Emaan clout

Becoming a more religious Muslim should never cause you more anxiety. If it does, there’s something warped about your perception of Allaah. Your mental construct of what you should do or be is preventing your heart from directly connecting to Him. It’s creating resistance instead of resonance.

Don’t get lost in semantics. Emaan is a feeling. Let it flow. You don’t need to be perfect. You’ll pick up the pace eventually. But that won’t happen if you’re stagnant.

Maybe the problem with the hive mind of stereotypical religious Muslims is that there’s a delineation of practicing and piety?

I mean, who’s to say who’s ‘on’ or ‘off’ if purification of the self is a continuous cycle? Who’s keeping tabs? Do our deeds define us? Why do we need definition? Isn’t that an attempt at standing out? Wouldn’t Allaah be able to pick out your intentions from the crowd? Why then is there an emphasis on idiosyncrasies and nonessential mannerisms under the guise of ‘the sunnah’ ? It’s like this uncomfortably unnatural glitch where the person’s natural disposition is overlaid with what is deemed the proper way to act. The problem becomes that the acting effectively shuts out the person’s psyche, ensuring that the change in demeanor is nothing but superficial. And you’ll find plenty of examples in people who’ve gone from one extreme in practicing to the complete other of being morally depraved and heinous. Acting a certain way is actually counterintuitive because it doesn’t allow space for the person to organically get in touch with different facets of their being that would then spark the desire for transformation. There has to be a genuine interaction with the self in a non-judgmental and nonperfectionistic way.

To be clear, I’m not talking about ’deen is in the heart, you don’t need to wear it on your sleeve’. I believe that the deen is an integration of the spiritual and the pragmatic. But when the spiritual is stripped of its mystic nature and individuality, that’s when dogma becomes a real contender. Because it’s like the focus becomes to avoid slip-ups which leads to stagnation and fear. No matter how we try, we’ll always slip up because we’re innately ignorant. It’s how we learn and in fact, we’ve been given license to slip up so that we don’t let that be an obstacle. Instead we’re told to focus on restoration and authentic reformation (inaabah).

When we don’t interact with ourselves, we can’t relate to others too. And therein lies the problem that is so ubiquitous in the Muslim communities, that once someone becomes religious they effectively become elitist and interact with people like an authoritarian school master.

I think knowing the deen is the easy part. To try to implement the principles oneself while interacting harmoniously with others is the real crux..

أُخْبِرُكُمْ بِمَنْ يَحْرُمُ عَلَى النَّارِ أَوْ بِمَنْ تَحْرُمُ عَلَيْهِ النَّارُ عَلَى كُلِّ قَرِيبٍ هَيِّنٍ سَهْلٍ

Shall I not tell you for whom the Hellfire is forbidden? It is every person accessible, polite, and mild.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi, graded Hasan

What’s wrong with me?

Ego asks what. It wants to pinpoint the cause of inconvenience. The thorn in its side.

Love asks why. It wants to understand what disrupted the harmony. It wants to reconcile the opposites. It wants to return the thorn to its rose.

I’ve never asked myself why. It’s always been a resentful what, if even that. And it’d always be because things reached a dead end where the suffering was unbearable. I’d always seek insight and answers begrudgingly as a u-turn. But best believe that I wanted nothing to do with my vehicle. I was only focused on the dashboard and the road ahead. I didn’t want anything to hold me back from reaching my destination. The vehicle would break down, I’d get a towing truck, hitch a couple of rides that turned out nearly fatal. I tried to abandon the vehicle in protest. Didn’t have anyone or anything else to blame it on. I was imagining all the beautiful and marvelous things that I was missing out on by being stuck on the road, and it made me hate myself and the vehicle even more. Which would cause more trouble.

It started as a faint mumble. A question you ask under your breath, hoping no one would hear you. Why do you want to go to that destination so bad? When it causes you this much agony?

My inner voice grew stronger and firmer each time my vehicle coughed up soot and died. The inquiries took on more defined form, the question turned into soliloquies.

I hadn’t noticed the hassle it took to try to get there because I assumed it was due to my inability to navigate the road or my crappy vehicle. I assumed such because it seemed like every other car was zooming past me with no problem.

Why do you think your vehicle is a car?

Huh? It’s obviously…a…car? Wait, hold on. It has to be. What else could it be? I thought all vehicles were cars? Or all cars were vehicles? What? This make no sense at all. How come I’m on a highway if this vehicle belongs elsewhere?

Why do you think that where you are is where you are meant to be?

I guess because that’s the only thing I’ve been taught. If I were to take the alternative seriously, that’d be too daunting! At least now I have a direction and rules to follow. I wouldn’t know where to begin if I veered off this map!

Maybe the noncompliance of your vehicle and the constant breakdowns have been nonverbal cues from your soul to alert you to the fact that this road isn’t where you belong?

But why couldn’t there be a straightforward delineation of what vehicle belongs where? Or even where it doesn’t belong?!

Because the path where you belong is held by the awareness of why you don’t belong elsewhere. And that’s only something you can come to on your own. That’s the whole point. You thought you were on the road to a certain destination, but your soul brought you here to break the assumptions you’ve inherited.

Oh, so that‘s why

What’s the point? Where’s the line? Who’s asking?

Love gives form to your formless spirit and it gives you the context that acts as gravity on your being, stopping you from aimlessly floating in space. Or worse, being stuck in the hamster wheel of others orbits.

Love wherever you are, and watch your emotional landscape take back its shape from the sterile blank stare of intellectualization. Just like in spring.

You’re not a window seat on the bus. You’re the horizon you’re getting lost in, oblivious that you’ve missed your stop. The bus is the interval, not you. Remember that.

Slavery 2.0

You can’t outmanoeuvre how you feel. That shit is real and you owe yourself the decency to acknowledge why certain things are difficult. Your anxiety or depression aren’t isolated and compartmentalized. It will have an effect on how you do things and how you cope. Instead of insisting on a plan or goals that force you to adapt, have compassion for yourself and realize that you won’t be going anywhere by leaving parts of you behind. Just like when you have the stomach flu or a migraine all of you are down and it affects what you were planning on doing (even though technically the rest of your body is healthy), so should the state of your inner being be to you.

This society is programmed to split a person from their emotions to make them into automatons that are easily manipulated and hijacked. That’s what you’re setting yourself up for when you’re prioritizing external outlines over how you are feeling or what you desire. When you go along with something that requires you to suppress or brutalize yourself, is the goal really worth it? When people talk about selling their souls they imagine some dungeon and a horned devil. But no. It happens in gradual ways where you muffle the agonizing screams of your soul because it’s inconvenient. Hell is the sum of the choices you made against your conscience.

In the world we’re a part of today, being connected with the soul is the Noah’s ark. It may seem overwhelmingly nefarious and evil to even contemplate how to get out of this, but guess what? You never were meant to figure out this on your own or hatch an escape plan. The only way out is through transcendence and that can only be facilitated by the creator of your soul. But you have to green light this by being receptive to your inner knowing, to letting go of what dishonours you, to uphold integrity and honesty in your soul, to love unconditionally, to be empathetic.

How you respond to hateful or grim circumstances hold far more power than you’ll ever know. Forget revenge and being vindicated : when someone or something fails to make you go against what you wish or your character, your light has triumphed. And as long as you hold on to that light, it doesn’t matter how dark the world gets. A candle light is more powerful than all the darkness because darkness is empty and lacks divine essence. Evil is darkness because because it renegaded from the divine light. And it’ll have you believe that it’s more powerful and encompassing than it is. It’s only power is illusion. If it had any substance, it’d fulfill the threats without dropping trailers in your mind. That’s why we fear the dark so much. We project our active imagination on what may await in the dark corners.

When you lose track of yourself, your pure awareness, how you feel etc, your focus inevitably gets drawn in by the suggestions of a fearful imagination. When you’re not grounded and present, it’s very easy for you to get stuck in your reptilian brain where your amygdala shuts down and hijacks the logical part of your brain (neocortex) and you become hypervigilant. But that hypervigilance is like being a deer in headlights. It’s a constant scanning of evidences of your worst fears. And that’s how most of us go through this life. That’s why distractions and escapism is so enticing ; it’s like we’ve given up on the existence of a reality where we don’t have to survive by dissociating and distracting ourselves. It’s like we’ve settled for coffee breaks during our torture sessions.

What I’m tryna say is… you’re like someone in a fortified house. Robbers come to your front door and threaten you with the worst depravity and torture if you don’t open up. They tell you that they are giving you a chance before they break in, which they claim they’ll easily do, to open up and spare you and your family unfathomable terrors. Because you’ve forgotten how secure your house is and the weapons you have to defend yourself with, your amygdala hijacks your brain and you give the robbers empty threat life because of your own fears. And you open the door to prevent the worst case scenario from happening. Makes no sense yes? But that’s how most of us be living and if Jung has taught me anything it’s to look for archetypes and the collective unconscious that is being played out.

AI are a representation of our disconnection from our humanity and our collective dissociation. And that’s way worse than any AI. We project our own fears on harmless robots, thereby animating them with powers they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Don’t let your emotions be replaced by algorithms and don’t your soul be hijacked by programs based on your predictable reactions.

Protected in plain sight

I’ve been seeking shelter in the darknesses of denial, invisibility, dissociation, escapism, nightowling. But now, I’ve been called to seek protection in Allaah through the light, through showing up and leaving nothing of me behind. Not even my shadow.

In the light, fear has nowhere to hide.

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