Pleasing Allah or my self

With the start of the New Year I really feel optimistic and energetic that it is again another opportunity from Allah to start a new chapter of life… to do the things I think that I should do; leaving behind the burden of sins and bad habits by doing sincere repentance.

For the first few days the brand new diaries and journals prompt me towards consistent good deeds but then the shaitan doesn’t like it at all… and so he tries to distract me by whatever way he can. We can all relate to this in some way or the other. In my case it is the sudden feeling I get of being put off by the same good activity which I was so excited about… like for example: listening to some lecture or going for a walk or being generous and forgiving with people… suddenly begins to feel like an unnecessary burden.

It is both mind-boggling and depressing at the same time. Because on one hand I don’t understand why out of the blue did I get this feeling? And then on the other hand I feel like maybe I am not sincere in my commitment so that is why I stop feeling the motivation for continuing with my plans for making Allah pleased with me.

Yesterday when I was busy with completing some work and feeling good that everything was on time, I became aware of some warning bells in my heart… after that it just went dark… as if someone had come in the “room” of my heart and switched off all the lights… the lights of hope and optimism all went off and I became like a stranger who didn’t like any of the things I had planned to do…

I didn’t even feel like going for a walk… but I forced myself to go out and talk with Allah about this problem so that I can solve it once and for all and learn to deal with it. Because suddenly I realized with absolute clarity that this mood change is one big hurdle in my way towards Allah.

And so I put on my joggers with a heavy heart and marched out purposefully not listening to the whining and complaining voices of the “self” inside me. As soon as I saw the sky and remembered my own reality in the creation of the universe… so huge and unthinkably vast… my own self and my own problems seemed to shrink to an almost invisible size… not even a dot!!!

And as I put before Allah my “problem” in the brilliant light of the afternoon sun, I almost “saw” the devil spoiling my feelings so as to stop me from moving on… but why was my own self so weak and so ready to fall into this trap?

And that was the answer for me in a nutshell… so I decided that for my own salvation I need to stop giving my “self” so much undue importance. If I feel good and hopeful in doing something for Allah then obviously I get energy for it and it makes me feel good with myself for having done it. But if I don’t feel like doing something which pleases Allah then I should do it even then… believing that Allah will be even more pleased with this act because I am doing it ONLY for Him… for His Pleasure… to seek His Mercy and forgiveness.

So what does it matter if my mood is good or not? The only thing that matters is that Allah should be pleased with me…

It has taken me a long time to write all of this, but in reality it did not take me even half the time to complete my walk and talk with Allah and myself. And the moment I entered the house and I felt like I was a new person… maybe not as excited or happy as I was before the bad mood episode, but certainly more relaxed and “grown” beyond the pampering of the self.

Surely we should be aware of the shaitan and his tricks but we should also be aware of our own nafs… the spoilt inner self… who becomes shaitan’s accomplice against us.

There is a wonderful dua in the Quranic and Masnoon duas which seems to be tailor made for me:

“Ya Allah! Give my nafs its Taqwa… and purify it… for you are the best who can purify it… you are its guardian and its protector.” Ameen

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