Lecture at Singapore Management University Event Titled:
"Essential Spirituality - Awakening the Heart"
As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh! Alhamdulillahi 'l-ladhee hadaana li ‘l-Islami wa maa kunna li-nahtadeea law laa an hadaanallah. Alhamdulillahi ’Llladhee ja`alanaa min ummatu ’l-habeebu ‘l-mustafa, `alayhi `afdalu ’s-salaatu wa ’s-salaam. Alhamdulillahi 'l-ladhee khassanaa bi ’l-imaan. Alhamdulillahi 'l-ladhee ja`alanaa min al-muslimeen. Alhamdulillahi `alal kulli haal siwaa al-kufri wa ’d-dalaal. Ayyuha ’l-mu'minoon al-haadiroon it-taqullah wa ati`ooh. Innallaha ma` alladheena ’t-taqaw w ’alladheena hum muhsinoon.
Mashaa-Allah, you are students. Perhaps some of you here have already finished your studies and are in the business field as this is a business management university. This is a place where people can graduate and become part of this community, where they work day and night for the benefit of the ummah and their country.
Everyone is trying his best to get all A’s, and I am also trying to get my grades to be A’s, but I failed, because for example, if there is a hole in a bucket full of water, the water will slowly drip out of the hole and disappear on the floor. So in order to have a bucket with no holes, we have to listen to what the Prophet (s) said, which is very important. The topic of this event is “Awakening the Heart,” so the focus is on the heart.
The Prophet (s) said:
وَإِنَّ فِي الْجَسَدِ مُضْغَةً إِذَا صَلَحَتْ صَلَحَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ وَإِذَا فَسَدَتْ فَسَدَ الْجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ أَلا وَهِيَ الْقَلْبُ
Wa inna fi ’l-jasadi mudghatan idhaa saluhat saluha ’l-jasadu kullahu wa idhaa fasadat fasada ’l-jasadu kullahu alaa wa hiya ’l-qalb.
Surely there is in the body a small piece of flesh; if it is good the whole body is good, and if it is corrupted the whole body is corrupted, and that is surely the heart. (Sahih al-Bukhari)
When the Prophet (s) says inna, “verily,” he is confirming a situation that we need to understand well. If we want to achieve a good life through business management or any other career, we must have a good heart as the Prophet (s) said. If Allah (swt) puts you in a situation where you have to manage a bank or a company, you must be a trustworthy person, as the Prophet (s) described, or your heart will become weak, corrupt and eventually collapse. So how can you achieve a healthy heart; how can you achieve something without even feeling or knowing that you have to speak the truth?
Allah (swt) told the Prophet (s):
تَخْشَى النَّاسَ وَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخْشَاهُ
takhsha’n-naas w’Allahu ahaqqu an takhshaahu.
You have feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him, (al-Ahzaab, 33:37)
“O Muhammad! Do you fear from people? No, you must not fear them, you must fear Allah.” When we have that fear in our heart, as Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur`an, then our heart will be strong and healthy, our work will be appreciated by our superiors, and Allah (swt) will give us more and more support. He will bless us and make our lives healthy.
Today many people come and say, “I have a problem,” or, “I’m in a difficult situation, so please pray for me or give me something to recite so Allah takes that away from me.” First fix your heart, what is needed in your life the most! Management of the body is just as it is important in business administration or economics or whatever you are studying. Similarly, you have to also study the diseases of the heart.
Three or four years ago, I was at a conference where they discussed spirituality and psychology, and many speakers gave their opinions on how one needs to count all the good deeds he or she has done daily to improve and do more. When they finished it was my turn to speak. I said to the organizer, who was also the dean of a university in India, “In Islam, it’s better to count what you have done wrong, not what you have done good, because good is from Allah (swt). We are not like Iblees, who said to Allah, ‘You made me to cheat Adam to kick me out of Paradise!’ Rather, what is wrong is from your self and what is good is from Allah (swt).”
Try to eliminate the mistakes you are doing daily, one after one, and when you eliminate them you will be moving more and more towards the positive side instead of the negative. On the positive side, if you have more money and on the debit side you have less, then you are not losing your business. So it is important for us as students to study what is wrong in our hearts in order to fix it. That is why we have counted some of the diseases of the heart.
There are 800 forbidden actions that Allah (swt) has asked everyone on Earth to leave, and there are obligations which we must do. The diseases of the heart are: hypocrisy, heedlessness...depression. All of these are sicknesses of the heart and you can look within yourself to find them, as the Prophet (s) said, “To meditate for one hour is better than the worship of seventy years.”
Sometimes someone might get back pain and go to a doctor to ask what he should do. Did you ask yourself? You are your own doctor. Did we ask ourselves what we are doing wrong? And this also applies to us: sometimes we say something with our tongue but our heart is not correct, our inside is different than what is on our tongue. Are they not reading the Holy Qur'an? Or if you don’t want to read the Holy Qur'an, are you not auditing yourself and checking the problems of your heart, to see why it is hypocritical, why you cheat? Always this happens, especially in business. People try to hide what is correct and cheat you. That is the hypocrisy in our hearts.
That is why the Prophet (s) said, "Check yourself before you check others." People are pointing fingers at others, saying, "He is doing this and that!" Leave those people alone and check yourself first. Fix your home, the self. We are not speaking about Allah's Greatness here, how the body is functioning like a clock, moment after moment. There are one million holes, tiny blood vessels in the kidney that act as filters, taking in water, checking it, and extracting whatever is bad and keeping whatever is good. Allah (swt) gave the kidney one million holes to keep what is good. What about your whole system? Don’t let your heart fall into what is bad.
The second disease of the heart is suspicion. It is very important not to be suspicious. Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ
Yaa ayyuhalladheena aamanoo ’jtaniboo katheeran mina’dh-dhanni inna ba`da ’dh-dhanni ithm.
“O Believers! Avoid suspicion as much as possible, for suspicion in some cases is a sin.” (49:12)
Avoid harboring bad thoughts about others. When you are not 100% sure about someone, don’t be suspicious as Allah (swt) said, “Avoid having doubts about people.” Ask yourself if you do that. These days, people doubt everything, even themselves. When they commit a sin they say, “This is something good,” when actually they are doing something bad. Therefore, regarding a doubtful heart, as a student in management and accounting, you must be very careful not to make the one you are working for become suspicious of you, and that is why you have to do your best to avoid doubt.
Another disease is the deviated heart. Allah (swt) said in Holy Qur’an:
فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ في قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاء الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاء تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ
fa-amma alladheena fee quloobihim zayghun fa-yattabi`oona maa tashaabaha minhu ’btigha’a al-fitnati w ’abtighaa taweelihi wa maa ya`lamu taweelahu illa Allahu
But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking
discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings
except Allah. (Aali `Imraan, 3:7)
They interpret the Holy Qur'an seeking discord and searching for its hidden meaning, but no one knows its hidden meaning except Allah (swt). You might think you are doing well and that what you are saying is correct, but that is incorrect.
Ten days ago I attended a conference in Istanbul, Turkey where they brought fifteen `ulama from around the world and a hundred `ulama from Afghanistan to discuss the situation there, where many tribes and groups are fighting each other and the regime. So all of these `ulama gave advice, as the Prophet (s) said, ad-deenu naseeha, “Religion is advice.” They told the scholars from Afghanistan that suicide bombing is haraam and not accepted in Islam according to different fiqh issues. You cannot imagine that most of the `ulama that came there believed suicide bombing is okay, that what they are doing is correct and they are happy to do it, while really it is wrong in Islam. After they heard what the other `ulama said, still many of them said, “Our shuyookh told us that suicide bombing is okay.” So that is the problem of a suspicious or deviated heart, when you as the shaykh of a community are deviated from the reality of Islam, and spirituality you end up doing something wrong but think you are doing good.
Allah (swt) prohibited that in the Holy Qur'an, saying, “Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves.” (An-Nisa, 4:29) They try to change the meaning in order to create fitna without knowing what they are doing is fitna! The Prophet (s) said, “Fitna is dormant and Allah curses who brings it out.” Look at how much fitna there is now? O Brothers and Sisters! In order to awaken the heart we must fear Allah (swt) and laways know that He is watching us. Allah (swt) said to Sayyidina Musa (a) and Sayyidina Haroon (s):
قَالَ لَا تَخَافَا إِنَّنِي مَعَكُمَا أَسْمَعُ وَأَرَى
qaala inannee ma`kuma asma`u wa araa.
He said, “I am with you, hearing and seeing.” (20:46)
He (swt) told them, “Don’t fear Fira`un, don’t keep truth hidden when you see something wrong (you must declare the truth).”
Many of our `ulama around the world today give fatwas according to their own opinions before understanding the issue, the culture and geography of that area; that is why they might give a wrong fatwa. So if you don’t fear Allah (swt) it means there is no fear in your heart. We fear the police, which is correct, but are we not afraid of Allah (swt)? `Ulama around the world are not afraid if they give a wrong fatwa. Imam Malik did not give a fatwa on any issue except very few because he was afraid that if the fatwa was wrong, what will he do then? Today there are hundreds and thousands of people or “Google shaykhs” on the Internet giving fatwas here and there. Are they not afraid of Allah (swt)?
O Muslims! O Believers! O Human Beings! Follow the way that Allah (swt) sent for us by perfecting that piece of flesh in the body, the heart.. Someone might have a non-functioning brain, but the heart is still pumping. So the emphasis is the heart: if it stops pumping the person will die, but if he is in a coma he is still alive. As we said yesterday, there are a hundred verses in the Holy Qur'an about the heart. Allah (swt) puts great emphasis on the heart in order to cure the diseases in it.
The heedless heart does not give attention to anything, which is too common with all of us; we have heedless hearts, me and everyone. I might not see something as wrong because of the heedless heart, which is mentioned in the Qur’an. The Prophet (s) is the Perfect One among all Creation. He is al-`abd and al-`aabid. Allah (swt) raised his name with His Name and made his light first of all things; He made him a prophet when Sayyidina Adam (a) was between water and soul, and still Allah (swt) said to him in the Holy Qur'an:
وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطً
Wa laa tut`i man aghfalnaa qalbahu `an dhikrina wa ’t-taba`a hawaahu wa kaana amruhu furuta.
Don't follow those whose hearts we made heedless from our remembrance. (al-Kahf, 18:28)
Allah (swt) is saying, “Don’t let your heart to be heedless of those people who are behind your room at night, remembering Allah, standing, sitting and laying down. They ponder on the creation of Heavens and Earth and say, ‘O Allah, You did not create this wrong! O Allah, save us from the punishment of the Fire!" He is saying to His Prophet (s), “Don’t take your eyes away from them! O Prophet, don’t be heedless!”Only Allah (swt) can say that to the Prophet (s), not us, astaghfirullah. Give them your attention and love. If you don’t love them, they are going to cry as they are behind your home, the hujratu shareefah, remembering Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s) and crying.
O Muslims! What are we doing? We have forgotten about our religion that it is a religion of peace and love. Where is the evidence of that love which the Prophet (s) mentioned? Sayyidina `Umar (r) narrated a hadith from the Prophet (s):
There are people from among Allah's servants who are not prophets nor martyrs. On the Day of Judgment, the prophets and martyrs will be so happy with them that they will hug them due to seeing their nearness to Allah (swt), and He will bring them so near. They aren’t shuhada or anbiyaa, and the shuhadaa and anbiyaa will stand astonished, looking at them, saying, “Who are these people standing in the Divine Presence?” And the Companions will ask the Prophet, “Can you tell us who these people are?" And the Prophet (s) will say, “They are people who came together and loved each other for Allah's sake.” (Ibn Hibban)
They didn’t do anything more than that: they loved each other, created a good community, a good culture, and a good understanding, and that is why their hearts are awakened and full of spirituality. Allah (swt) brought these people near Him and they are brought together because they love each other, although they have no blood relationship, like all of you who have come to this gathering are not related to each other. Why did you come? Something brought you here, as the Prophet (s) mentioned that Allah (swt) put something special in the heart of Sayyidina Abu Bakr (r). So there is no blood relationship here, no uncles, brothers or sisters. We come together simply because we love our religion and each other. There is no business or “business management” between them.
The Prophet (s) is giving an oath, “Wallahi, their faces are like light. They do not fear, and while others fear punishment they are entering Paradise, and they are not sad when everyone else is sad.” Everyone will be worried on Judgment Day and will not know what to do. You will see some people in dunya coming and working together without any conspiracies to cheat each other, and they will neither be afraid nor sad when others will be. Then Prophet (s) recited the ayah:
أَلا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاء اللّهِ لاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
alaa inna awliyaaullahi laa khawfun `alayhim wa laa hum yahzanoon.
Behold! Verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Yunus,10:62)
These are saints. Everyone can be a saint, and if you send praises on the Prophet (s) and remember him, you will be like them. One Sahaabi (r) asked the Prophet (s), “Advise me, yaa Rasoolullah!” just like we say. The Prophet (s) replied with two words: laa taghdab, “Don’t get angry.” Do you get angry? Sometimes you get angry at your father and mother, correct? Why are we afraid to admit it? Say “yes!” Even fathers and mothers get angry with each other, but the Prophet (s) said, “Don’t be angry,” and repeated this three times.
So the problem is, why do we get angry? Because hubb ad-dunya raas kulla khatiyya, “Love of dunya is the head of every sin.” That doesn’t mean be lazy and don’t work! Yes, work to be a good person or a rich one to help in the way of Allah by building schools, hospitals, mosques, and by helping homeless people. Don’t have love of dunya as that is a sickness of the heart.
The Prophet (s) said:
لو كانت الدنيا تعدل عند الله جناح بعوضة ما سقى كافراً منها شربة ماء
law kaanati 'd-dunya t`adila `indallahi janaaha ba`oodatan maa saqaa kaafirun minha shurbatu ma’a.
If the value of this dunya weighed the wing of a mosquito, Allah would never give a cup of water for the unbelievers to drink.
If Allah (swt) cared so much for dunya, He would not give a cup of water to an unbeliever, who has a bad heart and whose actions are all bad! That means dunya has no value to Allah (swt)! We hate others, thinking, “Why is that one better than me?” That creates hatred in the heart, to think, for example, “I sell meat here! Why did that one open another meat shop next door? My store is enough for this area!” In the time of the Sahaabah (r), when someone opened a shop near the other, if he already sold something that day and received a new customer, he sent him to the other shop, saying, “I sold enough today.”
About hatred, love of dunya, and malice, Prophet (s) said, “If you want a good heart, don’t be jealous of others, don’t hate others and don’t spy on each other.” Are we jealous or not? We cannot say no; yes, we are jealous! Are we spying on each other? Day and night! Don’t try to find ways to fight with each other.
The Prophet said, “Don’t debate, as debating or arguing extinguishes light in the heart.” Don’t let debating extinguish that light! If someone follows a certain school of thought, alhamdulillah. If someone else follows another school of thought, then again alhamdulillah that he found his way. If that one has no preferred school of thought and takes from all of them, then he is clever, alhamdulillah. (Laughter)
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
qul in kuntum tuhibboona ’Llaha fa ’t-tabi`oonee yuhbibkumullahu wa yaghfir lakum dhunoobakum wa Allahu Ghafooru 'r-Raheem.
Say (O Muhammad), "If you (really) love Allah, then follow me! Allah will love you and forgive your sins, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Aali `Imraan, 3:31)
If you want Allah (swt) to love you then follow the way of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) and Allah will love you! In millions of Islamic books written by `ulama around the world, you can find a whole section on mu`amalaat, transactions, how to conduct business. The Prophet (s) was a businessman and Allah (swt) revealed to the ummah how to do business. There are millions of books on how to do transactions with each other as it is important not to bring hatred and jealousy. That is why it is very important to understand the heart.
Allah (swt) said:
كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولاً مِّنكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُم مَّا لَمْ تَكُونُواْ تَعْلَمُونَ
Kama arsalnaa feekum rasoolan minkum yatloo`alaykum aayatinaa wa yuzakkeekum wa yu`allimukumu ’l-kitaaba wa ’l-hikmata wa yu`allimukum maa lam takoonoo ta`alamoon
Just as We have sent among you a messenger from yourselves reciting to you Our verses, and purifying you and teaching you the Book and wisdom, and teaching you that which you did not know. (al-Baqara, 2:151)
First the Prophet (s) is purifying you, as that is the first thing in Islam, to purify the self; then he teaches. If you don’t first purify your heart from love of dunya, jealousy, anger, and hatred, you cannot learn anything. That is why it is very important to know Ma`rifat an-Nafs. For example, `ujb, pride, is to think you are something. Don’t think you are great. When you have arrogance your heart becomes blind and because of that you might think you are correct when really you are mistaken.
Allah (swt) said:
فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ
Falaa tuzakkoo anfusakum.
Do not justify yourselves. (an-Najm, 53:32)
Don’t give excuses to your self (ego) or think, “I purified my self.” Sayyidina Yusuf (a) said, “I will not make myself innocent of what they accuse me,” as Zulaikha told her husband that Sayyidina Yusuf (a) ran after her, which was to the contrary. Yet he said, “The nafs calls to what is wrong.”
Allah (swt) gave you a brain, so if you don’t want to ask the `ulama, then ask yourself. Allah (swt) inspired the self with both the good and the bad. Any intelligent person can know what is good and what is bad; no one can deny this. You have a mind to think. How acan you build the management and economics of the country if you cannot even differentiate between good and bad?
The Prophet (s) said:
انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق
Innama bu`ithtu li utamimu makaarim al-akhlaq.
I have been sent to perfect the best of conduct (to perfect your behavior and character). (Bazzaar)
Prophet (s) also about the Last Days:
ستكون فتن كقطع الليل المظلم
Satakunoo fitanan ka-qita`i 'l-layli 'l-muzhlim
There will be turmoil like a chunk of dark nights.
I am not saying someone can know the Unseen or when the Day of Judgment will come, but I’m saying that we are seeing too much confusion in the Middle East and around the world now, as the Prophet (s) said, “During that time, a man will be a believer in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening, or a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning.”: (Muslim) That means everything will happen so quickly that life as we know it will be upside down. The Prophet’s advice for that time is, “One who is sitting will be better than one who is standing, one who is standing will be better than one who is walking, and one who is walking will be better than one who is demonstrating.” And he said, “Break your bows and arrows!” (Abu Dawud)
You might kill an innocent person with your weapons, so break the string of the bow and don’t use weapons! Smash your swords on the mountain or on the rocks to empty your anger and then go home.That is the Prophet’s teaching: don’t come against the government, but rather be peaceful. Alhamdulillah, you must be happy that Allah (swt) gave you a good government, not like Arabs who have problems morning and evening. You have to thank Allah every moment, saying, “Shukran lillah, shukran lillah.”
So smash your sword on rocks, don’t make suicide bombings, and if someone barges into your home, be like Haabeel (Abel), who said to his brother Qaabeel (Cain), when wanted to kill him, “I am not extending my hand to kill you, I am surrendering to Allah. I am not going to kill you.” That is teaching us that when we are angry, hit on the stone to get rid of your anger.
Don’t make demonstrations as the Prophet (s) said, “Fitna is dormant and Allah curses who wakes it.” Anas (r) related this hadith that when the Prophet (s) was giving khutbah, one Bedouin came to the door of the mosque and said, “When is Judgment Day?” The Prophet said, “What have you prepared for it?” In this university, they teach you to look twenty years ahead to be saved. So the Prophet (s) asked him, “What have you prepared for that day from fasting and prayers?” Because on that day even the prophets will come to Sayyidina Muhammad (s) for his shafa`. And the Bedouin replied, “Nothing; I have prepared nothing.” Prophet (s) said, “You didn’t prepare anything?” “No, nothing, except that I love Allah and His Prophet; that is what I have!” Do you love Allah and His Prophet? Yes! Then the Prophet (s) said, “You are with the one you love!” About this hadith, Anas (r) said, “We had never been more happy in our lives than in that very moment when the Prophet (s) said to the Bedouin who did not prepare anything but the love of Allah (swt) and the Prophet (s), “You will be with the one you love.”
O Students! Love Allah (swt) and your Prophet (s), and love your country, as the Prophet (s) said, “Love of one’s country is from faith.”
Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.
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