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October 30, 2004
Iman and Understanding - Part III

by Justoju

Bismillah Arrahman Arrahim

“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]
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In the last installation of this humble and unworthy discussion of Iman, we dealt with the difference between Iman and Mushahida and came to the conclusion that the greatest reward is for those who have Iman and believe without actual Mushahida with their senses. After all, once you have physical evidence for angels, shayateen, jahannum, etc., do you really have much choice but to believe in them? Any and every kaafir will believe after beholding with the senses. The Muslim believes without directly experiencing with his/her senses…that is, until his Iman becomes Mushahida. In the primary phase of one’s spiritual journey one believes without seeing. In the secondary phase however, one’s belief causes one to see. Let’s look at this.

Primary phase

The belief is due to a substantial amount of indirect, secondary evidence that indicates an extremely high probability that one’s belief is correct. When we give dawah and explain why a God MUST exist we don’t say “Oh look, He is right there. You can see for yourself!” (wa naoodhobillah). Instead we explain that all of creation is evidence for there being a Creator. We use the physical as proof of the nonphysical and explain that it is a trace, a result, of the nonphysical. The primary impressions that are left upon the mind are that of physical sense experience and the mind cannot physically ‘sense’ the unphysical Divine so, at this point, one’s mind needs these indirect proofs for it to have Iman.

Research, studying the Quran/hadith/words of the scholars of the first few generations of Muslims, and asking one’s questions is especially important in this phase because the foundation of one’s Iman is being laid. For the foundation to be strong one must endeavor to study and reflect as much as is possible and try to understand as much as one can with one’s mind. Iman might not be based on physical sensory perception, but it is not a passive, static process. It is nourished and strengthened with reflection, study, and prayers for hidaya. It is fed with worship and an eagerness to learn and understand.

Secondary Phase

By this point one’s conviction has become so strong that the Qalb becomes one’s most powerful tool of understanding. Your mind has submitted. Your conviction is absolute. Now that the mind has perfected Iman, the heart is ready to have spiritual Mushahida. It is ready for the deeper fruits of Tawhid.

"It is He who created you and what you do" (Quran, 37:96)

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (Radhi Allahu Ta'ala Anhu), who said that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam) said:
”Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said: …(excerpt) My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works (Nawafil) so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks…
(Sahih Bukhari)

“…We are closer to him than his jugular vein.” (Quran, 50:16)

If you truly believe “La hawla wa la qoowata illah billah” (“There is no power nor strength except by Allah”) then you already understand that Allah, Glorious and Exalted, is already our hearing with which we hear, our sight with which we see, and our hand with which we grasp. I do not mean this in a haram anthropomorphist sense and am not implying in any way whatsoever that Allah ‘becomes’ his creation or is ‘inside’ it. We never ‘become’ Allah, Glorious and Exalted, and He never ‘becomes’ us (wa naoodhobillah)—Our aqidah forbids it so make no mistake of this. I am simply saying that the power/strength with which we hear, see, and grasp is from the entity of Allah, Glorious and Exalted, and from no other source. His Iradah (Will), Ilm (Knowledge), and Qadr (Power) cannot be superceded. This is the essence of Tawhid, or belief in the oneness/uniqueness of Allah, Glorious and Exalted.

"Now tell me about the perfection of faith (Ihsan)," and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) answered: "It is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not, He nevertheless sees you." (excerpt from ‘Jibreel Hadith’. Sahih Muslim)

Now, since His Power is already manifested in our actions, the problem is not His nearness to us, because He is eternally near to us and closer than our jugular vein. The problem is our nearness to Allah, Glorious and Exalted, which we cannot see and cannot fathom. We cannot see Allah physically (as He is unlike anything in His creation, including physical dimension/form), and hence it is difficult for us to have constant awareness of His continuous Presence. Do you, on a constant moment-to-moment basis REALIZE how close He is to you? Are you conscious of His unblinking, untiring Gaze and Power? Do you realize in that moment, right before you sin, that He is WITH you? The seeing, or consciousness, of His nearness has to be achieved, and the way to do so is to devote oneself to the prophetic model—the Sunnah.

Although we do not see Him now, we can achieve the seeing of Him if we worship and serve Him as if we see Him. What does that mean? Well, if you were to have a physical being before you, in your personal space at all times, that you knew was omnipotent, AND omniscient, AND who had made his likes/dislikes clearly known to you, AND who promised eternal reward/punishment, do you REALLY think you would do ANYTHING to displease him?

When we worship Him with the kind of avidness and cautiousness that we would in the above situation, it is THEN that our Iman shall be converted to Mushahida (witnessing) and we will realize and be conscious of His presence at all moments and see the traces of His Qadr, Ilm, and Irada in all things. All of Creation bears His personal Mark and we shall see it. We shall look at His creation and think of Him; we shall see that it is His Hand that has painted the ‘reality’ that surrounds us. We shall stop seeing things as ends in and of themselves, and shall see them as means to the Greater End. Creation serves as a deception—a distracter—for the novice, but for one who has reached this level of awareness, creation only functions to remind one of Allah, Glorious and Exalted, and to draw one ever closer to Him. Every atom then serves as an ‘ayah’, or sign, that faithfully points and directs one’s attention to the ultimate Sign-Maker, to the ultimate Refuge. This is ultimate Mushahida.

Let us all endeavor to be true Mushahids—those whose testimonies of His Oneness, and whose claims of witnessing are sincere. Let us witness.

“Ash-hadu anla ilaha illal-Lahu Wahdahu la Sharika Lahu wa-ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu”

I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One, without any partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger

…To be continued…

The next installment shall discuss:
- Juxtaposition of aql and qalb and the relationship between the two.
- Choosing the King

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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”

I seek forgiveness of Allah, the Living, the Ever-subsistent, through Whom all subsists, and I repent to Him.


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

Oh Allah, surely You are Forgiving, Merciful. You like forgiving. So forgive me Oh Forgiving!


of and relating to...
Justoju said

It is a sad time for the ummah as one of our esteemed scholars passed away yesterday. Here is a quick bio:

AS-SAYYID MUHAMMAD IBN ALAWI ABBAS IBN ‘ABD AL AZIZ AL MALIKI ( Born 1947 in Makkah)

by Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, Head Mufti of Cape Town, South Africa
The Sayyid is a descendent of the prophet Muhammad (Blessings and Salutations of peace upon Him) through Imam Hasan, a grand-son of the prophet. He is a contemporary Saudi Arabian scholar of Tafseer (interpretation of the Qur’an), Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet), Fiqh (Islamic law), `Aqeedah (tenets of faith) and Seerah (Prophetic biography). He is the most highly acclaimed and respected scholar (Shaykh) in Makkah (Mecca). He was born to a family of traditional Maliki scholars of ancestral residence in the Holy City. His grandfather was the Qadi (Chief Judge) of Makkah and an Imam of the Holy Mosque, the site of the Ka’bah.

His father Sayyid Alawi taught and lectured in the precints of the Holy Mosque for 30 years until he passed away in 1971, his funeral being the biggest one in the area in the present era. Sayyid Muhammad was educated by his eminent father from childhood and was authorised to teach every book he studied with him. He also learnt at the feet of prominent scholars of Makkah such as Shaykh Say-yid Ameen Kutbi, Shaykh Hassan Masshat, Shaykh Muhammad Nur Sayf, Shaykh Saeed Yamani and many others.

At the age of 25 he received his Phd from from the esteemed Al Azhar university of Egypt. His thesis - on Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) - was rated excellent and highly praised by the ‘ulama (learned elders) there at the time such as Imam Abu Zahra. During his never-ending quest for knowledge he has travelled extensively to north Africa, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Yemen and the Indo-Pak sub-continent to gather Hadith, collect manuscripts, visit scholars, saints and benefit from their wisdom.

Apart from the ‘ulama of the Hijaz (Arabian Peninsula) he has got "Sanad" or "‘Ijazah" (lineage of authority to teach and guide) in the theological and spiritual sciences from eminent savants all over the Islamic world. The great Da’ee (spreader of the religion) and Imam of Yemen, Imam Habib Ahmad Mashur al-Haddad , Shaykh Hasnayn Makhluf the great Mufti of Egypt, Shaykh al Ghimari of Morrocco , Shaykh Diauddin Qadiri of Madinah and numerous others have given him their ‘ijazah.

In 1970 he was appointed professor of Islamic studies at the Umm-ul-Qurra university in Makkah. In 1971, after his father’s death, the scholars of Makkah asked him to accept his father’s position as a teacher in the Holy Mosque, which he did. Hundreds of students have learnt at his feet and have become savants of Islamic knowledge and spirituality in their countries, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen and Dubai. Since 1983 he has concentrated on research and teaching . He also gives classes at his home and mosque on al Maliki street in the Rusayfa district of Makkah. He is highly respected by the Saudi government and was nominated head judge at the international Qira’at (Qur’anic reading) competition in Makkah three times. He is also the author of close to one hundred books.

on October 30, 2004 11:22 PM
amuslimahh said

Salamu alaikum.

I would just like to say that dear Justoju is a really talented writer and good at vocalizing their opinion.

Takbir for Mr/Mrs Justoju.

Salam.

on October 30, 2004 11:29 PM
Justoju said

I am neither Mr. nor Mrs., but shukran anyway Amuslimahh for your generous words.

on October 31, 2004 12:25 AM
Imran Khan said

Salam

Mashallah, A very good and well written article.

Just a reminder to myself firstly. We are approaching the last 10 nights of ramadhan, make duas Allah makes us from among those whom he forgives and envelopes us in his mercy.

With the passing of so many amazing shuyookh and no one in waiting to replace them, we must make duas that we benefit from their knowledge and wisdom, and that through their barakah Allah puts the light of this deen in our hearts to guide people through wisdom, good character and kindness.

Let us all make duas for Sheikh Alawi al Maliki Ramatullah as well as all those shuyukh who have reached Allah this year.

Remember

Imam Al-Zarnuji said:

'Know that in the pursuit of knowledge, one does not acquire learning nor profit from it unless one holds knowledge in esteem and those who possess it. So one [must] esteem and venerate the teacher. It is said that he who attains knowledge does not do so except through respect, while he who fails [in this goal] does so only by ceasing to respect and venerate learning and its bearers.'


on October 31, 2004 1:01 AM
Talal said

Sorry about the technical difficulties earlier.
Alhamdulllah everything is back and in form.

MashaAllah another awesome article sister.


JazaakAllah khair for the reminder akh Imran.

6

on October 31, 2004 3:00 PM
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