Summary of Maulana Shaykh Nazim’s Daily Suhbah
27th March 2010, Saturday
Learn from the Sadiqeen, how to ride your donkey
A’uzubillah himinsh shaitan nirrajeem
Bismillahir Rahman-nir Raheem
Assalamu’alaikum wrh wbkt
- Maulana started by asking the strength to fight his ego, as Man’s ego is always opposing him. Man is given the reins of control, to ride his ego as his donkey, but the ego is always trying to wrest the reins of control from us, it wants to put the reins on us, and make us its donkey, its ride. Once our ego rides on us, it does as it pleases, and we follow where the reins pulls us.
- Maulana recited A’uzubillahi minasy syaitan nirrajeem and asked Allah for protection from it. Maulana refers to shaitan as ‘it’, as if it were an inanimate object, a being with no soul. He says we should never use any honourable word to describe shaitan, as ‘it’ constantly seeks to introduce unrest, disturbances, confusion and confrontations, into each gathering.
- Maulana says that although things around us appear to happen randomly, nothing occurs except by Allah’s permission, as every creature has a connection to Allah, no creature could have come into existence without a connection to Him, no atom can exist without a connection to its Creator. So, Allah is administering each occurrence on the face of this earth, even the very minutest, nothing escapes His knowledge. Allah knows each atom so intimately, even the atom doesn’t understand its own creation, the way its Lord does. Does Man then understand himself?
- It is puzzling that Man spends his entire life seeking to understand all that is around him – the celestial bodies, the great expanse of outer space, the forests and its creatures, the seas and its creatures – Man is researching so deeply into all these, it is now even possible to find a person who would have spent his entire life, studying an almost-extinct seahorse living in a remote part of the world, and he would be hailed as a world renowned expert on that particular seahorse. There are some who spend their lives looking through telescopes, in order to comprehend what gases are to be found on a star that is billions of miles away. Is that knowledge, asks Maulana? Knowledge must be something that yields a benefit to you, in your journey towards your eternal life. Knowing about the distant stars or an obscure seahorse, is not real knowledge.
- Man’s eyes can see far away (with telescopes) and the tiniest of creatures (with microscopes). He can see almost all that exists, outside himself, but can he see what goes on within himself? Can he see how his 360 organs work, how his lungs are exchanging gases, how his gastrointestinal system is digesting food, how his kidneys are filtering blood? No. Can he see his own Soul, his spiritual self? No. So Man is a creature, that can see this world, but is blind to himself.
- Man is raised to a status above Angels, he is honoured above all creatures because he is given the mind and the capacity to think and to understand. But he is supposed to understand himself first, for Rasulullah (saw) said, “He who knows himself, knows his Lord.” The Qur’an contains all the knowledge to help us know ourselves, and Bismillah is the key to all such knowledge. Just take the letters of the first Ayat of Al-Baqarah. Aleef, Lam and Meem. Why are they placed just after the Fatihah? That in itself, is already an Ocean of knowledge. Each of those three letters, is also another Ocean of knowledge, an Ocean with no shores, no human being can comprehend it all! Now look at the number of letters in the Holy Qur’an – just imagine how vast an Ocean of guidance that is, so how can any one of us claim to be a learned one?
- Many Scholars are contented just to know some book-based knowledge, they walk around with their Kitabs, looking important and scholarly. That is not enough, says Maulana. They must preach these teachings to their communities, they must want such life-saving knowledge to be propagated. Also, they should never feel that they are fountains of knowledge. Just the stories of the past Prophets and their pious inheritors, are enough to overcome any Scholar, so numerous are these stories – no one can remember them all. So always say, “I am a student,” and don’t ever say, “I am a Teacher,.” When you say that you are a student, then there is a possibility of learning and of climbing spiritually, but once you say that you are a Teacher, that caps you, limits you, and you can no longer climb, you have reached your own, self-imposed peak. What a loss!
لَتَرْكَبُنَّ طَبَقًا عَن طَبَقٍ,
Certainly you shall travel from stage to stage. (Surah Al-Inshiqaq 84:10).
- Many modern day Scholars do not even understand what they are teaching to their followers. Allah said in the Holy Qur’an, that we must seek knowledge from an expert in the field, so Scholars must accept that there are always those who are above them in knowledge, those who have heavenly connections and heavenly inspirations. That is why not everyone is able to lead Friday prayers, and give Khutbah on the Mimbar. It is a heavy responsibility, not everyone can bear such a responsibility. Only one who is spiritually high, can bear heavy spiritual burdens.
- In order to climb, we always need a tool or device of some sort. In this worldly life, we climb short distances using a ladder, a staircase or an elevator. To rise even higher, we need machines with powerful engines, like airplanes and rockets. Saints have found the vehicle that helps them rise high up in their spirituality, but ironically, many Scholars reject the teachings of such spiritually raised Guides, because the Scholars cannot find evidence of such teachings in their Kitabs. That is an erroneous attitude, for the Prophet (saw) said, “Ask for more and more knowledge.” The physical body’s limits are reached very quickly – we get tired or full after a short while, but the spiritual self has a massive capacity to absorb and assimilate.
- So what is the secret to spiritual ascension? We need to find our vehicle, we need to find our means of transportation, in order to ascend. And what is our ‘spiritual’ instrument that will take us up? It is our egos, our egos are our donkeys, our egos are our rides. Only one who can ride on his ego, can soar. For when we ride our egos, it becomes our buraq, it will take us to the heavenly realms. There is no other vehicle for Man’s spiritual ascension. What does it mean to ride our ego? It means to conquer your whims, fancies and desires, it means to do what is pleasing to Allah, not what is pleasing to yourself. Your ego must obey you, but most of us are instead, obeying our egos. If our donkey is riding on us, how are we ever to rise? So many people cannot find their donkeys, and Maulana says to them, “Look into the mirror!”
- The journey to remove our donkeys from our backs, and to learn to ride on our donkeys, requires a Trainer, a Guide. That is why Allah says:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ
O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in word and deed). (Surah At-Taubah 9:119)
- Only the Sadiqeen can open our eyes, take our hands, and teach us to tame the wild ego in ourselves. We are in need of such instruction and illumination. We need to attach ourselves to such Guides, and we must then make effort to obey them in carrying out the various spiritual practices they prescribe for our diseases.
- One cannot reach the Arash with this physical body, but the Spiritual self can do so, by riding on the ego. That is why the Prophet (saw) said that if we could rein in our egos, that would be a powerful vehicle. We must seek real knowledge from the purified Guides, who are always looking into the mirror of the Seal of Prophets (saw). Such Guides know how to give us what is necessary, as Islam is so wide, it is for all of humanity, but not all of it can be absorbed at one go, we need time to digest as we go along. Like a hospital patient being wheeled into the operation theatre, though a hundred instruments may be laid out for use during the operation, only those instruments that are needed will be used by the surgeon. So ask, and learn – seek the guidance of the Sadiqeen, so that we can learn to soar on our donkeys.
وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ
Above every knower, there is another knower. (Surah Yusuf 12:76).