Life is like being on a solo journey aboard a ship, with the final destination being Allah Swt. Like it or not, you were born aboard the vessel, and your journey has begun the moment you came into this world.
Your soul is the captain of the ship. The ship is your vessel; your body, your mind, your nafs, and all the other things that make you. The ocean is the dunya, and all the air that surrounds you are the things that happen beyond your control, the qada’ and qadr of Allah SWT.
You were born, and your journey has begun. And so you pick up your oars, and you begin to paddle.
You might choose to paddle without aim nor direction, too distracted by the beautiful sights around you. The sights – the ocean, the mountains, the sky above – they shout to you, “Allah! Allah!”, but you remain heedless, paddling and paddling and going in circles.
You might choose to stay dazzled by the things happening around you – too blissful in the calm embrace of the sea or too flustered in the ocean storm – to notice the cracks in your ship and the water coming in.
Or you might choose to read the sights as they are supposed to be read, as signposts showing the direction to Allah swt. They are clear and they are bountiful, and you constantly find yourself reorienting towards the direction they call you to, “Allah! Allah!”
You might also choose to be a true captain of your ship, discovering and mastering the unique characters of the vessel you were born into. Every curve and every crack, you take note of the condition of your ship as it sails through calm waters, or when it thrashes around in the middle of storm, and act accordingly.
Through these moments, you know your ship isn’t perfect; no one’s is, except that of His beloved. But years of being at one with your ship has given you enough experience and knowledge to tug all the right ropes and avoid all the wrong patches of water, to allow your journey to continue.
You, the captain of your ship, might choose to drown in the ocean of the dunya.
Or you might choose to struggle and sing in chorus with all that is around you, knowing with firm belief that although the destination seems far, it is actually with you.