Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Inherent peace in simplicity

I've had such a beautiful morning Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah). It brought much needed peace and calm to my muddled up mind. For the past few days my mind has been filled with thoughts. I've wasted too much time thinking and over-thinking, to the point where I felt exhausted. And then this morning I got my reminder, the teachings of Islam filled my heart with peace and cleared my mind making me realize what I often tend to forget, that life doesn't have to be complicated at all.

I've always thought that the most beautiful thing about Islam is its simplicity. The basic simplicity that is so in-sync with human nature. Today I was reminded of this. One of the participants in our workshop mentioned that it’s beautiful to see a group of such diverse ladies being able to interact so easily. Her words were that; “we are all the same!” SubhanAllah (Glory Be to Allah), despite the different backgrounds, age gaps and cultural differences, we are indeed all the same! The thing that brings us together is our shared faith, as sisters in Islam it doesn't matter what your cultural background is, what your family status is, how much money you have or how little, all that matters is our common worship for Allah. It’s simple really, so very simple that I can’t help but feel deeply moved.

Besides this however, what struck a chord with me is the simplicity of the rules of Islam. Rules about marriage, divorce and even custody of children have all been made clear, and it isn't complicated, not at all. But the prerequisite for understanding this is that we have knowledge, correct knowledge about the rulings of Islam. Once we have this knowledge, we will gain understanding of how Allah Most Glorious wants to make our lives as easy as possible. The rules of Islam suit human needs, and the ultimate peace that we are supposed to gain from this religion is evident when we understand this.

The sister who we invited to talk today made a very valid point. She said that we have incorporated cultural baggage into Islam and through this things have become complicated. I agree with her wholeheartedly. Since my family comes from a mixed cultural background, culture so to speak, has never been a deciding factor in my life, instead I was taught to always turn to the teachings of the Glorious Quraan and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This was simple enough for me, but it created a problem, it meant that I never fitted in properly anywhere. Being surrounded by people who cling to cultural dogma meant that I was an outcast. Culture means so much to some people that it sometimes even surpasses religion and people begin to believe that their cultural practices make them better than others.

Unfortunately, what I’m talking about here has been experienced by many people who have reverted to Islam as well and it makes me angry, because in our need to hold on to old cultural practices we tend to blemish the teachings of Islam making it seem complicated, when in fact it is so very simple.

Islam is a religion for ALL MANKIND. This means that the rulings of Islam and the practices surpass all or any culture. Everything should come second after the practice of Islam and this is why as the sister mentioned, a group of extremely diverse Muslim sisters can come together in unity and peace, and get along really well. This is what results whenever Islam is put at the forefront, before everything else.

Besides all this, Islam emphasizes that people should live in simplicity as well. I can tell you from my own experience that deciding to let go of extravagant things and live a more simple life causes such immense peace in your life. Getting rid of the unnecessary material things in life brings calm into your home and your life. The clutter of material possessions that we pride ourselves on collecting results in our hearts and minds becoming cluttered and our peace is taken away. Try getting rid of material things and you will understand what I mean. The less you have in life, the more peaceful you will become. This is the beauty of Islam, the true simplicity. Look back at the legacy of Islam and you will find that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived in simplicity, he (pbuh) wore simple clothes, lived in a simple home, ate simple food… and this is the Most Beloved person to Allah Almighty, the Highest in Ranks. 

The more simplicity we have in our lives, the happier we will be. I get frustrated trying to get this through to people. We need to be simple, live simply, dress simply, eat simply, then we will be in coherence with Islam, and we will find the peace that is inherent to this beautiful religion. And if we have trouble doing this, perhaps we need to remind ourselves of what and who we really are.

 Think about it, can the servants of Allah really lay claim to anything else besides simplicity? 

May Allah Almighty guide me first and give guidance to us all. In sha Allah, Ameen! 

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