It's a sad reality that as an Ummah, we suffer from a severe case of attention deficit disorder - metaphorically speaking, that is. We have incredibly short attention spans, re-programmed to move on from one heartrending crisis to another. Somalia, Darfur, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq… a great calamity occurs, and we respond with tears and prayers and cries of grief, and then something else happens and we gradually forget about it and move onto the next worry.
Think about it - how many weeks ago did the Gaza crisis occur? Yet how quickly has it faded from our minds? It saddens me to know that we are so easily swayed, so swiftly distracted.
However, there's something I learned from the Gaza Crisis and how we reacted to it. WalAhamdulillaah, many of us were reminded that the evil that befalls us is only what we have earned with our own hands, and we responded accordingly. We woke up for qiyaam al-layl, we fasted Mondays and Thursdays, we renewed our sincerity and strengthened our emaan and perfected our 'ebaadah.
So when we see how forgot about Palestine, when the urgency of the situation faded from our minds to just another fuzzy memory, and we moved onto something else… it's sad. It's tragic, actually. At the same time, however, I realize that this is part of human nature: we are forgetful. We have a bad case of collective memory loss. The story of the people of Egypt and the plagues demonstrates this more clearly than anything else – how many times did Musa ('alayhis-salaam) warn them? How many times were they punished, with locusts and lice, frogs and blood? Each time, they felt fear and turned towards the Messenger of Allāh beseechingly; each time they were relieved of the torment they went back to their old ways.
Mind you, this isn't an acceptable excuse. Rather, it is something which we must learn to change. It's time that we take heed from the warnings of the Qur'an, from the stories of the past, and the continued tribulations of our present. It is time that we retain the lessons that we learned so painfully during the Ghazzah massacre, and apply them to whichever drama comes to our attention next. Whether it's Iraq and Afghanistan again, or (laa samahAllah) a new country and a new disaster, maybe we'll remember again that this is all our fault and that it's up to us to work hard to deserve better.
Imagine how amazing it would be if we could all remember that for every disaster that befalls us, we are to blame as individuals, and if the anger and guilt we feel at every injustice was constantly channeled to the right outlet: our emaan and 'ebaadah.
SubḥānAllāh, will Allāh ever ignore the deeds of His sincere believing slaves? Will He ever turn away from the sincere repentance of one, of tens, of hundreds, of thousands of believing souls? Will He leave the people who strive to change the situations of their souls? Laa wAllah! Indeed, He has promised us the very opposite, and the promise of Allāh is truer than anything else.
And have patience, for verily Allāh does not waste the reward of the Muhsineen! (Surah Hood, aayah 115)
So will YOU seek the cure to your spiritual illness? Will you take the divine prescription, that is guaranteed to strengthen you as no antibiotic or steroid ever could?
Patient: The Ummah
Diagnosis: Attention Deficit Disorder
- Contemplation, remembrance, and reflection: Every day, during any spare minute. Don't be hasty; allow time for true comprehension and understanding.
- Tawbah (Repentance): Prepare with sincerity and humility. Flavour with tears. Best taken in the last third of the night, along with qiyaam al-layl.
- 'Ebaadah (Worship): ṣalāh, 5 times a day, every day (minimum). Increase sweetness with sunan and nawaafil. Fast Mondays and Thursdays for strengthened dosage and increased effectiveness.
Review prescription regularly. Adjust incrementally to strengthen immunity against diseases of the heart. Take for life!