Be your own light – educate your emotions! – Part II
By Zawjah Ali
“Can’t you even let me know that your son dropped something under the table?”
“I don’t understand … what kind of people are they?”
“Your mother doesn’t know how to love a child and pamper him”
The last dialogue was towards my son whereas the first two have been addressed to me.
Those were harsh words and, in a second, my patience was tested. I wanted to either reply to the person or spank my child (as the poor soul so often appears to be a good place to displace most flared emotions!). But surprisingly, I controlled myself.
This ayah crossed my mind and stopped me in my tracks:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.
Now, it’s time for you to reflect: how would you have responded if you were in such a situation? Might I add, the speaker was a house maid. 🙂
Hans Selye once said: “It is not stress that kills us. It is our reaction to it.” So, no matter how deeply someone hurts you, try to forgive. Like Mufti Ismail Menk says, “This could just be the act that takes away all your pains on Judgment Day.”
Strike a balance
Balance is at the core of Islam, our religion aims to create equilibrium and fairness. The beauty of Islam can be seen in every single aspect. Rich or poor, everyone stands side by side when praying in congregation. Zakat circulates wealth within the society. When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came to Madinah, he gave people the tool of “greetings” so that love would grow among them; he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) smiled the most, told us to be kind to our servants, he was so kind to everyone that every one of the companions felt “I am the closest to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)”. How caring and loving was he (صلى الله عليه وسلم)! When we look at all these aspects, we realise that a great emphasis is laid on controlling and knowing our emotions.
However, when we face trials in our lives, we tend to act in a predetermined, typical manner. For instance, whenever we feel blue:
1. We forsake Allah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم):
We go over to the dark side, stop thinking rationally and enter the cave of escapism. However, the best remedy to beat depression is the remembrance of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) as He says:
وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَن ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا وَنَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَعْمَىٰ
And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.”
Connect yourself to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and make the bond so strong that nothing can shake its roots. In my personal experience, when we are truly connected with the Qur’an, problems start to appear little and we simply smile in response to any sarcastic remark.
Also, offer prayers regularly and on time. Understanding just an ayah every day will channelise your thoughts and emotions. It will liberate your mind from worldly affairs and put a leash on your desire to chase its inhabitants.
2. We fall into the trap of slandering:
We start to gossip and/or bad-mouth the one who has wronged us. However, making an attempt to understand the reason behind someone’s actions could be more beneficial. In this way, we will not be questioned on the Day of Judgement about uttering something which is wrong or exaggerated. Silence is key and Qur’an offers a tip to befriend your worst enemy:
وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ
And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.
3. We become judgmental and cynical:
Remember, no one is perfect enough to judge others. And, may be you need a wake up call to shatter your own delusions.
4. We become hopeless:
We all are full of errors, so lower your expectations. When man does not fulfill the rights of his Creator who has created him and blessed him with countless bounties, how can he be just to you and your rights?
وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ
And He gives you of all that you ask Him; and if you count Allah’s favours, you will not be able to number them; most surely man is very unjust, very ungrateful.
5. We start to blow a fuse by raising our voice, using bad language or cursing.
The world is just a temporary station; your permanent abode is the Hereafter. Choose wisely where you want to invest more.
“Indeed, a servant will come on the Day of Judgment with good deeds the likes of mountains, but he will find that his tongue has destroyed all of them.” — Ibn al-Qayyim (رَحِمَهٌ الله)*
6. We hold grudges and dig hurtful memories from the past .
Forgive and forget. Don’t we want Allah to forgive us?
And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) loves those who forgive especially when they are in a position to take revenge from the one who have harmed them. The Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “He who gave up disputing while he is right, a palace of high rank in Paradise will be built for him. He who gave up disputing while he is a fabricator, a palace in the center of Paradise will be built for him.”
Treat your feelings as visitors, let them come and go without damaging your inner peace and soul. Observing patience when provoked is the key to success. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) knows that we struggle with our weak points. His aid will surely come.
*“Among the Punishments and Remedies for Sin : Illness and Cure” by Ibn Al Qayyim (رَحِمَهٌ الله) p.g 20-22
**(al-Tirmidhi who declared it as hasan)