Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
Just this morning (or a couple of weeks ago as of posting), I hopped onto The Dua Journal’s Instagram stories to talk about something that has been on my mind for a few days now. Obviously not a whole lot can be said in a 5 minute video, and since it is on Instagram stories it will be deleted after 24 hours anyhow, which is why I wanted to write something here to really dig into the idea a bit more.
In that video, I talked about the two different dimensions of our Islamic practice, the inner spiritual dimension, and the outer or “superficial” if you will, practice. More specifically, I talked about how when we want to make big shifts or changes in our spiritual practice, those changes need to be led by the inner aspect.
I talked about how important it is to work on your mindset, your intentions, your faith, and all that is in your heart in small incremental steps. And I talked about how if you do this, the outward changes that you are trying to make will come about naturally in time.
I gave the example of my own convert story, and specifically the example of how I came to wear hijab. My putting on the hijab was the result of months and months of reflection and learning about what hijab really means in Islam. So, after embracing it with my heart, the day that I put the thing on my head was almost insignificant. I just picked the scarf up off the floor, put it on, and never looked back. But the key is, I already had already done all of the inner work to make it possible, and without all of that as preparation who knows where I would be with hijab today. Because we all know the feeling of overwhelm and burnout that comes when you jump into something half-heartedly, with incomplete understanding, or worst yet, under external pressure and without really believing in it ourselves.
The last piece of advice I gave in that video was to never, ever judge yourself harshly just based on someone else’s outward practice, and I want to dig a bit more into that in this post. Continue reading “Faith: Not only an outward expression”