قُلْ مَتَاعُ الدُّنْيَا قَلِيلٌ
Allah swt in the Qur’an said: O My beloved Messenger sws! Say: “Every single thing that exists in this world is but a trifle – small and insignificant in the eyes of Allah swt.”
Allah swt in the Qur’an also refers to the Dunya as a place of “Ghuroor” – A place of delusion; A place of deception; A place where human beings are tricked and duped; A place where human beings find themselves attracted.
RasoolAllah sws said that this Dunya is green and lush. And it is going to attract you towards itself. Through a metaphor you can understand this hadith – Imagine that people are walking through a jungle and they look to their left and right and they see lush scenery, vegetation, fruits and they’d just want to walk off the path! – And this is what sirat-ul-mustaqeem is.
It’s amazing that RasoolAllah sws was describing this initially to the Sahaba (ra) but really for us, we are really living in a dunya -specially those living in the west like UK, US, Canada, Africa, or even those who are living elite lifestyles in the Muslim world and westernized neighbourhoods – everywhere you can see the glitter and glamour and shimmering brilliant styles, life and fashion, displays of the dunya.
I remember when I was growing up in New York City, there were very famous stores -jewellery stores; department stores; 5th avenue; Madison avenue; Park avenue, these stores would have such nice displays of goods that people would just want to walk by to have a look. This is what the world of Marketing is all about – they are trying to make the dunya attractive; even if it’s something jaiz in the dunya!
We are living in such a materialistic age; what happens is that all of this marketing and media takes over our heart; takes over the passions and attractions of our heart instead of us being passionate about Allah swt, Qur’an, Sunnah of Nabi-e-karim sws.
Those who are accustomed to getting these visual and sensory pleasures, they have lost the ability to get pleasures of the heart. When they look they are feasting their eyes with that display – they are getting all of the Qur’anic vocabulary – of sukoon; rahat; ‘itminaan – they are getting that by looking at the way clothing is arranged; the way household purchase is arranged at the window!
I’m not talking about sin here, and I think it is very important to understand that because a lot of Muslims have this misunderstanding that it’s only sin that is forbidden in deen of Islam. It’s not just sin- Allah swt in the Qur’an is certainly calling us away from sin, but Allah swt is also calling us away from attachments of the world; from the fascinations of the world; from being of the world.
Now this doesn’t mean being totally oblivious to the world, but it does mean what we call “Zuhd”. I feel more and more, especially while living in the west, that we need a lot more Zuhd than we have, we need a detachment from this world and a dis-entrenchment from this world because we are totally entrenched in the world.
Syeddina RasoolAllah sws said in a very well known sahih hadith: hubbu dunya ra’asa kulli khatee’a – That Love for the world, Prophet sws didn’t say love for sins or love for haraam, He sws said love for the world mutlaq i.e. just having love for the world is the source of all evil; of all error; of all sin.
If we look at ourselves, we will see that we have this love for the world inside of ourselves and it is very difficult to take it out.
Three things that can save us from having love for the world
We have realized now that there are really only three possible things that can save a person from having love for the world – especially that sort of love that the Prophet sws is describing as harmful that is going to lead us to sin: hubbu-dunya
1. Super Taqwa
Not just Taqwa, but Super Taqwa – that a person has masha’Allah so much Taqwa that they really stay away from all sins – that they don’t do sin, they don’t think about sin, they don’t yearn sin, they don’t crave sin, they don’t remember sin – they don’t read old e-mails that remind them of sin, they don’t read old sms-es that remind them of their sin.
We are really so attached to sin in the simple ways of life that it is very difficult [for us to get rid of it]. I would recommend each one of us including myself and all of those who are listening that we need to sit down and delete all those memories – that we should delete all those emails, all those sms-es, all those pictures; all those things – because until you do it – you remain attached to them, you remain enslaved by them.
Really, we shouldn’t even use such a low-level term such as “attached” it is actually that we are so “enslaved” [by these memories of sin] that we are not able to delete them from our mind. If I’m not able to press one single button “delete” – it means I am enslaved to it! That I am enslaved to it more than I am enslaved to Allah swt and the reason why is because we love it, because we have hubb for it!
So, we have to have Super Taqwa. It does not mean that we can get a little taqwa – thinking that atleast I’m kind-of better, as long as I’m making some progress…no. We should think that I need Super Taqwa and then with that lens we should look at everything in our life:
i.e. what I am doing right now, is that Super Taqwa? The way I walked home from work, for example; was that Super Taqwa? The way I stayed in a flight, is there even a single flight I attended in which I did not look at a single stewardess?! Is there any flight for which in the airport from the boarding counter to the baggage claim to the check-in, I did not glance at a single woman- is there even one such flight?
So, we need to become people of Super Taqwa – that is one thing that can save us.
Taqwa, in the Arabic language, has been taken from the masdar “Wiqaya” which means to safeguard oneself – so the more taqwa a person has, automatically the more they are safeguarded from having Hubbu-dunya; from having love for this world.
2. Super Dhikr
The second thing that can save us from from falling into hubbu-dunya is having Super Dhikr. And all of these three things that I am going to discuss lead to one another; I’m mentioning them separately but in reality each one is going to lead to the other.
So, If a person doesn’t have super taqwa, the way they can start is by doing Super Dhikr. What is Super Dhikr? This is my idiomatic, what you call a loose translation for the Arabic word “Dhikr-e-Kaseer”. As opposed to abundant dhikr or extensive dhikr, I am calling it “Super Dhikr”.
Super Dhikr means that a person does a lot of dhikr of Allah swt in every single way that the word has been properly understood from or has been used in the Qur’an, in the Sunnah of Nabi-e-karim sws, in every way that it has been used by Sahaba-e-karaam, by the tabi’in, taba-e-tabi’in, by all of the siddiqeen, saadiqeen, saaliheen!
When a person does a lot of dhikr what happens is that: Eventually, automatically, a person looses their attraction towards the world. This is one of the great benefits of Dhikr. This is why I think that people should not consider dhikr as optional – instead they should view Dhikr as optional Shariah that is necessary for us to do amal on. [E.g.] Just like the amount of food we eat and necessitate upon ourself, we don’t have a fardh only attitude towards our life. If we had a fardh-only attitude towards it, it would mean that we would eat only few calories per day;
if we had a fardh-only home, we would live a much more simpler living;
if we only had a fardh-only amount of clothing, we would have a much smaller wardrobe;
if we had a fardh-only amount of education, we wouldn’t have so many degrees that we have;
if we have a fardh-only amount of earning, we wouldn’t have the jobs that we have;
So, even though we know that these things are optional in the Shar’iah, but we choose them as necessary for ourselves. And, those people who have money – they know that university education of their child is optional in the Sharish, but they view it as necessary for their child. Just like that, we should view Dhikr as necessary for ourselves, however it maybe optional in the Shar’iah.
Why? Why is it necessary? Because:
– Dhikr is going to cut me off from loving this world,
– Dhikr is going to protect me from having love for this world,
– And, my Nabi-e-karim sws said: hubbu dunya ra’asa kulli khatee’a…so because my Prophet sws taught me that love for this world is the source of all evil and all sin that is why Dhir is necessary for me as it will keep me from loving the world.
The way Dhikr keeps us from loving the world is that Dhikr-ullah, the remembrance of Allah swt, serves to:
# 1. Disconnect us from this world – Dhikr is like Scissors: it cuts, one by one, all of the chains and ropes through which we have attached ourselves to this world
#2. Reconnect & Chain us back to Allah swt and the Deen – Dhikr restores us back to the chain of Uboodiyah -to the loving bond of being Allah swt’s loyal and worshipping servant and slave
The more dhikr a person will do the more they will see these effects.
For example: Lets say a person goes for Umrah or Hajj with a strong intention, with ibadah then when he lands at the airport he doesn’t notice any of the things at the duty-free-shop at the airport – they would want to go straight to their transport and they would want to go straight to Makkah Mukarrama. They don’t even have a glance at the duty free shop or all the types of shops that may be at the airport that he has arrived.
Just like that, this is the way we are supposed to live our whole life. We should view the whole dunya like that duty-free-shop and our whole life like walking through that airport.
Why? Because in that example, the person was totally remembering Allah swt, the whole journey was for Allah swt, their outward appearance – ihram- is for the sake of Allah, they are reciting takbirat, labbaik Allahumma labbaik for the sake of Allah swt, etc – this is what you notice in the whole trip..specially when we travel for Umrah with our own Shaykh, during the whole trip we don’t notice anything else – that whether you are travelling in economy class or business class, you wouldn’t notice any stewardesses during the flight, or the kind of aircraft whether its a Boeing or some other aircraft…you’re oblivious to all these things!
Why? Because Dhikr makes you aware of something higher & greater in nature than the Dunya; because Dhikr makes you aware of & connected to Allah swt. But, that requires a lot of Dhikr. So, if a person does super Dhikr, they can also remain away from love for Dunya
Love for Dunya also includes love for our own self
We will find that a lot of people whenever they get free time, instead of doing Dhikr of Allah swt and thinking about Allah swt, instead of doing amal on what Allah swt said in Qur’an:
فَإِذَا فَرَغْتَ فَانْصَبْ
وَإِلَى رَبِّكَ فَارْغَبْ
i.e when you get free, turn to Allah swt
Instead of turning to Allah swt & remembering Him, when they get free, all they do is that they think about themselves – how can i make myself better, whats the next degree i can get; whats the next door i can open; whats the next contract i can find – they keep thinking about these things all the time. Even the young Ullema of today, if they have free time and Allah swt has given them money – instead of thinking that i should go and spend a year with my Shaykh and work on my Dhikr & Taqwa; instead they think let me go spend another year at Syria or Saudia, or let me improve my spoken Arabic or let me do a takhassus, or let me do a 2nd takhasus…etc. But, they don’t want to spend time on their Dhikr & Taqwa..so that is also included in love for the self. i.e. they think now I’m Maulana, but i like to be called Mufti; Now, I’m Maulana Mufti, I like to be called Qari; Now I’m Maulana Mufti Qari, I’d like to be called..I don’t know What!
People ask this question that: “Who were the Awliya-e-karaam?”
Let me give a very simple answer.
“Wali is the name of that mo’min who puts as much time into their Dhikr & Taqwa as much time me and you put in our education, business and careers”
Just imagine that all the amount of time in our life that we put into education, business & career, if we were to put that time into Dhikr & Taqwa – that’s who a wali is.
Allah swt has given every mo’min a great potential to be a great wali and instead of choosing that great potential to be a great wali we realize our mediocre potential to be a mediocre doctor, mediocre lawyer, mediocre professor, mediocre businessman, mediocre engineer…
So, we fool ourselves. The Muslims think even if they get one drop of dunya; they think they have it all. We wear it on our head like a crown – we immediately move into a better neighbourhood; immediately buy a better car etc – this is how attached we are to our dunya.
So, the first way out was Super Taqwa and the second way out was Super Dhikr – and if the person is Qaa’im Daa’im, regular, constant and perseveres on their Dhikr – that will eventually inevitably lead them to Super Taqwa
3. Bayah with a Super Shaykh
The third way is that the person gives bayah to a Super Shaykh. [You see one is a Shaykh and Super Shaykh is like our Shaykh..]
Why? Because giving bayah to a Super Shaykh will lead a person to Super Dhikr which will eventually lead a person to Super Taqwa.
One of our teachers, who was also a Super Shaykh & a Super Alim, he was also one of the Khalifa’s of Murshid-e-Alam rahmatullah alaih – Maulana Mohammed Ashraf rah – he used to say that “In this day and age; what he meant was: that in this materialistic age, this age of love for dunya, this age in which hubb-e-dunya is widespread & deeply embedded in the hearts of mo’mineen – in this day and age it is fardh to give bayah to a Super Shaykh and then he recited the Ayah of the Qur’an:
مَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آَمِنًا
i.e. That person who enters [tariqa, a silsila – by means of this bayah], he will enter into a state of aman.”
Really, I can say that I have met some of the most wonderful Muslims in terms of their ‘ilm, in terms of their thoughts, in terms of how wise they are in giving lectures to religious circuits, but it gets to them…that celebrity status gets to them and i realize whats happening to them…they don’t have deep connection with a Super Shaykh, they are not bayah with a Super Shaykh and they end up having love for dunya.
Super Shaykh means that Shaykh who has Super Dhikr and has Super Taqwa. What does it mean? they have no love for the dunya.
Really this is one of the most amazing attributes that when you sit with the awliya-ullah, they have no dunya what-so-ever; and they are totally unaware of the dunya – they will sit on a Mercedes car and think that they are sitting in a Suzuki; they’d be flying in first class but feel that they are flying in economy class – you can put the world’s greatest and most delicious foods in front of them, they just be eating it like they are eating daal roti or a simple humble meal – their humility is greater than the attractions, lure, show of the dunya..their humlity, their Dhikr and their Taqwa is greater and all of the marketing, glitz, glamour, glitter of the dunya is less.
Therefore, they remain unaffected by it. They are not attracted by it. They don’t get colored/dyed [sibghat] by these things; they have immunity towards these things.
And, thats really why the Deen of Islam came – to create a human being who is immune to the Dunya; who has dunya immunity; who is not attracted to the dunya. And, it is very difficult, very difficult [to be like that]. Like i said, we get one drop of dunya – one nice car, one nice pair of shoes; one nice watch – and we get attracted to the dunya.
So, in this day and age, when there is so much materialism, media and even maqhlooq – even every human being is constantly trying to grab us and to drag us onto love for dunya – everywhere we go, people are trying to tell us about these new opportunities and all of the things that they do. So, its very difficult…
For e.g. Sometimes, it happens that there is a girl who is a university student and she decided that she wants to study the ‘ilm of Deen – all it takes is one friend of hers who decided to go abroad to do her Masters to call her and say, “o I have finished my Masters, I’ve gotten such a big job or career” – now, this girl who has been given a more exalted position that Allah swt has Blessed her – not to sit in front of text-books of Accounting; Finance & Business, rather Allah swt has Put in heart and her eyes in front of the books of Hadith, the books of Tafsir, the Qur’an-ul-Karim and the books of Fiqhi usool – all it takes is one phone call in which she hears about how her friend got her job, how her friend got a corporate job because she did her MBA – she sits down and she feels sad! Its amazing…Its like – just imagine that there is a Muslim man and he has a Christian friend in College and this friend calls him up one day and tells him that i became a Priest and at that the Muslim becomes sad – not sad thinking that i wish i would become an Alim, that would be good – but he becomes sad and thinks i wish i was a Christian! It’ll be crazy, right! But just like that the girl whose friend told her that she did her MBA and got a corporate job, she feels sad that she could’ve become a corporate girl as opposed to being a student of the Deen of Islam. That is the allure of the Dunya!
Similarly, Imagine that there are two friends and one of them goes to Medical School and decides to becomes a Doctor while the other decides to study the ‘ilm of Deen. The one who goes to Medical School graduates and becomes a Doctor and the other one becomes an ‘Alimah. Now, when she meets her doctor friend and sees that people call her Doctor this and Doctor that…she starts feeling sad in her heart and she thinks to herself that I could’ve become a Doctor – It should’ve been that the Doctor thought in her heart that o i could’ve become an Alimah – But, its just the opposite. The Doctor doesn’t think that in her heart and the one who is the Alimah, she thinks that in her heart.
Why? Because of love of the world.
We have so much love inside of ourselves! The world never gives up on you, you have to give up on the world; Shaytan will never give up on you, you will have to give up on Shaytan; The Nafs will never give up on you, you have to give up on your Nafs! And this is our problem, that we don’t give up on them, so they don’t give up on us.
That is why everybody is saying that I’m going through these highs and lows -we all have these lows, why? Because of Dunya. We go through these dips because something about the Dunya attracts us back to it, we get allured to it and we go through a dip, we slip. We go to one event, somebody would go to one concert, watch those movies, watch a T.V program – and thats it! They are right back in the dunya, right back! This is the nature of the Dunya.
It takes one good Salah, you can bring yourself back to Deen; it takes one good Dua, and you can bring yourself right back into the Deen; it takes one good Dhikr, and you can bring yourself right back into Deen; it takes one good Sohbat one good Bayan, and it will bring you right back to Deen!
With the dunya, it is the same way. One slip, and you’d be right back into. So, this is a battle we have to fight. We have to view it as a battle. Its our Spiritual self that wants Taqwa, Sunnah, Dhikr, Ibadah while our bad self and also Shaytan and also Dunya and also Makhlooq – the people around us, you know Shaytan has surrouded us with all types of people who are trying to take us away from Allah swt…and this is a big problem.
Sometimes, people ask this question that, “How do I know who is a Shaykh?”
I will give you one way tonight – “when you are in the Sohbat of that person, you forget dunya; when you listen to the talk of that person, you forget dunya; when you walk out of the talk of that person, you look at dunya as if it is a stranger to you; you feel sad even from going out of the Masjid towards your car; when you sit in your car, you feel sad you wish you were still in the Masjid; you wish that the program could go on all night, every night, all you did was to sit in the Masjid in ibadat, Dhikr and bayan – That is a sign; that the person is a Shaykh – that person whose Sohbat can make you forget dunya, make you repent of your sin, and make you yearn for Allah swt..
And, I’m telling you, “Just like, in this Day and age, every one needs a doctor and every one has a dentist, everyone…everyone needs a Shaykh. I’m saying it openly – I’m not saying its Fardh, I’m not saying it as a Fatwa – I’m saying it as Naseeha, as advice, as counsel, as a recommendation – every single person needs a Shaykh, Every person needs a Shaykh.” And, I will go further to say that if you have a Shaykh, you will never ever ever ever be beyond need of your Shaykh – you will Never reach that state. I will never ever ever reach such a state in humanity that I could say that I could live without my Shaykh, never ever can we reach such a level, nor do we aspire for such a level, nor do we ever want to be at such a level – how abandoned, alone and how tragic we will be if that day comes over us…we don’t realize it. Just like a person needs Qur’an, a person needs Sayyidina Nabi-e-karim sws’s sunnah, a person needs every single thing whose need Allah swt has Imposed upon us in Qur’an, we need every single Ayah of the Qur’an-e-karim.
Allah swt has said in Qur’an:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ
That O you who believe, you must adopt Taqwa!
What do you need for Taqwa?
Allah swt said in Qur’an
وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
That you will need to be in the company of the Sadiqeen
So, whatever the Qur’an has revealed as needs of humans and needs of mo’mins – that what they need to get Taqwa – that must be a need that we feel in our life and that will be a need that will last with us our whole life if we are going to be a Qur’anic insaan. Anybody who says that I don’t need that anymore, for example: Allah swt has Asked in the Qur’an to send Salawaat on RasoolAllah sws , and someone says I don’t need it – it means that you’re not Qur’anic insaan, you’re not Qur’anic mo’min. Anybody who says that I don’t need كُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ , what type of human are you that you don’t need Qur’an? You’re not a mo’min! You’re some other type of mo’min
So we have to have an aspect of need with the Qur’an-ul-Karim – when we have that need then we will stop needing the world.
Really, I’m saying it and I have built up this argument by different examples and different ayahs in Qur’an. But, I’m really saying this tonight, that unless we become people who need Deen need Shaykh, we won’t become people who stop needing this world.
Everybody needs this – its just a question, do you want to place your need where Allah swt in Qur’an-ul-Karim said that is what you need? OR do you want to leave it upto the Dunya, to your Nafs, to Shaytan, to Makhlooq to creation to decide what you need. Every body is going to be in a state of need…
And, this is what Sayyidina RasoolAllahi sws is trying to warn us about hubbu-ud-dunya that when we start loving the Dunya, we will start needing the Dunya – so, when you start feeling a need for the Dunya that is going to lead you to sin, that will get you involved in a state of error. And, if you love Allah swt, you will start needing Allah swt and all of the things that lead to Allah swt, then you’ll be saved.
That is why, Allah swt says in the Qur’an-ul-Karim:
وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ
That Indeed, those who believe – they have a deep love… a deep need and dependence upon Allah swt.
And, Allah swt says in Qur’an:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ إِلَى اللَّهِ
That O Humanity! you are needy needy needy – dependent on Allah swt!
We have to feel that need, and one big thing that keeps a lot of us from feeling that need for Allah swt is because we feel a need for the Dunya. Thats why i say that we need to have Scissors of Taqwa, Scissors of Dhikr and Scissors of Sohbat with our Mashaikh to cut away all of the delusions that we need Dunya and that we need the pleasures of this Dunya and that we need all of these good things of the dunya.
May Allah swt enable us to cut ourselves away from that which is distracting us from Him, that which is keeping us from Him – and May He Guide us, Accept us, Take us & Glue us to every single thing that will lead us to Him. May He Put in our hearts a deep dependence for Him [Ameen!]
وَآَخِرُ دَعْوَانَا أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
[Transcription[not word-to-word] of the super-amazing Tazkiya talk given by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db on March 3rd, 2011]