Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Of Perfection and Efforts

Lately I find myself lost in some swirls of serious thoughts, sparked by what I mostly see on my facebook news feeds every weekend and a request by a friend a while ago to share the experience I am going through now, which I was not very much inclined to do at that time for a number of reasons. I’m still wary about it, for the sake of my heart, which our beloved prophet s.a.w. has illustratively described to be ‘more unstable than the boiling water in a pot’ and is like ‘a feather at the trunk of a tree that the wind keeps turning it upside down’. I do realise, however, the obligation compelled upon me to call for good and denounce evil, and inshaallah (God-willing), I hope to share some of the precious jewels of an experience that have come to my possession the past couple of months.

To begin with, I’d like to clarify the reason I’m writing this (me with prologue after prologues =_=). I’m often reluctant to put things across bluntly for fear of being a... hypocrite (that is, not practicing what you preach), but a lot of times, especially in this day and age, people just need others to shake them hard for them to come around. It occurs to me that many people today do not actually realise the reality of life we live in today. Speaking from the Islamic perspective, all of us believe in the existence of an eternal hereafter, wherein we will be judged on our actions in life on earth and be sent to heaven or hell accordingly. We believe in the transition world before that- “Al-Barzakh”, the waiting period after we died before being resurrected on Judgment Day.

The way we live our lives though, often does not reflect the essence of our beliefs. Most of us are still trapped by the lures of this world, dedicating the better part of our time attaining material comfort whilst trying our best (or not) at the same time to abide by the five pillars of Islam- the shahadah, praying five times a day, fasting in Ramadhan, paying the zakat, and the hajj.

By not putting our faith and religion at the driver’s seat of our everyday lives, we are abandoning the sunnah of our prophet and the companions, the mentality that has propelled them to become the greatest nation at their time, the best of people in every aspect of life. It is the mentality to be the best in everything we do, and in the context of what we so lack of today, the best in practicing our way of life that is Islam.

We pray five times a day, but our minds wander off to other wonders of life each and every time; we wear hijab, but our clothes readily show the curves of our bodies; we eat halal food, but we also eat excessively and unhealthily; the list is inexhaustible.

Many of us live life as though it will come to an end with death. Hence we get driven by money, power, fame, social status and entertainment, leaving very little space for the remembrance of God. We hope our daily prayers, fasting in Ramadhan and zakat will suffice to carry us through to the gardens of paradise, which they might, but can we be sure about that? We live in this world only once, that much is true, but are we to settle for a carefree and enjoyable life now, and spend the rest of eternity in misery?

A mindset that should befit every muslim is the desire to achieve perfection- to be the best that we can possibly be, despite our flaws, to reach the top. We know there are levels and ranks in jannah (paradise). Do you wish to be rewarded with the lowest rank of jannah, or be at the top, amongst the prophets, the siddiqun, the syuhada’, and the salihun? Would we settle for second best when we can have the best? This is by no means arrogance on our parts- Allah is All-powerful, All-Encompassing and All-Merciful, He knows what’s in our hearts- our hopes and fears, our loves and desires. The rightful realisation of our weak and sinful state does not rob the right to hope and dream to be amongst those Allah would chose as His beloveds. After all, as our blessed prophet s.a.w. had phrased in a beautiful hadith, everyone would be with those whom he loves.

Bearing this in mind, I have learned that it’s our (sincere) efforts which will make the difference to Him. We have this one and only opportunity to determine where we will be for the rest of eternity, so I say, let’s go for broke! Yes, Rasulullah s.a.w. told us to exercise moderation, even in our acts of worship, but the truth is most of us are just lazy bums. We don’t do but a meagre of what we are really capable to do, and most of us are rather content with it.

Everyone has their own unique potentials and means to attain nearness to God, so let’s all reach for that extra little something inside the pockets of our hearts, and inshaallah, He will give us a hand and carry us closer and closer towards His love and mercy.

(Yes, I know I haven’t told my story yet. Next up, inshaallah).