This is a piece I wrote while in the airplane…
Looking for God
By: Yasmin Mogahed
I’ve been looking for God my whole life. I just didn’t know it.
When we study those things that we all seek—in life, in a companion, in everything—we’ll find that both the believer and the atheist are actually just seeking God. See, God is the designer. Whether you’re an atheist or a believer, God is the designer of your needs, your affinities, your inclinations. And He has designed these inner drives to fit the natural order: tawheed (to seek, recognize and submit to one single higher power).
Think for a moment about what you and I seek. What do you look for in a companion, for example? What are we running after and willing to give anything just to hear?
“I’m taking care of you.”
“It’s going to be okay.”
“I love you. Always. That will never diminish or change.”
“You can hold on to me.”
“I will never let you down.”
“I will never hurt you.”
“I will never leave you.”
“I will always be there for you.”
“I appreciate you.”
“I see you.”
“I understand you.”
“I know who you are.”
“I’m close to you.”
“I will forgive you.”
“You don’t have to be perfect.”
“I will never abandon you.”
“I will never betray you.”
“I got your back.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
“I’m listening. I’m really listening.”
“I’ll never let them hurt you.”
“I’ll always protect you.”
“I’ll never leave you.”
“You are never alone.”
“I will never leave you alone.”
“When everything around you is falling apart, I’ll hold you up.”
“I truly only want what’s best for you.”
“Even when you’re messing up, I will still forgive you.”
“Even when you’re unable to give, I will always give you.”
“Even when you’re fighting me, I’ll still be kind. I still won’t abandon you.”
“No matter what you do, I can always forgive you.”
“I love you despite your weaknesses and your faults.”
“I will give you peace.”
“I will make you happy.”
“I will give you stability.”
“I will give you strength and power.”
“I will cure you.”
“I will give you status and respect.”
“I will always comfort you.”
“No matter how tiny the gesture is, if you do it for me, I’ll appreciate and reward you for it.”
“If you turn to me, I’ll be there for you, no matter what.”
“No matter what you’ve done to me, I can always forgive you.”
The truth is, when we thought we were looking for a good husband or a good wife or a good job or a lot of money or a lot of fame, we were really just looking for God. So it’s no wonder that we got disappointed when the husband, the wife, the job, the money or the fame didn’t fill our need—or our emptiness.
Even that emptiness itself was created for a purpose: To drive us to fill it. The problem is we try to fill it with the wrong things. Everything inside us was created to enable our journey to find the true fill, to find Him. Ironically even shaytan and the nafs—if reacted to correctly—can become a means to reach Him. Shaytan and the nafs are our enemies. True. But how can we protect ourselves from them? Can the people help? Can money help? Can worldly power or weapons help protect us from our greatest enemies? Where is the *only* shelter from both shaytan and our nafs? The only shelter is in Allah. It’s like sending a storm to push us to the only refuge. To push us to Him (azza wa jal).
Even your sins can be used to push you to God. After all, who else can forgive you for them? Where else can you find shelter from the storm and horror of your own sins? Who else can take care of them and erase them and even transform them into good deeds?
Your fears can also be a means. When you’re scared, who else can protect you? Who else can give you comfort and safety, when you’re stranded in the middle of an ocean? When you’re poor, who else can provide? When you’re sad, who else can pull you up? When you’re broken, who else can mend your heart and your life? Who else can give life to what’s dead? Who else can cure you? Who else can save you? When you’re lost, who else can guide you?
You thought the storm, the ocean, the fear, the sadness, the mistakes, the loss, the brokenness was all bad for you. But really it was only a means. It was all a vehicle to make you seek Him. To bring you back. To bring you back to completion, to happiness, to life. To bring you back to where you began. To bring you back to all that you really seek.
To bring you back to Him.