At the Crossroads – Why All These Trials?

These notes are part of an ongoing discussion session on the purpose of our lives and the role of religion in it. We are all on a journey and mistakes are part of the learning process, so if you come across something that you think is wrong, feel free to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 14th 2013

Topic: At the Crossroads – Why All These Trials?
Youtube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJbxNtMIUVM

وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَن يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتٌ ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تَشْعُرُونَ

And call not those who are slain in the way of Allah “dead.” Nay, they are living, only ye perceive not. (2:154)

Quranic ayah: Those who are killed in the name of God, don’t say that they are dead. They are alive but you know not.
– When someone is killed in the name of God, understand that they are not dead

Example: If someone has lost his wealth, property, health, honor, etc we should not say that all of those properties are dead.
– Rather, God, the giver of everything, is taking it back to Himself
– The people themselves have not lost anything

Shahid: Witness
– ‘Losing’ something is the result of the One who has created the very thing itself
– Example: When you lose your finger, you have not really lost it. Rather, the rightful owner is claiming the property back to Himself.

The believers will be happy with what God created for them
– If you know that the thing you posses has been created by the Absolute Creator, you will accept that it is being taken away by the same Absolute Creator
– Anything that belongs to the Absolute is eternal and can never really be lost
– What you have ‘lost’ is actually now in the eternal realm so there should be no reason for you to be sad

You cannot lose something that was never yours to begin with!

What you have in your hand, and claim ownership over, is in reality dead.
– You have separated the object from the real Owner and in doing so have ‘killed’ it
– This world can only be meaningful if everything is attributed to the Absolute Creator, who will not let anything go into annihilation. Rather, He preserves it all.

We think that our life is our property and when our life is taken away, we say ‘I am dead.’
– We should change our perspective to understand that when our life is taken away, it is being returned to the Absolute being who creates everything.

If I see everything as the property of the eternal creator, it exists for eternity.

Example:
Who does your finger belong to? The Creator of this world
– Nothing in this universe has the power and ability to create it
– If my finger belongs to the Eternal being, when I ‘lose’ it, it returns to its rightful owner

By reconfiguring our way of thinking, we will be able to see the wisdom in all the events we are confronted with.
The events will not change but our attitude to the events will change based on our understanding of our existence, which usually falls under one of these 2 categories:
1) Nothing is ours
2) All that I have belongs to me
– Always check with yourself: Who is the real owner of that which you possess?

The Quran says: You have not lost that which you think you have lost. The ‘shahids’ are alive and are with their creator.
– What does it mean?
– Who do I belong to? Am I the owner of my own self?

You only have the power to choose. You cannot create anything, neither are you a partner in creation.
– I am given the power of freedom to ask within the order He has established
– I did not create the order within myself
– I found it all within me
– Don’t take things on a superficial level. At every moment, creation is being created anew.
– WITNESS IT

“God set me free” – Thousands of books have been written on free will

And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy they rejoice therein; but if an evil thing befall them as the consequence of their own deeds, lo! They lose all hope!”
Rum (30): 36

When evil happens, it is not necessarily a punishment, rather, it is a consequence of one’s own deeds.
– Everything which seems to be ‘evil’ is your own interpretation of the event as being evil

‘fa-min nafsik.”
– Whatever happens to you that is good is from Allah and what happens that is bad is from you own self
– It is YOUR ego that perceives an event as evil

It is your choice whether you interpret an event as evil or a blessing.
– If you say that you have lost your health and are troubled as a result, then you are causing the grief upon yourself because the health was not yours to begin
– It was given to you
– It is your false understanding of reality that is causing you to now suffer

Don’t say ‘ I have lost my health’ RATHER your health is with God (the One who gave it to you) and that you have been chosen as a witness.
– But if you say that you are a victim, then you are bringing it upon yourself.

Watch out for how you perceive events!

“It came from God, it will go back to God.”
– We have to remind ourselves that this world is a transient place where lessons are taught
– Remember, God is not just the creator but also the educator
– Every event is a lesson for you
– But understand all that you are presented with from a belief perspective
– The reason why I can think is so that I may know my creator (who has given me this ability) must be the All Knowing, Thinking and Wise One

We are being taught throughout our life to not appropriate the qualities we have been given by Him as belonging to ourselves.

Why are we here on this earth?
– To know who my Owner and Creator is

If I define an event as ‘bad’ it is my fault, and I will suffer from it
– My ‘suffering’ is part of God’s mercy so that I will come to know who my God is

But if you reduce your life to an accident and suffer from meaninglessness and depression as a result, it is your fault because you have chosen to ignore the situation as it really it.

“…But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But God knows, and you know not.” Baqara (2): 216

Know that everything has been given existence by the One who knows what He is doing
– We have to constantly question ourselves and our actions
– If we don’t question and remain static, there is no point of possessing all the qualities
– God keeps demonstrating creation and keeps making you hungry so that you may constantly refresh your position in this world and know that someone is taking care of all your needs
– Only then can you acknowledge that He is the most merciful, generous, nourisher, etc

Don’t just proclaim empty words by saying: The world belongs to God
– Rather, we have to renew our belief in these words by experiencing the truth in such statements.

Do you think that the creator of the whole universe does not know what He is doing?
– If something happens that you don’t like, you have to remember that the creator of the event knows what He is doing
– Then bring yourself to understand why He is doing it

Don’t take the ‘easy’ way out: I don’t like, therefore it is bad for me.

I have been given the ability to know that illness is bad, so I stay away from it by taking precautions. However, when a calamity happens, it happens by His command because He has deliberate control over everything.

Example: When you have a pain in your arm, ask yourself:
Is the pain happening by accident or part of the order of the Creator of this universe?
Answer: The One who gives me pain knows what He is doing
If so, would the One who created me want to cause me pain? Seems ridiculous that my creator would want to hurt me.
Rather, think about the event in terms of God’s knowledge.

Everything that happens is a deliberate act of creation
– The sunset is His design
– He manifests His attributes in creation so that we see the manifestations of God and acknowledge Him as the creator
– God is not crazy, He is teaching me who He is

Read the Quran so that you may educate yourself in belief and to teach you about the reason for existence.

Secular science claims that everything is happening accidentally, so why then do people bother finding out the rule and order in the creation?
– Scientists are so concerned in finding the order and conscious act of creation in an illness, or in earthquakes, etc
– Everything is very finely adjusted
– Whoever is creating the pain in your arm, knows.
– You have been deliberately given the pain by your creator
– There must be a purpose of the existence of pain in my arm

Since I am here to know who my lord is, you can then conclude that the One who is giving you the pain, is calling you to get to know Him.

If the pain is from God, why do we try an alleviate it?
– The sense of disliking pain has been given to you so that you may avoid it
– But when pain has been given to you, don’t turn to Him and dislike Him
– ‘Since you don’t want me to like this pain, I don’t like it and nothing can stop this pain, except you.”
– Take the medicine in the name of God
If you don’t look for the cure, you are in essence rejecting the sense of dislike for pain that God has given to you.

You know that you cannot stop the pain by yourself and that you have to take the necessary steps.
– But you must recognize that all the medications are created by God
– So you have to turn yourself to God and ask Him to cure you

There are 2 ways of communicating with God:
1) When you receive grace, thank God
2) When you receive something your dislike, turn back to Him, in recognition of His authority, to ask Him to help you

We have to substantiate our belief in God with evidence AND constantly reconfirm our

Haven’t we given you enough time to know who your lord is?
– Every moment is a gift for you to know who our Lord is
– Belief in God does not just happen at ONE MOMENT
– We need to constantly be witnesses of His truth (and the continuous manifestations of His creation)
– Every time you go to a restaurant, you pay for the meal. You don’t just pay once and eat for free for the rest of your life.

By acknowledging that everything is from Him, I am establishing a sound relationship with my God and fulfilling my existence to get to know who my Lord is.
– Otherwise your actions will be in vain

Don’t take your Islamic identity for granted
– I am ready to submit to my Lord at every moment
– Mithaaq needs to be signed at every moment. If we don’t do it, we will lose our direction

Don’t get carried away by the language used politically
– Social concepts are all value laden
– We should isolate ourselves from other human beings who make statements based on unfounded claims and not blindly following it

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