Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem.
Here it is, and here is the thing. Dunya is shiny and seemingly ‘everything’. The eyes see; the eyes want. Dunya is ego; its alternative is soul.
Dunya is: being destitute, even if we might think that we are ‘wealthy’. These plots of land; these sand castles, which we are building here. Moment after moment, and then the wind comes, and they are all gone.
Dunya – ego – would like, for example, attention. Would like to feel superior, or ‘cool’, in these ways or those. Dunya is ice-cold, and it beckons for your warm hands to reach out and touch it. Know it; become addicted to it. Drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll.
Dunya is: ‘casual’ and wasted time. Lies, and lies, and lies. Appearances; putting up fronts so that ‘they’ finally approve of you, somehow. The life of Dunya is: vain pursuits. Allowing ourselves to be deceived, usually by things whose truths are so very far away from us. Dunya is boasting, and boasting, picture-films, concealing only hot air. Lying to ourselves, and to others. For ‘approval’, among other egoic things.
We get caught up in the cheapness of ‘money-making’; in wanting to ‘impress’ with images. Of ourselves: our faces, and our ‘accomplishments’. Our lives; our families. What are we putting first?
So we can either stand upon mountains of truth. Or, we can stand upon mounds of deception. Illusion, decay. Mirage, vanity. When everything else goes away, only the stuff far, far better than Dunya shall remain.
You have all these faculties — Nafs (ego, lower-self), ‘Aql (intellect). We can make intelligent choices, out of them: ones that do not bring about, within us, lifetime regrets, followed by eternal ones. Or, we can be of the Losers. Always, always, always: we choose.
“Know that the life of the world is only play, and idle talk, and pageantry, and boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children; as the likeness of vegetation after rain, whereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller, but afterward it dries up and you see it turning yellow, then it becomes straw. And in the Hereafter there is grievous punishment, and (also) forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure, whereas the life of the world is but matter of illusion.” [Qur’an, 57:20]
Everything from Islam – the way of life recommended by the One who created us – is best for us. In Dunya – where we need shelter, sustenance and repose – and in the Eternity to come. That life is far better for us, and it is the one that is actually lasting: whose gorgeous-seeming adornments are true.
So, and this is a reminder to myself, mainly, for now and forever: grand-seeming sand castles, decorated with shiny-seeming shells? Or iron-grade, mighty rock castle-castle, with the roses, and the swords: the truths of Dunya, and the gorgeousnesses of Jannah?
What is mirages; a hungry and powerful need for ‘more’, until it necessarily makes dizzying, nauseous; morally wrong: ugly, but caked beneath colours that may magnetise me towards paying attention. A temporary greenness, there, whose true nature proves itself to be mere straw. Or
what is always-noble. [Disapproved of, by others, often, though]. ‘Simple’ and elegant. Beautiful:
Gardens beneath which rivers flow.
Sometimes, I find myself worrying about those who might disagree; disapprove; look upon me, and these values I hold to be true, with rejecting eyes. I will never be ‘enough’ – or I will necessarily be ‘too much’ – for those who have more Dunya-aligned values. But then again, who are they? Did they create me? Will they not also be standing there, naked, quaking, terrified, on That Day, when there will be no shade anywhere, save for His?
[I hope I can graceful-flex my Pegasus on them, then…]
This Dunya-based journey, battles, mountain-climb uphill, will prove to be arduous, no matter where in it we are, or look. Different sets of blessings; different sets of tests. But then again: what true sweetness, triumph, has ever really come, here, from mere ‘pleasantries’ and ease? Where is the impetus for things, in times of mere indolence and ‘ease’? Know that we’ll be tested to our very limits, here. But we are not going to be weak, or liars or cowards, I hope. Death: release is coming. I hope we’ll have wealths of good things to show for ourselves, when it does.
In this world, I am seeking elegance, truth, beauty, (the Best Ways) and peace, Insha Allah. For Ākhirah: I would like to have, and from the Perfection of my Lord, Bi’ithnillah, Everything.
“Those are the bounds of Allah; and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will cause him to enter Gardens from beneath which Rivers run, eternally (abiding) therein; and that is the magnificent triumph.” [Qur’an, (4:13)].
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.