Soul storage

The only reason I’m still alive is because of the faith that Allaah has the strength where I do not , that He knows where I know not, that He is the only light in this universe full of darkness, He is the only source of love. I’ve exhausted all avenues of doing it on my own, trying to understand my soul through a mind limited by itself and it has driven me to either suppress the parts of me that dumbfound me or finding the prospects of life too daunting to justify trying.

Without faith to fill in the blanks, wedge the uncertainty, join the paradoxes, I’d be spending all my energy on panning out and zooming in on everything that threatens my illusion of control.

I don’t use faith as a crutch to protect me from my fears but to give me the strength of courage as I walk through the darkness of dimensions and territories that my mind can neither grasp nor understand.

Faith is the skeleton that holds up my soul when the world is weighing heavy on my mind.

Free thy will

Enduring the tension of the paradox is the conductor of the transcendence to Jannah

Life consists of dualities that seemingly clash, a tug-of-war that we’re made to be suspended in the midst of by Divine decree. Giving in to either opposite dissipates the tension, but so does the self transcendence needed to purify one’s heart before the time is up.

حُفَّتِ الْجَنَّةُ بِالْمَكَارِهِ وَحُفَّتِ النَّارُ بِالشَّهَوَاتِ

“Jannah is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by desires.”

[Muslim]

The ability to hold space for the opposites is what transforms conflict into faith. A paradox is a symbiosis through which our free will is nurtured by making the decision to endure the tension of being open to the truth, instead of collapsing into the mindless pull of unconscious forces.

About one of the fundamental rites in Islaam, the udxiya after Hajj that commemorates the symbolic sacrifice prophet Ibraahiim calayhissalaam made of his son:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ

{Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but rather what reaches Him is piety from you.}

(Al-Hajj 22:37)

This to reiterate the meaning behind the original call for sacrifice being the detachment of what we love from our egos. Detachment doesn’t entail playing it cool or being indifferent, but it’s to leave controlling the outcomes or the desire to not lose it to Allaah. Thus, it’s a reminder that the heart must remain unblocked if one’s actions are to be of spiritual benefit.

If we say that all sincere action must stem from the action of the heart, then our only power is to either receive the impulses that are divinely inspired or to resist them. And if this may seem overly simplistic it’s only because the most difficult tasks in life are plain and simple in nature.


وَ اتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ الَّذي آتَيْناهُ آياتِنا فَانْسَلَخَ مِنْها فَأَتْبَعَهُ الشَّيْطانُ فَکانَ مِنَ الْغاوينَ

{And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), but he threw them away, so Shaitaan followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.}

(Al-A’raf 7:175)

وَ لَوْ شِئْنا لَرَفَعْناهُ بِها وَ لکِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَي الْأَرْضِ وَ اتَّبَعَ هَواهُ فَمَثَلُهُ کَمَثَلِ الْکَلْبِ إِنْ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُکْهُ يَلْهَثْ ذلِکَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذينَ کَذَّبُوا بِآياتِنا فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَکَّرُونَ

{And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire. So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls his tongue out. Such is the description of the people who reject Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.}

(Al-A’raf 7:176)


Allaah nudged this man towards a portal of enlightenment and all he had to do was to move towards it by being receptive to what his heart is guided to. But that was a too steep a price to pay and so difficult was it to endure the cognitive dissonance that he preferred to repress parts of himself in order to remain in his comfort zone. So he chose to forego transcendence in order to remain in the womb of unconsciousness. And it is through this self-inflicted blindspot that shaytaan has influence. The only realm of influence, may I add.


Allaah continues on by explaining the dire consequences of rejecting enlightenment :

ساءَ مَثَلاً الْقَوْمُ الَّذينَ کَذَّبُوا بِآياتِنا وَ أَنْفُسَهُمْ کانُوا يَظْلِمُونَ

{Evil is the likeness of the people who reject Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses and signs, etc.), and used to wrong their ownselves.}

(Al-A’raf 7:177)

مَنْ يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدي وَ مَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَأُولئِك هُمُ الْخاسِرُونَ

{Whomsoever Allaah guides, he is the guided one, and whomsoever He sends astray, those! They are the losers.}

(Al-A’raf 7:178)

وَ لَقَدْ ذَرَأْنا لِجَهَنَّمَ کَثيراً مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَ الْإِنْسِ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ لا يَفْقَهُونَ بِها وَ لَهُمْ أَعْيُنٌ لا يُبْصِرُونَ بِها وَ لَهُمْ آذانٌ لا يَسْمَعُونَ بِها أُولئِکَ کَالْأَنْعامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ أُولئِکَ هُمُ الْغافِلُونَ

{And surely, We have created many of the jinns and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.}

(Al-A’raf 7:179)


What is the difference between a sin and evil? How impervious the heart is to its consequences. To feel the brunt of one’s actions is to assume responsibility for the only thing one has control over : perception. But to perceive reality correctly is to relinquish control, and that’s an illusion that seduced Adam in the garden with the forbidden tree that promised immortality and power. Allaah has put in place all the devices and stacked the odds in our favour to receive the guidance when it comes, and it’s only the most crude of hearts that still falls to the pull of base desires when transcending oneself is where ultimate meaning lies. When Allaah says that He sends them astray, it’s not because He forcibly blinds them but despite their resistance He does have the power to turn them around, but He wills not to. Because free will is something He decided to give us and He won’t transgress that by forcing something that we haven’t come to. Insight only comes when we receive it.

And those impervious to growth, of course they are worse than animals! Because animals don’t possess the faculty of free will and perception. All they have is instinct and their impulse and actions are congruent. You won’t find an animal defying its impulse.


So what to do when you want to transcend but you doubt yourself and leaving the herd seems too scary?

وَ لِلَّهِ الْأَسْماءُ الْحُسْني‏ فَادْعُوهُ بِها وَ ذَرُوا الَّذينَ يُلْحِدُونَ في‏ أَسْمائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ ما کانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

{And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.}

(Al-A’raf 7:180)


Having integrity extends beyond just what you espouse ; you also have to be cognizant of whether your company is congruent with who you are. And if not, why do you hang out with people who’d choose their egos over the truth? You do know that when push comes to shove, they’ll throw you under the bus to save themselves?


وَ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنا أُمَّةٌ يَهْدُونَ بِالْحَقِّ وَ بِهِ يَعْدِلُونَ

{And of those whom We have created, there is a community who guides (others) with the truth, and establishes justice therewith.}

(Al-A’raf 7:181)


No one is an island. No matter how ‘woke’ and independent you are, you are in need of a community that would support you in your quest and bring out the best in you.


وَ الَّذينَ کَذَّبُوا بِآياتِنا سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَعْلَمُونَ

{Those who reject Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not.}

(Al-A’raf 7:182)


The blind and detached choices that are only motivated extrinsically and for what serves the ego, IS the punishment. Not being able to gauge life properly gives rise to meaninglessness. And there’s nothing worse than meaninglessness.


The denial of death, by Ernest Becker

Mental health, in a word, is not typical, but ideal-typical. It is something far beyond man, something to be achieved, striven for, something that leads man beyond himself. The “healthy” person, the true individual, the self-realized soul, the “real” man, is the one who has transcended himself.
How does one transcend himself; how does he open himself to new possibility?

 

By realizing the truth of his situation, by dispelling the lie of his character, by breaking his spirit out of its conditioned prison.

 
The enemy, for Kierkegaard as for Freud, is the Oedipus complex. The child has built up strategies and techniques for keeping his self-esteem in the face of the terror of his situation. These techniques become an armor that hold the person prisoner. The very defenses that he needs in order to move about with self-confidence and self-esteem become his life-long trap. In order to transcend himself he must break down that which he needs in order to live.

Like Lear he must throw off all his “cultural lendings” and stand naked in the storm of life.

 
Kierkegaard had no illusions about man’s urge to freedom. He knew how comfortable people were inside the prison of their character defenses. Like many prisoners they are comfortable in their limited and protected routines, and the idea of a parole into the wide world of chance, accident, and choice terrifies them.

 
[…] In the prison of one’s character one can pretend and feel that he is somebody, that the world is manageable, that there is a reason for one’s life, a ready justification for one’s action. To live automatically and uncritically is to be assured of at least a minimum share of the programmed cultural heroics—what we might call “prison heroism”: the smugness of the insiders who “know.”

 
The prison of one’s character is painstakingly built to deny one thing and one thing alone: one’s creatureliness. The creatureliness is the terror. Once admit that you are a defecating creature and you invite the primeval ocean of creature anxiety to flood over you. But it is more than creature anxiety, it is also man’s anxiety, the anxiety that results from the human paradox that man is an animal who is conscious of his animal limitation.

 
Anxiety is the result of the perception of the truth of one’s condition. What does it mean to be a self-conscious animal? The idea is ludicrous, if it is not monstrous. It means to know that one is food for worms. This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression—and with all this yet to die. It seems like a hoax, which is why one type of cultural man rebels openly against the idea of God.

 
[…] The flood of anxiety is not the end for man. It is, rather, a “school” that provides man with the ultimate education, the final maturity. It is a better teacher than reality, says Kierkegaard,

 
because reality can be lied about, twisted, and tamed by the tricks of cultural perception and repression. But anxiety cannot be lied about. Once you face up to it, it reveals the truth of your situation; and only by seeing that truth can you open a new possibility for yourself. He who is educated by dread [anxiety] is educated by possibility…. When such a person, therefore, goes out from the school of possibility, and knows more thoroughly than a child knows the alphabet that he demands of life absolutely nothing, and that terror, perdition, annihilation, dwell next door to every man, and has learned the profitable lesson that every dread which alarms may the next instant become a fact, he will then interpret reality differently.”

 
No mistake about it: the curriculum in the “school” of anxiety is the unlearning of repression, of everything that the child taught himself to deny so that he could move about with a minimal animal equanimity.

 
[…] What Kierkegaard is saying, in other words, is that the school of anxiety leads to possibility only by destroying the vital lie of character. It seems like the ultimate self-defeat, the one thing that one should not do, because then one will have truly nothing left. But rest assured, says Kierkegaard, “the direction is quite normal… the self must be broken in order to become a self….”

 
[…] One goes through it all to arrive at faith, the faith that one’s very creatureliness has some meaning to a Creator; that despite one’s true insignificance, weakness, death, one’s existence has meaning in some ultimate sense because it exists within an eternal and infinite scheme of things brought about and maintained to some kind of design by some creative force. Again and again throughout his writings Kierkegaard repeats the basic formula of faith: one is a creature who can do nothing, but one exists over against a living God for whom “everything is possible.”

 
Possibility leads nowhere if it does not lead to faith. It is an intermediate stage between cultural conditioning, the lie of character, and the opening out of infinitude to which one can be related by faith. But without the leap into faith the new helplessness of shedding one’s character armor holds one in sheer terror. It means that one lives unprotected by armor, exposed to his aloneness and helplessness,

 
[…] Now the dread of possibility holds him as its prey, until it can deliver him saved into the hands of faith. In no other place does he find repose… he who went through the curriculum of misfortune offered by possibility lost everything, absolutely everything, in a way that no one has lost it in reality. If in this situation he did not behave falsely towards possibility, if he did not attempt to talk around the dread which would save him, then he received everything back again, as in reality no one ever did even if he received everything tenfold, for the pupil of possibility received infinity.

Homebound

The root of gratitude to Allaah is radical self-acceptance of everything you are – flaws and all. This is because your soul is a unique creation bestowed to you by the Creator and it’s one of the most majestic of blessings. You contain miracles that defy imagination or comprehension, so taking yourself for granted is taking Allaah for granted. 
This self-acceptance can’t occur unless you’re completely vulnerable. Many a times, we approach God like a parent we have to impress to gain their approval. Our egos are tied to evading our weaknesses and flaws, but by doing so we put up a wall between us and the Divine, between us and our soul. 
So, self-acceptance can’t happen without humility. Being aware and cognizant of your human abilities and limitations. Changing from a goal oriented mindset to a process oriented mindset. From a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. From perfectionism to mindfulness. 
Amongst His names are ar-Ra’uoof , the Gentle and al-Ghafoor, the concealer of faults
He won’t use your weakness against you. He won’t punish you for it. It’s what makes you a marvel, how despite your flaws you are wholesome and transcendent. That makes you more noble than angels, you know that? Because angels have no free will in the sense that we do, faced with temptations and impulses. When we overcome our innate evil, we are more noble than had we not had that struggle to begin with. 
There are a lot of things in you that would amaze you, if you only were more forgiving of yourself, the way Allaah is. He knows who you are deep down, you can’t hide that. The pinnacle of gratitude would be to focus on living in a way where you’re more cognizant of your true nature even if it means others would deride you for it. 
Ihsaan. To worship Allaah as if you were seeing Him, for even if you don’t see Him, He sees you. 
Ibadah. Literally means yielding, surrendering. That’s what the essence of worship is; surrendering control and image. An act of worship devoid of surrender and vulnerability is void of substance because you have not been transformed. You’ve kept the unknown, the powerful energies at bay by operating on autopilot mode, a mindless facade. You’re not there until you’ve been through thick and thin with your connection to Him, preferring to die a thousand deaths before you let go of faith.

The point of worship isn’t to sing God’s praises because He’s absolutely not in need of that. But it’s to allow you to flourish and transcend your ego under Divine support. Self-actualization can be extremely distressful and threatening if we don’t tread carefully. Like opening an aircraft door mid-flight . 
Faith allows us to fall off cliffs, trusting His promise to give us wings. Faith allows us to face doubts about Allaah’s existence without caving under the weight of the opposites because faith without doubt is not faith. It’s dogma, certainty, arrogance. 

No, it’s to feel the doubt and trust anyway. It’s to know that your faith isn’t a way to escape life or difficulties. It’s the only way to immerse yourself fully in it because you go in blind in situations and face things that scare the living daylights out of you, all because you trust Allaah has your back. Like He did Musa before the sea was split and they were caught between the vast ocean and pharaoh’s army closing in on them. 
So, don’t fear going astray or being annihilated. If you seek the truth in yourself, you’ll always find your way back home. Find your true north beneath all those lies you’ve been telling yourself and disguises you’ve been hiding behind. Remove everything that would make you deviate from your true north.

the waiting game 

»You’re being taught by Allaah

»Lessons are always streaming in

» You’re always on time. You can’t speed up or skip a lesson.

» You can only turn it down or let it in. Your progress is in accordance with how much you venture into the infinite space of the soul.

»Everything that you experience is transforming you into the person you were created to be. The person that you’ve been longing to become all your life.

» Your mind has no way of knowing how this chaos and confusion could culminate in anything good. Your mind is demanding reasons as to why it should trust intuition. Don’t listen to it. Let its nagging fall on deaf ears. Feel the fearful and negative energy that your mind is desperately trying to shield you from, thinking it’s danger. Know that it’s not danger. Know that those feelings that bubble up are old emotional blocks and that they are fleeting. Know that you’re stronger than any pain and you’re worth every bit of this tedious task of unfolding.

» Embrace the silence. Imagine that you’re an overworked mother who needs a break from her whiny 7 year old. Close the door on your mind and rest in the cavern of your consciousness.
»You have a lot of outrageously good dreams,and ideas that keep you up at night and wistful longings that sear into your gut. But, again, your mind. It doesn’t know the ‘how‘. It tries to talk you out of it. It’s not malicious, it’s just that it’s been guarding you all your life and leaving the nest is going to be less than seamless. A lot of the how exist in the unknown and to ensure that you keep the momentum going, you have to have faith. Faith is simply a trust in something that you don’t have proof for. Faith is being vulnerable with life.

»When you imagine having kids, do you ever think: how am I suppose to create a living breathing human who is a mix of me and my spouse’s genes? Is there a course for creating the brain, from scratch? The soul? The heart? How do you program the fetus so it knows that eviction date is at 9 months?

» Of course you don’t. That’s stuff you assume just happens because you take it for granted. But that shit is bonkers if you think about it! An complete snd complex human being with a personality and instincts hitting the ground running when a year ago they did not exist at all! We don’t think about that stuff. That’s the ‘how’ of life. The same ‘how’ that keeps you from your dreams. You were never supposed to do this on your own. You’re not meant to carry all that weight.

»The void between where you are and where you want to be is the incubation period where you transform into your dreams. Don’t abort your dreams.

{It’s going to be ok. Take a deep breath, and don’t be swept away. Don’t let a temporary wave drown everything you are and have endured.

You’re going to be ok.♥

Would you believe?

There’s so much to be afraid of in this world. Overwhelming darkness and suspect figures in the shadows hissing at passersby. An ice-cold world where anyone with warmth in their blood and light upon their faces is quickly undone.

If you look to the outside for validation, all you’ll be left with is insecurities. If you scan your environment for signs of safety, all you’ll get is fear and anxiety. And if you look to this world for reassurance, all you’ll get in return is a crippling doubt in yourself.

This world is merely a reflection of your inner realm. What you find before you is what is within you. What you change within, will manifest without. Embody the reality you’d like to see in this world. By enriching others, you enrich yourself. By doubting others, you doubt yourself. All evil and suffering is a lack of understanding and faith. By faith I mean believing in something before it manifests, before it’s tangibly evident. Believing in the good of someone’s intention. Believing that there’s a place for you in this world. Believing that your dream and desires that arise within you like waves crashing against the shore, pulling and pushing, with the ebb and tide of your consciousness, will see the light of day eventually.

Any progress, invention, discovery was once a seed carried in someone’s unwavering faith in it. How many dreams have you killed or let die? Is your heart meant to be a cemetery or a playground? Your focus is a creative force that creates and amplifies what it’s fed on. Your faith channels that force. And in the absence of faith, doubt takes over and all it does it create replicas of itself; an army of doubt and suffering to extinguish the last ray of light in your world.

Castles in the sky

castl

 

“Indeed, this religion is strong and well-established so enter into it deeply yet do so
gently. And do not cause the worship of your Lord to become hateful to you. For the
one who traverses it harshly will neither reach (his goal) nor will it spare anyone. So do actions like a person who thinks he will never die, and be cautious like a person
who fears he will die tomorrow.”
[Sunan al-Bayhaqi al-Kubra 3/19]

________________

The deen is like the North Star; a constant journey towards the Hereafter. There’s no position to be reached; there won’t be a day when you wake up and you’ve made it, and can now hang out with the big guys. If that day ever comes, you’re in the wrong crowd. The deen is characterized by uncertainty and constant growth… By uncertainty I mean that you never feel convinced of your supposed piety or where you’re going to end up in the Hereafter.People who fall into extremism are those who’ve found a comfort zone in a certain ideology and amongst a certain group of people, and who try to fight the doubt they feel by telling everyone that theirs is the only way.

That’s dogma bruh, not deen.

The deen is a spiritual transformation of the heart.It’s performing ‘ibaadah starting from the heart, going outwards; If you feel numb or overwhelmed – take a few steps back, because something’s amiss. The only deeds that would count in your favour are the ones you performed with mindfulness ( khushoo’). The only acceptable deeds are the sincere ones, void of ulterior motives – i.e. being vulnerable with your Lord.

So instead of focusing on performing voluntary deeds like praying sunan or reading Qur’aan – focus on increasing the quality of the basic wajibat that you do; cultivate authenticity and self-acceptance, and know that the only thing that matters is what Allaah knows of you, not what people think of you – of good or bad.

 

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