Existential axis

Islaam restricts the ego. That’s why it’s not as readily appealing as, to the Western mind especially, the Eastern philosophies that have been co-opted and appropriated by white culture. It’s more like vegetables than a dessert. It can’t be consumed by a materialistic mind.

The reason why despite the extreme resistance and hate of Islaam and Muslims, it’s the fastest growing religion is because it’s the only creed that is existentially grounding and lends a stability that no intellectualism can conjure. It’s not based in avoiding something nor is it designed for an outcome. It’s wholly in the now and it regulates the oscillations caused by being caught up in linear time and distracted by space. It’s a buffer against this 3D matrix, a shock absorber for the soul. Most of its wisdom is not realized or appreciated because we’re so disconnected from our emotions and spirit.

Spiritual justice

In Islaam, there’s no room for victimhood and and a victim mentality. Allaah tells us that we suffer at the hands of others or suffer tragedies as cosmic reflection of internal corruption, and He only gives us a glimpse of what we actually deserve just so that we may rectify our conditions. Once we transform ourselves and transcend faulty behaviour, He elevates us above the troubling circumstances so that it’s no longer relevant. Thus, it’s not to say that being victimized isn’t a thing or it’s valid, but that it happens according to divine order because we’ve gone against our truth.

You may wonder, what then of the oppressor, how come they don’t get subdued? That’s because they are subdued by their evil and Allaah has left them to their own devices. He’s left them to self-destruct, which they inevitably will, and decay in their ego. And that’s a far worse fate than enduring external powerlessness that may spark a spiritual revolution.

The baseline isn’t the material world or doing. It’s man’s spiritual value and being. And sometimes we’re deprived from doing something so that we slow down and become aware of our state of being. That’s a greater objective than a linear progression or ascension of societal hierarchies. Hierarchies that are innately built on the subjugation of spirit by ego. Tyrants and oppressive regimes are a macrocosmic representation of the ego and how it aims to subjugate the soul.

In reality, the true oppression is oppressing one’s soul through illusions and delusions and what we experience as loss or tragedy is always a breaking of the spell that an illusion holds over us. In this framework, someone is punished by their inability to see the wrong in their actions as that inability would be a block to existential fulfillment and holistic growth. That’s why there’s no use in engaging people who lack empathy or are obstinate in their bigotry because they are emotionally incarcerated by their evil. The point is for you to see the fault in your views and where you stand so that the reality around you can better reflect back to you your inner conditions.

أَفَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ فَرَآهُ حَسَنًا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُضِلُّ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ فَلَا تَذْهَبْ نَفْسُكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسَرَاتٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ

Is he, then, to whom the evil of his deeds made fair­seeming, so that he considers it as good (equal to one who is rightly guided)? Verily, Allaah sends astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. So destroy not yourself in sorrow for them. Truly, Allaah is the All­-Knower of what they do!


Seeking protection

This duaa really helps to ground me during an anxiety attack or trauma flashback. The duaa is found in Bukhari and Muslim. [ detailed explanation and sources in Arabic]

اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ، وَبِكَ آمَنْتُ، وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ، وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْتُ، وَبِكَ خَاصَمْتُ. اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِعِزَّتِكَ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ أَنْ تُضِلَّنِي، أَنْتَ الْحَيُّ الَّذِي لَا يَمُوتُ، وَالْجِنُّ وَالْإِنْسُ يَمُوتُونَ

Allaahumma laka aslamtu, wa bika aamantu, wa ‘alayka tawakkaltu, wa ileyka anabtu, wa bika khaasamtu. Allaahumma inni a’ udu bi’izzatika laa ilaaha illaa anta an tudhillani, antal hayyul-ladi laa yamoot, wal jinnu wal insu yamutoon

O Allaah! I have submitted to You, and believed in You, and put my trust in You and constantly turn to You in repentance, and I struggle in Your way. O Allaah! I seek refuge with Your Might, there is no god but You, from straying from the right path. You are the Ever Living who never dies, while jinn and human beings will die.

Tie your control

The hadeeth often cited in regards to tawakul has become a cliche by virtue of the reductivist context that robs it of its full meaning.

Anas ibn Malik reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.”

People often think the meaning to be, do whatever you were going to do and then in the end entrust Allaah to it, as a safety measure. There are several faulty mindsets in this:

  1. The context puts the efficiency of one’s actions parallel to Allaah
  2. The common understanding of this hadeeth denotes that Allaah comes as an afterthought
  3. The tawakul seems to be placed on safeguarding one’s outcome

But of course, that’s not the full meaning of the hadeeth. We often use the same materialistic, consumerist lens that we use to view life through to view the deen.

Tawakul is not an extension of your actions. It’s a state of being. It’s not the fruits, it’s the roots. Therefore, control and fixating on specifics is out of the picture. It’s bigger than just acing a test or finding a job. It’s about surrendering the very seed of desire to the seat of the soul for Allaah to direct. It means that you leave the mode and means to Allaah, trusting that He knows how best this will unfold. It means that even if you don’t get the outcome you envisioned, you don’t feel a loss because you know that the desire and energy you started out with is encapsulated in the outcome you got. It means to trust Allaah’s vision and to surrender your ego.

The tying of the camel is akin to grounding your ego. It’s to ensure you’re in the process, and not detached from it. It’s to ensure that you come from a stable space by discharging what you currently can do. Notice how in the hadeeth, the prophet didn’t tell him what to do. The man asked him what he should do, meaning he had something in mind but he wasn’t settled. He was afraid that if he ties it perhaps that’d negate his trust. So the prophet collected his scattered focus and gave him his answer. The man grounded the energy swirling around in him.

Often, we get paralyzed by fear or procrastination because we only have energy or foresight for a portion of the journey or task but we can’t see it through to the end and we fret. We fear that what’s in our arsenal is all the drive we’ll have and then what? We feel we need a sense of control before we can calm down and focus on things. Having tawakul is to know that Allaah has that control and He’ll never leave you stranded. You’ll always have what you need when you need it. Just focus on what you are in the headspace to do now and trust that the rest will be downloaded when you have the space for it. Just because you had lunch and not dinner or breakfast doesn’t mean you’ll never have dinner or breakfast or you’ll only ever have lunch. Nah. Chill. Allaah has got this. And you not seeing the full picture is because it’s not linear. It’s like a nesting doll; each step contains the next one. Each moment contains the next and it depends on what you shape this moment to be. And if you don’t like the trajectory of a moment, you can always change the next because it’s being created and written as you’re actively involved in it.

A ducaa for the existentially depressed

Ya rabb, You’re the only reason I’m held together and I’m yet to disintegrate into infinitisimal particles, or blow my brains out from the extreme anxiety of having to find a needle of truth in a quantum haystack of boundless information bits. Even if I dissociate and attempt to escape my mind, I can’t escape this life inside me, this life that weighs so heavy with existential dread and expectation. Even if I try to discard what I am, clouds of misery withholding rains of meaning will follow me like the horizon, or I will follow it because my path is primordial and preordained.

If I were to unravel, like I’ve done in the past, none can make me ok again. At best I’d be in a merciful catatonic state, numbing the mind crushing pain, hoping death is dispatched sooner than later.

If I were to lose my bearing in this information apocalypse, none could help me find my inner compass. I’d either become driftwood, being carried by the momentum of the majority, or I’d become a deceptive snake, pretending to be guided.

Even my turning to You is divine inspiration and I’m overcome with how much I need You. I give up everything in me that would take me away from You and I seek refuge with You from my ego. I ask for Your love to soothe me and I beg that You keep me company, always. All of this is for nothing if I lose my soul signal. All of this turns into crushing pressure if You leave me to my own devices. Nothing is worth losing my connection to You for. I’ll give up family, friends, society. I’ll take to a remote mountain if so required. I’ve known enough suffering to know that the one thing I can’t survive without is Your watchful presence.

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