[thinking aloud post]
For some reason it is in our human nature to ‘live off’ others around us. Sometimes people feel the need to retreat away from civilisation or to take a break from the world but we have not been created in that way; God has made us to live amongst each other, and that is what we always return to seeking in this life, trying to find companions for our journey.
Sometimes I think that I am only strong if I can deal with the fact that we come alone and we go alone. That we do not need to depend on others and Allah (swt) will alone suffice – and I mean that in the literal sense as if I would survive without any human connection or connection to this dunya. Funny that I have never intentionally tried to put myself in such solitary conditions and neither have I ever found myself in one physically but at times I have believed myself to be capable of such ‘strength’. Imagining if I really had no one, that my heart would still remain at peace in the presence of Allah (swt) alone. But a strange sadness overcomes me when I let myself plunge into deep thoughts about death. There are plenty of sayings, words of advice, phrases, things we learn from the people around us about the benefits of remembering death to put a perspective on the temporary nature of this life and dunya. And no doubt about it, it does. But this peculiar feeling is not from that, and the fact that it is difficult to find where it comes from frustrates me more. This does not happen repeatedly but today I find myself plummeting once more. The sadness for me is the death of others, especially the ones who bring good to the people around them or the ones I love, respect or admire. I encounter the same when I learn about the lives of great people in history and a horrible bitterness bites at my throat as I eventually learn of their passing away, which may just be an encyclopaedic fact at some other time or place. When I contemplate on the life of someone and all the things they have achieved for the benefit of humanity – for one person or for one nation – I hate it when it has to end. We probably all do. Before I digress…
Death can put us into a dark and empty corner. The idea of losing something good, and end to something great can strike an overwhelming combination of fear and sadness. And at times we feel we are alone in feeling this. Like a patient who gets diagnosed with cancer. Their friends and family do everything possible to support them but they feel as if it is a terrifying battle they must fight by themselves. But when they meet another person with cancer (or other disease), they suddenly feel as if there is someone else there who can really understand them and share their pain. They feel that little more reassured. And something I discussed earlier this week is how this feeling of reassurance is amplified when a doctor says ‘I am the same. I have it too’. Doctors are respected for having the best understanding of the human body and its pathologies, sometimes even deemed by patients and the layman to be robotic, immune to everything – as if they are the ideals of health. So when a doctor shares their human experience with the patient, it is a whole new different level of assurance and support. This concept tied in with the whirlpool in me today made me think about the nature of humans. When we become enveloped in sadness we have a tendency to feel alone in that sadness. However, with the comfort and reassurance of other human beings and the knowledge of their understanding about the very feeling of sadness, we feel better. I think it is an amazing phenomenon; both to be able to smile with the support of another and to be able to make another smile by offering you shoulder and experiences. But what is most remarkable is the effect on us when we know that the ‘doctors’ of our society has been through what we go through. The best of the best, like the Prophets (peace be upon them) experienced deep sadness at times of their lives and sometimes much worse than we feel. To know that they went through that, how they went through that and the happiness they met after is a blessing from the One who created us this way. The One who created us so that we would stand in prayer together, go to pilgrimage together, break our fast together, seek knowledge together and pursue the pleasure of Allah and paradise together.
When the Prophet Ibrahim had to leave his wife and son, he asked for the company of people for them –
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House in order that they may perform As-Salat. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.”
— Qur’an, 14:37
In so many instances, Allah (swt) reminds us of this and sometimes we are made to feel it and recognise our own humanness, and our inability to have control over things which we think we have control over.
“And that it is He (Allâh) Who makes (whom He wills) laugh, and makes (whom He wills) weep.”
— Qur’an, 53:43
And once we grasp and embrace the natural phenomena of the way Allah created everything, that is when we truly are at peace in our hearts.
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other…”
— Qur’an, 13:18