By Fatima Ariadne
“Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord”
This message is often mistakenly attributed as hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), while it’s actually a saying of an Islamic scholar Yahya ibn Muadz al-Razi. Nevertheless, it has a deep message to ponder on.
Someone asked this question : “I ask you people who’s interested in finding your spiritual purpose. Is self empowerment the same as self-worship? Would you feel good and proud if you have reached your spiritual goal?”.
So here’s my answer :
The essence of spirituality is to realize that you are only here as a mirror that reflects the light of Divine. You are only a mirror that reflects, not the Source of light itself. And your role is to polish that mirror so it stays pristine, which is your heart. If Allah doesn’t wish to guide you to or share His light any more to you, what could you do about it? He gives and takes as He wills, one of them is according to the portion of your heart. Hence, never let piety creates a new arrogance in you!
Growth is a never ending process, but it’s also a choice.The moment you tell yourself “I’m high enough here”, you choose to stop growing. Pride and self-satisfaction will only block the could-be acquired wisdom.
Of course it’s okay to feel good when you feel like you have accomplished what you call “spiritual goal”. But that shouldn’t be translated as arrogance or ego. Your small accomplishment should be a little pat on the back, “hey look, you’ve done it well. And at the first you doubt you can get this far?”. It should remind you that you have more strength beyond the limitation imposed to your mind. Even someone who climbs mountain would stop in the middle for a rest and to enjoy his view so far. But he doesn’t stop right there until he reaches the top.
Our master Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, as narrated by Ibn Abbas :
“There is no human being except that the wisdom of his mind is in the hands of an angel. When he shows humility, the angel is ordered to increase his wisdom. When he shows arrogance, the angel is ordered to decrease his wisdom.”
(Sunan Bayhaqi. Authenticity : fair/hasan)
Secondly, knowing yourself that you are more than your apparent reality, is NEVER the same as self-worship. Because every inch of your goodness actually never belongs to you, they only belong to the One who creates you.
Every atoms of you is only a manifestation of His greatness. Just like when you see a beautiful painting or sculpture, as much as you adore the masterpiece you will much more adore the artist’s talent, the creator of the masterpiece. Like, “how can he do that??”. The intricate sculpture of “David” will remind you more of the skillful talent of Michaelangelo than the beauty of David itself.
Aren’t you the living work of art too?
The Universe and you are the greatest masterpiece of Divine Creator. Your beauty, inner and outer, visible or not, is the manifestation of His unparalleled artistry and intelligence. Just like a moon reflects her light from the sun, the beauty of Universe and you reflects the beauty of Divine. By realizing this, you’ll understand that by knowing yourself, you will remember and know the artist behind the masterpiece called you — your Creator.
“And We shall show them Our signs in the Universe and within themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this (Divine words) is the truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is the witness of all things?”
(Suraa Fussilat 53)