Freeing The Butterfly Within 2/12 - 2nd Muharram 1433/2011

In the second lecture of Br. Khalil Jaffer's "Freeing the Butterfly Within," series, Br. Khalil discusses how Tabi'ah and Fitra are two natures which are distinct, but inseparable, similar to two sides of one coin. Examples of how various religions attempt to remove the Tabi'ah nature from themselves, via self-mutilation, etc. are given, and Br. Khalil explains why these methods do not work in removing the Tabi'ah of man. Further, Br. Khalil goes onto describe the relationship between Tabi'ah and Fitra with vivid analogies and its implications for us.

A'udhu billahi min al-shaytan al-rajim, Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim, al-hamdulillah Rabb al-Alameen, bari' al-khalaa'eqi ajma'een. Wa salat wa salam ala asharafi al-anbiya' wal mursalin, sayyidina wa Nabeyyina wa habibi qulubina wa tabibi nufusina wa shafi'i zunubina Abal Qasim Muhammad. Allahumma sali 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad. Thummal salatu wa salam 'ala aale baytihil 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'lehah fi ketabih, wa huwa asdaqul qaa'eleen. Fa aqim wajhaka lil-deeni haneefan, fitrat Allahi ilatee fatar al-nas 'alaiha. La-tabdeela li-khalqillah. Dhalikal deenul qayimmu wa-lakinna aktharal nasi la ya'lamuun. (30:30) Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad.

Tonight is our second lecture and majilis. Our topic is freeing the butterfly within, and last night we said that the human being or insan has two natures: one is his instinctive animal like nature, whose purpose is to drive the human body and to keep it in its survival mode in this plane of existence. And we said this in Arabic, we will choose to call tabee'a. And we said every human being also has a second nature, which is far more superior. It is his natural disposition that is more innate in him. It is a God given, divinely inspired nature that lasts beyond this body. When this body perishes, that first nature goes with it. But this nature stays and survives after death. And we said, this is fitra, which we have mentioned yesterday from the verse of Qur'an that I begin with from Surat ar-Rum chapter 30, verse 30.

We also said that one of the main cause of the challenges we face with our spirituality as Muslims is this confusion between these two natures when we do not make a distinction between them and we see them as one and time and again we talk of human nature or it is natural for humans to do this.

We don't distinguish between these two. And if we can learn to distinguish between these two, then suddenly the path towards Allah becomes clear. Our spiritual journey takes meaning. Why? Because once we understand that I have tabee'a and I have a fitra and tabee'a is only for the body, but my real self, which is my soul, is driven by fitra, then my focus changes. I am now more concerned about awakening my fitra as opposed to giving in to my tabee'a.

And because of that I begin to dis-identify from the human body. I begin to realize I am not the physical entity, I am not the physical body that I look at in the mirror every morning. When I dis-identify from the body, then excessive obsession with materialism begins to sound absurd. I no longer find any meaning in giving so much importance to the material world, my body, as well as the material world. When we die, a lot of things change.

We have talked in the past of the human ego and how the mind creates a false identity of the self. We struggle in this world to shatter this ego. But if we don't, when we die, it still shatters because it is associated with the brain and the brain does not survive after death. Similarly, for tabee'a, tabee'a does not last. So when we give excessive importance to the body and to the material world, then when we wake up in the next world with our souls, without this body, we wake up to something that is very startling and shocking.

We come to realize that we had our priorities wrong. We begin to see that when I came to this world, I was like a caterpillar. I was in a wormlike state. My purpose in this world was to evolve for a spiritual metamorphosis, to take place so that I emerge into this beautiful creature, into this spiritual butterfly, so to speak. But because I was completely identified with the body and because I forgot I had a soul and that this soul is driven by its own divine nature called fitra that was sleeping and potential that I did not unleash and awaken. Therefore, I have remained a worm or a caterpillar and not become the butterfly one. Perhaps this is one of the meanings that Ameer al-Mu'minin ibne Abi Talib, salatullaihi wa al-saam alayh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad wa ajjal faraj], perhaps this is one of the meanings he meant when he said, "An-naso'niyamun, idha matu wa intabahu, the people of this world are asleep, when they die, they wake up. In other words, he's saying we are in a slumber. Most of the human beings you will encounter are asleep. You might find them alive, they appear to be alive, but they have not. They have stopped questioning what life is all about.

They get up in the morning, they go through the cycle of life. Their day ends. The next day's the same, the third day is the same, days become weeks, weeks, become months, months, become years, they grow old, they die. Then they wake up. Our challenge here is to wake up before death, because another Hadith as well, from Rasul Allah sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad wa ajjal faraj] in which he says mootu qablan to mootu, die before you die. The second die is not in your hands, the first die is in your hands, that is why he tells you to do so die before you die, meaning die to your egoic self and wake up, become born again. Let your qiyama happen while you are in this physical world. In another hadith from the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him and his family, he said "If you wish to see a dead man walking on this earth, a man whose resurrection has happened already, then look at Ali ibne Abi Talib, salatullaihi wa al-saam alayh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad] What does it mean "if you want to see a dead man walking on this earth look at Ali ibn Abi Talib", meaning he has crossed and traversed the boundaries of death. For him there is no surprise after that lokushfal ghita lamazdat tuyaqeenin. If veils were removed and the hereafter became apparent, it will not increase my certainty or my yaqeen, Ameer al-Mo'minin says [Ana Haidari, ya Ali]

So we come now to our subject tonight. What we want to do tonight is talk about the characteristics of the tabee'a and fitra so that we begin to understand this in greater detail. And this inshaAllah will be our subject for the next two nights at least as well. When we begin saying that we have two distinct natures we have tabee'a and we have fitra, our minds will immediately begin to suggest that these two are separate entities and I can choose one and leave the other. I want fitra, I do not want tabee'a. So we need to establish first and foremost that while you are in this plane of existence, in this alien body before you return home, you cannot separate these two natures. They are separate, but they are they are distinct, but they are like two sides of a coin. The two sides of a coin look very different, but you cannot separate them. If you separate them, they are no longer the same coin. So while you are in this body, you have to accept and acknowledge that.

Why do we say this? Because if you look at the history of human beings as the strove to find spirituality and enlightenment because they did not distinguish between tabee'a and fitra and they simply talked of human nature, they tried to transcend human nature by plucking out the tabee'a from themselves, by saying, I do not want to have the desire for food. I do not want any sexual desire in my body. This has been the approach of some mystics in the past. And what we want to say is that this is impossible because while you have a body, the body will demand its needs no matter what. If you deny its demands, it will become perverse, it will change, it will skew, but it will still demand. The body is driven by tabee'a we said yesterday has three motives. It wants to seek pleasure, it wants to flee from pain and it wants to survive; and in order to survive, it must be selfish.

Now, let me give you some examples so we understand this clearly. What were the attempts in human history to remove and pluck this tabee'a? Many of you here come from India, and I'm sure you have heard of such stories. In India there are there are Hindu mystics or sages, some of whom are called yogis, for example. What they try and do is they try and torment their body in order to free it from physical desire. For example, they might dig a hole and bury themselves up to their necks and stay like that for days on end. What are they trying to do?

A couple of weeks back, I was researching something on Sri Lanka. I think I was searching about Shia's in Sri Lanka, what is their history and how they came to be there and so on. I came across some documentation and some video. You may know that in Sri Lanka for a long time, they had a war between two factions. They had the Sinhalese and they had the Tamil Tigers and they fought for a long time and there was a brutal war in which many people died, lots of crimes, and there is still a trial of crimes against humanity. Now, there are some individuals who are from this Tamil Tigers who have now repented for the crimes they committed against humanity. In order to express their remorse and their repentance, what they do is every year they take a truck with a crane in the back. And from the crane, there are iron hooks that hang. They remove their clothes except for a loincloth, and they suspend themselves forward and the hooks are put on their skin in the back. It is put into their backs and into their feet and into their hands at the back.

Don't go searching for this video if you are faint of heart because you will faint, OK? It suspends them with the hooks from their skin, their legs, their hands, and then they take iron skewers and they poke it through their cheeks from one side to the other and through their hands. And they then stay in that state with their hands clasped like that, in worship. And as the truck moves from village to village and town to town through those bumpy sandy roads, the crane bounces and they are hooked with those iron hooks. So it throws them down and then he pulls them up and throws them down and pulls it up. And when they're interviewed afterwards to say, why do you do this to yourself? This is because this body has committed crimes against humanity, it has killed innocent children. So we are now making up for it by punishing this body, to teach it a lesson so that he does not do this again, and to show our true repentance.

Now, I can assure you that if a war broke out again, these same individuals will once again commit to the same thing they will commit. Tell me why. Because what they are trying to do is to punish tabee'a. Tabee'a cannot comprehend things like justice, things like fairness, things like equity. This is for fitra to understand, not for tabee'a. Salawat 'ala Mohammad. salatullaihi wa al-saam alayh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad].

And it is not just in this faith. Look at the history of monasticism amongst the Catholics, for example. In Catholicism, way back maybe, centuries ago, 19th century somewhere. Some of the pious Catholics priests decided that the cause of our constantly committing sins and constantly succumbing to temptation is our sexual desire, we need to fight this. So in order to do this, we will abandon society, we will go into the desert, we will build a monastery, and we will say that marriage is a necessary evil. You should get married only if you just absolutely have to. But if God has inspired you with spirituality and if you have the capacity to strive for higher ranks and you wish to become like the angels, then you should not get married.

And therefore, celibacy became an integral part of being a monk. Several decades down, what is the result of that today? You keep hearing of stories of young boys being abused, young girls being abused in these monasteries. Why? Because, again, it is an attempt to deny the body its need. It is unnatural to fight tabee'a in this manner, because the body will demand what it wants. We sometimes have to adapt to different circumstances because of the society we live in, but the body will not stop for us. For example, in the past, our children got married at a younger age. Perhaps they got married when they were late teens, early 20s. Now, because Mash'Allah, there is opportunities for education, they do their undergraduate, they do they graduate, they do their Phd, they study, so we wait as if the body will wait. We said let them get their PhD, let them get a good job, let them start earning six figures, let them establish themselves and then they will get married.

So we wait for our sons until they are in their 30s to get married. Trust me, their bodies is not waiting. Because you as a parent are neglecting it and thinking there is time or because you and I have crossed an age where this we have some sort of control of our desires. It does not change for a young man. He is going to Google on the Internet and he is going to get into trouble because his body will still demand its needs. It is driven by the tabee'a unless, unless you have a unique child on your hands who has realized the importance of fitra.

So what we are trying to say here is that tabee'a cannot be plucked from us, it cannot be taken out, it cannot be thrown out. You cannot say because I want to become more pious, I'm going to starve my body and stop eating. Try it, if you want to see how long it lasts. Nothing will give you as great an illusion as the first few hours of a diet. And then you begin to realize. Now there is a difference between a person who might eat less or fast excessively because of his love for Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala.

There are incidents like this amongst the anbiya, amongst the A'immah, amongst the mo'minin and the 'ulama as well, that when they attain a certain rank of spirituality because they completely disidentify from the physical body and it short, it is of much less importance to them and there is a loss of interest in that. And they gain a certain amount of energy from spiritual sources. They don't have that sort of an appetite for food. This you and I can understand in a simple example, like when a young man falls in love with a girl, you will see that one of the signs of that falling in love is he loses his appetite. It is in similar times, except that a mystic has fallen in love with Allah and that is real love. So not eating or eating less out of a spiritual reason is something else. But to say I will fight my body and I will starve my body and I will deny it food, that is not going to work. Because that is an attempt to punish tabee'a and tabee'a will not accept that. So tabee'e is not evil in itself. It is only evil when it becomes excessive. And we will talk Insha'Allah of the relationship between fitra and tabee'a and how fitra can harness and reign in tabee'a. If it is controlled and reined in, it is a good thing. It is not evil.

And this is where Islam shows its beauty. How Islam is a moderate religion. Islam will not accept monasticism. Islam, on the other hand, will not accept excessive materialism. It will take a middle path. It will never ask you to do something that is unnatural to your physical body. We have also talked in the past about..... Now here's the thing with tabee'a. Fitra we said is asleep within us, it is a potential, it is latent within us, we have to awaken it. Unfortunately, we cannot awaken it until we mature intellectually, until we have reached a certain age where we can listen to something like what I am saying and go home and reflect about it and realize perhaps there is a more divine and spiritual nature to me. Perhaps I am not just a social political animal, perhaps I am more than that.

But a young child cannot understand these matters of fitra and tabee'a. Try explaining the difference between tabee'a and fitra to your two year old or five year old. They might memorize the word tabee'a and fitra, but they wouldn't understand what you're talking about. But tabee'a is active in them from the time they're born. From the time a child is born, you will find that they seek pleasure, they flee from pain and they fight for survival.

In fact, it is more active in them than it is in us, because we sometimes will choose to be selfless over being selfish. But survival mode requires us to be selfish. You will find the most selfish of creatures are children, isn't it? When a child wants to feed, it doesn't care you have had a long day and you are asleep. It doesn't care it's two o'clock in the morning. You wake up and feed me, right?

A child is. Then, as they grow older, they are still selfish. Thereafter, I think the most selfish are the teenagers, because teenagers will demand also their needs without thinking I have to give back. I have to have my allowance. I have to have my pocket money. When I want to go somewhere, you have to take me and drop me there. But I don't have to do something until you ask me. Please take out the garbage. Please help with this, please. That sense of responsibility is not there. But when we grow and we get married and we change from being I to being we and then us and then we have children and then there's not even us or we, there's just them. We learn to become selfless. So a child is driven by tabee'a even more than an adult. They can't understand metros of fitra until they are much older. They can only understand metros of tabee'a.

In the past we have talked about the ego. When we talked about the end of negative suffering, we said the same thing. We said that the ego is a product of the mind. The mind made false sense of self that says I am the thinker in the mind. That is the ego. This ego is created from infancy when the child senses a certain conflict with his world and the world outside, and it creates a separate sense of I-ness. Now, you cannot teach your child not to have an ego. It has to develop. But that does not mean it is evil.

What we shall see in the coming nights is not only is tabee'a and the ego not evil, but it is in fact important and necessary for one who wishes to attain enlightenment. To put it differently, one does not become enlightened by being ego less. One becomes enlightened by shattering the ego. Now, if the ego is not there, then what will shatter? So it is a necessary component of our spiritual journey towards the hereafter.

If you can recite the salawat 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad wa ajjal farajhum]. So we have said that tabee'a is selfish and fearful in its nature, fitra is selfless and courageous. When we find we lack the courage to say the right thing, when we lack the courage to do the right thing, when we are faced with a situation at work where we have to avoid doing something that is haram, but we don't have the courage to speak up, whether it is shaking hands with a non-mahram, whether it is sitting at a table with our colleagues were drinking alcohol and we find it is against my faith, but I cannot speak up. This lack of courage is because of a lack of that fitra being awakened, because we are surrounded by people who are tabee'a oriented, tabee'a driven, and they expect us to conform with them, not to stand out and be different.

But in itself tabee'a is not evil. It's selfishness is necessary for the body to survive in this plane of existence.Tabee'a does not know halal and haram. Tabee'a only knows I want pleasure and I want to flee from pain. And tabee'a should not know halal in haram because it is not of its concern, it is not one of its functions, why it should be like that. Its function is only to seek pleasure, flee from pain and survive. To give you an example of this, it is not the function of the eyes to see, the eyes is not sensitive to light the eyes. The ears are not sensitive to light. The eyes are not sensitive to sound. If I look at the sun, it will hurt my eyes. If I keep looking at it, it might even blind me. But if I close my eyes and I just keep my ear to the sun, at best, I'll get a tan on one ear. Right. But it's not going to harm me. Because it has nothing to do with light. It has only to do with sound.

Tabee'a has nothing to do with concepts like freedom and justice and equity and standing for the truth and fighting oppression. These are akhlaq or nobility or seeking something like courage, it has nothing to do with tabee'a, that is a characteristic of fitra. When we begin to awaken our fitra, we begin to give importance to these values. But it is important that we don't try and think of human nature as human nature seeks justice. When you say human nature wants justice, wants freedom, what part of human nature wants this?

If I put two objects that are red and green near your ears and I say, can you listen to these two and tell me which is red and which is green, you cannot it has nothing to do with it. So when you go to tabee'a and say, should I do this, is this justice? Is this halal or is this haram tabee'a will not be able to answer you. Fitra will be able to answer you. Tabee'a will say I am hungry. It is paining me. I need food and I want it now. So you begin roaming around the kitchen, opening all the cabinets, foraging for food, looking for anything you can eat. Fitra will speak and say, are you not eating excessively? Is this not going to harm you spiritually? So you tend to either become tabee'a heavy or you become in the month of Ramadan spiritually heavy. OK. When I go shopping to the grocery and there is a clear sign there that says no sampling and I'm thinking, should I buy this grapes or should I not buy these grapes?

Tabee'a will say I'm hungry. Eat. I might even get lunch here. Right. Fitra will speak within me and say you have to account for this one day. When the cashier gives me change and gives me just one penny extra, I go back and say, I'm sorry, you give me an extra penny. That is fitra speaking. I can choose to ignore it, I can choose to put it to sleep, but it is hard wired within me. It is only found insan. Salawat 'ala Muhammad, salatullaihi wa al-saam alayh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammadwa ajjal farajahum]. So we find our sense of responsibility and our sense of equity comes from fitra only, this is where we will. This is what we awaken within us. You will also find that because fitra is hard wired within human beings and we cannot get rid of it, when a human being wants to do something against fitra, he will find an excuse and a justification for it. He will not be able to do it directly unless he's really, really completely asleep, and it kills his fitra in such a way that he has devolved and become something other than human, as we see, for example, in Karbala. But otherwise it is not possible to do that. You observe what human beings do. Even when they lie or when they steal they will find an excuse.

Someone will steal, for example, from the employer or from the government. They will give a reason for it. They will say, these are thieves. I pay so much taxes. I do this right. It is my right. They will defend it. They will never say yes, it is right to do this. They will say, I am doing this because this, this, this, this. They will find a reason to justify their action. Why? Because fitra will not allow them otherwise. Now, by now we might be thinking that from what we have said so far, that tabee'a and fitra are two opposing forces, not just opposing forces, but equal forces.And here is where we want to introduce the relationship between tabee'a and fitra. They are not actually equal forces. Why? Because tabee'a is only temporary. For the time that the body lives in this plane of existence, it disappears with the body. It does not have the maturity and the intelligence and the depth and the connection to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala like fitra does.

The correct way of linking tabee'a and fitra is to think of tabee'a is a mount, like a horse and fitra as the rider on the mount. So when we say a person's fitra dominates his tabee'a, what we mean is the rider on the mount is holding the reins in his hand and he is controlling where this mount goes. But when we say tabee'a dominates over a person's fitra, we do not mean that tabee'a now sits on fitra. What we mean is the rider is still fitra, but the rider has left the reins. So the horse is now running wild and as it runs wild, it may run towards a cliff and fall off it into an abyss. This is one analogy by which we may begin to understand the relationship between fitra and tabee'a. I'm putting this as building blocks because we shall develop these analogies further in the coming nights, Insh'Allah. In the interest of time, let me give you another analogy.

Tabee'a is like a gushing river. Fitra is like a dam on the river that holds that gushing water and then releases it with control so that it generates useful power that is useful for itself and for mankind. Now, let's take an example. We talked earlier on about we talked earlier on about the the the celibates, for example, and the idea of being pious by opposing desire. One of the strongest forces of tabee'a after the force of the desire for food is the sexual desire in a human being. This can be compared to a raging force or a river that flows with force. And it is within that human being who becomes an adult. It it gushes with that force. This is the tabee'a. When you build a dam of chastity, of modesty, of haya', of some shyness, it regulates this force and it directs it in the right manner. The result is that this same desire, which others have seen as evil and tried to crush, Islam now teaches you how, by using this fitra, this dam of chastity and modesty, how you can use this force in the right direction.

Now it becomes beautiful because that individual now will seek a spouse and then that individual will have a family.That individual will have children that will bring joy to him and his spouse. That individual will, in time, after being married for five, ten, 15, 20 years, will learn to distinguish between lust and between love. It becomes a springboard and a means by which he evolves spiritually. That very same fitra, if it was missing, if you remove that dam. Now when this tabee'a flows with force, it becomes now detrimental, it now becomes destructive, it now becomes ugly. It now causes harm. It now makes the person increasingly depraved. He goes from one desire to another, from one fantasy to another. The result of that is he harms himself spiritually and physically. Not only does he destroy himself, but he destroys other lives, families are hurt, children are hurt. The result of what? The result of uncontrolled tabee'a are.

Now we will, insh'Allah, dedicate one lecture talking about how to raise fitra oriented children. But let me just throw this out here. The development of fitra in children needs to start earlier, rather than later. Why? Let us continue with this analogy of the river and the dam that we build. Most of you here have been Niagara Falls. You have seen it, Niagara Falls, there is a river that gushes with force and then that water falls down that we all go and see, Subhana'Allah, an amazing sight. You can stand for hours and just look at that.

And then once it falls, you notice the water doesn't have as much force down there. It flows, it goes winding through various cliffs. Where does it end up? It ends up in Lake Ontario. It opens up into a vast body of water, which is true for many rivers as well, that flow with force. They end up opening up into a sea or an ocean. Where is the dam? It is way up on the river where the water gushes with force.

In other words, you stop and you catch that early. You don't let it go at the end. What if you decided that instead of building the dam and the river up there, we're going to build it in Lake Ontario? It is not going to have any effect because there is no force that is flowing there. Secondly, because now it is opened up to a large body of water. Can you imagine the size of that wall and the dam that you will have to build?

In other words, it becomes a lot more difficult to accomplish such a task when you let it go so far. It is the same thing with our children. When they are young and when tabee'a rages in them with force that is where you put the wall of fitra so that it regulates and controls that tabee'a and directs it so that it is useful for themselves and for society. If we leave it once it has lost its force, it is then very difficult to build that wall of fitra much later when they are much older. Salawat 'ala Mohammad. salatullaihi wa al-saam alayh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad wa ajjal farajahum].

I'm coming towards a conclusion. This confusion between fitraa and tabee'a plagues most human beings. And as we develop this subject, you will see that the more we separate these two and we begin to see the truly I have tow nature two natures within me, two dimensions within me, one that is very simple, very basic, very animalistic and instinct that only drives my body and one that is divine, that needs to be harnessed, that needs to sit on my tabee'a and take hold of the reins. The more you will find it makes more sense and in how we approach spirituality for ourselves and for others around us. This confusion between tabee'a and fitra, by the way, is not just something that confuses human beings. When Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala intended to create insan, even angels were confused about these two. If you look at Surat al-Baqara chapter two of the Qur'an verse 30 Allah tells us of the time when he wanted to create the first prototype of the human being, which was naby Adam, alayhi assalam.

Before he did that, he said to the angels, "Wa idhqala Rabuka lil mala'ikate. Inni ja'eeloon fil ardh khalifa. And remember when your Lord said to the angels, I have decided that I shall create a representative of mine on this earth(2:30). What was the response of the angels? Qaalu alu feeha ma ufseedu feeha wa yafsiku dima'. Oh Allah, are you going to create a species that will create mischief on the Earth and spill blood? (2:30)

What they're saying to Allah is do you really want to do this? I mean we're not saying anything, but we are there, "Wa nahnoon wa sabihoo bi hamdic wa niqadsulac. Here we are, we celebrate your praise, we proclaim your sanctity". Why do you want to create this creature that has so much anger, so much lust within it, so much uncontrolled power, it's just going to run amok and create havoc. Now, when you look at the world we live in, you just have to turn on the news.

Then the angels were on to something, isn't it? Because we live in a mad, mad world, isn't it? How many times have you questioned humanity? Have you not said to someone, I just wish Allah would just like, you know, wipe out like four billion of us as long as I'm from the remaining three billion. OK, how many times have you said I wonder why Allah even bothered to create human beings? I mean, look at the things we do.

Look at the stories you hear. A mother cutting her baby into pieces, people slaughtering each other. We just can't live in peace with each other. Right. We have invented ways of torturing each other beyond anyone's comprehension. Right. Our imagination is being used to create weapons of violence, of destruction. We pollute the environment. We kill and then we try and fix things and then we create a bigger mess and. Right. Why did Allah bother. Allah says to them, Inni 'alamu malat'alamun. I know something that you don't know.(2:30)

What is it Allah knows the angel does not know? I know that they have fitra in them. You, the angels, when you look at the world, you are seeing seven billion caterpillars. I am seeing the one caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. That one butterfly is so important to Me, it is worth creating seven mad insane caterpillars to get that one butterfly. [Salawat 'ala Mohammad. salatullaihi wa al-saam alayh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad].

Allah knows the capacity, the potential of this human being, Fi idha nafkhtu fihe min ruhee. Oh angels, when I blow into this creature that you think is just mad and full of lust and anger and desire full of tabee'a only, when I blow into him of My spirit, then you fall into prostration before him. That spirit that I blow into him will have my attributes. I am Rahman, his fitra will always call him towards mercy.

I am al-Jawad, his fitra will always call him towards generosity. Look at your own nature. You will find that all those names that are isma' wal husna' afr Allah, the beautiful names of Allah. Those are the qualities that you like within yourself. And their opposite is what you dislike because it is wired in you. Even if you don't like studying, even if you do not want to go to school, even if you want to just remain the way you are illiterate.If I call you ignorant, you do not like it. And if I call you intelligent and wise and knowledgeable, you are happy, even though if you can't read and write because it is your nature to love al- 'Alimu. If I call you strong, you feel good because it is in your nature to love Al-Qadiru. If I call you weak, you dislike it because it opposes Al-Qadiru.

So within you, is that potential within you is the ability to unleash attributes.If you can only control your tabee'a with your fitra, you become a mirror through which divine attributes shine on the rest of the universe. That is why I'm Amir al-Mo'minin, alayhi assalam says [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad]: aaz'ammu innka jirmu sagheer wa fi kan tawa' al-'alamuun akbar. Do you think you are some small insignificant life germ in this universe when within you is contained the entire universe? You are a microcosm of the macrocosm. The whole universe is contained within you. You are so weak compared to other creatures.

Look at the animals around you. They are bigger, they are stronger, they are faster. They can devour you in seconds. But look at your ability to understand. You can explore the outer limits of the space. You can go to the bottom of the ocean, you can do amazing surgeries. You can rescue these other massive creatures. They have remained the same for centuries. Look at how you have changed your potential. I just want to say this in conclusion for tonight and and then we stop here. That if we take up this challenge and Insh'Allah before we die, if we evolve from this butterfly worm state, from this tabee'a oriented individual to this caterpillar state to this butterfly state to this fitra oriented individuals, then the change is so radical, even though outwardly we may appear to be the same, but the change is so radical that it would be like looking at two different species and not believing that these two species were once one in the same.

Which is why we are giving that example of the caterpillar and the butterfly. So we stop here Insha'Allah for tonight and we continue tomorrow night again discussing characteristics of tabee'a and fitra Insha'Allah. One loud Salawat 'ala Mohammad. salatullaihi wa al-saam alayh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aale Muhammad wa ajjal farajahum]

Tonight is also the second night of Muharram al-haram, and our primary purpose is to remember Aba Abdillah, al-Husayn. Everything else we discuss is from his Baraka. We try and make ourselves better so that when we say to our Imam that if only I was with you in Karbala. If only I was layalthuni kintu ma'qum fa 'afuza fawoozan 'adheema, then that sentence has meaning.

Last night we talked about the kafal of Aba Abdillah al-Husayn leaving Medina for good, and this was on the 28th of Rajib in the year 60 A.H. Imam al-Husayn after going to the graves of his grandfather and his mother, bidding farewell to Madina for the final time, took his small caravan, his small group of family members and began heading southwards towards Mecca. I have no doubt in my mind that as this Kafeela was leaving Medina, there must have been turning back to look at the city walls of Medina and thinking, will we ever see Medina again? Not only the men, but the women must have been thinking that as well. I'm certain that Zaynab, alayha assalam, and Umm Kulthum, as well, must have been doing Salam to their grandfather and saying and to the city of their grandfather and saying Ya Medinatu to jadeena how we will miss you oh Medina.

But I must tell you one thing, that when this kafeelah came back with Imam Sajjad, alayhi assalam, there were not as keen to come back to this Medina as they were when they were leaving. Some of the moarraqeen said that when they came back and Zaynab saw the walls of Medina again, she fell from the camel and Umm Kalthum began reciting Medinatu jaddina la taqbleena.

Oh Medina of our grandfather, do not welcome us anymore. Kharajna minke bil ahleena jamma'a raj'na la rejalaho walla baneena (We went forth from you oh Medina, with all our family, we have come back there are no men and no children left with us. This kafeela came to Mecca. Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, stayed in Mecca for four months and ten days. During this time, the word spread. The grandson of the prophet is in Mecca. People came to Mecca everyone who came in the month of Sha'ban and in the month of Ramadan, and Shawal, Dhil Qad, and Dhil Hijja, they all came to know Salam to him. The word spread throughout Arabia that Husayn has refused to do baiy'a of Yazeed. Husayn has said. Mythili, la yubaiy'a mithlu Yazid, one who is like me, will not pledge allegiance to one who is like Yazid. The people of Kufa began writing to Imam Husayn, "Oh Husayn, come to us, we will support youWe have one hundred thousand soldiers waiting to support you." Husayn knows the history of the people of Kufa, how they betrayed his father, how they betrayed his brother Hassan. But as an Imam, he cannot refuse that call for guidance. So he sends his ambassador. He sends his cousin Muslim bin 'Aqil to go towards Kufa. In time, the mosum of Hajj comes to Mecca people prepared for Hajj.

Aba Abdillah al-Husayn puts on the Ihram for Hajj. He does the 'Umra for Hajj.He finds out that Yazed has sent men to assassinate him while he is doing the tawaf Ka'ba. Now to preserve the sanctity of the Ka'ba gharib Husayn decides I will not do Hajj. He removes his Ihram and changes his niyyah from Hajj to 'Umra. People say Husayn didn't know where he was going. Husayn walked into a trap by Allah he did not walk into a trap. When he was leaving Mecca, he wrote a letter to his brother, Muhammad al-Hanafia, who was in Medina.

He said to his brother, "Oh my brother Muhammad al-Hanafia, I am going forth inne akhraju inne la akhraju ashrun walla bataran walla mufseedan walla dhaleeman. Wa innama kharajtu lee qalabee islahee fi ummateej jadee. Ureedu an'amu bil ma'ruf wa annha 'ana Munkar. Wa 'aseeru seeratu jaddee abee Ali ibnu Abi Talib. Oh my brother, Muhammadd al-Hanafia, I am going forth now on a mission. I do not wish to spread mischief nor to create injustice. I am going forth to reform this ummah of my grandfather. I wish to enjoin good and forbid evil, and I wish to tread the same path that my grandfather and my father Ali followed.

So he makes it very clear this is one thing. The other thing is Imam Husayn al-Islam could have left before the day he left, but he waited until the eighth of Dhil Hijjah, which is called Yawm al-Tarwiyah. Why did Husayn wait for Yawm al-Tarwiyah? Because on the eighth of Dhil Hijjah, every individual who wishes to go for Hajj has to be in Mecca. You cannot be anywhere except in Mecca on the eighth of Dhill Hijjah. Why? Because on the nineth you have to go to 'Arafah. So Husayn wants to make sure that no one should stand before Allah on the day of judgment and said if we knew the son of Zahra was so Madhloom that he has to leave Mecca, we would have gone with him. The hujjaj went in one direction. The small qafal of Husayn went in another direction so that everybody knew that the grandson of the prophet was being pursued and had to leave.

Husayn went towards Kufa. On the way towards Kufa he received news that his cousin, Muslim ibne 'Aqil, has been killed. Perhaps Husayn, the salam of Muslim when Muslim was being beheaded and being thrown from Dari; Imara and he turned towards Mecca and said al-salamu alaikum ya Aba Abdillah. Husayn may have had the salam of Muslim and said, wa alaika salam, ya Muslim. When Imam Husayn got the news that his cousin Muslim has been killed, he went into the tent. He said to his sister, Zaynab, bring me the youngest daughter of Muslim to me. Muslim had a young daughter who was perhaps six or eight years old. Some say her name was Ruqeeia, some say her name was Hamida. Husayn took the little girl of Muslim. He made the girl sit beside her. He asked for some earrings. He put earrings with a lot of love on the little girl. Then he began petting the head of the child.

He said, My dear girl, from today I am your father. Ali al-Akbar is your brother. The girl was clever, she was from the Ahl al-Bayt. She turned to her uncle and said, "Ya 'Umma, have I become yateem? Why are you treating me the way orphans are treated?" I would say, oh, Husayn be careful, Sakeena will not see you what you are doing. Sakeena, this is what people do with itam. For Sakeena it will be the slaps of shame on the Day of Ashoora. Sakeena will not let anyone to put her on the head. Ajarkum 'ala lillah, Aba Abdillah Husayn. Husayn went towards Kufa.

He was met with the army of Hurr. He wasn't allowed to enter Kufa. He continued with his kafilah northwards towards staying on the cost of Furat. When this kafilah continued northwards towards Furat. There came a time when the horse of Imam Husayn would not move forward. Aba Abdillah got off from his horse. He said, bring me another horse. He got on another horse. That horse would not move forward. Madhlum Karbala got on another horse, but horse would not move forward.

When Husayn saw something was not right with this, it cannot be these horses, there must be something with this land. He said: who are the people in this vicinity? They were told that Assad live in this vicinity, he said "Bring the Banu Assid to me." He began asking the Banu Assad, "Tell me, Oh Banu Assad, what do you call this land?" They said, "Ya ibna Raso Allah this land is called Taff." He said, "Does this have any other name?" They said, "Yes ya Ibna Rasoolullah. This is also Shattu Furat. He said "Very good. Is there another name for this?" They said, "Yes ya ibna Rasoollah. We also call it Alkamah." He said, "Yes but is there another name for this?" Husayn is looking for something. They said, "Oh, Husayn, this is also called Nainawa. He said, "Yes, but is there another name for this?" Then an old man remembered. He said, "Oh son of Zahra'. Anyone who comes to this land always faces calamity. Some people call this land Karbala'

That's when Husayn heard this he said, "Truly, this is the land of karbun wa bala'. This is the land of sorrow and inflictions." He began saying to Abbas. Inzulu ya Abbas. Oh Abbas, this is our final resting place. Oh Abbas, let us pinch the tents here. Hahuna usfako dem'una, this is what our blood will be spilled, hahuna walla yiqtallo rejalunah, this by Allah is where our men will be killed.

Then he said, "Hahuna yudhbahu atfaluna, this is where our children will be slaughtered, this is where our women will be taken captive. This is where our tents will be tied." This is the same speech of the Husayn. But when this kafeela returned from Sham and Jabir bin 'Abdillah came for zayarat. Imam Zayn al-'Abideen took Jabir around Karbala' and said the same thing. He said: come with me Jabir let me show you: this is where our men were killed, Jabir, this is where our tents were burned, this is where my hands were tied in ropes. Ajrukum Allah.

Husayn was now going to change this land of Karbala, this land that was the land of karbun wa bala'. The blood of Husayn will change this land and make it Karbalaa al-mo'ala'. This will become a piece of jannah now. Husayn had the tense speech there. I want to say to you something here. Those of you who have not gone to Karbala, inshaAllah, Allah bless you with the zayarat of Karbala. I have been to Karbala' once on the day of Ashura, we have grown in a kafeela all together. There is something about going to Karbala that is different from going anywhere else for zayarat.

You will go to Najaf, inshaAllah. You will go to Kadhmain, inshaAllah, you will go to Samarra, inshaAllah. But I assure you, the feeling of anxiety when you enter Karbala is different. When we went in our bus to Karbala, as we approached Karbala, everyone began being ma'tam and began to get everyone began saying, ya Husayn, ya Husayn. Everyone begins standing up. When the driver said, "We have almost reached Karbala," everyone stood up and looked out.

Everyone is asking each other, can you see haram of Husayn? Can you see the haram of Abbas? When everyone saw the Haram Husayn and Abbas, everyone began saying: as-Salam 'Alaika ya Aba Abdillah. At last, we have come to Karbala'. Now we will see where Akbar fell, now we will see when Ashghar was hit by a spear, now we will where the hands of Abbas fell. More than that I will tell you, when the kafeela leaves Karbala', then everyone turns to look at Karbala', everyone turns to look at the haram of Husayn. Everyone tends to say, oh Husayn, let this not be the last time I come to Karbala'.

Oh Husayn, call me once again to come to Karbala. Now I will say to you something my dear brothers and sisters, the way you and I enter Karbala is not Zaynab entered Karbala'. She did not want to go to Karbala. Yes, when Zaynab came back from Sham, she was anxious to go to Karbala. Yes, when Zaynab came back from Sham, she wanted to go to the qabr of Husayn and say, "Oh my brother Husayn, Zaynab was tied with ropes, Oh Husayn, Zaynab kept making furtreedad the way you were asking for water.

Oh Husayn, Zaynab was taken to Kufa and Sham, oh Husayn, I could not bring your amana back from Sham. But when Zaynab came came the first time to Karbala', Zaynab do not want to enter Karabala'. But Zaynab called Husayn, when the tents have been pitched Zaynab called, alayha assalam, her brother Husayn, she said, "Oh my brother, Husayn, can you not move from this land and go somewhere else." "Why, oh Zaynab?" She said, "Wallah la qad adr khalane howla adheema. There is something bothering me, oh Husayn. I do not find any peace on this land. Husayn tried to console his sister. I have heard the Imam of haza' say, "That when Husayn asked Zaynab, "Oh Zaynab what is it that makes you anxious about this land." She said, "Oh Husayn, I can hear someone crying on this land. It is the voice of a mother crying son. It is as if I can hear someone crying." "Oh Zaynab, this is my mother Zahra crying" wa Husayna, wa ghareeba.