Reforming the Self #13
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 35.84MB
Bismillah Al Rahman Rahim Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Ashraful MBA almost serene, be in our foot watching that Muhammad Ali, he offered a solo ask you to sleep
Allahumma Arlindo Vinayan Farah now at the Mount Island tena, was it an early Monday on overnight I mean
a couple classes ago,
our our author of Elsa Hani, he talked about responding to one of the major doubts.
That is an obstacle in people's way from developing their true potential, reaching that higher level that Allah wants for us, and that the world needs us to achieve, which is the level of the Latha. Being Allah's representative, he talks about the doubts, that we can't change, or that our ability to change is very, very minimal. And we talked pretty extensively about his treatment of that doubt.
And his recommendations for, say, his response to that doubt and
refutation, let's say, of that idea that the self is so fixed, he kind of lays bare and exposes how what a lot of people blame on their nature is, in fact, really their habit. And that habit is something that is well within the human capacity to change, even though it's not always easy.
Then he talks about, and this was last class, particularly the most difficult of the three capacities to tame and to discipline, the three capacities, being thought, urge, and anger. And he said, we took we had a really nice discussion about how each of them were uniquely difficult to tame, but how the author believes that urge is the most difficult of all of them to attain. And the one that really is the distinguishing feature of humanity, the ability to change it in the first place.
our author Ananda, but also honey, he's going to talk about the different levels of change. Right, because another doubts
that we could fall into, or perhaps an obstacle in our path of embarking upon this journey of self actualization, and self development
is to kind of only see the destination. And when we only see the destination, it can seem to be so far away, that we doubt ourselves as to whether we're ever going to get there, or get anywhere close. And so we want to give up
before we have even began the journey.
So it all goes well. So honey, he's going to tell us that there are steps along the way to this journey.
Right, you're not going to teleport from one place the beginning to the end, the absolute pinnacle of it. No, you have to go step by step along the path. And focusing on
only your next step is a way to make it more manageable
so that you don't get intimidated
by the length of the journey, and thus discouraged from embarking upon it.
Similarly, however, he also says that the basements the opposite of nobility, letting those three capacities
been neglected or abused, squandered to the point where they go into one of the two extremes we talked about.
Access that also is a process, it doesn't just happen overnight.
Which is, which should be actually hopeful to us because wherever we find ourselves along the path, that's there's always time to turn around and walk the other way.
So, he begins by talking about
making a case for this phenomenon of successive steps and he begins by saying that
your actions, your decisions, your habits, they are not occurring in a vacuum.
They don't happen by themselves without context.
Rather, they create a tendency, right so
They achieve something in the moment and they have an effect on the future.
Whatever you do or choose to do now
is going to create a tendency that will make it more likely that you will do a similar thing, if not the same exact thing in the future.
So everything is connected.
What you do now, and we can also infer what we did before, it's all connected in this big chain. It's like a track, or even like a connection in the brain of neurons. Once the connection is made, a certain amount of traffic passes along that path, the path becomes more worn and easier. It's like if you want a less medical example, maybe a sledding hill,
the snow comes on, it's all virgin snow untouched, it's all loose. One person goes down, two people go down three, four or five, every single person that goes down the hill, it gets more and more packed down, the path becomes faster and faster and more slick.
Because it's been traveled, it's been traversed. Or similarly a path through the woods. One person sneaking their way through the trees is not a path 50 100 1000 People going the same way breaking branches here and there, that creates a pathway. So this is how our actions do work. Our actions create tendencies for the future, and are partially responses from tendencies that are created in the past. And this is in the Spirit, we have a lot of the sort of advice in North American culture. Right. I remember, some time ago, there was a video that was pretty viral about some military guy was giving a commencement speech somewhere. And he was saying about, you know, advice for your
future. Make your bed in the morning. Right. And so the idea is that if you start with something small, manageable, about accountability, about establishing habits, you're not just doing something that is the making of the bed, you're not just getting the tangible good of having the bed made. You're also developing a capacity to establish routines to have habits and all this stuff.
And it's true in and of itself. It is a shame that a lot of times in our culture. These sorts of things are weaponized against people who are suffering oppression and kind of made to seem like, well, if you just get your act together, then you'll be fine. And regretfully, advice like that is often taken that way, which is not accurate. However, the the idea behind it in and of itself is true.
When you do that thing, the first thing you do in the day is make your bed, you're not just making your bed to make it for later you're also creating a capacity to follow routine, a capacity to establish habits, therefore, it will transfer it's a transferable skill to other habits and other routines.
So here he goes. Now our author is going to get into okay, what are the steps and stages? If these little things like chores, have effects have tendency develop capacity and likelihood propensity, and so do our moral decisions.
Then what are the stages?
What are the beginning stages? what's the end game? And what are all the paths or the stepping stones in between? So first he he breaks down the four he says there's four, there's four successive stages to building nobility within yourself. He breaks them down into two categories two and to the first two stages are related to your internal beliefs.
And the last two stages are related to your external actions.
So the first stage he says
is to believe in beautiful things.
Believing in beautiful things is the first stage of nobility and becoming a noble person.
We believe and this is something that is fundamentally in our athletes. Allah is Allah Jimmy and while you have been LJ man, he is beautiful and he loves beauty.
The things that we believe about Allah are beautiful. He is our man and the way dude.
I fall. I love a foul all these things that are beautiful.
We believe in justice. We believe in Heaven and Hell
We believe that a lot cares about us enough to send prophets to communicate revelation to try to guide us. We believe that Allah gives us excuse after excuse after excuse. Even when we turn away and turn away and turn away that we're always just one right decision away from turning our lives around.
We believe that even the most hardened the sinner is if they have an ounce a mustard seeds worth of belief. Even if they are put into the hellfire, Allah will take them out, will dip them into a river of Paradise will purify them and will eventually let them rest in heaven,
paradise for eternity.
These are beautiful things to believe in.
These should inspire all they should be something that makes us feel somewhat overwhelmed from time to time.
Compare that to many of the sorts of beliefs that circulate in mainstream society today,
such as that the universe, the universe is random.
It was created not with care, not with intention,
the Holocaust, so we're no haphazardly by mutation, genetic mutation,
something that could in no language be described as a good thing. Or by as a flattering thing, or a beautiful thing in and of itself. Mutants. A genetic mutation is responsible for the succession of each and every species.
is the reason why the cosmos all came together the way it did. We're constantly on the verge of being wiped out from some arbitrary mathematical catastrophe, whether it's a tsunami, or an earthquake or an asteroid, our lives have no meaning, just as the dinosaurs does didn't.
We could be wiped out tomorrow. And it would all just be some sort of random
These are just these are not beautiful things to believe in. They're ugly things to believe
that the world is primarily competition.
That the predator and prey are locked in this existential struggle against each other and everybody's just trying to grasp and secure their meager bounty that they're able to claim. Life is brutish, and short.
Only the strong survive
all of these cultural pieties all of these
slogans and platitudes
are not just not beautiful, they're ugly things to believe in.
So, can they affect us? Yes, they can.
Even if we are not
that bodies that the opposite sex is merely an object for your manipulation and pleasure. That's a huge one. You think that affects Muslims? Of course it does. It's an ugly thing to believe in.
Instead of every individual is a soul on their pathway to their Lord.
We could go on and on all night, the first step to reform is believing in beautiful things.
Because when you believe in beautiful things, it's going to sprout fruit. It has to there we don't buy as Muslims at all. This separation of belief and action that you can be a good person, morally, without believing in anything. Or despite whatever your beliefs are absolutely ridiculous.
You have to believe in beautiful things first and beautiful things when you believe in them, they will organically grow into beautiful actions.
If you say you believe in beautiful things, and your actions are putrid and disgusting, then that doesn't mean that there's no connection, it means that that person is lying. They don't actually believe in beautiful things.
So the first step is to believe in beautiful things to cultivate that garden to weed it to make sure that none of these sorts of ugly
ideas platitude slogans
have creeped into our garden and planted themselves choking out the flowers
and the fruits and the vegetables with noxious weeds.
We have to do that cultivation to make sure that we believe in beautiful things.
The second level
rocking with us for honey says, after we believe in beautiful things,
we have to establish those beliefs for undergird them or buttress them and support them
with clear and certain proof
and not mere fancy,
not whim, right? Because somebody, right people could believe in beautiful things, but come at it from many different
perspectives are for many paths.
And so if somebody has a weak reasons, or arbitrary reasons, whimsical, unstable reasons for believing in something beautiful, they are very likely there at least we could say more vulnerable.
To having those noxious weeds plant themselves and start growing in their garden of faith, their garden of belief.
They have no defense mechanism.
It's as if basing your belief on clear signs and proof. And we don't we're not talking about necessarily scientific or mathematical proof here. This is not like strictly enlightenment reasoning. It could be the same reasoning a law sets out in the Quran, look at the moon, look at the sun, look at the stars. Look at yourselves. All of these sorts of signs that Allah says when we base or tie or tether our belief to these sorts of proofs that everybody can observe.
Then we are building a wall around the garden, we are building a fence we are.
We have beneficial insects that eat all the pests.
We're taking care of it, we're erecting defenses that are going to protect our garden. From invasive species things that we don't want. They're those ugly beliefs. If you only base your beliefs, even if they're beautiful, on whim and fancy,
then they are extremely vulnerable and weak, anything that comes along any doubts. Any marketing ploy,
any slogan campaign can completely unseat
and overthrow that thing that you used to believe it.
And we have reached a time where we see that over and over and over again, people dedicated to sin and vice are in the business of beautifying the things that they call to love is love, love wins.
All these sorts of things we could go on for a long time about that.
So those are both of our levels related to belief, the first level of nobility is to believe in beautiful things. The second level of nobility is to tie and tether and support that belief upon clear signs.
The third level of nobility.
And the fourth are both related to action. The third level of nobility is to break our bad habits.
And this is not simply
external habits even though all of it is talking about actions.
It could also be habits of thought, emotional habits, how we react to certain things.
Right? Somebody comes over there, your guest
and you have, you know, a wide variety of things in your pantry and your cupboards in your fridge.
And you've really been coveting this one thing for a long time. Certain sweet, maybe
some sort of food.
And you come up, you know, the devil is there to provide you all the justification you need, you know, they probably don't like that. where they're from, you know, their culture. You should not don't don't give that to them. Give them this other thing that's less nice.
And so you hold it back for yourself on a rainy day.
And you offer them something that's less nice that you've convinced yourself is really that the person is going to like better. When in reality you're covering for yourself because you've been stingy. You've been stingy, you wanted that thing for yourself more than you wanted it for the other person and so you withheld it and you gave them something less.
This is a habit some people do this every single time they have guests or not even having guests over the
First place, I mean, we're talking nan COVID times, right? We can't really do this stuff during COVID.
But outside of COVID, making these kinds of justifications, oh, we can't have them over our house is too small. And you know, we don't have enough to, it'll be uncomfortable, they're used to more, all this other sorts of excuses, you might get in a habit that is not generous.
justified with all of these good sounding reasons,
right, and it can become your habit. So these things are, we're now talking, the third level of mobility is breaking these habits, once you look at
the opposite sex, big thing these days,
everywhere, and everybody knows it, and nobody wants to talk about it. Everything is sold with a scantily clad body, everything. Scroll through Facebook for five minutes, every TV show, and movie and product is sold with a woman, the body of a woman.
So people have habits, they have habits on whether they look at that stuff, whether they don't look at that stuff.
Or whether they click that stuff, or whether they don't click that stuff and keep scrolling, all these sorts of things are habits.
And one, one, a moment of action is tied to the next moment of action. If you're in the habit of clicking, you're more likely to click the next time. So third level is to break these habits.
Bring it down a step at a time.
The utmost none or all of us for honey, he gives us kind of the end game with level three.
The utmost level, or the utmost completion, we should say, of Level Three breaking habits is when you feel in your heart, the same hatred for those bad habits and vices that Allah that Allah has for them.
Right, which is interesting. It's very interesting, because it kind of gets into this question, which is another kind of doubt or obstacle in our project.
And he's going to have a whole chapter on it, I think, either next chapter, that's where the following chapter about feeling like a hypocrite.
Right? Is it fake? Is it in authentic,
to do something I'm not yet fully convicted of, I don't fully have belief in
all RhoGAM. But that's fine. He's gonna talk about that. But here, he's going to give you a teaser.
By saying that the beginning is to break the habit. And the utmost level of that.
Or the, the completion of that level, is to have your heart in it too.
So your heart dislikes it because Allah dislikes it there one,
there's no difference.
You see that thing, the moment of choice comes and you reject it, not just because you know, you have to You're not reluctant, you're not be grudgingly looking away.
You're disturbed, you're bothered,
That is actually a sign of faith. And that is actually according to our author, the completion of this third level of breaking your bad habits.
The fourth level, the final level of developing nobility is to establish good habits. Right, so in the wake in the vacuum that you've left from rooting out, one by one, your bad habits, maybe some of them were really big, maybe you had to just kind of chop it down until it got to be a little bit smaller until you could uproot it.
But the final level, is to replace those bad habits with good habits
to plant seeds. This is what we were talking about with the making your bed, this sort of stuff. Making your beds very quaint. There's lots of other stuff, donating to the masjid regularly, donating to the poor in your community regularly.
Your attendance to the message, your phone calls and emails to relatives to friends, especially people who are alone, more lonely than other people, especially in these times of the pandemic.
All great habits going to visit the sick again non COVID times going to visit the sick Muslims in the hospital going to the graveyard to pray for the deceased Muslims.
All good habits
to establish to tend to to take
And just like level three, on on them. And also Hani says that the completion of this level, its pinnacle is to have your heart in it as well, to love it.
When you see or when it occurs to you to do one of these things, you are elated, you're delighted you're excited. Because you know that Allah loves this thing. This was the level that Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam achieved when he said that the prayer had been made the apple of his eye, meaning the most beloved thing to him was the prayer. And then when he ordered be allowed to make the event, he would say,
Bring us relaxation and ease with the event.
All of these things have become something to look forward to, to anticipate. Just like we anticipate rest and relaxation and leisure and indulgence. They anticipated the prayer and worship in the same way.
They viewed the world outside of the prayer and worship as this necessary thing, their struggle, their jihad.
And they were waiting and longing for the opportunity to turn back inward and to communicate with their Lord.
That's the highest level.
So we have the first level, you have to believe in beautiful things. The second level was to tie that belief, to clear signs and proof.
The third level is to break our bad habits. And the fourth level was to build in their stead good habits.
Just as there were four levels to building nobility, along about Sahana, he discusses four levels, or stages to corruption,
or to corrupt the inherent nobility that you have within you that Allah created you with, or the capacity at least for nobility with which he created you.
Just they mirror the other four, right? So two in the area of belief and two in the area of action.
The first level, the introductory level, is delusion.
Right? A particular kind of delusion where you believe in
All these things that we mentioned, you believe in scarcity.
Absolute scarcity, we're talking about that, that the world does not have enough to go around, somebody's got to die.
If it's not me, it's him. I'm just trying to get mine, right we hear these things.
Competition, not the good kind of competition. Talking about the existential rule of the universe is competition and struggle and fight. If no, dog eat, dog, Kill or be killed, right?
These sorts of things are delusions, they are delusions.
That's our happiness is an expression or an indulgence of our base selves.
That's one of the most popular myths or most popular delusions that we have today. That's, I can make myself happy. If I simply express who I am, every single kid's book, I'm sick of it, I meant to have a conversation with my wife about this. And I forgot every single kid's book is about
believing in yourself being weird, it's okay to be whatever you are, whatever you are, whatever you are.
Now that points can be it has a kernel of truth in it. Okay. Like for example, we are Muslims, we are a minority, we are happy and proud to be different.
But there's a way in which this message is twisted, and gone, taken to an extreme
which makes sacred the individual, the self, all that it wants.
All that it desires, all that it lusts for
that doesn't challenge the self to become better.
There's a way in which that is often in our society.
Taken to that extreme, this is one of the most dangerous delusions that is in circulation today.
That you are just as you are and everybody has to accept you just like that no matter what it is.
And you don't ever have to change yourself because that would be inauthentic. That would not be
living your truth
these are delusions.
This is the first level, the first level to losing your nobility to becoming corrupt is to believe in, in ugly beliefs. The second level is conformity.
Right. So those beliefs are tied to not proof, not signs, but simply what everyone else is doing groupthink.
And we have a lot of examples going on that I don't want to get too controversial,
but going on in our society today that are symbols of, or very, very clear examples of group think
that a child of 11 years old
that they believe that they were born into the wrong body, they should have been the other gender. And a doctor can then give them hormone treatment and a sex change and all of this before they've reached puberty.
That's something that is only possible in a context of conformity and groupthink.
And you can tell this is actually in the Quran. If you look at all the instances in which a lot of talks about calm looked
like unsalted iron,
you can tell when an issue is an issue of conformity.
By the way that they, that group of people responds when they are challenged, and assaulted an ion lot confronts
his people with their with their sin, telling them that what they're doing is wrong. What's their response?
Their response is Get him out of here, shut him up.
Right. It's a gag order. They don't have an argument against, they're not willing to have a discussion about values about
whenever that group gets power, they will use that power to silence everybody.
we see that today.
That's the second level. So the first level is delusion, what you believe in the second level is conformity. The reason why you're believing in these things, it's simply because it's group think it's what everybody is doing. The third level
is heedlessness and idleness.
Okay, so you don't, you're not occupying yourself with anything that's beneficial.
And we see this so much today. So many people's lives are entertainment, entertainment, entertainment, and leisure.
It's like the Holy Grail. That's what people aspire to in their lives, they want to have a ton of money, not so that they can do good not so that they can end poverty, but because they want a life of leisure, and entertainment.
Many people that they work, if they work these days with the COVID, or if not,
they come home, everybody's working for the weekend in the sense that not that they're coming to give time and invest in their relationships and their pet and their, their parents and their children and their spouses. They can't wait to get home to the Netflix
or whatever other distraction that they're doing.
And that's not to say that it's all bad. I watch, you know, some Turkish series once in a while and you know, certain days, but I think everybody understands what I'm saying here. It's become a devotion, it's become a preoccupation and an obsession, to where people think that that's the point of life.
This is the third level.
Yes, exactly. This isn't we're not talking about moderation, or moderately partaking these sorts of things.
You know, when some people how they
been trained, we use SubhanAllah. We use the language of addicts, to describe people's relationships to media and entertainment. What does that tell us about where our society is?
The final level, so the heedlessness and the idleness it's like leaving your garden unprotected. It's vulnerable to whatever is going to come in. Right. And then the final level is the concrete. The weeds the actual bad stuff, which is vice, right? To have habits of vise habits of looking at what you're not supposed to be looking at. Habits of consuming too much.
Habits of cutting corners, cheating.
Going against your word lying to get what you want. Not caring about other people for
Throwing other people under the bus.
These are habits. And these are vise and all the other vices that are very well known, whether they're sexual advice or gambling or alcohol, all these sorts of well known things. That is the furthest point.
That's the lowest level a level four of corruption.
So the goal on all of it also, he ends the section and it's perfect timing for us to end to.
He said that the goal
is to proceed along this path of nobility.
Believing in what's beautiful, tying those beliefs to science and proof,
removing and breaking our bad habits and then cultivating and developing the good habits.
The goal is to try to train ourselves
and to habituate ourselves
on to these good qualities generosity, and justice and kindness and selflessness and all of these sorts of things until they are automatic.
And they are constant.
Okay, so he's now giving us another kind of long vision of how we're going to progress Inshallah, on this path,
it's not going to be
just on rivaled linear progress. When it comes to developing these habits or these qualities,
it's going to be one step forward two steps back two steps forward, right, it's going to be a mixed bag, we're going to ride the sinusoid hopefully up.
At first, the good qualities and their manifestation and habits is going to come very occasionally.
And it's going to require immense effort.
But if you persist and you keep at it, and you keep at it, it will both become easier.
And because it becomes easier, it will become more frequent.
Until these things and their expression these
McHattie and machete the elite qualities that Allah wants us to espouse and to embody become automatic and constant.
And that is a perfect stopping point for tonight. Does anybody have any questions comments concerns before we conclude?
Okay, it doesn't look like
I leave you to the seed keeping them a lot. Hope you had a great weekend. And I'll see you next time in sha Allah AsSalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh