Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dhulm: putting stuff where it really shouldn't go.

The Arabic word "dhulm" is usually translated as "injustice/oppression." Linguistically, dhulm means to place something where it doesn't belong...

In times of reflection, I often marvel at the hurtful situations I sometimes used to find myself in. It's interesting how when we are young, we go through life doing and saying things without realizing it will all have an impact on us later in life. It will impact our self-esteem, our psychology, the way we maintain relationships, etc. The things we do are not singular items that are lost in space and time. They actually build up and eventually make us into who we are. Upon thinking about this for some time, I've come to the conclusion that we cause ourselves so much pain by committing dhulm upon our own souls.

For example, in the past I've gotten my heart broken (like the majority of people alive). In reference to the concept of dhulm, I now know it's because I committed injustice towards my own heart by putting it where it did not belong - giving it to people who didn't deserve it/weren't sanctioned to have it. I think this is quite a serious form of dhulm considering the status of the heart as the centre of life - the piece of flesh that houses a spiritual essence that cannot quite be captured in human words.

It's a simple concept, but I've been analyzing my life and so many things can be explained so succinctly and adequately by using the definition of dhulm. You may not think it's mind-blowing, but the reason I've adopted this element into my framework of thinking is because I used to try to find excuses as to why things in my life weren't turning out the way that I wanted them to. I would rack my brain and sit alone for hours just trying to figure out how to fix different problems.

And now I see, I was being messy and negligent. Like I still do with the things in my room, I was just putting stuff where it didn't belong. But instead of physical items, they were emotions and thoughts and beliefs. I was putting my trust in people and things and myself, whereas I should've put my trust in God. That's major dhulm towards myself.

Notice how in the Qur'an, God often refers to some people as having wronged their own souls, even though He is referring to their disbelief in Him. So why are they being referred to as committing dhulm or oppression against themselves? Well, they took the natural desire to believe in a higher being (our fitrah) and buried it in some deep hole within themselves where it definitely didn't belong. And the results of that are devastating.

We don't often think of the concept of "oppression" being towards oneself. Rather, we externalize the blame and let ourselves think we are victims of others' dhulm towards us. But chances are, just as we lose track of our possessions, we do the same to various components of our souls. And that is root of disappointment and I believe, the root of so many evils we find in our lives.

So just put your stuff where it belongs.


Anonymous said...

Sumayyah said...

masha Allah. thanks for sharing.