Posted - Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 12:55 AM
|Surely, wassalam. I am taking http://www.harunyahya.com as source. The books and articles there are poster here in this topic to inform everyone.|
Posted - Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 12:56 AM
|Brotherhood And Solidarity|
Loyalty and sincere devotion to Allah, brotherhood and solidarity are important attributes of believers. The Qur’an tells that all believers are brothers; they are people sharing the same feelings, who strive for the same end, adhere to the same book and struggle to reach the same goal. Consequently, solidarity becomes a natural feature of a community made up of believers. Allah commends this attachment of believers in the following verse:
Truly, Allah loves those who fight for His cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.(As-Saff, 4)
As related in the verse above, striving in unison for the cause of Allah is at this behest.
And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and do not be divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour to you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Signs clear to you, so that you may be guided.(Al-Imran, 103)
Believers are modest people who have fellow feeling and mercy for each other. Therefore, unity and solidarity among them is naturally maintained. But even in a community of this nature, there can be reasons to be cautious; certain erroneous behaviour may cause harm to this solidarity and create an unfriendly atmosphere among believers.
The basic reason for such undesirable behaviours is surely the soul (an-nafs): It is true that a believer is tolerant and warm. Yet, everybody has a wicked side to his soul and in a moment of moral weakness, a person may well be driven by the negative side of the soul; to put it another way, he may be influenced by jealousy, selfishness or ambition.
That is why the Qur’an stresses the impact of these negative aspects of soul as a serious threat to unity among believers. Considering that the soul, which can manifest signs of Satan in the human being, can mislead believers, they should avoid behaving in a manner that will provoke the wicked side of other believers.In the Quran, Allah commands as follows:
Tell My servants that they should be courteous in their speech. Satan would sow dissensions among them: Satan is the avowed enemy of man. (Isra, 53)
The above verse surely gives an important message: Allah commands believers to address each other in the best manner possible (not in a good manner, but in the best manner). Here an important feature of Satan is revealed: Satan aims to create dissension among believers.
The essential method Satan employs to break the unity among believers is to inculcate the feeling of competition in the hearts of believers. In a state of heedlessness, a believer may well succumb to delusions of grandeur and develop an ambition to attain a particular status in society. In such a mood, it is quite possible that he may try to establish supremacy over other believers. Similarly, he may feel envy of his brother for one reason or another. Though the word “envy” may sound like a feeling that may be excused, it actually has a more serious significance: it amounts to an explicit rebellion against Allah. In the Qur’an it is mentioned thus: “Or do they envy mankind for what Allah has given them of His bounty?...” (An-Nisa, 54)As the verse suggests, all favours are bestowed by Allah and being envious of the favours given to others is simply opposing the will of Allah. That is why believers should make a point of avoiding such an attitude. Otherwise, it would not promote conduct which would serve in attaining the will and pleasure of Allah. Besides, as the verse below indicates, it is detrimental to the unity of believers:
And obey Allah and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes, lest you lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: For Allah is with those who patiently persevere. (Al-Anfal, 46)
It follows that a believer should never let competition or dissension prevail among his brothers. Considering the primitive nature of these feelings, his soul should never be driven by them. Furthermore, he should never arouse envy in others. Being unpretentious and modest eradicates the danger of competition among believers. Another key attribute of a believer stressed in the Qur’an is being self-sacrificing. A believer always gives priority to the needs and wishes of other believers and displays a virtuous spirit. What is more, he takes pleasure in assuming such an attitude. The Qur’an describes this attitude as follows:
But those who before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the Faith,- showed their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertained no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but gave them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their own lot. And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls are the ones that achieve prosperity.
Essentially, envy, rivalry and contentiousness are the three basic factors posing a serious threat to the maintenance of brotherhood and solidarity among the believers. Competitiveness, likely to be aroused by ambition, does harm the bond of brotherhood. This is indeed detrimental to the soul and leads to moral regression.
It is, therefore, senseless to waste time in hindering the efforts of other believers through competition and envy, while endless opportunities lie ahead of man to earn the good pleasure of Allah. Indeed, competition never prevails in an environment where the common goal is earning the pleasure of Allah. A believer should never forget that a community of believers is like a body in which each organ functions in close cooperation with the others for its general well-being. In this context, believers should see the success of their brothers as if it were their own success. This is quite an important concept. There are numerous verses in the Qur’an stressing the importance of brotherhood. In one verse, a prayer made by believers is recounted:
And those who came after them say: “Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the faith, and do not leave in our hearts, any rancour (or sense of injury) against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of Kindness, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hashr, 10)
A dispute or controversy among the believers will impair the entire struggle. Such a happening would lessen the unity and power of believers, while strengthening the unbelievers. Indeed, unless believers remain each other’s protectors oppression will prevail. The Qur’an makes the following observation:
Unbelievers are each other’s protectors. Unless you do this, (protect each other), there will be tumult and oppression on the earth, and great mischief. (Al-Anfal, 73)
There are explicit commands on brotherhood and unity among believers:
Do not be like those who are divided amongst themselves and opposed to one another after receiving clear signs: for them there will be a dreadful penalty. (Al-Imran, 105)
They ask you about the spoils of war. Say: “(Such) spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the Messenger: So fear Allah, and end your disputes. Obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are true believers.” (Al-Anfal, 1)
Have nothing to do with those who have divided their religion up into sects. Allah will call them to account: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did. (Al-Anaam, 159)
Believers are obliged to be merciful and compassionate towards each other. Modesty is the distinctive attribute of a believer. Arrogance and envy are not characteristic of believers, but unbelievers. Thus believers should avoid being seized by this evil side of their souls and should constantly ask the protection of Allah, repent, and make amends. The end that awaits those who do not curb the evil of the soul is described in the following verse:
O you who believe! if any from among you turn back from the faith, Allah will soon replace them by other people whom He will love as they will love Him, who are humble with the believers, stern towards unbelievers, fighting for Allah’s cause and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the grace of Allah, which He will bestow on whom He pleases. Allah encompasses all, and He knows all things. (Al-Maeda, 54)
Posted - Sunday, December 12, 2004 - 1:03 AM
|as salaam i am a convert i got a question how do i pick courses|
Posted - Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - 8:37 PM
|i could not understand. what do you mean by "courses"? |
Posted - Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 11:08 PM
Posted - Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 11:09 PM
|Trust In Allah And Submission |
Two important indicators of faith are trust in Allah and submission to Him. Between a believer and a non-believer, these draw the ultimate distinguishing line.
An unbeliever perceives the whole world as being in a state of chaos. He assumes that he owes his existence to pure “coincidence.” According to him, the happenings around him also take place by pure coincidence. Such a point of view is, however, detrimental to the mental well-being of a person; he feels insecure and never trusts anyone. Nothing eases his fears for the future. He spends long hours planning ahead. Hundreds, even thousands of independent factors work to turn his life into one of sheer disappointment. He feels feeble; he may at any time develop an incurable disease. Something unexpected may happen one day and he may lose his job or someone he loves. Believing these incidents to occur at random, he feels consternation at every such event. This means worshipping hundreds of independent factors as gods. In Qur’anic terms, the fearing or trusting of anything implies taking it as a god besides Allah. A believer, on the contrary, conceives the essence of this world; that Allah holds control over every living thing and nothing occurs without His permission and knowledge. This fact, enunciated in such verses as “...There is not a moving creature, but He has a grasp of its fore-lock...”(Hud, 56) and “To Him belongs every being that is in the heavens and on earth: all are devoutly obedient to Him.”(Ar-Rum, 26) is only conceivable by “those who by tokens understand.” (Al-Hijr, 75)
A believer is fundamentally assured of the fact that “Allah regulates all affairs.” (Ar- Rad, 2). He is well aware that all the incidents which puncutuate his life are predestined. That is why he never reckons an incident to be an “unfortunate” one. Though it may seem to be “unfortunate” it essentially implies goodness. First of all, nothing is futile in Allah’s creation. Whatever the events affecting the life of a believer,they are definitely designed to bring goodness to him. Even if an event seems outwardly to be an unfortunate one, a believer should persevere and put his trust in Allah. Ultimately, Allah will turn it to the good.
In his arduous struggle, a believer finds relief and peace in this cast of mind. When we consult the Qur’an, we see that all messengers and their followers met with extremely adverse and seemingly “unfortunate” incidents. Almost all unbelievers were oppressed, threatened, assaulted, tortured, insulted, and some even were killed. Yet, nothing daunted them; not even the strongest tempest of adversity and the mightiest of armies. They stood firm and strong, never giving up in their resolution. The essence of such an attitude lies solely in the consciousness a believer builds; that everything is created by Allah and, accordingly, is destined to bring goodness. Believers are well aware of the fact that Allah always provides guidance to believers and surely places no burden on any soul that it cannot bear. In the Qur’an hundreds of verses call for trust and submission in Allah:
Say: “Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our Protector. In Allah let the believers put their trust.” (Al-Tawba, 51)
The word in Arabic used for “trust in Allah” is “tewekkul”, which means “taking as guardian and helper”. However, unlike its common usage, the word has a totally different connotation in the Qur’an. Ordinarily, its meaning is perceived as “doing one’s best about a situation and then putting the rest in the care of Allah”. But the concept of “taking as guardian and helper” conveys rather more than this. It means leaving the entire course of events and their consequences in Allah’s change.
At this point, we must avoid an essential misconception: putting the course of events in the care of Allah in no way means avoidance of becoming involved in daily affairs. On the contrary, a believer deals with every stage of a problem or event, shouldering all responsibilities. Indeed, the true meaning of “trust in Allah” lies in being totally aware that everything we experience and everything we do takes place under Allah’s control; that is why believers take the initiative in anything they undertake by “taking Him as a guardian and helper.”
The prayers of the prophets recounted in the Qur’an instruct us about the significance of this subject. In the Surat’Al-Naml, the Prophet Solomon says: “O my Lord! Order me, so that I may be grateful for Your favours, which you have bestowed on me and on my parents, and so that I may do the good works that will please You. And admit me, by Your Grace, to the ranks of Your righteous servants.” (Al-Naml, 19). This prayer explicitly reveals that Solomon is aware that he can perform his tasks only if Allah so wills and asks Him to give His approval when he becomes committed to action.
This is actually the rationale lying behind “trust in Allah.” A believer is well aware that both the external world and his soul are entities completely under the control of Allah. Accordingly, he submits himself—his soul—to His Almighty Creator. Consequently, a believer becomes exceedingly brave; so brave as to challenge the whole world all alone yet calm and confident as if there were no besetting dangers. The kind of attitude a believer shows in times of trouble and difficulty is described in many stories of the Qur’an. That of the Prophet Noah is one of them:
Relate to them the story of Noah. He said to his people: “O my people, if it offends you that I should stay with you and commemorate the signs of Allah, in Allah have I put my trust.So, muster all your idols and decide upon your course of action. Do not intrigue in secret.Then pass your sentence on me, and give me no respite.If you turn back, I asked of you no recompense; my reward is only with Allah, and I have been commanded to be of those who submit to Allah's will (in Islam). (Jonah, 71-72)
Shu’aib, too, assumed the same attitude towards his people:
He said: “O my people! If I have a clear sign from my Lord, and He has given me sustenance pure and good as from Himself should I not guide you? I do not wish, in opposition to you, to do that which I forbid you to do. I only desire (your) betterment to the best of my ability and my success (in my task) can come only from Allah. In Him I trust, and Him I turn in repentance. (Hud, 88)
In many other verses in the Qur’an, trust in Allah and the perseverance the believers display is likewise stressed:
But if they turn away, say: “Allah suffices to me: there is no god but He: in Him I put my trust. He the Supreme Lord of the throne of glory!” (Al-Tawba, 129)
For true believers are those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and as they listen to His revelations, they find their faith strengthened, and put all their trust in their Lord. (Al-Anfal, 2)
To Allah belong the unseen secrets of the heavens and the earth, and to Him goes back every affair for decision: then worship Him, and put your trust in Him: your Lord is not unmindful of what you do. (Hud, 123)
Thus have We sent you forth to a people before whom long since other peoples have passed away so that you may recite them what We send down to you by inspiration; yet they reject Him, the Most Gracious! Say: “He is my Lord! There is no god but He! In Him I put my trust, and to Him I shall return.” (Al-Rad, 30)
Their messengers said to them: “True, we are human like yourselves, but Allah bestows His grace on such of his servants as He pleases. It is not for us to bring you proof, except as Allah permits. And in Allah let all men of faith put their trust. (Abraham, 11-12)
Say: “He is (Allah) Most Gracious: We have believed in Him, and in Him we have put our trust. So, soon you will know which of us it is that is in manifest error.” (Al-Mulk, 29)
The person who trusts in Allah and takes Him as guardian and protector should be well aware of the fact that there is nobody else to trust in and take as a guardian. Nothing troubles a believer as long as he prays to Allah, and trusts in Him. By the will of Allah, events will proceed and end in the best possible way for a believer. As it says in the Qur’an:“
Put your trust in Allah, and Allah is All-sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.” (Al-Ahzap, 3)
In another verse it is related as follows:
...And for those who fear Allah, He will always find a means of salvation, and will provide for them from sources they could never imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, He is all sufficient for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: indeed, for all things Allah has appointed a due proportion. (At-Talaq, 2-3)
Unless Allah permits, nobody can do harm to the believers. Nobody can kill a man unless Allah wills. It is only Allah who can take away life. Hence, it is pointless to feel fear for any being except Allah. The Qur’an repeatedly reminds believers of this fact:
Secret counsels are only inspired by the Evil One, in order that he may cause grief to the believers; but he cannot harm them in the least, except as Allah permits; in Allah let the believers put their trust. (Al-Mujadila, 10)
Do not obey the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and pay no heed not to their insolence, but put your trust in Allah. For Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs. (Al-Ahzap, 48)
If indeed you ask them who created the heavens and the earth, they will be sure to say, “Allah”. Say: “Do then that the things you invoke besides Allah, can if Allah wills some Penalty for me, remove His Penalty? Or if He wills some Grace for me, can they keep back his Grace?” Say: “Allah is All -sufficient for me! “ In Him let the faithful put their trust.” (Az-Zumar, 38)
One who trusts in and submits to Allah, and who takes Allah as the true guardian and helper is saved from the temptations of Satan. In the Qur’an this is expressed in the verse: “No authority has Satan over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord.” (An-Nahl, 99). Those attaining the benevolence of Allah in the hereafter will be the ones who put their trust in Allah and submit to Him.
Whatever you are given here is (but) a convenience of this life: but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting: it is for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. (Ash-Shura, 36)
There is nobody but Allah to whom one can always turn for help, guidance and mercy. Jacob says “...None can command except Allah: in Him I put my trust: and let all who are faithful put their trust in Him.” (Joseph, 67) There is no god except Allah, so He is the only protector and guardian.
Allah! There is no god but He: and in Allah, therefore, let the believers put their trust. (At-Taghabun, 13)
And put your trust in the Ever-living, Who never dies. Celebrate His praise; is well acquainted with the faults of all His servants. (Al-Furqan, 58)
Posted - Sunday, January 9, 2005 - 1:53 AM
Prayer shows a deep sense of appreciating one’s weak and helpless state before one’s Creator. It is a clear indication of the fact that the human being is a frail creature who can never satisfy his needs or attain his goals alone, unless they have Allah's blessing. Prayer is the purest, most explicit and most honest way of expressing one’s status as a servant before one’s Creator. In the Qur’an it is stated that a basic attribute of the believer is his “calling on Allah morning and evening”:
And keep your soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His pleasure; and let not your eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds. (Al-Kahf, 28)
The true meaning and content of prayer should be well grasped, since what most people understand by prayer considerably differs from what the Qur’an actually tells us about it. This is solely because information about prayer is mostly gathered from sources outside the Qur’an, such as tradition, parents, ancestors, etc. That is why the Qur’anic standpoint and the morale it inculcates should be well comprehended.
The Qur’an explains the kind of prayer which is made “with humility” While praying, man should deeply recognize his weaknesses and frailty in the presence of His Creator and feel that he is desperately in need of His guidance. His prayer will thus surely meet the criteria set by Allah, as stated in the following verse:
Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah does not love those who trespass beyond bounds. (Al-Araf, 55)
The prayers of the believers in the Qur’an set an example for all believers. That of Zakariya is one of them:
Behold! he cried to his Lord in secret, praying: “O my Lord! infirm indeed are my bones, and the hair of my head glistens with grey: but never am I unblest, O my Lord, in my prayer to you! Now I fear what my relatives and colleagues will do after me: but my wife is barren: so give me an heir as from yourself.” (Maryam, 3-5)
Another attribute of a believer’s prayer is being in a mood of mingled “fear and hope”.
They forsake their beds, while they call on their Lord, in fear and hope: and they spend in charity out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on them. (As-Sajda, 16)
The believers fear Allah with sincere and true respect, while hoping for His grace and mercy. Allah accepts the sincere prayer intended to seek His good pleasure.
When My servants ask you about Me, I am indeed close to them: I answer to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: let them also, listen with a will, to My call, and believe in Me so that they may walk in the right way. (Al-Baqara, 186)
And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer your prayer: but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!” (Al-Ghafir, 60)
While praying, man should certainly know that Allah will respond to his call. He should be aware that Allah is the Master of all, Omnipotent and Omniscient; that He is All-Knowing and All-Seeing. In an ardent expectation, a believer never becomes despondent and patiently awaits for the response of Allah. Having a firm belief in His justice, he avoids taking an anxious and desperate attitude. The mind of a believer adhering to the guidance of the Qur’an never harbours doubts about the answer Allah would give to his call. Anyone who is beset by doubts would from the very beginning display a contradictory attitude to the reasoning of the Qur’an. Beneath the very essence of prayer, there lies a sincere approach and deep faith in Allah, as the prophet Salih said, “...my Lord is always near, and ready to answer.” (Hud, 61) The believer fully trusts in Allah.
However the fact that Allah answers his servants’ calls does not necessarily mean that the suppliant will get whatever he wishes. This is because sometimes an individual may ask for something which is harmful for him. Such a call will certainly not be answered, and Allah will grant something better to his servant.
An example given by a famous Islamic scholar Said-i Nursi, illustrates this subject very well. A physician is called to see a sick child. The child asks the physician for a particular medicine he likes. However, the physician knows from experience that that particular medicine is no cure. So, he provides a totally different treatment and heals his young patient.
Allah totally encompasses man and knows exactly he his needs. He always responds to a sincere call, yet His answer might not be in accord with the desires of the devotee. As the Qur’an puts it: “You may dislike a thing which is good for you, and love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you do not know.” (Al-Baqara, 216)
Like the child in the aforementioned example, a man may not distinguish good from evil. Hence it is quite possible that he may be asking his Creator for something detrimental: “The prayer that man should make for good, he makes for evil; for man is given to hasty (deeds).” (Al-Isra, 11)
Accordingly, man should primarily seek the Will and Mercy of Allah. He should ask Him for an honourable and mature soul. Allah knows what is best for man. The prayer of Solomon sets a good example for all believers: “...O my Lord! so order me that I may be grateful for Your favours, which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do good works that will please You...” (Al-Naml, 19)
Furthermore, believers are welcome to ask for anything praised in the Qur’an. In a sincere and honest spirit, man should not restrain himself from asking for anything he would like to have. Allah knows exactly what His servants wants. As a matter of fact, He is the One placing all the desires and wishes in his soul.
Allah answers the sincere prayers of the believers. The past communities destroyed by the prophet's prayer's are examples to this;
They (prophets) sought victory and decision (there and then), and frustration was the lot of every powerful obstinate transgressor.(Abraham, 15)
In the Qur’an many examples are cited. Allah has rewarded the messengers and the believers with many graces :
And remember Job, when He cried to his Lord, “Truly distress has seized me, but You are the Most Merciful of those that are merciful.” So We listened to him: We removed the distress afflicting him, and We restored his people to him, and doubled their number, as a grace from Oursef, and an admonition to all who serve Us. And remember Isma’il, Idris, and Zul-kifl, all men of constancy and patience; We admitted them to Our mercy, for they were of the righteous ones. And remember Yunus, when he departed in wrath. He imagined that We had no power over him! But he cried in the darkness, “There is no god but you: glory be to you: I was indeed wrong!” So We listened to him: and delivered him from distress: and thus do We deliver those who have faith. And remember Zakariya, when he cried to his Lord: “O my Lord! do not leave me without offspring, though you are the best of inheritors.” So We listened to him: and We granted him Yahya: We cured his wife’s barrenness for him. These three vied with each other in good works and called on Us with love and reverence, and humbled themselves before Us. (Al-Anbiya, 83-90)
The worshipper who prays realizes that Allah is All-Knowing and All-Seeing and expresses his respect for and fear of Him. He never hesitates to admit his status as a servant before Him.
Since prayer is an important worship, it is not only done to make a wish. Every need or wish signals the time of this worship. Since man constantly needs and demands things, he should also pray consistently. There of course, are particular times for prayer: regular night and morning prayer times are mentioned in the Qur’an as the proper moments for prayer in the Qur’an.
Nevertheless, man should consistently pray all day long since every course of action proceeds under the control of Allah. Man should turn to Him for guidance and help in all his deeds. Moreover, he should pray for Allah’s acceptance of his services. The prayer of Abraham is an example:
And remember Abraham and Isma’il raised the foundations of the House with this prayer:
Our Lord! Accept this service from us: For you are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.(Al-Baqara, 127)
The believers who pray to Allah, and turn to Him under all circumstances are described in Surat’Al-Imran, as “men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides...” (Al-Imran, 191). The believers are naturally praised in the Qur’an for this attitude.
For Abraham was, without doubt, forbearing of faults, compassionate, and devout. (Hud, 75)
Abraham was indeed a paragon, a devoutly obedient to Allah, and true in Faith, and he associated no other gods with Allah. (Al-Nahl, 120)
Have patience at what they say, and remember our servant David, the man of strength: for he always turned to Allah. (Sad, 17)
“ Truly We found him (Ayyub) full of patience and constancy. How excellent he was in Our service! He always turned to Us! (Sad, 44)
The verses below are a key to understanding the significance of prayer:
Say (to the Rejecters): “My Lord would not care for you were not for your prayer. But you have indeed rejected Him, and soon will come the inevitable (punishment)!” (Al-Furqan, 77)
In the Qur’an, one point is repeatedly stressed: now and then pagans also pray to Allah. However a great difference exists between the prayer of pagans and that of the believers.
The believers turn to Allah under all circumstances. Whether in times of ease or difficulty, their attitude never changes; they keep praying being conscious of their frailty before Allah.
Pagans, on the other hand, keep themselves constantly distant from Allah. Only hardship makes them feel their weakness before Allah and leads them to turn to Him. Their prayer said in times of trouble, is indeed a sincere one. Yet, sooner do things take a turn for the better than they forget that they prayed for the mercy of Allah and remain ungrateful:
We find several references in the Qur’an to this pagan attitude . Here are some examples:
When misfortune befell man, He cried to Us in all postures- lying down on his side, or sitting, or standing. But when We relieved his affliction, he went on his way, as if he had never cried to Us for our help. Thus the deeds of transgressors seem fair in their eyes!(Jonah, 12)
When We bestow favours on man, he turns away, and holds himself aloof; but when evil seizes him, he comes to us and is loud in prayer! (Fussilat, 51)
When evil befalls man, he prays to his Lord, turning to Him in repentance: but when He bestows His favour upon him, he forgets what he has cried and prayed for, and he sets up rivals to Allah, thus leading others away from Allah’s Path. Say, “Enjoy your blasphemy for a little while: truly, you are one of the Companions of the Fire!” (Az-Zumar, 8)
Now, when evil befalls man, he cries out to Us: but when We bestow a favour upon him from Ourself he says, “This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge I have!” By no means! This is but a trial, but most of them do not understand! (Az-Zumar, 49)
When evil befalls men, they cry out to their Lord, turning back to Him in repentance: but when He gives them a taste of His Mercy, behold, some of them pay part-worship to other gods besides their Lord. (Al-Room, 33)
In some of the verses, the example of a ship is given. In a sinking ship, man understands the emergency of his situation and sincerely prays, expressing his repentance and asking for salvation. This is surely a time of desperation when a person comprehends that no other soul can save him. It is then that he turns to Allah. However, when Allah rescues him, he again assumes his former attitude. This is certainly a great distortion of true piety:
It is He Who enables them to travel over land and sea. They board their ships; they set sail, rejoicing in a favourable wind. Then comes a raging tempest and the waves surge upon them from all sides, and they think they are being overwhelmed. They cry out to Allah, sincerely offering their allegiance to Him saying, “If you deliver us from this, peril, we shall truly show our gratitude!”
But when He delivers them, behold! they transgress insolently in the land in defiance of right! O mankind! your insolence is against your own souls. Take your enjoyment in this life: in the end, to Us you shall return, and We shall show you the truth of all that you have done. (Jonah, 22-23)
When a wave covers them like the canopy of clouds, they call to Allah, offering Him sincere devotion. But when He has delivered them safely to land, some of them falter between right and wrong. But none reject Our Signs except the perfidious and ungrateful! (Luqman, 32)
Say: “Who delivers you from the perils of land and sea, when you call out to Him in humility and in silent terror saying: ‘If only He delivers us from these dangers, we vow we shall truly show our gratitude’?” Say: “It is Allah who delivers you from these and all other afflictions, and yet you worship false gods!” (Al-Anaam, 63-64)
Believers should constantly pray to Allah and put their trust in Him, knowing that there is no one else to help or guard them.
Call then upon Allah with sincere devotion to Him, even though the Unbelievers may detest it. (Al-Ghafir, 14)
Say: “I do no more than invoke my Lord, and I do not associate any false god with Him.” (Al-Jinn, 20)
The believer attains true gratification only when he asks for the help of Allah. He feels the security of being cared for and guarded by his Creator. This is the highest degree of happiness that one can ever attain both in this world and the hereafter. Thus, prayer is a source of great satisfaction which will also continue in the hereafter. The Qur’an states that believers will keep praying also in the hereafter:
Those who believe, and do good works will be guided by their Lord because of their faith: beneath them will flow rivers in gardens of bliss. (This will be) their cry therein: “Glory be to You, O Allah!” And “Peace” will be their greeting therein! and the close of their invocation will be: “Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds!” (Jonah, 9-10)
Posted - Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 8:41 PM
|"People of The Book" & The Muslims|
Islam is a religion of peace, love and tolerance. Today, however, some circles have been presenting a false image of Islam, as if there were conflict between Islam and the adherents of the two other monotheistic religions. Yet Islam's view of Jews and Christians, who are named "the People of the Book" in the Koran, is very friendly and tolerant.
This attitude towards the People of the Book developed during the years of the birth of Islam. At that time, Muslims were a minority, struggling to protect their faith and suffering oppression and torture from the pagans of the city of Mecca. Due to this persecution, some Muslims decided to flee Mecca and shelter in a safe country with a just ruler. The Prophet Muhammad told them to take refuge with King Negus, the Christian king of Ethiopia. The Muslims who followed this advice found a very fair administration that embraced them with love and respect when they went to Ethiopia. King Negus refused the demands of the pagan messengers who asked him to surrender the Muslims to them, and announced that Muslims could live freely in his country.
Such attitudes of Christian people that are based on the concepts of compassion, mercy, modesty and justice, constitute a fact that God has pointed out in the Koran. A verse of the Koran states:
… You will find the people most affectionate to those who believe are those who say, 'We are Christians.' That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 82)
THE COMMON BELIEFS AND VALUES OF THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK WITH MUSLIMS
Christian and Muslim belief have many aspects in common. Judaism too shares many beliefs with Islam. All true adherents of these three great religions:
• believe that God has created the entire universe out of nothing and that He dominates all that exists with His omnipotence.
• believe that God has created man and living things in a miraculous way and that man possesses a soul granted him by God.
• believe that besides Jesus, Moses or Muhammad, God sent many prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Joseph throughout history, and they love all these prophets.
• believe in resurrection, Heaven and Hell and angels, and that God has created our lives with a certain destiny.
The beliefs of the People of the Book are in harmony with Muslims, not only in terms of faith-related issues, but also of moral values. Today, in a world where such immoralities as adultery, homosexuality, drug addiction and a model of egoism and self-seeking cruelty have grown widespread, the People of the Book and Muslims share the same virtues: Honor, chastity, humility, self-sacrifice, honesty, compassion, mercy and unconditional love…
ACCORDING TO THE KORAN, MUSLIMS, JEWS AND CHRISTIANS SHOULD LIVE IN FRIENDSHIP
It is evident there are ample grounds for an alliance between the "People of the Book" and Muslims. This is also very evident in the Koran. In the relevant verses of the Koran, there is a significant difference between the People of the Book and the idolaters. This is especially emphasized in the area of social life. For example, it is said concerning the idolaters: "(they) are unclean, so after this year they should not come near the Masjid al-Haram (Kaaba)." (Surat at-Tawba: 28) Idolaters are people who obey no divine law, have no moral precepts and who are capable of committing every kind of degrading and perverse action without hesitation.
But while they basically rely on God's revelation, the People of the Book have moral precepts and know what is lawful and what is not. For this reason, if one of the People of the Book cooks some food, it is lawful for Muslims to eat it. In the same way, permission has been given for a Muslim man to marry a woman from among the People of the Book. On this subject God commands:
Today all good things have been made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Book is also lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste women from among the believers and chaste women of those given the Book before you, once you have given them their dowries in marriage, not in fornication or taking them as lovers. But as for anyone who disbelieve, his actions will come to nothing and in the hereafter he will be among the losers. (Surat al-Mai'da: 5)
These commands show that bonds of kinship may be established as a result of the marriage of a Muslim with a woman from the People of the Book, and that those on each side of the union can accept an invitation to a meal. These are the fundamentals that will ensure the establishment of equitable human relationships and a happy communal life. Since the Koran enjoins this equitable and tolerant attitude, it is unthinkable that a Muslim could take an opposing view.
MONASTERIES, CHURCHES AND SYNAGOGUES SHOULD BE RESPECTED
Another important fact we learn from the Koran is that Muslims must respect Jewish and Christian places of worship. In the Koran, the places of worship of the People of the Book, i.e. monasteries, churches and synagogues, are mentioned as places of worship protected by God.
…if God had not driven some people back by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where God's name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed. God will certainly help those who help Him - God is All-Strong, Almighty. (Surat al-Hajj: 40 )
This verse shows all Muslims the importance of respecting and protecting the sanctuaries of Christians and Jews.
Indeed, in the Koran God commands Muslims not to harbor any enmity towards any people. In many verses, friendship is recommended, even with idolaters. God even refers to the idolaters at war with Muslims in this way: "If any of the idolaters ask you for protection, give them protection until they have heard the words of God. Then convey them to a place where they are safe." (Surat at-Tawba: 6)
Jews and Christians, however, are much closer to Muslims than idolaters. Each of these religions has its book, that is, they are subject to a revelation sent down by God. They know what is right and what is wrong, what is lawful and what is unlawful. They know they will give an account to God, and they love and revere His prophets. This shows that Muslims and the people of the book can live easily together and cooperate.
THE COMMON ENEMIES OF THE FAITH
Another important fact that draws Christianity, Judaism and Islam together is the atheist philosophies that are so influential in our time.
Among the best-known and most harmful philosophies of our age can be cited materialism, communism, fascism, anarchism, racism and secular humanism. Many people who believed in the fake diagnoses, deceptive descriptions and explanations of these ideas on the universe, society and man, have lost their faith or doubted it. What is more, these ideologies have dragged people, societies and nations into great crises, conflicts and wars. Their share of the blame for the pain and troubles that humanity suffers today is immense.
While they deny God and creation, all the above-mentioned ideologies are based on a common framework, a so-called scientific basis; Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Darwinism constitutes the basis of atheist philosophies. This theory claims that living beings have evolved as a result of coincidences and by means of a struggle for life. Therefore, Darwinism sends this deceptive message to people:
"You are not responsible to anyone, you owe your life to coincidences, you need to struggle, and if necessary to oppress others to succeed. This world is one of conflict and self-interest".
This evil morality advises people to be egoistical, self-seeking, cruel and oppressive. It destroys such virtues as mercy, compassion, self-sacrifice and humility, the moral values of the three great monotheistic religions.
This being the case, it is necessary for the people of the Book and Muslims to cooperate, since they believe in God and accept the morality that He teaches. The followers of these three religions should expose to the world the fallacy of Darwinism, which has no scientific basis, but which is trying to be preserved for the sake of materialist philosophy. They should cooperatively carry out an intellectual struggle against all other deceptive ideas that serve atheism. Once this is realized, the world will, in a very short time, embrace peace, tranquility and justice.
CONCLUSION: "LET US RALLY TO A COMMON FORMULA"
At a time when anti-religious, atheist and materialist ideologies surround the world, similarities among theistic religions should be emphasized, and cooperation should be established for common aims.
Concerning the People of the Book, God gives Muslims a command in the Koran; to rally to a common formula:
O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God. (Surat Al 'Imran, 64)
This is indeed our call to Christians and Jews: As people who believe in God and follow His revelations, let us rally to a common formula - "faith". Let's love God, Who is our Creator and Lord, and follow His commands. And let us pray God to lead us to an even straighter path.
When Muslims, Christians and Jews rally to a common formula this way;
When they understand that they are friends not enemies,
When they see that the real enemy is atheism and paganism,
then the world will become a very different place.
The fighting that has raged for ages, enmities, fears - and terrorist attacks - will come to an end, and a new civilization based on love, respect and peace will be established upon this "common formula".
Posted - Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 8:42 PM
|Co-Ordination in Human Body|
In the human body, all the systems simultaneously work in a co-ordinated way and in full harmony for a definite purpose, namely, to keep the body alive. Even the smallest movements we do everyday, such as breathing or smiling, are outcomes of perfect co-ordination in the human body.
Inside us is an incredibly complicated and comprehensively co-ordinated network that operates without stopping at all. The purpose is the continuance of living. This co-ordination is particularly visible in the locomotive system of the body, because, for even the smallest movement, skeletal system, muscles and nervous system must work in perfect collaboration.
In order to perform a co-ordinated act, first, the organs involved in this act and their inter-relations should be known. This information comes from the eyes, the balance mechanism in the internal ear, muscles, joints and skin. Every second, billions of pieces of information are processed, evaluated and new decisions are taken accordingly. Man is not even aware of the processes accomplished in his body at dizzying speed. He just moves, laughs, cries, runs, eats and thinks. He spends no effort in performing these acts. Even for a faint smile, seventeen muscles have to work together at the same time. In order to be able to walk, fifty-four different muscles in the feet, legs, hips and back must work in co-operation.
The perfection of the co-ordination of the body will be better understood with the following example. In order just to lift the hand, the shoulder has to be bent, the front and rear arm muscles - called "triceps" and "biceps" - should be contracted and relaxed, and the muscles between elbow and wrist have to twist the wrist. In every part of the act, millions of receptors in the muscles pass on information immediately to the central nervous system about the position of the muscles. In return, the central nervous system tells the muscles what to do in the next step. Of course one is not aware of any of these processes, but just wishes to lift one's hand, and does it right away.
What happens in case of a problem in this co-ordination? Different expressions might appear on our faces when we want to smile, or we might not manage to talk or walk when we want to. However, we can smile, talk, walk anytime we want and no problems occur, because everything mentioned here is accomplished as a result of the fact of Creation which logically requires "infinite intelligence and power".
For this reason, man should always remember that he owes his being and life to his Creator, God. There is nothing for man to be arrogant or boastful about. His health, beauty or strength is not his own work, and it is not given to him eternally. He certainly will become old and lose his health and beauty. In the Qur'an, this is stated as:
Anything you have been given is only the enjoyment of the life of this world and its finery. What is with God is better and longer lasting. So will you not use your intellect?" (Surat al-Qasas: 60)
Posted - Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 8:42 PM
|A System Planned in Its Every Detail|
Breathing, eating, walking, etc, are very natural human functions. But most people do not think how these basic actions take place. For example, when you eat a fruit, you do not think how it will be made useful to your body. The only thing on your mind is eating a healthy meal; at the same time, your body is involved in extremely detailed processes unimaginable to you in order to make this meal a health-giving thing.
The digestive system where these detailed processes take place starts to function as soon as a piece of food is taken into the mouth. Being involved in the system right at the outset, the saliva wets the food and helps it to be ground by the teeth and slide down the oesophagus.
The oesophagus helps the food be transported to the stomach where a perfect balance is at work. Here, the food is digested by the hydrochloric acid present in the stomach. This acid is so strong that it has the capacity to dissolve not only the food but also the stomach walls. Of course, such a flaw is not permitted in this perfect system. A secretion called mucus which is secreted during digestion covers all the walls of the stomach and provides a perfect protection against the destructive effect of the hydrochloric acid. Thus the stomach is prevented from destroying itself.
The point that deserves attention here is that evolution can by no means explain the system briefly summarised earlier. Evolution maintains that today's complex organisms have evolved from primitive beings by the gradual accumulation of small structural changes. However, as stated clearly, the system in the stomach could in no way have been formed step by step. The absence of even one factor would bring about the death of the organism.
When food is received into the stomach, the gastric juices acquire the ability to break down food as a result of a series of chemical changes. Now, imagine a living being in the so-called evolutionary process in whose body such a planned chemical transformation is not possible. This living being, unable to acquire this ability, would not be able to digest the food it ate and would starve to death with an undigested mass of food in its stomach.
In addition, during the secretion of this dissolving acid, the stomach walls simultaneously have to produce the secretion called mucus. Otherwise, the acid in the stomach would destroy the stomach. Therefore, in order for life to continue, the stomach must secrete both fluids (acid and mucus) at the same time. This shows that not a step-by-step coincidental evolution but a conscious creation with all its systems must, in effect, have been at work.
What all this shows is that the human body resembles a huge factory made up of many small machines that work together in perfect harmony. Just as all factories have a designer, an engineer and a planner, the human body has an "Exalted Creator".
Posted - Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 8:43 PM
|The Lessons from Death|
Life slips away second by second. Are you aware that every day brings you closer to death or that death is as close to you as it is to other people?
As we are told in the verse "Every soul shall taste death in the end; to Us shall you be brought back." (Surat al-'Ankabut: 57) everyone who has ever appeared on this earth was destined to die. Without exception they all died, every one. Today, we hardly come across the traces of many of these people who passed away. Those currently living and those who will ever live will also face death on a predestined day. Despite this fact, people tend to see death as an unlikely incident.
Think of a baby who has just opened its eyes to the world and a man who is about to breathe his last. Both had no influence on their individual birth or death whatsoever. Only God possesses the power to inspire the breath of life or to take it away.
All human beings will live until a certain day and then die; God in the Qur'an gives an account of the attitude commonly shown towards death in the following verse:
Say: "The death from which you flee will truly overtake you: then you will be sent back to the Knower of things secret and open: and He will tell you (the truth of) the things that you did!" (Surat al-Jumu'ah: 8)
The majority of people avoid thinking about death. In the rapid flow of daily events, a person usually occupies himself with totally different subjects: what college to enroll in, which company to work for, what color of clothing to wear next morning, what to cook for supper; these are the kinds of major issues that we usually consider. Life is perceived as a routine process of such minor matters. Attempts to talk about death are always interrupted by those who do not feel comfortable hearing about it. Assuming death will come only when one grows older, one does not want to concern himself with such an unpleasant subject. Yet it should be kept in mind that living for even one further hour is never guaranteed. Everyday, man witnesses the deaths of people around him but thinks little about the day when others will witness his own death. He never supposes that such an end is awaiting him!
Nevertheless, when death comes to man, all the "realities" of life suddenly vanish. No reminder of the "good old days" endures in this world. Think of everything that you are able to do right now: you can blink your eyes, move your body, speak, laugh; all these are functions of your body. Now think about the state and shape your body will assume after your death.
From the moment you breathe for the last time, you will become nothing but a "heap of flesh". Your body, silent and motionless, will be carried to the morgue. There, it will be washed for the last time. Wrapped in a shroud, your corpse will be carried in a coffin to the graveyard. Once your remains are in the grave, soil will cover you. This is the end of your story. From now on, you are simply one of the names represented in the graveyard by a marble stone.
During the first months or years, your grave will be visited frequently. As time passes, fewer people will come. Decades later, there will be no-one.
Meanwhile, your immediate family members will experience a different aspect of your death. At home, your room and bed will be empty. After the funeral, little of what belongs to you will be kept at home: most of your clothes, shoes, etc, will be given to those who need them. Your file at the public registration office will be deleted or archived. During the first years, some will mourn for you. Yet, time will work against the memories you left behind. Four or five decades later, there will remain only a few who remember you. Before long, new generations will come and none of your generation will exist any longer on earth. Whether you are remembered or not will be worthless to you.
While all this is taking place in the world, the corpse under the soil will go through a rapid process of decay. Soon after you are placed in the grave, the bacteria and insects proliferating in the corpse due to the absence of oxygen will start to function. The gasses released from these organisms will inflate the body, starting from the abdomen, altering its shape and appearance. Bloody froth will pop out the mouth and nose due to the pressure of gasses on the diaphragm. As corruption proceeds, body hair, nails, soles, and palms will fall off. Accompanying this outer alteration in the body, internal organs such as lungs, heart and liver will also decay. In the meantime, the most horrible scene takes place in the abdomen, where the skin can no longer bear the pressure of gasses and suddenly bursts, spreading an unendurably disgusting smell. Starting from the skull, muscles will detach from their particular places. Skin and soft tissues will completely disintegrate. The brain will decay and start looking like clay. This process will go on until the whole body is reduced to a skeleton.
There is no chance of going back to the old life again. Gathering around the supper table with family members, socializing or to having an honorable job will never again be possible.
In short, the "heap of flesh and bones" to which we assign an identity faces a quite nasty end. On the other hand, you - or rather, your soul - will leave this body as soon as you breathe your last. The remainder of you - your body - will become part of the soil.
Yes, but what is the reason for all these things happening?
If God willed, the body would never have decayed in such a way. That it does so actually carries a very important inner message in itself.
The tremendous end awaiting man should make him acknowledge that he is not a body himself, but a soul "encased" within a body. In other words, man has to acknowledge that he has an existence beyond his body. Furthermore, man should understand the death of his body which he tries to possess as if he is to remain eternally in this temporal world. However this body, which he deems so important, will decay and become worm-eaten one day and finally be reduced to a skeleton. That day might be very soon.
Despite all these facts, man's mental process is inclined to disregard what he does not like or want. He is even inclined to deny the existence of things he avoids confronting. This tendency seems to be most apparent when death is the issue. Only a funeral or the sudden death of an immediate family member brings this reality to mind. Almost everybody sees death far from himself. The assumption is that those who die while sleeping or in an accident are different people and what they face will never befall us! Everybody thinks it is too early to die and that there are always years ahead to live.
Yet most probably, people who die on the way to school or hurrying to attend a business meeting shared the same thought. They probably never thought that the next day's newspapers would publish news of their deaths. It is entirely possible that, as you read these lines, you still do not expect to die soon after you have finished them or even entertain the possibility that it might happen. Probably you feel that it is too early to die because there are many things to accomplish. However, this is just an avoidance of death and these are only vain endeavors to escape it:
Say: "Running away will not profit you if you are running away from death or slaughter; and even if (you do escape), no more than a brief (respite) will you be allowed to enjoy!"(Surat al-Ahzab: 16)
Man who is created alone should be aware that he will also die alone. Yet during his life, he lives almost addicted to possessions. His sole purpose in life becomes to possess more. Yet, no-one can take his goods with him to the grave. The body is buried wrapped in a shroud made from the cheapest of fabrics. The body comes into this world alone and departs from it in the same way. The only asset one can take with him when one dies is one's belief or disbelief.
Posted - Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 8:43 PM
|Basic Questions of Our Lives|
Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators?
Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Surely, they have no firm belief.
Or are the treasures of your Lord with them, or have they control over them? (At-Tur, 35-37)
The first error a prejudiced person makes is trying to evaluate religion without giving thought to Allah. Sociologists, for example, who do research on religion, can write thousands of books on how religions arose and how they affected societies sociologically. Yet, in spite of all these great academic studies, they cannot understand religion even to a minute extent when compared with those who lead their lives within the boundaries of religion.
Such people are not capable of comprehending the reality of Allah’s unity, which is the basis of religion. Anyone who decides to learn about Islam needs first to understand the existence of Allah. If he does not believe in Allah, he will simply be investigating the Qur’an and Muslims in terms of his own limited vision of life.
The Qur’an thus expresses disapproval of such people: “They disbelieve what they cannot grasp, for they have not yet seen its prophecy fulfilled.” (Yunus, 39) Islam is not a man-made ideology about which half-baked ideas and baseless conclusions can be put forth from the outside. The individual can understand what Islam is about only when he understands the existence of Allah and lives his life as enjoined in the Qur’an.
Essentially, the existence of Allah and the reality that there is no deity other than Allah are crystal clear facts. But in “the society of ignorance” where people fail to use their reasoning due to their habit of indifference and indolence, they grow blind and cannot comprehend this reality. As a matter of fact, that is the reason why they were stigmatized as a “society of ignorance” (Jahilliyah).
One of the many Qur'anic verses about pondering on the existence of Allah records the Almighty’s advice to the Prophet on how he should address the ignorant:
“Say: ‘Think, you, if Allah took away your hearing and your sight, and sealed up your hearts, who - a god other than Allah - could restore them to you?’” The same verse goes on to say: “See how We explain the signs by various symbols; yet they turn aside.” (Al-Anaam, 46)
A brief example can help us enrich our views and remove our innate ignorance.
Let’s assume that there is a person from whose memory everything, including the knowledge of his self-being and his body, has been wiped out. If he found himself on a place like earth, what would he feel like? He would undoubtedly be so amazed and so astonished as to lose his mind out of curiosity. The first thing he would notice would probably be his body. He would not be aware that his body in fact belonged to him in the first place, thinking of it as an external object, like the other things in the scene. Then it would be very interesting for him to be able to control his body parts and make them do what he wanted them to do. He would probably try to figure out the use of his arm by moving it up and down for a while.
He would find very suitable surroundings for his body, the reason for the existence of which would still be unknown to him. There would be safe ground to stand on, a clear image to view, beautiful fragrances to smell, various animals, a proper air temperature exactly suitable to the body, an atmosphere suitable for breathing, and thousands of other sensitive balances. Edible fruits to satisfy his hunger, pure and clear water to cool his parched throat and many more things.
For a moment, let us put ourselves in his position and reflect for a while. In a place like this, would we just go and enjoy ourselves, or be wise enough to ask ourselves some very crucial questions? Would we try to understand who we were, why we were there, what the reason for our existence was, what the reason for the existence of the present order was or, would we simply ignore these questions and be concerned with how much we enjoyed our lives? Would not the first questions come to our minds be as follows:
Who am I?
Who has created me, who has created this perfect body of mine?
Who has created this great order which surrounds me?
What does He, who created everything, want from me? What does He want to show me?
Even an individual with a weak mind would think that there is nothing more important than finding answers to these questions. Someone who pays no attention to them, preferring rather to spend his life in fulfilling his physical needs, amusing himself during the day and sleeping at nights, would undoubtedly be a creature of no understanding at all. Someone must have created his body and his surroundings, and they must have come into being all of a sudden. Once he was created, every second of the rest of his life must also have been dependent on that Superior Being, Who had initially created him. What could be more important than knowing about this Superior Being, Who obviously possesses a great power?
Let us continue with our example and assume that he reaches a city after walking through the land for a while. There are various types of people there, most of whom are pretty vulgar, ambitious and insincere. And almost nobody is thinking about his Owner or the place he is living in. Although everyone has a job, an aim or an ideology, the people of the city cannot bring good order to the city, with which everyone would be content.
Let’s assume he meets some people whom the denizens of the city dislike, and towards whom they feel rage and enmity. As to what these people are like, he sees that they are significantly different from the others in many ways. He feels that, as human beings, they are amiable reasonable, and trustworthy. They look humble and they speak in a clear, moderate and sensible manner. He can easily see that there is nothing wrong with them, so he becomes confused and has doubts as to why the citizenry think otherwise.
Let’s assume he starts a conversation with them and they tell him: “We have a different view of life and think differently from other people because we are aware that there is an Owner of this place and everything in it. We are also aware that His power is above everything and He has created this place and everything else to test and educate us until the day comes when we will leave this place. We have a book which we have received from Him, and we are leading our lives in accordance with this book.”
In such a situation, he might not be a hundred per cent sure whether these people were really telling the truth or not. But he would probably understand that what they were talking about was quite important. He would feel there was nothing more important than obtaining further information about these people at that moment, and he would be extremely curious about the book they were talking about, would he not?
The only thing that stops us from being as sensible as the person in this example is our having been on this earth for a longer period of time. We have experienced a growth process instead of coming into being as an adult all of a sudden, like the person in the story. Consequently, we have to admit that most of us are in a position similar to that of the town people in the example due to our disregard of such questions in our lives. What we should further bear in mind is that almost none of the people in this city actually thought about the questions cited above, found some consistent answers on their own, and finally turned away from the Superior Being, Who created them. In fact, most of them did not even go through these steps, but simply pushed these questions aside and stopped thinking about them, because of their “collective ignorance”.
Are we aware of the fact that the “society of ignorance” we are living in prevents us from answering those crucial questions mentioned above by keeping us occupied with questions like: “What shall I eat tonight, which dress should I wear tomorrow?” or “What is she thinking about me, what should I say to him?”? Unfortunately, this shows nothing but abysmal ignorance although we claim to be living in the “information age”.
Now, you have a chance! Think about the complete ignorance you might have been exposed to by such a “society of ignorance” and ask yourselves the following question, which so far you might not have thought over, or might have brushed aside with insufficient explanations: How did I come into existence?
In order to be able to answer this question, it would be useful to start with the physical beginning of our existence and think about that extraordinary event - “birth”.
The brief history of birth can be summarized as follows:
Sperms are produced literally ‘outside’ of a man’s body. The reason for this is the fact that sperm production can occur only in a suitable environment with a temperature of about 35 degrees Celsius, which is two degrees below the average body temperature. Male testicles are the only body parts with this temperature, as they are rightly placed outside of the body. To bring the temperature to the required level, another mechanism is activated. The skin covering the testicles shrinks when it is cold and sweats when it is hot to keep the temperature of this area stable. Approximately a thousand sperms are produced per minute, and they have a special design that eases their long journey from the man’s testicles to the woman’s egg. A sperm comprises a head, a neck and a tail by the use of which a fish-like movement towards the mother’s uterus takes place.
The head part, which carries the genetic code of the future human being, is covered with a special protective armour. The benefit of this armor is noticed at the entrance of the mother’s uterus. This place is very acidic to protect the mother from microbes and other alien particles like sperms, but by the use of this armor, most sperms manage to stay alive.
Not only sperms are ejaculated to the uterus. Semen is a mixture that consists of many other liquids. These liquids contain sugar that supplies energy to the sperms. Semen, which is a base in its chemical form, neutralizes the acidic environment at the entrance of the uterus and creates a safe environment for sperms. It also makes the environment slippery so that sperms can move along easily. Sperms make a difficult journey inside the body of the mother until they reach the egg. No matter how hard they try to survive, only a thousand sperms out of 200-300 million can make it to the egg.
In the light of this brief information, let’s try to find the answers to some questions that cross our minds: How can a sperm make itself so suitable for entry into the mother’s uterus, about which it knows nothing beforehand? How can a sperm be produced in the male body in a way that it can survive and find its way to the egg in the female uterus in spite of the protective mechanisms of the female body, about which the sperm had no previous idea? How can this happen?
Since a sperm lacks the ability to adapt itself to an unknown environment in advance, the only possible answer to these questions is that it is actually created that way.
Let’s continue with the brief story of birth:
An egg is about half the size of a salt grain. The place where an egg and a sperm meet is called the Fallopian tube. The egg secretes a special fluid that leads the sperms to the egg. As they come closer to the egg, their protective armor is melted by another fluid secreted by the egg. As a result, solvent enzyme sachets appear on the cover of the sperms’ heads. By the use of these enzymes, the sperm that is to fertilize the egg, penetrates the membrane of the egg. When the sperms surround the egg, they race one another to enter to the egg. Mostly, only one sperm fertilizes the egg and from that time on, there is no possibility for another sperm to enter it. Before fertilization, the electric charge of the sperms and the egg are opposite, therefore they attract each other. However, after the entrance of the first sperm, the electrical charge of the egg changes, acquiring a pushing effect on the rest of the sperms.
Finally, the DNA of the male present in the sperm combines with the DNA of the female. At this moment, there forms a new cell (the zygote), that is, a new human being inside the mother’s womb.
After considering this bit of information, a new question comes to our minds: How is it that an egg is prepared to welcome a sperm as if it “knew” that it would meet the sperm? How can this happen? The only possible answer to this question is that the egg is created to be suitable to the sperm by the will of a Creator who has also created the sperms and controls both the sperm and the egg.
The extraordinary nature of birth does not finish with all this. The fertilized egg clings on to the womb by its special knobbly surface. The small protuberances on the surface of the egg jut out and penetrate deep into the mother’s womb like the roots of plants in the ground. The zygote starts to develop through hormones secreted by the mother. The egg keeps receiving nutrition provided by the mother.
With time, the cells divide and grow in number by the two-four-eight-sixteen model. In the beginning, all cells that are formed by the division of old ones have the same properties as each other. Then, all of a sudden, newly formed cells somehow start differentiating, showing separate characteristics, as they are to form different organs of the fetus. The science of today still lacks the competence to give a satisfactory answer to the question of why and how exactly this differentiation of cells takes place and how they form different organs with such perfect organization.
As time passes, a drastic change takes place in the jelly-like fetus. Relatively rough bones start to form inside that soft structure, all of them surprisingly, in their proper places. What’s amazing here, is that while all the cells carry exactly the same characteristics at the beginning, through the differentiating process, some of them turn out to be eye cells sensitive to light, others become nerve cells that perceive heat while yet others form those cells that detect sound vibrations.
Finally the fetus’ construction is completed and a new baby is born into the world. At this stage, it is 100 million times bigger and 6 billion times heavier than its initial form when it was a fertilized egg.
This “brief history” mentioned above concerns us, because it is the story of how we came into being. For us, what can be more important than finding the ultimate Cause and Owner of that great, extraordinary and complex event of our existence? When we glance at this short history, we come across many other questions to which science, which is under the influence of materialism, has not yet found any answers.
But there are still many questions that need to be answered. One of these is: How can cells of the same structure start to gather in groups and form different organs of the body while they multiply?
Actually, there is no answer to these questions about birth other than accepting the presence of a Creator. It would be a great mistake to think that all of these complex operations occur on their own or by chance. How can cells agree to form “human organs”? Let’s think about this a little further. Let’s assume that there are two wise adults who come together and decide to work on an engineering project. Even between these two persons, some misunderstandings will unavoidably occur and this will put the success of the project at risk. Then, how can thousands and millions of cells work together to form an absolutely perfect organization without any mishap? Who would dare to say an answer to this question: “It may be possible by chance”? Some atheist “scientists” of today explain this marvelous occurrence as the “magic of nature”. What does this mean? Who or what is nature? Has not nature also been created?
Another attempt to answer this question might be to refer to the mother and the father—which would be meaningless. The role of parents in this event is in fact, neglible. Neither mother nor the father is aware what goes on within them in the production of gender cells, fertilization and development of fetus. The exact date of birth is unknown to mother who has no control over delivery. In spite of this, mother and father are seen as the “origin of one’s life”? But are they so?
The mother and father are very important to their child, as they play a role in his existence. On the other hand, one never, or only rarely, thinks about ones real Creator. Is not the real Creator, who has the ultimate power and control ones everything including birth, life and death, worth more love and respect? His existence is clear and the existence of any other thing without Him is not possible. No one but Allah can create anyone or any matter on his own, while He neither begets nor is begotten as is stated in the third verse of Al-Ikhlas 3.
The creation is explained in the Qur’an as follows;
“We created man from a quintessence (of clay);
Then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed;
Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (fetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the noblest of Creators!” (Al-Mumenoon, 12-14)
This being so, it is clear that there is no difference between ourselves and that man in the story, who was “suddenly” created and become curious about who had created him and everything around him. Of course, he found himself as an adult and without any parents who gave birth to him and raised him. But now that we also know that our coming into existence can in no way be explained by parents, we can consider our situation similar to that of the man in the story.
In such a situation, the most important thing to do is to search exclusively for the truth, to listen to those who claim they have knowledge and evidence about the truth and then to think over what we have been told. Take the man in the story again. As we know, he meets some people in the city who tell him that they can make known to him the Creator Who has created himself and everything around and that there is a book from Him. What do you think he would do? Would he listen to them, or would he simply turn away from them and prefer to be involved with such ordinary, everyday questions like: “What shall I wear tonight, what shall I say to him?” that are daily repeated and will one day become meaningless when death comes to him. Which one of these two choices is the more rational, logical and conscientious? You, without doubt, know the correct answer for this man. But, what about yourself?
What leads up to the event of creation is specifically described in certain other verses of the Quran;
“Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled, without purpose?
Was he not a drop of sperm emitted in lowly form?
Then he became a leech-like clot; then Allah made and fashioned him in due proportion. And of him He made two sexes, male and female.
Has not He, the same, the power to give life to the dead?” (Al-Qiyama, 36-40)
“Allah created you from dust; then from a sperm-drop; then He made you in pairs. No female conceives, or lays down her load, but with His knowledge. No man is long-lived, nor is a part cut off from his life, but in accordance with His Decree. All this is easy to Allah.” (Fatir, 11)
The human is a being created by Allah and as a created entity, he cannot change this fact. He cannot bring any other explanation to his own existence. Since he has been created, he would not be left uncontrolled and irresponsible as emphasized in the above verses. There is, of course, a purpose for creation. Where then will he find the answer?
There is only one answer to this question and that is in the book that Allah has sent down to him.
Posted - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 10:29 PM
|The Disasters of an Irreligious Social System|
In an environment without religion, the first concept to be eliminated is that of the family. Values such as loyalty, fidelity, allegiance, love, and respect, which sustain the family, are totally abandoned. It must be remembered that the family is the foundation of society and if the family collapses, so does society. Even the state and the nation have no reason to exist, since all moral values that underpin the state and the nation have been obliterated.
Furthermore, in irreligious societies, there is no reason left for anyone to feel respect, love or compassion for anyone else. This leads to social anarchy. The rich hate the poor, the poor hate the rich. Anger develops against those who are handicapped or needy. Or aggression towards different nations rises. The workers become aggressive towards their employers and the employers towards their workers, fathers turn against their sons and the sons against their fathers.
The reason for continuous bloodshed and the "third page news" in the newspapers is irreligion. On these pages, every day, we see news coverage about people who heedlessly kill each other for very insignificant causes.
However, a man who knows that he is going to be accountable in the hereafter cannot point a gun at somebody else's head and shoot him. He knows that God has forbidden men to commit crimes, and his fear of God ensures that he will avoid divine retribution.
Do not corrupt the earth after it has been purged of evil. Call on Him fearfully and eagerly. God's mercy is within reach of the righteous. (Surat al-A'raf: 56)
The cause for suicides being so common is also irreligion. One who commits suicide in fact commits murder. For instance, someone who attempts to commit suicide because his girl friend has left him should ask himself these questions: Would he think of committing suicide for that girl, if she became disabled, or became old, or if her face had been badly burned? Of course, he would not; he overvalues her in his mind when he sees her as elegant and healthy and he ascribes her as a partner to God, thinking her to be more important than God, the hereafter, and religion. He risks dying for her.
But someone who is guided by the Qur'an would never do such a thing. He would not even give it a moment of thought. A believer lives only for God's approval and exercises patience in the face of all the difficulties and problems God afflicts him within this world. And he does not forget that he is going to be rewarded for his patience both in this world and the hereafter many times over.
Stealing too is very common in irreligious societies. A man who steals does not think of how much trouble he causes to the person he steals from. He takes ten years of his victim's earnings in a single night and doesn't worry about how much he will suffer. As he inflicts pain on the other person, he may also feel pangs of conscience. But if he does not, this is an even worse state of affairs. It means that the thief has become hardened to committing all kinds of immoral acts.
In irreligious societies, values like hospitality, making sacrifices for each other, solidarity, and generosity totally disappear. First of all, people do not value each other as the human beings they are, because they see each other as beings that have evolved from monkeys. No one wants to welcome, serve, honour or offer nice things to anyone he thinks has evolved from an ape. People sharing this thought do not value each other. Nobody thinks about the health, welfare, or comfort of others. They do not worry about anybody getting hurt nor do they try to prevent such a thing. For instance, in hospitals people who are about to die are left lying on stretchers for indefinite periods; nobody cares about them. Or the owner of a restaurant operating under extremely dirty, unhealthy conditions does not worry about the harm he may inflict on the health of the people who eat there. He only cares about the money he is making. These are a few examples that show up in our daily lives. Here, the main logic is that people are good to each other only if they can expect some profit in return. By the moral standards of the Qur'an, however, people value each other as servants of God. They do not expect anything in return for a favour; on the contrary, they try to gain God's approval by continuously doing good deeds, and compete with each other in doing well.
Posted - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 10:30 PM
What we refer to as "moral values" are the concepts introduced by religion that make life beautiful and rewarding. Whenever these values are distorted, we face a really disturbing picture in society. First of all, in an environment where no rules and limits are observed, "lawlessness" prevails. In this system, everyone lays down his own rules and principles, based on highly variable criteria. In the ignorant society the basic principle that is applied is not to go to extremes in social conduct and hence not to incur any reaction from the society. It is wholly acceptable to do anything wrong, as long as it is not publicly disclosed. Ignorant people deliver speeches about virtuous conduct and morals, or severely condemn those who hold a contrary view. However, they themselves violate these values when they are convinced that nobody sees them.
This is actually the main basis upon which their philosophy rests. They never think that God surrounds them all at every moment; they never conceive that He sees every deed they commit and hears every word they utter. They perceive degeneration as a "modern" way of living.
They fear being humiliated if they do not project the image of a "modern person." This image essentially calls for the flouting of such moral values as honesty. Someone, for instance, who returns the money he found on the street to its owner is ridiculed. In such a situation, acceptable behavior according to ignorant people would be not to give the money back. This example reflects only one aspect of the ignorant society's understanding about moral values however. Concepts like honesty and chastity also lose their importance. Forgery and lying are accepted as normal. A person may commit burglary since he finds nothing wrong with it. Likewise, anyone can tell a lie whenever he wishes. In this system other people have no right to object because they also have the right to behave "freely"(!) in accordance with their own moral values.
The Qur'an makes it clear that people who adhere to the moral values of the age of the ignorant suffer for doing so:
Indeed, God will not deal unjustly with man in any way. It is man who wrongs his own soul. (Surah Yunus: 44)
In a society where people adhere to religious values, they conduct themselves responsibly towards each other since they go in fear of God. They never deign to be dishonest or insincere, and certainly never push things to such extremes as to make life difficult for others. Moral values become the basis of all acts and conduct.
Posted - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 10:31 PM
|The Perfect Social System of Ants|
Ants live in colonies and a perfect division of labor exists amongst them. When we take a closer look at their systems, we shall also see that they have a pretty interesting social structure. It will also come to our attention that they are capable of sacrifice at a much higher level than humans are. One of the most interesting points is that - compared to humans - they do not know the concepts such as the rich-poor discrimination and the fight for power that are observed in our societies.
Many scientists, who for years have been doing extensive research on ants, have not been able to clarify the subject of their advanced social behavior. Caryle P. Haskins, Ph.D., the president of the Carnegie Institute at Washington has this to say:
After 60 years of observation and study, I still marvel at how sophisticated the ants' social behavior is. …The ants thus make a beautiful model for our use in studying the roots of animal behavior. (National Geographic, vol.165, no.6, p. 775)
Some colonies of ants are so extensive with respect to population and living area, that it is impossible to explain how they can form a perfect order over such a vast area. Therefore, it is not easy not to concur with Dr. Haskins.
As an example of these large colonies we can give the species of ant, called Formica Yessensis that lives on the Ishikari coast of Hokkaido. This ant colony lives in 45,000 interconnected nests over an area of 2.7 square kilometers. The colony, which is composed of approximately 1,080,000 queens and 306,000,000 workers, has been named the "Super colony" by the researchers. (Bert Hölldobler-Edward O.Wilson, The Ants, Harvard University Press, 1990, p. 1.) It has been discovered that all production tools and food are exchanged in an orderly fashion within the colony.
It is very hard to explain how the ants have maintained this order without any problems, considering the vast area they are living in. We must not forget that various security forces are needed for enforcing law and maintaining social order, even in a civilized country with a low population density. And there is an administrative staff leading and managing these units. Sometimes, it does not become possible to maintain the required order without problems despite all these intense efforts.
Yet in ant colonies there is no need felt for police, gendarmerie or guards. If we consider that actually the duty of the queens, whom we think of as the leaders of the colonies, is just to maintain the species, they do not have a leader or a governor. There is thus no hierarchy based on a chain of command amongst them. Then who is it that lays down this order and maintains its continuity?
The fact that ants can establish such a great and perfect order is proof that they are acting on the inspiration of a certain "supervisor". The verse below fully confirms that God is the master and supervisor of everything and that every living creature acts on His inspiration:
I have put my trust in God, my Lord and your Lord. There is no living being He does not hold by the forelock and inspect! My Lord is on a straight path. (Surah Hud: 56)
Posted - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 10:32 PM
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