TRIALS, TESTS, ALLIES & ENEMIES E-Reminders
Channel: Abdurraheem Green
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Episode Transcript ©
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Salam Alaikum brothers and sisters, welcome to another episode in the journey of the true hero we've been through into the belly of the whale. And we've come out. And we're now in the new world, a different world, a place that is strange and alien to us. Of course, if you know what I'm talking about, and you haven't been listening to the previous episodes, we are talking about the monomyth that a story that is repeated again and again throughout human history, and that you refined for reflected in myths and mythologies and legends and indeed histories and real stories of real people. Because in in a sense, it encapsulates what
the human condition is all about. And what what is heroic about the human condition, and we talked about, and we keep reading from we remind ourselves very importantly, myself and all of you about what being heroic really means. It's to do with compassion, it's to do with empathy is to do with improving yourself and making the world around you a better place. That's ultimately what it's all about.
But in order to do that, we need to change, we need to change ourselves, we need to improve ourselves, we need to make ourselves better. And that's ultimately what it is all about. In many ways, it is
symbolic, of a movement away from childhood,
to adulthood, and all the different things that a person goes through in order to be grown up and be a man and be a woman.
But it's it's way more than that. And it's deeper than that. And what's really fascinating and interesting is that many of the things that we're talking about, we find them in the Quran, we find them in the lives of the Prophet of all the prophets, because of course, the messengers of Allah are indeed truly the greatest heroes, that that they are humanoid without doubt humanity's greatest heroes, because what they have done, and what they have sacrificed is the most altruistic thing a human being can do. They it's not for any degree of glory, or self praise or seeking fame. And it's not even and this is interesting, it's not for the sake of some tribal, some nation or to
elevate their own people in the sense of a particular racial group. Because ultimately, the quest of the prophets, the journey of the prophets, their heroic journey, is about bringing humanity the truth. And so just like every hero, they faced the multiple of challenges. And that's ultimately what would this what we're talking about today, I think today, probably all we're going to be able to do is give an introduction to this stage of the journey, because in reality, it occupies the large percentage
of any story of a hero, any heroic tale, most of it is going to be concerned with this particular aspects. So it's trials, tests, difficulties, challenges,
making friends realizing who your true friends who your allies who are your helpers, and who are your enemies, and who your foes. And these things could be, they could actually take on many forms, they could be of course, they could be simple, physical challenges. And even in terms of your friends and your allies, they could be physical objects, they could be just things within nature, natural things, they don't necessarily have to be people but obviously, often they are. And with it comes a whole bunch of complexities because it may be that people who seem like friends are actually enemies, and people who you might imagine enemies are actually friends. Or sometimes your enemies
become your friends or your enemies or even your helpers even though they are unwittingly. So and that is all part of the, you know, and how do you deal with it? How do you cope with it? How do you process all of that? That is what really life is all about? This is what life is about. And this is why it's really I think it's really, really important to it's really helpful to look
Get this Monomyth and to look at one's life within, you know, through the lens of this, this, you know, the the hero's journey, and to and also to use it as a tool to reflect on the lives of the prophets and the messengers, because it's very important brothers and sisters to remember that
the Quran is full of these stories. And these stories are there for a very, very important purpose. It's not, it's not just entertainment, it's, Allah has given us these stories, to inform us and to guide us and to enlighten us, and to give us courage and to give us direction.
And to help us process the different things that happen to us in our life. So there's almost nothing that you can think of that happens to you in your life, however difficult it is, however, because that's it, life is a test. No one said it's going to be easy brothers and sisters, and this is what is so important. And that's I guess why we love these stories, we love the stories of heroes, we want our heroes to go through difficulties and tests. And in fact, on one hand, we doubt but on the other hand, that's what's so irresistible about it, because, and this is very important. It is these tests and these difficulties and each hardships and these tribulations and these obstacles that we
meet on the way we you know, we're trying to reach this destination, but this thing keeps blocking us and that thing keeps blocking us. And we're diverted by this and, you know, nearly derailed by that. And obviously, it is the whole process of how our heroes overcome these obstacles, whether it's through sheer physical strength, but often it's through cunning, it's through thinking their way through, it's through trying to figure out the puzzle.
And sometimes it is through
spiritual means or psychological because these, the all of these tests and trials come at many, many different from many, many different angles, and many, many, many different ways. And that's just this is all part of what makes this mosaic that is our life. And that is this, you know the journey of the true hero. So let's, you know, we can examine some of these things. SubhanAllah. So let's the one of the stories I was thinking about in the Quran, one of the first words that came to my mind when I was thinking about today's subject, and I'm probably going to constantly fall back to this, because I want to refer I mean, I can refer to so many stories I can refer to obviously I can, you
could refer to, you know, books and works of fiction and legends. But I think it's better for us in Sharla to delve into the lives as much as we can of the prophets, because ultimately, that is our source of guidance. That's our source of inspiration. That's where we want to take our guidance and inspiration from so in this particular thing. So last week, obviously the most obvious story was the story of Yunus. Because literally, obviously, Yunus Alayhis Salam, he goes literally into the belly of the whale.
And, but I really what struck my mind was that Youssef, the story of use of Alayhis Salam, now it's interesting that in a sense, Youssef, he he he is exposed, and this is another thing I want to I wanted to mention that not all it's not always that
this mono myth that I am going through is going to follow this pattern that sometimes some things may happen at different stages, it may not happen necessarily, in the order that I mentioning. So for example, in the story of Youssef, he, obviously as a young, a young boy, a young child.
And this is a classic story. He is being taken this as it's a classic example of the hero's journey. He has taken away from his father, he's taken away from his family, he's taken away from his mother. He's a young boy, and who are the people that his first experience in a sense, the first thing that he's experiencing, even before you can say, he goes to the belly of the whale, which is when he's put into the well, is the portrayal of his brothers. And so even before he's in the well, which in a sense that you could say this is the part of the belly of the whale until Youssef comes out, and he's taken out of that. And then he's sold into slavery into this totally different, completely
different world, completely different life. And what an extraordinary experience on what a journey and what a series of tests and trials and difficulties I mean, you can only
Imagine Allah subhanaw taala. You know, he gives us, you know, the most tangible and important details, but you could use your imagination to fill in some of the gaps to try and imagine what it must be like for a young boy to go through that to experience that. So I mean, so from the very outset, Youssef alayhis, salam, he is experiencing the betrayal of his brothers. Yet at the same time, it's interesting because although his brothers are his enemies, they are not his enemies in I suppose. A very, very clear cuts sense. His brothers, you know what they want, they want his dad's favor, and they look at use of as a sort of barrier to that. It's a sort of what it's envy, isn't
it? It's, it's, it's envy.
And it leads them to do something terrible, but but, but ultimately, we know at the end, they are reformed, and they, I guess, they go through their own journey. And it can be sometimes that people who are enemies, in the end become friends, all of these, this all of this is part of the complexity of the human condition, the complexity of life. And yes, sometimes, you know, we, very often we do we boil things down to, you know, black and white, good and evil. You know, these are the good guys. And those are the bad guys. But you know, sometimes the most fascinating and interesting and exciting and gripping stories are the ones where it's not always so clear, when there is this
And it's always something we want, you know, at the end of the day, we want people to be saved, we want the best, we want everyone the best to come out. And this is something I guess as Muslims, we want the best for everyone, a dean and see what you even want to see the most.
We'd rather see the most terrible criminals reform and change and become good. And just as they did evil, they did good. That's what we all want. Surely we'd all want that. And if you get an inkling of that, even if you get a you know, a sparkle of that. It's something that inspires hope in our so anyway, that's that's this is very interesting about the, you know, the story of Youssef. And you can see that he's so again, we find that he is what amongst the things that are lost. Panatela is showing Singapore and who are his allies, who are his friends. So his mosta, for example of the person who actually buys him, really cares for him. And again,
we have that betrayal in the sense that one of the people who really should care about him and be looking after his interests, which is the wife of Aziz lusts after him and because of that puts him through a whole nother series of difficulties and tests and trials. So you can see the use of he's going through multiple tests, multiple difficulties,
both and physical ones, in terms of the physical, the sheer physical hardship, of being in prison of the life that he has he the difficulties put through, as well as the mental ones, the spiritual challenges that he faces. What just just an amazing story. And of course, we can find the same thing with the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, the prophets awesome is very soon, finding out in the life of the prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that once he has, you know, he comes out of the cave. And you know, he's got received the first revelations of the Quran. And he comes running to Khadija and you know, wrap me up, wrap me up. And so again, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa salam,
one of the things that you see in his journey sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, his heroic journey, is all the things that he learns all the things that he saw Allahu alayhi wa salam discovers all the things that Allah is teaching him about human beings about human nature.
Who are his friends who are his allies, you know, from his wife Khadija to waterco, to Abu Bakr to Ali, Eben Taalib. Those earlier, early followers of Islam, Abdullah bin Massoud, and you know, those people who were and then people who were the most stringent enemies, who became friends like Omar ibn Al Kitab, or those who stayed enemies, like like his uncle, Abu Lahab, someone you would have thought would be his supporter, his uncle Lahab Abu Lahab
Someone who Subhanallah
you know, was, in a sense, you could say someone who was
what can you say like ambivalence in the sense that someone who was a clear supporter of the Prophet so long when he was salam from one aspects, but who never really accepted
and in the end didn't accept his call, which was, of course his his uncle Abu Talib. So it's, you have all of this rich mosaic and tapestry of human experiences and these interactions. And this, in a sense, is really, you know, what is key, who is going to help you on your journey to Allah, who is going to help you on this journey of being a better you, and who is going to oppose you who's going to try and drag you down, who is going to make it harder for you to reach your destination, this is all part of what growing up is about this is all part of what this heroic journey is about. Because ultimately, that's what's going to happen when you are going to embark upon this journey of the true
hero, when you are going to embark upon this journey of self transformation. And I and it's not self transformation, merely for the sake of your own self. It's not an ego thing. Remember that, right? This self transformation, this self mastery is not based, it's not ultimately it's not for ego, it's not for you, it's for something greater than that. It's something for something more noble, that's what's very important to understand. So in you know, in this journey of seeking this, there are going to be be people who are going to stop you, they are going to impede you. And they're going to do that because in their mind, in their viewpoint.
It is conflicting with their self interest, it is conflicting with their comfortable, because that's what you're doing. Ultimately, you're going to be challenging the status quo. And when you challenge the status quo, and the people they're always people are want to maintain the status quo, because they've put their energy and their time and their effort into building it. Because it, you know, it suits them. And it seems, as they imagine, it benefits them. So this is what you're ultimately you're going to have, you're going to have a battle, you're going to have a conflict, you're going to have
this clash between
the people who are on that path, seeking the truth and the people who have rejected it. People who want to keep things just the way they are, thank you very much. And this is what we find being played out in history over and over and over again. And of course, this is what is exactly happening in the life of all the prophets vary dramatically, of course, in the life of the prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam very dramatically in the life of Musa alayhis salam. And Musa especially you see, he's taking on her own, who is the superpower of his time, right? But own is like the, you know, arguably the most maybe in materialistic terms, maybe the most powerful person in the world at the
time. And Musa is taking on him his system, and the Prophet sallallahu as was interesting because the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he obviously, he is confronting idolatry. He's confronting idol worship. He's confronting everyone who worships something other than the law. He's confronting a, a world that is disordered, a world that is injure Halia seeped in ignorance that is far away from being enlightened with divine guidance and with the morals and the manners and the path that leads to the pleasure of Allah subhanaw taala so this is a you know, society that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is dealing with that is seeped in Jehovah. And we see that huge number
of physical challenges Subhan Allah it's so interesting when Ayesha I think she's asking the Prophet about, you know, what was your hardest day? And subhanAllah you think about all the things the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam went through the great many difficulties and trials and challenges that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam went to went through but he, some Allahu alayhi wa salam, you know, he could identify almost straightaway, you know, what was his hardest day and that was the day when the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam went to Thai wife. And you know, he went there because Allah had given him permission to invite the people to Islam. Now, that's
important because, you know, in a sense
means that it shows that I think from the Prophet so I'm imagining here that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was thinking that the reason why Allah had allowed him to go to Thai it was because the people of Thai are going to accept Islam and the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he was looking, in a sense for a base, a physical,
a physical place from where that he from where he could pass this message on. So this is what the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was looking for. Because obviously, this is important. Arabian society was a tribal society, that this is the you know, this was the this was the social norm. This was the modus operandi. This was the paradigm at the time as a paradigm of tribalism. And so that that's that, you know, and it's interesting, because I was,
I was listening to a documentary about the peasants revolt that took place in the 13th 1300s. Here in England, there was a peasants revolt, which was, actually we probably never heard about it in history, because you know, what do we study, we studied kings and queens and battles, but actually, the peasants revolt was actually one of the most important events in British history, although you probably don't hear about it. But it was important because it was just unheard of, for peasants to rebel, and to revolt, but they did, because they got fed up of how they're being treated, and they've got fed up of being overtaxed and overburdened with tax.
And the snapping point came when they were treated very, very badly. So the modus operandi in medieval Britain was the serf system. And it was very interesting, because people, you know, you can actually be quite well off, you could have quite a nice house, you could have good possessions, but if you're a serf, you couldn't leave the land your parents, you couldn't even get your daughter married without the Lord, the man has permission. I mean, that's how you are literally almost a slight, you weren't quite a slave. But you're almost a slave. It's sort of some weird thing between sort of slavery and what it's, that's what it is being a serf, you were, in a sense, indentured to
the lord of the manor and the land where you lived, and you are not free to go where you like, and just go anywhere. So I mean, you know, this.
Compare that with the modus operandi in the time of the Prophet sallallahu, alayhi wasallam, which was a tribal society. And in that society, safety came from being part of a tribe. And if so, if you are a member of a strong tribe, generally, no one would mess with you. Because that's how tribalism works. If someone if you know, if someone did something bad to someone from your tribe, that was it, you would take revenge, you wouldn't ask whether the person from your tribe had done something right or wrong or behaved in a wrong wrong way or a right way. It didn't matter. They were from your tribe, and You protected your tribe and you stood up for them and took revenge on their behalf.
But if obviously, if you were from a weak tribe, or what if you didn't have a tribe at all,
then your life could be really difficult because people could pick on you and you had no way to defend yourself. And it's interesting, because this is one of the reasons why the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam, even before he was a prophet, he had taken part in this, this health helpful for Dale, which was like a treaty that was made where, you know, these leaders of Arabian society came together because this tribalism had become so bad that the poor and the weak were being oppressed. And that, you know, there was banditry. And then they couldn't even have trade. Because this is how bad the situation was, there was literally just no law and order. So they wanted to do something
about it. They wanted to establish some sort of, you know, system of order, so that people were just not randomly mistreated and oppressed. So things were pretty bad. You can see how things were really pretty bad in Arabian society. So it's this tribalism that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam had to deal with. So if his own tribe and this is often the death of his uncle, I will tell him so he had no more protection, he was not really being protected anymore by his tribe, because what he was doing was sort of so outside the pale, that even his tribal refusing really protects to protect him. So the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was looking for a base he was looking for some
alternative place from which to, you know, get the physical protection in order to be able to pass on his message. So when Allah gave the prophet the permission to go to type,
probably, I'm guessing the Prophet SAW as I was thinking about this is it the
is the people who are going to, you know, accept Islam and they, you know, agreed to sort of take me on board and but they didn't, you know, and even though the Prophet spent days, knocking on the doors, you know, calling people to Islam, no one became Muslim. And worse than that when the Prophet left dive, the leaders told the street urchins to stone, the Prophet, you know, to stone him and they pelted the Prophet sallallahu leaves them with stones, to the extent that he was bleeding so much that his sandals, stuck to his feet.
This is the sort of thing that Prophets the law, really, he was sort of went through. This is the sort of stuff the Prophet went through. And so it's interesting here that what is taking place in the life of the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam is almost what happens in a sense at the end of the hero's journey, because what happens at the end of the hero's journey, is that the hero comes out of this strange new world that the hero has entered into, and they come change, they come anywhere, I'm getting ahead of myself.
But this is the next stage, they return to their people, to benefit their people with what they've learned. So in a sense, this is already happening in the life of the prophet Sallallahu, alayhi, wasallam, it happens, it's happening quite quickly. But and again, then once again, once you're doing that, you will meet a whole new series of challenges and difficulties. But in a sense, you're prepared for it. Because your your journey, everything you've gone through, has prepared you and helped you. I think another thing within today's theme that we need to talk about is which I think is very interesting when we talk about trials and tests and tribulations when we talk about friends
and allies and helpers. And we talk about the complexity of that subject of really trying to identify who your true friends sometimes is easy to know who your enemies are, but maybe not always easy to know your true friends are because sometimes,
most dangerously of all,
is that your enemy comes to you as your friends.
And this is something this is usually the thing that is hardest to deal with. And this is, of course, the situation of the monarchic, the monarchical. The people who outwardly were accepting Islam. Outwardly, they were
pretending to be helpers and allies of Islam and the Muslims, but in reality inwardly, the only intention was to cause division was the cause fitna was to Innocence try and
destroy everything from the outside. That's the worst of them, like a spy, or like this is pure, this is the pure, worst type of hypocrite. And some of them just, in a sense, becoming, becoming Muslim for convenience, because it seemed to be like, the right thing to do, in sense of, you know, where's the power, where's the strength, but not with no real sincerity, with no real,
that it didn't really believe it, they're just doing it because it seemed to be the most convenient, and the most prudent, and the most pragmatic, you know, cause of action for those people to take. So the problem with that is that those people may, you may, you may think that they are with you, but in reality, they're working against you the whole time, and any opportunities that they have to desert you and turn things on their head, they will do it. There's no real loyalty there. And that's another big lesson. This is one of the things that the you know, the hero learns, on that on the journey. And that's part of what you have to learn in life, brothers and sisters, because take it
back to you, all of this is really for you and me for you to be able to understand,
for you to be able to understand and for you to be able to comprehend,
about what's going on in the world around you.
And so brothers and sisters, this is very important. And it's so important also to go back to these stories of the Quran. And I think like, again, once you see this framework where you can understand this framework that I am presenting to you, I think it makes it it helps to make a lot of sense that when you do read the stories of the prophets, even when you read any story of you know, a hero's journey, then what are you taking from it? What are you getting from it? What benefit are you going to read from it? It's all there, ultimately, to help you in your life and in your own
journey, because at the end of the day, we're all the heroes of our own journeys. Well, brothers and sisters, it's been a pleasure talking to you as always
I hope you got something from this. I'll probably continue next week, a little bit more about talking about allies and enemies because I think that's like a really important and interesting subject. But until then brothers and sisters, have a think like I always asked you this week in the week coming, think about this subject, think about tests and trials and difficulties that difficult, different ways that they come to you. The different tests and difficulties that you go through whether they are physical, mental, spiritual, maybe we'll talk about that in a bit more detail as well as today was just only supposed to be a sort of general introduction. And just think about
photos and friends. Who are your friends and foes? And who your real helpers? And are they really helping you on your journey to Allah, which is the most important thing? Are they really helping you in your journey of self mastery? Are they're really helping you in this transformative journey that we're all on or we should all be on? Because that's what life is about ultimately. Anyway, until next week, brothers and sisters, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon us as salam aleikum wa rahmatullah life