Friday, September 7, 2012

Don't Just 'Feel' It, Fill It!


The placebo effect in the world of dakwah and tarbiyah. Catchy? You see, we're often found saying this: "I feel like this ayat really makes me feel something hits me hard on my face" or "I feel like my heart trembled when I heard this ayat."
True. But the problem is sometimes there is a point in our lives where that 'evoking' feeling can just be a "made up" as a consequence of habits. Placebo is a 'paste' medicine. It is a fake medicine to replace the actual one purely for psychological reasons. In a simpler word, it acts as a control to test whether a medicine really works or that the patient is actually "making up" a report to state that the medicine works or otherwise.
Placebo effect is a phrase coined to define: 'improvement in the condition of a patient that occurs in response to treatment but cannot be considered due to the specific treatment used' (Merriam Webster Dictionary).
Still not getting it? Let's assume that Cik C says she needs to take pill A daily so that she can stop herself from having runny nose (yeah, yeah, I know absurd this might sound...). Then one day, her doctor decides to replace her medication with a placebo (of course, this happens without her knowledge). This is to see whether the improvement of her condition is due to the medication or that her body is recuperating on its own. It turns out that even after few days of taking the placebos, her nose is just fine. No runny nose. Alhamdulillah, her nose is perfectly ok just like when she was taking her medication.
Cik C can now take a walk or dance, and do whatever she wants to do freely with no attachment to the medication. Free as a bird. She's cured and the best is that it's not because of the pills but due to her immune system. Subhanallah!
Why does this matter? Ok, let's refer to this ayat. Who are the believers?:
"The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely."
(Surah al-Anfal, ayat 2)
Indeed, we want to be those believers mentioned in the Quran.
In dakwah and tarbiyah, the placebo effect exists too but it is too discreet and hardly noticeable. "I can feel that this ayat seeps down into my very veins..." Really? That is a question that we need to ask ourselves. It is not enough just to have that "feel" Instead, we need to internalize it. Reflect it. Heart it. Recheck. Is it reverberating hard enough?
"The bedouins say, "We have believed." Say, "You have not [yet] believed; but say [instead], 'We have submitted,' for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah . It is those who are the truthful. Say, "Would you acquaint Allah with your religion while Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth, and Allah is Knowing of all things?" They consider it a favor to you that they have accepted Islam. Say, "Do not consider your Islam a favor to me. Rather, Allah has conferred favor upon you that He has guided you to the faith, if you should be truthful." Indeed, Allah knows the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Seeing of what you do."
(Surah al-Hujurat, ayat 14-18)
That was really 'ouch' isn't it?
Islam. Has it reached our hearts yet? Or is it merely sweeping against the surfaces of our hearts? ...that our hearts are merely being coated and wrapped with Islam.
In actuality, the essence of our hearts should be Islam - that is to say we have absorbed and digested Islam. It's not only about 'feeling' but we need to believe entirely in Allah and Rasulullah SAW. We need to recheck it. Keep the zouk (vibrating feeling) true on the same momentum. Keep the faith (as what most TVXQ's fans will say). Don't let our hearts only 'feel' the tremor of the qalamallah but  at the same time, our hearts are no less like empty vessels. Fill them. Keep 'filling' them. So that we would not even have the slightest doubt in Him and strive steadfastly in His path.
Let's work hard to abstain ourselves from falling into this placebo effect. How? Recharge our iman constantly. Tajdid (renew) our niats every minute. Hearts are no less like metals. They shall rust. The only ways to polish them are by reading the Quran and constantly remembering death.

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