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Seeing the world in duality is one of many perspectives of life’s signs. Night and day, good and bad, life and death–each understood because of it’s counterpart. But what we mustn’t overlook is the degrees of nuance, the details of transition, the chapters within the narrative that thrives between each end. No night sky illuminated with the moon eases into day without the rise of the sun painting the horizon with hues of dawn. No human being that seeks what is good can appreciate it without traversing a series of emotional hurdles at the expense of what is not. No ounce of youth expends its vitality without living the days until eventually counting what remains of them. There’s a reason “He has created you in (different) stages” (Qur’an 71:14). Your stage is not where you were or where you wish it would be. It’s where you are, calling your name to perform the best that you can. Whatever you do, don’t seek the applause. It only moves hands. It’s the silence you work before it that moves hearts.
Contrary to the world we live in, we as a humanity have always been one people. On a scientific standpoint we are all made from the same macromolecules, yet if you dig deeper our atoms vibrate at varied frequencies. How that holds true to the differences within our similarities is profound. To be exactly the same is not practical, but to invest the best of what we are to a common goal married to the natural world can give birth to balance. Poverty, disease, war, atrocities, all of which are signs that shed light to systems that thrive on imbalance. If what drives us is solely monetary, realize that too is as temporary as the bodies we’re given. Just as we search for alternate resources to that which is limited, what drives us must then also change accordingly. The fuel for ourselves as human beings must then stand against time, or rather, be the Sustainer of it. Peace, happiness, love, prosperity, all are terms noble to strive for but are simply just words unless one knows of their polar opposites. We cannot begin to appreciate such ideals in a world of one unless we strive to appreciate and change the world of many.
I don’t make friends out of convenience. Sure, in my old school days I was known in many circles, oftentimes venn diagramming them together just because it was fun. But as I traveled abroad to pursue medicine, those friendships traveled to pursue change. With some, the conversation continued in the way letters were shared a century ago. Inside jokes stood against time, memories became more vivid, and meeting up was a patient priority. But with others, I realized after my own efforts I was the friend made to be convenient. Lessons usually work that way. In the end, we all deserve what’s best. What it allowed me to appreciate are the few companions I’ve grown to have scattered in a world that I continue to travel. They are the confidantes that carry the means to break measured rules. Months become seconds. Miles become inches. Silence becomes laughter. Words become action. God becomes known. Contrary to social media, I don’t have many friends. I just have a few companions that make up for them.
Thank you for following Holistic Poetry. Years ago, my reflections using faith as its center was as casual as the friends and family that were willing to listen. Little did I know its impact until I was invited to share these reflections publicly so that it could benefit a larger audience. Now, you are among a total of 549 readers that makes time for my writing. As I write, I don’t strive to earn a number of “Likes.” What’s worth chasing is knowing that I’ve been read. For that, I’m humbled. There’s no profit I receive for this except rewards that are unseen.
That being said, I’ve received interest from some of you to contribute some of your own writing to this blog. As busy as medical school is becoming, I’m absolutely open to the idea of contributors. No, this isn’t Muslim exclusive. It’s because of the example of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that I named the blog “Holistic” Poetry. It’s meant to embrace all people by sharing ideals and values as he ﷺ did in his own life. If my writing speaks to you and you have a narrative you wish to share that uses faith as the lens to your creatitvity, I invite you to contact me with a short reflection piece. We’ll go from there. And to the readers, I appreciate what you do best :-)
Zeeshawn M. Chughtai, Founder
Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Even in the Qur’an, God swears “By time. Most surely, man is in loss” (103:1-2). There’s no amount of gratitude that can satisfy such a gift as the present. Its window but a moment that gives its all until it can no longer. When we are fortunate to meet and then must part ways, “My duas (prayers) are with you.” These words aren’t meant to be preachy, dismissive, or clever. It’s to remind me that you matter. It’s purpose is to value our existence–to endure the test of time itself. If these words find you, know that it comes from one that struggles to be the exception to time, to be of “those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience” (103:3). Even as I write this, these ideals weren’t meant to only be read. They persevere as habits do, filling the seconds that remain in those that attempt to live out their narrative. We all carry stories. No wonder time will tell.
We live in an age where kids are brought up with an expectation to learn what they never knew only to become adults that forget how they came to be. It’s the kind of routine that thirsts for comfort. But the Qur’an even poses a question to this routine by saying,
“Do they not think deeply (in their own selves) about themselves?” (30:8).
A world full of signs then becomes hidden to the knower but not the thinker. For most of the fortunate, implementing knowledge learned in a field of expertise seems to be all the education one needs if it pays enough to live comfortably, get married, and raise kids that can eventually do it better in less of the time. As noble as the aspiration itself, so too is the time one takes to reflect why the journey matters in achieving it. Time itself was meant to leave us whether we invest in it or not, but to spend that time wisely, to live even a second to explore the why can equate a lifetime. Self-reflection then can serve not as a wasteful expenditure of time but that which derives meaning from it. I’ve never known success as a singularity but as a measure of ability. To paint vibrant the surrounding landscape while brushing forward the path within it. To decorate the clouds with a silver lining only to golden what remains of life’s masterpiece. No triumph can linger without defeat. No tear can fall without purpose. No degree on a wall or letters after one’s name can exist without humility. Live to be the knower and the thinker. Revisit what you already know. You may be humbled in what you learn.