The Forgotten Depth of Islam - 1st Muharam 1443/2021

Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim, wa bihi nasta'in. Thumma as-salatu wa as-salamu 'alaa sayyidina, wa nabiyyina, Abil Qasim Al-Mustafa Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad] wa 'ala alihi, al-tayyibin, al-taahirin.

Dear sisters and brothers Salamun 'alaykum, [wa aleykum as-salam] I hope you are all keeping well, it is so nice to see you again. God knows how much I missed you. I am also very grateful to Shabab al-Sibtayn, the organizers, the volunteers, for giving me the opportunity to continue what we started in Ramadan. Some of you may have been there with us during the month of Ramadan in the series we had on Insan, some of you maybe not, but inshaAllah, the goal is to pursue the discussion we started then, but to go deeper.

So even if you have not watched the Ramadan ones inshaAllah, this would be an independent standalone series, but the aim is to go much deeper. So in the month of Ramadan, we spoke about Insan, how religion came to create the inner change, not just some external actions and rituals and how what is inside us changes the way we see the outside world we spoke about all of that.

But inshaAllah in this Muharram, we are going to go much deeper. We are going to be talking about things that hopefully by the end of it, you will have a new understanding of yourself, of religion, of the Ahl al-Bayt, their teachings, of God and more importantly, this world. So please recite a Salawat [ Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].

Such a lovely vibe they have created, I do not know about you, but just being here, I feel very spiritual. So it is such an opportunity, you know, we are here together, at least for the next 40 to 45 minutes, we have an opportunity to maybe reflect on things that could change our life. So I really ask of you to if you can give all your attention to me or at least 90 percent of it, hopefully we are here to achieve some things. You know, my main motto, which is something I have learned from the Ahl al-Bayt, is that things are only useful if they change us.

Right. So now that for the love of Imam Husayn that is written here as well, we have been given the opportunity to come here and spend time on our own self growth and development, an opportunity that we owe it to Imam Husayn and our love to him, let us make the most out of it and reflect, take on what has been said and see if it has the power to change us or not.

Tonight's topic and the title for tonight is called 'The Forgotten Depth of Religion.' It is going to be mainly an introduction to the rest of the series, but even as its own, I am hoping it would be beneficial for you. Another point, which I said again in Ramadan, is that all of these ten nights are going to be linked to each other. So if you like tonight, make sure you continue, because I am hoping together with all these ten nights achieve something.

One of the things we are seeing a lot these years is I am sure you must have seen it as well, there is a rise of interest in spirituality. Right, and that is not just for religious people, even non-religious people. There is even books about how to have spirituality without faith, how to have spirituality without God. But just there has been an increase, a large increase and interest in spirituality, in finding meaning in life, in purpose, in wisdom.

There are even so many books. If you look at some of the best seller books, a lot of them have to do with these kind of things-'self transcendence', 'how to be a stoic', I do not know all of these things, 'how to have a meaningful life', 'how to find your purpose.' It seems like there is a strong interest in these kind of things, even for people who do not have religion, but even for religious people, they are finding, OK, how can I change my life through spirituality? There is so much interest in mindfulness, in meditation.

Even academically, in psychology and cognitive science, there is so much work being done on wisdom, you would not believe it. I mean, unless you are working on it, which you would probably believe it, things that previously you would read, for example, in the hadith of Imam Kadhim about 'hikmah', some of its details are now being studied in cognitive science. So many researchers are focusing on wisdom.

So there seems to be a very strong rise in interest in these things. And at the same time, even things like psychedelics, both academically and in the public, you know, even the medical healthcare we see that right now, they are using psychedelics to deal with, for example, treatment resistant addictions. Many people who cannot quit their addictions through the use of psychedelics; of course, in a professional medical setting; they have been helped. Even dealing with trauma, the rates of healing PTSD increases from 20 percent to 80 percent with the use of psychedelics.

So you see that there is a all-round interest in figuring out solutions to live better, a more meaningful life that can be found not just in the everyday aspect of life. It seems that humanity is thirsty to go deeper than this whole routine of job promotion, study, like houses, cars, etc. It seems like people want to go deeper.

And at the same time that this is happening, we see another side to this, which is what a lot of scholars are now calling the mental health crisis. Suicide rates are higher than they have ever been, they are spiking. There is a lot of expressions of frustration, cynicism, futility. There is a kind of lost sense of touch with reality. A lot of people feel like their life does not make sense. They do not know what they should be doing in this world. Why am I here? What should I do?

There is all sorts of books written on convincing people to stay alive. One of the books I picked up, one of the great authors, Matt Haig, a few years ago, 'Reasons To Stay Alive'. Imagine, if an organism and a living organism whose literally whose goal is to remain alive, continue its life and survive, has reached a place where it is asking, why should I live? Even though everything in our body is designed to sustain its life but still, we have reached a place that a lot of people, they do not know why they should live, why should they continue life in this world full of pain, full of suffering, full of loneliness, full of isolation.

And some of you may think that, OK, this is for non-religious people, this is for people with low faith, with weak Iman, if you have Iman, if you have a good relationship with God, you know what you are doing here, you will not be depressed. Someone may say that, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

In fact, recently an article was published by a great team of Muslim psychologists, I think headed by Dr. Rania Awwad in America. They published it in the Journal of American Medical Association. And it showed that the rate of attempted suicide in the adult Muslims was twice as higher than other faiths and people of no faith. And I am not saying that we know the answers why this is the case, there needs to be much more studies, even Islamophobia could have a role in that, there may be so many reasons. But it is definitely a wake up call when you hear attempted suicide rates is twice as higher than any other faith group or even people of no faith and in the Muslims, that is the situation.

So this whole idea that this 'meaning crisis', this sense of darkness, this sense of isolation from the world, loss, this loss of touch with reality can only be solved through faith, at least not the faith we have right now. And now you may be saying, OK, maybe those Muslims were not religious, but I actually went through the article with a lot of, like, attention. Most of the people who participated in that study considered religion to be a very important part of their life. So it is not like they were even indifferent to religion or they did not care enough or maybe they were not religious enough. No, they were super religious, at least a great number of them. But still, they had all the problems they had.

So what is happening? So inshaAllah in this series, I want to talk about this, what happened to us? Why are so many of us suffering and why is religion not helping? At least if it is not making things worse, It is not helping either. And so I am hoping that during this series we can learn what happened to us, how we got stuck in the surface of religion and we lost a lot of its depth. And this was the thing that caused us all the problems we have, how we are not benefiting from so much gems and wisdom that religion can play in our life. Please recite a Salawat [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].

OK, let me tell you about another study, because I want to use that study as an introduction to speak about a Hadith by Imam Ali 'alayhi as-salam. There was another study done a few years ago that has nothing to do with Muslim communities. It was about a native tribe in a different country. Now they realized that the suicide rate in that native tribe is very little, close to zero. And that was quite a shock because the close vicinity of that native tribe, the people who were living in the urban places and the cities, they had quite the normal rate of suicide, which is obviously more than zero. And it was very interesting how come it is zero here.

And then the research continued focusing on this tribe, and after a while what happened is that some of these native tribes who had these isolated lives joined together, so maybe four or five tribes joined together and started living together. And the interesting thing was that as soon as that happened, their suicide rates went not the same as cities, even higher than that. So from zero, as soon as they joined other tribes, they went even higher than other places.

Now, one of the things that Chandler, one of the lead researchers on this study pointed out, was that one of the things they lost once they left that isolated community and became part of a larger whole was the narrative that made their life make sense. Previously they had stories that were being transferred from one generation to another generation, you know, they all had a shared identity in their small tribe and their life made sense. They had a past, you know, this is where our ancestors came from, this is what our ancestors do, the difficulties they had to go through for us to have this life, and they had an image of where to go, and this is a future that we are going to create for our children. They had a narrative within which their life made sense, this story.

But as soon as they joined the other tribes, then it was no longer that they could benefit from that narrative because now they were next to people from another tribe with a different narrative, with a different story, with a different background, with a different identity. So slowly, slowly, because they did not have a shared version of a shared story to make sense of what the hell they are doing in this world. Slowly, slowly, they lost it and their present moment becomes disconnected from the future and the past.

Which is also the case for many immigrants, because they are you know, they are uprooted from the place in which their families lived for many years, where they have stories, where the buildings, the streets have old stories of what their ancestors did. So they are disconnected from the past and they are in a place in which it is very difficult for them now to imagine a future based on all these different changes and all the changes which are happening so rapidly. And this meant that their present moments could not be understood. They could not make sense of their life at that moment. And this was the reason why their suicide rates jumped off the roof.

Now, why did I mention this story? As breaking as heartbreaking as it is, as sad as it is, as shocking as it is, how is it relevant to us?

I want to say that the thing which happened to that tribe on a smaller scale of not knowing what was their past, of not knowing what is their future, just being stuck in this present moment, which can be filled with pain, with isolation, with heartbreak, with illnesses, with nothing to look forward to. The same thing that happened to them on a larger scale it is happening to the whole of humanity.

Humanity as a whole has lost a narrative that can sustain its life, that can give it meaning that you can use to make sense. Now, a lot of you may right now say, hang on a second, but we have, Muslims have, religious people have, we have a story. We were created by God, and then, you know, with the whole story of Adam, Adam ate the apple and then that happened, and so that is our past, this is our present and our future is heaven. Right? So we have a story, we have a narrative, and we are here in this world to be tested.

This world is a test. See, I just gave you a narrative, it makes sense. But the problem with this narrative is that as evidence shows us, as our own lives show us, it is no longer working. It is in our head, but it is not in our heart. And that is why many of us, as soon as we go through a very difficult time, it... The narrative is not strong enough to sustain us through those difficult times. It does not carry us because it is just in our head, right.

You know, that whole beautiful line that is attributed to Imam Ali, 'alayhi as-salam, 'Rahim Allah imra'an 'arafa min 'ayn fi 'ayn wa ilaa 'ayn'-"Blessed be the person who knows their past, where they are right now and where they are going". Which is exactly the solution we need for the 'meaning crisis.' It is exactly what that tribe lost and suddenly their life stopped making sense. We need to know, we need to live within a narrative that makes sense, make sense of what was our past? Where did we come from? What are we doing here?

Honestly, have you thought about it? What are we doing here? We just grow up, have children, cry in pain, we have heartbreaks, work for money, your boss gets mad at you, go back to work to work again or look for weekends and then weekend comes, you have to do laundry. You have to... It is just so boring, full of pain. What is the point of all of this?

And then where are we going? Well, you are going to heaven or hell and all of that. But you are seeing that increasingly, even though we believe in this narrative, in our mind, it does not do anything in our heart because we have not managed to pass this narrative to the next generation in a way that they can live it. It is not livable. Now, a lot of people from older generations, they may say, no, no, no. For me, I am living it and I tell my kid, you know, no, daddy lives this narrative, but your kid is not going to live it if you just tell.

And so this is why I want to talk about tonight about this idea that we have what a scientist that I am going to be using a lot in addition to Allamah Tabataba'i to explain what I am going to be explaining the following nights. So a lot of what we are saying is Qur'an and Ahl al-Bayt, most of it. How do we, which commentary am I using to make the sense of the ahadith and the Qur'an? Allamah Tabataba'i's commentary, most of it so all the credit goes to him. If there is any mistake, it is my understanding, my shortcoming.

But I am also going to be using language to be able to convey what I want to say. Right and I am using a lot of cognitive science borrowed from Professor John Varvakis and you will see why. You will see how it will help me to explain the ahadith of Imam Ali better so that it sits in your heart. OK, that is my goal, to be able to make sure this narrative, the religion we have, it is not just something in our head, but something that comes to our heart so that we can live a better, meaningful life.

So one of the things that has happened, and it is called 'fundamental forgetting', is that knowledge and unfortunately religion has been reduced to prepositional knowing- 'prepositional knowledge'. What do I mean by prepositional knowledge? It says it is a kind of knowledge that it is only a sentence, something you can tell to other people. God exists. God is great. God loves you. Even if you do not feel it, it does not matter, you are saying it. You could even come here and give a lecture about how God loves you but inside you do not feel God's love, right?

Prepositional knowledge is a knowledge that just gives you truths and facts. It does not make you feel like this knowledge is significant. How? We all know we die, do we not? But do you feel that? Are you faced with the urgency that in a few years or maybe in a few days or maybe even tonight we could die? No, we know it-prepositional knowledge. It does not have any impact on us. When does it go deeper than that? When, for example, a loved one passes away or one of our friends, or we are carrying the body or we see the photo of a friend who is no longer with us and it hits us. Have you been hit like that? That is a knowledge that is deeper than prepositional knowledge. When you see a loved one die, death goes deeper than just a sentence.

And I am saying here tonight that religion is way deeper than these sentences, that God is great, that Al-Hamdulillah. Behind every one of these sentences, there is so much depth, but we are lost at the surface. We are so stuck at the surface that it does not do anything for us, in the same way that giving ten lectures about love will do nothing for you unless you fall in love.

So I want to speak about this idea that if we want to fix this meaning crisis, if we want to be able to benefit from religion in a way that helps us make sense of our life and pass it on to our children in a way that they would love it, we need to go beyond its surface and go to its depth.

And it is so beautiful that Imam Ali in a khutbah that you can find in Usul al-Kafi, he is looking at the future and he says a time will come for you in which a lot of people will recite the Qur'an, but no one is going for its meaning, mosques are going to be built so beautifully, empty of guidance.

And then there is a line in another khutbah. Imam Ali says something which I just got so shook reading that I was like, this is it! He says, 'there will be nothing left of Haqq but its name.' Which is exactly what I am saying. All we have of religion right now is its surface. We need to go deeper and it breaks my heart because all the energy that we have to spend on going deeper, finding God in a real way, that changes our life, we are spending on what? On the surface and fighting over the words.

Sometimes I am watching YouTube videos, a debate between, for example, a Muslim and an atheist debating whether God exists or not and I watch both of them and I cry inside because I know none of them have experienced God. They do not know how much they have in common. They are debating, one side says God exists, the other one says God does not exist and none of them have felt God in their life. It is just a preposition for them and it shows. It shows in their action, because if you actually felt God in your life in a very real sense, in the depth of the meaning, you would have been a different person.

Because it is not like you can change deeply and still continue living as you were living before. It is not like you can fall in love and still act the same way. No! Falling in love changes you. Believing in God should change you. If you are going out fighting with people, humiliating them, cheering for your group, not listening to the other group, "oh we defeated them", you do not believe in God, that is just prepositional knowledge.

So I want to speak about this idea that there are four levels of knowledge. The first one was prepositional, right? We spoke about it, it gives you a lot of truths, a lot of facts. God exists, God is great, all the praise is due to God. Right. Love is beautiful, I do not know, do not be angry. Anger is bad. Anger hurts you. Anxiety makes your life difficult. All the facts.

But these facts do not empower you, right. Facts do not empower you. OK, I know anger is bad for me. What do I do with that now? How can I stop my anger? I know anxiety is making my life difficult. How do I stop that? See, facts do not empower.

Second form of knowledge is 'procedural knowledge', right? It empowers you. It tells you how to do things. And that is another step going deeper and this is something that I have been trying so much to tell people that if a Hadith says, for example, anger is bad, do not just go around telling people anger is bad. Give them the procedural knowledge, the procedure of getting rid of your anger. Empower people through that because I could know all these facts about anger is bad, breaking hearts is bad, waking up late is bad. But if you do not empower me to change myself, if you do not give me the skill I need to fix that, what is the point of all that knowledge?

So the second layer is procedural knowledge. See, it is one layer deeper than the surface and that is something we are lacking. That is something we need to bring back in our religion. And we will talk about it more in these next ten days. If you want to tell your child, for example: "ala bi dhikr Allah tatma'innu al-qulub" (13:28), "with the remembrance of God, your heart finds peace." OK, at the level of prepositional knowledge, this gains you nothing because you are just being told now through remembrance of God, your hearts find peace. OK, whose heart right now has found peace through the remembrance of God? So you have to go deeper in the verse, give people the way to do that, to find that peace through remembrance of God, the procedure.

But it does not end there. You can even go deeper, from procedural we can go to 'perspectival knowledge'. What does that mean? OK, there are so many things I can learn, so many different ways in which I can empower myself. Well, I can work on my anger. I can learn the skill to, for example, be more assertive, be a better salesperson. There are so many skills I can learn, so many ways in which I can empower myself. Which ones are more important to me? You should know that.

We need to get to a place where the person has a perspective of the world and they know what matters. Look, all these skills in the world, it is just so overwhelming. Which ones do I need? Do I work on being a better salesperson on both of them? Better partner, better child, better salespeople, what do I do? There are so many skills. So you need to have a kind of deeper knowledge, a kind of wisdom inside that you look at the world and you can figure out, OK, these are the ones that matter. These are the kinds of skills that I need to learn -'perspectival knowledge'. You have a perspective of the world.

But you can even go deeper and the solution can only be found at the deepest of the levels. What is the deepest level? 'Participatory knowledge', by the way, do not let the terms, like, confuse you or anything. Terms are... Forget about the terms. It is just what I am saying, it matters, right? Participatory knowledge is a knowledge that is not just a sentence, It is not prepositional. It is not a skill like procedural. It is not a perspective. It is about the way you feel in the world, it is about the way you are fitted for this reality.

Do you remember initially I said one of the things which is happening right now is a lot of people think like, what is the point of this whole world? What should I do? Why so much pain in the world? What is happening? What you do here? Do you listen to Elon Musk and try to go to space, do you listen to these religious people and try to go to heaven? What do you do? What do I do with my pain? What do I do? Would you go and help other countries who are poor? Do you try to become rich here? Do you take one of these spiritual paths and try to meditate and think that all the pains are just what is happening in the attitude and fix that? What do you do in this world? This is participatory knowledge.

We have lost a sense of thinking we belong in this world and this is the deepest sense of knowledge that we need to get to. And it is not like we have not felt this by the way. Some of us, we have felt this every now and then. Maybe some of you after a spiritual stage in your life, for example, you went to Karbala, or Arba'in or Hajj. Suddenly, you may not even know these words. Probably you did not, but you felt that now life makes sense. I feel like oh, I am feeling like yes, I am part of this world and my existence makes sense. My life makes sense, despite all the pain, despite all the suffering, there is something in me at the most existential level. I feel like life makes sense.

Which is what in that hadith the Prophet says, 'ala wa anna fi ayyami dahrikum nafa'a'- The Prophet said in every single person's life, at least once, it will come where they will feel this, that life in this world makes sense where no one needs to give you reasons why to stay alive or why you should be alive or what to do. It makes sense, right. These are the moments we call the spiritual moments of our life, 'yaqthah', we wake up, oh, there is more to life than I thought. In Islamic spirituality, they call this 'Yaqtha', awakening. So a lot of us have had this, we just did not know what to call it.

And another problem is, it is not like we knew a path to get there, we did not have the technology to get there whenever we want. We stumbled upon it. It happened to us accidentally, maybe in one trip to Hajj, but then the next time it did not work, maybe once in the month of Ramadan, maybe once in the Laylat ul-Qadr. But we do not know how to create it again. And one of the fears most people who experience 'yaqthah' is, well, what if I lose it? What if I lose it? How do I create it again?

So that is why we have had this kind of participatory knowledge in which we feel like we are fitted to the world, but we do not know the ways to keep making that, to keep getting to that level where life makes sense, how to give that to our children then. Maybe we had it because we were bored and upon which these things were passed on so normally, but now how do I tell that to my child? I tell them, see, life makes sense, God exists, but all you are offering is prepositional knowledge.

What technology do we have to give our children more than words, to give them what our grandmas felt in their heart? I do not know if you had these grandmas or not, they had this knowledge, this religion was so deep in them, they did not even know maybe how to articulate it but you would go to them and say, this has happened. They were like inshaAllah khayr. Not like the inshaAllah khayr, I would say, which is basically meaningless, she felt it in all her heart, that God is loving, that everything ultimately will make sense. But then we lost how to transfer this to the next generation or even to ourselves, to be honest with you. Because we got stuck at prepositional and Imam Ali said it, a time will come where nothing will be left of Haqq apart from its name.

Now what inshaAllah we are trying to do in these ten nights, one of which is already gone, is to see if we can go deeper in religion. And I want to argue and put forth this argument, which again, it is not mine. It is from our great scholars that the path of Ahl al-Bayt was a path to go deep in religion. I want to argue that the reason the Prophet said "Kitab Allah wa itrati", 'My Qur'an and my Ahl al-Bayt' is because Ahl al-Bayt were meant to be the reminders for us not to get stuck at the surface of religion and go deep.

And once we talk about this, we will realize that unfortunately we did not help the Ahl al-Bayt in their goal, even though they wanted us to go deep unfortunately, a lot of us were stuck still at the surface, but it is never late because we still have their words and wisdom and we can benefit from it to go deeper.

And I want to give you a few examples so you see how much their hearts were broken, that people were so stuck at surface. You have this from the Prophet, a hadith that a lot of people say, 'nahnu ma'a ashari al-anbiya', nukallimu an-nasa 'ala qadari 'uqulihim'-'we the prophets, the Prophet says, 'we speak to people based on how much depth they are ready for.' A lot of us have heard this, I am like OK, oh Hadith, Prophet says we speak to people as much as they are ready for depth. They do not pay attention that the Prophet is saying I have so much more. Why are you not getting more ready so I can offer you more, more depth? And Allamah Tabataba'i says this is not more in terms of quantity, this is more in terms of quality.

Imam 'Ali 'alayhi as-salam, in that battle they are like should we go to the Qur'an, Imam Ali tells them what? See if we go to the Qur'an they are so stuck at the surface of the Qur'an that you cannot argue with them because people who get stuck at the surface, they can not see the truth. Imam Ali tells them, see, there is no point in arguing with them with the Qur'an because they are so stuck at the surface.

Aslan Ahl al-Bayt's whole journey, or at least one of their biggest mission is to take people to the depth. Who are the people who killed Imam Husayn? People stuck at the surface. What do I mean by the surface? They were saying all the things-God exists, they were even doing all the surface of the acts because even actions have surface, they were praying. Many of them were huffadh of Qur'an. They would walk for Hajj, Imagine how difficult that would be, walking to Hajj. They had done all of that. The people stuck at surface of religion killed Imam Husayn. So you can see the Ahl al-Bayt's mission was to take people deeper because at the surface you are not saved. At the surface, it is what is happening right now.

Imam Sajjad 'alayhi as-salam, he says the same thing, Imam Sajjad says, I have gems of wisdom and knowledge that if I share, Muslims will kill me. Imam Sajjad is saying that. Does not your heart just break that he was so ready to share? Does it not remind you of Imam Ali who said, My chest is full of secrets and mysteries that I wish someone was ready so I could share it with them. We have the same thing from Imam Baqir, Imam Baqir says Wallah! I have so much I wish people were ready, I could share it with them. There is so much depth in this religion. Imam Sadiq, the same thing. A person goes to ask a question. Imam Sadiq says, 'If I answer you, the answer is so deep you are not ready for it, you may kill me or may become kafir'.

See, it breaks the heart, they had so much more to offer, people were so busy with other things. Imam Ali told them, ask me anything. They asked what? How many hairs do I have? That is the problem we have right now. They did not allow the Ahl al-Bayt to share those depths, but still it is accessible because they have left us enough. Enough codes, enough secrets that we can get into it.

Even Qur'an itself is still there. Did not you have all heard that Qur'an has seven 'batn'- seven inner depths? OK, where is that? Does it have that or not? What is the point of knowing that if we can not access it? I am saying it is possible to access that. And now a lot of people may say, OK, if people were not ready at that time, then maybe these things should not have been said. But that is not the case. The famous hadith from the Prophet, he said at the end of the time, people will come who will understand "Qul Huwa Allah" (112:1) a lot better than anyone else at this time.

And I want to tell you that we are not at a time in which we can think whether we should do this or not. We are so desperate for these depths of religion because our prayer is not changing us, we read Qur'an, it does not do anything to us. The Laylat ul-Qadr comes, we feel a little bit high. But honestly, check your life right now and before Laylat ul-Qadr. We were all together for the nights of Qadr. How much have we changed? So many things are happening to us, but we are not being changed. We need this depth.

And it is so interesting. Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli once they told him, Why do you speak of these deep and difficult, complicated stuff? Why do you not bring your level lower? And he said, for how long should we bring our levels lower? Let us bring everyone up.' Because he had seen what happened, that all the Imams were heartbroken, that they could not share the depth.

One of the greatest scholars of the history of Shi'ah Allamah Tabataba'i, whose Al-Mizan, is the pride for the Shi'ahs that now we have such great tafsir of the Qur'an, in his own life, he was isolated. He was not free to say whatever he wants, even some of his classes, he was like, well, some people may... Because people around the Ahl al-Bayt and then our scholars were sometimes so stuck at the surface, anyone who wanted to pay a little bit more, share a little bit more, they would attack them.

So now, inshaAllah, what we need to do and what we aim to do is following the line that Imam Husayn said when he wrote to Muhammad Hanafiyyah before he left for Karbala. He said, 'Kharajtu li talabi Islaah li ummati jaddi'. Imam Husayn wanted to show people who were so stuck at the surface that this is not religion. There is so much more to it. He said, I have not come to take power, I have not come to fight with anyone. I have not come for any personal gain, I want to reform the ummah of the Prophet.

And a lot of people are scared of reform. What is reform, does reform mean to change religion? Not at least the way Ahl al-Bayt did it. Reform in the language of it is not changing religion. No, in fact, it is going back to it. It is going back to it and going deeper in it because the surface, you can have it and kill Imam Husayn. The surface, you can have it and still feel miserable and still have so much pain. Still life does not make sense. Right.

And let me just give you one example and inshaAllah tonight's lecture would be over of just how simple sometimes it is to go to the depth and how much it may seem like you have religion and we do not.

The verse in the Qur'an: 'idfa'a billati hiya ahsan al sayyi'a' (41:34), I hope I pronounce it correctly, it says, 'if someone did a bad thing to you, pay back to them or reply with something that is the best.' Not better than that bad act, No, no- the best. What does that mean?

You are at home, your child comes and your child is tired, maybe had a bad day at school and says something to you, oh, daddy, why you are doing that or whatever. Now, as daddy, what do you do? Do you shout back? Why are you talking to daddy like that? Do not disrespect me! OK, that is sayy'ia from him- badness from your child, badness from you.

Qur'an says what? ' idfa' billati hiya ahsan'- Not even Hasan. Hasan would be what? Your child says something rude, you do not say anything that is better than being rude. Hasan is good, but Qur'an says reply badness with the best you can. Not a good thing, not being silent if you can even be nicer and go ask your what was your day like? What happened, sweetie? Is everything OK? Do you want to talk to me? That is 'ahsan' the best you can manage.

And I am not saying that is easy, by the way. It is again prepositional knowledge. We need to go procedural learn how to but I am saying do you see the difference?

That just saying this, reciting this, the difference between just reciting this and creating families that actually live like that. Do you know the difference between that is the difference between heaven and hell?

Family who one of them comes home tired, poor thing, long day outside and is a little bit grumpy, a little bit rude, the other ones like why are you talking to me? You think I had an easy day? Fight, fight, fight, fight. Hell. And another family, one of them comes home a little bit grumpy, tired. And one of them was like, what is wrong? Do you need help? Just one simple line of the Qur'an. Imagine if we had gone from the surface to its depth, how much our lives would have been different.

Now, I am saying the whole of religion is like this, with salaam, with Qur'an, with prayer with all the ahadith, with ad'iyyah, we are stuck at the surface and inshaAllah through the help of Imam Husayn, the guidance of God and your support in the next following nights we will try to go to its depth.

And we are so grateful that we are, at least with myself, I do not want to say follower because their standard is so high, but like it says here, a lover of Ahl al-Bayt, a lover of Imam Husayn and I think I have a long, long way to be able to say I am following them in my action, but inshaAllah, maybe through their help, through their prayers and through the help of God, at least in these next ten days, we become more and more followers of them in real life. Please recite a Salawat [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].