This small series of articles aims to explore the following questions:
- Does Islam promote ease or difficulty?
- Does Islam state that the path to Allah is that of difficulty?
Previously we discussed:
- With Hardship There is Ease
- Wondrous Are The Believers’ Affairs
- Seek Help Through Patience
- He Always Chose The Easiest of Two Matters
- Allah Wants Ease For You
- Allah Wants To Alleviate The Burden
- We Shall Test You With Something of Fear
- Hell is Surrounded By Worldly Desire
- When Is The Help Of Allah Due?
- Allah Tests What Is In Your Breasts
- So That They Might Return To Allah
- The Misunderstood Hadith
- Difficulty or Ease or Something Else?
- A Word on Sacrifice
A Practical Example of Pro-Difficulty Thinking
I’m giving this example to allow you to begin analyzing what you see and hear so that you can distinguish.
One of my disciplines is hypnotherapy. One of the most prevalent things I see is people hypnotizing each other with words and sentences without them being aware that this is what they’re doing. The problem isn’t that they’re hypnotizing one another; The problem is what they’re hypnotizing one another to do, think, and believe!
So with that said, I want to show you how I analyze one of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi’s statements that I don’t agree with. But first, I’ll share what I think of Rumi’s work. He’s very poetic. Many of his sayings are extremely ambiguous. Out of context, many of his sayings can be misunderstood. Sometimes you’re not actually sure who he’s talking to, never mind what he means. So I analyze his words, not by what he meant because only Allah and him would know that and I can’t ask him because he’s been dead for more than 7 centuries. Just because I disagree with this particular saying doesn’t mean that he’s a bad person at all, or that he doesn’t have other sayings that are good. Maybe he meant by it something completely different and just wasn’t able to convey that meaning.
He says what I’m about to share with you. As you read it, imagine it was someone else who was saying it, a normal person you just met and didn’t know much about:
“Don’t turn your head.
Keep looking at the bandaged wound.
That’s where the light enters you.
And don’t believe for a moment that you’re healing yourself.”
What would you think if someone whom you had just met told you that? How would you feel?
Hearing that saying and assuming that the word light is used to refer to guidance or something good leads me to ask the following questions. Some of these questions might sound silly, but bear with me; they all come from what is implied within the above statement:
- Why are you assuming that the light enters through a wound? Does the light only enter through the wound?
- Can’t the light enter through my eyes, mouth, pores, nostrils, or any other opening for that matter?
- Will the light only enter the wound if I’m looking at the wound?
- What if the wound gets infected?
- What is the relevance of telling me that I don’t heal myself after telling me not to look away from the wound?
- If I don’t have any wounds, will the light not enter me?
- If I don’t have a wound, should I create a wound so that the light can enter me?
- How is the light entering if there’s a bandage covering the wound?
- Is the bandage transparent?
- If I have a wound, shall I make more wounds so that more light can enter?
- If I have a wound, shall I stop it from healing to ensure that the light doesn’t stop entering me?
- Is it wrong to seek-out healing?
Again, I’m not critiquing Rumi. I’m critiquing these words. In essence, my disagreement with this saying of Rumi’s is that it implies that growth can only happen through pain and difficulty. This isn’t true.
It also assumes that pain should be celebrated, which is not right. Pain should be met with patience, not jubilation. This is what the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) taught us:
“…When something pleasing happens to him, he is grateful, and that is good for him;and when something displeasing happens to him, he is patient, and that is good for him.” (Muslim; 7138)
If we celebrate difficulty, then we are not abiding to the teachings of he Prophet ﷺ.
Practical Examples of Pro-Ease Thinking
These examples are also sayings of Rumi. As I said before, I agree with some of his work and you’ll notice a stark contrast between this saying and the one previously mentioned. I’ll leave you with the following two sayings that are truly upbeat:
“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
AbdelRahman Mussa, a graduate of sharia and a therapist, is the founder of ipersonalenrichment.com, a site specializing in practical tazkiyah (