A Talk on the Nature of Justice (1/6/2007)

… He circulated in front of the palace, of the sultan’s palace. Some say that Bahddrudana was stepbrother of the caliph, of the king; we do not know, but to other people he appeared totally out of his mind. In Islam there is a state which is called mesjub, mesjub comes from jesba, jesba in English is, ecstasies; so the   Muslims respect the crazy people because they think that Allah’s knowledge and the wisdom has poured so heavily on them that they got crushed down it. Anyhow, there are many stories of Bahddrundana, one day he entered into the palace and was able to get into the throne room, and he went and sat on the throne of Harun al-Rashid, and when the guards saw him of course they immediately grabbed him, and starting beating him up, because you do not do that, you do not sit in the throne of the sultan; and Bahddrudana started shouting and crying, and at that, the sultan heard, and came to the throne room, and he shouted at the guards and said  stop, don’t you know that Bahddrud is not right in his mind, and he said, but what did he do that you are beating him up? But my sultan he sat on your throne, and he said to Bahddrud, excuse them they do not know who you are, but still he kept screaming and shouting and crying.  The sultan said, excuse them ask them to be forgiven, the guards said please Bahddrud forgive us. Stop crying, said the sultan, why are you still crying? Bahddrud said: I am not crying for myself I am crying for you. And all of a sudden the sultan was on a shock, “you are crying for me! Why are you crying for me?” “Well look, for few seconds I sat on your throne and I got such a beating can you imagine you have been sitting there for so long what a beating will you get” And at that, the sultan started crying, and he said Bahddrud give me an advice, what should I do? And Bahddrud said, justice, justice, justice three times.

We, as Sufis, as Muslims, and as human beings, we have to know what justice is, and we have to exercise justice at every minute in our lives. But the ordinary meaning of justice, we think that if somebody sets up something criminal, then the justice takes care by punishing him of this criminal act; and justice we think that if somebody takes something does that not belong to him, from somebody that is weaker than him, we think that he has to give it back to the one who is weaker, so we think that is what justice is. But justice is much more complicated than that. 

And us in this society in which we live if we look around, to learn justice from what is being done in the name of justice, we would be in terrible shape. We are living in a society that justice is different for Omar, and it is different for Reshad and it is different for somebody for…you because, different there is a justice for blacks, different justice for browns, different justice for whites, and different justice for rich and different justice for poor. The rich get richer by justice, and the poor get poorer by justice. The sick child, if he is poor, he goes to the hospital, he does not have insurance, and he dies, but the rich gets cured. And talking about justice, that you can look all the way to the white house and you will see what kind of a justice is there in the white house. So forget this society in which we live, and also forget in the name of Islam, if you want to learn what the Muslim do in the name of justice, forget that too, because there is killing and torturing and killing each other; in Iraq they are killing each other, in Palestine they are killing each other, so forget about that justice too.

So let us start from the scratch. What is justice?

There is in this universe of ours, a divine harmony, a divine order, justice is to abide, and to go along with this divine order and injustice is to oppose and go against this divine order. Now what do I know?

I do not know enough philosophy, I do know enough anatomy, and I do not know enough biology, or physics or chemistry. How I am going to find out what is this divine order which I am talking about. Divine order is simply this. Allah has given us a pair of eyes, these eyes are suppose to see reality, these eyes are suppose to seek truth, these eyes are suppose to see the art work of the Creator and remember the Creator, these eyes are suppose to take lessons from what they see. When, as I prayed today, although our eyes are open, we look but we do not see, in short, that we are heedless we are unconscious, that we prefer our imagination to the reality, and then we are being unjust to our eyes.   Allah has given us these two lips, and a tongue, and an ability to speak; speech is to tell the truth which one learns through our other senses, when that mouth lies, we are doing injustice to our tongue. Allah has given us two hands, these hands are to give, these hands are to caress the head of the orphans, these hands are to wipe the tears of the ones who are sad, and crying; but when you use these hands to punch people, to slap people or to take from other people that which not belongs to you, then you are doing injustice to your hands. Allah Hu Taala has given us 50, 60 70, 80 years to live; divide it into years, divide it into months, divide it into weeks, divide it into days, into hours, into moments… the greatest injustice which we do is the injustice to the time which is allotted to us, when we spend in vain this time, not to valuate, that time which is the most valuable thing that Allah  Hu Taala has given to us, because this moment which I have lost talking to you I cannot have it back; anything else which I spend, if I spill the coffee I can get a new one, if the house burns I can get a new one, if I loose my wife, I can get a new one; but the moment which I have lost I cannot get it back, and the greatest crime, greatest injustice, which one does to ones life is the injustice which one does to time.

And then these are injustices which one does to oneself but there is also an injustice that is done to our environment. We look and we seek what is ugly, what is awful, what is hateful; look at the newspaper, nobody gives good news, that such and such thing is flowering, that such and such thing is beautiful, that such and such thing is developing, you go and listen to the news in the TV, and in the news papers, and what do you see? Who killed who, who cut whose throat, who bombed who, who destroyed what. Why? Why? Because that is what we want, because if there is going to be a news papers that only shows good news nobody is going to buy it! So what is happening? That we look to our environment with hatred, and Allah Hu Taala has given us this heart to love, but we use it to hate. I look and I criticize you, you are awful, you are too fat you are too thin and you smell. So what is happening? Where am I living? I am living in hell!  But who makes this hell? I make it myself. I live, in stead of planting flowers around me, if I say that everything is beautiful, that everything is nice, that everything is kind, it is like living in a garden which is perfumed but I create snakes and scorpions and thorns around me, and I hate them, and they hate me, but even if they do not hate me, what happen is that I look around myself I am living in hell. Now that is what injustice is! And that is what we do to ourselves, day in and day out, and we create our own hell! And that is not what Allah Hu Taala has created us for. He has given us all the ability, all the tools, to create our paradise in this world to do good in this world, the most stupid of us, the poorest of us, the least educated of us, He says in the Quran al Kerim that He taught our father Adam the names of all and everything including all His divines names, we are in possession of these divine names, but we keep it in the dark, next to our soul, which is put into a dungeon deep, deep inside, and we are servants of our egos, and we create our own hell, we create our own enemies and we are our own enemies.

And I think it is time to change, it is time to be just, and it is time to teach others to be just, because if we are like this, if we are pure, and clean and loving and caring, I think that our environment indeed is going to turn into a rose garden and we are going to have everything favoring us as we are favoring them.

Salam aleykum.

Harun al Rashid use to change his royal clothes and put normal clothes as it was costmary for the sultans to do, to go out to the streets with their viziers, and see in the street how people were living how they were doing. And one day he was out in the country side, and he encountered an old man who was digging the ground and planting things. He asks him: “Old man what are you planting? The old man answers; “I am planting a date orchard.” The sultan asks him: “Old man, how long does a date orchard take to grow and to bear fruit?”

The old man said: “Rarely ten years, usually it takes up to forty years to bear fruits”
The sultan says: “But old man are you going to be alive to pick up those dates and to profit for what you are doing?” “No, I know I will not be alive.” “Then why are you doing it?”  He said: “Sir, I eat from what they have planted, the generation before me have planted, I profit from what generations before me have constructed, why shouldn’t I do the same?” The sultan liked the idea so much, he put his hand in his pocket and took a hand full of gold and gave it to him. “You see you were doubting that my orchard was not going to give fruit for the next 10 or 20 o 40 years, but you see, that it has given me already its fruit.” And again the sultan liked that answer so much, that he put his hand into his pocket and took another hand full of gold and gave it to him.  And the old man said: “You see already in one season it has given me twice!” And the sultan said to his vizier, “let us leave here, or we will not have a penny in our pocket if this man continues”.
But you see, that is justice that is using your time that is consideration, that is caring, and that is loving and that is justice. But the opposite thing if you burn peoples olive orchard, in addition to killing them, and burning their houses, that is not justice.
But has I said, one thinks of punishment, that when you do injustice to yourselves, because Allah Hu Taala says in the Quran al Kerim when you do something good, that you profit yourselves, when you do something evil, you do it to your own loss, so you do create your own rewards, and you do create your own punishment, someone else does not have to punish you, you create your own punishment when you do an injustice.

In a hadith Rasulallah says, that this world is our farm, that what we plant here we are going to gather the fruits in the here after. But who thinks about the hereafter? In fact this life is like that, that when we come to this world we are given a little bag with some seeds inside. There are some of us, we some how do not hold the bag to well, and by the time that we are looking for some place to plant them, some how we have already spilled the seeds and the craws have eaten them, those are the heedless, and the careless ones; those are the ones which Rasulallah s.a.w.s says that men are asleep, they will wake up when they die, and it will be too late.

Then there are the ones who take the seeds, and immediately look for a place to plant them, and they see a parking lot, and they throw the seeds. and of course the seeds do not germinate, those are the lazy ones, who in a hurry make things like that and nothing happens. And then, there are the ones who take the seeds, and sort of look and they think it needs sunshine and it needs water, and he sees someplace where there is a lot of water, and the sun is shining, he puts the seed there, but he does not know that under it there is only rock, and it is only mud, so the seeds germinate just a little bit, and die. Those are the stupid ones. And then there are the ones that patiently they look at the place where the climate is good, and the earth is good, and they work hard to plant the seed well, and they cover it, and they water it, and they care for it, those are the chosen ones. And we belong to one of these categories. The heedless ones, the one in a hurry, the stupid one, or the chosen one. So you can figure it out to which category you belong. And this is how we spend our lives. Because this is what we do, plant those seeds in this life.

We all know that, don’t we? All these things, and yet, we go along and do what ever our egos tell us to do, and we do not even realize whose servant we are.

Allah addresses the world, He says, Oh world, if that creature human being which I have created as the best of My creation, looks at you, and is charmed by you, and falls in love with you, and forgets all about Me, be a terrible boss to that creature and make him your servant, and make him work, and whip him day in day out.
Oh world, He says, if that creature which I have created, as I have created you, looks at you, when he sees everything which is in you so beautiful and he attributes everything to Me, and consider it My art and he remembers Me with affection, and with love, then, be a slave to that creature which I have created, and work for it with all your force.

The world is not a bad place, it depends on how we take it, if we take it as our boss and we love it, we become its slave. But, if we see in it the creation of the Creator and it remind us of the Creator, and of the values of the attributes of the Creator, then that world becomes our slave. Allah says that He has created all and everything for the human kind and the human kind for Himself. But it depends on how we behave. And indeed not only the world, but the whole universe, belongs to us.  Allah has sent the human being as His caliph, as His representative to the universe.
But some one asked Hz. Omar how a ruler should be with the citizens, to the servants, and Hz. Omar said: A ruler is worthy of that name, if he serves his servants instead of expecting his servant serving him.

Salam aleykum

Today I phoned to one of my daughters in California who is sick with cancer very badly, that all of a sudden she has discovered Allah. And she is all hot about her prayers about her tesbih about her devotions, and being careful with what she is doing. But isn’t that strange do we have to be in that state, do we have to be dying to realize that there is God, isn’t it better to remember Him with his gifts when everything is going well and be thankful to Him?

We have to have the stick to do that, unfortunately.

Allah says that He will not change our state, unless we change it ourselves.
If you couldn’t buy duck from a shop but like as the old days that you had to go and hunt it yourself you cannot just sit on your behind and say I want duck, it is not going to come to you. But if you take your gun and go into the mud, into the river and say quack, quack, and the ducks will fly and you shoot at them, you may get a duck or you may not, but if you do not go hunting, you will not get it. In the same manner, when you want something, when you want to change a state in which you are, you may be right or you may be wrong; He says in the Quran; you do not know what you want really, I know what you should have. But again you have to figure it out, what you want and you have to try your best to get it, and then, you may get it or you may not get it, but if you do not try you certainly will not get it.

And also there is nothing wrong if you do not get it, because if you have faith you have to believe that you do not know whether that thing was good for you or not in any case, if you do not get it was not good for you in any case. But for that you have to have faith.

There was a very interesting article this morning in the New York Times, you see I read Karl Marx, and I read also New York Times, as well as the Quran.

She was that the whole article that they are now discovering, finally…she quotes Schopenhauer … that human being really we do not have a will, we think we do but we don’t, and I think if I am not misquoting she quotes Schopenhauer, who said “man can do what he thinks he is doing but he cannot will it”. That sounds very philosophical. And we count so much on our will that I am going to do this and I am going to do that, and we do not realize that half of the time it does not happen. and still do not get discouraged we still think that we can do.

All these things are possible, but then we get involved with nitty- gritty, we get involved with…the kitchen need this and the car needs that, and I have to reserve for the vacation and…. All these nitty- gritty and we forget what is the important thing is all about. I am not saying not to do the small things which one has to do but not get involved with it. When I say that it is said that the farther you go away from the world the closer you get to God, some people think so ok I have to go to a nunnery or I have to be a monk. No, that is not it, you work and you work very hard, and you get rich and you sleep in feather bed, except not to get attached to it, not to get attached to it.