Finding Tranquility In Turbulent Times
Due to the fast-paced and rigid lives we urban-folks lead, many of us don’t know how to be mindful in everything that we do. We contemplate far too little and have morphed into creatures that do everything quickly and instantaneously, void of both intention and attention.
It was only recently that I learned about the wisdom behind the Pillars of Prayer. Islam stands on many tenets that make up the structure of our religion. We have our 5 pillars of Islam (acts which are mandatory), 5 Pillars of Faith (core beliefs) and even the physical act of prayer itself stands on its own principles, 13 of them to be exact.
One of the Pillars of Prayer is tuma’ninah. It means calmness, serenity, peacefulness and tranquility. It signifies a state of composure and equanimity. While in prayer, a Muslim is required to transition from one position to another calmly, with short intervals in between, so that each movement is given its due right. If a prayer is void of tuma’ninah, it is considered invalid.
Think about that for a moment.
Nothing that Allāh instructs us to do is meaningless; there is profound wisdom behind making calmness an obligatory condition for the prayer. The reason we pray is to detach ourselves from all external distractions and bring ourselves to remember Him. This is only achievable when we are in a state of calmness.
We don’t perform well on any tasks when there are a million and one thoughts running through our mind or when we are juggling more than one task at a time. You’ll be surprised to know that even professional athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan meditate to improve their focus and performance during a game.
Are you missing tuma’ninah from your life?
Tuma’ninah, or tranquility, is not just a condition that we work towards to but a state of being that we have to foster and maintain. A lot of times, we deprive ourselves of it when we aggressively resist the changes in our lives because we fail to see Allāh behind all of our circumstances.
We fail to see that Allāh has control over all our affairs and if we viewed hardships through the lens of our heart instead of our egos, we would know that everything that happens to us is ultimately good.
Failures, losses, heartbreak, etc, they’re all good.
When we find ourselves entrenched in anger, sadness or disappointment, we are prone to act out in extremes because in that moment, our plans and expectations are being challenged and this hurts our egos. Sometimes, the way we react to the situation hurts us more than the actual event itself.
But if in our moments of difficulty we acknowledge that trials come from Allāh and therefore the solutions do too, we would find ourselves in a state of redha (contentment and acceptance in Allāh’s Decree) instead of distress. The key to a constant state of tranquility, or inner-peace if you may, is acceptance and the knowledge that whatever happens to us is working FOR us and not AGAINST us.
When we choose to remain patient during every difficulty—we are strengthening our faith, building resilience and freeing ourselves from our egos.
We don’t have much control over external forces; many of life’s unwanted events come as a surprise. Worse yet, the source of our stress will keep changing its form: one day it’ll be school, another day it could be marriage issues. Such is life!
Be like the bamboo that bends in the strong wind but doesn’t break; it doesn’t resist but endures gracefully.
If you’re currently going through a difficult time, pray that He grants you the serenity to accept what is beyond your control. You can do this, I believe in you!