Almost Blind. Can hearts become blind? Allah mentions in His book that it isn’t only eyes but also a heart that can become blind—furthering that notion in the 24th surah. He gives an example of someone drowning in the sea during a thunderstorm with a giant wave that has slammed them, and before he could make his way to the top, another comes & pushes him even deeper down to the bottom of the sea. You’d think by the time you get to this part of the divine painting; you’d be learning from being out of breath or terrified. But no, the depiction is
إذا أخرج يده لم يكد يراها
“When he takes his hand out, he almost doesn’t even see it!”
The deeper down he goes, the darker it gets. The greatest horror in Allah’s perfect parable is an almost inability to even see your hand right before you. Yet, of all our limbs, the hand is commonly used in the Quran to describe our actions in life. I talked to someone recently about their “bad days,” the days before they repented and changed course in life. They told me that even at the worst times, sneaking out of the house, making the way to the nightclub, right before walking into it, they’d turn to God and say, “I’m sorry I’m about to do this, please don’t let me die here.”
Bad People Heart
That moved me so profoundly. Some people can be far from being good, steeped in sin, so many doses of drugs, illicit relationships, filthy environments, and all manner of terrible choices later, through all those crashing waves of darkness that have slammed them deeper. The deeper into the merciless ocean of sin, they are surrounded only by devices of their destruction. Every time they even try to come up for air, a new set of temptations and forces drag them back down. Ensuring they will be in so much darkness that they’ll stop thinking. They can still barely make out their hand and aren’t entirely blind about what they’re doing and doing it. Some voice inside bad people says you need to get out of this. Some part of those people can see right past all the makeup, all the loud noise, all the animal stares, all the fake smiles, all the mind-numbing thumping of music telling you to “throw your hands up in the air and wave ’em like you just don’t care,” and yet they still care. As weak as it may have become, their Vision still works.
How does Vision work?
Vision is a function of light. Naturally, without light, you can’t see. It doesn’t matter how far the party road you’ve traveled. It doesn’t matter how much darkness you’ve surrounded yourself in the heart. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve told yourself I’m in too deep. I’m as good as drowned, a lost cause. None of that matters. Something inside you can still see the wrong in what you do means there is a light somewhere. But where? Where did this light come from, and why was this light candle not put out by the drowning sea? The same parable that describes this depth of darkness will teach you that there’s a light inside your heart. You keep looking for actual influence on the outside, thinking if only someone good would come along and change your life and bring it lightly, you’d become a good person too. You don’t realize that natural man is you. A prisoner deep inside yourself, whose light you’ve been suffocating. You are the greatest oppressor to your enlightened soul deep in your heart. This starving prisoner should have died by now, but Allah is keeping him alive. He ends the ayah,
فمن لم يجعل الله له نورا فما له من نور.
“Then anyone for whom Allah wouldn’t have furnished light, they couldn’t possibly have any light at all!”
That light inside your heart is Allah’s most significant gift to you. You’ve been ignoring it because swimming against giant waves isn’t easy. It’s painful, requires you to exhaust yourself, and the alternative is much easier. Just drown. Just throw your hands up and stop caring. But if you have the strength of will left, He will never abandon you. His rope is always there to pull you up. He’ll also describe it as the anchor of a ship whose giant links in the chain can’t be broken. You will make your way up, and when no one around you is a light source, He will be from within you. The fact that you can still see your hand, albeit barely, proves that He hasn’t given up on you. It’s on you now. Happy swimming!