As for alcohol and gambling I don’t think I need much effort to convince you that they are not good for the individual or the society.
Abstaining from them does not require much effort as their ills and problems are self evident. However when you succeed you feel the joy of being able to have control over yourself.
You realise that you are really free to choose to safeguard your mind all the time and not to let it slip into absence by drugs or mind fizzing substances. You are always in a state of full awake-ness; full awareness and full alertness, and you know what..! You are still enjoying life as much as ever.
Again another battle with the lower self has been won.
You free your mind from being enslaved to toxins and addictive behaviours. A higher level of exercising personal freedom has been achieved.
Moving on to another point, The Prayer. To start with we realise and understand very well that God Almighty doesn’t need our prayer. God is not insecure or imperfect (glory be His) as to demand His tiny creatures to stand there so many times a day to proclaim His sovereignty, and to admit their weaknesses and guilt. God is above all these human defective perceptions.
“O ye men! It is ye that have need of God. But God is the One Free of all wants, worthy of all praise” (35; 15)
We are the ones who are in need for this bond. We are the ones who miss out on so much if we live and die without experiencing it.
We are the only ones who benefit from these contacts; it’s through this connection and perseverance (in longing for it) that our thirst would be relinquished.
Through this relationship we discover inner peace, utter trust, ultimate tranquillity and endless love and joy.
“Only in the remembrance of God will souls find peace, trust, and tranquillity” (13:28)
During Muslim prayer we move our bodies. We start standing, saying (Allahu Akbar) proclaiming that God is The Greatest. Nothing in this vast universe is greater, worthy of worship or adoration other than The Creator.
No man, no woman, no authority, no money, no desire, no self-love, no ego, not even my own intellect; none of these have control over my life except The One who gave me that life.
I am not subservient or accountable to any but my Creator. At this point the joy of ultimate freedom manifests it self in the purest of forms.
As we kneel down we proclaim: glory be to God the Magnificent, and as we prostrate, glorifying The One Most High; our forehead -the highest point of our physical body and the symbol of our intellect and wisdom- will be at its lowest touching the ground.
We go through these actions of inner and outer self-discipline, we acknowledge our imperfection, we empty our selves from the lower-ego, the feeling of self importance and self-righteousness, and we strip the lower-ego of its selfishness, arrogance and pride and humble ourselves to its Creator and we surrender pleading for guidance, hoping to be filled with God’s light and love.
Back to this on going battle between the lower and higher self;
As we plead for guidance we acknowledge our ignorance, we admit the limitation of our intellect, and we recognise that we are not always right.
As we ask for forgiveness we admit our deepest faults and bad doings, we also become conscious of our imperfection.
As we glorify God The Greatest Most High, we grasp our insignificance, and we understand that we need not be so proud of our self-righteousness.
We can’t experience and feel The Divine Love without the desire to receive it. In order to receive it we have to ask for it.
When we walk towards God, God comes to meet us running. God will be more delighted with us finding Him than a mother finding her lost baby… a meeting full of tears, joy, and passion.
“When My worshipers ask you about Me, I am indeed near; I answer the prayer of every caller when he calls on Me: Let them respond to My call, and believe in Me: That they may be rightly guided” (2:186)
“Say: “O my worshipers who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of God. For God forgives all wrong actions: for He is ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful”. (39: 53)
“By the glorious morning light, and by the Night when it falls still, your Guardian Lord has not forsaken you, nor is He displeased.” (93:1-3)
“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who are God-conscious: Those who give in times of both ease and hardship; who restrain anger, and pardon others – for God loves those who do good; and those who having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, sincerely bring God to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their bad actions, and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing – for who can forgive bad actions except God? (3.133-135)
We open our hearts and souls, and it’s at this very point of utter humility that we receive what we desire most. We’ll be immersed in and showered with ultimate Divine love.
Then the realisation comes; we can truly humble ourselves yet survive with our dignity intact.
It’s not only that we win the battle with our arrogance but we can amazingly enjoy this experience and long for it time and time again. Our higher ego scores another point, a most vital one indeed, the battle against our arrogance.
Through utter surrender to God pure freedom and beyond can be achieved.
“Just like the cosmos from the smallest of its particles to the largest, we can only experience absolute freedom only when living in utter surrender”.
“Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, does declare the Praises and Glory of God, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Exalted in Might, the Wise”. (62:1)
This of coarse is the ideal that we as Muslims spend our lives striving to achieve, we can spend a life time working, trying, struggling, and patiently enduring some times succeeding and other times failing.
This incessant battle between our higher and lower egos is our inner battle for freedom, and it is also considered the corner stone for establishing a just peaceful world. This is what we call the greatest jihad. Its final aim is to achieve the utmost morality in which we can manifest the Godly temperaments that makes us spiritually closer to our creator.
Love and beyond
For us to receive God’s love
We need to open the door to our soul
That door is stronger than selfishness
Heavier than hate
Uglier than greed
More ruthless than envy
That door is arrogance
The only key to that door
When we can sense our real size
Identify our true ignorance
Admit our imperfection
Recognize our limited knowledge
See the shortcomings
Of our intellect
And humbly kneel down
Prostrate and surrender
Astonishingly transformation comes
The heart that was full of ache
Will be emptied of all ills
And selfish desires
It will be healed
Then filled with love
Joy and bliss
Oh, God… Heal me
Heal my heart… Heal my mind
Heal my soul
Fill me with your light
And fill me with the bounty
Of your love… Amen
© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved
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