The Prophetic Practice of Mindful Walking
Channel: Hamza Yusuf
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It's part of our religion, even one of the acts of evaporated during Hodges called sati. And one of the words for walking is sati. In Arabic, it's more of a brisk walk or a jog. But it's something that Hotjar first did when she ran between the two mounts of Safa and Marwa. So it's actually part of our A Bader is to walk walking to the masjid as part of our devotion.
spinna Rahman Rahim was sort of what Allah Subhan Allah to Allah Allah Rasool Vinod Karim Allahumma salli ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa ala alihi wa sahbihi wa Salam. Salam alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh Al Hamdulillah. First of all, welcome everybody to this program that we are having for the month of Ramadan Oh, well, which is a month traditionally, the Muslim celebrated the birth of our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Although really, we should be celebratory about this every day. Just feeling gratitude for having the guidance that our prophets Eliasson provided for us. The theme that we chose for this year was the mindful messenger. And the idea behind that one of the
names of the prophets Isom is and with Wicca, which means the one who reminds or calls back to the mind, remembrance we often translate the word in Arabic vicar, as remembrance of God. Remember, it's comes from a Latin word in English, which is Rhema more, which is to bring back to the mind. And so remembrance really is about being mindful. Mindfulness has become a very popular concept. In 1966, the first article on mindfulness was written. And since then, there have been literally 1000s and 1000s, of scientific studies on mindfulness articles on mindfulness, the promotion of mindfulness, mindfulness is actually now something that is done in many corporations where they actually have
seminars in which they help people become more mindful. And the reason for that is that there's actually been several studies that have shown the health benefits the mental benefits of being more mindful in people's lives, because a lot of people are on a kind of automatic pilot in their lives, a lot of people drive on automatic pilot, it's a wonder that they make it to the places that they're going, I think evidence of an angelic realm, maybe that's preventing a lot of accidents from happening. But mindfulness in our tradition is something that really centers the Muslim in their daily life, the Prophet peace be upon him remembered a law according to the Hadith county unquote,
Allah, equally. Yanni, he remembered God in all of his states and all of his conditions. And that remembrance really is about mindfulness. It's about being aware of the moment and also the relationship that one has with God in that moment. And so the if you look at the term mindfulness, which is something that was used in the English language several centuries ago, I think it was introduced in the late 16th 17th century. But it was in 1880s, where a professor from England of Sanskrit and Pali, translated a Buddhist term Sati, which is also schmear, tea in in Sanskrit, translated that into English as mindfulness. And this comes out of the Buddhist practice of being
mindful. So Sati was a very interesting word because the origin of the word is actually, vicar it means to remember the sacred and Smar T was in the Hindu tradition was actually to remember the sacred texts. So it was really a spiritual practice. And so as it came in to the west, in 1966, it was an article written about mindfulness was the first article that talked about this concept. Since then, there have been 1000s, there have been studies on this, there have been scientific studies. And what they've seen is that mindfulness actually really helps people in their daily lives. But one of the interesting things about the word itself is if you look it up in a dictionary, it says,
mindful of some thing. And so the way that it's taught in corporate seminars is to be mindful of the present, to be mindful of your surroundings, to be more aware of yourself. One of the techniques that's taught is actually to be mindful of your own breath. This is what's called Maha Sabha and fast in our tradition, reckoning the breath is one of the early practices that was done as a way of being more aware. One of the names of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Sallam in our tradition is Elmo, they care which means the one who reminds you remind you of God and the Quran says where they could have inadequate, meaning. Remind them because reminders benefit believers. So being aware of
God being present with God is something that has traditionally been a really import
One aspect of our faith and our tradition. And what the prophesy Sam did to be reminded, was, he had prayers for every activity that he did. So when he got up in the morning, he had a prayer when he dressed, he had a prayer when he ate, he had a prayer SallAllahu sent him in all of his activities, he had the supplications that are actually quite beautiful. And they're stark reminders of how present he was. Most people really go through life, almost in a somnambulant state. Just to give an example, the observatories in Los Angeles, San Francisco, they get calls on a regular basis when people see the moon during the daytime, because they're actually terrified, because they just not
accustomed to looking up or seeing the moon or realizing that you can see the moon during daytime. So a lot of people are just oblivious to what's around them their surroundings, which gets to the point of what I wanted to talk about, which is the presence of walking. And the idea of walking in our tradition, the prophesy said I'm walked constantly. And walking is something that is absolutely essential to human health. We are bipedal God has made us creatures that walk on two feet. The in fact, Aristotle had a humorous definition is it wasn't a definition, but rather a description of a human being as a featherless. biped, because the other biped that we see are the birds. A biped
means we walk on two feet. And one of the extraordinary things about human walking is that the balance that's necessary. A lot of people don't think about this. But the reason why you gain weight around the mid section is actually to maintain your balance. If you were a bear, you'd have it all on your back because the back bear walks on for but you actually walk on two feet. And so that's where the fat is going to go. But if you start walking every day, you'll find that you're going to get into just a better physical condition because your body is designed to walk. The fact that people no longer walk is a really, really serious problem that we have. It creates mental illness.
It certainly is not good for the body itself. And so the prophesy Sam was a walker. And in fact, when the Quran in Surah Furqan when it wants to describe the servants of the Merciful, it says what Evapo Rahmani lynnium, Shona, Al are the Hona way the hot Abuja Hironaka cinema, those servants of the merciful who when they walk on the earth, they walk with dignity, they walk with humility, hone in Arabic is this idea of Hana is to be low, it's, we could look at it today as somebody who walks with a very small carbon footprint with somebody who walks humbly on the earth. But then it says something very interesting immediately after it says we the hot woman, Jackie, do not go to cinema.
And when ignorant people speak to them in a way that's out of their ignorance, they just say peace. What that means is they're not triggered to use a modern term. They're not triggered by somebody insulting them. And one of the really interesting studies that's been done about people that walk on a regular basis, is that they tend to get angry less than people that don't walk. So it's very interesting that those two were brought together in that verse, the idea of walking and the idea of not becoming angry. And so the prophets I send him encouraged us to walk up widowed in his famous Sunan has a chapter called Kitab assault, which is the the book of prayer. But in that book, he has
a chapter called Misha it and massage it walking to the mosques. And in that chapter, he said that the Prophet sallallahu Sallam told us that the more distant the mosque, the better the reward. And there was one of the Sahaba, who
there was a man who he said had the house furthest away from the mosque itself. And he never missed a prayer. And he once asked him, he said, Why don't you take a donkey and you could ride when it's hot, or ride at night when it's dark. And the man said, because I want the reward of the steps. And so that was conveyed to the Prophet sly Sam and he, he went to, he visited the man and he asked him about that. And he told him that I just want the reward of those steps and the prophesy. Sam said, you have that reward from God, you have all that you're wanting. In another tradition, he actually said that for each time that the right foot is put down a deed, a good deed is written and for each
time the left foot is put down a sinful deed meaning the lesser sins is removed on your way
to the masjid. Now if we look at the the idea of the masjid of walking to the masjid, which was something that historically and still to this day in many Muslim countries, people walk to the masjid. Well, if you did that five times a day, you're actually walking quite a bit. And the benefits of that are extraordinary, but also, the physical benefits are amazing. And that's something I think that a lot of modern people because of their sedentary lifestyles, it's just causing a lot of problems. So the prophesy said I'm encouraged us to walk to the masjid. So if you if the very first thing that you did when you wake up in the morning was to set out for the masjid,
that begins your day walking, and that's why the prophesy centum said in a hadith, which I will download relates, he said, best shot on Masha in a film from Eden masajid. The Nora tam Yama, Yama, give glad tidings to those who constantly walk in the darkness to the mosques, of complete light on the Day of Judgment. So the the Mesha owner, the people that are constantly walking, and so the prophesy son was encouraging that now what's interesting is immediately after that, the Hadith that he gives, is not running to the masjid, or, or, or a Sati, what's called a sati. So the Prophet said, Do not run to the masjid, but walk with dignity. And with with tranquility, the the next
Hadith that immediately follows that to me is fascinating. That elbow doubt foot, it's do not prevent the women folk from going to the massage it. So in other words, don't prevent the women from getting the benefit also of walking to the masjid. And even though he said it's a lie, send him in other Hadees that he said we'll set out to feed beauty in hieronder ohana. The prayer in their homes is better for them. That is because many women have children. They have domestic responsibilities, and it would be difficult for them. So he was really just showing he wanted to alleviate for them and encouraging them that their prayer in the masjid was actually they would get a higher reward for
that reason, because they're in that domestic environment that was in the traditional Muslim societies and still in many places is so the prophesies center, he was noted to walk in a certain way. The way that he's described as walking was to cuff to cuff and in one rewire that Imam Ali mentioned he said to Allah, which means that he walked as if he was walking on an incline, descending. And when you look in the commentaries, what they say is that he walked with intention that he walked with the way that people of determination and have him walk, which is a kind of strong aspiration. And Robin Hood era rod, Ilana relates that it was difficult to keep up with him,
he said in la nuit and husana Linnell. Huckabee, or whoever Aramaki tarath. We used to exert ourselves to try to keep up with him. And yet he didn't seem to show any signs of exertion in his walking. And then he said Annette are the Twala who as if the earth was being put together for him. In other words, his walking had blessing in it. This is how it was described. So the prophesy centum walked and it's it's part of our religion, even one of the acts of a battered during hajus called sati. And one of the words for walking is sati. In Arabic, it's more of a brisk walk or a jog. But it's something that Hotjar first did when she ran between the two mounts of Safa and Marwah. So it's
actually part of our a bad is to walk walking to the masjid as part of our devotion. But if people don't have access to masajid, they should not not walk, it's very important to be walking. One of the interesting things in Arabic, the word in Arabic Mesha, which is to walk Masha Yum, she, that it also M SHA as a verb means to,
to free the the bowels, in other words, is actually to take a medicine that will make the bowels move and one of the things a lot of people suffer from this because they don't walk.
The peristalsis is very important. It's one of the great benefits of walking is that the peristyle sees that you don't actually get sick, because a lot of people have unhealthy. They have toxicity is one of the really extraordinary things that Ibn Sina says in the canon of medicine. He actually says that the human being has these toxins that build up and the way that the body removes them is through death.
occasion urination, through sweating, and through breathing. But he said that this isn't enough because there's always residual toxicity. And he said the only thing that can remove that is exercise. And he says, it's actually very important to elevate the temperature of the body through exercise, because one of the things that we know about the body is that when you get viruses, when you get bacteria, you have elevated temperature. So elevated temperature is very important because basically, it's it's a way of getting rid of viral infection and things like that. So Ibn Sina said, it's very important to do some level of rigorous exercise every day in order to slough off the
toxicities, the residual toxicities from not moving. And we know that the lymphatic system is also very important to have movement. So all these things are the benefits of walking medicinally, but also spiritually. So there's something very important about what the Japanese call forest bathing, which is to walk in places that are beautiful, natural environments, because it's very important for us to, to connect with God's creation. We're often surrounded by what men make, and we can forget the extraordinary creation that's around us and the beauty that surrounds us. So just getting out and in places where there's green and where you're in the midst of nature is really important and to
walk in those places. This is something you can do, doing vicar doing recitation of Quran if you memorize Quran, where I lived in West Africa, the Mauritanians constantly walked reciting the Quran and and just being out in the middle of the Sahara desert was really quite stunning. The night sky was stunning seeing these things. These are things that many people are no longer in tune with. Arguably, one of the reasons why I think there's more widespread atheism today is because artificial light is obliterated. The stars Plato reminded us that the stars were there to see the order of the heavens, and to try to bring that order down to the earth as above so below, so just reconnecting
with nature, but also just walking. One of the interesting Kierkegaard a Danish philosopher said that he never felt down except he took a long walk. And by the end of it, he felt revived again. And we know that walking will actually restore your your mood, it will help you feel better. So if you're down if you're feeling depressed, you can take a long walk and see the effects of walking. The Prophet saw the light he said, I'm also was somebody who, who walked he went out into nature, he he climbed Mount Hood, we know that he was on the top of Mount Hood. And looking around, they could see the city of Medina from where he was, we actually I was less to climb to the top of Mount Hood.
And it's really a stunning to see that Medina from Mount Hood, which the Prophet slice and said is a mountain that he loved, and the mountain loved him. And one of the things that the Chinese say is that sages love mountains. So it's something that many people find great exhilaration in climbing mountains. There's something very powerful about that. If you look at the word and I got this, I was walking with my son one day, and because I walk every day, and I was walking with my son one day, and I mentioned to him that I thought it was very unusual that once you start walking, it's just this natural. One foot just follows the other and we don't really think about it. And the word in
Arabic Masha is defined as to move into our room and mccannon Illa McCann, Dr. Radha, it is to move from one place to another with intention. So there has to be intentionality. And one of the very first things that children do is they learn to walk. It's one of the first major if not the first major accomplishment of a child, and they want to walk, they really desire to walk, they see us walking and they want to walk and they make great effort. In fact, somebody pointed out that it was probably a great blessing that children learn to walk before they learn to talk. Because every time they get up, they stumble. People say oh, you're never going to learn how to do that. If they
understood language. That's one of the things about walking is it takes intentionality. And so I went back and I I wanted to see the word er I wanted to look at it because I realized that might be related to walking, and lo and behold, the word in Arabic for intention. The first form of it means to walk in search of water. So rather you do Rodan and road sounds a lot like road might be just one of those
Interesting coincidences, but are are the means to go out with intention or either the same root word or our the means to go out looking for water. And so the prophets Allah Islam said, US hobby, Rwandan your Quran, Allah your word, they enter into my presence searching for water way through June a dilla. And they leave as guides to that water Shediac in Arabic means the road to water. And so this is what they call in Latin, the Fonz V tie the water of life, the life giving water of salvation. So the prophesy is and what he was saying is, is that they are the ride. And the Prophet described himself as a riot. He's he said, a ride to Lake Tahoe, the man who went out walking in
search of water will never lie to his people, when he where he finds water, because this is a matter of life and death. And so what he was saying was, I am your ride, I am, I'm giving you something that in it is life. And, and it's just fascinating that these words are related to walking. The other interesting thing about walking is that you can only do one step at a time. And this is the way God has made human beings.
He could have created us in a way where whatever was in our mind, we could have just transmitted it to another person in one go. But he made us talk one word at a time. So we can only convey our meaning by one word at a time. In the same way. He made us creatures that have to walk one step at a time. We can't go from one place like be teleported to another place other than in our minds. But we can't do that physically. So there's something about walking that teaches us about progress. And one of the things that we were warned about in the pod lead that the bureau hotwire attache upon do not follow the steps of the devil. In other words, don't go slowly towards decadence. Because that's the
road to decadence. It doesn't you don't go an innocent child does not turn in to a raging criminal. In one instant, it's a slow process. I want to ask my father, do you think that pupils sign with the devil like on the dotted line? He said, No, it's a long series of negotiations. And that's the way it works. Corrupt ability happens slowly. And so walking teaches us that progress is slow. Everything that you do is slow. The Daoists have a beautiful statement that the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. And so that's part of what walking teaches us is that we only walk one step at a time moving towards God. But we should do this consciously, we should do this mindfully.
And so this is really what our tradition is teaching us to walk with intention to talk with intention to be more mindful of our actions to be more aware of what we're doing. And this is done through thicker through mindfulness of God, through mindfulness of the prophetic teaching. And this takes time. It's something that one has to habituate themselves to. And the danger of habituation is, things can become completely formulaic, we go through the motions of prayer, we go through the motions of the supplications. But they've lost their meaning. And that's why being mindful, even coming to the prayer of just trying to get better at your spiritual practice through being more
present. One of the things that CD Amazon rock mentions is that for people that have a lot of distraction in their prayer, they should always begin their prayer before they enter into the prayer by doing the more is attained for the elder brother for up and cut out the verbenas just as a way of being more present. Also, Amazon Rock says in his commentary, that the degree of your presence in prayer is determined by the degree of your presence in your preparation for that prayer. Like in your in your lustration is the Whoo, so actually doing wudu with more presence. A lot of people go through the motions with these things. So these are aspects of our tradition that are really
important and I think lost on a lot of people because there's not enough mindfulness in our lives. So being more mindful on a daily basis, really trying to utilize these tools that are prophesy Sam gave us especially the supplications and we've Alhamdulillah produced a book with the publication's one of the things that the prophesy said when he went out to the masjid he said, along with John Alvey, Nora, Ophelia Sandy Nora, which Alfie but some in our our feeble city Nora, la mujer and, and your meaning or what? She Marlene Nora, and Janet Emami Nora, along with jaaneman. Healthy Nora along with Anjali Nora or Allama Danny Nora. It's a beautiful supplication.
thing that he said every time he went out of his house to the masjid he said oh Allah put in my heart light put in my on my tongue light put in my hearing light put in my sight light put to the right of me light to the left of me light before me light behind me light make me light. And this is why even had a Hey Timmy mentions in his commentary on the Hamza that he didn't cast a shadow that he because that prayer was answered that he was light Salallahu Salam and and but that was a supplication to he said on his way to the masjid when he left his house Bismillah de lado de Roma is Michelle rd, he asks that Allah protected him from any harm. He has a beautiful dua supplication
that he made when he when when he left, which was alone in the EU because of the law or the law, Oh God, I seek refuge in you that I should go astray or lead anybody else astray, that I should be led astray or lead others astray. Oh Zilla Ozanne or that I should trip or be tripped up edge how to Oh huge hallelujah, or other Nemo than me that I should oppress or be oppressed or that I should become angry or others get angry at me. So he would he would set out with these beautiful supplications as reminders in a state of intense mindfulness. So all of these, I think all of these gifts that we've been given, are things Inshallah, that we should try to inculcate in our lives. Amazing books have
been written on this, like the earth car of Iman and Norway and others. So we have access to these we produced for you what one of my teachers she had better real time. But as my was Sudanese scholar, student of a great Muhaddith will may have a he wrote a book of supplications of the prophets, Allah s&m, which he said he wanted to do have a baseline to the world where you would be from the Daiquiri and Allah, the current Kathira, from the people that were mindful of God with with much mindfulness. And so that's the baseline that he puts. So we've produced that and translated that into English, to help all of you become more mindful. So inshallah we hope that we remain in a
state of mindfulness when we're in it, and that we're reminded when we fall into a type of heedlessness of hafla is one of the great calamities of the human species of just being unaware that we are on the doors of infinity, that Allah subhanho wa Taala is real, that the Quran is hack agenda to hack on novel hack. Reality is, his real God is present. And being more mindful of that be more aware of that is something that will illuminate the heart, get you closer to Allah subhanaw taala and free you from a lot of the mental anguish that so many people have, because of their distance from reality. The prophets Allah light is and I'm said Allah Marina del Hapa, haka was open at that,
show me reality as it is, in reality and give me the ability to follow it, what he knew about it about data, or saponins, Tina, and show me falsehood as it is, and give me the ability to avoid it. So our tradition is a tradition of the pursuit of truth, of love, of truth, of love, of goodness, of love of guidance. And so we should constantly ask Allah subhanaw taala for that guidance, we shall ask Allah subhanaw taala Inshallah, to make us mindful, to be people of vicar, to be people of sugar to be people of gratitude. We're living in a time of immense and gratitude, a time of immense entitlement. There are great tidal waves that are about to come upon this planet and people are
completely heedless and unaware that these are the events that happen because of people's heedlessness because of their lack of gratitude, because of their lack of awareness. Reality is real. And anything that comes it's from God, it's it's for, it's for the benefit of human beings, even the great sufferings that occur to this planet are always with an end in mind, always with an end in mind. So I think it's very important for us to wake up to this reality to get closer to this reality, to be people of truth, to be people of justice, to be people of righteousness, to be people that are aware of God, because Allah is real. God is real. The Quran is real. All of these things
are true. We believe them with absolute certainty. And we just need to become grateful servants of the merciful people who walk on the earth with humility. People that walk on the earth, with peace, people that when they are triggered, they simply say peace. This is our religion. This is our faith. And this is our prophets, Elijah. He was the best of creation. He was a guide to humanity. And he was the reminder, he was the one who wanted us to be mindful of reality.
So in sha Allah, we hope that all of you will go out and walk gently on the earth and just experience what's around you experience all this incredible beauty that Allah has created. It's it's everywhere. The birds are aware of it. They're doing they're thicker in the morning in the evening. You can hear them. The frogs are aware of it. The Lions are aware of it. The Eagles are aware of it. They're all aware of it. Even the rocks that prayed, praised God in the hands of our prophets, allies, and they're all aware of it. They're all they all have sentience. And it's the human being that's in this heedlessness, that's keeping them far away from their Lord. So this is a great
blessing to be aware of God shall make us more aware of God. May Allah subhanaw taala inshallah make you all people of remembrance. People have mindfulness pupils, goodness, pupil of charity, and Charlaine. We really thank you for the support of this college. What we're trying to do. Now bless all of you cinematical.