Freeing The Butterfly Within 12/12 - 13th Muharram 1433/2011

In the twelfth and final lecture in the "Freeing the Butterfly Within" series, Br. Khalil Jaffer finishes discussion from the previous lecture, signs of the Fitra-oriented individual, as well as makes a conclusion for the entire series. Br. Khalil also answers questions asked of him in regard to the series, as well as clarifies concepts and statements made throughout the series.

'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 our 12th and last lecture on this series that we called Freeing the Butterfly Within. So Inshallah, the intent is to make a conclusion and answer some of the common questions that I have received on this subject. But before we do that, last night we did not complete what we were talking about, so I'll just finish that and then very quickly come towards this conclusion.

We were talking about the transition from being driven by animal instinct versus being driven by our divine nature. What makes us special? What makes us human? In other words, that transition from being tabee'a driven to being Fitra driven. And we said that there is a transition phase where one is neither here nor there. One has sort of come out of being tabee'a driven, but one has not yet emerged in one's full Fitra. In our common analogy that we have been giving of the butterfly, it's that phase where the caterpillar hides and goes for the last time into its chrysalis and it hangs off the branch of a tree and it is away from the world. It is now neither a caterpillar nor a butterfly, and it remains in that state for a period of time, which could be five days or eight or ten months before it emerges, so there is that middle phase.

And one of the analogies we gave was that of water, and we said when water changes or thaws from being frozen to warm, there is that point at which it is just melted but hasn't warmed, it is a zero. And then speaking to one of the brothers here last night, this analogy can be actually refined further. Instead of speaking of water that thaws at zero degrees, let's use an example where this water boils and changes to steam at 100 degrees. The reason why there is a better analogy for two reasons. One is that when water changes to steam, it changes to something that is completely different. So that is a better analogy when we talk of changing from that caterpillar to butterfly.

The second reason is that when you boil water, initially, the temperature will rise, when it reaches 100 degrees Celsius, the temperature does not increase. It stops at 100. Then what happens is the water continues to boil and it boils and boils and boils, and at face value, it appears as if nothing is changing because it stays constant at 100 hundred degrees centigrade. But if you observe closely what is happening is that water is now changing into steam. It is becoming something else. So there is a plateau, so to speak, where the temperature rises, reaches 100 and then it remains constant, so it appears as if nothing is changing. But now there is a complete transformation into something else. And this is the middle phase that we talked about that we said sometimes manifests itself like depression.

So in our analogy of human growth, it is as if we are entrenched with addictions and attachments and we come out of these addictions and attachments until we free ourselves from it. And we come to this point at which it appears as if nothing is changing now. But at that point, what is needed is that boiling. In our analogy, those boiling, that boiling would be the suffering we experience in life, the calamities we experience in life. And we begin to see that this appears to be the method that Allah has chosen for everything. For example, when they extract gold from mines, initially, it is an ore and within it is a lot of other minerals that are impurities and that gold has to be put into extreme heat because it will only the other impurities that are within the gold will only fall off at certain temperatures. So they keep heating that ore and putting it through the furnace in a lot of heat and fire. And as the temperature rises, different forms of impurities that melt or different temperatures begin to fall away. And it is only a very, very, very high temperature that you are that you remain with pure gold. So ore becomes gold when it passes through the fire. Water becomes steam when it boils, the caterpillar becomes a butterfly through struggling and pushing within its cocoon, human beings are reborn and enlightened when they go through suffering and calamity, that is the analogy that we are trying to give.

Now, let's for a moment just explain a little bit further about this middle phase that we said can manifest itself as depression. Depression can be in many different forms, and in no way am I pretending to be a subject matter expert on this. But there are many symptoms for it as well, depending on the type. In many cases you will find that when people are depressed, they do not want to interact with society, they want to stay away alone at home, they want to hide from society, they just want to be alone. But there is another form which is more akin to the kind of experience we are talking about, where instead of wanting to be alone, one is afraid of being alone, one is afraid of hiding at home. One feels the world closing in when they stay at home because it is darker and it is confined within the walls. They would rather stand outside the house than be inside the house. And they want to constantly, so to speak, run away from home, be with people, be with society.

If this kind of experience should come upon us and we cannot find a particular reason for this, to say that this is because I have lost a loved one, for example, or this is because of an illness or this is because of some misfortune that has befallen me at this point in time. And if we are concerned about our spiritual growth and striving for it, then it is possible, I'm not saying it is, but it is possible that this may simply be the start of something great. It may be what we referred to earlier on, we quoted a hadith from Amir al-Mu'minin ibn Abi Talib Salawatullahi wa assalamu aleyh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] where he said expect relief and the tightening of the chains, when the chains become really tight, at that point, expect relief.

So this could be the start of the collapse of the ego, this could be the start of going through the dark tunnel at the end of which there is light. And what I am suggesting here is that sometimes when we have this experience, instead of immediately instinctively our tabee'a will want to flee and look for some kind of a distraction, some kind of an activity, some kind of a new relationship, a new hobby, a new diversion that will take that pain away. That is our instinct, our fight for survival, our tabee'a. Instead of doing that, we may want to try and endure that for a bit and instead ramp up our communication with Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala, increase our supplications, increase our du'as. Whether it is reciting the du'as taught to us by the A'imma, 'alayhum asalam, or whether it is talking to Allah in our own language as well.

We could try that for a bit. If it gets unbearable, we could still go back to familiar territory because that's more comfortable. We are more comfortable with the cocoon where we've lived all our lives and Allah will give us opportunities again and again. We talked about him being al-Qadheedhu and al-Baseetu, so there is a bit of that squeezing to see how far you can endure, and then that pressure is released and we come back to society. And then suddenly that black cloud is lifted and life seems to go back to normal. And then again, it comes to us. But every time it happens, if we are aware that this is a possibility that this middle phase could occur, then depending on how we are attached, it may take long, it may take short, but this is something to keep in mind that we could try and see how we can try and endure with dua's.

And if we do that, then just like an egg, when you start breaking it, you start seeing cracks around it. It is only a matter of time before it breaks open or hatches in the same way these cracks begin to appear on the ego and that will eventually it may not collapse suddenly, but it will eventually break apart, and at that point we become something very different. And we said this yesterday that outwardly we appear to be the same, but inwardly we are transformed. We see the world in a new light. We may even be perceptive to things that ordinary people are not. We may be able to hear some tasbeeh of animals or other things that we read about in our books with people who are enlightened and mystics, that others may not be aware of. We begin to see how everything is connected to each other. We become more conscious about the environment as well because we realize how we are connected and how when we destroy the environment, we are destroying ourselves.

So there is a rebirth where the old "I", the one that I always thought was "I" sort of dies in a new "I" is born that is very, very connected to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala and we begin to see how we are not really as independent as we think we are, but we are really very, very dependent on a source which is Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala And as we said often times when we have this frightening experience, there is a need to a want to retreat to run away, not to go through that tunnel. And it is OK if we do that once. But what we will find is when we retreat, the life that we come back to is not comforting either. We are still fed up with that old lifestyle, we're tired of eating those rotting leaves, we still desire something higher. So now we are caught between these two states. On one hand, we are afraid to go through that experience and endure it, on the other hand, there is no joy and comfort in that which is temporary.

And that is where holding on to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala with our prayers, our salat and of course, holding onto the Qur'an in the Ahl al-Bayt 'alayhum assalam. These are a source of comfort and help for us that we can use at these critical moments of our lives. We become like ashes of Tabee'a that are under the fire of Fitra, just simmering there like coal that appears to be extinguished, but it is still lit under the ashes. And we just wait there calling out for help, waiting for that spark of love from Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala, which will light that and remove the ashes and bring out the blazing fire of Allah's love once again.

When we look at the Qur'an, for example, in Surat al-Nahl chapter 16, verse 97, Allah, says, "Man 'ameela saleehan min dhakarin ao untha wa hoowa mu'minun fala nuhyeeyan hayat at-tayyiba" (16:97), 'whoever does righteous deeds, whoever does good, male or female, and is faithful is a believer, we shall cause them to live a pure life, a good life'. What is this good life? From our perspective, from a tabee'a perspective, those who don't believe in God seem to be having a good life, they seem to be having all the fun. Allah says, whoever believes and does good, whoever surrenders to me, we will cause them to live a pure, a good life. Then there is Surat al-Anfal, which is chapter eight of the Qur'an, verse 24, Allah says, "ya aya ladheena amanu, stajeebu li Llahee wa halee Rasool idha da'akum li ma yuhyeekum"(8:24), 'oh you who have faith respond to Allah in his Messenger, answer Allah and his Messenger when they call you to that which will give you life'. And we have used this verse in a previous series.

So what is this, I thought I was alive and Allah is saying respond to Allah and his Messenger to that which will give you life, which almost suggests that I am not alive, I am asleep, I am dead, and this is something that will cause a rebirth, something that will cause me to really wake up and become alive. So this pure life, this coming to life is essentially a reference that you become more conscious of reality. You see how things really are, and you come to realize that what you had before was not real life, you are in slumber, you are asleep. We mentioned this hadith annas suneeamun idha matu intabahu, people are asleep when they die they wake u. From Amir al-Mu'minin, 'alayhi assalam, he says, people are asleep when they die. In another hadith, he says, we are like travelers who are being carried while we are fast asleep. When we wake, when we die, then we wake up and we realize we were on a journey all this time, but we were asleep. So this moment of enlightenment, when it comes, it is almost like waking up from a coma. It is a start, a wake, a startling awakening. It is it is something that we have never imagined before. We suddenly begin to realize that what we thought was life was actually not real life.

So the caterpillar will continue asking, the caterpillar in us will continue asking, how will my life become better if I become more spiritual? How will it become better if my ego shatters? How will it become better if I grow wings? That is because it is impossible for it to understand. It is, like we said, the fetus in the womb trying to understand what our world is like. The butterfly knows what that world is like, the butterfly has some sense of comparison to say, I do not want to go to that. But the caterpillar within us will not know. We must trust in Allah that there is something grander and more magnificent that calls us. So we mentioned yesterday all the signs of the Fitra driven and we said things like they overcome the fear of death, their movement is always Tawhid driven, they are selfless, they are loyal, they are courageous, they are patient.

And we might come up with this question then how do I constantly assess myself that I have these values or I don't have these values? Or how much of these values have I attained at this point in my life? And of course, again, the answer to this is through calamities, through those moments in my life where my body and my mind perceive things as being a calamity when I want some pleasure and I cannot get get it or when I perceive something is being painful from a body mind perspective or when I have to fight for survival. Because these are the three things that tabee'a seeks: pleasure, fleeing from pain and fighting for survival.

So whenever there is any contradiction in that, it doesn't have to be a massive calamity like somebody passing away or my house burning down. It could simply be the fact that I have a desire for something, but I cannot get what I desire, that is sufficient as a calamity. In those moments of calamities, I am able to assess whether I am more tabee'a driven or Fitra driven, because at that point I can check, am I fearful or am I courageous, am I patient or am I impatient? Am I loyal or am I disloyal? Am I selfish or am I selfless? Is my desires and intentions and therefore my movement, Tawhid driven or am I a reward seeker? All the different things that we talked about yesterday.

What we see then is that I think about this when those moments in your lives, when you sit by yourself and you ask philosophical questions to yourself, you ask things like what happens after death? What is the difference between my life in an animal's life? Who am I? What is this world I live in? Why am I here? What is the purpose of life? When these questions are being asked, Fitra begins to reveal itself, tabee'a simply stares in shock, it does not have answers to these. For tabee'a these are like rocks being thrown at it. It doesn't know what to do with it because it only knows how to keep the body in survival. It only knows the seeking of pleasure and feeling of pain. So these questions can only be addressed by Fitra. These rocks that come flying are the calamities. Why? Why do we say that? Because if you think about it, you only ask these questions when you face calamity, when life is going quote unquote smooth, when life is quote unquote going well, when you are happy at work, when you are earning all the six, seven figures, when everything is good at home, when you are healthy, when are energetic, everything seems good, you never sit and ask these questions. Is there life after death? What happens to me when I die? What is the difference between my life and in animals? Who am I?

But it is when someone dies, someone beloved dies, then we ask this question. Every time people have come to me and ask me what happens to the soul when it leaves the body? Can the dead hear us? When I go to the cemetery and I talk to the person who has died, can they hear me? They only come and ask me this question after they have they have lost a loved one and that is natural. We become curious when we face these calamities. Therefore, calamities have a purpose. They stop us in our tracks. Tabee'a has no answer to calamities. Fitra has an answer, but that answer will only come when we surrender to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala.

And therefore Fitra knows that these calamities have a purpose. The purpose is that for too long I have been asleep, for too long I have been heedless, for too long I am in the rat race, for too long my life is not moving in any particular direction and I needed a jolt. What the calamity does is it's as if you are driving on the highway at a high speed and you're fast asleep or the calamity does is it grabs the steering wheel and it violently turns your car off the highway, takes you through an exit down the ramp and onto a new route or a new route. That's what the calamity does, OK. Now, of course, to take this new route, if it's going to be different from the previous one, if it's going to be Fitra driven and not tabee'a driven, then Allah must be part of it. We all want Allah to drive our car, but we don't want to leave the steering wheel, that's the problem.

I'll give you an example that we can relate to, because many of us here are immigrants, and this example will particularly be appreciated by the sisters who have migrated from Africa or India or Pakistan or the Middle East. The sisters will recall the time when you were living in these countries and you expressed a desire to drive a car and your loving husband said, I'll teach you to drive in my car, OK? You will remember the times when you were trying to drive holding the steering, but his hand was just there, right, mistrustingly. And the moment you did a slight movement, he would. No, no, no, no, no. This way. This way too fast, you're too slow. Right. He lets you drive, but he doesn't let you drive because it's his car, you're going to bash his car, so he holds the steering OK. And then finally gets frustrated and said, you know what, just get out. OK, let's just let's just forget about this idea of driving. It's a bad idea, right? The sisters know what I'm talking about, OK? We are like that with Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. Yes, Allah drive my life. But the moment Allah says we are going right and I want to go left, then it's like, oh, can we like, you know, I'll call you when I need your help.

That's exactly how we lead our life, and that is why we get off the highway, we go down the ramp, we get on another highway. Then again, we are asleep, and again, we are tabee'a driven. Then we get off the highway, another calamity befalls us. During that short period of the calamity, when we are on that ramp, we think, yes, now my life is going to be different. I'm not going to pay attention to materialism. Then again, we get another highway and then again we're on the same road. It does not change because we go back to that which is familiar, whereas these calamities have a purpose. So the problem is we see just like the man who doesn't trust his wife because he sees that vehicle is my vehicle and she's going to break it or smash it up. Right. We see my body, my life. Right.

If that perspective was to change and I was to see myself as a soul and say this is Allah's body, it is his amana, I have to give it back to Him, oh Allah, this is yours, do what You want with it. Thank you for the opportunity for my soul to evolve while I stay in this vehicle that is Yours. Now, every decision that I make, that is material that is physical, that is tabee'ee will have Allah in consideration and, therefore, there is that noor of Fitra, that sacredness which will come into that act of tabee'a. So the more we learn to surrender, the more we start experiencing the love of Allah and the more we become Fitra driven. If you can recite salawat 'ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad].

OK, now let's come towards making a conclusion to the whole series. Let's begin tying some loose ends and just emphasizing various points. One of the first things we said at the very start of this series is that in order to be able to focus on the hereafter, we need to see ourselves as an alien species in an alien planet, in an alien body. This is not to say that you do not indulge in the pleasures of this world, Allah says in the Qur'an that I created this for you, but he also says in Hadith al-Qudsi, that I created everything for you, but I created you for Me. OK. So that should not be compromised.

But the emphasis on seeing ourselves as aliens is that if we keep that in mind, then we will not treat this as our permanent abode. That perspective of death will always be in front of our eyes. And that's why in some narrations we are told that there was a time, I'm not sure how exact the exact details of the narration, but I think it says that when Adam, alayhi assalam before he ate from the tree, his death was before him and his hope was behind him. We talked about false hope yesterday. After he ate from the tree, it reversed. Now the perspective and thought of death was behind him and that false hope and desire was in front of him. So we we keep that in mind that because we are prone to constantly forgetting death and forgetting the hereafter, that is why in these lectures we have been emphasizing the hereafter, emphasizing Zuhud, emphasizing a keeping away from materialism.

When we die with Fitra in control of tabee'a, if we die holding the reins of our tabee'a, then it is the story of a ship that, after passing through, a storm finally arrives at the harbor, happy and safe. If the opposite happens and we die with our Fitra not evolved at all or not holding the reins of our tabee'a, then it is the story of a ship without a compass that floated aimlessly in the sea and over a period of time all its all on board simply perished. So there was no harbor, there was no coming home, there was no happy ending. It is the story of a worm that died in the cocoon, no wings ever came out, no butterfly ever emerged. So life can be stormy, but if we keep focused that I have a harbor to get to.

We mentioned this hadith from Imam Ali, 'alayhi assalam, that is worth remembering [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad], in which he said, "How good is that suffering and calamity that you have to endure for a short while in this world after which there is everlasting bliss, and how bad is that pleasure, that sin, whose pleasure lasts for a very short while, but whose consequences will stay forever as well." OK. And that is why Allah has kept the door of tawbah, the door of repentance for us so that at any point in time we can choose to turn back and change our priorities in life.

It is like the story of the Prophet Moses or Musa, alayhi assalam when he flees from Egypt, when Far'oun is after him and the people are after his life and he without any preparation, without any baggage, immediately someone comes and warns him and he has to simply flee and he has to walk through the wilderness and through mountains and through deserts and through hardship and suffer hunger and thirst. When he finally comes to Madian and he comes to Shu'ayb, alayhi assalam, in Surat al-Qasas chapter 28, verse 25, he tells his story to Shu'ayb and the Prophet Shu'ayb, alayhi assalam, says to him, fa lamma ja'ahu wa qassa 'alaihee qassass qal Llah takhaf najauta min al-qaumee dhalimeen.(28:25) When he said his story to Shu'ayb then Shu'ayb said to him, Have no fear, you are now safe from the unjust people. He came home to something safe. Now Shu'ayb married him to his daughter, Shu'ayb gave him a home, give him a farm, give him through that, he settled down, he had children for the next eight to ten years, he lived a happy life.

That is the kind of thing we want in the hereafter. That is why the Qur'an says that when the people of paradise enter jannah, the angels will be welcoming them from all sides. They'll be standing around, ushering them, welcoming them and saying to them, salam alaikum bima sabrtum fi ni'ma'whu bi daar (enter, enter into paradise, peace be on you for what? For the patients you had while you were in the world, for the sabr you did in the world. And what an excellent abode you have come to." That joy of knowing that now I will never suffer, I will never grow old, I will never know pain, I will never die, I have made it. It is beyond just sit sometimes and think of that what pain and what suffering is so unbearable, that is not worth knowing that you are now safe and happy for eternity. When that moment when angels welcome you and tell you for the patients you shall bi ma sabrtu. What an excellent choice you made. And so how happy is a man who struggles hard and does not stop until he finally comes to happiness? And that is what our Fitra wants.

We said our Fitra also once pleasure, our Fitra also wants happiness. Our firta also wants comfort. But our Fitra does not want something temporary, our Fitra does not want something that will decay, our Fitra does not want something that we will get tired of. Our Fitra wants something that will be everlasting, that will be permanent. And again, Imam Ali, 'alayhi assalam, says [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad], he says the price of your Nafs is jannah. Do not sell yourself short, do not sell yourself for anything less than jannah. If you give up jannah for anything, any kind of pleasure in this world, you have sold yourself short. You are holding onto on a diamond, on a gemstone, but you do not know its value, you have sold it as if it was a glass bead.

We must not stop and settle down at any point in our lives and feel I have now made it, I have now become spiritual, I am now a muttaqee, I am now a mu'min, now I just need to guide others, I don't need to do anything for myself because Shaytan does not rest. Shaytan will not leave you until the last moment, even when your soul is leaving your body, he will hover around, because every soul he wants, he will battle for it. And therefore that holding onto Allah and that feeling that you need Him all the time to be guided must always remain. Our state of alertness, our watching of our thoughts, our intentions. Why did I do this good deed? What was my niyya, my motive?

We have to watch our minds and our hearts, just like you would be alert if I were to tell you there was a snake in this room. Supposing I was to tell you that there is a snake somewhere in this room, we are not sure where it is. Just guys, be careful if you see it, let me know. Right. If you believe me, you would not sit comfortably, even while you are listening to me, you would be watching right. Your peripheral vision would be seeing. And if something moves slightly, you will jump because you don't know. Right. You watch Shaytan like that. He is always doing tawaf of your heart. What is protecting you is your taqwa.

And we have talked about this as well, that those who are inna ladheena attaqow idha massahum ta'fum min al-Shaytan tadhakkaru idhahum mubserun, those who are God conscious, those who are constantly aware that Allah is with them, when they are touched by a thought from Shaytan who are doing tawaf around them, they are constantly, they immediately realized this thought has come to me from Shaytan, and they are taqwa is like a bubble or a shield that immediately snaps and keeps Shaytan out. Shaytan is very weak, we must not be afraid of him. But the moment we are not God conscious, he has entry and access to us. This is what I was saying to one of the brothers a couple of nights back. That Shaytan is not interested in those who have no faith because he has set them on a habit, on an 'ada, they are now on autopilot, he doesn't have to monitor them. He's interested in the one who has taqwa.

In one hadith, we are told, either from Imam al-Baqir or Imam al-Sadiq, 'alayhi assalam, he says [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. He says the number of shayateen on a mu'min is more than the number of flies on a piece of fresh meat on a hot, sunny day. You take a piece of meat, fresh meat on a hot, sunny day, keep it out under the hot sun, how many flies will gather on it? You might not be able to see so many flies here in Canada, but those of you who have come from Africa, India, places, you know what I'm talking about, right? How they just swarm on it, you can't even see the meat anymore. There are more shayateen sitting on a mu'min than in that case. This is hadith. But the mu'min is not afraid because he's got taqwa, he's got the God consciousness with him. OK.

So Fitra is Allah's ambassador to men. The closer one is to one's Fitra, the closer one is to Allah, the more distant we are to this divine nature within us, this Fitra within us, this thing that calls us to Allah, the more distance we are from our Fitra, the more distant we are to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. We can liken our physical bodies that are driven by tabee'a like an iron loop or an iron belt around a small tree. The tree is our soul, our Nafs, our true self. That belt or that loop is the body that we live in for a while. As the tree grows, that iron loop or belt does not grow. It stays the same. There comes a point where it is torture and it is painful for the tree to have that iron loop or belt that is around it because it is stopping its growth. And that tree would really appreciate it if that belt was now removed. And that is why we die, in particularly, that is why a mu'min dies, because a mu'min now needs to be freed from this experience, from this plane of existence, to take further growth, to elevate further and take new realizations in the 'alam of barzakh and on the Day of Judgment, and even in jannah there is a progression in one spirituality, but there is a whole different subject.

So the body is that belt or that flowerpot in which we nurture our souls. But when it is time and the soul is ready to move on, then as we said, that flower pot has to be broken, that belt has to be removed, otherwise further growth will not take place. But that does not mean that we take our Fitra for granted. Think of Fitra as a voice that constantly calls out to you. When you do something wrong, it nags you, it tells you, my dear, this is not right, you have violated something within you that is divine, you must not cheat, return what you have taken unlawfully, it calls out to you. If you constantly move away from Fitra, then the voice will also get dimmer, you will hear less and less of it, and if you keep ignoring it, there will come a point where Fitra will go silent. Then Fitra is just in theory a potential, but it no longer speaks within us.And that is how some individuals then devolve instead of evolving. And from human to being angelic, they actually become demonic. All right. So the same is with a righteous man.

A righteous man will initially attempt to guide a man who is evil. If he listen to him, he will continue guiding him. If he stops listening to him and he continues in his evil ways, then the righteous men will not only stop advising him, but he will also begin to distance himself from him. And in time, such a man will find himself surrounded with only people who are like him. The same is true for a community. In our community we have some wonderful individuals and in particular in this community I am proud to say that in the Masumeen Islamic Center we have some of the most excellent human beings that I have had the pleasure to know in the life that I have lived on this Earth so far. These human beings are selfless, these human beings do not want to be acknowledged, do not want to reward, do not want money, they want to serve Allah only. Now these are Fitra driven human beings or they strive to be Fitra driven. If we attract them into our lives, if we cherish them, if we if we value them, then the community becomes Fitra driven, the community flourishes. Those who are Fitra driven want to guide each other and the community grows.

If we turn them away, then what happens is we attract tabee'a driven. Then those who preach Fitra want to move away. Then the community devolves and becomes. So it goes from individual to family to community to nation to country to the world. So this is a perspective that we need to keep in mind that Fitra should not be taken for granted. Just as it can be gained, it can be easily lost. It is as infectious as tabee'a is infectious. It can spread, it can disappear.

Also, we said when we are driven by tabee'a we tend to be asleep, we tend to be what is called in Arabic, a state of ghafla a state of heedlessness. What does this state of being asleep look like? This is something we can all relate to. Those moments in our lives when we are not thinking consciously of the now, when we are not focused on the fact that Allah is with me, we are sort of asleep and we do things just like animals do, which is basically we just react. You shout at me, I simply shout back at you. You swear at me, I swear back at you. You honk at me in the car. I honk back at you. Right. I feel hungry, maybe I can't eat because I'm fasting or I'm ill or I have to do medical tests. So instinctively what I do is I go and hang around somebody who's eating right. That gives me some sort of illusory relief. Or maybe I go to a bakery and hang around there. It's just instinctive that I just do. I'm bored, I just turn on the television, let's see what's on TV, I'm bored. This is what the state of being asleep looks like, a state of ghafla where my intentions and desires are on autopilot. There is no sense of awareness, aliveness, acknowledgment or thought. Why am I doing this? What am I doing it for?

The opposite of that is that state of taqwa, that state of consciousness where I'm constantly keeping an eye on the thoughts that are moving through my mind, just like I would watch clouds passing through, I'm watching the thoughts come into me and leave. And my actions are now driven by this sense of awareness, the sense of aliveness. And that is why taqwa, which in the past used to be defined as fear of Allah or piety, you find that now a lot of scholars have looked into this and they are defining taqwa as God consciousness or God wariness. But to be conscious of God, we have to be present. We have to be in the now. We cannot be thinking of God if I'm constantly daydreaming or worrying about the past or stressing about the future or fantasizing about the future. So this is, of course, something we have talked about at length in the end of negative suffering.

If we continue to remain asleep, then our decisions and judgments will not be made by our Nafs, by our soul, by our heart. They will be made by our egoic mind. And when they are made by our egoic mind, then we may think we are doing something religious, but the intention is corrupt. We may be thinking we are serving Imam Husayn, but the intention is to serve the ego. In one hadith from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, salawatullahi wa assalamu aleyh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] he talks about Karbala, he says 30,000 horsemen came to Karbala. With what intention? He said 30,000 horsemen came to Karbala, kullun ya takarrubana ila Allahi bi daam al-Husayn, everyone of them came to kill Husayn kurbatan illa Allah. When we do an act of worship we ay kurbatan illa Llah.

Why? Because these horsemen were what we call, quote unquote, practicing Muslims. They were praying, they were fasting, amongst them were Hafidh of Qur'an, and they came to kill whom, the grandson of the Prophet, for what? Qurbatan illa Allah. Why? The question is why did their salat not save them? Because their sala was tabee'i, it was not fitri. Their salat was egoic, it was simply done out of habit, I was raised like this as a child. If there was consciousness, if there was aliveness, if there was awareness. Look at the sermons of Imam Husayn, 'alayhi assalam, on the day of Ashura. There are so many and you will find them easily on the Internet, in books, in the library here as well, in every sermon, the kind of arguments he gave them. Even if you didn't know who he was, you would know it. He introduced the Ahl al-Bayt, he read verses of Qur'an to say who he was, he explained his relationship to the Prophet, he asked them, what sin are you killing me for? But they could still not see it because they were asleep. Their hearts had devolved to such a degree, they no longer had the ability to awaken that Fitra.

So in summarizing some of the tips that we have been giving on how we begin to awaken our Fitra, we have mentioned taqwa that this state of God consciousness, we have mentioned addiction's and said that Allah is with us. His love is overflowing, we are constantly connected to him, we don't feel his love, we don't feel his presence, we feel depressed because of the numerous, numerous layers and layers of addictions and attachments between us and Allah. So if we can begin identifying what we are attached to and addicted to and start working on relieving ourselves from them and taking on the withdrawal symptoms as those calamities and suffering that we must endure, then slowly but surely we will begin experiencing that love of Allah and begin sensing our Fitra waking up.

So there was taqwa, there was addictions, then we talked about salat, we said the quality of our salat must improve. We said, salat is meeting Allah. If we don't like meeting Allah for salat, why would we like meeting Allah when we die? So the excuse that I don't have time, is really not an excuse.

The hypocrites Medina had said to Rasul Allah, sallallahu alayhi wa aali wa sallam [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] that we would have loved to come for jihad with you, but we don't know how to fight, our parents never taught us how to hold the sword, which would be true for our case as well. Right. We've barely slaughtered a chicken, I don't think even we know how to do that. Right. I've never held a gun in my hand. I think if I shot with a gun, I'll probably fly backwards with the recoil. Right. They said: we would have come for jihad sincerely, we don't know how to fight. Now, Allah responds to this in Surah at-Tawbah, chapter nine, verse 46. He says, "wala aradhu khurja la a'addu lahu 'addatan" (9:46), 'if they truly had any intention of going forth then they would have trained and prepared for it'. So if we truly have an intention of meeting Allah, then we would prepare for it, we would train for it, we would take this salat seriously. So we have taqwa, we have addiction's removing of addictions, we have salat, and then of course, last but absolutely not least is we have the Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam. These are the two things that the Messenger of Allah peace in his family told us specifically, hold on to this.

So if you imagine yourself in a boat in the ocean of knowledge, there is so much knowledge out there, there are so many religions, so many faiths, so many schools of thought, so many ideologies, so many mystics, so many spiritual sages and Sufi masters and people out there giving so much advice on how to evolve spiritually and grow. It's an ocean of knowledge out there. How do you identify which knowledge is good for your soul and which is harmful for you? When you go out in your boat, which is your body, you being the soul, you have two oars in your boat. Make sure these two oars are the Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt ,alayhum assalam. If you use these two oars, then swim freely in the ocean of knowledge, you will not go astray because these two oars will direct where your boat moves. They will constantly tell you this does not flow with us, this flows with us. So anything that comes to you measure it by these two and these two InshaAllah will guide us.

Now, this brings us to the end of our series, this 12 night series on Freeing the Butterfly within and I want to answer a few questions very quickly, but if you can recite a loud salawat 'ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad, wa ajjal farajahum]. I will try and be very quick because there is another matter, a few disclaimers that I want to also mention very quickly.

One of the questions I have received, as I mentioned, is can you briefly explain the relationship between the Nafs versus tabee'a and Fitra? Think of the naffs as the real you and Fitra and tabee'a not as you, but as is natures or instincts that your body and your soul reads. So think of tabee'a and Fitra as some piece of code, some computer code or programming. Your body and mind reads the tabee'a code and acts according to it, your soul reads the Fitra code. OK, so there have been some attention or interest to try and liken tabee'a and Fitra with Nafs al-Ammara and Nafs al-Lawwama that we are all familiar with. But when you read the Qur'an where these two are mentioned, Nafs al-Ammara and Nafs al-Lawwama, the Qur'an mentions, for example, Nafs al-Ammara is inna Nafs al-Ammaratun bi soo', that there is some who have this Nafs or a part of their Nafs that summons them to evil.

Nafs al-Lawwama is the self-blaming the Nafs that blames you when you do something wrong. Now, tabee'a we said was not evil in itself, it is simply that animal instinct in nature that is trying to preserve the body so that your life does not terminate prematurely in this world. So because Nafs al-Ammara summons to evil that could be associated with a part of us, I could become my Nafs, could entirely become a Nafs al-Ammara without any lawama left in it.

OK, it might be better to try and relate and say that the caterpillar alternates between Nafs al-Ammara and Nafs al-Lawwama, and when it becomes a butterfly, it is in the state of Nafs al-Mutma'inna mind. OK, but think of tabee'a and Fitra as some code that the real you or your body or your Nafs reads this code and then interpret and act according to it. And there is more to this, of course, but in the interest of time.

The other question, too, was is Fitra a constant? Can it change? Is it the same? It is the same for all at birth, but does it become different for people as they grow into adulthood? And the answer is no, Fitra does not change. It is hardwired in us and that Chapter 30, verse 30 that we have been reading Fitrati Llahee latee fatrata nasa 'alaiha it says la tabdeela illa khalqi Llah (30:30), it does not change. It does not change because it is your compass that points to Allah. If Fitra was to change, then you would lose the ability to find Allah. Then you could say on the Day of Judgment to Allah that, yes, I made some mistakes in life, but when I wanted to find you, I had no way to find you. So what changes in a human being as they grow is those layers of addictions and attachments that sit between you and your Fitra and pretend to be Fitra, it masks Fitra. It is tabee'a with the mask of a pseudo Fitra. But Fitra in itself, in its origin, does not change.

Question three: We all fear the radical change from chrysalis to butterfly. How do we overcome this fear? Fear is an animal instinct, it is not from our Fitra. Fear is a characteristic of tabee'a, as we have been saying, it is the ego that is afraid and the ego uses tabee'a, which wants to fight for survival. So the first step to overcome this fear is to dis-identify from the egoic mind and this dis-identify from the body and thinking in thinking that this is the real me. And the more we are able to dis-identify, the more we will find courage in our lives. And again, as we have been saying, there is salat, there is the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam , the Qur'an that will help us to find this courage.

Question four: Freud spoke of three parts of the human psyche that he called the 'id', 'ego' and the 'super ego'. And it sounds like tabee'a is the 'id' of Freud and Fitra is the 'super ego'. Would this be a fair comparison? OK, now, I myself was not too familiar with Freud's understanding of these terms. I try to read up a little bit and I could see a lot of similarities between tabee'a and his understanding of the 'id' and Fitra in his understanding of the superego. And I certainly encourage us to explore science and do such studies. But I caution that Fitra, I mean Freud may not have believed in the human soul. He may not even have believed in God. So you have to keep that perspective in mind and ask questions like, did Freud believe that the superego survives after death? And if not, then what was the function of the superego? What is the function of the superego in the human life? And how did it originate and come about in human in human beings?

So there's a lot of things that need to be discussed here. And we don't have to take an approach of either saying, well, science is right, therefore, this understanding of Islam is wrong or Islam is right, therefore, science is wrong. Science is constantly evolving, new studies keep coming out. New theories are replaced with new ones. And as science perfects itself, it will only prove the Qur'an right. But you also have to keep in mind that just because I said it does not mean Islam is saying it. It could also be my understanding of some matters may not be right. So this is a journey we undertake. And certainly it is a good idea to have discussion amongst ourselves wherever we live, and find out more about these. Just two more questions.

Question five: Any tips on raising children without using anger? Very difficult, isn't it? Anger is again a survival instinct, it is an animal instinct within us. And if it is reined with Fitra, it is actually a good thing. Our imams expressed anger when wrong was done for the sake of Allah. They expressed it in jihad as well. So it certainly has a purpose, but, it is only Fitra driven anger is only Fitra driven when it is done for the sake of Allah. So when you hit your child physically, the question is, did you hit him for the pleasure of Allah? OK. I don't think anybody would say that, which therefore means that when you hit him, it was only an animal instinct. So first and foremost, when we use corporal punishment, it is an opportunity for us to assess ourselves and realize that I am still driven by animal instinct, I'm still not holding the reins of my tabee'a my Fitra still is not evolved. OK. So we can learn from a child.

Secondly, we have talked a little bit about this. Think of the damage we do in this short term inability to control anger. We may be suffering that consequence from our parents, but we should not repeat that cycle with others. Let us suppose my child always gives me a hard time when it's time to change his or her diapers or change his or her clothes. So I come up with this clever scheme that every time it's time to change clothes or diapers and the struggle, I'm going to pinch them. For example, right when we were in Africa, I don't know what people did in India, but when we were in Africa, when children had to be trained, they would take a matchstick, they would light it, then they would extinguish it and then make sure it's not really hot enough to leave a mark or a burn and then they would touch the child with it just to scare him. And that's how we were all potty trained. OK. I'm not sure how people did it in India, but this was the method in Africa for many people who might attest to this. Right. So I come up with this devious scheme that I'm going to use this form of punishment to train my child.

When this child grows up, if this child by nature is passive, he will grow to be fearful. And remember, we said in the first phase of raising a child, the most important thing is your child should not lose their sense of courage, their ability to stand up and speak the truth. OK. So this is very, very important. If we constantly use fear, if they are passive by nature, when they grow up, they will have this nature. I'm afraid of my boss, I'm afraid of this, I'm afraid of that, and then if they live in a country that is ruled by a tyrant who has authority, who has power, they will never stand up and fight because they are always afraid of authority.

And if this child turns out aggressive, then this child will become a tyrant because this child will learn subliminally, it will be etched in his or her psyche that when you have power and authority and you are physically stronger than others, then it is OK to control them using force, using violence, using injustice, using cruelty. So they will want to do that without knowing that. OK. So we repeat this cycle when we keep doing that. So we need to constantly keep in mind that even though we talk to our children, tell them don't do this, don't do that the child's mind is not developed. They do not have that sense of maturity and understanding as we do. If the child wants to play just because you are having a bad day or you have had a fight with your husband or your mother-in-law, your boss, do not take that out on the child. Use those moments. This is what we mean by taqwa, the God consciousness where you constantly are present aware, watching your mind.

Last question: Yesterday I mentioned that rizq is guaranteed from Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. Now, would this not make people lazy? Because then the question would be why bother earning a living since it's guaranteed, it's going to come to me anyway? Right. And Muslims would then not progress because they would sit back and say, well, you know, everything is taken care of. So, again, it's a lengthy discussion, there is a lot of philosophical discussion on the idea of qada and qadar and rizq and so on. But very briefly, when I say rizq is fixed and guaranteed, what I mean is it is outside our power and control of how much we will earn, but it is not outside Allah's power and control of how much He wants to give us. It is fixed for us, but not necessarily fixed for Him. In other words, for Allah it can be two variables. There could be a limit if we strive and there could be another minimum if we don't strive. And this is where this whole concept of Laytul al-Qadr comes in. When we say that in Laylatu al-Qadr the rizq is reassessed and written and, you know, rizq is not just food, it is how long you live, whether you have children, illness, life, all these things we talk about. So there is a whole discussion for Laylat al-Qadr and so on and so forth if we can recite salawat 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad].

Now, I have almost exhausted my hour here, but there's just two things that I want to mention very quickly. One, I'll take a little a few more minutes, just as a you know, to clarify. This 12 nights of Muharram we have al-Hamdulillah had a good attendance, but we have also had a lot of individuals from outside the community. We've had a lot of Muslims from the Sunni community. One of the brothers was telling me there was somebody from the Jewish community who was also attending these lectures and found them useful, al-Hamdulillah. When you bringing people from outside the community, we need to also make them aware of what to expect and also we need to make sure that we we we prepped them by saying that if they hear something that they think is wrong or a misunderstanding, that they seek clarification, rather than going back with that sense of objection within them.

So one example was that but at the same time, you do not have to be apologetic that because I said something and that person objected, therefore what I said was wrong. OK, we need to clarify. So one example was, I think the night before Ashura, I mentioned that there are individuals who go for Hajj and come back and say that we will not go for Hajj again because of the exhaustion and the tired. But you will not find anybody who has gone to Karbala who says, I do not want to go to Karbala again, OK? And that Imam Husayn, 'alayhi assalam, has become a center, a Ka'ba, so to speak, of the lovers of people who find solace in in going there.

Now, from what I understand from some of the feedback I got is that some of our Sunni brothers who are here found this objectionable, that Karbala was being given more importance than Mecca or that Husayn, 'alayhi assalam, was being given more importance than the Ka'ba. So I just want to make a couple of comments on this. First and foremost, I did not say that it is only the Shi'as who say we do not want to go for Hajj. Again, I can show you many Sunni brothers who say we do not want to go for Hajj again, because of whatever reasons.

OK, so what I said was not something just fanciful or poetic. It is a fact. Now, if it is a fact and it's true and there are people who say that and I haven't met anybody who said I don't want to go to Karbala, then I'm merely stating what I know. OK. A simple way to disprove it is to find me someone who says I don't want to go to Karbala back or to prove to me conclusively that it is only the Shi'as who don't want to go back to Hajj and that there is no Sunni Muslim who has gone for Hajj, who would say, I don't want to go.

The fact that you should not say that is in its place, it's valid. We should never say I don't want to go back to Hajj. We even have a hadith to say that sometimes a person's life is lengthened because he says, I want to go for Hajj next year, even if it doesn't seem likely he will go. And sometimes a person's life is shortened because he says, I will never go for Hajj again. OK, so Hajj is a blessing and it is definitely a pillar of Islam.

Secondly, Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, saved the Ka'ba, and we have hadith from the Shi'a, and if I'm not mistaken, from the Sunni sources as well, that a mu'min is more precious to Allah than the Ka'ba. So if a mu'min is more precious to Allah than the Ka'ba, then what do you think Husayn is to Allah in relationship to the Ka'ba? OK. So the argument that Allah wants us to love Him, directly and not to love Husayn is a false argument because Allah, jalla jalalahu is not buried in the Ka'ba, nor does he live in the Ka'ba. And when we go to Husayn, we go to him out of love for Allah and his Messenger. What is our connection to Husayn? It is through Allah and His Messenger.

Here I want to mention something as well. On the ninth, on the eighth of Dhul Hijjah, the year 61 A.H. when Imam Husayn, 'alayhi assalam, because of his madhlomiya, had to forsake Hajj and remove his ihram and go to Kufa he waited until all the Muslims there saw him, and the Muslims there knew this is the grandson of the Prophet, he is being persecuted, he is oppressed, and that is why he is leaving Mecca. Yet the majority did not follow him. The 'ulama are unanimous that all those who saw Husayn leaving and knew he was leaving and still chose to go for Hajj and not to go with Husayn, that year their Hajj was not accepted, that Hajj had no validity.

So the question is that whether you are Shi'a or Sunni, if you had been in Mecca on the eighth of Dhul Hijjah 61 A.H., what would you have chosen, Husayn or the Ka'ba? That will tell you the relationship of Husayn and the Ka'ba. We do not have to try and prove who is more important, what is more important, OK, they take validity from each other. But Husayn is not just the grandson of the Prophet, he is not just a pious man, he is a hujjah of Allah he's a proof of Allah and therefore in his own right, he has a presence.

The other thing I want to mention very quickly is that beware of the slogans of Tawhid when they are not accompanied with the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam. It is very, very dangerous. Tawhid is pure monotheism. We believe in one Allah, we worship Him and Him alone. But when you take your understanding of Tawhid the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam, must be with it, why? What was the slogans of the Khareejits? It was Tawhid, it was Allah, it was Ka'ba, it was Qur'an. What is the slogan of the al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The same thing, Qur'an, Allah, Ka'ba for on. But why are the extremists why did they deviate? Because of their interpretation of these things, when they left the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam. So the Qur'an can be interpreted by many ways. Even the al-Qaida and Taliban interpret the Qur'an. It is therefore very important that it comes through a reliable source, we therefore do not have to be apologetic.

When we say we the Shia follow the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam, it is not merely an act of love, it is because of the validity here. We are saying that the others who are followed have no legitimacy in Islam because they do not connect their legitimacy to the Prophet. They may have been great scholars, they may have written books, they may have established their own fiqh, but people follow them out of, out of coincidence, it was circumstantial, it was not a divine plan. Where the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam, are chosen. They have a place in Islam that cannot be violated and cannot be compared to anything else.

We need Ka'ba and Husayn to give us salvation. So just for the brother who asked me to clarify, I want to clarify for all my Sunni brothers and sisters, the Shia's do not worship Imam Husayn's, alayhi assalam grave, we do not go to Karbala is a substitute for Hajj. I know it sounds silly for me for you to hear this, but apparently it is important. We do not deny Hajj as being a fundamental pillar of Islam. And if we wanted to say Hajj is not important, we didn't have to go to Karbala, we could merely say Ka'ba is the birthplace of Imam Ali, 'alayhi assalam, we are going to Hajj because of that reason.

We could have made up if we wanted to do shirk, there are groups who have done that, right? I don't know if they are nusaidees is or not. There is one poet who says Sheikh Ijeed dharee eebada kea afsana hey, kira Ka'ba maera maula kazaja khana hae. Right? Sheikh ajeor Ka'ba. This is the story of your Ka'ba that this is this is your this is your story, that your Ka'ba is the birthplace of my Mawla. But that is not what we are saying. We go for Hajj for the same reason that all Muslims go. And therefore we are not trying to substitute one for the other.

Now, the last thing that I want to mention as well with this regard is that unfortunately, some of our brothers feel this sense of inferiority, that as soon as we say something and somebody who is not from our immediate community objects, we feel that we need to be defensive. One of the Shi'a brothers came to me and said that, you know what you said about Imam Husayn and the Ka'ba and Karbala, I think it was a slip of the tongue, so if you can correct it. I just want to clarify, it wasn't a slip of the tongue, and I'm not going to correct it or apologize for it [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad. Narahe Haydari, Ya Ali!].

Another one of the brothers also said to me that, you know, I've already I've already helped you out because I said to the my Sunni brothers that, you know, don't take it too seriously, because sometimes when a speaker is emotional and he sometimes says things, you know, forget, forgetfully, he may have just said it, but didn't mean to say it. So I want to clarify. I meant to say it and I'll say it again.

So, unity, I am all of you know, here I am a big supporter of Muslim unity, but unity does not mean compromising on your faith. Unity does not mean [Narahe Haydari, Ya Ali!]. Unity means that if you want to unite, then you accept what I believe without wanting to kill me, and I accept what you believe without wanting to kill you. That would be the true spirit of unity. Not that I have to hide some parts of my faith. You have to hide some parts of your faith because that same Sunni brother or sister that you are bringing to the mosque and hoping to guide them towards the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam, when they become Shi'a, they will find out, so what is the point of hiding it from them? We are not in the business of hiding or hypocrisy or OK. And I say this with sincerity, without wanting to offend anyone. If during these 12 nights I have said anything to offend anyone, Shi'a, Sunni, Jew, Christian, anyone, I sincerely apologize. But see the spirit with which we intended what we said.

Now, there is a second matter that I want to say very quickly. I know I'm way over time, but I will come to Masa'ib immediately after this. Some of the brothers have brought me to my attention that there are some videos or clips going around on YouTube or Facebook or somewhere in which some parts of my lecture are included and they are causing some misunderstanding or suggestion that I am speaking about a particular individual or speaker or scholar. OK, so I just want to clarify this as well. And I have two requests here for the because I know these are transmitted online as well.

So the brothers and sisters who put this clip up, my request is your intention may have been sincere, your intention may have been to only use a part of my lecture that seemed relevant to the message you were trying to convey. But because it is being portrayed as being out of context and being targeted at a particular scholar or speaker, if you can add that context, I don't know how you do it, whether you add a bit more of that clip or you remove that clip altogether, you put some words in there so that people don't misunderstand.

And the other request is that for the people listening to these clips, whether you listen to something that has a piece of my lecture or any lecture, for that matter, as a community, we need to be wiser. And I hope we are wiser that if you watch something and you see something from a speaker for ten seconds or 15 seconds, don't jump to conclusions that he is talking about this person or this organization or this individual. Go back, find the original lecture. Listen, if you don't have time to listen to the whole lecture, listen to five minutes before five minutes after, make sure you understand the context before making that conclusion, because unfortunately, we live in a world where it's so easy to just get on the Internet and type something on a forum or on a message, and it just creates unnecessary ill feelings. And the reason I say this is, again, not because I'm concerned about reputation or anything like that, but I say this because the purpose of all these lectures and all the effort put in them was to encourage spiritual growth, to encourage us to want to better ourselves. And instead of that, if it becomes a source and means for just fighting or gossiping or disunity, then that effort is lost. So I would like Inshallah to for us to pay attention to that.

I would also like to very quickly take this opportunity to thank you all immensely. I want to thank the Ma'sumeen Management Committee. I want to thank Ma'sumeen MediaWorks. I want to thank the audience who are present here and who are online as well, who have taken the time, despite the numerous, numerous scholars we have, they have chosen to come and listen to my confused thoughts and broken words. And also I want to thank the volunteers. I'm not going to start mentioning which segments of volunteers, because I know will forget somebody or some important group. But the volunteers are our unsung heroes. They are the people that we are most proud of. And I sincerely thank you in whatever capacity you have helped and InshaAllah, I hope you will continue to do so. I want to thank the brothers who have tried to keep my voice going. So the ones who brought me ginger powder, ginger tea, ginger ale, recipes of honey with ginger, by the way, I'm addicted to ginger now, so I have to work on that. But sincerely, the youth got together and out of their own without my asking, they went out and bought ginger ale for me. And this is a very small gesture, but it touched me because I realized how much love we have within the community and we need to foster this.

And our youth are watching us. When they see that we are a loving community, we look out for each other. We are not just polite to each other, but we really care for each other. Then they want to be part of the community. They are proud to serve and help, whereas if they see that we as adults have any ill feelings towards each other than they are obviously put off by it, so we have a beautiful al-Hamdulillah community, we need to strive. My prayer every night, when I pray for this community, I will tell you who I pray for the most. I pray for those humble individuals who, when they know they have been wronged and they know the other person is wrong and they are right, they still come forward and apologize first and say to the person, Forgive me, brother, I was wrong.

It takes tremendous, tremendous courage to have that kind of love for Allah, to have that kind of love for Imam Husayn to say I am right, but because I am more Fitra driven at this point, I will apologize for the sake of the community, for the sake I am not hinting again at anything. But I know these problems exist in many, many communities who listen to these lectures online. And I'm hoping that the same idea will be carried in all communities InshaAllah around the world. So for all our volunteers and for everyone who have made these programs possible, if we can recite a loud salawat 'ala Muhammad. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad, wa ajjal farajahum]

Tonight, my dear brothers, is the 13th night of Muharram. Last night, in our journey with the qafeela of Ima al-Sajjad, 'alayhi assalam, and Sayyida Zaynab 'alayha assalam, we talked about Kufa and we spoke about how Ubaidullah ibn Ziad, la'untullah 'alay, when he came to know that the qafeela is on the outskirts, he waited for them, he kept them outside, he prepared the city, he decorated the city. He brought out all the riffraff so that they would come and further chastise the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam.

And as they walked through the streets of Kufa, they began throwing water on them, they began throwing fire on them, they'd be throwing stones on them. And at this point, we are told that the ladies from the Ahl al-Bayt, alayhum assalam, not having their veil with them, they began covering their faces with their hair. Umm Kulthum, 'alayha assalam, was calling out to the people and saying, oh, people. And this is where they began their mission of letting people know who they are. That is why she was calling out and saying to them, oh people, lower your gaze, we are the daughters of the Prophet, oh people lower your gaze, we are the daughters of Zahra', 'alayha assalam. And some of the women came around and they started giving the children dates and bread and other food to them.

And Zayab, 'alayha assalam, was calling out to them ya ahl al-Kufa, inna sadiqatu haram 'alayna, oh people of Kufa do not give our children this bread and dates We are the Ahl al-Bayt, sadaqa is haram on us. She is introducing her family to them. When this family is finally brought to the Darbar of 'Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad and they are made to stand there, we are told a man comes to Imam Al-Sajjad, alayhi assalam, an old man comes to him and says to him, Who are you, young man? He says, I am Ali ibn al-Husayn. He says, Which Husayn? He says, Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet.

He said, I cannot believe you are the grandson of the Prophet. He said, Why do you not believe? He said, last month, your uncle Muslim ib 'Aqeel was brought in the same court, but he looked at Muslim in the eyes and spoke to him. Why is it that you lower your head when you stand in this court? Imam Al-Sajjad, alayhi assalam, cried and said to him, Oh man, you have not been fair. When Muslim ibn Aqeel came, he was alone. He did not have Zaynab and Umm Kulthum with him. I am standing with my aunts and my sister without any veil. Why would I not lower my head? Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad looks at Imam Al-Sajjad and says I thought Ali was killed in Karbala. Imam al-Sajjad, alayhi assalam, says to him, That was my brother Aliun Akbar, who was killed. So he says, Imam Al-Sajjad says to him the people killed him in Karbala. Ibn Ziyad says, No, Allah killed him. Imam Al-Sajjad says no, Allah did not kill him, people killed him, Allah takes the soul of the people, to which ibn Ziyad says, take this young man away and have him beheaded for answering me, for speaking back to me. Zaynab, 'alayha assalam, throws herself on Imam Al-Sajjad, oh ibn Ziyad, have you not had enough of our blood? I will not let you kill this boy unless you kill me. Ibn Ziyad ignores him.

He begins to, he says, leave the boy alone, perhaps he will die of illness. He begins to take his cane and begins disrespecting the head of Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam. Zaid bin Arkam, the companion of Rasul Allah sees this, he begins to cry and say, Move your cane oh son of Ziyad, by Allah, I have seen the Prophet kissing this face. By Allah I have just witnessed this face reciting Qur'an. Ibn Ziyad hangs of the head of Husayn on a tree in the night. The people of Kufa gather to see a light radiating from this head towards the heaven. The lips of Husayn move reciting, wa saiy'lamoon alladheena dhalamu aiyamun qalabee yan qaliboon. Soon shall those who have committed an injustice know what kind of an overtuning this shall return to.

Ilahi, bi haqqi Muhammad wa anta Mahmood wa bi haqqi 'Ali wa anta 'ala, wa be haqqi Fatima wa anta fatrat as-samawat wa al-ardh, wa bi haqqi al-Hasani wa anta al-Mohsen, wa bil haqqi al-Husayn wa anta qadeemun al-ihsan, wa bil haqqi tis'atil ma'sumeen min dhurriyatee Hasan wal Husayn, ya Allahu, ya Allahu, ya Allahu, ya Allah.

Oh Allah we ask you for the sake of Muhammad Ali Muhammad, that you forgive us all our sins on this night. Oh Allah bi haqqi Muhammad wa aali Muhammad, we ask you to accept our 'aza fa Aba 'Abdillahi al-Husayn. Oh Allah, we ask you bi haqqi Muhammad wa aali Muhammad for as long as you give us life, you keep us with Muhammad wa aali Muhammad. Oh Allah grant us their Ziyara in this world in their shafa' al-yawm al-qiyama. Oh Allah, bi haqqi Muhammad wa aali Muhammad, grant us the loftiest ranks in paradise bejawaree Muhammad wa aali Muhammad. Oh Allah, bi haqqi Muhammad wa aali Muhammad, even after our souls have left our bodies, when the day of Ashura comes permit our souls together and cry for Husayn, ya Rabb al-'Alameen be haqqi Fatimat az-Zahra 'alayha assalam. Matam al-Husayn. Ya Husayn