The ginan delivers a clear and timely message: do not get totally engrossed in worldly pursuits to the detriment and total neglect of your spiritual existence. The composer also questions: “why do you take so much pride in the activities of the world?” And cautions: “do not fall into the entrappings of this physical illusory form”.
One of the central most powerful and beautiful tenets of Ismailism is the importance of constantly balancing the spiritual-bateni and the worldly-zaheri dimensions of our lives. This is not always easy, but it is something that we nonetheless need to be fully aware of and steadily strive for all the time.
The message of balance is a universal one – people of all faiths and traditions (and even those who practice spirituality outside organized religion) can pursue this in their own way and within their own philosophical frameworks.
Which brings us to the unprecedented crisis we are living through at present. An invisible ultramicroscopic virus has brought the sophisticated world economy to its knees. This is a truly humbling experience for us all.
With Allah’s help and human ingenuity we will get through this. But we don’t know how long it will take, the total final tally in human lives and the aggregate cost in lost economic output.
And as we emerge from the other side of this problem, the key question is what are we going to look like? Will this experience re-affirm our collective common humanity? Or will we degenerate into finger pointing and blame shifting? Are we going to be ready to jump right back into the rat race?
Most importantly: Are we going to be much more “balanced” as individuals and as a society? Time will tell. In the meanwhile, listen to the ginan below. You may feel overwhelmed with emotions in some verses of the ginan.