“Truly there is a heaven in this world, whoever does not enter it, will not enter the Heaven of the next world.” – Ibn Taymiyyah (ra)
There comes the point in life when you get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. That’s when we begin to lose our minds, question our sanity, desperately run to psychologists to help us think straight, and seek medication from psychiatrists to help us calm down. Little do we understand that you have to lose your mind to find your soul! After years of searching, reading self-help books, n encyclopedia of philosophies by the most influential people in history, attending self-development workshops at an international level, I had given up hope.
At the end of July 2021, I found all my answers in the sessions at “Discover Yourself” workshop by Dr. Sadath Khan. We all want success, happiness, and peace, but we do not know how to access them.
I quote from a page in my diary from 2016,”How long will I hate myself because others don’t show me enough love? How long will I live in fear due to those who wish to scare me into obedience? How long will I keep losing heart due to those who let me down? How long will I lay low because no one supports me to stand up? How long will I depend on people to make me happy? How long will I feel depressed because things do not go my way? How long will I take to stop being a parasite and to discover myself?”
Like most teenagers, my life was centered on music, movies, and entertainment until I couldn’t ignore my soul’s calling when I observed the nature around me. My heart whispered that there is an Intelligent, Powerful Designer of this beautiful universe. But, my brilliant brain that got me no less than 90% in my examinations urged me to stick to the theoretical knowledge in my subject books. The knowledge in my head silenced my deep emotions. But the more I studied science and nature, the more I was convinced that a random explosion does not bring such a well-designed universe into existence.
However, I observed that associating godhood to earthly or heavenly objects and worshiping these for reassurance during difficult times was in direct contradiction with scientific knowledge and mere guesswork. The limited human brain draws judgments about god, based on minimal information received by the five senses. As someone far in space who bestows people’s wishes in exchange for complicated rituals. Who gives commands which, if opposed using one’s free mind, will lead to various sufferings, which sometimes interferes with our affairs, observes silently and eventually places some into Heaven and rest into hell. Everyone has a concept of god, and religious people spend time in endless debates about the formalities of religion while ignoring the essence of faith.
When I read the Quran, my heart rested, and I chose to embrace Islam. I found happiness performing the rituals, but I still missed the peace. Not knowing who Allah truly is and simply focusing on the rituals left my heart unstable like a storming ocean that needed to be distracted by the external world to stay quiet. That exploded immediately when it was bothered. The experts I met in the fields of science, psychology, spirituality, and Islamic Studies had excellent knowledge but only a partial view of Reality.
In the workshop, I found the holistic view and realized that I had left the only veil of Kufr through verbal affirmation when I embraced Islam. Before knowing Islam, I was ignorant, but I was still foolish after embracing Islam because a fool does not even understand that he lacks understanding.
The series of emotional roller coasters in my life compelled me to put everything on hold and research in-depth with humility and sincerity. The hardest part is to acknowledge that despite having the label of Islam on us, there are several veils of Kufr inside us that block us from the Light of Allah (swt). True Submission – Islam- is achieved when we look at who Allah really is and this existence we refer to as the self?
The three days of the Discover Yourself workshop cleared the blockages of darkness inside me one by one to bring me towards the Light of the Ultimate Reality, filling me with joy that I have never experienced ever before, a joy that can never be stolen. I did not need medication or psychologists; I needed to know the Truth and the Truth set me free. I had kept myself at the circumference of the circle, looking towards Allah as the center, and I walked in darkness as my consciousness was enslaved by my own perception, assuming that was Islam (submission) and the chaos inside me and outside me left me in a mess.
The Discover Yourself Workshop showed me clearly how the point is the Reality, and the projected circle is only an illusion! There is no greater happiness than achieving true Tawheed (unity) – Tawheed in belief, words, thoughts, emotions, and actions. That cannot be memorized from books, copied from legends, expressed through words, achieved through listening to experts who excel in worldly sciences or meditating with monks who escape from Reality to achieve false altered states of consciousness.
This is a live experience that gives you the realization of the Ultimate Truth that can be facilitated by one who has absorbed the essence of the Ultimate Reality. How beautifully was I taken on this spiritual journey in three days otherwise, I do not know how much longer would I suffer wandering about in creation, veiled and unable to cross the curtains that conceal the Reality that brings ultimate peace.
(The author -M.Tech, Islamic Studies Teacher, Trainer at International Students of Islamic Psychology, author, Spiritual counselor, Hyderabad)