Privacy is a privilege. It is rarely enjoyed by women or transgender men and women, queer people or people of color. When you are an Other, you are always in danger of having your body or some other intimate part of yourself exposed in one way or another. A stranger reaches out and touches a pregnant woman’s belly. A man walking down the street offers an opinion on a woman’s appearance or implores her to smile. A group of teenagers driving by as a person of color walks on a sidewalk shout racial slurs, interrupting their quiet.
For most people, privacy is little more than an illusion, one we create so we can feel less vulnerable as we move through the world, so we can believe some parts of ourselves are sacred and free from uninvited scrutiny. The further away you are from living as a white, heterosexual, middle-class man, the less privacy you enjoy – the more likely your illusions of privacy will be shattered when you least expect it.
But if having a child or a particular person in our life is our reason for being, something is terribly wrong. If something finite, temporary and fading becomes the center of our life, the raison d’etre (reason for existing), we will surely break. The imperfect object that we place at our center will—by definition—fade, let us down, or pass away. And our break will occur as soon as it does. What happens if, while climbing a mountain, you hang on to a twig to hold all your weight? Laws of physics tell us that the twig, which was never created to carry such weight, will break. Laws of gravity tell us that it is then that you will most certainly fall. This is not a theory. It is a certainty of the physical world. This reality is also a certainty of the spiritual world, and we are told of this truth in the Qur’an.
Whenever a man performs his prayer hastily, God will say: My servant made haste in his prayer, does he think that his needs are in the hands of anyone but Me?
—Imam Sadiq (a), Oddatol Daee, #401 (via yaseeneducation)