By Maha Zainab Saeed
“Alif’’ is the first alphabet of the Urdu language and has a strong symbolic value in religion and mystic sufi traditions. Similarly, the namesake drama serial that is currently on air might just be proving to be a catalyst for positive change in the younger generation tuning into the show. The show often provides thought-provoking fodder for meaningful conversation about the transience of material wealth and finding one’s journey towards inner peace.
The character named Momina, quite skillfully played by Sajal Aly, is especially instrumental in this regard. Among her memorable dialogues is “Jo kama rahi hoon who kamana nahi chahti” and of course, “Aisay mat kahayn master sahab, mujhay sharam ati hai.” The simplicity in her eyes made us all feel, that perhaps we all have a Momina concealed somewhere deep inside in us. Perhaps she exists but we have lost touch with her due to the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. In the drama serial, the fast-paced life around her has driven her to her breaking point where she strives to find the true meaning of existence beyond striving for material wealth.
What is Momina searching for?
Specifically what struck me was that despite her struggles and ambitions, she still was able to figure out the reason she broke down. She felt the need to go to master sahab and practice the art of calligraphy, to paint her Lord’s name. She believed that it is something selfish that will give her peace. The bottom-line being that she was striving to find the path that leads her towards finding inner peace and satisfaction.
What strikes me is not that the majority of the people I meet today are not at peace, it is that they are not even trying to identify the reasons for lack of it. The world around us is involved in its material struggles, its inhabitants disengaged from their soul, looking out for money, love, leisure and so much more. When Shuja Haider in the drama’s soundtrack mentions that “Ishq par haq bus Alif ka Hai,’’ it makes me wonder the extent to which we are detached from reality. Today our society stresses ‘the new look’, the perfect click for Instagram or the expected bonus at work. Our illusion is not different from Qalb-e-Momin’s. We are just probably a more subtle version of him. The Momin in us is increasingly taking over us. The illusion has overpowered us to the extent that we do not even recognize the strength of it.
On the other hand, despite being broken and kindhearted, Momina should not be taken for a weak character. Her lack of outward strength should not be confused with a lack of self-respect as she very much knows how to hold her ground. What strikes me about her is that she understands and recognizes her weakness i.e. where she lacks in terms of her spiritual bond with the higher power, where her Lord may be disappointed with her. On the other hand, the Momin in us today holds us back from finding true spiritual enlightenment. Momin here refers to the pride and ego we hold to prove that what we are is the perfect way of being.
In recent episodes, we saw glimpses of Momin’s ego and pride cracking as he attempts to tread on the path created by his dada. Momin’s dada serves as the change agent, the catalyst that will push him towards a path yet uncharted, a path that will inevitably lead him towards finding the higher truth.
Through this article, we urge you to discover the Momina in yourself. Momina is the one who is always striving to better her spiritual connection with God. We or no one at this forum claims to be perfect, but that’s where the beauty lies – in the imperfection amongst us. It lies in shedding the Momin, the pride and the ego, and moving towards the Momina, discovering your Alif, your Allah and at least trying to build a bond with him. This takes time, but as we all know “Alif has a lot of strength’’ as it echoes in our ears “Alif bus harf nahi hai, yeh zarf hai kamaal ka”
Good luck in discovering your journey, with a mentor like Momin’s dada or on your own. As Rumi says “what you seek is seeking you’’, so seek your Alif and spiritual enlightenment will come your way.