After a tough event I was going through in my life, my sheikh, a wise man of few words, advised me to recite this verse everyday. As I started my daily recitation, all what I was thinking about was that I’m the good one, I’m among “those who believe” so God will defend me and my oppressors fall under “the unfaithful, ungrateful” and thus God does not love them. Yet, as the days went by and as I kept repeating the verse over and over again, I found myself delving deeper into the meaning… I realized that the verse wasn’t about the oppressors and the oppressive event… it wasn’t about them… it was all about me… It is about the choice I have to make, do I choose to be among “those who believe” or among “the unfaithful ungrateful”? Do I choose to be among those who God defends or among those who lose His love? The recitation my sheikh instructed me to perform was a daily heart-cleansing exercise, a compass that re-orients my intentions, my thoughts and actions towards Him alone, exalted be He.
It is that change in perspective that makes all the difference. It’s all about me and my relationship to God, exalted be He. It’s all about the choices I make, the worldview I choose to adopt and the lens through which I choose to see my world. It’s all about me… about my heart and how hard I work at purifying and cleansing it, how diligent I am in the pursuit of ihsān, spiritual excellence, in all my acts and thoughts… It is about how I choose to worship God as if I see Him, although I do not see Him, but He sees me… how I choose to walk the Path of Love and Service with the intention of only seeking God’s love and being His servant. It is not about whoever wronged me. I can’t judge them… I don’t know their motives, their intentions, their hearts… I simply don’t know… What I know, though, is that they were sent my way for a reason… they were here to teach me a lesson that, if I choose, will draw me closer to my Lord, exalted be He.
It’s the fine work of surrendering to the Divine decree and striving to change your life and your heart for the better… It is the heart that balances every thing; “God does not change the condition of a people until -and unless- they change what is in their soul,” (Q. 13: 11)… until we change what is in our souls… what is in our hearts… See, we’re back to “it’s all about me” it’s all about my heart… it’s not about them… it’s not about retribution… it’s not about waiting for Divine punishment to befall the oppressors… they are simply out of the picture… I need to zoom in… on me… on my heart… on its connection to the Divine, exalted be He… How is this connection? How sincere am I? How free am I?
It’s a life-long struggle… a struggle for a wholesome sound heart, qalb salīm (Qur’an, 26:89). Returning to God at the end of our life with this sound heart is our ultimate aim... A sound heart is one, like Prophet Abraham’s, that is sincerely filled with the truth of Divine Oneness and free from worldly attachments, free from judgements, free from doubts, free from fears, worries, and vain; an empowered heart that has surrendered entirely to its Creator, exalted be He; and that wishes for others all good that it wishes for itself.