Both Moses and the Pharaoh are Hidden Within You


The Qur’an is our book of instruction.

hudan lil’muttaqīn

(“…a guidance for the God-revering, pious who keep their duty to Allah.” (2:2)

A book of instruction for the pious and God-conscious. In the same way that even the simplest worldly instruction has its own textbook, we have a journey all the way to eternity, our book of instruction.

The Messenger of Allah says:

“Envy is permitted only in two cases: The first of these is a person whom Allah has taught the Qur’an. That person concerns himself with it by day and by night. The other is one whom Allah has given wealth, and they dispose of it rightfully, in the way of Allah.”(See Muslim, Musafirin, 266, 267)

They constantly say:

“Why has Allah given me this wealth?”

For as Allah declares in the Qur’anic chapter al-Fajr, “We give wealth” as a test. And the servant is pleased, He says. The carnal self enables them to be pleased. “Allah has honoured me and given me wealth,” they say. “But we bestow this wealth as a test,” He declares. “We decrease it for another,” He declares and then further down, “they are troubled,” He says. “Allah did not give me wealth, He gave it to So-and-so, but not to me,” it is said.

Perhaps not having been given it is a blessing for them. Because the responsibility of health is great indeed. The responsibility of opportunity and means is great.

And so the Companions, in order to avert this responsibility, went all the way to China in gratitude [to Allah], to Samarkand, to Kairouan, to Daghistan.

During the time of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz they had gone all the way to Spain, to the Pyrenees Mountains. Purely for the purpose of guiding the people… Not to conquer lands or water the earth with blood. To be able to convey the blessing of Islam with which Allah had bestowed them, in gratitude, to all humanity…

The Qur’an… How much do we love the Messenger of Allah? A measure: When we look at the life of the Messenger of Allah, we see that he read the Qur’an at every opportunity. For instance, when telling the people about Islam, when conversing with his Companions, he used to recite the Qur’an. When explaining a particular matter, he would recite the Qur’anic verses relevant to that matter. Night worship, especially the Tahajjud prayer, at length with the Qur’an, he would recite the Qur’an at length during the Late Night prayer. H would again recite the Qur’an at dawn. Moreover, Suraqa who followed him during his Emigration, said:

“I was following him. The Messenger of Allah and Abu Bakr were leading and I was following them from behind. I used to hear the Messenger of Allah’s recitation of the Qur’an.”

He was then an unbeliever, and later became a Muslim.

“I (he says) came as close to them as to hear the Messenger of Allah recite the Qur’an, to hear his recitation.”

The holy month of Ramadan draws near. The Qur’an was revealed during the month of Ramadan. It was revealed on the Night of Power. The month of Ramadan was honoured with the Qur’an. In other words, preparing for the month of Ramadan with the Qur’an.

The supplication of the Messenger of Allah:

Allahumma barik lana fi Rajab wa Sha’ban

“O Allah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us…”(Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Awsat, IV, 189; Bayhaqi, Shu’ab, V, 348 cf. Ahmad, I, 259)

Rajab and Sha’ban as preparation. In just the same way that the ritual ablution and cleansing oneself is preparation for the prayer.

Allahumma barik lana fi Rajab wa Sha’ban wa ballighna Ramadan

“O Allah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and enable us to reach the month of Ramadan.”(Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Awsat, IV, 189; Bayhaqi, Shu’ab, V, 348 cf. Ahmad, I, 259)

Our reaching Ramadan… How will we reach it? We will reach it with enthusiasm of heart. We will prepare our hearts. Just as experts of worldly, commercial professions concentrate on their work to gain expertise, because they will become experts. Or because they are to acquire a certain position, and they concentrate their efforts on reaching that position. Or like athletes retire to camps for competitions. They forbid themselves, at these camps, contact with the outside world and exert themselves entirely on that sport. Our being in a state of preparation also for the month of Ramadan, to enter the month of Ramadan with a life of the Qur’an. How will we enter with a life of the Qur’an?

First: Huruf (Articulation). Our recitation is to be proper. Prayer in the Divine Presence. We recite the Qur’an during the prayer. There can be no prayer without the Qur’an. If we do not have the strength, we can perform the prayer in a sitting position, without standing. But we cannot pray without reciting the Qur’an. Our articulation of the letters has to be proper.

Second: Hudud (Limits). Commands and prohibitions. Allah Almighty declares at the beginning of the Qur’anic chapter al-Hujuraat:

“…Do not be forward in the Presence of Allah and His Messenger…” (49:1) In whatever manner the command has come and specifies, then that is how… For example, there is no point if we begin fasting three hours in advance. If we begin 3 hours before and break fast 3 minutes early, then the fast has gone!

A person prays when the sun is rising. Someone behind him says:

“Look, you’re praying at a prohibited time!”

“Is it a crime to pray?” he answers, “I am prostrating to Allah.”

“It is not a crime to prostrate to Allah (he says), but it is a crime for you to disobey the Messenger of Allah.”

In brief, it is the Prophetic Practice which makes known the limits of the Qur’an, the life of Allah’s Messenger.

Secondly, being aware of the limits. Huruf, hudut and the third is khulq, or good character. Allah Almighty declares in the Qur’anic chapter Qalam:

“You are surely of a sublime character, and do act by a sublime pattern of conduct.” (68:4)

To undertake all our actions in line with the noble conduct of the Messenger of Allah:

“How much is my compassion and how much was the compassion of the Messenger of Allah? How much is my mildness of character and how much was the Messenger of Allah’s mildness of character? How much is my patience and how much was the patience of the Messenger of Allah?”

Al-mar’u ma’a man ahabba

“A person will be considered to be with one whom he loves.”(Bukhari, Adab, 96) So, this means [we need]huruf, hudut and khulq. The Qur’an would thus be complete with these three characteristics.

We are also informed that the Qur’an, too, will intercede on our behalf. But we must be adorned with these three attributes.

Again, the Messenger of Allah took pleasure in listening to someone else recite the Qur’an. He said to‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud one day:

“Recite the Qur’an to me,” he said.

‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud said:

“O Messenger of Allah, the Qur’an has been sent down to you. Should I recite it to you while it has been sent down or revealed to you?”

The Messenger of Allah, said:

“I love to hear it from someone else.”

[‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud] began reciting to him, until he reached the 41st verse of the Qur’anic chapter al-Nisa’:

“That is enough,” he said. “That is enough,” he said.

‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud said:

“I lifted my head and saw tears falling from the eyes of Allah’s Messenger.” (See Bukhari, Tafsir, 4/9; Muslim, Musafirin, 247)

The translation of the verse is:

“How, then, will it be (with people on the Day of Judgement) when We bring forward a witness from every community (to testify against them and that Allah’s Religion was communicated to them), and bring you (O Messenger) as a witness against all those (whom your Message may have reached)?” (4:41)

Again, even there, the Messenger of Allah is concerned with his community. He is worried about his community. Again, he begins to weep there.

Let us come now to this world:

It was created as a centre of trial and examination. There is nothing else, in any case. Coming from one side and leaving from the other. A complete centre of learning. From the particle to the heavenly body, from the atom to the galaxies, from a single cell to gigantic creatures, everything serves as an exhibition of Divine majesty, workings of power, Divine inscriptions…

Allah Almighty… a spring comes, flowers blossom, roses bloom, hyacinths flourish, etc. We thank someone who gives as a bouquet of flowers, because they remembered us. Allah Almighty reminds us of Himself in everything. He reminds us with His Blessings, His flowers, His roses, the fruits he bestows upon us, the vegetables. Every season gives [to us] separately.

One day, the Messenger of Allah held Mu’adh ibn Jabal by the hand, like so, and said:

“O Mu’adh, recite this supplication after every prayer:

Allahumma a’inni ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatika

“O Allah, help me in remembering You, help me in thanking you and help me in worshipping you with the best of deeds of righteousness.”

“O Mu’adh,” he said, “never forget to recite this after every prayer and seek refuge in Allah in this regard. Ask this of Allah.” (See Abu Dawud, Witr, 26)

Of course, in order to perceive the Divine majesty, carnal desires and wickedness must first be averted.

fa-alhamahā fujūrahā wataqwāhā

“And Who has inspired it with the conscience of what is wrong and bad for it, and what is right and good for it.”(91:8)

Wickedness and piety cannot come together. Put acid and alkali in a glass; they will fight against each other. Even in chemistry a war will begin. Two chemical substances begin warring. So then, what about our spiritual life? This is why Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi says:

“Both the Pharaoh and Moses are within you, are hidden therein.”   In other words, your carnal self is a Pharaoh, he says, and piety is a Moses. Both of them are hidden within you.

Allah Almighty declares, in relation to our reason for creation:

liyaʿbudūn “…but to (know and) worship Me (exclusively).”(51:56)

li ya’rifūn (that they may know Me)

Being able to attain knowledge of Allah, to know Allah Almighty in the heart. Of course when a person knows Allah Almighty in their heart, they also become closely acquainted with the Messenger of Allah.

The Messenger of Allah states:

“…If you knew what I knew, you would laugh little (you would not eat or drink) and go out in the wilderness…”(See Ibn Maja, Zuhd, 19)

Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi is the spokesperson of all the friends of Allah. When he was the teacher of all courses of the University of the Seljuqs, when he held the post of general instructorship, he refers to this state of his saying, “I was raw”. When he began receiving a spiritual share in knowledge of Allah, he says, “I was cooked.” Then he says, “and then burned.”

That is to say, here are certain manifestations of Allah Almighty’s Divine majesty. A close acquaintance with the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, begins. When he begins to know him intimately, he says:

“I am the dust on the path of Muhammad, the Chosen one. I am the servant of the Qur’an. I am the slave of the Qur’an. I am the dust on the path of Muhammad, the Chosen One.”

This means that he begins to know the Messenger of Allah. And upon this, a 26,600-couplet Mathnawiemerges.

In other words, how much can we know the Messenger of Allah in our hearts? For this, piety is a must.

This place is a coastal city. When we look from the shore at the sea we see a horizon. That horizon ends, the capacity of our eyes diminishes, as does our ability to see, and the horizon is covered with the clouds. However, a competent diver beholds different scenes at every stage, for as far below as they can descend. The heart is the same. Closeness to Allah Almighty increases commensurate with the stages it reaches. As stated at the beginning of the Qur’anic verse, it becomes a friend to Allah Almighty.

Allah Almighty declares:

kuntum khayra ummatin ukh’rijat lilnnāsi tamurūna bil-maʿrūfi watanhawna ʿani l-munkar

“(O Community of Muhammad!) You are the best community ever brought forth for (the good of) humankind, enjoining and promoting what is right and good, and forbidding and trying to prevent evil…” (3:110)

The blessings of Allah Almighty:

The Messenger of Allah, the Qur’an, this universe.

The favours of Allah Almighty. What does Allah Almighty want in return for this?

“You are the best community ever brought forth for (the good of) humankind, enjoining and promoting what is right and good, and forbidding and trying to prevent evil…” (3:110)

This means that we must revive ourselves. The inner world is to increase in rank. The inner world will be filled with spirituality. That heart that is filled with spirituality will reverberate will go into a trance.

Just as a beautiful fragrance would be diffused in every direction if a bottle of cologne were to explode here, such a spirituality will manifest itself from the heart. And that will lead to a state of repose. This will give rise to the most excellent result of conveying the message, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

We too read the same Prophetic Tradition of the Messenger of Allah as the Companions, but how great are their impact?

“It was as though,” say the Companions “birds were perched on our heads, when the Messenger of Allah enjoined the good, and that these would fly away if we budged.” (See Abu Dawud, Sunna, 23-24:4753; Ibn Maja, Jana’iz, 37)

This means that however much our heart is filled with spirituality, then our impact on our children, our family, our community will have increased to the same degree.

And then another verse, in the Qur’anic chapter al-Baqara:

“…that you may be witnesses for the people…”

Your being a witness for humanity.

“…and that the (most noble) Messenger may be a witness for you…”

We are to get a visa from the Messenger of Allah.

Allah Almighty declares “…We have made you a middle-way community (a people calling to good, prone to goodness)…” (See, 2:143)

In short, a Muslim is to constantly represent Islam with their character, with their person.

Before conveying the message to his relatives the Messenger of Allah said:

“Would you believe me if I were to tell you that was an enemy approaching from behind this mountains?”

His relatives said:

“You are the most truthful person among us. You have never spoken a word of falsehood. Everything you speak is the truth. What you are to say now is also the truth.”

Upon this, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, began conveying the message of Islam to them. (See Bukhari, Tafsir, 26)

In short, to be able to be a propitious community and to enjoin the good and forbid the evil with that propitious community…

Osman Nuri Topbaş


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