Question/Answer Session after Suhbah
Q: Did Allah put love in the heart of human beings without (expecting/taking) anything from them?
A: I will say that is the right answer. Allah of course puts love in the hearts of His servants, because Prophet Muhammad (s) said, yoolid al-insaanu `ala al-fitra, ”Human beings are born on innocence.” Innocence comes from love, and that means when you are born He loved you and poured from His love into your heart. And that is why what they are saying (referring to the question) is correct.
Q&A video starts here
Q: Do we love ourselves in this time more than we love Prophet (s)?
A: In every time we need to follow footsteps of the Sahabah (r), who loved Prophet (s) all their lives. They didn’t leave a moment without loving Prophet (s). So they gave everything for Prophet (s). They gave themselves, their wealth and everything for Allah (s) and His Prophet (s). Of course, we live in a materialistic time, but we still have to love Prophet (s) more than ourselves. But keep in mind that if you love Prophet (s), it doesn’t mean that you have to leave dunya completely. As Allah (swt) said, Rabbana atina fi ‘d-dunya hasanatan wa fi’l-akhirati hasanatan, “Our Lord, give us reward in dunya and give us reward in akhira.” And so, as Allah (swt) is providing for you in dunya. To love Allah (swt) and to love His Prophet (s) means that you have to spend your wealth in Allah’s way, raising your children in an Islamic way. So that means to raise your children in the Islamic way, the best way. You have to be with your community and to help your community. That is love for Allah and His Prophet (s).
Q: Where do you go when Allah is pleased with you?
A: I will say that Allah is always pleased with His servant that is why He created him. I am not saying you should be someone who does not pray or fast, or something like that. No, I am saying Allah (swt) is always happy with the servant who repents and asks forgiveness all the time, because He sent Iblees after us. Allah (swt) could have taken the soul of Iblees and the devils, and relieved us from all these problems, but He left it there in order to test His servants. Are they going to follow Iblees or are they going to follow Allah’s orders? But since we are unable to be perfect, we are sinners, so Allah (swt) is pleased with us when we repent to Him.
Q: How do we please Allah (swt) and His Prophet (s)?
A: Be a simple person. Don’t be an angry person, don’t be an arrogant or stubborn. All these are bad characteristics. Drop them from your life, one after one. Think everyday, Yaa Rabbee, I did this wrong today. Audit yourself, like income tax, and then you find the problems you have made and avoid them the next day. Never mind if you go up and down, it’s alright. Look, the beat of the heart is up and down. With the echocardiogram you sometimes see long wavelengths and sometimes short, but your heart is working even though there are long and short wavelengths. You keep that way and you will be in a good system. Allah (swt) will be pleased as long as you try to slowly eliminate the bad characteristics one-by-one in your life.
Q: How do we rid ourselves of bad thoughts and doubts?
A: All of us have bad thoughts and doubts; I know that, and many people ask that. I am going through that and many people go through that. But when bad thoughts come, try to avoid them by not reflecting too much on them. As soon as a bad thought comes say astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah and it will disappear by itself. Now the heart is being uploaded too much. As soon as you go out of this room into dunya, and leave this dhikr session or association with Allah’s (swt) teachings, bad, negative energies will come from everywhere. That is reflection from the bad characteristics of people reflected on everyone. So as long as you can try to avoid that and say astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, the doubts will disappear because of what was already uploaded to your heart like a computer (from attending dhikr). When you download it, you are erasing doubts and bad thoughts from your memory. So try as much as you can; don’t say it is too much. Even when you are praying issues of dunya will come, thoughts of, “How much money do I have in the bank? How many cars should I have? How am I going to pay my bills?” Throw them from your heart by saying astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah. It will disappear slowly, but it will not go away forever.
When Sayyidina Ali (q) had a problem with his tooth, he asked the Sahabah to pull it during his prayer. They pulled it and he didn’t know about it. But when Prophet (s) said, “I will give my jubba to that one who will not have any thoughts during his prayer,” and the Sahabah began to pray, everyone was eliminated in that competition, because no one was able to get the jubba of Prophet (s) out of their minds! Let those thoughts go out of your heart and say astaghfirullah. Allah (swt) will be happy with that.
Q: We face a lot of problems in this life and some are beyond our capability to overcome.
A: Did Prophet (s) face calamities and problems in his life, or not? Are we better than Prophet Muhammad (s)? Did all prophets from beginning till end face calamities or not? They did. It is a part of this life and Allah (swt) is testing, to see if you are going to carry it or not. Prophet (s) said, “If you see something wrong, try to change it with your hand. If you cannot, change it with your tongue. If you cannot, then feel that in your heart, and this is the lowest level of imaan.” So if you are not able to change anything through your hand or mouth, then pray to Allah (swt) to take away all these calamities from us.
Q: Is music allowed in Islam?
A: Ask Shaykh Abdush-Shakoor, he is a drummer! In this time because of my travel throughout the world, I am seeing that people are coming towards Islam through qasaid and nasheed and music with it. I am surprised, but this is how people are being converted. So it is a good thing. It is said, wa min al-baliyyati ma yadhik, “from the worst of things that make you love/laugh.” So at least some people are using music and bringing people to Islam, and you want to perfect their Islam. After they did their job, try to avoid them to listen to music but don’t prohibit them at the beginning. Sayyidina Muhammad (s) brought Islam in 23 years, not in one or two years. So you have to take time in order to make people understand what Islam really is. Leave people to what they like nowadays. I am not saying that music in the disco and parties and nightclubs is halaal. I’m saying these people who are drumming and use the name of Allah (swt) and Prophet (s), praising their Lord is a way to bring more people to Islam. Let them use that for the time being, inshaAllah until a door will be opened for a better heavenly music that comes from heavens.
Q: How do we deal with our non-Muslim neighbors?
A: That is good question. As you deal with yourself. For 18 months Prophet’s (s) qiblah was towards Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. In order to build bridges with the Jewish community, he did not pray in the direction of Ka`aba. So this means Prophet (s) did his best towards his neighbors, so we have to do our best for our neighbors. If we help them, they will help us as Muslims. It might be that they will be guided and get reward later, inshaAllah.
Q: If Allah (swt) loves us unconditionally, to reach to mercy would He not forgive us unconditionally?
A: Of course Allah (swt) loves us unconditionally and He wants to save us unconditionally and that is why he gave Prophet (s) shafa’a (intercession). And he said shafa`atee li ahlil kabaa'iru min ummatee, “My shafa`a is for the big sinners of my ummah.” But if you have a father and at night he put his clothes on the couch, and you sneak to his room at night and you steal the money from his pocket, next day your father notices that the money is missing. He thought someone stole it, or he dropped it, or something happened. He never thought that his son is stealing the money. Next day you steal the money and run away. Your father has no doubt about you. On the third day he has some doubts and stays awake at night and sees you going and stealing the money. He caught you. What do you feel at that time? Do you feel ashamed or not? You feel as if fire is burning you. So similarly, what do you think about Allah (swt) who loves you unconditionally? Who sent His mercy to you unconditionally? He sent Sayyidina Muhammad (s) unconditionally, and still you are stealing and robbing from everything Allah (swt) gave to you. Do you feel ashamed or not? That’s why you must try your best not to be in that position that you feel ashamed towards your Lord, what is called “the fire of regretfulness”. That fire will burn you from within your heart. May Allah (swt) save us from that! May Allah (swt) forgive us, may Allah (swt) bless us, may Allah (swt) send His mercy on us!
Q: I read recently one way to cleanse the heart is by laughing less and crying more.
A: It is hadith of Prophet (s), it is not someone else who wrote it. Prophet (s) said, “If you know what I know, you will laugh a little and cry a lot.” So Prophet (s) said, “Try to make yourself weep in the way of Allah.” Even if tears are not coming, make pressure on your eyes in order that tears may come when you are reading Holy Qur’an. Allah (swt) loves that.
Q: How can we behave so that the Western world does not view Muslims as a threat to Christianity?
A: We answered part of that question when we said Prophet (s) was praying for 18 months facing Masjid al-Aqsa not the Ka’aba in order to build bridges. So you have to behave in the best way, not to criticise, not to offend, not to shout or swear at them. Make them to feel welcome in your communities as if they are your brothers and sisters. I remember in Beirut in high school we had Muslims, Christians and Jews seated at the same tables. My friends were Christians and Jews and this is how we were raised. Many came to our homes. We visited each others’ celebrations. Allah (swt) going to punish those who make the image of Islam bad. Islam is a message of love and peace and all prophets came with that message. Sayyidina Musa and Sayyidina Isa also gave the same message. We try to build relations so that everyone is pleased with us. What the questioner said is correct. Love is the umbrella, and compassion, peace, forgiveness, purity all come under that. The big umbrella that Allah is showing is His mercy; al-Rahman, al-Raheem, al-Saboor; all these characteristics that show Allah’s patience. As-Saboor, al-Ghafoor, ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem—all these attributes of Allah (swt) come under love. Allah’s different Names and Attributes are manifested in love and everyone has a different journey through Asmaa 'l-Husna. That is how Prophet raised all his Sahaba through these Beautiful Names. There are many hadith that mention what names to read in order to get a cure. For rizq, ar-Razzaq; for forgiveness, al-Ghafoor, and so everyone has a direction and through those Names you find the way to direct yourself.
Q: Is Allah’s secret in His Patience?
A: Allah gave Sayyidina Muhammad (s), the best of humanity, secrets that he will pass to His servants. No one can understand Allah’s secrets, as no one understands the Essence of his Lord. That is too far away. What Prophet understands is in limits, as he is a servant and Allah might open some drops of secrets which are like oceans that never end. As mentioned in Surat al-Kahf, “even if all the oceans are ink and the trees are pens that secret will never end.” But He passed to Prophet some of the secrets and others to some saints. Even the strictest scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah, was accepting these saints, like Abu Yazid, `Abdul Qadir Jilani and Rabi`a al-Adawiyya. Read Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya al-Kubra vols. 9 and 10; you will find a lot of that mentioned. So there is something in that scope that even Ibn Taymiyyah was accepting.
Q: What is the litmus test to know God loves you?
A: There is no litmus test. Allah knows best. Innama 'l-` amaalu bi 'n-niyyaat, "Verily deeds are by intentions." If intention is for Allah and His Prophet. That is what Allah looks at. We cannot look at the hidden; we look at the outer. If someone says, “God bless you,” we accept that he said it from a good heart and we accept it might be sincere.
Q: Is faith today stronger than that of Muslims who lived in the past?
A: It is not stronger but we are, as Prophet (s) said, antum as-haabee wa haa’ulaa’i ahbaabee, “You are my Companions, but those (coming later) are my lovers.” When Prophet asked them, “Do you believe in me and in your Lord?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “But how are you not going to believe when you see me? But those coming in the Last Days are my ahbaab, lovers. They believed in me without seeing me and they accepted Islam.”
Q: That is correct, but do we have imaan stronger than it was before?
A: I hope to be at the threshold of sahaabat an-Nabi (s). Ittiba`, as we said in the ayah earlier, Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ
Qul in kuntum tuhiboon-Allah fatabi`oonee yuhbibkumullah.
Say, Ya Muhammad: “if you really love Allah, follow me (Muhammad)!” (3:31)
So to follow Muhammad (s) is like a one-year-old child following behind the father and mother; every moment he is stumbling and standing (back up). His father comes to hold and help him and then moving, stumbling and standing. We are like that. Even when we stumble we have to follow the footsteps of Prophet (s). If you stumble, no problem. The Prophet will come back to you. Thus the hadith, “If you come towards Allah one hand span, Allah will come towards you by one arm span. If you come to Allah walking, Allah comes to you running.” So (we are) stumbling in the way of Allah and Prophet (s); that is our ittiba`. Some are handicapped and cannot move. They have to be carried which means we are a burden on Prophet (s). Too many of us are handicapped. I am the first one and others follow. Stumble and follow the way of Prophet (s) as much as you can.