Peace requires courage, peace requires validity of both. It is the manifestation of understanding. Aggression is easy, oppression is easy, it comes without having to look beyond what you directly see in front of you. Your issues, your problems. Peace on the other hand is a byproduct of empathy; feeling and realizing what the other side feels. Without it we are merely taking sides, infuriating one and exonerating the other, dehumanizing one, power lifting the other, vilifying one and justifying the other. Peace on the other hand requires no sides it only requires understanding!
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “He who is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully (by God)”
For “the reward of goodness is nothing but goodness. [Qur’an 55:61]
The heart is tarnished by two matters: unmindfulness (al-ghaflah) and sin. And it is polished by two matters: seeking forgiveness and the remembrance of God. Ibn Qayyim.
Meditation or spiritual introspection is an often overlooked yet integral part of Islam. It is about letting go of our ego/self, and focusing on the present moment. It is about mindfulness, aiming on intent and our purpose in life, remembering our blessings, and pondering on the whys. Ibn Qayyim used to say that meditation is essential in preparing for the Hereafter. As per him, “reflecting (tafakkur), remembering (tadhakkur), examining (nathr), meditating (ta’amul), contemplating (i’tibar), deliberating (tadabbur), and pondering (istibsar),”represented the different forms of meditation.
Seclusion (I’tikaaf) was the form of meditation that the Prophet (SAW) used to practice. Even before receiving the revelation, Prophet (SAW) used to retreat to the cave of Hira’ and seclude himself for days. He (SAW) used to leave behind his worldly affairs, to focus on spiritual peace and inner self, and worship for a number of nights prior to returning to his family. This form of worship in the early days of the prophet (SAW)’s prophethood was called ‘tahannuth’. Linguistically tahannuth means to follow the religion of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), however today it is understood as a form of worship that the prophet (SAW) practiced prior to the revelation of the five daily prayers. While in tahannuth, the Prophet (SAW) used to carry provisions for a period of time, devote his time to worship and meditation, and return to his wife Khadijah (RA) only to gather more provisions. He continued doing this for a period of time until the truth came to him in the cave of Hira’ through Jibraeel (AS).
The Qur’an mentions the word I’tikaf, derived from the word aakifoon, in relation to the rules of I’tikaaf “…and do not have relations with them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques” (Qur’an, 2:187), and aakifeen is mentioned under a more defined context of those who are staying at the masjid for devotion and worship, “Purify My House for those who are to circumambulate (make Tawāf) and those who stay in I‘tikāf, and those who bow down or prostrate themselves (in prayers).”(Qur’an, 2:125)
Performing I’tikaaf is not only a part of the sunnah, but also a recommend act in the Qur’an. Its purpose is to cleanse the soul of worldly desires even for a short period of time to help us focus on our sole creator. Doing so possesses a natural reward of humility and understanding of our purpose here on earth. It helps us refrain from sin and idle talk and focus on the remembrance of Allah (SWT), avoiding that which doesn’t concern us. “It is from the goodness of a person’s Islam that he leaves that which doesn’t concern him.”
Meditation not only produces feelings of gratitude in the heart but also helps us replenish our spiritual need. Umar ibn Abdul Aziz said, “Speaking in remembrance of Allah Almighty is good, and thinking about the blessings of Allah is the best act of worship.”
Ever wondered why the followers of Islam are called Muslims?
“Islam” is derived from the Arabic word “sal’m” which. literally means peace. When the “Mu” prefix is attached to a root word in Arabic (in this case sa’lm), the resulting noun means “a person who does that particular thing”.
A Muslim is someone who submits with peace in their heart, having complete Tawakkul (trust in God’s plans) in Allah (SWT) The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.
Inner peace cannot be forced, so no one can force you to become a Muslim, nor can they entice you. Intention of the heart along with proclamation of the faith is a requirement of being a Muslim.
“ Let there be no compulsion in religion…” [Qur’an 2:256]
Don’t be the storm in someone’s life. Be the breeze that spreads the seeds of change.
Trying to change someone without their will is not only fruitless it is painful. We are all trying to do our best and most of us think we are doing things the right way. So forcing them to see your way as the right way is futile. Instead work on yourself and let the world around you get better.
Just like “there is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2:256) let their be no compulsion in being. Let the proofs be clear as day and people will aspire to be like you.