Freeing The Butterfly Within 11/12 - 12th Muharram 1433/2011

In the eleventh lecture in the "Freeing the Butterfly Within" series, Br. Khalil Jaffer discusses the signs of the Fitra-oriented individual in depth, as well as explains the various challenges one may face when transitioning from a Tabi'ah-driven life to a Fitra-driven life, while giving advice for keeping consistency in ones faith.

'A'udhu billahi min al-Shaytan al-rajim, Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim, al-hamdulillah Rabbi 'l-alameen, bari' al-khalaa'iqi ajma'een. Wa as-salat wa assalam 'ala asharafi al-anbiya'i wa'l-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-tayyibeen at-tahareen al-madhlumeen. Wa la'anatullahi al a'da'ihim ajma'een min yawmi 'adaawatihim ila yawm id-deen. Amma ba'du, faqad qal Allahu tabaraka wa taa'la fi kitabih, wa huwa asdaqul qaa'eleen. Bismillahi, al-rahman, al-Rahim. Fa aqim wajhaka lil-deeni haneefah, Fitrat Allahi allati fatara an-nas 'alayha. La-tabdeela li-khalqillah. Dhalika ad-deenu 'l-qayyim, wa-lakinna akthara an-nasi la ya'lamun (30:30). Salawat ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Tonight is the 12th tonight of Muharram. As far as the first 'ashara of Muharram is concerned, tonight is the last majlis. But as far as our discussion on freeing the butterfly within is concerned, this is our 11th lecture and we will still have one more tomorrow night, as was announced yesterday. So InshaAllah, we will make a conclusion to this whole discussion tomorrow night.

Tonight, our subject is signs of the Fitra oriented, or signs of individuals who are Fitra oriented. We have already discussed these signs over these past ten discussions, but this is an attempt now to bring them all together and to also add some more detail to these signs that we have already mentioned. And thereafter, I would also like to discuss a little bit about the phase between being tabee'a driven and Fitra driven when one strives for spiritual growth, there is a middle phase, a transition that takes place between the two and what one can expect at this point. So let's first summarize these signs of the Fitra oriented end and just talk a little bit about that.

The first sign that we had mentioned right at the beginning was that those who are enlightened, those who have undergone this spiritual metamorphosis, those who are Fitra driven in their lives, they overcome the fear of death. Physical death is no longer something that is a threat to them because they have gained conviction that their true identity is not the physical body and that they are now eternal beings that will never die. And because of this certainty and because they are now constantly God conscious, they attain a certain form of infallibility. It is not like the 'isma of the ma'sumeen, alaihum assalam, but it is a form of infallibility that assures their salvation and their success in the hereafter. The fact that they will go to jannah is now guaranteed for them, it is merely a matter of what rank and what degree that they can attain to. So their focus now shifts from merely trying to just get to paradise and succeeding to trying to attain a loftier status to the degree that they can do so to to actualize their potential to its maximum limit.

This fear of death is hinted at in Suratul Jum'ah that we recite every Friday at the time that the Qur'an was being revealed in Medina. The Jews of Medina would mock the early Muslims who had just converted from idol worship. They saw themselves as being superior because they had been following divine scripture and prophets for generations, whereas these were just idle worshippers who just converted. So they would basically rub it in their face that we are the chosen of God, we are the favorites of God, we are the children of God. Now, Allah responds to that in Suratul Jum'ah and says, "Qul ya al-ladheena hadhu. Inz'antum annakum auleeya li Lahee bedun an-nas fa tamanna wa al-mout inkintum sadiqeen"(62:6), say, all you who are Jews, those Jews in Madina, if you suppose that you are the favorites of God, annakum auleeya li Llahee besides all others, that means you are above the rest of mankind, then desire death if you are truthful, fatamanna al-mout. Tamanna you understand. Fatamanna al-mout inkuntum sadiqeen. And then this is verse six of the surah. Verse seven: "walaiya tamannu abadan be ma kaddama 'aideheem" (62:7) they will never desire death, bi ma kaddama 'aideheem, because of what their hands have set forth, because of what they have done in this world. Wallahu 'aleemu bi dhalimeen bi ma kaddama 'aideheem. So Allah, says Allah knows what they have set forth and because of that, they will never desire death.

Now, this obviously confuses us sometimes because we think as far as we know, Islam does not tell us to pray for death. Yet here Allah is saying to them that if you think you are the chosen ones, then pray for not pray for it, but desired death. It doesn't say fa du'oolu al-maut it says fa at-manna al-maut. This fact that Allah does not say pray for death but desired death, is very, very important in our discussion because we have been saying time and time again that one who has become the spiritual butterfly, he sees this world as a prison, he sees this world as a cage. He yearns to be closer to Allah by moving from this plane of existence to the hereafter. In other words, one who is a true believer will not pray for death because he sees life as a gift. As long as Allah wants to keep him in this world, he wants to stay to serve Allah. But he has no particular desire or longing to be in this world. We want to stay in this world because we are afraid of dying. One who is enlightened does not want to stay in this world. But we don't pray for death because again, we are afraid of dying. He does not pray for death because it is not Allah's will as yet. He wants to stay because it is Allah's will. He has a purpose to accomplish, he has a mission to accomplish.

So the verse is not encouraging suicide at all. It is encouraging martyrdom, if you like. It is not a desiring of death because one is fed up with life or one is depressed. Rather, it is rooted in this conviction that the hereafter is better wa akheeratu khairun wa abqa. This conviction and this trust in a lot of the hereafter is better t an this world is why if you truly believe that you are special, if you truly believe that Allah really loves you, then you should have a greater desire to die than to be living in this world. It is a desire to grow wings, not to be a worm any more that lies in the earth, to soar freely out of the narrow constraints of this world. So the difference and that is why you will see that not just the Mu'minin, but even amongst the anbiya' and awsiya', they had the strong desire for martyrdom.

We mentioned Amir al-Mu'minin, 'alayhi asalam, that time and again [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad], he prayed and cried for martyrdom until he attained it, and then he said, Fustu wa Rabbi al-Ka'ba. He said, I would rather die fighting in the way of God than simply dying in my bed. And this is something that because going out for jihad is not so common in our current life that we exist unless you are, you know, a soldier in an army that is fighting for justice, for example, we don't pray for this anymore. But in reality, as we learn more of the hereafter and our iman purefies, this is one of the things that we will always, always pray for. Just like we pray for rizq and we pray for happiness and we pray for wealth, we will find that we are constantly asking Allah, that oh Allah do not give me an ordinary death. Give me martyrdom, give me shahada because of the rank that one attains with martyrdom. That is why you see a lot of the shuhada are we are told that if they could, they would want to come back a thousand times and die again and again in the way of Allah.

It has a very special meaning, just like one who gives his wealth is generous, one who gives his time is generous, one who gives his life for a cause, it has a very high rank. The difference between suicide and martyrdom at face value, it's the same, you're killing yourself, you're putting yourself in harm's way. It's like jumping off the bridge. But one is jumping of the bridge to take your own life, the other is jumping off the bridge, to save someone who's drowning, there's is a big difference. When you take martyrdom, you're giving your life to save someone. Suicide says, I choose death, because life is bitter and that is the only option left for me. Martyrdom says I choose death because it is sweet and it is not the only option, but it is the best option. There is bitterness there, there is sweetness there, there is the only option here, this is the best option, not the only option. So there is a big difference there.

One who is tabee'a oriented or tabee'a driven for him or her the idea of meeting Allah is just like the idea of a criminal going before a judge. One who is Fitra driven, his perspective of going back to Allah is like that of a lover going back to the beloved. If we suppose a situation where a man and a woman are engaged or are married, are lawfully married, they have a halal relationship, but they have never met each other, they've only been communicating over the phone or talking over the Internet. Then now they have this anticipation and expectation of meeting one day. When the day comes, when they're going to meet each other, can you imagine how much that excitement and zeal would be for each one of them? They would be thinking, when I first see her, this is what I will say. She's thinking when I first see him, this is what I will say. If he says this, then I will say this. If he says that, I will say this. What does he look like? How will it be to sit beside her? What it will be like, right there is all these thoughts, you cannot wait to get there. This is how one who is Fitra driven is looking towards death.

How will it be when I die and my soul soars to the heavens and I stand in the Arsh before Allah and Allah welcomes me and tells me, Come, my beloved, how will I talk to him? What will Allah say? How will it be to see the mala'ika? Then maybe I will see Rasul Allah, I will see Amir al-Mu'minin [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. So that same experience of death can be one of anticipation, can be beautiful, can be something you are pun unintended dying to experience, or it can be something very frightening, something we have to run from and we have to be dragged and taken, taken to towards death.

Now, if this issue of death and life after death is resolved by ignoring it, by hiding it, the results of that will be a life filled with pride, a life filled with corruption, because that individual will always remain with far fetched hopes, filled with desire, totally identified with the body, completely thinking of this world and forgetting the world, the hereafter. I once let's talk about this false hope that keeps us going and makes us forget death and the life after death.

I once thought about doing a series of lectures on causes of hard heartedness, and I began compiling different causes that might be the reasons why our spiritual heart becomes hard. I started looking at verses of Qur'an and hadith to say let me see what I can find, what would be the causes? I found, for example, eating excessive food hardens the heart. I found, for example, hoarding wealth hardens the heart. I found, for example, committing sins causes hardness of heart. Pride causes hardness of heart. Anger causes hardness of heart. There was all these things, but guess what I found to be the single most dangerous and the greatest culprit for hard heartedness, in the spiritual sense, it was far fetched hopes. It was the fact, that I do not believe , that I could die at this very moment, the fact that my tongue says I may die any time and the death is in Allah's hands, but within me, I have this false sense of conviction that I will walk out of this mosque. I have this conviction that I will be alive tomorrow morning. This is the main cause of hard heartedness. If right now, I was absolutely convinced that I may not be alive the next time I blink my eyes, I would immediately become enlightened, my ego would shatter right away, because then I would be absolutely living in the now and in the present, I wouldn't be living in the future or the past. My hopes and desire would be in the present, it wouldn't be in the future.

That is why in a hadith from Rasul Allah, salallahu alayhi wa 'aalihi wa sallam [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. He said, Ma ya'mulu aya 'esha ghadan fa inna ya'mulu aya 'esha abada, whoever hopes to be alive tomorrow, he in fact hopes to be alive forever. And this very same words were said by Amir al-Mu'minin, 'alhayhi asalam. But when he said this, he added an extra sentence there. He said, wa ma ya'mulu aya 'esha abadan yaqsu qalbahu, and whoever hopes to be alive forever, his heart will be his heart will become hard. Wa yarghhabu fi dunya, and he will begin to desire and covet for this world, wa yazhadu fi ladhee wa 'adhahu rabbahu tabaraku wa ta'ala, and he will begin to distance himself and detach himself from what his Lord has promised him, which is the hereafter. So very clear this hardens the heart.

And if you think about it, it is very logical. If I am hopeful that I will be alive tomorrow morning, what could be the reason that I would doubt I will be alive day after? There is no other reason, if I am hopeful or if I'm assuming or if I am planning my life on the basis that I will be alive day after tomorrow, then what could be the reason I would doubt that I would not be alive on the weekend. And if I am hopeful I will be alive on the weekend, why do I doubt that I will be alive next week? And if that is the case, then there is no reason for me to doubt that I will be alive next month. If that is the case, why would I doubt that I will not be alive next year at this time, that I will be six feet under the ground? I'm assuming I will be there. And if that is the case, then when am I hoping to die?

The reality is I am not hoping to die. I am hoping that maybe science will discover something so that I will not die, or maybe the Imam will return and then I won't have to die. Or if I die, he will immediately bring me to life. Or maybe the day of judgment will come to pass and the trumpet will be blown so that I do not experience death. This is my tabee'a speaking. That survival, that fear of death that has to be altered if I seek Fitra. And if I alter that, then death must not be fled from it must not be something we don't talk about. It must not be something we run away from. It must be something we look forward to. But now the only question is, what do I need to change in my goal in life, in my ambitions, in my perspective, in how I view myself, how I view my relationships so that death becomes something that I look forward to, not that I pray for it. Life is a gift. The longer I live, the more I can build my hereafter. But when it comes, I have no remorse and no regret because I am a follower of one who said, Fuztu Rabb al-Ka'ba.

Now, tabee'a fears death because death will take away pleasure, death will bring pain, and it is the nature of tabee'a to fight for survival. Fitra does not fear death. What Fitra fears is dying, unprepared, that is what Fitra fear. Tabee'a fears leaving the shell, leaving that cocoon, leaving the chrysalis. Fitra doesn't fear leaving the cocoon. Fitra fear is leaving before the wings have grown. Fitra wants the wing to emerge, once the wings have emerged it does not care about the shell. The ego, of course, says yes, this is an interesting idea. Preparing for death, not fearing death, I like that. Now let's make a plan about it, let's make a spreadsheet of the things I need to do before I'm ready to die. This is the ego because the ego lives in the past or in the future. It will not say right now, as of now, before I go to bed tonight, I will repent to Allah such a sincere repentance and bring testimony to what I believe in with such faith and proclaim my love to Allah in such a manner that if I were die in my sleep tonight I have no regrets, it will not say that.

The ego will say tomorrow morning I'm going to make a spreadsheet and then I'll do a 12 month short term plan and then long term plan. This is how the ego behaves and this is where we need to be careful. Now it wants time, so while to be makes excuses and is constantly indulging in distraction, Fitra is racing against time. We all say we wish we were in Karbala, but think for a moment, if you are standing in Karbala before the imam and his praying and you see this arrow coming towards you and it has a, you know, a metal rod coming towards you, flying at full speed, what will you do? Instinctively you will duck, isn't it? If I throw if I throw a pan at you right now, you will duck, if an arrow is coming towards you. So what was in this Sa'eed bin Abdullah, that he could oppose his nature, his instinct, he could stop being what we call human and just take the arrow on his chest?

It can only be love. And that is why we said when we want to seek relieving ourselves of addictions and being addicted with Allah, we need to fall in love. He must have fallen in love with Imam Husayn to such a degree that he now was able to transcend being what we call natural or human. Just as if there was a car coming towards my child, I would step in front of my child because it is an act of love. Instinctively, I would do that if my child was to fall over the wall down into a waterfall, for example, in Niagara Falls, for example, God forbid I will dive even though I can't swim or even though I know I'm going to die because it is love. My love for him would not allow me to sit back and just watch. So love again, we have talked about it.

Now, we might doubt this and say, well, this is history rewaya, how do we know it actually happened? But the Qur'an testifies to this. We talked about the magicians of Fir'awn. Fir'awn threatened them with torture. Human instinct was that they should have pleaded for their lives, he said to them, lukat anna ideeakum wa arjlakum min khalaf, I will amputate your hands and legs from either side, wala osalbannakum, I will crucify you. But what did they say? They said, la dhair inna illa Rabbeena min al-qaleebun, we are now in love with Allah. Do what you want you can only control our bodies. What will you do with our souls? In other words, they are already there now. The body has no meaning to them. What are you threatening Fir'awn that you are going to cut our shells? We have already grown wings. This is what they are saying to them.

So the Qur'an itself is showing us proof. And it is not that the Fir'awn is simply threatened them, he actually did that, he actually amputated them and then he actually crucified them, but they did not back out from what they had believed in. And he did that to his wife as well. The wife of Fir'awn was also crucified. For the love of Allah, for the love of the Lord of Musa and Fir'awn, ah Musa and Haroon. Salawat 'ala Muhammad 'ali Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

The second sign of the Fitra oriented is that they are monotheistic in every sense, they are Tawhid driven, Tawhid rooted, Tawhid based. Their goal is only and only the pleasure of Allah, whether they are doing something religious and our understanding, quote unquote, religious or something, what we might consider secular, going to university, going grocery shopping, eating, sleeping, everything they do is for the pleasure of Allah. They find somehow to connect a tabee'a act to Allah. You and I eat because we are hungry. They eat thinking, if I eat, I will have strength and energy to worship Allah and serve humanity. You and I sleep because we are tired, we've had a hard day, they sleep to reenergize so that they can wake up in the middle of the night and worship Allah. So even in the most mundane and basic tasks, they are completely focused, they only want Allah, everything else is a means. Tabee'a is a reward seeker, tabee'a wants constantly to ask what is in it for me? What am I going to get out of this? Why should I do this? What do I get in exchange for doing this? Is it worth my time?

So Fitra gets its world outlook through pure monotheism. Why? Because it regards Allah to be the owner of everything, so it lays its foundation of all social issues, of all questions related to society, to human rights, economics, politics, any movement it makes, the principle of education, management, everything is on the basis of servitude to the owner of everything, meaning to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala and preparing for the day of judgment, the day when I will come face to face with my Maker, face to face with the Owner of the heavens and the Earth. So when you ask a Fitra oriented person his opinion about something that people might say this is human rights or politics or economics, what should our stand be? His first thought is what is Allah's opinion because he's focused on servitude to Allah, so this is his foundation, his whole outlook in life, his world outlook worldview is towards surrender, towards servitude, to Allah. It is totally Tawhid based.

The logic of a Fitra oriented system is based on movement towards Allah. And you remember we said our movement is always in the direction of our intentions and our desires. So life is seen as a prison. Adam 'Alaihee Salam was sent to this world as a prisoner, he was sent down here for a limited period of time. So the Fitra oriented person now sees life as we must free ourselves from this prison by growing wings so that we can fly again and return to our original home where we first belonged, which is paradise and the hereafter. And that is why you will find in hadith and in the lives of the Mu'minin, there is always this sense of life is temporary. I'm here for a short period of time and that I must leave soon. All the choices he makes is based on that. He looks at his wealth and says, I'm not going to live for more than 20, 30 years. What am I going to do with this world? I must make provisions for it for the hereafter.

There is that thought constantly in the mind that the hereafter, the hereafter and we have this in hadith as well, that see yourself as a traveler in this world, see your life in this world as if you have come what we call a musafer khana. Right. A motel you were just here passing by. The moment you start thinking this is home, that is where the problems begin and if you see yourself as a traveler, you will still enjoy this world, you will still eat, you will still wear, you will still drink, you will still buy homes, but your goal and outlook will influence all those decisions so that these things will never become your master. You will possess them, but they will never possess you.

Tabee'a takes its worldview and its outlook on the starting with the belief that the world is ownerless, that there is no owner to this world. Therefore, I am the owner of my world and I am the owner of my life. And it is up to me to decide what I want to get out, what I want to get out of this life. And this world's life is therefore my first and my last chance to enjoy and for self-satisfaction. And one is independent, there is this false sense of independence that I am not responsible or answerable to anyone. Death is now presented as a permanent danger, something you need to run away from, something you need to avoid, because it will take away the opportunities and chances I have of enjoying this world. If anything, death is seen as a vague, meaningless event. What is the purpose of death? It just breaks families, separates us from our beloved, it's just a meaningless activity, this is how an atheist would view death.

A person who is tabee'a oriented, when he remembers death, he becomes powerless, helpless, weak, loses all power, all hope, all desires and all motivation to act, work or think. What is a person who is Fitra oriented is the opposite. OK, let us take an example. Supposing I went to my doctor and my doctor says we found a cyst, we're going to have to do a test. It might be cancerous or it might be nothing. Now because I am tabee'a oriented, my life feels threatened. What if it is cancer? What if I'm going to die in a few months? I feel weak, I feel helpless, I lose all hope, I lose all desire to work and act, I can't think, I can't function, I just sit at home depressed, I think. Why is this happening to me? Why? Because the caterpillar does not want to leave the cocoon. It was never expecting to leave. Remember, when we are tabee'a driven, we want to be alive tomorrow and day after and the day after, we are not expecting to die. Man ya'malu aya 'eeshu ghadan fa innahu ya'malu aya 'eeshu 'abada, if you hope to be alive tomorrow, in reality, you are hoping to be alive forever.

That is why we get so scared. And then I go back to the doctor and the doctor says, oh, that was nothing. It was just, you know, it's it's harmless. Suddenly now all my energy comes back, I feel happy, I feel energized, I feel like working, I feel like going out and earning money again. Why? Because that illusion of not dying has snapped back in. So it is only a matter of time before another calamity shakes me again and this cycle will continue until idha ja'a ajallahum la yastaqdeemuna sa'ta wala yastkheerun, when are appointed time comes then it will not be delayed even by the blink of an eye.

If your eyes are open by Allah, you will not be able to close them. If your eyes are closed, you will not be able to open them. But if I was Fitra oriented and convinced I cannot die except at the exact precise moment that Allah has decreed for me, then I separate my illness from death, and I say illness is a trial, it is a test of my faith, but it has nothing to do with my dying even if the doctor tells me I'm going to die because death is not tied to the illness, death is something a lot has decreed. I could still die of another reason while I'm ill or I could not die, I could not be ill and I could still die.

So tabee'a will, because it ignores death, it pretends death does not exist. It constantly runs away from death. When it feels threatened, it becomes weak and powerless. When it is reassured with an illusion that it is not dying, it snaps and becomes strong. Again for tabee'a the question of reward is everything. And this desire for reward has grades and types and limits. It may be worldly or it can even be so-called spiritual. So my tabee'a's need for greed. I may do things religious or otherwise for money, for wealth, for fame, for attention, for that false illusion of controlling people's lives or people's hearts or people's bodies. But, it may even be in spiritual practices. I might give up a physical pleasure and think I am doing it for Allah, but in reality, it is for my ego, it is for my tabee'a. Perhaps, because you think I'm spiritual and I want to impress you that I am really spiritual, I eat less food so than you think higher of me. Subhana Allah this man, he lives on one morsel a day. Right? How spiritual he is.

Now, I was able to give up the physical pleasure not because for my spiritual, for my true spiritual evolution, but I simply substituted the reward and pleasure of food with the reward and pleasure of fame, of attention, of praise from another creature, not from Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. It may even be for something that is a spiritual trade, for something spiritual, for example, I might be so interested in 'irfan and taswoof. Why? Because I want to have the proverbial ability to walk on water, I want to become psychic, I want to be able to see people's reality, I want to be able to interpret dreams, I want to be able to see the future, I want to be clairvoyant. We may not say it, but we know what we want in our hearts.

One who is truly Fitra driven is completely Tawhid driven even during his spiritual growth, when these things start manifesting themselves as tests from Allah. For example, when you start walking the spiritual path, people might start thinking a very spiritual that's a test from Allah. Are you going to stop there or are you going to ignore it and say to Allah, "Oh Allah, you and I know who I am. Let me not be driven and distracted by people's praise." Then you go a step further, Allah gives you another test. He gives you a special ability, maybe the ability to have dreams that come true, maybe the ability to see the future, maybe the ability to see people's true nature. If you take that and stop that, then that is where you have taken your reward. You have gone back to being tabee'a, your wings have not yet emerged. You need to again ignore that and say this is a distraction. I will not leave you Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala.

So Fitra will not ask for anything except Allah. Fitra is a soaring lover and that hadith of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, salawatullahi wa assalam 'alayh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. Is before you, where he talks about the worship of one who worships out of fear of hell and paradise and for the love of Allah, the slave and the trader and the lover of Allah, you are aware of that hadith. So Fitra looks at every worldly pleasure and finds it worthless because it sees it as something that is decaying, something that is breaking down, something that has no permanence and Fitra, because it is tied to the soul. And tomorrow night I will explain that relationship between nafs and tabee'a in Fitra and you will see why Fitra is only interested in that which is permanent and everlasting and not interested in something that is temporary.

Tabee'a asks, "Why suffer? Why seek higher spiritual status? Why not just enjoy what I have now?" OK, so that is why it is always a reward seeker. Fitra does not want to ask reward, and that is why you will see that the prophets of Allah never asked for a reward. They always said we do not want reward. And in Surah Ya Sin, verse 21, people are told, follow the prophets, why, "itabee'un min la yas'alikum ajrahum wahum makhtadun"(20:21), follow one who does not ask you for a reward and he guides you right, or he is rightly guided. And if you read the Qur'an, you will find that all the anbiya did not ask for a reward they all said in ajaree illa 'ala Allah. You look at Surah Yunus, you know wa Raghud. In fact Surah Shu'ra' it is mentioned, I think, five different times in ajreeya illa 'ala Rabb al-'Alameen ,my reward is only from the Lord of the universe. So Nuh Alaihim Salam is quoted once in that Surah Shu'ra', which is Chapter 26, and then Hud is quoted Salih is quoted, Lot is quoted, Shu'ayb is quote 'alaihum assalam, they all said the same thing. The only prophet to ever asked for a reward was the final Messenger, Rasul Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa aali wa sallam. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad], and this is in Surah Shura not Shu'ara, chapter 42, verse 23, he said, "Qulla as'alkum 'alaihi ajran, illa mawaddata fil qurba" (42:23) 'I do not ask you for any reward except the love for my family'.

Now thought may cross, our mind, and I have mentioned this before, that if he is the greatest of the prophets, the others did not ask for a reward. Why is he asking for a reward? In reality, he is not asking to take something. He's giving something. He is better than the other prophets. The other prophets are saying, we have given guidance, now, we don't want to reward. This prophet, when we said to him, how should we give you ajar of your risalah? He said, "Not only do I not want anything, but I will give you something more so that even after I am gone, you can still be guided. What I will give you is love my family, you will always be guided." So he is greater. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. Otherwise, what does he gain if you love his family?

If I love my family today, I love my parents, I love my spouse, I love my children. If you start loving my parents, what is it going to do for me? It might do something for you, it's not going to do anything for me. So what difference does it make to Rasul Allah if we love his family, it's not going to change how he feels. He is giving, he is not taking. He is saying, "I'm giving you such a reward that even after I am gone, you will not be able to repay me." OK, so that is, of course, a different subject.

The reward of the magicians was the initial reward that they asked when they came to Fir'awn and said ainna lana lajran inkunna nahnnu ghaleebun (shall we have a reward from you if we are successful)? And he said, indeed, you will have, qala na'am wa innakum idha lamin muqarrabeen (yes, you will have and you will have a high rank you will be from the closest ones with me). That was that caterpiller like reward seeking that tabee'a our nature.

When we are tabee'a driven, our focus is always our body as well. So we see that when I'm constantly driven by the world, my focus is only on how to get more physical pleasure. Even when I don't have access to physical pleasure, I sit alone at home, I begin to fantasize pleasures, how I can enjoy myself, when I am tabee'a driven because it is always about the body. How can I get more food? How can I taste different types of foods? How can I experiment and explore different recipes? But in reality, what is it that is giving us pleasure? The carcass of animals, the roots of trees. Right. If you were to look at it mice and see how mice take pleasure in food or in reproduction, you would laugh at them and say your pleasure is nothing compared to human pleasure. So those who are Fitra oriented when they see us running after these things, they laugh at us in the same way, they see us like worms fighting with each other for rotting leaves, whereas they soar, we said, high in the heavens and sip from the nectar of flowers.

Now, when we are tabee'a oriented and we do things, when we are tabee'a oriented, we do things only for reward. When we are Fitra oriented, we are content, we only want the absolute minimum. We realized that while I am in this alien body, this body has its needs. So this caterpillar will need as much rotting leaves as it needs to survive and grow. But the minimum is sufficient because I know the value of my soul. That is why Amir al-Mu'minin, alayhi assalam says in another hadith [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. Kafa bil mar'eejahlan anla ya'reefu kadra, it is sufficient for a man to be called ignorant if he does not know his value. If you think your value is your physical body and its pleasures, then we are ignorant. We do not know our value. The moment we know our value, the moment we know who we really are, how special we are to Allah in our spiritual state, then the body is immediately seen as a vehicle and all its pleasure is only taken into the minimum to the absolute necessity so that it does not interfere with our spiritual growth. So the transaction and the point of reference and the the the the desiring status of one who is Fitra oriented is not from this world, it is from other than this world.

The third sign of one who is Fitra oriented is that he is selfless and loyal. We've talked about this as opposed to tabee'a oriented who is selfish and disloyal, and that is directly a consequence of that reward seeking. So we will not really go into that detail.

The fourth sign is that people who are Fitra oriented are patient. They are very, very patient, very, very, very patient. Tabee'a oriented is impatient, it is impulsive, it wants and it wants now. When it feels pain, it will do anything, it will sure rage, but it will want it to remove the pain right away. And when it has desire, it will not see whether it is halaal or haram it will want it and if we want it right and then right, then. The reason there is so much destruction and corruption in this world today is because of this lack of patience.

Take a simple example. Like the earning we do, our rizq we do. How many times we sacrifice our faith for the sake of what we earn. Yet Allah tells us that your rizq is not in your hands. I have decreed how much you will earn. You will not eat one morsel more or one morsel less than what I have decreed for you. You will not, not even a dollar. You will not on one penny more or one penny less than what I have decreed for you. This means that when I steal, or when I cheat, or when I indulge in transactions that are unlawful, that are filled with corruption, the money that I acquire is still my rizq, I was still supposed to get that. But now, because of the lack of patience, because I could not wait or work hard to find it, that same rizq has come to me through an unlawful means for which I will have to pay. If only I had patience, I would have still got the same thing, but now I would have got it through a lawful means. So by doing anything unlawful, you are not going to earn more. You are not going to get even a penny richer, richer, but you will have to account for it.

And that means that on the Day of Judgment, it will not be about how much money you earned or you could have earned less or lived with less if you had been pious. No, you earned the same that you were meant to earn. But because you are not patient, because you are tabee'a driven. Therefore, all the means through which you earned that same that you were supposed to earn came to you through haram means for which you now have to pay, you now have to purify your soul. Whereas if you had been patient then your soul would have remained pure and therefore nothing would have changed in your enjoyment and indulgence of this world. But you would have come to your Lord with love as opposed to coming to him like a criminal comes before a judge. And we talked about how construction requires patience, destruction does not require patience, which is why there is so much destruction in this world, because humans are tabee'a driven and they do not have patience.

The fifth and last sign, which is perhaps the most important, is courage. And I've talked about this time and time again. The courage to do the right thing, to say the right thing, to stand up for your faith, to stand up for your soul so that you do not lose it in the hereafter. And this is directly tied to the first sign, which is the fear of death. So, again, we will not indulge in this.

I know we are short of time, but just very quickly, to cover a little more ground your InshaAllah and then if we don't finish, will continue tomorrow if you can recite al-salawat 'ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad].

Let's talk about the transition from tabee'a orientation to Fitra orientation, moving from being tabee'a driven to being Fitra driven. Being disgusted by tabee'a, excessive tabee'a, the tyranny of the soul, the dhulum we do on our nafs does not mean we are ready to seek Fitra. There is a stage in between where we are fed up with materialism, but we still can't experience the sweetness of spirituality, of the love of Allah. There is this middle phase where I know I see the world for what it is, I do not desire it, but yet I do not find any awakening within myself.

Let us think of the hard heart like frozen water, and let us think of the soft heart that is in love with Allah like warm water. When you begin to thaw that frozen water, initially, its temperature is below zero. Before it becomes warm, it will have to pass zero degrees. That is that middle ground when we are zero. We are not materialistic, we are not tabee'a driven, we are not completely animalistic, but we are not also moving up, we are at zero. You have to pass a zero before you will get to that plus degree.

It is impossible to jump from, you know, minus 20 and become plus 20, even if it appears it happened suddenly, it has to pass through that, even if it is for a micro-second. And how long that happens varies. We talked about how within a chrysalis some caterpillars will stay for five to seven days before the wings come out. Some will stay for eight to nine months or ten months. So that is variable depending on how ready we are. In terms of human experience, this is zero degrees is normally experienced as depression. OK, it may not be exactly the same as what we consider to be clinical depression, but that absolute sense of the world closing in on you, OK, that is not always a bad thing. I'm not saying we should not seek medical treatment. Certainly if it is severe and we started encountering self-destructive thoughts, we should take medical advice.

However, it is not always a bad thing if you are seeking spirituality and you experience that and quite likely you will experience that at some point in your life. In one of the reasons why we feel that is because the ego is still trying to run back. You're coming very close to shattering the ego and the ego is extremely threatened with its departure, with its collapse. So at that point, it is frightened. It is trying to run back. It sees the tunnel and it sees there is light at the end. It wants that light, but it wants to make a spreadsheet of how it's going to get to the light. But it is afraid to go through the darkness. The problem, my dear brothers and sisters, is you can't hold anyone's hands together there. You cannot find someone who is enlightened and say, Oh, sheikh, hold my hand and take me through this tunnel. You, each one of us has to walk through it alone.

If you do not walk through this tunnel right now, when you can in your physical body, you will be forced to go through it when you die. I cannot tell you what that experience is like because I haven't gone through it myself. However, we can choose to strive for that and through du'a's, through help, through Qur'an and Ahl al-Bayt, alhayhum assalam, we can cross this period of darkness in our life. If you're curious to know more why how the ego is more familiar with what is old, what is old is familiar and safe, so it runs away, it does not want to. But if you are curious to know how this feels, this sense of depression, it has been noted even by some other traditions and religions as well.

Amongst the Christians, there is a term for this. It is called The Dark Night of the Soul. When you get some chance, a chance, Google this phrase Dark Night of the Soul and you will find lots of material on this. They will talk about Christian saints who went through this phase. In Islamic tradition, also there is this concept amongst the Sufis and the Urafa. They talk of two terms called al-kabd and al-bast. Al-kabd is constriction, al-bast is expansion. And two names of Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala from his Asma' al-Husna is al-Qabeedu and al-Baseetu. Al-Qabeedu is the constrictor and al-Baseetu is the expander. So even people who are Fitra oriented and who have gone through this tunnel and whose egos have shattered and who have gone through this depression and who are in love with Allah, there are times when they feel constricted spiritually, when they will sit by themselves, they will want to move away from society, they will want to stay at home and weep. That is a phase of Qabl when Allah they witness that al-Qabeedhu in their lives, they become manifestations of that name. And then there are times when they experience the sense of expansion, the heart opening up. At that point, they are madly in love, they will even jump and sing and you will look at them and say he's gone mad. Right? And they will want to socialize and they will want to talk about Allah and his love. So there is a lot of this, but unfortunately, in the interest of time, we cannot talk about this.

So it can be a very frightening experience because you are going through a complete transformation. Outwardly, you're going to remain the same, but inwardly there is a complete metamorphosis, you are changing into a complete being. The old "I" that was created by the ego in infancy is going to die. There is a new sense of "I" that is going to be reborn that is now connected to Allah. The current "I" have has a sense of being independent from Allah. There is a sense of "I" and then Allah. This new "I" is completely connected to Allah. It sees completely how it cannot live without it, which is why in a du'a of Imam Zayn al-'Abideen, salawatullahi wa assalam 'alayh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. He says, sorry, let me find this hadith here, he says, Ilahee, la taqilnee ila nafsee tarfat 'aynee, my Lord, do not leave me to myself even for the blink of an eye. This is an Imam saying to Allah that even for a moment, do not leave me, because he sees how he is connected to Allah and he sees how his life cannot exist without without Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'la even for a moment.

So at this point in our lives, if we should experience this, we should not immediately run away from the tunnel. We should wait and see perhaps with du'a's, praying to Allah instead of trying to run back and look for a new distraction, a new hobby, a new entertainment, a new form of taking us away from Allah, perhaps try and endure it for a bit and increase, amplify the amount of supplications we make to Allah, whether it is the du'a's that have been taught to us by the A'imma, 'alayhum assalam or whether it is talking to Allah, even in our own language at times, seeking support from Him. And if we do that, we might find that if we are sincere in our love, we may not have to run back to the old familiar, safe, illusory material world, but we may discover a whole new world altogether.

So, as we go through this phase between tabee'a and Fitra, we come to one point where we learn that instead of controlling, we need to let Allah control, and instead of being a leader, we need to be a slave. We need to surrender to Allah and we need to trust Him. The ego, of course, will ask, why can't I have both? Why can't I be a caterpillar and still enjoy the world of the butterfly? Why can I not keep my ego that I have right now and still be so spiritual? The problem is that butterflies do not eat leaves. They do not eat rotting leaves. Butterflies sip the nectar of flowers. They know what the world of leaves is like, but they cannot. It is only the caterpillar that eats that. Can we remain as we are and experience true spirituality, true love for Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. That is like asking can a caterpillar experience what a butterfly experiences? We might reverse that question and say, why should the caterpillar become a butterfly? Why not take that flower nectar and give it to the caterpillar?

The problem is when you do that, you will see the caterpillar will turn its face away. He will not want that because he does not know its value and he does not know what to do with it. He will turn back and want the rotting leaves again. So if we were to be given that spirituality and those gifts that the truly firta oriented have been given, we will not be interested in it because we are more familiar with physical pleasure, we are more interested in the animal pleasure. It is like giving this nectar to a caterpillar whose only pleasure is eating the rotting leaves. Therefore, that change has to occur, that metamorphosis has to occur, and it is only through the worm because it is tabee'a driven, it only knows how to push and struggle instinctively. Our body will only support us in that struggle and push towards enlightenment, but its pleasures, the spiritual pleasure, it does not know.

Which is why in a hadith from Amir al-Mu'minin, 'alhayhi assalam, I'm coming to a conclusion [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. He says, Kaifa yazhadu min al-dunya man la ya'refu kadra akheera? How can he or she abstain from this world who does not know the value of the hereafter? If you don't know the kadr of akheera, how will you do zuhud in this world? Right. If I am attached to something, I will not let go of it until I see something more precious. So if I do not understand the hereafter, if I do not understand or take an interest in my own spirituality, I will never long for it because I will only want what I am familiar with, this is more pleasurable to me. Kaifa yazhadu min al-dunya man la ya'refu kadra akheera?

We will leave this here Insha'Allah, for tonight and try and wrap it up tomorrow, Insha'Allah. But the gist of what we have been saying here is that the more we learn to surrender, the more we begin to rise above this zero degrees, the more we begin experiencing this spirituality. And one of the things that we hinted at was our salat, give importance to your salat. We all pray al-Hamdulillah five times a day. So the quantity is there, but now the quality has to come in. I told you this as well, we talked about it a couple of nights back. Tabee'a prais its salat only out of a sense of guilt or out of a desire for paradise, but Fitra knows this is our connection to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. What a merciful Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the Earth. He has no absolute need for us, but He is willing to talk to us five times a day. In fact, He is willing to talk to us any time, even right now. But He calls us to stand before Him five times a day. This is our lifeline, this is our connection, if only we knew the value of salat and if we can improve our salat there in lies the secret to all spirituality wast'eenu bi sabree wa assalat. And that is why you see the A'imma, 'alayhum assalam, give so much importance to salat, whether it was Imam Husayn in Karbala or whether it was Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, salawatullahi wa assalam 'alayh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad].

Even when the Imam was leaving this world, our sixth Imam, he said to to to his son Imam al-Kadham 'alayhi assalam, he said, "My son tell our Shi'as that our shaf'a will not help them if they take their salat lightly." He didn't say, tell our Shi'a we will not intercede for them if they don't pray salat, he said if they take la tanalu shafa'tuna ma yastakhifu salat, whoever takes his salat lightly, whether it is praying late or whether it is constantly praying just in a state of heedlessness. We will talk a little bit about heedlessness tomorrow night as well, Insha'Allah, if you can recite a salawat 'ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Tonight is the 12th, the night of Muharram. For us, the tragedy of Karbala has come to an end, but for the Ahl al-Bayt , 'alayhum assalam, now begins the real tragedy. From here onwards now the message of Karbala has to be reached. The shock of what happened yesterday is now slowly beginning to seep into the minds of the children and the women. They're beginning to realize what a catastrophe has begun.

The Muslim world will now begin to reel in shock as this news of what happened in Karbala begin, begins to reach Medina and Mecca and even Kufa and all other places where people may not have been aware of this. In the night of Sham e-Ghareeba, we are told that when this fooj of ashqeeya, when the Yazidis came into the tents and began burning the tents, they were surprised to see that there was one man who was still alive and they asked, 'Why is this 'Ali ibnul Husayn still alive?" He was critically ill lying on a mattress, they pulled the mattress from under him. And it was Zaynab, 'alayha asalam who saved Imama. She ran into a burning tent and brought him out, we are told in the books of Maqtal by the Arbab of 'Aza' that the entire night of Sham e-Ghareeba, the entire 11th night of Muharram, Imam Zayn al-'Abideen, alayhi assalam, was sujjud, he went down into prostration, thanking Allah, praising Allah, glorifying Allah that we were chosen for this calamity to save Islam. Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, before he left for the final time, he said to his beloved sister, "My sister Zaynab, when you pray salatu layl this night do not forget your brother Husayn." Zaynab, with all the weakness and all the fatigue of the day, she prayed salatu layl, sitting on the hot sands of Karbala. When the sun rose the next day on the 11th of Muharram, the forces of ibne Sa'ad came towards the Ahl al-Bayt, 'alayhum Sala. First Shimr approached with his whip to begin whipping Imam Zayn al-'Abideen. Then they brought chains and shackles tied the Imam.

The Arabs used to have iron collars that they would put around the neck and then they would put a lock on it and they would have spikes on this collar that would be sticking and protruding on the outside. But they made a special collar that was used only for the severest of prisoners for the imam. This collar did not have an opening, this collar could not be locked, they forced it down his head with the spikes pointing inwards towards his throat. The sun and the heat of the sun would burn the skin of the Imam. Imam al-Baqir, alayhi assalam, says "Even when I gave khusul to my father, there were marks of the lashes of Shimr and the collars and chains on the body of my father." Zayn al-Abideen, alayhi assalam, fainting at times with pain and with illness.

Then they came to the women and tied them in ropes. They brought camels without saddles and placed them and forced them on the on the on the camels. Zaynab, 'alaiha assalam said to 'Umar ibn Sa'a, do not touch our women. She began helping the women on the camel one by one. When she was left alone and no one was there, she turned to furat: 'Abbas. You are there to help me on the camel when we left Medina, oh 'Abbas, you are there to help me when we left Mecca. Imam Zayn al-'Abideen came in held his hand on the camel. When Zayn al-'Abideen was getting on the camel himself, with his weakness Shimr again and began whipping the Imam. Then 'Umar ibn Sa'ad ordered again take the women through the battlefield so that they grieved some more when they see the bodies of their loved ones lying on the hot sands of Karbala. The forces of Yazeed buried their own soldiers and left Husayn and his Ashab on the hot sands of Karbala. When Imam Zayn al-'Abideen saw his for his father's body without a head trampled on the hot sands of Karbala, his face became pale.

Zaynab, 'alaiha assalam, saw the Imam and said, "Sajjad, why is it I see you as if your life is about to leave your body?" Imam Zayn al-'Abideen said to his aunt, "My aunt Zaynab, why should I not die when I see my father in such a state?" Zaynab to distract the Imam so that he does not lose his life threw herself from the camel while her hands were tied in ropes. The women fell down from the camel as well and came down crying, "Wa Husayn, wa Husayn."

Zaynab put her hand under the body of her brother and said, "Rabbana takabbal mina hadha kurban." The women did not want to leave the body of Husayn. 'Umar ibn Sa'ad and Shimr again began whipping the women and putting them on the camels. Adrikum 'ala Allah. When this qafeela came close to the Kufa on the evening of the 11th Muharram, 'Umar ibn Sa'ad waited outside Kufa and sent a message to Ibn Ziyad. This is Zaynab waiting outside, thinking, 20 years ago I had entered the city of Kufa as a princess, when when Hassan and Husayn had brought Zaynab to Kufa wgeb Ali was in Kufa. Hassan had sent a message to his father saying, "Baba 'Ali, Zaynab has come, we are outside Kuffa." Ali had said to his son, "My son Hassan, it is still day time, do not bring Zaynab into Kufa, wait until it is nightfall, then bring my daughter into Kufa." Allah, Allah this is the khairat of Amir al-Mu'mini.

When 'Omar ibn Sa'ad sent a message to ibn Ziyad, he said the reverse. He said, "It is night time, wait outside Kufa, wait until it is daytime, then we will parade the prisoners in the streets of Kufa. Bring out the riffraff and the hooligans on the streets of Kufa. The Ahl al-Bayt ,'alayhum assalam, were taken through the streets of Kufa. Zaynab kept crying for her veil the way Husayn cried for water. She kept crying, "Wa hijaba." She's covering her face with her hair. The people of Kufa, some crying and some laughing, some throwing water on them from the rooftops, some throwing fire on them. Zaynab heard the men carrying the head of Husayn saying, "I am the man with the longest lens, I am the man holdig the sharpest sword, I am the man who killed the most pious of people. Zaynab cried at him and said, "Oh, man, shame on you. Do not say that, but rather say I'm the one who murdered the one whose cradle Jibra'eel rocked. Oh man, say that I am the murderer of the one because of whom the Arsh of Allah shook. Oh man say, wa kulya waylaka ana qateelun Muhammadan al-Mustafa, wa 'Aliun al-Murtada, (say oh man, I am the murderer of my Muhammad al-Mustafa, say I am the murderer of 'Ali al-Murtada, say I am the murderer of the Mala'eekatu al-Samaa' wal anbiya wal awsiya'. Allah l'anatullahee 'ala qawmi adh-dhalemeen, wa say'alamun ladheena dhalamu aya min qalaben al-qaleebun.

Ilahi bi Haqqi Muhammad wa inta Mahmood wa bi Haqqi bi 'Ali wa inta 'ala wa bi Haqqi Fatir al-samawatee wa al-ardh. Wa be Haqqi Fatima wa inta Fatima samawat wa ardhee wa bi Haqqi al-Hassan wa inta al-Mohsen wal be Haqqi Husayn wa anta qadeem wal ahsaan. Wal be Haqqi tishatee al-ma'soomeen bi dhiratee Husayn. Ya Allahu, ya Allahu, ya Allah. Oh Allah we ask You bi Haqqi Muhammad wa ale Muhammad, that you accept our 'Azah in these 12 nights of Muharram. Ilahee bi Haqqi bi Muhammad wa ale Muhammad, we ask you for a long life that is in your service and grant us more opportunities to cry for Husayn. Rabbana taqabbal minna innaka samee wa 'Alim, ya Husayn, ya Husayn.