Nafsi, nafsi, nafsi.... Myself, myself, myself...

Bismi Allah

It all comes back to us, ourselves, our selfish motives, and our lack of effort directed towards understanding things outside of ourselves and our ways of doing and being.

It is often difficult to get our heads around the ways of this world. It's easy to appreciate complicated matters because the complication illustrates the intricacies and sophistication of life, but sometimes it's nice to find some areas of security, free of obscurities.

I imagine that many wonder, "Where must our loyalties lie?" In our chaotic world of increased technology combined with inept and ignoble leadership, it's not safe to trust anybody who is willing to give even a somewhat intelligent opinion on any matter. Thus, it becomes a personal necessity for individuals to learn more about the pertinent issues and to reflect upon these while strictly adhering to universal principles.

These thoughts stem from some of the ideas that Dr. Tariq Ramadan expresses to the world at large. He is one brother who I regard with a high level of respect, and whom I love for the sake of God. [May God bless him and his family, ameen.] Not only does he offer a humble and clear perspective of the world, but he also has practical suggestions that we can all implement in our daily lives to improve ourselves on a personal level and in turn become productive on the communal and global levels.

In a recent lecture, he mentioned that when we build our communities we have to start by building a space of love. For many, this love comes from our families and close friends. They are often the ones we lean on when things get difficult. It is such a blessing, but it's not something that is shared by everybody. I guess that's why it becomes increasingly important for us to express some level of this compassion and love to others. But how? This is a very personal question that each of us has to figure out, given our circumstances, for ourselves.

In one of my classes in university, we were required to form a group and complete a large assignment. The professor advised us to approach this group work with a focus on the process instead of the goal. Similarly, our goal in life is to serve our Lord as He commands us, yet the only way to approach this is to be dilligent throughout the process. The goal doesn't take precedence over the process, especially since we can't guarantee ourselves that we will achieve the goal --- all we can do is ensure that we are working hard towards the goal.

Whatever it is that any of us decide to do, we must take great pains to ensure that we do not feed our egos (or nafs, the lower self). Instead, let's transform our efforts into acts of servitude to God through serving humankind... God willing!

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"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]