Sunday, April 2, 2017


One more question, if you wouldn't mind: would a princess or the daughter of a billionaire appreciate life in a palace in the same way as a girl who grew up in the slums and then became the wife of a president or a billionaire? One or the other may take such life for granted. Idem for us. We would probably have taken life in Paradise for granted. We would probably have thought that we are worth more than that. Satan said to Adam and Eve: «Your Lord forbade you from this tree only lest ye should become angels or become of the immortals.» (Al-A’raf : 20 ). Adam and Eve listened to Satan and ate from the tree because they suddenly aspired to something they deemed more precious than the Heaven they were in. But God, the Beautiful, the Bountiful, would that there couldn't be anything more beautiful than Paradise, because it's «a gift of welcome from their Lord.» (Al-‘Imran : 198). If you are a host and received guests that you like you would receive them in the best place possible and give them the best reception possible. God is not going to pay for Paradise. "42.49. Unto Allah belongeth the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He createth what He will.» «He is the All-Wise Creator. (Al-Hijr : 86) «He is the Knower, the Mighty.» (Ar-Rum : 54). A God like this would not be thrifty towards the faithful. Eternity alone is priceless. But eternity is too long a time. As a believer, I would love to have a long book of memories to accompany me in Paradise while enjoying all the good things in there. That's why God made us to live in this world so as to have as many beautiful memories as possible to cherish while in Heaven. God wants us to know His Merit, to value Him, to appreciate His generosity and kindness. If God makes us to suffer in this life of the world it's for us to see the difference between here and there, between the happiness we want to achieve by ourselves (which has an end, anyway) and the happiness that God wants us to feel for ever and ever in Heaven. In other words, God wants us to thank Him in advance for that unhoped-for gift. He wants us to thank Him here –despite  any depravations– because it's only our thanks here that count. And yet people who spent their lives giving thanks to God in this world will also give Him thanks in the Hereafter. They will say : «Praise be to Allah, Who hath fulfilled His promise unto us and hath made us inherit the land, sojourning in the Garden where we will! So bounteous is the wage of workers.» (Az-Zumar : 74)

Now, is God worth or does He need to be thanked in advance? That's where people part ways: some will say yes (He deserves not needs), others won't care one way or another. That's where I have the choice: I choose between believing and not believing. When I believe I realize that, in fact, I don't have any other choice. Because the more I believe the more I feel obliged to Almighty. It's, in a way, like choosing between smoking and not smoking.  Nobody is going to forbid  me from smoking, but if I smoke I know the consequences. That's why God says: «Whoso doeth right it is for his soul, and whoso doeth wrong it is against it. And thy Lord is not at all a tyrant to His slaves.» (Fussilat : 46) If I give thanks to God I am doing that to save my own soul first, and then I am  only doing the right thing. I am expressing gratitude to my God for giving me a chance to live in this "imperfect" world and a chance to work for a place in Paradise, where I can see all the perfect things that I can't see in this world. The Prophet  (pbuh) said : "Allah, the Exalted, has said: 'I have prepared for my righteous slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and the mind of no man has conceived.' If you wish, recite (Quran) : 'No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do."' (32:17)

On a radio show an old countryman was asked: "Do you recall the 1981 famine?" He said: "Oh that's nothing compared to the 1945 famine, when a woman would take her baby far away from her home and leave him/her beside somebody else's house or on the roadside, and then she would look back  in sorrow and stop for a moment before continuing on her way back home." "That must be painful," said the interviewer. "Do you think such women were so heartless as to abandon their babies in this way?" "But that's famine,  my friend," said the countryman. "Hunger makes you blind."

That's blindness of the mind. How about the blindness of the heart? When I listen to some radio programs, not only from my country, I listen to international radio stations as well, I sometimes get the impression that the world is full of misery. I have heard a lot of people talk on the radio to complain about various problems. Even celebrities complain about  their heartache, their horrific experiences with their partners, their parents, their children... Some go live on TV to talk about such things. At the same time, by day and by night, I hear on the radio a lot of laughter, a lot of merry music, a lot of sports, a lot of gastronomy, a lot of things that give me the impression that there's not one unhappy  person in the whole world! I have heard many people use the phrases "Thank God", "Dieu merci", "alhamdulillah" to express gratigude to God. But I have also heard many people complain about God, or rather about Fate. One question such people  ask: "How is it that God, this Almighty Creater Who knows everything, who is powerful, merciful, how is it that he knows my pitiful situation, he knows all about my sufferings, and yet he doesn't do anything to change my situation ? That's a difficult question. But I bet a good believer would say: "Yes «He is the Knower, the Mighty.» (Ar-Rum : 54). «He is Able to do all things.» (Al-Mulk : 1) , but I also have commited sins, and my «Lord is not at all a tyrant to His slaves.» (Fussilat : 46) and «There is naught that can change His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower.» (Al-An’am : 115)  And even if my sins were all pardonable I may still have doubts about my faith. So God may want to test my faith by depriving me from things I love. God «would know him who believeth in the Hereafter from him who is in doubt thereof.» (Saba : 21)  Even yaqeen (absolute belief) may vary from one person to another, from one situation to another. Some people may need to go through personal experiences, kind of heart  knowledge, in order to strengthen their faith. God wouln"t deprive me from anything unless He has something good in store for me.» But even this very good believer may not think in this manner without having gone through some kind of personal experience. It's such experiences that would make a believer deal with God differently. I know, as a believer, that God is «the Knower, the Mighty.» (Ar-Rum : 54) and «is Merciful, Loving. (Hud : 90) , but God is also «Mighty, Able to Requite (the wrong). (Ibrahim : 47) ; and I have sinned, no matter what my sins are. So when I have a problem I «call on Him in fear and hope.» (Al-A’raf : 56). I cry unto God «in longing and in fear » (Al-Anbiyaa : 90)  I call on God in fear because I know He may punish me for my sins. I call on Him in hope because I know He «is Merciful, Loving.» (Hud : 90)  and «He is Able to do all things.» (Al-Mulk : 1It’s not because God says «Our word unto a thing, when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: Be! and it is.» (An-Nahl : 40)  that I should expect Him to answer my prayer right away. What I should expect is that God can –when He wills so– answer my prayer. That’s what’s important for me. When I am in a difficult situation some good-hearted people would  be willing to help me but they can’t. What could you do when you see a child burning behind the windows of a flat in a tower block on blaze ? What could you do when you see people swept away in their car by the floods ? Suffice it for me as a believer that God can help me when He wills so. For my part, I have to try to avoid anyhing that would anger God and make Him punish me in the first place. I should do as much good as possible –if I can– and then hope for the best. Nobody is going to tell God what to do. If I have questions God too would have questions to ask me : Did you give Me thanks for the job I gave you in…. Or did you rather respond by sinning ? Would you like other people to be ingrate to you ? So who should you blame for this debt you can’t repay now that you are jobless ? It’s not God who’s going to say this to me. If I am a good believer it’s my nafs lawama («the accusing soul» (Al-Qiyama : 2)) that’s going to put me through such a self-analysis. This means that if I have acted wrongly, I must assume the responsibility. I have to repair the damage. I must at least have some decency towards my Lord. «Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts.» (Ar-Ra’d : 11)  In other words, I should not expect God to give me something for which I have done nothing good in return. God says : «For the taming of Qureysh.  For their taming (We cause) the caravans to set forth in winter and summer.  So let them worship the Lord of this House,  Who hath fed them against hunger and hath made them safe from fear.» (Qureysh). What I should  pray for first and foremost is hidaya (guidance). «Show us the straight path, The path of those whom Thou hast favoured.» (Al-Fatiha : 6-7). Moreover, I should pray for al-khashya (the fear of God). Because without hidaya and khashya I can easily go astray. Hidaya is my passport. Khashya is my visa. God ( ) ( ) That means that God would give to even those who won't pray for anything, who won't do anything for the sake of Him. That's my trap. That's what will make me say: since God gives to those people why doesn't He give me too, I who believe in Him and strive to please Him? That's a trap! What can I do to avoid falling in the trap, if I haven't fallen in it already? Well, I just have to learn a lesson from my personal experiences. My personal experiences will teach me, through facts, that ( ). And in the Haddith ( ). Once I have learned this, I can understand why God deprived me from something I loved. God says: ( ) I ask myself: did I become a better person when God last gave me this or that? Did I thank God for His gift or did I rather respond by sinning? God says: (  ) What does this verse say to me? Well, it says to me:


Where are you heading? What do you want? Do you want to serve God or do you want God to serve you?

Those are legitimate questions. I should answer them, if I am a good believer. I should put all my requests and prayers aside for a moment and start asking myself questions about the things I got already. In the news we hear something like: "It's the worst hurricane in 30 years. Many people have lost everything." This is hard to live even for devout believers. It's not easy for anybody to lose everything overnight. But when I see that such things do not happen to specific nations or countries exclusively, I have to ask questions. Drought, for example, struck people even in the prophets' lifetime. It happened to followers of Moses (pbuh) in his lifetime. It happened to followers of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his lifetime, to the prophet's companions under the rule of Umar Ibn al-Khattab and other good leaders. What would I think of when I ask such quesions? Well, I would think of those (more or less happy/peaceful/normal...) 28 years between the current devastating hurricane/drought/war and the previous one. I would think of my hand/foot/tooth...before it was hurt. I would hopefully think of the time when I had water and electricity all day all year long...before the enerving daily power cuts. I should think of God's gifts and generosity and patience during all that time when I would not really appreciate those gifts.

Now, suppose I am certain that somebody loves me so much and cares for my love so much, how do you think I would react? Well, if I am grateful, I would at least try not to hurt him/her, not to disappoint him/her even if I had no special feelings towards that person. If I am an ingrate, I might think that it's only too normal that such a person should love me more than that and should do the impossible to please me. So I wouldn't care, I would show that person that I don't like him/her, etc. What happens in this case? Well, I may regret losing that person's love. This is the consequence of arrogance. God does not like that. He said about Pharoh's people : ( )
So such terrible happenings should be a reminder to me. I should remember that God is more powerful than people, more powerful than states, more powerful than empires. Why did God make people suffer from drought while they were still receiving His revelations from their prophets? The answer is clear and simple: God wants mankind to know that ( ). It's not the government who creates jobs; it's God Who creates the conditions for economic growth where He wills when He wills. A government which cannot avert a major economic crisis cannot, overnight, create millions of jobs! It's God Who is the Lord of the world. The state/the government can build as many bridges and roads as it can afford. God can bring all that down in a few hours. At the same time, when the state destroys the environment with abject pollution and causes drought and floods, directly or indirectly, God remains the last resort to end the drought or control the floods. When I think about that, I should be amazed that God, Who has to run the World, the whole world with all its problems, can "find some time" to think of me too. ( ) This feeling that my God is the Lord of the world is my best insurance. When I give thanks to my God –for  what He gave me already– I am breaking down the imaginary psychological barriers that separate me from Him; I am cleansing my heart from all its complexes. By reconciling with my God, through repentence, I am curing my heart from my superficial ego. By doing all that I am putting myself in the hands of the real Lord.
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So I can't help bowing willingly, knowingly, with every cell in my body, with every bit of my soul, to God, to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Does that mean that the state is useless, that the government is redundant? Not at all. When a leader helps me with money to rebuild my home or the destroyed school for my child, that's good of him, and I should thank him for that –even though he might be doing so only to be re-elected or to boost the sales of his future memoirs. I should thank him because, as the prophet (pbuh) said, "He who does not thank people cannot thank God."

Now, should I accept help from people? Why not? I should not regard this as help to my person, but rather to the human being in me. When I go to work and spend hours at work, with all the resulting long-term consequences on my health, I am not doing that for the good of my soul only. I am doing that for the sake of society as a whole. When I spend years and years bringing up a child, I am not doing so for my own pleasure only. I am doing that to the good and interest of my nation as well. This child may become a soldier to defend the nation, or a teacher to educate the future generations, or a doctor to treat future patients in this country. So I should not feel ashamed to receive help –be it tax-payer money or private donations– when I can't help myself. Today I'm the one who needs help, tomorrow I may be the one who provides help to somebody else. This is solidarity. God wants two things: gratitude towards Himself and solidarity between humans. If we can't thank one another we can't thank God. If we can't love one another we can't love God. When somebody gives me something (some help) he may do so to be thanked or just to implement the human/humane side in him –to feel as a decent, useful person. When God gives me something good, it's like Him saying to me : "Hey, this is just for you to remember Heaven." ( ) When He subjects me to something painful, it's like Him saying to me: "Hey, this is just for you to remember Hell." ( ) In other words, God cares for me. He doesn't want me to go to Hell. He wants me to go to Heaven. Even the Quran describes death as a "moseebah", a calamity/tragedy. How can I rely on something that in the best case will end by a moseebah? That's even more horrific than losing one's home! Besides, when there's a calamity, a natural disaster, you don't really feel a very big difference between a rich country and a poor country. Suffering is suffering. You can rescue people here using helicopters and there using small boats or animals. The pace of reconstruction may differ and still one can only be astonished to notice that despite recurrent devastating natural disasters (the monsoon, for example) life goes on as normal. Every year there's a monsoon and yet it's there where you find the largest population in the world. The homes are rebuilt, the villages are rebuilt, the towns are rebuilt, and the tourists go back there. Despite the monsoon people play cricket every year. Despite the hurricane people go to concerts and stadiums every year. The point is that, as a believer, I should regard such terrible happenings as messages, as a reminder. I should remind myself that, as a human, I am weak. My power has limits. I am not "at home" : I am only a guest in this world. Many people were here one day. I too will go one day. The plane may give me the best comfort, in the best First Class in the world, but I am only a passenger. I may live in a Five-star-like home, but upon my death it will cease to be mine. God says:
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My days are numbered everyday. ( ) So what can I do apart from seeking a peaceful rather than a confrontational relationship with my Lord. When I acknowledge my weakness vis-à-vis God, He too says to me : ( ) Therefore, God will take my weakness into account. Because He is ( ) ( ) ( ) When God knows that I do not want war with, that I am not seeking to antagonize Him, He turns my weakness into strenght. What does it mean for me to acknowledge that I am weak vis-à-vis God? It means that I don't want God to regret creating me. I want Him to be proud of me. How? God says: ( ) ( ) As I said, I am a guest this world. Yes, I can work and get money. But I can't do everthing to make my life smooth. I can't make my clothes myself. I can't make my bike myself. I need a tele; I need to follow the news. I need vegetables and fruits. I need power and water at home. What would I do with my money if there weren't other people to make all those things for me? I may be financially self-dependent, but never self-sufficient. I also need clean air. I need the sun. I need sleep. I need good health. So God thought of all these things before making us. He says : ( ) ( ) That's why He says: ( )

Now; instead of asking why does God give to those people who don't believe in Him I should ask: why don't I seek God's help? Why don't I respect God's decisions? If God wants to give so-and-so; so be it! What's important for  me is that God can give me too. But I have to first prepare myself to receive God's gift. There's a difference between what God gave me before –without  "deserving" what He gave me– and giving me something now or in the future as a reward for something I did to please Him. A reward is not like a present. I won't get any kind of reward without making sacrifices. When that reward comes my way I regard it as a mercy from God. Just as when somebody helps me (for love) or does something for me (for money) I regard that as a mercy from God. Nobody can help me or do anything for me without God's leave, anyway. So I regard God's mercy as a sign of the greatness of God. But as I realize how great God is, how powerful God is, I can't help feeling some kind of fear from God. I will realize that even the fear of God is actually a mercy. That's why good believers beg God to grant them khashya (the fear of God). The fear of God is kind of spiritual vaccination. I am a believer, but I am a human being after all. I can be weak at times because I have the same instincts, the same desires, the same fears as anybody else. Life is unpredictable. I don't know what may happen to me tomorrow. I may be smart, but I can't know what's on other people's minds. I may be betrayed, I may be deceived, I may be let down, I may be humiliated, I may lose things that are now essential to me. So if I rely on my own behaviorial capabilities, on my communication al talents, on my exceptional wits, I may still be surprised to have to deal with particularly unkind people who would have no mercy on me. Hence the importance of the fear of God. If I fear God I will do my best to avoid evil : I won't be tempted to harm other people. So if something bad happens to me I am the victim, not the aggressor. If I am the victim God helps me. ( ) If I am the aggressor, God ( ) So He may not help me. ( ) When I am trying to avoid evil, I am fearing God, not people. This is taqwa, keeping duty to God. Taqwa means that I am the monitor of my own behaviour. I watch my own acts. I don't wait for the policeman to arrest me to change my behaviour. I drive well, I respect the rules. I don't drink, and then I won't care wether there's a policeman on my way or not. That's sense. That's what a sensible person should do. And God speaks to sensible people, called in the Quran ( ) ( ) What does ( ) mean? It simply means not falling into unnecessary problems. When I think about it I realize that all this is good to me. Why do l worship God after all? Well, God says : ( ) ( ) I first worship God in order to fear Him, to keep duty to Him, to liberate myself from the fear of people. By doing so I avoid a lot of unnecessary problems. By being good, fewer and fewer people will suffer from my acts or complain about me or think of harming me. So I find myself leading a peaceful life. Therefore I see the benefit of my Faith. I see that religion is good for me. I feel that Faith is not only talk, that it has concrete positive effects on my daily life. So I give thanks to God for that: I see, through this, the greatness and wisdom of God. Now I am prepared to take a further step towards God. I will not content myself with avoiding evil (avoiding trouble) ; I will be proactive: I will try to give a hand to other people for God's sake. And I will regard that as something I do for my own sake. God says : ( ) Now I believe that God "is waiting for me". So I have to prepare for His meeting. How? I try to do things that would please Him. This is tatawu' (voluntary work). I do things for which I am rewarded I if do them but not punished if I don't do them. I do what I can. If I can do more; that's mujahada (striving). I can strive by helping people or/and by performing voluntary acts of worship to please God more (such as reading the Quran regularly, praying at night, fasting voluntarily etc.). The further step would be istiqama (sticking to the right path). I don't expect people to do what I don't do myself. If  I fall, I remain a good believer, though, but I have to rise up soon after. ( ) ( ) If God punishes me for a sin, I should understand that God wants me to have a healthy uninterrupted relationship with Him. I have to beg His pardon (istighfar). I have to give up my bad habits (tawba). I should feel the fear of God (khushoo'). This "long" set of Arabic terms may be confusing to some, but they all beat around the same bush. They all mean one thing : having God on one's mind all the time. That's love. The Prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) This is not a call to believers to commit sins. Far from it. It simply means that God will create the conditions for you, for me, to fall. I am a single man, God leads a woman onto my path while I am weak. The last decision remains in my hand. If I fail the trial and sin I will be punished. My punishment will hopefully lead me back onto God's path. Thus God remains on my mind always. Some believers dread such situations. They don't want to sin at all. They don't want to commit abominable acts. But there are other people who dread al-khatarat (bad thoughts) ; not only al-'atharat (bad acts), they don't even want to think of committing the slightest sin ! Such believers are already engaged in endeavours to reform the behaviour of other people. What if they themselves fell in what they criticise other people for ! Such believers have moved up from salah (being good) to islah (doing good/correcting/reforming…). This is the grade of wilaya (Alliance with God). (   )  That’s the peak of the Everest. (   ) Those are the people who want to serve God rather than wait for God to serve them. That’s why God prepared for them a special grade in Paradise. (   ) (   )

Is that a «closed group» ? The Quran says : (    ) God says in the Quran : (    ) How can I be (    ) ? There’s a clear example in the Quran : (   ). That’s a prophet. I am not a prophet. How can I be like him ? The Quran says : (    ) (   ) (   ) It’s a question of choice. (    ) God says : (    ) How many people are willing to do that ? No wonder God says : (     )

If I can't be patient when I lose one thing, how can I thank God for all the things He gave me already? It's a question of Faith (belief) and of faith (intention). God says : ( ) And ( ) That's why God says : ( ) These people who are patient and grateful do not complain about Fate. They don't want an easy life from start to finish. They are ready for trials and sacrifices. Solomon (pbuh) is quoted in the Quran as saying : ( ). If I am a good believer, I should know that it's only too normal for me to give thanks to God. Otherwise why do I believe in Him ? ( ) ( ) Gratitude is a virtue, isn't it? God wants us to have virtues, not vices. When God says ( ) it's as though He says : Why should you believe if you don't give thanks to Me ?

Again and again, it's a question of faith (intention). I can't believe in God without His leave. And I can't do good without His leave. If only I had good faith ! God says to me : ( ) So let me say OK. And then God helps me to believe in Him, to do good for His sake, to give thanks to Him... ( )

As I said before, God is speaking to ( ), people who use their minds to see what's good for them. God does not need my thanks. He is worth more than thanks, but does not need them.( ) If I am grateful to God, He too is grateful to me. He is ( ). He is ( ) It's a reciprocal "love" relationship. I care for God, He cares for me. I have nothing to give to God, He has a lot of things to give me. ] ] So, for good believers, expressing gratitude is expressing love and helping others is giving them a chance to love God in their turn. God does not want me to believe in Him just out of kindness. He wants me to believe in Him because that's the truth. He wants me to believe in Him so as to prepare for His meeting, to prepare "my return" to Paradise. ( )

What's the alternative ? There's either God or Satan. I have to choose. ( ) Yes, I can't see Satan (Lucifer) in the street. But God says : ( ) God (Who made Satan) also says : ( ) Would I take an enemy for a friend ? That doesn't make sense. God even speaks of ( ) How can I know that this person is "an angel" and this one is "a devil" ? I need a special light to tell this from that : ( ) God says : ( ) ( ) How can I ( ) them or anybody else if I don't have this "special light" from God ? How can I be a good believer if God does not help me see that light? ( ) ( )

Finally, all my work –as  a believer– would be worth nothing if God does not accept it. ( ) ( )


God says : «He it is Who gathereth you at night and knoweth that which ye commit by day. Then He raiseth you again to life therein, that the term appointed (for you) may be accomplished. And afterward unto Him is your return. Then He will proclaim unto you what ye used to do.» (Al-Anaam : 60) If I am a good believer that warning should be enough to remind me that God ( ) and ( ). If that warning is not enough, if I don't really feel that God takes my life every night, well, here's another warning that appeals to me directly : ( ) I have experienced this firsthand. I was a student in a dorm where I could not have a shower for a whole month –simply because water was scarce that year. We could barely find water to drink. Water shortage kills. Drought causes huge fires. God says : ( ) Up to this day man has been unable to solve the problem of drought. Engineers have bombed clouds but apparently that hasn't worked. It takes more than bombing a thousand clouds to fill a river or save a forest from an imminent blaze. And when it does rain there's the risk of floods and mud slides.

Also God says : ( ) ( ) This might look highly unlikely for a non believer scientist but not entirely impossible for an ordinary believer like myself. All I know is that something fell from the sky in ... and injured many people in Russia, which has got an advanced space program. Yes, I concede that's rare and not so much dangerous, but should I wait for the sky to fall over on my head so as to believe? God also says : ( ) I am not a scientist to check that out. So should I know or believe ? Scientific knowledge is not static. Many things that are now obvious were not known a century ago.
God also says : ( ) What can I say about this ? Well, once again, I can only judge by what I notice. I have noticed that many farmers content themselves with sowing the seeds and working the land for a few days or weeks and then they go to sleep. One day the first green vegetation emerges from the ground. How did it emerge ? I don't know. Then bees come around and do their precious work, for free. Bees are the best volunteers in this world, aren’t they ? We humans take many things for granted. God says : ( ) We have seen how people move about in space. They can't walk as they do in the earth. God says : ( ) It is easy to argue with God because God is not going to argue with you NOW. But God is not dead. ( ) Speaking to God is not like speaking to a dead body. To God the real dead are those who want to argue with Him. ( ) Just as God revives the land after its death so does He revive the souls of men who suddenly feel the light of wisdom. ( ) "Signs for people who believe". I believe first, then I look for the signs. ( ) How can I be ( ) if I don't think about what's happening around me ? You know, temperatures in such beautiful Moroccan cities as Fez and Marrakech reach 40 to 45°C in the summer these last years. A recent joke says that if you want to marry a girl from one of these cities her father will demand a climatiser among her dowry ! God says : ( ) Also about Heaven He says : ( ) How can I feel, as a believer, the importance of this last piece of description if I haven't felt the difference? ( ) Is walking in the shade like walking in the baking sun ? A good believer knows that the shade is a great gift from God. A good believer would thank God for the mere sight or smell of a fruit, let alone eating it ! ( ) ( ) ( ) Those are the minority of the minority. Those are ( ).

What can I understand from the verse which says : ( ) ? As I said before, non-believers produce the good things for believers in this life. Most believers will only get a fraction of all that production, but even a king's stomach can't hold more than a few kilograms of food! In the Hereafter only believers will find the good things; nobody will produce such things for non-believers in Hell. God Himself says : ( ) God knows that people who really care about Him are few compared to the total number. And yet He makes these few suffer ! He deprives them of things they love. God says : ( ) Why doesn't God "fear" to lose that minority of the minority ? Well, He knows that they love Him. He knows that they will be patient and, on top of that, GRATEFUL ! Because they have ( ). That's why He made general norms (to rule the world) for the sake of that specific population. People marry and enjoy themselves generation after generation and as they do so a few souls are born in every generation and stand out with their hearts so as to join the lucky club of ( ) ( ).
God knows what He is doing. ( ) ( ) How many people care ? God says : ( ) ( ) Did God do that just for us to enjoy ourselves in this world, just for us to play and sing and dance and have sex ...? No, ( )
Good believers ( ) because they hold God in high esteem. ( )
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God says : [14.32] [31.20] Why all this ? Just for us to play and sing and dance and have sex? God says : ( ) Disasters are warning me everyday. How can't I fear ?

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Shall I live in this world for ever? What would I do if I found out upon my death that I had only been wasting my life away? The Quran says : ( ) ( ) I did not fall with the last rain. I know what's happening in this world. I know that people commit suicide in rich beautiful countries. People get depressed despite all their financial ease. People lose faith easily. People feel lonely in homes where everything is available. People use drugs to forget their unforgettable problems. People fear death.
We are all God's guests in this earth. The earth belongs to God Alone, Who can act as He pleases ( ), whether we like it or not. God was here before we were born and He will be here after we are gone. He allowed us to ( ) according to certain rules. Suppose somebody put at my disposal his home and said make yourself at home, faites-vous plaisir, would that mean that this home will be mine ? I know that I only came after thousands and thousands of generations who all had quite the same dreams and desires and that I too will go one day. ( ) ( ) But God also says : ( ) ( ) ( )

The question is, where do I go from here ? The previous generations nous ont légué un patrimoine partly red partly green. France, for example, is due to ban fuel-engined cars by 2040. That's because everybody has been aware of the dangers of air pollution. One does not need to be an intellectual to notice that our prosperity has had side effects. We all know that each one of us is partly responsible for what has happened to our earth. Deforestation, over exploitation of fisheries, corruption, and so on are the results of our own greed. Our leaders have understood that no single country, no single continent, can solve such problems alone. Hence all that quantity of world summits on this and that. Only now are we convinced that all Men are one. God was the first to address men as one. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) What is amazing, though, is that man has acknowledged his "sin" perpetrated against this earth; he has acknowledged his weakness; he has acknowledged his responsibility towards future generations.. but how many men have acknowledged the role of God in our lives ? God says : ( ) How many men are willing "to return" ? How many men are willing to listen to God ? ( ) Even those who, like me, pretend they listened to God, listen to what God says about them : ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
God said to the prophet (pbuh) : ( ) God wants mercy for us all. ( ) Our leaders can be good and well qualified, but they can't replace God. God says : ( ) For mankind. Unfortunately, some of our leaders are erecting frontiers and borders and imposing visas. Why ? Well, every leader fears for his dear country. That's comprehensible
God doesn't "fear" for His Kingdom. ( ) ( ) The problem is that some of our leaders give us the impression that they can give us everything we want. Well, that's questionable. God says : ( ) ( ) He even says : ( ) And that's true. If leaders in the past owned ( ), no empire would have fallen, no economic crisis would have torn societies apart. ( ) If I don't believe that, God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) When I realize the greatness of God, when I realize the grace of God, I can only feel rest in my heart. Even when I feel the fear of God my fear is immediately followed by rest in my heart. God says : ( ) ( ) ( ) Even on the day of resurrection, as the prophet (pbuh) said, ( )

A non-believer would say : why should I fear God if, as he says, ( ) ? That's a good question. But why do I look at ( ) and don't I look at ( ) ? The full verse says : ( ) Why don't I try to do good and avoid evil as much as I can and then hope to be one of those whom God will forgive, since He is ( ) ? But, at the same time, if I make a silly mistake, I ( ) because ( ) God says : ( ) As I said in a previous chapter, God wants to scare me in order to save me. He says : ( ) He also says : ( ) Wouldn't I be stupid if I missed such a golden opportunity ? If there's so much space in Heaven, why don't I hope to be one of the lucky dwellers of that beautiful world ?
God says : ( ) God is speaking to ( ). Who are ( ) ? ( ) The mosques we pray in are built by the rich, not the poor. Can't those people make better use of their money ? Don't they have minds to think ? ( ) That's the best investment, isn't it ?

Why do angels say to Heaven dwellers ( ) ? Well, the prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) An Olympic gold medal is not Heaven, but can anybody be an Olympic champion without making sacrifices ? Can you get a high university degree without making sacrifices ? The right question is, is Heaven worth such sacrifices ? No doubt our world is beautiful, otherwise there wouldn't be any such thing as tourism, with the myriad sumptuous hotels and resorts and campings... But there are also tragedies. ( ) There's no ( ) in Heaven. There are no problems in Heaven. So to get a chance to go there I have to endure some kind of suffering in this world.
Some people commit suicide because they can't have a lasting feeling of happiness. I too have suffered, but I have also had a lot of happy days. I should be grateful to God for that. If I am patient and grateful in this world God will make my life better in this world and hopefully grant me a place in Heaven. ( ) Do I really need to be in Heaven after my death ? Well, Ibrahim (pbuh) ( ) and ( ) And yet he said : ( ) How can't I pray to God to grant me a place in Heaven too ? The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) You know those kind of radio shows where you are invited to send answers in SMS text messages. They give an easy question so that a large number of people send in a large number of text messages. Well, for you personally, to increase your chances of winning you send as many text messages as you can afford. Why don't I do the same when it comes to Heaven ? An ordinary Muslim who keeps his duty to God is entitled to Heaven, but to avoid "bad surprises" I should try to do better than a mere Muslim. Why don't I try to be a moomin (a believer), that's a higher grade ? I should try to secure a place in Heaven first, then try to philosophize the whole thing. In the first chapter of this book I talked of "my safety first". Now, how do I understand the story of Heaven ?

[    ] God made the earth before Heaven and Hell. He made part of the earth look like Heaven and part of it look like Hell, as a reminder for the future dwellers of this planet, for us. God describes the Quran as a reminder. Now that we are here we should ask ourselves questions. The Quran says : ( ) I can't over-interpret these verses. They are clear. God wants man to worship Him.
 Does this mean, though, that God needs man to worship Him ? God Himself answers this question. He says : ( ) If God needed to be adored He would have spared at least those who adored Him in the best way in the past, but we all know that even prophets and saints died. Would God be interested in the number of worshippers or in the quality of worshippers or in the quantity of worship ? Again, ( ). Suppose God was interested in the number of worshippers or in the quantity of worship, how much would "my worshipping" weigh in all that ? Would I deserve eternal happiness in Heaven for this little worshipping I do in my short life ? This doesn't make sense. The prophet (pbuh) said : ( ) And yet God doesn't want us to go to Hell. God says : ( ) ( ) The question is, why does man want to go to Hell ? True, ( ) But you and I know what man is like. Many men love defiance. Many men are reckless. Even many smart men make silly mistakes. Think of AIDS, drugs, bad food habits, etc. So it’s easy to generate question after question. Some people ask questions so as to understand, others just to argue for the sake of argueing. Those who ask questions so as to understand can understand that God made Heaven to show how great He is, how merciful He is, how gentle He is, how grateful He is, how lovely He is. God made Heaven to share with believers His beauty bounty. Therefore He is worth worshipping. Not because He has got a Fire « in His back garden », not because (   ), but because He is (    ). These people will understand that God would be worth worshipping even if there were neither Heaven nor Hell. But there must be Heaven and Hell. There must be a way to diffrenciate between the grateful and the ingrate. God will not accept to be worshipped for free. (   ) God will guide you, if you are willing to listen, and pay you for the slightest thought of Him. (   ) He will pay you even in the life of the world. But there’s something more precious than Heaven. Can you guess ? It’s (    ) That’s why (    ) And because God is not just anybody. His (   ) is hard to obtain. Hard but not imossible. It requires sacrifices.
I do things out of love of God, out of respect of God, not out of kindness. God does not need my kindness. God wants me, as a believer, to love Him and to know why I should love Him. I love God because He is beautiful, bountiful, merciful, forgiving, loving. I love Him for His intricate qualities. I love Him because that’s the natural course. I would love a human for much, much less virtues and qualities than that. Likewise, just as I would love to see a wonderful resort created on earth by a human like myself, I would love to see Paradise which was designed and prepared by God Himself for the faithful. I believe in God and I don’t know what He is like. I believe in Heaven and I don’t know what it really is like. I can’t even imagine it. Now I believe in the invisible as the only way –decided by God– to pay for a ticket to Paradise. In other words, I don’t only think of Heaven from a religious perspective, but also from an intellectual perspective. For this idea to be cleacer, take one person. Imagine a man by the name of Juan Toledo Iglesias, a 22-year-old teacher in Lima, Peru. This man comes across a Muslim couple in his city. These Muslim man and woman are not Arabs. They are Peruvian. The teacher, accustomed to Western lifestyle, asks himself questions. He does some research on the Web. He reads books, then travels to an Arab country. On his arrival, he is shocked to see that many people in this Arab Muslim country do not really give him the impression that this is Islam. So what does he do ? Does he go back home and say why should Islam be good to me while these Muslim people do not practise true Islam in their own country ? Or does he say « I don’t care of the people. I came here to discover more about the religion » ? Suppose he ignored the people and focused on the Faith as such, what could happen to him ? Well, many people went through a similar process and ended up becoming cleriks and imams who preach Arabs and non-Arabs on true Islam ! Imagine the happiness of such cleriks and imams. 

God says : (   )  (    )  (   ) Should I take this as an excuse and say if God wants me to be a good believer He would make me a good believer ? Well, that’s like staying at home and waiting for God to bring you what you want to eat, etc. That’s like giving birth to twelve children that you can’t feed.

As I said before, the Quran speaks to (   ). That’s means, I use my own mind, my own personal experience to know the truth, and when I know the truth I have to heed it. Even good believers –who are already believers– say : (   ) They always to say : (   ) If I use my mind I can only strengthen my faith. (   )

Here’s an innocent question : why do ill people and pregnant women fast Ramadan ? Sometimes the holy month of Ramadan comes in the heat season and yet many men insist that they should fast it although ther are ill and many women insist that they should fast although they are pregnant ! God says : (    ) (   ) (   ) (   )

It’s not Islam that is pushing ill men or pregnant women to fast Ramadan or these hungry people not to eat from a meat that is normally forbidden. It’s these people’s hearts that push them to do so. It’s their love of God that is making them to behave in that way. It’s for such people that God made Heaven. The prophet (pbuh) said : (   )

Now compare these two groups :
Group A :
(    )
Group B :
(   )

Just think of two people you made friends with. One is increasingly good to you, the other is increasingly nasty. If  you had a little heaven and a little hell, what would you do with these two friends ?


What would I understand when I am preached on my Faith orally or in writing ? I understand that by creating me, God gave me the opportunity to have this brief terrestrial experience which I will remember when I am in Heaven, if I ever go there. On the Day of Judgement I will be given a book, it’s a book of my memories. My knowledge of theworld, of God, of myself should be a light for me. My knowledge should strengthen my faith. My knowledge and my faith will be like my two hands, my two eyes, my two ears, my too feet. So my mind (be it in my brain or in my stomach) won’t work independently of my heart. I need both of them as I need both of my hands, both of my eyes… My mind abd my heart will show me how to best work for both this life of the world (which is only ….) and my eternal life, where I will be able to see God with my own eyes, if I ever go to Heaven.

In my early youth I needed to know things without questioning anything. I grew up as a Muslim, so at school I was taught how to read the Quran, how to perform my ablutions, my prayers, etc. As I grew older I learned more from the mosque, from the media, from books, from society, etc But there came a time when I realized that what I knew was not enough. There was a book which could have helped me understand what I was going through, but I did not know the book at that time. When that book came my way and I read it, I finally understood part of what I had experienced. But the book was too hard for me. (I could not finish reading it on one occasion.) I thought i twas for saints, not for ordinary believers like myself. So I continued to think about my faith without relying so much on other people’s thoughts. I studued the Quran on my own. So what would I say now to someone who asked me about my religion ? The five pillars of Islam are known to all. There are another five things that are not known to all. What comes first in Islam, I think, is (1) la prise de conscience (    ) ; then comes la rédition des comptes (2) (    ) ; then comes (3) la bienveillance. (   ) (    )  (   ) ; then comes (4) solidarity : (   ) ; then comes (5) change : (   )

That’s the knowledge. Now the practice. Imams and preachers will not be with me everywhere every time. It’s my heart that will be with me everywhere everytime. So I have to work on my heart. If I have a clean heart Faith will go in just as the roots go into a fertile soil. How can I work on my heart ? As we said before, and as is well explained by our dear scholars, there is annafs al ammara and annafs allawama and al mutmainna. When I am in a hell because I don’t know what to do that’s annafs allawama. That means that I fear God, or, if I want to go a step further in my Iman, that I wouldn’t love to do anything that would anger my Lord. That’s out of respect, out of love of my Lord. That’s a good thing. And God likes that. (   )  (   ) (   ) (   )
It’s defiance that is a problem. Even between us humans it’s not right to defy someone whom we want to be good to us. The prophet (pbuh) said : (   ) The point is, there are limits that one should be ready to accept. All this is a set of « operations », a process, if you will, that take place in the heart. Defiance comes from the heart first. So it should be tackled in the heart first. I want to move up from Islam to Iman to Ihsan. I want to elevate my nafs from ammara to lawama to mutmainna. This means that it’s I who should endeavour towards reaching that level. I should do my best to please God, not to defy Him. I should do my best, but not the impossible. The prophet (pbuh) said : (  ) I should do what I can. If I can worship God at night while people are sleeping, that’s great, that’s the top honour for a moomin (a true believer). If I can fast very often, that’s great too. But Islam does not ask me to (   ) I can express my gratitude to God in many different ways. The prophet (pbuh) said : (   ) He also said : (   ) (   ) The Quran says : (    ) (    ) The mere fact that I am willing to give is a sign that I want to be grateful to God. The Quran says : (   ) This wish to give, to be good, is not peculiar to believers like myself. This wish is human because it comes from the heart and every human being has got a heart. Even animals have this kind of thing. Many people have been saved from death by their pets.

Now, I have the wish to do good. How can I do it ? Is it   always easy to do good ? One day I was listening to a radio show in which listeners asked for advice from other listeners. One listener said this : « I am the youngest of three brothers living in a foreign country. My problem is that I see one of my brothers flirt with the wife of my other brother. I am in a hell because I don’t know whether I should turn a blind eye and thus have peace with both of my brothers or tell my poor brother who is betrayed by both his wife and his brother. Please help me. I need your advice. » I am sorry I can’t give my opinion on this. But the other day I found a full cigarette as I was walking in the woods. I said to myself : should I crush it since it’ll only harm somebody’s health ? or should I rather leave it for a poor guy who can’t buy a cigarette ? Well, I did not crush it. This is called Ijtihad, meaning you try your best to come up with the right solution to a problem like this. Ijtihad is the work of scholars, of the erudite. But sometimes you need to take action on the spot. Hence the importance of work on one’s heart.

But hearts do get tired at times. The prophet (pbuh) said : (   ) How can I (   ) so that my heart won’t go blind ? One way is taking a holiday. One way is taking a rest, any kind of rest. One way is arts or sport. In the time of the prophet (pbuh) people liked poetry and cavalry. I don’t know what you personally like.

Listen to this unbelievable story that I heard on the radio. An aged experienced hunter was asked about his hunting feats. Speaking in front of members of his tribe who knew him well, he said he had hunted 72 wolves and scores of foxes, among other things. He and his friends ate those wolves and foxes. Once, the man said, my friends and I were lurking behind a makeshift wall for foxes, wolves or rabbits. Then a rabbit appeared on the bare ground. Je l’ai visé, et je n’avais jamais râté un gibier, et une fois que je l’ai pris dans mon viseur, the muezzin started to call for prayer. The rabbit s’arretta net. Il s’appuya sur ses fesses et resta motionless sans bouger. When the muezzin finished his call, the rabbit passe dits front paws on its face, as in prayer, and went away. I was moved as I saw that, so I left it alone.

That’s quite unbelievable, but one may need to hear or read challenging tales like this one. That’s part of literature, my own hobby. What would entertain my heart may be different from what would entertain your own. Tbourida in my country, Morocco, is not baseball in the US or hokey in Canada or cricket in India. When reading the Quran, an ex-priest who reverted to Islam may be interested in what it says about Jesus Christ and Mary ; an ex-rabbi may be interested in stories about Hebrews ; a scientist may want to focus on something in the Quran that has to do with science, etc. What about me ?

Well, I saw on TV a large crowd of people in China gathering for long hours (one said he waited for no less than three days) in order to see (and take pics of) white fog as it settled down on a village. The view was spectacular. It must be breathtaking to see white fog hanging just under your feet. I wish I were with them. I wish I could see sunrise and sunset in those places where people go only to see sunrise and sunset. The Quran speaks of (takweer : 17-18) The Quran is not poetry, but as a poet I love that kind of language. Have a taste ! This is how it sounds in Arabic : wallayli iza ’ass’ass wassobhi iza tanaffass
And this :
falaa oqsimu bishafaq, wallayli wama wassaq, walqamari izattassaq…
And this :
washamsi wa dohaha, walqamari iza talaha, wannahari iza jallaha, wallayli iza yaghshaha…
The Quran says : (   )  What is (al bayan) ? It’s the ability to express things in a beautiful way. How can I express things in a beautiful way if I can’t feel beauty ? Why does the Quran speak about beauty, as in (    ) ? Well, normally, (   ) The prophet (pbuh) said : (   ) When the Arabs and many non-Arab Muslims see, hear or smell something beautiful they say : ALLAH !

The Quran calls on me, as a believer, to (    ). This siyaha is spiritual as well as material. When I am practising this kind of spiritual tourism (siyaha) in order to (   ) my heart so that it won’t go blind I am actually practising my faith –just as if I were at prayer : (   ) In other words, I am enjoying myself. I am living my (worldly) life while preserving and strengthening my faith.
Most probably, when I am alone, far from the eyes, in a beautiful place or even in a place where I can see a few beautiful things (flowers, animals, etc.), it »s very likely that I shed tears. It’s very likely that I burst into prayers, as though I suddenly realized that I was a sinner and I had to repent. It’s then when I can feel at peace with God. Confrontation can work with men sometimes, but never with God. If I want peace with God there’s one and only one option : istighfar (begging God’s pardon). When I am imploring God to forgive me I am actually confirming my belief that Go dis my Lord and that He and He Alone can decide my Fate. I am confirming that I believe in the invisible. That’s very, very important. (   ) (   ) The more I know the more I should fear the Lord. (   )  The erudite who think in good faith can only know God more and fear Him more. But what about someone like me who is not an erudite ? Well, at least I should avoid any kind of conrontation with God. If I understand something, tant mieux. If I can’t understand the logic of a rule, for example, I should respect the knowledge of God Who set that rule. I should also aporter mon témoignage on the fairness of God. « 3.18. Allah (Himself) is witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God save Him, the Almighty, the Wise.» It’s a question of Faith. I trust that God did not make that rule against the interest of man. I trust that there must be some good in that rule even though I can’t see it myself. I may not understand the wisdom underlying some rules, but I have to abide with them for the sake of the public good. I should accpet the rule first, then philosophize it. I referred in a previous chapter to Adam’s tree, Hebrews’ river and Mecca’s birds. So I should admit that my knowledge is limited compared to God’s knowledge. If I think that I know everything in the earth and in the sky I may still have doubts about what’s most important to me : the fate of my own soul after death. God says : (   )  (   ) (  ) As a believer, who evidently want to have good faith when thinking about Faith, I will not seek knowledge in books and schools only. I am being taught everyday in the school of life too. My trials, my ordeals, teach me loads of knowledge about myself and the world. I know and believe and make no barrier between the visible and the invisible, between the world and Heaven. The Quran tells me that, on the Day of Judgement, Heaven people will say : (   ) To Hell people it will be said : (   ) It’s a no return trip : nobody is going to be given another chance to think or decide. If I don’t want to take the invisible into account NOW, I may regret it THEN. (   ) (   ) Belief in the invisible is not easy. I began this book with those two verses from the Surat of Yusuf : (  )  (  ) When I am put to test, my tests will either strengthen or weaken my belief. Knowledge alone is not enough, but it helps. People spend lots of money on psychic consultation. If I manage to acquire that kind of knowledge (of personal experience, through my tests, through siyaha (spiritual tourism), I will never see a psychic. When I am in an adversity and go somewhere on the outskirts of the city and implore God to help me and He does help me (  ), that will help me strengthen my faith. I learn from this experience that when God promises something His promise is true. That’s why siyaha, whenever possible, is very important. It is very important for a believer like myself to see beauty. Cependant, pour nous les fils d’Adam la beauté de ce monde n’est censée être qu’un avant-goût de la vraie beauté, celle du paradis. La bonté d’ici-bas n’est qu’un échantillon de la bonté divine.
"Allah is full of pity, Merciful toward mankind." (Al-Baqara : 143) God knows what life is like. It’s Him Who made the world and life (  ). God is running our world everyday, every minute, every second. (   ) (   ) God knows what’s it means for me to have work, to marry, to have a roof, to have children, to eat well, to sleep well. God knows what happiness is. God also knows things I don’t know. (   ) God knows what’s good for me and what’s bad for me. (   ) What matters is my intention, good or bad faith. What matters is what I have at heart. In the Haddith we read : (   ) life is life. Most people, believers and non-believers alike, eat, drink, work, sleep, marry, build houses, drive cars, etc, etc. But, apparently, most people live for the world only. If I am a believer I can (   ). Nobody is asking me, as a believer, to give up (  ). For good believers everything is ‘ibaada (act of worship) ; even making love to one’s spouse is ‘ibaada. But to be considered as a good believer I have to be tested. I want something from God. So I should put trust in Him and be patient. I should be one of (   ) Au lieu d’être rongé par le remors, I opt for patience, contentment (  ) and trust in God. If I do that here’s what God promises me. (   ) (  ). (  ) is everything I do in my life. Yes, it’s easier said than done. But what could I do ? I have no other choice. Good quality life is for the faithful only. (   ) (   ) (   ) If I am a sensible person, I wouldn’t love to have a (  ).

God knows that the material means are so important. God knows that some good believers can’t do without a car, that others need to pay the rent urgently, that others are ill and need medecine all the time, that others don’t even have a shaver to shave their faces or socks or shoes… But God does not see only my depravations. He also sees the reward which I can’t see as yet. He sees my reward in this world and in the Hereafter. (   ) (   ) (   ) Why should God deprive me from things He knows are so dear to me ? Isn’t it enough that I believe in Him already and that I am striving to please Him ? Well, that may not be enough. Faith needs absolute yaqeen (   ). (    ) Personally, there came a time when I realized that all the « bad » things that happened to me and all my past deparavations were in fact good things. I got the feeling that my Lord had been managing my life without my knowledge in such a way that, were He to let me do what I wanted to do with my life, I would have certainly done a lot of wrong to myself ! Only then did I realize how merciful God is to me. This kind of personal experience would make one disposé volontiers à s’user pour faire plaisir au Seigneur. (   ) (   ) Quand je suis amené à faire preuve de patience et d’abnégation, les autres diront de moi : Ah celui-là est feignant, il est bon à rien, celui-là aimerait bien être nouri par les autres. Tout ça fait partie de mon épreuve. C’est un exercice pour moi, pour que j’aie une personnalité forte, pour avoir plus de confiance en moi, pour vivre pour de vrais principes et non pas pour l’argent. (   ) (   ) ce sont mes épreuves qui feront de moi (   ) God says (   ) Ce serait alors un grand honneur pour moi si Dieu me considérait (   ) Quoi de mieux que de mener une vie gérée d’en haut par le Seigneur, qui sait tout qui peut tout ? Je gère mon cœur, Dieu gèrera ma vie comme aucun manager ne poura. God said to Moses (pbuh) : (   ) What about my frustrations that I couldn’t get that particular job or purchase that home or marry that very person ? God says to me : (   ) (   ) My patience and contentment with God will wash all that away. But Satan will always be lurking for me. Satan may not be able to disturb me when I am alone. (   ) But once I am in the midst of other people Satan will be there too. He will inspire them just the kind of words that would make me feel frustrated over things I could not get in the past or aspire to things I may not be able to achieve in the future. While I am being tested (by ordeals) Satan will make me problems with friends, with family members, etc. Those friends, neighbours, family members, won’t think of Satan. But it’s my own responsibility to be aware that Satan is going to use some of those people to make me unhappy. (   ) Still, during my trials, God will send me good people to help me when I can’t help myself. But God will not give me everything I want even through the best soul in the world until I have passed the test. Otherwise, why should it be called a test ? God can make my family, or a charity, for example, help me with food but not with money. I won’t get the money I want until God wills so. So I shouldn’t blame people for what they can’t give me. God says : (  ) Those people who are « bad » to me may be good to other people. There’s good in all of us, even in criminals. Those people may be « bad » to me now because I was bad to them in the past. God says : (   ) So if I can do good, I should do it for the sake of God. That’s golden education. Genuine generosity (in all its forms) is the top golden education. God says : (  ) (   ) (   ) (   ) In other words, I should be good and then do good. I should do what I can. I am not obliged to do good to a person who will only hurt me. I have the choice. I alone can know the limits of my patience in this regard. (   ) So I should not be a complexed person. I should take life as it comes. I manage my heart and God will manage my life.

If I have children golden education is the best thing I can offer them. My family is my people. My home is my kingdom. My conduct is my Law. If I don’t want my children to lie to me, I should not lie to them or in front of them. (   ) (   ) Il faut être cohérent avec soi. God wants me, as a believer, to be honest with myself first. I should be free of contradictions.

What’s the fruit of golden education ? God says : (  ) That’s the fruit of golden education. The parents, my children, my siblings –we can all meet there, in Heaven, as we met here in the earth. Golden education (or lack of it) will either reunite or separate us –for ever. Golden education is not a religion, though. The religion is Islam. Golden education is only a name I liked to call a stratefy towards putting Islam into practise on the individual level by people who care more about their faith.

On peut tous être psychologiquement brisés à un moment ou à un autre. Seule la foi peut nous aider à nous relever. La foi c’est la lumière. La foi c’est la liberté. La foi c’est la liberté de tout sauf du Seigneur. As a believer, je me libère de ce qui remplit mon cœur de rancunes et de remors. Je me donne de l’mportance. Je me cherche cette importance dans moi-même, je la trouverai dans ma foi.

Je viens d’évoquer un sujet sensible : la liberté. Ça nous touche tous. Par exemple, moi je veux sortir me défouler un peu. Où est-ce que je vais aller ? Avec qui ? Seul ? Avec ma petite famille ? Avec un ami ? Quel ami ? Avec mon épouse ? Comment je vais y aller ? A pied ? A vélo ? En voiture ? Dans le transport commun ? Qu’est-ce que je vais y consommer ? Quelque chose que j’ai préparée à la maison ? Quelque chose que j’achèterais au snack ? La foi n’est pas loin de tout cela. J’ai le choix entre plusieurs destinations : le cinéma, le théatre, le club de sport, le cabaret, le café, la boîte de nuit, la pleine nature, la piscine, la mer… A chaque fois je réfléchis : 1) est-ce halal ou haram (licit or illicit) ? 2) Que diront les gens de moi ? Est-ce que ça va impressionner quelqu’un ? Manger un cassecroûte préparé à la maison dans un coin perdu de la nature, loin des yeux des gens, n’est pas comme manger dans un restaurant huppé au milieu de gens qui remarqueront tout sur mes apparences et mes gestes. Pour une femme, aller en hijab ans us quartier chic n’est pas comme aller en hijab dans un quartier populaire.

Le poids de la société est plus lourd que les montagnes. Même avec la foi il faut faire beaucoup d’efforts pour se libérer sans choquer. Que vous dit la foi alors ? Un jour un sage a vu un homme debout en train de regarder à droite et à gauche. Le sage lui dit : "Que voulez-vous, homme ? " L’homme lui dit : "Je cherche un endroit propre pour faire ma prière. " Le sage lui dit : "Nettoyez votre cœur et priez là où vous voudrez !" Si je parvies à nettoyer mon cœur je pourrai aller là où je voudrai, avec qui je voudrai, je pourrai manger ce que je voudrai là où je voudrai ; je pourrai mettre les habits que je voudrai là où je voudrai. Mon cœur me guidera. Dieu dit :
Vous voyez les grades de la foi ? Si je fais une faute la première, la deuxième, la deuxième fois, je serai puni et je comprendrai que ceci ou cela n’est pas bien pour moi ; mon cœur prendra une leçon et me mènera là où je n’aurais plus de problèmes ni avec Dieu ni avec les gens. C’est ça la sagesse. C’est comme ça que la liberté deviendra pour moi a second nature. Je gère mon cœur, Dieu gérera ma vie. My heart is the most precious piece of me. If I keep it clean my life will be clean.

Souvent quand on lit un ouvrage comme celui-ci, on veut savoir ce que Dieu a à nous donner. Eh bien, si moi-m^me je me pose la même question, quelle serait la réponse ? Dieu a tant de choses à m’offrir, mais mois –qu’est-ce que j’ai à offrir à Dieu ? Dieu n’attend pas de moi à ce que je Le nourrisse. (   ) Ce que Dieu attendrait de moi c’est que je Lui fasse une place spéciale, très, très spéciale dans mon cœur. Dieu dit dans le hadith quodsi :
Si j’ai choisi pour mes prières le plus bel endroit dans ma maison, je tiens à réserver au Seigneur l’endroit le plus beau, le plus propre, le plus intime de mon cœur. Dieu parle dans le coran de tijara (commerce) : si vous faites ceci Je vous donne cela. Moi j’ai besoin de Dieu. J’ai besoin de la grâce de Dieu. J’ai besoin de l’aide de Dieu. Mais je ne dois quand même pas faire de commerce avec Dieu, literally speaking. Je ne dois pas faire de donnons-donnons avec Dieu. Je dois voir en Lui un ami, un ami sûr et fidèle à jamais. Je ne Lui cache rien, Il sait tout. I don’t feign, He knows what’s in my heart. S’Il me prive d’une chose ou d’une autre, je Lui parle le plus poliment possible. Je Lui demande ce que je veux, je Lui fais part de ce dont je souffre. Je Lui montre mes larmes que je ne montrerais à quiconque d’autre. Je Lui dis les meilleures paroles, celles que je ne dirais à personne. Je Lui montre à quel point je L’aime, à quel point je suis honoré de L’avoir en Dieu, en ami protecteur. Je Lui montre que je L’aime pour ce qu’Il est. Je Lui montre à quel point j’ai besoin de Lui, de Sa Grace, de Son paradis, de Son agrément. Je Lui montre, avec des dires et des actes, que je ne suis rien sans Lui. Il fera que je sois content de ce que je suis, content de ce que je fais. Il fera que je ne me sente plus seul. Il fera que je sois heureux. Il me donnera –s’Il le voudra– plus que ce que je  Lui avais demandé. (…) Si je salis mon cœur avec un pêché, je verse mes larmes, je mouille mes yeux pour le nettoyer. Je le balaie chaque jour avec le tasbih de ma langue. Je fais en sorte que la place de Dieu dans mon cœur soit plus propre que mes vêtements, que mon alimentation, que ma demeure. Et je dis : (….)


Chapter Eight

God « has not taken a wife or a son. » (72 : 3) God does not have a family. He does not need them. He does not need to be loved by a wife or helped by a son. Otherwise He wouldn’t be God. The best wife God could create for Himself or the best son He could ever make should be either as good as or better than Him. But why should God have someone in His presence who could be as good as or better than Him ? What would be the purspose ? There can’t be anything as good as or better than God and anything less good than God cannot be a god. “42.11. Naught is as His likeness”. There can only be God, on the one hand, and the Kingdom of God, on the other hand. And then (   ) Why ? Because (   ) (  ) (   ) Look at what man, this weak creature, has done against God, what if God surrounded Himself with other gods ? Would any sensible king accept to have around him someone who could do what he does or undo what he undoes ? That would be unwise of him. We have seen what happened in History between kings and their parents and their children and their siblings. God is (  ) (   ) God can do all His work on His own. God is (  ) So the Kingdom of God can only be ruled by God. But God does not want to rule by force only. With those who need force God will use force because He is 3.6. the Almighty, the Wise». To those who need love God will give love because He is 11.90 . Merciful , Loving.” It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’”  We all know that the rain, which is a gift from God, does not fall only where God is worshipped. (   ) (   ) This dead land could be anywhere in the world. You and I are not the one to judge God, but time has proved to us that God was right in doing so. (   ) We now know that in almost every country in the world there’s at least one person or two who believe in God, in Alllah. For the sake of that one person God is ready to provide to all the people living where he lives. Because that person will need to eat, to wear clothes, to use transportation, to have a home, etc, and all this cannot be done by him alone. He will need people to farm for him, people to make clothes for him, to build a home for him, etc, etc. All the people will eat quite the same things, use the same transportation, have the same kind of homes, etc, but in this world only. In the Hereafter only the faithful will have the good things. That’s why it’s not unislamic for a good Muslim to enjoy the good things of this life. (   ) That’s why God provided our forefathers who did not believe in Him. He provided them with food, with shelter, with everything. He caused love to make them feel so good so as to encourage them to marry, to support a family, to prepare the future generations of believers. That’s why when Angel Gabriel said to the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that, if he wanted, God could destroy the people of Taif, who had mistreated him, he said : « No, I hope that Allah will make them beget children who will adore Allah Alone. » Does that mean that God is doing all this and taking all this trouble because He needs to be adored ? We’ll see that later in the book.

Now, if I am a good Muslim and have some knowledge about Islam I should share i twill all people all over the world, if I can. I am using things that come from all over the world (clothes, gadgets, books, etc). i should return the favour in the form of adive. God made those people help me (through their material products) to enjoy the life of the world, I should help them to see why God can be good for them too, why the life of the Hereafter is true and is no less good than the life of the world. God said to the prophet (pbuh) : (   ) The prophet (pbuh) died 14 centuries ago, his message is still being shared in so many languages by people who have tasted the sweetness of the Faith, by people who love God.

Now, it is ceasy for anyone to share such knowledge ? Well, it depends. God says : (   ) Put differently, I will be punished if I contradict myself. If I don’t contradict myself, if I do as I say, I will have problems still all the same. God says : (   )  Put differently, I will have to make a lot of sacrifices. Is it worth it ? Well, it depends once again. For me personally, I am a writer and I have no choice. (   ) (  ) I have learned things from my personal experience as a believer in God, in Allah ; so maybe there are people out there who would be interested in what I am saying. This has become part of my everything life as a believer. As I live a new day I earn something and lose something else, the least of which are my past days which are gone for good and will never come back. It’s not a 5-minute prayer every two or five hours that will alter the course of my day or prevent me from doing what I want to do. On the contrary, it’s more beneficial than a soldier’s respite. Likewise, when I am reading the Quran I am learning new things every time. When I am writing I am enjoying the immaterial side of my life. When I am posting my work on line I am making new friends. God is watching me all the time and that’s an honour for me. (  ) Everywhere I look I see signs that I’m leaving this world one day. I see babies who will be my eyes when I’m gone. I see young people who remind me that I too I was as young as them and I am no more. Now. I see very old people and I’m not sure I’ll live as long as them. I see plants that last a few months and trees that are more than 100 years old. All this reminds me that I am leaving sooner or later. At the same time, when I say my prayers five times a day, and read some Quran, and do some good, day in day out, I get the feeling that I am kind of investing in these days gone by and that this investment should bear fruit upon my death. I feel that my life is in fact eternal, once I left my mother’s womb. (   )   This gives me hope. So if I lose something when I am writing about religion I should consider that as an investment.

Now, what would I hope for as a believer who knows something about Islam ? In the Quran I read : 5.54. whom He loveth and who love Him”. What does that mean ? Well, it means that, why not, God can love me too. And that’s something I would love so much. But how do I know that God loves me ? God says : (   ) Assumedly, if God gives me everything I want, that can be a sign that He loves me. But what’s the sign that I love Him ? Why should God love me if I don’t love Him in return ? Am I the only one in the kingdom of God ? Why should God favour me over all his bondmen ? God says : (   ) Am I (   ) ? God says : (   ) (   ) (   ) If that applies to me too, what did I give God in return ? When someone gives me something I say thank you. Did I thank God for all His gifts ? How ? Do I have a special relationship with God, a relationship far, far better than my relationship with anybody else ? God says : (   )   (   ) (   )  (  ) Am I among those meant by these verses ? When I want to sin, for example, do I hide from God or from people ? Do I fear God or do I fear people ? God says : (   ) (   )  (   )  (   ) Do I really care about (   ) ?  Do I really fear God ? Do I really love God ? God says : (   )  Do I follow the prophet (pbuh) ? Do I ask myself such questions when I am alright or only when I am miserable ? What do I do when I am miserable ? Do I turn to God or do I turn away from Him ? Do I implore God to forgive and help me or do I try by all by means to ward off bad luck ?

You know, as I do, that normal adult people aspire to three things : financial independence, marriage and good health. What if I had none of these ? What if I were jobless, single and sick ? What could I do, knowing that I can’t, even if I try, ward off bad luck ? All I can do is live with that and accept it and wait for salvation –just like a homeless person who can’t find a shelter. Suppose I were married and had two wonderful boys and a loving spouse, would I know what may happen to me or to them in the near future ? Now, here’s an anecdote. It’s in the Quran. "…And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them, and their father had been righteous, and thy Lord intended that they should come to their full strength and should bring forth their treasure as a mercy from their Lord…" (18 : 73-82) Moses was a prophet and yet he could not see the point in killing an « innocent child ». You and I would have the same reaction. Even after reading the justification for the killing of the child one would still wonder : Why didn’t God give those good parents the right child right away ? Well, they might have taken that for granted, just as I take it for granted when I take the train, when I switch on the light, when I turn on the tele, when I take a call from a dear person… Do I thank God for all this comfort ? What if I lost such comfort ? What if I lost anything that was so dear to me ?

Hopefully, that great loss may –I say may– bring me closer to my Lord so that I’ll think more seriously not only of my material comfort, my healthcare, my fianancial ease in this world but also of my salvation. What do you think I would prefer : work after a long period of unemployment or a kind message from a person I loved so much and thought she had forgotten all about me ? How would I feel when I read that unhoped-for message or when I get a suprise call from that dear person ? If I think about it, it’s nothing compared to when God lets the rain in after a severe drought or when He puts out the fire of a deadly war or when He helps someone repay his debt after he was very close to imprisonment. That’s my chance to feel the love of God. That’s my chance to relish and cherish that love from my Lord and the Lord of the Worlds. People are proud to take selfies with humans like them, how about the love of the Lord of the Worlds ?

These are personal experiences. I am an ordinary believer. I am not a saint. What happened to me can happen to other people in various ways. I too need to understand things that cannot be understood by reason alone. So I need to go through personal experience and to know about other people’s personal experiences.

Once the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asked his wife Aysha (rd) : « What is left of the sheep ? » She said : « It is all gone except for that lamb shoulder. » He said : « No, do not say that, Aysha, say we still have it all, except for that lamb shoulder ! » How could you and I understand this with our logic ? The sheep was eaten up by the poor to whom Aysha had given it and there remained no more in her room but that lamb shoulder : that’s logic, that’s reason. But to the prophet (pbuh) there was another logic. He saw God’s logic. But we humans when we lose something it’s hard for us to think of a replacement/a compensation that we can’t see with our eyes.

We humans will always ask such logical questions as to why did God give the prophets Noah and Lot bad wives and to the tyrant Pharoah a good wife he didn’t deserve ? Would we see in Pharoah’s wife a wife to him but also a foster  mother to Moses (pbuh), who could have been killed  by Pharoah ?

The Quran tells us that God did not give a child to Abraham (pbuh) until he was very old. And then after He gave him a child and this child grew up a little bit, God told Abraham (pbuh) (in a dream) to sacrifice him. Someone who doesn’t have faith in his heart would only see in this kind of sadism. But both Abraham and his son would forget all about the pains they had during the trial once they saw the gift brought down by angels from the sky, from the Lord of the Worlds. It’s like slapping your little son or little brother and then you give him a surprise present : the slap is painful, but your present will make him forget it, because you gave him a sign that you love him, that you didn’t mean him any harm. Likewise, it is not easy for many people to fast during the whole month of Ramadan. And yet they do it, not out of fear of people, but to please God and to do good to their own health.

Why did God do that to Abraham, why did He order him to sacrifice his son ? We don’t need to farfetch an explanation. When God tells me, as a believer, to do something I have to do it, I don’t ask why. (   )   (    )  Nobody asks a king to justify an order. God is the King / the Lord of the Worlds, period. Adam, don’t touch that tree. That’s it, don’t touch it. (   )  Don’t go beyond what you have been ordered. (   )  That’s it, don’t touch those birds. Don’t ask questions. Maybe there are secrets I don’t know and God would not let me in the secret. So I have to do as  I am bid. Who am I to be let into the secret of God ? I should respect the distance between me and my Lord as I respect the distance between me and my superiors at work. I should show my Lord that He is indeed my Lord. I should show Him that I love Him by obeying His orders whatever they are. I should not ask why a male heir should have as twice as a female heir. That’s none of my business. I should not ask why a woman does not pray during her menstruations. God did not ask me to use water for my ablutions if I am ill. God  permits me to only perform tayammum if I can’t find/use water, or to perform my daily prayers lying on my side in bed if I am ill. god permits me to postpone fasting until after Ramadan if I am ill. if I can see symbolism in tayammum, why can’t I see symbolism in Adam’s tree or in Hevrews’ river or in Mecca’s hunting ?

God made me a viceroy of Him in this earth. A viceroy is not the king. But a viceroy can be brought near the king. I too can be brought near my Lord if I make a good viceroy. What’s my job as a viceroy ? I do what I can, that’s my job. I can help a homeless person by giving him shelter or food or clothes or money or just a smile. I am doing this to human like myself. If I marry I marry a human like myself. If I work, I work for a human like myself. If God wants to take revenge on a tyrant He will send him a human like himself. God will not transport victims in ambulances or help the blind cross the street. I, as a believer, do it in His name. If God wills that I be jobless, nobody will ever give me work unless God wills so. If God wills that I be single, nobody will marry me unless God wills so. That’s because God is the Lord. (   ) God is never in the headlines, but He is somewhere behing what’s in the headlines. When a celebrity dies, all the media talk about that celebrity, but where is he/she taken ? To a church or a mosque, to where God is. People who have faith in their hearts know that. So each would do what he/she can as a viceroy of God. They will seek a peaceful relationship rather than a confrontational relationship with God, because they know that there are things that God Alone can do. God does them for us. (    )  (   )  These people who have faith in their hearts strive to serve their Lord and do not wait for Him to serve them. That’s golden education. When they need something they beg God to help them. When they have questions they think about possible answers rather than ask them bluntly. These people know that even science cannot explain everything. So they try to guess what God would expect of each of them and each would strive to accomplish his/her mission in the best way possible. What matters is what God wants, not what they want.