-Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim-
As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu my dear brothers and sisters.
Lately, I’ve seen a number of people who have had a lot of trouble in their life. It’s amazing how so many people are hanging on to thin threads, and they are doing what little they feel they can do to get by. The problems of these people are ranging from trouble with unappreciative family members, work, health related issues to do with themselves or with their family members, issues with law, death and loss of a beloved person, pressing deadlines, not being able to live up to particular standards people have set for themselves, as well as the standards set by other people we strive to please. And so much more. So life isn’t as smooth sailing as one would hope for themselves, for so many people I’ve come across over the past few weeks.
It may be at times like these where hanging on to a thin thread at the edge of a cliff may not be enough to keep you going anymore. Where the likelihood of this thread breaking is inevitable, and you may have already hit the rocks at the bottom of the ocean. You lay there, bloody and bruised. Your vision of the blue sky above you, is blurry, as you close your eyes, because you can’t do this anymore. It’s become too difficult to face your daunting circumstances. Because you’ve been met with disappointment time and time again. Each disappointment has led to the chipping away of your humanity. At this point, you’re numb. You can’t even feel the pain of the saline water gushing past your open wounds anymore. The pain and frustration which may have led to the numbing of your heart, is killing you. You’ve become dead inside, you’re not yourself, that motivation you had that once drove you to achieve well in life has left you, you’re unhappy and you just don’t know what to do.
This dreadful and unfortunate position you’ve come to be met with has occurred for one main reason. It is to do with what you’ve internalised to give you happiness. Now this will be a variety of things, such as the relationships you have with other people, your exam results, your status, your ability to meet deadlines, the loss of what is important to you, and even your health. Although these things may be very different from each other, there is one thing they all have in common. They are of this dunya. The dunya which by definition is this temporal world involving its earthly concerns and possessions.
So what does this mean? It means that what we expect to give us happiness, are things that are of this dunya. For example, when our relationships with people don’t go as well as we’d want, we become distraught, unhappy, and heart broken. When we fail to achieve what we feel we really want, be that good grades, a job in that workplace, again we become distraught, unhappy and heart broken. When we lose someone that is precious and beloved to us, again we may become distraught, unhappy and heart broken. And that is the nature of relying on the dunya for happiness. We are ultimately setting ourselves up for disappointment. So if our source of fulfilment is of this dunya, of course we will break, as we are always hanging onto a thin thread at the edge of the mountain.
We’ve probably lived most of our lifetime in this way. Hanging onto the thin thread, falling into the ocean, and hitting rock bottom. So when this happens time and time again, do we not see a problem with what we depend on for happiness?
When Allah swt gives us these trials, it’s so we realise that very thing. When the new MacBook you bought, doesn’t turn on after you just bought it, you recognise it is faulty, and you return it, in exchange for one that actually works. Likewise, every time you are tested with something that has made you fall into the pits of the ocean, it is so you recognise that what made you fall was faulty to begin with. That thin thread was never built strongly enough, so you could hold onto it for the rest of your life. In the same way, relying on the dunya for happiness, is something that will ultimately break you, because it was never built to keep you happy. Investing too much into it, will lead to disappointment, after disappointment.
So through the trials, the pain, the disappointments and the losses, we come to understand one thing. That Allah swt is teaching us a valuable lesson. To stop relying on the dunya for happiness, and to exchange this faulty source of happiness for the real source of happiness.
The dunya is like the ocean, and your heart is the ship made to sail upon it. If the ocean water enters this ship, it will sink. So the place of the ocean water is never meant to be inside this ship. It is meant to remain outside of It. The ocean water is but a means for the ship to sail upon, the medium used to travel to the very end of that ocean. Nothing else. So keep the dunya in its rightful place; outside of your heart. It was never meant to be inside it, and when you allow it to enter your heart, you will with your heart sink to the bottom of that ocean. Take back your heart from the dunya, and use the dunya in the correct way, to help you get to the end of that ocean. The end we know to be the afterlife, our eternal life that is yet to come.
So why does Allah swt test us in this way? Because he wants us to internalise what should truly be in our hearts. He swt wants us to understand our human nature of wanting what is perfect, be that perfection in our relationships, children, parents, ourselves, etc, and understand that perfection will not be found in this dunya. After rationalising this, He swt wants us to fill up our hearts, with what is perfect and perfection, He swt wants you to come back to Him, and to put Him in your hearts. Al-ʿAẓīm (العظيم: The Magnificent), Al-Wadūd ( الودود : The Loving).
He swt wants you to depend on your true Love for happiness. The Love that won’t disappoint you, nor cause you harm, the Love that wants you to have a place with Him when you leave this world. The Love that wont set you up for disappointment or heartbreak. The Love you set your standards by, so it wont matter whether or not you live by the dunya related standards. The Love that wants you to make it to your true home. The home with no disappointment, pain nor loss. He swt wants you to use your yearning for perfection, to then invest that entirely in going towards what is perfection and eternal.
That Love is none other than the one who created you, God. And that home is none other than the place where you truly belong. Paradise.