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Rihla 2011 in Bursa, Turkey

-The nature of our time is such that we see more than ever and understand less than ever.
-We have been dazzled by all we see so much so that our eyes are wide open but our heart’s eye is almost completely shut. The eyes are wide open but there is no sight
Like the sun worshippers in Hinduism who stare at the sun so much that they go blind.
-Human beings have given up on the concept and are focused on the spectacle
-It is an age in which we have been blinded in a sense by looking at Allah’s signs without having the wisdom to understand them.
-We need to beware of our actions. When a bedouin asked the Prophet ﷺ when the Day of Judgement is Prophet ﷺ responded with “What have you prepared for it?”
-That is what we need to concern ourselves with not when the world is going to end but rather what have we done to prepare for it.
-Being alone in the crowd…you don’t have to go on a spiritual retreat. The believer doesn’t have spare time (Haadith)
-So we have two options: isolation or companionship
–General islamic way is that of companionship
–90% of us are worse when we are alone than when we are with people.
can you be a Zakir on the hamster’s wheel?
-We need to beware of our intentions because a journey to the spirit or a spiritual hub is a journey TO the spirit and AWAY from the ego; it is a spiraling to the center, away from the periphery towards the truth…otherwise it is just a part of dunya.
-Now a days we believe that the alternative to work is relaxation and leisure . what we need is not a turn outward to another part of dunya but a turn within.
-The society does not allow for a sacred outlet.
–In the old times a potter would do zikr while doing his work while now a days something as basic as prayers have become secondary to worldly activities; we fuss when we miss something of the world and don’t worry too much about a missed prayer. -Religion rather than dunya becomes what is dispensable.
-Being alone in the crowd gives us the opportunity. Can accountancy be a spiritually uplifting career? YES, He is forever Present
-Morality is step one on the spiritual path and you can’t find many opportunities to be moral if you are sitting alone in a cave somewhere, feeling superior
-If not many moral opportunities are coming our way than that means we are cutting corners.
-To perfect ourselves by Allah’s leave we need to be in moral situations which is why the way of Deen is of Suhba
-We need to develop other ways of doing Zikr in situations in which we waste most of our waking hours.
-Then the question comes up Why is it that the divine religion that has been designed for this end time includes this unique element of Sunnah?
-What other religions have is more of an ethical conformity to the principles of the religion and not their prophets.
-In Islam, conformity is a way of connecting oneself to heaven through the outward form of the Prophet PBUH. Many of the things sunnah prescribes are universal.
-What the Sunnah does is threefold
–Sunnah links us to an ancient pattern of being human that reflects a time, a place and a spiritual way of being that is focused entirely on the sacred and the transcendent
–Secondly it enables us to remember so we don’t get completely lost in the Dunya
An example of the absolute best of human forms
-We are not meant to be like sheep where we munch and munch until we fall over and start to decompose. What makes us genuinely human is the miracle of conscientiousness, ability to reflect and independence to judge.
-Adam (AS), The ChoiceMaker , closely linked to the paradox of his being able to be a Qibla to Angels. To be Adamic we are to be choice makers.
-Often choices are ambiguous and only God knows what is best
-Our world seems to be moving faster and faster; acceleration is a sign of moving downhill not up. Many like to say I am a spiritual being but they have little or no idea what that means
-Breaking away from this system will take more than just a general sense of unease with how things are…Sunnah gives that unease a genuine direction. It is a natural alternative…What is the point of protesting if you don’t have any alternative way of being human?
-Beware of yourself when the energy that moves you in life is actually the ego’s energy but its found a religious form of expression…that is the most dangerous thing of all.
-Every person understands and follows Sunnah in their own way but it is readily available for those seeking guidance.
-Sunnah is the ship of human normalcy that can save us from becoming wave-slaves.
-Now a days we do a good job of turning Sunnah into a badge of identity, a stick to beat other muslims with and something that pleases our own egos
-It is not to be used as megaphones for our internal traumas…the sunnah provides a relief from our own rubbish so we can mold ourselves outwardly into someone who is serene.
-One of the qualities and privileges of being a muslim in this day and age is that no matter what our egos might desire the path back to the Lord is still open in the form of Sunnah
-It was all recorded out of the love the Sahaba had for Prophet ﷺ because they saw perfection and they wanted to conform themselves to it.
-Islam is the transmission of a form of life which represents a liberate, egoless human archetype which is available for later generation through which millions have found their liberation.
–liberation from the ego which is the only meaningful liberation
and which is applicable no matter where you are in the world (america or guantanamo) no one can take it away from you
-created vs uncreated, spoken vs unspoken….these are what make the Quran a miracle.
-It was brought down upon his heart as it says in the Quran
-He is a human being in the fullest sense…human being in the form to which the angels could bow.
-The junkyard of human beings …which is only bearable because people amuse themselves with money and things of this world instead of facing reality
-Those who have picked to be in isolation are definitely happy but it can’t be everyone’s option.Sunnah provides an armor against this world.
-If you come for dunya then dunya is what you will get (Haadith). We need to repair this initial intention.
–First by relying on Allah’s mercy and making tauba
–Secondly by recognizing that if we still have tribalism among us then we need to form allegiances that can transcend that.
-Form associations with people of similar career who can help you explore practices and habits of mind that can enable their work places to be those of spiritual advancement.
-Imam al Ghazali’s objective in Ihya is to universalize his own experience of the resolution of doubt. He has found clarity amidst doubt and he wants everyone else to have it.
-The third book is Breaking the Two Desires. Al Ghazali contemplates the paradoxical reality of the human condition. He provides a solution and diagnosis to this condition
-Every other species remains static at the point in the hierarchy of creation where it was placed but humans can move around. Instrument by which we move around is the QALB (arabic ‘to flip flop’). We can soar higher than the angels or fall below demons.
-Our perception of our capacity to choose is limited by our own capacity to perceive. The divine knowledge about the reality of our freedom to choose is likely to be something very different
-If, according to science, material world is all that exists then our consciousness is part of the material world and the thoughts that occur in our mind are measurable as physical processes.Free will does not fit in to the equation if everything is calculable through the physical laws in science.
-If everything is in the grip of the physical laws than what is the meaning of ethics and human accountability?
-Theology recognizes that there is a Qalb/Rooh in the world which is from the beyond or infinite.
-Religion attributes genuine moral agency to human beings more than any other modern materialistic theories.
-Al Ghazali’s Ihya is a manual warning us that we don’t have much time so pay attention. There is an urgency about his writing
-The Islamic diagnosis of sin is not found in other traditions. Adam and Eve are depicted as moral beings AFTER they have fallen from the heavens
-The way to fix this sinfulness according to Christianity is to abandon that path altogether.
-Imam Ghazali says our condition is not of sin but of having forgotten (the sleep of forgetfulness). We have inherited a perfection that we are distracted from by Dunya. We are dislocated from our true selves not because we have inherited sinfulness from Adam and need to be purified through sacrifice.
-All of Islam therefore is Zikr… to remind us and wake us up
-The two desires gluttony and desire are not the consequence of an inherent defect rather the consequence of imbalance. We break the two desires rather than abolishing them. We are to find a balance for these two desires
-Al Ghazali starts out by saying one of the most fatal habits of son of Adam is gluttony…it was disobedience of God in order to fulfill the most basic of primal needs.
-Be content with Allah has given you
-In our gluttony we are killing the planet…the destruction of earth is proof that we are not Khulafaa any longer we are parasites…actually we are worse than parasites because we are killing the mother organ.
-For someone as important to history as the Prophet ﷺ to be constantly hungry to the point that he would tie a flat rock to his stomach…this defies the modern thinking and upsets all the conventional wisdoms.
-Benefits of being hungry and why it was a quality of prophetic tradition and way of the Awliya
-Purification of the heart…if you don’t eat so much you’ll be more preceptive. Your basirah will go further.
-Delicacy of the heart…with the pain of hunger you perceive better. you hear Quran better, notice other people better. Toward the end of ramadan things of Deen come easily
-Broken pride and humbleness
-Through hunger we don’t forget Allah’s trials and His punishment; also we don’t forget those who are going through tribulations. Those who are full tend to forget those who are hungry
-Biggest of benefits is that it breaks everyone of the desires to sin and helps to control the beast within.
-If you eat less you sleep less so more time to worship
-If you eat less you feel less need to make money to buy food; plus when you don’t use your money to buy more and more food you have more left for Sadakaa
-Follow the prophetic tradition that food for two is enough for three and food for three is enough for four.
-This doesn’t mean you don’t savor what you are eating, it just means keeping away from excess.
-Impoverishment of human interaction
-Fasting is half of patience and patience is half of faith.
-The Imam takes a turn in his argument.
-Haadith: The best of all matters is the middle course and the extreme in any matter is ignoble
-When human nature inclines towards one extreme, the shariah comes to push in the opposite direction ..an ignorant person might derive from this to go to the extreme opposite of what their heart is inclining towards but a knowledgeable person knows it means the middle way
-When human inclination leans towards eating to excess, revelation comes to praise the merits of hunger
-The opposite of cowardliness is not reckless daring but the middle way of courage…it is in between two extremes
-Can there be too much prayer and too much fasting? extremes in these? One of the dangers of religion is that people assume that rigor is the same as piety.
-Middle way is where the wisdom is.
-Islam was needed for the restoration of the middle way. Before it the traditions either moved in the direction of esotericism and the other moved in the direction of exotericism
-How do we acquire that wisdom? books of Fiqh can’t help us with this. We find it in Ihsaan
-Beauty often comes into the picture. Ihsaan – DOING THE BEAUTIFUL
-Allah’s creation is all beautiful, ugliness is generally created by man
Prophet’s beauty was just the beginning; his Ikhlaaq is what made him truly beautiful.
-People from the sacred civilizations did not create ugly….architecture is the perfect example
-You can’t teach wisdom; it is something that comes from the soul and is the consequence of disciplining the uglier dimensions of the soul. Otherwise the ugliness within causes an uglier outward reality
-We need to put ourselves in the way of Allah’s breezes of mercy and we might just be gifted with this wisdom
-Don’t be overly esoteric (too focused on the mystic) or exoteric (too focused on the rules). The balance mentioned at the end of Surah Fatiha is clearly important to ask for CONSTANTLY
-Going into religion as an arrow goes through the target…so hard that it comes out the other side.
-Ihsaan (doing the beautiful) is not just strong belief in Allah it is an attachment to Allah
-Two styles of muslims
–those who try and figure out how much sawaab they’ll get for each good deed..cut a deal with Allah
–those who do the good deeds because it is what their beloved Allah requires…they want to be close to Allah. These people will intuitively find wisdom. He is with us always while we are not with Him always. He deserves all that we are while we deserve nothing.
–those of true wisdom combine the above two
-World is Allah’s gift. We get ourselves into trouble exactly because we start believing that we are worth something or we deserve something
we don’t have claim to anything in this world
–That doesn’t mean we are to consider ourselves miserable worms. The way of Islam is that of dignity; dignity of what you are called to be not what we actually are…the reason Allah has veiled our private thoughts, intentions and lusts. We are called to be something higher than the angels so Allah has hidden the rubbish but we have to live up to it
–When we suffer in our lives it is due to lack of wisdom
-There is person who feels joy when people know that he is fasting…when you do things for others rather than for Allah SWT then you have shifted your Qibla…our way should be sincerity
-One of the blessings of having a religion which has obligatory and optional elements is that there are certain things which we have to do therefore there is less danger that our intentions will be affected
You can’t really be subverted in your intention because everyone knows you have to do it
….how frequently religion can be subverted because we do the right things for the wrong reasons.

Part 2: Sexual Desire
-the idea of Original Sin in Christianity where priests and nuns ‘overcome’ that main problem and live in earthly anticipation of paradise as asexual beings
-Islam does something much more humane. 2 benefits of authority of desire over human beings
–when they know this pleasure they will be able to intuit the pleasures of paradise . The Quran eroticists paradise..eros is a dimension of salvation. Christians argue that something so biological and of this fallen world can’t be present in the next but Quran says that anything pure and good and beautiful of this world can’t be absent in the next. Here we taste only a small percentage of the good, pure and beautiful.
–species should be perpetuated
-Imam Al Haddad says” deal with the thick veils by going around them and deal with the thin veils by going through them”. Thick — lying, thin— engagements with the world.
-Summer is considered peak season because everyone is PEEKING
On the one hand Islam is most cheerful on this topic but it is also very strict on gender segregation because more misery is caused by unregulated sexual desire than anything else.
-Shariah was designed particularly for our age.
-Many who come to Islam realize that it is not strictness it is sanity
-One of the troubles of our times is that human beings don’t know how to inhabit their bodies. We are not slaves to our baser impulses but neither do we declare war on those impulses.
-Allah hasn’t given us bodies so we can try and get out of them…we get out of them when we die.
-We have come farther and farther from all elements such as the sacred, prayer, family, honor etc that constituted human normalcy…we are abnormal
-Sunnah gives us the way to recreate normalcy
-Principle of gender has been lost in this age and in consequence the polarity of genders is almost gone so that marriage has been desacralized
-Islamic image is that Allah has created human being in two alternate and –complimentary forms.
-The reason is SAKEENA
-The only ground rule left is ‘do what you like as long as no one gets hurt’
-Gay relations: biology has determined that there is a genetic and socialized basis of this behavior…so according to islam (religion of fitra) doesn’t it make sense to be what you are meant to be?
–This will only make sense in traditions which say do what you like for your own happiness as long as no one gets hurt
–that is not what religion is…it grants us happiness through sakeena but no religion is about doing what you feel like doing.
–An impulse is not the same as an ethical principle.
-People were in a state of shukar because they had low expectations for marriage so they were grateful to even have a spouse. Now expectations have gone up we want spouses who are perfect. Be grateful for what we got…and when we are grateful –Allah will show us the amazing things that are possible in a loving, sincere and believing relationship
-The religion of Fitrah should find relationships easy; religion of humility should find shukur necessary for a good marriage very easy.
-You can see the joy Sahaba and Sahabiat found in their respective roles in their marriages
-One of the privileges and access to the sacred for females is being able to hold in herself and in her hands the miracle of the Rooh as it comes into the world again.
–The turkish word for pregnant is IKIJAANLEH meaning two-souled
–She has the Rahm within herself ..she is miraculously partaking in the process of creation of an eternal soul
-This does not fit in with gay relations because there are certain things about the human condition that are inherently different. 100% of the people who have babies are women. There are things where there can’t be parity because trying to equate the two is an insult to women and the womb
–Nothing wrong with one man loving the other. Men love the Prophet PBUH. However love is not the same as desire…that is one of the shahwaat
-There are several compulsive behaviors such as recurrent violent behavior that are being found to have genetic basis but no one is saying anything about making those things legal.
-So why does God give some people this impulse?
-Allah SWT doesn’t just have names of JAMAL but also the names of JALAL….He is the one who creates Heaven and He also creates Hell
-There is a dimension of rigor in creation…everyone has a kind of test or weakness that they’ll be confronted with repeatedly in their lives which they have to overcome to make spiritual progress; dishonesty, arrogance, wrong sexual orientation
-Those who deal with it and move past it are muslims just like any other muslim
-If you’re always defensive, you will lose eventually. If you want to survive you need to go on the offensive at times
-With the West our stance is either of defense (islam, religion of peace) or it is an angry lashing out at the evil kuffar
–we need to develop a third strategy by looking at what the ambient society is suffering from most and see where Islam can offer a solution. For example the association between alcohol and violence.
-Take the initiative and go on a society-specific counter attack
*Identify what is holding you back from becoming completely open in your prayer and deal with that first.*

~Questions~
-Don’t fuss when it comes to picking a spouse about how formally religious people are, do it based on the quality of their soul..it is not an academic decision
Take TV out…you have to give children a bit of the virus so they can fight off the disease when they face it because without it they’ll go out without any immunity to it.
-Virtues to practice to gain wisdom…trying to see Allah’s things in everything; sacralizing your daily life.
-Our security shouldn’t come from relying on our own deeds….all of reliance should be on Allah SWT so we do what we can with the knowledge that He is Ghafoor ur Rahim
-A woman unable to bear a child: human beings through Allah’s decree are diverse. There are exceptions to every category. It can be that it is her trial and if she overcomes with serenity then that is her path to Jannah. How is her case different from any other human being given extraordinary powers in one area but not in others? It is not something that affects the capacity for sanctification or salvation.
-For gay people there is a range of punishments other than death penalty but Islam has also made it harder to prove the crime. Haadith says avoid the severe punishment by means of finding ambiguities
-Marriage isn’t compulsory but it is part of Sunnah

“Quotes”

Sh. Murad: Patience and Gratitude are the essence of Faith.
Sh. Murad: In our obsession with overindulging in food at all cost we’re no longer khulafa; we’re parasites killing the mother organ.
Sh. Murad: Our ultimate destination is neither overindulgence in food nor apathy to it; its to become preoccupied w/other things instead
Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad: Understanding Islam is understanding the role of the holy Prophet (peace be upon him).
Shaykh Murad: As long as ppl are forming to basics of Sharia, we should respect the diversity of religious practice.
Sh Murad: Wisdom is not the same as iman. It’s doing the beautiful; doing things w attachment w Allah. Not just belief but w attachment.
Sh Murad: Gluttony is the most dangerous sin for by it God expelled Adam & Eve from the abode of permanence to the abode of neediness
Sh Murad: The way of Islam is the way of dignity; but the dignity of who you’re meant to be [i.e. khulafa] not of who you actually are.
Sh. Murad: We are not slaves to our impulses, but neither do we declare war upon them. We can not be disembodied souls.
Sh. Murad: What greater gift was given to Adam than Eve, so he wouldn’t be alone? We need to have an attitude of shukr for our spouse.
Sh. Murad: The body is not a secular place; it is part of our sanctification.
Sh. Murad: Nothing in our lives can be secular; everything has a right/wrong way & the sunnah is what enables us to make that choice

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