Home Mufti Ebrahim Salejee Majlis Audio Downloads The Oaths that Allah Ta‘ala Takes and the Importance of Consulting

The Oaths that Allah Ta‘ala Takes and the Importance of Consulting


(Summary of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 31st October)

An oath is generally taken to impress upon the listener that what I am saying is the truth. But when Allah Ta‘ala takes an oath then there is no need for Him to impress, for there can be nobody more truthful than Allah Ta‘ala. Further, everything is subject to Him. There isn’t anything that is above Him. When we speak we need to impress on people about our might, glory and power. But Allah Ta‘ala does not need that. When He speaks, He speaks to us at our level out of compassion for us in order that we understand. It is like a father who has a young child in pre-primary school; if he wishes to explain to him a concept he will come down to his level and explain it. Hence, at times Allah Ta‘ala will impress by taking an oath and at times He will impress by witnessing Himself.

When taking oaths we are commanded not to take an oath in the name of any creation because it is as though we will be saying to the next person that if you do not believe me then this is the person that I call as witness to the truth of what I am saying and this is the person that I hold in utmost respect. Therefore, we are asked to only take an oath in the name of Allah Ta‘ala because the creation is too insignificant. Many a times when we take an oath we show such significance and importance to the thing in which the oath is taken that it can lead to divinity.

So anything that can lead to shirk and polytheism has been blocked and sealed off. For example, idolatry in itself is disbelief, but anything that will lead to idolatry is also regarded as haraam. Therefore, to respect an idol, to carve and make one, and to transport it is haraam. To keep an image even for remembrance is also haraam. Although one may not have the belief of divinity, but since it leads to idolatry it has been regarded as impermissible and haraam. Therefore, to prostrate before a grave is impermissible. To keep an image of an animate object is also haraam, as this is how idol worship had commenced. Initially, when a pious person passed away, the people thought that it will be a good idea to keep a picture and image of this pious person in the place where they would do their acts of worship. Then in the coming generations the people felt that these images need to be worshipped as well and that was how idol worship commenced. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is khaatamun- nabiyyeen and there is no nabi to come after him. So every avenue towards idol worship needed to be sealed off. Therefore, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has prohibited the taking of and the drawing of images of animate objects. One is where one is forced due to legal requirements, like for an I.D. or passport etc. That is a different case. Allah Ta‘ala will forgive a person insha-Allah. We will not say that it is entirely permissible but since we are forced and we do not wish for it, Allah Ta‘ala will forgive us. Therefore, if we need to take the photo we will do so with a feeling of guilt and with istighfaar, showing that I do not identify with these people; I identify with Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as he has said that it is not right. If we are not going to do it with a remorseful heart then we will see how smart we are in the photo, what type of a topee I am wearing, etc. 

As far as we are concerned we are not allowed to take an oath in besides the name of Allah Ta‘ala. As far as Allah Ta‘ala, then there is none higher than Him. So when He needs to take an oath then it will obviously be in the name of a creation. In the meanwhile, He wishes to impress upon you by an oath or by witnessing something where He says that “I witness this”. Sometimes, things are chosen for the oath due to their abundant benefits. Look at teen and zaytoon, figs and olives; both have abundant benefits. Sometimes, it is chosen for the oath due to its auspicious nature, for example, the Mount Toor (the mountain where Moosa [‘alaihis salaam] received his nubuwwat). Sometimes there is a relationship between the oath and the subject that Allah Ta‘ala is discussing. For example, wal ‘asr – by the token of time, mankind is at a loss. To understand the beauty of this oath you will need to understand the relationship between the oath and the subject. The relationship is that man is a winner as long as he appreciates and values time. If a student in a madrasah appreciates his time he is successful. A worker appreciates and respects the time at work, then the employer will honour the worker, otherwise the employer loses respect and love for the worker. So it is as though time is the criteria. In the aakhirat as well, the person who respected time will be a winner. If you ask a person who passed away just a second ago, as to what he desires, he will say that if I could just be spared for a few more moments so that I can do a bit more ‘ibaadat. Now, he cannot say a single subhaanallah or give a cent in charity. It is only at this time that he can see what each one is going to bring for him. Therefore, our buzurgs say that don’t pay attention to dreams and spiritual feelings, for after death everything will be spiritual. So do that which you cannot achieve after death.

The trick of Shaitaan is that he does not allow you to do that which you are supposed to be doing. A person studying in madrasah hears the virtues of jihaad and then desires to go in jihaad. Then while in jamaat and jihaad he hears about how people are learning deen etc. so he feels that I should rather be in madrasah. This is the play of Shaitaan. The correct thing is to be focused, and you can only be focused if you have someone to guide you and show you the path, otherwise Shaitaan will be guiding you.

In life you will go through different phases, physical and spiritual. If during these changes and phases you do not have anybody to guide you then your mind will guide you, but you will not know whether you are doing the right thing. Therefore, ask someone who has gone through the whole process and understands these changes. In the path of righteousness it takes a long time before a person reaches climax. It also depends on the capability and commitment of the individual. Until you have not reached the level of maturity you cannot claim to be there. However, you would always get that class of people who have not yet matured but they wish to be recognised.

There are three classes of people, kaamil – complete, naaqis – deficient, and kal-‘adm – as if non-existent. The non-entity does not know and also does not wish to accept. If you look at the world, then many of those who have positions have no concept of understanding but they do not even accept this. Another class is that person who has brains, but does not want to consult. He feels he knows everything. If you know one subject it does not mean that you are a master of all other subjects. A person who just knows Arabic and English cannot claim that he knows deen very well. He will have to go through the process of training under someone who is qualified and specialised and then only will he gain some understanding. Similarly, to interpret and understand a worldly subject, a person who understands English cannot say that he can explain and interpret books on medicine and law. Otherwise, you can go to court and quote various sections of the constitution. However, they will not recognise your interpretation. They will only accept it from someone who is qualified. Moulana Room (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) in his Mathnawi discusses several important subjects. One of them is the importance of following a guide. Sometimes a person after reading a few incidents of some Sufis feels that I am greater than my shaikh and I do not need to listen to him. Whereas, this is erroneous.

The shaikh also needs to be very well grounded and have an understanding of situations. Muhyuddeen ibnul ‘Arabi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) says that the shaikh needs to administer matters like a ruler. Ten things may happen at the same time, but he does not lose his composure. Hazratjee (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) used to explain that a person met about 500 auliyaa and asked all of them the same questions, and their answers were identical. One of the questions was, “Who is hoshyaar (an intelligent person)?” All of them answered that hoshyaar is that person who can maintain his composure and calmness; he is an intelligent person. This can only happen when the heart has got no ulterior motives, hopes and expectations in people when dealing with them.

If a person experiences evil thoughts that are related to deen then that is a waswasah and whisper from Shaitaan. If it is regarding the dunya then it is just a stray thought. The cure for both is to ignore them and get engaged in your work. When you train yourself in this manner then the worst thought can cross your mind but you will not be affected. So ignore it and get engaged in something that will lead you to Allah Ta‘ala. For example, the thought of a girl crossed your mind, so think of the qabr or of your father who is looking at you and shouting you. The thought will immediately disappear. Think very seriously over this. The third thing is don’t keep yourself idle. Even if it means you planting potatoes in the garden this is even better. At least you can be of benefit to yourself or to someone else. The priority will be to keep yourself occupied in deen, but if this is not possible then at least keep yourself occupied in some permissible worldly act that will not do any damage to your deen. If this is not going to happen then your mind will definitely be a devil’s workshop.

Therefore, it is important to be consulting with one’s elders.  If it is not possible to meet every day, then at least once a week or every two weeks or once in a month. If this does not happen then you will be allowing Shaitaan to take advantage of you. When you have someone above you then the system of Allah Ta‘ala is that He protects you, for He wants you to align yourself to somebody and not act independently. It is like a classroom; as long as there is a teacher in the classroom there will be system, and once the teacher is not there, there will be problems. Hence, just as the teacher is a form of defence, the shaikh is also a form of defence against Shaitaan. Without him, you will have no defence to protect you. Even the thought of a pious person brings a form of protection. This does not have to be done as a routine practice, but if you are cornered in some situation then by thinking in this way you can build a form of defence. In order to become a skilled and talented person you need someone above you. Even a carpenter cannot become skilled in his field unless he is under the supervision of someone experienced. So when it comes to deen then why don’t we adopt the same procedure?

Hazrat Moulana Thaanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) used to say that even if you do not have a shaikh and you do not find someone competent enough to guide you then too you should not be independent. Instead, you should have some friends with whom you consult even though it will not be necessary to listen to them. Even Nabi (sallalalhu ‘alaihi wasallam) subjected himself to the mashwarah and consultation of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). This is a precedent set by Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). So how much more will we need to consult? One is a learner and a beginner, he definitely needs to consult. The other is someone who has reached the end or he is almost there, then too he should consult with some of his friends. Consultation does not mean that the person comes to the shaikh and tells him, “Hazrat, I am going now, is it alright?” or “I am making this type of zikr.” The correct way is to explain to the shaikh that this is my condition and you know my haalaat, so what will you suggest for me? Hence, there is a difference between informing and requesting or consulting.

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