Love & Fear

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

I was probably about seven years old when I was slapped across the face by the only adult who has ever raised a hand at me. It's not that I never deserved an occasional smack, but I'm grateful that the adults in my life favoured a merciful option in raising me. As for the exception, it was actually the hand of a Quran teacher who, surprisingly, accidentally struck me instead of my sister. And for that, I consider it a blessing.

After that incident, my father removed my siblings and I from that class, but there were no alternative classes. My parents both grew up with teachers who hit their students, and I think that sometimes my mother felt that we lost out by not continuing to attend. Despite reading the Quran with much difficulty and losing a Quran teacher, I appreciated my father's decision. Perhaps I figured that I could not learn in an environment of fear so leaving it only opened an opportunity to find a new path.

I mention this event because recently I have been contemplating the interaction between love and fear. For reasons best known to Allah, I wanted to love the Quran even though I feared Quran classes. But how does one go from fear to love? Or rather, how can one overcome one's fears well enough to embrace that which he loves?

At the heart of both fear and love is the recognition that only Allah is deserving of the manifestations of both these emotions. He is the One who has power over all. The dominion of the Heavens and Earth and all that exists and has ever existed and will ever exist sits firmly with Him and belong solely to Him. One might even say that our love of Him is inherent, though we are obliged to nourish it. Is love not something that grows when fed and withers when neglected?

When we love or fear something for other than His sake, then it must be from our weakness. Neither can be considered worthwhile when not for His sake since they must be emanating from our desires, and one who follows his desires alone is treading a treacherous path.

But when we love for His sake and simultaneously find ourselves cradling fears for other than His sake, which one takes the lead? Fear I imagine. Why? Because both love and fear return to having a good opinion of one's Lord. We have a good opinion of our Lord when we love for His sake, and yet we have an unbefitting opinion of Him when we fear for other than His sake. Our worthless fears form a wall that prevents us from embracing the good that He guides us to. Having a good opinion of one's Lord necessitates abandoning one's unfounded fears by putting one's trust and dependence in Him, Most Glorified is He.

I'm not sure if what I'm saying here makes sense to other than me. I see the lack of clarity in trying to articulate my thoughts, and perhaps that's partly because these thoughts are still immature and have yet to ripen. Or maybe this is as coherent as it gets for me. Either way, as a final thought (though it might be stretch to figure out how this connects to what I've said above), I am again reminded of some words that were kindly shared with me one day... "As it's said, if the veils were lifted you wouldn't choose for yourself other than what Allah has chosen."

!الله أكبر و لله الحمد

Dreams, eh?

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

It's a little drabby in here eh? It's been like that for far too many months, and though I've sensed it, I've felt disempowered to change it. In fact, I was contemplating a dusty demise, again, but suspected that within a moment of shy insight it might be regretted. Perhaps this is that exact moment.

What's missing, I see now, is the right or even the liberty to dream. The excitement and beauty of dreams is that they are unrestrained. Close your eyes and desire yourself to fly, and soon you will see yourself soaring the skies, perhaps even playing with birds should you desire. Dreams don't need to be frizzled with perceived reality since it offers limitations, the absence of which is really one of dreams' greatest attributes.

But is dreaming sometimes dangerous? The realist or even the cynic in me thinks so, but in my heart of hearts, I know that it is too dangerous not to dream. The world becomes dark and gloomy and bereft of sweet hope (a characteristic that dreams inherently offer), and to see it in such a way is to err. It is to fail to see beyond human error - our own shortcomings - and it is to disallow ourselves the simple chance to embrace some of the Creator's wisdom and generosity.

The sad irony is that by not dreaming we think ourselves as the possessors of wisdom, and we can erroneously convince ourselves that we are capable of deciding what we deserve. Truth be told, we don't "deserve" anything per se because we are intrinsically worthless. We are continuously dependent on God for our subsistence and we are eternally indebted to Him for our existence which is far removed from our will. Nevertheless, we enjoy much - our eyesight, movements, speech, joy, flavours, thoughts, love, compassion, touch, laughter, and all the tangibles that life has to offer, among other things. Again, these are delights which our Creator bestows on us, but beyond these things that we so often take for granted, do we limit our perception of what He can and will favour us with?

If success emanates from ourselves, then it necessarily must be limited and confined. It must be prevented from embracing seemingly accessible delights because we are prone to failure. If all things depend on us, then we would have little room to place our hopes and aspirations and we would crumble by the burden of being the source from which we succeed. But then what are we? Perhaps, we are simply passive vehicles that carry hope, those that relish - or sincerely savour - the good that the world offers, by God's decree, while we also actively praise the One who deserves all praises because He is deserving of all praises and we direct our gratitude to Him for His limitless favours on us.

So what does it mean to dream? I don't know anymore as I've silenced many of my dreams, perhaps I even turned the sweetest one away when it was almost reachable. Maybe to dream means to take one's positive energy and to use it to do good. And when the fruits of goodness come our way, it is to embrace them and to know that given all our human weaknesses these delights are not the fruits of our own efforts but the fruits that God bestows on us when we pursue the avenues that He opens for us and when we depend on Him for our success and wholesome existence.


و الله أعلم
"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]