Reflections: Spiritual Crisis!

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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/

 

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Because Reality will intervene eventually. . .

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Hira Ahmed, another psychology fellow and one of the bravest persons I have ever met in life, shares her speech on “Narcissism”. She is not promoting pessimism at all; lets go down our memory lanes and figure out the times in our life, we were hoping for miracles without putting in efforts. Also, lets look into ourselves, for signs of self-love (ujub) and arrogance. Let’s also empower ourselves by embracing reality, In sha Allah!

Narcissism- in easy words self-love- and blind optimism which has become a major problem in today’s world! Wherever you look you can find people who are self-obsessed, one way or the other. I heard a famous song the other day which says something like “I want the world to revolve around me” with no apparent sarcasm.

People have forgotten that there is a line between healthy self-esteem and narcissism. So much so that usually the first reaction to the word narcissism is “what’s so wrong with loving yourself?” And the once very obvious stance that narcissism is a bad thing is now debated for hours and hours.

So let me first briefly tell you what’s wrong with narcissism then I’ll move on to the purpose of my debate which is how we are unintentionally encouraging our children to be narcissists and naïve.

Narcissism makes a person selfish! It makes a person inconsiderate to others feelings. It makes you arrogant and naive. It makes you think that the world revolves around you and the problem with that is (for those of who, who still haven’t figure out) it’s a lie!! The world does not revolve around you and it doesn’t owe you anything. Narcissism makes you expect too much from others and it makes you upset when others are not able to fulfill your expectations!

Now coming to the purpose of the speech, when we tell our kids that they are special and when we give them trophies for loosing with the intention of encouraging them to try harder, we are missing a point that although a few kids are getting encouraged to try hard, others are getting the idea that it’s okay to lose because they are special and they will get a trophy anyway. It teaches them that they don’t have to work for they want to achieve, they will achieve it anyway. This makes them naive. Because once done with student life things are not going to be the same, they are going to have to work for what they want in life. Nobody is going to give them anything because they think they are special.

Social media also plays an important role in this new found love for ourselves. You upload a picture and minutes later you are receiving compliments and you think that having a pretty face is all you need in life. And mostly the compliments aren’t even honest. People just give compliments so when they upload a picture they can get the favor back. I read this news a few days back that a boy actually tried to kill himself because he was not satisfied with the quality of his selfies. So now pictures of a person decide their worth. Insanity. Total insanity. What happened to having a personality and a character and morals? Where did all of that go? All they want is a pretty face.

Now I want to talk about this trend of motivational messages which make people naïve. “You can be anything you want to be”, “Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything” really? I wanted to be boy. So you’re saying if I just keep telling myself that I am a boy I will become one? Thousands of waiters in L.A wanted to be actors. And they still want that but the problem is that there are too many of them. If everybody could get what they want of they believed in themselves, I don’t think we’d have servants because I’m pretty sure that it’s not what they dreamed of. It just doesn’t make any sense.

All sarcasm aside I’m sure that some people benefit and gain hope from such advice but I worry about many others who grow up without an armor to protect them when things aren’t so sugarcoated. Because reality will intervene eventually. It always does. And believing in yourself doesn’t help much when your mother is addicted to crack and you are afraid to go home from school.

There is an old proverb that “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst” but we have so conveniently got rid of the second part and just blindly hope for the best without preparing for the worst.

Many people her would misunderstand what I’m trying to say and think that I’m promoting pessimism but I am not. I’m just asking you to be careful and watch out for the fine line between s high self-esteem and narcissism, and a line between optimism and being naive.

 

After reading this, I have been pondering over the following words:

  • The heart can also be naked like the body and can lose its dress and decoration, which is piety, and it can feel hunger and thirst like the body does, and its nourishment is knowledge, love, trust, and offering service to Allah. Imam Ibn-al-Qayyim (rahimullah)
  • “The ibtilaa’ (testing) of the believer is like medicine for him. It cures him from illness. Had the illness remained it would destroy him or diminish his reward and level (in the hereafter). The tests and the trials extract these illnesses from him and prepare him for the perfect reward and the highest of degrees (in the life to come). Ibn-al- Qayyim 

Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-e-Imran, Ayah 29- 30

Whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it, and He knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And Allah is Able to do all things.On the Day when every person will be confronted with all the good he has done, and all the evil he has done, he will wish that there were a great distance between him and his evil. And Allah warns you against Himself (His Punishment) and Allah is full of Kindness to the (His) slaves.

Let’s beautify our insides for Allah’s pleasure. Let us put down those myths of pretty faces and impressing people around us or even expecting from them. Time to consider the reality which actually empowers you in the long-run!

Jazakumallah khair!