Denouncing Submission to Desires
Desires make slaves out of kings, and patience makes kings out of slaves- Imam Al Ghazali
Every human being has countless desires- desires of wealth, happiness, success, riches, power, fame and many more. When channelized appropriately, these desires help us to achieve a higher status in life, but uncontrolled desires for more and more materialistic gains lead us astray. When our power of desires surpasses our power of intellect and imagination we fall from the state of ‘noblest creation’ to the lowest level of creature-hood. As Almighty has mentioned in Quran, “And who is more astray than one who follows his desires without guidance from Allah? Indeed Allah doesn’t guide the wrong doing people. “( Al Quran 28:50 )
It can’t be denied that these desires start right from the childhood and continue till the last breath of a person. But desires change at every stage of life on account of alluring illusion of worldly affairs and changing states of human mind, the materialistic greed of world has no terminating point and resultantly it accelerates the human desires with every passing day. As narrated by Anas bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘If the son of Adam had a valley of gold, then he would still like to have a second. And nothing fills his mouth but dust, Allah turns to whoever repents’ (Jami at – Tirmidhi, Book 36, Hadith 34 ). It is the natural tendency of almost all human beings that after fulfilling one desire they aspire for the next and the process goes on till their last breath.
Uncontrolled and unrestricted avarice to fulfill their all desires ultimately turns human beings slave of their own desires. They remain suppressed under the burden of their own desires throughout their life but distressingly the more they fulfill their desires, the more are there to accomplish. These uncontrolled and unfulfilled desires create chaos, confusion, perturbation and uneasiness and may compel a person to adopt wrong ways and means for their accomplishment thereby leading him to disobey Almighty.But to his utter dismay he never succeeds in fulfilling all his desires till he expires. We chase behind our desires in search of happiness and pleasure but eventually we realise we are chasing for an illusory mirage. MirzaGhalib has beautifully verbalised this unending course in his famous couplet:
Hazaaronkhwahishenaisikeharkhwahishpe dam nikle,
Bohatnikle mere armaan, lekinphirbhikamnikle.
(Thousands of desires, each worth dying for…
Many of them I have realized… yet I yearn for more… )
The basic reason for our limitless desires is that we have forgotten the spiritual essence of our lives and our hearts are filled with materialistic greed. Instead of being contented and satisfied with what we have been bestowed with, we chase for more and more materialistic gains which results in unhappiness, disturbance and dissatisfaction as it is impossible to fulfill our all desires. We continuously run after our desires throughout our lives and in this struggle we forget the main objective of our creation.
We forget the very fact that this worldly life is temporary and we have to leave this world one day. We forget our hereafter life in the opalescent illusion of worldly beauties. We forget the Quranic verse in which Almighty says that every soul will taste death and worldly life is nothing but enjoyment of delusion ( Al Quran 3:185). Therefore for a peaceful and happy life, we should limit our desires and enjoy and appreciate what we have.To chase everything we want would be a never ending and futile process which disturbs the peace of our mind. We should seek a way of living that is ethically sound. We need to prioritize our basic needs and limit our endless wants and desires.
We should have a positive attitude towards our life and express our gratitude for what we have. Sometimes we should forgo something and observe patience for something better over time as Almighty is the best planner. We should be generous in our life as generosity de-escalates our selfishness and creates a sense of sharing in us which ultimately leads to peace and happiness. We should value social relationships and give more emphasis to serve society rather than getting more inclined towards our personal interests. We can explore our creative potentialities to generate happiness in non-material, aesthetic and spiritual ways instead of searching for joy and happiness in materialistic benefits. By adopting these approaches we can delimit our desires and live a happy, prosperous and peaceful life.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things- Robert Brault
(The author can be reached at [email protected] )