The idea was scary. The goal seemed impossible to reach. This was an aim I had never fulfilled before. I had seen many following what they preached; however, I was amongst the few who though fully convinced that true contentment lay in loving the One and Only, had never had the courage to detach myself from worldly charm and glitter.I’ll be honest. I have seen people whose discussions begin with Versace and end at Louis Vuitton, the pronunciations of which seem to be tongue twisting to me still. Shoes and hand bags, watches and solitaires and high-end cars are their norm. I was never interested in jewels and gems. Nothing material could attract me to pay a ridiculously exorbitant price to own it. Simply put, I have never been a brand freak. For me a big house, a new car or the latest cell-phone is a luxury. Never once have I questioned my sanity for not being able to fit in, alhamdulillah. To this end my life has been free of jealousy or greed of any kind. I guess people are naturally tuned to different criteria of living.
However, life is not a bed of roses for anyone. My preferences were different but they definitely existed. In fact, my worldly attachments were of a more serious nature. No matter how brand loyal you are, at least you can try other products too. It’s a question of what’s ‘in’ as opposed to what’s ‘on’. But my loyalty lay with the people who surrounded me – my family, relatives and friends. I could never imagine replacing these relationships in my life. I knew I was going to be associated with them for the rest of my lifeinsha’Allah.The thorns that pricked me were beyond the comprehension of an ordinary person. I would find myself weeping over things which the other person may not even have thought about before saying it. My heart would ache and my eyes would shed tears over petty things which used to hurt me deeply. Meager issues would drive me insane and I would miserably sob for days, drenched in agony. People so dear to me would label me as overly sensitive, highly emotional, impractical and irrational.
I lost peace and patience. I lost faith in love. I lost trust in people. Obviously, I was misled the whole time. I was living for the wrong reasons. I was too engrossed in this temporary abode to have thought of my Rabb, who gave me signs, one after another, to channel my energies in a different direction.
Standing at the red light of my life’s traffic signal, I realised that in my pursuit of worldly happiness, I had come very far away from the real purpose of life. Now, I could either follow the herd by going straight when the light turned green, or within the few seconds of the advance green signal, I could take a U-turn towards my Creator. The choice was mine.
“… And whoever depends upon Allah, then he is indeed guided to the right path.” (Quran 3:101)
I grabbed the opportunity whole heartedly, by the Will of Allah,alhamdulillah. With full faith, I steered my life in the direction that Allah chose for me. It was as if my silent prayers had been answered. Since then, I haven’t turned back.
Detaching myself from dunya as much as possible and increasing my ties with deen was not a simple transition. After all it’s not easy to demolish the being residing within but it had to be done for me to be able to emerge as a person who is not overtly affected by their surroundings. You see, you have to allow the guidance to take charge of you. You have to starve your nafs by depriving it of the worldly glitz it feeds on and nurture your soul which by its very fitrah (nature) is hungry for the spiritual bond with your Creator. This is the only possible means of bringing true contentment and peace into your life.
As for me, I have found great refuge in my deen, alhamdulillah and the Quran has brought me closer to Allah (subhanahu wa’taala). The divine speech of my Rabb always seems to be motivating and rewarding, no matter how sensitive, immature or irrational I behave. My salah give me the opportunity to pour my heart out to Allah (subhan wa ta’la) without fear of Him being judgmental about me. Ahadiths (sayings of Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alaihi waslam) teach me lessons which I could have never learnt otherwise, alhamdulillah.
Though this transformation is very difficult, believe me, once I started following the beam which guided me, my yearning for people’s praise and appreciation gradually decreased. One must not give up. Slowly and steadily, you should aim to reach a point where the most important thing becomes Allah’s pleasure and love and everything you do should be done for His sake. Then you will see that your tears are mostly out of fear of disobeying Him and your joy is an expression of the gratitude that you feel over the numerous blessings that you have been graced with. Soon your nights will be spent in repentance and your days in His remembrance (bi izn Allah).
Gradually the purpose of your existence becomes clearer, subhanAllah. You realize that you are blessed to have known the fact that the only way you could be together with your family and loved ones eternally, is by making a timely U-turn. You have been enlightened when you realise that leading lives according to the Quran and sunnah of the Prophet (sallahu alaihi wasalam) is the key to holding onto your worldly love, even in your everlasting life.
It doesn’t mean that you no longer care for anyone around you. Rather it is the awakening that you love them so much for the sake of Allah that you want to remember them most, in front of the One who can actually bring you all together in eternal bliss. They may be away from you in this dunya, because of differences in opinions, choices and thinking but they will be with you if you pray sincerely for their guidance and yours, for their return and steadfastness in deen, as well as yours and for re-uniting with them inJannah, Insha’Allah.
This article was first published at Muslimaat Magazine.