The following is a transcript of the event The Alchamy of Happiness, by Shaykh Hamzah yusuf.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Imam al-Ghazali radiallahu anhu, his name is Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Tusi. He had the laqab which is a name that is given, usually people are given a laqab like Sayyidina Hamza was called Asadullah and then the kunya is Abu Hamid but his laqab was Zaynudeen, the beauty of the deen. He was born in Tus in Khorasan in 450 after hijrah which is about 1058. He was born into a very poor family not extremely poor but poor. His father was a weaver and when he died they were very young and he put them in charge of a local shaykh there who was probably, he was not an alim by any means but he was a very righteous man and he had some knowledge. He educated them in their early education but Imam al-Ghazali both of them Ahmad al-Ghazali who is his brother became a faqih and also a poet and is noted for his spirituality as well but Imam al-Ghazali very early on showed his brilliance and they both entered into the madrassah. That is everything their father left, he left towards their education. He asked this shaykh to give them their education and he ended up becoming a student. He went to one of the nearby cities and studied and during that time one of the greatest shaykhs of Islam happened to be in the area and that is one of the things you note in Islamic history. In fact it is really noted in human history.
You will find very often that very brilliant people, they emerge at a time where there are other brilliant people to nurture their brilliance which is very helpful. Imam al Ghazali was very fortunate and so was Imam al-Juwayni to have a student like Imam al-Ghazali because one of the blessings of a great teacher is to have great students and Imam al-Ghazali became the student of probably the greatest teacher at the time who was Imam al-Juwayni who was called Imam al-Haramayn. He was a brilliant Shafi faqih. His book in usool is a very important book in usool and Imam al-Ghazali would go on to actually develop usool and write his own book in usool that surpassed his teachers book. Imam al-Juwayni was also a great theologian but Imam al-Ghazali, his genius emerges in fiqh early on, usool fiqh and also in ilm al-kalam.
These were the two areas that he was really a master of and during that time there was a lot of trouble in the Muslim world for a lot of different reasons partly because the period he was living in was a period in which the creed of Islam was going through some transitions. First of all the Mutazila were still very powerful and the Mutazilite were rationalists and they were people that believed that the aql the intellect should actually be the criteria by which you judge matters of religion. So you put the Quran under the microscope of the intellect and the intellect examined the Quran and then the intellect determined how you viewed everything and the opposite if that was the traditionalist path with which the intellect had very little to do with anything and we just took revelation so we took the Quran and the hadith and we understood them at a literal level and we do not use the intellect to interfere with that understanding.
Imam al-Juwayni was probably in the middle of that. Fakr ad-Din ar-Razi a later scholar said that in the verse that Allah says in Surah Nur in ayatul nur when He says “light upon light” he said it was revelation on the intellect that revelation illuminates the intellect so you need both and there should be a balance in the two. You do not want revelation that does not have intellect but you do not want intellect overriding revelation however you can understand revelation by the intellect “oh it must mean this because it certainly cannot mean that” and so he was coming out of that madrassah which placed an immense amount of emphasis on the intellect but not to the degree where the intellect overshadowed the revelation. That is an important aspect of it. Imam al-Juwayni said about Imam al-Ghazali that he was an ocean so his own teacher was aware that he had an ocean. He said he was a copious or vast ocean of knowledge and what is really extraordinary about him I think is despite his brilliance, he was somebody who was incredibly introspective and aware of his internal states which is often very rare in people.
You can have the most brilliant person but they are completely oblivious to their inward state and you will see this if you have gone to university. You have professors that are obviously very brilliant but they are not aware of their own internal states. They can be arrogant and be completely unaware of it and he was arrogant. Imam al-Ghazali was somebody who was, he belittled people, his genius was such that he never lost an argument. If he was in any type of debate he floored his opponents and he became very big headed and aware of his brilliance and aware of his superiority over other people. He was extraordinary eloquent in both Arabic and Persian and so when he gave talks people were just in awe of his ability to speak and what happened he was in his thirties at a very young age, he was only about 34, he became the head professor at the most prestigious university in all of Islam which was Nizamiyya in Baghdad so in academic, 34, you are just finishing your PhD by 34 so that is like a young whipper snapper. He is being put in charge of and at his lessons hundred of ulema attended. The students did not even get into the lectures because it was all ulema.
So you can imagine the situation that he was in. It was the ulema that were attending his lectures, it was not the students because a lot of them could not understand what he was talking about. The thing about Imam al-Ghazali and it is really unusual. Every discipline that he learned he would write a book in it and that book would become the definitive book of that discipline. In every single subject he became the authority of that subject during his time and just to give you an example he wrote a book Maqasid al-falasifah (aims or ends of the philosophers). He learned philosophy in two years he said in his autobiography in his spare time. When he says he learned philosophy that meant that he learned what philosophy was at that time in other words he knew the subject of philosophy because at that time philosophy was limited.
Now you have a lot of different philosophers. At that time you only had certain philosophers and you could actually learn all of the philosophies. He mastered Plato, Aristotle, Ibn Sina, Al-Farabi in his spare time. He says he read it when he had free time and then he wrote a book called Maqasid al-falasifah and the book was like a best seller because he explained the philosophers better than they could explain themselves and some of the ulema actually criticised him for making philosophy much more accessible than it had been before because it was like philosophy for dummies. He made it so clear that everybody could understand it and people suddenly thought ‘oh he is a philosopher, he was joined the ranks of Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina’ who were not considered to be within the Sunni matrix at that time. So he wrote this book but he followed the book up with a book called Tahafut al-falasifa (Incoherence of philosophers) and the reason he did that because he wanted first to make sure that everybody knew philosophy and then he wanted to deconstruct philosophy so he put a book out to let everybody know so all the philosophers read it and they said Abu Hamid he is quite a philosopher and then he wrote a book to say here is what is wrong with philosophy so he showed them. People do not realise the service he did for Islam because philosophy was threatening Islam and that is why he did it. He says that he did not find anybody else among the ulema that was doing that and he felt an obligation to do that so he did that.
He wrote a book called Tahafut al-falasifa and he also did a great favour because he went through philosophy, he defined six branches of philosophy. He said out of six branches, five branches are actually fine, they are not really a problem. Politics is not a problem, that is an Islamic science. Ethics is not a problem, that is an Islamic science. Mathematics is not a problem, that is an Islamic science. He said these are all fine but when we get into metaphysics, we have a problem and then he identified 20 problems with metaphysics in philosophy and from those 20 problems, he identified three problems in particular and he wrote that in his Tahafut al-falasifa that the philosophers are a problem because they believe in the eternity of the world. They do not believe that the bodies are resurrected and they do not believe that Allah knows particulars. They believe He knows universals. So he refuted why and he did it using logic because that is also one of the branches of philosophy.
He said not only was logic a problem, he said it was actually a fard khifayah which was quite radical at the time as well and that Ibn Taymiyyah took case of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali because Ibn Taymiyyah said that logic should not be used in a kalam, theology, and he actually makes a brilliant case for it and the problems with logic that nobody had identified earlier than Ibn Taymiyyah so actually Ibn Taymiyyah’s contribution to the attack of logic is really important too. Ibn Taymiyyah noted that one of the problems with logic is that there are presuppositions in logic that are never challenged. Nobody really noticed that. You have to believe certain things within the framework of logic because to do what he was saying the first principles of logic are not really being questioned and that is a problem because they can be questioned and that is a very modern idea.
Imam al-Ghazali said logic was fine. It was basically just a method for reasoning. It was a heuristic tool that somebody could learn and then use in their reasoning and he said he felt it should be fard khifayah because if people do not know how to reason they are susceptible to flaws in their reasoning and also the sophistical reasoning which is logically flawed reasoning is very common and if you do not learn the problems that go with reasoning, you can fall into them very easily like the common flaw that is used in people’s arguments is what they called an adhomenum attack for instance where you are not really attacking the argument, you are attacking the arguer so people will reject what somebody says because of who it is and there are many others that he felt people should learn. Then he wrote a book on logic which became a very popular book also.
So he wrote this Tahafut al-falasifa and some people say that philosophy, he struck philosophy a blow in the Muslim world that it never recovered from. That has been an argument. Some people say that Imam al-Ghazali, it is actually problematical that he did because philosophy was something that was beneficial and about 100 years later one of the great Andulusian scholars Ibn Rushd the grandson of the grandfather Ibn Rushd ibn Quartaba wrote a book Tahafut al-Tahafut (the incoherence of the incoherence) which was a refutation of Imam al-Ghazali’s book and that book was taken up oddly enough in the West so that became a major major intellectual landmark in the West. The West did not take Tahafut al-falasifa. They took Incoherence of the Incoherence so the West chose to go the way of Ibn Rushd and not the way of Imam al-Ghazali. The Muslim world chose to go the way of Imam al-Ghazali and not the way of Ibn Rushd. Now one could argue and many modern Muslims have argued is that Imam al-Ghazali is actually at the root of the backwardness and the problems that are wrong with the Muslim world.
This is a modern argument that you will actually find in books and amongst certain groups of thinkers of the Muslim world particularly in the late 19th early 20th century. There was a real attack of Imam al-Ghazali. Now you have to understand the importance of that attack because Imam al-Ghazali was called Hujjat al Islam, the proof of Islam. Imam al-Ghazali is to Islam is what St Thomas Aquinas was to Catholicism. He really laid the foundations for the Islamic religion during his time and those foundations carried the religion for the next several centuries really almost a thousand years so there are Muslims that argued that.
Now if you look at it at a deeper level you have to become aware of the fact that the West have lost their religion. The path and the course that they chose to take destroyed their faith. Europe is a faithless civilisation now really now America is not a philosophical country. America has never engaged in serious philosophy. The only philosophical tradition in America is pragmatism. Europe was engaged in philosophy at a very deep level. America it is a very pragmatic country and it has had a very interesting relationship with faith. It is kind of a love-hate relationship but it has had an interesting relationship with faith but Europe’s faith the underpinnings of it were beginning to erode in the 17th century and 18th century. By the 19th century at the intellectual level there was serious erosion. The 20th century with two world wars pretty much wipes out the faith of Europe. That is what happens.
Now one of the real interesting aspects of the modern world is the faith of the Muslims. This is something that if you look at the modern world the faith of the Muslims is an anomalous aspect to the modern world and what is interesting about the faith of the Muslims, the faith of the Muslims is still very strong amongst even the intelligentsia although we are seeing the erosion of it now which is a very dangerous sign because secularity is becoming very strong in the intellectual classes like if you go to South Asia you go to Pakistan, you meet with the intellectuals, the people that are at that very high level you will often find that they are opposed to religion. The same would be true in the Arab world. You will find that a lot of the intelligentsia the people that study thought, philosophy and things like that, you will find that. So that is becoming the case but it was not the case.
So Imam al-Ghazali he dealt this blow to philosophy. Now the second thing that he did which was extremely important is Imam al-Ghazali took the esoteric element to religion and if you look at any religious tradition you will find very often that a split occurs early on between exoteric religion and esoteric religion. Exoteric religion is the formal aspect of the religion in the outward, it is the body of the religion and so you for instance of Judaism the exoteric aspect of Judaism is the 613 laws that they have to follow to be a Jew. So you learn these laws and they become often ritualised and people tend to forget what they were originally there for and begin to really make that outward aspect of the religion the sole aspect of the religion.
That is extoericism. Esotericism is when you focus on the inwards aspects of the religion and forget the outward aspects of the religion. In Islam, probably the most significant example that is Ismailism. The Ismailiyah were probably the most significant example of esotericism where the religion is all secret esoteric meanings and the exoteric religion is for the common people. It is for the people who do not understand what the true religion is that they need those outward forms and during Imam al-Ghazali’s time probably the biggest threat to religion after philosophy was esotericism. So not only did he defend Islam from the philosophers, he defended Islam from the Ismailis. That is why they do not like him to this day. The Ismaili batinists do not like Imam al-Ghazali because much of his emphasis was against the batinists. Now one of the aspects of the batinists were the assassins who were very powerful at the time. They were like terrorists, they really did terrorise the rulers. They were assassins, they would live amongst a ruler for ten years, get their secret message then just one day in the court literally stab the ruler. Everybody thought it was a loyal servant but he was actually a spy for the assassins. So he was fighting these and you cannot imagine the courage of the man because it was an incredibly dangerous thing to do at the time so he had immense courage in doing that.
Now what happens to Imam al-Ghazali in his late 30’s, he begins to have an internal crises, what some people might call a midlife crisis but he was deeply troubled by his personality and he was troubled by the fact that all the things that he was teaching, he was not really practising and so he was having this crises of being the teachers who was not practising. One of the things that he says in the Ihya is he says the zakat of waaw, the zakat of being a preacher is practising what you preach. That is the zakat of waaw, you cannot tell others. The Quran says “do you command others to righteousness and forget about yourselves?” and he was aware of that, that he was teaching and was not practising. It was really troubling him and his personality was bothering him. He noticed that kibr, the Quran says that avoid the outward sins and the inward sins. Avoid the outward sins and inward sins. So he felt that the formulists what he called the people of the form of the religion. He said that the ulema of his time were people of the form of the religion, they had really turned Islam into a formulist tradition and he said the spirit of Islam was lost and he said that the esoterists on the other hand had removed the form and had this esoteric tradition that did not have the protection of the exoteric tradition.
So he saw this crisis in Islam that the inward and outward were not unified and so that was another challenge that he took up but he realised that that he could not do that if he was not real. If he was not living that thing, he could not do that. He could not tell people that this religion is about purifying the heart and his heart was not pure. He could not do it. So at the age of about 38, at the height of his eminence literally everybody knew about this man, his book of ethics was the book that had surpassed with all the previous works of ethics, Ibn Miskawayh, Raghab al Misbahani, many great ethicists but it was his book everybody was reading. His book on logic, his book on aqeedah, his book on usool it is still considered I mean I asked Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah because he is the master of usool, I asked him of all the books on usool which one did he…I asked him if you were on a desert island and you can only have one book of usool, what would it be? He said Al-Muwafaqaa which is Imam Shatibi’s book. I said but that does not really have all the books of usool, it does not deal with all the subjects of usool. He said well if I had to have a book that dealt with it all, it would be Al Mustasfi by Imam al-Ghazali.
Imam al-Ghazali, he really is the first person to develop the science of the maqasid. Imam Shatibi took it to another level but it was Imam al-Ghazali who really developed the science of the maqasid, maqasid a shariah. So Imam al-Ghazali at that time he said that internally one day he would say you have to give up all this dunya and you have to turn away and the next day he would say how can you give up, you cannot give up your position and this is just whispering so shaytan would come and say things. It was happening internally he was going back and forth between these two states and then one day he went to class and he could not talk literally. He just looked out which would be incredibly embarrassing for a teacher obviously to come and literally could not talk. So he is looking at hundreds and possibly thousands of people many of them ulema and he cannot talk literally, just imagine that state and he….they take him home the doctors come and he has described all this. The doctors are all looking and scratching their heads. Some say it is this, some say it is that. This humour is over in the other humours. He needs blood-letting, he needs this, he needs that and finally the doctors concluded this is not in his body, it is in his soul and they said we are not psychiatrists, we are physicians so he needs a psychiatrist. At that time, they said ilm a nafs, he needs somebody who knows psychiatry, the knowledge of the self.
Imam al-Ghazali at that point realised that he had to set out on this journey. So he puts his family in a situation where they were taken care of, he had daughters, his only son died. Hamid. His wife was taken care of and he said he was going to go on Hajj and set out. He spends ten years of his life pretty much just travelling in the Muslim world and not telling people who he was and living in a total state of abasement. His livelihood was done by copying books out. He used to copy books and then sell them and he actually became a janitor. He became a janitor at the Ummayad mosque in Damascus. So he used to sweep the mosque and then he was given a room there. He used the room as a khalwa. Actually nobody knew who he was. They were teaching his books in the mosque and he came upon places where they were teaching his books. He was one in a madrassah and one of the teachers was saying like the great Shaykh Imam al-Ghazali said, he said he had to leave because he feared the ujb coming into his heart, really amazing person.
For ten years that is what he did. There is actually at one point there was a group of ulema sitting and this man came up and he asked a question. Imam al-Ghazali was literally sleeping nearby and he heard this man ask this question and none of the ulema could answer so Imam al-Ghazali saw this man and he was worried that he was not getting the guidance that he needed. So he went upto the man and he told him the answer to your question is this. The man looked at him and started laughing. He said all those ulema could not answer me and you think I would believe you, you are just a janitor. Somebody from the thing called him over and he said what are you going on about? He said that he said the answer to the question was such and such. All these men were amazed at that and he said he had to leave. He left at that point again. He just did not want anybody to know who he was and that was his state so at the age of 48 he goes back partly because he missed his family and he wanted to see his daughters and also because he had accomplished what he set out to do. In that time he wrote the Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din. So he does back and he did not want to go back to teaching and he actually went back to Nissapour. He went back to Tus, his city. He set up a little place and then because the ruler there imposed upon him to teach he started to give the public classes but he basically had just private teaching and during that time he wrote Ihya al-Walid and he wrote a few books during that time.
But one of the scholars at that time who had known him, Al Ghafir al Farsi said that I remembered what an arrogant and pompous person he was and I heard that his character had completely transformed and I did not believe it so I wanted to go see. He said that he went and he watched him and he said initially I thought he was just faking it. That he was just faking the humility. He said as I watched the man I came to realise that he was completely transformed as a person and so Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din wrote the book Ihya Ulum al-Din. In the book what he did was he joined the esoteric and the exoteric aspects of Islam.
He did something that nobody had done before which is he made a book of fiqh like he has Bab of Tahara, Bab ul Zakat, Siyam. He made a book of fiqh into a spiritual treatise. So instead of learning the formulistic rules of fasting, he was also teaching the secrets of fasting, why you are fasting. So he was teaching the maqasid, the spiritual maqasid of fiqh and nobody had done that. They had done it in separate books but nobody had the idea of putting these two together and saying this is the way you should teach this to people because they have to know why they are doing these things because if they do not know why they are doing them you will turn this religion into this formalistic meaningless ritual in which people do not know why they are doing these things. They do not know what the purpose it is. So that is what he did and it is really the incredible contribution to the Islamic tradition and for that reason the Ihya was taught all over the Muslim world and really became one of the most important books. Many scholars said that was really the only book after the Quran that people needed. Many many scholars have said that. If you look at the Yemeni tradition, like the way they teach in Tarim, the entire tradition is based on the Ihya literally the entire tradition. Imam al Haddad all of his books are based on the Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din and on the books of Imam al-Ghazali.
So that is his contribution and people really have no idea. I do not think they have any idea of this man’s stature in the history of Islam but also that he has this incredible honour of being literally the man who saved Islam. That is who Imam al-Ghazali is. He is the man who saved Islam and even though Islam is Allah’s religion, He protects it, He protects it nonetheless through people and that is the man that Allah chose to do that. The reason which is very clear, I think is because of his ikhlas and that is really his focus of his entire work. He is saying if you should do one thing in your life, it is to get ikhlas. That is really the whole point is to be sound in your heart and if you do one thing in your life, you should do that. All of the accolades that go with life, all of the positions that go in life, all the things that people strive after what he is saying is that all of those things are completely irrelevant if you have not worked on your heart.
Not only are they relevant they will destroy you and so he was willing to completely give up all of that out of fear of being destroyed because he says very clearly I was afraid of being firewood for the hellfire. He states it very clearly that that was my fear and I was willing to do anything to remove myself from that state and that is what he did. That is why he is who he is and that is why we honour him today. That is why he has this position that he has. That is why Allah elevated him because he abased himself for the sake of Allah and so he is somebody eminently worth studying and he has written no book that is not a masterpiece. Even before he had some criticisms of the books that he wrote before his spiritual period and he only lived 6 years after he came out of his ten year khalwa. He died at the same age as his teacher, Imam Shafi, not his direct teacher but he did not live to be 80 or 90. You could not even imagine what he could have produced. He wrote over 200 books so we could not even imagine what he would have produced had he had a very long life. He had a life filled with barakah.
So he wrote a book and this is the Arabic version of it, he wrote a book called Kimyaye Sa’adat which means the Alchemy of Happiness and he wrote this book, it was in Persian, the initial book and he wrote it for the common people. It is an abridgement of his Ihya but then he wrote a very small Arabic treatise which he called Kimyaye Sa’adat also called the Alchemy of Happiness about the heart and he begins:
Praise be to the One who elevated the bodies at the purified ones with struggle, He engendered happiness in the hearts of the awliya with witnesssing (divine witnessing) and He ornamented the tongues of the believers with remembrance and He cleared the thoughts of the gnostics of the people who know with mediation and protected the majority of His servants from corruption and He constrained the people of zuhd of giving up what was right and upright and He saved the people of taqwa from the oppression of their desires and He purified the spirits of the people of certainty from the oppression of doubtful matters and He accepted the works of righteous people but through the performance of their prayers and He helped the qualities of free people, the virtues of free people by giving them connection to Him.
I praise Him, the praise of One who sees the signs of His power and strength and witnessed the witnessing of His uniqueness and His unity and has traversed the path of His secrets and His birr, righteousness, and has picked the fruits of his knowledge from the tree of His glory and generosity. I thank Him the thanking of one who has forged and drunk from the river of his bounty and generosity. I believe in Him the belief of a man someone who believes in his book in everything He has stated, in his prophets, in His pure ones, in His promise, in his threat, in his reward and in his punishment. I testify that there is no God but one true God Allah the unique who has no partner and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, the One who sent to the children of the wretched and the profligates as One who breaks their back and to the handles or those things that the atheists and the heretics cling to break it and to the transgressor with doubt and shirk who overwhelms them and for those who follow the truth and virtue, He gives victory.
Then he says in the beginning of this book, the chapter on knowledge of the self. Know that the key to the knowledge of Allah is knowledge of yourself. Allah says Glory be to Him, We will show Our signs on the horizon and in themselves until this becomes clear to them that it is true”. Whoever knows and the Prophet said, it is generally not considered a hadith, some of the ulema do consider it a hadith, but it is generally not considered a hadith but it is a sound statement “whoever knows himself certainly knows his Lord” and it is said it is a statement of Yahya bin Mu’adz Ar-Razi and Imam Nawawi says it is not thabit, not a confirmed hadith and some of them said it means whoever knows himself if you know that you are finite you know your Lord is infinite. If you know you are created, you know your Lord is uncreated. There are many interpretations of that statement but generally some of the ulema wrote entire books just explaining that statement.
Imam al-Ghazali, if there is one area where he was not considered a master in, it is the science of hadith but I will say by today’s standards he would probably be the greatest muhhadith alive so when he says he was not a master of hadith and he says that himself, it does not mean in anyway that he did not know, he knew hadith very well but he was at a time where the collections of hadith had directly been gathered so a lot of people tended to focus on fiqh, usool and kalam. So that was his environment but towards the end of his life he did begin to seriously study ilm a hadith. That is one of the things he was doing in the last portion of his life. So those who criticise his knowledge of hadith are ignorant and another thing that is important to remember, many of the ulema had their own chains, they had studied, they had taken hadith, there are many hadith, that is why Hafith al-Iraqi who did a critical edition of the Ihya and looked at all of the hadith in the Ihya will often say “I didn’t find a source for this hadith”, they do not say “I didn’t find a source for this hadith”, they do not say there is no origin for this hadith whereas these people knew that are hadith, we might not know the chain so they would say I did not find a source for this hadith or if they knew it was fabricated, there are hadiths that we know are fabricated, then they would say it is madou.
So he does have weak hadiths in his collection but again like many of the scholars have pointed out, he was not doing anything that people did not do at his time. Weak hadiths were used in Fadail Amal. Most of the books of exaltation were filled with weak hadiths. Even the greatest of the ulema have books…even the people accused him having weak hadiths have books with weak hadiths in them like Ibn Jawzi critised some of his books. In fact Talbis Iblis who a lot of people quote he has some criticisms of Imam al-Ghazali, he got the name of his book from Imam al-Ghazali. Talbis Iblis was, Imam al-Ghazali said I hope to write a book which I am going to entitle Talbis Iblis to show how Iblis has tricked so many of the sufis and people so Ibn al Jawzi wrote the book Talbis Iblis to show how the Sufis had been tricked by Iblis. He got the idea from Imam al-Ghazali but he criticised Imam al-Ghazali in the book. Ibn al Jawzi was a great alim, and he was from the people of wilaya insha’Allah. So the ulema criticised each other and that is just part of what ulema do so I would not take those things seriously.
There is a lot of foolish people that read the criticisms of ulema of other ulema. There are a lot of reasons why they criticise each other. Sometimes it is just hasad, flat out, very common and sometimes it is because they think that this is a genuine problem and they could be wrong and sometimes it is because during their time they do have a problem. In Ibn Jawzi, there was a real problem of extremism in Sufism so he wrote his book as a corrective which is why Sidi Ahmed Zarruq says you have to be careful with that book because he wrote it as a corrective and when you write a corrective book you will often go to the other extreme in order to create a corrective so that is important to remember.
So anyway he mentions this hadith and he says there is nothing closer to you than you own self. If you do not know yourself, how are you going to know your Lord? If there is nothing closer to you than yourself, if you do not know yourself, how can you know anything else? So if you say to me I know myself, I say to you, you know your outward form. You know the hand, the foot, the head, you know the body. You do not know your internal reality. I am talking about that aspect of yourself where if you get angry you want to argue, you do not know, why do you get angry? Or if you become desirous you look for what is going to satisfy your desire or if you get hungry you are suddenly looking for food. That is you get thirsty you go looking for drink. You do not know why you do those things. What is the thirst mechanism? Animals share all those things that I just mentioned. Animals have all these things. If they get hungry, they go eat. If they get thirsty, they go drink. Animals have that so you have the knowledge of the animals.
So it is an obligation upon you to know yourself in reality, the reality of yourself so that you will know who are you. You will know who you are and where you came to arrive at this place and why you were created. Through which things is your felicity and through which thing is your damnation. In you certain qualities have been gathered, their attributes that have been gathered in you, amongst them qualities of ruminants like goats, cows, sheep and in them qualities of predators like lions and tigers and in them qualities of demons and in you have been gathered qualities of angels. The ruh is the reality of your essence, you are not a body. The reality of your essence is your ruh and everything other than that is alienated from you. It is a stranger and it is only borrowed. It is on loan, aria, it is a loan. So it is absolutely necessary that you know this and to know that each one of these qualities that are there, the ruminants, the predators, the demons and the angels, they have nourishment and they have joy so each one of them has something that nourishes, strengthens them and also makes them happy.
So yesterday we looked at the section, knowledge of the self and why it was important and then he talked about the different types of attributes that are in people. The ruminant attribute, the predatory attribute, the demonic, the angelic and then this section he begins by saying bismillahir rahmaanir raheem if you want to know yourself, know that you are composed of two things. The first is the heart and the second is called the nafs or the ruh and the nafs is the heart that you know through the inward eye so the nafs and the heart are the synonyms for the same thing.
Your reality is the internal reality because the body is the first but the heart is the end, it is the last and the self is the end and it is the first meaning the heart so the body is the beginning of this world, this experience but the heart precedes it and in the end it is the heart that you take with you into the next world so the heart is the first and the last in reality. In the heart is not this lump of flesh that is in your breast inclining towards the left side because this is shared by animals and dead things. And everything that you can see the outward eye is from this world and this world is called alam al shahadah. So you have alam al ghayb and you have alam al shahadah and Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala says that He created both so everything that you can see he is saying from alam al shahadah the world that is witnessed or experienced. Now that includes things that we can see through machinery I mean you had in the 19th century you had some of these rationalists who attempted to say for instance that the shayateen were microbes and the unseen was really all of this microscopic world and things that we cannot see anymore so there was a trend amongst some of the scholars to try and do that but all of that is part of the mulk. Everything that we can see or even understand through material means so modern physics all of these types of things that enable us to know about subatomic articles all of this mulk which is the dominion here material world.
So he says but the reality of the heart which is consciousness really what he is talking about is consciousness and in the West you have a trend for sometime now that has been trying to prove biochemical foundations of consciousness. They want to prove that consciousness is actually material. This is the idea of mind and matter and part of the reason they want to do that it is because consciousness is a problem. It is a metaphysical problem. I mean I was at a martial art studio where one of my sons was taking a class and I started talking with one of the other parents and he was a biochemists PhD from Berkeley teaching biochemistry and he asked me what I did. I said I taught religion and ethics. I said I am on the other side of the coin and he said maybe less so than you think and I said what do you mean and he said well consciousness we cannot really explain that can we so he was a biochemist recognising that problem of consciousness. It is a problem in science. Where does our consciousness come from? How do we know anything? Where does infinity come from? Where does this concept come from? Animals do not have that. Why can we even think of something like infinity? Infinity, we do not see it anywhere.
We are temporal, in the world but we can come up with concepts like that. That is consciousness. How can we even think about God? Just the idea of being able to contemplate God is an extraordinary thing. One of my favourite quotes is Einstein he said the only incomprehensible thing to me about the universe is its incomprehensibility. That is an amazing statement. The only thing incomprehensible to me about the universe is its incomprehensibility. How are we able to know the universal law of gravity? How is the human consciousness capable of something that extraordinary to understand the universal law of gravity? How do we know about strong and weak nuclear forces? How do we know about nuclear forces? How do we know about electromagnetism? How are those concepts even comprehensible to the human intellect? Because the intellect was designed to know them. That is what you have to conclude, there is a relationship between consciousness and between the objects of consciousness and that relationship is designed so he is talking here about al qalb this organ of consciousness.
So it is not from this world but it is from the unseen world. It is a stranger in this world. It is alienated from the world so consciousness itself is alienated from the world. One of the reasons, one of the Andalusian scholars said, one of the reasons why people have to sleep is because the ruh is not of this world, it is of another world, it is of another world and the ruh cannot take too much materialism. It literally has to go back into the unseen world in order to get rest from the dunya so sleep is a spiritual nourishment for the soul and that is why people that are sleep deprived become really agitated and have really hard times.
So this lump of flesh is the vehicle for consciousness. That is what it is, it is the vehicle for consciousness. And all of the limbs of the body are its soldiers and it is the king. And the knowledge of God and the witnessing of the beautiful presence, this divine presence, these are the attributes of this heart and all of the responsibilities upon the heart if you are not conscious, the qalam the pen has been lifted for the sleeper. If you are in a state of sleep there is no responsibility because there is no consciousness which is why alcohol is prohibited because you lose your consciousness, you lose your ability to think and this Lordly speech that is being articulated to us is to the consciousness. The Quran is speaking to your consciousness. It is not speaking to your body, it is speaking to your heart your ability to perceive. And in accordance with actions are by intention. The place of intention is the heart so all of your reward and punishment is based on what happens in the heart, the whole thing, it is all in the heart.
And felicity and damnation, there is salvation in the akhirah and also damnation, they follow it, they follow the heart and this animal spirit what they used to call the vital force, it is what the Chinese call chi, the vital force is something that is in the body but is not of the body and it is what animates the body. The Arabs call it the living spirit. 20th century medicine really denied that aspect. They don’t really put a lot of credence in that but he is saying this vital spirit, or vital force is in everything subservient to it, and with it so you need this.
That is why there is a massive difference between the living and the dead. If you see a dead body, if you see someone you know it is really amazing to see a dead body of somebody who you knew because they have gone and it is very clear that they have gone, what animated the body has gone, the animus, the spirit, the animal so it is the same the animus, the same as the Latin.
So knowledge of its reality and knowledge of its attributes is the key to knowledge of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. So you must struggle until you come to know it because it is an inestimable precious essence from the nature the essential nature of the angels because the angels are light. They do not have the dross of the body. Angels are pure consciousness. They are conscious creatures. They are aware of only their Lord so they have that consciousness and that is what he is saying that this is your essential nature and the source of its origin is from the divine presence. The soul was within the divine presence. We were all there in the divine presence and the pain and the alienation of the dunya is the recollection of that presence. That is why people are in the states they are in because they are alienated. The only people that have itminaan are the people of dhikr, everybody else is a mess.
From that place the consciousness came and from that place it goes back. That is where we came from and that is where we go back to. So he says what is the reality of the heart? As for your question what is the reality of the heart. They ask you about the ruh. Say the ruh is from the command of my Lord, because the ruh is from the collection, the summation of the divine power.
Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala is omnipotent so the ruh is basically the greatest expression of the divine power because obviously you can make life inanimate things is one thing. We can make forms do things with inanimate things, humans can do that but to put life in, people that have the greatest punishment are the form makers because Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala
says blow life into it now, put life into it because that is only Allah can do that so that ability to give life is the greatest expression of divine power that He can animate us and give us life and it is also an attribute of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. Al-Hayat is an attribute of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala.
It is the ruh that gives us life. Does He not have the khalq and the amar? The creation and the command. So the command, the ruh is from the command of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala and the command precedes creation so Allah creates but He creates by the command. When He wants a thing He just commands it to be and it is.
So that is the command of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. So the human being is from the created world from one aspect but He is from the world of command from another aspect because he has a ruh, so you have a body and a ruh.
Everything that can be measured that has place, that has quality, all of that is from the created world. But the heart does not have a space like that not does it have measurements, consciousness. That is what the scientists know, they do not know how to, they cannot measure it, they do not know how to give it a reality because they are materialists generally. They are working in the world of material so consciousness becomes the great problem because it does not have masaha, it does not have makdar so they cannot place it like they can other things now is it amenable to allotment. You cannot apportion it, you cannot say oh this part is here, this part is here, you cannot split it up, you cannot dissect it so it is not dissectible.
If you could dissect it then it would be from the created world. It would be from the aspect of ignorance, ignorant and from the aspect of knowledge, knowledgeable. Everything that has knowledge and ignorance it has the same attributes, it is impossible, you cannot join two opposites.
So another meaning here is it is from the world of the command. So the alam wal amar is a way of expressing something among created things that does not have masaha and taqdir. It does not have measurements, you cannot measure it. There is no way to measure it. So some people because of this they thought that the ruh was eternal, the philosophers, they thought because they could not measure it, they thought then oh it must be eternal so he is saying this is a mistake to think that. The ruh is created but what he is saying is it has a different quality so Allah, He has the creation but He also has the command. The command is different from creation so the created world and the world of the command are different. He is describing the material world and what can be seen and the other is describing the immaterial world and what cannot be seen so they are differentiated, these two qualities.
But he is saying because of that differentiation some people mistakenly thought oh that must mean it is not created. It is eternal with Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala and that was the belief of some of the philosophers. And some of them said oh it is an accident, an accident in logic is something whatever needs something else to exist so for instance you have the flower and then you have the colour. The colour is an accident because the colour exists through the substance so the substance is essential, the colour is accidental. That is what they call it. It does not mean by accident like we use it in the common language. An accident is something that is not essential and so that is what he is saying.
Some of them said the ruh was non essential, it is existed through the body so what was essential was the body. The ruh was accidental but that is a mistake because the accident cannot be substantiated by itself. It is not self substantiated. And it always follows something else. The ruh is the origin of the children of Adam. It is the origin so it cannot be an accident and the form of the son of Adam is actually subservient, it follows the spirit so how could it be an accident so he is refuting these views about the ruh that other people have and some of them said it is material, these are the materialists. I mean he is refuting each one of these different groups in his time. Some said it is a boy, it must be maternal and this is very modern. This is what they are trying to say now they want to substantiate the materiality of consciousness.
The consciousness, it really is just chemical changes and exchanges, that all it is and so you take away that and you do not have consciousnesses anymore which is why from our point of view if you have somebody in a coma you are just assuming they are not conscious, that is an assumption.
If you go to a hospital and there is somebody there you know how people talk to people in a coma and the doctors are kind of scratching their heads, this guy is in a vegetative state, you are just wasting your time, what makes them feel better something like that. Those are all assumptions because there is animation in the body. We are just saying they cannot have consciousness because the material basis for consciousness is no longer there therefore there is no consciousness. We do not believe that, we do not believe that because consciousness is elevated slightly above your body. That is what happens when you die and the people in the grave hear the people’s patter of their footsteps above the grave, we know that it is in the hadith so there is consciousness and people who have had near death experiences or have had those experiences where they separate from the body, people have tried to explain material, it is just this massive release, an endorphic release etc etc. You can do that until the end of time, try to explain away the experience of consciousness but in the end it is a mystery, it is a great mystery the consciousness and that is what he is saying do not try and explain this away. It is an accident, it is a body, it is a material, it is this, it is that because you can dissect the body but where is the ruh, where can you put your scalpel into it so how can you call it a body. So this ruh that we are naming the heart.
And it is the place in which consciousness awareness of God, knowledge of God dwells, is not a material substance, it is not a body, it is not an accident, it is of an angelic nature, it is of an angelic nature. Knowledge of this ruh is extremely difficult because there is nothing in the religion that has come to us that will give us this knowledge. When they asked him about the ruh Allah said say the ruh is from the command of my Lord. That is the extent of the knowledge so he is saying we can have knowledge of its reality but this is what we can know about it. Because the religion is struggle, that is the essence of religion. If you want to understand the religion, the religion is not a metaphysical teaching, the religion is a struggle in the world, that is what the deen is. It is a struggle in the world. It is a sign that you are guided. That is what knowledge is, a sign that you are guided. Those who struggle for Our sake we will guide them to Our pathways. We will guide them to Our pathways. So if you are not expending all of your energy it is not permissible for you to even talk of the reality of the ruh, it is not permissible. If you are not expending all of your energies whoever does not expend all of his energies he says it is not permissible for him, it is not permissible to speak with him about the knowledge of the reality of the ruh.
And the first foundational phase of struggle of mujahidah is to know the army of the heart, to know what the armies of consciousness are because the human being if he does not know his army he cannot go to war. If you do not know who your soldiers are you cannot fight so he is saying this mujahidah if you do not know who your askar is you are wasting your time.
Why was the heart created? Know that the nafs the ruh the consciousness is the vehicle of the heart so the nafs the self that we have been given it is a vehicle for the heart and the heart has troops. Just as Allah Glorified and Exalted He said and no one knows the soldiers of your Lord save He. So only God knows the number of soldiers that He has.
The heart was created for other worldly labour in order to seek felicity of the next life. That is why the heart was created. That is the purpose of the heart and its felicity is knowledge of its Lord the Exalted and the Majestic and this knowledge of its Lord the Exalted is achieved through the creation itself so the way that you that you know your Lord is through the creation, the way the heart comes to know Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala is through the creation in ourselves. He began it with that. It is through the self.
And then he says and the heart is among the totality of its world. And you cannot know these wondrous aspects of the world except by means of the senses. Your hawas. So the senses are from the heart, they are a part of consciousness. The senses are from the heart and the qalib because the Arabs say al qalb wal qalib. You have the qalb the essence. You have the qalib the body. You have the qalib the body so the body is a vehicle for the senses, for the experience of the senses. So you cannot get this knowledge except also by knowing how to hunt. You have to know how to seek this out and also knowledge of the net that you hunt with. In order to achieve this knowledge of Allah through His creation, through the uses of his senses, you have to understand how to do that and you also have to understand the tools that you have been given to do that. So he says the body which is the vehicle for the senses, the vehicle for this knowledge, it is only substantiated, it is only maintained through food, through drink, through this heart, having calorific content, through the moisture of life and it is extremely weak. It is constantly exposed to hunger to thirst inwardly. It has the danger of water and fire outwardly, it can drown, it can be burnt and then it is constantly facing many enemies.
How do we know then the troops of the heart? You need to know two troops. The outward troop is shahwa and ghadab, it is desire and anger. Those are actually troops, those are therefore the heart. Shahwa and anger what are called concupiscent and the irascible soul and the waystation of these places, the waystation is along the way, the places where they alight, the alighting places the abodes of these are the hand and all of the limbs. So that is the first outward askar, the outward army, the external army is shahwa the desire wal ghadab and anger and the alighting places is in the hand where it manifests in the feet, in the eyes, in the ears and in all of the limbs. As for the external troops their alighting places are in the brain the consciousness so he says and these are the powers of the imagination of reflection, of memory, of recollection and of supposition. So these are all powers you have been given in the heart so you have the external and the internal and these were created for you in order for you to achieve the goal of the heart.
Everyone of these faculties has a specific function so if any of them is weakened then the condition of the son of Adam in the two abodes is weakened, anyone of these. And the totality of those two armies is in the heart and the heart or the consciousness is the amir, it is the commander, so if the heart commands the tongue it speaks to remember, if it commands the tongue to remember it, it remembers so the heart commands the tongue to remember Allah so the tongue says astagfirullah. The command came from the heart. If it commands it to say subhanAllah, it says subhanAllah. If it commands the hand to strike, it strikes, if it commands the foot to move like if you are going to the umrah, it is the heart that commanded the foot to go, it is how you set out. If you get up, it is the heart that commanded you to get up.
Anything that you, the command centre is the heart, that is where it is coming from. This is very important because what it is trying to do is lay for you a foundation of understanding not only in the nature of consciousness but the fact that you are going to be responsible for all of your actions because people do not think about this stuff. They go through life on automatic pilot and they are not thinking about the fact that they are not on automatic pilot that they actually have volition. They have animality, they have knowledge, they have all of these attributes that are attributes of the divine, Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala has put divine attributes in the human being and then said you are responsible for these divine attributes. I am giving them to you for a reason not to play, not to eat, not to drink. I have got creatures created to do those things. You do those things also but I have other creatures to do that. I do not need you to copulate, I do not need you to drink, I do not need you to eat, I have got creatures plenty of them to do that. That is their function and yes you share those qualities with them but there is a hikmah, there is a reason. It creates humility, there are a lot of reasons for it. That is the most essential, it keeps you down to earth because they are better than you at it.
So if you want to compete with them they can eat more than you can really a lion can eat more than you can. A rooster can copulate more than you can. All of them can outdo you in these those things. That is not why you were created. So know what your amir is. The amir is the heart and he is going to explain why you have to have that knowledge because the troops mutiny. You have time when the army overthrows the commander in chief, it is called accudeta so that happens. The troops get out of control and they take over and then what happens they wreak havoc in the land. You know Ghana they have a coup very couple of weeks but what happens everytime they have a coup there is another, it is a disaster, people get shot, there is all this bloodshed, turmoil, they show pictures of all in chaos, the town is in chaos. That is what happens when the troops rebel and then he says you have been given five senses in order to protect yourself. If there is fire you touch it, ouch that burns. I know not to do that again. Right. You kick the rock. You know Dr Johnson Berkeley said everything is in the mind. Berekley was an idealist. He said none of this has any reality so Dr Johnson was walking with Boswari, he kicked a rock and said I refute it thus. But that is why you have senses because that hurts. If you kick a rock it hurts and you know not to kick a rock it hurts and you know not to kick a rock again. The purpose of the senses is to preserve the nafs in order that you can put away provision for the next life so the soul can also capture the hunt what it is going after and the transaction is completed and gather the seed of other worldly and gather the seed of other worldly felicity. So this is all why you have been given this.
All of these are in obedience to the heart. Just as the angels are in obedience to their Lord, Glorified and Exalted is He and they do not disobey His commands. So these things that you have been given, they are in subservience to you.
Just like the angels do not rebel they are created to be in subservience to Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala these were created to be in subservience to you but there is a difference. So he says, it has been said in a well known proverb, the soul the nafs, the self is like a city and the two hands, the two feet, all of the limbs are like the estates, the farms around the city that supply the city and the concupiscent soul, this concupiscent faculty the desire is its governor. And the irascible faculty, anger is its police force. And the heart is its King and the intellect is its minister so he is saying this is a well known way of looking at this, the self is like a city. And the king is managing them in order for his dominion his kingdom to have stability and the conditions to be stable. Because the governer is shahwa it is desire, it is a liar it is officious, meddlesome, it is confused, disordered, that is the governer.
If you wonder why there are bad governments and you always have these people, it is because it is all for you to understand the nature of yourself. Everything out there is in here. So when your self is disorderly everything out there has to be disorderly. It is for you to understand the nature of yourself. Everything out there is for you to get self knowledge, for you to understand yourself because in understanding yourself you are going to know your Lord. So if you look out there he is saying the governer is a disaster, he is out of control and he needs to be controlled and then the police force, the irascible soul, he is murderous, devastating, vile, criminal. This is the police, Rodney King. That is what he is saying, they are a disaster. If you let them go out of control, they will go out of control.
So what do you do? If the king leaves them to do whatever they want the city is destroyed. It falls into ruin because they are doing their functions. That is all they know. They know what they are supposed to do but if they are not being controlled, they go out of control because they are not a command centre, they do not have that aql, the police have guidelines, and you have to keep them within the guidelines because they lose it you know if you give a man a gun and he suddenly becomes arrogant. Put a gun on anybody’s side and there is a swagger that shows up. They start walking differently. They look at you differently right, you got a problem, because seriously he has got a gun. I told my boys if people would go back to carrying swords and guns you would see an amazing change in the basic courtesies of people out there because part of the problem is they are afraid they will smile and really it is like the police oh officer did I do something wrong? Why are you being nice to him? Because you are afraid. You were just miserable to the person at the cash register. Hurry up, I am in a hurry you know latte no foam right. Where is it? And then they go out that is what people do. They are pathetic. Because they are out of control completely out of control.
So that is what happens in a city, it is all a disaster and that is why when somebody comes in to a city that has authority suddenly everything changes, people’s behaviour changes, it happens. People rectify cities. If you get a serious ruler, a governor that knows exactly what to do and has the wisdom to do it things change, people change. Benjamin Franklin said one preacher came into Philadelphia and he said he was within months the effects of the preacher on the character of the people and all of the other preachers became jealous of them so they tried to get prohibited from teaching in the churches because he was so popular so Benjamin Franklin actually, it is in his biography, he built a non denominational centre and he said I built this so anybody who has something good to say to the people of the city can come and say it, even if the Mufti of Constantinople wanted to come and to teach us Islam, he would find a pulpit in my way so he says so the king has to take counsel with the minister. He has to know what is going on when the king is out of touch which is what happens. This is what happened to the Shah of Iran. He was completely out of touch. Kings get out of touch with reality. The Shah was not aware of people being tortured with things with electrodes and things like that. They get out of touch and then everybody is afraid to bother them with the details and then suddenly they are overthrown so the king has a job.
A minister once came to visit Imam al Ghazali and he said your time is all taken to account for, what are you doing visiting me? Go do your job. It is much better than for you to come and visit me because these people have immense responsibility. These people are going to have the biggest hisab on the day of judgment. The people who have authority over other people, people that were responsible for the well being of other people and how they betrayed them. They betrayed their trust. If you have an army, what is an army for? An army is for defence, that is what an army is for. An army is to defend people from threats of aggression. If you use that army to aggress, they are not aggressors. The army are not aggressors, they just follow orders but if you use that army to aggress and kill people doing that, then you are responsible for every single one of those lives that you wasted on the day of judgment. People have no idea of the immensity of it. If they did they would not do it. If they did they would not run for office. It is only a fool that runs for office which is why the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said we do not give this affair to anyone that seeks it. Why? Because the very fact they are seeking it means they do not understand what it is. If they knew what it was they would flee from it so we are not giving to give you that authority.
Why? Because you want it which means that is the indication that you do not know what it is, it is an immense responsibility. It is a burden and that is why he said a man who leaves this world and has never been an amir over anyone is successful. People want authority. Everybody wants authority because they do not know what it is. Even a man in a house the responsibility ‘everyone is a shepherd and every shepherd is responsible for his flock’. You are going to be asked about every single one of the people you were responsible for. So thinking has to take counsel with the wazir, the aql and he has to put the governer and the police under the authority of the minister so there is hierarchy so the police are not out of control. If he does that then the conditions of the kingdom are stabilised, you have a stable kingdom and the city flourishes and like that the heart must take counsel with the intellect. If you follow your heart without the intellect because if you follow your heart without the intellect. You have to listen to the minister. The king cannot do it on his own because the minister is the one who is in touch with reality. Where does he get his reality from? The minister. Where does the heart get the reality from? The intellect because the intellect is in touch with reality so the intellect, he needs to take counsel with the intellect. Counsel, not be controlled by the intellect, not be dominated by the intellect, not be dominated by the intellect but he needs to take counsel from the intellect. And he has to place the desire and the anger under its authority so these troops have to be under the authority of the intellect.
Your ghadab and your desire, the intellect is the minister. The desire, that is the governer and then the anger is the police. So he is using this as a metaphor so you can understand. You can see it is in the big one you can see it in the little one. So the psychological condition is stabilised. People do not lose it so the physiological condition is stabilised. And so you arrive at the means of felicity from knowledge of the divine presence. That is the whole point. But if you place the intellect under the authority of the desire and anger, the soul is destroyed and the heart is wretched in the next life. That is what happens.
Know that the desire and the ghadab the irascible and the concupiscent souls are fetching servants of the nafs. They are fetching servants. They are the ones that got what you need. They protect you in the matters of food, drink, copulation, for the labour of the senses because you need those things in order to be well. And then the soul is the servant of the senses which is the net of intellect. So the senses are the hunting net of the intellect. It is how the intellect knows. It uses the senses as a net that it throws out to catch reality so that it can understand these things so you have sight, sound you have this as a hunting net.
And also the spies that are able to see the creation of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala, Majestic is His Power and then these five senses are the servant of the intellect. And they are for the heart consciousness a lamp and a candle, the light by which they are able to see the divine presence. They are able to experience it. Because the delight of the senses and this is their portion of the stomach and the genitals. That is what the senses delight in. That is their jannah. The jannah of the senses is food and sex. That is the pinnacle of their delight in this world. These are insignificant in relation to this other delight which is the delight of divine awareness of divine consciousness. And the intellect is the servant of consciousness and the heart was created to see and contemplate the beauty of the divine presence so all of these things are servants for this heart. It is not the other way around but what happens in the world is that people make all of these things commanders and the heart becomes subservient.
So the one who is exerting his energies in this craft that for which he was created, this is a true servant. From the youth of this presence, I only created jinn and ins to worship Me so if you are doing this you are indeed a true servant you are fulfilling what you were created to do. What this means is we created the heart, we gave it a mulk a dominion, we gave it a dominion and troops to protect the dominion and we made the soul its vehicle in order for it to traverse, travel upon this beast of the nafs from this dusty world to the highest of the heights and that is what we have been given.
So if he wanted to fulfil the right of this blessing then he sits like the sultan in the midst of his dominion and he makes this divine presence his Qibla, his direction and his goal and he makes the next life his true nation, birth place, his final abode and his nafs is his riding beast and the world is his waystation. It is only a temporary alighting place and his two hands and two feet are his servants and his intellect is his minister and his desire is his labourer. It is doing the labour and his wrath is his police force and his senses are his spies that he keeps in touch with his dominion and everyone of them is entrusted with a world or a domain, amongst these domains in order for him to understand the conditions of the domain so each one of these is there so he can know what is the condition or the state, what is going on.
And the ability the faculty of imagination is in the forefront of his intellect like a chief. It is able to gather the information of the jawasis. So what he is saying is your neocortex is in the front, the incredible ability that is unique in the human being, animals do not share this quality the ability for us to perceive, this ability of perception he is saying that this is like a chief and it takes in the news of the jawasis, the spies bring the news and tell them. The spies are the senses, it comes into the intellect, it tells them what is going on and then he says and then the memory is in the middle of the brain. This is like the map master. It is the one who knows the terrain and gathers all of the……he is listening, he is there next to the chief and he is gathering all the information and keeping it. He brings the map, this is happening over there, groups are massing over here so he brings that and he is maintaining all of this and when the intellect needs it, he is there to bring the information, that is the purpose of the memory. So if they bring the news to the minister, the aql, he is able to know the condition of his dominion in other words he can assess reality, in reality, so what he is saying is basically that this is an incredibly orderly system that we have been given and if it is used properly you will be in touch with reality and you will be fulfilling your purpose but just like out there things go very wrong.
They are going to be greeting you with flowers when you come in, when the army comes in, they are going to throw their flowers at you, the jawasis were not doing their job. Intelligence was not doing its job. They have weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence was not doing its job. They have weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence was not doing its job so now reality is distorted and what happens? Disaster. That is what happens disaster because they are out of touch with reality and then you have the shahwa is down there ‘we can make some money here because my salary is not enough so you know what I know the minister, I can get a contract with you’. The police force needs new guns. It does not need new guns but I am going to say that it needs new guns because I will get my 10% when we buy the new guns from such and such corporation that is making the guns. This is what happens.
That happens inside the self. You are looking outside and thinking look at all these problems in the world. It is all messed up, no you are messed up. Seriously you are a reflection. All of that is reflecting to us, our inner states. This same confusion that reigns outside is reigning inside and that is the reality outside is just expressing the reality inside of the human condition. This is the state that human beings are in because they are not following this incredible order that was given to them in fact more than that they are even denying it. They just deny it, flat out that there is an order here so if you want to understand why there is chaos outside, you just need to understand the chaos inside. When your irascible nature is controlling your rational nature, when you cannot control your anger and you can understand why things are chaotic out there.
Why everybody is angry out there. If you see anybody one of these is rebelling against you, you have to struggle to suppress the rebellion. If the troops are rebelling, if they are out of control, you need to suppress the rebellion, do not kill them, you do not want to kill them, you do not want to kill them because the kingdom is not sound, it is not stable except with them, you need them, you need the concupiscent, you need the desire, you need anger. If you do not have those, the anger is your police force, you cannot defend yourself if you do not get angry you cannot defend yourself. If you do not have desire in you, there are no farmers to plough the fields to bring the food to the market place. If you do that you will be felicitous and you will fulfil the obligation of this blessing, and the robe of honour will come to you in time. This robe of honour. If not then you are damned and there is nothing but punishment and chastisement that you warrant.
This section is called three things that joy or felicity or happiness is based on and by sa’adat he means the joy of the next life so he says complete joy or the completion of joy is based on three things: the faculty of the irascible, the concupiscent. Those are the terms that we use in the West. If you go into ethics they are a little quaint now. We do not really use that term any more: irascible or concupiscent. So there is concupiscent, the irascible which is from ira, the latin word for anger. We still use the word irate, if somebody is irate, they get very angry and then concupiscent soul or the concupiscable which is the lustful soul or the soul of the appetites of the stomach and genitals and then the rational component or the faculty of knowledge.
So he says it is necessary for these matters the ghadab and the shahwa to be balanced and moderate in order that the concupiscent soul not increase and cause someone to deviate and fall into rukhas meaning lenient matters where they are just not working on themselves at all so it destroys them or the irascible nature increases and that causes him to incline towards unruliness, ungovernable. Somebody who is defiant and recalcitrant. They are not following the rules or orders so this problem he is saying the self gets imbalanced in these two ways.
So if these two strings are balanced by the guidance of the rational soul then they will follow the path of guidance. Anger if it increases then it becomes very easy to strike or to kill. That is the extreme of the sin of anger because anger is actually, the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said do not get angry and if he said do not get angry it is a prohibition on getting angry which means do not allow your anger the ulema say it does not mean do not get angry but do not allow your anger to cause you to do things that take you outside of yourself and result in harm to others so he is saying if ghadab increases if the irate nature, the irascible nature increases in the self then it will lead to somebody losing control and you see that a lot in people that do not have control over that aspect of themselves. They will lose it. They will become very emotional. They become in situations where they are not in control of themselves. They can lash out at people, they can lash out verbally, they can lash out physically at people and also I mean this is a particular problem now around the globe.
I will give you an example they have a programme, I do not know, if they still have it on Arab television which is called like candid camera and they will do things like they will hide a camera and they will have a scenario. They will have a situation where somebody will do something very bothersome and it is a spinoff of an old programme in America in the sixties, I do not know if they still have it. They used to have a programme where they would do things and hide a camera and people would…..like they have a fake policeman and he will just give a person a hard time for no reason. There is no real reason why he should be doing that and people would respond to this. Now in the West on that programme, people used to get bothered by it people would get upset and after a little while and they would tell them you are on candid camera and they will all laugh. In the Arab version almost every single time right before they went to blows some big giant guy would come out and hold the man physically back and it was nothing funny about it at all. It was actually really troubling to see the behaviour because people do not have that patience.
Now there are reasons for that, there is a lot more stress people are under a lot more pressure. There is a lot of oppression. We tend to forget the average person in the average day in the Muslim world is the victim of forms of oppression if they just go to get for instance their drivers license. There is a whole experience involved in getting your drivers license. If you go California where I live you might be a little miffed if you have to wait half an hour in some of the Muslim countries you have to bribe people just to get something that the government is supposed to give you just because you are a citizen but it does not work like that so people go through these experiences and they lead to certain states of mind.
I have a friend here some of you might know him, he has an advertising company and in that advertising company he had a campaign for tea ‘straighten out your state, just relax’ so the campaign was all about if you drink the tea you are going to calm down so he had a scenario where this guy comes in and he is asking to get some rukhsa some official paper that he needed and the guy tells him come back later you know like two hours or something so he gets really angry but he remembers drink tea so he goes he drinks tea and then he comes back and he says I told you to come back in two hours, he goes he drinks tea and then he comes back and he says I told you to come back in two hours. Two hours, two weeks, it does not matter. But that is social commentary on a commercial because that is the state that people are in. It is not tea that is going to help you. That is why advertisers are false advertisers. They might help a little bit (laughs).
But that is what he is saying if you allow this soul to get out of hand the irascible soul you will end in this state where you could even kill somebody and that happens to people. They strike their wives or the wife strikes the husband in less common situations but it happens. So people fall into domestic violence because they cannot control themselves so the wife says something and one of the things I have pointed this out many times. One of the things for people who have not heard this, one of the things that husbands and wives get into is they fall into these what they call in pop psychology dysfunctional relationships. What will happen people in marriages they learn buttons to push if the wife gets angry at the husband she says something you are just like your father so that just sets him off or he says to her you are just like your mother or whatever. They have these buttons, they push the button and the person completely lost it. They lose control of their character.
I had my seven year old. I heard some screaming upstairs. One of them was screaming, the other one was looking sheepish. I said what is going on here? He said I pushed his buttons. So I was pleased he understood what he was doing because children learn that also. There are buttons to push but these are automatic behaviours that people get into. What this is really about. This science is about learning instead of being automatic like an automaton you have buttons that just react and you are not behaving as a conscious human being, what he is challenging you to do is fully realise your humanity, your consciousness so you are no longer behaving in a reactionary mode because that is what the irascible and the concupiscent soul are reactionary souls. They are souls that are just reacting to events. You see something you desire, you cannot control yourself. You go on automatic pilot. You get into a certain situation and you cannot control yourself.
You react and become angry. People do it all the time. A good example of the irascible soul, there are people that just argue that is all they do. Every conversation they get into, they have to argue. Every single situation, they cannot control themselves because they are on this automatic pilot. He is saying is if these are not balanced in the self then this is the situation that you have. If the irascible soul is deficient, there is no jealousy, there is no zeal to protect what needs to be protected, honour. On the other hand it can be deficient so somebody that for instance if you see the situation in Lebanon. That should get your head boiling. It should not be something that you just watch and go and have your dinner, which is what a lot of people do. It just does not mean a whole lot to them because that aspect of their soul is diminished. Also you can have it is diminished in the right things but it is excessive in the wrong things go that is also another type of imbalance that occurs.
So he says in both religion and worldly matters, when it is balanced you will see patience, courage and prudence so by patience here he means temperance and by courage, hikmah so you have these three virtues and these are called the cardinal virtues in both the Greek and the Islamic tradition. The Greeks felt that the moral virtues were four, sabr or iffah which is the ability to control oneself, courage, hikmah which is prudence or wisdom, practical wisdom and the three of these when they were balanced. They led to adl or justice so you were a just human being and this is also related to classical medicine which is Tibb al Unani if you go to Pakistan, the humdar brothers, people know the humdar brothers.
That is all based on this Tibb al Unani which is Greek medicine. Tibb al Unani is based on the idea of that you have four humours in the body and each one of these four humours should be in a balance but if it loves balance then it overcomes the other three humours and you get certain behavioural characteristics so they actually see it is illness and so the idea in having this balance is related to these virtues so for instance the phlegmatic personality is somebody who is depressed, the sanguine personality is somebody – there is excess there and you have these four qualities, blood, bile black bile, and phlegm and depending on the balance of these humours was the state of the person and there is a belief that food affects these and Imam al Bajun says one the proofs that the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam acted in accordance with this understanding is when he ate dates, he used to eat with salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cucumber. He would say this cools off this because dates in this medicine are hot and dry and cucumbers are cold and wet so they balance. If you look at an egg, an egg is a balanced food in this science. The white is cold and wet and the yolk is hot and dry. It does not mean it is dry, like dry meaning lacking in moisture in its substance but it has to do with the qualities that they talk about.
So each of the foods are classified under this and there are extraordinary books written in the Islamic tradition where all the foods have been classified for instance coffee is very hot and dry. Hot and dry things are good for memory. Desert people are hot and dry and they have better memories than city people. People that are cold and wet tend to be slower in their mentation than people who are hot and dry but all of them lead to imbalances. The best thing is to be balanced between these so that also relates to these qualities so if you look at iffah or temperance, sabr. Sabr relates to the ability to control the shahwa so temperance relates to the concupiscent soul in that you can control the self. The shajah relates to the irascible soul. The irascible, courage is a mean between foolhardiness, being impetus, getting angry too quickly, running into the fray without really thinking about what you are doing and between cowardice which is not having enough control.
It is a balance and hikmah is related to the ilm or the rational soul, wisdom and prudence. So that is what he is saying when they are balanced you get these three virtues. And like that the concupiscent soul if it increases then you get profligacy and debauchery. You get people that transgress the boundaries and if it is deficient then you will see this dissipation where there is no energy and you will see laziness, slothfulness and slothfulness is a deadly sin also because desire, you need desire to act. People without desire …the energy of desire is a very useful energy that needs to be challenged within the right venues.
If it is balanced then you will see the iffah. When the concupiscent soul is balanced, you see temperance of contentment. People eat, they have enough food, they do not need to go to extremes. They have their relations, they have relations within moderation so that is basically he is saying when you have this balance in the soul then people are healthy and you have these virtues.
The next section is the section on the states of the heart with its troops. So he says know the heart with its troops has states and qualities or attributes. Some of it is called virtue and others it is call it vice. Some of it is called good character and others. It is called bad character. So with good character, with beautiful character he reaches the degree of felicity and with bad character or vile character he is destroyed and falls into damnation. And so each of these are four different types of species of akhlaq. So each one is a genus:
· The character of demons
· The character of ruminants
· The character of predators
· The character of angels
So deeds, foul deeds when they are related to eating, drinking, sleeping and copulation. These are the qualities of the ruminants. They are the beasts. This is the character of the beasts. So people that overeat. It is a bestial quality. People that drink too much, people that sleep too much, people that copulate too much, these are all the bestial qualities and what he is saying is that they have the character of the bahaim. So they are closer to the behima than they are to a human being and again that is one of the things that you see people are becoming more bestial, obsessions with all of these things. If you look at the time that people put into food is amazing. Ibn Ata’ullah says and this is 9th century quite late people will be at the greengrocer and they will spend long periods of time looking at the fruit, feeling the fruit, to pick the fruit. He said that they will take a piece and squeeze and make sure it is just ripe and put each one in. He said when they go to pray they pray like the chicken pecking so he said the things for the stomach they give all of this time. For their prayer, they give no time and he said the prayer is eternal. It is going to Allah. The food that you are picking out is going to the toilet. That is where it is heading.
So he said what a state that human beings are in. So this is what he is saying if these are your obsessions then you are like the ruminants. You are like beasts and also deeds that are related to anger, striking, killing, argumentation. These are the characteristics of predators, aggressiveness. That is what the predators have so your character is closer to the lions and the lepers. It is not human. And also the qualities of the ego, nafs. Things like subterfuge, faithlessness, disloyalty, deception. Strategies, plotting and planning. Those are all qualities of the demons so when that is your focus you become a demonic character and if you do not think that people plot. People plot, people plot in the most petty of matters. People will plot your downfall at the office, a place where you work. There are people that are literally plotting to make sure you do not get the promotion. This is the state of people. This is going on all the time. All around us. These are the states. There are ruminants out there, predators and demons. Some people are an admixture of all three.
And then he says and also the actions are the deeds of the intellect and intellect unfortunately he is using intellect as a very specific meaning now we use intellect to refer more to cognitive processes, mathematics and things like that. The aql, the real aql is a light and it restrains the soul from it caprice. That is the real role of the aql. It is there to do that. The deeds of the intellect are mercy. Why? Because have mercy on those on the earth and the One in the heaven will have mercy on you. That is revelation. Revelation illuminates the intellect so once you know that rahma is a reason for which rahma is bestowed upon you, you become a more merciful person so that is the intellect when it is functioning properly. It is directing our soul to those things that are beneficial to the soul in the next life because that is the purpose of the intellect is to benefit you not here but in the next life as well as here but importantly is the next life because it is eternal. So your temporal existence is going to determine the nature of your eternal existence so if you are a person of intellect then the intellect is going to be guiding you in that way.
Knowledge, increasing one’s knowledge, striving to be a person of knowledge. Jahiliya is ignorance. The Shaykh talked in the class on seerah about the age of ignorance like the man who said I am from Huzayah. I am from the tribe of Huzayah. If they go astray I go astray. If they are guided, I am guided. That is the age of ignorance. I just follow my tribe. My tribe right or wrong. My country, right or wrong. We are number one. That is all ignorance. Somebody who is knowledgeable transcends those types of imitations of ignorance because that is what ignorance is. It limits people and also charitable actions. Actions that are beneficial and good and these are the characteristics or virtues of the angels. So now you are moving into the angelic realm. The people that are preoccupied with these are on the angelic realm and then he says know that within the shell of the son of Adam are four things:
· The dog
· The pig
· The shaytan
· The angel
So in each person are these four qualities. Quality of the dog, quality of the pig, quality of the demon and quality of the angel.
The dog is blameworthy in its qualities but it is not blameworthy in its form. Its form is not blameworthy, the way it looks. Nothing wrong with the way it looks but it is blameworthy in its behaviour so if you train a dog, a dog can actually become a praiseworthy creature but if he is not trained he is blameworthy. He is jumping all over, he is spilling things. He is aggressive. If he sees something he does not know, he starts growling. He does not why he is growling. It could be a friend not a foe but he does not distinguish between friend and foe. He is just in that aggressive mode so the dog, that is the state of the dog.
And like that the demon and angel. The blame and praise of these two creatures is in their qualities. It is not in their forms. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said God does not look at your forms but at your deeds and what is the state of your heart and intention. That is what Allah looks at. He does not look at your outward forms. It is not in their form or how they have been created and like the pig is blameworthy in his qualities, in his characteristics. He is not blameworthy in his external appearance. You cannot blame a pig for the way it looks but the way it behaves, that is another thing.
And the son of Adam was commanded to expose the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge, with the light of intellect. That is what human beings were commanded to do by Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala to do. To expose the darkness of ignorance with the light of intellect and the light of intellect is guided by revelation so that you have been given an intellect and if it is illuminated by revelation then it can dispel the darkness of ignorance but if it is not, it cannot because no matter how intelligent a person if they do not have a knowledge to balance these things out. If they do not have a knowledge that tells them in this situation you behave thus, in this situation you have behave thus you will not know, you will not see your own behaviour, you will not challenge yourself. You will not look at your intentions.
So all of this is out of fear of this fitnah. Fitnah is a beautiful word in that it conveys an immense amount of meaning in one word. The word fatanah means to test the metals for impurities so when you heat metal and it begins to melt away, you get what is called dross. That is what fitnah does. It reveals the dross of humanity. So I will give you an example. When you had the cartoon controversy in Denmark, remember that. See everybody is like now it is over. Fitnah is over and everybody goes…the cartoons are still there. They are still there. You can look it up on the internet or wherever. They are still there. The fitnah is over. Now the 30 dead people, they are dead. They are in their graves now because of that fitnah or however many people died. So the fitnah is over. That is what fitnah is. It reveals peoples character based on the circumstances.
Now in Mauritania, how did they respond to the fitnah? Unfortunately the news did not cover Mauritania. They, the ulema had an evening where they all got together in a huge auditorium and people came and they recited Qasidas against Denmark so they had a poetry protest. Then the next day they had a demonstration. Before the demonstration they handed out flyers – the adab on protest and amongst the things that they guided the people to was not to anything inappropriate, not to break the law, not to throw anything, not to attack or harm the Danish embassy because it was an embassy that was legitimately there and so it had the umman of the Muslims. So that is how they deal with it, the fitnah. They dealt with it like Muslims but other people. They did not. They dealt with it like the dog. The irascible soul.
They completely lost it. They went crazy and threw things. A lot of it is that it is an opportunity to do that because there is a lot of pressure. A lot of those people they are not religious people. They just oh a riot. Seriously they just go to be a part of what is happening. Something is happening. I mean there is some places I know, there is some in South Asia, any excuse for a good riot. In Karachi, it is not today. True or not true. That is what people want to go out and just not because they are in a state and so the circumstance provides the excuse to behave accordingly. That is what fitnah is. So out of fear of fitnah we have been commanded to dispel ignorance with intellect in every situation because in every situation if it is an ethical situation there is either jahal or aql.
Now one of the meanings of jahal or aql. Now one of the meanings of jahal is also to act with zealousness. To act without hilm. Hilm is forebearance. He was the most forebearing of men. He never lost it. If you study his seerah you will not see that the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ever lost control of his nature. It did not happen because he was always in possession of his aql. The aql restrains. Even when he was angry his anger was measured. It was measured. It was appropriate because there is a time for anger. It is not just to accept everything and do not get angry. No you should get angry and things should make you angry that are unjust, that are improper but how does that anger manifest.
That is the difference. So the Prophet there is none of you except that he has a demon. Even I have demon. The Prophet. Even I have a demon but Allah has helped me with my demon so he became a Muslim. So he is telling you that you have a demon. When Aysha got very angry once, the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said did your shaytan give you a visit? She said do I have a demon? Everybody has a demon so now you know so what is going on? Are you behaving as a human being or are you under the influence of a demon in your behaviour? That is the question. Is this from your demon? The Greeks believed that too also they called it the damon. That there was a spirit that influenced people and it was either negative or positive. So those are the four things.
The qalb is the irascible soul. The metaphor of that. I gave a talk in Oxford and I was talking about the Danish cartoons and I said in that talk that if you have a sleeping dog and you take a stick and you hit it and then it bites you who is responsible? Is the dog responsible for biting you or are you responsible for eliciting that response from the dog? That is an ethical question and one of the Muslims got really upset that I was comparing Muslims to dogs but I was basing it on this idea that this is part of Muslim ethical tradition that the dog is the irascible part of your soul and the dog is a good quality when it is guarding. When the dog is guarding but if it is biting your baby and tearing its leg off like the pitbull. People that have pitbulls and so the neighbour’s baby is out playing so his pit bull goes over and ….that happens in America.
You have people who have pit bulls. There are people who have pitbull natures and they are not aware of it so if you do not have your pit bull nature on a leash so when it is going crazy, you are restraining it so it does not go and eat next door’s baby so that is the dog’s nature and then you have the khinzir nature. People have the khinzir nature. The pig nature. The pig eats all day long. It lives in its own filth. If it gets too hungry it will eat its own children. That is the pig. So that is the pig nature will actually destroy the human being if it gets out of control but if you can control it then it becomes beneficial for you.
Then shaytan the demon then the malak. He also calls it the shaykh which is the sage as well. Like that is the concupiscent and irascible so it has to be under the sovereignty the control of the intellect so that they do not do anything except with the command of the intellect. The intellect is the one guiding the concupiscent and irascible, the dog and the pig, it is the shepherd. The intellect is the shepherd of these two qualities. If he is able to do that then the result is beautiful characteristics. The result is virtue. That is the result that the person becomes a virtuous character and these are the qualities of angels and this is the seed of felicity in the next life. You are planting the seeds of felicity in the next life by acting according to this. But if they act in contradiction to that and serve the concupiscent and irascible soul the result is vile qualities. The result is vicious character and these are the qualities of demons and these are the seeds of wretchedness in the next life.
This will manifest in a dream as if he is standing in a state of total construction serving the dog and the pig. So somebody sees in a dream that they are serving a dog or a pig and they are in a state of construction. This is what it means. That is what he is saying in the science of dreams, that is what that means. And this type of person is comparable to the one who takes a group of Muslims prisoner and hands them over to kaafireen to disbelievers. It is as if you are taking the intellect prisoner and you are giving the intellect the Muslim. You are giving then over to the kaafireen. That is what he is saying. That when you surrender your will to the concupiscent and your irascible soul to the pig or the dog and the demon this is what you have done, you have surrendered Muslims to the kaafireen because they are ingrates, they do not appreciated the naimah, blessings.
So how will you be on the day of judgment if you have jailed the angel? Your intellect. Under the sovereignty of desire and anger you have taken the king and put the king under the sovereignty under desire and anger, how will your state be? So you have put the king into the hands of the dog or pig.
And know today that the human being is in the form of Adamic creature but tomorrow the realities will be revealed and the true state will be shown so what he is saying is that you might have the form of a human being but your meaning is dog or a pig or a demon and that meaning is going to manifest and that is why one of the blessings of this ummah is the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said it will not have transmogrification externally. The external form will not be transformed into a pig or a donkey or a rat. That will not happen to this ummah, any of the ummah which includes ummah dawah, ummah istijabal because the ummah is the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam we forget this the European, the Asians, the Americans they are all from in our belief, they are all from the ummah of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam we forget that, they are his ummah because the ummah ad-dawah, people that were invited to his path and the people that responded to the invitation. They are all considered from the ummah which is why the ummah of Lut are the people he was sent to. They are called the people of Lut. They did not believe in him but they are still his people. So even the people that disbelieve in the Prophet are from his ummah.
So from the blessings of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam there is no outward transformation. People will not be exposed. You can see pigs and donkeys all these animal forms that are low, you will see them out there. One of the interesting things about extinction is that it is not the pigs that are going extinct, it is not the cockroaches, it is not the rats, it is the high quality of falcons, it is the eagles, it is the lepers, that is what is going to extinct. It is not these common creatures. They are the ones going extinct. Because those qualities in human beings are going extinct, because we are the reflection of, all of creation is in us so those things the whales that are going extinct, that is because those qualities in us are disappearing. That is what happens out there. It is a reflection. So there are plenty of cockroaches, really there are plenty of pigs but those high qualities are leaving. One of the things that Moroccan poet Shaykh ibn al Habib said the cosmos are meanings set up in images. You see an image but there is a meaning behind the image.
Whoever understands this is among the people of discernment in other words people that perceive meanings as opposed to the sensory, the sensoria are there we experience the sensorial but all of the sensoria have meanings. Why are we attracted to flowers? What is the attraction? Why are we attracted to colour? Because they reflect meanings. They are qualities of God, beauty so what you are seeing is jamal and that is what you are attracted to and jamal is an attribute of God so you are witnessing an attribute of God manifesting in creation and that is what you are attracted to. If you do not see that, you are like the beast. You are a person of sensoria because you are not recognising the meaning. Why are we attracted to beauty? Because it is an attribute of God. Why do we not like ugliness? Because God is not ugly and that is why the fitrah nature when it is healthy it is not attracted to those things that are ugly.
When the nature becomes distorted, corrupted it is actually attracted to ugly things. It likes ugly sounds. That is why if you look at the way people dress today, it is ugly dress really. They put like ugly tattoos on their bodies and they do these things because they are not well. Those are all indications of their states but they are unaware of that. They are not even aware that they are sick because people in fitnah will not do things like that. Those are distortions of the fitrah state. Human beings have always dressed….if you look at embellishment on Muslim clothes, why do Muslims put embellishments on their clothes? Why in Afghanistan? Why do they do that? They could just have a functional cloak but why do they do the embroidery? What is that? It is in their nature, they are people of ihsan. So they make things beautiful.
You can make just a functional carpet but why make the design. That is an ugly design in my estimation but why make the design. Why did whoever did this do this? Whoever made this here, why did they do this? They took time to do this. We could just be sitting up here in a functional thing without flowers just sitting here. What is that in human being that wants to do that? That is ihsan, ihsan means to make beautiful. Ahsana means to being about husun. Asma al Husnaa the beautiful names of God. Why are they beautiful? Because they are qualities of God. Anything that you see beautiful in the world is manifesting a quality of God. Those are the meanings of the forms so the forms are there but the meanings in the forms are what the people of discernment see. They do not see the externals. They see the internals. The eye of the heart not the outward eye. So this is what he is saying that there are people out there that you see them in the form a human being but they are not humans, they are demons. They are pigs, dogs. That is the reality of their state.
And it is not for you or me to judge because we could be in the same thing so you are pointing the finger at somebody else, look at that dog over there and you are a dog yourself. So it is much more important to be concerned with your own state. What is my state? Not what is their state? What is my state?
So those who are overwhelmed by the irascible soul they will stand on that day like a dog. And those who are overwhelmed by their concupiscent soul they will stand on that day as a pig. Because the forms follows the function. The forms follow the qualities. In physiology you say form follows function, whatever the function of the organ is, the form follows the function whatever the function of the organ is, the organ is going to be designed to fulfil the function. So this is the reality. So the forms will follow the meanings. So people see in their sleep the reality of their inner state. So now you know the reality of man his internal reality is one of these four. So it is absolutely necessary that the person is vigilant and observes his movements his states of movement and stillness to see among which of the four does he belong so this is about introspection. Looking at yourself. Reflecting on your behaviour. Your character. What am I? Am I a pig, dog, demon or am I an angel?
Because these qualities emerge in the heart and will remain with him until the day of judgment. These are the qualities so whatever your heart is filled with. If it is filled with ager that is the reality. If it is filled with desire that is its reality. If it is filled with treachery, unfaithfulness then it’s got the demonic qualities and if it is filled with good then it has the angelic qualities. Those are its realities.
So if those things the righteous perpetual truths that go on forever, your dhikr, your prayer, your charity, your zakat, your hajj, all of those qualities every good act that you did even smiling in the face of your brother and sister if you are a sister even smiling in the face of your brother and sister that is a charity that goes on, it is perpetual so all of these qualities are going to be preserved by Allah and these are all the seeds of felicity. These are all the things that you are planting here and you will reap the harvest in the akhirah.
And if anything remains other than that these are the seeds of wretchedness, these are the seeds of damnation. The son of Adam is neither free or released from motion or stillness, you are either doing something or you are not doing something. You are either in a state of haraqah or sakinah. In the duas of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said in my motion and in my stillness. So you are in one state or the other and your heart is like a glass. It is like a glass.
And the foul characteristics are like smoke and like darkness. They are going to distort the glass so that you cannot see through the glass. So if these are bad qualities reach the heart then they cause a darkness that does not enable you to see with clarity.
And the good characteristics are like light and clarity. If they reach the heart they purify the heart from the darkness if disobedience, from the darkness of disobedience. If these good qualities are being acted then they cause a light to emanate in the heart so the heart becomes functional. You can see with it. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said follow up a bad deed with a good deed so it wipes it. The effects of it are wiped away. It is a polishing because there is oxidation that occurs and that is what he is saying.
And the heart is either illuminating or it is darkening. It is one of the two. It will either endarken or enlighten and no one has salvation except if they come to Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala with a sound heart.
There is no benefit on that day except for the one who comes to Allah with a sound heart.
Section on the wonders of the heart
So he says that know the heart has two doors to the knowledges: the uloom sciences, Sciences in the old use of that word to know. One of them is for dreams or really visions he means here because Muslims discriminate between dreams that are from the ego and nafs and spiritual experiences that happen during sleep that are from Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala
and then the second is in the waking states or the waking consciousness so it is the external door to the outward world. When he sleeps he shuts the door of the senses because the experience that occurs in the sleep it is not of this world. You are entering into the world of meanings. This world has meaning but most people are overwhelmed by the sensory perception of the world, the sensorial so they do not delve into the meanings, they do not see the outward form. The Quran says they know the outward of this world but about the real world there in a state of heedlessness so people experiencing the world experience and somnambulant state, they are sleepwalkers. The world is like dreams but they do not know what it really means. People have jumbled dreams – in Surah Yusuf when the king asks them what his vision is.
They say this is just meaningless dreams because they do not know what it means so they just deny it has meaning and that is a very common strategy for dealing with what you do not know what something means when you are ignorant of something you become its enemy because you do not know. Or that does not mean anything because you do not understand it. That is one way of dealing with meaning is to deny meaning because you do not understand it. He is saying that when you sleep you are shutting off the world of the senses because the senses are the biggest veil that Allah has made for man. Senses veil you from reality and people that are of the senses they cannot get beyond the senses so they are trapped in the senses which is why in many traditions the basic strategy was t flee from the senses so if you look in Hinduism, Buddhism, they go to great means to turn off the sensorial to try to get to meaning.
In the Christian tradition, the same is true. The monks would literally completely detach from the word, go to monasteries often in deserts because desert is a very useful place to shut off the sensoria because there is so little stimulate you in terms of the senses. If you look at the Ibrahim alayhi sallam it is amazing that he put his family in Makkah, because it is a place he described it as a valley without any foliage and often the desert was a place where people went, hermits, monks, desert fathers, they literally went into the deserts of Sinai and attempted to disconnect from the world.
Islam if you look at the early period of the Prophet’s spiritual life, what did he do? He went to a cave and a cave is sensory deprivation. If you go into a cave you deprive yourself of the senses because one of the things you deprive yourself from is light and light is a major door to the senses, external light.
One of the things you do as a strategy to help your prayer if you are somebody who is easily distracted. It is usually makruh to close your eyes during prayer but it is permitted if you are somebody who is easily distracted because the eyes open up the door of the senses and so this is what they would do is disconnect, meditation, all of these different things but at the end of the Prophet’s life or not even at the end but later when he is in Madinah. He is praying in front of his wife and she is literally on her bed in front of him and he is in tahujjud in a complete state of witnessing with Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala and completely distracted by any external temptations or forms and even when he went on the Miraj. You could imagine if the unseen is being unveiled to you because that is what was happening.
There is inward sensory experience also so there is a sensory experience of the unseen world. It is inwards not outward but it is an experience but his vision was not distracted by the unseen world because he was so focused on his Lord even in the midst of all these wonders that are being revealed before his eyes. His eyes did not divert, neither did his heart because his heart was completely in tune with reality and reality is unicity. Reality is unicity, absolutely unadulterated oneness so there is no other in reality there is no distraction in reality. Reality is pure. So what he is saying is when you sleep you are being deprived of the door of the senses and you are opened up to an internal door. Door of the inward and there are elements of the unseen that are being opened up to you in the unseen world and it is from the alam al malakut so this is a door to knowledge to the heart. This is why the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said true dreams are 1/46th of prophecy. 1/46th of prophecy and true dreams are the access that the average human being has to prophecy and that is why people will see dreams come true. They will have meanings revealed to them in dreams and these are related to prophecy. That is what that hadith means so it is a door to perception, dreams. It is an opening to the malakut which is what in the Gospel is called the Kingdom of the heavens and there are many references to this in the Gospel. Isa alayhi sallam talked about the Kingdom of the heavens being revealed to his disciples.
So those things that are from the unseen world. It is like a light that is revealing things and perhaps this understanding and illumination of these things is stipulated upon some knowledge of the interpretation of dreams in other words he will not be able to understand what they mean unless he has access to interpretation of dreams and not everyone has that knowledge. That knowledge is limited to certain people. Abu Bakr had knowledge of the meanings of dreams so the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself had to ask Abu Bakr what dreams meant because that was one of the knowledges that Abu Bakr radiallahu anhu had so interpretation of dreams is not a knowledge that everybody has. Some people have it. It is haram. If you do not know the interpretation of dreams to tell people what dreams means because true dreams are a portion of prophecy so it is as if you are making commentary on something from the unseen world that is true so you should not do it if you do not have knowledge of it and then he says as for what is of the outward people think that this is what the waking state is that they think the waking state of reality but the waking state is actually a dream for most people.
They are not in reality. They only think they are in reality so that is what people think this outward door of perception is but he said it is what you see between sleep and they also think that what is seen between sleep, what is seen while you are awake is something you should have knowledge of. That you have knowledge of. That you have knowledge of it because you see it while you are awake but it is not true. People see things all the time but they do not know what it means. There are signs all around the people. There are signs everywhere but they do not know how to read them but they assume they do because they are in a waking state. They might not necessarily assume they know what their dreams are but they automatically assume they know what their outward perception of, what a tree means. They just assume they know what things are in the outward . He is saying it seems natural they would do that but in reality what they are seeing in the outward is nothing of the real world.
They are signs, they are indicators. That is all they are. They are indicators. That is all they are. They are indicators. Nothing of the real world but they think it is the real world because they are trapped in this outward world veiled by their senses. But what is understood in this state is not sleep and it is not this normal wakeful consciousness. That is what should be more worthy of understanding of this marifa of it than what they know through their senses so understanding reality that is what people should have knowledge of not of this assumed state of what knowledge is. This outward experience of this world that they are assuming is reality and then he says what you should know concerning this matter is that the heart is like a mirror. The heart is like a mirror and the Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz which contains all of what Allah has decreed in the world is also like a mirror because in it is the reflection of every existing thing so it is like a mirror also.
And when one mirror is placed in front of the other mirror then you see the reflecting in that mirror of all the things that are on the other mirror. You put one mirror next to the other mirror. It is going to reflect what is in that mirror. I do not know if you have ever done that. If you put two mirrors together. It is a very strange phenomenon so what he says and this is part of Imam al-Ghazali’s teaching that he believes that the heart is open to unveilings. So he says if the heart is pure and free of the preoccupation of and the desires of this world then it will see what the world is in reality. It will see the realities and he says that but if it is preoccupied with desire and filled with the world, this kingdom of the heavens is veiled from it so it does not have access to it. It does not have any access to it.
But if in the state of its sleep it is free of the attachments of the sensory then it is able to view or look upon this malakut world. The mulk is the world of senses it is everything you can see and touch. The malakut is the world of the unseen which is around us. It is also true alongside of us and so he is saying that you will be able to see the essences of this other world and you will some of the meanings that are in the Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz. Some of these realities not all because it is only Allah that knows all of the unseen but people have these unveilings from that world. Of all people the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had the greatest fortune of that.
And then if he shuts the door of the senses then this imaginal world will emerge. This is a technical term. It is not really imagination but it is the imaginal world. So what he will see is under the veil of the externalities so what he is saying is when shut off the senses you still got the imagination so there is still a filter. You do not see even the reality of the unseen world as it truly is. You are still veiled by the nature of your experience.
Then he says you will not see reality as it truly is, it will not be unveiled to you completely because you are still filtered by your experiences in this world as long as you are in this world there are filters. But if you die in other words your heart dies. Your sensory consciousness dies so the possessor of the heart, the imagination goes, the senses go. The imagination is the body. It is still a type of veil. It is something we need. We need the senses to have some knowledge of reality but the senses veil us and the imagination you need to have some knowledge of reality also but it still a veil. The reason that we can imagine paradise is that we have an imagination so you can think of things of the unseen world that you are told: angels. We can imagine beings that are made out of light, that have things. We do not know what they are in reality but Allah has given us an imagination and the imagination is a door to perception of reality but it is still a filter just like the senses are a filter.
Then he says at that time you will see without any illusion and you will see without any imagination. We have removed the veil from you and now you have piercing sight. You see reality as it truly is. That is what happens when you die and that is what you will feel like you have woken from a dream. When you die it is an awakening because you are no longer veiled by the senses or the imagination. You are going to experience things as they truly are.
So what he is saying is that your heart is a mirror. Now what is a mirror? Is the mirror the thing itself? It is not, is it? It is a reflection of the thing. When you look in the mirror you wonder do I really look like that? Is that how people are perceiving? You do not know because you cannot see yourself. It is a very strange thing that Allah has done for all of us. We can see other people but we cannot see ourself except through a mirror. But the mirror, is it distorting it? You know how mirrors distort sometimes. Your face looks longer then it does, shorter or wider. That is like that also. The heart you do not know is my perception of reality distorted if you are in introspective person. A lot of people do not think of these things.
So the mirror might be distorted. It might need reframing. It might need recasting. So that is what Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala said in Surah Al Kahf. We have removed the veil from you so now you see every single sight as clear as day. And know that there is nobody except that sound thoughts will enter his heart and the clarification of truth will enter his heart by way of inspiration. Everybody will have true inspiration if they are human, they are going to have true inspiration in life like Winston Churchill said everybody stumbles on the truth at least once in their life but like myself they usually get up brush themselves off and carry on. That is what kufr is. It is when you know the truth but you just choose to ignore it. You choose to cover it up. He is saying people will be exposed to the truth in their life and their hearts will be open to the truth by way of inspiration. They will not be by way of the senses, it is something that comes by the way where it came from.
Because the heart is from this other world. It is not of this world. Your consciousness is not of this world. It is of another world. That is what consciousnesses and that is why sleep is so important because that is what sleep does. It is a door to that other world. It is a door to that other world. You will hear people say it isn’t that strange? I had a dream and then it happened, isn’t that strange? They cannot understand it. Isn’t that strange? Isn’t that weird because they do not know what it means. Most people are cut off from these realities so when they experience them they experience them it is strange, wondrous. There are other people and that is their normal state. It is not strange at all. It is just their normal state because they have much more access to reality than most people.
The senses were created for this world. The world of the mulk, of the dominion of the outward dominion and for that reason he is veiled from looking onto the other world if his heart, if he is not empty of the distractions of the senses so if you are not empty of these distractions then you are veiled. You do not have access which is the state of most people. We are preoccupied and then he says but do not think that this capacity is open during sleep and death only.
Do not think it is only these two means, you have to die or go to sleep to see reality. Know it opens to those in a wakeful state to those who are sincere in their jihad and in their riyadhah and that is why Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi from Morocco, he said whoever is sincere for forty days, since for forty days seeking God, his heart will open. The baseerah is open so if you have sincerity in your struggle and spiritual exercise and you are free of this desire and anger. These are the two great enemies, shahwa and ghadab. The concupiscent and irascible soul. If you are not free of their sovereignty so that your quwa and nadhika is the one who has authority over them and from foul character and from vile deeds. You are not freed from these also so not only do you have to be sincere in your struggle but you have actually have to be realised. This is what in this tradition, there are these stages. The first stage is takhliya, the emptying out and then you go to tahliyyah and then the final stage is tajliyah which is where you have the unveiling so the tahliyyah is emptying the self of the desire and anger and emptying the self of vile characteristics and then the tahliyyah is embellishing.
The self, adorning the self with Prophetic character that you begin to follow the sunnan not just the outward sunnan. There are plenty of people who cut their moustache or trim their nails or wear their robe a certain way or eat with three fingers or go into the masjid with the right foot or go out with the left and say with the duas when they do certain things, when they drink and eat whatever they do they follow the outward sunnan which are important. They should not be belittled in any shape or form because they are part of the Prophetic character. They are the externals of the Prophetic character but who are the ones who take on the inward Prophetic character, the akhlaq of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his forbearance, his patience, his mercy, his charity, his generosity, his kindness, his humility. That is the tahliyyah. Adorning the self with the qualities and characteristics of the Prophets and all of the characters of the Prophets are in the character of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He has all of the characters and qualities of the Prophets. So this is what he is saying.
If you do that then these things will happen, so if he is sitting in an empty place, a place like the mehrab, that is where Maryam was, right. She was in the mehrab, what was she doing? What was the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam doing in the cave of Hira? What was he doing in his tahujjud? He was in a place where he was free from distractions and he basically cut off the inroads of the senses and opened up his inner eye. You have this eye and it is closed and you close it like that and you do not see anything. You open it suddenly and you see things. You have an inner eye also. The inner eye for most people is not only closed, it is like a spiritual cataract.
One does not have access, it is literally blinded by the veils of wrong action, by the veils of ignorance, by the veils of desire, all of these different things, that is what is what the state of the spiritual eye is. The spiritual eye is more sensitive than the physical eye. Look at what happens when a little piece of dust gets in your eye or a hair like a hair follicle from your eyelash if it gets in the eye and look what displeasure and distraction you fall into. You cannot even open your eye. You cannot see. The spiritual eye is more sensitive than the outward eye and the spiritual eye if you open it up and look what we fill our sensory eyes with. They are all inroads to our spiritual eye. So the spiritual eye is blinded by the senses and one of the most extraordinary aspects of the Prophetic character is lowering the eyes even when the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam walked. He said one of the adabs of the road is khatil basar when you are on the road so what about all these forms that we take in. What about all the images? If you live in North America, the average person takes in over 3000 advertisements a day. 3000 advertisements a day so the modern world is just completely spiritually blinding people.
That is what it is doing. The modern world is like a spike being driven through the spiritual eye of man and that is why we are blinded by a species. We do not even know there is a spiritual world because we do not have access to it anymore. We have been cut off. We have been severed from our roots. Our roots are in the unseen world. Our roots are not here. When you look at the tree, the trees roots are not in the seen world, you cannot see the roots the tree is dead. You have to pull the tree up to see the roots but the roots of the tree are in the unseen world that our roots are in the unseen world. That is why we are alive. So people cannot see those roots. They do not even know they exist, if a child looks at a tree, it does not know it has roots. You have to some level of knowledge to know that trees have roots. The same is true for the human being. You have to know what are our roots. Where do we come from? What is our source? What is our seed? How do we grow? Where did consciousness come from? What is the purpose of consciousness?
So if you sit in an empty place and you turn off the inroads of the senses and you open up your inner eye. Internal hearing just like you have external hearing you also have internal hearing like the hafidh, people hear hawafidh, this is not like mad people who see and hear things also, these are people who have….and part of that is people have unveilings as well. Mad people. Unveilings can lead to madness also so the veilings of the world are also a rahmah of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. If the world was unveiled to you, you would go mad and that happens to people. Door of perceptions can be opened and people can go mad. Door of perceptions can be forced open with drugs and people have experiences.
You have inward sensory experiences and inward meaning experiences. You have inward terrestrial experiences so they are different and there is a whole science of discerning what experiences are and it is not just us. The Catholic church has this science. Buddhists have this science. Hindus have this science. This is known in other traditions also not in the same way in our tradition but they do discern between different types of experiences. The Catholic church has a science of discernment and they believe it is a gift of the holy spirit that you are able to determine whether an experience is a genuine spiritual experience or whether it is an emotional experience that you think is a spiritual experience. You have got people in Pentecostal states speaking in tongues, feeling the holy spirit throughout their body. They have physical sensations. Do not deny their reality. If you meet people that have been born again they have had very real experiences.
They have had very real and powerful experiences and that is why often their faith is very strong but a lot of those experiences are not spiritual experiences. They are actually, they are inward experiences that sometimes have physical aspects to them but they are of the inward sensory not the inward meaning so they are not true experiences but that is a knowledge to discern between these type of things. It is a sophisticated knowledge that people have. So people can be deluded. This is very easy. That is why when you really dip into serious practice you need a guide. You cannot do this on your own and Imam al Ghazali did and he is very rare. They are people that do do it but the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had Jibril alayhi sallam so then he says and then his heart is entrained with this malakut so this is called muraqabah which is where he is in a state of awareness of the divine presence. He is not saying it with his tongue until the ego is completely defaced so he does not experience the world. This is what they call fana and this is from the book so we are just looking at what he is saying about this knowledge so he says then this capacity is open. And then he begins to see in a waking state the same as the true visions in his sleeping state so his waking state becomes in which his spiritual inner eye is open. He begins to see the world as it truly is in reality. He is no longer veiled so he is experiencing the divine presence.
This is the state of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam without a doubt and it is the state of his sahaba and it is the state of the salihun you know if you are with the shuykh like Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah and I have travelled with them and seen them. That is the state he is in all the time. He is looking out and you are seeing him look out but he is not seeing what you are seeing. You sit with Murrabul Hajj. I mean you see it. You sit with him and he is another state. He is present absent. He just does dhikr all the time. He does dhikr in his sleep and I lived in his tent with him so I slept on the bed with him. He does dhikr in his sleep. He reads Quran in his sleep I saw it with my own eyes. There was a man in Morocco, he did salat un nabi in his sleep. He would snore, he was literally snoring and doing prayer on the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam so I have seen it. It is like the people who see are not like the people who are told about something. People doing prayer on the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and they are sleeping.
Then he sees the spirits of the angels, the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. It is in the gospels and it is talked about a lot. The kingdom of the heavens and the earth. It is the same teaching and he sees things you cannot elucidate and you cannot articulate in a book. These are things that I cannot write about. The earth was folded up for me and I saw its various easts and wests. What does that mean? Now we know that at every horizon there is a new east and a new west. As you are moving there is always a new east and west. It is not just one east and west. We know that it has multiple easts and wests based on where you are right so the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam I saw all of the earth. It was shown to me all of the different horizons of the earth so he had knowledge of multiple horizons.
It is an unseen experience and like that we showed Ibrahim the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. It is in the Quran. We showed Ibrahim the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. Why? So that he had certainty. So he had certainty, yaqin. This is how the knowledge of the Prophets come. They do not have book learning. Their knowledge is not of the books. They were not taught by books. We learn by books. The Prophets did not have book learning. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had learning by just having the hand placed in his back in the hadith. It is a sahih hadith. I knew everything by just having the hand having been placed on my back at the point of the seal of prophecy and he said I knew everything. So those are the doors of perception that the Prophets have. We learn through the senses, we touch, dissect, feel, take apart, we open up the heart, we look in the four chambers. There are people that know the heart has four chambers and they do not have to look inside the heart because it is unveiled to them but this is how we learn by taking things apart.
There are people who do not learn to do that. They look at something and they know what it is because it is unveiled to them. Disconnect, detach, cut off in order to go to Him, in order to be open to your Lord you need to detach from other than your Lord. It means to disconnect from everything, to purify the heart from everything and to beseech him with your entire being. It is to beseech him with your entire being. People make dua right people I make dua. Maybe they are thinking about other things. How they are just not really there. People when they pray they are not present at all. The sahaba according to hadith a man was shot with an arrow, they waited until he prayed to pull it out because he did not feel it. We have that in the books because he was in prayer and he was completely obvlious to pain. Those are real experiences that people have.
This is the path of the people of tassawuf and Imam al Ghazali is you read his al-Munqidh min al-dalal he said they were basically four types of knowledge. Scientific knowledge. Philosophical knowledge. People that used theories, it is not scientific in that way but people would come up with theories. They could be right or wrong. It is what we call opinion but not opinion in the modern sense of the world.
Opinion is a type of knowledge. Opinion is conclusions that are arrived at after much thought. It could be right or wrong. It is not like knowledge in that way but it is a type of knowledge. It is not just uneducated, we call it educated opinion but it used to be that is what opinion meant and then there is revelation which is from the Prophets and then there is kasht which is the knowledge of the people of tassawuf and he also felt that the people of tasawuuf that he felt that their path was the soundest path because it led to a type of faith which is rooted in believing what you were told actually that you have experienced the truth of these things and he felt that was truly following the Prophets salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam because you were not just following him in words and deeds but you are actually following him in his state in the same way you cannot follow him in his words and deeds as he was indeed and the same is true in his state but that is what he understood and it is not the, just like you have fuqaha that are a disaster, you have people who claim tasawuuf are a disaster and part of the problem is when the majority of people today are so far I mean people from South Asia you know what the state of the pirs, it is a disaster.
You go to Egypt and Morocco and a lot of the Muslim world and you look at the people who have these claims and they have given tasawwuf was part of Islam. It was the inner dimension of Islam and the best book for it is Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, that is the best book that we have in this science.
But the way of learning, book learning that is the way of the ulema but this is not book learning, that is what he is saying. I will give you an example Ibn Ataullah who was an alim who became a sufi. He was originally an alim and then he becomes a sufi, then had openings and that is where we got the Hikam of Ibn Ataullah. Izzedin Abdul Salaam used to go sit in his class and he could say these words are coming directly in close proximity to the Merciful in other words he was saying it is not book learning. You cannot get this knowledge from books, you cannot get this knowledge from books and what he said is only the externalities of what he knew and perceived.
And this high degree of knowledge is an abridgement of the path of prophecy. In other words just as you follow the Prophets in their outward teaching, this is the following of the Prophets in the inward realities and it is not prophecy because only the prophets have access to revelation but it is inspiration, it is ilm haam Sayyidina Umar had this. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said the people that hear they have this inner hearing and Umar is one of them. Umar had this knowledge. The sahaba many of them had great access to this.
I mean this is what Allah says when Musa, when they came upon from Al-Khidr and he is not a Prophet. The majority of the ulema say that he is not a Prophet. Who was he? He says that he was a slave right. They found a servant from amongst Our servants. We gave him mercy, grace from Our presence and we taught him from Our presence. This is not book knowledge. Al Khidr had a different type of knowledge and then what did Musa say? The adaab of his question is amazing: May I follow you? First he is asking may I follow you in order that you might teach some of what you have been taught? He does not say all of what you have been taught. He is not assuming I can learn everything. Maybe can I follow you maybe so that you can teach me some of what you have been taught. You will not be able to be patient because knowledge is hard. This knowledge is knowledge that takes patience, it takes much perseverance, much practice. He said and how can you be patient about what you do not encompass in other words because you do not understand this how can you be patient to learn?
You will find me insha’Allah patient and I will not disobey you and that is the relationship between the student and the teacher. You have to be patient and then if the teacher. You have to be patient and then of the teacher if a true teacher and he tells you to do things then you have to do what they say for your own benefit. This is a path that will never be comprehended except by continuous practice. Tajiba is over and over again not one time. Tajibrhuh is to do it many times. People want to do it one time and then nothing happened. I did not get any benefit and Murrabural Hajj told me that even you do not worship Allah to have experiences. It is not why you do it. There are people who want to have experiences. I pray and nothing happens. I do this and nothing happens. I get up at night and nothing happens.
If that is what you are trying to do then that is what you are doing the thing for whereas you should be doing it solely for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala and he said if Allah gives you gifts out of that alhamdulilllah because you are a servant of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala and what cannot be acquired by taste will not be acquired by study and it is an obligation to believe in this and this is what is important to us. We should believe in this and its people so that you are not deprived of the emanations of their joy. At least you should believe in people so when you sit with them you are not deprived of the emanations of their joy so even if you are not one of them you are not deprived of their state. They are the people, the people that sit with them are not wretched. Just sitting with them is a blessing with those people. It is not making tazkiyah and saying we know we Allah’s elect and chosen are mot the Prophet said this is what I think about Him. We do not say anything Allahu Alim.
Everybody’s under like one friend of mine said about Murrabul Hajj he said he is still under the microscope of examination in other words as long as he is alive he is susceptible to fitna, he is susceptible to …..so we do not make any…..this is what we believe about them. This is our perception of them. That is tasdeek and this is what he is saying. Imam al-Ghazali said this is the least level of wilayah. It is the people that deny these people that are really in serious trouble really they are not well. If you sit with them you will know that they are not well and they are obsessed with attacking them and speaking ill of them. It is amazing, their hearts are just, they are not well and the fact that Allah has put them in, that is their state so do not be with those people. Do not listen to them. The people that talk about the awliyah are really not well.
It is a bad state to be in. I once went to a dars and this man started attacking Abul-Hasan ibn Al-Shatir, why is he attacking him? Somebody the ummah has testified he was among the righteous so why do you want to put him amongst somebody else? Why risk that? It is a very strange thing to do but people do that but why do they do that? It is from the wonders of the heart. Those who do not see do not believe. They denied what they had no knowledge of nor did they have knowledge of its interpretation. That is what Allah says. They just denied it. They did not have knowledge of it. If they do not have any knowledge, if they have not reached guidance of this matter, they say these are just old lies. These are just lies that have been repeated before.
What he is saying is that this knowledge is a knowledge of tajribah. The beauty of that statement is what makes something a science is what Sir Karl Popper called its falsifiability something is scientific if it is replicable. If you cannot replicate it, you can prove it is not replicable so for instance if you freeze water like I learned water freezes at 32 degrees or O degree Celsius that is what you learn in school. Did you actually test that? No you just assumed it is must be true because they are telling you in school and it is in the books. That is taqlid. That is called taqlid. You just believe the authority because he is an authority and who am I to question his authority. I am just a humble insignificant bloke. He is a big professor.
So but if you take a thermometer and put it in the water and put the water into a freezer and you watch the water and it gets down to 32 degrees oh its ice. So you do the experiment yourself. There is a really nice book for people who have children. There is a book of replicating the great scientific experiments. A lot of the great experiments of human history are very simple to do like Newton when Newton refracted light and saw that were seven colours in refracted light. You just take a prism and put it in the sun and replicate it so this is also a replicable science. People that follow this science have the same experiences. They see the same thing and that is why somebody who has gone down that path and done it knows what to expect and also knows the pitfalls of it right.
That is what Ibn Ashar says he accompanies a teacher who knows the byways of this path. He knows the ways of the path and he will protect him from the pitfalls because if you go down a road and somebody knows the road watch out the bend coming up. If you are driving watch put the bend coming up. There is a big hole on the left side. If somebody knows the road he can tell you but if you are driving 80 miles an hour and you do not know there is a big hole and then you turn and then your car, you lose control, you crash. That is why on the roads they have signs, don’t they? They tell you soft shoulder ahead. Why? That is somebody who knew the road put the signs there for you. If you do not obey the signs you will endanger yourself so there is a tariqah and this is what the Prophets did.
They took the majority of humankind, the people that follow them. They are the real guides on the road but the shuykh are like those signs. That is what they are but the Prophets are the ones that put the signs. They are the ones that did the real work. The other ones are the lesser guide. They are not like the Prophets. The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said the scholars and this is not outward this is the ulema the people of inward and outward knowledge. They have the outward knowledge like Shaykh Abdullah has outward knowledge then he was taqwa, piety, he has done dhikr all his life, he gets up at night, he does all that work so he has the inward reality as well so has these two realities.
So they are the inheritors of the Prophets so you are taking from the inheritance of the Prophets so you are taking from the inheritance of the prophecy. So you sit with them and it is like sitting with the Prophets. It is the closest thing we have to sitting with the Prophets. Allah does not deprive people of every generation of having that blessing of sitting with the people of knowledge so that s what he is saying so the people that deny that, well. They have denied the people before them so look at what happened to the oppressors, the people who denied. Amongst them are people who believed in him and amongst them are people who do not believe in Him and Allah knows best who are the mufsideeen. He knows better who is guided.
And if they deny you said I have my actions, you have your actions,. I have my actions you have your actions I am free from what you do and you are free from what I do. I am not responsible for what you do and you are not responsible for what I do. So those who disbelieve, they say to those who believe if this really was good they would not have got it before us. This is hasad, for some people it is just hasad.
Do not think this is limited to the Prophets this is what he is saying, this is the whole point of this book, do not think this is limited to the Prophets and the awliya because the johar of the son of Adam of the children of Adam in the origin of its creation was made for this. We were created to know Allah this is what we are created for. We were created for marifah. What does Ibn Abbas say in the tafsir, to know Allah. Know that there is no God but Allah. But it is not book knowledge. Christian, a Jew a Hindu anybody can learn tawheed. They can study a book and they can teach it. You can have a professor of aqeedah here from Cambridge and he can teach you our creed better than a lot of Muslims wAllahi. They have Orientalists that have better book knowledge of the creed than a lot of Muslims do even some of the ulema they have deeper knowledge. That is not what he is talking about. Like iron, the iron was created to make mirror of it so you can see the forms of the world in it.
Unless it oxidises. Deoxidising it, removing that rust or it becomes dry and it needs to be polished or it needs to be reframed because it was broken so you have to recast it and just like that every heart if it is overwhelmed by desire and by disobedience it cannot reach this degree, this level. No child except that it is born on fitrah. The fitrah, it is open to this knowledge The child is open to this knowledge, born like that and then he caused them to witness over themselves am I not your Lord? And they said balaa. So they cannot say on the day of judgement, we had no knowledge of this so we have already witnessed it. It is just a reaffirmation of what we have already witnessed our Lord in the unseen world. We have already witnessed Him that he is One and that He is our Lord and so it is a reaffirmation in the dunya of this reality.
And also Bani Adam in their fitrah they believed in the Lordship of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala just as Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala said this is the fitrah of Allah. This is the original nature that Allah has created the human being on. They are the children of Adam so they are the models. The Prophets are the models for human beings but they are human beings. I am a man just like you but I have this revelation coming to me. All those who sow the seeds will reap the fruit and if you set out on the path you will arrive. If you seek you will find. That is in the Gospel. If you seek, you will find. But seeking is only achieved through struggle. If you sit on a couch and somebody says what are you doing. They say I am seeking my provision.
You are not seeking your provision, you are sitting on a couch. If somebody is sitting there I am hungry, he does not get up to go to the kitchen and make himself something to eat. He is waiting for somebody else to do it. I am waiting for the wife to come home (laughs) seriously that is what people do. They do not want to struggle themselves, they want somebody else to struggle for them so then he says and also finding a truly knowledgeable person who has this knowledge, who has gone on this path and if you have these two things come together it is tawfique from Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. If you struggle with yourself and if you have the company of people who have struggled with themselves until they have overcome themselves until they have overcome themselves, that is tawfique from Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. Until he himself or she herself achieves this level.
This is the true joy and the true delight of the children of Adam is in knowledge of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. So know that the joy of everything and its delight and its repose is that which is in accordance with its nature. The joy of everything is that which is in accordance with its nature and the nature of everything is that for which it is created so you have to know if you want to know the nature of everything you have to know its tellos, why it was created, what is the purpose so if you look he says the delight of the eyes is in its witness of beautiful things. If you see a beautiful face the eye is delighted. If you see a beautiful face the eyes is delighted. Why? Because it was created to witness beauty, that is what it was created to do so its joy is in fulfilling the purpose of its creation. That is where its real joy is, that is why the eye if it seems something ugly there is no joy in it, why? Because it was not created for that, it was created to witness beauty. That is the purpose and that is why Isa alayhi wa sallam when they all looked at the dead carcass of the dog. Isa said how white its teeth because he was in that state of mushahadah so he looked at the beauty even in the ugliness. That is what he saw. He saw the beauty even in the ugliness.
The delight of the ear is in beautiful sounds. The ear delights in beautiful sounds because that is why it was created to hear good and beautiful things. It delights in wisdom, it delights in speech of the righteous, it delight in truth because that is what it was created for likewise the ugliest sounds is the sound of a donkey because the ear hears its ugly sound. And the rest of the limbs. The tongue can taste good things that is why it delights in sweet things, it delights in sour things. It delights in those things because it was created to do that. It has taste buds on it. People like salty things. They say lassi is sweet or salty. Some people they like sweet, some people like salty. They are all there but that is the joy of these things and touching and to touch something beautiful.
And the ladha of the hearts specifically. And the joy of the heart is in the knowledge of Allah because that is why the heart was created. That is why the heart was created but when people are sick they take joy in cacophonic sounds. When people are sick they like to see ugly things. There are people that enjoy seeing terror, watching war because they are sick, they are unwell. They are people that take pleasure in those things, in being cruel to people because they are sick and in the same way their hearts….it is not real ladha he is talking about sa’adat, all those are false.
Everything that the son of Adam knows once you have marifah of it you rejoice in it anything that you have knowledge of you rejoice in it, even the game of chess. If you know how to play chess. You get excited. You are happy about it. And if he is prohibited from playing it. He does not want to leave it and he gets impatient, I really want to play. There are people that are obsessed with chess so he is saying if you have marifah of something you get a joy, that is the nature of the son of Adam even the foolish things, they get a joy. There are people that can do the most ridiculous things and they like to do them, they like to show you juggle ten plates and hold something on their nose really. There are people that can do that and they get a pleasure from that knowledge, that marifah, they have a knowledge of something.
And just like that if you have knowledge of Allah which is the knowledge of the greatest thing, everything you desire exists with Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. Everything you desire exists with Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. It is the highest, the truest thing, it is really and so for that reason he will be impatient without this witnessing, without this knowledge because this the joy of the heart is in knowledge. Everytime the knowledge is greater, the joy is greater. The greater knowledge you have the greater joy you have.
And like that if somebody knows the minister, he is so happy. I know the minister. There are people even Muslims they want to have their picture taken with the president. You go fill the gas tank up, the attendant comes, you do not say oh can I have my picture with you? To be next to the gas attendant. Why do you not do that? Because anyone can know the gas attendant but not everybody can know…and then they say oh see, they take the picture and put in their office. I am ashamed of (laughs). They put it in the office and people come in and oh yes I met the president. Why? Because he is happy. So if he knows the king he is just flying out of his skin. He knows the minister, it is a big thing but if he knows the king then it is like sheesh the minister. This is the way people are wAllahi it is amazing. It is pathetic. Nothing in existence is more honourable than Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala. There is no greater sharah because the honour of everything is because of Him.
The honour is because of Him and from Him. Every wondrous thing in this world that you wonder at and are amazed at it they are just traces of His power, His creative power. Everything that amazes you in this world is just a trace of Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala’s creative power. There is no knowledge greater, more precious, more inestimable than His knowledge and there is no joy more vast than the joy of His knowledge and there is no presence like the presence of the divine. This the malah. All the joys of the desires of this world are connected with the nafs. They are all related to the ego. All of them. Everything that you have is related to the nafs and it all comes to an end with death. All the pleasures of this world they end with death. It does not matter what you can think of and before you die. There are people that lose their appetites.
They do even want to eat. They get to a certain age. Food does not even taste good any more. All the ladaat of dunya, they go. That is part of the end of life, the genitals and the stomach, the joys of those two, they go so he says but the joy of knowledge of Lordship is connected to the heart, the human consciousness, it does not end with death. All the pleasures of this world they end with death. It does not matter what you can think of and before you die. There are people that lose their appetite. They do not even want to eat. They get to a certain age. Food does not seem to taste good any more. All the ladaat of dunya, they go. That is part of the end of the life, the genitals and the stomach, the joys of those two, they go so he says but the joy of knowledge of Lordship is connected to the heart, the human consciousness, it does not end with death.
So all the joys end with death but the joy of knowledge with Allah does not end with death because all the joys in this word are connected to the senses and the heart is not of the senses. Consciousness is not of the senses. The joy is even greater when you die because the marifah expands and becomes purer and more knowledgeable. Its lights are greater because he leaves darkness and enters into light. He leaves the darkness of this world and enters into the light of the next world. Know that soul of the children of Adam is an abridgement of this world. It is muktashirah. That is what Imam Ali said you think that you are some insignificant mass no real significance to you and in you the entire cosmos exists and one of the extraordinary things about the human being and this is something that a nobel prize winner discovered was that if you measure the greatest things in this world and you measure the smallest things in the world, their sizes, the biggest and the smallest thing and you add them together and divide by two it is approximately the human being so we are literally we are the barzakh between the physical world, the subatomic world and the microcosm, we literally are the barzakh between these two things.
This is where Allah has put human beings so we are an extraordinary creature. There is a beautiful book called the power of 10 if anyone has ever seen that, it just keeps taking things by the power of ten and going out of space into the skin. It starts with the human being sitting and they move out and move in. It shows that within us our vast worlds as vast as what is out of us. Inside of our bodies is a vastness that is not less significant than the vastness of the cosmos and that is who we are and that is why human being have been degraded. They have been made to believe they are insignificant that they are meaningless, pointless and therefore that are they are the lowest of their nature. Shahwa. That is all they are they for to eat drink, copulate, laugh, dance and be entertained until they die. That is all it is no human beings are something vast. That is what he is telling us. Every form that you see in the world there is the trace of it in the human being.
Look at the bones in your body are like the mountain. The bonesin your body are like the mountain. The mountains hold the earth together. They are the p eg. You have these bones in your body. Your flesh is like the earth. Hair is beautiful. It adorns the person, just like the foliage adorns the earth. Your blood is like the rivers. Your lungs are like trees. Look at the bronchial tree and what do trees do? They breathe air, they breathe our carbon dioxide and they exhale oxygen. We breathe in oxygen and we exhale carbon dioxide. The trees are lungs and we are their lungs. So all of these things out there are in you and he says he could go on greater detail about this. And in your interior are all of the craftsmen of the world. The power in your digestion is like the cook. There is a cook that is mixing.
There are ingredients. In Chinese medicine they call it soup of the stomach. It is a soup and just like you can ruin soup, your digestion can be ruined if you put the wrong ingredients in. You eat the wrong things. And what it is in the liver is like the baker. The liver is like the baker. It takes the glucagon and stores the glucagon and then when we need it, it releases it and it os all happening in your body. And in your intestines it is like the tanner, as it is coming through it takes the impurities out. That is what the tanner does, takes the impurities out and keeps what is good what is useful. And the thing that is making the milk white in the breast and the blood red is like the dyer. You have the dyer who makes the wool and dyes the wool that is in your body there are things that are giving colour, the haemoglobin in your body is like the dyer. So you have all these crafts. I could go on with details but you get the idea. My whole point is to tell you how much is in your interior that is going on.
All these worlds that are in you and they are all preoccupied with your service. They are at your service. They are all doing this work for what. To serve you. Your consciousness, that is all it is there for to serve your heart. They are all there to serve your consciousness. What is your consciousness there to serve? If each one of these has a purpose what is the purpose of the summation? You are meaningless. You do not have a purpose. There is no point to existence. That is what these ignorant people tell them now. All of this that is going on all marvels so he says all of this is in yourself and you are completely heedless of this. They never get rest. The heart is pumping thousands of gallons.
If you look at what the heart does in a day. If you had to do the buckets you would be completely worn out. You could not do in a day what your heart does. Your physical body could not carry in a day what your heart is carrying in a day. You would be completely wiped out. Your breathing, your lungs. You are inhaling and exhaling. The digestion. If you had breakfast this morning, they are working down there. You are just sitting here. They are down there working. We need the gall bladder, send down more bile. Too much fat this morning. We need to break this down and then the pancreas: too much sugar. Emergency release insulin and insulin is going out grabbing the sugar getting it to the liver. The liver, too much sugar, we need to convert it into glycogen store it here, move that. It is all happening. It is a factory in there and there are all of these workers. You are sitting here in a complete state of heedlessness. How many blessings. He is completely showering you with blessings inwardly and outwardly and we are in heedlessness, complete state of heedlessness. And you do not give gratitude to the one who gave you all of these blessings. How do you give gratitude? Shukr is to exert all of these blessings that all your Lord has given you to all your Lord intended for them. That is shukr, that is gratitude. This knowledge of all of these things is a vast knowledge.
The knowledge of anatomy and physiology and it was a very important knowledge of Imam al-Ghazali. He actually wrote a book describing all the wonders of creation. It is considered a very important knowledge and like that the knowledge of medicine. Anybody who wants to look into himself and look at the wonders of God’s creation, he needs to have the knowledge of three things from the divine attributes.
You should know the creator of the individual is Omnipotent and has complete capacity over perfection. He is not incapacitated by anything and that is Allah. There is no action in the world that is more wondrous than the creation of the human being. From a vile drop of fluid. There is nothing like it and the perception of the person in this wondrous from just as Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala as Allah has made him in this wondrous form. He has fashioned him in this wondrous form just as Allah has said we have created the human being from a mixed fluid. We know now that it is a mixture of the male and female coming together and the genetic material is mixed. It is amazing. It is mutafin afjaaj. It is a singular with a plural which is very rare in Arabic. It was a problem for the mufasirruun. They talked about it. This is what happens.
You get the sperm and the ovum come together. All of the genetic material they being together, it is vast. They come together and then We try him. It is a tribulation and you should know that His recreation of the first creation will be easier. If you think it is impossible you are insane because to do something a second time for us is easier a second time. For Allah, it is all the same but for us it is easier we should know if He created us the first time He can certainly do it the second time and now we have these fools who think they can clone human beings themselves. They think they can recreate a human being and they do not think Allah can recreate us.
Really they theoretically believe that the ability to recreate you from your genetic material is on the horizon. They believe that they are going to be able to do it and they do not believe that Allah can do it. The first is to know He has complete qudara and the second is to know Allah subhanahu wa-ta’ala that He has complete knowledge so He is Omnipotent and Omniscient because He encompasses all things. He could not make all of these wonders and marvels unless He had complete knowledge and the third that you should know that His kindness, grace, His mercy, His providence, His care is connected to engaged with all these things and there is no end to it and should see this in the flora and fauna and the minds and all this vast power that He has displayed in creating these beautiful forms and colours that we witness in the world.
Because all of these things are the key to knowing the divine attribute and this is an honourable knowledge. It is the knowledge of wonders of God’s creation and to know the vastness of God, the majesty and magnificence of God subhanahu wa-ta’ala and His power. If you know this preciousness and this honour, this perfection, this beauty. Once you know the essence of the heart of consciousness that this essence is a precious essence. It was given to you and after that it was hidden from you this gift. If you do not seek out what has been hidden from you this treasure in your heart and you are heedless of it, you love, you forget, it is a greater tragedy and loss on the day of judgement for you.
Exert every effort in seeking it and leave the preoccupations of this world all of it because every honour what does not manifest in this world in the next world it will be joy without grief and perpetuity without cessation and power without incapacity and knowledge without ignorance and great beauty and majesty.
But today nothing is more lower than this thing. It is impoverished, neglected the honour is tomorrow. If this alchemy is thrust on the essence of the heart until he is free from being like animals and he achieved the ranks of angels so if he returns to the desires of this world, animals are preferable to him on the day of judgement because they go to dust and he goes to punishment and chastisement. We seek refuge in Allah from that and we seek refuge in Allah and we seek His protection. What a great master He is, what a great giver of victory.