Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ihsan: Let Your Faith Bring You Ease

This was almost written for my mommy blog. But then I realized that everyone could relate and perhaps benefit, with the will of Allah.

Disclaimer: I am not a scholar of any sort! But I am a mom, a wife, a human and a Believer in Allah. I go through trials and try my best to repent, learn, and change for the better, with the help and guidance of Allah.

As humans, we often look for validation and praise for the things we do. Many of us may not want to admit that. The reason this was initially for the moms was because they do so much that no one will ever see or express gratitude or appreciation for. Sometimes it’s not even enough to know we are doing what’s essentially right. She cleans, cooks, and nurtures the children all day long, but no one is there to notice. She nurses an infant and stays up all night when everyone is sleeping. No one notices. All they see is a lethargic person the next day whose hair is dishelved and voice raspy.  And because of this, many mothers and wives build resentment and some may look for validation within society. When you get an A on a college paper, you receive appreciation and praise for your hard work. When you complete a project at work, you get praised and financially compensated.

What compensation do we receive for doing good deeds?

Ihsan has many meanings. When I was first introduced to the word, it was in the context of God-consciousness. Not just any type of consciousness, but an awareness of Allah so strong that you live your life as if you can actually see Him (in a spiritual sense of course). Do you pray when no one is watching? Are you kind and patient with your infant child, although knowing she cannot tell anyone if you were not? Would you help someone in need even if no one was around to smile at you or pat you on the back? Would you fast if you were in seclusion, with no one to witness the sacrifice you have made?

Allah knows. Allah sees. And the angles are recording what you do.

Do you really believe that? We say we believe, but the real belief is in the practice. Ihsan is a way to live our lives. This Ramadan is the perfect time to strive towards having ihsan. Allah has made it easy for us because doing good usually feels good too. We were created to have an inclination towards the good.

With Ihsan, we will be happier and more content.

Sometimes it’s the small efforts we do to make other’s lives easier. If you vacuum the rug everyday while no one is around, most likely they will not express gratitude for your act. They key is to eliminate that craving for appreciation for every little act. We can start this by shifting our energy towards giving gratitude, instead of expecting it. After completing a good deed, thank Allah that you had the energy and strength to complete the deed. Thank Allah that you were able to make someone else’s life easier, because only through Allah’s mercy is these actions possible. If we expressed gratitude every time we did something good, our faith will be increased, inshaAllah. Our thoughts will turn towards the light instead of the darkness, and we will be content and happy with our lives.

Leaving you with this and a sincere prayer that we can find peace and satisfaction in knowing that Allah is watching all the time and that is always enough. Ameen.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “(Ihsan is) it’s to worship Allah as you are seeing Him and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you.” (Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 48)

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