The Emperor's New Clothes

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 30th March 2010.

Most people think that they have been Created for enjoyment in this dunya.  Others behave as if they are here to follow Shaythan's teachings.  People are always worried about 'tomorrow'.  They are always thinking about what would happen 'tomorrow'.  They even count 'tomorrow's' profits before they materialize.  This is a most amazing phenomenon that has infected almost everyone today, from the very young, to the very old.  Almost no one asks himself, “What if 'tomorrow' never comes?”  Almost no one thinks, “I am sleeping in my bed today but I may be sleeping in my grave tomorrow.”  Death gives no special respect to anyone.  All will all die at the appointed time and it may be a very sudden thing.

Many important people stand in their uniforms and beautiful suits, admiring themselves in the mirror.  And while they see only how attractive they appear, the pious may simply see an animal, dressed in fine clothes, for these people have yet to rid themselves of their animalistic nature.  It is mystifying why the leaders of the world feel proud to copy the cursed Pharaoh and Nimrod, strutting about arrogantly in fancy clothes.  We must discard this attitude and to instead dress ourselves in humility, for that is the best clothing to be dressed in.  With our fancy clothes, we may feel like great but strip ourselves completely and look at ourselves then and we will simply be filled with a sense of shame.

Many believe that by dressing up in fine clothes, they would acquire more respect from people.  Shaythan has cheated them into believing that clothes make a man.  Without majestic clothes, a person may feel small and unimportant.  He spends a great deal of money on expensive clothes.  And he spends a lot of time grooming and preening.  Many believe status is now linked to dressing.  There is no point of changing our clothes, our hairstyles, our skin colour and hair styles when our minds and hearts remain the same.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) said that Allah (s.w.t.) does not look at His servants' exterior.  He Looks at their internal condition.

We would not dare to be seen naked in public.  We would be very embarrassed.  After all, we are not animals.  Animals look good even when they are naked.  A horse looks so majestic without clothes.  But we are spiritually naked despite being physically clothed.  Shaythan has cheated us into believing that honour comes from good dressing.  Spiritually naked people are strutting about, proud of their external dress, but naked in the eyes of those who can see their internal condition.

In the story of the emperor's new clothes, the emperor was parading naked for all to see, thinking that he had on beautiful clothing.  Until a young boy said, “But he has nothing on!”  Only then did the emperor and his subjects accept the reality that they had been cheated.  Today, we are all emperors in our egotistic world.  We walk around spiritually naked, yet we are parading ourselves because we think we have clothes on.  We have been cheated to believe that our external clothing is indeed the clothing of honour, when in fact, the internal clothing of the soul is the actual dressing of honour.  The young boy in the story represents the saints in this analogy, those who could see the reality, who spoke the truth and who could not be cheated by Shaythan.  Shaythan has stripped people spiritually naked.  Humanity looks ugly, stripped of honour.  And yet they do not even realise they are naked.  What Returns to Allah (s.w.t.) in death, is not our physical bodies.  It is our spiritual selves that return.  And if that returns naked, we will be in eternal humiliation.

O ye Children of Adam!  Let not Satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the Evil ones friends (only) to those without Faith. (Surah al-A’araf:27)

True dressing is the dressing of our spiritual selves, Bestowed by Allah (s.w.t.) on His obedient servants.  We must never judge people as we do not know what spiritual dressings of honour Allah (s.w.t.) Bestowed upon them.  We must never judge someone from his external condition for that does not reflect what is within him.  Many of the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) had only one set of old and worn clothing.  Perhaps if we had seen them, we may not have thought much about them.  But they are people Allah (s.w.t.) is Pleased with and they were pleased with their Lord.

The vanguard (of Islam)― the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid, and (also) those who follow them in (all) good deeds― well― Pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them hath He Prepared Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever: that is the Supreme Felicity. (Surah at-Tawbah:100)

Religion is about giving good advice, so remind people, especially the rich, that death is close to them, so that people will not be busy with dunya and forget death.  Death can be sudden.  A person may be a king in the morning and be a corpse the same night.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) did not want the companions to bury their dead quickly and secretly.  He wanted people to know who had died and to see their corpses so that those who were living could take a lesson from the dead.  We must be very afraid of the Day of Judgement.  The Judge on that Day is Allah Almighty Himself, and if we are Raised spiritually naked, amongst the heedless, it would be too late to regret.  We must never forget to advise your own selves to put on our best spiritual dressing, for our meeting with our Lord.


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