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The Analogy of the Dog in the Qur’an and Sunnah

Shaykh Nour Kabbani

6 June 2015 Burton, Michigan

As-Siddiq Institute & Mosque (ASIM)

Masha'Allah laa quwwata illa billah. Dastoor yaa Sayyidee, yaa Sultan al-Awliya. Salaam `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Alhamdulillahi rabbi ‘l-`alameen min al-abad ila al-azal. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds from pre-Eternity to Eternity!

We are blessed to be from the Ummat of Sayyidina Muhammad (s), but what did he come to teach us? We keep talking about prophets and messengers, but what did they come to teach us ? Our master used to always remind us of the saying:

الدنيا جيفة وكلابها طلابها

This world like a dead corpse and those who run after it are like dogs.

(Yahya ibn Hussain in al-Amaali al-Khameesiyya)

Why did the Prophet (s) use the example of the dog, not a hyena or some other animal? The dog accompanied the seven People of the Cave, As-haab al-Kahf, and they did not have a dog, but a dog escorted them and did not enter the cave, it sat in front of the cave with his front legs spread out and with wide open eyes. Allah (swt) put the dog there spreading its two legs.

Everyone Has a ‘Dog’--Their Ego--Which is Either Trained or Wild

Why did we come into Tariqah? To learn good manners. One of the bad manners is anger. Nabi Kareem (s) recommended not to become angry. What is source of anger? Hubb ad-dunya, love of this world. So Nabi Kareem (s) is saying, “Whoever seeks the pleasures of this world is a dog,” and the dog of As-haab al-Kahf was sitting outside the cave spreading its two front legs; that is the outer meaning, but some scholars have mentioned another meaning, because the Prophet (s) mentioned those who run after dunya are like dogs, and on the other hand, the dog was in front of the cave.

Scholars say we have a dog in front of us and when two people come together, their two dogs are coming together. The ego is in front of you and interacts with whatever is in front of you; your dog in front of you and his dog in front of him, so when two people meet, first their dogs are meeting.

وَهُمْ فِي فَجْوَةٍ مِّنْهُ

While they lay in the open space in the midst of the Cave. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:17)

Wa hum fee fijwatin minhu, they were in the cave. We all have a cave: our body is like the mountain and the cave is our inside. The people of Cave said, “We believe in our Creator”, and Allah (swt) said:

فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُم مِّن رَّحمته ويُهَيِّئْ لَكُم مِّنْ أَمْرِكُم مِّرْفَقًا

Betake yourselves to the cave. Your Lord will shower His mercies on you and dispose of your affair towards comfort and ease." (Surat al-Kahf, 18:16)

“Go into the Cave and Allah will give you from His Mercy”, so the heart, mind, soul are all inside the cave, the body of ours, and the thing in front of the cave is the ego, which is the dog, as Allah (swt) said:

وَكَلْبُهُم بَاسِطٌ ذِرَاعَيْهِ بِالْوَصِيدِ

Their dog, stretching forth his two forelegs on the threshold. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:18)

The scholars said the left leg represents anger and the right leg represents desire. When you go to work, you would not go if there was not a pretty girl there to see! These universities are all co-ed now and so Mawlana Shaykh said people go to the universities and satisfy their desires. Desire is on one side and on the other side is anger.

Our ‘Dogs’ Carry all Our Desires and Anger

We go to work to make money and if we lose money we get angry; also if there is competition for money you sabotage others, you put them down with anger. So that desire to make money is on the right and then you have the anger, which flares up when someone is taking something you like. Whenever you seek dunya your dog is leading the way with it’s two legs, anger and dunya. When you are going after dunya--wealth, status, honor among people, acquiring homes and land and palaces--your anger is leading the way with your dog up front!

We take an example from the best examples, from Holy Qur'an:

زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَاللَّـهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ

Fair in the eyes of Men is the love of things they covet: women and sons, heaped-up hoards of gold and silver, horses branded (for blood and excellence), and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world's life, but in nearness to Allah is the best of goals. (Surat Ali-`Imraan; 3:14)

Zuyyina li ’n-naasi hubb ash-shahawaat, made beautiful, desireable to you are love of desires of women (or men). You desire the opposite sex, so your dog's right arm, desire, leads to a man or woman, and it can even lead a whole nation into war, like in the story of the Greeks who fought for Helen of Troy.

Allah mentioned children next. Do people fight over children? Ask any divorce lawyer! The courts are full of divorce lawyers for custody battles and the man and woman are both angry. You have to be careful of that dog! The Prophet (s) said, your dog will first use anger to fight for the opposite sex, then use the dog to fight for the children, and then:

Wa ’l-qanaateer al-muqantarati min adh-dhahab wa ’l-fiddah, piles and mountains of gold and silver. Do people fight over money and wealth? History is full of it; people today still fight over wealth and not only people, but nations!

And what is the fourth thing, al-khayli ‘l-musawwamati, the beautiful horses, the beautiful cars, Porsches.

Go to eBay and see how people fight to get something; go to a dealership to see. whenever we see anger inside us, check what it is the cause: it has to be from these five or six things mentioned in

Surat Aali-`Imraan and whenever we fight it is due to these desires of egos.

And next mentioned is the cattle, which represents food and procreation, so when you are taking some food in an all-you-can-eat buffet and someone took the shrimp you wanted, that is an example of the cattle that represents your land and food! You are fighting with your desires and you use your anger to fight.

After cattle is mentioned al-harth, the land, the gardens, the rivers, the mansions, all of that is mataa` al-hayaati ‘d-dunya, the pleasure of dunya.

So all of us are given that love in our heart and that ego is the guardian that wants that love to be protected and the ego uses anger to fulfill the desires it wants. so when Nabi Kareem (s) says, “Don't get angry!” it means don't seek dunya. we come into this way to follow the Prophet (s) and his noble Companions (r), so remember, when we get angry we are led by something which is a dog, which is the ego.

How to Turn Your Anger into Courage

Whenever you get angry, ask yourself, “Why am I angry? Is it because of the opposite sex, children, land, nice cars, mansions?” We must learn to quell the anger and get control, characteristics of the Sahaabah (r). If we control our anger and don't let our ego take control of it, then it becomes courage! When your anger is for Allah (swt), it makes you fight like a hero! Narrations of the heroism of the Companions (r) fill volumes! They had so much courage they would not turn from the enemy even if they got cut and butchered a hundred times, and they would do it again!

Beware of your dog: know there is something standing between you and Allah's Creation and don’t let that thing in front of you ruin your relationship with human beings, animals or nature, Allah's Creation. Beware of your desires and the anger which ... we ask Allah to help us take this anger under control as we can control anger if we don't love dunya. If we don't love dunya and someone takes $100 from your pocket you don’t even hit him because you don't need it. If someone takes your beautiful jubbah, your house or your this or that, you accept and move on to something else, you don't fight.

When love for dunya goes away, it will open our love of Akhirah. The love for spiritual things will increase and the appetite for physical things will decrease. The desire for the spiritual will never end, just as there is no end of spiritual knowledge! The whole dunya can fit in the heart of the human beings! We ask for that love to enter our hearts with love of Allah (swt) and love of His Prophet (s) in the coming holy month, Ramadan.

Wa min Allahi ‘t-tawfeeq bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.


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