Thursday, March 10, 2016

On Turning 40- Contentment

On the first day of March, I was born into this world 40 years ago in 1976. Do I feel any different after my birthday??? In the age of Forever 21, there is a push to stay young, dress young, act young, and do whatever it takes- even going under the knife to look young. It wasn't always this way, there used to be a time when turning 40 meant spiritual maturity and wisdom. And there used to be a time when the wise were valued and sought after, not put away in a home to be visited once a month.

Surrounded by Love, Cake decorated by my Beloved Asha & Azara,
while Zahid is lighting the candles.

Well, I do feel different, maybe not wiser but definitely more secure. I was insecure at 10 years old, and insecure at 20 years old, I was even an insecure 30 year old, but I don't feel so insecure at 40. I feel - breathe in God's Love- contentment. All my previous decades I spent too much time looking at what other people have and feeling insecure about what I didn't have. But as I look back on my life, I see God's infinite Wisdom in it all and I trust in Him to guide me the rest of the way. I now have 40 years to reflect on: that's more years than I had at 30 or 20 or 10. I have more experiences to logically make an inference that the things I thought were bad in my life turned out in the end to be actually pretty wonderful.

A capitalist society thrives on people feeling insecure about their body and how they look, this truth most people know even if they buy into it. However, the lack of contentment defines a bigger void to fill with cars, property, gadgets and whatever else people collect during their mid-life crisis. The void is deeper than skin deep, it's a spiritual void and by the age of 40 I believe our souls start to demand their rights on us. The more we rebel against our soul, the bigger the void becomes and the more we try to consume to fill it. Yet, Beloved, our souls are not from this physical world so no gadget or item from this physical world will bring contentment to it, our pursuit is futile. In pursuit of happiness, we have to constantly strive to obtain this illusionary happiness, but contentment is stopping the pursuit and enjoying one's life at present no matter what situation we are in. Knowing that everything that will truly make us happy is already in our possession.

Imam Ghazali says in book 36 of the Ihya: true contentment in the Decree of God is the result of Love. 

Breathe in God's Love- Contentment.

Growing up without a father, without guidance from a strong, wise, protector and provider. I searched for that for many years, I searched for someone who would guide all aspects of my life. I desperately wanted a Shaykh. I still would like a Shaykh- a spiritual father- a guide however at age 40, I have come to the realization that I might not get a living Shaykh and I am ok with it. In reading the life of Imam Abdallah ibn Alawi al-Haddad we learn that most of his teachers who he received spiritual openings from were dead. I am happy with the knowledge that so many great teachers that are now past away have left guidance for us to read. So I am committed to study all I can from the likes of Imam Ghazali and Imam Haddad. I made myself a checklist of all the books I want to read and study and implement this year. I know my main focus is to discipline my ego, learn to be patient and draw nearer to God. I may not have a Shaykh, but I have guidance in books and taking the time to read at least 20 minutes each day has filled me with immense happiness. Moreover, I have been blessed to sit in the company of many teachers and gain from them all.

Imam Haddad says, "The one whose heart is not set on a particular Shaykh should meet with them all and absorb the baraka until the time he finds his heart collectedly set on one master. Then he should keep his company and surrender his affairs to him."

Allah has also blessed me with a provider and a companion for the last 18 years. Humble Dad's love for his family and watching our Beloved children grow together helps finding contentment in everyday life so much easier. This birthday, Humble Dad took the day off work and filled the day full of surprises starting with the bouquet of roses that was delivered the night before.

He started the morning by taking me to breakfast for blueberry pancakes~ my favorite and crab omelettes. Although no one can do crab like my Beloved Maryland :)

We went home to change, gave our Beloveds the greetings and went back out, this time the surprise was a reminder of my favorite place to be ~ The Beach while it was a severe winter advisory weather outside.

The Beach House- Day Spa was a great unexpected treat that I would highly recommend to anyone living in Metro Detroit. Humble Dad sat in the lobby for my full two hour treatment reading and answering emails. Then again we returned home to change and rest before heading to dinner. However, as we were leaving out the snow that had been predicted started coming full force. A determined Humble Dad did not want to let the snow halt his plans. So he drove us to Detroit only to learn by the time we arrived after snow delays that the restaurant was closing early due to the storm. Alhumdulilah, we were together but we were very hungry and ended up at a little Chinese restaurant close to home, one of the only places open.

Although, this post is about contentment at the heart/soul level ~ I add these details of my beautiful day with Humble Dad at the end to say I do believe it is important to take care of one's physical body in the most natural ways with good companionship, exercise, healthy diet, and leisure activities. We remind ourselves that the physical body will perish and there is nothing we can do to stop that, while our soul or spiritual body is eternal. Therefore this is the time, if we have not done so yet to put more effort and time in rectifying our soul.

Breathe in God's Love- I am very content with turning 40 and I am grateful for all that I have been given in the last 40 years. May Allah bless you all, thank you for reading.

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