Today, I pondered about Taqwa. I was praying to Allah swt to increase it and help my be stable on it. To stay strong with it. With that, I began wondering, are there times that I absolutely do not have Taqwa? I realized I do have taqwa every now and then, but most of the time, I bury it under the blackness of my sins, mishaps, and fog of misclarity on things.
When a difficulty in my life comes in, my little nafs inside my heart frantically digs out Taqwa, hangs it up like a chandelier and lights it with the light of iman. Thus enlightening my vision to make decisions and think accordingly to surah fatiha. (ihdina assiraatal mustaqeem)
And so my chandelier is lit, and I can see all that lies inside my heart. Or at least whatever is apparent amongst the buried memories, aspirations, secrets, prayers, personal contracts claiming I won’t do this again, promises, and past accounts of repentance.
My nafs looks to see what it can dig out to fit the puzzle in decision making. Unfortunately, the nafs is entirely self-centered and selfish. It only desires what benefits it NOW. Immaturity is my nafs’ bestfriend, because Immaturity is kind of obsessed with emotions and feelings. Inexperience is lazy and is always sleeping in the back, but my nafs knows how to take advantage of it. It uses it as an excuse to shape the puzzle in such a way so that I depend on surprises and earn the currency of new experience, whether it be good or bad. Cuz that’s what nafs does. It bribes Inexperience with the currency of Experience so it can meal on fudge brownie sundaes and be fat, lazy, and hide under the bed from Courage.
Now that my hearts lit with Iman and Taqwa is hanging tight and securely, nafs ravages through my heart, looking for the perfect pieces that make it seem like the decision is 100% for the akhira, despite whatever instant gratification or schemes it’s trying to get by. However, it’s always a challenge for Nafs because the light that Iman gives doesn’t show what black lights show. Black lights show the clever whispers scribed in invisible ink by the ever so well-meaning shaytan.
Iman highlights all that is good, guiding me to what I’ve learned before and how to take control of my emotions, steer them into the right direction and make the niyyat of serving Allah swt.
My nafs however, cherry picks through the different options and tries to trick me into taking the rigid path rather than the straight path. Sometimes it’s a war inside that vesicle and Courage and Hope come to the rescue. They stun nafs with the image of Jannah just enough to get by with making the perfect decision, helping my win.
I have no idea on how I’m going with this and I feel like I can go on and on because these daily occurrences are always so unique and rich and always provide new seeds for growth and self-development.
Footnotes- Taqwa is arabic for god-consciousness and love and humility towards Him Iman- adamant faith in God for His justice, love, recompense, and the Unseen that is under His control. It's something so overbearing that it affects everything you do and becomes your goal, your conscience, and your purpose. Nafs- conscience, ego