Reflections: Spiritual Crisis!

tumblr_mczjt3XGB01qjjtdro1_400

Verily! Man is ungrateful to his Lord (Surah Al-Aadiyaat: 6).

Perhaps I have spent all these years in judging and labeling people for who they are not. I deprived myself from the riches and nourishment of Islam and I did not bother clearing my lens. It was shadowed by the burden of my sins; my senses were numb and my heart hardened from the lack of appreciation which was stuck in my nafs.

As I ponder over the 23 years of my life, I realized this Ramadan, that I, due to the weight of my never-ending, soul-sickening sins, was suffering from an intense Iman deficit disorder. Some of the symptoms still linger on today.

Unbelievably, as I reflect, I realize in sheer regret, that I have been an extremely judgmental person for most of my life until Allah SWT, Ar-Rahman The Most Gracious, al-Muhyi, the Giver of Life, Al-Wadud The Loving and Ash-Shakoor The Most Appreciative, showed me light. One of the most needed and the most ignored blessing is the ability to identify things and people, in their true form. The ability to see the piety, goodness and beauty of others’ souls came really late to me, because of my stubbornness, the rigidity of my perspective and the hidden, black ant-like arrogance, which is too hard to diagnose.

I have been my own enemy; I have kept myself far away from such a beautiful, flexible and nourishing deen. This code of conduct which outlines the laws for all fields of life accommodates a human being, like no other. It understands me and you physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually.

I transgressed and put my natural state at stake; I lost my haya and suffered chronically. One the highlighting indicators of a weak Iman attitude, that I had harbored, was being judgmental. I made illogical, unreasonable conclusions about people with minimal interaction with them and just by observing them from their external. We sometimes assume such false things about people merely based on their words, clothes, outward behavior, accessories and what not. I, a believer, had for long, lost my decency to at least understand the roots and reasons. Due to my transgressions, I had ruined the foundations of my Iman and lost the eye that could understand human beings, the real side of them.

My insides yearn for a revitalizing journey into Islam. I find nifaaq oozing out of my soul, deep inside! Asfala Saafileen, the lowest of the low (95:6, The Noble Quran), scares me. It gives me a reality check again and again. In my books, I had labels for people without even knowing them completely; bad, clever, immodest, mean, rude, shrewd, vulgar. I had given subjective interpretations to these words and I was unable to grasp the self-righteousness, the arrogance that made my soul vulnerable to sin!

Over and above, the lack of knowledge of Quran and Sunnah and the missing conscious efforts to gain it, have their price to pay. My own shortcomings are responsible for my unclear, murky perspective on life. I was dripping in doubts, confusions and materialism.

Alhamdulilah! Praise be to Allah SWT, Who has blessed me infinitely. These very blessing to perceive people, to think positively, to be caring, sensitive, understanding and have a longing to seek knowledge of Quran and Hadith, go unnoticed. We hardly show thankfulness to Allah Azwajjal, Al-Aleem, Al-Hakeem, All-Knowing, All-Wise!

Most of the time people do not deliberately act the way they do. Somewhere, someone is struggling, suffering or recovering from the circumstances Allah SWT has decreed for them. People react, retaliate or displace their conflicting emotions. To escape pain and embarrassment, I have turned to sinful activities many a times in my life. In such processes we label and misunderstand people. A believer is not supposed to have a narrow, suffocating view of life and people around.

Allah SWT, in the Quran, always provides the sinner with a beacon of hope, reward and the opportunity to repent till the last breath. May Allah SWT, guide and heal all the dead hearts from darkness, into light.

Ya Allah! Your Mercy surpasses your Wrath! Oh Turner of Hearts, turn our hearts towards Your obedience.

Oh Allah! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers (Surah Al-A’raf: 23).

 

Quran Translation from:

http://www.noblequran.com/translation/

 

Release that grudge-improve your health!

Isn’t it ironic? I have taken the task of writing my first post today despite the fact that I have my Human Resource Management, mid-term tomorrow?
Well, the theme for my very first post was so important that I could just take out time for it anyways.

Holding a grudge against someone is not uncommon at all frankly. We all have that hard corner against someone who has wronged us, offended us or may be humiliated us at some point in time. We all have one of the following, a self-absorbed parent, a messed up sibling, an arrogant friend, a partner who lies to us. I and you, we all have a grievance story!

Before I further pen my thoughts down, I would like you to imagine something. Imagine that you are in an open field, and four to five helicopters over your head, are circling round and round in the air above, for weeks now.

That is how some sensitive people experience hurt or holds a grudge, when they take an event, situation or relationship too personally. Sticking in the past or holding onto a grudge or any wrong doing will continuously make thoughts and memories play repetitively in your mind. The feelings when you see the offender, the anxiety when you get the flashback of the hurt will bother you a lot. But hey, are you giving an event or a person too much power over yourself?

Recently, I too was stuck in some situation mentally. My friend provoked me with the same question and I considered the implications of unforgiveness. If you consider the meaning of unforgiveness it is probably drinking poison and indulging in false hopes that the situation can be undone, the hurt be fixed by someone who hurt you.

Forgiveness has some basic properties which I too was ignoring. Firstly, it brings peace. Secondly, the most misunderstood aspect of forgiveness is that the blame is on others for your hurt. Not at all! By forgiving, you acknowledge the sense of responsibility for your own feelings. Then there is the healing property of forgiveness which we don’t really value, unfortunately.

Don’t you have a story of how someone was unkind to you, shouted at you, mistreated you or the hurt that you continue to experience? We often disregard the importance of forgiveness, because we think we have forgiven. But that is incomplete. Forgiving someone is not forgetting, it is not reconciliation, neither is it denying that something happened. Forgiveness implies moving on from the past and empowering yourself in a way that gives you the power and liberty to feel good about yourself.

Consider the importance of learning to forgive as a skill from Epictetus’s quote:

It is the circumstances which show what men are. Therefore, when a difficulty falls upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a rough young man. For what purpose? You might ask. So that you may become an Olympic Conquerer; but it is not accomplished without sweat . .  No man has had a more profitable difficulty than you have had, if you choose to make use of it as an athlete would deal with a young antagonist.

Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, the Hereafter! You have to empower your soul and comfort your mind by learning to forgive, in the real sense of the word. Have you considered that even if you take revenge, play back a prank or curse the person, it only brings short-term relief? It does not make you feel at ease perpetually.

Coming to the health implications of holding a grudge, they have mostly been rooted in the fight-flight concept. The dilemma of the flight or flight response from our sympathetic nervous system is that it only leaves us with two options; reacting or withdrawing. However, if you only depend on your biological system, then it means that you have not applied constructive thinking to deal with an interpersonal conflict, a betrayal, loss or abandonment. To recover the control over your emotions, you need to move beyond. You can rely on your nervous system to deal with immediate danger or pain, but your nervous system would not give you any short cuts to deal with a ten year old grudge with your parent or your partner. Under the influence of the fight-flight cycle and the collision of the stress hormones, our long-term vision becomes blurry. In our frustration, we give the power, the responsibility of our feelings to that person who hurt us, broken us. We become habitual of feeling bad about a person who had wronged us. Is there any significance of giving away the power to your relatives who don’t care for you? Haven’t you given them too much space in your head, majority reserves of your mind body and soul? Remember, that the rule in your mind, the expectation you have is not applicable to the one who hurt you. We can’t enforce the rule of apology onto someone else. Grab back that power as soon as possible to save yourself from frequent headaches, muscle tensions and other chronic issues.

Don’t remain imprisoned by grudges and complaints, for you will suffer the most! Forgiveness is a skill and everyone can learn it, when they first acknowledge the sense of responsibility over their feelings, their emotions. I or anyone proposing forgiveness for health does not mean that your pain is insignificant, or the cruelty you faced is justified. The important thing here is that you don’t deserve to be broken by the shackles of unforgiveness, so much so, that it starts affecting your health and well-being!

Islamic teachings always, always complete the problematic picture for me. The remedies that our deen offers are unique and highly effective. For now, you can ponder over the following ayaat from the Noble Quran, which I think explain the beauty of being a believer, and the honor of having the Quran and Ahadith for guidance! Soothe yourself from the following:

The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah ordered the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly), then verily! he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend [Surah Fussilat:34].

Verily, those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious), when an evil thought comes to them from Shaitan (Satan), they remember (Allah), and (indeed) they then see (aright). [Surah al-Araaf:201].

Say: “Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Maula (Lord, Helper and Protector). And in Allah let the believers put their trust [Surah Tawbah: 51].

Purity is half of faith. Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allah] fills the scales, and Subhana’Allah [How far is Allah from every imperfection] and Alhamdulillah [Praise be to Allah] fill that which is between heaven and earth. Prayer is light; charity is a proof; patience is illumination; and the Quran is an argument for or against you. Everyone starts his day and is a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin.” [An Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, Number 22, Reported by Muslim].

…….Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful [Surah An-Nur:22].

If you tend think about that painful experience again sometime, pause to reflect on Yasmin Mogahed’s quote too:

If you want to kill something, neglect it. It happens in both good and bad. Neglect a relationship, it dies. Neglect your iman, it dies. But the same principal applies when you want to kill something like a thought or a desire. Neglect it, it dies.

Till next time, remember me in your prayers and think over forgiveness as a self-prescription.
I shall try to focus on my HRM mid-term now 😉

Jazak Allah khairan kaseera, for reviewing my first post!

Bibliography:

The Noble Quran, Dar-us-Salam Publications

Forgive For Good, Dr Fred Luskin