Thursday, April 22, 2010
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Then again that reminds me of a piece of wisdom of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. In one saying, he says that less but sufficient does more good than more but distracting. This proves true time and again!
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Monday, June 30, 2008
We who believe in God, whom do we think God loves most? May be the followers of every religion would think that they are the ones. God loves them most! Jews are the chosen people, Gods children, so He loves them most. Christians, who believe in the Christ, deserves to be saved and loved by the Lord. Or Muslims who worship the one God who begets not and has not been begotten. Which group is the most loved by God? Supposing that every group even thinks that the others are OK, let alone are loved by Him.
I, as a Muslim who believe that true Islam is misunderstood, misrepresented, misquoted and attacked both by stupid or superficial Muslims and islamophobists, as such, I believe that God loves none of the previous groups, just for belonging to any one of them. I learn from and believe the prophet Muahammad, and here is his answer to this question:
GOD LOVES MOST… THOSE WHO ARE MOST USEFUL TO PEOPLE.
Now here is a new group. This is THE religious leader of Islam saying that those whom God, Allah loves most are simply those who are most useful to their fellow humans. Note that he didn’t even say: those who are most useful to Muslims. Just to people. He doesn’t even specify what type of usefulness. That’s why a Muslim believes that he is rewarded by God for any benefit that he brings to people. Islam considers work as an act of worship, and work useful to others goes higher, to the Love of God. This is a very well-known saying of the prophet among Muslims as well. It’s not Muhammad’s fault then when Bin Laden has a different opinion. Muhammad delivered the message then he passed away. He can’t come back to life to correct everyone’s illusions. This is our own mission now!
This saying is not an isolated event in the Islamic understanding:
According to the Quran, 49:13
“Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”
Here it is stated that God doesn’t give preference for anyone except for how righteous and mindful of Him they are. No names here, no labels (Islam, Muslims). Just values.
In another passage, the Quran refutes the idea that Jews and/or Christians have any special place just for being so:
“(Both) the Jews and the Christians say: 'We are the sons of Allah, and his beloved.' Say: 'Why then would He punish you for your sins? No! You are but humans among all those he has created”.
I like that! We’re all just humans, like all other humans He has created. He judges us not based on what religion we were born following or we say we follow. He judges us according to how righteous we are. Labels don’t matter to Him. Here comes to my mind another saying of the Prophet: “God does not look at your images and your bodies, He looks at your hearts.” Beautiful! Note the distinction between "images" and "bodies".
Yet another meaning the Prophet mentioned, where he particularly talks to Arabs, warning them from the silliness of ever thinking that because the Quran was revealed in Arabic, they as Arabs would have any advantage in the sight of God: “All people are as equal as the teeth of a comb, there is no virtue (nothing better or superior) to an Arab over a non-Arab nor white over colored except by the fear and mindfulness of God".
To finish this post, I'd like to mention an even more astonishing verse from the Quran, 2:62
"Those who believe, and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. "
Give me anything close to that in any other scripture! Here the Quran even names those "others", and establishes one simple criterion for all: believing in God and Judgement Day and doing good deeds, resulting in them being rewarded and having no fear. The same meaning is repeated in other verses as well. I for one didn't find any other religion that has this same message as clearly, and that's why I chose to be a true Muslim!
That was just one of the hidden treasures of Islam!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Beliefs are part of every one of us. So we need to make sure that our beliefs are not damaging our vision. Seeing is a great gift. Your eyes are an asset that you would not exchange for billions of dollars. What would you do with all the money in the world, if you can’t see the world! However the eyes of the mind are far more important than the eyes in our face. We know of many great men and women who were blind, but their blindness was the small, minor one. They could see clear with their hearts and their minds, and this is what really counts. This is what made them great people. Our beliefs shape this inner eye, which in return shape our actions and reactions, our life, and our whole destiny. So we basically should care about the accuracy of our beliefs as much as we do about the accuracy of sight. Who wants to see things as they are not? We can safely say that those who don’t care if what they see is true or not, accurate or not, are insane, superficial or naïve. Those who see things as they are but pretend to see them as they are not are even worse.
So I think we can easily come down to this conclusion: we have to examine our beliefs. Inaccurate, unreal beliefs do us harm, and no good. This has another name: seeking the truth. Distorted vision simply means that what we see is not true. Being concerned with the truth is the key. It is also the door. It is the way.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The end is dead, the end is death. We describe a closed road that leads to nothing as being "dead-end". If accepting Islam was supposed to be an end, I wouldn't have accepted it. I accepted it because it spoke pro-life, pro-freedom, pro-beauty, and pro-common sense.
It was just a start. It pointed me to a reliable source. A source that I can trust and ask for guidance in the journey of life. It didn't end questions. Questions are part of the journey. I wouldn't take Islam for a religion if it suppressed questions and questioning.
I am still on the road. No destination has been reached yet. I have the message of Islam as a map, a guide book that I keep handy. Without it the journey could be depressing and scary, and indeed very mysterious!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Final note: A woman can be Muslim and not cover her hair, however a good Muslim woman would not reveal much of her body, the same way conservative women of other religions do. This post is primarily concerned by the attack of the veil as an oppressive form of religious practice. I must also say that I am categorically against covering a woman's face in the name of hijab/veil and I personally see it as an anti-islamic dress.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
“Every soul will taste of death, then to Us you will return” Quran, 29:57
“Say: The death from which you flee will surely overtake you, then you will be returned to Him who knows the unseen and the seen, and He will inform you of (the truth) of what you used to do” Quran, 62:08
We might live until we’re very old, but yet we don’t know how well we’ll be living then. If you live too long, you’ll be getting weaker and weaker. There is a limit; no matter how healthy you are, you will decline.
“It is Allah who created you in a state of weakness, then He gave you strength after weakness, then, after strength, He gave you weakness and a hoary head” Quran, 30:54
“He whom We grant long life to, We cause him to reverse in nature. Will they not understand!” Quran, 36:68
Eternity on this earth is not the aim of any wise person. This life is not even enough interesting to remain in it forever! If you live forever, you might just go insane! Death brings balance to our lives. Without it, Life will be out of balance.
Luckily, we still have the accounts of many of the teachings of Muhammad, thousands and thousands of his sayings and teachings. Once he was educating his followers, when he said: “A person’s (good) actions stop after death, except for three things”.
See, he is talking about the only eternity that a person can have on this earth. We are told in the Quran that we will be rewarded for all our good deeds, which makes sense. Muhammad wanted to point out that there are three ways for a person to keep adding to his “reward account” (the bank account of our actions, be it positive or negative!), even after this person has been buried.
Here are the three things that Muhammad mentioned:
1. When you have a righteous child who keeps praying for you after you’ve passed away.
Well, you need some knowledge to accomplish that! You need to know how to educate your children, to protect them from their own weaknesses, to give them strength, both physical and spiritual. You can only do your best, then your effort will remain after you in a living good deed of yours. For every prayer that your child will do for you, God will give you more of his gifts in your next life!
2. A “running charity”.
This means a charity that keeps producing results. You can think of a non-profit that was established by the good will and efforts of some kind, smart and determined persons. They die, but the fruit of their work doesn’t. Say we have a scientist who invented something beneficial to mankind. In the Islamic tradition, we know that every single time that a human being benefits from this invention, the one who created it is rewarded. Every time one single person is cured thanks to the works of any who wanted to help and cure people, this person is rewarded for the good fruits of his works. While buried under the ground, every day new rewards keep adding up in his account. This is how well God rewards those who worked to benefit others!
3. Knowledge that keeps benefiting people.
This can be part of the “running charity” mentioned above. But knowledge has a very important place in the teachings of Islam, so it had to be mentioned by itself. Someone wrote a book a thousand years ago to transfer his knowledge and improve people’s life. Well, you know it. When you read that old book, and you benefit from it, God will be rewarding the writer for what his words have done for you!