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May 1, 2004
On Human Understanding - Part I

by Justoju

Bismillah hirrahman nirrahim

“Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): "Our Lord! Not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.” [Quran- 3:191]

“They said, "Be You glorified! We have no knowledge, except that which You have taught us. You are the Omniscient, Most Wise." [Quran- 2:32]

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest." (Quran- 13:28)

We have all felt it. I was 15 when I first ‘felt’ His presence and when I first recognized the coolness His touch laid upon my inflamed heart. That coolness, that feeling of being enveloped in Rahmah has carried me throughout the years, giving me one moment of existence after another. Over time one becomes attached and dependent upon that feeling of ‘wanting’ to be of those who Remember, and one tries desperately in times of spiritual famine to summon it using all of ones faculties. You ask to be given both extreme hunger and the food that will satiate it.

“My servant approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My servant keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him…” (Sahih Bukhari)

If the supplicator is a person of intelligence then he/she will wake up in the middle of the night and will tearfully beg Him to put the desire for Himself in his/her heart. Otherwise he/she might settle upon the “let me just sit here and think about Him until I become enlightened” approach. Now, a believer’s desire to think about His Rabb is a holy invitation and should not be taken as jest, BUT it MUST be realized that one’s mind is not the measure of all things—the shari’ah is. The world of one’s mind is not necessarily the greatest avenue for drawing closer to one’s Master.

“Everything perishes save His Countenance” (Quran- 28:88)

When I first started reflecting upon Allah, Glorious and Exalted, and my place in His universe, my mind led me to some conclusions regarding Him that looked good prima facie and made me feel as if I were on the right track. However, upon further reflection and investigation I realized that my conclusions and prized theories were greatly lacking in every arena. With time I found that EVERY thing/thought/theory I had certainty in, was ultimately flawed and did not fall into the category of the ‘necessarily true’. This cycle of certainty and doubt continued until a realization made me understand the limited nature of my mind. It came during a routine reflection…

I originally believed (when I first began reflecting upon Reality) that BECAUSE before there was anything there was only Him, THEN whatever He made had to come from Him ==> therefore we are all made of some quality of His essence and therefore, parts of him. See, the rule of space is that things of a certain mass take up a certain area and no two things can take up the same area. So obviously, if originally ALL of the space contained NOTHING BUT Allah, Glorious and Exalted, then whatever He decided to create in it logically had to come from His own self.

“There is nothing whatever like unto Him…” (Quran- 43:11)

But you see, this theory is inherently flawed (not to mention heretical and contrary to our aqeedah) because despite the valid argument form, my premises were incorrect. I am making one large and fatal assumption here: the assumption of time and space and their application to Allah, Glorious and Exalted. First of all, He is not contained by space; he is neither outside of creation nor inside of it. The box of what I term ‘Creation Concepts’ doesn’t apply to him.

Secondly, He is not contained by time or the succession of moments. The string of moments in which we live our lives does not apply to Him, He created the concept to apply to our existence. So you cant say that for Him there was a time when things didn’t exist, and then they did exist. There is no ‘before’ or ‘after’ for him. Before there was an ‘everywhere’ or ‘now’, there was Him!

Therefore, because our mind’s were constructed to ALWAYS take time/space into consideration and consider it a given when using our logic, reasoning, and perception (try thinking of something that defies it), we can never really KNOW him using our minds. This is where the soul comes in….

“And you (oh Reader!) bring your Lord to Remembrance in your
(very) soul…” (Quran- 7:205)

"You are veiled from the suns of gnoses by the clouds of secondary traces."
(Ibn 'Ata'llah - Second Hikam)

"Someone who seeks God through logical proof is like someone who looks for
the sun with a lamp."
(Unknown Author. Traditional Teaching.)

I seek forgiveness of Allah, Glorious and Exalted, for my presumptiveness and hypocrisy and seek His Refuge. All good is from Him.
All errors are a result of my own weaknesses.
My own stupidity.
My own insincerity.
My own arrogance.
My own nafs.

“Astaghfirul lahal adheema lladhee la ilaha illa huwa al-Hayyal Qayooma wa atubo ilayh”

“Allahumma innaka Afoowun Kareemun tuhibul afwa fa’foanni ya Ghaffur.”

of and relating to...
Saima said

Masha'Allah :)

on May 1, 2004 6:35 PM
Talal said

I wonder how many other philosophers we have amongst us, who still stick to the aqeedah of the Straight Path. It makes for such interesting reading, mashaAllah... maybe a new Journal of (truly)Islamic Philosophy is in order :)

on May 1, 2004 7:07 PM
asra said

hey....I loved you article, I could relate to almost all of it. But, see I had never tried to keep the feeling from coming over and over again....inshaallah I will soon, inshaallah I will "feel" a very strong connection with Allah that will inspire me to become a better muslim... I loved your article, it was really easy to connect to. I especially loved what you had said in the begining, when you had felt Allah's presence. Overall I enjoyed every bit of it...

on May 1, 2004 9:35 PM
Nadia said

Mashallah, a very inspiring article. Keep up your justoju :)

on May 1, 2004 10:10 PM
Justoju said

wow, this site seems so dead these days. We definitely need another mile to liven things up:)

on May 2, 2004 12:43 AM
Reader said

Reflections after reading this peice (Jazak'Allahkair Sr. J!) and please excuse the rambling--

-Unfortunately the majority of ppl don't 'seem' to be feeling His presence. I don't think its because of any defect in their human understanding but more a default of the crazy times we live in. We're bombarded w/ images and objects that feed our nafs and our desire to satiate it and only it- so why look for anything/any ONE further?

-When material things arent cutting it (ie ppl arent satisfited) they begin to look elsewhere. Mostly ppl look to others and try to foster relationships that will do the job. But honestly, as much as we try to find ppl that will satisfy the needs we have- that really only Allah can fulfil- be it through a circle of friends, family, or a future/current spouse we're looking for perfection...and that can never be found in a person- only in Allah.

-I know whenever I'm realy down I keep, when there's absolutely NO ONE who will understand what I'm going through or rathar no one I'd care to share with its so comforting to know I can get down on my knees, put my forhead to the ground in the middle of the night as the world sleeps...and talk to Allah, cry to Him, seek his pleasure, and find refuge in Him alone.

Really, the only One we can ever count on. May we all be kept in His protection and good graces. Ameen.

on May 2, 2004 1:07 AM
passingthoughts said

Subhan'Allah.......how fortunate is the believer who discovers the peace that lies with the name of His Lord.........
mashaAllah sister, ur writing provides refreshing glimpses of traditional islam that is too often lacking...
may Allah(swt) bless all of His "contingent beings" with the shade of His remembrance...

on May 2, 2004 6:54 PM
Reader said

What is obviously difficult is continuing to believe in this peace that is discovered and more than that to act upon it at all times.

The question is how does one maintain this complete trust in Allah and not let worldly desires get in the way... :-/

on May 2, 2004 11:35 PM
Justoju said

The tragedy isnt that we dont submit to Him. The tragedy is that we dont 'yearn' to submit to Him. The yearning answers all of your questions and takes away the struggle. The moments in which you please your Beloved become your only source of joy and you anxiously anticipate every opportunity to please Him.

on May 3, 2004 12:32 AM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

Assalaamu 'alaikum,

Greetings from the Caribbean. Justoju, great article as always. Commenting on your article, one really feels that connection with Allah when that person is in a land where it is even harder to keep the faith than it is in the States. Down here, sometimes it is very difficult to stay strong to the Deen but you realize that Allah is always there to help you and wants you to turn to Him to help you and things seem a little easier. But you're right, we definitely don't 'yearn' to submit to Him, it's just something we do, like a habit or something...not something that we consciously, willing, lovingly want to do.
May He strengthen our hearts and our iman. Oh and if any one of you wants to read a great book, please go and get 'O Beloved Son' by Imam Ghazali...i read it on the plane trip here and it truly is awesome, just 24 reminders that the great Imam, may he be blessed, told to one of his students.

wa billahi taufeeq
Arif ibn Muzaffar
'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'

on May 3, 2004 9:40 AM
passingthoughts said

"The question is how does one maintain this complete trust in Allah and not let worldly desires get in the way... :-/"

a well-known sheikh says that the key to perfecting one's iman is to fall in love with Allah (swt)........
perhaps if one could focus upon Him rather than on one's self, the shift in consciousness would result in the change we all strive for....

w'Allahu Alim....my own shortcomings exceed those of all who read this.

on May 3, 2004 12:15 PM
Justoju said

"Down here, sometimes it is very difficult to stay strong to the Deen but you realize that Allah is always there to help you"

Bro, you have only been there like two minutes :) ...Actually, it must be pretty bad down there for one of our stronger brothers to be saying this...may Allah, Glorious and Exalted, make your (and our) obedience easy inshaAllah.

PassingThoughts- the comments of the blessed sheikh are well appreciated...

on May 3, 2004 2:50 PM
Tanweer said

As-salamu 'Alaikum,
wow lot of catching up to do.. Hidaya rocks!
The feeling of being close to Allah(swt), the feeling that you are doing dhikr 24-7 is something to cherish and something that we should be eternally grateful for.

However as much as these feelings are desired, they are not the object of worship and instead could lead to ostentatiousness which is condemned in Islam.



on May 7, 2004 6:00 PM
Justoju said

Brother Tanweer is absolutely correct. It brings a beloved quote to mind:

"Then, [having done our duty] if we find the apparent fruits of out deeds, then so be it. Otherwise, we at least obeyed the command of Allah, and we ask Him for acceptance. We are the servants of Allah, not the servants of illuminations that result from our deeds. The one who worships Allah for the fruits of their worship, such as the light and softness they find in their heart, are in need of sincerity to Allah alone in their worship."
--Muhammad Qaylish, Translated by Faraz Rabbani

on May 7, 2004 7:30 PM
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