Publishing Date : 06 May, 2015

Iqbal Ebrahim

We need to find a balance in our lives that will bring peace to our heart, mind and soul because the world we live in today has many challenges and difficulties that stress our lives. We are often attracted to the glamour and glitter of this world forgetting that our ultimate objective is to reserve our place in the life to come. For this we need to reform ourselves, but as the last two articles mentioned the road to self-reformation is long and at times a difficult one.   

The root cause of most of our daily irritations and problems stem from what is commonly known as the ‘seven deadly sins’; most religions, faiths and Divine beliefs in one way or the other, identify these personal traits as undesirable and warns believers against them. Once we conquer these ‘sins’ we will be on the first stretch of road to peace of heart, mind and soul.

To achieve this we need the inner desire to transform ourselves from within so that we begin to realise our true purpose on this earth, so that our worldly life is in alignment with what our Lord and Creator intended for His faithful.

Firstly, mankind has been granted with the great blessing of the power of mind and conscience that gives us the capacity to think. As humans we have been given this blessing which allows us the ability to interrogate our lives through our thoughts, actions and behaviour so that we can use those faculties and opportunities to achieve a higher plane in our spiritual destiny. ‘Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they first change what is in their hearts’ (Quran 13: 11)   

Once we have initiated the intention to change the journey will become easier because the Almighty will assist us in the process. ’Verily We take upon Ourselves to guide’ (Quran 92:12)

The most important gift as mentioned is that we have our mind, both conscious and subconscious, because that gives us the ability to weather trials and tribulations but more importantly the strength of will power and self-discipline to transform ourselves even in times of adversity. We have to learn to train our mind to focus on the good in our life because the Almighty will be there for us. ‘We know how thy heart is distressed, but celebrate the praises of thy Lord’ (Quran 15: 97)

We must always expect our lives to have upheavals and challenges as time marches on because there are bound to be pot holes and corrugations along the way. Ups and downs are a natural part of life and are important in keeping us going, because, as we know that a straight line even in an ECG means we are not alive.

We should learn to look at challenges as opportunities for expanding our minds and this unlocks and forces our minds into creative thinking. I read an interesting quote that says: ‘The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change; The Realist adjusts the sails’.

So we should adjust our sails to harness the positive energy in order to help us focus on overcoming the challenges along the way. Our mind is a very powerful mechanism that we should cultivate in order to give it us the positive attitudes so that we can navigate through the challenges that face us in today’s world. No doubt there are many conflicting situations in our lives. 

Many of us fall easy prey to pride because we live in a world in which we tend to show off about our worldly possessions, wealth, position and other worldly successes. ‘Exult not, for Allah loves not those who exult (in riches). (Quran 28:76). This exultation leads to pride: and this pride often leads to vanity and arrogance. Pride has been called the sin from which all others arise, this is because we develop excessive belief in our own abilities, and we tend to think that we are above others and that all that we have gained is as a result of our own doing and not through the Blessings of God.

This breeds the arrogant streak in our character and we start chasing for more of the things that our money can buy, just to show off. But we must remember that this pride will be short lived. And swell not thy cheek with pride for men. Nor walk with insolence through the earth; for God loveth not the arrogant boaster. (Quran 31: 18). ‘If we give man a taste of Our favours…..behold he falls into exultation and pride’ (Quran 11:10)
The Bible also warns: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

Another of those sins is that of greed, it is common that when we are blessed with a certain level of wealth we tend to become greedy for more. Greed can become such a driving force in our lives that it can cause us to resort to any means to achieve our objectives via any means and this becomes our driving force, the desire for more material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of  spirituality.

‘To whom I granted resources in abundance……, to whom I made life smooth and comfortable, yet he is greedy that I should add more…...by no means, for to our signs he has been rebellious. (Quran 74:12 -16)
Bible quote: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19). And: ‘….yes they are greedy dogs which can never have enough’ (Isiah 56: 11)

Envy / jealousy are very common yet deadly sins of the heart. When we see others blessed with more than us we become envious of them. We see them having been blessed with wealth, status, abilities and situations we easily become resentful of the advantage enjoyed by them and we are filled with a desire to possess the same advantage. In many cases that jealousy can turn to hatred and even wishing that those we envy may be deprived of those things. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘Keep away from jealousy, for jealousy eats up virtues the same way as fire eats up wood’. The Quran says: In no wise covet those things in which Allah has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others; to man is allotted what they earn’ (Quran 4: 32)  

The Bible also advises: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like new born babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2: 1-2)

Continued next week