From Birth to Death, the Journey of Life

Now let’s begin by posing one simple question, its meaning is profound and may need some contemplation:

What is life?

We all know that life has a meaning, a meaning that is personal to us. Ever since birth, we begun a journey. The pace of our journey, and the people that we faced in our journey are unique to ourselves. There’s a meaning to it nonetheless. “We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.”

As we attempt to define the concept of life, it may become a reflection of where we are at present or perhaps a reflection of where we have been in the past.

However, we may struggle to come up with a comprehensive definition. Let’s imagine for a moment that we coincidentally gathered together. And we decided to revisit that profound question of what is life? As our discussion takes off, the word ‘struggle’ dominates our discussion, and none of us are surprised.

From the very moment a child sees the light of this world, their struggle also begins. Be it for nourishment, emotional attachment, sitting, crawling, standing on their own feet or walking with their heart beat. Once the primary struggles are done with, they are strengthened by overcoming them, and so new ones come running, piling on top of another, setting new heights for climbing.

There is one particular struggle that begins as a child leaps into adulthood, and it remains with them for a lifetime. The famous thinker and author of many exemplary works, said:

Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul, which sometimes helps me and sometimes opposes me. — Imam al-Ghazali

Here we have a scholar at the pinnacle of knowledge and accomplishments, finds himself in a struggle – and this struggle is with one’s soul. One can only imagine the status for rest of us! You ask curiously, what is this soul that Imam al-Ghazali referring to? Sadly we know very little about it. This has been confirmed by the Almighty in the Glorious Qur’an:

And from the little that we do know, soul is the most powerful feature of our body, though it remains invisible to our eyes. It was created 50,000 years before the entire creation, its blowing into the anatomy of Adam (AS) led to the first human pronouncement of shukr, and it elevated the status of Adam (AS) before the angels, as they bowed before him in honour and respect.

The soul is that which separates the living from the dead. In its departure, the body losses its weight, and a sad state of affairs soon follows. The once treasured beautiful body, now even the most beloved no longer desires its company. True love, it would seem, was not for the body but knitted and rooted in the soul!

The bodily figure – devoid of the soul – is prayed upon, carried to the grave, lowered to the ground in a house so small, with no lights no curtains and no corridors – but just four walls. No access from the roof or the ground below. It’s a boxed room, with no mattress no duvet or any pillows. Simply wrapped up in three pieces of white cloth. The body is then left alone just like it came alone… only to find the good deeds as its company to begin the journey of the eternal soul.

Life on this earth was no so long. The struggles of the life were opportunities to earn mountains of gold, for those who persevered with gratitude and sabr so beautiful. The promise of the Lord was truth in full.

So is life all about struggle?

When every door that we knock upon is slammed to our face; every road we pursue is laid with thorns; and every dream that we ever had is vanished from our sight… life, in that moment, seems only struggles multiplied. We are overwhelmed by its challenges, feebled by the set-backs and broken by the heartbreaks.

Light, it would seem, beyond sight.

Right then, hope arrives.

When the source of hope is none other than the Creator, Sustainer and the Majestic Master of everything in the heavens and on earth, and everything in between them, His knowledge is so vast, that “not a leaf falls but that He knows it”[6:59], what can possibly then worry the tiny human soul? His promise is like a magic glue that brings together a broken glass, and leaves no mark of it being broken before.

And with this hope, we rise up after a fall, we try again even if chances are so small. With this hope, we crave for belonging, search for love and seek companion. Because without love, our life seems to stall, devoid of purpose and lacking any will to carry on. In the presence of love, we feel serenity, our hearts are filled with tranquility and we feel a river of joy. Suddenly our problems disappear, our burden lightened, and our energy renewed as though we can conquer the world.

So no, life isn’t just about struggle. When the love of creation is in sync with the love of Allah our Lord, then only happiness and peace prevails – even in the face of uncertainty, grief and thorns. But a love misplaced is like a discovery of an empty shell, which has nothing to offer, except to compound the disappointment, pain and sorrow.

So my friends, be wise to protect your heart and soul from attaching to anything other than Allah our Lord. If you love someone, let that be solely for His sake alone. If your dreams don’t come true, remind yourself of the beautiful words below:

My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.” — Imam Al-Shafi’i

Our lives are too short to look back. We must move on, just like the flowing water. Let’s carry on to discover the depth of our strength. And in that journey, if you ever happen to find me silent, then know that:

“When I am silent, I have thunder hidden inside.” — Rumi

By Brother Ahsan @lifeofahsan

 


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