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Live in Peace (2)

Publishing Date : 17 September, 2019


Continued from last week

Without doubt life today is so hectic that many of us are desperately seeking for some peace of mind and contentment, but sometimes it is difficult to find. The daily pressures of life bring on their own stresses and strains, but sometimes that lack of peace is as a result of our own doing.

Many of us have those human weaknesses that tend to look at the world in a manner that brings about negativity into our lives. Many of them can be and are self-inflicted because of our human weakness: they can range from our desire to imitate others, to compete with them and to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, as it were. Very often we envy them, harbour jealousy and ill feelings towards them or even simply because we think we are superior to them.

Wealth is one of life’s necessities but it is not life’s final goal. Wealth itself is not bad and the problem is not the money - but the love of it. It is natural for us look to for a more comfortable life for us and our families and will strive and work to move up in life; to get a better car, a better home, better clothes and all those worldly desirables on our human ‘want’ list. Nothing wrong with that, but the danger lies in when we make it our sole objective in life to achieve those things by any means possible, this can lead to unquenchable greed and brings with it the many stresses.

Too often when chasing those dreams, we cross the line and are liable to put our upbringing and our primary Religious responsibilities on the back burner. ‘The mutual rivalry of piling up the good things of this world diverts you from the more serious things, until you visit the grave’. (Quran 102: 1-2), And, Alluring to men is the love of things they covet- women and sons, hoarded treasure of gold and silver, highly bred horses, well-bred cattle and land. This is the provision of this world’s life; but nearness to Allah is the best of goals. (Quran 3:14)

The starting point of achieving a degree of peace is from within. This means that we have to re-examine and learn how we look at and see life, and react to its situations. The main ingredient is self-reformation, how we look at life is the building block of how we will cope with that life. But the most important thing in seeking peace is to find peace within ourselves first, only then we can begin to feel more confident to tackle the issues out there. To find that peace and contentment we have to start with our Creator as dealt with in last week’s column, then we have to look at ourselves and changes we can consider to bring about that peace.

Let us start with the basics:

Do Not Be Jealous:  We all have experienced how jealousy and envy can disturb and play havoc with our peace of mind. For example you know that you work harder than your colleagues in the office, but sometimes they get promotions; you do not. You started a business several years ago, but you are not as successful as your neighbour whose business is only a one year old. There are many examples like these in everyday life. Should you be jealous? No. Remember, a person's life is shaped by their destiny, which becomes their reality.

If you are destined to be rich, nothing in the world can stop you. And if you are destined to be poor, then no matter what you do, you will only be what you are destined to be. You will gain nothing except more stress by blaming others for your misfortune. Jealousy will not get you anywhere; it will only take away your peace of mind and create more hatred towards others.

“And in no wise covet those things in which Allah has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others; to men is allotted is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn; but envy not one another and ask Allah for His bounty’. (Quran 4:32). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘Do not compare yourself against nor envy those who have more than you, but rather compare yourselves to those who are less fortunate or have less than you, in that way you will appreciate the favours of your Lord’.

Next we have to learn to forgive and forget: This is the most powerful aid to peace of mind, but also challenging and difficult to achieve. Often we develop ill feelings inside our heart for the person who insults or harm us. We nurture those grievances resulting in loss of sleep and develop medical ailments such as stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and importantly peace of mind. We further aggravate stress in ourselves by remembering, and reminding ourselves of the very persons that caused us harm.

Sometimes we bear grudges that get passed on from one generation to another sometimes the new generation is not even aware of the circumstances to the grudges. Get over this bad habit. Life is too short to waste in such trifles. Forgive, forget, and march on. Love flourishes in giving and forgiving. ‘…but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah…..but indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs’ (Qur’an 42:40-43)  

Also Do Not Interfere in Other People Business Unless Asked to: Most of us create our own problems very often by interfering in others people’s affairs. When hear scandalous gossip of our neighbours, friends and others, we want to dig up and hear more juicy titbits. Sometimes this becomes our obsession simply because our egos want us to rejoice and feel that we are better than ‘them’.

Sometimes we interfere for the wrong reasons, we do so because somehow we have convinced ourselves that our way is the best way, we tend to think that our way is the best way and those who do not conform to our thinking must be criticized and steered to the right direction, i.e. our direction. This interference can cause a backlash and add to an already stressful situation. However there is a fine line between interfering and try to help those who genuinely need help and guidance. It should be borne in mind that a Muslims responsibility is to guide those who have veered from the path of righteousness.

Prophet Muhammad said: ‘You help your neighbour if he asks for your help; you support him if he requests your support…….you comfort him when he is afflicted with misfortune’. Allah has created each one of us in a unique way. No two human beings can think or act in exactly the same way. Be patient with one another, and mind your own business and you will keep your peace. The proof of a Muslim’s sincerity is that he pays no heed to that which is not his business.

To be continued



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