It's Friday night. Put down my dinner clutch and picked up this wonderful book which I have been reading hungrily. I remembered about 12 years ago, how reading Al-Hikam had a significant impact on my understanding of Islam. It made me feel accepted, not by people, but by the Lord.
Hence, it's a delight to have re-discovered the lights of Al-Hikam through the reflections of Dr. Jasser Auda who expounded the meaning of Ibn Athaillah's wisdom in a crystal clear way.
He has chosen 28 aphorisms from Al-Hikam and sequenced them in the form of a journey to God. Like the things you need to carry with you so that you will have what is needed, every step of the way.
In the 'Fourteenth Step', Dr. Jasser Auda picked this aphorism:
"The tree of humiliation stems from a seed of neediness. Nothing deceives as much as illusion. You are free from what you give up, and you are a slave to what you need."
"The Shaykh explains, that the direct reason for being humiliated by people is the neediness in one's heart towards the people."
We often get lost in illusion thinking we are in need of people for the benefits which we think they could bring us or that we need to cling to them because they could evict harm from us. When we are disillusioned by these misconceptions on our neediness, we become slave to people.
Dr. Jasser Auda wrote:
"Neediness is the source of humiliation and illusion is the source of neediness. Freedom from all this is the solution and is another step in God's way."
And they are talking about neediness in the heart. We will have attained true freedom when we free ourselves from being slave to other than God. When we don't have in our hearts a sense of neediness towards others, we won't be humiliated, and only then can we become truly dependent on God alone. That is real freedom. Real freedom is about being slave to Allah and no one else.
To quote another succinct point from the brilliant book:
"You have no illusion, no neediness, no humiliation, and you have your freedom."
That's indeed a salient point to consider when we get tangled every now and again in a sticky or choking situation. It's good to pause and ask ourselves: What's my illusion? Why am I feeling needy towards a person? Am I humiliating myself by being dependent on him/her? I have to free myself from all these and become a true slave to God alone.
May Allah let us understand and experience true freedom. Ameen.