Rippling lake with tall mountains in the distance and a pinkish hued cloudy sky

Looking Inward

"That moment you feel broken because of a fault discovered in yourself, at that moment where you feel that brokenness, you will find His presence with you, because your brokenness takes you back to your origin and essential reality. When I am broken, I am closer to my own essential reality, which is my slavehood. Whenever I am closer to my essential reality, I am closer to the Absolute Truth, glory be to Him. At that point, you will receive Divine support and help from His Lordship, and you will be given a mantle which will remedy those maladies in you" — Habib Ali al-Jifri

Our journey to Allah SWT is a continuous one. A big part of this journey is reflecting and looking inward.

And the core aspect of our journey is avoiding the prohibitions, and practising what we have been commanded to do. Essentially, developing taqwa and through it, a state of divine love. Because a person who worships Allah as though he sees Allah, and knows that Allah sees him, will be in such a manner that he will not behave in a way that displeases Allah. Nor will he grieve over what he may lose, or befalls him. This is because he understands that Allah loves us more than our own parents, and wants good for us. What Allah can give us is better than the dust of this world.

The way to develop taqwa, to purify oneself of the prohibitions, is to, initially, have an intense, deep, inward searching. We already know how to search and watch over what is on the outward:

…This intense desire to see something: like the desire of the scientist who is looking through a microscope to find a cure for some illness; or the astronomer who is looking out for a distant star that hasn’t been discovered yet; or a person in love who is looking out in the crowd to see the person he loves; or a prospector panning for gold: all these people will endure hardship and be patient/forbearing because they are on the lookout for something and their desire to reach this thing is so intense that it makes them put up with all manner of hardship to reach their final goal…

— Habib Ali al-Jifri, On the Hikam of Ibn Ata-illah.
Rippling lake with tall mountains in the distance and a pinkish hued cloudy sky

But if we can turn that spotlight, that magnifying glass, inwards then we can begin to deal with our faults. Half of the issue is that we are unaware of our own faults, or we hide them from ourselves. We make excuses or justify them.

We should be grateful when someone tells us of a fault of ours, regardless of how they say it. Whilst our ego might find it hard to bear: if there is truth in it, that is all that matters. If it is a truthful criticism then we can benefit from it and draw close to Allah by ridding ourselves of it.

Look at the righteous and the stories of the righteous. Attempt to adopt their righteous character traits. Or if you see from amongst the general people some character trait which you dislike, then make a firm resolve to never behave in that manner.

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