‘Conditioned Faith’; the Deceit of Materialism
Our relationship with Allah turned from a relationship of servitude to that of benefits and expectations. We have started worshipping Allah over what He does for us.
In the materialistic world of nowadays, not getting attached to results is easier said than done. We live in a world that only values, respects, and applauds tangible results and achievements. If you are not achieving, you are simply ‘not there’. Our minds and hearts have been programmed to chase after and define everything with its achievement, including ourselves.
A man is well educated only through his degree, rather than his knowledge. A caliber is competitive enough only through her resume rather than her potential. An employee is evaluated based on his results rather than his effort, and a man is validated only through his income, not through his sleepless nights. Consequently, our spirituality suffers.
Our relationship with Allah turned from a relationship of servitude to that of benefits and expectations. We have started worshipping Allah over what He does for us. If the outcome is as desired, we are pleased with Him; however, if, God forbid, our prayers get delayed or unanswered, we become very timid, and a gap starts forming – a gap of frustration, denial, anger, blame and doubt. A gap that, if not dealt with, can turn into a black hole that consumes our faith in Allah’s actions, wisdom and eventually, in Allah altogether.
We need to understand that “results” do not exist in our relationship with Allah. It is never a requirement, nor a defining factor in the covenant we have with Him. Allah, entitled us to worship, not to set expectations or judge His actions, and if results do come up anywhere in this relationship, it would be Allah’s, not ours. He decides when and how.
Ibn Ata’ Allah said in his book of wisdom:
“Allah has guaranteed you a response in what He chooses for you, not in what you choose for yourself, and at the time He desires, not the time you desire.”
Allah knows more than anyone else (including yourself) what is best for you. So do not get too attached to a certain result and get deviated with an expectation that was never yours to begin with. Do not doubt Him nor His plan, and be grateful for His provision and be confident that you are in good hands.
To maintain a healthy relationship, we need to understand our obligation towards this relationship so that we could properly invest in it. Let’s not mix what society expects of us with what Allah hold us accountable to. It is the society that defines our worth through achievements, however, Allah asks us for pursuit. Do not get too overwhelmed in proving your worth to creatures as weak as yourself seeking their validation, instead, get yourself immersed in pleasing Allah seeking His satisfaction. Perfect your pursuit and let go of the attachment to certain results, then you can worry less.
We think that “things” are what we are looking for, when in fact, it is what these”things” represent that wear us out. We are not looking for money, we are looking for the security and autonomy that money represents. We are not looking for a career, we are looking for the sense of achievement it fulfills, and so forth. So, when you ask Allah for something, be aware that what you are looking for is the meaning it carries. Accordingly, when He provides you this meaning wrapped in a certain trial or test, know that He answered you, only the label was different. Allah (swt) says:
“And it may be that you hate a thing, while it is good for you; and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you; Allah knows and you do not know.”
The Holy Quran, 2:216
Man’s ultimate pursuit is inner satisfaction and peace, and that is only achieved through journeying inside one’s heart and understanding the real wisdom behind Allah’s events. It is never found around the corners of materialism. “Peace is in the heart of the beholder, not in the unfolding of events”.
The author Shaimaa Elhomossany is a computer engineer and student of Islamic studies based in Egypt, with a lively interest in psychological and religious development. She loves to combine psychology and modern human development techniques with Islamic perspectives to help Muslims succeed in modern world while maintaining a closer bond to Allah. Link to her personal blog: https://selhomossany.wordpress.com/