Reforming the Self #12
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 37.05MB
Bismillah AR Hema and humbling enemy was Salatu was
Salam MBR even more serene Nabil in our footwashing Muhammad Ali here for Salah was good to sleep. Allah ma Nabi brilliant pharaoh that one fountain I mean that
was eat dinner and when you're on that I mean
it's Sunday night. So we are discussing a Raghavan also had his book
either Isla McHattie machete
the path to obtaining
the elites qualities
that Allah wants for us to have
in order to fulfill
our role and our highest purpose which is Khilafah
which is being Allah's representative on earth
we talked last class about the ability to change or the lack thereof
are we able
to change the people we are?
And if so,
how much are we able to change it
What do you recall from last lesson?
Are we able to change who we are? Can we use our nature to justify our poor character
say a lot created me this way
I just happen to get angry at x y&z
When this happens, I yell, I scream
is our character something that we can change?
Obviously, with the subject of the book are all gonna last for honey is on a mission to prove that yes, it is something that you can change.
And the reason why he is going into it is because this is one of the biggest doubts that the devil tries to utilize and weaponized against us to excuse ourselves from undergoing this project in the first place.
The author also handy he said that human beings are a little bit different from everything else. Because we come into this world as raw material, unfinished business.
We need to be polished, we need to be developed if we're going to fulfill our true potential.
That our True Potential is being Allah's successor or representative,
doing what Allah would have us do in the creation, bringing about the qualities that Allah Himself has in his creation, such as generosity, such as mercy, such as nobility, such as justice. So if we're going to get there to do that work, we have to get these qualities.
We have to develop them in ourselves.
What's one of the biggest obstacles to that project is to tell ourselves that we can't do it, that we are the way we are, that Allah created us this way. And therefore it's not possible
to change ourselves or develop ourselves to improve ourselves,
and thus to kind of disqualify this entire project.
So the next chapter,
is by Hani, he responds rhetorically, right. Before last class, he was responding logically, he was saying, well, there's this type of allows creation which is unchangeable, and this other type which is changeable, and so on and so forth. Now he's going to respond rhetorically to the person who would say that, listen, Allah created me.
And He created me in this form with this character with these propensities and tendencies.
And so who am I to change Allah's creation? What ability do I have to alter it? This is the will of Allah.
He says, Have you seen such a person as somebody who cuts the grass
Would we just let the grass grow
and the weeds and everything else and claim that we can't do anything about it, I'll create it this way. We can't cut it, we can't shape it, we can't form it.
Or someone who prunes trees into a proper shape. Like here in New York, they prune apple trees, usually to keep them a certain space apart so that the wind can blow through and
they prune them so that the branches are lower to the ground. So it's easy to pick.
We apply this logic within our dunya
Why don't we apply it to ourselves?
Obviously, there are things within the creation
that we are able to change or manipulate whether those things are changing their outward forms,
such as pruning trees, cutting the grass, clipping our fingernails, even giving ourselves a haircut.
Or sometimes even we're able to change the nature of things
in boil water, and that evaporates into steam.
We've changed it at the chemical level, we broken the bonds and it dissipates into thin air.
We breed certain plants to have certain characteristics. They do this in agriculture all the time.
How do you think we get seedless grapes, seedless watermelons and cucumbers, things like this, they don't come like that by themselves. It's human intervention that breeds this variety with that variety in order to achieve certain traits.
Even some animals can be domesticated and tamed.
Such as dogs,
cheetahs in the Arabian Peninsula, they do domesticate cheetahs for hunting Falcons.
animals, such as horses and oxen that we've relied upon for 1000s of years. So if an animal is capable of being domesticated, and trained to do work,
if you can see in North America, you can train a dog to respond to calls to jump up in the air to do these kinds of crazy courses that they do.
Then you're out of excuses, then you too can be trained. You too, can alter and intervene into your habits and into your,
into your practice into your character. Allah says on the F la Hamilton's a QA,
the true person who has succeeded, the real success in this life isn't the person with the big paycheck, not the person with the big house. Not the person who's famous. The star athlete is the person who has purified themselves as a QA.
On the EFA Hamza, Cara. And so this is our this is our project.
Our project is to is to purify it.
Now, that's not to say
that's not to say that some people don't have it easier than other people, that's true.
You'll find there are people that all you have to do is tell them something once
and they can implement it.
And they'll never backslide, they'll never go back. And then there's other people that they know better.
But it takes them time and time and time again to break the habit that they're in to break the cycle.
Maybe as soon as they start to see some progress, they intervene at the level of habit.
And then they find that the next the very next time, they have a setback and they fall back into their old ways. This isn't to say that such a person can't change. It's just that they have to they have to expend more effort. They have to rely upon a lot a little bit more.
The important thing is that the slowness of change or the difficulty of change,
cannot be confused with an inability to change
because we are all capable of it and the companions. The companions are our shining example.
They lived on the border lines between a life of idolatry and the life of hate.
So if they can do it,
we can do it too.
the next chapter
we'll begin with a question.
Well, first of all, we need to do a little bit of review for this question.
Recall that our argument also Hanny
when he was talking about the aspects of your nature that you cannot change,
he said that he's talking about the three fundamental capacities. The raw material Allah gave us to either develop into the elite qualities He wants us to have or we can squander them and they can become vice of some sort
What were these three capacities these three capacities make up the mold that were created and that the existence of those capacities we cannot change that's true. What were these three capacities?
Thoughts Yes, that's the first one.
Anger urge excellent work thought anger urge good. So his next chapter
he's going to zero in on one of these things. One of these three capacities the one that he says is the hardest one to take
which one of these three capacities do you think is the hardest to master? The hardest to discipline
shahada family says anger
shake family says urge
Okay, let's justify our our opinions with with some reason why for those of you so we have two for urge and one for anger for those of you who said
urge why what makes urge harder because this go ahead
Mohammed Do you want to say something? Yeah, I say thought thoughts. Oh good. Well, Mashallah. So we have everyone covered. Good. That's what we want. That's where discussion starts. So now everybody has to justify their opinion.
For those of you who said thoughts, why what makes thought the hardest one to discipline? For those who said urge what makes urge the hardest one to discipline and for those who said anger you do the same.
Okay, so the CHE family says they chose urge. They say that humans are weak. A hotel in Santa BIFA Allah says it and assaults on the SAP and temptations are everywhere.
That's very true. We live in a society and a time where we see that every single day
okay, that's for urge What about shahada family can you give us an insight into your Talia?
Why do you think anger is the hardest one to get to? Discipline and control?
The shake families helping you out they say that anger is the most difficult to control once you're in it right
I can definitely see that
okay, we'll see if they have anything else to add. Mohamed Why did you say thought? What makes you think that thought is the most difficult one to control?
I said because before anger and and urge you think about it in our heads like It's like
start whispers or you know you can't control like you know, what shaped lawn
like when his whisper whisper to your heart, you know, our main then then then it's like how you react to it. You know what I mean? Yeah. Is that's when the reaction you could that's just in your head but when when when the anger is coming out is because you know you are taking actions you know, it happened inside of you now you physically reacting to it. But that's something inside of you. You know what I mean? That's just, I don't know, I just think you're saying no, that's a good that's a good response. So
under me, so it's almost like all action has thought as a part of it. Yeah. Or like it begins as a thought, just like he's the author said some lessons ago. I'm not sure if you are with us at that point, but but he said basically that it starts as a seed, and then it grows and grows until it becomes an action. So it's almost like the thought is almost the hardest one to attain, because that's working at the level of those seats. Like that.
Yes. Okay. So how the family says, because anger overtakes you, it becomes extremely hard to control that anger and to cool down all rational thought is out the window? Yes. Very good. Well, I think all of your responses indicate that we could make an argument for all of them. We could definitely make and, and the arguments that we brought forth, demonstrate that they're all Difficult to Discipline. Right, there is no one of them that is easy to discipline, they all have a degree of difficulty.
And I think probably think probably, our answers also illustrate that it might be different from person to person.
Okay. Some people might have a particular trial, when it comes to disciplining their anger.
Right, very good, safe family. Excellent, right? Different points in our lives. That's very true, right?
A 20 year old man,
young man trying to control his libido is going to be easier than say, a 80 year old man, depending on the 80 year old, but in most of them, it's going to be easier for that person to control it versus, for example, maybe anger or thought or something like that. That's very, that's a very good point too. So we can make an argument for all of them. And that might differ.
individual to individual, culture to culture,
era to era, and point of life, or we should say life stage to life stage, depending on your age.
Let's now hear what our author says on Audible, but also honey, he is of the opinion, that urge is the most difficult one to tame and to master. Hear him out. Why does he say that?
He says, first of all,
because urge is tied most immediately
to the preservation of self and preservation of the species.
He's talking about our two greatest needs, our need to eat, right, which is also part of urge, we said most urge is talking about
food and sex. That's basically what it we're getting at there could be other things, but you know, those are the big ones.
So the food part addresses a very, very immediate fundamental need of ours as human beings,
which is that anybody who doesn't eat for two or three days, they are going to be irritable, they are going to be
emotionally unstable, they are going to be in a very, very, very difficult their physiology is going to change, they're going to be in a very difficult situation. Right? So eating food is immediately, most immediately more than, say, getting angry, more than even thought is most immediately tied to our survival.
our anger we rely upon our anger to fend off intruders or enemies or things like that, but how often are we? How often are we utilizing that kind of
capacity for our survival, not as often the same with thought, right? We use it maybe more often than anger to for our survival. However, it's not as immediate
as our need for food as for reproduction,
then it is something that is completely overwhelming
right to the human body, like it is something at a hormonal level that takes over that conquers and our sense of continuity of species.
Whether our family keeps going or not
depends upon the satisfaction or the utilization of this capacity.
One could also say, and I can only speak from the experience of a man. But I think perhaps most of the men will agree with me
that the frequency
of the urge, or the frequency of
being called to use that capacity
is right up there with food. Depending maybe a little lower for some maybe a little higher for some who knows. But it's right up there, in its immediacy.
Right. Whereas anger and thought, at least anger especially, tends to be a reactive thing to something else that's happening.
And the urge for food and offspring can also be reactive. But even if you subtract all stimulus, or stimuli, it's going to happen anyway, it's going to keep coming up, whether there's something provoking it or not. So that's his. That's his first argument.
His second is because you can find both, you can find urge, in both man and the animal kingdom.
So it's not like thought, for example,
where it's something that is a little bit more specifically human, not to say that animals can't think.
But that human beings disproportionately rely on the capacity of thought, perhaps from what we know from what we can observe more than much of if not all of the animal kingdom.
As for anger,
it would be debatable in the first place.
for example, a predator experiences anger when it's hunting prey.
Either way, we can confidently observe that the prey can't be said to be really experiencing anger, it more experiences fear, which is what causes it to survive.
Right? So we're looking for survival mechanisms, and we see thought, comes up with some creatures and doesn't come up with others. And anger comes up with some creatures and doesn't come up with others. However, the urge the capacity of urge
for food and offspring, those are they cut across all creatures, not just humans and animals, even plants, even plants turn towards the sun. Right? In the daytime, in order to get more food, they will go to seed, if they're stressed quickly in order to reproduce. Right. So it is funny, he's getting philosophical on us. He's saying that this, that it cuts across all beings, is proof that it's more immediate and more fundamental.
And his last evidence, so he's got three, he's got three proofs. Those are his first two. The third one, he says is that
utilizing this capacity, urge is more immediately enjoyable,
Then, utilizing the other capacities,
you can't say that utilizing anger
gives you a reward, per se. Right? If you successfully kind of like
repel a threat, there might be some sort of satisfaction there.
But it's not the same when it comes to food or offspring, right? The libido to satisfy it is extremely rewarding.
The same thing with thoughts. There might be some of us who can read books and like the moments, the eureka moments of insight,
are some of the best moments of our lives that we live for that we write that are extremely inspirational.
But how often do those moments come when the capacity for thought is used?
Whereas with satisfying food and libido, it's pretty much every single time you're utilizing that capacity utilized in that capacity is reward, reward reward, which is why going back to his example of domesticating animals if you want to domesticate or train an animal, what do you use?
to use food,
scientific experiments, and they want to conduct experiments, and this is controversial even in the city, whether this is permissible or not, depending on the harm that's associated with the, or the harm that is, might potentially befall animals like lab rats or things like that, or lab mice. But what do researchers use?
In these experiments, they use reward. And the reward is food, almost always.
So that's the three, the three pronged argument of our author
to back his opinion, that the urge is the most immediate, strongest
capacity that we have, and therefore, the hardest to tame and to discipline.
Indeed, he says that managing this particular urge
is the difference between man and animal.
Not thoughts, because you can find animals like dolphins and chimpanzees and others that also have some degree of thought and it's quite impressive honestly, crows, ravens, the J family these sorts of things,
and you find anger elsewhere.
But being able to control urge
is something the author is asserting that only human beings are capable of doing.
To need to eat but to refrain
to want to satisfy the libido but to abstain
along with us for hunting is saying that that is a human that is what makes a human a human is the ability to withhold or refrain from that capacity, or to master it or discipline it.
The stakes are extremely high. As he says, he says this particular capacity, more so than thoughts more so than anger, if left unchecked, if left to run wild,
it will turn the person into its slave.
The person becomes the slave of food and the slave of his libido. He is conquered by it.
It's as if he's just an automaton he can't do anything
of his own accord.
And this is precisely how
the devil most commonly
attempts to persuade us or manipulate us to get
ourselves in trouble
to make us commit sin.
Does he use our anger? Yes, he does.
Does he use our thought? Yes, he does.
But more often
and more frequently.
He leverages against us.
Something that we desire too much.
Or something that we fear too much.
When you want something, urge wise, whether it's food, whether it's sex, romance, it doesn't have to be you know, like, whatever like carnal, like romance like a relationship.
If you want it too much, the devil will leverage that against you in order to disobey Allah. Majority of people who go to magicians
and utilize magic, why did they do it?
relationships and trying to have children
just as the devil will take something that you fear a little too much and he will threaten you with it. In order to get you to disobey Allah, even just in your heart.
Because there's different types of disobedience you can disobey a lot by performing an action that is that disobeyed has Shediac or violates his toe hate, or you could do an action of the heart. Like doubting Allah's ability
to take care of everything doubting Allah's ability to forgive you down in Allah's mercy
not trusting that Allah is
capable of all things.
If we leave the urge, unchecked, it becomes our master
which is the meaning of Allah's statement that
he has not created in the chest of man, two hearts. It's not possible to worship this and Allah, either you're slave to your urges, or you're a slave to Allah. And being a proper slave to a law necessitates the taming and disciplining of those urges, so that they are not your master.
Vice versa, if we embark upon the journey of taming
then this is
liberation, if there is such a thing on earth.
Which is the irony of the time period that we live in?
The irony of the time period, that we live in every corner, from the media to corporations to education is telling us
that liberation comes through indulging in our urges,
doing whatever it is we want and
freedom comes from removing all obstacles to the thing that we really want.
And all of us for honey saying exactly the opposite.
Once you attain what you want, once you discipline your urge, once you train yourself upon abstention
abstinence refrain, restraint.
That is freedom. That is actual liberation.
If you're able to tame yourself like this, and to manage this capacity, then your needs lesson.
And if your needs lesson, no one can control you.
The devil can't control you. Other people can't control you.
You become self sufficient, you become independence. You become generous with what you have.
And therefore you become noble This is the meaning of the Prophet statement is head for dunya you hit book Allah was had female and the nurse you can book a nurse. Refrain from that which is in the world and Allah will love you and refrain from that which belongs to other people. And those people will love you too.
If this capacity, urge, food, appetite, libido desire is so dangerous that it can enslave us.
Why did Allah create it? Or create us with it in the first place? Isn't it setting us up to fail?
Is it stacking the deck against us?
We're getting short on time. So I'll tell you what our author says
hey, why shake family? MashAllah put it very succinctly.
He says moderation can be worship.
And that's precisely it along with us for how many he says that urge is only bad and only evil and only your master if you allow it to fall into either of the excesses, if it is neglected, and it takes control. However, if it is tamed and trained, it leads to that liberation that leads to that happiness. And this is a means to paradise.
This has to do with converting our urges
and our habits into worship.
Eating which is a necessity which you have to do something that is so potentially conquering over you
can become worship.
If you do it in the way that Allah loves
and have the proper intention.
The same with your
The same as satisfying your libido.
It can be worship
if it's done with the proper person meaning within the context of marriage
and it has the proper intention.
Raghav with us for honey. He says that worship, all worship is predicated upon this worldly life. Because it has to do with our it always has an element of sacrificing something of the dunya. Even when we leave to pray, there's an opportunity cost that's involved. We could have been clocking more hours, we could have been having more fun, we could have been doing something else. But no, we've taken the investment to go leave and pray. And so instead, we're going to do that. So worship has this inherent relationship with this worldly life.
Every act of worship is a trade off from our portion of the worldly life.
And the worldly life itself is predicated upon preserving our bodies, preserving our bodies is predicated upon returning repeatedly to the things that give life such as food such as intimacy.
And there is nothing more efficient to call us back to returning to these things than the urge that Allah has created in us, as he says,
in Surah, Adam Ron Xueyan, alumnus from Bucha, who let Allah says it himself Xuyen alumnus, it has been beautified to people who wish to what love of these sorts of urges and desires. So it's all there for a purpose Allah placed in there, like diamonds in the rough ready for you to grab, to polish off and to say, hey, look, this is now in my possession, it's in my bank account, it's going to count for me and think about the massive waste of most people's lives. When they're just living in they're eating, and they're eating, and they're being intimate with their spouse, and Allah knows who else. And none of it counts for anything. It's all just wasted time or even worse against them.
With all of that, which they had to do anyway, could have all been worshipping their Creator, and putting up something saving up something for tomorrow.
So it all of us behind it, he ends the chapter by saying that urge is like an enemy that you fear. It's harm, but you depend upon him in another way. He's like the enemy of your enemy. He's not your friend.
But you rely upon him to keep your other enemy in check.
And you hope that you have hope that he does this work, but you're also afraid to get too close to him at the same time.
It's like you can't do it with him.
But you can't do it without him. So he says the intellect has to tread very, very carefully. The human being has to walk on eggshells to use the urge, purposefully and with benefits, but not to get too comfortable with it, not to overdo it or rely on it too much so that it gains powerful over you. And he references a lot of poetry from Edmonton Abbey, and it's really really nice. For those of you who speak Arabic or like Arabic literature. Well, I mean, connected dunya Allah hurry and Yara I do when level man means sadoff that Taheebo do. So he compares it to like a
he compares your dunya
to like a bride paying the dowry, of which there's no escape. It's like
It's like paying dowry to an enemy.
But there's no way around it
and the last thing that he says and we'll close with this because we're just about out of time is that all the urges that we experienced in this life. This is actually a preview of the pleasures of gentler and so as delicious and, and excellent as they are in this life.
That is meant to be a motivation for us to pursue them in the next life. Hola, huzzah. Thank you very much everybody. Any last questions before we get shut off here?
This book is not available in English.
All right, a question. Yeah, I don't know if we got time to answer though. Sure. So what's the difference?
Difference between urge and knifes them? Yeah, I did that. The nafs
knifes urgent something or whatever?