Tooba Khokhar, Cambridge
Thirst for this fountain and water will spring forth itself- The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace)[i]
“What is love but to thirst?” or so a poet once mused[ii]. Thirst, in its physical form is a mighty trial. However, there is a thirst that neither water nor the most delectable of sherbets can quench. A thirst that makes us restless and that jealously guards our discontent. The Holy Month of Ramadan is a time when many get to experience real thirst. But though dusk brings an end to our physical thirst, what is it that can bring our metaphorical thirst to an end?
In the Holy Qur’an, God speaks of
…those who disbelieve, their deeds are like a mirage in a desert. One who is thirsty considers it to be water until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing. And he finds Allah to be there Who pays him his account; and Allah is swift at reckoning.[iii]
Mirages are ever alluring because they are constructed by our own minds. Wealth, luxury, family. We ardently and reverently drink from these streams and hope to quench our thirst by them. But alas. For it is as the Holy Quran states.
All that is on it (earth) will pass away. And there will remain only the Person of thy Lord, Master of Glory and Honour.[iv]
One of the attributes of the Divine is that He is al-Haqq: the True. In a way, this world is but a mirage and God is the only One Who truly Is. He is the True and the True Source of Life.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in his nightly vigils would often repeat: “Thou art the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth and from all that it is within them only Thou art the Truth. Thy Promise is True, Thy Word is True… I have submitted myself to Thee, believe in Thee and put my trust in Thee”[v]
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saw the world as naught before its Creator, found truth and solace only at the threshold of the Divine. Others may seek refuge in the stars and the sea, some may look for comfort in home and hearth, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) looked within to find the Truth. The Holy Qur’an when making mention of this Divine Attribute states:
…And thou seest the earth lifeless, but when We send down water thereon, it stirs and swells, and grows every kind of beauteous vegetation. That is because Allah is the Truth, and that it is He Who brings the dead to life, and that He has power over all things;[vi]
Divine Love and Mercy is reflected in Allah sending down rain to nourish, revive and beautify the earth. Likewise, it is a sign of the Truth that He can revive our souls and bring tranquillity and peace to our hearts. The Promised Messiah and Imam of this Age when elaborating on the qualities of the Divine in ‘Our Teaching’ wrote “Thirst for this fountain and water will spring forth itself” chiefly that the Holy One is ever near and ever filled with compassion. Therefore, it is a fruitless endeavour to try to seek fulfilment from any other quarter. Certainly not when the fountain of life lies so near.
[i] The Promised Messiah, ‘Noah’s Ark’ p. 42
[ii] Divan-e-Shams-e-Tabrizi, Ghazal 1656
[iii] The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 24, verse 40
[iv]The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 55, 27-8
[v] Sahih Muslim 769
[vi] The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 22, verses 6-7