One of my favorite quotes is this one by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us'. We live in a world that places immense importance on outer appearances. We evaluate people by their outsides, by their jobs and their achievements, by the schools their children go to and their afterschool activities, by the clothes they wear and the brands they flaunt, by their homes and the areas they live in, and the list goes on and on. Good people lose their value and the strength of our characters loses its worth, because what we own, the image of ourselves that we show to the world, matters so much more.
When in fact, that is what we need to focus on, instead of striving for the next thing on our list, we need to spend at least as much time on our insides, on being better every single day, on learning from our mistakes, owning up our faults, and just improving our insides. The fact that none of this matters once we die, our worldly things and statuses. None of it. The only thing that will matter will be the kind of people we were. Not saying that our things and our achievements don’t mean anything, of course we all want a comfortable life but the problem is this never ending race that always shows us there is more to buy and more to achieve. It is just never ending. There is more to us than just our things and our achievements.
As Muslims also sometimes we are so focused on showing others how religious we are, on focusing on rituals and yet forgetting the core of our faith, which is to purify our hearts, to becoming better human beings, to learn from our mistakes and correcting them. Yet we are witnesses of the lies/corruption/fraud/injustice that happens in our own 'Muslim' country. I'll only talk of Pakistan as that is what I know. And this when our religion teaches us that Allah does not look at our outsides but at our heart and our intentions. That in front of Him we are all equal and only better than each other by our deeds.
As a start, let's look at ourselves past all the layers we show to the world, what our values are, what we believe in, what we've learned in life, the mistakes we’ve made. Let’s ask ourselves if we live our lives in a way that projects these values. And then everyday wake up with the promise to be better, better than your own self. Better than who you were yesterday. And make this your life long quest. As parents, each one of us has the added responsibility to give GOOD kids that will grow up to be GOOD adults, to the world. Let's give, if not more, as much importance to our kids insides as we give to their achievements.
Thanks for reading. Lots of love