The World of Duality

Al Hamdu Lillaahi Rabbil 'Aalameen was Salaatu was

Salaamu 'alaa Ashrafil Anbiyaa'e wal Mursaleen


"Do not view with eager eyes the insignificant things that

a certain group or community may have been given to

enjoy by Us, for the sake of a test, as a manifestation of the

transitory life of the world, for your sustenance and provision,

which is with your Lord, is much superior and enduring."


[Surah TaHa verse 131]


Wa Ba'd:


Alal Muslimeena Jami'ah! From the first moment that the Light of Allah-wariness shines into the heart of a human being possessing faith, he or she becomes conscious of its worth and significance. It is by virtue of this awareness and  far-reaching vision that a true Muh'min does not seek honour and merit in power and possessions, race and descent. A Muh'min courageously resists temptations and illusionary desires, for he or she has understood that no matter how important and precious some things should appear to be, they are insignificant and worthless before Almighty Allah's Greatness and Majesty and his or her own higher feelings. The Most Glorious Qur'an - that ultimate heavenly source of Divine revelation, which has the most significant role in forming our views, always speaks of opposition and contrast as the "Signs of Almighty Allah." These treasures are there for all the wayfarers and seekers. We learn in verses 13 and 14 of Surah Nuh:


"What is the matter with you, that ye place not your hope

for kindness and long-suffering in Allah? Seeing that it is

He that has created you in diverse stages?"


People of Imaan! An alternative translation of "hope for kindness and long-suffering in Allah" would be ".......that you fear Allah's Message", i.e. why don't you fear Allah's Majesty, His Greatness, and consequent punishment for your sinfulness; and hope for His Mercy, kindness, and reward for your faith and good deeds? The word of the verse contain the twin strands - fear and hope - simultaneously. The meaning of "created you in diverse stages" may even be wider. Man in his various stages exhibits various wonderful qualities or capacities, mental and spiritual, that may be compared with the wonderful workings of nature on the earth and in the heavens.


Ya Ibad Allah! Will he not then be grateful for these Mercies and turn to Almighty Allah Most Exalted Who created all these marvels? We frequently encounter the combination of the opposites treated as an issue relating to the question of the Oneness of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. There are numerous references to one opposite giving birth to its own opposite. The Most Holy and Noble Qur'an also considers this condition to be a sign of the Great Wisdom and Craftsmanship of Almighty Allah Jallah Wa'ala as we learn from the Qur'anic verse:


"He makes the night to enter into the day and makes the

day to enter into the night and He brings forth the living

from the dead and brings forth the dead from the living."


Beloved Ummatul Muslimeen! The fact that Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala'meen has made sense faculties proves that He has no sense faculty; the fact that He has made things which are opposite to each other, proves that He has no opposite; the fact that He has made things similar to each other, proves that there is nothing like Him. He made Haqq the opposite to Batil, Light the opposite to Darkness, clarity the opposite to ambiguity, solidity the opposite of fluidity, hotness the opposite to coldness and goodness the opposite to evil. He reconciled the homogeneous things and associated the heterogeneous. Things which were far apart He brought close - and things which were close, He made distant from each other. Our minds and hearts tell us that this world of being with its wondrous system of duality did not come about by itself; such an astonishing world of creation could not rise without being arranged by a Creator Who has brought about this vast and glorious universe through His limitless knowledge and power.


Ayyuhal Muslimeen! Almighty Allah launched this creation with its intricate system on the basis of set and immutable laws covering all of being. He created nothing in vain and excluded no being from the Divine Laws governing the universe. Can one believe that a Most Gracious and Merciful Creator, given all the kindness and attention He has extended to His creatures, has left man, the masterwork of the creation, on his own? That He has left human society to live by its own wits, when people are for the most part prisoners of desire and liable to stray into misfortune? Is the answer not clear without being spoken? Accordingly, He sent instructions for human beings through the Ambiya Alayhim Salaam free of any sort of error, so that they could attain to happiness by following those instructions.  Conflict, collision and struggle are some of the fixed characteristics of this world.


Ummatal Islam! We live in a world full of conflict and interference. This is the world of creation and destruction, making and breaking, weaving and tearing apart, birth and death. Here we see a whole series of opposites paired in an eternal embrace: good and evil, being and non-being, pleasure and pain - these are the stuff of reality. Two opposite forces are observed existing side by side. Many people consider this to be an imperfect world because of this duality. They feel that this is not the best of all possible worlds, that this is not an ideal world.  They wish that it were a world in which there was only light, life, goodness, happiness, peace and tranquility. They wish that sickness, darkness, death, evil, misery and anxiety did never exist. These people are amazed that the Most Glorious Creator did not fashion the world in the image of the idealized notions which they happen to conceive. The idea of dualism was born from precisely this perception. It was thought that if the world had one source and was ruled by a single principle, two opposite tendencies would never exist.


Fa ya Ayyuhan nas! Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala has made man superior to other living beings by endowing him a superb constitution and a beautiful appearance. Yet there is another form and a different face of him, which is heavenly and invisible, which is determined by the qualities of his soul and his inner nature. The people of the world are briefly divisible into two classes. They are either those whom certitude has brought to the point that they see all the outward means and apparent agents as being subject to the perfect and eternal will of the Necessary Being. They see and seek nothing except Almighty Allah Tabaraqa Wata'ala, and they believe that He is the Sovereign Lord in the world and in the Hereafter. Finding a certitude unmarred by deficiency, doubt and hesitation, they have true faith in what Almighty Allah declares in verse 26 of Surah Al Imran:


Say: "O Allah! Lord of Power (and Rule), Thou givest Power to whom Thou pleasest,

and Thou strippest off Power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honour whom

Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy Hand is all Good.

Verily, over all things Thou hast Power."


Ummatal Qur'an! They consider Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal, the Exalted, the Master of the Kingdom of being and all gifts to be from that Sacred Being. They consider all the ebbs and flows of being and all the existential perfections to be derived from the Sacred Being in accordance with the [best] order [of existence] and the [universal] good. They do not attach any worth to the pleasure and displeasure of the people and seek nothing except Almighty Allah's Good Pleasure. Rising above the animal plane to the higher levels is something which is possible for everyone. That is because the desire to attain perfection is innate in human nature, and this inclination is deeply rooted in the human soul. But it definitely stands in need of guidance and care. However, one does not need to be forcefully dragged in order to traverse the downward course of degeneration, because one's base inclinations automatically lead one down the steep path of moral decline.


Ayyuhal Gafieloon! A human being can fall to the low level of a beast, while possessing at the same time the capacity to cast away destructive motives before they become potent and to make the angelic ascent towards the higher world. If the edifice of our happiness were to be built on material means, it would soon fall and turn into ruin. That is because the material world is transitory and subject to change, and all its means are fleeting like flashes of lightning, unenduring like vapour and unstable like fire. It is evident how much one can depend on such fleeting and passing means. One who seeks joy and comfort through material means is like one who goes to sleep on an iceberg in a tempestuous sea, heedless of the world around  him or her. Soon the iceberg melts and the individual slips into the arms of its angry waves.


Ih'watal Imaan! Worldly wealth is a means to remove need, not the asset to felicity. That which makes us happy is the soul's comfort, and here material means have no role. Do not for a single moment imagine that I wish to underrate the importance of wealth, for it can be an aid to achieving inner comfort if accompanied by wisdom and moderation. It is certain that excess in the pursuit of material means leads to a spiritual imbalance. Soon our souls are invaded by envy, hostility, and violence which are an essential part of a materialistic attitude. We need moderation in order to be happy and to be constantly watchful of ourselves so as not to deviate towards either extremes on the path of life.


Shababal Islam! We read in religious stories that in the Aghirah [Hereafter] the sinners will have to cross over the Bridge of Sirat 'which is hotter than fire, sharper than a sword's edge, and thinner than a hair.' Such is the path of life, as it is finer than a hair and a moment of neglect makes us deviate from it. It is sharper than a sword's edge and we are done with if we are not careful. It consumes like fire and a moment of carelessness is enough to make its sparks set the harvest of our being on fire. If we wish to be spiritually happy, do not be unruly and avaricious like fire. Spiritual happiness does not harmonize with greed and avarice. The greedy nature is like a disturbed sea and wretched is the person who pins his or her hopes of peace and tranquillity on a storm.


O you who believe! The Truth that a human being innately seeks as a means to his or her own happiness that will never be overturned, as a support that will never be destroyed, and as a way to relate his or her life to the whole and bring him or her inner peace is the Din of Haqq. Only the Will of Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala'meen is never defeated or conquered. Only He will never fail us. Islam is the only way of life that has such a relation to Almighty Allah Most High. This path is necessarily the one that gives the right answers to our innate desires and agrees with the outlook of the sound mind that is called Ad-din-al-Fitri the "innate religion" In sum, Islam is a faith that meets the real and essential needs of mankind; it is sufficient for everyone and will live on forever. Finally, we pray to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala, to accept all our endeavours, forgive all our shortcomings, our mistakes, and errors, and to grant us to live by what we say, and not count us among those who say things, they do not do. Ameen!


And Almighty Allah knows best.


And Peace be upon those who follow the Guidance.


Imam Abdul Hamid


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