I believe the society in which we live creates an imbalance in our minds. The source of this imbalance can be found in our educational system, entertainment industry, social media, the material that we read and the people with whom we associate.
What I mean by imbalance is that people tend to go too far one way or another in their ideas, practices and ideologies. There is an oscillation of one extreme to another.
In the absence of anything with which to ground people or to give them a sense of foundation, what are they to base their practices and beliefs upon?
What people do is compare themselves with others. Another thing they do is judge the rightness or wrongness of something based on their own personal feelings and emotions, which are in many ways shaped by prevailing public opinion.
The point of reference is one of two things: either what other people do or say, or personal feelings about something.
And these public opinions and personal feelings are continuously in a state of flux and are rarely stable. At one-moment position x is embraced and in the very next moment, there is an alignment with position y. This change in position did not occur based on a rational or reasonable basis.
In addition, the pace of change is so rapid these days that one may not even be aware that social attitudes or opinions have shifted and may very well find themselves in a position where when they say something they can be called out on and even cancelled even though what they said was considered acceptable or absolute truth just a few days ago.
So one is always trying to be conscious of public opinion so as to know which position to take and which to oppose. And, of course, one’s personal desires and perspectives are shaped by public opinion so that people will suppress certain things in order to please or be accepted by others. When a person does express their feelings and emotions, it is done so with a view to being accepted by others, especially one’s peers, because no one wants to be seen as being contrarian or not following the flow of public opinion.
But this is no way to live one’s life because it’s not based upon anything stable. And that which is based upon something that is unstable will itself be unstable. A house on built on sand will be easily washed away when the rains come. But a house constructed on a solid foundation of rock will have a greater chance to survive when the storm descends upon it.
But I think the real roots of the problem can be found within the belief that this world is all there is and that there is no accountability after death. And if this world is all there is then a great amount of effort will be expended in order to get as much of it as possible no matter the consequences because it makes no difference after one passes away.
I personally believe that Islam offers a solution to this problem and contributes to one’s mental stability.
We make supplication to Allah to give us the good of this world and the good of the hereafter and protect us from the fire of hell.
We are also conscious that Allah is watching over everything we do, and thus we behave in a way that is pleasing to Him.
We also try to keep our inner state pure from a multitude of negative emotions such as envy, jealousy, anger, revenge, spite and a host of other feelings that if we gave them full reign would destroy us.
In addition, the suffering and trials that believers encounter in life are imbued with meaning and purpose, whereas the various sufferings that the non-believer encounters are looked upon as inexplicable tragedies devoid of any real meaning. As a result of this, the lamentations the unbelievers express and the pain that they experience are even more intense for there is no hope of redemption or compensation in the hereafter.
As believers, we are very much aware that there is a hereafter and that we have to go back to Allah to give an account of what we did during our lifetime. In the absence of this belief, we will be left to our own devices and do things that will inflict a lot of personal harm, as well as harm to others and the wider society. Most of the problems that we see in this world today are a direct result of not paying heed to divine revelation and not believing that there is accountability after death.
If we know we’re going to be held accountable then we will behave in an altogether different way. This gives us a sense of balance in our lives because it is based on something concrete and not on the ever-shifting public sentiments or our fickle emotions.
Islam also offers us clear answers regarding what is right and wrong. The Quran is referred to as “furqan,“ meaning criteria of what is correct and incorrect, or what is lawful and what has been prohibited.
When we have this foundation very much established in our hearts and minds and we live our lives accordingly, then I believe that our lives will be much more stable than if we just went through life acting and believing in a way that is based on public opinion and our personal whims and desires.
Disclaimer: Islam contributes to mental stability By S N Smith - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view