[These are rough notes from a talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed (db)]
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّ۬ا لِّلَّهِۗ
But those who believe are most firm in their love for Allah. [2:165]
Why & How We End Up Being Fake
The one who prays slips hard, yes. The one who believes slips hard, yes. Because he again makes that mistake – that in his or her heart, they’ve got some feeling – some unlawful feeling. Allah swt says in Qur’an:
ضَعُفَ ٱلطَّالِبُ وَٱلۡمَطۡلُوبُ
(Equally) feeble are the invoker and the invoked. [22:73]
This originally was a verse revealed in the Qur’an for mushrikeen; that they used to worship idols and were longing for the help of idols, so Allah swt told them that that which you seek, your matloob, whom you call upon, that is weak. And you are weak for calling upon them. But as the ulema of tafsir have taught us, there is no verse of Qur’an that is only for that time. Allah swt put this in Qur’an – the eternal, universal book.
It was addressed initially to those mushrikeen of Makkah Mukaramah, but it has a meaning for all of us that any time in your heart you have a talab; longing and yearning for anything other than Allah swt, what you seek is obviously false. But Allah swt first says that zaufa talib – you become false. First the talib – the seeker – is false, then the matloob, the besought, is mentioned as being false.
What happens to us is that we betray our imaan; we become fake, we become false, we become two-faced, we become two-hearted. Same person who looks like Sunnah, who prays according to Sunnah, his whole friends, neighbours, colleagues, classmates, everybody says he is Muslim. But the person turns out to be fake. And it begins right here, the rot, starts from the heart, that he had a fake desire, a false feeling, and the person became untrue.
Allah swt makes this person crash. Before you know it, within 24 hours, they are going to miss some salah, they are going to go on the internet and look at something they shouldn’t have seen, they are going to say some foul word – within 24 hours there will be a big crash. All of this is because they couldn’t keep control over their heart. Allah swt wants to protect them from this, He says:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ ءَامِنُواْ
O you who believe, do believe [4:136]
O you who have believed with your mind, and you have 100% belief in your mind. There is nobody here who would say, may Allah swt protect all of our imaan, no one here would ever say that sometimes I feel like worshipping fire. You will never write me that email, that dear Shaykh, I cannot control myself, sometimes I feel like worshipping fire. You cannot write that sometimes I see a tree and I feel like doing a sajdah to it. Nobody can write that to me that sometimes I go to the museum and see a statue and say that that’s god. Alhamdulillah you can never think like that, it is 100% clear in your mind that there is only one ma’bud – Allah swt, and there is only one nabi of my heart, my nabi Syedna Muhammad (sws).
Allah swt is saying just like you did that – so perfectly, so completely, so deeply – you have to do this also. Just like you have cleared your mind and you have a 100% correct belief, now you have to clean your heart and have a 100% correct belief. Until and unless you do that, you will keep flipping and you will keep falling. We don’t realize because what we do is that we look in the mirror, we see our minds, that I am Muslim, I am a believer, we slip and we fall and we slide.
We think that no, we are just fine. And then we actually try to live a life of imaan + sin, imaan + lust, imaan + anger. This is not the mission, Allah swt is saying it should be imaan + imaan. This is the the equation. It’s that second step, a lot of people still need help in the first step, that’s another effort of deen, but all of you who are here, you have done that first step. You have the first step of imaan. Now, we need to move to the second step.
Hypocrisies of Our Heart
This being two-faced, is also called nifaq. In our deen, nifaq means hypocrisy. Originally, some munafiqeen were in Makkah Mukaramah, but then many came in Madinah Munawwarah, there was a whole group of them. In Makkah they were individuals, but in Madinah Munawwarah, you can say, they were like a jama’at. Just like Allah swt concealed my and your nifaq, we are also untrue, just like that Allah swt concealed them.
Even Sahaba Karam (ra) did not know who they were. This wasn’t some huge community with millions of people. It was a community of thousands. Allah swt was sending verses, periodically, about munafiqoon, so all Sahaba (ra) know they exist, and that they are right here amongst us in Masjid Nabwi, and they are praying in the same rows as us, but Allah swt concealed it, He is as-Sattar. Allah swt set a veil, concealed them, this is one way that Allah swt deals with the munafiqoon. But it comes at a cost. What’s going to happen?
Munafiqoon, they are in what is called darq e aswad, they are in the lowest pits, the lowest abyss of Jahannam. It means that all the veils will be lifted on the Day of Judgement. When our mashaikh saw this that if this is true about those who are munafiqeen in their mental and real aqeedah, means that they pretended to believe but they didn’t really believe, then they thought that what if Allah swt does the same thing to those of us who are munafiq in our hearts?
Outwardly we look like Sunnah, but actually we lie, outwardly we come to masjid, but actually we cheat, actually we betray our wife, we may not make sajdah to any statue, or any tree, or to any fire, but our heart makes sajdah to the beauty of ghair-mehram. That’s what you should think. You shouldn’t think that my eyes look, you should think that my heart is making sajdah to this, that’s what I’m doing. Like you say, it’s irresistible, I can’t control myself, I’m stuck, I’m addicted, I’m hooked, I’m attracted – zaufa talib – same thing. You have become weak. Yes, what you seek is a weak, fake, false beauty. But you are weak for wanting that. You are weak. This is a type of nifaq.
Just imagine then, just like Allah swt is concealing our nifaq, like he concealed their nifaq, what if on the Day of Judgement Allah swt exposes our nifaq, like He is going to expose their nifaq? People would be stunned, that look at that fellow, he used to come and make da’wah on me, and look at the things that are coming out in his book of deeds. He used to come make da’wah on me, and he actually was looking at my sister, he actually used to wonder about my wife.
This is the level of depravity that we have reached. You would be amazed at the type of things people write to me. Even a woman in niqab is not saved from these people, who have this shirk in their hearts. They are thinking in their minds, hypothesizing, fantasizing, dreaming. Ulama, they used this term shirk e khafi – this is a hidden shirk. Heart is doing sajdah to something else, forehead only does sajdah to Allah swt, but the heart is doing all types of other sajdahs. Then they are crashing. Allah swt says in Qur’an align your heart with your mind. As perfectly as you believe with your mind, be that perfect in your heart.
That’s an effort; to have a perfect belief in your mind, it’s called aqeedah, ilm, deen. And to get this perfect imaan in our hearts, that is called tazkiyah. That means we have to purify our hearts from all of the impure things; impure desires, impure thoughts, impure actions, impure feelings, impure statements – that the heart becomes true. That’s what Allah swt says in Qur’an:
يَوۡمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ۬ وَلَا بَنُونَ
The Day when neither wealth will be of any use (to any one) nor sons [26:88]
We must prepare for that Day when none of your wealth, and property, and possessions will be of any benefit to you. That’s so strange. Because out there, in this world, this is what we talk about; success, progress, achievement, how much you earn, how much you make, what you drive, where do you live – this is the standard of assessment. But Allah swt is saying la yanfa’u maal, in just 3 words Allah swt makes it so clear. Arabic is crystal clear but Allah swt speaks – kalam Allah – clearly. Wa la banun, it literally means your sons, it means your worldly relations; people you know, your friends in worldly sense, that you have very accomplished social circles, your friends are very powerful and influential people, this will be of no benefit at all.
The only person who will be saved on that day, the only person who will be blessed and accepted by Allah swt, is the one who brings Allah swt a pure heart – a heart that only did sajdah to Allah swt. We keep telling you this concept of sajdah, you must understand this. It’s not enough just for the forehead to do the sajdah, the whole being, eyes and heart, and soul, the ruh, have to do sajdah only to Allah swt. That’s called la ilaha illallah. That’s real tawheed.
Our mashaikh used to say that tawheed doesn’t just mean that Allah swt is one, it means to live your life as if one Allah swt is governing you i.e. you have One. One is that Allah swt is One. And one is that Allah swt is my one and only. There is a difference. One is I believe that Allah swt exists. I believe He is unique. I believe He is the one. But the second is that I live my entire life in such a way that Allah swt is my one and only. I couldn’t be interested in dunya, I couldn’t be interested in beauty, because Allah swt is my one and only.
The other option is that I believe that Allah swt is one, and I believe that Allah swt is mine also, but not mine only. Allah swt is mine, I make sajdah, I pray salah, but I have my certain habit also, I have my certain pleasures also, I have my certain indulgences also. Sometimes people even talk like that, that you know, this is just the way I am. It’s not that they did one sin once, they come to us after years of sinning. Now after doing this for years, you would think they would be in tears. But after doing this for years, they give themselves this clean pass, that that’s just how I am, I can’t fix myself, I can’t change myself.
What happened to deen? What happened to the power of Qur’an al-Kareem? What happened to the power of du’as of Nabi Kareem sws? What happened to the power of Allah swt to change you, the power of Allah swt to fix you? Why were you thinking like that? You should think that this is how I am, but I have decided to make Allah swt my one and only in my life, and I know that Allah swt is the only one who can change me, because I have become His, He is going to change me. It’s so simple.
Sahaba Karam (ra) understood, some of them changed so much, if you look at their histories, biographies, they changed so much. Actually Allah swt changed them. They only changed one thing in their life, and they changed this one thing that they believed in Allah swt here (in their heart). They made Allah swt the be-all, the end-all of their life. When they changed that one thing, Allah swt changed everything in their life. This is the same thing that me and you have to do.
It’s not just that they did more effort – they did more effort, obviously, we are more lazy – but it’s not because they had some other type of deen, a more powerful deen, better deen that could fix you better. They had the same deen, everything is the same, it is 100% the same deen – that’s the miracle of Islam. There is no other religion that could ever have said that, in the entire history of the world, that they have the same deen that their prophet had brought, whichever prophet it was.
Deen of Islam is a miracle. Same deen, same power, same potencies, just different carrier. Our model has changed. We have the same salah, same Sunnah, same sujood, same recitation of Qur’an – all of those things, you will see, are the same. Same zakah, same Hajj, same umrah, same Ramadan, what’s different? It’s us. Our heart is different.
Why Our Hypocrisy Hurts Us More
If a person has this hypocrisy, they are unhappy. The more they love Allah swt, the more depressed they will get. Then sometimes they fall so low, they say days went by, I couldn’t pray. We have even had cases like that. It’s not just missing Fajr, they are missing all five prayers. It’s the same person, if you look at their history, they used to pray all of them. Now they are missing all of them, and it hurts them. Deep inside, it is hurting them. But they still can’t get up.
You can’t get out until you take that thing out of your heart. If it’s a ghair-mehram, take her out of your heart. If it’s money, take it out of your heart. Until you get it out of your heart, you will not be able to get back up. You will keep crying. They even cry. If you don’t take it out of your heart, even the crying won’t fix you. There is only one way, and that is to fix the heart. That’s what Allah swt said in the Qur’an:
قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ مَن زَكَّٮٰهَا
Success is really attained by him who purifies it [91:9]
Successful is that person who does tazkiyah of themselves. It means that they purified their hearts, and then they controlled their nafs. This is the only way, there is no other way. Any other lifestyle would end up with that person being a hypocrite. The better you are, the more it will hurt. The better you are, the more you will fall. That’s what they say in English that the higher they are, the harder they fall. It’s true in deen also.
May Allah swt keep us in His hifazah, because the higher you are in deen, it becomes more untrue. It becomes more nifaq. So if a person is a hafiz and they sin, the harder they fall. If they are a hafiz and an alim, then the harder they fall. If they are shaykh and they sin, the harder they fall. If they have imaan and they sin, the harder they fall. If they are a da’i, and they talk to others about Allah swt and they sin, the harder they fall.
Embracing Our Fear to End Our Suffering
Now, they fall hard, but Allah swt is more as-Sattar with them. Nobody would know about the ‘alim, shaykh, da’i, no one will know. They will know. That hurts them also, even more so, it also makes them sad. They feel this also that nobody else knows, only I know. Those sins that are only between you and Allah swt, they will hurt you more. Those sins that other people know, they will hurt you also, you may think that maybe this is part of my punishment, maybe Allah swt is punishing me in this world that so-and-so got angry with me, or that so-and-so scolded me, I faced the punishment in this world, I sinned so maybe I’m losing in business, maybe I’m losing money. But that sin which,
- only Allah swt knows and you know, and
- no punishment is happening in this world
That sin should scare you. Because that is exactly what Allah swt did to the munafiqoon, the real munafiqoon, that nobody knew, and there was no real punishment in this world, in the lifetime of Syedna Nabi sws.
We don’t want to resemble that, that they are sinning so secretly that even the Sahaba (ra) don’t know. We are also sinning so secretly that family doesn’t know, spouse doesn’t know, neighbour doesn’t know, person who I pray next to doesn’t know. They pulled it off. And sometimes me and you, we also pull it off. We pull it off and nothing happens and there is no worldly punishment, this should make you very scared. You have to let yourself be scared. Don’t be afraid of the fear. You have to embrace this feeling. This fear will lift you up, because this is called the fear of Allah swt. That’s what Allah swt says:
فَلَا تَخۡشَوۡهُمۡ وَٱخۡشَوۡنِى
do not fear them, but fear Me [2:150]
Don’t you fear them, don’t fear anything else. You fear Me. You need to embrace that fear. And you need to direct that fear towards Allah swt i.e. you are afraid of Allah. Don’t run away from this fear. It’s coming to save you. People they don’t realize this, they slip and they fall, they get a fear of Allah swt, they get scared of that fear. When they get scared, they run away, they escape. Maybe they escape through smoking, drugs, maybe they escape through movies, music, maybe they escape through novels, magazines, maybe they escape through surfing the internet, maybe they escape through hanging out with friends. You have to ride on that fear. Then you have hope. Fear of Allah swt is a good thing.
Some sin that we did not do tawbah from in this world, we should expect to be punished by Allah swt. Yes, there is a chance that Allah swt, out of His infinite Mercy, that’s the wish and will of Allah swt, He forgives whosoever He wants, man’yashaa – it’s Allah’s choice. We don’t know if we are going to be in that choice on not. Our expectation should be precisely this, that if we show up on the Day of Judgement with some sin that we didn’t make tawbah for, we will be punished.
To make yourself feel the fear, you should think that I will be punished and I will be punished severely. Because I knew, and I knew better. And I should have known better. There will be so many others who will bring that same sin of lust on the Day of Judgement, but you should feel that I will be punished the most severely by Allah swt for that unlawful lust because I knew better. You should feel and increase the fear and maximize it.
You will see that that’s what happens in this world that’s how you talk to people, that didn’t I tell you? If you told a person, and you kept on telling them but they still don’t listen to you, this is how you talk to them. Can you imagine Allah swt saying that to us on the Day of Judgement? It’s that simple – didn’t I tell you? Then? There’s no answer to that question. That didn’t I tell you:
وَلَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلزِّنَىٰٓۖ
Do not even go close to fornication.[17:32]
Didn’t I tell you that? What are we going to say? That ya Allah what could I do, I was living in England? Is that what you will say at that moment? That’s not going to help! You should think about these verses, you should imagine them. The early Muslims, this was their fear, sometimes they would just sit and imagine the Day of Judgement. They would imagine standing in front of Allah swt alone, furadah, Allah swt says He is going to call us alone, singly, one-by-one, so that Allah swt goes one-on-one with us.
You need to be afraid. This fear brings the fear down from here (mind) to here (heart). Believe me, once you feel the fear, you will not be able to desire anything else. You will not be interested in it. When you feel the fear you won’t even be aware of it anymore. That’s how strong and potent the feeling of fear is. Until you feel the fear, you will be aware. When you will be aware, you will be interested. When you are aware and interested, then you will be attracted. When you are aware, interested and attracted, you will fall.
Fixing Our Dunya to Fix Our Deen
One solution to this is that you must keep yourself busy. One is that you keep busy yourself in dunya, in the good things, and second is that you must keep yourself busy in deen. It is different for everyone. There maybe some of you who are not yet strong enough, and passionate enough about Allah swt to spend hours and hours everyday in ibadah.
You may say that I have 6 hours of free time everyday, or I have 3 hours of free time everyday, but you can’t spend 100% of that in deen because you are not strong enough yet. No problem, however much you can spend your free time in deen, you spend it. The rest of the time, and this is very important, and it may even be more important for the beginner, is that the rest of the time, because you are not giving that free time to deen, you are giving that time to dunya, so you must make sure that you give it to the halal in the dunya.
رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةً۬
“Our Lord, give us good in this world” [2:201]
You have to give it to the hasanat of the dunya. Our problem isn’t – the people who come to masjid, Alhamdulillah you do spend some time in deen. Maybe you read a bit of Qur’an, maybe you come to a bayan sometimes, maybe you give da’wah sometimes, you are doing that. The problem is that when you are no able to give time to deen, and you are giving time to dunya, you give it to the sinful dunya. You do sins in dunya.
You have to fix your dunya. Once you fix your dunya, then whatever time you are giving to deen will have an effect on you. It will change you and benefit you. Until you do that, you will again be two-faced. The person who comes to bayan, they are still sinning. They give da’wah, still sinning. They recite Qur’an sometimes, still sinning. They make du’a, still sinning. They didn’t fix their dunya. In fact, our mashaikh used to teach us that in the beginning you have to put more effort in this. If you can leave sin in dunya, it’s even better than doing something extra in deen.
The example they would give, I’m talking about the extras, not the fardh, so the extras in deen are like itr, and sin is like garbage. If you are standing inside the garbage dump – the rubbish dump – then you can put so much itr on yourself, it will not make a difference because you are surrounded by garbage and waste. However, if you can get yourself out of the garbage dump, if you can remove yourself from the waste, then you just put one or two drops of itr, you will be fragrant.
There’s another example – if you take a diamond and you put it in a gutter. Now, all the dirty water is passing over it. If you take some clean water and drop one bottle, it will keep the diamond safe for maybe 5 seconds. As soon as you stop, listen carefully, as soon as you stop the dirty water will come back again. Some of us are like that. The dunya part of our life is like a gutter, and yes when we are spending time in the masjid, with the ulema and mashaikh, it’s like we are pouring the clean water. But the second we stop, the second we come back home from that trip, the second we are outside of that Islamic class, the second we stop pouring the clean water, because our life is a mess, all the dirty water comes back again.
But if you take the diamond out of the gutter, once it is out, you will not even need a whole bottle of water. You just pour a little bit of water and it’s fine, and it stays fine because you took it out of the gutter. You have to fix your dunya in order to benefit from your deen.
1. First thing to fix about the dunya is to leave all sins entirely
وَذَرُواْ ظَـٰهِرَ ٱلۡإِثۡمِ وَبَاطِنَهُ
Leave outward sin and inward sin. [6:120]
Allah swt says in the Qur’an that leave all the sins that you do outwardly and inwardly. Stop doing sins and stop wanting sins. And this is exactly, as you will see, is what makes us fall. The second you commit a sin, the more you are on deen, the quicker it will happen. The instant you will do sin, you will fall flat. You worked so hard, you spend 1-2 months to work on yourself in such a way that you could remember Allah swt inside your salah, you make one sinful gaze, you will fall back flat right where you were, you would just go through the motions. You would still pray, but you will just be going through the motions.
Ibn Jawzi (rh) – one of the great critics of hadith narrators and was known to be extra strict, he was a bit too severe in his critics – he tells a story, this is not a hadith, but when you have a person like that who is so strict in his grading of hadith that majority of the hadith scholars felt that he was too strict, if he is narrating a story then it must have reached him through some strong credibility.
He has written this story in his books that there was once a person who was a hafiz of Qur’an and Qari of Qur’an, and a good and practising believer. Once he looked at a ghayr-mehram with attraction and desire, he lost the feelings of his salah, and he lost the hifz of his Qur’an. Why? It’s not going to happen all the time – it doesn’t happen. I’m sure there are many hufaz who would prove to me that it hasn’t happened to them!
Remember I told you that the higher they are, the harder they fall? He was hafiz and qari and had feelings in his salah. He rose higher, he did not just memorize the Qur’an, he was feeling it. Can you imagine someone who knows the words and understands the meanings and feels the feelings, he was at a higher level, he just made one slip and finished; feelings gone, meanings gone, wordings gone. I was so stunned that ibn Jawzi (rh) had told this story. If this hasn’t happened to me and you, it is because Allah swt is al-Haleem:
وَڪَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَلِيمً۬ا
and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. [33:51]
Allah swt knows – ‘Aleem, He knows everything. Allah swt knows every sin that we do, every sin that we wish we could do, Allah swt knows every sin we tried to do and every sin we did do, Allah swt knows which sins we are truly sad about and which sin we still sometimes think about, Allah swt knows which sins we have erased memory and desire for and which sin we still have memory of and desire for. Allah swt knows, He is ‘aleem. Just like Allah swt is ‘Aleem; All-Knowing, Absolutely Knowing, He is also Haleem. It means that Allah swt withholds His punishment. Allah swt does not punish instantaneously. He waits. He is soft and gentle with us. He waits, and sometimes for some people He waits their whole life. He gives them their whole life that maybe before they die, they will make true tawbah.
There are some things like that in our deen; zakah you have your whole life to pay. It’s much better to pay it every year, and you should try to pay it, but technically speaking, as long as you pay your zakah before you die, you will be fine on the Day of Judgement. Allah swt waits. But didn’t wait for that person which ibn Jawzi (rh) wrote about. But He has been Haleem with us. It means that those of us who are less, Allah swt is being more soft, more gentle with us. We should have hope in the Mercy of Allah swt. We should have hope in the power of Allah swt to change us. The first thing about fixing your dunya is to stop all sin.
2. Second thing in fixing your dunya is that you must stay away from ghaflah
Allah swt says in Qur’an:
وَلَا تَكُن مِّنَ ٱلۡغَـٰفِلِينَ
and do not be among the heedless. [7:205]
Ghaflah means wasting time, idle time, futile time, you are not necessarily doing something haram, it may not be a sin, but it’s a pure waste of time – that’s what is called ghaflah. Because if you let yourself indulge in those wasteful activities, again your are on that road to sin. Wasteful activity means sleeping more than you need to, eating, talking more than you need to. Wasteful activity in the contemporary times is often done in front of the screen; too much screen time. This is not something that only effects the youth. Increasingly men in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s are spending too much time on the screen. Whether it’s the phone, the iPad, the laptop, whatever it is, they are addicted to the screen.
They get so addicted to the screen that they can’t even spend time with their own children. This is so strange, can you imagine, this has just become their temperament. You have now become a personality, that what’s here (in the mind) is one thing, and what’s here (in the heart) is something else. So if you ask that person, he would say yes on Sunday I love my children, I’m so happy I’m not working today. Wife says spend time with the children, and he is honest, but heart can’t do it. Heart is stuck on the screen. This is the type of person he has become. Mind says one thing, heart says something else. Heart is glued on the screen.
Obviously, you know there are many sins on the screen, but I was talking to you about the second category called ghaflah. So perfect example for ghaflah, and the sign for this is that if you are even slightly upset about what I’m about to say, if you feel a slight prick, it means you are addicted to the screen. It means it is ghaflah for you. And that’s called sports. Manchester United. It should be ummah united, and mashaAllah instead of being hooked on ummah united, they are hooked on Manchester United.
You know, in the beginning when people used to tell me Manu, I used to think it was a university. Because in America sometimes we abbreviate it like, you call it uni, we just say “u”, NYU means New York University, it took me a long time to realize Manu was not Manchester University, it’s something else! So what happens is that you miss out on your family time. I’m not even getting to that discussion right now that whether it’s haram or makrooh, or whether it is halal. I’m teaching you something else here: it’s ghaflah.
وَٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ عَنِ ٱللَّغۡوِ مُعۡرِضُونَ
And who keep themselves away from vain things [23:3]
Laghw means futile, pointless, baseless activities; doing something that is completely halal and jaiz, absolutely permissible, but has absolutely no connection to Allah swt. This is called laghw. Absolutely 100% permissible, but at the same time absolutely 100% unrelated to Allah swt, unrelated to your mission on earth, unrelated to your identity of abd. That’s called ghaflah.
Again, I gave you the example, the mind knows how can I spend all my Sunday on the screen, I haven’t talked to my children yet, I haven’t talked to them about their homework, I don’t know how they are doing at school. I haven’t talked to them about Allah swt. How much can a maktab do, really? Can a maktab make a child into a wali of Allah swt if his father, week after week, does not even talk to him about Allah? Never even says the blessed name of Allah swt once in conversations with his son?
How much can that maktab do for your child, you tell me. If you ask the mind, the mind 100% says yes I should be talking to my children about Allah swt, yes I should share with my children stories of Syedna Rasool Allah sws, yes I want to talk to them about how they are doing at school. But what happens is that the heart is stuck on screen.
It’s horrific that you would rather watch 10, 11, 12 or however many there are, 22 of them, strangers kicking a ball around than talk to your own son and daughter. This will catch up with you. And the believers? Allah swt holds the believers to a higher standard. Everything believers do, catches up with them. So stuck in ghaflah – it maybe shopping for somebody, it maybe sports, it maybe fashion, there are so many ways of being ghafil.
Cars? Let me just explain this to you in this way. You were supposed to drive just one car, maybe one for your wife etc, so two cars. You were supposed to drive one or two cars, as opposed to knowing all of the features and models in all of the 20-30 cars. That’s ghaflah. If I ask you what did your child do this week in science class, you will have no idea. If I say what did he do this whole month in his science class, you will have no idea. If I ask you about a car that you don’t have, and you have never owned it, you have never driven it, but I ask you how many miles does it come in then you would be able to give me a whole lecture – how many miles it comes in, how much its insurance will be, and is it good to buy or not. This is all ghaflah.
You know the stats of the athletes, and you don’t know the stats of your own children. That’s a problem. What do the children do? They also follow along, then your child will become uninterested in you. This is also one way in which the term ghafil is used: to be ghafil from a person. You will become uninterested in them, then they will become uninterested in you. They will also just get hooked on the screen. They will just follow you. Now two zombies looking at the screen.
Can you imagine those 11 players on the field? They would never imagine that right now a person is watching me who actually has kalimah in their hearts, and they are watching me kick a ball around. They actually believe in Allah swt, let’s suppose he is an atheist soccer player, though not all of them are atheists, he will never imagine that there is someone out there who actually believes in God but instead they are watching me. There is someone out there who actually believes in a prophet but instead they are watching me. You will also be stunned, you would think this is crazy. Instead of talking to his son about the prophet and god he believes in, he talks to strangers about how I kicked the ball. Now do you understand? It’s absurd. This is going to catch up with you.
We have to remove ghaflah from dunya, we have to remove sins from the dunya. Then I accept that you are living in this country, you have to work for living, I will accept all of that as long as you remove the sins and ghaflah from your dunya. Then you can say that I can only do 20 minutes of dhikr, I can only do this, no problem, as long as you clean the dunya part of your life. If you don’t clean the dunya part of your life, you maybe doing this, that and the other in deen – you should be scared… same story, same nifaq that I was talking to you about.
Whether it’s parents and children, same problem with husband and wife. They are ghafil from each other. Everything else is just a story, all of it is just stories that people make up that no she didn’t do this, she didn’t do that, it’s very simple that you became ghafil of her, so eventually, yes, she became ghafil of you. You became uncaring and negligent towards her, she become uncaring and negligent towards you. Sooner or later it had an effect. When you were uncaring and negligent towards her, everything in your mind was going smooth. The second she became uncaring and negligent towards you, you took notice.
You are even ready to file for divorce. The arrogance of the UK Muslim men community, in some of them, it’s amazing. The divorce cases that have reached me in this country are just absolutely amazing. I can’t even believe, sometimes I just want to shake the guy, and he is telling me that this happened, so I tell him yes, so what? Crazy things, all from ghaflah. It all starts here (in the heart) what happened was that you became unhappy, you became unfulfilled. That’s how you start the story. Why were you unhappy, why were you unfulfilled? Because you weren’t making her happy, you weren’t making her fulfilled. You were ghafil so it comes back to haunt you.
مَن يَعۡمَلۡ سُوٓءً۬ا يُجۡزَ بِهِۦ
Whoever does evil shall be requited for it [4:23]
Allah swt says in Qur’an that whenever you commit a sin, it will come back to haunt you. Yujza bihi – they will face the consequences. As you sow, so shall you reap. Again, I’m talking about people who are on deen, talking about man and woman they both pray, they are both believing in Allah swt, they both recite Qur’an al-Kareem, they both believe in Nabi Kareem sws.
This ghaflah is killing us. We don’t realize it is hurting our relationship with parents and children, hurting our relationship of husband and wife, it is hurting our relationship of abd-Rabb. It is hurting all of our relationships but we are still glued, stuck on it. All of these are problems in our heart. The way to get out of all of this is to go deeper and deeper into the teachings our deen teaches us about our heart.
We do know what our deen teaches us about what we should believe in with our mind. We know what our deen teaches us about how we need to look and act. Now we need to learn more about what our deen teaches us about how we are supposed to feel in our heart. That you learn from the teachers of the heart. That you learn by making dhikr of Allah swt. That you learn by getting feelings of the heart; that’s called feeling of taqwah, shukr, sabr, feeling of love for Allah swt, feeling of fear of Allah swt. This will require time and effort. You cannot get these feelings effortlessly, you will not get these feelings without giving any time whatsoever. You must put in the time and you must put in the effort. If you do that you will get the feelings of the heart. So to do this:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ ءَامِنُواْ
O you who believe, do believe [4:136]
To do that second part, like we told you in the beginning, that requires time, that requires effort. Now there are two options. One is that you try to figure it our yourself. If you try to figure it out yourself, it’s possible, but it will require more time and more effort, and we are the people who give less time and less effort. If you want to take a path that requires more time and more effort, it’s not going to work for you.
There is another option that those who have already figured this out and have given us guidance and instruction on how to get these feelings in our heart, you simply follow that guidance and those instructions, then with less time and less effort you will get more results. This is the real answer to the question that people ask that why do I need a Shaykh? Why do I need to make dhikr? Why do I need to listen to bayan and lectures like this? Because through these type of talks, and by practising the dhikr of Allah swt, you will get more feelings in less time and less effort.
Is it fardh? No. But the other option is that you do it on your own and it will require more time and more effort. It’s that simple. Everything I have told you, you could have researched this yourself, but it would have taken you more than an hour to do so. Everything that I have told you is from deen. But it would have taken you more time. We got it from our mashaikh in less time, it’s our duty to give it to you in less time. If you were to try figuring out tafsir on your own, it would take you more time.
If you go to the ulema and use books of tafsir, it would take you less time. You try to figure out the method of doing dawah, it would take you more time and effort. We go the ulema, qari, for tajweed, they will give you guidance and instructions, you follow that and with less time and effort you will get more results.
Now you just have to decide which of the following types of people are you? Are you the people who give less time and less effort, or are you the one who is going to give more time and more effort? It’s that simple. Those who will give more time and more effort, then we will not strongly suggest to them that they need shaykh. But that person who wants to give less time and less effort, and on top of that, with less effort they want more results, then we would strongly suggest to that person that you need shaykh.
Yes Alhamdulillah it’s true that in less effort and less time you get more results because this is a guided process. But if you are so lazy, you don’t follow the guidance, you don’t follow the instructions, well then that’s zero time and zero effort, that will give you zero result. It’s all our choice.
قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ مَن زَكَّٮٰهَا
Success is really attained by him who purifies it [91:9]
The person who does tazkiyah will be successful. Allah swt could have said Allahu yuzaki man’yashaa – that Allah swt does tazkiyah of who He wants. But how do you combine these two verses – first we have to put our time and effort in our tazkiyah, that will attract Allah swt’s mercy that actually, really does our tazkiyah. That’s true with everything in life. First you have to take the first step, then Allah swt will take you all the way after that. It’s Allah swt’s will and wish – if Allah swt sends all of His mercy on a person, then he takes one step, and Allah swt takes him all the way.
Some people take one step, Allah swt takes then 10 steps and then tests them again. They may have to go on like this for the rest of their lives, this is the choice of Allah swt. But you have to initiate this process. That’s why our mashaikh used to initiate people. That’s why it’s called initiation in English, actually they would initiate the process with the person, they would jump start the person, they would help the person. They plug the switch directly, it doesn’t work, but when they plug it in through a cable, it works. They call it mechanics. We call it tawajjuh. It’s that simple. That requires less time and less effort.
This was our purpose tonight; first we wanted to understand what our real situation is, that we are desperately in need. And what we believe in our mind must become a real feeling in our heart. We need to follow this verse of Qur’an:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ ءَامِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ
O you who believe, do believe in Allah and His Messenger [4:136]
We need to get real feelings in our heart. We need to stay away from sin in dunya, ghaflah in dunya, then inshaAllah all of the effort that we make in our deen will have a real lasting effect on us. And we need to improve our relationships with anyone and everyone that Allah swt has put in our lives. Husband and wife, Allah swt put them in each other’s life.
so that you may find tranquillity in them [30:21]
So that they get sakoon from each other. What does it mean, sukoon? It means Allah swt sends sakoon. Allah swt says in Qur’an:
هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ ٱلسَّكِينَةَ فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
He (Allah) is such that He sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers [48:4]
Allah swt sends on them sakinah, but Allah swt is saying that this is such a relationship that you will get sakoon from her. This is sakoon ala sakoon; noorun ala noor. When a person is abd, and second they are piously married, and if you try to get peace and tranquillity from some other place, then you will only get torture and terror in your heart. Your heart will be tortured through all types of twisted emotions and it will be a terrifying situation. You will lose Allah swt.
You must understand this also that until we fix ourselves, we are in danger of losing Allah swt. This is the greatest loss. Even if we have partial loss, that’s a great loss. Even if you lose one moment of dhikr in your life, that’s a tremendous loss. Syedna Rasool Allah sws has said that the people of Jannah on whom Allah swt sends His mercy, and they are now inside Jannah, Day of Judgement everything is finished, they are in Jannah, in akhirah forever, for eternity. Syedna Rasool Allah sws said that they will never be sad about anything except one thing in their life, they will have hasrah, they will have sadness, longing and yearning and regret, they will have one regret and that was that moment in their life in which they didn’t have the remembrance of Allah swt. It means in Jannah, in akhirah, they would regret it forever, they will regret one second in which they didn’t remember Allah swt in dunya, they will regret it for all of eternity in akhirah.
They lost the dhikr of Allah swt for one second, and they will regret it forever. So then me and you, how much have we already lost? Look at your own life, your own history, your own past, as individuals – how much have you already lost? How much is there already to regret! How much is there to make up for! And no one knows, only Allah swt knows, how much time any one of us has left. So it’s never too early, and it’s never too late. You must begin this path, you must begin this process of purifying your hearts and filling your hearts with feelings and dhikr of Allah swt. May Allah swt accept each and every one of us for this, may He protect our hearts from every fake, false thing in the dunya, may He fill our hearts with all of the true feelings.