Exiting the Ocean of Filth

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 19th August 2010.

We are spiritually sick people.  So our shuyukh constantly send us medication, and the swuhbah is medicine to cure our souls and to put our feet on the Swirath.  Allah (s.w.t.) Teaches us to begin everything with the Basmallah.  There is a hadits where Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “Any action that begins, without ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim’ is cut off from the Mercy of Allah.”  The Basmallah was the first of all words written by the Pen and it was written for seven hundred years.  It contains many, many secrets.

When Allah (s.w.t.) Created the universe and the whole of the Creation, Allah (s.w.t.) Said, “Bear witness that I have Forbidden evil upon Myself and I have Forbidden evil amongst Creation.”  Today when we look around the world; there is chaos, there is war, there is murder, there is unrest, there are so many areas of conflict and so much pain in this world today because this Mercy has been forgotten.

The beginning of real faith in our lives, the beginning of the journey of becoming Allah’s (s.w.t.) servant begins by being merciful to ourselves.  So let us look at a very simple example.  If we are walking on the street and are thirsty, we will not just drink water from the nearby drain or toilet.  That is common sense.  Similarly, if we find a dead cat on the street, you obviously will not eat it.  We know that if we drink something contaminated, we will be in great pain, we will suffer, we will fall ill.  We are taught that we are responsible for our own actions.  Whatever we eat will never go out through somebody else.  And whatever they eat, will never go out through us.  So in life, what we eat and drink is very important.  We are taking spiritual food and drink that is dirty.  We are drinking drain water spiritually.  Every deed we do, whether it is good or bad, is a source of spiritual food for our soul.

Rasulullah (s.a.w.) gave us a very beautiful example.  In some narrations, this hadits mentions two women.  In other narrations, it mentions two men.  They were fasting and suffered the pangs of hunger to such an extent that the fast became unbearable and both were on the point of death.  The companions brought this to the notice of our Rasulullah (s.a.w.), who sent a bowl commanding them to vomit into it.  The companions wondered about it since they were fasting.  When they both vomited in the bowl, pieces of meat and fresh blood were found in it. The companions were greatly surprised.  Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “They fasted with halal food from Allah, but partook of haram food by backbiting.”

O ye who believe!  Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs.  Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?  Nay, ye would abhor it but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Surah al-Hujraat:12)

Rasulullah (s.a.w.) taught all of us deeds of any sort, good or bad, are spiritual food.  Backbiting is a form of spiritually dirty food that we eat.  Lying is spiritually dirty food that you eat.  Looking at people with jealousy is also spiritually dirty food.  Having hatred for people is also spiritually dirty food.  All of this, we consume in quantity.  Every sinful act is spiritually dirty food that we consume.  And just as we are careful never to drink contaminated water from the drain, we must have pity upon our spiritual selves by not taking spiritually dirty food by committing sins.  Although we do not see all the dirt in this dunya, we will see it when we enter our graved.  That grave is a tiny cubicle.  It is our little toilet in which you are going to unload everything that we have eaten of spiritual food, whether good or bad, for all the decades that we were alive.  And we are going to remain with it until Judgement Day.

Allah (s.w.t.) is the Most Merciful upon His creation but so many people do not have mercy upon themselves.  They are oppressors to themselves.  Look what happened when Adam (a.s.) ate of that forbidden fruit.  When he ate that fruit, he was zhalim, for the opposite of mercy is oppression.  He cried unto his Lord.

They said: "Our Lord!  We have wronged our own souls: if Thou Forgive us not and Bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost." (Surah al-A’araf:23)

We look at the example of Yunus (a.s.):

…but he cried through the depths of darkness "There is no god but Thou: Glory to Thee: I was indeed wrong!" (Surah al-Anbiya':87)

Every sin is an act of oppression upon ourselves so we must not keep oppressing ourselves.  We can study many things.  We can boast of much knowledge but if we are still loading ourselves spiritually with evil deeds, we will regret so much when we return to Allah (s.w.t.).  We have been swimming in sewage of lies and backbiting and more of all those eight hundred sins.  For any of us, we are simply bathing with fragrant soap and putting on perfume to make our body smell good but the mayat is there, it still smells.  Because when that soul comes out, it is carrying the decades of sewage.  What we eat spiritually is what our soul takes with it to the grave.

The worst thing is that when we are in that grave with all that filth around us, we will feel regret in our heart.  But the regret is useless.  The regret only brings more pain.  We are all told to seek His Mercy in the first ten days of Ramadhan.  In the middle ten days, we ask for the Forgiveness of Allah (s.w.t.).  And in the last ten days, Allah (s.w.t.) Bestows freedom from the Fire of Hell.  Hence there are three parts of Ramadhan.  These three parts are a great Mercy from Allah (s.w.t.) because we are all standing in sewage channels of dunya.  We are covered in it because we are constantly sinning.  We have created so many sins; we are now immersed in sins, immersed in filth.  So how do we save such a sinful person, drowning in najasa, filth?

The first step is to come out of the sewage.  We must leave that ocean of sin.  We must stop our sinful acts immediately.  Fasting is actually a shield as Rasulullah (s.a.w.) himself said.  Fasting means that we must fast with our eyes; we do not look at people with jealousy and envy.  We fast with your ears; we do not listen to backbiting.  We fast with our mouth; we do not backbite or lie.  We fast with our mind; we do not think about dunya and do not have evil thoughts towards people.  We fast with our hands; we do not take what is not our right.  We fast with our feet; we do not go to places that are not blessed by Allah (s.w.t.).  We fast with our stomach; we do not overeat or eat what is haram.  We fast with our heart from loving something other than Allah (s.w.t.).  Fasting means discarding the filth, discarding the evil, discarding sinful ways and walking away from that ocean of evil that we are standing in.

In the first ten days of Ramadhan, by practising the real fasting, we are leaving that ocean of sewage, coming out of that filth.  That is the first step.  That is why the first ten days are a Mercy from Allah (s.w.t.).  Allah (s.w.t.) Pulls us out of that ocean of filth if we are truly fasting.  But now, although we are out of that ocean, we are still covered in filth.  Would we invite such a person into your houses?  Can such a person enter His Presence?  Obviously not.  So one must purify himself of the filth.  We ask Allah (s.w.t.) to Cleanse us of everything that we have done in the past.  That is why the middle ten days of Ramadhan are for seeking Forgiveness.  So what is the third stage?  The final stage is to not return to that state of filth ever again.  We remain where we are, remain istiqamah, consistent, in the good deeds.  We now remain on the Swirath.  If we do so, it means that we will never fall off the Swirath; it means that we are free from the Fire of Hell.  That is why the last ten days of Ramadhan bring freedom from the Fire of Hell.

Ramadhan is a Great Blessing from Allah (s.w.t.).  It helps us get out of all the filth that we have been mired in for so many years.  We must practise real fasting, be merciful to ourselves.  We must not be zhalim, oppressors to ourselves because Allah (s.w.t.) Forbids oppression.  Those are the three parts of Ramadhan.  We must not go back to that ocean of sin ever again after all this.  Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said in a hadits, “If you could only see what is happening in the grave, the flesh on your body would fall off in fear.”  So we do not wait until we are there in the grave and when we see all the filth that surrounds us to feel regret.  At that moment, it is too late.  Our mercy for ourselves must begin now.

In illustration, Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) taught about the danger of the tongue.  In the old days, it was very difficult to perform hajj.  Some people would actually have to take a ship for six months.  Sometimes, they walked fortwo2 years with their camels.  It was a very difficult endeavour, unlike today where people get into an aeroplane and hours later, they are in Jeddah already.  In the time of Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.), a lady performed hajj twice.  We can only imagine the effort she had put in to do so.  Each time she performed the hajj, she bought a small decorative plate.  She had placed both plates in her cupboard.  One day, Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) visited this woman and he looked at the cupboard and he said, “Masha’Allah, those are very nice plates.”

The lady said, “Oh, that first plate was from my first hajj, and that second one was from my second hajj.”

Imam al-Ghazali (r.a.) said: “When she said that, all of the rewards of her hajj went up in smoke.”  She had flaunted the fact that she went for hajj twice.

We have to be careful of what we say and do.  We can destroy all that we have worked for with just one word.  And we can hurl ourselves into the deepest pit of Hell with just one unacceptable deed.  We must look after ourselves and be careful.  We must never be heedless of what we say and do; we must not be oppressors to ourselves.


  1. All night, a man called “Allah”
    Until his lips were bleeding.
    Then the Devil said, “Hey! Mr Gullible!
    How comes you’ve been calling all night
    And never once heard Allah say, “Here, I am”?
    You call out so earnestly and, in reply, what?
    I’ll tell you what. Nothing!”

    The man suddenly felt empty and abandoned.
    Depressed, he threw himself on the ground
    And fell into a deep sleep.
    In a dream, he met Abraham, who asked,
    “Why are you regretting praising Allah?”

    The man said, “ I called and called
    But Allah never replied, “Here I am.”
    Abraham explained, “Allah has said,
    “Your calling my name is My reply.
    Your longing for Me is My message to you.
    All your attempts to reach Me
    Are in reality My attempts to reach you.
    Your fear and love are a noose to catch Me.
    In the silence surrounding every call of “Allah”
    Waits a thousand replies of “Here I am.”

    ~ Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi

  2. Thank you. I love it. I remembered this story, Tim. I just forgot it.


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