[These are rough notes of a talk delivered by Shaykh Omar Mukhtar on Ramadan 26, in Post Asr Majlis, South Africa i’tikaf, 2015]
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱذۡكُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ ذِكۡرً۬ا كَثِيرً۬ا وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكۡرَةً۬ وَأَصِيلاً
O you who believe, remember Allah abundantly, and proclaim His purity at morn and eve. [33:41,42]
One of the biggest tragedies of the Muslim youth of today is that if you ask them that are you happy and satisfied with your life? Do you have sakoon, peace and tranquillity in your life? – 95% of them would say no. And these are the mu’mineen and muslimeen. This can mean two things: there is either a problem with our deen na’auzubillah. Or there is something that we are doing wrong.
Where are we trying to find this ‘itminan? Lets take some examples; a lot of people say that they want a good standard of living. So if we have a higher standard of living, then we will get ‘itminan and satisfaction. But that’s not true. Many of the richest people of the world have committed suicide. So it does not come from being rich.
Second, you could say that if I get power, if I have a kingdom, if I get control over people, then I will get ‘itminan. That’s also not true. A lot of kings of this world have committed suicide; even they were not happy.
Or, thirdly, you could say that I want fame, to have a status in society, I want people to know me, then I will be happy. So that’s also not true. A lot of famous rockstars, artists, they commit suicide. They have had the worst of deaths in history. So what is it that will make us happy, what is it that will give us satisfaction? Allah swt gives us the answer in Qur’an:
أَلَا بِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ
Listen, the hearts find peace only in the remembrance of Allah. [13:28]
So we are looking in the wrong places for the answer; we are looking at makhlooq to give us answers, but our Khaliq – Allah swt – has given us the answer that only and only the dhikr of Allah swt will give you ‘itminan in your hearts, it will give you peace and tranquillity in your heart, it will give you everything that you need in your heart. That’s just one of the things that you get from dhikr. That’s why Allah swt says in Qur’an:
يَـٰٓأَيَّتُہَا ٱلنَّفۡسُ ٱلۡمُطۡمَٮِٕنَّةُ ٱرۡجِعِىٓ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً۬ مَّرۡضِيَّةً۬
As for an obedient man, it will be said to him,) “O content soul, Come back to your Lord, well-pleased, well-pleasing. [89:27]
Allah swt is addressing those people whose nafs is already mutma’in in this world. Allah swt could have said that O nafs that is doing mujahida, but Allah swt didn’t say that. He could have said that O nafs that is striving against the dunya, but Allah swt didn’t say that. It means that those people whose nafs is already satisfied, in the world you also have satisfaction, and in the akhirah you will also have satisfaction. That’s why I call you towards me.
You can imagine that Allah swt would be addressing that person who was not happy, who was facing hardships, who had a lot of difficulty in following Islam. But Allah swt is saying the people who are following Islam, the people who are ahl e dhikr, they already have nafs al-mutma’inah.
We gave you an example yesterday of the smooth sailing of a ship. There was once a big wali of Allah swt and in the olden days they used to travel through the sea. So he was going in a boat with other people and the journey was to take a few days, maybe even a few month. He was coming back from Umrah or Hajj, and he was bald as he had gotten his head shaved.
He was sitting in muraqaba, and there were some children playing around who came and put a slap on his head and went back. Then they came again and kept slapping on his head. But he kept sitting. [Other passengers, instead of telling their kids to behave themselves, laughed because they thought this apparently faqir kind of a person had no one who would defend him.]
Allah swt sent a kashf on him, that O my beloved, if you wish so, I would turn this boat upside down and all of the people will die. Imagine just how close he was to Allah swt. But this wali of Allah swt makes du’a that ya Allah, if you want to turn any boat, turn the boats of their heart upside down, and make them your wali. And it comes that all of those people in their lifetime became the wali of Allah swt. This is called nafs al mutma’inah – razi with Khaliq, don’t care about makhlooq.
Now I will take you through a few amazing ayahs of Qur’an, then you will realize what the power of dhikr is. Allah swt says:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱذۡكُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ ذِكۡرً۬ا كَثِيرً۬ا
O you who believe, remember Allah abundantly [33:41]
Allah swt is addressing the basic believers – not mutaqeen, not saliheen, not sabireen, not mutawakileen, Allah swt is saying those you who believe, remember Me abundantly, remember Me all the time, remember Me with a lot of craze, remember Me excessively. We have already had a lot of talks on this. Then Allah swt continues:
وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكۡرَةً۬ وَأَصِيلاًإِلَى ٱلنُّورِۚ
and proclaim His purity at morn and eve. [33:42]
And glorify and praise your Lord morning and evening. It means that you should have a habit, a routine of glorifying. When you go to a doctor, he tells you take this medication morning and evening. Then Allah swt continues and tells us what you will get if you do these things. Allah swt could have just given us a hukm, He did not have to give us all of these barakaat. But Allah swt then explains what will become of you if you are a person of dhikr:
هُوَ ٱلَّذِى يُصَلِّى عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَتُهُ ۥ لِيُخۡرِجَكُم مِّنَ ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ
He is such that He and His angels send blessings to you, so that He brings you out from all sorts of darkness into Light [33:43]
First thing that happens to these people is that Allah swt sends His blessings and mercy on them, and Allah swt orders the angels to send barakat and blessings upon them. In another place, Allah swt is ordering us that Allah swt and angels are sending durud and salawat on the Prophet sws, and you should also send durud and salawat on Nabi sws. In this ayah Allah swt is telling the believers, that those believers who do dhikr kathira, and praise Allah swt morning and evening, Allah swt is Himself sending his barakat and mercy on them. Why? Not taqwah, not saliheen, only dhikr kathira, and only those people who praise Allah swt morning and evening. There are no other conditions. It’s a very straight forward thing.
Then Allah swt continues that Allah swt will take these people out of the darkness into noor, into light. Who here can say that I don’t want that? Who can say that I want to opt out of it? It means that Allah swt will take you out of ghaflah and put you into dhikr, take you out of jahalat and put you into ilm, take you out of the darkness of your sins and put you on a path of noor and hidayah. Who can say we don’t want this, that this is optional? If Allah swt is saying He will give us then it’s done for us, we are successful then. Allah swt is giving us incentive.
وَخُلِقَ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ ضَعِيفً۬ا
And man has been created weak. [4:28]
Allah swt has made the insan weak. Allah swt knows we will fall into sin through addictions, fashion, media, peer pressure. What’s the solution? Allah swt is saying I will myself hand pick you and put you on a path of hidayah. Allah swt continues –
وَڪَانَ بِٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ رَحِيمً۬اٱلَّذِينَ
and He is Very-Merciful to the believers. [33:43]
Allah swt is always Raheem with mu’mineen. Allah swt is restating that this is not just for the mutaqoon or saliheen but even if you are sinning ashamedly, I’m still Raheem with you.
Mashaikh say why don’t we feel Allah swt is always Raheem with us? Because we are tuned into some wrong channel. You will get white noise if you can’t find the right channel on the radio. If you become people of dhikr, you will tune into the right channel and you will feel the Rehmah descending on your whole life. This is not a small thing. These are the people that when Allah swt’s name is mentioned to them their hearts starts trembling:
إِذَا ذُكِرَ ٱللَّهُ وَجِلَتۡ قُلُوبُهُمۡ
Those whose hearts are filled with awe when Allah is remembered [22:35]
There was a person who came to Hasan Basri (rh) and said my heart is sleeping. He asked how do you know that it’s sleeping? The person replied because when I listen to Qur’an or hadith there is no effect on my heart. Hasan Basri (rh) replied – O my friend! You should not be afraid that your heart is sleeping, rather you should be afraid that your heart is dead! We listen to the mua’zin in the morining saying assalat al-khairum minan naum, but we choose the bed. The person who feels the rehmah, they will not only pray, they will want to pray. You will be the first person in masjid. How do you get it? By becoming people who do dhikr e kathir. Allah swt is trying to motivate us after this:
تَحِيَّتُهُمۡ يَوۡمَ يَلۡقَوۡنَهُ ۥ سَلَـٰمٌ۬ۚ
Their greeting, on the Day when they will meet Him, will be, “Salam” [33:44]
What will happen to these people on yaum al qiyaamah? Allah swt will welcome these people by saying Salam! When the king wants to invite someone, he will write a letter that you are cordially invited. But Allah swt did not send an angel, He would Himself welcome these people. Can anyone say I don’t want to do dhikran katheera? Because these are the things I don’t want?
Allah swt will be waiting to welcome you to his own Jannat personally, it’s guaranteed that you will also get ru’yat of Bari Ta’aala. All those who are craving in this world, they will be able to gaze in Jannah once, some once in a year, some after a few months, some after weeks, and some will gaze whenever they want to. You are basic level mu’min but if you get two things: dhikr katheer and aseela, then you will get all of this. Nabi sws said that everyone will enter Jannah because of Allah’s mercy. Even me. Don’t think it’s our amaal, entry will only be on the basis of Mercy of Allah swt.
Today if the President wants to come and meet you, or the CEO of your company wants to meet you, you would be so excited. People say you know that person? I shook his hand! This is like a milestone in their life. May Allah swt grant all of us this craving to remember him more and more. Then:
وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمۡ أَجۡرً۬ا كَرِيمً۬ا
And He has prepared for them a noble reward. [33:44]
Allah swt did not have to say this, Allah swt has already defined – the condition is very simple: remember Me abundantly, glorify Me in morning and evening. I will send my blessings, and also tell angels to send blessings on you, I will take you out of your misery, weird unhappy life, and give you hidayah, light, on the path of those who were successful.
I am always and always Raheem with mu’mineen. And I myself will welcome you with Salam. You will not only get akhira but dunya also. We don’t deserve all of this. And Allah swt did not have to tell us all of this. He could have just stopped at uzkurullaha dhikr khatheera that remember me, it’s a hukm, seegha amr. That should have been enough. But Allah swt gives so much incentive. If you say dhikr is optional then you should say all these things and all of these ayahs mentioned are also optional, that getting hidayah, getting blessings of Allah swt, that’s also optional.
That’s why our mashaikh focus so much on dhikr of Allah swt, you remember Him, He will remember you. You love Him, He will love you. You remember Him, He will do everything for you. All you have to do is remember Him.
There’s a great story about layla and majnu. Majnu was crazy about layla. He used to remember her all the time. In the day he used to remember her, in the night he used to remember her. That was one thing. Secondly he used to love everything about layla; he used to love her house, its walls, were someone to say this thing is from layla, he used to love that thing. If in the dunya people can be so crazy about ishq e majazi – metaphorical love – then this is ishq e haqeeqi. There are two things one is called itminan e haqeeqi and one is called itminan e majazi.
‘Itminan e majazi: the youngster who is depressed switches on screen, he is addicted to wrong things, he sins for some hours, he gets in the wrong company. He gets ‘itminan e majazi for sometime and when that majazi high goes away, they go extremely low. You call that ‘itminan? That’s what they call a hangover, what type of a foolish high is this? It will last one hour then you will feel more guilty, you will keep falling into depression so much so that you will become a depressed person and you will have to go for treatment. Majority of the Muslim youth is into this.
‘Itminan e haqeeqi: you are sad and you remember Allah swt, you get satisfaction. This is not temporary, it will keep increasing. This is one high where there is no low. It is perpetual. There is no low, depression, no missing someone after this. Why go after the metaphorical satisfactions when you have ala bizikrillahi tatma’inal quloob?(know that in the remembrance of Allah swt do the hearts find rest [13:28]) Your nafs will become mutma’in in both this life and Allah swt will also be razi with you so much so that Allah swt would want you back. Come back to me my beloved. (irji’i ila Rabbiki – come back to your Lord [89:28])
When you become too addicted, you die a very terrible death. Look at rich people, look at their fame, and read about their deaths. You will be amazed at how they passed away, you will be shocked; no one to bury them, no one to take their bodies for many days. Allah swt is saying do my dhikr, I want to meet you, I want to give my Salam, I want to grant you Jannah.
Do you want the temporary gaze of this world or the gaze of Allah swt? Do you want that option? Today 90% of the youth choose makhlooq. Everytime you have an opportunity to look at the na-mehram, think should I look, or should I save my gaze of ru’yat of bari Ta’aala? Whenever you have opportunity and you choose to lower your gaze, whatever you ask will be accepted. You will get lailatul qadr everyday.
One more secret: If you lower gaze you will get halawat (sweetness) of namaz and halawat of imaan. If you are missing it then it’s because you are not lowering your gaze.