Our Identity (Dilemma of Muslim Youth in Turbulent Times)

[These are rough notes from a talk by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed (db) delivered in 2008]


يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ أَنتُمُ ٱلۡفُقَرَآءُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ وَٱللَّهُ هُوَ ٱلۡغَنِىُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ
O men, you are the ones who need Allah, and Allah is Free-of-All-Needs, the Ever-Praised. [35:15]

Dilemma of the Muslim Youth in Turbulent Times

The topic that we have chosen for today is dilemma of Muslim youth in turbulent times. It’s a very wide, open topic. I am going to take the liberty to address the topic in my own way, and I am going to suggest to you that times are not all that is turbulent, it is the state of our heart that is turbulent. We have been in this state of turbulence for a very long period of time. The recent events in your country are, what we call, just a drop in an ocean, and it is amazing that how is it that we were able to ignore the ocean, and only now are we beginning to feel the drops.

That is what I think is the biggest dilemma of the contemporary times that we are faced with a dual type of ghaflah (negligence); on the one hand, we were so heedless and unaware that we allowed ourselves to reach such a low level of imaan, that we are facing the consequences of it today, and on the other hand, the second type of ghaflah is that now when the consequences are coming upon us, we remain even more ghafil about the weak and fragile state of our imaan, and instead we are constantly focusing on the “halaat”.

You go to anyone and everyone in this country, at this moment everyone is saying times are bad, or that we are very worried about the current situation. And what do people do, what is their response to this? Their response is to stare at a screen, and they want people to do tabsira and discussion and debate on the halaat, for hour after hour. Then the screen is turned off, then they look at one another, and they do tabsira with one another. That’s what we call tabsira ala tabsira. You were supposed to become nur ala nur, but instead you become tabsira ala tabsira. Now you want me to come in and do tabsira ala tabsira ala tabsira! Well, I am going to do nur ala nur ala nur.

If you think about it, it’s a big mistake. You can see this even if you use your aqal; in the past one month 80% of this country at least has been listening to the radio, or watching TV, or reading the newspaper, and discussing with one another for at least 2-3 hours a day. How many hours would that make? Your country has about 150m people. If you add that, even in one month, we are talking about thousands or millions of hours that we have spent on this tabsira, which has not even brought you one inch closer to the solution.

Imagine if all those people in this country had spent millions of hours making du’a to Allah swt, on reflecting on the state of their heart, on making tawbah to Allah swt, on fixing their own inner sorry state of affairs, the whole country would be set by now. It would have just taken one month.

The dilemma of a young Muslim man or a woman in this time is that s/he actually falls prey to ghaflah. Read the ayah of Qur’an al Kareem in which Allah swt has mentioned what a person should not do in these times.

وَلَا تَهِنُواْ وَلَا تَحۡزَنُواْ وَأَنتُمُ ٱلۡأَعۡلَوۡنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ
Do not lose heart and do not grieve, and you are the upper-most if you are believers. [3:139]

Do not become lazy, do not have apathy, do not become disinterested, this is the complete opposite of what we do. Do not have huzn; do not despair, do not be pareshan. That’s what Allah swt is saying in Qur’an. Because you will try on, if you can make yourselves true believers.

One thing is nafs e imaan: that’s entry level imaan. That is like admissions into IBA. One thing is kamil imaan: that’s like the students in deans lists and graduating with honours in IBA. Is it sufficient to just enter this place; to have your name assigned a roll no., and not do anything? You think if you were to get admission into this place, and not do a single thing for 4 years, you would ever graduate? No way.

Even to get a little BBA degree from IBA, you are going to have to do 4 years of lectures, readings, course work, exams, quizzes, assignments – that is a lot of effort. How much effort do you think it would take you to get imaan e kamil (complete imaan) inside your heart?

“Who am I?” – A Question of Identity Crisis

Our real dilemma is that why is it that we can’t do that effort? What is it that’s keeping us from that effort? I personally feel the dilemma of the youth is what in English we call the “Identity Crisis”. The Muslim youth in contemporary times are going through a deep identity crisis. I use this word, because, now what is a person’s identity? Identity means what is a person’s asal; what is a person’s haqiqah; what is a person’s self-understanding of themselves.

If I were to ask you, to ask yourselves this question “Who am I?” Now what would you put in that box? I write on the board “Who am I”. The question is that who do you think you are? The problem is that you do not have the right answer to this question. If I asked this question you would say, I’m a professor, I’m a father, I’m a son, I’m a brother, I’m this or I’m that. We don’t even have a core understanding of what our Islamic, Qur’anic identity is.

First Identity of a Human Being: Faqir

I’m going to show you two ayah of Qur’an in which Allah swt defines human identity. We are not even talking about a mu’min. Forget who is a mu’min and who is a muhsin. What does Allah swt says who is an insan? That is how far astray we are. We don’t even have the insani concept that Allah swt has mentioned in Qur’an. Allah swt says in Qur’an:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ أَنتُمُ ٱلۡفُقَرَآءُ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ وَٱللَّهُ هُوَ ٱلۡغَنِىُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ
O men, you are the ones who need Allah, and Allah is Free-of-All-Needs, the Ever-Praised. [35:15]

That know all of humanity, that each and every one of you is a faqir. That is your real identity. Faqir means that you are muhtaj, you are dependant; you need Allah swt. You are absolutely needy, absolutely dependant on Him. Now how many of you were thinking this way when I asked you “Who am I”? How many men were thinking that I am a faqir of Allah’s? How many women were thinking that I am faqirni of Allah’s?

We have lost that need. We are content leading an Allah-free life. Our lives are speaking for themselves; we say in English that our actions speak louder than words, you don’t have to say it with your tongues, your whole lifestyle is screaming that I don’t need Allah; I don’t need to remember Allah; I don’t need to love Allah; I don’t need to follow Rasool Allah (sws), I don’t need to read Kitab Allah.

If you don’t do these things, it means you are saying I don’t need to be an abdullah! I’m not a faqir, I don’t need Allah. Why do these maulvies always say you should pray, you should make dhikr, I don’t need these things. Why do they say look like this, act like that, change your behaviour, change your character, change everything – your zahir, your batin – I don’t need that.

We have lost this core human attribute of need. If you go to a person who is a real faqir, the real muhtaj, you would notice that they walk differently, they talk differently, just a look at them makes you realize how needy they are. We don’t even walk like that, we don’t act like that, we are over-confident, arrogant people. We think we have istighnaa, we think that we are mustaghni ila Allah; we don’t need Allah swt.

Eighty percent of people don’t even bother to set the alarm for Fajr. What does this mean? It means we are saying Allah swt, I don’t need this Fajr. I’m not even going to bother setting the alarm. I don’t need it. Twenty percent who do try to wake up, on the days that they miss Fajr, they wake up later and they are perfectly fine. If you miss something that you need it, lets say you miss your final exam, you need that for your degree, if you miss that final exam, if you oversleep through it, you will go and make such a true tawbah in front of your professor the like of which you would have never done even in front of Allah swt for missing Fajr! We do make tawbah from the bigger sins, but not for missing Fajr.

It’s like we are thinking so what if I missed it? I can always pray qadha. I didn’t really need to pray on time, I’m pious so at least I did set the alarm, it just happened, no problem! I will just pray it now, it’s not like it was that important anyway. What did I lose? I’ll just pray qadha. That’s how the best of us think! Even this is a very small number now who do set the alarm and if they miss it, they actually pray their qadha. Many of those who miss it will not even bother to pray it. They will just keep adding it to their list of missed prayers.

We don’t feel this need. Allah swt is saying it’s the humanity’s need. West says that know thyself, deen of Islam says that know Allah. When you know Allah, you will know yourself, because the definition and understanding of a human being are relevant to Allah. You are a faqir of Allah swt, you are needy. You absolutely need Allah swt; you are a faqirullah. That is your real asal, your real haqiqah, that is your self-conceptualization. You must act like that, think like that, walk like that, live like that, then you will be a human. That’s humanity.  We have lost that.

Second Identity of a Human Being: Abd

Second attribute that Allah swt mentions in Qur’an just for insan:

وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ
I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me. [51:56]

Who am I? I am an abd, that’s who I am. That’s my real reality. Identity means that self-conception which overrules every other aspect of your personality. So you put in that box, I am first and foremost a faqir, first and foremost an abd. Abd does not mean servant. The term slave can match up to this. I’m a slave of Allah swt; I’m sold. That’s what Allah swt says in the Qur’an that I have purchased the believers:

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱشۡتَرَىٰ مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمۡ وَأَمۡوَٲلَهُم
Surely, Allah has bought their lives and their wealth from the believers. [9:111]

We are sold; we should view ourselves as sold property. What do you mean you want me to go to that place? I’m sold. What do you mean you want me to look at that? I’m sold. I have sold myself. This is also interesting! The buyer is Himself Allah. Who wouldn’t want to get sold then? Who would not love to be bought by Allah? We are slaves. We should have a slave mentality.

This is not some type of brutal and oppressive slavery, we are not talking about the American slave-trade that took place. This is the most noble thing in the world. This the greatest status that any creation can have and that is to become an abd of Allah swt. The verse does not mean that Allah swt created us just for ibadah – you cannot do worship 24 hours.

The verse means that Allah swt created us for abudiyyah – for us to embrace voluntarily this identity and role as a servant, the abd of the Rabb, to form this abd-Rabb relationship, you have the faqir-Allah relationship. This is who we are. The most asal thing about ourselves is our abd-Rabb relationship. That is our greatest dilemma, our greatest delusion, our greatest deception; we have forgotten these two relationships. We have forgotten our core human attribute, we don’t view ourselves as His faqir and His abd.

Maulana Rum (rah) in this mathnavi, mentions the story of a servant of a kind, whose name is Ayyaz. Ayyaz shows up at the palace as a ghulam, a slave, of the king. The king asks him what is your name? Ayyaz says whatever you call me, that’s my name. He asks what do you do? Ayyaz says whatever you tell me to do that is what I do.

Then the King asks what will you wear? He says whatever you give me that’s what I will wear. What will you eat? He says whatever you put in front of me, that’s what I will eat. That’s slavery! Maulana Rumi uses poetry to explain Qur’an to people. He uses poetry to make the message reach their hearts. The purpose, the hikayah, of that parable was that it teaches you to be as perfect a slave of Allah’s as Ayyaz was.

Allah swt in the Qur’an uses the example of the horses upon which the mujahideen ride, the horse knows that in front of them there are arrows coming, he knows it but it doesn’t matter, he is an abd. He knows that he has a master, his rider, the master will give him a kick and he will go on and fight. The sword will start hitting the horse, he doesn’t stop. Maybe the horse steps on something, the horse cannot say oh can we just stop here, I need to fix my boot. He has complete servitude.

Allah swt has designed the whole world to be completely subservient to the humanity so that we can learn what subservience is. We are less loyal to Allah than a horse and a dog is loyal to their master.

This is your Bulleh Shah, in Punjabi he has written poetry explaining a dog’s loyalty to his master. The master forgets about the dog, the dog doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t give him food and drink, the dog slinks towards the dastarkhan, the master throws a shoe at him. The master beats him. The dog still comes back. Nobody gives a bed to the dog. The dog sleeps anywhere, anyhow, any time. But he never gives up his loyalty towards his master.

We are even worse than dogs. We have forgotten our ubudiyyah. We have forgotten our core identity as a slave and servant of Allah swt. That is what we are. Why do you think that I’m an MBA, I’m the one in the corporate world, this is not your asal. This is your worldly incidental duty. You know what earning the world should be like for you? Earning the world should be like relieving yourselves. It is that unpleasant part of your life that you have to go through, that’s it. I have to relieve myself, and I have to earn money. It’s not your asal. Would you like that if someone told you that relieving yourself was your asal? Just like that is not your asal, earning money is also not your asal.

Being a faqir is your asal. You are an abd. You should be thinking how to progress in that; how to become a better faqir or a better abd. Your should be planning your ubudiyyah. You should think that from the time I start IBA, till I end it, 4 years I should have a progress in ubudiyyah. I should be a 4-year better slave than I was when I came in. I should be a 4-year better faqir than I came in. We don’t think like that.

The only time that we think of progress is when it comes to dunya; I’m going to graduate, then I’m going to become an Assistant Accountant, then I’ll do CFA part I, then I’m going to move the Junior Finance law officer, then I’ll give CFA part II, then I will be Senior Finance law officer, then I’ll give CFA part III, then I will be Chief Finance law officer, then vice President. I’ll set up my own finance stock.

What if I was to tell you that none of that can happen, rather you are going graduate, you are going to be a Junior Finance law officer and stay like that for 10 years. You will fail every CFA attempt that you ever take. You will look at me like I’m crazy. You will say that how can we not progress? If I tell the same student, that after you graduate even after 4 years you will only know the same amount of Qur’an, you entered knowing only the meaning of one Surah, and you will leave knowing only the meaning of one Surah, you came in knowing only 10 names of Allah, you will leave knowing only those 10 names. They will say, no problem, that doesn’t bother us.

Forces Keeping us from our True Identity

It doesn’t bother us if we don’t develop ourselves in these attributes. We are so caught up in the dunya. There are two things that are keeping you from it; there are two enemies that are keeping you from become a faqir and an abd. One is called Secularism and the other is called dunya.

Secularism is that philosophy that teaches you that you don’t need Allah. Lead a godless life. Leave religion out of everything. Don’t wear religion on your sleeve. Don’t put religion in the state, don’t put religion in society. All that matters is that you are a good person; Secular Humanism says that.

How did you take out Allah swt from this definition of a good person? How can you take Allah swt out of the equation? How can you be good when you are bad to Allah? How can you be good when you are disloyal to Allah? How can you be good when you fail to obey Allah? That’s not our understanding of “good”.

Yes, you do have to be a good citizen, a good member of the society, a good professor, a good student; you do have to do all of that. But you also have to be a good abd. We have to be a good faqir. That is a part of being a good human being. That is what Allah swt is saying in Qur’an, this is about naas, this is about insan, about being a good human. It does not say good mu’mineen, good human beings are the ones who are faqir of Allah; who are abd of the Rabb. That is a good human being.

Secularism has cut you off from Allah. It is trying to do the opposite – trying to engage you in ghairullah, trying to attract you to other things. Somebody is attracted to jamal; beauty. Somebody is attracted to maal; money, status, wealth, prestige, career, promotion. There are too many forces out there. That is the turbulent time that you live in; you live in the age of secularism. This is a book written by professor in Columbia Charles Taylor The Secular Age. The liberals are triumphant, they know that their age has come, they write books of 600 pages, published by the Columbia University.

Another fellow there, Francis Fukuyama, writes a book The End of History and the Last Man, for them the end of history is the ultimate accomplishment for them, which is that your politics is democracy, your economy is capitalism, and your society is secularism. And we have reached it, we have reached the ultimate humanity. They don’t realize that this is the complete opposite; Islamic reading is that this is nuzul; this is fitnah; you are on the greatest spiritual decline in the history of humanity.

Where is this decline to be found? Not outside, but within this ummah. Not in others, but in our own hearts. We don’t even have these attributes inside of us. Why is it that we have forgotten Allah? That is Allah swt also addressing the humanity:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ ٱلۡڪَرِيمِ
O man! What has deceived you about your Gracious Lord [82:6]

That O humanity, what is it that has deluded you, distracted you, closed your eyes from your need for Allah. And look at how beautifully Allah swt says this, if you don’t know Arabic, you will not be able to feel this. You need to know Arabic to feel the Qur’an. Birabbika; your Rabb, Allah swt is saying I am still yours! Allah swt is addressing those human beings who have completely forgotten Him, who don’t even have any desire to become a faqir, and He so mercifully still says birabbika; I am still yours. Why have you left Me? I haven’t left you. You may have been disloyal to Me, but I am still loyal to you. You may have betrayed Me, but I am still send my rizq upon you.

So Rahim and Karim Allah swt is. Allah swt is wonderful. We don’t know Allah. What can we say, Allah is Allah! You just have to become the abd. In a beautiful hadith, Syedna Rasool Allah (sws) summed this up: Man kana lillahi, kanAllahu lahu; that person who gives himself up to Allah, Allah gives Himself to him. This is the trade, that’s the deal you make. But we don’t do it. We don’t have lillah here, therefore Allah doesn’t become yours.

Every single second of every single day and night of your life Allah swt’s mercy, rehmah, fadhl, is coming on your heart, is waiting for you just to say labbaik. That is in our theology, our aqeedah; Allah swt’s attributes and His sifaat are da’im; they are perpetual. It’s not like Allah swt has moments of hidayah, He is always sending hidayah, He is always al-Hadi. Not that He has moments of Rehmah, He is always al-Raheem.

When you are sinning, He is still with you. He is waiting that maybe My believing man or woman will feel some nadamah; some remorse and regret. Maybe she will repent to me, or he will feel sad and cry even in a state in his heart. I’m ever present, ever near, just waiting for them to repent, waiting for them to cry up to Me. Such a Merciful Lord; for Allah we should be willing to sacrifice ourselves, we should madly fall in love with Him, we should be willing to leave everything for Him, and we should be willing to do everything for Him.

That’s Islam, that is Qur’an, that is youth. In Arabic youth is called shabaab, mazboot, the Islamic concept of the youth is dynamic, it’s powerful. Imam Shafi’i (rah) was giving fatawah at the age of eighteen. Your eighteen year old young man can’t even keep his dorm room clean. There’s a huge gap in how they were and how we are. We don’t even know what the power of the youth is. Arab poets used to write that if you have not accomplished anything significant by the age of 20, you will not accomplish anything at all.

Imagine the power of the people who are raised on such poetry. Imagine the power of that civilization that was raised on this poem. They were amazing people. We are people of laziness, apathy, sloth, disinterest, or even worse, we are people of ignorance, jahalat, people of sin, ma’siyat, people who have gone way astray, dhalalat. We have to put Allah swt at the core of everything. We have to bring Allah swt back into each and every aspect of our life. We have to submit to and embrace this identity.

Third Identity: Being an Ummati

You have another identity. One is faqir, one is abd. The person who does this, what is the name of that insan who accepts themselves as faqir and as an abd? That is what is called a mu’min. It means that a true insan is a mu’min. When we become mu’min, me and you, we have another identity; ummati. That’s who you are.

Do you ever think like that – that I cannot do that thing, or that I cannot go to that place because I’m an ummati of Nabi sws? That it does not befit me to do such an act, because I am from his (sws) ummah? That how can I look at that thing, I’m from the ummat of Rasool Allah (sws)?

How many times a day do you even have this self-conception, this identity that I am an ummati? I have a nabi (sws). I am not a spiritual orphan. I come from a tradition. I belong to the tradition of Syedna Rasool Allah (sws). Who do you think you are? When Nabi (sws) tells us that his wives are ummahat al-mu’mineen; they are the mothers of the believers, who is your father?

Do the women here view themselves that we are binat e Ayesha; that what makes you think we are going to dress the way society, fashion dictates us to dress, don’t you know who we are? We don’t model ourselves after the Indian actresses, and the Western actresses of this world. Do you ever think like that; I’m the daughter of Ayesha  (ra), I’m the daughter of Khadijah (ra)?

Do the men think like that, that I’m the spiritual son of Syedna Rasool Allah (sws), I’m the son of Umm Ayesha (ra). No son would ever want to be humiliated in front of his mother. Have you ever thought of what would happen on the day of Judgement? If your biological mother looks at your book of deeds, you would be shaken up. But on that day, even your spiritual mothers will be present – have you ever thought about this?

This is who we are, and this is the greatest thing in the world. This is the greatest identity; to be a faqir, an abd, to be an ummati in Ummat e Mustafa (sws). We should be embracing this. We should be living this. We should be overjoyed with this. But instead we are completely neglectful of this. Just like I told you that we are disloyal to Allah swt, but Allah is loyal to us. As bad an ummati you and me are, as amazing and perfect our nabi (sws) was. One is amazed at what a kamil nabi he was. He was so perfect, merciful and loving and kind nabi. What kind of an ummati we have become of such a nabi?

If somebody has mean parents, you are not surprised if their child is the same. But if somebody has the most perfect role-model parents in the world, you would tell them what are you doing, your mom is so great, your dad is so great! You have the most perfect nabi, Syed al-anbiya wal mursalin (leader of the prophets and messengers), imam al-awwalin wal akharin (leader of those before and after).

I’m not just talking about this. This is just one small thing, we don’t even look like an ummati. We don’t act like an ummati. We don’t feel like an ummati. If you look at Syedna Rasool Allah (sws) his greatest attribute was that he was an abd and a faqir. He used to refer to himself as al-abd, al-faqir. In your salah, what do you say? Ash’hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu – first and foremost he was the greatest servant and slave of Allah swt. That is his (sws) asal and greatest sunnah.

That is what we are supposed to do. You know, the word ummati is a fascinating word in Arabic language. Ummati means two things, because the ya that comes at the end in Arabic comes for two things. One is called ya e nisbat; ummati means ummat wala, like Lahori means Lahore wala. Or Amreeki means America wala. Ya comes for another thing, that is what we call the possessive ya; my. If I say kitabi it mean my book. Bai’ti; my house. Nabi sws used to say this word in du’a: Ya Rabbi ummati, ummati; Oh Allah, my ummah, my ummah, that’s all. Some du’as are just like this. He sws used to make such du’as for us. He sws put his life on the lines in Badr and Uhad for us. He sws used to wake up in tahajjud and make du’a for us.

Would we not want these du’as to be applied to us? We have to live as an ummati; as an ummat wala, to get the du’a of Nabi sws where he is talking about his ummah. On the Day of Judgement when the Prophet sws calls out again, ummati ummati; oh my ummat, come to me, come to me, I will do your shifa’a, I will intercede for you, I will take you in my jama’at, into Jannah. If you didn’t live your life in this world like an ummati, if you never viewed yourself in this world as an ummati, you will not on that day be able to be viewed as an ummati, you will not even be recognized by the Prophet sws on that day.

Can you imagine being there on the Day of Judgement, you hear from everyone that that is the last Messenger, you just show up and he sws just looks past you. Then what are you going to do? What fashion, culture, society will save you at that moment? What ideology will save you at that moment? What degree or intellectual brain-power will save you at that moment? What fancy English speech will save you at that moment? Nothing! This is all we have. These are the three things we have; that we are faqir, we are abd and we are ummati. If we don’t have that, we are nothing. No matter what this world may try to prop us up to be, we are absolutely nothing.

We have given up these things ourselves. It’s amazing how much Nabi sws used to care about his ummah. Can you imagine the state of Prophet sws, what an amazing human being. Just think, in Makkah Mukaramah Allah swt bestows this prophethood on him sws, tells him that you are the last one also. That’s another burden. So he sws starts inviting people. His (sws) family rejects him, his tribe – the clan of Quraysh – rejects him, ahl e Makkah rejects him. Then they persecute him (sws), they oppress him.

Nabi sws thinks to himself that what should I do? He remembers that once when I was a little child, I was suckled by Haleema Sadia (ra), maybe people over there would honour and respect this relation and listen to my message. So he (sws) goes to Ta’if, alone, on foot. He decides to walk to Ta’if. I have been in a car from Makkah Mukaramah to Ta’if, it’s a two-hour car journey today. And it has mountains so it’s not a smooth way. We cannot even imagine that how could Prophet sws have done this journey on foot. It would have taken him days to reach Ta’if, maybe it took weeks to reach Ta’if. He could have taken a khadim, could have taken Hadrat Abu Bakr or Ali (ra), but he (sws) went alone – faqir, that I will go like a faqir. Could have taken a ride but instead went walking.

When Prophet (sws) goes to ta’if, what happens? After that whole long journey, not one person in all of Ta’if accepts imaan. Not a single person in the whole city – no man, no woman, no old person, no child. Just imagine what would have happened to the heart of the Prophet (sws). On top of that, the young men of Ta’if run him (sws) out of town. They throw stones at him. They make him bleed on his way back, now he (sws) had to go back and make that whole long journey back, empty handed, no sahaba made in Ta’if.

Syedna Rasool Allah (sws) stops a little bit on his way back. There he made the du’a that Ya Allah (swt) all I want is your raza, I just want to be abd and faqir, that is the asal. He just wanted Allah (swt) to be pleased with him. Ya Allah, if you are pleased with me, then I care not for anything in this world. And ya Allah (swt) if you are not pleased with me, then I have nothing that can help me in this world. That is how the Prophet (sws) was an abd and faqir. Now how is he a nabi? Just like I told you, if you know Allah, you would want to be His abd and His faqir. If you understand how the Prophet (sws) was as a nabi, you would want to be his ummati.

Once Syedna Rasool Allah (sws) in Makkah Mukaramah, this was the early period, he (sws) used to love the ka’abah, but the kuffar used to prevent Nabi (sws) and Sahaba Karam (ra) from worshipping there. So Prophet (sws) used to go there in the early hours of the morning and see that maybe nobody’s around. So he (sws) went there early one such morning and no one was around. This is what the lovers do; this is true love that the lover wants some time alone with their Beloved. So the Prophet (sws) saw that the ka’abah was alone, so he started praying his salah.

When he was praying salah, and he went into sajdah, some of the young kuffar men of Makkah Mukaramah saw that the Prophet (sws) was there, and they got upset. What they did was that they took a dead corpse, a carcass of a dead camel, its rotted body, and they dragged it over the back of Prophet (sws) when he was in sajdah. He (sws) couldn’t get up. Can you imagine such an incredible weight on yourself in your sajdah? Some Sahaba Karam (ra) also used to go to check if the Ka’abah was available, so some of them saw the Prophet (sws) like this. They took the carcass of the camel off the Prophet (sws). Then the Prophet (sws) completed his prayer and the Sahaba (ra) left.

Prophet (sws) started walking away. Again the young men from Makkah who saw the Prophet (sws) and they ran him out. This is the  incidence where they threw rocks at the Prophet (sws), it comes in the hadith that blood filled the soles of his shoes. They said that don’t you dare ever come and worship here again. So the Prophet (sws) walked away, bleeding. This is what the Prophet (sws) was going through, these were the difficulties he faced. He started walking towards the house of his daughter, Syedna Zaynab (ra). So one Sahaba (ra) went and told her that this is what has happened, so why don’t you prepare some water for him (sws), so when he comes, he can wash his wounds.

When the Prophet (sws) came home, he lifted the bowl of water, cleaned the blood, washed the blood from the wounds that the young man of his beloved city had inflicted at him. In the reflection of the water, he (sws) saw the face of his daughter Bibi Zaynab (ra), and she was crying. He (sws) put the water down, did not attend to his wounds. He (sws) looked up at her, because she was crying, and he told her, O Zaynab, don’t worry. I swear in the name of that Being who sent me to this earth, I swear in the name of Allah swt that this message that Allah swt has sent me with will one day reach the four corners of the world. Get it? It shows that Nabi (sws) had great hope in his ummah, that even though they had given him a huge sorrow, that the young men of his own city were denying him, but in future, there will be people who would accept him. This is the husn zann that Nabi (sws) had for us.

Do you think if the Prophet (sws) could see us, he would have had that hope? Do you think if he (sws) saw the way we live our lives, that would have consoled him? We are not even living up to the hope of Prophet (sws), even though he had so much husn e zann for his Ummah. He (sws) took comfort and solace at the moment of that complete dismay, no father can see their daughter crying over them, you cannot understand this because you are too young for that. No nabi can take that the people he has been sent to give dawah to has been refusing him. But the Prophet (sws) bore all of that sorrow in the hope that in later generations there will be people who will be from my ummah. Did you become a daughter like that? This is something to think about. We have to make ourselves ummati. We have to embrace this identity of being the servant and the follower of the Prophet (sws); the lover of the Prophet (sws).

Fourth Identity – Being the Murad of Allah swt

Your last identity – faqir, abd, ummati, and murad. You don’t know who you are. You are the murad of Allah swt. You are the desired object of Allah swt. This is what Allah swt says in Qur’an:

ٱللَّهُ وَلِىُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ
Allah is the Protector of those who believe. [2:257]

Allah swt is the Wali of those who believe. Shaykh Bayazid Bastami (rh) – he is a very famous shaykh in the early Muslim period – he was once telling his students that Allah loves the believers. The students asked him that Shaykh, why do you say that Allah swt loves the believers, we have to love Allah swt, what makes you think that Allah loves the believers? He recited this verse and he said that this proves that Allah swt loves us because Allah swt could have said allazina amanoo awliya ullah – that those who take imaan, they become friends of Allah swt. But instead He said that Allah swt Himself becomes the Friend of the people who believe. It means that we are the murad of Allah swt. He wants us.

وَٱللَّهُ يَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَىٰ دَارِ ٱلسَّلَـٰمِ
Allah invites (people) to the Abode of Peace [10:25]

Allah swt is inviting us to dar as-Salam; He wants us, He sends wahi to us, He wants us, He sends nabi to us, He wants us, He sends His mercy on us. He wants us, He sends His hidayah on us. Do you ever walk around thinking like that that I am the murad, the desire of Allah swt? Who do you think I am that you invite me to that sin? What in the world makes you think that I would do that sin? You should put it up on top of your screen, on your monitor; faqir, abd, ummati, murad. Keep that in front of you. Act like that. Don’t do things that betray that. How can you do such things? You are the murad of Allah swt – you have status, you should have dignity and nobility. That is who a mu’min is.

The easiest way to get this – I will end by telling you the easiest door, the easiest path to Allah swt, and that is called tawbah; to make tawbah to Allah swt. How many of us will be able to say that I will be able to enter Jannah through the gates of taqwah? Very difficult! How many of us will be able to say that I will enter Jannah through the gates of itaqamah? How many of us will be able to say that I will enter Jannah through the gates of tahajjud? Yes there is one way that Allah swt has made for people like you and me – the sinning members of this ummah, for the gunahgar members of this ummah, for the heedless members of this ummah, for the weak-imaan members of this ummah, Allah swt made a door for us. He said we should make tawbah to Him, we should make ourselves from amongst the tawwabin. This is what Allah swt is saying in Qur’an about the Tawwabin, this is how you become the murad of Allah, Allah swt says in Qur’an:

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّٲبِينَ
Surely Allah loves those who are most repenting [2:222]

Allah swt could have said innallah yaghfiru tawwabin – that verily Allah swt forgives the tawwabin. Allah swt could have said innallaha yaqbala tawbatu tawwabin – that Allah swt accepts the tawbah of the people who repent to Him. Instead Allah swt said innallaha yuhibbu tawwabin – Allah swt has muhabbat for that sinning Muslim who makes tawbah to Him. Allah swt is so Karim, He is saying in His Qur’an that if my sinning slaves come back to me, just because of this coming back of theirs, I love them.

Me and you are the runaway slaves of Allah swt. We have left Allah swt. But Allah swt is so kind, Allah swt does not taunt us even if we turn to Allah just because we had a problem in this world. Even if you turn to Allah swt after being betrayed and rejected by this world, even if you indulge in every pleasure of this world before turning to Allah swt, even then Allah swt will accept you without taunting that now you have come to me?

Rather He says that He loves those who make tawbah. If you have come to Me, then just come. Whatever sins you have committed, come with those sins – My mercy will erase them. Your job is just to make tawbah – and Mine is to love you. That is what innallaha yuhibbu tawwabin means. This is the easiest thing in the world to do, and even that we are ghafil and negligent of.

Me and you can become the beloved of Allah swt, the murad of Allah swt, just by making tawbah and just by pledging to Allah swt that I want to leave my sin. I am sick and tired of leading this hypocritical life. I am sick and tired of being heedless, I too want to spend a life of obedience. I too want to spend a life of truthfulness. I too want to protect my eyes and my mind from sin. I am sick and tired of the impure thoughts, the impure feelings, I am just tired of it all. Allah swt I am throwing myself to You, I have nothing that I can bring to You; neither good deeds, nor sincerity or steadfastness, I have nothing that will make me worthy of You. I am the most absolutely unworthy member of this Ummah in the entire history, but Ya Allah I have only You. I have only one You. Ya Allah you have millions of better Muslims than me, You have had millions and millions of better servants than me. You are Rabb e Rasool Allah, You are Rabb e Abu Bakr, You are Rabb e Ayesha, Rabb e Khadija, You are Rabb e Bilal, You have had so many true lovers, so many who truly believed in You.

Ya Allah besides me you have billions, but Ya Allah besides You have have none. There is no other door that I can turn to, I have no other means except You, please accept my tawbah, somehow make me Your too, make me from amongst your ibaad – the obedient slaves. Grant me faqiri, grant me the love for the Prophet (sws), let me too taste the sweetness of a life lived in accordance with Qur’an and Sunnah.

May Allah swt grant us the tawfiq to become true faqir, true abd, true ummati, may He grant us tawfiq to make true, sincere, deep tawbah from our heart, and may He accept us for His love.


وَآَخِرُ دَعْوَانَا أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ


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