.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“Allah is the One who made for you the night, so that you may have rest in it, and the day to let you see.”
— Qur’an (40:61)
Often, what it takes is: rest. When the light seems to have reached the end of the matchstick, and you might feel somewhat sunken in, well, misery. And our skies seemingly blacken, and things feel heavy once more.
You may begin to start resenting things. Feel angry, inflamed. Emotionless, more passive, worn away, and like hope
Is a finite resource: it might feel like it is running out. Perhaps, for you, dear Reader, it is a thing of productivity, and making your money; doing your work. Or maybe your connections with those nearest and dearest to you: are they feeling a little… negative? Touchy, sensitive? And/or stale?
On the topic of ‘staleness’ and all: bread.
According to the Bible, [and we Muslims believe in the holiness of the Bible, however we also accept that it has been altered by human hands, over time] when God put humankind on this Earth, He made it so that we earn our daily bread through struggle and toil: hard work, and sweat.
It does not matter whom you are, or what your occupations are. Mother, student, dentist or construction worker: this life entails struggle, and struggle for our daily bread. We need food to sustain us, as well as shelter. We need sunlight, movement, love and care from others.
It simply will not do, for us, to consider ourselves as solely earners of bread. We are… Muslims. We, like Prophet Muhammad (SAW) are trying to earn, as well as that daily bread [gluten-free, if you happen to be allergic], things far more substantial than that.
There is Allah’s Love to be earned and kept. Beautiful people, in our lives, to get to know better, and over time, as parts of ourselves ebb and flow. There is the finite stuff of youth and health to be maintained; warm sleeps to be embraced by. There are prayers to be prayed; bread to be earned, and made. And shared, with our families, and with the needy; with the neighbour, and with the stranger.
There are always problems to be solved, and challenges to face, fall over, learn through. Triumph over, in whatever ways. There are midday naps to be sunken into, hopefully, and walks to be walked; little beautiful things to feel elevated by (like the stars, under the winter coat of night). There are thanks to be said, for this: our daily bread. And milk, and dates, and water malone [not a typo].
There are, at times, sicknesses to be endured: those more physical (like the coronavirus) and, indeed, those more mental (like, say, depression, anxiety, bipolar). There is sleep to be snored, and varying forms of
Rest to be had. Matches cannot burn indefinitely: energy is finite, and how can one expect a human being to ever run in a straight line, always fast and without ever stopping, cramping, needing water, and:
Rest. A step away, and then a chance to approach things via fresher eyes again. We are holistic and ennobled creations of the Almighty, as opposed to robotic beings whose purpose here is to fill our pockets with money, and to collect ‘accomplishments’ through which we compete in obsessive, externally-decorated rat races. [The ‘cheese’: ’tis, we find, ever-elusive.]
At times, things may take longer: tidying your room may seem like a most long and burdensome task. At other times, and once you have taken your rest how your being prefers to take its rest [are you an ice-cream-on-the-sofa-eater? A therapeutic-gym-goer? Secretly, a crazy-plant-hugger? Cake-baker?] perhaps, In Shaa Allah, things will feel like sunshine all over again: your friendship with your closest friend. Your studies. Your work. Marriage [Reality considered, there had been times when Muhammad (SAW) spent time away from his wives, when things (naturally) got a bit difficult. A good way to avoid unnecessary heated conflict: a break, a breather, only to return in a more prime state]. Parenthood. Even: your faith. These things occur in cycles, seasons.
Sometimes, Īmān: it ebbs and it flows. You feel fully present, sometimes, and somewhat empty, distracted and exhausted at others. I can appreciate the wisdom of, for example, how women are given rest away from Salāh for an entire week every month. Men and women: we have sleep, and water. Qur’an, and fire. Presence in nature; presence with our loved ones, unconstrained by the folly of equating time (sacred gift, spiritual. It is running out, and we all die in the end) with mere money (sure, with it we can buy things. But those things are material, and they are means[es?], aren’t they, to nobler and supreme ends).
What are some of your favourite ways, to rest?
What are the most valuable things in your life (whether they are intangible or tangible)?
Beneath and beyond any externally-imposed labels or limitations or understandings, (but, of course, within moral boundaries!) whom do you (deeply, intuitively) know yourself to be?
[Allah knows you even better than you know yourself.
He has given you the work you have to do: the means through which you acquire your bread (livelihood). And, in line with the Qur’an Ayah this article opens with, He made the night for rest for you, and you deserve to be taken care of, including by yourself. Like a parent: gentle, patient, understanding, towards her (not-mere-‘productivity-robot‘) child].