Thursday, 29 December 2011

Direction


IN THE NAME OF ALLAH – THE SOURCE OF MERCY – THE MOST MERCIFUL

IT’S ONE THING TO HAVE AN IDEA OF WHERE YOU’RE HEADING BUT LOSE YOUR WAY. IT’S ANOTHER TO TRAVEL WITHOUT ANY NOTION OF YOUR DESTINATION. IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’RE HEADED, ALL YOUR MOVEMENTS WILL BE WASTED EFFORTS. OUTWARDLY, THINGS MAY SEEM TO BE GOING WELL IN YOUR LIFE. YOU HAVE A GOOD JOB. THE BILLS ARE PAID. YOU CAN BUY WHAT YOU WANT. YOU HAVE A “SIGNIFICANT OTHER.” BUT CERTAIN QUESTIONS WON’T GO AWAY: “WHY AM I HERE?” “WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING?” “WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I DIE?” “IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH?” “IF THERE IS, WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING TO PREPARE FOR IT?” IF YOU DON’T HAVE SATISFACTORY ANSWERS FOR THESE QUESTIONS, THEY WILL GNAW AT YOUR HEART, NO MATTER WHAT OTHER TRAPPINGS OF SUCCESS YOU ACHIEVE. “TOO MUCH OF NOTHING CAN MAKE A MAN FEEL AT EASE.”

SCIENCE CLAIMS TO PROVIDE A SYSTEM FOR FINDING OUT WHAT IS REAL. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD PROVIDES A VERY POWERFUL TOOL FOR TELLING US HOW THINGS WORK. BUT BY ITS NATURE, IT CAN’T ANSWER QUESTIONS LIKE “WHY AM I HERE?” AND THE OTHERS ABOVE. RELIGIONS CLAIM TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. THEY PROVIDE “MAPS” OF REALITY. HAVING AN ACCURATE MAP IS CRUCIAL TO GETTING WHERE YOU NEED TO GO. BEFORE THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION, THAT GOVERNMENT MADE A POLICY OF PRINTING INACCURATE MAPS. THEY FIGURED ACCURATE MAPS WOULD HELP INVADING ARMIES. A PERSON TRYING TO NAVIGATE BY A SOVIET MAP WOULD SEE ON THE MAP THAT A CERTAIN HIGHWAY WENT STRAIGHT TO HIS DESTINATION. BUT AS HE WAS DRIVING ALONG, HE WOULD FIND THAT IT ACTUALLY ENDED SUDDENLY IN A CORNFIELD.

WHAT IF YOU WERE TRYING TO PASS THROUGH A PIECE OF GROUND THAT HAS BEEN PLANTED WITH LANDMINES? TRIAL AND ERROR WOULD NOT BE A GOOD STRATEGY. AN ACCURATE MAP BECOMES ESSENTIAL UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES. LIFE PRESENTS US WITH CONSTANT CHOICES. SOME OF THE CHOICES WE MAKE MIGHT BE DISASTROUS, BUT WE MAY NOT FIND OUT UNTIL YEARS LATER. WHEN RADIUM WAS FIRST DISCOVERED NO ONE KNEW IT COULD CAUSE CANCER. MARIE CURIE, WHO DISCOVERED IT, HANDLED IT CONSTANTLY. MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS AFTER SHE WON THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR PHYSICS, SHE DIED FROM LEUKEMIA, “EXHAUSTED AND ALMOST BLINDED, HER FINGERS BURNT AND STIGMATIZED BY ‘HER’ DEAR RADIUM.”

WITHOUT AN ACCURATE “MAP,” THERE ARE SOME CHOICES THAT A PERSON WILL ONLY REALISE WERE WRONG AFTER DYING. HOW CAN YOU REALLY KNOW IF YOU ARE DOING WELL? SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT PLEASANT MATERIAL CIRCUMSTANCES ARE A SIGN OF GOD’S FAVOUR UPON A PERSON. THE NOBLE QUR'AN DECLARES THIS IDEA TO BE A SHALLOW MISUNDERSTANDING: “WHEN A HUMAN BEING IS TRIED BY HIS LORD, GIVING HIM HONOUR AND GIFTS, HE SAYS (EXULTANTLY), ‘MY LORD HAS HONOURED ME.’ BUT WHEN HE TRIES HIM BY RESTRICTING HIS SUBSISTENCE FOR HIM, HE SAYS (IN DESPAIR), ‘MY LORD HAS HUMILIATED ME!’ NOT SO.”

THE ULTIMATE MEANING OF EVERY GOOD AND BAD CIRCUMSTANCE IS THAT IT IS A TEST FROM GOD: “I TEST YOU BY EVIL AND BY GOOD AS A TRIAL. TO ME YOU MUST RETURN.”

ON ONE LEVEL, EVERY NEGATIVE CIRCUMSTANCE IS RETRIBUTION FOR A PREVIOUS ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD: “WHATEVER MISFORTUNE HAPPENS TO YOU IS BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU HAVE EARNED WITH YOUR OWN HANDS, AND HE FORGIVES MUCH.”

BUT MISFORTUNE MAY BE A FAVOUR IN DISGUISE, A WAKEUP CALL THAT CAUSES A PERSON TO RE-EXAMINE HIS OR HER LIFE AND MAKE CHANGES: “AND INDEED I WILL MAKE THEM TASTE A PORTION OF THE LESSER PENALTY (OF THIS LIFE) BEFORE THE SUPREME PENALTY, IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY (REPENT AND) RETURN.”

THE MISFORTUNES A BELIEVER IN GOD SUFFERS BECOME AN EXPIATION OF HIS SINS. PROPHET MUHAMMED (PBUH) SAID, “ANY TROUBLE, ILLNESS, WORRY, GRIEF, HURT OR SORROW THAT AFFLICTS A MUSLIM, EVEN THE PRICK OF A THORN, WILL BE A MEANS BY WHICH GOD FORGIVES SOME OF HIS (MINOR) SINS.”

ON THE OTHER HAND, BECAUSE A PERSON CURRENTLY ENJOYS WEALTH, GOOD HEALTH, HIGH STATUS, ETC. DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT GOD LOVES HIM. A PERSON WHO PUTS CHEESE IN A MOUSETRAP DOESN’T DO SO OUT OF LOVE OF THE MOUSE. SOMETIMES WHEN PEOPLE TURN THEIR BACKS ON GOD HE MAY GIVE THEM EVERYTHING THEY WANT FOR A WHILE: “BUT WHEN THEY FORGOT (THE WARNING) THEY HAD RECEIVED, I OPENED FOR THEM THE GATES OF EVERY (PLEASANT) THING, UNTIL, IN THE MIDST OF THEIR ENJOYMENT OF WHAT THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN, I SEIZED THEM, AND THEY WERE PLUNGED INTO DESPAIR.”

THIS DOESN’T MEAN THAT ENJOYMENT OF THE GOOD OF THIS WORLD IS A SIGN OF BAD STANDING WITH GOD: “SAY: WHO HAS FORBIDDEN THE BEAUTIFUL (GIFTS) OF GOD, WHICH HE HAS PRODUCED FOR HIS SERVANTS, AND THE THINGS, CLEAN AND PURE, (WHICH HE HAS PROVIDED) FOR SUSTENANCE? SAY: THEY ARE, IN THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD, FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE, (AND) PURELY FOR THEM ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. THUS DO I EXPLAIN THE SIGNS IN DETAIL FOR THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND.”

WHEN PROPHET SOLOMON (PBUH) WAS GRANTED A BLESSING IN THE FORM OF A MIRACLE, HE SAID, “THIS IS BY THE GRACE OF MY LORD TO TEST ME WHETHER I AM GRATEFUL OR UNGRATEFUL! AND IF ANY IS GRATEFUL, TRULY HIS GRATITUDE IS (A GAIN) FOR HIS OWN SOUL; BUT IF ANY IS UNGRATEFUL, TRULY MY LORD IS FREE OF ALL NEEDS, GENEROUS!”

THE ANCIENT GREEKS USED TO SAY THAT YOU COULDN’T JUDGE A PERSON TO HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE UNTIL HIS LIFE WAS OVER. THEY WERE HALF RIGHT, BUT THE ONLY CRITERIA THEY HAD FOR JUDGEMENT WERE WORLDLY ONES: DID HE DIE WITHOUT LOSING HIS CHILDREN, HIS WEALTH, HIS STATUS, HIS DIGNITY, ETC. 

THE GLORIOUS QUR’AN PROVIDES ANOTHER CRITERION FOR JUDGING SUCCESS. ALLAH (GOD) SAID: “EVERY SOUL WILL TASTE OF DEATH, AND ONLY ON THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT WILL YOU BE PAID YOUR FULL RECOMPENSE. SO WHOEVER IS DIVERTED FROM THE FIRE AND ADMITTED TO THE GARDEN WILL HAVE SUCCEEDED, FOR THE LIFE OF THIS WORLD IS ONLY DECEPTIVE COMFORT.” 

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I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT IF YOU ONLY READ ONE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOK THIS YEAR, IT SHOULD BE MIND CONTROL SYSTEM. ‘THE BASIC HYPOTHESIS IS PROFOUND. THE APPLICATION OF PROVEN RESEARCH IS MASTERFUL. THE EXPLANATIONS AND SUPPORTING STORIES ARE COMPELLING AND LUCID. THE TRANSLATION OF THE RESEARCH AND STORIES INTO PRACTICAL IDEAS AND SOUND ADVICE IS NOTHING SHORT OF BREATHTAKING.’

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