Thursday, June 2, 2016

Week 4: Ask not what man can do for you...

Dear Reader,

So I had reached my last week. The honeymoon was almost over. As I said nothing was expected of me at work. However, I couldn't help noticing the outpouring of support. People were genuinely rooting for me and wished me well. Confidants were told of my real situation while people who hadn't grown close to me were told a cover story. At any rate, I was lauded for my decision. People were inspired, they to dreamed of heading off on an adventure of their own. Rising tides and all that.

From this point, I could pivot and tell you how I am such a great #betablazers. And get you fired up on taking that big step into the unknown. And how you should just follow your dreams and the rest will follow. Don't let life pass you by! I am not going to do any of that, not yet at any rate ;o)

Like I said at the time I was feeling fear. I turned to my lord for help. Organically I began to be introspective and did a lot of soul-searching. Here is what I found:

While reciting the Arabic the word that struck me the most was Khalifa.
Alhumdullilah this is a word that I recognize. From my studies, I have come to know that we were created to be god's representative on earth. Also known as a viceroy. What a regal sounding word to describe such a noble creature. Trekkies can recall from Star Trek : Nemesis the Reman viceroy. Although from a slave race he carried himself with confidence and bellowed at the crew:

Reman Viceroy Vkruk: Enterprise, we are the Reman Warbird Scimitar. 
Jean-Luc Picard: Praetor Shinzon, I'm pleased... 
Reman Viceroy Vkruk: I am not Shinzon. I am his Viceroy.

How gangster is that? And that is the exact mentality we need. No matter our circumstances no one can take away our core value. No one can fire you from doing god's work. You need not worry about pleasing other. That's the purpose of your creation. That is why you are here so it doesn't matter what other think as Allah knows best.

So what does that mean for you? This means that in order to find true inner peace, we must choose to accept our mission. The key for being successful in this mission is having a balanced internal state. That is we must be mindful of our emotional, physical, mental AND spiritual energies. All four must be recharged and harnessed by making sure our foundations are sound. Once these pillars of energies are recharged you can unleash your talents. Drive them towards establishing your legacy. Target your next opportunity. But most of all to ensure true balance be mindful of your social obligations. 

I am terrible at this. I am a natural introvert and love to curl up with a good book. Or watch a good movie or do research and then regurgitate that research on my blog. Notice how these are mostly solo activities. Yes, I have pure intentions as I wish to benefit others with my knowledge but you reading these words behind a screen lacks for a physical connection. It makes all the difference in the world to go out and meet people who you like and spend time with them, enjoying each others company.

But where do we start? Well this diagram helps me to focus:

Now I can't take credit for this one I came across it during a Productive Muslim Webinar (do check them out!). Notice how family is dead center. Therefore, that is where we need to start. If you are married that means start with your wife. Make sure your relationship with her is going smooth. I know that takes a lot of work. But we must maintain a happy and healthy relationship with our soulmates. All for the sake of Allah. If we can do this we can branch out and make sure our children are being cared for and nurtured. If your parents are still alive be sure that their needs are being taken care of in their old age. 

Pay attention to your relatives especially younger cousins. You can be a big brother/sister to them lend them a sympathetic ear. Make sure they are on the right path. Help them with their college and career goals. In the process, you will better yourself. Learn from your grandparents', aunts and uncles. They may be from an older generation and things may have changed but some things are universal and constant focus on gaining those nuggets of information. 

Did you notice a theme here? The call to action was that of service. Be of service to others. It is not about you, but what you can do for others. All the while making sure your intentions are pure, every action you take should be simply for the pleasure of Allah. Here is how I plan on serving each layer.

As I had mentioned core relations (family/relatives) are key without that nothing matters. After that, you will need to serve people that you meet on a regular basis. As per the diagram they are neighbors and colleagues. I would add to that friends. These three groups of people make up your social circle. You may not have much choice in selecting your neighbors or colleagues do to the fact that you can not always control where you live or where you work. But you can choose your friends. I would suggest making friends with like minded people. People who will help you on your journey, who "get you". This way you don't waste time explaining yourself. And you can get on with forging deep bonds.

Now it may seem obvious how you can serve your colleagues. Help out with workloads so that they can go on vacations. Do a good job so that they can count on you. And be easy to work with. These qualities were why people truly missed me when I left. And then serve your neighbors by a) respecting their property b) reaching out to them making sure all is well (a Muslim does not fill his belly while his neighbor starves, may Allah grant us Taufik). But how can you serve friends?

Well if you are just "hanging out" I would say that they are not true friends as they don't respect your time or theirs. You don't need a huge list of friends just a few good ones. Listen to them share their burdens. I have one friend who suffers from infertility as I do. We bonded over this issue as we helped each other out. Another friend shares my positive outlook on life. I love hearing from him as he always sparks something new in me. He is also goal oriented and motivates me to reach my goals. That's why I am always seeking his company. Try to keep a distance from friends who like to argue for argument sakes they are not helping anyone, including themselves.

Community. This is your neighborhood. For me, the best way to get involved is to go to the neighborhood mosque. I am blessed to live by 3 really great masjids. I also frequent another one that is a 30-minute drive from my house. The point being this is my way of getting involved with the community. Again the idea is to be of service and I am always on the lookout for just such an opportunity. It doesn't alway have to be big. One time when heading out for Fajr jamaat it was pouring.. I grabbed my boots and umbrella and made my way to the masjid, alhamdullilah. Afterward, I notice a youngster waiting by the door. I could have simply walked off in the rain not caring about him. But no I made an effort to inquire if he was alright and if he had an umbrella. Something small and insignificant but not to Allah.

Then we come to the global Muslim community or the Ummah. There are so many opportunities to serve this segment of humanity that I could not possibly list them here. The main thing is to use your talents best you can. I will present to you what I have in mind later on. Then we reach humanity all 7 billion of us on this floating blue marble.

To be honest I couldn't possibly engage with all of them. So I tend to focus on geeks and liberal minded people. As for the hate mongers out there, I will never cease to pray for their salvation. As the true enemy of mankind is iblis. May Allah protect us all, Ameen.

Want to know what happens next? Tune in next week! This is your brother reminding himself out loud. If you found something beneficial it was from Allah. If I have said something wrong it is my shortcoming and I ask your forgiveness. Saqinator out!

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