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Related Categories: Inspiring Analogies


11th January 2010
(From the lectures of Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat)

I have always found Shaykh’s use of analogies and similitude’s very inspiring. Simple everyday occurrences used to explain a concept of Deen creates deep understanding and inspiration. This method is found in the teachings of our beloved Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam. I quote a hadith from “Fazail A’amaal - by Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya” wherein an analogy is used to describe “forbidding evil and enjoining good”.

It has been reported by Numan bin Bashir that the Holy Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “There are people who do not transgress the limits (laws) of Allah, and there are others who do so. They are like two groups who boarded a ship; one of them settled on the upper deck, and the other, on the lower deck of the ship. So, when the people of the lower deck needed water, they said, ‘Why should we cause trouble to the people of the upper deck when we can easily have plenty of water by making a hole in our deck.’ Now if the people of the upper deck do not prevent this group from such foolishness, all of them will perish.”
(Bukhari & Tirmidhi)

The following are taken from Shaykh’s lectures and I pray that readers will find them beneficial.

Hate the Sin, not the Sinner
A doctor treating a person with cancer or a contagious sickness will feel aversion to the sickness but he will feel sympathy for the patient. Similarly we should hate the sin, not the sinner.
Shaykh says that his mentor, Hajji Faruq Sahib used to say that a sick person is deserving of sympathy however, a spiritually sick person is even more deserving of our sympathy as this sickness will not end with death. The consequences of untreated spiritual sicknesses will be everlasting.

Bold Text
Important information is highlighted in bold on a document which easily catches the attention of the reader while the small print has to be carefully scrutinised. Similarly it is one of the ploys of Shaytaan to highlight our good deeds. This way we concentrate on a few good deeds and become elated while ignoring the countless disobediences of Allah subhaanau wata’ala.

A scholar will be made to concentrate on his impressive lecture and made to forget the feelings of pride that entered his heart. The lecture may or may not have benefitted his listeners, but due to his pride he would definitely be punished.

Exam Results
A student, no matter how good he thinks he has done in his exams, does not celebrate or jump around with joy until after the results are out and he knows with certainty that he has done well. Similarly, a slave of Allah subhaanahu wata’ala does not feel proud of his achievements but fears the end result.

Delicious Biryani – tasteless!
Just as a person suffering from an illness will not find any enjoyment in a meal of delicious biryani, samosas, etc., so it is that a spiritually sick person finds no enjoyment in worship (i.e. thikr, recitation of the Qur’an, Salaah etc.). It is not that there is no enjoyment in worship. Once rectification is achieved through the help and guidance of a qualified Shaykh, then true and deep enjoyment will be experienced in every act of worship.

Worldly Pleasures
Imagine someone saying to you, “This fruit is very sweet. However the sweetness remains for 15 minutes only and thereafter a bitter taste will remain for a long time while this other fruit is extremely bitter to the taste for the first 15 minutes and thereafter changes to a very sweet taste which will remain forever.” Then at gunpoint you are forced to choose and eat one of the fruits. Which fruit will you choose? Even the most foolish person will choose the bitter tasting fruit since the initial bitter taste will be followed by a sweetness which will last forever. A person immersed in the pleasures of the world without worrying about the consequences of the Hereafter is like the foolish person who chooses the initially sweet tasting fruit but which will leave a bitter taste for a long time.

Rumi’s Analogy
Mawlana Rumi ra describes “love for the world” in the following way.
A ship needs water to float on. It will remain on the surface of the water as long as the water does not enter the ship. Once water enters the ship, it will sink. Similarly man is the ship and the world is the water. Just as the ship needs water to keep afloat, man needs the world to live. As long as the world remains outside and does not enter the heart, man will reach his destination. If the love of the world enters the heart, then like the ship which allows water to enter, it will sink.

Ghazali’s Analogy
Imam Ghazali describes “understanding the Qur’an”:
When an illiterate person receives a letter, he will not rest until he finds someone who will read the contents of the letter. The news will either be good i.e. marriage, birth of a child etc. or it will be bad as in the case of sickness or death. The happiness or grief caused by the “good” and the “bad” news is temporary and likely to last for only a short period of time and then will be forgotten, yet one will not rest until the contents of the letter are known.

The glorious Qur’an is a “letter” from the Creator Himself and it contains good news and bad news. However this “good” and “bad” news will have everlasting consequences yet sadly, we make no effort to find those who understand the Qur’an (the Scholars) and who would explain the message within.

Imam Ghazali says on making effort with continuity and steadfastness:
If one takes a tank of water and pours it on a stone in one go, it will have no effect on the stone. On the other hand if the tank with the same amount of water has a hole in it, and drop by drop the water falls on the stone over a period of time, it will have an effect and it will wear out a hole in the stone. Similarly, any act of obedience or refraining from disobedience has to be persevered with continuity for lasting effect.

Shah Ya’qub Bhopali said regarding the heart:
If a bridegroom’s entourage, with great pomp and ceremony, arrived at the bride’s place without the bridegroom (who had fallen off his horse on the way and was lying in a ditch, hurt and unable to carry on), how would it look? Without the bridegroom the entire entourage would hold no value.

Imagine the heart as the bridegroom and the body as the entourage. If the body presents itself in the court of Allah subhaanahu wata’ala while the heart is full of filth, it will hold no value whatsoever. Therefore one should have deep concern for the state of the heart.
posted by ummi taalib on 11th January 2010 - 1 comment


DMS wrote on 11 Jan 2010
Mashallah, a great collection. The respected Shaykh gives numerous analogies which simplify very complex concepts. May Allah ta'ala accept your collection and grant you the ability to present more of the Shaykh's teachings in this way.
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