Worldly Ambition, cancer of the heart

Allah Almighty states in the holy Qur’an:

…And (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful chastisement on the day when it shall be heated in the fire of Hell, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it. This is what you hoarded up for yourselves, therefore taste what you hoarded. (Tawbah, 9/34-35).

Inspired by this verse, Hadrat Mawlana (Alaihi Rahma) said:

• “No matter how rich you are, you cannot eat more than your stomach can hold. Even if you dip your water-pot into the sea, it will carry no more water than it can hold.”

• “There are so many fishes which, because of ambition, swallow the bait, though the sea could safely feed them.”

• “What is this world about? This world is about being ignorant of Allah!”

• “This world, a testing ground, is like a magnet for selfish desires: it attracts them as amber attracts straw. Only the substan- tial wheat, the wise believer whose inner world contains spiritual secrets and wisdom, can escape the attraction of this magnet.”

• “The trap of raw egos is worldly gain. It tricks and allures,and the inner eyes of some people go blind out of desire for it. They drink bitter and salty water out of wet clay. Since they never taste spiritual happiness, they regard what they taste of the worldly life as happiness.”

• “Greed and ambition for the pleasures of this world lead us to obtain what we do not deserve.”

Worldly ambition is the prime drive leading to great ignorance. Ambition makes the heart go blind. Such a heart ceases to draw a line between right and wrong, legitimate and illegitimate. Hadrat Mawlana (Alaihi Rahma) says of heart-blindness, “Even a dog will not eat a bone before sniffing it.” So whoever is heart-blind due to ambition for worldly attractions has less wisdom than a dog. Worldly ambition brings spiritual disaster!

Our master, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), warned of ambition as a human failing. He said, “The son of Adam may have two valleys full of gold: he will still want a third valley. The son of Adam will be satisfied with nothing but the soil of the grave.” (Bukhari, al-Riqaq, 10; Muslim, al-Zakat, 116).

Even if those afflicted with ambition attained all the wealth on earth, they would still wish to get more from the Moon or Mars. Today, the ambition and spiritual rottenness of the followers of materialism seems endless. Such is the sad condition of our world.

Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him), eloquently expressed how the faithful should view property. He said, “There are three shareholders in any worldly possession. The first is its owner, which is you. The second is fate. Fate does not consult you about whether your possession will bring you good or evil, disaster or death. The third shareholder in any possession is its heir, who wants you to die. Your heir will take your property when you die, but it is you who will be held accountable for it. If you can, try not to be weakest of the three (by giving charity before death). Allah Almighty says, “You cannot reach perfection in spending for the sake of Allah unless you give of what you love.” My most valuable possession my camel; there- fore I am giving it as a charity. I am sending it in advance so that it will welcome me in the Hereafter.” (Abu Nu`aym, al-Hilyah, I, 163).

Worldly possessions are only entrusted to us by Allah. We do not know when what He has deposited will be withdrawn. We may lose our possessions at any time. Life is open to surprises, and we cannot tell what fate will bring. The most inescapable surprise, death, is undoubtedly on the agenda of fate. We may be ready for it always by managing the trusts we administer in the most useful of ways.

 

-Excerpt from the book, “Such a mercy he is”

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PROPHET MUHAMMAD ﷺ, THE FOCAL POINT OF UNIVERSE AND OUR LIVES!

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ہو نہ يہ پھول تو بلبل کا ترنم بھی نہ ہو
چمن دہر ميں کليوں کا تبسم بھی نہ ہو
يہ نہ ساقی ہو تو پھرمے بھی نہ ہو، خم بھی نہ ہو
بزم توحيد بھی دنيا ميں نہ ہو، تم بھی نہ ہو

Ho Na Ye Phool To Bulbul Ka Tarannum Bhi Na Ho
Chaman-e-Dehr Mein Kaliyon Ka Tabassum Bhi Na Ho
Ye Na Saqi Ho To Phir Mai Bhi Na Ho, Khum Bhi Na Ho
Bazm-e-Touheed Bhi Dunya Mein Na Ho, Tum Bhi Na Ho

If this fair flower (Muhammad) blossom not, the nightingale will not sing,
Nor rose‐buds make the garden of era smile welcoming in the spring,
If he is not the quencher, then nor jar nor wine will be,
Nor in this world will Tawheed (Oneness of God) shine, Nor your heart beat in you!

(salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)

– Allama Iqbal rahimahullah –

Khalq and Khulq

Imam Ghazali (rah) explains in the following passage the spiritual impossibility of adequately overseeing our ‘self’ by oneself alone:

“The words khalq (creation) and khulq (morality) are derived from the same root. One is about the external world and the other is about the internal world.

Khalq is the form that can be known by the senses.

Khulq is hidden and cannot be known by looking at our external existence. The real identity of a person rests in his character, way of life, and his nature. Regardless of how much one hides himself in outer appearances, one day his inner identity will be disclosed.”

As we need a mirror to see our outer appearance, so too we need a mirror for our heart: the help of a friend of Allah who will diagnose and cure our inner world, our character, and our inclinations.

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If one wishes to know whether he is someone loved by Allah or not, he should closely evaluate his inner world: to the extent, he feels Allah in his heart and witnesses his power and kingdom with amazement he is close to Him.

For this reason, one should always be concerned with purifying his soul so that the manifestations of divine light, which will destroy the passions and the desires, can appear in the heart.

The Almighty Creator has said, “Truly, the one who purifies his soul succeeds” (Shams, 9).

Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad 􏰀(may peace and blessing be upon him) also said: “The believer is a mirror of the believer.” According to this hadith, the perfect humans serve as clear mirrors, with no stain on them, for our souls. In other words, seekers may observe the reality of their condition and their essence in the face of these individuals. This is not a material observation. The mirror of the heart goes well beyond the material dimension. In it one may explore the mysteries of the hidden inner worlds. This mirror is not a mirror of the outer world but rather a mirror of the inner world and there are no forms there save the reflections of Allah’s lights. Therefore, those who spiritually seek out and reap rewards from this mirror carry a different kind of beauty and joy in their hearts. They grow to sacrifice themselves. They wish farewell to their ego and consequently reach to the blessing of Allah aiming to become completely absorbed in Him. For this reason, it is necessary to be under the guidance of a perfect master and to internalize his morality. Yunus Emre has said:

“Shariah (religious law) and tariqah (mysticism) are paths for sincere seekers, Yet the Truth and divine knowledge are beyond them.”

One can only reach to the secret mentioned in this couplet by Yunus Emre under the guidance of a perfect master.

-An excerpt from the book, “From the mirror of the heart”

Mercy and Compassion

Usually our good deeds, sacrifice and donations appear to be substantial to us. This mistaken impression deceives us and engages our mind. It fills us with contentment. A mere urn of water appears to be an ocean to us.

Our mundane desires never cease. We presume that what we own is our natural birthright. When we are asked to make a sacrifice our behavior changes as if we have been asked for something from our own personal possessions. Consequently, the bright, crystal clear and delicate mirror of trustworthiness and generosity becomes stained.

However, as Almighty Allah has revealed in the Qur’an: “As to the orphan do not oppress him. Nor refuse the one who asks for help” (Duha, 9-10).

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Mawlana Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said:

Just as physically beautiful people search for bright and clear mirrors, for generosity to be seen poor and powerless people are required. As a beautiful person’s face may be reflected in a mirror, so too the beauty of those who help the needy through their generosity is reflected in the poor and the miserable.

Mawlana Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said: “Thus, the poor are the mirror of divine mercy and generosity. Those who are with Allah or lost in the existence of Allah are in a state of continuous generosity.”

*

Tafsir-i Hazin, a commentary on the Qur’an, reports the following from the great companion Jabir (RadiAllahu Anhu):

A small child came to the Prophet Muhammadﷺ . He told him that his mother had asked for a shirt. At that time the Prophet Muhammadﷺ owned only the shirt that he was wearing. He told the child to come back another time. The child returned to his home. But, soon he came back and told the Prophetﷺ  that his mother wanted the shirt he was wearing. The Messenger of Allahﷺ went to his room, took off his shirt and gave it to the child.

At that moment, Bilal (RadiAllahu Anhu), the muadhdhin of the Prophetﷺ  began reciting the Adhan, or the call to prayer. The Messenger of Allahﷺ  could not come out of his room to lead the communal prayer because he did not have a shirt. Some of the companions came to his room since they were worried about him and they discovered that the Prophet  no longer had a shirt to wear.

*

Wealth is a trust of Allah given to our care. The only way to enjoy it and feel happy about it is by sympathizing with the suffering of the needy by opening a window of mercy and compassion from our heart to them.

 

The great Rumi, quddisa sirruh, said:

Act like the sun in mercy and compassion!

Act like the night in covering the mistakes of others!

Act like a river in generosity and sacrifice!

Act like a dead one in anger and fury!

Act like the soil in humility and selflessness!

Act in accordance with the way you look!

Look in accordance with the way you act!

We should keep in mind that regardless how one presents oneself, what will come out of him is what he has in the urn of his heart. It is true that many urns that have claimed to be full of love have only produced eventually the water of indiscretion and heedlessness. Likewise, many people who have spoken about the elixir, or the water of life, could not drink a drop of it nor could they offer any to others. On the other hand, many people who hide themselves in humility and externally look like empty urns are special servants of Allah and carry endless oceans in their hearts. And they unhesitatingly offer water to burning lovers like the water of al-Kawthar, a river in Paradise.

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May Allah raise all of us to be of His sincere and pure- hearted servants, so that we may too offer to all of humanity drops from the water of al-Kawthar and Tasnim(*) while still in this world.

Amen!

(*) al-Kawthar (literally, ‘The Abundant’) is a river of Jannah and Tasnim (literally, ‘Nectar’) is a spring of Jannah.

-An excerpt from the book, “Tears of the Heart’

A LIFE OF TAQWÂ

The essence and meaning of life is found in taqwâ and living a life of taqwâ essentially means being a true friend of Allah, attaining Paradise and possessing a heart that can understand the deepest depths of Divine blessings. Thus, the truth of taqwâ is that one attains a soul that has been purified of all evil and one turns to their Creator with true faith; this is the only way one can reach Allah.

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What is Taqwâ?

The companions of Allah (may Allah be pleased with them) have described taqwâ in many different ways. The lexical meaning of taqwâ means the avoidance, protection or safeguarding from every kind of evil. That is, taqwâ means the protection of Allah.

The term taqwâ means being under the protection of Allah by seeking refuge in Him, avoiding what has been forbidden and abiding by what has been commanded; it means fearing the punishment and the torment of the Glorious One and taking refuge in the shadow of His compassion. Therefore, destroying egoistical desires and developing spiritual aptitude is essential. In other words, taqwâ is returning to the glory of the orders of the Qur’ân and Sunnah, and is the means of eternal bliss in the family, in business and in social life- in short, bliss in every aspect of our lives.

Taqwâ is the act of disciplining the soul with the mystery of “He will prosper who purifies himself” (‘lâ, 87: 14) It is when we have done this that our hearts will attain contentment in faith, worship, and deeds which Allah approves of.

Taqwâ is the believer’s spiritual union with Allah; it is his manifestation of attributes such as compassion, kindness, forgiveness, mildness and perfection of the heart, as well as the seeking of Allah’s acceptance for every deed, every situation and every breath.

Taqwâ is the sincere repentance of the person who is continuously seeking forgiveness with both tongue and heart.

Taqwâ is the heart being full of affection and the fear of Allah’s Divine punishment.

Taqwâ is the preservation of the heart from evil thoughts.

Taqwâ means to adhere to the imperative of Allah and His Prophet ﷺ with great love and affection, observing the whole of creation with the compassion and kindness of the Creator, and, being repulsed by anything that is contrary to this, distancing oneself from any situation or action that could damage the soul.

Taqwâ is a heart that has been assiduously purified; and for those who are successful in such purification, their heart becomes a treasure with the best temperament.

Taqwa Consists Of Three Stages:

1. Avoiding the forbidden.

2. Aiding by commands. This is a condition to be followed by all believers and is the basic level of taqwâ.

3. Having the feeling of being in the presence of Allah at all times. This is the highest level, the true test of knowledge and taqwâ.

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In the Qur’ân Allah revealed that He is “Nearer to [man] than his jugular vein(Qâf, 50; 16) and with us as at all times: “He is with you wheresoever ye may be(Hadîd, 57: 4) This unity means that one is adorned with Allah’s attributes and is aware of His presence at all times. The soul that is adorned with the garment of taqwâ will begin to receive inspiration that direct towards the truth and warn against falsehood and evil; they will realise the real value and meaning of worldly objects. The Qur’ân is a Divine work of art that helps man to resolve every problem he may face. Through the Qur’ân and the Sunnah we can gain peace and contentment.

When a person approaches the pinnacle of taqwâ, their perception of the Qur’ân and apprehension of the universe deepens and they become familiar with the wisdom and mystery of the universe. With the singing of the nightingales, the quivering of the rose buds and the steady flow of the streams which bestow the sound of peace, we can gain appreciation of the adornments and blessings of the universe. We begin to understand the spirit of Yûnus Emre when he spoke with the yellow flower, about the interpretation of his own mysteries.

True taqwâ is the sign of having reached Allah. Ibn Atâ’illâh al-Iskandarî stated that a believer who has a sound heart says upon attaining taqwâ: “O Allah, what have those who have reached You lost; and what have those who have lost You found?

– An Excerpt from “IKHLAS AND TAQWA”

Our Religion is a religion of love and it ought to change you for good….

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Our religion is a religion of LOVE in the first place. Love of Allah Ta’ala, Love of Rasoolulllah, SallAllahu Ta’ala alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, love of doing good, love of people, love of parents, love of children, love of neighbors, etc….

A good Muslim is a good human being in the first place. In summary; The Beloved sent the beloved out of love to teach love with love for the sake of love. And love does not have limits, for true love collapses all limits, not establishes them.

The causes of sickness of the heart

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The temptations to which the heart is exposed are what cause its sickness. These are the temptations of desires and fancies. The former cause intentions and the will to be corrupted, and the latter cause knowledge and belief to falter.

Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamani, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

The Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wassallam) said, “Temptations are presented to the heart, one by one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but any heart that rejects them will be left with a mark of purity, so that hearts are of two types: a dark heart that has turned away and become like an overturned vessel, and a pure heart that will never be harmed by temptation for as long as the earth and the heavens exist. The dark heart only recognises good and denounces evil when this suits its desires and whims. Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Iman, 2/170 (with different wording).

He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, placed hearts, when exposed to temptation, into two categories:

First, a heart which, when it is exposed to temptation, absorbs it like a sponge that soaks up water, leaving a black stain in it. It continues to absorb each temptation that is offered to it until it is darkened and corrupted, which is what he meant by “like an overturned vessel”. When this happens, two dangerous sicknesses take hold of it and plunge it into ruin:

The first is that of its confusing good with evil, to such an extent that it does not recognise the former and does not denounce the latter. This sickness may even gain hold of it to such an extent that it believes good to be evil and vice-versa, the Sunnah to be bida’ and vice-versa, the truth to be false and falsity to be the truth.

The second is that of its setting up its desires as its judge, over and above what the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi wa Sallam taught, so that it is enslaved and led by its whims and fancies.

Second, a pure heart which the light of faith is bright and from which its radiance shines. When temptation is presented to pure hearts such this, they oppose it and reject it, and so their light and illumination only increase.

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