Be True, and Be You
By Wael Abdelgawad
Reprinted from IslamicSunrays.com
Listen to the quiet voice inside yourself. The persistent voice that tells you that there’s something more to life, that calls you to do something meaningful, to experience the world in a profound way. So many of us dismiss that voice, suppress it. We are told that our dreams are not realistic or practical. We are told that we should settle for what is reliable, and will pay the bills, and garner us the respect of our peers.
But if we do not listen to that quiet voice, then who will? There is no external advocate who can read the yearnings of your heart and speak up on their behalf. You must be the champion of your own soul.
On the authority of Abu Malik Al-Harith bin Asim Al-Ashari said that the messenger of Allah said:
“Purity is half of faith. alhamdu-lillah [Praise be to Allah] fills the scales, and subhana-Allah [How far is Allah from every imperfection] and alhamdu-lillah [Praise be to Allah] fill that which is between heaven and earth. Prayer is light; charity is a proof; patience is illumination; and the Quran is an argument for or against you. Everyone starts his day and is a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin.”
(Related by Muslim).
You are the vendor of your soul: either freeing it or bringing about its ruin. You free it by worshiping Allah in love, gratitude and fear; keeping the praises of Allah on your tongue and in your heart; praying and fasting and living righteously (as opposed to self-righteously); by showing love and concern for other human beings; and by being true to yourself.
Allah created you with a unique nature. Do you think it’s only your fingerprints that are unique? Or your retinal scan, palm print, voice print and DNA? Do you believe that your uniqueness is encapsulated by measurable biometrical data? No, your uniqueness extends to your own wonderful thought patterns, your special heart, and your soul. You are you, not anyone else.
You are not an assembly-line robot, or a machine put here to consume, produce and expire. You are different from everyone else in the world because you are you. Respect that, and don’t try to force yourself in an uncomfortable or even impossible mold that someone else has dictated for you. Be true, be you, and free your soul.
I’m not talking about sinful desires. I am speaking of the quiet and inspired urgings of your heart. Maybe you dream of working in disaster relief, helping all those poor souls who suffered after the Indian Ocean tsunami, or from the earthquake in Haiti. Maybe you have an inner artist and you’d like to pursue that passionately and see where it takes you. Maybe you love children and would like to teach; maybe you are not satisfied with current school curricula and you have an idea of starting your own school. Maybe you’ve always fantasized about being a karate black belt, or helping poor villages in Africa become self-sustaining, or campaigning for human rights.
Maybe you’re single and you have feelings for a certain person, or just an undercurrent of admiration and respect, but you fear rejection; or maybe the person comes from a different cultural background and you worry that your family or your peers would not approve.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Don’t be afraid of your dreams. Life is short; it passes so quickly, much sooner than we expect, and when we get to the end of the road we will regret only that we suppressed our hearts, and shoved them down into silence.
We will never regret pursuing our dreams, taking bold chances, expressing our love, whether or not we succeeded or failed, whether we experienced great joy or intense pain. In the end the difference between success and failure in any venture is in Allah’s hands anyway. All you can do is try, and trying is everything.
Stand up for your inner voice. Listen to it.
Stand up for your dreams. Give them a chance.
No one else will do it for you.