Thursday, April 28, 2011

Diary of an Activist

When my four-year-old remained stuck in her terrible twos, I bought her a journal to get her to right some of her wrongs.

After climbing into bed, she'd hand me her green monkey notebook and sparkly pencil and dictate while I wrote and illustrated. Here is an entry from March 12 of that year:

Good: Cleaned toy room by myself!
Bad: Made faces at Apa (older sister in Urdu)  >:(   :-?   :{

As it turns out, she shouldn't have been the only one keeping a diary.

Prophet Muhammad (S) said: "One never acquires piety unless he self-scrutinizes his own deeds--a scrutiny much more severe than the auditing of accounts between two business associates."

"When you lay down at night and you're tossing and you're turning and you're trying to find that good spot on your pillow, stop and ask yourself, 'What have I done today?'" says scholar-in-training Asad Jafri.

God urges us to evaluate and correct our actions now--while we still have time--because it'll be too late on the final Day of Accounting.

"And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and thou wilt see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein; they will say, 'Ah! woe to us! what a Book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!' They will find all that they did, placed before them: And not one will thy Lord treat with injustice." (Quran 18:49)

Self-accounting involves three steps: 1) reminding ourselves and our body parts every morning to do good and shun bad, 2) supervising our intentions, thoughts and actions throughout the day, and 3) reviewing it all at night. Before falling asleep, we thank God for the positive things we have done and beg His forgiveness for the negative, promising not to repeat our lapses, God willing.

One of the added benefits of practicing self-scrutiny is the ability to successfully collaborate with those around us, particularly those God-fearing individuals committed to promoting truth and justice on earth. We are able to look past the weaknesses, mistakes and differences of others and keep our eyes on collectively reaching our goals.

"As we search for faults within us, we become tolerant of the faults of others," Jafri says.

Hasan, the eldest son of Ali and Fatima (one of the four perfect women), shows us that tolerance can go along way. A man from Syria who had a grudge against Ali said he saw a beautiful and tranquil person while visiting Medina. When he found out he was the son of Ali, he became jealous and "let out a flood of abuses and slander."

"After I had finished abusing him, he asked me if I was a stranger, to which I replied in the affirmative. Then he asked me to go along with him and said he would arrange a place for me to stay if I didn't have one, and that if I didn't have money, he would help me out. Also, if I was needy he would make me self-sufficient. When I had separated from him there was no one on earth who was more beloved to me than Hasan ibn Ali."

It is only through tolerance and unity around truth that true freedom can emerge. As Imam Khomeini said to a group of women shortly after the revolution:

"Stand together all of you, all of you must stick together. You play an important role in this movement." 

1 comment:

Hooma said...

Dear Salina,
It is your long lost friend - Hooma. I know you must be overjoyed with excitement that I have honored your blog with my presence and I must say, you have good reason to be!

I love your blog. Your sister told me to check it out and I must say, I am glad that I did. Many moons ago, I remember her telling me that you are a talented writer, and indeed she spoke the truth.

In regards to the topic you picked, I cant agree with you more. Self-reflection and introspection of our deeds and behavior is vital in order for a person to improve themself as a human being. I feel that no real change, growth or developmnet can come in a person unless they take the time to sit and really think about their life, their choices and their actions. I myself have been focusing a lot on this lately, and more than anything I have found that the person that has benefited the most from this is MYSELF.

Anyways, I will keep reading. Toodles!