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Steps in achieving tranquility of the heart

BeachTranquility

By: Jinan Bastaki

Source: http://www.onislam.net

Sometimes it feels like it’s just too much – these fluctuations in our faith, the repeated sinning, the feeling that “I just don’t deserve Allah’s mercy.”

The tests always feel like punishments. There is a constant worry about the future: my marriage, my money, my career, my nation… And some difficulties just feel like they are too great to overcome. We know we’re not supposed to ask this, but the question at the back of our minds is: “Why me?”

We have all heard that we should never despair of God’s mercy. And on the surface, we try not to, but the Devil has a trick. We tend to despair of ourselves and our incapacity to change things, especially the inner turmoil that we feel. And the effect of this is basically the same as despairing of God’s mercy. We do not always accept that God can take us out of the situation we are in and we don’t need to ‘deserve’ the trouble; God isn’t punishing us and we don’t need to be perfect.

This doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t strive, or take ourselves to account when we do mess up. The key is to develop our relationship with God during that trouble. If we know God, no situation is too hopeless. No sadness is ever permanent. We perceive trials as they are meant to be perceived – as tests of our trust in God, forcing us to put our knowledge into practice and bringing us closer to Him. These trials could potentially be a punishment too, that is if we let it affect us negatively by completely turning away from Him because of our sadness. But our awareness of our own state and our understanding of God’s mercy allows us to turn the punishment into something positive that is manifested through repentance to God, alongside increasing in good deeds in order to erase the bad ones.

The first exercise is for us to consciously realize that God knows. Whatever grief we go through, whatever hardship we endure, we must understand that we are never alone. Even if we feel abandoned by the world and those closest to us, God is there. He reminds us in the Quran: {Fear not. Indeed, I am with you [both]; I hear and I see.} (Ta-Ha 20: 46)

As long as we begin by recognizing that God is with us and He is close to us, there remains a solution to our inner worries. There are things we need to know in order to develop our relationship with God. Then there are things we need to do in order to maintain that closeness to God. And finally, there are things we need to aspire for to achieve the ideal relationship with our Lord. We pray that by the end of the series, we will all have developed a stronger relationship with God.

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