Isolation as a form of protection

Isolation as a form of protection

Islam is known as a religion of community when we first start coming into Islam whether we are reverts or starting our own path of learning as born Muslims. We are told to surround ourselves with Muslims, find teachers to teach us the “proper” way. However, Islam is a religion of self-development and self-discipline. When the Quran was first revealed, it was revealed in over 23 years. The first teachings were about building character. It taught us first about how to act, and treat others. How to live in a society with different beliefs and stages of religion. The first Muslims that entered into Islam entered it secretly. It was difficult to disguise who was Muslim and who was not. In that way, it was a form of Uzlah. It was a form of isolation from society.

Uzlah simply means separating ourselves from society. Uzlah is protection for ourselves when we need to be away from people, places, and things. Whether is it by choice or circumstances. It is not meant in a physical context but a mental and spiritual context. While we hear the word Hijrah more often which means migration and departure physically from a place. While Uzlah is able to be practice without migration. 

We live in a society where we interact and be in the world surrounded by others. With all that we are surrounded with, we also come to be isolated. We get feelings of loneliness, we strive to belong to something. We take the word isolation in a negative connotation. Where isolation is actually a method of growth, increasing your knowledge and living by what we have learned. When we look at isolation in Islam, we can look at it in a way of improving ourselves. Allowing time for us to become attached to Allah while disassociating from worldly life.

When we first start our journey of Islam. The connection with other Muslims is important but when there is no connection we feel like we are missing out on being some sort of Muslim. We long for good relationships, friendships, companionship that we can relate to. When that does not happen, our loneliness kicks in. Our thought of not fitting in or belonging kicks in to make us feel like we are less of a Muslim. We have this disconnection with others we start to feel like strangers with Muslims and Non-Muslims. The Prophet warned us that a time would come when Islam and the Muslims would be beheld as strangers, not just by non-Muslims but by many Muslims as well! But in reality, it is Allah’s way to show that our connection to Allah is through Allah not through others. 

One thing that I have heard over and over again is that when people revert into Islam they are surrounded by others, people are happy for them, they say things in a way that encourages you to reach out and be a part of the community but afterward, people start losing connection and dropping off while loneliness kicks in.

We see that as negative because we all want to feel a sense of belonging. We all want to have friends, family, and others who can be there for us and they can be there for them. We get stuck in our feelings and don’t realize that this is Allah’s plan. In order, for growth to happen we have to solely rely on Allah. Those people and places and things that connect us to Islam start to disappear is Allah showing us a path to open our hearts, gives room for our minds to accept the teaching of Islam, and gives our soul a starting point of longing for the love of Allah. 

“ It is in the remembrance of Allah that our hearts find peace.” Quran (13:28)

Our hearts and soul is searching for a feeling while our mind is searching for human connection. We get lost in our feelings. When we can accept that people places and things are not going to give us the satisfaction that Allah would give us we will become more whole, we will not have the feeling of isolation as a form of loneliness but it will become a form of empowerment, a deeper connection to Allah, a disconnect from this world in order to give us room for self-development. 

The journey of the stranger

The Journey of the Strangers

“One of the characteristics is that they live in this world in body but their souls are attached to heavenly matters, in this lies an indication that they have not taken this world as a permanent abode and are not content to remain on it, instead they regard it as something to pass through.”The Journey of the Strangers

Examples of Isolation

There are many examples of Isolation as a form of self-development, growth and opening up, and preparing us for the future. 

One example is the story of Hajar. Imagine being in dessert after running out of food and water. You have no one to rely on except Allah. You are secluded from the world and you only have yourself, your child, and Allah. While Hajar was running from mount Safa and mount Marwa she was trying to do everything possible, she was trying to tie her camel but it was her true reliance on Allah when she found the water coming out. 

Truly Safa and Marwah are among the rituals of God, so whosoever performs the hajj to the House, or makes the umrah, there is no blame on him in going to and fro between them. And whosoever volunteers good, truly God is Thankful, Knowing.” [Quran, 2:158]

This story shows you never know what Allah has planned for you. Hajar did not think ahead and think that what I am going through Allah will implement into a pillar of Islam. Muslims from all generations to come will follow in her footsteps. That this struggle she was going through would be was so significant to the future. She was merely trying to survive. When we think about our life and our loneliness in this world. We can grow stronger from her story that Allah is preparing us for something that is beyond what we can imagine. Through our times of loneliness, we can take the time to become closer to Allah. 

One of the most well-known examples of seclusion from society is the story of when Prophet Muhammad (saw) went to the caves to receive the revelation from Angel Gabriel. It shows a true example of how to receive knowledge, bring it back and implement it into those closest to us then to society.

Now we know in our time and place we cannot go and seclude ourselves from the world for a long period of time. We have financial, family, children obligations. However, what we can do is give ourselves a certain amount of time to allocate to learning a day. It may be in the morning, after each prayer, in the evening, on our lunch break whenever you find that fits into your life. We can separate ourselves from the world for a short amount of time. Through our journey, we can continue to grow through the practice of isolation.

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