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Understanding the Position of Allah Ta‘ala

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 24th October)

Hazrat Mu‘aawiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had written to Mugheerah bin Shu’bah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who was one of his governors, and at that time the Islamic empire had spread far and wide, up to part of Russia and reaching up to China. When the state had expanded so far, it was required that different areas be managed separately. Hazrat Mugheerah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was perhaps dispatched to Egypt. Hazrat Mu‘aawaiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), in spite of his might and glory, and extensive empire, did not see himself not in need to increase his knowledge. Hence, he writes up to Mugheerah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asking him, “Tell me something that you heard directly from Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as far as what Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would read after salaah.” This was the style of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) that they always wanted to progress and wanted to know about their deen. 

As long as a Muslim kept that as his goal he remained on course, and the moment we move away from this then everything becomes an attraction and we will want to know what is happening here and there, and what is this fight all about. There are many things of Islam that we have just inherited, such as namaaz, wudhu, etc. without us really understanding it. The correct way is to watch and see someone who is doing it correctly and then correct ourselves. When Hazrat Mu‘aawiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), being such a great person, is enhancing his knowledge then how much more do we need to enhance our knowledge. So go to someone who has learnt it properly from the hadeeth, etc. and learn it. The hadeeth shows that Hazrat ‘Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) displayed the wudhu of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hazrat ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) did the same. Each one’s concern was that the way of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) must be preserved and passed on. Hazrat Mugheerah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied that I have heard Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) reciting the fourth kalimah immediately after namaaz. Many of us may know the translation, but the point is that our attention should be to Allah Ta‘ala alone. “Laa ilaaha illallahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu” – There is none worthy of worship but Allah, there is no partner for Him in administering the affairs of the world; He is all alone. Thus, after you have performed your namaaz, you are now conscientizing yourself that this is how I need to behave. One is to know and the other is that it becomes your conduct.

One person came to a buzurg and asked him to teach him the isme a‘azam. The buzurg told him that you do not have the patience for it. This person insisted until the buzurg decided to try him out. He gave him a box to deliver to another buzurg with the instruction that he should not open the box. On his way, curiosity got the better over him and he wanted to know why he was asked not to open the cover. Hence, he opened the cover and immediately a rat jumped out. Now he was unable to retrieve the rat. So he went to the buzurg and explained what had transpired. The buzurg advised him saying that you have now proven that you do not have patience. Hence, one is to know about patience and the other is to behave and practise patience.

The goal in tasawwuf is to correct one’s akhlaaq, and the gist of akhlaaq is to behave in such a way that simultaneously Allah Ta‘ala is happy and people are happy. If you try to show that you are making Allah Ta‘ala happy but at the same time you are hurting others then this is not akhlaaq. Likewise, if you try to make people happy but you are displeasing Allah Ta‘ala then this also is not akhlaaq. That is why in tasawwuf, they ask you not to associate too much in the beginning because you will be consumed. Then you will not be able to maintain the balance. You have a strong attachment and affinity with someone and you cannot break up from that person. Now he has invited you to a waleemah and you know that there is going to be integration, and no segregation. So you begin to become selective in your Islam. You will begin to say that to respect a Muslim is a great act of ‘ibaadat. Yes, it is, but the respect is for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, not the other way around. The person should be secondary and Allah Ta‘ala is primary. Therefore, if you are not at the position where you cannot let hold then don’t keep a strong bond and relationship with others. As long as your nisbat and relationship with Allah Ta‘ala is not strong then just keep a surface relationship. Otherwise, you will not know where to draw the line. You will say that if I don’t keep up the relationship then he may pull up his face, but then how do you know if for the rest of time Allah Ta‘ala will be displeased. It may happen that this can be the catalyst for your eternal destruction. Shaitaan said just one statement that I am better, but that became the catalyst for his eternal destruction. Hence, how sure are you that Allah Ta‘ala will not take away that taufeeq from you. We think that Allah Ta‘ala is most forgiving and He will forgive us, thus treating Allah Ta‘ala as insignificant. In reality, you considered the relationship with the friend as serious, but the relationship with Allah Ta‘ala is not so serious. Once, a poet got the thought of how to complete a line of his poetry during his namaaz. He immediately broke his namaaz to note down the wordings. When someone asked him the reason for breaking his namaaz, he said, “I can always repeat the namaaz, but that thought will never return.” This is what Allah Ta‘ala dislikes, that your affinity and relationship with others is greater than His relationship.

Sayyid Abdul Qaadir Jeelaani (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) had an expensive Chinese mirror and it broke in the hands of his attendant. The khaadim was extremely afraid and worried and feared Sayyid Saahib’s curse. Hence he explained the situation in a couplet saying that it was through taqdeer that the Chinese mirror broke. The immediate response of Sayyid Saahib was, “Excellent, the thing that brings about self-admiration has broken.” This is what we have to look at, what is the immediate response to a situation. It is easy to say after some time has passed that I have forgiven you or it was by taqdeer, but the real test is the immediate response, and this is what we learn from the lives of the great pious people. Sometimes I have to tell the students that the mirror won’t bring you any additional beauty. If you really want more lustre and beauty on your face then perform tahajjud and do ‘ibaadat at night. The hadeeth says that the one who stands at night in salaah his face will be beautiful and full of noor during the day. It will not matter what the complexion of the person is, but through this, his face will have a certain type of noor and attraction. Don’t you see, many of our aged buzurgaan-e-deen, as they get older the greater the attraction on their face. This is as a result of that tahajjud and their taqwa.

We like to say that we love the buzurgs, etc. and we speak highly of them, but what we need to take from them and understand is their outlook. Once a cloth merchant came to Baghdad and nobody was able to buy his material. Even the ruler did not have enough to buy from him. This merchant came to Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jeelani (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) and offered his fabric. Sayyid Saahib asked his khaadim whether there was enough money to buy the fabric. When he informed him that there was enough, he bought it. He then called the tailor and told him to sew a kurta. After sewing it the tailor came and said that there was not enough cloth to complete the sleeves. Hence, the sleeves were short. Sayyid Saahib told the khaadim to get the sackcloth and attach it to the sleeves. The fabric and cloth never mattered to him. His whole purpose of buying the cloth was just to please the heart of the person that he should not return with the thought that nobody bought my cloth. Hence, it was not for show. On the other hand, if it was one of us, then even if it is one tile that is missing in the toilet, will we say that since the spot needs to be covered so just cover it with an old tile? In the meanwhile, when Sayyid Saahib bought the cloth someone sent this news to the governor that he bought something that you couldn’t buy. The governor got worried that Sayyid Saahib should not influence people and overthrow me. He has so much of wealth. Hence he sent someone to investigate and see what Sayyid Saahib is up to.

Now you always get people who like to pass on stories from here to there. Even though it may be true, but we should see what the reaction of people will be; whether it will be to incite more problems or not. Our work is to make up, not to break up. There was a woman, and some of them are greatly blessed with sound understanding and reasoning, and this is not on account of education, etc., it is god given, based on their humility, devotion, etc. So she advised her daughters, and this was especially in the older days when people were living close to each other and altogether. She told them that even if you hear someone speaking against me in the room next door then too don’t report it to me. Sometimes a person’s heart is totally clean towards the person and now when the news of him speaking badly of you reaches you, your heart is turned around. Sometimes that one lie is better than a thousand truths. Therefore, I say that we do not know what akhlaaq really means.

The concern of the people in that time was that my child must come of some height in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala, and to get that we will have to take them to people that have that position in sight of Allah Ta‘ala.

Coming back to the du‘aa that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used to recite after the fardh, “Lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu” – to Him belongs the kingdom, hence all praise belongs to Him. Kingdom refers to His supreme control above all; He has the switch of life in His hands. When He wants He can switch it on and when He wants He can switch it off. Don’t think it is yours. The single supreme control is His. When it belongs to Him then He is worthy of all praise.

The second du‘aa was “Allahumma laa maani‘ah limaa aa’tait”– O Allah, what You give nobody can take, and what You take nobody can give, and nobody’s effort and toiling can be of any avail against Your decision. No matter what contacts and influence you may have, if Allah Ta‘ala did not will it to happen, nobody can make it happen. When there is a decision against your taste then be happy with the decision of Allah Ta‘ala. You don’t know the good behind it. The teaching of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is ridhaa bil qadha, to be pleased with the decree of Allah Ta‘ala. You will see the wisdom of it later on.

Hazratjee (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) learnt a lesson from Moulana Thaanwi and he in turn learnt it from Moulana Gangohi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) – “At any time don’t have any expectation and hope in any person” and then after a pause, he said, “Not even in me.” Hence, don’t have this expectation because there can be one of two situations, either you want to give but you don’t have it, or you have it but you don’t want to give. But Allah Ta‘ala, He has all the treasures. Placing one’s hopes in people is the root of all anxiety and worry. At such a time, where is Allah Ta‘ala? Have you forgotten Him? He is the one that will make it work.

Moulana Room (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) says that if you want to give your heart to a mortal being like yourself then it is not lasting; it is going to perish. It cannot continue and it is not perpetual. It has to die at some point and you are going to feel very bitter. Sometimes the hope is in your wife or your children or in the stock market, and when the stock market crashes then all your hopes are lost. So don’t over attach your heart to it. Naturally, you will have the love for it. Hence, enjoy it but don’t over attach your heart to it. One of the two must separate. So if you give your heart, give it to the Being that is Living and Eternal. He is with you in the highs of life and in the lows of life, in sickness and at the time of death; He is always with you. Thus, the affinity with Him will just continue growing all the time and you will then lose the taste of everything else in this world. At the time of death, the malakul maut will come with salaam from Allah Ta‘ala. Imagine what will be the extent of joy and happiness at that time. Your heart will burst out of joy and happiness.  His assistance and love will be with you at all the crucial moments, in the grave and even after that. But for this, you will have to build the relationship with Allah Ta‘ala and you will have to part with the love of this world. Can you tolerate if your wife says she loves you, but at the same time she also loves her ex-lover. So keep the dunya in its place and keep the aakhirat in its place. Let our lives be such that Allah Ta‘ala is the main goal. In everything that is good think of Allah Ta‘ala and in any misfortune think of Allah Ta‘ala. In this way you will not be overwhelmed by anxiety at the time of misfortunes, nor overexcited with good fortunes.

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