Friday, April 08, 2011

Three people and three differing views (Atheist, Mutezilite, Jabriyya)

One day three people—an atheist, a Mu’tazilite and a person holding the Jabriyya belief (a determinist)—came before Imâm-i A’zam. The atheist said:
“If Allah exists, He who is existent is seen. If He exists, prove His existence.”
The rationalist Mu’tazilite asked:
“There is fire in Hell. The Devil was created from fire. Then is it possible to punish the Devil with fire?”
Then the determinist asked:
“You claim that people have irada-i juz’iyya [partial will]. Now that the Creator of everything is Allah, what can people do?”

Hadrat Imâm-i A’zam, taking three handfuls of damp soil from the ground and shaping it into three balls, threw each lump of soil at each of the three people.
All three of them made a complaint to the Qâdi about the event. The Qâdi asked the Imâm the reason why he threw those clods of earth.
Imâm-i A’zam gave the following reply:

They asked me questions, and I answered them. Initially, the atheist said that Allah had to be seen if He existed. But (when I threw the clod of soil at him) he said that it caused pain in his head. If there is the feeling of pain, he should show and prove it. How can a person who cannot see even the feeling of pain see Allah? The atheist does not have mind. If he has, he should show it. A soul, like mind, is not seen, but its existence is understood through the deeds it does. The existence of the universe, in the same way, shows the necessity of the existence of a creator of it.

As for the Mu’tazilite, even though he was created from soil, the clod of soil affected him. Now that the soil is affected by soil, so fire is affected by fire. As a hacksaw cuts metal, so fire burns fire.

Lastly, the determinist asserted that Allah made people do all deeds by force. Then, (according to his belief) that lump of soil was thrown at him by Allah. Why did he make a complaint to you about me? He is contradicting himself with this complaint.
The boat without a maker

Occasions for which Hadrat Imâm made such pithy replies are many. For example, one day he made an agreement with an atheist to meet at ten o’clock and have a debate. Hadrat Imâm intentionally came about an hour later than the arranged time. When he was late, the atheist said, “Your imâm feared, so he has not come.” But when he came, he was asked the reason why he was late. He answered, “There was not a boat, so I could not get across the river. All of a sudden, to my utter amazement, tree branches that broke off became a boat without anyone intervening. I boarded it and came. Therefore, I am late.” On hearing this, the atheist burst out laughing. “Do you see how he is lying? Can a boat be made without anyone intervening, without a maker?” said the atheist. The Imâm hit the nail on the head saying, “Oh atheist! Even a boat cannot come into existence without a maker, how can this enormous universe come into existence by itself?” So he gained a decisive victory over the atheist before the debate ended.
There is no end to numbers

An atheist, again, said, “If Allah exists, He cannot be eternal in the past and in the future.” Upon this, Hadrat Imâm asked, “Is there a number before 1?” The atheist answered, “There is not.” The Imâm said, “Count up from beginning to end.” After counting up for quite a while, he gave up. Hadrat Imâm told, “Go on! Count up to the last number.” When the atheist opposed him saying, “Million, billion, trillion, quadrillion … There is no end to them,” At that moment, Hadrat Imâm made a sharp riposte, “Now that there is not a number before 1 and there is no end to them, is it not possible for the Creator, who has created the universe out of nothing, to be eternal in the past and in the future?”

Spiritual Luminance and Islamic Manners

People of wisdom state:

The sun radiates heat and light to everybody. People make use of them and continue living. Though all beings on earth benefit from the sun, it never says, "You warm up thanks to me, and it is I that provide you with light." So is the case with Islamic superiors. Though they emit fayd [outpouring that flow from the guide’s heart to a heart, which thus gains motion, purity, and exaltation] to the whole world, they use such expressions as "This weak person" or "This faqir [the one who recognizes his complete dependence on Allah in all of his affairs]" or "We are nothing" to refer to themselves. We, Muslims who hold the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jama‘ah, know the Sun [the spiritual guide showing the path]. Furthermore, we know such suns as Shah-i Naqshband, Imam-i Rabbani, and Mawlana Khalid-i Baghdadi. We owe everything we have, including our faith, to these superiors. If we had not known them, how would our lives be now? We would be worse than other people.

Our Master the Prophet stated, "Mercy descends where the pious are mentioned." From this mercy, a person whose pot is completely open gets much, and another person whose pot is slightly open gets a little. However, the one whose pot is upside down does not get any. The coming of mercy and fayd is beyond the power of humans.

The coming of fayd
Fayd is like sunbeams and it sends light everywhere. Fayd certainly flows from those superiors. Receiving or not receiving it is within the power of humans. In fact, fayd comes up to the level of the chest, but there are some requirements to be fulfilled in order for it to gain access:

1. To believe that fayd is coming,
2. To have a firm belief in the greatness of the person from whom the fayd flows,
3. To love the person from whom fayd flows, that is, to be obedient to what he instructs,
4. To perform obligatory religious duties and to abstain from forbidden things,
5. To be respectful and well mannered toward that person to the utmost. This last requirement is the most important and the most difficult one because it is stated that anyone who does not observe [the Islamic manners called] aadaab cannot win the pleasure of Allahu ta'ala, nor can he become His friend.

In this context, Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani said:
"Among all kinds of acts of worship and perfections that bring one closer to Allahu ta'ala, suhbah [being in the presence of a spiritual guide and his delivering religious speeches and their being listened to by those in attendance] is ranked first, but its condition is heavy. This condition is the adherence to the manners. If one transgresses the manners by as much as an atom's weight, one cannot derive benefit."
Obeying orders and manners

Manners are two kinds: (1) to know one's place; (2) to obey orders, to perform what one is told. Our religious superiors stated, "Al amr-u fawq al-adab." That is, obeying an order is above observing manners because following an order is the highest of good manners.

The essence of the path of Islamic superiors is manners. We may do excellent and highly beneficial deeds, but they are of no avail, of no use if they have not been done in compliance with manners. As a matter of fact, Hadrat Shah-i Naqshband declared, "The essence, the beginning, the middle, and the end of this path is manners."