Purposeless Pain Or Painful Purpose

Yasmin Mogahed

Channel: Yasmin Mogahed

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Purposeless Pain or Painful Purpose
By: Yasmin Mogahed

Serenity Podcast

Presented on September 5, 2011

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Santa Monica, you're listening to serenity. And I'm assuming

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you're, um, thank you for being patient. And we were having a little bit of technical difficulties, but hamdulillah you know, inshallah Good things come to those who ate and Tila. Today, we're going to be discussing, tackling and shala a topic, which we all inevitably will face at some point in our life. And it's the concept of pain. It's the concept of what is, you know, the purpose of pain is does pain have a purpose, and if so, what is the purpose, and also about coping with pain and and i think that once we understand, and I think that so much of how we cope with the things in our lives, so much of it has to do with perspective and understanding the purpose behind why certain things

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might happen, or why we encounter certain things in our life. And, in talking about the concept of pain, I think it's important to note that we have to unlearn a lot of what we are taught in society. Basically, society teaches you that you're never supposed to feel any amount of pain. In fact, society teaches you that you're supposed to constantly be in a heightened state of bliss. And the reason for this is it comes from a very

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God sort of, you know, God is taken out of the picture, the Hereafter is taken out of the picture, it's a very world world dunya centered paradigm. And what that means is that you if you believe that this life is all you have, if you believe that, you know, this is the only chance you're going to get to experience happiness to get the things that you want to reach success, then you're going to want to maximize, you know, pleasure or happiness in quotation marks, because the definition of happiness, of course, becomes limited to worldly or physical happiness or material happiness. But the idea is, and the whole problem, this this problematic concept, it comes from the the, the the

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mistake in that you believe that this is kind of this is all we have. And so, because that is the root of this of this concept. As a result, the the the messages that you should never have to feel any amount of pain, and any amount of anything less than, you know, Ultimate Bliss and happiness. And if you do, you need to sedate yourself, you need to distract yourself, you need to take a pill, you need to use somehow, you need to sort of just treat it treat. And this is where it's very important, you need to treat the symptoms. So, you know, if someone comes in, and, you know, someone comes to a doctor and tells him, you know, I've been kind of down about this or that that I'm

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dealing with. And again, this isn't to say that there is no such thing as clinical depression, there's definitely, you know, situations where, you know, pain can become completely paralyzing. And obviously, there are clinical cases, but just the whole idea of that you're never supposed to be sad, or anything less than happy all the time, and you know, and that you're never supposed to feel any pain. And if you do take a painkiller, you know, if you do take an antidepressant, the idea here is that pain is not part of the norm. And it never should be the case. And the reason why this is problematic, is that everything that we have every emotion that we're given, is, is given to us with

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a particular purpose. Now, of course, the problem comes when it goes to one extreme or another, for example, the the emotion of anger is not without a purpose, Allah subhanaw taala gave us this emotion for a particular purpose and, and it's intended for a positive purpose. So, for example,

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this this, this emotion might prevent you from being abused or taken advantage of or it will, it will motivate you to get out of situations perhaps or try to change situations which are unjust. And so in that sense that anger can be a motivator for good. But at the same time, if that anger is out of proportion, or rather the anger controls me instead of me controlling the anger, then that's when you have a problem. And it's the same thing with sadness. It's the same thing with pain. So the pain itself and I'll use a physical example, if I am, you know, standing Sam standing close to a flame of some sort, you know, I'm by the stove or something.

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I turn around and maybe like, part of my my elbow or something, it kind of touches the flame or gets close to the heat. What What is it that makes me and I'm not looking, I'm not aware of it, because I've turned my back, what is the thing that makes me remove my arm is the pain is the fact that that that fire creates pain on my skin and my pain receptors tell me to move my arm. And so in this, this is in this sense the pain is is a protective measure that Allah subhanaw taala gives me to tell me there's a problem, you need to make a change. And it's exactly the same thing with emotional pain. And, and, and and with psychological pain. That, that yes, if I am feeling pain, rather than just

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trying to numb it, I need to figure out what it's telling me. I need to figure out what is it that I need to be changing because the pain is there for a reason, the sadness or the you know that that sting that I feel is there to show me it's an indicator to something that's wrong. It's an indicator to a change that I need to make. And you know, Allah subhanaw taala tells us for example, in the law, hello yoga euro mabille Coleman, how dare you hire maybe and foresee him that Allah subhanaw taala never changes the condition of a people until they first change the condition of what is inside themselves until they change what is inside themselves. And so if there's something painful

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about my condition, there's something painful about myself about, you know what I'm the state that I'm in, it is a motivator to make me change internally, it's an indicator that there's a problem that there's something missing, or there's some change that I need to make, in the same way that the pain of the of the fire is what makes me remove my arm. And you think about situations where that pain isn't there. For example, sometimes with diabetics, because of the diabetes that numbs you know, like, for example, a lot of times in their feet, that they won't feel,

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you know, if they get hurt a they won't be able to feel it. And actually what happens as a result, what can happen as a result of this numbness is that the that the limb itself or wherever the injury happens can become so infected, that it actually has to be amputated. And and so the idea here is that because they don't have those receptors, they've numbed it so much, they don't realize there's a problem that needs to be treated. And it's it's exactly the same thing. In in our spiritual life. It's exactly the same thing, at an emotional level. If if we, for example, we our our natural, our natural inclination, is to want to recognize Allah subhanaw taala, it's, we every human being has

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the natural fitrah, the natural fitrah of the human being, is to is to recognize,

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you know, to hate it's, it's, it's the, it's to recognize and want to be close to one God to the one God. And this is the God of all, you know, all humanity. And And the idea here is that this is already in our nature and Allah subhanaw taala tells us in the Quran, for example, that before we came into this, you know, this form of existence, Allah subhanaw taala took a covenant with us, Allah subhanaw taala said, Unless to better become, Am I not your Lord, and all of humanity, not just Muslims, but all of humanity responded and said Belisha hidden, that indeed, and we we bear witness to this. So we have within us this covenant that we've made with God, that we realize that

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he is our Lord. And so this is our natural fifth row, this is our human nature that is already in us. What happens is, when we move away from that nature, when we move away from God, it creates a pain because we're moving away from our own nature, it creates a sense of, of pain and emptiness, and sadness. And so we can respond to this pain in one of two ways. One is we can look at it and say, why is this happening? Why am I feeling empty and try to search for answers and try to and try to make the pain should be, you know, directing us towards the tail hate of Allah subhanaw taala but, but the other option, which is what most people end up doing, is you try to treat the pain

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rather than treat the cause. You try to numb the pain you try to distract yourself. So that's why we jump from you know, from one thing to another, trying to fill this hole trying to, you know, just just make me not have to feel anything, even if I don't have to feel anything. It's better than having to feel this. Me

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penis and this, this hole, and and therefore have to figure out how do I treat it. And so what we do is we go through our lives running after one, one thing after another, whether it's, you know, we throw ourselves into things and we seek, you know, we seek things in this dunya we seek other people we seek, you know, our jobs, our careers, we, you know, music, alcohol, drugs, all these things are just trying to do one thing, and that is filled this empty hole. And that hole that's there is there because we've moved away from our, our spiritual roots, which is our nature to be close to our Creator. And as a result of that, it's like we're, we're trying, we numb the pain. And so what

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happens when we numb the pain is that that emptiness eats at us more and more, and it's kind of, it's like that, it's like that infection, it just grows and grows and grows, until, you know, the heart itself can become, you know, so sick that that eventually it becomes just dead. And so we talk now about hearts which are dead. These are the hearts that they don't, you know, they're so you know, they've been so alienated from their, from their own nature of being of near their Creator, that they don't even notice it anymore. It's just you're, you kind of become like, it's it's a person who's walking around. And it seems like they're alive but all but actually they're dead. And

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that's because the heart is dead and because it doesn't have that which which gives a heart life and that is nearness to Allah subhana wa Tada. And I just want to show before the break, give you this, this example which is Hanalei, it came right you know, right at the right time, it was just yesterday, I was having a Holika and one of the sisters she shared this actually, this is a true story. And she she sent me the news article, she said that there was a guy and he came to the dentist because he was having pain in his in his tooth. And he went to the dentist in the dentist told him you have an infection. And so you need antibiotics and painkiller you know, pain painkiller

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to you know, help you deal with the pain, but antibiotics to actually cure the, you know, the the original problem the root cause, well, the guy did not have enough money to buy both. And so we had to choose, you had to choose either the antibiotic, or the painkiller, and he chose the painkiller. So he chose, okay, I just don't want to deal with this pain, I'm going to choose that over actually curing the the actual sickness, and the man actually ended up dying as a result of the infection. And this is a true story. So as Paula I just I felt like this was, you know, this is so it's a deep story. Because really, you know, at a, at a spiritual level, this is what a lot of us do. inshallah,

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we'll take a quick break now. And when we return, we'll continue talking about pain and its purpose.

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Salam Alaikum This is yes, Ninja hit and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio, we're speaking today about the topic and the concept of pain and, you know, is pain, something that's has a purpose or is pain, just something that we you know, it's these stumbling blocks that we have to sort of just get out of the way in order to enjoy our life and, you know, get on with our, with our life. And I and I, and I really want to emphasize and what we've been talking about this, you know, thus far is is that we really have to do a lot of unlearning of the concepts that we have grown up with in this society and basically just humanity, you know, has this concept

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in is that because this, you know, a lot of, you know, the the paradigm of this being our only life, it leads to the idea that we should never have to encounter pain. And it really comes from this concept of this life having to be a paradise. Um, if you think and you reflect on the Hadith of the Prophet, so I send them who says that, that this life is a paradise for the disbeliever and is a prison for the believer. And spatola this, this hadith is is is so profound, and I think a lot of times we, we might misunderstand or limit, you know, the the meaning of the Hadeeth as being you know, we think like when we're kids, you know, our parents tell us everything is how long how long,

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how long

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Right. And so we think we grew up with this concept that, okay, if we're going to be Muslim, then everything is hom, and you know, the non Muslims get to have all the fun, but you know, we'll just going to deal with this, and then we get our fun in the hereafter. And I think that, that, that that's kind of the concept that we get, you know, and maybe this is even the way that that some people interpret this Hadith, but Subhan Allah, I think that the, the meaning of this hadith is like really so much deeper. And, and it's really, that, first of all, the idea that, that, you know, as a believer, that means that your life is going to be harder than than disbelievers. Or that, you know,

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you just can't have all the fun and everyone else can, is completely wrong. The the true and this is what we know from both experience. And Allah subhanaw taala tells us this, the true happiness, the true enjoyment, the true, really like, contentment, of the heart, internal happiness, can only come if you're a believer, and can only come through that relationship with our Creator, that, that the physical, I, you know, is sort of, you know, external type of pleasure or happiness isn't, isn't the real thing, that you can have all of this so called fun and all this, you know, all these these things, but internally, you still feel that emptiness. And internally, you still don't feel happy.

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And I mean, there's nobody can can claim that, you know, having money and status and, you know, lots of, you know, being able to do whatever you want, and that that isn't what buys happiness, happiness is something at an internal level that, you know, can only come and Allah subhanaw taala tells us this can come through the the remembrance of Allah subhanaw taala the nearness to God. And so it's actually very opposite, where, you know, the idea is completely wrong, that they get to have all you know, all the happiness and we just have to suffer it's it's really the other way around. That you know, love for Allah subhanaw taala says, for example, in the Koran, that whoever turns away from

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the remembrance of God, we will that for that person is a is a life that's narrowed down a life that's sort of it doesn't it, it's it's sometimes Translated by you shuts them down guys with the ISS, then all sudden decrease in Allahumma Ashtanga that whoever turns away from my remembrance for them is a life that's narrow or miserable. So it's actually you know, the true happiness is through an only through the nearness and remembrance of Allah subhanho data. So that isn't, you know, with a message that the that we're getting from the Hadith, but rather, when you look at what what you're comparing it to. So if if, if for me, if I compare this life to Jenna, for sure, this life looks

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like a prison, right? Because there is no comparison between you know, this life where obviously I have to live and I have to die I have to I mean, I will I'll laugh sometimes I'll cry sometimes I'm going to feel pain I'm going to bleed I'm going to you know, this is this is a part of life that nobody can can ever claim that they can avoid. And if I if I compare that to a life where Allah subhanaw taala says, first of all, never ends there's no death. Second of all, I have one la Mola home Yes, I know that there is no fear on them. And nor is there any sadness, no, no sorrow. Can anyone claim that they ever no matter what amount of status you have, no matter what amount of fame

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you have, no matter what amount of money you have, you can never claim that you can escape these two things, fear and sadness that you will never have to feel fear. And you will never have to feel sadness. You can't do that in this life. And so, when you compare this life to the Hereafter, that's when this life in comparison to the hereafter. And to in comparison to Jenna becomes a pair a can becomes a prison. And beyond that, if you think about what is a prisoner, what does a prisoner feel like? A prisoner is someone who has to be in a certain place for an appointed term, but they'd rather be home right, the prisoner is basically waiting for their term to finish and you know,

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they're doing their time. But the prisoners attachment is to going home, the prisoners is always kind of waiting to be released in order to go to a better place. So for a prisoner, they're in a place that they need to be for an appointed time. But there's they know, they know very well, that there is a better place. They know that there's a place they would rather be than where they are now, but they are where they are for an appointment.

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Time. And so this is the mindset of a believer in this life, where we, we are in this life and we live this life. And you know, nobody says that you you should be miserable. But rather, it's the other way around that, that the true contentment comes from that attachment to a less panatela in this life. And there's, you know, the the statement of of Tamia who talks about the paradise, his paradise being in his heart, and that, that, that, that, that, that, that you can find a paradise in this life even before the next. And one of the other statements which I love is that he who does not enter the paradise of this life will not enter the paradise of the next life. And when you reflect

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on this statement, you you will understand that those people who are close to Allah subhanaw taala, those are the people who enter the paradise of this life, that is the paradise of this light. It isn't, you know, hanging out at the bars or the clubs or whatever it is that people try to do, to you know, find happiness or to find pleasure, that's not the paradise but in fact, you know, that's the true prison, because you're imprisoned for your, your, your distance from Allah subhana wa Tada. And so looking at this, this Hadith, you know, that the the believer again, although there is a paradise of this life, which is only in the nearness to Allah subhanaw taala, they're still, they

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still know that there's a better place a place where, you know, they can actually be with Allah subhanaw taala physically, and we can actually see a loss of Hannah with Allah, and you have no, you know, no sickness, no, it's no sadness, no fear. And so and so the comparison here is between this life and a better life. But if you look, on the other hand at the one who believes that this life is all you have, and so when you think that this life is all you have, it better be a paradise, right? And and when you think about a person who is in what they believe is a paradise, that person would never want to leave, that person would cling to that place. And this is exactly how Allah subhanaw

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taala describes the disbelieving soul, that when that soul is taken out of the body at the time of death, Allah subhanaw taala describes it as an associate, that that, that that that soul has to be torn out of the body because it thought it was the best it was already in the best it gets, you know, if you think this, this is it, and you think, Okay, this is the best it's ever going to get, I better make the most of it. So then you don't want to leave. Because you thought you were in paradise. You know, it's like, the happiest place on earth, right? Disneyland. It's not really the happiest place on earth at all. If you sit and reflect on us, Okay, anyway, when you sit, if you

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watch the kids at Disneyland, a lot of them are always screaming. And I feel like it's like so, so overstimulated that, anyway, but the idea is, it's supposed to be the happiest place on earth. And, and when you're there, you're never going to want to leave, right? If you're if you're already in the happiest place on earth, wherever that really is, you're never going to want to leave. And so that's the concept of, of the disbelieving soul leaving this life, it doesn't want to leave. And that's why Allah subhanaw taala says when naza to God, that that when that, that it's it's talking about the the angels that rip those souls out of the body because they don't want to leave. And then

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Allah subhanaw taala describes the believing soul When No, she thought that those souls when they are taken from the body, they just flow out. And the reason is, if you go back to the analogy of the prison, which was the analogy of the prophets, I send them what happens when you're, you know, you're an inmate and you're in prison. And then your day comes where your term is over, and they come in, they're opening up the cell, how many people are going to say, No, actually, I want to stay here, actually, I'm going to hold on to these prison bars, and I'm not going to let go, because I kind of like it here. You know, nobody's going to say that, because they know that outside of that

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prison is a much better home, that outside of that prison is the real life. And so that's really the, the, you know, a beautiful analogy that the prophets I send that send them gives, in this Hadith, where he says that the believer in this life, it's like a prison and for the disbeliever it's like a paradise. And so, you know, again, understanding this and and really realizing how we have to unlearn these concepts that you know, pain, sadness, happiness, laughter, tears, all of these things are are given to us for a purpose. Allah subhanaw taala does not do anything without a purpose. Allah subhanaw taala is you know, high above doing anything without a purpose. I can, you

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know, do very random things with no purpose. But Allah subhanaw taala doesn't do that Allah is high above that. So everything he gives us

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Is with a very particular purpose. And and that includes our pain that includes sadness. And so the question then is how do we cope? When we are encountered, when we do encounter pain, we do encounter hardship, you know, loss, that that, first and foremost, we have to understand that this does not mean that first of all a las panatela is is angry with us. This is also a concept we have to unlearn that, that, that the idea that trial or test or hardship only comes as a punishment from Allah subhanaw taala. If that were the case, then that would mean that Allah subhanaw taala out Avila was punishing his own profits, because if you look at the lives of the prophets, they were the ones who

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were tested most and Hadith of the Prophet so that I send them says that Allah subhanaw taala tests people based on their level of faith, based on their level of Amen, and that the people who are tested most are the prophets and then after them, those who are, you know, next to them in in, you know, after them and Amen. And so, the concept of tests being a punishment needs to completely be unlearned. And when we do that, I think we can we can encounter it in a better way, that that as long as any kind of hardship, any kind of pain, any kind of tests that we encounter, if it brings us closer to Allah subhanaw taala, then that is actually a blessing for us, it's actually a gift from

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Allah subhanaw taala. Because ultimately, what matters in the end, is whether or not we are getting closer to our ultimate purpose, or we're getting farther from our ultimate purpose. Anything that will bring me closer to my purpose is good for me. And so even if that means a loss in the material sense, it's still good for me. And the other way around is also true, that anything that brings me farther away from Allah subhanaw taala brings me farther away from my ultimate purpose, no matter what kind of increase in worldly increase it is. It's not it's, it's actually bad for me, it's actually, you know, it's not it's, it's not a it's not a it's not a blessing, in fact, it's the

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opposite. And so we have to start to read, you know, reorient the way we see, you know, success and failure and, and, and, and hardship and, and good and bad, we have to recalibrate, you know, this whole our whole definition, you know, of these things and of these concepts. And part of doing that, what that will do is it will make it much easier to encounter a hardship and instead of seeing it as either a punishment or a sign that Allah is displeased with us, we can actually start to see it as a blessing, that if, if this, if this hardship that I'm encountering is bringing me closer to Allah subhanaw taala, if it's, if it's purifying me, if it's making me a better person, it's building my

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character, then it's the and then it's a blessing. And when we do that, we can start to really, you know, US have the pain or have the hardship or have the, you know, whatever test that we're going through, have it do its purpose, because it is sent for a purpose. And part of that Allah subhanaw taala tells us in the Quran is La La Mirada Xiao Han, Allah says that he sends, you know, hardship and tests and calamity in NBS, these types of things to the nations in order that they will come back to us. In order that we come back to Allah soprano Donna. This is the reason he sends it. And unless puntata talks about other reasons why he sends a pain or sends hardship or tests. And one of

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the other reasons is, is is to do the process, a process called thumb pace. Allah subhanaw taala says Leo makossa livina me know that this process called Tom Haines means to purify, to purge, and it's actually the same word that's used to describe what happens to gold in order to purify it, we know that in order to purify gold, we have to heat it up, right and what happens when you heat up gold is that it removes the impurities from the gold. And it's the same thing with us, our, our hearts, our insides are full of impurities, all of us. And when Allah subhanaw taala it you know, out of his mercy and love for us, he wants to purify us. And so one of the ways that we are purified

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is through these types of hardships. And this is something all sit back and reflect on in our own lives of how sometimes the hardest times in our lives. were the times when we actually felt closest to Allah subhanaw taala of pulling curly hair that was tough for a lady with a comb innovaphone Rahim subhanak all over him darkness shadow under Illa in the unseen istockphoto corner to Lake was Salam alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh