Reforming the Self #16
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 39.31MB
Okay, we'll get started Shala
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa Salatu was Salam, ala Ashraf al Anbiya who are most serene Nabina Muhammad once in a while have been Our Lady of Sorrows. Salah was asleep Allahumma I didn't have any money. I'm fat on a one fat man in that island Tina, was it an amen? Yeah, don't believe me.
So, last class,
how long it will last for honey. He was talking about the blessings of Allah subhana wa Tada.
And he mentioned, we're going to briefly review that because today's lesson is going to be building off of the point he was making last time, or we'll say it's a
responding to a doubt. Right? We've seen before how sometimes the author will introduce a concept. And then he'll anticipate he's like a lawyer, he'll anticipate the potential ways in which it could be misunderstood. And he'll actually take time to
address those doubts. So for example, his whole project in this book, or at least in the first third of this book,
is to tell us that our destiny upon Earth, our higher purpose, that you know, he broke down, Why do we exist? What's our purpose on this earth and we said, three things. And they are arranged in a hierarchy, right? The lowest person, the lowest purpose is a man
which is settling upon Earth. The second is a bad it's a rough man worshipping, the Most Merciful. And the third is Khilafah to Allah is being Allah's representative on earth, bringing about within the creation, of qualities of a law that he would love to see reflected in the creation shot, such as justice, such as love, such as mercy, and the whole title of his book,
a very, the path, you know, McHattie Machete is that these McHattie, machete on the elites qualities, that you need to develop within yourself, if you want to reach that high level, that true purpose, which is the laughter to Allah, which is a laws representative on earth.
And so these macadam has he explained to us they come from our capacities that Allah gave to us such as our, our ability, our intellect, okay, if we develop our in intellect correctly, it will lead to knowledge and wisdom.
If we have urges, and impulses, if we develop and train and discipline these impulses, it will bear the fruits of generosity, and chastity
and our capacity for anger, which is God given if we develop it and train it properly, it will become justice on a societal level,
and bravery on the individual level.
And then we said so the whole relevance here is that he then anticipated some doubts.
And we hear a lot of these platitudes or these sayings today, such as Oh, that's just the way I am. Oh, I can't learn how you can't teach an old dog new tricks, right? These sorts of defeatist fatalistic attitudes, and idioms.
So a lot of us are honey addresses those, and he spends a long time convincing the reader is like, yes, you can change. It's true, you can't change everything. It's true that some people have an easier time changing than others. But the fact that that's true doesn't preclude it doesn't eliminate the possibility of changing for the better entirely. That's actually a cop out. So we've seen before how he's addressed doubts and tried to stave them off or problematize them so he's going to do something very similar in today's class. So last time, he had said, our lesson was about Allah's blessings. So he's are counting to us, Allah's blessings and he says, You cannot count them
as Allah says in the Quran, however, we can attempt to categorize them. And you can you will find, he, he asserts that most of them fall within five categories. The first category was the blessings of the afterlife. And the second category was blessings of the soul, particularly virtue.
The third word blessings of the body, such as health and strength and beauty, and longevity.
The fourth type were excellent
Aren't all blessings. By this he means things like livelihood, family, even honor and dignity.
And then finally, the fifth category,
blessings of success tofi tofi.
These have to do with kind of at the level of process such as guidance, success, persistence, and Allah's aid. And so, after introducing these categories,
he spent some time showing how this is a hierarchical list, okay, with the best being first, obviously, this is the only pure good are the blessings of the afterlife. And as you move down the list,
the goods or the blessings are less pure in and of themselves, some of them typically lead to the blessings of the afterlife. Some of them can equally either be used in the correct way
to obtain the blessings of the afterlife, or they could be used in the incorrect way, and actually obstruct one from obtaining the blessings of the afterlife. And then there are others which are more of a fitna than anything
and make it harder.
In the typical case, the typical scenario to achieve Paradise and the blessings of the afterlife.
So he was adding a caveat in our last class like yes, these are blessings, health, intellect, restraints,
even things like beauty,
family, they're all blessings from Allah subhanaw taala, they can all be put in the service of obtaining the only true good and lasting eternal good, which is the blessings of the afterlife, but some of them are trickier than others. Right? The intellect is something that is often misused, probably 5050. If we're being generous, right, you can use the intellect to recognize the signs of your Lord and Creator in the universe. And to ponder upon them and to increase your whole shore your your loving fearfulness and humble submission to Allah subhanaw taala. Or you can use it to learn how to trick and deceive other people and rob them of their money and you know, or outsmart them or
just kind of puff yourself up and think that you're better than them. There's all sorts of different uses for the intellect. Okay, and then there's others like such as beauty, which are often a fit more often a fitna on the person who has them, or has been gifted them, then not right, it's very difficult. In today's time, especially where we are flooded with images, particularly suggestive images, images of the body, everything under the sun is sold with images of the body, particularly the female body. It's extremely difficult when society is giving you this subtext constantly, constantly, constantly, that your worth, or at least your potential power is tied to this thing that
you were just kind of it fell in your lap. Beauty. Right? It's extremely hard to resist the temptation and the devil is right there goading you on the entire time to leverage that blessing to gain something from this dunya whether it's a wealthy husband, whether it's a
you know, whether it's a promotion, whether it is just the way that people treat you on a daily basis, whether it's praise, all these sorts of things. And of course, beauty can can be used in a righteous way. But how often is it used in a sinful way, that's what the author of the belts for honey is getting at.
So last class was all about these kinds of caveats. It's like, okay, this can go haywire, this can go wrong, if these blessings are used in the wrong way, it can actually become an obstacle. Now with the next chapter, the next chapter, or two or three, he's going to come from the opposite direction. And he's going to say, basically, we can't go to the other extreme, though,
and say that some of these things aren't blessings. Or, or imagine that it's more pious, and more righteous to go without them. Right? We can't have a an extreme extreme asceticism.
That is, denial of the body and denial of the worldly life, and so on and so forth. In an extreme way, that would be he's saying going to the other extreme, and so
He's going to get into that by having a basically a defense of external blessings. And then a defense of remember the external blend, blessings he mentioned, we're livelihood,
family, and honor and dignity. And that also by defending the blessings of the body, such as beauty, such as health, such as longevity, and so on and so forth. But before he does that,
he's going to go on a brief aside, he has a small chapter on
the relationship between these blessings. He's already spoken a little bit about this, it says that some blessings require others.
Right, or some blessings come before others. Some blessings are these types of blessings that we have presuppose others.
And they do this in a greater or lesser extent. So for example, the only true good or the highest good the blessings of the afterlife. They're simply not possible, no way, no how, without the blessings of the virtue and the soul, right, developing the intellect into wisdom, developing the urgent impulse into chastity and generosity, developing our anger into
justice and bravery.
Paradise is not possible without the development of these virtues.
Whereas if you keep on going down the list, the blessings of the soul, these virtues, he says, are facilitated by the blessings of the body. So yes, it's easier to develop these virtues, if you are in good health, if you have a longer time period, to try to develop them over.
Right? If you have, you know, if you've been given these sorts of gifts, these blessings, then it is easier these facilitate
in a probabilistic way, the development of virtue,
other blessings such as the external blessings of family and wealth, they often facilitate, they don't necessitate it's not an automatic thing. But yes, they can facilitate both the blessings of the spirits and the blessings of the body.
So if you have a comfortable livelihood, if you are independent financially,
then there's no doubt that this is going to likely lead to
increased health and increased longevity, this is something that is statistical fact.
And if you have the ability to be independent financially, if you have family, supportive family, then it is also more likely that you're going to be able to develop the virtues of the body, assuming the virtues of the soul,
such as patience, and such as
wisdom, such as justice and bravery. And he's going to go into detail about this in a moment. He says that even if we can't imagine a scenario without it,
we shouldn't let that trick us into not seeing the way in which one facilitates the other. Is it true that someone can be completely destitute completely without their health? And that person might be the most thankful person to allow us power to of course, that's true.
100% can that person be the most modest person, the most righteous person, the most just person? Yes. It even happens all the time.
But for many people, the author or aguadulce for how he wants us to know those things are a Pfitzner. And he's going to in the chapters where he goes into more granular detail, he's going to bring up a lot of evidence from the Quran and Sunnah that back him up, that this is a trial for a lot of people for more people than not perhaps it's a trial that tests their faith, and makes it more difficult to develop these virtues. You could almost consider it like in some in psychology, we have the Hierarchy of Needs Correct. I forget the name. Maybe
one of you knows I forget. Maslow is his name. I think Maslow's hierarchy of needs, right? So the yes Oh, Mashallah. Wow, that must be psychology 101. From there
Almost about 10 years ago, I still remember how so?
Yes, so the first needs are your absolute basic necessities, right food, shelter, physical safety and stuff like that, once you've secured those, once you've taken care of those, then you can attain to or focus your energy and time on higher order needs, you know, all the way up to
aesthetic needs creativity, right? Beauty, these sorts of things. Now, so I'll go ahead and clearly predates this by several several centuries. So it's interesting to see an Islamic kind of hierarchy of needs, with a little bit of a different spin on it. And he does a very good job on all of us for honey, mashallah, Allah does a very good job of not falling into
determinism. He's not saying that, you know, anything's going to insure anything, but he is talking probabilistically he's talking about if you're going to play, play the odds, this is usually how it shakes down. So his first defense that he mounts is
the defense of external blessings. He's going to go one at a time. So the first one he enters into is wealth.
His argument is that we should not have disdain for wealth, we should not automatically assume that poverty and being destitute is the same as being righteous and pious. Nor should we necessarily have the default assumption that wealth is an obstacle to piety and righteousness, even if it is for many individuals. Why? Here he comes with his lines of reasoning first, many of the acts of worship in our religion are based off of wealth, and money, such as the cat, such as sadaqa, such as the pilgrimage of Hajj.
And when I was in Medina, and I used to lead tour groups, I had met some people that have been on Hajj
1520 30 times
and Masha Allah, Allah just keeps on blessing their wealth. And they will tell you, they told me that the more they went, the more Allah seem to bless their wealth, even though every single trip
is maybe $10,000.
Usually between eight and $15,000, maybe more, depending on what sort of how many people are traveling with you if you have a family. Right, it's extremely, it's very expensive to go from North America or even the UK to to Hajj. So if you're blessed with this, well look at how it can facilitate things for you.
You can have access to these Wirtanen types of worship, that other people simply don't have access to the vast majority of Muslims on the face of the earth will probably never make a pilgrimage. A lot of his best. It's cost prohibitive. It is and even if there are charities that aid some people in going it is something that is a rare opportunity. I think maximum capacity for Hajj usually hovers around 2.5 million people.
that's about the the amount of Muslims in the United States alone. And we're 1% of the population. So you can do the numbers, right how how small a percentage of people get to have the opportunity. So he's saying yes, this is a a category of worship, that is only going to be accessible to people with means. And so the means we shouldn't
disregard or spurn those means when they can lead us to access other acts of worship that we would otherwise not have access to.
In support of this,
he brings up the Hadith of the Prophet salallahu Salam where he's approached by some of the poor companions
and they basically say to the Prophet salallahu Salam, that the rich have made off with all of the reward.
And they are very astute in their in their understanding. He's like, they pray the way we pray.
They fast the way we fast and on top of that, they give charity
now the Prophet salallahu Salam, the rest of the Hadith, he encourages them by telling them that listen, you need to expand your concept of charity.
Every time that you feed your family, if you have the correct intention that is charity, every time you are intimate with your spouse, that
had his charity and they couldn't believe it. Their reaction in the hadith is like are you? Like, literally? Do you mean to tell me that I get
trying to use a PC word excited? And
that can be that can be reward for me? And he says yes, of course. Of course, if you use that same urge for evil, it would be a sin, would it not. And so if you use that urge for good, then it is in your favor, it is reward, it is charity.
So even though the prophets Allah, Saddam was saying this and giving them a constellation and shifting their perspective and their worldview in a very important way, the understanding of the companions still stands, right? They had a sense that there were, they were missing out on things. And that sense, in and of itself is true. Even though the province like Saddam gave them a very good practical solution for their problems.
Along with us for HANA, he says that somebody who is destitute, we're not just talking low class here, we're not talking about working class or even working poor. So somebody who's destitute, and is in the quest to try to obtain these virtues. Right that we're talking about the McHattie machete that's going to lead one or make one eligible to be the representative of Allah subhanaw taala on Earth.
Such a person is like a soldier rushing into battle without a sword.
And that he he has some poetry or all of us for HANA. He lost for honey. He's one of the masters of both the Koran and the Arabic language. So he quotes poetry quite a lot as
he says Elmo, your Pharaoh who is Alina will follow.
Mona Lisa was ill.
He says that equals a line of poetry that says,
wealth raises a person and poverty makes him liable to
being humiliated or humiliation.
And then on all of us for honey, he brings in Hadith from the Prophet salallahu Salam, where the prophets Allah Salam is asking for wealth.
Or he's asking protection from poverty.
Probably Saddam he would say Allahumma inni s Alka and Houda were tougher
for what to call and another narration, while Effa while Athena
and wealth the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam used to ask Allah for wealth.
netmail own another Hadith and prophesy said I've never met our own Allah Topo Allah elmen said one of the most beneficial things that helps Taqwa of Allah is money.
It's not a
formulaic necessity one to one.
But there's no doubt that for a person who is wealthy and pious
has a degree of capacity or ability
over someone who is destitute and pious, that is what a lot of us for Hani is getting at here. And then he puts it, he brings some
that's the end of that of that section that he moves on to he moves on to the second type of external blessing after wealth is family.
One of the first things he says about family is the family is the original networking right now, mashallah, you know, in our kind of corporate professional world, we have networking events, that people just come together just to get to know each other, expand their circle, because there's an understanding that
people have different types of skills, and people have different types of needs, and a lot of what is business and what is community is just about matchmaking those skills with those needs, right?
And so, the original form of networking is the family. He says, the author he says that your family are your eyes, your ears, and your hands.
If you know 50 People, if everybody in your family knows 50 people, you're multiplying the amount of people that you know, and the potential support that you can have, and then he's not just going to rely on using his intellect he brings proof from poetry in the porosity from the Quran. He quotes a lot on his salah.
And when he's in his situation, he despairs because he can't do anything about it. Right? He's trying to call his people. He has guests who are angels, the guys from his community are about to knock down the door in order to get their hands on these guests who they think are men. And what does the Lord say? I mean, he said that in the sort of Hood, he says, Lo, Edna Lee become Co. Oh, are we, in a rock, then Chedid. He said, If only I had power, or I had, basically,
I had people in my corner supports that I could call to avail myself against you guys.
So you see how this is something that is even in the Quran that if you have the ability, it's also an argument that the brothers of use of would use against the apple, trying to give it convinced them to let use of go with them. Right? He would say we are us, but we're, you know, we're a bunch of tough dudes who's gonna mess with us? Don't worry about us.
Right now, in that situation, they were conspiring to do evil, but if they had been conspiring to do good,
that would have been a big thing. Recall that when the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was
he basically had to flee Mecca, and he tried to call the people of five. Okay. And then he comes back, and he's rejected from five and he's now he's in this awkward scenario where he is kicked out of five and he can't return to Mecca. How does he get back into Mecca?
Does anybody know
is one of the finer points of the Seattle
there's the miracle with the Christian servant, and he gives the the greeting of the prophets and the Christian servant recognizes this and becomes a Muslim accepts Islam. The angel comes, the real comes to the prophesy set him and asks him if he wants to have the mountains clap together.
The people because of their rejection of him.
And I believe it probably says that this is actually referring to Mecca, not five.
And some of the other scholars said it refers to five because that was where he just got pushed out from.
He can't go back to Mecca. Until there's a family that decides to protect him. I believe he has 10 sons. And he gives him his pledge. He says, You are now under the protection of me and my family. And he marches he sends his sons out to accompany Mohamed Salah son back to Mecca. And they enter in that way. Because the prophets always said I was protection had gone when his uncle I will fall and die.
So look at what can be accomplished with family, if you have if you are righteous. But yes, you have the numbers. You roll you roll deep, as we say. And then he quotes some poetry. He says, I'm taller and Janome. Yorkshire, when the Hareem away at him MOBA. This is a somewhat crude line, but it's a reality of life And subhanAllah one that we see. And he says, Don't you see that a group of people is feared.
And the women folk alone person is, let's say vulnerable. Okay. He uses more
startling language than that in the line. But he says Like if somebody's dependents, if there's just one of them, they're vulnerable.
Right? So this is something that has a lot of us for Hani he's he's very persuasive. He comes at you with the Koran. He comes at you with a hadith he comes at you with poetry. He really knows how to to build an argument.
And then he gives you Okay, so if you're in denial, if you're still not quite sure he goes back to the Quran.
And he says that Allah has called your womenfolk, your wives tilth for you.
Fertile Ground, he's encouraged you Allah says in surah nisa Okuhara, for lack of that two house icon.
So go to it and actually there's a command of encouragement. He says your womenfolk your wives are tilth for you. So approach them how you how you choose? It's an encouragement upon building the family. Then Allah says incidents in the SAP, battle quote, whatever now or come later the Runa a Johan Carambola qognify. When Allah after he lists his first
his first group of inheritance laws and the beginning of sorts of Nisa. He says this really interesting.
Observation and reflection he says, Your father's or your children or descendants. You don't know which one of you is going to benefit you the most
All right, because within inheritance, this is how it happens. Somebody, if it's left up to us, somebody's going to write so and so in their will, they're gonna give all their money to that person. And that person might not be deserving of that, that person might waste it all, and not use it for good. And so Allah has taken that decision out of our hands and said, the woman's going, the daughter is going to get a half, and the son is going to get the remainder, and the sister is going to get that and so on and so forth and spell it out. So particularly for us, and then we're looking for the reason why a lot did you do this? And then he says, because you don't know which one is
going to be most beneficial.
What's the argument rather, also he's making, he's saying, if you have a bigger pool of people,
then you have more, you have a higher probability that somebody in that pool of people is going to be extremely beneficial to you to the people around them to the society, to this religion.
And so this is something that should be that should be praised in and of itself.
The third out of the fourth, who will try to get through all the four, there's four of them. Today, insha, Allah dignity, and honor Eliza.
So he says that this is one of these external blessings. It's extremely important to developing these virtues.
Because if you have honor, if you're able to stand on your own two feet, meaning you don't owe anybody,
you're not under anybody's control, then you do not have to put up with humiliation. You do not have to suffer indignities. And it enables somebody to protect his dependents in the same sort of sense as the previous line of poetry. And he quotes a saying that, I guess was a popular saying and his time at Dino was Silvano a Hawaiian,
it says that the religion and the salon, like the political authority are brothers.
And the meaning of this is that they go together, you need one to protect the other.
And he compares it he gives the analogy of like, it's as if the religion is a treasure. And
political authority or political power, is a guard that protects that political treasure.
And so they both go hand in hand, even if, again, the whole theme of what he's going for here. Even if it can be abused, it can be misused, it can go wrong. That doesn't mean that the thing in and of itself is bad. Right?
Division of separation of church and state, or religion and state, right?
Historically, it's because of in Western European history, how it happened. So many abuses, so many problematic things. That doesn't negate the concept in and of itself, that doesn't mean that it can't be done right, that it can't be done correctly. And wisely. And then along with Elsa Hani, he goes back to the book of Allah.
Allah statement of sorts of Bacala Lola def Allah, He knows about the home they bound in the facility.
And there's another statement of Allah subhanaw taala, that he doesn't mention here about how, without the ability to defend ourselves, all of the churches and all the synagogues and all of the temples and all of the masajid will be nothing.
Right? Just because some people oppress with aggression,
and killing and violence
doesn't mean that violence cannot be just if it's placed
towards the proper goals. And it is governed by conditions, restrictions.
Finally, the last
is lineage or heritage.
And he starts right in by saying, Listen, there's a group of people that says that lineage doesn't matter anything and heritage doesn't matter. Anything doesn't have any weight. Then he he dropped some lines of poetry. COVID never know, when a man shipped? What tests have either been unique and machmood, who Anessa says, be the son of whoever you want, just get right, just act well just
learn some manners. So that will benefit you and get you praise more than if you were the son of whoever.
Right. So he quotes this poem. He's addressing this doubt that some people say that there's absolutely no importance to him.
Heritage or lineage.
And then are all of us for honey, he said he concedes he's a yes, buts. But he says heritage, if it's a good heritage, if it's paired with righteous efforts, makes things a whole lot easier.
Right? It's like you're starting off points.
If you come from a righteous lineage, if you grew up in a righteous family, it's going to make your, we talked about like floor and ceiling, it's going to make your floor a lot higher, and perhaps your ceiling a lot higher to the potential heights that you can reach, as well as your initial starting point, it's going to be a lot easier for you than somebody who has to overcome
a troubling heritage that they have to struggle against. He says the manners is all about who you mix with. And who you mix with, especially in your early formative years are often people that share your heritage and your lineage, your family. Just like there's physical resemblance between you and your,
your heritage, your lineage, your father, your grandfather, your female relatives, there is also a resemblance of character and virtue. Some people we see it, oh, he's patient, like his father.
Oh, it's like, oh, well, he has a temper like his grandfather. We see this. And we pointed out all the time, there's, there's a grain of truth in this.
Now, it doesn't mean that it's deterministic.
And it doesn't mean
oh, he's going to address it in a second. Anyway, I might as well just wait until he gets there.
for evidence, he brings up two Hadith of the prophesy centum, he says, To Hayato
Lee notifii comb,
one keyhole AXA, he said, choose wisely, your spouse's because it's going to basically affect your offspring. There's another Hadith that isn't mentioned in this book, but the humbly legal school brings up where the Prophet salallahu Salam discouraged or prohibited parents from giving their
children to suckle from basically women of low intelligence.
ethic, however, general or specific, we want to try to make it that can be kind of up for debate, but there's a general ethic that
the things that influence you, right, whether it's through who you're mixing with, or even what you're putting in your body. Yes, right. These are things that do have influence. And those early influences are often impacted in some way, by your lineage, or your heritage. And so he says, what the Sabbath meant
when they spoke against lineage and heritage and these sorts of things is that we can't limit
virtue, to heritage is not a mechanistic relationship. It's not formulaic, it's not a foregone conclusion. The fact that you are a relative of the prophesy, Saddam means nothing.
In this day and age, in and of itself, in and of itself.
Especially when people use this sort of lineage as oppression, right? Inherited offices, whether religious or otherwise political, when there's a person who doesn't deserve those accolades doesn't represent or embody the
honor of the people from their lineage, yet is treated with respect to given preference just because of his lineage. That's the problem. He said.
But it's not meant to be little the influence of lineage and he says, So to prove this, he said, Imagine,
as we mentioned before, if you have a good lineage or good upbringing, and you pair that with good righteous efforts, then this is
It will produce a very high level of righteousness and piety.
Whereas if you can't have both, if you have to choose between either a noble lineage or noble effort, then clearly obviously the better one to choose is noble effort, even no matter who your your ancestors were, or what your lineage or your heritage is.
That's much preferable to the opposite, having a good lineage but being basically a waste your son
of why it's obvious because such a person that has a noble lineage, yet themselves has no virtue
can only be because of their their own failures.
How do you account for the fact that that person has fallen in quality from the people of the past, that he descends from?
Either because the person made bad choices he kept Bad Company, he developed bad habits
or other reasons. So, that takes us nicely to the end of our time here. That was all of a rug will also honeys defense of external blessings, wealth, family, honor, and heritage, and how that if they are channeled properly, they can be used to facilitate and not obstruct righteousness, the development of virtue and obtaining the high status of a Khalifa of Allah that Allah wants for you.
Next class Inshallah, we'll move on to his defense of the blessings of the body. Which should be interesting. In Charlotte, does anybody have any questions before
before we dismissed?
That's good to know. Okay, so we have a request for a class on the I'm guessing you're saying the Sierra on the Sunnah of the Prophet. So I said, Of course that would be great.
Inshallah, once once we finish one of these classes.
We'll consider that for the next class. Yeah, that's a very important one. Definitely.
Any other comments, concerns questions?
Okay, everybody have a wonderful night. And may Allah bless you and benefit us by this
humbly last last summer, so that might equal Grafton.