Allah poses the question; Do you think that We created you without purpose, and that you would not return to Us? [Qur’an 23: 115] This evokes many other pertinent questions. Among which are ... What is my role in a troubled world at a difficult time?
There is a dire need for introspection, honest self-evaluation and self-criticism and a concerted effort to bridge the gap between values and actions, ideals and realities, sloganizing and activism, past glory and a viable future. We cannot inspire others to higher values of peace, equality, love and justice; if we ourselves do not embody these inwardly and practically in our lives. We need to align our lives with our highest values and behave in ways that we believe all will need to behave in order to create the world we want to live in. All change begins with us, and remember: Allah will not change your condition unless you change yourselves. [Quran 13: 11]
This is a temporary world and everything here is finite and all things have a time limit. Neither are the good things of this world forever nor are the bad things eternal. What then do we make of the life we have?
Always start with Your Self
We can only have a better world if we have improved individuals and we can only have better individuals if each of us are committed to improve ourselves. If we take care of our infrastructure, we improve our lives and enhance our potential to have a positive impact on the world around us. “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”, wrote Leo Tolstoy.
The sage Ibrahim bin Adham said; “I always wanted to do something meaningful. When I was young I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change my nation, I began to focus on changing my town. I couldn’t change the entire town, so I began to concentrate on my family. Eventually I found that the only thing that I could really change effectively was myself.
Now, as an old man, I realize that if long ago I improved myself, I could have impacted my family, who could have enhanced the neighborhood, which could have transformed the society , which could have influenced the nation and potentially changed the world.”
Aiming to be the Best You Can Be
The internal dimension of the self is the most essential element in determining who you really are, what you would essentially like to do, what you are capable of doing and what you are actually prepared to do. When the best of your internal dimension finds practical expression outwardly, then will you be capable of reaching your full potential. Sayyedna ‘Ali said , Whosoever corrects his inner self, Allah will rectify his outer dimension. All genuine change begins with the self, more specifically with the inner self. Wemust realize that.