THE UNVEILING OF ISLAM

Let me offer you a simplistic view of Islam from nature. A coconut consists of a covering known as the HUSK. Inside this outer layer is a SHELL and inside this shell lies the KERNEL (a thick layer of white flesh). This kernel is kept alive by WATER (Coconut — water).

Coconut HuskCoconut kernel 1

Islam can be viewed in this context. You can approach it from the outside (husk) or you can begin from the inside (kernel). The husk plays an important role in preserving the coconut. It represents the SHARI’AH of Islam. It is the framework upon which Islam is established (the rules governing every aspect of human conduct and behaviour, reward and punishment, halal and haram etc).

This aspect or phase deals with the EXTERNALITIES of Islam. We learn to read/recite the Qur’an; to understand it it relation to Allah, the purpose and meaning of existence, and to succeed as good righteous Muslims, seeking heaven as our final abode. At this stage, we learn about the Five Pillars of Islam (Rukun Islam). The Qur’an refers to this acquisition of knowledge as ILMUL YAQEEN (Knowledge of Certainty). It is knowledge based on ‘rewards’ through performance; It is a RITUALISTIC  endeavour that purely deals with PERFORMANCE and EXTERNALITIES. It is RITUALISTIC and TRADITIONAL in nature.

Do not misunderstand me. Acquiring this aspect of knowledge is important. It forms the basis and foundation of Islam. Without it, you will not know the rules governing solat, saum, zakat and hajj. It is the Shari’ah that determines what is permissible and what is prohibited. Without it, we will be inspired by Satan through all kinds of justifications. However, Islam does NOT end here. This is just the foundation or structure of a house. You need to go beyond it. You need to transcend to the level of ‘AINUL YAQEEN. You need to move on from the husk to the shell.

I can assure that INTELLECTUALISM through ILMUL YAQEEN can help you understand the meaning of existence BUT it will be devoid of FULFILMENT. You can speak about the ‘King of Fruit’ (the durian) to a westerner, but it will make NO sense to him until he has tasted it! Even when he/she does, there is no guarantee that he/she will like it.

To attain this level of perception you will need a spiritual guide, who has undertaken this journey and has passed the test, NOT some half-baked Sufi intellect or Tasawwuf book (manual). An ‘ustad’ cannot do the job because he/she is a person of ILMUL YAQEEN, not ‘ANUL YAQEEN and HAQQUL YAQEEN. Just as there are phony Sufi Shaykhs, there are also ‘ustads’ who will sell the word of Allah for a miserable price.

In Suran Hujurat 49:14: “The desert Arabs say, ‘We believe.’ Say, ‘You have no faith (Iman); but you (only)say, ‘We have submitted our wills to Allah,’ For not yet has Faith (Iman) entered your hearts. But if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not belittle aught of your deeds: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful’.” RUKUN ISLAM represents this. We have not attained a credible level of Iman (belief in Allah, the Angels, the Last Day etc). There is NO EVIDENCE here, just pure belief and acceptance. It is the submission of Nabi Ibrahim (a.s.), to he point that even the fire of Namrud could not burn him! Our level of Iman is just Ilmul Yaqeen, because if we did possess it, we will submit ourselves to every command of Allah (in the right context) in the Qur’an and not end up being rebellious or SELECTIVE in our obedience and submission to Him.

When the Saint Shibli stood in front of the Ka’bah for the first time, he said to this effect, “Ya Allah, if this is your House, I have seen better houses than this.” The following year, he stood in front of the Ka’bah and said, “Ya Allah, I have not come to see the house but the Owner of the house.” After hajj, he stood in front of the Ka’bah again and said, “Ya Allah, how can there be this house, You and me…this is shirk (attributing a thing to Allah). It was then that the Qur’anic verse reached his heart: where Allah states: And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honour.” (Surah Rahman 55:27). This is the Reality of Existence (HAQQUL YAQEEN)

Just reflect upon these THREE STATES and ask youself, what level are you at? Are you like most people turning up for Umrah, calculating the number Umrahs you have done; the number of rewards they have acquired for performing prayer at Masjidal Haram and Masjidal Munawarah? These are the people who live by their calculators. The measure up every performance in a PHYSICAL SENSE.

How old are you now? Sill learning to recite the Qur’an or has NOT done so to date? If you are OLD and still at this level of ILMUL YAQEEN – you will still go to heaven, BUT what level of heaven? Ponder upon the FACT that even Nabi Musa (a.s.) had to follow Khidir (a.s.) to acquire Haqqul Yaqeen! And do you think that you can do so by attending Qur’anic Tafsir classes? My friend, you need to find a ‘PERFECTED SPIRITUAL GUIDE’ (not an ADVERTISED Guide with commercial interests, claiming this or that)!

There are many level of perception concerning HAQQUL YAQEEN. An example would be to look at the events surroung the Prohet (s.a.w.) at Taif. He went there to deliver the message of Islam. He was stoned until his slippers were soaked in blood. Alllah Almighty sent Jibra’il (the Angel Gabriel) to him. But instead of using the power of Allah invested in Jibra’il (a.s.), the Prophet turned to Allah seeking His forgivenness, over his inability to succeed. Instead, of destroying the people of Taif, the Prophet (s.a.w.) supplicated Allah, with the hope that they would enter the fold of Islam (to that effect).

You will note that the Prophet (s.a.w.) NEVER abused his position, status or power. He ALWAYS remained a human being: Say, O [Muhammad], “I am only a man like you to whom it has been revealed that your god is but one God; so take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness,” (Surah Fusilat 41:6). The Prophet (s.a.w.) used to say that he was His Servant and then His Messenger. The Prophet (s.a.w.) ALWAYS submitted to the divine will of Allah.

The Reality of Existence can be best viewed in the events surrounding the Battle of Badr. The Muslims were on the verge of defeat. The Prophet (.s.a.w) took a handful of sand in his hand, made a supplication to Allah and cast it into the air. It resulted in the Muslims being victorious. After some time, their pride over their success went to their heads. It caused Allah to reveal, “It was not you who slew them. When you threw that handful of dust, it was not your act but Allah’s…..” (Surah Anfal 8:17).

If you can understand the Reality of Existence as it exist in Islam, then you would have reached the summit of realisation: that everything begins and ends with Allah; nothing takes place without His consent; and that you were created along with the Jinn to serve Him. You can FILL UP THE GAPS IN WHATEVER WAY YOU LIKE, whether it is physical, traditional or cultural; whether you begin from the Shari’ah or Tasawwuf – all these paths MUST reach HAQQUL YAQEEN!

Please do NOT take a train journey enjoying the scenery. It is a WORLDLY DISTRACTION. Keep in mind your ULTIMATE DESTINATION – in short, keep the world in your pocket and Allah always in your heart. Hadrat Shibli when making supplication (doa) to Allah said, “Ya Allah, people ask You for all kinds of things, I only SEEK closeness to You,” (Alchemy of Happiness).

We go through many phases/stages in life. We have to struggle to suvive. We do so in many ways, some lawful, some sinful. We turn to Allah in prayer but place our confidence in ‘other than Allah’. We then think that by ‘balancing’ our good and evil acts, through charity, building a mosque, supporting an orphanage etc, things will work out fine in the end. These are ALL HUMAN ASSUMPTIONS! Remember, whatever wealth you have, it was bestowed upon you to serve humanity. It NEVER belonged to you! The CHARITY you perform is an OBLIGATION upon you, NOT an act of greatness or fame and acknowledgement on your part. Do NOT lead a life based on the notion that oil and water do not mix but can co-exist. 

If you have you have reached the age of 40, please transcend to the level of ‘Ainul Yaqeen and Haqqul Yaqeen. Find a spiritual guide who can do so. Do NOT waste time any longer viewing the beauty of the coconut externally, but dive deep down into the coconut, to enjoy its milk (nectar). Rasulullah (s.a.w) was alredy known for his magnificent noble character before he became Allah’s Messenger. On doing so at the age of 40 – within 23 years, he fulfilled his mission. He is both the ‘lover’ and ‘beloved’ of Allah. Everyday, he would supplicate Allah to fill him with NUR (light). Acquire layers of coconut kernel to enjoy a spiritual perspective of what Islam is all about.

Coconut Lyers

Always remember that there should be NO expectations (rewards) on your part over your submission and servitude to Allah. You live for His sake, seeking His pleasure, seeking closeness to Him. You belong to Him; He owns you and He knows best! 

[It would be good to read the ALCHEMY OF HAPPINESS by Imam Ghazali]

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