Channel: Saad Tasleem
ICNA-MAS 2017 Convention
When I was in
college, to diva
Delta also placed in Santa Monica with a blogging workout.
Okay, to start off with I want to tell you where this question actually originated from when it comes to me in my my personal life. Now some of you may have heard this story before, so I apologize if you're hearing this story for the second time or third time. But for me this question like the first time I ever heard this question of why does God need us to worship Him? or Why does God need us to obey Him? or Why does God need us to pray and so on and so forth. I was while I was in college, and I believe it was like my junior year in college, I had recently started practicing Islam. And that's often say, for me is almost like accepting Islam. Not almost like actually do
consider myself sort of acceptance them made the conscious decision to take my Shahada, but that's beside the point. But yeah, so I was a junior in college. And in one of my classes,
the class was about two or three hour long class. And there were just a few breaks. And during that semester, the Muslim prayer evening prayer fell, right in the middle of class. And so at the beginning of the semester, I went to my professor said, Hey, listen, I'm Muslim. And we have like, this evening prayer that is obligatory obligatory upon us. And like, I have to I don't have a lot of time to pray. So would you be okay with me, like stepping out for a couple minutes? And going outside and praying? And his response was, yeah, of course, like, no problem, not a big deal. But then he added to that, he said, yeah, that's fine. But I don't get it. I'm like, What do you mean,
why don't you get? And he says, I don't I don't understand your your God, or in any later on what say, I don't understand the concept of God. I said, Why? He said, Well, it just seems odd to me, is that you believe your God to be all powerful, Almighty? And yet, with all of that, why would he need you to pray? To begin with, then, you know, pray at a specific time, and a specific type of prayer. Like if God is all powerful? If God is, you know, above and beyond the creation, right, then why does he need that from you? And not really, like stopped me in my tracks. And you know, obviously, at that point, I had very limited Islamic knowledge. I heard a couple of lectures and this and that,
but I, I knew like my fifth thought, we're going to talk about fifth antologia. But deep down inside, I knew that this prayer, it makes sense to me, like it made sense that, I guess that's pretty much it is, it's three other cars. And this is the time, and that actually makes me feel good. But I didn't know how to respond to my professor. And I was like, Yeah, I don't know. Like, that's just the way it is. And I like, stepped out. And I remember years later,
when, you know, one increases in their knowledge, and they get a better a better understanding of the dean almost kind of have to add it up. And you get a better understanding of some of theology, and some of these topics are discussed. And then later on, I remember the day when I was going over, like a broader concept. And the answer clicked for me, right? Like, I finally understood why that was the case. And like I said, like I before, years before I knew that was I knew that was the right thing to do. And then I knew my next my soul was was okay with it. But I didn't know how to explain this to my teacher or my professor. And the reality is, that the answer to that question is that God
doesn't need us to worship Him. God doesn't need us to obey a lot doesn't need us to do anything. As a matter of fact, they're out of love and that is far removed from having needs from us. So why then has God told us or commanded us to worship at a specific time or at a specific place? You know, things like remote on hedge, right? Why is it that I can't make a robot in Baltimore? Why can't I go to the Orioles stadium and say, You know what, I'm just gonna go off around here.
And my intention is to how does the worship of love? And why does God care? Like, why does God care if I worship upon that specific time with that specific place. And so as I said, last time, it doesn't need from us to worship, a lot doesn't need from us to pray in a specific time, a lot doesn't need for us to fast during the month of Ramadan. However, of course, hello to Allah has created us. And Omar has created us with certain needs. Some of them some of those needs are fairly obvious, right? We all understand that as human beings, we have the need to eat, drink, right, provide nutrition for our bodies, and without that we're not going to survive, right, we all
understand that. We have emotional needs. We have social needs, right? We're created to be social beings, like that's the default, most of us, apart from a few of us who belong to like the introvert camp, but most of us out, we need to socialize, we need to be around other people, we need to be communal beings. And even, you know, I'll call myself an introvert, but even myself, like there are certain times where you need you can't be by yourself, right? It's not, it's not totally healthy, to just spend time by yourself. So that is why, for example, even the issue of being a communal being or needing, having social needs, even that is built into the last. You know, there's no introverts
and extroverts, all of us, we go pick them up, whether we like it or not, right, we have to interact with other people, that's part of our theme. And so those needs are, you know, we understand that they need to be fulfilled, and we understand that if we don't fulfill those needs, then we're gonna feel like something is missing from our lives, right? Something is off. And I'll just give you like a quick example of talking about being social beings, the need for intimacy, the need for companionship, there's a big push these days to say, you know, what,
marriage is just like an outdated Institute, we really need to get married, like in 2017. Like, who cares? Right, we're beyond that. There's no real need for that. But the reality is that with all the challenges of marriage, and I can tell you, as someone who's been been in a position that I've, you know, had to counsel couples, and so on, and so forth, there are so many challenges when it comes to being married. And I often tell, especially young people, like marriage is probably one of the hardest things you're going to do in your life. Right? Most of us, if we look at our lives, and the struggles and trials that we've been through, a lot of us lead a pretty easy life, right, we don't
have too many hardships handed up. But for us, I would say, you know, marriage is one of probably the most difficult and trying things that you're going to go through. Yet, with all of that, marriage cannot be thrown out of the picture. Right? Because we need that companionship, we need that intimacy, and we're not going to feel whole A lot of times, right, or we may be losing out on certain aspects or realizing we may be feeling like something is missing from our lives, if we don't have that companionship, if we don't have that intimacy with someone. And that's another topic of why relationships and all that. And, you know, let's be pragmatic errors, people feel the need to be
intimate with someone they feel they need to be close to someone and that's, you know, that's why sometimes people go down the wrong path. But the point is, this is something that we realize. So also, when it comes to our spirituality, when it comes to our spiritual selves, we have spiritual needs, whether we acknowledge them or not, doesn't matter. Because a lot has created us as beings that have spiritual needs. And until and unless we fulfill those spiritual needs, what's gonna happen? Well, we're gonna feel like something is missing, something is off something is not quite there.
And that is one of the wisdoms behind the last kind of era legislating acts of worship, because it was kind of to Allah created us and he knows that we have those spiritual needs. And so it was kind of it has set the bare minimum for us. So in terms of like, Okay, if I need to feel spiritually close to my Lord, if I need my spiritual needs fulfilled, what do I need to do? And it was kind of out, it tells us here are, this is your this is your lower limit. Without these basics. Without these things, you're going to feel like something's missing in your life. And you know what those basic things are, you know what those bare minimums are? Those are our five. Those are the mountains
that was upon us. So when we think about our five daily prayers,
that's not extra. That's the bear
Minimum we need to survive as spiritual beings, when we talk about fasting 30 days, approximately out of the out of the year, that's not an extra g that we do, we don't do that we do that for our knifes, we do that for our soul, because that's the bare minimum that we need it. I know somebody who felt this, right when 11 months go by, and we're like, you know, for 10 months, past a month.
And that, you know, we've been around the corner. And if you have previously spelt as felt the spirituality of Homo Bon, sometimes your neffs craves that, even if you may not, even if you may be like, you know what, this year, the fasts are gonna be really long. And I'm working on a full time job now or, you know, whatever, like, it was so difficult on me, you may be saying that, but there's a part of your nuts, that says, you know, what, 11 months have gone by, and you haven't fasted any of these signals, you haven't done any of you know, up fast. So at the bare minimum, you need to fast these 30 days, or 29 days from the month of Ramadan. Our next our soul recognizes, and the
prophets of I send them told us about this a very long time ago, he said, couldn't do that.
He said, Every newborn child is born upon their fifth been born with a natural inclination, and natural inclination towards was, number one, we as Muslims believe that every human being is born with a natural inclination towards good, or goodness, right, the concept of we're born evil, we're born bad. And we need someone, for example, to sacrifice themselves for us, and therefore cleanse us of our sins or whatever other you know, argument you want to use. We don't believe that we believe that we are naturally good and pure human beings. So yes, we make mistakes, we sin, and we have faults, and we have shortcomings and all that. And that's why the door of Toba and repentance is
open to a loss of data. And that's why the door of repentance and and seeking forgiveness is so very, very important. That is why the prophets have
said that if mankind stop sinning, that was kind of to Allah would remove mankind and bring another creation, that would sin that would make mistakes and seek a loss forgiveness alone forgive them. You know, there's already a type of being that was created. That doesn't seem like that's done. And you know, those are the angels. And this is why you know, we have this famous story of pentacles Oh, good luck there. who one day is heard complaining excuse, he's calling himself a hypocrite. And by the way, at the time, the person said no, to refer to anyone as a hypocrite was a very, very, very big deal. After the party second knew exactly who the hypocrites were in Medina, for some didn't go
out and single people out and call these people out. Right? It's a very serious charge to say, you know, so and so is a hypocrite, but humble is standing out one day, saying out loud enough?
or How long has committed hypocrisy and don't get locked in it? He hears this he gets worried like, Why are you calling yourself a hypocrite? And he says, The reason why I feel like a hypocrite is because when I went the Prophet said a lover, I didn't even send them. He says it's as if I can see Heaven and Hell right in front of me.
Meaning what? meaning is the moment the love was faith, or the strength of his faith
is at a very high level. And I often ask people, you know, I tell the story of Hello. How would your faith be? If you can envision heaven? And hell, right? If you can actually visualize Heaven and Hell? And the answer is most of them said, you know, my, the mountains get very high. Because now Heaven and Hell are just that real free, and I can see them. Like, I'd be at a very high level. Well, that's why if you've ever attended a talk, or somebody talks about the description of the Hellfire, or the description of Jedi man, they'll send you an email boost, right? Like, I feel so close to God. I'm like, I'm dedicated and motivated to worship of God.
But that is how it says that's how I feel. When I went the profits. I said that however, he says, when I go home, I get busy, and my family and my kids and my business, and I don't feel that way anymore.
So there's, there's something missing there. And so he says, because of that wavering, I feel like I can predict and move eclipses, you know, I feel the same way. So they go to the person who said no, to ask him what to do like this really hypocrisy to feel that way. And the problem is subtle, but but he said that when he hears, tell him how he feels. He says, Oh hamdulillah if you were to continue to be in that state at all times, meaning the state that you're in when you're with me, you continue to envision having to help you get a very high level email at all times. That
The angels themselves would descend from the heavens and come to your house and shake your hand even if you're sitting in your bed. Why? Because then you just be an angel. But the verses that have said,
Oh, how about Saturn was that you said an hour and an hour, meaning there's a time when your email is gonna feel high. And there's time when your email is going to feel low. And that is a natural, that's the natural part of being a human being, yes, we're created as beings that are inclined towards good, but that doesn't mean that we are perfect. So that's what our fifth thought is, we have a natural inclination towards good, we also have a natural inclination, and this can fall under good or goodness. But we have a natural inclination to recognize that we have a creator, and a natural inclination to recognize that since we have a soul creator, that only heaps of handling data
deserves to be worshipped. And so our soul recognizes that. And that's why if you've ever seen someone, accept Islam, for seeing someone in the moments where they where they first take their Shahada,
the, you know, just from the outside, you don't know what's happening in their heart. But even from the outside, you see this feeling of elation. Right? They're extremely happy. So people, you know, they're crying on joy. And if you were to ask this person who reverted to Islam or accepted Islam, how did you feel when you took your Shahada, I know revert to say, I've never in my life felt that way. Meaning even after the snaps have had a lot, right, even after being listened to nothing was able to replace that feeling. And sometimes that was our downfall, by the way, that, you know, we except this time when we start practicing Islam, and we're always searching for that very intense
spiritual moment. And if we don't get that intense moment, I realized, like, maybe there's something wrong with myself. Right? It is very, it is impossible to duplicate that feeling almost impossible. Because what happened to them in those moments is that knifes went from living a life that was out of sync with one's natural inclination, it goes from being out of sync, to clicking and being in sync in that moment. And that put your enough clicks in, and your life now matches with your fifth, of course, it's a very intense spiritual moment. It's a very, it's a, it's an intense spiritual experience. That is what it is. And that is how we are created. And so it was kind of out of because
he has given us those spiritual needs that need to recognize the need to worship a law, that is what was permitted, has also given us the bare minimum,
and they'll present to you this. Someone says, okay, we need to pray five times a day. That's fine. That's okay.
But why? Two records, and then four,
and then four?
And then three cars? And then four guys? You know, y'all know what I'm talking about? Yeah. What are we talking about? About the car? So hopefully, we know this gentleman's
Why, why so specific? And often give the example of
a personal trainer? Do you have any personal changes in your body chance? By the way?
No one single no single personal trainer? Maybe person shy? Maybe?
Has anyone here, okay, I'm not gonna ask you to raise your hands. Right? It doesn't really, really work out. Well. If you've ever been to a personal trainer, or you've been to a nutritionist, and you say to them, Listen, I want to make some changes in my life. I want to become healthier. I want to lose some weight, whatever it may be, right? What is the personal trainer tell you? Are they like, Hey, man, here's what you need to do.
Eat less and workout more? And then they're like, peace out?
Are you gonna be like, Oh, thank you. That's the advice video my whole life. And now I can make changes. I know, we all know that. That's like the basics, right? That we all understand that. Right? You want to lose weight, eat less the workout more.
But the personal trainer doesn't do that. Right? Yeah. And that's the that's the overlying principle, or that's the overtime theme. But that's not why we would pay the personal trainer. Why do we pay personal trainers, because they say to us, okay, so you need to eat X amount of calories a day. You need to stay away from this. You need to eat more of this. You need to workout three times a week. You need to lift weights on Mondays and Wednesdays and whatever Fridays and you need to do cardio five days out of a week out of the week. Right? And now someone who could technically reply the personal trainer, so specific with me, like why does it matter? Right, just be like, just tell
me to workout just like workout three days out of the week. Well what happens when we leave those open ended goals for people?
Well, usually what happens is
Someone says workout three days a week, we're gonna do that. Okay, wait the first day. I get him tomorrow. And we the second day, tomorrow, and a third day. Yeah, do it tomorrow. Anyway, the fourth day of like, that's getting close. So maybe we'll push ourselves to work on the last three days of the week, maybe. And then the next week comes along, and we procrastinate and procrastinate and what happens, eventually we let it go. That's one of the reasons why personal pages are so specific. When it
was the highest example of lowest penalty, it knows our nature. Allah knows that if he left us to be like, Hey, you know what, you just need to be more spiritual. What would we do? We'd be like, yeah, I think I need to do more yoga.
I think I need to smoke some pot, right? Like, that's some people's definition of spirituality. Right? Like, how do you how are you some people? They're like, yeah, I'm a very spiritual person. Oh, really? Wouldn't you? Yeah, like, so I do yoga, and I smoke pot. And I, you know, I like I don't I'm diggin, for example. Not saying that. I'm gonna say like, that's their definition of spirituality. And that's it.
But does that fit in line? Does that work with our pitfall?
Not necessarily. And so it was kind of data gives us that bare minimum number one, and it was kind of knows that we need those specifics. There are those amongst us? Who, what it doesn't have, we don't even think about our printers. And why is that something to be happy about. Because it's just like this plug and play. And we're like, 190, I don't need to worry about my spirituality, because a lot has defined for me, my spirituality. And that is why By the way, it is such a serious deal for someone to come and say here, this is part of this done, you should do this, when that is not something that was printed out of tacos, or not something that the prophet SAW sent them taught us.
And that's why I sent him said, Man, I didn't know how to manage submit, from what what, whoever brings something new into this matter of ours, our motto being what our spirituality.
Whoever brings something new into this matter of ours, that has not already from it may not given to us by the prophet said a lot. I said no.
Now what happens to it? Well, in terms of the outcome in terms of reward, and almost pantalla, is rejected. Because our spirituality is not defined by us. And if I were to leave, if we were to leave spirituality up to us, what would happen? Well, every single person in this room, I think, I'm sure if that definition of what is considered worship, what is considered an act of worship was considered to be though, we could all come up with our own ways of worship, maybe a brother would stand up, and start jumping up and down, and be like,
excuse me, I'm not alone.
And somebody else will start like turning around and somebody else, like, who knows, right? We all come up with our own forms of worship. But a lot of our Creator knows what is best for us. And sometimes, you know, when our relationship but it was kind of tough.
Sometimes, and I know we don't do this on purpose. But sometimes, we're really areas in our relationship
that we think we know, or we should know, the reason for every single thing that happens in the world. We should have, we should have an answer for every single thing. And if we don't, then it means that you know what, there's something wrong with Allah. But there's something wrong with the deen of Islam, or the whole concept of God is messed up. And I often tell young people I know anything isn't as popular. I know, it's fun to think about what I'll be completely real with you. I'll be completely honest.
Just don't tell your uncle's I said this, but I'll be honest with you. atheism sounds pretty fun.
Right? Like, it sounds like a great time. Right? Why? Because you do whatever you want to do.
As long as it feels good to you. Right? Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow, tomorrow, you're gonna die. That seems like a really good monitor. Right? Like all these rules and obligations and so on so forth. Anybody got something I
like to just live my life and I know, I know. I know, that's very enticing.
But you know what?
That's where it stops. I can tell people to envision a life without spirituality.
Like no matter what issues you have with this law, with your prayer or not or what issues you have with your job, no matter what issues you have with your fasting or whatever or certain obligations in the law or sister You know, with a job or a mother with this, whatever specific issues you have with Athena was handed down or whatever doubts or problems or whatever or whatever problems you may see what is now a margin in life without spirituality, because that is a variable
Very dark way to live your life where there is no spiritual connection.
Think about your moral compass, think about your moral code, what defines your moral code at that time? And what people will respond to that and say, What are you saying that if I don't believe in God, then I'm just going to be a bad person? No, that's what we're saying. And that wouldn't even make sense. Because even if you don't believe in God, there's still a part of your fifth which is there. Right? So there's, there's intrinsically, you're going to know, without a lot of things you're going to know right from wrong. But there's a lot of things that you may not
know. So it's either your fifth row and then whatever is left over, we go back to maybe what's popular, right, if society deems it to be okay, or like, yeah, that's okay. And let's just look at history, right? How's that worked out for people? How did that work out for the Nazis in Germany?
Right, because at that time, it was popular, it was accepted as socially acceptable to believe that Jews were less than human, that it's okay to kill Jews and put them in gas chambers and so on so forth. We will get today, where, you know, our minds are like, We're going crazy. Now we're like, how does a section of America
they hold whole section of him are hardly Okay, with believing that all Muslims are terrorists. Right. But like, there's, there's no way like any logical person who thinks about that matter. It doesn't make sense. But just do the math. And I know, like, we've done the math is like point 00, whatever, 1% or whatever, a Muslim that will actually do something which is violent, right, but it's popular, it's popular at that time. So we can't revert back to what's popular. And that is why we have in each part of town. That is why we have a need for the deen of Allah. And so the thing, last thing, I'll leave you with this Intel, what
is that? Remember, in the end of the day, we are limited. And it was partly to Allah has created this as limited beings. And that is one of the ways that we appreciate a lot of the greatness of us.
Because we are limited by its own many matters. Each and every one one of us sitting us sitting here in this room, we look at life and the things happening the world through a certain lens, our life experiences, what we've been through, even what like I say up here, can be taken in many different ways, depending on who you are. And I'm sure many speakers can attest to this fact that you will say something, and maybe 90% of the room understands what you're saying or take it the way you intended it. But there's one or two people who are like, yeah, that's really messed up what you said, right, and I'm offended. But I will never deny somebody right to be offended. But still, I will, I will
understand that you know what, yeah, it's, it's, I understand that you could be offended because you're looking at it through your life experiences, and what you've been through. And so yeah, that's why you understand it differently. Right. And I'll give you this last example in Java.
I recently had a chocolate not recently anymore about two years ago, he's he's two years now. His name is late. And he's taught me so much catalog.
Kids teaches a lot. One of the things that he's taught me is to be humble with our experiences, and be humbled with what we're going through. Because I look at this child, and I look at how he's growing and how he's living life and how he sees things once again, through his lens. And things can seem so very different than reality, or my reality. Right. And I'll leave you with this last example shout out, I want to leave on a lighter note. So recently, one of the things that my son started doing late
is that he started locking the words, right, like wherever he goes, I click, click, click, click Done with locking doors. And sometimes I can lock himself in the bathroom or locking somewhere. So like, why are you locking doors,
locking doors, and I noticed, like sometimes you'll walk to the bathroom, whatever. And like, finally get them out and all that kind of stuff. And I look at you serious. Oh, why did you lock that? Like, what were you thinking? And then he stands there to give me this look. Right? And I know what he's thinking. I mean, I don't really know. But this is what I'm thinking of what he thinks. He's looking at me like, you spent the last two years locking doors wherever we go. Because Yeah, that's true. We've been locking doors because you know what, when we started walking, we had a locked door and otherwise he opened the door bounce the gun, right? So you gotta lock the house
door. We gotta lock this door. And that door seems like I mean, like, you spent the last two years locking doors everywhere. And now you're telling me not to doors, you hypocrite.
Right, so we'll walk into a restaurant and you know, in a restaurant, right, not any not in our house. Because from his perspective, the right thing to do is when you walk into a place you lock the door
or walk into a restaurant out of the restaurant, there's people coming first of all, you're shut the door. You can't lock the door without
showing it. So you'll be like, people standing outside, like what's going on? He's like, sorry, we got to lock the door.
That's what it is. But that's his perspective, right? That's the way he sees and that's his reality. So likewise you're mad at me to leave.
Right and the last part of town and those of us to kind of do a lot more behind the shadow