January 15, 2017

Life’s journey

From the moment we are born to the moment of our death we are on this journey of life. It is interesting to note that when we board the ship we are crying (perhaps because we already know the hardship of life) and others are laughing. And when we disembark at our death, others are crying and we are laughing (if we have lived a good life).

So how do we live a good life? How do we make that happen? We can do so by accumulating wealth and indulging in the pleasures of life with not a bit of thanks given to the provider of all this bounty. We indulge in this kind of hedonism when our eeman is low and we have no thought given to the advent of the Hereafter. Some of this group actively believes that there is no Hereafter. What we have is here and now. Still, those that believe so know they are on a journey but for them it is more a cruise ship of fun than a moment's ride to a destination.

Metaphorically, our ship of life, as is any ship, is guided by two very important groups of people; the captain of the ship and the crew of the ship. If we can imagine our body to be the ship, the captain is our conscious mind and the crew is our subconscious mind. Whatever command the captain gives the crew follows because the subconscious mind does not evaluate the command and give a feedback to challenge the captain’s command. They follow orders. Now we must know that our subconscious mind is the confluence of such commands it has received over time from the time we wore born to this time in our lives. It has defined our personality, our habits and our values and our assumptions right or wrong. So we guide our ship in this collective consciousness imbued by this historical and cumulative experience which we call our basic wisdom framework. So we are wiser than others. And yet others are more creative or compassionate or cruel or deceptive or resentful
than others; all based on how our captain has commanded the crew of our body.

But Allah is wise and so he created us not in complete hard wiring but with the ability to rewire and become different as we wish. But the change has to be based on changing the captain’s command. When the captain can be made to change the command for some length of our temporal time we can change old habits and beliefs. Our power of self will and choice is what gives the responsibility for ourselves. Yes, this world is a test and each one of us believers in a supreme being must pass the test to achieve the hereafter  Just like our achievements on our school prize giving day or the winning of trophy in game of physical endurance, Allah will handover to us our report cards on the day of judgement. Some will be enthralled in joy while others will have their share of tears. Yes, now is the time to struggle and accumulate the goodness we need for the goodness of the hereafter. We need to fill our baggage with the right kinds of goods we can use in the hereafter. This requires a conscious packing of our suitcases and baggage and make the captain give the right orders right from the beginning of our journey.

We can ask Allah to give us hidayath for in the asking is the answering. When we don't ask we don't get. That is the power of dhua or supplication. The popular book “the secret” also has distilled this spiritual wisdom when it states the law of attraction - that what we actively set out mind to wanting (asking) is when the doors of Providence opens up for us.

Metaphorically our journey is made in the ship of life. How should we make our actions most relevant while we are on this ship? Should we not carry the right goods? Should we not leave some goods behind, or leave the ship itself in good condition for others to board? That will be the benefit for society.

Looking from another angle of us actively contributing to society, firstly see that we do no harm. It's not enough just to focus on doing good, but quite as important also is about not doing harm to others. Indirectly this is also doing good but more with the other person in mind rather than just on doing good to ourselves in isolation.

Allah SWS calls on us to enjoy this world as we seek the Hereafter. But why is it that some people commit suicide? Some want to leave the ship even before time. They don't want to be with the ship. Why? Much research shows that they left because of another person's hurtful action. Otherwise no one will leave this ship by themselves through their own volition. In other words the sad act of suicide rubs off on us also when we hurt others and they are driven to this end state of a personal decision. So don't hurt others to the extent of pushing them off the ship. While we may not be doing it in awareness but in ignorance, still it is indirectly, our action. So let's not make that happen to others. When we don't engage in hurting others, we do a great service to mankind.

A story may give more emphasis. A king needed to harvest the fruits from his orchard and so he gave two pickers two empty baskets to fill. The king would not supervise the work but would just weigh the baskets at the end of the day and give them a commission for their work.   Both went to the field and had a weighty basket at the end of the day. One man was dishonest and filled weighty trash into his basket along with some fruit to top it all, and in his laziness he had only picked the low hanging ones. The other one meticulously picked the best and high hanging ones. Once the baskets were weighed the king did not give them a commission this time, but to their surprise gave the whole basket with its contents to each of them to take it as the day’s reward for work. What happened then is not hard to imagine. The lazy and deceptive one had the cry and the honest one had the bounty. 

In the same vein we must fill our baskets with the best of what we can use in the hereafter. And that is the best of deeds; not money or wealth or fame or position in this worldly society. Surah -Takasur attests to the folly of being distracted from the Akhirah in our desperate accumulation of worldly wealth.

To get Dhuniya we have to do fikr and to get Jannah we have to do zikr. May Allah allow us to partake in His Hidhayah. 


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