Remember Allah, and Show Gratitude
Oh 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: “Elestu-birabikum! – Am I not your Lord!” – and our souls replied, “Bela! – Yes, indeed!”
Then your soul was sent from that realm of joyful communion to this land of loneliness as a test, to this house of distress of your physical existence. Your soul has descended from eternal divine realms, which is its home, to this temporal land for a little while to serve.
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 carry 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.
Hear what Allah says in a Hadith Kudsi:
“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.
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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: only human beings have intelligence and can reason. Everything in existence can do anything but this, which only man can do. That is why Allah said: “Verily we praised man above all else…”
When man uses his intelligence, 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 mindlessly, 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 human beings. 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.” (Surah 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.
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The purpose of our life is to love our Lord. What else is there to love but Him? But to truly believe in and 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 men of understanding mind.” (Surah al-Zumar, 39:9)
Someone asked our Prophet (saws), the beloved of Allah: “Oh 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, Oh our master?” And the Prophet (saws), 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: “Oh the Messenger of God, we asked of the best deed to do, you tell us of thought and knowledge.”
The Prophet (saws), 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.”
The beloved of the Prophet (saws), the blessed Ali (ra), 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.”
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Allah 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 was born noble; he has divine qualities. His superiority to the rest of the creation is not in his physical being, 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 it defines you. 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, remember where your true home is. “He who knows himself knows his Lord.”
He who will know himself by his Lord 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, and better still, with other riders on the same path. If you let your donkey wander hither and thither in this world of grazing ground, away from home and lost without aim, you will be a slave, like some fool who is carrying his donkey on his back.
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 be 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.”
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Do not dissociate yourself from others. You are neither better nor worse, we are all together. All mankind are Allah’s children, one family! Allah is “Rabb-il Alemiyn,” the Lord of all creation and our Prophet (saws) is His mercy upon all mankind. And whom Allah loves most amongst His children are those who love each other for His sake. We 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 of mind. The chief doctor in charge is the Beloved of Allah, Hd. Muhammad Mustafa (saws); the Holy Qur’an is the pharmacy; and the words and actions of the Prophet (saws) in Hadiths are prescriptions, assured to cure. Here is a sample:
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said to Hd. Ali (ra):
“Oh 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 your Creator. What you appear to be doing is really done by your Lord. A 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 Allah (saws). May Allah help us clean our hearts and make our own Muhammad be born in it. He is our guide, our intercessor, our hope. “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 Allah and the eternal life, while every moment should be spent in preparation for the Hereafter and in helping others to do the same. What we can do to help each other is to tell the Truth (if we know it) and to care for and advise others, but we cannot give them true faith. Not even the prophets can do that. Allah says: “Surely you can not guide whom you love to faith, but only Allah guides whom He pleases and He knows best those who are worthy.” (Surah Qasas 28:56)
“And it is not for anyone to believe in Allah except by His permission. And He casts uncleanness on those who will reject the Truth.” (Surah 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 Hd. Muhammad (saws) is His true messenger. Furthermore, one has to consider the whole of creation to have generated from Allah’s first creation, which was the Light of Muhammad. The only way to judge everything is through the example of our beloved Prophet (saws) who said:
“The first creation of Allah 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 Allah says to him:
“…and We have not sent you but as a mercy to the whole world.” (Surah al-Anbiya’ 21:107)
“Perhaps you will destroy yourself with grief because they believe not.” (Surah al- Shu’ara’ 26:3)
And Allah 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.” (Surah al-Bara’ah, 9:128)
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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 that holds it.
The essence of time is the moment, 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 the true reality. Don’t you see, what is now often is gone the next moment and you miss it. To throw away one’s fortune is sinful; the worst of spendthrifts is the one who throws away time. In reality, all of existence is now: that breath which you inhale. From that one moment, one breath, sixty nows 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 Allah. The past is lost memory and the future, a vague hope. Allah says: “Every moment He offers a different affair.”
And His messenger (saws) said: “Do not ever curse time, because time is one of Allah’s names.”
And Hd. Ali (ra) used to address Allah in his prayers as, “Oh the Enduring Moment!”
So if you honor the moment by living it, Allah “The enduring moment” may stretch it to past eternity and to future eternity, for the moment of now is like the soul of Time.
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Allah is ever present, yet invisible; Invisible because no eye can gaze upon 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 of the moon is but the reflection of sunlight. Like this, the divine light of Allah is reflected on His beloved prophet. In this life if you wish to see Allah’s light, look at the beauty of His prophet (saws), 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.
Allah says: “Oh 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?” (Surah al-Hujurat 49:12)
When you give your word, keep it under all circumstances. Do not speak without any meaning or sense. Man is not created in vain. Your breaths are numbered; do not spend them in speaking nonsense. Allah says: “Good words are heard by Allah.” And the speaker reaps rewards. So remember Allah is listening when you speak. And our master, the Prophet (saws) 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 Allah’s Holy Qur’an and the best way to say them is the way His beloved Prophet did (saws). So study it.
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Man is small, but his inner world is big – so big that Allah fits into his heart! As Allah 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: Allah’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 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 Allah’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 their images are 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 believers, 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 Allah multiplies further for whom He pleases.” (Surah al-Baqara 2:261)
However, 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 violence and destruction, and the population can find peace only in their imagination, when their hearts are like distorting mirrors.
Now let the mirror of your heart be pure and reflect only that which is real, 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 Allah and Allah knows best.
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It is said that Allah asks man to spend his life with one thousand things to do and another thousand things never to do. How many of us know what those thousand good deeds are, and what the forbidden thousand deeds are?
There are three moral scales by which you can weigh your actions: the Holy Qur’an, the Hadiths (the recorded words and deeds of the Prophet (saws), and your conscience (your own Qur’an inside of you). Allah says:
“Read your book. Your own soul is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day.” (Surah Bani Israel 17:14)
Half of the Holy Qur’an is allegorical, only understandable to very few. The meaning of the whole of the Qur’an is so vast that if all the oceans were ink and all the heavens paper they would not be sufficient to write it down. Then there is a multitude of volumes of the recorded deeds and sayings of the Prophet (saws), hard to remember, even if one can read them all. But if you are sincere, your conscience is easy to consult, in order 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 you will face a divine court on the day of last judgment, where the supreme judge is Allah; the prosecutors are His angels who have recorded your most minute deeds; your defense lawyers will be the prophets, saints, if you are worthy. The witnesses are your own members: eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet, as well as your deeds, who will witness against you. Allah’s messenger (saws) said:
“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 Allah does not accept repentance that late. Only up to that moment both your good deeds and your sins count and your prayers and repentance are accepted.”
And Allah 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…” (Surah al-Nisa 4:18)
You cannot wait to repent, because repentance takes time, needs certain conditions, and much effort. It suffices not to say “Estagfirullah” (“I ask pardon of Allah”). First you have to be aware of what you did, then you should know and admit that it was wrong, then you regret what you did, then sincerely decide not to do it again and ask Allah’s help. But all this still does not help until you have 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 on in this life will be of no help to you. Only your faith in Allah, 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 (saws) will secure his intercession for you.
And Allah’s messenger said: “Do your accounting now, before you have to do it on the Day of Judgment.”
The Creator created creation and placed His signs everywhere as a reminder to human beings. From the very beginning, He has taught us how to live this life. He has shown us as what happened to the first man, our father Adam (as): if you disrupt 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 humankind, the children of Adam (as) have broken divine law, and over and over again in His mercy the Lord sent His prophets as reminders to teach us anew to follow divine harmony, and to show us that He has created the human being as His supreme creation. He has given us a mind and made us His deputy and master over all, but also taught us that, “the best of masters is the one who is a servant to his servants.” His advice is contained within this surah: “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.” (Surah al-Asr: 103)
Oh the one who wears the crown of mind, faith, conscience and goodness, do not look upon man as an empty shell. Respect all of mankind. Allah says He has created the human being in His own image, not that which appears to the eye, a weak, upright creature standing on two feet, but what within: the soul, which God breathed unto us from His own soul. The human being’s supremacy and the respect owed is neither for physical beauty nor for fortune or fame, but for the soul, which is divine.
And when we leave this world, in respect for the soul, which has departed, we wash, clean and wrap the shell that housed the soul and bury it in the ground. But the soul returns to its home, to its Lord, saying: “Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall return.” (Surah al-Baqara 2:156)
The temporal body changes day by day; it is born, grows, gets strong, ages, shrinks, weakens and finally fails. Like all other material things, it is made of the four primary elements of earth, air, water and fire, and like all created 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 whose bodies became souls during this life. Those are the ones who love Allah and who live for Allah and who “die before dying.”
As the Prophet (saws) said: “The faithful do not die. They are moved from here to the hereafter.”
He who is with his Lord will never die. Allah, speaking to the Prophet (saws), says: “Everything will perish but He. His is the judgment, and to Him you will be brought back.” (Surah al-Qasas, 28:88)
The true human is ever traveling. We live in this world like a wandering exile. Hd. Mawlana (ks) says: “Oh wanderer, not to freeze like the running river, leave 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 Allah knows best, that there are three such places: The first is where Allah gathered the souls before He created matter and asked them “Am I not your Lord?” and the souls replied “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, when no one is left alive in the created universe. Then it will rain there for forty days and like trees sprouting from the ground, all the dead will rise from their graves. On the day of judgment, the souls will take the shape of their bodies on the day they died, and will gather for the third time.
For those who do not recognize the truth of this Allah says: “We are the One who created man and we know what his innermost self whispers within him and we are closer to him than his jugular vein.” (Surah Qaf 50:16) and “Were we then fatigued by the first creation, Yet they are in doubt about a new creation. (Surah Qaf, 50:15)
“Surely we give life and cause to die, and to Us is the eventual coming.” (Surah Qaf 50:43)
And: “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.”(Surah Qaf 50:45)
Believe in destiny. Divine order is such that nothing can change it; it is Allah’s will. Nothing in the created universe is created in vain nor is left untethered. And the human being, His supreme creation, is certainly not left alone, uncontrolled. Every moment, every breath, every heartbeat is in His hand. Your breath and your heartbeat know 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 La ilaha ilallah, 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 it? 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? 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.” (Surah Baqarah 2:216)
And He says: “And whoever is in the heavens and on the earth makes obeisance to Allah only, willingly and unwillingly.” (Surah al-Ra’d, 13:15)
There is hope in faith for those who obey Allah, and harm and suffering for the disbeliever who imagines he is the master of his own destiny. Peace comes from believing that all good, and that which seems not good, to our egos, is from Allah. 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 Hd. Ali (ra) discoursed with someone who disbelieved he said: “I believe in Allah 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?”
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We must use our minds to seek where we came from to 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 sings His praises. He says:
“Seven heavens and the earth and that is therein declare His glory. And there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with praise, but you do not understand.” (Surah Bani Israel 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 Allah’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 Allah is al-Hamid (the Praiseworthy) the only one to be thankful to. During the forty cycles of our five daily prayers we say “Elhamdulillahi rabb-il alamiyn.” What are we offering but empty words? Let your ear hear what you say! Let us be sincere in our prayers to Allah at least when we say, “all thanks and praises to Allah alone, the Lord of all and everything in the whole universe.” Allah 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. 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. It should be done so that your left hand does not know what your right hand gives humbly, without expecting any thanks, and for His sake. It is really He who 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, Hd. Muhammad Mustafa (saws). Amin!