If you go to a hospital and there is somebody there you know how people talk to people in a coma and the doctors are kind of scratching their heads, this guy is in a vegetative state, you are just wasting your time, what makes them feel better something like that. Those are all assumptions because there is animation in the body. We are just saying they cannot have consciousness because the material basis for consciousness is no longer there therefore there is no consciousness. We do not believe that, we do not believe that because consciousness is elevated slightly above your body. That is what happens when you die and the people in the grave hear the people’s patter of their footsteps above the grave, we know that it is in the hadith so there is consciousness and people who have had near death experiences or have had those experiences where they separate from the body, people have tried to explain material, it is just this massive release, an endorphic release etc etc. You can do that until the end of time, try to explain away the experience of consciousness but in the end it is a mystery, it is a great mystery the consciousness and that is what he is saying do not try and explain this away. It is an accident, it is a body, it is a material, it is this, it is that because you can dissect the body but where is the ruh, where can you put your scalpel into it so how can you call it a body. So this ruh that we are naming the heart.
And it is the place in which consciousness awareness of God, knowledge of God dwells, is not a material substance, it is not a body, it is not an accident, it is of an angelic nature, it is of an angelic nature. Knowledge of this ruh is extremely difficult because there is nothing in the religion that has come to us that will give us this knowledge. When they asked him about the ruh Allah said say the ruh is from the command of my Lord. That is the extent of the knowledge so he is saying we can have knowledge of its reality but this is what we can know about it. Because the religion is struggle, that is the essence of religion. If you want to understand the religion, the religion is not a metaphysical teaching, the religion is a struggle in the world, that is what the deen is. It is a struggle in the world. It is a sign that you are guided. That is what knowledge is, a sign that you are guided. Those who struggle for Our sake we will guide them to Our pathways. We will guide them to Our pathways. So if you are not expending all of your energy it is not permissible for you to even talk of the reality of the ruh, it is not permissible. If you are not expending all of your energies whoever does not expend all of his energies he says it is not permissible for him, it is not permissible to speak with him about the knowledge of the reality of the ruh.
And the first foundational phase of struggle of mujahidah is to know the army of the heart, to know what the armies of consciousness are because the human being if he does not know his army he cannot go to war. If you do not know who your soldiers are you cannot fight so he is saying this mujahidah if you do not know who your askar is you are wasting your time.
Why was the heart created? Know that the nafs the ruh the consciousness is the vehicle of the heart so the nafs the self that we have been given it is a vehicle for the heart and the heart has troops. Just as Allah Glorified and Exalted He said and no one knows the soldiers of your Lord save He. So only God knows the number of soldiers that He has.
The heart was created for other worldly labour in order to seek felicity of the next life. That is why the heart was created. That is the purpose of the heart and its felicity is knowledge of its Lord the Exalted and the Majestic and this knowledge of its Lord the Exalted is achieved through the creation itself so the way that you that you know your Lord is through the creation, the way the heart comes to know Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala is through the creation in ourselves. He began it with that. It is through the self.
And then he says and the heart is among the totality of its world. And you cannot know these wondrous aspects of the world except by means of the senses. Your hawas. So the senses are from the heart, they are a part of consciousness. The senses are from the heart and the qalib because the Arabs say al qalb wal qalib. You have the qalb the essence. You have the qalib the body. You have the qalib the body so the body is a vehicle for the senses, for the experience of the senses. So you cannot get this knowledge except also by knowing how to hunt. You have to know how to seek this out and also knowledge of the net that you hunt with. In order to achieve this knowledge of Allah through His creation, through the uses of his senses, you have to understand how to do that and you also have to understand the tools that you have been given to do that. So he says the body which is the vehicle for the senses, the vehicle for this knowledge, it is only substantiated, it is only maintained through food, through drink, through this heart, having calorific content, through the moisture of life and it is extremely weak. It is constantly exposed to hunger to thirst inwardly. It has the danger of water and fire outwardly, it can drown, it can be burnt and then it is constantly facing many enemies.
How do we know then the troops of the heart? You need to know two troops. The outward troop is shahwa and ghadab, it is desire and anger. Those are actually troops, those are therefore the heart. Shahwa and anger what are called concupiscent and the irascible soul and the waystation of these places, the waystation is along the way, the places where they alight, the alighting places the abodes of these are the hand and all of the limbs. So that is the first outward askar, the outward army, the external army is shahwa the desire wal ghadab and anger and the alighting places is in the hand where it manifests in the feet, in the eyes, in the ears and in all of the limbs. As for the external troops their alighting places are in the brain the consciousness so he says and these are the powers of the imagination of reflection, of memory, of recollection and of supposition. So these are all powers you have been given in the heart so you have the external and the internal and these were created for you in order for you to achieve the goal of the heart.
Everyone of these faculties has a specific function so if any of them is weakened then the condition of the son of Adam in the two abodes is weakened, anyone of these. And the totality of those two armies is in the heart and the heart or the consciousness is the amir, it is the commander, so if the heart commands the tongue it speaks to remember, if it commands the tongue to remember it, it remembers so the heart commands the tongue to remember Allah so the tongue says astagfirullah. The command came from the heart. If it commands it to say subhanAllah, it says subhanAllah. If it commands the hand to strike, it strikes, if it commands the foot to move like if you are going to the umrah, it is the heart that commanded the foot to go, it is how you set out. If you get up, it is the heart that commanded you to get up. Anything that you, the command centre is the heart, that is where it is coming from. This is very important because what it is trying to do is lay for you a foundation of understanding not only in the nature of consciousness but the fact that you are going to be responsible for all of your actions because people do not think about this stuff. They go through life on automatic pilot and they are not thinking about the fact that they are not on automatic pilot that they actually have volition. They have animality, they have knowledge, they have all of these attributes that are attributes of the divine, Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala has put divine attributes in the human being and then said you are responsible for these divine attributes. I am giving them to you for a reason not to play, not to eat, not to drink. I have got creatures created to do those things. You do those things also but I have other creatures to do that. I do not need you to copulate, I do not need you to drink, I do not need you to eat, I have got creatures plenty of them to do that. That is their function and yes you share those qualities with them but there is a hikmah, there is a reason. It creates humility, there are a lot of reasons for it. That is the most essential, it keeps you down to earth because they are better than you at it.
So if you want to compete with them they can eat more than you can really a lion can eat more than you can. A rooster can copulate more than you can. All of them can outdo you in these those things. That is not why you were created. So know what your amir is. The amir is the heart and he is going to explain why you have to have that knowledge because the troops mutiny. You have time when the army overthrows the commander in chief, it is called accudeta so that happens. The troops get out of control and they take over and then what happens they wreak havoc in the land. You know Ghana they have a coup very couple of weeks but what happens everytime they have a coup there is another, it is a disaster, people get shot, there is all this bloodshed, turmoil, they show pictures of all in chaos, the town is in chaos. That is what happens when the troops rebel and then he says you have been given five senses in order to protect yourself. If there is fire you touch it, ouch that burns. I know not to do that again. Right. You kick the rock. You know Dr Johnson Berkeley said everything is in the mind. Berekley was an idealist. He said none of this has any reality so Dr Johnson was walking with Boswari, he kicked a rock and said I refute it thus. But that is why you have senses because that hurts. If you kick a rock it hurts and you know not to kick a rock it hurts and you know not to kick a rock again. The purpose of the senses is to preserve the nafs in order that you can put away provision for the next life so the soul can also capture the hunt what it is going after and the transaction is completed and gather the seed of other worldly and gather the seed of other worldly felicity. So this is all why you have been given this.
All of these are in obedience to the heart. Just as the angels are in obedience to their Lord, Glorified and Exalted is He and they do not disobey His commands. So these things that you have been given, they are in subservience to you.
Just like the angels do not rebel they are created to be in subservience to Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala these were created to be in subservience to you but there is a difference. So he says, it has been said in a well known proverb, the soul the nafs, the self is like a city and the two hands, the two feet, all of the limbs are like the estates, the farms around the city that supply the city and the concupiscent soul, this concupiscent faculty the desire is its governor. And the irascible faculty, anger is its police force. And the heart is its King and the intellect is its minister so he is saying this is a well known way of looking at this, the self is like a city. And the king is managing them in order for his dominion his kingdom to have stability and the conditions to be stable. Because the governer is shahwa it is desire, it is a liar it is officious, meddlesome, it is confused, disordered, that is the governer. If you wonder why there are bad governments and you always have these people, it is because it is all for you to understand the nature of yourself. Everything out there is in here. So when your self is disorderly everything out there has to be disorderly. It is for you to understand the nature of yourself. Everything out there is for you to get self knowledge, for you to understand yourself because in understanding yourself you are going to know your Lord. So if you look out there he is saying the governer is a disaster, he is out of control and he needs to be controlled and then the police force, the irascible soul, he is murderous, devastating, vile, criminal. This is the police, Rodney King. That is what he is saying, they are a disaster. If you let them go out of control, they will go out of control.
So what do you do? If the king leaves them to do whatever they want the city is destroyed. It falls into ruin because they are doing their functions. That is all they know. They know what they are supposed to do but if they are not being controlled, they go out of control because they are not a command centre, they do not have that aql, the police have guidelines, and you have to keep them within the guidelines because they lose it you know if you give a man a gun and he suddenly becomes arrogant. Put a gun on anybody’s side and there is a swagger that shows up. They start walking differently. They look at you differently right, you got a problem, because seriously he has got a gun. I told my boys if people would go back to carrying swords and guns you would see an amazing change in the basic courtesies of people out there because part of the problem is they are afraid they will smile and really it is like the police oh officer did I do something wrong? Why are you being nice to him? Because you are afraid. You were just miserable to the person at the cash register. Hurry up, I am in a hurry you know latte no foam right. Where is it? And then they go out that is what people do. They are pathetic. Because they are out of control completely out of control.
So that is what happens in a city, it is all a disaster and that is why when somebody comes in to a city that has authority suddenly everything changes, people’s behaviour changes, it happens. People rectify cities. If you get a serious ruler, a governor that knows exactly what to do and has the wisdom to do it things change, people change. Benjamin Franklin said one preacher came into Philadelphia and he said he was within months the effects of the preacher on the character of the people and all of the other preachers became jealous of them so they tried to get prohibited from teaching in the churches because he was so popular so Benjamin Franklin actually, it is in his biography, he built a non denominational centre and he said I built this so anybody who has something good to say to the people of the city can come and say it, even if the Mufti of Constantinople wanted to come and to teach us Islam, he would find a pulpit in my way so he says so the king has to take counsel with the minister. He has to know what is going on when the king is out of touch which is what happens. This is what happened to the Shah of Iran. He was completely out of touch. Kings get out of touch with reality. The Shah was not aware of people being tortured with things with electrodes and things like that. They get out of touch and then everybody is afraid to bother them with the details and then suddenly they are overthrown so the king has a job.
A minister once came to visit Imam al Ghazali and he said your time is all taken to account for, what are you doing visiting me? Go do your job. It is much better than for you to come and visit me because these people have immense responsibility. These people are going to have the biggest hisab on the day of judgment. The people who have authority over other people, people that were responsible for the well being of other people and how they betrayed them. They betrayed their trust. If you have an army, what is an army for? An army is for defence, that is what an army is for. An army is to defend people from threats of aggression. If you use that army to aggress, they are not aggressors. The army are not aggressors, they just follow orders but if you use that army to aggress and kill people doing that, then you are responsible for every single one of those lives that you wasted on the day of judgment. People have no idea of the immensity of it. If they did they would not do it. If they did they would not run for office. It is only a fool that runs for office which is why the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said we do not give this affair to anyone that seeks it. Why? Because the very fact they are seeking it means they do not understand what it is. If they knew what it was they would flee from it so we are not giving to give you that authority. Why? Because you want it which means that is the indication that you do not know what it is, it is an immense responsibility. It is a burden and that is why he said a man who leaves this world and has never been an amir over anyone is successful. People want authority. Everybody wants authority because they do not know what it is. Even a man in a house the responsibility ‘everyone is a shepherd and every shepherd is responsible for his flock’. You are going to be asked about every single one of the people you were responsible for. So thinking has to take counsel with the wazir, the aql and he has to put the governer and the police under the authority of the minister so there is hierarchy so the police are not out of control. If he does that then the conditions of the kingdom are stabilised, you have a stable kingdom and the city flourishes and like that the heart must take counsel with the intellect. If you follow your heart without the intellect because if you follow your heart without the intellect. You have to listen to the minister. The king cannot do it on his own because the minister is the one who is in touch with reality. Where does he get his reality from? The minister. Where does the heart get the reality from? The intellect because the intellect is in touch with reality so the intellect, he needs to take counsel with the intellect. Counsel, not be controlled by the intellect, not be dominated by the intellect, not be dominated by the intellect but he needs to take counsel from the intellect. And he has to place the desire and the anger under its authority so these troops have to be under the authority of the intellect. Your ghadab and your desire, the intellect is the minister. The desire, that is the governer and then the anger is the police. So he is using this as a metaphor so you can understand. You can see it is in the big one you can see it in the little one. So the psychological condition is stabilised. People do not lose it so the physiological condition is stabilised. And so you arrive at the means of felicity from knowledge of the divine presence. That is the whole point. But if you place the intellect under the authority of the desire and anger, the soul is destroyed and the heart is wretched in the next life. That is what happens.
Know that the desire and the ghadab the irascible and the concupiscent souls are fetching servants of the nafs. They are fetching servants. They are the ones that got what you need. They protect you in the matters of food, drink, copulation, for the labour of the senses because you need those things in order to be well. And then the soul is the servant of the senses which is the net of intellect. So the senses are the hunting net of the intellect. It is how the intellect knows. It uses the senses as a net that it throws out to catch reality so that it can understand these things so you have sight, sound you have this as a hunting net.
And also the spies that are able to see the creation of Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala, Majestic is His Power and then these five senses are the servant of the intellect. And they are for the heart consciousness a lamp and a candle, the light by which they are able to see the divine presence. They are able to experience it. Because the delight of the senses and this is their portion of the stomach and the genitals. That is what the senses delight in. That is their jannah. The jannah of the senses is food and sex. That is the pinnacle of their delight in this world. These are insignificant in relation to this other delight which is the delight of divine awareness of divine consciousness. And the intellect is the servant of consciousness and the heart was created to see and contemplate the beauty of the divine presence so all of these things are servants for this heart. It is not the other way around but what happens in the world is that people make all of these things commanders and the heart becomes subservient.
So the one who is exerting his energies in this craft that for which he was created, this is a true servant. From the youth of this presence, I only created jinn and ins to worship Me so if you are doing this you are indeed a true servant you are fulfilling what you were created to do. What this means is we created the heart, we gave it a mulk a dominion, we gave it a dominion and troops to protect the dominion and we made the soul its vehicle in order for it to traverse, travel upon this beast of the nafs from this dusty world to the highest of the heights and that is what we have been given.
So if he wanted to fulfil the right of this blessing then he sits like the sultan in the midst of his dominion and he makes this divine presence his Qibla, his direction and his goal and he makes the next life his true nation, birth place, his final abode and his nafs is his riding beast and the world is his waystation. It is only a temporary alighting place and his two hands and two feet are his servants and his intellect is his minister and his desire is his labourer. It is doing the labour and his wrath is his police force and his senses are his spies that he keeps in touch with his dominion and everyone of them is entrusted with a world or a domain, amongst these domains in order for him to understand the conditions of the domain so each one of these is there so he can know what is the condition or the state, what is going on.
And the ability the faculty of imagination is in the forefront of his intellect like a chief. It is able to gather the information of the jawasis. So what he is saying is your neocortex is in the front, the incredible ability that is unique in the human being, animals do not share this quality the ability for us to perceive, this ability of perception he is saying that this is like a chief and it takes in the news of the jawasis, the spies bring the news and tell them. The spies are the senses, it comes into the intellect, it tells them what is going on and then he says and then the memory is in the middle of the brain. This is like the map master. It is the one who knows the terrain and gathers all of the......he is listening, he is there next to the chief and he is gathering all the information and keeping it. He brings the map, this is happening over there, groups are massing over here so he brings that and he is maintaining all of this and when the intellect needs it, he is there to bring the information, that is the purpose of the memory. So if they bring the news to the minister, the aql, he is able to know the condition of his dominion in other words he can assess reality, in reality, so what he is saying is basically that this is an incredibly orderly system that we have been given and if it is used properly you will be in touch with reality and you will be fulfilling your purpose but just like out there things go very wrong.
They are going to be greeting you with flowers when you come in, when the army comes in, they are going to throw their flowers at you, the jawasis were not doing their job. Intelligence was not doing its job. They have weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence was not doing its job. They have weapons of mass destruction. Intelligence was not doing its job so now reality is distorted and what happens? Disaster. That is what happens disaster because they are out of touch with reality and then you have the shahwa is down there ‘we can make some money here because my salary is not enough so you know what I know the minister, I can get a contract with you’. The police force needs new guns. It does not need new guns but I am going to say that it needs new guns because I will get my 10% when we buy the new guns from such and such corporation that is making the guns. This is what happens.
That happens inside the self. You are looking outside and thinking look at all these problems in the world. It is all messed up, no you are messed up. Seriously you are a reflection. All of that is reflecting to us, our inner states. This same confusion that reigns outside is reigning inside and that is the reality outside is just expressing the reality inside of the human condition. This is the state that human beings are in because they are not following this incredible order that was given to them in fact more than that they are even denying it. They just deny it, flat out that there is an order here so if you want to understand why there is chaos outside, you just need to understand the chaos inside. When your irascible nature is controlling your rational nature, when you cannot control your anger and you can understand why things are chaotic out there. Why everybody is angry out there. If you see anybody one of these is rebelling against you, you have to struggle to suppress the rebellion. If the troops are rebelling, if they are out of control, you need to suppress the rebellion, do not kill them, you do not want to kill them, you do not want to kill them because the kingdom is not sound, it is not stable except with them, you need them, you need the concupiscent, you need the desire, you need anger. If you do not have those, the anger is your police force, you cannot defend yourself if you do not get angry you cannot defend yourself. If you do not have desire in you, there are no farmers to plough the fields to bring the food to the market place. If you do that you will be felicitous and you will fulfil the obligation of this blessing, and the robe of honour will come to you in time. This robe of honour. If not then you are damned and there is nothing but punishment and chastisement that you warrant.
This section is called three things that joy or felicity or happiness is based on and by sa’adat he means the joy of the next life so he says complete joy or the completion of joy is based on three things: the faculty of the irascible, the concupiscent. Those are the terms that we use in the West. If you go into ethics they are a little quaint now. We do not really use that term any more: irascible or concupiscent. So there is concupiscent, the irascible which is from ira, the latin word for anger. We still use the word irate, if somebody is irate, they get very angry and then concupiscent soul or the concupiscable which is the lustful soul or the soul of the appetites of the stomach and genitals and then the rational component or the faculty of knowledge.
So he says it is necessary for these matters the ghadab and the shahwa to be balanced and moderate in order that the concupiscent soul not increase and cause someone to deviate and fall into rukhas meaning lenient matters where they are just not working on themselves at all so it destroys them or the irascible nature increases and that causes him to incline towards unruliness, ungovernable. Somebody who is defiant and recalcitrant. They are not following the rules or orders so this problem he is saying the self gets imbalanced in these two ways.
So if these two strings are balanced by the guidance of the rational soul then they will follow the path of guidance. Anger if it increases then it becomes very easy to strike or to kill. That is the extreme of the sin of anger because anger is actually, the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said do not get angry and if he said do not get angry it is a prohibition on getting angry which means do not allow your anger the ulema say it does not mean do not get angry but do not allow your anger to cause you to do things that take you outside of yourself and result in harm to others so he is saying if ghadab increases if the irate nature, the irascible nature increases in the self then it will lead to somebody losing control and you see that a lot in people that do not have control over that aspect of themselves. They will lose it. They will become very emotional. They become in situations where they are not in control of themselves. They can lash out at people, they can lash out verbally, they can lash out physically at people and also I mean this is a particular problem now around the globe.
I will give you an example they have a programme, I do not know, if they still have it on Arab television which is called like candid camera and they will do things like they will hide a camera and they will have a scenario. They will have a situation where somebody will do something very bothersome and it is a spinoff of an old programme in America in the sixties, I do not know if they still have it. They used to have a programme where they would do things and hide a camera and people would.....like they have a fake policeman and he will just give a person a hard time for no reason. There is no real reason why he should be doing that and people would respond to this. Now in the West on that programme, people used to get bothered by it people would get upset and after a little while and they would tell them you are on candid camera and they will all laugh. In the Arab version almost every single time right before they went to blows some big giant guy would come out and hold the man physically back and it was nothing funny about it at all. It was actually really troubling to see the behaviour because people do not have that patience.
Now there are reasons for that, there is a lot more stress people are under a lot more pressure. There is a lot of oppression. We tend to forget the average person in the average day in the Muslim world is the victim of forms of oppression if they just go to get for instance their drivers license. There is a whole experience involved in getting your drivers license. If you go California where I live you might be a little miffed if you have to wait half an hour in some of the Muslim countries you have to bribe people just to get something that the government is supposed to give you just because you are a citizen but it does not work like that so people go through these experiences and they lead to certain states of mind.
I have a friend here some of you might know him, he has an advertising company and in that advertising company he had a campaign for tea ‘straighten out your state, just relax’ so the campaign was all about if you drink the tea you are going to calm down so he had a scenario where this guy comes in and he is asking to get some rukhsa some official paper that he needed and the guy tells him come back later you know like two hours or something so he gets really angry but he remembers drink tea so he goes he drinks tea and then he comes back and he says I told you to come back in two hours, he goes he drinks tea and then he comes back and he says I told you to come back in two hours. Two hours, two weeks, it does not matter. But that is social commentary on a commercial because that is the state that people are in. It is not tea that is going to help you. That is why advertisers are false advertisers. They might help a little bit (laughs). But that is what he is saying if you allow this soul to get out of hand the irascible soul you will end in this state where you could even kill somebody and that happens to people. They strike their wives or the wife strikes the husband in less common situations but it happens. So people fall into domestic violence because they cannot control themselves so the wife says something and one of the things I have pointed this out many times. One of the things for people who have not heard this, one of the things that husbands and wives get into is they fall into these what they call in pop psychology dysfunctional relationships. What will happen people in marriages they learn buttons to push if the wife gets angry at the husband she says something you are just like your father so that just sets him off or he says to her you are just like your mother or whatever. They have these buttons, they push the button and the person completely lost it. They lose control of their character.
I had my seven year old. I heard some screaming upstairs. One of them was screaming, the other one was looking sheepish. I said what is going on here? He said I pushed his buttons. So I was pleased he understood what he was doing because children learn that also. There are buttons to push but these are automatic behaviours that people get into. What this is really about. This science is about learning instead of being automatic like an automaton you have buttons that just react and you are not behaving as a conscious human being, what he is challenging you to do is fully realise your humanity, your consciousness so you are no longer behaving in a reactionary mode because that is what the irascible and the concupiscent soul are reactionary souls. They are souls that are just reacting to events. You see something you desire, you cannot control yourself. You go on automatic pilot. You get into a certain situation and you cannot control yourself. You react and become angry. People do it all the time. A good example of the irascible soul, there are people that just argue that is all they do. Every conversation they get into, they have to argue. Every single situation, they cannot control themselves because they are on this automatic pilot. He is saying is if these are not balanced in the self then this is the situation that you have. If the irascible soul is deficient, there is no jealousy, there is no zeal to protect what needs to be protected, honour. On the other hand it can be deficient so somebody that for instance if you see the situation in Lebanon. That should get your head boiling. It should not be something that you just watch and go and have your dinner, which is what a lot of people do. It just does not mean a whole lot to them because that aspect of their soul is diminished. Also you can have it is diminished in the right things but it is excessive in the wrong things go that is also another type of imbalance that occurs.
So he says in both religion and worldly matters, when it is balanced you will see patience, courage and prudence so by patience here he means temperance and by courage, hikmah so you have these three virtues and these are called the cardinal virtues in both the Greek and the Islamic tradition. The Greeks felt that the moral virtues were four, sabr or iffah which is the ability to control oneself, courage, hikmah which is prudence or wisdom, practical wisdom and the three of these when they were balanced. They led to adl or justice so you were a just human being and this is also related to classical medicine which is Tibb al Unani if you go to Pakistan, the humdar brothers, people know the humdar brothers. That is all based on this Tibb al Unani which is Greek medicine. Tibb al Unani is based on the idea of that you have four humours in the body and each one of these four humours should be in a balance but if it loves balance then it overcomes the other three humours and you get certain behavioural characteristics so they actually see it is illness and so the idea in having this balance is related to these virtues so for instance the phlegmatic personality is somebody who is depressed, the sanguine personality is somebody – there is excess there and you have these four qualities, blood, bile black bile, and phlegm and depending on the balance of these humours was the state of the person and there is a belief that food affects these and Imam al Bajun says one the proofs that the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam acted in accordance with this understanding is when he ate dates, he used to eat with salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam cucumber. He would say this cools off this because dates in this medicine are hot and dry and cucumbers are cold and wet so they balance. If you look at an egg, an egg is a balanced food in this science. The white is cold and wet and the yolk is hot and dry. It does not mean it is dry, like dry meaning lacking in moisture in its substance but it has to do with the qualities that they talk about.
So each of the foods are classified under this and there are extraordinary books written in the Islamic tradition where all the foods have been classified for instance coffee is very hot and dry. Hot and dry things are good for memory. Desert people are hot and dry and they have better memories than city people. People that are cold and wet tend to be slower in their mentation than people who are hot and dry but all of them lead to imbalances. The best thing is to be balanced between these so that also relates to these qualities so if you look at iffah or temperance, sabr. Sabr relates to the ability to control the shahwa so temperance relates to the concupiscent soul in that you can control the self. The shajah relates to the irascible soul. The irascible, courage is a mean between foolhardiness, being impetus, getting angry too quickly, running into the fray without really thinking about what you are doing and between cowardice which is not having enough control. It is a balance and hikmah is related to the ilm or the rational soul, wisdom and prudence. So that is what he is saying when they are balanced you get these three virtues. And like that the concupiscent soul if it increases then you get profligacy and debauchery. You get people that transgress the boundaries and if it is deficient then you will see this dissipation where there is no energy and you will see laziness, slothfulness and slothfulness is a deadly sin also because desire, you need desire to act. People without desire ...the energy of desire is a very useful energy that needs to be challenged within the right venues.
If it is balanced then you will see the iffah. When the concupiscent soul is balanced, you see temperance of contentment. People eat, they have enough food, they do not need to go to extremes. They have their relations, they have relations within moderation so that is basically he is saying when you have this balance in the soul then people are healthy and you have these virtues.
The next section is the section on the states of the heart with its troops. So he says know the heart with its troops has states and qualities or attributes. Some of it is called virtue and others it is call it vice. Some of it is called good character and others. It is called bad character. So with good character, with beautiful character he reaches the degree of felicity and with bad character or vile character he is destroyed and falls into damnation. And so each of these are four different types of species of akhlaq. So each one is a genus:
· The character of demons
· The character of ruminants
· The character of predators
· The character of angels
So deeds, foul deeds when they are related to eating, drinking, sleeping and copulation. These are the qualities of the ruminants. They are the beasts. This is the character of the beasts. So people that overeat. It is a bestial quality. People that drink too much, people that sleep too much, people that copulate too much, these are all the bestial qualities and what he is saying is that they have the character of the bahaim. So they are closer to the behima than they are to a human being and again that is one of the things that you see people are becoming more bestial, obsessions with all of these things. If you look at the time that people put into food is amazing. Ibn Ata’ullah says and this is 9th century quite late people will be at the greengrocer and they will spend long periods of time looking at the fruit, feeling the fruit, to pick the fruit. He said that they will take a piece and squeeze and make sure it is just ripe and put each one in. He said when they go to pray they pray like the chicken pecking so he said the things for the stomach they give all of this time. For their prayer, they give no time and he said the prayer is eternal. It is going to Allah. The food that you are picking out is going to the toilet. That is where it is heading.
So he said what a state that human beings are in. So this is what he is saying if these are your obsessions then you are like the ruminants. You are like beasts and also deeds that are related to anger, striking, killing, argumentation. These are the characteristics of predators, aggressiveness. That is what the predators have so your character is closer to the lions and the lepers. It is not human. And also the qualities of the ego, nafs. Things like subterfuge, faithlessness, disloyalty, deception. Strategies, plotting and planning. Those are all qualities of the demons so when that is your focus you become a demonic character and if you do not think that people plot. People plot, people plot in the most petty of matters. People will plot your downfall at the office, a place where you work. There are people that are literally plotting to make sure you do not get the promotion. This is the state of people. This is going on all the time. All around us. These are the states. There are ruminants out there, predators and demons. Some people are an admixture of all three.
And then he says and also the actions are the deeds of the intellect and intellect unfortunately he is using intellect as a very specific meaning now we use intellect to refer more to cognitive processes, mathematics and things like that. The aql, the real aql is a light and it restrains the soul from it caprice. That is the real role of the aql. It is there to do that. The deeds of the intellect are mercy. Why? Because have mercy on those on the earth and the One in the heaven will have mercy on you. That is revelation. Revelation illuminates the intellect so once you know that rahma is a reason for which rahma is bestowed upon you, you become a more merciful person so that is the intellect when it is functioning properly. It is directing our soul to those things that are beneficial to the soul in the next life because that is the purpose of the intellect is to benefit you not here but in the next life as well as here but importantly is the next life because it is eternal. So your temporal existence is going to determine the nature of your eternal existence so if you are a person of intellect then the intellect is going to be guiding you in that way.
Knowledge, increasing one’s knowledge, striving to be a person of knowledge. Jahiliya is ignorance. The Shaykh talked in the class on seerah about the age of ignorance like the man who said I am from Huzayah. I am from the tribe of Huzayah. If they go astray I go astray. If they are guided, I am guided. That is the age of ignorance. I just follow my tribe. My tribe right or wrong. My country, right or wrong. We are number one. That is all ignorance. Somebody who is knowledgeable transcends those types of imitations of ignorance because that is what ignorance is. It limits people and also charitable actions. Actions that are beneficial and good and these are the characteristics or virtues of the angels. So now you are moving into the angelic realm. The people that are preoccupied with these are on the angelic realm and then he says know that within the shell of the son of Adam are four things:
· The dog
· The pig
· The shaytan
· The angel
So in each person are these four qualities. Quality of the dog, quality of the pig, quality of the demon and quality of the angel.
The dog is blameworthy in its qualities but it is not blameworthy in its form. Its form is not blameworthy, the way it looks. Nothing wrong with the way it looks but it is blameworthy in its behaviour so if you train a dog, a dog can actually become a praiseworthy creature but if he is not trained he is blameworthy. He is jumping all over, he is spilling things. He is aggressive. If he sees something he does not know, he starts growling. He does not why he is growling. It could be a friend not a foe but he does not distinguish between friend and foe. He is just in that aggressive mode so the dog, that is the state of the dog.
And like that the demon and angel. The blame and praise of these two creatures is in their qualities. It is not in their forms. The Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said God does not look at your forms but at your deeds and what is the state of your heart and intention. That is what Allah looks at. He does not look at your outward forms. It is not in their form or how they have been created and like the pig is blameworthy in his qualities, in his characteristics. He is not blameworthy in his external appearance. You cannot blame a pig for the way it looks but the way it behaves, that is another thing.
And the son of Adam was commanded to expose the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge, with the light of intellect. That is what human beings were commanded to do by Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala to do. To expose the darkness of ignorance with the light of intellect and the light of intellect is guided by revelation so that you have been given an intellect and if it is illuminated by revelation then it can dispel the darkness of ignorance but if it is not, it cannot because no matter how intelligent a person if they do not have a knowledge to balance these things out. If they do not have a knowledge that tells them in this situation you behave thus, in this situation you have behave thus you will not know, you will not see your own behaviour, you will not challenge yourself. You will not look at your intentions.
So all of this is out of fear of this fitnah. Fitnah is a beautiful word in that it conveys an immense amount of meaning in one word. The word fatanah means to test the metals for impurities so when you heat metal and it begins to melt away, you get what is called dross. That is what fitnah does. It reveals the dross of humanity. So I will give you an example. When you had the cartoon controversy in Denmark, remember that. See everybody is like now it is over. Fitnah is over and everybody goes...the cartoons are still there. They are still there. You can look it up on the internet or wherever. They are still there. The fitnah is over. Now the 30 dead people, they are dead. They are in their graves now because of that fitnah or however many people died. So the fitnah is over. That is what fitnah is. It reveals peoples character based on the circumstances.
Now in Mauritania, how did they respond to the fitnah? Unfortunately the news did not cover Mauritania. They, the ulema had an evening where they all got together in a huge auditorium and people came and they recited Qasidas against Denmark so they had a poetry protest. Then the next day they had a demonstration. Before the demonstration they handed out flyers – the adab on protest and amongst the things that they guided the people to was not to anything inappropriate, not to break the law, not to throw anything, not to attack or harm the Danish embassy because it was an embassy that was legitimately there and so it had the umman of the Muslims. So that is how they deal with it, the fitnah. They dealt with it like Muslims but other people. They did not. They dealt with it like the dog. The irascible soul. They completely lost it. They went crazy and threw things. A lot of it is that it is an opportunity to do that because there is a lot of pressure. A lot of those people they are not religious people. They just oh a riot. Seriously they just go to be a part of what is happening. Something is happening. I mean there is some places I know, there is some in South Asia, any excuse for a good riot. In Karachi, it is not today. True or not true. That is what people want to go out and just not because they are in a state and so the circumstance provides the excuse to behave accordingly. That is what fitnah is. So out of fear of fitnah we have been commanded to dispel ignorance with intellect in every situation because in every situation if it is an ethical situation there is either jahal or aql.
Now one of the meanings of jahal or aql. Now one of the meanings of jahal is also to act with zealousness. To act without hilm. Hilm is forebearance. He was the most forebearing of men. He never lost it. If you study his seerah you will not see that the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam ever lost control of his nature. It did not happen because he was always in possession of his aql. The aql restrains. Even when he was angry his anger was measured. It was measured. It was appropriate because there is a time for anger. It is not just to accept everything and do not get angry. No you should get angry and things should make you angry that are unjust, that are improper but how does that anger manifest. That is the difference. So the Prophet there is none of you except that he has a demon. Even I have demon. The Prophet. Even I have a demon but Allah has helped me with my demon so he became a Muslim. So he is telling you that you have a demon. When Aysha got very angry once, the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said did your shaytan give you a visit? She said do I have a demon? Everybody has a demon so now you know so what is going on? Are you behaving as a human being or are you under the influence of a demon in your behaviour? That is the question. Is this from your demon? The Greeks believed that too also they called it the damon. That there was a spirit that influenced people and it was either negative or positive. So those are the four things.
The qalb is the irascible soul. The metaphor of that. I gave a talk in Oxford and I was talking about the Danish cartoons and I said in that talk that if you have a sleeping dog and you take a stick and you hit it and then it bites you who is responsible? Is the dog responsible for biting you or are you responsible for eliciting that response from the dog? That is an ethical question and one of the Muslims got really upset that I was comparing Muslims to dogs but I was basing it on this idea that this is part of Muslim ethical tradition that the dog is the irascible part of your soul and the dog is a good quality when it is guarding. When the dog is guarding but if it is biting your baby and tearing its leg off like the pitbull. People that have pitbulls and so the neighbour’s baby is out playing so his pit bull goes over and ....that happens in America. You have people who have pit bulls. There are people who have pitbull natures and they are not aware of it so if you do not have your pit bull nature on a leash so when it is going crazy, you are restraining it so it does not go and eat next door’s baby so that is the dog’s nature and then you have the khinzir nature. People have the khinzir nature. The pig nature. The pig eats all day long. It lives in its own filth. If it gets too hungry it will eat its own children. That is the pig. So that is the pig nature will actually destroy the human being if it gets out of control but if you can control it then it becomes beneficial for you.
Then shaytan the demon then the malak. He also calls it the shaykh which is the sage as well. Like that is the concupiscent and irascible so it has to be under the sovereignty the control of the intellect so that they do not do anything except with the command of the intellect. The intellect is the one guiding the concupiscent and irascible, the dog and the pig, it is the shepherd. The intellect is the shepherd of these two qualities. If he is able to do that then the result is beautiful characteristics. The result is virtue. That is the result that the person becomes a virtuous character and these are the qualities of angels and this is the seed of felicity in the next life. You are planting the seeds of felicity in the next life by acting according to this. But if they act in contradiction to that and serve the concupiscent and irascible soul the result is vile qualities. The result is vicious character and these are the qualities of demons and these are the seeds of wretchedness in the next life. This will manifest in a dream as if he is standing in a state of total construction serving the dog and the pig. So somebody sees in a dream that they are serving a dog or a pig and they are in a state of construction. This is what it means. That is what he is saying in the science of dreams, that is what that means. And this type of person is comparable to the one who takes a group of Muslims prisoner and hands them over to kaafireen to disbelievers. It is as if you are taking the intellect prisoner and you are giving the intellect the Muslim. You are giving then over to the kaafireen. That is what he is saying. That when you surrender your will to the concupiscent and your irascible soul to the pig or the dog and the demon this is what you have done, you have surrendered Muslims to the kaafireen because they are ingrates, they do not appreciated the naimah, blessings.
So how will you be on the day of judgment if you have jailed the angel? Your intellect. Under the sovereignty of desire and anger you have taken the king and put the king under the sovereignty under desire and anger, how will your state be? So you have put the king into the hands of the dog or pig.
And know today that the human being is in the form of Adamic creature but tomorrow the realities will be revealed and the true state will be shown so what he is saying is that you might have the form of a human being but your meaning is dog or a pig or a demon and that meaning is going to manifest and that is why one of the blessings of this ummah is the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said it will not have transmogrification externally. The external form will not be transformed into a pig or a donkey or a rat. That will not happen to this ummah, any of the ummah which includes ummah dawah, ummah istijabal because the ummah is the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam we forget this the European, the Asians, the Americans they are all from in our belief, they are all from the ummah of the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam we forget that, they are his ummah because the ummah ad-dawah, people that were invited to his path and the people that responded to the invitation. They are all considered from the ummah which is why the ummah of Lut are the people he was sent to. They are called the people of Lut. They did not believe in him but they are still his people. So even the people that disbelieve in the Prophet are from his ummah.
So from the blessings of the Prophet salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam there is no outward transformation. People will not be exposed. You can see pigs and donkeys all these animal forms that are low, you will see them out there. One of the interesting things about extinction is that it is not the pigs that are going extinct, it is not the cockroaches, it is not the rats, it is the high quality of falcons, it is the eagles, it is the lepers, that is what is going to extinct. It is not these common creatures. They are the ones going extinct. Because those qualities in human beings are going extinct, because we are the reflection of, all of creation is in us so those things the whales that are going extinct, that is because those qualities in us are disappearing. That is what happens out there. It is a reflection. So there are plenty of cockroaches, really there are plenty of pigs but those high qualities are leaving. One of the things that Moroccan poet Shaykh ibn al Habib said the cosmos are meanings set up in images. You see an image but there is a meaning behind the image.
Whoever understands this is among the people of discernment in other words people that perceive meanings as opposed to the sensory, the sensoria are there we experience the sensorial but all of the sensoria have meanings. Why are we attracted to flowers? What is the attraction? Why are we attracted to colour? Because they reflect meanings. They are qualities of God, beauty so what you are seeing is jamal and that is what you are attracted to and jamal is an attribute of God so you are witnessing an attribute of God manifesting in creation and that is what you are attracted to. If you do not see that, you are like the beast. You are a person of sensoria because you are not recognising the meaning. Why are we attracted to beauty? Because it is an attribute of God. Why do we not like ugliness? Because God is not ugly and that is why the fitrah nature when it is healthy it is not attracted to those things that are ugly. When the nature becomes distorted, corrupted it is actually attracted to ugly things. It likes ugly sounds. That is why if you look at the way people dress today, it is ugly dress really. They put like ugly tattoos on their bodies and they do these things because they are not well. Those are all indications of their states but they are unaware of that. They are not even aware that they are sick because people in fitnah will not do things like that. Those are distortions of the fitrah state. Human beings have always dressed....if you look at embellishment on Muslim clothes, why do Muslims put embellishments on their clothes? Why in Afghanistan? Why do they do that? They could just have a functional cloak but why do they do the embroidery? What is that? It is in their nature, they are people of ihsan. So they make things beautiful.
You can make just a functional carpet but why make the design. That is an ugly design in my estimation but why make the design. Why did whoever did this do this? Whoever made this here, why did they do this? They took time to do this. We could just be sitting up here in a functional thing without flowers just sitting here. What is that in human being that wants to do that? That is ihsan, ihsan means to make beautiful. Ahsana means to being about husun. Asma al Husnaa the beautiful names of God. Why are they beautiful? Because they are qualities of God. Anything that you see beautiful in the world is manifesting a quality of God. Those are the meanings of the forms so the forms are there but the meanings in the forms are what the people of discernment see. They do not see the externals. They see the internals. The eye of the heart not the outward eye. So this is what he is saying that there are people out there that you see them in the form a human being but they are not humans, they are demons. They are pigs, dogs. That is the reality of their state.
And it is not for you or me to judge because we could be in the same thing so you are pointing the finger at somebody else, look at that dog over there and you are a dog yourself. So it is much more important to be concerned with your own state. What is my state? Not what is their state? What is my state?
So those who are overwhelmed by the irascible soul they will stand on that day like a dog. And those who are overwhelmed by their concupiscent soul they will stand on that day as a pig. Because the forms follows the function. The forms follow the qualities. In physiology you say form follows function, whatever the function of the organ is, the form follows the function whatever the function of the organ is, the organ is going to be designed to fulfil the function. So this is the reality. So the forms will follow the meanings. So people see in their sleep the reality of their inner state. So now you know the reality of man his internal reality is one of these four. So it is absolutely necessary that the person is vigilant and observes his movements his states of movement and stillness to see among which of the four does he belong so this is about introspection. Looking at yourself. Reflecting on your behaviour. Your character. What am I? Am I a pig, dog, demon or am I an angel?
Because these qualities emerge in the heart and will remain with him until the day of judgment. These are the qualities so whatever your heart is filled with. If it is filled with ager that is the reality. If it is filled with desire that is its reality. If it is filled with treachery, unfaithfulness then it’s got the demonic qualities and if it is filled with good then it has the angelic qualities. Those are its realities.
So if those things the righteous perpetual truths that go on forever, your dhikr, your prayer, your charity, your zakat, your hajj, all of those qualities every good act that you did even smiling in the face of your brother and sister if you are a sister even smiling in the face of your brother and sister that is a charity that goes on, it is perpetual so all of these qualities are going to be preserved by Allah and these are all the seeds of felicity. These are all the things that you are planting here and you will reap the harvest in the akhirah.
And if anything remains other than that these are the seeds of wretchedness, these are the seeds of damnation. The son of Adam is neither free or released from motion or stillness, you are either doing something or you are not doing something. You are either in a state of haraqah or sakinah. In the duas of the Prophet salallahu 'ala