Montréal Airport, July 2016
Hours before embarking on a journey of knowledge to be aquired, friendships to be made, and moments to be remembered, we often find ourself thinking about the new person we will become after having familiarized ourselves with the new realities we’ve been exposed to
Often while embarking on a journey, whether to aquire formal education, on a business trip, or for leisure purposes, we tend to set standards and goals for ourselves in order to then judge the success of our journey based on them. While these goals can be quantified rather objectively and /or quantitatively for most trips involving a material purpose, the task becomes more difficult when one tries to assess the impact a spiritual trip can have on one’s soul and behaviour. After all, how does one set finite and achieavable goals that can be both realistic and challenging when dealing with the infinity of one’s spirit?
One might say that knowledge holds the key. Any journey involving the study of Islam should primarly be based on knowledge (from a theoretical standpoint), and what one remembers after the journey defines how succesful this individual has been on the path towards light. The more one remembers Ahadith mentionned by scholars, verses cited by and explained, or lessons from our Ulamas, the more one can be sure that his or her trip has been beneficial.
Others might say that the key is to spark the intelect, to enable our mind to think crticially and assess our realities. That beyond theoretial knowledge that is just delivered, what matters the most is to instigate in one’s mind the capacity to create content, to awaken one’s cognition.
But what if the ultimate goal, the so called destination, although bearing an intellectual component was actually measured in terms of actions and behaviour? What if the proximity of a person in relation to the light he or she seeks could be assessed in measures of ethical enlightenment?
Often in Islamic traditions and cultutre, the question of whether a spiritual journey has been ‘accepted’ (or not) by Allah is tied to the concept of change. I have personally heard countless times how one can judge whether one’s Hajj (pilgrimage) has been accepted or not by judging his or her’s behaviour. If the trip was able to revive in an individual, a desire to constantly watch over his or her action (Muraqabah) such that people surrounding him or her notice a positive change in his or her’s akhlaq and demeanour, than that person can consider that his or her Hajj has been accepted.
From this perspective, the goal that I have set for myself on this journey besides learning, is to let the knowledge aquired to change me in a way that reflects the certainty of the passing time.
To become a living manifestation of Surah Al Asr to the best of one’s ability.
That is perhaps what defines the path of light.