Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
I feel one of those “mehlo madala” stories coming on. When you are in a circle of fuqara, you have nights like tonight, that are a gift. Gifts that are unsolicited, that surprise you from left field – a real sense of blessing from Allah subhana wa taala. It is particularly nights where you see people that you haven’t seen for a long time, where you realise that you share something really deep with many people – something that you develop over decades. These experiences are a metaphor for human existence.
Our normal lives, particularly in these days are very active; they are very engaged in the world. For most people, their day to day experience is really an experience of being under threat, of being challenged, faced with a world where your provision, livelihood and security are at risk. Then you come to a Saturday evening like this where you meet people who remind you, who give you a sense of an experience that says that older, deeper & beyond the insecurity, there is a homecoming. And that homecoming as the Zulus would say, its “mehlo madala”. As you know, the expression “mehlo madala” means “old eyes”, and that is what you use for somebody that you have not seen for a long time.
..how can that which is part of you be hostile to you?
So you can imagine two men who were companions in a regiment who then went on their various ways, working in the cities of South Africa and then one day meeting back at wherever they come from. Now 40 years on, they look at each other in the eye and they say, “mehlo madala” – old eyes. They are reminded of their youth, and their ancient connection.
That is what’s happened for us tonight – we were reminded by the dhikr of our ancient connection, of the fact that we do come from one stock, that we are one being. And that one stock and one being transcend the differences. When we are in the world, we constantly are visited upon our uniqueness, or our uniqueness is visited upon us. The fact that we stand out against the world, that the world is a challenge to us and that we have to battle with the world to make a living, to make ends meet. The world is unkind, the universe is big, and this city Gauteng is dangerous, and run by people who are unscrupulous. We keep on this dialogue with ourselves, and although there is truth to that, it’s a cosmetic truth. Then you come here and you see the man that you have known for 30 years and in whose company you have sat in dhikr for countless numbers of times, with whom you have shared your breath.
Because that’s what you do in the hadra, you share your breath. If you are doing the hadra properly, you are expelling your breath with gusto, with commitment, and you are taking it in with commitment, which means you’re breathing in someone else’s exhalation. How is that not possible? Obviously that’s happened. You’re sharing your breath; you are telling yourself deeply and reminding yourselves that you are of one life – one unassailable, incomparable, deep ancient life. The fighting with the ignorance and the kuffar of Gauteng, it is theatre. It is apparent, not the reality. It is a shadowshow. It is an interesting shadowshow, but don’t take it seriously.
This – what happened tonight – is what you should take seriously. This is the reality. This is the truth that is deeper than our hostility. The hostility, the conflict that we have with people here or people beyond or people on the other side of the globe, they are the foam on top of an unfathomable ocean of peace, of our ancient home, our ancient connectedness. We stood together shoulder to shoulder on the first day before Allah subhana wa taala called us into being. He asked us, “Am I not Your Lord”, and what did we answer?
..older, deeper & beyond the insecurity, there is a homecoming..
We are of one root.
We are grateful to Allah subhana wa taala for having brought us this life, this incredible gift on the planet, to remind us, to remind us and give our hearts ease. Don’t worry my child, deeper than all the nonsense there is an unfathomable peace. There is a depth of connectedness. You are one of the clan. You aren’t an individual being attacked by a battalion. You are a member of an army in which every one of them is in a deeper sense – no matter how it appears now –are your brothers and sisters, and the universe is on your side. The universe is no more hostile to you than your own hand is hostile to you.
Because how can that which is part of you be hostile to you?
We thank Allah subhana wa taala for the blessings of this evening.
And for the many old friends that have come through the door.
And for the connectedness and for being reminded of the connectedness of the hearts.
And for the depth of that connectedness.
And that the depth of the connectedness is deeper than the apparent depth.
And may the depth of the connectedness be the reality for us.
And may we be like two brothers who might have a squibble squabble until the neighbour picks a fight with one of us.
And may we be deeply rooted with each other.
And may we always be trustworthy with each other.
And may we always make our word our bond.
And may we do what is honourable in transactions.
And may we be kind with each other.
And may we be merciful on each other.
And may we always look out for each other.
And may we act the reality – that we share a life, that we aren’t individuals.
This discourse was given by Shaykh Ebrahim after a dhikr session on the 27th of July, 2013.