Reforming the Self #02
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 36.72MB
Okay, well guess certain Shala Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah
Aloha Marlena rebellion Farah Nolan fountain Urbina Island Turner was even a little bit odd, I mean.
So this is the second class of all of us for harneys book, The Dr. Lila mCherry machete, and we'll talk about the translation of that title later, as he kind of gets into what it is. But for now, we recall that our first class, we talked about an introduction, we gave a biography, or whatever we knew about a raga allows for Hani, which wasn't much. But we gave a brief bibliography of his works, what I consider most a lot.
And we talked about kind of the major ideological challenges of his time, and how they affected how he would be remembered, or looked at and how he would be accused, we'd went a little bit into detail as to the, you know, the substance of some of those ideological movements. And we talked a lot about the intellect because rather than us, Rouhani is talking to us, addressing us at the level of our intellect.
And so, that took up discussing the relationship between Islam revelation submission, and the human intellect is a theme that's going to run throughout the book. And it's something we kind of just got our feet wet with. In the introduction.
There's only one part left of the introduction, and that's actually the introduction of the author himself. All he does is he breaks up the book into parts and he introduces you he gives you a bird's eye view, to the different parts of the book that will be covered. So the first part, part one, which we'll be starting today, is titled The reality of human nature. The internal states of human beings, human capacity, human distinction, what distinguishes human beings over other creatures, and the manners of human kind.
Quite a lot for one part, part two, he focuses on knowledge, intellect, and speech, part three, on passions and lust, part four, on anger, and rage, Part Five, on justice and oppression, love and hatred, Part Six, on generosity and stinginess. And finally, the last part, part seven, on habits and action. So you see how, as I mentioned last class, one of the distinctions of this book over other books of etiquette is that a lot of us for Hani takes a lot of time in the beginning, he dedicates a separate part, to talking kind of about, what we would say, in philosophical lingo is cosmology. Right? What is reality, and all of the techniques and habits and kind of things that we
associate with the English words manners and etiquette, and things like that, he wants them to be coming organically through a reformed and modified sense of who you are, of who your Sustainer Allah is, and the relationship between you two and your place in the world. So he's going to spend time in the beginning, not just talking about what to do, not just talking about why to do it, but trying to make the case that this is what you were made for. This is your purpose, and this is your destiny, should you choose to take up the mantle and walk the path. Your destiny is a path of self reform, of constant incremental improvements, until the day that you die. And we'll see that very soon.
So the part one, he says, the reality of human nature, internal states of mankind, so on and so forth. He begins in the first chapter by by giving us three parables.
The first parable
thing that he gives is the parable of a boat.
He says that all human beings are traveling through the stream of time on as if they were on a boat.
And the current of the stream or the river is such that there's no possibility to go against the current, there's no possibility to go back. It's this inevitable force that's pushing us along towards our final destination.
Now, he mentioned that the strange thing about the reality of this situation is that not everybody who's on this boat, realizes that they are indeed on a boat that's moving.
You look around the boat, and you see the fellow passengers that are on there with you. And you see, some people have unpacked their things and have, they're acting as if they will never ever leave this boat.
And so the comparison, the parable is obvious. He's talking about the inevitable movement of time, carrying us towards our death.
And how when you look around yourself, and you look at some people,
you notice that some people move with urgency. Some people have a sense of purpose. And other people, they're kind of lost, or what we would say in common parlance today, they've lost the plot.
They, there's this very temporary passage that we're being taken on. And people are acting as if they're going to be here, forever. Imagine if you were writing an elevator, something that's a very short ride, you only have to go up a couple floors. And then the other people that walk into the elevator with you, they start taking everything out of their pockets, and they maybe they take out a folding chair and they sit down and they kind of crack open a drink, you would think that they were crazy. You would say Don't you realize that this trip is going to be over? So quickly. You're not going to benefit from any of these things. The second you kind of get relaxed, just like that. It's
over. Well, that's the parable that are all of us. For Hani wants us to think about our entire lives that way, just as the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam told us,
He commanded or he said, when he said to Abdullah, even, I'm going to be in this world as if you're a stranger, or a Wayfair, we're going to severe someone who's just passing through. That's the correct perspective to have. Because the reality of our situation is that we are moving towards our death. And we don't know exactly when the passage is going to be over. If we stay prepared for our moment of disembarking, then it will be easy.
If we're kind of this, imagine the person in the elevator, all of our things are out of our pockets were spread out as if we had imagined that we would be here indefinitely. Imagine the panic and imagine the
chaos, of arriving to your destination that you weren't prepared for. You might leave behind some of your things. You're going to be in a rush, you're going to be stressed.
So this is the first parable that a raga with us for honey gives us in this chapter, the parable of our reality, that our reality is like we're moving down a river on a boat.
The second parable He gives us is a parable of awakening.
And he quotes soda to note of famous lines of Allah's light, Allah will notice some lft well, I'll not I don't know he can be scat, Fi homeless back to the end of the ayah.
And so, rather than us for Hani, he interprets this verse, and he's talking about the guidance of Allah and he interprets the Mischka and then the spa
as the human while he says that the Mischka is the human hearts and inside it the Mitzvah is the human intellect. Now this might seem strange to you, especially for the doctors we know that in anatomy, we study that the intellect is part of a function of the brain. However, early Islamic scholars they actually deferred all
Where was the location of the intellect?
If you look at the legal schools, they actually split right down the middle. The Hanafi is and the humble is both saying that the site of the intellect was the brain. However, the Maliki's and the Shafi say that the site of the intellect is actually the heart. Even in the English language, we have phrases like, I know it by heart, that kind of reflects that there's this kind of relationship between something of the intellect and the memory, and the heart in addition to the brain. Anyway, that's what he's referring to, he's referring to a hearts that is using its intellect. And then when Allah gets to the end of the ayah, and says, No, Allah, no Light upon light, a raga. But also honey
is saying that this refers to the pairing of two lights, the light of Allah's guidance, and the light of the human intellect when it's used properly. Because as we talked about in the previous lesson, we do not in Islam, we have no contradiction. We have no competition between the human intellect and Revelation between reason and revelation, all of these kinds of things that we inherit from the Christian culture.
Historically, the Christian church has had a long and entrenched struggle against reason and logic and intellect, where in Islam we find the opposite, we find that there's this conception of harmony, if the intellect is properly trained, and properly used.
So that's what an otter node represents to raga. But as for honey, the nor the light of Allah's guidance, which is revelation, matched with properly understood by the trained, disciplined intellect that Allah has gifted to human beings.
So this is the parable of awakening, along with also Hanuman, he's striking this parable for us. He's saying that this is what is required to awaken to this reality, this reality that we are on a boat, traveling that it's not going to last forever, it's only going to be a short time.
That the next stage is awakening. And awakening happens through a marriage of Revelation, and reason. The last parable He gives us in this chapter, is a parable of action. So you have three parables, one of reality, which is the boat, one of awakening, which is the light of Allah's guidance, and the human intellect. And then we have the product,
the parable of purpose and activity.
So for this parable are all given to us for honey talks about a farmer.
And he says that, for the person who has realized their reality, that they're on this boat, and has been guided by this light, Allah's guidance, properly understood.
What's left for them is purposeful activity, just like a good farmer.
He says that
his fields are the world that each and every one of us moves around him.
His crops are his deeds, that he plants and 10s with care to grow them to the optimum height and yield.
His death is the time of his harvest.
And the afterlife, the reckoning with Allah subhanaw taala is the way in at market when all of the debts will be settled, all of the creditors come to call.
one farmers produce is placed alongside another farmers produce and is compared which one is better? Which one is pure?
Which one is more valuable?
There's this evaluation and assessment
as opposed to the person who doesn't realize their reality
and doesn't avail themselves of the revelation that Allah has given them or the intellect that Allah has bestowed upon them. Then they are like someone who has fields and fields in front of them, but has just spent their whole time sitting in the grass, letting the wheat
to grow, when it comes time to harvest, there will be nothing to speak of
the relationship between these three parables that are all good but also hanging gives us they are the path to self reform.
The whole book is about self reform, and are all about us for Hani is giving us the blueprint. How does it happen? Where do I move first, what's my first action, my first step.
The first step, as mentioned or represented by the first parable, is
of depth of your reality.
The second is guidance.
And the third is action. And we find this all the time, especially with our children.
A theme that has come up in the past two weeks throughout all the classes is this kind of talking about Islam through a lens of compliance. And this is something we all struggle with, with our children. We want our children to memorize the Quran, we want our children to wake up on time for February, we want them to make their prayers, we want them to wear hijab, we want them to comply, comply, comply with all of these rules and laws. And that's good, that's good that we want them to comply with the laws of Allah. That's how you gain the love and affection of ALLAH SubhanA wa Tada. But there if,
if we don't take care of step number one, if we don't leave them without an awareness of their reality, and therefore they have no motivation to do these things, then it's only a matter of time when they are no longer under our authority. And they will not comply with these rules and laws and rituals, because they have no motivation.
So the first step for anybody in self reform
is an internal shift, a shift in perspective,
understanding what is the true nature of this reality, this world that's all around us, that it's not merely trying to get the best degree, and the best paying job, and the best spouse and all these sorts of have a nice big house, they're all fine. They're all good things. But that's not why we're here. That's not the purpose, why we're here.
Once someone wakes up to that, once someone becomes aware, then they will find themselves with a sense of urgency. They know that they have to get off the boat. They know that the end is coming soon. And they are filled with a desire to prepare to do things. But however, they aren't able to act meaningfully,
their zeal, their motivation, their passion can all be misguided, rerouted
if it's not guided by the revelation of Allah, Allah's guidance, so that's the second step.
That's where we get into the the rules and the regulations and the commands and prohibitions.
And then the third step, once we have our motivation, we realize the reality of what's going on around us.
And we feel the motivation to act. And we've then taken the step to educate ourselves, to take advantage of the guidance that Allah has provided for us. Now we're prepared to meaningfully act to act with purpose, to sow our seeds, to plant our good deeds, and get prepared for the harvest that is to come. So this is the three step process of self reform.
The second chapter, a raga, but us for honey has is titled, The Constitution of mankind or of human nature.
And what he's going to go into are, he's going to try to prove, as we mentioned before, that it is not only possible, this journey of awakening,
this journey of self reform, it's not only possible, it's your destiny. And it's what you were created for. He bases this on sorta to that yet.
Where a lot sizes
that he has placed signs in the earth. And in your own selves.
I'll fill out the two little more Kaneen, Wi Fi unphysical aphylla To proceed on.
And in the earth there are signs.
For those who will be convinced, and in yourselves, don't you see?
A raga, but also honey. He's saying that
this kind of dual reality that Allah is pointing to here are the means of our awaking.
Or our awakening.
They are the tools that Allah has provided us, Allah has put signs everywhere. He's put signs on Earth. And he's put signs within our own selves,
to make you think, to make you stop to make you realize this reality of moving on the stream of time,
until your end.
So everything that we look at
is something that is placed for us to realize the supremacy of Allah, and to avail ourselves and turn around and gain that urgency and motivation. And there's too many things to list anybody who
a forest, and observes the different kinds of trees, of field of farm, the different kinds of vegetation and plants, the animals, the heavens in the earth, astronomy, geology, the makeup of the earth under the ground.
It's all miracle upon miracle upon miracle organization, and complexity, from the smallest atom, to the biggest galaxy.
Signs that Allah has placed for us to ponder over, as he says, time and time again in the Quran, but also in our own selves, not just the makeup of our bodies, we have these kind of Lobuche things that stick out from our heads, they kind of act like funnels, so we can hear.
And these teeth to chew and tongue to speak,
and human language
in order so that we can communicate with each other and the ability to learn multiple languages. Some of the brothers and sisters in our community speak 567 languages,
within our own selves.
The automatic beating of the heart,
the automatic breathing of the lungs, the blinking of the eye, how the body cleanses itself automatically, how it regenerates itself, if it's injured. All these processes and systems
they all are signs to wake us up to the reality of one supreme and wise and powerful creator. And the very temporary life. We see the cycles, It's fall now. The leaves are changing, they're they're falling onto the ground, the grass will start to die, the flowers will start to fade, everything will die throughout the winter. And then in spring, everything will be brought back again. These are things that Allah consistently refers to in the Koran.
And it's worth noting here
that spending time
with Allah's creation
will help us appreciate his signs more.
These days, especially with smartphones, especially where we have jobs indoors, and we go indoors to purchase things and we are in the car, we might spend an enormous amount of our time indoors with things that people have invented. The upholstery of the car, the dashboard, the linoleum floors of a hospital.
In the Koran, Allah uses science from the creation as he created it. He says, Look at the trees. Look at the animals. Look at the insects.
Look at the grass. Look at all of these the sun, the moon, the stars, all of these things in the universe as a law created it.
And so one of the tragedies of modern life is that we've kind of endured this separation, where we spend less time with a lot of science
All of those exhortations and appeals that Allah makes. Look at this, look at this. Look at this.
They fall on more and more deaf ears
because of people's estrangement and distance from that beautiful and perfect and miraculous creation that Allah has made.
So all of us should take and dedicate time to put ourselves in Allah's creation as his has he created it time to ponder, time to think time to reflect.
So wrong but also having honey he says, when a law refers to these two types of signs in the earth, and in yourselves,
he's also talking about two faculties
that Allah has given human beings in order to recognize the signs the first is represented by
what's in ourselves when it comes to our senses. Being able to see and hear and smell and taste and touch.
And sort of out of love blames those who don't use these gifts, their sight they're hearing.
The second type of gift is an intellectual gifts. So we could say that the first type is this kind of, you know, the five senses, one of which we grasp things or we realize things by sight. And the second is an internal faculty, the intellect which grasps things by insight, rather than site itself.
Allah says in surah mulk, he's talking about the people who go into the hellfire, one of their regrets, will call into low couldn't smell, oh, not even if only we had listened or reason, used our reason used our intellect.
If you consider for a moment, the importance of these two faculties, your senses and your intellect, for engaging and interacting with law signs, and registering, that they are indeed has signs, they're put there purposefully, to bring you to the realization
of your supreme creator. And the fact that this life is temporary, and that you are dependent and need Allah's guidance.
You understand why the prohibition against intoxicants is so stern and strong and a stamp
because intoxicants whether they're wine or alcohol, or marijuana, or anything that affects the intellect that dulls the senses, that entire genus or genre or category of substances, if it's covering over the faculties that a law gave you to see and appreciate and realize his signs,
then it is stopping you. It is an obstacle to your awakening. It's an obstacle in your way to submitting to Allah to surrendering. And that's an obstacle in the way to reforming yourself.
It's a way of just numbing your senses so that you don't have to or keeping them busy keeping them stimulated, so that you don't have to bother to pay attention with the signs that Allah subhanaw taala has put.
The next chapter is titled the superiority of human beings over animals and this will be the last chapter inshallah we talk about today, I think and show the superiority of human beings over animals. Anybody who are animal lovers don't don't rush to a judgment against that argument else for honey, he's going to qualify this it's not an absolute superiority. It's a conditional one. But he's setting the stage here at first, he bases this off of the ayat and saltan as sort of a team
in follow up in sand, the X any tuckaway
in the best of shapes, the best of manners and best of forms.
one person somebody could ask a question and the answer to this question will get us to the heart of this chapter.
Allah said and soda to Tina. He created us in the best forms, however, and certainly sat alongside Holly fall in San OBOR etha. He also said that
As human beings have been created weak?
How do we reconcile between these two verses? I'll put it open to, to you all. Either unmute yourself or type in the chat box. How do we reconcile between these two verses the law says on one hand that were created in the best of forms, and he says we've been created week.
It's not a rhetorical question I'm very curious as to your answer.
Best of forms has to do with our potential, especially related to virtue. And then the shahada family says, depending on how strong our faith is, Morrison says with our actions, we can be strong or weak, every creature has its limits. Very good. You're all right. Mashallah, excellent. You guys are on the same wavelength of all of us for having 100%.
And the reason why I pose this question is because it gets to the heart of what he's trying to tell us is that human beings, virtue, or strength is a potential.
It's not yet realized. If you compare a human being, how they come out of the womb, to an animal, animals, they're up and walking within minutes.
Human beings, they have to be taken care of for years before they can even walk sometimes, or talk or get food by themselves. When it comes to the animal kingdom, we see that Allah has created most of them with some sort of natural defense, bears, and tigers and lions, they have sharp claws, and teeth, and all these sorts of things. Some animals are fast enough that they can outrun like deer and the horse. And these sorts of they have natural capacities
to protect themselves and to survive.
However, the human being is different, the human being is relatively weak,
both in its infancy, and in general, we don't have claws, we don't have talents. We don't have fangs, we don't have poison, we don't have any of these sorts of things.
What we are given instead,
is a potential
and the tools to realize the potential.
So our virtue itself is a potential. It's not a thing that's already said and done. We're raw material.
So it all go with us. For Hani, he uses this observation and he says that the one of the main purposes of our lives, is to realize that potential.
The tools that Allah has given us, whether they're physical, such as our opposable thumbs, whether they're intellectual, whether they're language, either way, our nature is one of motion. It's one of development. It's one of
consistent, incremental improvements. It's one of anticipation and forethought, and planning.
All of these sorts of things. And so along with us, for Hani takes it as
that this is a superiority or a distinction of human beings. Its potential, it's not yet realized. But if we realize it, it makes us it gives us a degree of superiority over the rest of the creation.
The other thing that the other observation that are wrong of us Sahana uses to justify his claim that we have this kind of conditional potential superiority to the rest of creation
is that we find that if we look at the creation, everything in the world, Allah has put it there for our benefit, and our responsible use.
Everything we find on Earth, it's either food for us, and we should take a moment to realize that when it comes to the variety of foods that we can eat, human beings can eat a much larger variety of food than most other animals.
Or something that we see is food.
For the food that we eat, grasses leaves these sorts of things.
Or we find minerals or parts of animals that we're able to use for our benefit, leather and bone, wool, hair, all of these sorts of things that human beings have been using for centuries and centuries. And that are all about us finding he, he mentions that.
Just because we don't realize something's use
for its benefit does not mean that it's useless.
Meaning that our own ignorance is not a stain on Allah's reputation.
One thing that Raghavan also Hani is pointing to here is the folly of human arrogance.
We hear sometimes atheists bring up the tailbone,
as first of all a proof that we're evolved from from chimpanzees or from apes. And second of all, to kind of disprove this idea of an omnipotent God, because there's this thing that it doesn't have purpose.
Yet, for how many centuries and centuries, have people looked at certain things in the world, imagining assuming that they have no purpose only to later find out the purpose of that thing.
And we find that the opposite of this is true,
that when human beings create something, or make something, rearrange particles, and substances to make things,
the things that we make, we find they have all sorts of unintended consequences. However, the things that a law created
have no unintended consequences.
For example, we make cars and they help us with the one purpose that we created them for transportation, power, pulling things, passengers, however, they also pollute the Earth at the same time, they also make our economies dependent upon a finite resource.
we've invented this system of planning where we plant the drive through the countryside fields and fields and fields of corn. monocultures.
Something you don't find in nature. And we find that it increases the pest load of a certain type of pest and it also decreases the food source for many other beings that depend on a more diverse biosphere. And so on and so forth. There are many, many examples of human creations that have unintended consequences. But when a law creates something, everything has a proper use and a proper place and we don't find any unintended consequences to the opposite. We find that if we assume that it doesn't have a consequence or a use or a benefit, and we remove it, we become regretful when we realize how important it actually was to the creation
that's all we have time for today. Does anyone have any questions? About a minute and 30 seconds before the Zoom will shut it off? Anybody any questions?
Thank you give me a new
it's not me, it's wrong with us for Hani
probably will last for Hani is a brilliant, brilliant scholar.
Okay, well, we're under a minute. So it will shut off here. I will end the meeting. Now. Thank you very much everybody for attending. May Allah make this way in our scales on the day of judgment and may He benefit us by this knowledge that he has given us and make us live by and I will see you soon inshallah. Xochimilco Hydra was Salam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh