A Polished Shade

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from the transcript of a discourse delivered by Mawlana Waffie Mohammed.

One way Allah (s.w.t.) has Selected to give us knowledge is by telling us things in parables.  For example He talks about a goodly tree.  He Says:

Seest thou not how Allah Sets Forth a parable? ― a goodly word like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens ― It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord.  So Allah Sets Forth parables for men, in order that they may receive Admonition.  (Surah Ibrahim:24-25)

Here Allah (s.w.t.) is Alluding that all good persons are like goodly trees that bring numerous benefits.  Today we bring another parable to our attention.  This one is a bit technical and is found in Surah an-Nur.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.  The parable of His Light is as if there were a niche and within it a lamp: the lamp enclosed in glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a Blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light!  Allah doth Guide whom He Will to His Light: Allah doth Set Forth Parables for men: and Allah doth Know all things. (Surah an-Nur:35)

What exactly is Allah (s.w.t.) Talking about?  We know that the light of the soul cannot be compared to anything in the universe.  It is a special Creation from Allah (s.w.t.).  So when Allah (s.w.t.) Talks about His Light, only He Alone Knows what He is Talking about.  What we can understand it to possibly mean is the light with which He Created the soul; that light is Put in something like a niche and over the niche there is a glass.  The light shinning forth is bright, as a result of the brightness of the light contained in the lamp.  What we could understand perhaps is that Allah (s.w.t.) is referring to the human heart.  The soul is Placed inside the heart and around the soul is the flesh.  This flesh is like a glass around the soul.  Now, heart specialists have said that when the heart is alive and active there are two waves of electricity that constantly pass through it.  Our understanding is Allah (s.w.t.) has encased that special light of the soul in that organ which is the heart, and as a result it too can become bright and shinning just as a lamp shade. 

We must understand that Allah (s.w.t.) is Telling mankind that He has Given human beings something that we cannot find anywhere else in the universe.  And this special light is encased in a special organ which has the capacity to become bright and shinning if properly cultured.  This special light or the soul cannot be contaminated.  It will remain pure and clean.  Nothing can interfere with the soul.  What happens is that the shade around the soul can either diminish or increase the brightness of the penetration.  This was evident in the life of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Allah Made Jibra’il (a.s.) wash the heart of Prophet (s.a.w.) on two separate occasions.  And he is perfect and completely sinless.  When he was going on that blessed night to meet his Lord, his blessed heart was washed so that possibly nothing could have diminished the brightness of his shade.  Allah (s.w.t.) has Created a physical body and the soul in two very special ways.  The body was Created and soul was a Command.  He put the two together forming the complete human personality.  And if both can work together, we can ascend to the highest.  If we can keep our shade polished and shinning; we will be able to experience Allah (s.w.t.) in whatever way He Bestows.

On the other hand the nafs is the working of the physical self.  It is energy, like the energy produced by starting a car when the petrol is ignited.  The nafs is the energy created by the body.  Because it is energy and because the ruh is refined energy; the nafs can impact upon it.  How?  It can dirty the shade around that special light or keep it bright and shinning.  The nafs works on the shade which, as we have identified is the human heart.  When Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was going on the Mi’raj, his heart was washed clean.  Remember if we want to meet our Lord, the best experience we can have is if you have a bright and clean heart that will allow for the Vibration from Allah (s.w.t.) to be amplified.  Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension yet is Acquainted with all things. (Surah al-An’am:103)

We cannot look at an atom with our naked eyes.  It is not possible except with the aid of instruments.  So too, the light of Allah (s.w.t.) cannot be experienced with the eyes.  Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) could not see Jibra’il (a.s.) in his true form on the night of the first Revelation.  It was only when he was outside the dimension of space and time he could have seen his true form.  So too, we will only be able to experience something of our Lord if we keep our soul bright and shinning.  That is the purpose of dzikr and doing good, and staying away from evil.  When engaging in evil the energy produced by the nafs causes spots to appear on the shade.  As Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

By no means!  But on their hearts is the stain of the (ill) which they do! (Surah al-Muthaffifin:14)

The more stain on the heart the more difficult it is for the light to penetrate.  As Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

“It is those who believe and mix not their beliefs with wrong ― that are (truly) in security, for they are on (right) guidance.” (Surah al-An’am:82)

We must not focus on, and judge others but think about the relationship we have with our Lord.  Is our light bright and shinning or is it clothed with darkness.  And that is the mission of life.  Trying to culture and cultivate our personality to allow our special light to grow and permeate our entire body.  How do we achieve this?  People will not help us; it is an individual matter.  Yes, if we are with good and righteous people they can be of some benefit in terms of giving us some sort of zeal.  But no one can help us remove and prevent the spots from appearing on our heart.  Satan will not want us to achieve this because his light is already out.   So he will want to cover up and extinguish our light.  Thus he will decorate the evil and divert us from our mission.  Allah (s.w.t.) will also Test our moments of trials and tribulations; all in an effort to see if we really want to keep our light bright and shinning.  He will try us with loss of wealth, with family, with health and so forth.

This is why Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) taught us that the internal struggle is greater than any external battle.  He is reported to have said “I have returned from the smaller jihad to the greater jihad”.

The swahabah enquired “What is the greater jihad?”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “Jihad an-nafs.”  It is the struggle against the desires.

Passion and desires do not care about morals, humility and submitting to Allah (s.w.t.).  They want comfort and pleasure.  If we indulge, our shade may develop spots on it.  We must make every effort to keep our shade bright and clean so that when it reflects is will be attractive and that it will give us the capacity to see on that Day when people will be struggling to see the path in complete darkness.  This is possibly why Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

Many are the jinn and men We have Made for Hell: they have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not.  They are like cattle nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning). (Surah al-A’araf:179)

We must keep our shade clean.  The Islamic year is coming to an end; so we should reflect on our past and make a resolution to build and improve upon our future.  And thank Allah (s.w.t.) for Taking us and Guiding us this far.  May Allah (s.w.t.) Guide us, Protect us and Enable us to always keep of shade polished and clean, insha’Allah.


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