Sunday, September 03, 2006
Extending The Rihla Experience
I don’t agree that the good feelings we get from the good experiences which life blesses us with are restricted to a fixed time-scale. To believe so, is to ascertain that goodness is limited to a certain set of circumstances or incidences. This is contradictory to the teachings which direct us towards trying to recognise goodness in our troublesome times and periods of life where we undergo much uncertainty.
I write this as I see my fellow Rihla buddies very much saddened at leaving the presence of our Prophet, our Teachers and the most angelic of places. I was chatting to one of the sisters who was very upset Friday and I felt a deep pinch within me: I felt something hurt. And I asked myself: are the good experiences we have in life only limited in their effect to those circumstantial moments? I knew in my heart of hearts that they couldn’t be because if they were, then I think that would be unfair, and I was taught that God is Fair and Just.
I’m unsure how much consolation this write-up will be for my Rihla companions or how much it would make sense, and my apologies now if it doesn’t make anyone feel any more at peace. Soz folks. Having had to leave the Sacred Lands for the second time I personally feel a lot more calmer this time. I remember crying for months after our Hajj return; when the following Hajj came: the loss really hit home.
But today I don’t feel like that. And when I ask myself why, the reply comes:
“It’s because when you went the first time, you didn’t ever think you’d go again. Now that you’ve been again – you know it can happen any time God wants!”
As odd as it reads – it is true. And what is even odd is that today I have a conviction to return; the conviction that did not exist over 3 years ago. Moreover I went during the most bizarre of circumstances this time; I’d never thought I’d visit in this state – But this is a promised blog for next time.
Firstly, before I lose most of the readers due to the length of this entry, quickly take from my pragmatist side:
- each one of us should strive to purify a dormant quality within us which is in need of revival; we will find that this will have a domino-effect on the rest of our self: so that bit by bit our life will mimic itself in goodness.
- we live in an age where we have access to our teachers online, via audio and publications: we should not see their lack of physical presence as a hindrance to our learning – rather we should set aside time to work through materials they have produced. In this manner our learning curve will become steeper. As was advised by the teachers we should re-visit our notes after a few months: I suggest we do this with other buddies in the locality. Filling the gaps in our notes will ensure we have some decent foundational background for building intermediary and then advanced studies on top of.
- loving those whom we know can be done when we know those we claim to love: reading the Seerah and reflecting upon the various stages of the life of the Prophet Alaislam will ensure that we are ever-closer to him. Further reading the Sham’ail and Shifaa of Qadi Iyad would deepen the love of the Prophet Alaislam. Finally, knowledge of the history of Islam e.g. (Karen Armstrongs’ book is a fine read) and how the various aspects of the empire contributed to society will enable us all to foresee a positive future. Remember although there is no future in history – the reality is that our future is based on our history.
- keep in touch with your Rihla buddies: today we are not confined to the constraints in communication during the times of the Companions where letters were sent which took months to arrive via the noble camel :-) Email, telephone and instant messaging are all good enough tools for folk to keep alive the familiarity of good experiences. For those who could: I suggest letter-writing as nothing quite matches this beautiful method of communication.
- I believe the entire world is littered with advice for us: and here's some I echo from my Nurse ages ago: now that you are back from the Rihla – think back again to the day when you made the application.. What hopes did you have? Why did you apply? What did you wish to address within your world? And then, think to the day when you received your acceptance email.. How did you feel? And why did you feel that way? Where is that feeling? Where are those hopes you had to implement change in your life? Often we need to re-visit the starting points to many of our current situations and we will find that they provide a lot of the answers we beseech. For sure our answers are within us.
Getting back to the point: I believe that our good (Rihla) experience is not limited in timescale. And I believe it is us who limit the goodness of what comes through (this and other spiritually-rewarding) experiences.
Sometimes we set before ourselves the false barriers of guilt where we believe we are not worthy to receive the gifts of goodness, and at other times we fail to notice our human nature and that we won’t become overtly saintly in one instance.
With this in mind, we should further believe that we are not the same as we were prior to the Rihla. Physiologically we know that many cells in our body would have been replaced since yesterday and our (internal) state is different to how it was a few hours ago. We should allow change to manifest itself naturally; how it often does, and not hasten to see sudden transformations. Remember the tranquilart butterfly: not only is change possible – but to deny it is denying a wonderful part of our existence.
Each one of us is living a life which is tailor-made to perfection; the fact that we were chosen for this Rihla from the millions who share the same air as us is indicative that a lot of goodness awaits to illuminate our worlds further. Many stations anticipate our arrival.
In the words of our Beloved Imam Al-Ghazzali:
That man was not created in jest or at random,
But marvellously made for some great end.”
Our experiences are ever-leading us near this reality. Every time I read this I recognise that the angels bowed before our Father Adam; and how man was honoured above other creation. And that if he reflects sincerely – he would realise that his rank is one not given to others.
Staying on this wavelength of words; we know that
(The Garden: a subject of much interest for tranquilart in these last two years..) Yes! It was here that we used to reside; in the company of angels and all things celestial.
No doubt we felt most secure and protected in the Sacred cities; for these are the only other places where we find much resemblance to our celestial roots. These are the cities which elevate the human spirit so it feels it is at it’s heavenly home; rested and in peace.
Therefore it is natural for us to feel frightened when we leave these two cities to re-enter a world where we are in constant doubt about those celestial origins.
Hold this thought of ‘home’ and let me divert your attention to another place.
In the last 18 months I have learnt that there is a premise in our worldview: that we are in Safe Hands.
That everything which is unfolding is doing so in our best interest.
That we are being cared for by the Best of Care-Providers.
Remember I said that our lives have been tailor-made to perfection; we can only believe this if we believe that we are in Safe Hands. (Otherwise it is pointless living a life where so much negativity, disharmony and imbalance exist: for this is what our physical eye sees and what our senses grasp hold of).
If we learn to live by this philosophy, we come to realise that no experience will leave us if we live by the spirit of that experience. Because in reality all these incidences are the physical manifestation of this premise [i.e. our Rihla clearly dictated to us that we were in Safe Hands and being cared for as guests of both the Prophet (in Medina) and then by the Divine in the House of God (Mecca).]
Pilgrimages are futile if we fail to live by them. And no learning bears relevance so long as we don’t put it into practise. For it is only once we practise that we see the teachings infiltrate our world.
It would be wrong to assume that
Our experiences hold more meaning when we return to our communities just as the Messenger returned to his world after Gabriel’s angelic embrace in Cave Hira. Our environment will speak a language to our favour because we are taught that the world mirrors us.
But if those teachings have not set themselves firmly within our beings – then we will continue to feel the loss of the Sacred.
It is us who hinder the establishment of those teachings by our inability to go beyond the good experience itself. We don’t realise that we have the potential to take the goodness we feel to any corner of the world. To feel the refuge we felt in
Working towards a reality where we liberate ourselves from our own disgruntled way of thinking and acting is attainable. I believe it is. By honouring our experiences we realise that the world is a great big opportunity for us to demonstrate our goodness in.
The world awaits interaction with what came out of the Prophetic furnace.
If we live in the memory of the Rihla, then we will come to learn something very powerful about life’s many great experiences: that these are tools we are given to enable us to live on earth, so that we never ever feel that God Almighty left us without His Help.
And don’t forget noble people: there are angels all around us.. wherever we go :’)
Peace and Prayers
Bint-eh Adam x
Rihla Blog 2005
Rihla Blog 2006
The Magic Wand Theory
This post is excellent mashallah.
Keep up the great artin'
ps - im the sister from Radio Hacc...Mini Muslims..the one who interviewed you on air last year
thank you very much for the comment on my blog. i love reading comments
i actually came across your blog a while back from the deenport forums, which i read alot but rarely post. I read your blog alot, and i enjoy it alot.
steeping beauty? well, you should proabbly read another long post, my first post- http://faffu.wordpress.com/2006/08/23/first-day-of-school-first-post/
thank you again, i was very happy to recieve a comment from a great artist like yourself
Yes I did go!
Alhamdulila never thought I ever would but that's life: full of surprises big and small :-D
Thanks for popping-by dear, it's been a long time. Hope your DJying preps are coming along well? What are you up to these days anyway?
Wasalam x x
Walaikumslam my dear x x
I know comments can mean a lot - also indicates that you are not just striking the keys with your fingers as a habitual practise ;-) I often get a lot of people secretly email me instead though!
Steeping into adulthood - Hmmm...
May God Almighty make it a smooth process for you.
15 - wow.. I remember being that age some time ago: I'm actually old enough to be your mum dear!... Just about ;-) LOL
Finally: please don't be misunderstood - calling me a great artist proves my belief that we are all artists. And until folk dont accept this statement - I refuse to accept Praise x x
Take care dear
Wasalam, love and duas pumpkin
I went on HAJJ!!!!!
I just wanted to tell you, that this blog of yours, which I read when you had just posted it, is the one thing that got me through my Hajj, and leaving the Ka'abah.
I felt like my heart was being ripped into shreds when I finished my tawaf al widaa,and I thought I would die if I left, and the only thing that got me through it was remembering your words I had read a long time ago, which had touched me so much that I had never been the same since reading them!
Thanks so much, my net angel. I have your website saved in a folder called "Net Angels".
Love, Sara Malik