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Suhbat - Iliff Theological College
When they mentioned to me the name of this college I thought there is something extraordinary in the name of the college alif [Iliff]. It is the first letter in the Arabic language and it is the first letter revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in Holy Qur’an. So I was feeling as if I am home. And this is a big blessing that from that word, also, if you pronounce it as a whole alif, or aleef, or "I live", it means a good relationship with each other. Al-leef meaning in Arabic someone who can accept everyone and that is why he is not afraid of anyone and he feels very close to everyone so that means this is a place of harmony and good teaching and good enlightenment.
Before I begin I would ask Abu Chouaib and Ali and Sahib to give some songs; it might be better than me speaking,
[Chanting, qasidas and a short hadrah]
I would like to thank you for inviting me here today although I don’t deserve it. And it is quite an honor to see this gathering of beautiful faces and beautiful garden of human beings from everywhere.
One time someone asked me why you don’t prepare a speech. It was in a conference in Los Angeles. Although I had prepared a presentation and it was a conference for 3,000 doctors and physicians made by Harvard University and I was one of the speakers. They had sixteen speakers on different kinds of healings. Although I prepared a presentation and I gave it to the president of the conference to be distributed, but when I went on the stage I felt the audience that was present was more interested in spiritually than interested in physical treatment of patients because they are already sick themselves. They are sick and I am sick. They want to hear something about how to uplift themselves and fill their spirits with positive energy.
So I didn’t speak from my presentation and I spoke from my heart, what was reveled from my teacher, who is very well known around the world today, Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani who resides in Cyprus.
Today it might be the same think people coming to hear from someone with different faith or about why we are coming here. I know the Alif [Iliff] Foundation invited all of us, but what are we doing here and what is our goal? And I feel that God wants to show us a sign from His miraculous signs, that good people - and I hope all people on earth are good- sit with good people. Good people like to build bridges and build a way that all live happily on earth.
So I was thinking how much human beings from beginning of time til today, and it might continue, we are living in a struggle within ourselves. I know that each one of us is struggling in some way, he has a problem or a difficulty. Especially the youth. They have a lot of hope in this life but they see it is difficult to attain so they might face a lot of difficulty within themselves and a struggle. So how to eliminate the struggle especially among the youth and also among the elderly people. That is by looking every day and auditing ourselves. Now when someone tells you the IRS is coming to audit you everyone becomes afraid. Everyone begins to fix his books and might be he didn’t fix them for many years and then suddenly he gets the best accountant; to fix his books.
Also there is an internal audit, are our books clean or not clean? Are we doing something good for our lives or not? That is why we say in Arabic muhasaaba. "Haasiboo anfusakum qabl an tuhaasiboo - Make an account of yourselves before you will be accounted." Make an account to yourself. If we make an account of ourselves if we see something negative we might fix it. But if we keep our lives stretching without checking your life daily then we are losing a lot of auditing in the future. So if we do not practice that auditing daily then it becomes difficult when we grow up. And that is why it is said "tafakkaru sa`atin khayran min `ibaadat saba`eena sannah - that to meditates on ourselves one hour is more rewarded than seventy years of worship."
That will put you on the right track. That will give you the best software. What do programmers do? They meditate and think then they begin to think if you do this that will happen, if you do that this will happen. So it is logic. If we don’t begin to find some kind of logic in ourselves always we’ll be losing and not finding the truth.
And tha t is why all religions came to bring a message. We cannot say this religion is better or that one is better. Religion came for bringing peace on earth.
I ask a question to people: “Is God just and loves justice or not?” and you are in a school of theology are you not? Do we believe that God loves justice or not? Yes, of course we believe God is just, He likes justice for His servants. So did He create us to throw us in hellfire. It is impossible. So then why He sent His messengers, these perfect people human beings, prophet on earth? For one thing. To say, “I am your Creator, I love you, I created you. Be happy do whatever you like.”
Like mother and father say to their children, “Do whatever you like but don’t come with police at to home.” So beware of police.
So God saying, “Do whatever you like but don’t bring Satan home with you. Then you be in problems. For your safety and for your benefit. Try to enjoy that mercy and that love I created you with.”
That is why He sent Adam and created Adam and Eve and we all came. Then He sent messengers from Noah to Abraham to Moses , to Jesus , to Muhammad . He sent them for what? He sent them mercy for humanity. He didn’t send them torturers. He didn’t send them for punishing people. He sent them for people to love.
That is why people who are into theology and try to learn more about the depths of the soul and what is around the soul and how it works, they will find things beyond description. Like for example, an atom.
An atom in science is the smallest thing we think about but today they say there is smaller than an atom. And this atom has a mass and it has electrons and protons, creating energy. So it is a combination of mass and energy. An atom cannot be mass alone. Even the atom of a rock has mass and has energy. Any mineral any non-living specie on earth has a life and that life is the energy that is in that atom.
You cannot have mass without energy. If you have that the body is dead. Similarly trees, living things and nature. All must have mass and energy. Earth has mass and energy, universe has mass and energy. Human beings have mass and energy. You have the body and the source of movement that is making it move today.
In the body you have trillions of cells. Each one is complete factory by itself. It has defensive weapons against any bacteria to reject and it has offensive power. Imagine that trillions of cells in the human body that every six months rejuvenate and make new cells. This kind of science that is so complicated that we need it to understand ourselves. It is very easy to meditate about anything but it is very difficult to meditate about human beings. That is why it is said that “if you meditate about oneself, for you it will be much more valuable than seventy years of worship.” Because it will give you an understanding of creation.
“Man `arifa nfsahu faqa `arafa rabbahu - who knows himself, knows his Lord.”
How are we going to know ourselves before we know ourself?
When Moses came he called people to his Lord; when Jesus came he called people to his Lord; when Muhammad came he is calling because he knew his Lord. Jesus knew his Lord, Moses knew his Lord, Muhammad knew their Lord. But we, we are still struggling.
That is why such meetings bring people together in order to see that when God wants something to happen He doesn’t look at backgrounds; He doesn’t look at different races. He looks at human beings as human beings. That is why it said that “an-naasu sawaasiyatan ka asnaan al-masht - human beings are equal like tooth of the comb. “ You cannot differentiate between a child and an adult or between man and woman.
There was a great Sufi teacher was Bayazid al-Bistami, who died more than 1000 years ago, who said to his students, he said, “I have to respect the young child more than myself, because I look to him he is very young and didn’t do many sins and I have to look at the elderly person, more elderly than me that he worshipped more than me and I worshipped less than him. So from both sides: I have to give respect to the young for having less sins and I have to give respect to the elder for more worship.”
So with that kind of auditing to ourselves we will create better human beings, and create a better community and a create a better world.
Today we are suffering. Although we cannot say “suffering”, we can say [getting] “reward”ed. All this suffering, I don’t like to say “suffering”, it doesn’t look nice. God doesn’t like suffering. Why we cannot call it suffering although as human beings we see it as suffering.
Jesus suffered. Did he suffer or not? Muhammad suffered. Moses suffered. Abraham suffered. Noah suffered. Adam suffered. All of them suffered and they were the best men, the best human beings. They suffered. They suffered for the best of others. So our suffering today, we have to look at if from the perspective that those who are suffering are better than us because they are under this difficulty. Though it is not nice for them to suffer, because those who suffered from messengers suffered on their behalf, we must find a word clean of such kind of suffering. But in any case we must look at that situation that all these men of God and women of God, that came before us, suffered a lot. Virgin Mary suffered a lot. How many times they spoke bad about her and she was carrying Jesus in between her hands and coming to her people.
O men and women, beautiful men and women that are in this evening! Let us look at things with reality and common sense. To make common sense I would like to quote one of the main knowledgable people, men in Islamic history. He was son in law of the Prophet Muhammad and he was the representative of the Prophet in many places. He said, “We are under four problems. If we can maintain them or we can solve these different principles, these different problems then our life will be easy. “
He said, “People must carry these four characters.”
This is theology. We have to go deep in to the matter of intellect and intelligence. As-samt is to keep silent. He said, “If someone is silent” as it is said and mentioned since long time in history that “if speaking is from sliver, then silence is from gold.” That means if you want to speak, or you want to relate between silver and gold, speaking is like silver and silence is like gold. That means make sure before we speak of what we are going to speak. Then if we find what we are going to speak is not good then keep silent. He said, “If someone has that first character then he can save himself of herself.”
“Then the second is an-nutq. When you begin to speak, balance what you are saying.”
Is what you are going to say, make the people happy or not make them happy. That is the problem today, between different people, different races, between different religions someone might say something that the other gets upset. That is an-nutq. That is what he said, measure what you have to say and balance what you have to say before you say it. That is why politicians, they teach them diplomacy, how to talk. If they say something that is not appropriate then the others get upset. You can see that too much on TV. One word said in the wrong time or the wrong place and the person who said it will suffer. So this is a real problem, what are you going to say? That is why these spiritual persons and spiritual messengers, the ones that God sent them, they never said something that will make people upset. So that is why if we go back and use the same system, in Judaism, in Christianity and in Islam if we use the same procedures that the prophets use we will find … .
So he said, balance what you say. When you open your mouth that is the problem. That is what we are suffering today, what we say. If we keep quiet then no one is criticizing me. One time I said something, and everyone got angry with me in 1999, January 7. Go back to the website and check it. I said the truth but they didn’t like it. I said Bin Laden is coming to strike on American soil. Before he strike on American soil They didn’t like it. They boycott me now. I am not allowed to speak there anymore. For what? Because I said, “be careful. If something happened, don’t blame us as moderate Muslims, blame the others if something will happen.” But although I balanced what I said, but some people didn’t like it.
So the best is to balance or keep quiet. So for that reason there is saying of Prophet Muhammad , “ If you control what is between your mouth, then I guarantee for you paradise. “ Although paradise is for everyone. No one is going to be left outside. Moses is going to call inside everyone who is following him. Jesus is going to call inside everyone who is following him. Muhammad is going to call inside everyone who is following him. Even Buddhists and Hindus, because they are peaceful people.
And the next thing is an-nadhr. When you look and how you look and where you look. These eyes that Allah in His mercy gave us. They have such complicated physics in how they work. Doctors know that, they know there must be a creator who made that. Even in physics they cannot put [together] an eye. They need big machines to put [together] an eye.
So these eyes, if you control them where they are looking, when they are looking and how they are looking then you guarantee yourself from falling into problems. What I mean is when we look at certain people we get jealous. When we look more we get envy of them. When we look more we begin to build a hatred of them. We see them successful, we see them better than what you have. It might not be just money but better in character. So you begin to follow them and see what they are doing and you begin to get more and more jealous of them and build hatred of them.
Then if you control where you look you can control where you move and how you move, al-haraka. You don’t want to fall into a valley and break your neck. He wants you to know where you are stepping. Then you save yourself. Don’t look at others. Don’t look at what others have. Look at those who are below you at what they have. People come with problems. You tell him “try to be happy, as this life is not worth anything.” You have one body and one life. I saw that in a commercial: “one body, one life.” It means keep your body strong, your life strong.
So when you have a problem go and see in hospitals who are sick more than us. Go to Africa. Look I was in Uganda. It was very strange, you see people who have AIDS, 5, 6,7 years old children; what are we doing for them? Nothing. So when you look there is it better than looking at those who have billions in the bank. No look at those who are homeless and ill. Then God will be happy with you. When you have these four characters then you can balance your daily life. So that is why he said “control them and you control everything in your body and in your soul then you will never fall astray.” So spirituality teaches us how to improve ourselves. And I will give you a small example of spirituality, how to understand it more.
That is said that the state of moral excellence, the highest state of spirituality: “an ta`budAllah ka-annaka tarah - To worship goes as if you are seeing Him and if you don’t see Him, He is seeing you.”
So it means when you go to mosque or church or temple and you are worshiping your Lord you have to really concentrate on the Divine Presence. Although you were not able to see Divine Presence but he Divine Presence is seeing you. So how am I going to a mosque and making my prayer and in my immediately I enter in prayer all kinds of gossips come into my mind. How I am going to cheat my neighbor and make conspiracy against this one and that one, and son. So that highest level of spirituality is if you cannot see the dip then know the Divine Presence is looking at you.
They look at you with the eye of mercy not with the eye of punishment. They want you to be closer to them. They look to take you in. that is why when they take you in they begin to do miracles. They begin to become divine and they become in that divine when they are elevated.
When God created creation he created them with his love, not with anger. That is why He said, “sabaqat rahmatee ala ghadabee.” My mercy override My anger. My love overrides My anger overpass My anger, surpasses My anger. So God with His love created human beings. When He created us with that love how is He going to punish us. Punishing is when we are far from His Divine Presence. That is punishing.
That is like someone who loves a girl or a girl loves a boy. They boy might be carrying a flower under the girls window all night. And that is in Romeo and Juliet. Today how many Romeos and Juliets are there. Today is more sophisticated. It is with cell phones even. Every moment they are speaking , boyfriend and girlfriend. See how much energy they give out, for the boy or the girl. If we give you so much energy for the Divine Presence we will be there. So that is why singing beautiful songs and drumming, music that encourages people to express their love and energy to the Creator. That is the way we establish a better community with different background and culture.
America is a great nation because every culture is here. They open their arms for everyone. Europe is the same, they opened their arms for everyone. They didn’t say “this yes, this no.” You can see everyone there. That is why I am seeing here an example of everyone. I am very happy to see the priest here and I am very happy to see the rabbi is here. I am very happy to see the Muslim here. That is a nice bouquet of flowers.
Mothers Day is coming. Do you know what day? It is the 11th of May. So people takes flowers. They like to make a bouquet of flowers to show their love. Let us take a bouquet of our love to God’s Presence how much He will be happy with it.
I will ask Ali and Abu Chouaib and the rest to give some love and some kid of movement, I want to mention it is called hadrah, in order to show your energy to our Lord. May God bless you and may God support us all and may God bring peace to this world. This world really needs support and with your prayer sand prayers of every believer support will come.