From my personal diary………..
Each one of us on this earth is in search of peace, outer and inner. A sense of frustration arises because we find ourselves unable to control external events and the turmoil it creates within us.
Added to the true turmoil in the world around us as well as in the extended world at large is the propagation of lies and the promise of depressing outcomes by people who are the ready vessels for the whisperings of Shaitan.(paraphrased from the Hadith)
Entering the circle of PEACE is a process for which there are certain essential ingredients that need to be collected and certain essential garbage that needs to be gotten rid of.
Each one of us is a unique individual and the personal process of one person may not work for another. This is most evident by the numerous shelves in each bookstore packed with self-help books, none of which work completely.
So we begin with the basic essentials. You and I are individuals with our unique needs, which may not match anyone else, how do I go from here to enter the circle of peace?
The steps for doing thus are as follows:
1. Making the Intention
2. Getting rid of the clutter
3. Reading the instructions
4. Following the instructions
5. Finding support in others on this path
6. Refraining from going back to collecting clutter
7. Making amends for past mistakes
9. Having a focus in daily life
10. Saying No to invitations to exit the circle of peace
1. MAKING THE INTENTION
Look at your current life, are you completely happy with yourself, your surroundings, your work, your personal life and your friends, if you are then you are perhaps already in the circle of peace, and you just need to review 8, 9 and 10.
However if any of the areas mentioned above are unsatisfactory then you need to face yourself in the mirror and make the intention that you are going to deliberately and with istiqamah (steadfastness) endeavor, struggle and do your best to enter the circle of peace and do your utmost to remain within the circle of peace despite outside interference.
Once you have made the intention, then make a supplication to God Almighty that He in his infinite wisdom, place peace in your heart, mind and soul and allow you to live and die in peace.
(Dua of living and dying a Muslim)
2. GETTING RID OF THE CLUTTER
There are two kinds of clutter:
i) External clutter
ii) Internal clutter
i) EXTERNAL CLUTTER
This is relatively easier once you have made up your mind to clear the garbage and the beautiful boxes it comes in.
The external clutter enters your environment riding in the car of desire, the driver being your Nafs. Thus when you really really want something badly, ask yourself the question “Will I die without it?” if the answer is no, then do not acquire it.
This is not an easy task, thus to reinforce yourself study the following for at least roughly half an hour every day if not more:
If you like to listen: CD series by Mokhtaar Magroubi titled: ‘Diseases of the Heart” available at http://www.zawiyah.net.
If you like to read: This book by Hamza Yusuf “Purification of the Heart”
If you like the Internet then review Taleem ul Quran (available in English and Urdu) at http://www.alhudapk.com (audiovisual and then choose Farhat Hashmi for Urdu and Amina Elahe or Hijab Iqbal for English) Start with Sipara 1.
Examine your surroundings: Do you have distracters? Is there any thing that steals your time away from the study of the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)?These two sources are your guide book and your compass in the search for entering the circle of peace.
Is there any thing that steals time away from cleansing your heart of the diseases mentioned above?
Is there anything that pollutes your five senses with anxiety, anger, and emotions of frustration, envy, hatred, avarice, aggression, and predatoryness? If the answer is yes remove its source and delivery system, whether it is books, magazines, journals, articles, Internet email, news, movies, so called friends and acquaintances, colleagues or any other stimulationinciting these emotions.
I know at this time you are panicking because that is your whole life, how can you give up everything, remember it is not forever, you are taking out the garbage and once you have entered the circle of peace you can bring back those items back in to your life ,that will help you stay in the circle of peace.
REINFORCEMENTS TO PREVENT RE-ACCUMULATION OF CLUTTER
Meanwhile study the Life of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. He (PBUH) for he too was surrounded by vicious clutter and negative emotions, people and things and he slowly learned to remove these things and people and emotions from within him while he had to continue to live within them physically.
TOO MUCH TIME ON YOUR HANDS & YOUR OLD YEARNINGS
Now since you have freed up a lot of your time by removing time spent with the news, coffee shops, newspapers, Internet, magazines, journals, surfing the internet, face book, aimless wanderings of the mall, fruitless texting and phone talk, you find yourself in a void, with nothing to do.
This is where you selectively start filling this void with the Dhikr of God Almighty.
Dhikr comes in two categories:
1. Formal Dhikr: such as the five time prayers, thus learn the prayer the way Prophet Muhammad PBUH conducted it, perfect it, memorize it (it sharpens your memory and intellect).
Before entering into these prayers take your time to prepare for wudu, wear clean, well-ironed, crisp clothes that you enjoy wearing for yourself (i.e. not to show others), annoit yourself with perfume if you like it as you have an appointment with your creator and empty your head of all obligations.
Perform the salaat over as extended a period as you can. If you only know one surah repeat it many many times in iqamah and the same for the ruku and sajdah, do long sajdahs, as that is when we are closest to God Almighty.
Learn and finesse the five prayers and learn a new surah every day or every few days if you are slow like me. Memorize its meaning and repeat it in every prayer.
2. Informal Dhikr or Dhikr on the go:
When the desire to indulge in the raucous aspects of the Internet, TV or radio, touches you, repeat the simple dhikr of “Astigfirullah” or “Subhanallahe wabehamdeh” which translates as “How perfect God is and I praise Him”
WHY DO ALL THIS?
TO ENTER THE CIRCLE OF PEAC E ………….everyone wants it, everyone yearns for it, everyone does not get it, ……..All these action points may sound superfluous and simplistic and those of you from Pakistan and other Muslim countries these acts may remind you of the uneducated class, but take it from me it will open a path in front of you towards the circle of peace………..such that you will be amazed at the happiness it will bring you. Keep doing it till the negative feelings go away and the path towards the circle of Peace is lighted with your Dhikr.
When ever you find yourself extending your hand to buy yet another glossy magazine, your feet move towards the mall to kill some time, or your fingers go to surf mindless websites on the internet, remind yourself that it is nothing bu clutter in your home, your heart and your mind and will fill your senses with unwanted clutter, and deviate you and distract you from your intended goal of entering the circle of peace.
STUMBLING AND CATCHING YOURSELF….
Sometimes you will feel despondent and may have the perception that you are not making progress and you may even yearn for the raucous movies, sad or joyous songs, and old friends with whom you killed time, but remember this too shall pass. Repeat the Dhikr with meaning and feeling till the feeling of despondency goes away.
Once you have entered the circle of peace, you have clarity of vision, a clean heart and you will be able to choose what you have found to be beneficial and bring it into the circle of peace with you and it will be worth the wait and the peaceful home you will bring it into…………..
To be continued………..