Transcription of 2012-09-15 Sohbet by Shaykh Taner Ansari
Audzubillahi minasshaitanirrajim, bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Now I told you this is a very important thing. Everyday you have to start your day with this: Audzubillahi minasshaitanirrajim, bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Audzubillah means ‘I take refuge in Allah’, ‘may Allah protect me from Shaytan.’ That is the first part of the equation. And then Bismillahirrahmanirrahim: “in the name of Allah I work for, who is my employer.”
What is your purpose of life? What do you owe your existence to? Why do you exist? This is the question to ask yourself: if Allah created you to be His deputy, and if you are accepting the job and working for him– did you accept the job? You want to be Allah’s deputy or not? Sheriff? If you accept, if you say I am a Muslim when you say Laa ilaaha illallah, then you are saying that I am accepting the job. When you are accepting the job then ask yourself this question: Is Allah interfering with my life? Or, are other things interfering with my life with Allah?
Who is distracting who? Is your devotion to Allah distracting you from your worldly life? Or is your worldly life distracting you from Allah? You have to answer that. And you have to set your priorities straight. What *is* your priority? What is supposed to be is Allah of course, it’s not a $500 question. It has to be Allah. But in the action, is it so? So Sufism is the way to make you achieve this goal: that in all your actions, Allah is number one.
To keep Allah number one in all your actions is called ittiqa’. And the person who is doing the ittiqa’ is called the muttaqi. My humble formula is very simple: intend, put it in your head and say ‘I will act with it’. To all of you: intend and say when I am doing something, I wanna make sure I want to make sure it is okay with Allah. In the mosque you cannot come to ittiqa’, in all your life. Muttaqi is in a very chosen elite group that Allah loves. Can you intend this? Can you do that?
The problem arises when? When things get hairy, then you forget about Allah because you are in the action, in this moment, and then you are off course. So you have to keep practising when you do not have that emergency situation. Practise, practise, practise. When you get into that emergency situation or some other situations, when you are in school and you are completely in a different setting, there is no mention of God or anything, you are learning how to fix a car, or how to put up a window, when you are doing that, your habitual action will bring you closer to remembering this.
In the middle east, this is established. To remind you of Allah is established. There are certain phrases that everybody uses before you do something you say Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. Audzubillahi minasshaitanirrajim, bismillahirrahmanirrahim. That’s the first.
Then there is InsyaAllah. You have a plan to do something, you have to add insyaAllah, then you know that Allah is there. InsyaAllah, tomorrow we will go to Turkey; get on the plane and go towards Turkey and land on Monday, insyaAllah.
When you do something wrong, you say astaghfirullah – this from my fundamentalist days. You say Astaghfirullah, which means may Allah overlook my actions. And when you see something good with somebody else, then you say mashaAllah. Our Prophet PBUH said, “Praising somebody on his face is like killing him.” So the etymology of mashaAllah is this: mashaAllah means ‘what Allah wants happens’. But it’s gained meaning in the middle east is: May Allah protect. So it started with not praising somebody on his face to protect. So in Turkey, almost every bus and truck/van, they have ‘MashaAllah’ written on it. And one tourist asked translator like me, “What is this?” “It’s the biggest insurance company in Turkey. Allah Insurance.”
Okay, I will give you one more. You should all use this in your daily lives what I am writing. The other one is, if you need some protection for somebody, you should say ‘Mahfazanallah.’ It comes from Hafiz, may Allah protect, et cetera, that is all I can remember, there are others. Ah, then there is Subhanallah. When some good things happen, you say Subhanallah (May Allah be praised).
This was just an entrance, an introduction to the main topics that Allah wants to talk to you about. What are the qualities of a human being? Can we work on this together, what are the qualities of a human being? What does Allah want in a human being, why He created him or her for? Do you see any human beings around you? Maybe? Don’t keep your hopes up.
Harun Rashid had a brother. He was a little crazy. He is the Pir of the Natz (?). He has a different name. And people came and complained to the Sultan, they said, “Your brother pees in the market in front of the people; he doesn’t care, he just takes his and pees anyway he wants.” So Sultan Harun Rashid called his brother, “What are you doing, man? I hear that you are doing your thing among people.” He said, “No, I am not doing anything among people.” He said, “Well, they say, here is this witness, here is that witness, here is that guy.” He said, “Okay, come here, step on my foot, and see what I see.” He steps on his foot and sees there are no people: there are donkeys, horses and mules, hyenas and cats and dogs. “There are no people here, I just pee because everybody’s an animal here.”
It was about 30-40 years ago, I was watching a show, a prize show. The host asked the contestant, “Can you count three or five virtues?” And he couldn’t count any. Now I am asking you in the west, what is a virtue? Does anybody remember what a virtue is? How many virtues do you know? As you can see, even we are scrambling to find out what virtue is. So what’s happening to human beings do you think right now? What kind of state are we in?
The situation we are in is very critical. In the hospital, they consider critical stage and then there is the intensive care. In the critical stage, you will either make it or not, they don’t know yet. In the intensive care, they are doing their last effort to keep you alive. Now humanity is in the critical stage. All these human factors that you counted above are not anymore. What is important right now is the nafs factor called greed. It is considered in the modern world that if something is hindering you from making money, it is stupid. So greed has taken over. And human qualities have left. Now if you have money, you are considered honorable. And if you have fame, you are considered reputable. If you have power, you are probably worshipped. Et cetera.
So my point is that we are the ones as Sufis whom Allah preserves the human qualities. Please preserve these qualities and display them. This is what Allah wants for us. Human qualities start with accepting the truth. The first thing is to acknowledge that there is God. And that is not you. To your dismay. Second thing you have to accept is that He is the judge, He is the King that you need to adjust your actions according to His liking, His laws and regulations. And the next human thing is to intend to do the right thing to please this Landlord. And the fourth thing is you have to accept, acknowledge His books that He sent, especially Quran. There is no doubt that it is from God and God is talking from the first person.
When you are kind to people, even though you are not making money, and maybe losing money, you are not being stupid. When you are helping your neighbour, expecting nothing in return, you are not being stupid. When you are forgiving your friend, you are not being stupid. When you are feeding the hungry, especially when you are hungry yourself, you are not being stupid. When you think of the others in your actions so that you will not hurt them, you may not be making money, but you are not stupid. When you respect others’ values, you are not being stupid. And they are not stupid because they have certain values that you don’t have.
So somebody has to preserve these values, and you volunteered for this. Please try to attain the manners of your Prophet and maintain them and live with Allah in every phase of your life. Remember Allah is a constant in every action you do, but some He is pleased with, and some He is not pleased with. Sadaqallahul-Azim, Assalamualaykum. I will see you insyaAllah when I come back to Turkey. The next trip insyaAllah will be to Mauritius. I love you all.
Insulting somebody’s religion is not freedom of speech, it is a hate crime. Our actions should not be a reaction to others’ actions. We have to show our own humanity. Just because somebody swore at you, you have the right to swear at them but doesn’t mean you have to do so. Because if somebody swears at me, I don’t want to swear at him back, because he is in control if I do that. I will swear at him if I want to, if I don’t; when I want to, not when he wants me to. Do you understand this? Don’t be a tool of somebody’s reaction to somebody’s action. You have to use your mind. Don’t buy into provocations. These things happen during the time of the Prophet too. Allah didn’t say whoever swears at you, go kill them. If you are attacked, you have the right to protect. But if they swear at you– that’s why kaafir, the word kaafir comes from kufr, which means swearing.
And Sufis, we have to be wiser than this. What I would like you to do is: your actions have to be in your control, not triggered by somebody else’s actions, then *he* is in control. Only Allah should be in control of your actions. Not somebody else. There are all kinds of crazy people in the world. They know this and that’s why they do this and Muslims buy into that. Excuse me, we are not that little. We are not going to buy into provocations. What are you doing? They can say all they want. Nobody is bigger than Allah, Allah sees them. If Allah wants to punish them, Allah is able to do so. Shall we sit and do nothing? No, show your protest too. If he has a right for speech, you have a right for speech too. But eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, if somebody swears at you, in Turkey, they will hit you.. But in Islam, if somebody swears, you have the right to swear. You don’t have the right to kill people. If they kill, then you have a right.
When Hazreti Osman compiled the Quran, what happened to the extra copies? They made one good copy and the extra pages, what happened to them? Burned, to my knowledge. I don’t think they buried into the sand. Is that true? Who knows? Find out. How did they eliminate the rest of the copy? In my opinion – if I remember correctly – it burned. So when they did this in Afghanistan, the proper way for all these Qurans that have been damaged. so they also burned, and they were protesting. How are they going to process this? “They were supposed to be buried.” Are you kidding me?
But anyway, that is all I am going to say. Keep your humanity, keep your peace. Peace, love and togetherness. Remember, we are trying to promote this. Violence doesn’t get people, love does. Love brings people together. Not hate. Hate gets people together for a short time. Love gets people together and keeps them. Goodbye. Salam Alaykum.
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