Quran Reflection: On Being Pleased

*Note: I am not a scholar. This is but a self-reflective piece.

God tells us at the end of verse 58:22 of the Quran:

رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ

This part of the ayah in surat al-Mujadela catches at my throat every time.

Why?

I have yet to understand, perhaps I never fully will, why somehow my heart’s walls fracture at these words, and why my defences of all my baseless excuses crumble.

We like to think we can read other people’s thoughts, but we can barely understand our own. But here, I will try to analyse myself. I do not know why this part of the Quranic verse – translated Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – makes me want to collapse in tears. There are likely many reasons. I decided I needed to reflect on this much deeper and try to understand myself through it. I think I have found one reason why this powerfully resonates with me:

To have God pleased with you, and you pleased with Him.

Oh, to have His pleasure. Always striving to make that the end goal and the waves that transport me as I sail with the means. Yet so many times I am not grateful. I may have the appearance of patience, but wars constantly rage within: an army of thoughts remind me to be content with the state of things in my world and to trust that the future is in good hands; and an opposing army of thoughts assures my ego it is justified in wallowing in its own self-misery. Could one have His pleasure if he is not continuously pleased with His flawless plan?

Although Alhamdulileh: all praise is due to God is always on my tongue, I wonder how truthfully and effectively this reality is translated in my heart of hearts. It is a reality for sure, to this I have no doubt – but am I spiritually living this reality in an authentic way? When I grudge things beyond my control – but yet that are – is this not a form of ingratitude on my part? Is this not an indirect expression of discontentment with God’s plan? And if I am not pleased with His plan… how should I ever imagine Him to be pleased with me?

رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ

A Shephard

If He is pleased with you, what else matters? Everything pales in comparison to the pleasure of your Lord. And if He is not pleased with you… honestly… of what from all the skies and galaxies of creation will really matter?

So I pray to the One, turner of hearts, to make my heart sincere and firm. Oh Allah, the All-Merciful, allow us to be of those whom You are pleased with, and who are pleased with You.

For you, and only You alone, know, and have ever known, Best.

-A.S.

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Leash For My Heart

Staircase Break

I found myself musing this week over the state of my heart when it wanders off.

Sometimes I’m on something I can only liken to a spiritual high. Not the highest, surely… but it is close to what I imagine bliss to feel like. There’s simply nothing that is able to shake me away from this tranquility, happiness and love.

But sometimes it’s not that magical. You wake up and all you can think about is the one topic, the one subject, that you know you shouldn’t even be stressing about… because it’s not in your control. You’ve done all you can do, and what’s left on your part is tawakkul. (Oh, that powerful one word: tawakkul… you’d think it would be as easy to carry out as it is to write.)

The heart is a wondrous thing, it can be pulled in such extremely opposite directions that I often wish I had some sort of mystical leash that I can wrap around it.

(Here, little hearty… come back here! You’ll hurt yourself.)

But sadly, these useful leashes do not exist.

Or do they?

Rope of God

I love metaphors because it gives me an opportunity to reflect deeply on them as my imagination runs wild. Since what popped out instantly to me in this verse is the idea of rope of God, I allowed my thoughts to leap across mountains & fly through the clouds, until something settled and made a little sense in my consciousness.

(Please be aware I am representing no opinions here but my own. And I am not a scholar of any sort.)

What if we were all people stuck at the bottom of a pitt, needing to be rescued? The presence of the rope alone will not benefit you – you must take action, grab the rope and climb it.

Good grip? Still not enough; you have to hold firmly with conviction. You must hold on to it with certainty, without ignorance or blind faith. You may not see what is at the other end of the rope, but you are confident it’s a way out. To do it half-heartedly and without passion is very dangerous; slipping off the rope is always there as a risk, if you don’t believe with all your might that holding on is worth it.

The rope of God”.  

Could the rope be the combination of the Qur’an & the Sunnah? Islam is inward and outward. If you don’t act while knowing something is the truth, you simply won’t benefit and will continue to wallow in your own self-pity. You’ll be stuck at the bottom of the pitt with the rope dangling down to you, but if you don’t have faith that what you have leads you to the Light, to tranquility & bliss, why would you bother holding onto the rope and climbing it to possible disappointment, gaining nothing more than blisters along the way?

Islam is not something you can have blind faith in. Sure, there are certain metaphysical matters you may need to take a leap of faith – with the understanding that humans are souls that are trapped in physical bodies, and thus, we do not and cannot perceive all. Yet we are given enough to see, to observe, and to contemplate whether Islam’s final Prophet (peace & blessings be upon him) is truly a sign from God, and is truly a mercy to mankind. It turns out, for me at least, he is. Grabbing onto that rope is suddenly a means to an end, and not the end goal itself.

Now suppose you are at the bottom of a pitt of hopelessness, but your dilemma is not faith-related. Rather, it is something worldly… your career is going downhill. You are overwhelmed with a million things you have committed to with very little time on your hands. Relationship problems. Health declining. Self-esteem. And much more…

The heart may wander off far away from you seeking reassurance to these things, and the biggest problem is, without control over your heart, you know it’s getting even more lost and in despair. All you can think is how useful it would be to have a rope around it… and drag it back where it should be… Where heart agrees with mind…

That rope. The rope of tawakkul. Are you finding it? Look for it, but remember that it may not only be dangling before your eyes, but it might even be inside of you.

Inward and outward. Hope also comes from within yourself.

Bouquet

And Allah knows Best.

A.S.