Inner JourneySelf Development


I was in once in a fruit market in India. Having bought crates of fruits, I needed a hand to carry them. The seller summoned a girl, who came from the surrounding rural area to work in the city. Her income was barely 100 rupees a day (equivalent to $1.50 at this time). They gave her about 15 crates to carry, for a fee of 20 rupees.

I felt sorry for her and tried to give her around $25 as a tip. My translator explained my intention. She looked at the money and asked what that was. The interpreter again tried to explain, and she gave me a reply that made me walk away crying.

Here was a simple village girl who had no structured religion or faith in God, and she explained that the money that she earned daily was enough to buy her the food of the day. He asked her to keep the money for the future, and she replied that she lived day by day, not thinking about the future. She spoke with the ascetism of a Muslim scholar. After a while, I watched as she sat by the dusty street, with a tiny piece of bread in her hand. Her face was lit with happiness and contentment.

Meanwhile, an affluent looking couple emerged from a luxurious car parked close by. Despite their wealth, they wore ugly expressions and were quarrelling. The wife was bedecked in jewellery but her face bore no contentment. She treated the merchants with arrogance and disdain. Nothing met her standards, even though all the traders showed her their best merchandise. In the end, she was arguing about the prices, giving everyone a difficult time and not willing to pay even the fair price for the goods despite her obvious prosperity.

I looked at the girl in the street. She was eating the bread and smiling. There was pity and sympathy in her eyes for the rich lady, as if she was asking herself how she could ease the rich woman’s misery. This girl owned nothing, but was so happy and contented, whereas the rich lady, despite being Muslim by appearance, was miserable. Her face belied her internal turbulence, suffering and lack of peace.

At this moment it struck me that the girl who owned nothing owned the whole earth in her heart.

Money and happiness

The majority of the people who pursue the material life have no happiness or security. The more one acquires and chases ownership, the more the sickness of guarding, fear and worry festers. No amount of money or belongings will suffice, because no matter how much they have accumulated, the fear of loss places them in a state of constant agony and apprehension. They may have wealth, but the fear of loss places them in a position of poverty, hence they continue working like slaves, scrounging and struggling to earn more and more in order to safeguard their sandcastles. The same fear of personal loss is what leaves us rigid with worry, night after sleepless night.

The lifestyle we are running after, the illusion and mirage, will never bless us with happiness, peace or security. It will never make us achieve what we think we can achieve.

Accumulating the material possessions in life and ignoring the meaning and reality of life will give us the disease of long hope, accumulation, greed and selfishness. This is why the older we get, the more worried and scared we become of losing what we have.

A Simple Principle

If we understand the fundamentals – that nothing is forever, that we are the next to go, and that the material accumulation is not a recipe for happiness, life stops becoming an uphill battle.

The decree and future is in the Hand of the Creator, and He will change our conditions at any moment without prior notification.

This means that we continue in life as before – studying, working and getting married. We make provisions for our future, but we never allow ourselves into such a deep comfort zone that we are unable to adapt or improvise if our plans go awry. In embracing this attitude, we reduce the craving to accumulate and form attachments to our belongings. The life plan itself is a necessity, but it is not our main goal in life.

The Permanent Shelter

What is the alternative? It is to develop faith, obtain the maximum guidance of our Creator and to be content for everything we have or do not have. Everything else is peripheral.

We do not look and compare between ourselves with others, for we respect the Creator’s decision and wisdom of what He gives or withholds from us. The Creator always gives us the best, even if the reasons are obscure to us. We appreciate that the Creator is the owner of wisdom, and everything He decrees is for a wisdom we cannot comprehend.

All He wants from us is to trust and be contented with what He decreed for us. This is what enables us to respect the giving and the taking, for life will always be a combination of both. If we place trust in the Creator, our personal sandcastles are no longer important to us, and we need not divest our time, emotions and energy to safeguard them from the inevitable.

We are Travellers

We are in this world for a limited period of time, as travellers. In a way, we too, are sandcastles which will one day disappear. When we leave, we will take with us only two useful provisions: our faith and good deeds. If we live our lives according to this journey of faith, life becomes simplified.

With this, we can cope with life. Even the word “cope” is inappropriate. We will understand life and live accordingly, happy, contented and thankful to the Creator. We bear life’s hiccups and unexpected twists and turns with patience, and our inner equilibrium is undisrupted despite occurences which are not to our liking. This attitude makes us calm and relaxed. Instead of nursing anxiety and constant disappointment, we learn to be appreciative for even the small things, such as a fresh breeze or a sip of water.

Relinquishing control over what we are unable to alter and loosening our grip on temporal pursuits, allow us to have a clearer view on the purpose of life, and to distinguish between the necessity and the goal. Once we know the Creator and follow what He wants from and for us, we will recalibrate our way of thinking and perceiving. With this new vision, He will allow us to know who we are and what is good for us.

It is the Creator who will take care of us in this life and the next, and if we want to achieve happiness in both, it is by doing what the Creator wants from us, living by His set of rules and relying on Him.

When we realise this, our material needs in this life will be reduced, and our vision and understanding of life will be altered. Letting go will be easy because we were never holding on in the first place. We will live day by day to its fullest, instead of destroying the present by worrying about what will happen next month and next year. We learn to go with the flow rather than fretting over possibilities and permutations which are beyond our scope to alter or influence, but we also acknowledge and are prepared for changes if and when they arrive.

This understanding is the real treasure in life, not our castles in the sand.

May the Creator allow us to find the truth, follow the truth, living according to the truth and unite us with Him.

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  1. Husband

    I have been through a big trauma but I am fine now, I wanna marry a Muslim guy from our relative who is in Kabul, I am in Canada but I have a problem like case in insurance so I can’t now.
    He loves me and I love him, he is waiting…
    What about this ?

  2. i m really glad someone is

    i m really glad someone is out there to remind me that This world is temporary… jazak Allaah.. i wish a lot of people read this

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