People who know me well know my take on the mushy stuff. It’s very, very stoical. For me if you love someone enough, you don’t need to make a public display of it. It’s like Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth when she asks him why he didn’t speak more to her: “A man who had felt less, might.”
I’m not implying that those who need to express their feelings openly are wrong (although there are limits!) It’s just not the kind of thing I admire or envy. That is probably why when I hear of love in terms that are more reflective of its depth and strength than its pleasure, I can’t help but want to share.
It’s easy to forget that there are so many other levels of love than just the romantic kind. Isn’t it a fact that when couples break up, they inevitably turn to family and friends for support? Which just goes to show that these latter bonds are often as strong, if not stronger than the relationship which has dissolved.
But what happens when friends and family fall out? In such cases, I should think that if a person didn’t have God to turn to, they’d flounder and drown in their own loneliness. Who can survive without some sense of support and comfort?
Which leads me to the question: How do I know God loves me? And what does it mean to be loved by Him? There is of course a unique answer to this question for every individual. And there are general answers too.
I heard one of the second variety today and it made me wonder why I hadn’t thought of things that way before. It suited my non-mushy nature perfectly.
So this is the way it is:
Islam – for all the ideas people have of its being a cage of rules within which each Muslim is imprisoned – is really based on 4 broad Principles. As a follower, you are obliged to live in a manner than respects and upholds:
a) The rights of God.
b) The rights of your Self.
c) The rights of other human beings
d) The rights of all other creatures/Nature.
Simple as that. It covers everything from faith to environmentalism and all areas in between. I can’t think of a more positive, constructive and responsible system.
So why does Islam look so hard and rigid? Because that’s how we as Muslims present it! We’re always going on about how we HAVE to do this, and we MUST do that, as if God was a Dictator sitting somewhere waiting for us to slip up so He could assign us to Eternal Damnation.
From the list of the rights above if we were asked which was most important, we would not hesitate to say it is the rights of God that we must put above all else. And we would be right. Yet, in practice of the actual laws of Islam, whenever there is a conflict between the rights of God and the other rights, God always pulls back our obligation to Him and instructs us to give priority to the other party in question.
So for example, alcohol is haram (forbidden) to drink (Right of God). But in times of starvation, if there is nothing available with which to save your life (Right of Self), then you are allowed to drink as much alcohol as is required to sustain you
Performing wudhoo (ablution) is compulsory before prayers (Right of God), but if you see an animal thirsty and have just enough water to either perform your ablution or save the animal (Rights of creatures), then you must do the latter.
And there is no guilt attached to either of these options because God Himself encourages this love for others and in doing so expresses His Love for us. He created us to be like Him, to exhibit the perfection He possesses, so it makes sense that His Laws would adapt themselves to our innate Nature and not expect us to go against it.
It’s just us messed-up beings that distort everything and try to impose our own interpretations on the faith. And look at where it’s landed us – with a misunderstood, misused, abused and frightening set of stringent laws, instead of energizing, inspiring, motivating and constructive way of life.
We’re pathetic. Holding a treasure in our hands and smearing it with dirt.
Question: “Why do you pray as you pray? Why do you have to perform all these movements with your body? You could just pray with your heart (as Christians do).”
Answer: “Because God has created us in two forms, body and soul. That is why we pray with our heart (soul) as well as body. Because body and soul are together.”
– From The Road To Mecca by Muhammad Asad