We all know that the ocean is so breathtakingly beautiful. But just as it is beautiful, it is also deadly. The same waves, which we appreciate from the shore, can kill us if we enter them. Water, the substance necessary to sustain life, can end life, in drowning. And the same ocean that holds ships afloat can shatter those ships to pieces.
This worldly life, the dunya, is just like the ocean. And our hearts are the ships. We can use the ocean for our needs and as a means to get to our final destination. But the ocean is only that: a means. It is a means for seeking food of the sea, a means of travel,a means of seeking a higher purpose. But it is something which we only pass through, but never think to remain in. Imagine
what would happen if the ocean became our end – rather than just a means?
Eventually we would drown.
As long as the ocean’s water remains outside the ship, the ship will continue to float and be in control. But what happens as soon as the water creeps into the ship? What happens when the dunya is not just water outside of our hearts, when the dunya is no longer just a means, but when it enters our heart?
That is when the boat sinks.
That is when the heart is taken hostage and the dunya – which was once under our control – begins to control us. When the ocean’s water enters and overtakes a ship, that ship is no longer in control. The boat then becomes at the mercy of the ocean.
To stay afloat, we must view this world in exactly the same way, for Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) has told us that “Verily in the creation of the heavens and the earth are signs for those who reflect.” (Qur’an,3:190) We live in the dunya, and the dunya is in fact created for our use. Detachment from dunya does not mean that we do not interact with this world or own anything in the dunya. You could be wealthy and have a family, but do not let these things distract you. Remember it is just a means. It is just the path, not the destination.