Saturday, November 1, 2008

Jihad An Nafs and the Habit of Denial

The title of this post got me in giggles when I wrote it! Almost sounded like “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” but really, it’s about more serious stuff!

I’ve been pondering of late, about denial – “the subconscious suppression of an unacceptable truth or emotion” (Oxford English Dictionary) and while reading some blogs, some things stood out for me…. Usually people talk about denial of events in our lives that may have had negative psychological effects on us but we’re often in denial about spiritual and physical matters too.

Years ago in a chat room, I happened to participate in a discussion that still resonates today…. Many of us speak against idolatry and shirk (equating others with the Supreme Being) – the ultimate crime in Islam – but how often are we unconsciously treading that very thin line?

Let me elaborate in yet another story from yet another friend (wow I didn’t realise I had that many) ….
Safwan and I were talking in general about how fortunate mutual friends of ours were to have spent part of Ramadaan in Makkah. This discussion led to Safwan reminiscing of the time he performed Umrah (the minor pilgrimage to the Holy Kaaba) and the immense connection he felt with Allah (SWT), as he watched the feathered circumambulators in the sky. Down on the ground, he noticed how strict the guards were in preventing people from doing certain acts that are frowned upon. But as he was in the tawaaf (going around the Kaaba), he suddenly noticed a man ahead of him wearing a “Beckham” t-shirt. What was even more puzzling was no one else seemed surprised or perturbed by this – no one but Safwan recognised the irony of it all!

Back to the chat room of old, where different forms of shirk were discussed – we idolise heroes and superstars and we’re surrounded by the daily intrusions into their lives so that we can feel part of that fame! We sponge off any little tidbits the tabloids have to offer and rarely does a day go by that we don’t read about who was seen with whom, who’s getting divorced, who’s adopted a stray from the third world, how many millions were paid for which pic! etc. etc. etc.
We keep a close watch on the trial of the death of a princess and condemn the paparazzi for it but aren’t we equally guilty for being part of the chain that has noosed around their necks?

And then there’s the almost shirk that we don’t even notice we’re doing! We go to the mosque or leave a gathering to pray – not for the sake of God Almighty and our connection with HIM but rather to show everyone else – oooh look at me! Wat a Good Muslim I are! Is showing off really going to get us brownie points with Allah?
Then we obsess about a sheikh or mufti or teacher or even a prophet and pay more attention to their words than the words of the Creator? An Arabic proverb reads: “Howsoever big the mosque is, the mullah can preach only of what he knows.”

All that said and done, I’m off to watch the wannabe demigods in Indian Idols!


Azra said...

People tend to live vicariously through other people because its exciting for give them something to occupy themselves with, look forward to or engage in because it adds a little extra spice to an otherwise dreary existence.

Personally, I do not believe in idolising ANYONE. Even the Prophets (PBUT)...yes they were The Almighty's messengers and they were close to HIM and we should have the utmost admiration and respect for them...but ultimately they were human and some of them even erred in their livetimes...not celestial supreme beings.

I hate putting people on pedestals.

I also firmly believe that prayer is between you and The Almighty alone. Its no one elses business...and for people to want to pray for "show" is despicable and disgusting. Sacrilege.

I always keep in mind: if My Creator can make my life so miserable here on earth...what will He do to me in the hereafter? Puts thigns in perspective :)

Anonymous said...

Hello again, Desert Demon. Allah doesn't need preachers, teachers sheiks or muftis to communicate to us. Humans are divine but we spend so much of our time gazing into the heavens looking for Allah that we don't see him or her, right in front of us:

No God but her

There is no God in Heavem
God is her smile
God is the touch of her hand
God is the gleam of her eyes
Her words are my Koran
God is the beauty of her dance
God is the memory of her caress
God does not dwell in the heavens above
She dwells in the chambers of my soul
The time I spent with her is my Heaven
The day I see her again is my resurrection
She doesn't know she's divine.
She doesn't need to.
I know.

Howling Lamb

Anonymous said...

hmmm we're such oxyMORONS!

KiLLa said...

SAREGAMAPA kicks Indian Idol's ass..

The quality of the contestants is even better..

The Organ Harvester said...

People like to believe that they can create a persona that they are able to relate to without having to be that persona. You for instance have this multi-headed demon sometimes spitting acid at people that breach your sensitivities.

I find it extraordinary that you have posted on so many high minded subjects, but yet you still go around shit stirring, which begs the question, are you fit enough to pass comment like this? Or is this just the deranged and delusional post of someone bitter at their own reflection? Or is a piecemeal agenda being promoted?

Idoltry is more than just physical manifestaations we seem to follow, but turning away from what has been prescribed for you. Anonymous, two-faced shit stirring isnt one of them, so if there are things to be serious about, you should start at your own step and then look elsewhere.

desert demons said...

Azra - Thank you. Your interpretation of the post is exactly what I was trying to put across.

Hello howling lamb - You remind me of some of my favourite passages by Rumi, "It is said that God's light comes from six directions. "From where?" asks the crowd, turning left and right. If only you could look neither way for a moment." (Mevlana Mohammed Jallaludin Rumi)

"When I walk on the path when i enter the house of Love I see You. You are the King in every town. I see You in the sun, the moon and the stars, I see Your altar in every plant, in every leaf." (Mevlana Mohammed Jallaludin Rumi)

Anon - there are oxymorons and then there are just plain morons!

Killa - I have to agree with you about SAREGAMAPA, definitely more talent, and even better looking ppl.

The OH - My blog is a reflection of my world, as is yours. Through the examination of these various perspectives, we are able to recognise that our truth may not be the only version and from that knowledge grow. When we stop admiring ourselves we are able to look to others and realise that there are other worlds and minds to discover and admire. You are not required to agree with the perspectives presented here and you may voice your opinion freely. But be not surprised if I choose not to engage in the idle chatter. As I've commented on your blog, there are far greater purposes in life.

I live by this:

"Be motivated like the falcon, hunt gloriously.
Be magnificent like the leopard, fight to win.
Spend less time with nightingales and peacocks. One is all talk, the other only colour." (MJR)

The Organ Harvester said...

I guess being anonymous affords you such opportunities. But maybe you dont know me, so please keep your assumptions to yourself.

I dont wish to be a part of your mating rituals or whatever it is you do to attract attention. Your pointless, irrelevant comments are not required.

Anonymous said...

you go OH. woohoo!

Anonymous said...

OH - you seem to take a keen interest in DD's blog despite your protestation to the contrary. Perhaps the comments are neither pointless nor irrelevant then. Yours however are venomous.

The Organ Harvester said...

typical response I expected. One anonymous comment from the double d herself. Yes my comments are venomous, but the arrogance is disturbing. The manner in which you drop words on blogs and then giggle like school girls in your room. maybe if I put this simply by saying, if you have nothing constructive to add, learn to shut up.

Anonymous said...

I am not DD. I am also not a giggly teen. It is YOUR arrogance that is showing - you abuse this blogger, yet you seem to be here regularly. DD is free to blog her thoughts. You are free not to read it.

This is her dance space. You have yours.

desert demons said...

This is hillarious and such a waste of time. The OH seems to spend more time on my blog than I do. And then brings his anonymous cheerleaders with.

For the record, I'm not the other anonymous (thank you for taking up my fight) and I really don't have the time to be entertaining OH's tantrums. Besides, I have far more dignity than to lower myself to his obscene level. He's shut up shop on his blog and now shop lifts from others! Its dispicable! On that note, I declare this "conversation" over, as I would like to move on to more important things. And remember, this is MY blog, not the OH! Any further comments in this regard will be edited or deleted.

The Organ Harvester said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Saaleha said...

thought provoking stuff. Glad I stopped by to read ...

but now I'm confused. Word veri reads conabis
go figure