The Prophet Muhammad (‘s) said:
“Take benefit of five before five:
your youth before your old age,
your health before your sickness,
your wealth before your poverty,
your free-time before your preoccupation,
and your life before your death.”
Philosophers have for long meditated on the nature of loss and concluded that the world around us is ever changing!
In fact change is the only permanent element of the physical realm. Everything else is transient. And loss is just another aspect of this constant change.
But we humans are emotional beings. Dry logic doesn’t appeal to us in time of need. And thus we are left grappling with the question of the aftermath of ‘loss’ and ‘change’ – grief!
Have you ever lost somebody or something you love? How did it feel?
For me losing a cherished object or relationship is all consuming. I tend to forget my surroundings and can think only of the severance. A drama plays out in my heads, about the joy I had derived from the object (or relationship), how empty my life will be without the source of happiness and obviously the ever-green and popular ‘The world is unfair and everything nasty happens to me’.
I am sure most of you have your own version of this litany and can identify with what I go through.
We can find comfort in knowing that this is only natural. As a part of our ‘human’ legacy we have been blessed with the ability to hold on to things and even intangibles like opinions, concepts and relationships and give them a special kind of meaning only we can relate to. In fact we make sense of the world around us through these objects and precepts.
It doesn’t really matter if the loss pertains to something replaceable like a phone or something far more valuable – like an idea or a relationship, our instinct is to focus on what it meant to us and our life and lament its loss.
With each little something we lose, we lose a part of our identity and existence and yes, that is bound to hurt.
Doomed To Grieve? Why You Should Make An Effort To Let Go!
Grieving is a natural process we go through when we lose something. And it is okay to mourn.
For a while!
But it is definitely not natural or healthy to fall victim to the ‘rut’ of unhappiness and distress and taint everything in your life with its effect.
I have frequently crossed paths with individuals who never recover from the loss of an idea, an object or a relationship. They walk through life unaware of the several hundred other blessings God has showered on them. As a result they:
Lose touch with reality and can’t successfully get on with their daily life.
Allow their healthy relationships to degenerate into loveless, compassionless interactions.
Invite into their lives hundreds of diseases like cancer, immunological dysfunction and hypertension. Without good health, coping with grief becomes even more of a challenge.
None of the scenarios are appealing and prolonged grief is now officially treated as a disorder.
There is a simple way using which you can take a more rational and ‘god-centric’ approach to the whole concept of loss and mourning. Let me share this with you!
Surely We Belong To God And To Him Shall We Return:
In Muslim culture, when someone hears the news of a person passing away, the first words to utter are:
“Inna lilahe wa inna ilayhe rajaoon” (Quran 2:156)
For a long time I didn’t understand the meaning of this line and thought it’s something people said just to console the bereaved.
But when I took time to look up its meaning, I felt it had a very profound message; a message that can help people overcome their grief by pointing them to a universal and divine truth! “Inna lilahe wa inna ilayhe rajaoon” literally translates into “Surely we belong to God, and to Him shall we return”
I found that by meditating on the meaning of this verse, I could think of all the objects in my life as transient. I understood (or rather re-realized) the fact that no matter what I did, how well I performed, how much I loved or how hard I held on to something, I was not its rightful ‘owner’ and I would not be able to stake permanent claim on it!
In the end everything, including I myself, will leave the physical plane and begin the journey to reach and become one with His divine light.
As soon as I stepped into this mind-set, I could let go of the scarcity mentality. Even something as pragmatic and mundane as a goofed presentation no longer mattered because it was just one opportunity out of a thousand and since nothing was permanent, something better would come along eventually. The important thing was to praise my courage for taking action!
Every day through the magic of “Surely we belong to God, and to Him shall we return” I focus my attention on the lessons I can learn from my loss and the whole experience.
Putting Wisdom Into Action:
My advice is: Whenever you’re suffering from grief, meditate on the verse “Surely we belong to God, and to Him shall we return”
Through this gem of a thought you can perceive things around you for what they truly are – a form of trust, given to you for safe-keeping, which will ultimately change hands or revert to their ultimate owner, God our Lord.
Once you make this reality a part of your life, you will no longer feel a sense of debilitating grief when you lose or have to give up on something (or someone) precious to you. Instead you will be able to dissect the experience and ‘introspect’ to gain insights like:
What can I learn from this?
What can I do to change my situation?
How can I grow?
What area do I need to improve on?
This exercise will leave you enriched after every loss or severance. You will be full with the knowledge of how the world functions and what you can do to elevate yourself and your skills to make the most of your life and opportunities.
Loss is inevitable! Grief is natural! But it shouldn’t be protracted and all consuming. Grieving for something makes you a gentle human being capable of appreciating value but letting go makes you someone with courage and fortitude.
Remember God owns every grain of sand and every puff of wind on this earth and by entrusting your cherished possessions to his care; you can relax and move on with your life.
In today’s world we are bombarded with content from all sides. Email, Facebook, Phonecalls, SMS, Whatsapp and the list goes on and on!
Isn’t it overwhelming? It’s almost as if we are being drenched by a torrential downpour of information.
Even if we set aside the ‘unessential’ social media posts and tweets, there is an over-abundance of potentially useful insights, impressions and take-aways from Online Lectures, TED Talks, e-books and podcasts.
It forces us to ask: How we can translate all this information into knowledge that we & others can benefit from?
We often think that reading books & hearing lectures will make us a “knowledgeable” person.
But that is not sufficient.
Reading & hearing constitute step one of the journey of acquiring knowledge. If we only consume & do not implement or internalize, we’ll end up becoming an arm-chair intellectual, someone who can talk, but can’t generate results by taking appropriate action!
Infact God says in the Qur’an “It is most hateful to Allah that you should say that which you do not do.” (61:3)
5 Steps to Acquire True Knowledge
So how does one go about acquiring ‘true’ knowledge?
Someone once asked the Prophet, “What is Knowledge?”
And He broke down the process of understanding & acquiring it into 5 simple steps. You can enjoy the pearls of his wisdom through this comic:
Creating a book can be a very isolating experience. That’s why we always look forward to Comic Cons. We get to meet so many people who love comics, and they bring in so much energy! It gives everyone on the team a boost to continue working on the comics.
So do drop by to say “Hello”. Meet the team (Myself along with Arif, Rahil & Gafur) and pick up signed copies of the Sufi Comics books.
Someone wise once said, ‘Happiness is the goals of all goals!’
If you ask people why they do what they do, you’ll find “being happy” is behind every single human goal, mission, objective and wish to achieve that “something”.
Happiness not only leaves us with a positive feeling in the center of our being, people who tend to stay ‘happy’ also:
Enjoy their work a lot more
Suffer from less anxiety and tension
Can make creative contributions to their projects and the society
Spread goodwill and cheer
Accomplish a lot
Lead more fulfilled lives without heeding the rat race around them
Make the world a much better place with their sunny temperaments and easy smiles
Compare these desirable states with the mind-set of an individual mired in negativity. You’ll find that they:
Complain very often – leaving everyone around them dissatisfied
Rarely get anything done.
Creative drive is sub-zero.
Have poor health and get stressed easily
So how does one become happy?
Some of the latest psychological findings suggest, happiness is the effect of behaviours we choose to make a part of our lives. By adopting these behaviours, happiness becomes a natural state we live in.
It is truly reassuring to see how the Holy Qur’an advocates these principles. Here are 7 principles from the Qur’an that will help you lead a life of lasting Happiness. Read more
So how is this game played? How do you measure success?
For most of us, success means achieving a specific goal. It could be something lofty like landing your dream job, earning your first million, becoming famous etc. Or it could be something modest like owning your own house, being debt free or having enough savings for rainy days.
But what happens when you don’t achieve your goals?
Do you get disheartened and depressed? Do you think of yourself as a failure? Maybe even give up?
I don’t have to tell you how unhealthy those scenarios are. So what are you supposed to do in the face of failure?
The answer is simple: Don’t let it beat you.
Success and Failure is not what happens to us, but how we choose to respond to it.
We all have our share of success and failures. It’s the ways of life. Some days are good and you achieve your goals, while other days nothing seems to go your way. That’s normal. You don’t have control over what happens to you.
But what you do have control over is how you respond to them – to both failure and success.