Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Snake Catcher [By Jalaluddin Rumi]

There was once snake catcher who went to the mountains. Due to the winter cold and heavy snow, many big snakes lay motionless, as if they were dead.
The Snake Catcher picked up one of these seemingly lifeless snakes and took it to Baghdad Market, with the purpose of using it for a show. Showing it off, he made big claims as to how he had brilliantly captured the snake.
However, when the sun began to shine and its warmth cloaked the snake, the coldness in its body disappeared. The signs of life were soon apparent and when the snake began to move, the Snake Catcher and all those around, fled.
The writer portrays the snake resembling our Nafs (self). Purification (Tazkyia) and effort (Mushaqqat) makes our Nafs becomes frozen. It appears to be lifeless and dead. Just like the frozen snake. 
Without our Nafs tempting us to do so many stuffs and derail us from our main focus, we would feel as though we are a saint… a good Muslim.
Commentators of this story say: 
"But give it a little heat from the fire of sin and the snake will come alive again." 
It will be dangerous and start to bite and spit its poison again.
Some also say that a little exposure to some past sins and the Nafs swings back to life. 
I must admit that I do agree and have felt that before.
I’m sure many of you do too.
Sometimes, after you make repetitive tawbah regarding a specific sin, you’d feel as though “Hmm… I’m guessing that Allah would’ve forgiven me by now Insha Allah!” 
That’s a normal thought considering that He is the Most Forgiving and Most Merciful.
But long after you stop making tawbah for that specific sin, and when you are suddenly exposed to the opportunity to commit that same specific sin again, your whole body starts to tremble because at that opportunity, you remember the excitement you felt when committing that specific sin.
At that time, you don’t remember the dreadful and remorse feeling you felt the last time you committed that sin and you don’t remember how you vowed to Him that you will never want to repeat it again.
But do remember… a little taste of sin revives the evil Nafs.
Do what you need to do to repel it.
In my humble bid to repel the revival of the evil Nafs, I would try (whenever I remember) to recite:
"Ya Muqallibal Quloob, Thabbit Qalbi ‘Ala Deenik"
“O Controller of the Hearts! Make firm my heart in Your Religion.”
Personally to me, I find that sometimes the above du’a helps me to feel spiritually inclined to repel that bad thought of committing a sin. Particularly when I’m feeling all goody goody Muslim…
Sometimes it doesn’t.
When it doesn’t, I’d go and find some other things to occupy my mind. Sleep is good.
Distraction is not always bad after all…LoL!
Another advise is to read Ihya Ulumuddin by Imam Ghazali. 8 Volumes altogether. Take it bit by bit. Don't overwhelm yourself. One step at a time. 
May God give us the strength to do so… :)
[P/s: If I am not mistaken, Jalaluddin Rumi wrote this story in form of a poetry. You can find it here.]
Blog adjourned.

0 obiter dictum: