The big picture

When we look at what is happening in the world, do we realise how small our problems are in comparison to a refugee who has to sleep in the mud or freezing weather? What about those who lost their homes overnight because of a natural disaster? The persons who are told by their doctors that their tumour is malignant? When we compare ourselves to majority of the world, what do we have to complain about?

We can’t see the forest for the trees, and this is why we spend way too much attention on the small details, and creating a drama over things which do not warrant that much attention. If someone has wronged us, we spend days and weeks dwelling on it. Our minds are so full of unimportant things that immediately after salat, we talk about dunia issues – what time is the meeting tomorrow, what does the family feel like for dinner – even before we make tasbih!

Similarly, are we willing to compromise the blessings of Allah for small things?

We might be tempted to lay the blame on our parents for not raising and educating us properly. Their flaws, shortcomings and spiritual diseases are glaringly obvious to us. However, their characteristics, good and bad, were also passed down to us. Our genetic composition is not just physical, but also in our personalities – like father like son.

You cannot change your parents, but you can supplicate for forgiveness for them and for yourself.

It is a fitnah when we believe that we are good, such that we forget who we are, including our sins, past, and spiritual sickness. It was related that Musa AS was seeking advice of Allah, and Allah advised him not to look at the mistakes of others but only to his own bad habits. This was Musa AS, one of the greatest prophets chosen by Allah! What about us? We do not have the right to judge others. The more iman we gain, the more it humbles us and will make us analyse our mistakes, take responsibility for our own actions, and become more emphatic and tolerant.

The danger of the journey of knowledge is that it can make us feel superior and judgemental. Instead of correcting our own mistakes, we start picking on others, and when others point out our mistakes, we get angry and defensive. This is the wrong application of the knowledge.

The muumin is on a journey to correct himself, rather than to blame and complain about others. We think we know it all, and take offence when someone offers advice. When they do, we retort that they don’t have a right to judge, when all they did was to give some words of guidance. Some people truly believe that they are sinless, which is an impossibility for a human being. However, it highlights that many of us are unaware of our own faults. If so, make dua to be self aware.

Nurture your iman by doing good deeds, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed. This action will erase the bad in replacement for the good.

Ubadah ibn Samit RA narrated that Rasulullah SAW said to promise him six and he will promise us jannah. Say the truth if you talk, and fulfil if you promise. Keep the promise and don’t betray it. Protect your private parts. Be careful with your eyes (don’t look to the haram). Be careful with your hand. (Ahmad, Ibn Khabban and Al Hakeem, Sahul Al Bani)

If we deal people according with who they are, we will stoop down to their level and will be destroyed.. But if we deal with people the way Rasulullah SAW advises us, we will be winners. This means being kind to those unkind to us, and to forgive.

Certain things in life cannot be changed. We cannot alter how others think. Our test is to cope with such an environment, change ourselves and wait for Allah to change the rest.

In summary, be careful before, during and after doing anything. Set the intention for Allah, purify your niyyah and remind yourself who you are dealing with (Allah). If this is in your heart, you will be at ease as you will neither hunt for recognition nor be upset if you are not being treated the way you expect. Focus on strengthening your sincerity to Allah.

The journey of iman brings happiness and success in this life and the Hereafter, regardless of what you have and don’t have. The journey of misery happens when you ignore the message, the journey of faith and the journey of the soul after death. Even if you have everything within reach, you will never get everything that you seek for in life. Accumulating the material life, money, wealth and beauty will never make you happy in the long run.

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