By: Jamaal Diwan
Ibn ʿAṭā said:
“Your striving for what has already been guaranteed to you, and your remissness in what is demanded of you are signs of the blurring of your insight.”
This wisdom is essentially about where our heart lies in our interactions with everything around us. In it Ibn ʿAṭā warns that the worshipper of God should always keep his focus on God. This does not negate in any way the responsibilities we have in this life but it does mean that our focus and reliance need to be in the right place.
God said in the Quran:
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me. Indeed, it is God who is the Provider, the firm posessor of strength.”
He also said:
“And enjoin prayer upon your family and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the outcome is for the righteous.”
These verses remind us that our ultimate duty in this world is to worship God in the best way possible. Therefore, we should work in order to provide for our families but we should never forget that that work if done for this reason is worship in itself, that we are representatives of God’s chosen way of life on this earth, and that He is the One that ultimately provides for us. If He wills for us to not achieve financial success we will not and if He wills for us wealth it will come. We must still do our part but at the same time we must always keep in mind the reality of the matter.
At the same time we should struggle as hard as we can to please God as much as possible by living and working righteousness in our lives. This is what is requested from us and this is where our efforts should go. As I said in the beginning, it’s not so much about what we do but about where our heart is when we are doing it. If every action we do simply pushes us deeper and deeper into the abyss of worldy concerns instead of closer to God then we should be careful because it could be a sign that we have been stripped of insight and are going astray.
Our job is not merely to survive in this world, but rather to join the rest of the universe in the divine symphony of the glorification of God.
In order to implement this before and during Ramadan we should ask ourselves when doing things and making decisions: “Am I worrying about the choices I have or the consequences of my actions which are under God’s control?” We should obviously be seeking the former while hoping that God will bless us with success in our choices.