Freedom and Submission

The condition of being Muslim–one who submits peacefully – is a state of paradox. As humans, we possess free will and the consistent need to make our own decisions in order to write our fate. Yet simultaneously, as adherents to Islam, we are committed to God’s will and our faith.

 As the Quran states, “Verily (it is) the guidance of God which is the (true) guidance, and we are commanded to submit to the Lord of the worlds,” (6:71).

The juxtaposition of these two ideas becomes the root of personal effort (jihad) and leads to struggles with both nafs (ego) and iman (faith). Fortunately, the solution to this issue is the cure to all ills – to surrender in absolute submission. Submission is the moment in which actions and confessions of the heart synchronize, when the soul and body unify to desire one thing and the will of the self submits into the will of God.

Submission is not simply an action, but rather a continuum of unity between the body and heart, and a commitment to turn every aspect of life into one, singular prayer. It is perfect faith, absolute submission, and a recognition of our own limits and handing ourselves to God with certainty. Submission is the starting point for all that is holy – it allows us to love and follow our perfect guides, the Ahlul Bayt, wholeheartedly. It leads us to transcend our worldly selves to attain the status of nafs al mutmai’inna, the soul at peace. This action – an instantaneous moment in the heart, but a lifelong study for the being – and a journey in which we are all exploring in our everyday lives.

flowers at sunsetSurrender brightens the path of light towards our Creator, helping us find faith in submission so the prostration of our bodies in prayer also becomes prostration of the heart. Our origin was with God and God-willing, through submission, and through the knowledge, we gain throughout our life journey, “we shall return to Him” (2:146).