Reforming the Self #09
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 36.72MB
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa Salatu was Salam, ala Asafa lambier. Even more Selena Vienna footwashing and Muhammad Ali he offered the Salah was good to see Allahumma eliminate we've made that vow in fact that we've met them to know was it an Enderman? Yeah, I love that. I mean,
today we start a new chapter with our SHAEF. raga. What else for honey, we're still in the first portion of the book where he's kind of giving us the lay of the land. He's giving us the roadmap, the big picture, the motivation, he's giving us a purpose, and giving us kind of the
bird's eye view
of what it is that we're trying to do in this life and where it is that we're going.
So now he's going to make some distinctions between these two things that he sent as opposites, the intellect, and the desire, or the impulse or the urge.
The last chapter we had done was clarifying the nature of the struggle, and he was getting into it with a parable, or an analogy, or we had the king and the advisor, and the treacherous, the treacherous servant.
So now he's going to go in further
you these two things, explore the finer differences? How can we tell when we're faced with a decision, when we're faced with
anything that has to have some sort of action? taken about it? How can we tell whether this is
our aka our intellect?
And so we can trust it? Or how can we identify if it's this kind of treacherous, treacherous, it's hard for me to say this make the treacherous servant
that's kind of trying to trick us and ruin everything. If we're, if we're the king, or at least our soul is the king. And we have the good advisor, and we have the subversive servants, easier word to pronounce?
Then, how do we tell which one is which when it comes to us? Because if it were, the difference in the parable, is that an actual King can tell by looking and say, like, Oh, this is this person, and this is that person for us. We're within ourselves, decisions happen
on the inside.
And so we can't know who's coming to us and who's speaking to us, there might be something a situation where we think that the good, wise adviser the intellect is speaking to us. And really, it's that lying servants trying to trick us again. Or vice versa, we might have some action point or some sort of course of action to decide. And we might be thinking along one line.
And then we might be Miss identifying as treachery, what in reality is sound insincere, and wise advice? So how do we tell the difference between the two, that's what I'm all about. So honey is going to explore in this next chapter, says the differences between what is called the intellect and what is called desire. And again, there's multiple ways we can translate that either desire or impulse or urge.
He says the first way to tell the difference between the two is how they respond to delayed gratification.
This is something we mentioned in the football the previous week.
The intellect, intuitively understands delayed gratification,
it understands that the soul or the body or the self, has to undergo unpleasant things, unpleasant work, and be patient with that path in order to obtain something greater.
So the intellect is willing to work hard today in order to reap the benefit tomorrow.
We can give the example of something that takes a long time like going to medical school.
Right? Nobody, nobody signs up for medical school out of their desire or impulse. It's not really you couldn't really call it an impulse decision. There might have been moments perhaps of impulse along the way, but the path is so long and so arduous
that it's not something that comes down to this whim or some flippant desire. No, you're taking on debts you're taking
looking on, you're going to be moving multiple times, you're going to be taking on hardship long hours,
all for this kind of payoff at the end of a long time of training and experience and education, which is to become a full fledged doctor.
Right. So this is something that is purely intellect, this is something that the intellect would decide if delayed gratification, saving, money investing,
whether it's in your local MSG community, or whether it's in the stock market, or anything like this, these things where you're putting off an instant gratification, for something that's coming later. This is the work of the intellect.
The impulse isn't capable of this sort of thing. The urge is not capable of waiting that long.
And so you can tell the opposite, you can tell when it's the kind of this
disloyal servant, this, this cunning, conniving servant, that's trying to trick you into doing something, the lower self, the base, desires and appetites, if it's the opposite, if you're in a situation of instant gratification.
Even if you stand to lose a lot of things in the afterlife, or even later on in this life.
Think about junk food, right?
Eating without without restraints,
whether it comes to the amount that you're eating, or the type of the food that you're eating, yes, you could eat a gallon of ice cream every week, if you really wanted to. When you're an adult, that's the sort of thing that you you dreamt about doing when you were a child, maybe. But once you become an adult, you realize that there's long term consequences, diabetes, and other things like that tooth decay, right? So have somebody to adopt that sort of behavior. That's a telltale sign of the lower self, that has thrown caution to the wind, forgotten all these sorts of long term consequences, and is just going to live in the moment, if you will, and enjoy something now that is
dangerous, or detrimental in the long term.
This is how cheating happens. And spouses cheat on each other. This is the lower you can tell us the lower self doesn't matter what justification you have for it.
What kind of love songs that you're singing, you might think that this is true love, okay, something like this. But there is the lower self because the lower self is inviting long term ruin.
Just to have a temporary indulgence or gratification, also money, right?
spending habits, this is a big thing.
Instead of being prudent with your wealth, investing in your community and in your future, retirement, the kids this other stuff. There's conspicuous consumption. There's
consumables, right, we say in economics, consumable goods, things that you just divide them and then they're gone. They're consumed. Everybody needs some of that, of course, this is not a categorical thing. But if
the majority of your disposable income is going towards this sort of thing.
Are there people who make six figures
who don't have any money leftover at the end of the month that live paycheck to paycheck? Yes, there are, because of this sort of spending. Some people they need to have the the absolute latest phone, the absolute latest television, and the absolute latest vehicle, whatever it is, they're always constantly
tying up their money to the point where they don't have anything to invest in tomorrow, or to invest in their community.
This is an act of the lower self, because it can't wait. Yeah, we say it's in English, we say it's burning a hole in your pocket. Right? It's as if just to have the money in your pocket is so it's just you have such an urge to spend it.
You want it out of there.
This is something that we see very, very easily with children because children come into this world not being able to plan long term. Right. So this is one of the most central and key aspects of their education.
And it's not just like a technique for wealth building either. This is a moral education that you're giving them to be able to delay gratification, to be able to plan to have long term plans.
These are really, really essential life skills that affect morality.
This is what the Prophet SAW, I said, I met and we mentioned this hadith, in the Hapa prophets agenda to
the McHattie will refer to now the shahada wax.
The Prophet SAW I said, I'm said that paradise is in shrouded or covered in another Rewi it's hirji bats from hijab, right? covered or concealed or shrouded
with unpleasant things.
Whereas the fire is concealed or shrouded or covered with
instant gratification, cheep,
these sorts of
kind of lowly indulgences, we should say.
So if you're looking from far away, you see that this looks difficult. And this looks easy and fun, and new and kind of exciting. You want to reach out for what is new and fun and exciting, a little bit reckless. But what's behind it is the fire that pathway is the pathway to the fire.
Whereas taking something that is difficult, upfront, taking something that takes commitments, that takes planning that there's going to be you're going to win some you're going to lose some
all of those things that are difficult upon the soul.
This is the path to paradise.
So that's the first difference and how you can tell if you're faced with a situation, you have to make a decision.
Is this something I really want to do?
This is the first litmus test to tell or differentiate between? Who's talking to you who's suggesting this thing to you? Is it the intellect? Or is it the lower self,
the desire the urge to impulse. The second way, our author says
is the ability to weigh pros and cons, the ability to kind of conduct a cost benefit analysis, he says that the intellect is capable of seeing both what is in favor of the self and what is against it.
So when you're about to start, you're choosing your career, or you're choosing your major.
And you have all these options in front of you. And you're thinking, well,
if I do this, this is a definite positive. And this is good, too. But this is a drawback of that. Do I really want to be moving around? Every year for however long I have to do it? How's that going to affect my ability to start a family? What happens if I get married along the way, it's going to delay me pretty far into my adulthood. Right? This is the intellect talking, being able to weigh things that are both for you and against you.
Like Gee, like that amount of salary sounds really nice. But
eight to 12 years, however long that education is a really long time. Can I really stick with it? Am I predisposed to this sort of work? Am I okay with dealing with people or can be anything can be relationships?
I want to marry this person.
Yes, of course, there's attraction there. But you know, are we really compatible?
Do we really share the same values? Do we really share the same goals? Do we have a similar idea of what's the life that we want to build? This is the intellect talking.
The base self just wants to rush into it and says looks good, let's go.
So the intellect is able to see what's both for and what's against you.
and is able to therefore compare.
You might make mistakes. Just because you're using the intellect doesn't mean that you're going to make the right decision. You might regret decisions.
But at least there's this sort of back and forth. There's this possibility you understand that there are possibilities that it could turn out wrong, it could turn out right, you understand the risk involved and you perceive
the base self doesn't like that at all the impulse or to the desire. It can only see what's in favor of the self or what's in favor of those impulses and desires. The base self let's say
it can never see what's against the self the things that are difficult.
It's like if you
Ever talks with somebody who's in a toxic relationship or an abusive relationship, even.
Sometimes this happens where people, they can't get out. All they have is excuses.
But I love him. But this but this,
they can't, they literally can't see the other side.
Or somebody who wants to throw themselves headlong into something that might turn out to be disastrous.
When I was
what when I was a teenager,
I was in, I was a musician. And so I was actually involved in many sort of musical bands and stuff like that. And when I became a teen and time to go to college, I considered not going to college at all, and just going on tour with this band that I was in.
Do you think that was the intellect or the base self?
Luckily, my parents wouldn't let me do that hamdulillah they had enough foresight to prevent me from doing that.
That was the base self. That was the impulse that wasn't looking at the long term.
It wasn't able to even see
what was against it?
Well, in five years, in 10 years, what if it doesn't work out? What's your plan B.
Now the impulse doesn't have a plan B, the base self doesn't have a plan B. This is why Allah calls it in the Quran Allura he calls it deception or delusion.
On AI to human shape on the level rah rah, the devil doesn't promise you anything real. When the devil is lying through his teeth to get you to convince you to do this thing, whether it's to lie to this person, whether it's to do this haram thing, or that haram thing.
Or to show off in front of somebody, that that was lying through his teeth.
And all of his lies, they're not real. They're just delusion and vanity.
And Allah says that the devil doesn't promise you anything except this delusion and vanity.
As we say, in the English idiom, we have this expression and it's applicable here. Love is blind.
If you talk to two people that are about to get married, or maybe for example, you know, maybe they were boyfriend girlfriend for a long time, and then they want to, you know,
you talk to them, you can tell right away whether the relationship is a kind of mature relationship or whether this is just kind of an infatuation.
Do they have a plan? How are they going to live? Where are they going to live? How are they going to interact with their parents? Very, very important, sober things to ask one another before you go ahead and get married.
to paddle up.
Oh, I thought I had a message. Somebody messaged me
last week with a question because I get messages on Facebook from all over the place. A person had said
they had basically eloped with somebody.
Both families were Muslims. Okay.
The young man messaged me.
And he said that
this girl's father
isn't very practicing at all. And he doesn't like
like religious, more religiously practicing guys.
he said to me, that he believes that his Wilaya was done, that His will is a concept of Islamic law like guardianship, and he basically forfeited his guardianship. And so he went and got his buddy. And he said, Hey, my buddy can marry us. And the two ran away, they did it. They got married, and they kind of this is like, some sort of Muslim eloping.
But then he felt kind of guilty. And so he messaged me, he said, Oh, Hamdulillah we didn't consummate the marriage or anything. Is this marriage valid? That's all um, there's no way first of all, if I was that father, I'd probably be hunting you down right now.
And second of all, according to Islamic law, you can't just
this person's guardianship is completely gone because I say so. And I'm the guru.
Isn't that a conflict of interest? This is something
Not all of us for honey tells us
if there's a conflict of interest, you're rushing into this headlong, and it happens to really serve kind of what your lower self wants to do. This is a clear telltale sign of the base self, the impulse, the urge, the desire is not, this is not the intellect that is working here.
So the result, and this is what he says this is where the relation comes in, that one should always be suspicious of themselves.
One should always be alert in order to sniff out and identify these conflicts of interest, if something is going to be a little too tasty, or a little too fun,
or a little too self serving, then you should really, really slow down, not rush into it.
And exhaustively and exhaustively analyze the situation,
to make sure that you are not acting off of your impulse,
but really using the intellect that Allah gave you, in order to come to some sort of righteous decision.
So that's the second difference. So the first difference, how do we tell who's talking to us, which which advisor, the good advisor, the one that wants good for us, or the one that's trying to just ruin everything.
The first one was
that the intellect is oriented towards delayed gratification, whereas the impulse can't handle it at all. The second, that the intellect is capable of cost benefit analysis of analyzing and comparing pros and cons, the impulse can't handle it, the impulse is only going to see what satisfies the base self. The third one
is that what ever the intellect
is going to get stronger.
With prayer is the harder and asking advice is to shower.
So in other words, for honey has given you two really easy things. If all this is just too complicated for it's like I can't tell the difference, like what is all this, then easy, prey esta hora and ask other people about it.
If you're doing that, and you find that the thing that you had leaned to the thing that you had wanted to do is getting reinforced through these two channels, then you can
that this course of action is the intellect is operation of the intellect and not just the base self or your whims and desires.
And if it's the opposite, if everyone you're saying you're talking to is saying No, get out of this relationship, or don't do that, or no, this is a terrible idea, this is going to ruin your next 10 years, this is something that you shouldn't be doing.
Then you should probably take a hint that what's really pushing you towards that decision is the base self. It's the desires the impulse. And it's not your intellect. This also highlights the importance of having good companions because even this these two techniques is not it's not foolproof. It's not failsafe, if you have the wrong sorts of companions around you. We know that the wrong type of friends
you can get into a situation where misery loves company.
I've seen it and I've I've seen it happen where
there has been a couple a married couple for example and a happy marriage or an other a reasonably happy marriage.
And one of the two spouses the majority of their friends
are not unhappy marriages are divorced.
And then so any little sort of thing that comes up what would normally be just like normal marriage stuff, you know, disagreements and you know frustrations and stuff that needs to be worked on and stuff that needs to be you know, kind of
vented about when it is vented about a lot of the feedback that they get from these friends is that oh, you should you don't need him. You don't need her you're better off alone. You're better off like this right? They're ready to pull the trigger really quickly because that's their experience. So you need to be careful. This is not a knock on you know, it's not a shame to be divorced. I'm not saying anything like that. But you need to be careful that you are taking from a variety of different experiences. You need to be aware of
Is there some sort of bias that's going on in my circle of friends? Right? Who can you really trust?
Who isn't looking for self validation when they advise you? Right, this happens, somebody went through something, and they're not sure they're happy with their decision.
You come into a similar situation, they want you to choose the decision they did.
Because it's going to validate for them that decision that they made happens all the time.
One of the things I got in the habit of doing when I was in Medina was, I used to ask the older students, what were your regrets?
And I trusted that advice a lot more than other things, because people are usually very honest about their regrets, and a little bit more sober.
When it comes to other things, people can make excuses or things like that. But I always found that those sorts of answers kind of were often truthful.
So that is the the third difference, how can we recognize which advisors talking to us the wise advisor, the not so wise, the treacherous, the conniving, and cunning advisor. The fourth difference is, it's kind of an epistemic difference, it has to do with the types of arguments,
or the type of case that each advisor will try to build.
Right? The intellect is going to build their case, is going to argue their position based off of the strength of proof.
Whether that proof is intellectual, think about what's going to happen, think about the consequences. If you do this, then this will happen. Or it could be experience. Look at this guy, look at this cousin, or this uncle, or this family member, or this friend, they did something similar. And look how that turned out, it wasn't so good. Or the opposite, it worked out for them really well. So you should consider doing that thing.
Right? This is the type of argument that is constructed by the intellect.
Whereas the impulse and the base desire, it doesn't have anything to do with this sort of proof at all. It's looking for,
it's going off of fields, as they say, these days, it's going off of wishful thinking. It's going off of
like we said instant gratification, and it often has slogans or
ideas behind it that actually try to shut down thinking about it too much. All right, this is what the entertainment industry and the advertisement industry have
bombarded us with since the invention of the television.
ideas such as indulge, go ahead, you deserve it. Right. Every single thing is asking you to indulge, indulge, indulge indulge adults, why did they want you to indulge because they want your money.
Or we have like for example, in in youth culture, this concept of YOLO you only live once, right? It's like Don't think too hard about it just go ahead.
This kind of this is actually like the political foundation of fascism. Right? Not thinking too much about it just about just go ahead and action, do just do it. Without thinking too much. Just go for it. Right. Of course, everybody needs an element of this sort of spontaneity, and willing to act in their lives, we can't have the opposite extreme where we're so
arrested and debilitated. And kind of paralyzed by turning over all the possibilities that we never do anything. Now, that's not what we're talking about.
But you need to be aware if your self is approaching you with this. Now, don't think Don't think too hard about it, don't think like that, just go ahead and do it. It'll feel good. It'll be good. It'll turn out okay.
And this is likely, this is likely the base south, this is likely the impulse and the desire that's trying to pitch this argument to you.
So we see very quickly that this is a these are all examples of what our argument was behind told us way earlier in the book where he said that we have this capacity to think we have these capacities Allah gave us and we can either put it in the service of the intellect or we can put it in the service of our our base self, our lower self, our desires and our wins.
If we put our capacities in the service of our of our intellect, then we'll be able to keep ourselves in check.
We'll be able to honestly and frankly say to ourselves, you know what, I really wanted this thing. I wanted to do it, but it just doesn't make sense. I can't square the circle.
I really just can't
Right, versus if that intellect is that thought is put in the service of our desires that we're just gonna keep, we're going to become so good at coming up with reasons and justifications and excuses to do what we want to do
that the intellect is going to have very little power to stop us or to hold us back
at all, but also he he ends the chapter with a question he says, What's the difference between there's two terms that come up in the Quran Al Hawa.
When I had Neff Siani, Al Hawa, one of her NAFSA who I knew how like Allah says in the Quran, and Shaohua like we said in the Hadith, puffer till
a Nabi Shabbat. So we have Shabbat and we have Hower.
Allah, Allah says, Have you seen the one who takes his hola as his God?
So what's the difference between the two? Are they the same thing?
At all, well as for HANA, he says that SHA, over here, which we could have, we could define it as urge
is not inherently good or bad.
Everybody is created with urge and when it becomes good or bad, depending on how we cultivate it.
This comes back to our capacity for anger, our, our capacity for sexual attraction. Right? This isn't a dirty thing. It's not an evil thing. We don't have this kind of Christian conception that this is like
the the wicked flesh, right? No, not so much in Islam.
But it has to be properly channeled, and properly focused and properly cultivated. If it is, then it becomes good. It can even be worshipped, if you do it with the right intention.
But when it's misused, when shafa urge is misused and mis cultivated,
cold or not
kept within limits, then this is when it becomes Hawa. This is when it becomes
a dominant kind of habits, a commitment to indulgence,
no matter what Allah wants, no matter what Allah has to say about it.
And so this is the difference between the two. And it's important to realize because none of these things are inherently bad, but they have to be, as we said that human beings are inherently a potentiality, they're not anything yet. When they come out, they have to refine themselves, they have to work on themselves, they have to reform themselves. If they do, if they channel all of these urges that they have,
everything will be perfect we can actually obtain the McHattie machete on the elites qualities that Allah wants us to obtain, we can actually become allows qualified his representatives on earth
through the process of taming, limiting, focusing structuring these urges that Allah creates us with.
The next chapter, and we're, oh, we only have six minutes, maybe we can mention, get into the next chapter just a little bit. The next chapter are all gonna last for honey.
talks about he says that
there are some things to look to look out for, that are going to afflict the intellect.
And he compares action
to a seed.
His point is that action does not come out of nowhere. Right? Action is really just the fruit of something that was planted a long time ago. So he's trying to draw our attention to this kind of if we're looking for a more industrial metaphor of conveyor belts, right? Things start out as just a suggestion,
whether from you or someone else or wherever it comes from.
And if the suggestion is allowed to thrive, it will become eventually a thoughts
whether good or bad, and so if we allow the thought to survive, it will eventually become a determination
And if that determination is allowed to survive and thrive, then it will eventually become action and bear fruit.
So all of us, it says, If we understand that our actions are really this process, when we act, we're only seeing the end result of something that began a long time ago.
Then everybody needs to be more alert and more aware
to evaluate themselves and these kinds of suggestions that pass through their heads.
So many people have told me that when they used to leave, when they used to lead a life of sin, before they started practicing Islam, they were very innocent, in the sense that they didn't have like, sinful thoughts or crazy thoughts.
But the second they started getting religious. Now all of a sudden, it's a struggle. Now the sudden, every, every day, every hour, every minute, even they're thinking about things that they would be embarrassed to have exposed.
This is, this is exactly how the devil works.
He tries his hardest on the people who are trying to do right. And he bombards you with suggestions.
of things to do, that are not right, that are going to take you away from obeying Allah.
And so you have to actively police these suggestions. You have to if you want the industrial example, you have to be on the conveyor belt quality control. This, get it out of here that keep it that get it out of here.
Because you have to be able to have foresight and see what it's going to become down the road.
If you like the agricultural metaphor,
then you have to be cultivating and weeding. You have to look at your plot and you can say that's a weed, this is a good deed, that's a bad deal. This is wrong. That's right. And you have to be constantly turning over the soil
to disrupt any bad suggestion from turning into a thoughts disrupt any bad thought from turning into an intention, or determination and then
preventing it from becoming an action.
So, at the end of this chapter, and Hamdulillah, looks like we had enough time to finish the chapter, he says, This is exactly the situation of the Olia of Allah, the Saints whatever we want to translate only as who is a saint, what is the saint who is a pious person or a race or a righteous person.
They are only such a person that their hearts and emotions are attuned to this reality of cultivation.
And so their emotions help them with this process. Meaning that what they desire and what Allah desires is one, they have submitted themselves and conformed their emotional states, to what Allah wants us to feel when propositioned with a certain suggestion, when they see the weed, they see the potential bad action, they are filled with disgust and hatred for that thing. And so their sheer revulsion will propel them to take it out, to cut it out to cultivate it to pull up the weed.
And their feeling of love and
desire for what's good. It's so pure, that it's going to push them naturally to want to cultivate around and water and grow the good deeds.
They're upset by the evil and they're pleased with the good, whereas the only out of the devil, the friends of the devil, the ones who are in his army, and they don't even realize it, they are in the opposite scenario.
They are upset by what is good.
And you've, I've seen people like this, I'm sure you have to somebody who is a virgin until they're married.
They want to actually sabotage that person's chastity because they are upset by that person's righteousness.
Whereas something that is evil, they're pleased at it. They see a Muslim drinking, they're happy. They're just like us. They see a Muslim in an illicit relationship. They're happy. They see a Muslim get caught cheating on their spouse. They're happy. This is real.
So these are the only of shaytaan these are the people who are in the army of the devil and they don't realize it. This is going to cut off any second because we've gone over time. Any quick questions? I'll say Salam aleikum now in case it cuts off. Anybody have any questions? Final thoughts?