Maulana Sheikh NazimWhen Tragedy comes into our Lives, How can we keep our Faith in God’s Mercy?
<b>Question “Sheik Effendi, when we behold the glory of the rising sun and the endless sky full of stars, we feel and know thereby that the Creator is and that He is very Great. But sometimes in the life of a person there occurs very sad and terrible events : people whom we love die – parents, brothers, friends. When tragedy comes into our lives, how can we keep our faith in Gods Mercy, how can we feel that He cares about what is happening to each and every one of us?”</b>
Now our distinguished guest has asked a very important question that every single person in the world must be asking in his heart.

His eyes have been opened to the Infinite Gory of the Creator by the wonders He Almighty has created for that purpose. Therefore, he is praising the Creator and he is saying that these wondrous sings in the cosmos, and the perfection and harmony of the intricate movements of heavenly bodies, of the balance of nature etc, may cause a person to awaken to the Majesty of the Creator, Sustainer and Guide of All Creation.

He recognises, as do all believers, that the Lords Endless Mercy pervades the Universe, for without it neither we nor any other creature could exist and take its sustenance. He sees that we are swimming in Allah’s Mercy Oceans. But he asks, as do so many people, how to reconcile our belief in Allah’s Mercy with the bitterness and horror we feel at the death of loved ones and other seemingly merciless events in the world. He is asking how we can deal with the doubts that creep into our minds in respect to that mercy, how to deal with that voice that says to us : “If Allah is so merciful, how can He allow such events to happen?”

Yesterday we spoke of the creation of Adam, and we said that, according to tradition, the descendants of Adam have been granted the most honourable station possible among creatures of this world: the rank of deputies of their Creator.

Every creature may ask to be in possession of such a high rank, but Allah Almighty cautioned them all, asking: “Who among you is prepared to pay the price and carry the burden of that most honoured rank. Who can carry that heaviest of ranks on their shoulders?” Yes, all creation was shown the nature of that rank, and its responsibilities. As Allah Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:

“Verily, We offered that trust to the heavens, the earth and the mountains; and they refused to accept it, and they feared it, But man, he took it upon himself to bear it. Surely he was sinful, very foolish.”

And He Almighty revealed to creation all that was involved in that trust; so that no creature could plead he had been burdened beyond what he himself had accepted. The result was, that when faced with such a choice, all of creation refused to take it upon themselves, saying that that were afraid in the face of such an awesome challenge. But man said: “I can carry it. I am ready to make the necessary sacrifices, I am ready to pay the price.”

Here then, is your answer. If you lay claim to that honour, if you value the nobility of your rank as “Crown of Creation”, if you consider that which sets you apart, from dogs and monkeys to be worth preserving, worth sacrificing for, then you must be prepared to agree with your Lords decrees; that is the price you pay for that most honourable rank. You must not reject what He wills in directing the course of life in his Creation . He does as He Wills, and it is for us to be patient in matters that are beyond our sphere of influence ( like the inevitability of death ), for the sake of our Lords love, as He has given His Love to the Descendants of Adam above all creatures.

Look, our Lord asked the Prophet Abraham, Peace be upon him, to slaughter his son for the love of his Lord. In this story is a lesson for all of us. He Almighty ordered Abraham: “Slaughter your son for Me. The price of My Love is even more than the sacrifice of love that you harbour for your son. Give that love (which is now for your son) to Me also: by slaughtering him, give it to Me.”

Then Abraham made ready to obey his Lord, despite satan’s repeated attempts to dissuade him. Thus ( by proving his readiness to carry out his Lords order) Abraham proved his steadfastness in obeying the divine command. But the Lord, who is not in need of the blood of our sacrifices, but accepts the sincerity with which they are offered, prevented the knife from cutting. He almighty ordered the knife: “Don’t cut!” Then Abraham tried to cut his sons throat, but the knife wouldn’t cut, would not even make a scratch, though he had sharpened it himself with the greatest care. Repeatedly he drew the knife across the delicate throat of his son, but with no result. At last Abraham threw down the knife, and in order to show Abraham the power if his Will, He Almighty made that knife cut through a big rock like a knife cuts through cheese. The an Angel appeared to the astonished Abraham, saying: “Oh Abraham, don’t think that your knife is dull! You have proved your sincerity, now take this ram and slaughter it….”

He Almighty has given His Divine Love to the descendants of Adam, and we have responded to our Lord, saying: “We are true unto You, oh our Lord.” Then He Almighty said : “I am going to try you, to examine all of you to see who is true in his claim of loving Me.” Who can withstand such a trial as Abraham? But in all of our lives there are also trials, and by being patient in the face of them we gain our Lords endless love.

One of the most famous of Islam’s saints was the King of the land of Balkh, Ibrahim bin Adham. He abandoned his kingship for his Lords sake and went away to live on what he earned by performing tasks of menial labour, and devoted his spare time, and all his heart, to his Lords worship.

When he abdicated his throne, and went away he left behind him a pregnant wife. After twelve years the boy and his wife had born began to inquire after his father. The boy set out in search of his father, and successfully traced his movements until he finally came across him in Mecca. Ibrahim bin Adham knew that the boy was his son the first time he laid eyes upon his noble face. He said : “You are my son.”

The boy said “You are my father.” Then Ibrahim prayed to his Lord: “Oh my Lord, You know best that, up until now, all of my love has been exclusively for You. Now I see that some of my love is going to this boy. Oh my Lord, all I want in this life is that my heart be purely for You: therefore I implore You to please transform this love in my heart for the boy to be love for You.”

Then Allah Almighty took the soul of that boy to his Divine Presence. The love that the boy had for his father was transformed into Divine Love so that he went to the Divine Presence totally pure.; and the love that Ibrahim bin Adham had for the boy also penetrated to the realm of Divine Love. Merged into the Divine Love Oceans of his saintly heart.

Allah Almighty is “Al-Ghayyur” or “The Jealous God”. He calls us to merge all the love we feel into His Divine Love; to take the love we feel for our loved ones and transform it into a love that will penetrate into the realm of Divine Love. This is the meaning of His requiring a “pure heart” (qalbun – salim) from His servants, for all that you love in those dear ones, is but the attraction of a ray of the attributes of your Lord which you see in them, which shines through the familiarity between you and them and reaches your heart.

Those loved ones will die, and so will you; but if that love reaches to the ultimate recipient of all Love, then the goal of human love has been attained, and it is acceptable and lovely in the Divine Presence. But if we fail to surrender to our Lords decree of mortality for all His creatures, and hate Him for putting us in a temporary existence of passing images, states and feelings, life becomes a bitter pill too bitter to swallow. In such a case life itself becomes a sorrow ocean, as He Almighty calls all of His servants, one by one, back to His Divine Presence and away from us and this world.

He is our Lord, the sole Sustainers of our existence. He has rights over us and tries us to see who will be true and hold to the love of their Lord. Therefore, all manner of events may occur: lovely people may die, young people may die, brothers, sisters, wives and husbands may die, will die, must die. Everyone you love will die. Then He looks to see what you will do: can you transform your love and make a tragedy a cause of increasing your love for your Lord? So few people understand this, and that is why they can’t see the Divine Wisdom in sorrowful events. They don’t recognise that our Lord is beckoning us to Love Him wholly and exclusively; therefore they suffer.

Everything He Almighty has given to the Descendants of Adam is temporary, not worthy of that ultimate love. You must give your love to the One who is always in existence – from pre eternity to post – eternity.

“Glorified is the ever – living (Lord), for whom there is no Death”

Therefore, you must awake to these realities and not ever think that events represent the decrees of a merciless Lord. No! For in these apparently merciless events is contained boundless mercy, as our Lord rewards us in accordance with the severity of our trials: the recompense is more and more of His Love.

At any time sorrowful and unliked events may (and will) descend upon you. Your Lord makes them a means of approach to Him that He may pour out everlasting Love Oceans on His beloved servants.

This is a very important point, and a very heavy one. We must comprehend these wisdoms and their import, but such a realization will evade us as long as we are thinking that these are just some words. That Divine Love must be tasted. As much as I may repeat the words: “Honey, honey, honey…..” or describe the characteristics and flavour of honey, you are not going to taste it, not going to be satisfied. These realities must be tasted, and unless you have reached that point you cannot understand more than these words.

- 01.07.1983
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