As we celebrate Eid after the holy month of Ramazan, the bigger question to ask is not the counting of religious rituals performed during the month, but to search for their reflection on us to make us better human beings; for our own emancipation in general and for helping the society around us in particular. More importantly, our quest for achieving peace and happiness in the ocean of insanity surrounding our lives becomes the core subject of interest for understanding the meaning of our existence in this world.

Depressed and broken, fighting everyday traumatic struggles, while sitting in an air-conditioned cushy car, my eyes looked blankly towards the empty road creating the illusion of a static flow of water - mirage - with inverted reflections of distant objects in the sweltering heat. On the side pavement were three kids with torn clothes and without any shoes, resting their feet on the burning soil, but faces full of happiness, laughter, contentment and fully at peace with whatever they have. On the one end are the blessed ones like us lost in depression, despite having every conceivable comfort in life; and on the other end, there is a reflection of “children of the lesser God” having nothing, but full of contentment and peace. Ever wondered what is it that is missing in our lives? Is it lack of faith or it has got more to do with understanding the meaning of our existence?

People somehow confuse the spiritual peace with the worldly one living under the impression that religion provides that spiritual nourishment, which, in turn, will reflect on the worldly affairs and will take care of all their worries. If we look closely at the life of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), we can easily differentiate between the two. Turning towards religion by surrendering in total submission to God will provide us with the spiritual peace, however, the worldly peace not even came in the way of Prophet (PBUH) while so many battles were taking place all the time with dead bodies and blood scattered all around.

Surely, the spiritual side instigates a belief in the faith, which can affect our daily lives. But not in all the cases for this world is meant to be a test bed where humans have to face hardships and sufferings, despite their being religious and true believers. It is all about the process of reaching out to “brightness” after passing through the “deepest flood of darkness.”

Coming back to the same question of our quest for peace, which somehow lies somewhere else and can be easily understood if we closely look at the top regrets of the dying people. Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse, who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. She writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. These includes; “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends”, “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard”, “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings”, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” and finally “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends” speaks of the very concept of being with other people and creating strong human bonds. In Islam, we call it Haqooq-ul-Ibad, the most important pillar of our religion. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” relates to balancing our life, instead of focusing on only one thing and neglecting all other important factors. This is the balance between relationships, conducting a meaningful life and finding the right equilibrium, while staying in this transitory world. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings” is all about truthfulness, instead of faking ones emotions. Being honest in one’s thought is the key to conducting one’s life and by sharing or expressing them creates strong emotional and sustainable bonding between human beings. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” will bring in the much needed wish of “being happier” and finding the “peace” we are striving for.

It is all about giving to others is what makes a life meaningful. Cosmetic rituals will not lead us anywhere; the real value lies in conducting ourselves in the broader spectrum of our religious obligations. Life is a choice. Choose consciously, choose wisely and choose honestly. Choose happiness. It is all about setting ourselves on the path to changing our regrets into meaningfulness for achieving ultimate peace.

The writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He is life member of the Pakistan Engineering Council andsenior international editor for IT InsightMagazine. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living In The Grave and several research papers.Blog: drirfanzafar.com Email: drirfanzafar@gmail.com