Reflecting on reflection

When applying to university over 6 years ago, I was sold on how revolutionising life in London as a student would be. Stimulating and fast-paced. Moving forward six years, when applying for jobs, the same perks of now working in the capital were making their rounds.

Growing up outside London has lulled me into a pace of life far different to what I'd witness as a student. It markets itself as the city that never sleeps. A magnet for the country's best and most ambitious.

I, like many studying and working in our capital, have become totally apathetic towards the never ending cycle of production and progress the city demands and prides itself on.

Don't get me wrong. The pool of resources and expertise in London is unmatched. I am a grateful beneficiary of its innovation and infrastructure.

But amidst the high-rise buildings and over-priced brunch joints, there is something pathological with the urgency and clamour. A giant monolith that crowds the space around it. Leaving little room for serenity, community and reflection.

In the Quran we are reminded of many innate characteristics that are programmed in us all. Hastiness is one.

Our predilection is to vibrate and scurry. To pause would be a reversal of our natural tendency towards unsettlement.

In controlled doses, haste serves its purpose. It's the driving force that has fuelled human invention and discovery. Our addiction to progress and movement has saved us from stagnancy.

Like most vices, haste is a fundamental human quality that has undergone manipulation. Our economic centres capitalise on it, ruthlessly. They prey on our hastiness in the pursuit of wealth, admiration, lust. Everything must be monetised. Every idle moment of time, a vacuum presenting an apt marketing opportunity.

Sitting on the tube, where for once we lack an internet connection, barrages of advertisements are pushed in our face, lest our internal cogs sit idly.

The Qur'anic commands for contemplation remains neglected as a result. Our prophets, who were all shepherds, naturally found pockets of time for this duty. But now these pockets must be actively sought.

Reflection must be etched into our day. Lest our haste makes us forget why we are here to begin with.