Reflections on Our Work: Distractions and Detachment

Our work is primarily focused on alleviating problems, on jumping hurdles, on solving puzzles.

Our work, in many ways, depends on the existence of these problems. In some ways, perhaps, this distracts us from purifying our selves. Of course, you can embark on both paths, or achieve purity through dealing with such problems.

But what if this isn’t supposed to be the way of life? The fact that we attempt to fix problems shows us that we seem to think that it is not.

The paths to attempting to solve these problems often complicate our lives. What would we do if life were simple? Could we adapt to a situation of relative calm? Could we maintain worship?

Of course, struggle will never cease. The struggle with our selves and with others and even the struggle to reach equilibrium with the [natural] World will always persist.

But structural, systemic problems are often at the heart of the empathetic Human. We often complicate our own lives to fight against and challenge these—by using the tools that are part and parcel of these structural problems. For instance, the internet is used to connect with fellow activists.

I don’t think there is any real way to challenge systems of oppression without using many of the system’s tools [at least without being decimated]. Instead, what I am trying to point to is the necessity to remain unattached to those tools and prepare to structurally set up new, simplified modes of living and simplified modes of spiritual engagement.

Many of our scholars and literary pieces were created in strife-filled environments much like our own. We should ponder upon that fact and consider how future frames of Islam may look. Not as an act of fantasizing, but as an illustration of the importance of refinement and detachment from the world.

Let us be wary of becoming terribly reliant upon the tools of resistance and be cognizant of the Permanent and the tools He graced us with for a Holistic Life while continuing the struggle.

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About The Author

Trent Carl

Trent Carl originally from Houston, Texas, now resides in Chicago, Illinois. He is currently a student at DePaul University, where he is studying in the Islamic World Studies Department with an interdisciplinary focus. He is the Educational Coordinator for the DePaul Muslim Students’ Association (UMMA) where he organizes programs and engages the Muslim student population in various activities, including discussions and book groups. Additionally, he is also the Vice President of the DePaul Students’ for Justice in Palestine (SJP). He is interested and engaged in personal development and critique. On a broader scale, he hopes to bring about social reform on both the communal and national level, and as a result is involved with several projects related to that end.

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10 2011

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