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The Shaikh Muhammad Rahim Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Library
The Wondrous City
The Tenth Test - Understanding the Nature of Death,
and How to Die Before Death
By His Holiness M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
(may God be pleased with Him, and with Us)
Selection: Chapter 2
Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim - In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
His Holiness Teaches Us:
My loving children, my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters. In the ninth test we learned about the animal within man, and the nature of the creations. Now it is time to talk about death.
I give you my love, my children. Come along with me to an amazing city which is at the base of the same mountain where earlier we watched the animals grazing. The mountain is more than forty miles high, but the city is no bigger than an atom.
What an exquisite city it is! Come and look around. There are so many wonders to be seen here. Look at all the tempting varieties of fruits growing in the orchards. Many people come here in search of these fruits, and then they discover this marvelous city and choose to stay here and build their homes.
Over the years, so many have come here, and yet the city appears to be deserted. Most of the houses are slowly deteriorating and the rest are completely in ruins. When the people first arrive here, they marvel at the wondrous city, and the abundance of trees, fruits, gold and gems. But soon they become trapped.
They lock themselves in their houses and peer out anxiously, too frightened to venture forth and enjoy the wonders. They live a life of constant fear in this tiny city at the bottom of the rocky mountain.
Look over there, my children. Do you see that man and his family peering out of the window? Come, let's knock on their door and ask them what terrible secret paralyzes this city.
Oh, look how they pull their heads in and hide when they see us. They must be terribly afraid of something, for their door is bolted tight and they refuse to open it. Wait here, my children, while I try to find out what's going on.
"Sir! I want to ask you a question. Don't be afraid. You don't have to open the
door. You could just call out a quick answer to me."
"No, go away! Run as fast as you can! Its dangerous here!"
"Your voice is trembling. Why are you so frightened? What are you hiding from?" "We can't tell you now. Run for your lives! It'll be here any minute." "What will be here? Please, tell me."
"Don't you realize your lives are in danger? Why did you come here? Were you
lured by the wonders of this beautiful city? You must have heard about the delicious fruits and the mountains of gold and gems." "We too wanted these things and came here searching for them, but we didn't know about the horrible demon that terrorizes the city. And now this big house that we built has become a prison for us. We never know when the demon will strike, so we lock ourselves inside and live in constant fear!" "What sort of demon is this?" "When it first appears it looks small, but then it grows bigger and bigger and bigger, until it becomes as huge as the city. It demolishes the houses, gobbles up the people, drinks their blood and spits out their skin and bones!" "When the demon roars, its dreadful sound shakes the whole mountain! As soon as we hear that noise, we run and hide in our houses. If anyone dares to venture out, the demon immediately grabs him and sucks the strength out of his body. It sucks out his very life!" "So many people have been destroyed in this way. Some attempt to escape, but you can be sure that everyone who comes here eventually gets caught by that huge beast." "You say this demon comes as a small thing and then grows bigger? At what time of the day does it usually come?" "There is no set time. We live in constant terror, for it can come at any moment. We never know when it is safe to go out, and the dilemma of this place is that we can't even enjoy the fruits and treasures we came here for." "But that demon is not our only problem. There is also another sound that sometimes comes down from the top of the mountain and frightens us. In many different voices and melodies it calls out our names. 'Son of so-and-so, your time is up! The food and water that has been allotted for you has reached its limit. Now come to me.'" "The moment anyone hears that sound, he goes crazy. No matter how many people are with him, there's no holding him back. Shrieking and howling, he tears himself loose and rushes wildly toward the mountain like a crazy man, and it is impossible to catch him." "Once he climbs that mountain, we never see him again. He never returns. This happens every time that call comes down from the mountain." "Sir, do the think the demon might come soon?" "Maybe. It can appear in an instant." "Then may we come inside your house for a while?" "No, no! I dare not open the door. Run for your lives! Escape while you can!" "Please just let us come in long enough to see the demon." "No! Go away! Please, go away!"
My children, were you listening? This city is the world. Whatever the mind needs or desires can be found here. Everything is here - gold, gems, fruits, houses, property - everything. But this demonic beast will eventually destroy it all.
My children, do you know what this demon is? It is the satanic qualities and the evil desires and cravings that grow in people's hearts. It is the egoism of the I and the separatism of I and you.
It is arrogance, karma, illusion, and the qualities of the three sons of illusion, the sexual energies know as tarahan, singhan, and suran. It is lust, anger, miserliness, greed, fanaticism, envy, theft, murder, intoxicants, and falsehood.
This terrible demon is all these things. It contains all the qualities of satan that people develop within the huge jungles of their hearts. Deceit, treachery, and the desire for land, sensual pleasure (woman), and gold, can all be found in these jungles.
The poisonous qualities of spiders, scorpions, and snakes; the inherited qualities of lions, tigers, donkeys, monkeys, cows, and goats; the fecal arrogance of the elephant; even ghosts, jinns, fairies, devils, and the demons inherent in the five elements - all these dwell in the jungles of people's hearts.
The qualities of all the forms in the world rolled up together form this huge demonic beast, which is ready at every second to jump out.
At first it appears to be only a tiny thing, no bigger than an atom, but it grows and grows, until it reaches a monstrous size, and then it attacks and destroys the city of the heart.
Because the people who live here have accumulated and nourished the qualities of this beast, destruction has befallen the entire city.
My children, Allah created Adam (A.S.) as a perfect pure form, as a true human being, an insan. But because satan was envious of Adam (A.S.), he spat on him, and the place where that drop of spit fell became man's navel.
It was only a tiny drop of spit, but that one drop was full of envy, pride, arrogance, and jealousy. As those qualities grew bigger and bigger, they developed into a demonic beast, which to this day emerges from within man, destroying him second by second.
When all the satanic qualities man has nurtured erupt from within him, and he becomes this beast, then his original form, that beautiful secret of God, is destroyed.
His good qualities, and the goodness that comes from those qualities are ruined. His very life is destroyed.
My children, everything can be found in the world: Allah's benevolent grace, His precious Rahmat, and all the wealth from the world of souls, this world, and the hereafter. But man does not understand the value of these treasures.
Forgetting that he will die one day, he continues to nurture the evil qualities which destroy him.
It is important for man to remember and understand that both good and evil, khair and sharr, exist here, and they are within Allah's trust, His tawakkul.
The goodness is the taste of Allah; it is His wealth and He is responsible for it, it cannot be destroyed. The evil is the taste of hell, it is the creation, the world, and Allah has discarded it.
My precious children, every person in this city must drive the wicked animal qualities out of the house of his own heart. Every person must clear his heart and make it resonate with La ilaha ill-Allahu: There is nothing other than You, O God, only You are Allah.
When the resonance of the One of praise resplends within each man's heart, then this city will be filled with God's benevolent grace.
The man who can fill his heart in that way will no longer need to be afraid, because the evil animals will not come near him when they hear the resonance of "Allahu Akbar!
God is Great!" If they do approach, they will be burned by that benevolent grace and run away.
Then, for him, this world will be changed into the hereafter, and the hereafter will be changed into this world. His heart will become Allah's heart of benevolent grace, and His house will be the light-filled house of Allah's boundless grace, the 'arshul-mu'min, the throne of the true believer.
My children, now that we have come here, let us look at the grace and the wealth that Allah has put here for you. He has placed beautiful flowers and tasty fruits in this world
and given you the complete wealth of the three worlds.
He has placed wisdom, good qualities and the divine knowledge of 'ilm upon His throne within paradise.
To a wise person, to a true human being, an insan, both this world and the hereafter will have the same taste. The same undiminishing wealth.
Pluck these tasty fruits, my children. This is not satan's portion, this share is for you.
It is God's grace for you. To you who have God's grace, this world is full of grace, and there is no animosity here for you. This is the place where you learn how to dispel the animals within you.
Now come with me and eat these fruits. How do they taste? Aren't they delicious? Did you notice how many different tastes are within each fruit?
There is the taste of absolute faith, certitude, and determination, the taste of iman. And here is the taste of Allah's love, the taste of praising Him, and the taste of the divine knowledge ('ilm) that has faith in Him.
Here is the good taste of Allah, that comes from His good qualities - the taste of mercy and compassion, of Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim.
My children, if you do not have that taste within you, and if you do not have the taste
of iman, and of the Kalimah, then for you these fruits will only have the taste of hell.
Those who come to this city of the world as true human beings, as insan, will search for Allah's good taste. They will eat these fruits and know the taste of Allah's qualities, the taste of His heaven. The demonic beast will not harm them.
But most of those who come to this world come searching for the taste of hell. They have raised many animals within them and have developed a taste for hell.
My children, we must help them to change. Look around you. Can you see a true human being in the entire place? Have you seen even one here during our visit?
No, you saw only outer forms that had the appearance of human beings. If a true man were to stand before this city, such animals could not enter here. They could not pass by him, for he would destroy them.
But the people here have never seen a true man, and so they are prey to the demonic beast. That is why this city is continually being destroyed.
Are you coming, my children? Let us go further on and visit the house of a true human being. To get there we must climb up five steps and then go even higher to the sixth step, where his house stands.
Now look around. The whole world can be seen from here. Below, on the steps of the five elements live the five kinds of lives: earth-lives, fire-lives, water-lives, air-lives, and ether-lives. But here, on the sixth step lives the heart, which is the palace of the soul,
where the light of Allah dwells.
The sixth life is a great mystery, a vast secret. It is easy to understand earth, fire, water, air, and ether, but it is most difficult to understand the soul. However, if through divine knowledge ('ilm) a human being does succeed in understanding this sixth life, then he will come to know Allah, who is the Emperor of that soul.
The soul is Allah's secret and His treasure. It is a tiny point, an infinitely small piece of flesh dwelling within the house of the heart. This tiny point is know as the throne of the true believer, the 'arshul-mu'min. The grace of Allah, the wealth of His divine knowledge ('ilm), and the treasures of wisdom and God's qualities, can all be found there. This is a very great mystery.
My children, now let us enter this wondrous house. This is the house of the Qutb, Muhaiyaddeen 'Abdul-Qadir al-Jalani (may God be pleased with Him), the house of wisdom. This is the sixth level of wisdom, the state of Qutbiyyat, the wisdom which explains. This is the wisdom of 'ilm, the state of divine analytic wisdom.
Here you can find Allah, the soul and goodness. Here will be the food that is good for you, and all that is permissible, or halal.
From this vantage point, let us look down and observe the city of the world, the dunya.
You can see so many wonders - seventy thousand varieties of lights, colors, fruits, leaves, and other wondrous things.
And yet that whole world is but a tiny dot, or nuqat, below the Arabic letter "ba" (the Arabic letter for 'b', like in the word Bawa). Everything we see exists within this dot.
From here we can also see the eighteen thousand universes. They are contained within the sukun, the circle on top of the letter mim, the Arabic letter for "m" (like in the word Muhaiyaddeen or Muhammad or Moses).
This sukun appears in Allah Muhammad. Allah is the support for this house, the alif, the pillar for the sukun of the mim. Once the mim is supported by Allah, it becomes
Because Allah protects Muhammad (Sal.), the world of pure souls and the eighteen universes, this house of the soul is absolutely indestructible. Have you looked at this house? It is a mystery.
Do you know its length and breath or its depth? Do you know how vast it is? As you look deeper and deeper into each universe, it becomes vaster and vaster.
These eighteen thousand universes are yours, and the eight heavens are yours. Whenever you wish, you may come and go, to and fro, among them. You have been given the freedom to do this.
Yet man continues to live confined within this tiny dot, which is the world. How difficult he finds it to live there! How terrified he is, imprisoned in such a small place! You must think about this.
My children, the world is only a nuqat, a tiny house were the creations live, but this
sukun, this Rahmatul-'alamin, the grace of all the universes, is your true home, your secret house, and it is a vast mystery. You must understand this mystery, my children.
Now, look at the ninety-nine windows of this house. Allah has built these windows out of His ninety-nine compassionate qualities and actions. If you look through each window, you will see the wonders of all of everything, from beginning to end.
You can see and understand the world of the souls, this world, and the hereafter. You can see the seven hells and the agonies suffered there. You can see how the people in the world are tortured by their desires and cravings.
Stand at each window, my children, and look at the horrendous things taking place in each section of the world. Look at the arrogance, karma, and misery. Look at the selfishness, the jealousy, doubt, envy, anger, hypocrisy, and fighting. Look at the battles, the bloodshed, maiming, and the killing in this world within the dot below the (Arabic letter) "ba'".
Do you see how the animals are trying to destroy each other? Hell is eating hell, demons are drinking the blood of demons, snakes are swallowing snakes, dogs are biting dogs, donkeys are kicking donkeys, elephants are charging at elephants, lions are killing lions, tigers are stalking tigers, cows are butting cows, and cats are pouncing on cats.
They are all fighting within their own families, against their own kind, and destroying each other. Can you see anyone else coming to ruin them? No, the destruction comes from within. The enemy within them is the enemy that is destroying them.
Do you see what is happening now, my children? All these animals are banding together and have chosen the lion as their leader. Having united as one force, they are ravaging everything, and once they have destroyed the entire city, they will turn and destroy each other. This is hell, and these are the societies of hell. We must understand this, my children.
Allah's ninety-nine gracious qualities, of the As-ma'ul-Husna, are the windows through which we can see all of this world and the hereafter. Come, stand here and look with your divine knowledge through each of His names and each of His qualities. Once you have looked through these windows, you will understand.
Do you see the complete and faultless treasure of absolute wealth which has been given to you? Do you see Allah's grace of Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim? This is the water which Allah made to be exalted in the world of pure souls, in 'alamul-arwah, and placed in the goblet of iman, within the faith of the Kalimah.
Take one drop of its benevolent grace and place it on your tongue of divine knowledge.
Now taste it. How is it, my children? Ahhh! That one drop of the water of
Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim has seventy thousand exquisite tastes, doesn't it? How delicious it is!
Can you compare its taste to any other you have known? Can you find a taste equal to it anywhere in the world? Do you feel any hunger now? No, you are filled with grace.
Look at your body now. It is shining with light and you are complete. Allah's house of grace, His Rahmat, is yours.
Can you understand this? And yet you took only one drop. What will you be like if you drink a whole once? Your entire body will become a house of grace. You will be transformed into brilliant light and merge with the light of Allah.
To find this water you must come here to the secret house of wisdom. Only then will you receive completeness. If you fail to come, you will be left with only what you can see on the outside. You must understand this. I love you, my children.
Watch out! The beast is coming! It is as huge as a mountain. Fire is spewing out of its mouth, and the entire city is shaking. This monstrous beast is called Muyalahan. It comes from hell.
Its form is all the evil qualities of the world rolled into one: arrogance, karma, illusion, and the three demons known as tarahan, singhan, and suran.
Children, it is coming closer! But do not be afraid, this beast cannot touch a true man of iman or the qualities of Allah. It cannot touch the Ill-Allahu that comes from Allah's qudrat.
Stand to one side, out of the way of danger. I will tell you what is happening. Oh, the beast is almost here! Look, it has three eyes! One eye is lust, one is hell, and the third is the burning fires of that hell.
All three eyes are blazing with fire from the passage of hell. The flames are spreading to this section of the city, and all the houses are ablaze. The whole city is burning!
Come, you can watch with me through the window of Compassion, the window of
Look! The beast has been scorched and blinded by its own fire, which has ignited its body. It is burning in the fire from its own mouth. Unable to see the path, it is panicking, frantically dashing here and there, and crashing into things.
How horrible! Listen to it screaming and howling as it writhes on the ground. The whole city shudders and quakes at the sound.
When this beast, which exists in the heart of man, approached the house of the soul, when it faced the truth and the resplendence of truth, its eyes were blinded.
Like this, my children, whatever one develops within himself in this city of the world,
whatever fire he lights, that same fire will burn him. He himself nurtures his own demonic beast. It comes from within him.
It is his own qualities and actions that are destroying him and making him suffer. They are the cause of his poverty, illness, karma, and misery. Whatever desire he has for land, gold, sensual pleasure (woman), and anything that is forbidden, or haram,
whatever pride, jealousy, deceit, anger, treachery, doubt and suspicions he harbors - all these evil qualities come out of him and burn him to a crisp.
Whatever suffering he undergoes arises from within himself, and then, unable to bear such misery, he blindly runs here and there, not knowing his way. He cries out to countless gods, but they do not come to help him.
He turns to race, religion, and caste, yelling, "Mine!" and "Yours!" He shouts mantras
and performs cunning tricks, or tantras. But nothing comes to his help. The demonic beast that burns him is the very state that he developed within himself.
He has forgotten the one truth that could help him (that God is "One with" you, that you are not "separate from" God). He runs hither and thither, wailing from the pain of the fire, and finally he rushes toward the ocean of illusion and plunges into the drain-hole of karma, down the birth canal from which he first came.
Look how he twists and turns and tumbles as he falls into that tiny hole. But that doesn't help him either, for even there, the fire is not quenched.
My children, you must understand this. Come, now that the beast has disappeared into the cave, let's go outside and climb the mountain that towers over the city, and from there we will be able to see even further.
Listen! Do you hear that sound? It can be heard in all four sections of the city, in the north, the south, the east, and the west. It can be heard all over the world. Within that one sound are forty thousand voices calling,
"Son of so-and-so, you have reached the limit of your food and water on this
earth. Come to the mountain!"
The forty thousand names that are called are human names, but the people who come running in response look more like animals.
Children, watch and see what happens. Each time a man hears his name called, he becomes anxious and fearful, for suddenly, all the animals he has so carefully reared within his heart, all the wicked qualities which he has nurtured, come rushing out to destroy him, and this creates terror in his mind.
Look! The people who heard themselves summoned are running. The moment they heard their names called, they broke away, ripped off their clothes, and run wildly. Others are trying to stop them, but they cannot.
My children, do you know what this sound is? It is death. It is the sound of the Lord, the Rabb. He who created the world and all the being in it also created death. He decreed that all of everything that has been created must one day come to an end.
Death must come to mind and desire as well as to the body. One day each man will have to leave everything behind and go on to the state of death.
At each of the five times of prayer, or waqt, at all times, so many beings are beckoned by death and nothing can help them then, not their relatives or properties or attachments, nor their philosophies, religions, idols, mantras or tantras.
Even though a man may possess great wealth, even though he has everything, nothing can stop his fear of being called one day. It haunts him constantly and prevents him from enjoying the benefits of the wealth of awwal, dunya, and akhirah, the primal beginning, this world, and the hereafter.
Thus he lives in fear until he dies. Just when he is least expecting it, when a man thinks he has escaped and will stay in the world forever, death suddenly calls to him from the top of that high mountain.
His time is up. And when death calls, he must go. Nothing can hold him back. Nothing can defeat death. God is the only One who can change the destiny of a man, the only One who can change his time of death.
Only the One who created him can allow him to stay in this world. No one else has that power.
I give you my love, my children. You must think about this. You saw those people running away, and now you know where they were going.
My loving children, we will talk more about this later. Tomorrow we will watch them going up the mountain, but now, let's rest for a while.
End of This Selection