I knew every one of the steps that led down to the entrance of the library. Every crack, bump, and slope of those 15 stairs.
Since I was young I had read the inscription on the wall in front of the entrance. It said: “Everything that man has ever dreamed of or known is contained in books.”
I didn’t really believe that. There were many things I knew and kept hidden inside, and I’d never read them anywhere.
I was not always understood when I spoke. People often told me not to ask so many questions as it would make me disturbed and discontented with life.
I had a very real feeling from when I was a child that something was missing. I didn’t know where I belonged, but I knew I was lost and looking for a place to fit in.
But some things I knew for sure without needing to question. I knew that the human body is an amazing thing.
I could see so clearly how it carries on its functions without our even knowing or understanding how it works. And what is more, even though we do not necessarily understand how it functions, it still works!
This made me think about how science only believes in what it understands and what can be tested. But there are so many missing pieces of knowledge that are basic to life and yet scientists still can’t understand how life enters and leaves a body, how the human brain works, and so much more.
The human body gives us warning signs when things are amiss. We feel pain. Yet people often think of pain as negative. Without it, how would we know we are ill?
This made me think that even the negative things in life serve an overall purpose of balancing things and helping the human mind to comprehend some of the wonders of life.
Within each human psyche there lies an instinct: a sense of right and wrong. A warning sign telling us when things are amiss, something which is common to people everywhere. It is a desire to learn, to grow, to become complete.
Yearning for Peace
Like everyone else, I yearned for peace. I searched for it everywhere but when I was with others, usually I’d feel its absence. People often spoke of peace but didn’t practice it or even really know how to achieve and maintain it.
I read about it in books but they didn’t tell me how to get it. Ignorance, jealousy, competitiveness, pride, discontent, and just plain nastiness kept peace at bay.
Over the years I learned to find peace in nature. The mercy that lies in a mother’s heart, the yearning in mankind to learn, to be better, yet rising and falling under the yoke of ignorance and selfishness.
Humanity becomes civilized only to destroy itself, like placing a rope around one’s neck. The more we ignore our sense within, the further we stray from freedom, peace, and justice.
Like a mother who kills her child seeking freedom has destroyed any chance of peace in the memory of her deed, there can be no freedom without peace.
But what is surprising is that in our ignorance we are often so arrogant. Oblivious to our smallness in the nature of things, we dare to legislate and declare the means of survival for all others. Yet we cannot even control the blinking of our eyes or the beating of our hearts.
Scientists dare to take on nature, competing with the sun, rain, wind, and with life itself. They play with nature that we hardly understand. Regardless of all this, the sun continues to rise and set, the planets continue to orbit, people are born and people die.
Life goes on and man’s arrogance continues. Books are written about law and justice that bear no fruit. Books record the misdeeds of man, his rise and fall over waves of time. I read about so many of these things in the library at that time of my life.
But when I looked out the window of the building I saw magnificent trees and gardens, and I couldn’t help notice how nature bows down to laws that were prescribed before time.
The books didn’t mention how we find peace in the submission of nature to those laws.
There can be no peace, no freedom until humanity throws off the shackles of human-made law and submits to the One Who created all that exists, thereby bonding our innate instinct to the nature surrounding us, which all bows to and praises its Maker.
(This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.)