Saturday Discussion – 8/17/13

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.

Saturday, August 17 2013

Topic: The Words – Verse: ‘for us God suffices’ (page 72)
Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy128AJ2f0U

Also through that insight of belief, and the connection, relation, bond, I felt and experienced in myself an infinite happiness at the happiness of all my friends – for whose happiness I would willingly sacrifice my life and immortality.

I will sacrifice the continuation of my life,
– In order to save your child, friend, parent, you will sacrifice your life, if necessary
– It is instinctual for us to help others who are more in need, depending on the severity of their need
– It means that we are attached to them

Why do we love seeing altruistic people, people who are taking care of their aged parents?
– Your creator has encoded you with this relationship
– But what is the benefit of it?
– It cannot just be so that you may derive temporal pleasure because that would make no sense in the grand scheme of things

In my relationship with my friends, I am willing to sacrifice my ‘mortal’ life
– I share my feelings, time, money with others for their benefit
– Instead of using my life for myself, I use it for others
– By sacrificing my life, I gain much more

When I see my friend (ikhwan) happier, as a result of my attitude, I feel happier and more satisfied.
Ikhwan: All created beings, not just friends as we know it

Scenario – Imagine a mother and child hungry.
Question: What would the mother do if there was only enough food for one person?
Answer: The mother will (in most cases) choose to feed the child instead of herself.

Ask yourself, what is the reason for this quality? What should be my attitude towards these senses?
– Why am I created in a way with means to make my life easier?

The One who created me is signaling and telling : I’ve made you in a way so that you will enjoy your creation so that you may understand the deliberate will and choice in your existence.
– I cannot attribute my existence to happening by chance

We are respected guests of the hosts of the universe
– We are expected to know Him and respond back to Him
– Because only then my desire for eternal happiness can be satisfied
– We can only realize eternal happiness by using the means given to us
– My hands are given to me by the owner of the universe
– My senses are given to me by the One who is able to satisfy my need for eternal happiness

“ihdina”: Guide US to the straight path
– US, refers to ALL of creation
– We don’t want the moon to lose its direction
– We want everything to keep functioning in its perfect manner

We have to question our feelings
– Why do I like certain things and not others?
– How can what I like satisfy my need for eternal happiness?
– You like and want to get married but no one gets married to get divorced
– There must be a bigger meaning in it

Commonly heard: Do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.

However, we should take things one step further. Why do we like certain actions?

Example:
What was the Quraysh tribe doing?
– They were taking care of the ka’abah and the needs of the pilgrims
– They also developed a ruling to help the downtrodden and distressed people
– Human instincts were functioning (it has nothing to do with religion)
– Some people may argue that the Qurayshi were doing what they did so as to get a benefit
– But receiving benefit is NOT against human nature
– Example: We go to work to receive a remuneration

Why then was the Prophet SAW sent down if we instinctively already act in a good way?
– The Prophet was sent to make us question our own existence
– The Quran introduced a new dimension into their lives

What is this new dimension?
– Seeing everything in terms of its eternal source

– It is easier to impart ‘NEW’ information to people who have no prior religious concepts that are contaminated with worldly concerns.
– Unfortunately, we are all to some extent contaminated with the world view so we have to constantly question ourselves, our actions and our motives and try and understand them with respect to the fundamental reason of our existence.

For the socio-political community, the point of foremost importance is to maintain their leadership and power (both in older and present times)

In the Prophet SAW’s time, the Romans and Persian were ruling the communities. Everything was working smoothly. Law and order must be kept
– No one wants chaos
– Does it matter then, as long as peace and order is kept, if people worship God in temples, churches, synagogues or mosques?

Most people will say, no, it does not matter as long as people don’t use their practices for harm.

However, the Quran, says YES it matters.
– You cannot say ‘mannat akbar’ instead of ‘allahu akbar’
– Why? Because by doing so you are not connecting yourself to ‘eternity’ and not fulfilling your innate human need for eternal desire

We have been told that the Meccan society was corrupt and the Prophet was sent to establish law and order. But if you read the books of history, during the Roman empire, everything was peaceful.

Similarly, during the time of Jesus, the people wanted to harm Jesus but they could not because there were laws in place.

So clearly, the Prophets were not sent just to disseminate information to establish law and order. They were fighting for something else.

We have to deconstruct the missing dimension in what the Prophet’s were trying to do.
– What was the purpose of God’s interference in human life by sending Prophets?
– To tell us that we are harming ourselves by not recognizing the Eternal One who provide eternal happiness, which is what you really desire
– You cannot get satisfaction in this world from anything that the eternal source of existence in this world.

Just by being kind to another person, I don’t get eternal happiness.

I have to realize that I am a respected guest of the owner of existence and that I attribute everything to Him.
– This is the important missing aspect in our belief
– The joy that I get from helping one or two other people is to make me realize that only the Absolute One is able to help everybody and to provide eternal happiness

You are harming yourself because you are not connecting yourself to the absolute source of existence.
– The Prophet came, not to interfere in people’s lives, but to connect them to the eternal source so that their lives will gain eternity while living in this world

During Jesus’ time, the people were rejecting him because he was imparting information that people were resistant to hear.
– Outreach does not mean interfering in people’s freedom BUT just delivering the information
– We should only deliver and have no expectation of anything return

Abu Talib example: Not just about doing actions and good deeds.
Innately, we are given the ability to do good deeds.
– But what is the point of doing good deeds since eventually we are going to die?
– Human need searches for eternal happiness
– All the qualities given to me is so that I may search for a source that will satisfy my eternal need

If someone does good deeds but does not take shahada (does not confirm Allah), s/he will not go to paradise..
– We should stop ourselves from uttering such sloganic terms
– Don’t say paradise because people do not know what paradise is
– Rather we have to say that if we do not confirm the Creator, we will not satisfy our human qualities

• Side track: Don’t become defensive.
Human beings are sent to earth to get to know who their Lord is
– We have to utilize these senses
– We want the whole society to be happy and ideally we want to be able to respect everything
– Why do I have these senses?

Most of the time, we take the belief side of religion and reduce it to worldly affairs

What did Islam bring to the society?
– It developed civilization, some might say
– But so did other empires
– What then is the difference between helping others (wanting the society to be order) and what Islam had to bring?

We want everybody to be happy to satisfy my need for happiness. Why?
– Nothing can satisfy my needs in this world if I see a fish in the bottom of the ocean is being destroyed due to nuclear testing
– Why do I feel troubled at other people’s misery?
– Who gave me this sense?

This is a limited universe – time and space is limited
– Yet, we cannot ever get to the end
– When we make dua, we say: Please God, forgive me for my wrong deeds that I am aware of and that which I am not aware of
– We want to leave things open ended
– Although the universe is limited, as I am limited, I feel that I need endless, open-ended explanations for my existence.

Regardless of whether you know what is going on at the bottom of the ocean or whether you know what is going on at the bottom of a tiny lake, you will still feel sorry for the aquatic life that suffer
– Everybody is concerned about the extinction of creation

We want everything that is created to exist eternally. How?
– Only by being aware of the eternal creator

If someone does not answer the question ‘how’ he is not qualified to ask ‘why’

Why do the cherries exist? It is a false concept UNTIL we have asked ‘how do the cherries exist?

If you don’t have a conclusion to your ‘how’ question, you cannot ask ‘why’ because you haven’t established the existence of the object itself. You have to first clarify and confirm the ‘how’ otherwise the rest of your questions are meaningless.

Just by saying that God created the cherries has no meaning. We have to start by asking:
How do the cherries exist?
They can exist only by the will of the creator. Prove it to yourself that this statement is true by investigating the qualities in the object.

Do the cherries exist?
Yes.
The cherries have a certain color, shape, taste, etc. I see certain qualities in the cherry.
I cannot explain the qualities of the cherry by attributing them to natural happenings.
However, I see that the relationship between the cherry and the rest of the universe is so intimate and I conclude that only the One who gave existence to the universe gave existence to the cherry.

Now that I have established that the Absolute One has created the cherry, I should ask: Why (in my opinion) did the Absolute Creator create the cherry?

Possible answers:
For enjoyment
For nourishment
However, if I am eventually to die, my enjoyment of the cherry and its nourishing qualities, only has a limited applicability.

So what if I enjoy the cherry?
So what if it provides me with nourishment?

Since I know I cannot be satisfied by a non-eternal answer I come to realize that the cherry brings news to me from the Eternal source.

By connecting the qualities in the cherry as originating from the Absolute One, you are establishing ‘eternity’ in the cherry and in doing so, you will satisfy your human need for eternal existence.

When you answer ‘how’ you are first establishing the ‘speaker’, the ‘source’ in your answer. Otherwise your answers have no direction.

Only after you establish the speaker can you provide an answer to your whys.

By investigating creation, through the qualities of the creation, I come to know who the creator is.

The why question produces the answer within my perspective.
– I cannot speak from God’ perspective
– I can only speak from my perspective
– I have to be very careful when I am constructing my belief system

We should not deny our narrated belief system
– I heard that we are Muslims and I heard that believe in One God
– Do not destroy it
– Rather, go further and investigate their reality

Question: How did this cherry exist?
Answer (5 year old): God created it
Answer (Adult): Reconstruct the answer from a belief perspective

This reconstruction is easy if it is based on the Quran.

How do the brownies exist?
A conscious being has created the brownies.
Why did he create the brownies?
So that I may enjoy them

Only after you established that a conscious being has created brownies for your benefit you can conclude that the creator of the object is kind and merciful.
The baker must have prepared the brownies to satisfy my hunger.

What are some of the qualities in the cherry?
– Sweetness
– Juicy
If you conclude that the One who created the cherry is the One who created the universe, then you can ask yourself why has the creator created the cherry with these qualities?
– He is taking me out of this limited world to let me know who He is

Anytime I eat the cherry, I have to confirm that the creator of the cherry wants to introduce Himself to me to let me know who my Lord is.
– That is the main purpose of the messengership

If you don’t know who your Lord is, regardless of how peaceful and orderly your society it, it remains pointless because you will eventually die and your need for eternal happiness will not be satisfied.

The prophet says: If you don’t know God and worship other idols, you are harming yourself.

When you are walking and about to fall into a ditch, as a human being, I will try and stop you.
– That was the purpose of the Prophet
– He was sent to stop us from falling into the fire
– The fire that the prophet was trying to stop us from, exists within us

That is also why when we help others, we don’t do it for our sake. We are helping only for themselves.

When I help someone, am I happy?
Yes. This sense tells me that the creator of this sense, is happy to help.

When I see that the person I have helped is happy, I realize that I want everybody and everything to be happy. I want the solar system to exist peacefully.

But who is going to satisfy this need?

We have to see the peaceful society so that it will open up our expectations to eternity and I will find God there.

Being concerned with others’ welfare is the starting point. From there, our final destination, is to connect with the Eternally enduring One – an owner who knows me.

Nothing can satisfy my desire for eternity unless I know the Eternally enduring One.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+
Kategori: Discussion Notes

Fikrinizi Paylaşın