Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The best source of motivation... the hardest to obtain, but the noblest you'll become

I am currently having a motivational crisis. I bet everybody has that sometimes in their life. It's normal to have this ups and downs in life. Ever since I engaged myself with Islam in a more serious manner, I began to gauge my level of motivation based on the level of Iman (For us, normal Muslims unlike the prophets, Iman is yazid wa yankus... it has its ups and downs). There's a reason to why I use this gauge as the standard meter for motivational level. The question comes back to the purpose of life as defined by Islam.

So what is motivation? Being motivated means you have a driving force. You don't simply suddenly jump up and do work hardly without anything drives you. There must be a force. That force is actually a purpose that you are trying to achieve. Along with that purpose there must be some reward that boost our motivation. So 'purpose' is the driving force and 'reward' is the fuel to keep us going. In this article, I am to argue what is that 'driving factor'? What is the best driving factor? What is the best reward to die for?

Let's try to define 'driving factor' first.

Everything began with the nature of human being which is submission. Undoubtedly one of human's many natural trait is to bow or submit (I'll explain this further). And God has taught human, through His prophets that human should only bow to Him. This is where the shahadah comes into light:

"There is no god but God, Muhammad is His Messenger"

Meaning there is no other submission other than to God, and Muhammad had laid down a practical way of life that we should submit to.

Why did I say, its human nature to bow to something?

We begin with the aborigines. We often heard of animism, the religion where human submit to the nature. A traditional tribe without any knowledge whatsoever are compelled to worship stones, trees, or big animals so that they can get protection, mercy, rewards etc. Everything is done to please the one being submit to.

Let's fast forward to the modern day. Now we can see liberals and atheist everywhere. These people they don't submit to God as the conservatives does (no matter what religion they are). One appropriate description is they wanted to be called as free man, not submitting their will to anything. But are they really free? Often we saw how modern man works hard for the money, to meet up the bills, mortgages, car loans etc. They work for the money and to money they bow to. Some bow to women, doing every thing they could to please them and finally get laid. So does women, dressing the best they could, so that they could get some temporary sexual gratification.

So what I'm trying to say here, submission, in whatever form, to whomever, to whatever is the source of 'driving factor' for human. To submit your will to something is to follow what that something tells you to do. If you submit to money, you'll do what the money tells you to do... which is work work and work.

Of course, human don't simply submit to something if that something cannot give reward to him. Reward for a male submitting to women is sexual gratification. We don't call them 'women slave' for nothing.

Submission gives purpose to human life, and the promised reward fuel their motivation to achieve what the submission tells you to achieve.

In Islam, we were taught that we are only to submit to God alone. Submitting to God means, placing all of our wills or 'driving factor' to Him. Let Him tell us what to strive for, what to achieve, instead of having money, women or status to tell us all these things.

But where is the greatness of having God as the source of driving factor? Let's begin with a statement from the Qur'an:

"If any do seek for glory and power,- to Allah belong all glory and power" (QS 35:10)

This verse tells us to be 'izzah' (الْعِزَّةَ) or proud with Islam, proud with what Allah wills us because from there comes glory and power.

For me this is a simplification of concluding that the best 'driving factor' is God alone as He promised greatness, glory and power to those who submit to Him.

Let's ponder what Umar Al-khattab has to tell about izzah:

“Kita adalah kaum yang dimuliakan dengan Islam, jika kita cari selainnya maka Allah akan hinakan kita”.

Islam, the way of life that bring human to submit to God's will through the teaching of prophet Muhammad had taught us that living purpose hence driving factor for life is to do what God tells us to do.

And [tell them that] I have not created the invisible beings and men to any end other than that they may [know and] worship Me. (QS 51:56)

So what is the reward that we are achieving by submitting to this prescribed purpose of life? It's heaven!!! It's simply heaven. Over there you can get all what you desire, endlessly.

However, this best 'driving factor' to live with, is the hardest to obtain. Why? Because it is based on Iman or belief to what is 'ghaib', the unseen, the imperceptible. A Muslim who live by Islamic principle they will undoubtedly take up belief to Allah as the source of motivation. That is why I say, the best tool to gauge motivation is Iman. But those who live with this 'driving factor' will become the noblest of all human being. Because they will own properties there in Heaven, besides having to obtain noble character in this world as what Allah told and what the prophet taught are nothing but noble deeds and noble achievements.

So, God is the best source of motivation, however it's the hardest to obtain but the noblest you'll become.