The Affirmation of
seek refuge in Allah from the evils of the accursed
name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.
Most Great: Allahu Akbar. We are the people who have
accepted Allah; we believe in the one God and follow His
Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, who brought us the holy
words of the second kalimah: I testify that none is god
except God alone, He has no equal; and I testify that
Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.1
reflect upon this kalimah sent down by Allah to the
Prophet. For whom are these words meant? Muhammad was
born in Mecca into the Quraysh tribe.2
Does that mean that the kalimah is meant only for the
Quraysh? No, it has spread to all the different tribes
throughout Africa and the Middle East and to people the
world over, of every race and religion. Look how many
Muslims there are in the world today.
the right to call himself a Muslim and who does not? To
whom does Islam belong? Does it belong to one sect more
than to another? A person might say he follows one of
the four imams: Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, Imam Ibn
Hanbal, or Imam al-Shafi'i,3
but does it really matter to which family or tribe or
sect he belongs, or whether he is an Arab or
Allah belongs equally to everyone. Every
tongue that has recited the kalimah with certitude
belongs to the same family and dwells within Islam. They
all bear witness to the oneness of Allah and to His
Muhammad, the Final Prophet, the Prophet for the
beginning and for the end; everything that was given in
the beginning was made complete in him. All those who
accept this truth and the one treasure called Allah are
part of the same body of true believers.5
They are all children born to one mother. To believe in
Islam with perfect faith6
is to live in that one body in unity.
anyone who has truly accepted Prophet Muhammad and has
faith in the kalimah will never harm or kill another who
has also affirmed these words, no matter what fault that
person may have committed. A tongue that has recited the
kalimah, a tongue that has accepted Allah and His
Messenger, should never attack another person in any
affirming the kalimah, it is possible for us to attain a
certain state, but we must remember that those who have
not accepted it are still our neighbors. We must love
them, not destroy them. Neighbors are not there to fight
with, they are not there to be our enemies. Once we have
recited the kalimah, we must show our neighbors only
love, trust, and friendship. We must melt their hearts
and make them trust us and embrace us. Then they will
begin to act in the same way themselves.
not mean killing or attacking others. When such a thing
happens, Islam is harming itself. To embrace others with
love and to dispel their hunger, disease, poverty, and
difficulties is Islam. To speak to someone from within
the embrace of unity is Islam. To be together, to eat
together, to live as one life in a state of affection is
Islam. That is love, God's love, and Islam is the
affection displayed through that love. Islam is the
compassion shown by acting with God's three thousand
gracious qualities. Islam is establishing the praise of
God and establishing the qualities of patience,
contentment, surrendering all responsibility to God, and
praising God for whatever happens.7
One who is truly in Islam will practice these good
qualities and continually beg of God, "O Allah, forgive
all our faults and correct us."8
That is what it means to be a true believer.
one is Islam. Just as the five fingers come together to
form one hand, there is one group formed of all those
who love Allah. In this world there are seventy-three
different groups of human beings, and out of those,
there is one group composed of all who have faith in God
without the slightest doubt or wavering. That group is
in true Islam.
Muslim there is only one race; there is no black, white,
or yellow. There is no fighting and no division. How can
we divide Islam and fight over it? How can we listen to
people who goad us into conflict by complaining, "Those
people are different from us''? The nature of true Islam
is to bring together what has been divided. Once we were
separate and scattered in many different directions, but
the kalimah and Islam brought us together to worship the
one God and embrace each other heart to
is unity. We must be one. We must not create divisions
by talk of different groups or different status. There
are no divisions within Islam. Once someone has said the
kalimah there is only one way to describe him: a child
of Islam, nothing else. Earlier he might have been
different, but now he is a Muslim. He might have
followed another religion before, but as soon as he
embraces the one God, he is in Islam.
Allahu Akbar, praising the one God as the Most Great.
There are no titles or differences in Islam. There is
only one great title: Al-Mawla, the Lord, the Protector.
We may call men of wisdom by the title of master, or
mawlawi, and we may even call those who have converted
to Islam mawla al-Islam, or friends of Islam, but Allah
alone is the Lord and Master of Islam, the only One
worthy of worship. We are slaves to Him alone.
must not create divisions in Islam by calling some high
and others low. There is no such thing in the kalimah.
Can we recite the kalimah and then separate Muslims into
different categories, saying some are high and some are
low? No, we cannot say that. A tree may have many
branches, but the flowers and fruits on that tree are
all the same. Is that not so? What does it matter if a
fruit is on a lower branch or a higher one? Their seeds
are the same.
show favoritism in Islam. We are all the creations of
Allah, the children of Adam. The tribe of Abraham, the
followers of Muhammad. Allah sends food to all and
protects us all. And tomorrow He will question us all,
no matter who we are or what position we hold. On the
Day of Questioning9
and the Day of judgment, each of us will be judged for
whatever good and evil he has gathered. Before that time
we cannot tell if someone is good or bad, or high or low
in status. We are all Adam's children, all fruits from
the same tree.
there is one small difference. One fruit may be fully
ripe and very tasty, another may be in the process of
ripening, and another may still be as hard as rock. But
we cannot hurry the unripe fruits by beating them. Each
one will ripen in its own time, according to how much
sun it receives and whether the wind blows on it from a
southerly or northerly direction. Similarly, if we want
to help the children of Adam to ripen, we can only do it
by showering them with good qualities, not by beating
them. We have to ripen them and make them peaceful with
the kind of loving affection that regards other lives as
been told, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." We
have not been told to beat our neighbors, to kill them,
or to cut them up. That will not ripen anyone. Only if a
man's heart is melting with love can he reach a state of
acceptance. His heart has to be right. When we show
someone love, compassion, trust, and friendship, he will
melt in our embrace. Affection evokes affection. So, let
us embrace our neighbors as the Prophet has taught us.
Let us share with them the things that Allah has given
us. To live together in unity with all groups is the
proof that we are all the children of Adam. Love your
neighbor as yourself; don't take his land and kill
You must not accumulate wealth and destroy
your good qualities. Money is a corpse. Unshakable
faith, certitude, and determination is your only wealth,
that is your paradise.10
Nothing other than truth and goodness will stay with you
when you die. You cannot hold on to anything else. You
cannot divide up the earth and keep a share for
yourself; anything taken from the earth will have to be
given back to it. Nor can you divide up the waters and
keep a portion as your own. You can't hold on to water.
Even if you drink a thousand cupfuls, you have to
eliminate it sometime. No matter how much you take,
water belongs to water and earth belongs to
Prophet Muhammad gave us the laws and the words of God,
but he did not seek to hold on to wealth or land or
possessions in exchange. He did not want such things.
All he wanted was for us to accept Allah. How did he get
us to do that? By showing us good qualities. He gave us
the kalimah and the wealth of his qualities. He told us,
"This is your true wealth; this is what will help you.
Take it and share it with others." The Prophet taught us
to love our neighbors, to let them follow any religion
they wanted to, and to be free to worship any god they
chose. If our neighbors wish to come to pray with us,
then we must let them come. We should never attack them.
Instead, we should live with them in loving unity and be
Prophet also taught us that one who is in Islam must
never attack another who is in Islam. If there is
fighting even among those who have declared the kalimah,
think how much worse it could be among people who have
not. When one who has affirmed these words attacks
another who has also affirmed them, that cannot be
called Islam. Anyone who has said the kalimah is your
own flesh, for you are made from the same form.11
You are one family, the creations of Allah, whom His
light has touched. This is the absolute truth, the
hidden treasure that was brought to us by the Prophet.
Islam will be unified only when Muslims think
like this, when they accept this oneness and act
accordingly. Only then will Islam progress and this
treasure grow. But when one Muslim attacks another, when
one Muslim acts treacherously toward another, when a
Muslim takes revenge against his neighbors or kills
them, such acts hasten the destruction of the world.
Should that happen and evil ways prevail, then truth,
faith, the wealth of the three worlds,12
and the grace and power13
of the Lord of mercy of all the universes14
will fail to benefit us. They will be wasted.
Muslim must reflect upon the true meaning of Islam and
the meaning within the divine words of the Holy Qur'an.
People quote the Qur'an constantly. But is that enough?
Some people can memorize the thirty sections15
of the Qur'an in two or three years. Is that all that
must be done? The Qur'an does not consist only of the
words we memorize; there are countless meanings and
explanations contained within those words.
We need to
understand every point behind the words we read; we need
to understand the meaning of every single thing we do.
For example, there is an inner meaning to the
the ritual slaughter of animals. Before the time of
Muhammad, people could kill a chicken, a goat, a cow, a
camel, or any other animal whenever they wanted to. They
could just pick up a chicken and wring its neck. Islam
put a stop to this. Instead of allowing this killing in
every house at random, the people were asked to come to
the mosque to have an official person slaughter the
animals in the way that was permissible,17
according to the laws.
people came and complained to the Prophet, saying, "My
children are going without food. We waited for the
official to perform the qurban, but he had to go to
prayers and attend to other duties, so there wasn't
enough time for him to slaughter our
Muhammad then said, "Instead of a
hundred chickens, slaughter two goats. Instead of a
hundred goats, slaughter ten cows. Instead of ten cows,
slaughter three or four camels. Then, if you share the
meat fairly, according to the size of each family,
everyone will get what they need."
also tell of the Prophet saying to 'Ali,19
"Meat is one of the few foods available in our country,
but if you eat the meat of any animal for forty days in
a row, the qualities of that animal will come into you.
'Ali, never eat meat for forty days in a row. We should
reduce our consumption of meat." Little by little, the
Prophet gave the people these laws. Because of the
strict limitations they imposed, only five to ten
animals could be slaughtered a day instead of thousands.
People could not simply kill as they pleased; they could
take only what was needed.
the Prophet tried to reduce even the random killing of
animals, should we increase the slaughter of men? How
can those within a brotherhood attack and kill each
other? If one person even gossips about another, and
that person then gossips about the first in retaliation,
fighting and death may result on all sides.
fighting before the Prophet brought the kalimah, but
there is no excuse for it now. Now our neighbor is our
brother, whether he recites the kalimah or not. We must
trust him and he must trust us. We are in Islam, and
that means we are in unity. The true meaning of Islam is
to embrace our neighbors and love them as we love
Each of us
must think about this and look deeply into our hearts.
We must pay careful attention to all of Allah's words.
We must examine the inner secrets of the words of the
Qur'an, the truth within every word the Prophet has
spoken, and the meanings within his traditions. We must
understand all that is contained within the kalimah and
embrace each other in unity. If we can exist in that
state, we will be in Islam. That is unshakable Islam,
the great treasure given by the Lord of mercy of all the
universes to those of us who have received the wealth of
the three worlds. Once that wealth is ours, we will see
peace, harmony, and unity. That is success. May we
reflect upon this.
must always think: What is Islam? Islam is like a rose.
Even if a rose has fifty petals, each one contains the
same fragrance. Similarly, even if there are many
millions of children in Islam, the beautiful fragrance
of Allah's kalimah will emanate from every one of them,
no matter which city or country they come from, no
matter what language they speak. It will be in their
words, in their thoughts, in their actions, in their
faith, in their prayers, in their meditation. It will be
in their kalimah, in their devotion,20
in their remembrance, 21
and in their deep concentration on God. 22
That fragrance is there in the petals of every
We must try to know that fragrance.
which unites us as one is the kalimah. As followers of
Muhammad, we must be one. That is what it means to be a
true believer. If we can establish a state of unity and
trust, Islam can never again descend to the state it has
come to now. Today practically every Islamic country is
at war with another. Wherever we look we see divisions,
separations, and wars. That is not Islam.
war within oneself is Islam; the real fight is an inner
one. To dispel evil qualities, evil thoughts, and the
differences that lead to separations is Islam. To wage
war upon jealousy, envy, and vengeance is Islam. To cut
out and discard the qualities of Satan and to fill
ourselves with the qualities of Allah is Islam. To show
a heart full of love to our brothers and sisters is the
wealth of Islam.
We must embrace each brother and
sister with love and trust. We have to think of each one
of God's qualities and fill ourselves with them, one by
one, little by little. That is true love. There should
not be one trace of prejudice in us. There should not be
any words within us that are different from the words we
The words of true Islam, the
words of absolute faith, are like rays of light emerging
from the sun. No matter how many clouds cover the sun,
it will emerge from behind them and shine again. The
clouds cannot change the sun. In the same way, the
clouds of karma, sin, and satan, and the evil clouds of
jealousy and revenge will come and try to conceal our
light. But when faith, certitude, and determination
stand firm, they will push those clouds away, and the
radiant light of truth will once again shine forth from
To always shine with the beautiful light and
form of perfect faith is Islam. And to become sweeter as
we think of this is Islam. If we understand God's
qualities, we will find them so sweet. If we act with
God's actions, they will be sweet. When we embrace our
brothers and sisters with those actions and with trust,
we will realize what happiness is and know the goodness
that comes from it. As we embrace each brother and
sister heart to heart, helping them in whatever way they
need, we will know what joy and goodness are.
children of Adam, as members of the tribe of Abraham, as
the followers of Muhammad and the disciples of Allah, we
must understand this. Islam is to join together as one,
knowing that those who have not affirmed the kalimah are
our neighbors and that those who have affirmed the
kalimah are intermingled within our own
the most important aspect of Islam: oneness. The tongue
which says the kalimah makes us one. This is what must
safeguard Islam. To protect our neighbors from danger is
Islam. First we must see that we ourselves don't kill
them, and then we must embrace them. We must act
according to the laws that have been sent down,
according to the words of Allah, Prophet Muhammad, and
the Qur'an; the words of truth, conscience, integrity,
and justice. Every thought in our hearts must follow
those laws; we must not stray from them.
human being there are four kinds of justice: God's
justice, the king's justice, man's justice, and the
justice of each conscience. First we must act with God's
justice. Then we must become the king inside our bodies,
controlling ourselves and ruling justly over the four
hundred trillion, ten thousand spiritual qualities and
the millions of actions that are there within us. We
must then become that king's subjects, acting with
justice toward all mankind. Finally, we must develop the
justice of the inner witness, the conscience, and begin
to live as human beings in the state of complete
reflect deeply on this and know what true Islam is and
who we are. If we live in such a state, these qualities
will spread, the kalimah will spread, and love, trust,
and friendship will spread. Therefore, embrace every
heart and make everyone your brother. Send forth from
yourself the quality of embracing others and let that
love touch and touch and touch their hearts, making them
peaceful. That is Islam. Do not send a sword, a knife, a
hatchet, or a bomb. Send the kalimah, send the words of
the Prophet, send Allah's three thousand gracious
qualities and His ninety-nine powers.24
Send love forth from your heart to others.
embrace people in this way, you will realize so much
happiness and sweetness, as heart after heart after
heart is captured. It will turn them into exalted
beings, beings of peace and tranquility. It will turn
them into men of wisdom, virtuous beings with
compassionate hearts. We must bring God's qualities into
our actions and make them an integral part of us. We are
told to feed the hungry and give charity, but giving
money is not enough. Embracing others and giving them
good qualities is a much greater charity. Giving wisdom
is an even greater charity. And to have absolute faith
and become a brother is the greatest charity of
children, jeweled lights of my eyes, my brothers and
sisters, every one of us must reflect on this and do it
without fail. It must come into our understanding and
live within our hearts. We must know it in our worship.
It must resplend from within our inner beings and emerge
from our lives as a treasure.
the greatest blessing we can receive. The treasures of
Islam are the grace25
of Allah and the wealth of all three worlds. All that we
can ever understand in life is within Islam. Even our
burial and the questioning in the grave and the giving
of the verdict are all within Islam. It is all
I have just spoken came from my heart. They came in the
name of Allah and Prophet Muhammad. They came from the
innermost heart of a poor man26
who has not studied or learned anything. Every word came
from my heart. If there is any fault in what I have
said, please forgive me. Every brother and sister, I
most humbly beg you to forgive me in the name of Allah
and the Prophet.
the peace, the beneficence, and the blessings of God be
upon you. 27
1. The al-shahadah kalimah. See appendix.
2. Quraysh: The Arabian tribe from which
Muhammad was descended and of which his grandfather,
'Abd al-Muttalib, was chief.
- Imam Abu
Hanifah: Born in al-Kufah A. H. 80 and died in Baghdad
Malik: Born and died in Medina A.H.94 - A.H.
- Imam Ibn
Hanbal: Born and died in Baghdad. A.H.164 - A.H.241.
al-Shafi'i: Born in Askalon, Pakistan A.H.150 and died
in Cairo A.H.204.
men systematically developed the rules of conduct and
law [fiqh] from the injunctions of the Qur'an and the
ahadith. Four different schools of thought were
established after them and each has a slightly different
interpretation of the practices of Islam.
4. Mustafa al-Rasul
sabr, shukr, tawakkul `ala Allah, and al-hamdu
8. astaghfiru Allah al- Azim
14. rahmat al-'dlamin
it is the ritual slaughter of animals to make them
permissible to eat. Inwardly, it is to sacrifice one's
life in devotion to God and to cut away the beastly
qualities within the heart of man.
19. The fourth caliph, son-in-law of the
Prophet, husband of Fatimah, and father of Hasan and
Husayn. The second convert to Islam, following Khadijah,
the first wife of the Prophet.
27. al-salam 'alaykum wa-rahmat Allah
Return to Previous
2003, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen