87:14 “Prosperous are those who purify themselves?”
How do you purify yourself?
Comment: Through fasting.
When you do not eat something, what happens?
Comment: You control your desires.
I fast and I still have desires. In this class, we approach every subject from belief perspective. Be patient and then contribute after grasping the methodology.
How do we purify ourselves?
Comment: Having clear intentions.
Intention is a problem word because it is polluted now. Everyone says that they have good intentions.
Comment: By re-establishing my worldview, reality and acknowledging my reality within my existence and being concluding upon that based on my observations and reasoning.
“Acknowledging my reality in my existence” needs to be elaborated on. First, let us look into, what do human beings consist of? We have mind, feelings and we have freewill to choose between right and wrong. Where are the rights and wrongs? Is it outside of us or within ourselves?
What makes something right and what makes something wrong as far as my human capacity is concerned?
I always have two options. One option is within human capacity; we have tools to acknowledge what the truth is as far as our creation is concerned. At the same time, we have an alternate option to reject the truth. I may at times make an excuse to justify the alternative as the truth. . The option comes as an alternative but does not represent the truth and human capacity acknowledges that whether it is the truth or not.
Human spirit freewill has been given two sides, one side represents the reality, and the other side represents the complete opposite or false option.By using human qualities, no one can approve the false option. This false option is referred to as the ego or human tendencies. When you use yourself or are aware of yourself, i.e. if you have not conditioned yourself with a certain view of your life, you can understand that this understanding is right and this one is not right. We have human freewill to do that. If we want to verify what we have chosen is right or wrong, we use our human capacity as it is without prejudice to understand that this is right and this is wrong. Again, we are free to decide which way to take. Human freewill employs the mind either to produce excuses and justify mistakes as right. If something is wrong, you cannot really find any means to confirm it. Human freewill employs the mind to find out whether this one is true or not. If it’s true, find evidence for it being the true option. If we do not take into consideration that we human beings are given the ability to choose what is wrong and even produce evidence for it in order to justify what is wrong, that is human ego at play.
Human ego always represents the alternative to reality. Whatever human ego defends, it cannot find any evidence to confirm it, but we are free to choose, that is how our reality is. In the language of the Quran, heart represents the real human feeling which is called “qalb”. The other alternative is ‘nafs”, literally it means soul. Sometimes it is used to refer to the meaning of soul i.e. every individual being or sometimes it is also used to describe “following the track of what nafs offers”, it means egoistic interpretations which attribute every quality to its own objectives.
Example: Attributing all the qualities of the computer to the material body of the computer and having nothing to do with the Engineer. The same approach when it comes to ourselves, we attribute the qualities in our existence to ourselves. Example: “They are mine. I am loving, I am seeing, I… referring everything to myself”. We are talking about the subject at the theoretical level. Anyone who attributes any quality to itself is an egoistic interpretation. Why? No one can claim and interpret that s/he is the Source of Existence of any of his/her qualities and nor can claim the material being to be that source. I am not the Source of Existence of my eyes, power of sight…
What is purification?
Purification is not applying your egoistic interpretations. In reality, human beings do not have egoistic qualities. Egoistic interpretation is not a quality, but it is a false baseless imagination which exists only to be a source of option. Example: there is a pen; there is an option for me to say there is no pen. It is just an option, not a quality. Quality means that it exists. Whatever the egoistic interpretation offers has no existence. If it existed, then it would be reality. Purification is to be careful, not to choose what this egoistic side of human beings offers to me. In every lie, every wrong assumption and everything which is not based on reality, just made up as an option, ego is not a reality but only an option. Reality is when we make the decision not to choose the option which we describe as the egoistic interpretation of anything. Example: If I say the earth revolves around its orbit, I am interpreting the movement of the earth, by attributing it to the earth itself. It means earth itself is moving. No! The globe of earth is created in such a way that we observe it as moving. The earth does not know it by itself, the action of the revolving when we attribute the action of the revolving to the earth itself, it becomes an egoistic interpretation. The ego claims to own its property which is revolving. It is not easy to grasp it after being brainwashed under certain interpretations of scientific studies which attribute everything to things itself. That is why we have to repeat and use a lot of practical interpretation of what egoistic interpretation means. “I am helping” is an egoistic interpretation of your actions. Action of help is attributed to yourself, no it is granted to you because you want it and you have chosen to ask the Creator to create you in such a way that you are helping because you cannot create anything, you simply desire and will. You just ask the Creator to create for you the result of what you have chosen. So, you will help others and then what you will do is that you thank the Creator. I ask, and It creates for me. I did not help, who helped? The Creator. I have just asked It to create this way by using my existence as a means to perform this action. I have the freewill and I could have chosen not to help but I have chosen to help. Because I have chosen to help, then the result is created by the Creator of everything at every moment in the universe, who is called God. I cannot attribute the sense of help and the action to myself because if I did, that would be wrong therefore an egoistic interpretation.
Purify yourself means what?
Comment: Utilizing my freewill to not choosing an egocentric interpretation of my existence and acknowledging reality by not preferring an option to see things through egoistic lenses.
I should be careful not to attribute any sense to anything which cannot be the Owner of that action. This is purifying yourself. It happens within yourself, in your humanity as a human being.
Comment: Increasing your consciousness of your reality and attributing everything as given to us by God and not coming from us.
When you say God, you need to qualify it. If you do not qualify it, it becomes an abstract notion and falls into meaninglessness and remains a claim. The Source of Existence or the Creator of things is what we refer to as “God”. According to the subject we are reflecting on, one needs to have different qualifications of this Creator. Attribute everything to the Creator of the act. This Creator is called “God” and this Absolute Creator cannot be with any qualities pertaining to this universe. Without qualifications, the concept of “God” does not function as evidence; rather, it turns into a claim. The Absolute Creator of any event needs to be acknowledged, and that is purification. Anything that cannot be qualified with the Absolute Creator is the source of egoistic interpretation which makes us fall into mistake. This egoistic interpretation makes us fall into error because it is not true, and you cannot find any evidence for it. Example: If I have some property, then I will be happy. Does Happiness lie in having something of this world or acknowledging the Source of the Creator of the villa and attributing the creation of the villa to Its favor, grace, bounty…? We have to contextualize our experiences.
Example: When I am hungry, my body needs food. If I say that I need food, then I am defining myself as body. Body is the animal side of a human being; it is not the human being itself. What I need is the favor of the Creator of the food’s Mercy. Ultimately, it means that I need God and God has provided food for me. This recognition is purification. When my understanding says that I need food, then I am not being realistic because I am defining myself in terms of physical existence, rather than a human being. As a human being, I have nothing to do with my physical existence. I am a bird in the cage of my body. If someone has a wider vision, I am a bird in the cage of the universe because my humanity yearns for what is behind the creation of this universe, what this universe refers to. I am looking for meaning as a human being. My body needs food, but I need Absolute Eternal Mercy. The body and the universe are a means of experiencing conscious manifestation of Absolute Mercy. At the moment, one spark of Mercy has manifested for me and I am benefitting from it in order to satisfy the need of my body (that is real). When my body needs food, I look for food, but my humanity should refer to the Provider of the food as a representative of this Mercy for me. Through the food, the Creator of the food is introducing Itself to you as the One who acknowledges you and provides you with whatever you need and takes care of you. You are precious in Its eyes. That is why human beings say that I am eating only one plate of food, but I am experiencing Absolute Mercy. In order to have the connection between my stomach’s needs and provide food for it, one has to be able to create the whole universe in order to connect me. Otherwise, who else can connect me with my stomach and the food? Is there anything in the universe? Is there any being here that acknowledges my body and comes to its help? Is there any particle or any quality in a particle that says that I have to be food for this person who needs it and I have to satisfy it by getting into his stomach and then the stomach will digest it and I will go into his cells and be the source of energy for this person? Even human beings cannot do it, let alone the unconscious element with no will and power. This approach introduces that everything belongs to the Creator of the universe. Those who perform five times prayer and recite: “All praise is due to the Lord of the universe which means the Lord of everything.” If you say that food satisfies me, the praise went to the food. That is what scientism (the claim that science is the source of reality) teaches us how to see, perceive and understand which is totally baseless.
Comment: Purify means to refer qualities to its rightful owner.
General definition of purification is that I have to accept the reality as it is without distorting it. It is a saying of Imam Ali: “Seeing the world as it is without distorting it.” In other words, without polluting your human qualities with bias assumptions and seeing the world as it is. You can apply this teaching anywhere, which is the main teaching of the Quran: “There is no Creator or Source of Existence in the universe (illa or God) but the One who gave existence to the whole universe. Our tongue says this but in practical life and our relationship with the rest of the world including our own human qualities is not based on lailaha illallah, the summary of everything in the Quran. But at the same time, I say I like this, I need this but where is God, the Creator. In practical life, I need the computer to record this streaming, but my human side will be completely aware of that this is the creation of the Creator of the universe. Principles of creation in the universe are employed to make the laptop but the main Creator of the laptop is the One who establishes the principles in the creation and so I can discover them and use them. Example: if you are thirsty and say that I need a cup of water and the representative of God’s Mercy brings you a cup of water, then you say that “hey you satisfied my thirst.” WRONG! Why? You were thirsty, and I brought you water which you drank, and I was just a means of getting the water to you which is provided by the Creator of the water. I am not the Creator of the water. Water is the property of the Creator of the universe so how can you stay that I satisfied you? The Creator of the universe satisfied you. This awareness is needed and that is purification.
Comment: What if you get something which is not permissible? If wine satisfies you, then can you say that it is from God and so it is Ok?
If a person is satiated with wine and wants to purify himself/herself, then, s/he has to acknowledge that wine is created by God in this form, but the Owner of the wine says do not drink it because it is an intoxicant, it is created for some other reasons.
If a glass contains wine and another contains water, is there any difference in the Source of Existence of the two items? No. Pig is created by the same One as the Creator of the lamb. As far as the existence of the lamb and pig is concerned, they are equally created. We cannot get angry with the pig (we love it because it is created by the Creator of the universe,) but we do not eat its meat because the Owner says that it is created for another purpose, it is not a provision for you. Do not consume it! Do not insult it! Even poisonous snake is created by the Creator. Keep away from it but do not insult it!
Comment: Am I accountable for my actions?
What do you mean by accountable? Accountability has many other implications, commonly understood as we will die, God will ask you “why have you chosen this or that?” and accountability will be referred to life after death only. Instead, what we have to do now while we are in this world is: “Is this approvable and acceptable by my human qualities or not?” If anything is wrong with what I have chosen, then this is nothing but my false reasoning, understanding and misusing my human qualities.
Accountability has many other implications that our ego does not want. Use your human qualities to make the distinction between right and wrong. You have the ability to do that while using your freewill because you have consciousness. Consciousness is a quality of a human being which makes you realize whether you have done something wrong or right. We have the freewill to employ our consciousness to acknowledge what is right and what is wrong. We also have the option not to employ our consciousness and ignore it. Example: I have the consciousness of using my eyes and see you and at the same time, I have the freewill not to see you by closing my eyes. When I close my eyes, I deprive myself from benefitting from the power of sight and seeing. This is very human as we are created to use our tools freely. When I use my eyes, I have to thank the Creator of the eyes. When I do not use my eyes, that would mean that I am ungrateful towards the Creator of my eyes and I suffer from it by myself. When I make a wrong choice, my human side suffers because of the nature of creation. If I cut the tree, I deprive myself of its benefits and fruits. When I choose the option which has no reality whatsoever, my human side suffers. What do we do? If I define my existence in terms of this world only (I am here to satisfy my life until I die day by day only), after this assumption, everything goes against my human side but in favor of my body. Against my human side which needs Perfection and Permanence. In this worldview/attitude, there is no Perfection and Permanence. Today, I ate my dinner and it is gone. Enjoyment is gone. I have a villa and at the end of my life and as far as my understanding is concerned, I die, and everything is finished. With this attitude, I live in a world between birth and death. That is suffering for human qualities which looks for Perfect and Permanent (Eternal) Satisfaction. How can I get that? That can only be attained by acknowledging the meanings that this universe refers to. It means that I have a Creator who has Absolute Power and is Omnipotent. When I have this attitude towards the Creator, I attribute my existence to the same Creator because I am a part of the universe and I say that I belong to the Absolute One. Why bother about anything as far as my human side requires? Everything is guaranteed by my Creator who gave me these needs and is introducing Itself to me while I am satisfying my needs, eating the food for example. The Creator of the food and hunger is introducing Itself to you through eating your food. You do not get any benefit from the food, your body gets the benefit from it but your humanity gets the benefit from the acknowledgement of the Absolute Creator of the food , yourself and the need for hunger. This relationship is very simple to establish in theory. However, if you want to practice it, it needs a couple of years of training.
Comment: If I say that I am going to purify myself or something, there is a connotation that there is something that needs to be purified as it is already in a state of being unclean. When I apply this to my consciousness, it is enough that I acknowledge the qualities that I observe as belonging to an Absolute Source, but I am already polluted with pre-conceived notions of certain ideas. Hence, it is not enough that I acknowledge the Absolute, but it becomes mandatory that I actively reject the egoistic option.
The core of the teachings of the Quran starts with “there is nothing in creation that can be the Source of existence of anything.” First, we have to reject the option that I am the source of something in this universe. When we understand this and that the universe exists, we question:
- First stage: What is the source of existence of this universe?
- Second stage: There must be an Absolute Creator that is consciously introducing Itself to me.
Without rejecting egoistic options, we cannot really confirm what our human qualities need. I say: Food does not acknowledge me. Food does not know me. Who is acknowledging my hunger then? The Creator of the food is acknowledging my needs, not that the food is acknowledging my needs. This process is referred to as lailaha illahu. We have to feel hungry and we have to feel the need to satisfy our hunger, another reality and then I have to look for the food and question: is it the food that is satisfying me? Does the food know me? Does the food have any Mercy on me? There are just particles and have no qualities. They are as they are given existence. They cannot give existence to themselves. Who is giving existence to me then? With any interaction with anything in this world, we have to go very quickly (with the training) that this thing is not the Source of my satisfaction but the Creator of this is satisfying me and introducing Itself to me. Whatever I interact with? It means that with every interaction with the universe, we can comfortably acknowledge its Creator and our reality.
Comment: Every choice can be used to attribute it to its Creator.
The choice is given to us to be used freely. It does not mean that the Creator of the choice is choosing. The Creator of the choice has given me the opportunity to make decisions and I am choosing by using freewill given in me, that is my choice. Choosing does not mean creating. Choosing means asking the Creator to create this one or that one for me. Choosing is like a tool to choose with. Freewill by its own nature is free to be used. As far as we are concerned, the area of freewill can only be employed within its own limit. Example: I cannot stop the sun from setting. The capacity of freewill where freewill will be operated is its limit.
Comment: Is pain also created by the Creator of the universe?
Everything is created by the One that sets you free to choose. Because I have chosen it, the result is created. The suffering created by It is not bad because only through the suffering we understand that we have made a wrong decision, teaching me what is right and wrong. But choosing the way which leads to suffering is my own choice and I feel the pain. When we do not attribute things to a Creator, we do not seem to be suffering. Why? Because at that moment, we are defining ourselves as an animal. If I define myself by denying my human capacity and reducing my capacity at a level of a living being only, then I do not feel suffering. Because the definition of myself is: “I am an animal”. What I am doing is nothing different from what the animal does. Are animals suffering as far as not attributing their existence to their Creator? Animals, by definition, have no qualities of acknowledging the Creator. (they are signs pointing to the Creator is a different subject). Animals do not need extra food. They live on a day by day satisfaction. They got the food and they do not need extra food. If someone treats himself like an animal, then by definition s/he does not outwardly feel that s/he is suffering. Treating himself/herself as an animal is not a pain or suffering because s/he is dumb to his/her human reality. His/her human reality suffers but s/he denies it by saying it is nothing but a “wishful thinking,” thus tries to ignore it.
Comment: Is action the result of perspective?
It does not matter. When you have the perspective and you use it to perform an action, that is another matter and freewill is involved. We do not study actions here. If I am not aware of my perspective, whatever actions I do does not matter because I am treating myself as an animal and not acknowledging the Creator of the universe by not experiencing the manifestation of Absolute Mercy. It does not matter if I eat one plate of food or two, the amount does not matter, even one single atom is enough to witness its Creator is Absolute. Nothing can bring one atom into the universe besides the Creator of the whole universe within Its whole order. We cannot dissect the order because everything is interrelated. We cannot take one order in one place and another order in another place and observe that they are working in collaboration with each other. How does this collaboration exist? No one can say that an order exists isolated form the rest of the universe. Whoever gives existence to one particle, must give existence to the whole universe.
Comment: Can we say that there are pre-requisites to purify ourselves?
When you take soil and mix water to it, it becomes mud. We are like this mud. The water represents the human side and soil represents the body. Things may seem intermingled, but it is easy to see the distinction. Although I am using my body or eyes for example to see, but still within that action lies my human side. I have to pay attention to my human side while I am using my body. I cannot separate it in this type of creation. Only when I die, water will be separated from the soil. Spirit goes to where it comes from or belongs to. It is the product of the breath of the Creator. That is why the Creator always keeps repeating this: “You are going to be returned to Us (God)”. That is, I am going to be returned to this Creator because I came from it.
Comment: First is realizing your human side. Second, by recognizing the human side you realized that your human side is not satisfied as far as desiring Perfection in this universe is concerned.
This universe cannot provide you with Perfection. Who is going to save you from being in a fleeting existence here? If galaxies were to come together, they cannot provide you anything. But the Creator of everything is making you in this universe as you are. Belief is acknowledging the things as they are in realty, not polluting it, as it is. My desires cannot be satisfied by anything which are a part of the universe. They are fleeting and subject to the order of the universe and they cannot have any control in the order of the universe. Understanding this is not difficult at all. Simple language is lailaha illahu but am I living in this world according to lailaha illahu? Most of the time I am not. I am lacking/missing the training of belief. There is no belief training going on in any religious community or institution of education. When you fast, you may adapt egoistic interpretation saying that I am a purified man now. You may pollute yourself by being proud of your fasting. It is very DANGEROUS!!!
Comment: Third, the awareness of the two perspectives i.e. acknowledging the reality that these two perspectives exist and that you have the ability to choose one or the other.
After going through these stages, you say: What am I supposed to do? What does my humanity require me to do? These are means of acknowledging the Absolute Source of my existence to which I belong. Whatever happens, I understand that it is the action realized by the Absolute One and I belong to that Creator, my Creator.
Comment: Ego is a non-existent option. We use the opportunity to choose. I am choosing to drop this pen.
In the language of the Quran, Satan is the representative of any egoistic interpretation, self-centered. All nasty figures in the Quran challenge God saying that you created me with the ability to choose the false option, that is what Satan says. Example: I can go to the Creator and say that you gave me the option to choose. It is true that the Creator has given us to use the consciousness in order to investigate whether a certain choice is right or wrong. Satan says I just offered you and you followed, I did not force you. I have no authority over you. It means the wrong option has no base to make me think that it is true, there is no evidence that I can bring out. Satan is only presenting me the option but this type of creation is created by God in order to give us the opportunity to distinguish between right and wrong and make decisions towards the right side.
- If there was no option (Satan) with no reality, base, evidence then there would be no choice between reality and the baseless option.
Quran is teaching that I have Satan in me, ie. the ability to choose the baseless choice. We cannot really justify wrong because there is no authority (evidence in creation) to justify that the wrong we have chosen is right. In the Quran, when people accuse Satan saying that Satan deceived us, it really means that Satan just showed you the option and you followed it. It is as if Satan says: “My mission is just to give you the option”. If there was no option in this universe, then we would not be able to exercise our freewill and we will be like stones. What makes us human beings is deciding what is wrong and deciding not to choose the wrong. When I do not choose the wrong, I am automatically doing right. Do not try to understand if I am doing right, concentrate on what I have chosen whether this choice is right or wrong and you will be careful about not making the mistake and choosing mistake. Concentrate on it and you will understand what is right and be on the right track.
- Anything that I choose which has no base is an egoistic approach.
Comment: You cannot deny the steps taken for the wrong steps that occurred. If I am diagnosed for example with a cardiovascular disease, I should be interested in only about my lifestyle whether I was filled with wrong choices or not. There has to be a basis for that diagnosis within the order of this universe.
What you have chosen is different from creating the result. I am not creating that disease, as a result of my choice it is created or it may not be a result of my choice. Example of that is a Tsunami or Earthquake. That is not my choice but the choice of my Creator. My responsibility is simple: “How do I see the Source of Existence of this event?” Try to use your consciousness in order to make some sense.
Comment: I am choosing and if I attribute the choice to myself, then it is not egoistic because it has a base.
You are denying who is giving you the tool of freewill. You are set free by It to choose. No one can have freedom not to have freedom. We are given the freewill and if I say I am not going to use this faculty, it is freewill. By its own nature, freewill is free. I am created with this option and set free to use it or not. I have to acknowledge that I am given freewill.
When you purify yourself, if you never attribute anything to anything of the part of the universe, don’t you think that you always find yourself in the presence of the Absolute Being? Prosperity does not mean that you have your villa. Prosperity is practicing the human qualities in order to acknowledge the Creator of the human qualities and your Creator as the Absolute Being. I belong to Him. (Inna Lillah).
Analogy: When I belong to God, as if I sign a contract with a rich company which has its branch in every country and I can never imagine that this company is ever going to fail. This company says that it can guarantee that my job will be with me until I die. You say I belong to this company. You have no worries. You will not be fired. Whatever you do, you are absolutely free. How do you identify yourself with? Family, body, nation or nationality? Who are you? I am an American. INSTEAD, I am the one who is created by the One who is the Owner of the universe. I belong to Its “Company.” This is the guaranteed happiness. If we do not have a prosperous life, then we are doing wrong as far as the process of purification is concerned.
87:15 “and remembers the name of his Lord, and prays.”
Are you in recognition of the qualities of the Creator of the things that you are interacting with? Then how do you remember? By disqualifying, not choosing the false option. Example: When I am hungry, food is there. While eating the food, what am I supposed to remember? The Absolute Mercy of the Creator of the food and my hunger for the food.
- Name of the Lord is manifested in the food. When you remember that, you have purified yourself. When you purify yourself, you are happy. Your human side requires Perfection and Eternity.
The other sort of purifications out there is related to our animal life. In this context, “prays” means supporting an idea we receive from someone. Whatever the Prophets bring to me, I endorse it. Prayer is the endorsement of the reality that I have chosen. Whatever conclusion we have gathered during our life, present and express it in the way the Prophet showed you. Prayer must be accompanied by three elements at the same time:
- Bodily expression because I am part of this material universe.
- Tongue expresses my conclusion with a language. (Saying, for example, “God is great”)
- Now what am I supposed to do? Acknowledge that I am not great by putting the body down. Tongue says that God is great!
If it is going to be an acknowledgment and prayer, it must be with consciousness. I must be aware of what I am doing. When the three elements are present in my action, that is what prayer is, otherwise we are just working out. When you purify yourself, prayer is an inevitable result, because you have no worry about your existence by belonging to the Absolute Being. Nothing bothers you anymore. It does not mean that the body’s needs should be ignored. That is how we are created: through the relationship with the universe (body), we are expected to acknowledge the Source of Existence of this relationship. That is prosperity.
Remembering is not in the form of knowledge. Example: “I forgot your name. Oh I remember now, it’s Maria!” Remembering is what is in your potentiality and to discover what is already there in order to become aware of it. It needs a long training. Remembrance is not an easy job. Theory-wise it is easy to understand but practice-wise we have to work on it.
Tags: Al-Ala, Ala Series, Freewill, Purification