By Jamal Rahman, New Age Islam
24 May 2021
We Need to Ask Deeper Questions About Life
1. What inspires us to ask deeper questions about life and motivates us to seek the truth?
2. What prevents many of us from asking those questions?
A good question to ask ourselves is the following: “On the timeline of the journey of my life, have there been certain events or circumstances that really made me turn in a different direction and made me a seeker?” Such an event could be a meeting with an enigmatic, wise person, like when Jalaluddin Rumi met his teacher, Shams, a meeting that completely changed his life. The event could also be questions about life—for example, the questions about suffering that Siddharth Gautama asked and that finally led him to becoming a Buddha. In the case of the Prophet Muhammad, the event was the extraordinary experience of meeting Angel Gabriel.
It is good to reflect on what event or events in our life might have been the occasion for us to make a major shift.
What inspires us to ask deeper questions about life and motivates us to seek the truth? And what prevents us from asking those questions?
Rumi says that because we human beings are unmindful, there are two veils that come in the way of us becoming a seeker—the veil of health, and the veil of wealth. When our health is good and when there is wealth—not just money but also emotional security—all this talk about becoming spiritual, transforming the ego and opening up the heart feels not only irrelevant but also very, very inconvenient. But, inevitably, ill health, loss of security, or reversal of circumstances will sooner or later appear, and then, suddenly, we will be confronted with deeper questions about life. This may prompt us to seek deeper answers.
This realization is reflected the words of the 14th century Persian poet Hafiz, who says, “Something missing in my heart tonight has made my eye so soft, my voice so tender, my need for God absolutely clear.”
At times like this, when we are faced with great challenges, we ask deeper questions. “What is going on?” we want to know. “Why me?” we ask. The key point here is, “I need help, I really, really need help, but from a being higher than human personality, from something greater than any human institution.” And that is when we turn in the direction of God.
The Quran (6:162-63) beautifully expresses the spirit of surrender to God thus:
Say, "My prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for God, the Lord of the worlds; (162) He has no partner. So am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit."
Based in the USA, Jamal Rahman is a popular speaker and author on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in The New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi Imam at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops. Jamal’s passion lies in interfaith community building and activism.
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