When people say you shouldn’t be attached to dunya, what does that make you think of? Money, fashion, property? Normally something tangible, something materialistic; but how often do you think of people?
Do you ever stop to think that maybe you’re attached to this dunya because of the way you’re attached to people? Now this time, think about someone you love, someone you care about, someone you can’t really imagine your life without. What if that person stopped talking to you, what would become of you? If that relationship ended and they effectively cut you out of their life, how much time would you need to get over it? Unless a person truly detaches from dunya, they become paralyzed. This happens to people whether it is their best friend, someone they are in love with, or just someone in their life who they care deeply for. They stop being productive and allow hours, days, months even to pass by wastefully. If a person you cared about no longer wants you in their life, how do you let go and move on?
When people are upset they mope and are unable to eat, sleep, think or do anything. They spend their time dwelling on the past, thinking about what went wrong, what could have been done differently, the arguments, the emotions etc. However, all of this can be used as a catalyst for change. It can be used as an opportunity to cut off anything that is no longer benefiting you, thereby getting closer to Allah and fully detaching your heart from dunya.
In this article, we will discuss a few tips on how to achieve this, in sha Allah.
1. Remember death
Abu Hurairah narrated that: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Frequently remember the destroyer of pleasures,’ meaning death.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
If you are spending a lot of time trying to move on from someone, then remembering death will make you realize the value of time. Death puts into perspective how much time you are wasting. As morbid as it sounds, whenever a situation becomes very dramatic or intense, I remind myself that one day we are all going to die. Always remember that we are going to be buried under the ground one day, and that we are going to be asked about every hour we spent in our life. Think about the hours, days and months of wasted time that you spent moping, regretful and wondering why things didn’t work out. All that time that you spent doing nothing thinking about someone else, you will have to answer Allah for. Imagine yourself on the Day of Judgement, with your whole life before you; how will you explain to Allah all the precious time that you wasted?
As people who have responsibilities and deadlines, we need to remember that when something upsets us, our exams aren’t going to wait until we feel better nor are our responsibilities and deadlines going to pause whilst we take time to get over someone, so really evaluate whether the time spent moping is actually worth it.
2. Don’t resort to sad music/movies
In fact, this is one of the worst things a person can do. When people are sad, they feel that music or movies relate perfectly to their life. As a result, their emotions can become artificially manipulated to make them feel like their situation is worse than it actually is. A friend of mine summed this up very adequately when she described a singer to me. She said, “this singer will make you feel heartbroken about the person you had 3 seconds of eye contact with on the bus.”
Indulging in these activities brings no benefit to the already struggling believer, and it opens the door for Shaytan to distract them even more. Instead, listen to things that will uplift you, motivate you and fill you with optimism and positivity.
3. Fill the void by remembering Allah
As humans, we naturally try to fill a void in our life by replacing it with something similar or something temporary that will give us momentary happiness, such as constantly seeking to be with other people or in some cases binging on ice cream and chocolate, so-called ‘comfort foods’.
Allah says: “Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” [Qur’an: Chapter 13, Verse 28]
Let your tongue become moist with the remembrance of Allah who has given us more blessings than we can ever imagine. Don’t be ungrateful by allowing someone to blind you from the beautiful blessings that surround you. Don’t dwell on the past by thinking about how things could have gone differently.
Rather, accept the situation that you are now in and realize that it is out of your hands. You can’t change how people feel, so instead trust in Allah . If a relationship isn’t benefiting you or drawing you closer to Allah, then perhaps it is time to sever it.
Sometimes you outgrow people, or you grow apart but it shouldn’t paralyze you. Maybe this happened for a reason that you don’t know yet, as Allah reassuringly says:
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 216]
Who knows, maybe in the future, that person will come back into your life.
4. Don’t remind people of your favors on them
Allah says: “O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth [only] to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day…” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 264]
When we are hurt, we sometimes like to remind people of everything we have done for them to somehow justify our anger toward them, as if they are indebted to us. Don’t let your good deeds be wiped away with the slip of your tongue. Don’t do things for other people if you expect loyalty from them.
Instead, do them for Allah ; that way even if people let you down, on the Day of Judgement, you will see all those good deeds making your scales heavier. We sometimes also neglect life truths. We all know that throughout life, people will hurt us, and a lot of times, it is the people closest to us who cause us the most pain. So rather than allow our tongue to strip us of our good deeds, why not accept what we know and ask Allah for patience and strength during difficult times?
5. Invest in your self-development
Don’t waste time, don’t waste time, don’t waste time. The time that you spend watching movies, wondering why your life didn’t turn out the way that you wanted and feeling sorry for yourself…you will regret it in the long term. If you are fortunate enough to have access to education, a bed to sleep in at night and food to eat, you are better off than many people in the world!
If you are able to read this article right now because you have access to Internet, then you have endless opportunities to better yourself both personally and professionally. When you think about the amount of time you waste in pointless activities, ask yourself: how much Qur’an could you have memorized? How much more studying could you have done for exams? How much better could your graduation project have looked like if you had not left it to the last minute? What new skills could you have learned in that time? How much more quality time could you have spent with your family?
Pick up a hobby, whether it’s a sport, learning a new language or something in crafts. Be productive. The older you become, the more responsibilities you will have, meaning you will have less free time, so take advantage of the time you have now by becoming the best version of yourself that you can be.
Letting go of people we care about is difficult, especially if it’s not something that we wanted to happen, and it can hurt, but don’t let it affect the way you spend your time. Allah says so beautifully:
“By time, indeed man is in loss. Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds, and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” [Qur’an: Chapter 103, Verses 1-3]
So stay productive, have sincere intentions and work hard. Leave whatever is out of your control to Allah and keep bettering yourself with every minute as no one knows when their life will end.
In a beautiful hadith it is narrated that Ibn Umar used to say:
“When you survive till the evening, do not expect to live until the morning; and when you survive until the morning, do not expect to live until the evening; (do good deeds) when you are in good health before you fall sick, and (do good deeds) as long as you are alive before death strikes.” [Bukhari]
Has a loved one stepped out of your life recently? Share with us your thoughts and experiences on being overly attached to people and its long-term effect on our productivity.