homeless and penniless 59:8

لِلْفُقَرَاء الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

for the poor among those who break away and go forth: those who have been driven from their homes and their possessions, seeking favor from God and His approval/acceptance, and who help God and His Apostle: it is they, they who are truthful

My home is no home when it is mine. my wealth is no wealth when it is mine. how so?

my home should be a place of safety and rest. It should be a place where i m shielded and protected from all that may afflict me. When my maker speaks of a home, he speaks of this existence as the home. Just as when a builder of an apartment block was to talk about the “home”, one would infer that he is talking about one of the apartments he has built. When the maker of this universe speaks to humans about “home”, he speaks about the world I live in, not just the tent or room or building to which I have some right of private use under one or another legal regime. The possessions that the maker speaks of are all the things that are I am able to use and relate to. All that attaches to me or all that I attach to – they are possessions or property included within the meaning of possessions when the maker speaks of them. So then I ask myself, is this world truly a home, a place of perpetual and perfect safety and if this world is mine?Or is this a home that bids me farewell every day? Are the things in it mine to benefit from perfectly and perpetually and to my heart’s contentment? or am I constantly deprived of things I have and left without so much that my heart wants to attain but is unable to?

When i look at myself – my world and all that is in it that i desire – i find myself in a world that is abandoning me. I find that have lost and continue to lose what I have. I continue to desire that I don’t have and will lose after I have it. What is mine is mine in a cruel way. When I try to make the world my home, i do it thinking I am helping myself. I think the world will approve it. It seems to want me to feel at home. But when I try to, it fails me. I try to help this world become my home. I do whatever I can in my power to make the world hospitable. To make it such that it will fulfill all my needs forever. This is my response to the world and to what I want and what I can have – I help the world and the things take a hold of me. I try to help them become beloved to me, comfortable for me, lovable by me. Alas, the world rejects me and the things abandon me. The world and the things in it fail me. But why? And what shall I do? The verse speaks to me as such:

The first part of the verse above describes the one to whom it brings a message, a guidance. Who is addressed? the one’s driven from their homes, the one’s driven from their possessions….I am such a one. I am one whose home does not feel like home, whose possessions cannot perfectly and perpetually benefit its possessor (me). And insofar as I am someone driven from my home and my possessions, I listen to my maker as the one addressed in the verse…

When would I have been truthful in my engagements with the world and with all that i benefit from and all that is at my disposal (material things like my money and my legs and non-material things like love and desire for life and beauty)? How shall i engage with the world and myself? The answer is: when i take up the position of one who has nothing of his own, a poor one. This poor one is poor because he is driven away from engaging the world as ‘his own’ and the possessions as ‘his own’. Instead of trying to help the world become his friend and server, he sees himself served by his maker. he sees himself helped by the message that things carry about his maker. He is thus helped by the messengers, who are messengers because they make all things into carriers of messages about their source. When, for instance, i am NOT helped by water but instead see myself poor and in need of water and then see myself served by the maker of water and the giver of thirst and the giver of satiation, i would have helped the maker of water because I would have seen myself served by the maker rather than by water. Being served by the maker is to realize Him as the source of life, the source of benefit and fulfillment of my needs. My human needs cannot be met by water. Water as the source cannot fulfill my desires. It cannot help me. So when I try to make it my helper, i tell a lie. When I make the maker of water and messenger (and the message the water carries about the One who sustains, who is merciful and the One who has the intention and power to meet my needs as indicated by the message carried by water-thirst relation), my helpers, i am, as if, helping the One who is the sustainer become recognized as such by me and others. I am being truthful to myself. My “helping” God and His messenger is in telling the truth that what makes this world a home for me is my realization that this is not a home on its own or a home that I make hospitable for myself but because this world shows the provision of the Provider, it shows my-acceptance-into-the-safety of the One who is serving me here to show me that with him is a permanent and absolute and perfect abode for me. If see the world and everything in it as a bestowal of the One who is sending me a message in the act of bestowal, i will help Him become realized as the Bestower by my soul. In this, I would be helping myself. Instead of seeking to be helped and satisfied by the world and my possessions, I would see them as message-bearers of the One with whom is all safety and satisfaction. This safety of the One who is conveying his power and will to serve me and meet my needs, is only available to the poor ones who are ready to part with the idea that their homes and their possessions can provide for them and can suffice for them. The problem is not that homes and possessions are bad. The problem is my non-faqr (non-poor) attitude towards them and my misguided attempt to make them my saviors and providers on their own and deny that they are simply carrying a message from their maker to me. Revelation claims that I need to do something – i need to break away from my home and my possessions and see myself a poor and needy creature being served and provided for by my Maker. His help and service to me (which become visible to me when I accept my neediness and inability to fulfill my needs by taking the created world as its own source and the source of provision for my needs) is His message to me. When I tell the truth that the world is not helping me on its own but by the command of the One who makes those things and makes my needs and brings them into a relation/pair, I find Him as my provider, as the One with whom is my home and the eternal fulfillment of all that I may every desire. To receive this news, this message, is to tell the truth. it is to engage the world and myself and all things at my disposal truthfully – as glorifying the love, provision, mercy and help of my maker.

Published by Faraz Sheikh

Faraz Sheikh

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