New York - Enthusiasm is a key ingredient to a successful life. It is a sign from God to help us discover what our purpose is, a sort of divine compass that directs us towards the things we are meant to do. When you feel enthusiastic, the power of God is alive in you, says Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed. This is very true.
New York – Enthusiasm is a key ingredient to a successful life. It is a sign from God to help us discover what our purpose is, a sort of divine compass that directs us towards the things we are meant to do. When you feel enthusiastic, the power of God is alive in you, says Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed. This is very true.
Last week, I had lunch with a chronologically older friend of mine. He is 83 and has lived an extraordinary and magical life. Harry is over six feet tall and walks with a straight back and a proud stride. Every time I see him, he is impeccably groomed, wearing elegant dark blazers, Italian loafers and his full head of silver hair either carefully combed, parted to the left side, or wild as if he had spent too much time engaged in outdoor activities.
When you ask him how he is doing, he invariably replies, “Fantastic!” with his deep soprano voice and larger than life smile. Harry was an opera singer for over 40 years, as well as a successful Wall Street trader, a playwright, a painter, an author and in general, a lover of life who exudes energy and joy.
The secret to a good life, he often says, lies in making a conscious decision to be positive and greet every moment with enthusiasm. He assures me that enthusiastic people are met with a better fortune than those who are apathetic and just go through the motions.
Needless to say, he looks amazing and one would never guess his age. He is in excellent health and is focused on many projects. He continues to paint and asked if I would give him a picture of myself so that he could paint me. Harry unapologetically flirts with most of the creation. He loves his family, animals, nature and even enjoys the occasional glass of triple-malt scotch. He reads avidly and is curious to learn about new subjects regularly.
I was not yet Muslim the last time I saw him, several years ago. The subject came up when he asked me if I “still hung out with a lot of Arabs.” When I replied that I sometimes did, he warned me that Muhammad (PBUH) was not a very nice man and that the Quran was a scary book. I smiled and told him that in my opinion, that was only what the media wanted us to believe, but not the truth.
After a few minutes of discussing the subject, his attitude changed from fear of Muslims to curiosity and a desire to learn. He asked me to recommend him a good book about the Prophet’s life. I mentioned a few and that same night, he texted me saying he had ordered Martin Lings’ “Muhammad” in print because Amazon did not have a Kindle version, his new favorite way to read. He also mentioned he downloaded “The Quran and the Life of Excellence” right after our lunch and was happy to admit that the Quran “appeared to be full of deep wisdom.”
Harry lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and recently moved from a large brownstone to a one-bedroom apartment that is easier for him and his wife to take care of. He had his new apartment remodeled before moving in, hiring contractors to do projects such as replacing the “cheap doors” they use nowadays with real wood doors and copper hinges. He also created a painting studio by closing off a small area of the living room.
Harry’s life is fuller and more passionate than the lives of many, many young people I know. It is a joy to be around him. He is a person who always leaves you with the impression that life is grand and deserves not only to be lived, but also celebrated.
Enthusiasm and passion are among the main components of health, happiness, success, and radiance as well as indicators of our tangible connection with God. God created us to thrive, not merely to exist and endure our every day mundane routines. We all have the seeds of greatness within us and as Dr. Sultan beautifully writes in The Quran and the Life of Excellence:
“…God has infused His spirit in mankind. That is why nothing is impossible for a human being. The spirit in us has the resourcefulness to make life into what we want. We have to switch our focus from thinking of ourselves merely as bodies toward remembering that the divine spirit lives in each of us.”
Our spirit comes alive when we feel enthusiastic and passionate. The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek “entheos,” which literally means “in God” (“en” means in and “theos” means God). Therefore, when you are enthusiastic, you are filled with God.
Enthusiasm is contagious and when we feel it, we become a source of light in the world. It is therefore imperative that we spend time discovering what makes us come alive, what ignites our spirit with passion. For me, it is definitely writing, reading beautiful poetry, listening to music, dancing, praying with mindfulness, spending time with wise people I love, being in nature, especially the ocean, traveling and discovering new places and cultures, and I could go on and on.
Once we are aware of the things we love, it is important to deliberately choose to spend more of our time pursuing these activities.
Passion and enthusiasm are the most powerful forces in the world. When we find ourselves in these states, God helps us to attain our objectives and life flows easily. For example, when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received the revelations, his companions, “who spent many years in close contact with him, imbibed the wisdom and became transformed by it. The passion and energy in these people was such that Islam quickly spread and became a religion of people in many parts of the world,” explains Dr. Sultan. This is the power of passion.
You can also use enthusiasm as a powerful transformational force in your life. What is it that when you do it, you hardly notice the passage of time because you are so absorbed in it? What uplifts your heart and fills you with energy and excitement?
It is paramount to our well being and spiritual growth to avoid the trap of living on autopilot, never questioning where our goals and values come from. Do not ever settle for living a life crafted by others because that will eventually become a life full of regrets. God created us as magnificent beings, meant to shine and to live as such.
If you need help rediscovering your purpose and passions, prayers that contain sublime words of inspiration will benefit you. Praying for guidance persistently is also very helpful.
I love Prophet Muhammad’s Prayer of Light. It is so beautiful. I find it enormously uplifting and healing to say this prayer in deep concentration while actually visualizing light:
“O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light, and in my eyes light. Above me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light and make me light. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and in my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light, and in my skin light. Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in light. Grant me light upon light.”
May God help us be a source of light in the world and a source of uplift for every being our lives may touch.
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