[The following is a transcript(not word-by-word) of a Talk given by Shaykh Zulifqar Ahmed (db) in Manchester on 22nd Sept’ 2011 during his recent UK Tour]
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ
سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ
وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
We are grateful to Allah swt who created us as a human being and blessed us with unlimited bounties. Allah swt gave us the vision, gave us the capability to listen, to speak, to think. He gave us arms and legs, everything in the body; He blessed us in the best way. So, we should be grateful to Allah swt.
Example of Human Body and the Soul
If we look at the example of a human being, the human body, then we will feel that it is made up of few organs which in their characteristics are different. For example, eyes can see, no other organ of the body can see. The tongue can speak; no other organ of the body can speak. Ears can listen; no other organ of the body can listen. The brain can think, no other organ of the body can think. So it means that the human body is made up of different organs which are different in their characteristics. Every organ has its own characteristics.
But Allah swt has put a soul in the body and that soul coordinates all of these organs. For example, when the person is alive, then all the organs of the body are one body. If you are feeling headache, the feet will never refuse to go to the doctor. And if there is something bad with the stomach then the feet will not refuse that it’s not my problem, it’s the problem of the stomach. Because all organs are one, so the pain of one is the pain of the whole body.
The enjoyment of one organ is the enjoyment of the whole body. So all body is one, all the organs are one. Now if there is some person who wants to hit you on the head, then what will happen? Your hands will raise up to defend yourself. Now the hands will not say it’s not my problem because it’s one body. So that’s your hands, it will rise up to defend yourself. And if you are feeling pain, tears will come out from your eyes. It means in the presence of the soul, all the organs of the body are living like one body; they are so coordinated with each other that they are one.
Now if some person is dead. So soul is out of the body, then all the organs of the body they became stranger to each other. Now if you hit at any organ of the body no tear will come out of the eye because the organs are different from each other now. The thing which was coordinating them is not present.
Soul of the Family is Deen
Now if we understand this example, then we can apply it on our family. Our family is constituted of different members, parents, brother, sister, husband, wife, children; all of these are called a family. But every single one has got its own position. For example, the position of the mother in a house is distinct. Position of the father in the house is distinct. Position of the daughter, position of the son, everyone has its own distinction.
The daughter cannot be a son; the son cannot be a daughter. Children cannot be parents, and parents cannot be their children. So all of these family members, they have their own identities. They are different from each other as speaking of their positions.
But Allah swt has put a soul in the family which coordinates all of these members of the family so that they can stay like one body. As example of the soul in the body all organs became one, similarly in the presence of that soul all the members of the family function like one body. And what is the name of that soul? The name is deen, religion.
Belief in the Hereafter Makes People Do Good Deeds
So any person who believes in Allah swt, believes in the Prophet, believes in the book of Allah, believes in the hereafter, then he will try to make good ‘amaal, good actions, to please his lord. So he will be a good member of the family, a good member of the society. She will be a good daughter, at her time she will be a good mom, she will be a good wife.
So because she has an objective of life, that what I am doing here, I will be asked for on the Day of Judgment. So this religion, the concept of Allah swt and the concept of the hereafter is so beautiful that it makes the man a perfect person. He will not hurt anyone, he will not do anything bad to anyone, he will not be a bad wisher, he will be a good person. He will not betray anyone, he will not speak lie, he will not be a liar.
So it means that any person who knows that I am in this world for a short period of time and I have to move to the other phase of my life in the hereafter, he will try to be a good person. He will refrain from sins and he will try to make any good ‘amaal.
Belief in Hereafter Stems from Belief in the Words of Our Prophet (sws)
Although we just believe about the hereafter, no one has seen it, but our prophet Muhammad (sws) when he went for mi’raj, he got the chance to see the paradise, he got the chance to see the Hell. And when he came back he gave the details that O my Companions! I saw these things in the paradise and I saw these people being punished in the Hell. Now we believe it.
People Believe by listening to the Words of Someone
In this world it happens that we believe by listening to someone. For example, so many of you have not gone to Saudi Arabia, have not seen the House of Allah, the Ka’ba, but still we believe that there is a House of Allah. How? Because many people, they went there, they came back, they showed us the pictures, they told us stories about the Ka’ba, and now we believe it.
So without even seeing we believe it. Similarly, what is happening on the pole, no one of us has seen with our own eyes, but because we read it in the magazines, in the book, in the science book, so that’s why we believe it. Similarly, although we have not seen anything in the hereafter, but because our Prophet (sws) has told us, so we believe it.
Surprising Answer to an Atheist Claiming to Believe Only if he Sees
Once I got the chance to go to some place, so there was a person, he was atheist. He talked to me and he said no, the thing which I don’t see I don’t believe it. I told him no, so many times you believe it. He said no, I am not going to believe anything which I have not seen myself. Then I asked him a question, whats your name? He said this one. I asked whats your father’s name? He said this one.
I said how you believe that he is your father? Have you seen with your own eyes? He was just silent, he could not reply. So I told him if you say that you believe if you see then now onward if someone asks you who is your father just answer I don’t know. So then he was ashamed, that yes we believe it he is our father due to the witness of our mom. Mom told us that he is your father. So if we can believe our father due to the witness of our mom, can we not believe our lord due to the witness of our Prophet (sws)?
Examples Illustrating the Foolishness of the Concept of Believing Only if One Sees
Example1: Of a Chick Inside its Egg
Just think about an example. If there is a small egg and the baby inside the egg has got birth and is mature and is just going to come out of the egg shell.
Now few moments before coming out, if someone talks to the small baby chick that look you are going in a world, and that world is so wide, so big, that you will find human beings five feet high and you will find tree, they might be fifty feet high, and you will see cars and houses and multi story buildings and oceans and rivers and mountains.
So the baby chick inside the shell, if he replies okay let me see, can I see anything here. So inside the shell, baby cannot see these things at all. If the baby believes, its good. If not, then as soon as he will come out of the shell he will see everything with his own eyes.
Drawing Parallel between the Chick and Human Beings
Similarly our example is that we are in the shell of this earth and the sky. Now we have been told that there is a life of hereafter, we will go in front of Allah swt, He will ask about our life, how we spent and then if we will be a good person we will go to the Paradise, and in paradise there will be so many things. And if not a good person, then we will go to the Hell.
Now if we want to see Paradise and Hell in this world we cannot see but as soon as we die and go out of the shell of this world, we will see everything with our own eyes. So it’s better to believe what RasulAllah (sws) told us and we should become a good person.
Example2: Of a Fish Inside the River
One more example: A fish is in the river and she sees a piece of meat hanging in the water. She wants to take it. But a big fish, she tells her no! Don’t take this piece of meat because there is a fisherman and he has a small thread and this piece of meat is inserted in the small pin. As soon as you will try to eat it so you will be trapped and the fisherman, he will take you, he will catch you and then he will take you to his home and he will give you to his wife.
So the wife, she will have a kitchen, she will cut you into pieces and she will put lot of spices, salt on you and then she will put you in the fryer and make kebabs. And then she will invite all the members of the family. They will sit on dastarkhan and they will all eat you with their thirty-two teeth. They will crush you.
Now the small fish, she replies okay let me see where is the fisherman, where is the fisherman’s wife, where is the kitchen, where is dastarkhan, where are the people who are going to eat me.
So being inside the river, she cannot see anything. If she believes, she will be saved from being the catch of the fisherman. And if she does not believe then she will be trapped. And as soon as she will be trapped she will see all the process with her own eyes.
Drawing Parallel Between the Fish and Human Beings
Same is our example that we are in this world and RasulAllah (sws), he has told us that you are in this world for a short period of time and then the angel of death will come and he will take you to the next phase of your life. Then there will be the grave, and the angels will come. They will ask three questions.
If you will be a good person, you will be able to answer. And if you will be a bad person, you will not be able to answer and then you will get the punishment. Then on the day of Judgment, we will have to stand in front of our Lord.
So He will ask four questions.
- How you spent your life?
- Where from you earned your money and where did you spend it?
- How did you spend your youth time?
- How much you acted upon your knowledge?
So if we will be able to give satisfactory answers we will go to the Paradise. And if we had spent our life in a forgetful way, then we will be taken towards the Hell. So that will be the final decisions of our life. So now it is the time to get prepared for the hereafter. We should try to understand the importance of this life.
First Analogy by Imam Ghazali (rah) Illustrating the Reality of this Life
Imam Ghazali (rah), he wrote a beautiful story.He said that there was a person in the forest and suddenly he listened the roar of a lion. So when he looked towards that direction he found a lion was coming for him. So it was a big shock for him. He looked around; there was no high tree where he could climb. But luckily he had a well close by. So he thought let me jump inside the well, and when the lion will go back then I will come out. So as soon as he looked inside the well to jump in he found that there was a big snake floating inside the water, waiting inside the water.
And now this person was in a very strange condition. Lion coming to eat him, and if he jumps inside the well there is a snake waiting for him, a black cobra waiting for him. Now he though what should I do? So he found some grass which was grown on the wall of the well. So he quickly made a decision. Let me catch this grass and hang on this grass so that I will not be outside so the lion can eat me and I will not go down the water so that snake can bite me.
So he did it. He held the grass with both hands and hanged with the grass. Now the lion came and stood on the outside waiting for him. Now lion was waiting outside the well and the snake was waiting inside the water and this person was in between position. Suddenly he saw two rats, one was black and one was white and both of them, they were eating the grass which he was holding. He became more concerned. How? I am holding the grass and the grass is being cut by the two rats, one white one black. So what will happen to me?
So in this state of mind he looked on one side, he found a honey bee nest. There were no bees and it was full of honey. So a thought came in his mind, can I taste the honey? So he held the grass with one hand and with the other hand he took his finger and took some honey on the finger and started tasting it. It was really very delicious. So he started eating the honey and he forgot about the lion, forgot about the snake waiting for him and forgot about the two rats, they were cutting the grass.
Explanation of the Metaphors in the Story
Imam Ghazali (rah) he wrote that O my brother! This is your example. That the angel of death is coming behind you like the lion and the punishment of the grave is waiting for you like the black cobra and you are holding the grass of your life and you are hanging in between. But the day and the night, they are two rats, black and white. They are cutting the same grass that you are holding and with which you are hanging in between. And then the enjoyment of this world, they are just like honey and you are busy in enjoying your life and you have forgotten that you are spending the days and nights of your life and you are approaching the time of your death. And you forgot that the angel of death is coming behind you and you forgot that the cobra of the punishment of the grave is waiting for you.
So that’s right. Sometimes we become so much forgetful that we just want to enjoy and we don’t care: Is it halal or is it haram. That’s not good. We should try to be an obedient servant of Allah swt and try to make good deed as much as possible because we are in this world to make good deeds, to make our Lord happy, to be a good person.
Second Story by Imam Ghazali (rah) illustrating the Urgency of Gathering Good deeds
Let me give you one small example and then I will conclude. Imam Ghazali (rah) wrote a beautiful story. He said that there was a king and he had a fruit garden which had so many sections. So he called a person and said can you take this basket with you and go inside the fruit garden and bring me the best fruit, I will give you a good reward on that. So the person was happy. He took the basket with him. So the king told him that there is one condition, that there are two doors of the garden, you will have to enter from one door and come out from the other, so you will pass through the garden one-way. If you will pass from one section then you will not be able to go back again. He thought it’s not a big deal.
So he entered into the garden. Looked at the trees, so he found the fruit, but not of good quality. He stepped in the next section, the fruit was better quality. He came to the third section, the fruit was much better. He thought that I should pick up some fruit and put it in the basket. But then he thought, as I am proceeding further, so the fruit of the trees is growing better in quality. So let me pick up the best fruit. So he stepped in the next section and he found that the fruit was of best quality. Then he thought, there is another section, last section, so I will pick up the best fruit from that section. So as soon as he stepped in the last section he found that there was no fruit on the trees. Now he started crying that if I had taken some fruit in the basket, my basket would not have been empty. How I will face the king with my empty basket, I will be ashamed.
Explanation of Metaphors in the Story
Imam Ghazali (rah), he wrote that it is our example. The example of the king is the example of our Lord. So our creator, Allah swt is just like a king. And the example of the person is our example and the fruit garden is our life. And different sections of the fruit garden are different days of our life. And the basket is the book of deed and we have been told to make the best good deed, the best ‘amaal, so that lot of good ‘amaal maybe written inside the book of deed. So every day we think, tomorrow I will be a good person. It means I will pick up the fruit tomorrow. When next day comes, we say the same thing; I will become a good person tomorrow. So it means that we are still saying that I will be picking the fruit from the next section. And then, the last day of our life comes and we don’t know this is the last day and then we spend that time and the angel of death comes and the person has to go with empty book of deed in front of Allah swt. He will be really ashamed on the Day of Judgment.
Concluding Words of Advice by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed (db)
So we should try to get lesson and try to make good deeds every single day. Now you are students, try to be the best students in the class. Try to do your homework, to memorize what you are supposed to memorize, to listen to your teacher. Don’t waste your time in the classroom, don’t waste your time in the school, be away from those girls who have bad thinking. Try to be good with your class fellows, with your teachers, with your elders, with your youngers and when you will go back home, try to be a good member of the family. Try to be a good daughter of your father, your mom. Try to be a good sister of your brother. And when you will grow up then whatever duties have been assigned by Shariah, try to discharge your duties like that so that every member of the family must be happy from you. That you have humbleness, your thinking is very clear and you try to be good to others, you have good moral character and you refrain from bad deeds. So everyone should be happy from you. May Allah swt make you the best person of your family; a best, humble servant of Allah swt; a successful person in this world and in the hereafter.
Wa aakhiru da’wana anil hamdu lillahi rabbil ‘alameen