Sufi Wisdom

A natural ease to one’s life

“Set thy face to a religion as a ‘hanif’ in the ‘fitrah’ from God
upon which He originated mankind – there is no altering the creation of God;
that is the upright religion, but most of mankind know not.”
(Quran 30:30)

To ‘set’, turn or submit one’s face to religion means to orient one’s being towards worship and obedience to God. Humans were created for religion – “I did not create jinn and mankind, save to worship Me.” (Quran 51:56)

‘Hanif’ means in a straight and upstanding manner, derived from the verb ‘hanifa’, meaning ‘to incline’, generally meaning one inclines away from misguidance and towards belief in the Oneness of God. ‘Hanif’ is usually used in the Quran with reference to Abraham, the father of the monotheistic religions. Thus the Prophet is enjoined in,

“Set thy face toward the religion as a hanifa, be thou not among the idolaters”
(Quran 10:105).

The basic understanding of ‘hanif’ may best be illustrated by the famous ‘hadith qudsi’: “God says, ‘Verily, I created My servants as ‘hunafa’. Then the satans came to them and distracted them from their religion”.

Seen in this light, a true ‘hanif’ inclines toward the worship of God, which is to live in accordance with one’s ‘fitrah’. Humans are born with an innate inclination of ‘tawhid’, the Oneness of God. One cannot change this underlying nature of being a servant or worshipper of God, because “there is no altering the creation of God”. The quest is to uncover our true nature, which will lead to the fulfilment of our soul’s longing, according to the laws of creation. This forms the basis of Islam, meaning ‘peace’, which if inclined towards, will provide a connection to one’s essential nature – that brings a natural ease to one’s life.