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Muslim seeking the pleasure and mercy of Allah, Most High... Sunnah style!

Friday, August 29, 2008


"And now they reject the truth when it reaches them, but soon shall they learn the reality of what they used to mock at." -Holy Qur'an 6:5

In reaction to the forthcoming documentary starring Bill Maher entitled "Religulous", I've learned about through his interview with Larry King on Larry King Live last week, do I share these thoughts. Should this concocted term, "religulous", imply that religion is ridiculous, my allegation is that not only is it ridiculous, but irregular to be irreligious, hence, the invented portmanteau of my own, "Irreligulous".

Maher's objective is to induce his audience to the idea that religion is, in addition to imaginary, responsible for the violence, wars and atrocities committed in the world. Let's ignore man's desire for wealth, power and control sought after under the banner of "the ends justify the means", and his relentless ego and ambition for global domination throughout history. Never mind the violent, blood-splashing debates over who's political system or form of government should be implemented. Certainly, wars, most notably the Crusades, have been fueled by religion. But let's not turn our backs and walk away from the greater crimes and bloodshed wrought in the name of secular fanaticism when discussing the topic.

As to why I assert that a state of irreligiosity is absurd and abnormal, I use as a point of reference an individual Maher attempts to further convince us through that religion is ridiculous in his new film; neuroscientist, Andrew Newberg. Newberg performs brain scans and analysis on people who engage in religious/spiritual practices such as praying, meditating or by some means or another communicate to an immaterial supreme being. This sort of neurological research is intended to improve our understanding on why people, generation to generation, continue to believe in God. In a nutshell, the conclusion ever-present in all his books recording and interpreting his scientific findings is that "the human brain is wired to God". And because two of the human brain's primary functions, self-maintenance and self-transcendence, are precisely the same primary functions of religion people naturally seek after one in order for the brain to perform these functions. This, of course, is strictly from a neurological standpoint.

A few statements from different lenses on the subject of religion that inadvertently support my case are:
  • "Belief in God is biologically natural." -Andrew Newberg, MD.
  • An idea commonly shared among Atheist could be explicated in this single statement: "Being that 'having faith' is ingrained in our brains, it takes quite an effort to liberate ourselves from these beliefs."
  • And finally, a saying from the last messenger to mankind, our Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa salaam: "Every child is born upon the pure fitrah."
Instantly, the Muslim or anyone familiar with aqeeda (Islamic theology) has made the connection between these statements and how they all, despite being from drastically different mindsets, ironically agree with one another. And how ultimately they prove God is as unseen a reality as air.

Everyone ranging from Western philosophers, Eastern mystics to even scientist of today try to reach God in some way. Mystics teach God resides in His creations (i.e. nature) and can be contacted through spiritual experiences. And while there are one side of philosophers who argue the reality of God can be proven through reason; portraying God as a sort of removed Watch Maker uninterested in His creation, another side of philosophers standing on agnosticism argue that God can neither be proven or disproved and they must have material confirmation in order to have faith.

For the Muslim, Allah's existence is self-evident. The very purpose of His creation, aside from obeying Him and being for the use of mankind, is to serve as a sign of His power and goodness... a blatant testament to His presence. Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, is the only one with the ability to create while we can only manipulate what's already available. Allah (swt) has challenged that nothing else could create even a fly. And if a fly were to take something from them they would not be able to get it back (Holy Qu'ran 22:74). There are many evidences to establish the presence of a Creator, all of them examined in the Qur'an, but the one I'll mainly be dealing with revolves about Newberg's statement that "we are wired to God" and that to believe in Him is all but "biologically natural."

What was meant by our prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him, that every child is born upon the pure fitrah is that everyone is born with the awareness of God. And so, in this respect, Newberg is exactly right that it is in our primordial nature, that it is only instinctive for us to accept that our universe, all it's laws and entities, has a Creator. And the Atheist too is right that one cannot remove this idea without extreme difficulty. Which, in reality, no one can never successfully remove or liberate themself from the fitrah. The fitrah will unresistingly express itself in other ways even when one denies God. Exempli gratia the commission of what in Islam is called shirk, or giving rights belonging only to God to something other than God. In this case, they would make chance or coincidence their God or to what they owe the existence and evolution of things. They'll place their faith in "luck"; perhaps reserving for themselves a "lucky" suit they happened to be wearing when they got that great job they've been looking for. Crediting any good or satisfaction to this "luck" deity and any evil or undesired occurance to the "bad one". They may place their heart and trust in something, such as astrology, fortune tickets or a cherished item, to a height that only God is rightfully worthy (lest disaster befalls them will they invoke the one true God). All this, indeed, is the result of containing a distorted concept of God. Which is why He has sent prophets and messengers, all their teachings culminated and finalized through Muhammad (saws), to reveal the proper concept of God and the proper method of acknowledging and serving Him. So by denying God, they deny a vital part of their nature. And just because you deny one of your legs does not make you incapable of walking on both.

The reason for this fitrah or innate awareness of a Creator, is as Allah (swt) revealed in the Qur'an about the covenant He established, spiritually, with all the descendants of Adam including me, you, everyone who existed, exist and everyone who will exist. In this covenant, before we inhabited earth, Allah (swt) asked us all: "am I not your Lord?" and we all confirmed: "Yes, we all bare witness..." (Holy Qur'an 7:127). And what such non-Muslims as Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili of the University of Pennsylvania have inadvertently proven in their neurological research is that echoes of this "yes" are carried by every human being even if deeply in their souls. Should they dismiss it, it is just as Muhammad (saws) explained, that it is due to outside influences over a passage of time that conduce to unbelief or denial of this natural inclination we know as al-fitrah. And when considering the number of Atheist and Agnostics in the world vis-a-vis the believers of God, it only further stresses the abnormality and absurdity of these ideologies.

The remedy? The right concept of God. Recognizing the absolute and unique oneness of God. The remedy? Realizing the purpose God has created us, thereby acknowledging and supplied the opportunity of serving God the right way. The remedy? Islam. Nothing a little deductive reasoning, intellectual research and most importantly, the application of good old-fashioned common sense can't figure out. Responding to the call of your true nature is the greatest favor you can do unto yourself.

Peace be unto those who follow the righteous guidance.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Open Book Exam

Bismillah, wa'salaatu wa'salaam 'ala Rasoolullah.

Indeed, Allah is praised whether we praise Him or not. Yet, humbly we praise Him and seek His aid. We are penitent to Him. We seek refuge in Him from the evil of ourselves, of our egos, our own arrogance and desires and from the evil consequences of our deeds. Whomever Allah Guides, NONE can misguide and whoever is left to their own path will always go astray.

Verily, the best of speech is the speech of Allah, The Qur'an.
And the best of guidance is the guidance of Rasoolullah (the Messenger of Allah), salallahu 'alayahi wasalaam.
And the most evil of affairs are innovations in the religion.
And every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance is in the Fire.
May Allah Gaurd us from these newly invented matters in His deen and keep us firm on the sirataal mustaqueem (straight and pure path).

As-salaamu 'alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.

It is revealed to us, by Allah (swt) Himself, that He has created us, mankind, with a physical composition, our body and all its intricate systems which still we haven't unraveled in whole. Anatomically, biologically, biochemically and psychologically we remain mysteries to even ourselves. Our bodies, like the television to the average man, is designed such that we could never replicate or produce one ourselves, yet it is made such that any idiot can use it. And barely so considering we trip over our own feet.

In addition to the body, Allah has instilled in us something of His Spirit -our soul. We can hardly imagine how much about the soul we've discovered, when we haven't even figured the body that is visibly apparent to us.

"They ask thee concerning the soul. Say: 'the soul cometh by the command of my Lord; of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, o men!" -Qur'an 17:85

The soul, like the body, has needs and a hunger that must be satisfied lest from negligence it is starved. It is but spiritual suicide should one go on ignoring its exigencies. The weakness and withering of one's soul is characterized by easy despair, lack of patience and optimism. Strong susceptibility to compromising habits and complete apathy. So what better to tell us, to instruct us how we should use, treat and apply our bodies and souls than the very Creator of these entities? What better source to learn about a product than from the manufacturer itself?

Not so in Islam is the idea that the body and soul are antagonistic. There is no conflict in satisfying the needs and desires of the body while fulfilling the soul. In fact, it is impossible to consummate one of these whilst neglecting, denying or even harming the other. Both are from Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, so that we'd exist. Therefore both should be managed and developed carefully. How we do so is explained in the instruction He has revealed to us, The Qur'an and the guidance He has demonstrated and exemplified based on it through His last Messenger, Muhammad, salallahu 'alayhi wasalaam.

Should this life be an examination deciding the most responsive to Allah's Signs and instruction; then this life, this exam... is indeed open book

"That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them -as to which of them is best in conduct." -Qur'an 8:7

Only by truly satisfying and pleasing ourselves in ways circumventing evil or damaging side effects and consequences, with the respective intent, do we satisfy and please our Lord. There is no greater justice one can do themselves. Questions concerning our Lord, our purpose, our salvation, our destiny and our very being are explained in detail in the one book, The Qur'an.

"This is the Book whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off evil." -Qur'an 2:2

For those of us who heed His Signs, desiring His pleasure, the path is made clear to us. Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, guides those who earnestly beseech His guidance. Alternatively, those who deny Him and His signs who wish not to be guided, are not. Those left to follow their own desires. Those who are helplessly bent on turning away from faith and who, out of arrogance, persistently reject faith, ignoring the yearns of their very soul in that they might endure true success on every level will remain misguided. Left to tread a meaningless and staggering path. The further one strays from the path of truth and righteousness, the more difficult and less probable it is they should return to it.

"As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing; and on their hearts is veil; great is the penalty they incur." -Qur'an 2:6-7

It is not so that Allah controls our lives in the sense that He has preordained our ultimate outcome. Rather, we have options and Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, will only prepare for us what we prepare for ourselves. Consider the example of the teacher who foresees the scholastic failure of the redundantly mischievious student who makes no effort to study and the success of other students based on their performance and upstanding reputation. And as hopeful and optimizing it is for a devout believer to ponder their rewards the truth we must bare in mind, brothers and sisters, is that Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, wants Jannah (i.e. Paradise, Heaven) for us more than we can possibly want it for ourselves.

We were told from Allah's Messenger and final prophet, Muhammad, salallahu 'alayhi wasalaam, that "every child is born upon the pure fitrah." Meaning, we all our born with the awareness of one God as our natural disposition. Innately, we all are aware of Allah, our Lord and Creator who is pure and exalted from having any partners or offspring. The evidence would be the example Allah has revealed to us in the Qur'an about those who even later deny Him, in times of dire need or distress, invoking Him in secret. Further showing us His unfaltering Mercy over us. Not only is His test to us "open book", not only has He sent prophets and messengers to every people and every nation, but He has designed us such that our inclination towards Him is natural. Those whom deny are in actuality denying themselves. If only they but knew.

Peace be unto those who follow the righteous guidance and may Allah continue to guide those who do. May Allah make better perceptible the siraatal mustaqueem to the totality of mankind. And for those of us who once followed His Deen and have gone astray, may they return to the right path, O Allah. In'sha'Allah. Ya An-Nur. Ya Al Hadi. Alhamdulillah! Subhanallahu akbar!