How do we raise our thoughts above desire?

Our eyes behold an object and we become attached to the object. Thus we are told to lower our gaze. Like a child in a candy store when I see it..I want it. I want to consume it. Often in our lives we see beauty and we become consumed by desiring the object. We can get no rest until it becomes ours.
The question becomes how do we Islamically discipline ourselves to detach from the beholding and gain an understanding that we can love the object but not desire it.
What ayats and hadeedths would help us to refrain from acting on our desires.

Faith in God means trusting His judgment. When He says, “Do this,” believers do it, even if they don’t really want to, because they trust that God would not have ordered them to do if it weren’t beneficial to them. Likewise when God says, “Don’t do that.” Believers refrain from it for the harm they know must be in it.

Thus, it is faith, first and foremost, that leads a person to overcome his or her desire for or against something. People even do that out of perception, so doing it out of faith is all the more reason.

The mechanism that hones self-discipline is commitment to, and steady practice of, religious teachings. Taqwa is its name. The word means keeping a shield between you and God’s displeasure. Sort of like when you say, “Don’t let your guard down!”

Ali ibn Abi-Taalib, may God have been pleased with him, defined and summarized Taqwa succinctly and eloquently in this poem,


الخوف من الجليل
والعمل بالتنزيل
والرضا بالقليل
والاستعداد ليوم الرحيل

Translation:
Fear of the Majestic One,
Commitment to the Revelation,
Contentment with little,
And preparation for the day of departure!

Knowing that, one can train himself or herself with recitation of the Quran, prayer, fasting, charity, good deeds, supplication, being mindful of God, being on alert from Satan, being conscious of, and in control of, one’s negative emotions, contentment with what life throws one’s way, all the while being mindful of where we are going and how to get the best life in the Hereafter.

There are many verses in the Quran that teach us self-discipline. For instance,
“And do not wish for what God has favored some over others…” (4:32)
“God extends provision for whom He wills and measures [it]. And they rejoiced in [this] the nearest life, while the nearest life is not, compared to the Hereafter, but [brief] enjoyment.” (13:26)
“But as for him who feared the stature of his Lord, and prohibited [his] soul from desire, then the Garden is the abode [for him].” (79:40-41)

The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said, “Be content with what God has allotted to you and you will be the richest of people!” Narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Albaani who rated it Hasan (sound).

One Response to “How do we raise our thoughts above desire?”

  1. Aapa says:

    We have to work hard at it. And we have to be always in a state of gratitude. In short..going shopping ain’t going to do it. Thank you for such a succinct and deep response.

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