Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Lesson in Ikhlas & Ihsan from the Outwardly 'Flawed'

While we 'religious' folk like to talk a lot these days about warm fuzzy spiritual stuff, we also tend to have a rather narrow and contrived ideas of how 'spiritual' people should be or look like. We figure that those who perform great acts of 3ebadah (worship) with ikhlaas (sincerity) are most likely to fit a certain mold - those who spend a lot of time studying the Deen, for example, even if they're not shaykhas and aalimahs per se; or those who noticeably recite a great deal of Quran on a regular basis; or those who exhibit an almost otherworldly serenity, a sakeenah, in the face of difficulty. Certainly, those people exist and are undoubtedly of those who are pleasing Allah, but we tend to overlook other types of people who may also be beloved to their Lord.
These are the people who may seem to have obvious flaws or shortcomings - a tendency to use somewhat, ahem, colourful language; or may know that a certain action is haraam but find it difficult to stop; or they may just not be as knowledgeable about Islam as we think we are.
Those from the second group may be struggling hugely: divorcees, single moms, financially insecure, students... or even all of the above. They might be going through numerous tests and challenges in their lives, but they are also sometimes the first people to come to your aid: to show up and help you when you are in dire straits, even if you haven't known them for very long; to babysit your child on short notice; to take you on grocery shopping runs every so often because you have no car; to take you to the hospital to visit ailing family members or help you move to a new apartment. They are always ready to help and show up with a grin and a lending hand, without complaint or expectation of reward or favours returned.
The difference is that when outwardly pious people do acts of good character, we chalk it up to their religiosity (which may be true) - but we rarely to stop to think about, or appreciate, latter category in such terms. So many of us have developed the unhealthy habit of subconsciously judging and chronicling others' mistakes that we don't stop to truly appreciate the depth of their gifts to us.
It is these people, whom we criticize or underestimate, who truly embody the spirit of Ikhlaas (sincerity) and Ihsaan (excellence) - because though they have shortcomings (just as the rest of us do), they are also honest in their sincerity, whereas we lack the same.
It is these people who are amongst the ‪#‎ForgottenHeroines‬ and‪#‎ForgottenHeroes‬ of our Ummah, ignored and underappreciated and even at times belittled. But it is these people who demonstrate what love for the sake of Allah entails, and I pray that for that person in my life - and those undoubtedly in yours - that they be of those beloved to Allah, and shaded on that Day when there will be no shade except for that which He provides.

1 comment:

Saaz Hussain said...

Dude, it's like you've known me my whole life. This stuff really speaks to me. Bravo.