like them but do you ever find them wearing a topee and kurta. We don’t realise that we become so absorbed in them that our entire thinking and understanding changes. Look at it, to wear a topee will not be so interesting and attractive but wearing a cap will be attractive. So who are we identifying with?

5. In the time of Nabi (sallalalhu ‘alaihi wasallam), women would attend the jamaat salaah. Hence, Nabi (sallalalhu ‘alaihi wasallam) had instructed the men that after the salaah, they should allow the women to go out first and when they have covered a reasonable distance then only should the men leave. What was the need for this? When we speak of these things or say that our ‘Ulama and buzurgaan-e-deen speak of segregation then people say that this is an Indian brand of Islam. But the hadeeth and Quraan are not Indian. The Quraan speaks of Moosa (‘alaihis salaam) coming to Madyan where he finds two women that are totally separated from the rest and they are in a state of need. So he wanted to find out what problem they were facing. A nabi has two distinct qualities; he always defends and proclaims the truth and he helps the weak. Hence, he asked them what the matter was. They replied that they wait for the male shepherds to move away from the watering hole with their animals and then only do they go with their animals. Now, is this an Indian version of Islam? It is a Quraanic version! When we talk like this we have made the Quraanic version an Indian thing. However, when we talk about gender equality and mixing up then it sounds Islamic to us and appeals to our reasoning. Really what has happened is that the English and western mentality has corrupted our minds. It has to sound western to be acceptable and appealing.

6. Many times it happens that those who are on the fence want to do good for Islam, but because they do not have a clear picture of Islam, they give their own stories and version of Islam and thus confuse people. People would begin to say that when he is doing so much good then what he is saying should also be correct. However, what such people are supposed to be doing is that they should work for the cause of Islam but not talk for Islam. There are people who are qualified for that and they will do their work.

7. What happens to us is that whatever we hear on radio programs or whatever we read in magazines and in articles we take it as divine and as the truth. Islam is easy, straight forward and simple. Why do we want to listen to these things that will complicate matters for us? We feel that we can read between the lines and understand everything, but we then get confused.

8. Someone asked that what does Islam have to say about farming. I understood that he wanted to do farming and therefore wanted some support. So I explained to him that don’t talk in this manner. In anything there is the main course and there is a course that is done by the way; it is a need which is then fulfilled. For example, you come to a madrasah. The main objective is to teach and learn deen. When you come, you will not ask about eating and what to eat etc. because this is not the objective; it is just a need. Similarly, you have come to this world for the ‘ibaadat of Allah Ta‘ala, and farming etc. is just as a need. So treat it to be there just by the way.

9. There was a very attractive youngster who was extremely pious and the girls in the area were all in love with him. They would send messages and throw flowers for him. In fact, the more muttaqi a person is the more handsome he becomes. This youngster would always resist himself. One day a girl cornered him and expressed her emotions to him. He remained silent and sped out to the musjid. When he went back home he wrote a letter to her saying that when a person commits a wrong for the first time Allah Ta‘ala will forgive him, but when he continues in the wrong then he will become disgraced. People will speak about him because Allah Ta‘ala concealed his mistake and now he has become brazen. The second thing is that the world will become constrained. He will no more be happy for he is now spiritually dead. He will feel uncomfortable. However, this is not a depression or mental problem; it is a problem with his relationship with Allah Ta‘ala. It has snapped, and now that it has snapped he will feel tightened. Nonetheless, the cause of this youngster getting saved was the remembrance of Allah Ta‘ala.

10. A question that comes is that you hear the incident of a person who was worshipping Allah Ta‘ala and he never committed a sin, yet when Allah Ta‘ala instructed Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) to destroy his entire village for their evil and sins, this worshipper was not saved. You also hear the incident of the preacher who after advising the sinner on numerous occasions eventually told him that Allah Ta‘ala will never show mercy to you. When he died, Allah Ta‘ala instructed that he be sent to Jahannum and the sinner be sent to Jannah. What was the reason for them having to face this type of treatment despite their good deeds. The problem with them was that they did not have a guide. Had they followed a learned guide, he would have advised them how to go about doing things and how to correct situations. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), as much as they excelled and progressed but they did not feel themselves to be independent of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). For any small thing they would consult with Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The problem in this day is that we want to do zikr and ‘ibaadat, but in the manner our reasoning and feeling tells us. Yes, you do a little of your own, but you should also report to some learned guide so that you may move in the right direction. Perhaps you may be doing something and then some stray thought comes into your mind and then you will go off.

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