Islamic Extremism & Perception of Life

A MAJOR historical setback in Islam took place the day we gave up scientific advancement and replaced it with theoretical dogma. The western world advanced with the development of the alphabet and the printing press, whereas, the Arabic script remained handwritten and copied. Whatever was left of the Islamic empire and its rulers ended up in royal decadence, infighting and political destruction.

From a religious Islamic perspective, the simplicity of Islam and its value system at the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.) got replaced with ideologies based on madhabs and politics which further alienated the founding principles of Islam, replacing them with nitty-gritting long winded explanations over minor issues instead of taking in the wider picture of existence in a competitive and challenging world.

The emphasis on Islam today is in a PHYSICAL context. We are concerned over how we pray, recite the Qur’an, dress according to Islam, consume halal food etc. We are RITUALISTIC in nature BUT when it comes to CHARACTER, MORALS and CONDUCT, it is a DISASTER! The reason for this is the way we were raised and educated on Islam. It DID NOT begin with TAWHEED. It did not PERCEIVE Allah as the FOCAL POINT or CENTRAL PIVOTAL POINT of existence. Instead, we REPLACED Allah with our EGOISTIC RIGHTEOUS CONDUCT. We started acting on His behalf. We abandoned RESPECT over differing opinions, TOLERANCE and replaced them with RIGHTEOUS VENGEANCE!

Today, Islam is about being a SUNNI or a SHI’A; it’s about Ali, Hassan or Hussein; it’s not about Allah or Muhammad. It about what MADHAB you follow; whether you are a WAHABE, SALAFIYAH, SUFI etc, not a SERVANT OF ALLAH, serving Allah and humanity for His sake and NOT your egoistic ambitions! We ALL claim to be Muslims; we ALL claim that our VERSION or IDEOLOGY of Islam is the ONLY right one… when you possess this kind of mentality, it sounds more like the behaviour of IBLIS! Have you seen a stalk of wheat? Have you noticed how it bends with weight? This how a Muslim should consider himself to be through submission and servitude to Allah. 

I have said this many times, there are SEVERAL LEVELS OF REALITY in Islam: The FIRST LEVEL deals with Allah. Muslims acknowledge that NOTHING EXIST but Him. There no god but Him; nothing takes place without His consent; there is NO power greater then Him. The list is endless and the Qur’an abounds with it.

The SECOND LEVEL deals with us, events, circumstances etc. This is the worldly level of perception, where the acquisition of knowledge and striving for success takes centre stage. REGRETTABLY, most Muslims begin their Islam at this level! We believe in Allah and His Messenger, but we BELIEVE IN OURSELVES FOREMOST! Life is ALL about us, not about Allah. THIS WHERE WE HAVE GONE ASTRAY! Scholars, Ustads, Imams, Religious teachers etc SEEM TO FOCUS on nitty-gritting things in a NARROW CONTEXT without taking in the WHOLE PICTURE. We do NOT perceive Islam in a dynamic context, in an overall sense, where character building, righteousness, morals, honesty, fulfilling our trusts and responsibilities towards Allah and humanity are supreme! What we have is a RITUALISTIC ROBOTIC PERFORMANCE of Islam without RESPONSIBILITY!

At the THIRD LEVEL of reality, it’s all about YOU and what you THINK according to your INTELLIGENCE, UNDERSTANDING and EXPERIENCE. Often it has nothing to do with others. It is your PERCEPTION, your POINT OF VIEW, which you try to IMPOSE on others! No one really cares or pays attention because it does NOT concern them! This why Muslims, who view themselves along ethnic lines end up being betrayed!

Both the SECOND and THIRD levels of reality are a FAILURE when you place them with the FIRST level of reality. Believe me, no matter what steps you take to achieve success, Allah has the FINAL SAY! Whatever WAY you achieved it, it was BESTOWED upon you by Him! Every INSPIRATION be it ILHAM or HIDAYAT from Allah or from Satan, it was APPROVED by Him! Do NOT deceive yourself that you know everything or that you are righteously correct, that would be nothing less than the attitude and behaviour of Iblis. Be HUMBLE; consider the views of others; reflect upon them because there is the possibility that you may be wrong!

If you begin learning Islam the traditional way, the current way, you will acquire you understanding of Islam at the SECOND LEVEL of reality. You will become a RIGID ROBOTIC INTELLECTUAL BIGOT! Your state of righteousness will look like Mt. Everest! I was once like this. Do NOT think that being a SUFI is the solution. Sufism today is nothing but a circus. It is COMMERCIALISED and even BUSINESSLIKE! It NO longer bears the hallmarks of simplicity, validity and honest servitude. It has an OUTER SHELL OF GLAMOUR without any SPIRITUAL CONTENT, because many Shaykhs INHERITED the Seat of Allah; it was NOT BESTOWED UPON THEM BY HIM! 

I do NOT speak out of arrogance but I can say this much to you, EVERYDAY spend some time reflecting upon yourself. Remember that the Prophet (s.a.w.), the BELOVED OF ALLAH used to take pride in being HIS SERVANT and then only as His Rasul! Take a good look at yourself; throw your EGO into the bin! Admit your sins, faults and weaknesses; repent and undo whatever wrongdoing you have done. Turn to Allah for FORGIVENESS, MERCY, KINDNESS and seek His CONSIDERATION over your needs, especially WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING so that you may DRAW CLOSER TO ALLAH, to become His friend, be protected and looked after by Him etc. Hadrat Bayazid Bastami (rahimullah) used to say to Allah: “Ya Allah, people ask you for all kinds of things, I only desire to be close to you!”

When you want to raise issues, do your homework, reflect upon your response. Many Islamic scholars will end saying, “Wallahu ‘alam” (Allah knows best). Do NOT end up like the Bani Israel, making life miserable. They asked so many questions concerning the sacrificial calf and yet ended disobedient. DO NOT become OVER-RIGHTEOUS when you know that the government collects all its revenue from every source of income (haram/halal). You may work with the Islamic Religious Depart or JAKIM in Malaysia, it does NOT make you any HOLIER because you do so! The salary you receive from such institutions all come from ONE source, the FEDERAL OR STATE TREASURY. However, you received your wages INDIRECTLY, thus making it PERMISSIBLE not HALAL. The Prophet (s.a.w.) has already stated that what is HARAM, cannot become HALAL! The WISDOM  of the issue here is: DO NOT BEHAVE like the Bani Israel! If you went around INVESTIGATING everything, I can assure you, the vegetables we consume cannot be eaten. All you have to do is visit Cameron Highlands or look at the countless video clips we get over how fish are raised locally!

It is our Qur’anic RESPONSIBILITY to promote good and to speak out against evil. One cannot become a fence-sitter, closing an eye to misdeeds, mismanagement, corruption etc, HOWEVER, one needs to possess WISDOM. One does NOT seek glory or fame; one ALWAYS needs to remember, that it is ONLY Allah that brings about change. We MERELY perform to seek His pleasure. As far as you are concerned, it is the SINCERE EFFORT that counts NOT the rewards, because it is for Allah to reward as He pleases!

Do NOT be EXTREME in you approach; try to understand why people behave the way they do; be compassionate and help them understand so that they may improve. If they CANNOT, it too is the will of Allah. At the same, do NOT be deceptive, by trying to be popular…do NOT sell the word of Allah for a miserable price! Do NOT amend or alter what Allah has decreed to SUIT you whims and fancies. Being MODERATE and MODERN in Islam does NOT mean abandoning the BASIC FUNDAMENTAL FRAMEWORK OF ISLAM to suit your whims and fancies! We have a Shari’ah; we have Fiqh, Tasawwuf, Tawheed, Tafsir, Ahadith etc – view all this within a framework of FLEXIBILITY! Not everyone was made out to be a saint. We all share different levels of Iman; different approaches to life etc. Seek out the best in life.

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We Have a Way of Making Things Up

Recently, I received a spate of videos on what to do and not to do. Other video clips dealt with God and reasons why things take place. Having reached the age of 73, I find all this amusing because as a Muslim, realty is pretty clear to me, even if a person from another religion might say I am wrong. When I was young, I believed in many things, rightly and wrongly. With age you mature and realise many things. Your view of life is based on knowledge and experience and it helps formulate a conclusion.

Every religion or belief has a perception of reality and each differs in its own way accordingly. The Qur’anic verse: “To you, your way and to me mine,” is valid. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. I can accept that and so should you as far as religion is concerned. To be honest, no one really knows their outcome, it’s just a matter of faith!

On an individual basis, we all CREATE our own perception of reality, without realising that it is built on situations and circumstances we are in. It is the TRUTH to you but probably an ASSUMPTION, based on a personal event and experience. This reality is FALSE. For example, a person dying from cancer and who has a few months to live will produce a lot of sentimental, emotional advice. A criminal will do the same. A dying person who witnesses REALITY as it really stands is known to tell those around him to this person this or that, as a means of atonement or righting a wrongdoing etc. If you read a Hadith and it mentions a lady filling her shoe with water for a thirsty dog and based on that deed she went to heaven – does it mean that we should all run out with shoes to give thirsty dogs some water and by doing so we will all go to heaven? That is NOT the message! The message deals with doing any simple good deed of servitude! This is a MAJOR problem with human intellect when it presenting Islam. It DOES NOT TAKE IN THE WHOLE PICTURE but only a NARROW SEGMENT!

Recently, I received a video on WhatsApp saying: “5 Reasons why Allah uses Problems”. He does so to protect you; to perfect you; to inspect you; to direct you; to correct you. It is FANTASTIC if you are IGNORANT (Jahil); it is FANTASTIC from an INTELLECTUAL point of view – FANTASTIC coming up with such CONCLUSIONS on behalf of God!

The INTELLECTUAL CAPACITY of humans is so GREAT, that at times, we ACT and BEHAVE on behalf of God. At times we THINK we know God better than He knows Himself, but in reality, we know NOTHING! Our knowledge and intellectualism is a mere drop in the ocean. However, since it is a Qur’anic command to acquire knowledge, unfortunately most end up like a “donkey laden with books,” (Qur’anic verse). I have been through all this as a religious student, then as an ustad and scholar. Now when I sit back and reflect on my past, I realise what a religious bigot I was (an over righteous idiot)!

When it comes to health, I receive so many video clips over what people should and should not do. Now trying going to a hardcore smoker and tell him that he will end up with cancer if he continues smoking. He will most probably laugh at you and point out someone who smoked and died without getting cancer! At 73, I had to undergo a cornea transplant. My medical examination showed that I have no heart problems, no diabetes, no high blood pressure – why? Because for years now I have been looking after my diet, BUT then God (an assumption on my part), decided I NEEDED a cornea transplant! Yes, information and knowledge does help us along in life BUT there is SOMEONE up there that decides and determines all things!

Seriously speaking, as a Muslim, Muslims NEED to realise that Allah is the CENTRAL POINT OF FOCUS. Everything revolves around Him; it begins and ends with Him; everything is determined by Him – NOT by you! You may play a part in it through EFFORTS, but ULTIMATELY, it is He who approves and determines all things. So, QUIT acting and behaving like Allah (God). Get rid of your EGO; go throw in in the rubbish bin! Stop HARPING on a narrow aspect of Islam (or religion). PROVE it by being humble. Take a good look at yourself, it will help you to be tolerant, forgiving, loving and caring, compassionate etc. QUIT all the RHETORIC about religion and imagine yourself standing before your Creator EMPTY HANDED! Try to take in the wider picture; try to acquire a wider perspective of things. A coin has an image, a denomination and a shape. Do NOT just view one aspect of the coin!

A Sufi shaykh said to his murid, “If you can’t understand what I have said, then, that too is the will of Allah.” Abu Lahab, Abu Jahal, both uncles of Muhammad (s.a.w.) ended up the way Allah intended (just as Iblis did too). Yet we also say that it was their choice. If you are at the FIRST LEVEL of Reality in Islam, it is all about Allah, not you! BUT if you are at the SECOND LEVEL of Reality, then it is all about you first alongside Allah… a sheer WASTE of time!

Finally, everyone is ushered (born) into this world with a book. It details your preordained destiny (Qada’ and Qadar). You cannot escape this. However, you can approach Allah concerning it. When you do so, please do NOT complain. It is a sign of disobedience; lack of submission. If you seek a favour, do NOT ask; out of the thousands of supplications you have made just how many were granted? INSTEAD, turn to Allah for FORGIVENESS, MERCY and KINDNESS because you could be part of the problem. By doing so, you stand a better chance (or a reduction in punishment). Your asking is one of CONSIDERATION. Always be grateful. Seek closeness to Him. Keep Allah in your heart and the world in your pocket.

BELIEF IN GOD

Belief in God by my Shaykh Hadrat Shahidullah Faridi (r.a.)

It is mistakenly imagined by some that belief in a Supreme Being as the Creator and Controller of the universe is a mere emotional aspiration, a superstition of ancient times, irrational and illogical, and exploded by modern science. It is believed that scientists (physicists, biologists and others) have erected some theory which both refutes and replaces the traditional belief in God. Such ideas have only a very superficial grounding, and are the result of ignorance or an indifference to both the fundamentals of religious faith and the scope of the physical sciences. It is a significant fact in the history of world thought that very few people have ever made it their business to refute the existence of God. The views of the universe which are considered to be anti-religious are almost all agnostic, not atheistic, that is to say, they attempt to ignore the existence of God instead of denying it. This is true of certain views of modern science as well as of the ancient non-religious theories. The universe in which we live comprises an evident system of causes and effects, of phenomena and their results, and it is possible to discuss them indefinitely and construct theories about them, giving a superficial appearance of completeness. This is done, however, only at the expense of ignoring fundamentals or claiming that they cannot be known. If one were to search for a convincing statement based on firm principles that the existence of a Supreme Being is impossible, one would not be able to find it.

The reason for this state of affairs is that belief in God is at once instinctive, rational, evidential and intuitional, and it is only by deliberately neglecting to consider it that the non-religious attitude is maintained. It is instinctive in that man has an innate feeling of his own inadequacy and helplessness, which accompanies him from the cradle to the grave, a feeling accompanied by the complementary desire to seek refuge and support with a being who controls all those forces before which he feels himself inadequate. We put this feeling forward as instinctive, although it will immediately be perceived that it is also evidential. The weakness of man before all the uncountable influences over which he has no control is a fact so obvious as to require no discussion.

What is less well grasped by some who have claims to intelligence is that belief in God is fully supported by reason and logic, the principles on which all human intelligence stands. For instance, it is a basic requirement of reason that an effect cannot exist without a cause. However hard we press our mental faculties, we cannot conceive rationally of a causeless effect, and if we wish to postulate one we can only do so by temporarily putting our reason on the shelf. Reason leads us to the conclusion that just as the elements which compose the universe are effects of certain causes, the universe itself must be the effect of a cause, a cause which is itself mightier than and outside the universe. Non-religious thinkers have to ignore the origin of the universe and postulate something existing in the beginning without any known cause. This postulate is essentially non-rational and therefore unscientific, but it is a necessity for those thinkers who have unconsciously or deliberately decided not to consider fundamentals. Of these there are even some who openly proclaim their refusal to discuss or admit any metaphysical concept. This kind of attitude, however, can only be upheld by abandoning reason. Reason itself guides us inexorably to the conclusion that there is an ultimate cause, the Cause of causes, beyond this universe of time, space and change; in fact, a Supreme Being.

Another of the basic demands of reason is that diversity cannot exist without a fundamental unity. Whenever the human mind is confronted with diversity, it immediately sets to work to synthesise it into unities, then to synthesise these unities into higher unities and so on until it can go no further. The ultimate result of a rational consideration of diversity is to arrive at a unity of unities, a Supreme Unity, the producer of all diversities, but itself essentially One. Whichever fundamental of reason we select, if we follow its path we are led inevitably to the same goal – belief in God, the Supreme Being.

Besides the conclusion arrived at by purely rational processes, man is led to the belief in God by observation and experience. One of the principal reasons for man’s refusal to recognize the existence of God is the intellectual arrogance produced by his appreciation of his own powers of analysis and synthesis, of harnessing physical forces by his ingenuity, and of constructing complex machines to do his work for him. But pride is caused by concentrating too much attention on one’s own virtues and blinding oneself to one’s defects. What are the best of man’s mechanical inventions but a poor and crude imitation of what already exists in an infinitely finer form in nature? By copying in an elementary fashion some of the functions of the human eye, he has been able to evolve the camera; but what comparison has this machine, made out of lifeless materials, to the living stuff of the eye, and to the refinement, brightness, clarity, flexibility and stability of its vision, its immediate connection with the mind which sifts and appreciates all it sees, all without a complicated system and controls, and directly under the command of the human will? Take any organ of the body and study it – the heart, the brain – and it will immediately be obvious that it is quite outside the scope of man’s ability to conceive and fashion such an instrument. The petty imitations of man are attributed to his great cunning, artistry and intelligence. Is it then reasonable, logical or scientific to attribute the infinitely finer and more perfect instruments of nature to such vague and blind energies called by names such as the ‘life force’, or ‘matter in evolution’, and leave them undescribed and unexplained? If logic has any validity (and if it has not we had better stop thinking altogether and become animals), the intelligence which conceived and wrought myriads of such delicate and astonishing devices must be infinitely superior to the human intelligence (even the human intelligence is one of its products), and have control of all the materials and workings of the universe. Such an intelligence can only be possessed by a Supreme Being, the Creator, Fashioner and Sustainer of all things.

If we ponder our own place in the world, we find that we (as well as all other beings) are kept in being by a most intimate combination of forces and conditions, which is so delicate that even a small dislocation would cause our total destruction. We live, so to speak, continually on the brink of annihilation, and yet are enabled to carry on our complex existences in comparative immunity. We cannot live, for instance, without daily rest; both the human body and the human mind are constructed to need it. This fact is not in itself surprising, but what is surprising is that the solar system collaborates with us in our human frailty and provides us with a day and a night exactly suited to our needs. Man cannot claim to have compelled or persuaded the solar system to do so; nor can the solar system claim to have modelled human physical and mental energy to conform to its own movements. Both man and the solar system are evidently linked in a total organisation in which man is the beneficiary; the organiser of these inexplicable concordances can only be a Supreme Controller of the universe and mankind. Sweet water is a necessary condition of human existence; it is equally necessary for those plants which produce man’s staple foods, which themselves depend on each other. If sea water were to invade our rivers and wells or rain down from the sky, is there any doubt that we should all die of hunger and thirst in a few days and the whole world become an empty desert? Yet sea water is only held back by an invisible barrier over which we have no control, and the sun and the clouds co-operate in order to desalinate our water for us and so give us life. This linkage of interdependence and concurrence could be extended indefinitely by taking examples from the physical world, and to describe it as ‘fortuitous’ is only begging the question; moreover it is a contradiction in terms. Fortuity is the name for something which does not come within any known system or regulation, an apparently meaningless and haphazard occurrence. To call a system which is a balanced and cohesive organization fortuitous is obviously self-contradictory and fallacious. A ‘fortuitous system’ is, simply, an absurdity. If we observe carefully we can see that the whole of the universe is interdependent and interlinked and therefore not fortuitous but planned. Belief in God means, precisely, belief in a Planner of the universe.

A basic element in human consciousness – a suprarational element – is a sense of value and purpose in respect to life. Even the worst of men is prevented from becoming completely bestial by this feeling, and in the best of them it dominates their whole existence. The senses of good and evil, right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, fitness and unfitness, truth and falsehood are such that however attacked by the missiles of constructive analysis, they remain intact within their intuitional fortress. In all ages and conditions, man has not been able to divest himself of the idea that behind its external effect, every action possesses a quality by which it may be judged and graded in the scale of final values. In addition to the consciousness of the existence of these values, there is the feeling that it is the purpose of man’s life to attain those qualities which reflect the highest of them, that not only are they excellent in themselves and worthy of being acquired, but that they must be acquired, and that he has been created to acquire them. The natural sense of qualitative purpose, if allowed to develop freely without the cramps of agnostic prejudice, leads him to the conception of an absolute good and an absolute truth as the ultimate standard of human existence, and from there (for a quality cannot exist except in a being who is qualified by it) to a being who is the possessor and author of these qualities, the Supreme Purposer.

The decisive vindication of the existence of God is evidential. At various junctures in world history and in widely distant places, certain men have arisen and proclaimed that they have been inspired by God to give His message to mankind. These men were not mad; we have historical records of several of them, including all or part of the message they insisted that they were called to deliver, and it is obvious that they were men who were intellectually and morally highly impressive. They did not come all at once so that we could attribute them to a sort of historical fashion. They came spaced throughout history usually at a time of great moral degeneration. If we examine their message, we find that apart from differences of expression, attributable to the milieu in which they lived, they not only bear remarkable similarities but are basically identical. They have stated that God had conversed with them in some inspirational manner, and had ordered them to proclaim His Existence as the Creator, Maintainer, Controller and eventual Destroyer of the world, to describe His Mercy and Justice, and to warn mankind that it is only by remembering and worshipping Him and following the moral and practical principles that He has laid down for them that they can achieve success and happiness here and hereafter. The last of these prophets was Muhammad of Mecca, who stated that there would be no prophet after him, and it is a demonstrable historical fact that no-one has been able to establish a claim to prophethood since. Now those who discuss or refuse to discuss the existence of God almost invariably rely on rational or anti-rational arguments and rarely, if ever, consider the evidential factor. The two basic elements in human knowledge are, firstly, our own observations and conclusions, and secondly, the evidence of others. Among the branches of knowledge the whole of history, for example, and most of the average man’s acquaintance with science, are only known from the evidence of others, unless he himself is a specialist in the subject. When specialists in a certain branch of knowledge continuously assert that a certain thing is a fact, it becomes a necessity for the rest of mankind, who are unable to acquire this knowledge directly, to accept it as such. In the field of direct inspiration from God, and knowledge of His qualities and works, we have the repeated evidence of people in history who have affirmed their apprehension of Him and that they have been charged with conveying His message; not only that, the realities of the divine and spiritual realism as described by these prophets have in various degrees been corroborated and confirmed by the spiritual experiences of an uncounted number of their followers right up to the present day. These corroborators have been the saints and mystics of their various communities. This continuous and widespread evidence of the existence of God, the central and original evidence of prophets, and the derivative and confirmatory evidence of their followers, all based on modes of direct and intuitional perception of His Being, cannot with any reasonability be denied or ignored. To deny or ignore them is patently illogical and unscientific, and against the basic principles of the acquirement and dissemination of human knowledge. In addition to being instinctive, intuitional, and logical, belief in God has irrefutable evidence to prove its verity. END

Understanding the Qur’an: Hiccups, Hang-ups & Confusion

Muslims worldwide in general often find themselves in difficulty due to the way they view the Message of the Qur’an. While it is good to learn to recite the Qur’an properly, it is dangerous to acquire an extreme understanding of its interpretation. To overcome this problem, one should seek the services of a qualified educated TAFSIR teacher. This teacher should and MUST begin teaching Tafsir based on accepted explanations of the Qur’an (Ibnu Kathir, Jalalain etc. They may not be perfect but they form a historical background). These explanations BEGIN with a HISTORICAL background to every verse and is often accompanied by Ahadith. This foundation is VERY important. Unfortunately, this is overlooked today. Preachers have the tendency to interpret Qur’an verses in a current context according to their whims and fancies, to serve specific ideological goals and objectives. 

The next issue deals with ENVIRONMENTAL factors, interpretation and application. As Muslims, we all know and understand the Message but in the modern world it depends on where you are and in what country and what environment. Islamic education provides MANY APPROACHES ACCORDING TO A VARIETY OF SITUATIONS WITHIN AN ENVIRONMENT. This means that there is FLEXIBILITY in Islam, rather than rigidity. The Qur’an provides us with many examples. One excellent one deals with Nabi Musa (a.s.) and the Israelites over the sacrificing of a calf in Surah Baqarah.

A common hang-up with many Muslims is their inability to adjusts to new environments when migrating or seeking refuge. Many FAIL to bring about change in their own countries but on migrating ACT RIGHTEOUSLY.  I can understand the need to preserve Islam and culture but it is an effort that deals with you and God, In a non-Islamic country or a secular state, religion is NOT tolerated! It is a PRIVATE, PERSONAL matter. If you do NOT like it, the option of HIJRAH is open to you in Islam. Try to keep in mind that your piety is between you and God and it depends on submission, servitude and self-examination, to gain closeness to God and not to go championing causes that serve the devil’s interest in sheep’s clothing! There are many Ahadith on this. For example, you have to Qur’anic reciter and the martyr who performed just to be seen rather than for the sake of God and ended up in hell! Sayyidna Ali (r.a.) was extremely concerned about his intentions, so much so that he hesitated to kill his enemy at the battlefield. He was concerned whether it was done out of anger and hatred or for the sake of Allah. Today, it is usually a case of ‘sour grapes’, revenge, hatred etc for the wrong reasons.

Acting OVER RIGHTEOUSLY is a disease. We have many ‘specialists’ who are UNQUALIFIED offering advice on a variety of subjects. Actually they are expressing an OPINION and NOT offering VALID ADVICE! Failure is one reason, another is to seek political gain; then there is the issue of EMOTIONS and SENTIMENTS which have no place in Islam. Instead, one need to view REALITY and perform SELF-EXAMINATION. The bottom line is that GOD is IN CHARGE, not you! You are merely the PERFORMER and INITIATOR of what GOD wants done! The MOST one can do is to OFFER ADVICE and PRAY for change. The Hadith clearly states that the weakest of intentions is to make a supplication in your heart in the event you are unable to speak out against evil out of fear!

The recent issue of a launderette owner setting up a shop to ONLY serve Muslims in Johore, Malaysia, was intended out of goodness. However, the way he went about is was wrong. He should have had SEPARATE UNITS for Muslims who were EXTRA SENSITIVE about the HALAL approach to washing clothing in a machine. In general, there is actually no need for such an approach or attitude. I recall when I first embraced Islam in 1960, followers of the banned ARQAM in Malaysia, spoke to me about ‘halal’ food and why the Malays had gone astray. At the time, it was a LOGICAL explanation but God enlightened me and caused me to reply, that had it been so, then, how in heaven’s name was I able to become a Muslim after eating and drinking all that was prohibited! Often, we reach Islamic conclusion based on our OWN beliefs or determined by those who INFLUENCE us. Most of these are MODERN LOGICAL PERCEPTIONS that have no basis or foundation in Qur’anic Tafsir.

References:

http://www.msn.com/en-my/news/other/apa-lagi-selepas-dobi-mufti-asri-tegur-kejahilan-umat-islam/ar-AAsrLpo?li=BBr8Hnu

http://www.msn.com/en-my/news/other/dressing-down-for-launderette/ar-AAsvmLt?li=BBr8Hnu

One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison: Whatever your views, I respect them. This is the greatness of Islam: of being able to co-exist and tolerate one another, However, there are limits to this as was the case with caricatures of the Prophet (s.a.w.), disrespect for religions etc. Then there is the issue of justice, where BUSH and BLAIR get away with murder while others are crucified! The situation over PALESTINE is the root cause of terrorism. As humans, we all have religious affiliations, feelings and emotions over brutality, genocide, killing and confiscating people’s lands around the globe. The Rohingya issue has just opened up a Pandora’s box, which will ultimately lead to violence and terror in Myanmar. Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, repeated attack the Muslims of Rohingya, which will ultimately introduce reciprocal action against them and cause other Buddhists in Muslim countries to be affected. 

This is NOT an easy issue to handle. Calling upon Muslims to be calm and patient is NOT the answer. The BEST approach to date was offered during a Friday Sermon at Masjid Falaq in Orchard, in Singapore. As Muslims, we must distance ourselves from being overcome by emotions. We need to reason; to pray hard that these issues will be resolved by God; we do NEED to take a good look at ourselves, our character, our submission and servitude to God, and to preserve the peace we continue to enjoy

As Muslims, we MUST support the downtrodden and demand justice. We should NEVER become fence-sitters but speak the truth in a well-balanced manner. I truly find it DISGUSTING that the wrongdoings of the west are overlooked, when they are in fact the ROOT CAUSE for terrorism through their actions in Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Syria etc, but instead, highlight a response by some Muslim as an ACT OF TERRORISM. Today, super powers around the world flout every law to serve their self-interest at the expanse of humanity. TO SURVIVE, MUSLIMS NEED TO TAKE IN THE WIDER PICTURE; VIEW THINGS IN A WIDER CONTEXT AND NOT GET CARRIED AWAY WITH NITTY-GRITTING THINGS. We Need TO VIEW THE Qur’an in a WHOLESOME MANNER and NOT in a NARROW CONTEXT!

Perspective: Perceiving Life

INTRODUCTION

We often view life from a variety of perspectives. It depends on when and how you were born; what environment you were born into; your race and the end results of your existence. From a scientific aspect, it would deal with your genes. From an economic aspect, it would deal with whether you were raised in a poor family or a rich one. When you get down to the personal level, it would deal with what life means from your experience and perception of it from a variety of angles. This is a reflect of what life is all about to you at old age. This view is a PERSONAL VIEW which may be full of bitterness or happiness or a measure of both. It will include what you should have done or could have done or should not have done.

ENVIRONMENT

The environment plays an important part in shaping you beliefs and approach to life. Your race, cultural and religious beliefs add to it. You are SHAPED into what you believe in by your environment. Your religious beliefs, culture and ethnic state shapes your view of life. Education merely ADDS to existing information which enables you to survive in your environment. It can improve your position in life but it CANNOT change what you really are deep down inside because the mould has been cast.

THE LAW OF CAUSATION

Life

Every cause has an effect. When a person uses the above words, it clearly indicates the life the person has gone through. It is full of BITTERNESS and it seeks to be understood. We all go through such experiences to some extent in life and wish people could understand the circumstances we were in and what made us act in such a manner. These JUSTIFICATIONS can be valid or purely based on our egoistic desires. SELDOM do we view TRUTH outside our perception of the truth! This takes place because we live in our own world of reality, reality created by us individually. It is a FALSE perception of reality as it truly stands! Therefore, it is a NATURAL response for a person on the defence to utter the words above. 

PERCEPTION IS DIVERSE

If you look at a coin, it has an image, a denomination, and a shpe and size. Add all this up and you get a coin. This is the WHOLESOME picture of a coin. We do not view life and situations in this manner. We have the tendency of viewing life in a NARROW CONTEXT. We view it from OUR perspective, from a SPECIFIC POINT OF ENTRY. We do NOT looking into what LED TO THE CURRENT SITUATION. To understand life, we NEED to consider all factors, possibilities, causes and effects, repercussions etc arising out of our actions which have resulted in the present. On the surface, the suffering of the Rohingyas in Myanmar amounts to GENOCIDE. This is the INITIAL picture. When you  look deeply into the whole issue, it produces different realities. In an Islamic sense, NEVER discount ACCOUNTABILITY. We are ALL held accountable by Allah for our actions. So too are COMMUNITIES, NATIONS!

You may state that the cause for an increase in devastating hurricanes and typhoons is due to the destruction of the environment; you may say the Mother Nature is rebelling etc. Your ANSWERS are correct because that is the way you were raised to perceive reality. However, that is NOT the ULTIMATE TRUTH! You may say that it is God’s retribution, and that too would be a perspective of reality. It exists ONLY for those who believe in God!

Whatever ANSWERS you come up with is JUST your PERCEPTION of the TRUTH according to your UNDERSTANDING of the truth! Unfortunately, we all do NOT share the same views. This brings me to a statement I heard at a Friday Sermon (Khutbah) on 15 Sept, 2017 at Masjid Al-Falah, at Orchard Road, Singapore. The imam said to this effect: “Goodness can only succeed through patience but unfortunately evil reigns.” It is indeed very difficult to be good or remain good, BUT it is so easy to be EVIL!

REALITY IS DIVERSE

drain_skeleton_halloween_2013

DO NOT BE A RELIGIOUS BIGGOT! Islam is very clear about this. There are countless verses in the Qur’an expounding the truth as it is viewed in Islam BUT at the same time it calls upon all Muslims to respect the faith and beliefs of others; to NOT to abuse their gods lest they abuse the good name of Allah; to them their way and to us our way.

DO NOT THINK like the Jews, who believe that ‘they are the chosen people of God’ or as in Christianity, that unless you believe in Jesus Christ, you will not be saved, nor adopt the Muslim thinking, that the rest (kafir, mushrik etc) will all go to hell, just because they did not believe in Allah and His Messenger.

The reality of existence, whether it consists of God, Jehovah, Allah or Siva, is a PERCEPTION INTRODUCED TO YOU in a religious context. It is TRULY pointless to kill one another over being a Shi’a or a Sunni etc. What is IMPORTANT is UNDERSTANDING the PURPOSE of existence in terms of SERVITUDE. Whether we were created for such or not is also IRRELEVANT. However, what is important in life, is to serve the CREATOR and HUMANITY out of GRATITUDE and SATISFACTION. In this manner, you SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL. Your WHOLE LIFE is DEVOTED towards goodness and servitude. It this manner EVIL is subdued (cannot remove it). In return, you are blessed with HAPPINESS and the PLEASURE of having served the creator and humanity.

If you want to view reality in a religious context, you still CANNOT escape from the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES put forward above. If you want to view it in an Islamic context, ITS ABOUT LIVING ISLAM with compassion, understand and knowing that everything lies in the hands of Allah and He knows best  You REAP WHAT YOU SOW. DO NOT PLANT A SEED that is CORRUPTED THROUGH MANIPULATION but instead, plant a seed that has CHARACTER, VALUES, DISCIPLINE AND SERVITUDE…that my friend, will translated every verse in the Qur’an into a sincere meaningful expression!

EMOTIONS, HATRED, ANGER and REVENGUE are valid responses to EVIL but NOT necessarily the only solution to a problem. Any INSPIRATION arising from this is nothing but the handiwork of SATAN! Once REASONING abandons you, you become an animal! SELF-EXAMINATION (muhasabah), REFLECTING on your past actions, rethinking your approach to life, examining your relation with Allah, being grateful and striving to do your best – all these factors lead to ‘insanul kamil’ (the perfect human being). The Messenger of Allah used to take pride in being Allah’s servant before before being that of His Rasul. Throw you EGO in the bin. Know that you will die and can die at any time. Think of the ENDLESS time you have to spend in your grave; THINK of the UNCERTAINTY that awaits you in the grave; think of the companions in graves besides you (in a prison, you can sometimes hear the torture taking place in the cell next to you). TRY your best to be HONEST, SINCERE AND TRUTHFUL over trusts entrusted to you. If you offended someone, borrowed an item, owed someone money etc….. settle it immediately. DO NOT BE A PREACHER WHO PREACHES BUT LIVES IN CONTRADICTION. Do NOT be a donkey laden with books (Qur’an), or a man who speak that which he does not follow. You can SPEND your whole life crying over spilled milk; you can try doing something about it. Whether you succeed or fail depends on you. The OUTCOME will reflect what you are, and you will be REWARDED accordingly in this life and in the hereafter.

Perspective: “LA ILAHA ILLALLAH” (There is no god but Allah)

Tabarani narrated it from Abu Dharr in the Kabir (7:55), Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (31), al-Hakim in his Mustadrak (4:251), al-Mundhiri in al-Targhib (2:422), al-Haythami in Majma` al-zawa’id (1:18), Ibn `Adi (7:2639), Abu Nu`aym in the Hilya (7:174), and al-Bazzar from `Umar. It was reported that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever says: there is no god but Allah enters Paradise.”

At the time, as a result of this utterance by the Prophet (s.a.w.), a man went around telling people that all they had to do was to recited, “Man qala, la ilaha illallah dakhalat Jannat,” they would enter paradise. You need to look at the time frame in this situation. At the time, Islam was in its infancy and such sayings would be appealing. However, the Prophet (s.a.w.) did clarify in later sayings what would be incurred if you just believed in that. I once met a namesake convert who could not recite the Kalimah Shahadah. On questioning him, he replied that he had ALREADY done so, yet you and I know that as Muslims, we recite the Shahadah NOT less than NINE TIMES a day in solat (five daily obligatory prayers)!

Sayyidna ‘Umar Ibnul-Khattab (r.a.) on hearing what the man said concerning the Oness of God and paradise, dragged him to the Prophet (s.a.w.) for verification. Sayyidna ‘Umar (r.a.) was of the view that if these words were spread around, people would not strive in the path of Allah. They would be content with JUST believing in Allah. The Prophet (s.a.w.) remained firm in what he had said, but we do know from many other Ahadith that “an atom’s weight of faith” will see you into paradise BUT you would have to be purified before you can enter paradise. When you read all these Ahadith on being cleansed, you will discover how terrifying it is and how long it will take, you will become conscious that it is NOT a good option and that there is a need to be a better believing Muslim than just relying on this declaration!

The same is similar to my previous posting concerning fasting the Day of Arafah. The Prophet (s.a.w.) is reported to have said to this effect, that you will be forgiven your sins last year, this year and the year to come. No doubt, Allah is ar-Rahman nir-Rahim. He is NOT keen to send people to hell. Anyone who believes in Him and His Rasul will enjoy His mercy and forgiveness. The Qur’an clearly expounds this. However, how you PERCEIVE this and ADOPT it is very important.

TAWBAH (seeking forgiveness) is a serious effort – an undertaking NEVER to repeat a pervious sin(s) etc. If this is NOT adopted sincerely, it amounts to HYPOCRISY. However, there is the possibility that your Tawbah (turning over on a new leaf) may fail BUT at least you did not plan it that way. Allah knows best!

DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUTS or MANIPULATE or DISTORT a Qur’anic verses or Hadith to serve you JUSTIFICATIONS (nafs, egoistic views of self-interest). Whatever the Prophet uttered concerning belief in Allah or the Day of Arafah is VALID. Such statements need to be VIEWED in perspective; need to be adopted with SINCERITY; most of all it DEALS WITH LOOKING TOWARDS HOPE. These general statements cannot be viewed in a CORRUPT sense. If you did that, you are no different from a Jew or Christian!

If you say that “minor sins” are forgiven concerning the hadith on fasting the Day of Arafah…that is your OWN corrupt understanding of the situation. Whatever we do, we do so with the HOPE that it will be accepted and we will be forgiven.

Just IMAGINE, you fast the whole month of Ramadhan, day by day and here we have JUST ONE DAY (the Day of Arafah) and you are forgiven three years? My daughter, once said to me after listening to a lecture on fasting the Day of Arafah, she said, “Daddy, just one day for three years forgiveness……better than fasting in Ramadhan…. I had to explain what was OBLIGATORY and what is SUNNAH; I then elaborated on PERCEPTION.

In concluding, I say to you that one needs to be sincere over one’s INTENTIONS; one needs to believe and accept whatever Allah and His Rasul (s.a.w.) has stated; one has to fulfil these statements/sayings with the HOPE of being forgiven. No one can ASSUME that because such and such was stated it will be granted to you. It MAY and MAY NOT be granted to you EVEN if it exits or you may receive such a reward and loose it due to your OWN FAILURE to fulfil many other obligations to Allah (such as dressing according to Islamic requirements, keeping your promise, avoiding slander etc). Please take another look at your report card; do continuous self-examination; fear Allah and hope that He will forgive you; Improve your performance and upgrade yourself in His sight. ONLY then do you have a chance to TRULY benefit from His many gifts of mercy and kindness!

NOTE: Please read what I have said several times to understand your attitude and perception about issues in Islam. Do NOT be a bigot, who adheres to the call to JIHAD (example) just because Allah or His Rasul said this or that without understanding the dimensions involved in such an undertaking and the political manipulations incorporated by invested interest. YOU will end up serving Satan instead of Allah.

[http://www.exploring-islam.com/promise-of-paradise-on-declaration-of-faith.html]

When Husband and Wife No Longer Communicate

This is NOT an uncommon situation in life. There are countless couples who live with this situation. They started out happily being married but have ended like this. Why does this take place? What causes married couples to end up like this? My analysis of the situation deals with the following evaluation based on logic, reasoning and Islamic principles:

  1. No one is perfect

No one is perfect. Marriage is NOT a Bollywood movie. Marriage has its ups and downs. The reality of a person or true content of a person becomes known only after marriage. Initially it was all about love, beauty etc but after marriage what surfaces is the real character and identity of a person. There are bound to be things you like or dislike about the person you are married to. This is the package you signed up for in marriage. You either have to make the best of it or get divorced!

  1. Period of Adjustment

Like a travel tour, you only realise what you signed up for when you begin your journey. Most of the time you were absorbed in the goodies not the discomfort. At times during Umrah, I have wondered why I did not take a direct flight to Jeddah. The reason I did not think about it at the time was because I was thinking about being in Mekkah and Medinah. Then there was the cost factor, but in reality, the tour agency wanted to make more money so it presented us with a cheaper affordable flight package!

Every marriage requires adjustments. Life is no longer a single affair. It now involves two people. Compromises, adaptation and a willingness to consider and to listen to opinion presented by either party. Believe me, marriage is NOT one-way traffic. Male chauvinistic attitudes arising from religion need to be re-evaluated in a current perspective. Therefore, it is IMPORTANT to determine who and what type of person you want to marry! 

  1. Understanding Your Role and Position in Married Life

Modernisation has its benefits but it also causes stress when it is in conflict with religious doctrines. Do NOT become an Islamic idealist. You may retain some major principles expounded in Islam over marriage, the relationship between husband and wife, raising children, family and public relations etc, because, the Prophet (s.a.w) himself has said that ‘a woman is like a rib bone, if you try straightening it, it will snap! What this indicates is the ACCEPTANCE of a person according to his/her natural state (fitrah). Even the Prophet (s.a.w.) had to live with wives who were VERY vocal!

To succeed, one needs to understand one’s role and objective in life. What are your priorities in life after marriage? Are you going to quit your job to raise your children? Can you afford to do so etc? This is ONLY one aspect of the situation; Other aspects involve managing finances but most of all ACCOMMODATING one another for better or worse.

  1. Cracks in the Wall

I am often amused when I see young unmarried couples hugging and kissing in MRT stations and trains in Singapore. It will NOT exist after marriage. The reality of existence and survival takes hold of our lives. There is NO longer time to daydream. You have to make ends meet and the focus of your life will shift to earning money to pay your bills.

Cracks in the wall begin to surface with age. Some refer to it as ‘mid age crisis’. The reason why this takes place is because both partners take one another for granted. There is no longer excitement in a marriage. Its boredom day in day out, so interest shifts to others, prostitution and different lifestyles. The major cause for this is lack of interest over what the other partner likes you to be (the way you dress; the colour of choice; development in character etc). Most fail to realise that with age we change and progress (position in employment, further education etc). There are marriages where the change is significant, where one partner develops and progresses while the other remains stagnant  (remain the same from day one).

Change is unavoidable. Electronic equipment like our cell phones have progressed tremendously, so too does a person’s attitude and approach to life. Religion is the only thing that strikes a balance. Married couples need to keep pace with one another’s progress and development to make life exciting. Expectations also undergo change.

  1. Communication Replaced with Silence

Why do most married couples find it difficult to communicate?  The communication breakdown begins when either party does not want to listen to what the other has to say. It increases in intensity when one answers the other, saying something else that is NOT related to the subject raised. Often, it has its roots over unhappiness, dissatisfaction, anger and hatred, over something (it could be over an affair or an intending second marriage etc). To avoid an argument, many will resort to silence. They hold the view that it is pointless to say anything because saying something or anything for that matter will lead to an argument! When this takes place, it is the beginning of the end.

  1. Solutions

As you age, you undergo physical and mental change. Your approach to life also undergoes change. You are NO longer the you, you were 40 years ago. You have slowed down, most probably non-functional, non-compromising, intolerable and easily irritated. Pleasing one another becomes a real challenge. The problem with this situation is that most married couples DO NOT WANT to look at thing as just events that have come and gone. No one is perfect. You witnessed it with Bill Clinton. Therefore, It is pointless to churn the mud over past grievances, deeds or faults. Do NOT waste your time being bitter and spiteful. At that point in age and marriage it is useless. This is how SILENCE comes into the picture as a response. The extreme solution would be to end the marriage if you cannot take it anymore, but is it a problem with your partner or are you the problem?

 

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