Sunday, 12 August 2012
The Haunted Mansion
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
I had this dream in the second week of Ramadhan. I dreamt I was with three other people in a car that was along a straight road on a dark night. It was so dark that we could not see anything outside but the lights of the dashboard clearly illuminated our faces. After a long drive, we stopped at a rest stop. It was crowded with lots of people and there was much smoke from cooking food. But I noticed that not all the people there were alive. Some of them were souls and I could clearly see through them. I was very uncomfortable and I asked my travelling companions to leave but they wanted to rest awhile there.
We have seen the other realms and are quite aware what is on the other side. The jinn in their realm are not veiled to us. And neither are we veiled to them. The inner realities of most people are very much apparent, whether saint or sinner. Some of them are so overcome with their nafs that they have the heads of animals. Others are so saintly that they walk with light. And then, there are the souls of the departed on their way. The barzakh is a vast place of many realms.
Next to the food centre at the rest stop was a huge, old mansion. The doors were locked and the place seemed foreboding. My heart told me that this was not a place to go to. One of my travelling companions, a woman, insisted on taking a closer look at the stately mansion. She climbed the stairs to the door but they were locked. She went around the side to where there was a lawn and she suddenly started screaming in terror.
I ran up the staircase and turned around the corner as the woman ran past me. I saw a fairly large, neatly manicured lawn. Strewn all over the lawn were body parts and statues. These were the dismembered and fused bodies of people and they were still alive but in great pain. I walked amongst them and I saw hands crawling by themselves across the grass, trying to find the rest of its body. I saw heads lying on their sides, moaning. I saw the torso and head of a woman. She must have been fairly pleasant looking once. There were breasts and nipples all along her front and sides. The bodies were alive and yet not alive. Their souls were not present within the body. These were moving shells in great pain.
I suddenly found myself within the mansion and the doors were barred from the inside and I was trapped inside. The furniture began to move and almost bludgeoned me. I felt cut-off and alone. I started to feel the panic well up inside me and I was beginning to feel intense fear. I heard a voice say, “It is unbecoming for someone who knows Allah to fear anything of His Creation.” I stood up and the fear started to fade away like a half-remembered hangover. The place looked like a kitchen. I thought I saw human fingers in the fryer but when I walked over to examine them, they turned out to be maggots. I was in what looked like a modern hotel kitchen except that the ‘food’ to be prepared was najis, disgusting things.
I walked up to the door and I recited Swalawat al-Fatih and Surah al-Fatihah. And then I said, “Listen to what I say: Laa ilaha illa Allah. Laa ilaha illa Allah. Laa ilaha illa Allah…” And I chanted slowly and deliberately, in the way I was taught by my shuyukh: latha’if. fi al-qalb. This was the way our Prophet (s.a.w.) taught the swahabah to recite as they sat in the circle. It has been passed down through the centuries to us. And then suddenly, the doors were flung open and I could walk free. The entity in the house did not want me there.
At that moment, I could have walked free and I would have awoken from the dream. I was no longer an unwilling visitor. I had that choice. Instead, I found myself going back into the side garden. I understood that although I was free, the souls of all these people were still in the mansion. I stood amidst all the moaning bodies and I said, “Listen to what I say and repeat after me: Laa ilaha illa Allah. Laa ilaha illa Allah. Laa ilaha illa Allah…”
The most amazing thing happened. I saw the lips, the bodies, the grass and everything repeat the shahadah. The muscles flexed and the fists clenched. And they started to become whole again. They were people; young, old, male, female… All sorts of people from the old men you might see at the masjid to the young ladies with piercings from the night spots. They were becoming whole again and they started to leave the garden. The mansion no longer had a hold on them. And finally, there was only one statue left. I went over and looked at it. It was a Chinese man. And then I said, “Why are you so stubborn? You know this is the Truth. Repeat after me: Laa ilaha illa Allah…” And he recited the shahadah and he was free.
I went back into the house filled with the state of Jalal. I started to scold the entities inside. I demanded to know what gave them the right to do what they did. And scolded them for their lack of fear of Allah (s.w.t.). I demanded they show themselves. I could feel them there but they were invisible to me. And then I saw an image form in the air before me the way you see an image in the rippling waters of the lake. It almost took my shape and I scolded it: “Don’t try to be funny with me!” And then there was a whoosh and they were gone.
And now, the mansion looked different. I realised I was at the back and there was a front. I walked through it to the front and I saw people cleaning up the place in the same manner you would see cleaning staff at the club after the party is over. The place looked richly appointed and extravagant until the light came through the doors and windows and the place just seemed jaded and worn. It was all a facade. There was a cobblestone driveway behind with very expensive cars. I understood that these souls, for whatever reason, came from the front and whatever they saw enamoured them. They came to enjoy themselves but once they entered, they were trapped.
On hindsight, it is very much the state of dunya. People come into it, thinking they are there to party. They fail to realise that is a prison. The ‘rich’ food is najis and poison. It corrupts the soul and mutates the body. The body is dead and it can only be sustained by that which is dead. The soul is alive and it is sustained by that which lives, the dzikr. The entities that guard this prison and torture house are the very desires of these people and it takes their forms since it has no form of its own. I looked at the front as the sun rose and I said, “Laa ilaha illa Allah keeps us on the road, but it is al-Fatihah that opens the doors.” And then I woke up.