Freeing The Butterfly Within 5/12 - 5th Muharram 1433/2011

In the fifth lecture of the "Freeing the Butterfly Within" series, Br. Khalil Jaffer explains how Fitra has the ability to make Tabi'ha acts (ie. sleeping, eating, ect.) divinely-inpsired with the constant remembrance of Allah (swt). The importance of reigning ones Tabi'ah into a tool to benefit ones Fitra, as well is how to decide whether ones actions are Tabi'ah-driven or Fitra-driven with the example of salaat are also discussed.

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 salam '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'd, faqad qal Allahu tabaraka wa taa'la fi ketabih, wa huwa asdaqul qaa'eleen. Bismillahi, al-rahman, al-Rahim. Fa aqim wajhaka lil-deeni haneefan, fitrat Allahi allati fatara an-nas 'alaiha. La-tabdeela li-khalqillah. Dhalika ad-deenu 'l-qayyimu, wa-lakinna akthara an-nasi la ya'lamun (30:30). Salawat ala Muhammad ... [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Tonight is our fifth majlis and discussion on our topic of freeing the butterfly within. We have been discussing the two natures within a human being, the one that drives our physical needs and is concerned with seeking pleasure, fleeing from pain and fighting for survival, which we call tabee'a. The other our divine nature, that which makes us human and distinguishes us from others, from animals and other creatures on this in this world, which makes us special to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala, that is concerned with the evolution or metamorphosis of our soul and that we call fitra.

And we ended last night by saying that a quality of tabee'a is that it seeks reward, it seeks the pleasure of other than Allah. And when we become a creature that is concerned with what others think about us, when we are concerned with seeking fame, prestige, pleasure material, then we limit our potential. Then we become a small creature that only takes pride in doing something small that is far less than what one is one has the potential to become. On the other hand, if one attaches to Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala who is limitless, then one's potential as well becomes limitless. And now our priorities change: we no longer crave for reward or for attention or for the pleasure of others, we only crave for the pleasure of Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala.

Tonight, what we wish to discuss is how do these two natures, how does tabee'a and fitra complement each other, and then how do these two oppose each other. We begin with how they complement each other. There is one sense in which tabee'a our complements, fitra. There is another sense in which fitra compliments tabee'a. As far as how tabee'a helps fitra we began discussing that a little bit yesterday as well, because you will recall we talked about why tabee'a is not evil. And while discussing that, we said that a lot of times we only evolve when we experience calamities, when we experience conflict in our lives. This conflict comes about because we interact with others who are less enlightened, who are less realized beings who have less fitra awakened within them. They are more tabee'a driven. We never experience conflict with someone who is more evolved than us. We only, and that should be a consolation for us, that when we experience conflict, if we know we are right and the other is wrong, then we should not allow ourselves to be brought down to their level because we understand that we are more fitra oriented than they are. You will never conflict with somebody who is more evolved and has more fitra orientation within him or her.

So, in talking about how tabee'a a complements fitra, even though tabee'a is is not evil. And even though we are aliens on this planet and even though our body is not our true reality, we need this body. We need to live in this world of conflict, of limitation in this cage for a while in order to allow ourselves experiences that will help us evolve. Or to put it differently, we must remain in the cocoon until our wings grow, until the wings haven't grown, we cannot be exposed to greater reality. We need that protection. We need to remain in the flower pot until our roots take a firm holding until the start growing and there is more stability within us. That is when we can be less in need of this world or the physical body. It is for this reason you will see that Islam insists that we interact with others. Islam insists that we socialize. Islam condemns isolation. Islam condemns celibacy. Islam condemns monasticism. Islam says get married. Islam says have children. Islam says have a family. Islam says do business, go out, interact with people. Why?

Because if you don't do that, the opportunity to evolve will not come to you because our tabee'a wants to run away from pain. A lot of times we want to gain spirituality, but we want to do so by running away from society. This is how the idea of monasticism would have come about. The Qur'an instead in suratul Hujarat which is chapter 49, verse 13, Allah says "Ya 'ayyu an-nas," he addresses mankind, "Inna khal'naqum min dhakrin wa untha, wa j'alnakum shu'uban wa kaba'ila li ta'rafu (Oh mankind we created you from one man and one woman). Inna khalanqum min dhakarin wa untha (and then we made you into tribes and nations).(49:13) Why? So that you may get to know each other. And what shall be the yardstick of who amongst you is better than the other inna akramakum inna llahi akdhkakum (the one who is most God conscious amongst you, the one who is most Godwary amongst you shall be the best amongst you). What is God consciousness? What is Taqwa inna akrmakum inna llahi adkhkakum.

Adkdhkakum is same as taqwa. God consciousness, God wariness means you have to be in the present. The ego does not stay in the present. It stays in the past or in the future. So when I become fitra oriented, when the ego drops, when the ego shatters, I live in the present. I have to live in the present in order to be constantly conscious and aware of God. The reason we commit sins, the reason we forget to thank God for his blessings is because we are not in the present. This, however, I digress. So I come back. Lit'arfu. If Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala had wished, he could have made us all of such similarity that there would have been no conflict amongst us. First and foremost, He didn't have a need to create us male and female, because there is always this conflict between male and female, isn't it? Men are from Mars, women are from Venus and so on. And people write books about how different are we, how similar are we. So on and so forth. Allah, nothing is impossible for Him. He could have made us to be creatures that just sprout out from the ground like plants. And we could have all been one species. But He made us and also in making us different. He didn't just make us physically different, he made our emotional needs different, our physical needs different, our ....We are different in so many ways, right.

Then after that, he made us of different colors. He could have made us all one color. He made us black and brown and yellow and white and so on. Then he made us of different languages and of different ethnicities and different backgrounds. These are opportunities to create conflict. You get along easier with someone who is more similar to you, isn't it? It is harder to identify with someone who is of a completely different culture. But he made that different and then he put in some other laws, for example, he naturally created as such that even though we are attracted to the opposite gender, we are not attracted in that same manner to the opposite gender if they are our sisters or our mothers or our direct immediate blood relatives. And he made that haram, that sort of a marriage or relationship. He could have made it halal. We are disgusted by the idea that it is and it is incest, but that is because it is in our fitra. If Allah had wished he could have made that, we would have been far more happier, perhaps if we had been married to our sisters, for example. But the idea itself does not appeal to us. Why, when we marry someone who is of a completely different family, then again there is an opportunity for conflict. But with that conflict, there is an opportunity for growth, conflict, not necessarily in the negative sense, but in the sense that someone who is different, you now either have to you just simply don't get along or you learn to compromise. You learn to become tolerant. You learn to become more accepting. You learn to put yourself in the other person's shoes. You learn to see things from a different perspective. You mature intellectually, emotionally, and that is how you mature spiritually.

When we go for Hajj people coming from all parts of the world, there is a lot of conflict. But we learned through that. There is nothing more disillusioning than the first time you go for Hajj, ask the people who go for the first time, because if you haven't been for Hajj, the idea you have in your mind is a very romanticized idea. I'm going to go to Mecca and then I'm going to walk around the Ka'ba in peace, go around and say SubhanAllahi wal Hamdullalahi and gaze at the Ka'ba, and then I'll stroll near Makam Ibrahim and pray two rak'at salat. That's the idea we have, isnt it? When you go there, it's completely different. This people shoving, pushing, you see tabee'a at its worst. Everyone is fighting for survival. If someone can get ahead of you by elbowing you, tripping you, they will do that. Somebody is busy on the cell phone doing tawaf. I don't know who he is talking to, but there is all this chaos happening around you. And I have had people ask me this question. I went to Makkah to look for spirituality, to look for tranquility, to look for peace. I did not even have time to think about God. I was just trying to survive. But that is precisely the point. Allah could have said that your hajj shall be that you find a mountain or resort and you go and spend a week by yourself there, but he brings you to a place where millions congregate of different cultures, of different languages, of different backgrounds, because he puts you through that so that you may learn, you may grow spiritually when you see that conflict. It's an opportunity for you to measure yourself, as we said yesterday. Every time you lose your temper, every time you get upset, every time you lose your patience, it is a moment of reflection. Where am I in my progression spiritually? And this is why Allah has refused monasticism. If you live in a monastery, hajj in itself in two weeks can give you the experience of a lifetime. One hour amongst people in which you interact will give you more maturity than if you stayed for a whole year by yourself in a monastery because there is no opportunity to grow.

In other words, when we remove ourselves from any opportunity, I'm not saying we should invite conflict in our lives. It comes to us naturally because it is the nature of this world. But when we remove ourselves from it completely, then it is it takes away the reason for the worm or the caterpillar to push and try and come out of the cocoon because now you are comfortable in the cocoon. Why do you want to leave? It is so comfortable here in the green house. Why go out? This cave is perfect here. Why go out? We only want a change in our lives when there is suffering. As we mentioned yesterday, if everything was going well in your life why would you want to change? Why would you want anything different? But you question life itself, only when there is calamities in your life, that is when you begin asking, who am I, why am I here? Is this all there is to life?

What is the wisdom behind suffering? So the question we need to ask is not why am I suffering or why is this happening to me in my life? The question we need to ask is this should happen, but what is the wisdom behind this suffering? And the answer to that can only come from you. That is the other unique thing. The 'urafa' have a saying this say ataruq ila Allah bi addadi an-nafus, the number of paths towards Allah are equal to the number of souls. They don't mean by this a pluralistic idea to say that there can be as many religions as there are human beings. What they mean is that each one of us, even following Islam, will follow a different path on how to get Allah. You may ask me, these are the circumstances in my life, this is the calamities and the problems I'm facing in my life, what could be the possible reason for this? I would be just simply guessing and telling you maybe this maybe Allah is testing you, maybe you need to look at this in your life.

But the best person to know that is you. You will know whether you are addicted to something. You will know whether it is time to let go of something. You will know whether this is hindering your spiritual progress and that now you have completely identified with the body. So this is how to be are complements. This is why you need to be in order for your Fitra to evolve.

Now, what about the opposite? Does fitra compliment to as well those I do anything for us to be? Does our divine nature do anything for our physical nature? Yes. Observe that when the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The worm or the caterpillar does not die. It simply grows wings. If you look at a butterfly, if you were to take its wings, there is still the worm there, isn't it? So the idea of fitra is not to kill, tabee'a. Tabee'a might try to kill Fitra, but if tabee'a does not kill fitra, fitra will not kill tabee'a, fitra will take tabee'a with it to new heights. It will soar and fly, but it will take it with it. This is very important. This is how fitra helps tabee'a. It goes with it, it soars with it. But now, because it has grown wings now, because this act of tabee'a is driven by fitra, this act of eating and sleeping and reproducing and earning a living is filled with God consciousness. There is a certain sacredness that comes into the very same act of tabee'a. Through the wings, the body acquires a sacredness. Through the shift in focus by becoming fitra oriented, that very same act of tabee'a becomes sacred.

Or to put it differently, a land might be just an ordinary land. But when a ma'soom Imam comes to that land and sacrifices his life and he's buried there, the spot that is buried becomes a sacred because he is sacred. Once that spot becomes sacred, now it spreads. Now his shrine becomes sacred, his dhareeh becomes separate. Then a mosque is built around it. Now that maqaam that haram become sacred, once the haram becomes the whole land becomes sacred. At one from one perspective, it's just a land. It's just like any piece of land. It became sacred how? Because it was touched by something that was immensely sacred, something that was filled with noor. When that happens, everything that is touched by noor, by fitra, by God, consciousness becomes sacred. When the light of noor touches, when the light of fitra is lit and it touches something, it gives it light as well. That also becomes noor. Let me give you an example of this.

There is a famous sermon on khutbah of Rasul Allah, sallallahu alayhi wa 'aali wa sallam [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] that he delivered on the 30th of Sha'ban just before the month of Ramadan started, and this is a very famous sermon, a lot of preachers in the month of Ramadan when the month starts, they quote this sermon. And in this sermon, the Messenger (peace be upon him and his family) he tells us about how special this month is and within that sermon, he tells us "Wa naumakum feehee 'ibadah wa infasikum feehe tasbih, oh people in this month when you sleep, your sleep is counted as worship and every breath you take is counted as glorification of Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. I ask why? Why? Why is it that when I slept on the 30th of Sha'ban, my sleep was not 'ibadah? Why is it that when I was breathing on the 1st of Shawwal, when my breath was not tasbih? But in Ramadhan, an act that is physical, but all animals do that is tabee'ee it is 'ibadah. Why? Because in the month of Ramadan, my fitra is reining in my tabee'a. Because eating as far as tabee'a is concerned, eating is a natural.

Remember, we talked about natural and unnatural and something that is natural to tabee'a is not necessarily good for the soul. Just because your body wants it doesn't mean your soul wants it. Fitra will rein and say I will teach you something unnatural because the soul needs to evolve. So in the month of Ramadan, my body says I want to eat. That is natural because when I eat, I get pleasure, I flee from pain and I survive. And it is my nature to fight for survival, to seek pleasure and to run from pain. Fitra comes in and reins it and says, "It appears to you unfair I'm causing you to suffer. But you will learn something from this." Now because fitra has enveloped, has taken control of tabee'a the light of fitra is lit. Now, any act of tabee'a has that sacredness within. It is for this reason that now I am sleeping, it is an animal act as such, but it is 'ibadah because there is fitra in that sleeping. I am breathing, but fitra is in control. Therefore my breath becomes tasbeeh. This is the idea behind that. And if we begin to understand this, we realize how important the body is and the soul, the body needs the soul, the soul needs the body. It is not that the body is evil or that because it is an animal instinct that wants pleasure and flees from pain, therefore it is evil. It is a mount if you can tame this wild horse, you will get much further than you would if you are walking.

The Shuhada of Karbala attained a great status that we can never imagine. We say "La yatana kunna ma'kum fa nafuza fawza 'adheema (if only we had been with you what a great achievement we would have achieved). But tell me, how did they attain martyrdom? They needed their bodies, isn't it? That is why they said to Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, that we wish we could have come to life again and again and again so that we could attain martyrdom again and again. If the body was not needed, they could have helped even after having died because their souls are still there. But the physical body had to be there in order for them to attain that status of shahada.

So your body is a resource, if you value it, if you learn that it is a horse that I team and I use, then suddenly life becomes precious. Your time becomes valuable. You no longer have time to sit around and say, I'm bored, I just want to watch TV or I just want to play games or I just want to kill time because you are racing against time now. You are in a body that could give away at any time and your soul has not completed its evolution process and you want to do that as soon as possible.

So you become more concerned about fitra, but using the body. And if you can do that, if we can do that, then everything becomes precious. Now you can make your act of tabee'a, of standing and sitting and walking and eating and sleeping all of that can be fitra driven. Outwardly, two people do the same thing. One appears they both are tabee'ee. You might say they're standing there, sitting there sleeping, but one is filled with noor, one has sacredness in it. Everything the standing has sacredness, the sitting has sacredness, the speech of sacredness.This is very important. And we do this, we said takli with Taqwa, with the consciousness of God being in the present, a simple example like eating. I could go home, I feel hungry, I feel like having a snack. I open the cupboards, I start munching, I have some cookies, I have some chips. I have this and I'm just eating away, munching. Well, the cow in the meadow is doing the same thing, is just munching away. It's a tabee'ee act. There is no value in that. I could do the same thing, but I bring certain awareness and consciousness into the process of eating into that physical tabee'ee act.

Now, before I lift the food, I think Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim then I think if I was sick, I wouldn't have any taste in my tongue. The taste buds would not be there. I would not enjoy this food. What if my stomach was sick? I could not digest this food. How merciful, how kind is Allah. Then I eat it and as I enjoy it, I'm grateful to Allah, I thank Allah, I say al-hamdulillah. I know it sounds like a lengthy process. You might say, you know what, forget it. I've lost my appetite. Right. But this can become our second nature. If it becomes our second nature and we learn to be muttaqeen, constantly God conscious, then everything we do will have sacredness in it.

That is what Islam wants to teach us. When we stand from sujjud and we we stand up for the next rak'at in our salat we say bi hawlillahee wa kuwati akuu wa ak'ud, by the strength and the power of God when I stand even from here, I stand thinking bi hawlillahee wa bikawatehe akuu wa ak'ud. Salat 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Now let's talk about the opposite. We've talked about how fitra and tabee'a complement each other. Let's talk about how they oppose each other. Even though tabee'a is not evil and it is needed if it is not reined in, it will oppose fitra. Instead of complementing it, it will oppose it because now instead of having a tame horse, you have a wild horse that is running in all directions and if you are the rider on it, it could throw you off at any time over the cliff or whatever. Tabee'a in itself, in comparison to fitra, might be darkness because fitra is noor. But what was intended to be was that tabee'a was meant to be a dark space that allows fitra to come in and illuminate it. When it is not reined in instead of being a dark space fitra can illuminate, it opposes it, and behaves now in a manner where it is trying to extinguish the light.

Now, let's talk about darkness and light for a moment. Let us take an analogy and say that you are the earth and the sun is firta, is your divine nature. When you stand facing the sun, you stand in its light, fitra shines on you. Everything in you is lit up: your words, your thoughts, your actions. When you turn your back away from the earth, just from the sun, just like the way the earth revolves and turns away from the sun, now you stand in darkness. Now you stand in tabee'a. Which means now there is animal instinct in your thoughts, in your actions, in your words, everything you do is driven by fighting for survival, by seeking pleasure only material, physical pleasure and fleeing from pain.

It is not that tabee'a has planned that. It is because you have ignored fitra. You have turned away from it just like the earth rotates. You see, when it is dark in one part of the earth, darkness does not as such have a separate reality of its own. Right now it is nighttime. If you go out, it's dark. It is not dark because there is a star out there that is shining darkness on the earth. It is dark because we have turned away from the sun, that's all. Which means darkness is not as such the same reality is light, it is simply an absence of light. Tomorrow, inshallah, when we turn again towards the sun, we are again filled with light. If we understand this, then we realize that I simply have to stay focused and turned towards fitra. And when I do that, my actions, my thoughts, my words are constantly lit by that. In the famous verses of the Qur'an that we recite and we call Ayat al-Kursi, which is in Surat al-Baqara. Towards the end, Allah says "Allahu waleeu ladhenna amanu yukhreejhum minal dhulmatee ila noor (Allah is the guardian of the faithful. He brings them out from darkness into light).(2:257) Now there are many meanings of what this means. What does it mean? Allah brings the faithful out of darkness into light, and the obvious meanings would be He brings them out of faithlessness into faith.

He brings them out of polytheism to monotheism. He brings them out of shirk into tawheed. But possibly, possibly, this is just a tadabbur I'm offering here. It is not tafsir. I'm not saying this is the meaning, but possibly because it does not contradict the other meanings, it is not wrong to say this, that perhaps one of its meaning is that ukhrejhum min al-dhulamatee ila al-noor is that Allah is the guardian of the faithful, He brings them out of tabee'a into fitra. Wa ladheena kaffaru awlea'ahum taghut (as for those who are faithless, their guardians are the devils). ukhrujunahum min al-noor al-dhulumat (they take them out of light, into darkness they take them out of fitra towards tabee'a). You can see the connection here. The connection is this that when you turn to Allah, he will help you to rise above your animal instinct out of your tabee'a and discover your divine nature, your fitra, ukhrujunahum min al-dhulumat ila al-noor. But if you turn to desires only then Shaytan becomes your guardian. Now Shaytan will turn you away from fitra and bring it towards darkness.

And yet, and yet even then, the purpose of darkness is not evil. The purpose of darkness is simply to help us appreciate the value of light. Which is why we said you also need an ego, which is why we also say that you need tabee'a. If there was not tabee'a, we would not know the value of fitra. If we had been born in a world that never experiences night, there is always sun. We would never appreciate the value of light. Today we talk of light in lofty terms. We talk of noor, we talk of the noor of the anbiya. The noor of the Ma'sumeen light is something great special in our lives. That is because we know what is darkness. If there hadn't been a famine in this world, we would not know the value of rain. So darkness plays a role. Darkness helps us see the value of light. We we only learn the value of something when we lose it. And every day we lose the sun, we see what happens. There is darkness and the sun that is light and dark.

And through that, we can use the same example and say that when we slip and fall and make mistakes in our lives, when we show greed, when we show fear, when we show when our ego starts rearing its ugly head, when we show a side to ourselves that we never thought we had, we might feel ashamed. But we should also repent. But that is also an opportunity for us to see what the difference is. This is very important. If darkness was evil in itself, then Allah would not take credit for creating it. In Surat al-An'am, which is chapter six of the Qur'an, the very first verse, the very first verse, Allah says Bismillahi al-Rahman al-Rahim al-Hamdulilahi ladhi khalqa sama' wati wal ardh wa ja'ala dhulumati wal noor (6:1)(all praise is to Allah who created the heavens and the earth and made darkness and light). So he made darkness and light. If you made darkness and light again we can use this and again I'm saying this is a possible meaning this is just taddbor, it is just a reflection, not saying this is the meaning of the verse, that when Allah says "Wa ja'ala dhulumatee wa al-noor, that he made darkness and light. One possible meaning could be that he made tabee'a and fitra.

He made two sides to us, one that is divine and one that is not so divine. So that through this conflict between the two, as we struggle in life and we try to seek one over the other, we begin to appreciate fitra more. We begin to learn each is something precious that we need to strive harder to acquire. If you can recite a Salwaat ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Even when we sin and we repent when we do tawbah, in a sense, you see there is istafaghar and then there is tawbah. Istighfar is a lower level. Istighfar means to seek forgiveness from God you make a mistake, you sin, you say Allah forgive me, astighfir Allah wa atuwbu ilayh. Then there is tawbah. Tawbah literally means to turn back, to turn around, to make 180 degrees turn, when we turn back to Allah, which means when we sin, actually all we are doing is we are leaning towards tabee'a, towards our animal nature, towards that nature that once pleasure, that wants to flee from pain, that wants to fight for survival, for the body that is completely identified with the body. That is what happens when we commit a sin. So when we do tawbah, we are simply turning away from tabee'a towards fitra. We are inclined towards tabee'a and now we wish to incline back towards fitra.

And this is a sense in which we mean when we say tawbah. If you are to take a ruler and on one hand and on the other hand put tabee'a and on the other hand put fitra and put a scale between that, where do you have fitra you would put the words isma and tahara, purity, infallibility. And on the other side you would put the opposite, you would put najasa, you would put sin and so on. So there is a scale to which we move. When we do tawbah, we seek to simply return back in that direction. It is for this reason that in one of his supplications our fourth Imam Imam, Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-Abidin, salwatullahi wa assalamu aleyh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] he says to Allah, 'adhu bika min kully ladhdhatin bi khaira dhikrik, I seek refuge with you, oh Allah, from any pleasure that is not with your remembrance. In other words, even when he took part in something that would give pleasure, he was thinking of God.He never ate without thinking of God.

This is the idea that Islam wants to teach us that even in your actions, that you do, the physical actions as well, that which gives you ladhdha, it has to be accompanied with the dhikr of Allah, this is how you make it, sacred.

We talked and said that the ego needs to and this is what we mean when we say our imams are ma'soom, isn't it? They are on the absolute end of the scale, meaning they are completely fitra oriented. They are not at all tabee'a driven. The difference between them and us is that we said you can't get enlightenment by being ego less. You need to have an ego to shatter unless you are born enlightened. They are already born enlightened. It is necessary for them to be born enlightened and not for them to go through the process that we go through. Because last night we talked about the analogy of the cave. We are in a prison, we are chained, we are looking at a blank wall. We are looking at shadows that we think is reality. They come, the prophets and these imams and the ma'soomeen, they are the ones who have come to remove us from these chains and shackles and take us out of the cave. If they had to go through the process like we do, they would have to be in the cave with us. Now someone else would have to come in free them from that. It is therefore necessary that out of Allah's mercy, in order to guide us and take us out of the cave, there must be some of his creatures who are born enlightened, who are born ma'soom, who are born completely firtra oriented and completely removed from the controls of the tabee'a. And it is in this sense, therefore, that we say that they are Ma'soom.

Otherwise, as far as we are concerned, we also strive towards infallibility. There are 'ulama in our history who have claimed and people have attested to that they have not committed a single sin for 20 years, for example. We have had 'ulama who have who we know did not even do an act that is makrooh for decades. So there is a sense of infallibility that we can acquire as well. It may not be the same as that of the A'imma, alayhum assalam, and of course, their infallibility is a necessity of religion. It is a requirement of religion. Our infallibility that we seek within our limited capacity is for our own selves.

But our isma only takes beauty when it comes from impurity, and then we learned to grow out of it when we struggle, when we strive, when we try and come out of that cocoon, when we shatter that ego. It is then that is beautiful then it is earned. Why? You see a newborn baby we call the ma'soom as well, isn't it? A newborn baby, we say is ma'soom. So ma'soom means there is a 'isma, there is infallibility, but you do not accord the same degree of respect for the 'isma of a baby as you do for the 'isma of an imam. An imam is ma'soom, a baby is ma'soom. But you never said that they're the same in their 'isma. Why? Because the baby has not earned that 'isma. They do not have awareness of what infallibility is. In the same manner, if we were simply enlightened, just like we said, if there was only light, we would not appreciate its value because we would not have known unless there was darkness in the same manner. Whatever we strive for and the enlightenment we acquired, it only takes value after we have struggled and gone through a process of ignorance, of immaturity.

And this is the reason why we need to be compassionate to others, even in our conflicts. When we meet people who are less evolved, who are more tabee'a driven, instead of getting upset and saying, I cannot live with you or I cannot deal with you, we need to be compassionate. Why? Because we were once like that. We have recognition of the fact that I remember the time when I was as immature or as judgmental or as ignorant or as impatient. And if I give this person love and compassion, they will also grow out of it. The red apple should not criticize the green apple because it knows it was once for being sour and because it is sweet, because it knows it was green once before it became red. So there is a lot of wisdom in why we need to go through this process.

Now, just because we said that we need to be impure and then repent and turn and struggle and become pure does not mean that now we say I need to go out and commit lots of sins so that I have something to repent about and something to come out of. The mere fact that we were born and within from the time we were born, we developed an ego out of conflict. And the mere fact that from our infancy we have been driven by tabee'a that is sufficient impurity or we need to do now is struggle.

And we will talk about some ways in which we need to struggle in the coming nights. But if we struggle, then what comes out of that is like taking or that is that is filled with gold and putting it through the fire that burns at a very high temperature, the fire being the calamities and the conflict we experience in life. What comes out of it then is pure gold that even outshines the angels, the angels who questioned why Allah would create us, the angels who said, are you going to create a creature that will cause mischief and corruption on the earth and shed blood? That is because they saw the ore they did not see the gold within. Allah, knew how he is going to bring gold out of this ore, He knew there would be calamities and conflict. And through that fire, gold can emerge through that pushing and struggling within that chrysalis and that cocoon, the butterfly will emerge. And therefore, we just need to believe that we have this potential for growth. And if we do, that struggle will show results Insha'Allah.If you can recite a Salwaat ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Now, here is something to think about and I ask you for your attention, I know it's a little dry today, it's a little heavy going, but I need your attention on this. Your movement, your focus and your goals in life will tell you whether you're holding the reins of your mount or not, whether tabee'a is in your hands or not. You see, your movement is always in the direction of your intention and your desires. Allah, out of his mercy created us to be creatures that can move around on the Earth. There are other living things that don't move like trees and plants, they stay in one place we move. And that mobility is what also gives us the ability to progress. Any time you move, you will, unless someone is forcing you, the only time you will move is when your intention and your desire is moving in that direction, whether you came to this mosque, when you stand up from here, you will make a movement. You will either go to the gym or you will come forward, or you will go out or you will go to the washroom or you will go home. Any movement you make tomorrow morning, you will go to work or you will go somewhere else. Whatever movement you make, it is always driven by your intention and your desire. When your intention and your desire is based on something that is temporary and that relates to your physical needs only and only that is completely identified with the body, then the source is tabee'a.

On the other hand, if your intention and your desire that moves you, that causes that action has something to do with the hereafter that is tied to something more ever lasting to something eternal, then the source of that act is your fitra. Now, why do I say this? I say this because when you look at something, at the outward you cannot judge, is this an act of tabee'a or fitra? Just like we saw that your sleep and you are breathing in Ramadan can be an act of fitra. It doesn't have to be an instinctive animal act. Outwardly, you might not be able to tell, but do you as an individual, based on your intention and your desire, why you did what you did? I go home. I sit on the computer or my 50, 60, 70 inch screen and I start playing a game. What was the intention and desire in that movement? Was it to kill time? Was it because I'm addicted to it? Was it because I am spending quality time with my child? What is the intention, the desire behind that action, that action can be, that is what we mean by saying you can be rewarded by Allah for an action or it can be a meaningless action or it can be a forbidden action. A very ... The same action can be haram, that same action can be wajib, that some action can be makrooh, can be halal, can be mustahab, can be mubah. Now let's take something that we might be able to relate to more.

An act like salat praying. It is a physical act. We would if I was to ask you if I was to give you a list of actions and tell you tell me which of these is tabee'i and which of this is fitri, you will judge it by what is apparent. Let us say I tell you, eating, sleeping, talking, praying salat, you will say eating, sleeping, talking tabee'i, all animals do it physical act, just instinctive. Praying is an act of worship that should be fitri. But what if I was praying to show off to impress people. Now I am doing it for survival, now I'm doing it because it gives me pleasure. So now that salat is a tabee'a act, it is not a fitri act. It appears outwardly to be fitri, but it is not fitri. It is my actions, and as we discussed last night as well, when I volunteer as well for a good cause, it is not what I am doing that will determine whether this is acceptable to Allah, whether this is coming, this is lit with noor this is fitri or whether it is a base egoically driven action. It is the intention and the desire that caused the movement and that action to occur that will determine what this is.

And this is why when we first begin to pray in our early years, salat is a burden. I will talk a little bit about salat in the coming night, but salat in the early stages when we are more tabee'a driven, it is a burden. Why? Because we do not find any pleasure in doing it, but we still do it because fitra has reined it to some degree. So fitra has to force us. At that point salat is a burden, but eating and sleeping and drinking is pleasurable. When we become truly fitra oriented, then it reverses. Those things that used to give us pleasure before now become a burden. And those things that were a burden become a source of pleasure. Now salat becomes a source of pleasure. Oversleeping becomes a burden, becomes painful, becomes remorseful, eating becomes remorseful. Because I know when I eat I become tabee'a heavy I do not feel the same pleasure when I pray before Allah.

Those who are spiritual, the 'Urafa', they have said that giving up one morsel of food is more important to us than worshipping Allah for the whole night. Why? Because they say when we overeat, it takes away the pleasure of worship from us. When we then wake up in the middle of the night and sit on our prayer mat and say, ya Rabbi, ya Rabbi, we do not feel anything, because we are tabee'a heavy, we have given in too much to our instinct. And because of that they now cherish fitra more than tabee'a.

So actions can be either way depending on how we do it. And therefore again, this movement from what we consider the burden to consider pleasurable, goes through phases. It is like the growing of feathers for a bird. A bird initially finds the idea of learning to fly painful because every time he tries, it falls. Every time he tries, it falls. But the day it jumps out of its nest and does not fall, there is unimaginable pleasure when it soars. Or look at that example in your children. Initially, when your children are crawling, you must have observed this. They don't want to walk. No matter how hard you try to make them walk, they do not want to walk. They will resist it. You have to force them. You have to hold them. Someone has to sit on the opposite side. You have to encourage them. Why? Because every time they walk the fall, it is painful. So every time you are not looking or every time they can get away they'll crawl, they will refuse to walk. But once they learn how to walk, try making them crawl. They would make you crawl, but they would not crawl. I have firsthand experience. Because they have learned the pleasure of walking and then once they learn how to run by telling them no running, they will run. If they could fly, try telling them no flying, they will fly because we want to be free, we want to be liberated.

When salat liberates us, when salat becomes our mi'raj, when we pray and we prostrate and say Subhan Rabbi al-'ala wa bihamdi and there is this immense pleasure. What will we not give up for salat. That is why Rasul Allah, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam[Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] when the time of salat would approach, he would call his mu'adhdhin Bilal. Arhinee ya Bilal, he would say, arhinee. Take me away from pain oh Bilal, give me peace. What does he say? He says, go to adhan. I can pray. He said there was nothing that gives me more pleasure than praying. It is the ihsan of Muhammadan wa 'aali Muhammad 'alayhim wa salam [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] that they give up their personal time with Allah to guide us, to talk to us, otherwise it was not for me it might be because I'm tabee'a driven. I prefer to come here and sit here and talk to you because I get attention, I get to speak, I like to talk. For them talking was not pleasurable. They wanted to be with their Lord. It is a favor on us that they took themselves away from that to give us attention.

OK, and that is why in Surat al-Baqarah, chapter two, verse 45 Allah says "Wasta'eeno be sabri wa salat (seek help with patience and prayer). Wa innah la kabeeratun illa 'ala khashe'een (and indeed, this is hard and difficult except on those who are humble)(2:45). And here the 'ulama say that the world says it is difficult is innaha' wa innaha' la kabeeratun. Innaha' is feminine and one thing only. So it does not sabr in salat. It is only salat that is being mentioned, it is hard except on the humble. Unless you assume innaha' is referring to the seeking of help, the istee'ana, ista'ennu, otherwise, the innaha' is the salat that seek help with patients and salat, and indeed it's the salat is difficult except on those who are humble because those who are humble are not egoically driven. They have no ego. They're enlightened, they are driven by their fitra, and then the verse continues and says dhannuna innahum mulaku rabbihim (2:46), those who are convinced that they will meet their Lord because they have that connection with Allah, Subhana Wa Ta'ala. Wa innahum ilaihim raje'un (2:46) and that they will return to him.

Remember what we said yesterday when calamities black breaks the flowerpot, then fitra begins to speak and it says in na lillahee wa inna elaihee rajee'oon. It learns to surrender and says, indeed, I am returning to my Lord. It sees life as a constant journey in which I am traveling towards Allah. I will not go to Allah after I die. Even now, as we are here, we are constantly, ya innu al-insan inna kadee'un illa al-Rabbika kadhan fi mulakee (84:6), o man, you are striving towards your Lord constantly and you will meet him. That needs to be the attitude. When we do that, then there is no time to waste.

On the other hand, if we move away from tabee'a, then we completely identify with the body and when we identify with the body, then the body limits us. The body is a creature within our bodies we are creatures of habit. We start forming habits, those habits become attachments, those attachments become addictions. Addictions and addiction is something that you do repeatedly, even though you may not want to do it, even to a point that it harms you and harms others around you. That's what an addiction is. So tomorrow night, insha'Allah, we will continue from this. And now we will see what addictions and attachments does to insan when insan is tabee'a driven and what insan can become if it frees himself from addiction and from attachment. So we stop here for tonight, Insh'Allah, and then we continue tomorrow night, Insha'Allah. If you can recite a loud Salwaat ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Tonight is our fifth night of Muharram, and we continue showing our respect, to the brave men and women who gave their lives to save humanity, to awaken the fitra within insan. And the last two nights we have been talking about the ashab of Sayyid as-Shuhada', alayhi assalam, the companions of the Imam and how special and how dear they were to him. We talked about Hurr and how in an instant he changed from a world of tabee'a to a world of fitra. And last night we talked about several others. We talked about Zuhair ibn al-Qayn, we talked about Abu Thumama about Sa'eed ibn 'Abdullah, about Muslim ibn Awsaja.

And tonight, we want to dedicate this night in remembrance of Habib ibn al-Mudhahir. Habib, what an appropriate name Allah gave this man. Habib, Habib is one who is beloved, a friend who is beloved is Habib. Habib is so special to Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, that if you go to Karbala and Inshallah, I'll give us all the opportunity to go to Karbala, you will see that all the shuhada are buried together in one place. Aliyun Akbar and Aliyun al-Asghar are buried with Imam Husayn in his dhareeh. Hurr is buried far away. You actually have to take transport and car to move away. Abu Fadhl al-'Abbas, of course, has its own haram, but Habib is buried in his own dhareeh right in front of the dhareeh of Husayn. There is an entrance from which if you go in first, you will do salaam to Habib and then you will do Salam to Husayn.

Habib was not an ordinary, man we need to recognize Habib. Habib was from the tribe of Banu Assad. He played a very important role in getting people to support Imam Husayn when Muslim ibn 'Aqil was in Kufa. A number of people who came to Karbala with Imam Husayn, were sent from Kufa by Habib. When Habib came to Karbala, he spoke to his tribesmen, Banu Assad, who owned the land and tried to convince them to join Imam Husayn and fight. And some of them joined him, even though most of them refused or were scared of ibn al-Ziyad. Habib was an elder of the tribe. He was a commander in chief. His father was highly respected in the tribe. He was one of those special individuals like Muslim bin Awsaja. When Muslim bin Awsaja fell on the battlefield, and the enemies, the Yazidis who are cheering and shouting, we killed Muslim, we killed Muslim. One of their leaders, Shabbath bin Rabe', he cursed his own men. He said, "A man like Muslim has been killed and you are cheering?". So they knew that these were not ordinary people.

Who is Habib? Habib was a childhood friend of Husayn. He didn't get to know Husayn later on as an adult. From the time he was a child, Habib was in love with Husayn. The arbab of 'asza' say that one day when Rasoollah was sitting on the meimbar and he saw some children playing, he said to one of his ashab, "Go bring me that boy there, the son of Madhaher.

And the man brought Habib to Rasul Allah and Rasul Allah took Habib in his arms. He hugged him and he kissed him. And the ahsab said, "Ya Rasul Allah, why? Why the special treatment with the son of Madhaher?" He said, "You did not see what I saw." "What did you see ya Rasul Allah?" He said, "This boy is truly the Habib of my Husayn. I saw that whatever Husayn was walking, Habib was taking the dust from his feet and wiping it on his head. This young boy is the Habib of my Husayn." You can imagine the love of Habib. When Habib came to Karbala, he was an old man. He said to Imam Husayn, "Aba Abdillah, when I see you, I feel young. I feel like a youth, I feel filled with energy and zeal, I want to do jihad. This is what Husayn was to Habib. On the third of Muharram, 'Omar ibn Sa'ad (la'atullah 'alay), not a lot came with his army from Kufa. From the third of Muharram onwards, ibn Ziyad kept sending different commanders with troops. So 'Umar ibn Sa'ad came with 4000 men and then Hurrmala came with two or three thousand men. Shimr ibn Jowshan came with two or three thousand men. Shabbath ibn Rabee came with some men, Haseen bin Nameer came with some men, Khulee came. Everyone was given 1000, 2000, 4000, until they became thirty 30,000.

And the books of Maqtal said that when they would come to the land of Karbala and they saw that there is a small qafeela of Husayn in the middle of the desert, they would gallop their horses with speed and force and pound their feet the hooves of the horses on the ground, just to scare the children of Husayn, to frighten the children and the women. And every time these troops would come beating drums and charging their horses, the children would cry. And at one point, Umm al-Mas'ib, Zaynab, alayha assalam, came to Husayn, "My brother, Husayn, all these troops coming one after another, one after another. Do you not have any Habib who can come to our help? Do you not know anyone who can come to our rescue?"

But Husayn had Habib. "Yes, I have a Habib, I will write to him." He wrote a letter and sent it with a messenger. Kufa was in a state of fear. There was a curfew in Kufa. When this messenger came to Kufa, Habib was having supper with his wife. The door. There was a knock on the door. Habib asked in this state of fear, "Who is it?" And the man whispered. Ana bareedh al-Husayn (I am the messenger of Husayn)." Habib opened the door. He took the letter. The messenger left. Habib took the letter of Husayn. He placed it on his forehead. He kissed the letter, a letter from the son of Zahra'. He has remembered me. My childhood friend has remembered me. Habib opened the letter. What would the letter say? The letter said min Husayn ibn Ali ila rajulu al-faqeeh Habib ibn al-Mudhahir. From Husayn ibn Ali to the erudite, to the learned Habib ibn al-Mudhahir. Oh Habib, I have been surrounded in the desert of Karbala. Oh Habib, I need your help. Come to me oh Habib al-'ajal, al-'ajal. Habib begin weeping. His wife came to him, oh Habib, what is it that is making you weep? He said, I have received a letter from Husayn. She said, What does the letter say? She says. He said the letter. Husayn has called me for help. Husayn has been surrounded by enemies. Husayn wants me to go and help him, his wife said, or Habib. Then what are you thinking? He said, I am thinking about you. What will become of you if I go?

As his wife stood up and said, oh Habib, the son of Zahra is calling you, the son of Mustafa is surrounded and you are concerned about me! Oh Habib by Allah, if you do not go, I will go and help Husayn. Habib was pleased with his wife. Habib said to his servant, Take my horse and wait on the outskirts of Kufa. There is fear in Kufa. I will come to you in the middle of the night. Habib prepared himself. Habib bid farewell to his wife. He left in the middle of the night and went towards his servant, waiting with his horse. Habib was delayed in getting to his horse. When he came to the horse, he found his servant holding the horse and weeping and talking to the horse and saying, Oh, horse, my master is late and coming by Allah, if he does not show up, I will go and you will go to Karbala and help Husayn. This man was a slave. He did not have to do jihad. Habib had this. He was pleased with the slave. He said, I have freed you for the sake of Allah. The men said, if you have freed me, then I also wish to come to Karbala. Habib took his slave with him and headed towards Karbala.

As Habib was going towards Karbala the books of 'Azaa' tell us that Imam Husayn was preparing alums and banners for his commanders that would fight on the day of Ashura. Husayn prepared 12 rayat, 12 banners for the day of Ashura. He gave 11 to different individuals. He kept one beautiful 'alam the side. His ashab kept asking him oh Husayn, for whom is this 'alam? For whom is this raya? He said, Wait, you will see. This is for my Habib. I am waiting for my Habib. When Habib showed up in Karbala, there was rejoicing amongst the ashab of Husayn they were delighted to see such a great man. A commander in his own right has come to join them. Zaynab heard the voices of rejoicing on the camp. This was a different thing, she said. Fidhdha go and see why have the heart of my brother started talking so loudly with such happiness and rejoicing. Fidhdhaa went and came back. She said, Oh, Zaynab, oh Sayyidati, Habib has come from Kufa. She sent her again. She said, Oh Fidhdha, go and give him my salam.

When Fidhdha came to Habib and said, Oh Habib, the daughter of Ali sends you salams. Habib begins slapping himself on the face and said, alas, such times before illa noowa Ahlul Bayt. The daughter of Ali should send salams to a servant like Habib. Habib stood with Husayn until the day of Ashura. When the time of dhuhur came and Husayn came and went to pray dhuhur, Habib said to his mother in Aka, Aba Abdillah I wish to pray my salat al-dhuhur in Janna. Oh Husayn, let me go before you. I will give you a salams to your grandfather and your father. Habib went for jihad while Husayn was praying.

The books of 'Aza said Habib killed 62 of the enemies. When Habib fell, he called out as-salam 'alaika ya Aba Abdillah idhikrnee. Husayn went to his Habib. This is his childhood friend. Husayn stayed with his Habib until Habib passed away. Habib were so close to Janna. When Habib's head was severed from his body when his kafeelah was taken to Kufa after the 11th of Muharram and when this kafeelah entered Kufa. The arbab of 'asza' say, all the heads of the shuhada' were on spears. Habib had a son who did not know his father had gone to Karbala. Habib had a son who did not know his father had been beheaded. When his son saw the head of his father in a spear, he began calling his friends and other men and said, Come, come and see my father's head is on a spear. Come and see what they have done to my father. Now the arbab of 'aza' say, this young man went with his companions and his friends. They attacked the soldiers that have beheaded his father. The two took the head of Habib, the son took the head of his father he put it on his neck.

He began wiping the head of his father and kissing his forehead, then he began saying, Baba, one whose warith is alive his cannot be on a spear. Baba, if I am alive how can anyone do this to you. Suddenly there was sounds of chains and shackles.

One would say the son of Habib be careful of what you say. Imam al-Sajjad is standing next to you. Allah knows how many times my Imam looked at the head of his father and said: "abata, abata", I cannot do anything for you I am in chains and shackles. Wa Husayna, wa madhluma. Matam al-Husayn.