I Loved Her, and She Turned Away

12

With Ramadan on the way, it’s the perfect time to step back and start the self-assessment process.

“The love for this world is the root of all evil.” – Jundub al-Bajali

We all surely know about many ahadith relating to the love of this world and the end of it. How this world means so little, despite our long, strong attachment to it. This world has not been faithful to any of its lovers – one of its lovers dies, and the world still goes on. Then why don’t we stop loving it? Don’t we know about the eternal hereafter? Of course we do. How can we even try to make the excuse of living in ignorance when every kind of information is available to us?

And yet it’s love for this world that holds us back from doing what’s right. It’s love for this world that stops us from sacrificing for Allah, from fulfilling His commands. From wearing hijab, or praying on time, or remaining silent sometimes.

I am trying to take measures before doing anything which puts my heart in a state of doubt. I ask myself “Haven’t I sinned enough already?’’ And it works. It immediately puts things into context, and lets me know what the next step is for me.

Life is a such that there will be different phases in it – like crossroads where you know, if you go for what you desire, it will be the “easy way;” but if you select the path which is the right one, chances are that you may find a lot of hardships on the way. The final destination of being on the right path of course is worth all the struggles you put up with this world and more importantly with yourself.

An active conscious provides us with a powerful tool, a tool that allows us to control ourselves in order to improve our love for our Lord – and this tool is fear for the hereafter. On the other hand, a conscious which is often ignored is a very powerful tool to lead ourselves towards an eternally doomed place in the hereafter. It’s not easy to refrain from doing things we feel we can get away with in the short-run. After all, Allah doesn’t strike us down with lightening every time we sin. But if we don’t do the right thing, if we commit that sin or leave that important aspect of obedience, Allah is aware of it … and this should be enough to strike taqwa into our hearts. Likewise, whatever self-struggles we go through in order to avoid thing which is not permissible by Allah ta’ala, whatever difficulties we endure to obey Him – we should know that our efforts do not go waste… and this should be enough to strike taqwa into our hearts.

It’s an important piece of advice I want to remind myself and everyone else with: assess yourself. Because no matter what anybody sees of you, it’s only you at the end of the day who really knows what is actually going on within you. Surely, Allah ta’ala is all-aware, but He is ever so merciful that He hides your real intentions or your bad deeds. So at the end of every day, try to assess yourself and check all that you have done during the day, whether it was helping someone, sharing a piece of information, giving charity – ask yourself and be honest about the real motive behind it. If the intention is sincere, then it was worth it. If not, then know that you have just wasted your time trying to show off your knowledge and your deeds. And if you’re afraid that you might have done it to listen to the people praising you, then pray to Allah ta’ala… repent to Him and ask Him to make your intentions honest and pure, and to make your deeds only for the sake of attaining His pleasure.

There’s a phrase I always remind myself of: “They were people, too.” Most often when we hear or read about our previous predecessors, who were so high in their levels of taqwa and emaan we say “MashaAllah” or “SubhanAllah” – but honestly, they were humans too! Just like we are! Sure, they didn’t have as many temptations as we do in this world of today, but their lives were definitely not as comfortable as ours either. Imagine the hot days of summer without air conditioners around, or having just one meal a day, or wearing hijab despite the scorching heat of the Arabian deserts, or traveling for months just to attain one piece of knowledge, one authentic hadith. Today, when you and I go out in summer, it’s always either in an air conditioned car, or it is just a short trip to the grocery store – and we come home sweating and thirsty, but we have easy access to the fridge where we can find nice clean water. We don’t have to travel for months to get somewhere, we can just book a flight. We don’t have to authenticate ahadith, the scholars have done it already, it’s at the touch of our fingertips.

So the question is, despite all the comforts and easy access to the most amazing information, how are we using these things to our benefit? Are we making the most of them? The people who came before us: were they not people who struggled so much for our deen? We don’t think they had it easy, do we? What excuse would we make in front of our Lord, who is the All-Knowing? What stops us from doing a good deed?

How much do we care about this deen? How much do we love Allah? It’s a painful thing to think about sometimes, but it’s the one golden question we rarely ask ourselves.

You and I know this life does not come with a certain expiry date. Let’s make the most of it, and before we do, we should know that the more we try to do things in our lives to attain the pleasure of Allah subahanhu wa ta’ala, the more strange and weird we will seem to the rest of the world. The only encouragement we will find during this time is knowledge that the reward we’re striving to attain is not temporary like this world… it is eternal, with our perfect Lord who is absolutely the Just, the Most Fair. The reward with Him is so immense that the hardships of this world will practically look nothing.

May Allah azza wa jal make us from among the people who strive and attain His pleasure, those who treat the Hereafter as their real life and not this temporary world. Ameen.