Association is the most frequently occurring incident in human life. From start to finish, from lap to grave, from childhood to youth and old age, the process of associations chains on longer and longer. Association is a string of unseen sentiments, a story of unknown fears, a reason for trudging through life, a tale of conferring one’s world upon another, an autobiography of wiping out relationships, and a shelter of an honorable name. Everything starts with this one word; association.
There are as many types of associations as there are human emotions. Associations can be pure or impure, reputable or disreputable, permitted or unpermitted, true or false, sincere or insincere, for this world or thereafter, for the creator or for the creation, and for laughing or for crying.
The duration of association may be long or short. The association that begins in the mother’s lap extends far longer than even the grave, all the way to the grounds of the Day of Judgement. The association that is built solely for material gains cracks at the first blow of loss. Association can be single or double sided. The wise call a single sided association love and a double sided one, a business.
Some people are peddlers of associations and they serve the role of breaking or creating them. On the other hand, some people spend their entire life in the hope that someone will come along and create an association with them. The stature of some is so high that a teeming world wishes to create an association with them while some so unfortunate and wretched that even those that are associated with them no longer desire to keep their connection.
Association is also a trial of relationships and feelings and measures their strength on the scale of good or bad times. Associations have the ability to either make a man or break him. There are some who spend lifetimes on many a doorstep begging to be awarded that association. We could spend our entire life sitting at the edge of a dried pond like an ever thirsty swan, perpetuating an association that never responds.
Whether or not the story ends, the characters do come to an end. Associations also have the ability of transference; one’s love in someone else’s home, one’s dream in someone else’s heaven, and one’s toil and someone else’s success.
If a man has the desire to create an association, he can move to heaven and back on earth to create it. Then he spends his entire life strengthening it. However, in all this hard work, the most important association of all slips his mind and makes him weaker. The association hence ends up being one-sided and incomplete. This is the association that comes into existence even before he comes into existence as a human. It is that association the evidence for which was given with, ‘Alastu berabbikum qalu bala shahidna’ (7:172) ‘”Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.”
Allah (swt) does not forget His creation; it’s the creation that forgets Him. At least a moment, a wisp of time must be stolen out from that which we set aside to Allah’s (swt) creation to talk to the Creator Himself. We must ponder over this association too. Sometimes at night, with the sheet pulled high over our heads like is done to make use of the cellphone’s night-packages, there must be conversations with Allah (swt) too. He who always listens, and always awaits to listen, to what the creation has to say.
The associations of the world weaken a person. Often to such an extent as to render him completely immobile. In such a situation, it becomes imperative to revisit the connection with the Lord. This is the only true association one could ever have. Allah (swt) does not reject; He helps the rejected to their feet, consoles them, makes them comforting promises, lightens their heavy hearts with assurances, enlightens Himself upon them, and accords them His proximity.
Virtue is a form of association with Allah (swt), as is sin. They are nobody else’s commands than those of Allah’s (swt) that a human consistently and defiantly disobeys. However, it is entirely up to His discretion to either punish in whichever way He pleases or forgive all sins. It is entirely His prerogative to either smile or frown down upon his insubordinate creation. Whatever He has taken as His rights have and shall remain His rights for all time. What right has the creation to interject? Those who comment and interrupt the conversation between the creation and the Creator remain isolated and desolate, with no association of their own. Just like the star without an orbit, the loudspeaker without a mosque, and a heart without a devotion.
The association with Allah (swt) is the one association that demands the greatest level of effort and enthusiasm. Considering how critical the nature of this association is, one wonders why a human would deliberately distance himself from Allah (swt) at all? Shouldn’t he linger and loiter nearby constantly? Who knows when He chooses to assign us a task. What a great misfortune it would be to miss that chance.
Also, there is no concept of grievance in associations. To hold grudges and grievances with strangers is the death of affection. It can be understood when a disappointed, broken heart complains to the Creator, for what is a poverty stricken existence to do if not gripe? However, it is unfathomable to think of the Creator complaining to the creation. The thought is not just unfathomable but also unprincipled.
People should think twice before weighing others on the scales of their self-formulated standards and how far they transgress from the instructions of their own Human Relations Manuals called ‘Quran’ when doing so.
Regardless of whether people are non-Muslim, cripple, ugly, beautiful, short, fat or thin, they are all His creations. Who knows what level of association they have with Allah (swt). Before committing cruelty, one should stop for a moment and ponder on the type of association the oppressed might have with those greater in power. Should the oppressed end up sitting on the prayer rug and ask for revenge, not a corner of the earth could provide shelter from His rage against the oppressor.
Never be harsh to the one who has none other than Allah (swt) on his side.
Our society is full of strange people. They hate the creation of Allah (swt) in the name of Allah (swt) for the sake of Allah (swt). What would happen if Allah (swt) happens to love the hated more than He loves the hater?
In this deceptive world of associations, only he can vow to have an association with Allah (swt) who has the dark circles under his eyes that attest to the long nights of groveling that finally earned him his reward. It is this very person whose back yearns for the comfort and warmth of a soft bed and whose heart is consumed with the worry of earning nothing but that association.
All other people like myself should only remain fearful. We should be cautious of the moment when a person with such an esteemed association should happen to come under our tongue. Should this happen, he will turn to ashes all our desires under the blazing inferno of his damnations.