Sunday, April 2, 2017

Golden Eductaion 1

Excerpts from GOLDEN EDUCATION


You have certainly, as I have, heard or read existential question as to why God did this or that, questions about Lucifer, about evil, about punishment, about free will, about Fate, about disaster, etc, etc. Such questions are anything but new : they have always been asked by believers and disbelievers alike. Let me add one more question : Is it easy to believe? The Quran says : "And though thou try much, most men will not believe."  (12.103) "And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners (unto Him)." (12.106) If I start asking why that is, I may not get the answers I want. So what to do ? Suppose you were (yourself or one member of your family) in a place (a school or anywhere else) and then somebody came in and started shooting at everybody. Would you then start asking who that person was or why he was doing that ? Or would you rush to safety ? Safety is hidaya (guidance).  It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path – (1 :5-6) If God says, for example, And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah , (10 : 100) I say right away Guide us to the straight path – If I flee from war and become a refugee a thousand miles away I should consider myself lucky, for many others have not had that chance. God help them. My safety comes first. Likewise, I will listen to God and I won’t argue with the arguers. 
And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie. (6 : 116)
I, the author of this piece, am a Muslim because I was born into a Muslim family in a Muslim State. As a kid, I was used to seeing people around me perform their daily prayers, recite the Quran, observe the holy month of Ramadan, etc. I mean, everybody can be a Muslim. You only have to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger, to perform salah (ritual prayer), to pay the zakah, to fast during Ramadan, and to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the Ka`bah at Makkah, if you can afford it. That’s IslamIt's only when you start asking questions that you enter the area between Islam and Iman:  when you want to know why you should be a Muslim and not something else. It’s at this critical phase that a Muslim can either move up to the level of Iman or leave the Faith altogether.  One who, through personal experience and more knowledge, succeeds in discovering the truth and the beauty of Islam will move up, gradually, step by step, to the level of Iman and become a moomin (a believer), not only a Muslim, a submitter). This person would want to live and enjoy a peaceful Iman experience: to live as a moomin, always trying to improve his Iman in an attempt to reach the level of Ihssan.  This is a long process that starts with Guide us to the straight path –  The personal experience and the necessary knowledge will come afterwards. You first build the house (that is Islam), then you put in the furniture (that is Iman), then you add in the home decorators (that is Ihsan). When you reach this level, God becomes your ally and protector. Indeed, my protector is Allah, who has sent down the Book; and He is an ally to the righteous. (7 :196) Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light. (2 : 257) Your life becomes good. Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. (16 : 97) It’s like your little heaven in the earth.
How do I know that I reached this level of the Faith ? The answer is :  (The true believers are those) "Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest! Those who believe and do right: Joy is for them, and bliss (their) journey's end." (13 : 28-29)

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely – (8 : 2) If I reach this level God says to me : O you who have believed, upon you is [responsibility for] yourselves. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is you return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do. (8 : 105)

Can anybody reach this level of the faith ? Honestly, I don’t know. But why not try ? God says 
"So fear Allah as much as you are able" (64 : 16) "Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship" (concerning the rituals; that's different from trials.) (2 : 185) But He also detailed ways one can  work his/her way up through the Faith ranks. If you can't fast very often or worship at night while people are sleeping, for example, you may still rise in your iman by enduring hardships and remaining steadfast in the worst ordeals.

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Now, why do I sin ? Very often it’s either because I am pessimistic (and think Go dis not going to help me anytime soon) or because I feel self-sufficient and think that even God’s punishment would not affect my life anytime soon. Many people think that by only becoming Muslim God should give them everything they want. In other words, they make a favour unto God that they have become Muslim (that they pray, they fast…). "49.17. They make it favour unto thee (Muhammad) that they have surrendered (unto Him). Say: Deem not your Surrender a favour unto me; nay, but Allah doth confer a favour on you, inasmuch as He hath led you to the Faith, if ye are earnest." Did you become a Muslim to serve God or to make God serve you ? What if God gave you everything you wanted ? Would you even care about moving up from the level of Islam to the level of iman ? God first gave you a chance to become a Muslim, now He gives you a chance to become a moomin (a believer). This is a grade, you have to work hard to get up there. You have to work hard psychologically and intellectually. So if God puts you in a pitiful situation, that’s your chance to create a harmony between the physical things you do as a Muslim (praying, fasting…) and the spiritual framework within which you do these things. By doing so, you give a meaning to your salah (prayer), to your fasting, to your pilgimage… You are not only imitating other people, you are translating the language of your own heart and mind into physical acts. This will not happen overnight : it comes bit by bit. God knows what you want. Gos knows what you need. God knows the limits of your patience more than you do. God knows everything about you, even before you were born. What matters now is your intention, is what you have at heart. Do you want to serve God or do you want God to serve ? If you just want God to serve you, you will remain no more than a Muslim, which is per se a GREAT thing). If you want to serve God, God will put the angels and the whole universe at your service. Trial by ordeal is painful. Non-believers too go through painful experiences. It’s your intention, it’s your heart, that turns your painful experience into grades on the ladder of the Faith. It’s ups and downs. Your iman goes up very high, then it plummits, the nit goes up higher thane ver before, the nit dies away, the nit revives again and becomes stronger and stronger …until you find yourself on the straight path. Yes, it’s a long experience, because the higher you rise in your faith the harder your trials will be. Now, what if you fail a test/trial ?
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When you feel alright, even if you are a moomin, you may fall to temptations, you may forget all the sufferings you experienced during your last ordeal. So God will remind you by a new ordeal.
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That good job which gave you such a strong feeling of security and self-suffiency, well, you’re losing it now. You try by all means to get a new job : all to no avail. Your feeling of security is replaced by pessimism. What do you do ? Well, you either give in to your animal instincts, pushed by your overwhelming pessimism, or you remember your Lord and run to Him for safety.
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Unfortunately for you, God may not remove your calamity anytime soon indeed. He will wait for you to learn a lesson.
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God will wait for you to put more questions to yourself, to go through a self-analysis, to think more objectively about the world around you, about life, about your role in this world, about your goal in this life. God will wait for you to be honest with yourself. If you do this you will rise higher and higher in the Faith. As for the job, God created the whole world, how can’t He find you a good job, a good wife/husband…, ?
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If you are a true moomin God cannot only give you a good job, He can give you all the tools and means to grow, to become an eviable person.
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Um Kaltoum in Morocco
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URpJBt2kGYg


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