The Twenty Fourth Talk
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
If there is value for anything in the consideration of Allah (S.w.T.), it is the sincerity of purpose of His creatures. The Prophet (S) said: ‘Actions are judged by their intentions’ (Innamal ‘amaalu bin-niyaat) If the purpose is to acquire the Wish of Allah (S.w.T.), and the actions too are in accord with His wish, and then it will make the person achieve great heights. But if the purpose is selfish, or not totally legitimate, although the person always utters, “Qurbatan ilalllah, and gives the impression of piety, there will be no use. Such a person will rise empty handed from his grave and his Nama-e-Aamāl (The Record of Deeds) will be blank. But if there is sincerity of purpose in a man, then everything falls in the proper place for him.
The Verse that we have referred to in this context says: “Say (O our beloved messenger!): Every one acts according to his nature (shaakila); but your Lord best knows who is best guided in the path.” (Sura Banu Israel, 17:84)
Now consider the meaning of the word Shaakila. If its meaning is nature or bent of mind, then the purport of the Holy Ayah will be that every person acts in accord with his nature and bent of mind. If the person is in the influence of Rahmani (Legitimate) bent of mind, his actions will naturally be virtuous. On the other hand if his nature is dominated by satanic thoughts, his actions then will be prohibited (Haram).
When a person's nature is Rahmani, his actions too are with sincerity of purpose, even then if there remain some aberrations in his acts, he might be forgiven for those minor faults. But when a person has satanic nature, his efforts at doing good deeds will be futile. It is therefore imperative to mend one's bent of mind.
Now let us consider the ways of mending the Shaakila. How the Shaakila becomes Rahmani?
Every human being has naturally been placed on a two-way lane of virtue and vice. As an individual he is neither virtuous nor vicious. He is like a clean and blank paper on which anything can be written or beautiful sketches can be drawn. Similarly ugly pictures or satanic things too can be written on it. Useful and informative essays can be written on it and misguiding things too can be scribbled on it. Man, ever since he arrives in this world, at the two-way lane leading to Rahmani or Satanic instincts. He has to choose between the worldly or the Ukhrawi, that is, a way of life that can ensure for him a better Hereafter.
Whichever way he inclines, his Shaakila too bends in that direction. Every thing that he does, whatever he sees or hears, and even the morsels that go down the person's throat contribute in the formation of his Shaakila. Every word that is modulated by the tongue too has its part to play in the person's Shaakila. The first impression that anything has on a person will be on his psyche.
If you use foul language against a person or you think ill of someone else, the first entity to take the ill effect of all this will be yourself. This will take you away from virtue and you will be giving place to evil in your Shaakila. Then, however much you pray and supplicate, your prayer will not be as virtuous as it needs to be. When your Shaakila is affected, then your intent will not be as solemn as required for sincerity in prayer.
A piece of bread, Halal or Haram, pure or impure, when it goes down your throat, your Shaakila takes shape. If the bread is Haram, then every act performed by you will be satanic.
Human actions might have very minimal effect on the Shaakila of a person in his initial life. But by the time he comes of age, its formation becomes rapid. If during this period the tongue, eyes, stomach etc are freed from the bonds of guidance, and they indulge in prohibited (haram) habits, then the Shaakila will turn satanic. Such a person, when he departs from the world, will be in the group of Satans of the other world. His place then will be the last stage of the Hell that is called Asfal as-Safeleen.
But if the person, during his lifetime, tries to reform himself and keeps a watchful eye on every small act of his, tries to keep his tongue in check, opens his eye only in obedience to Allah (S.w.T.)'s dictates then he can achieve a very high status in Heaven where the angels would feel proud to serve him.
The exhortations that have come in the Islamic Shari’ah that Muslims keep away from carnal desires, respect the limits defined by it and don't go unbridled does not mean that Allah (S.w.T.) doesn't want them to lead a happy life. Or that He doesn't like the Muslims to enjoy their lives. The truth is never like that. But since your Shaakila is affected and you might be facing the danger of getting pushed into the Asfal as-Safeleen, you are warned to save yourself from the effects of evil deeds. Every glance that you make on the television monitor and the cinema screen, will leave a negative mark on your psyche. Slowly, you will then come under the spell of Satan. If you don't mend your ways soon, it might be impossible to reform the Shaakila after the age of forty years.
It is said that Satan kisses the forehead of the forty year old person whose Shaakila is perverted. Satan says he would sacrifice himself on the person who has no chance of reformation.
We don't say that reform of such persons is impossible. But definitely it is very difficult. It is another matter if Allah (S.w.T.) is kind on the person and he suddenly starts manifesting signs of reform and reverts to virtuous ways!
Therefore, one should be kind on himself and guide others too to keep away from lasciviousness.
When the Shaakila is perverted, then matters reach such a pass that the person goes on pilgrimages, of Hajj and Ziyarat, not under Rahmani instinct, but under the influence of Satan. All these pilgrimages and the arrangements of meetings (Majalis) to mourn the Martyrs of Karbala will be just to show off to others. He might think that he was going for Hajj or Ziyarat just as a tour of pleasure or business! He doesn't do anything with the true spirit.
It is very strongly advised that one should do Jihad bin-Nafs (Struggle against one's own desires). You must have heard the tradition of the Prophet (S.), narrated in the Usūl al-Kafi, that on his return from the battlefront he said, “We are through with the Jihad al-Asghar (the Minor Struggle) but the Jihad al-Akbar is still there.” The companions asked what is that Jihad. The Prophet (S.) replied, “That is Jihad bin-Nafs.”
Bearing the travails of this Jihad is tougher than going to fight on the battlefront. Therefore the rewards for Jihad bil Nafs are greater than for any virtuous act. This is the reason that the Prophet (S) has termed it as the Major Jihad. To keep oneself firm in the midst of carnal desires needs a much higher degree of valor than confronting the enemy in the battlefield.
Reform of the Shaakila is not possible without reining in the carnal desires. If you wish to conquer the strong fort of the heart to reach Allah (S.w.T.)'s firmament, then it is your duty to abstain from every forbidden thing (Haram) and the unbecoming (Makruh) things. You should also perform every obligatory (Fard) regularly and also the optional (Mustahab).
Reforming Shaakila is a very strenuous thing. But if one follows carefully the rules of Shari’ah, from the very beginning and the parents themselves give proper upbringing to the child in line with the Shari’ah, then the reform can be achieved in a smooth manner.
It is the duty of the parents that they don't give such nutrition to the children about which they are not certain that it is legitimate (Halal). If a foster mother is arranged for a baby, they must make discreet inquiries that the woman is pious and of a good background. When the child grows, care has to be exercised that foul language is not used in his presence. No act should be perpetrated in the presence of the child that is morally undesirable.
Even if the parents have a difference of opinion, they should refrain from airing them even in the hearing distance of the child.
When the child attains the age of understanding, make him practice spending legitimately and frugally. He should be made to inculcate the habit of charity so that when he grows up, he doesn't turn into a parsimonious person. The child should be trained to dress modestly and decently.
Give pure and clean food to the child. It is not proper to think that the child cannot discriminate and hence can be given anything to eat. Allah (S.w.T.)'s curse will fall on the parents who encourage their children to drink liquors. How will such parents face Allah (S.w.T.)? Those who take their children to cinemas and other such centers of pleasure should know that the duty for formation of the child's Shaakila that has been entrusted by Allah (S.w.T.) on them is being neglected.
Every scene that is contrary to the norms of decency diminishes the sense of shame in the child. He becomes impertinent and might insult others. Such an unfortunate child, in later years, will find it very tough to banish the negative traits that have taken root in his psyche because of the neglect of his parents.
When a child attains the age of eight years, he should be made regular at offering the mandatory prayers. When he is ten years, he should not share a bed with any of his siblings. Even after attaining the age of twelve, if he is not regular at prayers, he must be reprimanded. Corporal punishment is permissible in such a situation. This punishment should be discreet and within limits that it has positive and salutary effect on the child.
The orders of the Shari’ah have to be borne in mind from the time the mother conceives the child. The parents should abstain from taking forbidden food that it does not have any evil effect on the fetus. While mating, the parents should remember Allah (S.w.T.). In the beginning they should say Bismillah that Satan doesn't enter the seed at the time of conception. The thoughts of both the parents must be Rahmani at that time to ensure that the child develops a Rahmani Shaakila. If, at the time of conception, the father has satanic thoughts, then they will have negative effect on the child. It will then need lot of efforts to mould the child's Shaakila on virtuous lines.
Let us consider about the way Hadrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.) was conceived. It is narrated that when Allah (S.w.T.) decided to send the mother of the Imams (a.s.) to the world, then He, with His Omniscience, arranged that her body should be so Rahmani that it should be as pure as the Godly Spirit (Ruh kulli Ilahi). The body should be as rare or light as the human spirit. Let it not be a secret that the bodies of the Imams (a.s.) are as light as the spirits of the Mu’minīn.
Since the body of the Prophet (S) is all Nur and rarity, and is absolutely Rahmani, his shaakila is absolutely pure.
It is narrated that the Prophet (S) was one day seated at Al-Tah. Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) and Hadrat Ammar was present. Also present were Hadrat Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. Jibril came at that time and conveyed Allah (S.w.T.)'s orders that the Prophet (S) should remain at that place for forty days and abstain from meeting his wife during the period. He was also asked to fast during the days and to spend the nights in prayer and supplication. He was asked to abstain during all the forty days from Mubah (permissible) acts like eating after sunrise and sleeping in the nights. The purpose was to render the shaakila of the Prophet (S.) most latif or subtle.
The Prophet (S) asked Hadrat Ammar to go to Hadrat Khadija and tell her that he wouldn't go home for forty days and that his not coming home was not because of any differences with her, but was under the orders of Allah (S.w.T.).
Ammar gave the Prophet (S.)'s message to Hadrat Khadija. She sent back her greetings to the Prophet (S) and said that she would patiently await his return after forty days. She spent these forty days in prayer to Allah (S.w.T.) at the house of her aunt, Hadrat Fatima bint Asad, the mother of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.).
On the fortieth evening Jibril came and asked the Prophet (S) to delay breaking the fast till the material for breaking the fast came from the Heaven. After the prayer Jibril, and along with him Mikaail and Israfil, (who generally don't come to the Prophets (S.) after the prayers), came with the fruits from the Heaven (oats, grapes and dates) and water from the springs of the Heaven.
Hadrat Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) says that the Prophet (S) always asked him to keep the door of the house open at the mealtime so that anyone who came could partake of the food. But on that evening he particularly instructed not to allow anyone to come near him that none else had a right to partake of the food he was having then. After the Prophet (S) ate the food, Hadrat Jibril helped him wash his hands. The Prophet (S) now wanted to offer his optional prayers, but Jibril said, “Tonight you need not spend time in offering optional prayers. You must immediately go to Hadrat Khadija that the Heavenly Matter has been incorporated in your body.”
Hadrat Khadija says that she was about to sleep when there was a knock on the door. She asked who it was. The Prophet (S) said, “Open the door!” The Prophet entered the house. As usual she brought water for his ablution. He offered two units of prayer of thanksgiving and went to bed. But that night he didn't do ablution before coming to the bed.
Thus from that pure body, the pure spiritual material was transferred to the purest womb.
The reality of this pure conception is wonderful. Hadrat Khadija (s.a.) said that she immediately felt that she had conceived. From the very next day, the pure foetus starting with her mother and reciting the Praises of Allah (S.w.T.).
These facts sound incredible, but are only based on the Will of Allah (S.w.T.).
It is among the Mustahabbat of our faith that on the Day of Judgement, Shafa’at al-Kubra (the Major Intercession) will be in the hands of Hadrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.)