We Muslims do a pretty good job of turning ourselves into a badge of identity, a stick with which to beat other Muslims, ways of feeling good about ourselves - all kinds of things that we use the sunnah for.

But to use it as a human form that represents liberation from the modern prison is generally not the way that we consider it, unfortunately.

Often it’s just another huzuz al-nafs: what the ego desires.


Beware of others or beware of yourself when the energy that moves you in life is actually the ego’s energy; but has found a religious form of expression - that’s the most dangerous thing of all.

Self-righteousness that can lead to you eventually blowing yourself up in public - that’s the kind of ultimate triumph of the ego: Using the forms of piety in order to magnify the turbulences within.

The sunnah is not to be used as a megaphone for our own internal traumas. The sunnah is a way of moving away from our own rubbish and to mould ourselves outwardly in the form of somebody who is serene - who despite all of the threats; is always smiling, never had any difficulty sleeping, never had ego issues, always at ease.

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (from Breaking The Two Desires)

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In 1976 Cat Stevens nearly drowned off the coast of Malibu, California, USA and said he shouted:

“Oh God! If you save me I will work for you.”

He related that right afterward a wave appeared and carried him back to shore. This brush with death intensified his long-held quest for spiritual truth.

With the gift I am lent, I wish to do the same.
— Abd-Allah