Why could I not be enlightened without suffering ? A valid question that needs an answer.
Let me answer from the perspective of the developing chrysalis. Assuming I am not being able to witness the immense struggle of the caterpillar in the narrow space, as it metamorphoses into a Butterfly, I with help of a knife slit open the chrysalis. In so doing with my compassion and kind act, what have I achieved.
A worm that has not developed its wings fully, a worm that will in no time, fall to the ground, wriggle on the ground and die.
The struggle of the chrysalis was needed for the emergence if the wings, like wise, we at times, have to endure struggle and pain, so that our spiritual and awareness wings develop fully.
However, our thinking has to be positive, always firmly believing in the ultimate good. Hasan al Basri was a renowned Sufi at the time of Imam Ali Zainul A’bedin ( SA). A Shia heard Hasan al Basri proclaim aloud ‘ I wonder how people will ever go to heaven ever!!
This Shia, a follower of Imam was very agitated to hear this from a renowned and respected Sufi. Will there be no redemption for people like him, the large majority.
He approached the Imam who comforted him, by saying ” I wonder how people will ever go to hell, when my Lord is so Merciful !!’
So the most important thing is to have a very positive outlook in life, and have faith, that no matter what, the storm clouds will wither away and you will be in the sunlight.
The importance of raising children and infusing FITRAH and strengthing their character, at the right time.
We should at the onset understand the different phases of the development of the child. As stated earlier the baby in its initial years is selfish, fully TABIAH oriented, and it is very important for it to remain so, for the child has to develop physically.
Like a foal it has to be lovingly nurtured so that it turns out to be prancing yearling and develops into a strong colt or filly, according to gender.
In the first phase between 3 to 5 depending upon their enviornment, culture and upbringing, let them express their TABIAH freely, let them prance around and gallop in gay abandon, for this will instill self confidence in them, they will turn out to be strong.
In the second phase as he grows older, while the child is riding high on TABIAH it is time for you as awakes parents, now to start holding the rein, and by becoming the role model, introduce FITRAH concepts. In this second phase the TABIAH is the slate on which the pen of FITRAH will inscribe and etch permenantly Universal Truths and virtues. Your Prince of the first phase now becomes your slave. The reins are in your hand. Just one example, let them play computer game, but when it is time to study or pray, they should be made to understand the priority.
The third phase around 14 – 21 ( again depending upon society, culture, upbringing) coinciding with attaining puberty, is the most important phase, for both the parents and their children. During this phase the FITRAH oriented parents can contribute a lot if they are understanding, educated and most important patient. Your child is like a Vizier, treat him like your companion, start planting ideas, do not use force but loving tact, and seek his mind and advice.
This in some sense is the make or break phase. In this crucial phase, TABIAH which was till this period was driven by limited pleasures, like love for food, music, outdoors etc: finds more basic and forceful forces emerge, which are needed for the development of the human potential, at the same time have to be properly reined in, for everlasting good in this life and Hereafter.
The FITRAH should be in place. While TABIAH will gallop with full speed to full fill it’s physical needs and pleasures, FITRAH at the same time, discovers the beauty and purpose of life.
If you have a horse which is trained and reined, it will gallop with life vitality but at the same time, will have a purpose and direction. It will be strong in body and mind.
TABIAH while full filling its physical needs, marrying, procreating, enjoying worldly pleasures, family life etc: what will evolve simultaneously is the FITRAH, the rider which will experience the true meaning and purpose of life.
FITRAH seeks lofty concepts and truths, and if TABIAH in this stage is properly reined, the wings will take the body with it. If the FITRAH is asleep, then it will like a rider, who wants only what the horse wants.
The difference between TABIAH and FITRAH is in the ‘seeking’. An example will suffice, to show the difference.
TABIAH desires and prods to become a Doctor, so that prestige, money and life style is acquired in greater abundance. However, if one at the same time is FITRAH oriented, he will acquire all the above to some extend, but his priority will be to serve humanity.
As we become older, with age and maturity, if we have lived a life of FITRAH the old ‘I’ melts away and a new ‘I’ is born completely attuned to Allah. At this stage, you live a life of peace, bliss and contentment, devoid of frustration, accepting the ‘is’ ness of things, taking life in its stride as it unfolds.
It is Allah and you.