Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Giver of Honor & The Giver of Disgrace


Yesterday, Ustaz Shamsul (one of my tarbiyah gurus) expounded on Al-Muizz and Al-Muzillu. As always, he spoke with great clarity and his message pierced sharply into the heart.  He said:

Allah is the Giver of honor, Al-Muizz and Allah is the Giver of disgrace, Al-Muzillu. These names have their origins from a verse of the Al-Imran chapter in the Qur'an. Indeed, He is capable of honoring anyone He wishes, just as He is able to humiliate anyone He chooses to disgrace as in the case of Firaun. Having said that, He holds in His 'Hands' all goodness - biyadikal khair. And the fact remains that He is Most Fair, Al-Adl. The reality of life is that whether you are at the top or at the bottom, whether you are experiencing hardship or ease, all He wants from you is for you to know Him as your Lord and for you to be patient. The challenges that He present to you, making you struggle and suffer are akin to a whip, so that you run to Him. Allah is Most-Fair, these tests are not meant to last very long. He said in the Qur'an, Fa inna ma'al usri yusra. Inna ma'al usri yusra. "Verily, along with every hardship is relief, Verily along with every hardship is relief." As such, you must be grateful. Keep coaching your heart until it becomes strong enough to rely on Him solely.

Have patience, for patience could make an innocent boy become King. Lustful desires on the other hand could change a King to become a boy. The most honorable person is the one who has the highest degree of taqwa in him. Having taqwa means you leave all that is munkar (forbidden) and do more good. Taqwa means having all the sifat mahmudah (positive attributes). It does not only mean fear because fear is but one of the many definitions of taqwa. Wallahu waliyul muttaqin. Allah, He is a friend, a wali of one who has taqwa. He elevates a person's rank with taqwa. Life's challenges, tests, obstacles, hardship, all are pre-requisites of taqwa. When things appear to become easier for you, it is not because circumstances have changed or because of a change in the surroundings or whatever. It is because Allah, He Wills to change your state to a better one and raise you. If you wish for His love and blessings and the manifestation of Al-Muizz, have taqwa. If you somehow commit sins, that in itself reflects Al-Muzillu.

Ustaz Shamsul went on to narrate the story of a pious man named Bartisa who was fooled by Satan who pretended to be one who is repentant. Bartisa ended up consuming alcohol and afterwards committed adultery and murder for wanting to experience 'tawbah'.

This proves that ma'siat (sins/disobedience) to God comes about when one uses the akal (intellect). Satan who disguised as a pious man talked Bartisa into thinking that he must deliberately commit sins before he could repent and increase his piety thereafter.
But then again, Allah (Exalted is He) is not and never will be affected by our sins. There is a hadith qudsi saying, even if all men and jinn gang up for the biggest act of sin towards Allah, He is not harmed by it. Our existence is only harus, we may or may not exist depending on His ultimate Will. Therefore, look for ways and means for Allah to honor you - Al Muizz. Don't give reason for Him to dishonor you - Al Muzillu. Study your self. Also give advice to other people with truth and patience - watawasau bil haqq, wata watawasau bil sabr. 

Recite this du'a as practised by the salihin:
Allahumma la tuzillana illa ilaika
wa 'a'iz zana bika
O Allah, do not dishonor us except to You alone
and honor us with Your honor

Da'wah (preaching of Islam) must first and foremost come with the right intention. What is the purpose of  you preaching? The answer is to put, set right or rectify yourself. Then, spread good words of guidance to people. We are living in the times of Dajjal and fitnah. Uzlah, seclude yourself, your heart and your thoughts from the world. Living in the current times means one has to face 1000 evils before one could get the chance to do 1 good deed. Imam al-Ghazali said the real uzlah for this zaman (age) is actually to remind people of akhirah. When you do that, you yourself will be guided and obtain rahmah (mercy). Associate yourself with people who are determined to improve themselves and their religion. Indeed, it is not an easy task because the Heavens are surrounded by undesirable and difficult obstacles. Whereas, the Hell is surrounded by desirable and all that which are pleasing.


I had a chance to ask Ustaz Shamsul in private what is meant by Khalwat Dar Anjuman (internal seclusion/solitude in the crowd). He said, "For you to do that you must know yourself. For ahlul tasawwuf, beware, keep your istighfar because whatever you see around you is a mirror of your self. Keep saying Allah... Allah... in your heart."
O son, take heed! Ustaz Shamsul is my earliest guide so he will forever remain close to my heart. May Allah grant him a long, fruitful life and reward him with great bounties now and more in the hereafter. Ameen.

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