Written by Alman Nusrat
We are taught that before we came into this world, we existed in a pre-worldly realm- where we engaged in perpetual worship of One True Creator. There, we had no attachments and no needs, save God. And it was there that we felt complete.
As our souls fused with our physical form, we came into this world – vulnerable and needy. The moment we arrived, Satan greeted us. He reminded us that he and his minions would be there everyday, working to disrupt our souls and working to cut us off from all things good and spiritually nourishing. Satan prides himself in knowing our weaknesses- that our senses are prone to indulgence. He knows that there exists within us a void that we will do anything to fill. Though nothing but God can fill that void, we are tempted with countless distractions and false substitutions.
And so we live our lives and it seems that with every passing hour and every passing day, we are presented with new things to attach ourselves to. We start longing for this Dunya. In this ephemeral world where nothing was ever meant to last except for our deeds, we so easily begin to obsess with notions of who we are, who we want to be, what we want out of this life- a good job, big house, fame, fancy clothes, and decadent foods. We turn to our phones and stare in guised envy at countless men and women who seek attention or acceptance. Through continuous flaunting of wealth, immorality, and toxic aesthetic, we seek to escape reality- just another way for us to develop a false sense of purpose and resolve. We see people who seem to be frozen in time- those who will do anything to stay young, relevant, and beautiful. We scoff, laugh at, and sometimes critique the toxic cultural norms around us yet somehow, we remain intrigued. Subconsciously seeking to imitate what we see and hear, we become complicit in the oppression of others as well as ourselves. The obsession with the physical form, the lust of things we can only see, hear, taste, smell, or touch- leaves our souls feeling empty. We consume until we are consumed, and we wonder what more there is to life. It seems the more we indulge, the more we are left longing. One cannot help but to feel that the more we satiate, the more hungry we become. There must be something more.
Like clockwork, Satan and his minions toy with the thoughts and emotions of the children of Adam. Feeding off of our vulnerabilities, we turn to things that harm us in order to gain momentary bliss or joy. We develop habits. We enter into patterns of thought and cycles of behavior. We wander deserts and are told the sand will nourish us.
Still, there exists an endless oasis to be discovered by those who are sincere in their search for Truth.
When Adam was sent down to Earth, he was advised by God. He was told that if we hold to God’s guidance, we will find ourselves to be amongst the successful. Alhamdulilah, we have Islam. We have this gift of Ramadan. This is the time of year that gifts us the time and self restraint to look within and understand Satan’s ploy, return to gratitude for guidance, and intend to do better.
If we can begin to detach ourselves from things that inflict upon us spiritual distress…If we can see Satan for who he is…If we can begin a process of purification… If we can start to understand who we are underneath our narratives of struggle and triumph…If We can start to see past the veils of our ego and exorcise our own demons…. If we can begin to see God at work in every facet of life and how He longs for us to return to Him. If we can start to see the grand love story behind all of this…
We will see that though Satan works relentlessly to distract us and fill our voids with things that bring about spiritual death, it is God in all his Majesty and Mercy, who calls us to that which gives us life.
Featured photography by Nadeem Ghafur @nadeemghafur
Thank you Alman, for sharing such a thought provoking and important reflection, one of great relevance in these times.