O Dear Friend! Surely your soul now placed in your living heart has seen and known its Creator. When it was in the realm of the souls, before it entered your body it was taught that the reason of its being was to be His servant, to serve His creation.
On the day of the creation of man, our Lord asked the souls of all the descendants of Adam, us, as well as His blessed prophets:
“Am I not your Lord!”
and our souls said “Yes, indeed.” Then your soul was sent from that realm of joyful communion to this land of loneliness, to this house of distress of your physical existence as a test. Your soul has descended from eternal divine realms which is its home, to this temporal land for a little while to survive.
So do not squander the treasure of your essence, know your origin, be heedful, show patience, purify yourself with the flames of love, keep your soul pure. Beware, the body is but your animal of burden which carries your soul. If the desires of its flesh and its lust carries you away and you think you are one and the same as it, you bray instead of pray, you lose your humanity. Do not cover the light of your heart with the dark veils of unconsciousness. Otherwise your soul may forget its communion with its Lord at the beginning and take this temporal life as its end.
Now hear what God says in a divine tradition:
“I have a palace greater than My throne and wider than My footstool, more brilliant than the Kingdom of Heaven, richer than all the jewels in my Paradise, the ground upon which it sits is faith, the heavens up above it are knowledge, its sun is yearning for Me, its moon is the love for Me, its stars are thoughts, its clouds are intelligence, its rain is compassion, its rivers are service, its gardens are obedience, the fruits of its trees are gentleness and its rooms are favoring others above oneself. That palace stands on four columns: Trust in God, Patience, Enlightenment and Contentment with what God gives. And it has four doors: Knowledge, Friendship, Gentleness and Remembering God. Know that that palace is the heart of my believing loving servant and I reside in it.”
So watch your heart, turn it toward Truth. Keep your heart clean and at peace. Thus you will not drift away from your real self. And if you know yourself, you will find Him in your heart. Woe to the one who left his heart behind. And he who knows his heart, his Lord will find.
* * *
Now please take heed. There is one thing we must never forget. Even if you forget all but not this, it does not matter much, do not fear. Everything in existence can do anything but this, that only man can do. That is why God said:
“Verily we praised man above all else…”
When man does that thing, his heart is cleansed, ignorance is replaced by wisdom and hatred by love. This life is a test. If you do every good deed but not this, you will fail the test. All else is in vain, useless, except Intelligence.
The Mind: pure light, is like the Holy Spirit. It is only in man. It is God’s trust given only to you, which makes you high in rank in His view. So seek your origin, where you came from and where you will end. God says:
“Surely God has bought from the believers their lives and that which they own, theirs in return are gardens of paradise.” (al-Bara’at, 9/111)
So do not sell yourself cheap to this world for a day’s worth of fun and games that your flesh demands. Use your mind, chose eternal life in paradise.
* * *
All there is to be done in this life is to love our Lord. What else is there to love but Him. But to believe in this, to be aware of this, we have to feel it, and we have to come to know Him. To know one has to learn, acquire the necessary knowledge. Our Lord says:
“Are those who know and those who know not alike? Only man of understanding mind.” (al-Zumar, 39/9)
Someone asked our Prophet, the beloved of God: “O Messenger of God, what is the best deed?” Our master, the glory of the world answered: “To know your Lord.” They said: “What kind of knowledge do you speak of, O our master?” And the Prophet said: “To know that your Lord is the One and Unique, exempt from any unworthy things, most beautiful, embellished with all that is perfect.” They said: “O the Messenger of God, we asked of the best deed to do, you tell us of thought and knowledge.” The Prophet said: “Know that whatever you do while remembering your Lord as you know Him will be the best deed and all will benefit from it; while if you spent your whole life achieving a thing, without knowing and remembering Him it will be in vain.”
And listen to the beloved of the Prophet, the blessed Ali, who said:
“Knowledge is far better for you than the fortunes you strive to amass, because knowledge is a protection for you, while you will spend your life to protect that fortune you call your own. Knowledge judges, property is always judged and often condemned. As you spend it your fortune is reduced; while when you give your knowledge to others it doubles.”
So as our master has asked us to do:
“Seek knowledge even if it is as far away as China.”
* * *
God says: “Either you worship Me or you worship your evil commanding ego.” This is His divine law; either you take refuge in your beneficent Master, or you are rejected from ever tasting the Truth. The all Powerful does not negotiate! Man is born noble, he has divine qualities. His superiority to the rest of the creation is not in his physical appearance, but in his essence.
So use your intelligence and seek His treasures hidden in you. But you value your appearance, your body so much, you think you are it. Don’t you see it is only your donkey which you ride. And this world is but its stable and grazing ground. Now that donkey eats the green grass in summer and the dry straw in winter from the fields of this world. Is that food good enough for your soul, which is of divine origin? Who has ever heard of a master who eats the straw of his donkey? So know who you are; where your home is high above.
“He who knows himself knows his Lord.”
And he will know himself by his Lord; he who keeps this world at a distance, unattached to it, keeping his animal of burden well behaved and well under control, leading it on the straight way, better still, with a whole lot of other riders on the same way, while if you let your donkey wander hither and thither on this world of grazing ground, carried away from home and lost without aim, you will be a slave, like some fool who is carrying his donkey on his back climbing a hill.
In an other way, this world is like a steep mountain which echoes. Whatever you say, whatever you do, whatever you think or feel, good or bad comes back to you louder as an echo. Of course you wish that the echo is melodious and sweet. But alas no! If the mountain could speak, it would say: “I have no will of my own, I am but your shadow, your echo. Whatever you are, I show!”
“This world is but the arable field of the Hereafter. Whatever you plant here will be harvested in the Hereafter.”
* * *
Do not dissociate yourself from others. You are neither better nor worse, we are in all this together. All mankind are God’s children, one family! God is “Rabb-il Alemiyn”, the Lord of all creation and our prophet is his mercy upon all mankind. And whom God loves most amongst His children are those who love each other for His sake. But we Muslims are charged to heal, not to hurt as some who call themselves Muslims do. Islam is a hospital for the sick at heart and deranged in their minds. Chief doctor in charge is the Beloved of God, Hz. Muhammad Mustafa s.a.w., the Holy Qur’an is the pharmacy, and the words and actions of the prophet in Hadiths are prescriptions of remedies, assured to cure. Here is a sample:
The Messenger of God (s.a.w.) said to Hz. Ali (k.a.w.):
“O Ali, if you wish to come closer to your Lord than the angels closest to Him, do not abandon friends who have abandoned you; increase your generosity to the ones who try to deprive you of your daily bread; forgive the ones who tyrannize and try to destroy you.”
Our salvation is following the path of the friends and loved ones of our Lord. So serve His creation one and all, prefer the felicity of others above your own. When you attain the truth of Islam, you will see how close the creation is to their Creator and all what they appear to be doing is really done by their Lord. Muslim is he who is clean inside and out. And the clean mirror of your heart reflects all which is beautiful and true, clear under the divine light generating from the beloved of God. May God help us clean our hearts and make our own Muhammad be born in it. He is our guide, our intercessor, our hope.
Now know who is the One who acts
And who points to the facts.
He is the one and only God.
Doomed is the one who Him rejects.
“Love the creation for the love of the one who created it.”
Many are fooled by the attractions of this world during our short life and forget God and the eternal life, while every moment should be spent in preparation for the Hereafter and in helping others to do the same. But all that we can do to help each other, if we know it, is to tell the Truth and to care for them and advise, but we cannot give them the true faith. Not even the prophets can do it. God says:
“Surely you can not guide whom you love to faith, but only God guides whom He pleases and He knows best those who are worthy.” (Qasas, 28/56)
“And it is not for anyone to believe in God except by His permission. And He casts uncleanness on those who will reject the Truth.” (Yunus, 10/100)
For one to be worthy of faith, one has first to confirm with all his heart and declare by his tongue, that our master Hz. Muhammad (s.a.w.) is His true messenger. Furthermore, one has to consider the whole of creation to have generated from God’s first creation, which was the Light of Muhammad. The only scale of value to judge everything is our beloved Prophet who says:
“The first creation of God is my light, my soul, my pen, my mind. I was a prophet when Adam was between earth and water. Whoever sees me sees the truth. Religion is my words, the path to follow is the way I live, the truth is what I am.”
And God says to him:
“…and We have not sent you but as a mercy to the whole world.” (al-Anbiya’, 21/107)
“Perhaps you will destroy yourself with grief because they believe not” (al- Shu’ara’, 26/3)
And God says to us:
“Certainly a messenger has come to you from amongst yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, most solicitous for you, to believers he is compassionate, merciful.” (al-Bara’at, 9/128)
* * *
You live your lives worrying about tomorrow and regretting yesterday. What about Now?! Time is a sharp sword if you do not know how to use it. It cuts the hand which holds it.
The essence of time is the moment, that is the time we are living, not yesterday, or tomorrow, but Now. So use your mind, your effort for that indivisible single moment, for it is the soul of time. It is real reality. Don’t you see, what is now often is gone the next moment and you missed it. To throw away one’s fortune is sinful; the worst of spendthrift is the one who throws away time. The reality, all of existence is in Now: that breath which you inhale. From that one moment, one breath, sixty Now’s become a minute, from minutes hours, days…centuries, but the reality is in the moment. It is that moment which is divine and belongs to God. The past is lost memory and the future, a vague hope. God says:
“Every moment He offers a different affair.”
And his messenger says:
“Do not ever curse time, because time is one of God’s names.”
And Hz. Ali (k.a.w.) used to address God in his prayers as “O the Enduring Moment!”
So if you honor the moment by living it, God “The enduring moment” may stretch it to past eternity and to future eternity, for the moment of Now is like the soul of Time.
As the soul penetrates to all the members of your body, if you are aware of it, so will the Now effect your whole life, if you live it.
Woe to you! The one whose breaths are counted!
Why, living the moment, are you daunted?
* * *
God is ever present, yet invisible. Invisible, because no eye can look at Him. If you stare at the sun you will be blinded, while you can view the full moon to your heart’s content. And what you see on the moon is but the reflection of sunlight. Like this, the divine light of God is reflected on His beloved prophet. In this life if you wish to see God’s light, look at the beauty of His prophet, and his deeds and his words which came from his blessed lips.
Words are the smell of the breath of one’s inner self. It is what distinguishes man. A word is a promise. So watch your words. It is said: “ To judge a man, make him speak.”
Take care to always tell the Truth. Speak kindly and positively or keep silent. Do not be suspicious or opinionated about others.
“O you who believe, avoid suspicion, for surely suspicion is sin. And spy not nor let some of you backbite others. Do you like to eat the flesh of your dead brother?” (al-Hujurat, 49/12)
When you give your word, keep it under any circumstances. Do not talk in vain without any meaning or sense. Man is not created in vain. Your breaths are numbered; do not spend them in speaking nonsense. God says:
“Good words are heard by God.”
And the speaker reaps rewards. So remember God is listening when you speak. And our master, the Prophet said:
“God speaks from the lips of His true servants.”
So watch your tongue, do not ever insult anyone. Harsh words cut deep wounds, deep down to the heart. But when you are the one so wounded tell to your oppressor “peace” and no more. For it is said:
“The one who guards his tongue is at peace.”
The best of all words are in God’s Holy Qur’an and the best way to say them is the way His beloved Prophet did. So study it.
* * *
Man is small in size, but his inner world is big! So big that God fits in his heart! As God Himself says:
“I fit into the loving heart of My believing servant.”
He is as if a vast city: seven heavens above and seven layers of earth below and all that is in between: God’s throne, His footstool, the hidden tablet, the divine pen, paradise and hell, and the universe are all in it. That is the meaning of “Man and Qur’an are two twins.” That city is at the crossroad of four roads where all and everything forever travel. And it has four gates called the Eye, the Ear, the Tongue and the Hand. At the center of that city there is a throne called the Heart. That is where God’s dominion reigns. Its domain is the soul, its treasures are love and compassion, its law is submission, its government is intellect. All who enter that city are screened by the intellect, and are under the law of submission. Some are let in and some are not. Some enter from the gate of the Eye and go out from the gate of the Hands. And some enter from the gate of the Ear and go out from the gate of the Tongue. But everyone passes through the screen of Intellect where his image is captured and recorded in a file called Memory, which the mind keeps in secrecy.
Now every man, believer and non-believer alike is like that city, except in the case of the believer when the mind screens only that which is beautiful, good and wise; and they are permitted to enter the city, where they multiply.
“As the parable of a single grain growing seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. And God multiplies further for whom He pleases.” (al-Baqara, 2/261)
While the perverted mind of the non-believer admits lies, hate, violence into the city where they multiply like rats by the thousands, where they infect the city with plague of rape, murder, destruction and the population can find peace only in their imagination, when their hearts are like those distorting mirrors in fun-fairs, where the thin becomes fat, the short becomes tall and vice versa!, etc.
Now let the mirror of your heart be pure and reflect that what is real only and nothing ugly will ever be reflected in it, for the worst of reality is better than the best of imagination.
Guidance and success is but from God and God knows best.
* * *
It is said that God asks man to spend his life with one thousand kinds of things to do and another thousand kinds of things never to do. How many of us know what those thousand good deeds are, and the other thousand deeds which are forbidden to us?
There are three moral scales where you can weigh your actions: the Holy Qur’an, the Hadiths (the recorded words and deeds of the Prophet), and your conscience (your own Qur’an inside of you). God says:
“Read your book. Your own soul is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day.” (Bani Israil, 17/14)
Half of the Holy Qur’an is allegorical, only understandable to very few. And the meaning of the whole of the Qur’an is so vast that if all the oceans were ink and all the heavens paper it would not be sufficient to write it down. Then there are numbers of volumes of the recorded deeds and sayings of the Prophet, but hard to remember, even if one can read them all. But if you are sincere, your conscience is easy to consult, to know if what you do is wrong or right. You are afraid to appear in front of a judge in a human court. Surely soon we will face a divine court on the day of Last Judgment, where the supreme judge is God, the prosecutors are His angels who have recorded our most minute deeds, your defense lawyers will be the prophets, saints, if we are worthy. The witnesses are our own members: eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet as well as our deeds who will witness against us. God’s messenger says:
“On that day, your deeds will be given material form and shape and they will come one by one and tell you “I am your such and such deed”, and the angels will produce records of what you did in life till your last breath, and you will be raised the way you died.”
He also said:
“Repent before you are at the point of death, for God does not accept repentance that late. Only up to that moment both your good deeds and your sins count and your prayers and repentance accepted.”
And God says:
“And repentance is not for those who go on doing evil deeds, until when death comes to one of them, he says: now I repent…” (al-Nisa, 4/18)
You cannot wait to repent, because repentance takes time, needs certain conditions, and a lot of effort. It suffices not to say “Estagfirullah” (“I ask pardon of God”). First one has to be aware of what one did, then one should know and admit that it was wrong, then one regrets what he did, then sincerely decides not to do it again and asks God’s help. But all this still does not help until one has undone the wrong deed. Give back what you took, heal the heart you broke, build what you destroyed… It is said that the sign of the acceptance of one’s repentance is that one cannot commit that sin ever again.
Repent and do not ever forget that there is that day when your fortune, your fame, your family and friends on whom you count and depend in this life will be of no help to you. Only your faith in God, service to others for His sake, your submission to Him and your love for Him may obtain His mercy and your love for and obedience to His prophet will secure his intercession for you.
And God’s messenger says:
“Do your accounting now, before the time you have to do it on the judgment day.”
The Creator created the creation and placed His signs everywhere as a reminder to man. From the very beginning He teaches us how to live this life. He has shown us as a lesson what happened to the first man, our father Adam: if you disrupt the divine harmony and eat the forbidden fruit, you are banished and punished. But when you realize your sin of “tyrannizing yourself”, and ask pardon you are forgiven.
Over and over again in the history of man, the children of Adam broke the divine law, and over and over again in His mercy the Lord sent His prophets as reminders to teach us anew to follow the divine harmony and to show us that He has created man as His supreme creation. He has given us a mind and made us His deputy and master over all, but also ordered us that “the best of masters is the one who is a servant to his servants.” His advice is in this:
“By My oath on the time you will spend in your life. Surely man is in loss; except those who believe and do good; and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience.” (al-Asr, 103)
O the one who wears the crown of mind, faith, conscience and goodness, do not look upon man as an empty shell of his appearance. Respect all of mankind. The Lord says He has created man in His own image, not that which appears to the eye, a weak, upright creature standing on two feet, but what is in them; their soul, which God breathed unto them from His own soul. Man’s supremacy and the respect due to him is neither for his physical beauty nor for his fortune or fame, but for his soul which is divine.
And when he leaves this world, in respect to his soul which has departed, one washes, cleans and wraps the shell which housed the soul and buries it in a hole in the ground. But the soul returns to its home, to its Lord, saying:
“Surely we are God’s and to Him we shall return.” (al-Baqara, 2/156)
The temporal body changes day by day; it is born, grows, gets strong, ages, shrinks, weakens and finally falls apart. Like all other material things, it is made of the four primary elements of earth, air, water and fire and like all composed matter it decomposes at the end. Earth to earth, water to water, air to air, but the fire remains.
So the body by its nature burns in fire except those whose souls have been infused into their bodies, and their bodies became souls during this life. Those are the ones who love God and who live for God and who
“die before dying”
As the prophet says:
“The faithful do not die. They are moved from here to the hereafter.”
He who is with his Lord will never die. God says:
“Everything will perish but He. His is the judgment, and to Him you will be brought back.” (al-Qasas, 28/88)
Real man is ever traveling. They live in this world like a wandering exile. Hz. Mewlana says:
“O wander, not to freeze like the running river
Leaving home, passing from one place to another.”
Now take heed! As the souls wander from one place to another, at some places they gather and they take shape, they assume an identity. The ones who know say, but God knows best, that there are three such places: The first is where God gathered the souls before He created matter and asked them “Am I not your Lord?” and the souls said “indeed, you are!” where the souls took the identity of servanthood. Then with this identity the soul enters the four month old embryo in the womb of the mother. During man’s lifetime, the image of the soul in man is that of the four month old embryo.
On man’s death the soul is transformed to another shape and gathers with the other souls in purgatory: that is the second gathering place. The souls reside there until all matter disappears, no one is left alive in the created universe, and some say another hundred years more. Then it will rain there for forty days and like trees sprouting from the ground all dead will rise from their graves: On that day of last judgment the souls will take the shape of their bodies the day they died and will gather for the third time.
For those who do not recognize the truth of this God says:
“We are the One who created man and we know what misgivings he has in his head and we are closer to him than his jugular vein.” (Qaf, 50/16)
“Were we unable to create him first, that they are in doubt that we can recreate? (Qaf, 50/15)
“Surely we give life and cause to die, and to Us is the eventual coming.” (Qaf, 50/43)
“We know best what they say, you are not one to force them. So remind the ones who fear My threat, by the means of the Qur’an.” (Qaf, 50/45)
God’s will can never be bent
By no one’s powerful arm
The flames Lord has set afire
Will not burn or any one harm.
Believe in destiny. Divine order is such that nothing can change it; it is God’s will. Nothing in the created universe is created in vein nor is left untethered. And man, His supreme creation is certainly not left alone, uncontrolled. Every moment, every breath, every heart beat is in His hand. Your breath and your heart beat knows it: each time you inhale you say “Hay!” (“the Ever Living”); each time you exhale you say “Hu”, the name of His essence. Your body also knows the soul which He breathed into you. A hundred thousand times a day your heart, upon which he has written with your veins “La ilahe Il Allah”, repeats His name “Haqq, Haqq, Haqq…” (“the Ultimate Truth”) at each beat over and over again. But you do not understand. Why don’t you admit? Can you change the way your heart and lungs are built? In the same way your life is also predestined, whether you believe it or not. Surely this is innate in you, it is your nature, so what is the benefit in denying it? Is it that you think that you know better what is best for you, or that you can do better than the One who created you and everything else, while your Lord says “You do not know what is best for you, I do.”
And He says:
“And whoever is in the heavens and on the earth makes obeisance to God only, willingly and unwillingly.” (al-Ra’d, 13/15)
There is hope in faith for those who obey God and harm and suffering for the disbeliever who imagines he is the master of his own destiny. Peace is in believing that all good and that which seems not so good to our egos are from God. Peace is in being content and showing patience for trials with which our Lord tests our obedience. Peace is in our love for Him and being always thankful to Him. It is not difficult because that is how life is: there are things which are full, half full or empty. Let us not be of the ones who resent when things are “half empty”.
When Hz. Ali (k.a.w.) discoursed with someone who disbelieved he said:
“I believe in God and eternal life in the Hereafter and I try to live a good and decent life to face my Lord on the day of last judgment, pure and without shame. If, as you believe, there is none of this, what is my loss? But you who believe that there is nothing else but this life on earth, imagine your loss tomorrow when you leave this world and wake up to another life: with what countenance will you face your Lord and will you risk the terrors of hell fire? What is the benefit in this?”
* * *
We must use our minds to seek where we came from to this temporal life in this world and where we will go at the end. We must learn who we are and why we are here and find our Lord. We cannot live this life without knowing our Lord, nor can we find peace and happiness. For even if we shut our eyes and ears to Him, everything all around us sing His praises. He says:
“Seven heavens and the earth and those in them declare His glory. And there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with praise, but you do not understand.” (Bani Israil, 17/44)
All that we receive and all that we have are His gifts. At best we sometimes realize and appreciate the good things we receive, but good fortune, happiness and riches become our gods and become veils between us and Him, instead of reminding us of the generosity of our Lord. The only time God’s gifts are going to be really ours and benefit us is when we share them with those who need help: alms are the true expression of thankfulness, and praising our Lord the Most Generous. It is said:
“The beginning and the end of this life is but gratefulness.”
In seeking who you are, what will help you is to be grateful that you are alive. One of the names of God is “Hamid” (“the Praiseworthy”), the only one to be thankful to. During the 40 cycles of our 5 daily prayers we say “Elhamdulillahi rabb-il alemiyn.” What are we offering but empty words? Let your ear hear what you say! Let us be sincere in our prayers to God at least when we say “all thanks and praises to God alone, the Lord of all and everything in the whole universe.” God is not only the Lord of the Muslims but of all of mankind. But none of us are truly able to praise and thank Him. No one has the means and capability to truly offer thanks to the Owner of all and everything. But perhaps the only gesture of gratefulness acceptable to Him may be to share the blessings He pours upon us with the ones who are in need: in a way that your left hand does not know what your right hand gives humbly, without expecting any thanks, and for His sake, who really is the One who gives.
May Allah Most High forgive our faults and have mercy on us and help us on the straight path and accord us the intercession of the one whom He has sent as His mercy upon the universe, Hz. Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.). Amin!