Part 34 – The ups and downs of life

Wisdom and faith will never flourish in the heart unless the heart is humble, and without the love of dunia, status, ego or arrogance. The love of Allah does not enter the heart which carries spiritual diseases of dunia. The heart must be soft and accommodating first. If we have a high amount of spiritual diseases, it will block the path between us and Allah.

Our spiritual status is linked to our truthfulness and sincerity. Cowardice and emotions make us withhold our own goodness from ourselves. This obstructs us from the reality of our journey. We are in so much doubt that we are hesitant on the issues of good deeds. Our feelings make us so arrogant that we deny the message.

The tool we need to accompany us on this trip is patience for Allah, with Allah and towards Allah. Patience is often understood as the ability to wait for long periods of time for something to yield results. However, patience in Islam includes active acts such as performing our worship obligations promptly, spending from what we love for Allah, putting Allah’s love above other priorities, and to sacrifice for Allah. Patience includes eradicating all corrupted love and attachments from the heart. It includes being patient even when we do not get what we want and being patient in fulfilling the commands of Allah that we don't like.

The poor often look up to the rich in the hopes that the rich can benefit them. It is this worship of wealth and status that sets the scene for intimidation and oppression by the rich and the powerful of the less fortunate. If only the poor people looked at Allah only, then Allah will take care of them.

We are all poor in different ways, and we look at others to alleviate our poverty. Whether it is the lack of happiness, or lack of money, we mistakenly look at others to ease that hardship. Whereas, we forget that even those that we place our hopes on are creations of Allah. So why not turn to Allah instead of His creations?

Often, what Allah wants from us is in conflict with what we desire. Waking up at dawn, or staying up throughout the night for prayers conflicts against our desire to rest. Abstaining from food and drink between dawn to dusk, and controlling our tempers when we are tired and hungry from fasting, are difficult. Yet when we do things for who we love, these acts generate pleasure for us.

All these commands from Allah are to control our rebellious nature. It trains us to choose Allah's pleasure above our desires, even for circumstances we dislike. The scholars said that all this is to help us control our rebellious nature against who we love, because nobody will love someone who is rebellious against him.

If a situation happens which we dislike, which reaction will we choose? Will we choose Allah above ourselves, or will we choose the situation above Allah? If our iman is weak, we will react according to our desires even if it damages our relationship with Allah.

Sometimes we hope for a situation to occur, but it doesn’t come to pass. We studied hard but still failed the exam. We love someone but he or she does not love us in return. Do we become rebellious and upset? If something we were hoping for does not materialise, understand that the One who didn’t give it to us withheld because He loves us. If we love Allah, we would accept everything happening to us without resistance.

One of the things which can make the love of Allah be diverted from us, is to rebel against our predestination (qadr). Rebellion and dislike indicate discontentment with Allah. It will get us nowhere, because Allah's qadr is like a current which we cannot swim against. We can try, but the current will still sweep us where we are supposed to be and by the time we arrive, we will be exhausted and half drowned. Any experienced swimmer would agree that swimming against a current is futile and is potentially fatal. Similarly, if we surrender to the qadr of Allah, we will arrive to a new destination or circumstance in a relaxed condition.

In addition, what we like is not necessarily good for us and what we dislike may actually be good for us. Many of us break down when Allah pulls away the object of our love or desire. Or we get disappointed at the lost opportunity – that job which went to a weaker candidate, or the loved one who chose a different spouse. On hindsight however, we will realise that this was a "lucky save" for us, and that Allah rescued us destruction by pulling us away. Many of us have been placed into situations which we absolutely hate, but that situation later turns out to have improved our lives and protected us from calamity.

Maybe what we like is bad for us, and Allah knows while we do not know. Our visions and visibility in life are linear and we cannot see the future, whereas Allah sees everything, beyond time and space.

But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. (Al Baqarah, verse 216)

This means that He is the real navigation for us, and is the owner of light and guidance for us. He will lead us to the place that is best for us, and if we submit, we will be guided to the place that is best for us.

Click here for - Part 35

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