Gems from Prohibitions of the Tongue, Class 2 with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Last year I started listening to a class from the 2012 Deen Intensive Rihla called Prohibitions of the Tongue. Recently, in preparation for Ramadan, and with the desire to improve my own speech, I’ve restarted my listening. Here are notes from Session 2. These are not complete notes, and all mistakes in notetaking are my own. (You can find my notes from the 1st lesson here.)

Prohibitions of the Tongue

  • Whether people like it or not, they are on a journey. It has a beginning, and it has a middle and it has an end. We’re in the middle stage right now. The worldly life is actually the middle in terms of its stages. There are going to be further stages after we die.
  • All of the souls were in a state of witnessing when Allah asked us “Am I not your Lord?”
  • And then Allah put the ruh into this vessel that we now embody. This is like the bird in the cage. So we’re in this cage and this cage is made of flesh and blood. So this is the mulk.  But the ruh that resides in this place, is only a prisoner. It’s going to move on, it will leave this cage behind. It’s like when you open a cage and a bird flies out and leaves the cage doesn’t look back. If you open a cage for a bird, it won’t look back. It just flies out and it’s gone.
  •  Allah is the Iluminator of the heavens and earth. All of this came from light. There was a point where all of these was a point of light.
  • All of the vast spaces out there, are also in you. Imam Ali said in his Diwan: You think that you yourself are some insignificant thing, and in you are all of the cosmos. You think you are some insignificant thing, but in you all the worlds reside.
  • The difference between modern people and ancient people, is the ancient people knew the diversion was a diversion. There was no purpose in it. All of them knew this. The moderns are unique in their belief that the primary reason for us to be here is simply to entertain ourselves. To be diverted. To listen to music. To watch films. That this is it. We just entertain ourselves until we leave and another group comes and they do the same thing and it just goes on until it ends with a cosmic collision or something. This is the belief.
  • The ancients all knew that there was a purpose for the human being. That you had a reason for existence. And that your reason was not by chance, it was by purpose. That you were created with purpose. That there is a telos for the human being.

  • Allah asks, “Does the human being think all of this was for nothing?
  • There was a time when you were nothing, and then you were something.
  • Children by their nature are spiritual beings. Babies know about causation (will look for the source of a ball being thrown)
  • The purpose of the parents is to remind the child. Which is why the 1st thing you do is give the adhan, and give the shahadah and give something sweet. The first thing babies experience in the world is hearing what their souls already know, and then you give them the sweet taste to remind them the reward of maintaining that truth. So they know.
  •  The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would not order us to do anything meaningless. It’s impossible.  Everything he guides us to is haqq (truth). The soul is what is being spoken to, not the baby. But the soul now has access to these senses because the soul has been embodied. So the hearing, the sight,  affects the soul. Which is why what you hear, what you see, will affect your soul. Your hearing, your sound, your sight and your heart, all of these  the human being is responsible for. Because at the root of the human being is consciousness. Consciousness always have it. Always present.
  • Allah has given us these experiences in life to remind us. And this is why things will happen to you in life, its inevitable. Things will happen to you in life that will indicate the unseen realm. You’ll remember. People who have a frame of reference will know what to make of them, other people will be very struck by them. The consciousness that Allah has given you is embodied in this sensory experience. Like water in the twig. Cannot separate the two. That is why part of our ibadah is in our bodies. We honour our bodies. Even after we die, we don’t burn our bodies like in some traditions. and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him prohibited harming bodies. And the bodies of awliya are incorruptible.
  • The Qur’an is called dhikr – it’s a reminder of what you already know. When you do dhikr of Allah, remembering what you already know. It’s not learning something new, something you already knew.
  • The wise remembrance or reminder. The human being, this is our purpose, to remember this truth and live according to this truth. And we have 4 primary enemies, nafs, hawa, shaytan and dunya, that every human being has to struggle with their entire life.
  • Imam Ghazali wrote a book arguing all of creation is in a state of delusion. That’s what Imam Ghazali said. People are deluded. We’re all in deluded states. Think about your own state, and how often have we not seen things that were so clearly in front of us and then one day we suddenly realize it, something about ourselves, or about somebody else? The blind spots. Every human being has blindspots, certain things you can’t see. And one of the things you can’t see is yourself.
  •  The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him,  said “the believer is the mirror of the believer”. And what the believer mirrors is not your perfections, they mirror your imperfections. And this is the blessing of being in the presence of the righteous people.
  • You have to believe in the people of Allah. You have to believe people have marifah (knowledge) of Allah.
  • Reflection, (and it could be a moment), is better than 70 years of worship. This is talking about a heart that is purified.
  • Islam is about knowledge of Allah. Not talking about tasawwuf here. Knowledge of Allah is not a series of arguments you read in a book. It’s not a matn. No, this is the shahadah.
  • Just sitting with scholars, knowledge will grow. Soul is a seed. Soul needs tazkiyah. Tazkiyah means to make something grow. Also means to purify. If put seed in something that isn’t pure, won’t grow. Needs to be in good soil and will grow.
  • Hadith of Jibril – Jibril asked the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, about Islam, Iman and Ihsan.
  • Allah has said: Whoever makes war on a wali of mine, I make war on him.
  • 3 maqams: Maqam iman, maqam Islam, maqam Ihsan.
  • Your iman is not complete until you love for your brother what you love for yourself. Which means there is  a complete iman. So what is a complete mu’min? What do they look like?
  • Be with the people of sidq. Seek them out.
  • Sometimes the ear has an ishq before the eye. Sometimes you hear about a person. Ishq. At some point I hope you get ishq. Ishq, this worldly love, Allah made it to show us what Divine love is like. It’s a hujja against us. Layla and Majnun. If this is the love of a created thing for another created thing, what is the love of a created thing for its Creator? If that’s the depths you’ll go to?
  • There’s an advertisement for learning Italian and in it there is a farm boy who is love in an Italian celebrity, and the ad shows that he is learning Italian because he only has one chance when he meets her. Because the marketers know that people understand that when you’re in love, you’ll do anything. But people don’t learn Arabic. They don’t want to learn the language the Beloved speaks to His creation in.
  • We’re lazy people. We claim love, it’s not true. We’re not lovers. But there are lovers. And if you’re not a lover should at least be in awe of them,  and think “I wish I could be in love.”
  • People long to be in love. They want it so bad they fall in love again and again. Just for that experience of love. It’s a disease also.
  • Ishq is related to a vine that strangles the life out of the plant it gets hold of. But the cure of ishq is the connection. So you can want to meet someone so badly you’ll go to the ends of the earth to meet them.
  • Look at Salman al-Farsi and his love. He travelled all over.  If he heard of any righteous man he would go. And his journey to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is an amazing journey. And when he got there, and because of his sincerity, Allah gave him these signs so he knew what to look for.
  • He was a slave and planted 300 date palms to be freed, and it was stipulated that they all had to grow to maturity for him to be free. And in a few months had all grown (Except for 1 which Sayyiduna Umar had planted, and then it grew after the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him planted it). Look at his love. Look where love gets you. Salman al-Farsi is part of our family. Amazing man for his love.
  • Look at Sayyida Maymunah, may Allah be well pleased with her. Look at her love.  30 years after she married the Prophet, she was nearing death, and you know where she wanted to go? Same place where she spent the first night with the Prophet. That’s where she’s buried.  Look at that love. Ishq. It’s amazing.  That love of the Beloved. That’s what’s these people had. And there are people who want to just take love out of Islam and make it something else. This religion is about love.
  • Say, if you love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you.
  • The sign of love is that you follow the beloved. You will do what the beloved says.
  • And the Beloved of Allah is the Messenger of Allah.  This is the name he was given. This is his maqam (station) and hubb (love) is his way. The way of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him is love.
  • And so this journey is a journey of love. It’s wanting to know God. We forget. We just forget because we get caught up in dunya. It’s a tough journey too. You need rest from time to time. You need recreation. But the heart needs to be revived again and again. But this is what these journeys are about. That’s what you’re here for. We’re here to be reminded. That’s where we’re going, but we want to go the right way.  We want to go the right way. When we die, we want to be ready to die. That’s what this deen is about. It’s about being prepared to die. Take your souls to account before you’re taken to account.
  • Sahih hadith: Consider yourself already dead. Die before you die. And this is the death of the sensory so the meaning can awaken. And then you can have the sensory with the meaning. Because Allah put the sensory in here for a reason. It’s not a negative thing. Our way is balance.
  • And so my reminder to myself and all of you is really, is this a real path. It has three elements. You have the riding beast, the saddle, and the rider. You need all three. Without the saddle you’ll fall off. Without the beast you’re not going anywhere. And without the rider there’s no point to the journey. But that’s it. You need your Islam. You have to have the basic knowledge of Islam. We’re people of knowledge. Our way is a way of knowledge.  You have to learn a text of knowledge. That’s why our program is Islam, iman and ihsan. Because this the the foundation of our religion. And people want to make Islam 1 dimensional or 2 dimensional. It’s not. It’s a holistic religion with 4 dimensions.
  • Hadith Jibril clearly makes a description of 4 dimensions. Dimension of Islam (horizontal relationship with people), then have the dimension of iman, which is your relationship which connects you to Allah. Islam, much of it is congregational. Like we come together. You pray together, you fast together, you break the fast together. So you need Islam. The religion is protected by these outward things. They’re not insignificant.
  • And they all have profound inward meanings all of them. But the outward, even if you remain at the level of the outward, it’s a path of salvation.
  • And then iman. You have to have iman. You have to know your Lord.
  • Imam Ghazali said that  the Qur’an at the essence of the Qur’an, are two types of verses. The ones that tell you about your Lord, and the ones that tell you about the journey to your Lord. What you need to do to get to your Lord. We’re going back to Allah.
  • And that’s what this journey is about.  Getting knowledge of Allah. So you need iman.  In the Masnawi, Rumi says knowledge of aqida is like the chaperone between two lovers. It prevents anything haram from happening. So you need to have the knowledge of aqida to protect, because if you don’t,  you can say things about Allah that aren’t true. And it’s worse than shirk, to say about God what you don’t know. In the Qur’an, it’s considered worse than shirk.
  • And then finally ihsan. And ihsan is about tazkiyya, about purifying the heart.  The qalb is polluted by two things. Polluted by these natural blemishes that are part of human nature and it’s polluted by the sins we accrue in our life. And the tazkiyya is to protect the heart and this is through muhajada. And so you have to have muhajada. This is the basis of drawing close to Allah. Doing those extra things. Allah has opened many door of nawafil. We have different personalities, different natures. For some people, they have a scholastic inclination, and their purpose is to preserve knowledge and to teach knowledge.
  • Imam Malik, the door Allah opened for him was a door of knowledge. He was a gnostic of his Lord, but his knowledge was in fiqh, this is where Allah opened it, and in the preservation of hadith. This is the door Allah opened for him. Other people, it’s the door of zuhd, other people it’s the door of charity, there are different doors. Some people have many doors opened to them. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr  asked if anyone goes through all 8 gates, and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said yes, and insha’Allah you’ll be of those people. And he will be, because the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him wouldn’t wish something that wasn’t true.
  • Sayyiduna Abu Bakr did more before fajr than people did the whole month.
  • Knowledge is not having lots of riwayat. It’s a light that Allah puts in the heart of the believer.
  • The muhajada of fasting. If you have a problem with food, good to fast. The karamat that come from the muhajada of the body is sensory type things.
  • Athletes do mujahada of their body, and then look at the incredible things that happen. That’s because these people are doing muhajada of their body and they get these gifts. These are sunnan of Allah. Do this struggle, get these results.  Muhajada of the nafs is fighting against your greed, your impulses, your bad character. If you fight against those, Alalh will give you understanding.
  • Some of the ulama, Allah gave them great gifts. Story of Khalid al Azhari – was filling lanterns in mosque, and became one of the greatest grammarians of his time. Sidi Ahmed Zarruq, the teacher that he had openings from was illiterate. These are people that were so  sincere with Allah that Allah gave them openings.
  • Kasbi knowledge is important, Have to study and learn.  have to work on it, study fiqh, memorize. Wahbi knowledge: what comes.
  •  If you act according to what you know, Allah will give you knowledge that you don’t know.
  • Have taqwa of Allah and Allah will teach you. (meaning is sound)
  • Shaytan is an enemy. Shaytan is real. Popular imagination has created this image that makes people think that Shaytan is a joke. Shaytan loves to humiliate us. He hates us. He has envy in his heart for the station we were given. Envier wants to see the source of his envy grovel, humbled, and in a destitute situation. Shaytan hates when people get close to Allah, but he is tricky. First he tries to get kufr. If can’t get kufr from you, then he tries to get nifaq. If he can’t get nifaq, tries to get mas’iya. And if he can’t get mas’iya (sinfulness), then his favourite one is to try and get bidah, innovation. If he can’t get bid’ah, will get mas’iya. If he can’t get any of those things, sees you’re on a strong path, then he gets really serious. He wants to put in your heart this sense of superiority. That you’re better than other people. That you’re a pious person, that you’re righteous person. And these things will occur in the heart if you’re doing things seriously. If you’re on a serious path, this is how he comes. And if you don’t have the ammunition to deal with him, then he can really wreak havoc on the human heart. So muhajada shaytan. The kibr in the soul.
  • Material wealth, materialism, stature being held up, shaykh so and so, doctor so and so, all these things people want in the world, the pomp and circumstance of the world, but it’s nothing. It’s . Its empty. The world is empty. It’s vacuous. There’s nothing there.
  • Rumi said that when you speak always remember that you have an audience of 1. Who are you trying to impress? No seriously, who are you trying to impress?
  • In the meditations, Marcus Aurelius says, there are people  who say that they don’t care about the people today, they only care about their legacy, are only fooling themselves, because the same fools who will be around to read their legacy will be the same fools who are around today.
  • That’s why, be a celebrity with God. All these people want to be celebrities today, that’s the goal.  Famous for fifteen minutes. Really, it’s empty. Everything other than Allah is vanity. It’s vacuous. It’s empty. Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said, the truest thing a poet said is what Labid said: everything other than Allah is false. (baatil)
  • Alhamdullilah, this is the introduction. Our biggest enemy is the tongue. Ancients were very concerned with rectification of the tongue.
  • The word tasawwuf is a good word, a beautiful word. No one ever denied tasawwuf in the history of Islam. People have critiqued practices, but nobody in the history of Islam has denied tasawwuf.
  • We forget that our Prophet took care of homeless people, 70 every day. A sunna to take care of homeless people. Between 400 to 70 of the Ahl al Suffa, and the Prophet used to feed them everyday. Prophet feed people all the time, its his sunna to feed people.
  • Make firm your resolve to believe in the karamat. The whole religion is a karamat.
  • If you believe in karamat, you will see karamat. And if you don’t believe in karamat, you won’t see karamat.
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2 thoughts on “Gems from Prohibitions of the Tongue, Class 2 with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

  1. Pingback: Your Lord is a Generous Lord (Gems from Prohibitions of the Tongue, Class 3 with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf) | Immersing in the Sea

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