June 5, 2008
My Epiphanies (IV)
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Today I was in college and I sat doing some work at a sofa. A woman came and sat to the couch next to me. So naturally, I said hi and basically we introduced ourselves to each other. She told me that I was the first Muslim girl with a head covering that actually “engaged” her in a conversation. Anyway, she asked a load of questions and I tried to answer them without being mean, biased or Islamically wrong.
And then, while I was talking/listening to her, I started thinking….
People constantly ask me that if I don’t wear a scarf, will I go to hell? If I am not Muslim, will I go to hell? If I drink alcohol, will I go to hell? If I touch a guy, will I go to hell? And I realized that I am getting all these “hell” questions, and not any questions about God. It seems everyone is living to avoid hell and/or getting to heaven. And I remember learning/reading about three kinds of people-those trying to avoid hell, those trying to get heaven, and those who live to get closer to God and finally come to “know” Him.
And yet ironically, our lives don’t reflect ANY of the three options. We live just so we can…LIVE! It seems that people work everyday for something else and after achieving that, they live for something else and it seems like this everlasting cycle that in the end, we die. To me, it looks like people are trying to eat all this food that turns to ash in their mouths-never being satisfied.
It seems so haunting because as much as I criticize that in people, I can see a shadow of that in myself. Who am I? Why am I here? What am I living for? What am I willing to die for? What is my place in this universe? What is my relationship with God? I have asked these questions to myself a billion and one times, but something keeps me from answering them. I need to break what keeps me silent. All this time we have been living so hollow inside.
There is something more than our school life, our jobs, our friends, our needs and our wants. There something that is in me that is calling me to live. To finally come alive. There was a sufi saying that a sufi must die a thousand deaths before their bodies go with them. But in today’s world, the deaths we are undergoing are not like a sufi’s in which you peel off all the other layers until you reach the core; the deaths we die are of humanity, a sense of self, and we “kill” who we are and what we were meant to be.
I guess I am in a time of life where I have to pick a career, major, and what I am essentially going to do for the rest of my life. But the reality is, all these things are just more and more veils. Veils and barriers that pull me away from who I truly am. What I am truly meant to be. God created us in such a way that it would be natural to become evolve into our higher selves. But we keep stabbing ourselves for some odd reason. Rabia Al-Adawiyah once asked why you keep knocking on the door when it is already opened? It is the same thing here except we create another door, bolt it shut, and knock on it. We really are our worst enemy.
All the things we do-eating, sleeping, helping others for the sake of humanity, making money, raising a family, we think we are doing them for the acts themselves, or maybe even to get a sense of happiness. But these are all acts with the wrong intentions. We think we know what we want, but our inner being knows better. Our spirits call out to God, but our conscious self represses that. Our spirits are being left in the dark, unawakened and I feel like that is happening to me right now.
All these people tell me what they think is best for me, all these people try to show me what I want, but little do they know that they don’t even know what they want. I want to live. Really live. I finally want to take my first breath. So now I want to step away from all those things I go to for comfort, an ilah, and turn back to God.