Channel: Nouman Ali Khan
Series: Nouman Ali Khan - A Deeper Look
How Life Can be an Illusion
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In this life, everybody else follows a certain standard for what it means to be successful and what it means to be a failure. But this surah gain and loss have now been redefined entirely.
And I wanted to highlight that a little bit more by way of an analogy. And it's an analogy inspired by the Quran itself. Allah azza wa jal says, well, Maha Hayato dunya, Allah, Allah Wa, la reborn, that worldly life has nothing but play entertainment and a game. You know, in a game, there's pretend, right? Like kids are playing a game, and one kid is going to be the soldier, and one kid is going to be the king, or whatever else. I'm silly story. But I'm reminded, you know, my parents put me in a play when I live in Serbia in elementary school, and I got to be the king. So I'm sitting on the throne. And this other kid is his job is to be the servant is my friend whose job is to be the
servant. So he's going to bring this tray and he's going to serve me orange juice. And halfway through his through the thing, I'll be the king in the play.
So I sat him in my chair, and the play was over. But but the point I'm making is when you're playing around, when you're playing pretend, then you take on roles, right? But that's not really who you are.
In a movie, somebody can be a superhero, or somebody could be, you know, a ruler, a police officer, a criminal, whatever else, but that's not who they really are. When that play is over, then those costumes are off. The fake stuff is often who you are, who you are. This is actually in a sense, the game of life, too. We have certain roles, people think of us a certain way. They have a certain image of us, right? This person is very dignified, very normal, very famous, high ranking, even within the Muslim community, somebody could be thought of as in very high terms, and that's okay. But it may not be the case on Judgement Day. And there may be somebody who's just completely
insignificant, unknown. Nobody knows who they are, or somebody just, you know, sweeps the floor or somebody who's quiet and doesn't socialize anybody, and they're the celebrity on Judgement Day.
They have mountains of good deeds behind them. And it could be people like that, you know, there is allusion to that even in some of the sayings of the Prophet salallahu Alaihe Salam, where he will sometimes allude to a companion and say, This person, guarantee Jana, this person, you know, if you could be like him, and they're like, who? And he pointed somebody in him? We don't even know who he is, well, what does he do? I've never heard him speak. He's never done anything major in public or nothing. What's so great about him. So this to internalize that the standards that people judge by are not the standards Allah judges by and so to Lhasa.
And it's, it's one dimension of that to talk about that is easy, you know, the disbeliever has material gain cars, you know, homes and money and all of these things, and pleasures and all of this stuff. And that's what they see as success and the believers see success differently. That one's obvious. Now, obviously, that is not to us success. You know, the ferroan had the biggest criminal in history. He had the nicest home in history, you know, and he's the ultimate failure. And Ibrahim alayhi salam was literally homeless. He was expelled from his home and he's one of the greatest successes in human history. Our religion is named after him. mulata becoming Brahim right? So we
don't judge by that success but let's talk within the Muslim community. Within even forget even within the Muslim community, within the religious or supposedly religious Muslim community, we take certain appearances, certain status, a certain level of knowledge or demonstration of certain level of knowledge, as a as a consideration that person is more successful. Like so for instance, in many Muslim cultures, if somebody is you know, somebody's got a beard or the longer the beard the more religious they are, the more the closer to Allah they must be. The more traditional clothes they're wearing, the more religious the more the more closer to Allah they must be. You know, if they're
wearing a t shirt and stuff for Allah then but if they're wearing a thong, but Hamdulillah, Masha, Allah Subhanallah, you know, etc, etc. So clothing makes an impression. As a matter of fact, we size people up when they walk into the machine, the way they're dressed, and what their face looks. You know, you can tell this this is this is a person of Taqwa. And this person, this is a person of I don't know what I don't even know why they're in the masjid. Right. So we have and we don't do this verbatim, this goes on in our head. So in the religious sense, also, we consider some people successful and some some people failures. We do that. And we have to undo that too.
We have to undo that too. You know, people have come up to me sometimes and said, You know, I don't even know Arabic and I just feel so bad. Like so well, you don't know Arabic. You're working 20 hours a day providing for your family. You don't have time to study
Allah is not thinking any less of you because you don't know. And you don't have the opportunity. Allah gave you a certain, you know, set of challenges in your life that he didn't give me or somebody else. He's not going to judge you by my standards. But what we do always is we compare ourselves to others, and put ourselves down or up compared to others. Yes, you can take inspiration from others. But don't pass false judgment on yourself in comparison to others. Every one of us has our own magazine, if I meant if you remember, I mentioned that everyone has our own standards, our own challenges, our own struggles. And what this surah is giving us is really a look in the mirror,
the clearest we have to be is not in comparison with somebody else, but really with ourselves. But Lilian son who I don't know if Siva sera, whatever will come as era, right? So that's something that it's every other standard is a mirage. Even if somebody memorizes the Quran, or can recite imperfect that we or people look up to them as a teacher, or a scholar, or famous or whatever else, none of those things may be a criteria for success to Allah.
For Allah, the success criteria, or the criteria mentioned in the Surah, if those things were utilized properly, to further these goals, the ones mentioned in the Surah, then fine. If those things didn't help with any of this stuff, then those things are pointless, they carry no weight, even if they were in appearance, religious, in appearance. But even let's talk about material things. Everything we you know, the Allah says, Without these items, these four items that I haven't yet talked about that are in the Surah, I briefly translated them. Without these minimal criteria. You're in loss. What that means is, unless you put these glasses on these four lenses on and see
life through these four lenses, if you take them off, no matter what you gain, no matter what you achieve, and I achieve. All of it is either a mirage, which means it worked, it was worth nothing in the end.
Or worst case, we were even running what we thought was true after our success, and it was our own destruction. Either it was worthless, or it was our own death and our own destruction. Those are the only two possibilities. You know, lumea Jin hoo che and Majid Allah and the HuFa Jorge Saba, it's a mirage. That's what we're running after these ayat, and this particular the conclusion of the surah is actually there to open our eyes. And to show us everything Oh, by the way, I'm not saying you can't get a nice house or can't live a good life or can't get a good job or can't dress for all of those things are fine. Those things are only fine after this is there. When this isn't there, then
all of that stuff is meaningless, is Allah is doesn't want us to be miserable in this world. He doesn't. He doesn't want us to, you know, even though he created us in toil and labor, he did put many things in this world for the purpose of our own benefit, which are Anala, comfy Hama, Irish, right. He put in this world many things for you to enjoy to live well. He put those there for us. But those things are only a blessing. When we have the right mindset. When we have the right approach to life when we take on the right lifestyle, and after that those things are become a blessing, otherwise they become a curse.