The End Of Negative Suffering - 2/6
This is the second part of the lecture series on "The end of negative suffering" by Brother Khalil Jaffer. In this series, he talks about how to become alive and conscious in the real sense, how to connect again to Allah, and what is it that is disconnecting us from Him. It is because of this disconnection that causes all the negative suffering.
'A'udhu bil-Lahi min al-Shaytan al-rajim. Bismil-Lah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Al-hamdulil-Lahi Rabbi 'l-alameen, bari' al-khalaa'iqi ajma'een. Wa as-salat wa as-salam 'ala asharafi al-Anbiya'i wa al-Mursalin, Sayyidina, wa Nabiyyina, wa habibi qulubina, wa tabibi nufusina, wa shafi'i dhunubina, Abil Qasim Muhammad. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. Thumma as-salatu wa assalam 'ala aali baytihi, at-tayyibin, at-taharin, al-madhlumin, laisa ma baqiat Allah fi 'l-Ardhi. Wa la'anatu Allahi 'ala a'da'ihim ajma'in. Amma ba'd, faqad qal Allahu tabaraka wa taa'la fi kitabih. Bismillahi, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Ya aiyyuha alladhina amanu istajiboo lil-Lahi wa li ir-Rasuli idha da'akum limaa yuhyyikum (8:24). Salawat! [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad].
Last night, we began a series of discussion on the subject of how to end negative suffering. And based on the feedback I got from a number of the Mu'minin, it was a little heavy, going in a little deep in terms of philosophy and psychology, but it was important that we establish a base and get that grounded initially. And tonight, inshaAllah, we will build on that with a lot of examples and experiences in life that we can relate to before we move on to more new materials tomorrow, inshaAllah.
A very quick recap, just to remind ourselves. We started off by saying that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala in Surah al-Anfal, chapter eight, verse twenty four, is inviting us to that which will give us life, and we distinguish life as not being the same as birth. And we said that it is possible for a person to be born, but not to be alive. We went on to say that a person can truly be said to be awake and conscious and alive when they are so connected to Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala that there is this inner peace within them that cannot be disturbed no matter what physical suffering or emotional suffering is on the outside. And the loss of this inner peace is what we call negative suffering, and we talked about the different types of suffering with examples. And we said, any kind of suffering which is negative in its own selves, such as anger, anxiety, fear, hatred, resentment, stress, worry, boredom, depression, these are all forms of negative suffering.
And that if a person acquires the ma'rifat of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, if a person eliminates these negative forms of suffering, then it is possible for a person to go through life, suffering a tremendous amount from the outside, but having a peace that cannot be disturbed. And when you speak to a lot of people about spiritual purification and enlightenment and evolving spiritually, you will find that the key concern that a human being has is not so much to have mystical powers and abilities. Most human beings, it is, of course, of interest, and one will always be curious to know how to achieve such powers. But at the end of the day, a human being is not so concerned about being able to fly in the air or walk on water or read people's minds. Those are all nice to haves. The real thing that a human being wants to know is how to end their suffering, how they can handle suffering.
They can handle the death of a loved one. They can handle the news that they are now suffering from an illness because of which they will die in a few months. What they cannot handle is the fact that the suffering appears to be so meaningless. What was the wisdom behind my father or my mother or my child dying, for example? And as a human being begins to struggle with this, that is really the key thing that, I can manage suffering, but I need to find meaning behind it. What is the meaning behind suffering? InshaAllah, if time permits, we will get to that.
So again, we talked about some of the causes of negative suffering and we said some of the key things were, we have an outdated method of resolving problems. The second thing was we tend to live in the past or in the future more than in the present. And the third, we said, is most human beings are trapped in their mind and they identify themselves as being the thinker inside them, when, in fact, the real me is the person who is behind the thinker. When the thinker no longer believes to be, that is "me," then what remains is the real me. And it is very difficult to attain that status, but inshaAllah, we will talk about methods of attaining that.
So tonight, what we want to do, inshaAllah, is discuss, yesterday out of these three methods of suffering, we talked about the first one, which was the outdated method of solving problems, and we said when we were infants, we learned some bad habits, that when you have a problem, because we were so helpless, we developed some techniques of solving a problem, like crying and kicking a fuss and so on. And many of us do not go beyond that. We do not learn the art of communication and we tend to still use those same methods to resolve problems. So we gave an example of that.
And we said that, another comment that I did not make with regards to this problem of outdated methods is when somebody behaves in a manner that is immature, what we say to them, is "stop being childish", isn't it? Now, notice the word "stop being childish," why do we use that word? It obviously offends somebody. So that works, one way is to perhaps offend the person, "stop being childish, stop being immature," but stop being childish means stop acting like a child because that is how a child resolves problems, and you are not a child.
OK, now somebody sent me an email that was, I thought, interesting, and I just want to share some passages in it for you and I want you to see that at the end of the day, all human beings want the same thing they had when they were children, except that human beings are trying to regress instead of progress. And that is where the problem lies.
This email that someone sent me is titled "The Resignation of an Adult." And this is an adult who says, I am not going to read the whole thing because I have other things to cover. But just to give you an idea, he says: "I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an eight year old again". Then he goes on and on and he says: "I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to lie under a big tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer day. And I want to return to a time when life was simple and so on and so forth. I want to think the world is fair, that everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to live simple again".
Now, here, listen to this: "I do not want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in a month than there is money in the bank. Doctor bills, gossip, illness and loss of loved ones". So it goes on and on. Then he says, "so here is my checkbook, my wallet, my car keys, my credit cards, and my 401k statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you will have to catch me first because, tag you are it".
Ok now, what do you see in something like this? What is this person trying to say? That I am tired of being an adult, because we associate the responsibilities and the problems we go through in life as being something that you have to face as an adult. And that if you could be an eight year old again, you would not have to go through all this stress.
And what I am trying to share with you in these five nights is that it is possible to have the same peace and the same happiness and the same tranquility that an eight year old has without actually regressing and giving up the sense of responsibility that we should be having. If you can recite a loud Salawat ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].
So that was the first cause of suffering that we use an outdated method of solving problems. The second cause of our suffering was that we live in the past or in the future instead of the present. And the reason for that, we said, was because the mind is trying to fool us into believing that it is really me, it needs to keep constant mental activities going. And the mind has established that there is not much happening in the present, so to live in the present means to die. The ego is threatened by the present, so it needs to constantly live in the past using blame or depression or anger, or using the future using stress and worry and anxiety and making all those mental movies that we talked about, right. And there is so much noise taking place in the head that we miss out on life itself. That is where we stopped yesterday.
So our normal state of existence, which is the case of most human beings, is that we live in the future or in the past instead of the present. And this appears to be so normal that we do not see any problem with it, when, in fact, it is a very big problem.
Now, I am going to make a statement that will sound a little odd, and the statement is that the past and the future do not have a reality. They are an illusion. What is real is only the present. But what do we mean by that?
What we mean is that it is impossible for you to have any experience in the past or in the future. Can you see something in the past? No. You can jog your memory, bring something so vivid in front of you that you actually begin to see it, but when you are seeing it, it is the present that you are seeing. Can you smell something in the future? Can you hear something in the future? You may be able to use your imagination and think of something in the future to such, with such, intensity that you actually feel that sense, but when you feel it, you are feeling it in the now.
Now, one of the questions that I was asked yesterday was "but time and again we have to deal with the future, right, if I have to pay a bill, for example, are you telling me I should live in the present so much that I do not wait, and I do not pay the bill until the actual time to pay the bill. That is not possible to live like that. If I am managing a project, I have to think about the future."
And what we are trying to say here is that you can deal with the future when there is a need to deal with a practical issue, but you do not have to make a problem out of it. Did you know, for example, that 80 to 90 percent of human thought is just repetitive and useless? Most of our thinking has no purpose. We are addicted to thinking. What is the definition of an addiction? And addiction is something that takes hold of you with such intensity that you feel you cannot stop it even though you want to. Whether it is a drug, or whether it is smoking cigarettes' or whatever it is, that is what an addiction is. An addiction is something that you feel "I cannot stop this".
And if you say I am not addicted to thinking, then my question is, if I ask you to stop the thoughts coming in your mind, can you stop them? Have you found the off button where you can sit and switch off thinking? And most people cannot do that, and that is why we say we are addicted to thinking.
So we introduced today the first technique, and we are going to introduce a number of them, the first method by which we slowly begin to dis-identify from our mind, where we slowly begin to say, I am not my mind. And this first method is very simple, how to become present, how to live in the now.
You sit where you are. And you take a few deep breaths, OK, most human beings are so, have so much anxiety in them, they do not even breathe. You know, you should take a full, you know, oxygen is free, people are huffing and puffing. They are like breathing half breaths. You sit and you learn how to take a deep breath, fully, take a full, deep breath in and out. And when you have sat like that for a bit, and you find now that thoughts are not coming into your mind, you are somewhat relaxed, ask yourself this question. What is wrong with now? It is a very simple question, what is wrong with now?
And the answer will always be nothing. And this is a profound discovery if you if you lock into it. You can never suffer when you are in the now. Negative suffering, not physical or emotional suffering. Remember. Any time you have any negative suffering; boredom, depression, anxiety, worry, stress, anger, fear, think about it, it will only happen when your mind is in the past or in the future. The moment you are in the present, you cannot suffer.
And if you want, go home and try this, sit quietly, take a few deep breaths, listen to the silence, become aware of your breathing. Watch your mind, you will begin to see there is no thoughts coming in now, you are relaxed. And then ask yourself, what is wrong with now? The moment thoughts come in, it is like oh, yesterday this happened, and this happened, and now this one made me angry, and now I am upset with this, and tomorrow I have to do this, and all this stress comes in.
I want you to also think about something else. Whenever you had a serious problem in life, you managed it very well. The answers, the resources, the strength was there. Think about it. The phone rang. Somebody said that your loved one had an accident or died or something like that happened. What happened? Immediately, you sprung into action and you did the right thing. You called other relatives, you called 911 if you had to. You booked a flight, you got on the flight, you got there, you started comforting other people. You went and got hold of a doctor. You spoke to the doctor, you arranged this, you arranged that. If there was a burial to be done, you went to the mosque, you spoke to someone there, you arranged the funeral.
Where does an ordinary person get such incredible courage from? All your life, you worried that if something like this was to happen, will I manage? If my parents died, will I ever manage this, what will happen to me? I will be so depressed, this will happen to me. If my child dies, will I be able to manage it? But when it actually happened, you showed incredible courage. Why?
The answer is, that when it actually happened, you are so much in the present, there was no time to worry. The mind did not have the opportunity to play games. You are beginning to see where all this worry and stress is coming from, this is all things coming from the mind. And to always be in the future is a great cause or a cause of stress, because when you are always in the future what you are saying is, I do not want the present, I want the future. When you say, I do not want the present, I want the future, I am not happy now, I want something else. What you are saying is I do not want what I have. I want what I do not have. I do not want this job, I want another job. I do not want this house, I want another house. I do not want this wife. I want another. As an example, I need to go home tonight.
Dissatisfaction with the present. I want the future. And this is all the mind. When you learn the art of being happy with the present, you find it is not what you have, it is how, it is not what job you have that is making you unhappy, it is how you are doing the job. You can change 20 jobs, if how we think does not change, you will never be happy. Always waiting for the future. And waiting are of two kinds. There is short term waiting, and there is long term negative waiting. Short term negative waiting is waiting in the traffic impatiently, we talked about that yesterday, waiting in the line at the post office, waiting for someone to arrive.
Long term negative waiting, waiting for a better job, waiting to, waiting for the children to grow up, waiting to retire, waiting to become rich, waiting to become successful. Waiting to make more money. Even those who are spiritual, they are waiting to become enlightened. They are waiting for the future to become enlightened. When you can actually do it now. Waiting to become important, waiting to have some social status. These are all forms of not wanting the present and wanting the future.
And because the future does not exist, only the present exists, it is impossible to get the future, and the present is escaping us. We are constantly creating this conflict in our lives by running after something that cannot be had and being dissatisfied with what we have.
And we quoted a passage yesterday from Carl Jung where he spoke to this Native American chief who said, we do not know what they want. They are always seeking something. They are always running after something. Why can't they be happy with what they have? So learn to live in the present and be happy with what you have today. And when you are present, every time you seem a little stressed, this is the first technique, the moment you feel a little stressed or unhappy or depressed or bored or anxious or a little jittery or resentful, take a few deep breaths, full breaths, deeply inhale and exhale.
Somebody once told me there is actually a hadith from Amir Al-Mu'min'n Ali Ibn Abu Talib, alayhi as-salam [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad], in which he actually shows people how to breathe. How to sit in meditation and breathe. These are not foreign ideas that we are bringing in from Buddhism or Hinduism. These are very much part and part of Islam. We have just lost this knowledge. Learn to breathe, even when, for example, you have to do something, you will see, we advise when somebody has to do public speaking, they are not used to it, or if they have to perform in front of public, they are told what? Take a few deep breaths because that relaxes you.
And then once you are relaxed, ask yourself, yes, I want this. I want that. And I want to change my job. I want to change this. I want to get this. I want to retire. If I had a million dollars, I would not have to work. I could do this. But what is wrong with now? There is nothing wrong with now.
So the next time someone asks you, the next time someone tells you, sorry to have kept you waiting. You can tell them that is OK, I was not waiting, I was just happy enjoying the now. I was just happy enjoying the now.
I spoke to someone just the day before and he said something to me, and I do not think he realised how profound the statement was. He had to go to Montreal. So I said, how are you going to Montreal? He said, I will probably go by bus or by car. I said, why do not you fly, it is faster? He says, you know what Khalil Bhai, the clock is ticking, so it is not going to make the clock slower or faster, whether I sit at home or sit in the bus or sit on the plane or sit in the car. My life is still ticking at the same pace and I do not have to get there at a particular time. So to me, it is fine whether I am here or I am there. I am happy wherever I am.
That is so deep and so profound and to have this ability to live in the present is a great gift because the moment we live in the present, there is a peace that enters our hearts. There is a stillness that comes in. There is this calmness and this sense of fulfillment that comes in us, because now we no longer depend on the future to be happy.
And the reason for this peace as well, when you live in the present, is because when you are in the present, like we said, the mind cannot chatter anymore. The mind cannot chatter when you are in the present. Try this at home and tell me. And so when the mind does not chatter, it becomes silent. When it becomes silent, the ego is on hold so we connect to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.
And that is why you are also told when you pray, when you recite duas, always be in the present. There is a Hadith from Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad], he says Allah does not answer the prayer of an inattentive heart. Where a person recites du'a like a parrot, but in his heart, there is nothing. You have probably heard, I do not know if I have mentioned this before to you about the man who trained his parrot to say, ya Allah, ya Allah all the time. I have mentioned this, have I? Have I not mentioned this? OK, this man had a parrot, he trained him every time to do Asma' Allah al-Husna, ya Allah, ya Allah, and people would come from far and wide to come and see this, Subhana Allah this parrot can say ya Allah. One day, a cat got the parrot, and when it was pulling the parrot away, it was screaming and it was screeching away. So people came to give condolences to the man later on, you know, because your parrot died in such a tragic manner. And the man was grieving, and he said there is just one thing I do not understand. That all its life it said ya Allah ya Allah. But when it was dying, it was screeching and screaming. It was not saying ya Allah. So the people said that is because on its mouth there was ya Allah, but in its heart there was screeching.
So a lot of us read du'as, but what is in the heart? Allah does not answer the prayer of a person whose heart is inattentive. Does that mean that when we are not attentive Allah is also not attentive, na'udhu bi-Llah. Can He not hear us? He can hear us, but the problem is when we are not attentive, we have unplugged ourselves, so that connection is not there. It is like having a source of power on the wall from which there is a tremendous amount of power. Now, the power and energy is there, but you have to be plugged in to get power. If you unplug you can not blame the power and say there is no power there.
So when the mind is chattering this connection is, we have pulled the plug basically. And this is the essence of all forms of meditation. All types of meditation that people teach you, they tell you to concentrate, they tell you live in the present. When you are walking, be conscious of the fact that you are walking right now. When you are washing your hands, that is what you are doing, washing your hands. And you are happy. What is wrong with now? Do not let your mind.
If you look at Adab as-Salat of Imam Khomeini, beautiful book, very profound. And I am giving all these examples from Islam so that you understand that these ideas are not coming from other faiths or other schools of thought. These are part and parcel of Islam, that if you are closing the door, think "I am closing the door", that is all. It is very difficult to get to the stage when you leave just now, you go to the car, you close the door, you are sitting there, take a few deep breaths. You will be alone in the car, it will be quiet, listen to the silence. Then ask yourself, what is wrong with now? And then come and tell me tomorrow what was wrong, if you find anything.
Imam Khomeini in Adab as-Salat, he says, if you are in ruku, and you are thinking of the sajda that is ghafla. That is heedlessness. You are heedless, he says, you are ghafil. When you are in ruku, you are just in ruku, Subhana Rabi-al-Azheemi. There is no thought that there is going to be a sajda. When you go to sajda, that is all, that is all, there is nothing else. Absolutely nothing else.
He says Imam Khomeini, in his 40 hadith, I do not know if we will come to those levels of discussions, even though I promised, it looks like we won't make it to that, those chapters. But in one of his chapters, he says "you should be so present, you should not need your memory to keep reminding you of the future." And he says the 'urafa, the gnostics, the enlightened people believe that to change your ring from one hand to another in order to remind yourself of the future is a form of shirk. And I do this all the time. If I am late and I did not get a chance to pray, and I am afraid I might forget to pray and I have to remember that I have to pray, I remove the ring from my right hand, I put it on my left hand because I am not used to having it on this hand. So it bothers me. And every time it bothers me, it reminds me of something I have to do. And when I read this, I was like, how did you know I do this?
And he says that is shirk, in the present. If you go to this website, al-Islam.org, there is a section there where they have a gallery, a multimedia gallery. You can go to al-islam.org/gallery. In this website there is a video clip of Imam Khomeini. It is like 10 seconds only or 15 seconds in which he is just looking down and he is talking to a crowd of people. If you get a chance, just go watch that. The man has not been with us for over 25, 30 years, but just watch him and he will move you. You will see he is so much in the present, there is absolutely no self-consciousness. He is just looking down, he is talking softly. He is not even shouting. But just go home, play that video, it is just 10 seconds or 15 seconds, just watch him. See the depth in the man. Truly, if there has been a man who was enlightened and awakened in our generation.
When he used to do wudhu he was so concerned about not wasting water, he would open the tap, take a handful of water, he would close it, wash his face. Then he would open it again, take some water, wash, and every time he took the water, he would turn towards qibla. He is already doing ibadat when he is doing wudhu. So if he was near a basin, and if it was not near qibla, and qibla was that way, he would take water, close the tap, then he would turn towards qibla, wash his face. Turn again, take some water, turn towards qibla, wash his right hand. What do you see in a man like this? He is totally present, totally in the now. And we seem to have a problem. If we can bring this about in us, then you will see a sense of peace, a sense of serenity that will take over us.
This last Muharram, the 12 days of Muharram we passed, on the first holy night of Muharram, it so happened that I went to the Jafri Islamic center on bay view and you know, we parked our car. It is just an example. So you see that day to day, how much we worry about things that we probably should not. So we parked our car at community center and they had a shuttle service and we went to the mosque and came back and so on.
Then after a few days on the seventh, eighth night or so, we went again and we had not been going in between. It so happened somebody moved the parking. It was now at a different location where the youths were having their English lectures at the park. We got there very early that day, so we thought maybe the shuttle service has not started yet or something like that, so we just parked at the community center. There was no car in sight, no shuttle service, and we thought, you know, maybe we are early, so we parked and then we just walked to the mosque. Now we had parked in the wrong place, obviously everybody else is parked somewhere else, but we did not know about it, so there was absolutely no worry. No stress, because ignorance is bliss.
When we came out of the mosque, we sat in the shuttle bus, my wife and I, and going the car, the bus is going toward the community center, suddenly it makes a sharp right turn and it is off in another direction. Now, our first theory was that someone he was kidnaping us, then we figured anybody who does that won't get a lot in terms of ransom. So we threw that theory out of the window. And we slowly realised we parked in the wrong place.
Now, just to give you an example, on that particular day, I was in this mood of what is wrong with now? So my wife says to me, we parked in the wrong place, we may be tagged or our car might be towed. So I said, yeah, but what is wrong with now? We are happy in the bus getting a free ride, the weather is nice. What is wrong with now? And we got there, to make it very brief, we had to look for someone to give us a ride back and there was an empty bus going back and the gentleman was very kind, he said sure I will drop you. So he takes us back. And again, the same conversation was going on. What if they towed our car? Do you have the cell phone? What will we do with this or what? But what is wrong with now? There is nothing wrong with now. When it becomes a problem, we will deal with it, when we get there and there is no car, then we will see what do we do then?
And we got off and we were walking there and again, the same thing. What if, what if, the mind, and I do this as well, right, this is normal that we, put yourself in this situation. How would you have reacted? Right. Normally, I would have reacted with worry as well. Maybe they take the car. Maybe there is a ticket there. I will get black points or demerit points, my license. Do I have my cell phone? You know, why didn't they tell us? And then an element of blame as well. Probably they should tell us. But what is wrong with now, right now I am walking and there is nothing wrong, and when we got there, the car was there, there was nothing wrong.
So just because you have to deal with a problem does not mean it has to be with worry. Yes, we all have problems in life, deal with the problem. When it becomes a problem, when it is the present, deal with it. But do not make it a source of worry. There is nothing wrong with now. When it is winter, people say oh they say "this coming summer is going to be very hot," when it is summer they say "this coming winter is going to be very cold."
And you might say we were just talking, we are not really worried. But we are building discontentment, because we are saying we are not happy with what we have now. We want what is in the future. Or we are not happy with what is in the future. When it snows 30 centimeters, you deal with it. You do what needs to be done. But there is no need to make a problem out of it. Or the gas prices are going to go very high this summer, sure, they are going to go high. But what is wrong with now?
When I came to Canada six years ago, the gas prices were 40 cents a liter. Now I am paying 80 cents a liter. And by the grace of Allah, when it is a dollar sixty or two dollars, if I have the money, I will pay. If I do not have the money, I will catch a bus, if I do not have the fare for a bus, I will change my job or I will take a bicycle. We will deal with it when it becomes the issue. But what is wrong with now? This is a radical way of changing how you think and how you change.
And human beings because they know that inherently they can only be happy when they are in the present, they are attracted to certain activities that keep them in the present. For example, a lot of human beings like dangerous sports, they like mountain climbing, they like car racing. Why? Because when you are climbing the mountain, you cannot afford to be thinking about what am I going to have for dinner today? It is extremely dangerous. You have to be focused in the now. Some people will practice, for example, tai chi or activities like that, which are good. Why do they enjoy doing this? Because they do not realize it, but subconsciously, when we are in the present, there is peace, there is stillness, there is no anxiety.
So we like such things. The only problem with these activities is then you become addicted to it. Then you can only be happy when you are climbing a mountain and you can not always be climbing a mountain. So we are saying there is another way where you do not have to be doing something dangerous or something, that is not natural. And in the olden days, you know, the trainers and the enlightened sages and the gnostics and the masters, when they wanted to train their students, they would keep them in a room, teach them meditation, and then at some point when the room was all quiet, they would lift a finger and they would hold it like that for a bit. And the whole room would go quiet and everybody is now focused. And then the master would ask, what is lacking now? And the idea was to teach this valuable lesson that there is nothing wrong ever, there is no negative suffering whatsoever when we are in the present.
And I want to end with just a narration. There is a famous quote from Rumi. Many of you may have heard of Rumi, who was a mystic and a poet in Islam, in which he says "What veils us from God is time. Burn up the past and the future. There is no greater obstacle to God than the loss of now."
But I want to end with a hadith of Rasul Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad], so that we understand that this idea of living in the now is not foreign. I cannot stress this enough. Because I know your immediate thought is he is teaching us Buddhism or he is teaching us this, because we have never heard of a lot of these things in Islam. And I want you to see it is there in our books, we are just not talking about them. Listen to this hadith and then you tell me what you understand from this hadith.
The Messenger of Allah, peace be on him and his family, he says: I swear by Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, he is swearing by Allah in a very beautiful manner, that I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul. He says "wa alladhi nafsu muhammadun bi yadih", I swear by Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad. I have never blinked my eyes without believing that Allah might take my soul away before my eyelashes touch each other. This is hadith, I will give you full references, if you want.
What I want from you is tell me what you understand from this hadith. That I swear by Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, I have never blinked my eyes without believing this: that Allah might take my soul away before my eyelashes touch each other. The way I see it, he is saying I am so much in the present I have absolutely no false hope. I do not live in the future to any degree, not even the blinking of an eye.
This tells you something of the level to which the Prophet and Imams had reached, and how far behind we are and how much catching up we need to do. So we were going to cover the third cause of suffering as well, but because of not having time to do that, we will cover that tomorrow, inshaAllah.
For tonight, though, think about this one technique that we have introduced, which is whenever you have any negative suffering, breathe deeply, bring some sense of peace in you, and then ask yourself, what is wrong with now. If you can recite a loud Salawaat ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].
Last night, we started talking about the Ahlul Bayt's journey from Karbala to Kufa. And tonight, we continue with the journey from Kufa to Sham. We are told that when the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum as-salam, came close to Damascus as they approached the gate, Umm Kulthum found out that Shimr, la'natu Allahi 'alayh, was in charge of the army. She came to him and said, "Oh Shimr, If I ever asked you for a request, it is this one request that do not take us through the main gates of Damascus, because there will be people looking at us. Take us to another gate where people cannot see us."
And Shimr hearing this said, "I will do more than that." He took them to the gates through the main gates and he kept them there for three days first, waiting outside. Then he sent a message to the people of Damascus and said, "Decorate your houses and prepare to celebrate as we bring the head of Husayn into Damascus." And the people began adorning their houses and celebrating.
As the Ahlul Bayt were taken in, the women began playing drums. Imam as-Sajjad alayhi as-salam, says, "I was tied in chains and I had no turban on my head and there were people throwing stones and fire over us. And when fire would fall on my head, it would burn me. But I did not have the means of removing this fire from me." He says: a man by the name of Sahl bin Sa'id happened to enter Damascus the same time with the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum as-salam. He came to Imam as-Sajjad, alayhi as-salam, and said, "Ya Ibn Rasul Allah, I am one who has seen your great grandfather, the Prophet himself, tell me what I can do to help."
Imam as-Sajjad, alayhi as-salam, says to Sahl, "Oh Sahl if you can give money to the person holding the head of my father on a spear, tell him to move a little ahead so the people do not see the women from my family." Sahl goes to this man holding the spear, the head of Imam Husayn on the spear and says to him, "Oh man, I will give you 100 dirhams if you move a little forward and do not stay close to the women, the man goes ahead.
As the caravan moves a little forward, an old man standing on the road says to Imam as-Sajjad, "All praise is to Allah who destroyed his enemies." And the Imam immediately realizes this man has been brainwashed by Muwawiya and Yazid and he speaks with ignorance. He said to him, "Oh man, have you ever read the Qur'an?" The man said, "Yes, I have read the Qur'an." He said, "Have you read in the Qur'an, "qul la as'alukum alayhi min ajran illa al-mawadata fil qurba? (42:23)" That I do not ask you for any reward except the love of my family." The man said, "yes, I have read this." Imam as-Sajjad said "we by Allah are the qurba that you are cursing."
He said, "Oh man have you read "innama yuridu Allah li yudhiba ankum al rijsa Ahlul Bayt (33:33)." He said, "yes, I have read that verse". He said, "we are that Ahlul Bayt about whom Allah says wa yutahirahum tatheera. Oh man have you read the verse of Qur'an where Allah says "wali-Llahi khumusahu wa li 'r-Rasul wali dhil-qurba. (8:41)" That for Allah is khums and for the Prophet and his family. He says, "yes, I have read this verse of the Qur'an." He says, "by Allah, we are the family that you are cursing." The old man took his turban and threw it on the ground and said, "Ya Ibn Rasul Allah, forgive me for I did not know."
When Yazid came to know the people were turning against him, he had the man beheaded. Some women ran inside to the court of Yazid and went to his wife Hind and said, "oh, Hind, there are women who have been brought as prisoners, if you wish to come and meet them." Hind came out being carried on a throne in front of the ladies. Zaynab, alayha as-salam saw her and immediately recognized that this is a Hind who was once a servant in our house in the house of Ali.
Hind came to Zaynab and said, "oh women from which city do you come?" Zaynab says to Hind, "oh lady, we come from Medina." Hind came down from her throne. Zaynab says to Hind, "Oh Hind, why did you come down from your throne?" She said, "out of respect for the people of Medina." "What is it that you have with the people of Medina?" She said "I have a question to ask you, oh prisoners, do you know the house of Ali bin Abu Talib?" Zaynab says to Hind, "of course we know the house of Ali Ibn Abu Talib, what is it you want from the house of Ali?" She said, "I used to work for them at one time, I want to ask about my master Husayn and his sister Zaynab and Umm Kulthum." Zaynab parts her hair and says, "Oh Hind you did not recognize Zaynab? This is Zaynab and there is Husayn, his head is on the spear." Hind began beating herself and saying, "Wa Imama! Wa Sayyda! Wa Husayna! If only I had been blind before I saw the daughters of Zahra in this condition."
Ala la'natu Allahi 'ala al-qawmi adh-dhalimeen. Inna li Allahi, wa inna ilayh raja'oon. Rabbana bihaqqi Muhammadan, wa Aliyin, wa Fatimah, wa Al-Hasan wa Al-Husayn. Oh Allah we ask You to accept our gathering here this night. Oh Allah we ask You bi haqqi Muhammad wa aali at-tahireen, to forgive our sins. Ya Allah bi haqqi Muhammad wa aali Muhammad, we ask You to give shafa'a to those who are sick. Ya Allah bi haqqi Muhammad wa aali Muhammad we ask You to grant maghfira to those who have passed away before us from our marhumeen. Ya Allah bi haqqi Muhammad wa aali Muhammad we ask You to hasten the appearance of our Imam and to make us among his Ashab and Ansar. Rabbana taqabbal minha, innaka Anta al-Sami'u, al-'Aleem.