Kill Your Ego!

The second, which in fact, most riwayat [traditions] indicate is the greatest veil more than the dunya is the veil of 'me', is the veil of my ego and my Nafs, for the Ullama they say, that my biggest sin is 'my own existence'. What did this mean? My biggest sin is my own existence. When I read this, I went and I looked and I found many riwayat of Ahlul Bayt alayhimu as-salam, where this statement is actually taken from.

For they would say the biggest veil between me and Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, is me, myself, the ego of the human being, the way in which the human being allows his nafs to be a barrier between him and Allah, because the first who would worship in such a way that we're told there's not even one part of this earth on which that person didn't perform Sajda. Shaytan! There's not one part of this earth that he didn't place his head in sujood.

That person when he becomes deviated, when the veils begin to form between him and Allah when he's told "Fakhruj minha"(38:77), get out from here, "[fa]innaka rajeem" (38:77) you're accursed. What did he say? If you look at the verse, you understand this Ayat he said, "khakahtani min naar' (7:12). Me? I should do sajda, you created me from fire. When a person has this me of his nafs and of his ego and the arrogance of his self, this is the biggest veil between him and Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and the scholars, they give a very good example.

There's a horse, a person sitting on the horse. They're travelling. Until they get to a water, a stream of water, a river, whatever it may be, very clean, very pure. The horse comes close to it and the horse is stuck looking at its own reflection. The ride of the horse in front of him can see a beautiful forest, beautiful landscape, but the horse is so busy looking at its own reflection, it stops there. So they try to push it. They get off it, they hit it. They try whatever they can to get this horse to move forward. The horse doesn't move forward. There's something much greater in front of the eyes of this horse. There is a beautiful landscape, greenery, stuck looking at its reflection until what happens? Is that one of them comes, he takes some mud or soil, places it into the water so that the water becomes dirty, and then he lifts his head up and sees the beauty that is in front of him. This is the relationship, because he can't see his reflection, when you place mud, the water is dirty. He can't see his reflection. Then he looks in front and moves forward.

Likewise, when I'm stuck with my Nafs and my ego, I don't see the beauty of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala in front of me. And again, to make this easy for us to understand, I give you an example.

There was an 'Alim ad-Deen, Marja' at-Taqlid who passed away some years ago, Ayatollah Sayyid Abdul-Hadi Shirazi. Sayyid Abdul-Hadi al Shirazi is sitting in his lesson, Bahth al-Kharij , now Bahth al-Kharij, which is where a student learns to become a Mujtahid. Bahth al-Kharij ,often has a lot of debate in that lesson. And you always have one or two students that always wish to speak more, very energetic. They always want to criticize everything that he says.

He's sitting one day, giving his Bahth al-Kharij, his lesson. And there's a student that asks something. So the Sayyid says, 'no, this isn't really right'. So he says no, he gives another answer. But what about this? Telling the Sayyid that 'no what you're saying is wrong'. So the students that narrate this, they say the Sayyid replied with a bit of hesitation that 'no, for example, there's a riwayah here mentioned not with confidence. He said, 'no, actually, there's a riwayah here mentioned, but we'll talk about it later'. That person stopped then criticising. Stop asking questions. And the lesson continued.

At the end of the lesson most of the students left a few, three or four, what were there? And that student comes forward. When that student comes forward, Sayyid Abdulhadi Shirazi says: as for your question, the first answer to your question is this. The second answer to your question? Is this the third answer to the same question? The third proof is this. The fourth proof is this riwayah. The fifth proof is this opinion. He gave so many opinions, 10 or 12 on that one issue that this person is shocked.

So the two or three students that were there said that in the lesson when he asked you this question and you said, 'no, you're wrong'. And he gave that other reply. And what did you say? With hesitance you said, 'actually, there's a riwayah somewhere here. You had all of this knowledge, you didn't express it at that time. Why?' He says because at that time, even though I had all of this knowledge in my heart, I realised that if I reply to him, in the way that I have replied right now, number one, he's not going to be encouraged next time to ask a question. He'll never ask a question again. So I want him to ask questions.

But number two, I was fearful that my Nafs overtakes me and my ego overtakes me. That's why I waited until everyone finishes, everyone leaves. Then I have a Shara'i responsibility to teach him Ahkam, so that's why I told him now. Otherwise I wouldn't have even have said it to him in this case.

The idea is that there are people today who make sure to kill this ego, to kill this Nafs and the self. The greatest barrier between me and God is myself!

Is when I look like that horse at my own reflection at me, rather than seeing Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala in front of me.