Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Nature of Lust

We must know that according to some shaikhs, lust (hawa) is one of the attributes of nafs, while other maintain that it is a natural instinct controlled by nafs just as human soul is controlled by intelligence. The soul which is not aided by intelligence is weak. Similarly, the nafs which is not aided by lust is weak.

So man is constantly subjected to 2 pulls in the opposite direction. One from the side of intelligence (aql) and the other from lust (hawa). If the former is stronger he lands in the realm of spiritual prosperity; if the latter gets the upper hand he ends up in heresy and destruction. Therefore lust is a veil and man is commanded to disregard it.

Allah has said, "There are people who regard their passions as deity." Ibn Abbas has said in his tafsir (commentary) that, the phrase "regarding passions as deity" means that they worship their passions as they should have worshipped God. How miserable is he who worships his passions, and exerts all his powers to obey them and be a slave of them!

Passions are of 2 kinds: passion for eating, drinking and sex, and passion for power and position. He who yields to the former resorts to wine-houses and mankind is free from his mischief. But he who is the slave of the latter is a terror to mankind. He is misguided and tries to misguide others. May God save us from him.

Satan dare not enter man's heart and lead him astray unless he detects a streak of lust therein, and decorates it to ensnare us. This is what we call waswas (satanic suggestions). But it originates from lust.

When Satan vowed that he will mislead all mankind, Allah said to him, "But you will not be able to mislead my servants." [15:42] So Satan is, in reality, man's nafs (lower self) or lust.

That is the reason why the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) said, "There are none who is immune from being overpowered by his shaytan (Satan) except Umar who has overpowered his shaytan." That is to say everybody is overpowered by his passions except Umar who has gained mastery over his passions. This shows lust is ingrained in the very nature of Adam, and is a source of pleasure to mankind.

The seeker of God is, therefore duty-bound to exercise strict control over himself to work hard day and night to keep his passions under control, refrain from being overambitious, and pray to God that he is spared the mischief of his lower self. For he who is overmastered by his passions is veiled from God and is ruined.

Man has no power to change his nature, but he can change his habits by total submission (taslim) to the Almighty and by seeking His help in all matters of life. When he submits to God he comes directly under Divine protection and succeeds in warding off the impending calamity better than his own effort. The flies can be driven away with a fly-net better than a fan.

God's protection is the remedy for all calamities and the best cure for all ailments. God is the Sovereign of the universe, and man is just a pawn in His hand.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sacrifice of Abdullah bin Umar

Nafia (one of the servants of Abdullah bin Umar) related that once ibn Umar desired to eat fish, but it was not available in the market.

At last it was found after several days. It was cooked and presented to him.

When a beggar came and asked for food, ibn Umar ordered the fish to be given to him.

Nafia intervened saying, “Sir, you have been wishing to have fish for the last several days and now it is available to you want it to be given to the beggar. He is not particularly interested in fish and would be glad to get anything instead.”

Ibn Umar said, “No, I have decided to give it to the beggar in obedience to the Hadith of Prophet ( s.a.w), ‘Whenever a man has a desire for something and then subdues that desire for the sake of others he is forgiven.’ Now the fish is haram (unlawful) for me."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Follow Your Heart

One beautiful spring morning, a farmer and his son were taking their donkey to sell it.

The father and his son were walking along together and the donkey was following them.They had not walked far when they passed a group of girls coming fron the opposite direction.

"Just look at that," laughed one of the girls, pointing to the farmer. "What foolish people! They walk along the road when they can ride on their donkey!"

The old man quietly told his son to get on the donkey's back and they continued walking towards the market. Next they passed a group of men sitting by the side of the road, talking among themselves.

"See what I mean?" said one of the men, as the farmer and his son passed by. "The young have no respect for their old parents anymore. Get down you lazy boy, and let your father rest his legs!"

The son jumped down from the donkey's back and his father rode on the donkey. Soon they came across some women and children.

"Look at that cruel man!" they exclaimed. "He is riding so fast that the poor boy can hardly keep up with him."

The farmer stopped and lifted the boy up behind him. They continued on their way and had almost reached the market when they met the shopkeeper on the road.

"Is that your own donkey?" asked the shopkeeper.

"Yes," replied the farmer.

"Then I'm surprised at how you are treating him," said the shopkeeper.

"Two people on the back of a donkey is too many. He is sure to die from the strain. You should carry him instead!"

By this time, the farmer was getting used to taking other people's advice. He and his son got off the donkey and tied its legs together. Then they tied the rope to a long pole and carried the donkey upside down.

But the donkey refused to be carried. By kicking and struggling, the donkey broke the rope holding his feet. He fell into a river near the road and was drowned. There was nothing the farmer could do except to return home.

"Next time," the farmer said angrily, "I'll please myself."