From childhood to the moment we leave this earth, we are conditioned to think in the way of the world. A world that is characterised by limits, finite in its very nature. From the colossal star that lights our days, provides the conditions required for life and keeps us circling a steady orbit, to the cells that constitute the bodies we inhabit, everything around us is limited. The sun will one day collapse, just as the matter that makes up our human forms will return to dust. We see boundaries, curbs and confinement, which extend from fossil fuels and the concept of time all the way to our own self-imposed structures. It is only ever physically possible for a certain number of us to get into university or get a job, regardless of aptitude and potential. It struck me as a young child that the only instance in which we are not faced with a cut-off, where competition is not defined by a fixed number of spaces and positions, is Jannah (Paradise). There will be no disappointment because you were not within the 60,000 person cut-off mark; we are not racing against one another because the palaces might run out before we make it. With Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) there are no limits, because He is limitless.
There are no frontiers or caps where He is concerned, a concept our minds can never truly comprehend because they themselves are built with limits. What we tend to forget however is that our souls and our spiritual hearts, the essence of what we are, belong to another realm; the realm of their Lord, which is infinite, absolute, eternal and illimitable. Our non-physical aspects therefore cannot be categorised and condemned to the nature of this world. Allah’s (swt) love for us is boundless, His mercy is without beginning or end, and it is from this nature that the concept of un-conditionality arises. Our souls, in their divine essence, can be vessels for this boundless mercy and love if He so wills it.
Imagine a tap whose source is a lake. Water will flow from the tap so long as there is water in the lake, perhaps for days, perhaps for weeks, until the lake runs dry. Now imagine a tap connecting to an ocean. Water will flow from the tap for years, but eventually, even the mighty ocean will have been drained. However, if there was an infinite water supply, in which every drop of water is replaced instantaneously after being removed, water would flow from the attached tap forever. We all know that the output depends directly on the source. Undeniably, the characteristics of the provider are reflected in what is provided.
We are like the tap: if we connect ourselves to a limited source, however vast, expansive and mighty that source may be, we will one day run dry. Our love and mercy will cease to gush forth as we tire and become worn out. But if our source is infinite and endless, in need of no replenishment or renewal because it is perfect and complete, our souls can truly fulfil their divine potential. Our souls can act as vessels for the most beautiful and pure phenomenon in physical and spiritual existence. If we connect ourselves wholly and securely to Allah (swt), only then are we able to channel love and mercy unconditionally to others.
We must free ourselves from the shackles of how we have been programmed to think in this world. Stop applying imperfect, narrowed limitations and restrictions to things that are above any bounds. Make Him the sole source and reason for our loving and giving, and there will be no reason to hold back, to be fearful or cautious of what we give to the souls intertwined in ours. Because it is for Him and from Him, be it kindness with a family member or compassion for a stranger on the street, our hearts will be filled up and content. It is for and from He Who rewards, He Who gives without measure, He Whose bounty and praise are all-embracing.
Even when our bodies become one with the earth from which they came, even when the sun’s brilliant burning is no more, all that we gave of love and mercy will remain, true and eternal just like He in Whose name it was dealt forth.