Our very first actions are those of bonding to other human beings. To help others is innate to our nature. Love is the deen e fitrah after all.
But there is a disconnect between our nature, and our nurture. We live in a materialist society. We are taught that by pursuing our own happiness, we make the society a better place. Morality becomes twisted with hedonism. As a rather crude example, a person may truly believe that by buying a 100k car, they are bettering the society by “creating jobs” and “moving the economy”. Instead of helping their communities by spending money on someone else’s education, or by promoting housing for the homeless, or conducting other acts of charity.
We are nurtured in such a way that we look out for our pleasures before easing others pain. We are taught this hedonist morality as we grow up. We start to justify satisfaction of our personal desires as the greatest good.
I find it interesting that in this twisted morality, the appeal is still that you are making the society a better place for others. It goes to show we cannot fundamentally let go of that innate feeling since it is a part of our nature.
"And follow not your desire, for it will mislead you from the Path of Allah." (Qur’an, Surah Saad, Ayah 26)
To be in love with a person is a chronic illness. It does not go away. No matter how many times your chest tightens, it becomes difficult to breathe, or how many words you swallow.
I have fear of Allah, but I do not fear Allah. Fear is weak, it drives one away from Allah. A person who fears Allah can never reach the reality of faith. Religion is a manifestation of faith, hence a person who cannot reach the reality of faith, can never reach the reality of religion. Fear keeps one wary of Allah, cautious about approaching Allah, tip-toeing around Allahs ayaats (symbols) without pondering over them.
I love Allah. I want to get closer to Allah. Faith is a manifestation of love. One who has realized the reality of Love of Allah, has reached the reality of Faith. One who has realized the reality of Faith has reached the reality of Religion. Hence Love is at the root of religion; at the root of Islam. Allah has given me the path to get closer to Him and to love Him. Allah has given me examples of the people most beloved to Him in the Prophet and the Ahlulbayt (pbut). Allah is so kind and generous that He has given me everything i need to be in Love with him.
Suddenly, his Ayaats (symbols) become more clear. They start directing me to His love no matter where i look. Love of Allah overpowers me as Allah kills my “ego”, my “self”. What a beautiful feeling that must be.
So selfish are those who follow Allah out of fear of punishment. Indeed in the Quran there are verses that point to fearing Allah such as:
And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is with you, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone.
( سورة البقرة , Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #41)
Allah does not ask us to fear his punishment, or fear fire; Allah asks us to fear Him. That fear will naturally come to one who is in love with Allah. There is only one fear within the scope of love, the fear of disappointing the beloved. I love Allah, how can i bear to have my beloved disappointed in me? how can i bear to know that my beloved asked me one thing and i did not listen? i fear disappointing my beloved after everything He has blessed me with. Indeed i fear Allah out of Love.
When in Love, i would want to envelop myself in every aspect, every aayat, and every word of the beloved. I would not tip-toe around what Allah asked, but instead dive into the sea of knowledge Allah blessed us with.
The path to finding God is not a hard one. The largest obstacle lies in blindness. We blind ourselves to so many signs that it becomes hard for us to find that natural connection.
God can be found within ourselves, within others, within each and every God’s creation. God can be found in a simple of blade of grass yet people spend their lives without finding Him even amid the pages of Quran.
One of the most exuberant feelings is when a person finds God in the soul of another. Then, ones mind becomes intoxicated with divine love. An obsession overcomes their heart. They want nothing more than reaching closer to God with that other soul. Indeed it is true, a person in love can commit no sin.
It is important for all of us to take a break from this materialistic world to nourish our soul. Islam gives us an opportunity to do just that five times a day. Yet even those times have become chores for us. As soon as we start the prayer, we think about getting back to pursuing our materialistic pleasures. How blinded have we become?
inshAllah one day, i too will be able to find God and experience that great pleasure. When I fall in love with God, when God returns that love; and when God kills my self. inshAllah.
laying in the ellipses of your words
in these eyes that bear unseen worlds
being struck by its light
by the seething of its clarity
i’ll meet you and we’ll
travel through the whole
brush centuries in a blink
explore the eternity of a second
and the immensities of our palms
we’ll be one raindrop the curve of a rook
we’ll cry in wonder before the birth of a bird
and shed tears before an unborn whisper
we’re and we’ll be beings of light
dust and continents of life.
Yesterday i went around bywater in New Orleans. I found a man sitting outside on a chair rolling a cigarette with a bottle of gin by his side. The interesting part about him was the small typewriter in his lap with a sign that read “Poet for Hire”.
After talking to him i found out he was from Paris. He told me, in his thick french accent, that people can come to him and give him a topic, any topic, and he would write a poem about it. His fee? anything they wish to donate.
I read some of the poems he wrote as he told me what each one was about. A father wanted a poem for his son who had just turned 12, a husband wanted a poem for his wife’s 51st birthday. They were beautifully written, each one catering to the audience.
So i told him about Divine Love. The Love in which you can find God. Love that is a manifestation of God in a persons soul. When you find that soul in another person, when you find God in them, that is when you have truly fallen Divine Love. In Divine Love, there are no sinners. I told him to write something about falling in Love with God, and this is what he came up with.
i am spending my days watching documentaries, reading and learning from the likes of Shariati and Muttaharri.
The words of Shahid Muttaharri bring peace to my mind and uplift my soul. Yet so often, i find my heart has a different goal.
Is there no cure, for this tribulation? for i know that love is Gods manifestation, but then why does it look towards another creation?
This method of finding God, it becomes so painful to bear, for after finding God in another, I yearn for other to find God in I, alas, selfishness brings despair.
So i drown myself once more in words of wisdom, words that detail the matters of God’s Kingdom.
Yet nothing brings me more joy than to relate this wisdom to you, to connect it to your soul, to relate it to your mind.
ARIHA, Syria — They aren’t much talked about. And they are rarely talked to. But supporters of the Syrian government exist.
While President Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power appears to be tenuous after rebels landed a fatal blowon his inner circle Wednesday, there are many families across the country that continue to support him and his administration.
In one family, which GlobalPost spent several days with here in northern Syria, four of the five members still back Assad. On one recent night they all sat, anxiously, watching a state television report about “insurgents” closing in on Damascus.
As they watched, the sound of chanting began to fill their living room. A small parade of anti-government protesters passed by.
“Those for the regime will meet your graves soon!” the crowd of mostly teenagers and children yelled, waving revolutionary flags, during their nightly parade through the dark streets of Ariha, a town now held by rebel forces.
The youngest daughter, who attends university in nearby Aleppo, spoke first. “Now that the army is gone, there is no one to stop them from killing us for speaking out,” she said.
“At the beginning I loved the idea of a revolution. We have a lot under Bashar — free medical care and quality education. But yes, I think we deserved more. But we’ve now gone backwards. This isn’t freedom. We’re being told how to think, how to dress, and threatened for having our own thoughts.”
Fearing retribution from rebel forces, the entire family asked to remain anonymous. Their ages have also been withheld to protect their identity.
They are not alone. Others in the city — who were all too scared to say much on the record — also said they supported Assad. The rebels that now control Ariha admitted that about a quarter of the people living here remained loyal to the regime.
By all accounts this is a typical Syrian family. No one works for the government. They have no connections to the army and they do not belong to the Allawite minority that dominates the ruling elite. Like the majority of the rebels, they are Sunni.
But their opinions vary. The mother and daughters felt strongly that the rebels are to blame for the worst atrocities so far committed in Syria. The father blames both sides. And as for the son, he joined the revolution from the beginning and still participates regularly in protests.
He said his outspoken sisters are persuasive.
“From the first day, this revolution was violent,” said the oldest sister. She went on to describe the stone-throwing, destruction of public property and the physical violence against police that were prevalent during the very first protests last year.
She said her brother asked one boy early on why he destroyed the town’s only ATM machine, through which the majority of the city’s workers accessed their wages. The boy replied, “It belongs to the government, doesn’t it?”
“These are revolutionaries!” she said cynically.
The family said they had felt safe in Ariha when the army controlled the streets. While the opposition says army checkpoints were used to arrest the innocent, the family said the soldiers were friendly and their presence proved that the government was doing its best to maintain security.
The checkpoints are now manned by “5th graders with guns,” said the oldest sister, referring to the rebels.
“Even if one person in this town is killed by an army bullet, it is the fault of the Free Syria Army,” the younger sister said. “Every clash I have seen in this city, they always attack first. Of course the army must return fire if they are fired upon.”
She said the Free Syrian Army uses “shabiha” as a perpetual scapegoat. The shabiha are a feared group of paid government thugs, civilians who activists say are responsible for large scale slaughters, particularly of women and children.
“If they kill anyone, they just label them shabiha,” she said dismissively. “They kidnap people for money and say they are shabiha.”
The younger sister said the father of a school friend, who supported the revolution, was once kidnapped. The man had worked as a clerk in a government prison. After the family paid money to his captors, and he agreed to leave his job, he was released unharmed. Frustrated, she said her friend still supports the rebels.
“As a teacher, all kinds of authority has been taken from me,” said the older sister, who teaches English at a local primary school. She said students come and go as they please, claiming they want to join demonstrations. Boys chant offensive anti-Assad slogans in class.
“I am forced to condone this behavior or be labeled ‘anti-revolutionary,’” she said.
The family members went on to recount the numerous false reports and exaggerations that they said emerge daily.
The previous day GlobalPost witnessed an examle. Pro-revolution television stations reported that the bodies of 20 men from Ariha, who had been imprisoned by the government, were found on the outskirts of town with their hands tied, throats cut and bodies mutilated.
Distraught families and rebel groups gathered at the town morgue, waiting for the arrival of the bodies. But they never came and soon news filtered down that the reporter had confused Ariha with a neighboring town. Eventually it was revealed that the whole report had been false, a fact that was never corrected by the local media.
The girls recalled attending the funeral of a friend who had died from cancer in the provincial capital of Idlib. They said that as journalists approached the scene, the crowd began to chant “as if she had been killed by government forces.”
Their mother added the account of a shopkeeper who had been caught in the crossfire of government and rebel clashes and was accidentally shot by the rebels themselves. He was buried the following day as a celebrated martyr.
“He was with them and they shot him by accident. How can they call him a martyr?” she asked. “They seem to think they can hand out passes for righteousness.”
As the regime continues to crumble, it is hard to believe there is any way Assad could remain in power. But families like these exist all over the country, and they are not fooled by propaganda from either side.
“I am not going to try to tell you about what is happening in another place like Homs or Damascus, although I have many friends that have told me what is really happening,” said the oldest girl, when asked about the reports of government massacres. “I am talking to you only about my town and what I have seen with my own eyes.”
I will Love you no matter how many times i mispronounce the “w” as a “v”, and no matter how difficult it is to memorize the names of all the medications i will be working with. I will love you as lice loves thick hair and as the fish loves claws of a bear, as the tires love the rips and tears and as acid rain loves the eyes’s tears. I will love you as hurricanes love the big cities, and the citizens love the emergency shelters, and the emergency shelters love the filling water, and the filling water loves the lungs of the poor. I never want to be away from you again except at work, hookah bars, and when one of us taking care of the kid the other one can’t handle.
Roads lie in the way of the beloved
Roads waiting to be taken
Excuses find ways in the hearts of beloved
Excuses that lead them astray