“Stop the world! I want to get off!”
Can you relate?
This can be a very overwhelming feeling. You see, our humanity has this flaw that you will not find in other creation. We want to do all things, all at once! Multi-tasking, they call it. Supposedly a super human trait; but is it really? If so, then why do we need multivitamins and supplements to help us stay awake and alert? Why do we not get our proper 6-8 hours of sleep required to keep our bodies healthy? Why are so many of us suffering from stress and depression?
We do not function optimally because we do not serve our purpose. What is our ultimate purpose in life? Serving Allah and His deen (religion).
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” [Qur’an: Chapter 51, Verse 56]
Learning About Life from Salmon
Animals know their path and stick to it. Bears hunt and feed in summer, then hibernate in winter. The salmon, WOW! What an amazing creature! A salmon’s life purpose is to be born in the fresh water lakes where its parents die. Then a young salmon journeys to the vast ocean to feed on the nutrients available there until it becomes full grown. Only to make the journey back to the spawning grounds, in the fresh water lakes where they were born. This is no easy feat. The swim upstream is already a challenge in itself; but they cannot make this journey without falling prey to the many perils along the way: predators at every turn, shallow waters, late rains and many more. The salmon cannot move on in their journey if the rainfall does not fill the rivers and create flow. All the while, their bodies are adjusting to the change from salt water to fresh. Many are not strong enough and their bodies will not survive. The low levels in the rivers mean they will easily be spotted by bears and foxes on the hunt. Their numbers steadily decline. Suddenly the season changes, the rains come, the rivers fill up and the salmon’s journey continues. Eventually they will reach the spawning grounds in the great lakes; tired, energy depleted, but their purpose must be fulfilled. They must immediately lay their eggs. This, the waters of their birth, of their predecessors’ death, will deal them the same fate, but it is not in vain. Their protein and nutrient enriched bodies will serve as food for humans and animals alike. The dead salmon will wash to the edges of the water and decompose to provide food for plants and birds too.
And so it is with us:
“And He is the one who gave you life; then He causes you to die and then will [again] give you life. Indeed, mankind is ungrateful.” [Qur’an: Chapter 22, Verse 66]
The journey in between is our life. The ocean is our early life full of salt (knowledge and lessons). Hasan al-Basri said:
“The effect of learning at an early age is like engraving on a stone.”
Swimming upstream is our challenges in life. The danger and the perils of predators that attack are our bad habits like procrastination, worrying, cowardice, depression and the delusion of this life like the verse of the Qur’an says: