“…whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.” (2:256).
There is only one hand-hold place that never breaks. That place is Allah subhanahu wa taala. We should depend on Him. Our hearts should be attached to Him alone. Our relationship with Him should define our self-worth and the purpose of our existence.
But the problem within the Ummah today, is we become attached to the duniya (this world); a place of temporary attachments which I call temporary magnetic attractions. The people you meet today, you bond with them whether through friendship, family, marriage or at work. You or they will leave or die. And what are left are the memories behind. The pain of losing someone you love to death is more painful than being injected. The pain of having the intention and wanting to marry someone, despite all the good things you do, it was insufficient enough for them to neither realise nor appreciate. Unrequited love. The pains of working hard to achieve your ambition or job or an exam, but you get rejected and didn’t pass respectively. The pain of knowing whatever you do, you will never be able to satisfy mankind whether that be spouse/family/friends/colleagues. They always want more. The pain of being in the late 20s and 30s and have not been married yet or had a child yet and there is lots of pressure from those you thought were family and friends. The pain of wanting to buy a car or house but unable to do it because your financial circumstances don't allow it. Believe me. It is painful. These are just some real life situations that occur around the world.
This true reality and emotions we feel inside us hurts us as we are human and Allah subhanahu wa taala has given us a heart. To love. To seek. We were created to work for the Akhirah (The Hereafter) which is eternal. We were not created for this life to stay here forever. Even though we yearn and we pray and perform good deeds to reach our ultimate vocation; Paradise (Jannah) that is perfect, long-lasting and eternal. May we all meet with our loved ones in sha Allah (God-Willing) there. We indirectly try to find Paradise here to mould it into something this world is not and will never be. This world is a prison for the believer. This is why our hearts break. We try to seek fulfilment and happiness in a world that is fleeting and the amount of time there is just for a short time. Trying to transform something that is temporary into something that is eternal is like putting your hands in fire. As long as we continue putting your hands in fire, the pain and burning you experience will continue to break your heart. Once we put a stop to our hopes and temporary magnetic attractions to this world we will then feel at peace.
We must try to realise that nothing happens in this duniya without a reason. Pain. The pain is a lesson. It can also be a warning. That something is wrong. We either need to make a change. Walk away from those that caused the pain. But never endure the pain. Sometimes being patient or waiting ends up becoming a burden. When you burn your hand or cut your finger with a knife; you move your hand straight away. Putting this into the case of emotional pain means it is a warning for us that we need to detach from these temporary magnetic attractions.
The more we get hurt from this duniya by being attached to it. The more we inevitably detach from the duniya and stop loving it. Attachments are what make us weep. Most pain is where our false attachments lie. And it is those things which we are attached become barriers on our path to Allah subhanallah wa taala as we should only be attached to Allah. We then break down and ask Allah to help change our condition. But the thing is; Allah will not be able to help you until you change yourself. This is when we need to change. Change the condition.
“Verily never will God change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves.” (13:11)
I was told that I was selflessness. Always putting myself last and people around me first; because I wanted to follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him where he said that what you should love for yourself, you should love for your brother. When I open my hand, I allow them to take, but then I close my hand because I didn’t expect them to pay me, to sacrifice continuous time for me like how I would do for them. All I wanted and asked for is to be my mirror. If I do something wrong, tell me. If I tell you something, hold that trust and don’t tell anyone. When I turn my back; do not speak about me. When I reach an achievement/success, be happy for me and support me. When I am honest with you; be honest with me. If you can’t do something, say it, but do not say yes and then don’t do it. Reflecting on real-life situations I faced with close and far on a personal and a professional basis, continuous disappointments; I finally realised something profound. These are still known as expectations despite all come under the category of trust. I thought love of duniya was being attached to material things such as clothes, cars, jewellery, houses and money. I was not attached to these material things. So I thought loving of the duniya did not apply to me. What I did not realise was that people were part of the duniya and I was attached to people because Allah gave me a soft heart to love people wholeheartedly and limitless. So all the pain I had experienced in life was the love of the duniya. I then came across this ayah:
“Those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present, and those who heed not Our Signs.” (10:7)
I felt a niqab (veil) was lifted off my face. I felt this ayah was calling my name. I thought I was not expecting much of people but ‘trust’ and ‘honesty’ is still expectations. You can love everyone, but you can never trust everyone and even if you trust certain people; you can never trust them with every single thing; reason being is the people we communicate with are human. They are not born to be perfect; you will never find someone flawless which is why Prophet Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam said one should excuse their brother. If you want someone you can trust and who will never let you down, even if you go around a world tour across the oceans and seas to different continents; you will never find that person and so I was ‘expecting’ something in this life and from the people I love; something that cannot fully occur all the time and was never meant to be. The only person who you can trust fully and who will never leave you is Allah subhanahu wa taala. To whom we were created, to whom we shall return. Even whilst we were alive, through our journey in duniya, He is there for us, with us, we go through pain and rest, but there is wisdom and lesson behind all. Having expectations is not a mistake but it is where you put your hope and expectations. In order to live in life, Sister Yasmin Mogahed said in one of her quotes that pain and rest cannot live without each other. She is right. Totally. There is a blessing from both.
What does it mean to place your hope in the duniya?
One of the best ways to learn is to go back to the parables of the Prophets alayhuma salam. In the Quran, Allah subhanahu wa taala revealed many ayahs concerning this duniya and those that fell through the trap of Shaytan Al-Rajeem. Prophet Hud alayhi salam was sent to People of A’ad. Prophet Saleh alayhi wa salam was sent to People of Thamud. Prophet Lut alayhi salam was sent to People of Lut. Prophet Nuh alayhi wa salam was sent to People of Nuh. All people did not listen and adhere to the message of the Prophet alayhuma salam that came from Allah subhanahu wa taala. They disobeyed Allah and loved this world.
Verily, the Promise of Allâh is true, let not then this (worldly) present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allâh. (31:33)
How can I detach myself from these temporary attractions and attach myself to Allah alone?
The people cannot even create the wing of a fly (22:73)
Just how Ibrahim alayhi salam said
“For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.” (6:79)
When Ibrahim alayhi salam was searching for Allah subhanahu wa taala, he studied the stars, moon and the sun. He realised they were not perfect and they set down. So Prophet Ibrahim alayhi salam faced Allah. Like him, we need to put our trust, dependency and hope in Allah subhanahu wa taala. Once we do that, we will be able to find stability and peace in our hearts and inner states. Loving the duniya will affect our lives and can be the reason for our destruction. Abu Bakr radia allahu anhu and Muhammad salla allahu alayhi wa salam were best friends but who knew well who he should depend on; this can be deeply illustrated when after when Muhammad peace be upon him died, people were in shock and sadness. He said:
“If you worshipped Muhammad, know that Muhammad is dead. But if you worshipped Allah, know that Allah never dies.”
I end this article on temporary magnetic attraction with a Quranic verse:
Know that the life of this world (dunya) is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children… the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment. (57:20)