Yaqeen — Faith in the Idea of Faith
A Sufi Celebration of Life, Inspired by Urdu
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Yaqeen Ho To Koi Rasta Nikalta Hai
Hava Ki Ot Bhi Le Kar Charaġh Jalta Hai
If one has faith, one will always find a way
Candles can burn bright even in the shelter of a storm
Of all the words that I have touched upon through the course of this series, there has been none that brightened my mood the way Yaqeen did. A glance through the poetry focusing on the idea of Yaqeen is like a happiness shot that goes straight to your soul and has you floating in a space where there is a rose tinted halo around your vision and the whole world of your dreams is dancing in the palm of your hand.
Literally translated, Yaqeen means faith. And for once, this is an idea so powerful, language can do nothing to add to it, or take away from it. Because faith is one of the most powerful manifestations of that supreme, mystical force that is (perhaps literally) the center of this very Universe. It is Universal and complete, and you may call it faith or Yaqeen or give it names in unknown tongues, its existence and impact remains unaltered.
Mutmain Apne Yaqeen Par Agar Insan Ho Jaae
Sau Hijabon Mein Jo Pinhan Hai Numayan Ho Jaye
— Ahsan Marahravi
If one can learn to find fulfillment in one’s faith
All the secrets of this Universe, hidden in a thousand veils, shall be revealed
Faith is a spiritual force that surpasses the ideas of religion and God and all other artificial belief systems. Faith is a force of Nature which can be unveiled by the power of our intent. It does not matter who or what do we choose to vest out faith in — our God, this Universe, Life, Ourselves, Passion, Hardwork, Science — because the object of our faith is only incidental. It is the faith that matters; it is the faith that makes for magic and miracles; it is the faith that renders the idea of impossible pointless.
“If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” —( Matthew 17:20)
The prevailing narrative around the idea of faith or Yaqeen often tends to dub it as a quality or tool while ascribes the burden of miracle making on whoever or whatever the faith has been vested in.
The fact is you can repose your faith in a stone (as the atheists would argue most people do), or an invisible force or even the Boogeyman under your bed, and it will work for you. The object of our faith needs no magical properties, our faith already has enough.
Provided of course that your faith is not a mere lip service or an ideal assertion. Because like any force, faith needs work and a whole lot of conscious nurturing before it can become the magical force that it has the potential to be.
Faith is the force that activates the Universal consciousness, which then manifests as the form of your choosing. Your God can be as real and tangible as you want Him to be because it is the power of your faith that activates His existence. Ultimately, every manifestation of our faith including the more earthly ones like hardwork or our own spirit or logic or even Science are ultimately a version of the Universal consciousness or that Higher Force that lies at the core of our very being. We all choose to name it differently, and it manifests for us all differently. But it all emerges from our own faith or Yaqeen — the Universal force that threads through us all.
However, Yaqeen is a dormant force that needs to be awakened and then constantly nurtured. It can be argued that maybe all religions were at their very inception meant to be a tool to activate our faith — nothing less, nothing more. It is us who then went ahead and made religion into whatever good, bad and ugly things it has turned into today.
Obviously then, religion is not and cannot be the only tool to make our faith work for us. In tune with the Universe’s allegiance to the idea of individuality, faith is a deeply personal and individual idea. Each of us have a personal version of Yaqeen that follows its own distinct course. For some Yaqeen is their faith in their idea, for some it is their dedication to their art, for some it may be a parent they lost long ago, for some it is a guardian angel who follows them around and for some it is their allegiance to logic and reasoning and so on. The manifestations are endless, the core remains the same — Yaqeen.
And because Yaqeen is such a powerful force, even though manifestations are myriad and subjective and personal, one has to be careful where one chooses to exert the force of their faith. Because as a force, Yaqeen is value neutral and all you have to do is to exert it consciously to awaken the manifestation. So you exert your Yaqeen in believing Thursday is unlucky for you, and voila, Thursday will start turning unlucky for you — not because Thursday hates you, but because your Yaqeen did it. So be careful. Because who knows how the Universe works and who can guarantee that your Yaqeen in aliens cannot manifest as little green beings in your backyard?
Okay, that is stretching it. Or maybe not. But you get my point. You have to be careful with your Yaqeen and make sure it is positive and productive.
But it is not your ordinary, garden variety, lip service kind of Yaqeen we are talking about here. The kind of Yaqeen we are talking about is as intense as burning fire, as bright and soothing as the full moon on a dark night and as persistent as the ants stocking up their rations, one tiny grain at a time.
For your faith to be the mountain moving force it can be, it needs to be harnessed and nurtured, with love, devotion and endless patience. You cannot have faith on something until the things are nice and bright, and dump it the moment things goes even slightly wrong. You have to keep faith, irrespective of the circumstances. And only then, faith keeps you.
Faith is not an instrument of convenience. And for all its magical properties, faith is not a miracle maker. Not really. Although if we stay with our faith long enough and consistently enough, we will definitely have instances to report where our faith moved the metaphorical mountains, and made miracle tangible.
To chase miracles, however, is the worst way to keep faith. It is also self-defeating and bound to fail.
Like most spiritual resources, faith works only when we nurture it devoid of materialistic expectations and goals. Not because faith has any issues with materialism, but simply because our constant engagement with materialism tends to make us goal oriented and impatient — both of which are counter-intuitive to our Yaqeen. As I said above, you cannot keep faith when convenient, and do away with it when not. Only when faith surpasses our goal orientation, does it become a resource that can lead us to our spiritual and material zenith. Faith cannot be made a means to an end — it is the ends in itself. And unless we treat it as such, we can never cultivate faith in its true essence.
None of this is an esoteric idea that has no application. When I say faith is ends in itself, it is because a well honed faith is one of the best coping devices that we can add to our arsenals. It is true that more often that not our faith cannot shield us from the inevitable tragedies and failures and drawbacks that life throws at us. But what faith can do, is give us the strength and the courage and the patience and the hope to hang on until the storm blows over. Faith is a powerful spiritual and emotional resource which, if applied with due sincerity and devotion, can fundamentally alter the way we lead our lives. It has the potential to have a direct impact on not just our capability to achieve our materialistic goals but also on our emotional health, and the health of all our relationship.
Yaqeen might not make miracles happen all the time; but it does give us the capability to not only create a groundwork for our personal miracles, but also have the patience to wait while the magic happens.
Yaqeen is a pragmatic spiritual tool to enhance the quality of our lives in every aspect. Perhaps because when we have Yaqeen, we have someone or something , however intangible, to unburden the onus of our lives to. It is a way for us to let go of our illusion of control over everything in our life, and give ourselves the permission to step back and watch life (and our miracles) unfold. No wonder, Yaqeen is one of the most liberating and empowering resources that we can unleash in our lives. And no wonder, a well harnessed Yaqeen can give us the courage to take risks, reach for our impossibles, and survive the drawbacks.
After all, Yaqeen is magic in motion. More often than not, metaphorically. And sometimes, literally.
If only we can manage to have Yaqeen on our Yaqeen.
Yaqeen Chand Pe Suraj Mein Etibar Bhi Rakh
Magar Nigah Mein Thoda Sa Intizar Bhi Rakh
— Nida Fazli
Keep your faith in the Moon, and the Sun
But also keep patience in your eyes and heart
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