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Yaser Birjas | Understanding Insan & the Human Fitrah v.2.0

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This Side Up:

Whenever you buy a new device, a machine or an appliance, or a computer for instance, the first instruction that comes with it is visual. Everyone regardless of their level of education is apt to follow it, and because you can easily recognize it, you would have no excuse not to do so. It’s a matter of common sense. Did you guess what it is? It’s the arrow marked on the side of the box pointing towards one direction (up), and it says “This Side Up”.

This sign alerts the recipient of this product about the importance of keeping it in an upright position. If you are looking to benefit from this machine in the optimum fashion, you first have to follow this rule. If you decide to turn a blind eye to this very first rule by choosing to place the device upside down, and then if it does not operate the way it was made to, you can blame no one except yourself.

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The device we’re talking about here is YOU the Insan or the human, and the very basic instruction given to you is for you to keep an upright character “Istiqaamah”.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ

“So stand you firm and straight as you are commanded…” Hud 11:112

All people of sound mind know that keeping an upright character is the right thing for a human being to do. It’s the first command the Maker (subhanahu wa ta’ala) mandates for you. If you decide not to follow it, then you will mess up the operation of your own self, and live a miserable life. So keep this side up.

The Operating Manual:

Boxes should be opened from the top. If you try to outsmart the manufacturer and open the box from the bottom instead of the top, you might break what is inside. Aside from that, if you insist on opening it from the bottom, you may most likely lose a very important document that comes with the machine you just bought: the instruction manual!

Every device comes with an operating instruction manual. In order to enjoy your purchase for a long time, the manual provides instructions on how to install, operate, care for and troubleshoot your machine. Most people, men in particular, just throw the manual away. Why? Because they think know better. You know they like to figure things out on their own; they are so proud of themselves and their intellect that they don’t need instructions. As a matter of fact, most men hate instructions. Ask their wives if they know what I’m talking about, and they’ll tell you.

Therefore, as men we like to put things together blindfolded, if possible, and see if we can do it right. Or at least that’s our wishful thinking. As a result, we always end up with extra pieces in our hand which we don’t really know where they came from and where they go, and when we realize that, we start looking for the instruction manual, if it is still there. We start looking to figure out what went wrong, if anything was right to begin with, and try to find out how we can fix it.

You see, if you try to play smart and start the machine on your own, you might cause great damage to it. Sometimes the damage is remediable only if you admit your fault, repent and return back to the manual before it’s too late, and sometimes the damage caused is too colossal to remedy – it’s permanent and perpetual. Do you really think a maker would put so much investment and so much effort in the making of a product only to leave you without an instruction manual? Even a baby toy comes with a mini instruction manual you call a tag.

The manual is usually placed on the top side of the product, from above if you know what I mean. And because the manufacturer knows his product best, he sends you the instructions by which you should operate and benefit from his product in the very best way. So listen to the Maker and follow His instructions.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) is your Maker; He is your Creator ‘al-Khaaliq‘, and He knows best what He makes. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ

“Should not He Who has created know (best His creation)? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything)” Al-Mulk 67:14

For this reason, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) sent, from above, an instruction manual by which you can install, operate, care for and troubleshoot this nafs (yourself) to ensure an upright character that will function properly for the purpose it was made and created for: worshipping Allah.

The manual is the Qur’an, and operating according to the manual guarantees satisfaction at all times and ensures an everlasting use of this product in an eternal realm: the Akhira (hereafter). On the other hand, not operating according to it will result in a great damage, more than what your soul can really bear.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنْفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِأَنْفُسِكُمْ

“So fear Allah as much as you can; listen and obey and spend in charity, for this is for the benefit of your own soul…” At-Taghaabun 64:16

And Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَإِنَّ لَهُ نَارَ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا

“…for any that disobey Allah and His Messenger, for them is Hell: they shall dwell therein for ever.” Al-Jinn 72:23

Installation Software:

Intelligent machines such as computers and robots usually come with a gift from the manufacturer: a free pre-installed software. This is to give you a head start and help you operate your machine immediately. However, if you need more programs and software, or if you need to upgrade, then you will have to work hard for it, ask for it, earn it, and put some time and money into it so that you can buy and install them yourself.

When you were born, you came with a gift from the Maker: a pre-installed software that carries the basics of your operating system called the fitrah, which is the natural, innate disposition and the inclination to believe in the Maker (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and believe in Him alone.

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“So direct your face [i.e. self] toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.” Ar-Room 30:30

Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) reported the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Every child is born but on this fitrah – natural innate…” Bukhari and Muslim

The fitrah is a software that ensures that all rights of worship are protected and preserved to only the One Maker; it’s a sweet Divine patent. It’s the license agreement between the Maker and the creation, a license that was established right at the beginning of the creation of the first version of this product: Adam.

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ شَهِدْنَا أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَٰذَا غَافِلِينَ

“When your Lord drew forth from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): ‘Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?’ They said: ‘Yes! We do testify!’ (This), lest you should say on the Day of Judgment: ‘Of this we were never mindful.'” Al-A’raaf 7:172

The fitrah is something similar to an automated demo that runs constantly and continuously in the cache memory of the computer to ensure that the device follows the maker’s protocol of operating. It also helps in repairs if needed. If for any reason the device gets messed up while using some rough application or if it was completely misused, the fitrah will give you the core instructions on how to reverse things and how to re-install the operating system correctly. It’s your backup software; therefore, keep it safe and out of the heat of fitna. Lock it in your heart and protect it from any scratches that might damage it. If you let it get scratched with shirk, nifaaq, philosophy or any other heart disease, you will definitely regret it when you look for it and need it badly.

It’s important to keep your fitrah up to date by installing ‘ilm and iman frequently and regularly. This shall provide you with vital upgrades to your operating system from one version to a higher one and from one operating system to an upgraded one (i.e from Islam to iman to ihsan). However, if you never upgrade, your pre-installed software will still keep you running on the basics, and you will be like the common folks who posses very pure nature and unaltered fitrah. To upgrade, you need to ask for guidance, work hard for it, seek proper knowledge of it and then install it in your heart. The heart will then take it from there.

Plug It in First:

Now, before you start using your new machine, a basic installation of few things is needed. The installation instruction can be found in this ayah:

وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُمْ مِنْ بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and (the heart of) intelligence and affections: that you may give thanks (to Allah).” An-Nahl 16:78

Simply put, make sure to correctly plug in your hearing (sam’) and your sight (basar) so that you can collect the sound and correct data your software requires. Then you have the processor – the heart or al-fu’aad – which utilizes the data collected to help with the decision making. It controls all the operations your device makes.  If the installation is not done correctly, then most likely the product will begin to malfunction.

The 1-2-3 Easy Install Guide:

With almost every instruction manual comes a quick 1-2-3 step easy instruction guide, a quick reference to summarize the installation and the operating procedure. It’s the 1-2-3 easy install guide towards understanding the manual. It also serves as a handy reference for whenever you need a quick look at the manual and its message. The Divine manual, the Qur’an, also comes with this most important summary of the entire Book called Surat al-Fatiha, the opening.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ سَبْعًا مِنَ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنَ الْعَظِيمَ

“And We have bestowed upon you the seven oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur’an.” Al-Hijr 15:87

Omar, Ali, Ibn Masoud and Ibn Abbas, among other sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them all), interpret this ayah as referring Surat al-Fatiha.

Similar to this easy install guide you find with any device you buy, al-Fatiha brings to you the most important instructions before you start working on yourself. Surat al-Fatiha has the whole summary of the message of the Qur’an.

Warning:

On the top of the first page of the instruction manual, the first thing you usually read is: WARNING. This warns against that which might hurt you or damage the product in your hand. It also instructs you to take the proper protection before you start working on your device. This is what we call isti’aadha.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

“When you read the Qur’an, seek Allah’s protection from Satan the rejected one.” An-Nahl 16:98

The warning page emphasizes the importance of reading and following these rules outlined by the manufacturer.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

وَإِذَا قُرِئَ الْقُرْآنُ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ وَأَنْصِتُوا لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

“When the Qur’an is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace: that you may receive Mercy.” Al-A’raaf 7:204

Reading the manual is not enough until you understand it.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

“(Here is) a Book which We have sent down unto you, full of blessings, that they may meditate on its signs, and that men of understanding may receive admonition.” Saad 38:29

It’s important to only use the manual provided by the Maker. Reading the manual ensures consistency and operating the device will become so easy and will make your life easy; otherwise, trying other manuals might create confusion in the operating system.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا

“Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” An-Nisaa’ 4:82

Praise to the Maker:

Now that you are ready to use the manual, you should start reading it with a guarantee from the Maker (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Therefore, when you read you should begin by reading in His Name and by His Name. We call this the “Basmala” or saying:

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful (bismillahir rahmanir raheem).

Just like in any other manual, the next thing you read is the praise for the manufacturer, getting to know his name, the unique qualities of the maker, the international brand and the superiority of the name and the maker over all other names and brands around the world. You will also read about copyrights, the right to preserve the ownership of this brand and the right of the maker to prosecute the violators in court.

To Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) belongs the best example in the manner that suits His Majesty. Next in the Divine manual is the praise of the Maker (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Uniqueness and His ultimate Ownership of all things and the subtle warning for the violators for their court date on Judgment Day.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;”

الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

“Most Gracious, Most Merciful;”

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

“The Owner of the Day of Judgment.”

Customer relations:

Next, in the manual, the Maker encourages the communication between Him and us, the recipients of the product, or in other words the customers. He asks us to acknowledge Him and ultimately follow His instructions. Making sure that we receive proper guidance and technical support, the Maker orders us to register this product with Him and Him alone and then send our full submission, like in Islam, to Him.

وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنْصَرُونَ

“Turn to your Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), before the penalty comes on you: after that ye shall not be helped.” Az-Zumar 39:54

Our Maker is Unique and wants to keep His relation with every one of us unique; therefore, He asks us all to send our submission to Him alone directly with no need for a third party or medium. This is the exclusive Tawheed brand, no shirk accepted.

To ensure the receiving of all blessings and the latest updates from His subtle qadar and Divine Will, the Maker asks that we seek guidance from Him and Him alone at all times 24/7. Always search for updates because there are no automatic updates here, and you have to look for these updates manually. So raise your hands, make du’a and get connected.

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ

“You do we worship, and Your aid we seek.”

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ

“Show us the straight way,”

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

“The way of those on whom You hast bestowed Your Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.”

This communication with the Maker (subhanahu wa ta’ala) was mentioned in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) in Sahih Muslim.  The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has said: ‘I have divided the prayer between Myself and My slave, into two halves, and My slave shall have what he has asked for.’ [From Surah Fatiha] When the slave says, ‘Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds,’ Allah says, ‘My slave has praised Me.’ When the slave says, ‘The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy,’ Allah says, ‘My slave has extolled me.’ When the slave says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgment,’ Allah says, ‘My slave has glorified me.’ When the slave says, ‘It is You alone we worship and it is You alone we ask for help,’ Allah says, ‘This is between Me and My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for.’ When the slave says, ‘Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You have favored, not the path of those who receive Your anger, nor of those who go astray,’ Allah says, ‘All these are for My slave, and My slave shall have what he asked for'” (Muslim).

No Doubt in It:

In almost every book you read, the author normally begins with an acknowledgment page.  In this crucial page, thanks to all those who helped in making this human effort possible is expressed warmly. If some people really helped you in writing a book, whether by collecting information, typing, proofreading, publishing or in any other way, you just cannot deny them the right to be mentioned in it even if it their efforts was just brief and short. You are definitely indebted to all those who helped you.

In the Divine manual, the Qur’an, it’s different. You won’t find this acknowledgment page because it is the Word of Allah and it is His Book. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) praises no one at all but Himself, and He (subhanahu wa ta’ala) indeed deserves all the praise.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;”

الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

“Most Gracious, Most Merciful;”

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

“The Owner of the Day of Judgment.”

Next, in any book or manual, the author points out in the forward or introduction the fact that the material of the book was put together according to the best of his ability to research the subject and to the best of his knowledge. Moreover, the author states that he or she is open to any feedback or criticism.

In the Divine manual, the Qur’an, it’s different. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) begins the second surah (in the order of the Mus-haf), Surat al-Baqara, by saying:

الم

“A.L.M.”

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

“This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who are righteous…”

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) makes it clear and decisive that this Book is unique and that there is no doubt in it. So save your breath on giving Him feedback on His unique word and save yourself the criticism because it’s eloquently and miraculously succinct.

If that were not enough, then the door is opened for challenge.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

“Or do they say, ‘He forged it’? Say: ‘Bring then a surah (chapter) like it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah, if it you speak the truth!'” Yunus 10:38

Even if all the creation on earth tries to fabricate something similar to it, they will fail miserably. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

قُلْ لَئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الْإِنْسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَىٰ أَنْ يَأْتُوا بِمِثْلِ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لَا يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ وَلَوْ كَانَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا

“Say: ‘If the whole of mankind and jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.’” Al-Israa’ 17:88

The manual is perfect. So “read in the name of your Lord who created”.

Customer Support:

Even if you were the smartest person on earth, you might still need some help with technical support. Every manual has a 1-800 number to call in order to seek help from an expert who can clarify things for you and help you understand the product and the manual provided with it.

In the Divine manual, the 1-800 number is in this ayah:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

“Before you (O Muhammad), also, the messengers We sent were but men, to whom We granted inspiration: If you realize this not, ask of those who possess the knowledge (of this message).” Al-Anbiyaa 21:7

So if you can’t reach the CEO and you have no access to the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam),  then ask the experts: the ulema and the scholars who have the knowledge.

Sometimes when you call customer support you get confused and you don’t feel satisfied with the answer, so you ask for one superior in knowledge, the rasikhoon fil ‘ilm, the supervisor. Even amongst the ulema and scholars there are those who know better and know more than others.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) said:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِنْ عِنْدِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

“It is He who has sent down to you, (O Muhammad), the Book; in it are verses (that are) precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation (from truth), they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation (suitable to them). And no one knows its (true) interpretation except Allah. But those (rasikhoona fil ‘ilm) firm in knowledge say, ‘We believe in it. All (of it) is from our Lord.’ And no one will be reminded except those of understanding,” Al-Imran 3:7

So always look for the most knowledgeable people to help you understand the manual correctly and operate the nafs in the best way you can.

Maintenance:

Now that you know how to run the product and your computer is running smoothly masha’Allah, don’t forget to schedule your operating system for maintenance. You can use an inexpensive software called Muraaqaba (Watchfulness).

Keep good care of your system and you will live a hassle-free life; let your guard down for a moment and viruses will attack you from all over the place. After all, you always leave your operating system exposed to the World Wide Web of this dunya. So it’s good to have an anti-virus software installed on your computer called “Strong Iman”. It will ensure that your heartware stays bright, clean and solid. By the way, you cannot buy this software from McAfee or Norton but have to build it up yourself, and it is custom made only by you.

Defragmentation:

Because you are living in this dunya, you have to multitask between work and home, professional and casual life, and other things of similar importance to you. This causes heartdisc fatigue. The solution to this is to use a “Muhasaba” software, which is amazing. It helps you become more accountable and more responsible for the work you do. It allows you to review your work and all the files on your heartdisc. It will definitely ask you to do some cleanup and then request that you defragment the entire heartdisc.

In order to do that, you will have to sacrifice and get rid of some of the unnecessary files you have already stored on it. You know the kind of files I’m talking about: all the time wasting downloads you have done while you were supposed to be doing your serious work in this life. You will have to get your priorities in order. You will also need to give your heartdrive a break and let it get defragmented. This will take some time, so relax and chill, rejuvenate and give yourself a recreational session until the cleanup session is over.

Troubleshoot:

It gets really frustrating when you try to run an application on your computer and then it keeps messing things up for you. You try again and again, but you still don’t know how to fix the problem. You try and cry and in the end you decide to call customer service. You call customer service and technical support and there they are to provide you with a magical solution: simply check the reset button.

Alhamdulillah, every human being is born equipped with a reset button as part of the heartware called Tawbah or the repentance button. When things get really messy and hard and you don’t think you can handle it anymore, seek the help of an expert. The expert usually gives you directions on how to fix your problem, but it has always been in your own hand to decide between pressing the reset button or just living with all the bugs roaming around in your operating system and causing you to become completely dysfunctional.

Sometimes the decision is hard, but you know deep in your heart that the only thing left for you to do is to rescue your heartware. So you go ahead and press the button, repent to Allah and let the backup software, your fitrah, re-install everything again. You will definitely lose some files, maybe valuable ones to you, but the cost of doing that is much better than losing everything all together. The Tawbah button refreshes your system, cleans your heartware and gives you more space on your heartdisc. You will be able to use your nafs again, but this time it will be just like new.

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Sh. Yaser Birjas is originally from Palestine. He received his Bachelors degree from Islamic University of Madinah in 1996 in Fiqh & Usool, graduating as the class valedictorian. After graduating, he went on to work as a youth counselor and relief program aide in war-torn Bosnia. Thereafter, he immigrated to the U.S. and currently resides in Dallas, Texas. He is also an instructor at AlMaghrib Institute, where he teaches popular seminars such as Fiqh of Love, The Code Evolved, and Heavenly Hues.

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. naeem

    September 20, 2010 at 1:57 AM

    AA-

    How unfortunate that such a lofty topic as Ihsan, the achievement of which is the zenith of man’s spiritual journey and which the Prophet (saw) so beautifully (and mysteriously) described as worshiping Allah (swt) as if you see Him, has been presented using the metaphor of…an electronic gadget?!

    As if it’s not enough that we are being drained of our spiritual essence by incessant sensory titillations, have we now resorted to purifying our hearts based on Tips and Tricks for maximizing Windows 7?

    Sorry, but my qalb is not heartware nor is it a heartdisc.

    We humans are descendants of Adam (as), in whom Allah “breathed of His Spirit” – not machines and to intimate such a notion by introducing Ihsan as if it is some product manual is a sad reflection of our understanding of Islamic spirituality.

    /soapbox

    • Justin

      September 20, 2010 at 4:40 AM

      I think the Shaykh is trying to relate to an audience in terms they understand. Not everyone can take purely academic religious lectures all the time (if you can, that’s great, but not everyone can). So I think it was a good attempt on the Shaykh to impart a lesson and I will pray for his success. Barak Allah feek.

    • brother_bruce

      September 20, 2010 at 7:54 AM

      you speak to the people according to their language, using the analogies they can relate to.

      if the language and analogy doesnt jive with you, then by all means, go read up on the topic from the old school tasawwuf masters.

      that usually leaves me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, too.

    • Yaser Birjas

      September 20, 2010 at 9:43 AM

      wa alaykum as-salam,

      As a matter of fact, the original title of my article was Understanding Insan i.e. “humans” not Ihsaan. Nevertheless, the use of analogies to make specific concepts easy to understand is a Qur’anic method and a prophetic sunnah. And Allah knows best.

      Jazaka Allahu khayran for the feedback.

      • Naeem

        September 21, 2010 at 1:05 AM

        AA-

        Thanks for the clarification and fixing the title. The article makes a bit more sense with ‘Insan’ as opposed to ‘Ihsaan’.

        And yes, the use of analogies is very useful in explaining concepts. But at the same time, we shouldn’t be promoting the digitization of the human being. In fact, I would suggest that we go the other way and incite our current generation to put aside the gadgets and reconnect with our fitrah by way of nature itself.

        But that’s just me. :-)

    • Siraaj

      September 20, 2010 at 10:00 AM

      I’m personally not into overly verbose and dramatized soliloquies about spirituality. I liked this post.

      Siraaj

  2. Justin

    September 20, 2010 at 3:47 AM

    Very interesting analogy, Shaykh, and an important topic. Abdul Hakim Murad speaks about “bitter enemies of the fitra” as he laments the deep inroads that radical feminists and homosexualists have made, forcing their anti-fitra social doctrines on British society and ridiculing anyone who sticks up for time-tested traditional values. I hope that our global community can maintain our values in the face of these aggressive anti-religious, anti-nature forces. No family is safe from their corrupted da’wah. Allahu Musta’an.

    Daily Hadith Online

  3. Arif

    September 20, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    MashaAllah, exactly the type of article I was looking for. Excellent analysis and breakdown shaykh :) I find it fascinating the amount of times we as humans forget and are in need of reminders such as these to really appreciate what we have.

  4. anon

    September 20, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Interesting how the Beloved Prophet alaihis salato was salaam is not mentioned in a discussion of and the means by which one can return himself upon the fitrah.

    Truly to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.

    • Justin

      September 20, 2010 at 1:21 PM

      On the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased him, who narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak goodness or be silent.” [Sahih Muslim, Book of Faith, #173]

      If you have constructive criticism brother, please phrase it in a way that respects the Shaykh. =)

      Wa Alaykum Salaam.

      • anon

        September 21, 2010 at 4:28 AM

        please explain how i disrespected him.

        • Justin

          September 21, 2010 at 6:55 AM

          You mention only what you dislike and you do not praise what is good. That is not respectful for our brother Shaykh who is trying hard to teach people the deen of Allah. It would be better to say something like, “Good article but you can make it better by mentioning more about the Prophet (pbuh).”

          • anon

            September 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM

            so only praising someone and their work is considered as giving them respect?

            i pointed out a flaw i felt was in the article without giving a full review of the article, this could mean that i liked the rest of the article but just noticed this fault.
            You felt it was appropriate to judge my intentions and read into my words as some sort of ‘dig’ against the shaykh.
            like i said above ‘Truly to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.’

          • Siraaj

            September 21, 2010 at 2:15 PM

            anon,

            constructive criticism is always appreciated, but it can be delivered respectfully or disrespectfully. the manner in which you’ve worded your thoughts appear confrontational rather than constructive. justin and I both seem to think so – perhaps you could solicit 3rd and 4th opinions from trusted friends to verify whether we’re being overprotective, or if there is legitimacy to our criticism of your manner of criticism :)

            Siraaj

          • Sayf

            September 21, 2010 at 8:54 PM

            Consider me a 3rd,

            There are always wrong ways to do good things – it’s important to understand the little details of human communication.

            When you say “interesting how” it creates a sarcastic tone, criticism + sarcasm
            = negativity, I’m positive you can see how that works.

            *player 1 misses a shot*
            player 2 : hey superstar why don’t you learn to put some arc in your shot
            player 1 : …

            Also, when you say “I find that very strange” it’s a subtle way of saying what the other person did was drastically wrong/absurd, so the criticism becomes stronger and the “sense of self-righteousness” in your words become stronger.

            If you simply didn’t say “interesting how” or “I find that very strange” it would have drastically changed what people received from your words.

            If you don’t agree that this is how people should take it, it doesn’t matter because this is simply how most people communicate and it’s your responsibility learn how human interaction works.

    • Yaser Birjas

      September 20, 2010 at 2:58 PM

      There is no doubt the blessed Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu layhi wa sallam is our true guide and his sunnah is the best path of guidance. No one can understand this deen without his guidance but this is another topic for another discussion insha’Allah. jazakum Allahu khayran for your valid concern.

      • anon

        September 21, 2010 at 1:20 AM

        Assalamu ‘alaykum sidi,
        please explain how this is another topic for another discussion?
        are you saying that the topic of fitrah does not require mention of the Beloved Prophet alaihis saloto was salaam? if so i find that very strange

        • Justin

          September 21, 2010 at 6:57 AM

          I find it strange you have nothing positive to say but you come here only to argue with the Shaykh. If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at all.

          • anon

            September 21, 2010 at 11:58 AM

            im not even saying anything to you.
            my above post is a reply to the shaykh but again you ‘jump in to his rescue’ even though he doesnt need it because im not attacking him!!!
            im making these comments because i dont see how we can talk about insan and fitrah without any significant attention paid to the Beloved Prophet alaihis salato was salaam.
            who said im arguing with him, i asked him a question. why do you keep reading into my posts?

        • Siraaj

          September 21, 2010 at 7:40 AM

          Walaykum as salaam,

          The topic for another discussion Shaykh Yaser refers to is in his statement “no one can understand the religion without the guidance of the Messenger.”

          I think the words you meant to use were along the lines of, “I would really appreciate it if you could add the statements of the Prophet (SAW) either into this article or in the comments section regarding the fitrah.”

          Siraaj

          • Faiza

            September 25, 2010 at 10:46 AM

            lol

  5. Hannan

    September 20, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    AssalamuAlaikum

    I myself take very little interest in the use of verbose language like brother Siraaj said, but am used to seeing it used so often. This article though was more of a step- by- step analysis and comparisson of the simlarities between the two so it was very difficult not to understand. For me, I thought that taking a common image of a box and relating it to another common aspect is a very ingenius way of making this addressable to all walks of life. I can honestly say that this is one of the few articles that i’ve read that start simple and slowly ease into a deeper importance while still maintaining the element of comprehendible. JazakumAllahuKhairan sheikh, a most beneficial post Alhamdulillah.

    Hannan

  6. Abu AbdurRahman

    September 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    JazakAllahuKhair Shaykh. Just what I needed after that Post-Ramadan Eman dip. Read the whole thing, it’s awesome. I really like the way you take an everyday thing and turn it 360 degrees into an Eman boost session.
    airplanes, airline clubs, computers, emails, discounts and the list goes on. Looking forward to reading more in the future, inshaAllah.

    May Allah (SWT) grant you hasanah in this world and the hereafter.

  7. Atif

    September 20, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Jazaak Allah Khayr, good article.
    You didn’t mention that we need to send “knee-mails”. ;)

  8. Umm Ibrahim

    September 20, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    Very nice analysis – jazak Allah khairan for this.

  9. nael mohammad

    September 20, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    Jazak Allah Kheir for the article, it’s easy to understand, comprehend, and relate to.

  10. Abdul-Qadir

    September 20, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Assalamualaikum,

    Brilliant. May Allah bless you and your family. Everything was perfect. This is exactly the type of thing I try to do with the youth, to put things in easy terms they understand. I will most definitely use this for teaching and dawah as well.

  11. Ify Okoye

    September 20, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    MashaAllah, tabarak’Allah. I loved it. I would have loved to have something so simple and touching to read when I was first learning about Islam and thinking about converting or indeed early on even after my conversion. Islam calls to our fitrah and I’ve always been one to read the instruction manual that comes with everything, no matter how simple the product.

  12. SKNYC

    September 20, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    Assalamualaikum wr wb,

    Thank you for writing this article. We forgot how to use common language to teach Islam, but you have tried to bring this back, Alhamdulillah – Thanks again for this. Most people nowadays understand these technical terms as we’re all used to in this time of technology – so, it’s an excellent attempt to teach The most important subject using something very common to most people.

    May Allah(SWT) guide everyone to the right path, ameen.

    wassalam

  13. IlmQuester

    September 21, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    JazakomAllahu khayran Shaykh

    I always love your posts because they are filled with so much Ilm and backed up from the sacred sources of the Quran and Sunnah. Indeed this Quran is filled with gems, and you brought a few of them out and synchronized it with modern day examples, mashAllah we need more Shaykhs like you with combinations of traditional Islamic knowledge as well as a balance of contemporary worldly knowledge.

    And to all those haters out there who are always TRYING to find faults in our shuyookh and active brothers and sisters while taking everything they say with bad assumptions, let me remind you that we always think good of our fellow Muslims and brighten their goodness and shadow any mistakes they might make. Instead of reading through the post thinking with an attitude of “oh what! why is he doing it like this, he should not publish things unless I proofread and approve”, please try to reflect and ponder over the beautiful ayaat the shaykh mentioned before typing a reply.

    May Allah(SWT) forgive us and accept our good deeds.

    • Justin

      September 21, 2010 at 7:06 AM

      My experience has been that no matter how good your lecture, article, or sermon is there will always be about 10% of Muslims at least who will seek out your faults and self-righteously reject your work. Just as Yusuf Ali mentioned how shocked he was that so many Muslims hated him for trying to translate the Quran into English. A hard lesson, but a necessary one for anyone preaching Islam in public.

      Allahu Musta’an.

  14. Kashif Dilkusha

    September 21, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    Assalamoalaikum

    Masha ALLAH, beautiful analogy and very well written. Very inspiring. Jazak ALLAH shiekh.

  15. saleh

    September 21, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    Assalamualaikum,

    Jazak Allahu Khairan for this wonderful article……

  16. HassanAdnan

    September 22, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    Just an Amazing Analogy made! I was already waiting for something on the fitrah of man.

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