What would I understand when I am preached on my Faith orally or in writing ? I understand that by creating me, God gave me the opportunity to have this brief terrestrial experience which I will remember when I am in Heaven, if I ever go there. On the Day of Judgement I will be given a book, it’s a book of my memories. My knowledge of theworld, of God, of myself should be a light for me. My knowledge should strengthen my faith. My knowledge and my faith will be like my two hands, my two eyes, my two ears, my too feet. So my mind (be it in my brain or in my stomach) won’t work independently of my heart. I need both of them as I need both of my hands, both of my eyes… My mind abd my heart will show me how to best work for both this life of the world (which is only ….) and my eternal life, where I will be able to see God with my own eyes, if I ever go to Heaven.
In my early youth I needed to know things without questioning anything. I grew up as a Muslim, so at school I was taught how to read the Quran, how to perform my ablutions, my prayers, etc. As I grew older I learned more from the mosque, from the media, from books, from society, etc But there came a time when I realized that what I knew was not enough. There was a book which could have helped me understand what I was going through, but I did not know the book at that time. When that book came my way and I read it, I finally understood part of what I had experienced. But the book was too hard for me. (I could not finish reading it on one occasion.) I thought i twas for saints, not for ordinary believers like myself. So I continued to think about my faith without relying so much on other people’s thoughts. I studued the Quran on my own. So what would I say now to someone who asked me about my religion ? The five pillars of Islam are known to all. There are another five things that are not known to all. What comes first in Islam, I think, is (1) la prise de conscience ( ) ; then comes la rédition des comptes (2) ( ) ; then comes (3) la bienveillance. ( ) ( ) ( ) ; then comes (4) solidarity : ( ) ; then comes (5) change : ( )
That’s the knowledge. Now the practice. Imams and preachers will not be with me everywhere every time. It’s my heart that will be with me everywhere everytime. So I have to work on my heart. If I have a clean heart Faith will go in just as the roots go into a fertile soil. How can I work on my heart ? As we said before, and as is well explained by our dear scholars, there is annafs al ammara and annafs allawama and al mutmainna. When I am in a hell because I don’t know what to do that’s annafs allawama. That means that I fear God, or, if I want to go a step further in my Iman, that I wouldn’t love to do anything that would anger my Lord. That’s out of respect, out of love of my Lord. That’s a good thing. And God likes that. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
It’s defiance that is a problem. Even between us humans it’s not right to defy someone whom we want to be good to us. The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) The point is, there are limits that one should be ready to accept. All this is a set of « operations », a process, if you will, that take place in the heart. Defiance comes from the heart first. So it should be tackled in the heart first. I want to move up from Islam to Iman to Ihsan. I want to elevate my nafs from ammara to lawama to mutmainna. This means that it’s I who should endeavour towards reaching that level. I should do my best to please God, not to defy Him. I should do my best, but not the impossible. The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) I should do what I can. If I can worship God at night while people are sleeping, that’s great, that’s the top honour for a moomin (a true believer). If I can fast very often, that’s great too. But Islam does not ask me to ( ) I can express my gratitude to God in many different ways. The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) He also said : ( ) ( ) The Quran says : ( ) ( ) The mere fact that I am willing to give is a sign that I want to be grateful to God. The Quran says : ( ) This wish to give, to be good, is not peculiar to believers like myself. This wish is human because it comes from the heart and every human being has got a heart. Even animals have this kind of thing. Many people have been saved from death by their pets.
Now, I have the wish to do good. How can I do it ? Is it always easy to do good ? One day I was listening to a radio show in which listeners asked for advice from other listeners. One listener said this : « I am the youngest of three brothers living in a foreign country. My problem is that I see one of my brothers flirt with the wife of my other brother. I am in a hell because I don’t know whether I should turn a blind eye and thus have peace with both of my brothers or tell my poor brother who is betrayed by both his wife and his brother. Please help me. I need your advice. » I am sorry I can’t give my opinion on this. But the other day I found a full cigarette as I was walking in the woods. I said to myself : should I crush it since it’ll only harm somebody’s health ? or should I rather leave it for a poor guy who can’t buy a cigarette ? Well, I did not crush it. This is called Ijtihad, meaning you try your best to come up with the right solution to a problem like this. Ijtihad is the work of scholars, of the erudite. But sometimes you need to take action on the spot. Hence the importance of work on one’s heart.
But hearts do get tired at times. The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) How can I ( ) so that my heart won’t go blind ? One way is taking a holiday. One way is taking a rest, any kind of rest. One way is arts or sport. In the time of the prophet (pbuh) people liked poetry and cavalry. I don’t know what you personally like.
Listen to this unbelievable story that I heard on the radio. An aged experienced hunter was asked about his hunting feats. Speaking in front of members of his tribe who knew him well, he said he had hunted 72 wolves and scores of foxes, among other things. He and his friends ate those wolves and foxes. Once, the man said, my friends and I were lurking behind a makeshift wall for foxes, wolves or rabbits. Then a rabbit appeared on the bare ground. Je l’ai visé, et je n’avais jamais râté un gibier, et une fois que je l’ai pris dans mon viseur, the muezzin started to call for prayer. The rabbit s’arretta net. Il s’appuya sur ses fesses et resta motionless sans bouger. When the muezzin finished his call, the rabbit passe dits front paws on its face, as in prayer, and went away. I was moved as I saw that, so I left it alone.
That’s quite unbelievable, but one may need to hear or read challenging tales like this one. That’s part of literature, my own hobby. What would entertain my heart may be different from what would entertain your own. Tbourida in my country, Morocco, is not baseball in the US or hokey in Canada or cricket in India. When reading the Quran, an ex-priest who reverted to Islam may be interested in what it says about Jesus Christ and Mary ; an ex-rabbi may be interested in stories about Hebrews ; a scientist may want to focus on something in the Quran that has to do with science, etc. What about me ?
Well, I saw on TV a large crowd of people in China gathering for long hours (one said he waited for no less than three days) in order to see (and take pics of) white fog as it settled down on a village. The view was spectacular. It must be breathtaking to see white fog hanging just under your feet. I wish I were with them. I wish I could see sunrise and sunset in those places where people go only to see sunrise and sunset. The Quran speaks of (takweer : 17-18) The Quran is not poetry, but as a poet I love that kind of language. Have a taste ! This is how it sounds in Arabic : wallayli iza ’ass’ass wassobhi iza tanaffass
And this :
falaa oqsimu bishafaq, wallayli wama wassaq, walqamari izattassaq…
And this :
washamsi wa dohaha, walqamari iza talaha, wannahari iza jallaha, wallayli iza yaghshaha…
The Quran says : ( ) What is (al bayan) ? It’s the ability to express things in a beautiful way. How can I express things in a beautiful way if I can’t feel beauty ? Why does the Quran speak about beauty, as in ( ) ? Well, normally, ( ) The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) When the Arabs and many non-Arab Muslims see, hear or smell something beautiful they say : ALLAH !
The Quran calls on me, as a believer, to ( ). This siyaha is spiritual as well as material. When I am practising this kind of spiritual tourism (siyaha) in order to ( ) my heart so that it won’t go blind I am actually practising my faith –just as if I were at prayer : ( ) In other words, I am enjoying myself. I am living my (worldly) life while preserving and strengthening my faith.
Most probably, when I am alone, far from the eyes, in a beautiful place or even in a place where I can see a few beautiful things (flowers, animals, etc.), it »s very likely that I shed tears. It’s very likely that I burst into prayers, as though I suddenly realized that I was a sinner and I had to repent. It’s then when I can feel at peace with God. Confrontation can work with men sometimes, but never with God. If I want peace with God there’s one and only one option : istighfar (begging God’s pardon). When I am imploring God to forgive me I am actually confirming my belief that Go dis my Lord and that He and He Alone can decide my Fate. I am confirming that I believe in the invisible. That’s very, very important. ( ) ( ) The more I know the more I should fear the Lord. ( ) The erudite who think in good faith can only know God more and fear Him more. But what about someone like me who is not an erudite ? Well, at least I should avoid any kind of conrontation with God. If I understand something, tant mieux. If I can’t understand the logic of a rule, for example, I should respect the knowledge of God Who set that rule. I should also aporter mon témoignage on the fairness of God. « 3.18. Allah (Himself) is witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God save Him, the Almighty, the Wise.» It’s a question of Faith. I trust that God did not make that rule against the interest of man. I trust that there must be some good in that rule even though I can’t see it myself. I may not understand the wisdom underlying some rules, but I have to abide with them for the sake of the public good. I should accpet the rule first, then philosophize it. I referred in a previous chapter to Adam’s tree, Hebrews’ river and Mecca’s birds. So I should admit that my knowledge is limited compared to God’s knowledge. If I think that I know everything in the earth and in the sky I may still have doubts about what’s most important to me : the fate of my own soul after death. God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) As a believer, who evidently want to have good faith when thinking about Faith, I will not seek knowledge in books and schools only. I am being taught everyday in the school of life too. My trials, my ordeals, teach me loads of knowledge about myself and the world. I know and believe and make no barrier between the visible and the invisible, between the world and Heaven. The Quran tells me that, on the Day of Judgement, Heaven people will say : ( ) To Hell people it will be said : ( ) It’s a no return trip : nobody is going to be given another chance to think or decide. If I don’t want to take the invisible into account NOW, I may regret it THEN. ( ) ( ) Belief in the invisible is not easy. I began this book with those two verses from the Surat of Yusuf : ( ) ( ) When I am put to test, my tests will either strengthen or weaken my belief. Knowledge alone is not enough, but it helps. People spend lots of money on psychic consultation. If I manage to acquire that kind of knowledge (of personal experience, through my tests, through siyaha (spiritual tourism), I will never see a psychic. When I am in an adversity and go somewhere on the outskirts of the city and implore God to help me and He does help me ( ), that will help me strengthen my faith. I learn from this experience that when God promises something His promise is true. That’s why siyaha, whenever possible, is very important. It is very important for a believer like myself to see beauty. Cependant, pour nous les fils d’Adam la beauté de ce monde n’est censée être qu’un avant-goût de la vraie beauté, celle du paradis. La bonté d’ici-bas n’est qu’un échantillon de la bonté divine.
"Allah is full of pity, Merciful toward mankind." (Al-Baqara : 143) God knows what life is like. It’s Him Who made the world and life ( ). God is running our world everyday, every minute, every second. ( ) ( ) God knows what’s it means for me to have work, to marry, to have a roof, to have children, to eat well, to sleep well. God knows what happiness is. God also knows things I don’t know. ( ) God knows what’s good for me and what’s bad for me. ( ) What matters is my intention, good or bad faith. What matters is what I have at heart. In the Haddith we read : ( ) life is life. Most people, believers and non-believers alike, eat, drink, work, sleep, marry, build houses, drive cars, etc, etc. But, apparently, most people live for the world only. If I am a believer I can ( ). Nobody is asking me, as a believer, to give up ( ). For good believers everything is ‘ibaada (act of worship) ; even making love to one’s spouse is ‘ibaada. But to be considered as a good believer I have to be tested. I want something from God. So I should put trust in Him and be patient. I should be one of ( ) Au lieu d’être rongé par le remors, I opt for patience, contentment ( ) and trust in God. If I do that here’s what God promises me. ( ) ( ). ( ) is everything I do in my life. Yes, it’s easier said than done. But what could I do ? I have no other choice. Good quality life is for the faithful only. ( ) ( ) ( ) If I am a sensible person, I wouldn’t love to have a ( ).
God knows that the material means are so important. God knows that some good believers can’t do without a car, that others need to pay the rent urgently, that others are ill and need medecine all the time, that others don’t even have a shaver to shave their faces or socks or shoes… But God does not see only my depravations. He also sees the reward which I can’t see as yet. He sees my reward in this world and in the Hereafter. ( ) ( ) ( ) Why should God deprive me from things He knows are so dear to me ? Isn’t it enough that I believe in Him already and that I am striving to please Him ? Well, that may not be enough. Faith needs absolute yaqeen ( ). ( ) Personally, there came a time when I realized that all the « bad » things that happened to me and all my past deparavations were in fact good things. I got the feeling that my Lord had been managing my life without my knowledge in such a way that, were He to let me do what I wanted to do with my life, I would have certainly done a lot of wrong to myself ! Only then did I realize how merciful God is to me. This kind of personal experience would make one disposé volontiers à s’user pour faire plaisir au Seigneur. ( ) ( ) Quand je suis amené à faire preuve de patience et d’abnégation, les autres diront de moi : Ah celui-là est feignant, il est bon à rien, celui-là aimerait bien être nouri par les autres. Tout ça fait partie de mon épreuve. C’est un exercice pour moi, pour que j’aie une personnalité forte, pour avoir plus de confiance en moi, pour vivre pour de vrais principes et non pas pour l’argent. ( ) ( ) ce sont mes épreuves qui feront de moi ( ) God says ( ) Ce serait alors un grand honneur pour moi si Dieu me considérait ( ) Quoi de mieux que de mener une vie gérée d’en haut par le Seigneur, qui sait tout qui peut tout ? Je gère mon cœur, Dieu gèrera ma vie comme aucun manager ne poura. God said to Moses (pbuh) : ( ) What about my frustrations that I couldn’t get that particular job or purchase that home or marry that very person ? God says to me : ( ) ( ) My patience and contentment with God will wash all that away. But Satan will always be lurking for me. Satan may not be able to disturb me when I am alone. ( ) But once I am in the midst of other people Satan will be there too. He will inspire them just the kind of words that would make me feel frustrated over things I could not get in the past or aspire to things I may not be able to achieve in the future. While I am being tested (by ordeals) Satan will make me problems with friends, with family members, etc. Those friends, neighbours, family members, won’t think of Satan. But it’s my own responsibility to be aware that Satan is going to use some of those people to make me unhappy. ( ) Still, during my trials, God will send me good people to help me when I can’t help myself. But God will not give me everything I want even through the best soul in the world until I have passed the test. Otherwise, why should it be called a test ? God can make my family, or a charity, for example, help me with food but not with money. I won’t get the money I want until God wills so. So I shouldn’t blame people for what they can’t give me. God says : ( ) Those people who are « bad » to me may be good to other people. There’s good in all of us, even in criminals. Those people may be « bad » to me now because I was bad to them in the past. God says : ( ) So if I can do good, I should do it for the sake of God. That’s golden education. Genuine generosity (in all its forms) is the top golden education. God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) In other words, I should be good and then do good. I should do what I can. I am not obliged to do good to a person who will only hurt me. I have the choice. I alone can know the limits of my patience in this regard. ( ) So I should not be a complexed person. I should take life as it comes. I manage my heart and God will manage my life.
If I have children golden education is the best thing I can offer them. My family is my people. My home is my kingdom. My conduct is my Law. If I don’t want my children to lie to me, I should not lie to them or in front of them. ( ) ( ) Il faut être cohérent avec soi. God wants me, as a believer, to be honest with myself first. I should be free of contradictions.
What’s the fruit of golden education ? God says : ( ) That’s the fruit of golden education. The parents, my children, my siblings –we can all meet there, in Heaven, as we met here in the earth. Golden education (or lack of it) will either reunite or separate us –for ever. Golden education is not a religion, though. The religion is Islam. Golden education is only a name I liked to call a stratefy towards putting Islam into practise on the individual level by people who care more about their faith.
On peut tous être psychologiquement brisés à un moment ou à un autre. Seule la foi peut nous aider à nous relever. La foi c’est la lumière. La foi c’est la liberté. La foi c’est la liberté de tout sauf du Seigneur. As a believer, je me libère de ce qui remplit mon cœur de rancunes et de remors. Je me donne de l’mportance. Je me cherche cette importance dans moi-même, je la trouverai dans ma foi.
Je viens d’évoquer un sujet sensible : la liberté. Ça nous touche tous. Par exemple, moi je veux sortir me défouler un peu. Où est-ce que je vais aller ? Avec qui ? Seul ? Avec ma petite famille ? Avec un ami ? Quel ami ? Avec mon épouse ? Comment je vais y aller ? A pied ? A vélo ? En voiture ? Dans le transport commun ? Qu’est-ce que je vais y consommer ? Quelque chose que j’ai préparée à la maison ? Quelque chose que j’achèterais au snack ? La foi n’est pas loin de tout cela. J’ai le choix entre plusieurs destinations : le cinéma, le théatre, le club de sport, le cabaret, le café, la boîte de nuit, la pleine nature, la piscine, la mer… A chaque fois je réfléchis : 1) est-ce halal ou haram (licit or illicit) ? 2) Que diront les gens de moi ? Est-ce que ça va impressionner quelqu’un ? Manger un cassecroûte préparé à la maison dans un coin perdu de la nature, loin des yeux des gens, n’est pas comme manger dans un restaurant huppé au milieu de gens qui remarqueront tout sur mes apparences et mes gestes. Pour une femme, aller en hijab ans us quartier chic n’est pas comme aller en hijab dans un quartier populaire.
Le poids de la société est plus lourd que les montagnes. Même avec la foi il faut faire beaucoup d’efforts pour se libérer sans choquer. Que vous dit la foi alors ? Un jour un sage a vu un homme debout en train de regarder à droite et à gauche. Le sage lui dit : "Que voulez-vous, homme ? " L’homme lui dit : "Je cherche un endroit propre pour faire ma prière. " Le sage lui dit : "Nettoyez votre cœur et priez là où vous voudrez !" Si je parvies à nettoyer mon cœur je pourrai aller là où je voudrai, avec qui je voudrai, je pourrai manger ce que je voudrai là où je voudrai ; je pourrai mettre les habits que je voudrai là où je voudrai. Mon cœur me guidera. Dieu dit :
Vous voyez les grades de la foi ? Si je fais une faute la première, la deuxième, la deuxième fois, je serai puni et je comprendrai que ceci ou cela n’est pas bien pour moi ; mon cœur prendra une leçon et me mènera là où je n’aurais plus de problèmes ni avec Dieu ni avec les gens. C’est ça la sagesse. C’est comme ça que la liberté deviendra pour moi a second nature. Je gère mon cœur, Dieu gérera ma vie. My heart is the most precious piece of me. If I keep it clean my life will be clean.
Souvent quand on lit un ouvrage comme celui-ci, on veut savoir ce que Dieu a à nous donner. Eh bien, si moi-m^me je me pose la même question, quelle serait la réponse ? Dieu a tant de choses à m’offrir, mais mois –qu’est-ce que j’ai à offrir à Dieu ? Dieu n’attend pas de moi à ce que je Le nourrisse. ( ) Ce que Dieu attendrait de moi c’est que je Lui fasse une place spéciale, très, très spéciale dans mon cœur. Dieu dit dans le hadith quodsi :
Si j’ai choisi pour mes prières le plus bel endroit dans ma maison, je tiens à réserver au Seigneur l’endroit le plus beau, le plus propre, le plus intime de mon cœur. Dieu parle dans le coran de tijara (commerce) : si vous faites ceci Je vous donne cela. Moi j’ai besoin de Dieu. J’ai besoin de la grâce de Dieu. J’ai besoin de l’aide de Dieu. Mais je ne dois quand même pas faire de commerce avec Dieu, literally speaking. Je ne dois pas faire de donnons-donnons avec Dieu. Je dois voir en Lui un ami, un ami sûr et fidèle à jamais. Je ne Lui cache rien, Il sait tout. I don’t feign, He knows what’s in my heart. S’Il me prive d’une chose ou d’une autre, je Lui parle le plus poliment possible. Je Lui demande ce que je veux, je Lui fais part de ce dont je souffre. Je Lui montre mes larmes que je ne montrerais à quiconque d’autre. Je Lui dis les meilleures paroles, celles que je ne dirais à personne. Je Lui montre à quel point je L’aime, à quel point je suis honoré de L’avoir en Dieu, en ami protecteur. Je Lui montre que je L’aime pour ce qu’Il est. Je Lui montre à quel point j’ai besoin de Lui, de Sa Grace, de Son paradis, de Son agrément. Je Lui montre, avec des dires et des actes, que je ne suis rien sans Lui. Il fera que je sois content de ce que je suis, content de ce que je fais. Il fera que je ne me sente plus seul. Il fera que je sois heureux. Il me donnera –s’Il le voudra– plus que ce que je Lui avais demandé. (…) Si je salis mon cœur avec un pêché, je verse mes larmes, je mouille mes yeux pour le nettoyer. Je le balaie chaque jour avec le tasbih de ma langue. Je fais en sorte que la place de Dieu dans mon cœur soit plus propre que mes vêtements, que mon alimentation, que ma demeure. Et je dis : (….)