Working with Charged or Upset Feelings
First of all, There are two types of ‘upsetting’ phases/states a person can go through. The first one is some thing I like to call the ‘positive natural stimuli’. An enrichment factor to life. This is when a person undergoes a loss of something or someone they love. It may be he/she loses a father, a mother or a brother or sister. Any family relative, which brings about the state of detachment, and removal. A state where an individual feels far removed from everything and everyone. Removal from the daily activities and surroundings. A state when the person internally withdraws into a secluded state of mind frame. Often times sulking over the loss in their own time and space. Some choose to share this loss with others, which in turn makes them able to deal with it better. Nonetheless, either way, to show visible signs of being ‘upset’ in those situations is recommended and something which is natural. It is a sign of one’s humanity, that, he/she can express the loss of a loved one. Some ulema also encourage people to show and express their depravity, or the loss they have suffered and not hold it in or to suppress it. As doing so, will lead to greater emotional harms and aliments. Just as the human body needs to express it self, needs to eat in order to survive and lead a healthy life, so does the brain. Constraining it from its natural cause of action will deprive it of it’s nourishment to be a healthy and a balanced brain. To show mercy, compassion and sadness in the form of a loss, is another form of mercy itself. Which is something highly encouraged and recommended by the Quran and the Sunnah. When the blessed child of the prophet (saw) died, Ibrahim (ra). He (saw) shed some tears and had visible signs of being upset. Umar (ra) who was present at the scene said ‘ O prophet of Allah, you told us, at times of loss not to show signs of crying or having been affected by the loss’. To this the prophet (saw) replied, ‘no, i told you not to show or do wailing. To show signs of one being disturbed or upset at a time of loss is a sign of love, compassion, mercy, and one’s humanity. One is not taken into account of what the eye and the heart does, but the tongue. (paraphrased, and to the nearest meaning, wording and affect). The latter part of the hadith referring to wailing with the tongues.
We are all human beings and at those times of great distress, people need to express themselves rather than subdue themselves. This does not mean however we have the green light to do or perform wailings. What it means is, if anyone is upset or saddened by a loss, he/she has the right to be like that. This emotional side of humans are part and parcel of who we are. We cannot separate ourselves from it. To do so, will be like saying to cut off or amputate a limb!
This type of stimuli, is also good for the body, as proven by scientific studies. The body heals it’s self better, as opposed to if the emotional feeling was to be subdued and suppressed. Expressing it allows room to bring in a new push for life within us, a new chance to look at things differently. A chance to grow and become one part of a better you. Also, at times like this, we have the chance to feel what it is like to be sad, upset or even disturbed. This is what makes life beautiful. We have not been given one set of emotional makeup. That, everyone will feel the same way. Only being happy or only being sad at all times. No! These states allow us to appreciate the good times, and to cherish the loss of those times. IF we only experienced happiness and wellbeing all the time, where’s the beauty of life then? Everything will be one singular fashion. Having said that, i also believe, to show these states in those situations of loss and sorrow, is also a sign of being thankful to Allah. Being thankful that you had that blessing, that person, and now it/he/she is gone.
The second type of being ‘upset’ is what i call ‘the externalities influence’. Which gets woven into our emotional makeup/side. This second type is to a degree intentional and purposeful. In simple words, we let it happen to ourselves i.e we let our selves become upset and saddened. Let me explain, the majority of the time, when people experience this, is when they are giving advice to someone. They spend time and effort giving dawah and talking with them. They spend time, giving good advice on how to progress in the world. When they don’t seem to be seeing the results of their hard labour, they become upset. ‘why isnt, he/she listening to me?’ ‘i’ve spent so much time and effort with him/her’. This leads them to become upset and detached from people and surroundings.. Which slowly impacts on other things. Now, there are crucial things we MUST keep in our minds and hearts when and if we give advice to people on any issues.
1) Know that people are bound to disagree with you at some point. That’s life! Learn to accept this first principle and don’t let this take you down. People disagree with Allah and the prophets. Never mind disagreeing, they don’t even believe in Allah! So who is to say they wont disagree with you? Allah has given them the abilities to express themselves, they will. We cannot do anything to change this fact of life. Remember, we are not GOD. That, we would like make everyone agree with us all the time and every time. Listening to our advises and carrying them out. Even Allah (swt) does not do that. Although he (swt) has the power to make people listen and agree with him, by force. He (swt) gives people the chance to differ. “There is no compulsion in religion” (paraphrased). So, when you are doing dawah or tableegh and people are not listening to you, don’t worry. This WILL happen. Get that in your head before you start. So, when you do come up against disagreement it won’t affect you. Many of the times the people involved with dawah and tableegh are put off because of this. They went out or go out with the intention to convince anyone and every one of their cause. To win over people to their side. Remember, our job is NOT to convince people, but to convey. Convincing is the job of Allah and he will do so if he (swt) wills.
2) Except the following three groups of people; The parents, elder siblings, and teachers, no one has the right to enforce anything on others. Even these three groups of people, they are only allowed to use slight enforcement techniques, when required. The ulema say they too should and can only encourage people and not enforce. The exception to the rule is in extreme cases, where the son or daughter is completely out-of-bounds for example, slight force can be used. However, before reaching that stage, they are told to encourage good behaviour and to do good deeds. We cannot expect people to come our ways and believe our ideas by enforcing them, upon them. We can only encourage. So, be ready to come up against dead ends, and no go areas.
3) We are all unique, which means not everyone will find what you find good and pleasurable, as that. Different things appeal to different people. Just like not all people can and want to become doctors and engineers, in the same light not everyone will become a sufi, a salafi, a scholar or even a religious man. This should not make us hate the individual. ‘why is he/she not praying?’ etc. Again, our job is only to convey and not to convince or to enforce on people. The latter two are Allah’s job and he will do so if he wishes. So, people who are doing dawah, calling people to a particular tareeqa or a group. Should now that, not everyone will come to you with open arms, or find your group interesting. He might find another group interesting other than yours. As long as he becomes practicing this is more than what we could have hoped for. It is a great blessing that we have the chance to choose from a variety of flavours of opinions. It makes life more interesting and thriving. Nothing in life is one linear fashion. No two things are the same. Not even two leaves of a tree or two sets of finger prints. Then how can you expect people to like your group only, to praise your tareeqa only, or to be with you only and no one else?
4) We have been commissioned with only one task and that is to convey the message of truth at all costs. In no way shape or form does it say in our job descriptions we have to convince people. That, our way is the only way. ‘It’s either my way or no way’. This leads me on to the final point i wish to make. Which is, there are many people who are already associated with another group, another shaykh or another pir. So, once you have given or done dawah to them. Informing him/her of how your cause can aid theirs. You should move on, and not expect them to take in what you said, or that they will be fully convinced with what you believe or have to offer. They are already part of a group and it will be very unlikely they will jump ship and come to yours. So, move one and don’t be upset they’re not listening.
Lastly, these are some of the reason why i believe the second type of being ‘upset’ is self-inflicted and brought on by people themselves.
Firstly, they go out thinking all will listen and obey them.
Secondly, that they will be able to convince anyone and every one of their mission.
Thridly, that they will win over support for their particular group/tareeqa or cause.
When all these false assumptions go horribly wrong they become ‘upset’ and leave the effort of dawah and tableegh. Or, from giving general advice. So, to round-up, learn and understand your obstacles and be ready to face them. The outlook should be such that, you SHOULD be expecting disagreements, oppositions and obstacles to your views, your cause and your efforts. Not everyone will welcome you with open arms and throw flowers by your ever step! This is the reality of life.