Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Measure of Success

The Journey is the goal

For 3 years now anxiety has gripped me over not seeing the results of my actions.. Does this mean that Allah is not pleased with what I am doing? Finally, I have found the answer

Working for Islam Awareness Week has opened my eyes to just how much can be done to help our communities and New Zealand.. Everyday I discover new ways that we can help develop and improve what we have, it is as if I have been given the ability to perceive a whole new dimension: and while this has been exciting and exhilarating, at the same time it has only increased my anxiety; how shall I accomplish all of this in one life? I only have 60 years - if that - and there is so much to do, so much to fix, so much to develop! The answer is clear: it is impossible.. I need not one life, but many. How can this be? God has ordained for us only one life - can it make sense that He would give us less than what we need to achieve our goals?

That was the spark.. Finally, my incredibly dense, slow mind *got it*, after 3 years of Allah teaching me the same lesson. We are not here to 'save' or fix the world, or fix anything: we are here to 'fix' ourselves.. *our* eeman, *our* individual belief in, and relationship with, Allah is the goal.. Every action of worship - although it may extend to the physical world, is only intended to 'fix' our own soul. Allah does not need us to fix the world, for He is the Maintainer, the Cherisher, the Warden, the One upon whom all of creation depends - everything in each of our worlds is a scenario created for testing us. Giving to the poor, having a family, 'saving' a life, building a society, building a country - all of these acts are meant for us to grow closer to God, and are not the goal in and of themselves - for all this world and everything in it weighs nothing in the sight of Allah except for the heart of a believer.. the heart of the believer is the goal of all creation - the heart that carries within it la ilaha illa Allah.. It is for this reason that the physical result of our action cannot in any way be an indication of our success, for success - may Allah bless us with it - is the attainment of a heart that is near to Allah, a heart purified for Him

"By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;
And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-
Truly he succeeds who purifies it,
And he fails who corrupts it!"

When your heart becomes attached to the physical result of your actions, it defeats the very purpose of ibaadah, which is to bring us closer to the Almighty.. This, in my life, has been the most difficult thing to understand.. Forever I have dreamt of 'saving the world', and in return Allah's message has been: save yourself

1 comment:

  1. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,
    Truly, jazaakallahu khair for this reminder. It is a very subtle point that you have made, and one worthy of heavy reflection...a lifetime of reflection.

    Verses 26:88-89 in Surah Ash-Shu'ara come to mind. As does the hadith 19 in Imam an-Nawaawi's 40 hadith collection.

    Having benefited from your writing, I would like to share some references (works of righteous, reliable scholars) that delve into similar issues. Ibn Qayyim's moving works, titled in english translations as "The Journey to Allah" and "The Legacy of the Prophet". Also, the very deep works of Ibn Ata'illah, specifically the "book of wisdom" with commentary, and the "book of illumination".

    May Allah help us all apply these lessons in our life and guide us to the straight path.