Two Worlds

I’ve realized something. I knew it ages ago, but it keeps slipping into the back of my mind and only once in a while, does it poke its head out just to give me a jolt and remind me that its still there. 

It’s a perspective-shifting piece of intelligence. And I’m going to share it with you. 

There are two worlds. No, I’m not talking dimensions and or the splicing of timelines. And I’m not crazy either. I can prove it. This existence that we call earth, life, the world, the time … different appellations for different contexts – it’s all happening on two levels. 

There’s the outer facade that most of us live. We have ignorant, shallow lives that rely on what I like to call the upper layer of Life. The icing if you will. We stick our fingers into this sticky, sweetness and lick of it, revelling in the temporary rushes and highs that it gives us. But few of us bother (or dare?) to go further and actually cut into the cake itself. 

Why? Because cutting into the cake forces us to admit that there is another – perhaps less instantly satisfying – layer beneath. The cake is what gives the icing a foundation to spread upon. And the cake needs to be made with effort and raw ingredients that aren’t as tasty the final product. 

Look around you. We live in houses with electricity, running water, ready heat, gadgets to make our lives easier, possibly a car. But each and every thing that we are so dependent on and take for granted (do you think twice before flipping the switch that turns on your computer?) depends on other things. 

So then, what would happen if suddenly there was no electricity? Or the people who keep the factories and machinery that provides us with our ‘lives’ running, suddenly disappeared? Who are these people who invent new stuff for us and keep us hooked on their services? And what happens when their ability to do so ends? (and all things will come to an end.) 

The rise and fall or birth and death of civilizations is a study that predicts without a doubt that just as things have been popular in the past and then slowly become obsolete, so will our times and our inventions. What guarantee is there that this will always be for the better? That it will always be a step forward? 

It’s time to wean ourselves off of this artificial life, this dependency on things that only serve as a barrier between us and the real world. As Muslims, we are waiting for a saviour – the Mahdi (May God Hasten his Re-appearance) – but we also know that before he comes, times will get hard and things will be difficult. 

Are we prepared for those times? We want to be with him when he announces his arrival, but will we manage to survive the circumstances before he does? 

I think it’s time to stop relying on faceless, nameless shapes to provide us with what we think we deserve and begin to actually seek the origins of the things we need – and then work to obtain them ourselves. 

We might find we need a lot less that we think we do. 

S’laams,
Bint Ali

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