Tawhid And Consciousness Of The Divine

I am just going to begin tonight's reflection or tonight's talk by thinking about the foundation of Islam, which is Tawhid testifying to the fact that Islam is one, he is one reality devoid of attributes, absolutely hidden and unknowable, and that our task in this life is to try to apprehend that reality, to try to apprehend and understand and attain Ma'arifa of the Creator of all existence. And it is appropriate to start with Tawhid because this is why Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, and his family gave their lives.

This is what they stood for on the plains of Karbala, not only for the fact that we we believe that God is one, but also thinking about how that belief in the Oneness of God has an impact on our entire lives. And I would argue that over the centuries, as other scholars have argued as well, we have lost a certain ability to apprehend a higher reality. We have lost this ability to intuit the higher realities of existence with our hearts.

And according to the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, it is the 'aql, that is the faculty that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala has blessed us with to be able to perceive His signs and understand that Allah exists. And according to the teachings, the 'aql, resides both in the mind, in the brain as a rational entity and also in the heart as an intuitive entity. We need both. We need both our rationality and we need our intuition, also. It is by the intuition that we can perceive what lies beyond the apparent world that we live in.

And I want to think about how we are going to go into these nights of mourning for Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, especially for those who have been brought up with these commemorations and listening to lectures and being familiar with a lot of the poetry and a lot of the practises that go into remembering the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, we do not want to be going into this very sacred time feeling that we have seen it all before and we have heard it all before, and that, you know, we cannot find a means of learning any more from this tragedy, but rather, it is a time for making us reflect back on where we are standing in our lives today.

Where are we standing on this day? Where are we standing on these nights in our lives and in our existence? And I think one of the amazing things about taking time out to do Ziyarah to the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, to remember the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, is that this act takes us out of our immediate, mundane, daily lives.

It is through our immediate, mundane, daily lives that we start to fall asleep to the reality of our existence. Our hearts go to sleep, they become hardened, and through that we can even start to lose that inspiration. We can start to lose the strength of that Iman, and we can start to feel distant from our Imams as well.

They can be figures that we understand we that we should respect. But we start to lose that living connexion with the Imam, and the meaning of Tawhid starts to lose its relevance in our daily life. And this, in effect, is a sign that we are drifting into illusion and that we are in danger of dying in a state of illusion and a state of delusion.

The heart feels dissatisfied, but at the same time we do not feel that strength or that ability to to get up and go and recharge the heart and and to bring that heart to polish it so that it can be worthy again of receiving that light of inspiration from the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, and via the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, from Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, because we have by no means come to understand what it means to exist in this universe, you know, as these little specks of consciousness. And we have by no means come to understand really what is meant by the teachings of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, when they talk about the Oneness of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

And it is important to start to talk about Tawhid because again, when we look at the sources, we look at Usul Al-Kafi, which starts off, you know, the beginning of the collection of Usul Al-Kafi starts off by talking about the 'aql and it starts off by talking about the 'aql's perception of the oneness of Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala.

And then within that, when we look at the narrations of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, in Al-Kafi, we see that what Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, did before the men would go into battle, when he is talking in the Masjid in Kufa, he doesn't start his khutbah by rousing them to go into battle and to take courage and to defeat the enemy. What he starts with in his speech, in every speech is to remind his followers of what this belief of Islam actually means.He reminds his followers that there is this astonishing and incredible existence that is the existence of Allah. There is this astonishing and incredible divine being for want of a better word. There is this astonishing and incredible reality that if we can come to grasp even just a tiny bit, then we will have left this world understanding what our existence was all about.

As the Holy Qur'an says, we are not just here to eat and drink like cattle, to eat and drink and then and then die like cattle. And unfortunately, because of the system of global slavery, we used to have an old version of slavery, and now with modernity and industrialisation, we have a modern version of slavery. As we know through our media and our news and the games that are being played by our politicians, we have a system of mental slavery, mental enslavement, and we have to be very careful not to be deluded by these attempts to enslave our minds.

Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, as we know when he stood opposite the army, the opposition army on the plains of Karbala, as he very famously said, you know, if you do not have you know, if you are not people of of religion, if you're not people of Din, at least be free in this world. He is actually pleading with the people. 'OK, if you are not going to follow a code of life that trains the Self, that trains the heart, that connects our consciousness to that absolute consciousness, and that brings us out of our mundane condition as human beings. You know, if you do not have that in this world, at least be free. Do not be a slave to this world'.

And of course, the people that he was talking to on the plains of Karbala were Muslim. They were not non-Muslim. They were people who had said the shahada, they read Qur'an, they did salaat. You know, they had testified to believing in the one God. But the crucial thing is that they did not understand Wilayah, they did not understand Imamah, they did not understand that there is an inner aspect to the Haqq as well as an outer aspect to the Haqq.

They thought that following Islam is simply the outer rites and rituals and that that was sufficient. They had not grasped sufficiently what it means to actually be a person on the path to apprehending this incredible reality that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him and his holy progeny, brought to mankind. An awareness of this reality. And that is Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, you know, brought to the realisation of those following him whenever he gave a talk and for which Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, and his family members died. They actually died to enable humanity to understand the path to realising what should be realised in this life.

Now, what we find in today's world and probably what has continued for centuries is that we are in danger as Muslims, as people who say the shahada every day. If we are reciting the Adhan, we will say the Shahada every day, we will say in our salaat ... We are in danger of becoming like those Muslims in the opposition army who thought that it is okay if I do, you know, my salah, my Zakah, my fasting and so on, I will just kind of tick those boxes. But at the same time, I want what I can get from this world. I want what I can get from this world, even if it means I get it through unlawful means.

And I would say that it is because of this temptation to make gains from this world, even if it means oppressing others and oppressing others does not mean literally beating up your employee or whipping your employee. Although we know that there are employees around the world who are getting that treatment, it can be simply oppressive and bullying your employee in the office to get them to be afraid of you, to get them to work harder as a means of getting, you know, more output. So we are meant to be Muslims, but we do not show compassion for our employees because we want to get greater output from our company as an example.

That is an act of oppression that we are committing, let alone, as we very well know, the sheer corruption that goes on in so-called Muslim countries across the Muslim world in cahoots with governments outside of the Muslim world, acting together to enrich themselves out of whatever gains can be made from these beautiful lands.

I am sure you know, those of you who have travelled to Sham, to Iraq, to Iran, you will see how heavenly these countries are. They are, they are treasures in this world. But of course, those who want to extract everything that they can from these countries are doing so by means of cunning and deception and outright oppression. And yet these people who are engaging in these actions will be praying, will be fasting, will be reciting Qur'an and will consider themselves as Muslim. They did not understand, and perhaps we are in danger of not understanding what this message actually is about and what it actually means to testify that there is only one ultimate reality towards which we are all going to be returning.

So this is just an opening thought for these nights for us to go back to the roots of this thing, to think about what it means that there is only one reality to which we are all going to return and upon which we depend, and which we are going to face when we leave this world, when we cannot bring with us any of the unlawful gains that have been made through fraud and deception and outright oppression.

I will just conclude with a short extract from the speech of Imam Ali, alayhi assalam, which again, many of you will be familiar with. But again, it is so incredible when we just touch upon what he is trying to get across to humanity about the reality of Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala. So he says, "woe to you, Dhi’lib [Al-Yamani], eyes have not seen Him through this site, but hearts have seen Him through the reality of faith. Woe to you Dhi’lib, my Lord is the most subtle, but He cannot be described in terms of finesse.

He is magnificent but cannot be described in terms of greatness size. He is great, but His greatness cannot be described in terms of physical largeness. He is glorious, but His glory cannot be described in terms of weightiness. He has been there before anything and cannot be said that anything was before Him. He is after everything, but the word after cannot be applied to Him. He created all things but did not have to plan and meditate in doing so.

He knows everything unerringly without any mistake. And without any stop, there is never a time when Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala does not know absolutely everything going on in every universe in existence that He has created, He is in everything without being at mixed or separate. He is evident, but not in the sense of being directly seen. He is manifest without visibility. He is manifest without visibility.

He is far, but not in the sense of being distant. He is near, but not in the sense of proximity. He is delicate without any composed form. He exists, but not after non-existence. He is active without being under any compulsion, and He calculates and measures without having any movement. He attends without any attention and He hears without any instrument of hearing, and He sees without any instrument of sight."

Just a few lines amongst many lines that have been used by Amir Al-Mu'mineen, alayhi assalam, to reflect upon this reality that we pray through. The wasila of Imam Husayn, alayhi assalam, we can come to understand and know inshaAllah, more in these blessed nights, but inshaAllah, certainly you know before Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala decides to take our lives. So I am just going to remind our viewers as well that inshaAllah, throughout these nights, we are also going to be asking for your help to keep this channel going, to keep these programmes being broadcast to you live and direct from Karbala. And we are running a campaign for anyone who would like a Ziyarah to be said. Then please do donate one hundred pounds and we can say a Ziyarah for your marhuminor for anyone who you would like us to say a Ziyarah for. Your names will be taken, please do check the details on the screen. You can text the word donate or even text the name of your marhumin or or your beloved one that you would like to have a Ziyarah said for. The number to text is 07507110110 and again one hundred pounds to keep this channel running.

Al-Hamdulillah, we are into our eighth year, it is just over eight years since this channel started again without us having any idea of how it would be able to keep going. But Al-Hamdulillah thanks to the fantastic support of all our viewers over the years and around the world, we are still here and Al-Hamdulillah especially on these beautiful nights of remembering the most perfect sacrifice by the most perfect of martyrs, alayhi assalam. We are asking again for our viewers to support this channel so that we can continue to do something to bring this message to our younger generations, as well as to enliven the hearts of all of us that are beaten down by the media, the dajjalik forces that are out there, the oppressive forces that are out there, and that we can, inshallah, continue from this channel and what it has to offer to revive our hearts and enliven our hearts, inshaAllah.

This programme will be continuing on tonight, like I said, with poetry and masa'ib. And I'll also be giving a lecture with some themes running through to the end of the nine nights. InshaAllah, I will be tomorrow. I'll be touching upon the importance of Imamat and Wilayah and to remind our viewers that the path of the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, is by definition a path of the interior. It is a path of the Batin, it is a path of turning within and cultivating a different way of being, a different consciousness, an ability to apprehend what lies beyond the apparent.

It is a path that cultivates detachment from this world. And as we know that our communities are very often embroiled in so many troubles and and disputes and difficulties. And these can often start to dominate our lives and overshadow our 'Ibadah and cause us to forget what is our main purpose in this life. One of the main things that we must try to overcome is not being subjugated or subject to the vicissitudes, the ups and downs of our lives. We need to rise above the dramas that are going on in our community and outside our community in in the world.

We need to take off, take our eyes off our immediate surroundings. We need to stop being so concerned with the trivia of our sorroundings and remind ourselves to look back at ourselves because we will be alone in the grave. We will be relying on our attachment to Allah and Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, and the Holy Qur'an to get us through this journey of death.

As I read the other night, Imam Al-Sadiq, alayhi assalam, said that the journey of the soul into the next world consists of many stages and the easiest of stages into the next world is that of death. And we know that when a soul dies, how much emphasis there is on helping that soul to adjust to having passed over to the other side. And we have read of the many tribulations that can hit a soul once it gets through to the other side. And yet, Imam Al-Sadiq, alayhi assalam, says that this is just the first of the many stages that the soul is going to go through before Yawm al-Qiyamah, the final rising, the final resurrection.

We pray, inshaAllah, that we will be able to cleanse our hearts during these nights so that we can be worthy of rising with the Ahlul Bayt, alayhum assalam, InshaAllah. Now we are just about to go to break, inshaAllah we will be back in a few minutes.