My Development


My 5 Stages of Development

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So, I decided to take a look at where I started and where I have come in terms of my development.  In this, I have realized that the only way I could ever ‘measure’ how far I have come is to completely base my ‘status’ upon my relationship with Allah and my understanding of this relationship as the only one that truly holds any weight.  I obviously have a ways to go and am actually completely unaware of the steps that lie ahead as it seems that every year that passes, I look back at myself from the year before and I describe that lesser version of myself as immature, naive, lazy and truly unaware.  But this happens every year and I have at least come to hope that it again happens in the years to come so that I could at least say that I improved.  So, long intro for this; these are the five levels of understanding of my relationship with Allah in the order in which I ‘felt’ them or understood them practically (btw every one of these includes all of the ones prior to it- i.e. step 5 includes the 4 levels of understanding before it):

1) ‘Because I was told so.’ – This is that thing where your parents tell you that Allah is watching you always so dont disobey them because Allah will know and you will get in trouble. You don’t know what trouble means or who Allah really is but you just vaguely understand the concept of consequence and some type of justice and accountability.

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2) ‘I dont want to go to Hell’ – Allah is watching me and I dont want to go to Hell so I will be good even though it isnt always the easy way to do things.  This is the one where you dont want to get out of your warm, comfy bed but you force yourself to get up to pray fajr for fear of repercussion.  This one obviously entails some type of understanding of who Allah is in that He has the power to punish us, the idea that there is a day of judgement in which we will come to account or actions on this earth and that this life has is transient.

3) ‘I do not want to disappoint my Creator‘-  When you love somebody you never want to disappoint them.  At this level when I realized all that I was given in my life (including being alive), I truly loved Allah.  With all of our blessings and ‘gifts’ from Allah (filling our lungs with air, having clean water fall from the sky, friends, love of others, warmth, hope, pain and pleasure), I developed an understanding that Allah had given me all this without me deserving it and now, I did not want to disappoint him.  How could I be that ungrateful to disobey the One who had given me all of these things (including His promise of jannah and mercy). I did not want to disappoint the One who I loved most.

4) ‘Allah has my back.’ – Allah has told me that He is watching me always, guiding me if I but asked for it (which i constantly did).  He knows what is best for me, better than I could ever know. He is aware of the consequences of every action before I even dream of doing anything and therefore with His vision and my trust in Him, He allows what is best for me to happen (even if to me it seems really bad).  This understanding only came after real hardship.  In the end how could I complain about the ‘bad’ things when Allah has told me that if I try to obey Him, He would never let me down.  The creator of everything has got my back.  This felt and feels amazing.  Every action that I do from here on out will be done with the knowledge that this is what is best for me because I have relied on Allah to make it so and He, in His infinite Mercy, has ordained it to be this way.  Amazing…

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5) ‘The camera is on you, so shine!‘ Finally, where I am now… and the hardest to explain because I am still developing my thoughts on what it means for me.  To even start to think about this concept you really have to ponder over who Allah is! Allah does not fall under any category that our senses can perceive, He is not bound by time, He is not bound by the Laws of Physics and His existence almost supercedes certain types of rationale and science.  He has knowledge of ALL things in number… Do you have any idea what this means?!?! My mind hurts when I try to think about this: Every grain of sand, every breath of every creation, every rotation of every super sonic electron around every super microscopic proton, everything…  His throne is larger than all the darkness and ‘black space’ in the universe that extends farther than we could process.  On top of that He has decreed creation for us… huh? yes… for us… He is Allah… okay now with this understanding central to my thought process of being alive, Allah has told me that He is watching me… Somehow, as undeserving as I am, I am somehow worthy of Allah’s vision…. worthy of my records being written and kept, worthy of judgment and being punished or rewarded.  Allah has designated His vision for me, for your and for everyone individually… Now I want you to watch a basketball game and see what happens when the camera spans the crowd… People go crazy for the three seconds they are on camera, right?  Why? Because they want to somehow be remembered, make themselves worthy of comment or laughter or some human emotion from the people who see them… Just for two seconds you see little kids do a funky dance on the jumbotron to be recognized… When ‘stars’ get on camera (they are experienced from being on camera so much) they remain calm… Take advantage of the time to give a confident nod of approval, the peace sign or wink… And that is just a camera and those actions are just for people who usually aren’t paying attention anyway!  Now ALLAH (the One and Only) has given his attention to you… His ‘camera’ is one you! Recording your every movement, action, word spoken… Like Ferris Buehler, YOUR mental narrative is known to Him.  And your ‘camera time’ is not three and a half seconds… its your life span… And now it is time to take advantage of that face time in front of Allah, whose love you desire… You want Allah to be proud of you… He has made you deserving even if no one else thinks you are…Your fifteen minutes of fame began when you landed in the arms of whoever delivered you and it will last when you leave somebody’s arms as the place you in the ground… Look your best, speak words that you will not regret saying ‘when you are off camera,’ and do what you want ‘your audience’ to remember you for… You are the lead role AND You have Allah’s camera on you… ACTION!

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Now I do not know what six to infinity are but i am still dealing with comprehending my number 5… Let me know if you think this is wrong or crazy because I have found that in this world, I am usually wrong :o) 
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~ by Yousaf on March 30, 2009.

8 Responses to “My Development”

  1. wow, liked it a lot. i’ve gone through those exact steps myself and i always contemplated the transformation but was never able to put my finger on it. your “steps” summed it up perfectly. i thought i was unique until i saw my wife go through them as well, since she’s new to the religion. now i see that we’re not the only ones.

    the evolution of our faith as we grow throughout our lives is a beautiful thing.

  2. I recognize almost everything that you mentioned. I have just never been able to put them into words; which could explain why I always seem to fall off track. I can confidently say that there have been moments in my life where I experienced these “steps”, but not long enough to call it an accomplishment. I can now use this as a constant reminder and as a motivation to climb these steps. Jazaks for lowering your hand to give us a pull up the steps. Good Stuff!!

  3. There is so much passion in number 5 and I can really see how it built up to that. MashAllah, I’m speechless. I never thought about it like that, so it’s like a movie…? That really makes it easier to understand. I feel kind of scared because I’m not at that level yet and we’re about the same age, but I guess it will come. I’m still trying to be at stage 4. It’s so hard to accept that stage fully because then I would have to let go of things I never thought I could let go of. I think stage 4 is the hardest point and once you get over that, Inshaa Allah I think you’re set. I hope to reach that spiritual level soon Inshaa Allah. This helped me, JAK.

  4. SubhanAllah, I am happy you guys can relate… I was thinking about this a little more and I realize that these ‘stages’ or thoughts continually develop… There are sometimes in life where I still feel as though I need to do things for fear of punishment and others where I do something solely for Allah’s love. I don’t think that each thought process must be complete before a little of the others begin to develop… lol, im just amazed people actually read that whole thing 😛

    • Salaam, you really shouldnt be amazed that people read what you write. Islam is meant to be followed by the example of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) who was a human. It’s easier to relate to the religion when there is a human example. Your writing and your thoughts are so beneficial because you’re a human being. MashAllah, it’s really inspiring to see someone who follows Islam in such a spiritual way. To see the journey that your soul has taken is eye opening. JAK again brother, keep benefiting us with your beautiful words, salaam.

  5. Assalamalaykum, your poems and stuff are awesome. i love them and there deep meaning. I heard one poem that you performed like a few months ago and really liked it. It was a message to young Muslim sisters and not to fall into traps and stuff. Do you think you can post it or something?

  6. nice bro 🙂

  7. […] now that it’s my grandfather, it’s so much different.” My total BFF Yousaf had an entry recently in his blog where talks about different stages of development that he’s gone through during his life. […]

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