My Grandsheikh was saying that the gates of Paradise are open for all to enter; and
    according to the hadith of the Holy Prophet, Allah Almighty has parceled out Paradise,
    assigning to everyone his portion, and not allowing anyone to occupy the portion that
    has been assigned to another.  What this means is that Allah Almighty has given to
    His servants before they ever ask for anything, has given with a generosity that is
    absolute, as He doesn’t wait for us to ask that then He may give us according to our
    requests, He gives unbesought.

    Our Grandsheikh went on to say that Allah Almighty treats His people in this life with
    the absolute Mercy emanating from His Divine Name Ar-Rahman (The All-Beneficent).  
    No one can fall outside of the bounds of a mercy and a beneficence that is boundless,
    as is the mercy implicit in the Holy Name Ar-Rahman.  Don’t ever think that the mercy
    oceans belonging to this Divine Name has any shore – no – they are boundless and
    endlessly deep, and so they ever will remain.  You must know that Allah is never going
    to take back anything which He has granted to His servants, and that even to think
    such a thing is unbelief (Kufr) and the worst thought that we can think about our Lord.  
    Yes, our Lord gave to us all a grant  never ending, and that grant is faith.

    What we are listening to now of Grandsheikh’s words is not knowledge of the sort that
    we may be accustomed to hearing – it may seem new and strange to our ears, but
    nonetheless it is the truth from the secrets which are opened up day by day to the
    Saints (Awliya).  Allah Almighty granted faith to the Sons of Adam on the Day of
    Promises, the day when the souls of all the descendants of Adam were brought forth
    from his backbone and asked by their Lord: “Am I not your Lord?”  We were all
    present on that day – looking to our Lord, talking to Him, knowing Him – and we
    replied: “Yea, verily.  We testify that You are our lord.”  (Surat-ul-Araf : 172).

    That faith was granted to everyone, but Divine Wisdom decreed that in this life some
    people’s faith would remain covered while that of others would appear.  The Holy
    Prophet said in regards to this: “The hearts of the Sons of Adam contain treasures,
    and the keys to the hearts are in the Hand of our Lord.”  Therefore, if He is not going
    to open the hearts, no one can- not even His Beloved Muhammad, for whose sake the
    whole creation was created.

    If you understand that faith is present in all of mankind, you must be very respectful
    towards each one of them and you must understand that only with Allah Almighty’s
    permission are you believing and showing your faith, while someone else is not
    showing faith only because his Lord has not opened it up for him.  You must
    understand the matter like this, and never say about anyone, “He is an unbeliever’, -
    who can know what will be the state of any person at the end of his life?  The key to
    the hearts is in the Hand of the Almighty, and what will become of each person in the
    end is a secret known in its entirety only to Allah Himself; even the Prophet can only
    know something about this matter within defined limits.  On the Day of Promises, Allah
    Almighty granted faith to His servants, and He is not going to take it away from them –
    perhaps they will declare their faith upon breathing their last breath – such is Allah’s
    mercy.  Allah Almighty is keeping and hiding so many mercy oceans which are
    destined for His servants.

    (A question was asked) : “Mevlana, it is easy enough for me to understand how
    someone who dies a slow death from a long and torturous disease may have time to
    reflect on his life, and realizing his helplessness, believe and turn to Allah in
    repentance (Taubah) even though he was the most stubborn unbeliever and evildoer
    up until that time; but what I  can’t comprehend is how someone who is, for example,
    shot and killed while in the act of committing a heinous crime, may attain repentance
    despite the suddenness of his death.”

    (Sheikh Nazim replied) : Allah may create time within time.  The time that it takes that
    bullet to kill him may seem very short to us, but for that person Allah may make it a
    very long instant indeed, long enough for him to reflect upon his whole life and repent
    unto his Lord.  Isn’t Allah Almighty capable of extracting a confession from His slave?
    – He most certainly is.

    (Question) : “But, Mevlana, how shall we understand all the verses of Qur’an which
    speak about eternal Hell with no exit?’

    (Answer) : Allah Almighty says in one verse of the Qur’an : “And we don’t send our
    verses (Ayat) except to frighten (Takhweefeh).” In other words, ‘To scare the hell out
    of people.’  For example, you may say to your son, “If you don’t stop doing that I will
    kill you!”  In reality, you are never going to do any such thing, but that warning may
    just be sufficient to make him listen to what you are saying and to desist from that
    disliked action.

    (Question) “ “Mevlana, why is it that the meanings we derive when we read the Qura’n
    seem to contradict the hidden meanings which you are uncovering?”

    (Answer) : Here I have some salt; it is a white powder that we use in most of our
    foods.  Who could guess that it consists of two poisons that would kill whoever
    consumed them? Also, here we have some water – who could guess that it consists of
    two gases – two hydrogen atoms and one of oxygen?  He who knows, knows, and he
    who doesn’t know sees only the obvious and apparent.  The latter may deny, but his
    denial won’t make him right.

                                       “My Mercy outdoes My Anger”

    Similarly, people read the Holy Quran and understand it on their respective levels;
    they may deny anything beyond their level of understanding, but their denial doesn’t
    decrease in the least the validity of the deeper truth, truth which cannot be gained
    merely through outward study, but is given as a grant from the Divine Presence.

    Grandsheikh, speaking about the final results of our actions (Aqiba) and Allah’s
    manner of judging them, pointed to Allah’s word: “My Mercy outdoes My Anger”, and
    he said: “For me, these are the greatest good tidings, as it gives me hope of my
    safety from Hell to know that Allah Almighty’s Mercy will come and cover everything on
    the Last Day”

    That Divine Forgiveness will cover so many people on that day; and the Prophet said
    that even Satan will be seeking forgiveness, and hoping that it may come to him also,
    but more than this the Prophet didn’t say.

    Grandsheikh said that nothing from the actions of Allah Almighty’s servants will be a
    burden on Allah; don’t ever think that it could be.  Now, listen carefully to the following
    description which is recorded in the Holy Books: on the Day of Judgment, Allah
    Almighty will order a person to Hell, and the Angels will grab him and start dragging
    him to the fire.  When he realizes that this is really happening he will turn to his Lord
    and say: “Oh my Lord, I never thought that You would really put me in the fire of Hell.”  
    Allah then orders: “Bring him back.”  He was such an evil person, did so many dark
    deeds and listened always to the dictates of his lower self, but he never lost hope in
    his Lord’s Mercy for him and His reprieving him from Hell.  We can be proud of being
    our Lord’s servants, even if we are not obedient ones – proud that He is such a
    merciful Lord who will reprieve so many of us from the jaws of Hell, and admit them to
    Paradise.

    My Grandsheikh was saying that there are different stations for each person in
    Paradise that Allah gave without their ever having been asked for; that is His favour
    and His grant unto His servants which he has communicated to them through His
    Prophets.  When our Grandsheikh was saying that even disobedient servants will also
    finally attain Allah Almighty’s Mercy, he quickly drew our attention to the following
    important point: “Oh my son, I am saying that with Allah’s Endless Mercy everyone
    should finally enter Paradise.  Such considerations, however, are for the common
    people, and we are not seeking to stay at that level.  We are asking for the highest
    station, the greatest pleasure, the highest degree for His servants: the stations of
    Ridwan-Allah-ul-Akbar.  With those servants our Lord will be absolutely pleased, and
    they, in turn, will be absolutely pleased with their Lord.

    Here is the answer to a question that anyone who is striving hard in the way of his
    Lord and obeying his commandments may ask: “Why should we make a great effort to
    please Allah if there is a good chance that he will forgive us anyway?”  The answer is:
    The degrees in the Divine Presence of those who have made efforts must differ from
    the degrees of those who were complacent in this life.

                                               

                                                         The Two Paradises

    Grandsheikh was saying, quoting the Holy Qur’an, that there are two Paradises: one
    of them is the real Paradise and the other is but a shadow or copy of it.  Allah Almighty
    is going to give to His servants according to what were their wishes and desires in this
    life.  Whoever was satisfied with this life’s pleasures, and preferred them to the love of
    his Lord, asking for ever more pleasures in everything of this world, and giving the
    love of Allah the second place in his heart, Allah will give him what he loves most: a
    Paradise full of pleasures: splendid gardens, luxurious castles and lovely virgin girls –
    all these gifts will be of a beauty unimaginable, incomparable to any beauty on Earth.

    The original Paradise in the Divine Presence and the highest station (Maq’adu Sidq)
    is entirely different from the shadow Paradise.  The Prophet said that in that Paradise
    there are no palaces, no gardens and no girls.  In their place one will find the Lord’s
    smiling, radiant Countenance.  In the first Paradise, the shadow Paradise, the people
    will regard their Lord’s Divine Countenance once a week at the time that we now pray
    the weekly congregational prayer (Salat ul-Jum’a).  When they take a look at His Face
    they will forget all else; the Divine lights from His Divine Face will make them forgetful
    of everything else, this will occupy them until the veils of Majestic Grandeur are
    lowered; then they will return to their selves.  When they are gazing at their Lord’s
    Countenance, they are taken from themselves and are no more there, but when the
    Veil of Grandeur is lowered, the inhabitants of that Paradise come to themselves and
    proceed to enjoy their paradisiacal pleasures more than ever – everything will appear
    new and full of more light than before.  But for those who worked in this life for His
    pleasure, Allah is taking them to His Divine Presence and not letting them out.  That is
    the real Paradise.  Our Grandsheikh was saying that to be in the Divine Presence for
    only one second, he would give all the eight Paradises – it is so valuable an
    experience.

    In general, the people now living in this life like it more than they like the worship of
    their Lord, for which they are making only minimal efforts.  In their hearts, this life
    takes the first place and Allah takes the second; in the afterlife, they will find
    everything according to what was their liking here on Earth.  The inhabitants of both
    Paradises will be perfectly pleased with their Lord: those who are in the Divine
    Presence will be pleased, and the inhabitants of the Gardens will also be pleased –
    everyone will be content.  Now, you are all free to chose: If you prefer physical
    enjoyments, you will find what you are accustomed to, but if, in this life, you cultivate
    love for your Lord in your hearts, then, in that life, you will find His Presence.

    For each group there will be eternal improvement – everyone will be improving within
    their stations.  Allah Almighty will bestow on them ever increasing bounties, always
    corresponding to their levels.  For example, an immature child is not going to enjoy
    the company of adults – he will rather seek the company of other children – just as an
    adult will not be  content among children; and so, in the afterlife, each will blossom on
    his own branch and will never look to his position as being in the least deficient: there
    will be no envy on the part of the inhabitants of the lower Paradise in regards to those
    of the higher realms, for their satisfaction with their Lord’s favour will be complete.

                                                     
                                                            The effigy

    A QUESTION WAS ASKED AT THIS POINT: “Mevlana, in the light of these good
    tidings from the secrets of the Holy Qur’an, namely: that Allah’s Mercy encompasses
    all, that the mere assumption of Allah’s Mercy is sufficient for attaining it, and that
    neither body nor soul will shoulder the blame for bad actions and will thus escape
    punishment – in the light of these teachings the element of fear seems to be negated.  
    So many of us came to Islam because of the fear of Hell that we feel when we read
    about it in the Holy Qur’an; won’t this news of Allah’s All-Embracing Mercy eliminate
    the fear of Hell as a deterrent of bad actions?”

    The Sheikh answered:

    We can understand that punishment is Allah’s way of purifying the servant for his
    entry into bliss.  Many people will suffer in their graves, on the Day of Resurrection
    and in the fires of Hell.  Absolute Justice will reprieve both body and soul from
    punishment, and forgiveness will be granted; but from those dirty actions which have
    come out of the interaction of body and soul, Allah will create shapes in the exact
    likeness of the sinners to represent them in Hell.  This likeness or effigy will be just as
    dirty as those actions were, and it will stay in Hell until it is cleaned.  In the face of this
    punishment, one will suffer intensely – his shame will be so great, and at that time so
    difficult to bear, that he will wish for the Earth to swallow him.

    There is a famous tradition (Hadith) from the Holy Prophet which will shed more light
    upon the point in question.  He said that once a man died and was laid in his grave
    where two Angels came to question him, saying: “Who is your Lord? What is your
    religion? Who is your Prophet? And what is the Book that he brought?” He withstood
    this interrogation and gave all the correct answers, so that, when the angels left, an
    opening formed in his grave and through this entered a person of such beauty,
    elegance and delightful fragrance that he couldn’t turn his eyes away from him.  He
    had never seen such a magnificent person, and his happiness at beholding him was
    so great that, if it could have been divided among the whole World, no one would
    have remained sad.  He asked that radiant person: “Oh my Lord’s servant, who might
    you, be?” That person replied with the sweetest voice: “I am your good actions.  My
    Lord created me from the good actions performed throughout your life, and now I am
    your friend and companion forever.”

    Then the Prophet went on to say that if, however, a person has spent his life
    committing evil deeds and then, in his grave, is not able to answer the questions of
    the Angels correctly, there will come to him a person so ugly, so vile and so wile
    impossible to imagine.  How do you feel when a scorpion or a cobra is creeping up
    upon you? The disgust and repulsion he will feel at the sight of his horrible shape will
    be far in excess of that, and he will be thinking only of how he could escape from that
    grave, but it is impossible and every way he turns he will be facing that hideous
    apparition.  You cannot imagine the distress he will find himself in.  Finally, that horrid
    shape will take him in its arms and embrace him, exuding such a stench, that if you
    were to smell it now, you would not be able to eat for the next forty days.

    Then the person in the grave will say: “I seek refuge in Allah from you! Who are you?”
    The vile creature will answer: “Don’t you recognize me? You were with me all your life
    and you were very proud of me; I accompanied you to so many bars, casinos and
    houses of ill repute, and now you will not know me? I am your bad actions; I carried
    you all your life, and now you must carry me – I shall be with you until Judgement
    Day.” Then, he and his bad actions will lie in that grave, and for that reason the grave
    is called ‘the box of works’.

    On the Day of Resurrection, Allah orders for the effigy of those bad actions to be
    thrown into Hell, while the person stands on the heights between paradise and Hell (Al-
    A’raf) to observe, in a state of shame and contrition, the punishment being dealt out to
    him, unto the form of his bad actions.  Then, finally, when he has been cleansed of
    those dirty actions, he is freed of them and passes on to the gates of Paradise.  
    There he finds two springs, two pools of water big enough for the whole Nation of
    Mankind (Ummah) to bathe in.  In the first spring, all those who enter it will be
    transformed physically, so that they emerge in a form befitting the inhabitants of
    Paradise: if they be male, they will come out as handsome as the Prophet Yusuf and if
    they be women, they will be transformed into equivalent beauties.  From the second
    spring they will drink, and this drink will eliminate all of the ego’s bad characteristics.  
    Both physically and spiritually clean, handsome and excellent, they will pass through a
    gate so wide that one billion people may pass at one time; but immediately on entering
    Paradise, each one will find his own private way to his own private Paradise, where he
    will be with his loved ones.

    That is the final destination, but along the way one will encounter many troubles, as
    the results of bad actions are sufferings.  The Prophet said that his Nation (Umma)
    would often find punishment in this life rather than in the next and that each of those
    sufferings in this World would amount to forgiveness there.  This applies to all people
    after the time of Muhammed, Peace be upon him, for now all people belong to his
    Nation, whether they like it or not.  There now remains no Nation belonging to any of
    the former Prophets, as their time has passed and gone.  This is the time of the Last
    Prophet, and, at the end of time, Isa (alai) will return and announce that he and all
    Prophets before him are followers of Muhammed, on whom be Peace.

                                        

                                          The General Amnesty

    Allah Almighty has created Hell for the purpose of cleaning and purifying, as He does
    not like to make people suffer without wisdom.  This is Grandsheikh’s understanding
    and it was also Sheikh Muhiyuddin Ibn al Arabi’s understanding of the Holy Tradition
    (Hadith Qudsi): “My Mercy surpasses My Anger.”  Therefore, we may hope for the
    final outcome to be a ‘General Amnesty’ for everyone, and we are pleased by that
    prospect.  For example, you may be in a palace full of every comfort, but the fact that
    there are suffering people outside your palace prevents you from being truly happy;
    when, however, you learn that all those people have attained mercy according to their
    levels, you will feel relieved and say: “Now Allah has expanded His encompassing
    Mercy to everyone”.

    It is a good manner to always think about our own egos as being worthy of eternal
    punishment in Hell.  We can hope for reprieve only through Allah’s All-encompassing
    Mercy, and we ought never to assume that we will be the first to enter Paradise;
    instead, we should always think to ourselves: “I am the worst and my ego is the
    dirtiest; were it not for Allah’s Mercy, I would surely be destined for Hell.  My only hope
    is His Forgiveness”.

    In a famous hadith the Prophet, peace be upon him, is related to have said: “To him
    who knows no mercy, no mercy will be shown.”  The merciless person in whose heart
    there is no wish for mercy for anyone, he will himself not taste of mercy.  Mercy
    attracts more mercy, cruelty attracts cruelty, badness draws badness and goodness
    draws goodness.  But mercy dwells in the hearts of all true believers and therefore, in
    the face of the punishment, so many saints will run forward offering to take the
    punishment of so many others upon themselves – this is the degree of mercy and self
    sacrifice their hearts have attained – however, it is not Allah’s way to lay any burden
    or punishment on his saints in the afterlife, nor to punish any individual for sins he has
    not committed.

    Sultan Al-Arifin, Abu Yazid Al-Bistami, once said: “Oh my Lord, You have Power over
    all things and You have absolute Power to do anything You wish to do; therefore, I am
    asking You now to make my body so big as to fill the seven Hells, so that no place
    remains for other people.  Every punishment You would give to Your people, pour it
    on me instead.”  Then came the Divine reply: “Oh My servant, are you trying to
    compete with Me in generosity and mercy whereas I am the Most Merciful of the
    Merciful (Arham-ur-Rahimeen), the Most Generous of the Generous (Akram-ul-
    Akrameen)? All your generosity and mercy is only like a drop in an endless ocean
    compared to My Mercy and Generosity that I am giving out to My servants every
    minute, and I demand of you no blood sacrifice.”

    Grandsheikh says” “Whenever I speak on this subject, I am always asking Divine
    Permission to bring out more and more good tidings of Allah’s endless Mercy and
    Generosity  Now we are giving these good tidings, and if you are not receiving them
    with welcome, then you are only making yourselves suffer.  If there is anyone
    objecting and saying that there must be eternal Hell, then he may go there.  We are
    trying to pull them into our Lord’s Mercy Oceans – but they intend to put everyone in
    Hell, and they never think that they themselves will enter it; therefore they are
    agonized and outraged by our good tidings to the servants of our Lord.”



                                                            - The End -











Sheikh Nazim
THE GENERAL AMNESTY

and the

OCEANS OF MERCY