The Poor Man’s Faith!

What must be going on the poor man’s mind right now? How miserable uncertainty might have made him. Not having today’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea or anything. Who will restore his hopes about Pakistan? Who will revive that faith in Allah in him?
March, or no march, democracy or no democracy, martial law or whatever. How must have this dirty political scenario affected his body, mind and soul? Swallowing his fears, wiping of that tear, controlling his hunger, looking at his helpless family, is he still using and abusing those borrowed drugs?

…And man is ever ungrateful (17:67).

At least I had food today. Lots of  it. Quality food! Those who have no roof over their head, have not eaten anything today and are not sure if this sickening government is doing anything to fulfill their rights, what else can they do? Creepy lows like these, when weed is the only option, how can a person maintain faith?
I am afraid of the times, such times, when not everyone can manage to join their hands and pray to Allah Almighty. These are very painful times when inside the struggling soul, devoid of hope and faith, is blaming itself and fate.

To remind someone of Allah and make them reconnect to their roots, Iman, is hence the best way one can serve humanity.
The hunger-stricken people of my country and anywhere in the world, who have been feeding for days only on hope and not on organic food, need more of it. Those who have lost faith, need to be reminded of it.
Only Allah is sufficient for the ones in need, in pain and only Allah SWT blesses that ailing heart with peace.

How badly, that person, not sure which political party is telling the truth, is in need of peace. He needs emotional and spiritual connection RIGHT NOW.

Burnning-Heart

The thought of it is so heart-wrenching!
Lets pray for the needy, the hungry, the hurt, the addicts, the victims of any crime and all other people suffering in one way or the other, who have lost connection with Allah, lost hope in themselves and their leaders and can’t even feed themselves momentarily on hope.

They definitely exist. At least in this country where politics is sickening!

The tolerance of suffering of my people, empowers me.
The fact that the poor man, poor in all ways, has that urge to live and see what will happen tomorrow, despite that war going on inside him, is awe-inspiring!

May Allah SWT, be their Protector!

“Allah is sufficient for me. La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.” Surah Taubah: 129.
Advertisements

Towards a Balance

Image

 

 

 

 

 

(95:4)  Surah Tin (The Fig), The Noble Quran

Ahsan: beautiful on the outside and inside.

Taqweem: A Perfect Balance.

Humans are the only ones who walk completely straight, physically, as well as ethically, an ideal poise for body and soul. Allah tells us that the human is made in the best form, but with the power of the best form comes responsibility. Our self desires a balance between worldly nourishment and spiritual nourishment.

Before the Modern times, there were 3 main issues which prevailed in the world.

– God.
– Afterlife
– the human Soul.

Japanese, Indonesian, Christian (Europe), Islam (Middle East), Hinduism (India)… Etc. All these concepts were discussed around the world. In the Modern Secular Era, a war started against religion. Even though people believed in God, but God was not really significant. This was the juncture at which reliance on materialism actually began. People shifted their center of attention from afterlife to the quality enhancement of this life. Generally, the focus was reallocated to body from the soul.

And when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My [created] soul, then fall down to him in prostration.” [15:28] Surah Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract), The Noble Quran.

Then He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him the soul (created by Allah for that person) [32:9] Surah As-Sajdah (The Prostration), The Noble Quran.

The thing which Allah honored the human body with is the soul and an intellect (‘aql).
Unfortunately, we are at a point in life when all we know about ourselves is primarily about the body and least we know is about the soul which was privileged.

Drawing parallels with psychology, we can see that psychology comes from the Greek word ology-study and psych-soul. When psychology first began, it had its focus on the well-being of the soul. Ancient philosophers, physicists and the fore fathers of psychology were more concerned about the functions and stages of the soul than brain chemistry.  Psyche further meant breath, life and soul. But the definition of psychology has drastically changed today. The American Heritage Dictionary for instance defines psychology as a science that deals with mental processes and human behavior. One of the greatest trickery of modernism is that there is no solid link between the external realm of matter and the realm of psyche.

Back in ancient times, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and other renowned philosophers talked about virtues that the soul consisted of rather than the body systems or organic imbalances. The foundations of the modernism movement were laid by Galton, who convinced his cousin Darwin of the magnanimity of the solid concept of heredity which led to the modern belief of survival of the fittest.  Darwin reduced man’s existence to that of an ape, completely ignoring the distinction man has from animals based on spirit and intellect. Freud, Marx, Nietzche and Mandeivelle pushed the study of soul to the edge. Freud for instance heavily relied on man’s lower instincts and Nietzche was not at all appreciative of the noble instincts any man could have. He mocked the innate goodness concept. Freud in one way gave the concept of superego, but that too was limited to the rules and notions posed by the society. All of these influential personalities did not talk about the sanctity of the soul. Furthermore, Nietzche did not show any interest in even morality. He said, “”Get rid of the conscience, compassion, forgiveness – those inner human tyrants. Oppress the weak, climb over their corpses…”. Man was unfortunately reduced to a product of biological make up, body, cells, neurons, carnal desires and heredity.  However, Jung believed

Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart throughout the world.

Carl Jung, “New Paths in Psychology”.

The medical practitioner including a psychologist to this day emphasizes on the body, genes, chemistry and neurons. Western Psychology is perhaps denying the roots of its own existence, the soul, as it is invisible. The modern psychologist tends to focus on the visible, observable, measurable, touchable or in a nutshell scientific aspects of a human being. The foundation of psychology as a science was the soul instead. The spiritual dimension has long been undermined in mainstream psychology.

A human being today does see himself beyond a body; the essence, the soul of the human existence that was actually honored has been long lost. Psychology now merely operates in the nature nurture equation i.e. the dis-ease in a man is a consequence of either his situation or his genes or rather both. The perfect balance that each human being was created in is hardly sought. This is one of the reasons psychologists don’t have the answers to the root causes of all major disorders today, rather the psychology community is progressing just on symptomatic treatment.

The psychologists, in order to find absolute answers have to delve into the roots again i.e. psyche– soul, breath or life. The community at large should work towards achieving a balance.The decline of the humanistic school of thought has been largely seen. Carl Jung tried to examine the imbalance in psychology itself by considering the morals and spiritual aspects in “Modern Man in search of a Soul” but his work was not integrated further into the field.

Through scientific understanding, our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos. He is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional participation in natural events, which hitherto had a symbolic meaning for him. Thunder is no longer the voice of a god, nor is lightening his avenging missile. No river contains a spirit, no tree means a man’s life, no snake is the embodiment of wisdom, and no mountain still harbors a great demon. Neither do things speak to him nor can he speak to things, like stones, springs, plants, and animals. He no longer has a bush-soul identifying him with a wild animal. His immediate communication with nature is gone forever, and the emotional energy it generated has sunk into the unconscious. (Carl Jung, 1964 Approaching the Unconscious).

Thus, before gauging the causes of psychological imbalance in people, perhaps, psychology has to reconnect to its roots of soul and nature as in The Fig, Ahsan-i-taqweem, the perfect balance and the peak of human excellence highlights!

May Allah reward you for reading and sharing.

 

 

References:
The Noble Quran translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Dar-us-Salam Publications.

Transcribed notes form Nouman Ali Khan’s lecture on Surah Tin.

The Decline of the Muslim Ummah, Iqbal Syed Hussain.

 

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