While I understand the message behind this quote, I can’t help but think that if we achieved this we’d actually be going against Allah’s command for us. The command that we do everything in moderation because our bodies and our families also have rights over us, so constant worship or fasting is not at all encouraged, because anything done in excess loses its essence and therefore becomes burdensome rather than beneficial.
Birthdays have always been an ominous occasion for me. I can never find a reason to celebrate because of the stark reminders carried by such a milestone. I’m certainly a glass-half-empty kind of person when it comes to this, probably because my glass full of life just got emptier at the passing of yet another year.
I’ve been obsessed with this image of a long curve or arc that symbolises time stretching inversely across the horizon with only the very tip of its apex brushing the soil. And that single moment of its brushing represents my entire lifetime in the context of the universe, making me realise exactly how insignificant my existence really is.
And this is not even close to my birthday, which incidentally has ceased to hold any significance for me, be it joyous or otherwise. It really has faded into just another day, because it has never changed the condition of my life in any way except to serve as a reminder that I’m supposed to take a moment to benchmark my life against others that have grovelled for as long as I have.
We’re all beggars. Some just more dignified than others. Who is not begging for happiness or contentment, wealth or comfort, companionship and fame? At our weaker moments we morbidly acknowledge this, but when the memory of pain subsides, such realisations are discarded in favour of feelings of false elation. Forgetfulness is probably our greatest gift and mercy. Imagine the pain of a life that bore the intensity of the memories of every moment of distress or destitution?
Oh yes, birthdays…I hate those. It’s supposed to signify the passing of another year, when in fact it’s just the passing of yet another day. Just another day, with more significance attached to it than anyone could ever justify. How I despise the feeble-minded that define themselves by such whimsical milestones!
Life, by design, is intended to be a struggle and nothing less. If you’re not facing a struggle, then you’re probably not paying attention. But this struggle called life is supposed to be a joyous struggle, not a painful one. Joyous because it’s supposed to be a struggle towards earning the pleasure of Allah. But when we’re distracted with pleasures that are detrimental to this goal, the struggle becomes a painful one because it goes against the nature that Allah has embedded in our souls. So I pray that your struggle is a joyous one, and that the distractions are few and far between, and that the coolness of your eyes becomes a part of your life before your eyes become tainted with the bitterness of the distractions. Insha-Allah.