About distractions God says:
“Every soul shall taste death. And only on the day of judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the fire and admitted to the garden will have attained the object (of life); for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception. (Quran 3:185)
“Only he who is saved from the fire and admitted to the garden will have attained the object of life.”
Let’s reflect on this verse. What is the object of life that will help us attain salvation from the fire and admission to the garden? God also tells us (Quran 51:56)
“I have not created the humans and Jinn except for worship.”
God then continues to tell us in (3:185) about the reality of this dunya:
“for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception”. (3:185)
We are created with a natural disposition (fitrah) to know God. You already know Him. Its embedded in your soul’s make up. It takes the drowning out of this inner knowledge to derail a person from the purity of knowing God, knowing your purpose, and knowing Him GLORY BE TO HIM!
Losing this results in disorientation. He (Exalted and Majestic) is so merciful to His creation that even reflecting on nature brings you back to Him. Our inner faculties yearn for God.
“Have they not reflected within themselves?” (Surat Ar-Rum: 8).
In this temporary world, in these temporary bodies, we still yearn for eternity. This is because our real homes are in the hereafter. Forever young, forever beautiful, forever wealthy. However there are signs that allude us to the fact that this world isn’t the world of perfection. Something has got to give. The old man driving the latest merc is our daily example of this.
Something Allah (Exalted and Majestic) is showing the inhabitants of this world. The rich old man doesn’t realise he’s an a example. That house that is mansion-like, and is being built as ones “dream home” will eventually become something mundane, having cracks in the walls whilst its owner progressively diminishes into frailty- heading towards meeting his Lord. The house is a distraction, yet there are even signs within this distraction. This is a mercy and blessing from Ar-Rahman (the All-Merciful).
It is when our inner faculties are aware and are met with this dunya that something amazing happens. The distractions can become an insight to our reality. Knowing God and reminding us that we will return to Him. “The life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception”.
Meet the lady on the train…
On my way to work one morning there was a lady sitting next to me. She had her earphones in – sounds and beats blaring, I swear I almost hallucinated her ears were bleeding. If that wasn’t enough to distract both myself and fellow passengers, she takes out her iPad and starts to read a novel, simultaneously. SubhanAllah. The lady made me remember a documentary I once watched proving that the brain literally cannot multi-task. That each task it is presented with is dealt with one thing at a time, even if it is done in rapid succession. So it can appear like someone is “multi-tasking”, although the brain is dealing with one thing at a time to fully concentrate.
So back to this lady. Was she escaping from something? If so, what? I felt concern for her. Whist she sought every effort to drown herself in distractions, she doesn’t realise she is living in one of the biggest distractions “for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception”.
Do we need music to drown out our thoughts about what is happening around us? Perhaps coupled with a “good read”? Do we need to seek all other means of technology to drown out the sound of la illaha il Allah? From what was this lady distracting herself? Does she not want peace? Is it that frightening that you cannot be left alone with your own thoughts?
No doubt by now you can tell that I was distracted. My train ride to the city became a reflection on this unsuspecting lady and her objective to either bust her ear drum or finish her copy of 50 shades of Grey or perhaps both Allahu a’lam. My thoughts became consumed by what was going through her mind. Why was she engaging in self-destructiveness at such an early hour of the morning? Could it not wait till mid-afternoon at least? It made me feel grateful. The blessings that flow from simply working towards our purpose are in numerous. We get insight into what it takes to make you feel calm, to embody true tranquility and peace from the Source of all peace. Even in distractions there are signs.
We need to be aware. Even in these instances when people are causing your head to hurt, being grateful will encompass all of these things, embrace them and help us to be grateful to the One that is Al Shakur (The Appreciative).
Therefore let us be Muslims who are aware, embrace what we are presented with, and learn from every sign that is presented to us. It is by no coincidence that we are tested with every detail in our lives. They are perfectly calculated by Allah (Exalted and Majestic). Let’s live in the moment by seeking understanding through these signs. I pray it will lead us to living with excellence (Ihsan). Ameen.