Oh My Soul!

By Mohamedarif Suleman (Nairobi, Kenya)

Islam, a religion of spiritual nourishment and enlistment, a body of laws that caters in essence for the soul while not neglecting the needs of the mind and the body, a religion whose every action – both mandatory and optional, is geared towards the near vicinity to Allah (swt). For every action that we perform, we are reminded of the need to be accounted for in this world and the hereafter. The battle against the soul is as continuous as the process of life itself.

The behavioural science theory of the Id, Ego and the Super Ego, may not be any different between the three types of nafs that the Holy Scripture talks about – Nafse Ammara, Nafse Lawwaama and Nafse Mutmainna, but the appreciation, regardless of one”s faith in the theory of creation or of evolution, remains that a person lives his life embroiled in a constant tug of war between the mind and the soul. As the month of Safar begins and we continue mourning, not the physical or material loss of the Holy Imam and his family and friends, but the act of betrayal by the Muslims, the usurping of the Holy Prophet (saw)’s teachings and values by tyrant forces, the inhumanity demonstrated by mundane leaders and our absence from assisting the cause of Allah (swt), we must throw a second glance at our living, and whether we are taking the required control over our soul and its caprices, or are we victim to the whims of a world that is increasingly promoting material, physical and shameful culture. There is no question of subjectivity or relativity here, because as Muslims, the basic laws remain the same regardless of passage of time. The consistency of, say, alcohol remaining haraam or that of sexual indecency being prohibited has remained a constant, rather than a variable that modern living requires us to adapt to.

Are we, for instance, throwing lavish ceremonies and living in outward luxury when the mass of population remains starved and deprived? Are we misusing our power whether economical, political or otherwise social? Are we in charge, or is it the psychologists’ id and ego that er in control? Questions we need to ask, answers we need to seek. A leaf from the writings of a celebrated poet Kahlil Gibran is excerpted  to echo a man’s struggle against the waywardness of his soul:

”Why are you weeping, my soul?

Do you know my weekness?

Your tears strike sharp and injure,

For I know not my wrong.

Until when shall you cry?

I have naught but human words

To interpret your dreams,

Your desires and your instruction.

 

Look down upon me my soul: I have

Consumed my full life heeding

Your teachings. Think of how

I suffer! I have exhausted my life following you.

 

My heart was glorifying upon the

Throne, but is now yoked in slavery;

My patience was a companion, but

Now contends against me;

My youth was my hope, but

Now reprimands my neglect.

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.
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