Unity of Actions, Attributes & Essence
In this segment of the talk Moulana Sheikh Nazim breakdown reaching to Allah's Unity Oceans into Unity of Actions, Unity of Names and Attributes and Unity of Essence for the purpose of training to achieve the ultimate goal.
Unity of Actions and Unity of Names and Attributes
One of the aspects of training is to try and see everything as proceeding from Him alone. This is the sixth pillar of faith in Islam: The belief that everything that happens in this world, the good and the bad alike, are from God. This is referred to as “Tawhid al Af’al” or “The Unity of Actions”. The way to begin to realize this point is to remember the source of all events, Allah Almighty, when events occur, and not to occupy one’s self with blaming or lauding those who are not really the causes of event, only the instruments of their occurrence. This means that if Ahmed comes and gives you a pound coin and then Fulan comes and slaps you and takes it away, you don’t think of Ahmed as the giver of the money, nor of Fulan as a thief. If you think like this you have fallen from that high level of faith. You must perceive the hand of Allah behind both hands – that which giveth and that which taketh away – as He is the creator of the actions of people.
When someone is generous or kind to you, you must remember that it was your Lord who sent him with that favor, and you must thank your Lord. But at the same time you are going to say: “Thank you” to that person, as without giving thanks to the carrier of that blessing your thanks to its origin is not going to be complete. Therefore the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sal) said: “Who thanks not people thanks not Allah”. Our Prophet Muhammad (sal), is advising us strongly that we should not allow our vision of unity to distract us from perfecting our politeness with our fellow men. But you are not forgetting that under any circumstances. And when you see that Ahmed has filled your hands with gold, you must say to him: “Oh Sheikh Ahmed, thank you so much! And firstly thanks to your Lord, who sent you with favors for me, and thank you for faithfully delivering what was entrusted to you”.
And when that robber Fulan comes, hits you and takes all the money, don’t be angry with him! Yes, the Divine Law, the Shariah, permits you to retrieve that money if you can, and prescribes a punishment to be meted out by the society as well, but if you are on the way of Unity, then you must regard that action as coming to you from Allah Almighty too. He Alone sent that man to rob you, because the Creator of every action is only One: Allah Almighty.
It is not possible for all people to aspire to this high level of faith in which Allah’s Hand is seen behind every event, this is why Allah Almighty in one verse of the Holy Quran, condones “a life for a life” in the case of murder, and goes on to call those who are capable of it to “turning the other cheek”. These are the levels, respectively, of Shariah, the Law, and Tariqa, the Path. Based on this verse, therefore, the Islamic Law concerning murder is balanced, making concession for the normal human feelings for vengeance in the face of such an abominable crime. Islam allows for the execution of the duly convicted murderer, and in this way assuages the feelings of the close relatives, thus preventing extended blood feuds. The law also allows for the payment of blood money in lieu of execution, to be paid to the victim’s close relatives. Lastly the verse calls those who are seeking the highest level of faith and unity of vision to forgiveness, saying: “And whoso forgives and promotes understanding, his reward is incumbent on his Lord”.
What Allah is saying to seekers of absolute truth is: “Now forgive him, because I sent him to do that action”. Then you realize that, in reality, there is no question of guilt nor need for revenge. But that is not the common level. That is the level to be striven for, and it is beyond us to forgive in such a manner because our egos are like volcanoes.
Now people may be very polite in their everyday dealings, as long as everyone behaves in accordance with their expectations and everything falls into place according to plan; but should, God forbid, the smallest thing go wrong – for example a small error in driving, even one that causes no accident – for such a small reason one may hear the ugliest obscenities pour from their mouths like a lava eruption. That ego makes people dangerously ill, and now that people are totally under their egos’ command, where can you find the tolerance described in that Holy Verse of the Quran?
So much hate and frustration is pent up in people – I see it in their looks – and so often a scapegoat is sought upon whom to release that torrent, and the best, the tried and true scapegoat throughout the world is always the “foreigners”; so I am quick to assure people here in the West: “We are just here as your guests. This is your homeland.” But is it? You can’t stay here either except in your graves. Your homeland is the grave, not above ground. Thank God, no one is begrudging us cemetery plots; no one is trying to prevent our being buried. The gravedigger wipes the dirt off his hands and goes away, and the
Earth accepts us indiscriminately; but people on the Earth are busy making distinctions, and therefore, that high level of acceptance of actions as coming from God is rarely found. But He teaches us the lesson nonetheless, saying: “You must understand who I am: I am the Creator of people and their works: understand this, that you may attain peace and finally leave behind your quarrelsomeness.”
Once I was in Mecca with our Grandsheikh making Tawaf (circumambulating) the House of Allah, the Kaaba. Grandsheikh said to me: “Look up!” When I looked I saw above the heads of the people another group of worshippers performing their Tawaf; but these people were of a different class: calm, peaceful and graceful. They too were of mankind, not Angels, but they were the ones who had reached the level of seeing every action as issuing from Allah Almighty, therefore they left the level of earthly struggle.
But, meanwhile, back on the ground, amidst the throng, with those who lack such certainty, we were being pushed, shoved and trampled upon. Some groups locked arms and shoved straight through the crowd, full-speed ahead, sending all who were unfortunate enough to fall in their path flying through the air, like discarded banana peels. Elbows in my ribs, heels on my toes… but above us, and the ones who concur with Allah’s Will have no need for earth under their feet. Now, perhaps, you are thinking that such a thing is impossible, that I am telling a “tall tale”, but yet, when you are told that airplanes fly you think nothing of it. If man can make metal fly, cannot Allah make man fly? They are at peace with their Lord and with everything in creation, therefore, everything carries them.
So, we have been shown a higher way, the vision of Unity, and we have been asked to be patient with those events that are not to our liking, remembering their source. This is the best training for our egos. Undergo this training or you will struggle fruitlessly – up to the grave.
Unity of existence – essence
We are being trained by our Lord to recognize the Unity of Actions, so that we can come to understand the Unity of His Holy Names, which leads us to the knowledge of the Unity of His Holy Attributes; that knowledge will prepare us for that ultimate dive into the Unity Ocean of Allah Almighty’s existence – essence. That is the final goal; that raindrop falls, and it will not emerge again ever – and it is content because it has just gained everything eternally, forever.
In everything there is a Sign of God that signifies He is One. Everything is fulfilling its mission of witnessing that, " Only Allah Almighty is in existence and nothing else!” That is the meaning of laa mawjooda illa-Llah. Everything makes this declaration and disappears. Where are they going and who is making that declaration? Whoever makes that declaration, just enters Wahdaaniyat, Unity Oceans and disappears, as a drop that comes from the clouds when reaching the ocean, its identity just disappears; identity is only for the ocean. We are coming from Unity Oceans, appearing and giving our declaration, "Annahu huwa waahidun," and running into oceans of Divinity. This is a simple explanation. Your ego doesn't want to disappear in the Unity Ocean of Allah. One drop comes from the sky, when it reaches the ocean it is finished and you will not be able to find it because it became part of the ocean. Even though it disappeared, it will continue to exist in the Unity Ocean of Allah. The biggest challenge for humans is to accept that they are nothing. They insist on being something. This is why they are quarrelling continuously until they are completely worn out.The batteries of a tape recorder will be finished one day and thrown away. You have also been given a battery for your physical body. It helps you to be seen in this existence. This is why Allah has sent Heavenly Beings to be amongst people. All prophets and their inheritors have reached Heavenly Power Stations and are offering people such connections.
The Seal of Prophets (s), Sayyidi 'l-Awwaleen wa’l-Akhireen, Sayyidina Muhammad, when asked about afdalu 'l-`aamaal (Best of Deeds) said, "Al-`ilmu bil-Llah," (to Know Allah) the people were surprised! Why were they surprised? Because they were asking for something that a servant may do, something that belongs to our physical being's efforts. But his answer was that it never belongs to the effort of our physical being, but it is beyond that, beyond! The answer of the Seal of Prophets (s) was very high, because what we are doing physically of `ibaadat, worshiping, is so little. This station that the Seal of Prophets (s) was expressing is beyond our efforts. If anyone wants to reach such stations they have to pay a Price? They will say "I will give everything except my soul!" But no, you have to give your soul too! (To Know Allah). He says: “When the power within your soul has been arranged, I will put it back”
The Lord of Heavens asking from the servants "Come to Me! I Am inviting you, I Am that One. Jump into his (saws) ocean, but don't be...don't be as a stone that never melting, be as a cube sugar that falling in water going and melting. Therefore, our souls are running to reach the unity oceans of Allah Almighty because we are now as drops, and drops running to ocean, to be ocean. As the 'drop' which has a being through its creation moving from its appointed point (the ocean), its identity simply disappears. There only remains the Identity of the Lord of Creation. They are lost in Oceans of Unity and no longer see themselves and only see Allah.
Once the Sultan promised Haji Bayram Wali, a grand sheikh that he would not take any of his murids to serve in the army and this made everyone eager to become his murid. So the Sultan could could not find anyone for his Army. So he asked the Sheik what he can do. The sheik told him not to worry, he was preparing a big army for him! He placed two tents on a hill and called his and said, "I have been ordered to sacrifice my murids for the sake of Allah. Whoever is ready to sacrifice his soul, come and surrender to me!" His murids looked at him in shock, thinking he had lost his mind. They could not believe what they were hearing. Only one jumped through the crowds and said, "I am willing to sacrifice my soul for the sake of Allah. Take me, cut me, burn me! My soul is in your hands!" Grandsheik then wrote a letter to the Sultan telling him that he only has one murid, and that the Sultan was free to take the rest into his army!
This is what it means to surrender to a sheik, to a prophet and to Allah. When you have no more existence Allah will dress you with your real body, with your real existence which will last forever. Haqqani! If you come in front of the grand Sultan with clothes which are not good enough and the Sultan offers to dress you, will you be happy? Allah just wants you to give Him your imitated existence to be able to dress you with your Heavenly Clothes, but people are refusing. If your ego does not surrender, you will not reach anything. People are very afraid to surrender, even though that is the meaning of being a Muslim. Europeans tremble at the thought. But if you don't surrender to your surgeon, what can he do for you? They want to reach Heavens, but they don't surrender. They want to fly without having to get on board the plane. That is the mind of Europeans. They do not want to surrender. Surrender to your surgeon!
You must know that you are nothing and your Lord is everything. Try to reach everything. Don't stay within yourself, within your own nothingness but run to Him. Try to return to His Endless Unity Oceans. That is why we say that He has no partners. Try to come to the unity oceans to be with Him, to be with His Real Existence which will be enjoyed endlessly forever. There you will be in love forever, in endless beauty oceans forever, in endless love oceans forever, in endless knowledge oceans forever, in endless power oceans endlessly and in mercy oceans forever. Prepare yourself! We are shadows and the time will come for our shadows to disappear. Try to turn to your Lord's Endless Unity Oceans and swim there endlessly forever. Endless, endless oceans...We ask to enter it, to swim in it forever.
Therefore, Allah Almighty addresses mankind, saying: “Oh man, verily you are striving towards your Lord, and you will meet him”. He Almighty is teaching us that all our striving on Earth, our running from East to west, here and there, night and day, is, unwittingly, nothing else than our race towards our Lord’s endless Unity Ocean, but we can’t now understand. Our souls long for our Lord, therefore we move, and there is nowhere to move save towards the One.