If you let the rot set in, it will, and it will gradually eat away at all that you have. This is the lesson that keeps on coming back to me. Last night I met a chap whose character shone beauty, as Allah wills. His manners were so appealing that at Isha the only du’a that sprung to mind was, ‘O Allah, give me a character like that.’
For as he sat there — what he did not say ever more telling than what he did — I found myself regretting each cascade of words from my own lips. As he departed, I wondered at my perennial role as court jester. Why could I not just sit in silence, as I once would, and absorb the presence of others? Why now the need to speak so much, and indeed to speak ill, wishing that the vague anonymity might justify such words? The rot has set in, and it is eating away, eating away at my meagre faith.
The more I feed my base desires, I was found reflecting the other day, the more they grow. But this weed doesn’t seem to blossom into its own space, occupying a cavity apart from the rest of one’s life. Instead it seems to thrive like a rampant vine upon one’s core, killing all that falls in its way. And the rot sets in.
Suddenly this ugly vanity. This self-righteousness, despite so much self-wrongness. Suddenly the fault finding. Suddenly the belief that my irksome sins can be ignored. Suddenly this great ignorance, this vast chasm of stupidity. This forgetfulness. This heedlessness.
It takes a character that shines goodness to stir me. All of a sudden I realise how small I am. And how far, far from the nobility I aspired to not all that long ago. A fool sits at his computer, typing.