Archive for the ‘Signs/Reflection’ Category

Losing weight

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

If you have ever tried to lose weight, you know three things: (a) That the way to do it is simple and well known, albeit easier said than done, (b) that it requires discipline and self control and (c) that when it succeeds, you feel unencumbered and happy. You know you’ve done the right thing for yourself. The same can be said about stopping any addiction, such as smoking or gambling. Even spring cleaning is the same way.

And so is soul cleaning. The Prophet (PBUH) commented one day on verse 83:14 of the holy Quran. The verse said, “Nay! Rather, what they have been earning [of sin] has formed a stain on their hearts.” (83:14). He said, “A person’s heart gets blotted every time he sins. If he repents, it is polished out. If he does it again, the blot gets bigger. Until his heart is blocked. That is the stain.”, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it soundly authentic.

Cleaning of the heart is probably the hardest component of soul cleaning. It all starts with cleaning of the faith, such that no hint of “shirk” (associating others with God in worship) taints it. Then comes mind cleaning: cleaning of thoughts, such that you assume good until you see otherwise and when you do you forgive. Change negative thoughts to positive ones promptly and seek refuge in God from the whispers of Satan. Think twice before saying or doing things. Never act impulsively or on negative emotions. Stay away from negative people. Keep up prayer, supplication and charity. Read the Quran and reflect on it. Say good words and do good wherever you go and to whomever you meet. Clean your attitude, such that you deal with all with equal respect and courtesy.

When you boycott sin, it works for your soul like boycotting cigarettes works on your lungs and boycotting gambling works on your pocket book. The more you practice, and ask God to help and strengthen you, the easier it will get and the more likely it will be to succeed.

Focus on the rain

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

I am concerned about a brother. He is on the brilliant end of the scale. He is one of the most compassionate human beings I know. He is a good person. He supports many many people. Should someone need a hand he drops everything and does it for them. He is respected for his skills and accomplished.

He was turned off to Islam. The Muslims are what he has difficulty with. As Yusuf Islam has stated he was glad he became Muslim before he met many!

I make dua (supplication) that Allah subhana wa taala soften this brother’s heart to Islam. He is knowledgeable about the history and politics of Islam. Any suggestions?

The Prophet (PBUH) gave a parable one day. He said that rain falls on the earth carrying blessings but different terrain react differently to those blessings. Fertile soil blooms with flowers and vegetation, rocks are washed but that’s about it, sand brings out palm trees and cactus but not much more, etc. Human reception of God’s blessings is kinda like that. This brother should not be disillusioned because all he sees is rocks. He should instead focus on the rain!

It is understandable to be frustrated by an environment that does not nourish spirituality and righteousness. But this brother should keep in mind that being a Muslim does not mean following other Muslims; being a Muslim means following God and His Messenger. Whether his fellowship consists of him alone, like Abraham’s was at first, or has billions of faithful people, should not be the primary concern of a believer, as nice as it is to have.

I have a feeling that things will be alright. Tests of life are tests of character. They expose a person’s true colors. From what you said, it sounds like the seed of goodness is in this brother. I know someone who once had a bout with doubt and left the faith for several years but came back. That was a much harder test than what this brother is going through. A believer comes out of such tests stronger and so will this brother, insha-Allah (God willing).

Did Mary appear to people?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

What does Islam say about the Marian Apparitions? They claim that the Virgin Mary (peace be upon her) appeared herself in front of certain people to deliver them a message, like The Lady of Guadeloupe, The Lady of Fatima etc? Did the Virgin Mary really appear before the people? Or was it Satan disguised as someone righteous in order to lead people astray? Thanks!

No one knows for sure.

What Islam says about Mary, peace be upon her, is pretty much what’s in the Quran. God describes her and her son as a “sign for the worlds” (21:91). Signs of God are there to draw our attention to Him, not to the sign.

What to tell a pantheist?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

My older brother who’s 18 years old just left Islam. Now he’s a pantheist. Would you please help me to give a beautiful explanation, so he’ll think of Islam again? What should I say to him? What would YOU say to him if you were my parent? I don’t understand his philosophy very well, except that he believes in impersonal god and everything occurs in the universe has always been a mere mechanical process (not God’s will). He’s trying to convert me, my sisters, and my mother, a few days ago older sister’s starting to believe his conversion was making sense.

Sorry to hear that. I know you must be feeling terrible.

God is not a person, but He is not impersonal either! These terms apply to creatures only. He is above and beyond everything that we can imagine or conceive of. Everything in the universe did develop in a mechanical way, but it was God who created the mechanical and physical laws, right? God says in the holy Quran,

“[Pharaoh asking Moses and Aaron] saying, “Who then is your Lord, O Moses?” He said, “My Lord is He who gave everything its form and then guided [it]” (20:49-50)

The main question that no atheist has been able to answer is: who created the laws that operate everything? They say they don’t know how any law evolved and may never know. God tells us in the Quran that it is He and no one else who created all, including the laws by which all operate.

Why do these laws operate so orderly and so consistently? Has your brother ever been wounded? Did he ever reflect on how the wound heals? What tells scar tissue to form, just above new skin cells that are too ripe still to be exposed to air?! How does scar tissue know that new skin cells are ready and thus it drops off having served its purpose?! Isn’t this a sign of God, the Healer?

Atheists may think that they are intellectuals, but they really are irrational. Their motivation, IMHO, is one or more of three things: (a) Resentment of God for His Power over them, (b) resentment of God for allowing imperfections in this world, or (c) evasion of religious obligations. All three reasons are ill conceived. God’s power over us is a good thing, because we tend to abuse our powers while God never does, so He is the Balance in the universe. Imperfections in this world is the result of the exercise of the free will. Without the free will, no atheist would have been able to reject God! Finally, religious obligations are for our own benefit. They are our connection to God and the food for our souls.

Remain a good brother to your brother, and pray for him, but educate yourself and him. I suspect that the main reason he veered from Islam is that he knew little or knew wrong about Islam. Yes, many Muslims are ignorant about their religion, I’m sad to say.

How can we prove that God exists?

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

We can’t! If there were proof, there would be no need for faith. That said, the existence of God is something ingrained in all of us since before we were born, see verse 7:172. That is why when God expounds His favors on us and draws our attention to His signs all around us, He sometimes asks us the rhetorical question, “Don’t you remember?” (32:4).

How do you explain the suffering that takes place in the world?

It is a consequence of the free will that chooses evil. If there were no evil chosen, there would be no suffering. And if no one could choose evil, then there is no point to the free will!

For this and other fundamental questions, this site may help you answer them.

Are these scientific inaccuracies in the Quran?

Monday, September 6th, 2010

I’ve been debating an atheist on a discussion forum and been telling him about the many scientific miracles of the Quran. So, he came back with what he claimed were scientific inaccuracies in the Quran. Can you help me refute them?

  • By the sun and its brightness (1) And [by] the moon when it follows it (2) And [by] the day when it displays it (3) And [by] the night when it covers it (4) And [by] the sky and He who constructed it (91:1-5).

    The Quran says sunlight is invisible until it hits the atmosphere.

  • Where did he get that? The verses he quotes say that the day makes the sun prominent. Is there any doubt about that? It’s a reminder of His grace that the day makes all the benefits of the sun available, such as light, warmth, sustenance for plants, etc.

  • “Are you the harder to create or the heaven? He built it. (27) He raised( increased) its thickness, then put it into a right good state. (28) And He made dark its night and brought out its light. (27:29).

    This says that the universe is dark.

  • No, it doesn’t. It says He made the night dark and the day bright. A reminder of His grace that makes it possible for us to sleep and rest at night and rise up and be alert so we can work in the day.

  • “Even if We opened out to them a gate from heaven, and they were to continue (all day) ascending therein, (14) They would only say: “Our eyes have been covered: Nay, we have been bewitched by sorcery.” (15:14-15).

    The Quran says the universe is engulfed in darkness.

  • Where did he get that? The verses he quotes continue the theme started four verses earlier (15:10-13) about the disbelievers ridiculing all messengers sent to them. The verses quoted say that such disbelievers would still reject God even if He lets them ascend to heaven to see its wonders. Pretty much what your atheist friend is doing now! God says that they would come up with other explanations for those wonders, such as “Our eyesights have been dimmed, or maybe we’ve been bewitched.” Anything but admit that those signs are God’s wonderful creation.

    God’s constant kindness

    Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

    Allah is kind to us in ways that we cannot even imagine. His kindness is manifested to us from before we are born into our infancy and adulthood, in every aspect of our lives.

    It is from Allah’s kindness that He creates the fetus in its mother’s womb, and that the womb does not reject it even though it is a foreign body. Allah makes the womb ready to welcome it. Allah thus enfolds the fetus in three protective coverings, that of the placenta, that of the womb, and that of the mother’s body where it develops in safety and receives nourishment from its mother.

    It is from Allah’s kindness that the newborn knows to take its mother’s breast and knows to cry whenever it is hungry or needs something so that its needs can be tended to.

    It is from Allah’s kindness that He blesses us with patience and fortitude in the face of pain and hardship. When we bear patiently what befalls us reconcile ourselves to His will, it is good for us. We see this in the story of Joseph (peace be upon him). First, he suffered at the hands of his brothers who abandoned him at the bottom of a well. Then he suffered years of imprisonment in Egypt as a result of sexual allegations he was innocent of. Finally, Allah blessed him to enjoy power and influence in Egypt. After everything that happened, Joseph declared:

    “Lo! My Lord is Most Kind to whom He pleases.” (12:100)

    Most people grumble about the tribulations that they face as individuals and as communities, because they do not see anything in them but their obviously negative aspects. With time, they come to see the situation’s many dimensions and outcomes, and they realize that it manifests Allah’s kindness in many profound ways.

    How true! May God reward you well for sharing these reflections. The countless good that God has done for us, most people take for granted and do not thank God for it. When hardship hits, some people panic, some despair, some curse the times, some collapse, some resort to violence or evil ways, some end their lives and some pray to other than God. Only a few pray to the One True God to alleviate their suffering. Of those, most forget God immediately after the hardship is lifted. Some even associate others with Him in the lifting of hardship. Only a few, the believers continue afterward to thank God and hasten to please Him. May we all be among those believers.

    It is from Allah’s kindness that He made the religion easy. Allah says:

    “And in truth We have made the Qur’an easy to understand, so will anyone take heed?” (54:17)

    Facilitation and flexibility are among the overarching principles of Islamic law. Whenever Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was faced with a choice between two options, he would always choose the easiest of the two, as long as no sin was involved. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (3560, 6786) and Sahīh Muslim (2327)]

    The religion is indeed easy, not only the Quran, yet so many Muslims do not accept that! They insist on making it hard and when they have two opinions, they choose the harder one. The religion is straightforward but they make it complex, plain but they make it mysterious, peaceful but they make it violent, neighborly and outreaching but they make it alienating and hostile, attractive but they make it repulsive, flexible but they make it strict, inclusive but they make it exclusive.

    May God help us all understand and appreciate the beautiful religion that He chose for the world.

    Leo Tolstoy’s last words

    Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

    Tolstoy is reputed to have said to his wife on his death bed, “What if my whole life was wrong?”

    How many people ask that question of themselves while they still have time to answer it and rectify their lives?

    Is there proof of God?

    Friday, March 9th, 2007

    A lot of people don’t believe in God and their excuse is that God doesn’t show any proof of Himself

    God’s existence cannot be proved by laws He created, such as math or physics. He is beyond them. The whole universe is full of signs that point to God. People who do not believe in God do not allow themselves to see His signs. The Quran is made of signs. We are signs. Everything in nature is a sign. Only when one opens their heart and mind can they truly tune in and easily find God.

    People who want God to manifest Himself to them have it backwards. God cannot be seen in this world because seeing something in this world means it is matter that reflects light. God is not matter. He is the creator of matter, light and reflection, so He is beyond them all. When God spoke to Moses, He gave Moses a sign of Him with voice Moses could hear in a language Moses could understand. Voice and language were created by God, therefore He is beyond them.

    People who do not believe in God, do so with the mind and the free will God gave them. They want to see Him with the eyes God gave them. The religion of God is called Islam, a word that means surrender, because any other attitude toward God lacks the proper humility.

    That is why faith is what God emphasizes the most in the Quran. God repeatedly ties faith with reason in order to remove blind faith. He wants us to develop educated faith, faith that is acquired after deliberation and reflection on His signs and concluding, “Our Lord, You have not created this in vain!” (3:191)

    Have we evolved from apes?

    Sunday, March 4th, 2007

    Evolution is one of God’s natural laws. Evidence of evolution was before our eyes long before Darwin made his studies of the species. We see a caterpillar evolve into a butterfly. We see a planted seed evolve into a palm tree. We see a fertilized egg evolve into a baby.

    That said, it is not necessary for everything to evolve. God has applied another one of His laws, creation, to bring about some creatures. Man was one of those. The story of the creation of Adam is spelled out clearly in the Quran.