Motivation | Shaykh Sayyid Habib Ali al-Jifri
Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh , We pray this finds everyone well, wrapped in Allah’s mercy and steadfastly traveling the path to eternal felicity, in sha Allah.
When I was young man I used to sit and listen to our elders, once I heard one of the elders saying something about the electricity that had entered into our village. He said this is a bad innovation and I remembered at the time, the other young children I was with laughed at this old man and thought he was silly, that he couldn’t see the progress that this would bring. Because I had heard similar comments from several of our elders; I approached Habib Abdul Qadir as-Saqqaf Rahimahullah and asked them, why some of the elders were against the electricity coming into our village, when it is a means to something very good and positive?
At the time he said something that I wrote down because I didn’t fully understand the meaning but knew it was of importance. He said they are not upset with the thing in of itself, but what troubles them is what it might be used for and how there using it now. When I was a lot older I reflected on how this technology was used throughout the world and realised there was an immense amount of wisdom in what our elders said. If you look at human beings and our purpose, this is something that often people don’t contemplate on. Why are we doing this thing? Why are we using it and what’s its purpose?
If you look at your own experiences of the schools you went to in primary, middle and high school. The differences are that the basic structure from society to society; however the basic principles of modern education are all the same, you move along this route and progress to higher levels and stages of education until you find that you reach university. How many of you are doing this with a understanding that the reason I’m doing this is in order that I might acquire knowledge that is going to be beneficial in this world, that it is going to actually benefit other people as well.
So many people in their schools are in fact thinking nothing other than how can I get a job? How can I find my personal gratification? And this becomes the purpose of their studies, for their endeavours that they strive for this and so there entire processes are actually moving towards indulgence and exploitation, because this is ultimately their goal in search for worldly desires.
They ask how can I use these things around me in order to serve me, to facilitate my enjoyment in the world, and because of that they begin to oppress others and we like to look at the oppression committed around the world. We look at political oppression and how these political structures are behaving and working; but very few of us are willing to reflect on our own actions, purposes and our intentions and do not realise that those things we see around the world hat are so odious are driven by the very same thing that is driving us in our own little world, that it is only a reflection of the same thing that is driving us as individuals. These same drivers exist in people that are carrying out these terrible acts around the world.
What we have to realise is that this increasing acceleration of destruction and the disintegration of humanity is nothing other than a testimony to the fact that we are in a mode of complete societal failure, in essence a failed project, and if we think hard about this you may find an alternative to this
I’m talking about a system that actually cared for the needy, established water wells all around the desert for travellers as an act of charity. With the aim not to make money but only to draw closer to their Lord in service of his creation. I’m talking about the trust that we were given for taking care of the birds. I’m talking about the dogs and cats in our cities being looked after. I’m talking about societies that when a ruler became the head of it, in two years he achieved something unprecedented, that there was not one person that could be found in need, and that the needs of the impoverished were actually being fulfilled by society because of a governor serving the people and utilising everything in his power to achieve that end.
When we see this type of motivation in human beings, in a society, one can truly stand up and feel a sense of pride that he can actually call him or herself a human being. This is the religion that Sayidna Bilal al Habashi who was a slave and in the time of slavery, the Arabs would put there sandals on his face because he was a black Ethiopian slave, and that this is the man who went onto actually place his sandals on the holiest of holy places which is the roof of the Ka’abah itself in order to make the Azaan by the order of the Arabian Prophet Sallah alayhi Wasalam. Because the one being stepped on when ignorance ruled was now the one-stepping on the holiest of holy places in Islam.
I’m talking about Al Khatab who struck his sister because she was reciting the Quran, a man who buried his daughter alive because he considered her a shame and a possible blemish on his own honour. This is the man who actually became one of the rulers of the Muslims, he was a man who carried a jug of water and flour on his back to the elderly and needy, and when he was asked why he said I looked at the roman rulers and saw how arrogant they had become and I was fearful anything like that would enter into my heart so I wanted to do this as a reminder to keep me humbled in this position. And would say I have been instructed by my Lord, and he made this his practice. This was a man of breaking his own ego and protecting himself of what he feared power might make
him. This is a man when Sayidina Abu Bakr freed Sayidna Bilal said Abu baker is my master and freed another of my masters Bilal the Ethiopian. This is something we know has existed in human history and there are numerous examples of human beings that were not driven by merely material concerns, by desires to exploit, by desires to get all they could for their own self-gratification. But human beings that we’re motivated by higher principles, by Devine principles and this is something that if you go back and examine the book of Allah you will find these meanings embodied in that book, you will find in that book are the very principles that are so sorely needed by the current humanity in order to prevent continual disintegration and disillusion, until nothing is left of our humanity. May god grant us success in achieving what we will need in order to change our condition. Ameen
- Notes by Sidi Billal Ba’Alawi Taken from a Class with Shaykh Sayyid Habib Ali al-Jifri Hafidahullah from Yemen