By EC Blogger Ali El-Ashram
Skaykh Hamza Yusuf has said that our society produces bonsai-ed people. What does that mean and how do we avoid being among them?
To begin, what is bonsai? Bonsai is a Japanese art form using miniature trees grown in containers. The general idea is to give off the impression of a mature plant, but in reality keeping it dwarfed through practices such as root pruning – which is performed to reduce the root system of a plant to fit it into a pot.
So to be a bonsai-ed person is to be someone who appears to be grown and mature, but in reality has been cut off from their roots to fit into the pot society has made for them. This leads to people who do not know who they are, where they come from, or who they have the potential to become.
Especially for a young Muslim growing up in this time, a person being detached from their roots is a highly dangerous situation. They are vulnerable to falling prey to a number of unhealthy lifestyles and mentalities.
We should all be careful not to be among the rootless. Study, read, and understand where you come from and who came before you. We are all part of a greater narrative – we have roots that travel deep into the soil of history. These depths are where we can extract nutrients for our souls – we can learn about the great people before us, their wisdom, and ways of life. That is where we can unlock some of the doors to true growth, God willing.
Understanding our rich heritage and tradition to a greater extent is essential to regaining our roots and shedding the confines of the pot society wants to limit us to and reside instead in our own skin as who we are meant to be.