Spiritual Activism Riad Saloojee

14 – Tranquility in the Tornado

The Divine is al-Wakil, The Trustee, the Advocate, the Disposer of Affairs.

When we choose a trustee to oversee our affairs, we naturally select someone who best represents our interests, who truly advocates on our behalf, who disposes our affairs in the most suitable and beneficial manner. Through these meanings, we can understand that the Divine is the only true means by which we can secure every dimension of our welfare.

 Why?  Allah created us, understands our every need, at every level – material, emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological and more – and is capable of the subtle complexity of realizing those needs in the right balance, in the right way. Only He can truly fulfil what we need.  For He is what we truly need.

From this Divine Name, we appreciate the necessity to rely upon Him as our Trustee and to attain a state of tawakkul or reliance upon Him.

There is no contradiction, as I might be tempted to think at this point, between my reliance upon the Divine (tawakkul) and my striving and struggle. The essential reason for this is straightforward: My reliance upon Him is an inner state of my heart (qalb).

I have been tasked to worship the Divine through work, seeking, earning.  My worship of the Divine (‘ubudiyyah) necessitates struggle and striving.  I cannot realize His worship (‘ubudiyyah) with misplaced passivity.  But while I strive and struggle, I must know – and this is the key – that He is the ultimate disposer of everything; that the means and ends are His creation; that nothing is attained without His will; and that nothing is thwarted except by His will.

I need to free myself from the worship of other than Him.  Thus, I must liberate myself from relying upon creation which includes, as a subset, me – my power, ability, talents – and also includes the various means and avenues that I rely upon to accomplish my aims, whether material or other human resources.

I must work diligently but my heart must rest in the experiential knowledge that He is in control, has always been in the control, will always be in control. What comes, comes by Him, when and how He decides; what does not come, does not come by Him as well, for a wisdom that He knows.

The realization of this Divine Name confers peace of mind and peace of heart. Without it, I would have traded the security and surety of permanence for impermanence. I will build the foundation of my existence on the created ephemeral and my world will shake, rattle and roll as the ephemeral is always in flux. Inner tranquility will always be elusive.

Without truly infusing this virtue into our hearts, our activism will not be guided and garlanded by the security and safety of the Divine.  Attached to what are ultimately only created means, we will find no anchor.  When stormy seas come – and they will come, for that is the nature of world – we will be in tumult within, lurching from failed ‘god’ to failed ‘god,’ unable to navigate with clarity and vision.

With this name, we conclude our discussion on how we can connect spirituality to activism through realizing the Divine Names and Attributes at our human level, becoming the representative of the Divine (khalifa) and then projecting those meanings upon the social realm. We cannot discuss every Divine Name.  The few that we have discussed are a sufficient sample to allow us to extend our spiritual imagination regarding the application of other Divine Names in the field of activism.

In the next series, we will examine the inverse of these values and how they are the inner ailments of activism.

 


There is no inherent disconnect or contradiction between Islamic Spirituality and social or political activism.  In fact, Islamic spirituality is not only relevant but essential to all forms of activism.  This podcast with Shaykh Riad Saloojee will present a paradigm for a spiritually-inspired activism where activism achieves what it was always meant to be: a vehicle for nearness to the Divine through genuine individual and social ethical change.  

This series will comprise of seven discussions that will explore 1. The foundations of Islamic spirituality; 2. The spiritual ethos that is the basis of all activism; 3. The ailments of activism unhinged from spirituality; 4. The laws that govern activism; 5. The importance of “inner,” spiritual activism for beneficial “outer” activism; 6. Vignettes from Prophetic activism; and 7. An application of how spirituality must inform true environmental activism.

 

For more podcasts by SeekersGuidance, visit SeekersGuidance.org/podcasts.