Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.
“Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”- Rumi.
It’s easy to become absorbed into our own worlds. As we are preoccupied in all of our daily affairs, we do what we can to get our set tasks done, fulfilling our aims to achieve our goals and our ambitions. We are engrossed in these things, such that we forget, undermine and overlook our sense of duty towards the people around us. The affairs of the people are suddenly not as important to us as we become a people focused solely on ourselves.
Rumi has perfectly outlined how we should be everyday. We carry an aim, a perception, a willingness to help and be dutiful towards the people we come across, regardless of whom they may be. The very end of his statement, “…out of your house…” demonstrates that this sense of duty does not single out anyone- because most of the people outside of your house involves the rest of the world. And most of the inhabitants of the world are going to be people whom you do not know.
He starts off saying, “Be a lamp…”. Illuminate the path you walk down, wherever you go. Be a source of light, positivity, the type of person who can uplift and elate the deposition of others. Just as the sunny weather influences your mood in the morning, so will the light that emanates from you impact the well-being and feelings of others. When you’re the opposite, a source of darkness, pessimism & negativity, you unfortunately drain, depress and bring down the mood of others, similar to the way grey mornings do for people who need to wake up and get ready to go to school or work. So help others others be happy, by being sunny.
“…a life boat…” When positivity radiates from you, you’re an example of what it means to be of hope. You can bring people out from the abyss they may or are falling into. You take them out of the depressive world that caves in on them, you pull them out of the mighty ocean of life they were drowning in. Because you’re an example of one who has the means to sail above the ocean of life, and not get consumed by its weight. So teach those means to others. Guide people on the art of living, through your actions, speech and behaviour by being natural, normal and fluid. Show them, true living.
“…a ladder…” Just as you’ve learnt to climb out of the depths of despair, you’ve learnt this, by holding tightly onto your rope. The rope that is your means to climb out of every difficulty, it is the same rope that is available and is existing for everyone. So you become that ladder, the guidelines for somebody facing their lows to take heed of. You don’t just offer them help, you don’t just become a ladder- rather you help them find theirs. So that they can find their ladder, their rope on their own. They use their arms and their legs, their entire person to climb their rope, just as you do yours. They find something that’s crucial to living, their independence. They realise that independence is somewhere along that rope.
“…Help someone’s soul heal…” Essentially, this is your aim. By following the first three steps, you can accomplish this very aim. Human beings are sensitive, and for those of us that haven’t yet discovered the means to live, not only do we become broken- hearted, lost souls and damaged souls- there can come a critical point where that state of broken-heartedness becomes permanent, having had led from the loss of faith and a fixed state of hopelessness, this would result in the twisting of your world view to something that is cynical, bitter and self-oppressively detrimental. It’s a dead life you live. So our aim ultimately is to help bring forth positive change in people before they reach that critical point, before they enter that life-sucking abyss. So you continually and dutifully play your role of sunshine.
“…Walk out of your house like a shepherd.” Just as the shepherd has an obligated role to tend to all members of his flock, so do you. Everyone is a part of your flock, just as you are a part of theirs. You’re the one they look up to, they admire, they trust and aspire to be like. Realise you’re their role- model towards better living as well as their treasure map in discovering true faith.
This is the foundation of a functional humanitarian society. It’s so essential to our living, it’s no wonder God commanded brotherhood in the Quran, and made the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) teach it to us as such an integral concept and core value in the Islamic way of life.
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