I Had A Dream

// August 19th, 2007 // Blog

I suddenly remembered a snippet of the dream that i had last night, and although the details are hazy, for once, it made perfect sense to me.

I was running for election as an MP, for the Conservative party; quite funny, because i presently have no political aspirations, and even if i did, i definitely don't see myself as a Tory! I remember having two very different feelings about the situation i found myself in: a part of me felt worried about how others would react to me running for the Conservatives (i didn't think it would be well received), but i was simultaneously defiant, confident that this was the right thing to do; basically, my overall feeling was that principles were more important than popularity. I am sure that my subconscious choice of the Conservative party had little to do with my political preference (i'm a supporter of policies, not parties), and more to do with the actual word, “conservative”. So, with that realization, the overall meaning of the dream became quite clear.

I don't want to sell myself as a conservative person, because i think the truly conservative people will be offended by the alleged association. I think any Muslim who is conscientious of their religious obligations – independent of their ability to actually fulfill those obligations – is by default, a person of principle. However, isn't someone who fails to live by the principles that they profess to believe in, a hypocrite? Mulling this question over in my mind, i came to the conclusion that when it comes to principles, there are three types of people:

1) The person who has principles, and who conducts their affairs according to them, even if it involves great personal sacrifice.
2) The person who has principles, and wishes to abide by them, but often fails in practice.
3) The person who openly professes to being a supporter of well-known, and well-admired principles, but does not follow them, nor do they even try to.

The first type of person is the best of mankind, and definitely the rarest specimen. Such a person automatically receives respect and admiration from those around them. Their actions speak louder than their words; they don't need to tell you what they believe in, you will see it in everything that they do. I'm pretty sure that i have never met someone so virtuous, as they would definitely have left a mark on me. This is one of the reasons why so many people entered Islam through just one meeting with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). We should all strive towards being such a person, though the likelihood of achieving such a lofty status through our own merit, is extremely low; in this sense, it is a gift from God.

The rest of us poor saps mainly fall into category two. We believe in the noble principles of Islam (or other moral code), but rarely do we turn those good intentions, into actions. However, i don't think that makes us hypocrites; it makes us weak. We want to be better people. We want to try. Often, we don't try hard enough. Often, we give up too easily. But we still believe, and we still hope that one day, better people we will become, God-willing.

The last category of people are thankfully as rare as the first. Like the second group, they are more about the words, than the actions, but the key difference is, they don't believe in principles. They simply claim to hold them because people of principle are respected by the common man, and with that respect, comes trust, and influence, and ultimately, power. This category is typified by the sleazy political leaders who kiss babies, and attend the masjid/church/other, regularly, in order to 'keep up appearances'. They talk the talk, but not only do they refuse to walk the walk, they see such action as weakness; only the outward display of piety is beneficial to them, but any true acts of piety would be their undoing. These are the munaafiq (hypocrites) mentioned in the Qur'an, who have been promised the worst punishment of all the disbelievers. I seek refuge in Allāh from becoming such a person, and from being in the company of such people.

Praise be to God alone, i believe i am a person of principle. Unfortunately, i am rarely a person of action. I am a category two, through and through. This makes things difficult for me, when i try to explain myself to others. When i try to explain why i don't want to do such and such because it is not Islamic, but i happen to do such and such, which is also not Islamic. It is because i am weak. I am not a hypocrite. I am guilty of many things, but not that. Please, not that. Anything, but that.

I want to be a better person, and i want the people in my life to be better people. So sometimes, i am guilty of preaching. Sometimes i am guilty of saying that which i do not do myself. But not because i don't want to, but because i have failed to.

I need help. I need support. I need encouragement. We all do.

So, how does this all relate to my dream, and in turn, my life? Well, for a while i have become very aware of the gap that exists between who i want to be, and who i actually am. However, i have also become aware of the negativity that i have received from certain people, when i admit to wanting to become this better person. Not just a better person – the best person i can be, God-willing. This is the fear that i displayed in my dream, of what people will think of me for becoming a “conservative”, that is, a more principled individual. I also think the idea of running for MP (as opposed to being a party supporter), represents my longing to become a proactive person, perhaps even a leader, when it comes to self-improvement. Good intentions are not enough for me, i want to do something, and make changes in my self, and in my community. But some people are not ready for change. Some people don't even feel the need to change. And some people don't want me to change, because it will be a guilty reminder for them, of that which they are not currently strong enough to do themselves. This is the source of my defiance: principles should always win, over popularity; if the people around you are not ready to walk the path towards personal success, then you must walk it alone.

The thing is, though, i really don't want to be alone. That is why i ask God to grant me the best of company, in my family, in my friends, in my colleagues, in the people that i randomly bump into at the bus stop. For me, strength lies in numbers, and the more supportive people i surround myself with, the easier it will be to implement the changes i so desire, God-willing.

May Allāh accept my prayer; He is the source of all guidance and strength. āmīn.

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