Quran-ology: On Hearts and Personal Transformation. Part I: Find your Cave

One of the themes of the Quran is stories of people of old, for lessons and inspiration.

However old they are, however different is the context today, these stories relate to our life still, and in influential ways, because they tackle truths fundamental to human nature. Timeless.

On Friday it’s Sunnah to read Surat Al-Kahf. One of the stories told in the Surah is people of the cave who flee their society and take refuge in a cave. They fled because their society had become so corrupted that they feared for their own hearts to be tarnished by the quickly deteriorating moral and spiritual standards ruling therein. In the story God describes their sincerity and the serious sacrifice they’ve made and shows how His Mercy can overshadow any difficulty. He made it easy for them. He gave them what they wanted: protection of their hearts. But He also gave them more: God eventually brought them back to their society when the time was right and made them an example, role models, an inspiration for their people.

They fled first seeking to protect what is most valuable in them: their heart. God gave them success and transformed them into agents of positive change.

You already see where I’m going with this: we are no different from them today, and indeed their story sets an example for all those whose hearts they seek to purify.

Our society is filled with good people, good initiatives. But moral and spiritual degradation is also sweeping through our cultures, our homes, and our hearts; swiftly. We have the choice to not surrender to the wave. God gave us power, and in the month of Ramadan more than any other time of the year, God reminds us of this power when we realize how little food and sleep we can actually survive of.

Use this power to protect your heart. Find your cave. Maybe it’s the spouse you have chosen or will choose. Maybe it’s your family. Maybe it’s a few friends. And maybe it’s none of the above, then you’re the luckiest of all because then you’ll have God for yourself.

No matter how difficult it seems to sacrifice some of the pleasures, luxuries, social circles, activities that your lower self has become attached to, remember that the people of the cave were just like you. God will help you, He will send ease, and it will be better than you think. Trust Him. He’s with you.

Return to that place of purity where your heart can thrive; where you feel that Life within you again; where you find anchor; where you regain balance.

With time God will transform you; your strength and courage will yield success and you will inspire a better world.

And you will look back and realize, it all started with a small step; it all started with looking after You.

18:28 Al-Kahf

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ ۖ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا

And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost

Wasbir nafsaka maAAa allatheena yadAAoona rabbahum bilghadati walAAashiyyi yureedoona wajhahu wala taAAdu AAaynaka AAanhum tureedu zeenata alhayati addunya wala tutiAA man aghfalna qalbahu AAan thikrina wattabaAAa hawahu wakana amruhu furuta