[Prosperous is he who has cleansed himself.] (Al-A`la 87:14)
[Truly he succeeds who purifies it [the self]; and he fails who corrupts it.] (Ash-Shams 91:9–10)
I guess we still need to be reminded of how important is this process of cleaning, the cleaning of our souls – just as what ‘tazkiyyah‘ means, according to Arabic language (i.e. repetitious action, instead of one-off). And the last time I was reminded to clean mine, a few days before Ramadhan arrived, quite unexpectedly, while reading the manga I wrote about previously, Dragonball and Dragonball Z.
Now you might think that I am trying to justify my wasting of time, but to be honest with you, I have no guilty whatsoever for doing something like that, because as I always say – when you see things differently, you don’t really have to have the label ‘Islamic’ to gain goodness from it. I don’t trust that kind of label after all – it kind of deceives you into thinking that everything labeled with that is good – while some are obviously aren’t. Need examples? Take those lovey-dovey nasheed if you must.
OK, back to the main topic. I have always been fascinated by the the sufis/ascetics/zahid – and I just feel that there is a long way to go before my heart attain such level of love for the Creator – and such purity of heart. Some stories of these are incredibly amazing, and at some point unbelieavable. OK, I do put some doubt on the stories I read, e.g. how an ascetic, whose hands was cut, and the drops of blood formed the word ‘Allah’ , manifesting how Allah was in his mind and presence, but then to think about it again, everything is possible once Allah has become your eyes and mouth and mind, referring to this hadith:
386. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: `I will declare war against him who treats with hostility a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (voluntary prayers or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until I love him, (so much so that) I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me something, I will surely give him, and if he seeks My Protection (refuge), I will surely protect him”.
That’s why I would rate Son Goku as one of fictional characters that successfully made an impact on me. The other one, is Atticus Finch, the moral hero portrayed in the highly-rated novel : ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Atticus is amazing. I believe many of the readers are somehow affected by the characteristics of this man, built by the author of the book, Harper Lee. His ability to see only the good side of everyone, to be so understanding and empathic, and one thing that he said that stuck in my heart (yes, I have always known this, but seeing how it was practiced in that novel just gave me a new light):
If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it
But this one really touches me, something Atticues said to his daughter, on why he treated the man who tried to kill him the way he did:
“Jem see if you can stand in Bob Ewell’s shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that’s something I’ll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I’d rather it be me than that household full of children out there.”–Atticus (pg. 218)
And that kind of principle never ever allowed him (in the entire book) to hatefully talk about someone even the person who tried to kill him. I guess if we have such patience to stop a while before starting to trash someone we despise, we will never be burdened with hatred. But you might say that such person with pure heart can only exist in fictions, but you know, I know a person with the same quality and even better – Muhammad bin Abdullah (peace be upon him). Go, read about him, and be amazed!
Well, ain’t Ramadhan meant for us to gain more knowledge and reborn as a better individual?
p.s: In case you are motivated to read that novel but know you could never finish them, you can watch the film on Youtube. A black-and-white one unfortunately, but the film is really good, it won three Academy Awards. Search Filmvintage.