Monthly Archives: September 2011

Satan verses mankind

Standard

Since our first mother and father stepped foot on earth, satan has been declared an open enemy to all mankind.  This creature of vice has openly expressed his hatred for our species due to his banishment from Allah’s grace for his refusal to bow to us.  Therefore, Allah’s mercy and blessings to mankind are constantly being corrupted and mutilated to further satan’s mission of misleading human beings so they may end up with the same horrific and humiliating destination as him.

Recently, I had the blessing of Allah SWT to come upon a very different yet very thought-provoking and sensible interpretation of the story of our first parents : Adam and Eve (peace be upon them).

According to the respectable scholar Ghamidi, the forbidden “fruit” that our original parents were told to refrain from, was sex.  He explains that the Quran uses metaphors and symbols in order to refrain from vulgar language.  His reasoning for this interpretation is that satan tempts them to “eat” of that fruit while telling them that eating this will make them immortal.  Ghamidi brings our attention to the idea that human beings live forever by having children, because they pass on their genes and their family name also carries on through their offspring.  Further support for this interpretation comes as the story continues and upon “eating” of the fruit, their nakedness becomes apparent to them and in their shame, our original parents start covering their private areas with the leaves of Eden.  Ghamidi points to this development in the story and says that it is because the act of sexual intercourse made them aware of the sexual nature of their bodies, that they began covering their private areas, and not because of the commonly held notion that:

  1. they were wearing clothes and after eating the fruit their clothes disappeared from their body, or
  2. they initially didn’t have clothes and after eating the fruit they realized they were naked and felt compelled to cover themselves.

Ghamidi states that it is unrealistic to assume the forbidden fruit as a literal fruit, such as an apple, because the details of the story do not add up logically if one does use the literal approach.  He clarifies that Adam and Eve were indeed husband and wife, and so forbidding of sexual relations between the two was simply a test by God Almighty to show how satan can mislead and confuse them into committing errors.  He wraps up his interpretation by stating that the garden of Eden was meant to be transitory in nature and not a permanent abode for them.  Further proof of how satan uses sexual desire to mislead people is in the following Quranic verse:

O ye Children of Adam! let not satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the Evil ones friends (only) to those without Faith. (7:27)

Ghamidi asserts that this verse is a warning from Allah SWT, stating that satan entices human beings to commit abominable sins by living outside the confines of the moral boundaries set by God Almighty.  Sexual relations are a beautiful and scared part of human life, but only within private quarters between husband and wife.  Satan compels people to “remove their garments” in front of anyone and everyone in hopes of lowering our consciousness and connection to God Almighty, while at the same time breaking down blood and kinship ties.

I believe Ghamidi’s interpretation is very strong because in this time and age we can see the full effects of satan’s plans.  We are living in an age when we have mass communication interconnecting the entire world through telephones, cell phones, internet, magazines, newspapers, and television.  All you see on mainstream media outlets is talk of war and destruction, or you see exploitation and promotion of sex through music videos and celebrity lifestyles.  Ghamidi asserts that there are two main ways satan misleads people: through sexual desire and through egotistical desires.  We see these two play out all the time in our world.  Wars and prolonged disputes are a result of man falling prey to his ego, and the openness and acceptance of sexually promiscuous/deviant lifestyles is the other way people have fallen prey to satan’s mind games.

Satan is single-minded and forever persistent in his effort to humiliate us in the hereafter.  The way satan is able to convince us to give in to our ego or sexual desire is the same method the mainstream media executives use to convince us to accept anything, and that is: repeat, repeat, repeat.  Repetition is the way to shape young minds, and change adult minds. People underestimate the power of television shows, news programs, and even commercials.  These tools are used by people who are initially ordinary citizens with ideas and goals, to turn themselves into extremely powerful and manipulative individuals who become increasingly remote and inaccessible to the general public.

 

But their power lies in convincing huge sections of population of their idea, and so when more and more people start believing what is being constantly fed through TV shows, news programs and commercials, then come shifts in other areas such as traditions, laws and regulations, and foreign policies.  All these changes are orchestrated in a tactical manner so as to induce as little resistance as possible.   The public is “groomed” for the changes to come in their daily lives through the repetition of ideas in show segments which are then repeatedly broadcast on television.  There is nothing inherently wrong with television programming, but instead, since almost everyone watches some sort of television through their day, whether on their computer screen or their home theatre, people in control of what goes on television have caught on pretty quickly.   These people then use this public trust and attention to further their own agendas.  Most of these agendas, unfortunately, are either related to promoting sexual deviance or unjust aggression against a weaker party.

Almost every television show, movie, or popular novel, depicts characters putting themselves in situations that greatly influence their primal instincts to the point that they are willing to let go of all morals for the sake of a few minutes of sexual pleasure with people they have no right to be doing such acts with.  So many times it is shown to “follow your heart” even if it means to betray your marriage vows or vows of chastity while still single.  Sexual experimentation is encouraged in shows depicting teens being chastised by their parents for wanting to be in a monogamous relationship, with words like “I want you to be like a normal teenager. Go out and have fun like other kids your age.  Don’t settle down with just one person, or you have so much to see in the world still.”  In this way, audiences are given the message that:

a) all teenagers are involved in sexual experimenting and

b) in order to be “normal,” one must experiment with sex with whomever one feels an emotional or romantic inclinations towards, or even simply to gain “experience.”

 

The true believer’s most powerful weapon against such a shameful lifestyle is his or her knowledge of the commandments in the Holy Quran.  If you understand the dos and don’ts of life as brought to us in the Great Book, then you have your first line of defense set up.  The next thing one needs to do is to surround oneself with positive and God-fearing members of our community who will serve as moral support in times of need.  Most people turn to their friends and family to look for suitable life choices, and if the influential people in their lives are accepting of immoral ideas on television and sometimes even engaged in such shameful acts, that person will more readily accept wrong ideas compared to someone who has morally strong family and friends.  In this way, you surround yourself with people whose positive and moral ideas will be repeated all the time, so as to help keep you on the straight path.  Some people have gone a step further and joined forces with other knowledgeable and skillful Muslims and made their own television stations with twenty-four hours of Islamic and morally sound shows.  The next step would be to make such stations and shows mainstream amongst Muslims instead of the usual secular stations with the majority of shows aimed at corrupting morality.

I hope that everyone can see the true intent of the mainstream shows on television.  Many of us watch them thinking that we are adults and understand wrong from right, but we fail to understand that before we are adults or even Muslims, we are human beings.  Being human makes us all vulnerable to the same things, and so although we may consciously reject certain ideas on television or radio, repeatedly exposing ourselves to those ideas surely effects our subconscious, and will at best soften our stance towards such ideas or at worst turn us into shameless pleasure seekers.  Use your power and stop exposing yourself to immoral ideas and images whether it be through television, music, or the internet.

 

Perseverance: what gives predestination a run for its money

Standard

“It wasn’t destined to happen.”  This is what many Muslims say when they give up pursuing something in life that they are not easily able to grasp.  But in reality, that is the same as saying “sour grapes.”  I used to be one of those people who believed that no matter what we do only Allah SWT can really make our life decisions.  However, certain recent personal experiences, reflection on my past, and exposure to certain books and information have all led me to conclude otherwise.

According to my research, scholar after scholar, imam after imam have all tried to nail the same message: the written destiny with Allah SWT is not formed by Him writing it and you doing it, but rather it is you doing it and Him writing it as a result.  Remember that Allah SWT is all-knowing and is not bound by time, and so He has knowledge of what we do throughout our life.  But unfortunately, this concept of taking responsibility for your own life falls upon deaf ears when it comes to many practicing Muslims.  People confuse Allah’s knowledge of the future as something they have no control or say in.  People often say things such as, “It doesn’t matter what I do, everything is in His control.”  Of course everything is in Allah’s hands, but Allah runs the affairs of this world according to some rules (which He has created).

People sometimes point to others’ success and discover what steps were taken, but then call it simply “God’s will” when they fail to reproduce those same results after following those certain steps.  But besides being God’s will, which by the way, everything that happens is, the reason that different people get different results from engaging in the same types of actions is because every act committed is done so under different circumstances, in different environments, and with different people.  All these factors will almost always differ from person to person and could mean different end results.  Therefore, it is possible to still succeed, but one may have to tweak or maybe even completely revamp their strategy according to one’s own experience or setbacks.

Even scientists in this realm of study have similar theories regarding free will.  Many assert that human beings are indeed co-creators of their destiny.  This means that we are in a partnership with Allah SWT, which puts the burden of responsibility on us, because we are constantly communicating to Allah SWT what we want our life to look like, and based on our thoughts, words, and actions, He delivers us what we deserve.

The other thing people do not realize, is that when you set out to achieve something, and you fail in your attempt, it does not really mean you are not meant to have it in your life. What it most likely means, is that you are not meant to have it at this time in your life.  It is possible that Allah SWT wants you to grow spiritually by facing some hardships.  This means that if you really want it, then you must learn from the errors of your first and possibly subsequent tries, and you may be nudged in this way to come up with different plans to achieve your goal.  There are three levels of difficulty in achieving one’s goals: easy, hard work, and very difficult.  It is also not necessary that everything you cannot achieve easily is bad for you, because there are many things we achieve easily that soon after pose hardship for us.  There is not necessarily a direct link between what is difficult to achieve and what is harmful for us.

Take the example of the Prophet pbuh.  It was extremely difficult for him to initially spread Islam, but that did not mean it was “not meant to be.”  The fact that Islam did indeed spread and was eventually widely embraced happened because the Prophet pbuh and others who followed his example made it their life mission to spread Islam no matter what the cost.  In the process, the Prophet pbuh and his followers (may Allah be pleased with them) learned a lot about life and each person grew stronger in spirituality and wisdom.  Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to go through continuous struggle and perseverance to achieves one’s greatest goals or dreams in life, because Allah SWT wants us to “grow” and expand our minds.

This rule about persevering to achieve one’s goals has been embraced by many people, regardless of their religion, and since it is a rule of Allah SWT, it works for everyone.  All such people state that obstacles are only put there to separate those people who really want something from those who don’t really want it.  This is a profound statement, because it strikes at the core of the reasoning behind why Allah SWT makes some things so difficult for some, while very easy for others.  Life is a test, and Allah SWT has made it clear in the Holy Quran that we will all be tested at different times in different ways.   If you look back at your own life, you will see that whenever you really wanted something badly, you did not stop until you achieved it.  Allah SWT has set up the world in this way, and we must accept that some things in life will not be easy to achieve, but that does not mean they are impossible to achieve.  Even people who choose to do harmful and immoral acts are able to do them because the rule of perseverance is neutral.  If you chooses to engage in shameful acts or embrace an immoral lifestyle, and even if you face obstacles to make them a set reality for yourself, you will probably succeed at some point if you keep going at it.

So I hope that you understand the law of perseverance.  Next time you catch yourself or a loved one moping about their horrible “luck” or wondering why Allah SWT is not giving them something they really want, then you need to correct such thinking by asserting that although Allah is Master of everything, He allows people to achieve unimaginable feats if they have the courage to persevere, which often means working outside their comfort zone.

The Perfect Du’a Recipe

Standard

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate Most Merciful.

 

Dua (prayer) is the main means of communication between man and God.   It is this special bond we have with God Almighty, that brings us peace from our periphery to the very core of our being. Dua is what keeps us going in life, as it motivates us to do what we need to do in order to be successful.  So if you are ready for an exciting and fulfilling journey to your desired destination, try this recipe which is a slight twist of the traditional and commonly known recipe for dua.

 

Ingredients 

(permissible) goal or desire

focus

emotions

visualization

detachment.

 

Method:

 

Goal/Desire

You need to have a goal or end result you hope to achieve in the near future. Dua is basically you seeking Allah SWT’s help and guidance in manifesting this desire in your present and physical life.  This could be anything, for example wanting admission to a specific medical school, cure for an illness, having children of your own, a new and better job, or any other thing in life that you feel you must achieve in order to make your life more fulfilling.  Just make sure that what you want does not rob anyone else of their rights.

Focus

The best and fastest way to manifest your dua, is to focus on one main goal at a time.  This means that you must pick the one most important thing at the present time, and set your mind to achieving that goal to the exclusion of other desires.  You should devote a week to ten days focusing on this goal in your duas before you move on to the next important goal.   Focusing on one goal at a time allows you to center and channel your thoughts towards actualizing your desire more efficiently.

Emotions

Emotion is the oldest language in the universe.  It is the cord that connects us to Allah SWT just as the umbilical cord connects the fetus to its mother.  Without emotions, there is no salah and nor is their any dua.  Hence, you must have or build a strong emotional connection between your desires and the words you use in dua if you hope to get any tangible results.  The stronger the “emotional charge” of your dua, the higher your hopes of seeing Allah SWT manifest it for you.

Visualization

You need to see yourself living your goal.  This does two things:

  • clarifies to both you and Allah SWT exactly what you expect your life to look like with the fulfillment of that desire and,
  • forces you to specify to Allah SWT how you expect to feel as a result of fulfilling your desire

The second point is especially important because many times we assume a “natural” reaction from getting the things we want in life, but in reality, things do not always elicit the kinds of responses we assume they will.   Therefore, it is crucial to visualize how you feel inside as a result of manifesting your goal.  To do so, close your eyes and visualize your life with the final result of your desired goal (e.g. you are a doctor working in your own clinic), all the while paying attention to how you feel emotionally from achieving your goal.  Plus, you must see the sights, hear the sounds, feel the surroundings, and if applicable, taste the foods all while living your new desired life in your mind. Take it further if you can, by describing out loud your imaginary experience.  This will really get you in a good mood and allow you to expand on your final result.  Do not dwell on how and when you will achieve it. That is for Allah SWT to make clear with time.  Your job at this point is strictly to display your vision for your life with that desire fulfilled.

Detachment

Once you have spent some days on making dua through saying out loud and visualizing your end result, you must trust and leave it to Allah SWT to make it happen for you.  What this means is that you stop attaching your happiness to the achievement of your dua/desire.  You must bow down in humility towards Allah SWT for what He has already given you, and relish in the countless blessings presently in your life.  It is a grave mistake to fall prey to satan’s whisperings by sulking and feeling constantly miserable all because you do not have a certain something in your life as yet.  In order to really achieve true fulfillment you must live life with contentment and gratefulness with full conviction that Allah SWT will help you manifest your dua because He has complete control over every particle in this universe.

 

There you have it.  Hope this dua recipe allows you to cook up some delicious happiness in your life, just as it has allowed me to do so.  Here’s another tip to help boost your dua:  Perhaps Allah SWT will fulfill it sooner than you expect it if you

explain to Allah SWT how fulfilling your dua will benefit others in your life, or even better, others in the world.  Your words must match your thoughts, which must match your emotions, because you cannot hide anything from the All-Merciful All-Knowing.  For example: “Y’Allah, make me the manager for my store so that I may give all employees longer breaks and negotiate more paid vacation for all of us.”  And remember, don’t just say it, see it and feel it.