Raising Clarity, Abasing Deception

BismiAllah

It has a way of spoiling the good of previous experiences and the hope of smoothly reconciling conflicts. It is worse than sighting a rain cloud during a momentous outdoor event. Not only does it burden the carrier, but it also plagues the one who senses its presence. I call it pride.

I have been thinking about this topic for a while, knowing that it is something that plagues the heart, yet ironically it takes a lot of energy to maintain. I believe it to be related to arrogance to some extent, but its relation is best known to those who have studied the diseases of the heart. All I know is that I don't like it, nor do I want it.

Recently, I saw it approaching me. I accepted it, welcomed it, and gave it a home. Yes, I'll do that. It's better for me anyway. If I keep this up, then I'm going to lose out in the end. So I accept your way. I'll have my peace. But I don't have my peace with that because that's not called a resolution for me. It's called proud avoidance, and it continues to eat at me. Sometimes when life throws out a struggle, it's easy to say, "Forget that. I'm beyond that. I don't need that. I'm just going to blah, blah, blah." But we can't just blah, blah, blah. Etiquette and values cannot be dropped because of hardship, rejection, challenges, or internal strife.

I love the feeling of taking a problem and breaking it down until it becomes crystal clear and I see the true worth of it because I know that this is possible with every problem. It's sort of like trying to solve a brain teaser. You know there's an answer, it just takes some time to figure it out. Sometimes though, life doesn't offer a problem. Sometimes it's just a minor nuisance or something that can't quite be articulated as 'bad' but is nonetheless troublesome to the heart. This I consider a challenge, and it is exactly what I almost temporarily reconciled with a dash of pride.

Peace doesn't come from pride, nor contentment. Its sources are clear. We cannot depend on people, but this is not to be understood in the proud way such as "people aren't trustworthy nor reliable and depending on them will only lead to disappointments." Certainly, having expectations of people will lead to disappointments because for the most part we don't have the right to have some of these expectations nor are these expectations all together fair. The reality of it all though is that we each have a place in this world, as do other people. It is very possible to know this place, but we neglect to see it because our hearts are clouded with the other whisperings of our egos.

I only get a glimpse of this place on rare occasions... and how sweet it is. Really, it is one of the sweetest moments. I remember once, years ago, I sat in the car to go somewhere and I remember thinking to myself, "If Allah takes my soul now, I won't miss a thing in this world. I'll be going home." I miss those thoughts because they stemmed from contentment not despair.

My cousin once gave me this frame that says, "Home is where the feet may leave but not the heart." I love reading it because it always reminds me of the reality of human life. Our home is in heaven. That's where our father Adam (peace be upon him) was brought into existence, and that is where we hope to return; and though we may not be there physically, our hearts can be there. Can.

There are just so many distractions in this world. I guess this is why it is so important to have good company, regardless of the ways that we are able to interact with this company. To be able to share with people who live for the eternal is a blessing regardless if it is through telephone conversations, e-mail, the much frowned up chat services, or treasured dinner discussions. However, it is often not easy maintaining relationships without occasionally swallowing one's own pride.

These incoherent thoughts lead to one final thought, and that is that when we forget that we were created to worship God as He wants us to worship Him and to serve Him by following His laws, we end up in trouble. It is necessary to continuously utilize our resources in an effort to get our thoughts and actions back on track -- that is to sincerely strive towards eternal success. This is what this life is all about. It really is. Everything else is just... history.

Update 2006-12-04

I want to clarify one point above regarding my thoughts one day when getting into a car. When I said that I would not miss anything of the world, I did not then mean that I wished for death. SubhanAllah. Please watch this short clip called "Don't Desire Death" for a brief elaboration on the topic.

2 comments:

Faraz said...

Assalamu'alaykum,

Interesting piece, with an intriguing ending.

I remember one of my teachers telling us about pride being "like the footsteps of the ants". That is, we don't really sense it, but at some point, we see the result; i.e. the ants have gotten into and spoiled the food. In essence, it has the same effect on the heart: we don't feel it creeping into the heart, but one day, we'll realize it has gotten in and spoiled our imaan.

There's a hadith about this, I believe... about the "small shirk" (shirk khafi), of which pride is a big factor.

"Shirk khafi is more hidden among this nation than the track of a black ant over a black stone on a dark night." We don't see it, we don't sense it, but it's there, and may Allah protect us all from it.

Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam wa rahmatuAllah

Jazak'Allah khayr! Thanks for sharing that. SubhanAllah.. we don't sense it, yet it's there. It's scary to think that it can do damage right under our noses...and ironically we actually permit this damage. It's like putting down the drawbridge for the enemy to enter the fortress and then being surprised when they attack. Shucks...

I can't recall what the recommendation is for curing the disease of pride (as mentioned in Imam Mawlud's "Purification of the Heart"), but it's probably a good idea to find out. Insha'Allah.

I've never heard the term shirk khafi before... but now that I google it, I see there are a few classifications of shirk. For the benefit of others who may be reading this, "The inconspicuous polytheism (Shirk Khafi) implies being dissatisfied with the conditions ordained by Allah."

May Allah help us all to purify our hearts and cause us to come closer to Him, ameen.

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]

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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]