Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Secret

Your child’s World Religions class teacher asserts that all religions are derived from man-made myths. There is no such thing as God he claims. He challenges your child during a class discussion to prove if God exists in front of all his friends. He is the only student in the class who hesitates to accept the teacher’s assertions yet all he sees at home are cultural practices from which he can derive no answers to these important challenges that he faces. His parents give him unsatisfying explanations, yet want him to stick to his traditions while doing great in school.  Perhaps his teacher and all his friends are right. Their explanations seem so logical and convincing. Is there a magic pill that can save your child’s faith? Fortunately the answer is “Yes”. Can you force him to take it? Unfortunately the answer is “No”. He has to take it himself.

The secret at the disposal of your child is the Quran – Allah’s (SWT) Everlasting Miracle. It is not enough for you to make your child complete its Arabic reading without understanding once when he was 10 long time ago. It is not exaggeration when we call it a “miracle”. It has a tremendous impact on the mind, heart, soul, nay the complete self of the listener. Its cadence, choice of words, eloquence, style, message, etc. is literally out of this world! It is literally divine! The listener breaks down in sobs by just hearing its verses. Yet it does not only impact the emotions. It engages the mind and gives logical arguments, points to ponder, explanations, similitudes, etc. that are tailor made to impact man’s thought process to convince the listener of the worldview of its Real Reality. If Allah (SWT) gives taufeeq to your child to truly experience this once, he is hooked for a lifetime. Thereafter his life is like a cruise missile guided by Allah (SWT) personally to hit the target.  All he needs to do is go on autopilot, on cruise control, take the precautions Allah (SWT) advised and enjoy the ride.

You will not be around forever to always oversee whether your child is acting according to your wish. Your wish might not always be what is right for your child. The wise thing to do is to connect your child to Allah (SWT) and trust in Him to guide him throughout life and then LET GO! To be affected by the Quran, some work is required.  Some time is required to study Quranic Arabic formally in courses. These days there are very professionally conducted courses taught in English which can achieve this via online classes on weekends, e.g. see or Sunday school is not enough in my opinion. Neither is it professionally conducted, nor is the knowledge deep / comprehensive enough. In most cases where parents did not formally spend the time regularly to study and implement Islam from the beginning, a complete overhaul of the mind is in order. In that case, I would recommend a gap year in secular education so that the child might study Arabic/Quran full time. This might be done ideally right after high school, or if need be in the middle of university education, after graduation or even during a professional career life. It is worth taking time to develop the right vision to see things as they are, rather than running blindly after false goals forever.

After this education, the child will not need to prove the existence of God. He will feel/sense/experience the Truth in his bones. He will be living it. It will be a part of him and he a part of it. His life will become part of a natural cosmic order it was meant to be, opposing which will never be possible for him.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Islam in a Nutshell

The Prophet (SWAS) has informed us that one of the group of people who will be under the shade of Allah’s (SWT) throne on the day when there will not be any other shade are youth who grew up worshipping Allah (SWT). Youth years are wonder years. Often they are times of fun, energy, experimentation, self-discovery, independence, desires, seemingly lack of responsibility, rebellion, confusion, etc.  One is biologically an adult but today’s society still treats one as a minor. One sees the world with fresh eyes, open to all potential opportunities. Compared to what lies ahead, one tends to see one’s childhood and one’s parents as part of a bygone, old-fashioned era. One is filled with the desire to correct what one experienced seemingly wrong in childhood. Sometimes this desire becomes ingrained in one’s personality and drives some the rest of their lives, often going to the other extreme. Unfortunately, in many Muslim families the first things youth question is the value system of their parents, including their Islam. Thus growing up worshipping Allah (SWT), especially these days might seem very difficult to some.

What is needed for the youth to stay committed to Islam, is first its correct conceptulization. I would like to emphasize that Islam is not fossilized rituals, nor custom of our ancestors that they brought with them, nor is it having pakoRas and samosas in iftaar parties, nor eating sewayyaN / kunafa on Eid, nor wearing a sirwaal / thobe, just having a beard, wearing hijab or eating only zabiha. I invite you to discover Islam afresh without all the cultural baggage.

Imagine that there is a big company owned by an influential Owner. That Owner had appointed a series of sincere CEOs to help implement His policies long ago. All the correspondence in the company went through the Owner to those CEOs who understood and helped coordinate all the activities in running the company. The last of the CEOs did a perfect job and implemented the final set of policies which will continue to be applicable till the company’s lifetime. You are someone who now works in that company. Would it not be nice for your advancement in the company if you know the Owner well, understands his characteristics, what he likes and dislikes, have a good understanding of how the last CEO understood and implemented the company policies? Would you not like to become like that sincere and capable CEO? If by chance the correspondence between the Owner and the CEO got leaked to you. Would not that be valuable to your progress?

The Owner is Allah (SWT), the CEOs are the Messengers, The last CEO is Muhammad (SWAS), the company is this world, the employees are human beings, the correspondence is the Quran, the last CEO’s methodology of work is the Sunnah, the instructions of the last CEO are hadiths and the last set of policies are Islam, those who work according to those policies are Muslims! The higher you rise in company, the more you will understand the company policies. When you retire (i.e. die), the retirement benefits will be based on your sincere acceptance of the Mission & Vision statements, adopting its Core Values, following its policies, your performance and last position in the company you held i.e. your position in Paradise or Hellfire. If you are successful the best reward in Paradise will be to personally meet the Owner (see his “Face”). Our goal in this life is to constantly educate ourselves regarding the company policy, submit to it, implement it in our work and in the teams we lead. The Owner has ensured that the last correspondence between Him and the last CEO is preserved and available to all. I invite you to become a close friend of the Owner. Study and implement the lessons you learn from His correspondence, talk to Him daily five times a day, seek His help rather than the help of those around you who ultimately also are under Him. Learn about the life of the last CEO, how he was able to perfectly fulfill his obligations and adopt his ways so that you may rise and also succeed both during your career and after retirement. That is Islam in a nutshell!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Real Reality

Most physicists and mathematicians at the forefront of research are now convinced of the presence of hidden dimensions and a parallel universe. They are now investigating not the fact that other worlds exist but how many they are! (e.g.   Yet most of us spend a lifetime convinced that what they perceive with their five senses is all there is. We are often locked in our routine which limits our experiences and perceptions of Reality. Have you ever stopped to consider if what you experience day in and day out in your lives is the Real Reality, is there anything more or are we deluded in some way?

The Quran describes the worldly life as nothing except the enjoyment of delusion (57:20). It asks the listener rhetorically about the Real Realty (Al Haaqah). “The Real Reality! What is the Real Reality? What will make you realize what the Real Reality is?” (69:1-3). It then goes on to describe the composite Reality of the worldly and next life and how the former impacts the latter. To navigate successfully through this life, we need a map to look holistically from where we came from and where we are headed so that we can act in context to our overall situation in the journey of life.  

Islam is not just a series of do’s and don’ts, nor is it a bunch of rituals and incantations, nor is it just an antidote to magic, nor is it just a means to ask for a job, son, wealth, etc., nor is it culture and custom of our home countries but rather it gives a complete paradigm of Reality for our navigation through the journey of life. The glimpses it gives into the ghaib (unseen) are enough for our guidance and may only be discovered in a very painstaking and short-sighted manner by scientific research, if at all. “(Now consider:) Is one who goes prone upon his face (with no breadth or depth to his line of sight, barely seeing what is touching his face) better guided, or one who goes upright (with a clear line of sight to what is ahead of him) on a straight path?” (67:22)

Guidance should be sought from the worldview and insights from the Quran and Sunnah as well as personal intuition/spiritual experiences. The Prophet (SWAS) has been reported to have said: “A believer's dream is one of 1/45 parts of prophet hood” (Muslim, Abu Dawud and others).  In order for the latter to be effective one’s belief and character should be sound. “When the time approaches near (to the Hour), a believer's dream would almost never be false; and the most truthful among you in their dreams are those who are most truthful in their speech.” (Bukhari, Muslim). So it means that to be guided we need to work on ourselves first. What is required is nothing short of being fully immersed in the Islamic paradigm of Reality. [For details read The Color of Allah (SWT) (].

There are two things today that stop us from immersing in the Islamic paradigm completely. The first is the predominant global worldview of the Dajjal (New World Order).  This worldview is one-eyed and does not have a holistic vision of Reality. It denies Allah (SWT), His attributes, the Messengers, their mission, the purpose of humanity, the meaning of life, consequences of good and evil, afterlife, etc.  Many Muslims follow this worldview for all practical purposes and have made Islam a cultural vestige from their ancestral homeland. Daily the internet, TV, satellite channels, advertisements, soap operas, movies, newspapers, magazines, news programs, talk shows, musical lyrics, formal education system, etc. subliminally change our natural thought patterns to adopt this way of thinking. This is true for Western AND non-Western mainstream media. The media sets our daily agenda for thinking; one day it might be a cricket match, another it might be the Pakistani elections or the affair of some celebrity, etc. What we think about affects our perceptions of spiritual Reality, so we need to be careful what we expose ourselves to. Unless one is constantly in touch with Quran and understands what one reads and hears one will drift into Never-Never-Land.  The Prophet (SWAS) has instructed the Believers to read Surah Kahf on Fridays to protect them from the fitan of Dajjal. The other obstacle to experiencing Reality is to adopt decadent un-Islamic cultural practices. [For details read Cultural Malaise (] . Most Muslims today follow the Dajjal worldview in their public lives and un-Islamic traditional worldview in their private/family lives; no wonder Islam does not make sense to their kids anymore who are honest enough to admit it. Cultural Islam must be discarded and replaced by Islamic Culture.
Those who do not develop a personal vision of things follow the majority trends in their social circle. They do not understand why people are doing what they are doing. They just follow suit and try to out do each other in the same pursuit. Whatever becomes the fashsion, they feel they should be at the forefront in adopting it. [For details read A Culture of Ostentation (]. This is true for those groups claiming to practice Islam as well. [For details read A Society of Sects (]. In contrast, those who have developed a personal vision based on the study of Islamic sources understand their own unique situation and the manner in which natural universal principles apply to it. Thus they do not react without deep reflection taking into account all the various important factors while asking for divine inspiration to help them make decisions which are right for them.

For most people – men and women - their careers are most important. They can sacrifice almost anything for it – be it health, relationships, resources, social obligations, morality, etc. Unfortunately, most Muslims also end up sacrificing their Islamic worldview. The choice of a career, work culture and employer is very important for a Muslim. [For details read Values at the Workplace (] . Someone who keeps thinking of how to get ahead in the rat race 24/7 will have a very different mindset from someone who constantly thinks about his own and others’ guidance. The latter’s vision of Reality will be much clearer. Someone who’s thinking and actions are oriented to that of the Prophet (SWAS) and his Companions (RA) can experience better insights into Real Reality.

Science and our religion tell us that other worlds exist. We know that the basic purpose of Islam is to guide us to success in the composite Reality of this life and the next.  It is possible to develop the vision intended by Islam if we study and adopt its sources and develop our character for our guidance. We are aware of the challenges from competing worldviews – be that of the Global Secular World Order or Cultural Islam. Our work is clearly cut out for us. We need to work on ourselves. Let’s start changing our condition today.

“O Allah! Let us see the Truth as true, and enable us to follow it. Let us see falsehood as false, and enable us to avoid it.” (Prophetic dua)