In my short life, i’ve witnessed on many occasions a strong contrast in the core philosophy of the attainment of love or pleasure from Western/Secular and Islamic perspectives.
Growing up, life taught me that my reaction to a certain person or action was based upon my initial feeling for that person or action. If, from my initial meetings I wasn’t pleased with someone, that would remain my stance towards them. If, from my commencement of the action I didn’t feel pleased, I would set the rule in my mind that this action is not pleasing.
A practical example of this is in marital relations. We’re often taught that marriage should be the with the one that we love. So, first we need to feel this emotion of love and then the natural second step is marriage.
Another example of this is in Salah. From my initial introductions to salah, I didn’t find it to be anything more than a set of movements, void of comfort, exalted in boredom, full of chanting I didn’t understand. So naturally, growing up I wasn’t so enthusiastic about performing my salah because of my initial experiences.
As I entered into adulthood and became more concerned with my relationship with Islam, I encountered a different philosophy which would change my life forever. I quickly started to understand that for me to truly love or be pleased with someone or some action, it took effort from my part to allow that emotion to grow.
Using the same marriage example as above, Islam doesn’t promote love before marriage. Rather love is something that grows after marriage. Islam promotes putting effort into a marriage which brings about true love. A polar opposite from what I saw growing up.
Using the same salah example as above, Islam tells us that true love for this act will only come after putting the effort into the act. So initially, the act may be discomforting, but after struggle and consistency, it becomes beloved.
The reason I bring this discussion to surface is because I find as Muslim we have a tendency to give up on doing good deeds because we initially don’t find the fulfillment in it that we had hoped. A sister dawns the hijab and takes it off in the first few weeks or months because she doesn’t “feel” fulfilled; or a brother begins to earnestly go above and beyond in serving his parents but eventually gives up because he doesn’t “feel” satisfied.
In reality, this train of thought is nothing more than a trap of shaytaan. For verily, Islam demands that a person first struggle, whether they “feel” good or not and then through that struggle Allah will bestow you with pleasure. This is why, I believe it was Sufyan ath-Thawri rahimuhallah who had said: The first years of praying qiyaam were very difficult, the years after that were okay, but the years after that was when the love for qiyaam truly entered my heart. Allah will only come towards you after you’ve taken a step towards Him, so don’t get demotivated if you don’t “feel” the fruits of your deeds right away, just know that its coming soon.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to drop a line in the comments section.