Little by little God takes beauty away.
Little by little life's luster decays.
Listen to the passage, "To whom We grant a long life, those We cause to decline."
Seek the essence and not the structure.
The beauty of heart shall forever abide, for it is enriched with the water of life.
- Rumi, "Mathnawi"
In my view, what ails us today is this inability or lack of desire to discriminate between essence and form. We strive and strive and strive for those things that are real only to our senses and thus only real to this world, yet have no care to know what those objects represent. We are cutoff from Reality because we cannot see beyond the surface of things. We spend our days and nights killing ourselves for titles, fortune and status and have the nerve to claim that we are doing so 'for the glory of the Ummah.' What rubbish! We are blind to the Real because we do not seek the essence, the truth, the real meaning behind the appearances. We hide behind appearances of piety while our hearts are empty of true love. The things of this world are mere representations, yet we remain fixated on their physical value and worth. How can we ever claim to know God who is Himself unseen if we lack the desire and ability to see beyond the outer appearances of things? How can we truly be worshipping God if we do not know Him out of our lack of desire to go beyond the surface and find the deeper meaning of what He Creates? Seeking the world is seeking the world. There is no way to gift wrap it and make it something it is not, which is a heart that is filled with other than God.