This is a 2-episode series where my friend Hashim and I dissect the story of Adam and Eve, peace be upon them, as well as temptation and repentance and offer many reflections on how this story is relevant to us as men and women experiencing SSA.
In part I of this series, we go back to the origin of the creation of mankind: how God glorified man and destined him for greatness, how the devil lurks in the background and uses our desires against us, glorifying sin and temptation, and how Adam PBUH is a model for us in immediately going back to Allah SWT after falling into sin.
This is a 2-episode series where my friend Hashim and I dissect the story of Adam and Eve, peace be upon them, as well as temptation and repentance and offer many reflections on how this story is relevant to us as men and women experiencing SSA.
In part I of this series, we go back to the origin of the creation of mankind: how God glorified man and destined him for greatness, how the devil lurks in the background and uses our desires against us, glorifying sin and temptation, and how Adam PBUH is a model for us in immediately going back to Allah SWT after falling into sin.
Assalamu alaikom wa rahmatullahi ta'ala wabarakatuh, and welcome to a brand new episode of "A Way Beyond the Rainbow", this podcast series dedicated to Muslims experiencing same-sex attractions who wants to live a life true to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and Islam. I'm your host Waheed Jensen, thank you so much for joining me in a brand new episode. Today's episode is part of a five-episode series where we'll be talking about moral choices, repentance and spiritual awakening. And joining me in today's episode is my dear friend Hashim. Assalamu alaikom, Hashim!
Wa alaikom assalam brother Waheed, how are you?
I'm good, alhamdulillah. How are you?
I'm all the better for seeing you again after this long time. It's been a very long time since we spoke indeed.
Absolutely. It's been a long time. Brother Hashim and I go way back, so we have been speaking for quite some time, for a couple of years. And mashaAllah, brother Hashim for anyone who knows him, and I'm pretty sure that some of you listening right now already know him, he is such a wonderful brother and he has lots of wonderful insights when it comes to, you know, the Quran and lots of spiritual reflections and he's just, you know, a phenomenal human being, MashaAllah. I mean, I could go on and on, we'll just keep it at that. God bless you. Thank you so much for joining me. So, as you guys know, our focus in the past couple of episodes has been on major spiritual and religious themes that are part and parcel of our Islamic worldview, such as the nature and the purpose of this life and trials and hardships and attachments and growth and surrender to Allah subhanahu wa taala, among so many other themes. We have also navigated these and other themes focusing in particular on our struggle with SSA. As you guys remember, in episode 14, we talked about Divine love and mercy, and we looked at Surat Al-Fatiha from that angle, as a foundation for us as Muslims, as a compass and guide, as grounding and fortitude. And if you remember in the last three verses of Surah Al-Fatiha, Allah says, “It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path - The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray” (1:5-7). So this is an invitation for us to really understand how to worship Allah subhanahu wa taala and how to seek His help, and we are given the advice to seek the examples of those who have already walked this Path (الصراط المستقيم) to Him. So that is the goal and the purpose of this short time we are put on this Earth. And we ask ourselves the questions, "How can we be like those people? What did they go through? How should we respond when we're in the same situation if we want to be of those upon whom You have bestowed favor." So everything that those prophets and the people of righteousness and the blessed servants of Allah subhanahu wa taala went through was a lesson for our benefit, to show us and to teach us, not just for us to read about and to think that it has nothing to do with us, it has everything to do with us. And through that, we can reflect and we learn how to walk the same path, inshaAllah. There is not a single struggle that we go through that they haven't been through in some form or in some shape and have shown us how to pull through and succeed as a result.
So obviously, when we focus on the lives of the prophets, peace be upon them, and the blessed servants, it covers the part of Surat Al-Fatiha where Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, “The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor.” But you know, every single word, every single verse in the Qur'an has a reason for being there and has a reason why Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has put it there, for us to reflect on it. So remember at the end of Surat Al-Fatiha, He also says, ‘not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.’ So just like the beginning of that verse is an invitation for us to remember the prophets and the best of servants and how they went through life. This latter part of this Surah about ‘not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray,’ these two groups as well perhaps should also be given as much attention as we do to the first group. So it's another invitation, again, to reflect on those who have transgressed and they've gone astray and their examples are given to us in the Holy Qur'an. And it's an invitation to ask ourselves, you know, in a humble way, and I know this is really hard, but you know, "What did they do to make them end up like that? And are we - perhaps when we look at ourselves and reflect on ourselves - are we doing the same sort of thing in any areas of our lives?" And, you know, we shouldn't be too proud and we shouldn't be afraid of asking ourselves these questions. That's why Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has mentioned these two groups right at the end, it's kind of almost like, when you finish the Surah, the last thoughts are, "Okay, well, what did the good people do? What did the people who kind of moved into His separation, what did they do that got them then?" So, you know, the last verse is inviting us to reflect on what am I doing wrong, how can I be better... Tawbah [repentance] is all about coming back to Allah and improving ourselves, you know, not just saying "sorry," and remaining in the same situation, doing the same thing over and over again, but how can I make amends not only to others, but you know, within myself and in my own situation? And ultimately, all of this is for our own success, as we're all souls.. We're all children of Adam. We're all on this journey in this world. What lessons and warnings can we take from them, so we don't end up separated from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala? Because that separation is the ultimate hell that we put ourselves in, right? In every small thing we do in Islam - So obviously, you know, as we go through life, we do niyyahs [intentions], every small thing that we do, you know, wudu [ablution], salah [prayer], sawm [fasting], all these things, and if the niyyah for all the small things that we do in life is ‘qurbatan ila Allah’ - to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, then the niyyahs for our life itself, our overall reason for being here is that same thing, it's in order to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So all these things that we end up in that separate us or distance us from Him, they lead to turmoil, they lead to our not reaching our potential, not reaching our goal for being on this planet. So it's really important to tackle this and to look at this from not only those who earned His bounties and earned His bliss, but also to take a warning from those who evoked His anger and those who went astray, but you know, for our own benefit.
Absolutely, beautifully said, mashaAllah. So, these couple of episodes are going to be a series of four episodes inshaAllah, where we will be discussing together some moral reflections and talking about temptation and sin and repentance and spiritual awakening. This episode and the next episode are going to be published back-to-back, and Hashim and I are going to be talking about the story of Adam and Eve, peace be upon them, the trial that they had with the temptation with Satan, and then the descent to Earth, and the entire story with multiple reflections on how that applies to us as individuals experiencing same-sex attractions. And then, in the episode after that, we're going to be dissecting the story of the people of Lut (PBUH) and reflecting on that from multiple angles, and, again, discussing how this applies to us as individuals experiencing same-sex attractions, particularly those of us who want to remain virtuous and true to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and Islam. And in the fourth episode, we're going to be talking about the nature of desires and shahawat and temptations and repentance, and then spiritual awakening and what that station involves. And that will be the last episode inshaAllah in our series of 11 episodes talking about spiritual themes, and we will wrap up everything, inshaAllah. So let's get started!
So, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in the Qur'an, and obviously this is talking about the initial story of the creation of Adam (PBUH, and He says in Surat Sad, “And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am going to create a human (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down prostrate to him” (38:71-72). And it was also said by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that God created Adam in His image. Now, obviously, this doesn't mean that Adam was created to look similar to God, because obviously Allah is unique in all those aspects, and we're unable to comprehend or even form an image of Him. However, it means that Adam (PBUH) was given some qualities which God also has, although they're incomparable, but these qualities like mercy, love, freewill, all these things, we've been given the potential for all of these things, we have all of these things and we have the ability to use them or not use them, you know, in certain circumstances, they're all kind of manifestations of Allah's creation of us. So as well as this, you know, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala honored our father Adam (PBUH) by blowing His spirit into him, the verse said, "When I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit." And He fashioned Adam (PBUH) with His Own Hands, He ordered the angels to bow down before Adam (PBUH), and Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says to the angels in Surat Al-A'raf, “....Prostrate to Adam, and they prostrated except Iblis (Satan)....” (7:11). So this prostration, there's a prostration of worship, and obviously, that's only preserved for Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala alone. But this prostration by the angels and the command to Iblis to do this was a sign of them giving respect and honor to what Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala had created. We are noble and honored creatures, we're honored by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. He has breathed into him of His spirit. For all of us going through these difficult situations, remember that. Remember how special your creation is, how much potential you have, the fact that, and this gives me shivers like, you know, the One who's created the entire universe has taken time to give us attention and to give us creation - that's not something to discard, that's not something to throw away, that's an honor, right? The angels, creatures, whatever they're all different, but He has given us something really special, right? And so, whatever you're going through, never forget that. Allah's spirit has been breathed into you, "My spirit." So that's something very special. And obviously, right from the get go, Iblis has sworn his enmity to Adam, he refused to obey Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and he didn't want to honor Adam as he was instructed to do. Any discussion that we have, any discussion about anything that we're going through in life, we always have to go back to: What is the reason that we're here for? Why are we here? Why are we doing all this? Who is Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala? Who are we compared to Him? You know, Allah has told mankind in the Qur'an that He did not create us except that we should worship Him, right? In Surat Al-Dhariyat, He says, “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (51:56). And this isn't the kind of worship that is (authubillah - I seek refuge in Allah from this) dictated with one from his servants, right? You know, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is merciful, and everything He does, you know, He already owns everything. He knows everything. He loves us. He's created us for a reason, right? You know, nothing we do is going to increase or decrease Him in any way, right? So He is not in need of our worship, but He still says in this verse, I've created them to worship Me. So ultimately, our worship of Him is not for His benefit, it's for our benefit, right? You know, like in Surat Al-Jathiya, He says, “Whoever does good, it is for his own soul” (45:15). We're not doing Allah a favor by worshipping Him, this whole situation we're in, with our souls stationed in these bodies on this planet for 80 or so years, on average, or whatever, this is for us to benefit from His mercy, this is for us to receive this kind of free gift that He has created for us by allowing us to know Him and end up worshiping Him because we recognize Him, because we love Him, and because we want to be close to Him. So, going back to Adam (PBUH), due to God's infinite wisdom, Adam and his descendants, all of us, we are assigned this duty to be caretakers on Earth. When Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala created Adam (PBUH), He gave him certain gifts, He taught him what he needed to know how to perform this duty of being God's vicegerent/representative on Earth. In Surat Al-Baqarah, it's mentioned that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says, “He taught Adam all the names of everything” (2:31). And so, you know, God's giving Adam (PBUH) the ability to identify and designate names for everything. So when we say names, we're talking about language, speech, the ability to communicate, to form ideas and representations of things. And having been given this ability, in a way, God has imbued Adam (PBUH) with the insatiable need and love for knowledge. And we can speak at length about Islam's love for us to gain knowledge to understand the world, because the more that we understand things, the more we understand the world, yhe more we see them as manifestations and reflections of Allah's creation, and the more we are mesmerized and fall in love with the beauty of God. There's that saying, "The more you know, the more you realize you don't know." Isn't that true? And the more you investigate and the more you realize, how beautiful and perfect Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is in His knowledge. And then, as a result, you want to worship Him, and you're like, "Well, why wouldn't I want to worship Him if He knows so much if He has all this knowledge, if He has created everything? He knows me better than I know myself, right?" So, in Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says to the angels, “‘Tell me the names of these if you are truthful.’ They answered, ‘Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily, it is You the All-Knower, the All-Wise’” (2:31-32). And then Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala turns to Adam and says, “‘O Adam! Inform them of their names.’ And when he had informed them of their names, He [God] said, ‘Did I not tell you that I know the unseen in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been hiding?’” (2:33). Like I always say, these words in the Qur'an, every single word has something for us to reflect on. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is saying, I know the unseen in the Heavens and the earth, saying to the angels and Iblis who was obviously among them, you don't know everything. You haven't created the Heavens and the earth. I have. I know everything. And He says, I know what you reveal and what you have been hiding, in a way to give us a taster, right? Allah is talking to the angels, and He's saying, I know what you reveal, and what you've been hiding, because Allah already sees something, He sees something in Iblis that Iblis is hiding. So, we're honored beings, we've been given these qualities, manifestations and reflections of Allah's beautiful qualities, which are reflections of His Divinity. We're given knowledge, we're given reason, communication, free will. In Heaven, Adam then tries to speak to the angels, and obviously they are created simply to worship God, and that's what they were completely occupied with. Angels are not given specific knowledge or free will. Their sole purpose is worship and praise [of Allah]. They do that constantly. Adam, on the other hand, was given the ability to reason, to make free choices through his free will, and to be able to identify objects and their purpose, hence being taught the names of all things, you know, this ability to do this. So, you know, this was done to help Adam prepare for his coming role on Earth. So then, you know, Adam knows the names of everything that has been created. But he is alone now in Heaven, so God creates Eve (Hawwa' PBUH), and in a way to show us that we're not supposed to be alone, we need other humans. Even in Surat Al-Fatiha, when we say, "Guide us to the straight path." We need communal support, we need each other, humans need to live in a community, we need love and belonging. And then also in the sort of reference to the creation of us as pairs or us as communities, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat An-Nisa', “And God said: ‘O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate, and from them both He created many men and women’” (4:1). Sort of giving us this idea that we have been created to be in a community, and that the natural pairing of a soul is to be in a situation from which men and women can be born and from which kind of communities can flourish and thrive and grow. So Adam and Eve dwelt in tranquility and Paradise, they're in the Garden of Eden. Everything was there for them to enjoy, no hardships, and Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-Baqarah to Adam, He says, “Eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will...” (2:35). Also, in Surat Taha, He says, “Indeed, it is [promised] for you not to be hungry therein nor to be unclothed. And indeed, you will not be thirsty therein nor be hot from the sun" (20:118-119). So everything is provided for him, no toil, no trouble, no trials, no hardships. Everything is there. But then, obviously, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala continues in His instruction to Adam and Eve, and He warns them, in Surat Al-Baqarah, He says, “...come not near this tree or you both will be of the wrongdoers” (2:35). So, Adam and Eve lived in this tranquil existence with all their needs met, and they understood that the one thing that they were forbidden from was to go near this tree or to eat from this tree. And, obviously, we know that Satan is kind of there in the background, and after having been called out by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala for not obeying and not bowing to Adam, he's now waiting to exploit the weakness of mankind.
As you said, you know, Satan was lurking in the background and as we know, Satan is a creature from the world of the jinn. So they're a creation of God as we know, as God describes them, He created them from fire, and they are separate and different from both, the angels and mankind. But just like men and mankind, they possess the power of reason, and they can choose between good and evil. So they have willpower. And we know that the jinn existed way before the creation of Adam, and that Satan at some point was among the most righteous among them, so much so that he was elevated to a very high position amongst the angels. And Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-Hijr, “The Angels prostrated themselves all of them together. Except Satan, he refused to be among the prostrators. God said: ‘O Satan! What is your reason for not being among the prostrators?’ Satan said: ‘I am not one to prostrate myself to a human being, whom You created from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.’ God said: ‘Then get out from here, for verily you are an outcast or a cursed one. Verily the curse shall be upon you till the Day of Resurrection’” (15:30-35). So he was completely ousted, he lost that high position and ranking, and he was damned by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala until the Day of Judgment. Now, in another verse in Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah says, “And [mention] when We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate before Adam’; so they prostrated, except for Iblis. He refused and was arrogant and became one of the disbelievers” (2:34). And so, we notice in this particular verse the clear description that Allah uses to describe Satan or Iblis - arrogance and disbelief. So, Satan was there in the Paradise of Adam and Eve and his vow was to misguide and deceive them and their descendants, as we know. So Satan at some point said, and Allah is narrating what he said in Surat Al-A'raf, “…surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left…” (7:16-17). So in other words, he's coming to us from all directions to try and sway us and to take us away from the path that is leading to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And this, as we know, is his vow until the last day of this life, as Allah describes him, he is arrogant, so he considered himself better than Adam and all of mankind. And he considered his opinion to be above Allah's command to prostrate, and this gives us a clear indication of his arrogance, where he felt that he knew better than Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And we know that he is crafty, and he is very cunning, but ultimately, he understands the weakness of human beings. He recognizes their love and their desires, and he uses this against all of us. So the question is, why does Satan come into the picture? And why the whole concept of temptation?
So, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-Isra', He says, “And incite [to senselessness] whomever you can among them with your voice and assault them with your horses and foot soldiers and become a partner in their wealth and their children and promise them" (17:64). So this is Allah talking to Satan after Satan has basically said: Look, I'm going to wait for them on the Straight Path and I'm going to cause them so much trouble. An interesting point in the verse that you mentioned in Surat Al-A'raf, he actually says, "I will wait for them on your Straight Path." So he's not waiting for people who are already astray or who are already lost and in separation from God, he's waiting mostly for people who are already trying to walk the Straight Path. In a way, he makes it harder for those who are trying to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So, in a way, know that if you're being tempted, you're obviously doing something right for Satan to be trying to get you off that path. Initially, when I read these verses about Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala talking to Satan and telling him to do these things and instructing him further about how he can use his voice and his weapons against us. So, I often thought, "Well, you know, why would an All-Merciful Lord who has put us here, Who wants us to come closer to Him, Who wants us to follow His Guidance, Who wants us to achieve His Bliss, Why is He almost egging Satan on to work harder against us to kind of get us off the Path, right? You know, why would He be basically asking Satan to make life harder for us?" Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala could have just put Adam in a garden with a tree and not allow Satan in in the first place. So why create the situation with a tree and a garden and Satan? Why do all of that? A point a dear brother made to me, he said, "You know, Hashim, we can't recognize good without having seen evil, in order to make that comparison. Evil exists in order for us to see what good is, in order for us to recognize good as good." And in a way, in this kind of journey that we're on, Satan's almost like a necessary agent, he is almost a necessary adversary that we kind of battle with in order to make us better. You know, like when you play a sport, right? You can learn karate, you can learn judo. You don't get better until you grapple with someone else sometimes. You don't learn the moves and the skills, you don't learn about yourself, you don't learn about your own weaknesses, you don't learn about your own abilities until you've had that kind of interaction with something else but with an opposing force to understand your strength and to know what you need to work on and where you need to build from. So, in its simplest form, we need to see evil and its consequences in order to recognize good, right? And obviously, what is the greatest good, you know, the greatest good is Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So, seeing the kind of ignorance and depravity and where Satan takes people makes Allah shine to us even more, it makes His way even clearer and even more obvious, it makes so much more sense to us when we see people who engage in Satan's path. For example, alcohol is banned in Islam. And, you know, for us living in the West, you know, we see the effects of alcohol, the dangers and the effects, not only on individuals, in family situations, abuse, even effects on us, for people who perhaps don't drink, but maybe they go out in their cars, they are still going to be affected by other drivers who are intoxicated. It's a cost on the healthcare system, it's a cost on societies. That's just a small example where we see the beauty of Allah's advice, the beauty of His love for us, the beauty that He wants to protect us from these things. And it's only by seeing sometimes people who haven't taken that advice, either because they didn't know or because they don't want to take that advice, but when you kind of see the dangers that they put themselves in, maybe not as individuals, but you know, as a community doing this thing that we see the beauty of Allah, and that kind of brings us into wanting to worship Him Who has that knowledge and has that wisdom for our benefit. Like I was saying about having the adversary that we grapple with, we take part in this fight with him and we lose, sometimes we lose, sometimes we slip. And it's only sometimes after we've slipped we can sit back and go, okay, you know when you sit up in your prayer and you say, "Astaghfirullah Rabbi wa atubu ilayhi" [I seek frogiveness from Allah my Lord and repent to Him], and kind of say, "Forgive me for what I've done and I turn back to You" kind of thing. Okay, what have I done? Why did I do it? How was Satan able to tempt me so easily? What was going wrong with me? What was my weakness that he was so able easily to get into and manipulate? And sometimes it's not until you slip that you can kind of go, "Okay, well, what was wrong? Okay, now I need to focus on this." Because my slippage or me falling has hurt me so much, or I've hurt somebody else so much, it has caused me to hurt someone else so much, that I see how awful it is, and I think, "Okay, I've got to do something about this." And that's perhaps a place I wouldn't have gone to unless, unfortunately, I had slipped and kind of gone to that dark path. So what I'm trying to say is, basically, Satan has always been part of the plan, he's always been this necessary agent or necessary adversary, in order to help us achieve our goal of finding Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. My mom always taught me, before you go to bed, recite Surat An-Nas and Surat Al-Falaq. And in Surat An-Nas, you read the lines, "In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, I seek refuge in the Lord of me, the King of men, the God of men, away from teh retreating whisperer who whispers into the hearts of men, from among the jinn and men" (114:1-6). Even if you look at that Surah, you start off by saying, "I'm looking for safety, I'm looking for refuge in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, away from this whisperer." So in a way, the fact that this whisper is there, in the second part of that Surah, tells us that him being there is a kind of nudge or push for us to look for something, to look for something better, to look for something safer, to look for some refuge in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. And even that Surah refers to the whisperings into the hearts of men from among the jinn and the men, it doesn't just say, you know, whisperings into the hearts of men from among Satan, and then that's it, but it refers to these groups of jinn and men. So, you know, it's giving us this idea that there are some among the jinn and even among the human beings who have given themselves over to the path of Satan and can help him in recruiting others to that path. So while we're trying to walk this Straight Path, the jinn and other human beings and these whisperings, you know, from society in general are trying to meander us off that path. There are people who encourage us to do wrong things, you know, you just have to look at the sort of the gay activist lobby, the LGBT lobby, for example, who would even say, "You know you're wasting your life trying to be celibate or whatever, you know, come on, do it, this is the way you were born, there's nothing wrong with it. Love is love, you know, no one ever went to hell for loving someone else." You know, that's one of the common things I hear. And these whisperings have come ultimately from Satan trying to get us off the Straight Path, whether it's from himself or from Shayateen [devils]/ from jinn or from other humans. So you have to be aware of that, right? And Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is not afraid to make us aware of that in the Qur'an. And it's part of our faith, it's part of our religion. I know that in this day and age, it's often strange to talk about the unseen, it's strange to talk about devil and the Afterlife and Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell, but these are components and foundations of our religion. And we can't let ourselves be unaware of these things, we can't, it's too dangerous to not be aware of these things, because he (Satan) will manipulate that. And even our own nafs (self) can also whisper things to us and sort of pull us off of the Straight Path.
And speaking of Satan's whisperings, it's very important to actually see how he does it. So he didn't go to Adam and Eve and tell them, "Go eat from that tree." He didn't actually tell them outright, "Go and disobey Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala." He actually knows how to do this. He's very skillful and cunning, so he whispered into their hearts and he planted all of these thoughts and desires. As Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-A'raf, Satan said to Adam and Eve, “...Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save that you should become Angels or become of the immortals” (7:20). So that's how he functions. He always beautifies sin and always beautifies the idea of breaking Allah's rules, by suggesting that the sin itself will lead to something that is greater, or it will lead to a justifiable good or whatever that may be. Allah mentions in many verses in the Qur'an “And Satan made their deeds appear fair to them” (Al-Anfal 8:48, An-Nahl 16:63, An-Naml 27:24, and Al-‘Ankabut 29:38). Allah also mentions “the one whose evil deeds were made to appear fair to him so he considered them good/beautiful” -- أفمن زُيّن له سوءُ عمله فرآه حسناً -- (Fatir 35:8). So the evil deed was made to appear for that person as something that is good or beautiful. And that's how Satan operates in general, right? And he also comes to us in a way that he appears as someone who "cares". Allah says in Surat Al-A'raf, “And he swore [by Allah] to them, ‘Indeed, I am to you from among the sincere advisors’” (7:21). So he lies to people and he tells them that he has their best intentions in mind, but that's not obviously what he has in mind. So as a result of all of these thoughts that he planted in them and all of these desires that he ignited, Adam and Eve's minds became filled with these, you know, thoughts of the tree, and one day, as we know, they decided to eat from it. So Adam and Eve behaved as all human beings would do, right? We become preoccupied with our own thoughts and the whisperings of Satan, and we forget the warning of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Now, it's worth mentioning at this point in the episode that this is where Islam differs from the Jewish and the Christian traditions, as far as this story is concerned. We don't have it in the Qur'an or the prophetic tradition that Satan came to Adam and Eve in the form of a snake or serpent, it's not mentioned. And it's not mentioned that Eve was the weaker of the two, or that she tempted Adam to disobey God or anything like that. Eating the fruit of the tree was a mistake that was committed by both Adam and Eve together, they bear equal responsibility. And in addition to that, we differ from Christianity in that we don't have the concept of original sin that is spoken about in Christian traditions. The descendants of Adam, all of us, are not being punished for the sins of our original parents, Adam and Eve. And as Allah mentions in Surat Fatir, “And no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another” (35:18). As we are taught in Islam, every human being is responsible for his/her actions, and we are born pure and free from sin. Adam and Eve did commit a mistake, and we know, as the story progresses, that they repented sincerely to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and Allah in His infinite wisdom forgave both of them. But let's go back to the sin that was committed. In Surat Taha, Allah says, “Then they both ate of that tree, and so their private parts appeared to them, and they began to sew together over themselves from the leaves of the Garden. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness and gave him guidance” (20:121-122).
Like you mentioned, Br. Waheed, if you put all the verses together, you can kind of see Satan's three-step plan as to how he approaches us and how he manipulates us, right. So he sees, for example, for Adam (PBUH), he (Satan) saw something that Adam might desire and some sort of weakness in him and used that against him, and he used that to get him to go towards that which Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala told him not to. Just like you said, he didn't say, "Go and eat from the tree." He kind of gave all these reasons "immortal.. Angel.. Everlasting Kingdom." All these words that he was using, he knew Adam would pay attention to. If Adam didn't care about these things, if they didn't mean something to Adam, and people can debate what and why they meant something to Adam, but Satan knew that they meant something to him and that he could get him to lose his focus on Allah subhanahu w ta'ala, lose his focus on being in the Garden, and with these words, get him to start thinking about eating from the tree. And in that last verse that you read from Surat Taha, the result of that -- so using his weakness, getting him to go towards that which Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has told him not to, and as a result, he's stripped Adam of his protection, he stripped him of his clothing, he's left him naked in the Garden. And this idea of clothing, being something that protects us -- what is clothing? Clothing is what separates us from animals. Clothing is what dignifies us as humans, clothing is what makes us beautiful, right? Clothing is what protects us from the sun, from getting burned, protects us from harm. And from a physical sense, yes, even Adam was stripped of his clothing from a sort of metaphysical or spiritual sense, that every time we go towards that which Allah subhanahu w ta'ala has told us not to, we degrade ourselves, we strip ourselves of our clothing, we put ourselves in danger, we make ourselves in the low, we remove what has made us dignified in the first place. And that's Satan's plan, he wants to do that, he wants to prove, "Adam was not worthy of me bowing to him, because look at him! I stripped him of his clothing, he's not worthy of me having to bow to him. Why did You even ask me to do that?" That's Satan's goal, right? And like I was saying, everything that Allah subhanahu w ta'ala asks us to do is that we can be in refuge with Him, be in safety with Him, He is our Cave, in a sense, that protects us from the harm of evils, right? So Satan has a three-fold plan: Firstly, he identifies the weakness or the desire in you -- a brother on the Straight Struggle forum described to me one day, he said, "Satan found the hole in my barrel, and like a worm, he found his way in. Satan knows, he sees you, he watches you, he sees your weaknesses, he knows what he can do to make you pay attention. That's his first thing. And then, he uses this against you and suggests that "If you do these things, here are some beautiful things that will happen," or "Here are some benefits that you will gain," if you go towards what Allah subhanahu w ta'ala has forbidden. And he uses this salesperson's technique of trying to achieve overall goodness, you know, he never says, "Do this and you'll disobey Allah," but like he said to Adam, "Do this and you'll become an angel. Isn't that great? You'll become immortal. Isn't that great?" Right? It's under the pretense of goodness. And the third step is, he brings harm to us, he brings shame to us, he lowers us from our potential of who we were meant to be and who we were created to be. He did that to Adam, he did that to the people of Lut (PBUH), and we'll talk about that in the next episode. He does that to all of us, right? You know, we all have different strains of weaknesses, whatever they may be, and you can argue here and debate about what they were, but his approach and aim is exactly the same: he uses that against us, he takes us to something powerful, something addictive, separates us from Allah subhanahu w ta'ala, separates us from our potential and our purpose of getting closer to Allah subhanahu w ta'ala. It's interesting, actually, that what's spoken about in these verses is the removal of clothing. If you look at clothing as a purely physical thing, something that hides our private parts, that keeps us dignified, that keeps us honored, it's interesting that some of the sins that Shaytan encourages people to get involved in, whether it's people with same-sex attractions or just humans in general, obviously, you know, they involve people becoming sexually intimate with each other, taking off their clothes, becoming naked with each other, it's like an extension of what happened in the Garden, this idea of nakedness and sexual impropriety. Allah subhanahu w ta'ala says in the Qur'an, "But the clothing of righteousness - that is best" (7:26), and we'll discuss this later, but sometimes Satan takes us to a place where we are purposely discarding these things, these beautiful protections that God has given us, in the name of short-term fleeting pleasure, right? You just have to look at a Mardi Gras party or white parties and all these things that you see, it's like the Garden all over again. And what I love about Holy Qur'an is that every story that we read, it's like, every day it's us in the Garden - every day, it's the same situation, it's the same setup, isn't it? And in a way, that's a good thing, because we learn from these repeated situations, and hopefully inshaAllah, we're not alone. When it comes to Adam (PBUH), we have to understand that he was in the Garden, he's never had any experience with the whisperings and the blows of Satan, right? He's obviously seen the arrogance of Satan when he refused to bow to follow the commands Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and he knew obviously Satan was his enemy. But you know, all these tricks that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala tells us that Satan uses in the verses you quoted, you know, like a deceiver and all these things. Adam (PBUH) had no idea about how to resist these tricks and he was never experienced with them, he had never gone through this before. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-A'raf, “So he (Satan) misled them with deception” (7:22). So, you know, Adam hasn't experienced deception before in order to be on guard against it and to be aware of it.
And then Allah subhnahau wa ta'ala tells us about Adam's weakness, in Surat Taha, He says, "And We had already taken a promise from Adam before, but he forgot; and We found not in him determination” (Taha 20:115). So this is Allah summarizing to us of why Adam gave in to Satan and his temptations. And compare this to the words Allah subhnahau wa ta'ala uses to explain why Satan disobeyed the command to prostrate. As we know, Allah said, Satan "refused and was arrogant" -- in Surat Al-Baqarah, whereas Adam, "he forgot, and We found not in him determination". So these are the two stark differences between both of them. Adam was tempted with becoming ‘like an angel’ and having an eternal ‘kingdom’ in Paradise. And at some point, these were things that must have appealed to him for some reason, and Satan used those as means to get him to transgress the limits set by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So in other words, Satan used these ideas in order to tempt Adam and to get him to cross those red lines. And, you know, in the meantime, we remember that Adam was of course bowed to by the angels and he was destined to come to live and to die on Earth, so that he could achieve his potential of being called the 'successor' or the 'vicegerent'. As we remember, in Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says “And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I will make upon the earth a vicegerent (khalifa)’" (2:30). So for Adam (PBUH) to approach the forbidden tree was actually beneath the call of his destiny, and it would have prevented him from reaching this potential that was given to him by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So again, as Allah says, you know, Adam "forgot" and "had no determination", as Allah explains in Surat Taha, so what was going on with Adam and everything that was happening? So was he afraid of the challenge, and so, as a result, he was tempted by just remaining as an immortal angel in an everlasting kingdom who didn't have to taste the struggle or death? Or is this what "no determination" refers to? You know, he didn't want to kind of, you know, engage in the struggle that was destined to him on Earth? So, in other words, Allah shows us that we are here on this Earth to be conscious of and to get closer to Him, and the struggle creates the necessary stimulus for us to hold on to His Rope, as you said at the beginning, we cannot identif good if we don't have evil, we cannot really appreciate light if we don't have darkness. The same thing happens here, you know, this struggle that we are here on this Earth and we are tempted with our desires and we see evil all around us, it's a stimulus for us to actually hold on to the Rope of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So, Allah in Surat Ash-Sharh says, “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease, Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease” (95:4-6), so He repeats it twice. We go through hardships, but associated with these hardships and coming in tandem with these hardships are the ease that He bestows upon us. I remember you always said that, you know, there's always the ebb and the flow. First there's difficulty and then ease, and then more difficulty and then greater ease. It's like a roller coaster ride, we go up and down, up and down. So this is life in general. And we are tested. So one necessitates the other; the ease that comes first needs the stimulus of difficulty to enable it to be developed, and then there will be another difficulty, because we're in a place of trials and tribulations, right?
That's a good point - we need the difficulty first, before achieving the bliss, you know. Look at Adam (PBUH) in the Garden, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala described, he had everything - food, drink, clothing, no stimulus, no hardship, nothing going wrong. You know, he was never prompted to develop any of these characteristics that would encourage him to hold on to Allah's Word. Nobody is born reliant on God. That's something that we develop, right? You don't come out like, "Oh, yeah, every time something goes wrong, I'm going to hold on to Allah's Rope." No, that's something that takes a lifetime to develop. I'm still developing it, and I still forget and I still need people to remind me, like "Okay, Hashim, stop! Big picture. Hold on to God, ask Him for help, He will help you. Don't worry about these things." And I forget. And I've been doing this for 40 years, Adam was in the Garden and never had the opportunity to do that, it was too easy, you know? And you know, there are these TV programs in which teenagers grow up in luxury in these mansions, you know, where they've got multi millionaire parents or whatever, you don't expect anything great from these kids, right? You don't expect them to be resilient, you don't expect them to be great at anything. And it's not their fault, because they've never been in a situation that's encouraged them to develop anything. So, Adam had never been in a situation to develop anything as yet to be worth being bowed to by the angels. He had the potential, but he hadn't yet developed it. That's his destiny to come to Earth, to become the vicegerent, to become the representative. But still, obviously, the angels were commanded to bow to him as soon as he was created. But this was before he had proven himself in any way, before he had gone through the coming to Earth and the repentance. And so this was before even the situation with the tree and "The Fall" as people call it. So that's why after the incident of him going towards the tree, that's when the journey to Earth starts, because not only had his weakness now been exposed to everyone, but more importantly, his weakness had been exposed to himself - now he himself could see, "Look, I've slipped, I've gone against what God asked me to do so easily. Satan just had to tempt me with these three things, and now it's happened." In a way perhaps that explains why Allah set up the situation with the Garden, the tree and Satan. People say that life is a test and Allah was trying to see what Adam would do. Allah already knows everything, He already knows what's in our hearts. He's already just said, "I know what you reveal and what you conceal." So, this situation isn't for God to find something out that He doesn't know (Blessed be Him), this is for Adam to see what was going on within himself, for Adam to see his weakness, and for Adam to see why he had to come to Earth, why he needed to embark on this journey to become this potential, to become this thing that the angels are bowing to. We read that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala forgives him. But Adam doesn't say, "Well You have forgiven me, why are you still sending me to Earth?" He doesn't ask this question, because he knows why now he has to come to Earth. It's in order for him to develop this potential, in order for him to get closer to Allah and to go back to God, in order for him to grow. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala uses examples of trees and plants in the Qur'an when He talks about how He provides light and water, and trees and plants grow towards light and towards water because it nourishes them. So we are here just like that to grow towards the Source of Perfection that is Him. This situation that needs us to look for Him, like plants look for water, they stretch out their shoots and stretch out their roots, because they are thirsty or they need this nourishment. And the same with us. We're on here. We're on Earth, right? We have needs, we have trials, we have losses as a means for us to reach out to God. Adam had no need to do that in the Garden. Remember, Allah Himself says that Adam had everything, no problems, no reason to reach out to Him - that's kind of what He is almost saying. Through this kind of situation, through what he's been through, Adam can see exactly why he needs to come to Earth. So, like we said before, Satan, desires, trials... All of these are necessary things that we go through, that we encounter in this universe, that help us to recognize the perfection of our Creator. Like we said before, you need evil to understand good, if everything around us was the same color, if everything around us was gray, we wouldn't know what gray was - we recognize things as humans through contrasts, right? This whole situation, this whole thing of average 80 years of human on this planet, you know, our soul stationed in this borrowed body. This isn't even our body, right? We can talk about, you know, the rights our body has on us. You know, we keep saying that's my body, I'm being true to myself. No! Like, this is a vehicle, like a rental car that's been given to us, we've got to take care of it. We can't expose it to certain situations, we got to look after it. Our brains, we got to take care of our psychology, we've got to take care of ourselves, to take care of yourself as if you are someone that you love, right? Take care of yourself and the ultimate form of taking care of yourself is to humble yourself to God, to bring yourself onto the Straight Path, going towards God. Just like a father tells his child, "Go to university, do this and that for the betterment for your future." We bring our souls into that Straight Path of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala in order to help ourselves. And that's the ultimate form of loving yourself. It's not about ego, it's not about beating yourself up or thinking that you're better or worse or anything. It's more about telling your soul and telling yourself what you need to do to achieve your purpose, because it's too high of a price to pay to not do that, isn't it? If you have a child, you want the best for them, you don't want them to fail in life. So, same goes for your soul, you don't want it to fail, so to take care of it. So, you know, we talk about this journey of ours, or the journey of Adam and ours by extension to Earth, to enable him to grow and to experience hardships and trials on Earth. And they are hard. No one is denying that life is difficult. And everyone is dealt a different hand and everyone is in a different situation. But Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, in His wisdom, knows exactly what we as individuals need to go through in order for us to reach out and find Him. So like I was saying before, if things weren't difficult, if it wasn't stormy, you would never hold on to something to steady yourself. I don't know if any of you sail or have been sailing, but you know, when it's stormy, you have to hold on to something. And then you appreciate what you're holding on to. Remember that you held on to it. So much so that, as soon as you get on the boat, you just reach out for that thing to hold on to, because you know that you're going to need it. There's no point letting go of it, because you know, one random wave and you'll get knocked off. And in a way, these repeated trials, this repeated action of us feeling lost, coming back to Allah, holding on to His Rope. Again, feeling lost, coming back to Allah, holding on to His Rope. This, eventually, should lead us to a situation where we're always holding on to Allah's Rope, you know, where we always have this connection with Him. So that we are not like in the verse, "He forgot and had no determination." Of course he forgot and had no determination, he had no situation or repeated struggle in order for him not to be that, right?
It's interesting that the word used here is "determination", right? "'Azm" in Arabic. And it's interesting that that word is used, because obviously elsewhere in the Qur'an, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in Surat Al-Ahqaf, Allah the Almighty says, “Therefore be patient (O Muhammad) as did the Messengers of determination (ulu l-‘azmi min al-rusul) and be in no haste about them (disbelievers)” [46:35]. When referring to the Messengers of Determination, who are these? Who are these "ulu l-‘azmi min al-rusul"? We understand them as being the five major Prophets - Noah, Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad, peace be upon them all. But like we're saying before, what made them determined? What made them these messengers of determination? It was everything they went through. Look what they went through. Noah (PBUH) building an ark in the middle of the desert, people laughing at him, right? Ibrahim being this child who destroys idols and laughs in the face of everyone, he's being thrown into the fire and landing in this garden of peace, right? Moses standing up to Pharaoh, the Pharaoh of the time, right? Jesus/Isa, you know, faced people basically trying to murder him. And obviously, everything that our Holy Prophet (PBUH), everything that he went through. It was all of their lives, all of their struggles on Earth against all of the things they went through, temptations, challenges, all the odds they faced, that's what made them worthy of being called determined or "people of determination". And, you know, in the Garden, in the state that Adam was in, he hadn't had the chance to develop that, he hadn't come to Earth, he hadn't had to work and toil and die. And, you know, he hadn't had the chance to develop into his potential. And obviously that's why he was forgetful and not determined. He hadn't had the stimulus yet. So, you know, he might have known the names of everything, but he hadn't developed the ability to use them. He hadn't developed this opportunity to have trust and reliance on Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, in order to achieve greatness within himself and in order for him to shape community and society around him. So this is the weakness that Satan saw in him, and he exploited that, and he does the same to all of us - he finds that weakness, tempts them to commit sins by enticing them to what we think that we want, even if that thing is below our potential. And like you said, he comes across as a well wisher, trying to achieve greater good. So, you know, we're all the same, you, me, children of Adam, People of Lut (PBUH), everyone, you know, we all have a weakness in one form or another, and obviously we will touch on this again in the story of the people of Lut (PBUH). But Satan manipulates our weaknesses, he gets us to approach something harmful in the name of the greater good. And sometimes we do it, even though we know that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has warned us against it. We convince ourselves that we're doing it for the greater good. "I don't want to be alone. I want to be loved, what's wrong with this?" We convince ourselves. Even though we go, "Okay, well, I think I know better, and even though Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala said this, or maybe it doesn't apply to me, and maybe this, maybe that." And if we're not careful, we just get sucked in, we get sucked into the trap, and we end up just like Adam, we end up exposed and we end up naked.
Hundred percent. And as we know, there are consequences to what we do, and obviously there was a consequence to what Adam and Eve did. So Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala told Adam, and this is mentioned in Surat Taha, “Get you down (upon the earth), all of you together, from Paradise, enemies one unto the other. Then, if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery” (20:123). So Adam and Eve, and obviously Satan, they're all sent down to Earth. And as Allah mentions, enemies to one another, unless you follow My Guidance. So there was that as a consequence, but immediately, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala gives Adam words, which is a supplication to pray, and this invokes Allah's forgiveness. So Allah teaches him a supplication so that He forgives him. So that's a wonderful example of Allah's mercy, right? This suuplication in and of itself is a very beautiful supplication, and we can use it when we ask for Allah's pardoning for our sins, and it's in Surat Al-A'raf, verse 23, Allah says, “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If you forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers” (al-A‘raf 7:23). So these are the exact words that Adam and Eve used to seek forgiveness from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.
Subhan Allah! This is like God showing us that He wants us to come back to Him, he's like, I am even going to give you the keys to come back to Me when you slip, because I love you so much, and I want you to succeed, and I don't want you to be lost, and I want you to be within My Garden, I am going to even help you, right?
So it cannot get any more beautiful than this, right? He is giving us the keys, all he wants from us is just a little bit of effort to actually move in His direction. And so, what we see here is that Adam (PBUH) is a model for all of us, and he immediately went back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and he had faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and Allah accepted his repentance. So if we go back to our Islamic tradition, we know that repentance is something that we are all asked to do, right? We all make mistakes, and we are all asked to go back to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. So we know that true repentance is made up of several conditions: to feel remorse for our wrongdoings; to stop that wrongdoing to the best of our abilities; to vow to not return to it; and the last thing is to make changes or amendments in order to make up for the situation and to fortify ourselves to try not to end up in the same place again. And if we are sincere in that, Allah accepts our repentance as He promises us. So going back to the story of Adam and Eve, they immediately realize their own shortcomings, they were remorseful, they enacted humility, they moved towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala with repentance, and they supplicated to Him, and Allah forgave them. So we as men and women, we continue to commit mistakes and wrongdoings on a daily basis, and we know that continuing on this path only harms us. As you said, Hashim, anything that we do in our lives does not ever harm Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, right? Blessed be Him. And if Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala does not forgive us and have mercy on us, it is we who will surely be among the losers, as the supplication goes. So we need Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. This is a lesson for all of us, to kind of, you know, recall our mistakes, not in the sense that we want to beat ourselves up or bash ourselves over them, because we know that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is the Oft-Forgiving, we don't do that. But we recall our mistakes in the sense that we stay vigilant and we stay conscious, and we stay aware, try our best not to get ourselves into a position of separating from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and separating from His Infinite Goodness, so to speak. And so we learn from our mistakes, so as not to put ourselves in the same situation again.
So, in these stories that we've read of Satan and Adam (PBUH) and sort of looking at ourselves, there are all these different things that can cause weakness, right? So for Adam, forgetfulness and lack of determination. For Satan, his arrogance was there. But, you know, whatever is causing our weakness, there's actually an invitation now in the Qur'an in Surat Al-Baqarah, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says to the angels, “And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed” (2:33). And then when Iblis refuses to bow, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says to him, "What prevented you?" (Al-A'raf, 7:12). Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala just said that He knows everything, He knows what's hidden in the Heavens and the Earth. He knows what we reveal and what we conceal. He then asks Satan after the latter refused to bow, "What prevented you?" Like I said before, this isn't for Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to gain some understanding that He didn't already know, He knows everything. This is an invitation to Satan to say, you haven't bowed, what's going on with you? What stopped you from doing that? Right? And if we're going to take Surat Al-Fatiha seriously and kind of say, "Okay, how do we compare ourselves to those who have walked the Right Path? But also how do we compare ourselves to those like Satan, for example, who have earned His wrath and those who have gone astray?" If we humbly reflect on ourselves, when we slip, we can ask, "What caused that? What prevented you from doing the right thing? What is going on with you that made you do that?" I had days when I'm out in public and see someone, and you know, I come home and be like, "What's going on? Why were you noticing this? What was going on in your head? Are you feeling lonely? Has something gone wrong? Are you feeling unaffirmed? Are you feeling stressed about something? What is triggering this deep wound within you?" You know when you get hurt in your side and you bruise your ribs, and then something catches you in your ribs, it pains you because that bruise is still there, right? And, you know, in a way, I believe through the knowledge that Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has made available to me that, you know, through my understandings of things, I'm so practised now, as soon as this thing happens, as soon as I start noticing someone of the same gender for whatever reason, it's automatic. Now it's like, "Hashim, what's going on with you? What's happened? What's wrong? Have you not spoken to your brothers in a while? Is there something going on in your life? Are you feeling upset about something? Has someone said something, retrace back the steps. Did someone say something to you, they may not have meant it, but they may have said it in a way that made me feel judged, made me feel, you know, not worthy of being." It's what's going on there. So it's the same question I think, you know, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is asking, "What's going on with you? What prevented you from doing this?" He is telling Satan, "Look! Look at yourself. Look at what you're doing." In our cases, men and women who experience same-sex attractions and who struggle with this, you know, sometimes we give in to temptation and it's an opportunity for us to ask ourselves, "What's going on? Why are we approaching the same gender, whether it's a fascination, whether it's a lustful thing, whether it's just, you know, fantasizing, whatever it is, what's going on? Why are we doing it over and over again? What deeper need or desire are we trying to fulfill?" Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala talks in the Qur'an about, you know, “Eat of what Allah has provided for you and do not follow the footsteps of Satan” (al-An‘am 6:142). And you know obviously, like when you read this verse, at one level obviously it's talking about food, eat halal food that's lived and been sorted in the correct way. But interestingly, it says "...and do not follow the footsteps of Satan," what's Satan got to do with me not eating something halal, right? But the whole Satan story was about not bowing to God, right? Not taking God's advice, and in a way, on another level, rather than just physical food, you know, "eat of what Allah has provided" could mean that are we nourishing our souls in a halal way? And if we're hungry, obviously, we're going to be looking around trying to satiate ourselves. So this idea of following the footsteps of Satan reminds us that Satan wants you to do things his way, wants you to reject God's wisdom, wants you to meet his own needs in the way he wants you to do it. Whereas what he should have done and what we should all do is go, "Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, how do you want me to fulfill this need within me? What is the nourishment that you are providing me to help fill this vacuum, this emptiness, this wound, whatever this ego, whatever reason is drawing us towards this - people have different backgrounds, people have different reasons obviously - but Allah, how can You, the Provider, provide for me, rather than these ways that society suggests that I should get these needs met or the ways that Satan and his lack of wisdom or his arrogance suggests I should get these needs met? God, how do You want me to get this met?" And everyone has issues. EVERYONE has issues. A brother reminds me, the whole point of these stories of these prophets is to realize that we're not the only ones with issues, right? So ask yourself, "Where is this attraction coming from?" It's an invitation to look within, hold a mirror up, delve deeper. And then for some of us, yes, it's childhood trauma, it's abuse, maybe it's unmet needs. The holy prophets, in a way, they were subject to these things too, right? Ibrahim (PBUH)'s father (Azar) threatened to stone him, right? Yusuf (PBUH) separated from his father, left in a well to die by his brothers. Left in a well to die by your own brothers, right? How's that for childhood trauma, right? They went through this and we went/go through this, and this is all part of the journey that we're on, and it's important not to lose ourselves, and really important to always be conscious of Allah and always maintain that bigger picture of: "What is our soul doing here for this short time before it goes back?" And you know, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in the Qur'an, He reminds us of this, He says in Surat Al-Baqarah, “Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,’When is the help of Allah?’ Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near” (2:214). So we will be shaken. We will ask, you know, "God, where are You? Help me through this." This verse is reminding us that His help is near. We might not see it, but He is always with us. Allah is with the patient right? What more do you want, if the goal of our life is to get closer to Allah, and Allah is with the patient? There you go! There it is!
Beautifully said. And this is it for the first half of this discussion. The second half is published back to back with this episode, so make sure to jump right into it, inshaAllah, when you have time. Hashim and I look forward to talking to you there and wrapping up this discussion on Adam and Eve, peace be upon them, temptation and repentance to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Until then, take care. Assalamu alaikom wa rahmatullahi ta'ala wa barakatuh.