Whenever I think about my existence on Earth, I often find my self thinking about my achievements and successes. How have I changed the community around me? Have I done enough? Does it warrant a time off from doing more?
In that process, I often find myself self-praising, thinking that I am a powerful human being, able to change the world. Little did I know, that the things I do have already been pre-written and the decisions that I make will lead to those situations. Simply put, it is not me who did all those things. It is that greater power who chose the course for me, to realise that I am merely someone, something that makes whatevers pre-written for me possible. That I have no control over changing something that is pre-written, though I am able to choose the different paths this greater power has set for me.
As I lost myself in the thoughts of self-praising, I lose track of the ground. I think too highly of myself and begin to look down on others.
Yes, I became less humble and more arrogant.
I believed too much in my “abilities” to the extent that I forgot my limitations, and began to think of the impossible.
Only when I am befelled by something terrible do I remember that I can lose everything in an instant. Like I said, many things have been pre-written for me, but my arrogance forgot that my decisions (that I make by myself) will not lead me to a good path.
This Ramadan, which alhamdulillah Allah swt has allowed me to experience, I didn’t set out with a sole purpose. Instead, I felt that a holistic approach is needed to my learning as a Muslim. There is simply no point in me increasing the number of (sunnah) prayers that I do, when my own akhlak (attitude/behaviour) is lacking. While I do not deny that these two go hand-in-hand, it feels that my ibaadah grows stronger if I am able to improve my akhlak.
No doubt, people might question why I choose not to do more prayers during this month.
Of course, I would love to, but this Ramadan has been an especially tough one for me. With one full-time job (internship) and two one-to-one tuitions occurring every Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and (soon) Saturdays, I am simply too tired to execute more prayers. No doubt it is the last 10 days of Ramadan, which means it is the Lailatul Qadr… I will definitely try to complete as much terawih as I can.
However, I try to set out my tasks with niat (intention) to increase the level of fullness in my heart. Going back to humility and arrogance, remembering the intention has thus far, brought me back to the ground. Why was I doing this in the first place?
Oftentimes I find my intention going astray – instead of doing it for my personal growth and understanding of the worldly issues, it was more towards accomplishing and showing off. So much so, that burning jealousy towards other people (who are accomplished in their own ways) became harder and harder to quell. Mind you, this is the holy month of Ramadan where the shaitans (devils) are locked up in the quarters of jahannam (hell). This only meant that my ill-feelings were my own concoction.
Terrifying, isn’t it? How poisonous our hearts and minds can be.
As we approach the last few days of this Islamic month, I hope that you and I can become better Muslims (if you believe in Islam) or even just a better human being overall. It doesn’t mean that one has to be Muslim to be humble, but for me, having this faith helps me a lot better as we chase our ambitions in this world.
I’d like to believe that the sky does not exist without the ground as it provides us a foundation to stand on.
Have a blessed Ramadan and may our hearts be full from Allah’s blessings, insya’Allah.