Zishaan Karim (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
On the illuminated path of Tawheed, I see You and You Alone, and all those that You have asked me to see; My eyes are shut to what You have forbidden me from.
I am on a journey to expand my capacity to be able to attain the maximum I can in this temporary abode of achievement. For my journey I decide to adopt
Habit 1: Connect with The All Pure
Imam Sajjad (as), in this beautiful dua, says: Grant me, the most increase in Your sustenance when I am old, and Your strongest strength when I am exhausted. These lines are indeed profound. Increase in Your sustenance…
What is sustenance? There was a time when my understanding of rizq was confined to food and drink. Then it developed into all material needs. As I grew older, I read through words of Aimmah in different ziyarat and duas and my perception changed to get a clearer version. Rizq is of a wide dimension of both spiritual and material achievements.
With the Light of Tawheed, I want to journey towards “increase in sustenance”. I want to expand my capacity to attain and hold on to, what Allah (swt) can give. I wonder what Imam means when He says, “when I am old”?
Do I need His sustenance only when I am old? Am I concerned about an increase in sustenance only when I get old? What is ‘getting old?’
When a child is born, s/he is zero age…then s/he turns one day old and one month old and one year old and ten years old and 50 years old…
In that case, I, in the words of Imam (as), am not asking for sustenance when I am aged.
I am asking for increase in sustenance, which had begun when I was conceived, and not worthy of mention, now. I am asking for increase in sustenance now, as I grow older. I am asking for an expansion of my capacity every single moment, so my container can hold all that He has to bestow me with.
Then I ask for strength when I get exhausted… the journey is tough and the obstacles are many. The world around is glamorous and to set a balance is a difficult task to accomplish.
With His strength, the path becomes easy and the journey becomes smoother, to grow towards the right direction- His Oneness.
Then, and only then, can the concept of Tawheed be exhibited as was by Bilal, with the boulder upon his chest, and his utterance of Al Ahad..al Ahad..Al Ahad.
The illuminated path to the Almighty shows that He is the Only Light at the end of every dark tunnel. No darkness can be dispersed without His Divine Will; no need can be fulfilled without His Divine Grace; no poor can be enriched without His Divine Boon.
Imam Sajjad (As) says. O Allah make me,
run towards You in times of stress
and ask from You in times of need,
and plead to You in times of poverty.
O Allah, allow me to make You my beacon of light in every darkness that engulfs me, for You will definitely pull me out of darkness to light.
When I don’t realize this, I tend to seek help from anyone I feel can remove my distress, and I bow here and there to express my need to those whom I deem fit to fulfill them, not realizing that they too are in need of You. When I am afraid, I begin to plead with those who pretend to be strong and courageous. At that point in my trials, I fail to realize that You are the Only Truth and You have clearly shown channels that I can use in times of emergency.
Imam Sajjad (as) says: Do not try me with,
seeking help from other than You when I am distressed
humbling myself in asking other than You when I am in need
nor pleading with other than You when I am afraid.
For example, I have a sick person at home and I need to help him get to life savers. In failing to realize that I need to dial for an ambulance to reach the hospital, I dial for a garbage clearing truck, I will definitely not reach the hospital and the patient might lose his life in the course of my dialing the wrong contact!
Imam (as) continues to explain why I should not bow and humble myself to other than Him.
For then I should deserve
Your abandonment, Your denial,
and Your turning away,
O Most Merciful.
You are the Most Merciful, and You are the solution to all my problems. If I fail to realize all that You have blessed me with, and decide to disconnect with You and connect with other than You, then I deserve to be abandoned by You, and stumble in darkness.
Allow me the wisdom to realize that the heart cannot be connected to You and other than You. When I have decided to connect to You, then I use Imam Sajjad (as)’s imploring words:
guard my face (honour) through prosperity,
do not disgrace my dignity through neediness,
lest I seek providence from those whom You have provided,
and ask for bestowal from the worst of Your creatures.
Then I would be tempted to praise he who gave me,
and afflicted with blaming he who denies me,
while You, not they, are the Master of giving and denying.
Allow me the serenity to realize that You are the Only Source, and even if what I get comes through other than You, it is not from him but through Him, and You are the Giver.
Likewise, let me comprehend that nothing works outside of Your Divine Plan and so when I am denied something, no one can harm me in any way, if You want to stop it.