Nothing in this world belongs to you. Nothing.
Not even your own soul is yours, as it will be returned to its Owner once this earthly journey of yours is complete.
And all those worldly comforts and human relationships you thought you couldn’t live without? They were just temporary companions on your journey home. They were divine mercies—and tests—scattered along your path. But dear soul, understand that they have a unique path of their own.
Don’t get so distracted by looking at someone else’s path—even if it overlaps yours—that you forget the divinely crafted path you are decreed to walk in this world.
Our most crucial job is to stay focused on *our* spiritual journey, without getting addicted to the mercies we taste, or distracted and frustrated by the tests that befall us (or others), along the way.
This is no easy task.
So how to we achieve it?
By striving our level best to remain soul-focused instead of problem-focused on our spiritual paths.
What is the difference between a spiritual path that is soul-focused, and one that is problem-focused?
Simply put, a soul-focused spiritual path responds to earthly trials by aligning one’s heart, choices, and desires with divine guidance—even if we must sacrifice a temporary comfort or human relationship in preserving our spiritual life in this world.
A problem-focused spiritual path responds to earthy trials by attaching the heart to measurable results in this world, then altering or rejecting divine guidance until it aligns with particular life choices, preferences, or desires we imagine we need—or have the right to—during our soul’s journey in this world.
Soul-focused believers are able to walk their spiritual path while fully supporting the journey of *every* believing soul seeking purity, as they know that no soul will gain anything except what it earns—even when our hearts and eyes cannot perceive how. In their emaan and tawakkul, they believe in the ghayb, and they trust in Allah’s wisdom and plan.
Problem-focused believers are able to walk their spiritual path while fully supporting the journey of only *some* believing souls seeking purity, as they genuinely imagine that it is their job to ensure that sinful or imperfect souls don’t get anything they don’t “deserve”—and that “righteous” or “honorable” souls are guaranteed every single thing they do “deserve.” In their lack of true emaan and tawakkul, they believe mostly in what can be seen and measured by human judgment; and as a result, they trust mainly in their own wisdom, convictions, and plans.
The greatest example of a truly soul-focused believer is Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam) himself. He was able to support *every* believing soul in their earthly journey, no matter how righteous and obedient, and no matter how imperfect or sinful.
So while we learn of him supporting every believing woman in having the marriage she prefers—as he did with his daughter Fatimah with respect to her husband Ali, and with Khawlah bint Tha’labah with respect to her husband (may Allah be pleased with them)—as discussed in Surah 58, Al-Mujaadilah “The Woman Who Complained”—we also learn from our Prophet how a prostitute was forgiven of all her sins after feeding a thirsty dog.
And while we learn of the serious sin of killing innocent people, we also learn from our Prophet how a man who killed 99 people was forgiven all of his sins.
And while the Prophet never denied any believer their rights in this world, he was also a source of emotional safety for the troubled souls seeking to right the wrongs they’d done on earth—and never made them feel humiliated, rejected, or abandoned in his presence, even as they were made to understand in the depths of their hearts the gravity of their sins.
Because a problem-focused soul is unable to see or appreciate the spiritual balance here (due to their addiction to guaranteeing for themselves and others measurable worldly results), they will hyper-focus only on how a “dishonorable woman” was able to commit major sin then (allegedly) get “rewarded” for it, and how a “wretched man” was able to get away with murder, literally, then move on with his life without ever paying for his crimes.
This, because their unhealthy focus on worldly results makes them unable to *also* see that just because a “dishonorable” or “wretched” person has full access to Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and blessings if they sincerely seek it—this in no way takes away from the mercy, forgiveness, and blessings Allah will bestow on His consistently righteous, obedient souls who are guilty of none of these sins.
If you are unable to apply the beautiful balance of walking a soul-focused path in this world—by being a source of emotional safety and empathy to yourself and all believing souls, whether “righteous” or sinful—then you do not understand Islam.
You do not understand Islam.
You do not understand Islam.
But even still, do not despair, dear soul. For Allah’s mercy and guidance are for you too.
So ask Allah to increase you in knowledge and understanding, and in true emaan and tawakkul.
Then enjoy walking the prophetic path of a soul-centered spiritual journey, while inviting every other believing soul—no matter how righteous, imperfect, or sinful—to join you too.
Allah says what has been translated to mean:
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves. And remember Allah’s favor on you, for you were enemies to another, but He joined your hearts together, so that by His Grace, you became brethren [in faith]. And you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His signs clear to you, that you may be guided” (Ali ‘Imraan, 3:103).
He also says:
“And say, ‘The truth is from your Lord.’ Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve…” (Al-Kahf, 18:29).
Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of twenty books, including the If I Should Speak trilogy, Muslim Girl, and His Other Wife. In 2019, she launched UZ Soul Gear, a passion project fueled by her love of both art and inspirational reflections. UZSoulGear.com offers apparel, wall décor, and more, aimed at supporting and inspiring the soul-centered lifestyle.