School of Eternity - Sacred Text Message Podcast S1-E02

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Event Name: School of Eternity - Sacred Text Message Podcast S1-E02
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 4/23/2022
Transcript Version: 1

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of what i've called the sacred text messages because we're living in a time
of text messages and they seem to be taking people away from the text
messages that we got from god so everybody's reading their text messages from created things and they've
forgotten about the text messages from the creator of things and this is one of the great calamities
one of the things that henry david thoreau said is don't read the times
read the eternities and so people now they're obsessed with news and what's the latest thing and did you hear and oh
did you know somebody's doing this and so-and-so is doing that and can you believe that did you hear cardi b's latest
something like that right so it's just crazy people are obsessed with all these these
things and so we're trying to get back to the text messages the real text
messages so today i wanted to look at a couple of text messages that um that came from god and his
messenger salah they've sent them so the and they're around the same uh
topic so the first one is from the quran
in which allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in surat al-baqarah
so this ayah which is in the quran or it's actually a few
ayahs from from 155 to 157
allah according to the commentators when he he says that this is really an
announcement in fact the mufasurun say it's an indar it's like giving us a forewarning so when you have
sometimes you have these bells that go off or like you have earthquake not earthquake but tsunami warnings so like
in indonesia now they have all these alarms that go off to let you know the tsunami's on the way
so this is like god's alarm to us to let us know that tribulation is coming
and this is why the sahaba actually totally understood this they really knew that tribulation was part of life and in
fact it's at the heart of life because the quran tells us that
allah says created
this is part of life and even the the prophets have fear so for instance when when the angels
came to abraham it's that that it says in the quran
that he actually felt fear in his heart so even the the the uh the prophets have fear but but they're
courageous because courage is not not having fear it's that you do not let fear incapacitate you
and that's why the fireman who rushes in to to save the person it's not that he doesn't fear the fire he does but
his courage overrides that human fear and so we're going to be tested with
fear like fear of losing our job when when the economy is tanking or fear of
of um you know your loved one dying if they get sick all these things these are natural
occurrences uh in in the human condition and then allah says hunger and we forget that hunger was
part of the pre-modern world in in a much greater way we're living in an age of cornucopia
there's so much for so many people i mean there are areas on earth unfortunately there shouldn't
be given what we know but generally no civilizations have ever had the type of sustenance
and and the ingratitude that goes with it people traditionally had so much gratitude and one of the things you know
in the muslim world one in some of the arab cultures they used to say you know navifu and medina
clean up medina meaning finish your plate make sure that there was nothing left on the plate
because the prophet sallallahu alaihi salam had such uh high uh
esteem for the blessings of allah in fact one time he saw a piece of bread that had
was on the ground and he told aisha jiwara treat be a good neighbor to the
blessings of allah so that's just being aware of the
constant blessings of allah and then it says
and also diminishment nuxes can be a few different things in arabic but one
of them is loss or diminished you nakas and ziada right zaid is is
excess nocus is deficient so we're going to be tested with loss of
wealth so we we lose wealth and and also of life and not just
some people think the ayah refers simply to the loss of life but it actually can mean diminishment of life you can
lose a tooth you can lose a hand you can lose a leg you can lose a life your your loved one
or your own life so those are all things that we can and then tamara all the fruits of life that
we will be tested with them and and and then the it says
give glad tidings to the uh the patient ones that are patient in the tribulation
because the response of of blessing is gratitude but the response of tribulation
is patience and there's a lot of muslims that say oh how long are we going to be patient you know patience in the in in our
tradition means
it literally means to be patient in your obedience and to be patient in not going into
disobedience to hold yourself back and that's very interesting because kierkegaard actually says something very interesting
about that kierkegaard has an essay that he called the school
of eternity and in that he talks he quotes he begins it by quoting actually hebrews
which is where it says that that it says that the scripture says that the prophet learned obedience
from what he suffered which is in hebrews 5 8 and and so what kierkegaard says about that is now if
obedience directly followed suffering it would be easy to learn so if you have suffering and you learn
obedience from it that would be easy lesson but learning obedience is not that easy
humanly viewed suffering is dangerous but even more terrible is failing to learn
obedience yes suffering is a dangerous schooling but only if you do
not learn obedience ah then it is terrible just as when the most powerful medicine
has the wrong reaction in this danger a person needs god's help
otherwise he does not learn obedience and if he does not learn obedience this then he may learn what is most
corrupting to learn craven despondency to learn to deaden any noble fervor in it to learn
defiance and despair so when tribulations come we're supposed to learn obedience we should
we should actually become obedient and but if we don't and that's he calls that the school of eternity so
that when you're learning it that you've entered into the school of eternity and one of the interesting things that he says about that
he says when there is suffering but also obedience and suffering then you're being educated for eternity
so so that's the patience your patience in obedience and and you're patient in avoiding
sinfulness then there would be no impatient hankering in your soul no restlessness neither of sin nor of
sorrow if you will but let it suffering in our tradition we would say ibtila is
the guardian angel who keeps you from slipping into the fragmentariness
of the world the fragmentariness that seeks to rip apart the soul and for this reason suffering keeps you
in school this dangerous schooling so that you may be properly educated for eternity because if you are educated for eternity
with your patience and tribulation and your blessing your gratitude and
blessing you're ready to meet your lord you're vertically aligned with god but if you're just complaining why is
this happening to me whoa is me i mean the ancients didn't have they would have
had fear and trepidation and i'll tell you something about when i was in muritania
because i a lot of people just they saw me as a western person that i must know something about medicine which is one of the reasons why
later on went and studied to go back and try to help people there because they would bring me these people but i
what really struck me is they would say things like they would explain what they were suffering from
and then they they would say i'm just telling you i'm not complaining
and they lit that's what they would say they wanted me to understand i'm not complaining about this i'm just telling you because you might
be able to help me you know but they would literally say that
i'm not complaining and and that comes from just first of all that we are the property of
god with the human being our bodies are the dominion of god
our souls are the dominion of god and god yet
he can do whatever he wants with his mulk and that's why we should be asking allah for blessings
constantly and really and really be concerned about being in a state of ingratitude because the whining
that you hear today this is one of the few times in human history where
there are so many opportunities for people especially in the united states and yet everybody's complaining it's really
quite extraordinary the the utter whining and complaining about
conditions what are you talking are you in a state of obedience because suffering if you really are
suffering the lesson you're supposed to be learning is to turn to allah subhanahu wa ta'ala
the pagans and i've said this before but it really strikes me as odd the pagan romans would suspend the
senate when there were thunderstorms out of fear of the wrath of god
and our prophet used to pace up and down during thunderstorms doing vikram allah because that was one
of the reasons for punishment and and and but they used to go to the temples and
expiate literally expiate for their sins and ask forgiveness those were pagans and and
it's amazing that we've been given this guidance so one of the hadith about this you know is that so if you look in in
the ayah and i'll get to the hadith in a second if you look at the ayah allah says when
a calamity afflicts them what do they say in other words
we we belong to god he can do whatever he wants because
the quran says no calamity afflicts you except it's from god now there's another verse except it's
from yourself and they're not mutually exclusive because the adapt with god is to blame the self but it's from allah
subhanahu wa ta'ala and and that's why you say
that's what you're supposed to say we belong to god and to him we return that it's the reminder because suffering
should remind you that you're you're going to return to allah and then allah
they have the benedictions of god upon them god is blessing them because they're in that state of of
patience which is really a state of gratitude also in that you're recognizing it's from god
and it must be good and this is where we get to the amazing hadith because allah says
they are the rightly guided one so in the hadith which is related in sahih muslim who's one of our great
from the six canonical uh imams who wrote his famous he was a student of
imam al-bukhari and and really is second after imam al-bukhari
in consideration amongst the great scholars he he was slightly less stringent
conditions for accepting a hadith because for him if they were in the same city at the same time that was enough whereas
had to know they actually met that he had to have witnesses that actually saw them meet but if they were upright muslim considered
it enough to know they were in the same city so anyway he says and this is
the byzantine or the or the really it means the european and and some i mean there is there is an
argument that he was from an arab tribe but i actually it strikes me as um i think uh
important that that the prophet isam had an african and a uh a roman and a
persian i mean these represent all of the the great civilizations
because technically the indo-europeans have the indians and so that whole indo-european ark falls
under the the persians and and and then the romans but so many uh relates this hadith and he said
that the prophet sallallahu alaihi is
how wondrous is the affair of the believer in
all of his affair is good wales
and that is for no one except the believer in us
when he is given blessings he is grateful for and it was good for him those
blessings and if he's afflicted with the is
anything harmful so it can be like calamities diseases loss of wealth
all those things that are mentioned in the ayah he shows patience or she shows patience
and therefore it was better for them so this is the hadith that that it's all good that that that
statement is actually a true statement you know it's kind of said in like a lot of people say that uh that
that are in some of the most difficult situations in the united states but they say it's all good which is that's that kind of deep
african belief that it's hard to pull out of
a certain segment of our society but it's all good that's essentially what
the hadith is saying that if you are a believer it's all good that even the harm is good
because there's a hikmah behind it and this is the difference between i once saw an interview with christopher
reeve who had a horrible accident and this is the guy that played superman and then and then he had a terrible accent where
he actually broke his neck and he was paralyzed completely and he was interviewed and then said how
can you you just seem to be dealing with this so well and he said look there's two ways that can you you can view the world
one is that it's meaningful and the other is that it's meaningless and i choose to see it as meaningful
which is one of the reasons why i feel i've become an advocate for disabled peoples so he took a tribulation
and and made it something else and and and may i don't know if it's from his
christian background or what but that's what a believer would do you know we wouldn't wish that on our worst enemy
but if something like that happened and there's a wonderful iraqi that i met
uh in in medina a really beautiful young man and he he unfortunately he was completely
paralyzed in uh in a bomb that happened american bomb he lives now in the united states
with his father and just beautiful spirit it was just incredible uh young man but i was struck
by just the the the the goodness and the and the the acceptance of something that it came
from undeniably it was it was a wrong to bomb people is just wrong i actually believe
that bombing is a war crime and i really think it should be um it should be there should be
international law against aerial bombardment because that's my personal belief i really believe it's a war crime
and unfortunately it's technically not by international law but it should be
but anyway so he was a victim of that but in the end he he was a believer and he was
practicing this hadith that how wondrous is the affair of the believer that his affair is all good and and so
life is very short on earth and you can you can
that you're suffering whatever it is whatever tribulation you might be in and there's people that are in different tribulations we also forget muslims forget the
tribulations aren't just difficulties there's also the tribulation
of wealth the tribulation of privilege these are trials like allah says we have
privileged some of you over others that's in the quran so when you see somebody who's in a privileged state
how are they using their privilege are they using it for good or for ill if you see somebody and then
when the quran we made some of you a tribulation for
others will you show patience and your lord sees everything one of the
the things about that even said
that allah has made poor people a tribulation for rich people and rich people a tribulation for poor people
he's made the ignorant a tribulation for the learned and the learned the tribulation for the ignorant he's made and you we could go on the
black a tribulation for the white and the wider tribulation this is the world that we're in and so then it becomes
how are we going to are we going to be in accordance with god and his
messenger or are we going to be jihadi people so we we we see uh the world as it is
and and and and that's a big difference and then so finally i'm gonna i'll end here with
something uh from it's it's something that you know that from the first time that i
saw it i was so struck by it and it's in his uh famous book city ahmed zarok is one of my favorite
scholars it's in the where he says
65th principle and he says the uniqueness of allah most high in being perfect
decrees the existence of imperfection in everything other than god because
he's unique in his perfection so everything other than god has to be deficient
so there is no perfect being unless he most high perfects him so like the
prophet's perfection is from the perfection of god so it's grace it's not it's not
something that is inherent in the being it's something that god made out of his full
but this is the the nature and and and his perfecting him is a result of his
grace so imperfection is the norm whereas perfection is exceptional
so when you see imperfection in people you have to understand that's just the norm don't expect your
wife to be perfect don't expect your husband to be perfect don't expect your kids to be perfect because they're not and to do so would
be criminal you know it's just wrong and so then he says accordingly seeking
perfection as a norm in the world is false to want the
like there's all these people that want this perfect world it's called jenna that that that's the
word for it it's not dunya dunya is literally in the universe
we're in the bath the toilet of of the universe like this is dunya it's the lowest place
and by that the toilet is the place where you empty out your foulness you get rid of of your found that's what
we're here to do this is dunya we're in the lowest place and it's all up from here it's all up
because even people in hell all they can remember is god so they're just in a state of zika all the time wishing that they could be
righteous you know wishing that they didn't waste their life away so they're actually in the state of nadama which is
a healthy state so this is dunya just accept it for what it is thus it's been said look at people as if
they were perfect and consider imperfection to be in their nature in other words be kind to people
have a good opinion of people if perfection appears in them it is from father it's grace
because some people are perfect in certain things like you know people that just really have
beautiful adap or they uh character or they're honest or they're things so so in certain areas there and
then in other areas have the shortcomings otherwise what was previously mentioned is the norm in other words imperfection
then he says and this is what's really important this is the key through this outlook prudence good feelings
companionship and overlooking mistakes takes place so in other words you can you can keep
your friends and and when you see them fall short i mean uh there's a famous actor
david niven who who was friends with this other actor named errol flynn and he said the one thing about errol
flynn that you could always count on is that he would let you down so so there's people like that you know
but to know that about somebody is is useful because it's like okay
that's just him being him or her being her so that's just dunya
there's going to be people that will constantly let you down and just recognize that that's that's who they
are and and just try to show some compassion right so
this principle is that the world dunya is their dwelling and is a source of and then he says
i have established a principle through which i shall i never find repulsive anything that
comes to me in this world okay let me repeat that because it's it's so interesting
he says in arabic imam al-junaid
a-s so i have taken as an axiom something
that is axiomatic it's it's a principle it's a foundational truth about the world and and and it and and
it is this he said once i took this as
a principle i no longer find repulsive whatever comes to me from the world and it is
that this abode is the abode of depression tribulation strife fitna
which is trials and tribulations civil strife
and all of this abode is doesn't really mean evil what it means
is it's deficient because the arabs call poverty shuttle because you're lacking
so it's an abode of want it's this is the nature of the abode that we're in it's the abode of
want and and he said woman
and from the judgment upon this world is that it will always come to me with what i don't like
it's and and the one of the most extraordinary hadiths of the prophet says him in my estimation
that paradise is surrounded by distasteful things things that we don't like uh and and but then he said that the
the and hell is surrounded by
delightful things things that entice us and so part of what we're doing here in the dunya is is
to really uh to deal with those uh avoiding those things that might be pleasurable in the
moment but in the long term or very harmful it's like eating cake or something like that it's pleasurable
in the moment but over especially if you have diabetes you know but but over a long time it's very
harmful whereas most of the foods that taste good are harmful for you and then the foods that
are really good for you are not as tasteful and that's kind of a metaphor for what the prophet sam was saying the
things that are good for you are often not very pleasurable but things that are bad for you are very pleasurable it's very
interesting that sugar everybody loves sugar but it rots your teeth it it really has a
bad impact on your health and yet it's pleasurable and that's that's the nature of sin and so appetites are what take people
to hell because they're going after what they want as opposed to what they need and there's a big difference between
needs and wants and then he says
and if it greets me with what i love that's grace from allah
the basis of this dunya is the first in other words that it's just a place of tribulation and that's you
know that i mean that's the first noble truth in buddhism it's just coming to terms with the world is suffering and and and then they said the second
one is that the source of suffering is attachment to the world and that's what kierkegaard was saying is that we have to be weaned of the
world like you wean a child what does a child do when it's weaned it cries but once it gets weaned it's it moves to
the next stage so we are going to be weaned of the world forcefully it's called death and and our tradition is
consider yourselves already dead in other words wean yourself of this world and the best way to do it
is just to accept the world just accept it don't desire you know somebody
once did an emotional equation where he said that disappointment was reality plus expectation
so if you don't expect anything from the world you're always going to be happy
even better yet if you just expect the worst and this is you know this whole thing
about the secret you know this new age thing is like oh you can you can just put in your mind positive thoughts and it'll
all we should be positive and that the prophet salallahu was very positive in fact somebody once asked him
kenia said and he said let's don't ask me about evil ask me about
good so the prophet saws was very positive but he knew the abode he knew the secret
of the abode and that's why all of the tribulations he never it never affected him he was always
it's called being in the hub it's it's it the eye of the hurricane is real i mean god made the hurricane
but he made the eye of the hurricane and if you're in the eye of the hurricane the hurricane's all around you that's
dunya the eye of the hurricane is accepting the dunya as it is
and if you live in that abode and and and i'm preaching to myself because we all fall
short but if you live in that abode you will you will really be in a in a good state
and we should be happy in fact one of one of my father's teachers was
once asked can a man be happy knowing the world's filled with suffering and he said oh yes the happy man
knows that the world is suffering and yet he's happy despite that suffering and he said how
is that possible he said because one of the reasons why the world is is such a miserable place
is there so many unhappy people in it and so don't contribute to being one of those
people that make the world a miserable place there is a moral obligation to be happy
and this is why the prophet loved uh saeed he used to if he heard somebody
call somebody named saeed he would light up because he took it as oh happy one
oh felicitus one yes if he heard that he would he would take it that's me
because he was let them rejoice in in what all this
guidance that we've been given let's be happy not miserable
all these miserable but you know the word for the people going to hell is shaki which also means miserable so don't be
from the ash kiya don't be from the miserable one be from the swada the happy ones the
philistine oh rejoice oh people of islam
we have a rook we have a pillar that can never be destroyed it's called rasulullah
he's the pillar just cling to the rope of allah he gave us the rope the prophet
he gave us the rope and and he said cling to it the quran says
so some text messages inshallah and some reflections on those text messages may
allah subhanahu wa without a bless all of you and just to let you know that
that little um uh intro and outro is from my my dear friend who passed away hamza
ala odin is a beautiful nubian man and and really brought a lot of
people to islam through his singing and so alhamdulillah bless him
wherever he is