Discourse at Bait ud-Deen
Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri

From: Nuradeen Magazine

From the Nuradeen Magazine Vol. 1, No. 4 -- July 1981

The following discourse was given by Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri to a group of Muslims from San Antonio's Lackland Air Force Base who visited Bait ud-Deen in May.

Materialism has taken us over. We are always running day and night in order to keep body and soul together. Most of you are here for that purpose -- you are here in America in order to practice and learn more in order to earn more. Most of you are here in order to improve your material well-being; is that not correct?

The whole world nowadays is being engulfed by material worship. We do not have anything against the material -- the body is made of matter. But man is the barzakh, the interspace, he is both matter and ruh, spirit. If one of them is nourished too much, the other one is impoverished, it is imbalanced. You have to nourish both simultaneously. If your body is ill, you are ill, everything is bad. Also, if your heart is not serene, if you do not have sufficient contentment and sufficient containment of the heart, you are imbalanced.

Those of us who are lovers of Allah, lovers of Reality, lovers of haqiqa (inner reality), want to know: What is life about? What is the purpose of existence? Why have we come in order to die? What is the meaning of eternity? What is the meaning of samad? All of these attributes, all of the attributes of Allah -- the seeds of them are in our hearts. In order to quickly break this affliction from the outside, this difficult time we are living in, in order to make up for it, we have to be in greater dhikr, we have to be in greater awareness. That is all.

If we were born a few hundred years ago, we would have met mostly decent people, decent Muslims, honesty. Most of the houses were open, there was not much thievery, there were not many lies, there was not much deceit, there was not much cross-daggering. Now we are lost -- we are living in very difficult times, therefore we have to make up for it with dhikr, the remembrance of Allah, remembering that we have come from Allah and to Allah we return, and in between it is only wahm. In order to remember that, in order to stop the mind constantly clicking and clicking in its own mad way, we put in it some good Diwan. There is nothing sacrosanct about Diwan. At least we are remembering 'Ahimu wahdi bi dhikri rabbi ... wa kullu hubbin li-ghayri rabbi, fihi'l adhabu, fihi'sh shaqa'u.' If you remember that, at least it is something, you do not fall in love more with a new model car, or the new wife, or the new camera, or whatever stupid thing it may be, that is all. It is an aid.

Nafs, the self, is the sickness of man -- recognize it and get rid of it. Get rid of it by getting it out of you, wholly, through humility to Allah, through sajda, through prostration, through obliteration -- by putting the most wonderful thing you have, which is your face, on the most awful thing, which is dirt. And that is the meaning of jihad -- being willing to give up everything. And that is the meaning of Islam. Islam without jihad is not Islam. Being willing to give up your family, friends and so on -- suddenly there is a call of jihad, and you give up all that you have done. It is not about blood. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, never wanted people to fight, he was a most compassionate man.

It has to do with attachment. Are you attached to your family, and are you attached to other things? Islam is not there nowadays because of attachment, because if it is attached the heart is not qalb -- qalb will vibrate beyond the speed of light. Therefore it is the maximum scanner. Those of you who are familiar with radar and so on will understand this. So you are a cosmic being from your qalb. And this is the instrument. All that matters is your qalb. If your qalb is pure, then you are in Islam. And then the practices just come to you naturally, and the love of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, comes to you naturally. It is love, it is love, it is love -- it is all to do with love. Mahabba, mahabba, mahabba -- there is very little mahabba nowadays.

The way is to recognize the nafs and get it out of the way. That is why we say usr -- and usr comes from yasar, to exclude. Because it is by excluding, getting rid of that which is not. That which is not is our own imagination, which is called the so-called 'me'. Get the so-called 'me' out of the way and there is only beingness, there is only pure beingness, pure awareness, pure dhikr. You are pure dhikr on two legs, tarnished by nafs. Take the nafs off, that is why we have to purify with prayers and so on. Purification -- at rust purification is difficult because the skin is too hard. That is why there is pain, also. It is like a diamond that is being cut -- the first cut you make in a diamond, big sparks fly, later on you polish it and it is easier and easier. Until such time when you are really a man of Allah, then every now and then, somebody says, 'Allah!' and you are purified. You say, 'Alhamdu lillah' and you are willing to die. Islam is based on that. It is based on the willingness to abandon anything instantly. And jihad is simply the test of it -- and love and service.

What we are attempting to do in this place is to make a sanctuary, a small sanctuary for people who want to come to be replenished inwardly. Wherever you go nowadays in the world you see vulgarity, everything you see outside is poisonous. That is why we hope from our efforts -- with your help, with your presence, with your encouragement -- that there will be places like this where people can come on a regular basis and remember Allah -- and sing their love for Allah, and learn the meaning of brotherhood, where there is trust amongst people.

If two people cannot meet, if two brothers cannot trust each other, what is the use? Nowadays, some Muslims have learned nothing other than criticizing each other, and dividing each other -- this is this, this is that, and so on. We want to in a small way break those barriers, therefore we do not dwell upon them. You can belong to any of the madhabs and you are welcome here. We respect you as long as you respect us -- it must be mutual. You are welcome, this is your home. Belong to any madhab, as long as you love the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and you pray, and you tell us that you follow the other canons of Islam, you pay your zakat, etc., it is enough for us -- we do not question any more. It is between you and Allah, no more.

What we hope to do in a small way with whoever is associated with us is to return back to the original meaning of Islam -- pure, leaving alone what separates us. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would not listen to anything that caused friction -- he would not listen. So if we are correct, then we should not listen also. But nowadays everybody runs at the mouth, and life is wasted, and suddenly we are too old to do anything.

May Allah, Inshah Allah, guide us to the right path. May Allah unite our hearts with all the Muslims and the mu`minoon (those with faith) in this world. May Allah enable us to serve Islam and the cause of Reality. May Allah increase the light of the Prophet amongst all of us.

[Added March 21, 2004]