By: Moustapha EEnuwa Kassim
Part2: spiritual perspective: how to overcome temptations in the light of the Noble Quran and the gospels of Isa peace upon him, followed by an urgent question for humanity before it is too late.
I’d like to beg my readers to bear with me through the end of this article to find out the ultimate purpose of my writing. In our war against evil, we may lose some battles but in those lost, Allah ta ala can redeem each defeat by revealing to us the cause of each failure and uplift our spirit to attain His pleasure and closeness, if we turn to Him. I will highly recommend two books related to our topic, the first is “The lantern of the path” by the Imam of all consensuses, also known as the greatest Imam and Ahl Bayt Imam Ja’far al Sadiq, and the other is of course from the timeless reviver, hujatul islam, the proof of submission to God, Imam Al Ghazali, the books 22(Disciplining the soul) and 23(Breaking the two desires) of his tour de force “Ihya ulum al din”. Here are some practical advises inspired by an article I read on the same topic on iblp.org ,that in sha Allah may benefit us on this Blessed month of Ramadhan and for the rest of our life on this transient world:
Make a covenant with your eyes
The eyes are the lamp of the heart, what and how our eyes see can affect us physically, mentally and spiritually.
In the Wise Quran we have been commended to “lower our gaze and to be modest” (24:30). I believe this injunction has been narrow understood and reduce to “look on the ground or your shoes while walking in the street” by many Muslims; honestly this isn’t really working is a sex-saturated world we live in right now. So I will attempt with Allah’s Help to rethink this concept; lower oneself in general appeals to have humility and modesty, so to have humility and modesty in your gaze could mean “don’t lust when it happens to you to see or look”. What I meant by “don’t lust with your eyes” is that if you are a man, educate your mind and work to shift your mindset from seeing a woman like an object of sensual lust as the global secular culture teaches us, but as someone’s daughter, wife, mother and sister in humanity. In the Gospel of Isa peace upon him, we read that “anyone who looks on a woman to lust for her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28). So let’s try these three ways to avoid lusting with our eyes:
-See, look and stare are 3 distinct words, let’s judge their realities. When you see, that’s okay, that’s why you got eyes. If you look, that’s not too okay but you can still assume it wasn’t deliberate. But brother when you’re take a minute to stare, you are just being part of the problem! If you look too long you look wrong! Now if you’re telling me because you’re a male when you see an attractive lady you got to look, ok after you look, just give praise by saying: marshmallow! Then, move along and continue with your day.
– I always hear so many Muslims lament about lust and how visual distraction are all around us specially in summer time, it’s true but the Noble Quran reminds us “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “we believe,” and will not be tested?”(29:2). I believe this situation of ours is the test of our generation and we ought to find a way to succeed and keep a dry skin in the water.
-Finally, let’s keep the following truths in mind: lust is letting your mind wander to sexual thought AFTER you look. Lust doesn’t just happen; it’s cultivated. Lust is not inevitable, it is a choice. The battle against lust begins where it dies… in our minds! So brothers and sisters, let’s be mindful! Thanks to Carl Thomas for this truths.
Replace the secret pictures that exist in the gallery of your mind or subconscious with good ones
At the heart of our impure thoughts are secret, dirty pictures in our subconscious due to those immoral Hollywood movies, TV shows and ads that we are being bombarded with daily. During time of temptation, they tend to come back and haunt us and fuel the temptation. To replace them, you should try on your spare time to find a quiet place where you can sit and try to picture and meditate about some of the tragic events that happened in the history of Islam. You should try often to picture and meditate about the battle of Badr, Uhud and the martyrdom of our brave Sahabas, the humiliation and stoning of our Beloved Rasul peace be upon him, while delivering the message of Islam. Most importantly we should often try to recall the scene of the tragedy of Karbala, the martyrdom of Imam Hussein Ibn Ali, Abass Ibn Ali and the progeny of The Chosen one, also the bravery of my beloved Sayeda Zenab in the the court of the unjust yazid and his cruel army, those tragic events should make anyone weep as me and my pen are weeping right now writing this. In sha Allah with practice, the picturing of the suffering of the pioneers of our religion will weaken and replace all the wicked pictures in the gallery of our mind and increase our love for Islam.
Realize that victory is possible, ours is not a caravan of despair
We must have faith in our Lord he will never let us down if we turn to Him in time of temptation. We read in the Gospel of Isa may peace be upon him that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation He will also make the out in order for you to be able to endure it.”(Corinthians 10:13). Moreover the Wise Quran informs us that “On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.”(2:286). In every temptation there is an opportunity to grow spiritually; we must see temptations as signals to turn to Allah in order to attain His Pleasure and Closeness. Needs, urges and cravings are legitimate human feelings but Shaytan wants us to satisfy them in sinful ways but Allah want us to give Him our needs and trust Him to meet them on His time and His way, therefore we ought to cultivate patience in our affairs. Beware that is not your power that will bring you victory but your relationship with Allah The All powerful.
Measure and track your progress toward God consciousness, and be godly!
What I meant is that we should try to have a daily accountability of how we are using the organs of our body before they testify against us on the day judgement. I will also recommend http://www.prophetic-path.com/ it gives you the support and the platform for self-accountability. Change does come in one night or one month, it is a lifetime process of transformation; therefore we need again patience and determination. For to be godly, I meant we should shun ungodly activities, bad companies and the worldliness of this world since there are sources of temptation. Instead let’s visit the sick people in hospitals or rehab centers, senior citizens centers and cats shelters, let’s feed the hungry, with the intention to gladden their hearts and God will gladden ours.
Correctly identify the battlefield
Thank you for making it through the end. Brothers and sisters, we will need to pause and ponder about the situation of our Ummah, the matter is serious, our spiritual state is critical. Here Good and Evil Are at war, man and his ego are wrestling and the battlefield is “the heart of man.” The modern man that we are, came to forget that he has an ego within him that he needs to control by all means; therefore the modern man became the slave of his desires. Instead of being AbdAllah, we became abd-shahwa, slaves of our passions and emotions. The state of our Ummah, the degradation of our planet Earth is none other than the reflection of the heart of the modern man, and we are all concerned Jews, Christian, Muslims and humanity in general. Let’s Humanity ponder about the prayer and grieves of our forefather Abraham peace be upon him, to our Lord in The Glorious Quran: “And let me not be disgraced on the day when (all creatures) will be resurrected; the day when neither wealth nor children will profit (anyone); except him who brings to The One God a pure heart.”(Surat 26: Verse 87, 88, 89). Therefore the next big thing for humanity won’t be a new model of gadget nay! But an urgent question that each of us needs to ask ourselves before the Hour: “What am I doing to purify my heart before the meeting with my Lord?”
“…Oh, The Protector! we ask of your protection in our movement and our stillness, in our words and our desires, and our thoughts; from the doubt and the suspicions and the illusions that veil our hearts from the perception of the unseen… Oh, Allah! Make easy for us our situations with rest for our hearts and our bodies; and peace and well-being in our spiritual and worldly lives…” an excerpt from The Litany of the Sea of Imam Shadhili may Allah ta ala have mercy on him.
Peace and blessing upon the best of the creatures, our Master Al Mustafa, his family and companions.
“Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (2:32)