Something that I’ve learnt recently is that when we are in despair, by proxy we are also ungrateful. In those moments we are unable to fathom the good things in our life, and it isn’t until we learn to appreciate the good things all over again, can we move on and be in a state of contentment. I didn’t understand it very well before, but the following saying truly has a lot of wisdom behind it.
“Look to those below you and not to those above, as it is more suitable to remember the blessings of Allah granted to you.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Interestingly enough, a friend of mine was telling me about a young woman recently, a friend of hers from the Phillipines who had gone down the route of substance abuse, troublesome relationships and so forth as a means to escape her depression. It wasn’t until she went back home and in essence relived the struggles of her country folk, therefore reminded of the way of life of the poor that her mental health improved upon coming back. She is doing a lot better. She is more positive about life.
My friend upon relaying this turn of events first mentioned how “although she is thankfully doing better, it is somewhat twisted that she had to see people living poorly to feel that way” of course as much I can see why she had initially felt that way, I immediately thought of the above hadith.
That for the majority of time it isn’t until we know that people over laws they cannot control will live a life that is lesser than your own. When you can become aware of just how very lucky, very blessed, very rich and very fortunate you are, you won’t keep thinking about the things you don’t have. You will finally see everything you do have, the things that were there all along but you were too busy looking at the blessings of others to acknowledge your own.
يَعْرِفُونَ نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنكِرُونَهَا وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
They recognise the favours of Allah; then they deny them; and most of them are (creatures) ungrateful.
[Surah An-Nahl, 16:83]
I think that living in a first world country where most of us don’t struggle for food and drink, adequate clothing, a warm house, and everything else neccessary for our survival and comfort, we are all trapped in a bubble. We overlook the vital things, that we actually don’t struggle to live a basic life, to satisfy our primary, secondary or even our tertiary needs, that things like depression and substance abuse, seep into the mental health of many.
And something else that is so unjustly forgotten, our sight, our hearts, our functioning minds, do you have any idea all the millions of processes that go on to keep it all running? And that we didn’t have to pay a single penny for it? Why don’t we use these essential organs to better the lives of those who are in every shape or form less fortunate than us? Isn’t it better than expending your time towards anguish, worry and despair?
قُلْ هُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَكُمْ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُونَ
Say it is He Who has created you, and endowed you with hearing (ears), seeing (eyes), and hearts. Little thanks you give.
[Surah Al-Mulk, 67:23]
So let’s change our view on life and aim to use it to benefit the masses, āmeen.
وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in Faith.
[Surah Aal-e-Imraan, 3:139]