The Blanket of Serenity

*Guest Post By Rumysa Hussain Owner/Designer at Noura*

I found myself breathing the crisp autumn breeze as I stood there in awe, smiling at the lush greens, bright oranges, crisp yellows, and dark reds that surrounded me.  Glory be to Him, it was a moment I did not want to let go of. I love autumn. I love everything about this particular season. The changing colors, the air and the ambiance of this time of the year. It wasn’t long before it was time for me to leave the park and get going. Though if I could, I would stay there forever. Forever. Such sheer, ultimate bliss.

And suddenly, it hit me.  This was just a fleeting moment albeit picturesque and serene. What is it that is going to last forever?  Is there anything, anything, that can transcend the laws of the world? Except the One,the Waahid al Qahaar (the One/the Indivisible, the Irresistible) Allah says in the Qur`an, Surah Ar-Rahman:

Everyone upon the earth will perish,

“And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.”

Hence the only thing to last forever, literally, is His Majesty, His Grandeur. His is the Dominion. Forever.

And there in, it reminded me of perhaps what I would call my biggest fear. A fear so big. So real. So scary, so true, and yet utterly inevitable. A fear that makes it hard for me to breathe. A fear that brings me back to my reality (haqeeqat) and insignificance.

And it wasn’t death.Instead, it was the fear of parting from this world in a state that’s not pleasing to Him. A wakeup call.A state that cannot render us any good here or in the Hereafter.  A state with no relief.  A state of utter loss. A state too full of agony and pain-indescribable, sharp, unbearable,eternal. Granted, He is the Most, Most, Merciful and it’s only and only by His limitless mercy that we, God-willing, can enter Jannah.And we ask Him, The (Al-‘Afuww)The Pardoner, the Effacer of Sins, the(Muqalibal Quloob) the Turner of hearts, to forgive us, turn our hearts toward Him and to grant us, through His infinite mercy, beautiful company and homes in Jannah. Ameen.

But, that in no way gives us the license to show ingratitude, love everything but Him? To basically do as we please.  Therein lies our tragedy. We do not call on Him until we lose sight of that which matters. That which matters most.We seek shelter, home, peace, refuge in everything other than Him. When all our avenues are exhausted, we call on Him. We get so lost in the means. The means that are given to us by Him in the first place to make this journey toHim, the Ever-lasting. We lose sight of the bigger picture. He and He alone is the path to a sound heart. It’s up to us as to how we take up on this journey and choose to have this inevitable, irresistible meeting with the Lord.

There has to be struggle. Struggle to get there. A longing. A desire so strong it transcends everything and beyond.

But really, where we stand is the very reason for why I felt that block of ice in my throat. The very reason for why I couldn’t bear the thought of standing before the Lord in front of His entire creation. Alone. On my own.  My deeds as my witness. For or against me. The good, the bad-right in front of everyone. Literally. Nothing hidden from Him. Absolutely nothing. Who knows what’s hidden inside­­ the chest? Who else knows the secrets of the heart, the treachery of the eyes? Who? None other than Him. He is the Al khabir -The All-Knower/Aware.  The Al Basir the All-Seeing; acquainted with all hidden secrets; knows all that conscience does conceal.

It is only befitting that we worship Him because He alone is worthy of worship. To surrender to Him. To thank Him for each breath we take. To Go before Him with a heart that’s whole. A heart that belongs to­ Him. That seeks Him, alone. That yearns for Him. Since, verily, the heart was created to know Him. And not to habitually yield to the demands of our lower nature. Not to carry a heart where the evil overrides the good each time, everytime. Like Ibn-e- Qayim beautifully put it: “The one who is (truly) imprisoned is the one whose heart is imprisoned from Allah and the captivated one is the one whose desires have enslaved him.”To empty our hearts; the vessel of all evils, since “every vessel drips that which it contains.” A heart that’s full of goodness will only give out that. Goodness (khair). The heart will reflect only that which it carries. And Subhan’Allah He will not let go of even an atom’s weight of good.  God says in the Qur`an (55:60):

“Is the reward for good [anything] but good?”

How beautiful is that statement. How true is His word.  Is there any reward for good other than good?Goodness in deed, in act, in word.  Goodness that takes you to Him in a state that He is pleased with. And so to be more generous, kind, forgiving, tolerant, to control anger and the desires of the lower self(nafs), to smile more often for His sake, to give for His sake, to love for His sake for that love is never depleted, to follow His word and fulfill your covenant. To see the Creator in all of His creation. To see the Provider in all provisions- the paramount purpose. To really be amongst those whose souls when being taken out are called as ‘the soul at rest’ (al-nafs al- mutma’innah) ( Quran 89:27-30)

To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul,

Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him],

And enter among My [righteous] servants

And enter My Paradise.”

The transient nature of seasons and their temporariness serves as a stark contrast to what real bliss is supposed to be like. Real and pure bliss is a state that’s eternal. Forever. If it’s anything less than that is not to be equated with pure bliss. Just bliss?

Probably. Alhamdulillah. But it’s always changing. Just like the changing seasons. Just like the attitude of people around us and the feelings they have for us. Never constant. Not to be relied upon. This bliss is flawed. A flaw that is inevitable here, in this flawed dunya. The kind that is incapable to fill the void, the emptiness in the heart, on its own.

So that feeling that chokes me each time is a reminder to do good. More good.To strive harder.To purify that which lies in the heart and governs the soul therewith.

Wouldn’t we want to choose the path to success (falah)? Success that brings back to us that bliss.That perfection.That wholeness.That warm feeling inside that just never really seems to last here for long enough. It being eternal.Forever, in the truest sense of the word.For the soul to return safely to its blissful home.To return to Him as pleased souls? (al -nafs al-mutmainah)

There’s still time. He will never give up on us, so we cannot give up on ourselves. We will always be the apple of His eye. He can never abandon us. It’s we who move away from Him and feel so hollow. So lost. Isn’t it time to regain back our hearts? To secure this fortress. Nothing , absolutely nothing, is difficult once you hold tightly to His rope.

I pray and long to feel and experience the blanket of serenity I wait for each autumn. Only this time it would be forever.

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