Bismillah – In the Name of God.
I present this here as a letter of sorts, written to the ones who are in search of Reality, who desperately seek Truth beyond illusion, and who recognise God but may have fallen out of love with religion:
I believe that many people deep down, naturally recognise, and believe in an Uncreated Singular Being and Source of all existence. But I believe many may be yet to find the adequate language in which to express it. We all have a yearning for the Source, for ‘It’, ‘He’. After all, it is in our “fitra” or innate nature as human beings to know and recognise this truth of God. It is repeated throughout the Qur’an, that everything in existence worships and submits to God, whether they are aware of it or not.
But being in this material world, we forget what we were supposed to remember. We forget this knowledge and knowing of what was written into our hardware. It’s like a repressed and distant memory. Oftentimes, people become bogged down by the structure or “culture” that surrounds belief in God. Perhaps for some, it’s the method in which a set path or way is conveyed or first presented to them. For others, it seems at first to be foreign way, in its outward form. Perhaps it is the foreign tongue, recitation or set formulas of worship that may seem strange. Perhaps it is the amnesia of forgetting the symbolic nature of movements and significance of what it means to prostrate to something, to Someone. To prostrate with the utmost of respect (adab) and in the most befitting way.
However, I believe that when you uncover more, delve and dive deeper past the surface, from the outward form and reach the inner dimensions of this, you will arrive. Perhaps you will be invited, perhaps you will have the esteemed honour, of entering through the door to the lofty mansion of truly knowing God. Of knowing and tasting Reality, the Source of all being, in His Most Glorious Form. There will cease to be a barrier and you will get to see with the real eye of seeing.
Some have not found the language yet in which to express this, but I believe the most comprehensive, simple and most straightforward way or path is Islam. Real Islam. Not following the path for the sake of the path itself but only and purely for the sake of the One whom the path leads to. Allah. Because where else are you going? Beside to the Source of all being?
“Today, I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and chosen as your dīn [religion, way], Islam: [total devotion to God]” 5:3
I think a lot of people in our time are put off by religion, describing it as “organised religion” because it has always been presented to them in rigid, black and white structures devoid of any love, soul, colour, expression or art. They see people worshipping rules in and of themselves, structures or figures, rather than understanding that pure and untampered religion is the tool. It is tool in which you reach God, the structure of religion is not the thing deserving of worship itself. We only worship God Himself, nothing else.
Using the term “organised religion” does admittedly feel like a slight misnomer, a cliché that evokes memories of growing up alongside passionate atheist personalities that seemed to have a deep hatred of even the mention of a Creator. People who were completely in denial of the existence of anything spiritual. People that worship “science” – or whatever that means. But even this malady has its own roots, causes and diagnosis. This discomfort with “organised religion” or the rigid communities and structures that surround it, that have no colour, life, or heart – this is a real barrier for many. The centre of that “religion” is no longer God Himself but power and authority over other human beings.
When real, true, dīn, – or way – true religion is any clear pathway to the Real. It liberates all people. And deep down is known and dying to be known, by all people.
“The Shariah (outward laws and guidelines for conduct) is the boat in which you travel in to experience the Haqqiqa (Truth/Reality)”.
I see this boat as only instructive, it is the guide and vessel. But some of us are so fixated on the dimensions, the specifications, that we forget to look out at the Ocean that is the Reality of Allah. Rules are just guidelines for us so we can move somewhere, travel on the boat and realise our true and purest nature (fitra). Of course, the better our boats, the better and well guided our travels are, and so we do indeed need a boat, otherwise how long could we stay afloat? But when we are stuck in theory, constantly, when we are stuck in theory, indefinitely, we don’t realise that we are not actually in motion on our path to our real goal, our real aim, Allah, the Real.
Spirituality is just theory put in practice with “ihsaan” – excellence.
It is sad that so many have been turned away by the very people and places who claim God, that make following a religion so difficult. But I believe that for those sincerely looking for something, beyond what the physical eye can see, beyond what the senses can intercept, they will arrive at their destination. Because to have the desire to look, to seek, to search for Truth, you must know that The Truth (al-haqq) already knows you. When you come knocking on the door of God, know that you will meet Him. No matter your form or state. Because who inspired your knocking in the first place? Who inspired your thought of Him, in the first place?
“Whoever loves to meet God, God loves to meet Him” The Prophet (pbuh).
Siddiqa Ojali Yusuf is a student, passionate about activism and portraying the black muslim woman narrative through poetry and writing. Her work explores the different layers to her own identity and the experience of growing up assimilating into British society, coping with the pressure to step away from her heritage and culture. She writes about spirituality and how, through faith, we can begin our journey back to ourselves and connect to our roots. More of her work can be found on Instagram @melaninmodesty
By Chantal Blake