Isn’t it time that you woke up?
ARE YOU LIVING A DREAM? ISN’T IT TIME THAT YOU WOKE UP?
Guest: Nouman Ali Khan
“The Deen Show” with Eddie
Eddie: Bismillah. Alhamdulillah. Assalamu alaikum which means peace be unto you. Welcome to another episode of The Deen Show, we try to humbly help you understand Islam and Muslims. Today we’re gonna be talking about the very important topic. This is something now that is on some of the minds of the more serious people; like people who went through some of the things in life, many people go through, parties…being invited to some of the big social gatherings and being around maybe some of the celebrities, and you know what, they still haven’t figured it out what’s the purpose of life. Now they are thinking and contemplating getting a little more serious. They wanna get serious in life but now, there’s one hurdle, there’s so many different ways out there. You got Tom Cruise calling you to Scientology. You got these people calling you to Christianity and Buddhism, and this is a…and that is a… How do you know which is the correct way of religion? The way of life? The system that God Almighty wants you to live? We’re gonna be talking about that when we come back here on The Deen Show, you don’t go nowhere.
Eddie: Assalamu alaikum?
Nouman: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi.
Eddie: How are you doing brother?
Nouman: Very good, very good.
Eddie: Let me introduce you and I’ll introduce you to another show, so we’re not gonna waste a lot of time there. You are from the Bayyinah Institute. You know the Arabic? That’s the original language that the Quran was revealed. You know what I’m speaking? (Nouman: “I’m a studentof…”) Assalamu alaikum. (Nouman: “Wa alaikum assalam”). Okay you know some Arabic. (Both are laughing). Okay, we’re breaking a little bit of the ice but this is serious.
The guy has been to all the clubs. He sees all the girls but he sees there’s something missing. There’s a void. She’s been sold and she is making lot of money. She’s sick of being used and abused and all these stuff; and people are going to get serious. You know what? But there’s a lot of things out there; a lot of confusion for some people. How do they find out what is…there’s a lot of us to know. Look! That there is a Creator. How is it that there are so many different ways? And which is the correct one? Talk to us.
Nouman: First, let’s walk through the “Thought Process” of someone who comes to the right conclusions. They already recognized that this world was not created without a purpose; that the intricate creation of even ourselves down to our very fingertips is something that is very profound and amazing. So it couldn’t be that this has been designed without an agenda or a cause or a purpose. They acknowledged that there is a Creator who designed this in such perfection. And any decent human being…one characteristic of decency is gratitude. When somebody does you a favor, it’s human decency that you wanna thank them. It would be very indecent and inappropriate of you…that you had a flat tire, somebody came and helped you out and you just turned the other way and walked away, or drove off. It’s not appropriate. It’s not common decency.
Human beings have a sense of common decency across religions and cultures. So when you realized that there is a Creator, you realized that He has created you in such a powerful way and he has given you abilities that He has not given to any other creatures. And He has given you all of these faculties, not just physical faculties which are amazingly enough. None of us paid for our eyes, and none of us bought our hands and you are doing…they were just given to us, and there are so many others that don’t have these things. So one acknowledges, first of all, that these things were given to him or her without having to pay for them. And on top of that, their sustenance – water, the air they breathe, the family they enjoy, the house – whatever they may have – it’s been poured upon from all directions with all sources of favors that none of us have to pay for it. It’s just kind of handed out to them. So the very least decent person will, in some way in their mind, they wanna be grateful. So even you’ll find the people that aren’t very religious, if they went to championship, they will say “Ah, thank God.” There is some sense of decency. But in addition, there’s also a sense of appreciation, in addition to praise or rather gratitude, just phrase and appreciation. Meaning, He didn’t just help us. He helped us in such a profound way in His creation and in His creative power, so incredible! Just the vastness of this universe if you ever ponder over that. Just look at the sky; just look at its flawless end to end. That in itself will make you, “Ah, the creative power of this One Creator.” We’re not even get a name yet. We acknowledged then that this Creator who may have a purpose…who is the best person or the best individual or entity rather that can tell me my purpose? Think about this. If I made this cup, well, I made it for a purpose. The manufacture of something, manufacture something for a reason. You make a car, so it drives. You build a house to live in it. So when human beings construct something, design something, then there’s a purpose in mind for what’s their design.
So when you acknowledge there’s a Creator and He created me and He created me quite well, with this profound intellect that He gave me and all these faculties and abilities – then what purpose do I have? Will you gonna find that purpose when you go back to the manufacturer? You go back to the Creator to find your purpose, you can’t figure it out yourself, you have to ask Him because He is the One who designed you. So you acknowledged that you are actually…this Lord that’s over you, the One who’s been providing for you and sustaining you and taking care of you, just like He is the Lord of anyone else; He’s the only One who can dictate your purpose. But you also come to another powerful conclusion, that up until now, in your life, maybe you are 25 years old. For 25 years of your life, you didn’t live up to your purpose because you don’t even know what it was. So you are in violation of your purpose. Now let’s take a step back. If you have …you know… if I own a computer and it doesn’t do what I wanted it to do. Like it crashes, I can chop it out, I can throw it away. I own it. I want it for a purpose; it didn’t fit for that purpose, so I got rid of it. Back in the old days, some farmer gets a cow, it stops giving milk. He got it for the purpose of giving milk, it stops giving milk. What does he do? He slaughters the cow. But you come to the conclusion that you were created for a purpose. There’s a Lord over you…don’t expect that you live up to your purpose. For these 25, 20, 19, 18 whatever years of your life, you’ve been violating that purpose because you didn’t even know there was a purpose. You didn’t even acknowledge it. But did He punish you for it? This is for example; one of your purposes is, one thing under your purpose is not to lie, for example. Every time you lied, was it lightning that struck from the sky and cut your tongue off? Or every time you stole, did your hands just fall off? Or every time you engaged in something evil, something wrong, did you experience the punishment right away? NO! He let you go. He let us slide. He keeps letting us slide. And human beings are like that. When we expect something from someone, like an employee. If I hired you to be my accountant and I expect you to show up at 9 o’clock and you don’t show up for 4 weeks. And then you showed up at the fifth week at 3 pm. Where’s my paycheck? Then you’ve already been fired. So you acknowledged you are in violation and then this Lord of yours is far more merciful than anyone else you ever experienced. His Mercy is unimaginable. But then you also realized, as unimaginable as His Mercy is. If I’ve come to this conclusion that I don’t know my purpose or I haven’t sort out my purpose and I’ve been getting away with it all this time, is it okay if I should just forget about this purpose? And continue and not to think about this anymore? And move on? If I reached, if I’ve come this far in my thought, then I should realize that He knows that I’ve come to this conclusion. He knows that I realized I should be looking for my purpose. So if I stop my search here and say: “Ah, I’m thinking too deep.” Then I’ll go back to the life of partying, then there will be consequences. I will have to pay for everything that I did.
So once you reached this “Thought Process” up to here, so what’s your next step? You turn to this Creator, this mysterious Creator that you didn’t get to know and you declare one thing to Him. I acknowledge that you are my Creator; I acknowledge that I am supposed to be in service to You. Whatever I do in this life is supposed to live up to your purpose that you set for me, but I cannot fulfill that purpose on my own because I don’t know where to start. I don’t have anything. So even if I want to serve You, how am I going to do so unless you help me.
So in so far, you would mean the “Thought Process.” First, there was appreciation. Then there was this amazing mercy that emerged in science so far. Then there was the idea that there’s gonna be consequences, so you better get your act together. Then there’s the idea that you’re asking …I’m gonna worship You, I wanna turn to You, I wanna give myself to You, and I need Your help. So now when you’re asking for direction, ask Him for Guidance. You ask Him the clear Straight Way that you are going to live your life – which will also come to another conclusion – if in fact He is this Merciful and if in fact this is the Truth – then you can’t be the only one. This must have happened before you. There must have been people before that asked for this Guidance sincerely. And there must have been people that were given this Guidance. So you ask Him, instead of being left out on your own, you ask Him to show you a Path that other people have already walked, people that He favored upon. And there must be other people who asked for that Path (now listen to this carefully). They asked the path, they got the path. It’s just like me asking you a direction then you gave me directions but I didn’t follow those directions. That’s such a person who asks for the favor, gets the favor and then disregards the favor. He’s someone who the Creator must be very angry with. You know there’s a person who didn’t even get the favor but there’s a person who got the favor and then disregarded it …saw the Truth and then put it aside, this person is worthy of the Lord’s Wrath. And then finally there’s that person who asked for the favor, got that favor or received that favor but then mixed his own thoughts and desires into that favor. God gave him Guidance, He gave him the Truth, He gave him clarity – but he didn’t like everything that he heard. So he put something on his own in there and became lost.
Now this “Thought Process” that I am explaining to you is actually the reason I went into this route is … because this is the “Thought Process” of the Quran, the first Surah. The first Surah of the Quran is actually the “Thought Process” of someone seeking the Truth.
We say “ALHAMDULILLAHI RABBIL ALAMIN.” The first thing, praise and gratitude belong to Allah, the Lord of all the peoples of the worlds, all the worlds. So we talked about all praise and gratitude.
We say “AR-RAHMANIR RAHIM.” The unimaginably exceedingly merciful, constantly merciful. So this was a mercy part.
But then we say “MALIKI YAWMIDDIN.” The Master of the Day of Judgment. There’s gonna be consequences if I try to take advantage of His Mercy.
Then we talked about, you’re reaching the conclusion, you wanna worship Him. “IYYAKA NA’BUDU.” We worship only You. But we can’t worship Him ourselves; we have to need help. So “WA IYYAKA NASTA’IN.” We seek Your help. What help specifically do we seek? GUIDANCE.
So what’s the next Ayah? “IHDINAS SIRATAL MUSTAQIM.” Guidance to and along the Straight Path. Then we said this Path must not lead us alone. There are other people that had gone this road before. So we asked to find the road of those who have succeeded before us, the Path those whom You favor, not those who earned Your Wrath, not of those who went astray.
So this “Thought Process” is what we are asking people to consider. It’s universal. I didn’t take you to the Quran first. I showed you the logic of that Path first. Once you understand this Path, nothing I have said is directly said, except Islam. All I’m saying is, be sincere to the Creator, be grateful to Him, accept Him as your Lord. Ask Him to show you the Path, sincerely. And ask Him to show you those who walked down this Path before and succeeded; and to keep you away from those who walked down this Path but then got lost, they went astray or earned Allah’s wrath.
Now for people who are seeking this Truth, what is the measuring instinct? The first measure is your own conscience. That’s the first measure. The second measure is, if in fact, it is from God, then it has to meet one primary standard. And that primary standard is…there can be no one between me and the worship of that One True God. Nobody in the middle. There can be those who show me that Path. But I’m not gonna worship these people that are showing me the Path. I will let them to teach their teachings to get to the Path because they may be the ones Allah favored, just like I asked to show me some role models, some guides. So these are people are role models, not ones to be worshipped, not gods, but rather to be looked up as role models. So this sincere attitude, this measure instinct, with this standard, when you try to seek a Path and you’re just trying to figure out. What is it that’s out there? What things the people are calling towards? And you find… and in that quest, when we asked you humbly to consider, just sincerely look at Islam, sincerely look at the Quran. What is it asking you to do? What is it asking you for? What is it demanding from people? You will find essentially saying one thing, “We created you for a purpose.” And Allah says: “WA MA KHALAQTUL JINNA WAN-INS ILLA LIYA’BUDUN.” We didn’t create human being except that they should worship Me.
Eddie: What’s the “We” here when you say we? So people are…
Nouman: That specific Ayah is “I” actually. “I” didn’t create…but in the Quran, “We” is used as a royal “We.” What that means is…
Eddie: People might think coz they might come over from a Christian background…when we say Trinity, is there anything to do…?
Nouman: No, to understand that better…in the Quran, when God is exceptionally merciful or angry, He says “I.” Put the analogy even though there is no power but to Allah. But in language, if you think of a king…a king normally speaks of himself in royal terms: “We have declared. This is our land.” …and commoner kneel before us. So the king speaks of himself in royal terms. This is true in Semitic culture. But when a king is exceptionally angry, like some guy comes up to him in a disrespect way? You dare speak to me like this? He goes from “We” to what? ME. So the singular “I” is used in the Quran in cases of anger and also in cases of mercy. Whenever Allah is talking about His Royalty, His Majesty, His Kingship, His Dominion, His Provision, His grand things, then you’ll find the word “We” so it’s not in the literal sense, it’s in the sense of royalty. And as a proof that it’s not literally “We” is that the Quran uses the word “He” for God, Huwa, He … but there’s no mention of “They.” You see “I” and “We” is first person but “He” is third person. So if this was truly plural, then you will find plural in the third person.
Eddie: So this is the One God, not the three in one god, absolutely One God who created all of us. And this is the God that we need to ask for guidance as you are saying. How do we get people to see the urgency of this? Some people say: “You know what? I went into my 40, 50…when I get a little gray hair, I still have some time, I wanna chase the girls. I wanna look good for the boys. I wanna hang out. Is this a good thing people are doing, delaying?
Nouman: You know from the Islamic point of view, all human beings are rich in one asset – TIME. The sick, the healthy, the man, the woman, the wealthy, the poor, the educated, the uneducated … everybody has one thing that they have some authority over – it’s TIME. Now, that time is constantly being taken away from us; our bodies are withering, slowly maturing, we can’t help our growth. And as we are getting older, our bodies are decaying, and we can’t help that. We can’t stop it. We can’t slow it down if you try but you can’t stop it. And we’re all running in the stream of time nobody can run backwards. Everybody is headed forwards.
“INNAKA KADIHUN ILA RABBIKA KADHAN…” You are marching forward just like the imagery of those escalators? You’re standing on it, there’s no going back. You gonna keep going straightforward, forward, forward. Now, Allah swears by that time that you and I are running out of. And He says one thing: “No doubt every single human being is drowning in loss. So now think about this. Allah, the Quranic view, the Islamic view, f or all human beings, I don’t care if you are rich or poor, wealthy or not, famous or not, it doesn’t matter. All human beings, no matter what their worldly life is like, no matter how much they think they are enjoying themselves. The Quran says: “They are drowning in loss.” To help you understand this imagery…when I explained this to children, I use these images, it helps a lot. Imagine that you are drowning, but you’re in a sleep, you are unconscious. First of all, do you have a lot of time? You’re drowning and unconscious, you don’t have a lot of time. TIME is a big asset here, so you gonna take care of yourself immediately. But what is the first thing you have to do to have any hope of saving yourself? For a person who is subconscious and drowning, what’s the first step? You have to wake up. If you don’t wake up, there’s no discussion of anything else. You gonna wake up. Now, imagine that you dream is … life is good, it’s all green, everything around is wonderful. You’re partying. You’re living it up. You got all the time in the world … but that’s a dream! The reality is…you’re actually drowning. Now when you are drowning and you wake up. Let’s say, you do wake up, and you realized in fact that you are drowning but that was a dream. This is reality! Reality is actually unseen and what you see around is deception. When you come to that conclusion, then necessarily the persons who were drowning, whether they know how to swim or not, they gonna flap their wings and try to get off the water. They gonna do whatever in their capacity.
We said in the beginning discussion, the person who truly seeks guidance says: “I want to worship You. I want to do something. I don’t know what to do. Show me what to do on how to get out of this water.” Then this person starts flapping away, trying to get out of this water. But this attempt to get out of your drowning state will not happen unless you do one thing first. You wake up! When you wake up to … what’s the reality? The TIME is running out. That is the ultimate loss of all human beings – it’s TIME.
And people who think they have all the time in the world. And Allah speaks of this. There’s a person whose attitude is YAHSABU ANNA MALAHU AKHLADAH. He thinks his money is gonna give him eternal life. He thinks his money is gonna last him forever. There are people who build their houses and mansions and they … … … they can’t even walk from one room to the other without help. How’s enjoying in that mansion? So there’s this false hope that this world brings with it; and people get completely suck into it and forget to open their eyes. The dream is too sweet. If for a moment your eyes have opened, don’t let them shut again. The last thing I’ll say about this (which is really important) is … there’s a poet who used an analogy of this reality, I mean, think about it, we are saying that all human beings are running out of time and they better get their act together. Otherwise, they’re really in serious trouble, but do you see the trouble? NO. We can’t see with our eyes. It’s only gonna be visible to you as soon as your eyes close forever. You go into that ground and now you see what you did. But for now, you don’t see it. The poet complains. He says: “I’m in the middle of the ocean and hanging on to a raft and it’s raining and I’m being expected not to get wet.” And now you tell me what the poet is talking about. The poet is talking about as you live in this world, as soon as you step out of your house, as soon as you turn on the TV or search the web, there are things that you are bombarded with that you want it…cars, house, girls, men …whatever it may be. Different desires are being pushed and blasted into you … billboards everywhere … ads everywhere … the talk of money and what to do with it? What to get? What not to get? And career, and this and that. You’re constantly being blasted with what’s you wanna get. And your people are convincing you this is success. If you have this, you’ll have success. Tell me something, if you are in a room that is on fire or you’re drowning and somebody comes and talks to you about what kind of car you wanna get? Or what kind of house you wanna live in? Or when you gonna get your next promotion? Doesn’t that sound crazy? Before you talk about success, you have to talk about survival. We are saying, yes we want you to succeed but before the discussion of success even becomes relevant, you have to make sure you’re doing what? SURVIVAL. That’s the Quran’s picture. The imagery I just showed you is actually in Surat Al-Asr. Allah swears by time. All human beings are drowning in loss except those who believe (believing is like waking up) and do righteous deeds and then it goes to another discussion. What they do next after that?
Eddie: We’re almost out of time. Give us … the people, the people who are watching, who are sincere, who are honest with themselves. And you know what; you gave them the first thing that they can do. Ask the Creator alone for that guidance, for that instruction on how to live their lives. Give us some more of the formula that people can follow to find the Truth and to be honest.
Nouman: First of all, when we talked about the loss of time just a few minutes ago…this search and this effort takes time. You have to sincerely put time into doing this. You have to take yourself away from the distractions and delusions that take you away from this quest. And sincerely you have to look at another dimension of a formula, if you will, is a kind of religion in which in its text, in its sacred literature, there are some obvious things aren’t there. And what are some obvious things? Racism, injustice against people, tyranny, oppressions …these things aren’t there…from the very get go. And there isn’t some like dark history that comes with the religion. You were saying: “Yah, it’s there. But that’s not a big deal.” No, it has to be a religion that appeals to the human decency. And this is what we are arguing in the Quran. Nowadays, in Islam, there’s a lot of propaganda about certain misconceptions that are highlighted and propagated. My claim, with full confidence, is every one of those allegations that are made of Islam being inhumane, or being intolerant or anything else…If you study them with more sincerity and they are presented properly to you without any wavering doubt, in true honesty, I don’t see any decent human being would say this doesn’t make sense. They would say it makes sense, because what God reveals is better for us and it appeals to our human decency.
This is the essence of the matter but in the end, my final advice would be (and this is the last part of it) if you sincerely ask for guidance, be ready for what you get. It may not be something you like. You may have to give up your desires for it because you’re not the one in the position of making demands. He is the one who places the demands, you accept them. Don’t think of a religion that…”Why is God not telling me what I wanna hear? Why I don’t get to do what I want to do?” It’s not about you. You already acknowledged you owe him gratitude. He doesn’t owe you anything. So be sincere and submissive in your search. So when you find the Truth, you submit to it. You put your ego before it and you put it on the ground basically. And you give them to the Lord of the worlds.
Eddie: Thank you very much. Jazakallahu khairan. And we hope to see you back here again on The Deen Show. And we like to thank you for spending your time for another episode of The Deen Show, we hope you got the benefit. He has given us the formula, very simple; ask the One who created to guide you and be ready to submit to what he tells you to do, it’s very simple. We come back here every week on The Deen Show. We hope to see you next time. Till then. Assalamu alaikum. Peace be unto you.