Lecture by Br. Khalil Jaffer on The Veil of Heedlessness -- How it filters and translates the Real World to us. Lifting the Veil of Heedlessness -- Causes and Solutions. Conclusion -- Altering your World View and Changing your Life's Values with the Concept of the Real World and Tajassum al-A'maal
Bismil-Lah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Al-hamdulil-Lahi Rabbi 'l-alameen, bari' al-khalaa'iqi ajma'een. Wa as-salat wa as-salam 'ala asharafi al-Anbiya'i wa al-Mursalin, Sayyidina, wa Nabiyyina, wa habibi qulubina, wa tabibi nufusina, wa shafi'i dhunubina, Abil Qasim Muhammad. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. Thumma as-salatu wa assalam 'ala aali baytihi, at-tayyibin, at-taharin, al-madhlumin. Wa la'anatu Allahi al a'da'ihim ajma'in min yawmi 'adawatihim ila yawm id-deen. Amma ba'd, faqad qal Allahu tabaraka wa taa'la fi kitabih. Bismillahi, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Wa ma hadhihi al-hayat ud-Duniya illa lahwun wa la'ib wa inna ad-dar al-akhirata lahiya al-hayawan law kanu ya'lamun.(29:64). Salawat ‘ala Muhammad [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad].
Glimpses of the real world. This is our third in our last lecture inshaAllah in this series that we began several nights ago. Before we begin today's discussion, I want to first acknowledge and thank the organisers of the programme from the Ja'fari Islamic Center, may Allah bless you and reward you inshaAllah. But over and above, I wish to acknowledge and thank the volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, inshaAllah your ajar as well is with the mother of Husayn inshaAllah. The kind of role we play is not necessarily as sincere as it comes across. Very often there is room for showing off, for riyaa', but the kind of role that the volunteers play, which is so invisible, so in the background and everything seems to work so well, somebody has to open the place, somebody has to clean the place, somebody has to serve us, prepare for us, somebody has to remain behind after we leave. These are the true people who work with khuloos for Muhammad and Aali Muhammad. And we pray inshaAllah that Allah will bless them and keep them with Muhammad and Aali Muhammad fi id-Duniya wa al-Akhirah. If you can recite a Salawat ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
The other thing I wanted to talk about very quickly before I start the discussion as well is, many of you have been giving me some feedback and some questions, and I want to just answer those questions very quickly before I move on, because these questions may be in the minds of others as well. One question is, where does Istighfar fall based on what we discussed yesterday? That if we say that everything we do transforms into a physical reality and whether we end up in Jannah or Jahannum is up to us and that Allah does not interfere in the process, then where does Istighfar fit in this picture?
I want to remind you that even yesterday I did make mention of instances where Istighfar comes into play. For example, I mentioned a narration yesterday that said that when it was time for prayers, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, would say to his companions, "Stand up and attend to the fire that you have lit on your own backs and extinguish it with your Salat." This means that as long as our souls are in our bodies, there is room to change what we have created.
I also gave an example where when one does tasbeeh, Allah plants trees for them, but then one has also the ability to light a fire and burn those trees down. So as long as the soul is in the body, whatever we do is not irreversible. And that is why Allah says in the Qur'an repeatedly that He is Ghafoor, Rahim, that there is no sin He cannot forgive except Shirk. And that is also, there is a reason for that. But that is beyond the scope of our discussion. So Istighfar is there, very much so. And that is the role that Allah and His messenger and the Ahlul Bayt, 'alayhum as-salam, play, the shafa'a, the waseela, the du'as, the Istighfar.
But that is so long as the soul is in the body and nobody knows when they will die. You see, even if you read the Qur'an, you will see that when Fir'awn was drowning and the veil was lifted, he said "Al'an amantu"(10:90) "bi Rabbi Musa wa Harun" (7:122). So Allah says to him, "Now you believe oh Fir'awn?" And elsewhere also Allah says that tawba is not accepted when one has seen the truth, when it is too late, basically.
And so when somebody asked Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], that until what point is Istighfar acceptable? If you see Istighfar as a cleansing or a purging process by which we extinguish the fire we have lit or we remove the demons that we created or we dissolve them and change them into a garden or a palace or something beautiful for ourselves inshaAllah, then at what point can we keep doing Istighfar? And the Imam said, 'Until such time as when the soul does not reach the throat. "Idha balaghat al-hulqoom" (56:83). When the soul reaches the throat, at that point the veils are removed.
So when a person is dying and they are going through what we call sakarat al-mawt, and veils are lifted and now they can see the angels and now they can see the demons and now they can see if they are good, the members of the family, now they can see the reality they have created for themselves. Once the veils are lifted, then it is too late. Because now your Istighfar is based on what you nobody can deny. Istighfar is there as long as the soul is in the body.
The other feedback that I got from many of you was that yesterday's majlis was very scary, and I do not know how to reply that. You know, most people scare the hell out of you, you scared the hell into us. The point that I was trying to make yesterday, my dear brothers and sisters, is not to frighten you and make you lose hope in the mercy of Allah. The point was not to say that if you have, God forbid, sinned or created hell for yourself, that is it, you are doomed. The point was to say that since Allah has given so much control in our hands, let us be positive about it. Let us take control of that and say I will plant the seeds and inshaAllah, Allah will help those seeds germinate and bloom.
But if this is reality and if it is substantiated from Qur'an and Hadith, then we need to talk about it. Running away from it will not solve the problem. We would rather know about it now and do something about it, than not know about it and then be surprised when we die. What I leave with you, of course, is to go and read those ayats of Qur'an and Ahadith and prove for yourself whether that is true or not.
The other question that has come as well is that when I talked about why a few years of actions results in an eternity of reward or punishment, and the reason I give for that is, for example, I gave the example of a person suffering from diabetes or a person who creates a world for himself and then he lives in that world, and in the world after the soul leaves the body there is no concept of time, and therefore eternity is a state in which there is no time. The question was, is that the only reason why the reward is forever or the punishment is forever? Or can there be other reasons for that?
There can be other reasons, but you will be able to align them with this as well. And that is, again, something that we have to go back and research and read about from the Qur'an and Hadith. For example, when one person asked Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], that why is it that a person who obeys Allah for 10, 20, 30 years is rewarded for eternity or the opposite? The Imam said, because Allah has tested the person to a point where if he had lived for eternity, he would always obey Allah, and therefore he deserves to be rewarded for eternity. And the one who disobeys Allah, he is punished for eternity because he has proven beyond any doubt that if he was to be left in this world for eternity, he would have continued disobeying for eternity. So there are reasons like these that you will inshaAllah be able to find and you need to go and look for them.
And one last question as well that has come to me as well was that when I talked about the three different ideas amongst the Muslims on the relationship between 'Amal and Jazaa', the first we said, which a lot of Muslims subscribe to, is that of predestination, that there is no relationship between 'Amal and Jazaa' and that Allah is the doer of all actions. Can we prove beyond any doubt that that concept is false, that life is not based on predestination? Because there are questions that come to it. Now, this subject is very, very vast and it is impossible to discuss it tonight. You actually would need a whole series just to talk about compulsion and free will and predestination. It is a branch on a discussion of Tawhid and 'Adaala.
Nonetheless, it is extremely, extremely important. And the 'Ulama of the Tashayyu' from the Shi'a madhhab have written books and books on this. For example, Sheikh Saduq, I think, or Allama Hilli has got a book called "Istisqaa' al nadhar fi al-qadhaa' wa al-qadar" in which he has compiled forty ayat of Qur'an and forty ahadith, simple ones, to prove that it does not make sense to believe in predestination and free will. That when you believe in predestination, then nothing makes sense. The idea of a Day of Judgement, the idea of accounting, the idea of punishing, reward, none of it makes sense if it is based on predestination.
We summarise it with just one hadith from Imam Musa al-Kadhim, 'alaihi as-salam [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], in which he says, when Imam Abu Hanifa asks him that does Allah compel people to act when they act or do they act on free will? He said, "There can only be three situations. Either Allah is the doer of everything, or man is the doer of everything, or Allah and man are partners in what they do. If Allah is the doer of everything and then He punishes you for what you sin and you commit, then He becomes a dhalim, because He is punishing you for what He has done. If Allah is a partner with the human being in committing the sin, then He becomes again unjust because now the partner who is more powerful is punishing the partner who is weaker. So the only situation that makes sense is that man is the doer of his actions."
And there are many ahadith like this that you can go and explore. But it is nonetheless a very important subject. And I am certain that if a person who is not a Muslim is coming to Islam, and if they were to start studying Tawhid and 'Adalah from the perspective of the Ahlul Bayt and from those who are not following the Ahlul Bayt, they will undoubtedly gravitate and incline towards the Ahlul Bayt just on the basis of this subject of predestination and free will. But it is a vast, vast subject that we cannot cover here tonight. So I just leave it at this for now, inshaAllah if you can recite a Salawat 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
So we continue from last night. Last night, we introduced the idea that, not just the idea but the fact that when a person acts in this world, not only do they create a physical reality which becomes their eternal abode in the real world, but they also mould their own soul. So every human being, every one you see sitting in this room is actually a body that is pregnant with a soul. When they die, their bodies give birth to whatever they have created, whatever they have chiseled, whatever they have given form to. And we gave an example of a hypocrite who lived to the age of 70. And his example was that of a rock that was falling into Jahannam for 30 years.
We also said that not everyone that you see around you on the streets, at work, at university, at home or wherever, not everybody is necessarily formed into a human being. Some have evolved and some have devolved. And we also gave an ayat of Qur'an to say that We made the enemies of every Prophet's to be the devils amongst men and jinn (6:112). So the devil does appear in the form of human beings, even to this day and age.
There is a very famous person who lived in Qom and passed away just a few decades ago, who is known as Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat. And there is a beautiful book on his story and a lot of anecdotes about him that has been translated and it is in English as well. It is called "The Elixir of Love", you can find it on the Internet as well, "Ikseer al-Mahabba". Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat was a man who lived in Qom, but he was a man who had reached a level where he had removed the veil and he was able to see a person in their real form. And his son narrates, and you can go read this for yourself, and the person who has compiled these narrations is a very famous 'alim today, living in Qom today, Sheikh Mohammadi Reyshahri. And those of you who have an interest in Hadith and you have heard of books like "Mizan al Hikma" and so on, you will know that he is a compiler of these hadith, he is the one who has authored this book on Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat and he has verified all these narrations.
The son of Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat says that when I was a little boy once I was walking with my father on the street. And when you read this book, you will see how Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat attained this level. When he was a youth, he was tempted to sin once and he resisted the temptation because of which he was given this great spiritual elevation. His son says, I was walking with my father, meaning with Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat in the streets of Tehran or somewhere, he says "suddenly, as we were walking, two women appeared on either side of my father. They were not wearing hijab and they had a lot of makeup on them. And they had something like a top, you know, the one the children play with, the top that you spin. They had a top in their hands that they were spinning and they kept trying to get the attention from my father and they kept saying to him, "Oh Sheikh, look at us. Oh Sheikh, which one is prettier than the other?" and so on and so forth. And the son says that my father simply smiled and looked down and continued walking.
And after a little while, he says, those two women suddenly vanished into thin air. And I asked my father, who are those two women? He said, "My son, they were shayateen." This is something that is like we are talking like in the 60s or 70s, it is not like very, very long ago.
So we see that not everybody we see necessarily is human. Some are in the stage of forming into humans, some who were human, they have devolved and become into beasts, some have devolved further and become into shayateen. That is why you will see that when we do the a'maal of, I think 15 Sha'ban, there is a du'a we recite in which we say "Allahuma la tubbaddil ismi wa la tughayyir jismi", oh Allah do not alter my name and do not change my form.
So these, when you now read these du'as and a'mals, they should all bring this idea back to mind that there is a reality that is inside us, which is the real us. And Allah out of His mercy has hidden that from the eyes of others for as long as we live, and our bodies are simply cages or shells that hide the real identity that we have.
We have one narration that is a little lengthy that I cannot go into, but there is an Ayat of Qur'an in which Allah says, "Yawma yunfakhu fil soori fa ta'toona afwaja"(78:18), 'on the day when the trumpet is blown and you are brought forth in groups'. Somebody asked Rasul Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], on the meaning of this. And he began explaining all these groups and he said, My Ummah will come forth on the Day of Judgment in six different groups, and then he started describing them. Some of them will come like apes and some of them will come like pigs and some of them will come blind, deaf and dumb, some of them will come with their limbs removed. And he gave descriptions and details of all this. Some of them will come forth on the Day of Judgment, they will have two tongues of fire in their mouth because they were double-tounged in this world. Some people will be resurrected, they will have two heads on their body because they were double faced in this world. Some people will come forth from their graves and their stomach will be so huge they will not be able to move on the ground. They will be stuck on the ground, they will slither like snakes and drag themselves.
And the more you read about this, the more it will frighten us, but make us realise the same point that we are trying to make. And people will complain to Allah: "Rabbi lima hashartani a'ma wa qad kuntu baseera" (20:125), 'my Lord why have You raised me blind on this day when I could see in the world?'
The reality was that they were already blind in this world, but they just did not know it. "Man kana fi hadhihi a'ma fahuwa fil aakhirati a'ma" (17:72). Whosoever is blind in this world, he shall be blind in the hereafter. This is not blind of the physical eyes, no. Whosoever is blind to the truth in this world, he thinks he can see, but he is blind. On the Day of Judgment he comes out in the real form, which is a form of blindness.
And so now when you read the Qur'an and Hadith, we begin to see that we do not just create a heaven or hell, but we change ourselves and become a different creature altogether. In Surah Luqman, chapter thirty one of the Qur'an when Luqman the wise, and some have said he was a prophet, when he gives words of wisdom to his son, go and read verse 19 from chapter 31, he says to his son: "Waghdhudh min sawtik, inna ankar al-aswaat la sawtu al-hameer" (31:19), 'My son when you speak to people, then lower your voice. For indeed, the most disgusting of voices is the braying of a donkey'.
Now, if you look at this verse at face value, it does not really jive. It does not really make a lot of sense because he is talking to his son. My son, when you speak to people, speak politely, lower your voice. Then he should have said the most disgusting of voices is when a human being makes sounds like a donkey. What has the braying of a donkey got to do with a human being who does not lower his voice? Allah does not create anything disgusting. When Allah created the donkey, He gave him the ability to bray as well. So what is disgusting to a Allah is not that the donkey brays. What is disgusting to Allah is when the human brays like a donkey.
So at face value it looks like the man is just swearing and cursing and throwing out four letter words and being boisterous and being loud. But in reality, in the real world, he is braying, we just do not see that. If the veil was lifted, you would not be able to understand what the person is saying. All you will hear is the noise of a donkey coming from the person. He will sound like he is braying only. That is all you will hear. "Waghdhudh min sawtik." Lower your voice, my son when you speak. Speak politely, speak like a human being, because if you speak like an animal, you become an animal. "Inna ankar al-aswaat la sawtu al-hameer."
So there are people in this world who are donkeys, but they do not know this. There is one narration with a slight variation. It has been quoted by the Shi'a and the Sunni muhadditheen, and both have quoted it from Rasul Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad]. From the Shi'a books, it says that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, says, "A ma yakhafu man yuhawwilu wajhahu fi as-salat, an yuhowwil Allahu wajhahu wajh himar." The one who turns his face here and there while he is praying, is he not afraid that Allah might change his face into the face of a donkey? Then there is a footnote by the 'Urafa and 'Ullamah. They said this turning of the face here and there is not the physical turning of the face here and there, it is the face of the heart, when the person is praying and his heart is here and there."
And the Sunni muhadditheen have given a variation of this, where the Messenger of Allah, peace be on him and his family, said "A ma yakhsha man yarfa'u ra'sahu qabla al-Imam, an yuhawill Allahu ra'sahu ra'sa himar." He who raises his head before the Imam raises his head, is he not afraid that Allah might change his head into the head of a donkey? So we ask then, our Sunni brothers and sisters, that if a person raises his head ahead of the Imam of Salat, his head becomes the head of a donkey, what if a person goes ahead of the Imam that Allah appoints over people [Subhana Allah]. What becomes of him?
The same Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat. The first narration I gave you of the shayateen, if you have the book, look at page 116. The second reason I am giving you now, look at page 146. Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat, he could see people without a veil. He says he was one day, his disciple reports, one of his students says that I was walking with him on the streets of Qom and there was a cyclist on the side and he accidentally bumped into a passer by and the passer by, not being humble enough to realise that the cyclist did not do this intentionally, he began swearing at him and cursing him. And he said to him, "You donkey." Sheikh Rajab Ali Khayyat says "By Allah, I saw his backside changing to that of a donkey." The moment he said that, in a flash, it changed to a donkey and then changed back to him.
So we shall see this in a moment that how this little flashes, when they persist, they begin to evolve and become or devolve and take a reality and form. But do not think for a moment that anything we say or do does not have an effect on the real world. Anything. The magazines you read, the websites you go to, the things you say, what you type, what you think, the movies you watch, everything is affecting your reality and your essence and who you are. Everything. There is not a thing we do that does not have an effect.
Somebody asked Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], he said to him that the angels who are with me when I do things, they see, they know what I am doing, so they record it. But when I am thinking things in my mind, how do they know what I am thinking? How do they know what I am thinking? The Imam said, "When you think good thoughts, your body gives out a scent and a fragrance, the smell, the fragrance from you, they know you are thinking good. And when you think sinful thoughts, your body gives out a stench. You begin to smell. They can detect the stench from you. They know that you are thinking evil or sinful or dirty thoughts."
So nothing goes unnoticed. Now Mullah Naraqi, the famous author of "Jami'a as-Sa'adat", he explains this in his "Jami'a as-Sa'adat". He says, what happens is that the process is gradual, both for the Jannah and the Jahannam that we create, as well as the form that our soul takes. For example, he says that if you create a garden for yourself in Jannah, it does not happen in one flash or one instant. That you get up and you pray two rak'ats and it happens, no. He says first when you pray a nice fragrance begins, and then as you persist praying, it slowly blooms, seeds are planted, it grows, roses begin to come out, it gets greener and greener, trees come out, angels are hired, they begin to build for you. You build a world gradually. In the same way when a person creates hell, it is also gradual. First, there is a bit of heat and then when they persistent and they do not do Istighfar, the heat increases, and then there is a few sparks, and then when they persist, the sparks lit and become, they light up and become a fire and so on and so forth.
The same for a person's soul. He says a person does not change into a donkey or an animal or an ape or a pig overnight, no. It happens gradually. They eat haram food once, they do not do istighfareat, they haram again, they slowly begin to change. Even psychologists will tell you if a person keeps a dog in the house for too long, they say the master and the dog begin to look similar. You may have heard of this, and if you observe it, you will see there is reality to this. There is a reality to this. Observe, do not go through life just with blinkers, watch. You will see there are people who change. You see 10 years, 20 years, they take a form, they change. And this is what we are observing. What do those without the veil observe?
So Mullah Naraqi says that it is gradual that a person changes little by little by little until a point where the person himself or herself becomes the guardian of the fire. That is why in Suratul Waqi'ah it says: "Fa amma in kana minal muqarrabeen"(56:88), "Fa rawhun wa rayhan wa jannatu na'im" (56:89). And if he is of those who are drawn close to Us, then there is bounty and there is happiness in the garden of bliss. You become the "rawhun wa rayhan" or you choose and you become "Narrullahil moqada" (104:6). "Allatee tatalli'u 'alal af'ida" (104:7).
Again, you see that in the Qur'an, this is very easy to remember, chapter 66, verse six: "Quw anfusakum wa ahlikum nara wa qooduha an-nas wa al-hijara" (66:6). Save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones. So the fire is just the base. Where is the fuel coming from? So men and stones, the stones, then from another Ayat of Qur'an we prove that the stones are the idols that people worship. Those idols will be the stones that become the fuel of fire. But Allah is not saying, save yourselves from a fire in which you will burn, no. He says in which you may become the fuel of that fire. So you become part of what keeps the fire alive. You become the fire itself. And again, the same idea is repeated somewhere in Surat ul-Baqara: "Fattaqo an-nar allati waqudha an-nasu wa al-hijara (2:24). Fear a fire whose fuel is men and stones.
So if you take an example, sometimes we say, well, a human being in essence is a human being. All human beings are the same. No, all human beings are not the same. When they are born, they may be the same, but with time they change, they are not all the same. If you take a piece of coal, initially the coal is black and it is cold. If you keep it on fire, if you keep it engulfed in fire after a while, it becomes hot. At that point, if you extinguish it, the coal changes and it remains black and cool. If you leave it, what happens? It becomes red. At that point if you extinguish it, it might still return back and become black and cold. If you leave it, what happens? It changes. It becomes white. Once it becomes white, it breaks down and becomes like powder. And then there is no way to bring it back to its original consistency in its original form. So coal is coal. Yes, but the black coal that is cold and hard is different from the one that is hot and white. They are not the same anymore.
When a person does things because of which he lights a fire in his world, in his real world, now he thinks he is not burning, but in reality, he is burning or she is burning. And they stay with that fire day after day after day. No Salat, no Istighfar, no mosque, no Qur'an, no Rasul, no hadith, no Ahlul Bayt. Nothing. There is just gambling, there is lying, there is liquor, there is sins, there is nightclubs, there is this, there is that, wal 'iyadhu billah. There is backbiting, there is the world, they are in the fire constantly, constantly. They change, they become white. Now they are not the same as a human being. It is different.
Water is water. But when you boil the water, it becomes steam. Now water is different, steam is different. Yawm al-Qiyamah, not everybody will come out because they were born human. People will change and come out in different forms. And I think this suffices as a summary to what we started discussing yesterday, that once a person dies and their original composition breaks down and family relations are all broken and severed. Now whether you are rich or poor does not matter. Now whether you are black or white does not matter. Now whether you are tall or short does not matter. Whether you live in Canada or you live somewhere else, does not matter. What remains now? All that remains is the actions and the form they have taken.
And so we stop with this at this point and we take this discussion now to a second level, if you can recite a Salawat 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
This is in the interest of time, I am giving you just chunks of what we were to discuss in more detail and inshaAllah, you can go and read up on this some more. The other important point that I wanted to discuss tonight inshaAllah is that when we look at the hadith about the illusion that we live in, that we think is real versus the real world, one of the things that comes very glaringly to us is that there is an inversion that takes place between what we think is real in the real world. What this veil does, the veil's property and characteristic is that it takes what is from this world, it changes it to the opposite and brings it completely differently to the other side, or it brings something from that side and inverts it and brings it out for this side of the world.
And the basis of this idea is a famous hadith that says "Huffat an-nar bi ash-shahawat wa huffat al-jannah bi 'l-makarih", the fire of hell is surrounded with pleasure and lust, and the garden of paradise is surrounded with unpleasant experiences. "Makarih" is what is from "makrooh", what is undesirable.
And this is very, very important, that wherever you will see a lot of lust and a lot of pleasure and a lot of hankering after the world, that in reality is the fire of hell in the real world. And wherever you will see forms of unpleasantness, hardship, efforts, struggling, being honest, you will find that that sort of a life is actually a garden, but it is not perceived. As soon as a person dies, they will experience the exact opposite of the kind of life they led here, because you cannot have both this world and the hereafter.
Now this in some ways, if we had time, we could explain it scientifically as well. But I will just hint at it a little bit here. For example, try and read up a little bit, I know we have left school a long time back, but try and read up a little bit on biology about how the human five senses work. You will be amazed at some ideas that will come forth from this.
For example, a lot of people think they see with the eye. Does your eye have the intelligence to see and understand what it sees? No, your eye is just a piece of flesh, it is just a piece of jelly. It is a lens like a camera lens. It captures an image and it transmits it to the brain. That is, we are talking from a science point of view, even though it may necessarily be different from or may be a little different from how Islam understands it, but it transmits it to your brain or your mind. Your brain interprets what that lens has picked up from the external world into what it thinks it is, what it sees.
So what is the part of your body that is doing the interpretation and the understanding? Your brain. But your brain is encased in your skull. There is no light in the skull. So is the image in the world in front of you going directly into your brain and being perceived by your brain? No, it is being captured by a lens that has no intelligence and your brain is now helpless and dependent on only seeing what this transmits. There is no way to prove that what you are seeing is really what it is.
And you can do the same thing with the other senses. Your ears does not have any intelligence to understand and interpret what you are hearing, it is just a piece of bone and there is an ear drum and there is skin and there is some liquid and there is little hair, and the sound waves go in and they bounce and there a ripple effect and it moves and goes to the brain. And then based on the experiences and how your brain interprets and translates, it says this is the voice and this is what it means.
But your brain is not hearing it directly. And science will also acknowledge that there are sounds and sights that other creatures can hear that humans cannot. There are frequencies that dogs can hear that humans cannot. There are distances and colors and things that other creatures may see that we may not.
In fact, there is no way to prove that what I see and you see is the same. There is no way to prove that scientifically. For example, when I look at this, I say, this is brown. When you look at it, you say this is brown, but there is no way to prove that we are both seeing the same thing. It is possible that what I call brown, you actually call green and what you call green I call brown. But with your experiences, whenever you see this color, you are calling it brown. But if I would have gone into your brain and looked at what you are seeing, I would have said this is green, this is not brown. So there is no way to prove anything from the five senses. Science may deny it. But science acknowledges its limitations.
Now study how the eye works. They will tell you that when you look at an image, it is captured by your eyes. It first is very large and it is inverted, and then your eyes turns it around and shrinks it. Are you really seeing the real world? And this hijab of heedlessness does the same thing. It inverts it and shrinks it. So when you see lust, you think this is pleasure and good. It is actually inverted. It is actually the fire of hell burning. And when you see these unpleasant experiences and suffering in the cause of Islam, you think this is unpleasant. But that hijab is inverting. It is actually something good, but you do not see it because of the limitations of the five senses. As soon as the soul is separated from the body, the perception is very different.
Now I give you one example and then inshaAllah we move on to another whole discussion that I want to cover before we end tonight. This is, by the way, Mullah Naraqi talks about this as well in his "Jami' as-Sadat", he says it is a bit like dreams. A lot of the things that we dream about, we tend to believe that when you dream, the opposite is true. When you dream something unpleasant, it is actually good news. Right? You might have heard of this kind of thing. I am not an expert on dream interpretation, but people will tell you that if you dream of some dead person, it is a good sign. If you dream of somebody laughing, sometimes it is bad. If you dream of somebody who is alive that they have passed away, then they will get engaged or get married, for example. So there is all these things with dreams as well that is inverted and the opposite.
If you look at "Kitab al-Irshad" of Sheikh Mufid, 'alayhi al-rahma, which is available in English, as well as the Book of Guidance, there is a chapter on every Imam. Look at the chapter on our tenth Imam, Imam Abul Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad al-Hadi al-Naqi, 'alayhi as-salam. The last example in that chapter he gives. He says that when the tenth Imam was taken forcefully to Samarrah, the ruling Caliph of the time wanted to disgrace him and humiliate him. So he put him up in a musafir-khana, in an inn that was rundown and basically neglected.
And there was a Muhibb and a Shi'a of the Imam by the name of Salih bin Sa'eed. He comes to the tenth Imam, Imam Ali, 'alayhi as-salam and he cries. And Imam al-Naqi 'alayhi as-salam says to him, Why are you crying? He says, Look at where they have kept you. They have not stopped trying to extinguish the noor of Allah and they only want to humiliate you like this.
He says that the Imam 'alayhi as-salam, "fa awma biyaddihi", he just moved his hand. He said "Ya Ibn al-Sa'eed", look now. He says when I looked now, I saw there was a beautiful garden, and there were rivers flowing and there were servants and maids and there was fruits on the side. And the Imam said, "Hadha lana", this is for us, "lasna bi khan al-sa'aleek." This is not the khan of sa'aleek. Oh Son of Sa'eed, this is what belongs to us. Who said we are in the khan al sa'aleek? This is where we are. And the man was happy. This is Sheikh Mufid, he narrates it in "Kitab al Irshad" you can go and see it for yourselves.
So we see this as another example that a person can attain a status where it may appear as if he lives in poverty or he lives in ruins. But in reality, Allah has given him a very high status. We just do not see that. This ties into another discussion that we now come to. We are again going to have a detailed discussion on how this veil is lifted and the causes of this veil. And we shall see a bit about this idea that what appears unpleasant is actually good and what is good appears unpleasant. But if you can recite a salawat 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
There are many, many causes for this veil, and we can discuss endlessly about how to remove this veil. I just want to hint at a few and then discuss one particular item in more detail. If you look at the Dua Abu Hamza al-Thamali from the fourth Imam, 'alayhi as-salam, in which he supplicates to Allah, beautiful dua but very long, unfortunately many of us never read it, but we should read it at least in Ramadan, beautiful, beautiful dua.
In that he addresses Allah and he says to Allah, "wa inna al-rahila ilayka qareebu al-masafir, wa annaka la tahtuba 'an khalqika illa an tahjubuhum a'malahum doonak". That oh Allah, You are never veiled from Your creation, except that what veils You from them is the actions that they perform. So we understand from this that one of the things that veil us, because what veils us from the real world is the same thing that veils us from Allah. If the veil is removed and we live in the real world, then Allah is no longer absent from our awareness, He is always present and we are constantly aware of Him. So the Imam is saying that what veils people from You oh Allah, what veils You from Your creation or what veils Your creation from You is nothing but their actions.
And then if you look at Mafatih al-Jinan, there is a footnote there. It says that in some version it says, "Illa an tahjubahum 'amalahum". So in Arabic, 'amal is action and amal is hope. So there is two versions to this and both make sense. In the first version, the Imam is saying that oh Allah, what veils Your creation from You is the actions that they perform for other than You. In the other version he is saying, oh Allah what veils the creation from You is the fact that they placed their hopes in others besides You. These are two glaring reasons why people are veiled from Allah, that their hope and their actions are not for the sake of Allah. They hope in those besides Allah and they act for those besides Allah. If everything we did was for the sake of Allah, then there comes a point where the veil disappears.
But the one thing that I want to discuss in detail, which is the single greatest danger to a person with regards to this veil and not being perceptive to the real world is materialism. Materialism or what you will find in Hadith as Hubb ad-Duniya is a vast subject in its own. And in fact, if we had time, we would first begin by discussing the meaning of Hubb ad-Duniya, because when you read classic texts, it is not sufficient to just know Arabic. Every word has a meaning. Hubb ad-Duniya literally means love of the world, but I am translating it as materialism because it can be misinterpreted if you only call it love of the world.
And there are many, many other words like this that people pick up from Qur'an and Hadith and they use them loosely, but it actually causes a lot of harm than good. For example, just very quickly in passing, without explaining these, you will see in hadith there is reference to condemnation about Hubb al-Nisaa', love of women. Here if you just translate it as love of women, it comes across very wrongly, very often, and you will see a lot of contradictions where the Hadith praises love of women and condemns love of women. Because you are translating Hubb al-Nisaa' literally. It has another meaning to it. But this is a study of words. So when we study hadith, we have to see what did this word mean to the people fourteen hundred years ago, not what it means today.
Or another example is "yawm tabbyadhu al-wujooh wa yawma taswaddu al-wujooh" (3:106), on the day when faces - now, some people translated this on the day when some faces will be black and some faces will be white. That a racist remark isn't it? What is wrong with people having a black face? The correct translation, now when you take the literal Arabic, "abyadh" is white, and "aswad" is black, but "yawm tabbyadhu al-wujooh wa yawma taswaddu al-wujooh" (3:106) is "on the day when faces will be darkened and faces will be bright". It is a whole new different meaning. So these are all classical. But for now, just go on the basis that you trust me. InshaAllah.
That Hubb ad-Duniya is materialism. Now the opposite of Hubb ad-Duniya believe it or not, is the love of Ali ibn abi Talib. If you look at Nahjul Balagha, look at the saying number 326. Imam Ali ('alaihi al-salam) says, "Ana ya'soobu al-mu'minin, wa al-malu ya'subu al-fujjar", "I am the leader of the believers, and wealth", again, here we will use "mal" as materialism, "and materialism is the leader and the master of the wicked." This requires a bit of a discussion on what the role of Imam Ali, 'alayhi as-salam is in Islam.
Because one of the brothers actually asked me a few nights ago that one of his Sunni brothers was asking him that why do you Shi'as insist on saying "Wa ash-hadu anna Aliyun waliyu Allah"? Now, listen to me very briefly and very quickly as I explain the significance of Ali as a foundation stone in Islam so that you understand that when we read fadha'il Ali, it is not just an emotional discussion or just a habit to make us Shi'as. And I have actually discussed at the Ma'soomeen Islamic Center. For those of you who may have heard this on the 13th of Rajab, I apologise, but I have to mention this in order to be able to move forward. When Allah wanted to distinguish amongst human beings, those who are monotheists and those who are atheists, He introduced the idea of the Kalima - "La ilaha illa Allah". Anybody who said "La ilaha illa Allah" became a monotheist, anybody who denied that became an atheist.
Beyond that, He introduced in the kalima, the shahada of His Messenger. So at the time of the Prophet Musa, that was Islam. To become a Muslim, you would have had to say, "Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa Allah wa ash-hadu anna Musa Rasul Allah." Otherwise you could not have become a Muslim. Then when Isa, 'alayhi as-salam, came, in order to be a Muslim, you would have had to say "Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash-hadu anna Isa Rasul Allah." Then when the khatam came, in order to be a Muslim, you had to say "Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammad Rasul Allah" [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
Now, here, Muhammad is not a person, he is not the son of Abdullah, the messenger of God. He is a necessity of religion. If you remove this, you cannot become a Muslim. That is why I say pluralism does not make sense. Pluralism does not make sense, because when we say all is fine, we all believe in one God. We all believe in one God, but we do not all believe Muhammad is Rasul Allah. So to say, you know, I am a Hindu Muslim or I am a Christian Muslim, either that is just to be politically correct or it is nonsense. It does not make sense whatsoever. You have to say "Ash-hadu anna Muhammad Rasul Allah."
If you go to Saudi Arabia today where the Wahhabis will tell you, do not pray at the haram of the Prophet. "Mata Muhammad", Muhammad is dead, he is gone, there is no need to pray. So now I say to that Wahhabi, I want to become a Muslim, but I am not going to say "Ash-hadu anna Muhammad Rasul Allah." He is dead. They will say, no you cannot be a Muslim. Take it out from adhan? No you can not take it out of adhaan. I will believe in the Qur'an, I will pray, I will fast. But I do not want to say "Ashnhadu anna Muhammad Rasul Allah." They will say, no you can't. Even though they say he is dead, he is a defining factor for a person to be a Muslim. If you do not say that, you do not move forward.
Now, once people become Muslims, the Messenger of Allah said that if a person comes to you and says to you, I bear witness, there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God, you are not allowed to say to him, you are not Muslim. That is why it is wrong to say that the Shi'as are kafir, based on hadith from Shi'a and Sunni. You cannot call any Muslim a kafir. If a person says these two shahadatayn, then you cannot call him a kafir. Now when people became Muslims, there was one group that got into the fold of Muslims, but they were not Muslims. These were the hypocrites, the munafiqeen. Now you come to Surat ul-Munafiqoon, this is a whole chapter in itself. The very first Ayat. Who are the hypocrites? A hypocrite is a person who says "Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammad Rasul Allah."
But he is not a Muslim. He says it, but he does not say it. Bismil-Lah Al-Rahman al-Rahim. "Idha ja'aka al-munafiqoon qalu nash-hadu innaka la Rasul Allah"(63:1). Oh our Prophet, when the hypocrites come to you, they say we bear witness you are the messenger of God. "Wa Allahu ya'lamu innaka la Rasuluhu"(63:1), Allah knows you are His messenger, "Wa Allahu yash-hadu inna al-munafiqeena la kadhiboon" (63:1), but Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars. So now they are saying we bear witness you are the Messenger of God. God says I know you are My messenger, but I bear witness they are liars. So now you need a third factor to distinguish the mu'min from the munafiq. That third factor is "wa ash-hadu anna Aliyun walliyu Allah" [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
Now, the proof of that, because we do not just say emotionally, we have got to prove that. And we can prove it in many, many ways from Shi'a and Sunni facts. One of the greatest companions of the Prophet was Salman Al-Muhammadi, or some call him Salman al-Farsi. Salman says that whenever a person came to us and we wanted to know whether he was a Muslim or a munafiq, we used to praise Ali in front of him and then judge his reaction. If he was unhappy, we knew he was a hypocrite. And this is from Shi'a and Sunni sources.
Now, another proof from Hadith itself. This is in Nahjul Balagha, and I do not have the exact number, I think it is the saying number 45, if I am not mistaken. This is from Imam Ali, 'alayhi as-salam himself. He says "Law dharabtu khayshoom al-mu'min bi sayfi hadha 'ala an yubghidhuni, ma abghadhani." If I was to cut off the nose of a believer with this sword of mine just for the sole purpose that he should despise me, he will still not be able to despise me.
"Wa law sababtu al Duniya bi jammatiha 'ala al-munafiq 'ala an yuhibbani ma ahhabbani". And if I was to give the whole world and what it contains to a munafiq, to a hypocrite just for the sole purpose that he should love me, he will still not be able to love me. "Wa dhalika annahu qudhyya fanqadha 'ala lisan al-nabee al-ummiyyh sala Allahu 'alayh wa aalih wa salam idh qala: ya Ali la yabghuduka al-mu'min wa la yuhibbuka al-munafiq." And that is because this is a matter that has been decreed and predetermined on the tongue of the ummiy Prophet, peace be on him and his family, when he said for me oh Ali, never will a believer despise you and never will a hypocrite love you. It is as simple as that. Salawat 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
So what I am trying to say to you here is even if you are a Sunni brother or sister, even if you do not follow in your fiqh the Ahlul Bayt or Imam Al-Sadiq's fiqh, if a person is a mu'min, it is not something that you choose. No, no, no, you can not hate Ali. Even if you tried, you will not be able to. It is beyond your it is not in your control, you cannot. He can mutilate your body with his sword. You will still not be able to hate him if you are a believer. It is beyond you. And if you are a hypocrite, you cannot love him. Do as you please. It is impossible. Why? Because Ali is not just a person now. He is not just the son of Abu Talib. He is a factor in Islam that distinguishes a believer from a hypocrite, just as the Prophet is a factor that distinguishes a Muslim from a non-Muslim. You cannot separate Ali from Islam. It is a fundamental part and a necessity of Islam.
But you see, when you bring this together, that materialism and nifaq are one and the same. Because here Imam Ali says, never will a hypocrite love me even if I give him the world and all it contains. And there he said, I am the leader of the believers and wealth is the leader of the wicked. So where there is wealth, where you see materialism, where you see a person running after this world, where you see a person has lust for this world, there, there is hypocrisy. Even if he is in an 'alim. And there, there is no love for Ali, even if he reads Fadha'il of Ali.
The mark of a person who loves Ali is that he does not love this world. He lives through this world, he provides for his family, but he does not hanker, this is not his goal. It is impossible to love Ali and love the world. They are two opposites.
We say if you ask somebody who is the greatest enemy of Ali? They will say Mu'awiyah. People like Mu'awiya will come and go every day, he is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. But the one contender that remains a challenger to Ali even today is materialism. The love of Ali versus the love of materialism. The power of Ali over the hearts of people and the love of the world and its power over the hearts of people. These two are inseparable.
I am going to give you some examples, and I hope, inshaA llah, time will support me. I forgot to check what time I started. But I realise as well, tomorrow is a working day and I have to go to work as well. Salawat 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
Allama Dastghaib has a book called "Qissas al Ajeeba", strange, amazing anecdotes. In that he narrates an incident from a person called Syed Ridha Musawi al-Kandari from Afghanistan. He was a great, great 'alim or probably still is, I do not know. He has or had an uncle called Sultan Mahmud. And this 'alim narrates about his uncle, Sultan Mahmud. He says, One day, he said, I have an uncle called Sultan Mahmud who was a tailor by profession, but he was very, very poor and he was always struggling for his family. One day, he says it was the day of Eid. And I went to my uncle and I saw him so happy, he was laughing and he was rejoicing. He seemed like he could not contain himself. So I said to him, Why are you so happy? He said to me, I am so happy today, my soul is almost ready to leave my body. I am so excited. I said, What has happened to you?
He said, Last night I began thinking that I do not have any clothes for my children and tomorrow is Eid. And I began crying and weeping and saying I am a tailor but I do not have clothes for my children. So he says, I turned to Najaf and I began talking to Imam Ali and saying to him, Ya Amir al-Mu'minin, you are the one who, on behalf of other believers, you answer the prayers before Allah, through you people get what they want from Allah. And here I am struggling and I do not have even clothes for my children and tomorrow is Eid, why do you not help me? He says, I cried and cried and I fell asleep.
When I slept, he says I had a vision. In this dream, he says I was in the place where Eid is performed in Kandahar. I came out of the mosque and there was a huge garden in front of me. In front of the garden at the end there was a beautiful palace that was made of gold and silver. Remember the narrator of this, the source is Allamah Dastghaib, a very highly respected scholar in our faith. He says, at the end of the garden, there was a palace made of gold and silver. I went to the palace. I saw some people standing outside. I said to them, To whom does this beautiful palace belong? They said to me, This palace belongs to Amir al-Mu'minin, 'alaihi as-salam. I said to them, I would like to talk to him. They said to me, Right now he is with Rasul Allah, you will have to wait. So he says, I waited. Then I was allowed to go inside. When I was allowed to go in, I said to myself, Let me go speak to the Messenger of Allah first and ask him to speak to Ali on my behalf.
So he says, I went to the Messenger of Allah and I was blessed with a vision of the Prophet. I spoke to him and I told him to write me a note that I will give to Ali. He wrote me a note for my master. I took it to Amir al-Mu'minin, 'alaihi as-salam. I showed him the note. He said to me, "Ya Sultan Mahmud, ayna kunta?" Where have you been, Sultan Mahmud, we have been waiting for you. So he took the note from the Prophet. He read the note. Then he said to him, Come with me quickly.
He says he took me out of the palace. We went out into the garden. There was a wall. He brought me to the wall. He pointed to the wall and it opened up. There was a door there. He says from the door, there was a stench and a foul smell coming forth. He took me inside and he says there was a corridor and it was pitch dark. And as he led me, he said he held my arm with strength and he seemed very angry and it was dark and he says, I was frightened. He says Amir al-Mu'minin 'alaihi as-salam, walked me through that. As we came to the end, he said he pointed again and a light was lit and another door appeared. He opened the door. There was an extremely foul smell from the door. He said to me, Go inside and take what you want. He says, When I went inside, the room was full of dead bodies. It was full of corpses that were rotting. And he says, everywhere I looked, there were bodies, there were limbs, there were bodies rotting. And I was scared. On one hand, he said I was scared where I was. On the other hand, he says Amir al-Mu'minin was angry. He was telling me "Khudh bi is-sir'a", take quickly, quickly take. He says I kept looking. He says when I went near the bodies, there were worms crawling out of their limbs and their bodies in their eyes.
So he says, I quickly saw a frog that was dead and rotting. I took the leg of the frog. He said to me, Have you taken what you want? He said, I was scared and petrified. On one hand, this. On one hand, Ali is so angry with me. He said I took, I said "na'am." He said, Come with me quickly now. He took me out. When he took me out, he said he brought me now in the corridor there were two large pots that had some liquid in them and they were bubbling. He said to me, Put this in the pot and take it out. He said, When I put that rotting corpse in the pot and I took it out, it turned into gold.
Then he said to me, This is not good for you. It will not be well for you in your worldly life. You must choose between my love and this gold. Do you want my mahabba or do you want this gold? I said to him, I swear by Allah ya Mawlay it is your love I want. He said to me, Then throw this gold back where you found it from. He said, I threw it back into the ruins. And he says, When I woke up from my dream, there was a beautiful fragrance in the room and I was so happy and so excited. And I did shukr to Allah, that when I was tried and I was tested, I chose the love of Ali over this world.
This is just one small example where a man has a vision and he chooses between materialism and the love of Ali. So this hankering constantly of the world, "I want the world, I want the world". Understand, my dear brothers and sisters, that if you are the Shi'a of Ali, be content with what Allah has decreed for you. Perhaps it is not good for you. Seek from the world, work hard, but do not hanker after it relentlessly and say, Why does Allah not give me? Because if you persist, there comes a point where you then choose the world over Ali, and if you choose that he will give you of this world. But then you must give up what you want.
Now side by side with this, there is another incident that I have to mention you very quickly. That in a place in Iran called Laristan, there was a young man by the name of Ahmad. And this is also narrated by an 'alim. He says that this young person at one point fell very sick and he was dying. And when he was dying, we came to his bedside to try and make him recite the Shahada. And when we tried to make him recite the Shahada, when we will say to him, say "La ilaha illa Allah", he would say it. And when we would say to him, say, "Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah", he would say it. But when we said to him, say "Ash-hadu anna Aliyun waliyu Allah", he would say, no, no, I will not say it, I will not say it. And he said we were amazed, he was a Shi'a, he was pious, why is he not saying it.
Finally they say he fainted, they transported him to a hospital in Shiraz. He was fortunate to recover. When he recovered, this 'alim says, I went to see him specifically for this purpose. And I said to him, Why was it that you were willing to say "Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah" and "Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah", why were you not willing to say, "Wa ash-hadu anna Aliyun waliyu Allah"?
The young man says his experience. He says, The veil was lifted for me and I was actually dying. And when the veil was lifted before me, I saw a chain in front of me. And the chain had three links on them. This is also from Allamah Dastghaib by the way. On the first link was written "Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah", on the second link was written "Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah" and on the third link was written "Wa ash-hadu anna Aliyun waliyu Allah".
The side that said "Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah" was in my hands, the one that said "Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah" was in the middle. On the other end, he said, I saw shaytan. And he came in a frightening demonic look or form. He was holding the third link and on one side he was holding a bag. And he said to me, In this bag, I have all the wealth you have accumulated in this world, your property, your assets, your bank balance. Everything I have in here. If you say "Wa Ash-hadu anna Aliyun waliyu Allah", I will confiscate all this. I will get rid of it. I will destroy all this.
And at that point, he says, when I was overwhelmed and I did not know what is happening to me because I was attached to the wealth, because I was attached to the world, because I was attached to that materialism, I kept saying, no, no, no, I will not say it, I will not say it.
And then with somebody's dua, with somebody's prayer, he says, I saw a figure appeared that was filled with light and he put his foot on one side of the chain where the devil had his hand and he kicked him and he retreated. And he says that is when I got the whole chain in my hand.
So there are so many narrations like this. I am giving you just a small sampling of this, but research on this and read. You will see that wherever you will see Ali on one side, you will see materialism on the other side. We do not realise this, my dear brothers and sisters, while we are in this world, but it will come back and literally haunt us at the time of death. To the degree that we are attached to this world, to that degree, we are not attached to Ali. And to the degree we are attached to Ali, to that degree we are not attached to this world. Salawat 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
And that is why Amir al-Mu'minin, 'alayhi as-salam says "Mararat ad-dunyia halawat al-Akhirah, wa halawat ad-Duniya marrarat al al-Akhirah". The sweetness of this world is the bitterness of the hereafter and the bitterness of this world is the sweetness of the hereafter. You cannot have both. We all have to make this choice. In some hadith, they say that this world and the hereafter are like east and west, you cannot go closer to one without going further from the other. But in other narrations you will see that this world and Ali are like east and west, you cannot go close to one without going further from the other.
And so the love of Ali is not an easy thing. In Nahjul Balagha, Amir al-Mu'minin says "Law ahhabbani jabalun la tahafat", If a mountain had loved me, it would have shattered to pieces. So it appears like it is easy to love Ali, but it is not. Those who love Ali, they see the world very differently. Those who love Ali and those who love the world, they see the same thing, but they see differently. Those who love the world, they see a beautiful man or a beautiful woman. Those who love Ali, they see a skeleton. Those who love the world, they see beautiful mansions. Those who love Ali, they see bricks and cement and wood. Those who love the world, they see a beautiful sports car and this and that. Those who love Ali, they see a tin can on rubber wheels. You and me see fried chicken and a bowl of salad. They see a carcass of an animal and grass of the world. They realise that what is insaan, what is a few years in this world? We choke on water. That is how humble we are.
And that is why Imam Ali, alayhi as-salam, says "Kunoo abnaa' al-Akhirah wa la takoonu abnaa' ad-Duniya", Be children of the hereafter, be children of the real world. Do not be children of this world. Is there no free man amongst you? He says in Nahjul Balagha, is there no free man amongst you who is willing to give up this chewed up morsel for those who want it, meaning this world. Those who love this world, he says, are like barking dogs.
"Innahu laysa thamanun li anfasukum illa al-jannah fa la tabee'oha illa biha". Your soul does not have any price less than Jannah, so do not sell it for anything less than Jannah. It is a beautiful saying. If today I ask you what is the value of your house? 300,000 dollars, 500,000 dollars, 1 million dollars? Supposing you sold it to me for 50,000 dollars. How much will it bother you that you sold something that had much more value and how much you lost? Yet we sell our souls to this world, we do not realise. Why? Because we do not know the value of that soul. That is what you will live in for eternity.
So Imam Ali says the value, the thaman of your nafs is nothing less than Jannah. So if you are going to sell it, do not sell it at, do not shortchange yourself. Do not sell it for anything less than Jannah. And now you understand that if everybody had loved Ali, then there would have been no problem with materialism. So now you will not mock the hadith of Rasul Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad], in which he says "Law ijtama' an-nas 'ala hubbi Aliyin la ma khalaq Allahu an-nar", If all mankind would have united on the love of Ali, Allah would not have created the fire of hell. Because there would be no materialism. So this is primary.
And so to conclude then this series of lectures, the purpose of these lectures has been to alter our perception, to change how we see the world, to change our goals, to change our motives, to change what drives us, to change how we deal with challenges in life. What I wanted out of this for myself and for you, my dear brothers and sisters, is that lifting the veil is important, but it is not necessary to get to an eternal life of bliss because let us be practical and let us be real. Not everyone amongst us will lift this veil. It is a long struggle. And so it would not be fair for me to say that anybody who does not lift this veil is doomed. But we because by virtue of being people who believe in the unseen, we can live a life of a person who lives as if there is no veil. We can live like a person who believes that there are two angels walking beside me all the time and watching what I do.
In other words, the person who has seen the world without the veil and I who is veiled, we can both attain the same Jannah - me by believing in the unseen and leading a life that I believe in what I do not see. It is not impossible. All it requires is a little bit of patience. And the life of this world appears very long. But it is not.
So we end with the last verse of Suratul Ahqaf, which is Chapter 46 of the Qur'an, where Allah says: "Fasbir kama sabara uloo al-'Azm min al-rusul" (46:35) , Bear patience, the way the Prophets of determination, the Uloo al-'Azm Prophets, bore patience, and do not hasten the doom of these people that you see engrossed with this world. "Ka annahum yawma yarawna ma yoo'adoon lam yalbathu illa sa'atan min an-nahar"(46:35), It is as if on the day when they shall see what they were promised, they will feel as if they never lived, except for one hour of the day. This is what the life of this world will feel like.
So I have made many, many different points, inshaAllah and in the interest of time I must stop here. But I will let you inshaAllah think about this and develop it and learn more about the subject on your own. Salawat 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad].
Once we have understood the importance of Ali and how he is the opposite of this world, now a lot of things make sense to us. Why people had so much animosity to Ali, why people had so much hatred for Ali. It is because they had so much love for this world.
That is why you will see that in Karbala, when Imam Husayn, 'alayhi as-salam, said to the people, Am I not the grandson of your Prophet? And they said yes. Am I not the son of Fatima, the daughter of your Prophet? They said yes. Have I committed any crime? No, you have not. Did I kill anyone amongst you? To No, you did not. Why then are you killing me? For what reason are you killing my Akbar and Asghar? What have I done to you?
What did they say to him? "Bughdhan li abeek", because we despise your father. The same thing. The 'adawat is with Ali. What did Yazeed do in Sham? If you read his poetry, when the qafila entered the darbar of Yazeed and he was playing with the head of Imam Husayn. What did he say? He said, I wish my forefathers at Badr had been here. They would have said to me, Congratulations oh Yazeed, for you have avenged us. So what happened at Badr? At Badr, Ali killed the forefathers of Yazeed. The 'adawat is the same.
And so you can see that when you are contending not just with individuals, but with materialism and with the world itself, how difficult it must have been for Zainab, 'alayha as-salam, for she is the daughter of Ali. And tonight we remember her and her trials in Kufa. We are told that when the qafilah of the Ahlul Bayt was brought to Kufa, first they were stopped outside Kufa. Ibn Ziyad ordered: Decorate the city of Kufa to celebrate the killing of Husayn. The streets were decorated. People were told to go to their rooftops so that they could celebrate. In some cases, there were people who when they saw the Ahlul Bayt coming in, they began crying. In some cases, there were people who were very happy, they were throwing stones at the women of the Ahlul Bayt.
Umm Kulthum says to Shimr, Oh Shimr, let the heads of our shuhada move forward so that the men may look at the heads and not look at us. Shimr says, In that case, I will bring the heads closer to you so that people may look at you.
And we are told that Umm Kulthum was pleading with the people and saying, "Ya ahlul Kufa, ama tastahyoona min Allahi wa Rasulihi an tandhuroo ila harame Rasul Allah?" Are you not ashamed before Allah and His Messenger that you are looking and gazing at the daughters of the Prophet? What shame do you have, Oh people of Kufa?
And as this qafilah progressed, there came a point where so many people gathered in the streets of Kufa that the caravan could not move anymore. They stopped right in the middle of the streets of Kufa. The sun was extremely hot. The children began crying. They were hungry and thirsty again. And here again we are told, Sakina the daughter of Husayn began crying. "Al-atash, al-atash". Thirst is killing me.
Now we are told that in a house nearby, there was a lady who was known as Umm Ayman. Umm Ayman used to love the Ahlul Bayt from the days when Imam Ali was the caliph in Kufa. She had not known what had happened here. She sees that there is a little girl on the streets who is crying "Al-atash, al-atash". She takes a little water and runs down herself. She comes to little Sakina. Sakina is with Zainab, 'alayha as-salam, at this point. She says to Zainab, I have brought some water for your little daughter. And when she has drunk this water, I would like her to make a small du'a for me. I would like her to pray for me because I have heard that orphans and captives, when they pray for people, their prayers are always accepted.
Zainab , 'alayha as-salam, says to Sakina, Sakina, pray for her first and then quench your thirst. Do not let her wait for her du'a. We are the members of the Ahlul Bayt. Sakina lifts her hands to pray. Umm Ayman begins to say, Oh little girl, pray for me that my children should not become orphans and captives the way you have become an orphan and a captive. Now you can imagine how little Sakina is going to pray. She lifts her little hands, Oh Allah, do not make them orphans the way You have made me an orphan. Oh Allah, let her children not become a captive, the way I have become a captive.
I would say, Umm Ayman, if you could know what is in the heart of Sakina, you would know what else she prayed. Perhaps she prayed, Oh Allah, let not Shimr slap her children the way he slapped me. Oh Allah, let not her children be whipped the way I have been whipped. Oh Allah, let not her ears, the ears and the earrings of her children be pulled the way my earrings were snatched from my ears.
Then the woman prays again to her. Oh little girl, pray for me that I should get to go for the ziyarah to Madina. Zainab , 'alayha as-salam, hears her and she says, Oh lady, what have you got to do with Madina? She hears Madina. Her heart fills up again. She says, Do you not know the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet? My Syeda Zainab lives in Medina. Zainab parts her hair and says, Umm Ayman, you have not recognized Zainab? Umm Ayman is shocked when she sees Zainab. Oh Zainab, how could this have happened to you? Where was Abbas? Where was Husayn? Where was Ali ibn al Husayn? Zainab points to the head on the spear, Oh Umm Ayman, here is your master Husayn and here is your master Abbas.
Ala la'nat Ullahi 'ala al-qawm adh-dhalimeen. Wa saya'lam al-ladheena dhalamu ayya munqalibin yanqaliboon. Ilahi bi haqqi Muhammad wa anta al-Mahmood, wa bi haqqi Aliyin wa anta al-A'la, wa bi haqqi Fatima, wa anta Fatir as-samawati wa al-ardh, wa bihaqqi al-Hasan wa anta qadeemu al-ihsaan, wa bi haqqi al-Husayn wa anta al-Muhsin, we ask you bi haqqi Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad to forgive our sins, and accept our gathering here this night. Oh Allah, bi haqqi Muhammad wa Aali Muhammad we ask You for shifaa of those who are ill and maghfira for those who have passed away. O Allah we ask You to hasten the appearance of our Imam and make us amongst the ashab and ansar.Rabbana taqabbal minnha, innaka Anta As-Samee'u, al-'Aleem. Matam al-Husayn. [Ya Husayn, Ya Husayn, Ya Husayn...]