“We are small and our wishes big, the Lord of things is big and His desires none. We are weak and He is not yet it is us whose egos shoot up to the skies.”
I wrote the above as my Facebook status a few weeks back and it got quite a few likes. However, its not a new thought. I have been thinking on these lines since Ramazan and many before me have also pondered over this. What are we after all? Insignificant and weak with a thousand desires tailing behind us until we get to our graves. Our egos inflate with each passing day until we forget that our creator is omnipotent.
A simple reading of Surah Al Ikhlas should make us realise our worth and that of our Creator’s. It could not have been said any better how Allah is above all the worldly desires that we have.
Accepting that God is our master may not be a difficult concept for many of us but submitting to Him in a role of a slave sure is against our egos. We turn to Him mostly in times of need little realizing that this being who created us never sleeps, never gets tired, never gives up on us no matter now bad we get, never desires anything while we are His opposite on all of the above. We get tired very fast, sleep a lot, give up on our relations and our hopes, and always go after our worldly desires. On top of that we add the element of being egoistical which is a quality most suited to Allah than us. He should be taking pride in the fact that He made the universe, he thought of creating us and built a flawless world around us. We claim to be the innovators and creators of exceptional genius ideas and inventions little realizing that our source of inspiration goes back to what our Creator initially created.
Hence, it becomes rather difficult to put ourselves into the role of a slave. We need to consciously do a mental exercise and see the beauty of how our Creator made us, gave us strengths and weaknesses; and before we could even ask of Him, He blessed us with many of His bounties like a family, a healthy body, senses, intellect – many of the things from Rizk even before we are born. Sometime during our life, He might even take away some of the things which we start to take for granted. This is where the trouble begins. The time we are shocked and question oh why me? How silly of us to even question why God takes something away from us. There are stories of companions of the Prophet (pbuh) who demonstrated exceptional amount of sabr and patience on worldly losses as big as the loss of a son in war time. They understood the crux of the matter, the reason of us being here, the reality of our existence. They understood that we owe nothing to Allah which is why if He gives us something or takes away some of our priced possessions, we are in no position to complain. They understood the relationship between a master and a slave.
Ustad Nauman Ali Khan in one of his podcast reflected on the concept of master and slave while talking about Surah Al Nas. He gave a detailed talk on the word ‘Rab’ and its several implications. Giving references from various sources he said that the name ‘Rab’ constitutes several meanings. ‘Rabb’ means absolute owner, one who has complete authority, one who takes care of, someone who guides, grants gifts. Surah Fatiha, first in the Quran, also a remedy for many of our illnesses starts with ‘Rabb’ in its first verse. When the first revelation came down to Holy Prophet (pbuh) it has the word ‘Rabb’ in it and there is a list of examples in the Quran to signify the kind of relation we are in with our Creator.
Nauman Ali Khan talked in detailed about the progression of attribution ‘Rabb’ from more to less in Surah Al Nas. In this surah, we call on Allah not once but thrice and use different attributes before we ask from whom we want protection. The surah starts with us coming into the protection of ‘Rabb’ of all mankind from shaitan who makes us forget. Then we call upon Allah using attributes ‘maalik’ and ‘illah’. How beautiful a thought that Allah invites us not once in the Quran but many times to come under his protection from all evil since He is the ‘Rabb’, the final authority, the master of all.Hence the name Rabb implies and refers to someone above us in all respects. Once we understand the depth that word has a lot of our problems could be solved but the effort is required on our part.
Before I close my reflective Aitekaf series, I would like to make a few reading recommendations, books I read and been able to reflect in ways never before.
A Prophet for Our Time by karen Armstrong
The First Muslim by Lesley Hazelton
Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources by Martin Lings
Prophet Muhammad pbuh’s biography by Ibne Ishaq
P.S : There has been a long break between the series that I really wanted to post once a week. However, duniya ke jamhelay can be easily blamed for the delays in posts. I cannot say I m totally satisfied with how I have been able to put my reflections from Aitekaf into words, but it has given me the opportunity to keep doing it.