Of all the things that could be giving me trouble right now, of all the serious situations that my family and I are facing, the one that gives me the greatest challenge is a common fitna. I’m not going to say exactly what it is, so as not to dishonor myself. It’s funny to me, because this should be one of the easiest things for me to work through (compared to everything else I deal with), but it’s become the hardest. Why? Because I simply don’t want to do the work involved in banishing this fitna from my life.
This particular fitna used to be an everyday part of my life when I was a teenager. I truly thought as I got older, fitnas like this one simply did not happen. For several of my most recent years, this proved to be true. Then, sometime last year, this fitna crept its way into my life. I liked this fitna. This fitna made me feel a nafsy happiness that had been lacking since I was a younger girl. I knew it wasn’t good for me, but I thought if I could somehow keep it harmless, I could somehow domesticate it and treat it like a treat I indulged in during more stressful times.
Fitna’s don’t like to be tamed, though. When you decide to keep a fitna for a pet, it starts planning how to take over your life. My fitna was no different. My fitna seduced me into spending more time with it, and enticed me into changing the way I would have done certain things so as to accomodate it. I saw where the road was going and I decided to fight hard to make my fitna go away.
The funny thing was, I accomplished that, briefly. The fitna was gone, but I felt its absence. Life has already been so stressful in many other ways, the reprieve my fitna brought was missed. I knew it wasn’t right, but I let my fitna come back. On some days, the fitna seems like it’s not even there. It seems like it’s gone far away and will leave me alone. On other days, the fitna wants to stay center stage and torment me with its presence.
At the high school where my oldest son has basketball practice, there is a quote above the main exit that reads, “there is no right way to do a wrong thing”. Every time I read this, I think of my fitna. I think of how I con myself into thinking that if I manage my fitna with moderation, I won’t have to make it go away. I can enjoy what it offers me without the danger of being entrapped by it’s tricks. In reality though, that’s just a lie I tell myself.
If I were to tell myself the truth, the truth would be that any good thing about that fitna is a reflection of the One who created all things, and He’s the one that I should keep my focus on. Shaytan will use fitnas to trick us into thinking we can find satisfaction, even for a brief moment, in anything else but Allah. My fitna is telling me that it can be a source of respite while I walk a chaotic path, but the reality is its respite will only lead me off the path I need to be on altogether.
Even while I write this, even as I know these things, I still have a hard time saying final goodbyes to my fitna. Tonight in particular it’s giving me a lot of trouble, and doing all kinds of maneuvers to catch my attention on it. I know I shouldn’t listen to it’s paltry justifications, but I do. I would like to be able to close this post with some kind of victory speech, but in actuality I am closing it weak in my nafs to my favorite fitna. Insha’Allah tomorrow I will be stronger.