World and its Sphere
Constantly polishing the heart with the dhikr (remembrance of God), being in a state of awareness and self-reflection, is the remedy that allows for the actualisation of our innate nature.
By Sadia Dehlvi
It is often said that duniya (world) is like a shadow. If you chase it, it moves further away. If you turn your back against it, it will follow you. An Islamic tradition attributed to Prophet Jesus states, “The world is a bridge; so pass over it to the next world, but do not try to build on it.”
Humanity is part of the alam (cosmos), and the alim (intellectual) is one with knowledge of the true nature of God’s universe.
Love of the World
Muslims are prohibited from vilification of the world, for the Prophet said, “Do not curse the world for God created it and it is a means of reaching Him.” Although love of the world is considered blameworthy, it does not include wanting things that free from burdening others with the needs of oneself or that of one’s family or community. Acquiring wealth or position to help the needy, or desiring provisions for the purpose of attaining the best in the hereafter do not fall in the sphere of duniya alone.
The idea that people are prone to ghaflah (heedlessness), forgetting that they will be held accountable for their actions is a central theme of the Quran. Alluding to the spiritually diseased heart and lack of the “inner eye”, it describes the heedless as, “those with hearts but do not understand with them, those with eyes but cannot see, those with ears but cannot hear”. These are people who do not recognise the signs of God in the universe and are deluded by this world, forgetting its transitory nature. Reminding that there are no exit strategies with God, Prophet Muhammad said, “Take yourself to account before you are taken into account.”
Constantly polishing the heart with the dhikr (remembrance of God), being in a state of awareness and self-reflection, is the remedy that allows for the actualisation of our innate nature. To lose touch with God is to lose touch with one’s own reality. Allah says in the Quran, “Remember me and I shall remember you.”
According to Islam, human beings are not corrupt by nature. They are not born with “the original sin”, but in a state of fitrah (an inclination towards faith) with an intuitive awareness of divine purpose. As children grow older, their innate nature gets filled with the debris of duniya distorting their natural disposition. Physically, we all may be different, but each one of us is born with a blueprint of divine laws, which if untarnished allows us to recognise the reality of one God.
(Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam). (Extracted from asianage.com)