Shaykh Yusuf da Costa: Allah is the Mover of hearts

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Allah Almighty, as I have told you so many times, is in charge of our lives. Some of us find this very difficult to understand, and we assume that we are in charge of our lives. On numerous occasions I have tried to explain this to you.  Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:

إِنَّ اللهَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ

For Allah hath power over all things (iii: 165).

Allah Almighty is in charge. He is the One that makes decisions with regard to every single thing that happens.  Although we have the impression that we are free, that in a certain sense we can do what we want, we are, in fact, under Divine Decision all the time.

Tonight, for example, we have come here together, and sat in His house, a place in which we worship Him.  We ruku’ here, we sujud here, we recite Qur’an here, we make du’a here and we made dhikr here. This is one of the places that we call an important religious structure. We refer to it as a Baytullah, a House of Allah Almighty.  For about an hour we were busy celebrating His praises. In most of our minds there was very little else and we were mainly concerned with trying to remember Allah Almighty in different ways, by calling upon Him in different ways, by calling upon Him with His Holy Names. We called “Allah”, which is His Greatest Name, which is also the greatest word in the Qur’an.

And so for an hour we were busy with that. What was happening? What were our hearts busy with? Our hearts were busy remembering Allah Almighty. There is a tradition in which Nabi Muhammad () explains that Allah Almighty has the heart of a believer between His two fingers. He said: “Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are as one heart between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord. He turns that to any direction He likes.” Then the Apostle of Allah () said: “O Allah, the Turner of hearts, turn our hearts to Thy obedience” (Muslim).

What does that mean?  It means that Allah Almighty decides the direction of that heart. He decides! In many of our cases, many of the people sitting here, they were not interested in these things until Allah Almighty decided to place His fingers around their hearts and to start turning it into His direction. I want us to understand that Allah Almighty works with us. He turns our hearts. We do not know about that. We do not understand that. We only know that it happens.  And so in the process we say as in the Qur’an:

إِنِّى وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِىَ لِلَّذِى فَطَرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَ الأَرْضَ

Truly I have turned my face towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth (vi: 79).

We say this every time we pray. Allah Almighty has turned our hearts. What is our response? We turn our faces in the direction of our Lord. That is our response. Although He had turned our faces because He had turned our hearts, we respond like that to the Divine Action. When Allah Almighty looks at us, looks at His servant, He says: “Enough! Enough now! Enough!  You must now be turned to Me! That servant, enough! He has been disobedient enough! He must now be purified.” Then Allah Almighty turns his heart. We do not know how that takes place but it does. In the process, the servant’s response is:

وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِىَ لِلَّذِى فَطَرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَ الأَرْضَ

I have turned my face towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth (vi: 79).

This is the greatest moment of freedom for the Muslim where he detaches himself from, and does not attach himself to, all the activities and all the forces and factors of this world.  His primary concern now becomes Allah. And at that moment, when his primary concern becomes Allah, he becomes free, free from all the things that bog him down in this world.  His concern now becomes: “O my Lord.”  That is now his concern: ‘O my Lord.’  And that influences all his other activities. Whatever else he does in this world, he is always concerned with: “O my Lord. Ya Rabbi!” This is because Allah Almighty has turned his heart, and because he has now said:

وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِىَ لِلَّذِى فَطَرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَ الأَرْضَ

I have turned my face towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth (vi: 79).

But then his commitment is made even greater, his concern for his Lord has been made so intense, his heart has been turned to sharply, that he is made to give himself over to Him completely, and he says as in the Qur’an:

إِنَّ صَلاَتِى وَ نُسُكِى وَ مَحْيَاىَ وَ مَمَاتِى لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ

Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds (vi:162).

This is the major commitment. We must please understand this. When we say this at the beginning of the salah, we are making a major commitment to Allah Almighty. When we say: “O my Lord, my prayers and all my activities and all my covenants, and the activities of the life, and even my death, everything is for Thee. For Thee!”  This is the final commitment, the strongest commitment that a Muslim can make. He then totally liberates himself from all the things around him by saying these words with all the seriousness, with all the passion in his heart, or in her heart, for Allah Almighty. This is Islam! This is the real Islam, when Allah turns us in His direction and we respond.  That is the real Islam.

Be careful of this.  Don’t look at Islam, at your religion, as a game.  We are walking back in His direction.  He has created our souls.  He has sent us to this world through the wombs of our mothers.  He has placed our souls in those wombs after 120 days. He has given us a way from the Heavens to here, and from here back to Him.  This is our journey. There is nobody, regardless of who you are, what you are, what degrees you have, what titles you have or the size of your bank account, who is freed from this journey, the journey from the Hereafter to here and from here back to the Hereafter.   If our journey back to Allah Almighty is:

وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِىَ لِلَّذِى فَطَرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَ الأَرْضَ

I have turned my face towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth (vi: 72).

how is Allah Almighty going to address us then?  If our journey is:

إِنَّ صَلاَتِى وَ نُسُكِى وَ مَحْيَاىَ وَ مَمَاتِى لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ

Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds (vi:162).

how is He going to address us when we meet Him? When we had said in this world: “O my Lord, I throw myself at Thy Feet!  I am just for Thee.  I am just for Thee in everything that I do,” how is He going to address us if our lives had been changed to be for Him? We may have the good fortune, and He may say to us: “Welcome, My servants.”

According to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, there is no greater honour for a Muslim than to be addressed on the Last Day by Allah as: “My servant”. This was the greatest title that Allah Almighty addressed Nabi Muhammad () with on the Mi’raj (the Ascension into the Divine Presence). At the greatest moment in Rasullulah’s () spiritual development, the greatest moment, when he was going to meet his Lord, Allah Almighty did not address him as Messenger but addressed him as “servant”.  This is the most significant honour.  There is no more significant honour, here or in the Hereafter, than to be recognized by Allah Almighty as His servant.

On that journey, when Nabi Muhammad () came in the presence of Allah Almighty, Nabi Muhammad () spoke first in all humility. He said:  التَّحِيَّاتُ الْمُبَارَكَاتُ الصَّلَوَاتُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ لِلّٰهِ (Atta-hiyya-tul mubarakatus salawatut tayyi-batu lillah: all greetings, blessings, prayers and goodness belong to Allah). Allah Almighty responded, and replied: السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ وَ رَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَ بَرَكَاتُهُ (Assalamu alayka ayyu-hanna-biyyu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh: may the Peace, Blessings and Mercy of Allah, O Prophet, be on you). What was Nabi Muhammad’s () response?  He responded to his Lord on that Holy Night: السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْنَا وَ عَلٰى عِبَادِ اللهِ الصَّالَحِيْنَ (As-salamu alayna wa ala ibadillahis salihin: the Peace be on us, the Prophets, and upon the pious servants”). At that moment, when Nabi Muhammad () was going through his greatest spiritual glory, he was referring to piety, not to other things but to piety. Jibril (a.s) stood nearby. He could not enter where this conversation was being held. That area was so sacred, so holy, so sacrosanct. Jibril (a.s) said: أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَّ إِلٰهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَّسُوْلُ اللهِAsh-hadu alla ilaha illallah. Wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadar rasulullah” (I bear witness that there is no god other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah). That was Jibril’s (a.s) response. We repeat all of these in the Tashahhud (prayer said at the end of the second and final cycles in the salah) in our prayers.

The greatest honour, I want us to remember, the greatest honour that any believer can have from his Lord, is to be addressed as “servant”, and to be welcomed on the Last Day with the words: “Welcome, my servant. Enter amongst My angels. I am very happy, very contented, very satisfied with you.  And what I am going to grant you, what I have prepared for you, will make you very satisfied and very contented.” This is the grant we are working for, and that is why we are on this serious path. The most serious path in Islam is the path of tariqah. The things I have mentioned to you are the things we are aiming at.  Each one of us sitting here must not have flimsy aims about Islam.  Each one of us sitting here must have in our hearts, the very depths of our hearts, the very depths of our souls, the call: “O my Lord, grant me servanthood and when I come to Thee on the Last Day welcome me as servant, and place me in Paradise amongst Thy servants.”  This is the greatest honour. You must not forget that. We must have it deep down in our hearts. We must not forget that. If you cannot remember the Arabic, remember the English.  Mawlana Shaykh Nazim in Cyprus told me to work for servanthood.  Say: “O Allah, grant me servanthood.” Ask Allah Almighty with the blessings of what we have done here tonight, with the passion of the hearts, the feelings amongst us, the love that we have for each other, the holding of hands, and the greeting of hearts, we ask Allah Almighty: “O my Lord, grant all of us servanthood.”  We ask Allah for this with the blessings of Suratul Fatihah

And Allah knows best, and I ask forgiveness for any mistakes or distortions in what I have said or have not said correctly, Amin.



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