Channel: Hamza Yusuf
What is the purpose of this world? How do we respond to trials and tribulation? In this episode, Hamza Yusuf discusses the school of eternity, where human suffering can teach obedience if we respond with patience and gratitude.
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This phenomenon Raheem was hauled out to settle mahallesi Dino Habibi, now.
He woman was almost solely on a seat in a moment while he was sent him to semen at hamdulillah. This is the second of what I've called the sacred text messages because we're living in a time of text messages. And they seem to be taking people away from the text messages that we got from God. So everybody's reading their text messages from created things, and they forgotten about the text messages from the creator of things. And this is one of the great calamities, one of the things that Henry David Thoreau said is don't read the times read the eternities. And so people now they're obsessed with news, and what's the latest thing? And did you hear and oh, did you know somebody is
doing this? And so and so's doing that? And can you believe that? Did you hear cardi B's latest?
Something like that? So it's just crazy. People are obsessed with all these, these things. And so we're trying to get back to the text messages, the real text messages. So today I wanted to look at a couple of text messages that
that came from God and His messengers, a lot of send them so the and they're around the same topic. So the first one is from the Quran, in which Allah subhana wa tada says in Surah Baqarah
well, Anna Bruin Nakanishi in our home He will draw a one Noxon minute on why he would own foresee what thammarat or Bashara sabreen alladhina either asaba Tomasi button Carlo in the LA he was in Edo Raja own hula column saltwater memorabilia Marama, eco home and martyrdom. So this
idea which is in the Quran, or it's actually a few is from from 155 to 157.
Allah subhana wa tada according to the commentators when he he says, Well, no blue and no calm, that this is really an announcement. In fact, the professor don't say it's an indoor, it's like giving us a forewarning. So when you have, sometimes you have these bells that go off or like you have earthquake, not earthquake, but tsunami warning. So like in Indonesia, now, they have all these alarms that go off to let you know, the tsunami is on the way. So this is like God's alarm to us to let us know that tribulation is coming. And this is why the Sahaba actually totally understood this, they really knew that tribulation was part of life. And in fact, it's at the heart of life. Because
tells us that Allah subhana wa tada says that he created death and life.
Leo blow come to in order to test you to end this is what Bella is. And so, in this Bronwyn, in this verse, we're being told that we will test you with something of fear is part of life, and even the prophets have fear. So for instance, when when the angels came to Abraham, it's that that it says in the Quran, or Josephine FC, he Keifa that he actually felt fear in his heart. So even the the prophets have fear but but they're courageous, because courage is not not having fear. It's that you do not let fear incapacitate you. And that's why the fireman who rushes into to save the person. It's not that he doesn't fear the fire he does, but his courage overrides that human fear. And so
we're going to be tested with fear like fear of losing our job when when the economy's tanking or fear of,
of, you know, your loved one dying if they get sick. All these things, these are natural occurrences in the human condition, and then Allah says, will Judah hunger and we forget that hunger was part of the pre modern world in in a much greater way. We're living in an age of cornucopia. There's so much for so many people I mean, there are areas on earth unfortunately there shouldn't be given what we know. But generally no civilizations have ever had the type of sustenance and and the ingratitude that goes with it. People traditionally had so much gratitude and one of the things you know in the Muslim world one in some of the Arab cultures they used to say you know, not only for Medina clean
up Medina meaning finish your plate, make sure that there was nothing left on the plate, because the province Allies
had such high
esteem for the blessings of Allah in fact, one time he saw a piece of bread that had
was on the ground and he told I Isha synergy water net Matilda, treat, be a good neighbor to the blessings of Allah.
So that's it.
Just being aware of the constant blessings of Allah subhanho wa Taala and then it says when Noxon minute and Wiley will unfreeze your thumb Ah, and also diminishment. Knox's can be a few different things in Arabic but one of them is loss or diminish you knock us and Ziad right that is is excess novice is deficient. So we're going to be tested with loss of wealth so we lose wealth, and and also of life and not just some people think the IRA refers simply to the loss of life, but it actually can mean diminishment of life, you can lose a tooth, you can lose a hand you can lose a leg you can lose a life your your loved one or your own life. So those are all things that we can and then
summarize all the fruits of life that we will be tested with them. And and then the ISS we're Bashir of submarine give glad tidings to the the patient ones that are patient in the tribulation, because the response of blessing is gratitude. But the response of tribulation is patience. And there's a lot of Muslims that say, oh, how long are we going to be patient? patients in the in our tradition means a sobrado para was sobre animasi. It literally means to be patient in your obedience, and to be patient in not going into disobedience to to hold yourself back. And that's very interesting because Kierkegaard actually says something very interesting about that. Kierkegaard has an essay
that he called, The School of eternity. And in that he talks he quotes he begins it by quoting actually Hebrews, which is where it says that, that it says that the scripture says that the Prophet learned obedience from what he suffered, which is in Hebrews five, eight. And so what kirkyard says about that is now if obedience directly followed suffering, it would be easy to learn. So if you have suffering and you learn obedience from it, that would be easy lesson. But learning obedience is not that easy. humanly viewed, suffering is dangerous, but even more terrible is failing to learn obedience. Yes, suffering is a dangerous schooling, but only if you do not learn obedience, then it
is terrible. Just as when the most powerful medicine has the wrong reaction. In this danger, a person needs God's help, otherwise he does not learn obedience, and if he does not learn obedience, this then he may learn what is most corrupting to learn Craven despondency, to learn to deaden any noble fervor in it to learn defiance and despair. So when tribulations calm, we're supposed to learn obedience, we should we should actually become obedience. And but if we don't, and that's he calls that the school of eternity, so that when you're learning it, that you've entered into the school of eternity, and one of the interesting things that he says about that, he says, when there is
suffering, but also obedience and suffering, then you're being educated for eternity. So so that's the patients, your patients in obedience, and your patient in avoiding sinfulness, then there would be no impatient hankering in your soul, no restlessness, neither of sin nor of sorrow, if you will, but let it suffering. In our tradition, we would say empty, that is the guardian angel, who keeps you from slipping into the fragmentary pneus of the world, the fragmentary pneus that seeks to rip apart the soul. And for this reason, suffering keeps you in school, this dangerous schooling so that you may be properly educated for eternity. Because if you are educated for eternity with your
patients and tribulation, and your blessing, your gratitude and blessing, you're ready to meet your Lord. You're You're vertically aligned with God. But if you're just complaining, why is this happening to me? woe is me. I mean, the ancients didn't have they would have had fear and trepidation. And I'll tell you some about when I was in woody Tanja.
Because a lot of people just they saw me as a Western person, that I must know something about medicine, which is one of the reasons why I lay later on went and studied to go back and try to help people there because they would bring me these people. But I, what really struck me is they would say things like, they would explain what they were suffering from. And then they they would say, how the how the arpin I'm just telling you, Lisa Shukla. I'm not complaining. And they let that's what they would say they wanted me to understand. I'm not complaining about this. I'm just telling you, because you might be able to help me. You know, but they would literally say that otterpop lash Aqua
I'm not complaining. And that comes from just first of all
We are the property of God, with the human being our bodies are the dominion of God, our souls are the dominion of God and God yet the subtle female key he can, he can do whatever he wants with his milk. And that's why we should be asking Allah for blessings constantly and really, and really be concerned about being in a state of ingratitude because of the whining that you hear today. This is one of the few times in human history where there are so many opportunities for people, especially in the United States, and yet everybody's complaining, it's really quite extraordinary. That otter whining and complaining about conditions. What are you talking? Are you in a state of obedience?
That because suffering, if you really are suffering, the lesson you're supposed to be learning is to turn to Allah subhana wa to Allah. I'm the pagans. And I've said this before, but it's really strikes me as odd. The pagan Romans would suspend the senate when there were thunderstorms, out of fear of the wrath of God. And our Prophet used to pace up and down during thunderstorms doing Vicar of Allah, because that was one of the reasons for punishment. And, and, and, and, but they used to go to the temples and expiate, literally expiate for their sins and ask forgiveness that those were pagans. And and it's amazing that we've been given this guidance. So one of the Hadeeth about this
is that so if you look in the IEA, and I'll get to the Hadith in a second, if you look at the IEA Allah says el Medina either or Saba Tomasi button, when a calamity afflicts them, what do they say? I don't even know relay. In other words, we we belong to God, he can do whatever he wants, because
the Quran says no calamity affliction except it's from God. Now there's another verse except it's from yourself. And they're not mutually exclusive, because the edit with God is to blame the self, but it's from Allah subhana wa Tada. And that's why you say in nearly lay, we're in a garage. And that's what you're supposed to say, we belong to God and to Him we return, that it's the reminder because suffering should remind you that you're going to return to Allah subhana wa Tada. And then Allah says, Allah guide him salvato neurobion, what? They have the benedictions of God upon them, God is blessing them, because they're in that state of patience, which is really a state of
gratitude also, in that you're recognizing it's from God and it must be good. And this is where we get to the amazing Hadith because Allah says, what would they go home and they don't, they are the right guy to one. So in the Hadith, which is related in Sahih, Muslim, who's one of our great from the six canonical, he moms who wrote his famous he was a student of emo mountable hottie and, and really a second after him Bahati in consideration amongst the great scholars, he was slightly less stringent
conditions for accepting a Hadeeth because for him, if they were in the same city at the same time, that was enough, whereas Mr. Bahari had to know they actually met, that he had to have witnesses that actually saw the meat, but if they were upright, Muslim considered it enough to know they were in the same city. So anyway, he says, and this is awesome. So hey, Ronnie. So hey, the Byzantine or the or the year? Really, it means the European and, and some I mean, there is there is an argument that he was from an Arab tribe, but actually, it strikes me as I think, important that that the Prophet Sam had an African and a Roman and a Persian and these represent all of the great
civilizations, because technically the indo Europeans have the Indians and so that whole indo European arc falls under the Persians and then the Romans but so how about Romy relates this hadith and he said that the prophets Allah Islam, Allah Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam as your belly embryo movement. How wondrous is the affair of the believer in amber Hakuna hula hyah all of his affair is good. While he said radically I had an ill ill moment and and that is for no one except the believer in our PSA but who was in our PSA bet who saw raw Oh, shocker. When he is given blessings he's grateful for can a higher level and it was good for him those blessings we know Saba
tool Dorado and if he's afflicted with Bo Ra is anything harmful, so it can be like calamities diseases, loss of wealth, all those things that are mentioned in the I sub he
shows patient, or she shows patients for Canada higher low, and therefore it was better for them. So this is the idea that, that it's all good that that that statement is actually a true statement. You know, it's kind of said in like a lot of people say that, that that are in some of the most difficult situations in the United States, but they say it's all good, which is that's that kind of deep African belief that that's hard to pull out
of a certain segment of our society. But it's all good. That's essentially what the Hadith is saying that if you are a believer, it's all good that even the harm is good, because there's a hikma behind it. And this is a difference between I once on interview with Christopher Reeve, who had a horrible accident is the guy that played Superman, and then and then he had a terrible accident where he actually broke his neck. And he was paralyzed completely. And he was interviewed and then said, How can you just seem to be dealing with this so well? And he said, Look, there's two ways that can you you can view the world. One is that it's meaningful. And the other is that it's meaningless. And I
choose to see it as meaningful, which is one of the reasons why I feel I become an advocate for disabled peoples. So he took a tribulation and and made it something else. And and and maybe I don't know if it's from his Christian background or what but that's what a believer would do. You know, we wouldn't wish that on our worst enemy. But if something like that happened, and there's a wonderful Iraqi that I met in, in Medina, really beautiful young man and he he Unfortunately, he was completely paralyzed in in a bomb that happened American bomb, he there's now in the United States with his father, and just beautiful spirit. It was just incredible, young man, but I was struck by
just the goodness and the and the the acceptance of something that it came from the whole. undeniably it was it was wrong to bomb people just wrong. I actually believe that bombing is a war crime. And I really think it should be.
It should be there should be international law against aerial bombardment, because that's my personal belief. I really believe it's a war crime. And unfortunately, it's technically not by international law, but it should be but anyway, so he was a victim of that, but in the end, he he was a believer, and he was practicing this Hadeeth that how wondrous is the affair of the believer that his affairs all good. And and so life is very short on earth. And you can you can,
that your suffering, whatever it is, whatever tribulation you might be in, and there's people that are in different tribulation, we also forget Muslims forget, the tribulations aren't just difficulties. True. There's also the tribulation of wealth, the tribulation of privilege. These are trials like Allah says, We have privileged some of you over others that's in the Quran. So when you see somebody who's in a privileged state, how are they using their privilege? Are they using it for good or for ill? If you see somebody and then
when the Koran said, well, john about the company, Baba and fitna hospital, we made some of you tribulation for others. Will you show patients what cannot become healthier and your Lord sees everything? One of the things about that idea, even even Amy Jo Zia said that Allah has made poor people that tribulation for rich people and rich people, a tribulation for poor people, he's made the ignorant tribulation for the learner and the learner, the tribulation for the ignorant he's made. And yet we could go on the black and tribulation for the wide and the wider tribulation bill, but this is the world that we're in. And so then it becomes, how are we going to? Are we going to be
in accordance with God in His messenger? Or are we going to be jaggedy people, so we see the world as it is, and, and, and, and that's a big difference. And then so find that I'm going to end here with something from it's something that you know, that from the first time that I saw it, I was so struck by it, and it's in his famous books at Amazon rock was one of my favorite scholars. It's in the Allied where he says in for that happy to out of that commodity pod and be able to noxee the mercy well, Fela uj to Cameroon, illa bitec MIDI to Anna with a commuter who mean property. So he said, here's the party. That's it's the 160/5 principle. And he says, the uniqueness of alomost high
in being perfect decrees, the existence of imperfection in everything other than God, because he's unique in His perfection, so everything other than God has to be deficient.
So there is no perfect being and less human.
Hi perfects him. So, like the prophets, perfection is from the perfection of God. So it's grace. It's not, it's not something that is inherent in the being. It's something that God made out of his father. But this is the the nature and and and his perfecting him is a result of his grace. So imperfection is the norm, whereas perfection is exceptional. So when you see imperfection in people, you have to understand, that's just the norm, don't expect your wife to be perfect, don't expect your husband to be perfect, don't expect your kids to be perfect, because they're not. And to do so would be criminal, you know, it's just wrong.
And so then he says accordingly, seeking perfection as a norm in the world is false.
To want. Like, there's all these people that want this perfect world, it's called Jenna, that that's the word for it. It's not done yet. Dunya is literally in the universe. We're in the bath, the toilet of the universe, like this is done, it's the lowest place. And by that the toilet is the place where you empty out your foulness you get rid of your found, that's what we're here to do. This is done. Yeah, we're in the lowest place is all up from here. It's all up because even people inhale, all they can remember is God. So they're just in a state of Vicar all the time, wishing that they could be righteous in wishing that they didn't waste their life away. So they're actually in
the state of New Dharma, which is a healthy state. So this is dunya just accepted for what it is. Thus, it's been said, look at people as if they were perfect. And consider imperfection in their nature. In other words, be kind to people have a good opinion of people, if perfection appears in them, it is from fava, it's grace. Because some people are perfect in certain things like, you know, people that just really have beautiful adab or they character or they're honest, or their thing so so in certain areas they are and then another use of the shortcoming otherwise, what was previously mentioned is the norm in other words, imperfection. Then he says and this is what's really important
is the key through this outlook, prudence, good feelings, companionship, and overlooking mistakes takes place. So in other words, you can you can keep your friends and and when you see them fall short. I mean,
there's a famous actor, David Nevin, who, who was friends with this other actor named Errol Flynn. And he said, the one thing about Errol Flynn that you could always count on is that he would let you down.
So, so there's people like that, you know, but to know that about somebody is is useful because it's like, okay, that's just him being him, or her being her. So that's just dunya there's going to be people that will constantly let you down and just recognize that that that's, that's who they are. And and just try to show some compassion right. So, this principle is that the world dunya is their dwelling and is a source and then he says, I have established a principle through which I shall I never find repulsive. Anything that comes to me in this world. Okay, let me repeat that because it's, it's so interesting. He says in Arabic, you mama Junaid a slug to Aslan, let at the best
share, oh, Becca Tahoma Yeti, do it a mineral alum. So, I have taken as an axiom, something that is axiomatic. It's it's a principle, it's a foundational truth about the world. And, and, and, and, and it is this. He said, once I took this as a principle, I no longer find repulsive, whatever comes to me from the world, and it is this.
Well, who are under dunya dato hemin. For them men are better and will fit into that this abode is the abode of depression, tribulation, strife, fitna which is trials and tribulations civil strife. What an Al Anam colo Sharon, and all of this abode is shattered here doesn't really mean evil. What it means is it's deficient, because the Arab called poverty sharp, because you're lacking. So it's an abode of want. It's this is the nature of the bow that we're in. It's the abode of want, and at any set woman helped me undo your Teller, Ernie Bakula. accardo and from the judgment upon this world is that it will always come to me with what I don't like.
It's no one
One of the most extraordinary Hadith of the Prophet size him, in my estimation, the agenda to hoffart agenda to the mcherry. That Paradise is surrounded by distasteful things, things that we don't like. And, and but then he said that the wellford, the notl, bisha Hawa, and Hell is surrounded by delightful things, things that entice us. And so part of what we're doing here in the dunya is, is to really, to deal with those avoiding those things that might be pleasurable in the moment, but in the long term are very harmful. It's like eating cake, or something like that. It's pleasurable in the moment, but over time, especially if you have diabetes, you know, but but over a
long time, it's very harmful, whereas most of the foods that taste good, are harmful for you. And then the foods that are really good for you are not as tasteful. And that's kind of a metaphor for what the prophesizing was saying that things that are good for you are often not very pleasurable. But things that are bad for you are very pleasurable. It's very interesting, that sugar, everybody loves sugar, but it rots your teeth, that it really has a bad impact on your health. And yet it's pleasurable. And that's, that's the nature of sin. And so appetites are what take people to hell, because they're going after what they want as opposed to what they need. And there's a big
difference between needs and wants. And then he says, what went into that tiny bit Kadima or hibou, for who follows father know, and if it greets me with what I love, that's grace from Allah, we love and also to hold our but the basis of this dunya is the first in other words, that it's just a place of tribulation. And that's that I mean, that's the first noble truth in Buddhism is just coming to terms with the world is suffering. And and and then they said, the second one is that the source of suffering is attachment to the world. And that's what Kierkegaard was saying is that we have to be weaned of the world like you, when a child, what does a child do when it's weaned, it cries, but
once it gets weaned, it's it moves to the next stage. So we are going to be weaned of the world forcefully. It's called death. And, and our tradition is that we're doing fulfillment as hoverboards, Asahi Hades, consider yourselves already dead. In other words, wean yourself of this world, and the best way to do it is just to accept the world. Just accept it don't desire, you know, somebody wants did an emotional equation, where he said that disappointment was reality plus expectation. So if you don't expect anything from the world, you're always going to be happy.
Even better yet, if you just expect the worst.
And this is, you know, this whole thing about the secret is New Age thing is like, Oh, you can you can just put in your mind positive thoughts, and it'll all we should be positive and that the prophets, Elijah was very positive. In fact, somebody once asked him, Kenya said ohana, shadow. And he said, let us only unshadowed was having an affair. Don't ask me about evil, ask me about good. So the prophesizing was very positive. But he knew the abode, he knew the secret of the abode. And that's why all of the tribulations he never, it never affected him, he was always it's called being in the hub, it's in the eye of the hurricane is real. I mean, God made the hurricane, but he made
the eye of the hurricane. And if you're in the eye of the hurricane, the hurricane is all around you, that's dunya, the eye of the hurricane is accepting the dunya as it is, and if you live in that abode, and and, and, and I'm preaching to myself, because we all fall short. But if you live in that abode, you will you will really be in a in a good state. And we should be happy. In fact, one of one of my father's teachers, was once asked, can a man be happy knowing the world filled with suffering? And he said, Oh, yes, the happy man knows that the world is suffering, and yet he's happy, despite that suffering. And he said, How is that possible? He said, because one of the reasons why the world
is such a miserable place, is there so many unhappy people in it, and so don't contribute to being one of those people that make the world a miserable place. There is a moral obligation to be happy. And this is why the Prophet loved say he used to if he heard somebody call somebody named Syed. He would light up because he took it as Oh, happy one. Oh, felicitous one. Yeah, sorry. If he heard that. He would, he would take it. That's me.
Because he was febi dyadic affiliate. Let them rejoice in in what the hottest guidance that we've been given. Let's be happy.
Not miserable, all these miserable but you know the word for the people going to Hell is shocking, which also means miserable. So don't be from that.
Yeah, don't be from the miserable one be from the suada the happy ones. The Phyllis oh yeah bush Allah, Masha Islam. What? rejoice, oh people of Islam. We have a rockin Herrmann had me we have a pillar that can never be destroyed. It's called Rasulullah sallallahu it is the pillar. Just cling to the rope of Allah He gave us the rope the Prophet, he gave us the rope and he said cling to it what else in the Quran says what are some? What are the farakka Alhamdulillah So, some text messages inshallah and some reflections on those text messages may Allah subhana wa tada bless all of you. And just to let you know that that little
intro and outro is from my my dear friend who passed away Hamza Deen is a beautiful new being man and really brought a lot of people to Islam through his singing and so hamdulillah mela, bless him wherever he is.