I just realized that the cause of evil in this world is that people don’t want to be on the receiving end of others evil, so in defending their frail sense of self, they become the monsters they were fearing.
Wallaahi, Allaah is my witness, I’d rather be dragged on my face, have my name obliterated, have my back stabbed, than to live for even a moment in this world anticipating such evil. What’s the absolute worst people can do to me? Reject me? Attempt to kill me? Slander me? Falsely accuse me? Unjustly incarcerate me?
Yet, all that happened to Yusuf calayhissalaam, and in the end Allaah elevated him above his suffering. Why? Because he never became like the monsters who hurt him. Even after all his brothers did to him, when he became the financial minister of Egypt, and his brothers travelled from Jerusalem due to severe famine, he was forgiving. Forbearing. No trace of bitterness in his heart. No victimization. No blaming.
When it was alleged that a stolen golden bowl was found in the bag of Benjamin, who was the only full brother of Yusuf, the other half brothers didn’t miss a beat to slander their brother Yusuf they presumed to have died some 30 odd years prior to this meeting. And even then Yusuf calayhissalaam didn’t lose his composure
They [Yusuf’s brothers] said: “If he steals, there was a brother of his [Yusuf] who did steal before (him).” But these things did Yusuf keep in himself, revealing not the secrets to them. He said (within himself): “You are in worst case, and Allaah is the Best Knower of that which you describe!”
He could have punished them. He could have gloated and rubbed his status in their faces. He could have punished them. But no, he refused to become like them.
And his father, when word got back that Benjamin, his second favourite, was detained in Egypt, he lost his sight due to extreme sorrow. He lost Yusuf whilst in the care of the brothers, and now he lost Benjamin to the same fate. He was beside himself. Yet he didn’t allow frustration and anger and sadness and hopelessness cloud his judgement. He expected good, always, even when it seemed impossible.
“They said: “By Allaah! You will never cease remembering Yusuf until you become weak with old age, or until you be of the dead.”
He said: “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allaah, and I know from Allaah that which you know not.”
Even when people told him to give up and become realistic, he refused. Even after all these years, he kept feeling the pain. He didn’t shut himself down. He didn’t numb his feelings. He let that sorrow surge through him till he lost his sight because numbing the heart to pain would mean putting one’s intuition on mute.
“O my sons! Go you and enquire about Yusuf and his brother, and never give up hope of Allâh’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allaah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.”
( Yusuf 12:87)
Why did he say only the disbelievers despair of Allaah’s mercy? Because the mercy of Allaah is from the realms of uncertainty, of what we don’t know. A realm that can’t be broached by logic or reason. A realm that is outside that, and can only be accessed through a vulnerable heart trembling with fear of the unknown, but able to transcend all of that through faith. And what is faith if not the belief in something for which one has no immediate proof of?
So, Yacqub was eventually reunited with all of his sons – as he had hoped. And Yusuf calayhissalaam was cleared of the accusations, and the dream he had as a young boy before he was thrown in the well, it came true.
And something interesting about dreams. Dreams was one of the ways Allaah sent revelations to the prophets. For instance, Ibraahiim calayhissalaam saw in a dream that he was to slaughter his son, Ismaaciil. And he knew that it was a direct command, because all the dreams of the prophets were direct revelations. But even after the cessation of the final prophethood, dreams remain one way Allaah inspires the truthful individual. The more honest and authentic the person is, the stronger and clearer one’s dreams and intuition. Why? Because dreams and intuition come from the heart, from the subconscious, and lies and deception clouds one’s heart.
The prophet sallAllaahu calayhi wasallam said about this:
وأصدقكم رؤيا أصدقكم حديثا
“The truthfulness of the dream is related to the sincerity of the dreamer. Those who have the most truthful dreams are those who are the most truthful in speech.”
Going back to what I mentioned about Yusuf keeping his heart clean – it’s what enabled the dream to actualize. And indeed, his honesty and authenticity is what made him one of Allaah’s chosen ones, those He gives special protection and guidance.
When the wife tried to seduce Yusuf, this is what Allaah said
وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلا أَن رَّأَى بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ كَذَلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاء إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ
“And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire, had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.”
The point I want to draw your attention to is the word translated to mean chosen: الْمُخْلَصِينَ
It’s the passive participle ( اسم مفعول) ofأخلَصَ ( to make/be sincere) . So the one who does the act of ikhlaas is called
Mukhlis مُخلِص with a kasra
But the ayah says Mukhlas مُخلَص with a fatxa
which means that the person changes from being the doer to the subject. So due to someone’s consistent sincerity, Allaah becomes ‘sincere’ towards them by choosing them and protecting them.
الجزاء من جنس العمل
And it was this that Iblees was referring to when he said, as Allaah mentioned in the Qur’aan
قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ
إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ
[Iblees ] said: “By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all,
Except Your chosen slaves amongst them ”
Take a moment to think about this : Iblees will only be able to mislead the inauthentic individuals. Not insincere. Insincerity doesn’t necessarily connote a constant trait. It can be a one time thing or it can be a habit. But when someone portrays a deceiving disparity between their mask and their real self, that’s inauthenticity. When someone’s default is to ‘mislead’ others perception of one. And those are the ones who Iblees befriends.
In other words; we can be more evil than Iblees when we are inauthentic. We invite him. We show him around. Not him. We like to blame him. But really, when you deceive others you deceive yourself. And when you deceive yourself, Iblees will have a field day deceiving you.
And the degree of inauthenticity in one’s heart is the degree to which one is distant from Allaah and the truth and one’s real self.
We ARE supposed to feel pain. Pain tells us when something is wrong, when we need to change something. Numbing the pain numbs all other sensations of the heart ; joy, creativity, empathy, curiosity, tranquility, intuition.
Defense mechanisms don’t protect us, they imprison us. It shackles us to a corner. Vulnerability is like flying; you might crash, get struck by lightening. And if those are your concerns then, sure, you’re safer shackled. But we weren’t created for safety. We were created to soar. And become sore 🙂