Fold of Peace, Dealing with Impurity, Finding Purpose
Issue 981 » January 12, 2018 - Rabi-al-Thani 25, 1439
Fold of Peace
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verses 207-208
"And there is a kind of man who would willingly sell his own self to please God. And God is gentle to His servants. O you who believe! Enter the fold of peace, all of you. Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you a manifest enemy."
Self-surrender is the most basic concept of faith, it is the condition of placing total trust in the certainty of the existence of God and recognising that one is the creation of a Merciful and Compassionate Creator. The consequence of such consciousness is giving one's self over completely to doing what God has commended, trying to live in this world to earn one's place in Paradise in the Hereafter. The 'fold of peace' is then a state of personal certainty and acceptance, a coming to terms with one's true nature. It is also recognition of the real nature and purpose of the world in which we exist. It is the state of being that one should strive to achieve, a state of being in stark contrast to the arrogant, worldly, domineering and destructive populism; dedicated commitment to working peacefully being the best way to make a better world based on justice, equity and dignity for all.
Surrendering oneself to God, entering the fold of peace, is no guarantee. It does not make people perfect. Self-surrender is the starting point, the point from which one sets off in search of the straight path, seeking to make a community of the middle way a reality. However, we can all expect to stumble. We live in a far from perfect world. Following the straight path is an extensive task requiring continual critical self-reflection as well as profound reasoning to understand and wrestle with the injustices and inequities in the world around us. In this endeavour, we can derive support and encouragement from the fact that God knows our intentions. Faith does not make us perfect, but continual striving, despite our failings and what stems from these failings, is not a worthless exercise.
"Reading the Qur'an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam" - Ziauddin Sardar, pp. 153-154
Dealing with Impurity
Young children might cause certain accidents, which may upset those who are holding them, because Islam places a very strong emphasis on purification. A highly authentic hadith, reported by Umm Qays ibn Mihsan, mentions that she brought her young boy who had not yet eaten any food [other than breast milk] to the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet sat the child on his lap, but the boy urinated and his urine wet the Prophet's clothes. The Prophet called for some water to be brought in. He sprayed the water over the place but did not wash his robe. (Related in all six authentic collections as well as Malik, Ahmad, al-Darimi and others.)
This hadith shows that the Prophet dealt with the matter of the child's urine in a very relaxed way, teaching his followers that this is nothing to become upset with or angry about in these situations. He thus showed us how to deal with the impurity, making clear that this is of the lesser type. Hence, it is sufficient to spray some water over the stained area to purify the clothes. This is true for young children, who have not eaten normal food.
Such accidents occurred more than once. One of the Prophet's Companions mentions that he was with the Prophet when Muhammad (peace be upon him) had placed one of his grandsons, either al-Hasan or al-Husayn, in his lap: The boy urinated and I could see the urine running over the Prophet's waist. We jumped to stop him, but the Prophet said: "Leave my grandson; do not scare him." He called for some water and he poured it over the urine. (Related by Ahmad.) Those who were with the Prophet only thought of him, and were therefore concerned that the impurity of the urine should be stopped and cleaned. The Prophet, however, thought firstly of the child, telling his Companions to leave him alone.
"Muhammad: His Character and Conduct" - Adil Salahi
For decades, psychologists have studied how long-term, meaningful goals develop over the span of our lives. The goals that foster a sense of purpose are ones that can potentially change the lives of other people, like launching an organization, researching disease, or teaching kids to read.
Indeed, a sense of purpose appears to have evolved in humans so that we can accomplish big things together—which may be why it's linked to better physical and mental health.
Many seem to believe that purpose arises from your special gifts and sets you apart from other people—but that's only part of the truth. It also grows from our connection to others, which is why a crisis of purpose is often a symptom of isolation. Once you find your path, you'll almost certainly find others traveling along with you, hoping to reach the same destination—a community.
Here are six ways to overcome isolation and discover your purpose in life.
Reading connects us to people we'll never know, across time and space—an experience that research says is linked to a sense of meaning and purpose. If you're feeling a crisis of purpose in your life, go to the bookstore or library or university. Find books that matter to you—and they might help you to see what matters in your own life.
2. Turn hurts into healing for others
Of course, finding purpose is not just an intellectual pursuit; it's something we need to feel. That's why it can grow out of suffering, both our own and others'.
3. Cultivate awe, gratitude, and altruism
Certain emotions and behaviors that promote health and well-being can also foster a sense of purpose—specifically, awe, gratitude, and altruism.
4. Listen to what other people appreciate about you
Giving thanks can help you find your purpose. But you can also find purpose in what people thank you for.
5. Find and build community
If you're having trouble remembering your purpose, take a look at the people around you. What do you have in common with them? What are they trying to be? What impact do you see them having on the world? Is that impact a positive one? Can you join with them in making that impact? What do they need? Can you give it them? If the answers to those questions don't inspire you, then you might need to find a new community—and with that, a new purpose may come.
6. Tell your story
Reading can help you find your purpose—but so can writing, Purpose often arises from curiosity about your own life. What obstacles have you encountered? What strengths helped you to overcome them? How did other people help you? How did your strengths help make life better for others?
"How to Find Your Purpose in Life" - Jeremy Adam Smith