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Sunday, April 8, 2007

{Quick Reflections 36} Choose, Exchange!

Posted by Badeea at 12:37 AM
With some contemplation and logic reasoning, we will see very clearly how everything in this vast universe moves and acts according to laws that ensure complete harmony between the billions of its elements. Absence of these very intelligent laws will result in chaos and collapse of each and every element in existence. Moreover, their absence would have never permitted the universe to come into existence in the first place.
These Divine laws not only govern materialistic elements but also inter-human relations and Divine-human relations.

Almost every second of our lives, each and every one of us makes a choice. Every second, we choose what to think of, what to say, what to look at, what to listen to, what to do, and how to direct our feelings. This life for humans, being intelligent creatures, is all about choices in every minute single detail in our lives. The set of billions of choices we make throughout our lives in every single second of it all adds up to determine our life stories and hence our eventual ends.

We will discuss one of the Divine laws that determine the consequences of our choices from the very smallest detail all the way until the concluding result, in our lifetime of choices.

At one time in history, God bestowed upon His chosen people, sons of Israel, food and drink from heaven so that they would eat it on earth. Instead of being thankful and grateful to their Lord they asked Prophet Moses to ask God to provide them with earthly food in exchange for the heavenly one. "And (remember) as you said, “O Mûsa, (Moses) we will never (endure) patiently one (sort) of food; so invoke your Lord for us that He may bring out for us of what the earth grows of its green herbs and its cucumbers, and its garlic, and its lentils, and its onions.” He said, “Would you wish to exchange that which is most charitable for that which is meaner? Get you down to (any) township; (Some say that it is Egypt) then surely you will have (there) what you asked for.” And they were stricken with humiliation and indigence" (Qur'aan, 2:61).

The Divine law here shows very clearly the consequent effects of our choices on our lives on Earth even before we die and have to face the final and eternal consequences in the next life. The choice of something mean in exchange for something charitable leads to humiliation and indigence. Now this exchange ranges from exchange of very minute and simple things to very grave and complex things. Moreover, the Divine law is about the intentions and ideas behind such exchanges rather than the exchanged objects themselves.

Let us expand further upon this cause-effect relationship through providing examples from our everyday life. First let us start by giving general examples, and then move on to more specific ones.

The majority of our wrong choices that lead to humiliation stem from our tendency to do what is easy in stead of what is right; from details like choosing to sleep and miss fajr prayer, delaying prayer because of being indulged in some sort of earthly matters, or lying to avoid troubles all the way up to the big picture of treading in the way of God versus following one’s arrogance and desires and ignoring God’s presence in the first place. Choosing the easy way out instead of fighting one's way through, sticking to one's safe zone despite its unrewarding potential and obsolete opportunities in stead of exploring new lands of abundance and trials are examples of our major life choices.

Another kind of wrong yet easy choices is the result of following one's desires (alhawa) and personality defects despite one's subconscious knowledge of their wrongfulness like following one's arrogance, refusing to confess being wrong, scarcity in spending on charity and choosing one's own luxury in stead, laziness in helping others, to the extent of indulgence in sin.

The outcome of these choices usually leads to an ugly feeling of empty-heartedness, shame, and cowardness. Following the ways of God leads to dignity and resolve, though the path to it is not paved. The way out, though not as easy as words are, is to contemplate before choosing to exchange; whether it is the right exchange, whether this is what God wants us to do.

Now all this is general talk and sounds like preaching, which most of us do not like. Accordingly, let us take this a step further and move to our everyday life and dig out examples of our choices and their consequences.

Some people face great difficulties in earning their living, like most people residing in poor underdeveloped countries. In the process of earning their living they might submit to higher authorities and exchange honesty, straightforwardness and perfection of their work for lying, humiliation and bribery. They exchange their submission to God for submission to human beings. The end result is continuous humiliation and eternal submission to other humans. They lose their God-given freedom and enslave themselves to other humans. They spend the rest of their lives asking for help from other helpless people who can do them no good. Even if they manage to attain higher living standards through unethical ways and become somehow independent of other humans they end up losing more important things like their own children who would stray and evidently grow up to be losers and even more dishonest.

On the other hand, others living under the same conditions who stick to honesty and perfection of their work enduring all the hardships in the process manage to preserve their dignity and do not depend on other humans for sustenance. No one can claim that this is easy. However, their sense of tranquility, dignity and true freedom cannot be calculated in terms of financial wealth no matter how great it is. Some of them manage to break through by the help of more powerful and rich others who actually go to them to offer help. When they submit to God only, people get attracted to their glow and wish to keep this glow shining. Even if this does not happen in every case, we would find that their kids grow up to be respectable and successful people in their communities, standing tall despite the wind of poverty and corruption.

Actually one of the main criteria that I personally use to assess the honesty and truthfulness of people above 40 (even if they “seem” to be good religious people) is by assessing how well their children are doing. If they are well mannered and truly successful then their parents are most probably trustworthy and vice versa. This criterion has never failed me in my assessments. Some might argue that it is not the children’s fault if their parents were not good people. If their parents were bad people why do they have to grow up to be bad people? A reply to that is that you do not choose your children. You might do your best in raising them up according to the most perfect standards yet they end up being failures and nuisances to the community. On the other hand, you might not give much attention to raising them up, like the first group of exchangers does, yet they might grow up to be good people even if after a while. The key here is that God matches different personalities together in a way that results that usually good people end up to be descendants of good people. He chooses for you either children who are innately good people or innately bad people. You find out about that choice 20-30 years after their birth.

If we move to another category of people mostly those living in the West or in the East but are very well to do, we will see another common example.

Some choose following their desires, mainly ignoring the presence of God and submission to Him, running after their materialistic gains in the form of more money, fame and satisfaction of their sexual desires through different unethical routes. The whole community ends up living in a continuous sense of insecurity, increased crime rate, broken families, high rate of depression and suicide and a continuous sense of spiritual emptiness.

On the other hand, others who do not make the above exchange continue to live in serenity, prosperity and contentment with a continuous sense of security.

Look carefully into your own life and that of the surrounding people and see for yourself how every choice and exchange we make affects our lives either towards more humiliation and indigence (amidst the presence or absence of life hardships) or more dignity and serenity (usually amidst hardships).

Look, think, choose and exchange -- having the Divine law that determines the consequences of your choices and exchanges in front of your eyes all the time.

3 comments on "{Quick Reflections 36} Choose, Exchange!"

فارس الليل on April 8, 2007 at 2:31 PM said...

بارك الله في جهودك ومن الجيد مخاطبة الملحدين بلغة العصر ولكن يا ليتك تعمل تلخيص بالعربيه للذين لا يلمون بالانجليزيه مثل حضرتك
شكرا والى الامام

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Just wanted to show my appreciation for your time and hard work

Badeea on December 2, 2010 at 6:01 PM said...

I am fine alhamdu lEllah. Thank you for your nice gesture.
If I may ask, do I know you?

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2009 THEME: Islam in the West and Our Children (Discussion & Resources regularly updated)

There is increasing concern that second and third generation Muslims in the West are mostly no longer Muslims so they actually end up adding to the Christian or Atheist population of the West, albeit racially from a non-Western origin. Accordingly, the ratios mentioned in the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFXYU) would be correct in regards to race or ethnicity but not necessarily to religion.

It is a grave danger facing our children and grand children from a real life stand point as statistically only 1/5 of the second generation stay really Muslims when they grow up and are independent and almost non from the third generation are Muslims. And that is why the Western authorities are still permitting the immigration of Muslims inspite of the figures provided in the above video. They know that on the long term the descendants of Muslims in the West leave Islam because their parents raised them up with an Eastern mentality in a Western society instead of an Islamic mentality that encompasses all cultures.

You can see more about that by Jeffrey Lang; an ex-atheist American Mathematics University Professor who reverted to Islam in 1982. He has also written 3 books that I highly recommend; "Struggling to Surrender", "Even Angels Ask" and "Losing my Religion; A Call for Help".
Now I will leave you to enjoy 2 short excerpts from one of his lectures followed by links to his most important full presentation regarding our children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmqN75NI0xg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT1KGyxBXC0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMANKaX8khw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgivQJKtQME
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga2rIUWcPPs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYb2v3Yx1LY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhMN_TZavW0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHeM0H0EMAw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD-YefJH9x0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eVOKjOqHE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBQp7aZjxjc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4_xxQVGU44

Here is a solution that is yet to be implemented.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geRM4AlFBOU&NR=1

Raising children here is not an easy task ofcourse but if we do it the right way they will be true Muslims in shaa Allaah who are "Informed Muslims" rather than "Muslims by inheritance" like their counterparts in the East. Hopefully they will then be a much better generation than ours.

Quickly, I do believe that the best 4 authors (for example, there are many others but these are my favorite) who could guide us through this difficult process are Yahiya Emerick, Jeffrey Lang, Jamal Badawi and Dalia Mogahed.

Here are some links for future reference and for an ongoing learning process that I have started collecting slowly.
Please spread the below information to all your Muslim contacts in the West.

Jeffrey Lang:
http://meccacentric.com/jeffrey_lang.html I highly recommend the lecture titled "The Purpose of Life". It has true meanings that I have not come across in any Arabic literature.

Yahiya Emerick:
Articles:
http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/articles/articles.htm
http://www.islamfortoday.com/yahiyaemerick.htm I highly recommend reading and spreading the last article in this link by the name of "The Confusion of the Scholars"
Books:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?search-alias=stripbooks&unfiltered=1&field-keywords=&field-author=Yahiya+Emerick&field-title=&field-isbn=&field-publisher=&node=&url=&field-feature_browse-bin=&field-binding_browse-bin=&field-subject=&field-language=&field-dateop=&field-datemod=&field-dateyear=&sort=relevancerank&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=29&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=8 There are only 14 books, about half for adults and the other half for kids. The extra are just repetitions.

Jamal Badawi:
Many products including books, articles and lectures mostly for adults. You can find them by searching his name online. My favorite is;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMfWURGcvBI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HXGRYaUy6g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyMD_tE6U68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AixgiXpAFTY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WUgbgLgMXM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3VLRoQ3qUw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5UvvkCDrm4

Dalia Mogahed: (Obama's adviser)
Has one book so far but has a great potential. "Who Speaks for Islam".
You can watch her debate with Irshad Manji (an openly Lesbian Canadian Muslim who is distorting the picture of Islam in the name of "Progressive Islam")http://fora.tv/2008/07/01/Irshad_Manji_and_Dalia_Mogahed_-_Who_Speaks_for_Islam

Finally here is a website for a store that sells lots of Islamic products including Islamic cartoon DVDs in English and Arabic for kids.
http://www.astrolabe.com/category/17/Cartoons_and_KidVid.html?sid=ceb7c5cf8de15b8f1cb92ad29e183a44
 

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