This blog has been moved to http://caliph.wordpress.com
This blog has been moved to http://caliph.wordpress.com
Yesterday evening I had the great pleasure and honour to once again spend some time in the presence of my dear friend and brother Sheikh Habib Omar bin Muhammed who many believe to be the greatest living Sufi scholar in the world today. Some years ago, for a far too short a period of my life, I had the opportunity to live and study with the great Sheikhs of Dar al Mustafa in Tarim, Yemen. I had never before experienced Islam lived so traditionally and so completely. I was given the opportunity to taste the sweetness of Islamic life as it might have been among the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Medina fourteen hundred years ago. In addition, besides also being blessed with the opportunity to teach Khalifah knowledge to some of the senior students of Islamic science at Dar al Mustafa, in my studies there I gained a more full and complete understanding of the traditional perception of nur (light) within Islamic scholarship which has coloured my lectures and writings ever since that most intellectually invigorating experience.
The time I spent living and studying with the Sheikhs in Tarim, Yemen will remain forever one of the highlights of my life and of my progressive Islamic development. The dear Sheikhs were so unbelievably kind, considerate, humble, knowledgeable, and wonderful in the way of the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that my heart is bound to them forever. Although I am not a follower of any Sufi tarika, I have great respect for the deep and extensive knowledge brought to the Muslim Ummah by the magnificent Sufi scholars of the past and the present. That I was led to association with the great Sheikhs in Tarim is one of the many wonderful blessings granted me by Allah. How undeserving I sometimes feel, but how appreciative I forever remain.
I say to you my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, in your lives many opportunities will arise, some of those opportunities will be specifically destined by Allah to take you to heights greater than you may ever have imagined possible. Do not ever let those most special moments pass by without striving your utmost to fully express the finest human characteristics placed within you by Allah. The battle between good and evil is at a crucial point, this is the time when we need strong and fearless Muslim brothers and sisters who can, within the peaceful and right limits of Islam, stand firm against the fearfully wicked onslaught which is to come. We are the generations who must decide the future of the human race, the final battle against evil is coming ever nearer. The outcome of this battle will determine whether the children of the future will enjoy a life of Paradise on Earth or if they must endure a life of Hell on Earth.
I so often speak to you about social and political matters important to Muslims in the world today. These are of extreme importance given the threat to Islam that secular materialism and decadent Western culture present to the right belief and practice of Islam in the world today. Today, though, I will speak again about the subject that is my greatest love, and that is to speak about Allah. I have spoken before about the unimaginable greatness of Allah. I would like to tell you a few more facts that illustrate His greatness is beyond even the widest parameters of our word ‘great’. Even when we say ‘greatest’ it is almost impossible for that word to go beyond human concepts of greatness, and somehow does not really approach the God concept of greatness. To get some grasp of greatness at the level of Godhood I often like to use the facts of modern science to give some clear objective measure to the very vague subjective concept of greatness.
The last time I spoke about the greatness of Allah in relation to scientific facts I told you about how Allah had created 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (ten thousand billion billion) stars and solar systems that we can ‘see’ with telescopes and other scientific instruments. That gave some idea of Allah’s greatness on the largest scale, His created universe. Today I want to discuss Allah’s greatness at the other end of the scale the smallest rather than the largest. When Allah first brought the physical existence into being He did so out of nothingness. Before the material universe there was no space, no time, and no matter. When Allah Willed it His Created Light appeared at a point scientists call a singularity, a point so small it has no size at all. Allah transformed His Created Light into the smallest bits of matter we know of, the sub-atomic particles. They are called sub-atomic because they are smaller than atoms, and in fact three very special particles different make up all the different atoms. The three sub-atomic particles that make up everything in the physical existence, you, me, animals, plants, oceans, the Earth, and stars are called protons, electrons and neutrons. They are like the most basic building blocks which are used to make up all the things which Allah desires to have in His physical universe.
Since Allah’s powers are unlimited He could have created His physical universe any way he wanted, but when we read His Physical Creation like a book, as He instructed us to do so we could know Him better, this is what we find. The stars and the universe are very big so they are quite easy to see, but the protons, electrons, and neutrons Allah created are very small, so difficult to see. To give some idea how small the basic building blocks of all material things are we can consider a grain of sand that we might find at the beach. One grain of sand is very tiny, so we can wonder how many protons, electrons, and neutrons, it takes to make up one grain of sand. I doubt anyone knows exactly how many it would take but at a science website on the internet I found a pretty good estimate. It seems there are about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (ten billion billion billion) sub-atomic particles in a grain of sand. That is even greater than the number of stars in the observable universe.
If there are then ten billion billion billion protons, electrons, and neutrons in one grain of sand how many would there be in the whole planet Earth? Since a grain of sand doesn’t weigh very much I could go through a fairly exact mathematical process and find out how many grains of sand in a kilogram, then how many there would be in a metric ton. Then multiply that times the weight of the earth which is about 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (six thousand billion billion) metric tons then multiply that times the number of sub-atomic particles in a grain of sand, ten billion, billion billion and I would get an answer close to exact, but now that the numbers are so huge I am just going to make an estimate because we have a lot further to go until we can discuss what all this means in relation to the true greatness of Allah. So I will estimate the total number of protons, electrons, and neutrons that make up the planet Earth to be about 60,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (sixty thousand billion billion billion billion billion billion). But we are not done yet, that was just the planet Earth, but what about how many sub-atomic particles make up our solar system, the Earth, all the other planets, the sun, the moons, the asteroids, the comets, the meteorites and whatever else is out there. Then finally we have to ask how many of those tiny sub-atomic particles make up the whole of the physical universe that we can see. Finally we get to the number 600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (six hundred billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion) as the number sub-atomic particles that Allah created to make up the whole of the physical universe (just the small part that we can actually see). Actually there is a shorter way to write this number, it could be written as 6 times 10 to the 83rd power, which means 6 with 83 zeros after it.
At that original singularity, a point so small it had no size, Allah created more than six hundred billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion protons, electrons, and neutrons which He would later use as the basic building blocks to make all the things He wanted to exist in His physical universe. Doesn’t that number just stagger you? Isn’t that number so far beyond our comprehension that it leaves us totally dumbfounded? We can write it and we can say it but we can have no idea at all what it really means.
I say to you my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, the real greatness here lies not even in the completely astonishing numbers of tiny particles of matter Allah created from nothingness but in the fact that at every instant of time Allah knows exactly what each one of those six hundred billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion particles is doing AND Allah is constantly sending messages by light from outside of space and time to tell each and every one of those particles exactly what He wants it to do to play its part in the successful completion of His plan for all of His Physical Creation. Allah does all of this and His greatness is so unlimited that to do all that takes not the tiniest part of His effort. Allahu Akbar!
P.S. Dear brothers and sisters, I know this was quite a difficult explanation, and I apologize that I could not make it any simpler; but the importance of understanding the TRUE greatness of Allah makes the effort to understand worthwhile. To know Allah in this objective way allows a much greater intimacy with Him to develop. Just as Allah’s Essence is unknowable, the extent of His Attributes is virtually unimaginable. Oh Allah, I love you so very much!
The Caliph is pleased to say that the problems which arose over mistreatment on Dutch KLM airlines have been satisfactorily resolved. In a meeting with a regional manager high within the administration of KLM who traveled to Malaysia the Caliph accepts the sincerity of the KLM Company and management to ensure that those of all races and religions are treated with utmost courtesy. In particular there was a genuine assurance that there is no corporate discrimination or bad feeling toward Islam or Muslims. The specifics that resulted in the mistreatment have been corrected as much as is possible given the vagaries of human behaviour. In addition, keeping with Islamic tradition of fair reparation for wrong done a satisfactory agreement of compensation has been reached.I say to you my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, given the actions of KLM management to redress an acknowledged wrong committed by one of their staff I ask that there be no remaining bad feeling or financial retribution taken against Dutch KLM airlines. Please feel as free as ever to use KLM services and know that, if Allah permits, the Caliph will also probably travel again on KLM airlines.
I have been very troubled, particularly during the past few years, that the use of violence is becoming so prevalent throughout the world. I had thought, (meaning hoped, expected, and prayed) that with the coming of the 21st century perhaps sanity would prevail and force and aggression would quickly disappear from all aspects of human society, from individual relations to international relations. It seems I was very wrong. Instead, violence in all aspects of human life is on the increase, particularly in international relations.As Allah places human life as His Khalifah on Earth He bestows upon us great responsibilities, and endows us with the use of great powers in order to enable us to successfully carry out our responsibilities as His Khalifah. The powers Allah provides us with include a most exquisitely wonderful brain that is capable of levels of technological achievement almost beyond belief. It is the Will of Allah that we use all the powers He has Blessed us with, including technological expertise, in the service of goodness, never in the service of evil.
For the continued survival of the human race we must become so good, so moral, and so mature as a society, before we develop the technological ability to destroy all life on our gloriously beautiful and bountiful planet, that we would never misuse that power. We have for far too long persisted in the use of force and aggression as a means to attain our desired goals, even though Allah has many times made it undeniably clear through revelation that we are to live our lives and develop our society according the way of peace and love. We are indeed at the danger point!
I say to you my dear Muslim (and non-Muslim) brothers and sisters, a critical moment has been reached in the development of human society. If peace and love does not soon prevail over the continued and pervasive use of force and aggression there will be no future for the human race. The threat to human survival is so severe that you must know if we do not make that required transformation into a society of peace and love the likelihood of there ever being a 22nd century is very small indeed.
There is so very much that takes place in the world that virtually everyone takes for granted is a reasonable way to live. Few ever consider virtually all that happens in the world developed through a long series of small steps from often unknown beginnings, frequently without plan or direction. We are left today with a world that fills our lives with much that is of no value, and much that is even harmful for us as individuals and harmful to all humanity. In the future we must discard all that is wrong and make sure all that is right is introduced. Even much of what we believe we are attracted to has been conditioned into us. We have no right to desire anything which is wrong.
I say to you my dear Muslim brothers and sisters; much of what has come to exist in human society is only there because someone realized they could make financial gain from it. So much of human effort and resources are spent in ways that serve no good purpose and may even cause harm, sometimes even deathly harm, but if a financial profit can be made someone will still want to do it. I ask you to consider all things that make up your daily life and see how much is of benefit to Allah and His Ummah, and how much has no real value. If you do this honestly you might be very surprised.