Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Silencing My Heart

My mom never fails to remind me what a talkative and inquisitive child I once was. Always asking questions like,"Why is the sky blue, Mak?" and "Where does the music come from in movies where the actors are singing, Ayah?" I guess it was part of my learning process, to be curious and to learn from those who know more.

I also remember speaking my mind quite often, which usually got me into trouble with my mom. One vivid memory is of one when I was barely 8 years old, telling Anita Sarawak what I thought of her performance on one television entertainment program that her dance movements were weird looking and that I didn't like it. Imagine my parent's red faces, apologising profusely to the star performer on their child's inappropriate remarks. From that experience, I learned tact and discretion.... NOT! Until today, I still put my foot in my mouth from time to time. However, I never mean to purposely offend anyone. I guess it boils down the science of speed of sound. Its slower than the speed of light....bulb moments.

A very wise and old man once told me to be sincere in everything I say and do. Now, at the ripe old age of 42, I realise that it is easier to shut up when you hear your thoughts so loudly spoken in your own ears. But, how do I make my heart shut up?! Yes, my heart is capable of saying things too. And although I may not utter those thoughts out loud, I am uncomfortable with some of the things that crosses my heart. Because when my feelings not represented by my words and actions, I don't feel sincere.

I will be leaving for Mekkah in a few days from today and I worry for the state of my heart. I need it to shut up and be pure. I need it to be focused on my ibadah and be sincerely accepting towards everything and everyone, regardless of circumstances and the choices made by people around me. Alhamdulillah, I stumbled upon a chapter in a book entitled "Purification of the Heart" and since it helped me, I thought it wise to share this wisdom with everyone who has the same challenges as I.

"Ibn Atai'illah said, "If you're aware of your humility, then you are arrogant." But scholars say the following, "If you are not like the real people, at least mimic them." It is better to simulate humility than to be an outright arrogant man. Imam Ghazali says, "If one wishes to master calligraphy, then he must go to a master calligrapher and repeat what he does."

"Imam 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani once said, "All the doors to God are crowded except for one: the door of humility and humbleness." Having humbleness is one of the secrets of success, although it is hard on the soul. It is said, "Among the most noble things of this world is a rich man who is humble." - Excerpt from chapter on Boasting & Arrogance from Purification of the Heart by Hamza Yusuf.

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